Introduction

As part of Europe's Digital Agenda strategy for creating a flourishing digital economy by 2020, the European Commission (the "Commission") has published an online public consultation seeking views from citizens, businesses, public administrations and other interested parties on how to fully benefit from Cloud Computing ("Consultation"). In the Consultation, the Commission recognises the fact that the EU needs:

  • to be not only cloud-friendly but also cloud-active if it is going to fully realise the benefits of Cloud Computing; and
  • to have a Cloud Computing environment which addresses the needs of end users and protects the rights of citizens.

Scope of Consultation

The Commission is inviting all interested parties, in particular cloud developers and cloud users, to explain their experience, needs, expectations and insights into the use and provision of Cloud Computing.

The Consultation seeks feedback on the following issues:

  • data protection and liability questions, in particular in cross-border situations;
  • other legal and technical barriers to the development of Cloud Computing in Europe;
  • applicable jurisdictions for resolving cloud service disputes;
  • standardisation, interoperability and data portability solutions;
  • how public sector clouds and public procurement of cloud services may be able to act as an example of best practice for other sectors;
  • uptake of cloud services, in particular by SMEs;
  • ways to promote research and innovation in cloud computing; and
  • the most important Cloud Computing issues to be discussed at a global level.

In addition, the Commission hints that it is considering establishing standard terms and conditions for the use of Cloud Computing services as the Consultation asks if it would be "useful" to establish "model Service Level Agreements or End User Agreements" within contractual agreements for cloud services.

Next steps

The Consultation will run until 31 August 2011 and responses will feed into the preparation of a European Cloud Computing strategy that the Commission will present in 2012.

Further information

More information on the Consultation is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ipm/forms/dispatch?form=cloudcomputing&lang=en

More information on the Digital Agenda Towards a European Cloud Computing Strategy is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ipm/forms/dispatch?form=cloudcomputing&lang=en