Political concerns to slow government migration to the cloud, says official

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chile's government is keen to move public information toward the cloud, but political and legal concerns regarding sovereignty of information mean that the migration will take some time, Alfredo Barriga, head of the digital development project that falls under the economy ministry, told BNamericas.

"It's not only an issue of efficiency, it's not only an issue of technology, it's not only an issue of cost - it's a an issue of politics," Barriga said, speaking on the sidelines of a seminar on cloud computing organized by Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GLBC) in Santiago.

Barriga said that currently plenty of Chilean government information is stored in data centers. But the government will have to study on a case-by-case basis which data can be released into the cloud and which cannot.

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"No one at the moment has a list that says this can be stored outside the country and this has to stay. We need to look at existing legislation, look at why it's like that," Barriga said.

"I don't think it will take a very long time, but neither is it an automatic process. As cases are studied, precedents will be set, and we will upload more information to the cloud... but you can't generalize and tomorrow issue a decree that allows you to upload anything you want to the cloud," he added.


When it comes to moving the government and the country toward the cloud, Barriga said the legislative priority at the moment is introducing a data privacy law.

He underscored that one should never legislate on technology itself, but rather protect the information made available through that technology.

"Today it is called the cloud; who knows what it will be called in 10 years time. If you create a cloud law, you will be tied to the cloud. It's better make a law around concepts, and the concept is data privacy," Barriga said.

The same goes for intellectual property. Legislators are currently drawing up draft bills and consulting the public on the issue, and taking reference from laws in other member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

"Intellectual property is an important issue to address. As the knowledge-based society generates new ideas that are of intangible added value, if you do not have the relevant forms of defending it and it can be pirated, its value is destroyed," Barriga said.