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Boorish BSA Cloud Report Keeps Spirit of SOPA Alive

If You Like Unilateral Criminalization, You'll Love This Report

The Spirit of SOPA does well in a new cloud-computing report from The Business Software Alliance. Asia, in general, does not.

Viewing numerous aspects - establishing IT infrastructure, ensuring data privacy and portability, promoting security, battling cybercrime, protecting intellectual property, harmonizing international rules about handling data, and promoting free trade - a new report from the BSA places India, China, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam in its bottom rung, exceeded in disfavor only by Brazil.

The report is entitled, "Global Cloud Computing Scorecard."

The BSA bills itself as an international organization, with key offices in Singapore and London balancing its Washington, DC headquarters. It is a non-profit organization supported mostly by large US software companies, with Siemens a noted geographical augmentation.

The Spirti of SOPA
The BSA is best known for focusing on alleged piracy, and was a SOPA supporter. It's not surprising to see it produce a report that's hard on Asia. Its tilt toward business rather than consumers can be found in the new reports subtitle, "A Blueprint for Economic Opportunity."

Japan is an exception that proves the rule with respect to its recent report, finishing first among the 24 nations surveyed. The US finished fourth, trailing Japan, Australia, and Germany.

The latter came under criticism in the report for "overly restrictive legal interpretations to keep some data within national borders." The subtext here is that Germany is among the world's leaders in hating the hated USA Patriot Act - which opens the idea of US feds unilaterally investigating US-generated data no matter where it's stored.

Canada comes under criticism for not being with the program with respect to cybercrime enforcement as seen with American eyes.

The Asian countries (and Brazil) score poorly in many categories, and lose points for failing to have the correct answer to many of the questions that are used in the report's methodology.

Two of these questions provide an idea of this report's agenda:

  • Is there a basis for ISPs to be held liable for content that infringes copyright found on their sites or systems?

  • Must ISPs takedown (sic) content that infringes copyright, upon notification by the right holder?

As with SOPA, these questions imply a lack of due process and a criminalization of what have traditionally been civil litigation issues.

Parse This
The overall tenor of this report reads to me like something that H.R. Haldeman or Alberto Gonzales might have liked.

As its notes, "to encourage investments in cloud R&D and infrastructure, IP laws must provide strong incentives for these investments and clear protection and vigorous enforcement against misappropriation and infringement. Online intermediaries should have incentives to behave responsibly, and they should enjoy safe harbors from liability when they do so."

A more direct way of expressing this thought might be "do what I say or I'll bust down your door." It appears that this ostensibly international organization clearly views its mission as "US over all."

The report does have some questions relating to broadband ubiquity, which will continue to be essential in the growth of cloud computing worldwide. Even so, I've been writing for the past year or so that this is measured best on a relative, rather than absolute, basis.

To be honest, I don't see this report doing anything to advance the growth of cloud computing worldwide. It seems to have a worthy goal in mind - no cheating when it comes to IP, laddies - but takes on a boorish, hectoring, US-centric tone in advancing this agenda.

The report conjures up an image of squadrons of Sheriff's deputies barking at people about how to park their cars at the county fair, rather than of an effort to help people enjoy the fair itself.

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More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Studies, (@TauDir), with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is also a writer & editor for SYS-CON Media. He writes for Cloud Computing Journal & Computerworld Philippines. He is Conference Chair of WebRTC Summit and Things Expo. He has a BA from Knox College, Certificate in Tech Writing from UC-Berkeley, and MBA studies at CSU-East Bay. He serves on the board of the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies, and has served as Director, U.S. Coast Guard Aux Int'l Affairs.

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