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Cloud Privacy By Design and E-Discovery as a Service - Canada isn’t really any further behind the rest of the world

As the Government’s own Digital Advantage paper recommends, the key to addressing Canada’s innovation gap is for CIO’s to adopt more new technologies like Cloud Computing, and the public sector can ignite this trend by leading the way with their own adoption.

Don Drummond makes a similar recommendation in his report. Recommendation 16-10 says: The government should shift its service delivery of information and information technology (I&IT) from in-house to external sources, where feasible.

However as this Telus press release and study reports, the reality is that in Canada is still in the early stages of there being very little external Cloud adoption, principly due to data security concerns.

Cloud Privacy Innovations

The critical point to note is that Canada isn’t really any further behind the rest of the world. Although there is significant press about the USA and UK in particular, and yes they are at least two years further down the track, this is a looong track and it’s only just started. Cloud is so massive, and so long term, opportunities still abound.

Indeed the central theme of this article is that Canada is equipped with some uniquely exciting capabilities that could make our vision of the country becoming a world leader in this field a reality, most notably the concept of ‘Cloud Privacy By Design’.

As shown here this is one of the foundations of Cloud Best Practices we recommend for security and privacy protections, and the critical point with innovation programs in mind is that this is an entirely embryonic green field of opportunity, a wealth of new technologies can and will be released to implement these practices.

This is powerfully described by the authors via this piece Privacy, Trust and Innovation. This describes how these practices can underpin Digital Economy innovations, and what role they might play in Cloud Computing, as well as general Internet and IT scenarios such as social networks, mapping technologies, Location Based Services, e-Health and the Internet of Things.

The article makes a number of recommendations for Canada to pioneer Digital Economy innovations:

  • Taking a holistic view and building privacy in from the start
  • Funding research to support digital literacy programs
  • Funding privacy positive research and development
  • Targeting SMEs that are technology innovators
  • Providing tools to help SMEs better understand privacy
  • Making privacy literacy an integral component of digital citizenship

One example of innovations in this field includes the industry organization Kantara.

As this Privacy presentation explains, Kantara provides all the required mechanisms to implement these best practices across Cloud providers, meeting all the privacy and technical requirements needed to ensure it is suitable for e-Government scenarios.

EDaaS : E-Discovery as a Service

These innovations could then enable a portfolio of new Cloud services ideal for government.

As the Telus press release describes, the key fact is really this one:

87 per cent of Canadian business and IT leaders have significant concerns about public cloud’s ability to handle data in compliance with regulations and legislation.

The step that will unleash the dam of Cloud adoption will be the ability to rate and certify Cloud providers in line with these best practices, in short to be able to prove this compliance.

In their Reach for the Cloud analysis, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada says that:

“it is also possible that the Government of Canada might create a “private cloud” infrastructure internally to facilitate information sharing, or even that some or all government institutions might make use of a cloud infrastructure for data processing or storage.”

Not only do Cloud providers need to be able to implement secure Cloud environments, they’ll need to be able to prove how secure they are, in line with a set of industry guidelines.

Being able to do so will provide a foundation not only for the legal compliance of the environment, but for new services that can make use of this capability, most notably ‘EDaaS’ : E-Discovery as a Service. This refers to “Records Management in the Cloud”, where record keeping requirements and best practices can be applied across Cloud environments.

Fundamentally this is about audit and compliance, and is a massive global opportunity. President Obama recently declared the ‘Managing Government Records‘ initiative , to better use Cloud technologies to perform Information Management and achieve Open Government. Canada also recently announced a similar initiative, to build a ‘GC Docs’ portal that publishes all of their records.


In this blog the Privacy team again repeats the point about Government leading the way in exploiting this opportunity as a means of Canada pioneering Digital Economy leadership:

We’ve written previously about the need to reform the Privacy Act, but we think the federal government can go even further in being a model user of technology

They refer to how the USA Government is moving ahead with building the required Identity authentication foundations into their e-Government strategies, adopting the NSTIC program.

NIST, the US Government organization who is leading this also spearheads the definition of Cloud computing overall, and also defined the requirements for these managed services for E-DaaS, described in this FAA E-Discovery Business Use Case (11-page PDF).

This provides the specifications for how Cloud providers can implement E-DaaS, so in combination with the Kantara methods, NSTIC procedures and so forth, there is a uniquely opportunity to be first to market with what will be the floodgate-opening managed services.

Canada’s unique opportunity is to provide the intellectual property that acts as the key to open this lock…

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