FTC investigating cloud computing as possible threat to consumer privacy

Will cloud computing architectures make it easier for snoops to satisfy their curiosity? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has begun to explore whether cloud computing has implications for data security.

The news was first reported by The Hill which uncovered a filing made by the FTC with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The notice was given because the two regulatory agencies share jurisdiction over broadband issues.

According to The Hill, the FTC’s chief of consumer protection, David Vladeck, explained the investigation by first acknowledging that cloud computing offers potential cost savings….

“However, the storage of data on remote computers may also raise privacy and security concerns for consumers… For example, the ability of cloud computing services to collect and centrally store increasing amounts of consumer data, combined with the ease with which such centrally stored data may be shared with others, create a risk that larger amounts of data may be used by entities not originally intended or understood by consumers.”

The investigation is part of a broad effort to look at technology and privacy, including identity management and social networks.

On January 28, the FTC will hold a public discussion to discuss the issues at the UC-Berkeley School of Law. The agenda was still open for public comment, as of this writing.

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