Get Off-a My Cloud!

Bitkom is a German IT trade association for small- and medium-sized businesses with an associated website, and that site is reporting something interesting, picked up by the national newsmagazine Stern:

Cloud-Dienste: cloud services, with examples listed such as Google Drive, Apple’s iCloud and Dropbox. Turns out they’re not so popular there. A recent Eurostat study put Germany squarely in the middle of the pack of European countries when it comes to their use. While you would expect Germany to be somewhat ahead of the IT-laggards that study identified, such as Poland and Rumania (8 percent of population uses cloud services), it’s strange that country is not nearer the head of the class along with Denmark (44 percent) or Norway (43 percent).

Instead, 21% of German respondents to the Eurostat study reported that some of their data was in the Cloud. And the reason is very clear: “from concern of not being able to make use of regular data-security and data-protection provisions.”

It’s always handy to remember that a healthy chunk of the current German population, somewhere around under a quarter of it, had some experience of living in the old DDR or East Germany, with its intrusive Stasi secret police. Germany is also constantly at the forefront of efforts within the EU to shore up individual privacy protections.

It also has been leading in its agitation resulting from the Snowden revelations of the wide reach into Europe of the American NSA and British GCHQ, especially after reports emerged that Chancellor Merkel’s own mobile telephone had long been tapped. And what do we also find in common concerning those named cloud-data services that Germans are so loathe to take up? That’s right, they are American, run from America and therefore as we know subject to secret demands from the American authorities to give up their secrets, violate their customers’ confidentiality, whenever those US authorities deem that they need to do so.

The Stern article is too polite to mention the US, as is the lengthier Bitkom piece (where you can see the full table of country results). But it is clear the fears on the part of US high-tech concerns that their overseas market-share will suffer because of a loss of confidence brought about by the ruthless worldwide surveillance from the Anglo-Saxon authorities are by no means unfounded.

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