Regulating the cloud

As yet, there are no cloud specific regulations or legislation in the UK. Of course we all know that Law Doesn’t Keep up with Cloud

This doesn’t mean cloud isn’t regulated in the UK. So what have we got? Cloud contracts are governed by general contract law principles as amended by the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (which themselves have been extensively amended), various consumer law and others. I blogged about an interesting contract law case recently.

Transfer, storage and usage of personal data fall under the Data Protection Act 1998. This legislation is widely misunderstood and misquoted. Despite what some people claim, it doesn’t prohibit data transfers outside the UK. Rather, it allows for the worldwide transfer of personal data subject to certain safeguards. The EU General Data Protection Regulation – perhaps the most extensively debated piece of EU legislation of all time – is on its way. Next year perhaps or 2016? In the meantime, the right to be forgotten under existing law is dividing opinion.

RIPA (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000) and the Antiterrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 regulate the manner in which certain public bodies may conduct surveillance and access electronic communication. And now following the recent EU ruling, the UK rushed through DRIP (Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014) in a heavy-handed and much criticised manner to continue the obligation on ISPs to retain data.

The Computer Misuse Act 1990 prohibits unauthorised access to computers and networks and outlaws hacking/cracking. The Digital Economy Act 2010 was going to see ISPs suspending internet access of its customers infringing copyright, but the government has now dropped this. There’s also the Communications Act 2003 which underlined the so-called Twitter Joke Trial and the Defamation Act 2013 which is relevant to statements made online such as via Twitter.

It doesn’t stop there. The EU Commission is looking to harmonise cloud SLAs and there are a whole bunch of standards that do or might apply to cloud.

Clear? If not, you might be interested in attending an exclusive cloud contracts workshop I’m running in my London office on Wednesday 1 October for a maximum of 15 people. Check back on the blog next week for more info or email me now to get onto the invitation list.

UPDATE 19/8/14: Details of workshop now published.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles “Law Key Shows Legal Or Judicial ” /

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