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TRAI paper opens debate on regulating and licensing cloud services; on data ownership, interception and more

  "...Regulations need to be evolved for cloud computing in India for Regulation of Investigatory Powers, Regulation on Stored Communication, Mandatory guidelines for National Security for cloud operation and Lawful interception and monitoring by Law Enforcement Agencies, State Privacy Laws and Fair Credit Reporting Act etc." A fairly harmless sounding consultation paper from the Indian Telecom regulator TRAI on cloud computing (pdf), but cloaked within in its verbosity are topics that could change the way the Internet functions in India: over 119 pages, within mentions of privacy and data protection, there is the potential for forced data localization and the prevention of cross border data transfer; within mentions of tax benefits is the potential for additional taxation of cloud services. Over and above that, the encryption issue makes a comeback after the DEITY's remarkably daft encryption policy last year. On security, the TRAI paper says: "The Government will have to ensure a strict and vigilant interception system in cloud computing environment" There's a point where the TRAI also points towards the possibility of licensing "intermediate service providers", without exactly specifying what kind of entities they are referring to. Since this term appears only once in the paper, and the preceding section refers to lawful interception of cloud services, we're assuming that this refers to licensing of cloud companies. For a regulator which appeared to be avoiding broad consultations and taking up issues one by one, this is a bit of a disappointment. It's hard to find an online service today that doesn't deploy cloud…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

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