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Amazon and Google Barred From UK Government Cloud

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the us-government-disappointed dept.

Cloud 79

judgecorp writes "Amazon and Google both applied for a role in the U.K. government's 'G-Cloud' for public services, but were rejected, a FOI request has revealed. It is most likely this was because of concerns about where data was hosted and backed up. Amazon Web Services has a dedicated cloud service for the government in the U.S., but has not been able to duplicate that in Britain."

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Gee... (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#42113815)

How could a government possibly turn down a chance to offshore a major chunk of its IT operations?

Apparently some governments have better sense than some businesses.

Re:Gee... (2)

zevans (101778) | about a year and a half ago | (#42116337)

Apparently some governments have better sense than some businesses.

Indeed. I know it doesn't look like it sometimes, but the purpose of Government is to prevent Tragedy of the Commons, and to my mind "buy the lowest cost irrespective of value delivered" is very much Tragedy of the Commons when discussing tax dollars.

In a similar way, current stock market behaviour actively encourages "reduce cost at all cost" and there's yer problem. Many companies in the UK have begun moving services back onshore once the revenue impact of the customer backlash started to bite. It's a pity they couldn't see that coming.

Re:Gee... (1)

aug24 (38229) | about a year and a half ago | (#42117663)

Don't count your chickens... they've still got the option of MS Azure =:-/

Why cloud? (4, Insightful)

fufufang (2603203) | about a year and a half ago | (#42113841)

Why don't they run their own datacenter and have centralised IT services, rather than relying on some third party private company? Is it because they want to have someone to blame if things do go wrong?

Re:Why cloud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42113891)

You've never had to deal with the NHS, I take it.

Re:Why cloud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114205)

Because Microsoft has bribed someone to choose Azure

Re:Why cloud? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114285)

Why don't they run their own datacenter and have centralised IT services, rather than relying on some third party private company? Is it because they want to have someone to blame if things do go wrong?

You'd be amazed at how often companies need someone to blame if something goes wrong.
I work for a datacenter which offers IT services solely to the government in the country I'm in (in Europe) and no, I'm not gonna mention the country because it'd be pretty obvious for whom I work*.

In any case, I often wonder why some decisions are made in terms of hiring external companies or consultants (we have plenty of in-house project managers, programmers, etc.) and sometimes I get the feeling that we need external guys for someone to blame when something does go wrong.

*hint: it's not the UK, because they'd probably be all over my ass right now for even _attempting_ to shit talk them

Re:Why cloud? (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | about a year and a half ago | (#42120813)

Is it Albania?

Re:Why cloud? (2)

Kugrian (886993) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114559)

Hiring a company that already knows how to do this stuff is probably a hell of a lot cheaper in the short run than funding a new one.

Re:Why cloud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114943)

Hiring a company that already knows how to do this stuff is probably a hell of a lot cheaper in the short run than funding a new one.

The techies at Amazon and Google probably know how to do this. The other people in those companies, however, are used to dealing with privacy in a way bordering to the illegal. Since privacy is not worthless (especially when handling these amounts of private information), building your own infrastructure would probably be a far better option.

Re:Why cloud? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42123281)

You're an ignoramus, both companies already have Government-oriented versions of their services that use different servers and different data sharing requirements. And they can put those walls up wherever the regulations and contracts say they go. And so far without major blunder or scandal.

Re:Why cloud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114777)

Kickbacks, that is the real answer under the fog of many rationalizations.

Re:Why cloud? (1)

Chatterton (228704) | about a year and a half ago | (#42115225)

Why? It is something i see regularly in public services: When you get budgets cuts (generally on the workforce budget line), you spend more on external services/companies to do the same work with worst SLAs. As it is not the same budget line all is ok :(

Re:Why cloud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42117741)

Here is another one: the people performing public services are getting retired and the communities lose their young to the cities. Now, the remaining officials don't have enough workforce to perform the services at the level required by the law. Only thing left to do is to outsource the service. First at the small communities, and as the survival stories spread between the communities, at the larger communities and cities as the service companies gather critical mass and the lack of workforce, budgets and political will destroy the chances of developing public services in the big communities.

Re:Why cloud? (0)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42115373)

Why don't they run their own datacenter and have centralised IT services, rather than relying on some third party private company? Is it because they want to have someone to blame if things do go wrong?

That sounds perfectly sensible and it's exactly what most companies would do, however it doesn't work in practice for government organizations. Governments have a kind of corrosive ineptitude that creeps into everything they do. I think it's something to do with the fact that no matter how bad they screw up they can't go bust and they can't fire permanent staff.

In some cases it's better to let people who know what they are doing do the work. Even if they are making a fat profit they may still charge less than what it would cost you to provide it yourself.

Re:Why cloud? (1)

dontbgay (682790) | about a year and a half ago | (#42115605)

I'm calling shenanigans on this one. Here in the US, KBR and Halliburton along with other defense contractors put out the lowest budget product with the largest profit margin possible... that does not make for responsible uses of our tax dollars. Hold your government accountable for its ineptitude and change the culture sounds like a pipe dream, but why go for the easy targets that give us short term roi and long term continued failings? I don't want my government perverted by a profit motive. Its been happening for the past few decades in earnest and it's gotten us nowhere positive.

Re:Why cloud? (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42115877)

What do you suggest? Somehow changing governments who have historically been low performing sink-employers and by design can't go bust and by design are not really accountable to their customers?

What way can that be fixed except by taking as much as possible away from them and giving it to companies which can either perform or be replaced?

Re:Why cloud? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year and a half ago | (#42119371)

Governments have a kind of corrosive ineptitude that creeps into everything they do. I think it's something to do with the fact that no matter how bad they screw up they can't go bust and they can't fire permanent staff.

It's a problem with right-wing government, where the idea is to get everything making a profit, keep as many of your friends in highly-paid government jobs as much as possible, and keep making government bigger and bigger and keep makings taxes higher and higher.

Re:Why cloud? (2)

Custard Horse (1527495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42119241)

The UK Gov actually has the Government Gateway which is a secure system that was meant to be all encompassing.

Originally there was a large budget approved to set up a skeleton network which would eventually be extended to replace the many legacy systems in the NHS and all government departments. I seem to recall that there was a mirrored multi-petabyte storage array for records to begin with.

However, part way through the implementation someone pulled the plug and left a partly implemented system which deals with income tax returns and a few benefits such as disability living allowance and child benefit. None of the NHS departments are on the system.

The plug appears to have been pulled as whilst the budget was approved, a government minister was charged with the task of saving money and this was done by canning the project part way through is the easiest way.

e.g. get a budget for £50 million > spend £5 million > can the project > save £45 million > result! The government gateway was what was left of the project which is some distance from the original goal.

Lies, damned lies and statistics... [sigh]

Re:Why cloud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42125791)

Um, because they're incompetent?

US Law Everywhere (5, Insightful)

ebonum (830686) | about a year and a half ago | (#42113921)

If a company has any operations in the US, they are expected to follow US law worldwide. Even if the parent is in Germany and the offense occurred by a subsidiary in the Philippines, the US government has no qualms about going after their US arm. If this wasn't bad enough, it isn't always the Federal government. If the NY State attorney general thinks a foreign company has some dealings with Iran, he will not hesitate to pursue legal action.

If I was the UK government, how would I feel about the possibility of some low level government guy in Seattle saying, I can get to everything in the UK cloud without a warrant?

Obama administration is "arguing that you lose your property rights by storing something on a cloud computing service"
Source: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/10/governments-attack-cloud-computing [eff.org]

If you use the cloud, only do it for data you are willing to openly publish.

Re:US Law Everywhere (3)

matunos (1587263) | about a year and a half ago | (#42113995)

Or, you know, encrypt it.

Re:US Law Everywhere (1)

ebonum (830686) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114049)

Google can read your gmail. A lot of cloud services involve using someone's application.

Yes, if you view he cloud as nothing more than a remote hard drive you can TrueCrypt it. Make sure TrueCrypt is running locally. If it is running on the cloud machine, the machine's admin can log your keystrokes.

Anyone who has physical access to the machine can get root.

Re:US Law Everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114067)

yeah there's a lot of problems theses days with people using the cloud to encrypt all their music and slowing everything down..

Google jizz data everywhere (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114241)

I stopped using Google search (switch to Duck Duck Go), because I'd search for one thing (Divorce lawyer) and they'd start showing adverts for divorce lawyers to me soon to be ex wife and every other computer on my NAT. At some point, you'll draw the line and say enough, and you'll divorce them too.

I know its not the same thing with their online office apps, but once they started down the Facebook route, you only need to look at FB and see where Google will end up.

If UK.gov has data on UK citizens, then it cannot hand that data out to a cloud service, it's not just the fact the US helps itself to that data and thus has all sorts . There's plenty of local office tools, you don't need to be stuck with Microsoft, you can do a perfectly workable local solution at a fraction of the cost without going cloud.

Also as long as USA is building up data on its own citizens, doesn't enforce it's privacy for its own citizens, why on earth would you give them a single byte of data willingly?

Re:Google jizz data everywhere (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#42115143)

I'd search for one thing (Divorce lawyer) and they'd start showing adverts for divorce lawyers to me soon to be ex wife and every other computer on my NAT

So use an actual Google account, and separate logins on your PC. I thought even fairly computer illiterate families preferred having separate logon accounts, so why don't you guys? You should also be using adblock everywhere you can too. And I'd think that if you're thinking of divorce, your wife would already have a pretty good idea anyway, unless it's because you're cheating..

Re:Google jizz data everywhere (1)

Hunter Shoptaw (2655515) | about a year and a half ago | (#42116499)

+1 I've never had a problem with Google, especially the one mentioned. I think to many see danger in shadows that aren't there to distract them from the real issues at hand.

Re:Google jizz data everywhere (1)

johanw (1001493) | about a year and a half ago | (#42115537)

and they'd start showing adverts for divorce lawyers to me soon to be ex wife

Use decent adblock software.

Re:US Law Everywhere (2)

Sabriel (134364) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114445)

You know, "encrypt it" might work for an individual, but no amount of encryption can make storing your entire nation's digital infrastructure in a foreign country's server farms a reasonable idea.

Hey China, keep your mil stuff in the USA! (3, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114805)

I am sure national governments will be really happy about storing their private/ secret data in another country's territory "because it's encrypted so it will be safe".

Would the US government network be happy about a Chinese commercial provider supplying their network provision on Chinese territory? without auditing the network? From the article: "Amazon had concerns over the stipulation that the UK government could audit US data centres" - Amazon were asking the UK government to store their data on another country's territory, and not even be given permission to check how the centres were secured? Not surprised the UK government weren't too keen on this deal.

Re:Hey China, keep your mil stuff in the USA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42129523)

I am sure national governments will be really happy about storing their private/ secret data in another country's territory "because it's encrypted so it will be safe".

Would the US government network be happy about a Chinese commercial provider supplying their network provision on Chinese territory? without auditing the network? From the article: "Amazon had concerns over the stipulation that the UK government could audit US data centres" - Amazon were asking the UK government to store their data on another country's territory, and not even be given permission to check how the centres were secured? Not surprised the UK government weren't too keen on this deal.

I bet the MI6 types fell out of their chairs laughing at the thought of trusting the Yanks with UK govt. data.

Re:US Law Everywhere (2)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114993)

Would that mean if Liz (you know, the queen) ever visited the US, the border people would say "Right, hand over the encryption keys"?

Re:US Law Everywhere (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42116393)

By US law, you have to hand over encryption keys on demand. US judges already show they have no respect for borders. No government should trust another country for anything more than simple trade.

Re:US Law Everywhere (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42117723)

And the UK doesn't? RIPA gives people life sentences for not handing over encryption keys on request.

Just look at cases where an English judge asks a defendant 20-30 times for a key, and each refusal is three more years in the slammer.

At least in the US, there are court cases that consider that it is part of the Fifth Amendment about not divulging passwords.

Re:US Law Everywhere (1)

PeterBrett (780946) | about a year and a half ago | (#42127627)

Last time I checked, a maximum of a two-year custodial sentence is not a life sentence.

Just look at cases where an English judge asks a defendant 20-30 times for a key, and each refusal is three more years in the slammer.

Yeah, that didn't happen.

But your unnecessary hyperbole aside, I entirely agree that RIPA is utter rubbish, and I wish it would go die in a fire.

Re:US Law Everywhere (2)

deniable (76198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114677)

US hosted or owned become subject to the Patriot act and friends as well. We're not allowed to use offshore hosting and we also exclude anything owned or run by US companies even if it's a local datacentre.

Re:US Law Everywhere (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42115137)

And let's face it - why should British taxpayers money go to Google or Amazon when they do all they can not to pay tax in the UK...

Re:US Law Everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42115719)

And they wonder why i feel embarrassed to be an American... It's sad that the world hates americans when we actually have very little say in what our government does, yet it's our government that everybody hates...

Privacy/security/responsibility (2)

justsomecomputerguy (545196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42113963)

I'll bet is was because both of them had unacceptable policies regarding privacy, security/integrity and/or what they are responsible to do if a breach does occur. I'll also bet that those same policies were/are acceptable to various branches of American government, because our standards for those issues here in The United States lag waaaaay behind European standards.

Re:Privacy/security/responsibility (1)

matunos (1587263) | about a year and a half ago | (#42113985)

Yeah because I'm sure the companies would never negotiate separate data confidentiality policies when setting up services segmented specifically for a government.

Re:Privacy/security/responsibility (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114977)

Companies can't agree to ignore court judgements in their country.

The Patriot Act is the problem (1)

Dr La (1342733) | about a year and a half ago | (#42115015)

The problem is simply that Amazon and Google servers in the US fall under the US Patriot Act. This means that the US Government ALWAYS has access to the hosted files, if it wants. It is not possible for a company and foreign government to negotiate on this: Amazon and Google are bound by US law.

Of course, as a government you don't want another other government to have complete access to anything you put in the cloud. And in some countries (e.g. the Netherlands where I live) it is explicitly forbidden to host privacy sensitive information (e.g. medic records) on systems that have servers outside of the country in question for exactly this reason.

Re:Privacy/security/responsibility (1)

deniable (76198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114691)

The US government DCs are hosted in the US and subject only to US law. See how far they'd get running a US government DC in Europe or Singapore.

Hey, U-K, get off of my cloud! (2)

theodp (442580) | about a year and a half ago | (#42113971)

THE ROLLING STONES GET OFF MY CLOUD [youtube.com]
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Don't hang around, baby two's a crowd
On my cloud

Imagine that... (1)

matunos (1587263) | about a year and a half ago | (#42113981)

Amazon doesn't have a dedicated cloud service for the government in the UK which has rejected Amazon's application to provide cloud services for the government.

Will wonders never cease?!

And um, regarding comments on off-shoring data/services, Amazon certainly does have cloud services that run on hosts in the UK... Dublin mostly. (There may be open questions about the parent company being US-based, but those wouldn't have to do with the geographic location of the services and data, which surely would be hosted from the Dublin data centers.)

Re:Imagine that... (5, Informative)

isaac (2852) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114061)

And um, regarding comments on off-shoring data/services, Amazon certainly does have cloud services that run on hosts in the UK... Dublin mostly. (There may be open questions about the parent company being US-based, but those wouldn't have to do with the geographic location of the services and data, which surely would be hosted from the Dublin data centers.)

I feel compelled to point out that Dublin, Republic of Ireland (where Amazon does indeed have datacenters) is most definitely not in the UK.

Re:Imagine that... (1)

matunos (1587263) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114351)

Oops, typing got ahead of brain. Right you are on that point.

Re:Imagine that... (1)

Zedrick (764028) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114561)

At least you didn't say it in a pub in Dublin... that wouldn't have ended well :-)

Re:Imagine that... (1)

zevans (101778) | about a year and a half ago | (#42117085)

A pub in Dublin does not strike me as a good way to SAVE money...

Re:Imagine that... (1)

martin (1336) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114091)

Since when was Dublin in the UK??? Not since Irish independance in the early 1920s.

Eire is a soverign state and given rhe history I can see why CESG wont entertain this level of offshoring

Re:Imagine that... (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114231)

So when did the UK invade and seize Ireland?

Re:Imagine that... (3, Informative)

deniable (76198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114697)

16th century give or take.

Re:Imagine that... (1)

dkf (304284) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114723)

Amazon certainly does have cloud services that run on hosts in the UK...

That's almost as misleading as saying that Havana is in the USA.

Re:Imagine that... (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114985)

Dublin hasn't been part of the UK since 1922.

Re:Imagine that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42115723)

Except that Dublin is not in the UK. It is in the republic of Eire ( ireland to the non gaelic peakers)

Current rules in data sovereignty (1)

martin (1336) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114105)

All down to current CESG guidance on data soveriegnty. Until the new data classifications are fully launched (replacing the IL based system) this wont change, and event then its down to the accreditor to assess the risk so still doubtfull we'll be seeing any major offshoring

Re:Current rules in data sovereignty (1)

zevans (101778) | about a year and a half ago | (#42117103)

Unless the UK government say "yeah but money," as has already happened with DVLA.

Implications of tax avoidance by US companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114151)

US cloud players will avoid providing geographically dedicated data centres, in jurisdiction without tax loopholes. Blurring the source of cloud services is essential to perpetuate the claim that the services aren't rendered locally and thus not substantially connected for tax purposes. If they were clearly rendered locally, they would be subject to taxes such as VAT and GST and they couldn't simply say you are purchasing services from a subsidiary in a tax haven, greatly increasing their profits.

This is how Google gets away paying $74000 in tax on a reported $1Billion revenue in Australia and why they won't provide the necessary dedicated data centres in places like Britain.

Re:Implications of tax avoidance by US companies (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114293)

It is a serious problem all around the world, I don't blame the likes of Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft etc taking advantage of it as after all it is legal, but damn the countries affected need to wake up and change their tax laws to stop this crap happening. They don't even have to give them harsh treatment, just bring them into line with what the respective company tax rates are for each company, the best start is to block local government contracts if they are funnelling the proceeds through international tax havens. Basically similar to what the UK have done with the cloud providers but more widespread.

Re:Implications of tax avoidance by US companies (1)

xelah (176252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42115309)

Suppose you have a substantially fixed cost factory in country A, a bunch of managers being paid in country B, salesmen in countries A, B and C, a call centre helpline in country D and customers in all of those and many more. How much profit are you making in each? Oh, and all of those countries have different rules on what's tax deductible and over what period, too. You can set up a different subsidiary in each country and have them charge each other, but even if you're trying to get the 'right' answer there's an enormous amount of arbitrariness.

Even if tax rates were the same everywhere it wouldn't be easy - because different bits have to be paid to different governments, and governments naturally want to fight for their slice.

Personally, I think it makes little sense to try to divide company profits in to little boxes with countries written on them. All of those profits that are not reinvested become someone's income. Tax them then. In the UK or US that would probably mean abolishing both the special extra taxes for income from employment and the corporate taxes, and adding a compensating amount to income tax. It'd avoid a lot of collection cost, and the cost of all the ridiculous games companies play.

Re:Implications of tax avoidance by US companies (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about a year and a half ago | (#42127003)

Stop making excuses for them. No it isn't easy to get right, but when google can pay less than 100k tax on in excess of a billion dollars of profit their is something critically wrong. You can demand that they show fair costs of production and tax on the goods being sold in the country, rather than the current bullshit where they will charge a subsiderary $1000 on a $10 item to avoid tax in that country, There are a many many simple changes to tax systems that can be made that would go a long way to rectifying the situation, no it will never be perfect, but it can be a thousand times better.

Re:Implications of tax avoidance by US companies (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114845)

Yes, and something that has been very much in the news in Britain as well - both those companies have come under substantial scrutiny.

With an internet company, it's even harder to establish where they're incorporated.

Patriot act? (3, Informative)

plankrwf (929870) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114393)

Actually read the article (I know, against /. policy ;-0), read most of the comments, and nowhere read anything about it possible being related to the patriot act. I happen to know that the patriot act is (one of) the reason(s) the Dutch government will not enter into an agreement with American hosting providers, surely the British have similar reservations?
(And yes, the article is scarce on facts, so cannot check whether all American companies are excluded, but heck: so could none of the other people posting a reply).

So:
MY guess is that the patriot act played a mayor role in letting this business opportunity slip trough the fingers of american companies...

Re:Patriot act? (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114771)

Quite. I raised exactly that point in February [cabinetoffice.gov.uk] . I hope that my government does not give my data to the US government.

Re:Patriot act? (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42115325)

Quite. I raised exactly that point in February [cabinetoffice.gov.uk] . I hope that my government does not give my data to the US government.

If you live in Europe and have a bank account they already have.

Re:Patriot act? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114829)

My company sells cloud services, we indeed get asked about the Patriot Act everyday by non-US customers. We offer guarantees that data will not be stored not transit through the US. Some countries require that data do not leave their borders, whether this requirement can be satisfied depends on commercial considerations i.e. cost of dedicated PoP vs. Business oppty.

Re:Patriot act? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114855)

problem is that patriot act actually covers eg an ibm dataserver in brussels, no need fir the data to be on American soil...

Re:Patriot act? (1)

rvw (755107) | about a year and a half ago | (#42115247)

problem is that patriot act actually covers eg an ibm dataserver in brussels, no need fir the data to be on American soil...

If hosted by IBM, not made by IBM.

US companies can't be trusted (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42114549)

I'm sure these companies would love to give them what they want but thanks to US laws they can't be trusted. Europeans should give preference to hosts with no ties to the US if they have sensitive information.

The Governments in particular should avoid big large corporations because of that and because they're avoiding tax.

Just say NO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42114601)

"Cloud Computing"? JUST SAY NO!

I don't know if you have read about so called "cloud computing". Basically instead of using programs installed on your computer, and storing your data on your hard drive/private network, "cloud computing" is using programs that are on someone else's server (via a web browser) and storing your data on someone else's server. I am sure that you can see the basic lack of security and other problems with this. Once the data leaves your computer/private network, you lose any control over who can access your data, thus you can have no expectation of that data remaining private or secure in any way.

There are even "netbooks" (small, low powered laptops) that basically use the web browser as the User Interface for the Operating System, so that you totally depend on the "cloud" for all programs and storage. You can add optional media for local storage. Sorry, but these expensive and extremely limited laptops are not for me. They make little sense for the average home (or corporate) user. These netbooks are as expensive as more traditional laptops but are much more limited. My used (but in excellent condition) IBM laptops are less expensive and much better built.

Corporations and their minions are pushing this "cloud computing" as the greatest thing since sliced bread, hoping to create a huge cash cow for themselves. Sorry, but I will still do things on my own computer and store my data locally (with off site backups at a trusted location). That way I always have access (What about the "cloud" servers going down or getting hacked?) and I control all access to my data. Even if your data is encrypted, if the encryption is not done totally on the local computer, the encryption key is stored in the cloud, thus accessible to anyone. Also, even if the "cloud" service provider is reliable, what about rogue or pissed off employees? There have been incidents where data has been lost (hardware failures etc...), and where data has been stolen by hackers.

Many people today seem to care less about privacy and security than they should. How else do you explain the existence of data mining sites like facebook, myspace, twitter, etc...? These so called "social networking" sites are nothing but a way for corporations to collect personal data to use for targeted advertising. If you don't believe that, read their user agreements. It is (not always clearly) stated that these sites own anything that users post there, and can do whatever they want with this data. In other words, to these sites you are not the customer. Corporations that want your information are their customers, you are the product being sold! Hackers often target these sites, stealing information to use for their own nefarious purposes.

"Cloud computing" is just a bad idea all around. Any advantages (if there are any) are more than offset by the disadvantages, and the impossibility of having any security or privacy. JUST SAY NO!

mod? dowN (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42115173)

perspe3tive, the

I know how this works.. (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42115321)

It's a totally fair and free process, however all companies except for three will be eliminated from the process due to various concerns, sadly this will include all major industry players. Two the the last three will be clearly unable to provide this service and will be eliminated in the last round.

They already know who they are giving this deal too and the decision has nothing to do with common sense or sound financial management. They will award this contract to a low quality provider with a history of dealing with UK government bureaucracy who by total coincidence has a high hospitality budget. Most likely EDS.

Amazon European EC2 is in Ireland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42115831)

As are the bulk of Googles European operations infrastructure.
I'm guessing they don't want the Irish to have access to their governments data

The problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42116265)

The problem with putting it in a cloud, you have no control over your data. You can encrypt it. But there's no way to tell whether that data had been sent somewhere else. So i find it funny that UK gov't reject Google & Amazon because they don't have data centre in Britain? Once it's replicated, your data probably ended up somewhere in Asia or Latin America.

I used to log into salesforce cloud, and i noticed (using flagfox plugin) that i was routed sometimes to Singapore, Indonesia, Phillipine, Hongkong, Japan. That's how the cloud supposed to be. So if you want to put governmental data into the clouds, know what you're doing. If you stupid enough to store classified data into it, then your stupidity would be rewarded, once they break your encryption.

I agree with the rejection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42116335)

Government should always use a local (in country) solution rather than rely on a foreign solution, no matter how good a foreign solution might be. Things as important as government data, public websites, etc., need to be controlled in-country. The fewer people and networks needed to operate, the better.

I don't trust Amazon or Google with my own data. I really don't think I want them in bed with government. Government needs to use servers they control and operate, featuring DAC, MAC, and RBAC. Servers need to be dedicated to ONE task only. Only a few people need to be involved, and never a third, civilian party, which could compromise the data.

Important UK perspective... (1)

zevans (101778) | about a year and a half ago | (#42116461)

Seeing several comments here that seem to be treating this as an either/or discussion. Thought I'd post for the benefit of US & global readers: the UK already outsources plenty to service providers, and many of those service providers either run their own data centres or in turn consume managed capacity in one form or another from their own suppliers in turn.

For instance:
DVLA (vehicle / driver licensing) - Capita
Many civil service departments, including Highways Agency and significant chunks of what is in effect the civil service WAN - ATOS
TfL (Transport for London - authority and infrastructure for London and surrounding areas) - IBM

And yes - some of this data, and the analysts, are offshore already.

One does wonder quite why the DVLA needed 39 locations onshore in the first place however...

The stupid thing is, if they shut many of the expensive London offices and moved these services to the Northeast of England, they'd achieve a good half of the saving anyway and WIN political points. I can't understand why this isn't happening.

Sounds about right (1)

dave562 (969951) | about a year and a half ago | (#42118787)

The organization that I work for is building up our data center presence in the UK specifically to target that market, and to some extend, the whole of the EU. They do not want their data kept in the States. I do not blame them. With a global network like the Internet, it still strikes me as odd that it matters where the servers are physically located and why that matters for law. I mean, I get it... physical presence, search and seizure and all of that. But when you are dealing with encrypted SAN arrays and "secure" communications, the only difference between the US and the UK (or anywhere else) is latency on the connection to get there. It's not like the NSA is not snooping packets going into the UK the same way they are snooping packets in the US. Or if not the NSA, then British intelligence... or the Israeli's, Chinese, Russians... The entire network is compromised anyway.

That's what happens if you don't pay your taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42124147)

Google and Amazon could still of listed for IL0 public services on their clouds without having UK physical locations. e.g. Much of the Open Data content (police.uk/data) is published from S3.

Either they are not happy with terms, their services are procured via other channels, or they tripped up for their PR around paying a far amount of tax based on UK revenues.

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