Using Microsoft's cloud is unpatriotic

BAE Systems decided not to use Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud offering fearing that it was effectively giving British technology ideas to the Yanks.

While we are surprised that there is much that the Americans could pinch from Blighty these days, the news should send a chill up the spine of those who think that Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud-based service is a pretty neat idea.

According to ZDnet, Charles Newhouse, BAE’s head of strategy and design told the Business Cloud Summit 2011 that the Vole could not guarantee the company’s data would never leave Europe. As a result it means that anyone could have it just by showing up at Microsoft with a Homeland Security backed warrant.

He blamed the U.S. Patriot Act for killing off Microsoft’s promising cloud operations as it was senseless using any yankie outfit while the US spooks could get their paws on the information.

This has been coming for some time. Microsoft UK’s managing director Gordon Frazer admitted to ZDNet that “no company”, including the software giant, could guarantee that cloud-stored data will not leave Europe under any circumstances.

To make matters worse for Vole, the European Data Protection Directive plans changes to prevent the US from exploiting the flaws in the current law. That could mean that companies will not be allowed to use cloud-based systems which are subject to US controls.

Newhouse said 85 percent of European companies he had spoken to cite international regulations being the main problem. Everyone was ‘on about’ the U.S. Patriot Act, saying that the geo-location of that data and who has access to that data is the number one killer for adopting to the public cloud.

He said that one of the problems about the cloud was also outages. A number of high profile outages that users have suffered recently demonstrated just how little control you actually have. When it all goes horribly wrong, you just sit there and hope it is going to get better.