Cloud Provider Commentary

Jul 25 2013   1:58PM GMT

PRISM scares off would-be cloud users outside the U.S.

Jessica Scarpati Jessica Scarpati Profile: Jessica Scarpati

Regardless of whether you want to call his actions patriotic or traitorous, former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden’s decision to leak classified documents detailing the U.S. government’s secret domestic surveillance program, PRISM, seems to have had one tangible chilling effect: Most cloud consumers who live outside of the United States say the revelations have made their companies less likely to use a U.S.-based cloud provider, according to a new survey by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA).

Here are the key stats the CSA found:

  • Of the 207 respondents who lived outside the U.S., 56% said the Snowden incident has made their company less likely to use U.S.-based cloud providers, and 10% actually canceled a pending project with a U.S. cloud provider in response to the news. Interestingly, 3% said they were more likely to use U.S.-based cloud providers as a result of the incident.
  • Two thirds of the 220 U.S.-based respondents said PRISM would not make it harder for their companies to do business outside of the States.
  • Looking at the larger group of respondents that included U.S.-based and non-U.S. respondents, the CSA’s survey also reveals what cloud consumers think about the current state of transparency and surveillance in public cloud services.
    • Asked about their countries’ methods of obtaining user information for criminal and terrorism-related investigations, 47% of respondents said the processes today are poor because there is no transparency, and they have no idea how often the government accesses their information. About a third (32%) said the processes today are reasonable — they have some understanding of what goes on but not how often.
    • Most respondents thought the U.S. Patriot Act should either be repealed entirely (41%) or modified to add more oversight and transparency (45%). A smaller group (13%) thought the law should be left alone and that more education about the Patriot Act (and its international counterparts) will ease any anxieties.

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