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Norwegian town faces data cloud ban

Norwegian town faces data cloud ban
Photo: Universitetssykehuset Nord-Norge

Norway’s information technology overseer, the Datatilsynet, is considering a “Danish style” ban on cloud computing for government agencies, saying subscriptions to remote data storage, software and retrieval could put citizens' private data at risk.

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The government agency singled out Google Apps, just as competition is heating up in Norway over which of some three dozen software companies — some of the remote-services type  —will win a billion-kroner bid for computing services at the national social services agency.

The Norwegians are considering a ban in one town, Narvik, just as Denmark forbade the municipality of Odense the right to store their social services data remotely and use Google Apps. Norway’s Datatilsynet is also worried the “standard contracts” available from vendors don’t allow a government to change packages as privacy laws change.

“On the one side, cloud computing has become a big deal. It’s cost-effective and important. We must also look at the other side, and we can’t just close our eyes to the intense developments in this area,” said Datatilsynet director Bjørn Erik Thon to digital magazine Digi.

The Norwegian township of Narvik is seen as a test case for Norway’s public-sector use of cloud computing. The town was further along in its own appraisal of the issues involved and became “an ideal place to start”.

One of the data authority’s problems with cloud computing for private-sector and private companies handling sensitive information is not knowing or being told where the information is stored.

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