Cloud computing and the new Australian privacy law

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By Alec Christie

Web–based email (such as Gmail and Hotmail) and social networking websites (such as Facebook) are perhaps the most ubiquitous examples of Cloud services.

However, Cloud services can be delivered through a multitude of models (including non–public models such as ‘private Clouds’ and ‘shared private Clouds’). Although the term ‘Cloud’ does not have a precise meaning, it generally refers to information technology services, for example web-based email and social networking sites, that: are delivered via the Internet (the ‘Cloud’ being an icon for the Internet); and typically have a decentralised IT infrastructure (ie the supplier’s data centres are spread across multiple, and sometimes offshore, locations).

Concerns about privacy and control over data are often cited as the major impediments to the growth of the Cloud and its wide adoption by both business and government in Australia…

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