The Cloud & the Law

Article Written by Avery Phillips

Whether uploading photos on Instagram, creating do-to lists on Evernote or saving projects on Google Drive, you're storing them on the cloud. It's a universal technology becoming more and more present in our daily lives than ever before. As the social media landscape and online world grows larger, the cloud's capacity to store information is becoming bigger every day, and companies worldwide are taking notice. Many companies are now moving their business to the cloud as technology advances and improves. But some worry the cloud's access is overreaching and could lead to dangerous consequences. 

How Is Amazon Advancing Cloud-Based Technology? 

According to Mashable, Amazon created their own cloud computing platform called Amazon Web Services in 2006. The company offers online services to websites such as cloud-based storage and database services. Amazon is pushing cloud-based technology in other innovative directions, such as the development of the Amazon Key, which customers can use to unlock their front door and track package deliveries. 

Cloud Computing: Microsoft Wins Landmark Email Privacy Case

Grazed from InfoSecurity. Author: Phil Muncaster.

A US federal appeals court has ruled in favor of Microsoft in a major privacy case related to whether the government can demand access to data stored on servers outside the country. The decision reverses a court order from 2014 requesting that the computing giant hand over emails stored in Ireland for use in a drugs case.

Judge Susan Carney of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York ruled that the Stored Communications Act only applies to data stored in the US. Microsoft had argued that if the government got its way in the case, it could open the floodgates for foreign agents to raid its offices in jurisdictions all over the world and demand access to US citizens’ data...

Oracle: Whistle-blower Complaint Highlights Opaque Cloud Bookings, Says Citi

Grazed from Barrons. Author: Tierman Ray.

Shares of Oracle are down $1.57, or 4%, at $38.69, following reports late Wednesday that the company is being sued by a former accountant who claims the company tried to falsify its revenue from cloud computing. Reuters’s Jonathan Stempel, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Sarah McBride report that a former senior Oracle accountant, Svetlana Blackburn, has filed a complain in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the former executive, claiming she was fired on October 15th of last year after she took exception with the company’s request that she “make Oracle Cloud Services’ results look better” by “adding millions of dollars of accruals for expected business ‘with no concrete or foreseeable billing to support the numbers’,” adding that executives above her added accruals on their own." Oracle released a statement following the article, attributed to Oracle communications director Deborah Hellinger, stating it will sue her:

We are confident that all our cloud accounting is proper and correct. This former employee worked at Oracle for less than a year and did not work in the accounting group. She was terminated for poor performance and we intend to sue her for malicious prosecution. In a note to clients today, Citigroup’s Walter Pritchard, who has a Neutral rating on Oracle, writes that looking at the complaint, it will keep alive some concerns about the opaque nature of Oracle’s cloud results:..

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HR and Data Collection Law

Data collection is becoming a dirty phrase in the 21st century. As soon as it’s spoken, people’s hackles go up, they tense, and it makes them uncomfortable. When it comes to a business’s HR department, whether they’ve got cabinets full of folders or have implemented software like that offered by, they are collecting data on staff, past and present. It’s unavoidable, but must be kept legal, and this is where some troubles have cropped up.

At the moment it’s not too big an issue, but as data crimes become more and more prevalent, you can bet your bottom dollar that companies and their HR departments are going to come under serious scrutiny...

Perspective: The Legal Ethics of Using the Cloud

Grazed from BNA. Author: Dennis Garcia.

All law firms continue to face a highly competitive marketplace for legal services. Embracing leading technology like cloud computing provides law firms with opportunities to differentiate their firms and better serve their clients as the cloud can help law firms save money, be more collaborative, increase productivity, and enhance the security of client information – assuming a law firm is working with a trusted cloud provider.

However, since cloud solutions can involve entrusting sensitive client data with a third-party cloud provider, concerns may arise regarding the legal ethics associated with a lawyer’s use of the cloud. Fortunately, a growing number of US state legal ethics organizations – more than twenty in total and the latest being Tennessee from last September – have rendered opinions generally clarifying that lawyers can ethically use cloud solutions (or similar technology) so long as they exercise “reasonable care” in protecting their client’s information...

Do Local Laws Belong In a Global Cloud? Q&A with Brad Smith of Microsoft (Part One)

Grazed from CFR. Author: Adam Segal.

In December 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) served Microsoft with a warrant requiring the company to hand over the e-mails of a Microsoft customer suspected of drug trafficking. Microsoft refused to turn over the e-mails on the basis that they are stored in servers at a data center in Ireland and that the warrant did not apply to overseas data.

Instead, Microsoft argued the DOJ should work with Irish authorities to obtain access to the data. In July 2014, a U.S. district court ordered Microsoft to turn over the e-mails, but Microsoft appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear arguments on September 9. In light of the significance of this case for U.S. consumers and businesses, and the impact that its outcome could have on the privacy of digital communications, Brad Smith, executive vice president and general counsel for Microsoft, took the time to answer some questions regarding the case and what its outcome might mean...

Common Legal Concerns in Cloud Transactions

Grazed from FoundersWorkbench. Author: Gerry Stegmaier.

Having recently examined scalability as a key motivation to founders’ use of cloud computing funding, we will now take a look at the various legal issues that may arise from cloud computing-based transactions. The implementation of cloud computing infrastructure implicates several issues inherent to the technology – most notably data control and regulatory compliance.

The simple act of contracting with a cloud computing service provider, for example, requires a company to delegate significant control over its data and computing infrastructure to that service provider. Because the purchasing company likely continues to have responsibility for that core business data, ensuring that the cloud relationship addresses this responsibility remains an important operational consideration...

Cloud Computing: Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal in Google-Oracle Copyright Fight

Grazed from NYT. Author: Quentin Hardy.

Many in the tech community expressed dismay at a Supreme Court decision on Monday not to hear the appeal of a copyright decision against Google. But it could be years before lower courts provide clarity around an important component of big software systems, called Application Programming Interfaces.

Google had asked the Supreme Court to revisit a 2014 federal appeals court decision that A.P.I.s in the Java programming language owned by Oracle, used by Google to create the Android smartphone operating system, are entitled to copyright protection. In that ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth District reversed a 2012 decision by Federal District Court in San Francisco, which had concluded that the software in question was not subject to copyright...

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Cloud Computing: Companies Should Heed DOJ’s New Cybersecurity Guidance to Minimize Liability

Grazed from Bloomberg.  Author: Kathryn Allen and Daniel Farris.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has released new guidance on cyber preparedness and incident response, becoming the latest federal agency to do so in recent months. Newly sworn-in Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, has indicated that the investigation and prosecution of cyber crimes will be one of the top priorities of her administration. Although the Guidance sets forth only voluntary standards, companies wishing to minimize potential liability in enforcement actions and/or civil litigation should take notice.

In releasing its “Best Practices for Victim Response and Reporting of Cyber Incidents,” the DOJ's Cybersecurity Unit called upon law enforcement and private industry to share in the effort to improve systems that protect consumer information...

Cloud Computing: Google, Facebook at Center of EU Clash Over Cyber-Attack Law

Grazed from Bloomberg.  Author: Kit Chellel.

Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. are caught in the middle of a clash between European Union lawmakers on whether the U.S. technology giants should be covered by rules forcing companies to report cyber attacks to government agencies in the 28-nation bloc.

While the European Commission wants search engines and social networks included in a revamped law on network and information security, some lawmakers favor a more streamlined approach focusing on critical infrastructure such as banks and power stations...