Brussels, 21 June 2013
Commission calling for experts to identify safe and fair contract terms to boost cloud computing
The European Commission has launched today a call for applications for experts to work on identifying safe and fair contract terms for cloud computing services. The experts will help identifying options for addressing concerns of consumers and companies, who often seem reluctant to use cloud computing services because contracts are either unclear or unbalanced in favour of service providers. The move is part of the Commission’s push to enhance trust in cloud computing services and unlock their potential for boosting economic productivity in Europe and is one of the key actions under the Commission's Cloud Computing Communication, which was adopted last year (IP/12/1025, MEMO/12/713).
“Contract Law is an important part of our cloud computing strategy. Making full use of the cloud could deliver 2.5 million extra jobs in Europe, and add around 1% a year to EU GDP by 2020,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner. “Uncertainty around cloud computing contracts may hinder cross-border trade. As this is a very complex area, we are asking experts for advice before we decide on the next steps.”
Today's call for experts will help the Commission to identify best practices and terms and conditions for cloud computing contracts. A future expert group in this area could also work on personal data protection aspects relevant to cloud computing contracts.
The experts will represent cloud services providers, consumers and small firms, academia and legal professionals. Their work will contribute to the Commission’s Cloud Computing Strategy, aiming at facilitating the up-take and development of cloud computing services in the EU – a sector that has significant economic potential.
On 27 September 2012, the European Commission adopted a strategy for "Unleashing the potential of cloud computing in Europe" (IP/12/1025, MEMO/12/713). The strategy is designed to increase the use of cloud computing across the economy.
'Cloud computing' refers to the storage of data (such as text files, pictures and video) and software on remote computers, which users access over the internet on the device of their choice. This is faster, cheaper, more flexible and potentially more secure than on-site IT solutions. Many popular services such as Facebook, Spotify and web-based e-mail use cloud computing technologies but the real economic benefits come through widespread use of cloud solutions by businesses and the public sector.
The Commission's strategy comprises three key actions, one of which aims to identify safe and fair contract terms and conditions for cloud computing contracts. Model contract terms can help to facilitate contractual arrangements between cloud computing service providers and consumers and small firms. They can also facilitate the application of the EU Data Protection Directive (95/46/CE) to the extent that it is relevant to cloud computing contracts.
For more information
European Commission – Call for applications
European Commission – Contract law:
European Commission – Cloud computing:
Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship:
Follow the Vice-President on Twitter: @VivianeRedingEU
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