Canada ranks ninth among 24 nations whose laws and regulations encourage cloud computing, according to an association of some of the biggest names in information technology.
And while ninth doesn’t make it a leader, the country has moved up three places since the BSA-The Software Alliance compiled its first scorecard a year ago.
“I don’t think (Canada’s) cybercrime laws are fully aligned with the Budapest Convention, and they’re not as far reaching as some countries,” said Chris Hopfensperger, technology policy counsel for the alliance.
“We would like to see a little more comprehensive coverage in those areas.”
Alliance members include Oracle Corp., Microsoft Corp., Adobe, IBM Corp., Autodesk and Intel Corp. It promotes the software industry, lobbying for protection of intellectual property including anti-piracy laws, data security and opening markets to barrier-free trade.
Just before the alliance’s report was published the Harper government introduced Bill C-56 to amend the Copyright Act.
Canada is a signatory to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, which came into force in 2004. However, the Web site of the Council of Europe’s treaty office indicates Canada hasn’t ratified the document yet.The alliance argues that organizations and individuals won’t fully accept cloud computing until they are confident private information stored in the cloud won’t be used or disclosed by a service provider “unexpected ways.”
In particular the alliance says government laws and regulations should be predictable, transparent and should impose restrictions such as registration requirements for data controllers and cross-border data transfers.
Some European Union countries have these requirements, the report noted. It also credited Canada among the countries that score well in having privacy rules that don’t include “onerous registration requirements.”
That may slow acceptance of certain cloud providers or applications. However, according to IDC Canada, about 40 per cent of Canadian organizations use some sort of cloud-based application, and that is expected to jump to 70 per cent by the end of this year.
The scorecard ratings are based on a formula created by the alliance.
The country that made the biggest move on the scorecard is Singapore, which moved to fifth from 10th after adopting a new privacy law which Hopfensperger said protects personal data while enabling cloud computing.
Japan still tops the scorecard with what the alliance calls “a comprehensive suite of laws supporting digital commerce.” Australia remains in second place, while the U.S. edged into third this year, pushing Germany into fourth place.
Canada totaled 75.8 points compared to Japan’s 84.1 in the alliance’s ratings.
It was broken down this way: Canada has an ICT readiness score of 19.5 compared to Japan’s 21.7; a score of 9.6 in promoting free trade compared to Japan’s 9.2; a score of 10 for supporting industry-led standards and international harmonization of rules compared to Japan’s 8.8; A score of 15.6 on intellectual property rights compared to Japan’s 17.2; 6.2 on cybercrime law compared to Japan’s 10; a 6.8 on security law compared to Japan’s 8.4; and an 8.1 on data privacy laws compared to Japan’s 8.8.
The alliance says policymakers should pass laws that ensure data privacy, promote risk management, battle cybercrime, protect intellectual property, work with industry to develop standards that promote international data flows, and eliminate barriers such as a preference for national service providers.