Google gets some California love

Published: July 22nd, 2009

The City of Los Angeles is considering a move to scrap both its current e-mail system and office applications in favour of a Google Apps.

 

Themunicipality has been in talks with search giant to move thisfunctionality to the cloud. The contract details have been pegged atabout US $7.5 million and would see L.A. staff using Google’s suite ofe-mail, word processing and spreadsheet tools.

 

Obviously, privacy groups are going bonkers at the news. In an open letter to the city’s mayor,Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, expressedconcern that the transfer of so many sensitive city documents to Googlecould threaten the privacy and security rights of L.A. residents andmight even violate state and federal laws.

 

It’sdefinitely a shocking move and privacy activists are fully justified inbeing concerned, but anyone following IT for the last several years hasseen this coming. The cloud is taking over and instead of fighting thisfact, we should be concerned about how we can deal with the new privacyand security implications it brings.

 

That also means that state and federal laws in the U.S., as well as our laws in Canada, have to be updated to address this.

 

Forinstance, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered withthis deal. How much liability will Google accept if there is a databreach? What responsibilities are left for L.A. city staff? And howwill access to information requests be handled now that Google isinvolved as a third-party?

 

Googleis actually saying that the level of security in Google Apps isactually a step up compared to what L.A. was using previously. To me,that’s not too much of a stretch and I’m sure that would be true foralmost every municipality in North America.

 

Solet’s quit crying about why moving to the cloud is bad and startconcentrating on how we can make this work in the public sector.



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