[LINK] Education ICT Clouds

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Thu Mar 24 08:43:46 AEDT 2011

Roger Clarke wrote:
> Do the providers of cloud services to universities gain access to the 
> data in the documents, and to the messages that flow to and from 
> staff-members and students? ...

If a university is using an external cloud service, then that service 
provider will have access to all the staff and student data
stored in the system. It would be possible to encrypt some individual
documents, but that would then stop the server software from using the
data in those documents.

> Do the social networking arms of the conglomerate service-providers 
> get to add the data arising from these documents and communications 
> into the pool of data from which 'friends' are inferred? ...

The privacy of the data is a matter for negotiation between the system 
suppler and the university. Generally the more privacy you want, the 
more you have to pay for the service.

> The following study showed that many outsourced service providers 
> grant themselves very substantial, and in some cases essentially 
> unfettered, access to the personal data ...

Even if the university and the supplier agree to respect the privacy of
the students and staff, the supplier will be subject to the laws of each 
country they store data in. Governments generally assert a right to read 
the data in computer systems on their territory for security and 
intelligence purposes, with some requiring more process than others. If 
the service is just a "cloud" with no specified location, then most 
likely some government, somewhere, is reading all the data.

The most useful document I have found on this is:

"Advice on managing the recordkeeping risks associated with cloud
computing", Cassie Findlay, Australasian Digital Recordkeeping
Initiative, The Council of Australasian Archives and Records
Authorities, 29 July 2010:

Tom Worthington FACS CP HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Computer Science, The
Australian National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/
Visiting Scientist, CSIRO ICT Centre: http://bit.ly/csiro_ict_canberra

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