With each technological advance, with each step toward digital ubiquity in the lives of businesses and consumers, governments around the world struggle to balance user protection and industry innovation.
Whether or not you agree this results in too much or too little regulation, there's no doubt these government mandates can generate confusion -- and the opportunity for service providers to provide consultative responses to customers' many questions about cloud, privacy, NFV and more. There's also little doubt these regulations are in a constant state of flux, as nations' governments grapple with New IP questions at different speeds and times.
Here is a recap of some recent regulations and how they could impact service providers:
Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, on Thursday released the Broadband Consumer Privacy proposal, which the FCC says gives the public more control over their data. The proposal, which specifically targets ISPs and does not include search engines, online retailers or other Internet-based businesses which collect consumer data, follows the FCC's 2015 ruling that high-speed Internet carriers should be monitored and regulated like utilities.
If approved, Wheeler's proposed regulations will place broadband providers such as
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) under more stringent regulations than Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) or Facebook . Opponents, such as the Broadband Consumer Privacy Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), immediately denounced the proposal.
"From our perspective, this is an issue better suited to the FTC," Doug Brake, ITIF telecommunications policy analyst, tells The New IP. "We advocate the FCC should leave this to the FTC. That's the big hope; that we can leave this in a more flexible framework, the FTC framework. It works really darn well. It leaves companies with the flexibility to experiment with new business models but the FCC can penalize them."
Uncle Sam Enlists in Open Source Movement
CIO Tony Scott invites public comment on a federal open source plan. (Source: J. Albert Bowden II/Flickr)
In other government news, the White House is expanding its use of open source software. In a draft policy, Federal CIO Tony Scott asks for public comment on the Office of Management and Budget's initiatives for the Second Open Government Action Plan. "This policy will require new software developed specifically for or by the Federal Government to be made available for sharing and re-use across Federal agencies. It also includes a pilot program that will result in a portion of that new federally-funded custom code being released to the public," Scott writes in a blog on the White House website.
"Through this policy and pilot program, we can save taxpayer dollars by avoiding duplicative custom software purchases and promote innovation and collaboration across Federal agencies. We will also enable the brightest minds inside and outside of government to review and improve our code, and work together to ensure that the code is secure, reliable, and effective in furthering our national objectives," writes Scott.
Turning our attention to another part of the world, Italy's government gave regulatory approval to Enel, allowing the utility company to enter the broadband market. Under the moniker Enel Open Fiber, Enel SpA 's new venture will install almost 300 million smart meters in the next four years. Enel Open Fiber, which expects to launch in May, plans to partner with "all telecom operators," according to La Republica. Initial partners, however, are expected to include
Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA , Metroweb SpA and Vodafone Italia, published reports say.
Three months after the European Parliament passed General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), European IT professionals are grappling with its impact on their cloud adoption plans. (See: EC Proposes Reform of Data Privacy Laws.)
Today, almost 40% of them must locate their data within a specific European nation, according to "Diving into Cloud Services," a recently released study by Spiceworks. Since the demise of Safe Harbor and the recent proposal of its replacement -- the EU-US Privacy Shield -- some cloud implementations' futures have grown foggy. Post-Safe Harbor's cessation, more than one fourth of European respondents are less likely to implement cloud and 43% are more apt to question their data's location before inking a contract, Spiceworks finds.
There's room for a consultative approach from service providers: As GDPR looms, a paltry 11% have started investing in necessary changes, but 28% haven't thought about it and approximately one third don't know how GDPR will affect their business or cloud usage, the study finds.
— Alison Diana, editor, The New IP. Follow her on Twitter @alisoncdiana or @The_New_IP.