Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Book review: Cloud Computing Law, edited by Christopher Millard

If you need to consult a great book on the legal implications of cloud computing, then look no further. This is the one for you. 

Professor Christopher Millard and his colleagues at the Cloud Legal Project at the Centre for Commercial Legal Studies at Queen Mary, University of London, – and colloquially known as “the Queen Mary Mafia” - have done it again. 

They've given us, in a readily accessible manner, the very latest thinking on an issue that all information governance professionals need to be very familiar with.

During a reception to celebrate its launch in Brussels last week, Ken Ducatel, Head of Unit for Software, Services and Cloud at the European Commission remarked that he was so impressed with the book that he had already bought 2 copies.

There is a substantial body of law and regulation which already applies to the cloud computing sector, and it is evolving rapidly. Unfortunately, data protection compliance is a particularly difficult issue, mainly because the conceptual basis on which the current law is based (where there are known locations and clear divisions of responsibility between stakeholders, who are either data controllers or data processors) predates the reality of cloud computing.

So when is cloud computing appropriate? What scope is there to negotiate individual contracts with cloud providers? What steps are European regulators likely to take to enforce current laws? What about the relevant law enforcement, competition and consumer protection implications of cloud computing? And how much easier is the proposed new General Data Protection Regulation likely to make life for cloud users?

The book pulls no punches. Take, for example, its views on the burning topic of the day: "Notwithstanding the frequent invocation by EU officials of ‘the cloud’ as a catalyst and justification for new data protection laws, the proposed Regulation does not look particularly ‘cloud friendly’, nor indeed ‘business friendly’, ‘citizen friendly’ or ‘future proof’." And the book then explains why this is so.

Further editions are bound to follow in the next few years – but a substantial body of the text is unlikely to change.  Professor Millard is responsible for a work which explores the principles of cloud computing law in a way that will remain relevant for some time.

It’s a book that the serious players will return to again and again.

Brilliant value at £75 in hardback, £34.95 as a paperback, or just £15.43 for the kindle edition.

ISBN 978-0-19-967167-0