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Australia Cloud United States Politics

US Unhappy With Australians Storing Data On Australian Shores 386

Fluffeh writes "The United States' global trade representative has strongly criticized a perceived preference on the part of large Australian organizations for hosting their data on-shore in Australia, claiming it created a significant trade barrier for U.S. technology firms. A number of U.S. companies had expressed concerns that various departments in the Australian Government, namely the Department of Defence had been sending negative messages about cloud providers based outside the country, implying that 'hosting data overseas, including in the United States, by definition entails greater risk and unduly exposes consumers to their data being scrutinized by foreign governments.' Recently, Acting Victorian Privacy Commissioner Anthony Bendall highlighted some of the privacy concerns with cloud computing, particularly in its use by the local government. He said the main problems were the lack of control over stored data and privacy, in overseas cloud service providers."
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US Unhappy With Australians Storing Data On Australian Shores

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  • ERROR (Score:5, Funny)

    by Elbart ( 1233584 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:13AM (#39672929)
    The irony-meter is off the charts. Or is this a late April-fools-article?
    • Re:ERROR (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:16AM (#39672967)

      The US believes in being fair. They need the Australian government & companies to store data on US servers so it can be fairly stolen by them not just China.
      They're too lazy/incapable of getting the data themselves.

    • Re:ERROR (Score:5, Informative)

      by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:18AM (#39672991)

      No, this is typical US attitude. They think they own the world.

      If the rest of the world would tell the US to piss off, maybe things could get better. Instead, the US throws their totalitarian weight around and we get bought-off British judges trying to extradite British citizens to the US for conduct that occurred in Britain, between British citizens, that was 100% legal under British law because the US MafiAA wants to try to have the British citizen prosecuted under US fascist law. []

      • Re:ERROR (Score:5, Informative)

        by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:29AM (#39673153) Journal

        yep. it's amazing the US is complaining here, but then again our country is on a constant downward spiral into idiocy. can't say I'm surprised.

      • Re:ERROR (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Pope ( 17780 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:29AM (#39673161)

        Pretty much.

        US to World: Drop your tariffs! Embrace free trade (that our farmers are good at)!
        World to US: OK, you first.
        US to World: No! We have to think of *our* farmers first! (US goes off and complains to WTC)

        It's how the World Bank wields so much power, using economic terrorism against poor countries.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        The judge in the extradition case did actually rule that O'Dwyer had violated British laws. So please don't make statements that O'Dwyer's activities were legal under British law when in fact there is a court ruling that they weren't. []

        "However, Judge Purdy rejected the argument from Mr Oâ(TM)Dwyerâ(TM)s barrister, Ben Cooper of Doughty Street Chambers, because of the control the student h

    • Re:ERROR (Score:5, Funny)

      by Bob the Super Hamste ( 1152367 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:47AM (#39673427) Homepage
      With the lack of sleep last night my mind joined this headline with the previous one "Baboons Learn To Identify Words" as logically they seemed to go together. Sadly I don't think that relationship is too far from the truth upon further thought.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:15AM (#39672965)

    The hell you say! Saving data in your own country, so that foreign governments can't judge your citizens by their laws? That's crazy talk, I think you should have a serious conversation with my sponsor, the MPAA.

    • by kulnor ( 856639 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:21AM (#39673035)
      Read this article and you'll know why government, private companies, and individuals may not want their data in the "cloud", particularly when you know half of the Internet traffic likely transits through US soil: The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say) []
    • by gstrickler ( 920733 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:39PM (#39675275)

      Oh, I see. You must be a proponent of piracy. Just because we shut down one entity and try to extradite one of your citizens who did nothing more than allow his data to flow through routers in the US, you think we're a bunch of out of control bullies who think we can do anything we want, regardless of what any law says....Well, let me tell you...You're right. We are a bunch a bullies who thing we can do anything regardless of what the law says.

      As a US citizen, I apologize for the idiots who have taken over our government, and I appreciate your refusal to accept our insane policies. We're fighting the battle here too.

  • LOLWUT??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ( 245670 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:16AM (#39672973)

    Why would this be a problem? The farther away their "cloud" is, the worse the performance. There's enough of a performance hit just trying to cram all that data through a company's entartube without stretching that tube many thousands of miles for no good reason.

    • Re:LOLWUT??? (Score:5, Informative)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:36AM (#39673263) Journal
      There are really multiple problems...

      The US has sufficiently aggressive surveillance and limited privacy protection(and I'm just referring to the stuff that has been declared legal) that it is neither obviously desirable, nor even necessarily possible, for entities in areas with more demanding privacy law to use US-based hosting or storage service.

      Second, by the standards of places developed beyond the barter economy, Australia's overseas links are long, not terribly fast, and rather expensive(Also, Telstra...)
      • You read my post back-asswards. I'll rephrase for you.

        Why is it a problem that Australians want to keep their data in Australia?

        • Re:LOLWUT??? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:02PM (#39680113) Journal

          It isn't that Australians want to keep their data in Australia so much as they're being told that remote storage--especially in the US--is risky. And they're right. The US just doesn't want people to know this and the last thing they want is people from Australia's Ministry of Defense running around and telling people this.

    • Canada's privacy commissioner also had similar comments a while back.

      Also, if you're doing your tax return (any country) at a income tax preparer chain (ie H&R Block) read the contract carefully...

      • by shugah ( 881805 )
        I worked on a large electronic health project in BC and the BC privacy even commissioner had misgivings about having patient date stored in Alberta, but with the Patriot Act allowing the US to breach NDAs and Confidentiality agreements without even notice, storing patient data in the US was a non-starter.
  • Toys - Pram (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flurdy ( 301431 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:16AM (#39672977) Homepage

    Is that really them throwing their toys out of the pram?!

    "How dare the Aussies deny us from intercepting data and shutting down sites by Australian companies and citizens"

  • I'm an asshole too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:19AM (#39673011) Homepage

    Whoever is in charge of Australia's defence department is an asshole and I happen to agree with him. WHY is it even close to being a good idea to send data out like that and especially in the US? Sorry, but I don't trust the US government.

  • I wish I was surprised that the US has the nerve to be angry after the megaupload arrests. I don't engage in any of this but even I'm worried about having a VPS hosted on US soil.
  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:20AM (#39673027) Homepage Journal

    Australia and New Zealand are notorious for having "pipe problems" due to the long-haul links they have to use, and the US expects them to have all their critical business data travelling those overloaded pipes for the convenience of US agencies and companies??!?!!?!

    So the convenience of American firms is now justification for slagging the sound and reasonable business practices of foreign nations?

    Navel gazing US again. If they navel gaze any closer they're going to find themselves eyeballing their own stomachs from the inside... :P

    • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:31AM (#39673183)

      It's not just live data located in the US. It's data in Australia managed by a US company that could be subject to a US warrant, or even backups of Aus servers hosted in the US.

    • I think the article has more to do with AU preventing the US companies and firms from operating assets (cloud, server farms, hosting, etc) in AU, and providing services to the AU gov, rather then hauling all that traffic back to US soil, and using US firm resources here.

      That said, I do see major issues with companies storing data on US assets (whether abroad or not). Especially when we read articles about whole sale data monitoring by US gov entities (FBI, NSA, CIA, take your pick), whether legal or not, i

  • Good for Australia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:21AM (#39673031)

    I live in the US. With the recent mega upload fiasco and some of the other craziness, I think it's a smart move for foreigners to avoid hosting in the US.

    US courts are trying to reach into other countries now. We've got way to much craziness here to trust us. The government should have known their actions will have consequences.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:45AM (#39673405) Journal

      I live in the US. With the recent mega upload fiasco and some of the other craziness, I think it's a smart move for foreigners to avoid hosting in the US.

      US courts are trying to reach into other countries now. We've got way to much craziness here to trust us. The government should have known their actions will have consequences.

      That isn't necessarily true, it really depends on what you are planning on doing. 'Jurisdiction shopping' for hosting purposes isn't all that different, strategically, from doing it for tax laws. Different jurisdictions are useful for different things and varying degrees of terrible for others.

      If you, say, actually want to comply with EU and/or member state privacy law, or just don't want the NSA doing cloud backups for you, you'd be a moron to let your data get anywhere near the US. Same deal if you want to do something that makes the MPAA sad. On the other hand, the US is a pretty decent(and attractively priced) place to have strong opinions about assorted governments, religions, and ethnic groups that would quite possibly earn you an extended stay in a cozy correctional facility at home... The important thing is identifying your requirements and doing your best to ensure that the most sympathetic jurisdictions, for those needs, are where your activities occur...

    • by donscarletti ( 569232 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:52AM (#39673507)

      I live in China. I'd only consider a completely local hosting solution, not because the US government fucks you harder than the Chinese government, but simply because you're going to get fucked by the local one whatever you do, so better leave it at one than be double penetrated.

  • The biggest and simplest question when deploying a "Cloud Solution" is very simple


    In this case it makes sense for a company based in %Nation% to have the primary servers in %Nation% or if thats not possible in %AlliedNearbyNation%.

    heck if a US (based) company wants to do "Cloud" things in and for say Australia then it stands to reason that a nonzero number of DCs should actually BE IN AUSTRALIA. (don't they have a bit of a bandwidth problem??)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:22AM (#39673039)

    One of the reasons we don't like hosting stuff on American servers is due to one of their laws that the FBI (and similar agencies) can obtain data with a warrant that tells the service (cloud) provider not to tell the customer us. We have our own private cloud infrastructure here in Perth and spread to Adelaide and Sydney with talks of having some in Singapore. We do not want our data on cloud infrastructure we don't manage in another country.

  • Correct response (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Just raise an eyebrow, look the trade representative in the eye for a long, quiet moment, and then get back to work.

    • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:29PM (#39675097)

      No, the correct response is for the Australian Government to stop acting like the 51st state and to start saying NO to America on things that dont directly benefit Australia.

      It does NOT benefit Australia to store data belonging to Australian Governments (Federal, State and Local) or Australian Government departments on overseas hosts (both because of the risks of what foreign governments can do with that data if its on their soil AND because of the high costs for bandwidth between Australia and the rest of the world)

      It does NOT benefit Australia to be so closely tied to the USA militarily (US troops in Darwin, spending big $$$ on US military hardware like the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter etc) and in fact we should be making closer military ties with countries to our north like Indonesia.

      It does NOT benefit Australia to sign "free trade" agreements that require Australia to open its trade even further whilst allowing the USA to remain essentially closed to Australian agricultural exports through US tariff and subsidy programs.

      It does NOT benefit Australia to give in to the demands of the big content producing companies when they ask for stronger protection for their content (weakening of ISP safe harbor, forced disconnection of ISP customers alleged to be pirates, ability to obtain ISP user details without presenting sufficient evidence that the user they want information on was in fact violating their copyright etc)

      It does NOT benefit Australia to make it easier for law enforcement and intelligence agencies (Australian, US or otherwise) to spy on random people (Australian, US or otherwise) where there is no specific evidence to back up their claims that spying or wiretapping that person will allow the agency in question to catch or identify the bad guys.

      Oh and it does NOT benefit Australia to send troops to far flung countries when there is not a threat to Australia or to the world at large. Afghanistan was a justified war initially but now its gone on for too long and we should let the democratically elected government of Afghanistan handle their own security. Iraq 1 was a justified war because Iraq did invade another country and at the time they did have powerful weapons that were a threat to other countries (SCUD missiles, chemical weapons etc) Iraq 2 was NOT a justified war as there was not enough evidence that Iraq at the time presented a threat to its neighbors or to the world at large.

  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:22AM (#39673051)

    on suspected members of Men-At-Work will soon follow.

  • Cloud Perception (Score:5, Informative)

    by rogueippacket ( 1977626 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:23AM (#39673069)
    As someone who regularly solutions cloud services for customers, I can assure you, the exact location of the cloud is very important to our big customers. Being able to say it's based out of entirely Canadian datacenters on an entirely Canadian network is a huge advantage over our competitors south of the border. It's not like any of them have been bitten yet, but the perception is that their data is much less safe in another country.
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:24AM (#39673077)

    Is that the person responsible for safeguarding Victoria's secret?

  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:24AM (#39673081) Journal
    Fuck You.
  • whoa (Score:4, Informative)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (dlrowcidamon)> on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:25AM (#39673085) Homepage
    The U.S. trade representative, whose sole job is to promote U.S. companies overseas, is complaining because the Australian government is telling Australian companies not to use American companies for a certain service? In other word, a guy whose job it is to complain about trade barriers is complaining about trade barriers? HOW DARE HE?
    • Yes, the US trade representative is merely doing his job. Hopefully that cuts both ways - that he is informing his superiors about the guffaws that his statements are triggering.

      Ultimately it might trigger some reciprocity or treaty generation that would make it less important what country was hosting the data.

    • First of all, he is supposed to point out *real* trade barriers. When Australian government provides information about the numerous problems of using USA based cloud services from Australia (connection problems, lag, ability of USA government to snoop on it, etc.), he's not obligated to complain...

      That said, if it was coming from any other country, I could go "Just some government official overstepping a bit. It happens. Nobody will listen. Why is this newsworthy?" but USA has *very* strong track-record a

  • by JustAnotherIdiot ( 1980292 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:25AM (#39673087)
    Just because the US blindly trusts China and India with their data, doesn't mean the rest of the world wants to trust anyone but their own country.
  • wtf? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pak9rabid ( 1011935 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:25AM (#39673097)
    As a US citizen, I can't help but think WTF. Let them (and the rest of the world, for that matter) do whatever the fuck they want.
  • don't want your cloud data backed up in Utah!

  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Antarell ( 930241 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:26AM (#39673105) Homepage
    Did the clown sprouting this crap listen to himself? God forbid a country that isn't the USA look after it's own industries and interests! To be honest I and many Aussies can't trust the Yanks as far as we could throw them, let alone let them store our data. Typical self centred 2 year old tantrum by some Yank dickwad who thinks the world should revolve around the USA. Yet another reason to build a 100ft wall around the USA until their idiot government/corporations (same thing?) learn to play with the grown ups.
    • by andersh ( 229403 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @11:52AM (#39674389)

      That wall will be built by the Americans themselves if it ever comes about. It is not so likely now that either Obama or Romney will end up as President.

      However the United States has always had periods of voluntary and ideologically founded Isolationism. If you give them another shock to the system like 9/11 or internal forces such as the Tea Party pushes them in that direction they could very well decide to shut their doors to the greater world.

      I don't think the world will be better off without the US, we might not like everythng the US does, but it has probably been more beneficial than bad. I'm not disregarding the wars, mistakes and indirect suffering, but whatever power leads the world in the future will have to make the same tough decisions. You can't have stability without the threat/use of force.

  • Why is this news? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:26AM (#39673113)

    The point of a trade representative to another country is to shill, without principle, for the interests of their country's economy. If the US Trade Representative gets too pushy, just remind him that if the US ever has any intention of "containing China," Australia is one of those "do not piss off, under any circumstances" regional bases. It's especially important to have on our good side in the event China ever goes batshit crazy by seizing Taiwan, then says "since we've already risked WWIII, let's just go ahead and invade South Korea and Japan as well since their armies aren't worth shit."

    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      It's a good trade representative's job to find mutually beneficial business opportunities in hopes of expanding the markets.

      It is not their job to slag anyone who doesn't want to use their nation's services.

      In fact, it's really, really bad business to bad-mouth your prospective customers that way, regardless of whether you work for government or industry.

  • Ob (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:28AM (#39673129) Homepage Journal

    Would you store your beer collection in a country where it's legal to piss in it?

  • by cfulton ( 543949 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:34AM (#39673227)
    As long as America makes the rules. What do you think the US government would do if we started storing all of our data on Australian servers? We would tell Americans that it is safer and more productive to keep that data here. This country is so full of itself; It is amazing.
  • by RetiredMidn ( 441788 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:37AM (#39673285) Homepage
    Next thing you know, they'll want to drink their own beer, too.
  • Duh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Galestar ( 1473827 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:40AM (#39673325) Homepage
    I work for an American cloud service provider, and even we do not want to store our(customers') data in the U.S. The patriot act is a huge obstacle when selling to foreign customers. Hence why we have a major data center in Canada, and are looking at putting one in the U.K.

    (see [])
  • Sorry (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Scarred Intellect ( 1648867 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:42AM (#39673367) Homepage Journal

    Dear Australia,

    I, an American Citizen and veteran of the Marine Corps where I served an an infantry machine gunner, and filling billets including intelligence analyst and company clerk, sincerely apologize for this.

    Although this isn't my fault (for I was not allowed to vote while I was in the service. This is my opinion, I found it too much of a coincidence that my ballot and that of a friend from the same state arrived exactly 1 month to the day after it was supposed to be postmarked for return. Twice.), you can bet I will vote this round, and will not be voting for anyone that is currently in office, for they all allow these things to happen, which is an embarrassment to us all.

    I'm E-mailing my senators and congressman now. I have other concerns to raise with them anyway, like why my state charges sales tax on private sales of vehicles (double taxation) and why they want to charge tax on the Real Market Value of said vehicle even though it was sold for 1/3 that price (taxing money not spent).

    Troubled American Citizen

    P.S. Are you guys still open for citizenship? At times it's more prudent to abandon a sinking vessel rather than continue trying to fix what is so severely broken.

  • by hipp5 ( 1635263 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:53AM (#39673523)
    Because of the US Patriot Act the province in which I live has made it illegal for me, a government employee, to store personal information (including email addresses, age, views about things, etc.) about citizens on US servers. If I do I could be fined $2,000 and my municipal office could be fined $500,000. Sooo Mr. US, repeal your Patriot Act and then come back to us about using your servers.
  • The other way round (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pswPhD ( 1528411 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @11:17AM (#39673861) Homepage

    I wonder if the US department of defense would allow its contractors to ever host their data in Australia?

  • by Bobtree ( 105901 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @12:01PM (#39674545)

    Locality rules the universe. Networked storage and communications are subject to the same laws of physics as everything else.

  • by FreakerSFX ( 256894 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @01:39PM (#39676473)

    They should offer data restores from the NSA for a price...

    * Accidentally delete an email? Just call the NSA and we'll send you a copy of it.

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan