Chapter 02 A policy road map for a trusted, responsible and inclusive cloud

This era of rapid technology-driven change raises complex challenges and difficult contradictions.

The potential for cloud computing to drive economic progress, to open the door to new ways for people to connect, to expand access to education and healthcare, and to provide new solutions to a wide range of difficult social issues is clear to almost everyone. But so are the risks and uncertainties.

The very same technologies that make this moment so promising also raise the specter of job displacement. The same tools that make it possible to launch new companies and find new ways to cure diseases can just as easily be used to commit crimes and organize terrorist attacks.

The question for government leaders and policymakers around the globe is how to harness the power of the cloud to transform people’s lives for the better without unleashing the potential for dislocation and disorder. The task is a daunting one that raises fundamental questions about how to strike the right balance between competing interests such as how to protect public safety and the right to privacy; how to recognize national sovereignty without restricting the efficient flow of information across international borders; and how to provide entrepreneurs and innovators with the freedom to create and disrupt while ensuring that the benefits of change are broadly and equitably shared.

To build a cloud for global good, it will take a framework of laws that respects timeless rights and values, protects public safety, fosters innovation and the free exchange of ideas, and supports universal technology access. Governments, policy leaders and technology companies have a unique and fundamental role in helping shape this framework and deliver the unfolding technology revolution in a way that benefits all.

As highlighted in chapter one, as we move through this era of technological change — what some have called the Fourth Industrial Revolution — it is worth reflecting on how societies have responded to previous waves of technological development. What is notable about the first of the two major industrial revolutions is the way in which those countries that were at the forefront of their era’s economic development were also at the forefront of exploring how to create a regulatory framework to help guide the delivery of new technology in a trusted, responsible and inclusive way.

By creating this enabling framework, governments helped build the trust in new technology necessary for it to be rolled out effectively. They were also able to help impose greater accountability on those who would create and deploy this new technology, in addition to providing the right skills and incentives to help ensure that as many as people as possible were able to benefit from this technology. If we are to make the most of the huge potential that the Fourth Industrial Revolution has to offer, we must look to emulate this approach.

... a framework for implementing a new generation of laws, designed specifically to capture the benefits of a new wave of technologies based on cloud computing.

What follows is a set of policy considerations and recommendations that offers a framework for implementing a new generation of laws, designed specifically to capture the benefits of a new wave of technologies based on cloud computing. As well as helping countries realize the upsides of this technology, they are also designed to help manage the challenges. Developed in consultation with legal experts, policymakers, industry organizations, community leaders, business users and individuals, these policy considerations are organized to reflect the underlying principles that will be essential to creating a cloud for global good — trust, responsibility and inclusion.

In the trusted cloud section, you will find policy recommendations that focus on privacy, national sovereignty and public safety. The policy recommendations in the responsible cloud section center on environmental sustainability, human rights, protecting people from the dangers of online exploitation and fraud, and AI. Policy recommendations in the inclusive cloud section include education and skills training, accessibility, affordability, and support for small businesses.

And although we believe that a new generation of laws and policies is essential given the revolutionary impact of the transformation that is underway, we also recognize that policy change takes time and often lags behind the pace of technology. We believe the technology companies that are driving these changes have an important role to play in helping policymakers anticipate the challenges that lie ahead.

So much of what makes technology work in the modern world is the creation of international standards, industry codes and government certifications. So, we remain committed to working across our industry, with our partners and governments, to find the right balance between laws, regulation and standards.

A trusted cloud Click a policy recommendation to read more.

A responsible cloud Click a policy recommendation to read more.

An inclusive cloud Click a policy recommendation to read more.