Chapter 02 Policy considerations and recommendations

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 and create community, 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 capabilities 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: 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. This framework must be crafted by governments and subject to the rule of law. And while unified international approaches are important in order to address the global nature of the opportunities and challenges, every country’s regulatory regime will be different as policymakers reflect local and national culture, customs, norms, and current political and economic realities and imperatives in the laws they enact. But history and experience provide a helpful guide for how to craft regulations, approaches, and agreements that offer the best opportunity for sustainable and equitable growth and progress.

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 cloud computing while managing 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 artificial intelligence. Policy recommendations in the inclusive cloud section include education and skills training, accessibility, affordability, and support for small businesses.

Given the wide range of issues and challenges covered here, and the interconnected nature of the policy options and solutions that are available to address them, there is some overlap between our recommendations across policy categories.

And while 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.