FTC to examine cloud-computing privacy concerns


In a development likely to be closely watched by Google Inc., Amazon.com, Microsoft Corp., and other vendors, as well as users of these companies’ cloud-computing services, the Federal Trade Commission is examining potential threats to consumer privacy and data security posed by such services, Computerworld reports. The agency will hold a roundtable session on Jan. 28, and another later this year, to gather information from industry stakeholders and to study ways of protecting consumer privacy in cloud environments. The FTC’s plan was detailed in a letter sent last month to the Federal Communications Commission. The letter, signed by David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, highlighted some of the cost benefits of cloud computing services but also expressed concerns at the associated risks. “The ability of cloud computing services to collect and centrally store increasing amounts of consumer data, combined with the ease with which such centrally stored data may be shared with others, create a risk that larger amounts of data may be used by entities in ways not originally intended or understood by consumers,” Vladeck warned. The FTC is also considering how businesses can strengthen identity-management practices, such as user authentication and credentialing, to protect consumer privacy online Vladeck wrote…

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