Cloud Computing Regulation

Last Wednesday was the excellent one day conference on Cloud Computing: Legal, Organisational and Technological Issues, organised by the Commercial Law Research Unit at UWE, Bristol. There was a mixed audience of service providers, lawyers and academics. I presented a development of my active matrix theory designed to highlight the problems of gatekeeper control in cloud computing. The slides used are below.

Basically my argument is thus. We already know that there are powerful regulatory controllers in network regulation - viz Latour, Foucault, Luhmann etc. We also know the peculiar regulability of digital network systems - Lessig, De Hert etc. When one thinks about the uniquely powerful positions that gatekeeper nodes such as cloud computing providers put themselves in we must ask what costs will be extracted by them for the services they provide? 

Will they exert only economic costs? Unlikely for as other gatekeepers such as Facebook and Google have shown the value of data is quite alluring - so democratic, social and personal costs are likely in terms of data flows and data mining. The key is in the recognition of these gatekeepers and the peculiar role they play for they are likely to be key regulators in the future.