Top executives from companies, such as Dell, Xerox and IBM, gathered under the Technology CEO Council in Washington D.C. last week to discuss security, privacy and protectionist policies regarding cloud computing and the Internet. Members voiced their concerns, stating that the policies could limit the growth of cloud computing and divide the Internet.
Additionally, Ursula Burns, CEO and chairman of Xerox, expressed that one of the biggest concerns for the group is to make sure that the playing field stays open to advancement and the possibilities of the new economy.
“The biggest barriers I think that we see are not around the engineering. It’s around regulation. It’s around protectionism. It’s around trust, or lack thereof. It’s around policies and procedures,” Burns said.
Regarding the data economy, policymakers are receiving mixed messages. For example, healthcare companies have been slow to adopt new technologies that could have a positive impact on and support the industry. On the other hand, adopting new cloud computing technology depends on a foundation of trust from the users to share their data with service providers.
“What could happen,” Burns said, “is that governments around the world figure out a way to restrict data and data portability and data usage and data movement in such a way that actually limits the full potential of this new economy.”
U.S. cloud firms caution against international protection policies that restrict cross-border data flow because those policies limit the amount of data available to countries and the companies in them. However, tech leaders have lobbied against those proposals and seek to enforce safeguards for cross-border data flows in U.S. trade policy.
Tech leaders don’t, however, want to create a fragmented version of the Internet through enforcing polices that could potentially impact online freedom and the freedom of expression.
“It would not be good for anyone in the world,” said IBM President and CEO Virginia Rometty, “that’s not just a U.S. statement.”