Archive for December 10th, 2010

Location Matters Up in the Cloud

The Wikileaks disclosure of hundreds of U.S. diplomatic cables has dominated news coverage for the past two weeks as governments struggled to respond to public disclosure of sensitive, secret information.  My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) noted that one of the most noteworthy developments in the first week was Amazon’s decision to abruptly stop hosting the Wikileaks site hours after U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman exerted political pressure on the company to do so.  

Amazon is best known for its e-commerce site, yet it is also one of the world’s leading cloud computing providers, offering instant website hosting to thousands of companies and websites. In recent years, the combination of massive computer server farms in remote locations and high speed networks have enabled cloud computing to emerge as a critical mechanism for offering online services and delivering Internet content.

After Amazon pulled the plug, Wikileaks quickly shifted to a European host, demonstrating how easily sites can shift from one cloud provider to another. Although it seems counter-intuitive to consider the physical location of cloud computing equipment when discussing services that by their very definition operate across borders in the “cloud”, the Wikileaks-Amazon incident provided an important reminder that location matters when it comes to cloud computing.

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December 10, 2010 24 comments Columns

Athabasca University Decides Not To Renew Access Copyright Licence

Athabasca University has announced that it will not renew the Access Copyright licence, joining a growing number of universities that have decided to walk away from the licence in favour of alternative means of paying for works.  In the case of AU, they plan to increase reliance on open educational […]

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December 10, 2010 10 comments Must Reads