The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
No. 171 - 1 July 2016
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In This Issue
Plagiarizing Cloud Service Agreements
Analysis of Data Residency Issues
Papers on Smart Cities
The WEF's Top 10 Technologies
Seen Recently
Claude Baudoin

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Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery
A working group of members of the Cloud Standards Customer Council has been busy revising the white paper entitled "Public Cloud Service Agreements: What to Expect and What to Negotiate," first issued in 2013. Version 2 should come out in mid-July.

While researching how the language of the agreements proposed (or imposed) by cloud service providers had changed from 2013 to 2016, we made an interesting discovery. While some agreements have evolved and no longer contain the same language, "Googling" those sentences revealed that newer providers are now using them verbatim. An AT&T sentence about problem reporting has resurfaced at Future Hosting, an old Microsoft Azure clause can be found in Cloud Fare's SLA, a broad denial of responsibility that used to be in a Rackspace agreement is now in one by Acquia, and the privacy language of an old Google policy reappears in the terms of service of Kuberas.

So what? On the one hand, this may be a sign that some maturity is coming to the market -- the language is getting more standard. And why reinvent something when you can reuse someone else's? On the other hand, however, the terms used by new providers tends to be language that was abandoned by more established ones, in particular because it was excessively one-sided and caused customers to balk. And that's why the CSCC's white paper, soon to be updated, is so important for customers trying to make sense of the providers' agreements.
Analysis of Data Residency Issues
In January, the Object Management Group (OMG) issued an RFI to understand how organizations cur­rently define and manage data residency issues. A detailed analysis will be published in late 2016. Here are the most important preliminary findings:
  • Few organizations understand that there are specific issues related to data residency outside of the realm of privacy and personal data protection.
  • Most organizations think the risk is moderate, and that they are correctly estimating it; a more complete understanding of the issues might well change that assessment.
  • Responsibility for data residency is diluted: CEO, CIO, CISO, business line managers, Legal, etc. ("If everyone is in charge, then no one is in charge).
  • The Internet of Things is seen as an important new source of data residency issues
  • Few organizations are willing to disclose incidents or specific concerns, which challenges us to foster the collaboration needed to make progress.
  • There is great demand for education on data residency, regulations that apply to it, and any existing relevant standards.
The OMG Data Residency Working Group (which we will invite anyone interested to join) will use the upcoming discussion paper to determine what new or updated OMG specifi­cations might help solve data residency issues. Meanwhile, learn more about this by attending our upcoming webinar on July 7 at 11:00 am Eastern US Time (8:00 Pacific, 16:00 UK, 17:00 Europe).
Smart Cities
The Association for Computing Machinery has published the proceedings of the 2014 International Workshop on Wireless and Mobile Technologies for Smart Cities. There are 13 papers, covering topics from "intelligent street lighting" to using vehicles as nodes in a mesh communication network, to helping with emergency response and disaster management.
The WEF's Top Ten List
The World Economic Forum issues on June 23 its latest list of the top 10 emerging technologies of 2016. Not surprisingly, several of the "winners" are heavily based on information technology. They include communicating nanosensors, blockchain (a technique to certify transactions in a decentralized manner, first introduced by the BitCoin "cryptocurrency"), self-driving vehicles, and smart digital assistants (haven't we heard that one before?).
Seen Recently...
"Transport of the mails, transport of the human voice, transport of flickering pictures -- in this century, as in others, our highest accomplishments still have the single aim of bringing men together."
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author and aviator (1900-1944)