Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Personal information in the cloud

Cloud computing and storage are taking personal records from a computer’s desktop at home to the virtual realm, potentially compromising privacy and security. This creates new legal challenges for policy makers and important privacy challenges for citizens.
Personal information in the cloud
Much controversy has arisen in recent years over control and sovereignty over unpublicised digital information, i.e. the data that we have lying on our desktops. The EU-funded GODINO (Governing digital information: users' control and sovereignty over unpublicized digital information in the European Union) project investigated the implications of virtualisation and remote computing on citizens’ personal digital records.

To achieve its aims the project team analysed legal implications and researched the topic thoroughly, including the shifting dynamics between ongoing virtualisation and diminishing physical control. It considered all the users’ interests, as well as attitudes and socio-economic consequences regarding protection and governance of personal records.

More specifically, GODINO studied the combined effect of relevant laws and shortcomings of legal protection regarding information on third party equipment. It evaluated legal changes with respect to protecting individual users, looking as well at governance of individual users’ personal records in the cloud. Importantly the project team also worked on raising public awareness and issue recommendations on how to address the governance of individual users’ digital records on the cloud.

Among its key findings, the project team found that less physical control and an increase in cloud services has compromised the public’s rights. It showed how the shifting legal landscape in different sectors brings with it shortcomings in protecting personal records.

The transformation taking place in storing personal records is also shifting the focus of policymakers and other key players from overall socio-economic and societal impacts to security and privacy issues. Citizens themselves are also more concerned with protecting their own personal records rather than with legal considerations.

While the latest EU legislation covers the gaps and issues related to privacy of personal records, it does not offer legal protection that meets the needs of the digital home. The results of the project are important in helping to bring these emerging issues to the forefront to ensure citizens and policymakers are aware of this transformation.

Related information


Cloud computing, personal records, GODINO, digital records, privacy
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