AN AUTHORITATIVE NEW WORK ON CLOUD COMPUTING AS A NEW SPECIALIST AREA OF LEGAL PRACTICE
An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers
Having started out as a ‘computer lawyer’ in the 1980s, Professor Christopher Millard, who edits this important book on this very contemporary subject, refers to the legal and regulatory changes that have emerged in response to the advent of cloud computing.
‘Cloud Computing Law’, he says, ‘is worthy of attention as a specialist area of legal research, teaching and practice.’
Heading a team of seven expert contributors, Millard had brought at least three decades of experience and research to the compilation of this book. To cite only one example out of his dizzying list of credentials, he was asked by Microsoft in 2008 to lead a research project -- together with colleagues -- to assess the legal and regulatory implications of cloud computing.
This book synthesizes the numerous and detailed results of the subsequent Cloud Legal Project launched in 2009 which has in turn led to further research as new developments and issues have emerged in cloud computing technology.
Newly released by the Oxford University Press, the book examines, (in Millard’s words) ‘various key legal constructs and rules which apply to cloud computing, both in theory and practice’ -- with the additional objective of furthering the debate on how the governance of cloud computing may be improved.
Part I of the book explains what cloud computing actually is: in other words, it is a means by which computer services are delivered over a network (rather than housed in the hard drive of your own computer). As such, ‘the cloud may prove to be as disrupting an innovation as was the emergence of cheap electricity over a hundred years ago’; electricity also being a utility delivered through a network.
Part II deals with contractual issues (which must inevitably arise). Part II examines the protection of personal data in the clouds. Part IV, in addressing the issues of cloud regulation and governance, focuses on such matters as law enforcement, consumer protection and competition between cloud service providers and ends with an assessment of ways and means of developing effective cloud governance frameworks.
It seems that Millard and his team have tackled every aspect of this emerging area of law. Their plain English approach to what can be an abstruse subject will certainly be of benefit to both practitioners and scholars wishing to delve into the legal ramifications of cloud computing.
This is a carefully researched and extensively footnoted book and is very much one for our times. It will provide career-enhancing information as well as useful and indeed entertaining reading for lawyers and non-lawyers alike as further cloud development takes place.