As Australians’ use of cloud computing services increases, so too do their concerns.
A new ACMA paper shows 71 per cent of Australians are now using a cloud service to share digital information online. But some consumers are concerned about the transparency of data management and the privacy practices of cloud service providers. These concerns are inhibiting take-up and engagement with the cloud.
The ACMA’s occasional paper, The cloud: services, computing and digital data—Emerging issues in media and communications, Occasional paper 3 (Word | PDF), identifies many of these concerns and explores the challenges posed by the growth in cloud computing. It is the latest in an ACMA series on emerging issues in media and communications.
The paper found that 52 per cent of Australians have a low level of confidence in the privacy settings of online providers, such as cloud service providers. A further 35 per cent of Australians would withhold personal information where a site is not based in Australia. For the majority, the sale and ownership of information and the risks associated with disclosure were their key concerns.
As more of their personal data is stored beyond their computer, the control and ownership customers have over their content will become an increasingly important issue in the future.
Cloud computing is a general term for delivering hosted services over the internet to remotely store, process and share digital data. Providers of cloud computing services have been described as the bank vaults of the 21st century, holding the keys to personal and business data—the currency in an information economy.
To date, cloud services have been primarily used by large businesses and government in Australia. However, more and more Australians are using cloud services for the storage of business and personal data including photos, documents and videos ranging from file sharing services like Dropbox and Evernote, web mail providers such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, storage provider Apple and photo sharing sites like Flickr.
Use of cloud computing in the six months to May 2012'
Note: Relates to Australian telecommunications users. Time series data not available.
Source: ACMA-commissioned research, May 2012.