US Cloud Act could spell trouble for Polish Cloud operator: report

Polish “Rzeczpospolita” daily writes that data kept in the planned National Cloud developed in partnership between Polish institutions and US computing giant Google, might be endangered by possible access by American law enforcement agencies.

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In an article on Monday, the daily says that the problem could be the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act, also known as Cloud Act, signed by US President Donald Trump in 2018.

The National cloud is a joint project between the state-controlled Polish PKO BP bank and Polish Development Fund along with Google.

Google, the strategic partner of the National Cloud Operator (OChK) is an American company. The Cloud act states that the US cloud operators will have to share the “backdoor keys” to their systems to institutions such as the FBI without necessarily receiving permission from the countries where the servers are based.

“It is enough that FBI justifies such requests with concerns about security,” the daily wrote. These concerns are not only related to Google, but also Amazon and Microsoft – the three IT giants are the largest cloud systems operators in Poland. Moreover, specialists suggest that the Cloud Act goes against the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Roman Młodkowski, the strategy director of OchK said that if customers of the Polish Cloud project need a special assurance that their data is only under the jurisdiction of the Polish authorities, the Operator offers its own infrastructure, independent of Google.

“If customers want to increase the level of security, they can use their own [security] keys which [noone] can give to any institutions,” Mr Młodkowski stressed.

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Adam Malczak, Google communications manager, said that the company “firmly protects our clients’ data privacy.”

Poland's National Cloud Operator announced a strategic agreement with Google in late September. Thanks to the cooperation, the Polish operator will offer Google cloud computing services, and a Google Cloud region will be set up in Warsaw.

The strategic partnership agreement with Google is intended to help Polish companies implement and make use of the potential offered by advanced cloud computing technology in business.

Still some way to go

According to recent data, only 11 percent of Polish companies use cloud solutions in running their businesses. This is the third worst result in Europe, with only Romania and Bulgaria faring worse.

Experts estimated that the value of cloud systems in Poland may double over the next four years to PLN 2 bn (EUR 0.46 bn).

The most popular cloud operator in Poland is Amazon, followed by Microsoft and Google.