Clouds in my way

Issues in Science and Technology, a National Academy of Sciences publication, is "a forum for discussion of public policy related to science, engineering, and medicine." The Summer 2009 issue currently features an article on personal computing in the Cloud.
The Internet is entering a new phase that represents a fundamental shift in how computing is done. This phase, called Cloud computing, includes activities such as Web 2.0, Web services, the Grid, and Software as a Service, which are enabling users to tap data and software residing on the Internet rather than on a personal computer or a local server.
According to the author, Michael R. Nelson, the Cloud offers users:
  • Limitless flexibility
  • Better reliability and security
  • Enhanced collaboration
  • Portability
  • Simpler devices
Mr. Nelson discusses the importance public policy decisions will have on the Cloud's development and character, and the "key policy factors" influencing its pace of progress, which include:
  • Research
  • Privacy and security
  • Access to the Cloud
  • E-government and open standards
  • Competition and antitrust
  • Wiretapping and electronic surveillance
  • Intellectual property and liability
  • Consumer protection

The Cloud, the Crowd, and Public Policy, by Michael R. Nelson
(Issues in Science and Technology, Summer 2009, html)

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