Storing Canadian Data on US Cloud Servers
Before I get into this subject, I want to state that at Crackle Cat we greatly value and respect your privacy surrounding the information you entrust to us. Rest assured, we make every effort to safeguard and protect your data. See our privacy poicy for more information. This article is more about the issue involving the physical location of the servers where your data is located.
I was sent a rather interesting article last week about Data Residency and Legal Questions About the Cloud. It made me chuckle. It also raised some questions. If storing Canadian personal data on non-Canadian servers is illegal, why is Facebook allowed to store our data? Do they have servers in Canada to store our personal data? Should the Canadian government block our access to Facebook? What about Google?
I did some more searching on this subject and came across these two excellent articles.
Basically these articles blame the scariness of hosting your data on US servers on the US Patriot Act. Which means the US governent has the right to access your data if it deems your data is related to national security.
I think Chris Day summarizes the situation quite nicely:
"This risk simply does not exist for most legitimate Canadian businesses. For most of our clients in Vancouver and Edmonton looking at leveraging a cost-effective backup and disaster recovery solution, cloud-based e-mail or collaboration solution (e.g. SharePoint), or inexpensive hosting solution - the cost of hosting the solution in Canada far outweighs the risks of the US government attacking their data. There are significant other benefits to working with a Canadian company for hosting/cloud services, this just isn't one of them as far as I'm concerned."
Do we even have a remotely decent Cloud provider in Canada?
What about US data? Should US companies be allowed to store Canadian users' data on US servers? Should Canadian companies be allowed to store US data on Canadian servers? What about other countries?
Is our data really that important? The only types of data our Crackle Cat products store are billing information (EXCLUDING any payment information of course) and encrypted passwords. I'm sure my personal Canadian information is on literally hundreds of servers in the US from services I have signed up for. I can't say I'm super happy about that, but I am definitely not worried about the US government getting access to it.
Until we see the Canadian government cutting off our access to Facebook and Google for storing our personal information, I am not reallly sure we have anything to fear from our government for storing personal data in the scary US of A. Crackle Cat will continue to use Amazon and Rackspace Cloud services, and as always, ensure our users' data is stored securely in our databases.