Monitoring scandals must not lead to balkanisation of the cloud, says Box CEO

Box CEO Aaron Levie on stage

The Prism government spying scandal, in which the US National Security Agency monitored electronic communications, must not be allowed to break up the cloud and restrict data flow.

This was the opinion expressed by the Aaron Levie, the CEO of Box, regarding propositions from the European Commission to alter data protection requirements in a way that could require data to be kept either within the European Union or within the originating countries.

We are optimistic that there will have to be more transparency, have to be more processes created for how this works. We don't think the internet could blossom and evolve in the appropriate ways if this fear [were to] remain.

Similar proposals have also been put forward by Brazil.

Speaking to journalists yesterday at the organisation's Business Without Boundaries event in Central London, Levie said: "It is obviously incredibly bad and inappropriate what the NSA has been doing ... it's not only bad the actions they have taken but it's also the inaction of not actually creating any transparency or any visibility into what is actually happening."

However, Levie added: "On the [subject of] EU privacy and data [regulation], the biggest thing that we are worried about ... we want to avoid some of the noise about the balkanisation of the cloud, that would be a very bad outcome this idea of regionally specific or government specific or country specific clouds. Not only does it not make technological sense, it's also bad from an economy standpoint."

Most of Box's customers need to collaborate and share information cross international boundaries, Levie said. He added that the only way to do so effectively was with an open platform.

Levie also touched on the topic again during his keynote following a question from a delegate.

"We don't think the current [surveillance] situation is tenable ... and we are optimistic that there will have to be more transparency, have to be more processes created for how this works. We don't think the internet could blossom and evolve in the appropriate ways if this fear [were to] remain," he said.

"Fortunately, we are a little bit outside of the whole issue and distanced from it, because the biggest issue has been national security issues and those are generally ... consumer communication services on the internet. We tend not to fall into the space that is of interest, but we care a lot from a technology company standpoint. We have to have a world that allows us to securely communicate and work and share on a global basis, so that is obviously something that we care about and that we are pushing on," he concluded.

Jane McCallion
Deputy Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Managing Editor, specializing in data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Managing Editor, she held the role of Deputy Editor and, prior to that, Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialize in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.