Dropbox lets EU businesses store data in Germany

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Dropbox now allows European business customers to store their files in Germany, but it is unclear whether UK customers will be able to do the same following Brexit.

The cloud collaboration firm today fulfilled its promise to let EU Dropbox Business customers store their data outside its own US facilities, addressing privacy concerns raised by Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent of US government spying.

Now, Dropbox Business users based in the EU can switch their files to Amazon Web Services’ datacentre in Frankfurt for no extra charge, where Germany’s data protection policies are stricter than those of other countries.

“We’ve been working closely with our partner, Amazon Web Services, to set up the infrastructure in Germany over the past few months,” said Philip Lacor, Dropbox’s VP for EMEA, in a blog post today. “Now we’re ready to deliver on our promise for [our] business customers in Europe. It’s the right thing for our customers, and we’re excited to see what opportunities it opens up for them.”

However, it is not clear whether UK customers will be able to use the facility following Brexit.

US customers cannot use the Germany datacentre, and while UK business customers can use it at the moment, Dropbox told Cloud Pro it does not know whether they will be able to store their files there once the UK exits the EU.

It depends on the outcome of the UK's negotiations with the EU, for instance what kind of access it has to the single market after leaving.

“These are early days and there will need to be a whole range of issues negotiated as part of the eventual Brexit discussions," a Dropbox spokesperson said. "Whether some of the current arrangements will be retained, or whether new international agreements to enable UK-EU and UK-US data transfers will ultimately be required, we'll continue to implement the mechanisms our customers need and to hold ourselves to the highest standards of security and data privacy.”

The news comes after fellow cloud collaboration firm Box launched Box Zones in May, letting customers choose between four non-US regions to store their data in, in response to concerns over US mass surveillance.

Dropbox warned that while EU customers’ files can be stored in Frankfurt, if they share those files with non-EU businesses, the files may also be stored outside the EU.

It currently has no plans to build its own datacentres in Europe or the UK, a spokesperson said, adding: “We’re pleased to be taking this step and deploying infrastructure in Europe, which brings us to be closer to our European customers and gives them more options about the location of their data.”