FTC set to examine cloud computing

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating the privacy and security implications of cloud computing, according to a recent filing with the Federal Communications Commission.

The FTC, which shares jurisdiction over broadband issues, says it recognizes the potential cost-savings cloud computing can provide. "However, the storage of data on remote computers may also raise privacy and security concerns for consumers," wrote David Vladeck, who helms the FTC's Consumer Protection Bureau.

"For example, the ability of cloud computing services to collect and centrally store increasing amounts of consumer data, combined with the ease with which such centrally stored data may be shared with others, create a risk that larger amounts of data may be used by entities not originally intended or understood by consumers," the filing says.

The FTC is also looking at identity management systems — i.e., how people authenticate their identities when logging into websites — and how they can better protect citizens' privacy. 

Both examinations are part of a "broader initiative" to investigate various models for privacy. The agency is holding a roundtable Jan. 28 to focus on privacy protections. It will include specific discussions about cloud computing, identity management, mobile computing and social networking. 

SearchCloudComputing.com wrote in this post that cloud computing will continue to spread in 2010, but its growth will be relatively incremental. Security continues to be a concern with the technology.