Amazon’s cloud business segment, Amazon Web Services will open its third European datacenter cluster by early 2017, CTO Werner Vogels said. The move will “provide strong data sovereignty to local users,” Vogels wrote in a blog post.
The current hot topic in the European Union is data sovereignty meaning which country has jurisdiction over data. The EU has strict data protection laws when it comes to the processing of personal information of its citizens. According to the laws, personal data sent outside the EU will be given the same legal protection as at home. Data exports to the U.S. were earlier governed by the Safe Harbor Agreement, under which over 4,000 companies certified they would respect EU regulations when processing EU data in the U.S. The Agreement was struck down by EU’s top court last month which in turn plunged many companies into a legal void.
Although Amazon had registered under the agreement, it had a Plan B. It had incorporated model clauses into its contracts with customers, providing them and their customers the same guarantees on the privacy of its data processing, and had the clauses approved by EU privacy regulators. The clauses received the approval of majority of EU data protection authorities. However, German regional privacy regulators have cast doubt on the legality of the mechanisms, suggesting that they do not provide the privacy protections required under EU law when data is moved to the U.S. They said last month that they would authorize no new data transfers under the alternative mechanisms, and called for Europeans’ data to be kept in Europe.
Thus, the legal reasons are strong when it comes to more datacenter capacity in Europe in the near future for AWS. AWS said that local organizations will benefit a lot. Its customers include the BBC and other local broadcasters; music-identifying-app Shazam; the U.K.’s national rail timetable service, and Unilever.
The company announced that a new data center region in South Korea will open early next year. It is also adding a region in India and a second one in China, in addition to the regions it already has in the U.S. Apart from Amazon, Microsoft hosts Azure operations at data centers in Ireland and the Netherlands, while Google operates data centers in Belgium, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands.