A little while ago, I wrote a piece about the conflict between "clouds" and the hard boundaries of the political sphere. There’s no physical place called "cyberspace", and any cloud computing infrastructure has to actually exist somewhere.
Like many U.S. citizens, I really hate the idea that facts about me become somebody else’s copyrighted property just because they get stored in a database. Canada has a justifiably good reputation for protecting its citizens’ privacy. Their legal framework takes the refreshing position of protecting individuals rather than protecting the ability of non-corporeal entities (a.k.a. "incorporated persons", a.k.a. "corporations") to collect any and all information.
I hadn’t realized that there were such offices as the "Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario", however.
Better still, Ontario’s IPC Commissioner, Dr. Ann Cavoukian, is very current. She’s just released a white paper on the privacy implications of cloud computing. She’s calling for open standards around digital identity management, and outlines some technological building blocks needed for controllable trust and identity verification.
Unlike the U.S. approach to identity verification, Dr. Cavoukian’s approach has nothing to do with catching illegal aliens, welfare frauds, or terrorists. Instead, it’s about creating open, trustworthy ways for humans to interact in all their various modalities from commerce, to entertainment, and even to romance.