The recent NSA spying revelations have left the world shocked about the fact that we no longer have any form of privacy. The government is able to look into all of our online activities and data. People have found themselves not just shocked but truly outraged. Done with fighting governments but not being able to get anywhere, they have opted for a different tactic: moving to Switzerland.
Following revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden about US government spying, businesses are turning away from US-based cloud services such as Dropbox.
Switzerland has always been known as a safe haven, where privacy is maintained above everything else. It is here that people store their money and their gold, in the safe knowledge that nobody will ever find out what is in their safe deposit boxes. These privacy regulations are so stringent, in fact, that there are safes that have been left unopened for generations, simply because their owners did not leave instructions for after they died, meaning these boxes will never be opened.
Artmotion has watched the developments around Edward Snowdon since he first made his revelations and came to the conclusion that his PRISM revelations have opened up a certain demand in the market for secure cloud storage.
Artmotion is a fairly secretive hosting outfit which can number some of the world’s biggest banks as clients, Mateo Meier runs the whole shebang and is convinced that the stringent regulations governing Swiss banks (derivative of the nation’s approach to privacy which is enshrined in law) is driving Switzerland as a cloud data storage hub.
From Gold Banks to Data Banks
The move by Artmotion has been welcomed by people around the globe who want to make sure their data is being kept in private locations. They don’t necessarily have something to hide, but simply believe that what is theirs does not have to be shared with the government, who already have their social security numbers, birth details, address details and more. For Cloud storage providers, this has opened up a huge market based in Switzerland.
As the country is not a member of the EU, the only way to gain access to the data hosted within a Swiss data centre is if the company receives an official court order proving guilt or liability. This procedure applies to all countries requesting any information from a Swiss data centre and unlike in the EU there is no special law for the US.
Interestingly enough, it isn’t just private individuals who are moving to Switzerland. Huge corporations are following suit. They are committed to the privacy of their customers’ data and are appalled by the fact that they have, unknowingly, shared this data with the government. Doctors and lawyers, for instance, who have a duty to keep details confidential, have not been able to keep to their promise, without even knowing that. Hence, it seems as if the likes of DropBox and other big Cloud providers will see their customer database drop rapidly, with many moving on to providers in Switzerland.
Although Swiss data storage capacity has increased from 123,000 square meters in 2011 to 160,000 square meters by the end of this year, it is still a relatively small player in the industry. Is it forecast Britain will have 687,000 square meters by the beginning of 2014. According to research by Broadgroup Consulting, the current space devoted to storage in the US is 8.5 million square metres.
It will be interesting to watch the developments. The PRSIM revelations by Edward Snowdon may just blow over again pretty soon, with people once again trusting their governments. But it is equally possibly that Switzerland is going to grow as a provider of secure Cloud storage.