Within a few years, companies are expected to spend more on public cloud computing than they do on traditional information technology, as the convenience, scalability, and flexibility of the cloud make it the default for application software and other uses. But the shift to the cloud is not inevitable. It could be stopped in its tracks by legislation that would compromise the security of the cloud – perhaps even making platforms and data vulnerable to hostile foreign governments.
Congress is considering the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) to curb what some see as the excessive power of large U.S. technology companies. More than a year after its introduction, the bill has yet to come up for a vote, in part because of numerous concerns that it would undermine U.S. tech companies against competitors in places like China where the government is not trying to weaken them.
One of the most pressing concerns about AICOA is that it would mandate that U.S. tech companies provide unvetted—and potentially nefarious—third parties with unprecedented access to their platforms and data. Hostile actors, including companies with deep ties to foreign intelligence services, then could circumvent existing security measures and gain entry to cloud infrastructures.