What are the legal issues to using google docs or similar cloud offerings?

An anonymous reader asks:

What are the legal issues to using google docs or similar cloud offerings? The data is physically leaving the premises, and potentially the country and EU.

How does this interact with data protection, freedom of information, intellectual property and protection of commercially sensitive data?

I’m no lawyer, but my working understanding has been that Data Protection Principle 8, which deals with the processing of data outside the European Economic Area, also allows for processing in jurisdictions which ensure similar adequate levels of protection. The convention is that the SafeHarbor arrangements which exist between the United States and the European Union provide such levels, so companies operating under US jurisdictions such as Google are compliant in terms of Principle 8. It’s also worth familiarising yourself with the Information Commissioner’s Office definition of personal data (as it may be that what you’re holding is not in fact personal data)

In terms of FoI, you should ensure any databases or records you hold via social media and cloud services are registered in your information asset register, and managed within the scope of normal FoI processes.

Anyone want to add or correct anything in the comments?

I’m afraid I’m really very hazy about the IP issues

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