Richards is wrong on Data Protection

I despair at some of our policy-makers in positions of responsibility where, to quote my old grandfather (now long deceased) "they cannot see the wood for the trees". Are they so wrapped up in a world of political ideas, strategies and making speeches that they lack a fundamental common-sense and a connection with the real world?

A European Commission director has said that it shouldn't really matter where Europe's data is stored, as long as it's secure and protected.

Megan Richards, acting deputy director general of Information Society and Media and also part of the Converged Networks and Services directorate, said it wouldn't necessarily be a problem if European data was held in data centres in the US.

She was, of course talking in legal terms about the proposed Data Protection Regulation and cloud computing.

But, she could not have been more wrong in making the remark. It does matter where Europe's data is stored...

It should stay in Europe.

That way, our data centres can support European growth, European jobs, European public services and the European way of life. We can also provide data hubs here for the USA, South American and the Far East too!

The UK is ideally placed to become the world's data capital. We don't suffer from major earthquakes, have strong flood defences called the Pennines, enjoy stable (if not at the moment popular) government, and we've kept the Pound. London is still a strong commercial and financial centre to help stimulate investment in data centres and we've got the benefit of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to manage the trading time between East and West. Not that GMT really matters in day-to-day operations when data is available online 24/7 but you do need to set up and manage the business relationship.

Ms Richard's comments are short-sighted and don't support a competitive European economy. Another home goal!