Clever Cloud, a Paris-based Platform-as-a-Service startup, has added a North America region to its cloud by establishing a data center in Montreal. The company said it chose Canada over U.S because of the U.S. government’s digital surveillance practices.
“We care about our customers’ privacy,” Clément Nivolle, head of marketing at Clever Cloud, wrote in a blog post announcing the new data center location. “We have selected this location because it is Patriot Act-free, and Canada has IP laws to protect your data.”
The Patriot Act, which then president George W. Bush signed into law in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and whose key provisions President Barack Obama extended in 2011, is credited with giving the National Security Agency a green light for the broad mass surveillance practices that have been under criticism worldwide after former agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked information about surveillance programs to the press last year.
U.S. tech companies have been vocal about the damage NSA surveillance does to their ability to compete on the global market. Cloud service providers, who store customer data in data centers around the world are especially vulnerable to this damage.
Microsoft has been one of the most vociferous service providers. Brad Smith, the company’s general counsel and executive vice president of legal and corporate affairs, wrote that the reports that resulted from Snowden’s disclosures have created wide-spread concern around the world about data privacy, which has the potential to hamper further adoption of cloud services. “After all, people won’t use technology they don’t trust,” he wrote.
Clever Cloud’s decision to go into Montreal is a small example of a real impact on the data center market. The company used a Canadian data center services provider called Netelligent for its expansion into North America.
While small PaaS providers like Clever Cloud do not take a lot of space, the expansion still represents a deal potentially lost by a U.S. data center provider.