NEW YORK — Over-regulation, security, and reliability are the greatest concerns for regulating the cloud, according to the latest appointee to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Technological Advisory Council (TAC).
Fred Kemmerer, chief technology officer at Genband, a developer of multimedia and cloud communications solutions, has been appointed to the TAC, a decision that was announced during the Council's meeting on Monday, December 9. The TAC is composed of experts in technology who help the FCC identify vital areas of technological transformation and attempt to support American competitiveness and economic growth.
In an interview with EE Times on Friday, Kemmerer identified security and reliability of new cloud computing structures as important areas for the TAC in the coming years. "We have had an explosion in the use of cloud applications," he said:
Many of the services on the phone are run on cloud servers. Business and private data also run on those servers. Social networks are beginning to be used widely for communications. All of these things have gone from interesting low-penetration services to becoming primary communication services that consumers and businesses increasingly rely upon.
Fred Kemmerer, Genband's CTO.
Kemmerer said the TAC's current work is based on identifying best-practices for security and reliability and then deploying them:
It's a very tricky area from an industry perspective because there's been a boom in the evolution [of cloud infrastructure] and there is a concern that if you over-regulate these new cloud services you may stifle or slow down some of the areas of evolution.
Kemmerer believes that the task ahead of the FCC is beyond the classical regulatory models it normally uses and involves a complex set of challenges that will therefore require a complex set of solutions. Some of these technologies involve internet-based services, which the FCC has not regulated in the past, he said. Several groups are looking at these issues now -- from industry to academia to service providers. "It's a very wide spectrum of people trying to help the FCC figure out what is the best way to regulate these services without stifling the evolution. It's a complex set of issues. It's not easy to do.”
As of right now, these issues are a matter of public record. Anyone can go online and look at what has been said regarding regulation of cloud services through the FCC. Kemmerer discussed the need for clear lines of accountability for the industry and the need for the industry to provide the best guidance on how to resolve issues of regulation.
"The concern is that we could over-regulate the space in an attempt to maybe create solutions that would address today's needs, but would make it very difficult to continue what's happening in cloud," Kemmerer said. He added that technology and services are rapidly outpacing the current regulation mechanisms:
If we were to take a snapshot of today's services we could address them but if we took that same snapshot in six months we would have a new set of services entirely. It takes a great deal of time to apply a classical model of regulation based on snapshots of what we see today. You may not be regulating what you're most concerned about by the time you're done.
Asked what regulatory issues he expects to see come up in 2014, Kemmerer mentioned the license spectrum and said there was already work going on in that area. "All manner of computing devices generate lots of electronic noise," he said. Heavy usage of mobile devices could cause us to run out of the spectrum, he added. "A lot of discussion is going on about how to better use the spectrum we have. Resiliency and security issues around the cloud will continue. There's a great deal of work left to do in those areas."