Box is planning to open EU data centres after a major European court ruling on sharing data
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) rejected the "Safe Harbour" agreement this week, which let American companies use a single standard for consumer privacy and data storage in both the US and Europe.
Box, as well as companies like Facebook and Twitter, may now face scrutiny from individual European countries' data regulators - and could be forced to host European user data in Europe, rather than hosting it in the US and transferring it over.
Box, a billion dollar enterprise software and collaboration firm, is one of the first American tech companies to say it will open data centres in Europe after the ECJ ruling was passed.
A Box spokesman told Business Insider that the company isn't opening data centres in Europe as a direct result of the ECJ ruling. He said Box had been planning to allow its customers to store their data in Europe long before Safe Harbour was rejected by the ECJ.
Speaking at Box's annual conference in San Francisco last week, Aaron Levie, the company's 29-year-old cofounder and CEO, said: "In a year from now I would absolutely expect we will have customers storing their data internationally. We're building towards it now."
Box is planning to partner with IBM in order to host European customer data within the EU. IBM has 46 data centres around the world and from next year Box will use servers in one or more of IBM's European data centres to host European customer data.
The Safe Harbour ruling from Europe's highest court came after Edward Snowden's NSA leaks showed that European data stored by US companies was not safe from surveillance that would be illegal in Europe.
Levie said at the BoxWorks conference that he understands why European countries want to store personal data within the EU.
He added that the end of Safe Harbour is a result of Europe becoming more privacy-sensitive, as well as political and trade concerns around the dominance of American internet giants. There are also practical concerns relating to how easy it is for law enforcement agencies to access data, said Levie.
"The problem is that none of our governments are able to comprehend the global nature of the internet in how it is used and how it has been architected," said Levie.
"Until we really appreciate how global and interconnected our societies and businesses are, we'll probably never have legislation or policies that truly get to the heart of how you should regulate the internet."
Also speaking at BoxWorks, Box's chief operating officer, Dan Levin, said: "Allowing our customers to store their data where they want to is an important future direction for us."
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