The 2013 BSA Global Cloud Computing Scorecard, which focused on laws and regulations in seven crucial policy areas, found South Africa up to scratch in terms of laws for cybercrime and electronic commerce but lacking other other areas.
“It is discouraging that South Africa has not made better progress in adopting policies that are conducive to cloud innovation,” said Drummond Simpson, Chairman of the BSA South Africa committee.
“Every country’s policies affect the global cloud marketplace. It is imperative for South Africa to focus on improvements in promoting free trade, data privacy, cybercrime and security in order to improve its standing and help grow the global cloud.”
South Africa’s fall was due to the lack of privacy legislation, which was mooted in 2012 but since delayed. The country also has only very basic copyright laws, having failed to sign up to the Wipo (World Intellectual Property Organization) Copyright Treaty (WCT), which addresses changes in digital technology and communications.
Limited internet filtering and censorship may also inhibit the development of the digital economy, while the report also noted South Africa’s low broadband penetration and infrastructural challenges.
The report found some progress had been made globally in facilitating effective cloud computing, but this was still uneven. The BSA recommended policymakers ensure privacy, promote security, battle cybercrime, encourage free trade and bolster infrastructure.
“We’re seeing patchy progress in the policy landscape for cloud computing,” said BSA president and chief executive officer Robert Holleyman.
“Mismatched privacy and security rules are making it hard for data to flow across orders, and too many countries are chopping off pieces of the cloud for themselves. This undercuts economies of scale that would benefit everyone.”
The biggest mover on the scorecard, the first edition of which was launched last year, was fifth-ranked Singapore, which climbed five places after adopting a new privacy law. Japan continues to lead the rankings, with Australia in second place and the United States beating Germany into third.