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Amazon, Google and Microsoft team up on cloud computing principles

A new industry initiative aims to protect customer data and set guidelines for working with governments.

Eyeglasses in front of a computer screen
Angela Lang/CNET

Amazon, Google and Microsoft on Friday unveiled a new industry initiative that aims to establish basic commitments and protections for companies that store and process data in the cloud. The tech giants, along with several other enterprise companies, have agreed to a series of principles related to customer data and government regulations.

"Through this initiative, we commit to working with governments to ensure the free flow of data, to promote public safety, and to protect privacy and data security in the cloud," Microsoft wrote in a LinkedIn post about the new initiative, called the Trusted Cloud Principles.

The group outlined a handful of key principles, including that governments should engage customers first, with only narrow exceptions; customers should have a right to notice; cloud providers should have a right to protect customers' interests; governments should address conflict of law; and governments should support cross-border data flow. 

The initiative comes as companies and government regulators consider how to address a range of cloud computing issues, everything from where data is stored to when information can be handed over to law enforcement. Microsoft Azure is the second most widely used cloud computing service after Amazon Web Services and ahead of Google Cloud

See also: Best cloud storage for 2021