IFIP Expert Calls for More Human-Centric Cloud


Wednesday 3 June 2015 – A leading expert on Cloud Computing says ICT professionals need to take a more human-centred approach to software design and build greater levels of user protection into Cloud-based systems.

Norberto Patrignani, Chair of IFIP’s Domain Committee on Cloud Computing (DCCC) and Senior Associate Lecturer in Computer Ethics at the Doctorate School of Politecnico of Torino, is discussing some of the ethical dilemmas created by the Cloud when he presents a paper at the 7th China Cloud Computing Conference which began yesterday in Beijing.

The global federation of societies for ICT professionals, IFIP represents over half a million researchers and practitioners from 50 countries and regions. It established the DCCC in September last year to provide a cohesive voice on Cloud-related issues for IFIP’s 100+ Working Groups and Technical Committees.

Mr Patrignani says the rise of Cloud Computing has created a significant paradigm shift to  centralised architecture where users increasingly consume ICT as a service and have little or no control over the security or privacy of the solutions they use.

“The upside of the Cloud is the increased flexibility and mobility, and the ability to access best-of-breed software at low cost,” he says. “However, issues such as governance, risk management, security and data privacy must be adequately managed to ensure that users are protected.”

Mr Patrignani says Cloud suppliers will need to communicate transparently with their customers in order to build understanding and trust. He also points to the social consequences of widespread adoption of Cloud Computing, due to the way technology and society shape each other. “At one level, social factors steer engineers in certain directions and influence the design of technological systems and devices, but equally, technologies like the Internet and smart phones are having a dramatic effect on how our society develops.”

Mr Patrignani says ICT professionals must increasingly consider not only the technical capabilities of their software offerings, but also the ethical and social implications for their users and the wider community.

“It’s very important that software architects and computer scientists actively question the way the Cloud is shaping our society and are aware both of the opportunities and vulnerabilities that are likely to arise. In the ‘always on’ scenario of the Cloud, information overload becomes a real concern for some users, while the accumulation of personal data on a global scale demands the introduction of international policies and norms for data privacy.”

The Conference will continue until Friday, 5th June.

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About IFIP

IFIP is the global professional federation of societies and associations for people working in Information and Communications Technologies and Sciences. Established under the auspices of UNESCO in 1960 and recognised by the United Nations, IFIP represents ICT professional associations from more than 50 countries and regions with a total membership of over half a million. It also brings together more than 3,500 scientists from industry and academia, organising them into over 100 Working Groups and 13 Technical Committees to conduct research, develop standards and promote information sharing. Based in Austria, IFIP organises and supports over 100 conferences each year, fostering the distribution of research and knowledge to academics and industry practitioners alike.