Tuesday, March 22, 2011

University of Alberta on Google goes live

The Official Google Enterprise Blog announces today that the University of Alberta is about to flick the switch to "Go Google" for student e-mail. The remaining faculty and staff will be switched over in the next months. This has been closely watched by most other Canadian universities as they look at cloud computing to cut IT costs and to provide more tools to students, faculty and staff. See: Official Google Enterprise Blog: The Green and Gold Goes Google.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dalhousie University's cloud conversation

Over the last few months, Dalhousie University has been looking much more closely to the possibility of replacing much of its expensive infrastructure with an outsourced cloud service. I was part of the conversation with my presentation (large mov file) on campus on Data Privacy Day and the conversation has been continuing. It has been very interesting to look at three recent articles on Dal News, including a two-part interview with Dwight Fischer, the University's CIO, and particularly the comments by students and other stakeholders on those articles. Check them out:

If you are a member of the University community (have a dal.ca login), you can join the conversation here: https://blogs.dal.ca/connectedU/.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ontario access to information decision may affect cloud computing decisions

Dan Michaluk has a great summary of a recent and important access to information case from Ottawa, City of Ottawa v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner) (13 December 2010, Ont Div. Ct.): Case Report – Personal e-mails not subject to FOI legislation « All About Information.

I think this is probably one of the most important access decisions of the past year. It's similar to Johnson v Bell Canada, but seems to go even further. It will have a big impact in universities, where professors have generally been wrangling for exclusion of their e-mail from access legislation.

Most importantly, I think: This case may also have an impact on cloud computing for universities and USA Patriot Act-blocking statutes, because these statutes only apply to information under the "custody or control" of the public body. This case can be interpreted to support the proposition that student e-mail, at least, is not under the custody or control of the public body for the purposes of such statutes.

Update (30 December 2010): Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Ontario Commissioner to appeal personal email decision.