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Enter the cloud wars

Cloud Computing illustration.

Cloud Computing illustration.

IMAGO/Westlight via Reuters Connect

The Biden administration proposed new rules on Monday placing know-your-customer requirements on cloud service providers. This is the government’s latest step aimed chiefly at keeping China at bay.

“We can't have non-state actors or China or folks who we don’t want accessing our cloud to train their models,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told Reuters. “We use export controls on chips … Those chips are in American cloud data centers, so we also have to think about closing down that avenue for potential malicious activity.”

The White House has issued export controls on the computer chips made with US parts, a stringent set of requirements that have cut off China and its technology firms from buying high-powered chips — or at least buying them through above-board means.

The chip wars now have a parallel: the cloud wars.

Know-your-customer requirements are typically imposed upon financial institutions like banks to thwart money laundering and terrorist financing. They’re not common in the much-less-regulated tech industry — something that will likely lead to moans, groans, and lawsuits from Big Tech.


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