February 27, 2014
By SafeGov Contributor, Bryan Cunningham.
If you’re looking to launch a cloud-based venture, Ireland wants you to know it’s open for business. Very open. Not just a tax haven, mind you, Ireland wants to be very clear about that, given allegations to the contrary in the US Congress last year. In late 2013, Ireland’s Industrial Development Agency, chartered to attract foreign business to the island, pushed back hard on allegations that companies establish “headquarters” in Ireland in order to render themselves immune from corporate tax. The IDA stressed, in a Venture Beat Op-Ed, that, while it’s 12.5 percent corporate tax rate is attractive there is far more to recommend Ireland as a “cloud haven.”
Ireland wants to be the world’s preferred cloud business destination or, in a phrase a prominent Irish cyber security entrepreneur hopes will catch on: a “compliance haven.” Citing, among other factors, the “eye watering” fines in the United States for cyber security compliance failures, this Eire booster asserts that cloud storage is “quite possibly” a silver bullet for IT compliance, at least so long as the cloud storage is in Ireland. He asserts that Google and Microsoft are already Ireland’s two biggest exporters and, Ireland is an international home to other tech titans as well, including Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Twitter, to name a few.
Why Ireland? Boosters cite the “Patriot Act,” perhaps somewhat inaccurately, for the notion that “the Patriot Act” enabled the US Government to compel companies based in the United States to hand over any person’s information, regardless of nationality, and that cloud companies with headquarters in Ireland somehow are immune from US Government or, presumably, other nations’ surveillance. Need some other reasons?
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Bryan Cunningham is an information security, privacy, and data protection lawyer with Cunningham Levy LLP, and a senior advisor of The Chertoff Group, a global security advisory firm that advises clients on cyber security.