US revealed to have 46% of all data centres despite EU concerns

Data protectionNew findings from Synergy Research Group show that 46% major cloud and internet data centre sites are located in the US, with second placed China only accounting for 7%.

The research is based on an analysis of the data centre footprint of 17 of the world’s major cloud and internet service firms and highlights the dominance of the US in the cloud market place. Japan is listed at third with a 6% market share and Germany was the largest European player with just 4%.

“Given that explosive growth in cloud usage is a global phenomenon, it is remarkable that the US still accounts for almost half of the world’s major data centres, but that is a reflection of the US dominance of cloud and internet technologies,” said John Dinsdale, Research Director at Synergy Research Group.

Considering the dominance of AWS, Microsoft and Google in the cloud market space, it’s unsurprising that the US is top of the rankings, though recent concerns from European countries regarding movement of its citizens’ data outside of the EU could complicate matters. Germany is one country which is sensitive to any changes in data protection policy and is considered to have some of the most stringent data protection laws worldwide.

“The other leading countries are there due to either their scale or the unique characteristics of their local markets. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that the UK does not feature more prominently, but that situation will change this year with AWS, Microsoft and Google all opening major data centres in the country,” said Dinsdale.

Back in October, the European Court of Justice decided that Safe Harbour did not give data transfers between Europe and the US adequate protection, and declared the agreement which had been in place since 2000 void. The EU-US Privacy Shield, Safe Harbour’s successor, has also come under criticism in recent weeks as concerns have been raised to how much protection the reformed regulations protect European parties.

While the new agreement has been initially accepted, privacy activist Max Schrems, who has been linked to the initial downfall of Safe Harbour, said in a statement reacting to Privacy Shield, “Basically, the US openly confirms that it violates EU fundamental rights in at least six cases. The commission claims that there is no ‘bulk surveillance’ any more, when its own documents say the exact opposite.” A letter from Robert Litt General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed that there were six circumstances where the NSA will be allowed to use data for undefined “counter-terrorism” purposes

While the concentration of data centres in the US should not come as a huge surprise, it puts into further context the fears of European parties who are concerned with the effectiveness of any EU-US data protection policies.