NICE: Google places customer data security as its number one criteria when selecting data centre sites to try and avoid the prying eyes of governments.
Many large technology firms, such as Google, Facebook and Apple, are rapidly growing their data centre locations to take advantage of benefits such as cool climates, access to power, and connectivity to major web hubs as user demand for their services rockets.
However, speaking at the DataCentres Europe conference on Thursday, Google programme manager for global infrastructure, Peter Jones, explained that privacy is still the overriding factor as the firm is wary of any regions where it cannot guarantee data control.
"The primary consideration is information privacy and security. Since we're dealing with customers' data this is a make or break criteria," he said. "Beyond that you have issues such as corruption and importing equipment as you go further down the list [of site criteria] but how we keep data secure is the headline issue."
Issues of data privacy are not simple, though, as Jones acknowledged, with policies differing across regions and nations, such as in the European Union.
This could change in the future, though, as the Data Protection Regulation makes its way into law. Ed Cooke, head of international data centre advisory at law firm Bird and Bird, said this could make it easier for firms like Google to operate across Europe.
"At the moment there are many variations across Europe but hopefully the new regulation will give a more consistent law implemented across the region," he said.
The issue of data centre site selection was raised on Wednesday at the event with one UK data centre owner arguing the creation of a hub within London for data centres is bad for businesses as it puts their data at risk.
Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal.