On 14 February 2017, the organization Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe (CISPE) issued a press release that a number of leading cloud computing vendors operating in Europe have declared compliance with the CISPE Data Protection Code of Conduct (the “Code”) for some or all their services. All cloud infrastructure services compliant with the Code requirements are listed on the CISPE Public Register. The providers of these services can display a certification mark on their websites to notify their customers of their services’ compliance with the Code.

CISPE said that the Code is supposed to guide customers in assessing whether cloud infrastructure services being offered by a particular provider are suitable for the data processing activities that they wish to perform. This includes, in particular, compliance with all EU data protection laws that are applicable and binding on them, including the EU Data Protection Directive and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR will come into effect on 25 May 2018. Cloud service providers adhering to the Code must, inter alia, give customers the choice to store and process their data entirely within the European Economic Area. They must also commit that they will not access or use their customers’ data for their “own purposes, including, in particular, for the purposes of data mining, profiling or direct marketing.”

In creating the Code, the CISPE acknowledged that there are a wide variety of cloud computing models and that data protection considerations vary based on the type of model a service provider uses. The Code focuses on Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers (IaaS) which host hardware, software, servers, storage and other infrastructure components on behalf of their customers. (Other categories of cloud computing services include Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).)

The Code has yet to be approved by the European Commission or any national data protection supervisory authority for GDPR purposes.


This article was originally published on AllAboutIP – Mayer Brown’s  blog on relevant developments in the fields of intellectual property and unfair competition law. For intellectual property-themed videos, Mayer Brown has launched a dedicated channel available here.