International Talk Like a Pirate Day is still more than 24 hours away, but the Freakonomics blog has got in on the act a little early. They note that the Google is considering moving some of its data centres to barges in international waters. The potential advantages range from the economic (tax avoidance) to the environmental (harnessing wave power).
But the Freakonomics guys discuss a potential risk – physical and data security might be at risk from pirates on the open seas. As some of the commenters note, the data integrity issues could be minimal if appropriate security measures are taken with the data servers (which, one would hope, the Google is already doing). Another question I would like to know the answer to is whether the move might loosen any ties that privacy laws place on the company – I would hope that they would continue their efforts to comply with US, EU and other privacy regulations, but if they are holding data outside of any national jurisdiction I am left to wonder about how any breaches might be enforced.