International Issues in Cloud Computing

CLE presented on May 20, 2015 by Professor Karrin Klotz, UW Bothell
Summary prepared by Jonathan M. Lloyd, WSBA IPS CLE Chair, 2014-15

Professor Karrin Klotz provided a timely and detailed overview of cloud computing and associated legal issues.  Professor Klotz began her presentation by discussing certain essential characteristics of cloud computing, various cloud computing service models and types of clouds, as well as data sensitivity and market shifts in the digital economy.

After this introductory discussion, Professor Klotz spent the balance of her presentation addressing various international aspects of cloud computing.  Professor Klotz first highlighted some general legal issues that affect international outsourcing of cloud computing services, including jurisdiction/forum, governing law and dispute resolution, and also highlighted the challenges that may arise in the context of cross-border insolvency.  She also discussed some of the new risks that may arise when cloud computing services are outsourced to providers (or providers who use subcontractors) outside of the United States.

Professor Klotz then focused on a number of key considerations and legal ramifications that companies should take into account when transitioning to cloud computing services that may involve international providers.  Among the issues she covered were the challenges in negotiating cloud computing agreements, particularly when providers attempt to use form agreements; privacy protection and data security, including creation, ownership and protection of intellectual property, data breaches, and foreign surveillance laws; export and data transfer issues; termination rights and remedies; and various issues that arise in the context of litigation or arbitration, including e-discovery, attorney-client privilege, blocking statutes (which US courts have generally ignored), and responses to subpoenas.

Finally, Professor Klotz touched on various ethical issues relating to confidentiality and attorney-client privilege that attorneys’ use of cloud computing services may implicate.  Among other things, she discussed recent guidance from the ABA’s 20/20 Commission on Ethics and the WSBA’s 2012 advisory opinion 2215 on cloud computing.


The preceding summary discusses certain key points discussed during the CLE presentation, all of which were outlined in greater detail in the accompanying written materials.  This summary is a publication of the WSBA International Practice Section, and is posted with the approval of the speakers and the WSBA International Practice Section executive committee.  It is designed to inform members of the WSBA International Practice Section of recent legal developments, and may not be used to claim CLE credit.  This summary is not intended, nor should it be used, as a substitute for specific legal advice as legal counsel may only be given in response to inquiries regarding particular situations. If you have specific questions about this topic, please feel free to contact Professor Klotz by email at


For the original announcement of this CLE, please visit HERE.