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Trusted Cloud Drive to protect users’ privacy

The TERENA Trusted Cloud Drive (TCD) platform should focus on turning personal cloud storage facilities of national research and education networking organisations (NRENs) and universities into trusted services that offer academia alternative storage solutions for data that might pose an unacceptable risk if it were to come into the possession of a foreign government in a non-transparent way. These recommendations were made in the final TCD pilot project report, available as a PDF at

According to the report, the TCD software component should evolve into a lightweight storage middleware that protects users’ privacy by separating metadata and storage data before it is exposed to the cloud back-end. The metadata must then be stored in a trusted place, while the storage data is encrypted and stored in the remote cloud securely and safely. In this way, the encrypted content would not be accessible by governments without notifying the data owner. The report further demonstrates how the TCD platform addresses legal concerns highlighted by the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework, the USA Patriot Act, and the European Commission Directive on fighting cyber-crime and protecting privacy in the cloud.

TCD Pilot project completed

The final evaluation report and recommendations mark the end of the TERENA TCD pilot, an 11-month project launched in April 2012 to explore possible deployment scenarios for a trusted personal data storage service for NRENs to offer their academic and research communities. The TCD pilot service built on the Cloud Broker Platform, a flexible open-source federated software platform developed by UNINETT Sigma in 2012 under the NEON project.

Next steps

Although the TERENA TCD pilot project officially ended in April 2013, TERENA is keen on furthering the development of the TCD service platform, taking into account the results and recommendations of the final report. According to the development plans, TCD 2.0 will not function as a complete end-user data storage facility but a lightweight privacy protector middleware component to be easily installed at the back-end of the appropriate personal data storage applications of the user's choice. The TERENA action plan also includes providing legal advice to NRENs on their use of TCD; procuring storage through a framework agreement with several suppliers and offering this to TERENA members; and supporting both community-built and commercial cloud storage applications with a view of integrating the TCD.

Further information

More information about the pilot can be found on the TERENA Trusted Cloud Drive wiki page.

More information on TERENA's activities regarding clouds and cloud services can be found on the Cloud services and activities webpage.

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EuropeLogo eInfastructure This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 313203
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