Electronic Contracts and Cloud Computing

Author:Farisa Tasneem
Position:Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
Pages:105-116
JICLT
Journal of International Commer cial Law and Technology
Vol.9, No.2 (2014)
105
Electronic Contracts and Cloud Computing
Farisa Tasneem
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
farisaif04@yahoo.com
Abstract: Cloud computing has revolutionized computing technology and has
opened new avenues for carrying out web based transactions. Th e Electronic Transactions
Amendment Act 2011 of Australia has become one of the significant pieces of legislation
that deals with the latest electronic transactions. This article seeks to explore the effect of
electronic contracts in the light of these recent legal developments. A comparative analysis
of th e laws of Australia and United States of Ameri ca (USA) is also carried out to gain
additional insights
1. Introduction
Computing technology as we know today is changing. Cloud technology allows hosting of appli cations
and documents into a cloud consisting of thousands of computers and servers which are linked together
and accessible thr ough the internet. Everything done on the computer through cloud technology is web
based, instead of being desktop based. Thus, desktop based documents and applications are moving into
the cloud. People will no longer be tied up to a single computer located in the office as the dat a can be
stored on the web and can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Although cloud computing sounds
far-fetched it has been employed by common provides such as Gmail, hot mail and Apple me Mobile.
Several big companies such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and sun systems are offering cloud
computing.1
With traditional desktop based computers documents ar e stored on the computer on which they are
created. Software pr ogrammes are also run on the personal computer. Desktop based documents can be
accessed through other computer l ocated within the same network but cannot be a ccessed by computers
outside the network. In contrast, cloud computing removes this barrier. With cloud computing software
programmes are not run by personal computer instead they are stored and run by the cloud servers. Unlike
the tr aditional model cloud computing is not personal computer centric instead it is document centric.
Cloud computing encompasses multiple computers, multiple servers and multiple networks. In a layman’s
language cloud is a collection of computers an d servers which are accessible through the internet. A web
based application or service offered via the internet is called cloud computing. It can include cloud based
word processor, email, and power point presentation.2
Cloud computing can be seen as a collection of services. It can be described as a layered cloud
computing architecture. Services offered through the internet usually consist of IT services a nd is called
SaaS ( Software as a service). It allows software to be run remotely via a cloud. Infrastructure as service (
IaaS) guarantees processing power, storage and internet access.3 Platform as a service (PaaS) provides
platform to the developers to host web applications.4
The aim of the article is to examine the effect of electronic contracts from the perspective of cloud
computing. The research specifically examines the impact of electronic contracts in Australia and USA.
The article examines the effectiveness of electronic contracts in the light of recent legal developments and
identifies the main factors that may be creating uncertainty. The article does not att empt to find solutions
1 M Mille, Cloud Computing: Web-Based Applications That Change the Way You Work and Collaborate Online
(2009).
2 M Mille, Cloud Computing: Web-Based Applications That Change the Way You Work and Collaborate Online
(2009).
3 B Furht, Handbook of Cloud Computing (2010) p 5
4 N Antonopoulos and L Gillam, Cloud Computing: Principles Systems and Applications (2010) p5

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