In post-PRISM world, how much does Europe’s cloud industry stand to gain?

In the aftermath of revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency’s data collection program PRISM, many have said that the controversy will cost U.S. cloud companies dearly, potentially to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. But will that damage travel across the pond or result in a windfall for European cloud companies?

When asked that question Thursday at GigaOM’s Structure: Europe conference, Dan Gillmor, an author and professor of digital media at Arizona State University, told GigaOM senior writer David Meyer that it depends on whether you think European governments won’t do exactly the same thing with providers in their own jurisdictions.

“I sense that a lot of the outrage from leaders in places like Germany is that they reserve the right to spy on their citizens to themselves, rather than to my government,” he said. “So, we’ll see.”

Markus Rex, CEO of OwnCloud, an open-source cloud storage company with headquarters in the U.S. and Europe, said he agreed. “There is a different perception of what is the target,” he said. “If the target is to go after some economic data…people might think, ‘I really want that in my country,’ because they may feel like their own government is not necessarily spying on their trade secrets.’ ” But he suggested that people may feel differently when it comes to personal data.

Joyent co-founder Jason Hoffman (who just stepped down as CTO last week) said, “Reality doesn’t matter when it comes to these things…I think there’s a very big market opportunity for someone to capitalize on the perception of it.”

Check out the rest of our Structure:Europe 2013 coverage here, and a video embed of the session follows below:
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A transcription of the video follows on the next page