Article Image

IPFS News Link • Internet

U.S. "Know Your Customer" Proposal Will Put an End to Anonymous Cloud Users

•, by Andy Maxwell

The proposal boils down to a 'Know Your Customer' regime for companies operating cloud services, with the goal of countering the activities of "foreign malicious actors." Yet, despite an overseas focus, Americans won't be able to avoid the proposal's requirements, which covers CDNs, virtual private servers, proxies, and domain name resolution services, among others.

It's long been the case that access to certain services, whether on or offline, will only be granted when customers prove their identity.

Often linked to financial products but in many cases basic money/goods transactions carried out online, handing over a name, address, date of birth and similar details, can increase confidence that a deal will more likely than not go according to plan. In some cases, especially when buying restricted products, proving identity can be a condition of sale.

Yet, for many years, companies operating in the online space have been happy to do business with customers without knowing very much about them at all.

In some cases, where companies understand that a lack of friction is valuable to the customer, an email address has long been considered sufficient. If the credit or pre-payment card eventually used to pay for a product has enough credit and isn't stolen, there seems very little to be concerned about. For many governments, however, any level of anonymity has the capacity to cause concern, and if that means unmasking everyone to identify a few bad actors, so be it.

Improving Detection and Prevention of Foreign Malicious Cyber Activity

Perceived and actual threats from shadowy overseas actors are something few countries can avoid. Whether in the West or the East, reports of relatively low-key meddling through to seriously malicious hacks, even attacks on key infrastructure, are becoming a fact of modern life.

After being under discussion for years, late January the U.S. Department of Commerce published a notice of proposed rulemaking hoping to reduce threats to the United States. If adopted, the proposal will establish a new set of requirements for Infrastructure as a Service providers (IaaS), often known as cloud infrastructure providers, to deny access to foreign adversaries.