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L.A. Council committee meeting on Google plan postponed again

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Tue, Aug 4, 2009 at 6:33 pm

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A proposal to switch Los Angeles city government’s email and some other computer applications to a "cloud computing" system operated by Internet giant Google is moving even slower at City Hall than dial-up speed.

The proposal, which would in effect put 30,000 city email accounts on the premium version of Gmail, was to have been discussed at a meeting today of City Council’s Information Technology and General Services (ITGS) Committee.   But Council ran late and the ITGS meeting was canceled.

The first time the Google plan was on the ITGS agenda was two weeks ago.  With two committee members absent then, the issue was held over for discussion today.  Now the meeting has been rescheduled for next Tuesday.

After ITGS considers the plan, it goes to the Budget and Finance Committee before being taken up by the full Council.

This slow pace isn’t a bad thing.  Moving into "cloud computing," where data is stored on someone else’s servers and accessed through the Internet, is fraught with security and privacy concerns.  The L.A. Police Department is among those who have raised concerns about the Google proposal.

I’m not upset at the pace. The only thing a hasty move to Google’s cloud would ensure for L.A. is stormy weather.

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This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 361 posts on Inside Google.

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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