Singapore leaps forward in global policy rankings; Japan, Australia, and US lead global market; Europe stallsWASHINGTON, March 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Countries around the world are improving the legal environment for cloud computing — though at an uneven pace that risks undermining the full economic potential of cloud technologies, according to a new report from BSA | The Software Alliance. The 2013 BSA Global Cloud Computing Scorecard — the first report ever to track changes in the global policy landscape for cloud computing — finds that while many of the world's biggest IT markets have stalled or slid backwards, others are embracing laws and regulations conducive to cloud innovation. The Scorecard also finds that policy fragmentation persists, as some countries, aiming to promote local cloud markets, adopt laws and regulations that inhibit cross-border data flows or skew international competition. "We're seeing patchy progress in the policy landscape for cloud computing," said BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman. "Mismatched privacy and security rules are making it hard for data to flow across borders. Too many countries are chopping off pieces of the cloud for themselves. This undercuts economies of scale that can benefit everyone. To have a cohesive global marketplace, we need more bridges and fewer barriers." The new 2013 BSA Cloud Scorecard builds on an inaugural edition of the report released last year. The biggest mover in the rankings is Singapore, which vaulted to fifth from 10 th place a year ago by adopting a new privacy law that builds user trust while also promoting business innovation. The 2013 study finds that Japan continues to lead the global rankings with a comprehensive suite of laws supporting digital commerce. Australia remains in second place, and the US has edged into third, pushing Germany down to fourth. The study finds that policy improvements in many of the world's biggest IT markets have stalled. Notably, all six European Union countries covered in the study have lost ground in the rankings. Others are effectively unplugging themselves from the global market — with especially counterproductive policies in Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam. The study evaluates countries in seven policy areas critical to the market for cloud computing services — data privacy, cybersecurity, cybercrime, intellectual property, technology interoperability and legal harmonization, free trade, and ICT infrastructure.