Will 2022 be the year of digital sovereignty for Europe ?
This is one of the three ambitions EuraTechnologies is putting forward this year to support companies and entrepreneurs, together with a net zero strategy and a stand for more diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.
The more digital our lives become, the more our lifestyles, the way we buy things, our jobs, our education and other non-digital fields gone virtual, the more digital sovereignty (and specifically in Europe) becomes a critical issue.
But why? And further, what is it all about ?
Why is sovereignty often related to digital and how does Europe fit in all of this?
What is « sovereignty » ?
In 1580, Montaigne wrote in his essays : « sovereignty is defined by the power of domination or decision-making upon someone or something ».
Nowadays, at a state’s scale, sovereignty is, rather than a domination tool, a fight between states to claim their independance to rule without being subjugated by anyone.
From the citizens’ point of view, sovereignty is the same as democracy, when a democratic system is a system where the people are independant and have the power to decide for themselves.
Why do we say « digital sovereignty » ?
For tech companies, digital sovereignty is as crucial as social and environnemental responsibilities. Digital sovereignty is a frame which includes values related to the way customers’ data are collected, analyzed and used, but also the way companies protect themselves against cybercrime and from being hacked, raise funds and select the best partnerships.
Companies will often wonder:
- Where are my clients’ data hosted ?
- What if ransomware blocks my access to my sales tool ?
- How to avoid plagiarism of my solution ?
- How to guarantee intellectual property for the software we are producing?
- How not to be hacked by my competitors ?
- How do we insure the common sharing of values among tech stakeholders in a global digital world ?
- How to stay competitive when facing hyper scalers budgets , when, at the same time, European funds for tech companies are much more modest than the funds allocated to US or Asian companies ?
In France, the CNIL, the french DPA (French Data Protection Authority) has put in place a regulation in 2016 : the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which frequently pin the american tech giants when they’re not aligned with French regulations. But if the French DPA and the European Commission succeed inputting in place these regulations and drive international lawsuits when necessary, 1 million euros is a drop in the ocean for a multi-billion GAFAM !
This is a David versus Goliath situation which frequently leads companies to wave the red flag in order to avoid the aftermath. And this is also why the question of funding and european investments in their own companies is crucial in very discussion about european digital sovereignty.
To sum-up… ?
European digital sovereignty is, when companies are concerned, all anout:
- Helping the European tech industry grow and stay competitive,
- The abolishment of tech giants’ monopole and the promotion of a regulated market,
- Cybersecurity risk management,
- Data management (hosting, exploitation, storage, use, collection,…),
- Customer transparency,
- Tech for good priority (green tech, net zero strategy, …),
- Any other ideas ?
On march, 17th, the European tech industry gathers at EuraTechnologies for the FutureProof Summit to debate digital sovereignty trends in Europe and to define its future: