Recently I participated in a very useful panel that aimed to demystify European digital sovereignty. Even though we spoke for more than an hour (video), we obviously were not able to fix all of Europe’s sovereignty problems!
The event was organized by Scaleway (previously Online SAS or Online.net), a 100% subsidiary of what I think is Europe’s most innovative telecommunications company, Iliad.
I think I was part of the panel because I’ve previously written some very strident words on Europe’s Software Problem, and on the problem of near universal telco outsourcing to places outside of Europe.
Now, I don’t want to do a full recap of the event - we spoke for quite some time, and touched on a lot of themes. But I do want to highlight some important things.
Sovereignty and autonomy are lofty words, but we can also take a very practical approach. Here in Europe we get almost all our digital (communication) services through foreign platforms. This leads to the first concrete question: what are those people abroad doing with all our data? There are significant reasons to worry about this. The US CLOUD Act, the scant legal protection US and Chinese law afford to foreign data, and the way major platforms have been massaging the GDPR to their advantage are not reassuring.