FRANKFURT, Germany – Germany unveiled Tuesday, October 29, a plan backed by France to establish a secure data infrastructure that would reduce Europe’s dependence on US “cloud” networks.
Dubbed “Gaia-X”, the project “aims at setting up a secure and trustworthy data infrastructure for Europe,” a statement released by the German economy ministry said.
Technical and organizational details will be presented early next year to the governments of other European Union member states, which could then join the initiative, it added.
“This infrastructure will help us regain our digital sovereignty and can form the basis for a digital ecosystem where data can be made available, collated and shared,” German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier was quoted by the statement as saying.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who took part in the high-level digital forum at which the plan was unveiled, noted that Europe lagged behind US giants such as Google, Amazon or Microsoft in terms of their capacity for stocking and using digital data.
“What concerns me above all is that the treatment of industrial and consumer data is done for the most part by American companies,” Merkel said.
“We are entering into a dependent relationship which is not good in the long run,” she added.
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said the project would include “data warehouses, data pooling and … data interoperability.”
“This is important for Europe’s digital and technological autonomy,” he added.
Germany has also proposed that a cooperative European entity be established to define references, standards and certification criteria based notably on stricter EU standards of data protection.
“In all digital matters, we must think as much as possible in European terms,” Merkel said.
Among the German companies involved in the project are Siemens, software giant SAP, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom, and the industrial group Bosch. – Rappler.com