Vitako discusses dependency and „digital sovereignty“

Picture: Tobias Koch (

“Digital sovereignty as government responsibility” was the motto for a reception held by Vitako in October 2019.

In his speech the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Ulrich Kelber, pointed out that the conditions for digital sovereignty are based on data protection and the universal governance of the GDPR. Yet, many questions still need to be answered on a practical level. Dataport chairman and member of the board of Vitako, Dr. Johann Bizer, warned about storing and processing sensitive data in public clouds, especially outside of the European Union.

Earlier, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior released a market study, which found that the federal administration highly depends on products of a small number of software companies.  This issue is becoming even more severe, because these companies’ business models are changing. Software and services that used to be provided “on premises” are now being moved into the cloud. According to the authors this dependency bears the risks of limiting the customers control over and security of his data, rising costs and becoming “locked-in” in the ecosystem of one service provider. The Ministry announced that it will work to become less reliant on single software producers and has started evaluating alternatives, also consulting with other EU-member states.

In August, the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security and the European Data Protection Supervisor had invited representatives of national administrations, EU bodies and international organisations to The Hague. Also Vitako and other Euritas members were present. The discussion made it obvious that dependency on very few software suppliers and a lack in negotiating power were shared problems among all participants who vowed to work closer together in the future in order to strengthen everybody’s position. As a result of the conference, interested users of Microsoft products in the public sector now have the opportunity to jointly negotiate a similar agreement to the one achieved between the Netherlands and Microsoft.

Daniel Sieberath, VITAKO (Germany)