EURITAS adopts position paper on digital sovereignty

Copyright: Istock.com

Copyright: Istock.com

Ensure control and security of European citizen’s data, gain independence from market-dominating companies

Due to the corona crisis cloud applications and collaboration software solutions that process data via the cloud have become more important. However, their use is often linked to conditions of software providers that are not in line with European security and data protection regulations. The proliferation of software solutions that can be used almost exclusively via a cloud connection implies dangers for the public administration and thus also for the citizens.

Position paper to preserve digital sovereignty

In May 2020, the members of EURITAS adopted a position paper on how to deal with cloud services in digital administration. This paper proposes guiding principles for maintaining digital sovereignty among public administrations and their citizens, and highlights the areas in which EURITAS is actively working to achieve this goal. The focus is on a secure use of cloud services, such as those offered by large American corporations, especially Amazon and Microsoft. 

“The availability of IT infrastructures and data is crucial for a functioning public administration. Given the tense global free trade, storing data outside the EU has become a risk to public administration. Digital sovereignty ensures that states and companies outside the EU cannot succeed in putting pressure on the EU and its member states. Europe has to join forces to act as a strong negotiating partner against market-dominating software providers. Anyone who sells software in Europe should take into account European laws from day one, which is why we have to call for more,” said Markus Kaiser, President of EURITAS and Managing Director of the Federal Computing Center in Austria.

 

EURITAS guiding principles for maintaining digital sovereignty:

  • Create ownership and control over data and digital identities
    • The concept of self-sovereign identity (SSI) promises citizens full sovereignty over their own data by processing data records from various parties, including cross-border parties, securely and in a user-friendly manner. Public administrations must ensure the integrity of SSI when they act as providers and provide access to services and applications.
  • Ensure access to your own data
    • The availability of IT infrastructures and data is crucial for a functioning public administration that is available to both citizens and companies.
  • Achieve independence from monopolistic providers.
    • The aim of the EURITAS members is to reduce their dependency on monopolistic providers and to find possible alternatives, preferably through open source solutions.

Current fields of action for the members of EURITAS:

  1. Negotiations on general terms and conditions with existing external cloud providers should allow more influence for public administration customers.
  2. EURITAS members work together to find, develop and implement alternative software solutions and services in order to break through dependencies and strengthen their position vis-à-vis large software Providers.
  3. The exchange with other European institutions about the development of alternative platforms for public administration should be promoted.
  4. In the sense of self-sovereign identity (SSI), citizens should be empowered to manage their own digital identities and determine which data they want to share with whom.

Position paper in full text

The full position paper can be downloaded here free of charge.

 

Inquiry note:

EURITAS Headoffice Vienna
M: euritas@brz.gv.at
Web: www.euritas.eu
Twitter: @EuritasEU
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/euritas

Juliana Mueller, BRZ (Austria)