This article will disturb more than one, because in the professional policed world it is fashionable to stay in the political correctness. However, having only “politically correct” or overly polite opinions does not advance the debate!
What is the origin of my rant? New information released at the end of June, notably in the Monde Informatique, which reports that the BPI, which is the state funding organization for companies and particularly for Start-Up companies, has chosen an American solution as its cloud solution : AWS from Amazon ! This choice concerns the implementation of the loan guaranteed by the state during the Covid-19 pandemic. By its origin, Amazon is subject to all the requests of the American justice within the framework of the “ Cloud Act ” and has been systematically executed to this day …
The accumulation of blunders by French senior administration and the government represented by Cédric O. Secretary of State for Digital makes our perception of these actions oscillate between grim incompetence and guilty ignorance of strategic issues. Because on this last point, the consequences can go as far as an economic weakening of the country, this concept of the nation’s strategic interest is no longer understood or accepted.
The latest examples of this carelessness …
First of all, we had the Palantir® Big Data start-up affair, the main shareholder of which is the CIA investment fund… This name does not mean anything to you, yet it’s a company that s is interested in European health data. They tried to contract with the APHP (Zdnet), an operation which fortunately was not finalized, probably thanks to the scrutiny it sparked in the press… With Brexit, Palantir® will succeed in getting their hands on English NHS data (linformaticien.com)…
Then comes the Data Hub Health business, where without a call for tenders and with a specious argument, the initial choice for the cloud solution, was focused on Microsoft Azure… Thanks to the mobilization of digital players, and April 9 call, but also hospital actors with their petition, the authorities ended up reviewing their copy and launching a tender. However, we must be vigilant when we see other American players positioning themselves (digital factory) … In this same article we learn that Oracle this American player is already a Cloud supplier for APHP and CNAM, this doesn’t is not sufficiently known to the general public. All of these choices must be questioned.
It is also reported that many practitioners use WhatsApp (Facebook !!) to exchange health data, through ignorance or convenience. However, there are completely instantaneous French instant messaging solutions, I am thinking above all of Olvid, a very young shoot, but very promising. Its offer for written instant messages is free … A version supporting video and voice with the same level of security should arrive in September / October 2020, the latter functionalities requiring a modest subscription, but this application guarantees non-exploitation of your data by design.
And now this case on the choices of BPI France … Yes, it is problematic this choice of AWS (globalsecuritymag). This allows our American “friends” to shamelessly promote their businesses. On the subject, Arnaud de Montebourg denounces the fact that one of our Solocal start-ups did not have access to BPI funding, probably through concerted actions by its American competitors (Marianne).
If in this example there are probably no direct links, once Amazon has financial information on our French companies, what do you think could happen? Isn’t this an unexpected source of data on the financial health of companies having used these loans guaranteed by the state, allowing to choose its prey and to make its surveys …
In front of these repeated hiccups, what to do ?
Mobilize: And it starts, with the mobilization of our digital players, and in particular the call of April 9 and the #PlayFrance #PlayEurope initiatives. These initiatives show a willingness to structure in order to no longer be passive in the face of this worrying situation and to be proactive. I invite you to find the interview with Pascal Gayat, one of the co-founders of this movement, he gives us an interesting roadmap.
Protect our digital players: One of the requests, which may not have been pushed to the right level yet, but it is up to our elected officials to relay it and support it, would be that 50 to 60% of all calls from ” national, regional or local offers on the search for digital solutions are reserved for French solutions. When it comes to hosting strategic data, from my point of view, it should be mandatory to have a host located in France (with several data centers in France) which does not depend on any foreign legislation.
Communicate: We also need to find the right communication relays in order to continue our mission of “evangelization” to use the Anglo-Saxon terms so often used in digital communication. But it is not only a question of communicating and putting forward our actors, but also of showing all the advantages, short, medium and long terms to use these solutions:
- Innovation (explain)
• Proximity, having teams in France will only be beneficial in customer-supplier relationships
• Data protection and compliance with our regulations (GDPR)
• Preservation of qualified direct jobs on our national territory. These also include the creation of indirect jobs thanks to the maintenance of strong economic activity
• De facto more sustainable development model (by making Glocal…)
Finally, we as citizens must realize that our individual choices affect the survival and development of our digital players. The pandemic has enabled us to become brutally aware of strong industrial dependencies on drugs, masks and test reagents. However, our dependence on American or Chinese digital technology is just as critical, even if this hegemony does not seem dangerous for most of us. By using their free services, by giving them your data, they have been able to constitute a financial center that allows them to acquire any future innovator or competitor.
My dear readers, I know that my positioning may seem virulent, but mastery of our digital ecosystem and our data is essential (LaTribune). It is important to understand that we are in the midst of an economic war, and that both the Americans and the Chinese regard Europe as a territory where it is easy to hunt, as we do not have the tools to defend ourselves.
A belated awareness of European and French public authorities seems to be emerging. Let us accompany them in this movement, ask for a real awareness of digital issues, and stop the massacre by more than questionable decisions of our current secretary of state. It is time that, if there is a government reshuffle, we see the emergence of a full digital ministry, with teams and a minister who understand and master the subject.