The trusted cloud – what is it? First of all, a little background, at the beginning of 2020, the Health Data Hub affair led to an unprecedented mobilization of French digital actors (PlayFrance.Digital), an affair that I had the opportunity to address in several articles (1, 2, 3, 4). This affair required the government to back down in the face of the outcry triggered by the awarding of the hosting of our Health Data to Microsoft Azure, without a call for tenders. After the commitment to review this call for tender and to leave Microsoft Azure, for a sovereign hosting, the authorities are now bending and start talking about Trusted Cloud.
What do you mean by trust cloud?
In fact, it is simply a resignation in open country. The government acknowledges the real or supposed superiority of American or Chinese technologies. What is the plan in this context, is to ask or force big groups like Microsoft or Google to license their technologies to “French” or “European” players. I have trouble with this approach, while Gartner had put OVHCloud in their “magic quadrant”.
I would like to point out to our dear leaders that there is no worse signal than not trusting its manufacturers and letting them believe that they are not at the same qualitative level!
Moreover, is this set-up a sign of protection of our data, especially in the face of American extraterritorial laws, including the Cloud Act ? For this to be the case, I think it is critical that all contracts and payments are made in euros, otherwise I regret to inform you that the protection against extraterritoriality will be null…
In an excellent article, which addresses the subject of the trusted cloud (Développez.com)), mentions the existence of partnerships between Google and OVH Cloud. And the question is, in what currency is the contract provided and under what legal regime …
What is distressing in this story is this alignment with the GAIA-X initiative, the European initiative, which is unfortunately built more or less on the same principle with the involvement of American or Chinese giants! Can we still dare to speak of European or French sovereignty…?
Yet being sovereign is critical, and not only in economic terms, jobs and skills, but for geopolitical issues and the possibility of defending our interests as a Nation. The current geopolitical situation is increasingly conflictual, on many fronts. The Americans will not hesitate to play their part, which is normal, to protect their interests, will we still have this possibility? Or must we resolve to be only economic, geopolitical and cultural vassals?
Which options ?
The direction taken by the government, clearly does not seem to me the right one, can we still move the lines? I think that the mobilization of French digital actors has had an impact in 2020. It’s a long term fight. We don’t have the power of American lobbyists who want to make people believe that they have an unassailable technological advantage. But this is not true! For example, Apple’s revolution on the iPhone and iPod and its touch screens could only be achieved by buying French patents! The fight can be won, but by not relying on politicians, we need all the industrial actors and entrepreneurs of the French digital industry to mobilize to strengthen our ecosystem and to have cooperations that guarantee growth among themselves. Will this old stake finally be set in motion, or will it remain a utopia?
It is the responsibility of entrepreneurs to give preference to sovereign technical solutions (hosting, OS, etc…). We have the skills and resources, let’s regain confidence in ourselves and think collectively, think France.
Another possible action is to create our own label for digital professionals, which guarantees the level of sovereignty of the offer, based on non-exhaustive criteria, such as: the capital structure of the company, the legal structure, the competent jurisdiction, the location of the servers dedicated to this offer…
Once again, digital sovereignty is a long and difficult fight. We are facing above all economic giants in a quasi-monopolistic position, who do not hesitate to disinform our ruling classes (political or economic) in order to maintain their domination. On the other hand, their technological offer in itself is very efficient. But to give in is to give up our capacity to be economically, politically and culturally independent of the United States today and who knows of the Chinese tomorrow. Do we have so little confidence and faith in our values?
Finally, it is once again up to us individually to become aware of our power of influence, and on our personal or professional choices to favor solutions that protect us or benefit us by favoring employment and the maintenance of skills on our territory!