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Presidential elections and digital – October 2021

We are still 6-7 months away from the presidential elections, and the programs are starting to take shape and grow according to the different candidates or pre-candidates. It seems interesting to me to see at this early stage where the reflection on the digital transformation of our society is, and therefore the place that digital could or should have in this campaign.

This is a first article. I will try to analyze the evolution of the candidates’ positions on this theme, if they have one!

 

State of play

 

The subject of digital is an important one, as the pandemic has shown us. Thanks to our existing infrastructures, and the will to deploy fiber as widely as possible, we were able to absorb the shock of a massive shift to telecommuting imposed by the circumstances.

The issues of sovereignty in this sector, with the big stakes around the use of our data have been highlighted, and we have seen the emergence of a collective of French digital actors PlayFranceDigital. The government seems to have started a belated awareness that is difficult to materialize in acts, even if there are some encouraging signs…

In the lack of reaction, I would cite two examples, first of all concerning the Data Hub Santé, the French Health Data Platform, why has the migration from Microsoft Azure to a sovereign solution still not started? Why is the BPI still using AWS to reference PGEs (State Guaranteed Loans), when this contains extremely strategic financial data on the financial health of many French companies? These two cloud hosting platforms, Microsoft Azure and Amazon’s AWS, depend on the Patriot Act and the Cloud Act, which are extraterritorial American laws. Moreover, with the invalidation of the Privacy Shield, it is no longer possible to transfer data to the US without a minimum of contractualization and clarification on the fate of the data.…

In the positive signs, we have the ministers who were asked to abandon #WhatsApp, it was time! for Tchap a French open-source messaging, they could also have turned to #olvid the messaging reputed the most secure in the world with its ANSSI certifications. Let’s mention again the decision of the State Digital Directorate (DIRNUM) to remind that Office 365 (Microsoft) is not compliant with the “cloud center” policy, even if it seems ready for some deviations (Silicon).

As we can see, all of these subjects are critical and have impacts on our independence, our democracy and our economy. If it is appreciable to note that a certain number of lines are beginning to move, this remains timid, and given the geopolitical stakes and economic competition (australian crisis), it’s time to move up a gear …

 

What proposals to protect and strengthen our digital sovereignty ?

 

In a previous article, I had the opportunity to appeal to the future candidates for the presidency of the republic (Article Effisyn SDS). I had the opportunity to develop some ideas on this occasion.

There are of course the flagship measures carried by PlayFranceDigital :

  • Direct 50% of the digital orders of French administrations to national or European players (if no national players)
  • Setting up operational mechanisms in line with this target, incentive mechanisms for the development and adoption of French digital solutions.
  • Creation of an index of French (and European) companies offering sovereign solutions to digital needs and uses.

So, to use a familiar phrase, there is plenty to grind, so what can we observe when reading the various electoral programs?

 

Positioning today of the main candidates or pre-candidates of the presidential election

 

In order to make this analysis, I relied on the work done by the iFRAP Foundation, which proposes a rather well done and detailed programs’ comparator. And I must say that the collection is thin… Not a single program addresses the subject of digital and the need for a clear strategy on the subject

The aspects of reindustrialization and sovereignty are still only lightly addressed, although they were the most pressing issues highlighted by the covid-19 pandemic!

Everyone agrees on the importance of digital technology, on the transformation of our society, in terms of the nature of work, risks or opportunities on today’s and tomorrow’s employment, but not a single line in the programs! Not a single line either on the challenges that digital technology poses to our democracy and our social relations.

While it is a cross-cutting theme that affects all subjects: employment, education, research, industry, defense, and even ecology, not a word in any of the programs to date! Isn’t that frightening? I want to believe that it is only because we are at a very early stage of the deadline, that we have not yet had any clear position on the subject, apart from the shuddering observed from the government.

 

Conclusion

 

Even if we are still far from the presidential elections, it is high time that all the candidates, whatever their political color, take up the subject. Indeed, digital technology and digital sovereignty are in fact transversal on many subjects and not taking them into account is the insurance to feed future flaws that will jeopardize a possible recovery of our economy, our jobs but also the cultural influence of France!

Ladies and gentlemen candidates, wake up! It’s time to take this issue head on, and our digital ecosystem is rich and vibrant enough to support you!

Let’s hear it…

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