Cédric O, our state digital officer, leaves politics, good news for digital sovereignty?

Source : Les Echos

A few days ago, the nagging rumor was confirmed by the interested party himself Le point 8 mars 22), Cedric O leaves politics to join the private sector. And as reported by Le Point, he will join many of his predecessors such as Axelle Lemaire, Fleur Pellerin or Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet or Eric Besson. It will be interesting to see which industrial groups he will join…


What is the assessment of his action with regard to digital sovereignty?


Being realistic, he applied to digital the approach of the current government in its most futile and harmful … If we want to summarize the government policy on digital in its emblematic actions:

  • Choice of #microsoft for the Health Data Hub (Plateforme de données de santé in good French, “mais c’est plus chic en anglais, non?”)
  • Choice of #aws (#amazon) to host the file of the companies having recourse to the PGE (Loan Guaranteed by the State) at the BPI. Where sensitive information on our most innovative companies is available to foreign companies (American).
  • The choice by the SNCF public company where the state is not only the shareholder but also the main creditor has chosen to migrate all or part of its infrastructure on #aws … or here are the data of the French, help yourself, we pay you for that.
  • It seems that the communications that I consider sensitive between the state and the national representation go through #Telegram an application of Russian origin poorly secured (everything is in clear on the servers …) In normal times it seems to me a blunder, and given the geopolitical situation is now a fault.
  • Our digital secretary is wearing a T-shirt with the Google logo …
  • I would only mention the pitiful attempt of the Trusted Cloud, which is only trusted in name, intended to allow the Americans to continue to obtain markets in France, markets that should not be open to them because of the GRPD/Data pricacy shield.

However, it seems that an awareness has started to emerge on the need to take care of our digital sovereignty. Some measures are going in the right direction:

  • Prohibition by the Dirnum to deploy O365 in our administrations, our French digital actors have immediately reacted with a press release, and have shown that serious French alternatives exist
  • – We have a deputy Philippe Latombe of the governmental majority who strives to make those who govern us aware of the stakes and the need to regain our sovereignty also in the digital domain (Interview of December 17, 21)
  • The arrival of the Health Space, where all our data is hosted in France and not in the cloud (Interview 8 march 22)

As you can see, the result is at least mixed, and I would tend to judge it severely.


What questions does this departure raise?


On the balance sheet, no new questions, compared to what has been mentioned above. On the other hand, the question arises as to which company he will join… Will this departure for the private sector be for a French company or a recognized association  as for Axelle Lemaire, or in investment funds (Korean investments) as Fleur Pellerin, or join a French company for activities in the US as Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, and finish in a French investment fund. Or his choice as it is whispered in informed circles, to do like a number of high ranking civil servants before him, join one of the big American digital companies (Numérama)?

If this were the case, it would be desirable that the Haute Autorité pour la Transparence de la Vie Publique take the necessary measures and sanctions. It will be just as relevant to look at the choice of this company, in particular if it is a start-up, what will be the investment funds behind it. Indeed, it is necessary to make sure that neither the address book of the secretary of state, nor his knowledge of the future implementation of some political decisions can be used against the national interests and the French digital actors.




However, to the credit of the government’s policies, there is still another actor to be moved, it is the French high administration and its troubled links by cronyism, and their possibility of slipping into American companies in particular, but the Chinese are not left behind…

This affair is emblematic of a French evil, which is present at two levels.

First of all in the administration (in a general way) where the practice of “pantouflage” does not require a reform but an abolition. Logic would suggest that when you want to leave the civil service, you cannot go back except by reappointing and having lost all your advantages of your previous passage (seniority, grade, etc…)

Then, for politicians who have had governmental functions or who have sat in sensitive commissions, it should not be possible for them to go and work for foreign economic interests whatever the country (It is shocking that Mr. Fillon could go and work for Russian companies for example)! Non-competition clauses obviously only apply to the private sector…

The choice of the company in which he will land will be a very interesting marker, and will tell us a lot about the vision of the common interest that our ruling elites have…

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