Clearly linked to the issue of digital sovereignty , the use of data by companies and public bodies is a matter of concern for Internet users. Already in 2014, a study conducted by the CSA1 showed that 81% of French people were concerned about the protection of their personal data. Today, users want to regain control over their personal data and regain their sovereignty.
What is data ?
The new oil: this is the nickname for data, a real issue of digital sovereignty and a new market value on the Internet. The volume of data produced worldwide is constantly increasing. In 2018, we were at 33 zettabytes (1 zettabyte = 1021 bytes) and we should reach 175 zettabytes in 2025 : an increase of more than 430%, according to the projection of the International Data Corporation.
From an economic point of view, data is essential for business innovation. It allows us to understand and predict consumer needs and behaviours in real time, which offers great opportunities for companies. The advent of Big Data has led companies to integrate data processing into their strategies in order to compete with American companies.
Data security challenges
The digital giants have made users accustomed to offering their personal data in exchange for a service or product. When we gave up our data, we didn't really know the repercussions that this could have, including the sale of this data to companies.
Today, internet users are more enlightened about how their data is used and want to protect it. This is one of the reasons why the GDPR was adopted in Europe in 2018, so that users can retain control of their personal data. Companies are now required to declare their personal data processing to the CNIL.
However, these laws protecting data are holding back companies' activity and their ability to innovate. This precautionary principle is slowing down European companies, whereas data processing is regulated after the fact in the United States.
The challenge of data hosting
The issue of data hosting is becoming crucial as public services become more paperless. As local authorities generally do not have their own datacenter, they have to opt for a foreign cloud service, such as Amazon Web Services. However, this sensitive data is hosted outside France, subject to non-European laws.
The applicable legal rule depends on the territory where the datacenters are installed and the nationality of the hosts. If the host is French but the infrastructure is abroad, the data is subject to the laws of the territory of installation. If the data is in a European datacenter but the company is American, the Patriot Act authorises access to the data by the American authorities without the authorisation of individuals or companies. In any case, hosting in France by a French company is preferable for the security of our data.
A data hosting strategy is underway in France to defend our digital sovereignty, with the support of the Ministry of the Economy. Cédric O, the Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, even declared in October 2020 that he planned to repatriate the Health Data Hub to a French or European provider, to the detriment of Microsoft.
Go further >>> Digital sovereignty: what is at stake?
In order to secure the data of French Internet users, it is urgent to develop sovereign solutions. In terms of secure clouds, French Tech currently has only OVHcloud. We can also mention Qwant, a search engine that guarantees the protection of its users' personal data, but which is not yet in the shadow of Google. In the years to come, new solutions should appear with the aim of preserving the sovereignty of users.