Importance of digital sovereignty
We have become too dependent on non-European countries in almost all digital areas. To reduce this dependence, we must increase our influence on the design and application of digital technologies. TNO sees opportunities for increasing the digital sovereignty of the Netherlands and the EU in order to strengthen our international competitiveness.
Digital technologies such as 5G, cloud data storage and connectivity, are all having a major impact on how our society and economy function. For example, these technologies enabled many of us to work from home in during the COVID-19 pandemic, which allowed many sectors to remain operational. We have become accustomed to products and services that can be ordered online with just a few clicks on our smartphone. Production processes have become much more efficient in the digital world, which has resulted in cost savings.
No less than 92% of Western data is hosted in the US, with only 4% being hosted in Europe.
Dependence creates vulnerability
These are all serious advantages, but they also have a clear downside. Digital technology makes us dependent on Big Tech and 'hyperscalers', large-scale online market players and platforms which frequently do not have privacy and consumer interests at heart. For example, no less than 92% of Western data is hosted in the US, with only 4% being hosted in Europe. The largest part of this digital infrastructure is provided by non-European parties. And there isn’t a single European company among the top 20 global tech brands.
Furthermore, an increasing dependence on digital technology leaves us vulnerable to parties with malicious intentions. Just think of ransomware attacks and cyber threats in times of conflict, such as is happening in Ukraine. Moreover, the digital technologies in the Netherlands and Europe have become too dependent on other countries, sometimes upholding different values and standards.
Opportunities in data sharing
We can increase our digital sovereignty in the Netherlands and Europe by investing in the development of federated cloud solutions and decentralised data infrastructures together with corresponding business models that facilitate data sovereignty. This will allow us to organise data sharing according to European standards and regulations. For the development of a secure data-sharing infrastructure, TNO is actively involved in initiatives such as Gaia-X (see box) and International Data Spaces (IDS).
TNO believes in the opportunities that the digital society offers to put the Netherlands and Europe on the world map of digital domains.
Think of zero loss logistics processes, better disease diagnostics, and new, personalised treatment methods in healthcare. Or a government which embraces digitisation and uses it in a targeted way to meet social challenges.
Want to know more?
Download our paper on digital sovereignty
Claire StolwijkFunctie:Senior researcher and consultant
Claire Stolwijk is a senior researcher and consultant in the Strategy & Policy department, focussing on digitalisation of the manufacturing industry, digital sovereignty, data spaces and industrial innovation policy. She combines her scientific work with a practical approach and coordinates various national and European projects on these topics.
Alex SangersFunctie:Project leader Privacy Enhancing Technologies
Alexander van den Wall BakeFunctie:Business Consultant SSI
Arjen AmelinkFunctie:Principal Scientist Medical Photonics
The chair focuses on the development and clinical validation of new optical diagnostic methods, with an emphasis on the interpretation of data generated by optical measurement systems based on the modeling of light transport in biological tissues.
Bastiaan WissinghFunctie:Senior scientist
Bastiaan Wissingh is Senior Research Scientist at the Networks department, specialized in new and innovative communication technologies for the Automotive domain like IEEE 802.11p, 3GPP C-V2X and ETSI Geonetworking with PKI. He also has affinity with new networking concepts like Information Centric Networking (ICN), Quick UDP Internet Connections (QUIC) and 5G.
Benny AkessonFunctie:Senior research fellow
Benny Akesson is a Senior Research Fellow at TNO, where he conducts applied research in projects related to system evolvability and system performance. His research interest include model-based engineering and real-time systems. Since 2019, he is a Professor by Special Appointment at the University of Amsterdam, where he holds the Chair of Design Methodologies for Cyber-physical systems.
Bjorn HakanssonFunctie:Senior Business Development Manager
Gaia-X is only one of the European initiatives on the topics of Data & Cloud. If you want to know more about what is happening in these domains and who you should contact for more information feel free to contact me first.
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