Each of us produces an enormous amount of data every day – whether through our smartphones or when shopping online – but this data is worthless in itself. However, if data is put into context and linked with other data, such as correlating consumption or market data, it forms a basic foundation for a digital economy. Certain companies on the market are already leading the way in digital value creation and using data for digital technologies and self-learning AI-based systems. With GAIA-X, the EU is picking up on this trend in digital development, bringing together existing European strengths for a digital single market and ensuring that it has sovereignty in shaping the design. A European data infrastructure is the technical basis for progress in many areas of science, economics, politics and society. The forward-looking European endeavour will strengthen digitalisation and interconnectedness in various sectors such as health and finance and will give them opportunities to make further inroads into the issues of the data economy.

Since 2019, the EU has been building a European data space in which the planned European cloud forms the foundations for the digital single market. However, the idea of ‘a digital economy or digital single market’ is still in the modelling phase and its requirements are being defined. In accordance with European standards, data security and data sovereignty need to be guaranteed when data is exchanged. Private individuals, companies, authorities or research institutes need to retain their respective data sovereignty so that the valuable commodity of ‘trust’ is not lost. But as well as ensuring trust in the digital systems, the privacy of each individual person also needs to be protected, and confidentiality needs to be safeguarded in business and research. At the same time, it must be ensured that companies, research institutes and authorities can access a large volume of encrypted data quickly and temporarily at any time and can exchange that data amongst themselves. To meet these contrasting requirements, rules and technical and economic standards need to be defined and compliance with these ensured. This is essential to guaranteeing, for example, that a research institute has access to anonymised patient data and that the rights of the data owner are protected at the same time.

The EU now needs to mark out its territory in the digital data economy and allow the idea of the ‘digital economy’ to continue to grow, as the key to a flourishing future for sectors lies in high-performance data infrastructures.

You can read the full interview by Harald Summa, CEO of eco – Association of the Internet Industry and CEO of DE-CIX in Frankfurt here.

Authors: Andreas Weiss (eco Association) and Harald Summa (eco Association; DE-CIX)

#sovereignty #digitalisation #digitaleconomy #datasecurity