Guy Chazan at the Financial Times: “Angela Merkel has urged Europe to seize control of its data from Silicon Valley tech giants, in an intervention that highlights the EU’s growing willingness to challenge the US dominance of the digital economy.
The German chancellor said the EU should claim “digital sovereignty” by developing its own platform to manage data and reduce its reliance on the US-based cloud services run by Amazon, Microsoft and Google. “So many companies have just outsourced all their data to US companies,” Ms Merkel told German business leaders. “I’m not saying that’s bad in and of itself — I just mean that the value-added products that come out of that, with the help of artificial intelligence, will create dependencies that I’m not sure are a good thing.”
Her speech, at an employers’ conference in Berlin, shows the extent to which the information economy is emerging as a battleground in the EU-US trading relationship. It also highlights the concern in European capitals that the EU could be weakened by the market dominance of the big US tech companies, particularly in the business of storing, processing and analysing data.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s powerful competition chief who is now also to oversee EU digital policy, last month told the Financial Times that she was examining whether large internet companies could be held to higher standards of proof in competition cases, as part of a tougher line on dominant companies, such as Google.
Ms Merkel was speaking just two weeks after Berlin unveiled plans for a European cloud computing initiative, dubbed Gaia-X, which it has described as a “competitive, safe and trustworthy data infrastructure for Europe”.
At the conference on Tuesday, Peter Altmaier, economy minister, said the data of companies such as Volkswagen, and that of the German interior ministry and social security system, were increasingly stored on the servers of Microsoft and Amazon. “And in this we are losing part of our sovereignty,” he added….(More)”.