German economics minister Peter Altmaier plans to build up a German cloud service to allow European companies to store data independent of Asian or US rivals such as Amazon.com.
“Germany has a right to technological sovereignty,” said Altmaier during a visit to San Francisco. “Data clouds should not only be set up in the US or China, but also in Germany so that European companies, which want secure and reliable data storage, have this option.”
Altmaier’s plans are a second attempt to build up an independent German cloud service. Deutsche Telekom has been marketing its own cloud as a secure alternative to US platforms, but at the end of 2018 began offering access to Amazon’s data centres in a recognition of its longtime rival’s dominance in Europe.
The minister said he’s seeking partners for his planned cloud alliance and is in talks with SAP, Deutsche Telekom and other companies. He expects a decision by the companies in the next months, he said.
Geopolitical tensions and trade wars are making European politicians cautious about domestic champions ceding control of their data to technology suppliers from the US or China, fearing that providers could deny access to critical information about customers or production, or serve as a venue for rogue agents.
Under the Trump administration’s Cloud Act (or the “Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act”) that was signed last year, all US cloud providers can be ordered to provide local authorities data stored on their servers no matter where that data is physically stored. A similar concept has been enshrined in Chinese law since 2017, in which information of citizens must be stored in-country and accessible on demand to the authorities.
Agnes Pannier-Runacher, France’s deputy economy minister, said in an interview with Bloomberg in June that European businesses relinquishing control of their data was “a systemic risk” to the competitiveness and sovereignty of an economy.
Germany’s central bank has also recently warned the region’s banking sector that the move to shifting data on the cloud will make the industry harder to monitor. — Reported by Birgit Jennen, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP