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EU Companies Criticize Proposal Favoring Big Tech in Cloud Computing Contracts

 |  April 10, 2024

A group of leading European companies, including Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Airbus, and 15 others, have voiced strong opposition against a draft plan that could potentially allow major US tech firms such as Amazon, Alphabet’s Google, and Microsoft to secure highly sensitive EU cloud computing contracts. This criticism targets a proposal by Belgium, under its current European Union presidency, aiming to establish a certification scheme (EUCS) for the cybersecurity of cloud services.

The proposal seeks to facilitate the selection of secure and trusted cloud service vendors by EU governments and companies, as reported by Reuters. However, it notably omits previous sovereignty requirements, which mandated US tech giants to form joint ventures with EU-based companies for data storage and processing within the bloc to earn the EU cybersecurity label.

Set for discussion by cybersecurity experts from the 27 EU countries on March 15, the Belgian plan could lead to the European Commission adopting this cybersecurity scheme in the upcoming autumn. The consortium of EU companies has urged national authorities and senior Commission officials to reject the proposal, citing significant concerns over data sovereignty and security.

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“The inclusion of EU-HQ and European control requirements in the main scheme is necessary to mitigate the risk of unlawful data access on the basis of foreign laws,” the companies stated in a joint letter, highlighting the potential for European data to be accessed by foreign governments under laws like the U.S. Cloud Act or the Chinese National Intelligence Law told Reuters. 

The EU firms argue that the cybersecurity label should emulate the Gaia-X cloud computing platform, which incorporates sovereignty requirements to lessen EU dependency on Silicon Valley tech giants. They warn that the absence of such clauses could disadvantage emerging EU cloud providers against their larger US counterparts.

“Removing such requirements from the scheme would seriously undermine the viability of sovereign cloud solutions in Europe – many of which are either in development or already available on the market,” the letter added. Among the signatories are notable entities such as French power group EDF, cloud services providers OVHcloud and Aruba, Dassault Systemes, Germany’s Ionos, Telecom Italia, Austria’s Exoscale, French tech company Capgemini, and Eutelsat.
Source: Reuters