On 11 June 2013, the French Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy, Mr. Fleur Pellerin, posed to the National Assembly the question over the need or not for France to develop its own national cloud, managed by local operators and industries and able to guarantee legal certainty on the use and application of EU privacy regulation, also with particular regards to security and data retention obligations.
According to Mr. Pellerin, a national cloud appears somewhat mature in light of technological innovation, and particularly for ensuring the correct respect of individual rights, providing certainty to all citizens involved and transparency of obligations on providers involved in the setting up of the remote and impalpable cloud that hovers over the world.
The topic, needless to say, stems on the contrary from the emergencies of the recent PRISM scandal, with the parallel discovery by European Chancelleries of the invisible hands of the American intelligence (NSA) on private communications, powered by the role of social networks and U.S. operators obliged to respect orders of interception and eavesdropping. One should ask where were European politicians were living up to now, when during the late ‘90s the first reports on Echelon and the “Big Ear” came out…
Whichever the reason, often our French cousins have indicated us the ways to enhance investments and protect the generous gifts that Mother nature has given both. By way of example, one may take wine culture and territorial politics, or exploitation of artistic heritage and museums resources, not to speak of political lobbying and organization of the fashion industry.
The issue posed by the Minister Pellerin is of particular important and is worth a deep meditation. It is particularly “up to date”, to use a language that may make easier the task of interception to eavesdroppers on the other side of the Atlantic .
What, in reality of things, is a cloud ? But above all, what is it destined to become?
The storage of data, within the mechanism of cloud computing is self-propelled and autonomous, just as it happens to self-sufficient and evolved biological organisms, or to those dormant aliens launched on meteors floating in the universe anticipated by science fiction. It is unassailable, and generated by the incessant and continuous flow of data surging spontaneously by billions of spontaneous communications circulating around the globe.
Tributaries of cloud computing are the general communications networks, now present in every corner of the world, and spontaneously the systems entangles data, files, content and in general all information which may be processed by means of the continuous stream, by the mere fact of being shared or being potentially utilized by users dwelling in more than one location. The system is thus independent, and does not depend on human activity. It is a telematic haven provided at no cost, recognizing users by means of the simple click and plug in of smartphones, in the moment users set foot in the worldwide web.
Owning and controlling data spontaneously circulating in the cloud implies control over the intelligence, skills and know-how worldwide. It is the bypass for all strategic activities, from research to finance up to intellectual property rights. Protecting the boundaries of the cloud, and controlling its access, storage and dissemination of data means to ensure the protection of the skills of a nation, to own its own future.
It may be little or much, original or stale, forward-looking or old and jaded, a legacy of ancient Renaissance thinkers or fresh and immaculate, but the Italian genius is now located up there. Up in the sky.