OSCAL 2022 (Open Source Conference Albania)

Open Source and Open Standards for Digital Sovereignty
2022-06-18, 17:00–17:55, Main room

Open Source Software and Open Standards – especially document formats – are of key importance for the digital sovereignty strategies of individuals, companies, organisations and governments. Today, user-created content - and the ability to share it transparently - is in the hands of a few companies, which exploit the limited digital culture of users to their advantage. This situation can only be overcome by moving from proprietary to open source software and from proprietary to open standards.

Digital sovereignty is the ability of a state or a federation of states, such as the EU, to provide the digital technologies deemed as critical for its welfare, competitiveness and ability to act, and to be able to develop these or source them from other economic areas without one-sided structural dependency. The influence of non-EU tech companies is a concern for EU policy-makers, especially with regard to their impact on the EU's data economy and innovation potential, on EU privacy and data protection and on the establishment of a secure and safe digital environment.
Reliable digital infrastructure and services are critical in today's society. A range of initiatives have been proposed or are already under discussion at EU level to accelerate the digitalisation process and enhance Europe's autonomy in the digital field around 3 building blocks: (i) building a data framework, (ii) promoting a trustworthy environment, and (iii) adapting competition and regulatory rules.
Building a secure pan-European data framework and adopting new standards and practices to provide trustworthy and controllable digital products and services would ensure a safer digital environment, in line with EU values and principles. Furthermore, in the competition and regulatory framework, a shift towards more defensive and prudential mechanisms, including new rules to address foreign state ownership and tech companies' distortive practices, would seem desirable to achieve more technological autonomy.