Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

Content Assessment: Parallel Universes? From a Digital Derby of Nations to a Digital Europe

Information - 93%
Insight - 94%
Relevance - 92%
Objectivity - 93%
Authority - 94%



A short percentage-based assessment of the qualitative benefit of the recent article by Ville Sirviö on the changing interoperability landscape of Europe and its impacts.

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Background Note: Ville Sirviö is a highly experienced business leader with a background in the technology industry, having held leadership positions in several companies, including Siili Solutions Plc and Soprano Plc. As the CEO of the Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions (NIIS), Sirviö is known for his expertise in digital government, interoperability, and open-source software. Sirviö is a renowned speaker and panelist at various technology conferences and events, where he shares his knowledge and experience in the field of digital government and interoperability. His recent article on interoperability, “From a Digital Derby of Nations to a Digital Europe,” may be beneficial for cybersecurity, information governance, and eDiscovery professionals as it provides insight into how the digitalization of European societies has increased the demand for national and cross-border data transfer and interoperability between information systems and services. As interoperability becomes increasingly important in the digital age, understanding the perspectives and experiences of experts like Sirviö can help professionals in these fields navigate the complexities of managing and securing data across different systems and jurisdictions.

Interoperability Article*

From a Digital Derby of Nations to a Digital Europe

For many years, there has been competition for national achievements in digital government, as well as debates over the best technical solutions and practices in specific areas of public digital infrastructure. European countries have been following the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) and trying to adjust their plans to become digital leaders. Yet, the essential question of building a comprehensive, EU-wide infrastructure has been and still is a work in progress.

The digitalization of European societies has increased the demand for national and cross-border data transfer and interoperability between information systems and services. Data should be available both nationally and Europe-wide in public and private sectors, all while ensuring data ownership and safeguarding the individuals’ rights to their own data.

The last few decades have been a time of building national digital infrastructures. Several EU projects with different scopes currently aim for smoother cross-border data exchange. Identified use cases have inspired these projects for information exchange between the member states’ authorities, and the data transmission infrastructure has developed as a by-product of these use cases.

Two overlapping layers have emerged that seek interoperability from different perspectives. The EU’s common infrastructure—including building blocks such as eDelivery—serves cross-border data transfer. National initiatives aim to create a local, interoperable infrastructure or an API-based ecosystem to facilitate data exchange.

Organizing national data exchange via a public sector initiative includes the following dilemma: The cross-border aspect might be left secondary if the aim is to solve nationwide interoperability, and solving national and international problems requires different technologies and tools. Also, national and international data exchange introduce different challenges regarding legal, organizational and semantic interoperability.

Some countries have started to consider the technical building blocks developed by the European Commission for cross-border data transfer between the EU member states also to be deployed nationally, resulting in an infrastructure that is, to some extent, interoperable with the European cross-border data exchange de facto standards.

At the same time, European dataspaces projects, such as Gaia-X, are advancing and strengthening efforts for European data sovereignty. Unlike specific initiatives led by the public sector, dataspaces are primarily driven by private-sector participants.

Dataspaces open new opportunities for Europe. Besides the essential data exchange needs, federated data infrastructure is a precondition for realizing Europe’s green and digital ambitions. It is necessary to secure the European data infrastructure’s sovereignty and ensure that European businesses can compete globally.

European dataspaces must be based on standards, specifications and commonly used technologies and avoid, as much as possible, reinventing the technical wheel. Reusing existing solutions and preferring open-source software are prerequisites.

Europe, in the future, will likely have parallel data exchange mechanisms that are federated and interoperable between each other to the highest possible level. EU legislation is facilitating interoperability and increasing trust between the member states, and the countries therein are more eager to exchange information with each other.

While European organizations have approached their data exchange needs through use cases or projects, they now should prepare systematically for the next phase of European data exchange. Instead of relying on a single approach, it’s necessary to recognize multiple ways of exchanging data, ensure interoperability of various systems and aim to federate data ecosystems and dataspaces.

National governments of EU member states are preparing for the single digital gateway, working on information relevant to citizens and businesses exercising their internal market rights. The SDG regulation lists areas of information and procedures that are subject to cross-border data exchange.

But many of these areas and procedures also require national solutions for that data to flow within the domestic administrations. Therefore, parallel solutions can’t be entirely avoided, but their number can be reduced systematically by considering these developments.

Private enterprises should recognize the shift from relatively public-administration-centred data exchange solutions to a unified European cross-border data exchange. The mechanisms building trust between the sectors, such as dataspaces, are already paving the way.

The focus is shifting from basic integration needs to building trust and ensuring ownership and privacy. Still, organizations must prepare for parallel technical systems and prioritize technological developments according to their data needs. But there is momentum for the private sector to be increasingly involved in shaping public-sector-led data exchange and interoperability initiatives.

Besides the internal market, the European Union must be prepared to take decisions on data sharing and trust with its global partners, especially the United States, to ensure interoperability of worldwide services while addressing European concerns about privacy and security.

The European Union is committed to “a secure, safe and sustainable digital transformation that puts people at the centre, in line with EU core values and fundamental rights.” Due to the pressure of geopolitics, Europe must be more united than ever and seek solutions together. But when united, Europe will be stronger than ever. 

Europe’s digital infrastructure is essentially about ensuring the fundamental principles of the European Union, namely the free movement of people, property, services and money within the union, which also strengthens Europe’s global competitiveness. Smart government initiatives such as the real-time economy and life-event-based citizen services are the key enablers.

Europe’s green and digital future requires sovereign, federated and effective digital infrastructure solutions that people and businesses can trust.

Read the complete original article.

*Published with author permission.

Additional Reading

Source: ComplexDiscovery


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