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Portal Direito da Comunicação

Portal Direito da Comunicação


The Geostrategic Option for Brazil to Strengthen Data Infrastructure: A Review of the European Cloud Computing Project GAIA-X

por direitocomunicacao

Aug 06, 2020

Ericson Scorsim. Lawyer and Consultant in Communication Law. PhD in Law from the University of São Paulo (USP). Author of the book collection on Communication Law, with a focus on Technologies, Media, and Telecommunications.

The European Union, under the leadership of France and Germany, is carrying out the project called GAIA-X for data infrastructure. The aim is to strengthen the European Union’s sovereignty over data to encourage the creation of a digital ecosystem.  According to the program’s official documents: “data sovereignty in the sense of complete control over stored and processed data and also the independent decision on who is permitted to have access to it”.[1] And also on data sovereignty: “sovereign data services which ensure the identity of source and receiver of data and which ensure the access and usage rights towards the data”.[2] In the text, one of the stated objectives is: “protection against non-European extra-territorial regulatory: protection again t abuse of national regulations that allow to access data stored in cloud infrastructures or services is an essential part of the European federated data infrastructure“.[3] The data infrastructure is a federative infrastructure that consists of components and services that make it possible to access, store, exchange, and use data according to pre-defined rules.

The digital ecosystem is the network of developers, providers and users of digital products and services. In short, the aim of the GAIA-X project is to provide incentives to European cloud computing companies, ensuring the competitiveness of European Union countries. It is categorically stated that the project is a geostrategic response by the European Union to the passing of the Cloud Act by the United States. It is also a reaction to the competitiveness of the U.S. companies IBM, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, which are leaders in the infrastructure as service market.   There is only one global Chinese competitor in this segment: Alibaba.

The project is set in the context of the unique data market and the strengthening of the European digital economy. For the European Union, there is the public policy of defending the data of European industry. Starting in 2021, the project is expected to be completed with the installation of cloud computing infrastructures. One of the main points of the project is to ensure interoperability between systems to enable migration to European cloud computing companies. Another goal is to ensure control over data on European territory. This European Union geostrategy for strengthening data infrastructure capacity can serve as an inspiration for Brazil. In this respect, a national policy of incentives for data infrastructure capacity is needed, aligned with an industrial policy and digital trade policy, and including national defense policy. These public policies are essential for the country’s adaptation in the 5G technology and  Internet of Things scenario, allowing for the best economic use.  After all, the country that controls the 5G digital infrastructure controls its digital economy. In Brazil, the main telecommunication companies present here have European headquarters (Tim and Telefonica, except for Mexico’s América Móvel, and Oi and Algar Telecom).

These telecommunications companies have the fundamental role of deploying connectivity in Brazilian territory. Thus, they have the ultimate responsibility for defining how best to provide 5G technology. Also, the main suppliers of 5G technology are European: Ericcson (Sweden) and Nokia (Finland). In Asia, there’s South Korea with Samsung. Thus, Brazil has other interesting geostrategic options regarding 5G technology that go beyond those offered by the United States and China. The best thing for Brazil is to maintain neutrality in this conflict for global leadership between the United States and China. But the country can take advantage of the opportunities in redefining the global 5G technology supply chain, with incentives to attract foreign investments in this production chain here in Brazil, attracting investments in microchip factories and installation of data centers. It is essential for Brazil, like the European Union, to reflect on the risks of abuse in the application of U.S. legislation (Cloud Act), which allows access to data located in other countries. It is key for Brazil to affirm its sovereignty in cyberspace, strengthening its capacity for cyber defense against possible risks of abuses in the application of foreign legislation in an extraterritorial manner.

In the coming decades, 5G, IoT, artificial intelligence, and big data will be the driving forces of the digital economy, which is why it is essential for the country to prepare itself for this global scenario.

[1] Project GAIA-X. A Federated Data Infrastructure as the Cradle of a Vibrant European Ecosystem. Federated Data Infrastructure. Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

[2]Work cited.

[3] Project GAIA-X. A Federated Data Infrastructure as the Cradle of a Vibrant European Ecosystem. Federated Data Infrastructure. Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and Federal Ministry of Education and Research.