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Digital ambitions for a sovereign and protected Brussels Region

Hervé Feuillien, Director-General of the BRIC
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Hervé Feuillien

Favouring a long-term vision is a key quality for any organisation, and all the more so in the IT sector where the perspectives for technological development must constantly be taken into account.

Since its creation, the BRIC has anticipated digital changes and provided innovative projects to modernise our institutions. Once again, as at the beginning of each legislative term, we are publishing a white paper which highlights technological challenges and changes in the functioning of our society. This white paper is intended for policy makers who will be responsible for implementing the government's agreement. It is therefore essential that the regional policy declaration proposed to parliament when the new legislature is set up, takes into account the issues of digital transformation working for our citizens. I invite you to discover these fundamental challenges in the 2019-2024 white paper (French-Dutch).

Among these, my attention was drawn to one point in particular; this concerns a subject that affects the very foundations of our democracy, namely, the hosting of strategic data.
We are faced with a critical political choice. Either the market is given free reign and in this context, it is well known that privacy protection is not an absolute requirement; we only need to look at the constraints imposed by certain countries for accessing such data, such as the Cloud Act, or we choose to favour hosting in a sovereign environment, on the region's soil, guaranteeing the ability of our institutions to protect strategic data related to regional operations, but also and especially the personal data of Brussels' citizens.  

It is unacceptable to avoid this issue considering that it is a technical question. This is why we would like to have a real democratic debate on this point and see the Brussels Control Commission have its powers extended so as to validate hosting in the cloud and verify its execution. This is the price at which we will guarantee our sovereignty and protect the privacy of Brussels residents.