Activer le Dark Mode

Montesquieu, Data and Europe

I belong to a generation, probably the ultimate one, which started its professional life without a computer on its desk. The first two years of my professional life I wrote, calculated and drew by hand documents that I handed over to an assistant who did the formatting in a word processing machine, costing a fortune and making an appalling noise. Microcomputing, as it was called at the time, was the domain of a man in a dark suit with greasy hair who produced dashboards at the end of the month with felt-tip printers that also made an appalling noise. It was a closed world where everyone produced data that was processed on paper, distributed sparingly and inevitably ended up in the trash. The banking institution for which I worked, functioned in a closed world and the data were carefully stored on mainframes, minimally exchanging with the outside world, which materialized through large reels of magnetic tapes circulating physically. In the third year of my professional life, I left the bank for a consulting firm and for the first time I used a Macintosh with two 3.5 inch floppy disk slots. It was the beginning of an inexorable escalation that led us all collectively to live with a powerful desktop or laptop, a smartphone, a tablet PC and an extremely high number of connected devices.

Simply to put into perspective the fact that in 35 years we have gone from a world without data exchange to a world where everyone consumes, produces and broadcasts tens of gigabits every day within a network that covers almost the entire planet.

Personal data used to circulate very little and we have progressively moved to a world where, through our digital habits, our data circulates, is exchanged, stored, mixed and exploited for commercial or political purposes. This data represents us and exposes our consumption habits, our religious and political opinions and has become, thanks to the tools of Big Data and artificial intelligence, the essential asset of the digital economy. In addition to the risk of a fraudulent use of our data, this formidable asset can become a source of manipulation and behavioral control. The Cambridge Analytica affair represents a case in point of the malicious use of the Datasphere.

On the other hand, the abundance of information and the new uses made possible, represent a manna of possible economic advantages, enabling tomorrow to reduce the costs of production and maintenance of industrial products, of optimum use of available resources and a formidable lever in health improvement, to name just a few. We are on the verge of a huge value creation.

The world of data does not give the impression of settling on a plateau, on the contrary, it is launched in an exponential growth whose end is not clear, between 2018 and 2025, the global volume of data is supposed to grow from 33 zetaoctets to 175 zetaoctets (10^21 octets), stored on 512 GB tablets, this would make 5 times the journey from the earth to the moon. By 2030, the value of Internet of Things services could reach 11,000 billion euros. Technological disruptions such as the Internet of Things and 5G will further accelerate the volume of the Datasphere, exposing a colossal amount of data, both personal and professional.

This situation, made possible in one generation by successive technological breakthroughs whose limits we do not necessarily see, is in itself neither good nor bad, everything will depend on the uses and limits that the legislator will impose.

Montesquieu exposed in the Spirit of  Laws the thesis according to which "Laws, in the most extended meaning, are the necessary relations which derive from the nature of things"; the technical revolution and the transformation of the uses induced constitute a radically new "nature of things" compared to the world that I described and which calls the legislator to be focused in the relations which derive from this digital state of affairs.

"Technical revolution and the transformation of the uses induced constitute a radically new nature of things"

The European Union, through its commission and parliament, has already been a forerunner on the subject with the RGPD (General Data Protection Regulation), originally published in April 2016 and laying the foundations for a real protection of personal data, at the scale of the 27 countries of the union.

Beyond this regulation, a real reflection has been imposed at the EU level to define a European data strategy.
The European Data Strategy package is aiming to make the EU a leader in a data-driven society:

- The Digital Market Act (DMA) opens digital market and establish limits to current gatekeepers,
- The Digital Service Act (DSA) re-shapes the internet by altering the power imbalances between dominant platforms and their users,
- The Data Governance Act (DGA) facilitate data sharing between economic sectors and member states,
- The Data Act (DA) set new obligation for data holders to enable accessibility of personal data produced by connected objects,
- The Artificial Intelligence regulation (AIR).

In a very concrete way, 10 European Common Data Spaces are being created in areas as diverse as industry, mobility, green pact, tourism, energy and health.

Europe is the right level to move forward on this regulation of the Datasphere.

The globalized economy in which certain large economies want free and unconstrained use of data will never be self-regulating and it takes an economy like the European Union to lay the foundations for data governance that is not the law of the jungle. As for the national level, it has become totally inoperative to govern data that doesn't care about borders. Finding the laws governing the necessary relationships derived from the explosion of the Datasphere and freeing the possibilities of development induced is one of the fundamental challenges of the development of the digital economy.

Basically, the digital economy is fast on track in overtaking the traditional economy; it makes complete sense for European institutions to lead the way in its governance, and to set the vision that will enable protection of individual rights while simultaneously reaping the social and economic benefits of the datasphere.

Philippe Chevassut,

"Franz as a leverage on the EU data strategy"

We bridge the gap between current issues like EU/FR recovery plans and new issues of data space and decentralization. Day-to-day partnering with Associations and Think-tanks that leads the DSA/DMA debate, our consulting team support some of the first and major business initiatives around Digital Strategy Package and/or DeFi in Europe in various industries (Finance, Space, Tourism…).