Europe is working to construct an information technology infrastructure that is free of American influence, as the recent collapse of the Safe Harbor Agreement is having devastating effects on American technology companies.
Meanwhile, European information technology developers have the challenging task ahead of establishing functional and secure programs in Europe to replace the American companies that they are abandoning.
European companies are now turning to open-source alternatives instead of popular American companies, such as Google and Dropbox. The result is that Silicon Valley might soon have less of an influence over the world.
The news comes after a decision was made in the Schrems v. Facebook case in European Court. The court ruled that any data protection promise made by a company in the United States is worthless in Europe. Any business that processes the data of Europeans using American servers is exposed to legal trouble.
Open Xchange CEO Rafe Laguna says, “Suppose I’m a German business, and I get an agreement from Google, which says everything is good, and I put that into my file. When a customer sues me, I go to court and find that agreement isn’t worth a dime. Google cannot guarantee what they’re guaranteeing. This takedown of Safe Harbor will be remembered as a historical event. It’ll be patched, but it’ll be a bad patch. The real patch is you do business with a trusted supplier operating in a country whose laws you trust. And that doesn’t mean the over-the-top big boys from California.”
The process of replacing Silicon Valley mainstays in Europe will take a considerable amount of time, but Europe has already started this process.
Open Xchange has already started providing Europeans with email and secure storage systems, but the company still needs to fill gaps, such as a major social networking platform. Currently, almost 200 million Europeans make use of their systems. The company is working with European telecommunication companies to increase their offerings.
However, the email systems of Open Xchange still need some work. Currently, they are only secured using bare minimum encryption techniques. Higher standards are in the process of being developed.
Open sourced and locally-hosted European software should be able to fill the gap eventually, but there is still a long road ahead of Europe if they want to do away with American data infrastructure completely.