Some of France’s most sensitive state and corporate data can be safely stored using the cloud computing technology developed by Alphabet’s Google and Microsoft if it is licensed to French companies, the government said on Monday.
The comment, part of strategic plan laid out by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and two other ministers, acknowledges U.S. technological superiority in the field and contrasts with previous calls from European politicians for fully homegrown alternatives.
Google and Microsoft, along with market leader Amazon, dominate the realm of data storage worldwide, fuelling concerns in Europe over the risk of surveillance by the United States in the wake of the adoption of the U.S. CLOUD Act of 2018.
Yet a “trustworthy” cloud computing alternative can be developed within Europe, Le Maire said, by guaranteeing the location of servers on French soil as well as European ownership of the companies that store and process the data.’
“We therefore decided that the best companies – I’m thinking in particular of Microsoft or Google – could license all or part of their technology to French companies,” Le Maire said at a news conference. He did not mention Amazon.
Google said it welcomed the “clarification” provided by the French government, adding that it supported “the need for the greatest security levels”.
Microsoft said this was good news for France’s digital transformation “in complete independence”.
Amazon’s cloud unit has been collaborating via partnerships with several major French companies, including state-controlled telecoms firm Orange, its general manager in France Julien Groues told Reuters.