Having lived and studied in different countries, Anett has learned to appreciate living in a digital society. Anett believes that all processes and structures of public services should be accessible and simple for every single citizen. Based on her academic background in political science, Anett focuses on enhancing good cooperation between the public and private sector to create a comprehensive and supportive environment. Her goal as a Speaker at the e-Estonia Briefing Centre is to explain the Estonian digitalisation experience and thus inspire leaders and decision-makers alike to create a better tomorrow.
Fostering digital transformation has been a critical priority for the new European Commission. For better or worse, the COVID-19 crisis led to an acceleration of digital solutions across all sectors. The pandemic has also revealed that the EU’s data protection and privacy rules might, in fact, be working against its efforts to tackle the virus, calling into question its broader digital strategy. If Europe is going to lead the next decade, it will require massive investment in education, upskilling initiatives, and AI, in addition to redefining its data protection rules. The question is not whether Europe can rise to the challenge, but whether the political will exists to do so.
Our personal data is being mined for economic gain by private companies, which raises questions about who owns it and what they can do with it. Simultaneously, data is increasingly being viewed as a resource for states seeking an economic and strategic advantage over their rivals. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently asserted that it is time for Europe to wrestle control of European data from their US and Asian counterparts. German Minister, Peter Altmaier, is spearheading GAIA-X as a way to counterbalance what he views as strategic and economic advantages derived from Chinese and US companies owning the most considerable portion of cloud services in the world. As data enters the great power competition domain, how can we balance a state’s legitimate economic and security concerns without sacrificing the free flow of cross-border data channels? What impact will the new scramble for data have on existing trade and geo-economic conflicts? Should Europe’s ambitions go beyond data sovereignty towards AI sovereignty*?
* AI sovereignty = access to the most advanced AI-enabling technologies and data on a global level, applied according to European rules and values, without being dependent on foreign actors