A number of governments in Europe have made a significant, long-term decision to move away from cloud services that may risk citizens’ privacy and security. Germany, France, Netherlands and Sweden have announced that the first steps have been taken to drop cloud services, for instance, from Google in favor of open source software – in this case, Nextcloud.
This is a move that European software vendors, cloud service providers and hosting companies will love. Nextcloud – originally known as Owncloud – was developed in Germany, but since it is open source software, it has attracted a large community of developers across the world.
The company behind the software, Nextcloud Gmbh, provides the cloud software for free, and makes its money on services that businesses and other organizations require to tailor the software to their needs.
Open source was a key reason for the governments to move to Nextcloud, but just as important was security and privacy. EU regulation GDPR that protects citizens from data collection and profiling without their consent has been in effect since May 2018. As the news continue to tell, businesses especially outside the EU (such as Google, Marriott) still collect and often share to other companies European internet users’ private data without permission.
In Sweden, government organization Försäkringskassan that moved to Nextcloud said that they must have full control over the cloud service where citizens’ data is stored.
German Federal Government adopted Nextcloud in 2018 for 300,000 users. Security was the key reason for choosing the software.
In France, the Interior Ministry is deploying Nextcloud as the intranet solution for hundreds of thousands of users.
Not only central governments, but also municipalities are moving to open source cloud services. Major cities and small towns, like Tirana, Ålesund, Vaulx-en-Velin, Geneva, and Bochum want to know what is going on in their clouds.
Header image by Lazar Gugleta.