GAIA-X initiative proposes data infrastructure for Europe

The proposal aims to ensure that Europe's data is collated and shared in a secure and transparent way.
By Sara Mageit
04:43 am
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Helsinki, MyData

The GAIA-X initiative has designed a technical architecture that ensures trustworthy data exchange in Europe and forms the basis for a comprehensive data ecosystem.

With 300 organisations from various countries involved, the project has gained support from German and French governments, and has links to the European Commission.

Science institutions and representatives of the Federal Government and the French Government of both countries have been working together with other European partners on establishing a robust data infrastructure for Europe. This Franco-German project idea was first presented to the public at the Digital Summit in October 2019.

The preparation phase of the GAIA-X Hub for Finland is coordinated by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, under the funding of Business Finland and patronage of Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. 

WHY IT MATTERS

The project is seen as an enabler for Finland's data economy and business ecosystem and stands by the vision that federated services provide value if they are based on common standards which ensure transparency and interoperability.

Spanning across businesses, governments and personal data, GAIA-X addresses this requirement by aligning network and interconnection providers, Cloud Solution Providers (CSP), High Performance Computing (HPC) as well as sector specific clouds systems.

Technical implementation of the GAIA-X services will focus on:

  • The implementation of secure federated identity and trust mechanisms (security and privacy by design);

  • Sovereign data services which ensure the identity of source and receiver of data and which ensure the access and usage rights towards the data;

  • Easy access to the available providers, nodes and services. Data will be provided through federated catalogues;

  • The integration of existing standards to ensure interoperability and portability across infrastructure, applications and data;

  • The establishment of a compliance framework and Certification and Accreditation services; and

  • The contribution of a modular compilation of open source software and standards to support providers in delivering a secure, federated and interoperable infrastructure.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

With the aim of giving citizens transparency about personal data usage, Helsinki has recently offered its citizens the possibility to better manage the personal information the city gathers from them. Through the decentralised MyData platform, information is not stored in a big mass, decreasing the possibility of information breeches. The tool develops personal data-based services for Helsinki together with Fujitsu Finland, Nixu Oyj, Personium, and 1001 Lakes. Helsinki has chosen Vastuu Group to be their MyData operator.

ON THE RECORD

The mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori, said: “Helsinki aims to be the most functional city in the world. The key element in this has been our ambitious digitalisation program. In the future, we want to target the city services in a predictive way that calls for the utilisation of analytics and data. Trust is in the essence of data usage: the citizens need to be able to trust that the city is using data on their behalf and with their consent so that it benefits both, the citizens and the city. This is what MyData is basically about.”

City of Helsinki’s chief digital officer, Mikko Rusama, said: “Implementing the MyData principles is a central goal in Helsinki’s digitalisation programme. We collaborate with Vastuu Group and the cities of Espoo, Turku and Oulu to ensure citizens’ transparency and better control on how their data is being used. Helsinki is an international forerunner in building human-centric internet.”

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