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Estonian President to Lead EU Cloud Computing

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves is set to head the European Union's cloud computing council, which aims to develop cross-border digital public services in the public and private sectors.

Ilves was invited to chair the steering board of the new European Cloud Partnership by the European Commission's digital development commissioner Neelie Kroes.

"Leading the council is a great opportunity for Estonia to have a role in shaping the course of Europe and to work in cooperation with visionaries and technological leaders [...] Cloud computing is the today of information technology," Ilves said in a press release.

The Estonian president said one one of the challenges ahead is skepticism toward digital public services, including cross-border services, as well as security and interoperability of applications.

"The risk is that Europe will adopt the solutions of the previous generation, which are not secure and are likely to reduce, not increase, people's trust of digital services. For example, the username/password solution might be favored over a pan-European electronic ID card," Ilves said.

He said the widespread adoption of cloud computing, along with changes pertaining to necessary data protection and digital content rights, would establish the prerequisites for a common market of digital services and e-trade development in Europe.

"The primary beneficiaries would be the citizens of the European Union, small and medium sized companies, and government agencies on every level. Service providers for network and data centers and software companies would also benefit from this," Ilves said.

According to the press release, the council will also include former Hewlett-Packard CEO Lèo Apotheker,F-Secure Corporation CEO Christian Fredrikson, Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg, Amazon Vice President Werner Vogels, CEO of ATOS Thierry Breton, and Dassault Systèmes CEO Bernard Charles.

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