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White Paper on Digital Sovereignty

Digital security gaps affect citizens as well as companies and governments. A group of IT security experts with Arnd Weber from ITAS pleads for the use of verified open source products in all the steps of the supply chain.
White Paper Sovereignty in Information Technology

Many software and hardware products form a black box. This is, according to the authors, a threat to the security of every individual as well as to entire industries which rely on the IT technology supplied to them. Even nation states need to worry about the security of their increasingly digitised infrastructures. These problems can also threaten the safety of citizens, e.g. regarding the energy supply, or the functioning of cars. Last but not least, the fact that the production of information technology is concentrated in the U.S. and China reduces the value added in Europe.

Opening the entire supply chain

The most promising approach in the sense of Digital Sovereignty, identified by the authors of the White Paper, is building open source hardware, too, just like open source software such as Linux and Android. This would also mean that all the tools used to place circuits on semiconductor chips need to be open-sourced. By setting up open hardware communities, which verify and, ideally, prove the correctness of all components, it is possible to prevent design errors and the insertion of back doors.

By taking this open path, according to the authors, not only would industry and end users in Germany and Europe profit, but ultimately, the whole world would obtain an open and secure basis for all the devices containing IT. By this means, the concentration of all this knowledge in only two regions of the world would be resolved, including the related centralization of added value. The White Paper recommends as a first step that investors and policy makers support the development and production of open components and solutions for the Internet of Things. As a second step, the authors recommend the development of highly powerful open hardware.

The White Paper is available on the project page of the related project Quattro S: Security, Safety, Sovereignty, Social Product. (27.03.2018)

Bibliographic data

Weber, Arnd; Reith, Steffen; Kasper, Michael; Kuhlmann, Dirk; Seifert, Jean-Pierre; Krauß, Christoph
Sovereignty in Information Technology. Security, Safety and Fair Market Access by Openness and Control of the Supply Chain. 2018. http://www.QuattroS-Initiative.org/
full text (PDF)