Online / 5 & 6 February 2022


European digital sovereignty and open source

How Europe is regulating big tech and what's in it for FLOSS

The European Union is working with great energy on new rules for digital markets, targetting first of all the big global Internet platforms. Building on the global impact of the GDPR, efforts like the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act, the AI Regulation, the Data Governance Act and the GAIA-X initiative attempt to restrain the superpowers of the big American and Chinese companies and promote rights and opportunities for Europeans, restoring the EU's ability to control its own slice of the Internet and reducing the dependency on foreign products and services. Open source is one of the strategic tools for this objective, and open source projects and companies could be benefited by these changes. Watch the talk to learn what is happening!

The talk will start by recollecting how we started up with an open, interoperable Internet that allowed everyone to cooperate and deploy new content and services, and ended up with a concentration of money and power of unseen scale in the history of mankind. Technical and market developments are centralizing the Internet more and more into the hands of a few companies, very concentrated in terms of geography, jurisdiction, ownership and views of the world. We will discuss how the EU plans to counter these trends, what the various regulations and projects are, and how they would work.

We will then focus on how open source in Europe could be impacted by the new rules. Some of the provisions are particularly in line with an open, distributed Internet architecture, mandating the adoption of open standards and interoperability and preventing dominant players from advantaging their own applications and services over independent ones. Social media, instant messaging and mobile apps are three sectors that could be particularly affected.

In the end, the talk aims to create awareness in the European open source community around the changing regulatory scenario, so that we are ready for it.


Photo of Vittorio Bertola Vittorio Bertola