Minister of Digitization on government cloud: There will be four data centers in the country and possibly one abroad

The government cloud is one of Romania’s largest projects in the PNRR. Even if he himself will not solve the elimination of roads between state institutions or the elimination of papers, with his help the data of Romanians will be safer and will not be lost, said at Interviews, the Minister of Research, Innovation and Digitization , Sebastian Burduja. Romania will have four data centers for the government cloud, so that if one is attacked, the others will take over the related tasks. At the same time, there is talk of a data embassy in Luxembourg to protect sensitive data, the minister said.

It often happens in Romania: when we go to a state institution, we often need children and papers that other institutions have to issue. But if all these institutions were interconnected and exchanged information, everything would be much easier. This is what the Government is proposing through the “government cloud” project, which is funded by PNRR with over 500 million euros.

What does the government cloud entail?

The government cloud will function as a huge database with identification data of all Romanians and would provide the necessary infrastructure for state institutions to digitize the activity and the relationship with the public. Basically, we will no longer need to carry papers, documents from one institution to another, and the institutions would be linked to each other and would exchange information.

According to Minister Burduja, the purpose of the government cloud is to place Romanian data in a secure system, where it will not be lost.

However, the project itself will not exempt citizens from traveling between different state institutions to obtain various signatures or documents. This is where the interoperability dimension comes in.

“The first stage is the software in which we migrate public institutions in this cloud. Not all services are suitable for cloud migration. It is important for all Romanians to say one thing: the cloud itself is not the secret to getting rid of papers, it is not the silver bullet. Data will be more secure, we can’t lose it. The second part, of interoperability, is the one that will save us from the roads to the state institutions, so that we will not be asked for the data only once. The digitalization we all dream of will happen when we have interoperability “, said Sebastian Burduja.

According to him, we do not need to wait for the cloud investment to be completed in order to have this interoperability.

Deadlines for completing the government cloud

Romania will have four data centers for the government cloud, so that if one is attacked, the others will take over the related tasks. These will have to be implemented by 2024.

At the same time, a data embassy in Luxembourg is being discussed to protect sensitive data, the minister added.

According to the PNRR, the first institutions will be migrated by 2026.

“The first stage, the hard-infrastructure part – until 2024, the second stage, until 2026, we aim to migrate 30 institutions in this cloud.

The institutions in the national security system are necessary because we are talking about a critical infrastructure of the Romanian state, we are talking about the data protection of Romanian citizens. Information is power and we must be careful that a state or non-state actor does not access this data. At the same time, we must not compromise on our rights as citizens, “said Burduja.

According to the minister, it is discussed that the authentication in the cloud should be done on the basis of facial recognition, and every time a state institution accesses the data of a citizen, the person should receive a notification, either by email or SMS.

“I have seen all sorts of conspiracy theories about this project. And today I saw an editorial, they have no idea. Let me give you an example, the Republic of Moldova. There is a very clear real-time logging of access to this data. If your data is accessed by an institution, you will be notified in real time that the institution has accessed the data and the reason and time. And this cannot be erased.

Romanians must have confidence in these systems, because they are related to the modernization of the world and the country. The temptation of human nature is to protect ourselves from change, or Romania, if it does that, will be left behind, also on the last place in the European Union “, added the minister Sebastian Burduja.

The half-billion-euro project included in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) has sparked many heated debates in the public space lately. The director of Cyberint, Anton Rog, explained at Interviews what the government cloud entails and why the project is a contested one. “Some people have certain business interests,” says Rog, “and I think their interests are fundamentally threatened by the emergence of the cloud.”

Publisher: IC

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