Digital sovereignty can mean different things based on context, but what combines all is independence from a single point of failure in digital architectures.
Usage in Politics
The term is used in the political context to mean that governments should not depend on a single vendor for any of the services they use or offer to their citizens. In particular, dependence on overseas vendors can be problematic, as different legislation could mean that foreign governments can mandate a vendor located in their legislation to grant access to another government’s data.
But beyond those concerns, there is a simple need for avoiding a single point of failure. Governments would prefer to be able to procure from multiple vendors in their own legislation to better meet the demands of digitalization.
Here at the Interpeer Project, we treat digital sovereignty as more of a bottom-up than governments’ top-down approach. We’d like every individual to gain sovereignty over their own data. That implies easy mobility of data between providers, and fine-grained access control that is supplied by end-to-end encryption.
These requirements in no way contradict those of governments, but the emphasis is more on citizens than institutions.