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Understanding Geopolitics in technology

The Geopolitics of Technology: Standards and Tech Sovereignty

The geopolitical landscape of technology and data presents a significant risk that impacts companies in various sectors and regions. An EY CEO Imperative Study reveals that 63% of chief executives from the Forbes Global 2000 consider technology and digital innovation as one of the most influential trends impacting their companies. Digital transformation also takes the lead as the primary concern among CEOs. Surprisingly, geopolitics ranks last regarding trends affecting their companies, with only 28% of CEOs recognising political risk management as a significant business concern. 

 It is crucial to comprehensively understand the geopolitical risks that may impact your organisation if you want your plans for technology adaptation and digital transformation to succeed. The ability of your organisation to thrive depends on it. This article will explore the interplay between technology and tech sovereignty and delve into the geopolitical implications that arise. 

Understanding Geopolitics in Technology 

To comprehend the geopolitics of technology, we must first grasp the concept of geopolitics itself. Geopolitics studies how geography, power, and politics intersect and influence global affairs. When applied to technology, it examines how nations and corporations vie for dominance, control, and influence in the technological landscape.

Standards play a pivotal role in technology and are crucial for ensuring compatibility, interoperability, and seamless integration of various products and systems. They define the rules, specifications, and protocols enabling devices to communicate effectively. Tech sovereignty, on the other hand, pertains to a nation’s ability to exercise control over its technological infrastructure, data, and regulations. Establishing standards can significantly impact a country’s tech sovereignty as they shape the rules of the technological ecosystem. 

Four Primary Facets of Digital Geopolitics 

1. Building a Local Technology Industry 

Governments worldwide understand the importance of developing and nurturing a local technology industry. A strong technology industry enhances a country’s competitiveness in the global marketplace and reduces dependence on foreign technology.

Encouraging Innovation and Entrepreneurship 

To build a thriving technology industry, governments must foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. This involves investing in research and development, providing startup incentives, and facilitating knowledge transfer between academia and industry. By creating a culture that encourages creativity, experimentation and risk-taking, governments can unleash the potential of their domestic technology sector. 

Ensuring Technological Self-Reliance 

Dependence on foreign technologies can create vulnerabilities in a nation’s digital infrastructure and compromise security. Governments thus seek to reduce reliance on external technology providers, encouraging the development and adoption of indigenous technologies. Companies should prioritise building resilient technology ecosystems and exploring opportunities to collaborate with local vendors and suppliers. 

2. Achieving Necessary Cyber Capability

Nations must adapt to the digital age by developing the necessary military capability to defend their interests and deter potential adversaries. Cyber warfare, information warfare, and critical infrastructure protection have become vital components of national security. Governments need to invest in advanced cyber capabilities, enhance their cyber defences, and train their armed forces to operate effectively in the digital realm.

Investing in Cybersecurity and Defence 

To ensure military preparedness in the digital domain, governments must prioritise investments in cybersecurity and defence. This involves developing robust cybersecurity strategies, establishing specialised cyber units, and conducting regular security assessments. Collaboration with international partners and the private sector is crucial to staying ahead of emerging threats and sharing best practices in cyber defence.

Enhancing Cyber Intelligence 

Effective military capability requires accurate and timely intelligence on potential threats. Governments must invest in cyber intelligence capabilities to identify and respond to cyber attacks, espionage attempts, and other malicious activities. By strengthening their intelligence capabilities, governments can proactively defend their digital infrastructure and maintain situational awareness in cyberspace.

3. Protecting Digital Sovereignty

Digital sovereignty refers to a nation’s ability to maintain control over its digital infrastructure and protect its values and identity from external influence. Governments need to establish regulatory frameworks that safeguard their citizens' data privacy, prevent unauthorised access to critical infrastructure, and ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.

Regulatory Measures and Data Privacy 

To protect digital sovereignty, governments must enact and enforce robust regulatory measures. This includes data protection laws, encryption standards, and regulations governing the use and collection of personal information. Governments can enhance trust and confidence in the digital ecosystem by safeguarding data privacy and establishing clear rules for digital interactions.

Managing Cross-Border Data Flows 

The global nature of the digital landscape poses challenges to digital sovereignty. Governments must address the complexities of cross-border data flows, data localisation, and jurisdictional issues. Striking a balance between facilitating data-driven innovation and protecting national interests is crucial in an interconnected world. International cooperation and agreements can play a significant role in managing these challenges effectively.

4. Exerting Control over Cyberspace Governance

Governments aspire to exert direct control over cyberspace governance, shaping international norms, regulations, and standards. Understanding this facet is crucial to anticipate policy changes and navigate the evolving regulatory landscape. Cyberspace governance involves formulating the policies and regulations that shape the use and management of the digital domain. However, achieving effective governance in a decentralised and borderless environment is complex.

International Cooperation and Diplomacy 

Collaboration between nations, multilateral organisations, and stakeholders from industry and civil society is essential to develop shared norms, standards, and guidelines. Governments must engage in international cooperation and diplomacy to address the challenges of cyberspace governance. By participating in forums and negotiations, governments can shape the game’s rules and advocate for their interests in the global digital arena.

Balancing Control and Openness 

Achieving a balance between control and openness is a delicate task in cyberspace governance. Governments must strike a balance that promotes innovation, fosters economic growth, and protects national security. By adopting an inclusive and transparent approach, governments can ensure the benefits of the digital revolution are accessible to all while mitigating risks and vulnerabilities. 


The geopolitics of technology and the significance of standards in shaping tech sovereignty cannot be overstated. As nations navigate the ever-evolving technological landscape, establishing robust standards and preserving tech sovereignty is critical. Striking a balance between innovation, control, and national interests is essential to harness the transformative power of technology while safeguarding security, economic prosperity, and societal well-being. 

Finworks is here to support you on this journey. Contact us to discuss how we can help you navigate the geopolitics of technology and safeguard your tech sovereignty. Together, let’s shape and secure the digital future.