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UPDATE 1-Italy to involve big overseas tech firms in national cloud plan

* Italy to develop national cloud to store data

* Leonardo to announce MoU with Microsoft - source

* France open to overseas technology but under conditions (Adds source on Leonardo-Microsoft deal for cloud)

MILAN, May 25 (Reuters) - Italy aims to create a storage system for sensitive state data using cloud technology developed by big overseas firms, its innovation minister said on Monday, following France’s lead despite calls by some EU politicians for home-grown solutions.

Rome wants to ensure safety and security while getting access to the best technologies, Vittorio Colao, the former head of telecoms firm Vodafone, said during an online event, without mentioning any firms.

U.S. tech giants Google, Microsoft and Amazon dominate the data storage industry, fuelling concerns in Europe over the risk of U.S. surveillance in the wake of the adoption of the U.S. CLOUD Act of 2018.

A source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday that Italian defence and cybersecurity conglomerate Leonardo would team up with Microsoft to offer cloud services to Italy’s public administration.

The two groups are expected to announce a memorandum of understanding in the next few days, the source said, adding that the deal was expected to ensure that critical data for Italian clients would be stored in servers located in the country.

Earlier this month, France said some of its most sensitive state and corporate data could be safely stored using the cloud computing technology developed by Alphabet’s Google and Microsoft, if it is licensed to French companies.

“France has recently outlined its policy on national cloud, clearly we have been consulting on this with them, and we want to do exactly the same”, Colao said.

“We have decided to create a national cloud hub for state data, whose residency will be in Italy and in Europe, but we will use the best technologies available at international level”, he said.

He added he expected to have such a hub in place next year.

The project is part of a plan financed by European funds to help the economy recover from the coronavirus crisis. (Additional reporting by Francesca Landini. Editing by Mark Potter)

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