The offer by the Commission to host on its own servers the online collection systems of the first proposed citizens' initiatives is temporary and optional. This measure has been put in place due to the difficulties a number of organisers have encountered in finding suitable private service providers - see 18 July Press release.
Online collection systems hosted on the Commission's servers must use the Commission's open source software. According to the Regulation on the citizens' initiative, organisers must request the competent national authority of the member state where the data will be stored to certify their system. As the Commission's data centre, where the data will be stored, is located in Luxembourg, organisers who choose to have their online collection system hosted by the Commission have to request the system certification from the competent Luxembourgish authority, the Centre des Technologies de l'Information de l'Etat (CTIE), before starting the online collection.
Organisers who, upon the Commission's request, confirm their interest in having their system hosted by the Commission receive a package of documents including the hosting agreement (contract) to be signed between the Commission and the organisers, and the documentation (covering security policy, business impact assessment, risk assessment and treatment, and a statement of applicability) that the organisers are required to complete and sign in order to finalise the certification request. This documentation only concerns the compliance of the organisers with the technical specifications, the documentation related to the hosting environment and the software being produced and directly provided by the Commission to the Luxembourgish authority. The Commission works closely with organisers who choose to use this exceptional and temporary service by providing training, guidance and technical assistance in setting up the collection system and preparing the documentation required.
For more background information, please consult the summary reports of the meetings the Commission has held with the organisers of the first proposed citizens' initiatives registered with the Commission: