Economy & Politics

Google wants to keep the MoU secret

The collaboration project signed between the government and the American giant has still not been disclosed to the chagrin of the Ecological Movement. For the Californian company, this document contains “sensitive information”.

The collaboration project signed between the government and the American giant has still not been disclosed to the chagrin of the Ecological Movement. For the Californian company, this document contains “sensitive information”.

(ER ave E.D.) – The disclosure of Google’s water needs for its future data center could give its competitors an idea of ​​understanding the internal workings of the company, explained the American giant before the administrative court according to our colleagues at the Luxembourg Times.

If Google arrives in the territory of the municipality of Bissen, the new infrastructure could need 10 million liters of water daily. This is the equivalent of 8% of the country’s drinking water, which represents the quantity consumed by more than 75,000 Luxembourgers per day. Figures that the American giant has never confirmed, nor denied.


The future data center of the American giant, which is due to be established in Bissen, promises to be energy intensive in natural resources. But at the moment no figures have filtered out on its water needs.


What make the decision of the authorities difficult to take. The municipality of Bissen will soon decide on the modification of its particular development plan (PAP) with a view to obtaining the building permit. While mayor David Viaggi (Är Leit) and his team will only comment on certain aspects of the project such as the height of the buildings, noise pollution or traffic in the neighboring streets, many other unanswered questions remain.

Electricity consumption or the amount of water needed to cool the data center “falls under the jurisdiction of the national government,” adds the elected official. And at this level, it’s radio silence. Yet in June, the Ecological Movement, which had turned to the courts to force the public disclosure of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) won its case. But since then, no information has filtered.


8.3.IPO / Chamber of Deputies, Krautmarkt / Abgeordnetenkammer Foto: Guy Jallay

The Google dossier has brought back to the fore the problems that the Grand Duchy is encountering in terms of making information available to citizens. The law on freedom of information, passed in 2018, still has some restrictions.


Two weeks ago, lawyers for Google, the authorities and the Ecological Movement made their arguments before the administrative court. Patrick Kinsch, who defends the interests of the government, reminded the Luxembourg Times that “the reasons for this confidentiality are not linked to water consumption in particular”. “This secrecy is explained by the fact that a competitor of Google could know more about the technology used at the time of the signing of the MoU”, specifies the lawyer.

In addition, Google, through its lawyer Serge Hoffman, also declared that the disclosure of the memorandum of understanding “would compromise the government’s ability to conduct its economic policy”. It remains to be seen whether MEPs, who learned about the MoU four months ago, consider it technologically and commercially sensitive.


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