Abstract : Why do big plans for data processing that are announced with political support from the highest level in the government turn out, a few years later, to be wasteful failures in a context of widespread indifference that is inversely proportional to the mobilization of the media and politicians at the time of the announcement? The project for "personal medical records" - launched in the media in May 2004, presented as the key to curbing health insurance costs, and included as part of a Social Security act in August 2004 - provides an example. Every French person was to have a medical record on the Internet by 1 January 2007 - but who still remembers? Like this project, the digital European library, announced urbi et orbi in May 2005, would supposedly counter what was seen as Google's cultural hegemony over the diffusion of knowledge on the Internet. This anticlimax leads us to turn our thoughts to the effectiveness of political words and public deeds in France and the EU.