Committee News

Digital Policy

TIM Delegation Visit to Washington D.C. and San Francisco/Silicon Valley 2018

In October, AmCham Germany's Telecommunication, Internet and Media Committee continued its well-established tradition of spending a week in the US with German members of Parliament and representatives from tech companies to discuss current technological developments, tech policy, digital innovation, transatlantic relations and the bigger political picture, including the US midterm elections.

The visit provided the participants with a behind-the-scenes glimpse into US tech companies, thereby offering inspiration for opportunities for transatlantic cooperation. The delegation met with political decision makers; German Ambassador to the US Emily Haber; representatives of think tanks such as the German Marshall Fund, the Atlantic Council and the Heritage Foundation; and, of course, high-level representatives from AmCham Germany's tech member companies, who provided the group with great insights into the current state of affairs on many issues concerning digital transformation.

The meetings focused on the future of digital markets on both sides of the Atlantic and how to create a sustainable, focused and feasible regulatory framework for the digital economy. The group talked about the necessity to coordinate the regulatory frameworks between the US and the EU for the digital economies to thrive. Also at the core of the meetings was the intention to strengthen trust and transparency and to foster digital resilience in order to counter disinformation in the digital age.

The group also debated US as well as German and European approaches to cybersecurity with experts from the US Department of Homeland Security, including Assistant Secretary of Cybersecurity and Communications Jeannette Manfra, as well as specialists from the Homeland Security Committee in the House of Representatives and from the US Chamber of Commerce. An important result that the participants took away from the discussions was that national approaches do not reach far enough and that streamlining should be improved to achieve a common European and US approach.

The challenges of digitalization are as relevant in the US as they are in Germany and Europe; therefore, reliable guidelines are required for everyone. The talks revealed that the US is willing to take the European approach to data protection into greater account; European plans for taxing digital companies are, however, viewed much more critically. The EU-US Privacy Shield was reviewed by the US Department of Commerce and regarded as an effective and functioning mechanism for transatlantic data exchange.

While the digital transformation poses new challenges for all industrial and economic sectors and society as a whole, it also offers great opportunities for innovation and growth. To realize the full potential of digitalization for the transatlantic economy, it is essential to remain in a solutions-oriented dialogue with the US.

Following a series of meetings with German expats and experts in Silicon Valley, the delegation left the US with fresh insights into the region's culture and spirit of innovation. Many encouraging discussions on the ethical and responsible use of artificial intelligence, the future of work, the data economy, data protection, cloud services, platform economics and innovative technologies such as 3-D printing and the Internet of Things rounded out the program.

Participants: Dr. Danyal Bayaz, MdB, Alliance 90 / The Greens, Dr. Gunnar Bender, Amazon Deutschland Services GmbH, Benjamin Brake, IBM Deutschland, Mario Brandenburg, MdB, FDP-Parliamentary Group, Mike Cosse, SAP SE, Angela Freimuth, MdL, FDP-Parliamentary Group in the State Parliament of North Rhine Westphalia, Tobias Heyer, Airbnb, Sebastian Hufnagel, Dell Inc., Nina Keim, Salesforce, Constanze Krüger, AmCham Germany, Fabian Ladda, HP Deutschland GmbH. Dr. Nikolaus Lindner, LL.M., eBay GmbH, Eveline Metzen, AmCham Germany, Falko Mohrs, MdB, SPD-Parliamentary Group, Claudia Mrotzek, Oracle Corp, Dr. Wolf Osthaus, Unitymedia / Liberty Global, Lisa Rapport-Moersch, Uber, Semjon Rens, Facebook, Johann Saathoff, MdB, SPD-Parliamentary Group n, Sven Schulze, MEP, EPP-Parliamentary Group, European Parliament, Frank Sitta, MdB, FDP-Parliamentary Group, Armin Slotta, AmCham Germany, Mathias Stein, MdB, SPD-Parliamentary Group, Cornelius Wendel, POLICYNAVIGATION, Christine Wenzel, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Lennart Wetzel, Microsoft

View impressions of the trip in our event gallery.