Transatlantic Digital Debates 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. & AUSTIN, TX (November 4-11, 2017) In November, the Transatlantic Digital Debates (TDD) 2017 wrapped up activities in the United States, the second leg of the program’s transatlantic exchange itinerary. The TDD are organized by the Berlin-based Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) and the Washington-based New America Foundation. Funded by the Federal Government of Germany, TDD receives additional support from the Bertelsmann Foundation North America, IBM, Microsoft and The Nunatak Group.

Now in its second year, the TDD aim to support transatlantic political discussion and enhance cooperation between the U.S. and Germany on the topic of digitalization. Digital innovation is radically transforming our societies, creating new opportunities as well as regulatory challenges. There is a need to work towards a better understanding of these developments and define new global rules and standards to aid in shaping the digital futures of the United States and Germany. The program engages 18 young professionals (nine from the U.S. and nine from Germany) from the public sector, civil society, business and academia who want to make a difference on these key challenges at the intersection of technology and policy.

While in the U.S., the TDD 2017 participants met with international tech policy experts in Washington, D.C. and Austin, TX. Over three intense days in Washington, D.C., the TDD 2017 fellows met with experts including Marina Kaljurand, Chair of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace and TDD Steering Committee member, and Thomas Rid, Professor of Strategic Studies, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. Getting an insight into government itself, the fellows visited the East Wing of the White House before meeting with various members of the National Security Council’s Cybersecurity Directorate to discuss the Trump administration’s cyber security priorities. Fellows also heard from David Becker, founder and Executive Director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research and contributor to Disrupting Democracy, on how technology has impacted voting in the United States and the exaggerated vulnerability of the U.S. election system to hacking.

Afterwards, the fellows attended D.C.’s ARTECHOUSE for the launch event of the “No Collar Economy”, a new Bertelsmann publication about the impact of digital technology on the global economy.

After the whirlwind tour of Washington, the group flew to Austin and shifted the focus of the conversations from policy to the digital economy and innovation. To name only a few, fellows met with representatives of the City of Austin’s Office of Innovation as well as Donna Howard, Member of the Texas House of Representatives.