After the surveillance disclosures by Edward Snowden in 2013, government officials and other public figures in Europe and elsewhere have been proposing changes that qualify as attempts to gain “technological sovereignty”. Most prominent have been various data localization proposals especially in Brazil or continental Europe (“Schengen cloud”) that have attracted significant attention. Others include calls for stronger encryption, new undersea cables, and support for local industry.
While some proposals lost traction, the German government has been turning others into action. For example, the government cancelled a contract with Verizon and is now expecting companies to guarantee that they are not required by other contracts or laws to share confidential data with foreign security agencies. As part of the joint project “Transatlantic Dialogues on Security and Freedom in the Digital Age”, New America’s Open Technology Institute and the Global Public Policy Institute are hosting this event to take stock of the current state of this debate and its implications. What are the political dynamics around the proposals in Europe and in Brazil? Do the measures discussed help achieve their purported goals of protecting government and industry secrets as well as citizens from foreign spying and surveillance? What are their side-effects for a free and open Internet?
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Vice President, Technology Policy and Strategy and Director, Open Technology Institute
Director, Global Public Policy Institute
Director of Government Relations, Hewlett Packard, Germany
Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor and member of the Global Commission on Internet Governance
Vice President for International Policy, Public Knowledge
Research Fellow, New America’s Open Technology Institute