News from Berlin

Germany and the USA Meet for “Transatlantic Cyber Dialogue”

June 30th, 2014
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News from Berlin - German Foreign Minister Steinmeier met Obama’s Special Advisor John Podesta last Friday, June 27th, in the first round of the Transatlantic Cyber Dialogue, established by Steinmeier and John Kerry in February. The main discussion topics were security and protection of the private sphere on the Internet but also the economic chances for cyber companies and opportunities on international cooperation in the cyber branch.

In his opening speech, Steinmeier stressed the need for a free, secure and open internet with common rules to protect the private sphere of citizens. “Data is power, and power needs to be controlled by law” said the German Foreign Minister. He also pointed out that secret services should also be controlled by regulation. Quoting the famous words of Benjamin Franklin, he said “those who give up freedom for the sake of security, do not obtain either in the end.” The same applies to secret cyber programs. There has to be a balance between freedom and security.

Also quoting Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address he asked the audience of more than 100 cyber experts from Germany and the USA to do their best to create an “Internet of the people, by the people and for the people.” This topic has indeed become more important after the slightly worsening relations between Germany and the USA after the NSA scandal, and both Steinmeier and Podesta agreed that the only way forward for the two countries is further cooperation as worsening relations are not an option at all.

News from Berlin – Berlin Global