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Nations need ambassadors for Big Tech

Nations need ambassadors for Big Tech

We live two worlds: we are citizens of countries, but also ” network states, ”Massive technology companies using global power. Despite being digital and physical creatures, we do a pretty good job of sorting out how to navigate both spaces. We follow the laws based on where we park ourselves, and we follow state network rules depending on which sites and applications we log on to.

However, this double world seems to confuse governments. They may admit that Big Tech has similar powers to countries, but they can’t seem to figure out how to deal with very similar structures in those countries. As a result, most countries are still clean when it comes to controlling clean states, throwing old-world weapons like fines and rules as indifferent and devouring ether.

Fortunately, at least a few countries are committed to getting to know Big Tech better. In 2017, Denmark made history when it was named Casper Cluster, a longtime diplomat, to become the world’s first technology ambassador. When I was appointed to the appointment and asked when I was thinking about how governments should deal with networks, he told me, “If the freight train is coming … so it’s not the IT office that has to deal with technology; security policy. Few countries get that.”

At the time, Denmark seemed to be the only country that saw Big Tech as a geopolitical force to be reckoned with. However, in 2021, at least a dozen countries have followed the example of Denmark. It’s a promising start, but it’s not enough. All countries need technology diplomats — and fast. Although government officials remain behind the private sector in basic digital literacy, Big Tech continues to make its way into the future, accumulating global power with almost no control. As they happen, technology users move between unprotected platforms, storing our data, repackaging it, and selling it without our consent. But technology diplomacy can offer governments a new tactic to deal with this. From traditional strategies such as the formal recognition of allies and opponents to more modern approaches such as public-private partnerships, ambassadors with technical knowledge can help nations navigate this foreign territory more easily.

Today, most governments do not seem to have an effective plan to protect citizens on digital platforms. The efforts they have made so far have been mainly finger movements, shy fines, or lukewarm regulation; none of them have led to any changes in the platforms. Public hearings leave government officials angry and untouched, as parents scold teens (see, for example, when Florida Congressman Gus Bilirakis asked about Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Content posted on YouTube“Which is, of course, Google’s, not Facebook’s.” Regulations take so long to take effect; the technology sector often innovates rapidly before it enters its path. For example, before the entry into force of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Facebook moved on 1.5 billion users outside EU data centers to avoid new privacy laws. Significant fines have also not been effective: Billions in fines It’s like what Google created in 2019, which is only annoying when that company at least earns that two weeks.

The regulation also fails because technology companies are constantly updating ways to describe who they are and how they work. For example, when France approved an invoice requesting open data from transport companies in 2015, vehicle companies used their Terms of Service as evidence. they were not technically “transportation companies”Rather parity businesses. And since there was no way to say that the company’s Terms of Service language was recently updated, the companies stepped aside. French technology ambassador Henri Verdier, a career technologist prior to his diplomatic appointment, brought his technology industry experience to address this problem by developing an open source tool. Open the Condition File, which will allow anyone to see what specific words have changed in 100 conditional services in more than 100 companies. If governments are to have a chance to level the playing field with Big Tech, they will need technically savvy people like Verdier among themselves.

No doubt governments will cut their work with this idea to achieve their own bureaucracies. Rana Sarkar, Canada’s chief technology consul, told me, “This idea of ​​being a diplomat who is not geographically located and focused is a challenge for foreign ministries. And the antibodies of foreign ministries against things that don’t seem to fall into this category are strong. “But the need for technology diplomats is even greater than the government’s resistance to them. Martin Rauchbauer, the Austrian technology ambassador, explains: “We see ourselves … as translators between different worlds. I think diplomacy is all that is needed. “

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