Transatlantic Digital Dialogue: Rebuilding Trust through Cooperative Reform

Policy Brief

The Transatlantic Digital Dialogue is a multi-stakeholder working group of experts from Germany and the United States. It was assembled and stewarded by the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung and the German Marshall Fund of the United States to develop a constructive agenda for the modernization of privacy/security policy that begins to address the global debate over digital surveillance. The findings presented here are rooted in three convictions shared by all of the participants in the project: 1) that transatlantic relationships have weakened as a result of the fractious and inconclusive debate between the EU and the U.S. over surveillance practices; 2) that a multinational modernization of a rights-based framework for privacy and security policy is needed to address these challenges; and 3) that solutions should be aligned with principles of human rights, responsive to the complex political economy of surveillance policy, and premised on common interests and values. 

The Transatlantic Digital Dialogue presents this report as a framework of analysis for re-building trust and democratic legitimacy in the transatlantic relationship in cyberspace. The agenda we present here offers three areas of policy recommendations with clear opportunities for reform: oversight and transparency; extraterritorial access to data; and cyber-security and strong encryption. 

Taken as a package of issues, there is a symmetry of corresponding strengths and weaknesses between the two countries. A focused bilateral engagement could seek to set standards based on the strengths of each side and in so doing raise the quality of policy for both as well as establish a model for other nations to follow in their own modernization efforts.