7th National IT-Summit in Essen

Last week, several German political leaders, members of the federal administration, academics, IT-businessmen and other members of the German society met in Essen for the 7th National IT-Summit. The summit is an invite-only conference being held once a year by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. It forms the end and new beginning of an ongoing discussion between the members of the six working groups and several sub-working groups to develop a nation-wide (political) IT-strategy for Germany.In each of the six working groups one political leader – usually a federal minister – and one IT-businessman – usually the leader of a big German IT-company – preside. The topics being dealt with in each of the working groups are chosen from the presiding political leader’s field of expertise, meaning that the IT-strategy for Germany is being developed from different perspectives. They are tied together at each year’s National IT-Summit through meetings of the working parties, discussions, speeches and other events – such as this year’s startup-battle – that are taking place during the time of the summit.

Amongst the ideas being proposed under this year’s motto that can be translated as “digitalize_connect _start”, the ones proposed by working group 5 (being led by the Federal Minister of Justice) and working group 4 (being led by the Minister of Interior) stick out and are worth being followed up on.

Working group 5 looked at different phenomenons caused by the ubiquity of information technology. The members dealt with questions like: What possibilities are offered by information technology and what challenges have to be met and what does that mean for society, law-makers and politicians? To find answers to these questions, the working group started an on- and offline dialogue that is supposed to lead to the development of a so-called “Charta for a digital society” over the next year.

Working group 3 focused on IT-security and a so-called cyber-strategy for Germany. In consideration of cyber-attacks on business- and government-IT, they concluded that IT-security cannot only be ensured by (private) IT-solutions, but legal measures are to be taken, as well. IT-security and especially the obligation to guarantee it have to be written down in an IT-security law for Germany.

Let’s see how far we’ve come with the Charta and the cyber-strategy at the next National IT-Summit.

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