Internet Intervention

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Germany's New Digital Agenda Appears Unambitious, Unfocused, Perhaps Dead on Arrival

People hold placards in support of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden during a protest in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, July 4, 2013. Protesters demanded Germany grant Snowden asylum as they held up banners and chanted slogans in support of the former spy agency contractor. The German words on the sign (R) reads, "I also don't like surveillance all that much!"  REUTERS/Thomas Peter (GERMANY - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Protesters in Berlin ask for asylum for U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden on July 4, 2013.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Berlin must restrain its bureaucratic tendencies to foster a freer atmosphere for digital startups and a more fruitful environment for technology businesses.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Germany lags the United States in technology startups and software development.
    • Bureaucracy is a big reason why Germany has not translated its industrial success into technology.
    • The government needs to create better financial incentives for tech entrepreneurs.
  • Audio

    Audio

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The federal government is attempting to portray Germany’s advance into the digital era as a grand undertaking: a statement of principles with visionary overtones encompasses seven chapters, numerous plans and countless announcements.

If one takes the draft of its working program as a benchmark, however, then it is not that at all. It’s more like the first stage of a long journey. But at least it is something.

Much of what the Grand Coalition and its three Internet ministers intend to accomplish points in the right direction: connecting all of Germany’s companies and citizens to the high-speed Internet within a few years is indispensable in a world that is rapidly becoming digitalized.

It is equally essential to prepare traditional industries for the future and put young, imaginative entrepreneurs on a firm footing, so that Germany won’t be a loser in this digital revolution.

 

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