Strengthen Digital Strategy in the Public Sector

By on December 30, 2019

Executive Summary of an article written by
Martin Schallbruch, ESMT Berlin’s Digital Society Institute

Data protection regulation such as the GDPR has exploded, while at the same time data protection has suffered. The abundance of data protection lulls people into a false sense of security. Governments’ digital capabilities make overcoming their digital weakness a complicated and difficult process. However, there are some basic approaches that they could focus on to strengthen their digital strategies.

Governments need to outline a new and more generalized civil code for the digital space to replace multiple laws that require updating every few years as technology advances. Governments must acknowledge that global digital platforms create online communities, yet also spread illegal content and commit crimes. The burden of responsibility should not simply be on the platform companies. Digital infrastructure planning must go far beyond just fiber-optic networks and 5G connectivity to ensure there are common offerings across all industries and applications. Finally, there needs to be a re-organization of how digital innovation is viewed in politics.

Digital innovation can be extremely beneficial to citizens. It can tackle societal issues that include addressing climate change, providing improved governmental services, or just giving citizens access to safe digital services. But current digital strategies are not strong enough to ensure digital innovation is not also a threat to society. A strong digital state is a prerequisite for freedom, justice and security in an increasingly digital world, which can only be achieved if governments strengthen their digital strategies.

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