International Cyber Agenda:
Balance between Privacy and Security

Net Neutrality is the concept that everyone should have equal access to all online content (email, video, music, websites) without Internet providers being able to throttle, block, or discriminate against any type of content. It is in jeopardy in the United States. At least this was the impression everyone could get going online on July …Read More

Chancellor Merkel’s recent visit to Washington, DC, created a number of quite remarkable moments that will be remembered as they marked a new tone in transatlantic relations. Not least, the meeting will be remembered for Merkel’s facial expression when the new president of the United States suggested that they share common experiences of surveillance through …Read More

The Munich Security Conference this year was as much about who was in the main hall at the Bayerischer Hof, as who wasn’t. Lurking in the shadows of empty words about supporting an alliance that is in truth unraveling, were 4.9 million Syrian refugees who have been displaced and killed, with 5,079 migrants dying in …Read More

President Trump has said cybersecurity is a priority for his administration. It is also one of the fastest growing spending priorities for the U.S. government this fiscal year. Across the Atlantic, Germany is preparing to launch new cyber defense capabilities of its own in the wake of massive cyber breaches of government and public sector …Read More

Thomas Friedman has the talent to write about complicated subjects in a way that normal people can wrap their heads around. He does this by choosing an overarching theme and then spices up the explanation with various metaphors, analogies, and anecdotes galore. Whether it be about the Middle East or climate change, Friedman comes up …Read More

A Collection from This Week’s News on Important Issues for German-American Relations Business and Economics Trump’s planned tariff on GM would violate NAFTA (Bloomberg) Deutsche Bahn plans to expand “Silk Rail” for cargo trains from and to China (Handelsblatt Global) German inflation jumps to fastest since 2013 on oil prices (Bloomberg) Foreign and Domestic Policy …Read More

America and the rest of the world are still struggling to understand what led to the outcome of the U.S. presidential election of 2016. It is almost dangerous—and at the very least, surprising—that the influence of Russian cyberattacks and disinformation are not a major subject within current discussions. They were reason enough for German chancellor …Read More

A Collection from This Week’s News on Important Issues for German-American Relations Business and Economics Germany will soon have more refugees in work than out (The Local Germany) Germany considers forcing Facebook to delete fake news (Politico) Tech employees vow not to help Trump surveil Muslims, deport immigrants (Reuters) China’s billionaire warns Trump curbs could …Read More

A Collection from This Week’s News on Important Issues for German-American Relations Business and Economics New study shows: City dwellers in Germany are poorer than rural neighbors (DW) Aixtron could revive Chinese takeover despite U.S. block (Reuters) German government must compensate utilities for nuclear law, court rules (WSJ) EU sues seven EU countries over VW …Read More

A Collection from This Week’s News on Important Issues for German-American Relations Business and Economics Obama is poised to block a Chinese company from buying Aixtron SE in Germany (Bloomberg) As Trump prepares for office, concerns about China trade intensify (The Washington Post) German scholars positive about Trump investment plans (DW) EU court asks: Is …Read More

The Romans were shouting “Hannibal at the gates” when the famous general from Carthage tried to conquer their city with elephants in 218 BC. Today’s cyber-warriors and cyber-criminals are already behind the gates, using subtler means to invade the computers of individuals, companies, and even governments. And we may not even know the attackers. Many …Read More

A Collection from This Week’s News on Important Issues for German-American Relations Business and Economics Global markets are shaken, then stabilize, after Trump victory (NYT) Volkswagen chairman under investigation in Germany (USA Today) Poultry caged as bird flu spreads through Germany (The Local Germany) Tesla buys Germany’s Grohmann Engineering to help ramp up electric car …Read More

A Collection from This Week’s News on Important Issues for German-American Relations Business and Economics German Delegation arrives in China just hours after senior German embassy official was summoned to discuss blocking of investment deal (WSJ) Economists urge Germany to keep door open to Chinese companies (Financial Times) Lingering xenophobia and immigration clashes bad for …Read More

November 8 is Election Day in America.  The U.S. has not one national election, but fifty state elections with 135 million voters, 538 Electors in the Electoral College.  270 Electors’ votes are needed to win. Hillary Clinton’s lead in the national polls has dropped from 12 points to 6 and now to 2 in the …Read More

The first conference of “A German-American Dialogue of the Next Generation: Global Responsibility, Joint Engagement” engages young Americans and Germans in discussions of current issues of concern for the transatlantic relationship. Young leaders in the fields of foreign and domestic policy; society, culture, and politics; and business and economics will come together to address challenges …Read More

A Collection from This Week’s News on Important Issues for German-American Relations Business and Economics US and Europe become more serious with company crackdowns (WP) Nuclear power plant was disrupted by cyber attack in Germany (Reuters) Germany’s banking problem is bigger than Deutsche Bank: political and legislative hurdles make consolidation difficult (WSJ) Photovoltaic company Pfalzsolar …Read More

Encouraged by the “Go Out” and “One Belt, One Road” policies and a chronic cash surplus, Chinese overseas economic activity in the last decade has not only increased but shifted “upstream in the value chain,” to quote Albert Ng, Managing Partner of Greater China. This has proven a boon to recession-prone EU countries. As recently …Read More

As reported, the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) launched its self-certification system of the Privacy Shield (PS) on 1 August. The NTIA’s website provides a host of information for U.S. and European businesses. Participating organizations are deemed to provide “adequate” privacy protection, a requirement for the transfer of personal data outside of the European …Read More

A weekly round-up of news and happenings in German-American relations. Business and Economics Volkswagen gets initial approval of $14.7 billion settlement with U.S. drivers. The auto maker plans to hire 250 to 300 people to work exclusively on the process. (WSJ) Registration for the new EU-U.S. data transfer agreement begins next month and companies need …Read More

The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield—the successor to the invalidated Safe Harbor program for transatlantic transfers of EU personal data—was finally approved on July 12, 2016. U.S. organizations will be able to certify compliance with the Privacy Shield principles starting on August 1, 2016, and then be able to receive personal data from EU or EEA-based organizations …Read More

Die Federal Trade Commission (FTC) und die Federal Communications Commission (FCC) haben am  10.05.16 zwei getrennte Untersuchungsverfahren gegen  bestimmte TK-Anbieter und Hersteller von Smartphones etc. eingeleitet. Die US-Behörden wollen wissen, wie diese Unternehmen Updates zur Datensicherheit vornehmen, wie die Kunden die Updates umsetzen und wie die Unternehmen eventuelle Verwundbarkeiten in den Geräten adressieren.  Das wirft …Read More

The world of cybersecurity is a complicated maze of technology, politics, and policy, a constant competition among those who would harness all of them for good and/or ill. It is also a world in which the search for command and control runs faster than the capacity of governments to keep up. Fred Kaplan’s Dark Territory: …Read More

European Commission may need to revise the draft proposal to meet the concerns expressed by the Article 29 Working Party. On 29 February 2016, the European Commission published a draft adequacy decision to establish the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, the replacement for the invalidated Safe Harbor program that previously allowed transfers of personal data between the European …Read More

There was a resounding call for action by regulators and industry and the legal documents are now out in public. The European Commission and the U.S. government both hope that the new EU-U.S. Privacy Shield will fully address the European Court of Justice’s criticisms in the landmark “Schrems” ruling last year.  On February 29, the …Read More

Days before Apple was ordered to turn over the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino attackers who killed fourteen in December, cyber experts clashed at the Munich Security Conference over the high stakes of cyber security: for user’s privacy, and for their nations’ safety. They have been used as a weapon of the Islamic …Read More

The EU is acting at breakneck speed to fill the legal gap that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) created in October, invalidating the Safe Harbor Agreement for EU/U.S. data transfers. EU Justice Commissioner Vĕra Jourová reported on 1 February 2016 to the European Parliament’s Committee on Freedoms and Human Rights (Civil Liberties, Justice, and …Read More

In today’s interconnected world, we can no longer keep our policy areas separate; what affects security policy also impacts an economy’s prosperity, and the decisions made can have ramifications on individual privacy. Cybersecurity and net neutrality form the link across these issues. What concerns many dedicated transatlanticists and stakeholders from the private sector and the …Read More

This year’s Symposium is framed around the idea of “A New Transatlantic Generation.” We know that German-American relations have long been shaped by the personal connections that were established after World War II and held firm throughout the Cold War. Since reunification, however, there has been a rapid drawdown of the American troop presence in …Read More

U.S. companies with European business will most likely mark 6 October 2015 as a dark day on their calendars. The highest EU court, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg, declared a fifteen-year-old longstanding EU decision authorizing a EU/US Safe Harbor “invalid.” The judgment is not appealable. This is a serious issue for the …Read More

As do many other countries, Germany struggles to find the right balance between privacy and cybersecurity. It is a balancing act on many fronts. The German government has suggested a mandatory (bulk) data retention law (Vorratsdatenspeicherung) that will require companies to store traffic data for certain time periods in case this information is needed for …Read More

When the news broke a few days ago that the U.S. Senate had finally approved the USA Freedom Act, German commenters received it with satisfaction. However, there are various differences between the USA Freedom Act and data retention laws in Europe, in particular the recent German bill on bulk traffic (i.e., metadata) data collection (Vorratsdatenspeicherung). …Read More

Amid the continuing saga of the NSA affair—spanning from the German debate about privacy and security to the USA Freedom Act—there is now another set of perspectives on the impact of Edward Snowden’s revelations of surveillance activities by U.S. intelligence agencies. Ronald Goldfarb has delivered a set of essays in the edited volume After Snowden: …Read More

Amid the tensions between Berlin and Washington generated by the NSA affair, one might be tempted to remind both sides of the Atlantic that (apologies to Jack Nicholson’s character in “A Few Good Men”), “you can’t handle the truth.” While the current news headlines in Germany and the U.S. both reference the same acronym—NSA—the debate …Read More

Listen to any European or American leader talk about the transatlantic relationship these days and you will hear a handful of common refrains. Major policy addresses of this kind often start with the recognition that the world has changed. Europe and the United States face unprecedented challenges on the world stage, ranging from asymmetric warfare …Read More

Congress is debating the USA FREEDOM Act in the next days. The House approved Representative Jim Sensenbrenner’s version of the law on Wednesday and the Senate is expected to vote on Senator Mike Lee’s companion bill next week. The law requires the American Intelligence Community to fulfill its important mandate within a legal framework of …Read More

Cybersecurity at the top of Obama’s agenda On the heels of the newly-released cybersecurity framework, President Obama is expected to sign an executive order today that will encourage information sharing between the government and companies who come under cyberattack. Read AICGS’ analysis of cybersecurity as it pertains to both German and American companies and societies, …Read More

On December 11, 2014, AICGS and the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security (BIGS) hosted a roundtable discussion led by Dr. Tim Stuchtey, BIGS Executive Director, on “Civil Security and the Private Security Industry in Germany.” In recent years, questions of civil security have become increasingly prominent on the economic and political agenda of Germany. …Read More

Throughout the year, AICGS hosts a number of private meetings with policy-makers, corporate leaders, and experts to discuss key developments in German-American relations. We were pleased to be joined at a private luncheon discussion with a special guest, Senator Chris Murphy, on Thursday, September 18, 2014. Senator Murphy is on the Subcommittee on European Affairs and gave his …Read More

“The possible size of the [surveillance] programs has shocked people.” AICGS President Dr. Jackson Janes sits down with Dr. Günter Krings, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, to talk about promoting further transatlantic dialogue on data privacy issues.

On August 21, 2014, the AICGS Foreign & Domestic Policy Program hosted Dr. Günter Krings, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of the Interior, for a roundtable discussion. Moderated by Dr. Jackson Janes, President of AICGS, the discussion focused on the clashes between Berlin and Washington over surveillance issues. The line of privacy is …Read More

There has been a heated transatlantic debate on cyber issues since Edward Snowden’s release of classified National Security Agency (NSA) documents last year that described various surveillance activities, including the collection of information from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. These revelations have strained the relationship between the two countries and have sparked an emotional debate. …Read More

Chancellor Merkel was right in saying that when it comes to the digital world we are in “Neuland.” Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen agree. The opening sentence to their book, The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business (Knopf, 2013), is “The Internet is among the few things humans have built that …Read More

AICGS held a transatlantic cyber dialogue on March 12, 2014 to address the core challenges that have grown out of the debate on data privacy and security this past year. The meeting included experts from government, business, and civil society from both Germany and the United States.

The spectrum of dramatically differing U.S. and German reactions to the revelation of National Security Agency (NSA) eavesdropping of electronic communications, along with the parallel domestic debates in both countries, suggests that the transatlantic controversy may have deeper roots than just an angry direct response to the broad and sustained invasion of personal privacy. Reduced …Read More

While the revelations of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about state-sponsored intrusions into online privacy have been deeply unsettling to many, the growing everyday threats to our online activities posed by cyber criminals receive little public attention. Yet, in reality the chances of someone you know being actively monitored by the NSA or its European …Read More

This morning, Target Corps released that there has been a security breach, and about 40 million credit and debit cards have been accessed from customers of Target stores (not online) between November 27 to December 15, 2013. Target immediately sent out a notice to warn their customers of the attack. Information that was stolen in …Read More

Introduction: Digitization as Political Challenge As Tessier Stall notes, “[c]yberspace is both the playground and the battleground of the future.”[1] Digitization is a great opportunity for society and modern information and communication technologies are already shaping our everyday life in a substantial way. Still, advancements in information and communication technologies and their widespread use lead …Read More

Serious cyber-attacks against public and private sector organizations are increasing in frequency and severity. Watch these clips from this panel of the AICGS Annual Symposium for a discussion of cyber security with emphasis on the role of the private sector and the government.

A “no-spy” agreement is currently popular among the German public and its leaders, but the perceived benefit may outpace any actual advantages. AICGS Senior Research Program Associate Parke Nicholson explains why and argues for a “Five Eyes plus One” (E5+1) as a better alternative.

The U.S. elections in 2012 and the German elections in 2013 demonstrate that, despite their geographic distance, the two countries are confronted by both similar and shared problems: debt crises, unemployment, instability in the Middle East, immigration, energy security, education, and counter-terrorism efforts, to name only a few. National elections offer an opportunity to engage …Read More

Kathrin Ulmer is a PhD candidate at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and a research assistant in the EU Integration Research Division at the Berlin-based think tank Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP). During her DAAD/AICGS Fellowship in October and November 2013, Ms. Ulmer conducted interviews for her dissertation, which is supervised by Prof. Dr. Dr. …Read More

Writing for the ninth issue of Medium Magazine, AICGS President Dr. Jackson Janes returns to the ongoing, but overshadowed, controversy over NSA surveillance. Edward Snowden has catalyzed the old civil liberties debate by introducing the implications of the digital age. Will this debate last?

By Alex Racey At her annual summer conference, Chancellor Angela Merkel remained coy on the details surrounding the NSA spy affair. She asserted that the government is taking the necessary steps to get information from Washington, but would not dish out any new details. In addition, she proposed an eight-point data privacy legislation plan. In …Read More

In his recent front-page article in German in der Tagesspiegel, frequent AICGS participant, Prof. Dr. Christian Hacke, evaluates President Barack Obama’s hawkish leadership in American security policy, posture, and relationship with Germany.

AICGS President, Jackson Janes, has recently been quoted in a number of news articles on cybersecurity and data privacy. From a range of online and print outlets, these pieces detail the ongoing controversy over allegations of surveillance by American, German, and other national intelligence services. AICGS has ongoing coverage and analysis of cybersecurity and data …Read More

Recently, AICGS Non-Resident Fellow, Dr. Russell A. Miller, detailed the “1975 Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities” and its implications for contemporary surveillance in a lecture at his home Washington and Lee University School of Law. The full text is posted at Verfassungsblog. Prompting an in-depth interview with Der …Read More

Basic facts about PRISM PRISM is a National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program that has existed since 2007 when then-President George W. Bush signed the Protect America Act. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) oversees PRISM in accordance with Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). PRISM is said to obtain private communications …Read More

Introduction[1] The recently revealed NSA (National Security Agency) surveillance program of the American government, “Prism,”[2] and the criticism it raised not only in the U.S. but also in Germany once again made clear that cyberspace has become an essential field for law enforcement as well as for foreign and national intelligence gathering. Moreover, the revelation …Read More

The ongoing debate about cyber security and its implications for privacy has once again exposed major cultural and legal differences between the United States and Germany. The interplay between German society’s demand for privacy and the state’s implementation of legal structures ensuring its protection has developed throughout a long period of challenges and adjustments marked …Read More

The reaction in Germany and throughout Europe to the revelations of NSA surveillance continues to swell in bigger waves. The information drawn from the computers of Edward Snowden enrage many, disappoint others, and generate more questions about the oversight of the American way of intelligence gathering. While the defensive argument that “everybody does it” is …Read More