‘Diplo­matic ties’ with Sil­i­con Val­ley

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT / INTERNATIONAL - Stine Ja­cob­sen

THE TOP FIRMS in Cal­i­for­nia’s Sil­i­con Val­ley carry more weight on the global stage than many coun­tries, which makes build­ing diplo­matic relations with them in­creas­ingly im­por­tant, the world’s first na­tional tech­nol­ogy am­bas­sador said.

Cho­sen to fill what his coun­try’s foreign min­istry has dubbed the first “tech­plo­macy” post­ing on the US West Coast, Den­mark’s Casper Klynge will be tasked with build­ing di­rect ties be­tween his coun­try and the likes of Face­book, Ap­ple and Al­pha­bet’s Google.

“We are to con­tinue do­ing tra­di­tional diplo­macy with coun­tries and or­gan­i­sa­tions, but we also have to start look­ing into what re­la­tion you can have with these big tech com­pa­nies,” Klynge said. The aim was to help Den­mark un­der­stand the im­pact of rapid changes in dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy.

“If you look at these com­pa­nies’ in­volve­ment and sig­nif­i­cance for you and me, many of them have a much greater de­gree of in­flu­ence than most na­tions,” he said. In eco­nomic terms, the new part­ners are com­pa­ra­ble.

Den­mark’s 2016 gross do­mes­tic prod­uct was 2.06 tril­lion Dan­ish crowns (R3.96trln), sit­ting be­tween Face­book’s cur­rent $437 bil­lion mar­ket value and the $185bn of Or­a­cle.

With tech com­pa­nies un­der grow­ing pres­sure to share en­crypted in­for­ma­tion to pre­vent ter­ror­ism, Klynge also iden­ti­fied the abil­ity of rad­i­cal in­di­vid­u­als or groups to ex­ploit on­line plat­forms as a key is­sue.

“We saw what hap­pened af­ter the ter­ror acts in Lon­don when Face­book came for­ward and said they are ready to dis­cuss how we pre­vent ter­ror or­gan­i­sa­tions us­ing its net­work to pro­mote their ac­tions,” said Klynge, who takes up his new role on Septem­ber 1.

In May, Face­book was fined €150 000 (2.14bn) by France’s data pro­tec­tion watch­dog for fail­ing to pre­vent users’ data be­ing ac­cessed by ad­ver­tis­ers. – Reuters

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