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Round table on digital policy


14.05.2015 – At a high-ranking Round Table meeting yesterday, representatives from the political sphere, business community, academia and civil society came together at the invitation of SRIW (Selbstregulierung Informationswirtschaft e.V.) to discuss the question of how to assure trust and security in the digital world and which regulatory instruments are best suited to achieve this goal.

Professor Dr. Gerald Spindler (University of Göttingen) and Professor Dr. Christian Thorun (Quadriga University and founder of the ConPolicy Insitute) presented a study on this issue. The study’s findings included the following points:

• The challenges in the digital world require the capacity for faster and more flexible reactions than the traditional form of statutory regulation can offer.

• As a result, policy makers need to rely more on modern regulatory instruments such as co-regulation and promote their use.

• In this process, use should be made in particular of cooperative approaches where the legislator defines minimum requirements and establishes incentives for the business community to become involved. On the basis of this statutory framework, the business community is then required to draft solutions for the problems and implement them.


There was general agreement that employing such regulatory instruments, which have already proved successful in other countries, harbours a vast potential to respond quickly and flexibly to new challenges without a constant need to amend the laws. It was pointed out, though, that policy makers and the business community need to establish a common ground to elaborate joint answers to the challenges of digitisation and develop cooperative approaches to assure trust and security in the digital world.

SRIW’s Chief Executive Officer Harald Lemke noted: “If the innovative drive of the German and European economy is not to lose its competitive edge internationally, the dovetailing of laws and alternative regulatory instruments has to be improved.”

The Round Table ended with general agreement on the need to continue discussions on this topic in the near future within an appropriate framework and thoroughly review the implementation of the study’s recommendations.

The participants at the Round Table included:

• Gerd Billen

State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV)

• Renate Künast, Member of the German Parliament

Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection

• Harald Lemke

Chief Executive Officer SRIW (Selbstregulierung Informationswirtschaft e.V.) and Senior Vice President Deutsche Post DHL AG

• Lenz Queckenstedt

Head of Digital Affairs Team, Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv)

• Dr. Ole Schröder, Member of the German Parliament

Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of the Interior

• Lieselotte Weber

Head of Division, Universal Services, Public Affairs, Consumer Protection, Arbitration Board, Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency)

• Dr. Thilo Weichert

Date Protection Commissioner for the Land of Schleswig-Holstein, and Director of the Independent Center for Privacy Protection (ULD)

• Frank Wetzel

Head of Division Industrial; Innovation; IT and Communication, Federal Chancellery

• Brigitte Zypries, Member of the German Parliament

Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy


The complete study can be downloaded here or requested by email from pressesriwde