Atlantic Council
Breaking Down Digital Barriers:
Turning a Transatlantic Challenge into Opportunity
Welcome and Moderator:
Fran Burwell,
Vice President and Director, Program on Transatlantic Relations,
Atlantic Council
Opening Remarks:
David O’Sullivan,
Ambassador of the European Union to the United States
Marcus Jadotte,
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis,
U.S. Department of Commerce
Nuala O’Connor,
President and CEO,
Center for Democracy and Technology
Daniel M. Price,
Managing Director, Rock Creek Global Advisors;
Former Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs
Location: Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C.
Date: Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Transcript By
Superior Transcriptions LLC

FRAN BURWELL: I’m Fran Burwell. I’m one of the vice presidents here at the Atlantic Council. If I could encourage you – I think there are still some seats here and there, so if people can please squeeze in.

Thank you all, first off, for surviving the other event and getting into this room, and apologies for any confusion that might have created. I want to welcome you all here to the Council on a very important day. We’re here to discuss the much-anticipated launch of the EU’s Digital Single Market initiative. This event is also the first for a new project we are launching at the Council focused on building a transatlantic digital marketplace. Over the course of this year, we will be looking at what the possibilities are for such a combined digital space, what are the obstacles it will face, how do we get from here to there. And obviously, one of the first things that needs to happen or one – this cannot happen without there being some removal of barriers within Europe, and hence the importance of the initiative launched in Brussels today.

Today’s event is entitled “Breaking Down Barriers: Turning a Transatlantic Challenge Into Opportunity.” For us, this means starting to shift the sometimes-toxic transatlantic dialogue around digital issues into something more productive. We hope to spark, through these meetings and others, a new era of transatlantic cooperation on a topic of huge and growing importance, something that is at the heart of our mission here at the Atlantic Council.

Considering this is an event about digital issues, I should mention that we are tweeting this event using the hashtag #ACDigital, and we encourage you to participate. We are also videoing this event – if that’s a verb – and we’ll post it to YouTube after the fact. So you are welcome to share it with colleagues in Europe, Silicon Valley, wherever.

The digital economy offers both Europe and the United States significant opportunities for future economic growth, especially if they can be better integrated together. I read that, as part of the Commission package, that the unified European DSM would be worth an additional 4 percent of GDP, an extra 1,500 dollars or euros – I’m not sure which, but they’re about the same now –

MR. O’SULLIVAN : About the same.

MS. BURWELL: Yes. (Laughs.) For each European citizen. But yet digital issues are, as I’ve mentioned, a source of strong transatlantic discord at times: privacy, taxation, market share, many other matters, especially when you throw into the soup things such as revelations over NSA surveillance and ongoing European antitrust efforts.

As the European Commission launches its Digital Single Market efforts to better integrate the European digital economy, I think it’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as a digital island, even if it is the size of a continent. The Internet has made borders truly porous, and one indicator of the EU’s success as a digital powerhouse will be how it connects outside its own physical space.

But neither is the digital economy just the province of the IT companies or tech companies. Many of those are represented here, but so are mainstream companies, who rely on the Internet to manage supply chains, who must transmit but also protect personal data, and who must protect themselves from cyberattacks. In Congress, the Trade Promotion Authority bill that we’re watching very closely is full of references to protecting the free flow of data and underlines the importance of these issues to the global economy.

Yet, the U.S. and Europe, two leading digital powers, are far from unified. We will disagree. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I mean, we’re friends, and we have disagreements as any friend or actually any family would have. But it’s worth having this conversation, and now we have this very interesting proposal to have a conversation about and to see how it is going to affect American companies in Europe as well as American citizens, and as – but also, of course, building first on what will happen in Europe.

Europe and the U.S. face an important choice. We can work together in creating a digital market, or we may find our leadership in a digital world has eroded. And the Commission’s initiative for a European DSM is a key first step.

There’s no one better-placed in Washington today to tell us about this initiative and the ambitions behind it than our first speaker, Ambassador David O’Sullivan. I hope you’ve all seen his very good piece, excellent piece in Wired magazine. And I just want to say that, I mean, David is one of the – Ambassador O’Sullivan is one of those people who really knows how Brussels works. And I think that that – for good or bad – and – (laughter, laughs) – and I would point to the fact that he has been involved in this issue for quite some time, both from a policy level and also, of course, down to the real hardware level of figuring out how to get the Internet in the new EEAS building in your last job, when he served as chief operating officer of the European External Action Service. But he’s also been director-general for trade, from 2005 to 2010. He was secretary-general of the European Commission, which is a key positon for understanding how Europe makes its decisions. And head of Cabinet for then-European Commission President Romano Prodi. So we really have someone with us today who can give us a feel for what this means – what this proposal means and what we can expect to see going forward.

Ambassador O’Sullivan, the floor is yours – or the podium, I should say. (Applause.)

AMBASSADOR DAVID O’SULLIVAN: Well, thank you. Thank you very much indeed, Fran. And thank you very much to the Atlantic Council for organizing this event, and thank you very much to all of you who’ve attended. And I’m very sorry for those of you who appear not to have seats.

When we were coming down the corridor and I saw the bank of cameras, I thought, how much interest can there be in the Digital Single Market? (Laughter.) Then I discovered, unfortunately, it was not quite for this event; the rather more important event’s going on next door.

As Fran mentioned and as some of you know, I’ve been involved in Brussels affairs for a very long time, and I’ve always felt it’s the most exciting public policy job you can hold in what we’ve been trying to build in Europe. And today is no exception, because I think the Juncker Commission really has identified jobs and growth as a top priority, and really has identified a couple of very key areas where Europe needs to transform itself in order to remain competitive going into the 21st century. And this, of course, is the investment plan, which President Juncker launched; it’s Capital Markets Union, which is, as I say, a very rare paper that actually begins saying here’s something the Americans do better than us and we should copy them; Energy Union, which is of course of huge political significance, but also of major economic and also related to the climate change agenda; and now this very, very exciting proposal on the Digital Single Market – which in my view is comparable to the 1992 proposals of Delors and Cockfield, and I remember it very well at the time when this was launched. And this is really the new frontier for the European economy to transform 28 compartmentalized national digital markets into a single European digital market.

You know, I was just reflecting on my experience with technology. I think the first time I ever saw a computer, a personal computer, was in Tokyo in 1981. The first time I ever saw that you could send data across a phone line was when an American colleague – I had a little Brother typewrite that I bought which had three lines of text that you could see, and we thought this was almost, you know, the height of new technology. And he showed me how you could connect it to a modem, and I actually sent a message to his friend in California and replied. It took about an hour, but I was absolutely enthralled. And I though this is – this is fascinating. I then bought one of the first tablets, which was made by Kyocera, which is actually a ceramics firm but which turned itself into an IT company, which was actually a little – only about the size of an iPad, about four times heavier and three times thicker, and it had its own word processing. And you could actually – I used to take it everywhere I traveled. I came here in 1992, 10 years later, and I could still use it on the visitors program. I actually wrote my report, and you were able to download it to the – to a printer.

But actually, it’s a truism to say that technology has transformed our world, but actually it’s all taken much longer than I thought it would, to be quite frank. I remember the first time I saw a mobile phone, which was in ’93 I think; the first time I connected to the Internet – actually the real Internet – which was ’96. And I remember Al Gore’s information highway, I remember Martin Bangemann, the European vice president – Commission vice president who talked about the information society, and they were all promising this amazing transformation. But it’s taken an awful long time, but it is here. And I think this is what is truly exciting, that we have now really reached a tipping point in the technological revolution, that this technology is everywhere and we have, you know, industry 4.0, we have the Internet of Things, we have 3-D printing. I mean, we really are absolutely now entering a digital era definitively. And this is so crucial for Europe, and therefore the proposal of a Digital Single Market is, in my view, very timely and absolutely necessary.

Now, I’m not going to go through the proposal in detail. Frankly, I’m not sure I understand all of it because it requires a fairly detailed knowledge of some fairly arcane stuff. The most important thing is that it’s an integrated package which is a roadmap of how we can get from where we are today to an integrated single digital market in Europe in a few years’ time.

We have, as Fran quoted the figure – I’m always – Kenneth Galbraith said economic forecasting was invented to make astrology seem plausible – (laughter) – so you know, but the estimate is it could add as much as 415 billion euros to the economy. I’ll take it. I’m sure it’s – I’m sure it’s a big number, let me put it that way.

And we have seen that 80 percent of online sales remain confined to national borders. And I just saw one set of figures – and I won’t quote any more figures – that of the hundred European consumers who are buying online, 42 percent are buying in national markets, 54 percent are buying from U.S. services, and only 4 percent are buying from EU-based – in other words, EU-wide – services. That gives you the scale to which the European market is still extremely fragmented.

And so the idea is to develop simple and effective cross-border rules for consumers and business, tackling unjustified online geo-blocking practices, reforming our copyright regime, and reducing administrative burdens arising from different VAT regimes. We will also review our telecommunication and broadcasting rules to create the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish. We will establish a public-private partnership for cybersecurity. We will conclude the reform of our data-protection legislation, review sector-specific rules for the online world, and we will also conduct a comprehensive analysis of the role of platforms in the market that will also look at the very difficult issue of illegal content on the Internet, because we know unfortunately there’s also a darker side to the Internet. And we will also seek ways to increase transparency and accountability.

This will not always mean that we will regulate. And I think the Commission – the light motif of this Commission is prudence about proposing new legislation or new regulation. But we must not be naïve. There are times when regulation is necessary in order to make markets function effectively. But these choices will be made after the different discussions have taken place and the examinations have been finalized.

Real disruption is not just about finding ways to avoid existing rules, it’s also about innovating and creating new markets and services by leveraging this new technology. And success should never be penalized. And restricting – on the other hand, restricting consumer choices, being willfully unclear about what happens to our data, trying to find every conceivable way to skirt the responsibilities that are there under the rule of law, these are not – this behavior is no more acceptable on the Internet than it is in the – in the real economy. And we need the same kind of rules for competition to ensure the good functioning of the – of the Digital Single Market that we do for the real – I’m not going to say the real-world market, but you know what I mean. For the material market, perhaps, is the way.

So in this sense, the Commission will also conduct a competition sector inquiry into e-commerce relating to the online trade of goods and online provision of services, to see if there are distortions or abuses of competitive positions which need to be addressed. And we’ll also work with all stakeholders to ensure that the information can truly flow freely across borders.

Having highlighted the main elements of the strategy – and by the way, there are 16 action points in this strategy, and each of them will have their own follow up and process. So this is really a roadmap, if you like. It’s setting out the agenda. It’s going to be a long journey. But as the Chinese say, even the longest journey starts with the first step, and the first step is to have a plan. Of course, each of these component parts will have to be debated and discussed in detail, and I think this is a very transparent process in which all stakeholders, including those U.S. companies who are heavily vested in Europe and who, for me, actually are European companies when they’re – when they’re in Europe, will be able to contribute to this debate. And I’m sure that the American experience of the Internet and the digitalization of the market economy will be a very valuable contribution to this debate at all stages.

And I want to emphasize – having said what it is, I want to emphasize what it’s not. This is not a digital Fortress Europe. I remember very well when we made the proposal for the single market in 1986, the Cockfield – Lord Cockfield white paper – which actually had 300 pieces of legislation in annex which had to be brought forward, so this was a vast undertaking at the time – many people said this is Fortress Europe, this is Europe pulling the wagons into a circle and trying to escape from the rest of the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. It emerged as a remarkably liberating, transforming exercise in Europe which created a much more open, a much more transparent, and a much more market-driven economy than was there previously, and American companies were well able to benefit from that and have benefitted. And I hope the same will be true for the Digital Single Market. That is the objective.

We will need to reflect how we dock this with similar developments in the United States. We’ll need to reflect on the interface with TTIP, because there are several aspects – there’s the question of data flows, whether this will be addressed in TTIP and how. There’s also the aspect of standards, because several of the measures mentioned here – we’ll talk about the development of standards. And clearly, the common agenda we have in TTIP is in future, particularly in developing new standards, that we will work upstream to try to make sure that we don’t develop U.S. standards and EU standards which we then have to try and reconcile, but that we will try to have transatlantic standards in these – in these new areas. Now, I don’t know how the interface – if the timing of TTIP is going to work with the timing of this agenda, but one way or another, either within TTIP or through the process of future cooperation the TTIP will create, we need to make sure that what happens in the creation of this Digital Single Market in Europe is docked with the – what is happening in the U.S. so that we can have also a transatlantic market in this area.

I think this is extremely exciting. As I say, you know, it’s difficult at my age sometimes to continue to get up in the morning and feel excited by a new initiative coming out of Brussels because I’ve seen – (laughter) – I’ve seen quite a lot of them. I’ve seen quite a lot of them come and go. But I believe this is actually a transformative proposal. I think it’s hugely important for Europe, but I think it’s also hugely important for transatlantic relations.

As Fran rightly said, there will be some disagreements. There will be some disagreements based on misunderstanding, and they perhaps we can clarify. But there will be some disagreements of substance. We will have different approaches on some issues. And, as always, we’ll have to work our way through those and find solutions because it’s in both our interests that Europe is a thriving digital economy, the United States is a thriving digital economy, and that the transatlantic space – which is still the most important economic corridor in the world – is also a thriving and functioning and effective digital market space across the transatlantic. So I think that’s the objective. That’s the spirit in which this goes forward.

We were debating in a smaller group earlier whether the devil is in the detail or, as I prefer to say, God is in the detail. (Laughter.) And that is true that God will be in the detail of how these proposals come forward and how they are debated and how they are ultimately adopted through our political process. This will also give rise, probably, to moments of some tension. But I’m absolutely confident that we will find the right solutions in Europe under the leadership of the Commission, and it’s great to see the Commission really asserting its right of initiative and its role to give Europe a magnetic north in this issue, which it desperately needs in order to modernize our system. We’ll also engage with the United States in how we make these two things, ultimately, come together.

So that’s all I wanted to say by way of introduction. I haven’t perhaps done full justice to the – to all 16 proposals in the package. I’m accompanied here by Andrea Glorioso from the Delegation, who I thank for all the work he’s put into this, and who is well able to answer any of the more detailed questions you might want to put later. Thank you very much indeed.

MS. BURWELL: Thank you. (Applause.)

If the panel will come up, please. And we now have some seats in the front and there’s a seat over there, so let’s use this as a theater interval and get some of these folks seated, if we could.

MS. BURWELL: I think mine is on. I think I’m privileged I have the one mic that is on.

So thank you very much, Ambassador. We’re now joined on the panel by Marcus Jadotte, assistant secretary of Commerce for industry and analysis, who has a special focus on global competitiveness of U.S. industry; Nuala O’Connor, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology, who has served in top privacy-related positions at major corporations such as GE and Amazon, as well as in government, in Commerce and DHS; and Dan Price, managing director at Rock Creek Global Advisors – he was also the top White House official in the George W. Bush administration on issues of international trade and investment, and most importantly he’s a member of the Atlantic Council Board.

So let me just ask you briefly, Ambassador, this is an initiative, but what has to happen now? What’s the next process that actually has to happen in terms of making some of this reality?

AMB. O’SULLIVAN: Well, it’s fairly classic. I mean, firstly, there will be a – probably a discussion in the Council of Ministers, there will be a discussion in the European Parliament on the – on the proposal, on the roadmap. And then it will be up to the Commission to take forward each of these 16 initiatives, depending on whether it’s a legislative proposal or whether it is an inquiry or whether it is a consultation process. So they will – if you like, they will start to go down different tracks. But the important thing will be to retain the holistic view of how all this adds up to the objective of creating a single – a Digital Single Market.

So necessarily – this is very complex, and some of this stuff is, frankly, also going to be very difficult. You talk about changing the VAT – V-A-T – regime. You know how sensitive that is in Europe. You talk about changing copyright rules. I mean, this is not going to be an easy – and I’m not pretending that this is now going to – we can just wave a magic wand; that there’s going to be an awful lot of very hard work is going to have to go into preparing the proposals, defending them, taking them through the legislative process, surviving the inevitable attempts which will be to pull this in one direction or the other, and that’s going to be quite a challenge. But this is a very good start, and I think it’s an ambitious agenda which, you know, will finally be taken to completion.

MS. BURWELL: Thank you.

Let me turn to Marcus Jadotte. Digital issues have been at the forefront of transatlantic issues, disputes, in recent years, or at least in the news. And I mean, I’m talking antitrust, Safe Harbor, et cetera. As the EU goes forward with this initiative, what are you looking for, from a U.S. government perspective? Are there warning signs or are there good things you’re looking for? How would you look at this?

MARCUS JADOTTE: Well, we’re always looking for good things.

As the – and in fairness to the conversation, I have not yet had a(n) opportunity to fully review the document released today. But there are concerns that arise from the debate leading into the release, and I’ll get to those.

But first, we recognize the opportunity, both for European consumers, for European companies, and for American companies doing business in Europe, of the concept of a Digital Single Market. And it’s clear that that would be good in terms of both setting up an expanded transatlantic digital market as well as broader engagement and expansion of U.S.-EU trade. So those are – that’s to the good.

On the concerning end, we’ve certainly heard voices in Europe leading up to the release that lead both the Commerce Department and U.S. industry to be concerned. But we look forward to working with the European – the ambassador, obviously, and the EU more generally on ensuring that the Digital Single Market concept becomes the basis for expanded trade and expanded engagement across the Atlantic.

MS. BURWELL: Thank you.

If I could press you just a bit –


MS. BURWELL: – when you look at the European space and this particular set of issues, what are the obstacles that you have found or – and what would you like to see when we get through this what will be a long and complicated process in order to make U.S. companies competitive in the European digital space? And does it – maintain their competitability. (Laughter.)

MR. JADOTTE: Well – (laughter).

MS. BURWELL: And what do you expect or what do you see in terms of global competitiveness for both U.S. and European companies in this area?

MR. JADOTTE: Well, we should start by acknowledging the openness of the European market. It is open, and American firms have done well in Europe, to the benefit of both the broader European economy and European consumers. So that’s important, I think, for all of us to continue to acknowledge throughout this conversation.

It’s also important to note, to the ambassador’s point, that we are the two leading economies with respect to digital trade and trade broadly, so there’s an opportunity for the U.S. and EU to set global norms in this space. That could benefit not only American companies and European companies, but the entire globe. So as we – it’s important for both sides, as we advance the conversation, that we keep in mind the opportunity to set that norm, to provide a counterweight to some of the policies that we have seen enacted in places like Russia and China that are both harmful to American companies, but also harmful to our European colleagues.

MS. BURWELL: Thank you.

Let me turn to Nuala O’Connor. You have spent much of your career thinking about privacy and information governance, and obviously privacy is a huge issue in Europe. Do you see – I know this isn’t a privacy proposal, but there are obviously elements that will impact that. And in my initial read of the press release, as opposed to the real document that came out this morning, you – there seems to be a bit of a tension between privacy, protection of privacy, but also the desire for economic growth based on digital innovations, including data mining. Is that a conflict? Do you see that – how do you look at that?

NUALA O’CONNOR: Well, when we hear the words “free flow of information,” obviously that cuts both ways. So at the Center for Democracy and Technology, obviously we are concerned not only about the privacy rights of individual citizens around the world, but also with their access to information, their access to resources, their access to opportunity. And so I see much good, first of all, in the proposal – much to be happy about, much to love in the document – and much to be concerned about as well.

What we see that is good is the opportunity for simplified rules for greater access to information, content, discussion, communication, creation for the individual European in their market. The breaking down of barriers and walls to that individual citizen, getting access to goods, making purchases, engaging in a fully integrated digital life, that is all a great opportunity for individual speech, freedom of expression and opportunity.

But the Internet does not stop at the borders of Europe any more than it stops at the borders of the United States. What we are concerned about and want to see fully flourish is a truly global Internet. And so we approach this proposal with some caution. We are obviously pleased with and delighted with all the words that we’re hearing. But we want to see, obviously, the fruition of a truly global, truly integrated Internet experience for any individual citizen around the world, and that comes with respect for the privacy rights and for the regimes of the countries in which they are citizens, but also access to opportunity and information from other parts of – far-flung parts of the globe.

MS. BURWELL: So thank you.

Is there anything in this proposal that – I mean, we’ve had a number of U.S.-EU privacy discussions, from SWIFT and passenger name records, et cetera. And is there anything in this proposal that shows you a way forward for the U.S. and Europe to reach agreement on privacy issues, or is that – is it not relevant to this? Or do you see things that actually could make it worse and bring up some new conflicts?

MS. O’CONNOR: Well, we talked a little bit earlier about the issue of an individualized cloud and rights and your data in the cloud. Again, we want data transportability. We want individuals to exercise rights in their own data.

The construct that we are working on at the Center is the idea of the digital self, and that all aspects of your digital life are part of you. And I would refer not only to the U.S.-EU constructs around data as property, data as a human right, but I’ve said this over and over again – many of you are bored hearing it already – that the Latin American construct of habeas data – my data, myself – and that I have continuing rights in my own data – no matter where in the world they are transported, no matter where in the world I engage, that I have rights in my own kind of digital presence. I have freely engaged with companies, with the government, with other individuals, but I retain some rights and some dignity in that information. That’s a construct I think many of our regimes have much more in common, at least in Europe and in the United States, that we can get to mutual kind of interoperability and compatibility in our legal regimes.

I was part of the PNR – the first PNR dialogue and negotiation when I was at Homeland Security, and those conversations go on. There is a working group right now called the Privacy Bridges program that many of you are aware of, still seeking to find kind of mutual respect, mutual accord for the U.S.-EU conversation around data protection.

I am long-term optimistic; I am short-term pessimistic. (Laughter.) I don’t necessarily think that this proposal does great harm or great good for that conversation. But we do need to get to a place where there is respect, and if not harmonization at least kind of mutual compatibility, and not forget that there is the rest of the world, a phrase that I actually loathe. There is an entire globe around which we need to be forging a dialogue around data respect for the individual.

MS. BURWELL: Thank you.

So, Dan, let me turn to you. You’ve done a lot of work on trade issues. How does this intersect with TTIP? Or should it intersect with TTIP and others, particular parts of it? The ambassador mentioned some of that. Is that the kind of thing that you would envision as someone who was very much involved in U.S. trade policy in the past and still currently through your corporate partners?

DANIEL M. PRICE: Well, the short answer is yes. I don’t see how one does a TTIP any more than one does a TPP without a strong chapter on digital economy that imposes disciplines on localization and deals with a variety of issues relating to cross-border data flows, to online and Internet services, and that charts a course where legitimate regulation is still permissible under traditional GATTs-type notions, but one has disciplines for what is increasingly a dominant part of the global economy.

And in this regard, you know, I well understand that, you know, part of this initiative is to reduce borders among the 28. But I don’t think the project of reducing borders among the 28 should necessarily forestall discussions of both the downstream norms that both the EU and the U.S. would subscribe to on data localization and promoting cross-border data flows, as well as establishing a framework for the upstream norms on standards.

I think I’ll stop there. But I do have a question for the ambassador.

MS. BURWELL: And I have a question for you.

MR. PRICE: OK. (Laughter.)

MS. BURWELL: And I’ll let you answer that and then you can ask you question, because I want to go back to Ambassador O’Sullivan. And then I’m going to open it to the floor.

Are there other things in this proposal that cause you concern at this point? I mean, we know this is a long process. There will be specific pieces of legislation that come up. But at this point, are there things that make you cautious about this proposal?

MR. PRICE: Yes, many. (Laughter.) You know, Ambassador O’Sullivan has helpfully, both in his op-ed and here this morning, provided assurances, which I think are most welcome, that the aim of this initiative is not to create national champions at the expense of global companies that are already operating in the EU market, that it is not the intent of this initiative to make up for the fact that, as some have stated, Europe has missed a step in the development of the digital economy, and that the goal of these policies is nondiscriminatory, not protectionist, and open-ended. Those are all very welcome assurances.

There are several ways, though, of reading a number of these 16 points, some charitably and then there are some – (laughter) –

AMB. O’SULLIVAN: No, we’re too charitable. (Laughter.)

MR. PRICE: Thank you, David. (Laughter.)

And then some readings that are less charitable. And without characterizing which reading my question is, one thing jumped out at me. I mean, there’s the usual things about the scope of regulation versus cross-border data flows, is data protection a surrogate for protectionism, da-da-da-da. You know, we’ve got all that that’s, you know, in here and up front. The interesting question was in respect of item four, called “Building a Digital Economy.” And there it says, “The Commission sees a need for action in the areas of ownership and access to data in big data, in analytics, in cloud services, in open data and science. The generation, collection and aggregation of large sets of information creates new value and potential for consumers, firms and public authorities.” So I was just wondering what this was about? (Laughter.) Because I’ve heard a number of member governments in Europe say, you know, it’s really something, these companies come in and they generate or collect data on our citizens, on our companies, and then they repackage them and sell them, and we the government don’t get any value out of that. So I’m wondering how this related to that sentiment. And sorry for the long question.

MS. BURWELL: Ambassador?

AMB. O’SULLIVAN: Well, maybe if I could just make a couple of remarks.

I mean, firstly, to Nuala’s points, I agree. I mean, we are actually having a parallel discussion on data privacy through the umbrella agreement and the Safe Harbor agreement. And I hope that when this is concluded – and these discussions are ongoing; they’ve been going rather well, and I’m hearing increasingly positive echoes that maybe a solution will be found – and if we find a solution on this, then I think to a certain extent we have put the difficulties of the sort of Snowden affair behind us and we have a solid base for going forward, including the very helpful proposal by Congressman Sensenbrenner to give EU citizens equivalent judicial redress under the U.S. system.

So I think that is actually an area – it’s a huge agenda, and it’s not finished with that because it – you know, this is – these complex issues – and by the way, you have a very healthy debate here in the U.S. about these issues – they’re very real. The privacy issue and the Internet, I think we all as citizens feel quite exposed in all kinds of ways. And how you manage this free flow of data which we want with the respect for our privacy and so forth is going to be a continual sort of struggle through this process. But I think we have a – we have a process addressing that, and this proposal in my view will not cut across that.

On the question of, you know, let’s go straight global, maybe just a word of caution. You know, you need the building blocks. What we’re trying to do is we’ve got 28 sort of segregated markets which we’re trying to turn into a European single market. Of course the ambition is to dock this with the global – ultimately transatlantically and ultimately globally. But you have to give us the time and the space to actually, firstly, build the EU building block of that global picture because I think we will get much better results if we can put into effect this agenda first, or at least – I’m not necessarily saying it has to be completely sequential, but we need – we need to sort of this out between ourselves. And there is going to be a fairly vigorous debate in Europe on some of this stuff, but we need the space to do that so that we can then build this Digital Single Market and then discuss how we – how we put the two together. And I absolutely agree that in TTIP, of course, we will need to address the issue of data flows, which will probably be easier if we found solutions for the Safe Harbor and the umbrella agreement, and we will need to look at the issue of standards as well.

To Dan’s point, I’m not sure I have all the answers. What I read this to be, as to promote the free movement of data in the European Union and to take away restrictions which are not related to the protecting of personal data. So it’s about interoperability. It’s about more – freer flowing of data. But I don’t disagree, on this issue, as on many others, as we’ve said before, God or the devil is in the detail, and then you will have to see what the specific proposals are. And of course, proposals can be adjusted a bit to the left or a bit to the right, and it’s only when you actually have very specific proposals on the table that a definitive judgment can be made about whether this creates a more open and transparent market or whether it in some way could be targeted at making the market more restrictive. But I emphasize the strong spirit – and I think you see this in all the language and everything that’s been said – is this is about liberating 28 siloed national markets into a true European single market, which can only be a huge contribution to transatlantic trade and, indeed, to global trade.


Let me bring in members of the audience. And as you stand, do we have a microphone? No? OK. Can we donate one of these?

MR. : We can. Sure.

MS. BURWELL: Sure. And I saw this gentleman back here in the corner first. I’m seeing a lot of hands, so please keep your question brief.

MS. : Who’s first?

MS. BURWELL: This gentleman here.

MS. : Yes.

MS. BURWELL: And identify yourself.

Q: Thank you. Jim Berger from Washington Trade Daily.

A question for Mr. Jadotte. I hope it pronounced it right. Jah-dot?

MR. JADOTTE: Close enough. (Laughter.) It works.

Q: Is it correct you said the U.S. has no concerns with this policy? And is –

MR. JADOTTE: No, that is not what I said. (Laughter.) In fact, I said –

Q: Then what are the concerns? I mean, is it – can it be viewed as a(n) endangerment to the U.S. policy of an open and free Internet?

MR. JADOTTE: Well, look, I certainly said that we have concerns. I also said that, while we had an opportunity to review an earlier draft, we have not fully reviewed the document that was released today.

Having said that, there are concerns. We believe that there are risks signaled certainly in the debate leading up to the release, where, as I mentioned to the ambassador earlier, we saw both or heard both voices of, to use his analogy, God and the devil. So our concerns revolve around some of the voices that we heard that suggested that the reforms were a path to disrupting or removing U.S. firms from the European market. That is unhelpful. But again, I’m certainly – I take a great deal of reassurance from the ambassador’s comments and look forward to working together closely to – (mic change) – that’s the problem with handheld mics – working together closely to use this as an opportunity to further engage our partners in Europe and to build a stronger transatlantic digital market.

MS. BURWELL: Let me bring in this gentleman here. Identify yourself, please.

Q: Yes, I’m Randall Fort with Raytheon.

Ambassador, you mentioned the need for time and space to create building blocks. Fortunately, the technology doesn’t stop. It continues to grow exponentially at astonishing rates. Just two examples: the Internet of Things going from a handful of billions today to as many of a trillion objects in 2030, and 3-D printing, which has the potential to disintermediate entire segments of manufacturing. And so I just – how much flexibility and how much opportunity are you going to be looking at the future, not just coming up with a perfect policy for today, which simply will not suffice for tomorrow and five and 10 years from now?

AMB. O’SULLIVAN: Want me to answer that?

MS. BURWELL: Yes, go ahead.

AMB. O’SULLIVAN: Oh, sorry.

Well, you’re absolutely right. I mean, I did say at the beginning that the speed of change of technology has actually been somewhat slower than I expected and we were told to expect when this all began. But I do agree that we have now reached a sort of critical mass, and this is a challenge for regulators everywhere – it’s not unique to Europe – as to how we keep pace with this. We’re going to have to walk and chew gum. I mean, the fact is we have to build this Digital Single Market space within the EU. This is like all the exercises – I mean, you know, the EU is a remarkable achievement. What we have built and what we have done since 1956, it’s incredible. Nobody has ever tried to do anything like this in the history of the planet, from functioning democracies of sovereign countries, which started at six, to now have 28 and build a common economic space, a common currency, a common political space, a common foreign policy. But it takes time because we are democratic and we want to remain democratic, so we want our citizens engaged.

So I agree with you. I’ve always said that the building of Europe is a race between integration and irrelevance, and I continue to believe that. (Laughter.) And Jacques Delors always used to say was the risk was that Europe didn’t change fast enough to keep up with the change in the rest of the world. It’s a huge challenge. But we cannot go faster than our democratic process permits, and that is the – ultimately the most important aspect, the democratic legitimacy of what we do.

So we have to try and build this new process, I agree, even as the goalposts are sort of shifting, if I can mix my analogies, and we have to manage that. And I agree this will be a challenge. Even as some of the proposals are made or when the proposals are made a year from now, maybe the technology is already slightly changing what you need to do. But I repeat, this is not a challenge that is unique to Europe. I think it’s a challenge for regulators everywhere. The Internet is hugely disruptive in that sense. It challenges our traditional ways of doing things, and this is good, but it also – there is also a downside, which we know, whether it’s data protection, whether it’s terrorism on the Internet, whether it’s cybercrime, whether it’s cybersecurity, whether it’s all of these terrorism. So, you know, we have to find a way of reconciling the huge benefits of an open, global Internet system with the necessity nonetheless to have some rules and regulations and safeguards. And this is – but the thrust of what the Commission is proposing today is really to do this now on a European level, to create a European digital space. And I think that can only be seen as a very positive step for Europe and for the rest of the world.

MS. BURWELL: So let me get Jean Francois and then behind him.

Q: Thank you. Jean Francois with French – (inaudible).

Two questions. Number one, do you think it’s fair, really, to present things as the European way and the American way? On issues like privacy, lots of concerns on the part of individual Americans. And competition, nickname of (Google in the city of ?) – (inaudible) – is the company that used to do – (inaudible). On taxation, when I look at the debates in the Senate two years ago on Apple. I think we maybe should be more careful about how we want to point out the American way or the European way.

Second question, much quicker: Who owns the Internet? (Laughter.)

MS. BURWELL: Who wants to take a stab at those? Marcus, do you think we should be talking about a U.S. way versus a European way?

MR. JADOTTE: The hope is that we wouldn’t. We have – we have a great deal of shared values, and it’s – the point I attempted to make earlier is that if we – there’s an opportunity between the EU and the U.S. to develop global norms that will benefit our citizens, those owners of the Internet, as well as U.S. and European firms. So we certainly have shared values on both sides of the Atlantic. But we’re also democracies, so I certainly understand the ambassador’s point that democracy can be messy and it moves at its own pace.

There are, however, principles that – informed by our shared values that we hope would be the pillars of any attempt at reforming – at reforms in the U.S. or in the EU. And those, I believe, are common on both sides of the Atlantic and should be reflected in our public policy debates as well as in the eventual outcomes that those debate produce.

MS. BURWELL: I would point out it’s also very difficult to figure out who’s an American firm and who’s a European firm in this environment sometimes.

Q: Yeah. More American – (off mic) – on that issue than there are European companies.

AMB. O’SULLIVAN: The fact is – I mean, I don’t know if there’s a U.S. way and a European way, but on this issue, as on other issues, you have a strong corpus of regulation and law which makes your market function. We have a strong corpus which makes our market function. And let’s face it, these things have not always, you know, come out identically. And so in that sense, yes, there is a sort of American approach to certain issues, which is enshrined in the way they do it. It’s not that we don’t share the same problems or that we haven’t tried to address the same issues, but sometimes we find slightly different solutions.

You know, mankind’s ability to invent different ways of doing things, you’ve only to look at the issue of sockets and plugs around the world. The ingenuity of human invention to create differences is enormous, even when it – you know, you would think there was no need to do so. So that’s just the way it works.

And the whole challenge of the transatlantic agenda, it seems to me, is precisely, how do we build bridges between these two things, which nonetheless respect the integrity of the democratic rulemaking process on both sides of the Atlantic, because that’s crucial for both of us, and the autonomy of the regulators on both sides and so on. So that’s the challenge of the TTIP agenda and taking it forward, and I think this will be an area where we will have discussions. But I think – I entirely agree that we have shared values, and in the end that should be one of the – one of the most important elements.

MS. BURWELL: Let me go here.

Q: I’m Mike Nelson. I work for Cloudflare, which is a startup doing web security. I also teach classes at Georgetown. One of them is on what’s shaping the net. We look at a lot of different decisions that are determining how e-commerce grows. So this question isn’t for the ambassador because I think it’ll be too embarrassing for you to answer. (Laughter.)

My goal is to get some context. I’m a physicist. I like numbers. If we look on a scale of one to 10, where 10 is the most influential, and this proposal is about a six, where would other forums fall? So the OECD is making decisions in this space. What goes on in the boardroom of Amazon and Facebook certainly will influence this. The Council of Europe, another important place. And recently we heard a lot about what NSA is doing with the German intelligence agencies. (Laughter.) So on a scale of one to 10, where would those other things fit? And are they about as important, or more important that this proposal?

MS. BURWELL: So I think, Nuala, you wanted to –

MS. O’CONNOR: I’m going to combine Mike’s question with the second half of your question, which we didn’t discuss – and the first was a great one as well – who owns the Internet and kind of where – and you’re right, where is the decision-making power. And I had the same reaction to the ambassador’s comments that I think the gentleman from Raytheon has, which was the Internet waits for no man, right? We are going. So, as our beloved founder at CDT, Jerry Berman, would say, get on and ride the wave because it’s going, right?

And Mike makes a very good point that the ingenuity and the innovation that’s coming from small companies all over the world, all – in every part of the globe, as well as the big established brand names, are what is driving a future that looks nothing like what today is. So as exciting as what we’ve seen in the last 20 years, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The would that our children will live in will look profoundly different and will be informed in every aspect of their lives by the devices and the decision-making behind the devices. And so we do need to get to some good rules, and there are some global shared – at least some regionally shared values, I think, around individual kind of voice and consent and choice. And we haven’t.

We haven’t touched enough on the government issues. And that is one, I think, missing element of the proposal, is the discussion of surveillance and the intrusion of government kind of presence into the most private and mundane and minute areas of our personal lives. And I’m surprised to see that omission from this proposal. We often hear that from the Europeans, that they know more about surveillance or counterterrorism than we do in the United States. Having been born in Northern Ireland, I would say that that might be true, actually. But it is an issue that, to – if people are going to trust their digital communications, they need to know that they will be sacrosanct and that they will be kept safe from the prying eyes of their governments or other governments as well.

So I would say you’ve pointed to some of the key drivers, which are the boardrooms but also the startups in the garages and the attic bedrooms of the innovators of the next generation as profoundly shaping what the Internet of the future comes to be, in context and in conflict sometimes with the decisions that are being made by many of our own governments.

MS. BURWELL: Briefly.

MR. JADOTTE: I’ll be very brief.

Look, I think what governments do matter. But it’s clear that developments on the Internet and around the Internet has been driven by the private sector, so what the private sector does matters more than what government does. We should focus on being enablers of investment and innovation, but I think it would be a mistake for any of us to assume that government policy will determine innovation going forward on the Internet.

MS. BURWELL: This woman here.

Q: Good morning. Susan Grant, Consumer Federation of America.

Thank you, Ms. O’Connor, for your remarks about government surveillance, very important.

My question is for the ambassador, and also I invite Mr. Jadotte to respond if he cares to. And it’s about the function of the Safe Harbor agreement as a way of bridging the differences between data protection in the U.S. and the EU, because government surveillance wasn’t the only thorny issue concerning the Safe Harbor. There were also, and still are I think, serious concerns about the effectiveness of the agreement in terms of self-certification by companies, in terms of no proactive attempts to see what companies were really doing and how that comports with what they agreed to under the Safe Harbor, and the total lack of enforcement by the EU and only enforcement by the FTC when they happen to be investigating a company for something else. So what is it about the Safe Harbor agreement that you think is going to be different and will work better now?

MS. BURWELL: Safe Harbor.

AMB. O’SULLIVAN: Well, look, I – we could spend a long time on Safe Harbor. Just to say that a number of the issues that you raise are, in fact, being addressed in the revision of the Safe Harbor agreement, and we hope that the sort of Safe Harbor 2.0 or whatever we’re going to call it will address some of the concerns which have arisen since we first agreed to it.

I think – but I take the point that people have been making. The difficulty of regulation is that the world moves on more quickly, and therefore probably this cannot be a static process. We’ll probably have to revisit it again in a few years because it’s a constant – it’s like painting the Firth of the Forth Bridge, you know; no sooner have you finished than you have to start again because this is – this is a process that will continue to challenge us in the reconciliation of the openness and the free flow of data that we all want with the concerns.

And I take Nuala’s point about government surveillance. As a private citizen, I have to say I’m sort of 50/50 equally worried about what governments are doing and what big companies are doing with my data. Frankly, I’m not – (laughs) – it’s not just the government. As a private citizen, I emphasize, I, you know, sometimes think about just how much information is out there and who’s able to use it. But this is the new world in which we live, by the way, and we just have to get used to it. And we just have to find the right balance of letting it all flow, letting it happen, and at the same time having certain safeguards and procedures in place which do provide some guarantees, both against excessive government intervention or against abuses by companies.

MS. BURWELL: Can I just follow up very briefly and then pass to – on Safe Harbor? There is this case that’s coming up before the European Court of Justice in which this law student has alleged that Safe Harbor did not provide adequate safeguards for his – for his data. Potentially that could have a huge consequence in Europe. Are you worried about that? Is this something that is getting a lot of attention in Brussels and here in Washington in terms of these negotiations that you all have been working on to revamp Safe Harbor? And now here’s this case that could be potentially very challenging.

AMB. O’SULLIVAN: Well, this is an illustration of, you know, the fact that we live in democracies. We live under the rule of law. People take court cases, and eventually you can get judgments and then you have to take on board what the court says. We don’t even yet have an opinion of the advocate general on this case. I think that’s due in June. But other thing I can say is that this is about Safe Harbor 1.0 and we’re negotiating Safe Harbor 2.0. And it may be – I don’t know – that if there are criticisms made against the previous agreement, that the new agreement has already – perhaps, if we reach a conclusion, has already addressed some of these issues. But we need to wait and see. I mean, the court is the court at the end of the day. We have to wait for the opinion of the advocate general and the judgment. But we are not letting his paralyze us. We are still continuing and hope to conclude the work that we have in hand to have a revamped safe harbor agreement very shortly.

MS BURWELL: Do you want to say – OK.

Additional questions? Yes. Let me get a microphone to you. I saw some additional – we’ll come back to you after that.

Q: Hi. My name is Hamza Shaban. I’m a reporter with BuzzFeed News. This question’s for Ambassador O’Sullivan.

Can you say more about the assessments that will take place examining the market power of American tech companies?

AMB. O’SULLIVAN: Well, I mean, that’s your interpretation. There is – there are two – there are two sort of inquiry elements in this. There is a – there will be a reflection on the role of platforms and the issues which arise there. And there will be completely separate – and this is a fairly routine bit of EU policy – sector inquiry into e-commerce, which is a competition issue which looks to see if there are unfair barriers to the functioning of e-commerce. So these are two separate processes.

One is part of the competition antitrust procedures. And that will look at all the issues in e-commerce. And I don’t think it’s particularly targeted at American companies more than any other operators in this area. And then there is the looking at the consultation and the reflection on online platforms, which will also address there. And there I agree, probably – certainly the very strong presence of the U.S. companies in the area of platforms will certainly – not because they’re U.S., but they will be more directly probably affected by that.

But I repeat, these are – these do not start with an a priori about what the outcome will be. It is simply that we feel the need to look under the competition rules at how the whole area of e-commerce is functioning, and in terms of the good functioning of a – of an open and effective internet, how the effective platforms – are they as transparent in their pricing, in their relationships with different suppliers and links? How all this works and whether this is functioning correctly, without any, as I say, a priori about what the conclusions might be.

So those are the two – the two bit of, if you like, further work which are non-legislative which will be taken forward. And it will be, of course, very open to all the interested parties to make their points and present their case as part of either of these processes.

MS. BURWELL: Do you have any idea of the timeline, months?

AMB. O’SULLIVAN: I’m looking at Andrea. I don’t know, was there a specific –

MS. BURWELL: Was there a timeline?

ANDREA GLORIOSO: We will launch the general e-commerce – thank you, Mr. Ambassador. If I remember correctly, the general e-commerce assessment is going to be launched soon. We hope to conclude by the end of 2015 or beginning of 2016. The sector-specific competition inquiry, that is very difficult to predict. But our assessment is that it will not be concluded before May 2016, the inquiry phase.

MS. BURWELL: May 2016, thank you.

Over here.

Q: Hi. David Thomas with Inside U.S. Trade. Thank you for taking my question.

I was hoping to kind of get the panel’s thoughts on how the digital single market could impact the TTIP talks. With this – with these 16 proposals kind of looking at not only just the free flow of data, but also intellectual property, copyright reform, data privacy, is it even – should we expect the EU to kind of maybe take a pause with respect to negotiating those areas in the TTIP talks?

And I guess, relatedly with Safe Harbor, you know, with – you know, with, I guess, proposals or provisions in here talking about data privacy, could that possibly change, I guess, maybe what the EU is going to expect from U.S. companies under Safe Harbor? Should we expect maybe – once these provisions are completed, for instance, should we expect a Safe Harbor 3.0 or 2.5?

MS. BURWELL: (Laughs.) Ambassador, why don’t you take a crack at it first?

AMB. O’SULLIVAN: Well, look, you – the one thing we know in Europe is you – if you say everything is linked you end in paralysis. So you have to divide it up, as one American trade negotiator used to say, into bite-sized chunks. And that’s what this proposal attempts to do, to identify 16 areas which we take forward as the building blocks. We’re not going to stop doing everything else.

We’re not going to stop negotiating TTIP. We will work very hard on TTIP. And we will just have to see at any given moment when we conclude TTIP, if it’s next year, we’ll have to see where we’ve got to on some of this stuff and what the implications that has. But our commitment to producing an ambitious 21st century TTIP agreement is undiminished and we’re certainly not going to slow that down because we’re trying to build a digital single market.

And equally, on Safe Harbor, let’s get to Safe Harbor 2.0 and then we will see. And the one thing I think everyone has been saying is in this world of the internet and digital, and nothing is static. So nothing is definitive. This will be a constant process of adjusting regulations and practices to new realities. And this is an endless process.

But I emphasize the – do not lose sight of what this proposal is trying to do. It is trying to create something which currently is not there, which is an integrated digital single market within the 28 countries of the European Union, which is the largest economy in the world, which is the largest, you know, and wealthiest 500 billion – 500 million consumers. And this is a missing element in our development, which we now absolutely have to work towards. And we will do that, but not to the detriment of our relationship with the United States or any ongoing commitment to negotiations which we have.

MS. BURWELL: Thank you. Dan, do you want to make a response?

MR. PRICE: No, I think the ambassador said it very well.

MS. BURWELL: OK. Let me get one final question back here.

Q: Thanks. Michael Cornfield, George Washington University. This is for all five of you.

I’m wondering as this goes forward whether any of you are going to be conducting public opinion research. And the reason I ask is while many of these issues are very arcane, data privacy, government surveillance, data security are not. And it would seem to me that it would be a good thing as you develop your proposals to develop a better understanding of what people think. So by public opinion I don’t mean holding public comment sessions, because then you’ll only get the squeaky wheels. I mean polls, focus groups, analysis of social media texts, that sort of thing. Is any of that in the works, from the Atlantic Council to the European Commission to CDT to U.S. government to your private firm?

MS. BURWELL: At the Atlantic Council we don’t have plans right now to do that kind of work, but it’s not – it’s not – I wouldn’t preclude it. It would depend how our new project develops.

But I want to have each of the panelists have an opportunity to respond to that and to also pick up any other things that they need – that they want to respond to. I want to start actually with you, Nuala, because I understand you may have to slip out. So I want to give you and then Dan and then we’ll come back here.

MS. O’CONNOR: And I do apologize. It’s terribly rude, but I have another speaking engagement going solo in a half an hour on Capitol Hill.

So on the internet research – we, in fact, are. And we are partnering with Pew Internet Life. I really commend to you the work of Lee Rainie and his team. They researched and released a very big report on Americans’ attitudes post-Snowden. Thank you, ambassador, for saying – the Snowden affair sounds very dramatic. Instead of summer of Snowden I’m going to call it the Snowden affair. And it showed a dramatic uptick in the chilling effect of perceived or real surveillance on searches, on language, on engagement, on behavior online.

And when I say dramatic, I say, you know, 15, 16, 18, 20 percent of individuals polled said they changed their behavior online or did not do a search or did not use a particular word. That doesn’t sound like a 50 percent, you know, tipping point, that’s a lot of people. Twenty percent of American – you know, adult Americans is a lot of people changing their behavior. I think Pew will continue. We will partner with them and with others.

You’re absolutely right, we need voice of individual. And there are more opinions on privacy than there are people in the world. So it is hard to get one – you know, but I do think there are core values and core ways to operationalize their respect. When I say catch the wave, I mean catch the wave of innovation, not of the free flow of my data bits going anywhere in the world without my kind of knowledge and awareness.

I do have some concerns about – I do want to leave with the platform neutrality or platform liability issues. We are very concerned with the voice of the individual as speaker, as creator. And we do not want to see platforms become intermediary kind of liability, you know, protection or censors in that dialogue in the global free flow of discourse and information.

Of course we understand the very real concerns about terrorism and hate speech and the – as you pointed out, the dark side of the internet. But we’ve – you know, I’ve become even more of an ardent free speech kind of fanatic in this role. And I really do believe that the free flow of information – you know, good news and good speech will trump. But I do think – you know, I applaud the ambassador and the team that’s worked on this very difficult evolution of this document. And we are looking forward to being part of the dialogue going forward.

So, thank you.

MS. BURWELL: Thank you very much, Nuala.

I’m going to pass it to Dan. Wrap up comments.

MR. PRICE: I’m not worried that public opinion polling won’t play a role in the political process going forward. (Laughter.)

MR. JADOTTE: Well done, Dan. (Laughter.) While the Commerce Department doesn’t do public – those are not tools that we use, I’m confident that our commitment to both being a voice of the American business community and the broad consultation process that we have in place, as well as Dan’s very astute point, will inform our decision making going forward.

MS. BURWELL: Ambassador.

AMB. O’SULLIVAN: Well, I mean, I think public opinion polling can be a useful supplementary tool, but I come back to my point. We’re a democracy. We have elected parliamentarians. We have the members of the European Parliament. We have the ministers in the European Council. That’s where our decisions get taken. And this does reflect public opinion. Of course, representative democracy is an imperfect system, as Winston Churchill said, you know, but it’s better than all the others. And I think we cannot substitute opinion polling for the functioning of the democratic process, which is how all decisions in the European Union on the future of the digital single market will be taken.

And I think that’s a point I want to emphasize. I mean, I made it several times, but I really want to emphasize it, because this – there are some difficult issues in here – some very tricky issues, issues which will – about which the public will have views and they will transmit those views to their ministers, to their members of parliament. And then the debate will take place. But I think the key message I want to leave with you is that once again the European Commission has shown its crucial role in the building of the European project by putting a very ambitious magnetic north forward on this digital single market, by showing that Europe has to join the 21st century in this area.

We have to accept change. We have to accept disruption and we have to embrace the digital economy – nonetheless, with all the safeguards that we need about privacy, about surveillance, about data flows and so forth. But the fundamental light motif of this proposal is openness and embracing the digital single market in Europe and connecting that to the trans-Atlantic area and, indeed, more globally – though, I must say, I think there’s considerably less enthusiasm for an open internet elsewhere in the world than there is in the U.S. and the EU.

And on the question of who owns the internet, I would like to say hopefully nobody, but I must say I find the Chinese experience quite scary. When I used to go to Beijing and you’d log into your hotel and you’d try to find some websites, and you couldn’t get them, you sudden realize that governments actually can control the internet. And I always sort of assumed it wasn’t possible. I don’t know how much money they spent, I don’t know how many people they’ve got doing this, but they actually do quite an effective job. So unfortunately the internet is a fantastic tool and shouldn’t be owned by anyone. But you know, we have seen powerful demonstrations that it can be manipulated and it can be used a tool of propaganda, unfortunately. So we have to also take that into account in the way we go forward.

MS. BURWELL: Thank you very much. Thanks to all of you. I think we had a really thorough discussion of the proposal that came out today and the way forward. I anticipate that we’re going to have many more discussions here at the Atlantic Council. And so I look forward to welcoming all of you back and our panelists back, I’m sure, several times in the future. And thanks again to all of you for coming, and especially to those who stuck it out standing during the whole time. Thank you. (Applause.)