The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has begun to study “the Cloud” as a rising digital technology, viewed by many as the next big frontier in the development of the information age.  ITU involvement could mean stormy weather for the cloud, for both Europeans and Americans. The Americans largely see the cloud as an economic engine, while the Europeans, slow at first to embrace the cloud, now wish to balance its potential with consumer privacy protections.  But the ITU is a global forum, where countries outside of Europe and the U.S. can often impact outcomes--a prospect that is worrisome on both sides of the Atlantic.


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On March 21, 2012, The European Institute, in cooperation with the European Parliament's Liaison Office to the U.S. Congress, hosted a delegation from the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) led by Vice-President Alexander Alvaro.  Vice-President Alvaro and a panel including Danny Weitzner, Deputy Chief Technology Office for Internet Policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Marc Rotenberg, Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center; and Christopher Soghoian, an Open Society Foundations Fellow discussed the implications of new data protection and privacy initiatives in both the EU and U.S. and assessed the impact of these initiatives, their dividing lines and the prospects for moving towards more closely aligned privacy policies between the European Union and the United States.  The discussion was moderated by Alan Raul, Partner at Sidley Austin LLP.

On November 2, 2011, The European Institute hosted a luncheon discussion with Chris Fonteijn, Chairman of Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC).  Mr. Fonteijn presented the regulatory challenges that both BEREC and Member States must tackle in order to achieve the Digital Single Market, as well as his perspective on BEREC's 2012 work program and the prospects for transatlantic cooperation on the Digital Agenda.   Chris Boam, Director, International Regulatory Affairs & Public Policy at Verizon Communications moderated the discussion.

On October 20, 2011, S. Decker Anstrom, Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference, which will be held early next year in Geneva stressed that the greatest priority for the U.S. and the conference as a whole would be spectrum allocation, which both the US and Europe consider key to stimulating sustainable economic growth. Mr. Anstrom also detailed additional U.S. priorities, while emphasizing the importance of transatlantic cooperation and the significant presence of shared interests between the U.S. and the EU.

In an unusual joint public-private initiative, political leaders and major Internet players held a broad open forum on May 24-25 in Paris to discuss the future of the Internet. Held on the sidelines of the G8 summit meeting of Western powers in Deauville, the web forum was called "the e-G8." The outcome was foreseeable -- more divergences than agreement.

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