The AmCham Digital Committee was established in 2015. How has it developed over the past three years and what would you list as its main achievements?
The Digital Committee consolidates the work of AmCham’s former data protection and telecommunications groups. Our membership includes traditional telecommunications companies, internet companies, system integrators and industry representatives. Our objective is to work with regulators and policy makers to establish conditions in Slovakia to support business priorities. We work with regulators and policy makers to encourage the development of flexible regulations based on international best practices. We also work to ensure regulations are applied in a horizontally consistent manner across the digital economy, so customers have a predictable level of protection and all service providers carry an appropriate burden of regulatory costs and to encourage the EU to adopt policies that apply consistently across the EU to avoid a patchwork of national obligations. Among our achievements is that the AmCham Digital Committee is a respected partner for the regulators and policy makers across Slovakia.
What are currently the key challenges when it comes to the digital agenda from the Slovak perspective?
Many of our members have first-hand exposure to the legislative processes in Brussels. Our members appreciate the complexity of the EU legislative process that spans months from the initial draft to the final text to its transposition to the national legislation. We work to represent the interests of AmCham Slovakia membership to ensure their views are represented in this complex process so that the Slovak economy will continue to benefit from strong commercial and economic growth.
We are closely monitoring the ongoing proposal to replace the e-Privacy Directive with the e-Privacy Regulation and are encouraging harmonization of the ePR with GDPR to avoid duplicative regulatory regimes and to promote consistent application of the ePR across the digital ecosystem.
Another important issue for AmCham is to bring attention to workforce issues, including the need for a qualified workforce to support the emerging tech economy, including increasing the presence of women in the IT sector.
Which of these issues do you plan to address and what are the Committee’s main goals for the near future?
In addition to our focus on the e-Privacy Regulation, we are also addressing the new European Electronic Communications Codex, which member states will likely have to implement before the end of 2020. We will work with the Slovakian government to ensure Slovakia’s new framework supports evolution from facilities-based to software-defined networks, enshrines flexible policies to promote the Internet of Things and encourages investment in the very high capacity fiber and 5G networks that the economy requires to remain competitive.
Filip Šváb, Executive Director International External Affairs Germany, Central and Eastern Europe AT&T