Digital summit : Data evaluation should be easier

Status: 09.12.2022 2:07 p.m

The federal government wants to make data more available. A data institute is therefore to be set up in the coming year, Ministers Wissing and Habeck announced at the digital summit. But there is also criticism of the meeting.

In the future, the federal government wants to make data more available and usable in order to enable innovation projects in start-ups, companies, but also in science and civil society. This was announced by Digital and Transport Minister Volker Wissing and Economics and Climate Minister Robert Habeck at the Digital Summit.

“We will make the existing legal framework manageable for this purpose,” said Wissing. This contributes to the fact that innovations meet the necessary legal requirements more quickly and easily. Wissing advocated a new, open data culture in Germany.

Habeck: “We don’t have forever”

Habeck said the summit would not take place in a vacuum: “The major crises and challenges of our time are all digital too: the climate crisis, the war in Ukraine or the Covid 19 pandemic.” According to Habeck, the competition for intelligent green technologies has long since begun. “German companies are very well positioned here and enjoy an excellent reputation. But in order to remain competitive, we have to become better at handling digital data intelligently. Data availability is a prerequisite for future competitiveness.”

He called for more rules in digitization. It is clear that such processes in democracies take longer, said Habeck. But the state should not hide behind this, said the minister self-critically. “We don’t have forever.”

“Data institute” is to come

Wissing and Habeck announced the establishment of a data institute for the coming year. It should facilitate data access and data use. External expertise from business, science, civil society and public administration is included in the foundation. “The data institute will be an important building block for strengthening the data economy, which promotes innovation and serves the common good.” The institute is initially to start three pilot projects. This involves evaluating data on “Long Covid”, mobility in the municipalities and the gas price brake.

The aim of both ministers is to bring Germany into the top 10 countries in Europe when it comes to digitization. Wissing said that he was not satisfied with the fact that the EU ranking currently only ranks 13th out of 27 countries. With the so-called gigabit strategy, the traffic light coalition wants to lay the foundation for the comprehensive use of digital data. In addition, one wants to facilitate the use and exchange of data. In 2025, the government will be judged on whether this has been successful.

“Digital turning point”

The President of the Bitkom industry association, Achim Berg, criticized the lack of progress. “A little change here, a little there, and most importantly not stepping on anyone’s toes – we’re not going to get anywhere like that,” he said at the meeting. “We need a digital turning point in Germany.”

In Germany, the debate is about the risks and not about the opportunities of using digital data, for example to combat climate change. For example, 41 percent of the federal government’s CO2 reduction targets by 2030 could be achieved through accelerated digitization alone. In view of the 137,000 unfilled positions for IT experts in Germany, Berg also warned the federal government to solve the structural problem of skilled workers.

Wikimedia board member Humborg criticizes economic interests

Representatives of digital civil society have criticized the content and composition of the digital summit of the federal government. Christian Humborg, CEO of Wikimedia Germany, said that what can be observed in general in digital politics in recent years applies to the summit: “Far too often, economic interests are in the foreground.”

The Chaos Computer Club complained: “We are already used to not receiving an invitation to the digital summit from CDU governments – contrary to our hopes, nothing has changed under the traffic lights,” said club spokesman Linus Neumann. In the program of the summit, it is noticeable that IT security only occurs once in a participant’s job title. It is not considered in the program itself.

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