When the German federal government launched the digital agenda in 2014, it intended to set the course for digital change in Germany in order to assume a leading role as a powerful and innovative economy because the digitalisation of society and economy is a prerequisite for this. Digital technologies are crucial for innovation and they boost in productivity. This is the only way to drive economic growth while protecting jobs even in the future. What’s more, it must be possible for both companies and individuals to move around freely on the net and to shape the web. For companies, this means that they must develop new business models and drive innovation. Citizens should be able to use digital offerings and services in their private and professional lives and to integrate them into everyday life.
These are the topics addressed by the digital agenda. The three principles – growth and employment, trust and security, as well as access and inclusion – are the cornerstones of the federal government’s paper which also contains letters of intent on issues of web policy.
Politics is thus setting the scene for all areas affected by digitalisation, such as learning, the working world, the economy and the preconditions for equitable inclusion in digital change for all.
The expansion of digital infrastructures, for instance, is one of the seven fields of action of the digital agenda: This will be based on the implementation of a nation-wide high-speed network in order to provide not only urban, but also rural areas with fast Internet services for all. Furthermore, companies and institutions will be better enabled to offer their customers and visitors free wifi services. In April 2017, the federal cabinet initiated revised legislation to ease the legal requirements regarding the duty of care obligations of open wifi providers who were previously held responsible for violations of legal obligations by their users.
Industry 4.0 is another important area. In order to enable economic growth in Germany, the country’s strong industrial sector must be prepared for the digital future. Medium-sized enterprises will also be supported on their digital transformation journey. In order to achieve these aims, the federal government is obliged to create innovation-friendly preconditions for the economy. Increased support is also required for young companies who are particularly famous for their innovative potential to drive new business models. Technologies, such as cloud computing and big data, will also require stepped-up support.
Other fields of action of the digital agenda include areas, such as the innovative state, security and protection as well as trust in society and economy as well as the design of digital living worlds in society. Three ministries are currently involved in this work, i.e. the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the Federal Ministry of the Interior as well as the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The agenda will expire as scheduled in 2017. In order to continue driving technological progress even in the future, the Digital Strategy 2025 of the German government was presented in addition to the digital agenda in 2016.