The global technology giants are headquartered on the west coast of the United States, especially in California’s Silicon Valley, where they develop their multimillion-dollar businesses, both in terms of revenues and customers and users.
The immense power of these companies creates a challenge for the nations that deal with them, and generates innovative approaches, such as Denmark. In 2017, the Scandinavian country appointed Casper Klynge, a 46-year-old career diplomat who spent 18 months in Afghanistan and two years in Kosovo, as the world’s first foreign ambassador for the information and communication technology industry.
The justification for creating this new position is concrete: these companies went from being companies with commercial interests to becoming factual actors in foreign policy, as demonstrated by the diffusion on social networks of controversial content in political terms (the Facebook scandal and the British consulting firm Cambridge Analytics), privacy issues and services that store large amounts of data, cyber security and low taxes paid by companies outside the United States.
Denmark is not alone in this initiative, although for now it is the only country that has an ambassador in Silicon Valley. For example, France created an ambassador position for digital affairs, and Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany, among others, added specialized publications focusing on technology, often as an aid to facilitate trade and investment.
Klynge has a team of 11 people, seven in California, three in Denmark and one in China. His office is in Palo Alto, California, near the headquarters of many technology companies.
This workgroup sends intelligence messages to officials in Copenhagen about what’s going on inside companies, and reports on topics including cybersecurity, the increasing use of health-related data, and autonomous vehicle data.
Should Argentina have an ambassador to interact with the giants of the technology industry? For Andrés Vior, national manager of Intive Argentina, the answer is yes.
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