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Strengthening Democracies in the Digital Age

June 24, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EDT

Technological cooperation is one of the key topics of the transatlantic agenda. The capacity of nations to innovate and regulate will impact their future relevancy. Beyond setting incentives to enhance innovation, regulation and setting standards are at the forefront of the geopolitical dimension of tech policy.

On June 24 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm Pacific Time, Germany’s Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Emily Haber will join in a discussion with Joel Kaplan, Vice President of Global Public Policy at Facebook; Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center; and Chris Riley, Senior Fellow for Internet Governance at the R Street Institute, to discuss the opportunities and challenges of the digital transformation for the US and the EU with respect to strategies to strengthen democratic public spheres, restore digital trust and promote liberal liberal-democratic values through a global digital order. Nate Persily, co-director of the Stanford Cyber Policy Center, will introduce and moderate the event.

This event is part of the series “Meeting America,” virtual talks with the German Ambassador and American stakeholders across the United States.

This event is co-sponsored by the German Consulate General San Francisco and the Stanford Cyber Policy Center.

Dr. Emily Margarethe Haber has been German Ambassador to the United States since June 2018. Prior to her transfer to Washington, DC, she served in various leadership functions at the Foreign Office in Berlin. In 2009, she was appointed Political Director and, in 2011, State Secretary, the first woman to hold either post. Thereafter, she was deployed to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, serving as State Secretary in charge of homeland security and migration policy from 2014 until 2018.

Dr. Haber has many years of experience with Russia and the former Soviet Union. She held various posts at the German Embassy in Moscow, including Head of the Political Department. At the Foreign Office in Berlin, she served as Head of the OSCE Division and as Deputy Director-General for the Western Balkans, among other positions.

Joel Kaplan is Vice President, Global Public Policy at Facebook. In this role, he manages the company’s global public policy strategy, working with governments and non-governmental organizations to foster understanding and support for Facebook’s innovative technology. He originally joined Facebook in 2011 as Vice President of US Public Policy, overseeing the company’s relationships with policymakers at the federal and state levels.

Prior to joining Facebook, Mr. Kaplan was the Executive Vice President for Public Policy and External Affairs for Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH). In that position, Kaplan oversaw enterprise-wide public affairs and led EFH’s efforts to publicly demonstrate and communicate its role in the energy industry.

Mr. Kaplan joined EFH from the White House, where he served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy under President George W. Bush from 2006-2009. He was responsible for the development and implementation of the Administration’s policy agenda. He framed strategic decisions on a full range of policy matters and integrated the execution of legislative, communications, and external outreach and policy strategies on behalf of the President and Chief of Staff.

From 2003-2006, he served as the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. From 2001-2003 he was Special Assistant to the President for Policy within the White House Chief of Staff’s office. He began his professional career as a law clerk for Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge J. Michael Luttig and then for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Prof. Nathaniel Persily is the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, with appointments in the departments of Political Science, Communication, and FSI. Prior to joining Stanford, Professor Persily taught at Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and as a visiting professor at Harvard, NYU, Princeton, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Melbourne. Professor Persily’s scholarship and legal practice focus on American election law or what is sometimes called the “law of democracy,” which addresses issues such as voting rights, political parties, campaign finance, redistricting, and election administration. He has served as a special master or court-appointed expert to craft congressional or legislative districting plans for Georgia, Maryland, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. He also served as the Senior Research Director for the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. His current work, for which he has been honored as a Guggenheim Fellow, Andrew Carnegie Fellow, and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, examines the impact of changing technology on political communication, campaigns, and election administration. He is co-director of the Stanford Cyber Policy Center, Stanford Program on Democracy and the Internet, and the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project, which supported local election officials in taking the necessary steps during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide safe voting options for the 2020 election. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a commissioner on the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age.

Marietje Schaake is the International Policy Director at Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center and an International Policy Fellow at Stanford’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. She was named President of the Cyber Peace Institute.

Between 2009 and 2019, she served as a Member of the European Parliament for the Dutch liberal democratic party where she focused on trade, foreign affairs, and technology policies. Ms. Schaake is affiliated with a number of non-profits including the European Council on Foreign Relations and the Observer Research Foundation in India and writes a monthly column for the Financial Times and a bi-monthly column for the Dutch NRC newspaper.

Dr. Chris Riley is R Street’s senior fellow of Internet Governance. He will be leading the Knight Foundation­funded project on content moderation, running convenings of a broad range of stakeholders to develop a framework for platforms managing user-generated content. Chris will also be doing policy analysis around content regulatory issues related to that project, including work on Section 230 in the United States and the Digital Services Act in the European Union.

Prior to joining R Street, Dr. Riley led global public policy work for the Mozilla Corporation, managing their work on the ground in Washington, D.C., Brussels, Delhi, and Nairobi from Mozilla’s San Francisco office, and worked with government policymakers, stakeholders in industry and civil society, and internal teams at Mozilla to advance their mission. Prior to that, he worked in the U.S. Department of State to help manage the Internet Freedom grants portfolio designated by Congress to support technology development, digital safety training, research, and related work as a part of advancing the expression of human rights online in internet-repressive countries.

He received his bachelor’s in computer science from Wheeling Jesuit University, his PhD in computer science from Johns Hopkins University, and his JD from Yale Law School.


June 24, 2021
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm