The Embassy of Denmark in Spain offers a new series on the role of technology in diplomatic relations.
The digital ambassador, who will lead the Danish foreign policy initiative dubbed ‘tech diplomacy’, was named on Friday as Casper Klynge, the current Danish ambassador to Indonesia.The digital ambassador will be based in Silicon Valley, California, but will have a global mandate to promote the tech agenda internationally and is therefore expected to frequently visit global technology hubs as well as engage actively with stakeholders in Denmark, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A few days before Rex Tillerson's confirmation as secretary of state, Tillerson's Danish counterpart stood before an audience at a Copenhagen conference on the future of diplomacy and announced he would soon be naming a new ambassador. That would hardly be news — except this ambassador will not be heading to the U.S. or any other country. Instead, he or she will be serving as Denmark's chief diplomatic connection to the tech industry at large.
Dr Tobias Feakin, Australia’s Ambassador for Cyber Affairs, took up his appointment in January. Unlike the Danish position, Ambassador Feakin’s role appears mainly focussed on cyber-security, but also includes voicing concerns about censorship, promoting internet access, and developing cyber capacity among our neighbours. It’s unclear at this stage to what extent Ambassador Feakin will be dealing directly with Google, Facebook and their ilk.
Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen revealed the plans in an interview, saying that companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft “affect Denmark just as much as entire countries”. “These companies have become a type of new nations and we need to confront that,” Samuelsen said. Samuelsen said that the ambassadorship, which has not yet been filled, Denmark will work toward better relationships with the American tech firms.