digital Analysis

The Digital Future Group primarily focuses on regulatory developments relating to the European Commission’s pledge to make “Europe fit for the digital age”. It also tracks the policy implications of key technological trends, including 5G technology, artificial intelligence and blockchain. Digital governance and data protection are also core themes.

3rd June 2021

Mapping the European Union’s Digital Agenda for 2021

This blog outlines the European Union’s digital agenda for 2021.
14th May 2021

Regulating Artificial Intelligence: The strategic implications of AI and new technologies

Mr Tudorache discusses the importance of regulating Artificial Intelligence technologies to ensure that AI will be a global force for good.
14th April 2021

Drone Technology: Social Opportunities and Regulatory Challenges

Bobby Healy, CEO of Manna Aero, discusses the opportunities and challenges of drone technology, including the social and regulatory implications.
31st March 2021

Digital to Drive Irish & European Recoveries?

Casper Klynge, Vice President for European Government Affairs at Microsoft, discusses the role that digital technologies can play in driving Irish and European economic recovery.
26th March 2021

A Transatlantic Partnership for Europe’s Digital Future?

Carl Bildt argues that Europe is falling rapidly behind the US and China in the digital transition and faces a choice between digital sovereignty or a deeper transatlantic partnership.
26th February 2021

Security and Democracy in the Digital Era

Mr Ilves discuss the challenges to security and democracy in the digital era and the importance of international cooperation through organisations such as the European Union.
26th February 2021

Regulating the Online Economy: Towards a Global Digital Deal?

Bruno Liebhaberg, Director General of CERRE and Chair of the EU Observatory on the Online Platform Economy, discusses the regulation of the online economy.
9th February 2021

Towards European Digital Sovereignty

Director-General Roberto Viola discusses the subject of European Digital Sovereignty and the European Commission’s plans to achieve it.

digital Publications

25th June 2020

Finding a European Way: the EU’s Quest to Promote the Data Economy

In February 2020 the European Commission released its communication on a European strategy for data, and began a consultation on this strategy which ended 31 May. The strategy was prompted by the fact that the vast majority of European data is currently left unused, and the Commission’s belief in the enormous potential of this data to create economic and social value for Europeans. Furthermore, the Commission is concerned by what it views as risks to Europe’s digital sovereignty, should the European data economy be over reliant on external providers. The data strategy contains numerous proposals to promote greater data sharing in the European economy, and to overcome the obstacles to doing so. At the heart of the strategy is the proposed creation of a common European data space, which will include specific European data spaces for various economic and social sectors. This will ensure the flow of data between EU Member States and between these diverse sectors. This policy brief explores this ambitious and broad ranging plan, and assesses the proposals to achieve its goal of harnessing Europe’s vast quantities of data for the benefit of the European economy and society.
30th April 2020

An Intelligent Trust? An Analysis of the EU White Paper on AI Regulation

In February 2020, the European Commission released its White Paper on the regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) called Artificial Intelligence- A European approach to excellence and trust. The White Paper also outlines a strategy for the promotion of AI development and its uptake in Europe, using a variety of EU programmes. These programmes will aim to promote investment of €20 billion annually in AI technology in the EU. The regulatory framework outlined by the White Paper has proven divisive. It is proposed that the new regulations will apply to “high-risk” AI technology only. However, the merits of this approach, and the methodology of determining if an AI application is “high-risk” have proven controversial. The White Paper also proposes the use of prior conformity assessments to assess high-risk applications before they are placed on the market. It is further proposed that regulations should apply to the actors best placed to address the risks of an AI application, and not just the original developers of the application. This policy brief examines the White Paper and explores some of the key issues in the EU’s approach to this vitally important emerging technology.
16th December 2008

The Next Leap: A Competitive Ireland in the Digital Era

Author: Johnny Ryan Launched by An Tanaiste (the Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland), Mary Couglan, on 16 December 2008 videos of launch presentations The Irish Times calls The Next Leap “an excellent report … [which] deserves to be read and considered, especially right now, as the Government struggles to find a constructive way forward out of an economic morass”. Silicon Republic calls The Next Leap a “visionary report” The Next Leap: Competitive Ireland in the Digital Era is intended to be a useful point of reference as Government considers a new national strategy to maximise Ireland’s competitive advantage in the digital era. It is an exercise in digital foresight that describes: Emerging trends that will characterise the digital environment incoming years; and Government actions that could capitalise on these trend. This report presents a cross-cutting draft plan of action derived from the diverging inputs of stakeholders across the digital sector. The Next Leap: Competitive Ireland in the Digital Era is intended to be a useful point of reference as Government considers a new national strategy to maximise Ireland’s competitive advantage in the digital era. It is an exercise in digital foresight that describes:
  1. Emerging trends that will characterise the digital environment in coming years; and
  2. Government actions that could capitalise on these trends
Advance information below: Paul Rellis, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland, foreword, p.7
“Now is the time to create the vision of a new economic reality… If Ireland fosters innovation and enterprise in the digital space, it can create social and economic benefits. However, to do so requires bold and brave investment. In forty years’ time, historians will look back at the actions we took to address the challenges and opportunities presented to us. They will commend our foresight on the basis of the actions we take now.”
Johnny Ryan, Senior Researcher IIEA, introduction, p. 9
“Ireland is at a moment of opportunity. A digital revolution is transforming the global environment in which Ireland operates. Failure to embrace the transition to this new world will leave Ireland marooned as conventional industries migrate to cheaper locations, and traditional industries are transformed using new digital technologies with which our people are not conversant and for which we lack the infrastructure. On the other hand, the digital revolution presents huge opportunities for Ireland. If we successfully manage it, Ireland can offset its long-standing geographical disadvantage, leverage the creativity of its citizens at all levels of society, and engage with a global market of unprecedented scale.”
Jill Donoghue, Director General of the IIEA, preface, p. 5
“In 2008, the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) identified Ireland’s competitiveness in the digital sector as a priority area for research. The trigger for this research was the warning by the Irish Technology Leadership Group in Silicon Valley that Ireland was no longer mentioned among the top five countries in the digital sector.”
John Hartnett, Chairman of the Irish Technology Group in Silicon Valley and Senior Vice President, Palm Inc., peer-review, p. 27
“This report identifies several key areas that, in the opinion of the ITLG, are paramount for Ireland to be able to compete in the digital era over the next 20-30 years”.
Methodology: This document does not represent a consensus, but rather the best and boldest concepts drawn from the input of leaders in the field of research, entrepreneurs, media producers, multinational companies and early stage startups, software vendors, educators, and public sector bodies and organisations, who were consulted for this purpose during the IIEA’s Digital Sector Stakeholders’ Competitiveness Consultation. The Digital Sector, which this report defines broadly, includes communications regulators, actors in the ICT industry from multinational EMEA HQs in Ireland to indigenous start-ups, sub-sectors of the financial services, digital media content providers, game development, ICT R&D, web research, education, medical research, the media & culture sector, finance & capital providers, foreign development initiatives. This document does not represent a consensus, but rather the best and boldest concepts drawn from the input of leaders in the field of research, entrepreneurs, media producers, multinational companies and early stage startups, software vendors, educators, and public sector bodies and organisations, who were consulted for this purpose during the IIEA’s Digital Sector Stakeholders’ Competitiveness Consultation. This consultation was the first step in the three-step process that resulted in this report. The second step was analysis and consolidation to ensure that the diverse inputs received from stakeholders were presented in a coherent and policy relevant manner. The third step was to submit the report for peer review to the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) in Silicon Valley. The ITLG is composed of the most senior Irish business people in the global digital sector. Finally, the report was submitted by the IIEA to Government. About the author: Johnny Ryan is a Senior Researcher at the Institute of International & European Affairs, and an O’Reilly Foundation Scholar at Magdalene College, Cambridge. About the stakeholders (individuals & organisations): note: The specific inputs of stakeholders remain confidential. the Digital Media Forum; Chambers Ireland; Trinity Research & Innovation, TCD O’Reilly Institute; Forfás; the German Chamber of Commerce; the Irish Software Association; Juniper Research; the American Chamber of Commerce; BT Ireland; Microsoft; John Hurley, Governor, Central Bank & Financial Services Authority of Ireland; Peter O’Shea, Chief Information Officer, ESB; Barry O’Leary, Chief Executive Officer, IDA Ireland; Donal O’Mahony, Multimedia Manager, IDA Business Park Wicklow; Isolde Goggin, former Communications Commissioner; Cathal Gaffney, Owner, BrownBag Films; John Mallon, Owner, Argent Productions; Edward M Walsh, Founding President, University of Limerick; Tom Termini, Solutions Architect, Bluedog Inc.;  Joe Drumgoole, founder,; Helen Shaw, Managing Director, Athena Media; Martin Hogan, Manager, the Digital Cube; Michael O’Neil,  Director, UCD Natural Computing Research & Applications Group; Eamonn Fallon, CEO,; Seán Jevins, Director of e-Services, Allied Irish Bank; M-Tahar Kechadi, Director, UCD Parallel Computational Research Group; James Grealis, Senior Director of Operations, Symantec Inc.; Larry Bass, CEO, Screentime ShinAwiL Productions; Fionn Murtagh, Director of Information, Communications and Emergent Technologies, Science Foundation Ireland; Lionel?Barker, General Manager, Xilinx Design Services; Hugo Boylan, Managing Director, Newgrove Consultants; Philip Farren, Consultant, GCS  Recruiting; Niall Ennis, Managing Director, DCC SerCom; Jamie McCormick, Game; Liam O’Morain, Commercialisation Manager, Digital Enterprise Research Institute; Stephen Brennan, Director of Marketing & Strategy, Digital Hub Development Agency; Brian Honan, Owner, BH Consulting; Keith Bohanna, founder, dbTwang; Grainne Barron, Director, Animo; John Whelan, Technology Transfer Case Manager, TCD; Aoife O’Mahony, Manager, STEPS to Engineering, Engineers Ireland; Dermot Doyle, Managing Director, BOSSCOM; Clive Byrne, Director, National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals; Susanne Dirks, Leader, IBM Institute for Global Business Value; John J. Lynch, Chairman, CIÉ; David Cotter, CEO, igopeople; Rob Corbet, Partner, Arthur Cox; Damian Ryan, Partner, Results International Group; Marian O’Sullivan, Head of Development, Institute of Art, Design and Technology; Ruth Mac Partlin, CEO, Fluid Rock; Rod Large, Chairman, Crucible Media; William J. Murphy, Chair, Commerce & Technology Graduate Programs, Franklin Pierce Law Centre; Philip Adams,? serial entrepreneur; Tom FitzGerald, Managing Director, Bárd; Fred Herrera, Enterprise Development Executive, Institute of Art, Design & Technology Dun Laoghaire; Mary Ryan, Managing Director, Project Innovator Ltd.; The Irish Primary Principals’ Network; Peter Kennedy, Vice President for Research, UCC; Ann O’Connor, Rosalind Burke, Bartley O’Connor, and Feargal O’Rourke, Pricewaterhouse Coopers; Frank Turpin, Government Affairs Manager, Intel; Mi chael Walsh, Global DMX; Charles Larkin, Chairperson of the Swan Group; Patricia Callan, Director, Small Firms Association; Sonas Innovation; the Irish Venture Capital Association; Olivia Cosgrove, CEO, CashTrail; Larry O’Connell, Senior Economist, National Social & Economic Forum; Aine Looney, CEO, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment; Martin Walsh, Chief Legal Counsel, Daon; Ben Hurley, CEO, National Digital Research Centre; ?Kevin T. Ryan, Centre Director, LERO, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre, University of Limerick.   This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. To view a copy of this license, visit Time Magazine cover “Seán Lemass”, 12 July 1963, printed by permission of Time Magazine.

digital Past Events

14th October 2020

The Eagle Eye of the ECB: The Role of the ECB in the Recovery of the Euro-area, past, present and future

Yves Mersch discusses the role of the ECB’s monetary policy measures in mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and, beyond the crisis, will identify measures to shore up the Euro-area to make it resilient for the future.
2nd October 2020

Countering Online Disinformation: Actions Taken and the Challenges Ahead

Paolo Cesarini discusses the threat of disinformation and the EU’s policy response to it, focusing on the EU’s Code of Practice on Disinformation, which is currently under review.
29th September 2020

Digital Tax: Addressing the Challenges

Pascal Saint-Amans of the OECD addresses the IIEA on the implications of digitalisation for taxation and will discuss how the challenges can be addressed.
29th September 2020

Schrems II and the EU-US Privacy Shield – The European Court of Justice Challenges the World

Following the CJEU’s “Schrems II” judgement, which invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework, Cameron Kerry of the Brookings Institution will explore the implications for transatlantic and international data transfers.
29th September 2020

WEBINAR: Privacy and the Pandemic: The Role of Data Protection and Data Processing in Fighting COVID-19

Amidst the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, the European Data Protection Supervisor, Wojciech Wiewiórowski, discusses the role of processing personal data to fight COVID-19 while upholding privacy and data protection.