martes, 30 de diciembre de 2014

#MOOC #Broadband #NetNeutrality Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (29/12/2014)

MOOCs for Web talent

The study aimed to evaluate the possible impact of MOOCs in the field of IT and online education on behalf of the European Commission. It mapped the demand and the supply for online courses in the ICT field.

Study on retail broadband access prices

This study presents a very comprehensive assessment of retail fixed broadband access prices for a variety of broadband offerings including standalone and bundled services for eight speed categories.

Study on broadband coverage in Europe

This study monitors the progress on the broadband coverage objectives of the Digital Agenda, i.e basic broadband access for all by 2013 and high speed broadband access with at least 30 Mbps download speed for all by 2020.

Network Neutrality Revisited

This analytical study of the European Parliament provides background on the debate over network neutrality, including its technological, economic, and public policy aspects, and the implications for European public policy going forward

domingo, 28 de diciembre de 2014

My last reading: "Why nations fail: The origins of power, prosperity and poverty?"

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and PovertyWhy Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoğlu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

People who travel try to look for explanations for the state of development and progress of the nations. We used to compare the countries we visited with our own countries in a short sighted mode, looking only for reasons in the short term and intrinsically linked to the countries. This book provide us a guide to appreciate the broad picture and look in the history of the country and its critical junctures as well as the influence of other countries. The consequence of this elements are a set of political and economic institutions that frame the nation.

However, the book is something more than a guide for the interpretation of the present. It could be used also as a map for glimpsing the paths to the future. The book help us to search behind the scenes of economic growth and wealth the signs for decay and crisis, give us a method to see the future success of a political movement beyond its momentary failure.

Nevertheless, the main lesson of the book is the value of solid and inclusive institutions for the welfare of a nation. The stronger the institutions, the easier avoiding its capture and warp by individuals or groups. So this lesson has a consequence the responsibility of the society for building and nurturing this kind of institutions and, therefore, it presents us with our responsibility towards our own future.

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martes, 23 de diciembre de 2014

Privatisation of the "Big Brother"

The "Big Brother" is the omnipresent entity of "1984", one of the most read novels of the 21st century. Although Orwell gave this name to the Party leader of the dystopian Oceania of the novel, it is generally given this name to the administrative organisation of the superstate. Therefore, "Big Brother" has become a synonym of a State where surveillance by the government is a non-stop activity.

Without doubts, Orwell never thought there would be a rolling back of the State frontiers. Since the 80´s, instead of a realisation of an omnipresent State we are getting a shrinking government. A great number of former public services have gone to private hands. Does it mean that we are safe from the totalitarian nightmare pictured by Orwell? Unfortunately, the answer is no. The reality is that we are living a kind of privatisation of "Big Brother".

One of the most worrisome outcomes of digitalisation is massive private surveillance. Although the majority of the people are worry about the Snowden case, I believe as others that the reality is that the intelligence authorities do not understand the data. This misunderstanding drives to a surveillance with less risks to our privacy that sometime is pictured. The real danger to our privacy comes from those who know how to unleash big data technology on the data they daily collect about us. It is not difficult to collect every day a piece of new about a "snooping" activity of Uber, Facebook, Twitter or Google. 

Orwell would write a different novel today. It would be closer to "The Circle" with a private "Big Brother" more powerful than the State. Nevertheless, it would have been more realistic. Orwell would have included also in "The Circle" at least other two private companies called "The Square" and "The Triangle". In the same manner as Oceania, Eurasia and Africa fought without end between them in 1984 for absolute power in the world, the three imaginary companies would fight for being the dominant of the Internet in a continuous battle.

"1984" never becomes a reality. The model for the public "Big Brother" pictured in the novel, the Soviet Union, disappeared before reaching the peaks of surveillance described in the novel. The question now is we will be equally fortunate with the private "Big Brothers".

miércoles, 17 de diciembre de 2014

Extractive elites and the #digital revolution in Europe

Second post written while I'm reading "Why nations fail?". The better the reading is an essay the more applications of it you find to the world you live. One of this application are to identify the extractive elites you can find around the digital economy. As in the period of the industrial revolution, you can identify two kind of extractive elites. On one hand, those who try to stop the revolution in order to maintain its privileges. On the other hand, those who win a dominant position and fight to avoid having limits to their power

It is well known that Europe is lagging behind in the digital revolution. There are documents written on the other side of the atlantic that blames on the excessive regulation for this delay. In my opinion is not the lack of regulation what it is failing, but our failure in bridling the two kind of elites described above. Up to the date, this have not been possible. Nevertheless, it looks now that it exists a light of hope for Europe.

The first kind of extractive elite has as its main interest maintain the digital economy as a marginal part of our economic system. The main strategy of this group is diverting investments to other kind of infrastructures different to the digital infrastructures. This elite was highly successful in 2013, when they managed to reduce the CEF budget for digital investment to a mere 0,3% of this EU program (1 € billion of 30 € billion). It looks its power has fortunately decreased. Andrus Ansip, the EU Digital Single Market Commissioner has announced he aims 10% of the new EU investment Plan for growth. If he reach this objective, a critical battle would have been won. The amount of money foreseen to be dedicated to digital projects in the new EU investment plan is a sign of its decreasing power.

The second kind of elite is composed by those who was the first to jump on the digital vagon and has grown up to the status of quasi-monopolies. There are few differences between the "Robber Barons" of the 19th century and the great internet companies of our era. Our "Digital Robber Barons" have reached a monopoly in different kind of e-businesses (search, e-books, social networks, ...) , and they threat to extend this monopolies to new industries (mobile, robots, ...). It looks that the only solution as in the past is breaking-up this companies. The fact that the European Parliament has started to think in breaking-up Google are good news

Extractive elites was as dangerous in the past as in the future. As it is showed in "Why nations fail?", Europe has been quite successful up to the date to limit their power in each juncture of history. We are now in another critical point of history where Europe Institutions has to prove its value to defeat the new kind of extractive elites.

lunes, 15 de diciembre de 2014

#Entrepreunership #Research Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (15/12/2014)

Bankruptcy and second chance for honest bankrupt Entrepreneurs

In December 2013 the European Commission launched a study to review progress in the policy area of ''Bankruptcy and second chance for honest bankrupt Entrepreneurs'' in Member States and CIP Participating Countries. The main conclusion is that fear of failure is one of the most important factors affecting the creation of new enterprises.

EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard

The 2014 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard (the Scoreboard) contains economic and financial data for the world's top 2500 companies ranked by their investments in research and development (R&D). The sample consists of 633 companies based in the EU and 1867 companies based elsewhere. The Scoreboard data are drawn from the latest available companies' accounts.

miércoles, 10 de diciembre de 2014

Learning from the Industrial Revolution: The balance between regulation and innovation

The Digital Revolution is often compared with the Industrial Revolution. This comparison reflects, among others, the hope that digitalisation will bring for the economy the same degree of growth as industrialisation brought. In order to make this promise a reality, we need to learn from history. So we need to understand how it was possible for some countries to reap the benefits from the Industrial Revolution in a quicker pace than others. 

There are thousand books about the Industrial Revolution which we can learn from. Nevertheless, one of the best comparative narratives has appeared in a book that it is not so old, "Why nations fail?". From its pages, we discover that the laggard nations  in the adoption of the Industrial Revolution was due to the fact that they regulated against innovation and creative destruction. At the same time, the early adopters usually introduced regulations to boost innovation and at the same time leveling the playing field between the economy players. One example of the former are the barriers for the spreading of the printing press in the Islamic countries. An example of the later are the patents regulation introduced in the United Kingdom while they also maintained a continuous fight against monopolies.

Similar dilemmas are faced by the regulators of the digital economy nowadays.

There is a demand to establish barriers to the digital disruptions in all the economic sectors when digitisation knocks the door. The intensive usage of ICT in an economy sector means (usually at the same time) a change in the business models and a revolution in its production chain. The avoidance of social unrest is a temptation to regulate against innovation in an economy sector instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to adopt new business models. What is happening now with the sharing economy is an example of what has been described above.

Net neutrality has been one of the cornerstones for innovation in the digital era. Without the worldwide enforcement of this principle, it would have been difficult for Google or Facebook to reach its current position on the digital market. However, their overwhelming position could endangered the full digital ecosystem. So now it would be wise to introduce some principle similar to Net Neutrality for Internet Value Added services to level the playing field with their present and future competitors. So establishing a new digital neutrality principle is critical for preserving innovation and limiting the power of the great network and service providers.

Innovation was at the heart of the countries that were the main winners of the Industrial Revolution, but regulation played also an critical role. The right balance between both elements is the unique guarantee for a sustained economic growth in an economic area in the forthcoming decades.

lunes, 8 de diciembre de 2014

#Telecom #investEU #eGov #Privacy Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (8/12/2014)

Market Definition, Market Power and Regulatory Interaction in Electronic Communications Markets

This new study analyses the changes in the regulatory framework required to take into full account the presence of Over the Top (OTT) services and platform competition.

The Juncker Plan: From €21 to €315 billion, through smoke and mirrors

On the face of it, the €315 billion euro in additional investment announced by Juncker to kickstart Europe’s economy should make a material difference. However, there are people that have an sceptic view of the Plan, as it is shown in this analysis published by the CEPS.

Making Digital Government Work for Everyone

A report produced by the UK Labour Party in the warm-up of the next gneral elections in britain. It contains an extensive review of the digital government policies of the current government and their vision of the path forward for the digitalisation of public services.

Opinion of Article 29 Working Party on the application of Directive 2002/58/EC to device fingerprinting

Device fingerprinting presents serious data protection concerns for individuals. For example, a number of online services have proposed device fingerprinting as an alternative to HTTP cookies for collecting personal information. In their opinion, the Article 29 WP extends the obligation of obtaining consent implemented for cookies to device fingerprinting.

miércoles, 3 de diciembre de 2014

The Juncker Plan and #digitalisation of public service

The modernisation of the public sector in Europe has been introduced as an objective of the European Union in the last years. The more clear signal of the importance of this objective is its inclusion as one of the five areas analysed in the European Semester. Digitalisation of the public service should the main leverage of this modernisation. This point has been highlighted by the European Council in October 2013 and by the President of the European Commission in its inaugural speech to the Parliament. The Digital Single Market Commissioner mentioned in his hearing the attention he has always given to digital government. This assertion is not void. He is the former prime minister of Estonia, one of the more digitised public services in Europe.

Nevertheless, the time of truth for all this commitments will come soon. In the next European Council to be held on December 18th one of the point that will be debate is the targets for the 300 billion euro of investment for 2015-2017 (Junker Plan). The idea for this investment is the development of projects that foster growth in Europe. The completion of the digitalisation of the European public administrations should be considered as one of this projects. According with the OECD, 62% of the public budgets is dedicated to health, education and social affairs. The digitalisation of this services would decrease de cost of serving the citizens, release resources for growth and pave the way for a more productive government. 

A critical project for the digitalisation of the public service that not always receive the needed attention is training. The public administration will be the one of the top 4 sectors in terms of ICT related employment. More than 10% of public sector workers will work in ICT related works. At the same time, the percentage of public sectors workers older than 50 are beyond 40% in some OECD countries. It is difficult to imagine that these aging workers will be able to satisfy the demand of ICT posts without receiving the proper training. Futhermore, there are growing signals that the public sector is losing the war for tech talent.

Both for ICT training and projects more resources are needed in Public Administration. In a couple of weeks we will discover up to what point are true all the commitment for the digitalisation of public services.  The Junker plan is an opportunity for our Euopean leaders  to put the money where they put their mouth.

lunes, 1 de diciembre de 2014

#EU #IPv6 #telecom #CyberSecurity Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (1/12/2014)

Digital minds for a new Europe

On the invitation of Neelie Kroes, former vice-president of the European Commission (2009-2014), responsible for the digital agenda, some of the world's best "digital minds" shared their proposals and inspiring visions on how to make Europe excel in the digital age. This book contains 44 essays by the world's leading thinkers on the challenges ahead – and the solutions digital technology will provide.

The Economics of Transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)

This report makes the case that IPv6 represents an example of a platform; within the context of IPv6, the sides of the platform are Internet service providers, backbone providers, device manufacturers, content providers, and so forth.

2nd BEREC Stakeholder Forum

Presentations from the 2nd Frum of Satkeholders organised by BEREC, the association of national telecom regulators.

Cyber Crisis Cooperation and Management

This is a comparative study on the cyber crisis management and the general crisis management publisshed by ENISA. The purpose of the study is twofold: to compare the concepts from general crisis management systems with the corresponding systems related to cyber crisis management, and to conduct a conceptual analysis of the language and terminology within these two fields, covering for their structures, scope and actions. The study concludes with six recommendations that would help to evolve this emerging area.

miércoles, 26 de noviembre de 2014

Beyond #NetNeutrality (V): The market logic for #DigitalNeutrality

Another post on net neutrality. The debate is still on, both in the EE.UU and the EU. So far, I have written four post on the issues and with each of them I have thought it was the last one about the topic. However, pieces of news always drive me to write another post more. In this case, the reason behind this post is the awarding to Jean Tirole of the Nobel Prize. I was surprised to find in articles regarding this awarding that among the studies done by Jean Tirole are matter related with Google and the Internet economy, so I decided to look for some more information.

The basis of Google and other Internet platforms business is what it is called "two -sided markets". They provide services to two group of users, A and B, which are complementary. A are buyers while B are sellers. The business from these platforms is to connect buyers (A) and sellers (B), and balancing the price they ask for to each of the two sides of their service in order to obtain profits. For instance, you can consider that final users of Google are sellers of personal data in exchange of free digital services (search, maps. mail, ...), while companies are buyers of services based on the personal data given by the users (ads, position in search ranking, ...). One of the merits of Jean Tirole is his description of this model in ... 2002 !!! Yes, you are right. A moment of time when Google was not public and Facebook didn´t exist.

But what the "two-sided market" has to do with Net Neutrality? Under the net neutrality principle, all the users, without regarding content, application or mode of traffic, should be charged equally. However, if we approach to traffic flows in the net with a "two-sided market" approach, we could considered some users as buyers (residential users) and others like sellers (e.g. netflix) and the network as the platform that connects both. From this perspective, charging different prices to both group of users has its economic logic. This is the logic behind the hybrid approach to net neutrality analysed once by FCC.

Now, let us revisiting again the two sides of the debate on net neutrality. On one side, the internet platforms, which are against any change on the strict application of net neutrality. On the other side, the ISPs, which are in favour of a flexible reinterpretation of net neutrality concept that allow them to establish different traffic lanes. Both are part of the digital services value chain but the market rules for them are completely different, one group can apply "two-sided market" models while the other can´t. It is fair having the same rules for both of them. This implies a reinterpretation of net neutrality for ISPs, the extension of the net neutrality principle to internet platforms or the definition of a new digital neutrality principle.

It is clear that something fails in a market when a provider has a share of 90% of the market. That is the case of some services of the digital services value chain. The different market rules for these services are perhaps the reason. Therefore, the market shows us there is a clear case for the definition of a new concept, digital neutrality, applicable to all the actors of the digital services value chain.

lunes, 24 de noviembre de 2014

#SmartCity #DigitalSingleMarket #Innovation #eHealth Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (24/11/2014)

Orchestrating Infrastructure for Sustainable Smart Cities

By 2050, it is projected that 67% of the world’s population will live in cities and therefore Smart Cities are necessary to reduce emissions and to handle rapid urban growth. This White Paper published by IEC aims to identify ways to orchestrate infrastructure for sustainable Smart Cities.

Building blocks of the Ubiquitous Digital Single Market

Powerpoint presentations of an interesting workshop about the Digital Single Market at the European Parliament: Net Neutrality, security, productivity, ...

Innovation Procurement Workshop

Innovation Procurement enables the public sector to modernize its services while saving costs and creating market opportunities for the companies in Europe. This is a set of presentations from the workshop "Make use of the enabling button for Innovation Procurement (PCP/PPI) to tackle societal challenges in Europe". You will presentations on the usage of Innovation Procurement in different EU Programs.

Guidelines for ePrescriptions

The European Commission and EU countries have a common goal to ensure that these electronic prescriptions can be used safely in another Member State. The guidelines that were agreed on, lay out the type of data needed to share prescriptions across borders. They also describe how the data should be transferred, provided the patient has given his or her consent to use the ePrescription service.

viernes, 21 de noviembre de 2014

Bitacoras en apoyo de #RegenerarAdministracion

El funcionamiento de la Administración condiciona las sociedades. Más del 40% del PIB es manejado por el sector público. Los servicios de educación y sanidad son en buena medida servicios públicos. Sin un correcto funcionamiento de la justicia y de los mecanismos para velar por su cumplimiento viviríamos en la ley de la selva. Estas son algunas de las muchas razones por las que una buena Administración al servicio de la gente es importante para todos. Contribuir a su mejora es obligación de todos, especialmente de quienes estamos en el servicio público. Las medidas contenidas  en #RegenerarAdministración son una propuesta para la reforma estructural de nuestras Administraciones, que busca alejarse de los maquillajes y reformas de postureo.

Hace unas semanas un conjunto de empleados públicos lanzamos #RegenerarAdministración. El apoyo a estas medidas puede realizarse en Puedes pasar al apoyo activo uniéndote a "Bitacoras en apoyo de #RegenerarAdministracion", una iniciativa de Andres Nin. Solo tienes que poner las medidas en tu bitacora y pedir su apoyo en

Vivimos un período en el que la ciudadanía reclama una profunda renovación de nuestras instituciones. En este contexto, quienes suscribimos este documento –empleados públicos y funcionarios de diversos Cuerpos de las Administraciones- queremos contribuir al necesario debate público proponiendo las siguientes medidas estructurales de reforma de las Administraciones Públicas. 
A nuestro juicio, estas propuestas son un buen punto de partida para poner las Administraciones al servicio del conjunto de la ciudadanía y establecer los cimientos de unas Administraciones de calidad, profesionales, transparentes, participativas y sometidas en todo momento al control de la gente.
Medidas para que la Administración sea un instrumento de calidad al servicio de los ciudadanos

1) Profesionalización de la dirección pública
  •    Limitación del personal político al Ministro y su Gabinete, a los Secretarios de Estado; Presidentes y Consejeros de Comunidades Autónomas; y Alcaldes y Concejales
  • Extensión de la carrera administrativa, atendiendo estrictamente a criterios de mérito y capacidad, a los niveles directivos (p.e. actualmente en la AGE: Director General, Secretario General, Subsecretario, etc.)
  • Establecimiento de mecanismos independientes de transparencia y control para asegurar el cumplimiento de estos principios en la designación de personal directivo
  • Establecimiento de incentivos adecuados a las responsabilidades desempeñadas y prohibición efectiva y apropiada de “puertas giratorias” para altos cargos y niveles directivos

2) Transparencia
  • Aplicación de los estándares más elevados de información pública proactiva y mecanismos para que los ciudadanos puedan identificar la información relevante
  • Política general de Apertura de Datos (“Open Data”)
  • Limitación al mínimo de excepciones a facilitar información pública, sometiendo las negativas a un mecanismo expeditivo e independiente de recurso
  • Transparencia, en especial, en procesos normativos, de diseño, ejecución y evaluación de políticas públicas, de contratación y subvenciones
  • Garantías de independencia de los órganos de control y órganos sancionadores de la Administración
  • Control mediante un órgano independiente con participación ciudadana

3) Participación ciudadana y acceso a la función pública
  • Desarrollo de mecanismos de participación ciudadana en procesos normativos, de diseño, ejecución y evaluación de políticas públicas y del gasto público, haciendo uso del potencial de las tecnologías 

  • Establecimiento de consejos independientes, formados por ciudadanos, para acompañar la actividad de los organismos administrativos
  • Democratización del acceso de los ciudadanos a todos los niveles de la función pública atendiendo estrictamente a criterios de mérito y capacidad
  • Evaluación, promoción y mantenimiento en la función pública de acuerdo con mecanismos objetivos y transparentes, que respeten estrictamente los principios de mérito, capacidad y desempeño
  • Supresión de estructuras paralelas y externalizaciones 

4) Control y rendición de cuentas
  • Establecimiento de órganos independientes de control efectivo de la actividad administrativa con participación ciudadana

  • Sometimiento de la actividad administrativa a deberes públicos de rendición de cuentas y asunción de responsabilidades

miércoles, 19 de noviembre de 2014

Gigabit access and the disruption of personal life

The Pew Research Centre is publishing an interesting collection of reports to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the web. The report of October was an effort to forecast the killer apps for the gigabit connectivity age. The basic assumption was the inevitability of the widespread deployment of gigabit access by 2025, although it could sounds science-fiction when the average global connection speed in quarter one of 2014 was 3-9 Mbps.

The report is based on a survey to experts of the digital sector. The first piece of data that shocked me of the report is that only 86% of the experts think that new applications will arrive with gigabit access. It is interesting to analyse the reasons given by the 14% that do not see a revolution in the applications available by 2025. Specially, I understand the warning of David Bollier on a possible change on the openness and non-discrimination conditions that has driven the growth of internet in the past 25 years. I agree that a correct revisiting of the net neutrality principle  according with the evolution of the digital chain value is critical to ensure the continuous flow of innovation. Nevertheless,  I think this revisitation will be correctly driven and the power of Moore law will help to overcome the barriers on the road of new invention. In spite of Robert Gordon theory, we are not slowing the pace of innovations.

The pages of the reports are full of forecast related to the impact of gigabit access on the industry. But this is something that has been detailed with great extension in books like "The Zero Marginal Cost". I agree with those experts surveyed in the Pew report that highlighted that gigabit access will drive the great step towards the elimination of boundaries between physical and virtual life. After the disruptions in the industry and economic activities we are living with the deployment of broadband, the gigabit access age will be the era of the disruptions in our personal life. The new applications will speed our immersion in virtual worlds. And of course, this will mean a change in the economic sector of services that have the human factor as its cornerstone: education, health, leisure, ... We have already seen a first sign of this in the experiment of fake holidays done by Zilla van den Born.

Be brave and dare to take a first view of our future. Read the Pew report and try to imagine how Gigabit access is going to change our society and our life. I personally eager to have the opportunity to experience the gigabit generation of virtual running products.

lunes, 17 de noviembre de 2014

#Skills #PublicService #DigitalSingleMarket #Privacy Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (17/11/2014)

Delivering public services for the future

A collection of essays compiled by the Lisbon Council with proposals for the reform and modernisation of the public sector in Europe. Innovation and ICTs are the cornerstones of the majority of the proposals.

Skill and jobs in the internet economy

Both generic and specialised ICT skills are becoming an important requirement for employment across the economy as the Internet becomes more engrained in work processes, but a significant part of the population lacks the basic skills necessary to function in this new environment. This paper examines the impact of the Internet on the labour market in this context.

Digital Single Market studies

A compilation of the studies done by the European´s Policy Department around the completion of the Digital Single Market.

The right to privacy in the digital age

A report publishhed by the United Nations on thhe biggest challenges tio achieve an effective right to privacy on the digital age.

miércoles, 12 de noviembre de 2014

Beyond #NetNeutrality (IV): Social neutrality

The readers of this blog know that the reinterpretation of net neutrality in a broader sense is one of my major concerns. I have dedicated previous post to the matter. We need to speak about digital neutrality better than about net neutrality, to take care of neutrality in the services provided by the great Internet platforms. There is a growing need to have some kind of guarantee of neutrality in the algorithms they used in their relationship with the users. But also this Internet giants are the only that have the resources to provide new intermediary services that could enlarge their control of the network under the excuse of providing a better user experience. 

It´s good to see that the idea of digital neutrality begins also to be in the table of our politicians. For instance, the new digital commissioner for the Digital Single Market spoke about the need to guarantee search-neutrality in his inaugural hearing beyond the European Parliament. But the problem with digital neutrality is that the flexibility of digital technology gives room of maneuver to find new imaginative ways to circumvent the neutrality. Zero-rating acces services is one of this ways.

Zero-rating or sponsored data services are based on the practice of not charging the customers for the Internet data used by a certain application or group of applications. Although these kind of services where originated for mobile data services, it´s difficult to find a reason why these services could not be provided in the fixed broadband scope. This could be worrisome, because in the cases we can already find in the mobile market the sponsored services are linked to applications like facebook or google. So these kind of services are potentially a new lever to circumvent digital neutrality by the Internet giants and increase its control of what we can access and we are not able to access in the Internet.

Not all the people see this way sponsored services. Some people defend sponsored services as a tool for bridge the digital divide. The rationale is that a restricted Internet is better than no internet. I see it the other way. The sponsored services are a tool for creating an Internet for the poors and an Internet for the rich. Furthermore, it reminds me the soviet era where there were one group of shops with all the products for the party members and other shops with a restricted supply of products for the rest of the people. So now we have extend the debate of the net neutrality from digital neutrality to social neutrality.

But I´m sure this will not be the last post on net neutrality and its many faces. Many more ideas about the twists of net neutrality will appear with the details of the more than 3 million of contributions that the FCC has received to the debate.

lunes, 10 de noviembre de 2014

#EU #Security Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (10/11/2014)

Commitments at the hearing of the digital EU Commissioners

The European Parliament has published the commitments made by Gunther Oettinger and Andrus Ansip at their hearings. A summary of the digital priorities for the next five years.

The risk of unsecure file sharing

A report published by the Ponemon Institute on file-sharing practices in the business world. Policies are in place but communication to employees is poor.

miércoles, 5 de noviembre de 2014

How to make sustainable the #Digital Economy

Let´s than a decade ago, in 2006-2008, the whole humankind (at least in the advanced world) looked with optimism the impact that Internet was having in the society and the new perspectives that it opened to improve the well-being of the world. The emphasis was then in first steps of the new digital economy that was taken by then. According with the experts, the mass and highly decentralized collaboration, developed in open networks outside the world of the established and big organizations, opened a whole world of opportunities to those who were brave enough to take the risk. Books as "Wikinomics" or "Here comes everybody" are the mirror of the spirit of that era. 

The landscape has changed in a radical manner. There is a mistrust floating in the air towards technology. The great recession and other events has taken its toll and no remains of the past optimism are in the most successful books written by analysts of the digitalisation and its impact. A gloomy world of the future jumps to our imagination from the pages of books like "The race against the machine" or "The second machine age" written by McAffe and Brynjolfsson. You can make an optimistic read of this boos, as it is my case, but I understand the fears towards digitalisation from many people.

The main concern of the people is related with its job post. Although it could not be clearly identified which part of the present decline in employment is cause of digitalisation and which part is cause of the crisis, there is an extended fear that the further we advance in the digital era the less opportunities for finding a work in certain areas will be available. A positive answer to the question "Will a robot take your job?" is spurred by studies threatening with a massive lost of jobs due to automatisation (up to 54% of existing jobs in EU, for instance) and, more important, by the fact no net increase of job post was experienced in the last decade in some countries (like the USA). And the digital economy will not be sustanaible in this situation.

Assuming the pessimistic side of the forecast above, the "technological unemployment" for human beings that was predicted by Keynes is round the corner. Although it is an extreme scenario, we should think about what happened to other species who suffered before the "technological unemployment". Taking the case of the horses that were made redundant by the industrial revolution, its population has decreased from 26 million to 3 million in the last century . In order to draw away from this extreme scenarios and moving towards the more attractive scenario described by Rifkin in "The end of work" is implementing a social wage. 

Obviously the question is where to look for funds for implementing the social wage. Few answers are for that. In my opinion, although utopical unless we have a big consensus in the advanced countries, the only serious answer has been given by Piketty: A global and progressive tax on capital. And this should not surprise us, the answer to how to make socially sustainable the digital economy could only come from the one who has studied the capital and economy in the 21st century. Because the 21st century is the digital century.

miércoles, 29 de octubre de 2014

The need to put EU digital policies in the foreground

Europe 2020 strategy was launched in 2010. The aim of it was to boost "smart, sustainable and inclusive growth" in Europe. With its genesis in the years previous to the great recession, it was a policy condemned to failure before it started ... unfortunately nobody could see it at that moment. As the European Council says in its March 21th meeting conclusions, "The crisis has slowed down progress towards the key goals of the Strategy and the long-term challenges affecting growth in Europe have not gone away".  This conclusions, based in the European Commission communication "Taking stock of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth", was the starting point of what its called a midterm review, but could and should end in a whole review of the EU policies.

And what can we find in this review about the ICT and digital policies of Europe? Few things, but this is hardly a surprise. If we take a look to Europe 2020 strategy, the first thing we will discover is that no headline target was established related with the digital economy. As a consequence, we have to go deeper in the document that contains the review of Europe 2020 to find references to the failure or success of the EU digital policies (I do not count as references the mentions to the "Digital Agenda for Europe" without any analysis of its concrete oucomes).

Reading the main document, the first and only mention we find is to the connection between ICT and productivity. It is quite recomforting (although depressing) that the European Commission put black on white that "Lower investment in and use of ICT in Europe account for a large part of the labour productivity gap between the EU and the US". If we want to find the reasons for this fact, I recommend to read the short analysis of the state-of-the-play of the "Digital Agenda for Europe" contained in the annex of the main document

Efficiency of the "Digital agenda for Europe" was affected by a number of weaknesses. Visibility of the flagship initiative suffered from a lack of focus due to the high number of specific measures. The flagship initiative was also unable to bring information and communication technology topics to the core of structural reform agendas. 

Although it could be a lot of discussion about which should be the priorities and focus of the review of the EU digital policies, the paragraph above put forward a biggest problem. The digital economy does not have its deserved importance within the EU policies and needs to have more concrete strategic actions. One way to solve the first issue is establishing of headline target for the renewed Europe 2020 connected with the digital economy. Some people would bet on the percentage of broadband penetration. I would prefer a target more connected with growth, as setting up an objective for the percentage of EU GNP providing by digital and ICT companies. As for the second, I would like to see actions not only guided by the offer (as broadband deployment or establishing a framework for platform neutrality) but also guided by the demand and connected with the different economy sectors (as the development of the industrial dimension of the Digital Agenda).

The ICTs should be in the foreground of the European policies. The rejection of an ambitious programme as the original scheme of the "Connecting Europe Facility" should not happened again if we do not want to lost the battle for the future. But this will be only guarantee if the success of the development of a vibrant digital economy its a headline target for Europe. You are still on time to contribute to put digital policies in the foreground. The only thing you have to do is answering the public consultation on Europe 2020 strategy.

lunes, 27 de octubre de 2014

#Innovation #Tirole #bitcoin Somewhere in #digital Europe ...

The way forward to improve people's lives: Inspiring and Completing European Innovation Ecosystems

The report published by the European Commission on behalf of the Innovation Policy Management High Level Group aims to contribute to the EU market of ideas. It is divided in three parts: How to promote EU innovation Ecosystem, how to embed social issues in innovation in order to avoid citizens rejection and the governance of EU innovation Ecosystem.

Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets

Certainly, this paper is nothing that has been written recently. It is a paper wrote by Jean Tirole in 2002. A personal recognition to someone that explained the economic rationale of Google and Facebook before their existence. Enough to be awarded with the Nobel Prize.

Bayesian regression and bitcoin prices

An MIT professor and his student have written a paper describing the use of an algorithm to predict the fluctuating price of Bitcoin. They explored in this paper whether bayesian distribution could be applied to predict future prices based on past data.

miércoles, 22 de octubre de 2014

The #car of the future: A collection of #digital disruptions

Since Henry Ford started the mass-production of his T-model, the car has been the one of the symbols of progress and development. Both, individuals and countries has used the car as a sign of its status. The individuals buy the more expensive car they can in order to show its position in the social ladder. The number of cars of a country has been a traditional indicator of its richness. Therefore, any changes in the features and production of cars drawn the attention of all of us. The digital era is bringing us a whole bunch of them, so we can be sure that in less than a decade cars will not be as we know today.

The cornerstone of the digital car is connectivity. In the same way that Internet access has changed our leisure and work, the crossroad of cars and connectivity is the cornerstone for changing our relationship with the external world while driving. To begin with, it has the potential to change the full relationship of the car with its surroundings if we add a pinch of artificial intelligence. Thanks to V2V protocols (Vehicle-to-Vehicle), the cars could speak with each other and exchange information that makes safer the driving experience. The car awareness of its surrounding could be dramatically expanded with another family of protocols, V2I (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure) that paves the way for a communication of the car with the road infrastructure. It is estimated that V2V and V2I could help to cut by 79% the number of road accidents, however maybe you are getting nervous with all that chatting of your car and you would like to know in real time what the cars talk about with the neighbourhood. Don´t worry, your windscreen or google glasses can inform you about it converting driving in an augmented reality experience.

But perhaps the feature of digital cars has drawn the bigger size of attention in the last months are self-driving cars. First, the Google experiments adding equipment for self-driving in conventional cars. Afterwards, the Google car without wheels and pedals. Even the already avalaible self-parking cars. There are signals of how redundant the human beings could be in the future as drivers. But they are also the door towards a more efficient public transport and logistics based on self-driving cars shared in a Uber-alike manner. And this is not only a disruption in our daily life, it is also a disruption in car manufacturing. The more we will be able to share cars, the less production of cars is needed.

If the impact of self-driving cars in car manufacturing industry is not obvious, what is certain is that 3D printing will take its toll in this sector. Of course, it will begin by printing only spare parts, but printing the whole car is not a far future. It is a reality. A year ago, some prototypes were presented in several events. This year a proof of concept of printing a car in 44 hours has been performed and there are pieces of news about people driving a 3D printed car. This mean a future of a radical decentralisation of car manufacturing. The future that Rifkin has envisioned in his last book.

The question is if after all these digital disruptions the cars will still be cars.

lunes, 20 de octubre de 2014

#Gartner #Culture Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (20/10/2014)

Top ten 2015 technologies

Research firm Gartner has highlighted the top 10 technology trends for 2015 most likely to have a significant impact on enterprises in the next three years.

The contribution of creative industries to the EU economy in terms of GDP and employment

A study on the economic contribution of the creative industries to the EU that captures the evolution of creative industries between 2008 and 2011 in terms of employment and GDP. It is an update of a previous report published in 2010

miércoles, 15 de octubre de 2014

The search of a model for providing digital services infrastructures

Digital Services Infrastructures are a critical input in our modern economy. Until the start of the century, only the basic connectivity to the Internet was in the list of this infrastructures. It is estimated that that a 10 percentage point increase in the broadband penetration rate leads to an annual growth in per-capita GDP of some 1 to 1.5 percentage points. Nevertheless, in the recent years new infrastructures has been added to the list. Basic computing and storage infrastructures in the form of cloud computing services or applications of frequent usage as e-mail are currently in this list, but soon other will be added as big data applications.

It is clear, that the more optimal way to have access to these Digital Services Infrastructures for a organisation is not building by itself but hiring them. Since the 90's, beginning with the basic connectivity, it has been established in Europe the idea that this infrastructures should be provided by the private sector. However, recently The Guardian opened the debate of a nationalisation of the mobile network infrastructure. Obviously, there is not reason for not extending this debate to the whole broadband infrastructure. But in the same way, the debate could be extended to the other infrastructures mentioned above.

Although, as The Guardian mentioned, the national ownership of basic infrastructures is seen as a debate from the past, it seems that at least part of the citizens are not reluctant to open the debate. What is more, it seems that the bigger the intervention of the government in the economy  the bigger the happiness of the citizens.  But do not misunderstood my position, I´m not directly claiming for the nationalisation of the Digital Services Infrastructures. What I´m asking for is for a critical review of the position established in the 90´s related to this point. Since then, new models for providing services not purely public or private have appeared, with different degrees of participation of the public sector (like public-private partnerships) or communities of citizens (digital commons). I have the impression that there has not been a thorough study of the different models for providing digital services infrastructures and their benefits and drawbacks from a social and economic perspective.

Another example of Digital Services Infrastructures are those needed for eGovernment services. Spain has been a model for providing the basic services for building up eGovernment services in a centralised manner, managed by a public sector organisation but operated by private companies. This is a model that in some way is now under development for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme in the European Union. The study of the final scheme for providing the services under the CEF umbrella in a sustanaible manner could be a model to be extended to the whole Digital Services Infrastructures needed by the society.

Digital Services Infrastructures are the more recent case of utilities. If since their inception the other utilities have evolved in its provision model, there is not reason for taking a close minded approach to the provision model of digital infrastructures. Perhaps it is really the right time to start the debate.

lunes, 13 de octubre de 2014

#culture #SME #Privacy Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (13/10/2014)

Digitisation, Online Accessibility and Digital Preservation of Cultural Material in Europe

The report reviews and assesses the overall progress achieved in the European Union in implementing Commission Recommendation of 27 October 2011 on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation.

SME Performance Review

The SME Performance Review is one of the main tools the European Commission uses to monitor and assess countries' progress in implementing the Small Business Act (SBA) on a yearly basis. With an emphasis on the measures from the SBA Action Plan, the review brings comprehensive information on the performance of SMEs in EU Member States and other 9 partner countries.

EU companies and the future personal data protection regulation

As European authorities aim to ratify revised data protection legislation by the end of 2015, many firms will have a lot of work to do to comply, a study has revealed.

miércoles, 8 de octubre de 2014

EU #digital affairs in the new @EU_Commission

We are in the middle of a political frenzy in Europe: The approval of the new European Commission. After the presentation of the Junker proposal for the new Commission in September, the last ten days his team has been grilled by the Parliament. The jury is out and the final verdict will be during the investment session. Perhaps, the more innovative element of the Commission proposed by Juncker is not the names of the people who will integrate its team but its architecture. In order to build up a more effective Commission and at the same time maintaining a representative of each Member State in the College, Juncker has introduced a layer of coordination composed of seven Vicepresidents. These vicepresidents will not be responsible of a concrete sector (e.g. agriculture, energy, ...) but of the fulfilment of a political challenge. In order to fulfill the challenge that each Vicepresident is responsible, he or she should coordinate the efforts of the Commissioners responsible of different sectors.

How the EU digital affairs will be managed in the forthcoming five years are an example of the EU Commission new way of working. On one hand, there will be a Vicepresident for the Digital Single Market. On the other hand, there will be a Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society. Although there is a joke outside saying that Neelie Kroes has been so active as Commisioner that now we need two men to do one woman´s job (even she says that are three men for her post, but this is in my opinion a large exageration) , both of them has a different set of responsibilities. The different scope of their future role is described in their respective mission letter that the President of the EU Commission sent each of them.

Although there are some overlapping in the detailed list of missions of the two digital Commissioners (I leave to you the game of finding one mission that is described with the same words for both of them), the clean cut between the different roles is clear. The role of the Digital Single Market Commissioner, Andrus Ansip, is "to make Europe a world leader in information and communication technology" through "making a much better use of the opportunities offered by digital technologies". This means the obligation  to be the Europe´s digital champion, seeking for the smartest usage of ICT in each economic sector and by every citizen. Gunther Oettinger, the Digital Economy and Society Commissioner, is the provider of the inputs needed for making Europe the most advanced digital space in the world. He has to "contribute to projects steered and coordinated by the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market and the Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness".

As with every new organisational model, we can be sure that there will be misunderstandings in a first stage between both digital Commissioners. The first doubts about the workability of the new organisation are on the table. But we badly need an smooth and quickly implementation of the new political architecture for EU digital affairs. According with the review of Europe 2020 strategy done by The Lisbon Council, the Digital Agenda is the economy pillar where the gap between Europe and USA and Japan is bigger. Our future is at stake.

martes, 7 de octubre de 2014

#Competitivity #EU Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (7/10/2014)

Europe 2020 Competitiveness Report

A report launched in July, but that I have already discovered: Europe 2020 Competitiveness Report: Building a More Competitive Europe by the World Economic Forum. Building on the Forum’s global world-leading competitiveness and benchmarking data, this report measures Europe’s performance against the Europe 2020 strategy, the EU’s flagship growth and jobs agenda. There is an specific evaluation of Europe digital performance.

Mission letters of the EU Digital Commissioners

Jean Claude Juncker has written mission letters to all the Commisioners-designate. The two Commissioners that will be responsible for the digitalisation of Europe, Oettinger and Ansip, has their own letter.

Statements in #EPHearings2014 of the EU Digital Commissioners

As the first step of their hearings before the Parliament, the dessignated EU Commisioners should give an statement of their intentions. This is the statements given by  Ansip. The statement given by Oettinger is not published in the EC website,

sábado, 4 de octubre de 2014

La renovación del espacio #digital europeo

Las elecciones al Parlamento Europeo del 25 de Mayo fueron el punto de arranque del proceso de renovación de las instituciones europeas. Jean Claude JunckerPresidente de la Comisión Europea entrantese comprometió durante la campaña electoral a trabajar por que los asuntos digitales fueran una prioridad de primera línea en Europa.El diseño de la Comisión Europea que ha presentado para su aprobación por el Parlamento Europeo comienza a materializar este compromiso creando una vicepresidencia responsable del Mercado Único Digital. La persona propuesta para este puesto es Andrus Ansip, ex primer ministro de Estonia, que coordinará e impulsará las acciones del Colegio de Comisarios en el ámbito digital. Estaría principalmente apoyado por el Comisario de Economía y Sociedad Digital, el alemán GüntherOettinger.

El guion que ha marcado el desarrollo de la escena digital europea de los últimos cinco años ha sido la “Agenda Digital para Europa”. La “Agenda Digital para Europa”fue publicada en 2010 como una de las iniciativas insignia de la estrategia “Europa 2020”, destinada a hacer de la Unión Europea una economía inteligente, sostenible e integradora. Completar el mercado único digital es el principal objetivo pendiente de la AgendaLas acciones de los próximos cinco años estarán destinadas a alcanzar ésta meta. La renovación del escenario digital europeo se asentará sobre tres hitos que acaecerán en los próximos quince meses: La finalización de las acciones legislativas iniciadas y no completadas del último quinquenio, la revisión de medio plazo de la Agenda y la finalización de las negociaciones del Tratado de Libre Comercio entre la Unión Europea y los Estados Unidos.

En el su investidura, Jean Claude Juncker expresó su voluntad de finalizar en seis meses tras su toma de posesión la negociación de las acciones legislativas pendientes en el ámbito digital. Con ello, Europa contarácon un conjunto común de normas de protección de datos personales, una renovación de las reglas del mercado europeo de las telecomunicaciones y un marco de cooperación entre los Estados miembros en el ámbito de la ciberseguridadLa aprobación de estas directivas y reglamentos será el legado de la aún Comisaria NeelieKroes y dará por concluida la primera etapa en la construcción del mercado único digital.

La revisión de medio plazo de “Europa 2020”, y con ella de la “Agenda Digital para Europa”, se inició tras el Consejo Europeo de Marzo de 2014 y finalizará, previsiblemente, en el primer semestre de 2015. La evaluación realizada por la Comisión Europea de “Europa 2020” subraya dos circunstancias preocupantes para la Unión. De un lado, la menor inversión y uso de las TIC en Europa en comparación con EE.UU, que señala como responsable del diferencial de productividad entre ambos bloquesDe otro lado, la escasa presencia de empresas europeas en la cadena de valor de la nueva economía. A pesar de haber concluido o tener en curso el 90% de las acciones previstas de la “Agenda Digital para Europa”, la Comisión Europea destaca la necesidad de realizar más inversiones en infraestructuras de banda ancha de alta velocidad reforzar las acciones que permitan situar las tecnologías de la información entre las prioridades de los programas de reformas estructurales. 

La Asociación Transatlántica para el Comercio y la Inversión (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP) es un acuerdo actualmente en negociación entre la Unión Europea y los Estados Unidos. Su objetivo es la eliminación de las barreras al comercio en una amplia gama de sectores económicos para que sea más fácil el intercambio de bienes y servicios entre la UE y los EE UU. La negociación por parte dela Unión Europea esliderada por la Comisión Europea bajo mandato del Consejo. En la mesa de negociación se encuentra facilitar el acceso a los mercados en los servicios de telecomunicación y disminuir las barreras regulatorias al comercio de los productos y servicios digitales entre ambos continentes. A finales de 2014 se espera concluir la negociación del borrador de tratado por parte de la Comisión Europea. Durante 2015, el acuerdo habrá de ser ratificado por Consejo y Parlamento. Las instituciones europeas tendrán después que colaborar en la integraciónde las cláusulas del acuerdo relativas a las tecnologías de la información dentro de la estrategia digital europea.

Completar el mercado único digital permitiría a Europa obtener beneficios por valor de 260 billones de Euros anuales. Unos recursos clave para facilitar el retorno de Europa a la senda del crecimiento. La renovación del escenario digital europeo será clave para alcanzar este objetivo.

miércoles, 1 de octubre de 2014

#Digital politicians

UK is well known for its vibrant civic society. In contrast with what we appreciated in the latin countries, in time of elections every kind of organisation tries to influence the future government with a political manifesto. IT sectorial organisations are not an exception. Some weeks ago techUK published his call for "securing the digital future". Among other things, the organisation highlighted the need for "digital ministers"

Digital is the fabric of our future. ICTs are present in every moment of our life and at any economic sector. And its role is not a perfectly defined one but a growing one. This fact has brought a skill digital deficit that politicians try to overcome with actions as the "Grand coalition for jobs" in the European Union. For understanding the need of this kind of actions, politicians should have an understanding of the digital issues. The still current Digital Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, is an example of the kind of politicians I´m talking about. She is also the proof that it is possible to be a digital politician in spite of not being a digital native.

But not only the politicians responsible for digital issues should have digital skills. Using the words of Neelie Kroes, “It is not only important that we have a digital president in Jean-Claude but that Jean-Claude forms his team with all digital commissioners, not just the one taking over my portfolio”. It seems that Jean Claude has not understood the message. Nobody of his team looks as heavy-user of the internet. What is more, there are serious doubts of the digital skills of the proposed successor for Neelie Kroes, in particular in its own country.

Unfortunately, the case of the new European Commission proposed by Jean Claude Juncker is not an exception. We all know cases of politicians that only use the social networks during the electoral campaigns. I´m not saying that it is compulsory for politicians to use these tools, but it is a clear signal of the importance that Internet has in their life. And what could be a signal of the importance they would provide to the digitalisation of its political responsibilities.
palyginti kainas