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.

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