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 change.org. 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 change.org







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.

palyginti kainas