miércoles, 29 de abril de 2015

The positive impact of the #DigitalSingleMarket on the global digital economy (II)

When I began to write the previous post I was far from thinking it was the first of a serial. However, the new step in the EU antitrust Google case gives a new example of the positive value that a Digital Single Market would have for the global digital economy. The implications of decision of the European Commission of sending a Statement of Objections to Google alleging the company has abused its dominant position in the markets for general internet search services and its final decision of the case will have implications beyond Europe and the search services market itself.

As in the case of the protection of personal data, the investigation may have a positive effect on the US consumers. The suspicions of abuse of dominant position by Google are nothing new. The FTC open an investigation on the matter in the US market in 2011 and conclude it in 2013 imposing minor changes to Google. Recently, a shade of doubt over that decision took form when a confidential report that apparently was not taken into consideration in the sentence appeared. Whatever the final conclusion of the EU investigation, the US consumer (and all the consumers worldwide) will be benefited. On one hand, it will show that being an Internet giant has as consequence the need to prove your fair practices in all the territorial markets. On the other hand, in case it is proved the abuse of position, it would show that it is not possible be effective in lobby actions forever and in all the different courts.

But the implications of the investigation on Google will be positive even for Google (and the rest of the GAFA team). It has been debated for long time if new ex-ante regulations are needed for Internet platforms. Some Europeans governments have claimed this kind of laws in several occasions. The EU antitrust case gives a chance to show if it is possible to apply the legacy legal framework and competition tools to the digital businesses. Whatever the conclusion, the case itself will show the limitations of the current tools and will give us a clue of the (limited) areas where we need to develop new rules. Any case, the possibility of an excessive regulation will diminish and jointly it will decrease the risk of stifling innovation

I have the opinion that the European Union has had along its history more positive than negative effects around the world. It looks that the Digital Single Market would be a guarantee of the continuation of this positive impacts for the world in the XXI century.

lunes, 27 de abril de 2015

#NetNeutrality #Privacy #TTIP Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (27/4/2015)

Antitrust, Regulation and the Neutrality Trap

The term "neutrality" is highly debated nowadays in connection with EU digital policies. Without any doubts, it could be one of the main focus of the forthcoming Digital Single Market Strategy. This paper is highly critical with the value and feasibility of the implementation of the neutrality concept across the digital value chain.

Mass surveillance of IT Users

The objective of this study is to propose measures to reduce the risks identified with the current generation of networks and services and to identify long-term technology oriented policy options to reach a balance between public security and privacy. The first part of the study concludes with a list of security solutions to help citizens protect themselves from illicit mass surveillance activities. The second part of the study concludes with the proposal of several policy options with different levels of public intervention and technological disruption


A report published by the European Commission with statistical data about the role of SMEs in trasatatlantic trade and a survey on the issues that are regarding most important for SMEs concerning the trade relationships with the USA.

miércoles, 22 de abril de 2015

The positive impact of the #DigitalSingleMarket on the global digital economy (I)

Europe is currently debating its set of digital policy priorities for the next five years. After the "Digital Agenda for Europe", it looks that the new name would be something similar to "Digital Single Market Strategy". The focus of the new agenda will be the complete digitisation of the European economy and society, and this would mean bringing the Single Market to the digital world. 

There are different elements that could be part of the new European digital strategy, but the real value is the force of the idea of the elimination of the fragmentation of the European digital economy. The implementation of Digital Single Market is a complete shift of paradigm. Leveraging a market of more than 500 million of digital consumers, Europe could change the current state of whole playing field of the technology market. 

The aspiration of Europe of being the leader of the digital economy could sound as an hyperbolic target. Nevertheless, the bet of the Digital Single Market is beginning to be taken seriously by the Internet giants. The field the protection of personal data is one area where the new situation is easier to appreciate. Enforcing the right to privacy in the digital world looked as an European utopia years ago, specially because the services most used by European consumers are based in the US. The lack of a convincing answer from US authorities after the Snowden case strenghthened the force of the European demands. And in the end the US companies are beginning to fullfill the requirements the of the European laws. The controversial case of "rigth to be forgotten" has shown that Google can change its search algorithms under legal requirement. Microsoft´s  reluctancy to give the US authorities the e-mails contained in its European servers was unthinkable in 2005. Amazon and Apple are enlarging its European data centers in order to ensure that they will process personal data according the European law.

The cases mentioned above are evidences of the strength of Europe to shape the digital world. Firmness in the European values is the only path to recovering the leading post in the digital world. Defending the rights of Europeans is even having good consequences for the rights of US citizens amid the roar of the lobbies.

Not always regulations are the solution for the digital economy, but Europe should not fear to use this tool to create the Digital Single market. If it is a good regulation for the Digital Single Market it would be a good regulation for global digital economy. Anyway, the more importance target should not be only regulations, but having the right tools for each case to avoid abuses, as the VP Ansip said,

lunes, 20 de abril de 2015

#Interoperability #Google #DigitalSingleMarket #Copyright Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (20/4/2015)

NIFO’s Interoperability State-of-Play 2014 Report

The European Interoperability Framework (EIF) is an initiative developed within the ISA program to foster the interoperability between European governments. NIFO’s Interoperability State-of-Play 2014 Report details all areas of progress and identifies the main challenges that administrations face when designing and implementing their National Interoperability Frameworks (NIFs). The NIFO analytical model supports countries with the NIF comparison and alignment. The exercise analyses and identifies the gaps between the different aspects of the national frameworks and the EIF.

Commission sends Statement of Objections to Google on comparison shopping service; opens separate formal investigation on Android

Press release of European Commission decision about antitrust investigations on Google.

Europe's future is digital

Speech by Commissioner Oettinger at Hannover Messe

Opinion of the ITRE Committee on the implementation of the copyright Directive

The Parliament is working on a set of recommendations on the implementation of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society. The ITRE committe, the main reference of the Parliament on digital issues, has already finished its part of the work. This are its recommendations.

miércoles, 15 de abril de 2015

Cars and mobility, the central scenario of the digital revolution

Cars and mobility arena is one of the key scenarios of the digital transformation of our society. In a certain way, they look as the vortex that is absorbing the good and bad features of the legacy analog world and transforming them in a new shiny environment where we new rules are building everyday to solve the new challenges as soon as we faced them. Instead of reading tons of books and articles to understand the mean of the digital transformation of society and economy, we only need to pay attention to what is happening in the world of cars and mobility.

First of all, the replacement of products by services. I still remember the mental shock that I experienced when I read in the year 2007  "The age of access". It was the discovery for me of a new way of looking life. Although, it appeared to me all the book and its ideas as something extremely logical, I thought it was an scenario that would only be at the grasp of hand not before twenty years. Nevertheless, the age of access is already here. The replacement of cars and services by mobility as a service has been boosting by the digitalisation of brokering. And this model is applicable to any phisical item of consumption.

Secondly, how the old players will be completely replaced by digital players. We should recognize that this replacement has already happened in other areas but it has been only in a parcial manner. We have seen the dissapearance of Kodak but other players of the analogue photo learnt how to survive. However, it seems that in the manufacturing of complete digital cars there are only two essential players. Only two players are fighting for the dashboard of the cars, the central element for the user experience of a driverless car. The digital players has completely replace the analogue players in this element, and the advantage of Google in the race toward the complete driverless car looks only possible to be surmountable by Apple.

The digital transformation of products in services is the driver for a packetization of our digital life. In the mobility as a service area we have already seen a simple example with the agreement between Uber and Spotify. But this probably is just the beginning, your driverless car service would be packetized with your Netflix subscription or even we could have zero-rate sponsored transport plans similar to those we have for mobile phone data services. As mobility is an essential part of our daily lifes, this would inevitably drive towards a packetization of the complete set of services we need for our digital life.

We started to evolve from primates towards human beings the day we abandon the sedentary life. What is more, the big steps in the evolution of man could not be understand without an increasing capacity for moving between places. Therefore, cars and mobility are so central in our life that any transformation in the mobility environment would have an expanding impact to our whole life. So, I agree with what it was published in The Guardian, forget of any other scenario, cars is where the digital revolution is happening.

lunes, 13 de abril de 2015

#AudioVisual #TTIP Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (13/4/2015)

The development of the European market for on-demand audiovisual services

This  report presents five sections covering important issues to understand the development of this dynamic sector and its impact on the wider audiovisual landscape: 

  • Online advertising in the EU in 2013 
  • Recent developments of the SVOD market in Europe in 2014 
  • The proportion and the prominence of European works in VOD catalogues 
  • The role of providers of VOD services and distribution platforms in the financing of film and audiovisual production 
  • Measurement of fragmented audiovisual audiences

Opinion of LIBE on TTIP

This opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament contains its recommendations for the negotiation of thhe TTIP. The opinion includes some strong recommendations regarding data flows and the transfer of persnal data.

miércoles, 8 de abril de 2015

Digital Literacy should be measured better and is not enough

Increasing the level of digital literacy is seen as an important objective for policy makers. The rationale behind the relevance for digital literacy is that we are living a growing digitisation of society and economy and any citizen should have a set of basic skills for living, communication and working in the digital world. Certainly, having confidence in your digital skills could be important in your job nowadays and they open you a whole world of knowledge. Nevertheless, the promotion of digital skills should be handled with care.

To begin with, we should have a measurement framework that allow us to identify the progress in the dissemination and acquisition of digital skills. As "Enhancing digital literacy" is on of the pillars of "The Digital Agenda for Europe", I have explored the indicators associated with the fulfilment of this high-level objective. The impression I have is the unsuitability of the measurement framework for the current state of the art. The official set of indicators for e-skills included in the Eurostat database has the focus in the number of specific tasks related to computer use and internet use that a user is capable to carry out. The more number of tasks and individual is capable to fulfill, he is closer to full digital literacy. The approach lacks of the practical side of how these capabilities give you better opportunities to live, communicate and work in the digital age. 

The renewal of the indicators for measuring digital literacy is on the way. Looking again among the information published regarding "The Digital Agenda for Europe", I have found an interesting new approach based on the measurement of digital competencies, "Measuring Digital Skills across the EU: EU wide indicators of Digital Competence". Based on existing indicators of the Eurostat database, including the indicators for e-skills mentioned above, and few more indicators, the objective is build up five composed indicators for measuring the digital competences for gathering information, communicating with other individuals, creating content, using internet in a safety manner and solving problems using digital means. It is clearly better oriented to the measuring the achievement of the final purpose of digital literacy.

But the promotion of digital literacy is not enough for ensuring that the citizens will be able to live, communicate and working on the digital world. What is more, it could give a false sense of satisfaction to policy makers of having done anything possible. Although I have not found any research on the impact of digital literacy actions I suspect that it would be similar to similar actions in other field, as the promotion of financial literacy. Regarding financial literacy, there are studies that show "that within 20 months almost everyone who has taken a financial literacy class has forgotten what they learned". The consequence of this conclusion is a lack of protection to the citizen when he consume financial services. In a similar manner, we can conclude that something more than promoting digital literacy could be done to protect the citizen when he use digital services for living, communicate and work.

From the article mentioned before regarding financial literacy we can extract another interesting conclusion for digital literacy. In the article it is said that "The organizations most interested in promoting financial literacy are the ones that benefit the most from laws that assume consumers can be educated—and don’t need legal protection from corporate financial predators." Nothing more true for the digital world. It is not difficult to find in the news references for actions for the promotion of digital literacy conducted by internet giants and at the same time their resistance to establish clear conditions for the protection of consumer

Digital literacy should be promoted, in the same manner as the adoption of other basic skills for living in a connected world such as languages. However, regulations for protecting the citizens from the incorrect usage or from the abuse of companies who provided services will be still needed.

lunes, 6 de abril de 2015

#Standards #Facebook #DigitalSingleMarket Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (6/4/2015)

The Rolling Plan on ICT Standardisation

The EU Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation is a short- to medium-term work programme in ICT standardisation that is arranged by topic, linking EU policies to standardisation activities. This is the second edition of the plan after its inception in 2013.

From social media service to advertising network. A critical analysis of Facebook’s Revised Policies and Terms

A report analysing Facebook’s revised policies and terms. The report forms part of the documentation upon which the Belgian Privacy Commission will rely in the course of its further investigation.

Digital Transformation of European Industry and Society

The report, entitled 'Digital Transformation of European Industry and Society', presents the new business opportunities that have resulted from advanced digital technologies, identifies key challenges for Europe, and provides thirteen recommendations to help promote growth and jobs.

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