martes, 28 de julio de 2015

"Insularidad" - Ralph del Valle

InsularidadInsularidad by Ralph del Valle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Solo quien corre sabe porqué corre, porqué empezó, porqué continua, porqué tras cada lesión comienza de nuevo. Cada rutina de entrenamiento es adentrarnos en la exploración de una isla desierta, la nuestra, la de los sueños no alcanzados y los sentimientos perdidos. La insularidad de la que rehuimos en el ruido de la rutina, de la familia, del trabajo, pero que nos rodea inexorablemente en cada ruta de entrenamiento y en las carreras que afrontamos. Una isla cuya geografía cambia en cada recorrido, porque nada en ella está escrito. Todo kilómetro es distinto aunque lo hayamos pisado millones de veces, toda canción que suena en los auriculares es nueva aunque sea parte de nuestra historia sonora desde hace años, porque el corredor que somos hoy no es el mismo que eramos ayer ni será el mismo de mañana.

Comenzamos a correr creyendo encontrar la isla refugio de nuestros miedos. Descubrimos que correr es la ruta para adentrarnos en el continente sin miedo a los monstruos que lo habitan.

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lunes, 27 de julio de 2015

#Google #SPoC #Drones Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (27/7/2015)

Google antitrust proceedings: Digital business and competition

A briefing of the European Parliament about the Google case. It also includes a description of the basis of competition regulation on the EU Single Market and its application to the digital economy.

The Performance of the Points of Single Contact

The Points of Single Contact (PSCs) are e-government portals that allow service providers to access information and complete administrative procedures online. This report assesses the performance of the PSCs in relation to criteria set out in the PSC charter.

Privacy and Data Protection Implications of the Civil Use of Drones

This research addresses the implications of the integration of drones for civilian use into the European civil aviation system. It notably looks into the EU policy on drones and the potential impacts on citizens' right to privacy and data protection, as well as on security and safety.

miércoles, 22 de julio de 2015

The case for #digital regulations (II)

One of the main naggings about the EU digital policies that comes from the other side of the pond is the usage of regulation as the solution for any challenge. On one hand, it is said that regulation stifles innovation. On the other hand, it is pointed that the legislative process is always trying to solve the problem from the past. As I stated in a previous post, I´m against this view that drives in the end to the conclusion that it would be better not to develop any kind of legislation for the digital economy. It is not only that I am firm believer that legislation is a barrier for the forces of the jungle, it is also that it is easy to appreciate that the lack of legislation it is filled up with judges decisions that in the end cause the arise of new problems.

Some examples of the situation described above could be found in the area of personal data protection. The European Commission proposed a new regulation on data protection in 2012. One of the main objectives of the proposal was to update the legal framework in order to tackle the challenges posed by the digital economy. Among this challenges were the so-called right to be forgotten and the need to overcome the fragmentation of the regulation institutional framework in Europe. The challenges were so real that in the end, due to the slowness of the legislative process, we have had a sentence of the court about the right to be forgotten and we are waiting a decission on who is the regulatory authority that has the power to take decisions on the matter and the question of data transfers. The consequence of the first case has been a sentence that has provoked more questions than answers and subject to continuous reinterpretations. It is reasonable to expect the same for the second case.

But it is not only in the area of personal data protection we can find this kind of cases. The so-called shared economy companies are stressing also the digital economy legal framework and will be the cause of sentences that will cause a reinterpretation of the legal framework of unknown consequences. The outstanding case in this area is the question about the nature of Uber as a transport or an information society intermediary company. The void of a decision to review the definition of the definition of intermediary in the information society legislation will be the cause of the outsourcing of the legislative process to the courts.

The human beings are adverse to the void. Where there is a clear need of digital regulations the lack of it is sooner or later fill up with patches that in the end are worse solutions. We can not expect a judge to be as informed on digital issues as the set of individuals that compose a legislative authority. Instead of giving reasons in order to avoid to have full and coherent legislations we should push the legislative authorities to fulfill its role on and agile manner.

lunes, 20 de julio de 2015

#CyberSecurity #Data Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (20/7/2015)

Keys Under Doormats: Mandating insecurity by requiring government access to all data and communications

The opinion of a group of international cryptographers and computer scientists on the demandands of a governments for secure access to encrypted data on internet services.

Uncovering the Hidden Value of Digital Trade

A policy brief of The Lisbon Council. The paper analyses the growing role of data, data analytics and intangible assets in international trade. It makes recommendations to policymakers for harnessing the immense power of data analytics around an agenda of economic growth and shared prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.

miércoles, 15 de julio de 2015

The case for #digital regulations (I)

One of the mantras of the extreme liberalism is the firm believe of the efficiency of the markets over any attempt of regulation by the governments. According with their view, and particularly in the most dynamic sectors, the slowness of the legislative process will never be able to meet the needs of regulation, if any exists. If we add to the described mantra the idea that any regulation should be based on evidences, the conclusion is that governments should not regulate ever.

The digital policies is one of the scenarios where the "never regulate" advice is more often repeated. The liberal vision on digital economy is that either it is to soon to regulate and the regulation will stifle innovation or the regulation will not solve any issue because the agil evolution of the technology will supersede the technology that we want to regulate. This vision is particularly frequent in the US, where any local attempt to introduce or suggest a rule in the EU digital field is seen as protectionism.

However, there are signals that we need stronger ex-ante regulations on the digital world. One of this signals is the growing list of cases on the hands of the EU competition authorities regarding digital matters. The extremist liberal point of view is to let the competition authority acts and determines if a real market failure exist. But we cannot rely forever on this vision. The past show us that when the resolution of the case is reached the weak part has already disappeared. Remember the Netscape vs Microsoft case for instance.

There is an excess of demand on the development of future proof regulations. However, regulators do not fear to base their work in the past. According to McKinsey research, from 1990 to 2005, US companies almost always allocate resources on the basis of past, rather than future, opportunities. The need to base regulations on the past should not be seen necessarily as a wrong choice. Taking into account experience is good both for the private and public sector. The alternative is the abdication of the regulatory activity and that is an option the society cannot afford.

lunes, 13 de julio de 2015

#eCommerce #SharingEconomy #StartUp Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (13/7/2015)

Online Trade, Offline Rules - A Review of Barriers to e-commerce in the EU

In this report, The Swedish National Board of Trade maps out legal barriers affecting e-commerce in the EU, providing an inventory of rules, both national and EU-wide, that restrict online trade.

Sharing Economy: Embracing change with caution

A report on the Sharing Economy published by the Swedish Entrepreunership Forum. This report begins by developing a pragmatic definition of the Sharing Economy. Next, the report describes global Sharing Economy trends, followed by an examination of the Sharing Economy in Sweden. Subsequent sections address regulatory considerations and potential economic implications. The report concludes with a discussion of possible policy responses.

From unicorns to reality

A report from the Startup European partnership mapping the scale and scalers European companies.

miércoles, 8 de julio de 2015

The debate of sustainability of local government services

Taxes in the digital era looks as one of those never ending debates. The disruption of the legacy business models are putting on the table the inadequacy of the tax structure at all the government levels. When it looks that the OECD is near of finishing its works on BEPS that aim to find a new tax model for corporate taxes and VAT, when the EU starts an early implementation of this new approach, the taxing model begins to stretch towards the rupture in the local level. 

Although not studied as well as the case of VAT or corporate taxes, the local taxes in its current structure will be one of the main losers of the digital era. Retail premises are disappearing, taxi licenses are endangered by the carpooling transport models and city taxes linked to hotels are also blurring due to lodging sharing services. From this perspective, the sustainability of the services at the local level depends in tapping new sources of taxes. Therefore, we should not be shocked by the appearance of the "cloud tax" in Chicago or the "airbnb tax" in Paris. Despite the critics it is a logical first step, the alternative could be not providing services that are essential for the welfare of the city. Nevertheless, there is a difference between the two cases. The "cloud tax" model implies that the consumer pays for the taxes that businesses no longer pay. Therefore, we face again a replacement of business responsibility with the sustainability of the society with an increase of the weight of this responsibility for the citizens.

However, I doubt that the future of local services will be in this kind of taxes, or at least not only. The sustainability of the cities is in the smart city model. The digital transformation of the city ensures a decrease in the cost of the service and at the same time allow to tap new sources of incomes for the local council. Only through, the transposition of the legacy taxes to the digital world it would be difficult to fuel the need of budget of the local governments.

lunes, 6 de julio de 2015

#Robots #TTIP #eGovernment Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (6/7/2015)

Cyber-Physical European Roadmap & Strategy

An outcome of the EU funded CYPHERS project. This project aims to to develop a European strategic research and innovation agenda for cyber-physical systems to ensure Europe’s competitiveness in this emerging field. To obtain these research challenges and derive recommendations, five key areas of strategic importance to Europe – transport, energy, well-being, industry, and infrastructures – where chosen to identify strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities for Europe, based on the current state and future technologies as well as market potentials of cyber-physical systems.

TTIP: Opportunities and Challenges Technical Barriers to Trade, including Standards

The study explores the possibilities for reducing the costs of technical barriers to trade (TBTs) between the US and the EU, found in standardisation, technical regulations and/or conformity assessment procedures and acceptance of their results. This is important for many industrial sectors but also horizontally as TBTs generally. The EU proposal is ambitious, but without a US text, feasibility is hard to assess, given that the two systems differ considerably. A preliminary attempt to construct the US demands and some partial solutions for TTIP are discussed. The ‘living agreement’ is critical for an effective TBT chapter and needs to be given time, as long as it is driven by an agreed ambitious objective of reducing TBTs as much as possible.

EU eGovernment Report 2015

The 12th eGovernment Benchmark report is the third edition of the measurement made according to the new eGovernment Benchmark Framework 2012-2015. This framework provides for the use of mystery shoppers, i.e. researchers that assess government websites and services by simulating citizen's journeys through them. The report is elaborated by Cap Gemini for the European Commission, both the insight report and the background report deserve a read

miércoles, 1 de julio de 2015

"Data Divides": Paying attention to the signs to avoid building a more unfair world

The great consensus is that we are living in a data-driven economy. Big data technology and services are expected to grow worldwide to USD 16.9 billion in 2015 at a compound annual growth rate of 40%. This means that it is almost certain that currently "data divides" are being opened among those who are managing to jump in the wagon of the data revolution and those who not. These "data divides" are not uniform, and we can find how they are different depending what parameter we look at.

We can expect in the future that the more egalitarian society will be those that the usage of data is more extended. As the main device for data consumption will be our mobile phones, the usage of mobile data services is an outstanding indicator of the losers and winners of the data revolution. Obviously, this usage depends on the price of the mobile data services. So unless things change, taking into account this perspective we can expect that in the future nordic countries will continue to be the more egalitarian societies in Europe according with a recent report on mobile data prices

Nevertheless, there are other "data divides" that are being built at this moment. Transparency is a highly appreciated feature in governments. It brings more accountability and therefore better policies due to an easier analysis of outcomes by the citizens. Of course, it will depend on the quality and type of data published, but the first step is making easier the access and reuse of data. So in the long run, we can expect that the countries that published more data will be the countries with better policies and therefore with a quicker progress. This is a reason to pay attention to the possible "data divide" that is being created between countries with better and worst open data policies. The OURdata index created by the OECD give us some clues about this "data divide", which does not have the same borders as the previous one.

The "data divides" are not being created only among countries. They could being on the made also among industries. It would be reasonable to expect that the economic sectors with a brightest future will be those that currently have a bigger and wiser spending in big data technologies. Looking the landscape from this point of view, it is quite surprising the report on sectoral big data spending published by Tata. One should have expect more spending on big data technologies from manufacturing, for instance. Anyway, it could be a signal of which are the industries of the future.

"Data divides" are certainly being built. However we need more evidences to identify which are the real ones. It is time to pay attention to different reports in order to be able to create the policies needed for a more fair world and egalitarian societies with data-driven economy at its heart.

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