lunes, 29 de junio de 2015

#Privacy #DigitalSingleMarket Somewhere in digital Europe ... (29/6/2015)

ePrivacy Directive: assessment of transposition, effectiveness and compatibility with proposed Data Protection Regulation

In the run up for the effective design of the measures described in Digital Single Market Strategy, the European Commission has published this study on the ePrivacy Directive. The reform of the ePrivacy Directive is included among the 16 measures of the DSM Strategy and it is seen as one of the cornerstones for a level playing field for all the digital actors.

miércoles, 24 de junio de 2015

Tackling the #digital divide in the #DigitalSingleMarket

Inequality is one of the greatest risk for the preservation of our society model. Not only Piketty has warned us about the continuous growth of it, the OECD has published several reports on the matter in the last years. Therefore, it should be an obligation of policy makers to think about the matter in the design of any kind policy and look how it can contribute to decrease inequality. From a digital policy perspective, this would mean to put an special focus on bridging the digital divide

It is worrisome that "A Digital Single Market strategy for Europe" has dedicated few measures for building a more inclusive Digital Union. Less than a page on the communication is dedicated to describe the planned measures for building "A inclusive e-society" and a mention about the need to extend broadband coverage in the rural areas but without any concrete measure. Is an eGovernment Action Plan the only concrete measure that the European Commission can offer to bridge the digital divide?

To begin with the extension on broadband coverage in rural areas, it looks that the intention of the European Commission is to include broadband as a part of the universal service. The changes of the funding to finance this change in the universal service are not described so it is difficult to judge the fairness of the proposal. For instance, if Member States are allowed to fund it through an special tax on internet access service it could have the effect on increasing the digital divide due to the increase of the tariffs. A more effective a progressive manner to increase the coverage of broadband in rural areas could be relaxing the guidelines for considering illegal a state aid for the deployment of broadband infrastructure. 

One of the key factors of the digital divide is digital illiteracy. It has a direct impact on the job opportunities and the access to knowledge and leisure. Although the European Commission recognises the importance of the addressing the lack of digital skills, no concrete measure is described. It does not look enough the intention of tackling the issue in any future action on skills and training. At least an independent assessment of the impact of the actions currently under development like the "Grand Coalition for digital jobs" should have been clearly pointed, as well as a more stronger push for reviewing the curricula by Member States

The digital divide concept is also fully applicable to companies. It is especially worrisome the growing gap between big companies and SMEs in digital transformation. The continuation of this trend will mean on the medium term the disappearance of SMEs and all the associated jobs. However, there are not concrete measures focused on bridging this gap. It looks that only by addressing the fragmentation of the EU digital market magically the SMEs would reap the benefits of the digital economy. Maybe SMEs would have the access to more affordable data infrastructures by replacing the 28 national markets with the single market, but concrete plans for financing its digital transformation are missing in the European Commission strategy.

According with the OECD, the rise in inequality observed between 1985 and 2005 in 19 OECD countries knocked 4.7 percentage points off cumulative growth between 1990 and 2010. As the digital element of the economy grows, the digital divide is having a bigger impact in the rise of inequality. Therefore, the growth of Europe lies in its ability to tackle the digital divide within its digital strategy. We cannot afford leaving any European behind in the digital transformation.



lunes, 22 de junio de 2015

#Platforms #DigitalSingleMarket #StartUp #Cloud Somewhere in #DigitalEurope .... (22/6/2015)

Cross-competition and Digital Platforms

Proceedings on the workshop "Cross-Competition and Digital Platforms" prepared by Policy Department A for the ITRE committee of the European Parliament. The workshop addressed the question "should we avoid global information monopolies, and what place for European platforms?"


Uptake of cloud in Europe

This study provides quantitative estimates of the impact of cloud computing on the EU economy by 2020. The study looks at the potential economic impact that the adoption of cloud-based computing solutions by the public and private sector could have on EU economy as a whole


European unicorns: Do they have legs?

A study on the European billion-dollar companies founded since 2000, with the aim of analysing what it takes to create a European unicorn, and find any parallels and differences with the US  

miércoles, 17 de junio de 2015

Better regulation and EU digital policies

According with wikipedia, a policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. Governments defines policies for different areas which in turn are divided in policy packages to tackle its main elements. An efficient and effective policy making process is based on the identification of real challenges and building up the most correct policy to tackle it. In the policy-making process takes part many actors, so the quality of the product depends on the assumption by all the actors of the need of evidences for all decision to be taken

The European Commission has recently launched a "Better Regulation" initiative to improve the policy-making process in the European Union. One crucial objective of this initiative is achieving better impact assessments across all the complex EU legislative process. The objective is that the European Commission proposal and all the substantive amendments introduced by the Council and the Parliament should be based in impact assessments based on evidences. We have some clues that the EU institutions may not always acts based on this principle, at least in the digital policies. 

A first example of the above can be found in the Digital Single Market Strategy launched some weeks ago. The first pillar includes many actions to make cross-border e-commerce easier in the European Union. The cornerstone to establish the need to develop these actions is the "fact" that "only 15% of EU consumers shop online from another EU country". If we analyse the origin of this fact we will discover that is based in asking to the public directly the question if the buy online in webs from other EU countries. In my opinion, it is quite difficult that the average European could have all the needed elements to answer correctly this question. Probably, more evidences are needed to decide which actions are needed if any is needed at all,

A second example is the whole process of the adoption of the "Connected Continent" packet. This packet was proposed by the European Commission in september 2013 and its legislative element include actions in many areas in order to achieve a Telecom Single Market in the EU: Spectrum management, consumer rights, net neutrality, roaming, institutional regulatory framework, licenses, wholesale products, ... It looks that only actions for the progressive elimination of roaming charges and to ensure net neutrality will survive in the final legislation. If we assume that the initial impact assessment done by the European Commission was correct, it is difficult to accept that after scraping so many elements from the initial proposal that the impact assessment is still valid. Therefore the more logical action would be discard completely the proposed regulation unless a new impact assessment proves the amended version is still positive.

Many examples could be found in other EU digital policy initiatives which its initial concept were changed. So the case for better regulation in digital policies is stated, the question is if introducing it would not slow more the legislative process. However, the rapid evolution of technology could question if better regulation principles are applicable to the digital policies. Perhaps we need and impact assessment on the matter.




lunes, 15 de junio de 2015

#NetNeutrality #TTIP Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (15/6/2015)

How Consumers Value Net Neutrality

A must read contribution to the Net Neutrality debate. A serious report of BEREC on how the consumers value Net Neutrality in their Internet Access with recommendations for NRAs on how to monitor the access market to ensure an open internet beyond the net neutrality hype.


TTIP and digital rights

EDRi decided to publish a booklet explaining EDRi and its members’ concerns on the possible impact on digital rights of the TTIP. One more document to the needed debate on the EU-US trade agreement.

miércoles, 10 de junio de 2015

Not late for Smart Europe

The greatest benefits from digitalisation come from the application of ICTs in traditional industry. The European Commision highlights this undeniable fact in its document "A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe" pointing that "75% of the value added by the Digital Economy comes from traditional industries". Once the European Commision recognises the fact, it quickly forgets it and no measures for speeding up the creation of smart environments (e.g. Industry 4.0, smart cities, ...) are included in the new roadmap towards a digital Europe. 

To begin with, there are gaps in the measures that measures are foreseen for laying the need framework condition for the flourishing of smart environments. There is a vague commitment that "The Commission will address digital skills and expertise as a key component of its future initiatives on skills and training". No specific action to tackle the the regulatory issues that surge with the combination of Internet of the Things, Big Data and Cloud in Smart Environments. Nevertheless, the latter gap could be understood as an act of faith in the new data protection regulation under development. However, it should be recognised a right approach towards the issue of standards through the identification of the critical missing pieces and the push for a plan for its development.

But the creation of the framework conditions is not enough. As I wrote in a previous post, believing in the confidence fairy is not a good recipe for digital policies. A more active approach should be taken if we want Europe to be a leader in the development of smart environments. A quite effective direction to explore is the creation of large scale pilot initiatives with a strong European value. Examples in the fields of transport, agriculture, assisted living, buildings and work safety are provided in the recently published "Benchmark Study for Large Scale Pilots in the area of Internet of Things". The development of Large Scale Pilots (LSP) in the eGovernment arena have been the basis for the digital service infrastructures that are under consolidation for production within the CEF-Digital programme. LSPs in Smart Environments might be the cornerstone for the digitalisation of the different economic sectors.

According with IDC, IoT revenues in the EU28 will increase from more than €307 billion in 2013 to more than €1,181 billion in 2020, including hardware, software and services. European institutions should be more active for grasping the opportunity. It could be the last train for avoiding a definitive delay in the development of the digital economy in Europe. It is not late for creating a Smart Europe.







lunes, 8 de junio de 2015

#DigitalSingleMarket #Privacy #Internet Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... 8/6/2015

Last chance for Europe in the digital saloon?

An analisis of the CEPS of the recently published Digitial Single Market Strategy. The recovery of Europe´s ailing digital economy depends on the success of this new digital roadmap.


The US legal system on data protection in the field of law enforcement.

A report published by the European Parliament on the differences bewtween US and EU privacy legal framework. The main focus in the personal data protection in the field of law enforcement


Internet trends 2015

Great compilation of data regarding the state of the art of Internet usage and its spread around the world. It contains also details of the evolution of the main figures since 1995.

domingo, 7 de junio de 2015

"Los topos", Manu Leguineche y Jesús Torbado

Los ToposLos Topos by Manuel Leguineche
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Era aún un niño cuando los últimos topos comenzaron a salir de sus madrigueras. Sus cuerpos muy delgados o muy gruesos, todos de piel más allá del blanco y los ojos incapaces de hacerse a la luz del día. Veinte, treinta años de encierro en falsos techos, en cámaras sólo accesibles desde trampillas en el interior de baúles empotrados, en sótanos invisibles bajo animales estabulados. El cerebro infantil que se escondía cuando huía del miedo a la reprimenda materna o para esquivar al matón del patio de recreo, tan sólo tenía una certeza: Aquellas personas habían tenido que pasar mucho miedo para haber optado por aquel encierro en vida.

Es verdad que olvidamos aquello que nos aterró de niños. No quedaban en mi huella de las pesadillas que durante un tiempo tuve tras ver su historia en un "Informe Semanal" . Me soñaba como ellos, incapaz de distinguir el día de la noche, asfixiándome de respirar continuamente el mismo aire, esperando todos los días que llegará a casa la patrulla fatal que me descubriera. Pero lo había olvidado. Recuperar las historias de los topos, las que entonces supe y otras que desconocía, era una obligación pendiente. Siempre nos quedan asignaturas por aprobar a lo largo de nuestra vida.

El libro de Torbado y Leguineche es un canto a la esperanza. Personas que nunca perdían la esperanza que acabara su encierro. Culpables de nada y acusados de todo, porque cuando te señalan por pensar diferente sabes que es la acusación final, la que sólo puedes redimir con la muerte. Algo más de una decena de historias, todas iguales. Enfermedades a duras penas sobrellevadas, lecturas bajo luces mortecinas para pasar el tiempo, la falsa esperanza de un fin cercano que traían las ondas de las emisoras clandestinas, miedo a ser descubierto por lo que les pasara a los suyos.

Pero sobrevivieron. Léelo y cuéntalo a otros. Los anticuerpos de la libertad son más fuertes que la enfermedad de la tiranía.

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miércoles, 3 de junio de 2015

What about the application of #SharingEconomy models within the #governments ?

In few years, Sharing Economy has evolved from being a marginal alternative for obtaining services to be a mainstream option in some sectors. The reasons behind this quick disruption are a more efficient usage of unallocated resources and the displacement of the ownership culture by the access culture. Sharing Economy is introducing new challenges that need to be solved in many public policy areas. From the labour regulations to the taxation system, Governments are facing the need to review legacy legislative frameworks and updating them in order to absorb this new business model. However, among this rumble, few time is dedicated to think about the possible contribution of the Sharing Economy to the modernisation of the public sector. 
To begin with, the application of the Sharing Economy principles on the human resources policies could have as a consequence an increase of public sector productivity. Due to the need of legal certainty and as leverage to reinforce the independence of the civil servants, the majority of the developed countries governments have developed strict human resources distribution rules. This means that in period of work overload in a certain unit it is difficult to reinforce it with human resources not completely occupied in other units. Opening Time Banks for voluntaries who would like to spend their unallocated time working in other areas would help to achieve a best global balance of efforts in the public sector. The creation of Time Banks would contribute to a more efficient usage of human resources, but an aditional impact would be a boost of innovation as a consequence of the participation in some tasks of civil servants not usually involved in them, providing new perspectives and techniques to its fulfillment.
Besides achieving the policy objectives, efficiency is a general principle that should guide public sector activities. This should be especially true regarding the procurement of the good and services needed to fulfill the tasks assigned to the civil servants. Sharing Economy services could provide good value for money. Among the services most frequently hired by the government there are travel agency services and any kind of consultant activities. Both kind of services are in the front line of the Sharing Economy revolution (Uber, AirBnB, Task Rabbit, Amazon Mechanical Turk, ...), so it would be a good idea to begin the updating of government procurement rules in order to favour the hiring of these services. A collateral positive outcome of this initiative would be a general improvement of the labour conditions and fulfilment of taxation obligations in the Sharing Economy sector due to the strict norms in this areas for the governments providers.
But the public sector could also play a role as an active party in the Sharing Economy and at the same time achieve a better fulfillment of its obligation to pursue the public interest. The above mentioned Time Bank could also be the source of human resources for charities and third sector organisations. The empty buildings and offices of the government could be used for co-working areas for start-ups and SMEs. These are only two examples on how to convert the government on a Sharing Economy service provider. The Sharing Economy business model and the digital technology pave the way to new models to develop public sector activities and new public services
Any event that disrupts economy or society is a potential disruptor of public sector. This is the case of the Sharing Economy. Therefore, governments should not only think on the more smart public policy approach in order to reap the benefits of the event by the society. It is also an obligation to think how the Sharing Economy could help to achieve a more effective and efficient government.

lunes, 1 de junio de 2015

#IoT #DigitalSinglemarket Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (1/6/2015)

Winning with the Industrial Internet of Things

A report published by Accenture on the challenges and benefits of adopting the industrial Internet. The report also includes an index pf IIOT readiness for 20 countries based on 55 indicators.


Identifying and removing DSM obstacles

Presentation given by the European commission at the European Parliament. It provides the vision of the Euuropean Commission of which are the barriers for completing the Digital single Market from the consumer


Towards a digital Union

Manifesto of European Socialist Parties on their vision for the digital future of Europe




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