miércoles, 28 de octubre de 2015

En Cinco Dias, "Casablanca es #PuertoSeguro "

(Publicado previamente en "Cinco Dias")




El 6 de octubre, el Tribunal de Justicia Europeo (TJE) publicó su decisión sobre el caso C-352/14. Entre sus conclusiones dentro de la decisión prejudicial relativa al procedimiento de Max Schrems contra el Comisionado de Protección de Datos de Irlanda, estaba la declaración como no válida de la Decisión 2000/520, el llamado Acuerdo de Puerto Seguro entre Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea. Para muchos expertos y activistas de los derechos de los ciudadanos, la decisión del TJE no ha sido una sorpresa. Aún más, se ha comparado la reacción de sorpresa con la decisión del Tribunal de muchos funcionarios europeos y estadounidenses con esa escena memorable de "Casablanca", cuando el capitán Renault expresa su conmoción cuando le comunican la existencia de juegos de azar en el Café de Rick.

El Acuerdo de Puerto Seguro fue diseñado como puente imaginativo entre las diferentes culturas al respecto del manejo de los datos personales en ambos lados del Atlántico. En el lado europeo, es considerado como una cuestión relacionada con los derechos ciudadanos. En el lado estadounidense, el manejo de datos personales forma parte de las relaciones comerciales y se relaciona con los derechos del consumidor. La auto-certificación del cumplimiento de las garantías europeas de protección de datos por las empresas americanas pareció la solución ideal. El caso Snowden situó las cargas explosivas y el puente ha sido volado con la decisión del TJE. Ganamos en garantías de nuestros derechos, pero es el momento de analizar las consecuencias económicas en ambas riberas del Atlántico. 

Como se esperaba, EEUU ha mostrado su enfado con la decisión del TJE. La Embajada norteamericana en Bruselas ya había publicado la semana anterior una declaración inusual sobre el dictamen previo a la decisión del Abogado General del Tribunal. La Embajada advertía del "daño importante a la protección de los derechos individuales y el libre flujo de la información que se produciría si se siguiera la opinión del Abogado General".

La molestia de EEUU es fácil de entender. El libre flujo de datos es uno de los pilares de la economía estadounidense, sustentado sobre la base de que el país es el vórtice de los servicios digitales. El análisis de la OCDE de los sitios de Internet más importantes del mundo sugiere que los servicios basados en datos se concentran de forma desproporcionada en EEUU, que alberga a más de 50% de todos los hosts alojados en dominios principales en el área OCDE. Por su parte, RJMetrics ha estimado que más del 55% de los científicos de datos del mundo se encuentran en los EEUU. La decisión del TJE podría introducir un cambio radical en el escenario de la economía de datos, que podría llevar a una importante migración de infraestructuras tecnológicas y puestos de trabajo de EEUU a la UE. Proveer los servicios digitales desde suelo europeo podría proporcionar las empresas tecnológicas americanas una manera menos gravosa de mantenerse dentro del cumplimiento de la normativa de protección de datos europea.

Podría parecer que las consecuencias de la decisión del TJE son sólo positivas para Europa. Sin embargo, no hay que precipitarse en las conclusiones. Entre 2008 y 2012, la capacidad de los cables de comunicaciones submarinos entre EEUU y Europa creció a una tasa promedio anual de 19%. El aumento de los obstáculos para este intercambio de datos con la aplicación de la decisión del TJE podría tener grandes consecuencias también para la maltrecha economía europea. De acuerdo con el ECIPE, en un escenario extremo sin flujo de datos personales hacia dentro o fuera de la UE, la economía europea perdería un 1,1% del PIB. Existe también el riesgo de que la actividad económica derivada del flujo de datos entre EEUU y la UE pueda emigrar a la cuenca del Pacífico. El recientemente acordado TPP entre EEUU y varios estados del Pacífico incluye medidas para promover el libre flujo de datos entre ellos.

La decisión del TJE ha creado un escenario económicamente perjudicial tanto para EEUU como la UE. Sin embargo, puede haber sentado también las bases de una gran oportunidad. Después de años de vivir en la ficción de un acuerdo ya es hora de salir fuera de Matrix y llegar a una solución real. El nuevo Acuerdo de Puerto Seguro debe ser respetuoso con los principios compartidos de los derechos humanos, pero al mismo tiempo apoyar la innovación y el comercio basado en las tecnologías digitales. Volviendo a "Casablanca", esto no debe ser el final de la historia, sino el comienzo de una hermosa amistad.


lunes, 26 de octubre de 2015

#Broadband #Google #TTIP Somewhere in #digital Europe ... (26/10/2015)

International Benchmarking Report 2015

A report published by Anaysys Mason on the state of broadband services in the five major EU economies.


Searching for harm or harming search? A look at the European Commission’s antitrust investigation against Google

A review of the the European Commission’s antitrust investigation against Google.


TTIP: Challenges and Opportunities in the Area of Services

This paper was prepared by Policy Department A at the request of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection. It finds that there is significant scope for the EU to benefit from freeing up of transatlantic services trade while safeguarding European values and preserving the right to regulate.

miércoles, 21 de octubre de 2015

Fitness trackers in the workingplace

There is not one day you can live without discovering the importance of a new business niche based on technology. Beyond the more classic and well known electronic versions of economic activities (such e-banking or e-commerce) or the digitalisation of daily use products (e.g. ebooks), disruptive business models are changing the underpinning of our society. The tip of the iceberg of this disruptive models are the so called sharing economy services.

One of the main objective of this disruptions is the labour model in its wholeness. Digitalisation is accelerating the change of the framework relationship between employer and employee. Not only there are arising new employment models enabling by technology, like zero hours contract or service vouchers agencies, the more classic form of employer has new tools to increase productivity of the employers. Do not think only in tools for making easier the daily working routine. There are evidences of the benefits for a company productivity of healthy employers and now they are beginning to have the right tools to control the activity levels of the workers and incentivise it.

We usually think in the health apps and devices as personal use items, nevertheless there is market for "corporate wellness" outside and these items are the enabling tool for it. "Corporate wellness" is nothing new, but until now the success of employee-based wellness programs was difficult to ensure due to the lack of tools for measuring its implementation. This demand looks to be on the path to be satisfied by the fitness trackers

However, there are pros and cons on this usage of fitbit and other devices as corporate welness enablers. An easier implementation of gamification techniques in wellness programs based on these devices is the main appeal for its usage in a corporate environment. But the risk for privacy are obvious and the the need to allow some choice of the device will drive us to face challenges similar to the implementation of BYOD policies.

Anyway, the business niche has been identified. Corporate fitness is a growing trend that is gaining space even in all kind of media. In a recent report from the BBC, the channel includes some prediction for this market from Gartner:

  • In 2013, about 2,000 companies offered their employees fitness trackers, according to technology research company Gartner. 
  • In 2014, this rose to around 10,000. By 2016, the firm predicts that most large companies - those with more than 500 employees - in both the US and Western Europe will offer fitness trackers with their programmes.

There is not possible benefit without facing a risk. Certainly, fitness trackers in the corporate environment could arise 1984 nightmares in our imagination, however the value of the benefits are so high to despise them. More than 80 bn cost per year due to inactivity deserves some thinking in well balanced policies to reap this benefits.

lunes, 19 de octubre de 2015

#DataProtection #IoT #Broadband Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (19/10/2015)

Digital consumer survey

A survey commissioned by ETNO about the habits of digital consumer. The main focus is the consumer perception on how different kind companies, specially OTT and telcos, handle personal data.


Unlocking the potential of the Internet of Things

A report published by MckKinsey that identifies uses cases for Internet of the Thing and estimates its potential value.


The State of Broadband 2015

The yearly report of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, an ITU high level group. It shows success cases of broadband policies as a support for global development and includes indicators to follow-up the deployment of broadband worldwide.

viernes, 16 de octubre de 2015

"Pan, educación y libertad" - Petros Markaris

Pan, educación, libertad (Spanish Edition)Pan, educación, libertad by Petros Markaris
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Markaris sigue explorando junto a Jaritos la Grecia de la gran recesión. En esta ocasión, toma como marco de referencia por el pasado imperfecto de una Grecia que abandona el Euro el primero de enero de 2014. La elección del contexto no es casual. Markaris se nota cansado de la interminable crisis, de la realidad griega, y lleva a Jaritos a un escenario manifiestamente de ficción. Y en ficción evidente se convierte todo el relato. Ficción es que pague, de modo sangriento, la generación de la lucha antifascista por su decadencia, por haberse corrompido y haber llevado Grecia a la peor de sus crisis.

El cansancio de Markaris, desgraciadamente, hace mella en su personaje y en la historia. Novela de oficio, con estilo de urgencia. Un relato que desea ser acabado, o quizás no haber sido empezado. Solo atrae la justicia poética del asesinato del padre.

Acabando la lectura recordé al inolvidable Manuel Vázquez-Montalban. Carvalho habría sido nuestro mejor guía en esta interminable crisis. La muerte figurativa de la generación de la transición y el fin del régimen del 78, son parte de la novela que nunca llegará a protagonizar el detective de debilidades gastronómicas.

View all my reviews

miércoles, 14 de octubre de 2015

Algorithm weaknesses are the guarantee for the continuation of human being activities

There's a growing sense of defeat among human beings. We are living the current age as the age of the rise of the machines, each day we read a piece of new about the automatisation of a human activity. Whether we think in an activity based on mere routines or based on creativity, we feel that sooner or later machines will perform our duties better than us. The full digitalisation and the disappearance of bank branches is an example of the former. Among the later, we have examples on how computer-generated reporting is threatening traditional literature and journalismThe final fear is that human beings will be redundant in all the activities.

Without any doubt, Google is the main symbol of the automatisation of our daily life. 40,7% of the world population uses the Internet and has a daily experience of Google search algorithm. A shine of hope came to our lives some months ago when we discovered that the Google algorithms are not perfect. We hope that we have discovered the tip of an iceberg of failures with the case of the tagging of the images of black people as gorillas or the cases of gender discrimination in Google ads. Both cases show the limits of automatisation, there are spaces in sorting activity where we need an extra dose of activity or a moral judgement that algorithms are not capable to perform.

Sorting and classification are the base of automatisation. Internet giants are constantly looking for improvements in their sorting and classification algorithm. For instance, Twitter acquired a few months ago the machine-learning startup Whetlab in order to obtain new abilities to organize the tweets. But the weaknesses of sorting and classification algorithms also open a window of opportunity for human activity. Apple is turning to human beings in the search for help to run the last mile of sorting and classification in its news service.

Algorithms are not perfect. That fact makes automatisation an imperfect activity that will need the support of human beings for its continuous improvement, As continuous improvement, either for machines or living beings, is the cornerstone for survival, it is quite difficult to think in a total rupture of the link between machines and human beings that will mean the total redundancy of our specie. It would be again the most elemental of artificial (and not artificial) intelligence: the search for self-preservation.







lunes, 12 de octubre de 2015

#OTT #VAT #startup Somwhere in #Digital Europe ... (12/10/2015)

Study to quantify and analyse the VAT Gap in the EU Member States

A report commissioned by the European Commission to investigate the EU gap in Member States.




Investment in networks, facilities and equipment by content and application providers

Analysis Mason assess the investments of content and application providers in 2011-2013. Although they only select a handful of them, the report serves to give an idea of the expenses in infrastructure of OTTs




The globalisation of angel investments

A study published by Bruegel on the nature and consequences of angel investments across a variety of geographies with varying levels of venture capital markets and other forms of risk capital.

jueves, 8 de octubre de 2015

#Telecom #DigitalSingleMarket #App Somewhere in #Digital Europe ... (8/10/2015)

Addressing fragmentation in EU mobile telecom markets 

This policy contribution of the Bruegel think-tank looks at EU mobile telecoms markets and analyses potential concrete measures to improve end-users’ access conditions and address EU market fragmentation.



Towards a Digital Single Market Act

The Europeran Parliament is working on an opinion called "Towards a Digital Single Market Act". Both the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and for the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection are leading the drafting while the other committees are giving their input. This is input provided by the Committee on Transport and Tourism.


All about that app

Another study on the app economy. This time the focus is on the use of apps to transform how we work and live.   

lunes, 5 de octubre de 2015

Tackling the challenges: The French #Digital Republic Bill

As happened with the XX century, it looks that the XXI century has started with some delay. If a war is considered the starting point of the XX century, the digital revolution will be considered in the future the starting point of the XXI century. Although it is difficult to determine the starting point of the digital revolution, I would vote for the day  the iphone was presented. But defining the starting point is less important now than facing the new reality. Tackling the risk and challenges of the new landscape required new laws. Following the latter line of thought, the French government is working on "The Digital Republic Bill".

The incomparable sense of making history of the french people has pushed its government to design the law around three axis named after the French Revolution motto: "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité". Freedom for the flow of data, Equality of rights for Internet users and Fraternity through an inclusive society. The final objective of the French government is two-fold:
  • Giving France the lead in digital technology
  • Forging a resolutely contemporary digital policy

For this purpose they have proposed a law draft with three chapters, one per each of the above mentioned axis. However, it is not a closed draft yet. In a recognition of the complexity of the task the law draft is open for comments for some weeks.

The law draft has been published only in French. It contains many interesting ideas for policy makers and it is difficult highlighting one of them. However, perhaps the more interesting part due to its connection with the global European digital debate are the articles dedicated to the regulation of digital platforms. The draft introduces a definition of platform, establishes requirements for data portability to ease service switching and set obligations regarding information for the consumer. After many claims jointly with Germany for the regulation of platforms at the European level without a concrete answer from the European Commission beyond a public consultation, France has decide to face the issue by itself. The decision is based in many interesting previous studies as this one regarding the neutrality of digital platforms.

It is not difficult to forecast that the Digital Republic Bill will be analysed by many policy makers around the world and set the course for many forthcoming regulations. Nevertheless, it shows again the main of the European weaknesses in the digital arena: the fragmentation of the European Digital Market. The European Institutions, in particular the European Commission, should be more agile in order to tackle the digital challenges. The alternative is making the Digital Single Market a too far to be reached target.
palyginti kainas