miércoles, 2 de octubre de 2019

The end of self-regulation

The general framework for the development of the digital economy and society have been a self-regulatory environment. Certainly, there has been in place, mainly in Europe, some rules for protecting privacy and establishing some limitation for the usage of personal data, but even these are thought for a market of responsible actors with few instruments for enforcing its application. In spite of some minor conflicts, this framework was thought to be working until last year, when a chain of incidents, from Facebook relationship with Cambridge Analitycs to Amazon changes in its algorithms to favour its own products over the same of its customers.

In the same manner that we don´t trust that drivers will be responsible by themselves, we cannot expect that platforms and other digital actor would limit themselves on their business. In spite of their ostentiatious efforts to show their repentance, some times with promises of going beyond the law obligations and others with voluntary raids on suspicious activities on their platforms, the reality is that few things have changed. The evidences of the falsehood and temporary condition of the change commitments are the first leaks of abuse of power on the implementation voice assistant products.

Fortunately, new regulation efforts are under development. As usual, Europe looks to assume a pioneer role with a so-called Digital Services Act with a yet unknown scope. It looks that the aim is the development of holistic framework that update ecommerce rules, freedom of expression and go deeper on the demands of transparency on algorithms.

However, it may be difficult to really enforced a new regulation environment without a capable human force for this purpose, both in size and skills. This requirement looks as the main weakness on the battle for reining on platforms. Not having rules is highly equivalent to having rules but no means to enforce them, and it doesn´t look at the moment that regulators are planning to grow in number and abilities.

We are entered into a new period of the development of digital economy and society. Governments has apparently understand they need to be more active than in the past. We still ned to see if their will is translated in actions.

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palyginti kainas