“We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.“ So the famous US Supreme Court Justice and ‘crusader for social justice’ and breaker-upper of Gilded Age monopolies, Louis D. Brandeis is said to have said, perhaps sometimes in the early 1930s.
Today, perhaps the best-known neo-Brandeisian anti-trust advocate is Tim Wu, Columbia law professor, ‘father of net neutrality’ and author of a series of books likening today’s commercial excesses – in particular in the digital space – to the ‘Gilded Age’ of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Of course, it is not really an either-or debate. It’s a complex and convoluted, tangled web of interests and angles, and any claimant of simple solutions has likely got a degree from snake oil university.
Continue reading “To regulate, or not to regulate, that is the question…”
It’s our Silver Jubilee – 25 times SmallDataForum, and so much has happened since our first episode less than a fortnight before the EU Referendum. And yet here we are, Brexit still front and center and no one’s none the wiser.
When we started, our aim was to reflect on communicators’ needs
- to increase the value of data,
- to understand data and its insights to inform better business decisions,
- to manage data from machines (data processing) and humans (turning Big Data into small, relevant, business-critical insight).
Little did we foresee how much our chosen field would be dominated by the narrative of Western democracy and society being undermined by the powers unleashed by social and digital media.
Yet here we are, with Neville discussing GDPR as the modern equivalent of the Feds nailing Al Capone for tax evasion.
Perhaps an update of The Untouchables will see Benedict Cumberbatch play DCMS Committee Chairman Damian Collins as a modern Eliot Ness. Or Christian Bale as EU Competition Commissioner Margarete Vestager, in the new tradition of the near-real-time biopic.
Continue reading “25 episodes, and more than 2.5 years – plus ça change …”
The SmallDataForum celebrated its third Christmas with a highly calorific and somewhat alcoholic Italian lunch, followed by post-prandial musings about high- and low-lights of 2018, and some crystal ball gazing for 2019.
Our regular followers / listeners – or just about anybody with any interest in tech and communication – won’t be surprised by a list topped by Facebook, and then some more Facebook (in short FB, pronounced fib). Followed by GDPR and other regulatory activities, mainly by the EU.
And of course we also touched on the topic that’s been with us from episode one, when it was called Brexit. These days, Brexitexit is beginning to sound more fitting.
Continue reading “Reading the runes for 2019: Brexitexit, the end of Chairman Zuck, and might China be the new Russia?”
The latest episode of the Small Data Forum podcast sees the founding trio of Neville, Thomas, and me striding confidently into our early 20s. Who knew that the fledgling born at an event in Covent Garden’s fashionable London in May 2016 – pre-Brexit, pre-Trump, pre-Cambridge Analytica farce – would endure to its twenty-second episode.
We start our latest offering with a look at Facebook’s latest, topical woes: a technical vulnerability leading to a breach of security for at least 50m European users last month. And probably 40m more.
Thanks to a favourite topic of the SDF Podcast, Facebook were required to report the breach to the EU within 72 hours under new GDPR rules. Playing by the book, Facebook did so, contacting the Irish Data Protection Commission.
Continue reading “Zucker time or time to take in Berners-Leesy?”
“If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” A modern version of this 18th century thought experiment by the philosopher and cleric George Berkeley might read: “If the EU fines a big tech firm billions of dollars, and no one has the power to enforce it, has it actually happened?”
A recent opinion piece on AdExchanger discussed the connection between Google’s $5bn antitrust fine, and the enforcement of fines for GDPR non-compliance. Europe is committed to taking a stand against corporations when it comes to privacy rights of consumers, intellectual property rights of content producers (although the planned law is controversial), and anti-competitive market positions.
Continue reading “GDPR, ePrivacy, copyright & antitrust: the EU’s long game”