The Missing Stakeholders

The coming wave of digital regulation may claim to target “Big Tech” but will inevitably end up harming citizen-innovators most because regulators have forgotten to include them in their process.

Tracks in the snow suggest a bird being captured by a cat.
Stakeholder-Citizen Interaction

Here come the regulators. “Big Tech” companies like Facebook and Google definitely deserve some guide-rails, as well as some consequences for the unwanted impacts they have foisted on society along with the desirable ones. Facebook in particular has some deep, serious consequences of its amorality due soon. But so far, pretty much every regulation relating to the digital realm is defective.

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Article 13 – An Existential Threat

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a letter from more than 70 leaders in the emerging meshed society (including me) which criticises Article 13 of the European Union’s proposed new copyright regulations. This Article starts from the assumption that the only role of an individual is to consume copyrighted works and hence deduces that any act of publication on the part of an individual must be infringing the copyrights of a corporation unless proven otherwise. The text doesn’t state things that clearly, but the effect is unmistakable. It’s as if a politician was proposing to ban syringes because addicts use them, without considering that hospitals do too.  Continue reading

Data Retention Directive Scrapped

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided to scrap the data retention directive on Tuesday, declaring it to be in violation of Europeans rights to a private life and protected personal data. In place since March 2006 the data retention directive required member states to store citizens’ telecommunications data for six months to two years to serve the needs of police and National security agencies.

The ECJ observed that the directive makes possible the discernment of the means, time, place, and frequency of communication between a subscriber or registered user of a site as well as the identity of the person they’re messaging. The ability to collect this information is considered disproportionate to the objectives of the directive and therefore counter to the EU proportionality principle.

The removal of the directive creates it’s own set of issues, questions and grey areas. What will happen to National regulations drafted in accordance with the directive? Can Telecom and Internet Service Providers still store personal data for over six months or is it now to be considered outright illegal? How about ongoing contracts in favour of such data retention? Both governments and the companies involved have got some fast thinking and acting to do. The responses of governments to this move will reveal much about the future of the way European Directives are handled at national scale. Read Simon and Alexandra’s full analysis on ComputerWorldUK.