Monday, 11 March 2013

Five questions European regulators need to ask Google – and Al Capone

Five questions European regulators need to ask Google – and Al Capone » The Privacy Surgeon: "It seems to me that some privacy and market regulators have until now been treating Google as if it was a modern day Billy the Kid. Time and time again they have acted as if the organisation was little more than a roguish miscreant that endearingly defies law and order while serving some sort of formless public good. Some have given a green light to operations such as Street View that were later shown to be – at best – legally dubious, while others have completely ignored blatant competition issues." 'via Blog this'

Should the U.S. Adopt European-Style Data-Privacy Protections?

Should the U.S. Adopt European-Style Data-Privacy Protections? - WSJ.com: Prof. Reidenberg: "Some say Washington can't be trusted with crafting complex privacy legislation and that the market, if left alone, can correct many of the flaws inherent in our current system. I disagree. Washington may be stymied by gridlock, but privacy tends to have bipartisan support and polls show that most Americans want more legal protections. The U.S.'s experiment with self-regulation has failed Americans. We need a robust, legally enforceable Privacy Bill of Rights in the U.S." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, 10 March 2013

22 March: talk at EuroCPR, Brussels

This talk is based on our extended SSRN-hosted paper:
14.10 – 15.50 
Session 3A: Interoperability and competition 
Chair: Jean Jacques Sahel (Microsoft)
Interoperability: a new policy under the Digital Agenda? 
Inge Graef, ICRI, KULeuven 
Discussant: Adam Watson-Brown (DG Connect, European Commission) 

‘Prosumer Law’: The Consumer Law Approach to Platform Interoperability 
Chris Marsden (University of Essex) and Ian Brown (Oxford Internet Institute) 
Discussant: Natali Helberger (IViR) 

A response to Gruber | What’s New with Wu

A response to Gruber | What’s New with Wu: "The study of centralized and decentralized decision structures in an economic system is hardly my invention.   It goes back to classic economic debates between Oskar R. Lange and Fredrick Hayek in the 1940s.  Lange was an advocate of centralized planning, and argued that closed, state-run economies would be more efficient than open / decentralized market economies.   Hayek, responding in 1945, argued that the advantage of an open system was largely informational.  A theoretically perfect central planner would, Hayek conceded, outperform an open system, but in a reality of imperfect information, the open market system could usually be expected to perform better. " 'via Blog this'

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Arms Trade as Analogy – by James Lewis

Arms Trade as Analogy – by James Lewis | Cyber Dialogue Conference: "We might want to start by asking what is it we want to prevent, and then consider which tools might achieve this. Is software an arm? The barriers to production are so low, can “weapons’ development be prevented? How would digital arms trade regulations affect civil liberties and the wonderfulness of the Internet in allegedly creating innovation? What are the prospects for international cooperation? How would you verify compliance? Are export restrictions the best way to manage the risk of conflict? All of these beg the larger question as to whether a “digital arms trade” even exists (unless you count social control software). It might be better to make these fundamental and definitional issues the topic rather than assuming that there are digital arms and that we can control them. Are Internet surveillance technologies a “weapon?” Not under international law, although they could be “weaponized.” 'via Blog this'

Friday, 8 March 2013

R.I.M. Dunbar: Networking Past and Present

R.I.M. Dunbar: Networking Past and Present | Social Evolution Forum: "Recent history has witnessed two important dramatic changes that have had a deep bearing on our social lives. One has been the way travel has shrunk the world to create a growing level of economic interdependence: butterflies flapping their wings in Brazil really do have reverberations on the economics and politics of every other continent in a way that has never previously been the case. The other has been the explosive rise of urban concentrations. In 1800, just 2% of the world’s population lived in cities, but by 1900 the figure was 13%, by 1950 49%, and by 2000 60%, with a current forecast of 80% by 2050 (UN 2009). These two trajectories have influenced our social world in ways that could not have been anticipated." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Microsoft renewed fine carries huge implications for Google settlement

Bruegel - The Brussels-based think tank | blog > Detail: "Almunia’s decision to sanction for the first time a company for non-compliance with a settlement has a clear motive. Almunia cannot increasingly rely on settlements for his antitrust investigations without being certain that those settlements will effectively right the wrong that prompted the investigation (see the most recent examples: E-books, Thomas Reuters, Rio Tinto Alcan). One of the most important high-profile cases currently on Almunia’s agenda, the Google search-bias case, is expected to end up in a settlement after the Summer. In the context of a similar case, Google recently settled with the Federal Trade Commission in the US. However, in the US, Google made non-binding commitments that generated harsh criticism about the effectiveness of the remedy, should it be needed (see, for example, the concurring and dissenting opinion of Commissioner Rosch). In addition to remarkable differences in the substance of the settlement, the Commission take on the Google case will therefore be likely to have a significantly different impact than in the US." 'via Blog this'

Microsoft fined €561m for 'browser choice' error

Microsoft fined €561m for 'browser choice' error | Technology | guardian.co.uk: "Microsoft could have been fined as much as 10% of its fiscal 2012 revenues - equivalent to €5.9bn. The fine on Wednesday, though large, is substantially less than that. The two sides have given varying estimates of the time and number of users affected: Microsoft suggested it was 28 million people, between February 2011 and July 2012; the European commission, in announcing the fine, put it at 15m and with a starting date of May 2011. Microsoft made a five-year commitment in 2009 to offer users a choice of different browsers, after the EC's competition commission determined that the combination of its dominance on the desktop – where Windows runs around 95% of machines – gave the pre-installed Internet Explorer browser an unfair advantage over rivals. At the time that negotiations first began, in the early 2000s, IE had a share of over 80% among browsers. The commission implemented the "browser choice" system to create a level playing field - and said that once in use, it was very effective" 'via Blog this'

Monday, 4 March 2013

'Regulating Code': new [long] paper for EuroCPR available

Book event at Hong Kong University

Very good discussion today at Hong Kong University at a seminar on our book. Here are my slides:



Some of the good questions asked afterwards:

Q: What might be the costs of data portability requirements? A: This working paper by Peter Swire is a good starting point for a discussion.

Q: Can some of these regulatory arrangements (and issues such as regulatory capture) be seen within a sociological perspective based on power? A: Yes. Sociologists are welcome to build on our work :)

Q: How does the IGF fit into your framework? A: Even if it is sometimes an Internet governance flying circus, it shows multistakeholderism in action to some extent. The real test of course will come when it has to make decisions, if the UN hands it this role in its ongoing discussions over future directions, as well as whether its role is usurped by parallel activity at the ITU. This is part of the broader ongoing geopolitical battle between the US and allies to retain the status quo, against the BRICs and many other developing countries looking for a stronger intergovernmental role in Internet regulation.

Daring Fireball: Open and Shut

Daring Fireball: Open and Shut: "The “rule” has been seriously questioned all along by some of us, because it’s horseshit; not that the opposite is true (that closed tends to beat open), but rather, that open-vs.-closed carries no special weight in determining success as a general rule. Apple is not an exception to the rule; rather, it is a perfect example that the rule is nonsense...Open standards certainly succeed more easily than closed ones, but that’s not what Wu is arguing here. He’s talking about companies and their success.'via Blog this'

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Peter Suber - Second shoe drops: new White House Directive mandates OA …

Peter Suber - Google+ - Second shoe drops: new White House Directive mandates OA …: "The Obama White House today directed federal agencies to develop open-access policies within the next six months. The directive comes from John Holdren , President Obama's chief Science Advisor.
White House announcement and the Directive itself are big. It's big in its own right, and even bigger when put together with FASTR , the bipartisan OA bill introduced into both houses of Congress just eight days ago. We now have OA mandates coming from both the executive and legislative branches of government." It also goes some way towards the European Interoperability Framework 2.0. 'via Blog this'