Tuesday, 5 August 2014

All the news that's fit to tax

It seems there are some people in the world who wish technology stopped around developing around 1997. It's understandable in some respects because some are just ready for change; best of luck to them. It just so happens that a lot of those people seem to law makers and judges in Europe. This is when this neo-Ludditism becomes toxic and destructive.

Spain, in a bewildering move, has passed a measure called canon AEDE, which will update copyright law in the country. The copyright amendments will be voted upon in full in the autumn, but this is an indication of what the final result will look like. The AEDE is the journalism association of newspapers and periodicals in Spain. What the law envisages is that news editors are granted an 'inalienable right' to levy fees on links provided by aggregators for merely listing the link and giving a 'meaningful description' (whatever that might mean).  It's been nicknamed the 'Google tax', but the reach is far wider than that. If you are a service posting links to one of the members of the AEDE, prepare your wallet.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Coding Compendium 0 : Learning to code; thoughts on motivation

I've decided to start tracking my progress and development in programming. I've really come to have a renewed appreciation and interest. This will be an area I will exploring a lot so I am going to be filing these under the heading Coding Compendium.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Thoughts on the Gmail litigation


On Tuesday, 18 March 2014, Judge Lucy Koh decided that the plaintiffs in a class action suit filed against Google were too dissimilar to form a class. This suit listed a number of classes ranging from US citizens who have sent/received emails to/from Gmail users and Google for Education App users. Judge Koh felt these classes were too disparate and denied recognition of the classes, as the remedy would have to be tailored for each individual rather than being broadly applicable (hence the purpose of class action suits). 

I've been following the case for a couple of reasons, not least of which is because there seems to be a significant lack of understanding on how email works and where expectations of privacy can and should be warranted. 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

RESPECT Project Survey - Your views needed!

It's survey time. I am part of a project called RESPECT (Rules, Expectations & Security through Privacy-Enhanced Convenient Technologies). The project looks at the effectiveness and costs of surveillance technologies, analysing these factors against law and social behaviour. 

As part of the research, this includes understanding what people actually think and feel. That's where you come in - click here if you want to take part.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Open data, open governments, open minds: coding the next level of democracy

I am an unabashed fan of open data - so I was really excited to see this bit of news: Github, the code repository site, has a page devoted for developers and governments to collaborate for any sort of project involving open data. This is, as I see it, one of the major dialogues that public authorities and the public can have. To be clear, I see it as one of the vectors of engagement in the democratic process. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Google's Shared Endorsements and why companies still get user participation wrong

Click the blue bar, don't be afraid to learn more.
It's amazing how fast the articles have gone up about Google's new product Shared Endorsements. Already there are a zillion guides on how to disable the product (even though it's not live). So is Shared Endorsement a clone of Facebook's exploitative Sponsored Stories or could Google turn this into a novel means of consumer engagement?

Friday, 11 October 2013

The 'California Effect' in action?

Ah, California. The sunny weather, the endless coastline and the effect the state has on raising standards in regulation. OK, that last part may be something not necessarily gripping the public imagination but it's important all the same. You may be familiar with the 'California effect', a term that originated in auto emission regulation - basically, the standards of all are raised when an influential player raises their own. I mention this because California has signed into effect new laws regarding on-line privacy and securityDo the latest Californian statutes mount to the same sort of thing or is it just more grandstanding nonsense that has unfortunately come to characterise a lot of privacy and data protection discussion?