The issue with Privacy, How many steps to make a path?

The Big Picture is a monthly PESTLE analysis for innovation. Today we look at Legal and Environment. You can find Politics and Economics analysis here, and Society and Technology analysis here.

The issue with Privacy

The “AirPlane!” syndrome

Oscillating between panic and comic, decisions and choices recently made by the EU in an intent to protect privacy and markets of the Internet arouse a panel of reactions. Chris O’Brien, from Venture Beat asks a good question through the voice of departing EC digital chief, Ms Kroes. Are we witnessing a war of two Europes, one which has a digital mind and one which has an analog mind? One thing is sure, the message doesn’t come across. In the UK, Mark Ballard explains in Computer Weekly that there needs to be a “mature debate” about open data, and many analysts seem to agree this discussion should be held on a higher level. Richard Nieva reminds that Europe is also fighting to apply the “right to be forgotten” to worldwide domains while DANNY HAKIM from The New York Times stresses the fact that Europe may be acting under conflicts of interests, which has been openly denied by named influencers also involved in major media companies in Europe. Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch notes: “the wider context here is that the U.K.’s coalition government tried and failed to legislate for the more expansive digital surveillance powers which would have enabled security agencies to compel companies to hand over more user data. So it’s having to apply moral and political pressure instead.” Is this what we are trying to define: the simple fact that we have failed to secure a tool which can otherwise be profitable to all? Graeme Burton explains for Computing UK: “Considering that the identifiability and protection of big data already is a major challenge, it is clear that big data derived from internet of things devices makes this challenge many times larger.” In France, the CNIL is only just starting to open discussions on the privacy issues impacting homeworkers when other countries in the Anglosphere have already rolled-out homeworking policies, easing lives of many workers, creating jobs. Jonah Goldberg from National Review Online shares his view: Big Data and Governments are not working together. He has a point: we are not there yet.



“Houston, we have a problem”

Now we have provided evidence for key issues, it is high time we set an action plan. Jason Verge from Data Center Knowledge reports on the “Open Cloud Alliance Formed to Answer Germany’s Data Privacy Concerns”. Companies start to get organized, driving the needs to build appropriate structures in country. Meanwhile, Philippa Warr points out that EU has recently ruled that “embedding content does not equal copyright infringement”. In the midst of these information, Christian P Hagen argues on Information week that governments should increase their knowledge on new IT developments to benefit from it but also to develop an ability to understand why businesses are deploying them. Here is a reply, from Natasha Lomas. She quotes Claude Moraes, chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). In his view, “People in Germany who understand what happens when you have unfettered mass surveillance, where information is then out there being used for negative purposes, understand where that can lead. But if you have targeted information… then we are in a society where that privacy balance is preserved”. Richard Nieva argues for his part that European statements are a political posture, in his article for CNET, while The Economist vividly criticizes Europe’s apparent frustration for not being able to come up with their own Internet giants. Reuters reminds in Fortune: “It is a fact Google, which declined comment for this article, highlights in portraying itself at times as caught in Transatlantic crossfire. Last year’s revelations of U.S. spying on the digital doings of Europeans, including even German Chancellor Angela Merkel, heightened mistrust of U.S. power in the digital world – though Europeans still use Google overwhelmingly to search the Web.” ABHIMANYU GHOSHAL concludes in The Next Web: “These are trying times for Google in Europe, as the company is already in hot water over an EU antitrust investigation, which, when voted upon soon, might break its search business off from its other services.”


The innovative IT rescue team

A rescue team, because let’s call a cat a cat, we have an issue with privacy. A rescue team also in reference to Nouriel Roubini’s view of our current economy. An IT team, because like it or not, sorting such an issue requires expertise, and we have plenty, plenty of experts out there. Innovative, because they don’t have the choice. It seems our current decisions fight against each other, we come across as being totally lost. What do they do different? First, they ask the right questions. As Dom Champlin states on LinkedIn, data ownership goes all the way from CEO, CIO and CMO office before validation. Who is responsible for it? The EU Commission itself is opening debate on open ICT standards while HunchBuzz highlights the benefits of Open Innovation. They are supported by market trends. Finding evidence in a recent survey, Syntec Numérique outlines the need for digitized services for companies. As they found out, “French citizens are well aware that technologies are now mature, a evolutive change that enables them to: gain time and travel less (31%), shortened delays (34%), reduced number of forms to fill for the administration (34%).Thomas H Davenport relates the history of RFID standards setting underlining the need to adapt the same approach to IoT. As he writes in his article for HBR: “It will inevitably involve collaboration and adoption across complex ecosystems, and an array of technology and organizational changes within every participant. But if we learn from the IoT’s early history, we can make the progress faster and make many companies’ uses of the IoT more successful.” Sophia Blachman-Biatch from GoodData explains how her company enables customers to use a wide range of data, from legacy to Big Data and more, to use BI more efficiently, “getting past the data silos”.

The rescue team has new ideas, strategies and approach to market. Aurélie Barbaut reminds in L’Usine Nouvelle how France would benefit from embracing Open Compute. Ivan stresses in Wazoku: “A shift to a culture of open innovation happens when all employees believe their ideas and suggestions are listened to. Everything from executive visibility to employee suggestion programs has to foster a cultural change.” Jim Fletcher outlines IBM approach to IoT. As he says in his article for Service Management 360: “Not only does this provide the ability to extract data from the rising number of devices across an enterprise, but it physically brings different parts of the business together to innovate and help build new business and revenue models.” Maybe we should concentrate on creating business models and applications that fit individual solutions, as Mary Ann Keelin outlines as a benefit of moving to the Cloud in her article for Host Review. Jonathan Vanian comes up with a conclusive suggestion in GigaOm. What if we developed our own responsible codes of conduct?



How many steps to make a path?

Too many miles ahead

Adele Peters from Fast Co-Exist wants us to get the big picture, the picture of our impact on the world, as seen on Google Maps.

Fast Co-Exist
Fast Co-Exist

Becky Oskin from Live Science also remarks: “West Antarctica’s incredible weight loss can be felt from space, a new study reports.” Ben Schiller rings a different alarm. According to a recent research, “Over the last 40 years, we’ve managed to kill off roughly half the animal kingdom through a combination of exploitation, habitat destruction, and climate change.” EU Commission has a busy week ahead, as shown in below video:

And it might not be over. Brian Merchant outlines a new kind of solution to reduce Earth temperature: “Often shortened to SRM by science wonks, it most typically consists of dispersing sulfate aerosols—sulfuric acid—into the atmosphere, where they would bounce back a small percentage of incoming sunlight, thus cooling the planet. The idea is to discover, among other things, whether those aerosols would harm the ozone.”


Too few people on the run

Should we consider this is still of few of us taking a chance? Sabuhi Gard for example reminds in this article for The Guardian that “big data centres are designed to be as energy efficient as possible, and work at a far better capacity than individual servers.” Keely Quinlan mentions GEO in FedScoop. As explained by the author, “GEO’s 177 member organizations connect technological tools around the world that can monitor and predict the state of Earth’s land, waters and atmosphere.” Forerunners have recently been joined by a series of political offensives. In our latest article, “An Indian Dance”, we mention key agreement between China and the US on decreasing CO2 emissions. The same week in France, Grenoble has decided not to renew their partnership with JC Decaux, a global communication agency, to gradually replace billboards by trees and free city’s sights from aggressive commercial content, as Les Echos reports. From a financial point of view,  La Tribune explains that a short term decrease in advertisement revenues had led city counsel’s decision, while L’Expansion outlines the city’s will to provide more space for local information and communication.


Where are they running to?

Ahead of the rest of us, their mission is to champion a model that places sustainability at the heart of our activities. Green can only be a resource if it’s being protected, looked after, grown. Jim Lane explains for BioFuels Digest that for the 2014 CleanTech 100 list, “a record number of nominations were received: 5,995 distinct companies from 60 countries”. Could this be a volume for awareness? Olivier Cognasse from L’usine Nouvelle shares French outlook for the upcoming international conference on environment in Paris. As Segolène Royale says, “a positive dynamic is now initiated, including the green fund to support those most fragile and emerging countries”. It is true that some change has taken place in society. It might be too late, but every journey has to start with a first step. We need more of these first steps to build a complete path. In Toulouse, Agnès Fremiot reports on this initiative from KLD Design agency founder, Kamel Secraoui, who use recyclable material such as magazines to create a line of design furniture. Challenges explains how the Reunion Island has rolled-out a new eco-friendly initiative aiming at deploying Sea Water Air Conditionning by 2017. The Economist has visited tomorrow’s cities for us. Inspired by biomimicry to reflect nature’s patterns in our architecture, our future cities allow us to breathe.


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