Internet Regulations are coming and Tim Berners-Lee calls out the Danger of a Weaponized Web

In 2009 I wrote a post referencing a Mike Manos post that Internet Regulation is coming. It is now 2018 and the amount of Internet Regulations is not significant in the Western Markets. On Mar 11, 2018 Tim Berners-Lee wrote an open letter.

The web can be weaponised – and we can’t count on big tech to stop it
It’s dangerous having a handful of companies control how ideas and opinions are shared. A regulator may be needed

The Guardian focused on the regulatory and weaponized part of the letter.

Berners-Lee, in an open letter to mark the 29th anniversary of his invention, said: “In recent years, we’ve seen conspiracy theories trend on social media platforms, fake Twitter and Facebook accounts stoke social tensions, external actors interfere in elections, and criminals steal troves of personal data.”

These problems have proliferated because of the concentration of power in the hands of a few platforms – including Facebook, Google, and Twitter – which “control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared”.

Most tech people will disagree with regulations, but there are many governments who agreed with Tim Berners-Lee point that the web can be weaponized.

After 9 years the momentum is gaining for regulations. Are you ready? I am.

Comparing Washington DC vs. Silicon Valley Technology Perspectives

There is a huge gap between how Washington DC views technology and Silicon Valley. If you are interested in the differences check out Stacey Higginbotham's post on her experience visiting a Washington DC conference.

This is a good summary of the difference.

All tech policy seems to boil down into a debate about states rights versus federal control. It’s like the debates over the Affordable Health Care Act with people in the halls and onstage lamenting the patchwork of state laws around privacy, internet taxation, data breach disclosure laws and more. Republican Senator Rand Paul, for example, got onstage to call out the government for imposing social standards on states at the federal level (a problem in his mind). Fellow Republican Senator John Thune apparently wants no government regulatory involvement in tech, including issues such as network neutrality or ensuring that the IP transition leaves people with some form of voice phone access. Whereas in Silicon Valley the axis might be around one company versus another (ie. Google v. Facebook or ISPs v. Netflix ) or legacy equipment versus new infrastructure, the framework in D.C. is decidedly different.

The tool of choice is paper, not a computer. I can scan the rows of people at our Structure conference and see the lids of many a MacBook or the glow of tablets, but here, while there were some folks typing in their notes, more were jotting things down on paper. And in conversations with people, only one ever pulled out a phone; and that was because someone was calling her. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler even told me after an onstage interview that people are more productive wearing a watch than using their phones to check the time because the phones then distract them. People clearly have smart phones, but they aren’t using them like they are a tether to a more interesting world.

What i would add is Silicon Valley will be much more interested in what the technology does and how it works. Washington DC is more interested in the impact of technology which can be much harder to articulate and fits in their perspective of how to regulate the use of technology.

Best Impact of Brexit Win could be a focus on accountability of campaign promises

Any one knows that campaign promises are not kept, but that didn't stop the UK voters from supporting Brexit. With history being set as possibly one of the biggest worldwide economic impacts of one countries election results, there is a huge focus on what was promised and what will be delivered creating new ideas like Regrexit.

Brexit’s broken promises: Health care, immigration and the economy

So much for all those promises. Leading politicians in the campaign to pull the U.K. out of the European Union are back-pedaling fast on a number of pledges, particularly over extra money for health care.

The retreat has prompted howls of outrage, from politicians who wanted Britain to stay in the EU as well as some Leave voters who say they feel “cheated.”

In the past politicians could count on human short term memory to throw out campaign promises that would were never intended to actually be promises. With the web and video recording it is easy for the media and public to search for past statements made that were campaign promises.

With the US election coming up with between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, this may be the one where the presidential candidates are faced with a public that can force an accountability of campaign promises.

Brexit is helping to change this.

How bad are things? CNN and others write on how the UK government is now in a damage control mode.

Brexit: UK government shifts to damage control

London (CNN)Not since World War II has Britain faced such an uncertain future.

A vote last week to pull out of the European Union has sent the country’s currency spiraling, dampened markets, created a leadership vacuum and triggered talks of Scottish secession from Britain, forcing the government into damage control.
Like the markets Brits are now jittery, not knowing who will lead their country when Prime Minister David Cameron steps down in October or what their economy will look like after a divorce from the 28-country EU.

The opposition Labour Party is not doing much better at giving the British people something certain to hold on to. Leader Jeremy Corbyn is dealing with his own Brexit crisis, announcing 10 new shadow cabinet positions Monday after a flurry of resignations over the weekend. The exodus came after he sacked a key shadow minister accused of plotting a coup.
Leaders are now trying to allay fears that Britain may be heading for recession and trying to boost confidence in its markets and currency to avoid a complete economic meltdown.

AWS most noticeably Tech company missing from White House Climate Change Pledge

Katie Fehrenbacher posted on the new companies who have committed to the White House Climate Change Pledge.

This summer the first thirteen companies including Apple AAPL 0.62% , Google GOOG 0.59% , Walmart WMT -0.07% and Coca-Cola KO -0.07% committed to President Obama’s climate change program.

On Monday, the White House announced that another 68 companies have taken the pledge, called the ‘American Business Act on Climate,’ bringing the total corporate participants to 81. Big tech companies, global retailers, clean energy firms, food makers, agriculture conglomerates, and a couple of utilities have all signed on.

Looking at the list of tech companies the most notable absent is Amazon Web Services.  You can look at the list here.

Think Greenpeace is polishing its environmental attack methods to go after Amazon while the rest of the Cloud Companies watch.

Wonder how long AWS can hold out.


US Tech vs. European Traditions, Will Data Centers be regulated in the future?

The Data Center industry is young compared to many other industries that make money. WSJ has an article on the challenges that exist between US Technology companies and European Sovereign States.

To give you an idea of the money involved consider this nugget.  5 US Tech firms have a larger market cap than 30 blue-chip companies in the DAX index in Germany.

The U.S. firms loom large. The market valuation of five U.S. tech firms— Apple Inc., Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. —is $1.8 trillion. That compares to $1.3 trillion for all 30 blue-chip companies in the DAX index in Germany, Europe’s largest economy.

The article mentions the interest in requiring data to be housed in countries.

This data is the fuel that drives the online advertising and commerce machines that Google, Facebook and Amazon have spent years honing and monetizing. Rising calls for these companies to house such information in local data centers in Europe could make these machines more expensive to run.

There are hints of potential regulation

Europe’s policymakers, accustomed to controlling key sectors of their economies, are struggling to get a handle on the fast-moving newcomers from across the ocean. Growth is weak and government revenues soft, and they see profits that once accrued to European industries from retail to media to taxicabs, being diverted—often lightly taxed—to Silicon Valley. They worry that critical industries such as autos may fall next.

Why worry, because these US tech companies are disrupting existing business models.

“Europeans have got everything to lose” from the rise of U.S. technology firms, said Paul Stoneman, emeritus professor at Warwick Business School and a former U.K. antitrust official.

Don't think this is just the governments.  In a classic move, competitors are supporting actions against others.

And some U.S. firms themselves are exploiting the European tensions to attack rivals. Microsoft has been a driving force behind the antitrust campaign against Google in Brussels, while Oracle Corp. is another member of the Fairsearch alliance that has actively agitated against Google.

Including some of the Telecoms.

For big European companies with clout in Europe’s corridors of power, their traditional business-expansion model is threatened. Europe’s telecom giants, for instance, lobbied regulators for years to ease price caps and competition rules to allow them to grow. But they are now being challenged by so-called over-the-top players such as messaging service WhatsApp, which use the incumbents’ infrastructure to provide lower-cost, high-value alternatives.