Digital policy update June 2012


I publish a monthly newsletter on my other site: Policy Bloggers Network. This newsletter is for a Policy audience focusing on Digital Policy. I republish it below since it captures many of the trends I have been tracking

In many parts of the world, we see economic turmoil. This is reflected in the many disruptive announcements we are seeing this month. In addition, some other topics like e-books, Twitter and Internet freedom feature strongly this month

Let us start with disruptive trends



Many companies and domains are seeing major disruption – especially due to Internet and Mobility

Mobile devices: In the wake of RIM and Nokia’s woes, LG says - LG: ‘To not do phones would make us slow’  - Square Hires CFO as It Revs Up for International Expansion

 Education is changing with flip education( 3D printing continues to disrupt ( How 3D printing is revolutionising guitar-making)

Retail: IBM launches augmented reality for grocery stores(IBM launches augmented reality app for grocery stores  -) .  Sainsbury’s mobile website drives 20% growth in online   and Tesco enters the music streaming business  Content with your groceries?: Tesco buys music streamer We7)   and Sainsbury’s enters ebook market

Gaming: Zynga tries to become a platform ( Zynga unleashes API, gaming social network) and EA is seen to be ‘behind the curve’ – (Behind the Curve: EA Finally Making Mobile Games Free This Year ) and Mobile (and not consoles) is seen as the future of gaming ( Move over, consoles — mobile is the future: ) .

Microsoft: Microsoft’s monopoly is questioned – (What Happened to the Microsoft Monopoly? )And at the same time, Microsoft’s business is changing fundamentally with the launch of the Surface – (Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Where Microsoft’s New Surface Tablet Fits in PC Ecosystem )

Garmin failed to see the threat of mobile (How Garmin Failed to See the iPhone Threat ) – Apple may disrupt the credit card businessApple’s Opportunity: Disrupt the Credit Card Business ) -

APIs are changing the face of TV( It is Time to Hack the Future of TV).   How Starbucks is turning itself into a tech company.   How Social Media Will Save – Not Kill – the Television Ad. Can Facebook change the search paradigm?:  How ProPublica changed investigative reporting


The Internet and Internet activism

Internet activism has been in the news in more ways than one:

The founder of Wikipedia has thrown his support behind Richard O’Dwyer,

How technology lowers transaction costs for everyone

The internet’s two-sided freedom | Charles Arthur -  We can no longer ignore the many people who use the anonymity of the web to harass, bully, or insult others

One girl’s school dinners campaign is enough to give us all hope | Rowenna Davis

South Africa’s ‘secrecy bill’ attracts international condemnation

Internet trolls targeted in new bill to tackle defamation online – Websites will get greater protection from being sued if they help identify people posting defamatory messages under new plans

Why London’s Police Just Set a Horrifying Precedent on Mobile Privacy

The United Nations Could Seize the Internet, U.S. Officials Warn

Want Skype on your mobile phone? Swedes will have to pay

Hate SOPA (or love it)? Here’s a chance to have a voice in IP law

UK says three strikes is coming, but not until 2014

Should Google and Amazon be allowed to control domains? : Google wants .blog and Amazon wants .book

Net neutrality could be a victim under an ITU Internet takeover:  The key sentence in that proposal is “Nothing shall preclude commercial agreements with differentiated quality of service delivery to develop.”


Media and content

While Report says movie biz is still growing 3% a year - For media and content – the rejection of ACTA by the EU is the major news(European trade committee votes to reject piracy treaty )

Pirate Bay Founders File Appeals With Human Rights Court

‘Patent trolls’ cost tech companies $29 billion last year, study says

Fastest growing segment of piracy? Live TV

Illegal Downloading – BT finally blocks Pirate Bay from their Customers

Google moves to snuff sites that rip music from YouTube videos


Social media

This month,

Facebook Shifts Its Approach to Payments  and Facebook app store launches

Nike becomes first UK company to have Twitter campaign banned - Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere tweets broke rules for not clearly stating they were adverts

Teaching with Twitter: how the social network can contribute to learning

Measuring An Employee’s Worth? Consider Influence

In Social Networks, Not All Opinion Leaders Are Created Equal: Discussion Leaders and Knowledge Leaders are the new class of social media leaders

How Google+ Has Morphed Over The Past Year & What We Can Expect in 2013

While Circles may not have worked as well, Google+ is developing into a good Interest Graph, a social Glue across Google products including Android  and could be less of a standalone social network and even more about supporting YouTube, Google search et al.

Out Of Nowhere, TripAdvisor Becomes One of Facebook’s Biggest Apps

Why Crowdfunding is Today’s Goldrush

Facebook should be worried about Wooga’s HTML5 exit: The problem is, it’s not really in the interests of either Google or Apple to have mobile HTML5 apps – certainly performance-hungry money factories such as games – work as well as native apps.

Two comscore reports talk of the potential of social marketing:  (PDF download available here) and  simply build up a large fan base

The (Not So Sad) Decline of FarmVille & Zynga’s Other Villes : Users are tired of throwing sheep 

Q: Why Does Microsoft Need Yammer? A: To Save SharePoint

Why Crowdfunding is Today’s Goldrush

Telecoms and networks

Verizon Overhauls Its Rate Plans, Focusing on Shared Data : In a major shakeup to how it handles its billing, Verizon Wireless plans to start charging customers almost exclusively based on how much data they are using, rather than on the amount of phone calls or text messages sent.

Vodafone takes controlling stake in mobile commerce firm

Nokia launches Asha series of touchscreen feature phones :  Nokia has launched the Asha series of advanced feature phones with touchscreens offering a “smartphone-like” experience.

T-Mobile may be sunsetting 2G, but its M2M biz keeps growing

Report: Tablets now drive more ecommerce traffic than smartphones

Vodafone sends theft victim an £8,000 mobile bill

Bouygues launches free Wi-Fi to challenge Free Mobile

Wi-Fi Alliance begins certifying Passpoint devices: Passpoint/Hotspot 2.0 is the first step of many that will eventually integrate Wi-Fi hotspots seamlessly into the carrier’s mobile networks.

Net neutrality could be a victim under an ITU Internet takeover:  The key sentence in that proposal is “Nothing shall preclude commercial agreements with differentiated quality of service delivery to develop.”



Twitter is in the news for more than one reasons: firstly due to its expanded tweets but also due to the tightening up of its community which is not seen as favourable by the developer community

One Bird to Rule Them All: Twitter Tweaks Its Branding Strategy

In Closing Its Platform, Twitter Risks Destroying Its Community

Twitter Gets Stricter, Parts Ways With LinkedIn

Twitter Partners With New York Times, WWE, BuzzFeed, And DailyMotion For Expanded Tweets

Careful, Twitter — remember what happened to MySpace and Digg


Ebooks and e-publishing

We are seeing a lot of discussion around E-readers and digital publishing

From Africa:  An E-Reader Revolution for Africa?

Canada: Wattpad Takes Quick $17.3M for Thriving E-Book Community

Flying off the eBook shelf - Readers are voting with their wallets: The eBook is winning.

How to become an ebook superstar – categories with big online communities dominate  – fantasy, erotica, chick-lit, horror and crime thrillers.

Simon & Schuster is adding QR codes to all its print books. Will readers bite?

Why the NYT-Flipboard deal is a smart move:  For the first time, subscribers will be able to access Times content via something other than the NYT’s own site or apps. It may not be a huge revenue generator (at least not in the short term), but it is still an encouraging sign of a traditional media player trying to adapt to a new model.

Ebook Bestsellers Breakdown: Self-published romance climbs the lists

O’Reilly tests ebooks everywhere with Dropbox sync



CERN says EU data protection laws are hindering cloud adoption

How Africa is embracing “the cloud” on its own terms

Broadband and connectivity

Super Wi-Fi goes to college with new government effort

West Africa’s wait for high-speed broadband is almost over -  A cable linking west Africa to Europe will not only make it less frustrating to use the internet but could help achieve millennium development goals on education, health and the environment. The France Telecom-led $700m system will use high-speed fibre optic technology to link Europe with 18 countries along the west coast of Africa, as well as landlocked Mali and Niger.


Open data

The UK government makes a big push for Open data: The government has already made more than 9,000 datasets available via and is planning to launch a £10m Open Data Institute, headed up by inventor of the internet Tim Berners-Lee, to help businesses maximise the commercial value of open data. The white paper

Who owns patient data?

Better use of public data could save government £33bn

Opening up the voluntary sector: using data to drive innovation



EU regulators side with Microsoft in IE10′s Do Not Track controversy


Newspapers and publishing

The hard truth: Newspaper monopolies are gone forever : Advertisers are a newspaper’s main customers, not readers the jokes from newspaper production departments or ad sales reps about how news articles are “to keep the ads from bumping into each other”

What happens when a newspaper is just another digital voice? : Does being digital rob a newspaper of some of its power?


Mozilla’s HTML5 Phone Project, Now Christened Firefox OS, Signs Sprint and Other Carriers

Facebook should be worried about Wooga’s HTML5 exit: The problem is, it’s not really in the interests of either Google or Apple to have mobile HTML5 apps – certainly performance-hungry money factories such as games – work as well as native apps.   



Without Computer Scientists In Policy Debates, Nations Are Vulnerable to Cyber Attack



Outrage as credit agency plans to mine Facebook data



We’re all trolls now: why the patent ‘rat’s nest’ is worse than you think

Many thanks!

Image: Forbes - - reflecting the many disruptive trends we see this week.