Policy news update – June 2012



Original source: Policy Bloggers Network

As usual, we start this month’s coverage of policy developments with Innovation and disruption – of which there is always plenty in the Digital Policy space.


Disruption and Innovation


It has been a great month for women in top positions in the Tech space – starting with Marissa Mayer, 37, the new CEO of Yahoo – who is also pregnant ( What Marissa Mayer Means for Silicon Valley Women) but also to the appointment of Dr Anita Prabhakar to the head of DARPA(

DARPA Gets a New Top Geek) and also Ellen Siminoff as Zynga’s first female board member (

Zynga Appoints First Female Board Member Ellen Siminoff).

Another demographic is in the USA  For the first time, half of adults ages 65 and older are online.

Businesses continue to be disrupted by the Internet. For instance the Printer business ( What’s Killing the Printer Business?) and also earlier era thought leaders such as Sony ( ReadWriteWeb DeathWatch: Sony). But innovation continues to sprout in unexpected places. For example – in prisons ( From Inmates to Entrepreneurs: The San Quentin Startup Accelerator) and also Africa gets its first and long overdue accelerator(Heart of Smartness: A Tech Accelerator for Africa)

Media and content also sees some major disruption.  Mass digitization of libraries (Southampton University library: the resource revolution will be digitised) – Kickstarter becomes fourth biggest publisher of graphic novels and European Commission backs calls for open access to scientific research with the assertion from Neelie Kroes that “Taxpayers should not have to pay twice for scientific research and they need seamless access to raw data”

One of the most important developments I am tracking is the proposed Amazon phone. There is some talk of the Amazon phone with What Amazon Brings to the Smartphone Market and The Amazon phone: What could it mean for app development?

Finally two very significant developments which could have sweeping impacts: How Open Source Hardware Is Driving the 3D-Printing Industry and also In Age of Twitter, NBC Rewrites Olympic Playbook i.e. NBC has now replaced the old formula of keeping big events under wraps until its prime-time evening broadcast. Instead, every Olympic event will be available live online for cable and satellite subscribers. This is significant because the sponsors have paid billions of dollars for the ‘prime time slots’.  NBC has called the Olympics its “billion-dollar lab

Internet governance

Internet Governance starts on a concerning note from Russia ‘not with love’ i.e. the Kremlin internet bill ‘signals growing repression of critics by Putin’. The FCC Chief Criticizes Russia for Passing Internet Censorship Bill. Meanwhile, the Anti-SOPA veterans issue declaration of Internet freedom and we see The Rise of the Internet Defense League



There are some interesting claims on the ‘value’ of personal data such as each user is worth $4 to Facebook and $24 to Google (Personal Data – Is It Truly An Asset?). A Truste survey finds predictably that [Infographic] Survey: Consumers Are Concerned About Privacy, Tracking, Advertising

Even as youTube offers one-click anonymity (One-Click Anonymity: YouTube Offers Automatic Face-Blurring) – Google’s Safari cookie evasion may cost it $22.5M, the FTC’s largest fine ever

Finally, Cisco’s backdown from the Linksys – Cloud connect saga offers many lessons – i.e. people read the small print! Cisco backs down from Connect Cloud after Linksys router complaints – Cisco Systems has taken a step back from its Cisco Connect Cloud service, removing it as the default setting for management of its Linksys EA Series Wi-Fi routers after a firestorm of complaints from customers about automatic firmware updates and the service’s terms of service.. The language included implications that Cisco wanted to monitor many application level elements at a network level such as Internet history(Cisco Backpedals From Creepy Privacy Position on Linksys Upgrade)

Telecoms and Mobile


Fears of mobile phone meltdown during Olympics starts our coverage of mobility and telecoms. Mobile continues to grow – (On the move: Mobile gamers now outnumber PC players in China) and the feature phones are not dead with both Twitter and Google going after that market (Twitter goes after feature phone market with native Nokia app and Google Launches Free SMS Service for Gmail Users in Parts of Sub-Saharan Africa) .

Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale – the Nexus range continues to make inroads (Why Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet Is Hotter Than Apple’s iPad). And the carriers continue to do well with new data plans in the USA (Shared Mobile Data Plans: Who Benefits?) with even a change in heart (How AT&T & Verizon Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Data Hogs). As an exception, there appears to be a carrier who thinks that International roaming rates are too high (Here’s Something Novel: A Carrier That Thinks International Roaming Fees Are Too High)

Finally, I loved this blog post(RWW Recommends: The Best Mobile Payments App) – more for the analysis i.e. to identify the major mobile payment apps-  the various tiers of mobile payments can be broken into two high-level groups: 1. The ability to buy digital goods with your mobile device. Fundamentally no different than buying  2. The ability to buy physical goods with your mobile device. Then there are the different ways to perform mobile transactions: Carrier Billing,  Near Field Communications (NFC)QR Codes/Code ScannersMobile Card Readers, Stored Payment InformationMobile Wallets . Followed by : Given all of the above, we applied the following criteria to determine our recommendation for the Best Mobile Payments App:Must be able to purchase physical goods – Must have a mobile wallet component Must be as ubiquitous as possible – supporting, at the very least, Android and Apple’s iOS – Must have the potential to fundamentally change how payments are made. 

Not surprisingly, Square leads the pack.


Media and Content

After being initially slow, like the rest of the world, Japan finally embraces e-reader revolution. Meanwhile in Poland, following the Slovenian and Slovakian example – Forty-two Polish news sites push Piano’s ‘pay’ switch as paidContent speculated last month. Spotify completes a momentous new year – Spotify 1 Year Later: Music Distribution Gropes Toward the Digital Future

There is an interesting analysis about Instagram and the future of media – What the Instagram backlash says about the future of media and Europe sues to continue taxing digital content higher than physical

Finally, far from being ‘Open’, APIs are now seen as a double edged sword when building on another company’s API (Don’t use that open API — it could be a trap!) – something which Zynga found out with a $22.8M Q2 loss which it blames on Facebook API changes(  Zynga blames $22.8M Q2 losses on Facebook, pins rebound hopes on mobile)


Copyrights, Standards, Patents and IPR

FRAND is making some interesting headlines. Expect more of this. (FRAND hallucination? HTC raises FRAND defense against non-FRAND Nokia patents).

An EU wide patent system seems to be near (Agreement on Central Court Paves Way for Unitary EU Patent System)

MIT Economist: Here’s How Copyright Laws Impoverish Wikipedia: Using a little-known copyright rule and a trove of baseball-related trivia, an MIT economist figured out how current copyright laws specifically affect one online community.  His report is clear: Copyright law affects to some degree what information makes its way onto Wikipedia, but what it more strongly affects is how we use that information once it’s there. In other words, digitizing any knowledge increases an article’s text, but only digitizing public domain images makes articles more frequently updated and visited.

Finally,  Pink Floyd and Radiohead blast new copyright collection plan – partly their accusations relate to rules that allow the societies to hold on to royalties for years at a time.




Big Data and healthcare provide big opportunities for better medicine – Better medicine, brought to you by big data

India refuses to hike cancer drug price – Stands up to White House’s strong-arm tactics against manufacturers of generic equivalent


The Web


Why HTML5 will succeed for gaming –  Most people in the tech space already believe that HTML5 will replace flash when it comes to online video and UI. What’s more of a toss-up is whether it will replace Flash when it comes to online gaming …


Noteworthy ..


Is the problem that there are no qualified people? Or is the problem with the qualifications themselves? -  Overfocus on tech skills could exclude the best candidates for jobs


Kaspersky Lab Celebrates 15 Years With Win Against Patent Troll

Many thanks

Kind rgds


Image source BBC/London Olympics