Reinforcing Monopoly

Hereby are two stories about how software acts as a barrier to entry to a market and reinforces the monopoly power of its provider.

The first is shown by the fact that industrial content are getting cold feet over the EU copyright directive as the service providers have switched to supporting Article 13 since they already have the so-called “upload filters”. Only the big boys will be able to remain in the game of hosting user authored content. As predicted, the new regulations will inhibit both startups and SMEs.

The second story is closer to home. The UK have decided to mandate age verification functionality for porn sites. Who do you think is going to build that? Alec Muffet and the Open Rights Group have been tracking this and even if you think it’s a good idea, they way it’s being done is disastrous. The BBFC is the regulator and this is a massive piece of scope creep, it looks like they will licence a third party to act as the software provider and again the favourites to win this business is an interested party. Alec’s latest blog post is on Medium and is critical of the regulator’s stance and IT Security expertise and he previously wrote about the competitive dynamics and opportunities created by the new laws. Muffet is also concerned about the profiling use of such a database of porn users. It’s almost back to the days of the Roman Empire where monopolies were licensed. …

Digital Liberty, a baseline

Digital Liberty, a baseline

I am preparing to write a blog on Digital Liberty and the Parties’ manifesto positions. I was looking to see how I categorised the issues so I could create a summary view and I found the motion that was the basis for my previous submission on policy. This text has been recovered from a Labour Party motion carried at the Lewisham Deptford GC at their April ’14 meeting. I used it as the basis for a submission to the LP’s New Britain site which they have, of course shit canned; it was their policy development site. I think the motion stands the test of time.  …

Labour & Digital

Labour & Digital

Trefor Davies of trefor.net commissioned and published an article by me on the state of the politics of digital and its likely impact on the General Election. In the article I classify the issues around citizenship and economics. Obviously the manifesto has not been published and so prediction of its content is not easy. Regular readers will know that I am a supporter of both the Open Rights Group and Privacy International. I have also served on NESSI, the EU’s internet/I.T. R&D project incubator.  I am hopeful on the issues of citizenship, unsure on copyright and intellectual property laws and expect a good offer on digital government. …

Digital Question Time

Digital Question Time

I went up to Blackfriars to techUK’s offices to listen to their Digital Question time. They had arranged for Vaizey, Onawurah and Huppert to speak. I covered the event using storify, which I moved here, after storify terminated their service.

I originally said on this blog that they covered privacy, access and inclusion, start-ups, brexit (briefly) and government IT. Computer Weekly have hosted a video here…, if you want the complete story. The Guardian ran a story, “Vaizey calls for tech firms to ‘meet politicians halfway’ over encryption” and sub-titled, “Debate needs …

Britain’s over reaching content filters

Britain’s over reaching content filters

The UK’s Web site blocking rears its ugly head again. I was pointed at Der Spiegel who reports that Three and Vodafone are blocking the Chaos Computing Club‘s domain. The Chaos Computer Club is a grass roots technology association most well known outside Germany were it is based for its annual Congress held in Hamburg. Equally well known for not being a porn site. The Spiegel article is in German and I translated it using Google translate. I have hosted a copy here, and you can see google’s rendering here. The remainder of the article looks at over-blocking, including IT security resources as obscene, and the market share of the various UK carriers.  …

Campaiging with Politicians

Campaiging with Politicians

Still at orgcon14, the first session in the afternoon was titled “Campaigning with Politicians”. I wasn’t going to report this since on the whole it wasn’t that good, but it does set the scene for what may be coming and so I changed my mind. The chair opened the session by stating the session would be best used as a campaigning symposium and not treated as a hustings, he might have saved himself the trouble. The three speakers, Jullian Huppert MP (LibDem), Natalie Bennett (Green Party) and Claude Moraes MEP set out their (Parties’) stalls. …

@LabourDigital

@LabourDigital

I left Manchester and travelled home on Tuesday Morning, i.e. 23rd I reckoned I could catch up on Ed’s speech and the only fringe of any interest was the @LabourDigital policy launch planned for 4:00 p.m. I checked it out on the web, but it didn’t really come to my notice as anything other than a minority interest until it was reported in the Register on Sept 28th by Andrew Orlowski, not to be confused with Aleksandr Orlovao , who seems to have picked up the territory. The @LabourDigital’s policy statement is here. It contains 82 recommendations, which they summarise with four headlines and seven additional teaser policies. …