Schrems, the sequel 14 Sep 2016
Author: James Kinsella
Winning the battles, losing the war


Max Schrems, whom we all know and love from his successful battle against the US as a Safe Harbour for European data, has won this week another victory at the Court of Justice of the European Union.  The CJEU has just agreed to rule on whether a privacy-related legal action brought against Facebook can be treated as a “class action”.

Austrian Supreme Court refers "Facebook Class Action" to EU supreme court!
>> #CJEU

— Max Schrems (@maxschrems) September 12, 2016

His last victory set alarm bells ringing in both the US and...

Author: James Kinsella
What’s $15 billion among friends? The Apple tax case isn’t about taxes

Ireland, American high-tech giants’ favourite tax haven, has decided to fight the European Union’s decision that would gift it almost $15 billion of back taxes from Apple. Almost certainly, billions more would likely be required from other companies who have turned Dublin into one of the most unexpected tech HQs in the world. 

The Irish claim that $14.5 billion is not worth compromising Ireland’s sovereignty, not to mention its independence to cut tax deals with the masters of the digital universe. That’s what’s really at stake here, claims the Irish minister who is challenging the EU verdict.

The Irish...

Author: James Kinsella
What that means for your data in cyberspace

The Olympics just ended, and at least in one moment the world seemed to be united by the psychedelic image of trees dancing to the rhythm of samba in Rio de Janeiro. “Cidade Maravilhosa,” we can all agree. 

But now back to the real data world, where China is about to implement its own series of “cybersecurity” measures which use some of the same language as the EU’s GDPR but which, critics claim, will further seal off the Middle Kingdom’s cyberspace behind a new Great Wall.

In Russia, the laws on data sovereignty begin to generate new penalties in two weeks. The essence of the Russian measure: data created in Russia has to stay in...

Author: James Kinsella
The Americans have a new deal they say we can’t refuse


American cloud giants have gotten rich off Europeans’ data. Google makes billions from the collective searches we do that feed the US search engine’s ad sales business. Facebook’s European friends generate big profits for the company as well.

In fact, every major American cloud service makes a large percentage of its profits from European consumers’ data. 

That’s why the US has been working so hard to convince Europeans their data is safe on the other side of the Atlantic. The EU-US Data Shield was crafted to give us comfort that our data was in safe hands when it crosses the ocean. And the Americans say the...

My life after Brexit 04 Jul 2016
Author: James Kinsella
Are the lights already flickering in the UK’s start-up galaxy?


Running a start-up means embracing uncertainty, but Brexit took “uncertainty” to a whole new level.

Ask high tech entrepreneurs like myself in what has been Europe’s epicentre of start-ups – London – what Brexit means for their business, and a surprising number are so concerned about the future that they answer with “Exit”. 

Brexiter leaders Michael Gove, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson do not understand us.

Nasty Nigel held forth last week in front of the European Parliament and pronounced that none of his fellow EU Parliamentarians had ever created a job. I was embarrassed for him, for Britain,...

Author: James Kinsella
Brexit and the future of Great – and Little – Britain

On Saturday night, I was in Prague at a dinner with two other Britons, and of course the conversation turned to Brexit. Or, rather, the conversation never veered away from Brexit. Because for guys like us, Brexit would change the world we are all busy building. 

There are 1.26 million Britons living in the European Union outside of the UK.

Back in the UK, it is striking how much the talk has focused on keeping Little Britain for Britons. But those British who are living, working and driving businesses outside the UK are doing something very different: we are expanding the idea of what Britain is. Big, ambitious and...

What would Donald do? 20 May 2016
Author: James Kinsella
The US presidential candidate is all for Brexit – that should be a warning

In almost exactly one month, we in the UK will vote to stay in or leave the European Union. The last time I opined on this – citing the opinion of another American politician, President Barack Obama – one of my readers offered his remarkably clear opinion, made all the more powerful for its brevity:

“F@!* O!*“, he suggested.

No US politician should be messing with public opinion in this Green and Pleasant Land, is a more nuanced version of his response. Well, risking similar wrath, I give you Donald Trump’s opinion:

The UK is “better off” without the EU.

Some context is warranted. Trump...

Author: James Kinsella
Time to reconsider that EU-US Privacy Shield

The quadrennial, interminable battle to choose an American president is officially more than HALF over, and we have only 50% of the outcome. And it’s a bad one: the Republicans have chosen their candidate, the nightmare called Donald Trump. In the two-party US system, the billionaire hotelier and reality TV star has only nominally been a Republican – he’s supported candidates from both parties, and his policies are far from Republican orthodoxy.

Who cares! After winning a decisive “primary” battle that has wended its way across the 5,000 kilometres of the enormous US, he is the lone survivor as the Republican presidential candidate. ...

Author: James Kinsella

Our American mate wants us to stay in the EU – for our sake and his

President Obama just arrived in the UK with a simple message ahead of the May EU exit vote:  friends don't let friends "Brexit". Barack may have a once-in-lifetime moment to influence Britain in an overwhelmingly positive way. 

Why does Obama care? As close as the UK and the US are – culturally, politically, historically – the UK in an American mind is Europe. It’s the start of the Continent, not an island apart and adrift. And a united Europe is a stronger friend to the US – more capable of helping to grow economies, a better ally in fighting the fights the West is facing.

Put simply, in a world of...