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Author: James Kinsella

And, at the same time, lead the world...

It's official: Europe just adopted the world's most advanced law protecting its citizens’ rights to their own data. 

The vote this week in the European Parliament to make the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law across the entire EU was a resounding voice in support of the values that much of the rest of the world still only aspires to. 

The GDPR will be enacted gradually over the next two years. Here is what is changing:

The law creates a single regulation for ALL 28 nation-state members of the EU – a law with TEETH. The Data Protection Authority of any one nation state can levy serious fines on a company’s...
Author: James Kinsella

Making Europe’s Union act like one could be our best weapon

Thirty two people died and hundreds were injured last week in an attack that Belgian authorities now admit they should have been able to prevent. The ring leader had been identified weeks earlier by the Turkish authorities while on transit back to Europe. The Belgians ignored this warning.

Two years earlier, the Greeks stopped a 23-year-old French guy making his way back to Europe from Syria. They found cash and a document detailing how to make a bomb “in the name of Allah”. But they were unaware of any warrant for his arrest, so he was allowed to go on his way. It turns out he had a bomb-making operation in his...

Author: James Kinsella
But it must not be permitted to affect Europe’s heart.

The script would be considered cliche if it were not so deadly: Islamic radicals moving effortlessly through a free society wreak havoc on a population that has taken freedom of movement for granted.

The attacks in Brussels this week were a bookend to the Paris attacks in November. They targeted well trafficked public places – the airport, a metro stop close to the European Commission. And they used very similar methods. “A kick in the nose to France and Belgium”, was how one French pundit described it

Let’s be clear: this is not just about Belgium and France. This is about Europe.

We know little about...

Author: Alex Guy
Europe, it’s time to get alarmed about the potential outcome of the elections in the United States.

The United States is in the midst of its extraordinarily long campaign season to pick the two contenders who will then battle to become president. One of the most important moments in this “primary” contest happened this week, when about 20% of the States held their votes to choose a Republican (the party of Reagan and Bush) and a Democrat (the party of Obama and the Clintons). 

No surprise on the Democratic side: Hillary Clinton won big, and is very likely to be the Democrats’ choice for president.

What continues to shock everyone, however, is what’s happening in the...

Author: James Kinsella

Apple has decided to take on the US government in a fight to protect its extraordinarily lucrative iPhone business. Guess who’s going to lose this fight? In an era in which much of the world, and particularly the West, is convulsed by the real and imagined threat of deadly assault by outsiders, the US government will almost certainly prevail in forcing Apple to comply and re-instate the backdoor to unlocking the iPhone.

And when the US government succeeds in its demand, this will set a precedent for governments all over the world that are not already demanding “data sovereignty,” with the rationale that they are just trying to protect their citizens from threats. 

Whether...

Author: James Kinsella

London is one of the world’s leaders in innovation and high tech energy, and the capital of cool when it comes to new ventures. (It beats Berlin, by a long shot; check out this graphic that clearly depicts where the startup action is.)

And the cozy corner of Southeast England surrounded by the M25 isn’t the only place where fresh ideas are spawning new companies. From Edinburgh to Bristol – yes, Bristol – nearly every corner of the UK has a high-tech community making product, and often selling to our neighbors in the EU. 

Here’s how to kill that brilliant Britannia distinction: leave the EU.

The latest polls are painfully close, with YouGov’s most recent tally giving...

Author: James Kinsella

Last week, the EU and the US announced a new agreement that would allow American companies to  transfer European citizens’ data across the Atlantic. This week, France told Facebook to stop doing just that. 

The French demand is not a surprise. France’s Data Protection Authority (CNIL is the French acronym) has long demanded that Europe affirm its own digital identity and sovereignty. And this idea of une souveraineté numérique isn’t just French. Germany, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands have all begun investigating how the cloud giants, among others, use private citizens’ data – including where that data is stored.

In other words, they aren’t accepting that an EU-US...

Author: James Kinsella

Ever since the European Court of Justice pulled the plug on the Safe Harbor agreement between the US and the EU, back in October, the two sides have been debating how to come up with a Safe Harbor 2.0. Instead, this week they proposed a new EU-US “Privacy Shield”. 

The agreement has some hurdles to overcome before it takes effect, but the European Commission appears to have negotiated effectively to reign in American intelligence over-reach when it comes to private data of European citizens. Or, at least, that’s what the US agreed to, although the devil may well be in the details. Whether the US complies remains a very open question.

If Europeans suspect the US of violating...

Author: James Kinsella

The new General Data Protection Regulation – GDPR – is likely to become law in mid-April, and Europe and the US will eventually reach some new mutually acceptable Safe Harbor agreement – but not without a lot more compromise on the part of the US.

 

At least that’s my take-away from a visit this week with Vera Jourova, the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. Madame Jourova is playing a key role in both the GDPR and negotiations to come up with a new approach to data-sharing with the US, a so-called Safe Harbor 2.0. 

What’s holding up the GDPR? The substance of the new law was agreed in December, but a very-EU obstacle remains:...