Author: James Kinsella
The Patriot’s Act, with French subtitles

France, one of the first to enshrine “le droit de l’oubli,” the right to be forgotten, is enacting “le loi sur le renseignment,” or Intelligence law. That’s ugly in any language. An argument FOR the law, expressed in the French press, is that law-abiding citizens with nothing to hide (rien a cacher) have nothing to fear. It’s just the bad guys who stand to lose.

Irony of ironies: just as the US Congress has loosened the grip of the US Patriot’s Act, French legislators are tightening it.

I’ve written about this before: I have huge sympathy for the French conundrum, and enormous affection for the country.

So, when I heard of the...

Author: James Kinsella
Can a sun-drenched land of the highly educated build the high-tech paradise of Europe?

On a trip to Brussels recently, the conversation at the breakfast table was dominated by Greece. What else would be on our minds, especially as one of our hosts is Greek – not just Greek, but a policy expert who’s dedicated much of her life to building a stronger European Union. Her husband, also an EU policy wonk with a penchant for big thinking, had this to offer to our morning scrambled eggs: Think about another sunny clime with a lot of PhDs and also until recently struggling deep in debt. Yep, why couldn’t Greece become Europe’s California?

No one thinks the Greek situation – or the larger...

Author: James Kinsella
Some reflections 10 years on from the 7/7 London attacks.

7/7. I woke up yesterday morning with an ominous feeling that I missed something – a family member’s birthday, our anniversary?

No, the opposite of something worth celebrating – I remember exactly where I was on 7 July 2005, when Britain was attacked in the heart of London. I was in Prague, on business. I cut my trip short to fly to my home in London, and to my spouse, my company, and to the shared tragedy of another senseless attack.

Fast forward 10 years, and on the very same date as the UK’s version of America’s 9.11, an international group of security specialists has published a paper taking to task the US and...

Author: James Kinsella

Europe is not coming apart at the seams. It’s growing up, and facing up to some of the hard and exciting realities of the New Economy – and the Old Economy. Some of this maturation process is painful – just look at the Greek PM Tsipras. I mean, LOOK at him. He’s aged five years in his five months in office. But also look at Greek startups and the real opportunity the EU presents.

Greeks are indebted up to their eyeballs – and yet, almost none of them got rich watching their country go broke. Only bankers get to do that – unaffected by their failures, bankers benefit enormously during the good times. If I were a middle class Greek who took on a Swiss franc mortgage to buy my home...

Author: James Kinsella
Answer: 28, if you’re trying to light up the EU with a new idea

A week after all 28 Justice Ministers of the European Union member states voted to move forward on a new General Data Protection Regulation across the EU, the consensus opinion is in:

It will destroy the emerging cloud industry; OR, it will make no difference at all.

That’s a quick and, admittedly, cheeky summary of the reactions I’ve read since the Ministers’ vote. But it’s also a pretty accurate review of what the pundits are saying.

Those voicing opinions from the western edge of the Atlantic tend to conclude that the proposal, still in draft form, is aimed directly at American tech companies. With...

Author: James Kinsella

Throughout the brief history of our digital world, humans have created about 4.4 Zettabytes of content, most of that (about 80%) generated by citizens of the EU and the US. That’s 4.3 Terabytes for every EU and US citizen. (View the Infographic for all the data used in this blog.) 

Most of that data – both European and American – sits on servers controlled by US companies. In many cases, those companies share your content for marketing purposes – either to sell you more product or to use your content to place adverts in. There’s nothing secret about this; you actually agree to it in the terms you accept when you start using these services.

Sometimes, even when you’re paying...

Author: James Kinsella
Only if Europe wants to help build the future

How much does the US dominate the booming cloud industry? Consider this: 51% of the world’s digital data is stored in the US; about 30% is stored in the EU. Today much of the data created in the EU is stored on servers owned by US companies.

If Europeans had the same access to European solutions, the amount of data stored in the EU should be about 60% GREATER than that of the US. In fact, it is almost 50% LESS than in the US. (All data used in this blog can be found in the infographic, “Where’s your data?”)

That’s what we call the US/EU Cloud Imbalance, and it is likely to get worse. Worldwide digital data is estimated to have...

Author: James Kinsella

The threat of ‘Brexit’ provides a good reason to review the benefits 

The Queen of England has just launched the process to decide whether Britain will leave the European Union. Brexit, as they call it, isn’t her idea. She’s just doing her duty, announcing the major pieces of legislation for the new Parliament. And at the top of the list is newly re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron’s campaign promise that, if returned to office, he would let Britons decide if they want to leave the Union.

Do Britons really want to leave? Well, if you believe the polls, no, not at the moment: 45% say stay, 33% say go. But that’s a fascinating poll number. It’s the HIGHEST level of...

Author: James Kinsella

No, silly – but the Digital Single Market could help create a European competitor

It took several nanoseconds after the release of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market proposal last week for pundits to pounce, on both sides of the Atlantic.  A lot of Europeans called it “too little too late”. The Wall Street Journal predicted that US tech companies were gearing up to fight it. My favourite headline, from Hollywood watcher Variety:“Why film bizzers are still outraged over Europe’s digital single market plan”. Still? It’s just been released.  (Some of the best coverage, in my view, came from buzzfeed: clear and accurate – see below.)  

Some of the critics make me...