Welcome to #TechAways, where our talented tech team – full of voracious readers – introduces you to our selection of the top stories we’ve read each week. We’re here to help you keep up with the hottest developments in the tech world and their implications for Europe.
In case you didn’t see it popping up in your social media newsfeeds this week: Covering EU tech policy was the focus of our latest #BrusselsCalling panel starring correspondents from Reuters, EurActiv, POLITICO, WSJ and Contexte. What did we glean? Loads of good insights and tips. Closing the Digital Single Market files (or not!) and rules on hate speech will be top stories for 2018 for most tech journalists in town. The French will be keeping a close eye on copyright legislation.
Digital taxation is more and more in tech journos’ radar. Until EU regulators go after EU tech companies, they won’t feature as heavily in policy-driven stories. Twitter is the tool they use the most for monitoring as this is where stories often break. Oh, and never ever call them at random hours; if you’re a lawyer, save your GDPR pitch for later; and when you’re feeling creative, trying contacting them via Signal and WhatsApp .
Make sure you don’t miss the next (award-winning for a second year in a row!) #BrusselsCalling event by following us on Twitter!
A fair deal on data? [The New York Times]
While EU heavyweight France has been pushing a digital tax targeting the US tech giants, Saadia Madsbjerg of the Rockefeller Foundation is trying another approach – a data tax. Many of us give away key personal data every day in exchange for “free” digital services. Current estimates put the value of that data at $1,000 per person per year, a number that’s rising fast. The proposal: a minor tax on the sale or use of this data, starting with data brokers and moving out from there. She recommends this nominal 1% be used to develop a more equitable internet. Will a data tax be next on the EU regulatory radar?
Uber’s latest [Quartz]
Since Dara Khosrowshahi stepped into the driving seat of Uber in September, he has weathered more crises than most CEOs do in a lifetime. The latest: Bloomberg reported that hackers stole data from 50 million Uber riders and 7 million drivers. And while hacker attacks have become an almost daily incident, this fast became yet another crisis for Uber after they paid the said hackers $100,000 to keep the breach quiet. Handling a privacy breach of that extent like this makes you wonder how Uber deals with other incidents of that order. What’s certain is that Uber’s closet of skeletons is a gift for its many enemies that keeps on giving.
Germany bans children’s ‘smart’ watches over surveillance concerns [The Guardian/Reuters]
Planning to give your child a smartwatch for Christmas? Well, maybe you should think again. This is the conclusion of the German Federal Network Agency which decided to ban the sale of children’s smartwatches that allow parents to monitor the children and their environment. Will more European legislation bodies follow the German example? There’s definitely increasing scrutiny: BEUC reported that the Norwegian consumer organisation recently revealed that smartwatches can be used by hackers to contact children.
Likes don’t save lives goes the old digital adage, but this is about to change – at least if you choose the right emoji. From climate change to the refugee crisis, you’ve probably reacted to troubling news in your Facebook newsfeed with some form of digital anger or sadness. A new tool called the Emoji Reaction Project prompts you with three options – Donate, Do or Dial – every time you react to a post with an angry or sad emoji. Something to consider for the European Parliament’s Petition Committee? Slacktivism can be defeated!