Views on Europe's digital transformation from the Digital Policy Bloggers Network

19 June 2012 Author: Ajit Jaokar

Ajit Jaokar has been monitoring the online conversation of the DAA online platform and circulated a questionnaire to the Digital Policy Bloggers Network, based on the hottest topics among the themes of discussion (Converged media platforms, High-speed connections, E-commerce, Social Media, Data, Cloud, Security, Innovation and entrepreneurs).

 The objective of such survey is to extend the feedback beyond the DAA community and to make people aware of the DAA.

The survey has the following characteristics:

  • The participants are domain experts vs social media experts (overall 14).
  • The participants were asked to select the questions they wanted to respond to amongst the list. Some responded to all, some responded in detail to a few. Thus, the responses are self-selective.
  • The participants were asked to give first impressions.
  • Ajit has used his discretion in selecting and structuring the questions from the DAA i.e. these are all hot topics (based on responses and in the hot topics section of the DAA forum). But he has converted them into question format and selected the layout.

The responses revealed some surprising trends: which we highlight below alongwith my analysis. The most interesting responses in bold.


Would you be willing to pay for the latest episode of your favourite TV show if a legal way was offered to you? Alternatively, would you accept to sit through a few seconds/minutes of advertising in exchange for video content?

Ajit’s comment: “Overall the response was YES. This is positive for the content industry. There was a willingness to pay the content creator (and not the distributor) and one person never watched TV ever!”

  • Yes, I would pay. My favourite shows are professional, big budget productions, and I would like to contribute to them getting made. Ads would be fine in the beginning/end of a show, but if I was catching up and watching several episodes in a row, I’d prefer to pay rather than watch ads.

Is crowdfunding a viable option to finance creative content?

Ajit’s comment: “I am a fan of crowdfunding and in the USA, this is a viable trend with companies like kickstarter and growvc. I was interested to see responses to this idea(as specifically applied to creative content) with one respondent actually having experience of crowdfunding. Overall, this was a YES – but with caveats.”        

  • Of course. In the 17th century Mozart and Beethoven were crowdfunded by the state (Keiser) to make music. They wanted to be artists and needed enough funding to be able to produce their art. Its only in the 20th century that artistic licence has become a capitalistic venture.

Poland has introduced open digital text books. What do you think are the pros and cons of Open digital textbooks i.e. free digital textbooks under the creative commons license?

  • The public purse should no longer pay for closed materials. A knowledge commons is essential 

Are Google and PayPal right to complain to the EU that telecom operator mobile wallet JVs are anti-competitive?

Ajit’s comment: “The responses to this question show that the discussion is not one sided. At one time, the Telecom Operators were perceived to be monopolistic but we now see a more balanced view with distrust of the web players as well.”

  • NO. They are frightened to lose their Empire. They do not want to share and accept the competition. Google and PayPal are anti-competitive.
  • While I haven’t followed this story about such complain, the complain should not be valid as long as the operator is not precluding others (Google and PayPal) from introducing their own products, and operators are not using their position to introduce bias that favours them with respect to fairness; this includes access to user data and so on. Based on previous history I can see how the operator would use its position to prevent others to succeed in this space (for example, I am a strong believe this way of thinking from the operator is why adoption of mobile payments and NFC for that matter has not really happened).  

Is NFC (near field communication radio) the right mobile wallet enabling technology?

Ajit’s comment: “Another question for which there was a mixed response i.e. one would think the NFC is a ‘done deal’ based on industry hype. That is definitely not reflected in the responses.”

  • The jury is still out. Why do you need NFC if you have MobileWeb?
  • Some might say that a hardware-based solution like NFC could hold security advantages to web-based solutions, but I don’t necessarily agree. I think the latter will prevail.
  • I am not convinced. It seems NFC is overkill with large costs associated with rolling out hardware.

"The Internet economy generates 2.6 new jobs for every job lost and helps reduce the effects of isolation for a number of rural areas" (source - creating trust in the digital single market). Do you agree with this statement?

Ajit’s comment: “We take the benefits of the Internet economy for granted but a definite statement like this leads to some skepticism.”

  • I don’t think the stats up like this. 2.6 jobs for every job lost sounds unrealistic. Possibly in the future, but this is not true for the region I live at the moment.
  • I agree with the statement, but not necessarily with the numbers per-se (2.6 new jobs). Keep in mind I am responding to this survey from the USA perspective.

Should we have European level Trustmarks for websites?

Ajit’s comment: “A question getting two sided responses – for instance good idea but wrong to mandate.”

  • Yes, a few years ago some blogger blogged that Steve Jobs had died and wiped of nearly 5% of Apples market cap. Sources need to be qualified.
  • This sounds like something from the 90’s.  I prefer the internet to “run wild”.
  • This sounds like it could be ISO XXXX. And, all it means is that websites will have to jump through significant hoops in order to achieve the trustmark. In fact, it will disadvantage start-ups who will not have the resources or the time to go through the vetting process associated with kitemark approval (and similar).

Should spectrum be harmonised across the EU? (Can it be?)

  • Yes. From a technical standpoint, it shouldn’t be an issue.
  • This is probably not possible.

Is it a good idea to release ‘Open Apps’ i.e. open source and open data released under a single open source licence released by governments for other governments?

Ajit’s comment: “This question was based on an interesting entry from the CIO of the Basque government – the idea was new to most people but got attention.”

  • Yes. These products are created by governments run with taxpayers money. Governments are not  corporates they are civil servants so everything they do is in the public domain.
  • It would be very interesting to see how this ecosystem would evolve along several directions – update by developers, usage of the apps by end users, regulations from governments, self-regulation, revenue model.

Are Smart Cities going to be about Big data? Ie could the business case for smart cities be based on big data?  

  • Big data is a big part of understand both “dumb” and smart cities. The business case for smart cities can be presented (not based) via the analysis of big data, especially comparing non-smart cities with smart-cities data. 

Do we need a ‘pagerank’ like algorithm for sensor data? (depicting the level of trust)?

  • Yes, although unlikely to be as reductionist as to a single metric. Computing will evolve a "trust plane".

Should Europe build its own cloud technology, or use existing developments?

Ajit’s comment: “The responses to this question are interesting. The normal perception is that EU should create its own cloud technology due to USA regulation but we see both sides of the discussion.”

  • Never re-invent the wheel. Existing developments should be used at European Level.
  • It shouldn't be necessary to reinvent the wheel for Europe's cloud technology as this may increase complexity and cost.
  • I think it should. But what is wrong with using Google Drive or Amazon Cloud/ iCloud?
  • Legally Europe has to. We have no legal leg to stand on if you look at the EULAs imposed on us by American companies.

What are the most relevant obstacles for Cloud adoption by SMEs?

  • Education/ ability to change

Will customers care if we have a ‘Green’ rating for clouds?

  • Yes, especially over time

Gartner Says Cloud Adoption in Europe Will Trail U.S. by At Least Two Years Gartner has identified four main inhibitors for cloud in Europe over the next few years:
Inhibitor 1: Diverse (and Changing) Data Privacy Regulations
Inhibitor 2: Complex B2B Multienterprise Integration and Processes
Inhibitor 3: The Slowness and Undesired Effects of Some EU Policies
Inhibitor 4: The Investment Hold Caused by the Euro Crisis
Do you agree?

  • YES X 4

Which top 3 security concerns keeps you up at night?

  • Personal data being shared automiatically via the sign up to certain sites. I often feel the opt-in/ opt-out options when signing up are confusing and ofetn you don’t actually know whether you’re signing in or out when you tick “that box”.

Ajit Jaokar




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