Australian news war escalation

It looks like Australia is going forward with their ridiculous news law (“If Australia doesn’t get their act together, they may lose all news”, newsletter #44). It passed their House of Representatives this week, and looks set to pass the Senate. It’s perfectly reasonable to have a discussion around how to save news; and it’s perfectly reasonable […]

What’s a monopoly?

It used to be the case that it was pretty easy to spot a monopoly; it also used to be pretty easy to spot anti-competitive practices; but neither of these things is necessarily so easy in the age of the Internet. When we start looking at the large Internet companies, which certainly we will be […]

What to make of the Parler shutdown

In the wake of the “assault” on the US Capitol (in quotation marks, because if you look at the video footage, it really seems a lot more like LARPing than an actual attempt at insurrection), everyone was all abuzz about how the social-media giants were handling Trump’s accounts (Twitter gave him a “permanent suspension” (I […]

Privacy, Profit, and Tech Regulation

Every country is going to regulate tech —and they’re not going to do it in the same way the US is; nor do they necessarily care what the US does. The EU is well down this path, as I’ve written before. A lot of that regulation is about protecting user privacy. Apple announced a bunch of […]

The resurgence of national tech wars

It used to be the case that much of “high tech” was considered a national security issue. This wasn’t just about ballistic missiles and targeting software. Today, everyone has strong encryption, but through the 1990s, cryptographic software was considered “munitions”, and was strongly controlled. The same applied to microchips. With the collapse of the Soviet […]

If Australia doesn’t get their act together, they may lose all news

The news business has always been tough. It’s been extra tough since the Internet came along. It’s shrinking in every possible way — relevance, number of reporters, income, readership; you name it, it’s hard to be in the news business. But as we look at the “news” on the Internet, it’s easy to see why, […]

SEC Rule Changes

Two significant rule changes came out of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week. First, there was a change in the definition of “accredited investor”. If you don’t know what that term means, then you’ve never tried to invest in a start-up — or invest in a VC fund, or buy pre-IPO stock, or […]

California vs. Uber/Lyft

In other legal battles, California passed a law known as AB5, which seeks to force so-called gig-economy workers to be classified as “employees”. California then succeeded in a case, with a judge ordering Uber and Lyft to do exactly that — convert all of their drivers to employees. Uber and Lyft retaliated, vowing to shut […]

EU restricts personal data transfers to the US

If you don’t live in the EU, and don’t run a globally-targeted website, you may be forgiven for not being familiar with GDPR — the General Data Protection Regulation of the EU. If you do live in the EU, then you’ll be intimately familiar with the endless “agreeing” you have to do to various cookie […]

Ad-tech regulation

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has released its final report on online platforms and digital advertising. This started as a preliminary look at possibly monopolistic practices by Google and Facebook, who collectively earn about 80% of UK digital-marketing spend. Parts of the UK press are already saying the report doesn’t go far enough, and that […]

Misguided efforts by Europe to save news

News is certainly in need of, and worth, saving — most “news” today is incredible, intentionally divisive, and either prurient or pernicious, and is often mendacious; and even the “good” news sources are running down the path of click-bate for headlines and poorly researched or corroborated stories. Part of this is human nature and what […]