Inside the digital society

David Souter writes a weekly column for APC, looking at different aspects of the information society, development and rights. David’s pieces take a fresh look at many of the issues that concern APC and its members, with the aim of provoking discussion and debate. Issues covered include internet governance and sustainable development, human rights and the environment, policy, practice and the use of ICTs by individuals and communities.

Inside the Information Society: Back to the blog. Four starting points to think about the future
Inside the Information Society: Back to the blog. Four starting points to think about the future 17 September 2018 David Souter

What has changed since the early days of the internet? David Souter returns with four thoughts which seem important when looking forward.  

Inside the Information Society: Does Europe’s GDPR change privacy and data protection?
Inside the Information Society: Does Europe’s GDPR change privacy and data protection? 18 June 2018 David Souter

In May, Internet users in Europe were flooded by emails from organisations telling them of changes in their data protection arrangements or asking them to renew consent to hold and use their data. Was this spam? No. It was the result of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – new European Union (EU) rules to govern how governments, businesses, charities and others can use the data individuals provide them with, and the inferences that they make from them.

Inside the Information Society: ICTs, the Internet and structural inequality
Inside the Information Society: ICTs, the Internet and structural inequality 11 June 2018 David Souter

What’s the impact of ICTs on equality and inequality? What’s the relationship between digital divides and other inequalities between women and men, old and young, poor and rich? Are new technologies reducing or increasing inequalities?

Inside the Information Society: Jobs? What jobs?
Inside the Information Society: Jobs? What jobs? 04 June 2018 David Souter

What will the digital society do to jobs? Will it usher in an age of unemployment or an age of leisure? Will we be served by robots or displaced by them? Will there be greater income inequality or less? This week: some comments on that theme, with a closing (counter-intuitive) conclusion.

Inside the Information Society: Innovation and development
Inside the Information Society: Innovation and development 28 May 2018 David Souter

Inside the Information Society returns after a break.  This week’s post (based on a speech written for a recent conference) looks at the relationship between innovation and development.

Inside the Information Society: The impact of the internet on democratic politics
Inside the Information Society: The impact of the internet on democratic politics 23 April 2018 David Souter

This story’s about many things: the power that data gives to data companies like Facebook; the potential that it gives those companies and others to influence opinion; the impact of new media on old, on politics and populism.

Inside the Information Society: Whatever happened to competition online?
Inside the Information Society: Whatever happened to competition online? 15 April 2018 David Souter

Instead of choosing between many different internet platforms, we’re dependent on a few. So what went wrong (or right, depending on your point of view)?

Inside the Information Society: Competition – what happened to telecommunications?
Inside the Information Society: Competition – what happened to telecommunications? 09 April 2018 David Souter

Last week I wrote about the relationship between innovation and regulation in communications. I identified six areas of that relationship which I said I’d write about over the next few months. First up, this week and next, is competition. This week some history and ‘points of principle’; next week, some implications for today/tomorrow. 

Inside the Information Society: Permissionless innovation and the precautionary principle
Inside the Information Society: Permissionless innovation and the precautionary principle 02 April 2018 David Souter

This week: a fundamental question about the balance between innovation, commercial interests and the regulation of the Internet: between ‘permissionless innovation’, which has been the norm online, and the ‘precautionary principle’ which is the norm in other economic sectors.

Inside the Information Society: The road to artificial intelligence
Inside the Information Society: The road to artificial intelligence 26 March 2018 David Souter

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of this year’s hottest topics. Governments and businesses are investing big-time (China’s said by some to be best placed). Wide-eyed consultancies spell out the wonders they foresee ahead (with predictions of big dollars). Androids and robots stalk the silver screen. 

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