Skip to main content

The Google Dilemma

No, it wasn’t me who took down Google last night but something obviously happened, severe enough to cause a lengthy outage across their Blogger servers.

The column I wrote for Silicon “Just whose legislation rules the internet” last week, was of sufficient interest for me to include it in a meeting at Westminster. on the evening before the ecrime congress. With luck, it may provide a little background detail as a foundation for an adjournment debate on the internet and law, which I think is planned for next week, Parliamentary time permitting.

It has placed Google in a slightly awkward position and as one observer told me (paraphrased), “I don’t think that when pressed with a UK court order, Google UK will refuse to comply with a proper request for information. However because of the brand and the sheer volume of potential complaints they might receive, they are more likely to hide behind the smokescreen of US law in order to discourage such enquiries.”

This view reflects an earlier conversation I had with one of Google's company’s directors, an old friend from Microsoft. Google is most cooperative but appears internally divided between its proper US and European legal obligations. However, the internet, as one might expect, provides more than one way to skin the proverbial cat and so in the example given in my Silicon column, Google’s cooperation was ‘nice to have ‘but subsequently not ‘need to have’.

The last time I explored the subject of the internet and the law was when I wrote “March of the Spiders”, which had a section on ‘Notice & Takedown’ (NTD) in regard to copyright legislation. That report, which was published the ‘Aediles’ and the Conservative Technology Forum, was subsequently used as a submission to the European Parliament in the most recent review of the EUCD, the EU Copyright Directive.

There are still reference copies sprayed around the web and there’s a back-link to the original document for interest here.

Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

The Big Steal

I’m not here to predict the future;” quipped the novelist, Ray Bradbury. “I’m here to prevent it.” And the future looks much like one where giant corporations who hold the most data, the fastest servers, and the greatest processing power will drive all economic growth into the second half of the century.

We live in an unprecedented time. This in the sense that nobody knows what the world will look like in twenty years; one where making confident forecasts in the face of new technologies becomes a real challenge. Before this decade is over, business leaders will face regular and complex decisions about protecting their critical information and systems as more of the existing solutions they have relied upon are exposed as inadequate.

The few real certainties we have available surround the uninterrupted march of Moore’s Law - the notion that the number of transistors in the top-of-the-line processors doubles approximately every two years - and the unpredictability of human nature. Exper…

An Ockham of Gatwick

The 13th century theologian and philosopher, William of Ockham, who once lived in his small Surrey village, not so very far from what is today, the wide concrete expanse of Gatwick airport is a frequently referenced source of intellectual reason. His contribution to modern culture was Ockham’s Razor, which cautions us when problem solving, that “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct;” sound advice which constantly proves to be true.

A week further-on since Britain’s second busiest airport was bought to a complete standstill by two or perhaps two hundred different drone sightings, it is perhaps time to revisit William of Ockham’s maxim, rather than be led astray by an increasingly bizarre narrative, one which has led Surrey police up several blind alleys with little or nothing in the way of measurable results.

 Exploring the possibilities with a little help in reasoning from our medieval friar, we appear to have a choice of two different account…