Mark Scott Profile picture
Chief Technology Correspondent at POLITICO. Email: mscott (at) politico (dot) eu. DMs open. Side projects: @FBPoliticalAds &
10 Jun 20
ICYMI -- This announcement is coming today at noon, Brussels time. But you don't have to wait that long -- we already reported everything that's coming HT: @laurenscerulus @LauKaya 👇
FWIW -- this is the EU trying to get ahead of #misinformation as part of wider push to overhaul online content rules -- a package a proposals that will be outlined by end of year.
Expect lots of chat today about the need to boost resources for official disinformation teams within the EU (ironic b/c those teams have struggled to get funding for their work for year. Me from 2017…)
Read 7 tweets
1 Jun 20
So in last few days, both Russia & China have been flooding the US w/ digital propaganda, looking to hijack the nationwide protests/violence for their own agenda.

There’s a lot to unpack here. Giddy up.

<<cue thread>>
Let’s start off w/ the basics. Since May 30, #GeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatter & other US-related hashtags have become a mainstay of official Russian/Chinese @Twitter activity. Here’s the top 10 most-used hashtags. See a trend?
@Twitter And it should go without saying that the US has now surpassed China in the country getting the most mentions, collectively, from Chinese/Russian official Twitter users.
Read 18 tweets
29 May 20
So along w/ not doing proper #privacy checks, English officials now asking for more data as part of #testandtrace:

That includes: gender, NHS number, house number, COVID-19 symptoms.

Data shared w/: NHS, Serco & SITEL (the contact tracers) & Amazon (which is hosting data)
And there you have it — no DPIA completed yet on #traceandtest, despite system already running: “Public Health England, supported by the NHS Business Services Authority, is preparing a data protection impact assessment for the NHS Test and Trace system”
Read 2 tweets
18 Feb 20
Right, so @EU_Commission will unveil a bunch of digital proposals in the morning w/ the goal of putting 27-country bloc in competition with US and China on everything from data to artificial intellegience. It’s all a little confusing, here’s what you need to know.
<<cue thread>>
So this is all about power. The new Commission wants to push aggressively into digital, making (the. correct) reasoning that whoever controls the online world will control much of the decade
We can argue if Europe can do that. But the key term is “technological sovereignty,” or the idea of decoupling from foreign (read: US and, increasingly, Chinese firms) and to promote “European champions.” More here:…
Read 20 tweets
19 Dec 19
Adviser to Europe’s top court made some pretty bold statements today about Europe’s privacy standards, US govt surveillance, @Facebook’s data practices, etc today.

But this stuff is complicated. Here’s what you need to know.

<<Cue thread>>
So let’s start off w/ the basics. This all comes down to whether Europe’s data is sufficiently protected when it’s moved outside the bloc. It forms part of a wider debate about who gets to set the global privacy rules — Europe, China, US or others.

In short, it’s a big deal
Specifically, this case (first filed by @maxschrems in 2013 w/ @DPCIreland over @Facebook’s potential misuse of his data if that information was used illegally by US national security agencies when transferred to the US) has been a long time coming
Read 27 tweets
27 Nov 19
ICYMI — US will publish report on Dec 2 over whether France’s digital tax rules (aimed almost exclusively at US tech firms) represent an unlawful barrier to trade, potentially leading to Washington imposing unilateral sanctions.
Both sides have been at loggerheads about how to tax @Google, @amazon, @facebook etc, with Paris & DC calling for a detente earlier this year as they tried to figure out a compromise
That pact just came to an end, and all eyes are now on @OECD which has promised to publish draft rules on global digital tax rules by next month (more here:…)
Read 11 tweets
15 Nov 19
So @twitter gave more details on its ban on political ads (that will come into force on Nov 22). Couple of caveats: political ad spend on Twitter is tiny vs that on @facebook, ban doesn’t cover “issues,” likely leading to groups switching from backing politicians to...
... political-related was themes like gun control or climate change.
In short, this is more about differentiating @twitter from @Facebook than it is about actual making a meaningful chance to how paid-for political messages are spread on social networks
Gotta give @jack credit for taking a stand, albeit one from an existing weak position that won’t hurt the company’s bottom line.
Read 10 tweets
8 Nov 19
ICYMI — @Facebook banned all Spanish political parties from using @WhatsApp to share political messages ahead of national election on Sunday.

That’s a big deal: 36% of Spaniards use WhatsApp to read news, so blocking political parties is, in itself, a political act
Spain (and, to a degree) Italy are on the cutting edge in terms of European countries relying on @whatsapp to share political content. India, Brazil & other emerging economies are way ahead, and FB has taken steps to limit the amount of sharing that can be done on the platform
But encrypted messaging services like WhatsApp are future of info-sharing as ppl move away from public online spheres to more local/private ones (hence why Zuckerberg is prioritizing privacy-focused services)
Read 20 tweets
11 Oct 19
.@Facebook, @Twitter & @Google say they’ve made changes to their algorithms to keep disinformation from spreading virally. But research from @oiioxford suggests Big Tech’s efforts have done little to address the problem
The report makes for an interesting read, particularly based on interviews w/ digital advertising experts. Biggest change? Brands & campaigns now have to spend more on advertising to get message across b/c algorithmic changes mean ‘organic content’ isn’t shared as much
In short, by trying to clamp down on disinformation, platforms have also made it more difficult to spread normal posts, meaning companies have actually benefited by forcing brands/campaigns to spend more on advertising to promote their messages
Read 10 tweets
24 Sep 19
So you think battle over “Right to be Forgotten” is over? Think again — in its ruling, Europe’s highest court left open possibility for EU watchdogs to demand global removals, in specific circumstances. Stay tuned.
This is the point that gives EU regulators the right to demand global application of “right to be forgotten” if person’s right to privacy is deemed to take a priority
Read 2 tweets
8 Aug 19
The ‘race to 5G’ is often over-simplified as a battle between China and the West. But as these stats on who’s submitting patents for tech that will run these future networks show, it’s a lot more complicated than that.

Why? Let me explain.

HT: @IPlytics
So let’s start off w/ basics. 5G isn’t one technology, but collection of different sorts of tech that make up overall new mobile standard. And companies worldwide submit patents to make up that standard — whoever has more standards included has a bigger say in how things work
So this is a cut-throat lobbying exercise, with all those involved in setting 5G standards voting on which patents should be included. You know ‘bluetooth?’ Well, that came from @ericsson & was named after viking king. Good times.
Read 12 tweets
29 Jul 19
Now that a ‘No Deal’ #Brexit is looking like the most likely outcome, I would (again) bang the drum for how this is really bad news for anyone who moves data btwn the UK & EU, and vice versa.

Here’s why:
Right now, as an EU country, the UK is part of the region’s privacy regime, meaning that anyone (tech company, bank, retailer) can move data freely across the EU-28. It’s the lifeblood of the economy, particularly for professional services — something that the UK does really well
But in a no-deal scenario, that ready access is turned off overnight. No ifs, ands or buts. The UK says it’ll keep data moving from its side to the EU (yay!). But the EU says you won’t be able to move data from EU-27 to UK, unless you have special mechanisms in place
Read 22 tweets
22 May 19
Europe now has arguably the world’s toughest #privacy rules. But a year in, Big Tech has been the major winner — and lobbying worldwide has framed Europe’s rules are overly cumbersome w/ @laurenscerulus & @StevenOverly

<<cue Twitter rant>>
So let’s start w/ the good news. One year in, 150k privacy complaints have been made under Europe’s #privacy rules, a marked increase vs previous years. But (and it’s a big but) very few companies have been fined, most notably @google in France w/ its €50m penalty
That doesn’t mean fines = success. It’s fair to say that companies now take data protection more seriously, and that national EU regulators *are* building cases against potential abuse.
Read 33 tweets
1 Apr 19
.@Facebook watchers — Zuck just dropped this hour long chat w/ Mathias Dopfner, head of Axel Springer & arch US tech antagonist (disclosure: Springer owns half of POLITICO’s EU outfit)
Haven’t watched the whole thing yet but it’s important b/c 1) Springer has major political clout in Germany (just ask Google), 2) Dopfner is VERY outspoken (read this Q&A w/ Welt & 3) FB needs to keep ppl like Springer happy
3) Fun fact — Springer gave Zuck its inaugural Axel Springer award back in 2016 when FB was seen as the ‘good’ US tech giant vs Google’s ‘bad behavior.’ Don’t believe me? Here’s the photo
Read 24 tweets
7 Dec 18
There’s a lot going on under the surface of @Huawei’s CFO (and daughter of founder of Chinese telecom giant) being arrested in Canada. Here’s a primer and what it all means:
<<deep breath>> Cue — twitter rant:
What you need to know is this a global gnarled between the West and China over who builds the digital highway of the future, and which govts *may* be able to leverage them for their own advantage
In the past, the likes of Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, etc have pretty much run the board of providing the equipment to build global telco networks. That made sense, cos they were only game in town
Read 23 tweets
5 Dec 18
#BREAKING: Internal @Facebook docs about to be made published. Watch this space.
@facebook For quick ‘where are we now?’ — these docs are central to US lawsuit brought by Six4Three, a startup that sued FB over access to FB user data. They’re still sealed in the US, though UK parliament seized them last week
@facebook And it’s all a bit dodgy, with @DamianCollins, Six4Three and certain media outlets (not naming them, but you can guess) all having a vested interest in these docs being made public
Read 33 tweets
27 Nov 18
Morning campers, I’ll be live tweeting from the UK parliamentary hearing into @Facebook, misinformation and fake news today. Here’s what you need to know:
Lawmakers from nine countries are here in London to gripe about why Zuckerberg didn’t show up to speak to them. Expect a lot of that, plus Richard Allan, FB’s VP of “policy solutions,” to do a lot of apologizing
Nominally, this hearing is tied to @DamianCollins’ ongoing “fake news” investigation, which has led UK officials traveling to the US for hearings (on taxpayers £). But to be clear, they have no power to actually legislate
Read 43 tweets
11 Sep 18
Morning campers! I’ll be live-tweeting from the European Court of Justice today about @Google’s “Right to be Forgotten” hearing.

What’s the main point? Should Europe (or France’s #privacy regulator) be able to apply its rules over the internet worldwide.

A recap:
La Vanguardia, a Spanish newspaper, published records in the late 1990s detailing the debt delinquencies of Mario Costeja.

About a decade later, Costeja sued, saying that the publication breached his right to privacy.
After a lengthy legal dispute, the case was referred to the ECJ which, in 2014, ruled that individuals had the right to ask that search engines like @Google remove links (but not the underlying webpages) from search results
Read 60 tweets