- Resources for Journalists
The giants of Silicon Valley are taking in 70% of the profits generated by cloud computing in Europe. Despite the problems thrown up by GDPR, some of this money continues to flow through beefy public contracts.
The energy needs of these physical infrastructure, where much of the world’s digital information is stored, have grown exponentially in recent years. While business has been booming, so have concerns about their sustainability and the environmental threats that data centres present.
The Covid-19 crisis has turned us into a digital society. Large parts of our day-to-day lives now take place in the digital sphere and this has made Member States much more vulnerable to cyberattacks. To neutralise them, the European Commission launched its new Cybersecurity Strategy in December 2020.
The shadow of Russia has always loomed over the internet, but the pandemic, which moved citizen’s lives into the digital sphere, saw a rise in security breaches within European businesses and institutions. Cyber attacks against key European sectors doubled in 2020. Although Brussels is working to plug the gaps, the invasion of Ukraine threatens to intensify the cyber war.
Action is being taken to increase transparency on the processing of users’ personal data on the internet, but the main digital advertisers still rely on intrusive practices that try to influence people’s behaviours. European regulation on data protection could mitigate the issue, but its enforcement is limited
Over the years, Big Tech companies have morphed from mere platforms to major international players with vested financial and political motives and connections. Their roles in influencing elections in Europe must be seriously addressed.
When it was rumoured that banknotes could be spreading the coronavirus, banks that teamed up with card networks rubbed their hands with glee. Mastercard, Visa or the Internet giants like Google Pay or Apple Pay saw a unique opportunity to convince consumers to use their technology. Overnight, merchants in most European countries allowed card purchases for amounts that were sometimes less than one euro, with lower transaction fees, while supermarkets encouraged customers to pay for their groceries through contactless payment.
The online advertising system is based on the collection and sharing of user data, in an opaquely competitive market which rests mostly in a few powerful hands, including Google. Privacy and data protection are at issue, and Europe is debating what action should be taken.
New European legislation will significantly increase the accessibility of data produced with public finances: therefore, data produced by public enterprises, i.e. companies which provide essential services such as public transport to many cities.
How many are there? Who are they? What kind of work do they do? These are all questions that the report seeks to answer, with figures to support them.