Facebook admits to tracking users even after opt-out

Two US Senators have gained the upper-hand over Facebook in a patient game of chess which could see further action from authorities.

Responding to a letter from Democrat Senator Christopher Coons and Republican Senator Josh Hawley, Facebook Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman has confirmed Facebook use geo-location data even if the user has used opted-out through the devices operating system.

The reason behind this disregard for consent; it wouldn’t be able to serve ads to the user if it didn’t have an idea of location.

“When location services is off, Facebook may still understand people’s locations using information people share through their activities on Facebook or through IP addresses and other network connections they use,” Sherman said in the letter to the Senators.

“By necessity, virtually all ads on Facebook are targeted based on location, though most commonly ads are targeted to people within a particular city or some larger region.”

There is a logic to the Facebook response, though that does not give the app the right to ignore the fact the user may have opted-out. Facebook can still serve ads to people based on other aspects of the profile, which might present a challenge for the team.

What Coons and Hawley have done here is play a very strategic political move. Politicians in the US have been attempting to hold Facebook accountable for years, though the social media firm always seems to wriggle out of tight spots. This time, however, the two politicians have forced Facebook to admit it is ignoring opt-outs from the user. Coons and Hawley have handed a half-tied noose to Facebook and asked it to finish the job.

That said, Facebook has seemingly escaped previous scandals without severe or long-term damage (is it that worse off after the Cambridge Analytica scandal?) and may well do so again. It’s PR and disaster management gurus are proving to be some of the most competent in the industry, though there are very well-practiced so perhaps this is unsurprising.

If you are someone who wants to make sure Facebook never tracks your location, there is a way, though it is difficult. Firstly, you will have to opt-out at OS level, then find the opt-out in the application. Secondly, you will have to make sure you never tag a location in your own posts or be tagged in a friend’s post which links to a location. And don’t even think about checking-in to that new, trendy restaurant, or searching for a bargain on Market Place.

Now thanks to AI, it would also be helpful never to have a photo with a recognisable landmark in the background, or business which can be tracked. With machine vision and image recognition improving significantly day-on-day, you might only need to be stood in-front of a semi-famous painting, or the coffee shop on the corner to give away your location.

After all this, it might also be worth downloading a VPN.

Facebook has been ducking and diving past the swipes politicians and authorities have been throwing in recent months, but Coons and Hawley have made it a lot more difficult. Facebook has admitted to ignoring opt-outs, removing a lot of wiggle-room.

You don’t need to understand AI to trust it, says German politician

The minister for artificial intelligence at the German government has spoken about the European vision for AI, especially how to grow and gain trust from non-expert users.

Prof. Dr. Ina Schieferdecker, a junior minister in Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF), who has artificial intelligence in her portfolio, recently attended an AI Camp in Berlin (or KI-Camp in German, for “künstliche Intelligenz”). She was interviewed there by DW (Deutsche Welle, Germany’s answer to the BBC World Service) on how the German government and the European Union can help alleviate concerns about AI among ordinary users of the internet and information technologies.

When addressing the question that AI is often seen as a “black box”, and the demand for algorithms to be made transparent, Schieferdecker said she saw it differently. “I don’t believe that everyone has to understand AI. Not everyone can understand it,” she said. “Technology should be trustworthy. But we don’t all understand how planes work or how giant tankers float on water. So, we have learn (sic.) to trust digital technology, too.”

Admittedly not all Europeans share this way of looking at AI and non-expert users. Finland, the current holder of the European presidency, believes that as many people as possible should understand what AI is about, not only to alleviate the concerns but also unleash its power more broadly. So it decided to give 1% of its population AI training.

Schieferdecker also called for a communal approach to developing AI, which should involve science, technology, education, and business sectors. She also demanded that AI developers should consider users’ safety concerns and other basic principles from the beginning. This is very much in line with what has been outlined in the EU’s “Ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI” published in April this year, where, as guideline number one, it is stated “AI systems should empower human beings, allowing them to make informed decisions and fostering their fundamental rights. At the same time, proper oversight mechanisms need to be ensured, which can be achieved through human-in-the-loop, human-on-the-loop, and human-in-command approaches.” As we subsequently reported, those guidelines are too vague and lack tangible measurements of success.

Schieferdecker was more confident. She believed when Germany, which has presumable heavily shaped the guidelines, assumes the European presidency in the second half of 2020, it “will try to pool Europe’s strengths in an effort to transform the rules on paper into something real and useable for the people.”

The interview also touched upon how user data, for example shopping or browsing records, are being used by AI in an opaque way and the concerns about privacy this may raise. Schieferdecker believed GDPR has “made a difference” while also admitting there are “issues here and there, but it’s being further developed.” She also claimed the government is working to achieve a data sovereignty in some shape and “offer people alternatives to your Amazons, Googles, Instagrams” without disclosing further details.

The camp took place on 5 December in Berlin as part of the Science Year 2019 programme (Wissenschaftsjahr 2019) and was co-organised by the BMBF and the Society for Information Technology (Gesellschaft für Informatik, GI), an industry organisation. The interview was subjected to a vetting process by the BMBF before it could be published. As DW put it, “the text has been redacted and altered by the BMBF in addition to DW’s normal editorial guidelines. As such, the text does not entirely reflect the audio of the interview as recorded”.

Gartner predicts death of personalised marketing by 2025

Gartner has made the bold statement that personalised marketing will be a thing of the past by 2025 as consumers reject the data land grab.

The research firm has suggested 80% of marketers who have invested in personalised marketing will have ditched the concept by 2025 due to minimal ROI. Consumers have not been as generous sharing data as some would have expected, and this is having a dampening effect on the success of personalised marketing strategies.

“Personal data has long been the fuel that fires marketing at every stage of the customer journey, and the drive to find new forms of fuel and devise new ways to leverage them seems to be boundless,” said Gartner’s Charles Golvn.

“Consumers have developed an increasingly jaundiced eye toward marketers’ efforts to embrace them. Their increasingly cluttered email inboxes and mobile phone notification centres may lead them to ignore even the most carefully personalized and contextualized message.”

Although personalised marketing has been championed as a means to drive profits and stretch already strained budgets, it does appear the consumer is not convinced. There will be several reasons for this, ineffectively delivery from the marketers might be one, however the big, scary internet might be another.

Almost every week there is another story about a data leak or breach. Most recently, a Sprint contractor left thousands of customer bills on an open database for anyone with the know-how to access. These incidents undermine confidence in the ability for companies to manage customer data. If there is no confidence in these firms, consumers will be more reluctant to share additional information.

27% of marketers believe data is the key obstacle to personalization. If the fuel of these initiatives and technologies is to become more difficult to obtain, it questions whether there is any benefit to pursuing the idea.

What should be stated is this is not the end of personalisation, but these comments are directed at proactive acquisition of new customers. Numerous companies have shown that there is a benefit to implementing personalisation in customer services, answering queries of existing customers and reducing waiting time at call centres. This is a proven business case, but the pot at the end of the rainbow has been to secure profits which do not already exist.

Telecoms had a good 2019 and expects a better 2020 – survey

Our latest industry survey reveals a an optimistic outlook, largely bolstered by the launch of 5G commercial service, but also helped by innovations and progress in other quarters of the industry.

The newly published Telecoms.com 2019 Annual Industry Survey Report, produced based on the responses to the eponymous survey, took an overview of the industry landscape over the last 12 months and projects to 2020 and beyond. There is a perceptible optimism among the respondents. 57% of them think 2019 has either been good or excellent. Meanwhile, more than three quarters of the respondents are looking forward to a positive or very positive 2020.

“The waiting for the commercial launch of 5G finally came to an end this year,” said Scott Bicheno, Editorial Director of Telecoms.com. “Hardly a day would pass without us reporting some kind of 5G news, either new technology breakthrough or new business initiatives. Improved performance of many telecom companies including operators has also helped improve the mood of the industry, so have the exciting continuous innovations both on the technology and business fronts.”

The report also digs deep into the most pertinent topics of the industry, including 5G rollout and its next step prospect, opportunities and challenges of digital transformation, IoT and communication service providers’ role, and the modernisation of operating and business support systems (OSS/BSS).

The single biggest change in the industry landscape over the past year was apparently the launch of commercial 5G service in different parts of the world. Although so far, the most marketed service is high speed internet access, including on mobile and fixed mobile access, B2B services, including 5G serving other vertical industries, will clearly feature much stronger the near future.

“The success of 5G, including end-to-end network slicing, mandates a unified view across layers and domains, built upon understanding network and service topology and relevance to customers and devices,” commented Dr. Konstantinos Stavropoulos, Solution Marketing Lead, EXFO. “5G mandates actionable insights and intelligent automation to detect and resolve or to predict and prevent customer- and device-impacting issues in real time.”

Meanwhile, there is strong consensus among the respondents that telecom companies need to undergo big transformation to unleash the full potential of new technologies, primarily because the old business model, centred on connectivity provision, is losing values.

“The telecoms.com survey has been for several years the annual health check for the industry. It provides the real insight into what the industry really thinks and cuts through any hype and hyperbole. The results show the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly prospects,” said Martin Morgan, VP Marketing, Openet. “Thankfully this year there’s been more good than bad and the outlook is refreshingly positive. As the results showed the industry has turned a corner: digital transformation is well on track, new revenue streams are opening up and 5G is being rolled out.”

IoT is one of those industries that connectivity is only a small piece on the whole value chain, and telecom operators expect, and are expected, to play a much stronger role in the ecosystem.

“The 2019 survey highlights that IoT investments are well advanced today with the majority of respondents having already started to introduce services, and smart cities, utilities and industrial/manufacturing topping the list of prospective verticals,” said Ann Hatchell, CMO of Incognito Software. “Achieving excellent IoT service quality coupled with operational efficiency is clearly top of mind for CSPs and IoT providers. The research reinforced the importance of remote device management in delivering extensive automation in zero-touch provisioning, automated device discovery, and access to data telemetry to improve business intelligence and monetization opportunities,” added Hatchell.

New opportunities, presented by 5G and other new technologies and new business models, require both the network-facing and the customer-facing support networks to catch up with the change. It is encouraging to see that an overwhelming majority of the respondents recognise the demands for modernisation.

“In recent years, B2B enterprise monetisation was overshadowed by the focus on consumer monetisation which demanded digitalisation in a highly price-sensitive and data-focussed market. B2B enterprise monetisation has been allowed to fall behind in terms of service experience, efficiency and personalisation,” commented Gary Bunney, CEO of MDS Global.

“With the advent of 5G, a growing SME market and the exploding IoT market, this has to change. There are increasing requirements for ‘designed-for’ B2B BSS platforms, delivered as a cloud service, which enable cost-efficiencies and dedicated service delivery. Business demands new digital engagement tools designed for efficient and personalised interaction with enterprise markets, resellers and partners.”

Shell carpet-bombs lofty enterprise connectivity claims

It may only be a single presentation from a single company, but Shell’s indifference to the latest fads is a reminder that the telco industry has a way of over-hyping itself.

Speaking at the Private Networks in a 5G World conference in London, Johan Krebbers, Shell’s IT CTO & VP TaCIT Architecture, suggested the company has little interest in campus networks unless absolutely forced into the situation, neither in edge computing nor 5G connectivity. The 5G mis-interest should be hedged as ‘for the moment’, though it does undermine the insistence by many telcos that the enterprise segment is thirsty for next-generation technologies.

This is not to say the company is not exploring how connectivity can enhance operations, but it does place somewhat of a dampener on the buzz which is being created around the industry.

“Does it need 5G? Maybe not. But does it need connectivity? Of course, it does,” Krebbers said while discussing the projects which are being driven forward today.

Krebbers work is currently focused on using connectivity to improve the prospects of various aspects of the business. For the moment, the team is primarily focused on the manufacturing and logistics areas of operations, with a keen focus on IOT. Most of the projects are focused more acutely on data, such as predictive maintenance of assets or data-centric reservoir modelling, though many of these projects can be enhanced through solutions available today rather than the glorious next-generation technologies of tomorrow.

Again, it is worth hedging the statements here, there are of course various applications which would require the implementation of much more advanced solutions. Remote inspection of assets using drone technology will require 5G benefits such as enhanced mobile broadband and low-latency, but these are projects for the future. The most interesting elements of this presentation was the disregard for the trends which are being hyped by the telco industry today.

Krebbers said the team would rely on the public internet, not private networks, unless his hand was forced. Countries like Oman and Nigeria have poor 4G coverage therefore it is necessary to invest. Edge computing holds little interest as the team makes almost exclusive use of public cloud infrastructure and services. The team is driving towards a more predictive, not reactive, business structure which also slightly undermines the need for speed which 5G offers.

Shell is still a company which will make use of connectivity solutions, but these are not the enhanced services or products which the telcos will be searching for to generate ROI on extensive investments. In the way by which Krebber is describing Shell, the telcos sit more comfortably in the commoditised, connectivity partner column. The likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft are more likely to find favour and fortune here.

As mentioned above, this is just a single presentation at a single conference, but it does at least somewhat undermine the extravagant confidence the telcos have in the enterprise connectivity world.

Vodafone looks to Google to enhance intelligence game

Google has announced it has won out to host Vodafone’s strategic cloud platform for data analytics, business intelligence, and machine learning.

The intelligence platform, known as Neuron, allows the company to utilize real-time data analytics. It is one element of the digital transformation journey aimed at putting data as the keystone of operations. The Google Cloud Platform will be used to bring multiple data sources into a standardized format, as well as migrating Vodafone’s existing software to the cloud.

“We’re in an era of businesses leveraging the cloud to reinvent themselves and create entirely new offerings and services,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO at Google Cloud. “We’re excited that Vodafone has decided to leverage Google Cloud to ensure they successfully make the journey of business transformation.”

Vodafone might be the centre of the story here, though it is hardly alone in shifting data processing and storage away from owned-premises into partner data centres. Telecom Italia is another which is working with Google, though there are several cloud companies fighting to secure contracts with the telcos, which should be viewed as lucrative customers.

The Neuron initiative is an effort from Vodafone to embed more intelligence capabilities at the core of the business. Not only does this enable the team to offer a broader portfolio of services, but it will also ensure cost-efficiencies and proactive processes are realised for internal benefits, such as increased subscriber retention.

Intelligence is not a new concept for Vodafone, though bringing in the Google team will certainly add some more tools. On the customer experience front, Vodafone has been surging forward with the application of artificial intelligence with TOBi, a virtual assistant which not only interacts with customers to save phone calls, but aids customer service agents by presenting the most relevant information and making recommendations in real-time.

The telco industry has been slow to embrace the intelligence era, slow in comparison to the likes of Big Tech at least, though it does seem to be making progress.

With roughly 3.3 billion smartphones in use around the world, the telcos have access to a ridiculous amount of information to help in areas such as preventing customer churn, improving quality of service, targeted marketing, predictive maintenance and network planning. This data is available, they just need to figure out how to use it.

US citizens believe data collection risks outweigh the benefits

The technology world is becoming increasingly complicated and inaccessible for the majority, so it is of little surprise citizens are focusing on the negative.

A fair assumption is the majority of individuals will mistrust something they do not understand. This is not a new concept and has been evident throughout the centuries, but the technology giants have rarely helped themselves with secretive business models and presenting an incredibly opaque picture for data analysis.

According to the Pew Research Centre, a supposedly politically-neutral US think tank, the majority of US citizens do not trust the new data tsunami which is sweeping through every aspects of our lives.

Private industry Government
The citizen has little control over data collected by… 81% 84%
Risks outweigh the benefits for data collected by… 81% 66%
Concerned about how data is collected by… 79% 64%
The citizen does not know how data is used by… 59% 78%

What this data indicates is a lack of understanding, and perhaps a condemnation of the competency of those in-control of the data to manage it appropriately. This is a significant risk to anyone involved in the newly-flourishing data-sharing economy; if the general public start to push back, success will be difficult to realise.

There are of course numerous elements to consider as to why the US general public is seemingly so set against the data economy. Firstly, perhaps Big Tech has been too mysterious with the way it functions.

Few people genuinely understand the way in which the big data machine works. There might be a basic understanding of the function, purpose and outcome, but Big Tech has been incredibly secretive when it comes to the nitty-gritty details. These are trade secrets after all, the likes of Google would not want to help its rivals in creating better data-churning machines as this would erode any competitive edge. But the general public are also being left in the dark.

This generally doesn’t matter until things start to go wrong, which leads us onto the second point. There have been too many high-profile data breaches or leaks, such as Equifax, or cases where data has been used irresponsibly, Cambridge Analytica for example. When you combine negative outcomes with a lack of understanding of how the machine functions, the general public will start to become uneasy.

In general, more needs to be done to educate on numerous different areas. Firstly, how the data economy functions. Secondly, what rights individuals have to opt-out of data collections. These rights do exist, and the fact the general public is not aware is a failure of the government. Third, the general public should be aware of what is being done today; how data is being collected, stored, analysed and applied. And finally, what the big picture is, how this data can lead to benefits for society and the individual.

The issue which has been raised here is very simple to understand. The general public is beginning to mistrust the digital economy because it is being asked to trust in a mechanism without any explanation. This is a significant challenge and will need to be addressed as soon as possible. Negative ideas have a way of festering when not addressed. More education is needed or there could be resistance to progress further into the digital world.

Uber is much more than a taxi firm

To most people, Uber is just a cheap and convenient way to get home after a few drinks, but the scope of the business is extraordinary.

While the inclusion of Uber at a broadband conference might have raised a few eyebrows, the overview given by Global Head of Connectivity Rahul Vijay demonstrated the creativity, innovation and stubborn drive which has ensured Silicon Valley and its residents are some of the most influential in the world.

First and foremost, no-one should consider Uber as a taxi company anymore, at least not in the traditional sense. The taxi’s might still account for the majority of annual revenues, but the team is expanding into so many different areas it is difficult to sum up the business in a single sentence.

Aside from the taxi business we all know and love, Uber has a commercial business working with the travel teams at large corporations, the food delivery business unit is solidly position in a fast-growing segment, the team also work with insurance companies to make sure patients make it to their hospital appointments and it is also making promising moves into the freight world. In markets in south east Asia, the team has launched a 2G-compatible app and is also applying the same business model to mopeds and scooters. In Croatia, Uber has launched a boat taxi service.

These are the ideas which are up-and-running or currently being live trialled, though the R&D unit is also playing around with some interesting ideas. Autonomous vehicles, flying taxis and drone delivery initiatives are just some of the blue-thinking projects. This is a company where a lot is going on.

The interesting aspect of the autonomous vehicles is not just the technology but the supporting connectivity landscape.

“Without mobility there is no Uber,” Vijay said at Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam.

Some have suggested that Uber will never be profitable until autonomous vehicles are commonplace through the fleet, though it doesn’t seem to be the technology which is worrying Vijay; connectivity is too expensive today.

The test vehicles which are currently purring around the highways of North America transmit as much as 2 TB of data a day. This is not only a monstrous amount of information to store and analyse, but the economics of taking this data from the car to the data centres is not there. Vijay said it is still by far and away cheaper to transmit this data through optical cables than over the air, which is not practical. Until 5G arrives, and is scaled throughout the transportation infrastructure, autonomous vehicles are not a commercially viable concept for Uber.

This also opens the door up to another very useful revenue stream for Uber. With more than 110 million users around the world, 200 new trips are started every second. These vehicles are travelling through cities, countryside’s and down highways. The amount of information on mobile signal strength or the performance of mobile handoff between cell sites is boggling. These are only two areas, but Vijay suggested there could be hordes of valuable information which could be collected by the vehicles as they fulfil the core primary business objective.

For telcos, regulators, governments or cloud companies, this insight could be incredibly valuable. It could inform investment strategies or encourage policy changes. If data is the new oil, Uber is sitting on a very significant reserve.

As it stands, the company brings in a lot of money, but the prospect of profits are questionable. In the three months ending June 30, Uber revenues attributable to bookings stood at $15.756 billion. The loss from these operations was $5.485 billion. The transportation game operates on very fine margins. Share price has declined by 28% since this earnings call, though there is hope on the horizon.

If Uber can gain traction in the new markets it is pushing aggressively into there will be increased revenues, though in monetizing assets which it creates organically, the data collected from taxi trips, there could be some interesting developments.

Apple U-turns again to pull HK map app under pressure from Beijing

Apple has removed the crowd-sourced app HKmap.live, favoured by the protesters in Hong Kong, from its local App Store, after being blasted by China’s state media.

The submission of the mapping app, developed on top of the web version which could enable users to instantly track the police movements, among other things on the roads, was first rejected by Apple, on the ground that “the app allowed users to evade law enforcement.” This caused strong protest from both local users in Hong Kong and politicians in the US so Apple reversed its decision and made the app available. The US Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) told his followers on Twitter that Apple admitted it “mistakenly” failed to go through full review process the first time:

Shortly after the change of mind by Apple, the People’s Daily, one of the Chinese Communist Party’s major propaganda outlets, accused Apple of “helping HK rioters engage in more violence”. Apple quickly undertook a second reversal in days to take down the app. The company said in a statement on the decision that the app “has been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong.” The web version is still available.

This is only one of the latest actions Apple has taken after finding itself caught in a perfect political storm. One day earlier it also removed Quartz, the online news publication, from the China App Store, following complaints from the Chinese government. Apple told Quartz that the app “includes content that is illegal in China”, reported The Verge.

Quartz believed this might refer to its discussion on VPN technologies, the use of which is illegal in China, and its coverage of and links to coverage of the ongoing protest in Hong Kong. Quartz’s website is also blocked by China’s Great Firewall. A week earlier when Apple updated its operating system, iPhone users who set their locale to  Hong Kong and Macau found the Taiwan flag had disappeared from emojis.

This is just one of the highest profile cases of global companies contorting themselves to appease local political interests, with China the centre of attention not the least because of its reputation as one of the most censorious countries, Apple vs. China only epitomises the delicate balance almost all global companies are forced to strike, and not always successfully. Whenever they enter markets that operate very differently to their domestic one, these companies, especially those from North America and Western Europe, have to make a choice between the values of their origin and market pressure.

Increasingly we have seen companies surrender to market pressure, which has led to more either remedial or even pre-emptive self-censorship. Such conflict has a long history in the digital age. Back in 2010, Google pulled out of China when it decided to no longer comply with the latter’s demand for censoring search results. In the same year, India, Indonesia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, among others, demanded access to the encrypted communication carried out by the then king of instant messaging, BlackBerry Messenger, for national security and data localisation purposes. RIM, the then owner of BlackBerry, bowed to the Saudi pressure, and Nokia, who also operated messaging services, decided to set up a local data centre in India.

Recently we have seen Google’s repeated attempts to re-enter China, by offering willingly to censor content to please the Chinese authorities, despite backlashes in its own office. Meanwhile games developer Blizzard had faced a backlash for acting against a Hong Kong protester, as has the US NBA for similar activity.

IBC 2019: European Broadcasting Union joins FANG regulatory choir

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is the latest organization to start singing the praises of greater regulation, transparency and accessibility for the internet giants.

It is starting to become a tune to which we are all accustomed to, and it should come as little surprise the victims of aggressive disruption are calling for greater control, but the EBU has joined the regulatory choir at IBC 2019. Speaking during the conference, Noel Curran, Director General of the EBU, fired the shots across the Atlantic at Silicon Valley.

“Why is there no regulation in terms of data?” Curran stated. “Right now, we have an unregulated social media sector, being dominated by four or five big companies that have unprecedented amount of control.”

Again, this is a familiar story. Momentum has continued to gather behind the technology giants of Silicon Valley, compounding an already incredibly influential position. The broadcasters have been left behind, the telcos are attempting to drive relevance and the politicians are no-longer the most influential people in a country.

To add some context to the situation, one of the reasons ‘traditional’ broadcasters are in such a precarious position right now is a lack of evolution. This is an industry which progressed very little prior to the introduction of the streaming giants. Content might have changed, as has the technology to deliver said content, but the business models and engagement of consumers was stagnant.

The door was open for disruption, and if an industry doesn’t disrupt itself, troublemakers from the outside will do it.

Aside from the technology, the talent and the budgets, the FANG companies can harness the power of insight. As Curran points out above, these companies have a treasure trove of information the ‘traditional’ broadcasters can only dream of accessing. It not only allows the disruptors to create innovative business models through hyper-targeted advertising but enables them to make smarter decisions. FANG companies know their customers intrinsically, and it is fuelling growth.

This is another gripe from the ‘traditional’ broadcasting industry; the likes of Netflix and Amazon are not enthusiastic about sharing the wealth of insight. All3Media CEO Jane Turton confirmed what many of us already knew this week; the FANGs haven’t ever voluntarily or knowingly shared this valuable insight, and this is not changing.

This is the competitive edge Silicon Valley has. Sharing this data might encourage more of the ‘traditional’ broadcasting industry to sympathise with the FANGs, however why would they want to erode their advantage? It isn’t a level-playing field right now, though this is only because the FANGs are more forward-thinking and resourceful when it comes to the digital economy.

Perhaps this is something the ‘traditional’ broadcasting lobby will be pushing for in the future. Access to the data and regulation which forces FANG to play nice. The technology giants will of course resist, and we have already seen how powerful its own lobby can be, but the number of opponents is starting to add-up.