Towards a New Legitimacy of Location Data

Today’s rapid proliferation of location data needs to be seen in the light of contextual integrity and the legal concept of purpose binding. These are side constraints on the free flow of information, entailing a balancing act between the liberties of citizens and the free flow of information.


 The challenge is not only that our Big Data Space and the Onlife World turn contexts into moving targets. More importantly, the context of economic markets tends to colonize the framing of other contexts, thus also disrupting the protection offered by purpose binding.

To safeguard informational privacy we need to engage in new types of boundary work between e.g. health, politics, religion, work on the one hand, and economic markets on the other. This eventually should enable us to sustain legitimate expectations of what location messages are appropriate as well as lawful in a particular context.

Interested? Please visit this publication page and download the new research by Mireille Hildebrandt.

Professor Mireille Hildebrandt suggests the following new definition:

Informational location privacy is the freedom from ‘raw’, networked and/or ‘processed’ location data of the referent, the sender, the addressee or the receiver of a message being shared with others without consent or necessity, and the freedom from such location data being shared for purposes incompatible with the explicitly specified and legitimate purpose for which it was first collected.”

If we take the example of Apps on smartphones as a new socio-technical practice, we can describe a series of (new) information flows. These concern location data (temporarily) stored on the device that are sent from the device to app developers, app owners, app stores, Operating Systems and device manufacturer plus third parties such as providers of analytics and advertising networks. It should be clear that we are dealing with observed data, because most users do not intend to send their location data to any of these parties, though they may have provided formal consent in order to get the service they want from the app. This also means that we are talking about messages that are sent from a device to another computing system, enabled by so-called Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that ‘offer access to the multitude of sensors which may be present on smart devices’, e.g. ‘a gyroscope, digital compass and accelerometer to provide speed and direction of movement; front and rear cameras to acquire video and photographs; and a microphone to record audio. (…) proximity sensors. Smart devices may also connect through a multitude of network interfaces including Wifi, Bluetooth, NFC or Ethernet. Finally, an accurate location can be determined through geolocation services.’ Clearly, the different types and the amount of data that is sent indicates that location data can easily be networked with other data (the unique identifiers of the device, content data from the address book, stored pictures, credit card and payment data, phone call logs, browsing history and the more) and further processed to enable, for instance, targeted advertising or simply the sale of such ‘processed’ location data to large data brokers (who may share them with online social networking sites). The relevant information flows are not limited to those between device and app service provider, but will be followed by a number of secondary, tertiary and further flows that are increasingly invisible and unforeseeable.

Mireille Hildebrandt is Professor of Smart Environments, Data Protection and the Rule of Law at Radboud University Nijmegen.

The Respect Network

Designing Your Disruption Bridge towards a Stable Normal

These days, Creative Disruption being the New Normal, organizations are constantly urged to redesign their bridge towards a Stable Normal.

Recent evidence from frightened players as diverse as The New York Times (March 2014) and the United States Armed Forces (June 2014) stresses the necessity of being prepared.

At the start of this year, former Microsoft top executive Steven Sinofsky, currently a Board Partner at Andreessen Horowitz laid out a framework, analysis and guidelines for coping with disruptive innovation in times of exponential change:




Considering these stages and reactions, there are really two key decision points to be tuned-in to:

When you’re the incumbent, your key decision is to choose carefully what you view as disruptive or not. It is to the benefit of every competitor to claim they are disrupting your products and business. Creating this sort of chaos is something that causes untold consternation in a large organization. Unfortunately, there are no magic answers for the incumbent.The business team needs to develop a keen understanding of the dynamics of competitive offerings, and know when a new model can offer more to customers and partners in a different way. More importantly, it must avoid an excess attachment to today’s measures of success.

The technology and product team needs to maintain a clinical detachment from the existing body of work to evaluate if something new is better, while also avoiding the more common technology trap of being attracted to the next shiny object.

When you’re the disruptor, your key decision point is really when and if to embrace convergence. Once you make the choices — in terms of business model or product offering — to embrace the point of view of the incumbent, you stand to gain from the bridge to the existing base of customers. Alternatively, you create the potential to lose big to the next disruptor who takes the best of what you offer and leapfrogs the convergence stage with a truly reimagined product. By bridging to the legacy, you also run the risk of focusing your business and product plans on the customers least likely to keep pushing you forward, or those least likely to be aggressive and growing organizations. You run the risk of looking backward more than forward.

For everyone, timing is everything. We often look at disruption in hindsight, and choose disruptive moments based on product availability (or lack thereof). In practice, products require time to conceive, iterate and execute, and different companies will work on these at different paces. Apple famously talked about the 10-year project that was the iPhone, with many gaps, and while the iPad appears a quick successor, it, too, was part of that odyssey. Sometimes a new product appears to be a response to a new entry, but in reality it was under development for perhaps the same amount of time as another entry.

Computers In, People Out

This video is about the inevitability of robotization. More computers in and people out of the labor force. Thanks to my colleague Gerben Tijkken that sent me this video. A 15 minutes watch, but it’s worth it.

Anyone who’s read books like “Race Against the Machine”, “Average Is Over” or “Robots Will Steal Your Job But That’s Ok”, knows that machines are getting better in tasks that haven’t been automated (yet). How will the future be like, and what about your own job? Ar you better than a computer? Really?

We Declare Bitcoin’s Independence

“When we say Bitcoin, we mean the idea: the birth of cryptocurrency. We know it’s not perfect. But we’re not after perfection, we’re after progression. We’re after a way out. And we will not stop.

We have been brought to a point where it has become necessary to dissolve the bond between currency and institution. We are not required to declare the causes which impel us to push for the separation, but we will oblige.

We hold these truths to be self-evident. We have been cyclically betrayed, lied to, stolen from, extorted from, taxed, monopolized, spied on, inspected, assessed, authorized, registered, deceived, and reformed. We have been economically disarmed, disabled, held hostage, impoverished, enervated, exhausted, and enslaved. And then there was bitcoin.

But we are in an age of appropriation, and nothing is immune. Today bitcoin is not only volatile in its value, but in its very essence. Bitcoin is in the crucial stages of development. Its code can evolve in several directions. It’s under threat from those who don’t understand it; it’s under threat from those who do understand it, but fear it.The crusade to absorb bitcoin into the seams of the State has begun. There is a conscious effort to co-opt. The goal is to swallow bitcoin, process it, integrate it, devolve it, and keep it stagnant in the gears of a failed operating system. Bitcoin’s potential is being hijacked. They have their own idea of what they want bitcoin to be. They have their own plan for its potential, and they have an investment in that plan. But our consent is withdrawn and the power of our ideas is too strong.

Do not underestimate DNA; nothing is born completely neutral. Follow the protocol: it has anarchistic implications. Bitcoin is inherently anti-establishment, anti-system, and anti-state. Bitcoin undermines governments and disrupts institutions because bitcoin is fundamentally humanitarian. There’s an elimination of 3rd party intrusion. It’s purely peer-to-peer. The blockchain is free speech. It’s decentralized, voluntary, and non-aggressive. Bitcoin is not supposed to work within our current mechanisms. Bitcoin needs not entities of authority to acknowledge it, incorporate it, regulate it, and tax it. Bitcoin does not pander to power structures, it undermines them.

Bitcoin is an animal of anonymity. Bitcoin basks in shadow. Satoshi’s facelessness is symbolic of this. Privacy is the point. Bitcoin is meant to function outside of regulatory systems. It is not a cog.

Bitcoin means to channel economic power directly through the individual. This is reflected by Satoshi’s symbolic birthday, which falls on the same day that Roosevelt signed the 6102 Executive Order, which forbade the hoarding of gold. We repeat. Bitcoin is not intended to be integrated; it’s intended to be a ghost outside the machine.

The voices of the people who are working to preserve the purity of bitcoin’s ethos are being drowned out. But actions speak louder than words. Bitcoin is utility. The cypherpunks are building anonymous systems. The crypto-anarchists are making institutions arbitrary. The internet is anarchy. And cryptocurrencies are the printless fingers of the internet.

Bitcoin is not just a currency, a commodity, or a convenience. Just like the internet gave information back to the people, Bitcoin will give financial freedom back to the people. But that’s only the first step. There will be a shift in the structure of enterprise, in the way we interact, in the way we voice our opinions, and in the way we fuel our action. Bitcoin will allow us to shape the world without having to ask for permission. We declare bitcoin’s independence. Bitcoin is sovereignty. Bitcoin is renaissance. Bitcoin is ours. Bitcoin is.”

Read here more.

Design to Disrupt! Imperative to any Organization

Seventeen years after the publication of Clayton Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail, his key concept of disruptive innovation is more alive than ever. Today, Principal Forrester Analyst James McQuivey defines the current prominent manifestation of Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation simply as follows:

“Someone who knows how to use digital tools to do things better, faster or cheaper than before.”


Mr. Christensen had to admit that he had failed to spot this obvious SMACT angle on disruptive innovation:

“I have studied disruptive innovation for more than two decades. Here, McQuivey offers insights about disruption — and about the accelerating pace of disruption — that I truly hadn’t understood before. This is a very important book about what tomorrow holds in store; it shows us both what will happen and how to address it. I recommend it enthusiastically.”

In March 2014, The New York Times sounded the alarm bell over its own existence with an extensive innovation report on the digital threats to their business, and the exposure of their overconfident inability to act.


Their take on the matter: disruption is a predictable pattern across many industries in which fledgling companies use new technology to offer cheaper and inferior alternatives toproducts sold by established players (think Toyota taking on Detroit decades ago). Today, a pack of news startups are hoping to “disrupt” our industry by attacking the strongest incumbent — The New York Times. How does disruption work? Should we be defending our position, or disrupting ourselves? And can’t we just dismiss the BuzzFeeds of the world, with their listicles and cat videos? Here’s a quick primer on the disruption cycle:

1. Incumbents treat innovation as a series of incremental improvements. They focus on improving the quality of their premium products to sustain their current business model.

For The New York Times, a sustaining innovation might be our multimedia Internet production “Snow Fall.”

2. Disruptors introduce new products that, at first, do not seem like a threat. Their products are cheaper, with poor quality — to begin with.

3. Over time, disruptors improve their product, usually by adapting a new technology. The flashpoint comes when their products become “good enough” for most customers. They are now poised to grow by taking market share from incumbents.


Hallmarks of Disruptive Innovators:
– Introduced by an “outsider”
– Less expensive than existing products
– Targeting underserved or new markets
– Initially inferior to existing products
– Advanced by an enabling technology

Next-Gen Chips Mimic Functions of the Human Brain

A computer chip designed to mimic the performance of the human brain? Yes. The chip is developed by IBM together with Cornell Tech and could prove a big step forward in the future of computing power. The chip is called SyNAPSE, which stands for Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics.

So whats the human brain part about?
This chip is capable of 1 million programmable neurons, 256 million programmable synapses and 46 billion synaptic operations per second, per watt. IBM has also tethered 16 of these chips together in four four-by-four arrays, which collectively offer the equivalent of 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses, showing that the design can be easily scaled up for larger implementations. Unlike traditional chips, who follow the lines of the von Neumann-architecture meaning that they process information step by step, this chip is able to be active on different levels and actions.


IBM calls this cognitive computing because of a dynamic that attempts to mimic the interactions of neurons and synapses in biological brains. It offers more of a organic approach to problem solving, based on hypotheses, past experiences and trail and error. Similar to a human brain. [Read more...]

Disruptive Innovation Festval

d2d1For anyone who’s looking for some inspiration this summer: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation will stage the first Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF) in 2014. Bringing together thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, businesses, makers, learners and doers to catalyse system-level change for a future economy.

A challenged linear ‘take make and dispose’ economy can be replaced by a more prosperous regenerative and circular economy – is this the ultimate disruption?


An online festival on disruptive innovation with great speakers like Wired editor David Rowan and Rachel Botsman on the collaborative economy

Free registration here

Bringing IT, OT and IOT Together

It is imperative that both IT and OT learn more about the goals, technologies, and challenges of their counterpart. An Industrial IP Advantage example video by Rockwell Automation’s Paul Brooks describes how convergence is helping manufacturers today. We need to leverage the power of IT’s knowledge of best practices for information technology deployment along with OT’s mastery of physical systems to succeed.

Download our PDF report on the Fourth Industrial Revolution of IT, OT and IOT

Click on the cover to download

Click on the cover to download

Download in English


Download in Dutch


What steps are you taking to break down silos? It calls for relationship building based on training, pilot projects and understanding of:

•Industry specific and industrial training for IT personnel (e.g. IEEE ‘Plain Talk’)
•Professional development courses for OT personnel on IT technologies
•Executive education courses in information/process maturity
•Courses on business process models, e.g. ITIL, CMMI
•Cross-training and multi-month assignments across departments
•Cross-functional team projects
•Personal relationship development across departments
•Mentoring programs supported and sponsored by executives

Source: Industrial IP Advantage

Summer Sum Up: Top 10 VINT posts in 2014 So Far

You are probably on holiday of either just got back or patiently waiting to go.. In this post I wanted to highlight some of the great articles that have been published this year on the blog so far. A summer reading-list, I hope you enjoy it.

The trends in topics are clear: everything internet of things and wearables related was really popular. Also a good sign: our new research topic for 2014/2015 called Design to Disrupt already claims three spots in this top 10.