In December 2021, the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System approved its Digital Health Strategy (In Spanish, ESD-SNS), an ambitious roadmap for the Spanish health sector’s digital transition. The document appeared just weeks after the European Commission’s latest Study on eHealth, Interoperability of Health Data and Artificial Intelligence for Health and Care in the European Union.Read more
In all industries, the digitalisation process is unstoppable. And it’s been the same in the written press, which has adapted its models and structures for the online market with great effort and speed. Each day, as an essential pillar of democracy, the media provides information in compliance with the rights to give and receive information proclaimed in Article 20 of the Spanish Constitution.Read more
How can we prevent the big Internet platforms from killing off local businesses, with the devastating consequences their disappearance would have on neighbourhoods? The European Association for Digital Transition, in collaboration with the digital newspaper El Confidencial, recently organised a debate on this question in Madrid during the second edition of its campaign, ‘Save your zone’.
Among the people who participated on the panel was Concepción Diaz de Villegas, General Director of Commerce and Hospitality for the Madrid City Council, who explained the position of city hall in defence of local businesses: “It isn’t our job to educate citizens; that would be pretentious. Our job is to help raise their awareness. If you go to Amazon when you need a button, don’t complain when the haberdashery closes down. Citizens need to understand that the type of city they want depends on their buying decisions”, she argued.
The ‘Save your zone’ campaign works along these same lines of raising awareness, explained Ricardo Rodríguez Contreras, President of the EADT. “There’s a problem of concentration of power, which means that small businesses have huge difficulties to compete. We live in a sort of tsunami coming from the big platforms, which have been exploiting legal loopholes to take over markets and prevent competition,” he explained.
The good news is that, as Rodríguez Contreras affirmed, “regulators have now changed their attitude toward the big platforms. Now it’s the consumers’ turn”. From this comes ‘Save your zone’, a campaign that has been launched primarily on social media.
In addition, the EADT has also brought ‘Save your zone’ to local authorities, writing to the mayors of dozens of Spanish cities to ask for a firm and determined commitment in defence of local business.
The power of the algorithm
Also participating on the panel was the economist Javier Santacruz, who stressed the importance of small businesses working together to improve their competitive position against the big platforms. In his opinion, how the algorithms of the e-commerce giants work erodes the consumer’s criteria, which is why it’s necessary to raise awareness.
The speakers agreed that, beyond unbalanced competition in favour of big tech companies, local businesses must refine what they offer to maintain their space when it comes to decision-making by the consumer. Santacruz pointed to product differentiation as key. “In terms of costs, it’s very difficult for them”, he continued, “but they could improve this through collaborative strategies”. Rodríguez Contreras called for local businesses to be able to work on equal terms, and the directive from the Madrid City Council stressed the importance of a shopping experience linked to human warmth, although, as he pointed out, it’s also possible to buy local in the digital environment. “Cities need neighbourhood business, because without businesses they’re dead”, he declared.
For the second consecutive year, the European Association for Digital Transition is launching the ‘Save your zone’ campaign, an effort to raise awareness on the diminishing competition in business and the effects this has on various levels, such as activity in neighbourhoods, employment, and tax revenues.Read more
In the digital economy we are all, several times a day, a product. Because if the product is free, the product is us. We’re all more or less aware of this reality, which years ago went unnoticed. But we are still acting as if we were blindfolded. An Internet search engine, our favourite social network, the blue dot we follow on the map when we visit another city… we think everything is free, but it isn’t. Paying with data is paying, and with our data large technology platforms, from the United States or China, are building empires that now border on monopolies.Read more
Could the big tech companies launch an assault on the financial sector? For several years now, there have been clear indications that the group known as the GAFAs are interested in this business, but they still haven’t gone after it.Read more
The Fundación ANAR (abbreviation for Ayuda a Niños y Adolescentes en Riesgo, a group that helps at-risk children and adolescents) has been working for more than half a century to ensure promotion and defence of the rights of children and adolescents within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. In recent years, our work has been transformed by the impact of technology, which has a transversal effect on all the problems found in childhood and adolescence.Read more
The digital environment should be friendly and safe for minors. However, reality shows that websites and social networks have become a risk for children and adolescents, who suffer online from harassment, violence, intimidation… and are exposed to all kinds of content, from inappropriate advertisements to extreme pornography. Meanwhile, their data is commercialised by the large platforms that make up the Internet, who take little action to control these serious problems.Read more
World Children’s Day is again being celebrated this coming November 20th, a date chosen by the United Nations to commemorate the day in 1959 when the Declaration on the Rights of the Child was adopted. On this occasion, the European Association for Digital Transition, EADT, in collaboration with the European Commission, has organised the event “Digital Rights of Minors Online”. It will take place on November 15th at the headquarters of the Representation of the European Commission in Spain, and can also be followed in streaming.Read more
The vice president of the European Association for Digital Transition, Ana Caballero, was recently interviewed on the video blog La España que reúne, a civil society group that defends consensus around the major values in the Spanish Constitution of 1978. In her comments, Caballero spoke about the principles that drive the European Association for Digital Transition, with a special section dedicated to the latest Facebook’s scandals.Read more