A Way Forward on Data Flow Trade Discussions in TTIP

“I fully agree with that,” was the response by Antonio de Lecea, Minister of the EU Delegation to the United States.  IBM’s Steve Stewart had just expressed the view that an EU –US trade agreement resulting from the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would be an effective place to create a good template for binding rules on cross border data flows.

Stewart added that it would be possible to use the GATs framework in understanding how to have data flow principles in a trade agreement like TTIP while still respecting the right of sovereign countries to set their own privacy rules. He noted that this framework allowed countries to set their own privacy regimes, but contained a restriction that the implementation of privacy laws should not amount to a disguised restriction on trade and that enforcement had to be the least restrictive of trade possible.

At this point de Lecea expressed his agreement, and noted that it was important that trade agreements incorporate the ideas of proportionality and necessity. He added that for Europe privacy amounts to protection not protectionism.

The occasion was a public discussion on October 22 hosted by the Brookings Institution on the release of their report on transatlantic data flows.  Steve Stewart and Antonio de Lecea joined International Trade Commission Commissioner Meredith Broadbent and Brookings study author Joshua Meltzer in a spirited discussion of the extent of the electronic relationship between the world’s two largest economic communities.

This shared understanding between business representatives and the EU on how to incorporate data flow principles and privacy in a trade agreement is significant.  Several years ago the US and the EU signed an agreement on non-binding principles governing trade in information and communications technology.  Incorporating something like these principles seems like an achievable goal for the TTIP. They would have to be made binding and extended to sectors of the economy outside ICT, but they embody the right policy.

Another limitation on the ICT principles is that they exempted data protection from their scope.  But the GATs framework shows us how to integrate privacy and data flow provisions in a trade agreement.

These principles might not be absolutely essential to permit the continued flow of data between the US and Europe.  But they have the virtue of clarity.  And they send a good message to the rest of the world, where countries including China, India, Russia, Vietnam, and Malaysia have either proposed or adopted data localization rules, despite WTO commitments that indirectly forbid this.  Making data flow principles explicit in TTIP would send the message that the US and the EU intend to keep their markets open for data flows and the rest of the world should too.

Mark MacCarthy, Vice President, Public Policy at SIIA, directs SIIA’s public policy initiatives in the areas of intellectual property enforcement, information privacy, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the promotion of educational technology.

Intellectual Property Roundup

Publishers File Appeal in Lawsuit Against Used eBook Website (The Digital Reader)
The legal woes of the used ebook site Tom Kabinet continued as publishers filed an appeal of the July injunction which declared the site legal.

Publishers Win Reversal of Court Ruling That Favored ‘E-Reserves’ at Georgia State U. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its long-awaited ruling in the Georgia State e-reserve case, in which the court reversed a lower court’s fair use finding and remanded the case with instructions for further consideration.

Google Imposes New Penalty on Pirate Sites in Search Results (GigaOM)
Google is taking new measures to punish sites that host pirated content by pushing them further down its search listings.

Former Google Lawyer Lee Nominated to Run Patent Office (Bloomberg Businessweek)
Former Google lawyer Michelle Lee is being nominated to run the U.S. Patent and Trademark, after having left Google in 2012 to run the patent office’s Silicon Valley outpost and being elevated to deputy director of the full agency in January.

Getty Fails to Get Injunction on Microsoft Image Widget (Reuters)
Getty Images failed to convince a federal judge to halt Microsoft Corp’s Bing Image Widget, which it said enabled massive copyright infringement, because the software company had already taken it down voluntarily.

What Happens to Tech Policy if Republicans Take the Senate? (The Washington Post)
A look at how a change in power in the Senate could shake up the tech policy landscape.

Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

Brookings Describes Critical Role of U.S.-EU Data Flows

Data flows between the U.S. and Europe are significant drivers of trade and investment.  For this reason, it is critical that leaders on both sides of the Atlantic get data flow policy right – adopting measures that promote data flows while ensuring that privacy, cybersecurity, law enforcement and national security equities are respected.

Today, the Brookings Institution is hosting an event to highlight a new report authored by Joshua Meltzer on “The Importance of the Internet and Transatlantic Data Flows for U.S. and EU Trade and Investment.”

This discussion is both vitally important and timely. Critical components of the effort to improve the data flows framework are represented in a number of ongoing U.S.-EU dialogues, including but not limited to the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework, Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty reform, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, and the U.S.-EU umbrella agreement negotiations on law enforcement cooperation.

As these and other efforts progress, transatlantic policymakers should pay close attention to the five principal takeaways from the Brookings report.

First, data flows are mutually beneficial.  In 2012, the United States exported $140.6 billion in digitally-deliverable services to the European Union.  That same year, the EU exported to the U.S. $106.7 billion worth of digitally-deliverable services.

Second, the U.S. and the EU are globally competitive exporters of digitally-deliverable services.  In 2012, the European Union ran a $168 billion trade surplus with the world in this category.  The U.S. trade surplus was $150 billion.

Third, data flows between the United States and the European Union are so significant that the two partners have it within their power to influence how data flows will be considered all over the world.  This opportunity should be seized as data flows are a source of badly needed economic growth.

Fourth, “the majority of growth in transatlantic data flows will be generated by commercial and research needs.”  Indeed, already today almost 40% of data flows between the U.S. and EU are over business and research networks.  European firms such as BMW, Dassault Systems, and SAP are examples of this phenomenon.

Fifth, the potential for growth is particularly strong as the Internet of Things increasingly becomes a reality.  Given the EU’s $125 billion trade surplus with the U.S. in goods, data flows originating from Europe will likely increase.

Brookings has made an important contribution to our understanding of the economics of data flows.  It is our hope that this report and today’s event will help policymakers understand the mutual importance of those flows and guide their leadership in setting policy.

Carl Schonander is Director of International Public Policy at SIIA.

What’s Your Social Media Plan? Experts Tell Theirs.

What’s your social media plan?

I often think back to my conversation last month with Matt Bailey, the consultant and author who will be leading a pre-conference “boot camp” on social media next month at the BIMS Conference in Miami Beach—and presenting a session on testing. (The other two boot camps are Data 101 with expert Russell Perkins and Marketing Events with Len Roberto from Northstar Travel Media and Jeff Grizzel from FDAnews; these are 3 great add-ons for those already attending the Conference.)

My latest flashback occurred last week while listening to Skift co-founder and head of content Jason Clampet. Skift does a lot with relatively little—there are about 14 people in a staff picture on Twitter. They create lots of original content (they’ve cut down on curated content), tweet (39,000 followers), post often on Facebook (18,084 likes) and stay active on LinkedIn (3,332 followers). They regularly check Google Analytics and Chartbeat—if there’s a spike somewhere at lunch, they want to know why. It might be that SmartBrief, a news distributor they send content to, featured Skift in an article. Then it’s time to send more content to SmartBrief.

They obviously have a plan and are bringing loads of people to their site because of it. Call it lead gen-ius

“We don’t want to be wasting any time,” said Clampet. “Twitter is not as effective as Flipboard for us, so we’ve shifted our focus on social media away from putting out a tweet every 15 minutes.” They’ve automated their social media as much as possible. When a new story goes up, an auto tweet goes with it. A special headline goes out to users. Those headlines are crucial, Clampet said, because 80-90% of people share links before reading the stories. Think about it. 

“Publish great content and make sure people know it’s there,” Bailey told me. “Having a publishing schedule is the key, What content can you plan for, do ahead of time? Every Thanksgiving you can do an article about this. Get it ready. Is it good Facebook content? Two weeks later let’s put it on Facebook with a different picture and headline…You don’t pre-push on Twitter; no one cares unless it’s timely. Where does it make sense to push this article? When are we going to do it? How? Break it into little parts? Then we’ll do a content marketing and social media marketing calendar.”

Everyone uses social media yet many fail to identify who their target customers are, Bailey said. In his training he asks, what makes you decide what to put on Facebook? Your target market is upper income people in their 40s-60s. So think about who you have dealt with, the name, the face, who have you met? Are you posting Facebook updates that that person would want to read? Are you speaking to the people you’re trying to target?”

In an interview with SocialFish, Lauren Precker, social media manager for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), laid out her plan. On her commute to work, she checks for any spikes. Then “I go over the content calendars for the day to make sure everything is scheduled…and has the necessary information (images, links, and videos). The rest of the day is filled with more monitoring, emails, scheduling upcoming content, reading blogs on new social media trends/tools, working with staff to develop content, and meetings where we discuss content strategy and how social media will play a role in future events.”

She said having social media management apps on her phone is important, to make sure a crisis isn’t looming. “One of my favorite tools is Hootsuite,” Precker said. “…I like the ability to manage multiple accounts in one place and then having multiple feeds under each account. The mobile app is also valuable while managing social media onsite. You can post, monitor, and respond all from your phone or tablet. I no longer have to lug a laptop with me everywhere!”

Bailey added one concern. He watches many companies put young people and/or interns in charge of their social media “because they’re young and they know the stuff. But they don’t know how to identify target markets, he said, and lack the experience to get the most out of it.”

“There’s a decision-making matrix [in social media] that you can look at from an ROI perspective,” he said. You can look at behavior, who is contributing, whether people are reading more than one article. If they come from this source, what do they tend to do? Are they looking at that page and moving on?

I ask again: What’s your social media plan? I look forward to learning a lot more from Bailey and others in Miami.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

A Top Publisher Takes NYT Digital Innovation Report to Heart

Susan Hassler, editor-in-chief of the excellent IEEE Spectrum Magazine, concluded the Editorial Best Practices & Workflow track at last week’s SIIA Regional Training Series with a familiar refrain: use the actionable New York Times Digital Innovation Report. Her favorite line from the 96-page tome is that it used to be hitting the send button on a story marked the end of your work; today, it marks the beginning.

Hassler has put together her own Top 11 from the Times Report. Here they are with some of my notes and quotes from the Report:

1. Build your structure with Legos not bricks. “The right structure for today won’t be the right structure for tomorrow,” the Report said. “Our needs will change quickly and our skills will become out of date. More than anything we need to make ourselves adaptable. That means constantly assessing needs, recruiting talent and changing structures. And that means sometimes creating jobs with expiration dates to help us in transitional moments.”

2. Add the necessary digital capabilities to your staff. “Create tools to become a platform for the reaction after the news breaks. For example, we could create an interactive quiz or survey related to the draft, or start a moderated discussion thread with prominent figures.”

3. View your output like your audience does. IEEE launched a new mobile site in January, and since that time mobile traffic has jumped 80%—now accounting for 15% of all traffic. Part of that had to come from optimizing the designs for mobile.

4. Empower your staff to do more testing. Create a culture of experimentation. As an example, the Times Report said that people interested in the longtime hit show Wicked were having trouble finding the original Times review. They suggested adding landing pages for the cultural content that are more like guides. Optimized for search and social, these guides would serve the reader who want a more timeless resource. Most B2B publishers have similar “timeless” content that should be made easy to find. One other great quote: “Reward experimentation. Currently, the risk of failing greatly outweighs the reward of succeeding at The Times.”

5. As you enter into new areas—webinars, live events, etc.—rethink the competition. You’re taking on new types of companies now—it’s a different playing field. In-person attendees, people on the webcast, digital subscribers are all now members of your audience.

6. Consider creating a digital fellowship program. Partner with a local university or community college. “Once [students from those programs] are in the door, we have a better chance of retaining top performers.”

7. Let employees transfer easily between editorial and business units. For smaller publishers, the idea might be to give editorial people the chance to sit in on a business or marketing-side meeting/task force and vice versa.

8. Coordinate your efforts. There are pockets of people doing lots of interesting work. “The newsroom should begin an intensive review of its print traditions and digital needs—and create a road map for the difficult transition ahead. We need to know where we are, where we’re headed and where we want to go.”

9. An article begins life when you hit send. “We need to be better advocates of our own work,” the Report concluded. “[This] means identifying and sharing best practices at the ground level, and encouraging reporters and editors to promote their stories. In addition, we must take the process of optimization, for search and social, more seriously and ensure we are updating our tools and workflow along with our changing needs.”

10. Find staff people who take well to digital. Make sure hiring managers understand the demands of the jobs they’re trying to fill, and can assess the skills of applicants. Put less emphasis on traditional journalism skills in digital hires, and put more emphasis on digital skills in journalism hires. Empower and develop your digital talent by asking them to help shape, rather than simply implement, strategy.

11. Start a task force to lead the digital-first, new-product thinking. One conclusion I found interesting: “Kill off mediocre efforts. To free up resources for new initiatives, we need to be quicker and smarter about pulling resources from efforts that aren’t working. And we must do it in a way that is transparent so that people understand the reasons behind the decision, so that they will be willing to experiment again.”

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

What Winning a CODiE Award Means to Learnosity

titleThis blog was written by Patrick Gillett, Business Development, Learnosity.


While we always knew that SIIA and the CODiE Awards were influential, we did not anticipate the incredible impact that winning a CODiE Award has had for Learnosity.

Learnosity was thrilled to be nominated for a CODiE.  The evening event itself was a fantastic opportunity for us to meet C-level execs from some of the biggest companies in the education space, as well as from some smaller companies which are creating some really exciting EdTech products.

In our award category (Best K-12 Enterprise Solution) we were up against some fantastic products from both big and small companies.  Having our product named “the best” by independent judges was a great honor. For Learnosity, a relatively small company, to win is a true validation that this award is not based on past reputations, but rather on the strength of the product and the value that it brings to the industry.

What has really been impressive is the impact the award has made.  Since being named “the best”, the award has helped bring in new business, reopened previously shut doors and, of course, provided affirmation to our existing clients. Winning the CODiE has given us exposure on a national level and has delivered tangible sales and marketing benefits; we have definitely seen an increase in inbound leads since winning. The CODiE Awards have great brand recognition and immediately let people know that we are recognized as a key player in our field and that we are successfully providing innovative solutions for the difficult Common Core assessment challenges faced by our clients.

And we certainly haven’t been shy about telling the world about our CODiE Award; not only does the award itself take pride of place in our Dublin office, the CODiE Winner logo is front and center on our website and features heavily in our new marketing materials.  The visibility of our CODiE Award likely played a key role in Learnosity being named a “National Champion for Ireland,” by the European Business Awards.

Internally too, the CODiE Award has been a great recognition of the hard work and achievements of our insanely talented development team in Australia. The guys down under are that step removed from the market and don’t always hear the positive feedback from our clients. The award has really helped to motivate them and proves that what they are working on is truly helping shape education around the world. Making a difference is why most of us are in this business.  As “the best”, it’s clear that our work and vision are making a difference.

We continue to be grateful to SIIA and everyone who voted for The Learnosity Toolkit. We are constantly working to improve our product.  For us, being “the best” isn’t about a one-time award – it’s a constant commitment to deliver value and impact for our customers. We are looking forward to not only defending our title next year, but entering a couple more categories!

About Learnosity
Headquartered in Dublin and Sydney, Learnosity are a group of people who are passionate about transforming learning and assessment. We are committed to designing market-leading software which lets developers create exceptional assessment products; makes teachers’lives easier and above all instills a love of learning in students.

The Learnosity Toolkit is comprised of a suite of APIs which enable clients to easily incorporate interactive assessment, as well as authoring and reporting capabilities into their applications, eBooks and websites. By providing the the core building blocks of any digital assessment product yet leaving the end design decisions in the hands of our clients we help our partners to build better products with less time and money.







Angel ScottAngel Scott is Awards Program Coordinator at SIIA. Follow the SIIA CODiE Awards on twitter at @CODiEAwards.

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