The Great Debate UK
from John Lloyd:
The files stolen from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden, the quiet American who has turned the security world inside out, drip out week by week – in The Guardian, on the new website The Intercept, financed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, in the German weekly Spiegel and in the Washington Post. The last of these outlets had the latest installment on Monday. It told us that “ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike” had been swept into the NSA’s computers in far greater numbers than foreigners reasonably suspected of possible terrorist links.
The leaks present the most profound challenges to free societies, because freedom is not a steady state -- once acquired, never lost -- but rather one that constantly waxes and wanes, loses and gains.
The first of these challenges is to journalism itself, and it’s twofold. Snowden, the journalist Glen Greenwald who is an associate in publishing the files and others in the “radical leaks” community, such as Julian Assange, believe that the extent of the surveillance and the power it gives to the state to oppress citizens is so great that only their form of journalism is capable of exposing the danger and rousing people to opposition. Greenwald writes in his memoir, No Place to Hide, that journalism must be “an act of aggression against the government.” He thinks that the check the Fourth Estate is supposed to provide to government “is only effective if journalists act adversarially to those who wield political power.” The largest dereliction of journalistic duty is to be “subservient to the government’s interests, even amplifying rather than scrutinizing its messages and carrying out its dirty work.” His view is an angry, uncompromising challenge to the values and practices of the mainstream media.
Yet the other challenge to journalism that industrial-scale leaking poses is that of the huge power it places in editors’ hands, as to what to publish and what to redact. Journalists, even responsible ones (and I believe in the responsibility of those who sit in the editorial chairs of the Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post and Spiegel) cannot know in every detail what the dangers of publishing secrets are, how far they might aid would-be terrorists. It’s a reasonable suspicion that the security services exaggerate the danger. It’s unreasonable to suppose there is none.
from The Great Debate:
The people behind the smartphone apps Snapchat and Tinder have the power to reshape how we interact with our romantic and sexual partners, and how we seek and have sex itself.
That’s an enormous responsibility -- one that requires maturity, good judgment and a healthy respect for gender equality. The problem is, a few of the people behind Snapchat and Tinder seem to have none of the above.
–Anka Mulder is Vice-President for Education and Operations at Delft University of Technology. She was formerly Global President of the OpenCourseWare consortium.—
Education and research infrastructure, such as laboratory facilities and digital learning networks, play an increasingly important role in diffusing knowledge and technology to enhance prosperity. At a time when the overall EU budget has decreased for the first time ever, education and research programmes such as Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 continue to receive significant funding increases, but Europe is still falling behind other areas of the world in building digital infrastructure.
from The Great Debate:
Imagine a place where retired-four-star General Stanley McChrystal, warmly shakes your hand and insists you call him Stan. He means it, too, joking when the word general pops out of your mouth while you position him properly in front of the cameras for a brief interview. He wants to talk about getting young people involved in public service through a program where they would dedicate a year of their lives to improving the country. But he's game to talk about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, too. He served in both -- becoming the man in charge in Afghanistan before comments he made to Rolling Stone that were critical of the Obama administration ended up costing him his job.
McChrystal makes a strong impression, and a positive one. And he's not the only one who wants to talk with at least the appearance of frankness. In Aspen, Colorado, for the 10 days of the annual Ideas Festival, we're all equals -- of a sort. In my five days there, I met no one who wanted to be called mister, senator or any other title. It was first names all around, with the good and great wearing khakis, or even shorts. If people were trying to impress, it was mostly through trying hard to not impress at all.
from Anatole Kaletsky:
Matteo Renzi, the prime minister of Italy who took the revolving presidency of the European Union this week, seems to be the sort of man that Napoleon was referring to when he reputedly said that the key qualification he sought in recruiting a general was good luck.
Renzi become prime minister without even needing to win an election because Silvio Berlusconi and all other rivals self-destructed. He took power just after Italy passed the lowest ebb of its economic fortunes. In May, he was rewarded for his good fortune by Italy’s voters, who anointed him with a strong democratic mandate in the same European elections that discredited almost all Europe’s other national leaders. Now he is taking the helm in Europe, as an economic recovery is starting and the European Central Bank is swinging decisively in support of growth.
The private healthcare sector is booming. Cut backs in the NHS mean more people are taking out health insurance and looking to private hospitals to provide their care.
–Guy Walsh is Regional Director at ABN AMRO Commercial Finance PLC. The opinion expressed are his own.–
The automotive industry is the UK’s largest sector in terms of exports, generating around £30 billion of annual revenue, but many smaller players in the sector languish due to a lack of funding.
from Jack Shafer:
At the rate I'm going, the number of people I follow on Twitter will have dropped from 640 to zero on July 13, after the last World Cup match concludes.
I've never been sentimental about Twitter, randomly unfollowing gassy and predictable feeds when flooded by their abundant and stupefying tweets, or pruning my list to make room for new voices. I can only assume that other Twitter devotees similarly budget their accounts, otherwise how could one keep up with the traffic?
In the aftermath of Liverpool and Uruguay footballer Luis Suarez biting an opponent yet again, and with such aggression that he scarred the player’s arm and hurt his own teeth, FIFA has banned him for nine games, and psychologists are trying to justify his behaviour by saying that Suarez must have been humiliated and frustrated in his youth. I, in contrast, am asking whether Mark Carney and co. should learn to be a little more like Suarez?
Let me make this clear, I am not advocating that members of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee give each other a good bite if they disagree on policy (imagine the bite marks at the ECB if that was socially acceptable), but they should metaphorically pull a few Suarez’s from time to time.
–Vashi Dominguez is founder of Vashi.com. The opinions expressed are his own.–
“Fancy”, coloured, diamonds have been in the news recently on the discovery of an enormous 122.5 carat blue diamond at Petra Diamond’s famous Cullinan mine. They account for just one in every 10,000 diamonds produced, and have long been cherished for their beauty and rare form, retaining value and making prized and valuable jewels within the diamond industry. But recently, there has been even greater fascination than usual.