The West wants to tear down the digital wall

Two decades ago, the company “Microsoft” was a byword in the closed technotainment. At that time, one of TECHNOBASE even compared the existence of free open-source with “cancer”. But that was then, and on April 21 of this year, the most expensive in the world, the technology company has joined the growing power of the movement in favor of liberalization data. By 2022 the company plans to launch 20 groups for the exchange of data and to reveal part of his digital information, including data for covid-19 that she managed to collect.

And as the British experts notice, Microsoft is not alone in her new desire to share in this difficult period of the pandemic coronavirus. So the head of the other giant, Facebook, mark Zuckerberg in his article published in the newspaper “Washington post” wrote: “the World is faced with pandemics before, but this time we have a new superpower: the ability to collect data, to preserve and share them for the good purposes”. Apparently so, despite the strict confidentiality policy of the EU today, some Eurocrats already agree that data sharing can boost efforts to fight the virus.

The experts of “the Economist” notice that the idea of data exchange appeared much earlier pandemics. OECD — Organization for economic cooperation and development — in fact, the club of rich countries, believes that with greater exchange of data, some States could receive an increase of 1-2. 5% of GDP. However, as noticed by experts, the assessment is based on a very bold assumption — for example, there is enabled, and the potential contribution of start-UPS if they are to have free access to the data exchange. Most economists agree that a higher data availability in General is advantageous, because the data, in contrast to oil, “non-competitive” — because by themselves they are inexhaustible, they can be used countless number of times, e.g. for simultaneous operation of various artificial intelligence algorithms.

“The economist” claims that many governments today recognized the potential of the idea — to share data. Cities from Berlin to San Francisco covered by the initiatives “open data”. According to the head of Laboratory Department at new York University From Verhulst (Stefaan Verhulst), companies are afraid of losing intellectual property, violating privacy of users and when faced with technical obstacles. This standard data formats (e.g., JPEG image) can be easily transferred, but a lot that collects software Facebook, can be absolutely meaningless to Microsoft, even after reformatting. According to the statistics Lab, today corporations are involved in less than half of the identified 113 cases of data sharing.

Campaign Microsoft are no doubt the most significant to date. Apart from promoting a non-profit exchange, it develops software, licenses, — including cooperation with the Laboratory management shall establish the rules and protocols that allow to exchange data or to provide access without losing control. A number of experts believes that in fact these steps, the company is dictated by the experience, which was from “Microsoft”: data open-source AI-bi-em (IBM) in the late 1990-ies the company used in the operating system “Linux” (Linux). As a result, “Linux” became the rival of “Conditional” and today is the basis for mobile software Google for “Android” and most of the so-called cloud computing.

The President of Microsoft brad Smith (Brad Smith) said that less than 100 companies collect more than half of all data generated online. In his opinion, more active exchange can counteract the concentration of economic and political power. According to Smith, to overcome the “digital divide” will be difficult. The data is more complicated code. Most programmers speak the same language, and staff with open source software to solve technical problems. The people responsible for the data often come from very different industries, but do not speak a common language.

Experts note that in reality, as in his time, AI-bi-em, the “Microsoft” today there are other motives besides altruism, the conquest of the sphere of open data. The company earns most of the money not by extracting value from hidden data through targeted advertising, as do the “Alphabet” or “Facebook”, and through the sale of software and services that help others to process digital information. The more data transferred, the better for Microsoft, and, according to brad Smith, this makes the company an ideal fighter for openness of data. “If You want to know who to trust,” he says, ” You have to look at the business model of the company.”

According to the magazine, perhaps this is true, however, shows large obstacles. Even if the technical and legal barriers to sharing can be eliminated, a company that owns huge amounts of data, do not want to weaken its lucrative power over information users. Therefore, despite the statements of Mr. Zuckerberg, we should not expect that Facebook will soon follow the example of Microsoft.

All this is reminiscent of the process of globalization is now a digital world. While he seems to be the best digital giants-monopolists. But then the question arises about the digital sovereignty of States.