By May 1, 2015EU insight

By the London Technology Team


With so many aspects of 21st century life now carried out online, it is not hard to imagine a time in the not so distant future in which online voting is the norm. With less than a week until Election Day, some commentators have already turned their attention to the next election and whether or not internet voting will have taken hold. Many consider online voting to be overdue and expect its introduction to reverse declining turnout among young people. However, the prospect brings with it a host of security concerns and cost implications, not to mention fears that taking voting away from public places may empower those seeking to coerce or purchase votes.

In an informative article for the BBC, Tom de Castella considers the feasibility of online voting. Castella posits, “Imagine democracy had just been invented. Would the UK government decide to set up 50,000 polling stations on Thursday 7 May? Or would the vote be taking place online instead?”

Figure 1: Instagram for doctors?

Writing for the Guardian, Samuel Gibbs covered a new innovative app that could potentially revolutionise diagnostics. Figure 1, a Canadian startup, effectively provides a sort of Instagram for doctors, allowing practitioners to share images of rare and confounding symptoms in the hope that other doctors around the world may be able to help diagnose the condition. The app only allows medical staff (any medically trained personnel) to become verified and post images – anonymously if they so wish. However, anyone can view images using the app.

With the company approving thousands of doctors a week across 40 countries, it is clear that Figure 1 is already a success. In the UK, where NHS funding is a constant source of concern for politicians, apps such as Figure 1 have the potential to drastically reduce unnecessary admissions and improve patient outcomes through speedier and more accurate diagnosis.

EU set for the Digital Single Market

The European Commission is only set to reveal its new Digital Single Market strategy next week, but their plans are already making headlines. Levelling the playing-field between traditional players and new market entrants seems to be a key concern of EU officials. Whilst names are not being named, it is safe bet that many innovative US-based companies may be affected by the proposals.

Another possible catalyst for controversy could be the Commission’s plans for copyright reform. Auxiliary copyright, exceptions, and a reform of online liability are on the cards and while the Commission seems to be seeking a balanced approach between traditional rights-holders and innovators, this will be an interesting debate to watch.

Duncan Robinson sets the scene well in the FT and David O’Sullivan has an interesting take in Wired. Also stay tuned Andrus Ansip’s twitter accounts @ansip_eu who will reveal the plan next week and is already actively commenting on the media debate.