Essays

data surveillance

Who’s seeing your data and why?

While many social media users shrug their shoulders at the thought of tech companies selling their data, the transmission is unlikely to stop there. With China’s new data protection laws, Beijing could have access to the sensitive information of billions of smartphone owners.

Vladimir Putin at an EU-Russia summit in Brussels.

What drives Vladimir Putin?

Putin’s justifications for invading Ukraine uncannily reflect the motivations of one of Russian literature’s most famous antiheroes, Dostoevsky’s Rodion Raskolnikov. Both believe themselves to be unconstrained by conventional morality.

Estonia digital democracy

How to fix the future, Estonian style

Rather than protecting individual data privacy, the fate of democracy in our networked age might depend on establishing a new, radically transparent contract of trust between government and citizens. Estonia is leading the way.

Abandoned factory Detroit

Globalisation: why it went into retreat

Thanks to cold war, hot war, and the revived quest of many nations for a degree of industrial self-sufficiency, free market globalisation has peaked for the foreseeable future.

war on printing

The war against printing

For many, the advent of printing was nothing short of miraculous but for others it symbolised a scandalous cheapening of knowledge.

invention ANCIENT UR

Technology transfer across the ages

There are countless instances throughout history of what could be called intellectual property theft — from the appropriation of the technology of Chinese silk manufacture in Byzantium to beer-brewing or porcelain recipes in Europe. How did these technology transfers come about?

german cars

The Germans and their cars: history of a love affair

German car making is nearly as old as the nation itself and embedded in its heart, soul and mind. Replacing combustion engines with batteries is not a like-for-like swap. We are about to give up one of man’s most emotive mechanical creations; more is at stake than facts and figures.

donetsk ukraine russia donbas

Putin bets the Russia house on the Donbas rustbelt

By 1991, the Donbas, the former core of the Russian Empire’s coal, iron and metallurgical industries, was in large part Europe’s biggest rust-belt. For Russia, the benefits of annexing the region are far from clear.

terror attack

Keeping it simple: how technology shapes the terror threat

Evolving technology consistently introduces new possibilities for both the attacker and defender. The more inventive terrorists became, the more defensive measures needed to be put in place. As new countermeasures were introduced, terrorists became increasingly inventive to evade them.

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