Last month technicians from GCHQ, the UK electronic surveillance agency, stood over journalists from The Guardian newspaper to make sure that they destroyed a computer containing files leaked to them by Edward Snowden, the former contractor to the US National Security Agency. This week the British police abused anti-terror legislation to detain David Miranda, the partner of Glenn Greenwald, a Guardian journalist, and seize his files. Coming up next: officials from the NSA and GCHQ bang their heads against a brick wall in frustration at having allowed Mr Snowden to abscond with their secrets. It would be as effective, and legal.
This time last year, I wrote a New Year column with seven predictions for events that would occur in business in 2011. It is time for reckoning and I must say that I scored poorly, with only three out of seven correct.
To be fair to me, the predictions were deliberately provocative. As I noted at the time: ”They are intended to be adventurous enough to be interesting – even if I turn out to be wrong, they should at least be things to watch.”
I was at least right about that. With no more excuses, let’s take a look at my predictions and what happened. Read more
The success of the New York Times metered paywall – it has gathered 224,000 digital-only web subscribers in its first four months (as well as 57,000 Nook and Kindle subscribers) – raises one obvious question: who will be next?
I was sure enough that the NYT’s experiment, in which readers who access more than 20 articles a month have to pay a subscription although articles accessed through social media links remain free, would work that I made a bet on it with Felix Salmon, a vociferous sceptic.
Felix backed down gracefully this week, acknowledging that I am extremely likely to win. My bet was that the NYT would have at least 300,000 digital subscribers after two years, so my bet should go into the money fairly soon (and Felix will owe me $100 for every 100,000 NYT digital subscribers above that figure). Read more
Do I detect a dilution of The Guardian’s stance against charging for its digital content?
Well, that’s what I thought I heard from Alan Rusbridger, at a lunch in New York on Tuesday, when he talked about The Guardian’s “mutual” model of journalism and his firm stance against an online paywall of the kind that is soon to be implemented by The Times and The Sunday Times. Read more