Novice coder & Tech optimist Karina Stan, reporting from Brussels!
When you start learning to code, that’s the first line written. The formula is coming natural now as I learn to code. I used it on social media this week to announce my new position, as the Developers Alliance’s representative in Brussels. I wanted to speak directly with developers instead of the entire world. I wonder how many people outside our community understood the reference. Not many, I can tell you.
That’s the trouble, dear developers, especially with politicians (not only in Brussels), that there’s a huge lack of understanding/misunderstanding of technology. While many are smart and curious, some of them have no clue about even the simplest things and no curiosity to know some basic notions.
I’ve encountered this a few times during the negotiations on the Platform-to-Business Regulation. I represented one of the two co-legislators, negotiating on the basis of the mandate given by the EU Members States Governments. When preparing to take on the file, I searched for information. I read a lot (good for me that I’m a night owl!) about the issues related to the proposal. I wanted to understand, as much as any one person could, from a technical perspective what P2B was all about.
I talked with representatives of all the parties involved, to be sure I had the whole picture.
At some point regulating the operating systems was proposed. This connected me even further with the developers’ perspective. Similar to coding, I tried a variety of solutions until reaching the optimal compromises (if you detect any bugs in the regulation, please take note that there were many contributors).
Oh! I forgot to present myself: Karina Stan. I’m a legal expert whos spent more than 15 years on European Affairs and EU legislation. I’m joining the Developers Alliance as Director of EU Policy and Head of Brussels Office!
As an attache at the Romanian Permanent Representation to the EU for 5 years, I managed a wide range of matters related to the Single Market, Better Regulation, and horizontal legal issues. I like to call myself a tech optimist. Why optimist? I believe that technology is improving and even saving our lives. Lines of code are not unrelated to daily life; they’re providing solutions to the problems of our daily life.
This brings me back to EU politics and the legislation that comes from it. I’ve learned from first-hand experience with politicians and regulators that simplistic and populistic decision-making has the potential for disastrous consequences. Specifically on the tech industry, jobs, and the services we rely on every day. I’ve seen the need to bring the developers into these debates. Developers have the unique opportunity to raise awareness about the impact of the regulations on their business activities. Regulators should be aware that sometimes one cannot find technical solutions to comply with the rules. Technology is not magic and these solutions don’t appear like rabbits popping out of a magician’s hat.
Now my job is to keep an eye on what’s happening. I’m here to explain current rules and potential or upcoming rules that may impact your business. I’m here to represent your interests here in Brussels. I’ll be sure that your voices are heard in the complex debates to come. These are discussions about GDPR implementation (I bet you heard about it!), privacy issues, AI, cybersecurity, free flow of data, platform economy (yes, more to come, topping up Platform-to-Business Regulation), taxation, competition, and so on.
Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? All of this will directly impact your business. GDPR is the perfect example. Don’t worry, we’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, please send feedback and help us understand the problems you’re facing. We’ll teach the EU regulators that developers matter, and that it’s time they learned from us!