Communications data includes data about who people communicate with, how and when they do so, how long conversations last. However, the new proposals are likely to go further than previous attempts, by requiring compilation and retention of web-logs and browser histories and, crucially, by forcing decryption of encrypted communications.
Whether we intend to or not, we form judgements about people almost immediately, to decide if they are 'friend' or 'foe' - whether we are safe in the company of someone like us, or whether we should be more alert to a potential threat. This is an instinctive reaction which, many generations ago helped our ancestors to survive.
There are changes afoot that all of us in communications need to confront. So do those who report on our sector. The biggest change of all is the need to stop thinking of competition between television and online, or between above the line and below. We should think instead about collaboration, cooperation and integration, and the significant results that we can achieve together.
'The internet and social media have empowered the PR trade and freed it from subservience to the news media.' This was the provocative starting point for an RSA debate recently, which also asked what this premise meant for the future of journalism and, more importantly, the future of public interest.
The vernacular of 'Science 2.0' has become increasingly utilised in the debate about the future of science. Many media articles and conferences focus on this topic, and the European Commission has recently held a public consultation to better understand the impact of 2.0 and desirability of policy action to enable it.
It's important to build time for creative thinking into communications rather than getting bogged down in bureaucracy. While creativity for creativity's sake can backfire, firms that fail to bring new ideas to the table will become less relevant. The key is devising a strategy that allows room for creative thinking, while ensuring that any ideas are clearly aligned with business goals.
Talking often gets bad press. Some people do it way too much. However, most organisations and leaders don't do it enough, particularly when there is an issue in play. Whether you are a football referee, or Chief Executive of a care home from which a war hero has absconded, the rule is simple: When you have nothing to say, keep quiet. But when you do, make sure you say it or others will say something else that you may not like.
In practice the biggest thing holding back the Brazilian food and drink sector is not communications but rather the poor state of domestic infrastructure. The poor reputation of the Brazilian transport sector revealed in our Index reflects the difficulties it faces in delivering what Brazilians need and expect.
The FT article on Monday by Emma Jacobs 'Publicity is free with no PRs' about the value or otherwise that PR professionals bring to their clients, was an entertaining read. But whether it painted an accurate picture of the usefulness of PR and communications, or even reflected a widely held opinion, is a different matter.