The great airline refund scam

At first 12, now 16 EU member states are looking to overturn rules requiring airlines to refund passengers with cash payments if their flight had been cancelled as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions. The companies have been lobbying the European Council to disable Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the […]

“Papers, please” cannot return

The coronavirus lockdown drags on, yet only a few fringe fanatics (and France, but I repeat myself) support continuing complete shutdowns of the world’s economies. However, even those countries that have opted to end forced quarantines still present a range of worrying responses. One of these ongoing debates surrounds the so-called “Corona apps,” with which […]

Modern agriculture is actively under threat — we need to save it

Mycotoxins represent an active and palpable threat to the health of consumers, with millions affected particularly in developing nations. The open hostility towards certain crop protection measures has emphasised this problem, as fungicides are coming under fire. The scientific method and consumer health should be the metrics of public agricultural policy.

Quoted in Yahoo! Finance

I was quoted in Yahoo! Finance for being a part of Season 6 of the Free Market Series on PBS. The Free Markets Series introduces viewers to the principles of the free market through interviews with some of the most dynamic and influential thinkers and activists in the United States and Canada. Season 6 features: Calixto Chikiamco, President […]

Health advocates are using this crisis to further restrict alcohol

Global health advocates do not have their priorities straight, argues Bill Wirtz With the recent news that has revealed the structural deficiencies of the World Health Organisation (WHO), one would believe the UN’s global health body would be interested in laying low on other issues that would make it unpopular. However, in some strange death wish, […]

Quoted in the Financial Times

I was quoted in the Financial Times on the issue of mass surveillance. You can read the full article here. “Privacy advocates aim to spot potential transgressions. “If tracking of individual movement is on the table, then that is unlikely to be in line with existing privacy laws, even in a crisis,” says Bill Wirtz, […]

Monsters of our own creation

The initial solidarity of the response to the coronavirus was overwhelming. People clapped for hospital staff; balcony choirs amazed the #StayAtHome social media crowd. Those who objected to lockdown policies were few and quickly dismissed as naysayers and contrarians. Since then, weeks have passed. In the United States, lockdowns are fresh creations, still not applied […]

The worrying acceptance of tracking our phones

“Corona apps” are coming to Europe, to help governments in “trace and track” efforts to manage their coronavirus response. Tracking apps were already widespread in some Asian countries before the now but privacy rights have largely discouraged their adoption in the West. Even in the face of a global pandemic, we shouldn’t rush to discard […]