Press review

The press review RSS feed

The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.

[Euronews] Europarl Hackathon: 48 hours to free European Parliament data

Imagining a hackathon concocts images of young hackers high on coffee, red-eyed after a sleepless night, trying to illegally hijack websites. But the reality is much more prosaic. A hackathon gets developers together with, depending on the goal, complementary profiles to fulfil a project within a given time – generally 24 or 48 hours. In this case the goal was trying to make sense of reams of data released by European institutions. It’s especially important with the European elections on the horizon. […]

On the other side of the room, Thomas Bouchet, from the French organization La Quadrature du Net, with a volunteer’s help, improves the organisation’s Memopol tool, designed to track MEPs’ voting habits. […]

All participants share one concern. It shows on the stickers that cover the laptops and which can be heard in every conversation: open data. Open data is data accessible to the public, in a reusable digital format under an open license. For these free-software lovers, this is second nature to them. Many of them believe this is a fundamental element of political transparency and therefore of democracy. All the NGOs present – Democracy International, Transparency International, La Quadrature du Net or Access Info – state that accessing public data and especially European institutions data is a matter of information freedom. […]

[Gigaom] Europe’s net neutrality law gets breathing space as industry committee delays vote

The European Union’s new package of telecoms laws, which includes the bloc’s first explicit net neutrality legislation, has hit a snag: a crucial vote in the European Parliament’s industry committee was supposed to take place on Monday, but was delayed, ostensibly due to a technicality over translations.

That’s the official, reasonably plausible explanation for the two-week delay, in any case. As it happens, the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee is heavily divided on the net neutrality issue, specifically over whether internet service providers should be able to degrade types of traffic to the detriment of consumers who expect the full, as-neutral-as-possible internet. […]

ITRE is a different story. Digital rights campaigners such as La Quadrature du Net have argued that proposals made by ITRE chair Pilar Del Castillo Vera and others in the committee would allow telcos to offer services in which some kinds of traffic are degraded or blocked.

They also highlight various potential loopholes and oppose measures that would allow ISPs to offer “specialized services” optimized for a specific kind of content – think IPTV, for example – without a ban on those specialized services being functionally identical to normal internet provision. […]

With the net neutrality battle having been lost for now in the United States, what happens in Europe will have a decisive effect on the future of the internet, most probably everywhere. An extra two weeks for digital rights campaigners to harangue their local MEPs can’t be a bad thing.

[GlobalPost] Canadians to see Canada-EU free trade pact legal text soon, says Fast

[...] The legal text of the Canada-European Union free trade agreement will be ready for Canadians to examine soon, possibly in the next month or two, federal Trade Minister Ed Fast said Friday.

The agreement was signed amidst much fanfare in mid-October, but finalizing the text and putting it into legal language has taken time. [...]

Some have speculated that the Oct. 18 announcement left several issues still unresolved, particularly concerning investment protection, but Fast said to expect no surprises once the legal text is made public. [...]

He said Canada may see the document before Europe, where it will have to be translated into 24 languages. Still, implementation will require ratification by all 28 EU member states and is not expected until 2015.

[WashingtonPost] Obama picks yet another industry lobbyist for key trade post

[...] The Hill reports that President Obama has tapped Robert Holleyman to be a deputy USTR. Holleyman is a former lobbyist for BSA, a software industry group that represents companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and Oracle as members. [...]

Stronger anti-piracy measures may be in the interest of BSA's member companies, but they're not necessarily in the interests of the American technology sector more generally, or in the public interest. Excessive legal protections can create legal uncertainty and discourage innovation. [...]

[...] Moreover, the growing public backlash on these issues threatens to sink America's broader trade agenda. In 2012, protests by copyright reformers in Europe led to the rejection of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in 2012.

[TorrentFreak] Lawrence Lessig Wins Damages For Bogus YouTube Takedown

Law professor, Creative Commons co-founder and advocate for copyright reform Lawrence Lessig has agreed to receive damages from an Australian music label. Without considering fair use Liberation wrongly had some of Lessig's work removed from YouTube and threatened to sue - it didn't go well. [...]

Now, according to the EFF [Electronic Frontier Foundation], Lessig has settled his dispute with Liberation after the label agreed to pay him damages and “fix” its copyright policies. [...]

“Too often, copyright is used as an excuse to silence legitimate speech,” Lessig said in a statement.

“I’ve been fighting against that kind of abuse for many years, and I knew I had to stand up for fair use here as well. Hopefully this lawsuit and this settlement will send a message to copyright owners to adopt fair takedown practices — or face the consequences.”

[FFII] Tentative remarks on leaked CETA IP chapter

Ante Wessels' analysis of the recent leak of CETA published by the German Pirate Party. He states that as European Intellectual Property laws are already not good, they should not be exported. Instead "The FFII called upon the EU commission to solve such problems and make EU law compatible with the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)."

He goes on to compare the leak with ACTA and finds some improvements but some serious flaws, especially with regard to Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) and that Patent Trolls will be able to use the enforcement mechanisms. He deplores the aim of the treaty, which does not contain "a word about access to knowledge and participation in culture" nor does it make mention of the ICESCR.

[TheGuardian] Yahoo webcam images from millions of users intercepted by GCHQ

[...] Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal.

GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.

[...] Optic Nerve was based on collecting information from GCHQ's huge network of internet cable taps, which was then processed and fed into systems provided by the NSA. Webcam information was fed into NSA's XKeyscore search tool, and NSA research was used to build the tool which identified Yahoo's webcam traffic.

[EurActiv] TTIP 'challenged' by environmental critics, EU says

Plans for a sweeping EU-US free trade deal known as TTIP risk being blown off course by civil society fears about the damage it could wreak on environmental and social protections, according to a leaked EU document seen by EurActiv. [...]

"For instance, the increasing interest of civil society in TTIP, transparency issues and the supposed risks for environmental and social standards have the potential to affect the political dynamics of the negotiation,” the document says. It may be received as a shot across the European Parliament’s boughs. [...]

It called for lawmakers to closely monitor TTIP texts, increase public awareness about their potential dangers, and “recognize that the strongest action that the European parliament could take to impact TTIP would be not to give its consent to the negotiated agreement.” [...]

[ComputerworldUK] Surveillance, innovation and user trust - Simon Says...

[...] In [Nothing to hide], we see Jeremie [Zimmermann] and a French singer performing a song together. The song is built around a frequently heard attempt to justify massive surveillance, “if you have nothing to hide, there is nothing you should worry about” - simultaneously demonstrating that the opposite is true.

While I was at first amused by this new eccentricity from my compatriot, I had to admit that the digital freedoms theme is still sadly lacking in the musical landscape. Such an initiative can thus only be applauded as an excellent step forward in terms of education. [...]

What he refers to here is at the heart of the meshed society's balance; the relationship between privacy and creativity. [...] The negative impact of massive surveillance on both innovation and user trust is of crucial concern. [...]

[NYTimes] No Big Deal

[...] [Krugman] The first thing you need to know about trade deals in general is that they aren’t what they used to be. The glory days of trade negotiations — the days of deals like the Kennedy Round of the 1960s, which sharply reduced tariffs around the world — are long behind us.

[...] But the fact remains that, these days, “trade agreements” are mainly about other things. What they’re really about, in particular, is property rights — things like the ability to enforce patents on drugs and copyrights on movies.

[...] The kind of property rights we’re talking about here can alternatively be described as legal monopolies. True, temporary monopolies are, in fact, how we reward new ideas; but arguing that we need even more monopolization is very dubious — and has nothing at all to do with classical arguments for free trade.

Syndicate content
Support La Quadrature du Net!