The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.
In an early update, I wrote about the leak of the European Commission's communication strategy for "overcoming public scepticism" about TAFTA/TTIP. The key section was probably the following: "Making sure that the broad public in each of the EU Member States has a general understanding of what TTIP is (i.e. an initiative that aims at delivering growth and jobs) and what it is not (i.e. an effort to undermine regulation and existing levels of protection in areas like health, safety and the environment)." [...]
This is something else I had not appreciated. The removal of "non-tariff barriers/measures" is one of the most contentious areas of TTIP since those "barriers" are things like health and safety regulations. The fact that their removal is being treated as "welfare-enhancing" - improving the lot of society - is a truly outrageous redefinition of both society and welfare. It might well boost the bottom lines of companies that pollute the environment, say, but that can hardly been called "welfare enhancing". Thus what are currently being counted as benefits are probably actually costs, as the Austrian economists go on to point out [...]
As I hope you can see, this [study, pdf here] is a really important contribution to the TTIP debate, since it not only examines existing studies, and subjects them to an extremely detailed analysis running to dozens of pages, but it also raises crucial issues that have so far been almost completely ignored. Key among those are the costs of TTIP - which turn out to include aspects that somehow have been magically transformed into benefits, simply by ignoring their true impact on the public. [...]
With Facebook and Google cited by consumers as “worst abusers” of private data, is this week's White House report on big data and privacy — and its discrimination concerns — too little, too late? […]
While the U.S. government gets ready to state the obvious later this week, and privacy profiteers dive into swimming pools of our personal data like Scrooge McDuck, telling us to stop sharing isn't the answer. […]
A complaint to the Irish Data Protection Commissioner regarding the transfer of Facebook user data from Europe to the US National Security Agency (NSA) was “extremely important” in light of the Edward Snowden allegations, the High Court was told today.
The court heard arguments that Commissioner Billy Hawkes wrongly refused to investigate a complaint that an Irish arm of social network giant Facebook could not permit the mass transfer of personal data to US intelligence services operating the Prism surveillance programme.
The Data Protection Commissioner was not entitled to “turn a blind eye” to the allegations by the former NSA contractor Snowden , the court was told by Paul O’Shea BL, counsel for Austrian law student Max Schrems. [...]
The Federal Communications Commission, America's telcoms regulator, has formulated a plan to allow internet service providers (ISPs) to charge companies for the right to “premium” access to its customers. This is the worst internet policy news imaginable. It should strike terror into the heart of anyone who cares about fairness, politics, the widening gap between the rich and the poor, fair trade, entrepreneurship, or innovation. The FCC now stands as the world's foremost symbol for “regulatory capture,” and its chairman — a former cable executive lobbyist — is the poster child for an unhealthy relationship between industry and its regulators. […]
And the networks are not the carriers' alone. The carriers may pay to dig the trenches and drop the conduit and copper, but they run their wires through our dirt. If carriers had to negotiate for every linear metre of roadway, pavement, and car-park in order to run their wires, the legal bills alone would bankrupt them, to say nothing of the actual fees land owners and cities would be able extract from them. We're talking trillions, here. The only viable way to build a telcoms network infrastructure is by securing a priceless public subsidy in the form of free access to rights-of-way.
Having efficient and solid services infrastructure is vital for any economy. But what a powerful group of countries is trying to do at the Trades in Services Agreement (TISA) talks, currently being negotiated in outside of WTO rules, goes beyond "just" trade issues. Current talks include the opening of important public policy issues like financial regulation, immigration, privacy and healthcare. […]
Who in a democratic country will accept their government secretly agreeing to laws that so fundamentally shift power and wealth, bind future governments and restrict their nation's ability to provide for citizens?
These issues are too important to be left to trade negotiators to decide behind closed doors. If our governments have nothing to hide they should immediately release all text under negotiation. After the experience of the last 10 years the public will no longer accept being told that we should trust big business and government -- and not worry ourselves about what we don't know. […] These negotiations have been deliberately kept away from the public eye, but if our governments do not want a repeat of Seattle, they need to come clean with whats in the this agreement.
European Union lawmakers believe that micro-licensing could solve copyright problems related to user generated content (UGC), according to a European Commission document leaked on Monday. […]
However some digital rights activists say the Commission has missed the point. “Users who are generating content are in general not worried about getting paid. They worried about getting sued for using the pre-existing work,” said Caroline de Cock, coordinator of Copyright4creativity. […]
[...] TISA: the Trade in Services Agreement. If, like me, you've never heard of this, you might think it's a new initiative. But it turns out that it's been under way for more than a year: the previous USTR, Ron Kirk, informed Congress about it back in January 2013 (pdf). Aside from the occasional laconic press release from the USTR, a page put together by the Australian government, and a rather poorly-publicized consultation by the European Commission last year, there has been almost no public information about this agreement. A cynic might even think they were trying to keep it quiet.
Perhaps the best introduction to TISA comes from the Public Services International (PSI) organization [...]
Why the European Commission's consultation on ISDS is a sham, and fails to provide the promised "draft"
In my last update, I noted that the problems with investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) are multiplying, as lawyers latch on to the fact that it is an extremely efficient way of extracting large sums of money for very little cost (for example, I mentioned one case where an investment of $5 million led to an award of $900 million for "lost profits".) In fact, things are so bad even the European Commission has noticed. [...]
A blog post by Tim Wu, inventor of the term "network neutrality", comments on the implications on the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, who have "proposed a new rule that [...] permits and encourages [...] broadband carriers acting as gatekeepers and charging Web sites a payola payment to reach customers through a “fast lane.”[...]"
"This is what one might call a net-discrimination rule, and, if enacted, it will profoundly change the Internet as a platform for free speech and small-scale innovation. It threatens to make the Internet just like everything else in American society: unequal in a way that deeply threatens our long-term prosperity."
[...] "The new rule gives broadband providers what they’ve wanted for about a decade now: the right to speed up some traffic and degrade others. (With broadband, there is no such thing as accelerating some traffic without degrading other traffic.) We take it for granted that bloggers, start-ups, or nonprofits on an open Internet reach their audiences roughly the same way as everyone else. Now they won’t. They’ll be behind in the queue, watching as companies that can pay tolls to the cable companies speed ahead. The motivation is not complicated. The broadband carriers want to make more money for doing what they already do. [...]"
The Federal Communications Commission said on Wednesday that it would propose new rules that allow companies like Disney, Google or Netflix to pay Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon for special, faster lanes to send video and other content to their customers.
The proposed changes would affect what is known as net neutrality — the idea that no providers of legal Internet content should face discrimination in providing offerings to consumers, and that users should have equal access to see any legal content they choose.
“If it goes forward, this capitulation will represent Washington at its worst,” said Todd O’Boyle, program director of Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative. “Americans were promised, and deserve, an Internet that is free of toll roads, fast lanes and censorship — corporate or governmental.”