analysis

In France, Smart City Policing is Spreading Like Wildfire


In March, we started unveiling what is surrounding the Orwellian project
"Smart City™" in Marseille. But, as it turns out, Marseille is but a tree hiding the forest, as predictive policing and police surveillance centers boosted by Big Data tools are proliferating all over France. Nice is a good illustration: The city's mayor, security-obsessed Christian Estrosi, has partnered with Engie Inéo and Thalès -- two companies competing in this thriving market -- for two projects meant to give birth to the "Safe City™" in Nice. Yet, in the face of the unhindered development of these technologies meant for social control, the president of the CNIL (France's data protection agency) seems to find it urgent to... follow the situation. Which amounts to laisser-faire.

Dominant Telcos Try to End Net Neutrality Through ITU

For some months now, there have been intense discussions on the threats raised by the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). In December, the 193 Member States of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations, will gather in Dubaï for this important conference aimed at amending the ITU's founding treaty, the "International Telecommunication Regulations" (ITRs).

ACTA Mobilization, And Beyond

Paris, April 19th, 2012 - In the next few weeks, the EU Parliament will continue to work on ACTA, the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement, ahead of its final vote around the summer. This is a crucial moment for the citizen mobilization against ACTA, which will have to resist the growing pressure that the copyright lobbies put on the Parliament. Beyond the rejection of ACTA, the whole EU copyright enforcement policy needs to be revised. Only a reform of copyright can protect once and for all fundamental rights online of EU citizens and push the online creative economy in a new direction, away from blind repression. Here is a state of play on the next steps of the mobilization in the European Parliament.

Net Filtering Violates the Rule of Law

Last year, in their decision regarding the controversial LOPPSI bill, French constitutional judges held that Article 4 of the bill, which allows the French government to censor the Internet under the pretext of fighting child pornography, is not contrary to the Constitution. In doing so, the French constitutional court failed to protect fundamental freedoms on the Internet, and in particular freedom of expression. Hope now lies with European institutions, the only ones with the power to prohibit such administrative website blocking and its inherent risks of abuse.

A Strategy Looking Through ACTA and Beyond

Over the last two weeks, events have radically altered the course of the debate on ACTA and its ratification procedure, both at the EU and Member States levels. The tremendous citizen pressure definitely had an effect and altered the balance of power. Scared that ACTA might promptly be rejected, EU Commissioner De Gucht managed to delay the procedure by one or two years. With clear objectives in mind, it might be time to look also beyond ACTA to understand how we can collectively attempt to protect our freedoms online while fixing the broken copyright regime currently waging war on the free Internet.

Study Calls on EU Regulators to Free Up the Airwaves

The European Commission released a ground-breaking study on shared access to radio spectrum. The study, conducted by SCF Associates Ltd, calls for a sweeping reform of wireless communications policies, so as to free up more airwaves and pave the way for "super-WiFi" networks. The EU is severely lagging behind the US when it comes to adapting spectrum policy to new needs and possibilities, and this study should sound as a wake-up call for policy-makers.

Karel De Gucht's Fake ACTA Debate

Last week, the Trade Commissioner De Gucht, the same who recently declared he was “not afraid of the anti-ACTA demonstrations”, went on to explain why, considering the wave of criticism on ACTA, he is now turning to the European Court of Justice to assess whether ACTA would be detrimental to fundamental rights1.

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