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

[TechDirt] German Gov't Uses Anger Over Lack Of ACTA Transparency To Justify Further Lack Of Transparency

Even though the ACTA text is now finalized, getting details from national governments about what exactly happened during the negotiations is proving extremely difficult, with information still trickling out slowly.

For example, […] the European Commission tried to counter accusations that the negotiations were lacking in transparency by pointing out that the German government had a representative present during all the sessions (that's transparency?). This was news to people, since the German government had somehow omitted to mention this fact. [...]

As well as details of who took part, there is one other category of information whose release is vital: the preparatory documents used during the negotiations. [...]

[EuObserver] EU commission admits mistake on Acta

The European Commission has said it was surprised by the scale of opposition to a global anti-counterfeit treaty, having underestimated the power of social media to mobilise protesters. [...]

“What is the power of the people? We saw it recently here in January and February when we suddenly realised that, in spite of the freezing temperatures, we had thousands of people in different squares in Europe protesting against Acta." [...]

The protests took place in several cities in Europe, resulting in a series of member states deciding to suspend ratification. The European Parliament, which can reject the treaty, received a two-million strong global petition against Acta.

The commission for its part made tactical semi-retreat in February by saying it would turn over the treaty to the EU's highest court to see if it breached any EU laws, particularly on privacy.. [...]
Martin Schulz, head of the European Parliament, recently suggested that by taking the court step, the commission had removed the immediate chance for parliament to discuss an issue that citizens feel strongly about.

[ArsTechnica] Sen. Wyden demands vote on American copyright, patent treaties

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is a long-time opponent of the secretly negotiated Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Today he introduced an amendment to a Senate "jobs bill" that would force ACTA to come before Congress for approval. A second amendment would make the US Trade Representative, which negotiates US trade deals, drop the veil of secrecy around its copyright and patent negotiations. [...]

[…] The "next ACTA" is the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional trade deal involving countries from around the Pacific Rim. Wyden wants to ensure the public doesn't have to rely on leaks to find out what's being proposed in its name.

He proposes a rule that would force USTR to release any negotiating proposals already shared with other nations in the TPP talks if they apply to "intellectual property, the Internet, or entities that use the Internet, including electronic commerce." […]

[EurActiv] EU regulators say telecoms block Skype

Mobile telecom companies regularly block voice over IP (VoIP) and prevent services such as Skype from functioning on their networks, the group that represents EU telecom regulators (BEREC) says in the preliminary findings of a much-awaited report on internet neutrality. [...]

The main concerns - which BEREC did not spell out but which are underlined by some sector analysts - are that telecom companies may hamper competition on online platforms, blocking services which could rival their offers.

With its online free-call offers and cheap telephone services, Skype provides a popular alternative to telecoms operators. By diverting traffic from VoIP services to other activities, telecoms may therefore possibly harm rivals. [...]

The European commissioner in charge of telecoms, Neelie Kroes, so far has not taken a clear position on the thorny subject. [...]

[ArsTechnica] RIAA and ISPs to police your traffic this summer

During a panel discussion held for US publishers this week, RIAA chairman Cary Sherman said his association and a number of ISPs—including AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon—will begin policing traffic to crack down on piracy starting this summer. [...]

The system involves major labels monitoring BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer networks for copyright infringement, and then reporting that infringement to ISPs, who will monitor their networks for the transgressors. [...]

Once an ISP has determined that you're accessing pirated material, there will be an "Initial Education step" in which customers are informed that they're engaging in an illegal act. A customer may get one or two of these education notices and, if the pirating doesn't stop, they'll be issued another warning. If that doesn't take, the ISP will issue a Mitigation Measure Copyright Alert, which could involve throttling or curtailing the connection, although it won't yet lead to a total cut off. [...]

[DewereldMorgen] Polen voert Europees verzet tegen antipiraterijverdrag aan

Tienduizenden Europeanen kwamen afgelopen weekend op straat om te protesteren tegen ACTA, een omstreden handelsverdrag tegen piraterij en namaakproducten. Na Polen aarzelen nu ook andere Centraal-Europese landen en zelfs Duitsland om het verdrag te ratificeren.

Zaterdag kwamen enkele honderden Polen hun ongenoegen uiten voor het presidentieel paleis in Warschau. Dat was niets in vergelijking met de hevige straatprotesten die twee weken geleden duizenden mensen op de been brachten in de grote Poolse steden. Maar nu was de buit eigenlijk al binnen: de Poolse regering heeft de ondertekening van ACTA uitgesteld en wil eerst een publiek debat voeren.
Vrije meningsuiting

ACTA is ontworpen als internationale wetgeving voor namaakgoederen, generieke geneesmiddelen en online inbreuken op het auteursrecht. Het verdrag laat de Europeanen duidelijk niet koud. Zaterdag waren er demonstraties in bijna elke EU-lidstaat: vijftienduizend betogers in München, tienduizend in Berlijn, vierduizend in Sofia, tweeduizend in Praag en honderden in andere Europese steden. [...]

"Vooral de hoogopgeleide jeugd nam het de centrumrechtse regering van Donald Tusk kwalijk dat ze getekend had", zegt socioloog Gavin Rae van de Kozminski-universiteit in Warschau. "Voor hen is het internet geen hobby, maar een levenswijze. Ze gebruiken het om te communiceren, contacten te leggen, informatie te delen en het belangrijkste: om te werken."

Volgens Rae voelden de Poolse jongeren zich al verraden door de politieke elite van hun land, en was de ratificatie van ACTA de druppel die de emmer deed overlopen. "De werkloosheid in Polen is hoog en een op de drie werkt met een tijdelijk contract, om van de vele zelfstandigen nog maar te zwijgen. Vooral de jeugd is hier het slachtoffer van."
Duitsland [...]

[TechDirt] European Commission Blames Social Networks For ACTA Failure; Worried About Its Imminent Directive On Copyright Enforcement

Now that the EU's ratification of ACTA has departed from the original script of everyone just waving it through, the European Commission is clearly trying to come up with Plan B. Some insights into its thinking can be gained from the minutes (pdf) of a recent Commission meeting, pointed out to us by André Rebentisch. [...]

The suggestion that the anger over ACTA was somehow part of an "organised campaign" looks like a continuing failure to grasp that the protests were about all Internet users across Europe coming together to defend their online community. [...]

What emerges very clearly from this is that the most senior politicians in the European Union are completely nonplussed by the power of social networks to mobilize not just Net activists but ordinary Internet users, and are struggling to deal with it. I think we can expect to see attempts to neutralize that new force by "reaching out" to social networks in a variety of ways in the coming months. One area where that will clearly happen is for the forthcoming update on the EU's "IPR Enforcement Directive", generally known as IPRED.[...]

[TheGuardian] Wi-Fi is drawing power from the mobile phone mast

Most internet traffic on smartphones is carried by Wi-Fi, suggesting mobile networks could be sidelined

From Norwich to New York, hotspots are pulsing on every street. A messy urban patchwork of Wi-Fi signals is being gradually woven into a blanket of coverage which may soon be equal to the signals pumped out by mobile phone masts.

Wireless Fidelity (a non-scientific term invented by marketing people) is considered easy to hack, and the signals can often be weak, or password protected. But they are usually free and once in, they work at speeds well above the average mobile connection.

Even for phone users, Wi-Fi has become the most popular way of accessing the internet. So why are mobile phone companies planning to spend billions connecting us to the internet via 4G phone masts ? [...]

It is a grassroots technology, promoted and funded by a ragged coalition of trade bodies, cafe owners, universities, town councils, entrepreneurs and the occasional telecoms company. Despite this, it is gaining ground against lavishly marketed mobile networks. [...]

[ArsTechnica] Copyright wars heat up: US wins extradition of college kid from England

A 23-year old student from Sheffield Hallam University in the north of England is bound for America. That wouldn't be unusual—except that Richard O'Dwyer won't go voluntarily. The UK Home Secretary has today agreed to extradite O'Dwyer over US copyright infringement charges for running a "linking site" called TVShack. [...]

[euobserver] Demand for web neutrality law following IP blocking tactics

Leading Internet freedom group La Quadrature du Net has reiterated its demands for an EU web neutrality law following last week’s disclosure that European Internet operators regularly use traffic management techniques to block access to certain online services.

BEREC, the body of national telecoms regulators across the EU, last week (6 March) submitted its first report on Internet traffic management practices to the European Commission.[...]

In a statement issued on Monday (12th March), Jeremie Zimmerman, spokesman for La Quadrature, said that BEREC’s findings “prove that EU operators impose unjustifiable restrictions to Internet access on both fixed and mobile networks”. [...]

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