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Historic win for Swiss anti-immigration, anti-EU party

van EU Observer - ma, 10/19/2015 - 09:17
Relations between Brussels and Bern can be expected to stay frosty after Switzerland's anti-immigration party SVP won Sunday's lower house elections.








Categorieën: Europees nieuws

Letter to MEPs of LIBE Committee: Do Not Jeopardize Our Freedom of Speech!

van La Quadrature du Net - ma, 10/19/2015 - 09:14

Paris, 19 October 2015 – On Monday afternoon, members of the European Parliament's LIBE Committee will vote on the Dati report on the “prevention of radicalisation and recruitment of European citizens by terrorist organisations”. This report contains dangerous provisions, which aim to make online platforms and hosts responsible for the distribution of messages glorifying terrorism, creating a high risk of pre-emptive censorship. Such provisions severely threaten European citizens' freedom of speech.

Dear MEP,

Monday, as part of the LIBE Committee, you will vote on the Dati report on the “prevention of radicalisation and recruitment of European citizens by terrorist organisations”. This report contains, among other things, a chapter on the prevention of radicalisation on the Internet. This chapter's provisions are extremely dangerous for many of our fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression.

This report seeks to amplify the trend to give hosts and platforms judicial power by forcing them to define themselves the legality of the content they host. Furthermore, it attempts to force them to cooperate with administrative police decisions – which circumvent the judicial power – to delete content deemed illegal by the Police or the Government.

Such provisions seriously undermine the principle of the separation of powers, a cornerstone of our democratic societies. The judicial power must not be cast aside in favour of the executive. The power to censor must not be handed over to private companies, under the pretext that such companies are the means of expression mainly used by Internet users. To delegate the regulation of recruitment messages to administrative decisions and the preventive regulation to private platforms is to leave the door wide-open to pre-emptive censorship of content and therefore, to grave and repeated violations of freedom of expression and the right to information.

What is now at stake is the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms that make up Europe's strength: giving in to the temptation of censorship, public or private (ie: by platforms and web hosting services), is to weaken the building blocks of our democracies.

You showed last Tuesday, by voting in favour of the Moraes report on electronic mass surveillance, that you intend to support the right to privacy, to freedom of expression and to freedom of opinion. Don't let this disastrous report for fundamental rights in Europe undermine the good work that you have done.

Vote against this report! Don’t give in to the harmful pressure put on you. An effective battle against terrorism should not and can not be carried out at the cost of destroying our democracies. The only viable option to guarantee all of our fundamental rights is to start this debate over on a sound basis, and as such to vote against this report.

We thank you in advance for your commitment to the liberties of the European citizens you represent.

Yours faithfully,

La Quadrature du Net

Categorieën: Technieuws

Balkan bottleneck after Slovenia puts cap on migrants

van EU Observer - ma, 10/19/2015 - 09:10
Thousands of refugees and migrants are stranded in the Balkans, after Slovenia puts a cap on the number of migrants it can allow in daily, as long as Austria and Germany keep their doors open.








Categorieën: Europees nieuws

Lettre aux eurodéputés de la commission LIBE : Ne mettez pas en danger notre liberté d'expression !

van La Quadrature du Net - ma, 10/19/2015 - 09:09

Paris, le 19 octobre 2015 — Cet après midi, les députés membres de la commission LIBE au Parlement européen voteront le rapport Dati sur la prévention de la radicalisation et du recrutement des citoyens européens par les organisations terroristes. Ce rapport contient des dispositions dangereuses, visant à rendre responsables les plateformes et hébergeurs de la diffusion de messages faisant l'apologie du terrorisme, entraînant donc de forts risques de censure préventive. De telles dispositions mettent gravement en danger la liberté d'expression des citoyens européens.

Chère députée, Cher député,

Lundi, vous voterez en commission LIBE le rapport porté par Rachida Dati sur la « prévention de la radicalisation et du recrutement des citoyens européens par les organisations terroristes ». Ce rapport contient notamment un chapitre III sur la prévention de la radicalisation sur Internet. Or les dispositions contenues dans ce chapitre sont extrêmement dangereuses pour nos libertés fondamentales et notamment la liberté d'expression.

Le rapport cherche à amplifier un phénomène visant à donner aux hébergeurs et plateformes un pouvoir judiciaire, en les obligeant à définir eux-mêmes la légalité des contenus qu'ils hébergent. En outre, il cherche à les faire coopérer à des décisions de police administrative, qui contournent le pouvoir judiciaire, pour supprimer les contenus considérés comme illégaux par la police ou l'administration.

De telles dispositions remettent profondément en cause le principe de séparation des pouvoirs, principe qui est l'un des piliers de nos démocraties. Le pouvoir judiciaire ne doit pas être écarté au profit du pouvoir exécutif. Le pouvoir de censure ne doit pas non plus être transféré à des entreprises privées, sous prétexte que ces entreprises sont les vecteurs d'expression les plus utilisés par les internautes. Faire reposer la régulation des discours d'embrigadement sur des décisions administratives et la régulation préventive par les plateformes, c'est ouvrir une porte béante à la censure préventive des contenus, et donc à des atteintes lourdes et répétées à la liberté d'expression et au droit à l'information.

L'enjeu est celui de la sauvegarde des droits et libertés qui font la force de l'Europe : céder à la tentation de la censure administrative et privée, c'est appauvrir le fondement de nos démocraties.

Vous avez montré mardi dernier, en votant favorablement le rapport Moraes sur la surveillance électronique de masse, que vous comptiez promouvoir le droit à la vie privée, la liberté d'expression et de pensée. Refusez de briser le travail positif que vous faites en acceptant un rapport désastreux pour les droits fondamentaux en Europe.

Votez contre ce rapport ! Ne cédez pas à l'influence néfaste des pressions exercées sur vous. La lutte efficace contre le terrorisme ne doit pas et ne peut pas passer par l'effondrement de nos démocraties. La seule option valable pour garantir les droits fondamentaux des citoyens et permettre de repartir sur des bases saines est de voter contre ce texte.

Nous vous remercions par avance de votre engagement en faveur des libertés des citoyens européens que vous représentez.

Cordialement,
La Quadrature du Net

Categorieën: Technieuws

[Ticker] Pro-refugee candidate becomes Cologne mayor after stabbing

van EU Observer - ma, 10/19/2015 - 08:55
Henriette Reker was elected mayor of Cologne on Sunday with an absolute majority, reports Deutsche Welle. The independent Reker had been stabbed in the neck the previous day. The 44-year old assailant took issue with her pro-refugee policies. Reker is the first woman to be elected as the city's mayor.








Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] New round of EU-US trade talks kicks off

van EU Observer - ma, 10/19/2015 - 08:54
The 11th round of the TTIP free trade talks, which starts on Monday (19 October) in Miami, will focus on government procurement standards for local businesses, reports AFP. The US is resisting EU demands to open them up to foreign competition. Technology regulations and tariffs will also be discussed.








Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] Finland lowers refugee projection figures

van EU Observer - ma, 10/19/2015 - 08:50
Finnish prime minister Juha Sipila said Sunday the projected number of migrants set to enter Finland for the whole year has dropped from 50,000 to 30,000-35,000. "Those thirty-odd thousand migrants will be a challenge. It is ten times as many asylum-seekers as last year," he said, reports state media Yle.








Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] Turkey: possible Syrian refugee exodus ahead

van EU Observer - ma, 10/19/2015 - 08:48
Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday that the battle for Aleppo, Syria's second largest city, risks creating a new refugee exodus, reports the Guardian. He said the presence of Isis, Iranian militia, and Russian attacks in Aleppo "could cause another wave of refugees".








Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] UK: Russian strikes in Syria killed hundreds of civilians

van EU Observer - ma, 10/19/2015 - 08:45
UK defence minister Michael Fallon told the BBC's Andrew Marr show that Russian airstrikes in Syria have "killed several hundred people already", reports the Independent. "What [Russia] is doing is propping up the Assad regime, making the resolution of all this more difficult", he said.








Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] German union police chief wants border fence

van EU Observer - ma, 10/19/2015 - 08:43
German police union chief Rainer Wendt wants a fence erected along the border with Austria to stem the flow of migrants, reports Welt am Sonntag newspaper. "If we close our borders in this way, Austria will also close the border with Slovenia. That's exactly the effect we need", he said.








Categorieën: Europees nieuws

Van doorstrepen naar onderstrepen

van Bits of Freedom - ma, 10/19/2015 - 08:03

Toen minster Opstelten het rapport over de “dreigtweetmonitor’ openbaar maakte, paste hij onbedoeld zijn ‘modus operandi’ aan: van doorstrepen naar onderstrepen. Bij vrijwel elk Wob-verzoek dat we doen is het raak: talloze paragrafen zijn doorgestreept, weggelakt, gecensureerd. Door per ongeluk dat rapport ongecensureerd openbaar te maken, onderstreepte hij precies ons punt.

Het is mooi dat de politie steeds vaker uit eigen beweging open is over haar werk, al is dat vaak gekleurd. Maar het is erg storend dat de politie regelmatig informatie angstvallig geheim houdt als je er netjes om vraagt. Het rapport over de tool waarmee de politie Twitter volcontinu monitort is een mooi voorbeeld daarvan.

Rekbaar begrip, dat ‘opsporingsbelang’

In de zomer van 2014 werd ons, in antwoord op een Wob-verzoek, het hele document geweigerd. Openbaar maken van die informatie zou het opsporingsbelang kunnen schaden én dat belang zou ook nog eens zwaarder moeten wegen dan het belang van openbaarheid. Omdat wij dat niet zomaar wilden geloven, hebben we bezwaar aangetekend. In november werd een nieuwe beslissing genomen. Maar nog altijd zouden veel delen gecensureerd worden, onder meer vanwege het opsporingsbelang.

Tenminste, dat was het plan van minister Opstelten, hij stuurde in dit geval ons per ongeluk het hele rapport, ongecensureerd (pdf). Maar niet voordat zijn ambtenaren netjes hadden aangestreept wat weggestreept had moeten worden. En dat is leerzaam. Want met de beste wil van de wereld is van die gemarkeerde delen niet in te zien hoe die het opsporingsbelang hadden kunnen schaden.

Een paar voorbeelden?

Hoe zou de opsporing geschaad kunnen worden als wij weten dat de politie denkt dat alles op Twitter monitoren mag op grond van de algemene taak­omschrijving van de politie?

Waarom zou het niet openbaar mogen worden dat de politie met Twitter is begonnen vanwege “het korte berichtgevingskarakter”? En zij aanneemt dat als dát werkt, het ook wel zal werken voor berichtjes die langer dan 140 karakters zijn?

En hoe zou toch het opsporingsbelang geschaad kunnen worden als bekend wordt dat de politie bij de beveiliging van grote evenementen ‘in beginsel uitgaat van risicobeheersing’ omdat “het uitsluiten van risico’s immers niet realiseerbaar [is]”?

Voordat we het document in z’n geheel publiceerden vroegen we nog even na of dat de opsporing écht niet in gevaar zou kunnen brengen. De reactie:

“[Die vraag] is […] aanleiding geweest nogmaals te beoordelen in hoeverre bezwaar bestaat tegen openbaarmaking van dit document. Bij die beoordeling heb ik vastgesteld dat de […] bezwaren die tegen openbaarmaking […] bestonden, inmiddels zijn weggenomen.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Laat de Wob nou eens werken

Wie de overheid vraagt documenten openbaar te maken en de deksel op z’n neus krijgt, doet er verstandig aan bezwaar aan te tekenen. Of zo nodig naar de rechter te stappen. Kijk maar naar bovengenoemd rapport. In de eerste beslissing volledig geweigerd. In de beslissing op bezwaar gedeeltelijk. Maar nog altijd onterecht. Dat hadden we alleen nog maar voor de rechter helder kunnen krijgen. Maar dat kost geld én het is lastig pleiten dat een gecensureerde paragraaf gewoon openbaar kan als je niet weet wat er staat.

Stompzinnig weggestreepte teksten krijgen is eigenlijk aan de orde van de dag voor mensen die regelmatig de overheid vragen documenten openbaar te maken. Dit is het eigenlijke “misbruik van de Wob” dat we keer op keer tegenkomen. Het is goed dat de Tweede Kamer de minister tot een pas op de plaats dwong. Maar nog beter wordt dit probleem nu eindelijk eens structureel door Minister Plasterk opgelost.

Categorieën: Technieuws

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

van TechDirt - zo, 10/18/2015 - 21:00

We've got another double-winner this week, with the first place for insightful and the second place for funny both going to the same anonymous comment. It came in response to the recent loss by the guy who won the original right to be forgotten case, and highlighted the fundamental irony of the law:

It would seem that the right to be forgotten has become the right to be Streisand-ed.

The second place comment on the insightful side comes from another anonymous commenter on the same post, this time in response to someone who complained that RTBF only removes search engine links. To some, and given Europe's history with a certain search giant, this alone is suspicious:

I'm of the belief that the true purpose of RTBF is to make life difficult for Google.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out on our post about the parking ticket app that stirred the ire of California cities. TKnarr suggested a design workaround to nullify the complaints:

Keep the app up, just have it email the dispute letter to the user and let them mail/FAX it in. Let the city try to argue that people are entitled to dispute the tickets but they aren't entitled to use the city's process for disputing a ticket. Even local judges aren't going to fall for that one.

Next, we've got an anonymous commenter on our discussion about orphaned works and the massive cultural black hole they represent. The comment underlines the fact that opt-in copyright would solve so, so many problems:

The sad thing is it shouldn't be that difficult to solve the problem of orphan works.

Something as simple as updating copyright law so that "registered works" receive the current copyright protections, and "unregistered works" (i.e. the stuff most likely to become orphaned works) receives shorter protection (such as 5-10 years), then enter the public domain unless registered during that period would take care of much of it. The big media companies' stuff stays locked up, and things no one is even trying to monetize enters the public domain for them to raid. It should be win/win for them, and a win for the public as well. The amount of work to register is trivial, and something that would likely be done anyways by someone looking to use their copyrights for profit.

Much of the rest of the problems of orphaned works could be solved by adding a requirement that the owner of a registered work keep periodically updated contact information on file for their copyright. If they fail to do so, the work enters the public domain after a certain amount of time has elapsed. For example, they must update their contact information every five years, and if they fail to do so, the work enters the public domain after another five years passes. The net result being that all registered works for which the owner isn't willing to take the time once every ten years to formally say "I own this. You must pay me to make use of it. Those who wish to make me monetary offers can find me here." fall into the public domain. Again, a trivial amount of upkeep, one aimed at ensuring that people can offer the rights holder money at that.

Combine the two, and a large amount of material enters the public domain after a decade, as it's owners demonstrates they aren't interested in taking advantage of copyright's protections. People doing things as a hobby have ample time and protections to decide they want to try and make money off their hobby.

Is this an ideal situation? No. It's a quick and dirty solution that tries to protect the interests of legacy big media corporations while getting orphaned works into the public domain. There's almost certainly things involved I haven't thought of. It's just an example to show that it isn't that difficult to come up with ways to deal with orphaned works while providing essentially the same protections to works that aren't orphaned. The only people who would lose out are the people that can't be arsed to take the time once a decade to say "Here I am, this is mine, pay me." In other words, the people who orphaned the works in the first place. And really, if you aren't interested or willing in doing that much, then there's no real reason for you to have the copyright in the first place.

Over on the funny side, first place goes to a response to the terrible idea that is JPEG DRM. Mr Big Content dropped by to put the debate to rest:

JPEG Will Never Suceed Without DRM

If they want there format to become popular, they will HAVE to support DRM. Do you think poeple will use a Format that lets there preciuos pictures, teh product of so much hard work, be freely copied? NO WAY! No camera vendor would touch such a format with a TEN FOOT POLE! You think Microsoft would willingly allow a piracy-friendly format into there PC OS? Adobe willingly risk the security of Photosohp by opening such a export loophole? Photo websites allow uploading any format that can be so easily downloaded by any old Tom, Dick and Harry Softwear? NOT A CHANCE!!!

So let these smart-aleck photographic "experts" (makes air quotes) WAKE UP AND SMELL TEH COFFEE!! Otherwise THERE CLEVER FORMAT PORPOSAL WILL BE LEFT IN TEH DUST BY TEH MARKET!

We've already had the second place funny winner above, so we move straight on to the editor's choice, where we start out on a post about the world's new famous orphaned work, Happy Birthday. In response to Warner's bizarre argument that a missing or incorrect name on a copyright registration shouldn't effect anything, Calvin Smith decided to get in on the action:

I've just noticed that my name is missing from the copyright notice as well. According to Warner-Chappell that means I have a valid copyright claim. I can expect a cheque in the post shortly, can't I?

And finally, after Twitter suspended some feeds for posting animated GIFs of sports highlights, That One Guy went into full-on sarcasm mode:

I used to read books, but now I just glance at the short blurb on the back, or on the inside of the dust cover, and that's more than enough for me.

I used to watch movies, but these days I find that trailers show everything I might be interested in anyway, so there's no longer any need to actually watch the full movie.

I used to listen to music, but these days it just takes too long, so now I just listen to a randomly chosen 5-second clip before moving on to the next song, and the next randomly chosen clip.

Given the above, of course short, soundless gifs are going to compete with the shows as a whole, because why would anyone bother watching an entire game if they can watch short clips from it, devoid of any sound?

That's all for this week, folks!



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Categorieën: Technieuws

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