[Ticker] Greek mayor in anti-migrant protest warning

van EU Observer - ma, 02/08/2016 - 09:07
Protests against a migrant registration centre on Greece's Kos island could turn deadly, local mayor Yiorgos Kyritsis has warned. Scuffles broke out on Friday when 100 protesters tried to enter the site. The EU has demanded Greece build the centre - a so-called hotspot - to deal with the influx.

Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] NGO Statewatch is looking for a home for 7,000 documents

van EU Observer - ma, 02/08/2016 - 09:06
Civil liberties group Statewatch is searching for a home for more than 7,000 documents on EU justice and home affairs from 1976-2000, most of which remain officially unpublished. The group is looking for an individual, organisation or institution willing to pay for the collection and delivery of the documents.

Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] German, French central bankers call for eurozone ministry

van EU Observer - ma, 02/08/2016 - 09:02
The eurozone needs to go ahead with closer integration, including a eurozone finance ministry, to deliver sustainable growth, the heads of the French and German central banks wrote in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, arguing that the European Central Bank was not in a position to create long-term growth.

Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] Bosnian women protest headscarf ban

van EU Observer - ma, 02/08/2016 - 09:00
Around 2,000 women in Bosnia have protested against a ban imposed by the high judicial council on wearing Islamic headscarves and "religious signs" in courts and legal institutions. Headscarves were banned under the Communist Yugoslavia until Bosnia, whose population of 3.8m comprised 40 percent Muslims, declared independence in 1992.

Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] Spain raids suspected jihadist cell

van EU Observer - ma, 02/08/2016 - 08:59
Spanish police have arrested seven people suspected of operating a supply network for Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq. The seven suspects - five Spaniards of Middle Eastern descent, one Syrian and one Moroccan - were detained on Sunday in raids in Alicante, Valencia and the enclave of Ceuta.

Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] EU 'to make multinationals' tax bills public'

van EU Observer - ma, 02/08/2016 - 08:58
Multinational firms such as Google, Facebook and Amazon could be forced to publicly disclose their earnings and tax bills in Europe, according to an EU Commission proposal reported in the Guardian. The legislation, to be submitted in April, comes after transparency groups criticised a tax-avoidance package proposed last month.

Categorieën: Europees nieuws

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

van TechDirt - zo, 02/07/2016 - 21:00

This week, we balked at the amount of copyright propaganda crammed into the ESSA education reform act. That One Guy won most insightful comment of the week with his thoughts on what copyright education should actually look like (and will to perceptive students, no matter how it's presented):

Oh by all means, let's teach schoolkids more about copyright.

Let's teach them that nothing made during their lifetime will enter the public domain, if it ever does, because the laws keep getting retroactively expanded anytime it looks like something might do so. Teach them that because of this, any remixes or rehashes, fanfics or fan made films exist only at the 'generous' whims of the copyright holder, and can be crushed at any time.

Let's teach them that sharing a song, or ripping a copy for a friend to listen to, something I imagine most of them would do or have done without a thought, is not only illegal, it carries a potential fine large enough to purchase a decent car or even house, despite the fact that said songs can be bought for a buck each.

Let's teach them that the likes of the *AA's are constantly pushing the idea that it's everyone else's job to act as unpaid copyright cops, making it risky for online services like youtube to host user created content without bending over backwards to try and 'appease' copyright owners, and that if the *AA's and their like had their ways, services like youtube, VCR's, MP3 players, and anything like them, would not exist.

Let's teach them about how completely and utterly one-sided the law is, where there is no penalty for making a bogus claim that gets something taken down wrongly, and the only risk is if a site or service doesn't do so immediately.

Let's teach them that simply having a radio where anyone else can hear it is considered a 'public performance', and collection agencies will try to shake down anyone who does so, that those same collection agencies will demand payment even from businesses that don't play their music just in case they do, and that in at least one instance this has led to a collection agency demanding payment for library workers reading to children.

Indeed, let's educate schoolkids about copyright, and remove any vestiges of respect they may have otherwise had for it due to ignorance on the subject.

In second place for insightful, we've got the other "That" — That Anonymous Coward with a response to the DOJ's obvious lies in response to a FOIA request:

Its almost as if the penalties aren't enough of a deterrent. Perhaps if the money came out of the Assistant Directors paychecks & pension funds...

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with the story of former DHS boss Janet Napolitano, who deployed a secret monitoring system at the University of California. Always insightful on security issues, Rich Kulawiec expanded on just how awful this is:

Put aside for a moment the horribly unethical conduct of the personnel involved in sabotaging the privacy of faculty, staff, and students. Let's just think about this from a security standpoint.

The university has -- quite effectively -- compromised itself. There's really no need for an attacker to go through all the trouble and tedium of setting up comprehensive surveillance of university systems/networks: it's already been done for them, for free.

All they have to do is tap into the goodies, either on the campus or at the vendor. (The latter's probably easier, since they're outsiders with no professional association. A suitable bribe would probably suffice. Why not? Who would know?)

I've done IT work, including security, at several major universities over the past few decades. This is one of the most appallingly stupid things I've ever seen a campus do to itself, and there's a lot of competition for that dubious honor.

Next, we return to the story about copyright propaganda in education, where Vidiot hoped it might be possible to exploit the earnest wording of the bill:


Good news! Paragraph E requires that such subject matter be "evidence based"... and the only evidence that supports the eveything-must-be-owned camp is MPAA/RIAA pablum. Fiction isn't evidence.

Over on the funny side, our first place comment comes in response to the ridiculous copyright situation that continues to keep footage of the first Superbowl locked away. Coogan delivered some sarcasm that hopefully didn't actually need to be denoted:

Come on guys. If this guy's allowed to infringe on the NFL's copyright by selling the tape of the first Super Bowl, then what incentive will the NFL have to produce future Super Bowls?


For second place, we head to the very silly story about the owner of a photobombing horse attempting to get half of the prize for a selfie contest. We pointed out that it's since the prize is a holiday vacation, it's not exactly easy to split in half — but TechDescartes thought laterally and applied the Judgement of Solomon:

What about a one-way ticket?

For editor's choice on the funny side, we head to the perennial story about the ridiculous restrictions on referring to the "Super Bowl", which this year have targeted Key & Peele and their special broadcast that you might be watching today. HarryOScary was quick to bust out a classic and still-wonderful pun:

They might be referring to the Superb Owl. That's happening about the same time as the "Big Game."

But, PRMan was quick to up the ante:

"Big Aim" is what you need to hit the "Superb Owl".

(Admittedly, Key and Peele will probably come up with better jokes.)

That's all for this week, folks!

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Categorieën: Technieuws

This Week In Techdirt History: January 31st - February 6th

van TechDirt - za, 02/06/2016 - 21:00

Five Years Ago

This week in 2011, Egypt was wracked with protests, and the government responded by shutting down the internet. China was trying to stop people from talking about the uprising while Al Jazeera was trying to spread coverage far and wide by putting it under a Creative Commons license. We took a look at the impact of the shutdown, and then later in the week Egypt finally turned it back on.

Meanwhile, in a more insidious form of internet shutdown, Homeland Security was going nuts with the domain seizures, even as its affidavits continued to expose how much it was twisting the law and raise major legal questions. The week's big seizure was Spanish website Rojadirecta, which made us wonder if there would be an exodus from US-controlled domains, not to mention how the US would react if Spain started messing with American websites. Senator Wyden was demanding an explanation, and Homeland Security was not doing a good job on that front.

Ten Years Ago

After the recent announcement that Nikon would no longer sell film cameras, it felt like yet another end of an era this week in 2006 when Western Union announced it would no longer offer telegrams. This was, after all, a brave new era of broadband weather balloons (maybe, someday) and really expensive connected ovens. Perhaps that also explains why companies were so eager to plug the analog hole with terrible technology, though the real reason was probably to squeeze out amateur creators.

Also this week in 2006: the RIAA sued yet another person without a computer, we looked at the unusual idea of applying trespass laws to computers, and we started catching on to the role of East Texas in the patent world.

Fifteen Years Ago

Rumours were flying about the acquisition of Yahoo! this week in 2001, which some thought would herald the end of the internet while others just wondered if Disney would be the buyer. Such rumours would likely make the "most popular stories" lists that news websites were just discovering. Alongside them, you might see stories of eBay hijinks, ranging from the artist who tried to sell his whole life to the scammer who sold a very literal listing of a Playstation 2 Original Box to one unlucky buyer.

Long before the Apple Watch, Timex made a watch that could check email; long before Obama's highly digital campaign, some asked if 2000 was the first "net election"; and long before smartphone-aided comparison shopping was the norm, it wasn't clear if it would ever catch on in the US where people still didn't seem to care about wireless.

One-Hundred And Thirty-Two Years Ago

The Oxford English Dictionary is the gold standard of the English language, and my personal choice of dictionary whenever possible. It was on February 1st, 1884 that the first dictionary fascicle (look it up, in a watchacallit) was published with its full title: A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society. Of course, it was just Volume One: A to Ant.

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Categorieën: Technieuws

Awesome Stuff: Updated Classics

van TechDirt - za, 02/06/2016 - 18:00

This week, we've got three crowdfunding projects for wonderfully inventive reimaginings of common objects that haven't changed much in a very long time.

Lumir C

Candles are a fine source of light, but what about all that wasted heat? It's a stroke of small genius to invent a device that captures it and turns it into more light — and that's exactly what this candle-powered LED lamp does. Admittedly, I'm not sure how practical or useful a device this is for most people, especially given the somewhat steep price — but there's something elegant and brilliant about the idea, as though it came from a basic frustration with entropy more than a pragmatic desire to make a consumer product — but maybe I'm giving it too much credit. Either way, it's pretty cool.

Rocketbook Wave

There are really two aspects to this notebook. The first is kind of cool: an associated app that scans and enhances the pages based on photos taken with your smartphone, and organizes them to various cloud apps based on little sorting boxes you tick with your pen. That's nothing too remarkable though. The real magic comes when it's time to empty the notebook: you put it in the microwave and all the pages come out blank. Is that a good system? How well does it work? Those are questions that are hard to answer without holding one in my hands — but it's certainly not an idea I've ever heard before, and it's nothing if not inventive.


Okay, so this one isn't radical or mindblowing — it's just handy. I for one love fine-tipped markers, and as I look into my drawer full of a completely disorganized tangle of them, each with different colors and in different stages of life, I can't help but think that stackable, refillable, magnetically-connected markers is a pretty good idea. The markers themselves aren't much pricier than any other good quality options, and at $17 for a complete 20-color set of refills (not to mention the decreased likelihood of losing them one by one if you're like me) they could easily pay for themselves.

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Categorieën: Technieuws

NFL Edging Towards Claiming A Trademark On 'The Big Game' Again

van TechDirt - za, 02/06/2016 - 04:39
We all know that the NFL doesn't want anyone to use the term "Super Bowl" without having paid the NFL first (and paid lots and lots of money). As we've pointed out in the past, most of this is pure bullshit. In most cases, people and companies totally can use the term "Super Bowl" but few people want to deal with any sort of legal fight, so they just don't.

What's even crazier though is how the NFL has tried to crack down on euphemisms as well. The most popular term that companies use instead of the Super Bowl is "The Big Game." And going back to 2007, we noted that the NFL wanted to trademark that too, even though it's not the one who came up with the term, nor does it really use it. A bunch of companies opposed the NFL's attempt, but over at the Pirated Thoughts blog, Michael Lee notes that the NFL is doing a few things that suggest it may want to trademark "The Big Game" again. At the very least, it's trying to block anyone else from trademarking it:

In late 2014, an individual in California filed a trademark registration for the BIG GAME DAME mark to cover athletic gear such as shirts, pants and jackets. The applicant claims that the mark is already in use and filed the “in use” specimen that can be seen below. The specimen is nothing more than a ratty plain white t-shirt that someone stuck a homemade label on from their old Brother P-Touch. Alright, this all seems a bit shady but we will put the skepticism to the side.

More germane than the earnestness of this trademark application, in December 2015 the mark was published for opposition. On January 26th, the NFL requested and was granted an extension of time to oppose issuance of the trademark. This is the usual first step that allows the parties time to try to work out a settlement, allows the opposer additional time to draft the opposition or even allows the opposer time to reevaluate its position and not even file an opposition in the first place.

This potential opposition is not an isolated incident. On the same day, the NFL was also granted an extension of time to oppose an entirely different mark by another clothing company, BIG GAME DAY ARE YOU READY! A month earlier, the NFL also requested an extension of time to oppose this same clothing company’s BIG GAME mark. Three potential trademark oppositions over the use of BIG GAME in a month’s time, where there is smoke there could be some fire.

In other words, the NFL is at least suggesting that it may have a right to "The Big Game" as well. It's not clear if the NFL thinks there will be less opposition this time, or that people won't notice. Or maybe it just doesn't care (which seems to be the standard operating procedure of the NFL these days). But, once again, such a move would be crazy. And, of course, it wouldn't even be necessary if the NFL hadn't been such a trademark extremist in the first place.

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Categorieën: Technieuws

PayPal Continues To Drive People To Bitcoin And Other Solutions As It Starts Cutting Off VPNs & Open Internet Solutions

van TechDirt - za, 02/06/2016 - 03:18
There's a fairly long history of Paypal being completely obnoxious in shutting down the accounts of basically anyone challenging the status quo in any way. Nearly all of our stories about Paypal follow a similar pattern: See a pattern yet? So, given all that, it's hardly a surprise to find out that Paypal has cut off a VPN service, arguing that because it might possibly maybe be used for copyright infringement, Paypal won't be a part of it. No, this doesn't make any sense, but as you can see from the list above, it seems pretty clear that if there's even a whiff of concern or challenging legacy businesses and beliefs, Paypal will cut you off. Because it can.

And, yes, there now are many other solutions out there, but Paypal still remains one of the easiest and most popular payment systems, even as many other companies try to take that crown away. Still, increasingly shutting off services that help protect users and enable an open internet seems like a piss poor way for Paypal to thank the open internet that made it possible in the first place. It seems likely that the more Paypal cuts these kinds of services off, the more likely it is that alternative payment systems will be deployed. Paypal may not care. After all, it's been doing this for years, but sooner or later, it's going to realize that it's just been opening up a big opportunity for others.

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

Categorieën: Technieuws