[Investigation] Left MEPs thwarting Dieselgate probe, say right MEPs

van EU Observer - 53 min 50 sec geleden
Two members of the centre-left group in the European Parliament have reportedly refused to appear in the parliament's inquiry committee into the emissions scandal.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] Fico: Hungary, Italy or Netherlands could also leave EU

van EU Observer - 1 uur 39 min geleden
The EU must bow to national capitals on issues such as immigration or risk other countries heading for the exit, Slovak prime minister Robert Fico has told the Financial Times. He said Hungary, Italy or the Netherlands could all follow the UK out of the bloc.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

Cars should be allowed to exceed emissions limits, say experts

van EU Observer - 2 uur 14 min geleden
Emissions experts in Berlin said they agreed with an EU commission proposal to allow 1.5 times exceedance of the limit for dangerous particle numbers.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] Belgians strike EU-Canada deal

van EU Observer - 2 uur 16 min geleden
Belgian federated entities reached an agreement on Thursday noon, giving the federal government the green light to sign the EU-Canada trade agreement, Ceta. A copy of the agreement was sent to the EU ambassadors of all 28 member states, who will meet shortly to discuss whether they too accept the Belgian deal.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

Alibaba's Boss Says Chinese Government Should Use Big Data Techniques On Its 'Citizen Scores' Surveillance Store

van TechDirt - 2 uur 33 min geleden

A year ago, Techdirt wrote about China's disturbing plan to create "citizen scores" that would rate everyone in the country on the basis of everything they do and say online. Although not much has been heard in the West about the scheme since then, that doesn't mean that the plan has been dropped. As the Washington Post reports: A high-level policy document released in September listed the sanctions that could be imposed on any person or company deemed to have fallen short. The overriding principle: "If trust is broken in one place, restrictions are imposed everywhere."

A whole range of privileges would be denied, while people and companies breaking social trust would also be subject to expanded daily supervision and random inspections.

The ambition is to collect every scrap of information available online about China's companies and citizens in a single place -- and then assign each of them a score based on their political, commercial, social and legal "credit."
The article notes that it is not clear how the Chinese authorities intend to carry out this massive task. Although that might raise the hope that it will prove too hard to implement, one person who doesn't seem to share that view is Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of the Chinese Internet giant Alibaba. In a televised speech broadcast last week to 1.5 million security officials across China, Ma called for the government to apply big data's analytical techniques in fighting crime. Bloomberg Technology quoted him as saying: Bad guys in a movie are identifiable at first glance, but how can the ones in real life be found? In the age of big data, we need to remember that our legal and security system with millions of members will also face change. He gave a concrete example of how big data techniques could be used in this context (original in Chinese). He said that there was nothing suspicious about somebody buying a pressure cooker or a clock, nor anything suspicious about someone buying ball bearings. But if somebody buys all of them together, you have a suspicious pattern. His suggestion that data mining techniques applied to everyday purchases might help the authorities to spot these patterns and to stop criminals before they act -- a familiar enough idea -- indicates that he is thinking of China's plans to track every transaction from every shop as part of its "citizen scores" project.

Once that data is gathered, it would indeed be possible to start applying big data techniques as a matter of course in order to spot correlations -- something already being used on Internet data by the NSA and GCHQ. But Ma's suggestion is to go even further, and to analyze every digital breadcrumb people drop for possible significance when combined with more data points, whether their own or of others.

It's a chilling vision of total surveillance subject to constant, open-ended analysis, but it is certainly not a theoretical one. Ma's Alibaba group of companies includes Alibaba Cloud, which proudly proclaims its capabilities as follows: China's largest and most trusted cloud services provider and the world's fourth largest website hosting provider.

Alibaba Cloud offers users the same cloud infrastructure that provides uninterrupted service to Alipay, an online payment service that can process a record-breaking 140,000 payments per second, and products that have broken records in anti-DDoS protection and database sorting.
That's just the sort of scale nationwide big data operations would require. As Bloomberg Technology points out, Ma's idea of applying some of that database sorting to catch the bad people is as much about money as morality: Ma's speech also highlights the delicate relationship between Chinese web companies and the government. The ruling party has designated internet industry leaders as key targets for outreach, with President Xi Jinping saying in May last year that technology leaders should "demonstrate positive energy in purifying cyberspace."

Ma has said his policy for dealing with the government is to fall in love but not marry. His company has courted state clients, including the provincial governments of Zhejiang and Guizhou, for its cloud services.
Judging by his remarks to security officials, Ma seems happy to help with the cyber-purification -- especially if it might bring him some very lucrative government business for Alibaba Cloud along the way.

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Categorieën: Technieuws

[Ticker] EU tourism helping Spain to create jobs

van EU Observer - 2 uur 52 min geleden
The number of jobless people in Spain fell to 4.3 million, or 18.9%, in the July-to-September quarter, its National Statistics Institute said Thursday. Figures are down from a peak of 6 million in 2013 and below 20% for the first time in six years. Growth came from the tourism sector, as Europeans shunned Middle East and north Africa due to security fears, but new jobs were mostly short-term contracts.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] Report: EU to add 10 names to Syria blacklist

van EU Observer - 2 uur 53 min geleden
EU states aim to add 10 names of Syrian government, military, and business people to their old blacklist of more than 270 names over Syria and Russia's bombing campaign in Aleppo, the US newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, reports. It said the final decision was due later Thursday. France, Germany, Poland, and the UK has also wanted to to threaten new Russian sanctions, but Italy has stopped them for now.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] Yazidi activists scoop EU rights prize

van EU Observer - 2 uur 54 min geleden
Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Ali Bashar, two women from the Yazidi minority in Syria, who were made into sex slaves by the jihadist group Islamic State, and who now campaign for Yazidi rights, have won this year's European Parliament Sakharov prize for freedom of thought. Mustafa Dzhemilev, the leader-in-exile of Crimea's Tatar minority, had been the favourite, but to give him the prize would have angered Russia.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] UN records worst ever year for migrant deaths

van EU Observer - 3 uur 16 min geleden
The UNHCR says people trying to cross the sea from Libya to Italy have a one in 47 chance of dying. UN figures say 3,740 people have already died trying to reach Europe this year, compared to 3,771 for all of last year, despite the fact there were fewer Mediterranean crossings. It said smugglers were using less seaworthy vessels and organising "mass embarkations of thousands of people at a time".
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] EU pledges 'solidarity' after new Italy earthquake

van EU Observer - 3 uur 32 min geleden
The European Commission has promised "full solidarity with the Italian people and authorities" following an earthquake in central Italy Wednesday. It said it had shared satellite images of the damage and was in talks on sending rescue teams from other member states. The same region was already struck by an earthquake this year. Italy has said the EU should relax budget deficit rules to help it pay for reconstruction.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] UK economy sees post-Brexit growth

van EU Observer - 3 uur 33 min geleden
The British economy, especially the services sector, grew by 0.5% in July to September, in the wake of the Brexit referendum, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics out on Thursday. It beat expectations of 0.3% growth, but fell short of the 0.7% expansion in the pre-Brexit quarter. "There is little evidence of a pronounced effect in the immediate aftermath of the vote," the UK office said.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Opinion] EU case against Google is bad for developers

van EU Observer - 4 uur 3 min geleden
The antitrust investigation opened by the European Commission against the US Internet giant risks fragmenting the mobile applications environment and discourage investments.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] Fewer EU students applying for UK universities

van EU Observer - 5 uur 5 min geleden
Early applications from EU students to UK universities have dropped by 9 percent compared with last year, according to admissions body Ucas. The data covers all courses at Oxford and Cambridge universities, as well as applications for medicine, dentistry and veterinary courses elsewhere. EU students applying to study at English universities from autumn 2017 will continue to pay the same fees as domestic undergraduates despite the Brexit vote.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

Privacy activists mount court challenge to EU-US data pact

van EU Observer - 5 uur 11 min geleden
Privacy advocacy group Digital Rights Ireland is challenging Privacy Shield at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, it has been revealed.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

Thousands of Nato soldiers go to Baltic states, Romania

van EU Observer - 5 uur 12 min geleden
Most Nato allies have committed troops to a Russia-deterrent force in the Baltic. Six have also pledged troops to a similar force in Romania.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

Canada's PM cancels EU summit amid Ceta woes

van EU Observer - 5 uur 22 min geleden
Although Belgium moved closer to a deal on the EU-Canada trade pact on Wednesday, the Canadians still cancelled their EU trip.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] Montenegro’s long-serving leader resigns

van EU Observer - 5 uur 30 min geleden
Montenegro’s long-serving prime minister Milo Dukanovic stepped down on Wednesday in a move expected to improve relations with Nato and the EU. He is set to be replaced by his deputy, Dusko Markovic. The country has huge problems with organised crime and corruption.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Ticker] Northern Ireland court to rule on Brexit case on Friday

van EU Observer - 5 uur 33 min geleden
Northern Ireland's High Court will rule on Friday on a challenge against British plans to leave the European Union. Politicians from across the political spectrum brought the case, arguing that the Northern Ireland regional assembly needs to vote on the issue. Fifty-six percent of those voting in Northern Ireland backed remaining in the EU in June's referendum.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

Commission revives corporate taxation plan

van EU Observer - 5 uur 43 min geleden
The European Commission says a new proposal for corporate tax reform will impede tax avoidance while being good for business.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws

[Analysis] Iceland's not-so-quiet revolution

van EU Observer - 6 uur 25 min geleden
In the space of three years, Iceland's main parties have seen their vote decimated, and new parties may well take almost half the electorate in Saturday's election.
Categorieën: Europees nieuws