European Court deals a blow to online freedom of expression

Thursday, June 18, 2015

ARTICLE 19. London, 16 June, 2015. Today, the Grand Chamber of the European Court issued a judgement in Delfi AS v. Estonia (no.64569/09), a case about the news portal's liability for comments made on its website.

In response to the decision, Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19 commented, “The European Court has delivered a serious blow to freedom of expression online, displaying a worrying lack of understanding of the issues surrounding intermediary liability, and the way in which the internet works.

"In confirming the previous Chamber's decision, the European Court showed a profound failure to understand the EU legal framework regulating intermediary liability. ARTICLE 19 is concerned that the decision will have a serious chilling effect on freedom of expression beyond the Council of Europe states. It will also greatly undermine the news publishers' business model at a time when the news industry is already struggling.”

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Apple News service to use real journalists

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

FT, London. 15 June 2015. Apple is hiring a team of journalists to run its Apple News service, part of a broader push by the company to personalise the content it selects and delivers to users of its devices.

The Apple editorial team will liaise with publishers, which include the Financial Times, New York Times, The Guardian and The Economist, which have signed up to provide content to the news service.

A job ad posted for Apple News, which replaces Apple’s Newsstand and will compete with Facebook’s new Instant Articles service, said successful candidates would “identify and deliver the best in breaking national, global, and local news”.

It is seeking candidates with more than five years of “newsroom experience” able to “recognise original, compelling stories unlikely to be identified by algorithms”. Apple declined to comment beyond the job ad.

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We are unionized

Thursday, June 4, 2015

GAWKER. New York, 4 June 2015. Yesterday [3 June 2015], more than 100 Gawker Media editorial employees voted on the question of whether to be represented by the Writers Guild of America, East for the purpose of collective bargaining—that is, whether we want to form a union. The results are in.

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Media groups move on to Facebook

Thursday, May 14, 2015

FINANCIAL TIMES. 13 May 2015, London and New York. In their quest to build profitable and more far-reaching digital audiences, publishers in the US and Europe have turned to the world’s largest social network for help.

Nine media organisations, including the BBC, through its youth-oriented Newsbeat service, the Guardian and the New York Times, have struck a deal with Facebook to publish some of their content directly through the social network rather than simply hosting it on their own sites as part of a trial.

Facebook says the publishers will be able to keep 100 per cent of any revenue from advertising they sold directly. Publishers will also be able to sell remaining ad space via Facebook, which would take a 30 per cent cut.

The nine publishers initially participating in Instant Articles are the New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC News, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild, the German tabloid newspaper.

The move comes as increasing numbers of readers rely on the social network as the main portal through which they receive news. Facebook wants not only to point users to news sites but to be the place where they stay and consume it, too.

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Court makes it harder for US companies to steal your data

Thursday, March 26, 2015

European Court of JusticeEuropean Court of Justice, Picture by Gwenael Piaser

ARS TECHNICA. New York, 25 March 2105.  In a key case before the European Union's highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the European Commission admitted yesterday that the US-EU Safe Harbor framework for transatlantic data transfers does not adequately protect EU citizens' data from US spying. The European Commission's attorney Bernhard Schima told the CJEU's attorney general: "You might consider closing your Facebook account if you have one," euobserver reports.

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Google's Adsense a blunt instrument for censorship

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

MANCHESTER. NUJNewmedia, 25 March 2015. Under a headline reading "Google Disables All Ads on", website recently announced that the increasingly high-handed ad agency known as Google had imposed an ad blackout on the site because it contains a nine year old item on the well-documented Abu Ghraib abuses during the Iraq war and subsequent occupation by US troops.

The problem, it appears, is that the page includes a number of familiar (and a few less familiar) graphic pictures of the abuses of Iraqi prisoners of war.

We reprint the article in full below, but please visit the site and decide for yourselves whether it is a responsible campaigner against grotesque abuses of human rights, or an irresponsible publisher of violent and gory material.

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First lawsuits against the FCC's net neutrality rules

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WASHINGTON POST. Washington, 24 March 2015. An industry trade group and a small, Texas-based Internet provider are among the first to mount a legal challenge to the federal government's new net neutrality rules.

On Monday, USTelecom—a group that includes some of the nation's largest Internet providers—filed suit in Washington, while Alamo Broadband sued the Federal Communications Commission in New Orleans.

The court filings kick-start a legal effort to overturn the FCC's regulations, passed in February, that aim to keep Internet providers from speeding up, slowing down or blocking Web traffic.

"We do not believe the Federal Communications Commission’s move to utility-style regulation invoking Title II authority is legally sustainable," USTelecom President Walter McCormick said in a statement. "Therefore, we are filing a petition to protect our procedural rights in challenging the recently adopted open Internet order.”

In its petition, Alamo alleges that the FCC's net neutrality rules apply onerous requirements on it under Title II of the Communications Act, the same law that the FCC uses to monitor legacy phone service.

"Alamo is thus aggrieved by the order and possesses standing to challenge it," the company's lawyers wrote in the petition, a copy of which was obtained by the Washington Post.

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Google squares up to EU over 'right to be forgotten'

Friday, February 6, 2015

FT. London, 6 February, 2015. Google’s decision to limit censorship under Europe’s new “right to be forgotten” requirement to its search sites based there, rather than extend it globally, has won the backing of an independent group of experts.

However, the experts called on Google to adjust some of its processes for deciding which links to strip out of its search service, for instance by giving publishers the right to appeal against having links to information suppressed.

The conclusions of the group, which was convened by the search company to advise it on how to implement last year’s right to be forgotten ruling, could signal a battle ahead with European regulators. The data protection watchdogs have called for Google to extend its suppression of links to all its global search sites, since these are also accessible from inside the EU.

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Other stories

US internet providers slam FCC regulation

Four Lords bid to amend 'snooper's charter' before election

Security is not a crime - unless you're an anarchist

Verizon may take over AOL

Google accuses Hollywood of censoring the internet

Spanish media sites hit by Google News action

TTIP opens a crack in the door

Amazon and Simon & Schuster become best friends

Twitter's head of news quits after less than a year

NUJ Information Security training - some simple steps for journalists

Brussels investigates Amazon's tax deal with Luxembourg

Union cranks up the struggle at Amazon Germany



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