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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US internet providers slam FCC regulation

Friday, February 6, 2015

FT. London, 5 February 2015. US internet providers fear plans to regulate broadband as a public utility will give the government the power to mimic European policies, such as forcing companies to share their infrastructure.

Such steps, which European policy makers say have been in the public interest, would chill broadband investment and represent unwarranted regulatory interference, broadband companies say.

Their comments come after Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, the US telecoms regulator, this week announced plans aimed at preventing broadband providers from blocking or prioritising particular websites or apps.

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

Friday, January 23, 2015

Lord Tom King (c)2009 blinderalan/FlickrTHE GUARDIAN. London. 22 January 2015. A cross-party alliance of former defence ministers, police chiefs and intelligence commissioners will try to force a revised “snooper’s charter” into law before the general election.

The proposals to amend the counter-terrorism bill currently in the Lords and due for debate on Monday have been tabled by a group led by former Conservative defence secretary Lord King (pictured above). The other supporters are the Liberal Democrat former reviewer of counter-terror laws, Lord Carlile, the former Labour defence minister, Lord West, and the former Metropolitan police commissioner, Lord Blair.

The amendments will be welcomed by the heads of the UK intelligence services, who have been calling for more powers to retain data in the wake of the killings in Paris by Islamist extremists.

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

Thursday, January 22, 2015

ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION. San Francisco. 16 January 2015. Riseup, a tech collective that provides security-minded communications to activists worldwide, sounded the alarm last month when a judge in Spain stated that the use of their email service is a practice, he believes, associated with terrorism.

Javier Gómez Bermúdez is a judge of Audiencia Nacional, a special high court in Spain that deals with serious crimes such as terrorism and genocide. According to press reports, he ordered arrest warrants that were carried out on December 16th against alleged members of an anarchist group. The arrests were part of Operation Pandora, a coordinated campaign against “anarchist activity” that has been called an attempt “to criminalize anarchist social movements.” The police seized books, cell phones, and computers, and arrested 11 activists. Few details are known about the situation, since the judge has declared the case secret.

At least one lawmaker, David Companyon, has speculated that the raids are a “stunt to garner support for Spain's recently approved 'gag law.'” The new law severely restricts demonstrations, setting huge fines for activities such as insulting police officers (€600), burning a national flag (up to €30,000), or demonstrating outside parliament buildings or key installations (up to €600,000). Considering the provisions of the law, it's no surprise that many see the raid, conducted against a group with political ideas that the government appears to find threatening, as connected.

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Verizon may take over AOL

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

BLOOMBERG. New York, 6 January 2015. Verizon Communications Inc. has approached AOL Inc. about a potential acquisition or joint venture with the Internet company to expand its mobile-video offerings, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The wireless carrier hasn’t made a formal proposal to AOL, and no agreement is imminent, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

Verizon is primarily interested in AOL’s programmatic advertising technology -- the automated buying and selling of ads online -- which two people said could be paired with a future online-video product. With a takeover it would also gain paying subscribers and Internet properties including the Huffington Post.

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Google accuses Hollywood of censoring the internet

Friday, December 19, 2014

GUARDIAN. London, 19 Decmber 2014. Google has accused Hollywood of attempting to “secretly censor the internet” by reviving the failed Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) to enable wholesale site-blocking.

The search company alleges that Hollywood studios, through the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), conspired to push through the effects of Sopa through non-legislative measures.

“We are deeply concerned about recent reports that the MPAA led a secret, coordinated campaign to revive the failed Sopa legislation through other means, and helped manufacture legal arguments in connection with an investigation by Mississippi state attorney-general Jim Hood,” said Kent Walker, general counsel for Google in a blog post.

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Spanish media sites hit by Google News action

Thursday, December 18, 2014

GIGAOM. San Francisco, 16 December 2014. As expected, Google removed all Spanish publishers from its Google News index on Tuesday, which the company said it was forced to do as a result of a new law—a law that publishers themselves lobbied for—which requires anyone using even a short snippet of copyrighted content to pay a fee. According to the web-analytics service Chartbeat, within hours of their removal from the Google service, Spanish media sites saw their external traffic fall by double digits.

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TTIP opens a crack in the door

Friday, November 28, 2014

TOUCHSTONE. London, 26 November 2014. Today, the European Commission went some way towards meeting the criticisms of many – including the trade union movement – over the secret nature of the TTIP trade negotiations between the EU and the USA.

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