Court makes it harder for US companies to steal your dataThursday, March 26, 2015
European 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.
Google's Adsense a blunt instrument for censorshipWednesday, March 25, 2015
MANCHESTER. NUJNewmedia, 25 March 2015. Under a headline reading "Google Disables All Ads on Antiwar.com", theAntiwar.com 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 Antiwar.com page includes a number of familiar (and a few less familiar) graphic pictures of the abuses of Iraqi prisoners of war.
We reprint the Antiwar.com 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.
First lawsuits against the FCC's net neutrality rulesWednesday, 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.
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.
US internet providers slam FCC regulationFriday, 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.
Four Lords bid to amend 'snooper's charter' before electionFriday, January 23, 2015
THE 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.
Security is not a crime - unless you're an anarchistThursday, 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.
Verizon may take over AOLTuesday, 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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