22 1 / 2012
ACTA is one more offensive against the sharing of culture on the Internet. ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is an agreement secretly negotiated by a small “club” of like-minded countries (39 countries, including the 27 of the European Union, the United States, Japan, etc). Negotiated instead of being democratically debated, ACTA bypasses parliaments and international organizations to dictate a repressive logic dictated by the entertainment industries.ACTA would impose new criminal sanctions forcing Internet actors to monitor and censor online communications. It is thus a major threat to freedom of expression online and creates legal uncertainty for Internet companies. In the name of trademarks and patents, it would also hamper access to generic medicines in poor countries.
About: The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a proposed plurilateral agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement. It would establish an international legal framework for countries to join voluntarily, and would create a governing body outside international institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the United Nations. Negotiating countries have described it as a response “to the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works.” The scope of ACTA includes counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet. Groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) oppose ACTA, stating that civil society groups and developing countries were excluded from discussion during ACTA’s development in an example of policy laundering. Opponents have argued that the treaty will restrict fundamental civil and digital rights, including the freedom of expression and communication privacy. “The bulk of the WTO’s 153 members” have raised concerns that treaty could distort trade and goes beyond the existing Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Opponents also criticize ACTA’s removal of “legal safeguards that protect Internet Service Providers from liability for the actions of their subscribers” in effect giving ISPs no option but to comply with privacy invasions. According to an analysis by the Free Software Foundation, ACTA would require that existing ISPs no longer host free software that can access copyrighted media, and DRM protected media would not be legally playable with free software. via Wikipedia
19 1 / 2012
11 11 / 2011
Decision made to open Twitter account of Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir, who is taking the case to the Council of Europe
The Guardian: Icelandic MP and former WikiLeaks volunteer Birgitta Jonsdottir has slammed the decision by US courts to open her Twitter account to the US authorities and is taking her case to the Council of Europe.On Thursday a US judge ruled Twitter must release the details of her account and those of two other Twitter users linked to WikiLeaks. Jonsdottir learned in January that her Twitter account was under scrutiny from the Justice Department because of her involvement last year with WikiLeaks’ release of a video showing a US military helicopter shooting two Reuters reporters in Iraq. She believes the US authorities want to use her information to try and build a case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“This is a huge blow for everybody that uses social media,” said Jonsdottir. “We have to have the same civil rights online as we have offline. Imagine if the US authorities wanted to do a house search at my home, go through my private papers. There would be a hell of a fight. It’s absolutely unacceptable.”
She said she would press for the Council of Europe to act on the case, which she believes sets a worrying precedent for private citizens and politicians across the world.
01 11 / 2011
The Guardian: More political upheaval in Greece - a ruling party MP has quit George Papandreou’s parliamentary group. Milena Apostolaki’s defection cuts the government’s majority to just 2 votes, with 152 of the 300 MPs still loyal.City analysts are warning this morning that the chances of Greece exiting the euro have increased sharply. If a referendum is held, and the public vote against the bailout plan, European leaders have little room to maneuver.Gary Jenkins, head of fixed income research at Evolution Securities, called George Papandreou’s move a “political gamble which adds further uncertainty to the European debt crisis”.
The FTSE 100 extended its falls to a low of 5338, that’s a 206 point fall, or 3.5%. Germany’s DAX is down 6%, with the French CAC little better with a 5.5% decline. All eyes are now on Wall Street, which opens in ten minutes.
For a real horror show, though, try the bond markets. The yield (basically the interest rate) on 10-year Italian bonds is now up at 6.34%, despite the European Central Bank’s efforts to buy up peripheral debt.
The ECB will be desperate for that yield to keep away from 7% - the point at which a bailout looks a dead certainty.
German interest rates, though, have dropped sharply as investors rush to put their money in the safest places. The 10-year Bund is now yielding just 1.79%, down from over 2% yesterday. UK yields have also dropped sharply, down to 2.23% from around 2.45% on Monday.