Thursday, 20 December 2012

Code of EU Online Rights published

Digital Agenda for Europe - European Commission: "As the Code does not create new rights, it is not by itself be enforceable; but the particular rights and principles are enforceable under the EU legal instrument from which they derive, which has been transposed and implemented into national legislation in the different EU Member States.
The Code makes easier for EU citizens and consumers to know the existing EU legislation as regards online rights, inspires trust and confidence among consumers when acceding and using online services and applications, and encourages consumers to conduct more activity online." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Court Approves Google's Privacy Settlement

RegBlog: "A federal court recently approved the $22.5 million settlement reached three months ago between Google and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on charges that Google improperly tracked the user “cookies” on Apple’s Safari browser. Representing the largest civil penalty ever imposed for an FTC violation, the fine is the latest in a series of FTC enforcement actions for online privacy issues and is one that the FTC Chair Jon Leibowitz hopes will “send a message” to other companies to be more mindful of privacy issues.
In addition to the fine, the FTC also is requiring Google to remove tracking cookies from Safari users’ computers, ultimately erasing all tracking data by February of 2014. Somewhat controversially, Google was not required to admit wrongdoing and maintains that any violations were unintentional." 'via Blog this'

Data cops seek 'urgent clarification' on new Facebook advertiser plans

The Register: "Facebook's European operation is headquartered in Ireland and the company has already been in touch with the Irish DPA about the plans. A spokeswoman told us:
"We note that this is the consultation stage of their process and that until that stage is over these changes will not be tabled to users. We are currently examining the proposed changes and consider that further clarity will be required in relation to the full effect of some of the changes. We will be seeking urgent further clarification from Facebook Ireland and if we consider that the proposed changes require a specific consent from EU users we will require Facebook to do this." 'via Blog this'

Ericsson Files Patent Suit Against Samsung In The U.S. After 2 Years’ FRAND Talks Fail

Ericsson Files Patent Suit Against Samsung In The U.S. After Nearly Two Years’ Of FRAND Talks Fail To Reach A Deal (Updated) | TechCrunch: "The suit has been filed in the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas — where Ericsson’s U.S. headquarters are located. According to Ericsson, senior management teams at the two companies have been negotiating for nearly two years after Samsung’s previous license for the patents expired. It said Samsung previously licensed the patents in 2001 and 2007, but after Ericsson extended an offer to renew the license for a third time Samsung refused to agree to the terms. Ericsson did not provide details of the terms — which are presumably more costly than earlier licensing terms — but did say the FRAND terms are the same terms as Samsung competitors have previously accepted." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Australian coalition eyes co-regulatory content kill switch

Internet co-regulation: Australian coalition eyes co-regulatory content ki...: Coalition eyes content kill-switch on social networks - iTnews.com.au : "The federal opposition is canvassing a co-regulatory proposal to fo..."

Thursday, 15 November 2012

DE Act Costs Order: has Ofcom lost its sense of timing?

DE Act Costs Order: has Ofcom lost its sense of timing?: "Ofcom has proposed a schedule whereb the first notices will go out on 1 March 2014. Two ISPs [BT and EE] have told Ofcom that its proposed timing of nine months to get the notification systems in place will not be sufficient. Both make it plain that they need a further three  to six months as a minimum.
That will mean that the proposed start date of March 2014  is unlikely to be met. System development  would have to commence by next January   to allow the full amount of  time (12-15 months)  they say they need,  and that is unlikely to happen.
The  implementing legislation has to go through Parliament, as well as get approval from the European Commission, before anyone can begin  building systems. Ofcom has already put the Costs Order before Parliament,  in its haste to meet its own schedule. However, the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, which carried out the first Parliamentary examination of  the Costs Order, has indicated that it has reservations." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 9 November 2012

Open public services, open standards

Vicky Sargent’s Blog Watch 10: open public services, open standards - The Information Daily.com: "In his blog in ComputerWorldUK, Glyn Moody, another supporter of the principles, suggests it’s unlikely to come to that, because of the extensive consultation on the issues carried out by the Cabinet Office and its ‘unprecedented efforts to hear all sides of the argument.’
The level of detail that the Cabinet Office has released, alongside the Principles, about the consultation process is, he says, ‘a clear sign that the Cabinet Office means business here, and that it is prepared to defend its work in the courts if necessary. The time and money that it has invested in this project over the last few years is also a token of its seriousness and desire to make open standards a reality in this country, and to establish a level playing field for government computing.’" 'via Blog this'

Friday, 2 November 2012

Russian Internet access barred as new legislation threatens freedom of information

Internet access barred as wave of new legislation threatens freedom of information - Reporters Without Borders: "Amendments to the child-protection law had barely been put in place last July when the Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament) decided to add the prohibitions on anonymizer and filter- bypass tools (proxies, VPN). According to the bill to amend the information law, filed on 21 September, internet users who continue to use these methods would face penalties ranging from blocking of their internet access to heavy fines.
The Duma’s deputy chair, Sergei Zheleznyak of the ruling United Russia party, told the Izvestiya newspaper that recent measures against “noxious content” on the internet are not the last of their kind; he vowed that the Duma would maintain its efforts along those lines." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 26 October 2012

UK open standards and the proprietary ecosystem - Public Sector IT

UK open standards and the proprietary ecosystem - Public Sector IT: "But the three leading vendors of proprietary ecosystems - Apple, Microsoft and Oracle - opposed the policy. They protested. They wanted the right to make proprietary claims on open standards, by claiming royalty payments. The government had said the thing that distinguished an open standard was that it did not countenance proprietary claims. The matter will be settled when the government publishes the results of its consultation.
Microsoft has meanwhile defended its position by claiming its dominant ecosystem benefits the economy." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

MIT Press website now accepting orders

Regulating Code has a formal US release date of 15 February 2013, a bargain at $40 hardback. Hardcover, Pages: 288p. Illustrations: 2 figures. Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches. Publication Date: February 15, 2013. Distributor: The MIT Press. ISBN: 9780262018821. ISBN10: 0262018829

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Do-Not-Track Movement Is Drawing Advertisers’ Fire

Do-Not-Track Movement Is Drawing Advertisers’ Fire - NYTimes.com: "When the W3C met recently in Amsterdam to hammer out Do Not Track standards.. advertising industry executives and privacy advocates accused each other of trying to stymie the process.
“There is a strong concern that the W3C is not the right forum to be making this decision,” says Rachel Thomas, the vice president of government affairs at the Direct Marketing Association. “The attempt to set public policy is entirely outside their area of expertise.” During the Amsterdam meeting, Ms. Thomas proposed that Do Not Track signals should actually permit data collection for advertising purposes, the very thing the mechanisms were designed to control. That provocative idea went over with European privacy advocates about as well as a smoker lighting up in a no-smoking zone full of asthmatics." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A RAND Primer, or how Google-Motorola tried to use H.264 video standards against Microsoft

This fascinating US Court of Appeals (9th Circuit) case shows in a snapshot how companies are using and abusing the regulation of code for commercial gain - a patent-RAND-standards arms race, if you will. Motorola (which was bought by Google for its patent treasure chest) holds patents that are essential to the H.264 ITU-approved video compression standard used by the entire industry. Microsoft uses this in its operating systems and video player - and here Motorola decided not to play fair with RAND, and to seek an order in Germany forum-shopping away from the US. Motorola even reduced its 100s of patents licensed under RAND to just two in Germany - a ruse criticised by the US Appeals court as undermining and simplifying ad absurdum the licensing issues involved. Naughty Motorola-Google!
COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT: MICROSOFT CORPORATION   v. MOTOROLA, INC. No. 12-35352 D.C. No. 2:10-cv-01823 JLR

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Unleashing the Potential of Euro-Cloud Computing

EUROPA - Press Releases - Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe - What is it and what does it mean for me?:
"Standards, certification and contracts - Why can't you write the necessary standards yourself, why do you rely on the industry to make this happen? Standardisation works best as an industry-led process. The industry is already putting a lot of effort into creating standards that increase interoperability of the clouds. Standards are emerging but at the moment there is no common agreement as to which standards would guarantee the required interoperability, data portability and reversibility. The Commission wants to identify coherent sets of useful standards to make it easier for the demand and supply sides to organise themselves.
When you do you hope to launch the certification scheme? The Commission will work with the support of ENISA and other relevant bodies to assist the development of an EU-wide voluntary certification schemes in the area of cloud computing (including data protection) and establish a list of such schemes by 2014.
If it is voluntary, what will you do if companies simply decide not to join? We will keep working with companies to increase the attractiveness of the scheme." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 24 September 2012

New Zealand intelligence agency illegally spied on Megaupload

New Zealand intelligence agency illegally spied on Megaupload | TechCentral.ie: "US Department of Justice alleges Megaupload collected US$175 million (€135 million) in criminal proceeds, rewarding users for uploading and sharing content without the permission of copyright holders.
One of Dotcom's attorneys, William Akel said Monday he had just been informed of the Crown Law Office's memorandum to the High Court and could not comment. On Twitter, Dotcom wrote: "Copyright is now officially a matter of national security in New Zealand."
Key's announcement marked another unexpected twist in Megaupload's legal battle. In June, New Zealand's High Court found the raid conducted against Dotcom's mansion was illegal since it used invalid warrants that were overly broad." 'via Blog this'

Copyright and innovation in the Creative Industries The 2012 Intellectual Property and Innovation Summit, The Lisbon Council Brussels, 10 September 2012

EUROPA - Press Releases - Neelie Kroes Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda Copyright and innovation in the Creative Industries The 2012 Intellectual Property and Innovation Summit, The Lisbon Council Brussels, 10 September 2012: "Back then, creation and distribution were in the hands of the few. Now they are in the hands of everyone: democratising innovation, empowering people to generate and exchange ideas, supporting and stimulating huge creativity.
And now let's remind ourselves what our objectives as policymakers should be for the creative sector.
We should help artists live from their art. Stimulate creativity and innovation. Improve consumer choice. Promote our cultural heritage. And help the sector drive economic growth.
We can' t look at copyright in isolation: you have to look at how it fits into the real world. So let's ask ourselves: how well is the current system achieving those objectives, in the world we live in today?" 'via Blog this'

Sunday, 23 September 2012

LightSquared redux: idiot lawmakers admit lack of expertise, but blame FCC

LightSquared redux: Lawmakers admit lack of expertise, but blame FCC | Ars Technica: "US Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) criticized the FCC officials for the timing of the comment period before it issued LightSquared’s conditional waiver on Jan. 26, 2011. "Bear in mind, I’m just a simple country doctor, I'm not an engineer," Burgess said. "But it seems like you drop it between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it looks like Harry Reid's health care bill to me. That's not a time when a lot of people are paying attention."" 'via Blog this'

Saturday, 22 September 2012

'OpenStand' Underscores Commitment to Voluntary Internet Standards

'OpenStand' Underscores Commitment to Voluntary Internet Standards | Center for Democracy & Technology: "OpenStand is the product of five of the world's leading technical Internet organizations -- IEEE, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Society, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).  These organizations have produced many of the most fundamental standards on which all Internet communications rely, including Internet Protocol (IP), HTTP, and HTML. OpenStand is a set of principles built on a model of open processes that supports transparency, consensus, and the participation of all interested parties.
While the standards organizations making today's announcement have been operating under these principles for many years, OpenStand demonstrates a continued commitment by these groups to the voluntary, bottom-up processes that have made existing standards the foundation of the Internet's success as a platform for communications and commerce.
Unfortunately, the OpenStand paradigm is under serious threat. In December, the ITU will convene the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), a meeting of the world's governments to decide whether and how the ITU should regulate the Internet." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Competition Policy Statement on Microsoft non-compliance with browser choice commitments

EUROPA - Press Releases - Joaquin ALMUNIA Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Competition Policy Statement on Microsoft non-compliance with the browser choice commitments. Midday press briefing, Berlaymont press room, Brussels 17 July 2012:
"December 2009, the Commission made legally binding on Microsoft a commitment to make available a "choice screen" enabling users of Windows in the EU to easily choose their preferred browser. This decision therefore put Microsoft under an obligation to provide the choice screen to European Windows users until 2014. This has proved very effective when implemented: it gave consumers a real choice to use the product that most suited their needs.
Although Microsoft submitted in a report to the Commission in December last year that the choice screen was still present, we have received indications from third parties that Microsoft has not complied with its commitments in the period from February 2011 until today.
Microsoft has recognised these facts. More precisely, it appears that since the launch of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 in February 2011, the choice screen has no longer been displayed. As a result, about 28 million users may not have seen the choice screen at all." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Feds Charge Activist with 13 Felonies for Rogue Downloading of Academic Articles | Threat Level | Wired.com

Feds Charge Activist with 13 Felonies for Rogue Downloading of Academic Articles | Threat Level | Wired.com: "The case tests the reach of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which was passed in 1984 to enhance the government’s ability to prosecute hackers who accessed computers to steal information or to disrupt or destroy computer functionality.
The government, however, has interpreted the anti-hacking provisions to include activities such as violating a website’s terms of service or a company’s computer usage policy, a position a federal appeals court in April said means “millions of unsuspecting individuals would find that they are engaging in criminal conduct.” The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in limiting reach of the CFAA, said that violations of employee contract agreements and websites’ terms of service were better left to civil lawsuits." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Why government will not release evidence of vast e-snooping programme

Jim Killock 23216: "Considerations in favour of withholding the information: To release the breakdown requested would give valuable insight to individuals who may wish to undermine or circumvent the operational benefits that are expected as a result of the Bill. This would aid those who would wish to carry out terrorism or crime against the UK and its population.  The information withheld includes details of who the Home Office worked with. Release would highlight assets and give further insight to operational capability. Giving this level of insight would limit the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies to prevent and detect crime and protect national security. National security and law enforcement are of paramount importance to protecting the UK. There is significant public interest in protecting anything that could, or would, prejudice the Government’s abilities to protect the public against crime or terrorism."
So they haven't just made it all up then? No, I don't have any idea either.... 'via Blog this'

Regulating Code: Good Governance and Better Regulation in the Information Age (MIT Press, February 2013)


Internet use has become ubiquitous in the past two decades, but governments, legislators and their regulatory agencies are falling further behind rapidly changing Internet technologies and uses. In a ground-breaking collaboration, regulatory lawyer Marsden and computer scientist Brown analyze the regulatory shaping of "code"--the technological environment of the Internet--to achieve more economically efficient and socially just regulation. They examine five hard cases that illustrate the regulatory crisis: privacy and data protection, copyright and creativity incentives, censorship, social networks and user-generated content, and net neutrality. The authors describe the increasing "multistakeholderisation" of Internet governance, in which user groups are arguing for representation in the closed business-government dialogue, to bring in both rights-based and technologically expert perspectives. They draw out lessons for better future regulation from the regulatory and interoperability failures illustrated by the five cases. They conclude that governments, users and better functioning markets need a smarter "prosumer law" approach. Prosumer law would be designed to enhance the competitive production of public goods, including innovation, public safety, and fundamental democratic rights.

Ian Brown is Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University's Oxford Internet Institute. He is the editor of the 'Research Handbook on Internet Governance' (Elgar 2013). Christopher T. Marsden is Professor in Law at the University of Essex School of Law. He is the author of Net Neutrality: Towardsa Co-Regulatory Solution (2010), Internet Co-regulation (2011) and three otherbooks

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Is there any hope for the Internet Governance Forum? No...

Is there any hope for the Internet Governance Forum? | IGP Blog: "Implementation of a more focused approach would require strong and visionary leadership, which is exactly what the IGF lacks right now. The policy issues chosen would have to be controversial enough to make discussion of them meaningful and substantive, yet there are still pro-status quo forces within the IGF who will resist that. The IGF has had no high-level executive leadership for a scandalously long period of time" 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

From Bahrain With Love: FinFisher’s Spy Kit Exposed?

From Bahrain With Love: FinFisher’s Spy Kit Exposed? – The Citizen Lab: "FinFisher Suite is described by its distributors, Gamma International UK Ltd., as “Governmental IT Intrusion and Remote Monitoring Solutions.” 1 The toolset first gained notoriety after it was revealed that the Egyptian Government’s state security apparatus had been involved in negotiations with Gamma International UK Ltd. over the purchase of the software. Promotional materials have been leaked that describe the tools as providing a wide range of intrusion and monitoring capabilities.2 Despite this, however, the toolset itself has not been publicly analyzed.
This post contains analysis of several pieces of malware obtained by Vernon Silver of Bloomberg News that were sent to Bahraini pro-democracy activists in April and May of this year. The purpose of this work is identification and classification of the malware to better understand the actors behind the attacks and the risk to victims. In order to accomplish this, we undertook several different approaches during the investigation." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 16 July 2012

How not to legislate? Lords Committee knocks Digital Economy Act Costs Order

Lords Committee knocks Digital Economy Act Costs Order | Open Rights Group: "The IOC and the Costs Order are supposed to clarify key substantive issues in the Digital Economy Act. It is telling that 2 years after it passed, some of these are still a cause for concern - including, as the Committee points out, why a £20 appeals fee was decided to be most effective and reasonable option. There are some lessons here - if you rush an Act, based on an inadequate analysis of objectives and how to achieve them, without sufficient scrutiny, then you'll probably have to spend quite a lot of time afterwards trying to clear up the mess." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

UK Government anticipates June publication of new anti-piracy regulations

Government anticipates June publication of new anti-piracy regulations: "DCMS said in its response (26-page / 377KB PDF) to the Film Policy Review Panel's review of the UK film industry: "The Judicial Review of the online infringement of copyright provisions has caused significant delay since although the Government won overwhelmingly in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal, the point upon which we lost in both cases has meant that we have had to re-set how the costs of the process will be apportioned. This in turn has led to the Initial Obligations Code being delayed. However, we anticipate that the Code will be published in June 2012," it said." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 21 May 2012

Almunia on the Google antitrust investigation

EUROPA - Press Releases - Joaquín Almunia Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Competition Policy Statement of VP Almunia on the Google antitrust investigation Press room Brussels, 21 May 2012: "I believe that these fast-moving markets would particularly benefit from a quick resolution of the competition issues identified. Restoring competition swiftly to the benefit of users at an early stage is always preferable to lengthy proceedings, although these sometimes become indispensable to competition enforcement.
Our investigation has led us to identify four concerns where Google business practices may be considered as abuses of dominance.
First, in its general search results on the web, Google displays links to its own vertical search services. Our second concern relates to the way Google copies content from competing vertical search services and uses it in its own offerings. Google may be copying original material from the websites of its competitors such as user reviews and using that material on its own sites without their prior authorisation. 
Our third concern relates to agreements between Google and partners on the websites of which Google delivers search advertisements. The agreements result in de facto exclusivity requiring them to obtain all or most of their requirements of search advertisements from Google, thus shutting out competing providers of search advertising intermediation services. 
Our fourth concern relates to restrictions that Google puts to the portability of online search advertising campaigns from its platform AdWords to the platforms of competitors. We are concerned that Google imposes contractual restrictions on software developers which prevent them from offering tools that allow the seamless transfer of search advertising campaigns across AdWords and other platforms for search advertising.
Will Google blink?
'via Blog this'

Monday, 7 May 2012

Race to the bottom? Obama Seeks to Promote "International Regulatory Cooperation"

Obama Seeks to Promote "International Regulatory Cooperation" - RegBlog: "Under the executive order, the federal government will search for “best practices for international regulatory cooperation,” which could include exchanging information and comparing other “regulatory tools.” The order also requires agencies that submit a Regulatory Plan under Executive Order 12866 to “include in that plan a summary of its international regulatory cooperation activities that are reasonably anticipated to lead to significant regulations.” It also mandates that agencies include regulations with perceived “unnecessary” differences among the U.S. and its major trading partners in their retrospective review plans under Executive Order 13563.
The executive order also grants an already-existing federal Regulatory Working Group the authority to commission relevant reports from OIRA"
'via Blog this'

Sunday, 6 May 2012

#ericssoneffect and Carl Bildt's "limited" view of Internet freedom

A few speculations on the #ericssoneffect | Intensifier: "The “freedom technologies” that Bildt want to keep selling, often have the worst form om European surveillance built into them. Hard coded, and well used, to violate human rights.So, I am wondering, what did Ericsson sell to Syria? In detail. We will probably never know, because revealing this may cause “competitive disadvantages”. I’m guessing moving over to Chinese Huawei is easier than arguing with Europe.
These systems should be treated as surveillance technologies. And this is our fault, our control society colonialism.
Carl Bildt calls this type of strategy “flow control”. When I criticized it earlier this year, he responded with calling me and a few others cyber anarchists. That is fine. The fact still remains is that there is no such things as a flow of “democratic” technologies. The flow of Ericsson gear to Syria, was not just an injection of some “Twitter revolution”. We need to acknowledge that this was just another export of Western technology, built under the circumstances where “legal interception” nowadays is the standard. The Bluecoat devices, revealed to be at work in Syria, are doing the same basic thing as European Data Retention." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 4 May 2012

Pornography online: David Cameron to consider 'opt in' plan

Pornography online: David Cameron to consider 'opt in' plan | Technology | guardian.co.uk: "The prime minister has intervened following pressure from a parliamentary inquiry into online child protection, which warned that explicit material was having a harmful effect on children. It is understood that the consultation will take the form of an independent review of a series of options for filtering pornography online, but will not result in a government green paper.
ISPs and advocacy groups are likely to try to face down the measures over fears of online censorship. A spokesman for the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA), the industry body representing companies including Google and Yahoo, said on Friday that it would oppose default filtering because it was not the most effective measure and was easy to get around.
The campaign for greater curbs against online porn has been led by the Tory MP Claire Perry, who chaired the independent inquiry into online child protection last month." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 20 April 2012