Archive for the 'news' Category

French Constitutional Court Strikes Down Core Elements of Hadopi

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

In an important decision the French Constitutional Court has declared the core elements of the proposed three strikes law in France (Hadopi) unconstitutional, considering the freedom of expression and communication, the presumption of innocence, the right to privacy and confidentiality of communications.

This puts further pressure on the Council of Ministers to respect the EP’s adoption of amendment 138, requiring member states to respect the fundamental rights of internet end-users in the context of internet access. The Dutch minister of economic affairs recently wrote a letter to the Dutch parliament, stating the Dutch government did not consider the three strikes strategy to be acceptable. The letter also refers to the new (constitutonally problematic) Dutch notice and takedown code of conduct (my translation):

In the Dutch context, a procedure to deal with end-users with bad intentions is also not necessary, because, partly at the government’s urging, we have adopted a code of conduct on the basis of which internet providers, at the initiative of law enforcement authorities, take action themselves against criminal activity such as child pornography (notice and takedown code of conduct). It will have to be clear that the amendment does not interfere with this code of conduct. The Netherlands wants further clarification of the amendment before it can take a definitive point of view. In particular, it will have to become clear in which cases there should be a prior judicial decision and ion which cases not.

The Dutch government expects the Council to reject the Telecom package as adopted by the EP and the negotiations in third reading to be restricted to amendment 138.

Germany Considering to Write Amicus Brief in Google Books Settlement

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

According to the EU observer. And the European Commission is asked to scrutinize the deal from an antitrust perspective.

French Three Strikes Law Born Dead?

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

The French Parliament has adopted the Hadopi Act, containing the controversial three strikes provisions for illegal filesharing. La Quadrature has commentary.

Swamp logic

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Today, the Dutch National Bank took the easy way out of the political swamp of security problems surrounding the Dutch public transport smart card. According to the DNB, a change in EU regulations means the payment system does not need the approval of the bank. Interestingly, the media now concludes (in dutch – with audio) that this means the system can be implemented without changes to the security architecture.

Dutch Law Enforcement Pushes For Centralized Storage of Traffic Data

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Heise online reports from a RIPE conference in Amsterdam, that the Dutch Government Agency CIOT has called for extension of their current database (with personal data on Internet users) with data to be retained because of the implementation of the data retention directive.

The implementation law is currently waiting for a plenary debate in the senate, which is planned to take place on 23 June 2009.

Are “privacy pirates” Making Phorm Desperate?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Decide for yourself. Via the guardian.

What does it mean to be a privacy pirate anyway?

Why the Telcom Package Review IS about Fundamental Rights

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

The Financial Times has an article giving some insight into the debate that will have a huge impact on freedom of expression and access to information in the EU. The main point of discussion is whether fundamental rights have to be taken into account when end-users would be disconnected from the network, something that is being pushed as the new copyright enforcement strategy.

European Council diplomats seem to be thinking this is not the case:

A spokesman for the rotating EU presidency said: “None of the existing conventions and laws recognise internet access as a fundamental right on its own. It is simply one of the means of access to information.”

This is a flawed position. I think it is so clearly wrong that I hope it will backfire on them. Freedom of expression and freedom of communication are protected by Article 8 and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter. Although there might not be an explicit fundamental right to access the Internet in most European Countries, the Internet is the most important communicative medium for European citizens. The Internet is NOT ‘simply one of the means to access information‘. European institutions recognized as much in a host of official documents. Access to the Internet is a prerequisite to communicate effectively, by email, VoIP, over social network sites, and to find and access information, ideas, and services, including an increasing variety of e-government services. EU Member state Estonia does recognize access to the Internet as a fundamental right explicitly.

The European Court of Human Rights recently stated:

“In light of its accessibility and its capacity to store and communicate vast amounts of information, the Internet plays an important role in enhancing the public’s access to news and facilitating the dissemination of information generally.”

To disconnect people from this communications and information network, thereby limiting its “important role in enhancing the public’s access to news and facilitating the dissemination of information” is simply an interference with the right to freedom of expression and communication that need to be legitimized. The Parliament’s efforts, which would merely ensure that European citizens are not unduly banned from the net, not only deserves support, it could be strengthened. In fact, the current proposal by the Parliament is simply a restatement of fundamental legal principles that an interference with fundamental rights as serious as a ban from the Internet need to follow due process.

Clearly, the opposition from the Council has also to do with the lack of will of member states to harmonize procedural safeguards:

Opponents say this is an issue of legal enforcement over which Brussels has traditionally had few powers.

But, the procedural safeguards proposed by the Parliament are simply a reaction to the attempt to high-jack telecommunications regulation in the interests of copyright enforcement. Disconnecting users from the net is not a good solution. The European Parliament should stand by its efforts to curtail disproportionate enforcement strategies that impact on communicative freedoms.

A final meeting between the parliament, Commission and member states is due tonight, with no further opportunities to agree a deal before the elections without the entire package being reopened.

A spokesman for the Commission stressed that “a solution [on intellectual property protection] must be found, and we believe it will be found”.

Another Chance to Show Reason: A Vote Against Term Extension

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Tomorrow, the EP will vote on the proposals to extend the copyright term of sound recordings. So, after this week’s renewed adoption of ‘amendment 138′ in an important European Parliament legislative report, the EP has another chance to show some reason. My colleagues at IViR have studied the issues in depth and have repeatedly and strongly recommended against term extension.

say no to copyright extension

CFP, Gikii 4th Edition, Hosted by IViR with CC Netherlands

Friday, April 17th, 2009
Call for Papers

Gikii, A Workshop on Law, Technology and Popular Culture
Institute for Information Law (IViR)
University of Amsterdam
17-18 September 2009

http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrc/gikii/2009.asp

GikII 4th Edition, a two day workshop on the intersections between law, technology and popular culture, will be held on September 17-18th, 2009 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The chairs of the event are Joris van Hoboken, Doctoral Researcher at the Institute for Information Law, Ian Brown, Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, Andres Guadamuz, Co-Director, SCRIPT Law and Technology Centre at the University of Edinburgh and Lilian Edwards, Professor of Internet Law, Sheffield University. IViR is hosting GikII in partnership with Creative Commons Netherlands.

There will be no workshop fee. Lunch, coffee and a conference dinner will be arranged free of charge. We will limit registration to 40 participants, so register early!! Preference will be given to attendees who are providing a paper.

GikII – Not for the Lulz!?

GikII is a forum for the intersection of law, technology and popular culture. After previous editions in London, Edinburgh and Oxford, GikII has gained enough steam to hit the continent. Topics covered at the last editions included killer robots, virtual property, copyright online, the many lives and deaths of privacy, fandom, avatar culture, Roman slaves and knitted Daleks. Last year’s presentations can be viewed on the Gikii website, http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrc/gikii/index.asp.

We invite all of you that have a paper on any aspect of law AND technology, science, geek culture, blogging, creative commons, wikis, science fiction or fantasy, computer games, digital culture, gender on-line, virtual worlds, series of tubes, or deep packet inspectors, to come to GikII 4 and join us for two inspiring days of cutting edge collisions of the worlds of law, tech and popular culture. LOLcats, robot scientists and cheezburgers are especially welcome.

The call for papers

If you would like to participate, email your abstract of no more than 500 words. This should be sent to vanhoboken [at] ivir [dot] nl by July 1, 2009. We will confirm acceptances by August 1.

Wikia Search Comes to an End

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

News.com reports that Wales is giving up on the Wikia search engine project, which was supposed to build a search engine based on wiki principles, but never really managed to implement those principles for an environment as dynamic as web search. Luckily there are a number of open search projects that are alive and experimenting with ways to provide search in a more open and transparent way. See for instance YaCy.

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