News and informations about Internet

Letter to EU Institutions: WIFI4EU must promote diversity, locality and Human rights

Paris, 22 May 2017 — As the EU Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission enter the dark rooms of trialogues on the WIFI4EU draft regulation, European community networks and the open-wifi community wanted to remind them of the importance of the inclusion of all actors in the development of local connectivity.

Object: WIFI4EU — EU must promote diversity in the telecom sector and resist the commodification of publicly-funded networks

Dear Sir, Madam

Delegations of Members of the EU Parliament are currently finalising trialogue negotiations on the WIFI4EU draft regulation. The regulation will allow local authorities to open WiFI hotspots to boost Internet access, particularly in underserved communities.

WIFI4EU is an initiative announced last year by President Juncker in his "State of the Union" speech in Strasbourg. To deliver on this promise "to equip every European village and every city with free wireless Internet ac­cess around the main centres of public life by 2020", the EU will unleash 120 million between by 2017-2019 to roll out WiFi hotspots in at least 6,000 to 8,000 local communities.

But as the trialogue draw to a close, there is a huge risk of seeing this laudable initiative miss the opportunity of fostering diversity in the telecom sector as well as human rights. Recent negotiations show that Member State governments seek to keep small and local access providers out of the scheme, favouring incumbent multinational corporations while allowing them to spy on users' communications.

To overcome these risks, we call on the EU Council and the EU Commission to endorse the constructive proposals put forward by the European Parliament, and ask that the letter stand firm to safeguard the public interest in EU telecom policies.

Making room for SMEs and non-profit entities

In recital 4 of the regulation, the European Parliament insists on the involvement of organisations such as "not-for-profit cooperatives" and "community centres" as entities that could offer wireless connectivity. In the same vein, at recital 9b, the EP wants to promote local SMEs and not-for profit actors as key beneficiary for the procurement and installation of equipment 1. Such language ensures that small, local actors — including for-profit SMEs as well as many non-profit community networks — will be eligible to WIFI4EU funds. By directing the funds to these small but competent players, WIFI4EU would promote local employment, spread of technical skills as well as diversity in the telecom sector, rather than favouring already dominant players in the industry. This is all the more shocking considering that many non-profit community networks are already rolling out the kind open wireless networks promoted by WIFI4EU, with little or no public support. By directing EU funds to these actors when possible, WIFI4EU has the potential of helping them grow and expand their activities at the local level. Unfortunately, the EU Council is trying to remove these recitals arguing that they lack any legal basis, and paving the way for dominant actors to reap most of WIFI4EU subsidies.


Recital 4
Protecting the right to privacy by renouncing to prior authentication

In recital 2, both the EU Parliament and EU Council are promoting a solution for a single authentication system that can be used across the EU. This solution favouring authentication system to regulate access to "open" networks is not backed by any substantial reasoning, and runs counter to human rights. We understand the co-legislators' goal of making access to these public networks as easy as possible for people travelling across the EU, but the most simple way to do so is to ensure these are, indeed, open networks without authentication. If the goal of having an authentication system is to prevent illegal activities, co-legislators should be reminded that Advocate General of the CJEU recently explained in the case C?484/14 (McFadden) that imposing on Wi-Fi network operators an obligation “to identify users and to retain their data” would be “clearly disproportionate” as it “would not in itself be effective (...) in preventing specific infringements”. In the final ruling, the Court agreed that such an obligation should only be imposed after a specific targetting injunction requiring a WiFi operator to do so. To minimise privacy risks associated with data retention and foster ease of use, WIFI4EU should not promote authentication systems in what are meant to be open and free access points.


Recital 2
Keeping advertising and commercial surveillance out of public wireless networks

WIFI4EU should not commodify publicly-funded services by allowing advertising schemes enabled by commercial surveillance. Unfortunately, the Council is trying to undermine the protection suggested by the EP in recital 2, which precludes the use of traffic data for advertisement purposes or other commercial uses. The EP and Council must keep the EP version to be fully in line with the data protection framework and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Furthermore, commercial use of data cannot be justified within an implementation of public utilities —especially when funded through public money.

Offering free, open and neutral access to those who need it the most

The number one priority for WIFI4EU must be to develop open and free wireless networks that boost Internet access in underserved communities. The Council's proposal to delete the policy objective of "preventing remote locations and rural areas from lagging behind" and of making these publicly-funded networks both "free of charge and free from restrictions" is dangerous. It suggests that WIFI4EU networks might not be free, nor open, nor even respect the Net neutrality principle enshrined in the EU regulation on the telecom single market. The language put forth by the EU Parliament must be upheld.


Recital 4a


Recital 2§2c

We count on you to ensure that the proposals of the EU Parliament, which serves the general interest and specific goals of EU broadband policy, are safeguarded in the final text.


Read the full document here (pdf) Signatories:
  • Aquilenet (France)
  • BlueLink Civic Action Network (Bulgaria)
  • CAFAI (France)
  • Colectivo Helianto (Navarra)
  • Common Grounds (Germany)
  • Chaos Computer Club Lëtzebuerg (Luxembourg)
  • FDN (France)
  • FFDN (France)
  • Frënn vun der Ënn (Luxembourg)
  • Guifi Foundation (Spain)
  • IGWAN.NET (France)
  • Ilico (France)
  • La Quadrature du Net (France)
  • LibreMesh (Global)
  • wlan slovenija, open wireless network (Slovenia)
  • netCommons (EU)
  • NetHood (Switzerland)
  • Open Technologies Alliance - GFOSS (Greece)
  • Progetto Neco (Italy)
  • Sarantaporo.gr Non Profit Organization (Greece)
  • SCANI (France)
  • Tetaneutral.net (France)
  • Viviers Fibre (France)
  • Wireless België (Belgium)
  • Xnet (Spain)
  • WirelessPT.net (Portugal)
  • 1. In this context, the text mentions only "SMEs", but these are defined in EU law as "entit[ies] engaged in an economic activity, irrespective of its legal form." The notion can therefore include many non-profits that already work at the local level to provide flexible and affordable Internet access. See: http://ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/15582/attachments/1/translations

Source : www.laquadrature.net | 22-May-2017 10:44

Net Neutrality: Respect my Net presented at BEREC

Paris, 11 April 2017 — La Quadrature du Net publishes a position paper co-drafted with the FDN Federation and presented/exposed during the stakeholders meeting organised by the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) on 14 March 2017 in Brussels.

The proposals aim to allow a better monitoring of Net Neutrality and present helpful evidence for regulators to enforce the application of Net Neutrality especially through a tool developed to allow users to report Net Neutrality violations in the easiest way possible.

Since the BEREC's adoption of the guidelines on Net Neutrality in September 2016, it is up to the National Regulator Agencies to enforce the implementation of Net Neutrality and this cannot be done without the help of the citizens as they are the first concerned by the infringement of this principle. Tools such as Respect My Net allow citizens to report infractions carried by their ISP or mobile operator and allow to put into light unfair commercial practices.

The main points of the paper are:

  • The tools must be free/libre software;
  • The tests must be specific, permanent monitoring is discouraged
  • Citizen's privacy must always be protected, all results must be published in an aggregated form and no information could lead back to the user.
Read the position paper


Source : www.laquadrature.net | 11-Apr-2017 10:29

YouTube: invisibilisation to benefit advertizing
LQDN is publishing here an op-ed by Okhin.

Paris, 10 April 2017 — Online video platforms (most notably YouTube and Facebook) have surpassed television in audience count, making these media extremely important in terms of how they represent society. They constitute a place of public expression, run by private companies, which permit many persons, cultures, subcultures, and social groups to exist, to communicate among themselves, and to be seen. Certainly there are initiatives and free alternatives, but none of them can hope to reach the level of presence of these platforms.

The presence of minorities in these media of mass entertainment (TV, series, films, video games, etc.) is at best problematic. The Internet lets anyone create and have access to content that might tackle this problem by giving them a voice, letting them share their experience, and recognizing them. That is one of the main reasons for the success of these media platforms and user-created content.

YouTube, Facebook and other massive digital platforms have become critical for the public space presence of those minorities, becoming a major component in the visibility of those people, their struggles, their discussions, or just as a means of struggling against isolation, of confronting points of view and situations, and of mutual aid.

In mid-March, YouTube (which belongs to Google-Alphabet) updated their - optional - restricted mode, which is intended to "screen out potentially mature content that you may prefer not to see or don’t want others in your family to see".

YouTube displays that mode as a parental control feature with which parents need not decide anything, and surrender to YouTube the choice of what their children may see; or for use on publicly available terminals, such as libraries and schools. The goal is to ensure that nobody who uses those terminals may stumble on content that might shock them.

The most visible consequence of this update was making most content produced by LGBT authors, or about even remotely LGBT matters (the word "gay" in a cat video is enough), unreachable to people using this restricted mode. The update elicited great anger in the LGBT community, forcing YouTube to make ">public apologies, and finally admit that their screening mechanism doesn't work.

In a statement released to specialized press, YouTube explained that health, politics and sexuality were amongst matters that could lead content to be classified as restricted. That definition actually enables YouTube to target nearly any content and flag it as restricted. In the same statement, YouTube adds that user reports and previous restricted content uploads by the same person, were also criteria for flagging content. The more content is flagged as restricted, the more likely it is that their creator will be flagged again.

The regulation of a public space by private interests should not be analysed through the prism of morality, but rather through that of the platforms' business model. The goal of those platforms is neither to display the content the user requested, nor to allow content creators to publish their creations, but instead to display the right ad, on the right content, to the right person, in order to fulfil the requirements of their advertising customers. Havas and Procter & Gamble recently threatened to end their partnerships with Google in light of Google's inability to correctly categorize and label its content. These businesses want to be able to guarantee their clients that no advertising will appear alongside content that might damage their brands1.

This problem is as old as advertising on the Internet. Pop-up advertising was created for this in the 1990s (it took almost a decade to stop this plague). At the time, advertisers complained that they didn't want their advertising, and thus their brands, to be associated with things they disapproved of - for instance, pornography was widely mentioned at the time.

Beyond the simple case of YouTube, we have to remember that, unfortunately, this is only one extremely public case among that many more incursions on freedom of expression for the benefit of the advertisers. Female nudity, for example, is banned from different social media or private software platforms. That which has recently affected queer persons and communities could perfectly well soon affect videos defending political ideas —whether it has to do with candidates to an election or just active participants, and potentially anyone whose ideas displease an advertiser.

YouTube's restricted mode scandal in the form it exploded in the last few days thus seems like the reaction of a business faced with the threats of its clients. It's an attempt to create a public space entirely dedicated to presenting advertising, stripped of content potentially annoying to a brand, realizing Patrick Le Lay's dream of maximizing the profitability of the "available brain time".

If pressure from advertisers brings YouTube to bend to their demands, restricted mode will probably be enabled by default. If restricted mode remains optional but is enabled by secondary schools, how will it be possible to do online research if the platforms don't provide any content that could potentially be politicized? Or dealing with sexuality? How to give access to information about abortion —which is already complicated— if it is not available?

Some attempts by decentralized media whose economic model doesn't depend on advertising already exist, but without threatening in the least the oligopoly composed of the centralized platforms. However, one of the Internet's strengths resides in its decentralization, the possibility to offer everyone to put his content on line. Yet the silo effect and the concentration of content by a few private businesses which control the entire production chain out through broadcast, passing ultimately through the management of income, poses the question of respect for the rights of perceived communities as a danger to their economic model.

It is becoming ever more critical, if we want to live in a society that offers diversity of opinions, of cultures, of ideas necessary for a democracy that includes everyone and everything, to reduce our dependency on these platforms. The dream of a neutral, free, and decentralized Internet is still vivid, and many groups are working on it (from Framasoft to Yunohost passing by riseup.net and a large part of the hacker spaces), but a lot remains to accomplish. The availability of these tools, their use for and by everyone, requires more than make the code libre/open source. If we really want to get these tools out of our "garages", the work that these groups have begun has to reach actively into activist spaces.


Source : www.laquadrature.net | 10-Apr-2017 16:52

From bad to worse: the del Castillo Report on the European Electronic Communication Code

Paris, 22 March 2017 — The rapporteur for the European Parliament on the European Electronic Communication Code intends to make Europe retreat from the way to a free, developed, fair digital society.

To understand what it's about, let's step back a little.

Since 2002, the regulation of telecommunication has been based on a group of European directives called "the telecom package". The second revision of this package (the first was in 2009) began in September 2016 with the publication by the European Commission of a draft bill for a European Code of Electronic Communication. This massive bill of more than a hundred articles aims to recast and reform the current telecom package. It is now being negotiated at the Council of the European Union, and a report just had been published at the European Parliament. This report published by the MEP Pilar del Castillo (ES - EPP) will be discussed in the coming months.


Our work on Telecom Package on the wiki
The bill of the Commission, a bill for a Telecoms oligarchy

We support the Commission' stated objective: to offer very high speed connectivity, based on optical fibre, to all European citizens. That is obvious. However, we discuss how to arrive there. The Commission's bill is a bill for oligopolies, a bill for the big ones, the three or four large operators in each country, a bill at the expense of the small ones. We knew that this Commission couldn't come up with a bill favorable for citizens. That is probably what, at the last minute, convinced it to assemble into the communication, a collection of policies called "WIFI4EU", as a last outburst before entirely forgetting citizens. As if Wi-Fi were no more than an issue of money, dribbled from the fingers like a handout, and not a set of liberties to conquer.

In the Commission's bill, citizens are not equal before the law. The Universal Service Obligation designed by the Commission makes persons geographically isolated or in difficult situations into second-class citizens. While "mainstream" citizens will benefit from very high-speed Internet access, those benefiting from "Universal Service" will have only "functional" access worthy of the ancient Minitel of 30 years ago. In brief, for city-dwellers the very high-speed digital society, for rural citizens the leftover scraps of a two-speed economy.

Networks are today a common good. Even according to the French national electronic communication regulator Arcep, networks are "an infrastructure of liberty". The Commission is neglecting that when it closes the door of the telecoms market to all the small actors who could build and nourish the wealth of telecommunications.

This restrictive closure of the market is tangible in many ways.

Opposed to the demands of European Community Networks, the Commission favored powerful operators substantially by completely deregulating investment in the as-yet undefined new network elements. It was the same when it proposed not to regulate the structurally separated operators. The Commission also handed operators a beautiful gift by offering them individual rights to radio frequencies for 25 years while counting on the secondary frequency market to keep it all working. Once again this flies in the face of history, because today Wi-Fi, and thus free frequencies, transmit more data than all other technologies combined.

But in this fight for the open spectrum, the Commission has defended the sharing of radio frequencies since 2012, and in this text has made a number of proposals in favor of the sharing of radio frequencies in the draft code. Maybe in good faith, but without taking care to establish a coherent and readable framework for the open spectrum, too sure to be swallowed by the Member States.

Those are a few illustrations of the slippery slope on which the Commission places itself against citizens, against the digital society, against innovation. But that is nothing compared to what the rapporteur, MEP Pilar del Castillo, foresees for this recast of telecoms law in Europe.

The "del Castillo" report, a report for private monopolies (i.e the nightmare)

Pilar del Castillo is no stranger to us. She never fails to place her portfolio of responsibilities at the service of the industry: an industry with which she cultivates privileged relations and to which she offers the most beautiful presents. Her report on the Code is one of them.

Determined in her quest for European breakage, Mrs del Castillo doesn't hesitate to dig deeper the gap opened by the Commission. European regulation must not merely be written for an oligarchy, it must be made for a monopoly. But not any old type of monopoly. The public monopolies which Europe has fought against when they were State property, the rapporteur now plans to give to private companies -- the incumbent operators, those now-privatised former monopolies.

To this end, the regulatory shortcomings explained above are extended and made more vague. The control of the regulator is reduced and traded off for more or less fair development. The idea that the optic fibre and a high speed symmetrical broadband are supposed to be objectives, is simply put rewritten to a mere placebo for copper networks. And, of course, no progress on what we could expect from a representative of the European people.

But where the intervention of the MEP is even worst, it is regarding the spectrum. The minimum of 25 years rights on public domain radio frequencies, has been extended to 30 years! 30 years. Here is what will block European economy, here is what will build fortresses around the kings of the digital economy, those incumbent operators re monopolising. And let's not forget the total lack of possibility of interventions on the rights to use the spectrum given to those operators. Finally, because the benefits of the biggest will be pale into insignificance if they were not associated with the privation of the smallest, the unstable provisions by the Commission in favor of the open spectrum are literally eradicated by the rapporteur. Do not think about sharing. Do not think about innovation. Mostly, do not think especially about freedom.

On the ruins of the Telecoms in the making, the only positive provision of this report is the suppression of the administrative fees for the small operators... There is always a small gift for those left behind.


Source : www.laquadrature.net | 22-Mar-2017 12:37

Open letter to EU policy makers on community networks - joint press release

Paris, 16 March 2017 — Today, more than 25 European Community Networks, joined by over 35 supporting organizations from around the world, are sending an open letter to EU policy-makers. At a time when the European Union is paving the way for a major reform of telecommunications policy, the letter makes a number of recommendations to ensure the continuous development of these citizen initiatives, which provide an alternative, democratic and sustainable way to manage telecom infrastructures and meet the goals of broadband policies.

Community Networks are network infrastructures built by local communities and organizations in a bottom-up and democratic way. Given the shortcomings of current telecom policies -- such as the repeated failures of market actors to cover the communication needs of underprivileged populations both in rural and urban areas -- CNs are being increasingly considered as an alternative way to provide affordable Internet access for all.1

They actually offer much more than affordable Internet connectivity of superior quality, including citizen engagement, resiliency, education, innovation, and the basis for claiming our digital sovereignty over global corporations dominating the digital economy (the principles underlying these initiatives are summed up in the Guadalajara Declaration). Especially in Europe, we are seeing a continuous growth of some of the most successful federated community networks in the world like Guifi.net, Freifunk.net, FFDN and many others.

Yet, Community Networks have been systematically overlooked by policy-makers, and their values and models are being jeopardized by various policies. Today, CNs are asking for minimal and well-deserved support from policy-makers to be able to continue their activities. This open letter is signed by 31 European Community Networks, representing over hundred thousand active members, node owners, and serving even more individual citizens, SMEs, and organizations. It explains the different threats that those networks are facing and provides recommendations regarding the legal and policy frameworks that are appropriate for sustaining a diverse and democratic environment in the telecommunications sector.

The letter will be sent to the European Commission, EU member states delegations as well as members of the European Parliament. We hope that these institutions will follow suit by showing willingness to engage in a debate over the policy items covered in the letter.


Source : www.laquadrature.net | 16-Mar-2017 10:02

Automated platform filtering: La Quadrature sends its arguments to MEPs

Paris, 7th march 2017 —  The draft of the new European copyright directive has been presented in september 2016. For now, the work in progress in the european Parliament and mobilisations by concerned people and organisations are multiplying. People pay great attention to the two articles that La Quadrature du Net pointed in september : Article 11 about ancillary copyright for press publishers, and Article 13 about the use of effective content recognition technologies for content platforms.
La Quadrature du Net publishes today its positions about Article 13, that have been fed by discussions and workshops with creators, legal experts and more globally with common users of digital culture. These positions are also send to the Members of the European Parliament to feed the work done in the Committees. The preliminary work carried out by the European Parliament Committtees show that, contrary to what one might think, nothing is locked and many subjects remain open in the copyright dossier. Articles 11 and 13 are subject to various discussions and some proposals by MEPs show that they pay attention to the evolution of use.

Article 13 concerns the use of protect content by Internet services which store and give access to a large number of works and protected materials uploaded by the users. It provides that Internet services must take measures to respect their agreements with rights holders, especially the "use of effective content recognition technologies".

La Quadrature du Net, after several workshops and meetings, choose to develop its arguments against Article 13 by taking several approaches : one strictly focused on legal approach and rights oriented, a second one dedicated to show how Article 13 will be counter-productive for creation and creators, and the last one bringing out the lack of resolution of the "value gap" between platforms and creators, as well as incompatibility with the current regime of content hosters.

Automatization in removing illicit content : a serious attack against legal principle Inverting the burden of proof

Tobegin with, this article inverts the burden of proof: ratherthan requiring the rightholder to prove illicit use of their work, it requires the user who put work online to prove -- after it has been automatically suppressed -- that its content does not violate the other's rights. This mechanism can gravely damage freedom of expression and creation.

The sanction's automatic nature discourages all appeal and eliminates the right to the fair hearing which underpins the principles of the rule of law.

Nothing in the directive requires platforms to consider potential claims orto put in place appeal procedures (other than a vague obligation for "adequacy and proportionality" and the mention of a complaint mechanism with no guarantee).

Broken equity

Additionally, this measure forcefully breaks legal equity: although rightsholders need not take legal action to suppress content, publishers whose content has been abusively suppressed are themselves required to take legal action to validate their rights a posteriori.

Anotherbreach of equity will certainly appear between rights holders richenough to mark all or most of their catalogue so that the robots can detect their reuse, and those who can't afford to do this: if this automatization in removing illicit content becomes the norm, only those wealthy enough to underwrite its costs will be able to have their rights respected.
Will platforms which haven't received the fingerprints from rights holders nonetheless be required to deploy detection tools? Will the absence of these tools imply the de facto illegality of these platforms?

If the situation is unclear, there will be serious risks to competition inthe sense that rights holders may find themselves in a position to decide which platforms they deem legitimate, and therefore which ones may or may not continue to exist.

Overseeing the tools to detect illicit content

The matter of overseeing the robots is equally crucial: who will oversee the robots and verify their workings? Who will be able to certify that the robots have the analytic finesse to distinguish between a work's illicit use and its parody? Who will be able to validate that there will be no abuse, no excess, no abusive interpretation of copyright?

In light of how this type of robots work for video platforms (YouTube), it's already proven that they make many mistakes.
Among these mistakes, for example, we have already seen that rights holders who fingerprint works may themselves re-appropriate others' works, depriving them ofthe right to publish their work freely.


In light of these many disquieting points, we recommend to refuse automating the process of detecting protected works on content platforms, on pain of rendering the legal environment for publishing on the Internet considerably more difficult, and vastly expanding damage to fundamental rights.

Article 13 of copyright Directive : a threat against creation Censorship unable to identify legitimate exceptions to copyright

Automatic censorship tools are by nature incapable of determining whether a work's re-use is a mere unchanged copy or a satire, a criticism or a remix (among other legitimate legal possibilities to re-use an extract of a protected work). This type of measure nullifies and seriously endangers all creative culture based on the usage of other works to nourish creation.

However, transformatory culture is deeply rooted in new uses and services on which this article touches. To damage it indiscriminately in the way article 13 requests actually constitutes endangering a very important part of current audio and video creation.

This kind of creation which transforms or uses pieces of other works is apart of the global cultural ecosystem which can't be suppressed without consequences. For example, many video creators play an important role in popularizing science and disseminating learning. Hundreds of thousands view these publications, participating in vibrant cultural and educational creation, especially the young audience which informs itself and cultivates its knowledge on its own through YouTube and other platforms rather than by traditional means.

Predictable conflicts among rights holders, a negation of the amateur creator

Furthermore, this disposition [Article 13] could have harmful repercussions for works shared under free licence or which have entered into the public domain. The experience of YouTube's robotic detection of protected work has led to many conflicts between rights holders, with important litigation at stake, and as a side effect has also led to modifying the conditions of creation, since creators can't be guaranteed control over how their works are distributed. It will be quite impossible, for creator, to manage their promotion based on release of content. How will the robotic detection make the difference between an "illegal" release and a promotionnal release of content ?

With respect to the very principle of these tools, they flagrantly neglect the status of amateur creators, who can only be acknowledged and protected when registered with a rights management company responsible for supplying the fingerprints of works to "protect" on sharing platforms. This contradicts the principle of copyright, which protects each creator independently of his professional oramateur status.

The draft directive offers no guarantee at all to ensure the greatest possible reduction of censorship errors if it imposes no duty of carefor results or methods. Nor does it take into account either the territoriality of the law or national differences in enforcing copyright, thus putting creators and users in a situation of permanent legal uncertainty.

This disposition, supposedly protecting creators, is actually a way to restrict the capacities of creation and distribution which brings no advantage to creators themselves. Furthermore, it risks creating an outlaw culture which will then migrate to private or hidden platforms, since the targeted practices won't disappear (they are already in massive use) but only disappear from the visible face of the Internet, thus discouraging new generations of creators. To give an example of how this works out, we need only look at the result of Hadopi in France. When the law was passed in 2008 it was supposed to solved the problem of illegal sharing, but by 2015 it applied to only 9% of music downloads.

To adress new cultural practices, it would be better to include into the Directive the proposals made by IMCO and CULT rapporteurs:

  • to create an extended "quotation exception" for audiovisualworks (CULT)
  • and an exception for transformative works (IMCO).

It would be a significant progress to adapt copyright to new kind of uses.

Article 13 conflicts with content hosters status and doesn't solve the "value gap"

In demanding that platforms deploy tools to detect illicit content automatically, this article severely damages basic legal principles. But beyond that, it poses many problems of compatibility with the electronic commerce directive of 2000, which regulates the greatest part of responsibilities among Internet actors, and endangers much existing equilibrium without ever solving the problem of the value gap.

The electronic commerce directive of 2000 imposes no requirement for preemptive surveillance of content for providers of shared online content. It is inconceivable to reconcile a general requirement to install tools to detect illegal content with this total absence of apriori responsibility for content hosters, which was originally enacted to permit the development of new services. For the last 15 years it's this balance which has legally protected content hosters. No future corrections to this law can be made only through a directive on copyright and without prior global consultation.

A method which fails to resolve the problem of value gap

The problem of value gap isn't resolved by removing content, because that leads to no remuneration for the creator. Even worse, creators are deprived of the visibility of presenting their works on the Internet, even illegally. The ability to be recompensed disappears under suppression, and controlling illicit content can play no role in redistribution. Thus it can't meet its stated objective.

The Internet has become a very significant advertising resource. We would like to support economic models other than advertising revenue, but it can at least serve as a basis for regulating the problem of transferring value more effectively than suppressing content. One can imagine more comprehensive fiscal measures: European fiscal harmony, measures for extra-european companies, a change in the level of advertising revenue or general revenue of the platforms, etc.

The matter of the income differential between platforms and creators can be settled only by facing the problems of apportionment, while genuinely accepting new ways of sharing by the rights-holders.

Economic disparities among platforms

The general obligation to deploy tools for automatic detection of illegal content will generate a strong disparity among platforms: both the development and the purchase of this kind of solution are extremely expensive. The few companies currently able to develop reliable tools for detecting illegal content are themselves actors in the digital content market, and will get the upper hand and make the smaller actors highly dependent on them, to buy or rent the use of their tools.

The probable growth of litigation due to the inevitable errors of the tools will also bring additional costs. It is the existing large platforms which, for many non-Europeans, will therefore be able maintain acceptable quality of service and to be in good standing with the automatic detection of illegal content, while the smaller entities or the newcomers will have to undertake a much higher cost, even a totally prohibitive one.

Paradoxically, this measure will probably favor the GAFA monopoly and kill the emergence of European actors by disproportionally increasing the cost of access to the market or the unpredictable financial risks increating a content-sharing service. It is really a matter of choosing which economic model we want to promote within the European Union.

La Quadrature du Net urges MEPs of the Committees involved in the work on the Copyright Directive to pay attention of the various problems presented in that analysis, and to simply delete Article 13. Proposals emerge from Committees to intelligently adapt Copyright to the digital era. It would be more useful to support and improve it so that this Copyright reform can be ambitious and involve creators and users in a new dynamic beneficial for everybody.


Source : www.laquadrature.net | 06-Mar-2017 18:06

ePrivacy at the European Parliament : La Quadrature publishes its analysis

Paris, 6 March 2017 — The nomination of Marju Lauristin last Tuesday, MEP of the "Socialists&Democrats" group, as a rapporteur of the ePrivacy regulation on "the respect of privacy and personal data protection in electronic communications" kicks off negotiations at the European Parliament. It is an opportunity for La Quadrature du Net to publish its arguments and recommendations, which it will promote loud and strong during the upcoming months with MEPs of all political sides.

Click here to directly access the recommendations

The five years of negotiations which have been needed to adopt the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)1 resumed with greater intensity with the ePrivacy proposal. Given the shortcomings in the GDPR, there is still a long way to go to ensure that Europeans' privacy is respected and that trust between service providers and individuals is restored. The wind is turning and the digital lobbies are beginning to sense that it's not favorable to them: the European Commission has not yielded to their calls for the suppression of the text, and studies on this matter are multipltying to show that Europeans are increasingly concerned about protecting their privacy on the Internet. But a natural adaptation of service providers to the changes in society, so dear to the laissez-faire enthusiasts, does not seem to be under way. On the contrary, new techniques and tracking tools are constantly being developed, and electronic communications service providers increasingly seek to collect and process our metadata and analyze our content.

The future ePrivacy regulation on the respect for privacy and personal data protection in electronic communications is therefore essential to counter those harmful developments and to restore power to the users.

Yet the battle is far from won. As we said in early January, the Commission's proposal turns out to be far below what the speeches say, and the attacks from some conservative Members of European Parliament (MEP) against even the usefulness of the text are extremely disquieting.

The arguments published today are a summary of our recommendations and the points that La Quadrature du Net will promote in the coming months with MEPs and the member states. La Quadrature recommends that MEPs should:

  • cut back new opportunities for service providers to deal with electronic communications metadata;
  • force data to be processed anonymously whenever possible;
  • block third-party cookies by default in browsers (and any other access to the device by third parties);
  • return to the Commission's proposal allowing devices to be tracked in certain physical locations (whether private, such as in a shop, or public, such as a square or a park) and formally prohibit such highly intrusive practices;
  • limit as far as possible the derogations granted to member states for national security reasons. It is on the basis of these regulations that the member states have been able to introduce data retention measures in the past, or may introduce measures which weaken encryption tools and electronic communications confidentiality in the future;
  • consider violating the protection of the terminal device (illegally accessing a device, or tracking a device) as a very serious violation subject to the highest penalties provided for in the General Regulations on Data Protection;

These recommendations - somewhat technical - will soon be supplemented by more political explanations, arguments that everybody will be able to use, and a calendar so that together we can fight this battle for the defense of our privacy and to regain control of our data.

--> Link to the full analysis <--
Source : www.laquadrature.net | 06-Mar-2017 13:58

Global civil society groups call for suspension of the EU-US Privacy Shield

Paris, 3 March 2017 — La Quadrature du Net joins a coalition of European and global civil society organisations and signs a letter asking to suspend the Privacy Shield, the arrangement enabling the transfer of personal data between the US and the EU. These organisations consider that the US do not currently give sufficient safeguards for ensuring the data protection of Europeans. This arrangement is also currently challenged before the European Court of Justice by Digital Rights Ireland and by the Exégètes Amateur 1.

Commissioner V?ra Jourová

cc : U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross

Ms Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin
Chairman of Article 29 Working Party

MEP Claude Moraes
Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs

HE Ms Marlene Bonnici
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative of Malta to the EU

Re: Coalition of Civil Liberties Organisations call for EU Lawmakers to Push for US Surveillance Reform to Ensure a Right-respecting Framework for Non-US persons

We represent a coalition of human rights organisations based in the Member States of the European Union and around the world. We urge you to ensure that the United States
substantively reforms its surveillance laws this year to protect the rights of non-US persons including Europeans. Organizations of this coalition have repeatedly pointed out the flaws in the US redress and oversight mechanisms for privacy violations, the inadequacies in the limitation on collection, access and use of personal data, and the uncertainty of written assurances serving as a basis for the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield data transfer arrangement. Without meaningful surveillance reforms we believe that it is your responsibility to, at a minimum, suspend the Privacy Shield. We urge you to make that position clear to your counterparts in the United States during your upcoming visit.

Title VII of the U.S. FISA Amendments Act (FAA) will expire on 31 December 2017 unless Congress acts to extend the law. This is the provision of U.S. law which includes the authority known colloquially as “Section 702.” Section 702 is very broad, providing authorisation for the PRISM and UPSTREAM surveillance programmes that violate international human rights standards.2 Without significant reform, Section 702 will continue to threaten the free flow of information overseas, and negatively impact global data protection and privacy.

Surveillance under Section 702, including the under the abovementioned programmes, was at the heart of the Court of Justice of the European Union’s decision to strike down the “Safe Harbour” data transfer arrangement between the United States and the European Union.3

Consequently, the 702 reform is a prerequisite, even if not sufficient as a stand alone measure, to meet the Court’s standard.

Safe Harbor has been subsequently replaced by the Privacy Shield. At the time of the adoption of this arrangement several groups pointed out that U.S. law as it stands was inadequate to protect Europeans’ data and did not meet the “essentially equivalent” criteria set out by the CJEU.4 Since then, several developments have seriously undermined the US’ commitment to protect the rights of non-US persons.5

There are many ways the U.S. could reform Section 702 and the FAA to better protect human rights without undermining the security of U.S. citizens or others around the world.6 Despite this, the predominant reform being considered now is a limitation on back-end searches for U.S.- persons’ data without limiting in any way the suspicionless surveillance targeted at the hundreds of millions of people globally. If no reforms - or reforms that only provide greater protections for U.S. persons - are passed this year, we believe the U.S. will have sent a clear message to the European Union that our rights are inconsequential. We urge you to stand up for the privacy and data protection of people throughout the EU and communicate that the Privacy Shield will be suspended without meaningful reform.

Press release from Access Now: https://www.accessnow.org/global-civil-society-groups-call-for-reform-of-us-surveillance-law-section-702/


Source : www.laquadrature.net | 03-Mar-2017 15:24

Letter to EU Policy-Makers: Making Regulation Work for Community Networks

Paris, 28 February 2017 — On the occasion of the revision of the Telecom Package, La Quadrature du Net publishes here the letter of netCommons on the importance of community networks for freedoms and fundamental rights.

La Quadrature du Net stresses that the review the Telecom Package should be for legislators, the opportunity to reinforce the transparency, civil rights and liberties and the possibility for all actors, especially the small ones to be able to play a significant role in the future so-called Digital Single Market. Also, La Quadrature du Net points out the importance of a fair and equal regulation for all the actors, especially for local communities, non-profit actors and users' rights. This revision should not lead to a closed market with few monopolistic actors.

This letter is open for comments.

After many discussions with many European Community Networks (CNs), researchers from netCommons are happy to present a draft open letter on "policy recommendations for sustaining Community Networks". The letter is targeted at European policy-makers, who recently started working on an overhaul of the telecom regulatory framework.

This letter, drafted in collaboration with several European CNs and advocacy groups, is meant to offer a collective voice to this growing movement. Until March 8th, we would like to collect signatures from as many European CNs as possible, as well as other supporting organizations (be they advocacy groups, research projects, non-profits, SMEs, local authorities, etc.).

After this consultation period and the collection of signatures, we would like to send the letter to members of EU Parliament, national delegations at the Council of the EU, as well as to key officials from the EU Commission.

Several outcomes can be expected, including:

  • The publication of a joint press release by all signatories to disseminate the open letter as widely as possible (by the end of March).
  • Proposals for amendments reflecting the recommendations of this open letter, to be sent to key members of the EU Parliament before the first crucial vote on the Telecoms Package in late April.
  • A policy workshop to be organized later this year in Brussels.

Of course, all of these potential outcomes will depend upon the involvement of signatory organizations, and in particular of the willingness of CNs to work together.

But first, we are sharing the draft to a wider circle of CNs and other people interested in their activities for consultation and potential amendments to the text. Until March 8th, you can read and comment on the draft letter, offer corrections and suggest changes or additions by using co-ment, an online tool for collaborative writing. You can access the letter at the bottom of this page.

If and when you agree to sign the letter, please send the name of your organization, the country where it is based and its high-resolution logo to:advocacy@netcommons.eu (note that if your signature is dependent on the response brought to a specific comment you have made, please be sure to tag comment as "blocking").


Source : www.laquadrature.net | 28-Feb-2017 10:07

Telenor to roll out Google's new messaging service in Asia, Europe

(Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's Google said on Thursday it partnered with Telenor ASA to roll out Rich Communications Services (RCS), an upgraded messaging service, to the Norwegian telecommunications company's subscribers in Asia and Europe. The messaging service includes features such as group chats, photo sharing and read receipts among other things, Google said in its official blog.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 16-Feb-2017 12:07

Blackstone acquires London-based cloud computing firm Cloudreach
Blackstone, which has $100 billion in private equity assets under management, has acquired a majority stake in cloud computing business Cloudreach for an undisclosed sum, the investment firm said on Thursday. Cloud computing uses a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage and process data, instead of a local server or a personal computer. London-based Cloudreach was founded in 2009 and has operations in seven countries, with clients including travel booking sites Sky Scanner and Trainline and publisher Time Inc. Research group Fast Track said in its 2015 report that Cloudreach was among the 20 fastest-growing British technology companies.
Source : news.yahoo.com | 16-Feb-2017 11:59

Spotify to relocate, more than double U.S workforce: New York state governor

Swedish music streaming service Spotify will move its U.S headquarters and more than double its workforce in the country by next year, New York governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday. Spotify, one of Europe's most highly valued venture-backed startups, which is reportedly considering a potential U.S. stock market listing, has not yet shown a profit as it spends to grow internationally. The firm will move its New York office to the World Trade Center from the Midtown South area of Manhattan, adding more than 1,000 new jobs while retaining 832, the governor said in a statement.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 16-Feb-2017 01:26

Hackett says 'angry' brother beat him

Australian swimming great Grant Hackett has posted a photo of himself on social media with cuts and bruises to his face and accused his brother of assault, a day after the triple Olympic champion was arrested for a disturbance at his family home. Hackett, who has struggled with drug and alcohol problems away from the pool, was detained by Gold Coast police on Wednesday after suffering a "breakdown" at his parents' home, his father told local media. The swimmer's brother Craig later told reporters that Hackett was a "danger to himself and to the community" and that his family was unable to help him alone.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 16-Feb-2017 01:15

Swimming-Hackett says 'angry' brother beat him
Australian swimming great Grant Hackett has posted a photo of himself on social media with cuts and bruises to his face and accused his brother of assault, a day after the triple Olympic champion was arrested for a disturbance at his family home. Hackett, who has struggled with drug and alcohol problems away from the pool, was detained by Gold Coast police on Wednesday after suffering a "breakdown" at his parents' home, his father told local media. The swimmer's brother Craig later told reporters that Hackett was a "danger to himself and to the community" and that his family was unable to help him alone.
Source : news.yahoo.com | 16-Feb-2017 01:13

Kanye West unveils new Yeezy line during New York Fashion Week

By Melissa Fares NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three months after being hospitalized for exhaustion, rapper Kanye West made his first major public appearance on Wednesday, turning up for his Yeezy fashion show during New York Fashion Week. With his wife Kim Kardashian West in the front row next to Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, West debuted the fifth season of his high-end athleisure wear collection for Adidas to the fashion world's elite. Many social media users expressed their frustrations when they learned they would not be able to watch online, but critics were positive about the 39-year-old singer's latest runway show, saying the emphasis was on his new collection, rather than him.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 16-Feb-2017 00:40

U.S. takes pastor, software developer to trial over bitcoin exchange

By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Florida software engineer and a New Jersey pastor engaged in lies and corruption to facilitate an illegal bitcoin exchange business whose operators wanted to take over a small credit union to evade scrutiny, a federal prosecutor said on Wednesday. At the start of a trial in Manhattan federal court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Won Shin told jurors that programmer Yuri Lebedev schemed with others to bribe Trevor Gross, the pastor and head of a Jackson, New Jersey-based credit union housed in his church. Shin said Gross accepted bribes including a $150,000 church donation in exchange for helping unlicensed bitcoin exchange Coin.mx's operator take over Helping Other People Excel Federal Credit Union.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 16-Feb-2017 00:27

Ukraine charges Russia with new cyber attacks on infrastructure
By Natalia Zinets KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine on Wednesday accused Russian hackers of targeting its power grid, financial system and other infrastructure with a new type of virus that attacks industrial processes, the latest in a series of cyber offensives against the country. Oleksandr Tkachuk, Ukraine's security service chief of staff, said at a press conference that the attacks were orchestrated by the Russian security service with help from private software firms and criminal hackers, and looked like they were designed by the same people who created malware known as "BlackEnergy." Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) could not be reached for comment.
Source : news.yahoo.com | 15-Feb-2017 23:48

Spotify to relocate U.S. headquarters to 4 World Trade Center

(Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday Swedish music service company Spotify will expand its U.S. headquarters and relocate it to 4 World Trade Center, creating more than 1,000 new jobs and retaining 832 jobs. Spotify, which currently has offices in the Midtown South area of Manhattan, will move its New York office to the 378,000 square feet of office space owned by Silverstein Properties Inc in early 2018, Cuomo's statement said. Spotify, one of Europe's most highly valued venture-backed startups, is reportedly considering a potential U.S. stock market listing.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 15-Feb-2017 23:09

Travel website TripAdvisor's revenue misses estimates

(Reuters) - TripAdvisor Inc's quarterly revenue missed analysts' estimates, hurt by lower display advertisements on its websites and a fall in subscription revenue. Shares of the company, which owns websites such as TripAdvisor.com and Oyster.com, fell 4.3 percent to $50.45 in after-hours trading on Wednesday. The company's net income fell to $1 million, or 1 cent per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $3 million, or 2 cents per share, a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 16 cents per share. ...



Source : news.yahoo.com | 15-Feb-2017 22:40

Israel's Wix.com beats estimates, sees strong 2017

Wix.com, an Israel-based company which helps small businesses build and operate websites, forecast higher-than-expected revenue in 2017 after fourth-quarter revenue and earnings topped estimates. It had been forecast to earn 3 cents a share excluding items on revenue of $81.65 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Wix offers free basic features for setting up websites but users must pay for extra services such as shopping carts, individual web addresses and site traffic analysis. The number of registered users surpassed 100 million this month, Wix said.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 15-Feb-2017 12:28

China drone maker courts online matchmaker Zhenai
Zhenai.com, one of China's largest matchmaking websites, has found itself an unlikely suitor in drone manufacturer DEA General Aviation that said on Wednesday it wants to buy the popular dating website to expand its business. DEA said Zhenai reported 1 billion yuan ($145.59 million) in revenue last year and that it plans to integrate the dating website into its home appliance business to heed Beijing's so-called "Internet Plus" strategy. Matchmaking is big business in China, where single people are often subjected to tough lectures from relatives keen on reinforcing the importance of marriage and securing the family blood line.
Source : news.yahoo.com | 15-Feb-2017 11:48

Clash of Clans maker Supercell's profit grows despite Pokemon challenge

Finland's Supercell, the maker of hit mobile game Clash of Clans, reported on Wednesday core profit rose 8 percent last year, helped by the launch of a new game and despite the challenge from Nintendo Co's smash hit Pokemon GO. Supercell, majority owned by China's Tencent Holdings Ltd , said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization rose to 917 million euros ($967 million) last year from 848 million in 2015. With largely flat revenue of 2.1 billion euros, the profit improvement was partly due to lower spending on advertising and the successful launch of its latest game, Clash Royale, it said.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 15-Feb-2017 11:31

Hong Kong police struggle to stop brokerage hacking spree

By Michelle Price HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong police are struggling to deal with digital pump-and-dump schemes targeting brokerages - a little-known type of computer-generated fraud that surged in the Chinese territory last year. In the scheme, criminals invest in thinly traded penny stocks and then manipulate their share prices by ordering trades from hacked brokerage accounts. After last year's cyber-heist of $81 million at Bangladesh's central bank and a series of hacks of ATM's around the world, authorities fear such pump-and-dump schemes could be increasingly used for electronic theft.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 15-Feb-2017 03:56

Facebook launches app for watching its videos on TV

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc is launching an app for smart TVs that will help the social network's users enjoy its videos on a bigger screen. The app will roll out soon from app stores for Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV and Amazon Fire TV, the company said in a blogpost on Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Facebook was creating an app for TV set-top boxes that would bring the company closer to live video and video advertisements.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 14-Feb-2017 21:13

YouTube, Disney ditch PewDiePie over anti-Semitic content

YouTube and Walt Disney Co have cut their ties with influential Swedish social media star PewDiePie after he posted a series of videos deemed anti-Semitic. YouTube said it had canceled the second season of the comedian's reality show, "Scare PewDiePie," and taken his channel, which has some 53 million followers, off its premium advertising service. "We've decided to cancel the release of 'Scare PewDiePie' season 2 and we're removing the PewDiePie channel from Google Preferred," a YouTube representative told Hollywood trade publication Variety on Tuesday.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 14-Feb-2017 18:35

Murders, robberies of drivers in Brazil force Uber to rethink cash strategy

By Stephen Eisenhammer and Brad Haynes SAO PAULO (Reuters) - On a Thursday night last September, Uber driver Osvaldo Luis Modolo Filho accepted a ride request from a teenage couple on the eastern edge of Sao Paulo, to be paid in cash. A few blocks from their destination, the passengers – who hailed the ride on the Uber app with a false name – drew two blue-handled kitchen knives. Uber said Modolo Filho was its first driver to be murdered in Brazil.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 14-Feb-2017 07:30

New witness delays trial over bitcoin exchange tied to JPMorgan hack

By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - The trial of two men was delayed on Monday in a case stemming from a probe into a bitcoin exchange and a data breach at JPMorgan Chase & Co after prosecutors revealed a new witness. Jury selection was set to begin in Manhattan federal court in the case of Yuri Lebedev, whom authorities call the architect of bitcoin exchange Coin.mx's platform, and Trevon Gross, a pastor and ex-chairman of a now-defunct credit union.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 14-Feb-2017 02:11

Verizon's move to unlimited data ups ante in wireless war

By Anjali Athavaley NEW YORK (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc's announcement that it will once again offer an unlimited pricing plan marks a shift in its thinking as a price war among the four biggest U.S. wireless carriers accelerates. The biggest wireless carrier in the United States said on Sunday that it will offer an unlimited data plan for the first time in more than five years. The plan, priced at $80 a month for unlimited data, talk and text on a single line, is cheaper than AT&T Inc's unlimited plan for DirecTV and U-Verse subscribers but costs more than plans offered by smaller rivals T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp .



Source : news.yahoo.com | 13-Feb-2017 22:59

Germany to deepen military ties with France, others: sources

By Andrea Shalal BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will move forward this week with plans to set up a joint fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp C-130J transport planes with France and join a Netherlands-led fleet of Airbus A330 tanker planes, defense ministry sources said on Monday. The agreements come as Germany and other NATO members face increasing pressure from the United States to spend more for their own military and reach NATO's target of devoting 2 percent of gross domestic product to defense spending.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 13-Feb-2017 20:51

U.S. bank trade group picks online lending partner
By Anna Irrera NEW YORK (Reuters) - The American Bankers Association, a trade group for U.S. banks, has endorsed Chicago-based startup Akouba as a technology provider to enable its members offer small business lending online. Reuters had reported in January that the ABA was running a formal bidding process to secure an online lending partner, as a growing number of banks launch digital lending services or partner with startups in the sector. Akouba, which provides a loan origination and underwriting platform that integrates with a bank's own credit policies, was chosen because of a number of factors, including its ability to assess and manage risk, the ABA said on Monday.
Source : news.yahoo.com | 13-Feb-2017 14:32

U.S. trial set over bitcoin exchange linked to JPMorgan hack probe

A Florida software engineer and a New Jersey pastor are expected on Monday to face trial in a case stemming from an investigation into a bitcoin exchange and a data breach at JPMorgan Chase & Co . Jury selection is set to begin in Manhattan federal court in the case of Yuri Lebedev, who authorities call the architect of bitcoin exchange Coin.mx's electronic platform, and Trevon Gross, a pastor and ex-chairman of a now-defunct credit union.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 13-Feb-2017 12:01

Open letter to the MEPs: don't haggle over the right to privacy

Paris 13 February 2017 — Tonight the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) will have to decide which political group will be in charge of the draft report and thus to supervise the negotiations over the future ePrivacy regulation concerning respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications. The choice of political group, and therefore of the rapporteur, is often neglected in following up a legislative dossier, and yet it has substantial implications for the negotiations to come, because this person will set the general orientation and have a preponderant weight in these negociations.

La Quadrature du Net wishes to remind Members of the LIBE Committee, that the ePrivacy rule's rapporteur should be aware of the text's importance so as to respond to the expectations of millions of Europeans.

Dear Members of the LIBE Committee,

The concept of "confidentiality of electronic communication" may seem abstract, yet it is crucial for each of us because it guarantees that only the participants in the communication know its contents and information about the communication, whether it be a call, an SMS, e-mail, an instant message, or through a social network. The ePrivacy rule seeks to guarantee that all the messages we send and receive cannot be intercepted, eavesdropped, surveilled or recorded.

In the context of widespread mass surveillance -- domestic and international -- and how individuals are tracked by companies, the future rule is of overriding importance. Europeans have responded powerfully to the many disclosures of state surveillance since the Snowden episode in 2013, which have come to general awareness. The Eurobarometer of ePrivacy published by the European Commission in December 2016 states that "More than nine in ten respondents say it is important that personal information (such as their pictures, contact lists, etc.) on their computer, smartphone or tablet can only be accessed with their permission, and that it is important that the confidentiality of their e-mails and online instant messaging is guaranteed (both 92%)." That also goes for surveillance and tracking by private companies, which are less and less accepted by European internauts. According to the same Eurobarometer: "A large majority of respondents find it unacceptable to have their online activities monitored, to have companies share information about them or to have to pay not to be monitored".

The use of tools that assure some confidentiality in our communication or some anonymity on line has grown, and a great many people are using them. It is time for European political decision-makers to act on this change in society and enact suitable legislation. If the private members of the sector don't seize the current opportunity to line up with society's needs, this new legislation will force them to open their eyes.

Civil society organizations have turned their eyes today toward the European Parliament, and more specifically toward you, members of the LIBE Commission. The choice of which political group to put in charge of writing the report, from which the choice of the rapporteur will follow, will be critical for the text's future, and you can't take that lightly. The assignment of the ePrivacy rule shouldn't be bartered irrationally. On the contrary, it should be a subject of serious reflection, and should be based on certain criteria in order to assure balanced negotiations.

Therefore La Quadrature du Net calls on you to choose a rapporteur who

  • has some knowledge of the subject as well as the political, societal, and technical matters;
  • recognizes Europeans' current aspiration to greater confidentiality in electronic communication and their private lives;
  • understands that the electronic communication sector needs special rules to protect them where what their content could disclose extremely sensitive personal information, and where the use is constantly growing;
  • is convinced the general data protection regulation adopted last April, and the coming ePrivacy regulation, can represent competitive advantages for European companies;
  • understands the decisions of European courts concerning metadata. 1

These demands are not ideological, they are are only the bare minimum needed to begin on a basis coherent with the general data protection regulation which you adopted by a very large majority last year. They are similarly the conditions needed so as not to come directly and frontally into conflict with the interests and expectations of millions of Europeans.

It does not matter which political side the future rapporteur will be from, as the right to respect for one's private life and for one's communications has no political color. Nevertheless, it would be neither reasonable nor acceptable to entrust with the task of overseeing this text a person who considers that these principles are ancillary or already sufficiently framed.

La Quadrature du Net remains attentive to the process of negotiation that will lead to choosing the rapporteur of the future ePrivacy regulation, and calls on you to take these few basic criteria into account during your discussions.

  • 1. Point 99 of the CJEU's decision on 21 December 2016 : Taken all together, these data can be used to draw very precise conclusions about the private life of persons whose data have been kept, such as the conduct of their daily lives, the places they stay permanently or temporarily, where they go, what they do, their social relationships and the social milieux they frequent (see, by analogy, the concerns of directive 2006/24, Digital Rights order, point 27). In particular, these data make it possible to establish, along with the General Counsel's report on points 253, 254, and 257-259 of its conclusions, the profiles of persons concerned, information just as sensitive -- with respect to law about the respect for privacy -- as the content of communications itself; and agrees about their personal nature and thus their specific need for protection.

Source : www.laquadrature.net | 13-Feb-2017 10:09

Thousands continue protests against government in Romania

By Luiza Ilie BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Thousands of Romanians protested in Bucharest and other cities on Sunday against the Social Democrat government that tried to weaken a crackdown on corruption earlier this month. The one-month-old cabinet of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu enraged voters when it quietly approved late on Jan. 31 an emergency decree that would have decriminalized several graft offenses. The government was forced to rescind the decree, and its architect, Justice Minister Florin Iordache resigned, citing a need to appease public opinion but arguing he had done nothing wrong.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 12-Feb-2017 22:24

Defections by Sears, Kmart cap week of controversy for Trump brands

Sears and its wholly owned subsidiary, Kmart, disclosed their decision on Saturday, saying it was part of a push to focus their online business on the most profitable items. Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that Nordstrom sales of Ivanka Trump's brand had dropped sharply before the retailer discontinued sales this week.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 12-Feb-2017 02:37

Defections by Sears, Kmart cap week of controversy for Trump brands

Sears and Kmart disclosed their decision on Saturday, even as the Wall Street Journal reported that Nordstrom sales of Ivanka Trump's brand had dropped sharply before the retailer discontinued sales this week.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 12-Feb-2017 00:56

NATO says it sees sharp rise in Russian disinformation since Crimea seizure

By Foo Yun Chee BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO accused Russia of escalating a disinformation campaign since the Kremlin's 2014 seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region, saying Russian websites such as Sputnik and RT had posted false stories, the alliance's spokeswoman said on Saturday. There is increasing concern among senior NATO and European Union officials over Russia's ability to use television and the Internet to spread what they say is fake news. The defense alliance of 28 democracies says it has recorded more than a score of Russian myths in the last two years which it has attempted to knock down with factsheets, interviews, rebuttals and videos.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 11-Feb-2017 18:22

Trump on Twitter (Feb 10) - Japan, NYT, Tom Price
The following statements were posted to the verified Twitter accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS. The opinions expressed are his own. Reuters has not edited the statements or confirmed their accuracy. @realDonaldTrump : -LAWFARE: "Remarkably, in the entire opinion, the panel did not bother even to cite this (the) statute." A disgraceful decision! [0815 EST] -The failing @nytimes does major FAKE NEWS China story saying "Mr.Xi has not spoken to Mr. Trump since Nov.14. ...
Source : news.yahoo.com | 11-Feb-2017 03:22

Amazon warns that trade protectionism could hurt business

Amazon.com Inc warned on Friday that government actions to bolster domestic companies against foreign competition could hurt its business, in a possible reference to U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" agenda. In a routine description of regulatory risks in its 2016 annual filing, the world's largest online retailer said "trade and protectionist measures" might hinder its ability to grow.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 11-Feb-2017 01:48

FCC spectrum auction bidding ends at $19.6 billion
By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said Friday that bidding in the wireless spectrum auction has ended at $19.6 billion, significantly less than many analysts had initially forecast. The so-called broadcast incentive spectrum auction is one of the commission's most complex and ambitious to date and should be complete by April. The FCC said last year that 62 bidders made upfront payments to take part, including AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc, Dish Network Corp, T-Mobile US Inc and Comcast Corp. Of the nearly $20 billion raised, more than $6 billion will go to reduce the U.S. deficit, more than $10 billion will go to broadcasters that chose to relinquish spectrum rights, and up to $1.75 billion for other broadcasters that incur costs in changing channels.
Source : news.yahoo.com | 11-Feb-2017 01:44

Turkish hacker behind cyber heists gets 8 years in U.S. prison
By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Turkish hacker was sentenced to eight years in a U.S. prison on Friday for his role as one the masterminds behind three cyber attacks that enabled $55 million to be siphoned from automated teller machines globally. Ercan Findikoglu, who went by the online nicknames "Segate," "Predator," and "Oreon," was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn after pleading guilty in March to computer intrusion conspiracy and other charges. In what were called "unlimited operations," hackers targeted databases those companies maintained for prepaid debit cards and effectively eliminated the card accounts' withdrawal limits, prosecutors said.
Source : news.yahoo.com | 11-Feb-2017 01:44

New FCC chair closely guards his strategy to restructure net neutrality

By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The new chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission under President Donald Trump is keeping under wraps his strategy to revise or reverse the Obama administration's "net neutrality" rules, but emphasized he is committed to ensuring an open internet. Ajit Pai, 44, a Republican lawyer who has served as a FCC commissioner since 2012, strongly opposed former Democratic President Barack Obama administration's 2015 net neutrality rules that reclassified broadband providers and treated them like a public utility.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 11-Feb-2017 01:43

Amazon warns that trade protectionism could hurt business

(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc warned on Friday that government actions to bolster domestic companies over foreign competition could hurt its business, in a potential reference to U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" agenda.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 10-Feb-2017 23:33

Trump on Twitter (Feb 10) - Japan, NYT, Tom Price
The following statements were posted to the verified Twitter accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS.
Source : news.yahoo.com | 10-Feb-2017 22:40

Four accused in Facebook Live beating plead not guilty in Chicago

Four African-Americans accused of attacking an 18-year-old disabled man on Facebook Live while making anti-white racial taunts pleaded not guilty in a Chicago courthouse on Friday. The attack on the man who authorities described as having "mental health challenges" drew international outrage after the video was widely shared on social media. The victim, who is white, was tied up for four or five hours, gagged and beaten, his scalp was cut and he was forced to drink toilet water, police said.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 10-Feb-2017 19:05

Italy's foreign ministry came under cyber attack in 2016: source

Italy's foreign ministry was hacked last year, a source close to the department said on Friday, confirming a report in the Guardian newspaper which also said Russia was suspected of perpetrating the attack. Last spring, hackers got into the system at the ministry, which was then headed by now-Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, and the attacks carried on for more than four months but did not gain access to classified information, the paper said. "The Italian government had already informed (the paper) of what it is reporting today," the source said in response to the article, noting that security had since been stepped up.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 10-Feb-2017 17:56

'We see you' - Romanian activists become potent political force

By Luiza Ilie BUCHAREST (Reuters) - On Feb. 1, hours after Romania’s government issued a decree seen as turning back the clock on the country’s fight against corruption, Florin Badita took unpaid leave from his job in the western city of Cluj and left for the capital Bucharest to help mobilize a response. Through the Facebook page Coruptia Ucide (Corruption Kills) that he created in 2015, Badita had helped rally protesters after a fatal fire tore through Bucharest’s Colectiv nightclub in October that year. The government fell, toppled by an outpouring of anger against a culture of official graft and negligence that had enabled the club to flout safety regulations.



Source : news.yahoo.com | 10-Feb-2017 17:45

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