Archive | October, 2016

No, CETA is NOT approved yet

The European Parliament:

However, Parliament will still need to approve it before it can ultimately enter into force. The international trade committee is set to vote on the trade deal in December and then all MEPs will still have to vote on it during a plenary session. If approved, CETA could already enter into force next year.

Link »


EU-US Privacy Shield sent to court

The EU was warned not to hasten when replacing the fallen “Safe Harbour” agreement with the US with a new agreement to protect European personal data. But the EU Commission did. And it did a poor work.

The new agreement – the EU-US Privacy Shield – suffers much the same problems as its predecessor. Immediately here were warnings that if it is to be sent to court, it will meet the same fate as the previous agreement: Invalidation.

And here we go…

Privacy Shield legal spat puts EU-US data flows at risk again »


Swedish anti-piracy scheme folded

Some months ago the Swedish anti-piracy initiative Spridningskollen was launched by a few entertainment companies, a debt collecting agency, and a PR firm. The idea was to threaten illegal file shares with economic claims – and if they do not pay, with legal actions.

This raised quite some noise. In the frontline of the protests stood Bahnhof, a very privacy-oriented Internet service provider.

After intense media coverage and public outcry, today Spridningskollen announced that it will fold its operations and that no economic claims for illegal file sharing will be sent out in its name.

Hopefully, this will lead to Swedish copyright holders and entertainment companies working with providing their fans and customers with better services instead of threatening them.


Links (in Swedish): 1 | 2


“Anti-Piracy Plans Harm The Internet”

The Internet Infrastructure Coalition is urging the U.S. Government not to blindly follow the RIAA and MPAA’s input regarding online piracy threats. The group, which represents tech firms including Google, Amazon and Verisign, warns that the future of the Internet is at stake.

Torrentfreak: “MPAA and RIAA’s Anti-Piracy Plans Harm The Internet” »


Interesting… and a bit scary

Google Brain has created two artificial intelligences that evolved their own cryptographic algorithm to protect their messages from a third AI, which was trying to evolve its own method to crack the AI-generated crypto. The study was a success: the first two AIs learnt how to communicate securely from scratch.

Ars Technica: Google AI invents its own cryptographic algorithm; no one knows how it works »


Merkel to social networks: Hand over the Holy Grail

In times when most people (at least most young people) use social media as their main source for news, German Chancellor Angela Merkel demands that these platforms should disclose their privately-developed algorithms.

“The algorithms must be made public, so that one can inform oneself as an interested citizen on questions like: what influences my behavior on the internet and that of others?” (…)

“These algorithms, when they are not transparent, can lead to a distortion of our perception, they narrow our breadth of information.”

Of course, that would be very interesting. But, at the same time, demanding that private companies disclose their deepest trade secrets doesn’t seem very reasonable or likely to happen.

Nevertheless, Merkel touches on an important issue, with far-reaching democratic implications. Information is power. And whoever is in control of the flow of information has a huge influence on society and politics. She continued…

“The big internet platforms, via their algorithms, have become an eye of a needle which diverse media must pass through to reach users. This is a development that we need to pay careful attention to.”

On the other hand, what information will show up in your Facebook newsfeed or Google searches is largely decided by who your friends are, what they read, what they share and also by what web pages you yourself use to visit, like and on your own web search history. There is no universal model – rather all newsfeeds and all search results are personal.

And it would be rather strange to have news feeds insisting on trying to have you to read articles that you don’t care about or find interesting. Or search engines coming up with results that are not relevant to you or not in line with your preferences.

Taking the Chancellors remarks to the extreme, it would be quite terrifying if the government were to have influence over your news flow and your search results. It’s foreboding enough that politicians (on both national and EU levels) have had Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Microsoft to censor posts with certain content.

In my opinion, the only way to tackle this issue is by introducing disruptive competition. And it will happen. Internet platforms rise and fall. We have absolutely no idea what platforms or what technical concepts will be used tomorrow.

The Internet and the World Wide Web is, by design, an unprecedented opportunity for humanity to discover of information and knowledge, distribute content and take part in a free and open debate. I don’t think it would be a good idea for governments to interfere in this free and dynamic evolution.

The focus should be on entrepreneurs, activists, academia and private individuals to develop new and better tools and platforms. In doing so, I’m quite sure that information diversity, as well as privacy, will be competitive advantages.


RT: Merkel says Facebook, Google ‘distort perception,’ demands they ‘reveal algorithms’ »