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Paul Merrell

Join The Internet Vote - 0 views

  • Congress is about to introduce a bill to fast track a secret deal that could lead to global censorship. It’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We think Internet users everywhere should have a say in decisions that affect the Internet — but if “Fast Track” legislation passes, there is no chance that the public will see the text before the deal is approved. Join the Internet Vote on April 23rd and let’s make it clear to DC how we’re voting: against Fast Track and against Internet censorship. (Learn More)
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    Sign up (email address) for updates on a monumental lobbying effort coming up in the next few days when Congress comes back into session and the legislation to "Fast Track" the TPP *and all future trade agrerements* is introduced. From leaked draft portions, we know that the TPP brings us internet censorship and a mass of copyright law changes that have the giant intellectual property corproate folk drooling at the mouth, because they helped write it while the public was excluded. This is your chance to help end secret trade agreements that the public doesn't even get to see until they have already been made into law.
Paul Merrell

Demand an End to Secret Copyright Trade Deals | EFF Action Center - 0 views

  • Senator Ron Wyden may hold the future of the Internet in his hands. Let's call on him to fix the secretive process that has led to trade deals carrying extreme copyright and digital privacy provisions.
  • As Senate Finance Committee Chair, Senator Wyden is under pressure to fast track trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. But he has another option: to finally bring these deals out into the open. We call on him now to continue to stand up to big private interests and help ensure that our digital rights are protected.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Why TAFTA/TTIP Isn't Worth It Economically, And How We Can Do Much Better | Techdirt - 0 views

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    "An ambitious and comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment agreement could bring significant economic gains as a whole for the EU (€119 billion a year) and US (€95 billion a year). This translates to an extra €545 in disposable income each year for a family of 4 in the EU, on average, and €655 per family in the US."
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    "An ambitious and comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment agreement could bring significant economic gains as a whole for the EU (€119 billion a year) and US (€95 billion a year). This translates to an extra €545 in disposable income each year for a family of 4 in the EU, on average, and €655 per family in the US."
Paul Merrell

Ericsson Sues to Block Apple iPhone in U.S. Amid Patent Spat | Bloomberg BNA - 0 views

  • The licensing battle between Apple Inc. and Ericsson AB is escalating.Ericsson, a pioneer in mobile phones that transformed itself into the world's largest maker of wireless networks, said Friday it's filing seven new lawsuits in a U.S. court and is asking the U.S. International Trade Commission to block Apple products from the U.S. market.Together, the complaints accuse Apple of infringing as many as 41 patents for some of the fundamental ways mobile devices communicate and for related technology such as user interfaces, battery saving and the operating system.
  • Apple had been paying royalties to Stockholm-based Ericsson before a license expired in mid-January. When talks over renewal failed, the companies sued each other, seeking court rulings on whether Ericsson's royalty demands on fundamental technology were fair and reasonable.
  • The new complaints being filed by Ericsson at the International Trade Commission in Washington take the dispute to another level and are designed to put pressure on Apple. The Trade commission, whose job is to protect U.S. markets from unfair Trade practices, moves more swiftly than district courts and has the power to block products from crossing the border.Apple's iPhone, iPad and other devices are made in Asia.
Paul Merrell

WikiLeaks - Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Investment Chapter - 0 views

  • WikiLeaks releases today the "Investment Chapter" from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. The document adds to the previous WikiLeaks publications of the chapters for Intellectual Property Rights (November 2013) and the Environment (January 2014). The TPP Investment Chapter, published today, is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor said: "The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies." Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. The TPP is the largest economic treaty in history, including countries that represent more than 40 per cent of the world´s GDP.
  • The Investment Chapter highlights the intent of the TPP negotiating parties, led by the United States, to increase the power of global corporations by creating a supra-national court, or tribunal, where foreign firms can "sue" states and obtain taxpayer compensation for "expected future profits". These investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals are designed to overrule the national court systems. ISDS tribunals introduce a mechanism by which multinational corporations can force governments to pay compensation if the tribunal states that a country's laws or policies affect the company's claimed future profits. In return, states hope that multinationals will invest more. Similar mechanisms have already been used. For example, US tobacco company Phillip Morris used one such tribunal to sue Australia (June 2011 – ongoing) for mandating plain packaging of tobacco products on public health grounds; and by the oil giant Chevron against Ecuador in an attempt to evade a multi-billion-dollar compensation ruling for polluting the environment. The threat of future lawsuits chilled environmental and other legislation in Canada after it was sued by pesticide companies in 2008/9. ISDS tribunals are often held in secret, have no appeal mechanism, do not subordinate themselves to human rights laws or the public interest, and have few means by which other affected parties can make representations. The TPP negotiations have been ongoing in secrecy for five years and are now in their final stages. In the United States the Obama administration plans to "fast-track" the treaty through Congress without the ability of elected officials to discuss or vote on individual measures. This has met growing opposition as a result of increased public scrutiny following WikiLeaks' earlier releases of documents from the negotiations.
  • The TPP is set to be the forerunner to an equally secret agreement between the US and EU, the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). Negotiations for the TTIP were initiated by the Obama administration in January 2013. Combined, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP. The third treaty of the same kind, also negotiated in secrecy is TISA, on Trade in services, including the financial and health sectors. It covers 50 countries, including the US and all EU countries. WikiLeaks released the secret draft text of the TISA's financial annex in June 2014. All these agreements on so-called “free Trade” are negotiated outside the World Trade Organization's (WTO) framework. Conspicuously absent from the countries involved in these agreements are the BRICs countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. Read the Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Investment chapter
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    The previously leaked chapter on copyrights makes clear that the TPP would be a disaster for a knowledge society. This chapter makes clear that only corprorations may compel arbitration; there is no corresponding right for human beings to do so. 
Paul Merrell

Apple's New Challenge: Learning How the U.S. Cracked Its iPhone - The New York Times - 0 views

  • Now that the United States government has cracked open an iPhone that belonged to a gunman in the San Bernardino, Calif., mass shooting without Apple’s help, the tech company is under pressure to find and fix the flaw.But unlike other cases where security vulnerabilities have cropped up, Apple may face a higher set of hurdles in ferreting out and repairing the particular iPhone hole that the government hacked.The challenges start with the lack of information about the method that the law enforcement authorities, with the aid of a third party, used to break into the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, an attacker in the San Bernardino rampage last year. Federal officials have refused to identify the person, or organization, who helped crack the device, and have declined to specify the procedure used to open the iPhone. Apple also cannot obtain the device to reverse-engineer the problem, the way it would in other hacking situations.
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    It would make a very interesting Freedom of Information Act case if Apple sued under that Act to force disclosure of the security hole iPhone product defect the FBI exploited. I know of no interpretation of the law enforcement FOIA exemption that would justify FBI disclosure of the information. It might be alleged that the information is the trade secret of the company that disclosed the defect and exploit to the the FBI, but there's a very strong argument that the fact that the information was shared with the FBI waived the trade secrecy claim. And the notion that government is entitled to collect product security defects and exploit them without informing the exploited product's company of the specific defect is extremely weak.  Were I Tim Cook, I would have already told my lawyers to get cracking on filing the FOIA request with the FBI to get the legal ball rolling. 
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Anti-Piracy Group Uses 'Pirated' Code on its Website - TorrentFreak - 1 views

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    " By Ernesto on November 5, 2016 C: 15 Opinion The Business Software Alliance, a trade group representing Adobe, Apple and Microsoft, is well known for its aggressive anti-piracy campaigns. The organization actively encourages people to snitch on software pirates, luring them with big cash rewards. Amusingly, however, the page where people can report unlicensed software is using 'unlicensed' jQuery code."
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    " By Ernesto on November 5, 2016 C: 15 Opinion The Business Software Alliance, a trade group representing Adobe, Apple and Microsoft, is well known for its aggressive anti-piracy campaigns. The organization actively encourages people to snitch on software pirates, luring them with big cash rewards. Amusingly, however, the page where people can report unlicensed software is using 'unlicensed' jQuery code."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

FCC refuses broadband industry demand to halt Title II classification | Ars Technica [# ! +Ref Note..] - 0 views

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    "by Jon Brodkin - May 8, 2015 9:45 pm UTC [http://www.dailydot.com/politics/what-is-title-ii-net-neutrality-fcc/] Share Tweet 30 The Federal Communications Commission today denied the requests of five broadband industry trade groups that asked for an immediate halt to the reclassification of Internet service providers as common carriers subject to Title II regulation."
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    "by Jon Brodkin - May 8, 2015 9:45 pm UTC [http://www.dailydot.com/politics/what-is-title-ii-net-neutrality-fcc/] Share Tweet 30 The Federal Communications Commission today denied the requests of five broadband industry trade groups that asked for an immediate halt to the reclassification of Internet service providers as common carriers subject to Title II regulation."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Big Tech Does Not Speak for the Internet | Electronic Frontier Foundation - 0 views

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    "Too often, media and policymakers take seriously the claim of government officials that secret trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) promote and protect "Internet freedom," even though the traditional guardians of Internet freedom-users and innovators who rely on it-have said precisely the opposite."
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    "Too often, media and policymakers take seriously the claim of government officials that secret trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) promote and protect "Internet freedom," even though the traditional guardians of Internet freedom-users and innovators who rely on it-have said precisely the opposite."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

European Commission proposes new Investment Court System for TTIP and other EU trade and investment negotiations - 0 views

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    "Brussels, 16 September 2015 The European Commission has approved its proposal for a new and transparent system for resolving disputes between investors and states - the Investment Court System. The Investment Court System would replace the existing investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in all ongoing and future EU investment negotiations, including the EU-US talks on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)."
Paul Merrell

New Leak Of Final TPP Text Confirms Attack On Freedom Of Expression, Public Health - 0 views

  • Offering a first glimpse of the secret 12-nation “trade” deal in its final form—and fodder for its growing ranks of opponents—WikiLeaks on Friday published the final negotiated text for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)’s Intellectual Property Rights chapter, confirming that the pro-corporate pact would harm freedom of expression by bolstering monopolies while and injure public health by blocking patient access to lifesaving medicines. The document is dated October 5, the same day it was announced in Atlanta, Georgia that the member states to the treaty had reached an accord after more than five years of negotiations. Aside from the WikiLeaks publication, the vast majority of the mammoth deal’s contents are still being withheld from the public—which a WikiLeaks press statement suggests is a strategic move by world leaders to forestall public criticism until after the Canadian election on October 19. Initial analyses suggest that many of the chapter’s more troubling provisions, such as broader patent and data protections that pharmaceutical companies use to delay generic competition, have stayed in place since draft versions were leaked in 2014 and 2015. Moreover, it codifies a crackdown on freedom of speech with rules allowing widespread internet censorship.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

The hidden cost of EU trade deals | Friends of the Earth Europe - 0 views

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    "This report compiles all publicly available data on investor-state dispute settlement cases taken against EU member states since 1994. It highlights the irrefutable attack on recent EU accession countries and the environment, as well as the cost this system has already had on EU taxpayers and European democracy."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Music Group DMCA Notices Reveal Coffee Hatred | TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Andy on August 25, 2014 C: 57 Breaking A German-based music group's month-long DMCA notice-sending spree has seen it trying to censor leading music stores and news outlets for no good reason. The outfit also took a bizarre dislike to the word "coffee" and issued takedowns against Walmart, Ikea, Fair Trade USA and Dunkin Donuts."
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    " Andy on August 25, 2014 C: 57 Breaking A German-based music group's month-long DMCA notice-sending spree has seen it trying to censor leading music stores and news outlets for no good reason. The outfit also took a bizarre dislike to the word "coffee" and issued takedowns against Walmart, Ikea, Fair Trade USA and Dunkin Donuts."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Open Letter: Proposed Trade Secrets Directive Risks EU Health, Environment, Free Speech And Mobility | La Quadrature du Net - 0 views

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    "It participates to a movement reinforcing secrets, perceptible on the legislative and jurisprudential plan, against the claims of transparency coming from the civil society, and constitutes in this respect an unacceptable anti-democratic drift."
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    "It participates to a movement reinforcing secrets, perceptible on the legislative and jurisprudential plan, against the claims of transparency coming from the civil society, and constitutes in this respect an unacceptable anti-democratic drift."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

MPAA to Undergo Major Changes Following Studio Disquiet | TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Andy on February 6, 2015 C: 0 Breaking Sony almost withdrew from the MPAA after the movie trade group failed to support the studio as it faced an unprecedented cyber-attack last year. As disquiet continues over the way the MPAA operates while burning through huge amounts of cash, big changes now lie ahead for the Hollywood group."
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    " Andy on February 6, 2015 C: 0 Breaking Sony almost withdrew from the MPAA after the movie trade group failed to support the studio as it faced an unprecedented cyber-attack last year. As disquiet continues over the way the MPAA operates while burning through huge amounts of cash, big changes now lie ahead for the Hollywood group."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Not Alone: Cooperative and Trade Union Solutions for Freelancers - Shareable - 0 views

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    " By Pat Conaty April 6, 2016 Photo credit: The Blue Diamond Gallery / CC BY. A proliferation of atypical forms of work in Europe has become known as "The Gig Economy." For many, a permanent state of social economic uncertainty is the new normal. Casual work, temping, zero hour contracts, and diverse forms of self-employment are characteristic of this brave new world of "precarious work.""
Paul Merrell

What are rare earth metals & why they are China's 'nuclear option' in trade war with US - RT Business News - 0 views

  • The escalating US-China trade conflict has raised concerns about the measures each side could use in their fight, including Beijing’s option to restrict exports of rare earth metals. The economic measure is dubbed as one of Beijing’s nuclear options in its battle with Washington due to the fact that China is the top producer of rare earth metals and holds the largest reserves.
  • The United States relies on China, the leading global supplier, for about 80 percent of its rare earths.
  • China controls around 85-95 percent of all the rare earths’ production and supply. Last year, the country produced about 78 percent of the global volume of rare earths.
  • ...2 more annotations...
  • The metals and alloys that contain them are used in many devices that people use every day such as computer memory, DVDs, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, catalytic converters, magnets, fluorescent lighting and so on.During the past 20 years, there has been an explosion in demand for many items that require rare earth metals. There were very few cell phones in use then but the number has risen to over seven billion in use today. Rare earths’ use in computers has grown almost as fast as the number of cell phones.Many rechargeable batteries are made with rare earth compounds. Demand for the batteries is being driven by demand for portable electronic devices such as cell phones, readers, portable computers, and cameras.Rare earths are also used as catalysts, phosphors, and polishing compounds for air pollution control, illuminated screens on electronic devices, and much more. All of those products are expected to experience rising demand.
  • He explained that China could cripple global industry, especially emerging technologies, if it were to ban exports of rare earth materials. There are very few options in sourcing those essential technology metals from anywhere else, the analyst said. “Of course, China does not necessarily want to do this, because, it plays a long game – and it does not want the West to develop alternatives.”
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Big media fails to turn ISPs into copyright cops | Media Maverick - CNET News - 1 views

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    [Last month marked the second anniversary since the Recording Industry Association of America, the trade group representing the four largest music labels, stopped filing copyright lawsuits against people suspected of illegal file sharing. The RIAA said ISPs would ride in to save the day on illegal file sharing but they've yet to show up. RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol in a file photo. (Credit: Declan McCullagh/CNET ) At the time, the RIAA said it would seek help in copyright enforcement efforts from Internet service providers, the Web's gatekeepers, which are uniquely positioned to act as copyright cops. ... ]
David Corking

A Manifesto for Slow Communication - John Freeman - WSJ.com - 0 views

  • How many of our most joyful memories have been created in front of a screen?
  • Communicating at great haste hones our utterances down to instincts and impulses that until now have been held back or channeled more carefully.
    • David Corking
       
      But most of us can speak faster than we can type or text, and no-one complained that conversation makes our brains work too fast.
  • Our cafes, post offices, parks, cinemas, town centers, main streets and commu­nity meeting halls have suffered as a result of this development.
    • David Corking
       
      Really? How many people met strangers in such places?
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  • The difference between typing an email and writing a letter or memo out by hand is akin to walking on concrete versus stroll­ing on grass.
  • A butcher can tell you which cuts of meat are the freshest; an online grocer may not. That same butcher, if he is good, might not just remember your preferences—which an online retailer can do frighteningly well—but ask you how your mother has been doing, whether you caught the latest football game. These interactions remind us that we are more than con­sumers; they remind us that we are part of the world in a way no amount of online shopping ever will.
    • David Corking
       
      This is right on the money - a visit to a local farm shop is a wonderful experience.
  • If we spend our eve­ning online trading short messages over Facebook with friends thousands of miles away rather than going to our local pub or park with a friend, we are effectively withdrawing from the peo­ple we could turn to for solace, humor and friendship, not to mention the places we could go to do this. We trade the com­plicated reality of friendship for its vacuum-packed idea.
    • David Corking
       
      It might be just the way this essay was abridged for the paper, but I cannot see whether the author wants us to spend all evening writing a longhand letter to a distant friend, or ignore them altogether to spend time with a local friend.
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    While I disagree with a lot of this essay, I recommend it as food for thought.
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