It’s not exactly great filmmaking, but it does show how he has to give up his electronics and sign a document before entering the room (quickly, so as not to allow anyone to see what’s in there). And then he comes back out after being handed a document saying that it’s also against the law for him to copy down anything from the draft text verbatim. He expresses his concern about how ridiculous this is and is told to take it up with someone else, who then tells him that he should be happy that MEPs can even view the document at all within the EU Parliament, and that this is a “great achievement.”
The Pirate Bay remains freely accessible in the Netherlands pending the outcome of a landmark lawsuit. Before making a final decision, the Dutch Supreme Court wants clarification from the EU Court of Justice on several issues. Among other things, the EU Court must decide whether The Pirate Bay communicates illegal content to the public.
In a landmark ruling that will have far-reaching repercussions, Europe’s highest court has ruled that data sharing between the EU and US under the Safe Harbour framework is invalid.
Last week we wrote about receiving our very first Right To Be Forgotten notice from Google, disappearing an earlier post that talked about articles in the NY Times that had been disappeared thanks to other RTBF requests. Yes, someone used a RTBF request to remove our article about the RTBF which was referencing other articles that someone had removed via a RTBF request.
And… yesterday we received a notification that this new article was also chucked down the memory hole thanks to a RTBF request, so that anyone who searches on a particular name in Europe will no longer see that article either. At this point, it’s fairly clear that it’s Thomas Goolnik who is making all of these RTBF requests, as he’s the only individual named. We don’t think either of our articles should be removed even under the EU’s laws that allow for a RTBF, because those laws only apply to out of date/irrelevant information, and the fact that Goolnik has just now made a RTBF request in an attempt to censor us and to edit his own Google results is not obsolete information and is entirely relevant and newsworthy.
Google faces fines if it does not comply with ridiculous recursion.
Last month the European Commission adopted a new Digital Single Market strategy with the aim of improving consumer access to digital goods and services. Among other things the Commission says it plans to end the “discriminatory practice” of “unjustified” geo-blocking.
“I want to see every consumer getting the best deals and every business accessing the widest market – wherever they are in Europe,” Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.
Another part of the strategy is to modernize European copyright law to enable consumers to more easily enjoy online content, such as accessing content they purchased at home in other countries across the EU.
Speaking at music industry event Midem in Cannes yesterday, former Estonian prime minister Andrus Ansip who serves as Vice President for the Digital Single Market shared his vision for the strategy.
“Our people have to get the possibility to buy content [across Europe] like they do at home and our businesses must get the possibility to sell across the European Union like they do at home,” Ansip said.
“Today, we don’t have a Digital Single Market in the European Union. We have 28 relatively small markets and for small European companies it’s practically impossible to understand those 28 different [sets of] regulations.”
Ansip underlined that what is possible in the offline world must be possible in the online world and key issues must be addressed if parity is to be achieved.
“Today, the four basic freedoms in the EU – free movement of people, goods, services, capital – it’s a reality in a physical [world] but it’s not reality in the online world,” Ansip said.
Describing the music industry as a “pioneer” that has grown out of disruption to largely abandon geo-blocking by enabling cross-border access, Ansip addressed concerns that the EU’s plans for modernization of copyright law are something to be feared by content creators.
“I don’t think people here in this room or elsewhere have to be worried. Today, I would like to enjoy [film] masterpieces created by creators. I am ready to pay but because of copyright restrictions, because of geo-blocking, they are not accepting my money,” Ansip said.
“Our aim is to create a win-win situation. I would like to enjoy, I will pay, creators will get more money. This is our way. We don’t want to destroy the whole copyright system based on a principle of territoriality. We have to allow cross-border access to digital content to all people, we have to allow portability.”
Ansip said there are 100 million Europeans who would like to access content in other members states but they can’t because of geo-blocking. Around 271 million cross-border trips with at least one overnight stay are carried out by Europeans each year yet those people cannot always get access to the content they bought legally back home while doing so.
This is just one indication that the law needs to change, but piracy itself will be challenged.
“According to public opinion polls, 68% of film viewers say they are using [illegal] downloads. 20% of Internet users in the European Union are using VPNs to get access to digital content. That’s a huge amount of money that our creators are losing today, so of course we will pay more attention to ‘Follow the Money’ [anti-piracy strategy],” Ansip said.
Assuring content holders that the EU Commission is not hostile towards copyright and rightsholders, Ansip asked the Midem audience to consider the 30% of Canadian Netflix users who use a VPN to access the U.S. version of the service.
“In the European Union our creators are losing huge amounts of money because of piracy but honestly, somehow our legislation is pushing people to steal,” he said.
“Take Spotify, for example. We can say that if somebody is able to provide services with better quality with higher speed, then people prefer to act as honest people. They are ready to pay. They don’t want to steal.”
Highlighting the success of Norway in slashing piracy rates, Ansip says that was achieved by first offering access to quality legal services.
“The European Commission wants to protect the rights of creators but first we have to provide legal access to digital content to all people. Then it will be more fruitful to tackle piracy,” Ansip said.
EU plans to regulate hormone-damaging chemicals found in pesticides have been dropped because of threats from the US that this would adversely affect negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), according to a report in The Guardian. Draft EU regulations would have banned 31 pesticides containing endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that have been linked to testicular cancer and male infertility.
Just after the official launch of the TTIP negotiations on 13 June 2013, a US business delegation visited EU officials to demand that the proposed regulations governing EDCs should be thrown out in favour of a further “impact study.” Minutes of the meeting on June 26 show Commission officials saying that “although they want the TTIP to be successful, they would not like to be seen as lowering the EU standards.” Nonetheless, the European Commission capitulated shortly afterwards.
That climbdown was despite repeated promises from the European Commission that TTIP would not jeopardise EU health and safety standards. For example, a Commission factsheet on Pesticides in TTIP from February 2015 states: “TTIP will not lower the food safety standards for pesticides.” The Guardian report demonstrates that plans to strengthen regulations governing EDCs were blocked, which is equivalent to a lowering of future standards that would have been introduced had it not been for TTIP.
Security and privacy are not mutually exclusive says Europe’s privacy watchdog – and people should stop saying they are.
The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Giovanni Buttarelli, told a Brussels conference he was concerned that “the objective of cyber-security may be misused to justify measures which weaken protection of [data protection] rights.”
“Cyber-security must not become an excuse for disproportionate processing of personal data. Let’s not forget that when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) last year found the Data Retention Directive to be invalid, one of the reasons was concern about the inadequacy of the data security provisions in the directive,” he continued.
Although some commentators interpreted the ECJ ruling to mean that data must be stored within national borders, Buttarelli disagreed.
“Physical location is not the determining factor in security. Rather, it is degree of control, accountability and responsibility which data controllers demonstrate when processing personal information. They must take full responsibility for all the measures they implement, regardless of the technology they use. Responsibility must not vanish in the clouds,” said the newly appointed EDPS.
Negotiations on a new Data Protection Regulation are currently underway and Buttarelli says that accountability should not be sacrificed in the inevitable compromise.
“One tool for reinforcing accountability is the introduction of a general data breach notification obligation, which will force controllers take the necessary organisational and procedural measures,” he said, pinning his colours to at least one legislative mast.