Policy Observatory

The Senate just voted to undo landmark rules covering your Internet privacy

Mon, 2017-03-27 12:19

US Senate lawmakers voted on March 22nd, to repeal a historic set of rules aimed at protecting consumers' online data from their own Internet providers, in a move that could make it easier for broadband companies to sell and share their customers' usage information for advertising purposes.

Minnesota judge signs a search warrant for personal information on anyone who Googled someone's name

Thu, 2017-03-23 11:13

A Hennepin County (US) judge has granted the Edina Police Department an extraordinary degree of access to citizens' Google history, as police attempts to crack the case of an attempted wire transfer fraud. On February 1, Judge Gary Larson approved a search warrant that looks into "any/all user or subscriber information" of anyone in Edina who'd looked up the name "Douglas" between December 1, 2016, and January 7.

New e-Privacy rules need improvements to help build trust

Sat, 2017-03-11 00:04

On 10 January 2017, the European Commission published its long-awaited proposal for an e-Privacy Regulation (ePR) to replace the 2002 e-Privacy Directive (ePD). This new regulation complements the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), adding more clarity and legal certainty for individuals and businesses – helping to protect our personal data by providing specific rules related to our freedoms in the online environment.

Copyright Directive: Lead MEP partly deletes the “censorship machine”

Sat, 2017-03-11 00:04

Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Therese Comodini Cachia, the Rapporteur for JURI on this file, has proposed a number of changes to the original broken and extreme proposal of the European Commission (EC). Ms Comodini has taken a reasonable approach and has amended the worst sections of the proposal: the “censorship machine” (aka upload filter) proposal in Article 13, and the suggestion to expand the “ancillary copyright” (aka “link tax”) that failed in Germany and Spain and was planned to be expanded to the entire EU.

A positive step forward against the “censorship machine” in the Copyright Directive

Sat, 2017-03-04 15:24

On 24 February 2017 the Rapporteur of the European Parliament (EP) Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), Catherine Stihler MEP, published her draft Opinion on the Copyright Directive. The Opinion sends a strong message against the most extremist parts of the European Commission’s proposal: the “censorship machine” (aka upload filter).

New copyright study shows fundamental flaws in EU Commission plans for upload surveillance

Sat, 2017-03-04 15:20

The European Commission wants to obligate internet platforms to monitor all content their users upload for copyright infringements. This is laid out in Article 13 of Günther Oettinger’s copyright overhaul plans. Julia Reda detailed the harmful effects such upload surveillance would have.

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

Sat, 2017-03-04 15:15

A coalition of European and global civil society organisations 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.

Unclear Terrorism Directive creates significant risks for citizens’ security

Wed, 2017-03-01 07:40

On 16 February 2017, the European Parliament voted in favour of the EU Directive on combating terrorism. Weak, unclear, ambiguous wording in the Directive presents dangers for the rule of law, the right to privacy and freedom of opinion and expression of people in the European Union.

Citizens’ rights undermined by flawed CETA deal

Fri, 2017-02-17 08:45

On 15 February 2017, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). This concludes the process at the EU level. The EU Member States will now have to ratify the agreement, without having a right to make changes to the text. CETA creates significant risks for citizens’ fundamental rights, especially with regard to privacy and data protection.

Lead Parliamentarian for Culture Committee defends upload filtering

Fri, 2017-02-17 08:41

On 6 February 2017, the Parliamentarian in charge of the Copyright Directive for the European Parliament (EP) Committee for Culture and Education (CULT), Marc Joulaud, published his draft Opinion on the proposal for the Directive.

As EDRi described in previous blogposts the European Commission’s proposal has not fulfilled hopes for a reform that could deliver a modern, harmonised European copyright framework. The proposal has been disappointing both for not introducing the much needed changes and scary for what it proposes, namely an upload filter for all types of content and the ancillary copyright that failed in two European countries already.

Recklessly unclear Terrorism Directive creates significant risks for citizens’ security

Fri, 2017-02-17 08:36

On 16 February, the European Parliament voted in favour of the EU Directive on combating terrorism. In EDRI's opinion, the weak, unclear, ambiguous wording in the Directive presents dangers for the rule of law, the right to privacy and freedom of opinion and expression of people in the European Union.

Microsoft allowed to sue U.S. government over e-mail surveillance

Mon, 2017-02-13 14:56

Microsoft persuaded a judge not to let the U.S. government out of a lawsuit alleging the company’s free-speech rights are violated by a law that blocks it from alerting users to the clandestine interception of their e-mails.

Spanish Court rules immediate closure of Rojadirecta website

Wed, 2017-02-08 21:27

The Spanish Supreme Court of Justice has ruled the definitive closure of the website Rojadirecta, including all their domain names, after having agreed to the complete demands from plaintiff DTS (Canal +, today Movistar +) against Puerto 80 Projects, the company that manages and exploits the site offering links to pirated contents.

The ruling maintains that Rojadirecta has violated the complainant's intellectual property rights through public communication of its broadcasts and transmissions. The court decision, which is not final since it can be appealed, also includes the right of the plaintiff to be compensated in the amount that is determined in a subsequent proceeding.

New draft of the Spanish Digital Tax bill leaked: no lessons learned

Wed, 2017-02-08 21:19

The Spanish Association of Internet users publishes and discusses the new leaked draft of the Digital Tax bill (known as Canon Digital), that would amend the Intellectual Property Law, if approved. In the opinion of the authors, the new draft doubles down in hurtful practices, abiding to the will of the industry and hurting the consumers.

State Department publishes open licensing “Playbook” for federal agencies

Tue, 2017-02-07 19:59

The U.S. Department of State released the Federal Open Licensing Playbook, a list of considerations, use cases, and recommendations for federal departments interested in developing and implementing open license requirements on federally-funded grant projects. It is designed to assist federal efforts to maximize the impact of grant funds, and create opportunities for innovation and collaborative practices using federally-funded resources.

Each of the nine “plays” contains common features, including a checklist, key questions, and examples of use.

Facebook tries to revamp password recovery by supplanting email

Tue, 2017-02-07 13:49
The company is releasing an open source protocol that will let third-party sites recover user accounts through Facebook

Federal court rules against Public.Resource.Org saying that private organizations can use copyright to control access to federal laws

Tue, 2017-02-07 13:44

A US federal district court has ruled against Public.Resource.Org, forbiding their practice of providing public and open access to documents that have become law through “incorporation by reference”, meaning that they are initially created through private standards organizations and later incorporated into federal law. In the views of the EFF, the district court’s decision suggests that laws can be copyrighted and put behind paywalls as long as they were first written down by someone outside of government.

US House of Representatives to pass Email Privacy Act

Tue, 2017-02-07 10:39

The US House of Representatives has passed the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387), that updates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to require the government to get a probable cause criminal warrant to access emails, social media posts and other online content stored by service providers in the cloud.

Federal Trade Commission explains privacy intrusive practices of top TV selling company

Tue, 2017-02-07 10:34

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) explains the privacy damaging business practices of Vizio: starting in 2014, Vizio made TVs automatically track what consumers were watching and transmitted that data back to its servers all of it without the consumer's constent. They also sold the consumers data, like viewing history, to advertisers and others.

Trump signs 'no privacy for non-Americans' order – what does that mean for rest of us? • The Register

Fri, 2017-01-27 17:52

In an executive order focused on illegal immigrants that was signed by president Trump this week, one section specifically noted that privacy protections would not be extended past US citizens or permanent residents in America.