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Tag Archives: european-parliament

European MEPs vote to reopen copyright debate over ‘censorship’ controversy

A 318-278 majority of MEPs in the European Parliament has just voted to reopen debate around a controversial digital copyright reform proposal — meaning it will now face further debate and scrutiny, rather than be fast-tracked towards becoming law via the standard EU trilogue negotiation process. Crucially it means MEPs will have the chance to amend the controversial proposals. Great success: Your protests have worked! The European Parliament has sent the copyright law back to the drawing board. All MEPs will get to vote on #uploadfilters and the #linktax September 10–13. Now let's keep up the pressure to make sure we #SaveYourInternet ! pic.twitter.com/VwqAgH0Xs5 — Julia Reda (@Senficon) July 5, 2018 Last month the EU parliament’s legal affairs committee approved the final text of the copyright proposal — including approving its two most controversial articles — kicking off a last-ditch effort by groups opposed to what they dub the ‘link tax’ and ‘censorship machines’ to marshal MEPs to reopen debate and be able to amend the proposal. The copyright reform is controversial largely on account of two articles: Article 11 — which proposes to create a neighboring right for snippets of journalistic content in order to target news aggregator business models, like Google News, which publishers have long argued are unfairly profiting from their work. Similar ancillary copyright laws have previously been enacted in Germany and Spain — and in the latter market, where the licensing requirement was not flexible, Google News closed up shop entirely, leading, say critics, to decreased traffic referrals to Spanish news sites. Article 13 — which makes Internet platforms that host large amounts of user-uploaded content directly liable for copyright infringements by their users, and would likely push platforms such as YouTube towards pre-filtering all user generated content at the point of upload, with all the associated potential chilling effects if/when algorithms fail to recognize fair use of a copyrighted work, for instance. Article 13 is arguably the more controversial element of the two, and it is certainly where opposition campaigning has been fiercest. Though it has strong support from musicians and the music industry who have spent years fighting YouTube, arguing it exploits legal protections around music videos viewed on its service and pays lower royalties than they are due. In the opposition camp, a broad coalition of digital rights organizations, startup groups, Internet architects, computer scientists, academics and web advocates — including the likes of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf, Bruce Schneier, Jimmy Wales and Mitch Kapor, who in an  open letter  last month argued that Article 13 “takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users”. This week several European language versions of Wikipedia also  blacked out encyclopedia content  in a ‘going dark’ protest against the proposals, though the European Commission has claimed online encyclopedias would not be impacted by Article 13. A claim that is, however, disputed by opponents… Wow, the @EU_Commission knows less about what this vote is about than the Wikipedia community

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Pressure mounts on EU-US Privacy Shield after Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal

Yet more pressure on the  precariously placed EU-US Privacy Shield : The European Union parliament’s civil liberties committee has called for the data transfer arrangement to be suspended by September 1 unless the US comes into full compliance. Though the committee has no power to suspend the arrangement itself. But has amped up the political pressure on the EU’s executive body, the European Commission . In a vote late yesterday the Libe committee agreed the mechanism as it is currently being applied does not provide adequate protection for EU citizens’ personal information — emphasizing the need for better monitoring in light of the recent Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, after the company admitted in April that data on as many as 87 million users had been improperly passed to third parties in 2014 (including 2.7M EU citizens ) . Facebook is one of the now 3,000+ organizations that have signed up to Privacy Shield to make it easier for them to shift EU users’ data to the US for processing. Although the Cambridge Analytica scandal pre-dates Privacy Shield — which was officially adopted in mid 2016 , replacing the long-standing Safe Harbor arrangement (which was struck down by Europe’s top court in 2015, after a legal challenge that successfully argued that US government mass surveillance practices were undermining EU citizens’ fundamental rights). The EU also now has an updated data protection framework — the GDPR   — which came into full force on May 25, and further tightens privacy protections around EU data. The Libe committee says it wants US authorities to act upon privacy scandals such as Facebook Cambridge Analytica debacle without delay — and, if needed, remove companies that have misused personal data from the Privacy Shield list. MEPs also want EU authorities to investigate such cases and suspend or ban data transfers under the Privacy Shield where appropriate. Despite a string of privacy scandals — some very recent , and a fresh FTC probe  — Facebook remains on the Privacy Shield list; along with SCL Elections, an affiliate of Cambridge Analytica, which has claimed to be closing its businesses down in light of press around the scandal, yet which is apparently still certified to take people’s data out of the EU and provide it with ‘adequate protection’, per the Privacy Shield list… MEPs on the committee also expressed concern about the recent adoption in the US of the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act ( Cloud Act ), which grants the US and foreign police access to personal data across borders — with the committee pointing out that the US law could conflict with EU data protection laws. In a statement, civil liberties committee chair and rapporteur Claude Moraes said: “While progress has been made to improve on the Safe Harbor agreement, the Privacy Shield in its current form does not provide the adequate level of protection required by EU data protection law and the EU Charter. It is therefore up to the US authorities to effectively follow the terms of the agreement and for the Commission to take measures to ensure that it will fully comply with the GDPR.” The Privacy Shield was negotiated by the European Commission with US counterparts as a replacement for Safe Harbor, and is intended to offer ‘essentially equivalent’ data protections for EU citizens when their data is taken to the US — a country which does not of course have essentially equivalent privacy laws. So the aim is to try to bridge the gap between two distinct legal regimes

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To truly protect citizens, lawmakers need to restructure their regulatory oversight of big tech

Gillian Hadfield Contributor Gillian Hadfield is the author of Rules for a Flat World: Why Humans Invented Law and How to Reinvent It for a Complex Global Economy and a professor of law and economics at the University of Southern California . More posts by this contributor Saudi Arabia’s TechUtopia Neom will have to reinvent the rules to succeed To control AI, we need to understand more about humans If members of the European Parliament thought they could bring Mark Zuckerberg to heel with his recent appearance, they underestimated the enormous gulf between 21 st century companies and their last-century regulators. Zuckerberg himself reiterated that regulation is necessary, provided it is the “ right regulation .” But anyone who thinks that our existing regulatory tools can reign in our digital behemoths is engaging in magical thinking. Getting to “right regulation” will require us to think very differently. The challenge goes far beyond Facebook and other social media: the use and abuse of data is going to be the defining feature of just about every company on the planet as we enter the age of machine learning and autonomous systems. So far, Europe has taken a much more aggressive regulatory approach than anything the US was contemplating before or since Zuckerberg’s testimony. The European Parliament’s Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is now in force, which extends data privacy rights to all European citizens regardless of whether their data is processed by companies within the EU or beyond. But I’m not holding my breath that the GDPR will get us very far on the massive regulatory challenge we face. It is just more of the same when it comes to regulation in the modern economy: a lot of ambiguous costly-to-interpret words and procedures on paper that are outmatched by rapidly evolving digital global technologies. Crucially, the GDPR still relies heavily on the outmoded technology of user choice and consent, the main result of which has seen almost everyone in Europe (and beyond) inundated with emails asking them to reconfirm permission to keep their data. But this is an illusion of choice, just as it is when we are ostensibly given the option to decide whether to agree to terms set by large corporations in standardized take-it-or-leave-it click-to-agree documents

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A list of more than 40 questions that Mark Zuckerberg was asked before the European Parliament but failed to answer with specifics (Rhett…

Rhett Jones / Gizmodo : A list of more than 40 questions that Mark Zuckerberg was asked before the European Parliament but failed to answer with specifics   —  For a moment, Mark Zuckerberg's appearance before members of the European Parliament looked like it was going to be a very bad day for the Facebook CEO.

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UK parliament’s call for Zuckerberg to testify goes next level

The UK parliament has issued an impressive ultimatum to Facebook in a last-ditch attempt to get Mark Zuckerberg to take its questions: Come and give evidence voluntarily or next time you fly to the UK you’ll get a formal summons to appear. “Following reports that he will be giving evidence to the European Parliament in May, we would like Mr Zuckerberg to come to London during his European trip. We would like the session here to place by 24 May,” the committee writes in its latest letter to the company, signed by its chair, Conservative MP Damian Collins. “It is worth noting that, while Mr Zuckerberg does not normally come under the jurisdiction of the UK Parliament, he will do so the next time he enters the country,” he adds. “We hope that he will respond positively to our request, but if not the Committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for him to appear when he is next in the UK.” BREAKING: This is pretty extraordinary. Parliament issues ultimatum to Facebook. Either Mark Zuckerberg comes voluntarily. Or, he'll face a summons next time he enters British territory. Facebook really couldn't have handled this much worse… pic.twitter.com/VFyJrHXWel — Carole Cadwalladr (@carolecadwalla) May 1, 2018 Facebook has repeatedly ignored the DCMS committee ‘s requests that its CEO and founder appear before it — preferring to send various minions to answer questions related to its enquiry into online disinformation and the role of social media in politics and democracy. The most recent Zuckerberg alternative to appear before it was also the most senior: Facebook’s CTO, Mike Schroepfer, who claimed he had personally volunteered to make the trip to London to give evidence. However for all Schroepfer’s sweating toil to try to stand in for the company’s chief exec, his answers failed to impress UK parliamentarians. And immediately following the hearing the committee issued a press release repeating their call for Zuckerberg to testify, noting that Schroepfer had failed to provide adequate answers to as many of 40 of its questions. Schroepfer did sit through around five hours of grilling on a wide range of topics with the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal front and center — the story having morphed into a major global scandal for the company after fresh revelations were published by the Guardian in March (although the newspaper actually published its first story about Facebook data misuse by the company all the way back in December 2015) — though in last week’s hearing Schroepfer frequently fell back on claiming he didn’t know the answer and would have to “follow up”. Yet the committee has been asking Facebook for straight answers for months

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EU Parliament urges EU Commission to unbundle search engines from other commercial services (European Parliament)

The European Parliament called on EU member states and the European Commission to break down barriers to the growth of the EU's digital single market in a resolution voted on Thursday. MEPs also stressed the need to prevent online companies from abusing dominant positions by enforcing EU competition rules and unbundling search engines from other commercial services. The digital single market could generate an additional €260 billion a year for the EU economy, as well as boosting its competitiveness, says the text, which was approved by 384 votes to 174, with 56 abstentions. However, it warns that important challenges, such as market fragmentation, lack of interoperabilityas well as regional and demographic inequalities in access to the technology, need to be tackled in order to unlock this potential. Enforcing EU rules for online search companies   The resolution underlines that “the online search market is of particular importance in ensuring competitive conditions within the digital single market” and welcomes the Commission’s pledges to investigate further the search engines’ practices. It calls on the Commission “to prevent any abuse in the marketing of interlinked services by operators of search engines", stressing the importance of non-discriminatory online search. "Indexation, evaluation, presentation and ranking by search engines must be unbiased and transparent", MEPs say. Given the role of internet search engines in “commercialising secondary exploitation of obtained information” and the need to enforce EU competition rules, MEPs also call on the Commission “to consider proposals with the aim of unbundling search engines from other commercial services” in the long run.  Fast track telecoms package   MEPs stress that “all internet traffic should be treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference”. Parliament urges member states to start negotiations on the telecoms package, so as to “put an end to roaming charges inside the EU, provide more legal certainty as regards net neutrality and improve consumer protection”. Common standards for cloud computing   MEPs call on the Commission “to take the lead in promoting international standards and specifications for cloud computing” so as to ensure that it is privacy friendly, reliable, accessible, highly interoperable, secure and energy efficient. Procedure:  Non-legislative resolution

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