short copy - this week on the internet

Top stories from the Internet this week: Consumer Choice in Online Video Act, NSA and GCHQ spying on Britons’ personal data, US copyright industries account for 6.5% of the nation’s economy, EFF on Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP)

  • Net neutrality

While the EU net neutrality proposal we mentioned last week is far from perfect, in  US a new bill for new media users challenges the monopolies gatekeepers such as Verizon are aiming to protect. The Consumer Choice in Online Video Act as it is called faces long odds. Nevertheless, it notes the interest in “promoting a diversity of views” of the US Constitution First Amendment and by doing this “sends a strong signal that preserving the free and open Internet is a legislative priority”.

  • Surveillance

eric schmidt
CREDIT: REUTERS/KIM KYUNG-HOON

If until now we were worried about what a single spying agency can do to infringe our privacy (take a look at EFF’s NSA spying documents compendium or read this article!), imagine the consequences of this real life scenario: NSA and GCHQ teamed up in a secret deal which allows the NSA to store Britons’ personal data. Add to this what Foreign Policy columnist Colum Lynch calls “America’s plan to kill online privacy everywhere”!

Fortunately, there a few companies (although too few) who are encrypting their customers data. Moreover, Google‘s Executive chairman Eric Schmidt predicts that “censorship around the world could end in a decade, and better use of encryption will help people overcome government surveillance“. We love his optimism, but he might be too optimistic.

In Sweden, NSA type of surveillance will not only be carried by the national surveillance agency, the FRA, but the Swedish citizens will also be wiretapped by the police. According to Rick Falkvinge, “The only telecom operator to say a blank never, this is completely unthinkable to the Police demands is the Swedish Tele 2″. (As I am writing Short Copy all the way from Stockhom, I am sure glad I chose Tele 2 :).

  •  Copyright

In 2012, US copyright industries accounted for 6.5% of the nation’s economy, according to a study by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), “reaching new heights”. This study is currently being used by anti-piracy lobbyists to highlight the advantages of copyright. Do you agree? With these new heights, what’s all the fuss about piracy threatening, for example, the film and movie industry? Moreover, issuing fake DMCA takedowns on purpose for non-infringing material is seriously affecting Hollywood’s credibility.

The music industry representatives, both in US and UK,  are focusing on Google to fight online piracy. As we found last week though, in 2013 only, Google removed 200 million search results at the requests of copyright holders. This is 4 times as many links as in 2012. You can look over all the take down requests Google receives on their Transparency Report page.

TPP-banner (1)
Illustration by EFF

EFF participated along with other organizations in a Reddit AMA (Ask me anything) where they answered users’ questions about TPP and its consequences on intellectual property. Another interesting piece is Washington Post‘s quantitative perspective on each of the 12 countries positions at the negotiation table: while US is rather isolated and seems not to be able to shape the treaty to its liking, Canada is definitely up to something.