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Last week on the Internet: World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, Snowden on French surveillance, Republicans suddenly love net neutrality, Copyright Week.

World Economic Forum’s annual meeting

“In tech we trust” was the common mantra among high level individuals these days. But it seems that many of them agree it is not the case for the tech we got accustomed with and certainly not the way we used it (or it used us).

On 21-24 January in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, some of the most influential people met to discuss present problems the world is facing and future plans. One of the issues was: “The digital revolution needs a trust revolution”.

While Günther H. Oettinger, European Commissioner on Digital Economy and Society, stressed that “Europe needs clear, pragmatic, market-oriented regulations”, Tim Berners-Lee, Professor of Engineering at MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) asked: “How do I know how my data is used?”. Moreover, the  World Economic Forum published another interesting article on data science revolution and its importance: The digital revolution needs a transparency revolution. On the same website, The second “Crypto War” and the future of the internet analyses the transformation of surveillance mechanisms since the 90’s, to NSA’s “cheeky smiley face” of our days and the importance of encryption.

Surveillance

While at Davos “trust” and “transparency” seem to be the “revolutionary” buzzwords, in United Kingdom, GCHQ captured emails of journalists from top international media and listed “investigative journalists” as a threat, in the document, immediately under terrorists. A program called Ripa has been used to access journalists’ communications without a warrant and one of the documents states that:

[pull_quote_center]journalists and reporters representing all types of news media represent a potential threat to security.[/pull_quote_center]

  • The French publication Le Monde and the German website Heise could have a new revelation on the NSA surveillance scheme. The project MoreCowBells is said to be NSA’s solution to tackle the DNS (Domain Name System).
  • On the other side of the table, great figures appear in Berlin at Sam Adams Awards, where NSA whistleblower William Binney wins the price for Integrity in Intelligence in 2015. Edward Snowden also joined the ceremony via video and congratulated Binney, saying: “Without Bill Binney, there would be no Edward Snowden“, and spoke, also, about the “civic duty to say something“.

For those who missed last’s Danish documentary on Snowden’s escape (in Danish ~2%, English ~98%):

Net Neutrality

Moving on to net neutrality, it is one of the hot topics that wait for a vote next month in US, but here is The Trouble with the Fake Net Neutrality Bills.

The previous suspicions on republicans regarding their sudden interest in defending net neutrality in order to minimize FCC’s control on regulating the broadband as a common carrier, have been confirmed by a recent hearing on draft legislation. During the hearing, net neutrality principals (ban on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization) were invoked, but with exceptions for “specialized services”. So the rules proposed by the republicans are not Net Neutrality (see exceptions for “specialized services”) and not regulations.

copyright-week

Copyright

In copyright news, the Copyright Week began last week. It is a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy, where various groups address the present laws around copyright and discuss ways in which creativity and innovation can stay protected and be promoted.

  • Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda is the rapporteur for the European Parliament’s review of the EU’s current copyright law and in her draft report released on 19th of January, sets a series of recommendations for the improvement of the EU outdated copyright laws. “EU copyright law fails to set minimum rights” is part of her remarks.
  • Fox’s rush to oppress a competitor that uses new technologies to enable its users to watch television on “non-television devices outside the home” has failed. The court ruled under the “fair use” right that Dish Anywhere service does not infringe the copyrights of broadcasters, so Dish prevails in copyright fight with broadcasters.
  • Pirate Cinema visualizes, in an art display, parts of the most popular files as they get uploaded on BitTorrent.

Free Software Foundation publishes a series of new badges to use for promoting Free software: “Free Software. Free Society” – the four freedoms guaranteed by every free program, “I support free software” – The GNU supports free software, and so do you!, “Powered by GNU, retro-style” – homage to GNU’s origins in text-based interfaces, “Powered by GNU”- for Web sites and blogs running free software.