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Anti European People...

The next monstrosity from our EU lawmakers is to relax net neutrality laws so that large internet corporates can better snoop on and censor the European peoples


Link Here 18th May 2019

The internet technology known as deep packet inspection is currently illegal in Europe, but big telecom companies doing business in the European Union want to change that. They want deep packet inspection permitted as part of the new net neutrality rules currently under negotiation in the EU, but on Wednesday, a group of 45 privacy and internet freedom advocates and groups published an open letter warning against the change:

Dear Vice-President Andrus Ansip, (and others)

We are writing you in the context of the evaluation of Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 and the reform of the BEREC Guidelines on its implementation. Specifically, we are concerned because of the increased use of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology by providers of internet access services (IAS). DPI is a technology that examines data packets that are transmitted in a given network beyond what would be necessary for the provision IAS by looking at specific content from the part of the user-defined payload of the transmission.

IAS providers are increasingly using DPI technology for the purpose of traffic management and the differentiated pricing of specific applications or services (e.g. zero-rating) as part of their product design. DPI allows IAS providers to identify and distinguish traffic in their networks in order to identify traffic of specific applications or services for the purpose such as billing them differently throttling or prioritising them over other traffic.

The undersigned would like to recall the concerning practice of examining domain names or the addresses (URLs) of visited websites and other internet resources. The evaluation of these types of data can reveal sensitive information about a user, such as preferred news publications, interest in specific health conditions, sexual preferences, or religious beliefs. URLs directly identify specific resources on the world wide web (e.g. a specific image, a specific article in an encyclopedia, a specific segment of a video stream, etc.) and give direct information on the content of a transmission.

A mapping of differential pricing products in the EEA conducted in 2018 identified 186 such products which potentially make use of DPI technology. Among those, several of these products by mobile operators with large market shares are confirmed to rely on DPI because their products offer providers of applications or services the option of identifying their traffic via criteria such as Domain names, SNI, URLs or DNS snooping.

Currently, the BEREC Guidelines3 clearly state that traffic management based on the monitoring of domain names and URLs (as implied by the phrase transport protocol layer payload) is not reasonable traffic management under the Regulation. However, this clear rule has been mostly ignored by IAS providers in their treatment of traffic.

The nature of DPI necessitates telecom expertise as well as expertise in data protection issues. Yet, we observe a lack of cooperation between national regulatory authorities for electronic communications and regulatory authorities for data protection on this issue, both in the decisions put forward on these products as well as cooperation on joint opinions on the question in general. For example, some regulators issue justifications of DPI based on the consent of the customer of the IAS provider which crucially ignores the clear ban of DPI in the BEREC Guidelines and the processing of the data of the other party communicating with the subscriber, which never gave consent.

Given the scale and sensitivity of the issue, we urge the Commission and BEREC to carefully consider the use of DPI technologies and their data protection impact in the ongoing reform of the net neutrality Regulation and the Guidelines. In addition, we recommend to the Commission and BEREC to explore an interpretation of the proportionality requirement included in Article 3, paragraph 3 of Regulation 2015/2120 in line with the data minimization principle established by the GDPR. Finally, we suggest to mandate the European Data Protection Board to produce guidelines on the use of DPI by IAS providers.

Best regards

European Digital Rights, Europe Electronic Frontier Foundation, International Council of European Professional Informatics Societies, Europe Article 19, International Chaos Computer Club e.V, Germany epicenter.works - for digital rights, Austria Austrian Computer Society (OCG), Austria Bits of Freedom, the Netherlands La Quadrature du Net, France ApTI, Romania Code4Romania, Romania IT-Pol, Denmark Homo Digitalis, Greece Hermes Center, Italy X-net, Spain Vrijschrift, the Netherlands Dataskydd.net, Sweden Electronic Frontier Norway (EFN), Norway Alternatif Bilisim (Alternative Informatics Association), Turkey Digitalcourage, Germany Fitug e.V., Germany Digitale Freiheit, Germany Deutsche Vereinigung f3cr Datenschutz e.V. (DVD), Germany Gesellschaft f3cr Informatik e.V. (GI), Germany LOAD e.V. - Verein f3cr liberale Netzpolitik, Germany (And others)

 

 

Energy sapping Brexit...

The EU Intellectual Property Office refused a trademark for a 'Brexit' drinking claiming it would be found offensive


Link Here 17th May 2019
A pair of entrepreneurs have been refused European trademark protection for their energy drink named Brexit after an EU body labelled it offensive.

Pawel Tumilowicz and Mariusz Majchrzak had attempted to register their product Brexit with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (Euipo) after they launched the drink in October 2016.

But they were denied on the grounds that EU citizens would be deeply offended by the appropriation of the word. Euipo claimed:

Citizens across the EU would be deeply offended if the expression at issue was registered as a European Union trade mark.

The pair then appealed before Euipo's Grand Board of Appea which rejected Euipo's judgement that the word was offensive. However it ruled that Brexit could not be trademarked because it was not distinctive enough under EU law and would be confusing.

The high-caffeine drink - which is described on its website as the only reasonable solution in this situation - is branded with the Union Jack and was only named after the contentious political event for a laugh, the Telegraph reports.

 

 

Extract: German president calls for more internet censorship...

European politicians vs Silicon Valley


Link Here 14th May 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering

The German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier opened the re:publica 2019 conference in Berlin last week with a speech about internet censorship. The World Socialist Web Site reported the speech:

With cynical references to Germany's Basic Law and the right to freedom of speech contained within it, Steinmeier called for new censorship measures and appealed to the major technology firms to enforce already existing guidelines more aggressively.

He stated, The upcoming 70th anniversary of the German Basic Law reminds us of a connection that pre-dates online and offline: liberty needs rules--and new liberties need new rules. Furthermore, freedom of opinion brings with it responsibility for opinion. He stressed that he knew there are already many rules, among which he mentioned the notorious Network Enforcement Law (Netz DG), but it will be necessary to argue over others.

He then added, Anyone who creates space for a political discussion with a platform bears responsibility for democracy, whether they like it or not. Therefore, democratic regulations are required, he continued. Steinmeier said that he felt this is now understood in Silicon Valley. After a lot of words and announcements, discussion forums, and photogenic appearances with politicians, it is now time for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Co. to finally acknowledge their responsibility for democracy, finally put it into practice.

 

 

Consent issues...

Ireland's Data Protection Commission opens an investigation into Quantcast over whether it obtains consent for aggregated personal data profiling


Link Here 2nd May 2019
Full story: EU GDPR law...Far reaching privay protection law
Based on the results of an investigation by Privacy International, one of Europe's key data protection authorities has opened an inquiry into Quantcast, a major player in the online tracking industry.

The Irish Data Protection Commission has now opened statutory inquiry into Quantcast International Limited. The organisation writes:

Since the application of the GDPR significant concerns have been raised by individuals and privacy advocates concerning the conduct of technology companies operating in the online advertising sector and their compliance with the GDPR. Arising from a submission to the Data Protection Commission by Privacy International, a statutory inquiry pursuant to section 110 of the Data Protection Action 2018 has been commenced in respect of Quantcast International Limited. The purpose of the inquiry is to establish whether the company's processing and aggregating of personal data for the purposes of profiling and utilising the profiles generated for targeted advertising is in compliance with the relevant provisions of the GDPR. The GDPR principle of transparency and retention practices will also be examined.

 

 

Journal of censorship...

Netherlands book publisher ends partnership with China over censorship


Link Here 1st May 2019
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
Netherlands-based publishing house Brill recently ended its distribution agreement with a Chinese state-run publisher, after the latter was found to have censored out a paper submitted to one of its journals

In a statement published on its website on April 25, Brill announced it would no longer partner with China's Higher Education Press to distribute four of its journals to customers outside China, effective in 2020.

The Dutch publishing house didn't provide an explanation for its decision.

 

 

Bananas censorship...

After public protest a Warsaw museum director returns a banana eating artwork that he had earlier censored


Link Here 30th April 2019
The director of Poland's National Museum of Culture took it on himself to take down a classic 1975 artwork on the grounds that it might irritate sensitive young people.

Consumer Art or Body Art is a video by Natalia Lach-Lachowicz, who goes by the name Natalia LL, showing a bare-shouldered woman eating a banana in a rather suggestive fashion.

The director also removed was a 2005 video by Katarzyna Kozyra that showed a woman holding a leash attached to two men dressed as dogs on all fours. He explained:

Certain topics related to gender shouldn't be explicitly shown,

However the censorship by Museum Director Jerzy Miziolek was widely ridiculed. Many took to Instagram and other platforms to post photos of themselves eating bananas, including another prominent Polish artist, photographer Sylwia Kowalczyk, who posted:

This should not happen to any artist, male or female, Kowalczyk told CNN . Natalia Lach-Lachowicz is one of the icons of the Polish contemporary art and has her place in art history already.

Hundreds of people also gathered to eat bananas outside Poland's national gallery in Warsaw on Monday to protest the censorship.

Responding to this public pressure Miziolek said that he would reinstate the Consumer Art exhibit -- but only for another week, when the museum begins a renovation project. Whether Consumer Art would return after the renovations are complete remained unclear.

Miziolek was appointed by the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) government's Ministry of Culture. The ministry has consistently cut funding for the arts and fired arts staff who do not follow the party's line. However the ministry denied it was involved in the decision to remove this artwork.

 

 

Offsite Article: The pact of forgetting...


Link Here 24th April 2019
Book censorship from the Franco era in Spain hasn't been put to rights

See article from independent.co.uk

 

 

Digital Nazis...

Germany lawmakers consider bill to ban Tor and perhaps even encrypted messaging


Link Here 23rd April 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering

On the 15th of March, the German Bundesrat (Federal Council) voted to amend the Criminal Code in relation to internet based services such as The onion router (Tor).

The proposed law has been lambasted as being too vague, with privacy experts rightfully fearful that the law would be overapplied. The proposal, originating from the North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of Justice Peter Biesenbach, would amend and expand criminal law and make running a Tor node or website illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison. According to Zeit.de, if passed, the expansion of the Criminal Code would be used to punish anyone who offers an internet-based service whose access and accessibility is limited by special technical precautions, and whose purpose or activity is directed to commit or promote certain illegal acts.

What's worse is that the proposed changes are so vaguely worded that many other services that offer encryption could be seen as falling under this new law. While the proposal does seem to have been written to target Tor hidden services which are dark net markets, the vague way that the proposal has been written makes it a very real possibility that other encrypted services such as messaging might be targeted under these new laws, as well.

Now that the motion to amend has been accepted by Bundesrat, it will be forwarded to the Federal Government for drafting, consideration, and comment. Then, within a month and a half, this new initiative will be forwarded to the German Senate, aka the Bundestag, where it will be finally voted on. Private Internet Access and many others denounce this proposal and continue to support Tor and an open internet

Private Internet Access currently supports the Tor Project and runs a number of Tor exit nodes as a part of our commitment to online privacy. PIA believes this proposed amendment to the German Criminal Code is not just bad for Tor, which was named specifically, but also for online privacy as a whole -- and we're not the only ones.

German criminal lawyer David Schietinger told Der Spiegel that he was concerned the law was too overreaching and could also mean an e-mail provider or the operator of a classic online platform with password protection.

The bill contains mainly rubber paragraphs with the clear goal to criminalize operators and users of anonymization services. Intentionally, the facts are kept very blurred. The intention is to create legal uncertainty and unavoidable risks of possible criminal liability for anyone who supports the right to anonymous communication on the Internet.

 

 

Offsite Article: Blocked for privacy...


Link Here 22nd April 2019
Full story: EU GDPR law...Far reaching privay protection law
A long list of mainly US news websites that are censored to readers in the EU due to GDPR

See article from data.verifiedjoseph.com

 

 

Identified as repressive...

The Austrian government introduces a bill requiring large websites to obtain the real identity of users


Link Here 21st April 2019
It's not only China and the UK that want to identify internet users, Austria also wants to demand that forum contributors submit their ID before being able to post.

Austria's government has introduced a bill that would require larger social media websites and forums to obtain the identity of its users prior to them being able to post comments. Users will have to provide their name and address to websites but nicknames are still allowed and the identity data will not be made public.

Punishments for non complying websites will be up to 500,000 euros and double that for repeat offences.

It would only affect sites with more than 100,000 registered users, bring in revenues above 500,000 euros per year or receive press subsidies larger than 50,000 euros.

There would also be exemptions for retail sites as well as those that don't earn money from either ads or the content itself.

If passed and cleared by the EU, the law would take effect in 2020. The immediate issues noted are that some of the websites most offending the sensitivities of the government are often smaller than the trigger condition. The law may also step on the toes of the EU in rules governing which EU states has regulatory control over websites.

Update: Identity data will be available to other users

17th May 2019. See article from edri.org

The law on care and responsibility on the net forces media platforms with forums to store detailed data about their users in order to deliver them in case of a possible offence not only to police authorities, but also to other users who want to legally prosecute another forum user. Looking at the law in detail, it is obvious that they contain so many problematic passages that their intended purpose is completely undermined.

According to the Minister of Media, Gernot Blümel, harmless software will deal with the personal data processing. One of the risks of such a system would be the potential for abuse from public authorities or individuals requesting a platform provider the person's name and address with the excuse to wanting to investigate or sue them, and then use the information for entirely other purposes.

 

 

Inevitably asking the impossible of small EU companies and further advantaging US giants...

European Parliament removes requirement for internet companies to pre-censor user posts for terrorist content but approves a one hour deadline for content removal when asked by national authorities


Link Here 18th April 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
The European Parliament has approved a draft version of new EU internet censorship law targeting terrorist content.

In particular the MEPs approved the imposition of a one-hour deadline to remove content marked for censorship by various national organisations. However the MEPs did not approve a key section of the law requiring internet companies to pre-process and censor terrorsit content prior to upload.

A European Commission official told the BBC changes made to the text by parliament made the law ineffective. The Commission will now try to restore the pre-censorship requirement with the new parliament when it is elected.

The law would affect social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which could face fines of up to 4% of their annual global turnover. What does the law say?

In amendments, the European Parliament said websites would not be forced to monitor the information they transmit or store, nor have to actively seek facts indicating illegal activity.  It said the competent authority should give the website information on the procedures and deadlines 12 hours before the agreed one-hour deadline the first time an order is issued.

In February, German MEP Julia Reda of the European Pirate Party said the legislation risked the surrender of our fundamental freedoms [and] undermines our liberal democracy. Ms Reda welcomed the changes brought by the European Parliament but said the one-hour deadline was unworkable for platforms run by individual or small providers.

 

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