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Archive for April, 2010

In an interview of the San Francisco Chronicale with the EFF director, she presents her perspective on data protection aspects of energy data:

The ebb and flow of gas and electricity into your home contains surprisingly detailed information about your daily life. The California PUC proposes to measure energy usage data practically moment by moment, which allows the reconstruction of a household’s activities

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Professor Buzek adds Polish humour in his Transatlantic talks:

So thinking about the same, having the same heritage, the same basic values built for centuries, we cannot have full agreement, so we need cooperation. As Madam Secretary said a few minutes ago together – maybe I don’t remember – we must work together to understand more, something like that – it’s a citation.

So it’s truth and we are ready for that. And we are – we just start working together to reduce the size of Atlantic Ocean to something like (inaudible) lake.

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BUZEK: It would be great we could do that, even having Iceland in the middle sometimes with volcano we can manage, even going by ships from one side to another. Because 200 and 300 years ago was no other possibility for Europeans than to go by ships —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.

PRESIDENT BUZEK: — to United States and to stay forever.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s right. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BUZEK: So now, we are exchanging in different way. So thank you very much once again.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

PRESIDENT BUZEK: We didn’t mention here so many points which were very interesting during our discussion. But still, it was a great discussion.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much.

PRESIDENT BUZEK: Thank you much. Thank you.

And it goes on like this:

MR. CROWLEY: On the European side, (inaudible) from the Polish press agency.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, President Buzek sort of complained a little bit about cooperation of United States with the European Union. Can I ask you to complain a little bit? So what do you think should the European Union or European Parliament should do to become a more valuable, better partner for the United States? For example, in terms of – you know, policy towards Russia or providing more troops to Afghanistan or what?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think complaining is part of being in politics on either side of the Atlantic. Years ago when my husband was President, there was a lot of complaining in the White House about the Congress, and then when I was in the Congress, there was a lot of complaining about the White House, and it just kind of goes with the territory.

I think that what President Buzek said is right, that we have so much in common, but that doesn’t mean that we see everything the same way. And that requires greater interaction and consultation, and post-Lisbon, that consultation should include the European Parliament as well as the European Commission and the European Council. And that is the purpose of his trip here, to begin to enhance that level of consultation and cooperation.

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ODF podcast

Rob Weirs ODF Podcast:

…an interview session with in at the Granada Plugfest with Svante Schubert, from the ODF TC and the ODF Toolkit Union. Discussion about ODF, RDF, ODFDOM, etc.

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Link.

9AM Introduction and Welcome
EU co-chair of TACD IP Policy Committee: Jill Johnstone, of Consumer Focus, UK
US co-chair of TACD IP Policy Committee, James Love, KEI
Skip Jones, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Trade Agreement Compliance

9:10 AM Panel 1: The impact of ACTA on copyrighted goods
The Chair will be Jill Johnstone, of Consumer Focus, UK.
Leading the discussion initially will be:
Jonathan Band, Policy Bandwidth
Sherwin Siy, Public Knowledge
Professor Peter Yu, Drake University Law School, author of “the Graduated Response.”
Gwen Hinze, EFF
Kostas Rossoglou, BEUC

10:30 AM Panel 2: The impact of ACTA on markets for medicine and other patented or trademarked goods and services
Chairing the session will be Judit Rius, of KEI
Leading the discussion initially will be:
Sean Flynn, American University
Rohit Malpani, Oxfam
Peter Maybarduk, Public Citizen
Sophie Bloemen, Health Action International
Emi McLean, MSF

12PM Lunch

1 PM Panel 3: The ACTA negotiating process and the future role of ACTA as an institution.
Chair, TBA. Leading the discussion initially will be:
Professor Susan Sell, George Washington University
David Hammerstein, TACD
Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Joe Karaganis, SSRC
Susan Wilson, US Department of Commerce
James Love, Director, Knowledge Ecology

See also the comments from David Hammerstein

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From a confirmatory application we learn about dissent from Finland and Sweden:

FI: “Even if FI is of the view that Article 4(1)(a) of the Regulation 1049/2001 concerning the protection of international relations is applicable, it appears that the possibility of extended partial access in accordance with Article 4(6) of the Regulation has not been thoroughly considered.”

SE: “Further partial access should be granted to documents 13382/08, 15588/08, 17249/08, 12076/09 and 5363/10, since there are additional parts that are not covered by the secrecy exception in article 4(1)(a) third indent.”

The Permanent Representatives Committee is accordingly asked to suggest that the Council, at its next meeting:
– record its agreement to the draft reply annexed to this document, as an “A” item, with the Finnish and Swedish delegations voting against,
– decide to publish the result of the vote

I believe a general misconception on behalf of the Council is that EC/1049/2001 puts any constraints on the member states to grant access to Council documents. That may apply to the Council secretariat in its primary application but it does not apply to the Council when answering confirmatory applications. EC/1049/2001 defines the principles and limitations underlying the Citizen’s legal right to public documents. It does not put constraints on the Council to go beyond that. To overcome this confusion wording like “shall” in the context of constraints has to be eliminated from 1049.

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“Der Ouzo hat an den Finanzmärkten einen faden Beigeschmack.”, solche plakativen Phrasen aus der Fernsehdebatte nimmt sich ein CARTA-Artikel von Meyer-Lucht aufs Korn. Der Vorwurf ist eine Orientierung der ARD-Berichterstattung und Diskussion an der Regierungsposition:

“Beim ARD-Brennpunkt zu [den Zahlungsschwierigkeiten des Eurolandes] Griechenland dominierten wirre Expertenstatements und der Transport von Regierungspositionen. “

Als Slogan ist der Ouzo aber fantastisch. Bei den Finanzthemen gelangt Berichterstattung immer schnell an ihre Grenzen. Vielleicht werden da ganz andere Formate und Bildungsprogramme benötigt. Grundsätzlich trifft die vernichtende Kritik von Meyer-Lucht auf die allermeisten Formate im Fernsehen zu. Es gibt für alle Bereiche der Wirtschaftspolitik ein oft dominates populäres Narrativ, das vereinfachen muss. Medienvertreter bauen viel zu oft falsche Orientierungsrahmen. Es ist normal, dass sich Experten die Haare raufen. Medienberichterstattung kann aber immer nur “second best” sein. Sie muss ein Thema in das erzählbare Format zwängen.

Bei der referierten Kritik von Storz/Arlt wird der Journalist zu einem Konsensgeber, dem Verantwortlichen für die Synthese der heterogenen Meinung:

Die Beiträge bestehen oft aus einer Aneinanderreihung von Statements, so dass das Publikum mit inhaltlichen Widersprüchen alleine gelassen wird. Die Redaktion ist faktisch Transporteur von Statements, Pressemitteilungen und Redeausschnitten, aber selten journalistischer Verarbeiter und Orientierungs-Geber.

Ich kann jedem die Lektüre von Lyotards Bericht “Das postmoderne Wissen” empfehlen, insbesondere das, was er zu konkurrierenden “Sprachspielen” schreibt. Wissen ist immer auch Mythologie, das heisst ein Kampf der Narrative. Naiv wäre es zu glauben, dass irgendwer aus diesem Spiel aussteigen darf. “Die positive Wissenschaft”, merkt er an, sei

…kein Wissen. Und die Spekulation nährt sich von ihrer Beseitigung. Derart beinhaltet die Hegelsche spekulative Erzählung in sich selbst und nach Hegels eigenem Zugeständnis einen Skeptizismus hinsichtlich der positiven Erkenntnis.”

Politik und der allgemeine öffentliche Diskurs in einer Demokratie, die beide keine Wissenschaft sein wollen und sein sollen, sind erst recht stets imperfekt. Es ist ihr Wesen, ihre Offenheit. Es bleibt also nur die Aufgabe, “bessere” Kontroversen zu ermöglichen ohne in eine positive Finalität der Entscheidung umzuschlagen, die den selbstzufriedenen Technokraten kennzeichnet, der eine verdeckte Elimination der Entscheidung betreibt. Währungspolitik wurde viel zu lange dem Fachmann überlassen, erst jetzt findet sie den Weg zurück in die demokratische Arena. Das Entsetzen des Experten ist garantiert.

“Bei gleicher Kompetenz hängt der Zuwachs an Performität… also letztendlich von dieser “Phantasie” (”imagination”) ab, die entweder erlaubt, einen neuen Spielzug durchzuführen, oder die Regeln des Spiels zu verändern”.

Genau dieses Herausfallen aus dem Mechanismus kennzeichnet die derzeitige Krise, es ist die Chance der Gestaltung. Derzeit sagt ein Narrativ, die Deutschen sind verantwortlich, wenn die Griechen gegen den gemeinsamen Plan handeln. Was ist eigentlich mit den anderen Staaten der Währungsgemeinschaft? Wie ist das Prinzip der Gerechtigkeit im Währungssystem realisierbar, wo alles mit allem “auf Gedeih und Verderb” verbunden ist?

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Gwen Hinze Interview

Interview mit Gwen Hinze in der Suedeutschen Zeitung zum Thema ACTA. Die US-amerikanische Anwältin führt an

…es gibt weiterhin Passagen, die mir Kopfzerbrechen bereiten. Künftig soll beispielsweise die “Anstiftung zu Urheberrechtsverletzungen” verfolgt werden – ein ziemlich vages Konzept, für das es in den USA wahrscheinlich keine gesetzliche Grundlage gibt.

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Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, was in the United States for talks:

We have many ideas for revitalising our relations. The European Parliament would like to see a Transatlantic single market in a defined timescale. We favour upgrading our institutional relations, by creating a Transatlantic Parliamentary Assembly. We want to use the ‘Obama moment’ to build a vibrant partnership that offers hope and leadership in an uncertain world”.

It took me with great surprise that the European Parliament president talks about concrete steps for transatlantic governance while the European Parliament still seems very much lacking in terms of putting democratic powers and representation in place, and the EU still fails to create a European public sphere. Jerzy Buzek assumes a collective will of his house by using an uncommon “we” in his communication. But there haven’t been any popular debates in Europe or the US on such a transatlantic integration so far. Without popular support transatlantic governance will only further fuel skepticism in regional integration.

Here is a web presence which illustrates the meetings of Jerzy Buzek: http://www.transatlanticweek.org/

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The European Council seeks a backroom deal with the European Parliament on the controversial copyright extension plans. A meeting is scheduled at the April 29.

Attachés will examine the possibility of a first reading agreement with the European Parliament on the Term Directive (8898/09). The meeting will take place in Presidency Room No 1, floor 50. N.B. Participation is limited to Attachés only

The short phrase “Term Directive (8898/09)” stands for the very controversial

Term of protection of copyright and related rights (amending Directive 2006/116/EC) (Directive) 2008/0157 COD 24/07/2008, 12217/08 COM(2008) 464.

Of course no one ever used the phrase “term directive” before. In the European Parliament:

Parl. Ctee: JURI – LEHNE, Klaus-Heiner
Rapp.: Brian CROWLEY (UEN-IE)

A document adopted in Parliament one year ago and then put to coma was registered at the Council under the document number 8898/09. For more obfuscation the document is available only in French from the Council register:

Proposition de directive du Parlement européen et du Conseil modifiant la directive 2006/116/CE du Parlement européen et du Conseil relative à la durée de protection du droit d’auteur et de certains droits voisins – Résultats de la première lecture du Parlement européen (Strasbourg, du 21 au 24 avril 2009) PDF 30-04-2009

Why the clandestine approach on the Council side? Why don’t they reference the correct dossier name and procedure? I assume you may find the answer in the delicate substance of the proposal. I remember I met an economist in Parliament who tried to get the results of his research to the attention of MEPs, and basically saw the dossier as a great scam.

The dossier became widely known informally as the “Cliff Richard pension fund” because it was promoted by aging UK rock musicians, a kind of special gift to the music industry by the outgoing Commissioner. I haven’t monitored the dossier any further. In any case, outrageous policy making.

Here the OEIL file on COD/2008/0157, Prelex interinstitutional overview,

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Gwen Hinzes presents her preliminary analysis for the EFF. That is an American pressure group mostly concerned with digital media regulation, copyright and free speech. It looks to me like the general awareness is broadened. The digital media interests are fairly well represented though ACTA is much broader. Slowly Health groups are taking note of ACTA. Still the potential concerned audience is broader. I am still convinced that ACTA would lead nowhere simply because it introduces too many controversial topics at once and it uses an inappropriate process. Furthermore ACTA lacks backing, it is a risky game and no one seems to be willing to defend it.

Oh, and then there is medicrime, argues IPWatch. Not EU, CoE, so that sounds like diplomatic humour:

The Medicrime Convention of the Council of Europe sets the first international standard for criminalising the manufacturing and distribution of counterfeited medicine risking public health. And Medicrime will overtake ACTA, as the draft convention text is ready to be signed by the Committee of Ministers in May and be opened for signature in November.

The relevance of the CoE is that in recent years lobbyists from abroad discovered the good old debate shop for their agenda and didn’t fully get what the CoE was all about. So we find now the CoE coming up with all these proposals. Not really helpful but it seems mutually beneficial. Lobbying groups pressure governments to sign a CoE convention, thus undermine the very nature of the CoE institutional framework as international policy simulation.

Would the CoE be willing to offer a forum for an anti-“three strikes” Internet Access Right Convention draft for EFF and QdN, ready to sign for governments? I am sure they have still free space for that, lots and lots of opportunities in an organisation desperate to become relevant. Belarus relations seem too boring.

You won’t believe it, the CoE also develops these products for their portfolio.

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