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Archive for September, 2010

Here we are: http://www.documentfoundation.org/

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IPRED2 pulled

It makes you get sentimental, the EU has burried the IPRED2, COD/2005/0127, Criminal measures aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights directive proposal.

As announced in Official Journal C 252 of 18 September 2010, the Commission decided to withdraw this proposal, which had become obsolete.

Ironically the IPRED2 failed to get Council consensus but the EU is negotiating via the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade agreement criminal measures with third nations which go beyond IPRED2, for instance include patent infringments which were explicitly excluded in the IPRED2 process. The ACTA criminal chapter also does not get the European Parliament involved in the legislative process and includes no fair use clause.

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European institutions often receive rather negative public attention and the European Parliament hardly gets appraised for all the good work it does to shape the digital future of Europe.

An example for the work that often stays unnoticed: today a report of MEP Echeverría (EPP) from Spain was adopted by the Strasbourg plenary. His report “on completing the internal market for e-commerce” addresses all the crucial points which businesses face in the digital environment. Among the topics the support of interoperability and open document formats for business communication. I am very excited.

Also Commissioner Neelie Kroes pushes along with her Digital Agenda and meets her tough deadlines. She wants a “a first class internet for Europe“. The long awaited radio spectrum proposal is among her deliverables.

Here Echeverría’s report for instance

43. Stresses the importance of open and neutral access to a high-speed internet connection, without which e-commerce would be impossible;

and finds

Digital Agenda for Europe sets reasonable performance targets for high-speed and ultra-fast broadband coverage and for e-commerce take-up

Parliament and the Commissioners are true movers and shakers for openness. When would the member states take the lesson and follow-up?

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A bit over the top but still… looks like it’s the new mainstream: “We’re all freaking doomed.”, says Alan Greenspan. On top Alan Greenspan recommends to raise taxes.

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The Mandriva developer community founds a new project “Mageia”, a fork of the popular distribution.

http://www.mageia.org/

As you may have heard, the future of the Mandriva Linux distribution is unclear. Most employees working on the distribution were laid off when Edge-IT was liquidated. We do not trust the plans of Mandriva SA anymore and we don’t think the company (or any company) is a safe host for such a project. Many things have happened in the past 12 years. Some were very nice: the Mandriva Linux community is quite large, motivated and experienced, the distribution remains one of the most popular and an award-winning product, easy to use and innovative. Some other events did have some really bad consequences that made people not so confident in the viability of their favourite distribution. People working on it just do not want to be dependent on the economic fluctuations and erratic, unexplained strategic moves of the company.

Apparently they want development be governed by a non-profit organisation or developer cooperative. A main concern of them seems to be the past business decisions of the Mandriva management. The business model looks unclear.

Consider that Mandriva currently competes with a Russian consortium on a Russian National Operating system contract.

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I don’t know why but this cynical example from Jacques Bughin (McKinsey & Company) on open innovation is not supposed to be fun:

When recently Fiat has called its fans to give ideas and feedback on new Fiat 500, no less than 170,000 designs have been proposed graciously, together with 1,000 accessories. No IP, no wage, but there’s a feeling for contributing fans that their opinion matter,

It is a concept from the news papers business, the letters to the editors. Free content – and from an editorial perspective “improvement of newspaper-reader relations”. Some disillusioned political radicals, and they often become lobby consultants in their business life, regard that the essence of contemporary democratic governance, the Machiavelli style:

…there’s a feeling for contributing fans citizens that their opinion and voting matter

I don’t share a cynical mindset but still Jacques Bughin’s example is not without merits. It advocates Open Innovation via the elitist pipe.

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It is a bit like in the Minne, Courtly love, at the 5th Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The singing knight are Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) lobbyists, the lady of admiration seems to be the German academic Jeanette Hofmann who gets their support. Their own topic seems apparently CIR, the Governance of Critical Internet Ressources or Critical Infrastructure Resilience. It is a bit unclear but the “Brute Cause” logic is telling (“we don’t have the luxury to prioritize fixing problems that don’t exist or fixing things that aren’t broken. Because there are so many things that still need to be done.”). In other words CIR is “critical” but problems don’t exist and there are other things.

William Drake as chair. It is fascinating to observe the pattern of their statements.

  • Ordinary guy in UPPERCASE
  • Naive down to earth
  • Positive spirit
  • Apparent talking point

>> >> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you very much, Art. And thank you for your nice comments about the book and also for putting things into a holistic and historical perspective. I think that’s very useful. We now have some time for discussion with the audience. And we very much welcome your engagement here, whether you have questions to the individual authors about their chapter or you want to offer your own views on how the themes have evolved or if you want to offer a more holistic perspective that tie us together to the different themes as Art just did. … So we have Mike Sax, are you here? And ask for the floor. Mike, can you get a microphone?

>> >> MIKE SAX: This is my very first time at IGF. I am from Belgium, but I have a software company in the U.S. and I have been reading this book and the problems and challenges that lie ahead. In the middle of that I wanted to share that for a number of years my company has been working with a software developer who is based in Cape Verde in Africa. And over time this person has become one of our primary business partners. And the software created by this person in Africa has been used in thousands of businesses all over the world. And as the quality of the Internet connection improved, through partnerships between governments and the private sector, our partnership became closer and now this software is being used all over the world. So whatever you’re doing, this magical process really seems to work. And I want to thank you and let you know that this process really touches real people and makes things possible that we could only dream about before. So keep doing it. Thank you.

>> >> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you very much, Mike, for that. We go now to Steve Del Bianco. Steve, are you out here somewhere at the mic? Steve never has trouble finding a mic.

>> >> STEVE DEL BIANCO: Thank you, Bill. I wanted to address Jeanette Hofmann’s chap particularly a comment made by Everton. He expressed disappointment that IGF hasn’t resolved the crisis in managing CIR. And we’re always going to be disappointed about a process that doesn’t actually resolve and make everything go away. I’m reminded as a parent, I can never really resolve managing the critical resources that my kids need. Because their needs change continually. And they get more expensive. So I’m always having to manage the critical resources my kids need over time. That’s an evolving process. We’ll never actually arrive at solving CIR. The second point I think that Everton made was he expressed disappointment that the IGF had not taken action on creating new mechanisms. And yet I share your optimism. Especially during the Hyderabad IGF when at the time we called upon governments, private sector and all stakeholders to use the mechanisms that we already have as well as creating new mechanisms. I was very concerned, I remember expressing in Hyderabad, that not enough governments were sending high level and technical personnel to participate in places like ICANN where we were actually working on policy, for who is — or policy for new TLDs. I’m happy to say to Everton that — and ICANN’s independence we have had phenomenally greater participation and deeper participation of governments at a place like ICANN to work out the policies around new TLDs and IDS. So we can always look at IGF and say it’s not all that it can be, but let’s realise it will never actually finish the job on resolving all issues, and let’s realise that it’s really made phenomenal improvements in just the last couple years. Thank you.

>> >> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you, Steve. Is Jonathan Zuck in the room? You got the mic.

>> >> JONATHAN ZUCK: My name is Jonathan Zuck from the association for competitive technology.
We represent small businesses all over the world.
I think the IGF has been incredible in bringing about a discussion in a wide range of issues. I want to echo Miss Hofmann’s ideas about the de-politicalization. A lot of the issues — again, surrounding the critical Internet resources, that shift from a political discussion to a practical one I think is critical. And it can’t be emphasized enough. There are so many challenges facing us, the Internet and bringing on the next billion users, et cetera, that we don’t have the luxury to prioritize fixing problems that don’t exist or fixing things that aren’t broken. Because there are so many things that still need to be done. And so I think depoliticizing the issues and focussing on access and infrastructure development, which is the more critical Internet resource has got to be the priority of the IGF.

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In gewohnter Kürze vom BMI:

Bundesinnenministerium begrüßt Start des Anti-Botnet-Beratungszentrums

Am heutigen Tag nimmt das Anti-Botnet-Beratungszentrum des Verbandes der Deutschen
Internet-Wirtschaft eco seine Tätigkeit auf. Ziel dieser Initiative ist ein nachhaltiger Rückgang
des Botnet-Aufkommens in Deutschland.

http://www.CIO.bund.de/SharedDocs/Kurzmeldungen/DE/2010/20100915_start_anti_botnet_beratungszentrum.html

Bei dem Zentrum handelt es sich um eine Website, botfrei.de. Diese Website des Lobbyverbandes nimmt sich nur der Bot-Probleme von Windows-Architekturen an und behauptet, das angemessene Mittel (aber nicht ausreichend) gegen Bots sei ein Online-Scanner. Zudem wird eine Software zum Download angeboten der Firma Symantec/Norton, deren Quellcode nicht offengelegt ist.

Mit Hilfe des DE-Cleaners können Sie Ihren PC von verschiedenen Schadprogrammen säubern.

Diese “Sicherheitssoftware” übermittelt Informationen wie besuchte Websites des Anwenders in Drittstaaten zum Abgleich auf “Gefahren”. In der Anleitung wird jedenfalls eingeräumt:

DE-CLEANER überträgt die gesammelten Dateinamen von ausführbaren Dateien und die dazugehörigen Prüfsummen an die Symantec Reputations-Datenbank in den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika zwecks Abgleich mit den dort vorgehaltenen Informationen. Die Symantec Reputations-Datenbank ist eine Cloud-Technologie die in Echtzeit eine große Datenbank mit Reputationsinformationen zu allen bisher bekannten Dateien enthält (sowohl Schädlinge wie auch gutartige Programme).

Wenn Sie das Programm installieren, werden Sie informiert, dass ebenfalls MAC Adresse und IP übermittelt werden, mit denen ein Rechner eindeutig identifiziert ist. Inbesondere der Einsatz im Behördenkontext erscheint mir deshalb sicherheitskritisch und leichtsinnig. Wie eine Behörde Tür und Tor für Spionageaktivitäten fremder Staaten gegen unsere kritischen Informationsinfrastrukturen aufmachen kann, bleibt mir ein Rätsel.

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The Europe Union institutions copy more elements from the United States than I believe suit the dignity of the European Union. Even the “e pluribus unum“, you may also find that on the US seal, though the current US motto is “In God we trust”, ironically the EU started a competition to come up with a translation of the Latin phrase in its 27 member languages, and even reverse-translated it to Latin, in an odd fashion “In varietate concordia”.

Legislative counterfeiting is quite common. The EU serves as a recycling market for U.S. policy proposals, which results in consultancy driven EU policy initiatives, well tracable by their unusual language e.g. the Small Business Act. I admit, I am guilty, I’ve done the same, cut and paste. Monolingualism certainly helps to further that transatlantic transfer.

Today Commission President Barroso delivered a “State of the Union” speech. State of the Union, we know that from the US. Where the President of the United States, at present Barack Obama, makes a crosspartisan highlevel speech to Parliament and standing ovations are expected. But this is the European Parliament. Barroso is not the US or EU President. Everyone seemed dissatisfied with what he said. And they expressed it. Next time it needs far more thought, he has to address the right style and improve his selection of words. MEPs don’t offer Barroso the great privilege to speak his mind, they want to grill the Commission President and get him to enact their own proposals and demands.

Let’s have a closer examination

Honourable Members,

It is a great privilege to deliver the first State of the Union address before this House.

From now on the State of the Union address will be the occasion when we will chart our work for the next 12 months. Many of the decisions we will take this year will have long-term implications. They will define the kind of Europe we want. They will define a Europe of opportunity where those that aspire are elevated and those in need are not neglected. A Europe that is open to the world and open to its people. A Europe that delivers economic, social and territorial cohesion.

Who is that “we” he speaks about?

We should be under no illusions. Our work is far from finished. There is no room for complacency. Budgetary expansion played its role to counter the decline in economic activity. But it is now time to exit. Without structural reforms, we will not create sustainable growth. We must use the next 12 months to accelerate our reform agenda. Now is the time to modernise our social market economy so that it can compete globally and respond to the challenge of demography. Now is the time to make the right investments for our future.

We, at the Commission?
We, the Commissioners?
We, in this room?
We, the people? Which one?
We, the European citizens?

Members of Parliament did not appreciate an inclusive rhetoric approach. Rather they were interested in the statements of the Commission in current controversial matters of interest. A dull topic of the day, a controversial expulsion of some Roma to (non-EU) Romania by President Sarkozy in France was highlighted by many speaker as an issue worth to address by the European Commission President. Barosso’s lofty speech didn’t convince them and didn’t suit them.

Next month, we will come forward with the Commission’s first ideas for the budget review. It shall launch an open debate without taboos to prepare our legislative proposals that will be presented in the second quarter of next year.

Which taboos?

We need to spend our money where we get most value for it. And we should invest it where it leverages growth and delivers on our European agenda. The quality of spending should be the yardstick for us all. So it is not only important to discuss the quantity, but also the quality of spending and investment.

Taboos like new fundraising methods and EU public debt:

That’s why we should also explore new sources of financing for major European infrastructure projects. For instance, I will propose the establishment of EU project bonds, together with the European Investment Bank. We will also further develop Public Private Partnerships.

Indeed, it was hidden but “we” are able to spot it. What would “we” finance with it, for instance:

Our European Digital Agenda will deliver a single digital market worth 4% of EU GDP by 2020.

Now is the time to make the right investments for our future, I see. Barroso wants to follow the U.S. in public spending and seeks new public debt instruments and tax revenue at the EU level. A return of Keynesianism, this time on the EU level, or did they just copy the phrases?

Oh, later of course Barroso delivered a media statement on the Roma issues. We would listen to gnashing of teeths by French President Sarkozy or would get no reaction at all, solely depending on your awareness of sarcasm.

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From today’s speech of Commissioner N. Kroes

“In the first edition of “Wealth of Nations” in 1776, Adam Smith depicts the advantages of division of labour and specialisation. They deliver great economic growth but at the same time also lead to fragmentation, causing society to disintegrate into endless links and nodes that do not communicate with each other. This undermines the importance and the role of people at work. ICTs and particularly the Internet have the power to either strengthen or break this fragmentation and loss of human essence. We must therefore ensure that we anchor the digital revolution in European values of freedom, openness and solidarity so that the use of technology benefits our society.”

A very challenging thought, not only because she refers to an eleborate intellectual discourse on the matter, Kroes often uses her speeches to reflect and question institutional matters.

What happens in Europe is not obvious and needs your input.

In other words, she opens a free space and ends her speech in wishful optimism:

In other words: you are Europe and Europe is you.

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