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Archive for September, 2010

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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Am 3. November wird die Belgische Ratspräsidentschaft ihre Patentkonferenz veranstalten. Bis dahin hat sie bereits einiges vorgelegt, das ein wenig Stirnrunzeln hervorruft aber Bewegung in die Gemeinschaftspatentdebatte bringt. Es handelt sich um eine Art negatives Trüffelschwein, einen Minenhund: Proposal for a COUNCIL REGULATION (EU) on the translation arrangements for the European Union patent.

Nun weist Axel Horns noch auf ein weiteres Dokument hin mit Hintergründen zur maschinellen Übersetzung.

Es ist ein wenig wie mit der Kernfusion beim Gemeinschaftspatent, wir warten seit 60 Jahren und können uns auch weiter gedulden. Die Maschinenübersetzung schafft es vielleicht früher ausgereifter zu sein.

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The July versions of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement draft included political corruption measures in Article 3.3. to promote adhesion of prospecting nations to the agreement. The latest version of the draft Article 3.3 looks different:

ARTICLE 3.3: TRANSPARENCY/PUBLICATION OF ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES AND PRACTICES
For the purposes of promoting transparency in the administration of its intellectual property rights enforcement system, each Party shall take appropriate measures, pursuant to its domestic laws and policies, to publish or make available to the public information on:
(a) procedures available regarding the enforcement of intellectual property rights including competent authorities for enforcement of intellectual property rights and contact points for assistance;
(b) relevant laws, regulations, final judicial decisions and administrative rulings of general application pertaining to enforcement of intellectual property rights; and
(c) efforts to ensure effective enforcement and protection system of intellectual property rights.

ARTICLE 4.3 is the new Article 3.3

At first sight the provisions seem gone in the 25 Aug draft. But now consider Article 4.3 where we find the political corruption measures in their diplomatic beauty:

ARTICLE 4.3: CAPACITY BUILDING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
1. Each Party shall endeavor to provide on request and on mutually agreed terms and conditions, assistance in capacity building and technical assistance in improving enforcement of intellectual property rights for Parties to this Agreement and, where appropriate, for prospective Parties to this Agreement. Such capacity building and technical assistance may cover such areas as:

(a) enhancement of public awareness on intellectual property rights;
(b) development and implementation of national legislation related to enforcement of intellectual property rights;
(c) training of officials on enforcement of intellectual property rights; and
(d) coordinated operations conducted at the regional and multilateral levels.

2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, each Party shall endeavor to work closely with other Parties and, where appropriate, countries or separate customs territories not a Party to this Agreement.
3. Each Party may undertake the activities described in this Article in conjunction with relevant private sector or international organizations. Each Party shall strive to avoid unnecessary duplication of the activities described in this Article with respect to other international efforts

Article 4.3 a) apparently overlaps with 3.4, which demonstrates us the remaining immaturity of the 25 August draft: In Article 3.4 we find provisions for moderate participation in public opinion building, of course a deviation from the principle of normative individualism:

ARTICLE 3.4: PUBLIC AWARENESS
Each Party shall, as appropriate, promote the adoption of measures to enhance public awareness of the importance of respecting intellectual property rights and the detrimental effects of intellectual property rights infringement.

Political Corruption decoded

In a public discourse it is common that angry crowds describe their governments as corrupt, swear on their government policies. That is not what I am talking about here. That would be emotional ranting but not actual political corruption. The case here is different, and  it is a clear case. The language was largely borrowed from the so-called development agenda process at WIPO.

Article 4.3 is a blueprint for political corruption.

  • ‘Technical assistance’ for ‘development and implementation of national legislation related to enforcement of intellectual property rights’ is a diplomatic cover-up term for imposition of laws.
  • ‘Capacity building’ means bribes and
  • enhancement of public awareness on intellectual property rights’ undue interference in the inner affairs of other states by means of propaganda.

Political corruption is subject to international and regional regulations which mostly stem from the United Nations Charter Article 2 fundamental principle, political independence of a state. The Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption Article 6 mandates contracting states to establish political corruption as a criminal offence under domestic law when involving any person who is a member of any public assembly exercising legislative or administrative powers in any other State. Precisely, when committed intentionally:

the promising, offering or giving by any person, directly or indirectly, of any undue advantage to any of its public officials, for himself or herself or for anyone else, for him or her to act or refrain from acting in the exercise of his or her functions.

and

the request or receipt by any of its public officials, directly or indirectly, of any undue advantage, for himself or herself or for anyone else, or the acceptance of an offer or a promise of such an advantage, to act or refrain from acting in the exercise of his or her functions.

Exactly that is what “technical assistance” and “capacity building” is about. These legal principles against corruption make sense. It is not upon us to participate in “development and implementation” of national laws by non-domestic legislatures or interfere otherwise in the inner affairs and political deliberations of those nations. I would like to see that fundamental principle preserved.

Commissioner de Gucht raises “public awareness”

Commissioner Karel de Gucht who bears the political responsibility for the ACTA process on behalf of the European Commission currently makes headlines in European mainstream news media with his antisemite remarks. It is likely that his current scandal would overshadow the ACTA deliberations in the European Parliament.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010 Final draft agenda 39k
09:00 – 11:50 Debates
Conclusions of the special ECOFIN Council meeting of 7 September
Protection of animals used for scientific purposes
Elisabeth Jeggle A7-0230/2010
Ongoing negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

I sincerely hope de Guchts media scandal won’t distract from the need to pay close attention to the radical and revolutionary policy proposals of the ACTA process driven against the ordinary democratic process in the participating nations. Contrary to popular opinion “ISP liability” is just one small item on the maximalist negotiations table.

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