Archive for the ‘Open Data’ Category

Microsoft Money, a Quicken competitor, is discontinued. But what happens to users and their “locked in” data?


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Brusselsblogger makes a very good case why the European Parliament has to reject the SWIFT data proliferation deal this week, despite the aggressive moves from the United States diplomatic corps to keep the interim agreement. The PR machine is running full speed, we are told how indispensable the date results were in the fight against terrorism for our domestic law enforcement purposes. While terrorism alone cannot disrupt our financial markets the SWIFT data proliferation bears the potential to achieve that. Let me add another two aspects to the great Brusselsblogger analysis:

I. The missing larger context argument: Europe currently suffers from an unprecedented post-War financial crisis. It is founded in permissive financial market regulations and US financial stimulus in the aftermath of the very Islamic terrorist attack. The loss of financial market confidence affects European families and the financial stability of European economies such as Greece, Spain and others. Some European nations are close to national bankruptcy, some neighboring countries like Iceland passed that stage

A rejection of the proposed SWIFT financial data proliferation agreement would sent a strong message to citizens that policy makers take a more sensitive approach towards financial regulation. Given that US counter-terrorism context of the current financial crisis it can hardly be understood that a Spanish Presidency takes a permissive approach, and some European decision makers still believe that anti-terrorism uses of the date out-weight the malpractice, irresponsible administration of toxic data.

II. The financial bulk data could be used for US business espionage and cause devastating effects on the financial market and financial market confidence. Furthermore the agreement is lukewarm in its permission to share such data with other nations, which may be more aware of the toxic nature of the data and seek their advantage. By all means European policy makers have to prevent a financial data crisis, that is undermining trust in electronic financial data transactions by opening pandora’s box.

It is not about “privacy” of citizens as the news agencies report, that is really the minor concern. A majority of European policy makers fully agrees in principles to use the data for anti-terrorism requests from law enforcement agencies (which requires careful administration and strongest safeguards).

In a conventional narrative our personal “privacy” interests would be weighted against public “security” interests of our government which seeks to counter terrorism and other serious crimes. Some politicians and media observers think along these lines which are on a lower level. Here the general trust in financial transaction services, our  European financial transaction markets are at stake.

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So here is a new ACTA related document:

Document Number: 17779/09
Title: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
Content: (!) N/A
Interinstitutional File:
Subject Matter: DROIPEN 166
PI 146
WTO 283
Document Category:
Document Date: 23-12-2009
Date of Meeting: 12-01-2010
Archive Date: 10-01-2010
Document Language: EN

How do you request it? Very simple, fill out the form and enter the document number 17779/09 as the document you request. Then the Council secretariat has 15 days to respond, either it would grant you access or submit the reasons for refusal.

Here is stops for most persons. You have again 15 days for a “confirmatory application”. When the confirmatory application is denied you can complain to the EU-Ombudsman or sue the Commission.

The document above looks to me like the draft for the answer to a parliament question.

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Parliamentary questions
15 December 2009

WRITTEN QUESTION by Hans-Peter Martin (NI) to the Commission
EU Commissioners are increasingly reporting about the influence of the hunting lobby in Brussels.
Which invitations to go shooting have they received since 2006? How many Commissioners have taken part in shoots since 2006 without paying the full cost themselves?

Réponse donnée par M. Barroso
au nom de la Commission

La Commission ne dispose pas d’information concernant les loisirs des Commissaires et leur participation éventuelle à des activités de chasse.

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A list of European Parliament Intergroups, that is non-partisan groups of MEPs, like an official committee.

  • SMEs
  • Ways of Saint James/Camino de Santiago
  • Family, the right of the child and bioethics
  • Sky and space
  • Youth issues
  • Urban
  • Mountainous, island and sparsely populated regions and very remote regions
  • Social economy
  • Sustainable hunting, biodiversity, countryside activities and forests
  • Extreme poverty and human rights, Fourth World European Committee
  • Disability
  • Tibet
  • Climate change and biodiversity and sustainable development
  • Water
  • Baltic Europe
  • Media
  • Ageing and intergenerational solidarity
  • Seas and coastal affairs
  • Welfare and conservation of animals
  • Trade union coordination group
  • New media, free software, open information Society
  • Traditional national minorities, constitutional regions and regional languages
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights
  • Public services
  • Western Sahara
  • Anti-racism and diversity (Roma included)
  • Wine, fruits and vegetables, tradition and quality food

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So here is a Council draft document in English to the reply to my secondary request for document access related to an ACTA criminal provisions document. The draft is dated 17 Dec and (mostly) identical with the German language reply document I received around Christmas 2009 (also uploaded here). Interesting is a dissenting opinion of the UK delegation.

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The EU-Constitution, later rebranded as the Lisbon Treaty did not get a very warm reception. 1. December is Lisbon day, the new Treaty enters into force. And what is the Council of Ministers about to do 30 November? This monday the ministers are about to pass the SWIFT agreement with the United States prior to the parliament getting new oversight competences. An affront against the European Parliament and “good governance” in Europe under the Swedish Council Presidency.

The SWIFT agreement legalises the business espionage of American services on European bank transaction data which is managed by a private Belgium consortial company called S.W.I.F.T. Officially around 3500 files a year are checked for counter-terrorism purposes, results are shared with European security agencies. But the data is extremely poisonous because financial transmission data reveals confidential business information which would seriously undermine the trust in the banking system. In terms of financial markets, transaction data information as such is of monetary value. Unilateral disclosure could distort financial market information allocation. In the summer when it was about to be set as an “A-Point” in the Council I felt it important to sent out a German press release.

Surprisingly the SWIFT debate does not receive much attention in the English news. In Germany it is big news. The Bundesrat, the Chamber of Federal States filed a strong resolution. The Libdems, among them Minister of Justice Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger are very sensitive to the issue. The German banking sector is alerted. In the middle of the month four nations blocked the agreement, among them also France, Finland and Austria. A fierce political battle happens behind the scenes. The current German position is abstention. Ironically Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger gets a lot of critical press now as if she was the driving force, not Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Whatever is decided tomorrow, an adoption would strongly undermine the Lisbon confidence. I fully agree with Elmar Brok (CDU) who called it an affront against citizens of the Union. The Swedish Presidency would be well advised to remove the vote from the agenda for tomorrow, just as a matter of good administration.

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Here are the patent applications and grant from the US company Intellectual Ventures.

bulk.resource.org, a service of Public.Resource.Org.

“LOCKSS system has permission to collect, preserve, and
serve this open access Archival Unit.”

This system contains UNSUPPORTED, AS-IS copies of selected
U.S. government archives.

Anyone interested to analyse the zipped documents which contain XML files? A few years ago colleagues from Sweden created the GAUSS patent database, an early attempt to make patent information more accessible.

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