Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Google Vice-President Vint Cerf, an architect of the internet, came to Brussels yesterday for an Open Forum Europe conference.

In this interview with Euraktiv from yesterday the great net strategist speaks about Cloud computing and other trends.

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Robin Gross on Canadian Radio about the Pirate Bay copyright piracy vercict. CBC Radio’s “As it Happens”. Very interesting how the legal case is perceived outside Sweden and Europe.

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A press release of access-info I reproduce here for your interest:

European Court of Human Rights takes a huge step

towards recognising Right of Access to Information

Madrid, 14 April 2009: Access Info Europe welcomes today’s ruling by the
European Court of Human Rights in which it recognises that when public
bodies already hold information that is needed for public debate, the
refusal to provide it to those who are seeking it is a violation of the
right to freedom of expression and information.

In this case the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union asked Hungary’s
Constitutional Court to disclose a parliamentarian’s complaint questioning
the legality of a new drugs policy law. The Constitutional Court refused to
release the information. The European Court of Human Rights found this
refusal to be a violation the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Court’s decision refers to the “censorial power of an information
monopoly” when public bodies refuse to release information needed by the
media or civil society organisations to perform their “watchdog” function.

Ádám Földes, lawyer with Access Info, who worked previously with the
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and was deeply involved in the preparation
of this case, said “this extension of freedom of expression to the right to
request and receive information from public bodies is a huge step towards
full recognition of the right of access to information.”

Access Info notes that the Court decision itself refers to recent judgments
in which it has moved “towards the recognition of a right of access to

“This ruling is a cautious confirmation that the right of access to
information is a human right” added Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of
Access Info Europe.

Today’s ruling from the European Court of Human Rights has a number of other
important features:

* The Court extends the traditional protection of the media as “public
watchdogs” to civil society groups who it says have a “social watchdog”
* The Court states that use of protection of privacy to refuse to make
public information relating to the opinions of public figures on matters of
public interest would be “fatal for freedom of expression”;
* The State now has an obligation not to impede the flow of
information needed for public debate on matters of public importance. In
other words, that the public has a right to ask and public bodies have an
obligation to answer: to do otherwise would be a violation of freedom of
* The decision refers to a parliamentarian and a constitutional court
which implies that the scope of the right of access to information does only
apply to the executive branch of power.

Access Info notes that this ruling comes just five months after the Council
of Europe adopted the world’s first binding treaty on the right of access to
information, the Convention on Access to Official Documents (click
here to read
this new Convention). The importance of the ruling is that it reinforces the
right enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and in the new
Convention on Access to Official Documents by underlining the State’s
obligation to provide the public with information it holds.

Over 80 countries globally have laws that guarantee the right of access to
information. In Europe 40 of the 47 members of the Council of Europe have
such laws but implementation is often imperfect and monitoring studies show
that many requests by the public for government information go unanswered or
are denied. In addition, 24 Constitutions in Europe recognise the right of
access to information.

The European Court’s Decision can be found at:

Case of Társaság a Szabadságjogokért v. Hungary (Application no. 37374/05)

and on the Access Info Europe website http://www.access-info.org

For more information, please contact:

· Helen Darbishire, Executive Director, Access Info Europe

+ 34 667 685 319

· Ádám Földes, Lawyer and Project Manager, Access Info Europe

+ 34 622 468 736

Access Info Europe is a human rights organisation based in Madrid which
works to promote and defend the right of access to information by promoting
the transparency of national and international public bodies


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Stephane Fermigier posted this link on facebook and expressed his disagreement with it: Business plans a waste of time finds a study. Sure: Whenever external documentation becomes useless and formal exercise it is also a waste of your time. But: Writing a document helps you to realise the problem and demonstrate more discipline in your visions.

The same applies to studies of course. Concerning the task of documentation at large, Karl Fogel’s opiniated piece for the SVN handbook addresses the core issues:

A bad Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet is one that is composed not of the questions people actually ask, but of the questions the FAQ’s author wishes people would ask. Perhaps you’ve seen the type before:
Q: How can I use Glorbosoft XYZ to maximize team productivity?
A: Many of our customers want to know how they can maximize productivity through our patented office
groupware innovations. The answer is simple. First, click on the File menu, scroll down to Increase
Productivity, then…
The problem with such FAQs is that they are not, in a literal sense, FAQs at all. No one ever called the tech support line and asked, “How can we maximize productivity?” Rather, people asked highly specific questions, such as “How can we change the calendaring system to send reminders two days in advance instead of one?” and so on.

I find the important task is how to get clarity and transparency about what you really want and why. Documentation can be enjoyed if you communicate with a real world person. Here it doesn’t matter how you explain your business concept as long as you give your audience the option to challenge you, to ask questions. A business plan then serves the purpose to get you feedback not a write-up task. Good documentation is communication.

The question is how to change the conditions for you so that your documentation is written in a way you enjoy. Fun for you, not a burden. The more formality expectations you have to meet the more difficult it gets.

Social connections trump business plans by a long shot, says Goldfarb Thus it is that people who already know VCs and angels have an easier time raising money. The irony, says Goldfarb, is that people who don’t have connections need to go out and make them, which may require that they have a business plan to discuss. But the plan is sort of like a business card, he says – just something that business protocol dictates you carry around.

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Many people in business spent the whole day long in telephone conferences. I guess I am by no means special to admit that I don’t like phone conferences very much. The only advantage is that you can exchange and coordinate messages with others with instant messenger and mail which could be fun. Things can even go worse with telephone conferences for you as in this narration here:

Of the 971 people from my division on the call, some have one code to hear one message, the others have a different code for another message. One group keeps their jobs (for now), the other group’s members will have to find other employment.

Here we go… it’s the VP of sales and marketing. Blah, blah, blah. Business challenges, industry challenges, patent losses, delayed new products, facing health care reform, …

It is a nice story. Calderwood depicts technology as a dehumanized matter of automated communication. A classic:

“I regret to inform you that you are displaced.” [I learned later that 479 of us heard those words.]

An automated mass regret message as a matter of communication annihilates the substance. But mass communicating messages like these that is not really special or new, just think of:

In real news IPKAT reports:

The IPKat has just read the tragic news on Wales Online that up to 100 jobs are to be axed in the UK’s Intellectual Property Office in Newport. Now part of Whitehall Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, the IPO is at the mercy of the vicissitudes of the global economic downturn.

Right: don’t let the IPO go like lambs to the slaughter! Save our IPO!

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From a Council document 13 February 2009 which was declassified:

23. Since 2007, four negotiation rounds have taken place on an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The last one was held in Paris in December 2008 and should be followed by a round scheduled in March 2009 in Morocco.
24. This agreement should cover mainly the following aspects:
(a) general provisions and definitions,
(b) institutional issues,
(c) border measures,
(d) international cooperation,
(e) Internet,
(f) criminal enforcement, and
(g) civil enforcement.
25. As regards civil enforcement issues, the Community endeavours to reach an agreement which would provide added value to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and which would follow the logics of Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

26. In particular the Community’s objectives are:
– to ensure that the text applies to every type of intellectual property rights;
– to impose compensatory damages rather than punitive damages; and
– to ensure that right holders may apply for an injunction against intermediaries.
27. The Committee on Civil Law Matters should keep the negotiations on this Agreement under consideration, in particular as regards its aspects relating to civil enforcement.

Also this ACTA-document is “declassified”, the mandate for the Commission to negotiate from the 133 Committee but without the relevant part, so the “unprecendented secrecy” of the EU in the matter continues.

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Last year the Commission failed to wind up the European Cybersecurity agency ENISA in the course of the Telecom package debate. Now Udo Helmbrecht from the BSI will take over the lead of ENISA and hopefully transform the placebo agency from Crete into a useful public institution.


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Jon von Tetzchner from Opera does not like the new browser competitor IE8. He criticises that the IE8 does not support Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) which are part of the html5 standardisation effort at the W3C. Opera is currently involved in EU antitrust action against the manufacturer of the browser.

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Still just a draft:

Everyone should have the possibility of accessing services provided by public administrations. This includes users with disabilities and elderly users as well as all those who have particular difficulties in becoming part of the digital society. The possibility of accessing services provided by public administrations should exist regardless of the software, communication
channel, or technological device used.

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Each electronic document created, exchanged, or maintained by a state agency must be created, exchanged, or maintained in an open, Extensible Markup Language based file format, specified by the department, that is:
(1) interoperable among diverse internal and external platforms and applications;
(2) published without restrictions or royalties;
(3) fully and independently implemented by multiple software providers on multiple platforms without any intellectual property reservations for necessary technology; and
(4) controlled by an open industry organization with a well-defined inclusive process for evolution of the standard.


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