Tag Archives: law

Censorship in Russia

Advocates of censorship always say that they are thinking about how to protect the minds of good, true citizens. Of course, this is just another version of propaganda – if your citizens can’t access “bad” information, they will be accessing something else – something, what could direct them to “the right” thoughts.

It’s sad that in the 21th century some politicians are still thinking that this is a viable path. And although Russia has a long history of media control, I just can’t imagine, what some bureaucrat could possibly have been thinking, when he banned following video:

According to drug and/or vodka influenced mind of some Russian government official, this video promotes suicide and shouldn’t be watched by the good citizens. Illogical? Well, we are talking about censorship here – it lacks logic by definition.

Patent Trolling from Apple

First of all, I need to say that I like MacBooks. Apple makes really good Unix-based laptops. I can’t say the same about their phones, but alas… like Germans say – “Jedem das Seine“.

And I really hate the patent wars. Patent system is at the moment broken, probably everybody agrees with that. If at first it appeared that Apple just couldn’t create nothing innovative for the last few years and they thought that they would punish the competition by suing everybody, now they decided to bring this to the entirely new level and act as the real patent trolls. Apparently it’s now forbidden to produce any device with stylus, if you are not Apple. They probably have forgotten Steve Jobs’ opinion on the subject and Apple also ignores the fact that styli were used by ancient Romans already. With the amount of crap their lawyers make each day, they should be banned from courts…

No Apple

Stopping the unstopable

Is it possible to put the genie back into a bottle? U.S. senator Al Franken thinks so. He would like to implement regulations of the facial recognition technology. As much as I dislike this scary technology and would like to have my privacy protected as much as it is possible, I do not think that the regulations would change anything. They won’t stop, for sure, government agencies from spying on us. Same goes for the big corporations, like Facebook – they have build profiles on millions of people already. Can we ban software? Maybe in some crazy politician’s wet dream. Soon we will have cameras identifying us in the real time, and as terrifying as it is – it’s unavoidable.

Only thing we can do – implement the better data protection laws. Every company, which is responsible for a leak of our data, should be punished severely. Person(s) responsible for a leak should have long term vacation in a nearest jail. And definitely, all the resale of our private data should be prohibited. Can’t keep our data safe? Find another business model!

SOPA? ACTA!

Only two weeks have passed since the famous SOPA blackout day. SOPA and PIPA were stopped and rightly so, but another danger looms on the horizon. Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement aka ACTA was developed by the same parties to achieve the same goals. Developed in secret. Developed to stomp our freedoms and to give even more power to the corporations. The world of the cyberpunk novels is coming and governments are eager to turn our society into dystopia. Politicians talk about the human rights and freedoms, but enact fascist policies. We are so used to hypocrisy of lawmakers that we do not notice it.

Do you think that more power to copyright holders is a good thing? Would you enjoy random searches on a border without a warrant? Are you comfortable with the fact that your ISP will be forced to spy on you? Do you think that DRM circumvention for ANY reason should be punishable by law? No? Then let your representatives in the government hear your voice. Read the agreement, sign the petition, support FSF and act while it is still not too late. Act to protect your rights, your privacy, your freedom.

Stop ACTA

EU court advocates sanity

In spite of Europe’s many flaws, I think that it’s still the best region on the Earth to live. Once again the EU court shows sanity. According to Reuters, functions offered by software can’t be protected by copyright.  Yves Bot, an advocate-general at the Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice (ECJ), said:

If it were accepted that a functionality of a computer program can be protected as such, that would amount to making it possible to monopolize ideas, to the detriment of technological progress and industrial development.

Upcoming EU data law

My faith in our politicians is somehow restored. The EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding and the German Federal Minister for Consumer Protection, Ilse Aigner, met in Brussels for a consultation this week to draw up proposals for the EU’s new data protection directive to be presented in January 2012.

EU law should require that consumers give their explicit consent before their data are used. And consumers generally should have the right to delete their data at any time, especially the data they post on the internet themselves.

I’m wondering, how anti-privacy companies, like Facebook, will change their services after this proposal is accepted.

Visa and MasterCard planning to exploit customer data

According to Wall Street Journal’s article, two major credit-card companies, Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc., are planning to use their customers’ buying history to deliver targeted ads online. I don’t know how do you feel about this, but I think that this is outrageous. Those companies are entrusted with our money. They have so much power already, but they want even more? Google and Facebook have enormous databases and now we will have Visa and MasterCard spying on us?  It’s major privacy issue, that’s for sure.

I hope that European Commission will look into this. Ideally, companies should be prohibited from sharing their customers’ data with third-party and punished harshly for any data leak. Naturally I do not expect to see such laws implemented in the near future, I’m not naive. There is just too much money in the targeted ads’ market.

Reddit vs Facebook

Do you live in Europe and have a grudge against Facebook? Want to make the life of people working there as miserable as possible? Reddit users found a way how to really annoy them.

According to European data protection law every individual has the right to get a copy of all personal data a company holds about him. Sounds reasonable, right? I would presume that normally there is pretty small number of people, who want to exercise this right. But imagine what could happen, if thousands of people would request their personal data from Facebook. Reddit users decided that it would be actually fun to try. The outcome is predictable:

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