The EU's Right to Repair proposal makes America's look weaksauce

Eight US states are trying to pass minimal Right to Repair legislation that would require companies not to actively confound people who wanted to fix their stuff or choose an independent repair center. But in the EU, Europeans' strong preference for "durable, high-quality products that can be repaired and upgraded" has led to a proposal to require goods sold in Europe to be designed for improvement and maintenance, on the lines of the inspiring and enduring Maker's Bill of Rights. Read the rest

EU fines Google €2.42B for anti-competitive behaviour

The EU had been expected to fine Google a little over €1B for its anti-competitive practice of promoting its own shopping service over competitors' in search results: today's €2.42B comes as a surprise, as does the ongoing fine if it fails to change its behavior within 90 days -- up to €10.6m a day, or 5% of parent company Alphabet's total daily earnings. Read the rest

No, Italy isn't banning the iPhone

On June 23rd, 2017, a lot of noise was made by an Italian newspaper that said that our new Senate Act 2484 had the potential to "ban the iPhone in Italy" (here's an English article). That's just wrong. This is a "device neutrality" bill, protecting a principle every bit as important as net neutrality, and it won't ban the iPhone, but it will protect and benefit Italians.

"Do you want Catalonia to be an independent country in the form of a republic?"

Julio writes, "That's the question that we, the people of Catalonia, will answer on 1 October, day of the referendum for independence. Some of us didn't want independence from Spain 15-20 years ago, but the central government (specially with the right-wing Partido Popular at the helm) has orchestrated a political and judicial prosecution of free speech in Catalonia. The corrupt Partido Popular has destroyed jobs, tried to dismantle public services, going to bed with the local oligarchs." Read the rest

ACT NOW! In 9 days, the European Parliament could pass a truly terrible copyright expansion

When MEP Julia Reda conducted a wide-ranging and open consultation on updating EU copyright, she came up with some great, sensible reforms: making it legal to take pictures of buildings, making it legal to link to newspapers, creating a Europe-wide set of fair dealing exceptions to copyright, capping copyright terms at life-plus-50 years, and making sure that the rights you get to analog media (like the right to give your books and music to your kids when you die) carries over to digital media. Read the rest

Airline lobby group claims a laptop ban would cost $1B

The Trumpian trial-balloon on banning laptops in the cabins of planes coming from Europe has put the shits way up the airline industry (rightly), who have published their own (data-free) costings for such a ban: $1B, with $216M for delays, $655M from lost productivity, and $195M for renting airline-supplied devices to use while your laptop is in the cargo hold, awaiting its destiny in one or more of employee theft, gross destruction, or massive lithium-battery fires. Read the rest

France's Sanders-esque candidate has a chance at the Presidency

Jean-Luc Mélenchon was a longshot candidate in the French presidential race: an avowed socialist who split from the mainstream (and dysfunctional, and centrist) Socialist Party to found a new party -- La France Insoumise ("Unsubmissive France") -- pundits wrote Mélenchon off early in the race. Read the rest

Europeans: tell the EU Parliament to make a modern copyright, fit for the internet age

Timothy from Creative Commons writes, "The purpose of copyright is to empower -- not frustrate! -- creativity and knowledge production. Nowhere is a balanced copyright more important than in education. But 15-year-old EU copyright laws don't take into account modern digital and online teaching methods, tools, and resources." Read the rest

MEP to Commission: World Wide Web Consortium's DRM is a danger to Europeans

German Member of the European Parliament Julia Reda (previously) has published an open-letter signed by UK MEP Lucy Anderson, raising alarm at the fact that the W3C is on the brink of finalising a DRM standard for web video, which -- thanks to crazy laws protecting DRM -- will leave users at risk of unreported security vulnerabilities, and also prevent third parties from adapting browsers for the needs of disabled people, archivists, and the wider public. Read the rest

Portuguese proposal to legalize breaking DRM passes Parliament

The amazing advocacy of the DRM-PT movement has resulted in the country's Parliament passing a bill that legalizes breaking DRM to accomplish lawful ends, such as exercising the private copying right, or making uses of public domain works or works produced at public expense. Read the rest

How the EU's imaginary "value gap" would kill user-generated content online

One of the music industry's dumbest, most pernicious talking-points is the "value gap" (AKA the "value recognition right") which is code for, "Online platforms should employ an army of copyright lawyers to assess everything that users share for copyright compliance." Read the rest

How to find out what Trump's favorite big data machine knows about you

Cambridge Analytica is a dirty, Dementor-focused big data research outfit that provided the analysis and psych profiles that the Trump campaign used in its electioneering; because its parent company is in the UK, it is required (under EU law) to send you its dossier on you for £10. Read the rest

Brexit, Chicken and Ulysses Pacts: the negotiating theory behind the UK-EU stalemate

Ever since Thomas Schelling -- an advisor on Dr Strangelove! -- published his work on negotiating theory and nuclear deterrence, we've developed a rich vocabulary for describing negotiating tactics and their underlying theories. Read the rest

Investigation accuses French right-wing leader of funnelling €500K to his wife for "fake job"

François Fillon is the French Republican Party's political candidate, the right-wing frontrunner against the neofascist Marine Le Pen. Following an investigation by the Canard Enchainé newspaper, French government investigators have announced an investigation into the period in the late 1990s and early 2000s when his British-born wife Penelope drew a salary of €7,000/month as his parliamentary aide; the newspaper alleged that Ms Fillon was not actually working in Parliament at that time and drew her salary for a "fake job." Read the rest

Germany, France and the UK are moving the EU to continuous, unaccountable, warrantless mass surveillance

Recent surveillance laws in Germany, France and the UK require online service providers to store (undoubtedly leaky and infinitely toxic) databases of everything you do online, and allow government agencies to raid these databases without accountability or meaningful oversight). Read the rest

Uber's VAT-avoidance means it owes millions to EU states and will face huge cuts to future EU profits

The 2015 UK Employment Tribunal case that determined that Uber drivers were employees means that Uber will have to give the UK government 16.67% of its drivers' earnings for Value-Added Tax, going back four or more years (that would be £20M for 2015 alone); and the ruling will likely apply to Uber's EU-wide rules (because VAT rules are harmonized across the EU) -- so not only does Uber owe hundreds of millions to EU governments for the past 4+ years' earnings, but it will face a 16.67% (or more) reduction to all future earnings. Read the rest

Europe's top court says UK surveillance rules are unconstitutional

Last July, the European Court of Jutice's Advocate General ruled that the UK's mass surveillance regime was unconstitutional, triggering an appeal to the ECJ itself, which has affirmed that under European law, governments cannot order retention of all communications data; they must inform subjects after surveillance has concluded; must only engage in mass surveillance in the pursuit of serious crime; and must get independent, judicial authorization. Read the rest

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