As the German Government Abandons Small Businesses, the Worst Parts of the EU Copyright Directive Come Roaring Back, Made Even Worse

Last month, it seemed like Europe had been saved from a dangerous attempt by corporate lobbyists to hijack copyright legislation in order to add a few points to their balance sheets, at the cost of a free, fair, open internet. Now, thanks to Germany's decision to turn its back on small European tech companies, the EU is poised once again to hand permanent control over Europe's internet to the United States’ Big Tech sector, snuffing out the small- and medium-sized enterprises of Europe.

The new European Directive on Copyright in the Single Market is a grab-bag of updates to EU-wide copyright rules, which have been frozen in time since their last refresh, in 2001. But the Directive been imperiled since last spring, when German MEP Axel Voss took over as rapporteur, and promptly revived two controversial, unworkable clauses.

To remain credible, the EU must reject this haggling between giant commercial interests—and put the public good first.

Voss's deadly pet ideas were, first, a proposal to let news sites decide who could link to them and to charge for the privilege (Article 11); and second, a proposal to require every platform for public communication to invent and deploy copyright filters that would prevent any user from infringing copyright, even momentarily, by suppressing any communications that appeared to contain a copyrighted work of any kind (Article 13).

The response was swift and decisive: more than a million Europeans promptly wrote to their MEPs to demand that the Directive be voted on clause-by-clause, allowing for Articles 11 and 13 to be amended. Read the rest

New privacy hires at WhatsApp: Nate Cardozo (EFF), Robyn Greene (Open Technology Institute)

This bodes well for WhatsApp users. Read the rest

Swedes! Poles! Germans! Luxembourgers! The world is depending on you to save the internet from the EU!

The European Parliament is meeting this week, and the committee that will decide the future of the controversial new Copyright Directive will meet next, and depending on what they do, it might be the end of the road for the internet as we know it. Read the rest

Teen Vogue counsels taping over your webcam to resist FBI (and other) surveillance

As EFF's Eva Galperin notes, Nicole Kobie's story about resisting surveillance by taping over your webcam "proves that once more, the best and most straightforward tech reporting is being done by Teen Vogue." Read the rest

Bird Scooter tried to censor my Boing Boing post with a legal threat that's so stupid, it's a whole new kind of wrong

Last month, I published a post discussing the mountains of abandoned Bird Scooters piling up in city impound lots, and the rise of $30 Chinese conversion kits that let you buy a scooter at auction, swap out the motherboard, and turn it into a personal scooter, untethered from the Bird company. Read the rest

Video from the launch of the EFF/McSweeney's "End of Trust" project launch with Cindy Cohn, Annalee Newitz, and me!

The End of Trust is the first-ever nonfiction issue of McSweeney's, co-edited by McSweeney's editors and the staff of the Electronic Frontier Foundation; on December 11, we held a sold-out launch event in San Francisco with EFF executive director Cindy Cohn, science fiction writer and EFF alumna Annalee Newitz, and me. Read the rest

The audiophile MQA format really doesn't have DRM, but that doesn't mean it's not on the toxic rainbow of locked tech

After watching a CCC presentation that claimed that the MQA audiophile format has "stealth DRM," I decided to investigate, and I'm pretty sure MQA is not DRM. Read the rest

Podcast: "Sole and Despotic Dominion" and "What is the Internet For?"

Here's my reading (MP3) of my Locus column, "What is the Internet For?" (which asks, "Is the internet a revolutionary technology?") and my short story for the fiftieth anniversary of Reason Magazine, Sole and Despotic Dominion, which builds on my 2015 Guardian column, If Dishwashers Were iPhones.

MP3 Read the rest

EFF's guide to creepy, surveillant Christmas gifts

Topping the Electronic Frontier Foundation's don't-buy for Christmas list: Facebook's Portal in-home spycams, followed closely by Alexa/Google Home and other "home hubs"; Verizon's "AppFlash" spyware-equipped phones; and even the Elf on the Shelf gets a look in (normalizes surveillance!). Read the rest

The EU says it wants Europeans to engage with it: now that 4 MILLION of them have opposed mass censorship through #Article13, will they listen?

Today, activists delivered more than 4,000,000 Europeans' signatures opposing the inclusion of an automated censorship system in the new Copyright Directive to the European officials in Strasbourg who are negotiating the final form of the Directive before the next vote. Read the rest

This week: donations up to $140,000 to EFF will be doubled with matching donations

It's the Electronic Frontier Foundation's annual Power Up! week, when donations to the charity are matched by a group of challenge donors, making every tax-deductible dollar you give count twice! I'm a contractor for EFF (my fees come out of a grant from the MIT Media Lab, where I'm a Research Associate), and I've been involved with the org for more than 15 years now, and I've never seen a nonprofit spend its money smarter to make more of a difference in the world. Read the rest

Let's get artists paid by making Big Tech pay them, not by creating EU copyright filters

The EU wants to punish Google for allegedly underpaying artists for the use of their works on YouTube, and so they're proposing copyright filters that block anything that appears in an anonymously created, crowdsourced database of forbidden works that are allegedly in copyright. Read the rest

"The End of Trust" - EFF/McSweeney's collaboration on privacy and surveillance - is in stores and free to download now!

The End of Trust (previously) is a special issue of McSweeney's, produced in collaboration with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, on the themes of technology, privacy and surveillance: it's in stores today, and free to download under a Creative Commons license. Read the rest

Here's the secret details of 200 cities' license-plate tracking programs

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Muckrock teamed up to use the Freedom of Information Act to extract the details of 200 US cities' Automated License Plate Recognition camera programs (ALPR), and today they've released a dataset containing all the heretofore secret data on how these programs are administered and what is done with the data they collect. Read the rest

Australia's 2015 copyright censorship system has failed, so they're adding (lots) more censorship

In 2015, Australia created the most aggressive copyright censorship system in the world, which allowed the country's two major movie studios (Village Roadshow and Fox) along with an assortment of smaller companies and trolls to get court orders forcing the country's ISPs to censor sites that had the "primary purpose" of infringing copyright. Read the rest

The EU's new Link Tax bans the use of Creative Commons and open access for news

One of the most controversial elements of the EU's new Copyright Directive is Article 11, the "link tax," which requires paid licenses for links to news stories that contain "excerpts" (more than a single word from the story or its headline, depending on which draft you're reading). Read the rest

EFF just sent this letter to every official negotiating the EU's Copyright Directive

To Whom It May Concern: Read the rest

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