More than 130 European businesses tell the European Parliament: Reject the #CopyrightDirective

The EU's Copyright Directive will be voted on in the week of March 25 (our sources suggest the vote will take place on March 27th, but that could change); the Directive has been controversial all along, but it took a turn for the catastrophic during the late stages of the negotiation, which yielded a final text that is alarming in its potential consequences for all internet activity in Europe and around the world. Read the rest

The European Copyright Directive: What is it, and why has it drawn more controversy than any other Directive in EU history?

During the week of March 25, the European Parliament will hold the final vote on the Copyright Directive, the first update to EU copyright rules since 2001; normally this would be a technical affair watched only by a handful of copyright wonks and industry figures, but the Directive has become the most controversial issue in EU history, literally, with the petition opposing it attracting more signatures than any other petition in change.org’s history. Read the rest

Where to catch me this weekend at SXSW

I'm heading back to Austin for the SXSW Interactive festival and you can catch me three times this weekend: first on the Untold AI panel with Malka Older, Rashida Richardson and Christopher Noessel (5-6PM, Fairmont Manchester AB); then at the EFF Austin Party with Cindy Cohn and Bruce Sterling (7PM, 1309 Bonham Terrace); and on Sunday, I'm giving a keynote for Berlin's Re:Publica conference, which has its own track at SXSW; I'm speaking about Europe's new Copyright Directive and its dread Article 13 at 1PM at Buffalo Billiards, 201 East 6th Street. Read the rest

#FixItAlready: EFF's wishlist for fixing tech's worst privacy and security choices

Android should let users deny and revoke permissions; Apple should let people encrypt Icloud backups, Twitter should end-to-end encrypt DMs; all these and more appear on the Electronic Frontier Foundation's #FixItAlready page, which calls out Big Tech's biggest players for their biggest security and privacy fumbles, and explains in clear terms why these changes are needed. Read the rest

EFF's roadmap for a 21st Century antitrust doctrine

40+ years ago, extremists from the Chicago School of Economics destroyed antitrust law, pushing a bizarre theory that the antitrust laws on America's books existed solely to prevent "consumer harm" in the form of higher prices; decades later, we live in a world dominated by monopolists who use their power to crush or swallow competitors, suppress wages, reduce choice, increase inequality and distort policy outcomes by making lawmakers and regulators dependent on their lobbyists for funding and future employment. Read the rest

This is bad: the UAE's favorite sleazeball cybermercenaries have applied for permission to break Mozilla's web encryption

Remember Darkmatter, the UAE-based cybermercenaries who worked with the beltway bandit firm Cyberpoint to recruit ex-NSA spies to infiltrate and expose dissidents, journalists, even children who opposed the despotic regime in the Emirates? (Darkmatter is also one of the least-discriminating cybermercenary bands in the world, available to help torturers, murderers and thugs hang onto power by attacking opposition movements and letting the secret police know who to arrest, torture and kill). Read the rest

Study shows that countries that permit Facebook's beloved "zero rating" programs end up with more expensive wireless data

Facebook loves "zero rating," when an internet provider takes bribes from online services to exempt them from data charges on their networks: Facebook says that having a roster of (Facebook-approved) services that are free-to-use benefits the poorest people in a country (and the fact that this also makes "Facebook" synonymous with "internet" for whole nations is merely incidental). Read the rest

EFF is hiring an activist!

My colleague Elliot Harmon writes: " EFF is looking for a new addition to our activism team. This job is a big one: you’ll be joining EFF’s efforts to end warrantless spying by the NSA and other federal government agencies, as well as to fight for restrictions on the use of surveillance technologies by local law enforcement agencies. And it’s the perfect time for you to start: Section 215—the law that the NSA relied on for decades to collect Americans’ phone call records—is set to expire at the end of 2019. Between now and then, we expect a major legislative fight over its reauthorization. We need someone activating the public to demand that lawmakers respect their right to private communications." Read the rest

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

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