The European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) is pleased to announce the forthcoming public hearing on “The role of teachers and school heads in improving the status of Vocational Education and Training".
www.euractiv.com | 11/22/17
[CAJ News] Kinshasa -ARMED groups are controlling around 80 percent of the Central African Republic, rendering the country unconducive for schooling. Unsafe or damaged schools, absent teachers and dangerous journeys to class are among the destructive ways that conflict is impacting the learning prospects of youngsters in the troubled country. The findings by the United Nations Children's Fund come ahead of the African Union - European Union Summit scheduled for the Ivory Coast at the end of the month. "What this survey shows i
allafrica.com | 11/15/17
Forget the gaudy Union Jack t-shirts and American university hoodies. Soon you might be able to flaunt your European-ness with a line of new EU clothing.
www.euractiv.com | 11/14/17
The year 2017 may become a historic milestone where the visceral effects of global heating - extreme storms and wildfires - finally reach public consciousness.
Homeowners Access Hurricane Irma Damage - 12 Sep, 2017
Humans have known about the effects of carbon in the atmosphere for two centuries, since the work of Joseph Fourier at the French Academy of Science. A century ago, Swedish chemist, Svante Arrhenius, calculated that doubling atmospheric CO2 would increase Earth's average temperature by 5-6°C, which now appears accurate. In 1981, Dr. James Hansen wrote the first NASA global temperature analysis, and in 1991, the UN convened the first climate conference in Berlin. As of today, none of this has significantly altered the actions of human society enough to actually reduce carbon emissions.
In the last few years, we have witnessed more wildfires and violent storms that are directly linked to global heating. This year, communities around the world have experienced a dramatic increase in climate-related natural disasters, costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars, and leaving behind devastation.Year of the fire
I've lived on the west coast of Canada for 45 years, and during that time, I've witnessed a few days of smoke from wildfires in the interior fir and cedar forests. For the past two summers, however, the entire coast has been blanketed in thick smoke through July and August, the summer sun barely piercing the haze. Citizens experience respiratory problems, tourism is disrupted, and firefighting teams from the northern and southern hemispheres now routinely trade support teams in alternate seasons.
In February, the North Pole experienced a staggering +30°C temperature anomaly, unprecedented in modern record-keeping. The melting permafrost releases methane gas, a greenhouse-gas far more powerful than CO2. The Arctic contains about 1.8 trillion tons of carbon, stored as methane, and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has not yet accounted for this significant positive feedback of global heating. The 2017 data so far shows that over the last decade, Earth is heating about twice as fast as IPCC scientists had predicted.
Grass Fire in the Astrakhan Nature Reserve, Russia - 13 Mar, 2015
This extra heat means drier grasslands and forests, resulting in more frequent, more intense fires. Warmer temperatures add moisture to the atmosphere, which we might assume would dampen fires, but it has the opposite effect. Increased precipitation during the winter means that grasslands grow more. Then, during the drier summers, this extra growth becomes added fuel to the fires. Even a fraction of a degree increase to winter temperatures allows insects like pine beetles to move toward the poles, into boreal forests, killing more trees that also add fuel to fires.
During the summer of 2017, fires raged across Europe, killing hundreds, devastating communities, and leading the European Union to declare a state of emergency. Portugal suffered the worst fire season ever recorded, scorching almost 520,000 hectares of forest. It was six times the annual average for recent years, and killed over 100 people. The Interior Minister, Constanca Urbano de Sousa, remarked that she had wanted to quit after 64 people were killed in June wildfires and after investigators had chastised the official response. When October fires killed 42 more citizens, de Sousa resigned.
Meanwhile, four people died from fires in the Galicia region of northwest Spain. Fires in Croatia destroyed homes and other buildings in the village of Podstrana, and the historic town of Split. Along the Dalmatian coastline of the Adriatic Sea, grasslands and woods burned, along with homes, cars, and public buildings. On the southern Adriatic coast, in Montenegro, fires burned through the historic Lustica Peninsula town of Tivat, which had to be evacuated. Montenegro, unprepared for the scale of fires, asked NATO for firefighters, aircraft, and assistance with evacuations.
In Italy this year, some 900 wildfires burned over 130,000 hectares. Residents and tourists were forced to evacuate parts of Rome and Naples, including Mount Vesuvius national park and the Castelfusano coastal pine forest, south of Rome. A beach resort on the island of Sicily had to be evacuated. This is a typical impact of global heating. Italy experienced 30% less rain and 30% more wildfires. In July, fires burned near Castagniers and Nice, in southeast France and on the French island of Corsica. In southwest Turkey, fires destroyed 40 homes as communities evacuated.
July was the hottest month in 130 years of Moscow's recorded climate history, and smoke from fires blanketed the region. Within a few days in July, fires burned some 150,000 hectares during an historic heat wave and drought.
In May, under record high temperatures and dry conditions, China and Mongolia grew even hotter and drier, leading to some of the largest fires on Earth in recent history. Fires burned through the Greater Hinggan Mountains, threatening the Hanma Nature Reserve and the city of Hulun Buir. In early July, Mongolia's National Emergency Management Agency fought 11 major forest fires across northern Mongolia, exhausting their supply of fire extinguishing equipment. President Khaltmaa Battulga and Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat prohibited people from entering the forest areas, called an emergency meeting, and instructed their engineers to attempt creating artificial rainfall. Legions of Mongolian citizens, communicating through social media, joined the fire brigades, but by the end of July, they faced more than 20 major fires, some threatening the capital at Ulan Bator.
Fires in western North America, broke records in Alaska, Canada, Washington, Oregon, and California. The Seattle region experienced a +10°C temperature anomaly in August as fires burned through Washington state forests. Wildfires ravaged Oregon and killed 30 people in northern California, destroying some 3,500 homes and businesses in California's wine region, obliterating neighborhoods. Throughout the western United States, over a million hectares burned this summer.
Santa Rosa, California, fire devastation - 13 Oct, 2017
"Climate change is turning up the dial on everything," said LeRoy Westerling at the University of California. "Dry periods become more extreme, wet periods become more extreme, and fires are increasing. The ecosystem is changing."Extreme Storms
Global heating has increased ocean temperatures, adding energy to storms. By October, the year 2017 already approached the all-time record for both total measured storm energy and accumulated damage. This summer, hurricanes Nate, Harvey, Irma, and Maria pounded the Caribbean and Southeastern US. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US has experienced 15 weather disasters this year that cost more than $1 billion, an all-time record. A study from 13 US federal agencies concluded that "extreme weather events have cost the United States $1.1 trillion since 1980."
Hurricane Harvey Flooding Rescue in Texas - 27 Aug, 2017
Storms have been getting stronger since the mid-1980s. An analysis of 167 years of data by the Associated Press found that no 30-year period in history had seen this many major storms. Typically, North Atlantic ocean temperatures remain too cool to support hurricane-level storms. This year, warmer than normal North Atlantic temperatures fueled tropical storm Ophelia to hurricane status on October 14, as it moved toward Ireland. Hurricane-force gusts of 192 km/hour hit Ireland, flooding coastal towns, and causing structural damage, vast power outages, and two deaths.
The Atlantic coasts of Ireland, England, France, Spain, and Portugal now face, for the first time, the sustained threat of hurricanes. Four years ago, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute predicted that by 2100, global warming would increase the frequency of hurricane winds in western Europe.
The extreme fires and storms of 2017 signify more than just a 'new normal'. With each fraction of a degree that Earth's average temperature increases, these fires and storms will increase in intensity. The effects of climate change are not linear. A one-degree increase in temperature will yield about four-times the intensity of fires and storms. Some evidence suggests that by mid-century, fires and storms could double in their destructive power.
A study published in Nature suggests that limiting global heating to the Paris goal of 2°C is now "unlikely". The UN now estimates that the median projected global temperature increase is 3.2°C with a likely range up to 4.9°C and a high end of 8°C. The "new normal" will be constant change; a growing intensity of storms, fires, and other extreme weather, for as long as human carbon emissions continue.
Even if it sounds hopeless, it’s not. We have the chance to act decisively to change our present. All we need to fix this massive challenge is at our disposal. We just need the courage to come together and make it happen.
Sources and Links:
How climate change is "turning up the dial" on wildfires: CBS News
"The Uninhabitable Earth,' David Wallace Wells: New York Magazine, June 2017
"Spain, Portugal Wildfires Kill at Least 39": weather.com
"Wildfires Roar Across Southern Europe": New York Times
Fires in Russia: the Telegraph
Forest fires in N. Mongolia: Xinhua news
Huge forest fire in northern China: South China Morning Post
Video, Fires in Mongolia / China: China People's Daily
Maps of 2017 global fires: Popular Science
Wildfires, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, October 2017: Countercurrents
Storms: weather and global warming: MPR News
Historic Storm: Ophelia Strikes Ireland with Hurricane Force: Robert Scribbler
Hurricane Ophelia Batters Ireland: Weather Underground
"Less than 2°C warming by 2100 unlikely": Nature, July 2017
"C02 Levels 50 Million Years Ago Tell Us About Climate Change Today": Clean Technica
Tropical forests no longer carbon sinks: Washington Post
feedproxy.google.com | 11/11/17
Sometimes it’s difficult to review a play when you’re all too familiar with its subject. In recent years, I was an adjunct instructor who taught writing courses at a university. That’s basically the main character and subject of Julia Cho’s new play, “Office Hour,” which opened Wednesday at Off Broadway’s Public Theater.
In her very first scene, Cho blurs the rigid hierarchy of instructors at universities: The full-timers, with or without tenure, travel on a luxury cruise, while the adjuncts paddle around in canoes below, passing each other in the night. It’s the difference between no benefits and full benefits, between making four figures per class and making high-five, low-six figures for teaching only one or two classes more each semester.
Cho disregards this professional chasm in the first scene of “Office Hour.” The responsibility of helping a deeply disturbed student, Dennis (Ki Hong Lee), falls to a lowly adjunct, Gina (Sue Jean Kim), because she and Dennis both happen to be Asian American.
“Maybe you can talk to him,” Gina is told, even though this student needs much more than talk. Indeed, other instructors like David (Greg Keller) and Genevieve (Adeola Role) fear that Dennis is a would-be campus assassin.
I overlooked Cho’s confusion about an adjunct’s status on campus for a couple of reasons. Maybe it’s dramatic license. And more importantly, Cho brings up a subject of real interest when Genevieve complains, “But I couldn’t even flunk [Dennis]. The assignments were complete, on time. Awful, but on time.”
If Genevieve were teaching trigonometry and a student didn’t know his multiplication tables but the assignments were complete and on time, would she not flunk him? And yet, Genevieve has a point when it comes to students in writing classes. If a student can’t put two sentences together but turns in gibberish, an instructor wouldn’t funk him. Arts education at a college level is all too often a scam, with untalented writers, actors and graphic illustrators getting good grades to keep classes full and instructors employed.
This, unfortunately, is not the subject of “Office Hour,” as we soon learn. Unlike the other instructors, Gina makes the effort to empathize with the clearly tortured Dennis, even though she agrees with her colleagues that he is without talent and his prose is so violent and pornographic that students flee her class when his work is read aloud.
Since Dennis is also described as being a mute who wears a hoodie and sunglasses in class, I had to wonder when these offended students ever got the opportunity to hear his short stories and poetry be read aloud. And did Dennis play charades when it came to enacting his own screenplays? More dramatic license, perhaps.
So how violent and pornographic is Dennis’s writing? David and Genevieve each remember a sentence well enough to repeat it verbatim to Gina. Both examples have to do with anal rape. Frankly, anyone attending almost any R-rated movie has heard worse. But the greater point is what anal rape says about Dennis, who wrote the offending passages, or David and Genevieve, who recall the passages word for word, or Cho, who offers in detail only this one act of sexual violence from her character’s supposedly demented prose.
The other thing that “Office Hour” is not about is Gina’s completely inappropriate office behavior. Kim practically sweats maternal concern, making David Mamet’s professor in “Oleanna” look like a model of propriety. Switch the sexes of Gina and Dennis in “Office Hour” and Cho would have a real debate on her hands.
There is a design behind Gina’s inappropriate behavior (physical affection, destruction of property), because she uses it to break through Dennis’s silent, hardened façade to tell him a story about her own Asian immigrant father, who wore a happy-face mask in public but treated his family at home with that same cold silence that she now sees in Dennis (who, as played by Lee, goes from threatening to adorable with uncommon speed).
Gina’s empathy for an initially repellent person forces her to unmask Dennis’s demons and confront her own. Tellingly, both Gina and Dennis are burdened with Western European names, her surname (not revealed in the play) changed through that institution of sexism and patriarchy known as marriage.
In a game of telephone improvisation, Gina manages to unearth a family dynamic at the heart of Dennis’ problem. Frankly, it’s pure dime-store Freud, leaving us with Dennis’ ethnicity in a white world as his real problem.
If there’s any doubt here, David reappears to represent the Great Male Caucasian Villain. It’s odd, and not just because Cho is recycling a scene from “Oleanna.” Until we witness David’s verbal assault, I’d seen this instructor as a hero for having the guts to give Dennis an F in the screenwriting class. Cho conveniently leaves her African-American female character, Genevieve, out of this final confrontation.
In Cho’s Playbill bio, we learn that she went to New York University (my grad school) and Juilliard (where I’ve taken evening classes for years). I’m not sure when Cho attended these schools, but if her Dennis walked through the halls of NYU or Juilliard today he would be advised to take off his dark sunglasses and see that he is part of a sizable minority, if not, in fact, a majority.
Way back in 1980, Alan Parker’s movie “Fame” was laughed at in the gay community for presenting its one and only homosexual character as lonely and disenfranchised at, of all places, New York’s High School for the Performing Arts. In 2017, Cho does something similar with her Dennis character, and it can best be described as victim trolling.
Neel Keller directs some extraordinary scenes of imaginary violence that build to one extended fantasy sequence, which falls flat.
Until recently, playwrights took two and a half hours or more to develop stories about tragic, deeply troubled, violent characters. Shakespeare needed four or five. “Office Hour” is a portrait of a would-be campus assassin in 85 minutes.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 11/9/17
Imagine a social- networking site that not only predates not only the internet but even a European presence in the Americas. That's how researchers from the University of Leicester describedare theirdescribing the discoveries they've made after three year
feedproxy.google.com | 11/6/17
A Soul for Europe, Berlin – Why and how cultural institutions could include the citizenship education component in all their activities is a matter of creating more awareness of the education capacity among initiators of cultural initiatives all over Europe, especially on local level, in the cities where they are based. See more .
www.voxeurop.eu | 11/3/17
[SNA] Khartoum -Sudan has affirmed its keenness to strengthen its relations with the European Union in all domains, especially in the field of higher education and scientific research.
allafrica.com | 10/30/17
Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa, Rovereto – Every year, thousands of students from South-East Europe enroll in universities abroad. Most of them, however, tend to stay within the region, because of the bureaucratic and financial obstacles on the way to Western European faculties. See more .
www.voxeurop.eu | 10/30/17
A letter to universities asking how classrooms address the country’s withdrawal from the European Union has led to cries of “McCarthyism” and censorship.
www.nytimes.com | 10/26/17
Our favorite Jedi master is a single man! Or is he?
Ewan McGregor, 46, was recently spotted kissing his Fargo costar Mary Elizabeth Winstead, 32. Following the sighting, a family source confirmed to PEOPLE that McGregor and Eve Mavrakis, his wife of 22 years, have been separated since May.
With McGregor having seemingly moved on, here’s a look at some of the highlights from his life with the French production designer.
RELATED: Ewan Mcgregor Splits From Wife Of 22 Years — As He’s Spotted Kissing Costar Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Their Careers Brought Them Together
McGregor and Mavrakis, 51, reportedly met on set of the British TV show Kavanagh QC while filming the episode Nothing But The Truth. McGregor guest starred in the episode, while Mavrakis worked as the assistant art director. The two wed in the summer of 1995, only six months after the episode aired.
They Were Parents Right Away
Only seven months after their wedding, the couple had their first daughter, Clara McGregor.
The now 21-year-old recently entered the media spotlight when she attended the premiere of Miles Ahead with her father in March. Apparently not interested in acting, Clara is an aspiring photographer and student at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
McGregor and Mavrakis went on to have two more biological children (15-year-old Esther McGregor and 6-year-old Anouk McGregor), and one adopted child (16-year-old Jamyan McGregor).
McGregor Is a Protective Father
McGregor and Mavrakis were not happy when paparazzi photographers joined in on their family vacation in Europe in 2002. When photos of his children, Clara and Esther McGregor, were published in the media without his consent McGregor filed a privacy lawsuit in England. Parties that had to settle with the actor included Britain’s Daily Record and The Sun, plus the photographer who took the photos.
McGregor won nearly $75,000 in damages over the legal dispute.
Adopting a Child
Since having their daughter Clara shortly after their wedding, Mavrakis and McGregor became parents to three more children, including their adopted daughter Jamyan McGregor.
In 2004, McGregor and best friend Charley Boorman spent three months on a globe-spanning 20,000-mile motorcycle odyssey for the Bravo TV series Long Way Round. Mongolia was one of the stops on their journey.
Two years later, in 2006, the actor adopted Jamyan McGregor from Mongolia. She was 4-years-old at the time.
After photos of McGregor kissing Winstead were published on Sunday, a family source confirmed to PEOPLE that McGregor had been separated from Mavrakis since May. Winstead also split from her husband, writer Riley Stearns, in May.
people.com | 10/23/17
Europe's future schools need to be more skills-oriented. Faced with falling education expenditure, member states need to keep focused on their education policy goals to ensure returns on investment, according to EU Education Commissioner Tibor Navracsics.
www.euractiv.com | 10/18/17
LONDON — Children are being given "short shrift" in the Brexit process, with some left feeling worried and unsafe, Hillary Clinton said Saturday.
The 2016 U.S. presidential candidate spoke at Swansea University in Wales, which presented her with an honorary doctorate.
Clinton said uncertainty about the future rights of some 3 million European Union citizens living in Britain means "the residency rights of half a million children, including many who were born in the U.K., are hanging in the balance."
feedproxy.google.com | 10/14/17
Hungary's foreign minister says his country will continue to withhold its support for Ukraine's further integration with the European Union as long as Ukraine's new education law remains unchanged.
www.foxnews.com | 10/12/17
Hungary's foreign minister says he will ask the European Union to revise its association agreement with Ukraine, claiming its new language law limits the rights of minorities.
www.foxnews.com | 10/10/17
The suicidal drift of the Catalan independence movement has its roots in an intense process of appropriating Catalonia’s social and political space – to the point of stifling any option contrary to its plans. A story of how we have ended up in this situation.
What has happened in Catalonia over the last few years can be described as a ‘great fraud’. It is a fraud that finds its roots an intense process of appropriation of Catalonia’s social and political arena until the point where anyone else’s opinion is stifled. Because it is a fraud to say, as Catalan nationalists claim, that the rights of Catalans have been crushed, that they have not been allowed to vote freely, that they have “been robbed”, or that their language or culture have been “suppressed” by Spain. What has happened in Catalonia is that the traditional “catalanismo” protected by the generosity of the Spanish constitution of 1978, which gave very ample autonomy to Catalonia, has turned into nationalism and, from this, into calls for independence, for reasons of greed, opportunism and internal politics. And nationalism is unstoppable, because it seeks a dichotomous relationship, of good versus evil, of exclusivity, of the obligation to take sides.
Add to that a de facto control of the language, education, culture and media outlets, and we have dismantled the elements of a ‘raw’ nationalism, totalitarianism – that which has historically destroyed Europe – and reconstructed them as a post-modern style of nationalism, social-media friendly, a nationalism of selfies with flags, of the audiovisual imagination, with an impeccable marketing strategy. It has been largely developed since the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the Statute of Catalan Autonomy in 2010 – that cut part of the Statute – after a disastrous negotiation process and, more concretely, with the massive staging of the Diadas (Catalonia’s national festival).
An absurd ethnic chimera in a democratic and open Spain. And this is what has manipulated and convinced many Catalans – though not 50 percent of the population, according to the results of the last regional elections. It is a process that has come to a head before the backdrop of the economic crisis, which welcomed people into the ranks of the independence movement who had been hardest hit, but who until that point had had no nationalist leanings. It is a phenomenon that can be explained by the global uprising against the inequalities ushered in by neoliberalism, which is now strangely allied with the most nationalist of Catalonia’s nationalists, on a clear basis of supremacy over ‘poor’ Spaniards. The story is completed with the search for a scapegoat: “Spain”, or the slogan “Spain is robbing us”, in the role of the villain.
The latest chapter in this ruse concluded on 1st October, with the suicidal call for a referendum on self-determination made by a politician who has already admitted to being predisposed towards suicide, Carles Puigdemont, the President of the Generalitat, despite it being declared illegal by the Constitutional Court. To examine on whom the burden of proof falls, it is enough to say that on 6-7 September there was a coup d’état in Catalonia, against the State’s institutions from within, and ignoring the non-nationalist half of its parliamentary representation.
The government, formed by a coalition of right-wing independence supporters and the left-wing radicals of the Popular Unity Candidacy – which now leads the insurrection in the streets and is relentlessly hounding any opposition in a purely revolutionary strategy – ignored the Statute of Catalonia, with all its legal provisions, and the Spanish constitution to approve two laws: one aiming to hold a referendum on self-determination and the other to declare independence unilaterally. Despite repeated judicial orders, the Catalan government decided to continue along its suicidal path, searching until it had found a fitting image – that of victimisation, of “police officers from the repressive State against defenceless democratic civilians”, in the absence of the regional police, converted into a political police – to find an iron-cast excuse to declare Catalonia’s independence, which is the choice that had already been made ahead of time. The cynicism and irresponsibility are immense.
In Europe we already know about the manipulation of primal feelings and the half truths or complete falsehoods that are stirred up in referendums, as we saw perfectly with Brexit. Mariano Rajoy’s government must take the blame for its lack of initiative and its abdication of responsibility, trapped between the institutional compromise of carrying out the law and of avoiding the photo finish – in the form of violence – that nationalist victimisation was seeking in its quest for front page coverage in the international press, and that it finally obtained. Rajoy’s style of governing has not exactly been characterised as reactive and here was a case in which it had to be, accelerating the course of events.
The events are unprecedented in modern European history and have stunned all Europe’s governments and the EU – for whom it is an unwelcome question, since it adds one more problem to the identity crisis in which Europe has been submerged for many years. Not to mention the fact the problem could ricochet back home, via member states’ own nationalist movements. What we are seeing now is a key moment, but with misguided interlocutors who are not suited to restoring order and dialogue, a word on everyone’s lips these days but which seems impossible at this point. We need a different starting point if we are to reach a valid agreement (through an official referendum, hardly a likely option for Rajoy since it lies outside the constitutional framework, or a new statute with or without constitutional reform, an option that supporters of independence would not accept given their hyperbolic politics).
If Puigdemont declares independence in the coming days, as he has already indicated, Rajoy will activate article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, thus taking away Catalonia’s autonomy. Doing so will introduce new conflicts that no one would have thought possible. But, faced with the suicide that Puigdemont is pulling Catalonia towards, what is the correct way to defend the rule of law and democracy – the true kind, the one that represents all citizens – that are Europe’s fundamental values?
Cartoon: Carles Puigdemont, president of the Catalonian government
www.voxeurop.eu | 10/9/17
[Foroyaa] The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to The Gambia has released its Final Report, in which it states that Extensive Legal Reforms and Continued Civic Education will be critical for the Gambia's Democratic Development.
allafrica.com | 10/6/17
The European Commission has concluded that Luxembourg granted undue tax benefits to Amazon of around â?¬250 million. This is illegal under EU State aid rules because it allowed Amazon to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Luxembourg must now recover the illegal aid. Remember when Tim Cook lied about the EU only going after Apple because Apple is big? Apple's illegal deal with Ireland is just one on a long, long list of illegal deals the EU is cracking down on. Anyway, speaking of the 13 billion euro Apple stole from EU citizens: The European Commission has decided to refer Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failing to recover from Apple illegal State aid worth up to â?¬13 billion, as required by a Commission decision. [...] Today, more than one year after the Commission's decision, Ireland has still not recovered any of the illegal aid. Furthermore, although Ireland has made progress on the calculation of the exact amount of the illegal aid granted to Apple, it is only planning to conclude this work by March 2018 at the earliest. The crackdown on these illegal tax deals hopefully only represents the first step in cracking down on the grotesquely questionable conduct of large technology (and other sectors) companies. Backroom deals between governments and powerful corporations so they can effectively avoid paying any taxes while the rest of us do our civic duty by paying our taxes to pay for our schools, roads, hospitals, police, firefighters, and so on are a travesty. If Apple, Amazon, Google, and others want to make use of the juicy fruits of European welfare states, they better start paying their fair share.
osnews.com | 10/4/17
BOLONGA, Italy — Pope Francis is urging Europeans not to fear unity and to put aside nationalistic and other self-interests.
Francis didn't mention the police violence during Catalonia's independence referendum Sunday on his visit to Bologna. But in a speech to university students, Francis recalled that the European Union was borne out of the ashes of war to guarantee peace.
He warned that conflicts and other interests were now threatening those founding ideals.
feedproxy.google.com | 10/1/17
As a consumer credit reporting agency, Equifax collects the personal data of millions of individuals, mainly Americans, often without the knowledge or explicit consent of those "data subjects". The Equifax hack is understood to have compromised the personal data of over 140 million individuals. Although recent hacks of other businesses have affected more individuals, the personal data held by Equifax is significantly more sensitive than the data compromised in other hacks and includes Social Security numbers, birth dates, current and previous addresses and driver licence details.
The chief executive officer, chief information officer and chief security officer that held office during the hack have all "retired", but it is unclear if any financial penalties (such as salary or bonus reductions) will be imposed by Equifax or if criminal proceedings will be commenced against these former officeholders. Of more interest is how companies with vast amounts of personal data can be encouraged to secure that data and prevent similar large scale breaches.
Hackers will continue to search for security vulnerabilities in systems that contain large amounts of personal data and it is not possible to completely mitigate the risk of a significant data breach such as the one experienced by Equifax. However, the Equifax hack raises many questions as to whether the US' data protection regime gives data controllers sufficient incentive to protect personal data and what it will take persuade US lawmakers to update US data protection laws. Security is a 'cost' on any company's balance sheet, and profit-seeking companies naturally aim to reduce this side of the balance sheet as much as possible. Comprehensive legislation may be the only means to compel companies to establish a baseline acceptable level of security, especially when handling personal data.
Comprehensive and Unified Data Protection Law
The US lacks a single comprehensive data protection regime, meaning that nation-wide breaches are cumbersome for affected people and regulatory agencies to respond to legally. Though the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wields the power to impose substantial penalties for privacy violations in certain contexts, the FTC has conceded that current rules lack sufficient deterrents or clear standards for data controllers to heed.
The EU's data protection system is comparatively robust and relatively unified across Member States. This will be further consolidated when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes enforceable on 25 May 2018. Though the EU regime is not perfect, when compared to the current piecemeal federal approach and considerable state-level divergence in the US, a more unified regime that imposes clear and comprehensive data protection standards may have placed a greater imperative on Equifax to have better technical safeguards in place.
One advantage of the US system is the "powerful” tool of class action lawsuits that can be brought at state and federal level. There were "at least 23 proposed class-action lawsuits” on foot just four days after the breach was announced. Collective redress in Europe, on the other hand, is less ingrained both socially and legally. The GDPR takes some positive steps by allowing data subjects to seek collective redress for an infringement of GDPR rights (Art 80), but compensation can only be sought if Member State rules allow it (Art 80 & Rec 142). Whereas class action lawsuits are (or should be) a primary concern of data controllers in the US, they are peripheral compared to formal regulation in the EU.
Individual Control Over Personal Data
The ability of Equifax to collect large amounts of data on individuals without the knowledge or consent of those individuals further highlights issues with the control of personal data in the US. Equifax is understood to have collected details such as Social Security numbers, driver license numbers, current and former addresses and bank account details for millions of Americans (approximately 143 million). This is exactly the kind of information that could be utilised to fraudulently access bank accounts and insurance policies.
In comparison, European legislation empowers individuals with respect to their personal data collected by others. Unlike the US, the 'default position' is that personal data should not be processed, unless there is a lawful basis for doing so (commonly through consent or a 'legitimate interests' test). Where the collection of personal data requires the data subject's consent, EU law mandates that consent can be revoked. Data controllers must notify individuals of certain data collected about them and people have a right to access that data. There are also temporal limits and limits as to the purpose that the data can be used for. Data subjects have a (non-absolute) 'right to be forgotten' if the information is "inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive."
Conversely, according to a former Equifax employee and consumer credit expert, "[t]here's nothing in any statute or anything else that allows you to ask Equifax to remove your data or have all your data disappear if you say you no longer trust it."
If any positives are to come out of this large scale security breach, they may include increased public awareness of the value of personal data and pressure for further regulation. Within several weeks of the hack being announced, two US Senators introduced legislation seeking to give control of credit information back to consumers. However, even if legislation can bypass aggressive lobbying by tech companies, restrictions on data processing can be at odds with First Amendment rights.
Legal Requirement to Secure Personal Data
As details of the hack continue to emerge, it appears Equifax had a relaxed approach to data security, utilised old technology and lacked any appreciable incentive (legal or commercial), despite recent data leaks and lawsuits related to data leaks, to adopt a serious approach to securing personal data. A patch that is likely to have addressed the vulnerability that was exploited by the hackers was available in March 2017, well before the hack occurred in May 2017. The relaxed approach was further demonstrated by the fact that the website established by Equifax in response to the hack was vulnerable to further hacking. The website requested further personal data for identification purposes, even though Equifax had demonstrated an inability to protect personal data in the first place.
Under current EU data protection laws (Art 17 of the Data Protection Directive) and the incoming GDPR (Art 32), controllers of personal data are required to "implement appropriate technical and organisational measures" to "ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk" associated with the processing of the data and the nature of the data held. The GDPR imposes "a qualified duty… to put in place [those] technical and organisational measures… effectively and to integrate necessary safeguards into the processing of personal data” through Art 25, a provision headed 'Data protection by design and by default'. Art 32(1) of the GDPR provides details of what these technical and organisational measures could include and refers to pseudonymisation and encryption of personal data together with a process for regular testing, assessment and evaluation of the effectiveness of the technical and organisational measures put in place. The data accessed in the Equifax hack was not encrypted, which would have provided a basic level of protection and at least delayed the hackers in accessing the personal data.
A timeline of the hack suggests that Equifax became aware of the hack on 29 July 2017 and did not alert affected data subjects or authorities until 7 September 2017. Due to the absence of a comprehensive federal data protection law in the US, there is no common rule regarding the timeframe in which an entity must inform its customers, or affected persons, in circumstances where the security of personal data held by an entity is compromised. Some states have disclosure requirements for data breaches and only a limited number of states stipulate a timeframe for disclosing a data breach, understood to range from 15-90 days after discovering the breach. Contrast this with the GDPR, which will generally require a controller of personal data to notify authorities of a personal data breach within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach (see Art 33 GDPR), and to notify affected persons of "high risk" breaches "without undue delay" (Art 34 GDPR).
The long delay between Equifax becoming aware of the hack and informing interested authorities and affected data subjects is not surprising in the absence of legislation mandating a fixed timeframe for breach notification. One can envisage circumstances where it may be best practice for an entity to advise the authorities of a security breach prior to informing the general public. Most important though, is that the the breach of security of personal data is notified to authorities as soon as possible in order to allow a cohesive and organised response by both the public and private sectors.
Without a comprehensive response from law enforcement agencies and legislators, Equifax and the two other major credit reporting agencies in the US will slowly slip off the radar, free to make the same mistakes and jeopardise the security of the personal data of millions of people. If a hack of this scale is not a catalyst for significant change regarding data protection in the US, it is unclear exactly how catastrophic a data breach needs be in order to force a comprehensive change of US data protection laws.
Peter and Brendan work as Research Assistants for the SIGNAL Project funded by the Norwegian Research Council and UNINETT Norid AS, with support from the University of Oslo.
Written by Peter Davis, Lawyer, LLM student (ICT Law), Research Assistant
www.circleid.com | 9/29/17
[Egypt Online] President Abdel Fattah El Sisi issued a decree on Thursday 28/9/2017 approving an agreement signed between Egypt and Germany in 2016 on the European state's contribution to implementing the second stage of a program for improving the quality of education.
allafrica.com | 9/28/17
As the Syria conflict continues to grind on, the European Commission Tuesday emphasized the need to prioritize access to higher education for refugees in Lebanon and across the region.
www.dailystar.com.lb | 9/27/17
Treaty change, agricultural policy and debt: French President Emmanuel Macron attacked a number of previously untouchable EU taboos during a speech focused on reform, sharing ambitious proposals for Europe's future with university students. EURACTIV France reports.
www.euractiv.com | 9/27/17
I'm an engineer, and I firmly believe that Internet matters and, in general, Information Society, should be kept separate from politics, so usually, I'm very skeptical to talk about those and mix things.
Let's start by saying that I'm Catalonian. Despite the dictatorial regime when I was born, forbidden teaching Catalonian, I learned it, even despite, initially for family reasons and now for work reasons, I live in Madrid. However, I keep saying everywhere I go, that I was born in Barcelona, where I consider myself from, and how wonderful is that region. I'm proud of my name, Jordi, and I don't allow anyone to call me Jorge, with is the Spanish translation.
Having traveled over 120 countries in the last 15 years, training people on IPv6 and doing IPv6 consultancy/deployment services, I consider myself "citizen of the world, " and I don't think, in the actual global world, there is any reason for being a nationalist or patriotic in the heart.
That being said, I have good friends and colleagues at every remote place in the world, and that's what really matters.
I think this clearly shows that I'm objective enough to write down this and not being biased by my origins, or my actual living town, on the other way around, being very open-minded as a world traveler.
I've been astonished the last few days because about the endless exchange of letters addressed to ICANN, the European Commission, ISOC chapters, and other Internet-related institutions, even blogs, articles, etc., which make no sense if you know the real history behind all this, instead of those letters with false information.
Let's set the stage. There is a region, within a democratic country, that has some percentage of the population that want to declare their independence. This group of people didn't ask the rest of the citizens in the country, even other people like myself, that was born there. In fact, because I don't live there right now, I will not be allowed to participate in the so-called "process". Even further, I don't know if I will get a passport from there, or if some of the friends I have there who don't want to split, will be expelled from the country, or if they will be allowed to sell their properties there, or if they will be confiscated, etc.
So, we are talking about a departure, asking the people to vote for it, not knowing at all what actually that means, including every small detail, and what will be the exit door for each of the possible cases.
I guess each region or town in our country has the same rights. I want to do it for my own house. I have the right of doing that… it is my property… my land!
Can you imagine this in your own country?
As we are a democratic country, there is a power separation (legislative versus juridical), and by the way, we have a Constitution, that all the Spanish citizens approved after the end of the dictatorial regime, and the corresponding Constitutional Court.
The Constitution is clearly not perfect, and now that we got more experience, since 1978, it could be amended for improving it, by consensus. This could even mean that we change our state model into a federal one, such as the German model, or many other options.
This is nothing different than what we do in IETF, making Internet standards, or in the RIRs, making public policies, or even in ICANN. Right?
Guess what, now some of the participants of a given Regional Internet Registry (RIR), decide to unilaterally change some of those rules, or even split in a different group — let's say a new RIR. Yeah, we could do that, but we need to agree on the process. Hey, coincidently we've had a similar situation recently — IANA/PTI — so we are familiar with that already.
Do you think we will agree in that group in my example, changing the policies before we complete the process? Do you think somebody will agree in finding consensus in a policy proposal not knowing all the details of it? Do you think we will keep allocating IP resources to that group according to new policies that they develop by themselves against the community consensus on the existing policies?
So, this is what the Catalonian Government has done. They have approved, against the law, special laws to make that process, to play games and act like in a theatre, and they try to convince citizens as puppets by means of lies and misinformation, which they are investing public money to propagate in a global world.
Law and order: In a democratic system, we all obey the law. If we don't like it, we have the system to change it. What we can never do is to disobey or call for disobeying before going for a change. Otherwise, this will be a crazy world. Everybody will be able to change his/her mind every other day and create risks for the rest of the citizens. Definitively not the way!
So of course, our Constitutional Court has called for obedience to our Constitution, which means no public money can be invested in the process, and the Catalonian Government, their maximum representatives, has forced people that disagree with the process to resign or pushed them against the law, or involved volunteers, asking for illegal actions, and invested in having embassies of a non-country, which cost a lot of money despite having difficulties to pay the public servants, to cover the cost of the education and health system, and so on, and asked for more money to the Spanish Central Government, from the taxes of all the citizens, which in part is being invested, in an illegal process.
Obviously, and despite, the wish to make this soft, and not being provocative, the Constitutional Court, during the last few days, was finally forced by the Catalonian Government provocation, to order the Spanish Police to execute the necessary steps to block ONLY the websites which make the propaganda of the process. However, the Catalonian Government and also volunteers used .CAT, among many other institutions, to duplicate those websites, once and again.
There is nothing against freedom of speech, there is nothing against .CAT, just making sure that the court orders are fulfilled by all the citizens, including public servants, regardless of the organization where they work. Public servants, individuals working for the Information Society, TLDs or other kind of registries, Service Providers, etc., all have the same obligation to follow the law as the rest of the citizens.
Where is the limit of the freedom of speech in Internet? Do you agree that if I publish a website with information about how to do a robbery at your home, call for volunteers to organize a terrorist attack, or to help me in any unlawful or criminal activity, and there is a court order against that website, this can't be considered as measures to restrict free and open access to Internet?
Censorship can be enforced in many ways. One of those ways is to publish false information and confuse people about the real facts, hiding the reality with lots of extra background noise.
When organizations and persons that have been elected by the Internet community take advantage of their positions to, instead of have objective positions, and not correlate those institutions and enact false accusations and misinformation, we can't anymore trust on those persons and they must resign.
The most open organizations, using their influence in the global information society, can actually execute a censorship action which is even much worse than any restriction to freedom of speech.
There are other relevant facts in this history. Many politicians that have been governing Catalonia for many years are being prosecuted for illegal activities, such as 3-5% commissions in public tenders, using public money for promoting the independence process, and such.
Guess what? Their only way-out is the independence, otherwise, they are going to need to pay for all what they have robbed to the public treasury, and it means money and prison. Is not that curious?
Is not curious that the Catalonian Autonomy is the one that in the last years got more credit from the Central Government? Do you expect they will be able to reimburse it?
Do you think if any of us, disobeys the law the same way, as this process is doing, will be ignored by the authorities, or we will be detained and requested to explain every detail of all the illegal actions in front of a judge?
Or do you expect authorities to ignore every illegal action from all the citizens and then we all get crazy, and we go into an anarchic world?
The Spanish Government has been very prudent, too much probably, as they could have used article 155 of our Constitution to suspend the Catalonian Autonomy, but they decided not to go that way, at least for the time being. This is not a clear demonstration of democracy and freedom of speech?
In Europe, since a long time ago, we are trying to integrate and be stronger. Splitting countries is against that spirit, don't make any sense.
Our community must be smart enough and ignore messages with false or incomplete information. Those messages are even considered apology of sedition, same as if we start creating websites doing apology of terrorism or any other illegal activities.
Let's avoid going on with all this misinformation and I plea to those having only the real facts and complete information to spread the message to avoid others getting confused.
Internet-related institutions must not trust anymore those individuals or organizations who are misinforming the rest of the world. Internet-related institutions must respect the law of democratic countries. Only when it is clearly proven that democracy is not real, we must act, otherwise, we are damaging our own credibility.
Those that have already published false information, must apologize. It is clear that they have got confused because the Catalonian Government and many of their actors in this theatre, have been far noisier than the rest of the community, but it's time to review. I will not point to them right now, but clearly, I will not mind doing so in a couple of days if they decide to keep their false accusations which are an insult for the rest of the Spanish citizens, including the majority of the Catalonians which aren't part of this and by extension an insult to the rest of the Internet community.
Written by Jordi Palet Martinez, Telecom
www.circleid.com | 9/26/17
MOSCOW — Ukraine's president has signed a controversial law on education, causing fury in Hungary which is threatening to block Ukraine's efforts to integrate with the European Union.
The law that President Petro Poroshenko signed late Monday restructures Ukraine's education system and specifies that Ukrainian will be the main language used in schools, rolling back the option for lessons to be taught in other languages. Russia, Moldova, Hungary and Romania expressed concern over the bill when it was drafted, saying that it would infringe of the rights of ethnic minorities.
feedproxy.google.com | 9/26/17
I’m dedicating a series of articles to women who contributed so much during their lives for the benefit of ours and have received very little reward or recognition for it. I call it BEHIND HIM.
I found inspiration in Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, an important icon of 1970s feminist art and a milestone in 20th Century art. This permanent installation at the Brooklyn Museum comprises a massive ceremonial banquet, arranged on a triangular table with a total of thirty-nine place settings, each commemorating an important woman from history. The names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the table. Sadly, most of them are unknown to most of us. However, I believe the list could be much larger than 999. In fact, even Hedy Lamarr is not among them.
Born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in the Austrian-Hungarian empire in 1914, she became a legendary Hollywood actress in the late 1930s when she was discovered in Paris by MGM head Louis B. Mayer, who gave her a new name and a new life in the U.S.
A woman of incredible beauty and sex appeal, Hedy Lamarr quickly became one the most highly paid female stars of her generation. She appeared in numerous popular films, like “Algiers” (1938), “I Take this Woman” (1940), “Come Live with Me” (1941) and “Samson and Delilah” (1949). She also co-starred with such legendary actors as Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable and James Stewart.
But when she was not on set, Hedy was inventing. Yes, inventing! She worked on a tissue-box attachment to hold used tissues and created a sort of bouillon cube that, when dropped in water, made a soft drink. She also developed a new type of traffic light and a device to aid movement-impaired people in and out of bathtubs.
Her greatest invention, however, was created from the pain of watching her own country at war in Europe. Lamarr realized that radio-controlled torpedoes could easily be jammed causing the torpedo to go off course. She came up with the idea of creating a frequency-hopping signal that could not be tracked. She then teamed up with her friend, composer and pianist George Antheil, to help produce such a device. He succeeded in this by synchronizing a miniaturized player-piano mechanism with radio signals. Together they drafted designs for the frequency-hopping system which they patented.
Despite the fact that their invention was granted a patent in 1942 (filed using her married name: Hedy Kiesler Markey), the U.S. Navy never welcomed it as Hedy had expected. They declined to use the patent for reasons that are still unclear today, though misogyny had always been suspected to be the cause. In the 1950s, the military secretly began using and developing the frequency-hopping technology for other purposes without informing Lamarr. Once the Lamarr-Antheil patent expired, spread-spectrum technology — as it is called today — was used by all with no acknowledgment of its original creators.
Hedy Lamarr, who once said, “Any girl can be glamorous, all you have to do is stand still and look stupid,” no doubt joins the list of the most beautiful movie stars of all time, along with Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren. But she is also on the list of women who made extraordinary scientific discoveries that went unrecognized simply because they were women, many of them having to endure male colleagues taking credit for their work. Even Marie Curie — probably the only woman scientist anyone can ever think of — was dismissed as little more than her husband’s assistant, her Nobel prizes contested by fellow scientists.
In a society governed by bigotry and generic common sense, in which it’s very hard to accept complexities and to find truth in nuances, it can still be shocking to find out that a scientific inventor can exist in the form of a beautiful woman. A recent report by the American Association of University Women, based on decades of research, concluded that bias and stereotypes still impede women’s pursuit of science from grade school through academia.
Even though I am going through life with an average brain and not a genius one like Hedy’s, all this sometimes reminds me of the disappointment in people’s eyes when they learn that I am really into physical fitness. Disappointment, yes! They are surprised to learn that I’m very fond of going to the gym and I take as much care of my muscles as I do of my books. Somehow, they can’t put the two elements together into the same box. As if caring for your own body would not be healthy for your mind. As if having some aesthetic ambition would annihilate any intellectual faculty. Theoretically, as a white male, I am at the top of the hierarchy in this misogynistic world. Theoretically, I should be spared by that judgment. Theoretically, all of us should. In fact, wouldn’t it be great to see a beautiful woman with a powerful brain, perhaps an immigrant like Hedy Lamarr, taking charge of this country?
And by the way, the principles of Hedy’s spread-spectrum technology are now incorporated into modern WiFi, Bluetooth, cordless phones, 3G cell phones, GPS systems, satellite communication networks, barcode readers, unmanned aerial vehicles, electronic automotive subsystems, and much more. In total, her invention now generates about $180 billion a year. Those are far-reaching achievements not often credited to the silver screen legend.
This is part of a blog series by We Do It Together, a nonprofit film production entity created to produce films, documentaries, TV and other forms of media uniquely dedicated to the empowerment of women.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 9/22/17
[The Point] Collegium Civitas, a Polish University based in Warsaw in partnership with Green World Natural Solution in The Gambia over the weekend convened a free open day for university students and media with the aim to start recruiting Gambian students with a possible European scholarship for the most outstanding students.
allafrica.com | 9/15/17
Chancellor Angela Merkel's Social Democrat (SPD) challenger said on Sunday (10 September) his party would not form any alliances after the 24 September election unless fair wages, free education, secure pensions and a commitment to a democratic Europe were guaranteed.
www.euractiv.com | 9/11/17
Britain's vote to leave the European Union risks causing a steep drop in the number of EU students attending the country's universities.
www.foxnews.com | 9/8/17
European member states have cut their education budgets continuously since 2009, according to Eurostat data.
www.euractiv.com | 9/7/17
Europe’s soft drinks industry has announced it will stop selling sugary beverages in all schools in the European Union from late 2018. Health campaigners have welcomed the move but said more needs to be done to promote healthy eating in schools.
www.euractiv.com | 9/6/17
Britain must seek to protect research funding for its universities when it leaves the European Union or risk losing its leading role in innovation, one of the country's main employer groups said on Wednesday (6 September).
www.euractiv.com | 9/6/17
Excerpt from my Internet Law casebook discussing transborder content removal orders, including the Equustek case.
From the Internet's earliest days, the tension between a global communication network and local geography-based laws has been obvious. One scenario is that every jurisdiction's local laws apply to the Internet globally, meaning that the country (or sub-national regulator) with the most restrictive law for any content category sets the global standard for that content. If this scenario comes to pass, the Internet will only contain content that is legal in every jurisdiction in the world — a small fraction of the content we as Americans might enjoy, because many countries restrict content that is clearly legal in the U.S.
Perhaps surprisingly, we've generally avoided this dystopian scenario — so far. In part, this is because many major Internet services create localized versions of their offerings that conform to local laws, which allows the services to make country-by-country removals of locally impermissible content. Thus, the content on google.de might vary pretty substantially from the content on google.com. This localization undermines the 1990s utopian vision that the Internet would enable a single global content database that everyone in the world could uniformly enjoy. However, service localization has also forestalled more dire regulatory crises. So long as google.de complies with local German laws and google.com complies with local U.S. laws, regulators in the U.S. and Germany should be OK...right?
Increasingly, the answer appears to be "no." Google's response to the European RTBF rule has highlighted the impending crisis. In response to the RTBF requirement that search engines to remove certain search results associated with their names, initially Google only de-indexed results from its European indexes, i.e., Google would scrub the results from Google.de but not Google.com. However, European users of Google can easily seek out international versions of Google's search index. An enterprising European user could go to Google.com and obtain unscrubbed search results — and compare the search results with the localized edition of Google to see which results had been scrubbed.
The French Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) has deemed this outcome unacceptable. As a result, it has demanded that Google honor an RTBF de-indexing request across all of its search indexes globally. In other words, if a French resident successfully makes a de-indexing request under European data privacy laws, Google should not display the removed result to anyone in the world, even searchers outside of Europe who are not subject to European law.
The CNIL's position is not unprecedented; other governmental agencies have made similar demands for the worldwide suppression of content they object to. However, the demand on Google threatens to break the Internet. Either Google must cease all of its French operations to avoid being subject to the CNIL's interpretation of the law, or it must give a single country the power to decide what content is appropriate for the entire world — which, of course, could produce conflicts with the laws of other countries.
Google proposed a compromise of removing RTBF results from its European indexes, and if a European attempts to log into a non-European version of Google's search index, Google will dynamically scrub the results it delivers to the European searcher. As a result, if the European searcher tries to get around the European censored results, he or she will still not see the full search results. (Of course, it would be easy to bypass Google's dynamic scrubbing using VPNs). CNIL has rejected Google's compromise as still unacceptable.
If CNIL gets its way, other governments with censorious impulses will demand equal treatment. But even Google's "compromise" solution — walling off certain information from being available in a country that seeks to censor that information — will be helpful to censors. In effect, the RTBF ruling forces Google to build a censorship infrastructure that regulators can coopt for other censorious purposes. Thus, either way, the resolution to the RTBF's geography conundrum provides a preview of the future of global censorship.
The Equustek Case
The local violation/global removal debate is taking place in other venues as well. In 2017, the Canada Supreme Court ordered Google to globally remove search results based on alleged Canadian legal violations. Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc., 2017 SCC 34.
In that case, Datalink, a competitor of Equustek, sold products that allegedly infringed Equustek's intellectual property rights. After Equustek sued Datalink, Datalink relocated to an unknown location outside of Canada, putting it out of the reach of Canadian courts. Equustek asked Google to deindex Datalink's website. Google partially deindexed the site from google.ca, but Equustek sought more relief. The Canada Supreme Court ordered global deindexing of Datalink's website:
The court noted that Google admitted it would be easy to deindex Datalink's domain name, and the court noted that Google regularly deindexes content for other reasons, such as the DMCA online safe harbor.
The court dismissed the risk of international conflicts-of-laws because everyone apparently accepted that Datalink would violate Equustek's IP rights under other countries' laws. However, the court was surprisingly unspecific about the alleged IP violations, which apparently included trademarks and trade secrets. Due to the ambiguities about the alleged IP violations, the court avoided some subtle IP issues, such as the scope of Equustek's trademark rights (usually trademark rights don't reach beyond a country's borders, so a Canadian court could not order a defendant to stop infringing trademark rights in other countries) and the likelihood that Canadian trade secret laws and remedies differ from the laws and remedies of other countries. See Ariel Katz, Google v. Equustek: Unnecessarily Hard Cases Make Unnecessarily Bad Law, ArielKatz.org, June 29, 2017.
Because the court sidestepped the international conflicts-of-laws issue, the Equustek case's facts do not implicate the more problematic situation where Datalink's content violates Canadian law but is legal in other countries, yet a Canadian court order under Canadian law prevents the content from being available in countries where it was legal. (The CNIL-demanded rule would reach this outcome, because RTBF-scrubbed content illegal in Europe would be almost certainly legal in the U.S.). The court said that Google could challenge the injunction in Canadian courts if the injunction violates other countries' laws — but will Google really spend substantial money and time to defend a third party content by going back to a Canadian court to adjudicate the content's legitimacy?
In response to the opinion, Canadian law professor Michael Geist wrote:
Michael Geist, Global Internet Takedown Orders Come to Canada: Supreme Court Upholds International Removal of Google Search Results, MichaelGeist.ca, June 28, 2017.
Does the Equustek ruling mean that plaintiffs (both Canadian and non-Canadian) will flock to Canadian courts to sue non-Canadian defendants solely to get global deindexing orders?
Note that Equustek ruling (and the CNIL dispute) avoid an underlying jurisdictional issue because Google has substantial physical presence in both Canada and Europe. Would Canada or Europe have jurisdiction over an Internet service that operates exclusively from the United States?
I encourage you to do a thought exercise: project yourself 20 years in the future. What do you think will be the state of the law on global removals based on local violations? Do you think most countries will have embraced the Equustek approach broadly? If so, do you think the Internet (however you define it) will be better or worse as a result?
* * *
After I wrote this, Google sought legal relief in US courts from the Equustek ruling. For useful perspective on Google's move, read Daphne Keller's analysis.
Written by Eric Goldman, Professor, Santa Clara University School of Law
www.circleid.com | 9/5/17
On the first of September we commemorate the 78th anniversary of the beginning of World War II. Although much time has passed, the interpretations of historians and commentators vary widely on many aspects. The conflict began with Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland, followed by five years of harsh occupation. As a result of war and German and Soviet repression, more than six million Polish citizens perished (over one fifth of the total population).
VoxEurop presents three different narratives related to this tragedy. In the first article, Italian historian Lorenzo Ferrari describes the controversies surrounding the newly created Museum of World War II in Gda?sk. The Museum presents the suffering of Polish population in connexion with war experiences of Europeans, while the current authorities maintain that these experiences are incomparable. According to the author, this position results from the "nationalist" discourse of the Law and Justice (PiS) party.
Although we disagree with the historical interpretation of the Beata Szyd?o’s government, we do not share the opinion of the Italian journalist who considers PiS as a party with nationalist tendencies. Too often — as rightly pointed out in his polemic Bogdan Zalewski, a well-known journalist of RMF FM, the largest Polish commercial radio station — the adjective "nationalist" is being overused by western reporters describing the situation in Poland.
However, he tends himself to assuage the pre-war reality, when he writes that ‘Roman Dmowski's Endecja (National Democracy)’ cannot be compared to German nationalist socialism, that is Nazism, because it did not have ‘totalitarian and criminal elements.’ Yes, it is hard to make such comparisons, because Endecja never ruled in Poland, but it does not mean that if it did, it would not unveil these ‘elements’. All the more so because many Endecja’s members and followers openly declared anti-Semitism and sympathized with fascism (it is enough to read the writings of J?drzej Giertych, one of Endecja’s ideologists).
The real irony of fate is that the mono-ethnic Polish state, the unreachable dream of that party, finally turned into reality as a result of German aggression, Holocaust, years of suffering of the Polish nation and political betrayals of the allies.
Concerning editor Zalewski’s criticism of the current exhibition in the Gda?sk Museum of the Second World War, it is difficult to regard it as impartial. The author refers exclusively to the authorities (Prof. Jan ?aryn, PiS Senator and Piotr Gli?ski, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education) and media related to the ruling camp. His text is devoid of any references to the opinions and arguments put forward by the opposition or publications critical of the government (suffice to mention Polityka or Newsweek Polska weeklies or the daily Gazeta Wyborcza, as well as the Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny, which is trying to keep its distance fromboth conflicting political camps). Of course, as a columnist, Zalewski has the right to do so. This fact, however, illustrates the deep divisions that have taken place on the Polish political scene and in the minds of millions of Poles. Poland's reality has become black and white, entirely lacking any shades of grey, and the only thing that seems to count is whether one is with or against PiS.
Bartosz Brzezi?ski, the author of the third article, also seems to be falling into the trap of selective outlook when he argues that the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the current government directly relates to interwar anti-Semitism. He greatly exaggerates, formulating a shaky thesis that the far right politicians in pre-war Poland did not encounter resistance when they openly called for the expulsion of all Jews from Poland. It is true that the slogan ‘Jews to Madagascar!’ was chanted at the demonstrations of nationalists, that there were brutal attacks of ONR (National Radical Camp) hit squads on Jewish students and that there were bench [dont know what this means] ghettos at universities. But we must remember that this was met by political opposition from PPS (Polish Socialist Party), from which Józef Pi?sudski, the father of Polish independence, came, not to mention communists and Jewish political groups such as the Bund or Poalej Syjon.
It is also hard to agree with Brzezinski's claim that ‘most Poles looked the other way’, and only ‘a handful’ saved Jews during World War II. If it was just a ‘handful’, as the author suggests, there would not be so many Polish trees in Jad Vashem (most of all nations) to pay tribute to those who helped the Jewish people. Brzezinski also seems to forget about the existence of the Underground Council to Aid Jews and the Home Army’s pursuit of those who have away the location of hiding Jews and their rescuers or those who blackmailed them with denunciation for high ransom [dont know what this lady bit means]. And above all, he does not mention the fact that in Poland, as opposed to the countries of the Western Europe occupied by Germany, helping Jews was punishable by death.
Although we do not agree or fully accept the theses contained in these three articles, we have decided to publish them on our website without any editorial interventions, so that our readers, especially non-Polish readers, could get some knowledge of the extremely varied points of view on issues which for a long time delineated divisions in our country. Some may decide that Mr. Zalewski's text is anti-Semitic, others that Mr. Brzezinski's article is anti-Polish. We think that readers of VoxEurop should judge for themselves. It is much better when the discussion takes place in an open to all democratic space than on the street.
Photo: People fleeing the city on Poniatowski bridge during Warsaw siege, in September 1939 – Julien Bryan
www.voxeurop.eu | 9/1/17
[Observer] The European Union delegation to Liberia has begun the distribution of the book "Legends of Liberia," a compilation of stories based on the cultural practices of earlier Liberians, their gods and goddess, heroes and heroines, and their tribal origins. The distribution, which has been ongoing for about two weeks now, has so far been donated to the libraries of all universities, community colleges, rural teacher training institutes and the teachers' colleges of Liberia, public libraries, reading centers and
allafrica.com | 8/31/17
2,956 satellites orbiting at altitudes of 970, 1,034 and 1,086 km at inclinations of 45°, 55° & 88° (Source).I recently posted updates on the satellite Internet service projects of SpaceX and OneWeb. OneWeb and SpaceX have received a lot of publicity, but there is a third entry in the global satellite Internet race — Boeing.
Boeing has applied for a license to launch a constellation of 2,956 Internet-access satellites orbiting at an altitude of 1,200 km. (In a subsequent amendment, the orbits were lowered to three different levels). They outlined a two phase plan — the first 1,396 satellites would be operating within six years, and another 1,560 would be launched within 12 years as demand justified.
There has also been speculation that Apple may be funding and collaborating with Boeing on satellite Internet-service provision. (If you follow this link, read the comments).
Small cells around Washington DCBoeing will use beam-forming, digital processing and instantaneous handoff between overlapping satellite footprints to generate thousands of narrow spot beams, dividing the Earth's surface into 8-11 km diameter (50-95 km2) cells as illustrated here. Each cell will have 5 GHz bandwidth and, if a cell contains both user terminals and Internet gateways, time-division algorithms will enable frequency re-use to serve both. These are very smart radios!
In reviewing the FCC filings, I was struck by the degree of cooperation between the competitors. When Boeing proposed 1,200 km orbits, OneWeb filed a comment saying that would interfere with their design which also called for 1,200 km orbits. In response, Boeing met with OneWeb and altered their plan, lowering altitudes to 970, 1,082 and 1,030 km.
There were also concerns that waivers Boeing requested might lead to radio interference and SpaceX responded by stating that:
These companies value engineering as well as business. (Tesla has shared their patents — might SpaceX do the same)?
In researching this post, I came across two other Boeing filings — one for 60 high-altitude satellites (shown here) and another for a low-Earth constellation of 132 satellites and 15 high-altitude satellites. I imagine these smaller constellations will complement the larger constellation somehow but have not been able to learn how they will interact.
Sixty high-altitude satellites launched in three phase: the Amercas, Europe and Africa and Asia and Australia. Click to enlarge. (Source)
Boeing, OneWeb and SpaceX are from different generations. OneWeb and SpaceX are relatively recent startups and Boeing is venerable. The startups may have less legacy overhead and have gotten off to a faster start, but Boeing has been thinking about providing Internet service using a satellite constellation for over twenty years — they were the prime contractor for Teledesic's failed attempt in the late 1990s.
We have three potential global Internet service providers — SpaceX, OneWeb and Apple(?)/Boeing. I hope they all succeed, giving us some competition in the Internet service market. That might one day help current Internet customers who have only one choice for their service provider (like me), but it would surely be a boon for people with no terrestrial Internet access today.
Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University
www.circleid.com | 8/30/17
The 2017 New York Film Festival has added a conversation with Kate Winslet, documentaries about Steven Spielberg and Bob Dylan and four new films by “Shoah” director Claude Lanzmann, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced on Monday.
The programs will take place during the 55th annual NYFF, which will kick off on September 28 and run through October 15 in New York City.
Winslet will do an onstage Q&A dealing with her career and her performance in Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel,” which will close the festival. That film’s cinematographer, Vittorio Storaro, will also do a “Master Class” in collaboration with “Wonderstruck” cinematographer Ed Lachman.
Three documentaries will be presented as New York Film Festival special events: Susan Lacy’s “Spielberg,” about the veteran director; Jennifer Lebeau’s “Trouble No More,” which includes rare concert footage from Dylan’s 1979-80 concert tour during his controversial Christian music period; and Susan Froemke’s “The Opera House,” about New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.
Claude Lanzmann will premiere four new films that are drawn from interviews he did for his monumental “Shoah.” The new films, “The Hippocratic Oath,” “Baluty,” “The Merry Flea” and “Noah’s Ark,” are based on conversations with four different Eastern European women who survived the Holocaust.
As part of a retrospective marking the 100th anniversary of Robert Mitchum’s birth, NYFF will also present a work-in-progress screening of “Nice Girls Don’t Stay for Breakfast,” a documentary about Mitchum from photographer and filmmaker Bruce Weber.
The festival will also screen “Without a Net,” a new documentary by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Rory Kennedy that deals with schools around the country that are technologically underserved; and a new restoration of G.W. Pabst’s silent film “Pandora’s Box.”
The Film Comment Presents section, an annual feature at NYFF for the last five years, will present Sergei Loznitsa’s “A Gentle Creature,” a new film inspired by a Dostoevsky short story, along with a series of panels and discussions.
The festival also announced a lineup of short films. Additional information can be found at at the New York Film Festival website.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 8/28/17
Muslims have come a long way towards integration into Western Europe, particularly in terms of language, education and work, but remain on the margins of everyday social acceptance, a study by the Bertelsmann Stiftung revealed on Thursday (24 August).
www.euractiv.com | 8/24/17
Launched in 1987 with only 3,200 students in its first year, Erasmus has developed over the last 30 years into a leading scholarship programme benefitting almost 300,000 higher education students per year.
economictimes.indiatimes.com | 8/24/17
From France and Germany to Poland and Scandinavia, education options for Indian students have exploded in EU
While the US is still a favourite, with some 1,65,918 Indian students in 2015-16, European countries are fast playing catch-up.
economictimes.indiatimes.com | 8/19/17
Californian Killed in Barcelona Attack While Celebrating Wedding Anniversary ‘Didn’t Live a Life Afraid’ of Terrorism
In the weeks leading up to his wedding anniversary trip through Italy, France and Spain, the adventurous Jared Tucker was “so excited, really excited he finally got to go to Europe, it was his first time,” good friend Billy Claraty told PEOPLE.
Thursday night, Tucker, 42, and wife Heidi Nunes-Tucker, 40, were in the popular Las Ramblas area of Barcelona, enjoying drinks in an outside restaurant before a van began plowing through pedestrians. Tucker, of California, was one of 13 people killed in the terror attack.
By Friday night, Claraty, 41, was en route to Spain with Nunes-Tucker’s father, Mike Nunes, to help Nunes-Tucker deal with the aftermath of the fun-loving man’s death.
Tucker, who was excited to share this special anniversary trip with his soul mate, never mentioned any hesitation about visiting Europe, despite it being the target of a series of deadly terror attacks in recent years.
“He didn’t live a life afraid, he didn’t have fear of anything,” says Claraty, who attended the same high school as Tucker in Walnut Creek, California. “He took things head on all the time and thought he would get through it. They were just out to celebrate one year and have a great time and see some friends.”
Dan Tucker, Jared’s dad, received pictures from Heidi as the couple’s journey unfolded.
“When I look at the pictures Heidi sent to us, even the day before the tragedy, he was happy,” says Tucker. “I could just tell he was really really enjoying himself.”
Tucker saw the awful images of the attack, and believes the accident was so severe that Jared was either killed instantly or never regained consciousness.
“In my heart,” he says, “I feel he died a happy person.”
Jared Tucker’s joie de vivre was contagious.
“Jared is probably the nicest guy anybody could meet, if you talked to any one of his friends they would say they would call him their best friend,” says Claraty, an electrician.
“He is the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back, open his house up to you at any time, drop what he is doing to come over and do any kind of project you needed.”
No one could resist Tucker’s big, fun personality, one that made everyone want to hang out with him.
Claraty described Tucker, who had a swimming pool resurfacing business with his father, as a fearless lover of life — a devoted father to his three teenage daughters and an outdoorsman who felt the ocean was “his happy space.”
Tucker surfed in Costa Rica, off Mexico and in the Pacific, fished, and dove for abalone. “He loved the outdoors,” says Claraty, “and getting dirty.”
As large as Tucker’s love for the outdoors was his devotion to his friends. When Claraty had issues with relationships and needed a place to stay, Tucker opened up his home for months at a stretch.
“He said, ‘Stay with me, I’m here for you,'” Claraty recalls. “Anything you need, I’m here.'”
In September of 2012 at an art and wine festival in Lafayette, California, Tucker opened his heart to Nunes, a teacher and the mother of a teenage son.
“When he met her, it was immediate, they both knew,” says Claraty. “Heidi was his total life, they had a great, amazing relationship. He had a bumpy road for awhile with past relationships and once he met Heidi that turned around for him.”
A website set up for his wedding to Nunes shows they were married on Aug. 6, 2016, after becoming engaged on Sept. 10, 2015.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Tucker’s family to cover funeral costs and help raise money to go towards his daughters’ education.
people.com | 8/19/17
Substantial coal power expansion in Europe has been significantly scaled back in recent years after utility companies realised they bet on the wrong horse, according to a new study by the University of Oxford.
www.euractiv.com | 8/14/17
[Foroyaa] A 2.6 million Euro, equivalent to about D120 million Bio-fortification project funded by the European Union and to be implemented by United Purpose, formerly Concern Universal, has been launched on Tuesday 1 August 2017, at the Regional Education Office in Brikama, West Coast Region.
allafrica.com | 8/8/17
Almost every country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) has had some kind of rough and clumsy start at its sunrise. Internet was young, everything was new, and whoever took the national TLD first, got power over it. The situation eventually sorted out, and now most ccTLDs are drama free, well-operated for the benefit of people and the Internet communities in those countries. Unfortunately, not in Slovakia.
DOT SK has been in some kind of trouble since its beginning. After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, which at that time operated its own .CS TLD, two new countries were created: Czech Republic with .CZ TLD, and Slovakia with .SK TLD.
Slovakian TLD was managed by a non-profit organization called Eunet Slovakia, seated at the Comenius University. Those were good times. However, certain people decided to rename their company to Eunet Slovakia, s.r.o. (s.r.o. means Ltd., note the almost exact name). Then in 1999 they purposely misguide ICANN to change .SK ownership to this company, which was immediately afterward sold to the foreign investors. ICANN executed delegation record update in good faith, not knowing that ownership was in fact transferred from a non-profit to private business. In effect, .SK was stolen.
As disturbing as this sounds, it continues to be the case. We in Slovakia deal with the consequences every day. I do not want to dig much into the history, as it would be certainly a good topic for a separate article. If you are curious more about this, look at the story by Ondřej Caletka. The story is based on my speech given at the IT17 conference in Prague a few weeks ago.
Now, it is not impossible to run a ccTLD through private ownership if reasonable policies are in place that meet the satisfaction of the government, citizens and the community. This is the case in many countries. Let's look at how it is in Slovakia.
The system we operate now was created in 2002 when a major pre-registration occurred. Since then, there have been only fractional changes to this system. Whatever you see on www.sk-nic.sk now, was pretty much what you would have seen 15 years ago. During all this time, SK-NIC was purely focused on its profit. There were no significant changes, no updates, no investments back to TLD. Selling a unique commodity without any competition is indeed a great business.
There is no API, so registrars need to emulate browser clicks to automate domain operations. Also, DNSSEC is missing. Domain changes and transfers are not done online as you would expect, but they need a signed paper document to be sent to SK-NIC for an actual confirmation.
Foreign personnel and companies are forbidden to register .SK, so they had to use local proxy contacts, which is usually a registrar company. As an outcome of those neglected domain rules, we ended up with more than 50% of all .SK registrations having inaccurate owner data on file.
In other words: take any random existing .SK domain, and you have only 50% chance to know who the real domain owner is.
All this irresponsibility would be a valid reason for looking into alternate solutions for managing .SK. However, it is not that easy. SK-NIC, a.s., as a follow-up company of aforementioned Eunet Slovakia, s.r.o., has a valid contract with the Government of Slovak republic. And such contract is non-revokable. It cannot be terminated without SK-NIC consent. Something like this would definitely be considered blatant operation today, but this agreement is the result of corrupt environment that existed in the wild 90's and early 2000's. At that time, former post-communist Eastern European countries looked more like the wild west than a well-arranged society. Shady businesses and corrupt behavior were common.
While the situation could be considered bad, it gets even worse. People who run SK-NIC now also own the fourth Slovakian cellular phone carrier. They decided to focus on other investments, thus sell SK-NIC to investors. Like if ccTLD operation was some merchandise for sale. Surely, selling ccTLD managing company has attributes of stealthy redelegation, but when we pointed this out earlier this year, ICANN only wished us a good luck dealing with local authorities.
And who is about to be stealthily redelegated for the .SK? One of the world's largest registry service providers, a London-based company CentralNic.
CentralNic is a ccTLD nightmare. The way how they operate entrusted ccTLD registries is something no one would like to see in their country. Let's consider two examples:
Whatever mess is happening now with the .SK TLD was not planned. The
Campaign for .SK
Petition website NašaDoména.sk (OurDomain.sk) was created, demanding to return .SK back to people. The ultimate goal is to establish an independent non-profit organization for .SK management, and release ccTLD from the long-time seizure of a single private company.
There are 17 web hosting companies behind the petition, 13 of TOP 15 .SK registrars, maintaining more than 73% of all registered .SK domains. Along with that, the campaign is supported by major telecommunication companies and Internet service providers, as well as non-profit organizations and local opinion leaders.
It makes the situation a bit difficult to grasp that Slovakian registrar companies are asking so loudly for the change. Currently, they need to employ a bunch of workarounds to deal with the obsolete SK-NIC system. With CentralNic coming, those no longer will be necessary, thus registrars will profit the most from this change. But it has drawbacks. The whole CentralNic investment will need to pay back. Say goodbye to lower domain prices, and say hello to furious profit hunting, backed by questionable business practices such as those mentioned above.
Sometimes you just need to do what is right, regardless of outcome profit or loss. Therefor Slovakian registrars have boarded a prickly journey. They demand a major change, following the proven model from other countries. For example, in nearby Czech Republic, their .CZ is operated by CZ.NIC, a non-profit organization with an open membership for everyone. On top of their regular TLD agenda, they maintain several interesting open-source projects and contribute to national cybersecurity.
CentralNic utilizes a huge marketing budget. It is probably no surprise, that biased articles popped online, showing only CentralNic's point of view. This was quite expectable, as there are millions of Euros at stake. Less understandable is, how serious online magazine can publish an unbalanced material without giving the other side any possibility to comment.
As written in those articles, they can label us as a political lobbyist, or business personals, or just naive kids. But they can hardly cover how all this .SK transition is happening without a proper discussion in place. Even against the will of Slovakian people and the community.
Written by Ondrej Jombík, Managing Director at Platon.net, Chairmain of Slovakia Web Hosting Assoc.
www.circleid.com | 8/2/17
[Vanguard] Uyo -An expert in snake management and Associate Professor, Department of Forestry and Natural Environment Management, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Edem Archebong Eniang, has raised the alarm, that Ghana, Togo and Republic of Benin, had appropriated Nigeria's annual export quota of 2000 baby-pythons to Europe, causing the country a huge loss in foreign revenue.
allafrica.com | 8/1/17
Mario Moretti Polegato is one of Italy's most successful businessmen. Despite the EU institutions' constant talk about smart growth, he believes Europe has a lot to do to catch up with the US.
www.euractiv.com | 7/28/17
The research by "FIX the FIXING", a project co-funded by the European Union's Erasmus project at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, surveyed more than 600 athletes about whether they had experienced manipulation of results in their sports.
www.dnaindia.com | 7/25/17