Oh blow me. I couldn’t make up a snazzy topic for this post. I’ll just start the ranting.
First of all SOPA, PIPA and the less known global fuckbuddy, ACTA. So there isn’t going to be a vote on SOPA. Great. PIPA is still moving ahead and it, or some re-titled successor will probably end up passing and becoming law. The protest were great and all, but how about ACTA? Where’s the blackouts and protests against ACTA? It’s a more widespread evil uncle of SOPA. It doesn’t just apply to copyrighted software or media, but would basically make ISP’s liable for stuff that their customers do, and by doing that, force them to enact draconian logging and archiving policies. Imagine being a small ISP, and having to build a whole new infrastructure to log what all your clients are doing. Either you do that, or you get sued to hell when one customer does something funny. And is someone paying for all this new logging-infra? Probably not. So it’s either goodbye for the company, or then we’re going to have raised prices everywhere for all kinds of on-line services. The other alternative is that we’re either going to end up with state-run communications companies, or a few big monopolies that control prices and services throughout the industry.
Not to mention what it’ll do to personal privacy (what little there is left). ISPs can already monitor what you do if they want (for technical reasons, mainly), but they may *have* to start doing that, just to protect their business.
Why wasn’t there more noise on ACTA? Perhaps because of SOPA and PIPA, and the noise behind that. Perhaps because ACTA was basically drafted and signed behind closed doors. No public discussion, no expert witnesses or commentators. Just good old politics. The agreement was signed on the 22nd, in Tokyo, in case you missed it. It now has to be ratified by each member state, but the pressure is on. You didn’t sign ACTA? Oh well, then I guess we’ll take our business elsewhere! Sounds like the way to go.
Poland is among the only countries that have had any large scale protests (correct me if I’m wrong here). Where’s the Internets when you need them? I hope we’ll have more protests as the member states start to try and ratify the law locally. I know where I’ll be. (The first one against the wall when the revolution starts?). I also hope that Finland will have the decency to put it up for a public vote, or at least a parliamentary vote. Not that I have much faith in those fuckers. It’s going to be “I’m 12 and what is this?” *signs paper*. Some Wikileaks stuff on ACTA here.
- In its article 27.3 the ACTA agreement calls for “cooperation” between rights-holders and the Internet service providers. The very same mechanisms are called by the European Commission as “extra-judicial measures” and “alternative to courts”. It means that police (surveillance and collection of evidences) and justice missions (penalties) could be handed out to private actors, bypassing judicial authority and the right to a fair trial.
- In article 27.4, ACTA will allow rights-holders to obtain private data regarding the users of Internet service providers, without a decision of a judge. This is a dangerous breach to privacy. The article is non-binding (using the “may” verb), but this could be changed further, by way of amendment (see below). This would generalize a much criticized procedure included in the 2004 IPR enforcement directive.
Civil sanctions could also weight on technical intermediates and be used to pressure them to accept “cooperation”. The “damages” section of the civil chapter validates the “lost-sale myth” whereby the industry claims enormous profit losses using biased methodologies. The text requires “pre-established” damages, as well as “additional damages,” which means damages not based on any actual proof of harm and akin to a criminal sanction.
- Article 23.4: Criminal sanctions for “aiding and abetting” infringement (it sounds just like IPRED2, which is not part of the EU acquis). These could also be used against Internet technical intermediaries and technology providers as a way to force them into accepting “cooperation” with rightsholders.
- Article 27.2: This reference to the enforcement of “means of widespread distribution for infringing purposes” is very worrying. It could be interpreted as justifying the implementation of provisions indirectly criminalizing blogging platforms, P2P networks, free software, and other technologies that contribute to dissemination of culture and knowledge on the Internet.
My friend Macandron is leaving for a round-the-world trip with his girlfriend. Good luck, and have lots of fun. And remember to see all the places!
I’m now starting a week of winter vacation. I think I’ll try to read my book, and rest a whole lot. Not.. doing..much. Then it’s back to work. Lots of good stuff going on there, also lots of tough stuff going on.
It’s dead of winter now. Not terribly cold, yet, but we do have some snow here. Not as much as last winter, but some. January-February tend to be the coldest months in Finland. On average.
My grandfather is still in the hospital, and not doing well. My father is getting rather tired, because he’s kind of keeping it all together. It’s been a long few months. I saw my grandfather at the hospital in December, but he was kind of a shell at that point already. Partly there, partly not. Hope he’s not in pain.
OK, from these cheery subjects onwards! My son just fell asleep after a grueling 1½ hour battle.. He’ll turn five soon. He’s a great sport, but after a long week at work, you kind of wish he’d just..sleep? You know? Sometimes? Because I know that come 0800 tomorrow, he’ll be dragging me out of bed to turn on the TV and make breakfast. No problem. Nooo..problem..
I’m now going to stop typing, get a cup of coffee and watch Inception with H.