Sunday, 26 April 2015

EU Wants a New Regulator to Make Sure Internet Firms are Behaving Themselves

The EU Wants a New Regulator to Make Sure Internet Firms are Behaving Themselves | Gizmodo UK: "They warn that some digital businesses are "transforming into super-nodes that can be of systemic importance” and “only a very limited part of the economy will not depend on them in the near future.”

 The documents warn that a lack of action could lead to a "point of no return", where economies are irreversibly tied to a handful of large companies.  Examples include the likes of Amazon, Etsy, Trip Advisor, Facebook, and Google.

They are mentioned as having undue power over their sectors of the market and can exclude any company or products they feel like, without evidence, by claiming they breach terms and conditions.

Apparently this could potentially put the whole European economy at risk due to market exploitation.

To tackle this the documents propose that a new "supervision framework" should be put together and do things like ban unfair business practices and prevent internet companies from using their platforms to provide preferential treatment to their own services." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Spying on the U.S. Submarine That Spies For the NSA and CIA

Spying on the U.S. Submarine That Spies For the NSA and CIA: "Annapolis's parent unit, Submarine Development Squadron 12, brokers all of this special equipment for the Navy's submarines, setting up relations with the CIA and NSA, as well as the National Reconnaissance Office, which operates the spy satellites and stealthy communications links. And there are a set of silent partners in industry and academia who also ply their trade in this secret submarine world.

 One such player is the Applied Research Laboratory of Pennsylvania State University. As a Pentagon-designated university-affiliated research center, Penn State's ARL "maintains a special long-term strategic relationship with DoD," the lab brags in an online presentation. That relationship accounts for nearly half the university's research budget—and it includes work on Annapolis's RADIANT GEMSTONE, the only public mention of this highly secretive program:

 How excited is the Navy about this new mission? Imagine being the only kid on the block with a shiny new red wagon. The service's admiral in charge of cryptology says the Navy is anxiously crafting "an ordered, sustainable maritime means of realizing military power in cyberspace."

 Still: What does that mean? When you can spy on anyone, anywhere, anytime—not just heads of state, but anyone on a cell or a WiFi connection—what do you actually do? More to the point: Who was the Annapolis spying on last year?

We know roughly where it traveled through the "European and Central Command areas of responsibility"—near Iran, Israel, perhaps even Yemen.

We know that its crew briefed those NSA and CIA officials. We know that Parks, his mission accomplished, recently stepped aside and handed command of Annapolis to a "tactical analysis" expert from Submarine Development Squadron 12." 'via Blog this'

NSA declares war on general purpose computers - Boing Boing

NSA declares war on general purpose computers - Boing Boing: "NSA director Michael S Rogers says his agency wants "front doors" to all cryptography used in the USA, so that no one can have secrets it can't spy on -- but what he really means is that he wants to be in charge of which software can run on any general purpose computer.

 Rogers's proposal is no less stupid than the proposal made by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, but it's even scarier in that Rogers runs a highly technical criminal organization with state backing and a history of attacking the security of American computing infrastructure by deliberately introducing vulnerabilities into computers used by American citizens, businesses, and government.

There's no way to stop Americans -- particularly those engaged in criminal activity and at risk from law enforcement -- from running crypto without locking all computers, Ipad-style, so that they only run software from a government-approved "app-store."

The world teems with high quality, free, open crypto tools. Simply banning their integration into US products will do precisely nothing to stop criminals from getting their code from outside non-US vendors or projects. Only by attacking the fundamental nature of computing itself can the NSA hope to limit its adversaries' use of crypto.

I predicted this in 2012, and I'm sad to see it coming true.

The risk of this happening is why I've gone back to EFF to kill DRM in all its forms." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, 12 April 2015

EU Deal Probes May Weigh Value of Personal Data: Vestager

EU Deal Probes May Weigh Value of Personal Data: Vestager - Bloomberg Business:

"“Many people still don’t realize that sites that appear to be free are actually paid for by the information you provide through your searches and behavior online,” Vestager said.

While the EU has been investigating allegations that Google Inc. abuses its role as the biggest search engine, it avoided looking at control of personal data in a 2008 merger review of Google’s bid for online advertising platform DoubleClick. EU regulators didn't identify data-usage concerns in last year’s review of Facebook Inc.’s takeover of messaging service WhatsApp." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Pasquale: Interview on the Black Box Society

Balkinization: Interview on the Black Box Society: "The Black Box Society’s central subject--agnotology, the suppression or destruction of knowledge--is a particularly difficult topic to interpret methodically. But I’ve tried to highlight some very important disputes, show their broader relevance, and explain what laws would need to change for us to really understand the value of what data brokers, search engines, financiers, or homeland security contractors are doing. I justify those policy proposals with reference to emerging work in more normatively oriented branches of political economy and social science...

Political economy is a venerable discipline. While it has, of late, been dominated by “positive political economists” focused on the pathologies of governance, there is a venerable tradition of political economists studying the “ideal role of the state in the economic and social organization of a country” (as Piketty puts it). Lawyers are particularly well-suited to the task of studying political economy, because we are the ones drafting, interpreting, and applying the rules governing the interface between state actors and firms.

Integrating the long-divided fields of politics and economics, a renewal of modern political economy could unravel “wicked problems” neither states nor markets alone can address.

But it’s actually more urgent than that, because the very terms “state” and “market” seem antiquated. For example, Medicare may be publicly funded, but it’s ultimately run by a panoply of private contractors. Banks may make tremendous profits from financial “markets,” but the main reason they have deposits and counterparties to deal with is governmental guarantees that take the sting out of credit risk—and, in turn, reward many of those administering such guarantees with lucrative jobs once they leave government.

 So a purely economic approach to “markets” here, or a purely political approach to “states,” misses the critical interaction between the two. A political economic approach is vital—and that’s what has made social theory ranging from Smith and Mill, to Tocqueville and Durkheim, to Weber and Habermas, of such enduring interest. In law, we still read Robert Lee Hale and the legal realists for exactly the same reason. My concluding chapter tries to revive this political economic perspective, suggesting reforms beyond the purely legal concerns of the penultimate chapter." 'via Blog this'