Understand ‘Safe Harbor’, Schrems v Facebook in under 300 words • The Register

Useful. And highlights the discrepancies in privacy law between European states the the US.

via Understand ‘Safe Harbor’, Schrems v Facebook in under 300 words • The Register

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Copyright Law, the Creative Industries, and Internet Freedom » infojustice

via The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Copyright Law, the Creative Industries, and Internet Freedom » infojustice.

The TPP makes it very difficult, nearly impossible, for copyright difference. It favours monopolistic regimes, such as the provision that copyright extend for the life of the author plus 70 years, that “aspects” of the DMCA be accepted, and that other rules sedimenting property rights held more by big multinationals than by individuals or local organisations be given precedence over local, regional, national rules.

The concerns that these provisions (and others, including those that remain mysterious) would cut into the processes of creativity, as that has been argued relies on the reuse of prior art, quite often without legal consideration. There is also the concern about what “innovation” means in a world so circumscribed; or perhaps that last question need not be asked at all.

Apple dumps VMware ESXi for KVM – Business Insider

There’s a growing demand in the tech industry for free, open-source software that can do what VMware does. With the rise of smartphones and cloud computing, data centers are growing ever-larger to meet swelling demand. That means licensing fees like the kind VMware demands can become a headache for enormous companies like Apple, which run massive data centers to do things like sell apps and content and push software updates.

Source: Apple dumps VMware ESXi for KVM – Business Insider

Statement of KEI on announcement of consensus on Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement | Knowledge Ecology International

There are numerous concerns about the TPP. To begin with, the content has not officially been revealed; only portions leaked have been made public, and it is not clear that the overall document itself has been finalized. KEI’s commentary, by James Love, KEI Director, is short and worth reading.

With regard to copyright, Love writes:

“We are at a disadvantage to comment on the agreement, precisely because of that secrecy. We don’t know if the TPP will mandate a copyright term of life plus 70 years, change the global rules on copyright exceptions, block legislation to limit remedies for the infringement of orphan copyrighted works, require lower standards for granting patents, mandate patents on new uses of old drugs, require patent term extensions, block current U.S. incentives to induce greater transparency of the patent landscape for biologic drugs, mandate remedies for the infringement of patents on surgical methods, block the adoption of useful exceptions to test data, allow drug companies and publishers to challenge exceptions to rights under the investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in the agreement, or a hundred other issues of consequence.

These points that Love mentions are significant and not the same as the biological data provision that was evidently resolved though a compromise.

The problem with an accord like this goes beyond the dramatic dilution of national sovereignty, which is frankly not necessarily a bad thing, as some national states are more repressive than others: duh. Rather, it has placed policy creation and, to some extent implementation and resolution, in the hands of those organisations ablest to benefit from it. Right now, these would be multinationals who have the resources to create and destroy local markets.

Source: Statement of KEI on announcement of consensus on Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement | Knowledge Ecology International

stateofthe/notes.md at master · creativecommons/stateofthe · GitHub

via stateofthe/notes.md at master · creativecommons/stateofthe · GitHub.

A Big Data Revolution for Humanitarian Response | United Nations Global Pulse

I wish I had been there—but am here, in Budapest, for ACEU. I do wonder: would big data have given the telling signal to have had effect prior to the Rwanda massacre? Of course not. It is not just that the data be gathered fairly and responsibly and analysed with scientific detachment and skepticism. It is that it must also have a chance of being used. But that raises another question. There has been a century or more of often superb scientific work that, if attended to, would save lives today, stop global warming, and otherwise prevent the crimes committed against the world and its sorry inhabitants. And these studies have been not only “ignored,” but active suppressed. The moral being….. but actually, the moral here is that the varnish of Big Data, with all the multinational wealth it ints at, might actually make a difference to lives, and even to the structures of society.

Source: A Big Data Revolution for Humanitarian Response | United Nations Global Pulse

Digital Humanitarians: How “Big Data” is Changing the Face of Humanitarian Response by Patrick Meier | Always on Call | Stanford Social Innovation Review

I was reading over this review by Lucy Bernholz of Patrick Meier’s book, “Digital Humanitarianism” and winced at the paragraph I’ve cited below:


The best parts of Digital Humanitarians are those that show how humanitarian institutions, independent volunteers, and leading digital companies reinforce each other’s efforts. The tale that Meier tells is one of complementarity: Digital humanitarians are not replacing established aid organizations or government agencies. Instead, humanitarian aid has become a dynamic ecosystem that encompasses amateurs and experts, one-off participants and long-term professionals, drone operators and satellite imagery analysts. The global digital “nervous system” provides the context in which they do their work.

Source: Digital Humanitarians: How “Big Data” is Changing the Face of Humanitarian Response by Patrick Meier | Always on Call | Stanford Social Innovation Review

Why my wince? Well, sure it’s nice to have civl society cooperation. But a lot of what Meier writes on seems to be a governmental responsibility, and for a couple of reasons. One is that there is a greater chance of accountability and transparency. Yes, underfunded bureaucracies are terrible things. The solution is to fund them better, not make them worse. And I’d argue certainly not make it the responsibility of those most affected by the events demanding large scale remedies.That’s blaming the victim. But that doesn’t mean that the denizen (not everyone is a citizen) is out of the picture; it means rather that she is involved as an agent, acting on her own behalf, but not wholly liable or responsible for the work. This engaged model has worked pretty well with middle-class PTAs and schools–at least until recent paranoia has changed what schools do and are about.

A story of dirty emissions … and copyright law | Marketplace.org

Yet more on the issue, first raised by Moglen in a _NY Times_ article. Now this, and then also the _Le Monde_ cartoon. Moglen’s point was that operations affecting the public should–must–be open to that public, as otherwise one is trusting in the good faith of those companies which are constituted to maximise their profit. Companies like Exxon, BP, and of course, Volkswagen; but it’s hardly alone. Japanese auto makers have acted with contempt for their buyers time and again in the last few years. All of which is to suggest that, as we seem unlikely (or unwilling) to rid ourselves of this arrangement, that we need systems of regulation.And it is not the business of the people to do what government is entrusted to do; that is a version of blaming the victim. Open data policies do not mean that the people must be vigilantes.


Digital Millennium Copyright Act can protect automakers from scrutiny.

Source: A story of dirty emissions … and copyright law | Marketplace.org

Data Driven Decisions: Connecting vulnerable women with health services in Pakistan – Making All Voices Count

An interesting and useful article. But the quoted paragraph below says it all, and also points to the use of “Big Data” or just data—evidence. That is: it can be used to subvert the normal ways in which decisions are made, which appears to be without regard to actuality (the data). The point is not to come up with novel questions leading to novel discoveries, or at least, not here. It is to use the same old questions, and to substantiate the conclusions with data that can be validated. That’s fairly powerful. But, as the question’s tone suggests, it’s also by no means certain that the powers that be will attend to the evidence. And if they do, whether they won’t, as Canada, Australia, or as several states in the US have done, simply stop gathering evidence that would counter the persistence of the desired if not actual world.

Perhaps the next steps are asking how governments who are leading the way in making data-driven decisions can learn from each other, and challenging the perceptions that ‘government’ is resistant to change.After all – government officials, just like us normal folk, are a mixed bunch. Let’s make sure we work with the champions that are there.

Source: Data Driven Decisions: Connecting vulnerable women with health services in Pakistan – Making All Voices Count

Open source chat applications for team collaboration | Opensource.com

I confess I use Slack, like it and feel guilty about all that. I also use more than enough Apple devices and used to feel guilty, until one day, I noted at an Oscon nearly all—!!—the open source developers there were on MacBook Airs. Yes, Oscon is expensive. But it was not the only one. Developers are pragmatic. In fact, that’s why so many like open source and open standards. Makes life easier and also more interesting.

Still, it’s good to see open source alternatives to Slack. Having used nearly all of these, and rather liking IRC, I have to say that Slack is still better. it is less obtrusive, its UI is a pleasure to behold—-and these are not trivial aspects.


Need a team chat application as a part of your collaboration tool suite? Here are five open source chat applications that will help your team stay connected.

Source: Open source chat applications for team collaboration | Opensource.com


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