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Act Now on ACTA

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| One of the things that has amazed me recently is the power of the letter –
| or, more specifically, the power of the letter when sent to an MP or MEP.
| Naively, I would have expected a deafening silence from these exalted beings
| in receipt of my ever so 'umble communications, but by and large they are
| astonishingly quick to respond, often with personal replies. From this I draw
| an important lesson: that it is always worth writing to your Mps/MEPs about
| things that matter to you.
| Against that background, over the next few weeks, I aim to present a few
| worthy causes to readers of this blog that they might like to take up with
| representatives. Remember, finding the latter – and sending stuff to them –
| is trivially easy thanks to the wonders of the WriteToThem site, so there's
| no excuse for not joining in.


Sysadmins slam ACMA web filtering study

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| The Guild also expressed concerns about the false positives encountered
| during the ACMA test. The most accurate filter tested incorrectly blocked
| three percent of requests, but when scaled up to the traffic volumes of a
| medium to large ISP this would mean over 3000 requests would be blocked every
| second.


IETF tackling P2P data traffic in Tokyo even though the same content is
available on a server in London.

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| There are a number of possible solutions: The P4P working group at Yale
| University has conducted initial testing in the Verizon and Telefonica
| networks. On the other side of the pond, an EU supported research project is
| working on a solution called Network-Aware P2P TV Application Over Wise
| Networks. In spring, Berlin computer science professor Anja Feldmann
| presented the concept of an "oracle" server, which would deliver a rating
| list of the closest P2P nodes.
| [...]
| Another SIP expert, Henning Schultzrinne of Columbia University, raised the
| possibility of giving end users more control over data traffic costs.
| Currently, users face the disheartening possibility of risking a hefty bill
| for P2P traffic. At his university, it is standard operating procedure to
| block access to users who have exceeded their 252 gigabyte monthly volume.




Why We Must React to ACTA

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| The name of the “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” – ACTA – is indicative
| of the overall approach being taken. First, this is a trade agreement, which
| means that it by-passes many of the more open processes for drawing up
| international agreements. This has allowed it to be discussed in secret,
| amongst a cosy club of interested parties and their chums – notably, those in
| industries based on exploiting intellectual monopolies.
| Moreover, this is an invitation-only club, which has led to the exclusion of
| most developing countries, and hence most of the world in terms of
| population. It is nothing less than cyber-imperialism by the rich countries
| that for so long have imposed their agendas on the rest of the globe, but
| which finally see their traditional hegemony threatened by the rise of new
| powers – and new ideas. ACTA is a last-ditch attempt to lock the world into
| an old and outdated mindset.


Senators Plan To Unveil New IP Bill

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| Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and ranking member Arlen
| Specter will join Sens. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and George Voinovich, R-Ohio, on
| Thursday in unveiling new legislation intended to boost government efforts to
| crack down on counterfeiting and piracy.


FSF organizes against Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

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| "At the moment, the campaign's mostly information," Lee says. "What we want
| to do is get more people involved who can help us build public awareness and
| also build up the information on ACTA."
| Other ways that free software users can help the FSF campaign, Lee suggests,
| include local campaigns that contact your elected representatives and
| starting grass root organizations to help create a world-wide action network.
| Lee also stresses the importance of translating information from English to
| help resistance to ACTA in non-English speaking countries.
| "It's early days for the campaign," Lee says. "It's an ongoing battle, but
| ultimately we're going to ride this through and see ACTA defeated. But we
| need people to get involved to help us do this."


ACTA threatens free software

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| 1. It makes it more difficult to distribute free software: Without file
| * *sharing and P2P technologies like BitTorrent, distributing large amounts
| * *of free software becomes much harder, and more expensive. BitTorrent is a
| * *grassroots protocol that allows everyone to contribute to legally
| * *distributing free software.
| 2. It will make it harder for users of free operating systems to play
| * *media: Consumers will no longer be able to buy media without DRM -- and
| * *DRMed media cannot be played with free software.
| 3. It increases the chances of getting your devices taken away: Portable
| * *media players that support free formats are less common than devices which
| * *support DRM, such as the iPod. Will this make them suspicious to border
| * *guards?
| 4. It creates a culture of surveillance and suspicion, in which the
| * *freedom that is required to produce free software is seen as dangerous and
| * *threatening rather than creative, innovative, and exciting.


The right to peer inside your iPod

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| An agreement on intellectual property rights to be ratified by the G8 heads
| of government highlights conflicts between ownership and privacy


Microsoft could force your mobile into silence

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| Microsoft is developing a new technology that could force mobiles into silent
| mode, or even prevent calls from being made.
| [...]
| Phone jammers, which work in small spaces, are banned in the UK and come with
|| a hefty fine for use.


Digital copyright: it's all wrong

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| The ACTA draft is a scary document. If a treaty based on its provisions were
| adopted, it would enable any border guard, in any treaty country, to check
| any electronic device for any content that they suspect infringes copyright
| laws. They need no proof, only suspicion.
| They would be able to seize any device - laptop, iPod, DVD recorder, mobile
| phone, etc - and confiscate it or destroy anything on it, merely on
| suspicion. On the spot, no lawyers, no right of appeal, no nothing.


Embattled ACTA Negotiations Next Week In Geneva; US Sees Signing This Year

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| Criticism from NGOs
| Canadian law expert David Fewer, staff counsel at the University of Ottawa’s
| Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, told the Ottawa Citizen
| that the discussion paper was very close to a potential Christmas wish-list
| by Hollywood companies.
| Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), in an earlier statement filed to USTR,
| warned against a lack in differentiation and clearness of core terms, like
| counterfeiting, infringement or piracy. “Is Microsoft a “pirate” for
| insisting on the right to continue to infringe the z4 patents in order to use
| an infringing DRM technology to protect Microsoft software itself from
| infringement by unauthorised uses?” KEI asked in its statement.

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