Battles for Democracy. Week 21

Battles for Democracy. Week 21

The copyright monopoly cannot be enforced without mass surveillance. We’d better reinvent banking or remove it altogether. 152 out of 736 Members of European Parliament have other earnings apart from their salary. Credit Suisse will pay $2.6 billion for helping American clients avoid taxes, so that they can continue the same. The British government is planning to block European Union legislation on net neutrality

Citizens abused or killed, liberties and rights cut

The copyright monopoly cannot be enforced without mass surveillance, and so the copyright industry has been continuously and relentlessly pushing for more mass surveillance. Most notably, the copyright industry is known for using child porn as an argument for introducing mass surveillance.

We’d better reinvent banking or remove it altogether. There’s a collection of private companies that have a licence to ‘print’ money electronically. These companies are known as ‘banks’, and they create 97% of the money in our economy. But, most of it doesn’t go to the real economy.

The British government is planning to block European Union legislation on net neutrality. It’s a surprising turn of events. Just last month, the European Parliament voted to place the principles of net neutrality into law. However, before it becomes law throughout Europe, each member country must also pass the legislation. On Thursday, the British government indicated it may veto it instead.

The NSA is recording every cell phone call in the Bahamas. According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the surveillance is part of a top-secret system – code-named SOMALGET – that was implemented without the knowledge or consent of the Bahamian government. The NSA opened a backdoor to the country’s cellular telephone network, enabling it to covertly record and store the “full-take audio” of every mobile call made to, from and within the Bahamas.

Credit Suisse will pay $2.6 billion for helping American clients avoid taxes so that they can continue the same. As part of the deal the bank will not be required to turn over the names of the Americans who used the bank to evade taxes. In addition, no senior Credit Suisse executives will face jail time, and the bank will be allowed to continue operating in the United States.

152 out of 736 Members of European Parliament have other earnings apart from their salary. They serve on boards, run consulting practices, or have shareholdings and are far less active than the rest of the MEPs.

Citizens unite, react and take action, institutions support them

[In German] German economy minister pledges to restrict the export of surveillance technology to authoritarian regimes. Authoritarian regimes oppress their population not only with tanks and machine guns, but also with Internet surveillance technology.

US e-commerce firms see their very business models challenged after the European Court of Justice ruling on the right to have certain kinds of information removed. These firms, which use vast pools of your data to sell ads will have to rethink their business models to comply not only with this ruling but with the new legislation to be introduced in late 2014 that will formalize the right to be forgotten and impose massive fines on firms that do not comply with EU law.

Lo and Behold!

1-click patent was not absurd enough: Amazon now owns the patent for ‘Photography Against A White Background’  Have a look at the description Techdirt provided when Amazon  submitted the patent proposal.