28 February 2017

5 juli-podden 42: Nya mediekriget - Milo, Pewdiepie, Facebook

5 juli-podden – för dig som vill vara uppdaterad i debatten om internet, övervakning och fri- & rättigheter.



Kommer attackerna mot Milo Yiannopoulos och Felix Kjellberg gå till historien som milstolpar i kampen mellan gamla och nya medier? Och hur ska Mark Zuckerbergs utspel om Facebooks framtida roll i våra liv tolkas?

Det pratar vi om i dagens avsnitt av 5 juli-podden, som avslutas med ett kort nyhetssvep.

5 juli-podden görs av Karl Andersson och Henrik HAX Alexandersson. Varje tisdag.

Soundcloud » | Youtube » | iTunes »RSS-feed (via Soundcloud) » | Ladda hem filen (MP3) »

Feedback, läsarbrev och insändar-inslag (MP3) kan sändas till: karl[at]5july.org

Publicerad under Creative Commons (Soundclouds CC-licens: CC=BY&NC)

HAX 5 juli-blogg (på engelska) »

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-02-28 12:25:00)

Letter to EU Policy-Makers: Making Regulation Work for Community Networks

Paris, 28 February 2017 — On the occasion of the revision of the Telecom Package, La Quadrature du Net publishes here the letter of netCommons on the importance of community networks for freedoms and fundamental rights.

La Quadrature du Net stresses that the review the Telecom Package should be for legislators, the opportunity to reinforce the transparency, civil rights and liberties and the possibility for all actors, especially the small ones to be able to play a significant role in the future so-called Digital Single Market. Also, La Quadrature du Net points out the importance of a fair and equal regulation for all the actors, especially for local communities, non-profit actors and users' rights. This revision should not lead to a closed market with few monopolistic actors.

This letter is open for comments.

After many discussions with many European Community Networks (CNs), researchers from netCommons are happy to present a draft open letter on "policy recommendations for sustaining Community Networks". The letter is targeted at European policy-makers, who recently started working on an overhaul of the telecom regulatory framework.

This letter, drafted in collaboration with several European CNs and advocacy groups, is meant to offer a collective voice to this growing movement. Until March 8th, we would like to collect signatures from as many European CNs as possible, as well as other supporting organizations (be they advocacy groups, research projects, non-profits, SMEs, local authorities, etc.).

After this consultation period and the collection of signatures, we would like to send the letter to members of EU Parliament, national delegations at the Council of the EU, as well as to key officials from the EU Commission.

Several outcomes can be expected, including:

  • The publication of a joint press release by all signatories to disseminate the open letter as widely as possible (by the end of March).
  • Proposals for amendments reflecting the recommendations of this open letter, to be sent to key members of the EU Parliament before the first crucial vote on the Telecoms Package in late April.
  • A policy workshop to be organized later this year in Brussels.

Of course, all of these potential outcomes will depend upon the involvement of signatory organizations, and in particular of the willingness of CNs to work together.

But first, we are sharing the draft to a wider circle of CNs and other people interested in their activities for consultation and potential amendments to the text. Until March 8th, you can read and comment on the draft letter, offer corrections and suggest changes or additions by using co-ment, an online tool for collaborative writing. You can access the letter at the bottom of this page.

If and when you agree to sign the letter, please send the name of your organization, the country where it is based and its high-resolution logo to:advocacy@netcommons.eu (note that if your signature is dependent on the response brought to a specific comment you have made, please be sure to tag comment as "blocking").

(by neurone130 at 2017-02-28 09:07:46)

27 February 2017

Hur kommer Facebook att använda sin makt över världen och över våra liv?


Läs min senaste bloggpost på HAX5.July.org:


"Putting our democratic system in the hands of Facebook? Really? I don’t think so. (...) We simply do not want the Skynet experience."

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-02-27 19:27:00)

25 February 2017

PewDiePie mot gammelmedia, del 2

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-02-25 17:00:00)

24 February 2017

Att komma tillbaka

Ibland kommer livet i vägen, och engagemang får ta en paus för det viktigare – att för stunden överleva, att prioritera det som är viktigt. Så har fallet varit för mig de första två månaderna av året, och i mitt fall har prioriteringarna varit hälsa och jobb.

Som följd har mitt engagemang i Piratpartiet varit lite vilande, som en del märkt och som jag meddelat partistyrelsen.

Den goda nyheten, jag är tillbaka. Det är en konstig känsla, men väldigt uppfriskande. I närmare två veckor har jag försökt komma in steg för steg, och sakta men säkert kommit till insikten att jag måste dyka i sjön av partiarbete för att jag verkligen ska komma tillbaka. Idag har jag suttit och gått igenom mail, fört samtal jag skjutit upp, planerat framtiden, och så mycket mer.

Jag är tillbaka. Nu fortsätter vi.

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Kommentera! (by Anton Nordenfur at 2017-02-24 14:47:22)

23 February 2017

Den härskande klassen är inte road



Läs min senaste krönika hos Mårtensson:

Den härskande klassen är inte road »

"Makten över verklighetsbilden är, i vart fall delvis, makt. Och nätet kan vara det verktyg med vilket folket är på väg att organisera sig. Vilket i så fall är på tiden. Det är därför Maktapparaten hatar internet."

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-02-23 23:42:00)

22 February 2017

Så kan Löfven ta reda på hur du har googlat


I en artikel i The Intercept som egentligen handlar om något annat hittade jag denna målande beskrivning av XKeyscore.

XKeyscore är den amerikanska övervakningsmyndigheten NSA:s gigantiska databas, ibland kallad »spionernas Google«. Enligt Snowden-dokumenten har även svenska FRA tillgång till densamma.
"According to Snowden documents published by The Guardian in 2013, XKEYSCORE is by the NSA’s own admission its “widest reaching” program, capturing “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet.” A subsequent report by The Intercept showed that XKEYSCORE’s “collected communications not only include emails, chats, and web-browsing traffic, but also pictures, documents, voice calls, webcam photos, web searches, advertising analytics traffic, social media traffic, botnet traffic, logged keystrokes, computer network exploitation targeting, intercepted username and password pairs, file uploads to online services, Skype sessions, and more.” For the NSA and its global partners, XKEYSCORE makes all of this as searchable as a hotel reservation site."
Helt uppenbart innehåller XKeyscore uppgifter om svenskar och svenska förhållanden. I och med att FRA har tillgång till denna databas kan man utgå från att även regeringen (i vart fall indirekt) har tillgång till all denna information om miljontals individer, företag och organisationer – så väl i Sverige som i utlandet.

Bara så att du vet.

Länk: How Peter Thiel’s Palantir helped the NSA spy on the whole world »

Läs även: Trump, CIA, NSA, Palantir, Facebook & the common denominator »

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-02-22 15:22:00)

Så kan vi få ut 4.000 poliser på gator och torg


Dagens drogpolitik är kontraproduktiv. Den skapar incitament för gängbrottslighet. Den skapar ondödigt lidande bland missbrukarna. Och död. Trots (eller snarare på grund av) den repressiva svenska drogpolitiken har Sverige den näst högsta drogrelaterade dödligheten i Europa.

Drogpolitiken är dessutom ologisk och moraliskt förkastlig. Att jaga brukare är att skapa brott utan offer. Att jaga missbrukare istället för att ge dem vård är direkt inhumant.

Det bästa vore att legalisera narkotikan helt och se till att försäljningen sker under ordnade former. Det skulle bland annat slå undan den ekonomiska basen för kriminella gäng och organiserad brottslighet. Men det kommer knappast att ske.

Det näst bästa är att avkriminalisera innehav av droger för eget bruk. Detta fungerar bra i andra länder – som har en betydligt lägre drogrelaterad dödlighet än Sverige.

För att nå önskad effekt bör detta gälla alla former av narkotika.

Men redan genom att avkriminalisera endast cannabis (40% av de narkotikarelaterade polisinsatserna, till en kostnad av fem miljarder kronor) kan man frigöra resurser motsvarande 4.000 poliser per år. Samt ge alla poliser löneförhöjning.

4.000 poliser – som istället skulle kunna ägna sig åt att upprätthålla ordningen på gator och torg.

Vore inte det en god idé?

Länkar:
• Liam Murray: Lägg resurserna på annat än att jaga cannabisbrukare »
• Chris Makoundoul: Avkriminalisera och anställ poliser istället »
• Fler grips för narkotikabruk – men langarna kommer undan »

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-02-22 12:29:00)

21 February 2017

#52weeks bok 6 – Heavy Metal Africa

För flera år sedan råkade jag på ett crowdfundingprojekt på Indiegogo där en Edward Banchs sökte medel för att skriva en bok om rock och metal på den bortglömda kontinenten. Jag tyckte att det lät spännande så när jag strax därefter blev tillfrågad vad jag önskade mig i födelsedag, önskade jag mig att man skulle sponsra projektet i mitt namn. Vilket också skedde, och ett exemplar av boken när den väl blev färdig var den utlovade motprestationen.

Jag uppdaterade mig med jämna mellanrum om projektets framskridande, men informationen var skral och efter accepterade jag tanken på att boken nog aldrig skulle bli verklighet. Jag kände mig ändå okej med det och tänkte att om Banchs använt pengarna till att resa runt i Afrika men aldrig fått ihop boken, så kunde jag leva med det. Lite tråkigt för mig, men kul för honom. Ungefär så resonerade jag.

Så i slutet av förra året fick jag plötsligt ett mail från Edward Banchs där han meddelade att boken var färdig och bad om en adress att leverera den till. Bara några dagar därefter kunde jag hämta ut den på posten. Därmed var jag en av kanske en handfull människor i Sverige som äger ett exemplar av den här boken (i tacklistan har jag identifierat tre namn förutom mitt som sannolikt svenska men givetvis kan man heta vad man vill och bo i Sverige, eller välja att inte få sitt namn utskrivet). Likväl är det en häftig känsla att vara en i en så exklusiv skara, och dessutom veta att vi bidrog till att boken överhuvudtaget blev skriven. Och nu är jag officiellt också en av de människor som har läst ut den.

Edward Banchs börjar sin resa i Sydafrika och besöker därefter i tur och ordning Botswana, Kenya, Madagaskar, Maritius, Réunion Island och, avslutningsvis, Zimbabwe. Under denna rundresa lever han tillsammans med de musiker han intervjuar, och ger därigenom en fascinerande insikt i hur livet de olika delarna av Afrika ser ut. Liksom Mark LeVines bok Heavy Metal Islam (om metal i mellanöstern) är det en bok som egentligen handlar mer om människorna och livet än om musiken. Men genom att skildra det genom musikernas ögon finns det en direkt anknytning – jag ”känner” dem redan för vi delar samma passion. Det finns ett sidospår här som jag någon gång ska utveckla, om hur ovärderligt kultur är för att knyta band mellan människor, men här och nu nöjer jag mig med att konstatera att om man vill lära sig om andra människors liv så är ett utmärkt sätt att först hitta ett gemensamt intresse, en gemensam passion. En gemensam kultur. Det kan vara fotboll, eller dans. Eller, som i det här fallet, rockmusik.

Det finns så många trådar att nysta i, så många tankegångar som väcks av att läsa en sådan här bok. Till exempel om hur banden i de länder Banchs besöker är ovilliga att väva in den lokala musiken i sin musik. Förklaringarna är lite olika; somliga menar att de inte vill bli exotifierade – de vill respekteras på samma premisser som sina idoler i AC/DC, Iron Maiden eller Accept. Andra ger förklaringen att rockmusik ursprungligen är afrikansk musik, via omvägen blues och gospel förstås, och att det därför är deras musik. Ytterligare andra förklarar frankt att det inte går. Det enda undantaget Banchs hittar från den regeln är på Réunion Island, där flera musiker aktivt arbetar med fusioner av rock/metal och den lokala musiken, maloya. Förklaringen till det undantaget tycks vara att maloya ursprungligen är en upprorisk musik och var ett tag förbjudet av den franska överheten. Det man mellan raderna kan utläsa är att rock och metal spelas som en form av uppror mot de rådande traditionerna, precis som rockens historia ser ut i övriga världen och ju starkare och mer konservativt samhället är, desto mer omöjligt tycks det att kombinera rock och metal med traditionell musik. Undantaget alltså Réunion Island, där den traditionella musiken maloya delar rockmusikens rötter. Maloya, i likhet med rockmusikens förfäder blues och gospel, har sitt ursprung i slaveri och de särskilda förutsättningar som uppstår när människor från vitt skilda kulturer smälter samman (om än med tvång).

Boken ger också en inblick i hur varierande livet i Afrika kan vara. Det finns en väldigt stereotyp bild av kontinenten, där hela Afrika klumpas ihop till savanner, svält och stamkrig. Det är långt ifrån hela sanningen. Bara det faktum att det överhuvudtaget finns en levande och kämpande rockkultur vittnar om motsatsen. Därmed inte sagt att savanner, svält och stamkrig inte existerar. Det gör det definitivt, och för många är det en del av vardagen. I Kenya träffar Banchs metalheads som använder rockkulturen för att överbrygga den klyfta som klansamhället innebär. Genom att skapa en ny, gemensam kultur, bidrar de så smått till att minska friktionen mellan de gamla. Så även om en Luo ”vet” att Kisii är dåliga och vice versa, så inser båda att de inte kan vara helt genomruttna när de möts i likadana Slayer-tröjor.

I Botswana skildrar Banchs den vänlighet och generositet som han beskriver som typisk för Afrika och som ett av skälen till att han en gång i tiden kärade ner sig i kontinenten. Vid ett tillfälle kliver han av en buss vid en landsväg i väntan på någon som ska komma och plocka upp honom. Då kommer två människor från varsitt håll och ställer sig där med honom, först en ung kvinna som vill försäkra sig om att han är säker och meddelar att hon tänker vänta med honom, och strax därefter en medelålders man med samma approach. Och väntar gör de, tills hans skjuts kommer. Då går de igen, åt varsitt håll. Varför? För att tydligen är det så man gör. Ingen ska behöva stå ensam vid landsvägen i Botswana.

Banchs besöker det fruktansvärt fattiga Madagaskar och det, med afrikanska mått mätt, rika Maritius. Han avslöjar en dold liten pärla i Indiska Oceanen i form av Reunion Island som geografiskt räknas till Afrika (om än med knapp marginal) men som tekniskt sett är medlem i EU. Botswana är en framgångssaga som, om än fortfarande fattigt, är förhållandevis liberalt och en ö av politisk stabilitet i en orolig omgivning. Dess grannland Zimbabwe är raka motsatsen. En gång i tiden känt som Afrikas brödkorg tack vare sitt framgångsrika jordbruk har det tack vare Robert Mugabes självmordspolitik störtats genom hyperinflation av rent komiska mått till att bli ett av de fattigaste. Och överallt, i alla dessa vitt skilda miljöer och med sina vitt skilda förutsättningar, hittar han rock- och metalmusiker som brinner för sin musik och som trotsar repressiv politik, omgivningens fördomar, bristfällig elförsörjning och undermålig materiell standard för sin passion.

Ni känner till Big Mac-index? Ett sätt att mäta ett lands prisnivå utifrån vad en Big Mac kostar (grovt förenklat). Kanske skulle vi kunna upprätta ett slags Metal-index också. Ett sätt att mäta en nations såväl ekonomiska som frihetliga standard utifrån hur svårt det är att vara ett metalhead.


Nazca, från Réunion Island


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Kommentera! (by Joshua_Tree at 2017-02-21 18:51:37)

NSA Contractors Join Privacy Shield

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Flickr user jrothphotos

Did you really think that the European Union would protect your privacy? Don’t be so naive.

The US-EU Privacy Shield program is supposed to give EU citizens greater data protections. As I wrote previously, the Privacy Shield program has several legal loopholes, which makes it look a bit like a block of Swiss cheese.

To add insult to injury, not only does the Privacy Shield fail to protect people’s private data, even NSA contractors are invited to join the party! The Privacy Shield program gives these NSA contractors the ability to transfer personal data stored in the EU to the US. From watching international news over the past few years, you may remember how Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA’s mass surveillance programs. Snowden exposed how the US government had access to read your emails and to listen in on your phone calls.

Including NSA contractors on the list of Privacy Shield is a bit like letting the fox guard your henhouse. While some of the NSA contractors are signed up only to share human resources data, their inclusion in the program does nothing to improve Privacy Shield’s already dismal public image. The companies on the list are allowed to submit a self-assessment to ensure their compliance with Privacy Shield. In practice, this means that these companies have little or no independent oversight.

The following NSA contractors have joined the Privacy Shield program: BAE Systems, Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon.

With the inclusion of NSA contractors in the Privacy Shield program, it is rather obvious that the US government cares nothing for data protection. While Europeans are lulled into a false sense of security with Privacy Shield, the US continues to build its surveillance state.

eff nsa logo


BAE Systems

In 2013, BAE Systems won a multi-year contract with the NSA for high performance computing. The contract is valued at $127 million. A leaked top-secret document outlines the NSA’s surveillance priorities for 2012-2016. One of the NSA’s stated goals is to use high performance computing to crack encryption. As a goal, the document states that the NSA plans to “Dynamically integrate endpoint, midpoint, industrial-enabled, and cryptanalytic capabilities to reach previously inaccessible targets in support of exploitation, cyber defense, and cyber operations.” In other words, the NSA plans to use its high performance computing program to broaden its surveillance capabilities, and BAE Systems is helping.

Boeing

The American telecom, AT&T, built a secret room in one of its centers to facilitate NSA spying. In 2006, an AT&T technician blew the whistle and revealed the NSA’s massive spying operations. The NSA used a device to sift through massive amounts of data from the internet’s backbone. The device was made by a company called Narus. In 2010, Boeing acquired Narus.

In 2008, Boeing acquired Digital Receiver Technology (DRT). The NSA used DRT equipment to track people’s locations by their cellphone signals. Some DRT devices also have the ability to listen in on cellphone conversations and jam cellphone signals. Several DRT devices appear in the NSA’s surveillance catalog.

General Dynamics

In 2014, the Intercept revealed that the NSA was recording virtually every phone call in the Bahamas. The program is called SOMALGET, which is part of a broader surveillance program called MYSTIC. The broader surveillance program, MYSTIC, collects phone call metadata from several countries including Mexico, Kenya, and the Phillipines. General Dynamics had an 8 year contract valued at $51 million to process data for the MYSTIC program.

Lockheed Martin

In 1988, Margaret Newsham, a software engineer for Lockheed Martin, blew the whistle on a massive NSA spying program. The NSA was intercepting phone calls and electronic data in a surveillance program called ECHELON. While working for Lockheed Martin, Newsham was helping to create software that ran the ECHELON program. Newsham also revealed that the NSA was listening to phone calls of a US Congressman.

The US military’s research arm, DARPA, awarded contracts for the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program. The TIA program would collect massive amounts of data and use a predictive policing model. In other words, TIA used automated analysis to identify people as potential terrorists. In a very eery sense, it was the film Minority Report becoming reality. DARPA gave Lockheed Martin 23 contracts valued at $27 million for the TIA program. Several branches of the US government were involved in the TIA program, including the NSA. In 2012, the New York Times revealed that the NSA was running a program very similar to the TIA. The full extent of the TIA’s legacy would not be revealed until the Snowden leaks in 2013.

Northrop Grumman

In 2000, the NSA launched the Trailblazer project. The aim of Trailblazer was to update the old Cold War era interception technology employed by the NSA. The Trailblazer project was mired in scandal. The NSA had wasted over a billion dollars for a program that did not work. Northrop Grumman was one of the contractors working on the failed Trailblazer project.

The Trailblazer project was terminated in 2006. The next year, the NSA awarded Northrop Grumman a $220 million contract. The contract was to help the NSA manage the vast amounts of data it collected from its surveillance programs.

Raytheon

In 2009, the NSA founded the US Cyber Command. The new command center would focus on defensive as well as offensive cyber warfare. Raytheon posted job advertisements for “cyber warriors” to work at locations near known NSA sites.

In 2010, the NSA awarded Raytheon a classified $100 million contract for the Perfect Citizen program. The program would place sensors, to detect cyber attacks, in the backbone infrastructure of public utilities. A Raytheon employee criticized the program with the following words in an email: “Perfect Citizen is Big Brother.” The NSA rather comically claimed that Perfect Citizen would not be used for spying; however, privacy advocates were worried that the program would be used for domestic surveillance.

 

 

 

The text of this article is released into the public domain. You are free to translate and republish the text of this article. Featured picture is CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Flicker user jrothphotos. Secondary picture CC by EFF.

Printouts from PrivacyShield.gov website, link.

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Kommentera! (by Rachael Tackett at 2017-02-21 10:26:13)

17 February 2017

Kongresshandlingarna UPK2017

Hej alla fina kongressdeltagare,

Låt mig presentera årets kongresshandlingar, den digitala pappersluntan som innehåller allt du kan tänkas behöva veta inför Ung Pirats Förbundskongress 2017. Alla som fått den här informationen mejlad till sig är antingen ombud, förbundsstyrelse, funktionär, valberedning eller revisor, men den är givetvis tillgänglig för alla medlemmar på:

http://wiki.ungpirat.se/images/e/e2/Handlingar.upk17.pdf

http://wiki.ungpirat.se/index.php/UPK17

Nu när handlingarna är ute betyder det att det bara är 4 veckor kvar till förbundskongressen. Se till att boka din resa till Stockholm redan nu!

https://ungpirat.se/limesurvey/index.php/342958

(Fyll i formuläret även om du bor i Stockholm eller ordnar egen resa!)

Du kan alltid nå förbundsstyrelsen på fs@ungpirat.se, men har du frågor specifikt om kongressen ber vi dig att i första hand vända dig till någon av dessa eminenta personer.

Kongressansvarig – Anastasia Storm

För frågor gällande lokaler, mat, boende och annat praktiskt.
anastasia.storm@ungpirat.se Telefonnummer: 072-168 61 66

Ombudskontaktperson – Rebecka Mc Neill

För frågor gällande resor och annat administrativt
rebecka.mc.neill@ungpirat.se Telefonnummer: 076-927 80 13 —

Vi ses den 17-19 mars i Stockholm!

Bästa hälsningar,

Kommentera! (by Elin Andersson at 2017-02-17 23:07:49)

16 February 2017

Defend democracy: draft answers for new ISDS consultation

The European Commission has launched a consultation on an investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) variant: a multilateral investment court. 1 The consultation is flawed; it is so narrow that social and environmental impacts may not show up in the consultation results.

This is irresponsible, as the system as a whole will strengthen investments vis-à-vis democracy and fundamental rights. This undermines our values, ability to reform, and ability to respond to crises, including climate change. Mankind faces an existential threat and the commission buries its head in the sand!

What to do? Stay tuned, civil society organisations are preparing position papers, example answers, and more. I will update this page as material becomes available. Below are draft FFII answers to the consultation, based on this draft position paper. In some cases the text field only appears after a yes or no to the preceding question. (Deadline 15 March 2017)

See also: S2B: ISDS at a dangerous crossroads.

1 Text fields

Question 29. Other reasons why it is important to have the same procedural rules apply. Please specify.

Without justification the proposal gives foreign investors greater procedural rights than local investors. This harms local companies. In contrast, domestic legislation and courts provide equal access to the law and democratic and supreme court scrutiny of the development of the law.

Question 31. Can you identify other possible features that you believe should be included in a new multilateral system?

Supranational investment adjudication suffers from inherent systemic issues. Specialised courts tend to interpret expansively; the supranational level lacks effective instruments to correct expansive interpretations. A multilateral investment court (MIC) would strengthen investments vis-à-vis democracy and fundamental rights. This undermines our values, ability to reform, and ability to respond to crises, including climate change.

Question 34. Please provide any additional comments that you may wish to add on how to take account of the special needs of developing countries within a multilateral reform of investment dispute settlement.

Comprehensive baseline – no EU policy changes – and multilateral investment court scenarios indicate growing social and environmental impacts. These will also harm developing countries. Eliminating impacts should have priority. The attachment includes comprehensive scenarios.

Question 37. Please provide any additional comments that you may wish to add on how to take account of the special needs of SMEs within a multilateral reform of investment dispute settlement.

Most SMEs operate locally or within the EU. Without justification an MIC gives foreign investors greater procedural rights than SMEs operating locally. Furthermore, easier access to multilateral investment dispute settlement increases social and environmental impacts. In contrast, domestic legislation and courts provide equal access to the law and democratic and supreme court scrutiny of the development of the law.

Question 39. If not, please identify what other issues relating to investment could be covered by a permanent multilateral dispute settlement mechanism.

(I may not use this field.)

Question 41. Please provide any additional comments that you may wish to add on the enforcement of awards.

Supranational adjudicators do not have to read provisions in the light of the EU Charter of fundamental rights. The enforcement of supranational awards strengthens investments vis-à-vis democracy and fundamental rights. EU courts have to be able to set aside awards against the EU and EU member states, just like a Dutch court set aside the USD 50 billion award against Russia.

Question 43. Other contributions which could be achieved by centralisation. Please specify

Centralisation legitimises, strengthens and perpetuates the growing social and environmental impacts a comprehensive baseline scenario indicates.

Question 48. Do you have any further comments on the manner in which adjudicators should be selected?

The proposal overlooks more fundamental issues. See answer to question 31 on systemic issues.

Question 50. Do you have any further comments on the qualifications of adjudicators under such a mechanism?

An instrument the parties to an MIC agreement will have is vetting the adjudicators they appoint. The EU won’t have influence on the adjudicators other parties nominate / appoint. In other parties climate change denialists may be in power. Furthermore, within the EU, and especially in trade departments, offensive interests play a major role. This would have an effect on vetting adjudicators. ISDS arbitrators, responsible for expansive interpretations, may reappear as MIC judges / “judges”.

Question 57. If you consider there would be any other impacts, please specify and explain the link with the establishment of a single Multilateral Investment Court or a Multilateral Appeal Tribunal.

The establishment of a court or tribunal is unjustifiable. Research suggests that foreign firms tend to be treated at least as well by host state governments as comparable domestic firms in the vast majority of cases. There is a political advantage, as opposed to liability, of being a foreign firm.

Question 58. If you consider there would be any other economic impacts, please specify and explain the link with the establishment of a single Multilateral Investment Court or a Multilateral Appeal Tribunal.

The establishment of a court would legitimise, strengthen and perpetuate unjustifiable discrimination against locally operating companies. This gives foreign companies an advantage. It also undermines democracies, while strengthening democracies is crucial seen the challenges mankind faces.

Question 60. If you consider there would be any environmental impacts, please specify and explain the link with the establishment of a single Multilateral Investment Court or a Multilateral Appeal Tribunal.

The establishment of an MIC or MAT would legitimise, strengthen and perpetuate the growing environmental impacts a comprehensive baseline scenario – no EU policy changes – shows. The EU commission’s one sentence baseline scenario is not comprehensive. In the light of the risks of climate change, to base a proposal on a selective one sentence baseline scenario is irresponsible. The attachment includes more comprehensive scenarios.

Question 62. If yes, please specify the social impacts and explain how they are linked to the establishment of a single Multilateral Investment Court or a Multilateral Appeal Tribunal.

The establishment of an MIC or MAT would legitimise, strengthen and perpetuate the growing social impacts a comprehensive baseline scenario shows. In the light of the need to protect fundamental rights, to base a proposal on a selective one sentence baseline scenario is irresponsible. The commission has to investigate options that lead to decreased impacts and reject options – including baseline and multilateral investment court – with continued or increased impacts.

Question 63. You may also upload a position paper to support the opinions expressed in this questionnaire.

(The answers refer to an attachment. The FFII attachment is public domain. You can copy any part or upload the paper itself.

The commission has stated that it will accept open comments as feedback on the IIA. If you consider uploading a position paper to the consultation, you may consider uploading it as feedback to the IIA as well; Inception Impact Assessment, Directorate General: Trade; date: 01/08/2016, click open.)

2 Multiple choice questions

Many of these questions legitimise the MIC. I will leave many unanswered. Remaining ones: 27:5; 40:0; 56:0; 59:yes; 61:yes

Footnotes:

1 investor-to-state – check, dispute settlement – check, outside of domestic courts – check

Date:

Kommentera! (by Ante Wessels at 2017-02-16 18:30:32)

Datalagringen: Har Ygeman blivit skvatt galen?


Inrikesminister Anders Ygeman (S), polis och åklagare gillar inte att EU-domstolen har underkänt den generella, urskiljningslösa datalagringen. (Lagring av data om alla svenskars alla telefonsamtal, SMS, e-postmeddelanden, nätuppkopplingar och mobilpositioner.)

Därför har regeringen nu tillsatt ännu en snabbutredning – med syfte att försöka kringgå EU-domstolens dom och fortsätta datalagringen. [Länk»]

Till utredare har man utsett Säkerhets- och integritetsskyddsnämndens ordförande, före detta lagmannen Sigurd Heuman.

Detta är en uppseendeväckande utnämning. Säkerhets- och integritetsskyddsnämnden har följande uppgift:
Säkerhets- och integritetsskyddsnämnden (förkortat SIN) är en svensk statlig förvaltningsmyndighet som sorterar under Justitiedepartementet. Nämnden utövar tillsyn över brottsbekämpande myndigheters användning av hemliga tvångsmedel och kvalificerade skyddsidentiteter och därmed sammanhängande verksamhet. Nämnden ska även utöva tillsyn över polisens behandling av personuppgifter.
Här har vi alltså en tillsynsmyndighet – med uppgift att hålla ett öga på polisens och Säpos övervakning – vars chef nu fått i uppdrag att kringgå ett domstolsbeslut som syftar till att upprätthålla och försvara de mänskliga rättigheterna inom hans eget fögderi.

Enkelt uttryckt: Den myndighetschef som har som uppgift att se till att reglerna följs har nu fått regeringens uppdrag att räkna ut hur man kan kringgå dem.

Detta är uppseendeväckande och helt oacceptabelt.

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-02-16 11:54:00)

15 February 2017

I dag trappar EU upp kriget mot terrorismen


I dag, vid lunchtid, röstar Europaparlamentet igenom EU:s nya direktiv om bekämpande av terrorism. [PDF] Eftersom media inte visat något som helst intresse för förlaget eller processen kan det nedanstående möjligen komma som en överraskning för de flesta...

Direktivets språk är vagt och ger stort tolkningsutrymme för vad som egentligen kan anses utgöra terrorism. Till exempel skall det bli förbjudet att glorifiera terrorism – vad nu det betyder. Det kan även nämnas att till exempel definitionen av »terrorresor« lämnar mycket att önska vad gäller juridisk tydlighet.

Försök att hota, skada eller hacka till exempel »informationssystem« kan komma att betraktas och straffas som terrorbrott. Även att lära någon hur man gör detta kommer att kunna stämplas som terrorism. Att uppmana någon att lära någon annan hur man hackar faller också i terror-facket. Till och med att på egen hand söka information om hur man hackar kan bli olagligt.

»Terrorträning« skall vara olaglig. Detta gäller även för den som som själv söker sådan information, på icke-specificerade websidor. Och detta behöver inte utmynna i någon form av verklig terrorism för att vara olagligt. Till och med anstiftan till att någon annan kan komma att titta på »terrorsidor« kan – om myndigheterna känner för det – komma att bli olagligt.

Webhotell, nätoperatörer och andra kan bli straffrättsligt ansvariga om de inte tar bort eller blockerar »terrorsidor«. Blockering av sidor skall tydligen kunna drivas igenom även utan uttryckligt lagstöd. (Genom »non-legislative action«.)

Intressant nog verkar det som att man även öppnar för straffrabatter för kronvittnen (som plea bargin i amerikanska deckare) – vilket vad jag förstått hitintills varit främmande för svensk rättstradition.

Och så kommer det att vara olagligt att destabilisera ett lands (eller en internationell organisations) politiska, konstitutionella, ekonomiska eller sociala strukturer. Men det är ingen nyhet. (I Österrike håller man just nu på att ta det hela ett steg längre – genom att göra det olagligt att uttrycka åsikter som underminerar statens auktoritet.)

Direktivet har stressats igenom utan ordentlig utredning, konsekvensanalys eller allmän konsultation. Och det står i direkt strid med tidigare rekommendationer. Det är som vanligt i EU: Först beslutar man. Sedan debatterar man. Därefter kanske man tar reda på fakta.

Exakt vad som kommer ut får vi se när det finns ett konsoliderat dokument – efter att parlamentet röstat om ett hundratal ändringsförslag. Sedan skall det hela implementeras i medlemsstaterna. Det lär alltså finnas skäl att återkomma i ärendet.

Läs mer hos EDRi: The time has come to complain about the Terrorism Directive »

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-02-15 23:10:00)

TPB-domen är problematisk även på andra sätt


Det finns finns mer än bara sakfrågan att reflektera över vad gäller veckans dom som tvingar Bredbandsbolaget att blockera The Pirate Bay.

Christine Lager är hovrättslagman och har varit ordförande i målet i Marknads- och Patentöverdomstolen.

Lager har tidigare varit departementsråd på Justitiedepartementet, tydligen med ansvar för att utforma den lag som tillämpats i målet.

Att samma person är med och stiftar en lag och sedan leder tillämpningen, det dömande arbetet utifrån samma lag – det är ett hån mot allt vad maktdelning heter. Så skall det inte gå till i en demokratisk rättsstat. Här skall finnas vattentäta skott, för att undvika eventuellt maktmissbruk.

Detta är till och med värre än det faktum att nämndemän i våra domstolar utses av de politiska partierna. I deras fall är invändningen i huvudsak principiell. I Lagers fall tycks kopplingen vara direkt och konkret. Det ger henne möjlighet att påverka upphovsrättsfrågor utifrån andra prioriteringar än allmänintresset – om hon skulle vilja.

Vi måste börja ta sådana här frågor på allvar.

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-02-15 11:16:00)

14 February 2017

Blockeringen av The Pirate Bay kan få allvarliga konsekvenser


Patent- och marknadsöverdomstolens beslut att Bredbandsbolaget måste blockera The Pirate Bay kan få långtgående och allvarliga konsekvenser.

Anta att någon klagar till en internetoperatör över ett påstått intrång i upphovsrätten – och kräver att webplatsen i fråga skall blockeras.

Det kan handla om att en site använder sig av musik eller film som kanske, eller kanske inte är ett verkligt intrång – eller kanske, eller kanske inte är »fair use«. (Citaträtt, kulturkritik, samhällsdebatt m.m.) Eller att en blogg använder sig av ett citat eller en bild från en nyhetsartikel – i syfte att granska, utveckla eller ifrågasätta ett påstående. Väldigt mycket av det som finns i vårt dagliga flöde kan, om man ställer frågan på sin spets, hävdas bryta mot upphovsrätten.

Vad gör nätoperatören i detta läge?

Vågar man gå till domstol (även om man anser att det inte föreligger något brott mot upphovsrätten) och riskera att få stå för motpartens juridiska kostnader om man förlorar? (Bredbandsbolagets rättsprocess kostade dem miljoner.)

Eller kommer man att ta det säkra före det osäkra, ducka och blockera sidan i fråga – utan vederbörlig rättslig prövning?

De flesta nätoperatörer kommer garanterat att välja det senare.

Vi vet sedan tidigare att upphovsrättsanspråk kan missbrukas – till exempel för att tysta kritik och visselblåsare. Vi vet också att många klagomål som rör upphovsrätt är ogrundade. Det finns till och med exempel på att falska klagomål har rests av annan part och drabbat verkets egentliga upphovsman. Det finns massor av exempel på när det blivit uppåt väggarna galet.

Rätt eller fel, motiverade eller omotiverade krav på blockering – gårdagens dom kommer att ge nöjesindustrin och mediehusen ett skarpslipat vapen och ett ojuste övertag över människor som kanske inte har gjort något fel. Ett prejudicerande beslut har fattats och det kan inte överklagas.

Ytterst kan gårdagens dom användas för att inskränka det fria ordet.


• Vill du veta mer? Lyssna på 5 juli-poddens analys av domen »

• Läs även Oscar Swartz på Realtid: Blockera sajter en omöjlig väg att gå »

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-02-14 15:02:00)

13 February 2017

Gör övervakningskameror oss verkligen säkrare?

Läs min senaste krönika hos Mårtensson:


"Det kan komma att räcka med ett olyckligt utseende som ogillas av systemets algoritmer för att ständigt bli punktmarkerad av polisen."

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-02-13 23:25:00)

Privacy Shield: More Holes than Swiss Cheese

Privacy shield does not protect consumer data

What if your most intimate and private information was for sale to anyone in the world? What if anyone could find out your political beliefs, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or even your medical history? In the US, it is legal for the private sector to collect and sell these types of personal information, and the government is powerless to stop it. Due to the US’ lack of general data protection laws, Europeans’ personal information could wind up in the hands of unscrupulous data brokers and for sale on the global market. Data transfers from the EU to the US is cause for on-going controversy, because the EU considers data protection to be a fundamental right.

In testimony before the US Congress, Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum detailed abuses by data brokers. MEDbase200 sold personal information on rape survivors and people with an HIV positive status for $79.00 per thousand names. Addresses of domestic violence shelters are supposed to be kept secret, but FirstMark sold lists of these shelters online. DMDatabases sold comprehensive databases detailing patients’ medical conditions and which prescription medications they were taking.

Data brokers obtain personal information from various sources. Many US companies rather shamelessly sell information on their customers. Data brokers can also collect information online through tracking cookies, mobile app data, social media postings, and online surveys. Data brokers also sell each other vast amounts of data, making it virtually impossible to figure out who originally collected the information.

EU regulators should have pause for concern that social media sites are now partnering with American data brokers. Especially controversial is Facebook’s partnership with data broker Acxiom. After the 9/11 terror acts, Acxiom lobbied the US government to weaken the few and limited federal privacy protections in the US. In 2001, Acxiom proposed to establish a government surveillance programs to crawl the internet and gather intelligence from websites. The US Department of Defense also considered partnering with Acxiom to build a large surveillance database. In 2003, Acxiom was embroiled in controversy when it worked with the US Department of Homeland Security on a proposed system to give airline passengers color-coded ratings based on the likelihood of being a terrorist. Despite holding vast amounts of personal data, Acxiom has been the victim of numerous data breaches, with computer hackers stealing large amounts of information.

Starting in 2000, the US-EU Safe Harbor agreement allowed companies in the EU to send personal data to the US. In 2015, the EU Court of Justice struck down the legal basis for the Safe Harbor agreement, because the agreement failed to provide adequate data protections. The US and the EU quickly negotiated a new agreement called Privacy Shield to allow the continued flow of data from the EU to the US.

The new US-EU Privacy Shield agreement is a complete disaster. The agreement’s greatest weakness is that the Privacy Shield program is completely voluntary. An American company with no subsidiaries in the EU could refuse to sign up for Privacy Shield and can ignore EU data protection authorities. The US government is powerless to stop data collection over the internet, which is completely legal in the US.

Even when a company voluntary signs up for the Privacy Shield program, it requires the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce the rules. This year, President Trump has the authority to nominate four FTC commissioners (out of five commissioners total). Considering President Trump’s history, his nominations for the FTC will be extremely business-friendly, and the new commissioners may do everything in their power to stop any consumer protections (including Privacy Shield). On the rare instance that the FTC would actually investigate a company for failing to comply with the Privacy Shield framework, the FTC would have to prove that the data is covered under Privacy Shield.  In the US, data brokers repackage and sell data so many times that it may be difficult or impossible for the FTC to ever prove where the data originally came from.

Recently, President Trump named Maureen Ohlhausen as acting Chair for the FTC. Ohlhausen has previously criticized the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) proposal to require ISP (internet service providers) to obtain consent before sharing customers’ private data with data brokers and other third parties. Ohlhausen argued that the FCC’s proposal would harm consumers by offering too many privacy protections. With Ohlhausen as acting Chair, the FTC will likely fail to enforce the Privacy Shield framework.

The Privacy Shield framework does nothing to stop the US government’s mass surveillance and bulk collection of data. In a letter included in the Privacy Shield notice, the former Secretary of State, John Kerry, promises to establish an ombudsperson to take complaints regarding US government surveillance practices. A close reading of the memorandum reveals that the Privacy Shield ombudsperson has no legal authority to investigate or provide independent oversight. The memorandum also mentions several OIGs (Office of Inspector Generals) and the PCLOB (Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board), which are the same mechanisms that failed to protect people from the NSA’s mass surveillance in the first place.

The Privacy Shield notice also includes a letter from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The letter cites PPD-28 (Presidential Policy Directive-28) as limiting the US government’s surveillance efforts. It is difficult to independently verify what PPD-28 actually contains, since some portions of the directive are classified. The PPD-28 was signed by President Obama, who is no longer in office. President Trump is not required to follow PPD-28, and he can secretly overturn the directive at any time without any public notice.

The US government has no international legal obligations to enforce Privacy Shield. The Privacy Shield framework is a voluntary program, operated by the US Department of Commerce, which could be rescinded at any time. It is hard to imagine how the EU ever approved an agreement so dreadful as Privacy Shield. I cringe thinking that the EU completely lacks an understanding of the US Constitution and how the American government operates. Before ever entering another agreement with the US, the EU needs to first hire some extremely well-read American lawyers as advisors.

As it stands, the Privacy Shield framework leaves EU consumers’ personal data open to abuse, with few or no rights to recourse and redress. If the EU is serious about data protection, it should immediately suspend the Privacy Shield framework. Access to the EU market is of paramount importance to many American businesses. Using its economic leverage, the EU should pressure the US to reform its legal code to ensure better data protection.

 

For further reading:

GAO report on data brokers, link

FTC report on data brokers, link

Featured image: CC-BY-NC-ND, thenoodleator

Flattr this!

Kommentera! (by Rachael Tackett at 2017-02-13 22:44:29)

Medlemsmöten i PP Sth län och stad 25 feb kl 12

pplogga-regionen-liten-piratlila

Dags för medlemsmöte i Piratpartiet Stockholms Län . Mötena ligger på samma dag, eftersom vi hittills jobbat tillsammans i nätverksform i Stockholmsregionen oberoende av kommuner och eventuella kommunorganisationer. Stadens styrelse har haft folk som också suttit i länets, där de nödvändiga besluten fattas. Sedan sommaren har vi funnit det effektivt att minimera det formellt adminstrativa arbetet till förmån för konkret jobb, på nätet och away from keyboard, där intresserade kan delta på lika villkor. Se verksamhetsberättelser och verksamhetsplan på medlemsforumet.  Medlemsmötena är lördagen 25 februari med början kl 12 (notera) då vi kan hålla övergripande diskussioner för hela regionen och samarbetsnätverket (dit även Ung Pirat är inbjudna). Platsen är Styrbjörnsvägen 3 i Aspudden. Här är en kallelse enligt den gamla stadgan ( motioner ska vara inskickade senast 18 februari, till stockholm.lan@piratpartiet.se) :

Kallelse till medlemsmöte i Piratpartiet Stockhoms län lördagen 25 februari med början kl 12, Styrbjörnsvägen 3 i Aspudden.

  1. Mötets öppnande
  2. Fastställande av röstlängd
  3. Mötets behörighet
  4. Val av mötets ordförande, sekreterare och två justerare
  5. Godkännande av dagordningen
  6. Styrelsens verksamhetsberättelse för föregående år
  7. Styrelsens ekonomiska berättelse för föregående år.
  8. Revisionsberättelse för det föregående året
  9. Frågan om ansvarsfrihet för den avgående styrelsen
  10. Inkomna motioner (Alla medlemmar kan lämna förslag till beslut, innehållande texten “att pp länet ska ……….”)
  11. Årets verksamhetsplan och budget samt andra propositioner från styrelsen
  12. Val av årets styrelse: (a) Val av ordförande (b) Val av sekreterare (c) Val av kassör (d) Fastställande av antal övriga ledamöter till ett antal mellan två och tio (e) Val av dessa ledamöter
  13. Val av årets revisor och ersättare för denna
  14. Val av årets valberedning (en till fem personer)
  15. Övriga frågor
  16. Mötets avslutande

Samma mötesordning gäller för PP Stockholms Stad, vars möte hålls efter länets mötes avslutande.

Hälsningar Styrelserna

Kommentera! (by Anders Erkéus at 2017-02-13 21:03:10)

Slutet för budbärarimmuniteten på internet?


Nybloggat på HAX.5July.org:


Med anledning av dagens domstolsbeslut om blockering av The Pirate Bay och Swefilmer.

"You cannot have a rule stating that ISP:s have no legal liability for the consequences of traffic relayed via their networks – unless illegal. That is the same as saying that ISP:s do have legal liability for the consequences of traffic relayed via their networks. And this is the opposite of what is stated in the eCommerce directive."

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-02-13 15:46:00)

Domstol: Blockera Pirate Bay och Swefilmer


Nybloggat på HAX.5July.org:


Om dagens dom i Patent- och marknadsöverdomstolen – som per definition innebär censur och som strider mot principen om budbärarimmunitet.

Se även: IDG» | SR» | SVT» | DN» | Torrentfreak» | Domstolens pressmeddelande »

SVT: Internetoperatörernas hårda kritik mot domen »

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-02-13 13:00:00)

Open letter to the MEPs: don't haggle over the right to privacy

Paris 13 February 2017 — Tonight the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) will have to decide which political group will be in charge of the draft report and thus to supervise the negotiations over the future ePrivacy regulation concerning respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications. The choice of political group, and therefore of the rapporteur, is often neglected in following up a legislative dossier, and yet it has substantial implications for the negotiations to come, because this person will set the general orientation and have a preponderant weight in these negociations.

La Quadrature du Net wishes to remind Members of the LIBE Committee, that the ePrivacy rule's rapporteur should be aware of the text's importance so as to respond to the expectations of millions of Europeans.

Dear Members of the LIBE Committee,

The concept of "confidentiality of electronic communication" may seem abstract, yet it is crucial for each of us because it guarantees that only the participants in the communication know its contents and information about the communication, whether it be a call, an SMS, e-mail, an instant message, or through a social network. The ePrivacy rule seeks to guarantee that all the messages we send and receive cannot be intercepted, eavesdropped, surveilled or recorded.

In the context of widespread mass surveillance -- domestic and international -- and how individuals are tracked by companies, the future rule is of overriding importance. Europeans have responded powerfully to the many disclosures of state surveillance since the Snowden episode in 2013, which have come to general awareness. The Eurobarometer of ePrivacy published by the European Commission in December 2016 states that "More than nine in ten respondents say it is important that personal information (such as their pictures, contact lists, etc.) on their computer, smartphone or tablet can only be accessed with their permission, and that it is important that the confidentiality of their e-mails and online instant messaging is guaranteed (both 92%)." That also goes for surveillance and tracking by private companies, which are less and less accepted by European internauts. According to the same Eurobarometer: "A large majority of respondents find it unacceptable to have their online activities monitored, to have companies share information about them or to have to pay not to be monitored".

The use of tools that assure some confidentiality in our communication or some anonymity on line has grown, and a great many people are using them. It is time for European political decision-makers to act on this change in society and enact suitable legislation. If the private members of the sector don't seize the current opportunity to line up with society's needs, this new legislation will force them to open their eyes.

Civil society organizations have turned their eyes today toward the European Parliament, and more specifically toward you, members of the LIBE Commission. The choice of which political group to put in charge of writing the report, from which the choice of the rapporteur will follow, will be critical for the text's future, and you can't take that lightly. The assignment of the ePrivacy rule shouldn't be bartered irrationally. On the contrary, it should be a subject of serious reflection, and should be based on certain criteria in order to assure balanced negotiations.

Therefore La Quadrature du Net calls on you to choose a rapporteur who

  • has some knowledge of the subject as well as the political, societal, and technical matters;
  • recognizes Europeans' current aspiration to greater confidentiality in electronic communication and their private lives;
  • understands that the electronic communication sector needs special rules to protect them where what their content could disclose extremely sensitive personal information, and where the use is constantly growing;
  • is convinced the general data protection regulation adopted last April, and the coming ePrivacy regulation, can represent competitive advantages for European companies;
  • understands the decisions of European courts concerning metadata. 1

These demands are not ideological, they are are only the bare minimum needed to begin on a basis coherent with the general data protection regulation which you adopted by a very large majority last year. They are similarly the conditions needed so as not to come directly and frontally into conflict with the interests and expectations of millions of Europeans.

It does not matter which political side the future rapporteur will be from, as the right to respect for one's private life and for one's communications has no political color. Nevertheless, it would be neither reasonable nor acceptable to entrust with the task of overseeing this text a person who considers that these principles are ancillary or already sufficiently framed.

La Quadrature du Net remains attentive to the process of negotiation that will lead to choosing the rapporteur of the future ePrivacy regulation, and calls on you to take these few basic criteria into account during your discussions.

  • 1. Point 99 of the CJEU's decision on 21 December 2016 : Taken all together, these data can be used to draw very precise conclusions about the private life of persons whose data have been kept, such as the conduct of their daily lives, the places they stay permanently or temporarily, where they go, what they do, their social relationships and the social milieux they frequent (see, by analogy, the concerns of directive 2006/24, Digital Rights order, point 27). In particular, these data make it possible to establish, along with the General Counsel's report on points 253, 254, and 257-259 of its conclusions, the profiles of persons concerned, information just as sensitive -- with respect to law about the respect for privacy -- as the content of communications itself; and agrees about their personal nature and thus their specific need for protection.

(by neurone648 at 2017-02-13 09:09:12)

12 February 2017

Reject CETA

Update: The European Parliament gave consent to CETA. It failed to defend democracy. Now national parliaments will have to decide on CETA. There may also be referendums and court cases. See also EDRi’s press release; procedure file; INTA report; roll call vote (point 1, A8-0009/2017).


Wednesday 15 February 2017, the European Parliament will vote on the EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA).

CETA strengthens investments vis-à-vis democracy and fundamental rights. 1 This undermines our values, ability to reform, and ability to respond to crises, including climate change. 2

CETA undermines protection of personal data, as it includes data flows under an outdated, insufficient safeguard. 3

CETA undermines health 4 and strengthens the position of patent trolls 5. See also Making sense of CETA, a broad analysis. 6

Take action! See La Quadrature du Net, Let’s dump CETA once and for all!; CETA Check, and SumOfUs.

Footnotes:

1 See for instance the statement by over 100 law professors; German Magistrates Association, Opinion on the establishment of an investment tribunal in TTIP; and European Association of Judges, Statement from the European Association of Judges (eaj) on the proposal from the European Commission on a new Investment Court System. (The CETA text is arguably worse than the TTIP proposal.) The CETA option to “upgrade” to a multilateral investment court isn’t helpful. See also FFII, CETA ISDS not conform European Parliament resolution.

2 Van Harten, Foreign Investor Protection and Climate Action: A New Price Tag for Urgent Policies

3 “Going beyond the GATS, the CETA, TTIP and TiSA agreements are very comprehensive and cover cross-border trade in services, which inevitably involves the processing and transferring of personal data in connection with the conduct of a service supplier’s business.” (page 1); K. Irion, S. Yakovleva and M. Bartl, “Trade and Privacy: Complicated Bedfellows? How to achieve data protection-proof free trade agreements”, independent study commissioned by BEUC et al., published 13 July 2016, Amsterdam, Institute for Information Law (IViR). The study shows the safeguard, GATS article XIV like, does not provide sufficient certainty (page 34). See also EDRi, CETA puts the protection of our privacy and personal data at risk, FFII, Broken data protection in EU trade agreements.

4 EPHA, How CETA could undermine public health

5 Ante Wessels, Patents, copyright and innovation

6 The EU-Canada CETA interpretative instrument, which was added before signing, does not solve issues, see Van Harten and The Council of Canadians. See also Pia Eberhardt, Unfair EU-Canada trade deal is wrong response to Trump.

Kommentera! (by Ante Wessels at 2017-02-12 15:10:06)

10 February 2017

Let's dump CETA once and for all!

Update, 15 February 2017 — The European Parliament adopted CETA by 408 votes against 254 (and 33 abstentions). The “not mixed” parts of the text could thus enter into provisional application in April, until consultations of the regional and/or national Parliaments of the Member States.

☙❦❧

Paris, 10 February 2017 — On 15 February, the European Parliament will decide whether to ratify the Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA)1. In choosing to back this agreement, MEPs would allow its partial implementation and would open the door for the next steps of the legislative process, which could lead to its complete and definitive implementation. On the other hand, rejecting it would be a death-blow for the agreement, just as it was for ACTA in July 2012. Beyond the unacceptable procedure of its elaboration, CETA is a grave threat to our liberties and fundamental rights. Therefore, La Quadrature du Net calls upon MEPs to oppose it strongly.

Negotiated behind closed doors by civil servants from Canada and the European Union between 2009 and 2013, CETA came up in public debate in July 2012, when a draft version leaked with complete sections copied directly from ACTA, and was rightly rejected by the European Parliament. Since then, demonstrations have taken place all through the European Union and Canada to protest the agreement and, more generally, world-wide against such commercial agreements, notably TAFTA, TISA or the TPP (fr).

From the very processes of working them out, these agreements constitute a serious problem: rather than being discussed by elected representatives – with the limits inherent to representative democracies – they are drafted in secret and under the eye and influence of lobbies from powerful multinationals. These negotiations are even less acceptable than agreements bearing on fundamental rights, and whose purpose is to supersede national legislation in the hierarchy of legal norms. Only once finalized are these agreements submitted to legislatures, with no possibility to amend them, and along with powerful pressure to adopt them, as can be seen in the conditions of the vote of the Wallonian legislature (fr).

What's even worse, should it be adopted by the European Parliament, almost all of CETA would be enforced before consulting the institutions of each Member State, a process that could last for years. Indeed, the deal's provisions deemed to be “not mixed” –i.e., covering only commercial matters– fall within the sole competence of the European Union; these provisions would be enforced on Day One, without the consent of the national and regional parliaments, even though some of them demand to be consulted on these matters (fr).

Entirely apart from how it has been worked out, the substance of the agreement endangers our freedoms and fundamental rights as demonstrated by – among others – the analyses of EDRI and the FFII. In the digital domain alone:

  • Concerning personal data and private life: once CETA covers the transfer of personal data between the EU and Canada, it will be become impossible in practice to limit them later in the name of current or future European norms, for instance when there is an incursion on rights identical to what happened to the nullification of “Safe Harbor” by the EU Court of Justice. When Canada is a member of the “Five Eyes” alliance2 of which Edward Snowden's revelations and those of other whistleblowers have substantially shown that it engages in massive, illegal surveillance of entire populations, this is a particularly disquieting point.
  • Copyright and patent law: if the repressive measures of the ACTA agreement have disappeared from CETA's final version, the agreement still contains very dangerous provisions in these fields and would impose a hardening of Canadian law, especially for the protection of patents. But above all it would write current law into a text superseding the current hierarchy of norms, and would greatly limit any possibility to modify the text in the future, for example in order to encourage access to knowledge or sharing and remixing culture.
  • Parallel legal system : CETA would allow multinational companies to sue States before ad hoc arbitration courts if they their interests harmed or if they consider themselves victims of “indirect expropriation” or “unfair and inequitable treatment”. Several examples of abusive actions permitted by similar mechanisms in other agreements make us fear that such a provision would prevent member States from adopting progressive laws, for example in favour of Net Neutrality, free software, data protection or online sharing.

Beyond the digital issues, the agreement would endanger many other sectors, such as the environment, labour law or the protection of health. For all these reasons, La Quadrature du Net calls on MEPs to strongly and definitely reject CETA during the vote in the plenary session scheduled for the 15 February.

Just after the turbulent election of Antonio Tajani at the head of the European Parliament and shortly before major elections in the Netherlands, in Germany and in France, the power balance and the positions of the political groups of the institution are changing and make it difficult to foresee the result of the vote. Unsurprisingly, most of the the conservatives (EPP and ECR) and the centrists (ALDE) seem to be resigned to CETA, whereas the Greens (GREENS/EFA), the European United Left (GUE) and the nationalists (ENF) oppose it.

The key group that could tilt the balance of the vote will be the social democrats (S&D), who are divided on the question; while the German deputies of the groups are in favour of CETA, the French deputies openly oppose it – while their colleagues of the National Assembly are refining their convictions. The website CETA Check identifies and the promises of votes in one place, so we can oversee the current balance of positions.

In order to enable all of us to contact the Members of the European Parliament - simply and for free - and try to convince them to oppose CETA, La Quadrature du Net is launching a PiPhone campaign, and invites everyone to act and take part within all the different mobilisations now taking place. Right now and until the vote on the 15th, let's inform ourselves more on the consequences of the agreement, let's share this informations with those around us and make our voices heard in order to make CETA be rejected!

  • 1. The free-trade agreement between the EU and Canada. The final version of the text is available online.
  • 2. The alliance of the intelligence services of Australia, Canada, the USA, New Zealand, and the UK

(by neurone130 at 2017-02-10 10:48:53)

09 February 2017

Aktuella europeiska Storebrors-frågor

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-02-09 15:55:00)

05 February 2017

Piratfika den 8 februari – kom och träffas

fika1

Hej Piratvänner

Glöm inte piratfikat nu på onsdag kl 18 i Baresso Coffee i Södermalm.

Piratfikat är ett tillfälle att utbyta idéer och funderingar, ställa frågor och ha roliga diskussioner över en kopp kaffe. Både medlemmar och icke medlemmar är lika välkomna.

 

Baresso Coffee
Swedenborgsgatan 25
Tunnelbana: Medborgarplatsen eller Mariatorget
Pendeltåg: Södra Station
www.baressocoffee.se

Vi ses där
Piratpartiet Stockholmsregionen
stockholmsregionen@piratpartiet.se

Kommentera! (by aveen at 2017-02-05 21:17:09)

03 February 2017

Multilateral investment court assessment obscures social and environmental impacts

This FFII position paper provides feedback on the inception impact assessment “Convention to establish a multilateral court on investment” (IIA). See below or the pdf. For the related consultation see here.

The IIA’s baseline scenario – what will happen without policy changes – is just one sentence long and does not expect a multilateral investment court (MIC) to have social or environmental impacts.

The paper presents more comprehensive baseline and multilateral investment court scenarios. In both cases, more comprehensive scenarios indicate growing social and environmental impacts.

A multilateral investment court would strengthen investments vis-à-vis democracy and fundamental rights. This undermines our values, ability to reform, and ability to respond to crises, including climate change.

1 Introduction

This position paper is the attachment to the FFII submission to the public consultation on a multilateral reform of investment dispute resolution.

The consultation is based on the inception impact assessment “Convention to establish a multilateral court on investment” (IIA). The IIA’s baseline scenario – what will happen without policy changes – is just one sentence long and does not expect a multilateral investment court (MIC) to have social or environmental impacts. This paper presents more comprehensive baseline and multilateral investment court scenarios. In both cases, more comprehensive scenarios indicate growing social and environmental impacts.

A multilateral investment court would bring institutional improvements. Such improvements, however, do not solve systemic issues with specialised and supranational adjudication which create a high risk of expansive interpretations of investors’ rights. Specialised courts tend to interpret expansively; the supranational level lacks effective instruments to correct expansive interpretations. Huge expansion of covered foreign direct investment will cause increased impacts.

A multilateral investment court would strengthen investments vis-à-vis democracy and fundamental rights. This undermines our values, ability to reform, and ability to respond to crises, including climate change.

A multilateral investment court makes reforms and (enforcement) measures potentially prohibitively expensive. In the light of the need to protect fundamental rights, and in the light of the risks of climate change, the EU can not ignore, legitimise, or perpetuate growing impacts. The commission has to investigate which options will eliminate social and environmental impacts and reject the multilateral investment court option.

2 Issues with the Inception Impact Assessment

2.1 Social and environmental impacts

The main issue with the IIA is that it doesn’t expect social or environmental impacts:

“There are no social impacts expected. The substantive obligations under the investment protection standards already exist in the EU level trade and/or investment agreements or are currently negotiated with third countries for which the EU is acting on the basis of negotiating directives adopted by the Council, as well as in the BITs entered into by EU Member States. These will not be affected by the negotiations on the Multilateral Investment Court.

Those agreements, for example, guarantee the right of EU governments to regulate on social and environmental issues.

The investment dispute settlement mechanism that will be included under the EU’s trade and investment agreements would be removed when the Multilateral Investment Court becomes applicable between the EU and the country concerned.” (emphasis added)

and

“There are no environmental impacts expected for the same reason as there are no social impacts.”

The reasoning does not convince. First, the fact that substantive provisions already exist does not remove their impacts. The commission is well aware of the shortcomings of the existing treaties. It filed amicus briefs in various investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) cases arguing against damages awards and it ordered Romania to not pay ISDS damages.

Secondly, the existing, very open EU member states’ investment treaties do not have a right to regulate clause. Furthermore, the right to regulate clause in proposed future EU agreements may guarantee the right to regulate but does not protect against unlimited backward looking damages including expected profits and interests; see below. This makes reforms more expensive, including action on climate change, and undermines regulatory power.

Finally, the text suggests that removal of existing investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanisms removes any further impacts. This disregards systemic issues with specialised and supranational adjudication (see below) and impacts caused by substantive obligations. For instance, an MIC would not eliminate the environmental impacts mentioned by Van Harten, as they are not caused by institutional issues. 1

2.2 The one sentence baseline scenario is not comprehensive

A baseline scenario describes what will happen without policy changes. The IIA has a one sentence baseline scenario:

“Baseline scenario – No EU policy change

Option 1: The base line scenario would mean retaining and operating multiple ICSs in EU trade and/or investment agreements.”

The baseline scenario only mentions EU trade and/or investment agreements. It disregards the existing EU member states’ investment treaties that do not have ICS (Investment Court System), the ISDS variant in proposed EU agreements, like EU-Canada CETA. The existing treaties are very open, contain investor-to-state dispute settlement, and cause social and environmental impacts. The baseline scenario overlooks that ISDS not only suffers from a lack of institutional safeguards for independence, but also from systemic issues with specialised and supranational adjudication, which create a high risk of expansive interpretations.

The baseline scenario furthermore overlooks that ICS suffers from these systemic issues as well. The baseline scenario overlooks that proposed EU agreements will greatly expand coverage of foreign direct investment and will expand scope. It overlooks that EU agreements lock in the EU and EU member states. It overlooks that proposed EU agreements will have social and environmental impacts as they provide a similar level of legal protection as the EU member states’ investment treaties.

According to the guidelines on impact assessments, a baseline scenario has to be comprehensive and it’s qualitative analysis has to be rigorous and thorough. 2 The IIA does not meet this standard.

3 A more comprehensive baseline scenario shows growing impacts

3.1 Substantive provisions, existing impacts

The existing investment treaties are mostly very open. Investor-to-state dispute settlement tribunals have expansively interpreted “nearly every provision found in investment treaties”. 3 ISDS tribunals even went beyond levels of protection offered by domestic courts. 4 5

The future EU agreements will provide a similar level of protection. The EU-Canada CETA mandate stipulates “the highest possible level of legal protection and certainty”. 6 The mandate for the EU-US TTIP aims at the “highest standards of protection that both Parties have negotiated to date”. 7

The proposals for EU trade and investment agreements codify expansive interpretations. 8 9 For instance, regarding the fair and equitable treatment standard, arbitrator Todd Weiler said:

“I love it, the new Canadian-EU treaty… we used to have to argue about all of those [foreign investor rights]… And now we have this great list. I just love it when they try to explain things.” 10

Over 110 scholars commented in a joint submission to a consultation that this approach may have very little effect on expansive interpretations. 11 Over 100 law professors criticised the “vague substantive standards” in the EU-Canada CETA trade agreement text and stated:

“Investment protection constitutes a subtle shift of power towards individual and already influential commercial actors as it weakens the consideration of public interests and restricts democratic change.”

On regulatory chill they noted:

“This could in turn lead to a regulatory chill, as governments might refrain from regulatory measures in the public interest due to the threat of investment arbitration and the high damages it entails. Under existing treaties, investors have used this leverage to effectively interfere in democratic policy changes. This problem is not to be underestimated, as poor and wealthy countries alike have proven to be susceptible to this pressure.”

Regarding measures on climate change, Van Harten concludes in Foreign Investor Protection and Climate Action: A New Price Tag for Urgent Policies:

“Already, ISDS has been used to undermine legislatures and governments in areas closely linked to climate-friendly policies of prevention, mitigation, and adaptation. Public funds should be used to support the shift to clean energy not to compensate polluters for their lost future revenues when they have not adapted their business model in a timely and responsible way.”

The existing level of legal protection and certainty causes social and environmental impacts. 12 Future EU agreements will provide a similar level of protection.

3.1.1 No or a limited right to regulate

The existing, very open treaties do not have a right to regulate clause; the right to regulate clause in proposed future agreements has a limited effect.

In the EU-Canada CETA text the commission made a strong exception for one issue: decisions not to issue, renew or maintain a subsidy. 13 In contrast, the exception for the right to regulate in general is much weaker. Simon Lester notes that the text does not create any new right to regulate because it is just “reaffirming” a right that is assumed to already exist. 14 This gives adjudicators a wide discretion. As a result, a government has the right to regulate and to change the legal and regulatory framework, but the clause does not protect against unlimited backward looking damages including expected profits and interests 15, if one of the standards of protection is breached. This approach avoids neither making reforms more or even too expensive, nor regulatory chill. 16 17

Supranational obligations resting on states are cumulative. Supranational investment adjudicators can argue that states can regulate, need to protect fundamental rights, and also have to fully compensate investors. The right to regulate clause, with its “regulate-ánd-pay” approach, embodies this line of thought, which leads to high costs for states. States’ budgets are not unlimited; high damages and the threat of such damages have a chilling effect. In contrast, the European Convention on Human Rights leaves states a wide margin of appreciation. This gives states better possibilities to respond to a crisis. 18

3.2 ISDS

The IIA mentions various shortcomings of the investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism. See also Over 110 scholars, Joint Statement, and 220+ Law and Economics Professors Urge Congress to Reject the TPP and Other Prospective Deals that Include Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

3.3 Systemic issues

3.3.1 Specialised courts tend to interpret expansively

Specialised courts tend to interpret expansively. Justice Heydon noted that specialist courts and tribunals

“tend to become over-enthusiastic about vindicating the purposes for which they were set up”.

The developments regarding patents provide a clear example. Specialised courts and chambers have interpreted patent rules expansively. Brian Kahin wrote regarding developments in the US:

“The Federal Circuit quickly became a champion of its specialty, making patents more powerful, easier to get, harder to attack, and available for a nearly unlimited range of subject matter.”

The European Patent Office’s boards and boards of appeal caused a similar development in Europe. 19 Investor-to-state dispute settlement provides an other example of expansive interpretations: “widespread expansive interpretations of nearly every provision found in investment treaties”. 3

Furthermore, WTO dispute settlement tribunals have encroached on the public interest. 20 Note that mandates stipulating the highest possible level of legal protection and certainty legitimise expansive interpretations and so risk strengthening the expansive tendency of a specialised court.

3.3.2 Development of supranational investment protection outside of democratic scrutiny

The supranational level lacks effective instruments to correct expansive interpretations. In contrast, states do have these instruments. The US is dealing with the expansive interpretations of the Federal Circuit court (noted in the subsection above) in two ways. US Congress took legislative steps and the Supreme Court stepped in to reverse the patentability of software. Both instruments to correct expansive interpretations – legislative process and general supreme court – are not available at the supranational level. Supranational courts and tribunals’ interpretations fall outside of democratic scrutiny. As a result the development of supranational investment protection falls outside of democratic scrutiny.

3.3.3 No supreme court scrutiny

Development of supranational investment protection also falls outside of supreme court scrutiny. Supreme courts resolve tensions between rights originating in various law systems, for instance intellectual property, competition, and fundamental rights. In contrast, supranational obligations resting on states are cumulative. Supranational investment adjudicators can argue that states can regulate, need to protect fundamental rights, but also have to fully compensate investors. This regulate ánd pay approach leads to much higher costs for states. Furthermore, the rights of others are not guaranteed, including their fundamental rights. Referring to guaranteeing the full legal rights of others, the German Magistrates Association noted regarding the ISDS / Investment Court System proposal for TTIP (used in EU-Canada CETA):

“The creation of special courts for certain groups of litigants is the wrong way forward.”

Josef Drexl’s remarks on a Unified Patent Court (UPC) are relevant for supranational investment protection as well. He mentions that the US Supreme Court stepped in to reverse the Federal Circuit court’s “expansionist interpretation” and notes that specialised patent law courts may be weak in taking into account “the broader societal implications of patent protection and therefore be more likely to develop a pro-patent bias”. He warns against placing the Unified Patent Court outside of the EU legal order:

“This is of particular concern in the case of the Unified Patent Court, which will have to convince patent applicants and patent owners to opt into the new system especially during the first years of its existence. In the light of such risks, and especially in the light of the need to guarantee full respect of the fundamental rights, to prevent the CJEU from interpreting the rules of the UPC Agreement could easily amount to a mistake of historic dimensions.” 21

Both issues – have to convince litigants to use the system and the need to guarantee full respect of the fundamental rights of others – are relevant for supranational investment adjudication as well. Supranational adjudication has to compete with domestic courts in attracting foreign investor-litigants. Furthermore, the scope of investment protection is much broader: all government decisions.

3.3.4 Values and ability to respond to crises

The supranational level only has limited instruments to reverse expansive interpretations. The parties to an agreement can change the agreement or issue an interpretative declaration. These approaches, however, take the consent of all parties. Moreover, NAFTA’s interpretative declaration did not stop expansive interpretations. 17

As we saw, the development of supranational investment protection falls outside of democratic scrutiny; a supranational approach does not guarantee full respect of fundamental rights. Supranational investment protection strengthens investments vis-à-vis democracy and fundamental rights. This undermines our values, ability to reform, and ability to respond to crises, including climate change.

3.4 Unfairness, greatly expanded exposure, and lock in

3.4.1 Unjustifiable unfairness

Supranational investment protection is unfair. Foreign investors – and only foreign investors – have the right to bypass domestic legal systems and have, depending on interpretation, greater substantive rights 4, without correspondingly actionable responsibilities. 22

The positive discrimination of foreign investors is unjustifiable. Emma Aisbett and Lauge Poulsen:

“Our results suggest that foreign firms tend to be treated at least as well by host state governments as comparable domestic firms in the vast majority of cases. There is a political advantage, as opposed to liability, of being a foreign firm.”

The right approach is to improve weak aspects of domestic legal systems. Domestic legal systems can combine equal access to the law with supreme court and democratic scrutiny of the development of law. 23

3.4.2 Greater scope

In cases based on EU (trade and) investment agreements, judgments would also include EU decisions (greater scope). Investors would be able to claim damages based on EU-wide expected profits. These can be prohibitively high; this would undermine the independence of EU authorities. The inclusion of EU decisions is also important for intellectual property rights and data protection. 12

3.4.3 Greater coverage of foreign direct investment

New (trade and) investment agreements would expand exposure as they would greatly expand coverage of foreign direct investment (FDI). As an example, current agreements between the US and EU member states cover only one percent of the total US FDI stock in the EU. 24 Even without EU-US TTIP, 81% of US investors in the EU would be able to use the EU-Canada CETA agreement, after restructuring their investments. 25

3.4.4 Lock in

EU member states ratified stand-alone investment treaties. States can withdraw from them, or renegotiate them. The possibility of doing the former gives leverage to do the latter. Governments, harmed by their investment treaties, can act. An interesting option is to first rewrite a treaty with mutual consent to remove the treaty’s afterlife (sunset clause), and then withdraw from it.

In contrast, EU member states can’t withdraw from agreements concluded by the EU. In addition, we cannot expect the EU to withdraw from these agreements. EU agreements will lock EU and member states into the highest possible level of legal protection and certainty.

3.5 Baseline scenario shows growing impacts

In the baseline scenario, the combination of a very high level of protection, no or a limited right to regulate clause, ISDS / ICS, systemic issues with specialised and supranational adjudication, greater scope, greatly expanding coverage of foreign direct investment, and lock in will cause growing social and environmental impacts.

In the light of the need to protect fundamental rights, and in the light of the risks of climate change, a baseline scenario indicating increased social and environmental impacts should set off alarm bells. The commission has to investigate options that will eliminate impacts and reject options with continued or increased impacts.

4 Multilateral investment court scenario shows growing impacts

4.1 Continued growing impacts

As in the baseline scenario, the drivers of increased impacts are greatly expanding coverage and scope.

The multilateral investment court would operate on existing bilateral investment treaties and future agreements like the EU trade and investment agreements with Canada, Singapore, and Vietnam. 26 The MIC mechanism would continue the existing level of legal protection and certainty, with no (existing agreements) or a very limited right to regulate clause.

An MIC would continue the unjustifiable unfairness of investor-to-state dispute settlement: foreign investors – and only foreign investors – have the right to bypass domestic legal systems and have, depending on interpretation, greater substantive rights 4, without correspondingly actionable responsibilities. 22

As in the baseline scenario, special interests will play a role. This may weaken the multilateral investment court’s design and functioning. Offensive interests – the interests of investors – have frustrated meaningful reform of investor-to-state dispute settlement. EU and member states’ proposals, such as the ISDS / Investment Court System proposal for CETA, are insufficient. 27

ISDS arbitrators, responsible for expansive interpretations, may reappear as MIC judges / “judges”. 28 29 An instrument the parties to a multilateral investment court agreement will have is vetting the judges they appoint. The EU won’t have influence on the judges other parties nominate / appoint. 30 In other parties climate change denialists may be in power. Furthermore, within the EU, and especially in trade departments, offensive interests play a major role. This would have an effect on vetting judges.

4.2 Potentially marginal improvement

The multilateral investment court scenario replaces existing investor-to-state dispute settlement with an multilateral investment court. This brings institutional improvements. A positive effect, however, may only be marginal, as such improvements do not solve the systemic issues with specialised and supranational adjudication which create a high risk of expansive interpretations of investors’ rights. Moreover, the effect could also be negative. 31

4.3 Negative aspects

The establishment of a court strengthens the legitimacy of supranational investor-to-state dispute settlement and perpetuates its existence and growth, including of its social and environmental impacts.

As an EU agreement, the MIC would lock in the EU member states, and we can not expect the EU to withdraw from the agreement. The court would be able to provide expansive interpretations and maximise its power, as long as it doesn’t act so outrageously that the EU withdraws from the agreement.

In sum, the multilateral investment court scenario indicates growing social and environmental impacts.

5 Conclusion

The multilateral investment court scenario indicates growing social and environmental impacts.

A multilateral investment court would strengthen investments vis-à-vis democracy and fundamental rights. This undermines our values, ability to reform, and ability to respond to crises, including climate change.

A multilateral investment court makes reforms of our societies more or even too expensive and causes regulatory chill; it impedes reform, including action on climate change. In the light of the need to protect fundamental rights, and in the light of the risks of climate change, the EU can not ignore, legitimise, or perpetuate growing impacts. The commission has to investigate which options will eliminate social and environmental impacts and reject the multilateral investment court option.

6 Attachment: impacts, three examples

6.1 MIC impedes action on climate change

Mankind faces an existential threat: climate change. The data is disconcerting and shows our societies are not on top of the issue. Further reforms are needed. Van Harten:

“To respond to climate change, the world needs to shift rapidly from high-carbon assets, especially fossil fuel resources and related infrastructure, into clean energy. This will require a massive change in investment and the adoption of public policies to support and incentivize the right kinds of investment.” 32

The reform will harm vested interests. A multilateral investment court, in contrast with domestic law systems and the European human rights system, would give investors too generous possibilities to claim compensation. This would make reforms potentially prohibitively expensive, cause regulatory chill, and thus impede crucial measures on climate change.

6.2 MIC impedes intellectual property rights reform

Copyright does not work well in the digital world; the patent system is inefficient. Our societies could benefit from reform. 33 The WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and other international agreements limit possibilities for reform. Expansive interpretation of international treaties would further limit our policy space.

It matters who can initiate cases and who interprets the TRIPS agreement. The WTO has its own dispute settlement mechanism, only available to members of the WTO, to interpret the TRIPS agreement. A new forum emerges. United States pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly claims 500 million Canadian dollars in ISDS arbitration after Canada made a minor adjustment to its patent law, to ensure better access to medicine. According to Eli Lilly, Canada’s patent reform in not compatible with the TRIPS agreement. Investment adjudicators interpreting and deciding on compliance with the TRIPS agreement would change the dynamic of interpretation, as investors have less restraint than states regarding policy space 34 and there is a difference between seeing intellectual property rights as innovation stimulants and seeing them as assets. 35

Eli Lilly contends the Canadian measures produced “absurd results” and accused Canada of expropriation and breach of minimum standard of treatment obligations (fair and equitable treatment). Eli Lilly lambasts the Canadian patent policy framework as “discriminatory, arbitrary, unpredictable and remarkably subjective”. Furthermore, Novartis filed an investment treaty notice to challenge a Colombian cancer drug price-cut. Minor reforms have already led to two supranational investment claims.

Existing investment agreements are very open to interpretation. Proposed trade and investment agreements would contain some additional provisions on intellectual property rights. However, Sean Flynn argues that “language in investment chapters that appear designed to carve out IP policy decisions from private attack in investment forums in fact invite and facilitate such attack.” For weaknesses in the EU TTIP proposal, see FFII.

Supranational investment protection can also have an effect on patentability of software. Pratyush Nath Upreti adds a new element; he argues that investors can use the proposed Unified Patent Court for investment treaty shopping. The MIC proposal does not eliminate this possibility. As a result, two supranational courts could take decisions on patents, a specialised patent court and specialised investment court – a double whammy of the supranational kind. 36 The UPC – ISDS / MIC combination may lead to disproportionately high costs (unrelated to their market) for UPC member states.

A multilateral investment court would impede reform of intellectual property rights.

6.3 MIC risks undermining data protection

Foreign investors would be able to use a multilateral investment court to challenge EU data protection enforcement measures, for instance suspension of cross-border data flows or fines supervisory authorities will be empowered to impose on data controllers and data processors under the General Data Protection Regulation.

Enforcement agencies have limited resources. They have discretionary power: they are allowed to act in some cases and skip others. Domestic legal systems do not see this as discrimination. In contrast, ISDS tribunals have seen the exercise of such discretionary power as discrimination. 37 This undermines the effectiveness of enforcement agencies. This detrimental interpretation is possible under the existing investment agreements, which are very open to interpretation, and under proposed EU agreements. The latter agreements contain a “right to regulate” clause, which, however, as we saw above, does not protect against unlimited backward looking damages including EU-wide expected profits and interests. These damages can be prohibitively high and undermine the independence of EU authorities.

The MIC’s adjudicators would not have to read provisions in the light of the EU Charter of fundamental rights, as the EU Court of Justice would do. A multilateral investment court risks undermining the protection of personal data.

Footnotes:

1 Environmental impacts not caused by institutional issues; see Van Harten, An ISDS Carve-out to Support Action on Climate Change, page 3, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2663504

2 Guidelines on Impact Assessment

3 Statement of Concern signed by over 110 scholars; Since this statement, the material provisions did not change substantively; Statement of Concern about Planned Provisions on Investment Protection and Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) (see section General assessment)

4 Two examples. First, the Dutch Raad van State’s Administrative Jurisdiction Division (Netherlands’ highest general administrative court) is very restrictive regarding legitimate expectations; see for instance decision 201113437/1/R2, 20 juni 2012. In contrast, ISDS tribunals have interpreted legitimate expectations in a broad way. Lise Johnson and Lisa Sachs, The TPP’s Investment Chapter: Entrenching, rather than reforming, a flawed system; page 5, on the Bilcon award: “Under that approach, a tribunal identifies what it considers to be reasonable or legitimate expectations – which may have been generated by a wide range of even non-binding government conduct and need not rise to the level of actual ‘rights’ – and then strictly scrutinizes government actions or inactions to determine whether the investors’ expectations were wrongly frustrated”. Secondly, ISDS tribunals have seen the exercise of discretionary power as discrimination. See section on data protection. See also Gus Van Harten, Matthew C. Porterfield, Kevin P. Gallagher, Investment Provisions in Trade and Investment Treaties, The Need for Reform.

5 As an example of the relationship between changes to the regulatory environment and investment protection under existing treaties, see Roger Alford, Brexit and Foreign Investors’ Legitimate Expectations.

6 CETA mandate paragraph 26a

7 TTIP mandate paragraph 22

8 Van Harten, Comments on the European Commission’s Approach to Investor-State Arbitration in TTIP and CETA, page 5: “[T]he Commission’s clarification on fair and equitable treatment codifies a major expansion of this term compared to its widely-accepted customary meaning before the investor-state arbitrators arrived on the scene about 15 years ago.”

9 Also note the most favoured nation clause; Van Harten: “Another example of ambiguity in the CETA arises in Article 8.7(4), which gives foreign investors a right to ‘most-favoured-nation’ (MFN) treatment. As framed in the CETA, this ‘me too’ clause may potentially be used to import into the CETA, from other investment treaties of an EU member state or Canada, foreign investor rights that are even broader than those in the CETA.”

10 Quoted by Public Citizen, page 1; video at CATO institute

11 Statement of concern, answer to question 3

12 See the attachment for climate change, intellectual property rights and data protection.

13 EU-Canada CETA, article 8.9 paragraphs 3 and 4. Part of the exception reads: “For greater certainty, a Party’s decision not to … does not constitute a breach of the provisions of this Section.” The next paragraph contains “For greater certainty, nothing in this Section shall be construed as … requiring that Party to compensate the investor therefor.”

14 Simon Lester on the EU-Canada CETA text, see also FFII. See also Transport & Environment and ClientEarth, Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the environment, page 18.

15 For the EU-US TTIP proposal, see Van Harten, page 6; FFII, section 2.1 Ineffective right to regulate; S2B, section The “right to regulate” has not been preserved.

16 The EU-Canada CETA interpretative instrument, which was added before signing, does not change this, and only applies to one agreement. See Van Harten and The Council of Canadians.

17 The EU-Canada CETA interpretative instrument is less precise than the NAFTA interpretative declaration, which did not stop expansive interpretations. Compare the NAFTA interpretative declaration with Lise Johnson and Lisa Sachs, page 5, on the Bilcon award.

18 Under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) the right to property is enshrined in article 1 of Protocol 1: “Protection of property (1) Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law. (2) The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.” (emphasis added) The formulation “as it deems necessary” gives the member states a wide margin of appreciation. As a human rights court, the European Court of Human Rights will also be aware of the effects its decisions may have on other human rights. In contrast to the European human rights system, supranational investment adjudication (a) does not require exhaustion of local remedies, (b) does not provide access to the mechanism for all, but only to foreign investors, (c) does not guarantee full respect of fundamental rights (d) provides wide discretion to supranational adjudicators, (e) does not provide a wide margin of appreciation to states, and (f) provides unlimited backward looking damages including expected profits and interests. For the “right to regulate”, see the main text.

19 David Kappos, after the US Supreme Court stepped in to reverse the development: “You can get software patents allowed in both China and Europe that aren’t allowable in the US anymore.” Software patents despite the exclusion of programs for computers as such from patentability under the European Patent Convention, article 52.

20 Public Citizen, Only One of 44 Attempts to Use the GATT Article XX/GATS Article XIV “General Exception” Has Ever Succeeded: Replicating the WTO Exception Construct Will Not Provide for an Effective TPP General Exception; see also K. Irion, S. Yakovleva and M. Bartl, Trade and Privacy: Complicated Bedfellows? How to achieve data protection-proof free trade agreements.

21 quoted at FFII

22 See, for instance, Van Harten, ISDS in the Revised CETA: Positive Steps, But is it the ‘Gold Standard’?; Over 100 law professors, Legal Statement on investment protection and investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms in TTIP and CETA; and Over 220 Law and Economics Professors, letter to US Congress.

23 Investors are not obliged to invest in countries with weak legal systems. This may create an incentive for states to improve their legal system. Further alternatives are contracts, state-state arbitration and insurance. The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), a member of the World Bank Group, offers insurance for political risks. If problems arise, they are very effective in settling them. This approach does not have the problems supranational investment adjudication has. Companies can also take out commercial political risk insurance. Also note the related “The consultation document comes up with one additional argument: that the rights each party grants to its own citizens and companies ‘are not always guaranteed to foreigners and foreign investors.’ The claim is unsubstantiated. Even if it is accepted, there is no obvious reason why the incorporation in TTIP of a simple norm of non discriminatory legal protection and equal access to domestic courts could not address the problem perfectly adequately.” (Statement of Concern, General assessment)

24 UNCTAD; see also Van Harten, page 5.

25 Public Citizen, Tens of Thousands of U.S. Firms Would Obtain New Powers to Launch
Investor-State Attacks against European Policies via CETA and TTIP

26 Inception Impact Assessment, option 5, page 6; See also Discussion paper Establishment of a multilateral investment dispute settlement system, section 3.1.

27 See for instance the statement by over 100 law professors; German Magistrates Association, Opinion on the establishment of an investment tribunal in TTIP; and European Association of Judges, Statement from the European Association of Judges (eaj) on the proposal from the European Commission on a new Investment Court System.

28 The Discussion paper mentions “previous experience in international investment law”, paragraph 33.

29 Associations of judges (one, two) noted that the earlier Investment Court System proposal (used in EU-Canada CETA and other FTA proposals) is not compatible with the Council of Europe’s Magna Charta of Judges.

30 On nomination and appointment see options in Discussion paper, section 3.5.

31 An International Investment Court: panacea or purgatory? by M. Sornarajah

32 Van Harten, Foreign Investor Protection and Climate Action: A New Price Tag for Urgent Policies

33 Statnews, UN panel urges wider access to medicines, but pharma slams the report; Regarding digital issues, the FFII (one, two) has argued that EU copyright and patent law has to be made compatible with the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

34 See for instance Michael Geist on the U.S. State Department submission in the Eli Lilly ISDS case.

35 See also Peter K. Yu, who proposes mitigating approaches in “The Investment-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights”. Note that the article overlooks arbitrator bias and unfair procedural advantages for the US (page 50), weaknesses in TPP’s “right to regulate” clause (page 24, compare Van Harten, page 7), and uses old damages numbers in footnote 102 (compare Van Harten, pages 2-6). Taking these issues into account, mitigating approaches could be less effective than hoped for.

36 See also Josef Drexl’s remarks on the UPC above.

37 Lise Johnson and Lisa Sachs, page 9.

Date: 2017-02-22T16:44+0100

Kommentera! (by Ante Wessels at 2017-02-03 15:39:55)

30 January 2017

Vad var det vi sa?


Nybloggat på HAX.5July.org:


"You should never give government tools for mass surveillance (or other tools that can be used to oppress the people) that wouldn’t be safe regardless of whose hands it ends up in."


Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2017-01-30 19:49:00)

Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize

Today we nominate Mr Edward Snowden to the Nobel Peace Prize. Please read more here edwardsnowdennomination2017-01-30 or below.

To the Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee:

We write to nominate Edward Joseph Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Alfred Nobel intended that the Peace Prize would promote disarmament. Today, militaries around the world place ever greater emphasis on engagement in cyberspace, with its almost unlimited possibilities for spying, disruption, and destruction.  No one has sounded the alarm more eloquently than Edward Snowden as regards military encroachment upon the world’s systems of electronic communication, and how such encroachment violates rights of privacy and threatens the continued existence of democracy.

Edward Snowden became one of history’s great whistleblowers when he revealed to leading journalists that the United States conducts all-encompassing mass surveillance around the world. In a conscientious and responsible manner, he exposed a system in which the phone, internet and other communications of individuals and whole nations are intercepted and permanently stored. Snowden insisted that it must be up to an informed global citizenry to decide whether they wish to live in a world in which they are constantly monitored by the United States military. With courage and careful judgment, he initiated a global debate about surveillance systems that operate beyond democratic control and the rule of law. Many states are now trying to build up similar capacities as the US. Snowden´s work has permitted an open and democratic debate, globally, about the risks of cyberwarfare and global surveillance.

Snowden’s contribution is of particular importance today, when the American military’s capacities for interception and disruption in cyberspace are under the authority of a new commander-in-chief.  President Donald J. Trump has expressed little intention to respect legal or ethical limits on the use of his power.  It is therefore a particularly suitable moment to award the Nobel Prize for Peace to Edward Snowden.

Yours truly,

Jens Holm, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Annika Lillemets, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Wiwi-Anne Johansson, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Carl Schlyter, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Lotta Johnsson Fornarve, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Amineh Kakabaveh, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Valter Mutt, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Daniel Sestrajcic, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Annika Hirvonen Falk, Member of Parliament, Sweden

Hans Linde, Member of Parliament, Sweden


Kommentera! (by jensholm at 2017-01-30 08:07:09)

29 January 2017

New ISDS consultation seems surreal

The European Commission has launched a consultation on an investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) variant: a multilateral investment court. 1 In an email the commission confirms the consultation has a narrow scope. The commission does not want feedback on the system as a whole. This way the system’s social and environmental impacts may go unmentioned in the consultation results.

This is irresponsible, as the system as a whole will strengthen investments vis-à-vis democracy and fundamental rights This undermines our values and ability to respond to crises, including climate change.

Mankind faces its biggest challenge ever: climate change. For the commission it’s business as usual. Give multinationals their own court and keep the social and environmental impacts out of sight.

That’s surreal, not?

I asked the commission two questions about the consultation; below the commission’s answer, with inline comments. See also Multilateral investment court assessment obscures social and environmental impacts.

European Commission:

“Thank you for your e-mail and for you interest in the public consultation on a multilateral reform of investment dispute resolution that the European Commission recently launched.

In your e-mail you refer to certain alleged impacts of the baseline scenario and mention that the Commission has not taken those into account when drafting the Inception Impact Assessment.” (emphasis added)

Note “alleged impacts”. The court will also operate on the existing, very open investment treaties. The commission is well aware of the shortcomings of these treaties. It filed amicus briefs in various ISDS cases arguing against damages awards and it ordered Romania to not pay ISDS damages.

“We would like to clarify that the process that the Inception Impact Assessment seeks to trigger (i.e., a multilateral reform of the investment dispute settlement system) relates to very specific aspects of international investment (i.e., the procedures dealing with the resolution of disputes).”

Taking the initiative for a court creates responsibility for the impacts the court will have. You can’t wash your hands in innocence.

“It does not deal with the substantive provisions of investment agreements. The multilateral investment court will not create new substantive obligations, nor create investment dispute settlement. Rather it will replace existing systems. As a consequence, other possible aspects and consequences arguably arising from international investment such as those that you refer to do not fall within the scope of this specific process.” (emphasis added)

No changes to the substantive provisions should set off the alarm bells, as the court will also operate on the existing, very open investment treaties. 2 Replacing existing dispute settlement systems creates responsibility, strengthens the legitimacy of existing, very open investment treaties and facilitates their continued existence.

“The questionnaire and public consultation designed by the Commission are therefore aimed at consulting stakeholders on how to improve, through various multilateral options, the dispute settlement aspects of international investment.”

A too limited approach in the light of what is needed: elimination of social and environmental impacts.

“You may have seen from the splash box on the relevant website that, in addition to the questionnaire, the Commission welcomes feedback from stakeholders directly related to the Inception Impact Assessment, in which case, stakeholders may provide open comments. They may also upload a position paper. Therefore, if you have not already done so, we would welcome your comments and views on the issue, both directly to the IIA and under the questionnaire.”

The less known process allows open comments (Inception Impact Assessment, Directorate General: Trade; date: 01/08/2016, click open). The consultation will report: no social or environmental impacts.

“Regarding your second question, it follows from the above that there is no reason to contemplate withdrawing the consultation given the specified scope of this exercise.

If you think it would be helpful, we are happy to schedule a meeting in order to clarify any remaining matters.

Yours sincerely,

European Commission

DG TRADE”

The “specified scope of this exercise” obscures social and environmental impacts which will continue and grow.

Citizens will have to step in, again. See FFII submission.

Footnotes:

1 investor-to-state – check, dispute settlement – check, outside of domestic courts – check

2 Proposed future EU treaties provide a similar level of legal protection and leave adjudicators a wide discretion as well.

Kommentera! (by Ante Wessels at 2017-01-29 16:55:27)


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