Can’t Get Public Approval to Buy a Drone? Do it in Private!
Thu 4 Dec 2014, 03:20

Sheriff Ahern decided to spend $97,000 from the county’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to buy two small unmanned aerial surveillance devices. Ahern seems to think he hasn’t done anything wrong, since he told the Contra Costa Times: “There's nothing secret about what we've done...This is how our department acquires equipment on a regular basis.”

EFF comments the Motion Picture Association of America schemes for Internet censorship
Thu 22 Jan 2015, 23:40

Documents that were brought to light by the December 2014 Sony hack revealed the MPAA's plans to create SOPA-like Internet censorship mechanisms through agencies outside of the federal legislature in order to purposefully skirt the public oversight that comes with Congressional rule making. The first explosive revelation was that the MPAA had been colluding with, and even financing, state attorneys generals to go after Google.

But another set of documents revealed Hollywood's other crooked plan—to persuade the International Trade Commission (ITC) into forcing Internet service providers to block sites that allegedly distribute copyright-infringing content. The ITC is a federal, quasi-judicial agency that regulates the importation of goods coming into the United States. It recently held in a patent case (which is under appeal) that its authority extends to data transmitted online. The MPAA wants to take advantage of the ITC's expansive new interpretation of its mandate to fight contraband online, and extend that to blacklist content in the name of fighting piracy.

TTIP: a peek into the negotiations
Mon 9 Feb 2015, 15:00

As the 8th round of the TTIP negotiations just ended in Brussels, Access reflects on the state of play of this major transatlantic trade deal.


EU asks public opinion on geo-blocking
Thu 24 Sep 2015, 15:20

The European Commission started two public consultations Thursday, as part of its Digital Single Market strategy. One is about the role of online platforms such as Google and Amazon, and asks whether they should be more transparent. The other asks citizens about their opinion and experience with geo-blocking.

The Commission wants to hear from citizens, manufacturers, retailers (especially SMEs), right holders, data and cloud service providers and users, as well as all those involved in the collaborative economy.

Please see the press release here.

European Commission adopts new rules on the creation of advisory expert groups
Mon 30 May 2016, 14:00

Today, the Commission has adopted new rules on the creation and functioning of the advisory expert groups which provide external expertise to help inform the policy-making process. The Decision provides a single set of rules and principles aimed at increasing transparency, avoiding conflicts of interest and ensuring a balanced representation of interests. The new rules are binding on all Commission departments.

Spanish bill threatens whisleblowers' protection
Fri 17 Mar 2017, 21:10

A very flawed whistleblowers protection law has been proposed in Spain. The law would not only insufficiently protect whistleblowers but also undermine citizens’ rights. Its apparently attractive name (“Ley Integral de Lucha contra la Corrupción y Protección de los Denunciantes” - Comprehensive Law on the Struggle against Corruption and Protection of Whistleblowers) hides serious dangers. Yet, the draft law has been supported by all the parties except PNV (Basque Nationalist Party).