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    Energy charter treaty makes climate action nearly illegal in 52 countries / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 7 July - 15:07

Energy charter treaty makes climate action nearly illegal in 52 countries

Enlarge (credit: Monty Rakusen | Getty Images )

Five young people whose resolve was hardened by floods and wildfires recently took their governments to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Their claim concerns each country’s membership of an obscure treaty they argue makes climate action impossible by protecting fossil fuel investors.

The energy charter treaty has 52 signatory countries which are mostly EU states but include the UK and Japan. The claimants are suing 12 of them including France, Germany and the UK—all countries in which energy companies are using the treaty to sue governments over policies that interfere with fossil fuel extraction. For example, the German company RWE is suing the Netherlands for €1.4 billion ($1.42 billion) because it plans to phase out coal.

The claimants aim to force their countries to exit the treaty and are supported by the Global Legal Action Network, a campaign group with an ongoing case against 33 European countries they accuse of delaying action on climate change. The prospects for the current application going to a hearing at the ECHR look good. But how simple is it to prise countries from the influence of this treaty?

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    Broadcom takeover of VMware could be derailed by EU antitrust probe / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 23 June - 14:17

Broadcom’s $69 billion acquisition of cloud software company VMware is set for a lengthy antitrust investigation in Brussels over regulatory concerns that the deal will harm competition across the global technology industry.

Broadcom is already in preliminary discussions with EU officials who will be looking into worries that the merger may lead to abusive behavior, including potential future price rises by the US chipmaker, three people with direct knowledge of the transaction said.

Many large acquisitions receive similar interrogation, known in EU circles as a “phase 1” investigation, which typically takes a few months to complete.

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    EU Piracy Rates are the Highest Among Well Educated Youth / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 9 June - 08:15 · 3 minutes

eu flag The European Union Intellectual Property Office ( EUIPO ) regularly conducts studies to see how piracy rates evolve over time.

These studies also help the public and lawmakers identify the various barriers and drivers behind this activity. That can help to shape future policies.

This week, the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) published the latest version of its triannual Intellectual Property and Youth Scoreboard 2022 . The research draws on a survey of 22,021 young people (aged 15 to 24) across all EU Member States conducted earlier this year.

The latest report is the third installment which makes it possible to track how the piracy habits of EU youth developed over time. One of the main conclusions identifies a gradual decline in the percentage of people that pirated at least once in the past year.

33% Pirates

The piracy rate in the EU dropped from 39% in 2016 to 33% this year. While many young people admit that they pirated something over the past twelve months, roughly a third of this group did so “by accident.” That leaves us with 21% who are intentionally pirating. Meanwhile, the majority of EU youth (60%) haven’t pirated a single thing.

youth pirates

There are some significant differences in piracy rates between countries. In Malta, for example, more than 50% of the youth admitted to accessing content illegally, while only 25% in Germany did so.

It is worth emphasizing that only a tiny fraction of the population exclusively consumes pirated content. Most use a mixture of legal and illegal sources. Again, there are massive differences between countries. In France, nearly 10% of the consumers pirate music exclusively but in the Netherlands the figure is just 1.5%.

Well Edudated Intentional Pirates

One particularly interesting finding is that piracy rates are significantly higher among well-educated youth. Of those who have a university degree, 28% have intentionally pirated something over the past year. That’s nearly twice as much as those who have no or some secondary education (15%).

EU youth with secondary to college education end up in the middle, with 21% admitting to intentionally pirating content. That’s the same percentage as the EU average across all youth.


While cost is often mentioned as a reason to use pirate sites and services, students with an income pirated more often (24%) than those who don’t have a job (18%). Perhaps the first group values their hard-earned money more, while the latter is sponsored by their parents.

Reasons to Pirate

Availability and affordability continue to be the prime reasons why many people use pirate sites and services. More than half (55%) mentioned cost as the primary factor, followed by a lack of availability, which 25% cited as the main reason.

Interestingly, too much ‘availability’ can become a problem as well. With content spread out over several subscription services, enjoying movies and TV shows legally has become quite costly. The EU report also picked up on this.

“[W]hile there were now more legal sources, this diversification meant that content was increasingly spread over multiple sources, forcing consumers to take out more subscriptions if they wanted to maintain access to a range of content,” the report reads.

Related to this, some people turned to piracy because a TV show they could previously watch legally was suddenly pulled from the platform. One respondent cited in the report described the following experience.

“I was watching a series on Netflix and then they took it down from Netflix. Because I still wanted to finish the series I continued to search the internet and ended up on an illegal site.”

netherlands respondent

Reasons to Stop

Copyright holders will mostly be interested in what would make people think twice about downloading or streaming content from pirate sites. In response to this question, most people (53%) mentioned the risk of running into viruses and malware as the main reason.

Other potential reasons include credit card theft (49%), the risk of getting caught and punished (36%), or the fact that creators and legal services could be hurt financially (26%).

The suggestion that the money made by pirate sites and services could go to organized crime wasn’t very popular. In fact, many people have a hard time believing that this is actually true.

“Participants had generally not previously considered that there might be a link between organized crime and illegal sources of content. Indeed, when this topic was raised in the communities, there was significant scepticism as to whether such a link existed.”

All in all, the EUIPO report provides some great insights. While piracy continues to decline among the youth, it remains a significant problem. And new trends such as the increase in subscription services, may actually breed a new generation of pirates.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Congrats, the new standard charging plug of the #EU is born and it's USB-C!

    Lyn · Wednesday, 8 June - 02:32 edit

Is this gonna put an end to this #apple (Lightning) bullshit? For all modern, usually Android based, devices this doesn't change a thing at all - in effect. Actually, many small devices like rechargeable keyboard, mice, headsets, even fans and air pumps are all already using USB-C as well. Just as in other things, apple does just literally worse. Lightning has just slower data rates, slower charging and is probably even the less durable variant anyway. No need to name all the other toxic moves apple takes against their customers.

I guess time will show and the cheapest route will be taken and ideally we will see less trash produced in the end… well and perhaps less need for adapters but the option to share a cable with someone who "bit the apple".

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    En exclusivité, voici le gouvernement d'Elisabeth Borne

    eyome · Friday, 20 May - 18:29

Affaires étrangères : #OTAN

Santé : #OMS

Economie : #EU

Affaires Sociales : #McKinsey

Finances : #BCE

Education : #OpenSociety

Environnement : #WorldEconomicForum

ça va bien se passer...

#France, #Politique, #fr, #remaniement, #Mondialisme.

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    Cloudflare: EU’s Piracy Watchlist Should Focus on Illegal Acts, Not Copyright Advocacy / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 18 May - 09:30 · 4 minutes

eu flag Following the example set by United States, the EU started publishing its very own piracy watchlist in 2018.

The biannual ‘Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List’ is put together by the European Commission. As in the US, it is based on submissions from copyright holder groups that report on problematic sites and services.

Rightsholders are happy to contribute. In addition to pointing out sites and services that blatantly engage in copyright-infringing activities, they also use the opportunity to request broader cooperation from third-party services. In some cases, this leads to concrete suggestions that go beyond what the law requires.

Listing Anti-Piracy Demands

For example, in their latest submission, music industry group IFPI suggested that third-party services should implement robust “know your customer” policies. This also applies to the popular CDN and proxy service Cloudflare.

“CloudFlare should exercise due diligence in confirming who its customers are and establishing their proposed and actual activities,” IFPI wrote.

Other rightsholder groups made similar suggestions. For example, the movie industry’s MPA stressed that online intermediaries such as CDNs, domain registrars and hosting companies, should stop offering their services to customers who are not properly verified.

These are understandable requests from rightsholders, who can use every bit of information to track down the operators of problematic sites. However, these verification demands are not cemented in EU legislation, so services are not legally required to vet all customers.

Cloudflare Asks the EU to Focus on ‘Illegal’ Acts

That last point was also highlighted by Cloudflare, which sent a rebuttal to the EU commission after it was flagged by several rightsholders as a potential candidate for the piracy watchlist.

The San Francisco company has millions of customers all over the world. These include governments and copyright holders but also many smaller sites that take advantage of the platform’s CDN and security features.

In its rebuttal, Cloudflare supports the watchlist initiative. However, it urges the EU to keep the listed sites and services limited to those that actually appear to act against the law, not those who fail to comply with all copyright holders’ wishes.

“The Commission should not issue a report – even an informal one – that is simply a mechanism for particular stakeholders to air their grievances that entities are not taking particular voluntary action to meet their concerns or to advocate for new policies.”

Listing companies such as Cloudflare solely based on complaints from copyright holders could give the impression that the EU supports these allegations, the company argues. That could potentially impact ongoing legal discussions and policy debates.

“Our view is that the Commission’s staff document and Watch List should be limited to Commission-verified allegations of illegal behaviour, based on principled and fair legal standards,” Cloudflare notes.

‘Verification is an Indirect Security Threat’

In addition to this broader criticism, the company also argues that some of the demands from rightsholders could prove to be problematic. For example, an extensive verification process would involve significant costs which could mean that the company is unable to maintain its free tier.

As a result, smaller sites may lose the benefit of the free protection that’s offered, because they can’t afford to pay for the service.

“Altering this online sign up process, which is consistent with existing law, to require manual review of new accounts would make it impossible to offer these free services at scale, degrading the Internet experience for all users and making much of the web more vulnerable to cyber attack,” Cloudflare writes.

The CDN provider also stresses that it already goes beyond what the law requires to help rightsholders. For example, it works with “trusted notifiers” who can request the origin IP addresses of problematic sites, when these are flagged.

These and other voluntary measures were previously highlighted in a separate submission to the US Government as well. According to Cloudflare, the company is showing its good will while operating in line with all applicable laws.

Several of the rightsholder groups complaining about Cloudflare are also “trusted notifiers”. While this indeed helps to find out where sites and services are hosted, they believe it’s not enough.

IFPI, for example, mentions that Cloudflare apparently does very little to address customers for which it receives a large volume of complaints.

“[N]otices or requests for information under the ‘trusted flagger’ program should result in meaningful action vis-à-vis the customer. The program needs to feed into a repeat infringer policy, yet in the case of CloudFlare, there is no evidence that it does.”

It is clear that copyright holders and Cloudflare have different takes on how to tackle the piracy problem. Whether the EU believes that this warrants a mention on the piracy watchlist has yet to be seen.

Cloudflare was mentioned in the EU’s first watchlist in 2018, but was taken off the next version. If it’s up to the San Francisco CDN provider, it will stay off the list in future.

“The Watch List is not the appropriate place for advocacy on new policies as to what online service providers should collect on their users,” the company writes.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    EU warns Elon Musk over Twitter moderation plans / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 26 April - 13:29

EU warns Elon Musk over Twitter moderation plans

Enlarge (credit: NurPhoto | Getty Images)

Brussels has warned Elon Musk that Twitter must comply with the EU’s new digital rules under his ownership, or risk hefty fines or even a ban, setting the stage for a global regulatory battle over the future of the social media platform.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for the internal market, told the Financial Times that Elon Musk must follow rules on moderating illegal and harmful content online after Twitter accepted the billionaire’s $44bn takeover offer.

Breton said: “We welcome everyone. We are open but on our conditions. At least we know what to tell him: ‘Elon, there are rules. You are welcome but these are our rules. It’s not your rules which will apply here.’”

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    Apple's grip on iOS browser engines disallowed under latest draft EU rules, in the interests of true competition

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Tuesday, 26 April - 11:25

Apple requires that competing mobile browsers distributed through the iOS App Store use its own WebKit rendering engine, which is the basis of its Safari browser. The result is that Chrome, Edge, and Firefox on iOS are all, more or less, Safari.

Apple's browser engine requirement has vexed web developers, who have been limited to using only the web APIs implemented in WebKit for their web apps. Many believe this barrier serves to steer developers toward native iOS app development, which Apple controls.

"The potential for a capable web has been all but extinguished on mobile because Apple has successfully prevented it until now," said Russell. "Businesses and services will be able to avoid building 'apps' entirely when enough users have capable browsers." "There's a long road between here and there," he said. "Apple has spent enormous amounts to lobby on this, and they aren't stupid. Everyone should expect them to continue to play games along the lines of what they tried in Denmark and South Korea."


#technology #browsers #apple #competition #EU