There’s been an ongoing discussion between the US and Europe (and other countries as well) about the US’s demands that anyone flying to the US should have all sorts of data passed along to the US first. And while an agreement has been made, apparently the rapporteur in charge of examining this issue of sending passenger data to the US, Sophie in’t Veld, is now urging the EU to reject the agreement.
The key issue appears to be that the details of the current agreement violate existing European rights and rules — including the fact that the US will retain this data forever (contrary to some claims that it would just be held for 15 years — which was already problematic). Apparently, the agreement goes so far as to give US law enforcement a direct login to European computer systems, so they can sift through reservation data at will. Basically, this is yet another case of US law enforcement overreaching in what it wants to be able to spy on, and just assuming that everyone will go along with it, despite a lack of clear reason for why. Now, what remains is whether or not EU officials will give in.
Technology has come a long way in the last few decades. Just about every computer (or smartphone) we use now is vastly more powerful than the primitive electronics that helped put astronauts on the surface of the moon. Gadgets are getting so cheap that toys are becoming impressively advanced. Here are just a few examples.
The Irish Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock, is insisting that the final version of the bill is much more limited than earlier proposals, and that it took guidance from recent EU Court of Justice rulings that say ISPs shouldn’t have to be proactive about blocking. That still means that copyright holders can petition to force ISPs to block all access to various websites, and as we’ve seen in other countries in Europe, you can bet that the major record labels and studios will be doing just that very soon (if they haven’t already) — though their track record on properly calling out infringement isn’t very good.
Sherlock, apparently realizing just how bad this looks to the citizenry, is trying to balance this announcement out by also saying that he’s launching the “next stage” of the process to review copyright in Ireland, with the goal of “removing barriers to innovation.” This is an ongoing process that we first wrote about last year, when the country realized that existing copyright law was holding back innovation.
Of course, the end result is that the government appears to be trying to move in two different directions at once. On the one hand, it’s catering to the legacy entertainment industry interests and hindering the internet as the platform that enables new business models… while at the same time paying lip service to how it has to increase such innovation. Here’s a tip: the first thing towards increasing innovation in business models online is not putting misplaced liability on service providers, not setting up a censorship regime, and not removing the incentives for the entertainment industry to actually embrace innovative business models.