In Hungary, Latvia, and Greece, travelers will be given an automated lie-detection test—by an animated AI border agent. The system, called iBorderCtrl, is part of a six-month pilot led by the Hungarian National Police at four different border crossing points. “We’re employing existing and proven technologies—as well as novel ones—to empower border agents to increase the accuracy and efficiency of border checks,” project coordinator George Boultadakis of European Dynamics in Luxembourg told the European Commission. “iBorderCtrl’s system will collect data that will move beyond biometrics and on to biomarkers of deceit.”
Posts tagged EU
Yesterday, the European Parliament approved amendments to the controversial Copyright Directive, a piece of legislation intended to update copyright for the internet age. Few pieces of legislation have polarized Europe this much in recent years. Critics said the vote heralded the death of the internet, while supporters congratulated themselves for saving the livelihoods of starving artists and giving US tech giants a poke in the eye.
2016 leaked document from Coca-Cola showing the regulations from the EU they intend to “Prepare” for “Monitor” or “Fight Back”
The rules governing when a piece of creative content enters the public domain may seem initially straightforward, but determining whether something is truly in the public domain can result in a swamp of obscure rules, strange regulations, legal complexity, and varying interpretations of exceptions.
In most countries, copyright term is based on the life of the author plus an additional set duration of protection — usually from 50 to 70 years beyond the death of the creator. In Mexico, copyright protection lasts for 100 years after the death of the author. Within Europe there have been attempts to harmonise copyright terms across the Member States for about 25 years now. In theory, the copyright duration has been harmonised to 70 years after the death of the last surviving author. In practice however, each Member State has different public domain regulations.
“We live in an era of great turbulence, with economic decline running in paradoxical tandem with technological advance. It is only to be expected that our antiquated institutions haven’t been able to keep up, and our nation states, political parties and supranational bodies are starting to unravel. Politicians now seem perennially in the business of chaos management, and the suspicion must be that this process has only just begun. The inevitable chorus of voices crying out for “a period of stability” sadly misses the point: we aren’t at that place in our history, and trying to impose inertia on those fluid times may only be inviting further discord.”
–Irvine Welsh,The beauty beneath Brexit’s bedwetting.
What we fear is a future in which potent personal data is combined with increasingly sophisticated technology to produce and deliver unaccountable personalized media and messages at a national scale. Combined with data-driven emerging media technologies, it is clear that the use of behavioral data to nudge voters with propaganda-as-a-service is set to explode. Imagine being able to synthesize a politician saying anything you type and then upload the highly realistic video to Facebook with a fake CNN chyron banner. Expect the early versions of these tools available before 2020. At the core of this is data privacy, or as they more meaningfully describe it in Europe, data protection. Unfortunately, the United States is headed in a dangerous direction on this issue. President Trump’s FCC and the Republican party radically deregulated our ISP’s ability to sell data monetization on paying customer data. Anticipate this administration further eroding privacy protections, as it confuses the public interest for the interests of business, despite being the only issue that about 95% of voters agree on, across every partisan and demographic segment according to HuffPo/YouGov. We propose three ideas to address these issues, which are crucial to preserving American democracy.
united nation of Yugoslavia was not easy prey for imperialist intentions like we see taking place today. It is a fact, that after World War II, socialist Yugoslavia became something of a European success story. Between 1960 and 1980 the country had one of the most vigorous growth rates in the world: a decent standard of living, free medical care and education, a guaranteed right to a job, one-month vacation with pay, a literacy rate of over 90 percent, and a life expectancy of 72 years. To my knowledge, not one of the Balkans states that were created can claim half this prosperity.
The 37 decentralised agencies of the European Union
What does citizenship look like in ten or 20 years time? Will it be determined by borders and nationality, or a social group or activity? What are the forces that currently, and may exist that influence, transform and manipulate or current understanding of borders and what it means to belong? This February, Changeist were invited by Time’s Up to deliver a three day workshop as part of their Futuring Exercise for the 2017 Maltese presidency of the Council of the EU, with the support of Arts Council Malta and the Valletta 2018 Foundation. We chose to take a keener look at citizenship, migration and borders as it may develop over the next few decades, using Europe as the territory for our speculative “map”.
The European parliament is to review a proposal for an associate EU citizenship open to nationals of a country that has left the union but who want to stay part of the European project and retain some of their EU rights. The plan, tabled by a liberal MEP from Luxembourg, could mean British citizens who opt for the new status would be able to continue to travel freely and live on the continent – rights that may no longer be automatic after Brexit. “It’s clear the UK is divided, and many people want to remain part of Europe,” said Charles Goerens, who proposed amendment 882 to a draft report by the parliament’s constitutional affairs committee on possible changes to “the current institutional set-up” of the European Union.
Come on, Europe. Take Europeans seriously. Let them speak. Why educate the masses if they are not allowed to talk? Look at Ireland, the most innovative democracy in Europe. Just weeks ago, a random sample of a hundred Irish citizens, drafted by lot, was brought together to form a Citizens’ Assembly. This is a country that trusts its citizens, rather than fearing them. Over the next year, they will discuss five topics, including abortion, referendums, and climate change. They will invite all the experts they want to hear. This Assembly is the second of its kind. In 2013 and 2014, a similar procedure asked Irish citizens to make policy recommendations about a range of topics including marriage equality. Their proposal for constitutional reform was later voted on in a national referendum. It was the first time in modern history that a constitution was altered after deliberation with a random sample of citizens. Now, these are ways of doing democracy in the 21st century. In South Australia earlier this year, 350 citizens were drafted by lot to decide whether the state should store nuclear waste from around the world in its desert. The topic was too technical for a referendum and too touchy for party politics. By pulling in random citizens, a much more informed policy proposal was made. (The panel decided against.) What if you were to call for a similar Citizens’ Assembly in the European Union? Every European member state could bring together a random sample of a hundred citizens. They would then meet on four occasions, over a period of several months, in order to answer one big question: How do we make the EU more democratic by 2020? From Portugal to Estonia, participants would get the same amount of time and materials. Every country would formulate ten recommendations. Then a selection of delegates from each national convention, again drafted by lot, would come together in Brussels to finalize a list of 25 shared priorities for future EU policy.
The Disinformation Review collects examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation all around Europe and beyond. Every week, it exposes the breadth of this campaign, showing the countries and languages targeted. We’re always looking for new partners to cooperate with us for that. The Disinformation Review is a collection of disinformation examples sent to the EEAS East StratCom Task Force from a network of over 400 journalists, civil society organisations, academics and public authorities in over 30 countries. The East Stratcom Task Force provides an analysis of the trends emerging from the reports received. Opinions and judgements expressed here do not represent official EU positions.
German weekly Die Zeit did two scenario stories this year, in which they tried to paint pictures of — at that point — unlikely futures. The first one was Brexit; the other one was Trump. For both, reporters tried to talk to politicians, bureaucrats, policy experts, etc. in Germany and the European Union. Most wouldn’t speak to them, and a few only did off the record. They would say that they weren’t allowed to plan for these futures. That not only had no strategy but mostly not even possible scenarios. Our governments went rather unprepared into maybe the two biggest politically relevant events of this year.
Last year I spent a lot of time covering the Greek crisis for Newsnight. Much of what I learned then feels relevant to Brexit. So, here are a few of those lessons.
“Over the years, the European institutions have developed a vocabulary that differs from that of any recognised form of English. It includes words that do not exist or are relatively unknown to native English speakers outside the EU institutions and often even to standard spellcheckers/grammar checkers (‘planification’, ’to precise’ or ’telematics’ for example) and words that are used with a meaning, often derived from other languages, that is not usually found in English dictionaries (‘coherent ’ being a case in point). Some words are used with more or less the correct meaning, but in contexts where they would not be used by native speakers (‘homogenise’, for example). Finally, there is a group of words, many relating to modern technology, where users (including many native speakers) ‘prefer ’ a local term (often an English word or acronym) to the one normally used in English-speaking countries, which they may not actually know, even passively (’GPS’ or ’navigator’ for ‘satnav ’, ’SMS’ for ’text’, ’to send an SMS to’ for ’to text’, ’GSM’ or even ’Handy’ for ’mobile’ or ’cell phone’, internet ’key’, ’pen’ or ’stick’ for ’dongle’, ’recharge’ for ’top-up/top up’, ’beamer’ for video projector etc).”
–Misused English Words and Expressions in EU Publications. European Court of Auditors, Secretariat General Translation Directorate.
EU Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) and Outermost Regions (OMR)
“One key reason why air pollution kills 400,000 citizens annually is that carmakers cheat the tests for diesel cars, causing many times more pollution on the road,” said Greg Archer, the clean vehicles manager for Transport and Environment. “The development of a new real-world driving emission test is an important step forward to tackling urban air pollution. EU states should now support the Commission’s proposals and ignore the whinging from carmakers that the rules are too tough.”
There was a moment when the President of the Eurogroup decided to move against us and effectively shut us out, and made it known that Greece was essentially on its way out of the Eurozone. … There is a convention that communiqués must be unanimous, and the President can’t just convene a meeting of the Eurozone and exclude a member state. And he said, “Oh I’m sure I can do that.” So I asked for a legal opinion. It created a bit of a kerfuffle. For about 5-10 minutes the meeting stopped, clerks, officials were talking to one another, on their phone, and eventually some official, some legal expert addressed me, and said the following words, that “Well, the Eurogroup does not exist in law, there is no treaty which has convened this group.” So what we have is a non-existent group that has the greatest power to determine the lives of Europeans. It’s not answerable to anyone, given it doesn’t exist in law; no minutes are kept; and it’s confidential. So no citizen ever knows what is said within. … These are decisions of almost life and death, and no member has to answer to anybody.
The Belgacom hack, he said, is the “first documented example to show one EU member state mounting a cyber attack on another…a breathtaking example of the scale of the state-sponsored hacking problem.” Publicly, Belgacom has played down the extent of the compromise, insisting that only its internal systems were breached and that customers’ data was never found to have been at risk. But secret GCHQ documents show the agency gained access far beyond Belgacom’s internal employee computers and was able to grab encrypted and unencrypted streams of private communications handled by the company.
Europe’s drive toward a power system based on renewable energy has gone so far that output will probably need to be cut within months because of oversupply. Network operators are likely to curb solar and wind generation at times of low demand to prevent overloading the region’s 188,000 miles (302,557 kilometers) of power lines, Entso-e, the grid association in Brussels, said last month. Renewable output is poised to almost double to 18 percent by 2020, according to Energy Brainpool GmbH & Co. KG, a consulting firm in Berlin.
A gang of Romanian Farmville-like enthusiasts insist they never realized that the government funds given for farming are actually for real animals and not fake ones like those on Facebook, deciding that their imaginary cows deserve the same treatment as the other milk-giving animals. In other words, they ripped off authorities using one of the oldest scams in the book, made possible by bureaucracy. The gang claimed they held eight cow farms with a total of 1,860 animals and received subsidies of almost $163 (€120) per cow for three years.
The classified documents, which SPIEGEL has seen, demonstrate how systematically the Americans target other countries and institutions like the EU, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna and the UN. They show how the NSA infiltrated the Europeans’ internal computer network between New York and Washington, used US embassies abroad to intercept communications and eavesdropped on video conferences of UN diplomats. The surveillance is intensive and well-organized – and it has little or nothing to do with counter-terrorism.
The European Commission can confirm that, on 14 May 2013, Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several companies active in and providing services to the crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels sectors. These inspections took place in two EU Member States. At the Commission’s request, inspections were also carried out on its behalf by the EFTA Surveillance Authority in one European Economic Area (EEA) Member State. The Commission has concerns that the companies may have colluded in reporting distorted prices to a Price Reporting Agency to manipulate the published prices for a number of oil and biofuel products. Furthermore, the Commission has concerns that the companies may have prevented others from participating in the price assessment process, with a view to distorting published prices.
A group of 23 impoverished west African fishing communities has driven off a fleet of illegal, unreported and unregulated “pirate” trawlers by filming and reporting them when they are found in their waters. In the 18 months since the London-based Environment Justice Foundation (EJF) raised the £50,000 needed to buy and equip a small seven-metre community surveillance boat for villages in the Sherbro river area of Sierra Leone, local fishers have filmed and identified 10 international trawlers working illegally in their protected waters and have made 252 separate reports of illegal fishing. Images of the pirate ships and their GPS positions are analysed to establish the identity of the vessels and the evidence is passed on to European Union (EU) and African governments, fishing ports and other communities. Nine of the 10 ships identified by the Sierra Leonean communities were found to have licences to export their catches to Europe.
So Sweden has granted private corporate interests – the copyright industry – more extensive powers than the Police, in terms of cracking down on the Net and making dissent and civil disobedience dangerous.