Google

Google Rejects French Order For 'Right To Be Forgotten' 329 329

Last month, French data protection agency CNIL ordered Google to comply with the European "right to be forgotten" order by delisting certain search results not just on the European versions of Google's search engine, but on all versions. Google has now publicly rejected that demand. CNIL has promised a response, and it's likely the case will go before local courts. Google says, This is a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web. While the right to be forgotten may now be the law in Europe, it is not the law globally. Moreover, there are innumerable examples around the world where content that is declared illegal under the laws of one country, would be deemed legal in others: Thailand criminalizes some speech that is critical of its King, Turkey criminalizes some speech that is critical of Ataturk, and Russia outlaws some speech that is deemed to be "gay propaganda." If the CNIL's proposed approach were to be embraced as the standard for Internet regulation, we would find ourselves in a race to the bottom. In the end, the Internet would only be as free as the world's least free place.
Businesses

Trillion-Dollar World Trade Deal Aims To Make IT Products Cheaper 97 97

itwbennett writes: A new (tentative) global trade agreement, struck on Friday at a World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva, eliminates tariffs on more than 200 kinds of IT products, ranging from smartphones, routers, and ink cartridges to video game consoles and telecommunications satellites. A full list of products covered was published by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which called the ITA expansion 'great news for the American workers and businesses that design, manufacture, and export state-of-the-art technology and information products, ranging from MRI machines to semiconductors to video game consoles.' The deal covers $1.3 trillion worth of global trade, about 7 percent of total trade today. The deal has approval from 49 countries, and is waiting on just a handful more before it becomes official,
EU

EU May Become a Single Digital Market of 500 Million People 132 132

RockDoctor writes: The Guardian is reporting that the EU is becoming increasingly vociferous in its opposition to "geo-blocking" — the practice of making media services available in some areas but not in others: "European consumers want to watch the pay-TV channel of their choice regardless of where they live or travel in the EU." That adds up to a block of nearly 500 million first-world media consumers. They don't necessarily all speak the same language, but English is probably the most commonly understood single language. And the important thing for American media companies to remember is that they're not American in thought, taste or outlook.
Businesses

NY Mayor Commits To Reduce Emissions 40% By 2030 80 80

dkatana writes: New York mayor Bill de Blasio pledged this week to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030. He made the announcement at the start of a two-day conference on climate change at the Vatican. He was in Rome by invitation of Pope Francis, who has become a hero to the environmental movement and has used his moral authority and enormous popularity to focus world attention on climate change and its effects on the poor. "I believe fundamentally in the notion of giving our private sector friends an opportunity to come along peacefully. And if that's not going to work, to put strong mandates and clear mandates on. And I believe, but the way, that that has tremendous public support." de Blasio said. Nearly three quarters of New York City's greenhouse gas emissions come from energy used to heat, cool, and power buildings, making building retrofits a central component of any plan to dramatically reduce emissions.
EU

Europe's Top Court To Decide If Uber Is Tech Firm Or Taxi Company 193 193

An anonymous reader writes: A Spanish judge has requested that the European Court of Justice determine whether or not Uber is a generic "digital service," as it claims, or a "mere transport activity." If the court rules that Uber is a transportation firm the company may have to follow the same licensing and safety rules as taxis and other hired vehicles. "Today's news means that the European Court of Justice will now determine if the national rules currently being applied to digital services like Uber are legal and appropriate under European law," said Mark MacGann, Uber's Head of Public Policy for EMEA, on a conference call with journalists.
EU

Bitcoin Exempt From VAT Says European Court of Justice 72 72

An anonymous reader writes: The European Court of Justice (ECJ) proposes that Bitcoin should be exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT). This news has been positively received by the Bitcoin community in the EU, as member states are not likely going to apply VAT to purchases and sales of Bitcoin. A clear cut argument brought up by Advocate General Juliane Kokott, was that VAT is commonly applied to goods and services which have an end consumer. Bitcoin is neither a good, nor a service and has no end consumer, as Bitcoins are eternally transferable just like normal currency. Bitcoin exchanges such as Coinbase, Kraken, Bitstamp, and Bitfinex will all benefit from this ruling, which may lead to other countries across the globe to follow a similar approach.
EU

Data Store and Spying Laws Found Illegal By EU Court 64 64

WillAffleckUW writes: The EU High Court found the United Kingdom's data retention (and subsequent storage and analysis) and surveillance laws to be illegal throughout the EU, which subsequently would be an argument in courts in Australia and Canada against their own spy laws. This effectively brings back the rule of law that all EU citizens have a right to privacy that is at the Bill of Rights level, not an easily short-circuited legal basis.

"The judges identified two key problems with the law: that it does not provide for independent court or judicial scrutiny to ensure that only data deemed 'strictly necessary' is examined; and that there is no definition of what constitutes 'serious offenses' in relation to which material can be investigated." It is uncertain that this would apply to U.S. spy laws, as a right of privacy is only inferred by U.S. high courts and is not written into constitutions as it is in the EU, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
The Almighty Buck

Cashless Adoption Growing In Europe 294 294

dkatana writes: Many European cities are moving toward a cashless economy. Some public services are not accepting cash anymore, such as parking meters, buses and transit, and city offices. (If you plan to visit Europe make sure your credit card has a chip, or you won't be able to use self-service machines.) Contactless cards, which allow people to pay easily for small transactions, are also gaining popularity. According to Finextra, a leading financial news service, "contactless is the new normal in Europe, with more than a billion tap-and-go purchases worth €12.6 billion on Visa cards in the last 12 months." In some places, cashless options are being pushed by mistrust of the banking system. At the same time, places like Germany are dead set on keeping cash as the preferred method of payment.
Transportation

Ask Slashdot: If Public Transport Was Free, Would You Leave Your Car At Home? 654 654

dkatana writes: The Estonian capital launched a program of free public transport to encourage people to leave their cars at home. But they never did. When Tallinn launched the program ridership numbers did increase, but not by the 20% the city had projected. Instead, they grew by a modest 3%, and by people already using public transport. What happened is that more pedestrians and bike users started to use public transit instead of walking and cycling. But car users continue to drive to work. Do you think the same would hold true in the U.S. if a similar program was started?
EU

European Agreement Sets Up Third Greek Bailout 485 485

An anonymous reader writes: Euro zone leaders have reached a deal that will attempt to resolve Greece's financial crisis. The deal sets up negotiations for the country's third bailout, and will require the Greek government to give up significant autonomy in financial matters. Experts have estimated that Greece could require almost $100 billion to stabilize once again. While this will be a significant cost to taxpayers in other European countries, the economic repercussions of letting Greece default on its debts would be much greater. "The agreement will call for Greece to raise taxes in some cases, parepension benefits and take various other measures meant to reduce what critics see as too much bureaucracy and too many market protections that keep the Greek economy from operating efficiently. ... Despite the agreement, Greek banks are expected to remain closed this week. The banks are acutely short of cash and Greek depositors may soon find it difficult to withdraw even small sums from ATMs."
Social Networks

Running a Town Over Twitter 80 80

dkatana writes: You may call Jun an ancient town — it was founded by Romans 2,200 years ago. But Jun's mayor is known worldwide for using the latest technology to run the city. Back in 1999, when he was deputy mayor, the town declared internet a basic universal right for its citizens. And now political parties run "virtual" campaigns without printing posters. But the most impressive accomplishment of Jun's mayor is running the entire town administration and public services using Twitter. He has more followers (350 k) than the mayor of NY. A third of the 3,800 residents have Twitter accounts, and they use the platform to interact with the city administration at all levels.
Businesses

Software Devs Leaving Greece For Good, Finance Minister Resigns 431 431

New submitter TheHawke writes with this story from ZDNet about the exodus of software developers from Greece. "In the last three years, almost 80 percent of my friends, mostly developers, left Greece," software developer Panagiotis Kefalidis told ZDNet. "When I left for North America, my mother was not happy, but... it is what it is." It's not just the software developers quitting either. The Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis also resigned. A portion of his resignation announcement reads: "Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today."
EU

Greece Rejects EU Terms 1307 1307

New submitter Thammuz writes: With almost all ballots counted, Greeks voted overwhelmingly "No" on Sunday in a bailout referendum, defying warnings from the EU that rejecting new austerity terms would set their country on a path out of the euro. Figures published by the interior ministry showed nearly 62% of those whose ballots had been counted voting "No", against 38% voting "Yes". "Today we celebrate the victory of democracy, but tomorrow all together we continue and complete a national effort for exiting this crisis," Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a televised address.
Communications

European Government Agrees On Net Neutrality Rules, With Exemptions 37 37

An anonymous reader writes: The European Union's three main legislative bodies, the European Council, the European Parliment, and the European Commision, have reached an agreement on "Open Internet" rules that establish principles similar to Net Neutrality in the EU. The rules require that all internet traffic and users be treated equally, forbidding paid-for prioritisation of traffic. However, exemptions are permitted for particular "specialised services" where the service is not possible under the open network's normal conditions, provided that the customer using the service pays for the privilege. (The examples given are IPTV, teleconferencing, and telepresence surgery.) Zero-rating — exempting particular data from traffic caps — is also permitted, but will be subject to oversight. Notably, this means (if all goes as promised) the elimination of cellphone roaming fees within the EU; however, that's been promised and delayed before.
Government

79% of Airbnb Listings In Barcelona Are Illegal 104 104

dkatana writes: Barcelona has more than 16,000 Airbnb listings and, according to reports on Cities of the Future, 79% could be illegal. "In April, Airbnb's European General Manager Jeroen Merchiers confirmed, during the Student Tourism Congress in Barcelona, that the platform has more than 85,000 listings in Spain alone." But most Airbnb hosts do not apply for a permit, fail to pay insurance and tourist tax, and ignore Catalonian law that forbids short-term rentals of rooms in private homes. "Residents," says the article, "had been complaining about the rising number of tourist apartments and the conduct of the mostly student-age renters. The majority from Italy, Germany and the UK were partying all night, some running around naked, and generally trashing their neighborhoods."
Social Networks

Are We Too Quick To Act On Social Media Outrage? 371 371

RedK writes: Connie St-Louis, on June 8th, reported on apparently sexist remarks made by Sir Tim Hunt, a Nobel prize winning scientist, during an event organised for women in sciences. This led to the man's dismissal from his stations, all in such urgency that he did not even have time to present his side, nor was his side ever offered any weight. A leaked report a few days later suggests that the remarks were taken out of context. Further digging shows that the accuser has distorted the truth in many cases it seems. This is not the first time that people may have jumped the gun too soon on petty issues and ruined great events or careers.
Google

Google Takes Over NYC's Free WiFi Project 68 68

dkatana writes: Google's new Smart Cities venture Sidewalk Labs announced the purchase of Intersection, the new company behind the LinkNYC project. nGoogle wants to speed up the developing of free internet access to New York residents and visitors, as a way to gather more information about their activities. Users of the pylons will provide the company invaluable data about their habits, places they visit, and browsing activity.

As part of the original LinkNYC plan, Intersection is scheduled to start deploying the new ad-supported, locally manufactured, WiFi 'pylons' this fall, reaching all five boroughs of the city. It will be the largest and fastest free municipal WiFi system in the world. After that, the company plans to start rolling out similar initiatives in other U.S. cities, but details have not been made public yet.
United States

WikiLeaks: NSA Eavesdropped On the Last Three French Presidents 136 136

Earthquake Retrofit writes: The NY Times is reporting that WikiLeaks has released "material which appeared to capture officials in Paris talking candidly about Greece's economy, relations with Germany — and, ironically, American espionage." The information was leaked "a day before the French Parliament is expected to definitively pass a controversial security bill legalizing broad surveillance, particularly of terrorism suspects."
Businesses

Where Is Europe's Silicon Valley? 266 266

An anonymous reader writes: A New York Times story delves into the conundrum faced by Europeans: Why are there few, if any, technology companies from Europe with the size and reach of American tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Apple? The article hypothesizes that, though employment regulations and other business and legal factors play a role, it's actually deeply embedded cultural differences that are the primary cause, citing less aversion to risk-taking, less stigma from business failures such as bankruptcies, little or no stigma from leaving and rejoining a company (seen as disloyal in European cultures), more acceptance of disruptive innovation, and a less rigid educational system that allows individuals to find their own form of success.
EU

European Court: Websites Are Responsible For Users' Comments 401 401

An anonymous reader writes: A new ruling from the European Court of Human Rights found it perfectly acceptable to hold websites responsible for comments left by users. Experts are worried the ruling will encourage websites to censor content posted by users out of concern that they're opening themselves up to legal liability. The judgment also seems to support the claim that "proactive monitoring" can be required of website owners. Peter Micek of digital rights group "Access" said, "This ruling is a serious blow to users' rights online. Dissenting voices will have fewer outlets in which to seek and impart opinions anonymously. Instead, users at risk will be dragged down by a precedent that will keep them from accessing the open ocean of ideas and information."