Wednesday, October 06, 2004

A Senate bill has been drafted to implement the 9/11 Commission's recommendations on giving US law enforcement officers access to

"a massive system of interconnected commercial and government databases that hold billions of records on Americans."
The US head of cyber security resigned last week.
Sony abandons copy-protected CDs
In case you missed it last week, the UK's version of the US's Secure Flight (or now defunct CAPPS II) visitor monitoring programme is to be called Semaphore.

John Lettice at the Register is none too complimentary about the scheme.

"A lucky 6 million travellers on riskier air routes are to begin to experience the first phase of the UK version of US-VISIT/CAPPS II by the end of this year. The government has not as yet specified the routes "chosen on the basis of risk assessments by the border agencies", so we are in no position to gauge the likely complexion or religious persuasion of the first wave of victims, but one may surmise.

Aside from the essential inanity of a pilot scheme using specific routes "on the basis of risk assessments" (which merely decreases the risk of these routes and increases the risk of the 'safer' ones), this doesn't matter greatly in the longer term, because the government is taking the 'collar the lot' approach, and intends to extend the scheme to encompass everybody travelling into and out of the UK. And some - this particular pilot, Semaphore, is intended as a component of the projected e-Borders programme, which is envisaged as linking the Foreign Office, the Home Office, the Department for Work and Pensions, Immigration and Nationality, Customs & Excise, the Passport Service and of course, the biometric ID card. From that list the borders in e-Borders would seem to extend quite a distance inland."

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

It looks as though WIPO have accepted the representations of the signatories of the Geneva Declaration on the future of WIPO. From Cory Doctorow:

"Massive victory at WIPO!
For years now, progressive elements and copyfighters have been trying to get the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization to start thinking about ways of promoting creativity and development instead of just IP -- to get the organization to see that its raison d'etre is a better world, and that stronger IP laws is just one way of accomplishing that -- and that IP only works sometimes.

We've been foiled at every turn by the maximalists, the movies studios and the trademark offices, the patent-cops and the recording industry lobbyists and the IP lawyers' associations.

Which is why this is such good news: at the general session of the WIPO in Geneva this weekend, the Assembly as adoped a decision to put development and the promotion of creativity front-and-center in its goals. That means that from now on, WIPO isn't an organization that blindly supports more IP no matter what, but rather one that seeeks to improve the world by whatever tool is best suited to the job.

Jamie Love and the Consumer Project on Technology gets the credit for this: they were the ones who started this fight, and they've been the ones who led it all along.

This is the day the tide turns.
Bearing in mind the internationally agreed development goals, including those in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010, the Monterey Consensus, the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, the Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action of the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society and the Sao Paulo Consensus adopted at UNCTAD XI;

(1) The General Assembly welcomes the initiative for a development agenda and notes the proposals contained in document WO/GA/31/11.

(2) The General Assembly decides to convene inter-sessional intergovernmental meetings to examine the proposals contained in document WO/GA/31/11, as well as additional proposals of Members States. To the extent possible, the meetings will be convened in conjunction with the 2005 session of the Permanent Committee on Cooperation for Development Related to Intellectual Property. The meetings, open to all Member States, will prepare a report by July 30, 2005, for the consideration of the next General Assembly. WIPO-accredited IGOs and NGOs are invited to participate as observers in the meetings.

(3) The International Bureau shall undertake immediate arrangements in order to organize with other relevant multilateral organizations including UNCTAD, WHO, UNIDO and WTO, a joint international seminar on Intellectual Property and Development, open to the participation of all stakeholders, including NGOs, civil society and academia."

For most people who won't be followers of the machinations of WIPO, Cory is not understating the matter when he refers to this as a massive victory.