The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)



Etiquette mavens say the book on manners must be rewritten, literally, to take into
account new technologies and social media (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

A 2012 survey by Intel found that in several countries, a majority said they were put
off by "oversharing" of pictures and personal information on the
internet and smartphones (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Websites told to block Dutch gamblers

RNW, 28 February 2012

Major international gambling concerns have been told they have to block Dutch players from their websites and telephone services, NOS reports. This is the ruling by the Supreme Court of the Netherlands in a case brought by De Lotto against British company Ladbrokes.

De Lotto is the only company in the Netherlands with a licence to run lotteries and games of chance in which the participants pick their own numbers. The court has ruled that De Lotto’s monopoly position is not in violation of European free trade agreements.

De Lotto saw Ladbrokes’ gambling sites and telephone betting services as unfair competition and decided to take the matter to court. The ruling means that hundreds of sites will now have to cease their activities in the Netherlands.

The ruling was ten years in coming, as the Supreme Court decided to wait for a judgement by the European Court of Justice. It remains unclear what action the Dutch authorities can take in cases where foreign gambling concerns fail to comply with the Dutch ruling. New policy on gambling is currently being drafted.

Anonymous joins forces with OWS against NDAA-supporting politicians

RT.com, 28 February, 2012

Photo from anonops.blogspot.com

America’s most powerful protest groups are joining forces to warn elected officials that they will be held accountable for their actions. The campaign is called Our Polls and its being launched with help from both Anonymous and the Occupy movement.

The AnonOps Communications website revealed details early Monday this week regarding the hacktivist collective’s latest campaign. Along with the nation-wide Occupy Wall Street movement, Anonymous says they are going after the politicians in America that supported legislation that both entities have largely advocated against.

“Elected officials serve one purpose — to represent their constituents, the people who voted them into office,” reads a statement posted to the website. “Last year, many of our elected officials let us down by giving in to deep-pocketed lobbyists and passing laws meant to boost corporate profits at the expense of individual liberty.”

The legislation in question include the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. In an act of retaliation aimed at those that supported these bills, the groups have released a roster of politicians that have not only expressed favor for the laws, but that are also up for reelection this year.

“You are one person. You have one vote. Use that vote on November 6 to hold your elected official accountable for supporting bills such as NDAA, SOPA and PIPA,” reads their statement.

Although both SOPA and PIPA have been halted in Congress, the NDAA was successfully signed into law by US President Barack Obama on December 31, 2011, granting the commander-in-chief the power to authorize the military detainment of American citizens without ever bringing charges against them.

“Our Senators and Representatives showed how little they cared about personal freedoms when they voted overwhelmingly to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA),” reads Monday’s statement, which also calls the act “a prominent threat to the inalienable due process rights of every US citizen as laid out in the Constitution.”

“It allows the military to engage in civilian law enforcement, and to suspend due process, habeas corpus or other constitutional guarantees when desired. Our congressmen passed one of the greatest threats to civil liberties in the history of the United States.”

Similar legislation in the vein of the failed SOPA and PIPA acts have also been drafted since their defeat, which critics fear could cause the US government to implement a veil of censorship over the World Wide Web. Although activists with both Anonymous and Occupy have openly opposed such laws in the past, the latest campaign will at last bring both bodies together to protest any other damning legislation.

According to a statement released Monday, both groups aim to make sure that any lawmaker chosen by the American people will walks away Election Day a loser if they support any such acts.

“We are calling on voters, activists and keyboard warriors under all banners to unite as a single force to unseat the elected representatives who threaten our essential freedoms and who were so quick to minimize our individual constitutional rights for a quick corporate profit,” they write.

Although both Anonymous and OWS are described as leaderless movement with no formal organization, the AnonOps Communication website and its related Twitter accounts have served as an unofficial conduit of sorts in terms of relaying information pertaining to the hacktivist collective. The site has previously announced, confirmed and commented on hacks and other campaigns credited to Anonymous.

During last week’s installment of Anonymous’ #FuckFBIFriday campaign, the group tackled the website of GEO Group, Inc., a multi-national private prison management firm operated out of Florida. In a statement that accompanied that hack, operatives aligned with the Anon collective announced another plan put together in cooperation with the Occupy movement. In that instance, both groups intend to join forces on Tuesday this week to march in cities across America to demand an end to the suppression of the OWS movement. Hacktivists with Anonymous have also previously condemned law enforcement agencies across America for violently responding to the occupier's peaceful demonstrations which began last September in New York.


Germans protest anti-piracy treaty

Deutsche Welle, 27 Ferbruary 2012



Protesters have hit Germany's streets again to show their oppostion to the global anti-piracy treaty, ACTA. Several European governments, including Germany, have already postponed signing the controversial agreement.

Anti-ACTA Protesters marched in dozens of cities across Germany over the weekend, with the biggest demonstration of around 2,000 people taking place in Munich.

Rallies in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Mannheim and Leipzig attracted more than a 1,000 people each, while numerous smaller demonstrations took place across the country.

ACTA, as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is known, aims to fight the counterfeiting of goods like fake Gucci sunglasses and copied pharmaceutical drugs. It is also designed to reduce online piracy such as the illegal downloads of music, films and software, which the industry says is costing millions in lost revenue around the world.

Critics argue the measures to combat counterfeiting outlined in ACTA could force telecommunication companies to watch over and pass on customers' online movements to the government - which, in turn, could stifle free expression on the Internet.

Internet generation

Many of those against ACTA are in their teens and early 20s, which is hardly surprising considering that the anti-ACTA demonstrations are mainly about the Internet. 

Some protesters have donned Guy
Fawkes masks
One of those protesting on Saturday was Filip (who, like all of those at the rally, preferred not to reveal his last name). A clean-cut computer science student enrolled at the prestigious Karlsruhe University of Technology, Filip had never attended a protest before in his life.

"The Internet is important enough for me to come out in the cold weather and stand around and support everyone who is here to not pass the act," he said at the protest in the south-western town of Karlsruhe, which was attended by several hundred people.

"I don't want my Internet provider to be watching every more I make," he said, his voice almost drowned out by those around him cheering and clapping in support of the protest speakers.

Fourteen-year-old high school student Michael came to the rally to defend his right to download music.

"I can't afford the music I want to listen to and music should be available to everyone," he said, adding it was unjust for Germany to consider banning people from using the Internet who were repeatedly caught illegally downloading content like music and videos.

"Society today only takes place online, and if you don't have Internet access, then you can't be part of society anymore," he said.

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) has voiced support for ACTA. "It is not a right to use someone else's property for free," said BDI legal expert, Heiko Willems. "Copyright-holders have to decide for themselves if they will make their creations freely available or available on a commercial basis."

For 23-year-old student Shushu, the issue of illegal music and film downloads needs to be tackled in a different way.

Critics say copyright laws should be
 more thoroughly revamped, rather than
tightening Internet regulations
"The content industry needs to make us an offer of how we can legally do this, by accepting a cultural flat-rate fee or setting a monthly streaming fee without having to turn people into criminals," she said.

ACTA on ice

Several countries such as the United States, Canada, Japan and South Korea have already ratified ACTA. And up until a few months ago, ACTA seemed like a done deal in Europe as well.

In December last year, the European Council representing the European heads of government unanimously agreed to pass ACTA and the agreement was signed by 22 of the 27 European member states. ACTA can't be passed into European law, however, until every one of the European Union's member states agrees to it.

The problem for ACTA is that several European countries, including Germany, Poland the Netherlands, have postponed signing the agreement after a wave of Europe-wide protests over the past month.

In addition, the European Commission last week said it would refer ACTA to Europe's highest court, the European Court of Justice, to determine whether it limited the "EU's fundamental rights and freedoms."

Back at the Karlsruhe rally, the crowd marched through the streets chanting, "ACTA, ad acta," a play on a Latin expression used in German to archive something.

"We will keep protesting until ACTA has not just been postponed but shelved for good," one of the protesters said.

Author: Kate Hairsine
Editor: Kate Bowen
Related Article:


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Samsung reveals 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 2, Galaxy Beam phone with built-in HD projector

Venture Beat, Devindra Hardawar, February 26, 2012

                                  
Samsung kicked off its Mobile World Congress presence by revealing two new devices this morning: a larger 10.1-inch version of the Galaxy Tab 2 Android tablet, and the intriguing/baffling Galaxy Beam, an Android smartphone with a built-in projector.

Given Samsung’s propensity to delivering tablets of many different sizes, the larger Galaxy Tab 2 doesn’t come as much as a surprise. The Galaxy Beam, on the other hand, is a bit of a head scratcher.

The Beam is a traditional Android smartphone, aside from the projector aspect. It has a 4-inch display, a 1 gigahertz dual-core processor, and runs Android 2.3. Honestly, it sounds like a phone that would have been announced last year, not something that Samsung would save for the biggest mobile event of 2012.

But the Galaxy Beam’s real claim to fame is its powerful built-in projector, which Samsung says can project HD up to 50-inches wide at 15 lumens. You’ll be able to project photos, videos, and games using a special Samsung app. Like the Galaxy Note, the Beam appears to be a very niche device, but it’s the first step towards Samsung bringing projectors to its future mainstream devices (it’d certainly be a nice addition to next year’s Galaxy S lineup).

The 10.1-inch version of the Galaxy Tab 2 is clearly Samsung’s volley to stay competitive with the iPad 3, which could be announced as soon as next week. It sports a 1280 by 800 10.1-inch display, Android 3.0, and 1 gigabyte of RAM. It’s only 9.7 millimeters thick and will come in 16 gigabyte and 32GB varieties.

Samsung is also expected to announce a 10-inch version of the Galaxy Note this week, so it’ll be interesting to see how it fits into the company’s tablet lineup. I found the Note to be iffy as a phone, but the S Pen stylus has a lot of potential in larger screens. It’s certainly one way for Samsung to stay a step ahead of the iPad 3.




Chinese 'netizens' inundate Obama's Google+ page

BBC News, 25 February 2012

Changing China 

Despite China's Great Firewall, internet
 users have been able to reach Barack
Obama's Google+ page
President Obama's page on Google's social network site has been inundated with messages in Chinese after restrictions in China were removed.

Every current topic on Mr Obama's Google+ page attracted hundreds of Chinese comments.

Some contributors made jokes; others said they were occupying the site in the style of western Occupy campaigns.

Google+ is normally blocked in China along with other social media that the authorities deem unacceptable.

Since Google+ was launched in 2011, software known informally as the Great Firewall had appeared to block it within China.

But on 20 February 2012 internet-users in many parts of China found they could gain access to the site - prompting some to suggest occupying it, in a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Occupy Wall Street campaign.

On 24 and 25 February, to the consternation of American readers, every current topic on President Obama's 2012 election campaign page attracted hundreds of comments, apparently from China.

Their exact provenance cannot be verified, but the expressions contributors used were in the style of mainland China and in simplified Chinese.

A few appealed for the liberty of the civil rights activist Chen Guangcheng, who is under house arrest.

Others asked about a recent political intrigue in south-west China, in which one of the country's top policemen, Wang Lijun, spent a day in the US consulate in Chengdu for undisclosed reasons.

But many simply voiced delight at their freedom to speak: they talked about occupying the furniture and bringing snacks and soft drinks.

The White House in Washington has not commented on the upsurge of Chinese interest in President Obama's campaign site.

But it has prompted one poster to suggest that if China ever abandoned its internet restrictions, the United States would have to protect its social media with a Great Firewall of its own.


Related Articles:



Saturday, February 25, 2012

German supreme court strengthens data protection

Deutsche Welle, 24 February 2012



Germany’s highest court has ruled against the law allowing the storage and sharing of telecommunication data by security services. Now the provisions need to be curbed.

Germany's constitutional court has ruled the current law allowing security services to store and share telecommunications data to be too far-reaching and therefore unconstitutional.

The current legislation allows prosecutors to access passwords and PIN numbers of prospective offenders. The judges found that to be in violation of the basic law on self-determination as stated in the German constitution.

There it says that citizens have the right to maintain control over personal information.

The judges on Friday found that it was unconstitutional to allow investigators to gather sensitive information without clearer restrictions on how to use them.

Information on individuals' telephone, internet or bank details can be obtained from telecommunications companies only for criminial prosecution. But investigators have been found to have gathered and stored sensitive information extensively in the name of preventing criminal activity. But now the constitutional court has found this to have been excessive.

In 1983 the supreme court in Karlsruhe passed its first verdict on data protection and ruled as unconstitutional the procedure where town registry offices passed on information to be used in the general census of that year. Back then the judges had clarified that every citizen has the right to know what personal information is recorded where.

The latest ruling this Friday means that the law governing the storage and use by public administration offices has to be ammended by June 2013.


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Friday, February 24, 2012

Google and Facebook in White House web privacy sights

BBC News, 23 February 2012

Related Stories 

The White House has called on internet firms to develop stronger privacy protections for consumers.

The Center for Digital Democracy filed
 a complaint this week over Google's
 privacy policy
 
The move comes amid worries that browsing information is being tracked and given to advertisers.

State attorneys in 36 states recently sent a letter of concern over Google's plan to share personal information across its products.

As part of the announcement, the firms' ad networks said they would support a "Do Not Track" browser option.

The US has advocated since 2010 for "Do Not Track", a one-click option to prevent information gathered while web browsing being shared with third parties.

'Bill of rights'

In a statement, President Barack Obama outlined a "consumer privacy bill of rights".

The White House said internet users should have the right to limit the context in which information was collected, should be allowed to correct information and should have the right to transparency in privacy policies.

Companies like Google and Facebook have signed on to develop guidelines based on the "bill of rights", enforceable by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

"American consumers can't wait any longer for clear rules of the road that ensure their personal information is safe online," Mr Obama said.

"As the internet evolves, consumer trust is essential for the continued growth of the digital economy."

Privacy complaints

Privacy advocates will be involved with the development of the new guidelines, but some remain concerned about the firms' ability to self-regulate.

"The real question is how much influence companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook will have in their inevitable attempt to water down the rules that are implemented and render them essentially meaningless," John Simpson, who works on privacy issues for Consumer Watchdog, told the New York Times.

Marc Rotenburg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, called the announcement "the clearest articulation of the right to privacy by a US president in history".

However, he told Reuters news agency there were "real concerns about implementation and enforcement".

The FTC has taken previous action against Facebook and Google over privacy complaints, both of which were settled in 2011.

While US legislators have argued that online tracking should be curtailed, little has been done.

Any guidelines developed by US officials in concert with internet firms would be enforceable by the FTC once agreed on, but would not necessarily apply to companies that did not sign on.


Related Article:


The reel revolution

Deutsche Welle, 23 February 2012



With foreign media barred from the country, the Syrian uprising provides the best example of how the concept of what was formerly called broadcasting has changed and of the transformative power of personal videos.

In his 1971 spoken word classic "The Revolution will not be televised," US singer/songwriter Gil Scott-Heron presciently captured the struggle of African-Americans to find their place in a white majority society.

He weaved his critique around the mass medium which manifested America's dominant culture: television. For Scott-Heron, by constantly broadcasting and thus reaffirming life from the perspective of the white majority and neglecting the very different reality experienced by African-Americans, television, was a key part of what was wrong in the US.

New concept

Thirty years later there is probably no better real life proof of how much the nature of what used to be called television - i.e. a one-sided sender-recipient system - has changed than the Syrian revolution.

To be sure, the official Syrian media remains under state control and spouts the government's line. But scratch just below the surface and you'll notice that the Syrian revolution is indeed being televised - albeit in a very different way than many would have imagined just a few years ago.

With practically all international journalists being banned by the Assad regime from Syria, the way the world has learned what it knows so far from the events stem mostly from reports provided by Syrians still inside the country.

Protests continue in Syria
Of all the accounts coming out of Syria, video footage due to its immediacy has arguably played the lead role in highlighting the atrocities carried out by the regime and alerting a hesitant global public to the Syrian struggle.

On Youtube alone users can find some 100,000 videos related to the events in Syria. On more specific sites like the Syrian Revolution page on Facebook, an information hub on the conflict with nearly 400,000 supporters, there are dozens of videos from Syria and numerous links to other portals, almost all of them providing video content.

Live videos for everyone

Måns Adler is one of the people who made this possible. The 30-year-old Swede is the founder of Bambuser, a start-up that enables users to broadcast live videos from their mobile phones to the Internet. The company which Adler launched in 2007 now boasts over one million active users who stream videos in real-time from their mobile phones to sites like Facebook, Twitter or the Bambuser homepage.

Since the violence escalated in Syria in recent months, Bambuser has noticed a massive uptick in the number of videos streamed via the site. Currently there are more than 1,000 Syria-related videos posted daily on Bambuser, estimates Adler. What's more, video footage provided by Bambuser is also used by major news outlets like the Associated Press, Press, Reuters, CNN and Al Jazeera reaching a global audience in the millions.

Democratize technology

When Adler founded Bambuser five years ago, he never imagined that it would become a major tool for young Arabs in their struggle against their oppressors. Instead it was mainly seen as a nifty way for people to communicate directly with others. Still, the seed of how the platform could be used was already sown back then.

"It was a mission to democratize the technology of live broadcasting," says Adler.

He explains that when he conceptualized his plans for Bambuser during his university studies, one of the three possible scenarios he sketched out for its usage involved an Iraqi man named Mohamed who used the service to broadcast live footage of innocent civilians being shot by soldiers during the Iraq war.

"So there was that sort of scenario within the idea already from the beginning."

By enabling the average mobile phone user to stream videos live across the Internet free-of-charge, Adler and others tore down a major technical barrier that allowed autocratic regimes to monopolize and control the dissemination of video content.

Fight for human rights via video

However, the groundwork for the widespread use of videos to document human rights abuses was laid 20 years ago in New York when singer Peter Gabriel among others founded Witness, a non-profit dedicated to capturing human rights violations via video.

Chris Michael, Witness' video advocacy training manager, says the drastic change in video usage over the past 20 years can't be overemphasized. In its early days when so called handycams were just appearing on the consumer market, Witness - due to steep camera prices and the difficulty of transferring footage - was focused mainly on providing equipment and teaching people how to use it.

Fast forward 20 years and many of us not only carry some sort of video camera in our pocket everyday, but services like Bambuser make it easy for everyone to broadcast and share that content in real-time.

So instead of providing equipment and basic training, Witness today explains how to keep video material fresh and relevant for potential use in court and gives practical advice about how to avoid retribution for documenting human rights.

"We are making people aware of the security risks if someone's worst enemy were to see that footage," says Chris Michael. 

Image of security forces deployment
by Syrian opposition
"We are also building new tools that help blur faces in real time through a new application called the Obscuracam which really is an innovative tool to not only blur faces and make sure that we can protect identities in real time, but also look at ways that we can encrypt content."

In addition, Witness shares a curated list of Syrian videos with its more than 325,000 followers via Twitter.

Genie is out of the bottle

Confronted with dozens of videos documenting government brutalities going viral, the Assad regime finds it almost impossible to stop their citizens' coverage.

Måns Adler believes that the regime is trying to lower the Internet capacity in Syria in order to make it difficult for the opposition to use it, but he says autocrats have learned that they can never fully put the genie back in bottle again.

"When we were blocked in Egypt last year I think the countries learned a hard lesson whereas they understand that if they block specific Western companies there will be massive pressure from the international community on them."

Chris Michael of Witness notes that as the violence picked up dramatically in Syria over the past weeks, so did the amount of personal accounts of the events.

As one of the best examples of the power of a personal account Michael tells the story of a video showing a nine-year-old boy who is lying on a table in the middle of room with a bandage over his heart. Crying can be heard in the background and you can hear a man speaking and crying into the camera. The man relates what happened to his child and then suddenly pulls off the bandage and you can see a bullet hole straight through his heart. Then he makes a direct plea for the Russian government to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

"It's an unprecedented experience with regard to human rights work in video," says Michael. 

"And the Syrians are leading the charge."

Author: Michael Knigge
Editor: Rob Mudge


The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")
" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)


"The New Paradigm of Reality" Part I/II – Feb 12, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Netherlands signs cyber crime treaty

RNW, 23 February 2012

The Netherlands and the United States have agreed to intensify their cooperation in the fight against cyber crime.

Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten signed a treaty to that effect on Wednesday evening in Washington DC.

In an interview on Dutch public radio, the minister said that the treaty did not include paragraphs on the protection of privacy. Cooperation will focus on the protection of vital infrastructure, he said. “Coming to mind are the energy supply, banks, water management and airports. Things that affect people’s lives day in, day out.”

The Netherlands and the US agreed to share expertise to safeguard energy supply and other vital utilities that could be threatened by a cyber attack. "We will also carry out better forensic investigations aimed at catching the criminals behind these attacks.”

The minister said cooperation was important because cyber crimes are often of an international nature. He did not want to go so far as saying that the Netherlands could not do without US expertise. “We must learn from each other."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Anti-piracy ACTA treaty referred to EU high court

Deutsche Welle, 22 February 2012



The European Commission said Wednesday it would present the controversial ACTA treaty on copyright and counterfeiting law to the European Court of Justice, to rule whether it violates the fundamental rights of Europeans.

The EU Commission has asked the European Court of Justice to rule on the legality of the controversial ACTA treaty which regulates counterfeiting, copyright and Internet freedom and has been fiercly opposed around Europe.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said the court could adjudge independently on whether the treaty was "incompatible one way or another with the fundamental rights and freedoms of the European Union."

"This debate must be based upon facts, and not upon the misinformation and rumour that has dominated social media sites and blogs in recent weeks," De Gucht told a news conference in announcing the decision.

He said the agreement "aims to raise global standards for intellectual property rights" and said ACTA "will help protect jobs currently lost because counterfeited, pirated good worth 200 billion euros ($264 billion) are currently floating around."

Critics of the ACTA treaty have argued that it restricts Internet freedom. Recent weeks have seen mass demonstrations around Europe against the treaty, which has already been agreed to at the EU level but must still be ratified by individual member states.

Germany has refused, for now, to sign the international online anti-piracy treaty. The German government had already agreed in principle, but appears to be wavering in the face of public protest. Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has suggested that the government was not prepared to give the treaty the green light. The United States, Japan and Canada are also among signatories.

dfm/ai (AFP, Reuters)

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

TomTom launches GO 2050 and Via range of PNDs in Indonesia

MarketWatch, Feb. 21, 2012 

AMSTERDAM & JAKARTA, Indonesia, Feb 21, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- TomTom is launching its award-winning Via and GO 2050 series of PNDs in Indonesia. This complete range of products with models for basic navigation as well as feature-rich devices for more demanding driving is now available at major consumer electronic stores and online. 

TomTom's PNDs deliver sophisticated design, smart navigation technology and TomTom's own maps of seven Southeast Asia countries.

"We've been in Indonesia for a number of years making high-quality maps. We're really pleased to be delivering PNDs now. We see the potential for business growth here and we look forward to working with our partners to meet this demand and use the industry-leading maps we've developed," says Chris Kearney, VP Asia Pacific.

Key features of the new TomTom GPS products include: commercial and residential building search, hands-free calling, advanced lane guidance and a local user interface.

About TomTom

TomTom is a global supplier of location and navigation products and services. We provide consumers and enterprise, government and automotive industry customers with digital maps, traffic intelligence, navigation software, PNDs, automotive systems, fleet management services, smartphone apps, fitness devices, POIs and speedcam intelligence.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, TomTom has over 3,500 employees and operates from 50 locations in 35 countries.

TomTom (aex:TOM2) is listed on NYSE Euronext. More information can be found at www.tomtom.com . For the most up-to-date route planner, including live traffic information please visit www.tomtom.com/livetraffic


SOURCE: TomTom

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Amsterdam and Dublin tax havens for Facebook

RNW, 17 February 2012

Social media leader Facebook has set up a complex structure of foreign subsidiaries, stretching from Amsterdam and Ireland to the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean in order to avoid paying millions in tax to the US.

Dutch freesheet De Pers reports on Friday that Facebook’s Amsterdam office bears all the hallmarks of an unused space – no one actually works there, the paper claims.

In its attempt to slash its tax burden, Facebook is apparently using a permissible accounting known as transfer pricing, where multi-national companies channel profits to low-tax jurisdictions while incurring costs where taxes are high.

Low tax rates

The Netherlands and Ireland afford favourable climates for this kind of practice. The Netherlands has signed numerous global treaties which legitimise the flow of interest, royalty and dividend funds into the country for a low or even negligible tax rate. Through a tax treaty with the US, the money can then be transferred to the US.

Ireland, with a current 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate, is attractive for companies with overseas intellectual property income. Most of Facebook's revenue generated through advertising companies across Europe is paid to the Dublin office. In this way, Facebook minimises its tax bills in its big overseas markets such as Britain.

Mark Zuckerberg, who founded the site in Harvard eight years ago, claims making money was never his primary objective. Facebook is preparing for its stock market debut with a value as high as 100 billion US dollars being estimated.



Inside fraud job costs ING millions

RNW, 17 February 2012

ING insurance and banking group has lost about 20.5 million euros from a massive fraud committed by one of its own accountants in Australia.

Court documents released last week after Fajina Subramaniam was sentenced to seven years in prison revealed the 42-year-old woman had stolen 37 million euros from the bank over a period of five years.

As a senior accountant, Subramaniam made 200 illegal transfers into her personal accounts or directly to shops and real estate agents. She then used the computer log-ins of former staff to delete the records or change them so the transactions appeared legitimate.

Above market price

The employee started to enjoy a life of luxury with expensive jewelry and various waterfront apartments. While ING has recovered most of the haul of luxury goods and property, the bank has still taken a substantial hit as Subramaniam paid above market rates for the real estate she bought.

She developed a personal relationship with staff from the super luxury Paspaley jeweller's and was reportedly wined and dined on a regular basis.

The court documents also highlighted the poor levels of internal security at the section of ING where Subramaniam worked, ING Australia Holdings.


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