The dream was the country's driving force. It made Florida, Hollywood and the riches of Goldman Sachs possible, and it attracted millions of immigrants. Now, however, Americans are discovering that there are many directions that life can take, and at least one of them points downward. The conviction that stocks have always made everyone richer has become as much of a chimera in the United States as the belief that everyone has the right to own his own home, and then a bigger home, a second car and maybe even a yacht. But at some point, everything comes to an end.
The United States is a confused and fearful country in 2010. American companies are still world-class, but today Apple and Coca-Cola, Google and Microsoft are investing in Asia, where labor is cheap and markets are growing, and hardly at all in the United States. Some 47 percent of Americans don't believe that the America Dream is still realistic.
Users could sue websites for invading their privacy and would have a right to be “forgotten” online, under new proposals from the European Union. It has drafted potential legislation that would include new, unprecedented privacy rights for citizens sharing personal data.
Aimed in particular at the users of social networks such as Facebook and major sites such as Google,
the move marks another step in the ongoing battle between information commissioners and major websites. Google in particular has been criticised recently by privacy groups around the world for collecting Wi-Fi data while it was mapping roads for its Street View service.
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fosspatents.blogspot.com/2010/05/german-high-court-declares-all-software.html, posted 2010 by peter in eu patent politics
In a nutshell:
* After a landmark court ruling, the German perspective on the validity of software patents is now closer than ever to that of the US. * Basically, Germany has now had its own Bilski case -- with the worst possible outcome for the opponents of software patents. * Recently, the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office upheld that approach to software patents as well, effectively accepting that a computer program stored on a medium must be patentable in principle. * Defense strategies such as the Defensive Patent License are needed now more than ever.
Germany's top criminal court ruled Wednesday that Internet users need to secure their private wireless connections by password to prevent unauthorized people from using their Web access to illegally download data.
Internet users can be fined up to euro100 ($126) if a third party takes advantage of their unprotected WLAN connection to illegally download music or other files, the Karlsruhe-based court said in its verdict.
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easy access to, and analysis of, the political decisions and activities of the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers. Votewatch.eu uses the European Parliament's own attendance, voting and activity data - available through the Parliament's website - to give a full overview of MEP activities, broken down by nationality, national political party and European party grouping. Using sophisticated statistical methods developed by political scientists from the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Université Libre de Bruxelles, the website covers the Parliament's activities during the entire 2004-2009 term and, starting with the 2009-2014 term, it is updated following each voting session in plenary.
The Windows Browser Ballot, the browser selection screen that is being offered to Windows users in Europe starting this month, is already coming under fire. Slovakian IT news site DSL.sk decided to test the ballot and found that its distribution was very peculiar, with Internet Explorer appearing in the rightmost position almost 50 percent of the time when the ballot was viewed from within IE.
This browser ballot, as simple as it is, has been months in the making. The decision to do the randomization client-side, where it depends on the web browser, rather than server-side, where it would be consistent for all users, is a little surprising. But most remarkable at all is that no one responsible for signing off and saying "that's an acceptable response to the Competition Commission's complaint" bothered to do this testing. If this browser ballot is important then surely its implementation should be a high quality one?
The agonies of the eurozone reflect a far more significant hidden deficit | Timothy Garton Ash | Comment is free | The Guardian
www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/24/greece-hhhh-hrgbhjklgbr, posted 2010 by peter in eu finance politics
Behind the monetary lurks the fiscal; behind the fiscal, the economic; behind the economic, the political; and behind the political, the historical. The deepest reality underlying this crisis is that the personal experiences and memories that have pushed European integration ahead for 65 years, since 1945, are losing their force. The personal memory of war, occupation, humiliation, European barbarism; fear of Germany, including Germany's fear of itself; the Soviet threat, the cold war, the "return to Europe" as a guarantee of hard-won freedom; the hope of restored European greatness.
These were massive biographical motivators, which drove people like Mitterrand and Kohl even unto the euro. Can Europeans go on building Europe without such profound motivators? Are there new ones in sight?
EU-parlamentet röstade i dag ned det omstridda Swiftavtalet. Den konservativa gruppen försökte in i det sista få omröstningen uppskjuten – men nejsidan segrade. Välinformerade källor säger dock till DN.se att USA oavsett detta kommer att skaffa sig tillgång till sekretssbelagda uppgifter från europeiska banker.
Men EU-parlamentets skepsis mot Swiftavtalet ingår också dragkampen med ministerrådet och kommissionen om hur makten ska fördelas nu när Lissabonfördragets nya regler trätt i kraft. Fördraget ger parlamentet väsentligt mer makt, men hur det kommer att se ut på detaljnivå är inte klart.
Members of a European Parliament subcommittee dealt a blow to US-EU relations by voting to reject a proposed bank data sharing deal between the US and Europe in a preliminary vote on Thursday.
The agreement allows the US to access information gathered by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) about bank transfers within Europe. SWIFT manages global transactions between thousands of financial institutions in over 200 countries.
Members of the parliament's civil liberties committee voted by 29 votes to 23 to reject the SWIFT deal, arguing that the deal fails to protect the privacy of EU citizens.
US authorities say access to bank details is vital to counterterrorism efforts, but many in Europe object to the widespread invasion of privacy.