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Help prevent software patents! Again!

Speak up on Software Patents

Oh great, the software patent debate is back.

After a long and disgusting campaign where pro-software-patents lobbyists employed all kinds of semi-legal and undemocratic filthy tricks in order to introduce software patents in the EU behind our backs, the European Parliament decided by a large majority to reject the directive "on the patentability of computer implemented inventions" (a.k.a. software patents) in July 2005. Rightly so.

It is beyond my imagination how a certain pro-software-patents commissioner (Charlie McCreevy) dares to restart the whole debate after such a clear defeat.

Consultation and "public hearing"

He has organized a "Consultation and public hearing on future patent policy in Europe" which pretends to collect your views on the software patent issue (which he's trying to introduce through the "Community Patent" backdoor).

Alas, the "questionnaire" is inaccessible (it's only available in 5 languages, instead of all 25 (+2) languages of the EU member states), biased towards software patents, very obfuscated and unreadable for the general public. There's no independent working group which conducts or oversees the consultation, no independent studies and reading materials, no mentions of the negative implications of software patents, no public debate, nothing. Now, who would have expected that?

The FSF Europe has published a response to the Patent Consultation Questionnaire, which highlights many of the problems.

Similarly, the FFII has questioned the validity of the consultation procedure, and gives a very detailed explanation of all the serious flaws of the process.

What can I do?

  • First things first: the DEADLINE for answering the questionnaire and expressing your views is April 12, 2006!
  • Answer the questionnaire! The FFII has prepared a short How to answer guide which you can use as a basis for your answer (per email, snail mail, or fax).
  • Raise your concerns about the validity of the consultation process!
  • Write your MEPs! Tell them what you think.
  • Spread the word! I'm under the impression most people don't even know about this issue, yet!
  • Put up banners. I know you all like pretty banners ;-)

Software patents suck (in case you didn't already know)

Let me quote Donald Knuth on this:

I strongly believe that the recent trend in patenting algorithms is of benefit only to a very small number of attorneys and inventors, while it is seriously harmful to the vast majority of people who want to do useful things with computers.

(via MJ Ray)

EU adopts Big Brother data retention directive, ignores industry and civil society [Update]

Heise (and many other sources) report that the EU parliament has voted for the abysmal data retention directive, simply ignoring objections from the industry and the civil society.

The EU has turned into a police state where more than 450 million citizens are treated as criminals by default now! 1984 is a joke compared to this. We're all fucked! Bigtime!

Please, someone go out and sue the shit out of the fucking idiots who are responsible for this kindly remind the responsible politicians that this directive is a really bad idea!

Update 2005-12-15: OK, so I might have overreacted. My first answer to the accusations would probably be (abusing an unrelated quote from Jonathan McDowell): "I exaggerate for effect". But honestly, while it's not as bad as 1984, I really do think that this law will bring us all a big step nearer to a 1984-type horror scenario.

(via netzpolitik.org)

Last chance to fight EU data retention

On the 13th of December (next Tuesday) the European Parliament will vote on a Data Retention Directive. This directive is stupid, stupid, stupid (you cannot stress that enough)! More info on the Data Retention is No Solution wiki.

The Open Rights Group has an article on fighting data retention which outlines what you can do to (hopefully) stop this.

/me walks to the local Irish pub for some Guinness now.

Data Retention is no Solution

The European ministers of Justice and the European Commission want to install a privacy nightmare in Europe:

The proposal to retain traffic data will reveal who has been calling and e-mailing whom, what websites people have visited and even where they were with their mobile phones.

As a response, the European Digital Rights (EDRI) has started the Data Retention is no Solution petition. Currently about 17.000 people signed (I am one of them), but lots more signatures (1 million) are needed until October 12, 2005.

Sign the petition, tell all your friends. I'm sure none of us want to live in a total-surveillance-as-in-1984 type of world.

(via Symlink)

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