Bürgerrechte, intellectual property rights

What Fuckery Is This?

Over at afoe, Alex has put it more eloquently than I would have. Specifically by asking the question above which I probably would have avoided, but which is more than appropriate in this case –

„What fuckery is this? It looks like the French government, having failed to impose an awful record-industry inspired snooping act at home, is trying to policy-launder it through the European Union. The so-called “3 strikes” law foresaw that ISPs would be required to cut off service to anyone who was found downloading or distributing copyrighted material three times – which of course implied that the ISPs would be expected to filter all traffic by content, a wildly grandiose, authoritarian, and insecure idea. (Wonderfully, Nicolas Sarkozy outsourced his Internet policy to a committee led by the owner of a chain of record shops; a little like putting the manufacturers of candles in charge of street lighting.)

But the legislation failed in France; so here it is, coming straight back via the European Parliament. The odd bit, though, seeing as it’s a French idea chiefly backed by the EPP (=European Conservative group), is that it’s being pushed by the British Tories in Brussels – half of whom don’t believe there even should be a European Parliament. Specifically, according to Heise.de (German link), it’s the Tory MEPs Malcolm Harbour and Sayed Kamal. Kamal is responsible for possibly the most egregious tagnut of a clause in the whole thing, which would permit essentially unrestricted telecoms surveillance for the (naturally undefined) “security of a public or private communications system”, and Harbour for the copyright/content-sniffing bit.“


Heul doch

Spiegel Online berichtet darüber, was passiert, wenn man Klein-Silvio sein Spielzeug wegnimmt: Eklat im Fernsehen: Berlusconi unterbricht wutentbrannt Live-Interview

Die kritischen Fragen einer Fernseh-Journalistin passten Italiens Regierungschef Silvio Berlusconi nicht: Er bezeichnete den Sender als „Kriegsmaschine“, brach das Live-Gespräch ab und stürmte wutentbrannt aus dem Studio.

Aber vielleicht ist er auch nur gereizt, weil er versprochen hat, bis zur Wahl keinen Sex zu haben. JFK hat uns schließlich schon vor langen Jahren darüber aufgeklärt, daß Politiker Kopfweh bekommen, wenn sie nicht jeden Tag Sex haben…


Kaczynski on the maths of human sexuality.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski apparently tries really hard to become respected by his peers. And since politics often is such a nonsensical game he probably figured that it will be best to do what he thinks politicians do when in Rome (incidentally that joke is not so funny these days) – make no sense.

Interestingly, today’s Welt am Sonntag has an interview hopefully ironically titled „I am realist (in German)“ in which Mr Kaczynski repeates his understanding of the nature of human sexuality, which he already explained during a speech at Berlin’s Humboldt University, where he was interrupted by a group of gay rights activits protesting some limitations of gay rights in Poland.

Following the incident he stated, and he apparently doesn’t mind to repeat that in print, that gays are in some sense dangerous because they are promoting their lifestyle as an alternative for the majority (sic!).

„Imagine a world in which 50% of men were no longer interested in women, that would be a different world, and that would be dangerous from a biological point of view as well as from a cultural one“ (my translation)

I believe he did not really think this argument through. Imagine the benefits – in such a situaion there would be roughly two women for each of the rest of us. Statistically only, true, but still. Thus, as there will not be too many heterosexual men arguing against having more choice among women, President Kaczynski’s overly transparent display of short-sightedness might very well raise some eyebrows in his staunchly conservative constituency…


Riots in Paris

When my car’s windows were smashed twice during the world cup in 1998, when I was living in 10th Arrondissement, I had my car repaired in a garage in Clichy.

I actually lived in a Banlieue for a couple of months before moving to the city . But „92“, or Val d’Oise, wasn’t what most people would expect a Banlieue to be like, maybe except for the mall, for the life that revolved around the local Auchan.

Still, today, seeing pictures from St. Denis, I am just as much at a loss of comprehension as most commentators who just open their drawers and recompile some standard arguments about economic problems, immigrant societies, and religious clashes. But in the end, all this is really just a lack of understanding.

Last night, the first cars were allegedly burnt in Berlin and Brussels. It suddenly looks like we do have a common European public sphere. And possibly a common European social model, all differences notwithstanding.

At this point, I don’t know what all this means. In France, the position of Mr Sarkozy is very much at stake. But what if he were to step down? A Presidential hopeful brought down by angry youth? It would probably be a new Europe thereafter.


Break’s Over.

My gentle readers, the break’s over. And now that my little quasi-diary is actually back online, I would like to formally introduce a blog I know many of you have been checking out occasionally during the past few weeks – A Fistful Of Euros.

I am grateful to have been asked to be a part of this attempt to aid in creating a common European public sphere, or rather, let’s be a bit more realistic, in creating a common European blogosphere. So far, the venture has been surprisingly successful.

I have no idea how I am going to divide my writing between „almost a diary“ and „AFOE“ and I may also repost stuff from AFOE here and vice versa, as I regard this page as some kind of personal online publishing archive.

Believe it or not, the last few weeks of severly reduced writing were actually rather refreshing, I have to say. But as all holidays must come to an end, so is this. And just in time for what will most likely become one of the most interesting periods in German Parliamentary history.

There is a short window of opportunity for real change, now that the next Laender-elections won’t take place until next summer. This time, the German political class is serious about showing that decisive action can be taken without destroying what little is left of civic spirit among all of us.

Schroeder clearly has the hardest task in this game. He’s got to fight a two-front battle against his own party’s loony left and the opposition’s intention to make this battle harder than necessary by not allowing him to shine as the savior of the welfare state. The CDU/CSU is running a dangerous strategy though. Germany is not Bavaria. And there won’t be general elections for another three years. It’s certainly too early too tell what the real economic effects of the initial social security reform acts are going to be.

But there’s a real chance that they will enhance growth in 2006 when it matters. And guess to whom it would be attributed.


traffic data retention.

Ever wondered what the legal situation regarding internet traffic data retention by ISPs and governmental access is in EU countries? Don’t look further, saveprivacy.org has a note sent by the general secretariat of the EU council to the EU’s Multidisciplinary Group on Organised Crime (MDG) that outlines the current legal situation as well as possible future projects with respect to traffic data retention.


Oh Gino, Oh Gino Ginelli

Oh Gino, Oh Gino Ginelli
Yesterday, a friend reminded me of what name Stefano Stefani reminded me of – a popular Italian Ice cream advertising character from the late 1980s, Gino Ginelli.
As for Stefani, he has been signalled by someone important to take a longer vacation. He supposedly resigned a few minutes ago. Apparently his apology did not please his master, even though it is indeed funny – but I understand that Mr Berlusconi is a bit more careful now with his laughs ;). That’s what Stefani said earlier today, according to MSNBC
“I’m sorry,“ Stefani said in a statement to be published in the newspaper on Saturday. “I love Germany. If my words caused a misunderstanding for many Germans I would like to say here that I am very sorry.“ Stefani added that Germans “are always welcome in Italy“ and that they are “exemplary neighbours and reliable friends.“ He said his earlier criticism had been misunderstood and he was only trying to defend Italy against those who had attacked it. Stefani, responsible for tourism, told a newspaper last week Germans had been “indoctrinated from the beginning to feel top of the class whatever the situation.“ He also said Germans “loudly invaded“ Italian beaches and called them arrogant beer guzzlers who hold “noisy burping contests.“ He had until Friday refused to apologise for the remarks. “
Hilarious. Bild is certainly not too happy about the sudden end to this affair. Now that they actually planned a German invasion of Italian beaches…
Done and over with. But before we really forget about this nonsense, let me tell you about a really funny link that Lillimarleen found. It confirms all your steretypes about Italy and is nonhteless funny… in a stereotypical kind of way ;).


Naumann on Ze Tschermans

Michael Naumann, editor of Die Zeit is pondering in the leader of this week’s Die Zeit about stereotyping Tschermans as blonde beasts, Kraut bashing and the historical hand „we“ have been dealt.

He’s basically writing about the same I wrote about in my Kraut bashing comment from January, re-posted below. But his perspective is rather different. I suppose that must be a consequence of his age, and, in return, the age of the people he interacts with.

It’s not his best article, top be honest. Naumann thinks that the Berlusconi remark is a useful indicator for the state of Europe and the way people think of Germany, and the Germans.

Such a statement could not be further from the truth. To understand this, it actually helps to read Mr Boyles review of last week’s European press I linked to below. No one thought that Berlusconi just called the Germans by their real name, and only a handful thought Berlusconi was even slightly funny, even in Italy.