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Category: Politik

Seizure of Cellphone content during US immigration checks

US Customs and Border Patrol have forced a NASA engineer to give up the passcode to his cellphone, and presumably copied and inspected the device, The Atlantic reports.

If you are traveling into the US, you are well advised to take blank dummy devices with you, which do not contain any work or personal data on them. Resetting a personal device prior to travel may not be enough in all cases, residual data may exist in the flash (Chromebook and Nexus “Powerwash” reset might be).

Not traveling into the US might be even smarter.

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On Normalcy: The rest times of truck drivers in Europe

DVZ Landverkehr reports (article in German):

LKW-Fahrer dürfen ihre wöchentliche Ruhezeit nicht im Fahrzeug verbringen. Zu diesem Ergebnis kommt Generalanwalt Evgeni Tanchev in seinen Schlussanträgen vom 2. Februar vor dem Europäischen Gerichtshof (EuGH). Hintergrund ist die Klage des Transportunternehmens Vaditrans gegen den Belgischen Staat.

(“Truck drivers must not spend their weekly downtime within the vehicle. That’s the conclusion drawn by general attorney Evgeni Tanchev in his final plea of Feb, 2nd before the ECJ. Background is a complaint of Vaditrans vs. Belgium”)

Most European countries require that the weekly downtime of truck drivers must not be spent in the vehicle. Vaditrans sued against this rule and the penalties for violation. European law allows daily downtimes to be spent in the cabin, but says nothing about weekly downtimes. Local rules in many states require that the drivers must not spent them on the vehicle.

The same proceedings are also reported in Eurotransport (article in German). The comments below the article rage against the ruling, with many commenters asking how this could possibly be implemented or how the ruling is unfair, cost intensive and generally wrong.

The definition of what is normal apparently can be distorted quite heavily – normal for most people obviously would be that drivers to park their vehicles next to a motel and sleep in proper rooms and beds, with proper meals and sanitary installations, every day, because that’s how jobs work in a civilization. Instead, people rage against requiring that drivers can and should be doing this at least on their weekends, claiming this to be impossible and abnormal.

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Amnesty International: We have achieved surveillance society in Europe

The Amnesty Report “Dangerously Disproportionate: The Ever-Expanding National Security State in Europe” (PDF) goes through the states of Europes and their respective implementation of the surveillance state – emergency laws, principle of legality, privacy, freedom of expression, liberty, freedom of movement, and other categories are being investigated.

The summary states:

[B]y proposing, adopting and implementing wave after wave of counter-terrorism measures that have eroded the rule of law, enhanced executive powers, peeled away judicial controls, restricted freedom of expression and exposed everyone to government surveillance. Brick by brick, the edifice of rights protection that was so carefully constructed after the Second World War, is being dismantled.

This report aims to give a bird’s eye view of the national security landscape in Europe. It shows just how widespread and deep the “securitization” of Europe has become since 2014. The report reflects a world in which fear, alienation and prejudice are steadily chipping away at the cornerstones of the EU: fairness, equality and non-discrimination.

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FBI Rap Back

Wikipedia knows:

The [Chinese] Social Credit System is a proposed Chinese government initiative for developing a national reputation system. It has been reported to be intended to assign a “social credit” rating to every citizen based on government data regarding their economic and social status.

Xinhuanet has reported that the plan for the system “focuses on credit in four areas, including administrative affairs, commercial activities, social behavior, and the judicial system.”

The system has been an inspiration for the Black Mirror episode Nosedive, and US newspapers such as The Economost have been condemning it as Digital Totalitarian State.

Meanwhile The Intercepts reports on the FBI Rap Back program (““Rap” is an acronym for Record of Arrest and Prosecution; “Back” is short for background.”), which will implement exactly this:

What the program counts as “triggering events” differs depending on how subscribers configure their systems. In Missouri, where public school teachers are entered into the program, a police captain told a local paper that scanning fingerprints triggers the release of closed records, including charges that are not prosecuted and judicial decisions that result in dismissals or not guilty findings. […]

Lynch said it’s possible that employees could be fired for an arrest where they were exercising their First Amendment rights: filming public officials, attending protests, blocking streets. “It’s unclear if an employer that takes action based on the arrest would know the arrest is tied to First Amendment protected activity.”

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EU: End IP based geoblocking, use passport based geoblocking

The European Union has a press release, in which they say fee based online services will have to abandon IP-based access limitations:

The new rules will remove these restrictions for all new subscriptions and also for those purchased before the rules enter into force, thus enabling EU citizens to access this online content while temporarily abroad in another EU country on holiday, for studies or for business.

That will not remove the ability to establish licensing deals with units smaller than all of the EU, though. The IP-based geoblocks are instead being replaced with other blocks.

The agreed legislation will allow online content service providers to take “reasonable and proportionate measures” to verify the EU country of residence of the subscriber. A closed list of permitted verification methods includes checks on electronic identification, payment details, public tax information, postal address details or IP address checks. Service providers will be required to inform customers of the verification methods used and take appropriate security measures to protect their data.

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The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (4)

Jean-Baptiste Quéru looks at US Manufacturing vs Trade in this Google plus article:

Here’s what I read in it, at a high level:

  • The US didn’t lose manufacturing to trade, since manufacturing went up after trade agreements were signed in 1994 and 2001.
  • US workers didn’t lose jobs to immigrants, since that would typically result in an increase in the workforce (more workers, paid less, individually less productive). Instead, the jobs truly disappeared.

He concludes that trade agreements increase trade, increase revenue, which is then invested into manufacturing automation, which leads to a drop in employment.

His analysis is based on data shown in this report from the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington based neoconservative think tank.

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