mfioretti: data ownership* + cloud computing*

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  1. In a key case before the European Union's highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the European Commission admitted yesterday that the US-EU Safe Harbor framework for transatlantic data transfers does not adequately protect EU citizens' data from US spying. The European Commission's attorney Bernhard Schima told the CJEU's attorney general: "You might consider closing your Facebook account if you have one," euobserver reports.

    The case before the CJEU is the result of complaints lodged against five US companies—Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Skype, and Yahoo—with the relevant data protection authorities in Germany, Ireland, and Luxembourg by the Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, supported by crowdfunding. Because of the important points of European law raised, the Irish High Court referred the Safe Harbor case to the CJEU.

    The referral was prompted by Edward Snowden's revelations about the Prism data-collection program, which show that the US intelligence community has ready access to user data held by nine US Internet companies, including the five named in Schrems' complaints. The EU's Data Protection Directive prohibits the transfer of personal data to non-European Union countries that do not meet the EU's "adequacy" standard for privacy protection. To aid US companies operating in the EU, the Safe Harbor Framework was introduced, which allows US organizations to self-certify their compliance with the adequacy provision when they transfer EU personal data back to the US.
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  2. Technology concentrates power.

    In the 90′s, it looked like the Internet might be an exception, that it could be a decentralizing, democratizing force … but those days are gone … What upsets me, what really gets my goat, is that we did it because it was the easiest thing to do … Making things ephemeral is hard. Making things distributed is hard. Making things anonymous is hard. Coming up with a sane business model is really hard—I get tired just thinking about it.

    We put so much care into making the Internet resilient from technical failures, but make no effort to make it resilient to political failure. We treat freedom and the rule of law like inexhaustible natural resources, rather than the fragile and precious treasures that they are. And now, of course, it’s time to make the Internet of Things, where we will connect everything to everything else, and build cool apps on top, and nothing can possibly go wrong.

    Distributed algorithms, distributed data, distributed systems, distributed security: messy, tricky, complicated, a maze of vibrating tightropes stretched across an N-dimensional pit full of hungry failure modes with sharp teeth. Hard stuff.

    But not impossible.

    Just ask Satoshi Nakamoto.

    Beyond the hype and the greed, Bitcoin is powered by a genuine technical breakthrough(1), to a degree I did not properly appreciate when I first started writing about it. The “blockchain” — the engine on which Bitcoin is built — is a new kind of distributed consensus system that allows transactions, or other data, to be securely stored and verified without any centralized authority at all, because (to grossly oversimplify) they are validated by the entire network. Those transactions don’t have to be financial; that data doesn’t have to be money. The engine that powers Bitcoin can be used for a whole array of other applications…
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  3. BEIJING (Reuters) - Battling a perfect storm of government suspicion and pricing probes in China, U.S. technology companies are having to re-think how they sell hardware and services in the world's second-biggest economy.

    U.S. multinationals, including IBM, Cisco Systems and Qualcomm, are looking to settle price-gouging investigations and restore trust with Chinese regulators in the wake of reports that U.S. government agencies directly collect data and tap networks of the biggest domestic technology companies.
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  4. It should help to remember that the Web is polycentric while the Net is decentralized. By polycentric, I mean server-based: every server is a center. So, even though Tim Berners-Lee wanted the Web to be what he called "a distributed hypertext system" for "universal linked information", what he designed was servers "generating a hypertext representation", as shown in Figure 1.
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  5. If you want to mount Google Drive on Linux, you can try google-drive-ocamlfuse, which is a FUSE-based file system backed by Google Drive. Using this user-space file system, you can mount your Google Drive account on Linux, and have full read/write access to files/folders in Google Drive as if they were local files/folders.

    In this tutorial, I will describe how to mount Google Drive on Linux with google-drive-ocamlfuse.
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  6. It is still too soon to tell if the Cloud will actually constrict our Internet freedoms, but it is always a good idea to be vigilant about the very realistic dangers. Lametti's essay provides a clear overview.
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  7. The Norwegian Data Protection Authority has considered a case against Narvik Municipality, which has chosen to use Google’s Cloud Computing services to process the municipality’s e-mails. The Data Protection Authority has concluded that Google Apps fail to comply with the Norwegian Personal Data Act, among other things because the municipality loses control of the information Google processes through the Cloud Computing services. In practice, Google dictates the solutions they supply to their customers.
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  8. Novius OS. OS stands for open source but also for operating system. Several reasons lead us to talk about an operating system rather than a mere content management system:

    Like smartphones or tablets operating systems, Novius OS is based on the application concept. Applications are launched in parallel (thus being multitasking) and communicate between them and in and out of the system (input-output towards social networks, third party softwares, etc).
    Novius OS provides a rich environment for applications: standardised UI, rights system, internal and external connectors, notifications, theming, etc.
    Novius OS media centre looks like a real file system. Applications have an API to use, add and modify files. Additionally the Media Centre is as good as a file explorer.

    To bring this multitasking environment to life, a tabs-based OS was chosen. The operating system fades by limiting to the tab bar only. The working space is maximized, without making navigation more complicated.
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  9. Both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google were keen to get on the framework for the second iteration of the government’s G-Cloud platform, but were ultimately denied, TechWeekEurope has learned.

    It had been unclear whether Amazon and Google simply didn’t want a piece of the G-Cloud pie or whether they were shunned by the government. The suppliers may also have been unimpressed by the terms offered by the G-Cloud.

    But a Freedom of Information (FOI) request lodged by TechWeekEurope with the Cabinet Office has revealed that of the 662 expressions of interest received for G-Cloud ii, the cloud giants put in two of them. They were not included in the 458 suppliers who made it onto the framework, however.

    None of the parties, from AWS to Google to the government itself, have explained why those two behemoths of the industry did not make it onto the framework
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