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  • VA2SFX 12:23 am on June 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Europe, ,   

    I know it sounds super boring, but here’s why the GDPR is actually really revolutionary af 

    Data Protection

    I figure the next step after passing my EU GDPR F course would be, you know, actually reading the regulation. Because why not, right?

    So yeah, it’s important to preface this series (yes, this will be a series — so unfollow me now) with a strong disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer. But I am pretty hardcore into “citizen” style DIY research — so, I figure, this is as good a reason as any to explore the themes, articles and questions around the regulation here and maybe generate some conversations around it. The principles it builds out on are fr*&cking huge.

    Anyway, this is the hard copy book I have (if for some reason, you’re a psycho like me who needs to have a copy of this in print), which for some reason has suuuuuuper small type, but oh well:

    I’m still in Chapter I — General Provisions. But these two Recitals are, in my humble opinion, amazing af. af. af.

    Article 1: Recital (4) begins:

    “The processing of personal data should be designed to serve mankind.”

    I mean, is the hair on your arms tingling? Cause mine is!

    Tbh, I’m not 100% sure yet what the role of the Recitals is: they seem to guide somehow interpretation of the articles of the regulation (according to source linked above). But either way, the above is still pretty amazing as a principle to include, even if it may be (?) “aspirational” to some degree.

    Also fascinating is this Recital 7, which includes (excerpted):

    “Natural persons should have control of their own personal data.”


    I know…

    I know there’s an argument to be made that the EU regulation is crazy/naive/unrealistic because it doesn’t take into account how the internet actually works. But as prominent voices are saying, it might be time we admit that how the internet works is fundamentally broken.

    And though I’m still in diapers when it comes to learning about emerging global data protection and privacy laws, regulations and business trends, it’s impressive to me that the European Union has been busily re-envisioning how an internet and tech economy that actually protects its citizens not just might work, but how it will work: a legally binding playbook even companies outside the EU (extra-territoirality) will be obligated to comply with if they target EU citizens as data subjects, whether or not they are paying customers. Or face a huge fine! [Europe is juuust getting warmed up with its fines against tech companies — GDPR isn’t even in force yet.]

    Let me ask you straight out —

    Is this what it will take to fix the internet? Or at least part of the puzzle… Putting technology at the service of humankind, instead of the other way around. So crazy, we might just give it a chance.

    But don’t take my word for it, America. Here’s how Walt Mossberg in his final weekly column for Re/code put it:

    “My best answer is that, if we are really going to turn over our homes, our cars, our health and more to private tech companies, on a scale never imagined, we need much, much stronger standards for security and privacy than now exist. Especially in the U.S., it’s time to stop dancing around the privacy and security issues and pass real, binding laws. […]

    The tech industry, which has long styled itself as a disruptor, will need to work hand in hand with government to craft these policies. And that might be a bigger challenge than developing the technology in the first place.”

  • VA2SFX 4:56 pm on February 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Europe,   

    Understanding Snowman’s pick for Fellowship of the Rings 

    Washington Post


    CS Monitor



  • VA2SFX 2:11 pm on December 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Chernobyl, Europe, , , Ukraine   

    CNBC: Radioactive berry, mushroom market thrives around Chernobyl 

    Chernobyl, Ukraine


    While many rural towns across Eastern Europe face economic struggle, the Ukrainian region of Polesia, 200 miles east of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site, has become something of a boomtown for foragers seeking mushrooms and berries — nearly all of which are contaminated with radiation. […]

    Brown notes that in 2015, Ukraine exported 1,300 tons of fresh berries and 17,251 tons of frozen berries to the European market. That is more than 30 times as much as in 2014.

    The berry picking brings in money for locals as well. A picker can earn $20 to $30 a day, whereas a local schoolteacher earns $80 a month.

    However, Brown also says there could be some hidden costs — the berries end up in the hands of European customers who often do not know they are ingesting foods containing radioactive isotopes. In addition, Brown notes, the berries can be labeled organic, since radioactivity is not covered under common organic designations.

  • VA2SFX 3:22 pm on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bird Flu, Europe, , ,   

    Guardian: 190,000 ducks destroyed in Netherlands bird flu scare 



    Some 190,000 ducks were destroyed on Saturday at six farms in the Netherlands following an avian flu outbreak, the country’s first cull in response to an epidemic sweeping northern Europe.

    Outbreaks of avian flu, primarily the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain, have been reported in Denmark, Finland, Germany and Sweden over the past week. […]

    The cull was implemented at four other sites owned by the same company and at a sixth farm less than a kilometre from the site of the confirmed outbreak.

  • VA2SFX 7:41 pm on October 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Europe, Hungary, , ,   

    Metro News: Hungary’s anti-migrant fence disrupts wildlife habitats 


    Large herds of red deer used to roam freely across the Croatia-Hungary border, their numbers steadily expanding in this wildlife-rich corner of Europe. But environmental protection activists and hunters in Croatia now warn the numbers have begun declining since the border fence went up last year. […]

    The deer habitat is on both sides of the border, but a major part of it lies in Hungary. Now that it is fragmented by the border fence, the deer trapped in Croatia cannot access grazing areas or mating partners in Hungary.

  • VA2SFX 2:01 am on September 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Europe, , ,   

    AP: France bans single-use plastic dishware 

    (Image source — Public Domain)

    I don’t really agree with that whole burkini ban thing, but this makes good sense:


    “The new measure, which took effect last month, gives producers until 2020 to ensure that all disposable dishes sold in France are made of biologically sourced materials and can be composted. It follows a ban on plastic bags, in place since July. […]

    While ecologists’ organizations lauded the French law and hope it sets an example for other countries, opponents argue that product bans hurt consumers, and that the French measures violate European Union rules on free movement of goods.”

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