Why Reporters Without Borders is not endorsing the Global Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy for ICT companies operating in Internet-restricting countries

first_img– 3 – Companies could still enter into business relationships (joint ventures, mergers) with local partners that do not follow the principles, then bypass the restrictions imposed by the principles and blame the local entity (such as Alibaba for Yahoo!) in case of violations of freedom of expression or collaboration for the arrest of dissidents. October 28, 2008 – Updated on January 25, 2016 Why Reporters Without Borders is not endorsing the Global Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy for ICT companies operating in Internet-restricting countries News Reporters Without Borders is concerned by several loopholes and weak language on the central points that may threaten the very implementation of these principles and justify the status quo. It also regrets the fact that some sensitive issues related to the monitoring process remain yet to be addressed. Here is an overview of the organization’s main concerns: – 2 – The extent to which companies are expected to challenge governments’ requests remains unclear. Requests in writing are sought but not mandatory. – 1 – Local law remains the reference even if it violates international human rights standards. Thus, participating companies will comply with repressive regimes who have at their disposal an arsenal of legal provisions aimed at silencing dissidents. The international press freedom organization recognizes the important work done by the participants of this multi-stakeholder initiative that gathers companies, academics, investors and NGOs. Nevertheless, after participating in the discussions for almost two years, Reporters Without Borders decided last September to withdraw from the discussions and to not endorse those principles. “Under these principles, another Shi Tao case is still possible” stated Reporters Without Borders referring to the jailed Chinese reporter whose verdict revealed that Yahoo ! gave some personal identifying information to the Chinese authorities. “We believe that, as of today, the best option to prevent IT companies from being forced to collaborate with the Web-censors in repressive countries remains to provide a legal framework for companies willing to resist governments’ requests that violate the international free speech standards, as the Global Online Freedom Act, introduced by Representative Chris Smith does for American IT firms”, commented the press freedom organization. “We will follow the implementation of the principles and are willing to continue to take part in this interesting collaboration and exchange of ideas, but in a different capacity. We stand ready to be, as a third party, of any assistance to the Initiative should our expertise or input be needed. We have been monitoring the free flow of online information for years and we will continue to denounce the obstacle to online free speech”, added Reporters Without Borders. The organization believes these principles are one step in the right direction, but they do not go far enough to provide a sufficient protection to freedom of expression on the Internet. – 5 – The assessors’ independence and impartiality as well as the extent to which companies’ will provide them with the necessary information to monitor developments remains uncertain.center_img – 4 – Disclosure to users and transparency regarding the type of personal information retained by ITC companies’ remains unsatisfactory.. Users have no assurances that companies will try to minimize data collection, nor do they know how long this data will be saved. The bill would ban companies from locating the servers containing this data and from providing information that identifies users, except in cases in which the law is being legitimately applied, to be decided by the US justice department. The US companies would also have to act transparently and transmit information about the type of censorship they apply to an interagency-staffed Office of Global Internet Freedom, which would have the job of defining US government policy for the promotion of the free flow of online information and monitoring violations. A feasibility study of technologies and equipment’s export control would also be made. The bill also promotes the idea of a voluntary code of conduct to be established for companies working in countries with repressive regimes. GOFA was approved by the House’s Foreign Affairs Committee in October 2007 and is now awaiting a floor vote. In July 2008, MEP Jules Maaten, initiated the European Global Online Freedom Act (EU GOFA), which was drafted out of the American GOFA, and whose goal is to protect European ICT firms doing business with répressive regimes. Organisation More on the GOFARead the EU-GOFA Reporters Without Borders has supported the Global Online Freedom Act (GOFA) since its birth. Introduced by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) in February 2006, it would protect American IT companies from being forced to collaborate with repressive regimes. The Act would prevent repressive governments – those that punish dissidents and human rights activists who exercise their right to online free expression – from accessing personal data through US companies. RSF_en Reporters Without Borders welcomes the adoption of the Global Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy as a first step towards ICT companies’ recognition of the importance of free expression while operating in Internet-restricting countries. The international press freedom organization recognizes the important work done by the participants of this multi-stakeholder initiative that gathers companies, academics, investors and NGOs. Nevertheless, after participating in the discussions for almost two years, Reporters Without Borders decided last September to withdraw from the discussions and to not endorse those principles. Help by sharing this informationlast_img read more

‘Bank credit not big issue’ – chamber chief

first_imgLinkedin Print WhatsApp Email Advertisement Previous articleFilming underway in Limerick on RTÉ Mattie seriesNext articleGone…gone…gone in O’Malley Park admincenter_img NewsLocal News‘Bank credit not big issue’ – chamber chiefBy admin – June 8, 2010 439 WITH Deputy Kieran O’Donnell claiming that the government needs to get credit flowing from the banks again to assist small businesses in Limerick, Chamber of Commerce chief, Maria Kelly, remains adamant the credit situation is not near as acute as portrayed.There are, she argues, other problems the local business community have to contend with than perceived lack of finance, and which need to be addressed urgently. Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up O’Donnell has proposed a bank loan guarantee scheme to assist small businesses.However, Ms Kelly said that a recent local survey had shown it was not such a major issue with their members.“We hear and read a lot about businesses allegedly crying out for financial support from the banks, but that is not our experience.“Yes, there are probably a few more hurdles to be jumped now than in the past, especially with new business ventures, but that is because lending institutions have adopted a more cautious approach.“We need to clean up the city and get vacant units filled…then there is the parking issue”.Bank of Ireland, meanwhile, say they are very much open for business, with a high approval rate.O’Donnell says many small businesses are facing a very uncertain future.  According to him, the government’s banking strategy has failed, because affordable credit is still not flowing to these businesses.He points out that one of the key recommendations of  the  multi-agency jobs taskforce chaired by Denis Brosnan, was the supply of credit to small and medium sized businesses in Limerick and the Mid-West.  “This is still not  happening, 11 months after the recommendation was made.“Furthermore, Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe, has himself admitted that the €74 billion bank bailout has not worked and banks are still not lending to business, but his response to the situation has only been to talk further with the banks”.This, continued deputy O’Donnell, is wholly inadequate. “Talking to the banks simply does not constitute a solution to the problem.  It hasn’t worked in the past and it clearly won’t work now.“Instead, we need to put in place concrete measures to ensure credit will flow  to businesses, and in particular we need a credit guarantee scheme to be put in place now”. Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Facing future with hands-on empathy for others

first_imgThis is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.It’s an undergraduate prerogative to sample various fields and disciplines hoping to find a life purpose. Elaine Dong was resolute about hers when she got to Harvard, and she had learned her resolve through many trials that shaped her, physically and emotionally.Dong was born with a severe cleft lip and palate, in her case so extreme that she was not expected to live, let alone eat, drink, speak, or even breathe normally.But she did all of that, though with deformities to her face and teeth that provoked some terrible taunts. After nine grueling surgeries, her face was repaired and changed — along with her outlook on life, and her ambitions.“I wanted so desperately to be normal,” Dong said of her childhood. “I didn’t know it at the time, but I was dealt one of life’s greatest hands.” Today, at 22, she is determined to become a surgeon and help change the lives of children born with congenital birth defects.“There are still moments when I cry from surprise after realizing that I have found purpose and that I feel truly happy for the first time in a decade,” she said.The surgeries also left Dong determined to overcome anger, self-hatred, and self-doubt. In a burst of confidence during her senior year of high school, she went from feeling like a shunned loner to being a member of the student council.And then she applied to Harvard.“At the end of high school, I decided I really wanted to dedicate my life to helping children who, like me, because of a health condition outside of their control, perhaps never thought they could do something more with their lives,” said Dong. “But after having a few well-performed surgeries, it can totally change their life trajectory.”After an Early Action decision, Dong found herself on a new and empowering course. She came to Harvard as a biology concentrator, but in her freshman year her passion for oil painting and animation drew her to Visual and Environmental Studies (VES) as a way to explore her creativity, maybe for the last time.As a pre-med student, Dong’s decision to seek a VES degree at Harvard became a path that has kept her close to her purpose.“I saw this as my last chance to do something that’s not totally medicine,” she said. “I think I even had a much easier time in organic chemistry because of the spatial reasoning I learned from my visual arts experience.”Dong quickly found a way to apply her VES talents. The summer of her sophomore year, she connected with the Global Smile Foundation, a Massachusetts nonprofit dedicated to helping children around the world born with congenital facial deformities. Under the direction of the foundation’s president, Usama Hamdan, she created an animated video about surgery for educating potential patients and their families. The video doubled as Dong’s final project for her “Animating Science” class.Dong also shadowed two surgeons at Boston Children’s Hospital, Bonnie L. Padwa and John Mulliken, an experience she said helped her discover her ability to connect deeply with patients while also focusing on their needs.“Harvard offered me the chance to thrive and find happiness,” she said. “I learned to feel comfortable around others, hold their hands firmly, and look them in the eye.”Dong embraced that freedom and used all four years to explore whatever called passionately to her. Each summer she found new experiences that combined her mission with her creativity. After her freshman year, Dong spent 10 weeks in Japan with a Harvard summer research program on immunology, becoming fluent in Japanese. Last summer, she spent eight weeks in South Korea putting together “Made in Korea,” a documentary exploring the popularity of elective plastic surgery and its societal impact there.Dong said her summer experiences were some of the most amazing things she has done.“Growing up I developed this sense of ‘I do things because I want to, not because I feel pressured,’” said Dong. “That’s what drives me.”In her spare time, Dong is a four-year member of the Asian American Dance Troupe. She spends more than 30 hours each week pursuing her love of traditional and contemporary dance, an art form she has enjoyed since she was 10.After graduation, she plans to relax, she said, before the fall, when she will attend Baylor College of Medicine in her hometown, Houston.“I feel like I’ve been working at a very high level of energy for a very long time and it will be nice to relax with my family for a couple of months,” Dong said. “But I will miss my friends, inspiring peers, and the insanely smart and accomplished, really talented people at Harvard.”The once painfully shy little girl now feels grounded and determined about who she is and who she wants to become.“In retrospect, the birth defects and the pain that came with it were a gift,” Dong said. “I realize I have been given a chance to convert my fire and my pain into the fiercest fuel … an indestructible desire to touch the lives of thousands of others just like me.”last_img read more

Argentine Army Makes Large Drug Seizure

first_imgThe owner of the 260-hectare field, whose name wasn’t made public, doesn’t reside on the property, according to the Army. Argentine Army Soldiers were surprised to find more than 2,000 bales of marijuana wrapped in plastic bags on January 11, shortly after entering a cattle field in the town of Misión Tacaaglé in the Province of Formosa. The Army did not make any immediate arrests. The Military has launched an investigation to determine who owned the marijuana and whether it was trafficked into Argentina, according to Luis Benitez, a federal prosecutor. The Army’s dismantling of the camps occurred three days after it teamed with the Colombian Navy, Air Force and police officers to capture the alleged leader of the FARC’s Fifth Company of the Jacobo Arenas Column. General Luis Fernando Navarro, who leads Task Force Omega, said the FARC, which engages in drug trafficking to finance its terrorist activities, is releasing false information to distract the Army from pursuing the terrorist group in the department. The Colombian National Army on January 14 disputed a claim made by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that the terrorist group killed eight Soldiers during a gun battle during the weekend of January 10-11 in the Department of Meta. Meanwhile, Troops from the Army’s Mobile Brigade No. 26 on January 14 destroyed two FARC camps in the municipality of Montañita, Department of Caquetá, as part of Operation Sword of Honor III. Military officials suspected the FARC’s 15th José Ignacio Mora Front were using the camps. Soldiers disarmed an explosive devise at one of the sites. The Colombian National Army on January 14 disputed a claim made by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that the terrorist group killed eight Soldiers during a gun battle during the weekend of January 10-11 in the Department of Meta. Soldiers were carrying out their normal patrols when they spotted bags filled with marijuana – about 2,600 in all, weighing about 1,500 kilograms. Three loaves were tagged with the letters “EPP,” which stands for the Paraguayan People’s Army, a terrorist group which engages in drug trafficking to finance violent attacks. Meanwhile, Troops from the Army’s Mobile Brigade No. 26 on January 14 destroyed two FARC camps in the municipality of Montañita, Department of Caquetá, as part of Operation Sword of Honor III. Military officials suspected the FARC’s 15th José Ignacio Mora Front were using the camps. Soldiers disarmed an explosive devise at one of the sites. Soldiers were carrying out their normal patrols when they spotted bags filled with marijuana – about 2,600 in all, weighing about 1,500 kilograms. Three loaves were tagged with the letters “EPP,” which stands for the Paraguayan People’s Army, a terrorist group which engages in drug trafficking to finance violent attacks. The Army did not make any immediate arrests. The Military has launched an investigation to determine who owned the marijuana and whether it was trafficked into Argentina, according to Luis Benitez, a federal prosecutor. Argentine Army Soldiers were surprised to find more than 2,000 bales of marijuana wrapped in plastic bags on January 11, shortly after entering a cattle field in the town of Misión Tacaaglé in the Province of Formosa. The Army’s dismantling of the camps occurred three days after it teamed with the Colombian Navy, Air Force and police officers to capture the alleged leader of the FARC’s Fifth Company of the Jacobo Arenas Column. General Luis Fernando Navarro, who leads Task Force Omega, said the FARC, which engages in drug trafficking to finance its terrorist activities, is releasing false information to distract the Army from pursuing the terrorist group in the department. The FARC is lying: Colombian National Army By Dialogo January 15, 2015 The suspect, who has only been identified by his alias of “Oscar,” was caught in possession of “war materials” in the department of Cauca, according to the Ministry of Defense. The FARC is lying: Colombian National Army The tags indicate the EPP may have transported the drugs into neighboring Argentina. Misión Tacaaglé is near the Paraguayan border, and narco-traffickers sometimes use drug trafficking routes in sparsely populated areas. The EPP and other groups transport drugs across the Pilcomayo River into Argentina. The owner of the 260-hectare field, whose name wasn’t made public, doesn’t reside on the property, according to the Army. The tags indicate the EPP may have transported the drugs into neighboring Argentina. Misión Tacaaglé is near the Paraguayan border, and narco-traffickers sometimes use drug trafficking routes in sparsely populated areas. The EPP and other groups transport drugs across the Pilcomayo River into Argentina. The suspect, who has only been identified by his alias of “Oscar,” was caught in possession of “war materials” in the department of Cauca, according to the Ministry of Defense.last_img read more