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Finland Writes History With Crowdsourced Copyright Law

daily alternative | alternative news - Finland Writes History With Crowdsourced Copyright Law

Finland is the first country in the world in which Parliament will vote on a “fairer” copyright law that has been crowdsourced by the public. The proposal, which obtained the required 50,000 Finnish votes just a day before the deadline, seeks to decriminalize file-sharing and legalize the copying of items that people already own.

Since last year the Finnish public has had the option of suggesting the kind of laws they want to be governed under.A recent modification of the national Constitution allows citizens to make legislative proposals for Parliament to vote on, providing they get 50,000 supporters within six months.

One of the submitted proposals, which calls for a fairer copyright law, just reached its goal one day before the voting deadline. This makes Finland the first country in the world in which legislators will vote on a copyright law that was drafted by citizens.

Termed “The Common Sense in Copyright Act,” the proposal wants to reduce penalties for copyright infringement, increase fair use, ban unfair clauses in recording contracts, and ease the ability for people to make copies of items they already own for backup and time-shifting purposes.

The decriminalization of file-sharing will also put a stop to house searches and online surveillance of suspected copyright infringers, not uncommon events in Finland.

Last year a house search resulted in international outrage when it was revealed that a police unit raided a 9-year-old girl and confiscated her Winnie the Pooh laptop after an allegation of sharing.

Now that the goal of 50,000 votes has been reached the copyright law proposal will be put to the vote in the Finnish Parliament. This is likely to take place early next year.

In the meantime, street artist Sampsa, who pushed the proposal forward together with the Finnish Electronic Frontier Foundation (Effi), continues to gather political support for the law, not just in Finland, but also in Europe and throughout the rest of the world.

“We’ve begun working closely with European Digital Rights members globally to ensure that when the vote hits the floor in 2014, the pressure is still on so copyright law will be changed forever,” Sampsa told TorrentFreak.

Open Ministry, the organization that coordinates the public proposals, notes that today’s success breaks with an old tradition where lobbyists draft copyright law. This counter-proposal is needed to restore the balance, they argue.

“Members of Parliament are quite open about the fact, that Copyright Laws are handed down to them from the international lobbyists. If we do not push back, they will keep on rubber-stamping harsh legislation and infringing on consumer rights,” Joonas Pekkanen, Chairman of Open Ministry, informs TorrentFreak.

Of course, even if the proposal reaches the goal, there’s no guarantee that the Parliament will sign it into law in its current form. However, for a country that has a voting population of just over four million, a proposal with direct support from 50,000 citizens can’t be easily ignored.


daily alternative | alternative news – Finland Writes History With Crowdsourced Copyright Law

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Google Upgrades Digital Wallet to Pay by Facial Recognition

As we march steadily toward a cashless society, Google is naturally at the forefront of seeing it come to fruition as quickly as possible.

Despite the fact that several years ago Google had a major security scare with its first incarnation of the digital wallet smartphone app, which required a temporary shutdown, they are announcing a new system being tested which does not even require the smartphone at all.

A growing number of people apparently find that having to remove their smartphone is just such a hassle that they are prepared to embrace payment via biometrics – in this case, facial recognition.

As a perfect indicator of the target market, please read this sad quote:

“Imagine if you could rush through a drive-thru without reaching for your wallet, or pick up a hot dog at the ballpark without fumbling to pass coins or your credit card to the cashier,” Bhat said. (Source)

In one sentence, that quote might represent literally everything that is wrong with modern society.

The new system is being cleverly called Hands Free; and, as the second indicator of its potential mass appeal, it will be rolled out first at McDonald’s and Papa John’s fast food restaurants.

A second more serious component to this ties in with the recent rollout of citywide WiFi systems that keep people connected at all times. Layered on top of that is the arrival of billboards with hidden cameras built in that can film you, then track you through your mobile phone. This reality makes the following information more chilling than convenient:

The digital wallet uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections alone [sic] with location sensing capabilities in smartphones to detect when someone is near a store enabled with Hands Free payment technology.

“When you’re ready to pay, you can simply tell the cashier, ‘I’ll pay with Google,’” Bhat said.

“The cashier will ask for your initials and use the picture you added to your Hands Free profile to confirm your identity.”

At some locations, Google is experimented [sic] with using cameras in stores to recognize people with Hands Free digital wallets so they could pay without even pausing. (emphasis added)

The number of people already prepared to accept this system numbers in the millions, according to Google.

Although this announcement would appear to border on satire, please view the videos below to get an idea about a world where cash is seen as a major annoyance, and laziness is embraced as a virtue.



daily alternative | alternative news – Google Upgrades Digital Wallet to Pay by Facial Recognition

via Google Upgrades Digital Wallet to Pay by Facial Recognition.

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