Free Culture [en]

Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 11 Septiembre, 2014 - 05:33
First time accepted submitter ltorvalds11 writes Cuba says its economy is suffering a "systematic worsening" due to a US embargo, the consequences of which Havana places at $1.1 trillion since Washington imposed the sanctions in 1960, taking into account the depreciation of the dollar against gold. "There is not, and there has not been in the world, such a terrorizing and vile violation of human rights of an entire people than the blockade that the US government has been leading against Cuba for 55 years," Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno told reporters. He also blamed the embargo for the difficulties in accessing internet on the island, saying that the United States creates an obstacle for companies providing broadband services in Cuba. Additionally, he said that the area is one of the "most sensitive" to the embargo, with economic losses estimated at $34.2 million. It is also the sector that has fallen "victim of all kinds of attacks" by the US, as violations of the Cuban radio or electronic space "promote destabilization" of Cuban society, the report notes. The damage to Cuban foreign trade between April 2013 and June 2014 amounted to $3.9 billion, the report said. Without the embargo, Cuba could have earned $205.8 million selling products such as rum and cigars to US consumers. Barack Obama last week signed the one-year extension of the embargo on Cuba, based on the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, created to restrict trade with countries hostile to the U.S..

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Categorías: Free Culture [en]

Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 19:12
sciencehabit writes Valerie Barr was a tenured professor of computer science at Union College in Schenectady, New York, with a national reputation for her work improving computing education and attracting more women and minorities into the field. But federal investigators say that Barr lied during a routine background check about her affiliations with a domestic terrorist group that had ties to the two organizations to which she had belonged in the early 1980s. On 27 August, NSF said that her 'dishonest conduct' compelled them to cancel her temporary assignment immediately, at the end of the first of what was expected to be a 2-year stint. Colleagues who decry Barr's fate worry that the incident could make other scientists think twice about coming to work for NSF. In addition, Barr's case offers a rare glimpse into the practices of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), an obscure agency within the White House that wields vast power over the entire federal bureaucracy through its authority to vet recently hired workers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 19:12
sciencehabit writes Valerie Barr was a tenured professor of computer science at Union College in Schenectady, New York, with a national reputation for her work improving computing education and attracting more women and minorities into the field. But federal investigators say that Barr lied during a routine background check about her affiliations with a domestic terrorist group that had ties to the two organizations to which she had belonged in the early 1980s. On 27 August, NSF said that her 'dishonest conduct' compelled them to cancel her temporary assignment immediately, at the end of the first of what was expected to be a 2-year stint. Colleagues who decry Barr's fate worry that the incident could make other scientists think twice about coming to work for NSF. In addition, Barr's case offers a rare glimpse into the practices of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), an obscure agency within the White House that wields vast power over the entire federal bureaucracy through its authority to vet recently hired workers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 19:12
sciencehabit writes Valerie Barr was a tenured professor of computer science at Union College in Schenectady, New York, with a national reputation for her work improving computing education and attracting more women and minorities into the field. But federal investigators say that Barr lied during a routine background check about her affiliations with a domestic terrorist group that had ties to the two organizations to which she had belonged in the early 1980s. On 27 August, NSF said that her 'dishonest conduct' compelled them to cancel her temporary assignment immediately, at the end of the first of what was expected to be a 2-year stint. Colleagues who decry Barr's fate worry that the incident could make other scientists think twice about coming to work for NSF. In addition, Barr's case offers a rare glimpse into the practices of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), an obscure agency within the White House that wields vast power over the entire federal bureaucracy through its authority to vet recently hired workers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 19:12
sciencehabit writes Valerie Barr was a tenured professor of computer science at Union College in Schenectady, New York, with a national reputation for her work improving computing education and attracting more women and minorities into the field. But federal investigators say that Barr lied during a routine background check about her affiliations with a domestic terrorist group that had ties to the two organizations to which she had belonged in the early 1980s. On 27 August, NSF said that her 'dishonest conduct' compelled them to cancel her temporary assignment immediately, at the end of the first of what was expected to be a 2-year stint. Colleagues who decry Barr's fate worry that the incident could make other scientists think twice about coming to work for NSF. In addition, Barr's case offers a rare glimpse into the practices of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), an obscure agency within the White House that wields vast power over the entire federal bureaucracy through its authority to vet recently hired workers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 19:12
sciencehabit writes Valerie Barr was a tenured professor of computer science at Union College in Schenectady, New York, with a national reputation for her work improving computing education and attracting more women and minorities into the field. But federal investigators say that Barr lied during a routine background check about her affiliations with a domestic terrorist group that had ties to the two organizations to which she had belonged in the early 1980s. On 27 August, NSF said that her 'dishonest conduct' compelled them to cancel her temporary assignment immediately, at the end of the first of what was expected to be a 2-year stint. Colleagues who decry Barr's fate worry that the incident could make other scientists think twice about coming to work for NSF. In addition, Barr's case offers a rare glimpse into the practices of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), an obscure agency within the White House that wields vast power over the entire federal bureaucracy through its authority to vet recently hired workers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 19:12
sciencehabit writes Valerie Barr was a tenured professor of computer science at Union College in Schenectady, New York, with a national reputation for her work improving computing education and attracting more women and minorities into the field. But federal investigators say that Barr lied during a routine background check about her affiliations with a domestic terrorist group that had ties to the two organizations to which she had belonged in the early 1980s. On 27 August, NSF said that her 'dishonest conduct' compelled them to cancel her temporary assignment immediately, at the end of the first of what was expected to be a 2-year stint. Colleagues who decry Barr's fate worry that the incident could make other scientists think twice about coming to work for NSF. In addition, Barr's case offers a rare glimpse into the practices of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), an obscure agency within the White House that wields vast power over the entire federal bureaucracy through its authority to vet recently hired workers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 19:12
sciencehabit writes Valerie Barr was a tenured professor of computer science at Union College in Schenectady, New York, with a national reputation for her work improving computing education and attracting more women and minorities into the field. But federal investigators say that Barr lied during a routine background check about her affiliations with a domestic terrorist group that had ties to the two organizations to which she had belonged in the early 1980s. On 27 August, NSF said that her 'dishonest conduct' compelled them to cancel her temporary assignment immediately, at the end of the first of what was expected to be a 2-year stint. Colleagues who decry Barr's fate worry that the incident could make other scientists think twice about coming to work for NSF. In addition, Barr's case offers a rare glimpse into the practices of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), an obscure agency within the White House that wields vast power over the entire federal bureaucracy through its authority to vet recently hired workers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 19:12
sciencehabit writes Valerie Barr was a tenured professor of computer science at Union College in Schenectady, New York, with a national reputation for her work improving computing education and attracting more women and minorities into the field. But federal investigators say that Barr lied during a routine background check about her affiliations with a domestic terrorist group that had ties to the two organizations to which she had belonged in the early 1980s. On 27 August, NSF said that her 'dishonest conduct' compelled them to cancel her temporary assignment immediately, at the end of the first of what was expected to be a 2-year stint. Colleagues who decry Barr's fate worry that the incident could make other scientists think twice about coming to work for NSF. In addition, Barr's case offers a rare glimpse into the practices of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), an obscure agency within the White House that wields vast power over the entire federal bureaucracy through its authority to vet recently hired workers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 19:12
sciencehabit writes Valerie Barr was a tenured professor of computer science at Union College in Schenectady, New York, with a national reputation for her work improving computing education and attracting more women and minorities into the field. But federal investigators say that Barr lied during a routine background check about her affiliations with a domestic terrorist group that had ties to the two organizations to which she had belonged in the early 1980s. On 27 August, NSF said that her 'dishonest conduct' compelled them to cancel her temporary assignment immediately, at the end of the first of what was expected to be a 2-year stint. Colleagues who decry Barr's fate worry that the incident could make other scientists think twice about coming to work for NSF. In addition, Barr's case offers a rare glimpse into the practices of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), an obscure agency within the White House that wields vast power over the entire federal bureaucracy through its authority to vet recently hired workers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 17:45
ericgoldman writes Some businesses are so paranoid about negative consumer reviews that they have contractually banned their customers from writing reviews or imposed fines on consumers who bash them. California has told businesses to stop it. AB 2365--signed by Governor Brown yesterday, and the first law of its kind in the nation--says any contract provisions restricting consumer reviews are void, and simply including an anti-review clause in the contract can trigger penalties of $2,500.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 17:45
ericgoldman writes Some businesses are so paranoid about negative consumer reviews that they have contractually banned their customers from writing reviews or imposed fines on consumers who bash them. California has told businesses to stop it. AB 2365--signed by Governor Brown yesterday, and the first law of its kind in the nation--says any contract provisions restricting consumer reviews are void, and simply including an anti-review clause in the contract can trigger penalties of $2,500.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 17:45
ericgoldman writes Some businesses are so paranoid about negative consumer reviews that they have contractually banned their customers from writing reviews or imposed fines on consumers who bash them. California has told businesses to stop it. AB 2365--signed by Governor Brown yesterday, and the first law of its kind in the nation--says any contract provisions restricting consumer reviews are void, and simply including an anti-review clause in the contract can trigger penalties of $2,500.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 17:45
ericgoldman writes Some businesses are so paranoid about negative consumer reviews that they have contractually banned their customers from writing reviews or imposed fines on consumers who bash them. California has told businesses to stop it. AB 2365--signed by Governor Brown yesterday, and the first law of its kind in the nation--says any contract provisions restricting consumer reviews are void, and simply including an anti-review clause in the contract can trigger penalties of $2,500.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 17:45
ericgoldman writes Some businesses are so paranoid about negative consumer reviews that they have contractually banned their customers from writing reviews or imposed fines on consumers who bash them. California has told businesses to stop it. AB 2365--signed by Governor Brown yesterday, and the first law of its kind in the nation--says any contract provisions restricting consumer reviews are void, and simply including an anti-review clause in the contract can trigger penalties of $2,500.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 17:45
ericgoldman writes Some businesses are so paranoid about negative consumer reviews that they have contractually banned their customers from writing reviews or imposed fines on consumers who bash them. California has told businesses to stop it. AB 2365--signed by Governor Brown yesterday, and the first law of its kind in the nation--says any contract provisions restricting consumer reviews are void, and simply including an anti-review clause in the contract can trigger penalties of $2,500.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 17:45
ericgoldman writes Some businesses are so paranoid about negative consumer reviews that they have contractually banned their customers from writing reviews or imposed fines on consumers who bash them. California has told businesses to stop it. AB 2365--signed by Governor Brown yesterday, and the first law of its kind in the nation--says any contract provisions restricting consumer reviews are void, and simply including an anti-review clause in the contract can trigger penalties of $2,500.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 17:45
ericgoldman writes Some businesses are so paranoid about negative consumer reviews that they have contractually banned their customers from writing reviews or imposed fines on consumers who bash them. California has told businesses to stop it. AB 2365--signed by Governor Brown yesterday, and the first law of its kind in the nation--says any contract provisions restricting consumer reviews are void, and simply including an anti-review clause in the contract can trigger penalties of $2,500.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Slashdot YourRightsOnline - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 17:45
ericgoldman writes Some businesses are so paranoid about negative consumer reviews that they have contractually banned their customers from writing reviews or imposed fines on consumers who bash them. California has told businesses to stop it. AB 2365--signed by Governor Brown yesterday, and the first law of its kind in the nation--says any contract provisions restricting consumer reviews are void, and simply including an anti-review clause in the contract can trigger penalties of $2,500.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categorías: Free Culture [en]

EFF to Sen. Wyden: Stand Up for Users and Fix the Secretive Trade Deal Process

Electronic Frontier Foundation - 10 Septiembre, 2014 - 17:33

EFF was in Washington DC this week to deliver our Fast Track petition to Senator Ron Wyden, and we've asked him to fix the secretive, Hollywood-captured process that taints current trade negotiations and leads to international agreements with draconian copyright provisions. At the time of the delivery, the petition was signed by 4,950 US users.*

Sen. Wyden has been a vocal advocate for the public to have access to the trade negotiations. One of the most notable moments was from a Senate Finance Committee hearing in 2012, where he challenged the US Trade Representative (USTR) on the secrecy that shrouds the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. He even suggested, during the course of that hearing, that the text affecting Internet users' rights should be available online in real time.

Now that he's the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, he holds the influence to introduce a new bill that could fundamentally change the process that has led to anti-user trade deals like the TPP.

That's why we need Sen. Wyden to continue to defend users' rights in Congress, by working towards more open, transparent, and participatory trade negotiations. This is the letter we delivered to Sen. Wyden's office yesterday, in which we outline some crucial fixes to the current process. Below each ask is a brief explanation for why we made that specific demand.

Dear Senator Wyden:

As constituents, consumers, and Internet users, we call on you to defend users' rights as you work to develop a new trade authority proposal. Democratic and transparent negotiating procedures are essential to protect those rights and the future of our Internet. Thus, any such proposal must include:

• Easy, ongoing access to negotiating texts by all Congress members and their staff with proper security clearance and timely public release of concluded provisions following each round of negotiations;

Sen. Wyden has been the most outspoken about the fact that Congress members have severely limited access to the text, in contrast to corporate representatives who sit on trade advisory committees. While Congress members themselves are able to view the text, they must do so in a private room. They are prohibited from taking notes or bringing their legislative aides, who are experts on those policy matters, even when they have proper security clearance. Most lawmakers are far from being fluent in the language of digital policy. So even if they can see the text it's unlikely they can make many pertinent comments, let alone identify the issues that might be the most alarming for Internet users.

We ask that Sen. Wyden require a regular publication of concluded provisions because there is simply no reason to keep such terms secret. And as we mentioned above, he even said so himself. Internet users should know what is going on in these deals so we can decide for ourselves whether those rules are acceptable. In democracies, it's the people who get to decide the rule of law—not trade bureaucrats beholden to powerful industries.

• Ongoing, up-to-date publication of detailed summaries of the USTR's specific proposals being submitted in negotiations;

We have the right to know what kind of copyright provisions the USTR is proposing in our name. Based on leaks of the TPP, as well as past international deals the USTR has struck with other nations, we have every reason to be critical about its stance on digital policies. It has been shamefully complicit with big publishers and the corporate entertainment industries to push for more extreme provisions than almost any of its negotiating partners.

• Regular publication of agendas and transcripts of meetings and of all communications between USTR officials and all stakeholders, including industry groups;

The reason why trade agreements now have such extreme, draconian copyright rules is because of the cozy relationship between the USTR and corporate interests. As public officials, they have a duty to disclose their communication with all stakeholders. This would substantially improve the transparency of the process from its earlier stages when the USTR formulates its policy objectives, and decides whose interests it will represent at the negotiating table.

• Mandatory negotiating objectives that balance users' rights with those of private industry, including requirements to enact safeguards for free speech, privacy, and access to knowledge;

The USTR sets overarching objectives for its trade agreements, and as you'd guess, they have always reiterated the "strong protection of Intellectual Property rights". There is no reason why they cannot balance those concerns and also prioritize these core rights for Internet users.

• Congressional certification that negotiating objectives have been met before negotiations are concluded with only the pacts that have been so certified qualifying for expedited consideration;

In the event the USTR does re-examine its seemingly myopic concern for Hollywood, and accordingly re-authorizes its negotiation objectives, then someone needs to hold the USTR accountable. Congress could be in the position to ensure that these negotiation objectives are met. Otherwise, there will be no chance that Congress would even vote on the trade agreement without holding full hearings and debates on the content of those deals.

• Congressional approval of trade agreement texts before they can be signed by a president so that Congress explicitly authorizes a president to enter into a pact only after ensuring that an agreement’s contents are acceptable.

Under the old, expired versions of Fast Track, presidents could sign off on a trade agreement without Congressional approval. Congress had given up its constitutionally mandated role to oversee foreign commerce, and were limited to voting up or down on a deal with barely any time to debate the contents of those agreements. Such a system violates the separation of powers of the federal government. The Executive branch—which the USTR falls under—cannot have sole authority over US trade policy.

We stand opposed to any new version of trade authority that does not include these critical guarantees of transparency, inclusiveness and accountability. Additionally, provisions in current trade negotiations must not be considered closed until these transparency and oversight mechanisms have been put in place.

If enacted, these procedural fixes would not lead to a perfect process, but it's a start. Sen. Wyden, who has been so outstanding on calling out the procedural problems in the TPP, now has the rare opportunity to make things better. We're counting on him to do that, and ensure that for the first time, users' rights take front seat in the trade policy debate.

* This number is the result of eliminated duplicates and omission of non-US signers.

Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceInternationalTrans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
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