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Positive Rights News From Europe 86

Posted by kdawson
from the not-all-doom-and-gloom dept.
Various readers are sending in good news from Europe on the rights front. First, at the EU level, Mark.J brings word that the European Parliament has canned a number of controversial amendments to its updated Telecoms Package, which could have resulted in ISPs being forced to disconnect customers for involvement in illegal file-sharing of copyrighted material. Next, SplatMan_DK writes from Denmark on a recent ruling by the Danish High Court that means that Danes are still innocent until proven guilty in copyright cases, even if their IP address has been confirmed as the origin of P2P traffic involving copyrighted music. Finally, from Sweden, an update on the draconian so-called Lex Orwell, which would have effectively resulted in the routine wiretapping of the entire nation. Eric Blair sends a link on an agreement reached between the Swedish parliament and the sitting government on a new form for the controversial signals intelligence law. Supposedly, the sting has been taken out of the law: only the department of defense and the cabinet may request data, and they'll have to get court approval for it.
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Positive Rights News From Europe

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  • Mr. Orwell? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Eric Blair was a visionary, but he is dead now.

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday September 26, 2008 @10:52AM (#25166149)

    So the gradual encroachment of governmental power over the rights of citizens is slowed yet again.

    But doesn't the mere fact that the government has the power to limit itself signal that such limitations are arbitrary and subject only to the whims and needs of those in power? While "protecting the children" may not be as crucial as personal privacy to some European people, isn't it just a matter of time until the priorities become reversed and the erosion of rights will again begin in earnest?

    How can a government be the arbiter of rights unless it has the power to take them away?

    • by ThinkTwicePostOnce (1001392) on Friday September 26, 2008 @11:11AM (#25166421)

      There's an old saying that speaks to your question and is profoundly true:

      Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Daimanta (1140543)

        Nothing human is eternal

        Eternal vigilance is an illusion

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Nothing human is eternal

          Eternal vigilance is an illusion

          takes another bong hit ... Wow man, that's like, deep.

          Seriously, you do realize that eternal [merriam-webster.com] also means

          2 a: continued without intermission : perpetual b: seemingly endless

          Not just "infinite".

          • by Daimanta (1140543)

            that doesn't make any difference whatsoever. None of these things are possible for humans.

            • by JAZ (13084)

              So maybe when Thomas Jefferson said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.", he was actually warning us that freedom costs too much and could never be had?

              • by Daimanta (1140543)

                That may not be his intention but essentailly he says that the kind of freedom he invisioned is impossible to maintain in the long run. And that was a great mistake.

      • by wdef (1050680)
        It's not an anonymously-authored meme: "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." -- Thomas Jefferson
    • by 2names (531755) on Friday September 26, 2008 @11:11AM (#25166425)
      Governments only have power when the populace gives it or, through complacency, allows the government to seize power and strip away the rights of the individual. If we as citizens of Planet Earth do not agressively and steadfastly defend our rights as such, tyranny will prevail and it will be OUR fault.

      And now, I await my arrest by the U.S. [insert 3 letter organization here].
      • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday September 26, 2008 @11:15AM (#25166475)

        What you fail to realize is that you will not lose your rights due to complacency, but rather you will forfeit them enthusiastically to protect yourself and your loved ones.

        • by 2names (531755)
          No, I won't. What YOU fail to realize is that not everyone in the U.S. has succumbed to the "bread and circuses" mentality.
          • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday September 26, 2008 @11:28AM (#25166689)

            What YOU fail to realize is that not everyone in the U.S. has succumbed to the "bread and circuses" mentality

            In a democracy, it doesn't take everyone to vote yea. It only takes enough.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by 2names (531755)
              While your point is valid, I will ask that you also consider that one voice of dissent is often louder than the entire flock "baaa-ing" in agreement.
              • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday September 26, 2008 @11:40AM (#25166861)

                Please let the U.S. government in on your theory, because for the past 6 years the silent majority has been riding roughshod over the vocal minority.

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by ijakings (982830)

                History has proven time and time again that with freedom as a goal amazing achievements have been accomplished. Unfortunately it often takes the removal of those freedoms for the majority of sheeple to take note of whats actually going on.

              • by mpe (36238)
                While your point is valid, I will ask that you also consider that one voice of dissent is often louder than the entire flock "baaa-ing" in agreement.

                Another part of the same effect is that someone with a complaint or advocating a change can be "louder" than a majority who either disagree with the complaint or advocate the status quo. With the latter only making their point after they have heard about the former. An obvious example is that lobbiests can effectivly write a bill, even going through several d
        • by mpe (36238)
          What you fail to realize is that you will not lose your rights due to complacency, but rather you will forfeit them enthusiastically to protect yourself and your loved ones.

          Were that the case it would be better than the current situation. The problem is too often most peoples rights are forfeit, regardless of their opinion. What would be far better is something a long the lines of "If you think that forfeiting your rights is a good thing. You and only you, plus anyone who agrees with you, lose those right
      • I've got a rock I'll sell you that keeps black helicopters away.
        • by Faylone (880739)
          Yes, the rock is very effective. The only trouble is finding a slingshot big enough.
          • Was more of a play off of the Simpsons:

            Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
            Lisa: That's spacious reasoning, Dad.
            Homer: Thank you, dear.
            Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
            Homer: Oh, how does it work?
            Lisa: It doesn't work.
            Homer: Uh-huh.
            Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
            Homer: Uh-huh.
            Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you? Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

  • by gravesb (967413) on Friday September 26, 2008 @10:57AM (#25166215) Homepage
    Generally when you talk about positive rights, it means the government must provide something. Negative rights prevent the government from doing something. The US Bill of Rights is generally considered to be all negative rights. So, it is clearer to refrain from using those adjectives when talking about rights unless you are describing how they affect the government, as opposed to whether they are good or bad.
    • by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Friday September 26, 2008 @11:15AM (#25166489) Homepage Journal
      It's not news about positive rights, it's positive news about rights.
      • by smoker2 (750216)
        Just the fact you had to say that is indicative of the situation.
    • by nomadic (141991)
      Agreed, that's how I read the headline at first; I thought it was strange they thought it was good news, I know the rabid slashdot libertarian contingent hate positive rights.
      • by poetmatt (793785)

        Uh?

        When are people going to realize that there are shitty politicians on all sides of the spectrum, not just left or right leaning? Only moderates tend to be the non-shitty folks.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          Uh? When are people going to realize that there are shitty politicians on all sides of the spectrum, not just left or right leaning?

          There are, but in this case it was on the mark. Positive rights means the government must provide which means it must get funding which imply taxes in essence required by law. It goes against the liberitarian ideals that only the barest minimum should be provided by the state.

          • by poetmatt (793785)

            I get what you're saying, but we have seen democrats do things that go against democratic ideals/equates to hypocrisy, likewise with (insert any group or individual of any part of the political spectrum). Thus why say that it even matters if it's a group's ideal, I guess is what I question?

        • Only moderates tend to be the non-shitty folks.

          Moderates are definitionally people who have no principles. I think you're confusing folks who aren't on one end of the artificial and absurd left-right scale with people who are always equivocating on policy.

          • by ppanon (16583)

            Moderates are definitionally people who have no principles.

            What a load of crap. definition of moderate [answers.com] or another [merriam-webster.com] Moderates are "definitionally" people whose views and principles aren't extreme. That doesn't necessarily mean they have no principles. Now, some "moderate" politicians may fit your definition because they're trying to make the most people happy to get elected, but it's not at all impossible to be moderate and principled. Your argument is one promoted by the extremists who want to make themselv

            • That doesn't necessarily mean they have no principles.

              OK, what principles do moderates hold?

              • by ppanon (16583)

                The principle of pragmatism. Do what gets results. If it happens to be a relatively right wing notion involving setting up a market for competition, fine. If regulation of that market is necessary to prevent abuse, fine as well.

                If a market isn't appropriate because there is no financial incentive for something to occur and yet that action brings benefits to society substantially in excess of the required investment, then do it through a government funded program.

                Moderates choose to balance individual rights

  • Give it some time and then they will try and take away our privacy again. The only good thing with politics are the younger ones who look back in time on the greatest and do not fall into the lobbyist pit. I dont mind politicans taking money from lobbyists or anyone, as long as they do whats right for the nation and its people, rather than for some shitty corporation.
  • by houghi (78078) on Friday September 26, 2008 @10:58AM (#25166243)

    Although it is nice to see positive news, you must remember that Europe is not one country. It is many countries and what is legal in one can be very illegal in another.

    As if you start comparing laws in Israel, China and Japan, just because it is all Asia.

    Just so you are aware of it.

    • by burnitdown (1076427) on Friday September 26, 2008 @11:06AM (#25166351) Homepage Journal

      Thanks to the EU, it's now an alliance with internal tradiing advantages and collective leadership. In English, we call this a confederacy (no necessary relation to the Confederate States of America).

      If Israel, Iran and Iraq started their own trade agreement, we might refer to the mid-East in the same way.

      • Thanks to the EU, it's now an alliance with internal tradiing advantages and collective leadership. In English, we call this a confederacy (no necessary relation to the Confederate States of America).

        More like the Articles of Confederation [wikipedia.org], yes? I wonder how long it'll take them to end up like us...

        • More like the Articles of Confederation, yes? I wonder how long it'll take them to end up like us...

          We're ahead of schedule in quite a few ways. World domination? Been there, done that, got the museum full of loot. Horrifically bloody civil war? Depending on how you count it, on and off from 1914 to 1990. And you should see how fast the frontier on the Wild East is being pushed back.

      • by tpwch (748980)

        That is true, but there are still many countries in Europe that are not part of the EU. So please say EU and not Europe when you mean EU.

        The U.S. could be argued to be a confederacy of many states. Do you think the Canadians and the Mexicans like it when the U.S. Goverment is called the American goverment? Probably not, and this is the same thing. Europe is a geographical name, not a political one.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Well, Europe essentially is the trademark of European Union. Countries belonging to the European Union form the core of Europe culturally, socially, politically and economically. Countries that aren't members of EU are usually trying to become more European so that they can join the European Union. In this sense to me it makes sense use Europe and European Union as synonyms as after all eventually all countries in Europe that are not part of EU will become part of it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by mpe (36238)
            Countries that aren't members of EU are usually trying to become more European so that they can join the European Union. In this sense to me it makes sense use Europe and European Union as synonyms as after all eventually all countries in Europe that are not part of EU will become part of it.

            Switzerland is quite central within Europe, but dosn't show much interest in becoming part of the EU. Nor does the largest European country, Russia...
            • Switzerland is not embracing European values and European integration at its fullest, thought they have integrated their economy with EU via bilateral treaties. However as they don't embrace Europe and its values and thus they have distanced from the Europe and thus are not as European as countries in EU. Remember Europe is about culture, values and shared destiny.

              Russia is an Euroasian country, it hasn't been European country for a while. After communist took power and moved the capital to Moscow Russia as

              • by Sique (173459)

                Moscow was the russian capital during most of its history. It was just the spleen of the csars after Peter I not to reside there but have their own town somewhere away, preferredly at a harbour (where the court talked french and most of the executives talked german). But even through the 200 years of St.Peterburg as residence, Moscow was still the town where the administration was.

              • by Cyberax (705495)

                If you compare the size of Russia and Europe, it'll be more likely that Europe will join Russia :)

          • by oyningen (1189553) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:01PM (#25168851)
            Uhm, no. Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, all countries that have elected to not be part of EU, but are still very much European countries, unless there was recent tectonic activity I was unaware of. If Europe is the trademark of the EU, nobody send that memo around Europe, that's for sure.
            • Geography dictates what are the far reaching borders of Europe, but culture and values dictate who is an European and who is not. The countries that you mentioned have chosen not to participate at the fullest speed to the building of common Europe and thus they have distanced themselves from the heart of the Europe. If we look at the countries you mentioned, by looking at them you can see that they are still behind and can't let go even partly from their stringent nationalism, thus they have left out themse
    • by meringuoid (568297) on Friday September 26, 2008 @11:10AM (#25166417)
      Although it is nice to see positive news, you must remember that Europe is not one country. It is many countries and what is legal in one can be very illegal in another. As if you start comparing laws in Israel, China and Japan, just because it is all Asia.

      Not quite the same thing. Israel, China and Japan are not joint members of any supranational confederation. The European Union now includes 27 states, and more and more matters are dealt with cooperatively. Since network rights are inherently international, they're exactly the sort of thing that ends up coming to the attention of Brussels - and the decision they reach will be shaped by the consensus among the various states. Precedents established in a single country today may well affect the whole Union tomorrow.

      • by smoker2 (750216)
        Very nice but irrelevant. the headline is "Positive Rights news from Europe". If any of the countries mentioned in this article are in Europe, the headline is accurate. Europe is a (sub)continent. The European Union is an affiliation of states within Europe. The USA is a affiliation of states within North America. If I saw a headline describing something in North America, I wouldn't immediately think of only the USA, but it may be included. There is a way to define which country you're talking about - use i
    • Israel, China and Japan have not chosen to ally their governments into an overarching (although advisory) Asian Union in the manner that many European nations have chosen to do in the form of the European Union.

    • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@gmail . c om> on Friday September 26, 2008 @11:28AM (#25166685) Journal

      And members are bound by treaty to abide by its rules.

      Also, water wet. Fire hot. Pain hurts.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fritsd (924429)

        (a bit personal but hey this is Slashdot)
        Are you family of the (should have been slightly more legendary) Jean Monnet?

        I always thought the "secret plan" behind the EU was the following priority list:
        1. No more war
        2. No more famine
        3. there is no point 3, we'll all have to make it up as we go along

        but then, i'm an idealist.

  • without having RTFA, I thought either a) it was April 1 and no one told me, or b) I need to up my anti-seizure meds.
  • Being considered innocent until proven guilty is not a positive right it is a negative right.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_rights
    • Being considered innocent until proven guilty is not a positive right it is a negative right.

      But it is positive (good) news, right?

  • by mikael_j (106439) on Friday September 26, 2008 @11:28AM (#25166693)

    The "critics" who are now stating that the law is now acceptable to all critics are mainly members and supporters of the current government who in many cases voted for the original law because they didn't want to go against the party line (of their party Folkpartiet).

    Now they feel that they can "compromise" and seem like they're against the original law while still not going against the party. If you check the websites of Piratpartiet (The pirate party) and StoppaFRAlagen.nu then you'll see that they, the chief critics of the law, are still against the revised law.

    /Mikael

  • Supposedly, the sting has been taken out of the law: only the department of defense and the cabinet may request data, and they'll have to get court approval for it.

    I'm not so sure I agree thats taking the sting out of it - I mean, isn't the expectation of due process before having your rights infringed a given?

    Its great that they are requiring due process, but I'd still prefer my own government didn't have the ability to make these requests at will. Court approval is likely to be a rubber stamp sort of step, with all requests getting approved. And in light of that, I could see requests for data being abused to fuel political motivations when convenient.

  • I'm glad to hear that, for a while longer at least, some people aren't going to be allowed to turn this entire planet into one big prison for it's citizens.
  • i may wet myself. all these positive news of late - first, bush adm. threatening veto for copyright cops bill, doj blasting it, then thompson getting screwed, then this. oh boy - whats going on.
  • "an agreement reached between the Swedish parliament and the sitting government"

    What, no standing ovation?

  • BTW: you can add the victory in an italian court that has removed the DNS ban of the Pirate Bay, placing a prevedent on the matter.
    More details on: http://punto-informatico.it/2417079/PI/Brevi/italia-sblocca-accesso-the-pirate-bay.aspx [punto-informatico.it]
    if you are confident with italian language.

  • Still a sting in FRA (Score:4, Informative)

    by elgaard (81259) <[kd.loga] [ta] [draagle]> on Friday September 26, 2008 @03:32PM (#25170333) Homepage

    When the referenced site says that even the staunchest critics are now happy with the law, it is just not true.

    The problem is still that the Swedish authorities will not just get the permission from this new special court to investigate "issues".

    The Swedish government require that all ISP's provide the Swedish state with a copy of every single packet that crosses the Swedish border. They will not need permission from the special court to collect our traffic.

  • The Swedish surveillance law has been reduced to nothing, according to public statements by the government.

    This means that the opposition might get weaker, allowing the law to be passed. When that has happened, it will only be a matter of time before the government tries to strengthen the law again.

    They don't want to spend money on an ineffective system.

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