Jeremy Malcolm's blog
I would like to thank the distinguished representative from the Seychelles and Mr Avery from the OECD for their remarks about e-commerce, both of which we fully support. However, in accordance with the remarks made earlier by Consumers International's Head of Delegation, we are concerned that the scope of the work on revision of the Guidelines should not be too narrow, as there are many issues that effect the interests of consumers in the digital age that go beyond the existing instruments on e-commerce that have been developed by the OECD.
Although the basics have been widely reported, there is still a lot of confusion out there about how all the pieces of the PRISM surveillance scandal fit together, so here's the rundown. First, on Thursday 6 June, came the revelation in the Guardian of a secret court order requiring US phone carrier Verizon to disclose a complete set of records of telephone calls made over a three-month period.
Today, a coalition of organisations representing a diversity of interests have come together from around the world to ask for A Fair Deal on intellectual property (IP) in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
This week Consumers International is representing the consumer movement at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum and the ITU's World Telecommunications Policy Forum (WTPF). The ITU is one of two institutions (along with the TPP, which also has a meeting this week) that we have been targetting with advocacy for improvement of its openness and transparency.
The consumer movement is trusted and respected for its role as an impartial watchdog, which allows it to fearlessly hold governments and businesses to account for infringing consumers' rights. But this trust and respect is a valuable commodity, and businesses would do anything to get a piece of it.
The 16th round of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership wrapped up in Singapore this week, and according to the official press release the intellectual property chapter is one of a small number of chapters (along with competition and environment) that remain unresolved, and will be the focus of the remaining negotiating rounds.
The 16th round of the Trans-Pacific partnership negotiations is underway this week and next in Singapore, and Consumers International is participating actively – or at least, as actively as we can, given the closed nature of the negotiations. Only one day of the negotiations is officially open to the public, and all other events are independently stakeholder-organised.
Last year's ITU WCIT conference inflamed the community's fears of the extension of intergovernmental control over the Internet. Whilst this fear was legitimate, an over-emphasis on the ITU can obscure the fact that the Internet is already controlled in undemocratic ways - often by governments, through both national and global processes, but also by corporate interests. It also obscures the fact that government action is sometimes necessary to uphold the rights of Internet users, just as government inaction can sometimes support their freedoms.
Copyright enforcement ought to be about going after those who profiteer from the work of others by dealing in pirated goods, and about protecting consumers from sub-standard fakes. Instead, the industries pushing for tougher copyright enforcement have become fixated on controlling the behaviour of ordinary consumers.
In the wake of the anti-climatic conclusion to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) earlier this month, readers could be forgiven for being confused about whether all the hype about the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) staging a UN takeover of the Internet had ever represented a real threat, or had ju