Archive for februari, 2010

Smart transport on the road

The information society truly is a beautiful thing. This morning begun with an intra-Green group meeting on ACTA. There is now an informal time table and action plan for how to approach MEPs about the ACTA issues.

An old dossier where a final proposal (that appears to still be unpublished :(( ) has been agreed upon by the Council and the Parliament, that is currently coming up for a second reading decision in the European parliament plenary session concerns intelligent transport systems.

Intelligent transport systems are a part of the ongoing development of a deeper, more ubiquitous information infrastructure. They constitute a small part of a number of technological and regulatory reformso that will facilitate commerce or service for consumers (including in information), but a part of the information society offense that seems not to be talked about a lot.

I only realised I could write about it when I read about train accidents in Stockholm. Stockholm has started implementing smart transport systems already, and are referenced as a positive examples of gains from ubiquitous information technology infrastructure by the Commission. Smart transport systems can also include tracing of goods in transport, or monitoring of lorry drivers to make sure they are not so tired that they constitute a danger to other traffic.

Add to this measuring how far each car is travelling to determine how much road tax each car owner should pay, or fees for moving in and out of cities.

The reforms are not in themselves undesirable – to be fair they’re often convenient from both an environmental and time consumption perspective, and they benefit both consumers and businesses, but they require careful consideration with respect to information management. Even if all the systems are independent of one another, the total amount of small pieces of data is large.

This afternoon holds a meeting on Argentinian media law at 1500, laundry and a fika with Google in the evening. Tomorrow I am off to Barcelona to participate in a Blocs & Clubs event. I will also meet Spanish pirates (and German ones!) and am greatly looking forward to this!

Courtesy of Mab there is now also, in Swedish, information about strategies for the inauguration of Lisbon MEPs.

Dossiers and other news (+brief on money)

To cultivate the cultural aspects of my personality, I sometimes read the news including the arts criticism. Today I have stumbled upon the concept of cyberpessimism, which apparently insinuates pessimism about what the internet actually can do for democracy (or not, as it were). The article mostly reminds me of a passage from Code V2 by Lawrence Lessig: they who control the code control the content, keeping in mind the example of limits of participants in chatrooms imposed by AOL sometime way back in the 1990s.

It’s certainly possible to write a book about the topic, but suffice to say a link sent to me in a startled e-mail yestereve, with a Council conclusion on the need to strengthen human rights from last year, fits perfectly on the topic of the essay, while of course both the cyberpessimism thinkers and the Council seem to miss unmotivated internet filtering and blocking in Europe. In Europe, we accomplish this by voluntary private-private partnerships a lot of the time (see for instance the wikipedia page on Internet censorship) or private-semi-public partnerships (I invented these terms, because public-private partnerships is a buzzword on international level).

A friend of mine says ”Don’t read the news, be the news.” It does take a lot of time to read news, and most of the information you gather is simply not very valuable.

More valuable then, is the work I accomplished (on some level), yesterday with a summary of the Internet of Things dossier for the Green group. Work will continue today with post-i2010, innovation strategies and internet governance. This means I need to get a better grasp of the Framework program 7 criticism. The way I currently understand it is: FP5 was very open to open research projects, but throughout FP6 and FP7 there’s been an increasing inclination to support projects that end up in private property. The Framework programs have also consistently neglected supporting research into social impacts of new technologies and/or evaluations of citizen (or consumer) change of behaviour when confronted with new technologies.

Apart from that, mapping the Competition and Innovation Program (currently under-going) will be useful. I keep coming back to a report from last year about small and medium sized enterprises and their competetive/innovative behaviour. More studies like that would be good.

On a side-note: Google donates lots to Wikipedia, thereby not at all avoiding the impending battles with Iran or China.

There has been talk about my financial situation, and in particular the difficulties with resolving the same. I’m very fortunate, because I have a lot of good friends who are very supportive not only politically but also financially. I would like to extend sincere gratitude to everyone who’s offered to give(!) me money so that I can hope to do something useful here. Further, a couple of people have granted me quite large loans, taken from their private savings. Because I am currently leeching a place to live, and often get treated to dinners by friendly people in my environment, I don’t have to spend too much money.

It appears that the situation will remedy itself now: the Green group has kindly offered to look into the possibilities of providing me some cash from the research budget to research present internet issues (see above) for them. For the part that that money wouldn’t cover, I still have the possibility of lending money from some private individuals I know.

In the event that someone would like to provide general support for the work in Brussels, rather than specifically for me, I believe we need short-term funding for server maintenance in Sweden and a spread of competence on global and EU issues in the party that may best be accomplished by a shared fund for covering travelling expenses. Terobi is probably the person to tell you about global ip health right now. She will also advocate the importance of keeping up with those debates :)

Back to my feeds.

Past two weeks in Bxl: DG Infso etc

I have been telling myself to update regularly, and obviously fail somewhat miserably in this endeavour.

Last week, a nice journalist from Sydsvenskan called me. He was writing an article about the inauguration of Lisbon-MEPs (I am one of them) and wanted to know how I was holding up.

I am holding up reasonably good. I have a Task, and am researching for a draft opinion on Internet of Things (COM(2009)278).

The journalist commented i don’t update my blog often. Why, he says. I say, I am trying to do reading now and am not entirely sure what to blog about. Mostly I have been processing lots of information and meeting people. When meeting people, I often do not have the opportunity to asocially and casually twitter (nevertheless blog) about it. All the same, I realize I should.

I covered over the last weeks papers on ITS, ICT and environment (didn’t cover that all that much yet) and started with FP7+CIP. Any additional information on this would be, I suppose, useful. In most cases I don’t even know where to start looking and it seems I’m about 10 years late into any policy debate.

I need a better way of organizing a public calendar. Google calendar works, apparently, suboptimally.

Last week Tuesday I met a nice lobbyist from ACT. He is paid to be nice to me and tell me his points of views. Some of them make sense, and he had several interesting views on radio spectrum allocation. While I can see more clever (sometimes even non-political) solutions to the problems he presents, I would feel inclined to agree with a friend of mine: ”What they need is a desire to make good investments for the future, but since they can’t be arsed they’re lobbying for advantages for themselves with the present infrastructure.”

Last week Friday I went to DG Infso and met people from the units of FET, networked media and new infrastructure. It was very enlightening. They are one of the more open Directorate-Generals I hear, seeing as their primary purpose is to do research and encourage research and ICT development. They have regulatory directorates (A and B) as well as a strategy one (C) as well.

FP7 is about to be evaluated, FP8 is in the beginning of being developed. There is a need for a post-i2010 strategy. Research work!

I have also went over more information on blocking and filtering of the internet, amongst other things by investigating verbatim transcripts of the Commissioner hearings. Some of the languages in there are more than confusing. Simon Busuttils language (page 6 Reding hearing) I didn’t recognise at all, but it appears to be Maltese. However, the Commissioner replies are more than easily accessible what with being in English.

I am presently in Rotterdam, since it’s a Strasbourg week. My Strasbourg debut will be in March. The SWIFT agreement was voted down in the last parliamentary plenary! This is a big victory for privacy friends in Europe and cause for celebration.

Next week is a visit-the-member-state week, and after that they do committees. So it’s an exciting life.