Summary: Some interesting words from Brazil (source: CSTD Paris panel meeting on WSIS)
According to the following Cablegate cable, Brazil’s representative “emphasized that free and open source software helps to reduce costs, particularly in e-government.”
Also, “Brazil noted that the elements for a roadmap for digital inclusion included [...] the usefulness of free, open source software.”
null Lucia A Keegan 11/17/2006 11:17:27 AM From DB/Inbox: Lucia A Keegan Cable Text: UNCLAS SENSITIVE PARIS 07358 SIPDIS cxparis: ACTION: SCI INFO: DCM POL LABO ENGO ECSO AGR UNESCO AMBO SCIO AMB ECON ESCI DISSEMINATION: SCIX CHARGE: PROG APPROVED: ESTH RDRY/ECON SDWYE DRAFTED: ECON: HSULLIVAN; EST CLEARED: CLEAR: USOECD: JMALLORY VZCZCFRI245 RR RUEHC RUCNDT RUEHGV RUEHZN DE RUEHFR #7358/01 3171627 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 131627Z NOV 06 FM AMEMBASSY PARIS TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3066 RUCNDT/USUN NEW YORK RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2524 RUEHZN/EST COLLECTIVE UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 PARIS 007358 SIPDIS STATE FOR IO/EDA, OES, EB/CIP, EUR/WE SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ECPS [Communications and Postal Systems], TINT [Internet Technology], KWWW [World Wide Web Site], PREL [External Political Relations], FR [France; Corsica] SUBJECT: CSTD PARIS PANEL MEETING ON WSIS OUTCOME PRODUCES GUIDANCE DOCUMENT NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION. ¶1. (U) Summary: The November 6-8, 2006 Paris Panel Meeting of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) Panel Meeting on WSIS outcome "Promoting the building of people-centered, development-oriented, and inclusive information society, with a view to enhancing digital opportunities for all people" did not raise significant 'red flags' for the U.S., with the exception of Brazil's occasional assertions that the Committee should address "internet governance." On the margins of the meeting, U.S. officers who attended as observers reminded Commission leadership and staff that internet governance issues were not appropriate subjects for the Panel Meeting, and Commission leadership agreed. Some participants (e.g., Brazil, Germany) were clearly taking directions from their capitals while others (e.g., Ethiopia) appeared little aware at the beginning of the meeting why the Commission was focusing on the Information Society. In general, however, delegates came well-informed and engaged in the discussions. Commission leadership appreciated the presence of U.S. officers as observers. The Panel produced a document -- still subject to minor language editing changes -- in response to ECOSOC's resolution 2006/46, which had requested the Commission's review of this WSIS outcome. The document is produced in full at para. 15, below. End Summary. ----------------------------------------- Information Society - People-centered and Inclusive ----------------------------------------- ¶2. (U) The UNCTAD-provided Secretariat began the three-day meeting by explaining the purposes for the Commission's Panel Meeting and defining the concept of a people-centered, development-oriented and inclusive information society as a framework for development. The Secretariat provided a chart showing the differences of internet SIPDIS penetration in various continents and also on the varying rates of growth. The Secretariat noted that in Africa, although internet penetration in 2005 was only 3.6 percent, over the decade 1995-2005, internet use grew by 600%. The Secretariat noted that governments should focus on a people-centered, development-oriented, inclusive Information Society, consistent with WSIS decisions. Inclusive means that all stakeholders should participate, with benefits and opportunities available to all. The purpose of the Information Society is to improve the quality of life for consumers, the Secretariat continued. Various stakeholders have different roles. SIPDIS The government should develop national e-strategies, create an investment-friendly environment, deregulate, privatize, and liberalize the telecommunications sector. The private sector will develop and finance the internet and its infrastructure. Civil society will focus on local issues, while international organizations will help implement the WSIS. ¶3. (U) According to the Secretariat, the main obstacles to narrowing the digital divide are: - The high cost of telecommunications for the poor in developing countries; - Lack of human resources to develop the information infrastructure exacerbated by a brain drain of qualified personnel; - Lack of local content, which limits its usefulness to poor, rural populations. ¶4. (SBU) In the ensuing discussion session, Charles Geiger, WSIS Executive Director from 2003 to 2005, commented substantively that governments should not try to control the direction of technology or internet growth since the technology was moving faster than governments could grasp developments. For example, he suggested, the growth in mobile telephony occurred organically, not as a result of WSIS outcomes. However, governments should use information communication technology (ICT) in the health sector, to promote transparent government (e-government), and improve distance learning. These measures would promote social development, according to Geiger. ¶5. (U) The Greek delegate said that he was surprised that in some of the examples of countries discussed that mobile telephony penetration surpassed that of fixed line. Geiger replied that, in many areas of the developing world, mobile penetration is greater because of the lack of protection, as in the wireline world. He noted that in India, one might have to wait seven years for a wireline telephone, but consumers could get mobile phones in 24 hours. Additionally, the decrease in mobile phone rates have made them more affordable than fixed line telephones in many areas. --------------------------------------------- ---- Brazil Opposes a Focus on Investment; CSTD Demurs --------------------------------------------- ---- ¶6. (SBU) The Brazil representative thought that CSTD should focus on decentralization. If governments tried to plan too much, they would not succeed because technology evolves faster than governments can plan. Second, the Commission should downplay the role of foreign investment since the primary development should be at the community level. Brazil, he commented, had 90 percent television penetration, while the internet had only reached 13 percent. To wait for this percentage to slowly increase would be slower than the switch to digital TV, which would allow for interaction between the two systems. He also emphasized that free and open source software helps to reduce costs, particularly in e-government. No one else took up these points, except that Sudan expressed interest in the technology permitting greater interactivity with television systems. Geiger emphasized that UNCTAD was not the WTO (implying that Brazil should not bring its GATS telecom mode 3 agenda into this forum.) ------------------------------ CSTD Reviews WSIS Action Items ------------------------------ ¶7. (U) In a subsequent intervention, Geiger ran through the eleven action items from the Geneva WSIS Summit, reviewing which organizations were responsible for follow-up on each action item. He noted that the UN Group on Information Society (UNGIS) was created on July 14, 2006 to coordinate implementation of WSIS. Its effectiveness would be proportionate to the extent that responsible UN agencies (primarily the ITU, UNDP, and UNESCO) provided it input, he suggested. On April 17, 2006, the Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technology formed to provide private sector and civil society input into the CSTD's work. Likewise, according to Geiger, the UNDP and the World Bank ought to be engaged with the CSTD's work so that its recommendations could be filtered into organizations that had financing capabilities. ¶8. (SBU) Brazil responded by noting that the CSTD's role is to review and assess implementation of WSIS, not implementation itself. However, to do so effectively, the CSTD needed to have better feedback on what the various UN agencies were doing to implement the WSIS outcomes. Furthermore, the eleven action items from the Geneva conference should not be the sole scope of coverage since limiting its work to those would ignore the outcomes from the second WSIS Summit in Tunis. Geiger agreed. He noted that Brazil's position on internet governance "has always been very strong," but questioned the extent that the CSTD could effectively work on all WSIS issues. ¶9. (SBU) The Romanian delegate suggested that CSTD create five parallel groups that would focus on implementation of the various recommendations. Turkey noted that the recommendations were not mutually exclusive. ------------------------------------- Summary of Individual Country Reports ------------------------------------- ¶10. (SBU) Commission members gave a number of reports regarding the state of the information society in their respective countries. The German representative presented on a study that the GOG performed for the German Parliament on internet usage in Sub-Saharan African educational institutions. It concluded, inter alia, that the internet could not solve many of the problems that African educational institutions faced such as large class sizes, poor salaries for teachers, and lack of funding. However, it could, for example, spur joint programs between various institutions to share ideas about curriculum development. ¶11. (U) The Lesotho representative gave a brief presentation about efforts it is undertaking to provide an environment conducive to building an information society involving, for example, new telecommunications laws. Lesotho said that it would need multilateral assistance to achieve its goals. Sudan presented its experiences, noting that internet only exists in big cities and towns, while 75 percent of the population lives in rural areas. Sudan uses solar energy to power its ICT in rural areas. It has placed emphasis on connecting its universities and polytechnic institutions. Sudan plans to establish a science park managed by specialized professionals to stimulate and manage the flow of knowledge and technology among universities, R&D institutions, companies and markets. It also aims to facilitate the creation and growth of innovation-based companies through incubation, spin-off processes, and provision of other value-added services. Sudan did a feasibility study on whether its science park could attract foreign and private sector investment. The science park will cost USD 500 million. Phase One would cost USD 150 million, which a large Arab Gulf country has already provided. This sum will finance, inter alia, communications and fiber optics requirements. ¶12. (SBU) The Brazilian representative said that 97.2 percent of households have electricity, but, in the Amazon region, the percentage of households with electricity is much lower. The percentage of the population with access to the internet is also not evenly distributed, but in no area is it over 30 percent except for Brazilia. Brazil therefore has planned to introduce digital TV with the possibility of interactivity. Through a remote control system, Brazilians can access TV on demand. This is an opportunity for digital inclusion since internet reaches so few people and will take a long time to grow organically. Brazil noted that the elements for a roadmap for digital inclusion included: noting countries' experience; promoting democratic governance based on transparency, accountability, and participation; infrastructure according to community interest; commitment to local development; the promotion of e-government; and the usefulness of free, open source software. The role for ECOSOC and CSTD should be to coordinate public policy issues at the international level and internet governance, according to the Brazilian representative. ¶13. (U) The Moroccan representative discussed various initiatives the government was taking to promote connectivity in its educational system. She also mentioned the Casablanca Technopark, which boasts 140 ICT companies with 750 permanent job positions. ¶14. (U) Geiger, Hamdi, the delegates from Brazil, Chile, the GAID, and another NGO met following closure of the second day to propose how the instant CSTD Panel Meeting should make recommendations for the benefit of the tenth session of the CSTD, to be held in May 2007. That group prepared a document which was accepted - subject to minor revisions (yet to be included in the draft) on the following day. The document, read by the Chilean delegate is as follows: ---------------------------- CSTD Recommendation Document ---------------------------- ¶15. (U) The text of the 'Recommendation' document produced by the special CSTD Panel Meeting held in Paris, November 6-8, 2006 to provide guidance to the CSTD's Tenth Session to be held in May 2007 follows. Begin text: "The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) adopted a vision of a people-centered, development-oriented, and inclusive information society, with the view to creating digital opportunities for all people. The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, adopted in 2005 by the WSIS and endorsed by General Assembly Resolution 60/252, requests the Council to oversee the system-wide follow-up of the Geneva and Tunis outcomes of the Summit, and to that end, requests the Council, at its substantive session of 2006, to review the mandate, agenda and composition of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, including considering strengthening the Commission, taking into account the multi-stakeholder approach, In this regard, the ECOSOC Resolution 2006/46 requests the Commission to review and assess the progress made in implementing the outcomes of the Summit and advise the Council thereon, including through the elaboration of recommendations to the Council aimed at furthering the implementation of the Summit outcomes, and that to that end, the Commission shall: -- review and assess progress at the international and regional levels in the implementation of Action Lines, recommendations and commitments contained in the outcome documents of WSIS; -- share best and effective practices and lessons learned, and identify obstacles and constraints encountered, actions and initiatives to overcome them and important measures for further implementation of WSIS outcomes; -- promote dialogue and foster partnerships in coordination with other appropriate UN funds, programs and specialized agencies to contribute to the attainment of the WSIS objectives and implementation of its outcomes, to use ICT for development and the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, with the participation of governments, the private sector, civil society, and the UN and other international organizations according to their different roles and responsibilities; Bearing in mind that the comprehensive review by the GA of WSIS will take place in 2015, and the ECOSOC requested that in its next session the Commission shall develop a multiyear work program, the Panel takes note of the issues paper presented by the Secretariat, and after considering this matter requests the Secretariat to make consultations with relevant stakeholders and to present to the Commission a draft program of work that should be flexible and inclusive. In order for the ECOSOC, through CSTD, to carry out its mandate of overseeing system-wide follow up of the WSIS effectively, it will require that the Commission has an effective interface with all agencies and mechanisms that are tasked with implementation of WSIS outcomes and other post-WSIS activities. In this regard, the Panel proposes the following: Multi-year work program and methods of work: The Panel requests the UNCTAD Secretariat to prepare a Note for consideration at the Tenth Session, which contains proposals for a multi-year work program of the Commission and new methods of work. This Note should take into account the timeframe for the comprehensive review, as well as the clustering and sequencing of thematic issues from WSIS outcome documents. The work program should adequately address the thematic concerns of WSIS, but also be flexible enough to accommodate any future need for adjustment, in view of the fast pace of technological development. To gather inputs on the work program, the Secretariat will carry out informal, open-ended consultations before February 2007, with a wide range of stakeholders. These consultations could be scheduled back-to-back with meetings of action line facilitators and moderators. The Note should also elaborate on new methods of work of the Commission, including through interactive dialogues during its annual session, with the active participation of action line facilitators, and other agencies and mechanisms involved with the implementation of WSIS outcomes. Additionally, the Note should propose concrete ways to explore development-friendly and innovative use of electronic media, drawing upon existing online databases on best practices, partnership projects and initiatives, as well as other collaborative electronic platforms, which would allow all stakeholders to contribute to follow up efforts, share information, learning from the experience of others and explore opportunities for partnerships. Since WSIS implementation constitutes ongoing activities over a wide area, which will be fast evolving, the Commission may have a wide range of topics to examine every year. The Panel suggests that the Commission could invite the facilitators of action lines, and other agencies and mechanisms involved in implementation of WSIS, as well as members of other stakeholder groups, to participate in its annual session. The Panel also proposes that the Commission at its Tenth Session in May 2007 requests the United Nations system entities, including the regional commissions, engaged in the implementation of the Geneva and Tunis outcomes of the World Summit for the Information Society to collaborate closely with the Commission on Science and Technology for Development by providing it with periodic reports on the progress made in the implementation of the main themes and Action Lines of the World Summit for the Information Society, with a view to enabling the Commission to monitor, review and appraise progress achieved and problems encountered in the implementation, and to advise the Council thereon." End text of document. ------------------------------ CSTD leadership and commentary ------------------------------ ¶16. (SBU) Below are the CSTD leaders, who guided the discussion during the meeting: Chairman - Stefan Moravek, former Slovak Ambassador to South Korea and Kenya. Aware of U.S. positions and 'red lines.' Would welcome a U.S. return to the Commission. Vice President - Dr. Arnoldo K. Ventura, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Science and Technology, Jamaica. Executive Director - Charles Geiger. Knows the WSIS 'inside out' having participated in both the Geneva and Tunis WSIS Summits. Also aware of USG sensitivities regarding internet governance, and worked to assure this item remained "off the agenda." He would like to see the U.S. become more involved in the work of the Commission. Secretariat -- Mongi Hamdi, Secretary to the UN Commission on SIPDIS Science and Technology for Development, Office of the Secretary General for UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) - Spent nearly 20 years in the U.S., first studying at Harvard and University of Southern California, followed by a long spell at UN Headquarters in New York (14 years). His interventions emphasized the importance of investment in building infrastructure; the importance of deregulation; and focusing the role of government and international organizations on issues such as the digital divide. On the margins of the meeting, he asked U.S. observers to relay a request to Washington to rejoin the Commission, noting that USG interests could best be served by working as an insider rather than an outsider. President of Prepcom WSIS Tunis Phase - Ambassador Janis Karkins. In a WSIS follow-up presentation, he urged members and UN bodies working on WSIS issues to adhere to its mandate, to avoid reopening discussion of issues already addressed, and to operate within the allocated resources. ¶17. (SBU) Comment: The CSTD principals welcomed U.S. officers who observed (from USOECD, Science Officer Mallory on 11/6; Embassy Paris, ECON/Telcoms Officer Sullivan on 11/7; and Embassy Paris ESTH Couns Dry on 11/8). They expressed interest in the USG becoming more engaged in the Committee, and believed with the expansion from 30 to 40 members, there would be more participants that are "like-minded" with the U.S. on Information Society issues. Many participants were clearly taking directions from their capitals, and delegates came well-informed and engaged in the discussions. That said, the "reform" of this Commission is "a work in progress," although its work clearly is important to the task of development. Its present focus on WSIS implementation also makes its work relevant to the U.S. End Comment. STAPLETON
Cablegate: Apple Attacks French Copyright Law to Induce Various Restrictions (Including DRM), Marginalisation of Rights
Summary: Bad Apple is doing bad things in HADOPI land using blackmail (allegedly claiming it “it would pull its business out of France” unless its demands were met)
According to the following Cablegate cable, Apple uses a baclkmail tactics (threatening withdrawal) to affect — for the worse of course — copyright law in France. Quoting the relevant parts: “In press statements, Apple said that the French copyright law amounted to “state-sponsored piracy” and that it would pull its business out of France. This declaration had an unfortunate impact. It heartened claims by free-software advocates and politicians who said that the opening up of DRM would benefit makers of DRM systems by enabling them to prosecute competitors as facilitating piracy. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez’s press comments saying that while he needed to take a look at the legislation, he supported protecting intellectual property rights were widely interpreted to be supportive of Apple, and French pro-interoperability groups reacted disapprovingly. The Odebi League, a citizen’s action group defending the rights of Internet users, told Apple to “mind its business and not meddle into the French legislative process” and pointed out that “if Apple wishes to do business in France, it has to respect the rights that the French enjoy.” Some senators said they regretted that Apple did not appeal to them directly and interpreted it as a lack of interest.”
Shame on Apple.
Here is the Cablegate in ite entirety:
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 003153 SIPDIS SENSITIVE DEPT FOR E, EB, EB/IPE, EUR/WE DEPT PLS PASS USTR FOR JSANFORD/VESPINEL/RMEYERS COMMERCE FOR SJACOBS, SWILSON DOJ FOR CHARROP, FMARSHALL, RHESSE COMMERCE PLEASE PASS USPTO E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KIPR ETRD PGOV FR SUBJECT: FRANCE'S DIGITAL COPYRIGHT BILL: SENATE VOTES TO SOFTEN INTEROPERABILITY BUT LOW PENALTIES REMAIN UNCHANGED REF. PARIS 01847 ¶1. This is an action request. See paragraph 13 ¶2. (SBU) SUMMARY. The French Senate approved in the early hours of May 11 the GOF draft law on digital copyright, in a format which leaves unchanged the National Assembly's decriminalized penalty regime, the principle (if not the requirement) of interoperability, and the so-called "Vivendi Universal Amendment" criminalizing peer-to-peer software publishing. The draft law adopted by the Senate largely takes the sting out of interoperability by laying out general guidelines -- which no longer require Digital Rights Management (DRM) vendors to divulge industrial secrets to their competitors -- and creating a new independent authority to decide on the scope of interoperability and the "right to the exception for private copy." The newly adopted text, known as the Law on Author's Rights and Related Rights in the Information Society, generally abbreviated as DADVSI in French is a step that would bring France in line with the 2001 EU Digital Copyright Directive.Over the next month, the text will likely go to a reconciliation conference at the end of the month, and be signed into law before the summer. END SUMMARY. Senate Approval And Next Steps ------------------------------ ¶3. (SBU) The DADVSI draft law was adopted by the French upper house on May 11, with 164 votes in favor, 128 against, and 37 abstentions. All the votes in favor came from representatives of the right of center government UMP party. The text will now go before a joint committee of both houses of the French Parliament to be reconciled, and for final approval under the current Government "fast-track" emergency procedure, which requires only one reading by both houses. Upon completion of the legislative procedure, the draft bill will be submitted to President Jacques Chirac for signature some time before the summer. France, which had tabled implementing legislation in November 2003, is the last country, with Spain, to transpose the EU Copyright Directive. Exceptions to Exclusive Copyrights: ---------------------------------- ¶4. (SBU) Exceptions to exclusive copyrights, for public libraries and archives, will now have to fulfil the "three-step test," i.e. that they be confined to special cases, not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work, and not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the right holder. Education and research have been added to the restrictive lists of exceptions in the Senate, following the threat of a campaign of civil disobedience "in any way they deemed useful and relevant" by over 2000 members of the French scientific community. ¶5. (SBU) The more traditonal exception for private copy, an essential feature of French "droit d'auteur," which allows French residents to freely make copies of works (except software) for their private use (and that of their family and friends) has also been refreshed. The number of copies allowed as part of that exception will now be decided by a new high regulatory authority, in charge of outlining the contours of the private copy exception as well as the new interoperability principle. The new authority will also work hand-in-hand with the already existing Copyright Commission, which sets the rates and conditions for the "tax on private copy" meant to address the losses incurred by copyright holders. This tax is levied on blank media (audio and video cassettes, CD, DVD, as well as memory and hard drives in portable media players). While most of this tax goes to rightholders, a quarter of it, representing some 40 million euros a year (USD 50 million), is used to finance cultural events and festivals throughout France. Penalties Remain Unchanged -------------------------- ¶6. (SBU) The system of "gradual sanctions", i.e. decriminalized fines, has been confirmed by the Senate as "fair and balanced" -- despite efforts by one Senator and former Minister of Trade and Industry, Gerard Longuet, to switch from what he described as "organized indifference" to stiffer sentences. Culture Minister Donnedieu de Vabres reiterated on this occasion that the purpose of the bill was not to go after offenders but to ensure the protection of works. As a result, non-commercial downloads are subject to the lowest fine in France's Penal Code (38 euros), the equivalent of a traffic ticket, instead of the original three years' imprisonment and 300,000 euro fine proposed earlier by the GOF. These heavy penalities in the first GOF draft bill created a major outburst in the National Assembly, eventually leading to the adoption of the radical "global licence." In the words of one Socialist and technologically savvy member of the National Assembly, it would be wrong "to describe the eight million people who have downloaded music from the Internet as delinquents." On May 11, the Culture Minister announced that an "index" of all protected works would be set up to enforce the three goals of the bill: respect of copyright, private copy and interoperability. Softening Interoperability -------------------------- ¶7. (SBU) The Senate has proposed largely weakening the National Assembly's radical ideas on the DRM technology. Two amendments in the National Assembly's version had stated that providers of DRM systems should provide the necessary technical documentation to ANY party needing it to ensure that interoperability, including the source code. This was interpreted as a direct attack on Apple's iTunes platform and their iPod players. ¶8. (SBU) In press statements, Apple said that the French copyright law amounted to "state-sponsored piracy" and that it would pull its business out of France. This declaration had an unfortunate impact. It heartened claims by free-software advocates and politicians who said that the opening up of DRM would benefit makers of DRM systems by enabling them to prosecute competitors as facilitating piracy. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez's press comments saying that while he needed to take a look at the legislation, he supported protecting intellectual property rights were widely interpreted to be supportive of Apple, and French pro-interoperability groups reacted disapprovingly. The Odebi League, a citizen's action group defending the rights of Internet users, told Apple to "mind its business and not meddle into the French legislative process" and pointed out that "if Apple wishes to do business in France, it has to respect the rights that the French enjoy." Some senators said they regretted that Apple did not appeal to them directly and interpreted it as a lack of interest. Creating A New Regulatory Authority ----------------------------------- ¶9. (SBU) The Senate bill proposes a new regulatory authority to examine the question of private copies and interoperability. This new seven-member High Authority, modelled along the lines of France's independent regulatory bodies in the electricity and gas sectors (CREG), and in the telecoms and electronic commerce sector (ARCEP), replaces the much-decried "college of mediators" initiated by the National Assembly. Its responsibilities, much like its guidelines, have been left as open as possible to allow for the fast pace of technological change. At the same time, prodded by embattled Culture Minister Donnedieu de Vabre and Villepin administration, the Senate Cultural Affairs Committee developed a text designed to meet as little opposition as possible from the National Assembly once in the joint committee for conciliation. These considerations explain the current text's willingness to pass the difficult decisions on to the new authority. Previous Support For Interoperability and Copying --------------------------------------------- ---- ¶10. (SBU) Public discussion of DRM and its effect on the private copy exception have been particularly vivid in France. French consumer associations initiated and often won court cases where DRM restricted private copying -- a sacrosanct exception under French copyright law. Over the past three years, French consumer organizations have initiated a number of court cases dealing with complaints of consumers about CDs and DVDs that could not be copied and ripped because of technical protection measures in place. In dealing with the cases, French courts had developed the argument that the ability to play a CD or a DVD on different devices constituted an essential characteristic of a CD or DVD, and that producers of such devices could be held liable for misleading the consumer in case of incompatibilities. This first step towards establishing the right to interoperability was confirmed earlier this year, when a Paris Court of Appeals concluded that DRMs must respect the private copy exception. NEXT STEPS ---------- ¶11. (SBU) Next steps include the drafting of implementing regulations, which would also give the GOF (and stakeholders) an opportunity to tweak the legislation, particularly regarding penalties and sentencing. This is expected to take place over the summer. The GOF will draft and implement these by decree. Other possibilities for modification, according to lawyers, include a constitutional challenge, which could come on any number of articles. We understand that the Commission will eventually examine all the EU member-states' transpositions of the directive at some point over the next year. Finally, the GOF notes that the law has a "review clause" of 18 months, requiring the government to provide the Parliament with an evaluation of its efficacy. COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST -------------------------- ¶12. (SBU). France is one of the last countries to fulfil its obligation to transpose this 2002 EU Directive. In making only a minimal effort, many Senators seemed to be acknowledging how quickly technology had moved since then 2002, and during the debates, French Parliamentarians underscored the irony of a belated implementation of a directive which the EU Commission is reportedly already in the process of re-examining. In our conversations over the last weeks where we raised our serious concerns over the quality and direction of this controversial bill, French government officials and observers had sought to reassure us and other stakeholders. We were told (see reftels) that the Senate version would address many if not most of industry's concerns. Senate legislative staff was thought more pro-business, more technologically savvy, and less ideological. Industry observers, many of whom where involved in a low-profile but intense effort to reshape the bill with key amendments were optimistic as well. Working with French industry allies, they proposed close to 300 amendments. However, with the President and Prime Minister under political siege, the government and the majority party were in a hurry to get this complicated and troublesome bill off their to-do list. By placing the bill on a legislative fast-track, the government could be assured that the conciliation conference would be over quickly. This political pressure resulted in some improvements, such as interoperability, where industry analysts are somewhat relieved at the results, but a number of crucial elements remain unchanged, notably the lack of deterrent penalties. ¶13. (SBU) COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST. The next six months will provide some limited opportunities to fine-tune the bill, notably in the drafting of implementing regulations, which the GOF can issue by decree. Other options would be to raise examination of the legislation in light of other EU member state transpositions as well as WIPO and TRIPS commitments. Post would appreciate Washington's cleared interagency guidance, including any legal analysis regarding the legislation's impact. End Comment. Stapleton
If there was threat that Apple “would pull its business out of France,” let them. Better yet, boycott the company in France. █
Cablegate: Indian Ambassador Criticises UNESCO for Signing a Software Agreement With Microsoft (Updated)
Summary: A cable from 5 years ago shows that UNESCO deals we often criticise meet opposition behinds the scenes too
WHENEVER UNESCO promises to promote Free software we quickly see Microsoft showing up and turning UNESCO into what seems like corrupt imposition of Microsoft software on children. According to the following Cablegate cable, we are not alone with these concerns and to quote ¶6, ” The Indian Ambassador criticized UNESCO for signing a software agreement with Microsoft, stating that such an agreement had resulted in UNESCO abandoning efforts to develop open-source software. (COMMENT: It is not clear whether the Indian Ambassador is motivated by anti- globalization ideals, as she might like to suggest, or national interest, though we suspect the latter. The UNESCO open-source software project “Enrich” is being developed, in large part, by Indian software engineers. END COMMENT.) ADG Khan defended this partnership by stating that developing software is vital for capacity building, and added that UNESCO continues to work on open-source software. The Tunis Agenda, he reminded the audience, calls for private sector partnerships in this area, and UNESCO plans to increase them. The DG stated that UNESCO must maintain momentum in building partnerships with the private sector in areas covered by WSIS. The agreement with Microsoft does not mean that UNESCO will stop pursuing the idea of free and open software.”
Here is the full cable:
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 001007 SIPDIS FROM USMISSION UNESCO PARIS SENSITIVE E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KPAO [Public Affairs Office], ECPS [Communications and Postal Systems], ETRD [Foreign Trade], ECON [Economic Conditions], EINT [Economic and Commercial Internet], ETTC [Trade and Technology Controls], UNESCO [UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization] SUBJECT: FOLLOW-UP ON THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE TUNIS AGENDA FOR UNESCO REF: PARIS 431 ¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On February 2, 2006 the UNESCO Director General (DG), Koichiro Matsuura, and Assistant Director General (ADG) for Communication and Information, Khan, held an information session for UNESCO's permanent delegations to outline the implications for UNESCO of the World Information Summit on the Information Society's (WSIS) Tunis Agenda. UNESCO's strategy at WSIS featured four key principles: 1) Freedom of expression, 2) Universal access to information and knowledge, 3) Respect for cultural and linguistic diversity, 4) Quality education for all. According to the DG, UNESCO's delegation to Tunis clarified which action lines it would work on, distanced itself from the Internet governance debate, did not rule out the creation of new normative instruments, and reiterated its commitment to private sector partnerships. END SUMMARY. -------------------------------------------- IMPLICATIONS OF THE TUNIS AGENDA FOR UNESCO -------------------------------------------- ¶2. (SBU) The Tunis Agenda designates UNESCO as a moderator/facilitator for 7 Action Lines: 1) Access to information and knowledge, 2)E-learning, 3)E-science, 4) Cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content, 5) Media, 6) Ethical dimensions of Information Society, 7) International and regional cooperation. The DG stressed that UNESCO expects to actively participate along with ITU and UNDP in the overall coordination of multi-stakeholder implementation of the WSIS outcomes. --------------------- INTERNET GOVERNANCE --------------------- ¶3. (SBU) UNESCO will participate in the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) as established by the Tunis Agenda. Any preference that UNESCO had for the location of the IGF Secretariat was not discussed. The Brazilian Ambassador SIPDIS asked how "enhanced cooperation," as mentioned in the Tunis Agenda, would be addressed, noting that the language was deliberately imprecise. The DG stated that UNESCO would play a role in identifying what was meant by enhanced cooperation, so that all parties are involved. (COMMENT: He did not offer specifics. END COMMENT.) He also affirmed that UNESCO would be engaged in three aspects of Internet governance: 1) Openness, 2) Linguistic diversity, 3) Access (meaning interoperability). --------------------- CALL FOR INSTRUMENTS --------------------- ¶4. (SBU) The Japanese DCM asked if the DG saw scope for normative instruments in the area of Internet governance. The DG responded that at the moment he does not envisage any normative instruments in the Communication and Information sector, but UNESCO's important mission is to formulate normative instruments in key areas. If there is further need for instruments in Communication and Information, he added, UNESCO should not shy away. ADG Khan noted that the IGF could advance areas of concern with member state support. The Communication and Information sector did not, he said, need normative instruments today, but since technology was changing so fast, he could not say that UNESCO would not consider them in the future. (COMMENT: World Press Freedom Committee Representative Rony Koven's reaction to this comment was, "We'll worry about the future when we get there. The main thing is that he sees no need for instruments now." Koven is a thirty-year advocate of media freedom at UNESCO, an active WSIS stakeholder, and seasoned observer of the UNESCO scene, who will participate as a stakeholder in the Internet Governance Forum. END COMMENT.) --------------------------- UNESCO'S ROLE INADEQUATE? --------------------------- ¶5. (SBU) Delegates from Brazil, India, and Japan questioned whether UNESCO had been given its "due" role in the process. The Indian Ambassador stated that, according to the Indian delegate at WSIS, UNESCO was not allowed to play the role it wanted to have because of "certain key delegations." (COMMENT: Is this the same Indian Delegate to WSIS that the USG worked well with? We wonder if the Indian Ambassador is articulating her own version of WSIS events here. END COMMENT.) This echoed concerns that UNESCO ambassadors, including the Indian Ambassador, raised with Ambassador Gross on January 18, 2006 (reftel). The DG responded that while he shared this concern, it was useless to complain. UNESCO, he stated, had wanted to represent member states in the WSIS process and its only ambition was to fulfill its mandate. ------------------------------------------ CRITICISM OF PUBLIC SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS ------------------------------------------ ¶6. (SBU) The Indian Ambassador criticized UNESCO for signing a software agreement with Microsoft, stating that such an agreement had resulted in UNESCO abandoning efforts to develop open-source software. (COMMENT: It is not clear whether the Indian Ambassador is motivated by anti- globalization ideals, as she might like to suggest, or national interest, though we suspect the latter. The UNESCO open-source software project "Enrich" is being developed, in large part, by Indian software engineers. END COMMENT.) ADG Khan defended this partnership by stating that developing software is vital for capacity building, and added that UNESCO continues to work on open-source software. The Tunis Agenda, he reminded the audience, calls for private sector partnerships in this area, and UNESCO plans to increase them. The DG stated that UNESCO must maintain momentum in building partnerships with the private sector in areas covered by WSIS. The agreement with Microsoft does not mean that UNESCO will stop pursuing the idea of free and open software. ¶7. (SBU) COMMENT: While it is disturbing that the DG stated that the Communication and Information sector "should not shy away" from new instruments, we note that some Communication and Information junkies at UNESCO find little evidence that this will happen in the next biennium. The Mission will remain vigilant in its efforts to promote media freedom and Internet status quo at UNESCO. END COMMENT. Oliver
It is reassuring to see that some politicians too let their opposition be known. The Microsoft/UNESCO PR needs to be countered. █
Update: There is also a cable that says: “UNESCO staff noted the “Preservation of Digital Heritage” program, UNESCO-sponsored open source software for digital libraries, and a 2003 declaration on Multilingualism and Cyberspace.”
The cable in full:
UNCLAS PARIS 001733 SIPDIS FROM USMISSION UNESCO PARIS FOR IO/UNESCO E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KPAO [Public Affairs Office], ECPS [Communications and Postal Systems], ETRD [Foreign Trade], ECON [Economic Conditions], EINT [Economic and Commercial Internet], ETTC [Trade and Technology Controls], EAID [Foreign Economic Assistance], UNESCO [UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization] SUBJECT: UNESCO AND THE WORLD DIGITAL LIBRARY ¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY AND GUIDANCE REQUEST: Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services and Chair of the Memory of the World Programme International Advisory Committee met with the UNESCO Communication and Information Sector and the Director General (DG) on March 8, 2006 to discuss the Library of Congress' (LOC) initiative to develop a plan for the World Digital Library (WDL). She also discussed the UNESCO Memory of the World Program with the Director General. The DG and other senior level staff were enthusiastic about the WDL project, but working level staff, who discussed the LOC's initial planning stage with Marcum, were suspicious of Google motives to fund the WDL plan. Marcum stated that Google had stepped out of the picture after making its donation. The UNESCO Secretariat is confused as to whether Marcum is the point of contact on the WDL, or another LOC staffer. Marcum has told post that, in her view, her meetings at UNESCO Headquarters were "unofficial," and mentioned that another LOC staffer would be designated as the project manager and would come to UNESCO to discuss the WDL further. Mission requests guidance on who is going to be the LOC's WDL point of contact and what its vision of the WDL is, and asks IO/UNESCO to remind U.S. officials request country clearance from the Mission rather than setting up their own meetings at UNESCO. Mission notes that the UNESCO Secretariat does not consider meetings between U.S. officials and the DG to be "unofficial." END SUMMARY AND GUIDANCE REQUEST. --------------- MEETING THE DG: --------------- ¶2. (SBU) Marcum met with the UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura on March 8. He stated his strong support for the WDL and noted UNESCO's desire to contribute to the project. Marcum stated that the question was how to formulate a partnership with UNESCO on the WDL, noted that Google had provided 3 million USD in finances, and stated that Project Manager John van Oudenarem would be in contact with UNESCO to follow up. The Communication and Information Sector's Director for the Information Society, Elizabeth Longworth, cited UNESCO's experience and familiarity with digitization, ability to provide a neutral platform, interest in building standards around metadata, expertise on governance and interoperability issues and commitment to spreading digitization. Matsuura instructed Longworth to continue to work with the LOC on an agreed-upon approach to the WDL, and stated that UNESCO could hold an international meeting to promote the WDL. ¶3. (SBU) Marcum brought up her recent election as Chair of the Memory of the World Programme International Advisory Committee and indicated her interest in encouraging U.S. institutions to put forth nominations for the programme. The Director General responded with enthusiasm. Ambassador Oliver noted that this was a good idea that ought to be discussed with the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and urged Marcum to coordinate with them. ---------------------------------- Working Level - Developing a Plan: ---------------------------------- ¶4. (SBU) The UNESCO Communication and Information Sector convened a meeting for Marcum to meet with working-level representatives of the Division on the Information Society and UNESCO librarians and archivists from the Administrative Section in order to have a more detailed discussion on the WDL. Marcum emphasized that she had come to UNESCO to listen and to describe the idea for a WDL and clarified that she did not have a proposal in hand to present to UNESCO staff. (COMMENT: The lack of a proposal appeared to take them by surprise, but they welcomed the opportunity to contribute to plans. END COMMENT.) The main issues, she stated, were governance, selection and architecture. The LOC had identified a project manager for the WDL, and the goal would be to draft a report by October 2006, she said. Marcum stated that the LOC could bring the principle of the library to the digital world, as an aggregation of lots of different information, not as a repository. She stated that it was important for the WDL not to be politicized. ¶5. (SBU) She provided a history of the concept of a WDL dating beyond the American Memory and Global Gateway websites. Global gateway projects, she noted, were bilaterally arranged with Russia, Brazil, France, Spain, The Netherlands and Egypt. Each one addressed an area where U.S. culture intersected with these countries, and from this project, the LOC started to think about bilingual digital images of collections. The Librarian of Congress, James Billington, she emphasized, wanted to find ways to help people understand one another and use information exchange as a basis for global understanding. ¶6. (SBU) She stated that Billington spoke to the U.S. NATCOM last June to ask them to think about what steps to take to create a WDL. The LOC had also reached out to the Digital Library Federation (mostly U.S. libraries, plus the British and Australian libraries) to look at standards, best practices, architecture, and metadata. Marcum noted that many libraries around the world have started digital libraries already for items not covered by copyright. Examples include the European library, the British Library/Microsoft partnership or the test project of the "Google 5" libraries. (The University of Michigan, The New York City Public Library, Harvard University, Oxford, and Stanford University.) A key difference here is that unlike the other projects, the European Library, spearheaded by France last year as a move "against googlization" and including the national libraries of Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden, is government funded. ¶7. (SBU) Marcum explained that Google was impressed with Billington's desire to promote mutual understanding through on-line access to other cultures, and therefore donated 3 million USD for the LOC to devise a plan for a WDL. The brand name of Google, she acknowledged, raises questions for many. She added that there is probably every reason to be concerned about Google's influence on open access when one looks at the details. She noted that the LOC did not pursue mass digitalization with Google because of concerns about how this would mesh with the LOC housing the U.S. copyright office. She explained that there was almost nothing in writing in terms of an agreement between the LOC and Google: it had handed over the check, and that was the end of its involvement in the WDL plan. ---------------- UNESCO CONCERNS: ---------------- ¶8. (SBU) Above all, suspicion of Google and its role in the plan dominated UNESCO concerns at the working level. Staff asked if there was an outline of how the LOC would use the Google funds (Comment: UNESCO staff does not appear to know a lot about private philanthropy in the U.S and expected there would be an MOU-type document. END COMMENT.) One UNESCO staffer stated that he believed the Google 3 million USD donation was seed money for it to come in later on the WDL. A French UNESCO staffer asked if Google involvement was even necessary. ¶9. (SBU) Another staffer stated that the U.S. initiative on the WDL was a lot like the U.S. position on Internet Governance while another stated that the U.S. should refer to the WSIS Geneva declarations (2003) which states that libraries should be accessed electronically. UNESCO staff also noted that the LOC's "Global Gateway" project, cited by Marcum as an example of intergovernmental cooperation on digital items, had generated editorially driven electronic publications and that the WDL should not use this model. ¶10. (SBU) UNESCO staff strongly urged that the U.S. reaches out to a wide variety of international actors on this project. The Communication and Information Sector's Director for the Information Society, Elizabeth Longworth noted the potential for politicization of the WDL, given the documented -- and French-led - negative European reaction. Longworth suggested that the U.S. and UNESCO draw lessons from the Internet governance debate. (COMMENT: Some at UNESCO feel the perception that other countries could not have a role in internet governance undermined the U.S. position in the lead up to WSIS II in Tunis last November. END COMMENT.) She also asked who the LOC's stakeholders were in the project while other staff noted that Marcum did not mention libraries in Latin America, Arab States, Asia and Africa. They mentioned a digital library project led by the Philippines and financed by Intel for 20 Asian countries link their public domain material. ------------------- UNESCO Value Added: ------------------- ¶11. (SBU) UNESCO staff made many suggestions on how UNESCO might contribute to the WDL, many of which were repeated by Longworth in Marcum's meeting with the DG. They noted above all that UNESCO has the power to convene people, help with capacity building and training and to provide a neutral platform. UNESCO also had a library portal with some 14,000 links and was active in the development of small digital libraries, such as the El Dorado library for Latin America and the Caribbean (Note: Only a Bolivian contribution to this project exists thus far, although in terms of other regions, the Palestinians also asked UNESCO to help them build either a virtual or actual library.) ¶12. (SBU) UNESCO staff noted the "Preservation of Digital Heritage" program, UNESCO-sponsored open source software for digital libraries, and a 2003 declaration on Multilingualism and Cyberspace. UNESCO's French- chaired Information for All Programme could be involved, they suggested. They offered to hold a panel discussion on the WDL at the next UNESCO Open Forum, and suggested that the LOC work with IFLA and UNESCO on this. UNESCO could also call a conference on the issue, they added. One staffer suggested UNESCO could create standard setting instruments in the area of digital libraries. (COMMENT: Mission strongly advises against this. END COMMENT.) ¶13. (SBU) The UNESCO Archivist stated that one excellent source of primary documents for a WDL would be the United Nations. He cited the United Nations Intellectual History Project (UNIHP) whose secretariat was established at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies of The Graduate Center of The City University of New York in 1999. There was a potential copyright issue with some UN publications, he warned. But there was a goldmine of material in UN and UNESCO archives, he added. Other staff cited UNESCO's e-science program and its scientific information commons may be able to contribute. -------- COMMENT: -------- ¶14. (SBU) COMMENT: At a high level, UNESCO staff has received the WDL project with open arms. However, at the working level, suspicion of Google's role in the project as well as a lack of understanding of how private philanthropy works in the United States must be addressed for the project to succeed. In addition, the LOC will want to demonstrate to UNESCO that it has a wide -- and significantly international - stable of WDL stakeholders. Procedurally, the Secretariat has advised the Mission that meetings with the Director General and other senior officials at UNESCO Headquarters are indeed official, and we ask IO/UNESCO to convey to all USG agencies and branches that engage with UNESCO that country clearance and a briefing with the Mission Country team is essential to their visit. Mission also requests clarification of who leads the WDL project at the LOC, and, if this person is not Marcum, whether his views on the entire project are the same as the ones she conveyed. END COMMENT. Oliver
Cablegate: US Government Talks About Providing Free Software that Helps Chinese Netizens Overcome Filters
Summary: A look at Free software in China based on cables that Wikileaks released about a year ago to selected journalists
According to the following Cablegate cable, “if the USG [US government] provided free software that helped Chinese netizens overcome filters, this might politicize the issue of Internet freedom and force the PRC government to react.”
It is interesting in the context that, in another Cablegate cable, it says that “China’s 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2011) calls for the development of embedded software [and] open source software,” so here are the two cables in full:
VZCZCXRO6497 OO RUEHBC RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHKUK RUEHTRO DE RUEHBJ #0183/01 0250728 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 250728Z JAN 10 FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7730 INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 BEIJING 000183 SIPDIS DEPT FOR S, P, D, EAP/CM, EEB, AND H NSC FOR BADER, MEDEIROS, AND LOI E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2030 TAGS: PREL [External Political Relations], PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], ECON [Economic Conditions], PHUM [Human Rights], EINV [Foreign Investments], CH [China (Mainland)] SUBJECT: SECRETARY'S INTERNET FREEDOM SPEECH: CHINA REACTION Classified By: DCM Robert Goldberg fo Reasons: 1.4(B), (D). Summary ------- ¶1. (C) Secretary Clinton's January 21 speech on Internet Freedom touched a nerve in China. Official reaction was negative, with harsh criticism coming from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an official statement and from other parts of the Chinese system through critical articles and editorials in the official press. Chinese Internet censors were deployed in force to block online commentary and coverage of the Secretary's speech, and as of January 24, sites in the United States that carried transcripts of the speech were inaccessible without VPN or other firewall-evading software. The few Chinese netizens and bloggers who did manage to access the speech and then dared write about it were generally supportive of the Secretary's message. Other Embassy contacts, including academic USA-watchers and journalists, lamented that the Secretary's speech would strengthen and embolden those in the Chinese system who advocated greater control over the Internet in China. They expressed concern that Internet freedom would be made into an "us vs. them" issue rather than a "right vs. wrong" issue. Contacts warned that Chinese officials see U.S. efforts to promote Internet freedom as an attack, repeatedly invoking the specter of "color revolution." Some contacts in the tech industry praised the speech as being "spot on" in its coverage of U.S. firms' difficulty with the Chinese business environment. Contacts outside Beijing were cautious with their comments. Embassy and consulate officers will continue to follow the reaction to the Secretary's remarks in the weeks ahead to assess their continuing impact on government, think tank, media, blogger and business actions with regard to the Internet. End Summary. Official Reaction Negative -------------------------- ¶2. (C) In a January 22 statement in reaction to the Secretary's Internet freedom speech, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu, said "we firmly oppose such words and deeds, which are against the facts and harmful to U.S.-China relations." Ma's remarks followed a January 21 press conference by Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei's in which he did not refer to the Secretary's speech, but urged the United States to refrain from "over-interpreting" the Google case, saying it should not be allowed to impact bilateral relations. Ma's statement was much more negative than initial unofficial comment from working-level MFA officers the morning of January 22. Asked about the speech, MFA North American and Oceanian Affairs Department U.S.A. Division Director An Gang told poloff that the MFA noticed that specific Chinese cases or individuals were not mentioned in the speech, and that "we are very happy about that." (Comment: the contrast between the "softer" comments from the USA desk and the harder language from the Spokesman several hours later suggests that the negative reaction to the speech originated at higher levels in the foreign policy hierarchy.) Media Reaction Dutifully Echoes MFA Criticism --------------------------------------------- ¶3. (SBU) Chinese media coverage of the Secretary's speech widely quoted the MFA statement. January 22 coverage included assertions that the Secretary's call for unrestricted access to the Internet could be regarded "as a disguised attempt to impose U.S. values in the name of democracy." Articles in the nationalist daily Global Times stated that the bulk of Internet comment originated in the West, "loaded with aggressive rhetoric against other countries," against which other countries cannot hope to defend. Beijing University Professor of Communications Hu Yong, quoted in the 21st Century Business Herald, said the Secretary's discussion of sharing technology to allow users to circumvent Internet censorship meant that the "Google incident is only the beginning of a rolling snowball." ¶4. (SBU) Most regional reporting in China emphasized that Internet freedom has now become embedded as a new diplomatic tool the U.S. foreign policy. Shanghai's influential Wenhui Daily ran a January 23 commentary calling Secretary Clinton's remarks "arrogant, illogical, and full of political shows and calculations," accusing her of having a "Cold War mentality." Some Chinese outlets rebutted U.S. charges by praising Chinese Internet practices. January 22 televised news programming reported on the benefits for Chinese users of Chinese governmental supervision of the Internet. Shanghai TV January 22 broadcast programming which painted Chinese online police in a positive light. BEIJING 00000183 002 OF 005 Blogger Community: Those that Saw it, Liked it --------------------------------------------- - ¶5. (SBU) Chinese netizens accessed the Secretary's speech and shared reactions through rough real-time translations on Twitter, blogs, and Google. The range of opinions among the self-selecting demographic of Chinese netizens, who had circumvented Chinese government blocks to blog and participate in Twitter-based discussions, ranged from supportive to skeptical, with the majority expressing agreement with the principles outlined in the Secretary's speech. In general, Chinese netizen comments focused on speculation about linkages between the Secretary's speech and Google's announcement that it was considering withdrawing from China. ¶6. (SBU) Many netizen reactions echoed the statements by blogger Lian Yue who tweeted that Secretary Clinton's speech "clarified the relation between Internet freedom and business prosperity, which gave better guidance for American companies operating in China." A Chinese blogger named Zhou Shugang wrote that the speech was "certain to have a positive effect and was welcomed by Chinese Internet users regarding the censorship problem in China." Others commented that the speech was an indication that the United States was leading the U.S.-China relationship in the right direction. ¶7. (SBU) Some Chinese bloggers viewed the Secretary's speech as "confrontational," but nonetheless inspiring to the Chinese people. - Chengcheng, a cartoonist-blogger, depicted Secretary Clinton as Joan of Arc, with a widely distributed graphic of "Hillary leads the people." Another Chinese Twitter user wrote, "What a historic speech( it is the launching of an Internet war, the confrontation between democracy and authoritarianism becoming public, and the beginning of a new Cold War." - Wen Yunchao, a blogger based in Guangzhou, similarly characterized the speech as "a declaration of war from a free nation to an autocracy. It might be as important as Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech... I will wait with hope. The direct mention of China also calls for a frank and honest discussion between Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao." -Gadfly artist and blogger Ai Weiwei, attending a Mission sponsored event in Beijing (see para 21), said the Secretary's speech "showed the power of the Internet to the world" and raised the U.S. Internet strategy to a new level. ¶8. (SBU) Some bloggers expressed skepticism. - Novelist and blogger Yang Hengjun tweeted, "the U.S. government has been talking about supporting world-wide Internet freedom for ages, but it hasn't done much yet." - Rao Jin, the founder of anti-CNN.com, a website critical of western media reporting, doubted the sincerity of the United States' commitment to the freedoms mentioned in Secretary Clinton's speech due to competing commercial and national security interests. Chinese bloggers, regardless of their outlook, have widely reported that Chinese web monitors have been aggressively deleting posts and content related to the Secretary's speech. China Watchers: Speech Will Provoke the Authorities --------------------------------------------- ------ ¶9. (C) Other contacts analyzed the Secretary's speech the way bloggers did, but were pessimistic about the effect of the speech on Chinese authorities. On January 22 Chen Jieren (protect), nephew of Politburo Standing Committee member He Guoqiang and editor of a Communist Youth League website, told poloff that following the controversy generated by Google's announcement, the issue of Internet freedom had been discussed several times within the Politburo Standing Committee which had agreed that the issue of Internet freedom had supplanted traditional human rights issues as a new "battleground" between the United States and China. Although he was not aware of any specific Standing Committee decisions, Chen said that President Hu Jintao had provided general guidance that the issue should not be allowed to cause major disruptions to U.S.-China relations. ¶10. (C) On January 21, speaking before the Secretary's speech, Yang Jisheng, Deputy Editor of the reform-oriented political digest Yanhuang Qunqiu, told poloff that the Communist Party viewed Internet freedom initiatives as a direct challenge to its ability to maintain social and political stability and, therefore, its legitimacy. He said that, in this context, the Party would resist international pressure on the Google issue and would increase restrictions on the Internet in the period leading up to the 18th Party Congress in 2012. He predicted that the Secretary's speech BEIJING 00000183 003 OF 005 would be viewed as directed at the Communist Party and would therefore generate uncertainty about U.S. intentions towards China. ¶11. (C) On January 23, a prominent Tsinghua University media and public opinion researcher pointed out that most Chinese media reactions to the Secretary's speech had simply republished the MFA statement and were not printing any quotations from the speech itself. Given the political sensitivity of the speech and the Google case, this was the only safe thing to do, he said. Any perceived support for the Secretary's speech in the press would "cross a red line" with censors. The researcher said the Chinese public had mixed feelings about the speech and the Google issue. While many in China were dissatisfied with Internet censorship, they also resented public criticism from U.S. officials, he said, predicting that the speech would increase nationalist sentiment in China. Another contact, a journalist at a Communist Youth League magazine, agreed that while it might cause a nationalist response, the Secretary's message "needed to be said." He predicted that the Chinese government would attempt to appeal to nationalism to counter the Secretary's speech. However, he noted that most current media commentary critical of the speech, and Google, was not being written by well known journalists, intellectuals or scholars whose silence could be read as a show of support for the speech - and for Google. ¶12. (C) Beijing University School of International Studies Assistant Professor Yu Wanli, one of Beijing University's better-known U.S.A. experts, told poloff January 23 that he had been "disappointed and depressed" when he read the Secretary's speech. "Those who tried to control the Internet more in China never had much support before," he said. "Most people believe information should be open, and the Internet should be open. The conservative, security people were the minority and many people just laughed at them." The Secretary's speech, however, gave great new energy to the "controllers" who could now plausibly argue that the United States was explicitly using the Internet as a tool for regime change. "The Internet belongs to every country," he complained; "we all can go there, we all can add to it, we all can learn from it. We Chinese were free there. Now the United States has claimed it for itself and so it will become an ideological battlefield." He asserted that, in the past, the Chinese authorities had paid relatively little attention to controlling the Internet, focusing only on the issues that were the most urgent and letting most netizens alone. "That is finished now. The Secretary's 'information curtain' remark will give the authorities what they need to 'harmonize' the Internet for all Chinese citizens." (Comment: 'harmonize' is an acidly sarcastic term in Chinese to describe official deletion or blockage of Internet content. Yu is nearly always laid back and even-tempered. His commentary on this issue was more emotional and bitter than poloff has seen from him in dozens of encounters over three years, even on extremely sensitive issues such as the Xinjiang riots or the demonstrations abroad against the Olympic torch relay in early 2008.) ¶13. (C) Yuan Peng, Director of the Institute of American Studies at the Ministry of State Security-affiliated China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), warned that Google's announcement had become a new irritant to the bilateral relationship with the potential to be even more dangerous than the Taiwan and Tibet issue. Yuan said that many Chinese citizens believed that Google's decision was part of a coordinated public/private effort by the USG to impose U.S. values on China, what he referred to as an "E-color revolution." As confirmation of this theory, Yuan cited Secretary Clinton's January 7 "21st Century Statecraft" dinner with several tech sector CEOs (including Google), Google's donations to President Obama's presidential campaign, and Secretary Clinton's January 21 speech on Internet freedom. ¶14. (C) CICIR researcher Guo Yongjun warned that there were people in China and other countries such as Iran who might see the "shadow of color revolution" in recent USG policies promoting Internet freedom and 21st century e-diplomacy. For example, Iranians might perceive Washington's new initiatives on Internet freedom or the advocacy of new technologies such as Twitter to be "aggressive" or harboring ulterior motives, such as promoting regime change, said Guo. Informed Chinese netizens already know how to circumvent the Great Firewall to access Facebook and Twitter, Guo said, including by using commercially available software. He feared, however, that if the USG provided free software that helped Chinese netizens overcome filters, this might politicize the issue of Internet freedom and force the PRC government to react. One possible BEIJING 00000183 004 OF 005 consequence, warned Guo, was that China might make it illegal to download either U.S.-provided or commercially available software that helped Internet surfers circumvent the Great Firewall. ¶15. (C) Professor Xu Jianguo of Beijing University's National School of Development said January 22 that restricting the Internet access of Chinese netizens would theoretically hamper development of cutting edge industries, but was skeptical this had happened in reality. Professor Wu Bingbing, also of Beijing University, said in the same meeting that the problem was that China's leaders did not yet feel comfortable with these new communications technologies and thus preferred to proceed cautiously. The Google issue and Secretary Clinton's speech were likely to prompt them to shift from a low-profile to a higher-profile response on Internet freedom. IT Industry: Speech Accurately Portrayed Business Environment --------------------------------------------- ---------------- ¶16. (C) The president of a strategic international trade consulting business in Beijing and chair of AmCham's working group on export controls, called the Secretary's speech "spot on, "directly capturing industry concerns about a business climate that is getting worse on a "day-to-day basis." He applauded the Secretary's speech as a means of bringing the Chinese to the table to address key concerns about the business environment and said the decision taken by Google was of enormous magnitude, indicating the depth of concern over issues it is facing here. As a result, he believes, the Chinese government's failure to respond to its people's opposition to censorship would embolden the netizen community in its efforts to evade government controls. ¶17. (C) Another high-tech industry consultant expressed concern that the Secretary's speech would dampen the U.S.-China business climate and drive it "to a new low." The consultant observed that "China has noticed that the NSA and the Pentagon have dominated cyberspace policy for over a year." Key officials, academics, and military leaders, according to this consultant, hold paranoid fears that the U.S. would one day launch a "zero-day" attack on all of China's critical infrastructure. The Secretary's speech and Google's recent actions, would amplify this belief. ¶18. (C) Reaction in northern China, where Intel has a multi-billion dollar manufacturing factory investment under construction, however, has thus far been limited. Intel's Dalian-based General Manager told Congen Shenyang poloff that the Secretary's speech had thus far not created a stir. Intel's GM had in the past several days met with several Dalian Vice Mayors, and reported Google and Internet freedom issues had not been raised. ¶19. (C) South China-based Internet portal contacts were reluctant to talk with ConGenoffs about ongoing media coverage of Google or broader internet freedom issues. A public relations manager from Netease initially refused to comment, saying it was not appropriate for her to offer an opinion on policy matters, but then guardedly reverted to official-sounding comments about why Internet regulation is important for the well-being of Chinese users and the maintenance of a positive online environment. ¶20. (C) A working-level official from the Guangzhou Municipal Informatization (sic) Office went further in sharing pro-government comments with ConGenoff, saying that Google is a business and should restrict itself to business matters, rather than venturing into political territory. The official said 2009 was a very strong year for internet companies in China and that internet restrictions had not dampened individual user's online experiences or companies' earnings. Mission Outreach on the Secretary's Speech ------------------------------------------ ¶21. (C) January 22, Embassy Beijing and Consulates General Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenyang hosted a simultaneous digital video conference viewing of the Secretary's speech for dozens of local bloggers, with an additional 300 netizens attending via the Internet. Mission estimates indicate Twitter communications and blog entries will reach a combined audience of millions of persons. Following the speech, participating bloggers, who were generally supportive of the Secretary's message, engaged in a lively discussion focused on what specific measures the United States government could take to promote Internet freedom in China and whether the speech constituted a new direction for U.S. foreign policy on BEIJING 00000183 005 OF 005 China. HUNTSMAN
And the second cable:
VZCZCXRO5289 RR RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC DE RUEHGZ #0562/01 1350859 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 150859Z MAY 07 FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6057 INFO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0445 RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 GUANGZHOU 000562 SIPDIS SIPDIS USPACOM FOR FPA STATE FOR EAP/CM, EA/CIP, AND EB/CBA STATE PASS USTR FOR STRATFORD, WINTER USDOC FOR 4420/ITA/MAC/MCQUEEN E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ECON [Economic Conditions], ETRD [Foreign Trade], EINT [Economic and Commercial Internet], TSPL [Science and Technology Policy], CH [China (Mainland)] SUBJECT: Guangzhou's Software Industry: Perspectives from a Software Park and a Software College ¶1. (U) Summary: The development of Guangdong Province's software industry has been a key priority in recent years for China's Ministries of Commerce, Information Industry, and Education, among others. Guangzhou has emerged as a focal point for the establishment of the province's leading software parks and schools of software engineering. Tianhe Software Park, Guangzhou's first and largest, boasts 1,203 enterprises and was recently designated by the Ministry of Science and Technology as a "Software Industry Export and Innovation Base" with a mandate to boost China's participation in the international software export and out-sourcing markets. The South China University of Technology School of Software Engineering ranks 15th out of China's 36 software schools, and is one of only two such schools in Guangdong. Both the Software Park and the SCUT Software School maintain extensive ties to leading Chinese companies as well as multinational companies. End Summary. Overview of the Software Industry in China - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ¶2. (U) According to Zhan Yanzun, Vice President of the China Software Industry Base, Administrative Commission of Guangzhou, Tianhe Software Park, the value of the domestic Chinese software market is between RMB 100 billion to 150 billion (USD 13 - 19.5 billion) per year. Currently, Beijing, Guangdong, and Shanghai are the top three locations in the country in terms of the size of the software industry. China's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2011) calls for the development of embedded software, open source software, and middleware which are key focal points for Guangdong. Zhan also noted China's interest in pursuing overseas markets. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) encourage domestic software companies to compete in the international marketplace. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and MOFCOM have both recently sent delegations to North America on market exploration trips. According to Zhan, the delegation's biggest target market is North America, followed by Europe, and then Southeast Asia. In the North American market, Chinese government officials hope to set up representative offices in San Francisco and New Jersey; they will be responsible for collecting market information and carrying out marketing functions. The Making of Guangzhou's Top Software Park - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ¶3. (U) Guangzhou Municipality boasts four software parks: the Guangzhou Software Park, the Guangzhou Tianhe Software Park, the Nansha District Software Park and the Huanghuagang Information Park. The Tianhe Software Park is the largest of the four in terms of size (it is the largest among all 11 national-level software parks in China, with a planned area of 12.25 square kilometers) and output (70 percent of software output in Guangzhou). Established in 1991, it is also the oldest of the four. In the last 16 years, Tianhe Software Park has been named "National Hi-tech Zone" by the National Commission of Science and Technology (or MOST), a "Software Industry Export and Innovation Base" and "National Industry Base for Online Games" by the NDRC and the Ministry of Information Industry (MII). The Tianhe Software Park has 19 branch parks. ¶4. (U) By the end of 2006, according to Qiao Xizhong, Director of Service Industries at Tianhe Software Park, there were 1,203 enterprises (290 were foreign-invested and the rest were domestic, largely Guangdong local enterprises) in Tianhe Software Park, employing about 50,000 persons, with a total annual output of RMB 25.3 billion (USD 3.3 billion). Forty percent of the park's output came from the telecom and value-added services, 25 percent from financial services and the remainder from office automation (OA) and business intelligence (BI). -- The top three domestic enterprises in the park are Netease, which had revenues of RMB 2.6 billion (USD 338 million) in 2006, Digitalchina and Sinobest. -- Other key enterprises, which have an annual output above RMB 120 million (USD 15.6 million), include ChinaWeal, Excellence, Asinfo, Chuangxiang, and Keyou. -- The top three foreign-invested enterprises are Ericsson from Sweden, and two Hong Kong enterprises. -- Other key foreign-invested enterprises include Trans Cosmos from Japan and the RIB Group from Germany, both of which are engaged in software outsourcing. GUANGZHOU 00000562 002 OF 003 ¶5. (U) Projects currently underway in the Park include: -- the Internet Digital Center (IDC), which will house more than 3,000 servers. -- the Southern R&D Center of China Mobile, which will cost RMB 1.7 billion (USD 221 million) in the first phase with a 490,000 square meter work area, -- a four-star hotel and apartment buildings for foreign staff, namely project managers and technicians from countries such as India, the United States, Germany, Japan, and Holland. A road is also being built and this will cut travel time to ten minutes between the software park and the Eastern Railway Station by the end of this year. Encouraging the Growth of the Software Park and Industry - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ¶6. (U) Software Park Vice President Zhan noted that MOFCOM granted the title "Software Exports and Innovation Base" to Guangzhou, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Jinan and Chengdu in December 2006 to boost China's participation in the international software market, especially in software exports and outsourcing. Zhan said 35 enterprises in the park are engaged in software outsourcing, and that all are members of the park's Software Outsourcing Association. ¶7. (U) The Guangzhou Municipal Government released "No. 44 document" in 2006 to attract investors to the software industry. Incentives offered to enterprises to settle in the park include house rental subsidies, post-doctoral study subsidies, and income tax preferential policies for top management members. Software Park Officials address IPR issues - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ¶8. (U) Zhan said that IPR protection has been a focus of both the Guangzhou and Tianhe District governments alike. He also noted that the Tianhe Software Park is a member of the Guangzhou IPR Protection Team, which is headed by Vice Mayor Wang Xiaoling. The Software Park is involved in drafting and implementing the team's action plans on IPR protection. The Human Resources Component of the Park - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ¶9. (U) Zhan said Guangzhou's goal is to have 200,000 professionals in the software and cartoon/animation industries by 2010. Zhan believed that there is a current shortage of high-end software professionals in Guangzhou. Enterprises in the park recruit both new graduates and experienced workers, but company-specific training is provided to both before they begin work. Most enterprises conduct training on their own, but Zhan said that enterprises will likely utilize on on-site training center after completion. Enterprises in the park last year recruited roughly 1,200 college gradates from across China, with most coming from Guangdong. According to Zhan, Sun Yat-sen University and the South China University of Technology (SCUT) have excellent software schools so they do not need to look far to recruit qualified graduates. South China University of Technology - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ¶10. (U) South China University of Technology (SCUT) was established in 1952. In 2003, SCUT ranked the 20th among the 570 universities in China. SCUT has been named a key university of China by the Ministry of Education. The university is famous for engineering and has 29 schools, 67 undergraduate programs, 177 master programs, and 75 doctoral programs. SCUT has a state key laboratory, two national engineering research centers, one "National Class A" architecture design and research institute, and four key labs certified by the Ministry of Education. In 2005, SCUT professors published 2,326 papers in academic journals; in 2006, SCUT applied for and received 207 patents. In 2006, SCUT won more than USD 43 million in funding from the central and provincial governments. The Software Engineering College at SCUT - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ¶11. (U) China currently has 36 software engineering schools. The software school at SCUT was established in 2001 by MOE and the GUANGZHOU 00000562 003 OF 003 Economy Development Planning Committee; it ranks 15th in China. It has been named one of the "National Pilot Schools for Software Engineering". The school includes master's programs for computer software, theory, and software engineering, and also has an undergraduate program in software engineering. In 2006, the school carried out 44 research projects and received RMB 7.78 million (USD 1 million) in government funding. The school was awarded five patents and registered 18 types of IPR in software. According to Deng Huifang, dean of the software school, MOE periodically evaluates the schools' academic and research achievements and decides if they measure up to established criteria. At present, Guangdong Province has only two national pilot schools of software engineering, the other one at Sun Yat-Sen University. With the pilot school designation, SCUT can charge high tuition fees, which are about 60 percent higher than other schools. ¶12. (U) SCUT's School of Software Engineering currently has 30 full-time teachers and 46 part-time teachers. Fifteen of the teachers are from foreign countries. Of the school's 1,475 students are 1,132 undergraduate and 343 postgraduates. Most of the students are from Guangdong Province, the ratio of male students to female students is 6:1. Each year, the school graduates 300 with bachelor degrees and 200 with a master's degree. Most of the graduates currently work in IT-related fields. More than 70 per cent of the graduates are working in private enterprises, and about two percent are self employed. About 96 percent of SCUT graduates found employment rate in 2005 and 2006. Collaborating with Foreign Companies and Institutions - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ¶13. (U) The School of Software Engineering of SCUT cooperates extensively with multinational IT companies such as IBM China Ltd., Microsoft Asia Research Center, HP China Ltd., Intel China Ltd., Oracle Beijing, BEA, CISCO, and SUN. The school currently has an IBM mainframe education center, a Linux education training center, eight labs which work jointly with the companies, three student innovation studios and one student industrial practice center. Companies like IBM and Microsoft not only provide funding and equipment to the research centers, but also work with the centers to design courses for the students. To keep up with the development of international software, the school also incorporates courses from universities like North West University from U.S., York University from U.K., SAP from Germany, and IIT from India. Guangdong's Software Exports - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ¶14. (U) According to Deng, Guangdong's exports of software products amounted to USD 1.9 billion in 2005, or 50 percent of the country's total software industry exports, which stood at USD 3.8 billion. Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Zhuhai are the top three cities in the province in terms of software exports. The major overseas markets for Guangdong are Hong Kong, Japan, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Europe, and the U.S. Guangdong currently has 1,181 software companies. Guangdong has 14 of the top 100 software companies of China; six are headquartered in Guangzhou, seven in Shenzhen, and one in Zhuhai. These companies include Guangzhou GaoKe Communications Technology Co., Ltd., Sinobest, Guangzhou Haige Communications Industry Group Co. Ltd., and Guangzhou Ziguang North America Science and Technology Ltd. GOLDBERG
That’s all from China for now. █
Summary: Cable from Burma shows American diplomats who “would also like to assist in distributing USB sticks Internews has developed, which allow the activists to utilize open source software”
According to the following Cablegate cable, activists and antagonists (even subversives) are seen as beneficial to US embassies if they support the tenets of democracy (usually something subservient to the West), so the government supports foreign activists in Burma and says: “We would also like to assist in distributing USB sticks Internews has developed, which allow the activists to utilize open source software to launch programs, and enables them to use web browsers without leaving a digital footprint.”
They also say: “We will need considerably more assistance from Washington to facilitate communications by the activists with the outside world.”
Previously in Techrights we covered back doors and spy ‘features’ that exist in proprietary software such as Microsoft’s. Here we may have more incidental concordance courtesy of Cablegate:
VZCZCXRO8235 OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHTRO DE RUEHGO #0181/01 0670922 ZNY SSSSS ZZH O 070922Z MAR 08 FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7276 INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0976 RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 4529 RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8067 RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5628 RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 1444 RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1392 RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 000181 SIPDIS SIPDIS DEPT FOR EAP/MLS, DRL, AND IO PACOM FOR FPA E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/06/2018 TAGS: PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs],QL, PHUM [Human Rights], BM [Burma] SUBJECT: BURMA: SUPPORTING STRATEGIES FOR THE REFERENDUM REF: A. RANGOON 153 B. RANGOON 145 C. RANGOON 134 D. CARL-YODER-COPE 10/15/2007 E-MAIL RANGOON 00000181 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: P/E Chief Leslie Hayden for Reasons 1.4 (b) & (d) ¶1. (S/NF) Burma's pro-democracy opposition continues to struggle to organize a coordinated effort to respond to the upcoming constitutional referendum. We expect the regime will continue its severe restrictions on free speech and association, making it impossible for the opposition to carry out a widespread, public campaign. Activists inside Burma plan to carry out a "vote no" educational campaign via word-of-mouth, and using posters, stickers, and T-shirts. What would most help them succeed is funding for travel and equipment such as memory sticks, MP3 players, and cell phones. We are confidant we could discreetly distribute these items. $200,000 in additional funding to this Embassy would enable us to quickly assist the activists. End summary. ------------- Reality Check ------------- ¶1. (C) Burma's fractured pro-democracy opposition continues to grapple with how to address the regime's upcoming constitutional referendum (Refs B and C). The only group that has outlined a concrete plan to us (and this includes U.S.- funded exile groups on the Thai-Burma border) is 88 Generation Students. NLD spokesman Nyan Win told us today that the NLD still had not finalized a concrete plan for their "vote no" campaign. He anticipated they would have it ready by next week. Ethnic pro-democracy leaders inside Burma told us last week that they had no concrete plan to oppose the referendum either, even though most oppose the referendum. ¶2. (C) In the lead-up to the referendum, we do not anticipate the regime will loosen the tighter restrictions imposed since the September protests. We expect a massive military and police presence as the date of the referendum approaches to prevent any protests or civil unrest. Activists are likely to be closely watched during this time. Likewise, anyone attempting to approach polling stations to conduct an exit poll not sanctioned by the regime is certain to be arrested. ¶3. (C) Regardless of these restrictions, 88 Generation activists who are not in prison, and remain in Burma, are determined to go forward with their "vote no" campaign. The campaign will rely mostly on education via word-of-mouth. They plan on using sympathetic monks to educate their constituencies on why the constitution, in its present form, is not a step forward for democracy in Burma. Additionally, they will dispatch members of their organization throughout Burma to distribute educational materials by hand. -------------- What They Need -------------- ¶4. (S/NF) 88 Generation has requested approximately $4,300 for "vote no" posters, $2,600 for stickers, and $2,000 for its members to travel throughout Burma to coordinate with their members in other states and divisions. We can use the Embassy print shop and copiers to assist them in making flyers and pamphlets for their campaigns. ¶5. (S/NF) In addition, the opposition needs memory sticks and MP3 players, which they intend to load with educational material and distribute throughout the country. The players and memory sticks can be hidden and hand delivered from town to town by the activists during their travels. ¶6. (S/NF) Cell phones in Burma are prohibitively expensive, costing approximately $2,300 each. Since many of their cell phones were confiscated after the September protests, RANGOON 00000181 002.2 OF 002 activists urgently need cell phones to facilitate communication and coordination. Their traditional suppliers from Thailand have not been able to get them the equipment. Since cameras are very dangerous to carry, the opposition would like to procure cell phones with cameras so they can discreetly take pictures of their campaigns and document abuses by the regime during the referendum process. ¶7. (S/NF) Since September, internet communication has been monitored much more closely by the regime, and Special Branch Police confiscated many of the activists' computers. Post again recommends support for the wireless internet connection we proposed last October (Ref D), to assist the activists in communicating with pro-democracy groups inside and outside Burma to organize a coordinated response to the referendum. ¶8. (S/NF) We would also like to assist in distributing USB sticks Internews has developed, which allow the activists to utilize open source software to launch programs, and enables them to use web browsers without leaving a digital footprint. These would be invaluable tools for aiding their communication with each other. ¶9. (S/NF) Comment: The faster we can move this equipment and money to the activists the better. The regime plans on holding its referendum in May, and their "vote yes" campaign is already in full force. A large, sophisticated, public campaign will not happen in Burma: the regime shows every intent of halting any sign of public opposition. The Embassy has gained experience in distributing small amounts of funds without attracting additional regime scrutiny of the Embassy or our recipients. The activists need funds now to prepare for a vote that could take place as early as two months from now. We estimate that $200,000 would enable us to assist the activists with their equipment needs. We will need considerably more assistance from Washington to facilitate communications by the activists with the outside world. End comment. VILLAROSA
Without ascending (or descending) to politics, the important point here is that Free software helps people’s freedom. █
Summary: New posts about the US patent system, including examples of very bizarre patents
THE SOURCE of cynicism about society increasingly becomes the USPTO, which grants patents (monopolies) on things that make one wonder if it’s a hoax of not.
Here is a classic which was mentioned some days ago:
These were collected in the course of other research by Azeen Ghorayshi and put online as a slide show by Mother Jones magazine link here.
My favorite is #6 in the slides called “method of concealing partial baldness” patented on May 10, 1977. Here is the illustration for the patent which should have been denied on the grounds that it was already in wide use among the balding.
Zonker has becomes rather cynical as well and he helps debunk the idea that patents are indicative of innovation. To quote his new column:
A Deeply Flawed Infographic: Most “Innovative” Countries and Industries
Measuring an intangible like “most innovative” is tricky, at best. At worst, it’s a complete disaster, like measuring “most innovative” by using patents as a measure, like this infographic from Good and Column Five Media.
Here is another curious patent. “Anyone got a clue who might be behind this new patent?” That’s what was said by Evgeny Morozov, who found himself troubled by some patents. In another tweet he writes: “Missed this back in June: “Microsoft Patents ‘Legal Intercept’ Technology, Will Skype Have A Backdoor?”
How about this Orwellian patent?
“If you’re the giver or recipient of presents gift-wrapped by Amazon, you may want to take a gander at U.S. Patent No. 8,060,463, granted to Amazon last month for Mining of User Event Data to Identify Users with Common Interests. Among other things, Amazon explains the invention can be used to identify recipients of gifts as Christian or Jewish based on wrapping paper. From the patent: ‘The gift wrap used by such other users when purchasing gifts for this user, such as when the gift wrap evidences the user’s religion (in the case of Christmas or Hanukkah gift wrap, for example.)’”
“Wish PTO would give the gift of ending obvious patents,” said Tim O’Reilly. It seems like more and more people are getting the idea that the patent system is flawed. Acceptance of it is the first stage towards recovery. Previously, Mr. O’Reilly said: “We need some serious reform on software patents.” █
Summary: The attacks on Android fuel a debate about the role of patents and also suggest that the USPTO fails to fulfil its role
THE US patent system has become the centre of attention for many who are looking to remove FOSS barriers. This system is increasingly perceived as undesirable by the American (as in US) public and we need to constantly show this to spread these realisations.
Matt notes that the world gains from this in terms of safety and efficiency. However he questions the patent grant on the grounds that another monopoly has been established by stealth. Fortunately, the patent will be worthless once the world switches to full time computer control of the car. But in the meantime, we will all pay in higher prices.
On the other hand, Google is mostly a victim of this system because its major operating system, which is based on Linux, came under attacks that Google never provoked for. There is good news on that front though:
Oracle has been dealt a blow in its ongoing patent infringement case against Google.
Late last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected several of the claims in a patent that Oracle has cited in its infringement case against the search giant. According to Groklaw, which obtained the notice, 17 of the 21 claims in Patent No. 6,192,476 have been rejected by the USPTO, following a re-examination the agency conducted earlier this year.
In addition, there are patent attacks coming from Apple and Microsoft, which just like several other companies keep attacking the Internet with SOPA. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols remarks on “Go Daddy’s SOPA Entanglement” and Muktware takes notice:
Go Daddy took a u-turn from its stand on SOPA as the Internet community started boycotting GoDaddy and companies started transferring domains to non-SOPA supporters. Muktware has also initiated the domian transfer from Godaddy to Gandi.net (Hacksheet has already been transferred).
Following our article calling for a boycott against Apple (it got Slashdotted and made the news) there is also a call from Mukware to boycott Apple and Microsoft for their SOPA support.
To quote the call: “Go Daddy burned their fingers when they decided to sell their soul to the devil. More than 21,0000 conscious users migrated to other services. Go Daddy changed its ‘stand’ the same day, which seems to be nothing more than PR strategy as Go Daddy ‘worked’ on crafting this act. If they oppose the act, they must run a campaign to ensure that SOPA is not passed. That’s what it means by ‘opposing’ the bill and not by secretly supporting it via PIPA and Protect IP. Go Daddy paid heavily as ‘informed’ and concerned Go Daddy users revolted and threatened to switch to other registrars.
“There are two monopolies which are endorsing SOPA, Apple and Microsoft.”
–Muktware“How about the other SOPA supporters? Will you be boycotting them? There are two monopolies which are endorsing SOPA, Apple and Microsoft. Apple has not said anything in support of SOPA. But, the company either way doesn’t care about anything beyond its own profits. Apple itself is a censor police where it runs its own version of SOPA. Microsoft, on the other hand, has been openly supporting such biils.”
Further down it says: “The ‘informed and concerned’ Internet community revolted against Go Daddy and brought it to its knees. Are you ready to boycott Microsoft and Apple?” Well, we at Techrights implicitly suggested this for quite some time. Novell too is in the boycott list. Those companies also spread FUD about Android. Tim Carmody wrote an article titled “There Is No Such Thing as Android, Only Android-Compatible”. In it he rebuts Microsoft talking points from its talking heads (like Bott) by explaining that “fragmentation” is actually compatibility. His conclusions: “Ultimately, though, I can’t decide if this is a real problem for Google and Android or potentially a huge advantage. In the short term, it’s been an advantage; It’s let the operating system, user base and developer community grow in a hurry. In the long term, though, it doesn’t seem like Google can continue to maintain tight control of the source code during development and promoting its latest and greatest developments, and then let just about anything go once it’s released while letting less-favored products drift away.
“Soon, we’ll have to sever those two questions — what’s good for Android, the family of broadly compatible devices, as well their users and developers, is bound to come into conflict with what’s good for Google, the search and software company who continue to develop Android and put it into the world.”
Here is an article on the patent war against Android. It’s from the Boston press and it says:
A patent lawsuit won last week by iPhone maker Apple Inc. represented a single victory in a global legal war, with giant corporations fighting for control of the technologies behind smartphones and computers, potentially resulting in less appealing devices or higher prices for consumers.
Technology firms like Google Inc., Samsung Corp., Microsoft Corp., and especially Apple – which is one of the most active combatants – are embroiled in about 100 patent lawsuits in at least 10 countries. The stakes are high: potential domination of the multibillion-dollar market for smartphones, tablet computers, and the software that runs them. One successful lawsuit could generate millions in patent licensing fees for the victor, or it could force a rival firm to modify the way its devices work – even removing features users treasure.
“Patents=nuclear weapons in arms race. Inhibiting innovation. Tech patents should be abolished-Only make sense in slow-moving industries,” wrote Vivek Wadhwa, an influential writer/academic who occasionally writes on the issue. Hopefully we are aproaching the points where public opinion will have the law overwritten in the US. █