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IRC Proceedings: December 28th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz



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Enter the IRC channels now

Cablegate: Brazil Advocates, Praises “the Usefulness of Free, Open Source Software”

Posted in America, Cablegate at 7:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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.”

Lucia A Keegan  11/17/2006 11:17:27 AM  From  DB/Inbox:  Lucia A Keegan


            ECON ESCI



DE RUEHFR #7358/01 3171627
R 131627Z NOV 06

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] 
¶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 
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. 
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 
- 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 
¶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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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. 

More Cablegate cables will be covered here tomorrow.

Cablegate: Apple Attacks French Copyright Law to Induce Various Restrictions (Including DRM), Marginalisation of Rights

Posted in Apple, DRM, Europe at 7:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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:

E.O. 12958: N/A 
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 
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 
¶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. 
¶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. 

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)

Posted in Cablegate, Microsoft at 7:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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:

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] 
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. 
¶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 
¶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 
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). 
¶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 
¶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 
¶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. 

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:

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] 
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 
¶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. 
¶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 
¶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. 
¶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. 

Cablegate: US Government Talks About Providing Free Software that Helps Chinese Netizens Overcome Filters

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software at 6:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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:

DE RUEHBJ #0183/01 0250728
O 250728Z JAN 10

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 BEIJING 000183 
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)] 
Classified By: DCM Robert Goldberg fo Reasons: 1.4(B), (D). 
¶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 
¶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 
¶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 

And the second cable:

DE RUEHGZ #0562/01 1350859
R 150859Z MAY 07

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 
¶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 

That’s all from China for now.

Cablegate: US Government Implies Proprietary Software Leaves Digital Footprint

Posted in Cablegate, Free/Libre Software at 6:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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:

DE RUEHGO #0181/01 0670922
O 070922Z MAR 08

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 000181 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/06/2018 
TAGS: PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs],QL, PHUM [Human Rights], BM [Burma] 
     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 
¶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 

Without ascending (or descending) to politics, the important point here is that Free software helps people’s freedom.

USPTO Ridiculed

Posted in Patents at 4:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Child's laughter

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.”

Google Patents, Attacks on Android, and Calls for Apple and Microsoft Boycotts

Posted in Apple, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 4:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lobster trap

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.

Google was recently granted a patent on driving, as we mentioned the other day. Here is what Against Monopoly has to say about it:

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:

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.”
“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.

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