For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×
Communications

European Government Agrees On Net Neutrality Rules, With Exemptions 37 37

An anonymous reader writes: The European Union's three main legislative bodies, the European Council, the European Parliment, and the European Commision, have reached an agreement on "Open Internet" rules that establish principles similar to Net Neutrality in the EU. The rules require that all internet traffic and users be treated equally, forbidding paid-for prioritisation of traffic. However, exemptions are permitted for particular "specialised services" where the service is not possible under the open network's normal conditions, provided that the customer using the service pays for the privilege. (The examples given are IPTV, teleconferencing, and telepresence surgery.) Zero-rating — exempting particular data from traffic caps — is also permitted, but will be subject to oversight. Notably, this means (if all goes as promised) the elimination of cellphone roaming fees within the EU; however, that's been promised and delayed before.
Government

79% of Airbnb Listings In Barcelona Are Illegal 103 103

dkatana writes: Barcelona has more than 16,000 Airbnb listings and, according to reports on Cities of the Future, 79% could be illegal. "In April, Airbnb's European General Manager Jeroen Merchiers confirmed, during the Student Tourism Congress in Barcelona, that the platform has more than 85,000 listings in Spain alone." But most Airbnb hosts do not apply for a permit, fail to pay insurance and tourist tax, and ignore Catalonian law that forbids short-term rentals of rooms in private homes. "Residents," says the article, "had been complaining about the rising number of tourist apartments and the conduct of the mostly student-age renters. The majority from Italy, Germany and the UK were partying all night, some running around naked, and generally trashing their neighborhoods."
Social Networks

Are We Too Quick To Act On Social Media Outrage? 370 370

RedK writes: Connie St-Louis, on June 8th, reported on apparently sexist remarks made by Sir Tim Hunt, a Nobel prize winning scientist, during an event organised for women in sciences. This led to the man's dismissal from his stations, all in such urgency that he did not even have time to present his side, nor was his side ever offered any weight. A leaked report a few days later suggests that the remarks were taken out of context. Further digging shows that the accuser has distorted the truth in many cases it seems. This is not the first time that people may have jumped the gun too soon on petty issues and ruined great events or careers.
Google

Google Takes Over NYC's Free WiFi Project 68 68

dkatana writes: Google's new Smart Cities venture Sidewalk Labs announced the purchase of Intersection, the new company behind the LinkNYC project. nGoogle wants to speed up the developing of free internet access to New York residents and visitors, as a way to gather more information about their activities. Users of the pylons will provide the company invaluable data about their habits, places they visit, and browsing activity.

As part of the original LinkNYC plan, Intersection is scheduled to start deploying the new ad-supported, locally manufactured, WiFi 'pylons' this fall, reaching all five boroughs of the city. It will be the largest and fastest free municipal WiFi system in the world. After that, the company plans to start rolling out similar initiatives in other U.S. cities, but details have not been made public yet.
United States

WikiLeaks: NSA Eavesdropped On the Last Three French Presidents 136 136

Earthquake Retrofit writes: The NY Times is reporting that WikiLeaks has released "material which appeared to capture officials in Paris talking candidly about Greece's economy, relations with Germany — and, ironically, American espionage." The information was leaked "a day before the French Parliament is expected to definitively pass a controversial security bill legalizing broad surveillance, particularly of terrorism suspects."
Businesses

Where Is Europe's Silicon Valley? 266 266

An anonymous reader writes: A New York Times story delves into the conundrum faced by Europeans: Why are there few, if any, technology companies from Europe with the size and reach of American tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Apple? The article hypothesizes that, though employment regulations and other business and legal factors play a role, it's actually deeply embedded cultural differences that are the primary cause, citing less aversion to risk-taking, less stigma from business failures such as bankruptcies, little or no stigma from leaving and rejoining a company (seen as disloyal in European cultures), more acceptance of disruptive innovation, and a less rigid educational system that allows individuals to find their own form of success.
EU

European Court: Websites Are Responsible For Users' Comments 401 401

An anonymous reader writes: A new ruling from the European Court of Human Rights found it perfectly acceptable to hold websites responsible for comments left by users. Experts are worried the ruling will encourage websites to censor content posted by users out of concern that they're opening themselves up to legal liability. The judgment also seems to support the claim that "proactive monitoring" can be required of website owners. Peter Micek of digital rights group "Access" said, "This ruling is a serious blow to users' rights online. Dissenting voices will have fewer outlets in which to seek and impart opinions anonymously. Instead, users at risk will be dragged down by a precedent that will keep them from accessing the open ocean of ideas and information."
Censorship

France Claims Right To Censor Search Results Globally 337 337

Lauren Weinstein writes: I've been waiting for this, much the way one waits for a violent case of food poisoning. France is now officially demanding that Google expand the hideous EU 'Right To Be Forgotten' (RTBF) to Google.com worldwide, instead of just applying it to the appropriate localized (e.g. France) version of Google. And here's my official response as a concerned individual:

To hell with this ...
Weinstein's page links to the paywalled WSJ coverage; you might prefer The New York Times or Politico. Related: a court in Canada, according to TechDirt, would like to do something similar, when it comes to expanding its effect on Google results for everyone, not just those who happen to live within its jurisdiction.
Google

Google Launches Sidewalk Labs To Develop Smart Cities Tech 38 38

dkatana writes: Google wants to join the Smart Cities movement with the launch of a new start-up, "Sidewalk Labs", to develop technologies for cities, including IoT and mobility solutions. Larry Page and Dan Doctoroff describe Sidewalk Labs as an "urban innovation company", geared to developing new technologies to improve city living by reducing pollution, streamlining public transportation, and effectively managing energy use. The company wants to create its own technology and invest in other public and private initiatives. Dan Doctoroff was New York City's Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding during the Bloomberg administration.
Crime

49 Suspected Members of Cybercriminal Group Arrested In Europe 23 23

An anonymous reader writes: A joint international operation led to the arrests of 49 suspected members of a cybercriminal group in Europe. The operation involved law enforcement agencies from several different nations, including Italy, Spain, Poland, Belgium, Georgia, and the UK. Police searched 58 separate properties, seizing laptops, hard disks, telephones, tablets, credit cards and cash, SIM cards, memory sticks, forged documents and bank account documents. The criminals came to the attention of police after repeatedly initiating man-in-the-middle attacks against European companies, using intrusions and social engineering to route corporate payments to their own bank accounts.
Earth

G7 Vows To Phase Out Fossil Fuels By 2100 298 298

Taco Cowboy writes: The G7 group of countries has issued a pledge that they will phase out fossil fuels by the end of this century. The announcement was warmly welcomed by environmental groups. "Angela Merkel took the G7 by the scruff of the neck," said Ruth Davis a political advisor to Greenpeace and a senior associate at E3G. "Politically, the most important shift is that chancellor Merkel is back on climate change. This was not an easy negotiation. She did not have to put climate change on the agenda here. But she did," Davis said. The G7 plege includes a goal proposed by the EU to cut emissions 60% on 2010 levels by 2050, with full decarbonisation by 2100.
EU

Microsoft Lets EU Governments Inspect Source Code For Security Issues 143 143

itwbennett writes: Microsoft has agreed to let European governments review the source code of its products to ensure that they don't contain security backdoors, at a transparency center in Brussels. The second of its kind, the new center follows on the heels of the first, built last June in Redmond, Washington. Part of Microsoft's Government Security Program, the company hopes the centers will create trust with governments that want to use Microsoft products. "Today's opening in Brussels will give governments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa a convenient location to experience our commitment to transparency and delivering products and services that are secure by principle and by design," said Matt Thomlinson, Vice President of Microsoft Security.
EU

Rosetta Team Proposes Landing On Comet To Finish Mission 35 35

schwit1 writes: Rather than simply turn off the spacecraft when its funding runs out at the end of 2015, Rosetta's science team has proposed that the mission get a nine-month extension, during which they will slowly spiral into the comet and gently land. Their proposal is similar to what American scientists did with their NEAR spacecraft, which hadn't been designed to land on an asteroid but was successfully eased onto the surface of Eros, where it operated for a very short time.
United Kingdom

Leaked Document Shows Europe Would Fight UK Plans To Block Porn 253 253

Mark Wilson writes: Before the UK elections earlier in the month, David Cameron spoke about his desire to clean up the internet. Pulling — as he is wont to do — on parental heartstrings, he suggested that access to porn on computers and mobiles should be blocked by default unless users specifically requested access to it. This opt-in system was mentioned again in the run-up to the election as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid assured peopled that the party "will age restrict online porn". But it's not quite that simple. There is the small problem of Europe. A leaked EU Council document shows that plans are afoot to stop Cameron's plans in its tracks — and with the UK on the verge of trying to debate a better deal for itself within Europe, the Prime Minister is not in a particularly strong position for negotiating on the issue. Cameron has a fight on his hands, it seems, if he wants to deliver on his promise that "we need to protect our children from hardcore pornography". Documents seen by The Sunday Times reveal that the EU could make it illegal for ISPs and mobile companies to automatically block access to obscene material. Rather than implementing a default block on pornography, the Council of the European Union believes that users should opt in to web filtering and be able to opt out again at any time; this is precisely the opposite to the way Cameron would like things to work.
EU

EU Drops Plans For Safer Pesticides After Pressure From US 156 156

An anonymous reader writes: The European Union recently published plans to ban 31 pesticides containing chemicals linked to testicular cancer and male infertility. Those potential regulations have now been dropped after a U.S. business delegation said they would adversely affect trade negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. "Just weeks before the regulations were dropped there had been a barrage of lobbying from big European firms such as Dupont, Bayer and BASF over EDCs. The chemical industry association Cefic warned that the endocrines issue 'could become an issue that impairs the forthcoming EU-US trade negotiations.'"
EU

Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment 743 743

jones_supa writes: Greece, the country which has been in extreme financial trouble and high debt for years, cannot make debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next month, unless it achieves a deal with creditors. 'The four installments for the IMF in June are €1.6 billion ($1.8 billion). This money will not be given and is not there to be given,' Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis told Greek Mega TV's weekend show. Shut out of bond markets and with bailout aid locked, cash-strapped Athens has been scraping state coffers to meet debt obligations and to pay wages and pensions. With its future as a member of the 19-nation eurozone potentially at stake, a second government minister accused its international lenders of subjecting it to slow and calculated torture.
United Kingdom

Bank of England Accidentally E-mails Top-Secret "Brexit" Plan To the Guardian 396 396

schwit1 writes: The first rule of "Project Bookend" is that you don't talk about "Project Bookend." In retrospect, maybe the first rule should have been "you don't accidentally e-mail 'Project Bookend' to a news agency," because as the Guardian reports, one of its editors opened his inbox and was surprised to find a message from the BOE's Head of Press Jeremy Harrison outlining the UK financial market equivalent of the Manhattan project. Project Bookend is a secret (or 'was' a secret) initiative undertaken by the BOE to study what the fallout might be from a potential 'Brexit', but if anyone asked what Sir Jon Cunliffe and a few senior staffers were up to, they were instructed to say that they were busy investigating "a broad range of European economic issues." And if you haven't heard the term before, "Brexit" refers to the possibility of Britain leaving the EU -- one of the possible outcomes of an upcoming referendum.
Facebook

European Internet Users Urged To Protect Themselves Against Facebook Tracking 147 147

An anonymous reader writes: Belgium's Privacy Protection Commission says that Facebook tramples on European privacy laws by tracking people online without their consent and dodges questions from national regulators. They have issued a set of recommendations for both Facebook, website owners and end users. Net-Security reports: "The recommendations are based on the results of an extensive analysis of Facebook's revised policies and terms (rolled out on January 30, 2015) conducted by the inter-university research center EMSOC/SPION, which concluded that the company is acting in violation of European law. According to them Facebook places too much burden on its users to protect their privacy, and then doesn't offer simple tools and settings to do so, and sets up some problematic default settings. They also don't provide adequate information for users to make informed choices."
Advertising

European Telecoms May Block Mobile Ads, Spelling Trouble For Google 198 198

Mark Wilson has news that may have a big impact on both advertisers and end-users who use their phones as portals to ad-supported websites. Several European telecom providers are apparently planning to use ad-blocking software at the data-center level, which would mean benefit for users (in the form of less obnoxious advertising, and less data being eaten by it) but quite a pickle for online advertisers, and sites that rely on advertising revenue. From BetaNews's article (based on this Financial Times article, paywalled): Talking to the Financial Times, one wireless carrier said that the software had been installed at its data centers and could be enabled by the end of the year. With the potential to automatically block most ads on web pages and within apps, the repercussion of the ad boycott could be huge as mobile providers try to wrestle control from the likes of Google. I just wish my mobile provider would start testing this out, too.