EU must not back down on control of digital weapon exports

first_img Pourquoi l’Europe peut (et doit) stopper les marchands d’armes numériques RSF_en Help by sharing this information Organisation July 12, 2017 Find out more December 1, 2017 EU must not back down on control of digital weapon exports Reporters Without Borders – known internationally as Reporters sans frontières (RSF) – hails the European Parliament international trade committee’s approval last week of a proposal for reinforcing controls on dual-use surveillance technology exports. If implemented, it would help to prevent authoritarian regimes from spying on journalists and arresting them. RSF urges MEPs to adopt this proposal when it goes before a full session of the European Parliament in January, and to resist the siren calls from the lucrative surveillance industry’s lobbyists. Does the committee’s vote mean the European Union will finally stop turning a blind eye to the export of digital weapons? The legislative revision currently under way could make it harder for European companies to export software to authoritarian regimes that use it to spy on journalists. “The challenge now is not to relinquish anything in the proposal already approved by the parliamentary committee,” Elodie Vialle, the head of RSF’s Journalism and Technology Desk, said. “MEPs must not yield to the siren calls of lobbyists orchestrated by the companies that sell surveillance technology. This is a unique chance to show that business stops where respect for human rights starts, including respect for the freedom to inform.” Invisible but real weapons The goal is to limit the export of software that allows these regimes to intercept phone calls, hack into computers and decipher passwords. Such technology is called “dual use” because it has both civilian and military applications. In the same way that nuclear energy can be used to generate electricity and make bombs. Several European Union countries, including Italy and France, are involved. The French company Amesys, for example, sold an online communications interception system called Eagle to Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya in 2007. The United Kingdom has also always been lenient on surveillance technology exports to authoritarian regimes. Media exposure of these exports has been embarrassing for Europe’s democracies. The issue was discussed and – to cries of “Never again!” – the EU has since 2014 included surveillance technology in the dual-use exports that are supposed to be controlled. Business as usual for the time being But no account had been taken of the ingenuity of the surveillance technology companies, which the relevant agencies and authorities have done little to curb. Amesys set up operations under the name of AMESys in Dubai where it has continued business as usual including involvement with Field Marshall el-Sisi’s regime in Egypt. As the crackdown on journalists intensified in Turkey in early 2017, the UK’s department for international trade granted a licence for the sale of communications interception software to the Turkish authorities. Aware that the promotion of European digital start-up growth does not justify the sale of digital weapons, the European Commission published a proposal for new dual-use technology legislation in September 2016 that would update and harmonize the existing regulations. After a long discussion and postponing a vote twice, the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA) voted on 23 November in favour of amendments to the proposal that would tighten the controls on surveillance technology exports. RSF hails its proposed legal requirement on companies to exercise “due diligence,” meaning they would have to ensure that their exported software would not be used to violate human rights. RSF also welcomes its insistence on more transparency, including the provision of more detailed information about the nature of the technology being exported. RSF nonetheless reminds MEPs that more clarity is needed about the verification process to which surveillance technology companies must submit. Right to know The European Parliament is due to vote on the proposed new legislation between 14 and 18 January. European citizens also have a right to know if their countries are selling digital weapons to dictatorships. RSF will follow the European Parliament’s negotiations closely in the coming weeks. center_img Protecting journalistsProtecting sources WhistleblowersExiled mediaPredatorsFreedom of expressionCitizen-journalistsInternet News to go further News MEPs must not yield to the siren calls of lobbyists orchestrated by the companies that sell surveillance technology, says RSF. Protecting journalistsProtecting sources WhistleblowersExiled mediaPredatorsFreedom of expressionCitizen-journalistsInternet last_img read more

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Fire marshal says career was rewarding

first_img As Fire Marshal Al Mata readies for retirement after four decades of service to the city, he leaves behind a legacy of service and safety to the citizens of Odessa.Mata, who has been fire marshal since 2013, first began working for the city in 1977 in the engineering department, also working with planning and zoning and code enforcement, and Mata joined Odessa Fire Rescue in 1995 as a fire inspector after seeing an opening for the position.“I would never regret that day ever since then,” Mata said. “It’s a pretty rewarding career.”Mata said that reward comes from the opportunities he gets to help the citizens and companies of Odessa. The fire marshal’s office is responsible for providing inspections for commercial buildings, ensuring and maintaining a safe environment for the city. Slap Your Mama It’s So Delicious Southern Squash CasseroleFruit Salad to Die ForCreamy Fruit SaladPowered By 10 Sec Mama’s Deviled Eggs NextStay OC employee of the year always learning Twitter By admin – May 1, 2018 Pinterest Odessa Fire/ Rescue’s fire marshal Al Mata talks about the duties of a fire marshal during an interview Thursday at Central Station. ECISD undergoing ‘equity audit’ Home Local News Fire marshal says career was rewarding 1 of 4 Odessa Fire/ Rescue’s fire marshal Al Mata is retiring on May 5 after 23 years with OFR and 40 years with the City of Odessa. Mata originally started with the City of Odessa in the engineering department. Previous articleOC board to discuss baseball field demolition, transition to schoolsNext articleNew program seeks art for City Hall admin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR After five years as a fire inspector, Mata was promoted to assistant fire marshal in 2000, and was later promoted to his role as fire marshal in 2013, where he oversees the activities of the office, including inspections, investigations, and public education on the topic of fire safety.As fire marshal, he, and all of the fire inspectors and investigators in his office, are certified peace officers, allowing them to charge anyone with crimes, such as arson. Mata said he’s seen just about everything during his time at OFR, including some cases of arson disguised as accidental in attempts to get insurance money.Mata said it comes down to a scientific method of study when examining fires, looking for fire patterns to determine the point of origin for the fire.“Most people, when they see a structure, everything’s burnt,” he said. “The investigators see something totally different. There’s always something you can work with.”What Mata is most proud of in his time as Fire Marshal was his streamlining of the plans review and permit processes for new construction. The Fire Marshal’s office reviews all plans and offers guidance for contractors wanting to construct a new building in the city.“We try to make it as smooth as possible,” he said. “We identify all possible problems and address them before they actually start, that way there will be a smooth process between us and the contractor.”Part of that process involves guidance in the implementation of sprinkler and fire alarm systems, working with installers and architects to make sure those measures are installed correctly in the building.Cruz Castillo, president of JSA Architects, has worked with Mata on a number of building projects, and said he was very knowledgeable and helpful in regards to making sure buildings met proper safety and fire codes.“He’s always had an open mind in reviewing fire and building code requirements and helping not only myself, but helping property owners understand what the code means and helping come up with solutions on how to achieve the code,” Castillo said. “I’ll miss him, that’s for sure.”Mata, 60, will officially retire this Friday, and said he made the decision to retire at this time three years ago. He said he plans on spending his time post-retirement spending more time with his family, including his six children and nine grandchildren.Painting is also a hobby of Mata’s, and one of the more memorable contributions he’s made to the department includes a wall-length painting of a firefighter in the entrance room of OFR’s Central Fire Station.Mata said he would most like to be remembered as someone who always focused on looking for solutions, as opposed to focusing on the problem itself. This makes the process of working with contractors run more smoothly, and makes his job easier, something he said he hopes the next Fire Marshal will continue to do.“I hope the next fire marshal continues the ongoing training that we’ve established,” he said. “And also hope that they keep into consideration that customer service is very important, to provide the best service that we can possibly provide.”center_img WhatsApp Facebook Local News Fire marshal says career was rewarding Twitter Pinterest WhatsApp Odessa Fire/ Rescue’s fire marshal Al Mata is retiring on May 5 after 23 years with OFR and 40 years with the City of Odessa. Mata originally started with the City of Odessa in the engineering department. Facebook 2021 SCHOOL HONORS: Permian High School Odessa Fire/ Rescue’s fire marshal Al Mata talks about the duties of a fire marshal during an interview Thursday at Central Station. Odessa Fire/ Rescue’s fire marshal Al Mata is retiring on May 5 after 23 years with OFR and 40 years with the City of Odessa. Mata originally started with the City of Odessa in the engineering department.last_img read more

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First home buyers make their mark

first_imgEfren O’Brien poses with his dog Beau in West End, Brisbane on Friday, September 7, 2018. Mr O’Brien is a first time property buyer. (AAP Image/Claudia Baxter)A REDUCTION in the Queensland First Home Owners Grant has done little to deter those looking to make their leap on to the property ladder.National data from the ABS shows that the number of finance approvals for first home buyers is now at its highest level in eight years.In Queensland, the number of finance approvals has increased by almost 10 per cent — proof that first time buyers are not afraid to buy a home with or without the state grant.The grant, which only applies to new builds up to $750,000, dropped from $20,000 to $15,000 on July 1.REA Group chief economist Nerida Conisbee said while the number of finance approvals for investors and upgraders had dropped, first home buyers were bucking the trend.“We are now seeing the highest level of first home buyers since 2010,” she said.She pointed to two suburbs within reach of first home buyers — Albion, which has a median house price of $750,000 and Tugun on the Gold Coast, where the median house sales price is $647,000.But there is even more value in the Brisbane market, with Rocklea boasting the lowest median house sales price within 10km of the city, according to data from realestate.com.auThe ‘high demand suburb’ has a median sales price of $415,000 and records about three times the number of searches per property compared to the national average.A newly renovated four bedroom house is on the market for $399,000 — well below the overall Brisbane median house sales price of $535,000. Other top spots for first homebuyer budgets within 10km of the city are Keperra, Tingalpa, Everton Hills and Chermside.A three bedroom ‘fixer upper’ at Everton Hills is on the market for $450,000, and sits on a 615sq m block. The median house sales price for Everton Hills is $558,000, according to CoreLogic.Shirley Mapp of Re/Max Premier Consultants Chermside said she was seeing a lot of activity from first home buyers in the area. “At $450,000, that is great value if you can see its potential,” she said.Ms Mapp said first home buyers were pushing up prices in family-friendly suburbs such as Everton Hills, which had traditionally been held for many years.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours agoShe said Baby Boomers whose children had left home were now moving on, opening the way for first home buyers to enter the market.For those happy to commute a few extra kilometres, big savings can also be found at Riverview, Ebbw Vale, Gailes, Dinmore and East Ipswich, where existing houses have a median sales price under $275,000 within 30km of the CBD.First homebuyer Efrem O’Brien purchased a one-bedroom apartment in Stockwell’s Muse apartments in West End after renting in Sydney. Efren O’Brien bought his first home at Muse, West End. (AAP Image/Claudia Baxter)“I moved back up after being offered a position with Queensland Ballet and my job is only about 100m away,” he said.“I lived with my parents at first so it is nice having my own space again.“I am paying less on my mortgage now than I was paying in rent in Sydney.” Andrew Russell, who is the executive general manager at realestate.com.au Home Loans, said they were seeing more confidence from first home buyers.“Have a clear budget in mind that takes into consideration your lifestyle, allows enough of a buffer, and ensures you’re not over committing yourself,” he said. “This is particularly important with interest rate rises on the horizon for most Australian banks”. Fast track buying a home – check out Moneysaver HQ in Monday’s Courier Mail.last_img read more

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Qatar World Cup a ‘blatant mistake’, says FIFA executive Theo Zwanziger

first_imgAwarding the 2022 soccer World Cup to Qatar’s desert state was a “blatant mistake” FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger said, adding that staging the tournament in winter would be just as big a problem.German Zwanziger’s attack on the decision to give the tiny energy-rich Gulf state the world’s biggest single sports event comes after FIFA president Sepp Blatter repeated his view that the finals could not be played in the traditional summer slot.“It was a blatant mistake,” Zwanziger, formerly head of the German football federation (DfB) told Sportbild magazine, referring to the decision taken by world soccer’s governing body in December 2010.Zwanziger, who joined the FIFA executive the following year, also said shifting the tournament to the winter months would put the unity of German football in danger.“Changing the World Cup to the winter is going deep into the structures of European national federations and also amateur football in Germany.”“A change in playing schedules does not only affect the Bundesliga but continues affecting lower divisions due to the link with promotion and relegation. The game pyramid is in danger and so is the unity of German football.” Moving the World Cup to the winter would have a seismic effect on soccer scheduling in Europe.Many leagues outside Britain have a winter break but would need a hiatus of at least six weeks to accommodate national teams preparing for, and playing at, the World Cup finals.The English Premier League, despite not having a winter break, has repeatedly voiced its strong disagreement with moving the tournament to the winter months.“A winter World Cup would mean public viewing with ice skating boots in freezing temperatures,” said Zwanziger.“If the decision was really a mistake it should be lifted and should not become an even bigger burden for those who are not involved by changing it to the winter.” Moving the World Cup to January or February would also have an impact on attendances and television viewing figures for other sporting events like the Australian Open tennis tournament, skiing and the Winter Olympics.Blatter said a month after the decision was taken that he expected the tournament to be moved to the winter. Last week he said a summer World Cup in Qatar was out of the question.Temperatures in Qatar in June and July regularly hit 40C (104f) or higher with 45C (113f) recorded last month.“You can cool down the stadiums but you can’t cool down the whole country and you can’t simply cool down the ambience of a World Cup,” Blatter told a conference in Austria.“The players must be able to play in the best conditions to play a good World Cup.” Blatter had previously stressed that any request to change the timing of the 2022 World Cup would have to come from the organisers but said last week that the FIFA executive committee would meet to discuss the issue in October.last_img read more

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