MEPs deplore Council’s continued secrecy on ACTA

The “four musketeers” of the European Parliament (Lambrinidis/GR, Castex/FR, Alvaro/DE and Roithova/CZ) issued a press release deploring EU Council’s continued secrecy on ACTA.


Strasbourg, 10 March 2010

MEPs deplore Council’s continued secrecy on ACTA

Council’s intransigence to disclose all documents relating to the negotiations over an International Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) between the EU and more than 38 countries around the world, has stirred sentiments to Members of the European Parliament.

In a statement released today, MEPs Lambrinidis (S&D, Greece), Castex (S&D, France), Alvaro (ALDE, Germany) and Roithova (EPP, Czech Republic) deeply regret the fact that the Council is continuing its secretive stance, despite the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which stipulates that the European Parliament should have full and immediate access to information at all stages of international negotiations. They also applaud a joint resolution tabled today by all political groups, according to which, the European Parliament reserves its right to take the case to the European Court of Justice in order to safeguard its prerogatives.

The four MEPs recently expressed their discontent and disapproval to such practices, in a Written Declaration to the European Parliament, which is rapidly on its way to be adopted by a majority of Representatives in the House.

Vice-President of the European Parliament Stavros Lambrinidis added the following:

“This Parliament will not sit back silently while the fundamental rights of millions of citizens are being negotiated away behind closed doors. We oppose any “legislation laundering” on an international level of what would be very difficult to get through most national legislatures or the European Parliament. We are giving private companies sweeping rights to monitor indiscriminately every citizen’s activities on the internet — something that we refuse to allow even to our police when fighting terrorism. Access to the internet is in itself a fundamental right. It must be treated and protected as such”.

According to MEP Françoise Castex, shadow rapporteur on the Gallo report on IPRs enforcement in the internal market: “Beyond the issue of transparency, we will not accept a text which might undermine access to medicines, freedom of speech and internet service providers liability. ACTA, by putting pressure on Internet service providers opens the door to private ‘three strikes’ approaches and generalized surveillance of the Net.”

Alexander Alvaro, substitute member of the LIBE committee said: “Without any doubt, we have to fight counterfeiting rigorously. However, this fight should not be misused to introduce measures that were repeatedly declined by Parliament. Any international agreement affecting the everyday lives of European citizens must be discussed in a transparent and public manner – especially when issues such as blocking internet access of citizens are part of the agreement. We expect the Commission to make sure that the ACTA agreement fully sticks to the acquis communautaire and does not become acronym for Another Crazy Treaty Agreed.”

Zuzana Roithová, rapporteur of the IMCO committee on the Gallo report on IPRs enforcement in the internal market, urges “Counterfeiting is the cancer of the Internal Market and the EU is desperately seeking the cure. The ACTA should improve international cooperation, if it offers the appropriate measures. It should focus on the counterfeited goods, which are dangerous to our health and lives, instead of hunting our high school students for downloading computer games from the Internet. It is unacceptable that the European Parliament is not informed about the current status of negotiations. If the Commission will not communicate with the Parliament there is a risk that the Parliament will refuse the ACTA as it refused the SWIFT agreement. Then we would lose another tool to tackle infringements of intellectual property rights. The majority of counterfeited goods come to Europe from China, but China is not involved in negotiations. How does the Commission think that it could persuade China to sign the ACTA afterwards?”

post to twitter, but keep your data under your control.

I’ve been using twitter since 2006, but I’m not a big fan of it. However, it has become my main way of sharing links and information, replacing other services, like delicious.

One of the things I don’t like about twitter is the feeling that all this information that I’ve shared is somewhere “in there”, but I don’t really have access to it. It’s practically impossible for me to search and use my tweets from 2 years ago. I also don’t know what will happen in 5 or 10 years, if twitter decides to shut down -it’s not the first time I use a service that is cool and hyped, and then, after some years no one cares about!

That’s why I decided to set up a separate wordpress blog, used mainly to tweet. (Have a look at Whenever I want to share something to twitter, I post it there, and it immediately appears on twitter. As an extra bonus, I have all my shared links and thoughts tagged, making them easier to search.

This set up lets me use only as a distribution medium. The main source of information, my main repository, is my own blog, where I have full control. Twitter, facebook, friendfeed or buzz become just distribution media.

This is how I set up

1. I used the prologue theme. It’s simple and let’s me post from the homepage of my blog.

2. I set up my feed on feedburner and activated the “socialize” option (under “publicize”)

3. I made sure my blog pings the feedburner ping server. (Go to WordPress Settings->Writting->Update Services and add “”)

That’s it!

To be honest, I feel there are some more things that could be done, to better integrate with twitter. For example, I’d love a plug-in that “prepares” each post especially for twitter:
- it would convert long URLs to short URLs only in the feed
- if the post is longer than 140 chars, it would include a link back to the original post, but if it’s up to 140 it wouldn’t. (I’m not interested in driving traffic back to this blog, I’ve even disabled comments, there’s no need to point back to it unless there is more information that doesn;t fit in 140 characters.)
- it would create a special twitter feed with the above mentioned modifications, and leave the normal rss feed unmodified. I’d post to twitter using the “special” feed, and let other services, like RSS aggregators use the original feed.

Google public DNS: these guys scare me.

Why would Google offer a public DNS service?

Because it’s a cheap and easy way to track attention today and in the future. (Almost) anything you do on the internet requires DNS queries. And when I say anything I don’t mean just web browsing (HTTP). I mean email, ftp, and most other internet applications.

Google wants to know what is going on on the net. They want to know of new sites. The want to know sparks in attention regarding a specific domain or service. Google Analytics does that -to a certain extent.

But if they could track all (or most, or a large portion) of DNS requests, they would be able to know in (almost) real time where is the global attention focused. They would also be able to track changes in the internet topology: if I move my data center to a new ISP, they will know, since all the IPs of my servers would change. Or, if users start using BING, they will know. They will also know, if, for example, the usage pattern of has changed in the last hours or days.

Oh, one more thing: a DNS service that big can be turned into a cache cow: Google, already have a service called Google AdSense for Domains, my guess is they will extend it to be used for misspelled domain names.

And, in case some new, exotic service appears, they will be able to spot it and estimate it’s traffic…

Google public DNS service is a good move from their part. But I don’t like it. They have started to scare me.

The Openfund-selected start-ups.


Today, The OpenFund anounced the selection of the first series of start-ups.

Four promising companies: (with an “a”, that’s right), youscan, fashinating, and my favorite, listiki.

Keep an eye on listiki -I think it can become even bigger than its founders think… I’ll be writing about it.

rssCloud and file sync

Lately, I’ve been testing services like dropbox, sugarsync, etc. The reason is bucket3:
1. I’d like to have a “local” copy of my content and be able to add or update it,
2. then have it automatically synced to my server,
3. where bucket3 would notice the changes and update my blog.
4. I would also like to have content added on the server side, by other means (ex. a script downloading my twitter updates daily), synced back to my laptop.

In order for this to work, first of all, I need a file syncing service. Most of the above mentioned are good in syncing files -even though Linux CLI support is very bad, and my server is a Linux box. So they are on the right track.

dropbox has a nice feature: they have an RSS feed of all the changes.

Then it struck me. We need an open source file syncing service that would use RSS to describe the changes on the “main” file repo, and then use rssCloud to notify the rest of the repos.

It would work like this:
1. A local repo knows when a new file is added or modified and pushes this change to the main repo.
2. The main repo updates its changes.xml rss feed and uses rssCloud to notify all local repos of changes.
3. Local repos pull the changes and everything is in sync.

Of course, it might me as easy to set the whole thing as a decentralized system, where no “central” or “main” repository exists, and all repositories notify the rest of any changes.

An extra bonus: it would be very easy for developers to implement action hooks, the github style: for example, I’d like to run a couple of bucket3 scripts when new content is added or updated.

And the whole mechanism is based on open standards, widespread knowledge and experience with RSS, aggregators and tools like rsync making it easy to can have different implementations per platform of programming language or needs.

my dream blog engine

Let’s say I could have my dream blog engine. How would that be?

– it would let me easily copy the whole blog to a new server when I decide to change hosting providers.
– I wouldn’t have to worry for database or other updates if I decide to abandon it
– I would be able to keep a copy of my posts localy
– I should actually have a local copy of *all* my content, including photos of videos posted there.
– It would use a version control system for my content, like git.
– It would allow me to create a folder (a real, file system folder) drop in it a bunch of photos, and it would create a gallery and a post from it.
– It would poll twitter and friendfeed for my activity and pull it back to my blog
– I should be able to send it an email with attachments (ex. a couple of photos and mp3 files), that would be automatically extracted to a folder, and all of them would be bundled in a single post, using the title of my email and its body text.
- I would just have to copy my latest podcast episode MP3 file to it, and it would read the id3 tags and automatically create a new blog entry, with enclosures and all.
- I should be able to easily script crazy things for it, in any language, from python to C -even bash.

That’s why I’m building bucket3.

It will only do very few of the above mentioned. But it will also give developers and sysadmins the tools, the environment, where they will be able to easily add functionality “the UNIX way”: by scripting and gluing together old and new tools.

Suggestion to Friendfeed and WordPress

I need some tools to turn this blog to my Friendfeed page. I need:
1. An advanced wordpress bookmarklet that will work much like the “share on friendfeed” bookmarklet, but will create new blog posts instead. (the default WP one, leaves much to be desired)
2. A good mechanism to instantly publish my posts to Friendfeed. I already got this: FFDirect.
3. Tighter blog-FF integration. An in-site “like” button would be appreciated.

If we get 1 and 3 done, I will use my blog to host my “identity”, and the networking/sharing features of Friendfeed to connect with others.

FFDirect 0.7.0

FFDirect 0.7.0 is out. Most notable new feature is the automatic polling of friendfeed for post “likes” and comments. The results are included in the HTML body of the post (unlike other similar solutions, that use javascript).

If you like the way ffdirect shows up in this blog, try adding the following lines in your CSS:

.ffdirect {
padding: 2px 4px 2px 8px;
background: #ebeff9 ;
font-family:Verdana,"BitStream vera Sans",Helvetica,Sans-serif;
display: block ;
.ffdirect a {
color: #0000cc ;
text-decoration: none;
.ffdirect img {
padding: 0;
margin: 0;

(Make sure you enable the corresponding option in Settings->FFDirect after you install or upgrade the plugin)

help me test the next version of FFDirect

I’m testing the next version of FFDirect. It will automatically insert a link to the corresponding friendfeed entry at the end of a post, and will also pull friendfeed comments and likes. (I’m using version 0.6.1 here, it’s not publicly available yet, I want to make sure everything works fine before relasing it.)

Please help me test it by adding likes and comments at friendfeed -the link should be automatically inserted bellow.

(it may take up to 30 minutes before your likes and number of comments appear here.)

pulling FF likes and comments back to your blog. or not?

It’s been a subject I debate with myself. Do I want the activity that happens around a post of mine in different places around the web pulled back to my blog? For example comments left on friendfeed, of tweets linking to my post?

YES. Yes. I’m not just writing blog posts, I’m initiating conversations, that’s why I have the comments open. The discussion around my posts should be pulled back to my blog!


NO. If people feel more comfortable to discuss my blog posts in other places, I should respect it. They prefer friendfeed or twitter or a forum, for their own reasons. They may even be different groups of people, with different codes of communication -mixing them might not be a good idea. There are even some privacy issues: do I have the right to make public a “protected” discussion on friendfeed, or a private tweet?

Well? What do you think?