Monday, March 28, 2011

Consultation on implementation of Telecoms Reform Package

There are just a few days left if you wish to comment on the Department of Communications proposals for implementation of the Telecoms Reform Package.

While there's quite a lot contained in the five sets of proposed regulations, the portions of most interest to me are the proposals regarding the revised E-Privacy Directive (.doc) which will implement a requirement for data breach notification along with new rules regarding cookies.

Curiously enough, there hasn't been much public debate in Ireland about the impact of the new rules regarding cookies - unlike the UK, where a similar implementation (which essentially copies and pastes text directly from the Directive) has been particularly controversial. This may be because the proposed Irish text is more business friendly in explicitly stating that browser settings can be used to show that users consent to cookies. However, it's still not entirely clear from the draft regulations whether this means that the technically unsavvy user will be taken to have consented where they fail to adjust their browser settings from what is (usually) the default "accept all cookies" option. (The Article 29 Working Party, for example, have taken the view that failure to adjust default settings does not amount to an affirmative consent.)

Update: The Department has now confirmed that it has extended the deadline for submissions to 15 April.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Analysis of the new Data Retention Act

Ronan Lupton (barrister and also chair of Irish telecom industry body ALTO) has written a particularly useful and well informed analysis of the impact of the new Data Retention Act on Irish law and has been kind enough to allow me to mirror it here:

The Internet in Society: Empowering or Censoring Citizens?

This video by RSA Animate is a superb visualisation of Evgeny Morozov's recent book The Net Delusion on cyber-utopianism and the impact of the internet on fundamental freedoms. While I don't agree with his overall conclusions, his cyber-realist argument is certainly a welcome corrective to a media tendency to believe in technological determinism and the inevitable spread of freedom via Facebook. His pessimistic views on the crowd-sourcing of surveillance and censorship are particularly insightful and present an interesting challenge for advocates of free speech online.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Impact of the Programme for Government

Daithi MacSithigh has written an excellent post on the new Programme for Government and what it means for technology law and policy in Ireland. There are some particularly interesting commitments on broadband, fair use and cloud computing, while filesharing gets a mention but without any detail as to what the new government plans to do.