The sequel: Influential House member plans to rekindle debate over NSF policies | Science | AAAS
And last Friday Smith sent a letter to the chair of the House Budget Committee pledging that the science committee would require that the four favored directorates must receive 70% of NSF’s research dollars. The committee also plans to revive its attempt to specify funding by directorate, Smith told the budget committee, something that NSF officials say would tie their hands. 

House Democrats say there is no need for a new bill, however, and the Senate appears to have little appetite for a do-over. Moreover, scientific organizations are sure to object strenuously to any legislation that reopens debate on NSF’s core principles and practices.

At the same time, the battle lines have yet to form over another little-discussed provision that Smith agreed to drop from the AICA but that now seems likely to return. It would have required NSF to publicly disclose the names of grantees that the agency finds guilty of scientific misconduct. The agency currently doesn’t do that (because of federal privacy laws, it says), and the AICA requires NSF only to notify other federal agencies of each finding of misconduct. But mandating public disclosures would bring NSF’s practices more in line with another federal agency that handles misconduct allegations involving the government’s much larger investment in biomedical research.

Déjà
open_knowledge 
8 days ago
Policy Series: A Third-Image Explanation for Why Trump Now: A Response to Robert Jervis’s "President Trump and IR Theory" | ISSFISSF
but I suspect that I was asked to participate in this policy roundtable because of my remarks about Donald Trump to The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos, which appeared in the 26 September 2016 issue: “I think we’re just at a point in our history where he’s probably the right guy"
international_affairs_class 
10 days ago
Bitcoin Is Still Unsustainable - Motherboard
Unfortunately, it's more likely that things are getting worse. A new index has recently modeled potential energy costs per transaction as high as 94 kWh, or enough electricity to power 3.17 households for a day. To put it another way, that's almost enough energy to fully charge the battery of a Tesla Model S P100D, the world's quickest production car, and drive it over 300 miles.

How could one bitcoin transaction possibly use this much electricity? First, a bit of context about mining.

Bitcoin
bitcoin_madness 
16 days ago
Will the Real Psychometric Targeters Please Stand Up? | Civic Hall
For the past week or so, an article titled “The Data That Turned the World Upside Down” has been following me around like a bad headcold.

The article tells a compelling “whodunit” story of data scientists, engineers, and political communicators, all fighting for control of a new, weaponized form of online political propaganda. It leads readers to the conclusion that conservative data vendor Cambridge Analytica (CA) used Big Data and “psychometric targeting” (also called psychographic targeting) to propel Donald Trump to the White House.

I’ve written about Cambridge Analytica before (several times, in fact). I am on record as a loud CA skeptic. I have described them as the Theranos of political data: I think they have a tremendous marketing department, coupled with a team of research scientists who provide on virtually none of those marketing promises
big_data 
21 days ago
US government asks High Court to refuse Facebook case referral
The US government has urged the High Court to refuse the Data Protection Commissioner’s bid to have the Court of Justice of the EU decide issues with potentially enormous consequences for EU-US data transfers.
Eileen Barrington SC, for the US, said the commissioner’s “unique”, “unusual” and “unprecedented” application for a reference to the CJEU was based on her “fatally flawed” draft finding concerning adequacy of remedies available in the US for breach of data privacy rights of EU citizens.
This application was of “critical significance” to the US for legal and commercial reasons and should be dismissed for reasons including it had been “entirely overtaken by events”, particularly the 2016 agreement between the European Commission and US on the Privacy Shield framework for EU-US data transfers.
She was also instructed it was “inconceivable” to suggest measures governing activities of the US intelligence community could just “disappear” or be “surreptitiously revoked” by orders or measures of the US executive.
Ms Barrington was making submissions in the continuing action by commissioner Helen Dixon, brought after she reached a draft finding in May 2016 that Austrian lawyer Max Schrems had “well-founded” objections concerning transfer of his personal data by Facebook Ireland to its US parent, Facebook Inc.
The draft finding was based on the commissioner’s assessment of adequacy of remedies available in the US for breach of data privacy rights of EU citizens.
Standard contractual clauses
The case is against Facebook and Mr Schrems but its essential purpose is to have the CJEU decide whether EC decisions approving use of standard contractual clauses (SCCs) for EU-US data transfers are valid or otherwise.
On Thursday, Ms Barrington began her submissions for the US government in its role as an amicus curiae, assistant to the court on legal issues.
This case is unique and unprecedented as it involved an EU member state being asked to review laws of a third country and to assess their adequacy in terms of EU law, counsel said. The US “is not just any third country” and already benefits from adequacy decisions adopted by the European Commission
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The commissioner had “strikingly failed” to identify and fully consider the extent of remedies available, she said. The “uncontroverted” evidence from a US law expert for Facebook, was that the overall remedies available in the US were greater than those available in individual EU member states.
When the CJEU previously struck down the Safe Harbour agreement on data transfers after the High Court referred earlier issues in Mr Schrems’ case, both the High Court and CJEU proceeded on the basis of an “incomplete” picture of the US regime, she said.
The US is “extremely anxious” to ensure that would not happen again. If the High Court did refer to the CJEU, and the US argued it should not, then the US was anxious the “full panoply of protections” should be comprehensively outlined to the CJEU.
Edward Snowden
Various “systemic” reforms were made after the Edward Snowden disclosures which were not considered during the earlier CJEU case, she added.
If the High Court decided to consider the adequacy of US law, although the US maintained it should not, it must look at the totality of protections available in the US and not just address the issue from the “narrow perspective of judicial decisions”. If it did so, it must conclude the remedies are adequate.
The commissioner had not considered submissions from the US government concerning Privacy Shield or sought submissions form the US government on US law before making her draft finding. The commissioner’s side said her concern was “to get it right” and she was not advocating a particular result but the case had “taken on all the hallmarks of adversarial proceedings”.
Earlier, Michael Cush SC, made submissions for another amicus curiae, Digital Europe, representing the European digital technology industry.
He argued the case had potentially enormous adverse consequences for the digital industry if it led to any interruption of transatlantic data transfers. The Commissioner’s decision was wrong and involved an incorrect applicaiton of Articles 25 and 26 of the European data privacy directive, he submitted.
The case continues.
privacy  Privacy_Shield 
21 days ago
Alt-right darling Mencius Moldbug wanted to destroy democracy. Now he wants to sell you web services - The Verge
In 2013, Yarvin largely moved away from blogging and sped up work on the second, more professional project. Since 2002, Yarvin had been working on an algorithm — the backbone of Urbit, a product that would restructure how people use the internet. In 2013, he launched the San Francisco-based company Tlon, which oversees Urbit.
forces_of_reaction 
4 weeks ago
4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump – Medium
As someone who has witnessed 4chan grow from a group of adolescent boys who could fit into a single room at my local anime convention to a worldwide coalition of right wing extremists (which is still somehow also a message board about anime), I feel I have some obligation to explain.
This essay is an attempt to untangle the threads of 4chan and the far right.
Internet  cognitive_democracy 
4 weeks ago
Hungary and the End of Politics | The Nation
 Civil-society groups that backed the allied opposition could have bought billboard space as well—but “civil society” is largely a misnomer in Hungary. Virtually all of the major groups, including churches, are funded by the state, either through the National Civil Fund (now known as the National Cooperation Fund) or direct allocations by Parliament. Few groups have independent or private funding. Since 2010, the Orbán government has presided over a general defunding of left organizations, and none of the groups in the opposition camp have the funds to sufficiently support their favored political parties. Besides, in the absence of any regulation to the contrary, the government-allied billboard companies allocated all of the space to their friends.
civil_society 
4 weeks ago
Data Commissioner legally required to suspend US data transfers, court told
Austrian lawyer Max Schrems believes the Irish Data Protection Commissioner is required under law, and with no need to first go to the European courts, to suspend transfers of the personal data of EU citizens to the US, the High Court has heard.
That obligation arises without a need for the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) to first decide on the validity of European Commission decisions approving the use of data transfer channels known as standard contractual clauses (SCCs), Eoin McCullough SC, for Mr Schrems, argued.
Paul Gallagher SC, for Facebook, said what Mr Schrems was seeking was “extraordinary” with enormous implications not just for Facebook and other large entities but also for many small firms engaged in transatlantic trade.
Ms Justice Caroline Costello heard a brief outline of arguments on behalf of Mr Schrems and Facebook on Thursday in the continuing action by commissioner Helen Dixon to have the Irish court ask the CJEU to determine the validity or otherwise of the SCC decisions.
The action arises from a complaint by Mr Schrems that his EU data privacy rights were breached by transfer of his personal data by Facebook Ireland – because Facebook’s European headquarters are in Ireland – to its parent in the US, Facebook Inc.
No orders sought
The case is against Mr Schrems and Facebook but no orders are sought against them and the commissioner’s objective is to secure a CJEU determination before she finalises her decision on Mr Schrems’ complaint.
The proceedings for a referral were taken after the commissioner made a draft finding in May 2016 Mr Schrems had “well-founded” objections over the data transfers, based on her draft view that US law does not provide an effective remedy, within the meaning of article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Freedoms, for breach of data privacy rights of EU citizens.
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On Thursday, Mr McCullough said Mr Schrems agreed with the commissioner on the absence of an effective judicial remedy under US law and on the premise that such remedies as are available do not meet EU law requirements due to a range of exemptions, wide immunities and barriers
Where Mr Schrems differed from the commissioner is that he considers it is neither necessary nor appropriate, or it is at least premature, to make a reference to the CJEU, counsel said.
Mr Schrems’ complaint over transfer of his personal data is not limited to the SCCs but extends to other data transfer channels, counsel said. The complaint can be decided by the commissioner on the material already available, including the CJEU decision striking down the Safe Harbour arrangement for data transfers, counsel argued.
Mr Schrems considered the material relied upon by the commissioner in seeking this reference should automatically lead to the commissioner suspending data transfers, he said.
The relevant law meant a referral to the CJEU has to be “necessary” for a decision on Mr Schrems’ complaint, there was no such necessity and the commissioner had sought to create a necessity, he argued.
Arguments for Facebook
Beginning his arguments for Facebook, Mr Gallagher said what Mr Schrems wanted was “extraordinary” but his side’s focus was on Facebook’s opposition, for different reasons to Mr Schrems, to a reference to the CJEU.
The commissioner’s draft decision that Mr Schrems has “well-founded” objections to data transfers was “deeply flawed”, based on a “wrong” assessment and had been overtaken by events, including the 2016 EU-US Privacy Shield framework agreement for data transfer, counsel said.
A reference to the CJEU would have “enormous consequences”, casting doubt on the Privacy Shield framework which was not part of this application and due for review in July, he added.
The case continues on Friday.
privacy  Privacy_Shield 
5 weeks ago
01-02-2017 Update on Litigation involving Facebook and Maximilian Schrems - Data Protection Commissioner - Ireland
Data Protection Commissioner Data Protection Commissioner
UPDATE ON LITIGATION INVOLVING FACEBOOK AND MAXIMILIAN SCHREMS

Explanatory Memo

Further Explanatory Memo (31st January 2017)
On 28 September 2016 the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) published an explanatory memo (beneath) on the proceedings currently pending before the High Court. The title of those proceedings is “Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook Ireland Limited & Maxmillian Schrems”. The Court Record (Reference) Number is 2016/4809P.

In this case, the DPC is asking the High Court to make a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) as to the validity of the “standard contractual clauses” (SCCs) mechanism under which, at present, personal data can be transferred from the EU to the US. Because the SCCs mechanism is established under a decision of the European Commission, only the CJEU can make a ruling to the effect that the mechanism is invalid. Such a ruling cannot be made by the DPC or by any national court.

In the first Schrems case, the CJEU delivered a judgment in which it found that the “Safe Harbour” arrangements for EU/US data transfers were invalid.The DPC is now asking the High Court to make a reference to the CJEU in relation to the validity of the SCCs mechanism. This step has been taken because the DPC has concerns as to the validity of the SCCs when considered in the light of a number of factors, to include Articles 7, 8 and 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and the CJEU’s judgment in the first Schrems case. The DPC considers that the concerns she holds, and the concerns expressed by Mr Schrems in a complaint filed with the DPC’s office, are well-founded. The High Court will now decide if it agrees with the DPC’s assessment.
The purpose of this note is to provide an update in relation to the progress of the proceedings.
How have the proceedings progressed since September 2016?
1. The parties and 4 amicus curiae (“friends of the Court”) filed a series of pleading documents, affidavits and legal submissions in the period between 9 September 2016 and 20 January 2017. Those documents fix the scope of the proceedings. They also set out the parties’ respective positions on the issues to be decided by the Court.
2. The September explanatory memo referred to an application brought by Mr Schrems in which he asked the court to limit his costs’ exposure in the case. That application was withdrawn by Mr Schrems before it was due to be heard in November.
3. The case is listed for hearing on 7 February 2017. It is scheduled to run for approximately 3 weeks week.
4. In advance of the hearing, the High Court made a number of rulings on 27 January 2017 in relation to the conduct of the hearing. Amongst other things, the Court directed that the following basic running order will apply:
(a) The hearing will commence on 7 February 2017 with opening submissions from the DPC.
(b) Short opening statements will follow from Mr Schrems and Facebook, in that order.
(c) Mr Schrems’ expert witness will be cross-examined on Friday, 10 February 2017.
(d) This will be followed by cross-examination of the DPC’s expert witnesses, and those of Facebook.
(e) Each of the 4 “friends of the court” will then make legal submissions in relation to the matters in issue in the case.
(f) The case will close with submissions to be made by each of the parties, in the following sequence: Mr Schrems will go first; he will be followed by Facebook, and then the Commissioner.

There are also a number of other procedural issues that will also need to be decided by the Court in the course of the trial, at a time the Court considers appropriate. These include issues relating to the evidence which is to be admitted by the Court.

The DPC will publish one or more further updates on these proceedings, including in relation to the resolution of the outstanding procedural issues, as the hearing of the case progresses.




Explanatory Memo (28th September 2016)

On 31 May 2016, the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) commenced proceedings in the Irish High Court. The purpose of the proceedings is to seek a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in relation to the “standard contractual clauses” mechanism under which, at present, personal data can be transferred from the EU to the US.
While the DPC does not seek any specific relief against Mr Schrems or Facebook Ireland Limited (FB), both of those parties were joined to the proceedings because the outcome of the case will impact on the DPC’s consideration of Mr Schrems’ complaint against Facebook (see further below). By joining Mr Schrems and FB to the proceedings, the DPC also ensured that those parties would have an opportunity (but not an obligation) to participate in the proceedings.

The purpose of this note is to explain the background to the case, the reasons why the DPC has taken the case and the current position in the High Court as of September 2016.

What is the background to the proceedings?
1. The case has its roots in a complaint about Facebook which was made to the DPC on 25 June 2013 by Mr Schrems, an Austrian national. Mr Schrems was concerned that, because his personal data was being transferred from FB to its US parent company Facebook Inc, his personal data was then being accessed unlawfully by US state security agencies. Mr Schrems’ concerns arose in light of the disclosures by Edward Snowden regarding a programme called “PRISM” said to be operated by the US National Security Agency (NSA). The data transfers by FB to Facebook Inc were being carried out under the Safe Harbour regime. This regime was established by way of an EU Commission decision in 2000 (the Safe Harbour Decision) which deemed the US to have an adequate level of data protection where the Safe Harbour regime was adhered to by parties involved in personal data transfers from the EU to the US.

2. The DPC declined to investigate Mr Schrems’ complaint as the DPC was bound under existing national and EU law to apply the Safe Harbour Decision. Mr Schrems then applied to the Irish High Court for a judicial review of this decision. On 18 June 2014, Mr Justice Hogan delivered his judgment holding that the essential question for determination was whether the DPC was bound by the Safe Harbour Decision as regards the adequacy of data protection law and practice in the US having regard to Article 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (the “Charter”) which entered into force after the Safe Harbour Decision. Article 8 of the Charter establishes the right of every person to protection of their personal data. Because the Irish Court did not have authority to make any ruling in relation to the Safe Harbour Decision, it referred this issue to the CJEU to determine whether in light of Article 7 (the right to respect for private and family life, home and communications), Article 8 (mentioned above) and Article 47 (the right to an effective remedy where rights and freedoms guaranteed by EU law are violated) of the Charter, the DPC was correct in his view that he was bound in absolute terms by the Safe Harbour Decision.

3. In its judgment delivered on 6 October 2015 the CJEU ruled that, notwithstanding a decision of the EU Commission as to the adequacy of data protection provided by a third country (such as the Safe Harbour Decision), a data protection authority was not prevented from examining the complaint of a data subject as regards an alleged inadequate level of data protection provided by that third country. In fact the Court held that it was incumbent upon the national data protection authority to examine a complaint with all due diligence where the individual claimed that an EU Commission decision was incompatible with protection of privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms. However the CJEU made it very clear that although national data protection authorities may consider the validity of an EU act, such as an EU Commission decision, they cannot declare that decision invalid themselves and only the CJEU may. The CJEU went on to rule that the Safe Harbour Decision itself was invalid.

4. The CJEU gave very specific directions (paragraph 65 of the judgment) as to how European data protection authorities should in future deal with a complaint that calls into question a decision of the EU Commission, which the national data protection authority considers to be well founded. The data protection authority must engage in legal proceedings, the CJEU said, before its national courts and, if the national Court shares those doubts as to the validity of the EU Commission decision, the national Court must then make a reference to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling on validity.

5. When Mr Schrems’ proceedings were returned before the Irish High Court again on 20 October 2015 the decision of the CJEU was implemented by the making of a High Court Order which set aside the decision by the DPC not to investigate Mr Schrems’ complaint of 25 June 2013. The High Court then remitted Mr Schrems’ original complaint back to the DPC for investigation.

Why has the DPC taken the current proceedings?

6. Immediately following the Irish High Court Order of 20 October 2015, an investigation into Mr Schrems’ complaint was commenced. Later, Mr Schrems reformulated and resubmitted his complaint to take account of the fact that the Safe Harbour Decision had been struck down. The DPC agreed to proceed on the basis of that reformulated complaint.

7. In the course of its investigation, this office established that FB continues to transfer personal data to Facebook Inc, in reliance in large part on the use of standard contractual clauses (SCCs). These are pro forma agreements which have been approved, by way of certain EU Commission decisions, as providing adequate data protection for the purposes of … [more]
Privacy_Shield  privacy 
5 weeks ago
Net Politics President Trump’s Unlikely Effect on the U.S.-EU Tech Relationship - Net Politics
Obama years as a high point of value-based cooperation are viewing history through rose-colored glasses. The U.S.-EU relationship was rocky, especially with respect to tech policy and ensuring that the rule of law is respected and transposed to online life. Whereas Europeans tend to consider privacy rights as non-negotiable, Americans are often quick to dismiss European concerns as over-regulation not in their economic interest.
privacy  Privacy_Shield 
6 weeks ago
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