Controversy over legislation in the U.S., Europe and Canada to protect online copyright has mobilized a wave of new players from the user comm unity who deploy the Internet in new ways to influence the political debate.  This phenomenon -- characterized by street protests organized via social media, online petitions, viral videos and other "hacktivism" techniques -- is being called "exo-politics" (i.e. outside politics as usual). It may presage a significant change in the political power equation.

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The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has begun to study “the Cloud” as a rising digital technology, viewed by many as the next big frontier in the development of the information age.  ITU involvement could mean stormy weather for the cloud, for both Europeans and Americans. The Americans largely see the cloud as an economic engine, while the Europeans, slow at first to embrace the cloud, now wish to balance its potential with consumer privacy protections.  But the ITU is a global forum, where countries outside of Europe and the U.S. can often impact outcomes--a prospect that is worrisome on both sides of the Atlantic.


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Cloud Computing and the Looming Global Privacy Battle by Michael Chertoff in The Washington Post. Chertoff warns in compelling terms that new privacy rules in Europe could have an unintended effect by preventing Europeans from using global cloud computing facilities. Maintaining transatlantic "interoperability" on data flows is seen as vital in stimulating economic growth in Europe (and the U.S.). Recommended by European Affairs. (2/15)


The top European official dealing with internet matters spoke out publicly against Congressional draft bills penalizing websites for pirating movies as “bad legislation.” Her statement, via Twitter, reflected what her spokesman said was “concern about peoples’ access to the internet.”

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On January 18, 2012, The European Institute welcomed back Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation. With characteristic candor and clarity, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn presented the European Commission’s bold, new Horizon 2020 proposal, that is focused on improving Europe’s science base and research infrastructure, strengthening Europe’s leadership in key industrial technologies, and facilitating research and innovation that address societal challenges. Horizon 2020 carries an €80 billion budget for 2014-2020, renews emphasis on pooling and sharing across member states, and proposes major simplification and harmonization to ensure effective implementation of its policy objectives. Dr. Alan Leshner, Chief Executive Officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science introduced the Commissioner and Kathryn Karol, Vice President for International Government Affairs at Amgen Inc. moderated the discussion.

Click here to read Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn's remarks.

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