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The Europe Roundup: More Protests and Halts to ACTA Ratifications

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, February 7 2012

Anti-ACTA protest, Slovenia. Photo: Šiško
  • EU | More Protests and Halts to ACTA Ratifications

    After signing the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, it seems like some EU countries are reconsidering their support to it.

    After Slovenia and Poland, it's Romania's and the Czech Republic's turn.

    Earlier Monday, Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc resigned over protests to austerity measure and also said that he did not have any information on the circumstances surrounding Romania's adoption of ACTA.

    The news has been reported a few days ago by Romanian newspaper Nine O'Clock but was reprised Monday by TechDirt.

    In the afternoon the Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas also announced that his country will suspend the ratification of ACTA after a week of people's protests and hacker attacks. According to the Czech news agency that reported the news, "Internet activists blocked the websites of the Czech government, the OSA copyright protection association, the Chamber of Deputies and of Necas´s senior ruling ODS over the Czech joining ACTA."

    Last week people took the streets in Poland, Austria, Slovenia and France.

    A global day of protest against ACTA has been announced next February 11th. Access Now has published a map and a list of all the planned gatherings.

  • UK | Tweeting Judgements at @UKSupremeCourt

    Starting this week, the UK Supreme Court will start to use Twitter to update on the Supreme Court's judgments in real time.

    The account will be used as "an extension of the court’s commitment to making its proceedings as accessible as possible and engage a new audience who might not be familiar with the court’s work" notes Associated Press, after speaking with a court spokesman, Ben Wilson.

    Livetweeting was allowed in court for the first time about a year ago during WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's bail hearings (Assange is now appealing an orderfor his extradition.) Since then, journalists have had to request permission to use Twitter and similar tools on a case-by-case basis.
    Back in December the head of British judiciary, the Lord Chief Justice, issued a guidance on the use of livetweeting in courts.

  • Germany |  German Soccer Fans Might Pass Through Face Scanners

    In a German state, soccer fans might have to use face scanners to enter stadiums. "The proposals, which entail comparing visitors' biometric data to a database of known football rioters, have been denounced as Orwellian by one national fan association," reports Reuters.

    The proposal is aimed at fighting the lasting problems of violent fans (also called "hooliganism"), where other measures have failed so far, declared Lorenz Caffier, the interior minister of the state, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

    The state government has then commissioned a study to determine the feasibility of the use of this technology in stadiums.

    Facial recognition technology has already been tried out in other countries, such as Poland and Brazil, noted Reuters.