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The EU vs. the Internet

19 comments to The EU vs. the Internet

  • The last Toryboy

    EU delenda est.

  • George Atkisson

    You will all become Tony Robinson clones. One word, link, comment, pic, that the EU and the Brussels bureaucracy do not approve of and you will be fined and disappear from the Internet. Imprisonment will not be far behind.

    The EU wishes to ensure that no challenges to EU policy or to the EU itself can exist in the public realm.

  • Derek Buxton

    But of course, that is what it does best. We have never influenced EU policy except for the utterly stupid Climate Change Act. The problem there though is that we were supposed to lead the charge of stupidity, although funnily enough we are the only Country with such harsh rules aimed at destroying all our freedoms whilst the EU are promoting wood and lignite burning.

  • Mr Ecks

    Thanks for the posting Mr deH.

    The scheme is so crazy that it will fail because of economic damage alone–why buy an iPhone if BBC & MSM propaganda is all you can get on it–but it could easily wreak colossal havoc before it falls.

    If some scumbag announces he is going to piss on you it is better to get the fight started before he has a chance to unzip his flies rather than hoping to dry off and retaliate then. So to speak.

  • Bruce

    Does anyone remember “dial-up” and “bulletin boards”?

    Peer to peer links?

    CPM? (Only if you are desperate or a real historical code buff…)

    Slow-scan TV over HF radios?

    Continuous-keyed Morse?


    “Numbers” stations?

  • Mr Ed

    Many thanks to Mr Ecks for highlighting this video, I quite like the chap who does the video, he has a range of stuff from culture to tech on his channels.

    Moving on to the wider issue of why leaving the EU matters (and why remaining is not a good idea), here is a speech given by Martin Howe QC of Lawyers for Britain (nephew of Sir Geoffrey Howe, but everyone is allowed an embarrassing uncle, heh?).

    One quote I like:

    apart from tiny Malta, the United Kingdom has the lowest percentage of any Member State of exports to other states within the EU. More than half of our goods exports go outside the EU. For goods and services combined, 57% of our exports now go to non-EU destinations according to the latest 2016 figures.

    This unusual trade pattern means that only a minority of our exports benefit from free trade inside the EU, while we suffer disproportionately from the inability to conduct our own international trade policy.

    The long term trend over the last 20 years has been for our EU trade to diminish relative to our trade with the rest of the world, which has been strongly growin (sic.)

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    I think the way GDPR, and now this, crept up on everyone, really does exemplify the problems with the EU. Obviously it is too big to be functional, and big states are inherently bad. Less obviously, no-one can keep track of everything going on; there are few checks and balances; the ratchet effect is more pronounced.

    I am glum about the state of UK politics but I am least able to be hopeful that UK things can be improved over a long enough timescale.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Archetypal socialist group punishment, F*cebook et al steal customer data, now all the little operators who had nothing to do with it and no intention of mass privacy violation now need to fess up, and it wont make a jot of difference to the big net company P&L or how they operate. This kind of thinking never works, you can only hope they don’t get to Maoist levels and start killing millions as a result.

    This is just another EU oversight, compare and contrast; EU puts limits on vacuum cleaner power “to save energy”, then demands all cars have their lights on all the time! Meanwhile the European vacuum cleaner manufacturers neatly side-step the rules using a trick much the same as VW did (but they didn’t get caught), end result – more net energy usage (CO2, etc). SO what will emerge from GDPR is a whole industry created to circumvent the rules and probably one that will weaken internet security and privacy as a result.

  • Sam Duncan

    This guy keeps popping up in my YouTube recommendations. I should probably start watching his stuff.

    But I really don’t like the campaign page. It doesn’t spell out the danger clearly enough. By banging on about “content creators”, “big companies” (boooo, hisss!), and memes, it gives the casual observer the idea that this is just about people who are already skirting the edges of copyright law wanting to keep doing what they’re doing with impunity.

    Make no mistake: this is about censorship and the EU controlling what you can see on the Web, regardless of its copyright status. It only takes a few moments’ thought to see what will happen. If you can’t link to copyright material (i.e., anything), the Web completely breaks down. So major players like Google and Facebook step in as White Knights in Shining Armour, and say that they will pay all the licences. If you want to link to a news article, you have to post the Google link.

    And bingo! The EU has a phone number for the Internet. The ludicrous “right to be forgotten” grows teeth. I don’t imagine for a second that this is accidental.

    “I am glum about the state of UK politics but I am least able to be hopeful that UK things can be improved over a long enough timescale.”

    Indeed. Unfortunately, our Parliament will have to waste its time repealing this insanity should it go through because the Exit Act will automatically incorporate it into our law.

  • Paul Marks

    David Cullen is an Irishman – of the old sort. Rare in the Republic now – although more common in Ulster (especially among the Protestants – the enemies of Mr Cullen’s own ancestors).

    “An Irishman can not count” is one old saying (although it should really be “an Irishman refuses to count”) – meaning that a Irishman will fight, on a point of principle, regardless of the numbers against him (he will not even count his opponents – other than on the edge of his sword, or at the end of his fists). This does not mean that Irishmen always win – far from it, they often lose battles and wars. But they always put on a fine show – and death comes to all men, no matter how much they hide from it. So why not welcome Lady Death like the friend the good lady is?

    If the end of liberty is coming (and it most likely it is) better to go out like David Cullen – “stupidly” taking on all comers, rather than the modern British (and modern Irish) way, of smiling and pretending to believe whatever one is TOLD to believe.

  • bobby b

    Still confused about one thing:

    Say I run a medium-sized Midwest-USA-based internet retail business. I market to Americans, but obviously anyone globally can see my website, and so I do get some orders from the EU. (Per the terms of the GDPR, that would give me a data subject within the EU, and thus make the GDPR applicable to me.)

    At some point, some Eu-crat decides I’m in violation of the GDPR through my data opt-out policies. He levies a $200,000 fine against my site.

    So what? Why should I care? What’s the enforcement mechanism for a state which has no jurisdiction over me to collect that fine? Do I then simply lose my access to EU customers?

  • Bod


    My understanding is that if you don’t store information about the EU Serf, you’re in the clear. He doesn’t have an “account” in your commerce site; you don’t store any account information. You rely on a credit card-servicing company to handle the financial transaction. This is inconvenient for the Serf, makes it hard for you to develop brand loyalty, but it pushes most of the liability off onto the card-servicing company. I have no doubt that there are some card-servicing companies out there who are ready and prepared for this eventuality once the small-business community start to get aware of the details.

    The only question in my mind is whether the transient ‘ownership’ of the information on the client’s name and address within my buisiness which would be required for the physical fulfillment of the merchandise would be a violation. I think you could certainly demonstrate that you don’t store data on one of your servers.

    The whole thing is simply a modern incarnation of Bastiat’s negative railroad.

  • bobby b

    Thanks, Bod.

    But what if I DO store information about the EU Serf? What keeps me from sending an e-mail to the EU saying “I’m violating your stupid new law, and you can’t touch me!”?

    What possible power can they have over an American website?

  • Mr Ed

    Bod, bobby b.

    The huge problem is that anything to do with ‘personal data’ is covered, so that includes name, address and even customer number, here are a couple of definitions from the GDPR.

    Article 4


    For the purposes of this Regulation:

    (1)‘personal data’ means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person;

    (2) ‘processing’ means any operation or set of operations which is performed on personal data or on sets of personal data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction;

    Bear in mind that if you have a meeting at work, and someone attends the meeting and it is minuted, that is regarded as their ‘biographical data’ and is disclosable to them on request, but not the data of others who were there, because that would be disclosing their personal data without consent. You may not keep, or process, or delete that data without a lawful basis for doing so. That is the tip of the iceberg of issues that this totalitarian law produces.

  • Mr Ed

    bobby b

    Can not the EU obtain a judgment in an EU state against you and register it as a civil judgment in your State (or Federal) courts? Then enforce in the normal way?

  • bobby b

    Mr. Ed:

    My education concerning international enforcement is woefully lacking, but I believe that, as a prerequisite, the USA only allows civil judgment recognition if the foreign court had personal jurisdiction over the debtor when the judgment was entered.

    I just don’t see how personal jurisdiction could be obtained, unless I consented to it or got picked up within their geographical area, or unless the USA had a specific treaty or agreement with the EU to enforce the new rules (which we don’t.)

    I liken this to a situation where someone in the Islamic republic of Whackistan sues me in Whackistan court for publishing a drawing of Mohammad. Without personal jurisdiction, I’m going to laugh them off. They have no power here. No American court is going to enforce their judgment against me. But lots of American websites seem to be altering their practices to comply with the new rules, so I wonder if I’m missing something.

  • Mr Ed

    bobby b

    I know very little of the law in the area of extension of jurisdiction but I agree that if Dorothy in Kansas breaches the GDPR, then that’s as relevant as Gerhard in Berlin not respecting California’s exhaust emission rules.

    It may be that the banks of the notional US trader would be worried about retaliation, and US media would have assets in the EU to go after.

    The appropriate response from the US to enforcement action would be a cruise missile through the third window from the left on the second floor of the EU Commission’s building.

    The EU in fact, is Whackystan, but it’s not funny, and not quite Whackistan. When the USSR collapsed, someone suggested that the newly-formed ‘Commonwealth of Independent States’ be termed ‘Absurdistan’, so that name is taken.

  • bobby b

    My real worry is that internet operations all over the world are being redesigned to comply with the GDPR, not because the operators are worried about it being applicable to them, but because they recognize that this is the way of the future – that GDPR principles are going to become the worldwide norm sometime soon.

    As Mr. Rahm once said, never let a crisis go to waste. What better time to quash the rebellion of the freedom-boosting internet then when the world has privacy concerns and you can pass sweeping new laws that lock everyone out under the guise of protecting privacy?

  • Bod

    Internet operations all over the world ARE being redesigned to comply with the GDPR already. Zoho, a managed SAAS company based in India warrants that EU clients data is hosted in (and only in) the EU, and similarly in the US for the US clients.

    Some of the actors impacted may not be highly aware or concerned at the moment, and feel that the crocodile is never going to be hungry enough to go after them.

    They are – I suspect – quite wrong, which is why I forsee e-commerce, for example, being dominated by the names we already know, plus some new players that provide services to smaller businesses to specifically protect them from prosecution.

    If I run a website where a purchaser is directed to Paypal.com to make a payment on an order, where all I see in return is a payment confirmation, and a prepaid shipping label for Paypal’s logistics center at large warehouse at JFK, I as a vendor am isolated from violating GDPR.

    Paypal assume that risk, leveraging some of their existing technical infrastructure wish they themselves needed anyway – for a slice of my profits – (probably a significant slice) which is taken out of the check I get from them in 30 days’ time.