What happened online? November 2016

R136 observed with WFC3 / Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. Crowther (University of Sheffield)

01/11 After a nearly ten-year battle, Youtube and the German copyright collecting agency GEMA reach a licensing agreement. They are conspicuously silent, however, regarding its exact conditions.

04/11 While the Turkish government continues to arrest and imprison numerous influential opposition politicians, it also blocks a diverse range of social networks, including Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter, as a “precautionary security measure”.

04/11 The upper house of Germany’s parliament, the Federal Council, legalizes assistance systems utilizing driverless technology, provided the driver is able at any time to override the system and take control of the vehicle.

04/11 In accelerated proceedings, the Federal Council approves legislation providing a legal basis for the established practices of internet.surveillance by the Federal Intelligence Service.

05/11 30 years ago today, the first three of what are now more than 16 million .de addresses were allocated to the universities of Dortmund, Paderborn, and Karlsruhe.

07/11 China’s National People’s Congress passes a new law that seeks to better protect “the order and safety of the Cybersphere”. Among its provisions is a requirement that operators of “critical infrastructure” only buy soft- and hardware officially certified by the state. The law is brimming with vague formulations.

09/11 Facebook announces that it will not route data belonging to European users of Whatsapp to its headquarters in the USA. Facebook sought to open up dialogue on the subject after numerous European data protection advocates had expressed their concerns.

10/11 The German federal parliament’s budgetary committee authorizes the spending of an additional three billion Euro to provide the Federal Police, the Federal Criminal Police Office, and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution with additional personnel and resources. In addition, 14 million Euro from this spending package is earmarked for the German government’s new IT security centre (Zitis), which will assist investigators in data decryption.

11/11 The European Court of Justice rules that e-books are subject to EU guidelines for renting and lending. This allows libraries to limit the borrowing period for digital books.

11/11 The German federal parliament’s budgetary committee authorizes the first phase of financing to develop a spy satellite for the Federal Intelligence Service. The project is expected to cost upwards of 400 million Euro, and be operational by 2022.

11/11 Today is “singles day”, and Chinese online retailers are offering drastic price reductions. Online shipping giant Alibaba alone recorded sales of 16 billion Euro before midnight.

12/11 As a result of a “terrible mistake”, a special message is added to nearly two million Facebook profiles, including that of company CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, explaining that the user in question is deceased.