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London's Deputy Mayor On Ditching Diesel 173

dkatana writes: During an interview in Barcelona last week, at the Smart Cities Congress, London's Deputy Mayor Matthew Pencharz said that he doesn't believe diesel cars belong in cities. He said, "I don't believe that for the urban setting, for light vehicles, diesel is the right thing," He added, "I don't think it is the right thing if you are an urban driver, stopping-starting in traffic all day, not going very far, not zipping along at 50 mph on the motorway. [I think] diesel is not the right technology." He also blamed the European Commission for being too lenient with emission standards and conformity factors. "The conformity factors the Commission [has recently approved] are not as good as we would like, clearly, because we are going to have the same problem again," he said. "The VW scandal has focused attention on a problem we hardly knew about, and it has raised to the top the public policy of failure of dieselization across the European Union, and the UK too, combined with the spectacular failure of the Euro engine standards," he said. "[The scandal] has focused our minds on the fact that we need to accelerate the way out of diesel."

Google Scours 1.2 Million URLs To Conform With EU's "Right To Be Forgotten" Law (engadget.com) 66

An anonymous reader writes: According to a Google report the company has evaluated 1,234,092 URLs from 348,085 requests since the EU's May 2014 "right to be forgotten" ruling, and has removed 42% of those URLs. Engadget reports: "To show how it comes to its decisions, the company shared some of the requests it received and its decisions. For example: a private citizen that was convicted of a serious crime, but had that conviction overturned during appeal, had search results about the crime removed. Meanwhile a high ranking public official in Hungary failed to get the results squelched of a decades-old criminal conviction. Of course, that doesn't mean the system is perfect and the company has already been accused of making mistakes."
United States

US and China Setting Up "Space Hotline" (ft.com) 15

Taco Cowboy writes: Washington and Beijing have established an emergency 'space hotline' to reduce the risk of accidental conflict. Several international initiatives are already in train to seal a space treaty to avoid a further build-up of weapons beyond the atmosphere. However, security experts say the initiatives have little chance of success. A joint Russia-China proposal wending its way through the UN was not acceptable to the US. An EU proposal, for a "code of conduct" in space, was having diplomatic "difficulties" but was closer to Washington's position.

EU Set To Crack Down On Bitcoin and Anonymous Payments After Paris Attack (thestack.com) 274

An anonymous reader writes: Home affairs ministers from the European Union are set to gather in Brussels for crisis talks in the wake of the Paris attacks, and a crackdown on Bitcoin, pre-paid credit card and other forms of 'anonymous' online payments are on the agenda. From the article: "According to draft conclusions of the meeting, European interior and justice ministers will urge the European Commission (the EU executive arm) to propose measures to strengthen the controls of non-banking payment methods. These include electronic/anonymous payments, virtual currencies and the transfers of gold and precious metals by pre-paid cards."

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 Is an Emoji (oxforddictionaries.com) 151

AmiMoJo writes: For the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a pictograph (that Slashdot is unable to reproduce), officially called the 'Face with Tears of Joy' emoji (U+1F602). Oxford University Press have partnered with SwiftKey to explore frequency and usage statistics for some of the most popular emoji across the world. Emoji is a Japanese word (pronounced "eh-mo-jee"), originating from Japanese mobile service providers who all had their own unique set before they were standardized in Unicode. Other notable words this year include "ad blocker," "Brexit" (British exit from the EU), lumbersexual and "they (singular)" (pronoun to refer to a person of unspecified sex).

The European Commission Is Preparing a Frontal Attack On the Hyperlink (juliareda.eu) 220

An anonymous reader writes: Julia Reda, a member of the European parliament, is sounding the alarm on new copyright legislation under development. She says the European Commission is considering copyright protection for hyperlinking. Reda says, "This idea flies in the face of both existing interpretation and spirit of the law as well as common sense. Each weblink would become a legal landmine and would allow press publishers to hold every single actor on the Internet liable." Under this scheme, simply linking to copyrighted material would be legally considered "providing access," and thus require explicit permission of the rightsholder. Reda warns that it could lead to legal expenses for anyone who shares links (read: everybody), and ultimately the fragmentation of the internet.

EU Parliament: Citizens' Rights Still Endangered By Mass Surveillance 53

New submitter hughankers writes with this slice of a press release from the European Parliament:: Too little has been done to safeguard citizens' fundamental rights following revelations of electronic mass surveillance, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. They urge the EU Commission to ensure that all data transfers to the US are subject to an "effective level of protection" and ask EU member states to grant protection to Edward Snowden, as a "human rights defender". Parliament also raises concerns about surveillance laws in several EU countries.

This resolution, approved by 342 votes to 274, with 29 abstentions, takes stock of the (lack of) action taken by the European Commission, other EU institutions and member states on the recommendations set out by Parliament in its resolution of 12 March 2014 on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens, drawn up in the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations.

Non-Binding Resolution: EU States Should Protect Snowden 210

The New York Times reports that the European Parliament has voted to adopt "a nonbinding but nonetheless forceful resolution" urging the EU's member nations to recognize Edward Snowden as a whistleblower, rather than aid in prosecuting him on behalf of the United States government. From the article: Whether to grant Mr. Snowden asylum remains a decision for the individual European governments, and thus far, none have done so. Still, the resolution was the strongest statement of support seen for Mr. Snowden from the European Parliament. At the same time, the close vote — 285 to 281 — suggested the extent to which some European lawmakers are wary of alienating the United States. ... The resolution calls on European Union members to "drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties." Also at Wired, USA Today and many others; Snowden himself has tweeted happily about the news.

Could the Volkswagen Cheating Scandal Improve Emissions Standards? (citiesofthefuture.eu) 144

dkatana writes: An article in Cities of the Future suggests that the "automaker's emissions scandal could end up being a boon if it pushes governments and the industry to reassess diesel's impact more honestly and move away from it altogether." The article also asks the European Union to accelerate the introduction of new emissions standards, currently slated to take effect in September 2018, and to order mandatory recalls for all the vehicles affected, as Germany has. It points out that some drivers could refuse to have their cars "fixed" out of fear that the diesel engine will lose gas efficiency and power output.

EU Passes Net Neutrality Rules, Fails To Close Loopholes (techcrunch.com) 59

An anonymous reader writes: European MEPs have voted to bring EU-wide net neutrality rules into effect next April. The rules most notably will abolish data roaming charges, a significant problem when country-hopping in Europe. Legislators hail the new rules as a major step forward, but critics point out that several major amendments failed to pass which would have closed serious loopholes in the rules. "Among the exceptions opposed by net neutrality supporters is one which allows providers to offer priority to 'specialized services,' providing they still treat the 'open' internet equally. Many had seen the exception as allowing providers to offer an internet fast lane to paying sites ... A different exception is aimed at situations where the limitation is not speed, but data usage. The EU's regulations allow 'zero rating,' a practice whereby certain sites or applications are not counted against data limits. That gives those sites a specific advantage when dealing with users with strict data caps such as those on mobile internet. Here's the full legislative text.

First New US Nuclear Reactor In Two Decades Gets Permission To Begin Fueling (ieee.org) 167

An anonymous reader writes: The Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar nuclear power plant began construction in 1973. The plant's first reactor was completed in 1996, and it began operation. Work on the second reactor paused in 1988, and only resumed in 2007. That reactor is now complete — the first newly-operational Generation II reactor since the 1990s. The new reactor has been granted an operational license, and it will soon begin fueling. While the Gen II reactors aren't unsafe, they're much less safe than the Gen III AP1000s. "Compared to a Westinghouse Gen II PWR, the AP1000 contains 50 percent fewer safety-related valves, 35 percent fewer pumps, 80 percent less safety-related piping, 85 percent less control cabling, and 45 percent less seismic building volume. ... If an accident happens, the AP1000 will shut itself down without needing any human intervention (or even electrical power) within the first 72 hours."

Europe's 'Net Neutrality' Could Allow Throttling of Torrents and VPNs (torrentfreak.com) 161

An anonymous reader writes: TorrentFreak reports that the European Parliament is approaching a vote on new telecom regulations that aim to implement net neutrality throughout EU member states. Unfortunately, the legislation hinges on a few key amendments, and experts are warning about the consequences should those amendments fail to pass. "These amendments will ensure that specific types of traffic aren't throttled around the clock, for example. The current language would allow ISPs to throttle BitTorrent traffic permanently if that would optimize overall 'transmission quality.' This is not a far-fetched argument, since torrent traffic can be quite demanding on a network." That's not the only concern: "Besides file-sharing traffic the proposed legislation also allows Internet providers to interfere with encrypted traffic, including VPN connections. Since encrypted traffic can't be classified though deep packet inspection, ISPs may choose to de-prioritize it altogether."

Dutch Researchers Show Connected Cars Can Be Cheaply Tracked (ieee.org) 25

schwit1 writes to point out an experiment undertaken on the campus of the Netherlands' University of Twente, in which two wireless sensing stations were able to cheaply pinpoint a target vehicle equipped with "smart" V2X systems nearly half the time, and track it (albeit less precisely) even more, according to Jonathan Petit, Principal Scientist at software security company Security Innovation. "You can build a real-time tracking system using off-the-shelf devices with minimum sophistication," says Petit. In a paper to be presented at the Black Hat Europe security conference in November, he describes being able to place a security vehicle within either the residential or the business zones of the campus with 78 percent accuracy, and even locate it on individual roads 40 percent of the time. The tracking here was accomplished by listening for transmissions emitted over using 802.11p at 5.9 GHz. Says the article: Petit is now working with Ford, GM, and other carmakers to develop strategies to help secure connected cars. One interesting finding from his experiment was that a Manhattan-style grid of roads makes it difficult for potential attackers because there are more connections between the intersections. "This raises the idea of privacy-enhancing road networks, where cities are designed with the concept of privacy at their core," he says.

EU Rules Bitcoin Is a Currency, Exchanges Are VAT-Exempt (thestack.com) 75

An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from The Stack: The European Union's Court of Justice (ECJ) has today ruled that Bitcoin is a currency, detailing exchanges that transfer traditional currencies into the crypto-coins for a fee are to be exempt from consumption taxes. Under the EU rule against value added taxes (VAT) on transfers of "currency, bank notes and coins used as legal tender," the new call presents an important boost for Bitcoin, erasing related costs for buying and using the virtual funds in Europe – one of the world's leading trading zones. That decision overrides other approaches previously taken by some of the member countries, which treated Bitcoin like an exchangeble commodity itself, rather than a medium of exchange.

Irish Data Protection Commissioner Ordered To Investigate Facebook Data (www.rte.ie) 18

New submitter bigtomrodney writes: Following last week's ruling by the European Court of Justice ruling on Safe Harbor, the Irish High Court has quashed the former decision of the Data Protection Commissioner not to investigate Facebook. In the current vacuum of legislation and given that this challenge is directly focused on U.S. intelligence agency's gathering of European citizen's data, this makes for interesting times ahead. See this story from earlier this month for a bit more background; all this fuss comes down mostly to efforts by one determined gadfly (Max Schrems) and the attention he's brought to the issue of privacy when data crosses national (or at least notional) borders.

Europe and Russia Are Headed Back To the Moon Together (bbc.com) 65

MarkWhittington writes: Russia is turning its attention to the moon again for the first time in about 40 years. The first Russian mission to the moon since long before the end of the Cold War will be Luna 27, a robot lander that will touch down on the edge of the lunar South Pole as early as 2020. Russia is looking for international partners to help make Luna 27 a reality and may have found one in the European Space Agency, according to a story on the BBC. "The initial missions will be robotic. Luna 27 will land on the edge of the South Pole Aitken basin. The south polar region has areas which are always dark. These are some of the coldest places in the Solar System. As such, they are icy prisons for water and other chemicals that have been shielded from heating by the Sun. According to Dr. James Carpenter, ESA's lead scientist on the project, one of the main aims is to investigate the potential use of this water as a resource for the future, and to find out what it can tell us about the origins of life in the inner Solar System."

First Legal Union of Illegal Street Vendors Created In Barcelona 61

dkatana writes: Street vendors across Barcelona's tourist districts last week created their own union to negotiate with city officials. Barcelona has a new mayor, and new policies dealing with the "Top Manta" (for the blankets — or mantas — they spread out on the sidewalk). The recently-elected left-leaning administration in this Mediterranean city is taking a new — and controversial — approach to this complex issue. They argue that the real fault is the government's for not having a more comprehensive immigration policy. Mayor Ada Colau has welcomed the newly created Popular Union for Street Vendors (Sindicato Popular de Vendedores Ambulantes), established by the illegal vendors themselves.

Fenno-German 'Sea Lion' Telecom Cable Laying Begins (yle.fi) 39

jones_supa writes: A couple of years ago, details began to unfold of a government-backed high capacity data cable between Germany and Finland, which would be routed through the Baltic Sea. The cable has now been nicknamed "Sea Lion," and the work started Monday in Santahamina coastal area, outside Helsinki. The cable was built by Alcatel Lucent and is operated by the Finnish firm Cinia Group. The Finnish government, along with the banking and insurance sector, have together invested €100M into the project. That investment is expected to pay for itself many times over once the business sector gets a boost from the new telecom jump. The new cable also makes Finland independent of the Øresund Bridge, through which all of the country's Internet traffic is currently routed, via Denmark and Sweden. Eventually the new link can reach Asia as well, via the Northeast Passage shipping route.