The Stability Treaty: How are you voting?

Like all the other European treaties the Irish public is being threatened with doomsday scenarios by both sides of The Fiscal Stability Treaty. Reddit user cianomahony posted the photo above in response.

The Government says that the country won’t have access to any money if we vote no, but the Sunday Times asked the IMF and the Department of Finance if that was the case and they both said the country could apply to the IMF regardless of the outcome of the Treaty. It’s just the ESM we won’t have access to. Today’s Sunday Times goes on to say that Ireland will have to pay 1.27bn Euro into that fund if the Treaty is ratified. Where the hell does that money come from? We’ll get a loan ..

Campaigning has been going on for only a week so far, I haven’t listened to much of what the No side say but right now I want to vote No. I wonder if the Government will rerun the Referendum if we vote No the first time? Fianna Fail and the Greens did it twice, time for Fine Gael and Labour to do likewise?

Stop Ireland’s SOPA

Before the end of this month the Irish Government will introduce a very vague copyright protection law. It won’t be debated in the Dáil as it will be enacted by a ministerial order. Protection of copyright is a laudable endeavour but when so little is known about the amendment or how it’s implemented it’s impossible to figure out how it will affect us. Once IRMA get a whiff of any more power or influence you just know they’re going to abuse it! Remember the infamous “3 strikes” rule?

Before I go any further, here’s how you can help. Sign this petition or use this contact form or this list to contact your local TD to express your misgivings and anger at this law being pushed through so quickly.

From the website:

SOPA is the name of a piece of US legislation, the Stop Online Piracy Act, recently proposed in the US. It caused an Internet-wide outcry due to its far-reaching implications; way beyond simply closing access to outlaw file sharing websites, it would have enabled law enforcement to block access to entire internet domains due to infringing material posted on a single blog or webpage.

A similar proposal is about to become law in Ireland. And while 7 million Americans contacted their representatives to say No to SOPA in the US, Irish citizens will not get that chance because the new law in Ireland is not being voted on in the Oireachtas.

Instead, the law is being enacted by ministerial order. This new law will give music and movie companies the legal leverage to force Irish ISPs like UPC, Eircom and mobile networks to block access to sites suspected of having copyrighted material on them. It also means judges can order ISPs to block access to sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter where an individual user from anywhere in the world has shared infringing material.

As I mentioned in my Wikipedia post, this law might already be illegal:

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered a landmark case for protecting free speech in the fight against online piracy. In a decision issued today on the Scarlet Extended SA v SABAM case, the Court stated that web filtering systems used to prevent illegal downloading on peer-to-peer networks was incompatible with fundamental human rights.

Minister Sean Sherlock will be on drivetime (RTE Radio 1) after 6pm this evening to talk about this law. I hope he comes to his senses.

Oh, it is very easy to bypass any spying the music and movie industries force on Irish ISPs. All you need is an encrypted tunnel to a remote host outside the country. If Irish ISPs ban users from using tools like that then you can say goodbye to a huge number of IT jobs. I rely on these tools every single day of the week to do my work.

More links:

Next in the firing line of laws that will limit consumer freedoms is ACTA but let’s get one bad law stopped before we move on to the next one, ok?

The image above taken from No Shit, Sherlock website. Thanks Sean Sherlock.

Moriarty Tribunal in Text

The Moriarty Tribunal cost the Irish tax payer more than 100 million Euro and all we got was a 2,400 page protected PDF.

If you view the report’s PDF files you won’t be able to quote from it by selecting and copying text. You’ll have to manually type out anything you want to extract because the files are protected.

Value for money eh? Anyway, I ran the pdf files through the tool “pdftotext” and came up with m1.txt and m2.txt.
Use the original PDF files to read the report but for your convenience these text files will be much easier to quote from.

Please don’t link directly to them, mirror them on your own site if you write about them!

Here’s a Wordle tag cloud of the findings created by Jamie Lawrence.