RTÉ’s Dragon Part of Startup Dream Team Launching an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Galway

RTÉ Dragon and outgoing SVP of Cisco Systems Barry O’Sullivan, John Breslin of NUI Galway and co-founder of boards.ie, John Brosnan, CEO and founder of Netfort Technologies and Michael FitzGerald, CEO and founder of OnePageCRM have come together to create Startup Galway.

Startup Galway aims to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Galway, and this Thursday December 19 in McSwiggan’s at 8 PM its first guest is Pat Phelan, CEO and founder of Trustev, this week named as one of Forbes Magazine’s 7 Hottest Global Startups of 2013.

Trustev, a real-time online identity verification service designed to eliminate fraud from e-commerce transactions, has raised $3.5 million in seed funding this year, making it the largest seed fund raised by a company in Europe. CEO Pat Phelan is a serial entrepreneur in the internet, mobile, and telecoms sectors. It was his own negative experience with online fraud as an e-commerce merchant that led him to develop technologies to address this drain on revenues.

RTÉ’s Dragon Den investor Barry O’Sullivan says “Startup Galway is about bringing together the tech community in Galway to share ideas and experience so we can grow successful companies. We want Galway to be the Birthplace of Ambition for future global technology companies.”

NUI Galway’s John Breslin says “The presence of several national research labs, including Insight, a new national multi-location Centre for Data Analytics (formerly DERI), and the Irish Marine Institute contribute significantly to the number of PhD students and researchers working in Galway”.

“We have a great range of tech startups here in Galway, including the likes of OnePageCRM, Ex Ordo, Element Wave, Duolog, Netfort, BuilderEngine, Pocket Anatomy, Altocloud, SpamTitan, Meterlogix, RealSim, Tribal City Interactive and Alison.com. These are in close proximity to larger companies like DigitalOptics Corporation, Cisco, HP, Avaya, SAP, IBM and EA, and are all part of an ecosystem of tech here in the west.” he added.

“Galway is well known as a great city to live in, has two excellent colleges, high-tech companies of all sizes with fantastic talent,” says John Brosnan of Netfort Technologies. “The objective of this group is to help develop and encourage the entrepreneurial culture in Galway. We want to build a community and organise regular events where people can learn from and help each other.”

“To develop an entrepreneurial culture within Galway, especially amongst tech startups, it is essential that we expose what has been achieved already, and then build on it and learn from each other,” says Michael FitzGerald of OnePageCRM. “Startup Galway is the first step towards unifying that local spirit for global gain, showcasing Galway to the world as a great place to start and grow a tech business.”

Registration is free for this and future events at www.startupgalway.org.

Smart Smartphone Shopping This Christmas

What smartphones should you be buying this Christmas? Lukasz Porwol gives some sound advice.

Christmas is coming! What should I buy for a rebellious teenager, my better half or my dear old dad? The answer is obvious …a smartphone! And even more obvious: the iPhone!

But isn’t it far too expensive? Isn’t the Samsung Galaxy S4 actually better? And hold on a sec …Sony has the waterproof Xperia Z! They are still quite pricey and someone was telling me the Nokia Windows phones are pretty awesome. And while I’m at it, the technical slang spouted by so many salespeople doesn’t exactly help! What are they talking about?!

These and similar questions will bother thousands in the run up to Christmas. In this short article we intend to help desperate gift buyers to find the perfect solution that will not be rejected outright by their nearest and dearest. Here we won’t focus on fuzzy technical details but rather on user experience, which is what matters the most!

The first and most pressing concern when Smartphone shopping is the budget; it boils down to how much we want to invest versus what we actually expect from a smartphone in terms of functionality, style and choice.

I want something stylish and I don’t care about the money!

Here the answer is usually very typical: Apple is synonymous with style. It is rather
undeniable, especially seeing as how the brand new 5S is also available in GOLD!
It feels great in your hand. It is solid, fast, brilliant; quality all around. But if you are intent on purchasing an iPhone then stick with the 5S. Don’t waste your time for 5C; it’s like deciding to holiday in style by going out and buying a Ferrari caravan.

But style is subjective and not everybody wants to drive a Mercedes S class even if money is not a problem.

Okay, something less ostentatious please. I like to see where the money is going!

What about something stylish but more practical, sporty with a bigger screen and a decent camera? The Sony Xperia Z1 sounds like a good choice here. Sleek and lean with a gorgeous glass design, the Z1 has a huge full HD screen for watching movies while traveling. It also has great sound along with a super camera (5S level) and a waterproof and dust-proof heavy-duty body. Phew! It sounds like a right bargain when it comes to pricing (just below iPhone).

But hang on a minute – isn’t the Samsung Galaxy S4 available in the Active waterproof version as well? I cannot lie, it does and the price is almost the same. Technical parameters are also pretty close. So it comes down to a matter of taste. There’s also the (slightly older) Xperia Z, which is still a great smartphone offering at only minimally less bells and whistles than the Z1 for with significant cost saving.

Our subjective ranking here (with an analogy to the car market):

  1. iPhone 5S: Mercedes S class Gold
  2. Sony Xperia Z1: BMW 7 L
  3. Sony Xperia Z/Samsung Galaxy S4/Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: Audi A8

Come on! I need something to enter the smartphone world but I’m on a bit of a budget!

Welcome to the world of Windows Mobile! Surprised? You shouldn’t be because for decades Microsoft has helped mainstream laptop producers to supply us with midrange-priced computer systems. And this is being repeated in the mobile market with Nokia and the new range of Windows 7 and Windows 8 Phones.

If you’re being especially budget conscious and want to go the route of a secondhand phone Windows 7 is a solid option but if you’re in the market for a shiny new handset go for Windows 8. The reason is simple: Windows 8 is a more mature and much improved mobile operating system and will be increasingly supported by apps developers in the future.

The winning Windows 8 phone has got to be the Nokia Lumia 520 which can be found priced at about €90 on Pay As You Go (SIM-free it costs €110). In other words for the price of one iPhone you can buy several Lumias in colours to matching all of your outfits! Actually you don’t really need this anyway because the Lumia 520 has exchangeable covers available in yellow, blue, white and red. A real bargain! The phone itself is solid and offers plenty for the price.

So what’s the catch? Surprisingly, there are few catches. There isn’t anything bad to say aside from the absence of a flash. So no taking pictures when you’re down the local – unless somebody brings a torch! If you’re willing to upgrade to the Lumia 625 for about €150 you’ll get the flash.

Another good feature across all Windows 7 and 8 Nokia handsets that must be pointed out is the free turn-by-turn GPS navigation included; it comes with offline maps so you can navigate around the world while traveling without incurring a whopping great phone bill!

And do not be afraid of the Windows system: it is incredibly simple, handy and very fast. It actually performs better than Android and could be considered a better platform if only more apps were available.

Some general advice if you want to spend more than €250: go for midrange Android phones from Samsung, HTC or Sony (whatever matches your taste and your pocket). Nevertheless if your budget is less than that Windows is the way because Android handsets below that price tag are usually slow, relatively smaller and, in general, annoying.

Our subjective ranking here (with an analogy to the car market):

  1. Nokia Lumia 520: Volkswagen Golf VII
  2. Nokia Lumia 625: Audi A3
  3. Nokia Lumia 710 (Win 7): Volkswagen Golf V
  4. Mid-range Android handsets from Samsung, HTC or Sony: Hyundai i30

What about smartphone security?

While many people opt for smartphones with the best looks, widest range of apps or nicest pricetag, there are those of us who will shop according to how secure these handsets are when handling sensitive data such as online banking. In fact, I think we’d all like to shop and Whatsapp without the NSA spying on us!

According to many mobile security firms Apple is the clear winner here. This is down to the iPhone having the best (hardware-based) encryption systems. Windows Phone is a close second (surprise!). The bad news for the those attached to the popular Android operating system (popularity comes with a price) is that a determined hacker can enter the system in mere seconds.

Our subjective ranking here (with an analogy to the car market):

  1. iPhone: Mercedes S presidential panzer-limo
  2. Windows: Audi A6 with a good alarm
  3. Android: a Zip car (shared car)

And the overall subjective winners are:

  • Premium model: iPhone 5S
  • Silver: Sony Xperia Z1
  • Bronze: Nokia Lumia 520

Okay, now run to the shop and get what you need while there is time! Enjoy and merry Christmas!

You can follow Lukasz on Twitter @porwolluke

Basis: A Health and Heart-Rate Watch for Wellness and Fitness

Promoted as a health tracker where style finally meets substance, the Basis fitness watch combines a motion tracker with a real-time heart-rate monitor to create a tracking tool that promises to help you make healthier choices.

One of the many challenges with fitness technology in the past was that to gather different types of information, a person needed to wear different devices. The Basis watch claims to fix that challenge by combining the popular tracking of movement through steps with a strapless heart-rate sensor. The multi-sensor band combined with the online personal dashboard was designed to help people incorporate healthy habits into their daily lives.

As regards setup time, from taking it out of the box, to charging the device, setting up an account online, downloading the app to your smartphone and getting everything working as it should, you can expect anywhere from 20-60 minutes. If you need to contact support for help, they offer a number of different ways to do so and will often send a video link on the best way to install everything.

One thing that makes the Basis different from other fitness tracking devices is the ability to measure heart rate optically. This means that you don’t need to wear a heart rate strap around your chest, but rather through a sensor on the backside of the watch, Basis will measure heart rate through monitoring the changes in blood flow within the capillaries on your wrist. During the day, measurements with normal physical activity and low-to-moderate workouts seem to work well and fall within the proper range of heart rates; you can expect updates to the software to make things even more accurate. For higher-end workouts or athletic training, test the heart rate values from the Basis with your normal device (by hand or using a strapped heart-rate monitor) before you change your tracking and workout planning to the Basis.

Another point of difference for the Basis is the behavioural change science that comes free on the personal online dashboard. The Basis online component is one of the better ones out there when it comes to not only the content, but also a plan towards your health and fitness goals in small, manageable steps. The website is divided into three sections – My Habits, Insights and Data. The My Habits section does a nice job in creating small but manageable steps towards better health, starting from simply wearing the device for 12 hours, progressing to taking 2,000 steps before noon, then to more persuasive activities. The Insights section gives a nice interactive one-page view of your results, activity and sleep scores. The Data section is where the number crunching and statistical evaluation takes place. There, you can plot and compare heart rate, steps, calories, skin temperature and perspiration throughout the day, and how each may impact the other measurements.

One of the more recent trends in health-monitoring devices is in the tracking of sleep. The Basis watch has one of the nicer interfaces for sleep tracking and is rather easy to use. Unlike other devices where the user needs to tell the device they are going to sleep, the Basis watch “knows” when you go to bed and when you get up, taking away that extra step in sleep monitoring. Although the sleep score doesn’t show up on the watch display, after a successful sync of the watch to your smart phone over Bluetooth, you will be able to see total time sleeping, a quality-of-sleep score, and the number of times your sleep was interrupted. While this type of sleep monitoring won’t replace a sleep study from your doctor or diagnose you with sleep issues, it will give you a general view on your quality of sleep, and if you see trends that may become a problem, you can take your sleep information to your doctor to start the conversation.

The Basis watch will also measure your skin temperature and perspiration levels, but other than including the measurements on a fancy graph, little exists into what other benefits may come from monitoring these. For the average user, knowing either will have little impact on the quality of your workout. Cheers to Basis on being able to create a tool that can measure each, but the question remains, so what now?

As with all new technology, the Basis watch will go through a few rounds of enhancements before the general public adopts the technology, but functions well as is. Bottom line, if you can afford the price, the worst thing you get is a cool-looking watch, the best thing you get is a virtual coach in the watch to help you towards better health.

What we liked:

  • Heart rate sensor from wrist.
  • Real-time data display.
  • Enabling health habits on dashboard through small changes in fitness and sleep routines.

What we didn’t like:

  • Watch band can be bulky and uncomfortable.
  • Only two scientifically reviewed studies around design of technology (from their website).
  • Initial setup can be challenging for non-tech users.
  • No education on the value of measurement of skin temperature or perspiration levels.

The price of the Basis watch is $199 from Amazon.com and mybasis.com.

Episode #7: Dark and Disposable Tech

Hosts: John Breslin, Marie Boran, Fergal Gallagher, Tom Murphy.

Disposing of your iPhone, alternatives to post-IPO Twitter, Snapchat offers, Bitcoin booms, Cicada 3301 and the dark web, advice for startups from our tech finance guy Jack Harty, Dublin Web Summit interviews with MongoDB co-founder Dwight Merriman and Huffington Post CEO Jimmy Maymann, dark silicon, Motorola Ara and Moto G, Qualcomm Toq and Google smart watch, Patchblocks, and more.

Download or subscribe to this show at technologyvoice.com/show.

For additional show notes, visit the full page for this episode.

Technology Voice is brought to you by Cinema Listings Ireland, available now from the Google Play store.

Running time: 1:30:00

00:30 Introduction by John Breslin @johnbreslin
–:– Marie Boran @pixievondust
–:– Fergal Gallagher @gallagherfergal
–:– Tom Murphy @tom_murphy
01:38 Disposing of your iPhone
05:03 Alternatives to post-IPO Twitter
07:28 Snapchat offers
11:46 Bitcoin booms
14:36 Cicada 3301
18:46 Ads
–:– Cinema Listings Ireland
19:02 Advice for startups from our tech finance guy Jack Harty
31:03 Dublin Web Summit interviews
31:28 Interview with MongoDB co-founder Dwight Merriman
36:45 Audio from talk by Professor Leonard Kleinrock
51:24 Interview with Huffington Post CEO Jimmy Maymann
58:37 Interview with NewsWhip founder Paul Quigley
62:39 Interview with Viddyad founder Gráinne Barron
66:12 Interview with Vizibee CEO David Tomchak
69:16 Interview with Adtruism founder Brian McCormick
71:26 Dark silicon
77:06 Motorola Ara
80:49 Moto G
82:40 Qualcomm Toq and Google smart watch
84:47 Patchblocks

Special thanks to Flirt FM http://www.flirtfm.ie
Intro/outro music is “Alone But Not Lonely” by Stefan Ternemar http://archive.org/details/mtk121
Queries and suggestions to editor@technologyvoice.com
Visit our website at http://technologyvoice.com
Follow us on Twitter @technologyvoice http://twitter.com/technologyvoice

EU App Economy Study Presents Interim Findings and Innovation Challenge Winners

Leaders from the app development community in Europe gathered in Berlin recently to discuss the current state of the EU app economy, along with innovative ideas for the future. The event featured keynote talks and hands-on tutorials by CEOs and co-founders from a variety of successful app companies who advised app companies on how to grow their businesses. Interim study results were also presented which showed that almost a third of larger European ICT companies hired at least 10 app developers this past year, with at least a 5% growth in app developer and app support teams expected by about a quarter and a third of the companies respectively.

The Eurapp study, launched by the European Commission as part of its Startup Europe initiative and being carried out by Gigaom Research and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway, is currently surveying startups and larger ICT companies to model and profile the EU app economy. App startups are being encouraged to make their voices known by completing the survey and giving their opinions on the EU app economy. Early results from these surveys were presented by Gigaom VP David Card at the workshop in Berlin.

From the perspective of larger IT companies in the EU, two thirds of the 500 surveyed were developing apps for their customers, while over half were also developing custom apps for their own employees. Nearly two thirds said that they developed apps in house, and a half said that they have outsourced app development to third parties. The primary target continents are Europe, North America and Asia, and while around 70% of companies develop for Android and the same again for iOS, almost 30% develop for other phone platforms.

In terms of job hiring, nearly 30% of companies hired at least 10 developers this past year, with a quarter of those surveyed expecting to grow their developer teams by at least 5%. An almost 1:1 ratio in terms of developers and support staff was observed, with a slightly higher expected growth for support staff in the next year.

Also as part of the Eurapp project, two innovation challenges solicited proposals to address issues with funding and market conditions in the EU app economy, following stakeholder interviews and an earlier workshop which identified these as the two major bottlenecks. Out of almost a hundred innovative ideas, a shortlist of 10 proposals were selected to present at the workshop.

The winning solution in the funding challenge was Cianán Clancy’s proposal for a European App Centre. Donald McCann won the market conditions challenge for his multi-strand proposal that incorporated an app conference, contest, online channels, marketing/business development kit, and jobs board.

Some of the other presented proposals included:

  • Matchmaking app developers with sponsors in a format similar to movie patronage events,
  • A reality TV show where apps would be judged in a popular talent competition format,
  • Bootcamp training programmes and app research hubs in targeted cities,
  • Coaching academy for app startups with attractive investment terms,
  • New online services and incubators for team formation of co-founders and advisors with complementary skills,
  • An app entrepreneurs-in-residence scheme for big EU organisations, and
  • An app request-for-quotations and tendering service.

Another aim of the workshop was to guide attendees on strategies to ensure success, with tutorials and talks from marketing / app engine optimisation specialists, cross-platform developers and company founders. Presenters included the CEO of Mubaloo, one of Europe’s largest app development agencies, and the co-founders of Xyo, Appency, Glimworm, MobileGroove Media, Suite 48 Analytics, Xyglo, along with technology leads from VisionMobile and Jimdo.

The final Eurapp workshop will be held in Brussels, provisionally scheduled for 13 February 2014, where a roadmap of policy actions for the EU app economy will be discussed.

EC Announces €10 Million Fund for Accelerating Web Entrepreneurship at Recent Eurapp Workshop

Representatives from the European Commission announced details of a €10M fund for accelerating web entrepreneurship in the European Union at a recent Eurapp app economy workshop in Berlin. The €10M fund is being put in place to help interlink and grow various web entrepreneurship ecosystems across the EU, with a focus on starting up and scaling up web companies.

Mr Bogdan Ceobanu from the EC detailed how interested parties can apply for grants in this new €10M funding round during the EC’s first call for Horizon 2020 (see the web entrepreneurship call page). The call for applications will open in mid-December.

The aim of this fund is to create an environment in the EU that encourages more tech entrepreneurs – who leverage web and mobile technologies as the main components in their business model – to start their businesses in the EU and to stay in the EU while growing them internationally. There are two main focuses for funding applications:

  1. Accelerating web entrepreneurship in the EU by connecting existing tech hubs or ecosystems and providing new services for web entrepreneurs (e.g. through innovative online platforms); and
  2. Coordination activities for web entrepreneurship that will expand the reach of online platforms, exploit synergies across stakeholder communities and help tech entrepreneurs to connect to service providers.

To accelerate web entrepreneurship in the EU, the EC is looking for project proposals that will create cross-border environments composed of a few highly-integrated local ecosystems (around 3-4), where members of the individual ecosystems will feel like they belong to the new cross-border environment created by the project. Project proposals are expected in the €2M range, with a total budget of €6M.

As regards coordination activities, a further €4M is being made available to support, connect and create more web startups and other highly-innovative tech companies.

According to Dr Isidro Laso of the EC, “We expect proposals which will ‘think European’: [to] allow for the provision of pan-EU services for web entrepreneurs; [to] involve the right partners in the consortium; [to] engage the real players in the local ecosystems to be connected; [and to] complement existing activities in [member state] and EC policy initiatives.”

The impact of this will be to create a dynamic ecosystem that can help shape entrepreneur-friendly policies for implementation in conjunction with the EU’s Startup Europe initiative.

Startup Europe aims to raise awareness around the opportunities and challenges faced by web entrepreneurs, to network the various stakeholders and to develop more web talent in the EU. Over 6000 people have signed up to the associated Startup Europe Manifesto, expressing their support for 22 actions under five headings which aim to give EU startups the best possible chance of future success.

The €10M fund announcement was made at a workshop highlighting survey results and innovative ideas from the Eurapp app economy study, launched by the European Commission and being carried out by Gigaom Research and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway. The Eurapp project is currently surveying startups and larger IT companies to model and profile the EU app economy.

It’s Not What They’re Seeking, It’s What They’re Hiding

As I said before in another context, what’s wrong with what’s been going on at the National Security Agency (NSA) “is not the spying, it’s the lying.”

Spy agencies are supposed to spy, but within the rules laid out for them by the US Congress. They are not allowed to lie to Congress or to Congress’ mandated overseers like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Nor, it should be said, are the NSA, The White House or leaders of the Congress allowed to lie to the American people about what they’ve learned about law-breaking activities in the name of national security.

When lies like this become routine, the bond of trust between citizen and government breaks down and democracy dies with it.

In November, Wikileaks published an August summary of negotiations over the Intellectual Property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement which is meant to strengthen economic relations among twelve signatory nations: the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, and Brunei.

Several commentators have noted, the Wikileaks document may not be current; there have been a couple of secret negotiating sessions since August. But the release is timely, as the last round of talks among the 12 nations’ Chief Negotiators was held at the end of November in Salt Lake City.

If the document is still relevant it indicates that what the US Trade Representative is seeking is bad enough, but worse by far is that the Obama Administration is hiding all the potentially consequential details.

Make no mistake, what’s being proposed could directly affect you if you suffer from cancer, if you’re going to have surgery using a new medical device, if you read a book or use the internet.

Think you might fit into one of those categories? Think you ought to be included in at least the theoretical discussion of new global rules for who can claim patent protection, for what, for how long? Or are you happy to leave that to the fine folks at the US Trade Rep’s office or the Oval Office or lawyers for a few hundred directly-interested corporations?

Even if you’re appalled to be excluded from the whole discussion, don’t take it personally. You and I are not the only ones being cut out until the dips have their fait accompli. According to the International Business Times,

“Only 700 representatives of various corporations have access to the text. The governments of the countries involved in the negotiations are not able to view the text while it is being discussed by the corporations, meaning that the public will have little to no input on what will be included in the final version.”

And The Guardian notes,

“Even members of the US Congress were only allowed to view selected portions of the documents under supervision.

“‘We’re really worried about a process which is so difficult for those who take an interest in these agreements to deal with,’ says Peter Bradwell, policy director of the London-based Open Rights Group.

“‘Lots of people in civil society have stressed that being more transparent, and talking about the text on the table, is crucial to give treaties like this any legitimacy. We shouldn’t have to rely on leaks to start a debate about what’s in then.’”

What’s not to like about the Intellectual Property rules the USTR (US Trade Representative) has put on the table? International Business Times cites five major issues.

The first is the strengthening of Big Pharma property rights to their proprietary medicines. What this generality could mean specifically is spelled out by Politico.

“Pharmaceutical patents and copyright issues addressed through the intellectual property rights chapter have proven especially controversial, as the United States seeks strong protections for its drug-makers, and Asian countries fight for cheaper medicines.”

What protections to the pharmaceutical giants want?

Politico says they want to eliminate, or sharply reduce countries’ rights to breach patent rights “in the interest of public health,” by restricting those exceptions to epidemics and disallowing diseases such as cancer.

“The United States is also pushing to ease drug-makers’ ability to obtain patents overseas and in developing countries and to extend the duration of those patents beyond 20 years.”

As Public Citizen put it in their response to the Wikileaks document, “These proposals would strengthen, lengthen and broaden pharmaceutical monopolies on cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS drugs, among others, in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Second, the manufacturers of medical devices want the right to patent-protect their use by surgeons and technicians in the operating room. IBT sums up the real-world meaning of this: “In layman’s terms, the United States’ TPP proposal would make it so that the patent protections exception would apply only to ‘surgical methods you can perform with your bare hands,’” quoting Burcu Kilic, legal counsel to Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program.

Third, what’s sauce for Big Pharma is also to be served up for Big Ink, the publishers or words and music. IBT reports, “The preliminary version of the TPP would also rewrite the guidelines on international copyright law by lengthening the terms that copyright protections. [Today] copyright term protections are capped at the life of the author of a work plus 50 years. But under the TPP, longer copyright protections could extend copyright term protections to Life + 70 years for works by individuals, and either 95 years after publication or 120 years after creation for corporate owned works (such as Mickey Mouse).”

The net-net here, says IBT will “bolster the profits of corporations and harm consumers by keeping works out of the public domain for far longer than under current law.”

Points 4 and 5 would, several critics claim, gut many of the freedoms enjoyed by today’s citizens of the internet. International Business Times quotes from “the relevant section of the TPP’s intellectual property chapter leaked Wednesday: ‘Each Party shall provide that authors, performers, and producers of phonograms have the right to authorize or prohibit all reproductions of their works, performances, and phonograms, in any manner or form, permanent or temporary (including temporary storage in electronic form).’”

Then IBT cites the EFF response: “‘the provision ‘reveals a profound disconnect with the reality of the modern computer,’ which relies on temporary copies to perform routine operations.

“‘Does that mean—under the US proposed language—that anyone who ever views content on their device could potentially be found liable of infringement?’ the EFF wrote. ‘For other countries signing on to the TPP, the answer would be most likely yes.’”

Finally, the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership rules would dump the job of enforcing these radical new limitations on Internet freedom on whom? Again, IBT quotes the Electronic Freedom Foundation: “The TPP wants service providers to undertake the financial and administrative burdens of becoming copyright cops, serving a copyright maximalist agenda while disregarding the consequences for Internet freedom and innovation.”

With such big changes with such big consequences in play, why is such a small, unelected, unrepresentative group of corporate lawyers and carefully anonymous government bureaucrats allowed to debate and promulgate in such secrecy.

It sounds like the answers are (1) they have so much to hide, and (2) they know many if not most people, in the US, in the other 11 TPP countries, in the world, would not agree to their diktats.

By the way, if you think these arguments are harmless abstractions, check this list from The Guardian’s George Monbiot of how “investor-state rules” in similar international trade agreements have enabled private companies to bully elected governments.

“The Australian government, after massive debates in and out of parliament, decided that cigarettes should be sold in plain packets, marked only with shocking health warnings. The decision was validated by the Australian Supreme Court. But, using a trade agreement Australia struck with Hong Kong, the tobacco company Philip Morris has asked an offshore tribunal to award it a vast sum in compensation for the loss of what it calls its intellectual property.

“During its financial crisis, and in response to public anger over rocketing charges, Argentina imposed a freeze on people’s energy and water bills (does this sound familiar?). It was sued by the international utility companies [and] for this and other such crimes, it has been forced to pay out over a billion dollars in compensation.

“In El Salvador, local communities managed to persuade the government to refuse permission for a vast gold mine which threatened to contaminate their water supplies. A victory for democracy? Not for long, perhaps. The Canadian company which sought to dig the mine is now suing El Salvador for $315m – for the loss of its anticipated future profits.

“In Canada, the courts revoked two patents owned by the American drugs firm Eli Lilly, on the grounds that the company had not produced enough evidence that they had the beneficial effects it claimed. Eli Lilly is now suing the Canadian government for $500m, and demanding that Canada’s patent laws are changed.”

The last round of TPP negotiations finished on November 24. Let’s see if anyone outside the secret circle can find out was discussed, much less actually join in the discussion.

Wasn’t one of the first things Barack Obama promised, long before he said anything about being able to keep your health insurance coverage, was transparency.

Well, you gotta say that promise has been easy to see through.