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Defend Innovation: How to Fix Our Broken Patent System

March 20, 2015 Comments off

Defend Innovation: How to Fix Our Broken Patent System
Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
From press release:

The U.S. patent system is in crisis, but there are clear steps Congress and the White House can take to mitigate the impact of vague patents, patent trolls, and a weak legal process to protect competition and creativity, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) explains in a new report released today.

The “Defend Innovation” whitepaper is the culmination of two-and-a-half years worth of research, drawing from the stories, expertise, and ideas of more than 16,500 people who agree that the current patent system is broken. Split into two parts, the report covers both the challenges facing innovators under the current patent regime, as well as concrete measures that policymakers must take in the coming year.

The UCI publishes Cycling Independent Reform Commission report

March 11, 2015 Comments off

The UCI publishes Cycling Independent Reform Commission report
Source: Union Cycliste Internationale

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has today published the report and recommendations of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC). The CIRC’s Terms of Reference were to investigate “the causes of the pattern of doping that developed within cycling and allegations which implicate the UCI and other governing bodies and officials over ineffective investigation of such practices”.

The CIRC was established by the UCI in January 2014 and has since completed a rigorous 13 month investigation wholly independent from the UCI. The CIRC was chaired by Dr. Dick Marty, a former Swiss State Prosecutor, supported by two Vice-Chairs – Prof. Ulrich Haas, an expert in anti-doping rules and procedures and Mr. Peter Nicholson, a former military officer who specialises in criminal investigations.

During its investigation, the CIRC undertook 174 face-to-face interviews, some of which lasted for several days and took place in different locations across the world. Those interviewed included UCI personnel, teams, federations, medical practitioners, riders/former riders, anti-doping organisations, national law enforcement agencies, sponsors, event organisers and journalists. A full list of interviewees who have agreed for their names to be disclosed is present on page 224 of the report.

“It is clear from reading this report that in the past the UCI suffered severely from a lack of good governance with individuals taking crucial decisions alone, many of which undermined anti-doping efforts; put itself in an extraordinary position of proximity to certain riders; and wasted a lot of its time and resources in open conflict with organisations such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). It is also clear that the UCI leadership interfered in operational decisions on anti-doping matters and these factors, as well as many more covered in the report, served to erode confidence in the UCI and the sport.”

The Ideal Proxy Statement

March 10, 2015 Comments off

The Ideal Proxy Statement
Source: Stanford Graduate School of Business

Institutional investors are highly dissatisfied with the quality of information that they receive about corporate governance policies and practices in the annual proxy. Across the board, they want proxies to be shorter, more concise, more candid, and less legal. The largest complaint involves executive compensation and the inability of investors to determine whether senior management is paid appropriately.

Based on recent survey data from major institutional investors, we describe the information that shareholders would like to see in the “ideal” proxy statement.

We ask:

  • What changes can companies make to proxies that contain the information that investors want in a format that is easy to read and navigate?
  • Would shareholder understanding of corporate governance practices improve if companies provided clearer and more succinct data?
  • How might the debate about executive compensation change?

Audit Committee Resource Guide – February 2015

March 4, 2015 Comments off

Audit Committee Resource Guide – February 2015 (PDF)
Source: Deloitte

Deloitte’s Audit Committee Resource Guide helps audit committee members and management better understand the requirements, roles, and responsibilities of the audit committee. Supporting tools, including a sample charter and planning tool for an audit committee’s calendar of activities, are also available.

Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Releases Recommendation Assessment Report

February 26, 2015 Comments off

Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Releases Recommendation Assessment Report
Source: Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

To mark the one-year anniversary of its report on the Section 215 telephone records program and the six-month anniversary of its report on the Section 702 surveillance program, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has released an assessment of the implementation of its recommendations. In its two reports, the Board made a total of 22 recommendations directed at the Executive Branch, Congress, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In its assessment, the Board discusses the status of each recommendation’s implementation.

Key findings include:

  • Overall, the Administration has accepted virtually all recommendations in the Board’s Section 702 report and has made substantial progress toward implementing many of them, while also accepting most of the recommendations in the Board’s Section 215 report.
  • The Administration has not implemented the Board’s recommendation to halt the NSA’s telephone records program, which it could do at any time without congressional involvement. Instead, the Administration has continued the program, with modifications, while seeking legislation to create a new system for government access to telephone records under Section 215.
  • The Administration has made substantial progress in implementing some of the Board’s recommendations regarding transparency.
  • The Administration has not yet developed, as the Board recommended, a methodology for gauging the value of its counterterrorism programs.

Implementation of the European Citizens’ Initiative: The experience of the first three years

February 26, 2015 Comments off

Implementation of the European Citizens’ Initiative: The experience of the first three years
Source: European Parliament Think Tank

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) has been in operation for three years now. It was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty as an innovative instrument for transnational participatory democracy. It aims to involve citizens in political agenda-setting at EU level, by providing them with an indirect form of the right of legislative initiative. By 1 April 2015, the Commission is required to issue its first report on the application of the ECI Regulation. It is widely expected that this review will prompt a revision of that regulation. Observers have identified a number of shortcomings in its implementation, which impact negatively on the effectiveness and acceptance of this relatively new instrument of transnational participatory democracy.Against this background, stakeholders are calling for simplification and a substantial revision of the current ECI framework and its application, including its implementation in the EU Member States. This paper seeks to provide a systematic overview of the current weaknesses in the ECI process and summarises concrete recommendations actors have put forward for a better functioning ECI.

The Impact of the Dark Web on Internet Governance and Cyber Security

February 19, 2015 Comments off

The Impact of the Dark Web on Internet Governance and Cyber Security (PDF)
Source: Global Commission on Internet Governance

With the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ contract with the United States Department of Commerce due to expire in 2015, the international debate on Internet governance has been re-ignited. However, much of the debate has been over aspects of privacy and security on the visible Web and there has not been much consideration of the governance of the “deep Web” and the “dark Web.” The term deep Web is used to denote a class of content on the Internet that, for various technical reasons, is not indexed by search engines. The dark Web is a part of the deep Web that has been intentionally hidden and is inaccessible through standard Web browsers. The deep Web has the potential to host an increasingly high number of malicious services and activities. In order to formulate comprehensive strategies and policies for governing the Internet, it is important to consider insights on its farthest reaches — the deep Web and, more importantly, the dark Web. This paper endeavours to provide a broader understanding of the dark Web and its impact on our lives.

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