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Five EU Countries Taken To Court For Failing To Implement Cookie Law

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the time-out dept.

EU 130

concertina226 writes "The European Commission announced on Thursday that it has asked the European Court of Justice to impose fines on Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia for not transposing binding telecoms rules into their national laws. The official deadline for doing so was 25 May last year. These telecoms rules are aimed at protecting users' privacy online. They also require companies to notify users about any data breach without undue delay and to allow customers to switch fixed or mobile phone operators without changing their phone number, within one working day. But the main sticking point in the telecoms package appears to be the requirement for Web companies to obtain 'explicit consent' from Internet users before storing cookies."

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Not the Netherlands (3, Informative)

pahles (701275) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177913)

The Netherlands won't get fined because they ensured Neelie Kroes of the EC they will transpose the rules: http://www.nu.nl/internet/2823753/nederland-ontloopt-nipt-europese-telecomboete.html [www.nu.nl] (in Dutch).

Ensured? (3, Informative)

IAmGarethAdams (990037) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178749)

You keep using that word. I do not think it means, what you think it means.

On a more helpful note I think "assured" was what you were looking for.

Re:Ensured? (1, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179097)

Whoever modded that informative post "overrated" is one of the aliterates who don't understand that sometimes a misspelling can completely change the meaning of a sentence, as the GP did. The parent clarified the GP and should have been modded up.

Whoever modded the parent "overrated", waste some points on this comment so you don't have them do make any more bad moderations. Or better yet, JUST STOP MODERATING.

Dew knot truss yore spill checker.

Re:Ensured? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179391)

It's spelled "illiterate".

Re:Ensured? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179617)

I can't decide if that's a great joke, or a prime example.

Re:Ensured? (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179839)

Woosh potential measuring over 50 gelgars, but here goes nothing...

illiterate = unable to read or write

aliterate = able to read or write, but not spell

If aliterate isn't in the OED, can we try to get it it?

Re:Ensured? (2)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180027)

It already is in the OED, although that isn't what it means. It means someone who is able to read and write perfectly well, but chooses not to do so. Essentially a synonym of "book shy".

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/aliterate [oxforddictionaries.com]

leave the EU (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40177931)

The correct solution is to leave that horribly mutated experiment.

1) These rules are pointless - session cookies per se are of no consequence, but retention of vast amounts of data by Google & co. is;
2) Retention of data for government purposes is an especial threat, yet the EU promotes this rather than restricting it.

The EU has failed. It has turned into a method for economic domination by Germany and, to a lesser extent, France. Iceland rightly outright avoided the effects of financial subjugation, Greece should take the opportunity to do so right now, and so over the years should any other nation which values its sovereignty.

Re:leave the EU (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40177995)

Greece borrows a fuckton of money, pisses it up the wall and then throws a massive sulk when asked to pay it back. Meanwhile Germany makes stuff that people want to buy.

Just who's being subjugated here?

Re:leave the EU (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178063)

Wow, are you that stupid?

Joining the EU means you're required to structure your laws, regulations and trade in a way that favours those with most influence in the EU, i.e. Germany and, to a lesser extent, France. It means that you're unlikely to be able to competitively build anything, so you become a "service"/"finance" industry, in the style of most remaining EU countries.

In return for these restrictions, you're favoured by Preferred EU Financial Partners (i.e. central banks which have their fingers in the same project) for loans which you're supposed to use for developing your infrastructure - now you aren't selling anything and can't really finance it yourself. So you do so, while those lending to you know full well that you're unlikely to be able to pay it all back.

Blaming Greece is like blaming any victim of a cult: sure, they shouldn't have joined in the first place, and yes, they did temporarily enjoy some good times while they were slowly losing anything and everything which made it possible for them to stand on their own two feet. But make no mistake: Germany knows exactly what it's done. The bankers of Europe know exactly what they've done. The only long term solution which prevents indefinite servitude is for Greece to say, "I see what you did, I was fooled, shame on you, and good day." It should then default and rebuild itself. Times will be hard, but it's better to work for freedom than live as a slave. Other nations may follow - which is why the EU is so scared and whining like it will be the end of the world if Greece breaks free from its chains.

Re:leave the EU (5, Insightful)

Rakshasa-sensei (533725) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178149)

What a load of bullcrap.

Do you know how easy it was for me to start up a company in Norway? Required only internet access and a couple of days, and that was 8 years ago.

In greece, you'd be lucky with 10 months and lots of bribes. E.g. check out this article [nytimes.com] . And there's plenty of renowned international studies into corruption, ease of business, etc, and the Northern European countries top all those.

There's no grand conspiracy, no effort at keeping the south down through infrastructure loans or anything. The countries that are doing excellent through this crisis, e.g. the Northern European countries, do so for entirely obvious reasons.

It might have been slightly naive of us to think that Greece would have taken the out-stretched hand and used it to reform into a prosperous European social-democratic country, not try to steal our watch and rings to waste on wine and dance.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178637)

Do you know how easy it was for me to start up a company in Norway? Required only internet access and a couple of days, and that was 8 years ago.

In greece, you'd be lucky with 10 months and lots of bribes. E.g. check out this article [nytimes.com].

Fantastic. Two anecdotes, one by a paper representing one side.

Here's my anecdotes:

- My ex's family were from Greece. Business there was as business in any Southern European country: stronger sense of family and community, so local businesses which were perceived as ethical would thrive, whereas people in it for a quick buck would be viewed with suspicion and would have regulations more stringently applied. Health&Safety in Britain is much more intrusive than there.

- My uncle regularly goes on business trips to China. Despite being the most successful exporter in the world, they're the most corrupt bunch of bastards you would ever want to meet. Everything depends on who you know and whose palm you grease. They put on an excellent facade to welcome the foreign businessman, but if you really want to get anywhere, you need to play the game.

As for general perceptions of corruption, Greece and China are often shown as about equal, whereas most of the countries perceived much less corrupt aren't doing nearly so well as China (and many not as well as Greece).

Re:leave the EU (5, Interesting)

Rakshasa-sensei (533725) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178961)

- My ex's family were from Greece. Business there was as business in any Southern European country: stronger sense of family and community, so local businesses which were perceived as ethical would thrive, whereas people in it for a quick buck would be viewed with suspicion and would have regulations more stringently applied. Health&Safety in Britain is much more intrusive than there.

Wow, I didn't expect it but (not kidding) you've seriously opened my eyes.

Ignoring for the moment the rather unfortunate comparison you did to China (do you even realize the argument you made there???), when considering the situation in southern europe I at least _assumed_ that the population in general was conscious of the reasons why they were uncompetitive and just acted out of self-interest.

That the family and community business thing you described above is seen as a good thing makes clear that they got no fucking clue. I can hardly think of a way to structure a business environment that would lead to more corruption than that. When your neighbor or cousine's business is threatened by a more competitive smartass from out-of-town, the 'family and community' oriented society would see it as normal to put in any and all obstacles possible.

Fuck that, I guess Greece really is destined to leave the Euro. (And having left a sour taste in the mouth of leaders up north from all those protests and threats to the Euro stability in order to 'renegotiate', etc, reconstruction 'aid' won't be very forthcoming)

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179451)

Re China - yes, showing that business success moderate perceived corruption. You're the one extolling the virtues of business success, not me.

Re family/community - if you think that family/community strength produces something worse than angry individualism, you're insane. Not all places work like you want them - to you, suspicion against plundering outsiders is a bad thing. To me, it's a great thing, for those who want to benefit from a community should have to show that they are there to cooperate for mutual benefit rather than to exploit.

As for reconstruction "aid", all you need to work is raw material, an educated brain and a working pair of hands. I was brought up in a dictatorship and I know what it's like to work for food and housing rather than shiny coins - I love my freedom of speech today but I also know that it's quite possible to work without being beholden to workshy scroungers who instead make a living from lending money.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179631)

being beholden to workshy scroungers who instead make a living from lending money

That's lovely. Hint: Just don't borrow money and you won't be beholden to those "workshy scroungers".

Re:leave the EU (1)

Rakshasa-sensei (533725) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179943)

I saw a rather interesting survey in The Economist (subscribe to their podcast, they're fucking awesome even if you're just a computer geek like me), the survey covered what European country people thought was least corrupt and who worked the hardest.

The survey showed Germany clearly leading on being least corrupt, and leading on working the hardest... Except for the Greek who said they worked the hardest.

True according to reported work hours, yet is someone really 'working' if they're sleeping or otherwise padding?

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180631)

all you need to work is raw material

what do you think money is, precisely, other than a placeholder for any raw material you can fucking think of? One that is much easier to transfer than say.. a couple metric tons of steel, concrete, crops, or anything else you may use in business.

I love my freedom of speech today but I also know that it's quite possible to work without being beholden to workshy scroungers who instead make a living from lending money.

Who the hell is "lending" money by force? Don't want to be "beholden" to lenders? Don't fucking borrow. This is not a complicated solution. Of course, not borrowing can certainly impose hardships. If I'm a fantastic shipwright, but with no money, it'll be somewhat difficult for me to build any ships without borrowing to finance my startup. I also assume that you don't have a bank or brokerage account of any kind. Because if you do, guess what! You are one of those workshy bastards that you seem to loathe so much.

to you, suspicion against plundering outsiders is a bad thing. To me, it's a great thing, for those who want to benefit from a community should have to show that they are there to cooperate for mutual benefit rather than to exploit.

Yeah. Its so great that it drives out outside innovation and business trying to share the products of their labor. Awesome, if your community is healthy and self-sustaining. Not quite so awesome when your community is a smoking economic crater.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180995)

what do you think money is, precisely, other than a placeholder for any raw material you can fucking think of?

That isn't even simplistic enough to be Economics 101. Money is worth whatever people are prepared to exchange for it. Raw materials often have a direct value based on how they satisfy human needs. For example, we would regularly go to a field maintained by the village, and most of the villagers would do the same. Everyone in the village would then have a supply of food. They would also help each other out with maintaining buildings and forging tools. Everyone pulled his weight because you knew that you'd get an equal share if you did - regardless of whether you were an older kid also attending school, a young man in his physical prime, or an old man who could only do light tasks. If you didn't pull your weight, you'd get nothing. It really is that "fucking" simple.

Who the hell is "lending" money by force?

1) Usury corrupts the market as banks etc effectively become the owners of everything, buying and re-selling at prices which would be unaffordable without loans; 2) the loans here occur on a national level, taken out to benefit a few corrupt politicians and bankers, and repaid by the people.

If I'm a fantastic shipwright, but with no money, it'll be somewhat difficult for me to build any ships without borrowing to finance my startup.

Why would you "finance your startup" rather than getting together with existing shipwrights? Can't you get along with other people?

I also assume that you don't have a bank or brokerage account of any kind. Because if you do, guess what! You are one of those workshy bastards

I keep all my money in cooperatives and mutuals, taking an amount no greater than necessary to balance inflation. The rest is invested (in the sense that more cooperatives = better for everyone, not in the sense that I will receive a financial return) in schemes to help other cooperatives.

Its so great that it drives out outside innovation and business trying to share the products of their labor.

Ahahaha. "share the products of their labour". Yeah, sure, that's what the vultures are trying to do. It's like listening to someone who's just read The Fountainhead.

Awesome, if your community is healthy and self-sustaining. Not quite so awesome when your community is a smoking economic crater.

A little hardship now is better than indentured servitude. Stop trying to appeal to laziness and short-termism so you can make your exploitative buck.

Re:leave the EU (3, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179745)

local businesses which were perceived as ethical would thrive, whereas people in it for a quick buck would be viewed with suspicion and would have regulations more stringently applied

Which is what we call corruption. Applying the rules differently to those not in the club so that they are relatively disadvantaged. Until they join the club anyway.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180269)

Then all friendships, relationships and communities are corrupt by definition, and we should all live as highly paranoid, anti-social individualists.

If you don't see why your neoconservative definition of "corruption" is such a problem - i.e. "corruption" = "prohibits fraud and plundering" - then, well, I guess you'll end up with a Western economy just as it is today, where fools are being conned and begging to be conned some more...

(At least China knows better, I guess - hence guanxi and ganqing while we have, since the '80s, demonstrated little more in the way of business innovation than finely tuned lying, backstabbing and blaming the victim.)

Re:leave the EU (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180459)

Applying the rules equally to all is not being paranoid, or anti-social, or individualist.

What is fine in friendships is not fine in the legal and beauracratic realms. A judge allowing a friend to borrow his car when he wouldn't do so to a stranger is fine. The same judge giving a lesser penalty to a friend than he would a stranger in court is not fine. The mayor having his friend over for dinner when he wouldn't a stranger is fine. The mayor granting zoning changes to a friend that he wouldn't a stranger is not fine.

And I don't have a neoconservative definition of corruption - well I guess I don't really know what that would be in the first place. "corruption" = "prohibits fraud and plundering" certainly isn't the case though.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180683)

A judge allowing a friend to borrow his car when he wouldn't do so to a stranger is fine. The same judge giving a lesser penalty to a friend than he would a stranger in court is not fine. The mayor having his friend over for dinner when he wouldn't a stranger is fine. The mayor granting zoning changes to a friend that he wouldn't a stranger is not fine.

Well, this is precisely how the world works and you're a naive fool to think it will ever be otherwise. But do you really think that society can be run by keeping to the letter of some stupid list of rules rather than by (mostly faithful but sometimes corruptible) human relationships?

Corruption is where A says: "Even though you have no reason to believe I have good intentions, I will give you $x if you can persuade your organisation to do y for me," and B accepts it.

In other words, corruption is where you sneakily get your organisation (public or private) to do something for your personal benefit *even when it would not benefit the organisation*.

Corruption is *not* where A says: "Although both C and I are requesting the same thing, you know me and can trust me," and B honestly knows that A is honest and trustworthy while he does not know C, so he grants the favour to A rather than C. That is just, well, precisely how social species work for group advantage. Indeed, the most successful families, businesses, classes and nations are those who look after themselves rather than buy into bullshit about "fair" competition.

Re:leave the EU (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178823)

Wow, a Norwegian Republican Wapanese...never thought I'd see one of those.

Re:leave the EU (2)

Rakshasa-sensei (533725) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179783)

Well, as I'm currently living in Japan I've seen / studied pretty much the three types of societies that have produced highly competitive industrialized societies. The US (through osmosis of politics, literature and lol), Northern Europe and Japan.

And what many in the US, especially republicans, seem to miss is that social safety net, universal health care, support for parents with young children, etc, are competitive advantages. What social-capitalistic societies have thought us is that rather than chase an ideology, you should implement reasonable social policies and encourage capitalism that is reined in by sensible regulations.

As a manager of an IKEA manufacturing plant (that out-competed local businesses) in the US said on the Colbert Report; we swedes took the lessons of US capitalism and got better than you at it.

Re:leave the EU (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178205)

You know that Greece cooked the books in order to be able to join, don't you? The public opinion in Germany is that Greece should take a hike, and if they're going to leave, they should get the fuck out NOW instead of dragging their feet and wasting more EU taxpayers' money. When this problem emerged, the EU faced a meltdown if Greece had left or gone bankrupt then, because the markets' had bet on bailouts no matter what, but now that the markets have familiarized themselves with the idea of Greece leaving, it won't be a huge problem. I don't think anybody expects Greece to stay within the EU anymore, and certainly not within the Euro zone. If they don't get their act together and start carrying their own weight: Good riddance.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178843)

Every man on the street in Greece cooked the books and managed to keep it a huge fucking secret from Germany? Impressive.

I'd say that a few corrupt Greek politicians, a few corrupt EU politicians, and Goldman-Sachs got together to work out how to decimate Greece for great personal profit.

And Greece - meaning the people of Greece - should respond by running as far as it can from the clutches of the corrupt EU banking system. If it could at least imprison those involved in the fraud, Iceland-style, that would be a plus.

(The fact that one can "bet on the bailouts" to the extent that half a continent's currency is killed off if one country leaves is such an absurd state of affairs that it's incredible that anyone defends the EU banking system.)

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179081)

And Greece - meaning the people of Greece - should respond by running as far as it can from the clutches of the corrupt EU banking system.

They will. And they will learn that nothing the EU asked of them is even close to what they're going to have to endure when they leave.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179177)

Under 30, huh?

I was brought up in the final decade of Spain's military dictatorship. I've enjoyed that, the transition to democracy, the early years of almost-reasonable EC support, the latter years of EU and national corruption following a jump to the right, and the fucking mess we're now in. Frankly, Spain was at its best in the mid-'80s, before it entered the union and while it had begun to learn how to run a democratic economy on its own. Gonzalez was faced with the same post-oil-crisis problems as Thatcher yet managed to respond in precisely the opposite way to her.

Sure, it wasn't the comfortable technological dystopia that Western Europe enjoys now, but it combined freedom with an understanding of the need to respect your fellow man - and if Greece has the balls it will hopefully strive to start around there, and perhaps encourage a few other European countries with it.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180913)

If going broke is so fantastic, what the fuck are they waiting for? Another bailout check and they're off?

Re:leave the EU (3, Interesting)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178237)

Why is this modded troll? You'd have to be blind solely blame Greece in this debacle and it's quite obvious who has benefited from the Greek crisis.

Re:leave the EU (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178363)

who has benefited from the Greek crisis

That would be the US, who has its very own binge borrowing problem that nobody's looking at anymore because a tiny European country is everything anybody talks about anymore.

Re:leave the EU (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178385)

Why is this modded troll? You'd have to be blind solely blame Greece in this debacle and it's quite obvious who has benefited from the Greek crisis.

Goldman-Sachs? The US company who made billions helping Greece hide their true financial status so they'd be allowed to join the euro and billions more betting against Greece because they knew the real numbers?

Re:leave the EU (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179227)

Why not draw a parallel to the current American housing crisis? Homeowners should have known better; banks knew they didn't know better, and took advantage of them. The government helped. Everyone is wrong except for those who didn't involve themselves.

Re:leave the EU (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178071)

Greece borrows a fuckton of money, pisses it up the wall and then throws a massive sulk when asked to pay it back.

I think the sulk is not even for having to pay it back but for being required to follow a number of rules that might make them stop pissing more fucktons of money up the wall.

Re:leave the EU (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179443)

Sorry to break-up your 5 minutes hate, but this is how unions work. The rich states subsidize the poor states. In the U.S. that means the rich east/west coasts subsidize the poorer middle, and when a state like California needs a bailout the private central bank prints wads of dollars to help them out.

In the EU it means the center subsidizes the southeast periphery, and when a state like Greece needs a bailout the ECB prints wads of euros to help them out.

Welcome Europeans. You're now just like Americans - part of one gigantic whole rather than individual states.

Re:leave the EU (4, Insightful)

Iskender (1040286) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178143)

Greece borrows a fuckton of money, pisses it up the wall and then throws a massive sulk when asked to pay it back. Meanwhile Germany makes stuff that people want to buy.

The past Greek governments have done a terrible job and now the country suffers for it - this is undoubtedly true. It is also true that the German economy has been much better.

However, Germany has benefited enormously from sharing a currency with them. Being one of the world's largest exporters, they benefit from a relatively weak currency. If they had their own currency now they would be like Switzerland - a safe haven in the crisis, with a very strong currency and problems with exports.

But currently the problems in the other countries devalue the euro, meaning Germany gets to export at great prices. Meanwhile the crisis-hit euro countries have an over-valued currency, and they can't do anything about it. Basically, Germany gets a huge boost for free and pretends it's all due to working hard.

Germany is resisting money-printing and collective eurobonds which would give the crisis-hit countries an opportunity to grow again. They want the others to sort their own things out - but if the others run out of options and crash, Germany might end up wishing they had done something.

FWIW I'm in one of the rich and balanced euro countries. Doesn't matter, I still think we need something else than "tough love" to solve this.

Re:leave the EU (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178199)

I agree 100%. It's worth adding that the bailouts that greece/ireland etc have recieved are being used to pay back (largely) french and german banks and bondholders. The bailout will then be repaid by greek/irish taxpayers.

Be in no illusion. This is not a bailout of the Greeks, but of rich German bondholders. This is why the Greeks are protesting.

Re:leave the EU (4, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178231)

The greeks didn't protest when all the money was loaned to them in the first place so they could go on a massive public sector spending binge and buy the fast cars and beachfront villas. Now its somehow the fault of the organisations who loaned it that the greedy tax dodging greeks are in this mess because they didn't understand Economics 101?? On yer bike pal.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179345)

(I'm the same AC as above)

The point I was making which you missed is that the Greek/Irish people are not personally benefiting from the bailouts.

Instead of the bondholders trying to take over Greece and enforce repayment via the EU, they should be suffering the consequences of their own poor lending decisions. It takes two to tango.

If I were Greek (or indeed if the UK had joined) I would be campaigning to leave the Euro at any cost. Default/decouple/devalue is the quickest (and perhaps only) way out for Greece and Spain. The sooner they do it the less costly it will be (see Iceland).

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178523)

The "rich German bondholders" are mostly neither rich nor are they all German. Bonds are the primary investment of life insurers and pension funds. People loaned Greece their pensions. Shame on them for wanting the money back.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178687)

I have to laugh every time a banker comes out with something like: "If you allow us to fail, WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO YOUR PENSIONS?"

Most bankers gamble with other people's money and cream off a percentage, then use the excuse that those other people will lose out if they're not allowed to continue. And they do so because the people investing are either too greedy or too ignorant to care about what's happening to it.

The solution is not to support this harmful behaviour but to educate people to stop putting all their money in one big pot like this with the clear warning that their investments WILL be allowed to fail - whether it's because a business share price collapses or a business or country cannot afford to pay back a loan.

The "rich German bondholders" (though, yeah, they're not all German) are the people running these degenerate funds, even if they claim to so honourably be doing it on behalf of the average private pension holder.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178905)

Oh I get it. Greece is Robin Hood, robbing the bankers to give to poor exploited Greece.

I wholeheartedly agree that investors need to play close attention to the risks and that unwise investments must be allowed to fail, but you realize that Greece would never have gotten the money in the first place if that were the case, don't you? If you take the money, play by the rules or expect to face the consequences. That Germany is looking out for its own people (and the people of many other European and non-European countries too) is no justification for dining and dashing.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179001)

Let me break it down a bit for you:

Loans are a risk to the lender as much as the borrower.

Bankers hate this and try to make it a risk only to the borrower.

It stops them from being able to lend out other people's money and generate guaranteed profit for life.

As to Greece, it is is the victim of corrupt politicians in Greece (who knew their entry into the common currency wasn't sustainable), the EU (esp. Germany, which saw how it could profit from Greece and hopes to retain it in servitude), plus casino banking firms (Goldman). It doesn't matter why "Greece" got the money - and I don't recall any of my Greek ex's family benefitting from it, so I'd qualify that carefully. What matters is whether it would been in the interest of the people of Greece to pay it back.

Greece should, like Iceland, default and press charges against those involved in the fraud.

Re:leave the EU (2)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179103)

"Loans are a risk to the lender as much as the borrower."

Are you in a company pension scheme? Do you realise that the in most cases the people in it have NO CHOICE about where their money is invested?

So yourself a favour and dump the left wing student vitriol and grow up.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179521)

So the people who voluntarily accept employment somewhere and then (usually) voluntarily accept the company pension scheme have NO CHOICE about where (a small part!) of their income is invested.

But every citizen of Greece was apparently aware of and believed he would benefit from the corruption of national and EU officials, and should pay the price.

You're an idiot.

(Or perhaps what you don't want to say is: "I have invested a lot of money in a single large pension scheme and I don't want to face the consequences of my foolishness"?)

Re:leave the EU (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180107)

"So the people who voluntarily accept employment somewhere and then (usually) voluntarily accept the company pension scheme have NO CHOICE about where (a small part!) of their income is invested."

Oh right , so its their fault is it because they took a job to earn money and need a pension when they retire?

"But every citizen of Greece was apparently aware of "

A majority of the citizens of greeks didn't pay all or any of their taxes so spare me the sob story.

"You're an idiot."

Sorry, I think you must be looking in the mirror.

"Or perhaps what you don't want to say is"

I think what you need to say is you're a silly little kid without a clue of how the world really works. Plus you obviously don't have a job or you wouldn't be so dismissive of pension schemes.

I think your playtimes over sonny.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180415)

So, 1) almost all people are required to give up a great part of their money to broken pension schemes and for that reason we should protect these schemes; 2) almost all Greeks evaded almost all their taxes; 3) only someone "without a job" would not defend stupid investments.

Go troll elsewhere, you laughable failure.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179163)

Greece will default, leave the Eurozone and possibly the EU. And they will not know what hit them. They will have to go through everything the EU asked and more, all at once, while being cut off from imports. There is not going to be less money, there is going to be *no* money, except that which you earn yourself by providing something that somebody else wants. If Greece could live on that, it wouldn't have to keep borrowing more, so there's going to be problems.

Greece is the home of democracy. If any country could be expected to clean up their politics, it's Greece. But Greece didn't. I know it's hard to accept that the people are ultimately responsible for their government's politics, but that's the way the Greeks taught us, right?

So what are you saying exactly? (3, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178203)

"But currently the problems in the other countries devalue the euro, meaning Germany gets to export at great prices."

Which means that greece could also export at great prices if they actually bothered to produce anything that anyone wanted.

"Basically, Germany gets a huge boost for free and pretends it's all due to working hard"

Rubbish - it is due to working hard. Meanwhile the greeks don't bother to pay their taxes then whine abd bitch like little children when finally it all goes t1ts up.

No sympathy. The greeks made their bed , well its time to lie down.

Re:So what are you saying exactly? (3, Insightful)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178461)

"But currently the problems in the other countries devalue the euro, meaning Germany gets to export at great prices."

Which means that greece could also export at great prices if they actually bothered to produce anything that anyone wanted.

Easier said then done, there is a lot of marketing behind Germany, along with a lot of positive stereotypes about their engineering quality, etc....
When people think Germany, the think high quality engineering, studious and stable country, well educated workforce, beer and sausages.
When people think Greece, they think ancient ruins, philosophy, beaches, hot sun, sea, holidays, parties and natural beauty.

As such when people have a choice between a Greek engineered product, and a German one for the same price, an overwhelming majority would go for the German good, even if the Greek one is just as good (or even better).

The Germans have reputation, which they built up before the EU due to being a phenomenal European power. They have had this reputation for hundreds of years. You can' t just create that for another country.

I've known Greek engineers, I've known them produce stuff that was as good or better than their German counterparts. However nobody wanted to buy it at German prices. In the olden days it was ok, as the drachma was a weaker currency, so their goods were cheaper and they would get purchases from budget conscious buyers, who'd end up surprised by the quality.

However once they joined the Euro, their costs increased to the same level as Germany's, and so they had to raise their prices to remain profitable. This made them about as expensive as the German goods, and their sales dried up. They were too expensive for the budget buyers (who buy from east-europe/China now) while those who bought and paid German prices bought them for their reputation, and would not buy the Greek product.

As a result, they went bankrupt, and one of them ended up moving to Germany, where he now makes Germany money via his taxes. A net loss for Greece and a net gain for Germany, which is an inbalance that just grows with time.

"Basically, Germany gets a huge boost for free and pretends it's all due to working hard"

Rubbish - it is due to working hard. Meanwhile the greeks don't bother to pay their taxes then whine abd bitch like little children when finally it all goes t1ts up.

No sympathy. The greeks made their bed , well its time to lie down.

Reading this, I can't help feeling that I've just been trolled, and perhaps I have (in which case congratulations on Trolling me). However I will complete this anyway, as I've written most of it as is, and adding information to a debate is always a good idea.

Yes, Greece has a problem with overbearing bureaucracy, and yes they have an issue with tax collection and corruption. However that does not negate what the grandparent poster said. He was spot on.

If Germany was not in the Euro, it's DMark would be so strong, that their goods would be uncompetitive with the the rest of the world. They would also not have a captive market (in the case of the rest of the eurozone countries) which can guarantee some exports no matter what.

Trust me, if the eurozone wasn't working out for Germany they would leave. They are not staying the out of the goodness of their hearts, or due to some old war guilt. The fact is that the German government knows what the grand parent posted, they know that they are getting a huge boost for free, they know that the eurozone is helping them immensely.

The problem is that the status quo cannot continue. Germany has sucked up all the production out of the rest of the eurozone (barring Italy and northern countries) and countries are collapsing. So at this point either the EU integrates further, which involves some redistribution of wealth from Germany, by whichever mechanism is chosen (euro inflation, bailouts, etc...), or it starts falling apart (perhaps the development of a "Core" EU of stronger economies, with peripheries that can use a weaker currency).

Re:So what are you saying exactly? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178703)

Germany has "lost" quite a lot of manufacturing jobs to countries with cheaper labor markets, for example in the eastern parts of the EU. Greece could have some of those jobs too, if they made an effort. The cost of products made in Greece doesn't magically go up just because Greece joined the Eurozone. They could still sell their products for less to stay competitive and build a reputation. Other EU countries do.

Germany will not finance slacking countries more than it already does. Being in the EU doesn't mean getting a place at Germany's teats. It means getting access to opportunities that are afforded by a big and stable market. Germany profits from a big market, but so do other countries. This is not a zero sum game where Germany wins when everybody else loses. The EU is an implementation of the concept that the tide raises everybody's boat.

If the EU should end (it won't), then Germany could just as easily devalue the DM by printing more. Germany would get two benefits: Imports and infrastructure paid with fresh money, and competitive exports at the same time. Germany doesn't need the EU, but it's better off with the EU than without, and so are most other European countries. Don't mistake Germany's attempts to keep Greece in the EU for a sign of weakness.

Re:So what are you saying exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178757)

It has been clear for a while how Greece was behaving.

The EU (Germany) continued, of course, to offer loans because it was in the EU (Germany)'s interest. It could at any time have decided to stop extending credit.

The modern Western world is expert at setting up someone for a fall and then blaming the victim. It's the main Western socioeconomic and geopolitical strategy post-WW2. It's at its most inhuman when it's used to enable some Middle Eastern nation to be overrun by a dictator and later oust that dictator, but it works fine in the more peaceful arena of Europe too.

(Also, Viol8 is a troll. I recall a funny extended fight with it one afternoon a few years ago, until eventually it came out and admitted it.)

Re:So what are you saying exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179025)

Greece is not a Middle Eastern dictatorship. It's fucking Greece for fucks sake. The home of Demos Kratia, rules of the masses, democracy. And "EU (Germany)" is an insult to all the other nations which form the EU and to Germany too. Germany does not unilaterally decide who gets EU money and who doesn't. Greece was afforded credit on the expectation that it would better itself, but it didn't and credit is about to be rescinded. When Greece became a member of the Eurozone, it got access to lots of opportunities, including cheap credit. You can blame other countries for creating that tempting Eurozone, but I think that's a transparent and dishonorable cop-out. It was Greeces own responsibility to use the opportunities to grow. Instead it squandered everything it was offered because it treated the cheap credit as free money.

Re:So what are you saying exactly? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179045)

"Also, Viol8 is a troll. I recall a funny extended fight with it one afternoon a few years ago, until eventually it came out and admitted it.)"

Care to post a link?

I was not trolling - I have no sympathy for the greeks. They caused their own downfall - no one forced them to join the euro after cooking the books and no one forced them to tax dodge on an epic scale.

Re:So what are you saying exactly? (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179545)

Sorry, that doesn't wash. Japan used to have a reputation for cheap and crappy products, now they are world leaders in high quality and engineering. Its not that hard to change a brand, just make better stuff.

Re:So what are you saying exactly? (2)

Shazback (1842686) | more than 2 years ago | (#40181065)

Easier said then done, there is a lot of marketing behind Germany, along with a lot of positive stereotypes about their engineering quality, etc.... When people think Germany, the think high quality engineering, studious and stable country, well educated workforce, beer and sausages. When people think Greece, they think ancient ruins, philosophy, beaches, hot sun, sea, holidays, parties and natural beauty.

Perhaps differenciation is to be looked into then? Finland didn't have the reputation of being consumer-friendly before Nokia burst onto the scene. It had a few industrial machinery companies that had a good business-to-business relationship, but the main players in Finland were heavy industry and natural resource companies. Was Sweden famous for simple design, efficient management and furniture before IKEA became big in the 70s? Was Spain considered an important fashion destination before ZARA spread like wildfire in the 90s? Countries aren't created with a God-given reputation and a set of stereotypes that are set in stone. Countries shape their own reputation and their own stereotypes. Japan's change from "cheap knock-off and unreliable electronics" to "precision electronics and fancy design" happened in barely over 20 years, and companies like Sony, Nintendo, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Canon, Honda, Toyota as well as artists like Haruki and Takashi Murakami, Kusama...

Sure, Germany has a reputation for certain goods : cars, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, industrial goods. But that still leaves loads of areas for other countries to gain the upper hand. France has a reputation for more fashionable goods, but they also have big car companies, aerospace and defence companies, as well as natural resources, food and beauty products companies that are huge. Sure, France and Germany are "big" countries with populations that are several times that of Greece, and longer-established companies in most sectors. But the Netherlands managed to get to the top of some markets : Unilever, Philips, ASML, TomTom, Akzo Nobel, TNT Express... Why couldn't Greece have prospered in a similar manner? What was stopping these excellent Greek engineers, industrialists, marketers, etc. from founding companies that would compete in new, different, niche markets and then grow big? Sure, Greece's auto industry might not have been able to hold up to the German auto industry. But what about IT? What about architecture and construction companies? Why not become leaders in geothermal and solar energy? What about holiday resort construction and management?... The list goes on and on. As you say yourself, Greece had some advantages Germany didn't : history of engineering discoveries and applications going back to before the Roman Empire, key artistic and philosophical theories, climate and history particularly suited to tourism, a famous and healty cuisine, a trade position on the cusp of three continents just accross form the Suez Canal... How come the only things that came out of these advantages were a huge (but barely taxed) shipping industry and a strong tourist industry?

If Germany was not in the Euro, it's DMark would be so strong, that their goods would be uncompetitive with the the rest of the world. They would also not have a captive market (in the case of the rest of the eurozone countries) which can guarantee some exports no matter what.

Trust me, if the eurozone wasn't working out for Germany they would leave. They are not staying the out of the goodness of their hearts, or due to some old war guilt. The fact is that the German government knows what the grand parent posted, they know that they are getting a huge boost for free, they know that the eurozone is helping them immensely.

The problem is that the status quo cannot continue. Germany has sucked up all the production out of the rest of the eurozone (barring Italy and northern countries) and countries are collapsing. So at this point either the EU integrates further, which involves some redistribution of wealth from Germany, by whichever mechanism is chosen (euro inflation, bailouts, etc...), or it starts falling apart (perhaps the development of a "Core" EU of stronger economies, with peripheries that can use a weaker currency).

The Eurozone (like all economic questions) isn't a zero-sum game. Germany are in it because they see an advantage (indeed, lower export costs due to weaker economies keeping the Euro down, and easier exports within the EU/Euro zone). But Greece also had huge advantages. The EU doled out money like every day was the return of the prodigal son (in 2009 alone it was 260€ per Greek citizen) which enabled Greece to undertake ambitious infrastructure projects (and possibly left the door open to corruption) and finance generous social well-being programs. With the Euro, Greece's borrowing rates plummetted, allowing individuals as well as the state far greater access to credit, which in turn allowed for greater consumption, investment and increased quality of living. The Euro also helped increase tourism to Greece by Europeans due to the elimination of change mechanisms. Both Germany and Greece gained, and they also both suffered. Germany saw the writing on the wall that its workforce, despite being highly productive, was expensive, and underwent deep reforms around 2000-2003 to bring the cost of labour down. Germany also reformed their social welfare policies to account for increased life expectancy and competition within the Eurozone. Greece didn't reform, and now they're faced with a mountain to climb regardless of staying in the Eurozone/EU or leaving.

Greece's problems run deep : inefficient and obscure bureaucracy, systematic tax evasion*, low penetration of communication technology**, lack of diversification in the economy, corruption and bribery in administration and politics... These are problems that Greece will have to address regardless of staying in the EU/Eurozone. They won't be easy, and it's not by going back to the Drachma that they'll suddenly dissappear.

*: Don't believe me? the Greek tax bureau recently let out the names of 4,152 "major" tax dodgers, all of whom owe more than 150k€ in tax (link). This isn't even -all- the people who owe more than 150k€ in tax, since the tax evaders that reached a deal to restructure their tax payments or were already taken to court by the tax bureau aren't included. Given that Greece has a population of 11 Million, and an average household of 2.7 people, that's at least one household in a thousand that owes over 150k€ in tax... Since tax evasion amounts seem to be likened to an exponential decay curve, one can only expect that the number of individuals that owe 149-100k€ is greater than the number that owe over 150k€, and the number that owe 100-50k€ greater still! Perhaps there are as many as one household in a hundred that owe over 50k€! At this point, yes, "systematic" is the adjective I'd use.

** : The ITU estimates that only 44% of the Greek population has accessed the Internet in the past 12 months... The lowest proportion in the Eurozone, and last-but-one in the EU (thanks Romania!).

Re:So what are you saying exactly? (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178941)

Hard work my arse.

I work for a German company from the UK. They employ two people to do the job of one person here. Their 'efficiency champions' reputation is complete bollocks. Their engineering performances are just as crap; if it's not written down in a manual, specification or procedure, they panic. They have no idea about 'getting the job done'; their flexibility is invisible.

Re:So what are you saying exactly? (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179551)

>>>They employ two people to do the job of one person here

That's because of a German government mandate. Rather than lay people off, the government chose to cut full time hours to 35. They have near-full employment but nobody is working a full week..... not until the economy improves.

Re:So what are you saying exactly? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180183)

-1 Troll.
Nooooo... I was sharing a fact I heard stated on the news several times. The German government has a low unemployment rate because it has a policy of cutting hours, rather than laying off.

Re:So what are you saying exactly? (2)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180687)

It is not a fact, it is bullshit. There is no such government mandate and most people in Germany do work 40-hour-weeks.

The management of some car manufacturers agreed with the works council that instead of laying off they would cut hours when the factory utilisation is seriously under capacity, but that's about it. It is neither a government mandate nor it is widespread.

Re:So what are you saying exactly? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179273)

No sympathy. The greeks made their bed , well its time to lie down.

No, the Greek elite made the bed, with the help of Goldman Sachs to keep it all secret. Make the elite pay, leave the Greek people alone.

Re:So what are you saying exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179441)

Yes, absolutely. But that's not what the Greeks are doing. They're voting to return to the country's spending habit and to just not pay the bills.

Re:So what are you saying exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180745)

"But currently the problems in the other countries devalue the euro, meaning Germany gets to export at great prices."

Which means that greece could also export at great prices if they actually bothered to produce anything that anyone wanted.

Kind of. The point is that a single currency exacerbates differences in competitiveness, in a way which helps strong economies and hurts weak ones. In the case of the Euro, that means the Germans benefit and the Greeks get screwed.

"Basically, Germany gets a huge boost for free and pretends it's all due to working hard"

Rubbish - it is due to working hard.

Actually, according to the OECD the average Greek works 2109 hours per year and the average German only works 1419 (cite [oecd.org] ). Greece's problems have nothing to do with laziness, and Germany's strength has nothing to do with working hard. The problem is that a German worker produces far more per hour work than a Greek worker, without receiving proportionally greater compensation. Before the Euro, that kind of imbalance lead to the Drachma falling against the Deutschmark, which had the side-effect of making Greek exports cheaper and German exports more expensive, and hence at the very least ameliorating the current account deficit. Inside the Euro, that mechanism doesn't work, and you instead end up with a currency which is too cheap for the Germans and too dear for the Greeks. That acts as a subsidy for German exports, in the same way that the Chinese government's old policy of holding their currency down relative to the dollar makes it easier for their exporters to compete against American companies (or did, until the yuan started rising).

Meanwhile the greeks don't bother to pay their taxes then whine abd bitch like little children when finally it all goes t1ts up.

True, but a fiscal deficit is only mildly correlated with a current account deficit, or with competitiveness problems. If the only problem with the Greek economy was excessive government borrowing then it'd be a much easier thing to fix; a year or two of austerity and everything would be peachy again. The real problem is much more fundamental than that, and just burning the place to the ground won't actually help.

No sympathy. The greeks made their bed , well its time to lie down.

Because of course the aim of macroeconomics is to ensure that virtue is rewarded and sin is punished. Making useful stuff is entirely optional.

Less snarkily, anyone more than about ten years old will remember the Maastricht Stability and Growth Pact, which was the Eurozone's original chosen implement for preventing excessive government debts. It didn't work, in part because when the German economy got into trouble in ~2005 they responded with a stimulus package (admittedly, a modest one by today's standards, but still), and when the EC pointed out that that was a violation of the pact the German government (rightly) responded that cutting spending in the middle of a recession would destroy their economy and told the EC to go fuck themselves. After that, nobody really paid much attention to the deficit limits any more.

Admittedly, the S&G pact was a bloody stupid idea to begin with and everyone's better off now that it's dead, but the fact that even five years ago the Germans couldn't manage austerity during a much milder recession does rather undermine the theory that the Greeks are in trouble because they're sinful and the Germans are doing well because they're virtuous.

It's also kind of interesting to go back and look at press coverage around the time the currency was launched. I can't speak for the continent, but, at least in Britain, the most common opinion seemed to be that it was doomed because of government debt issues. Which you'd think would have been impressively prescient, except that the government with the dangerous debts back then was German.

Re:leave the EU (2)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178271)

Thank you for a balanced comment, I'm getting tired of all these idiots shouting about how irresponsible and "lazy" Greeks are. All this crisis has done is convince me even more how bad of an idea the Euro was to begin with. If it wasn't for campaigning by the only real opposition (i.e. the Left Party and the Greens, though nowadays that the Greens have gone more "center" and abandoned almost all forms of EU criticism, only the Left Party), we would be members of the damn thing as well. I really wish the Greeks luck, the best thing for them to do is probably to leave the Euro, it will be painful but furthering these draconian cuts leading to a negative spiral is a road to complete economic ruin.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178321)

The EU can't keep pouring money into a leaky barrel. Eurobonds would have to go hand in hand with relieving a country of its sovereign control if it wants federal money. You know, kind of like the US states are "subjugated" under federal control to get a piece of the pie. Without that kind of control, what incentive is there for a country to not just take the money and waste it on pork barrel projects or ramp up social security at the cost of other countries which make their people work harder and earn less to stay competitive.

The way to make a region competitive is to make it better or cheaper. You can't make it better by giving it money if an important cause for uncompetitiveness is moral hazard. You can't make it cheaper by giving it money either. More money is not the solution. And don't even think about threatening Germany with the notion that exports will crash if export markets will leave the Eurozone or the EU, making Germany's currency more valuable and exports more expensive. Germany could still print money then, but instead of pissing it away on sustaining Greece's binge, the printed money would end up in public infrastructure in Germany. Germany isn't the economic center of the EU because it played political games. It has benefited from the EU, no doubt, but so has everybody else. Manufacturing jobs have moved to countries which would never have got them without the increased mobility of finances and goods. The EU offers many opportunities to countries which join. That's why they want in. Unfortunately Greece appears to have misinterpreted that as free money and now pays the price. (And just to be absolutely clear: I know that there are hard working Greeks and that it's not their fault, but the country as a whole needs to clean out the sleaze.)

Germany is a hypocrite (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178279)

Greece borrows a fuckton of money, pisses it up the wall and then throws a massive sulk when asked to pay it back. Meanwhile Germany makes stuff that people want to buy.

Just who's being subjugated here?

Germany banks got a huge bailout paid for by the rest of the EU:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-23/merkel-should-know-her-country-has-been-bailed-out-too.html

Germany was also the sick man of Europe not too long ago, and they were helped out by the rest of Europe (i.e., the countries that are now having trouble). Of course Germany doesn't bother returning the favor now.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/german-adjustment/

Things aren't as black-and-white as you make them out to be. Too things need to happen for this mess to be solved:
* the ECB needs to lower interest rates
* there needs to be stimulus spending

Austerity has failed everywhere it has been tried, and insisting on is just making things worse. Governments and national economies cannot cut their way to prosperity.

Re:Germany is a hypocrite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178359)

Austerity itself isn't what's needed, but if the underlying problem isn't fixed, then stimulus spending is just going to feed the wrong interests and make the problem worse. "Austerity" (really just stopping to waste money) is meant to force the removal of the chaff. Unfortunately a large percentage of the Greek population has decided that they want more free money and not pay anything back, instead of reforming their country so that it doesn't leak money like a sieve. This is not going to work. If the Greek don't turn their country around, they will have to leave the Eurozone and possibly the EU, and it will be much much harder than anything the EU is asking of them.

Re:Germany is a hypocrite (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179643)

>>>Austerity has failed everywhere it has been tried

It worked just fine for the U.S. Depression of 1921-22. The Congress made huge cuts in spending, thereby freeing up cash in the private economy, and ending the depression in less than two years. Fastest recovery on record. (Austerity also works on the personal level; cut your spending, pay off your bills, and then you have free cash for investing.)

Re:leave the EU (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179705)

Meanwhile Germany makes stuff that people want to buy.

Here states like Greece, Italy and Spain have been acting all nice and buying stuff so German people can get work. And then the Germans turn around and says, fuck you, we aren't going to buy anything in return. Instead we are going to try to rent seek you until you collapse.

The exact same thing happened in the US, except you can replace Germany with the Top 1%.

You can't blame those who lent and spent, as the production obviously managed to keep up in those years (and if there had been competition for that production, those with stronger surpluses would have had it easier to acquire their shares). And you can't blame those who lent and spent for stopping either. No, the only ones you can blame are those who saved and saved, and yet still aren't spending now when no one else can. They are the ones who violated the implicit contract of economy and broke the money circulation.

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180469)

Money isn't free. If you work for money, it's up to you when you spend it and how you spend it. Germany is transitioning from a pension scheme where the working generation pays the retired generation's pensions to a system where the pensions are capital backed. This means that people need to save and invest the savings to consume them later in their lives.

In most years, Germany buys more from Greece than any other country does, but Greece maintains a trade deficit with most countries, not just Germany. That is despite substantial export growth in the time since Greece joined the Eurozone. I don't see how that is anybody but the Greeks' fault. It's not like they are forced to spend more than they have.

Re:leave the EU (4, Interesting)

Kergan (780543) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178035)

Err...

1. Session cookies are key in allowing Google to track and store more data than it should.

2. In France at least, the EC expressed concerns about the French government storing too much, not too little. So, not sure where you get the idea of the EU promoting police states.

3. Historically, the EU has always progressed in times of crisis. The US got federalism more or less right two centuries ago. We'll get it more or less right soon enough.

4. Unless the Euro breaks up (which I think is unlikely), rebalancing will likely occur through fiscal union, pan-EU projects (à la Ariane or Airbus), and increased (some already exist) subsidies from more competitive regions to less competitive ones.

5. Actually, Iceland recently made news because it was at the EU's door, almost begging to enter, and rather eager to adopt the Euro. The part they got right, which neither you nor we did, is to lock up their bankers in jail after clawing their wages back. (And I'm confident we'll get it right too, eventually.)

Re:leave the EU (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178057)

1. Session cookies are key in allowing Google to track and store more data than it should.

Err, no, that would be persistent cookies. Session cookies are deleted whenever the browser session ends, so it makes tracking rather pointless. The cookies Google (and every other company) uses to track are set to expire years in the future.

Re:leave the EU (1)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178103)

This is not true anymore because firefox has stopped crashing daily long ago (I used to have script to delete
cookies not on the whitelist at startup, but it's mostly pointless now because firefox has survived for weeks).

Re:leave the EU (3, Interesting)

nosh (213252) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178123)

1. Session cookies are key in allowing Google to track and store more data than it should.

Err, no, that would be persistent cookies. Session cookies are deleted whenever the browser session ends, so it makes tracking rather pointless. The cookies Google (and every other company) uses to track are set to expire years in the future.

So you always open your browser for only one site and close it afterwards? And never look at two sites at the same time?

If you like it or not, the problem with cookies is something that can only be solved by law.
There are some sites only working with cookies (mostly for stupid reasons), so you cannot disable cookies globally.
Almost any site with advertising gives you a tracking cookie, per advertisement, so no browser will ask people to accept cookies by default as people will be utterly confused. And because any browser accepts them by default, sites can just add tracking cookies without many people complaining. So no browser can switch to "ask-before-request" as too many sites use them....

So you either have to accept that any site will track what other sites you visit and give the advertisers your profile
(and once one of thoe sites also has your login, connect that profile to your identify), or you have to use regulation.
One might differ whether people have a right on privacy or websites have a right to get revenues. But if one considers a right for privacy, regulation is the only solution in this case.

Re:leave the EU (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179565)

If you like it or not, the problem with cookies is something that can only be solved by law.

IIF you consider it a big enough problem to need legal recourse.

Almost any site with advertising gives you a tracking cookie, per advertisement, so no browser will ask people to accept cookies by default as people will be utterly confused. And because any browser accepts them by default, sites can just add tracking cookies without many people complaining. So no browser can switch to "ask-before-request" as too many sites use them....

I don't agree. Ask-before-request could work fine, and if people got tired of it they could select to "always accept cookies"; in practice, if websites everywhere start asking permission to store cookies, people are going to be getting this kind of constant prompting anyway. Whatsmore, browsers could make the problem much easier by grouping together domains/IPs associated with advertising (and maybe a few other categories like online shopping, etc.), and provide a dialog to the user asking whether they wanted to accept "advertising cookies" or "online shopping cookies" or whatever. This wouldn't require an individual per-IP/domain approval/rejection.

But if one considers a right for privacy, regulation is the only solution in this case.

No, not really. By using a browser that automatically accepts cookies, you are implicitly giving away your privacy not to be tracked by cookies. Even if regulation is a good idea, I don't see why they regulated the WEBSITES; they should have regulated the BROWSERS and require that they provide a better interface for cookie management. That way you're dealing with a handful of organizations that have to comply with a law, and not millions of websites. Regulating the websites is fucking insane and it won't be enforcable.

Re:leave the EU (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40180287)

Only solved by law? ..... Or, you know, some decent software and some effort on the user's part. I deny all cookies by default, and I've got an extension that lets me grant permanent or temporary permissions for cookies. That's a setting I need deal with only once (if permanently whitelisted) or once per session (if temporarily). Certainly not the mess that the default cookie handler in all browsers creates. That's why I haven't left Firefox yet.

With temporary permissions, close the browser and both the permission and the cookies go away. I would like to have it kill the permission when I close the page, but I have to do that myself thus far.

But you know what? I didn't have to wait for a law. And, as it turns out, quite a lot of sites are suitably navigable without any cookies.

Re:leave the EU (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178095)

1. Embarrassingly technically wrong.

2. That's because France has always been ahead of the curve at moving the Overton window, and it annoys the EU. The EU takes away your freedoms more slowly.

3. The EU has not "always" done anything in particular. It reacts in whichever way will benefit its strongest members, like any political group. US federalism today is a joke, and 200 years ago it was the product of a gain of independence, not a loss of independence (if you ignore the native Americans, as the new Americans did).

4. "Rebalancing will occur through fiscal union" - by which you mean "sell off your public services and give Germany its money!" yes? And subsidies don't solve any problem, merely keep a country even less able to fend for itself. Ariane and Airbus may be productive but I'm not sure why a federal EU is necessary for them.

5. The EU is predominantly a banking project. So, if you want to lock up your EU bankers, please, go ahead...

Re:leave the EU (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178159)

The US got federalism more or less right two centuries ago. We'll get it more or less right soon enough.

I think quite a lot of European citizens might well disagree with you here. This really isn't the USA.

Re:leave the EU (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178323)

3. Historically, the EU has always progressed in times of crisis. The US got federalism more or less right two centuries ago. We'll get it more or less right soon enough.

But most Europeans don't want any kind of federalism. Should the will of the people just be ignored?

Re:leave the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178535)

Agreed. But not because of what you plutocrate slaves state.
But because it is a non-elected government. Aka dictatorship.

Thank god we have the EU here in Belgium (1)

SilenceBE (1439827) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178639)

First of all the cookies is only a single part of the recommendations the EU wants Belgium to implement, so insinuating that Belgium is getting fined about cookies is false. And as a Belgian citizen I applaud the EU involvement because there are to much conflicts of interests on our political level.

Let me inform you about my country. In Belgium we have a duopoly. Belgacom [belgacom.be] (Belgian symbol) on federal level and Telenet [telenet.be] (Flemish symbol but ironically property of the American company Liberty) which was formed to break up the monopoly of Belgacom on Flemish level.

Both companies have a lot of politicians on the payroll, in the board of directors/as 'consultants', etc And because on each level it is a symbol and the current language difficulties that dominates our politician landscape, politician turn a blind eye for the fact that those companies have a very negative impact on our region and country. When our national bank warns in a study for the negative impact of those two companies, it just gets ignored. We have a saying "who's bread you eat, who's word you speak... "

We have very high prices in comparison with our neighbors, Telenet does deep packet inspecting slowing down torrents by day for example, we have unlimited download which is a joke, they created hw monopolies, they buy companies that because of their open character of very competitive plans (like unlimited mobile plans that doesn't cost a house) to kill them or for example just go for their main supplier. They buy licenses for example 4G just to do nothing with it, just to be sure that no foreign competition would arrive. Etc

For example of one the influence they have on laws or on our politicians. We have an in-depended organisation that "tries" to regulate the telecom word on local level, BIPT. Last week they voted a new law that states that when BIPT makes changes or gives fines, the government can revoke those fines or turn back changes. So what is the point ?

Really I've read a lot of bickering about the EU and there may be a lot not right, but hey I'm happy that on some cases something like the EU exists.

And when the Flemish (I'm flemish btw) right wing party the N-VA [n-va.be] will come in power, it will be worse because of the big love for the "flemish" symbol Telenet. Although Telenet is as flemish as a big mac these days.

Re:Thank god we have the EU here in Belgium (1)

mattcasters (67972) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179031)

As for Telenet is concerned: you can prie that 100Mb/s connection out of my cold dead hands. It's great value at a good price. Every time I go abroad (US & EU mainly ) I'm shocked at the bad performance of the networks compared to Telenet. I'm sure you're advocating more oversight and more competition and I sure don't dissagree with that. Just don't exagerate like that, it's not all that bad, trust me.

Also, fellow "Belgian", the EU laws mentioned in TFA are planned to be implemented as law at the end of this month (says the newspapers). The slow adoption is blamed on the slow formation of the Belgian government. So if you want to blame somebody, blame your socialist friends for fscking up your country, not NVA.

Re:leave the EU (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40179499)

I'd like to see the browser developers make this a moot point. Why not, when a site drops a cookie, have a dialog box come up saying

this site is attempting to leave a cookie.
o refuse this site always
o refuse this site one time only
o accept this time only
o accept this site always
X don't ask me again

Clueless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40177967)

These rules are all just to show that they are doing something anyway. Here in Sweden this has been implemented in law but I've never heard that it's enforced.

As 'Dutchie' I think its uberfunny ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178061)

Because our government never ignores the moment to tell the populace how important Europe actually is for us. We're looking forward to a major increase in local taxes, traveling costs (also as a result of point 1), cuts in social security, and basically looking forward to end up with less money for the stuff we do.

All because they want to make sure we meet the requirements. Of course; we can still donate a few miljard of Euro's to support other countries, that's no problem. We'll just raise the taxes even more!

(our government thinks you cut expenses when you try to increase your income).

And now it turns out that this same government, who keeps on yapping how important Europe is to us, has neglected to implement a European law ? Of course; this law isn't all that important; after all, all it does is raise protection for the citizens. What kind of common politician would care about that ?

But oh the irony! I can't wait for the news to hit the papers here. So much for our "Europe abiding government".

Time to raise taxes again in order to cough up our upcoming fine :-)

Re:As 'Dutchie' I think its uberfunny ! (1)

mrbester (200927) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178153)

If France was one of the countries that hadn't implemented a law this case wouldn't have seen the light of day...

Re:As 'Dutchie' I think its uberfunny ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178215)

And this while France appears to be a great example of how to get nearly every tech-related law completely wrong...

Not all cookies are targeted! (FUD ALERT) (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40178111)

This cookie law does not require consent for all cookies. Unfortunately, the media, including Slashdot continues to carry this myth. This is the spin that the advertising industry is (successfully) putting on this issue...

I requires consent for cookies that are not "strictly necessary for a service explicitly requested by the user". So session cookies are safe for example.

Consent is mainly required for TRACKING cookie.

Re:Not all cookies are targeted! (FUD ALERT) (1)

shippers (1100005) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180045)

It's interesting that the so called "cookie law" makes no reference to cookies at all in its original directive. Regulation 6 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive [legislation.gov.uk] talks about using "an electronic communications network to store information, or to gain access to information stored". Ok, so that sounds a lot like cookies, but it would also cover, say, storing snippets of information through plug-ins like Silverlight or Flash.

It then goes on to list the exceptions, which again sound like descriptions of cookies used to store contents of baskets or remembering logins, but worded in a way as to avoid any specific technology.

In 2011 it was amended [legislation.gov.uk] , mostly to clarify things so that people would have to opt-in to tracking rather than opt-out, but still the word "cookie" isn't used.

Re:Not all cookies are targeted! (FUD ALERT) (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180557)

Very few technology laws explicitly mention specific technologies - normally they reference what the technology is trying to achieve. Otherwise laws would be obsolete within a few months as workarounds are developed.

Follow the money (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180177)

Ghostery blocks 3 items on this very page.

One of them doubleclick.

Slashdot is going to loose a HELL of a lot of money if it can't track its users anymore on behalf of advertisers.

Government control (0)

Quakeulf (2650167) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178127)

This is all about government control over the internet. This is just the beginning and it won't stop until they are in total control.

IANAL: explicit consent not part of EU directive (2)

rfc822 (598132) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178157)

IANAL from Austria.

Afaik explicit consent is not explicitly demanded by the EU. UK opted in to require this in their law. IANAL, currently in Austria it says that the user decision already happens through the browser settings. If the browser accepts cookies, so does the user and the government sees the problem solved.

Re:IANAL: explicit consent not part of EU directiv (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178165)

IANAL from Austria.

Afaik explicit consent is not explicitly demanded by the EU. UK opted in to require this in their law. IANAL, currently in Austria it says that the user decision already happens through the browser settings. If the browser accepts cookies, so does the user and the government sees the problem solved.

Such a logical decision will never be accepted by the EU!

Re:IANAL: explicit consent not part of EU directiv (1)

the_arrow (171557) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178219)

The same in Sweden. Though websites have to contain a notice that they have cookies, what cookies are and how to disable them.

Re:IANAL: explicit consent not part of EU directiv (1)

amw (636271) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178497)

IANAL from Austria.

Afaik explicit consent is not explicitly demanded by the EU. UK opted in to require this in their law.

I'm not sure about the wording of the law itself, but the guidelines from the Information Commisioners Office (who are responsible for enforcing the law) implied consent is allowable; that's also how a number of organisations such as the BBC have implemented it, with a once-only banner informing the user and giving them the ability to alter the behaviour if needed.

IANAL, currently in Austria it says that the user decision already happens through the browser settings. If the browser accepts cookies, so does the user and the government sees the problem solved.

That would be much more acceptable; this has been argued for in the UK as well but the ICO have stated that this alone is not an acceptable solution. That said, a lot of sites are now linking to http://www.aboutcookies.org [aboutcookies.org] which provides this information.

Re:IANAL: explicit consent not part of EU directiv (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#40180139)

If the browser accepts cookies, so does the user and the government sees the problem solved.

This wouldn't fly because it misses the point of the directive. The point of it is to separate out "necessary cookies" from cookies that are there solely to track you, target ads at you, etc. The problem with browser settings is that there is no fine grained control- you can either "consent to cookies", and get everything a website designer can throw at you, or you can disable cookies and find key features of all sort of websites become unusable (everything from internet banking to e-shopping).

I believe the acceptable compromise in the UK is that the website must link you to a page telling you about all the cookies that the website uses. If you continue to use the site after being presented with this info, that will be considered informed consent. That is how most major sites I've seen have tackled it (including my company's one).

Foolish, pointless draconian law (1)

lixns21 (1887442) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178377)

This law needs to desperately be amended to exclude all session cookies, cookies that help UX and analytics. The rest will also need a workable solution like using the W3C recommended DNT that is set as 'NO' to default currently. And if that is set and websites/the pervs in the house upstairs are still dropping cookies/tracking they should then have their backsides hauled to court.

Re:Foolish, pointless draconian law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40179085)

This is only about tracking cookies, and has nothing to do with session ones. People like you should be ashamed of yourselves. You rant and rave about stuff you can't even be bothered to learn about. Piss off back to Fox News, a channel that'll tell you what to think.

And in related news (4, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#40178505)

Bloomberg wants to outlaw cookies in NYC

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