Samir’s Selection 10/06/2015 (p.m.)

  • … an initially abrasive encounter after a debate in 2010, when Mr Harris put it to Mr Nawaz that liberal-minded Muslims were engaged in a near-impossible task: proving that their faith was really a religion of peace when the tenets and scriptures of the faith suggested otherwise.That is still, broadly speaking, what Mr Harris thinks. He sees the elaboration of a peaceful and tolerant understanding of Islam as a praiseworthy enterprise, and one that only Muslims can undertake, but he is politely sceptical of their chances of succeeding…Mr Nawaz’s reply is a measured one. He says that Islam is neither a religion of peace nor a religion of war. It is simply a religion, and one that has been subject to many different interpretations over the centuries, and is still refracted in lots of different ways…At times, Mr Nawaz is disarmingly frank. He acknowledges that reform-minded characters like himself, who want to combine Islam with secular governance and western ideas about equality, are in a small minority in the Islamic world. But he insists that Islamists (in the sense of people who believe in using state power to enforce a particular version of Islam) are also in a minority, albeit quite a large one. The biggest category of people in the Islamic heartland, as he describes it, are “conservative Muslims” who “generally don’t want the state to impose their religion, because they want to retain the right to their own understanding of what this religious conservatism means.” Moreover these “conservative Muslims can be very useful as allies against Islamism and jihadism, but they may oppose you on gender rights and equality…”That is a remarkable thing for Mr Nawaz to be saying, because it runs counter to a lot of the material that his think-tank produces. Quilliam has been one of the propagators of a new conventional thinking about how Britain and other western states should deal with the challenge of militant Islam. According to this line of thought, which has gained a lot of influence in high places, socially conservative Islam is a gateway to violent Islam, and the two things must be fought with equal determination, even if that means hugely increasing the number of people you are confronting, and forfeiting a useful ally against jihadism.It’s worth teasing out the implications of what Mr Nawaz is saying. Over-simplifying only a little, let us agree that of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, some 10% are open, as of now, to his proposal for a form of Islam that fits comfortably with secularism, human rights and equality. Let’s also say that 25% lean towards one or other version of Islamism, the idea of state-imposed religion, and that within that category 10% of the total are supporters of violent jihadism. And let’s suppose that the remaining 65% are conservative believers, neither liberal nor Islamist. Going by what Mr Nawaz says in this book, then it might in certain circumstances be expedient to accept some tactical support from the 65% who are conservatives if your purpose is to isolate Islamism in general and jihadism in particular. Going by what Mr Nawaz’s think-tank and others in that ideological camp argue quite a lot of the time, then the 10% who are reformers must eschew all conservatives and fight a relentless, lonely ideological battle to win over the remaining 90% of Muslims to their way of thinking.Either proposition sounds like a pretty tall order, although the second is, objectively speaking, quite a lot harder than the first. No wonder Mr Harris is politely sceptical.

    tags: MaajidNawaz SamHarris Islam extremism intolerance fundamentalism atheism debate policy bookreview

  • tags: SafeHarbor ECJ dataprotection privacy law USsecurity Facebook MaxSchrems

    • In its ruling, the court said that the data-sharing agreement allowed American government authorities to gain routine access to Europeans’ online information. Such access infringes on Europeans’ rights to privacy established under the region’s tough data protection rules, the court said.

      “Legislation permitting the public authorities to have access on a generalized basis to the content of electronic communications must be regarded as compromising the essence of the fundamental right to respect for private life,” the European Court of Justice said in a statement on Tuesday.

    • Under the deal, called a safe harbor agreement, more than 4,000 European and American companies — both tech and nontech businesses — have been expected to treat the information moved outside the European Union with the same privacy protections the data had inside the region.

       

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      But European privacy campaigners have balked at those activities, contending that American data protection rules do not offer the same protections to individuals that are available in Europe.

    • By mandating that companies can no longer move data about their European customers to the United States, the European Court of Justice said that national data protection regulators also had the right to review how these companies share data between regions. The national regulators could limit such data-sharing activities if they believed their citizens’ data could be used in ways not guaranteed under European law, the court said.
    • The ruling was foreshadowed two weeks ago, when an adviser to the court called the data pact insufficient.
    • In anticipation of the ruling, many companies tasked teams of lawyers with figuring out how to continue their operations largely unimpeded. For large technology companies, other data transfer methods, including internal company agreements and clauses inserted into people’s terms and conditions, could allow them to continue moving data to the United States.
    • The implications of the ruling are unclear. Some privacy lawyers said that the court’s judgment could give national privacy watchdogs, particularly in countries like France and Germany, which have taken a hard line toward the N.S.A. revelations, greater say over who has access to their citizens’ data and to where that information can be sent.

      “Companies may not be able to move people’s data until domestic data protection authorities give their approval,” said Marc Dautlich, a privacy lawyer at Pinsent Masons in London. “In some of Europe’s 28 countries, that is not going to be easy.”

    • The United States and the European Union have worked for roughly two years on reaching a new safe harbor agreement. The court’s ruling now puts pressure on negotiators to complete an agreement.

      Any new deal is expected to give Europeans greater say over how their online information is collected, transferred and managed by tech companies. But the talks have stalled over what type of access American intelligence agencies should be given to European data, according to several people with direct knowledge of the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    • The lengthy negotiations highlighted the different approaches to online data protection by the United States, where privacy is viewed as a consumer protection issue, and Europe, where it is almost on a par with such fundamental rights as freedom of expression.
    • “The United States safe harbor scheme thus enables interference, by United States public authorities, with the fundamental rights of persons,” the judges said in a statement on Tuesday, referring to access to European data by American intelligence agencies.
    • The case reviewed by the European Court of Justice related to a complaint brought by Max Schrems, a 27-year-old Austrian graduate student, who argued that Europeans’ online data was misused when Facebook was said to have cooperated with the N.S.A.’s Prism program.

      That program is reported to have given the American agency significant access to data collected by several American technology companies, including Facebook and Google.

    • Mr. Schrems, who is pursuing a separate civil class-action lawsuit against Facebook in an Austrian court, said the N.S.A.’s access to information about Facebook’s users in Europe broke the region’s privacy rules. He has also argued that the data-sharing agreement between Europe and the United States does not give Europeans sufficient recourse if their data is misused by companies or national governments.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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