Topic: International relations/International law

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🔗 ACTA will force border searches of laptops, smartphones for pirated content

🔗 United States/U.S. Government 🔗 United States 🔗 International relations 🔗 Law 🔗 Law Enforcement 🔗 United States Public Policy 🔗 Pirate Politics 🔗 International relations/International law 🔗 United States/U.S. Public Policy 🔗 Trade

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was a proposed multilateral treaty for the purpose of establishing international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement. The agreement aims to establish an international legal framework for targeting counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet, and would create a new governing body outside existing forums, such as the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the United Nations.

The agreement was signed in October 2011 by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. In 2012, Mexico, the European Union and 22 countries that are member states of the European Union signed as well. One signatory (Japan) has ratified (formally approved) the agreement, which would come into force in countries that ratified it after ratification by six countries.

Industrial groups with interests in copyright, trademarks and other types of intellectual property said that ACTA was a response to "the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works". Organizations such as the Motion Picture Association of America and International Trademark Association are understood to have had a significant influence over the ACTA agenda.

Organisations representing citizens and non-governmental interests argued that ACTA could infringe fundamental rights including freedom of expression and privacy. ACTA has also been criticised by Doctors Without Borders for endangering access to medicines in developing countries. The nature of negotiations was criticized as secretive and has excluded non-governmental organization, developing countries and the general public from the agreement's negotiation process and it has been described as policy laundering by critics including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Entertainment Consumers Association.

The signature of the EU and many of its member states resulted in widespread protests across Europe. European Parliament rapporteur Kader Arif resigned. His replacement, British MEP David Martin, recommended that the Parliament should reject ACTA, stating: "The intended benefits of this international agreement are far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties". On 4 July 2012, the European Parliament declined its consent, effectively rejecting it, 478 votes to 39, with 165 abstentions.

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🔗 Artificial Intelligence Act (EU Law)

🔗 International relations 🔗 Technology 🔗 Internet 🔗 Computing 🔗 Computer science 🔗 Law 🔗 Business 🔗 Politics 🔗 Robotics 🔗 International relations/International law 🔗 Futures studies 🔗 European Union 🔗 Science Policy 🔗 Artificial Intelligence

The Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act) is a European Union regulation concerning artificial intelligence (AI).

It establishes a common regulatory and legal framework for AI in the European Union (EU). Proposed by the European Commission on 21 April 2021, and then passed in the European Parliament on 13 March 2024, it was unanimously approved by the Council of the European Union on 21 May 2024. The Act creates a European Artificial Intelligence Board to promote national cooperation and ensure compliance with the regulation. Like the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, the Act can apply extraterritorially to providers from outside the EU, if they have users within the EU.

It covers all types of AI in a broad range of sectors; exceptions include AI systems used solely for military, national security, research and non-professional purposes. As a piece of product regulation, it would not confer rights on individuals, but would regulate the providers of AI systems and entities using AI in a professional context. The draft Act was revised following the rise in popularity of generative AI systems, such as ChatGPT, whose general-purpose capabilities did not fit the main framework. More restrictive regulations are planned for powerful generative AI systems with systemic impact.

The Act classifies AI applications by their risk of causing harm. There are four levels – unacceptable, high, limited, minimal – plus an additional category for general-purpose AI. Applications with unacceptable risks are banned. High-risk applications must comply with security, transparency and quality obligations and undergo conformity assessments. Limited-risk applications only have transparency obligations and those representing minimal risks are not regulated. For general-purpose AI, transparency requirements are imposed, with additional evaluations when there are high risks.

La Quadrature du Net (LQDN) stated that the adopted version of the AI Act would be ineffective, arguing that the role of self-regulation and exemptions in the act rendered it "largely incapable of standing in the way of the social, political and environmental damage linked to the proliferation of AI".

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🔗 Outer Space Treaty

🔗 International relations 🔗 Spaceflight 🔗 Law 🔗 Politics 🔗 International relations/International law 🔗 British Overseas Territories

The Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law. The treaty was opened for signature in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on 27 January 1967, and entered into force on 10 October 1967. As of June 2019, 109 countries are parties to the treaty, while another 23 have signed the treaty but have not completed ratification. In addition, Taiwan, which is currently recognized by 14 UN member states, ratified the treaty prior to the United Nations General Assembly's vote to transfer China's seat to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1971.

Among the Outer Space Treaty's main points are that it prohibits the placing of nuclear weapons in space, it limits the use of the Moon and all other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes only, and establishes that space shall be free for exploration and use by all nations, but that no nation may claim sovereignty of outer space or any celestial body. The Outer Space Treaty does not ban military activities within space, military space forces, or the weaponization of space, with the exception of the placement of weapons of mass destruction in space. It is mostly a non-armament treaty and offers insufficient and ambiguous regulations to newer space activities such as lunar and asteroid mining.

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🔗 Custom of the Sea

🔗 International relations 🔗 Death 🔗 Law 🔗 International relations/International law

A custom of the sea is a custom said to be practiced by the officers and crew of ships and boats in the open sea, as distinguished from maritime law, which is a distinct and coherent body of law governing maritime questions and offenses.

Among these customs was the practice of cannibalism among shipwrecked survivors, by the drawing of lots to decide who would be killed and eaten so that the others might survive.

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🔗 History of Slavery in the Muslim World

🔗 International relations 🔗 Human rights 🔗 History 🔗 Islam 🔗 International relations/International law 🔗 Sociology 🔗 Discrimination 🔗 International relations/United Nations

The history of slavery in the Muslim world began with institutions inherited from pre-Islamic Arabia; and the practice of keeping slaves subsequently developed in radically different ways, depending on social-political factors such as the Arab slave trade. Any non-Muslim could be enslaved. Throughout Islamic history, slaves served in various social and economic roles, from powerful emirs to harshly treated manual laborers. Early on in Muslim history slaves provided plantation labor similar to that in the early-modern Americas, but this practice was abandoned after harsh treatment led to destructive slave revolts, the most notable being the Zanj Rebellion of 869–883. Slaves were widely employed in irrigation, mining, and animal husbandry, but most commonly as soldiers, guards, domestic workers, concubines and sex slaves. Many rulers relied on military slaves (often in huge standing armies) and on slaves in administration - to such a degree that the slaves could sometimes seize power. Among black slaves, there were roughly two females to every one male. Two rough estimates by scholars of the numbers of just one group - black slaves held over twelve centuries in the Muslim world - are 11.5 million and 14 million, while other estimates indicate a number between 12 and 15 million African slaves prior to the 20th century.

Islam encouraged the manumission of Muslim slaves as a way of expiating sins. Many early converts to Islam, such as Bilal, were former slaves. In theory, slavery in Islamic law does not have a racial or color basis, although this has not always been the case in practice. In 1990 the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam declared that "no one has the right to enslave" another human being. Many slaves were imported from outside the Muslim world.

The Arab slave trade was most active in West Asia, North Africa, and Southeast Africa. The Ottoman slave trade exploited the human resources of eastern and central Europe and the Caucasus; the Barbary Coast slave traders raided the Mediterranean coasts of Europe and as far afield as the British Isles and Iceland. In the early 20th century (post-World War I), authorities gradually outlawed and suppressed slavery in Muslim lands, largely due to pressure exerted by Western nations such as Britain and France. Slavery in the Ottoman Empire was abolished in 1924 when the new Turkish Constitution disbanded the Imperial Harem and made the last concubines and eunuchs free citizens of the newly proclaimed republic. Slavery in Iran was abolished in 1929. Mauritania became the last state to abolish slavery - in 1905, 1981, and again in August 2007. Oman abolished slavery in 1970, and Saudi Arabia and Yemen abolished slavery in 1962 under pressure from Britain. However, slavery claiming the sanction of Islam is documented at present in the predominantly Islamic countries of the Sahel, and is also practiced by ISIS and Boko Haram. It is also practiced in countries like Libya and Mauritania - despite being outlawed.

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