Europe Prepares To Come Clean On Hidden Bank Losses

In terms of usability, of course not. Everybody has to decide for himself or herself where the priorities are, I guess. Yknow, principles Lavabits own privacy policy at the time that Snowden was believed to have been using it stated that premium users would benefit from having their e-mail secured with an asymmetric encryption process that guarantees that it cant be accessed by anyone except the holder of the account password. For these accounts, only the encrypted version of the message is ever saved to disk. Lavabits policy further stated: It is also important to know what information Lavabit does NOT store. We do not keep a record of the IP addresses used to access our services (except in the web server logs), and we do not keep a record of what information was accessed during a particular session. In other words, Lavabit was providing a very user-friendly way to protect its customers’ e-mail, even from Lavabits own staff, and it appeared to minimize its other data collection. By contrast, Google says that it collects a ton of information about Gmail users: When you use our services or view content provided by Google, we may automatically collect and store certain information in server logs . This may include: Location information Details of how you used our service, such as your search queries. Telephony log information like your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls. Device event information such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL. Cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your Google Account. When you use a location-enabled Google service, we may collect and process information about your actual location, like GPS signals sent by a mobile device. We may also use various technologies to determine location, such as sensor data from your device that may, for example, provide information on nearby Wi-Fi access points and cell towers. Perhaps as a result of the recent focus on privacy policies like these, Ive recently noticed a couple of people in my social circles switch from Gmail to Riseup as their primary e-mail provider. It’s annoying, actually, but y’know, principles, Jillian C. York , an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote to me recently when I remarked on the change noted in her e-mail signature.

The European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi reacts during the monthly news conference in Frankfurt, February 9, 2012. REUTERS/Alex Domanski

Energy companies say they were pushed to invest heavily in renewable energy and technology by the 28-country European Union but have since run into rules that differ from country to country, an inadequate Europe-wide emissions-trading system and problems with subsidies. Peter Terium, chief executive German electric utilities firm RWE AG told CNBC that he and other executives meeting in Brussels were there to urge European Union policymakers to dangers facing the energy industry. “We want to send an a SOS to Europe, not for the companies, not for the sector, but for Europe as a whole. A prosperous society cannot be prosperous without proper energy infrastructure and our infrastructure is in jeopardy”, Terium told CNBC in Brussels. Warning that Europe could face power blackouts if the economy in Europe recovered but energy provision remained inadequate, Terium warned that energy companies were closing power plants across the continent “that are technically and environmentally very efficient, but we’re shutting them down because the system does not allow us to economically operate those plants.” Fulvio Conti, chief executive and general manager of Italian electricity firm ENEL told CNBC that EU regulations needed to be “straightened out” to make the industry “investable again.” “We have contrasting regulations coming from Europe and from member states that are colliding and most of the markets are seeing an increase in prices for the consumer and no profits whatsoever for the industry, that makes no sense at all,” Conti told CNBC in Brussels, where the chief executives of Europe’s leading energy companies have gathered to discuss European Union energy policy with policymakers. In a move that highlights the varying energy policies across Europe. the French constitutional court Friday upheld its ban on fracking in France , the Associated Press reported. The direction of EU policy and whether renewable energy initiatives should be state-funded has proved divisive among industry and governments. The European Commission, the EU executive arm, released a draft copy of its guidelines for state aid for energy production this week. In it, it dropped a reference to subsidies for nuclear power, which could affect whether governments can use public funding to help finance further plants. wants to expand its nuclear power resources with the help of public funds. ENEL’s Conti said that on the contrary to wanting more subsidies for the energy industry, subsidies had created a “very peculiar” situation in Europe where countries were abandoning nuclear power plans for “non-mature technologies and renewables.” “We want to eliminate subsidies,” he said on Friday.

“The effectiveness of this exercise will depend on the availability of necessary arrangements for recapitalizing banks … including through the provision of a public backstop,” Mario Draghi said on Friday. “These arrangements must be in place before we conclude our assessment,” he said. But the ministers’ talks face an additional hindrance because Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, is not expected to attend the two-day Luxembourg meeting. Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, in talks to form a new government. During the region’s debt turmoil, the European Union conducted two bank stress tests, considered flops for blunders such as giving a clean bill of health to Irish banks months before they pushed the country to the brink of bankruptcy. The ECB’s new checks are seen as the last chance to come clean for the euro zone as the bloc tries to set up a single banking framework, known as banking union. The debate opens amid ebbing political enthusiasm for banking union – originally planned as a three-stage process involving ECB bank supervision, alongside an agency to shut failing banks and a system of deposit guarantees. It would be the boldest step in European integration since the crisis. “We have to find a solution now,” said Michel Barnier, the EU Commissioner in charge of financial regulation, urging faster progress in the slow talks. “The next financial crisis is not going to wait for us.” ANGLO-GERMAN AXIS? In one sign of the divisions, Britain has repeatedly refused to sign off on the first pillar of the banking union framework, allowing the ECB monitor banks. Having earlier agreed, London now wants additional assurances from ministers this week that Britain, which is outside the euro and polices its own banks, will not face interference from the ECB-led euro bloc.

Europe’s Strategic Future: Implications of the Eurozone Crisis

First, the European Union will continue to strategically engage with the rest of the world and will endeavor to impose its own agenda on a number of global processes. However, its ability to achieve targeted outcomes faces a number of hurdles. It will be constrained in the breadth of its geopolitical engagement, concentrating its efforts and abilities on issues of major significance, such as energy and finance. The European Union will also continue its endeavors to act as a monitor and judge of good conduct by countries in Eurasia, Africa, and Latin America. It will still be lecturing others on human rights and democratic development, irrespective of the situation within the Union itself, but it is likely to have less impact on the decision-making of countries that may emerge as new power centers for these respective regions. In the area of global political issues, the European Union is likely to be a secondary force to the United States, China, possibly India, and regional unions around powers such as Brazil or Russia. What the European Union can and is likely to focus on is the role of a trusted broker and a factor of balance in future geopolitical tensions and confrontations between major powers. This could entail a greater focus by the European Union on the strictures and enforceability of international law, and a greater focus on diplomatic processes that do not rely on internal EU resources. To maintain its geopolitical positioning, the European Union would be increasingly reliant on multilateral approaches and mechanismsthrough existing institutional channels, and potentially new roles for frameworks such as the Group of 20. For example, in order to carry sufficient geopolitical weight, the European Union would do well to maintain the interest of players like Turkey in ongoing engagement and closer ties with the Union. Turkey has already established its intent to conduct itself as a regional power center in the Middle East, and is assuming leadership in a much more efficient and effective manner than the European Union on a number of issues of global significance.