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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 34 min 31 sec ago

Links 30/8/2016: Fedora 24 Reviewed, Ubuntu Patched

5 hours 34 sec ago

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux, Linus, Bradley, and Open Source Protection

      In a nutshell, this rather heated (and at times unnecessarily personal) debate has focused on when is the right time to defend the rights on the GPL. Bradley is of the view that these rights should be intrinsically defended as they are as important (if not more important) than the code. Linus is of the view that the practicalities of the software industry mean sending in the lawyers can potentially have an even more damaging effect as companies will tense up and choose to stay away.

    • Evolving a Best-of-Breed IoT Framework by Gregory Burns
    • 2016 LiFT Scholarship Winner Tetevi Placide Ekon: Learning Computer Science Online

      Tetevi Placide Ekon is a graduate student studying civil engineering at the 2iE Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Burkina Faso. He was one of 14 aspiring IT professionals to receive a 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship, announced this month.

      Since receiving his bachelor’s degree in water and environmental engineering and moving onto graduate school, he has nurtured a passion for computer science, and especially open source. Tetevi has completed free courses covering Linux, Apache big data systems and more, and he plans to use this scholarship to pursue more advanced training.

    • Raspberry Pi Zero Will Likely Be Supported On Linux 4.9

      It’s looking like the Raspberry Pi Zero might be playing fine out-of-the-box with the upcoming Linux 4.9 kernel cycle.

      Eric Anholt posted his weekly VC4 driver status/changes. In there the Intel-turned-Broadcom developer commented, “Finally, I landed Stefan Wahren’s Raspberry Pi Zero devicetree for upstream. If nothing goes wrong, the Zero should be supported in 4.9.”

    • Graphics Stack
      • Running Caffe AlexNet/GoogleNet On Some CPUs Compared To NVIDIA CUDA

        With working on some Broadwell-EP Linux comparison benchmarks this weekend, as part of that onslaught of benchmarks I decided to run the CPU-only Caffe build on a few different Intel CPUs. For fun, afterwards I checked to see how the performance compares to Caffe with CUDA+cuDNN on a few Maxwell/Pascal GPUs.

      • A Slew Of RadeonSI Gallium3D Fixes To Kick Off The Week

        After already making a ton of improvements to the RadeonSI Gallium3D stack this month, Marek Olšák is looking to end the month on a high note with yet more fixes to the open-source AMD driver.

        What’s more fun than seeing on a Monday morning [PATCH 00/20] Plenty of RadeonSI fixes. The 20 patches take care of a variety of RadeonSI fixes. Marek commented, “This series contains mostly fixes, i.e. for DCC, cubemaps, tessellation, texture views, Gather4, viewport depth range, etc. There are also some new HUD queries.”

  • Applications
    • Avidemux 2.6.13 Open-Source Video Editor Gets AAC/ADTS Import and Export

      The developers of the Avidemux open-source and cross-platform video editor software have announced a new maintenance update in the 2.6 series, bringing multiple improvements, bug fixes, and a handful of new features.

    • A Quick Hands-On With Chatty, A Desktop Twitch Chat Client

      Chatty is a desktop Twitch Chat client for Windows, macOS and Linux written in Ja

    • HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.16.8 Adds Support for Linux Mint 18, Fedora 24

      The open-source HP Linux Imaging and Printing (HPLIP) project has been updated on August 29, 2016, to version 3.16.8, a maintenance update that adds support for new printers and GNU/Linux operating systems.

      According to the release notes, HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.16.8 adds support for new all-in-one HP printers, including HP OfficeJet Pro 6970, HP OfficeJet Pro 6960, HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile, HP DeskJet 3700, as well as HP DeskJet Ink Advantage 3700.

      Also new in the HPLIP 3.16.8 update is support for the recently released Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, and the upcoming KDE editions, the Fedora 24 Linux operating system, as well as the Debian GNU/Linux 8.5 “Jessie” distribution. So if you’re using any of these OSes, you can now update to the latest HPLIP release.

    • MPlayer-Based MPV 0.20.0 Video Player Released with New Options and Commands

      The popular, open-source, and cross-platform MPV video player software received a new update, version 0.20.0, which comes only two weeks after the previous 0.19.0 maintenance release.

      MPV 0.20.0 is not a major update, and, according to the release notes, it only implements a couple of new options and commands, such as “–video-unscaled=downscale-big” for changing the aspect ratio.

      Additionally, the MPlayer-based video playback application also gets the “–image-display-duration” option for controlling the duration of image display, and a new “dcomposition” flag for controlling DirectComposition.

    • FFmpeg 3.1.3 “Laplace” Open-Source Multimedia Framework Now Available for Linux

      The major FFmpeg 3.1 “Laplace” open-source and cross-platform multimedia framework has received recently its third maintenance update, version 3.1.3, which brings updated components.

      FFmpeg 3.1 was announced two months ago, at the end of June, and it introduced a multitude of new features to make the popular multimedia backend even more reliable and handy to game and application developers. Dubbed Laplace, FFmpeg 3.1 is currently the most advanced FFmpeg release, cut from Git master on June 26, 2016.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • Romp Home with these 21 Peerless ASCII Games

        Linux has a raft of open source games. The vast majority of these games are atheistically pleasing. Popular games often have full motion video, vector graphics, 3D graphics, realistic 3D rendering, animation, texturing, a physics engine, and much more. Computer graphics have been advancing at a staggering pace. At the current rate of progress, in the next 10 years it may not be possible to distinguish computer graphics from reality.

        Early computer games did not have these graphic techniques. The earliest video games were text games or text-based games that used text characters rather than vector or bitmapped graphics.

        Text-based games are often forgotten and neglected. However, there are many ASCII gems out there waiting to be explored which are immensely addictive and great fun to play. The developers’ works featured in this article focus on content and fun gameplay.

      • Editorial: I ditched SteamOS in favour of a normal Linux distribution for my gaming

        I have been debating whether to write this up for a while, but here I am. I have completely ditched SteamOS in favour of Ubuntu Mate.

        If you follow me on Twitter, you would have probably known this article was coming due to how frustrating an experience it has been for me.

        I was spurred on due to the BoilingSteam website writing about it, and they echo some of my own thoughts and frustrations.

        Recently I was sat with my son and wanted to play a point & click adventure game called Putt-Putt with him. SteamOS needed to restart to update, so I did and it just flashed into a black screen. We waited quite a long time to see if anything happened but nothing did. After rebooting, the system was completely broken with another black screen.

      • In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor has been cancelled and refunds are being offered

        Well I didn’t see this coming at all, I got told in our IRC moments ago that In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor has been cancelled and refunds are being offered.

      • Hot Lava announced by Klei Entertainment, Linux support is planned
      • Vanguard Princess, a popular 2D fighting game is now on Linux & SteamOS

        Fighting games are in short supply on Linux, so Vanguard Princess has come along to help fill the void for us. A few moments ago they announced the Linux version is good to go!

      • Kingdom Rush Frontiers is now available on Linux

        Kingdom Rush Frontiers the latest Tower Defence game from Ironhide Game Studio has just released for Linux! This update also adds in more languages.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs
  • Distributions
    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat CEO: Taking Open Source Beyond the Data Center

        When Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst spoke at LinuxCon last week, he hardly mentioned RHEL or the company’s stack. Instead, he focused almost entirely on Linux in general and the open source development model in particular. This wasn’t a surprise, as there probably isn’t an organization on the planet with a deeper understanding of open source methodology and its potential. It’s how it built free software into a $2 billion business.

        Most people familiar with Red Hat know the company’s broader vision for open source — sometimes referred to as “the open source way” — goes beyond software, so it also wasn’t much of a surprise when Whitehurst’s talk strayed from data centers and workstations and into areas not normally associated with IT at all.

      • Fedora
        • Fedora 24 review: The year’s best Linux distro is puzzlingly hard to recommend

          Fedora 24 is one of the best Linux distro releases you’re likely to see this year. And there are two other releases that I did not have room to cover in depth here: the Server and Cloud variants of Fedora 24, which pack in a ton of new features specific to those environments. The cloud platform especially continues to churn out the container-related features, with some new tools for OpenShift Origin, Fedora’s Platform-as-a-Service system built around Google’s Kubernetes project. Check out Fedora Magazine’s release announcement for more on everything that’s new in Server and Cloud.

          As always, Fedora WorkStation also comes in a variety of “Spins” that are pre-packaged setups for specific use cases. There are prepacked spins of all the major desktops, including Xfce, KDE, MATE, Cinnamon, and LXDE (you can also get alternative desktops in one go by downloading the DVD installer). Spins aren’t just for desktops, though. For example, there’s an astronomy spin, a design suite spin, robotics-focused spin, a security spin, and several more. None of these spins have anything you can’t set up yourself, but if you don’t want to put in the time and effort, Fedora can handle that for you.

    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik” Users Receive the Latest Debian Security Updates

          Today, August 29, 2016, the maintainers of the Parsix GNU/Linux distribution announced the availability of multiple security updates, along with a new kernel version for the Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik” release.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 16.10 Wallpaper Contest Is Now Open For Entries

            Doors have opened on the Ubuntu 16.10 Wallpaper Contest.

            Few desktop operating systems offer amateur and professional illustrators, photographers and graphic designers the chance to have their artwork seen by millions of people around the world.

            But then, Ubuntu isn’t your average operating system!

          • Flavours and Variants
            • The Peppermint Twist Is Still Cool

              Peppermint is a solid Linux operating system with a record for good performance and reliability. It is an ideal choice for handling everyday computing chores.

              LXDE provides a fast and friendly desktop environment. The entire desktop package and tweaked Peppermint 7 settings give you lots of options for creating a comfortable platform. My only dissatisfaction is the lack of much in the way of desktop animation effects. All it provides are semi-transparent application interfaces in the background.

              The Peppermint community is headed by the Peppermint OS LLC, a software company based in Asheville, North Carolina. Founded in 2010, the open source company issues one major release per year. A partial upgrade rolls out periodically.

  • Devices/Embedded
    • Compact, rugged Skylake computer-on-module is big on PCIe

      Kontron’s Linux-ready “COMe-cSL6” COM Express Compact Type 6 module offers 10 PCIe lanes, up to 24GB RAM and 32GB eMMC, and industrial temperature support.

    • Credit card-sized module runs Linux on Braswell

      Axiomtek’s credit card-sized “CEM300” module runs Linux on Intel Braswell SoCs at 4-6W TDP and offers HD graphics, dual SATA III ports, and four PCIe lanes.

      Like Axiomtek’s Atom E3800 “Bay Trail” based CEM846 computer-on-module, its new CEM300 supports Linux and Windows, and uses the 84 x 55mm COM Express Type 10 Mini form factor. The CEM300 advances to 14nm Intel Braswell SoCs, which offer much improved Intel HD Graphics Gen8, while reducing TDPs to a 4W to 6W range. Supported models include the quad-core 1.6GHz (2.4GHz burst) Pentium N3700, the quad-core Celeron N3160, and the dual-core Celeron N3060.

    • Phones
      • Android
        • New NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Console Shows Up At The FCC

          While the Xiaomi Mi Box does seem to be inching closer towards its release and while this is expected to be the next big major device release for the Android TV platform, the last week has seen speculation mounting as to what NVIDIA might have up their sleeves. This is because a new SHIELD Controller popped up on the FCC and this was then followed by new filings for a new SHIELD Remote control. Of course, just because the two controller accessories were passing through the FCC, it does not automatically mean there will also be a new SHIELD Android TV device coming as well. Although on this particular occasion, that looks to be exactly what is happening.

Free Software/Open Source
  • Remembering Vernon Adams

    Open-source font developer Vernon Adams has passed away in California at the age of 49. [Vernon Adams] In 2014, Adams was injured in an automobile collision, sustaining serious trauma from which he never fully recovered. Perhaps best known within the Linux community as the creator of KDE’s user-interface font Oxygen, Adams created a total of 51 font families published through Google Fonts, all under open licenses. He was also active in a number of related free-software projects, including FontForge, Metapolator, and the Open Font Library. In 2012, he co-authored the user’s guide for FontForge as part of Google’s Summer of Code Documentation Camp, which we reported on at that time.

  • BSD
    • The Voicemail Scammers Never Got Past Our OpenBSD Greylisting

      We usually don’t see much of the scammy spam and malware. But that one time we went looking for them, we found a campaign where our OpenBSD greylisting setup was 100% effective in stopping the miscreants’ messages.

      During August 23rd to August 24th 2016, a spam campaign was executed with what appears to have been a ransomware payload. I had not noticed anything particularly unusual about the bsdly.net and friends setup that morning, but then Xavier Mertens’ post at isc.sans.edu Voice Message Notifications Deliver Ransomware caught my attention in the tweetstream, and I decided to have a look.

    • Why FreeBSD Doesn’t Aim For OpenMP Support Out-Of-The-Box
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU Scientific Library 2.2 released

      Version 2.2 of the GNU Scientific Library (GSL) is now available. GSL provides a large collection of routines for numerical computing in C.

      This release contains new linear algebra routines (Pivoted and Modified Cholesky, Complete Orthogonal Decomposition, matrix condition number estimation) as well as a completely rewritten nonlinear least squares module, including support for Levenberg-Marquardt, dogleg, double-dogleg, and Steihaug-Toint methods.

      The full NEWS file entry is appended below.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Report: If DOD Doesn’t Embrace Open Source, It’ll ‘Be Left Behind’

      Unless the Defense Department and its military components levy increased importance on software development, they risk losing military technical superiority, according to a new report from the Center for a New American Security.

      In the report, the Washington, D.C.-based bipartisan think tank argues the Pentagon, which for years has relied heavily on proprietary software systems, “must actively embrace open source software” and buck the status quo.

      Currently, DOD uses open source software “infrequently and on an ad hoc basis,” unlike tech companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook that wouldn’t exist without open source software.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • The Honey Trap of Copy/Pasting Open Source Code

      I couldn’t agree more with Bill Sourour’s article ‘Copy.Paste.Code?’ which says that copying and pasting code snippets from sources like Google and StackOverflow is fine as long as you understand how they work. However, the same logic can’t be applied to open source code.

      When I started open source coding at the tender age of fourteen, I was none the wiser to the pitfalls of copy/pasting open source code. I took it for granted that if a particular snippet performed my desired function, I could just insert it into my code, revelling in the fact that I’d just gotten one step closer to getting my software up and running. Yet, since then, through much trial and error, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to use open source code effectively.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Affordable, Open Source, 3D Printable CNC Machine is Now on Kickstarter

        The appeals of Kickstarter campaigns are many. There are the rewards for backers, frequently taking the form of either deep discounts on the final product or unusual items that can’t be found anywhere else. Pledging to support any crowdfunding campaign is a gamble, but it’s an exciting gamble; just browsing Kickstarter is pretty exciting, in fact, especially in the technological categories. Inventive individuals and startups offer new twists on machines like 3D printers and CNC machines – often for much less cost than others on the market.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • Open Standards and Open Source

      Much has changed in the telecommunications industry in the years since Standards Development Organization (SDOs) such as 3GPP, ITU and OMA were formed. In the early days of telecom and the Internet, as fundamental technology was being invented, it was imperative for the growth of the new markets that standards were established prior to large-scale deployment of technology and related services. The process for development of these standards followed a traditional “waterfall” approach, which helped to harmonize (sometimes competing) pre-standard technical solutions to market needs.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Illinois Sues Controversial Drug Maker Over Deceptive Marketing Practices

      Illinois’ attorney general has filed suit against Insys Therapeutics, accusing the controversial pharmaceutical company of using deceptive marketing practices — including paying an indicted doctor thousands of dollars for “sham” speaking events — to sell its signature pain medication.

      It’s not unusual for drug makers to pay doctors who have histories of misconduct for consulting or speaking about their products. A recent ProPublica analysis found that more than 2,300 doctors with records of discipline in five states had received payments from drug and medical device companies since 2013.

      Insys was one of more than 400 companies that made payments to such doctors, but its activities have received far more attention than those of its peers.

      According to investigations in several states, Insys’ business model relied on funneling substantial payments to the doctors who most frequently prescribed its drugs, even if they had troubling disciplinary records or even criminal histories. These payments were mostly for services related to Subsys, a fentanyl-based medication approved by the FDA to treat patients suffering from cancer pain resistant to other types of opioid drugs.

    • CETA Leaves Bad Taste on Food Safety: Report

      While debate rages in Europe about CETA, the Canada-EU trade agreement, a new report warns that the deal could lower food safety standards.

      Food Safety, Agriculture and Regulatory Cooperation in the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, released today by the Council of Canadians and numerous European partners, outlines the regulatory differences between Canada and the EU that could jeopardize European food safety and production standards.

      European farmers, who have been struggling as farm prices crash, will have to compete with Canadian imports.

    • Yet Another Transatlantic Trade Deal Threatening Food Safety, Groups Warn

      The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a controversial trade deal between Canada and the European Union (E.U.), threatens food safety and other consumer standards, according to a new report by a coalition of advocacy groups.

      Even as other global trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) fall apart amid failed negotiations, consumers and workers around the world still aren’t in the clear. According to Food Safety, Agriculture and Regulatory Cooperation in the Canada-E.U. Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (pdf), released by groups including the Council of Canadians, War on Want, and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, European farmers under CETA will have to compete with Canadian imports while contending with “no animal welfare penalties and lower safety standards.”

    • ‘Just Cut the Price’: Consumer Groups Unimpressed With EpiPen Generic

      The maker of the emergency allergy medication EpiPen, Mylan, on Monday announced a generic version of the drug amid a price-gouging scandal—indicating that, as journalist Sonali Kolhatkar wrote on Twitter, public outrage can create change—but consumer groups say it’s too little, too late.

      “The weirdness of a generic drug company offering a generic version of its own branded but off-patent product is a signal that something is wrong,” said Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy organization Public Citizen, in a statement on Monday. “Today’s announcement is just one more convoluted mechanism to avoid plain talk, admit to price gouging, and just cut the price of EpiPen.”

      Mylan was accused in July of having incrementally hiked its EpiPen prices over time until they reached $600 per two-pen set—a 500 percent increase that was well out of reach for many consumers who need the medical tools in life-threatening allergy situations.

      It was also later revealed that the company’s executives gave themselves exorbitant bonuses and avoided paying taxes while they jacked up the cost of the medication.

  • Security
    • 5 Best Linux Distros for Security

      Security is nothing new to Linux distributions. Linux distros have always emphasized security and related matters like firewalls, penetration testing, anonymity, and privacy. So it is hardly surprising that security conscious distributions are common place. For instance, Distrowatch lists sixteen distros that specialize in firewalls, and four for privacy.

      Most of these specialty security distributions, however, share the same drawback: they are tools for experts, not average users. Only recently have security distributions tried to make security features generally accessible for desktop users.

    • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and 12.04 LTS Users Get New Kernel Updates with Security Fixes

      Immediately after informing us about the availability of a new kernel update for the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, Canonical published more security advisories about updated kernel versions for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

    • Canonical Patches Eight Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

      Just a few minutes ago, Canonical published multiple security advisories to inform the Ubuntu Linux community about the availability of new kernel updates for all of its supported Ubuntu OSes, including Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

    • FBI detects breaches against two state voter systems

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation has found breaches in Illinois and Arizona’s voter registration databases and is urging states to increase computer security ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election, according to a U.S. official familiar with the probe.

      The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Monday that investigators were also seeking evidence of whether other states may have been targeted.

      The FBI warning in an Aug. 18 flash alert from the agency’s Cyber Division did not identify the intruders or the two states targeted.

      Reuters obtained a copy of the document after Yahoo News first reported the story Monday.

    • Russians Hacked Two U.S. Voter Databases, Say Officials [Ed: blaming without evidence again]

      Two other officials said that U.S. intelligence agencies have not yet concluded that the Russian government is trying to do that, but they are worried about it.

    • FBI Says Foreign Hackers Got Into Election Computers

      We’ve written probably hundreds of stories on just what a dumb idea electronic voting systems are, highlighting how poorly implemented they are, and how easily hacked. And, yet, despite lots of security experts sounding the alarm over and over again, you still get election officials ridiculously declaring that their own systems are somehow hack proof.

      And now, along comes the FBI to alert people that it’s discovered at least two state election computer systems have been hacked already, and both by foreign entities.

    • Researchers Reveal SDN Security Vulnerability, Propose Solution

      Three Italian researchers have published a paper highlighting a security vulnerability in software-defined networking (SDN) that isn’t intrinsic to legacy networks. It’s not a showstopper, though, and they propose a solution to protect against it.

      “It” is a new attack they call Know Your Enemy (KYE), through which the bad guys could potentially collect information about a network, such as security tool configuration data that could, for example, reveal attack detection thresholds for network security scanning tools. Or the collected information could be more general in nature, such as quality-of-service or network virtualization policies.

    • NV Gains Momentum for a Secure DMZ

      When it comes to making the shift to network virtualization (NV) and software-defined networking (SDN), one of the approaches gaining momentum is using virtualization technology to build a secure demilitarized zone (DMZ) in the data center.

      Historically, there have been two major drawbacks to deploying firewalls as a secure mechanism inside a data center. The first is the impact a physical hardware appliance has on application performance once another network hop gets introduced. The second is the complexity associated with managing the firewall rules.

      NV technologies make it possible to employ virtual firewalls that can be attached to specific applications and segregate them based on risk. This is the concept of building a secure DMZ in the data center. The end result is that the virtual firewall is not only capable of examining every packet associated with a specific application, but keeping track of what specific firewall rules are associated with a particular application becomes much simpler.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Thousands of migrants rescued off Libya

      About 6,500 migrants have been rescued off Libya, the Italian coastguard says, in one of the biggest operations of its kind to date.

      Some 40 co-ordinated rescue missions took place about 20km (12 miles) off the Libyan town of Sabratha, it added.

      Video footage shows migrants, said to be from Eritrea and Somalia, cheering and some swimming to rescue vessels, while others carried babies aboard.

      On Sunday more than 1,100 migrants were rescued in the same area.

    • Can Americans Overthrow The Evil That Rules Them?

      Hillary is a warmonger, perhaps the ultimate and last one if she becomes president, as the combination of her hubris and incompetence is likely to result in World War 3. On July 3, 2015, Hillary declared: “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m president, we will attack Iran. . . . we would be able to totally obliterate them.” http://www.globalresearch.ca/hillary-clinton-if-im-president-we-will-attack-iran/5460484?print=1 The crazed Hillary went on from this to declare the President of Russia to be “the new Hitler.” Little doubt she thinks she can obliterate Russia also.

    • The Sultan’s Hit List Grows, as Turkey Prepares to Enter Syria

      It says a lot about post-failed-coup Turkey that you can spot the priority list of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s foreign antagonists from the Government’s reactions to a massacre. The slaughter of at least 50 Kurdish wedding guests by a suicide bomber in the border city of Gaziantep on Saturday was swiftly blamed on Isis. Erdogan said it was the “likely” culprit. Certainly the target fits Isis’ gruesome track record.

      But then Erdogan’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mehmet Simsek, broadened the scope of Turkey’s enemies. Describing the mass killing as “barbaric” – which it surely was – he then listed the “terror groups” who were targeting Turkey: the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers Party), Isis and the followers of Fethullah Gulen, the exiled and rather eccentric cleric whom Erdogan still claims organised the attempted military coup in July.

    • US Calls ‘Unacceptable’ Turkey’s Attack on Kurdish Fighters in Syria

      The United States has criticized as “unacceptable” the fighting between forces backed NATO ally Turkey and U.S.-backed pro-Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, just days after the U.S. and Russia suggested there was no imminent ceasefire to the conflict that has killed at least a quarter of a million people.

      “We are closely monitoring reports of clashes south of Jarabulus—where ISIL [Islamic State or ISIS] is no longer located—between the Turkish armed forces, some opposition groups, and units that are affiliated with the SDF (Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces),” Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook said in a statement to Agence France-Presse.

      As Reuters explains, the SDF is a “a coalition that encompasses the Kurdish YPG militia and which has been backed by Washington to fight the jihadists.”

    • Rousseff Warns of Threat to Brazil’s Democracy as “Coup” Nears End

      Suspended President Dilma Rousseff testified during her impeachment trial on Monday, rejecting the charge that she manipulated government accounts, and warning that the “future of Brazil is at stake.”

      “I did not commit the crimes that I am unjustly accused of,” she said in her 30-minute address to the senate, adding, “I’m afraid that democracy will be damned with me.”

      “I can’t help but taste the bitterness of injustice,” the 68-year-old told senators.

      Rousseff has been suspended since May. She—and others—have labeled the impeachment effort a coup, saying the charge that she illegally handled the budget in a way to make it look like it was in a better position than it was is just pretext for removing her from office and putting an end to 13 years of rule by her Workers’ Party.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • White New Orleans Has Recovered from Hurricane Katrina. Black New Orleans Has Not.

      96,000.

      That’s how many fewer African-Americans are living in New Orleans now than prior to Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall 11 years ago today. Nearly 1 in 3 black residents have not returned to the city after the storm.

      It was the worst urban disaster in modern U.S. history. Eighty percent of New Orleans lay under water after the epic collapse of the area’s flood-protection system—more than 110,000 homes and another 20,000 plus businesses, along with most of the city’s schools, police and fire stations, electrical plans, and its public transportation system.

    • In Blow to Colorado Residents, Anti-Fracking Measures Fail to Make Ballot

      Fracking opponents vowed to keep up the fight in Colorado on Monday after it was announced that measures seeking to restrict fracking in the state had failed to make the 2016 ballot.

      Secretary of State Wayne Williams said Monday that supporters failed to collect enough “valid voter signatures” for Initiatives 75 and 78, which would have given local authorities more power to regulate fracking and implemented mandatory setbacks for oil and gas activity around schools, playgrounds, and hospitals, respectively.

    • Colorado is no longer heading to a vote on fracking this November. The state found too few valid signatures.

      Initiatives 75 and 78, which would have allowed new restrictions on oil-and-gas development, now face a steep uphill battle to get on the November ballot.

  • Finance
    • Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Social Security

      Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has released a new ad that reveals that either he doesn’t understand Social Security or he wants to galvanize opposition to Social Security. Either way, his rhetoric undermines our collective security.

      In his ad, Trump wrongly attacks immigrants and refugees. Contrary to Trump’s claims, unauthorized workers do not receive Social Security. In fact, while they contribute to Social Security through their jobs, they cannot receive Social Security. Undocumented immigrants are not even eligible for means-tested welfare programs like Supplemental Security Income. There is no ambiguity or debate: They are not eligible for Social Security’s earned benefits.

      Unauthorized workers have billions of dollars in Social Security contributions deducted from their pay checks each year. Social Security’s chief actuary estimates that in the last 10 years they have paid more than $100 billion into Social Security. But, under the law, they are not eligible for benefits.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Jill Stein is a pro-immigration environmentalist and still wants to poach Trump votes

      In an interview with Circa, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein discussed her plan to fight climate change, erase student debt and win over Donald Trump supporters.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein says Colorado leading the way to the future

      With ballot proposals that would revamp the state’s health care system, raise the minimum wage, and allow local governments to regulate fracking, Colorado is blazing a path that the rest of the country should follow, Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate told a crowd in Denver.

      “Colorado is leading the charge. These are the things we need to do at the national level,” Stein, a 66-year-old physician, told a packed house at the Mercury Cafe on Sunday.

      Stein said providing Medicare for all U.S. citizens would revitalize the poorly working health care system by redirecting funds into services that now are spent on administration, bloated salaries for executives, and other costs.

    • Why Hillary Clinton Republicans Matter

      Not since Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign has there been such widespread public disavowal by Republicans of their party’s nominee. The Hillary Clinton Republicans will be one of the most important legacies of the 2016 campaigns.

      The question is whether they will constitute the forward end of a political realignment, or just a one-time reaction to the unsuitability of Donald Trump for the presidency.

      Reasons for skepticism about long-term change are rooted in the differences between today’s polarized politics and the more tempered partisanship surrounding the big-bang elections of 1964 and 1980.

      In 1964, there was a lively liberal wing of the Republican Party. GOP figures such as Jacob Javits, Clifford Case, Edward Brooke and John Lindsay had far more in common philosophically with Lyndon Johnson than they did with Goldwater.

    • Glenn Greenwald: Regardless of Trump, Journalists Must Do Their Homework and Investigate Clinton

      Donald Trump has become “such a kind of dangerous presence on the American landscape that a lot of people have become afraid of doing their jobs and scrutinizing his opponent,” Glenn Greenwald told “Democracy Now!”

      Greenwald made his observation as media outlets have launched into Donald Trump’s business and tax history and conducted investigations into the lives and past work of current and former Trump campaign officials Steve Bannon and Paul Manafort.

      Giving a demonstration of the kind of scrutiny he wants his colleagues to practice, Greenwald asked why the Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars in donations from Saudi Arabia and other tyrannical states in the Persian Gulf.

    • Dead Abe Lincoln Says: Vote Gary Johnson

      Via their site and using Facebook, they link a voter who would like to vote Libertarian from a specific state who says they would feel obligated to vote Hillary Clinton if they had no other choice to another voter who says they’d feel obligated to vote Trump in that situation.

    • Sanders Will Campaign for Dems, But Won’t Give Party Coveted Email List

      In an email to supporters on Monday, Bernie Sanders highlighted four hotly-contested races that he says will likely determine the Senate majority: Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio and Nevada.

      “The Koch brothers know this. That is why they are spending tens of millions of dollars to defeat these four candidates for Senate,” Sanders wrote. “And that’s why I’m asking you to support them: Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania, Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, Ted Strickland in Ohio, and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada.”

      “I want to be clear,” he continues. “It is very important that our movement holds public officials accountable. The Democratic Party passed an extremely progressive agenda at the convention. Our job is to make sure that platform is implemented. That will not happen without Democratic control of the Senate.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Transparency Hunters Capture More than 400 California Database Catalogs

      A team of over 40 transparency activists aimed their browsers at California this past weekend, collecting more than 400 database catalogs from local government agencies, as required under a new state law. Together, participants in the California Database Hunt shined light on thousands upon thousands of government record systems.

      California S.B. 272 requires every local government body, with the exception of educational agencies, to post inventories of their “enterprise systems,” essentially every database that holds records on members of the public or is used as a primary source of information. These database catalogs were required to be posted online (at least by agencies with websites) by July 1, 2016.

    • Hacker Shows Us How to Unlock a Laptop Using an NSA Tool

      Around Christmas in 2013, a German newsmagazine published a large cache of leaked NSA files, detailing several spy tools used by the NSA.

      The leaked documents were dubbed ANT (Advanced Network Techniques) Catalog, and showed that the US spy agency had a wide array of tools to spy on people’s computers and, as they put it, get the “ungettable.” The tools ranged from a set of fake cellular base stations that hijack phone calls, a USB plug to steal data as soon as it’s connected to a computer, and “radio frequency reflectors,” devices that beam radio signals to other devices, forcing them to beam data back.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Appeals Court Tosses Search Warrant Used By Louisiana Sheriff In Attempt To Silence Critical Blogger

      The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals has just ended Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry “Censorious Dumbass” Larpenter’s attempt to silence a critic through the magic of abusing his power. The sheriff obtained a warrant to raid a blogger’s house, using the state’s mostly-unconstitutional criminal defamation law to justify the search. The blogger had pointed out that Larpenter’s wife works for an insurance agency that provides coverage for the local government — something that looked just a wee bit corrupt.

      Larpenter didn’t care for this, so he took his search warrant application — and a complaint by Tony Alford, who runs the insurance company that Larpenter’s wife works for — to an off-duty judge to get it signed. This same judge later declared the warrant to be perfectly legal when challenged by lawyers representing the blogger. The blogger’s lawyers appealed [PDF] this decision, which has resulted in the warrant [PDF] being killed. Naomi Lachance of The Intercept has more details.

    • Maine’s “Instant Runoff” Proposal Could Banish Its Governor From State Politics

      Maine’s colorful governor, Republican Paul LePage, has once again grabbed headlines — this time for leaving a profanity-laced voicemail for an opposition lawmaker and then declaring that the “overwhelming majority” of Maine’s “enemy” are “people of color.”

      LePage’s antics have left many people outside Maine wondering how the bland, sensible state ever elected him. The answer’s straightforward: LePage has never needed a majority of Maine’s votes to win. Maine has a standard first-past-the-post voting system plus a strong tradition of third parties and politicians running as independents. With multiple candidates running against LePage during his two races for governor, he was able to squeak into office both times with just a plurality of votes.

      In 2010, LePage was elected with just 37.6 percent of the vote. In 2014, he received 48.2 percent of the vote. In each election, a combination of independent and Democratic Party candidates received the majority of the votes.

    • Kids in Handcuffs?

      WHEN A KENTUCKY SHERIFF’S DEPUTY was caught on camera handcuffing an 8-year-old boy with disabilities, it made national headlines. But the problem runs deeper than one overzealous officer, say ACLU attorneys who sued the deputy and the Kenton County sheriff’s office in federal court under the Fourth and 14th Amendments and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    • Do Over, Please: EFF and ACLU Ask Ninth Circuit to Revisit Two Dangerous CFAA Rulings

      Imagine being convicted of a crime for logging into a friend’s social media account with their permission? Or for logging into your spouse’s bank account to pay a bill, even though a pop-up banner appeared stating that only account holders were permitted to access the system? The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last month issued two decisions—by two different 3-judge panels in two separate cases—which seem to turn such actions into federal crimes. We teamed up with the ACLU and ACLU of Northern California to ask the court to review both decisions en banc—with 11 judges, not just 3—and issue a ruling that will ensure innocent Internet users are not transformed into criminals on the basis of innocuous password sharing. We want the court to come up with a clear and limited interpretation of the notoriously vague statute at the heart of both cases, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

    • Kaepernick vs. Trump: Making America Great Again
    • In ‘Tacit Admission’ of Cruelty, DHS Says It Too May End For-Profit Prisons

      On the heels of the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) “important and groundbreaking decision” to phase out the use of private prisons, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has just signaled that it may follow in those footsteps—a move that would heed human rights advocates’ call for the agency to end “prison profiteers in our inhumane immigration system.”

      In a statement released Monday, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson says he asked the Homeland Security Advisory Council to establish a subcommittee tasked with evaluating “whether the immigration detention operations conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] should move in the same direction” as the DOJ, with their findings to be submitted by Nov. 30.

      Among those welcoming the news was Human Rights First’s Jennifer Quigley, who said, “Private immigration detention facilities are inconsistent with international human rights standards and are largely unnecessary.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Links 29/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC4, Maru OS Source Code

Monday 29th of August 2016 10:26:45 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • BSODs at scale: we laugh at your puny five storeys, here’s our SIX storey #fail

    It’s an easy drive-by troll, isn’t it? Last week, we asked readers to top the five-storey Blue Screen of Death spotted in Thailand, and examples big and small flooded the inbox.

    Manchester Piccadilly Station is either vying for the crown with last week’s entry, or perhaps it’s a display from the same maker. Thanks to James for catching this shot from 2013.

  • Server
    • Cost Effective Linux Server Software for Enterprises

      The advantages of a Linux server over expensive Windows systems are numerous with hardly any drawbacks. Since Linux is not dominant as Windows, there are some slight difficulties to find applications based on this platform to support the needs. While security stands as an important aspect for servers, the advantage over dominant operating systems is that security flaws are caught in Linux, even before they become an issue for the public.

      Linux was one of the first open-source technologies in which you can download the source code and change it any way you like. Several Linux coders have developed software that’s completely open-source for any user, improving the security and usability at each core.

    • Weigh the pros, cons of three Linux load balancer options

      Nginx, HAProxy and Linux Virtual Server are three different Linux load balancer to consider for multiserver, high-traffic requests in the data center.

    • Monitoring of Monitoring

      I was recently asked to get data from a computer that controlled security cameras after a crime had been committed. Due to the potential issues I refused to collect the computer and insisted on performing the work at the office of the company in question. Hard drives are vulnerable to damage from vibration and there is always a risk involved in moving hard drives or systems containing them. A hard drive with evidence of a crime provides additional potential complications. So I wanted to stay within view of the man who commissioned the work just so there could be no misunderstanding.

      The system had a single IDE disk. The fact that it had an IDE disk is an indication of the age of the system. One of the benefits of SATA over IDE is that swapping disks is much easier, SATA is designed for hot-swap and even systems that don’t support hot-swap will have less risk of mechanical damage when changing disks if SATA is used instead of IDE. For an appliance type system where a disk might be expected to be changed by someone who’s not a sysadmin SATA provides more benefits over IDE than for some other use cases.

      I connected the IDE disk to a USB-IDE device so I could read it from my laptop. But the disk just made repeated buzzing sounds while failing to spin up. This is an indication that the drive was probably experiencing “stiction” which is where the heads stick to the platters and the drive motor isn’t strong enough to pull them off. In some cases hitting a drive will get it working again, but I’m certainly not going to hit a drive that might be subject to legal action! I recommended referring the drive to a data recovery company.

      The probability of getting useful data from the disk in question seems very low. It could be that the drive had stiction for months or years. If the drive is recovered it might turn out to have data from years ago and not the recent data that is desired. It is possible that the drive only got stiction after being turned off, but I’ll probably never know.

  • Kernel Space
    • Windows 10 vs. Linux Radeon Software Performance, Including AMDGPU-PRO & RadeonSI

      As alluded to earlier and on Twitter, the past few days I have been working on a fresh Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux graphics/gaming performance comparison. This time it’s looking at the latest Radeon performance using an R9 Fury and RX 480. Tests on Windows were obviously done with Radeon Software Crimson Edition while under Linux were the two latest AMD/RTG Linux driver options: the hybrid AMDGPU-PRO driver and the fully open-source driver via Linux 4.8 and Mesa 12.1-dev.

    • Linux Kernel 3.10.103 LTS Has Lots of MIPS Improvements, Updated Radeon Drivers

      Today, August 28, 2016, Linux kernel developer Willy Tarreau announced the release of the one hundred and third maintenance update to the long-term supported Linux 3.10 kernel series.

      For some reason, the Linux 3.10 kernel branch is still getting updates, and this new version promises to add quite some improvements and updated drivers, as, according to the appended shortlog and the diff from the Linux kernel 3.10.102 LTS build, a total of 161 files have been changed, with 1800 insertions and 1293 deletions.

    • Collabora’s Devs to Bring Performance Improvements to Emulated NVMe Devices

      We reported earlier this month that Collabora’s developers contributed patches to the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel to bring the open source Intel graphics driver on par with its Windows equivalent.

      And now Softpedia was informed by Collabora’s Mark Filion about some other interesting patches contributed by Collabora’s developers to the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel. These patches promise to add huge performance improvements to emulated NVMe devices.

    • Linux 4.8-rc4

      Another week, another -rc.

      Everything looks normal, and it’s been a bit quieter than rc3 too, so
      hopefully we’re well into the “it’s calming down” phase. Although with
      the usual timing-related fluctuation (different maintainers stagger
      their pulls differently), it’s hard to tell a trend yet.

      Regardless, it all looks pretty small. I think the biggest thing in
      there is a skylake power management fix that came in as part of the
      gpu updates just before I was about to cut the rc4 release. Oh well.
      The other slightly larger change is some btrfs fixes.

      But on the whole those things don’t look that scary, and the rest is
      all really pretty tiny fixes spread out: various driver subsystems
      (sound, rdma, block), kvm, and some arch updates.

      The usual shortlog below for the details -it’s small and easy to scan
      to get a taste for the kind of things we’ve had.

      Go forth and test.

      Linus

    • Linux 4.8-rc4 Kernel Released

      Continuing his Sunday tradition, Linus Torvalds released a few minutes ago the Linux 4.8-rc4 kernel.

      This latest weekly development installment of the Linux 4.8 kernel features a variety of bug/regression fixes, including some last minute DRM fixes that made it into this kernel release.

    • Linus Torvalds Announces Linux Kernel 4.8 RC4 with Skylake Power Management Fix

      It’s Sunday evening, so guess what you’ll be doing in the next few hours? Yes, that’s right, Linus Torvalds has just announced the fourth RC (Release Candidate) version of the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel branch.

    • Kernel prepatch 4.8-rc4
    • Linus rages at GNU enforcement

      Open Sauce’s Mr Sweary has gone off on lawyers making money on GPL enforcement.

      Linus Torvalds waded into the Software Freedom Conservancy and Bradley Kuhn over the question of enforcing compliance of the GPL General Public Licence.

      Software Freedom Conservancy head Karen Sandler made a mistake when she suggested that Linuxcon in Toronto should include a session on GPL enforcement.

      A number of developers think that while discussing enforcement issues was topical and necessary, doing it at a conference of this kind could well lead to people who took part being deposed later on by lawyers for their own cases.

    • How IoTivity and AllJoyn Could Combine

      At the Embedded Linux Conference in April, Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) Executive Director Mike Richmond concluded his keynote on the potential for interoperability between the OCF’s IoTivity IoT framework and the AllSeen Alliance’s AllJoyn spec by inviting to the stage Greg Burns, the chief architect of AllJoyn. Burns briefly shared his opinion that not only was there no major technical obstacle to combining these two major open source IoT specs, but that by taking the best of both standards, a hybrid could emerge that improves upon both.

      Later in the day, Burns gave a technical overview of how such a hybrid could be crafted in “Evolving a Best-of-Breed IoT Framework.” (See video below.) Burns stated in both talks that his opinions in no way reflect the official position of OCF or the AllSeen Alliance. At the time of the ELC talk in April, Burns had recently left his job as VP of Engineering at Qualcomm and Chair of the Technical Steering Committee at the AllSeen Alliance to take on the position of Chief IoT Software Technologist in the Open Source Technology Center at Intel Corp.

    • ​Linus Torvalds’ love-hate relationship with the GPL

      Linux’s founder appreciates what the GNU General Public License has given Linux, but he doesn’t appreciate how some open-source lawyers are trying to enforce it in court.

    • Linus Torvalds reflects on 25 years of Linux

      LinuxCon North America concluded in Toronto, Canada on August 25th, the day Linux was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, and Dirk Hohndel, VP and chief of open source at VMware, sat down for a conversation at the event and reflected upon the past 25 years. Here are some of the highlights of that conversation.

    • 6 things you should know from Linux’s first 25 years

      Red Hat was founded in 1993, two years after Linux was announced and the company has been one of the top contributors to Linux. There is a symbiotic relationship between the company and the project. Whitehurst pointed out that it’s hard to talk about the history of Red Hat without talking about Linux and vice versa.

    • There Is Talk Of Resuming OpenChrome VIA KMS/DRM Driver Development

      Two or so years back or so it was looking hopeful that the mainline Linux kernel would finally have a proper VIA DRM/KMS driver for the unfortunate ones still have VIA x86 hardware and using the integrated graphics. However, that work was ultimately abandoned but there is talk of it being restored.

    • Graphics Stack
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • Clarity (Vector Design) Icon Theme for Linux Desktop’s

      Clarity Icon Theme is completely different from other icon themes because its purly based on Vector design. This theme is based on AwOken and Token, lots of shapes and basic color pallete was taken from these icons. Few icons was taken from Raphael. used some shapes from OpenClipart, Wikipedia, Humanity and AnyColorYouLike Themes. The rest of icons designed by developer by simplifying existed icons or logos. Two types of fonts used Impact and Cheboygan.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME Builder 3.22 Enters Beta with Many Vim Improvements, New Search & Replace

        The GNOME Builder open-source IDE (Integrated Development Environment) designed for the GNOME desktop environment will soon get a major update as part of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 release.

      • GUADEC 2016

        I have just returned from our annual users and developers conference. This years’ GUADEC has taken place in the lovely Karlsruhe, Germany. It once again was a fantastic opportunity to gather everyone who works pretty hard to make our desktop and platform the best out there.

      • GUADEC 2016, Karlsruhe

        Nice thing this year was that almost everyone was staying in the same place, or close; this favoured social gatherings even more than in the previous years. This was also helped by the organized events, every evenings, from barbecue to picnic, from local student-run bar to beer garden (thanks Centricular), and more.

        And during the days? Interesting talks of course, like the one offered by Rosanna about how the foundation runs (and how crazy is the US bank system), or the Builder update by Christian, and team meetings.

  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • Debian-Based Q4OS 1.6 “Orion” Linux Distro Launches with Trinity Desktop 14.0.3

        Softpedia has been informed today, August 28, 2016, by the developer of the Debian-based Q4OS GNU/Linux distribution about the immediate availability for download of a new stable release to the “Orion” series, version 1.6.

        The biggest new feature of the Q4OS 1.6 “Orion” release is the latest Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) 14.0.3 desktop environment, an open source project that tries to keep the spirit of the old-school KDE 3.5 desktop interface alive. Q4OS was used the most recent TDE version, so Q4OS 1.6 is here to update it.

        “The significant Q4OS 1.6 ‘Orion’ release receives the most recent Trinity R14.0.3 stable version. Trinity R14.0.3 is the third maintenance release of the R14 series, it is intended to promptly bring bug fixes to users, while preserving overall stability,” say the Q4OS developers in the release announcement.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts
    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • LuLu Group migrates to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

        LuLu Group has selected SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications to help business managers faster identify and respond to new opportunities and competitive threats.

        Headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, the international retailer runs 124 outlets and operates in 31 countries. It welcomes more than 700,000 shoppers daily.

        Since starting its retail journey in the early 1990s, LuLu Group expanded its business aggressively and required advanced technology to optimise its business.

        Hence, it migrated from Solaris UNIX to SUSE Linux as platform for SAP solutions, reducing SAP landscape operating costs at least 20 percent.

      • SUSE’s Role in the History of Linux and Open Source

        What role did SUSE play in the growth of Linux and the open source ecosystem? How did SUSE and other Linux-based operating systems evolve into the enterprise platforms they are today? Here’s what SUSE employees had to say about Linux history in a recent interview.

        To help mark the anniversary of Linus Torvalds’s release of Linux twenty-five years ago, I interviewed Meiki Chabowski, SUSE Documentation, and Markus Feilner, Strategist & Documentation Team Lead. Their answers, printed below, provide interesting perspective not only on the history of SUSE, but also of Linux and open source as a whole.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Multiple vulnerabilities in RPM – and a rant

        Last year in November I decided that it might be a good idea to fuzz the parsers of package management tools in Linux distributions. I quickly found a couple of issues in DPKG and RPM. For DPKG the process went very smooth. I reported them to Debian’s security team, eight days later fixes and security advisories were published by both Debian and Ubuntu, the main distributions using DPKG. For RPM the process was a bit more difficult.

      • Commvault announces support for Red Hat Virtualisation 4

        Back-up and archive specialist CommVault has announced support for Red Hat Virtualisation 4, the open source company’s kernel-based virtual machine powered virtualisation platform.

        Red Hat Virtualisation 4 is built on the company’s enterprise Linux distribution. It provides a centralised management platform for both Linux- and Windows-based workloads.

      • Microsoft, Red Hat Look To Steal VMware Customers

        Unfortunately for competitors, VMware has executed on its software strategy consistently enough to stay one step ahead of the prediction of eminent downfall. If it had faltered or introduced a highly defective product, it might have left more of an opening for Microsoft. But instead it has added value to its products and expanded those products into data center operations and virtual networking with such regularity that even IT managers who want to leave have found it hard to cut the cord.

      • VMware New Cloud Plan: Sell Stuff for Rival Clouds
      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • GSoC Wrap Up

          GSoC 2016 finished last week and i am writing this blog to list the work done by me in last three months for Fedora. My project was to adjust pagure and write script(s) so that we can have pkgs.fedoraproject.org on a pagure instance.

        • Flatpak Universal Linux Package Supports Local Path References for Git Sources

          Alex Larsson from the Flatpak project has announced the release of a new maintenance update to the universal binary package format for Linux kernel-based operating systems.

          Flatpak 0.6.9 is now the latest version, and it promises to add many great enhancements, among which we can mention the ability to pass partial references every time a terminal command takes a runtime or application name, as well as a brand new command called build-commit-from.

          Application developers who want to package their apps and distribute it in the Flatpak format can use the above-mentioned command for creating new commits based on the contents of an existing commit, which can be from another local repository or a remote one.

        • Getting involved with the Fedora kernel

          There are countless ways to contribute to open source projects like Fedora. Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to contribute is by helping with the Linux kernel in Fedora. At Flock 2016, I gave a talk about the state of the Fedora kernel. One of the themes of the talk was getting more people involved. The kernel is a project for everyone and all are welcome to take part. This article details what you can do to become a part of the kernel.

    • Debian Family
      • Reproducible builds: week 70 in Stretch cycle
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu’s Mir May Be Ready For FreeSync / Adaptive-Sync

            The Mir display server may already be ready for working with AMD’s FreeSync or VESA’s Adaptive-Sync, once all of the other pieces to the Linux graphics stack are ready.

            If the comments from this Mir commit are understood and correct, it looks like Mir may be ready for supporting FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync.

            While NVIDIA’s proprietary driver supports their alternative G-SYNC technology on Linux, AMD FreeSync (or the similar VESA Adaptive-Sync standard) has yet to be supported by the AMD Linux stack. We won’t be seeing any AMD FreeSync support until their DAL display stack lands. DAL still might come for Linux 4.9 but there hasn’t been any commitment yet by AMD developers otherwise not until Linux 4.10+, and then after that point FreeSync can ultimately come to the open-source AMD driver. At least with the AMDGPU-PRO driver relying upon its own DKMS module, DAL with FreeSync can land there earlier.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • SaaS/Back End
    • Free Hadoop and Spark Training Options Spread Out

      In the tech job market race these days, hardly any trend is drawing more attention than Big Data. And, when talking Big Data, the subject of Hadoop inevitably comes up, but Spark is becoming an increasingly popular topic. IBM and other companies have made huge commitments to Spark, and workers who have both Hadoop and Spark skills are much in demand.

      With that in mind MapR Technologies and other providers are offering free Hadoop and Spark training. In many cases, the training is available online and on-demand, so you can learn at your own pace.

    • Git hooks, a cloud by the numbers, and more OpenStack news

      Are you interested in keeping track of what is happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for news in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

  • Databases
    • Improving phpMyAdmin Docker container

      Since I’ve created the phpMyAdmin container for Docker I’ve always felt strange about using PHP’s built in web server there. It really made it poor choice for any production setup and probably was causing lot of problems users saw with this container. During the weekend, I’ve changed it to use more complex setup with Supervisor, nginx and PHP FPM.

      As building this container is one of my first experiences with Docker (together with Weblate container), it was not as straightforward as I’d hope for, but in the end is seems to be working just fine. While touching the code, I’ve also improved testing of the Docker container to tests all supported setups and to better report in case of test fails.

  • Funding
    • Support open source motion comic

      There is an ongoing campaign for motion comic. It will be done entirely with FLOSS tools (Blender, Krita, GNU/Linux) and besides that, it really looks great (and no, it is not only for the kids!). Please support this effort if you can because it also shows the power of Free software tools. All will be released Creative Commons Atribution-ShareAlike license together with all sources.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Italian guide on government websites to be updated

      The source of the document is now available on GitHub, a cloud-based source code management system.

    • Open Data
      • Ethiopia’s Lucy is Now Open Source: Famous Bones’ 3D Scans Released

        The world’s most famous fossil is now open source. 3D scans of Lucy — a 3.18-million-year-old hominin found in Ethiopia — were released on 29 August, allowing anyone to examine her arm, shoulder and knee bones and even make their own 3D-printed copies.s

      • How to use open source information to investigate stories online

        Myself and others at First Draft frequently receive emails from a whole range of people asking how they can start doing the sort of online open source investigation and verification that they’ve seen us doing. The skills and methodologies used are all something that can be learnt through a little persistence, but here are a few pieces of advice to get you started.

      • Microsoft relies on Wikipedia and loses Melbourne

        Microsoft’s Bing made the grave mistake on relying on data collected by Wikipedia for its mapping software and lost Melbourne.

        While Melbourne might not be the nicest it place to live, there were a fair few who felt that Bing Maps moving it to the wrong hemisphere was not exactly fair dinkum.

        Apparently Vole made the mistake when it collected the data. Ricky Brundritt, a senior program manager at Bing Maps, said that the outfit does not normally rely that much on Wackypedia, but sometimes it uses it.

    • Open Access/Content
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • You don’t need a green thumb with this farming robot

        FarmBot is a robotic open hardware system that assists anyone with a small plot of land and a desire to grow food with planting, watering, soil testing, and weeding. It uses a Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and other awesome components, including weather-resistant materials.

Leftovers
  • Students suck, professors don’t care and other myths you shouldn’t let ruin the start of the school year

    Back to school means back to bashing students. Maybe it’s time to end that trend.

    It’s that time of year again. As many of us get ready to start the school year, we are bombarded by articles, stories and memes that mock students and denigrate the professors that teach them. By now you have probably seen at least a few articles offering sage advice to this year’s incoming class of college kids. Maybe the article comes in the form of a handy list or maybe it is just a basic rant about how pathetic students are these days. You have likely already seen that meme of an Einstein look-alike professor sporting an “It’s in the syllabus” T-shirt. It all seems very funny and very wise so your instinct is to share it.

    Don’t do it.

    Consider this: When in the last decade have you gone online and read anything positive about the start of the school year? When have you read that the next class of students is extremely bright and promising? That their professors are dedicated and hardworking? Or that their places of higher education are preparing them well for their futures?

    Probably never.

    We live in an age where college aged students — millennials — are the most maligned generation in decades. They are described as lazy and clueless and selfish. Stories of them taking selfies, refusing to grow up and move out, and freaking out over trivial issues abound.

  • Recruitment mistakes: part 3

    It has been a while that I have been contacted by a recruiter, and the last few ones were fairly decent conversations, where they made an effort to research me first, and even if they did not get everything right, they still listened, and we had a productive talk. But four days ago, I had another recruiter reach out to me, from a company I know oh so well: one I ranted about before: Google. Apparently, their recruiters still do carpet-bombing style outreach. My first thought was “what took them so long?” – it has been five years since my last contact with a Google recruiter. I almost started missing them. Almost. To think that Google is now powerful enough to read my mind, is scary. Yet, I believe, this is not the case; rather, it’s just another embarrassing mistake.

  • Denmark gathers ideas for Digital Post update

    In September, Denmark will hold a four-week public survey on the next generation of Digital Post, the country’s eGovernment messaging system. The country’s Agency for Digitisation (Digitaliseringsstyrelsen) is finalising questions on user experience, IT architecture, timetable and procurement approach.

    The next generation of Digital Post should be “future-proof, easy to use and the best possible solution with regards to needs and opportunities”, Digitaliseringsstyrelsen announced in August.

  • One million Norwegians have a government mailbox

    This summer, 23-year old Solveig Boland from Løten (Norway) created the millionth government mailbox account, the Norwegian government reports. Ms Boland opened her account to obtain documents required for registration in the city of Bergen, where she wants to study medicine.

    Earlier this month, the student was congratulated by Jan Tore Sanner, Minister for Local Government and Modernisation. According to a press announcement, both Ms Boland and the minister agreed that the digital mailbox is practical. “In spring, she will receive her income tax forms in the digital mailbox.”

    According to Difi, the country’s Agency for Public Management and eGovernment, this year the number of citizens that created a government mailbox account has doubled.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Chefs get creative about restaurant food waste

      The numbers are big. $218 billion of food is wasted every year in the United States—1.3 percent of national GDP, or $1,500 a year for a family of four. In a country with 48 million food-insecure people, this represents 1,250 calories per person, every day.

      For restaurants and chefs, reducing food waste is becoming business as usual. Not only does it help the bottom line – a potential savings of $1.6 billion a year in an industry with tight margins—it saves resources all along the food supply chain.

    • Claremont wants to kick its private water company out of town. Good idea

      The citizens of Claremont, fed up with the private company that provides their water, voted overwhelmingly in 2014 to seize its water system by eminent domain and convert it to a municipal utility. A Los Angeles state judge has just wrapped up a trial over whether that’s legal and is expected to issue a ruling sometime in the next three months.

      Water users who still get their supply from private companies should be rooting for him to give Claremont a green light.

    • A doctor’s take on pot: Marijuana shouldn’t be grouped into the same category as more dangerous drugs

      On August 11th, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced its decision to keep marijuana classified as a Schedule I drug. The federal government has historically referred to this category as the “most dangerous” group of substances, including drugs like heroin and bath salts.

      As a resident physician specializing in mental health, I can’t make much sense of this.

      Every day, I talk to patients about substance abuse. Whether evaluating patients in clinic, in the emergency department or on inpatient units, my colleagues and I screen patients for substance use. It’s a vital component of any clinical interview, particularly in mental health care, and helps us understand patients’ habits and their risks for medical complications.

      During my medical training, I’ve learned which substances to worry about and which ones matter less.

  • Security
    • Hacking the American College Application Process

      In recent years, foreign students have streamed into American universities, their numbers nearly doubling in the last decade. About half of all international students are coming from Asian countries, many of which have been subject to heavy recruitment from American colleges.

      Taking advantage of the popularity of an American education, a new industry has sprung up in East Asia, focused on guiding students through the U.S. college application process with SAT preparation courses, English tutors and college essay advisors.

      But not all college prep companies are playing by the rules. In their investigative series for Reuters, a team of reporters found that foreign companies are increasingly helping students game the U.S. college application process. Some companies have leaked questions from college entrance exams to their students before they take the test. Others have gone so far as to ghostwrite entire college applications and complete coursework for students when they arrive on campus. We spoke with Steve Stecklow, one of the reporters on the team, about what they uncovered.

    • illusive networks’ Deceptions Everywhere

      illusive networks’ bread and butter is its deception cybersecurity technology called Deceptions Everywhere whose approach is to neutralize targeted attacks and Advanced Persistent Threats by creating a deceptive layer across the entire network. By providing an endless source of false information, illusive networks disrupts and detects attacks with real-time forensics and without disruption to business.

    • Mozila Offers Free Security Scanning Service: Observatory

      With an eye toward helpiing administrators protect their websites and user communities, Mozilla has developed an online scanner that can check if web servers have optimal security settings in place.

      It’s called Observatory and was initially built for in-house use, but it may very well be a difference maker for you.

      “Observatory by Mozilla is a project designed to help developers, system administrators, and security professionals configure their sites safely and securely,” the company reports.

    • New FairWare Ransomware targeting Linux Computers [Ed: probably just a side effect of keeping servers unpatched]

      A new attack called FaireWare Ransomware is targeting Linux users where the attackers hack a Linux server, delete the web folder, and then demand a ransom payment of two bitcoins to get their files back. In this attack, the attackers most likely do not encrypt the files, and if they do retain the files, probably just upload it to a server under their control.

    • How do we explain email to an “expert”?

      This has been a pretty wild week, more wild than usual I think we can all agree. The topic I found the most interesting wasn’t about one of the countless 0day flaws, it was a story from Slate titled: In Praise of the Private Email Server

      The TL;DR says running your own email server is a great idea. Almost everyone came out proclaiming it a terrible idea. I agree it’s a terrible idea, but this also got me thinking. How do you explain this to someone who doesn’t really understand what’s going on?

      There are three primary groups of people.

      1) People who know they know nothing
      2) People who think they’re experts
      3) People who are actually experts

    • Why the term “zero day” needs to be in your brand’s cybersecurity vocabulary

      Linux is “open source” which means anyone can look at the code and point out flaws. In that sense, I’d say Linus Torvalds doesn’t have to be as omniscient as Tim Cook. Linux source code isn’t hidden behind closed doors. My understanding is, all the Linux code is out there for anyone to see, naked for anyone to scrutinize, which is why certain countries feel safer using it–there’s no hidden agenda or secret “back door” lurking in the shadows. Does that mean Android phones are safer? That’s up for debate.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Indonesia’s most-wanted awakens new generation of jihadis

      During a May 2011 shootout, Indonesia’s counter-terrorism forces killed the leader of a militant group thought to be behind a series of failed bomb attempts around the city of Solo in Central Java.

      The death of “Team Hisbah” founder Sigit Qurdowi caused the group to splinter. Some formed an anti-vice squad in the city; many others became associated with a former Solo resident called Bahrun Naim, who authorities believe is a leading Indonesian coordinator for Islamic State (IS).

      Now, five years later, Naim, based in IS’s stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, is building an ever-more sophisticated network of militants from his former hometown, according to police, self-proclaimed radicals and people who work with the militants in Solo.

      Solo, which has a long history of schools and mosques associated with radical Islamists, is a breeding ground for Naim’s recruits, counter-terrorism officials say, and many of his lieutenants in Indonesia have come from Team Hisbah.

      As a result, authorities fear the risk of a major attack in Indonesia is growing.

    • Failed Indonesia Church Bomber Wounds Priest

      A would-be suicide bomber’s explosives failed to detonate in a packed church in western Indonesia during Sunday Mass, and he injured a priest with an ax before being restrained, police said.

    • VIDEO: Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment Trial Nears an End, Endangering Brazilian Democracy

      The most remarkable aspect of all of this – and what fundamentally distinguishes this process from impeachment in, say, the U.S. – is that Dilma’s removal results in the empowerment of a completely different party that was not elected to the presidency. In fact – as my colleagues at The Intercept Brasil, João Filho and Breno Costa, documented this week – Dilma’s removal is empowering exactly the right-wing party, PSDB, that has lost four straight national elections, including one to just Dilma 20 months ago. In some cases, the very same people from that party who ran for president and lost are now in control of the nation’s key ministries.

      As a result, the unelected government now about to take power permanently is preparing a series of policies – from suspending Brazil’s remarkably successful anti-illiteracy program, privatizing national assets and “changing” various social programs to abandoning its regional alliances in favor of returned subservience to the U.S. – that were never ratified by the Brazilian population and could never be. Whether you want to call this a “coup” or not, it is the antithesis of democracy, a direct assault on it.

    • Glenn Greenwald on the hypocrisy of Brazil’s political crisis

      Dilma Rousseff’s political enemies got their wish this week, as Brazil’s Senate voted to remove her from office to face an impeachment trial over charges of financial mismanagement.

      But Glenn Greenwald, founder of the Intercept and long-time resident of Brazil, says ousting Rousseff is likely to make things worse, not better.

      “The only real effect it’s probably going to have on corruption is that it will protect corruption and make it more difficult to root it out of the political system,” he tells Brent Bambury in an interview for CBC Day 6.

      Rousseff has been suspended from office while the trial goes ahead, a process that could take six months. She is accused of cooking the books to hide the size of Brazil’s budget deficit while she was campaigning for re-election. It’s part of a broader investigation including accusations that dozens of lawmakers and state oil execs got huge kickbacks for government contracts.

    • Brazil’s Rousseff faces senators, says accusations meritless

      In the middle of her second term, the left-leaning leader is accused of breaking fiscal rules to hide problems in the federal budget.

    • Green Party calls for a cutoff of aid to Saudi Arabia, citing carnage inflicted on Yemen with U.S. arms

      The Green Party is calling for an immediate cutoff of aid to Saudi Arabia and for intense diplomatic pressure to halt the Saudis’ war in Yemen.

      “Saudi Arabia is using weapons purchased from the U.S. in a campaign of indiscriminate killing in Yemen, with mass civilian casualties, including children, and attacks on medical facilities,” said Robin Laverne Wilson, New York Green candidate for the U.S. Senate ( http://www.robinforsenator.com ). “The Green Party demands a halt in aid to Saudi Arabia until the war on Yemen ceases and the Saudis stop arming violent movements in the Middle East and observe human rights in their own country.”

    • Obama’s Imperial Mideast Policy Unravels

      President Obama’s Mideast policy is such a confusing mess that he is now supporting Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria although it’s primary target is not ISIS but another U.S. ally, the Kurds, explains Daniel Lazare.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Wildlife conservationists need to break out of their Stockholm syndrome

      Conservationists like me want a world where wildlife has space, where wild places exist, and where we can connect with the wild things. Yet time after time, like captives suffering from Stockholm syndrome, wildlife conservation NGOs placate, please and emulate the very forces that are destroying the things they want to protect.

      Despite our collective, decades-long, worldwide commitment to protect wildlife, few indicators are positive. The Red List that’s issued by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature now includes 22,784 species that are threatened with extinction. Habitat loss is the main problem for 85 per cent of species on the list.

      The number of African rhinos killed by poachers, for example, has increased for the sixth year in a row. Pangolins are now the most heavily poached and trafficked mammals on the planet. One third of the world’s freshwater fish are at risk from new hydropower dams. Two hundred amphibians have already gone and polar bears are probably doomed. Human beings are simply taking too much from the world for its rich diversity to survive.

    • Ohio Residents Clash With State and County Government in Fight to Ban Fracking via the Ballot

      For years, local Ohioans have been told by courts and elected officials that they have no control over fracking — “it is a matter of state law.”

      However, groups of determined residents are refusing to accept this argument, taking steps to establish local democratic control over what they see as vital societal questions of health, safety, and planetary survival. But not without resistance from their own governments.

      In recent years, Ohio has seen fracking-induced earthquakes, contaminated waterways, and new proposals for natural gas pipelines and compressor stations, all amidst the accelerating march of climate change. Together, these events have brought the fight against fracking to a fever pitch for the Buckeye State.

      Fed up, residents have taken to the local ballot initiative process — by which citizens write, petition for, and vote on legislation — to propose “Community Bill of Rights” ordinances to ban fracking, injection wells, and associated infrastructure for natural gas production and transportation. Their efforst are part of a growing nationwide Community Rights movement

      This summer, citizens of Medina, Portage, Athens, and Meigs counties collected signatures for county-wide ballot initiatives that would establish new county charters and enshrine rights to local democratic control over fossil fuel development. All four gathered enough signatures to get on their respective November ballots. Normally, that would be enough. But not in Ohio, where Secretary of State and gubernatorial hopeful Jon Husted has done everything he can to stymie the movement’s use of direct democracy.

    • Climate change pledges not nearly enough to save tropical ecosystems

      The Paris Agreement marked the biggest political milestone to combat climate change since scientists first introduced us in the late 1980s to perhaps humanity’s greatest existential crisis.

      Last December, 178 nations pledged to do their part to keep global average temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over preindustrial levels — adding on an even more challenging, but aspirational goal of holding temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

      To this end, each nation produced a pledge to cut it’s own carbon emissions, targeting everything from the burning of fossil fuels to deforestation to agriculture.

      It seems like a Herculean task, bound, the optimistic say, to bring positive results.

      Yet, less than eight months later, a study in the journal Nature finds that those pledges are nowhere near as ambitious as they need to be to keep temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degrees. And in August, British scientists reported that this year’s record El Niño has already pushed us perilously close to the 1.5 degree milestone.

    • With echoes of Wounded Knee, tribes mount prairie occupation to block North Dakota pipeline

      Long before Lewis and Clark paddled by, Native Americans built homes here at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers, using the thick earth to guard against brutal winters and hard summer heat. They were called the Mandan people.

      Now, Native Americans are living here again. They sleep in teepees and nylon tents. They ride horses and drive quad cabs. They string banners between trees and, when they can get a signal, they post messages with hashtags such as #ReZpectOurWater, #NoDakotaAccess and #NODAPL. For weeks, they have been arriving from the scattered patches of the United States where the government put their ancestors to protest what they say is one indignity too many in a history that has included extermination and exploitation.

      It is called the Dakota Access oil pipeline and it could carry more than 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the Bakken region of western North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa to connect with an existing pipeline in Illinois.

    • China’s trans-Amazon railway stokes forest fears

      China’s fast-rising population and its burgeoning economy make steep demands on natural resources, so steep that Beijing is searching constantly for supplies from overseas. And it wants to obtain them, naturally, as cheaply as it can.

      Now in prospect is China’s trans-Amazon railway – a 3,300 mile-long (5,000 km) artery to link the soya-growing areas and iron ore mines of Brazil to the southern Peruvian port of Ilo, providing a cheaper, shorter route than the Panama Canal.

      Feasibility studies on three different trajectories were carried out by the China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group (CREEC). The route preferred by the Chinese, because it is cheaper and avoids the complex engineering work needed to traverse the Andes, would instead pass through heavily forested areas in the Amazon, home to many indigenous groups in both Brazil and Peru.

      Miguel Scarcello, a geographer, from the NGO SOS Amazônia, (Portuguese only) says this route for the railway will also cross the headwaters of many rivers.

    • Trumping Environmentalism

      Like many of his conservative white Cajun Catholic neighbors, Mike was a strong Republican and an enthusiastic supporter of the Tea Party. He wanted to strip the federal government to the bone. In his ideal world, the Departments of Interior, Education, Health and Human Services, Social Security, and much of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be gone; as for federal money to the states, much of that, too. The federal government provides 44% of Louisiana’s state budget — $2,400 per person per year — partly for hurricane relief, which Mike welcomes, but partly for Medicaid and, as he explained, “Most recipients could work if they wanted to and honestly, they’d be better off.”

      Louisiana is a classic red state. In 2016, it’s ranked the poorest in the nation and the worst as well in education, health, and the overall welfare of its people. It also has the second highest male incidence of cancer and is one of the country’s most polluted states. But voters like Mike have twice elected Governor Bobby Jindal who, during his eight years in office, steadfastly refused Medicaid expansion, cut funding for higher education by 44%, and laid off staff in environmental protection. Since 1976, Louisiana has voted Republican in seven out of ten presidential elections and, according to a May 2016 poll, its residents favor Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by 52% to 36%.

      Mike was an intelligent, college-educated man with a sense of stewardship over the land and the waters he loved. Given the ominous crack in his floor and the gas monitor in his garage, could he, I wondered, finally welcome government as a source of help? And had the disaster he faced altered his views of the presidential candidates?

    • The Unlimited Power of Ocean Winds

      The first offshore wind farm in American waters, near Block Island, R.I., was completed this month. With just five turbines, the farm won’t make much of a dent in the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels, but it shows the promise this renewable energy source could have. When the turbines start spinning in November, they will power the island, which currently relies on diesel generators, and will also send electricity to the rest of Rhode Island.

      Putting windmills offshore, where the wind is stronger and more reliable than on land, could theoretically provide about four times the amount of electricity as is generated on the American grid today from all sources. This resource could be readily accessible to areas on the coasts, where 53 percent of Americans live.

      This technology is already used extensively in Britain, Denmark, Germany and other European countries, which have in the last 15 years invested billions of dollars in offshore wind farms in the North, Baltic and Irish Seas. In 2013, offshore wind accounted for 1.5 percent of all electricity used in the European Union, with all wind sources contributing 9.9 percent of electricity. By contrast, wind power made up only 4.7 percent of electricity in the United States last year.

    • Hawaiian Islands Sentinel Site Cooperative

      Hawaii stands alone in more ways than one. It is the only U.S. state comprised entirely of islands. There are eight major islands, but the Hawaiian Island Chain consists of more than 80 volcanoes and 132 islands, reefs, and shoals that extend across the Pacific for 1,500 miles (that’s the approximate distance from Houston to San Francisco). Located about 2,400 miles from California, the islands are, in fact, the most isolated inhabited pieces of land in the world.

    • Public Cost of Fukushima Cleanup Tops $628 Billion and Is Expected to Climb

      The public cost of cleaning up the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster topped ¥4.2 trillion (roughly $628 billion) as of March, and is expected to keep climbing, the Japan Times reported on Sunday.

      That includes costs for radioactive decontamination and compensation payments. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) will sell off its shares to eventually pay back the cost of decontamination and waste disposal, but the Environment Ministry expects that the overall price of those activities could exceed what TEPCO would get for its shares.

    • Public cost of Fukushima nuclear accident cleanup topped ¥4.2 trillion as of end of March
    • The Anthropocene Is Here: Humanity Has Pushed Earth Into a New Epoch

      The Anthropocene Epoch has begun, according to a group of experts assembled at the International Geological Congress in Cape Town, South Africa this week.

      After seven years of deliberation, members of an international working group voted unanimously on Monday to acknowledge that the Anthropocene—a geologic time interval so-dubbed by chemists Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer in 2000—is real.

      The epoch is thought to have begun in the 1950s, when human activity, namely rapid industrialization and nuclear activity, set global systems on a different trajectory. And there’s evidence in the geographic record. Indeed, scientists say that nuclear bomb testing, industrial agriculture, human-caused global warming, and the proliferation of plastic across the globe have so profoundly altered the planet that it is time to declare the 11,700-year Holocene over.

  • Finance
    • TTIP Has ‘De Facto Failed,’ Says German Economic Minister

      Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister said that the controversial Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has “de facto failed,” admitting that negotiations between the U.S. and E.U. have completely stalled.

      “Negotiations with the U.S. have de facto failed, because of course as Europeans we couldn’t allow ourselves to submit to American demands,” Sigmar Gabriel told the German news station ZDF in an interview that will air at 7pm German time Sunday, according to Der Spiegel.

    • TTIP has failed – but no one is admitting it, says German Vice-Chancellor

      The free trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States have failed, but “nobody is really admitting it”, Germany’s Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has said.

      Talks over the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, also known as TTIP, have made little progress in recent years.

      The 14th round of negotiations between American and EU officials took place in Brussels in July. It was the third round in six months.

    • Jobs With Justice regarding the importance of a binding convention on supply chains.

    • U.S.-EU free trade talks have failed – Germany’s economy minister

      Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade deal being negotiated by the United States and the European Union, had essentially failed.

      “The negotiations with the USA have de facto failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands,” he said, according to a written transcript from German broadcaster ZDF of an interview due to be broadcast on Sunday.

      “Things are not moving on that front,” said Gabriel, who is also Germany’s vice chancellor.

    • Voices from the supply chain: an interview with Jobs With Justice

      BTS speaks with Benjamin Woods of Jobs With Justice regarding the importance of a binding convention on supply chains.

    • Universal basic income wouldn’t make people lazy–it would change the nature of work

      Americans believe in the importance of a good day’s work. And so it’s understandable that the prospect of a universal basic income (UBI), in which the government would issue checks to cover the basic costs of living, rubs some people the wrong way. Writing in The Week in 2014, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry envisions a UBI dystopia in which “millions of people” are “listing away in socially destructive idleness,” with “the consequences of this lost productivity reverberating throughout the society in lower growth and, probably, lower employment.”

      This is a reasonable concern. After all, the most successful anti-poverty programs in the US thus far, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, have been carefully designed to promote work–not enable people to avoid it. But based on the evidence we have so far, there’s little reason to believe that a UBI would lead people to abandon work in droves. And even if some people did indeed opt to give up their day jobs, society might wind up reaping untold rewards from their free time in the long run.

      Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the US and Canada were seriously considering the possibility of instating a UBI. During that time, the US government commissioned a series of experiments across six states to study the effects of guaranteed income, particularly its effects on work. The Canadian government introduced a similar experiment in the town of Dauphin.

    • Overwhelming Evidence that a Guaranteed Income Will Work

      We’ll have to do something drastically different to employ people in the future. Our jobs are disappearing. The driverless vehicle is here, destined to eliminate millions of transport and taxi-driving positions. Car manufacturing is being done by 3-D printing. An entire building was erected in Dubai with a 3-D printer. Restaurants are being designed with no waitstaff or busboys, hotels with no desk clerks, bellhops, and porters. Robot teachers are interacting with students in Japan and the UK.

      There are plenty of naysayers and skeptics, of course. The Atlantic proclaimed, “The job market defied doomsayers in those earlier times, and according to the most frequently reported jobs numbers, it has so far done the same in our own time.” But this is a different time, with no guarantees of job revolutions, and in fact a time of unprecedented machine intelligence that threatens the livelihoods even of doctors, teachers, accountants, architects, the clergy, consultants, and lawyers.

    • Punishing the Poor: Welfare Reform and Its Democratic Apologists

      A defining feature of Ronald Reagan’s unsuccessful 1976 presidential bid—a feature that would animate his political career from that point forward—was his theatrical depiction of welfare recipients.

      While he demonized the welfare system as a whole in familiar terms, Reagan’s ire was largely directed toward single mothers, and his racially coded language was sufficient to make clear his overarching intentions.

      “There’s a woman in Chicago,” Reagan said at a campaign rally in New Hampshire. “She has 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards and is collecting veterans’ benefits on four nonexisting deceased husbands.”

      She operated under several identities, the actor-turned-politician would go on to lament, and her activities were costing those he deemed the “hard-working” taxpayers dearly. Though, as Josh Levin has documented, Reagan’s storytelling was vaguely based on a real person and a real case of welfare abuse, his vivid construction of the “welfare queen” rapidly became larger than life and emerged as a mainstay in the national discourse.

    • What Is Amazon’s Core Tech Worth? Depends on Which Taxman Asks

      Jeff Bezos’s relentless focus on user experience has helped him make Amazon the most valuable e-commerce company in the world. But regulators in Europe and the U.S. say that the value Amazon places on the technology behind that experience varies radically depending on which side of the Atlantic it’s on — and which appraisal will lower its tax bill.

      In Europe, the e-commerce giant tells authorities that the intellectual property behind its web shopping platform is immensely valuable, justifying the billions in tax-free revenue it has collected there since moving its technology assets to tax-friendly Luxembourg a decade ago. In the U.S., however, it plays down the value of those same assets to explain why it pays so little in taxes for licensing them.

    • ‘Trade Deals’ & Corporate Sovereignty: How Convicted Executives Escape Punishment

      Okay, we’ve been trying to raise the alarm bells about “ISDS” — “Investor State Dispute Settlement” — systems for many, many years, even helping to push the term “corporate sovereignty” to help describe it, since people’s brains seem to turn to mush when you spell out ISDS. We’ve pointed out over and over again the problems of such a system where it basically allows companies to sue countries for passing regulations they don’t like. We’ve noted over and over and over again how problematic this is… and yet people still tell us it’s no big deal and the system is fair and “necessary” to keep countries from doing things like simply nationalizing an industry that foreign companies build up. Of course, that doesn’t happen that often. ISDS corporate sovereignty cases are happening quite frequently, over subjects like Eli Lilly being upset that Canada rejected some patents and Philip Morris suing lots of countries for passing anti-smoking health regulations.

      Thankfully, Chris Hamby, an excellent investigative reporter with BuzzFeed*, has done a massive detailed investigative report into the ISDS corporate sovereignty system and what a complete disaster it is. Much of this was assumed before, but many of the ISDS cases are done in complete secrecy, so there are few details out there. Hamby’s reporting, though, will hopefully change that.

    • The “People’s Fed” and the Oracles of Jackson Hole

      When William Greider wrote his 1989 book about the Federal Reserve, it’s not hard to understand why he called it “Secrets of the Temple.” The Fed’s proclamations can make it seem as mysterious as the Oracle of Delphi. (To be fair, nobody has speculated that hallucinogens are involved, as seems to have been the case in Delphi.)

      The Fed’s oracular sages gathered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming last week for the central bank’s annual retreat. But this year’s meeting was different: For perhaps the first time in history, some of the Fed’s leaders met with activists who are fighting to change it.

      Actually, the Fed’s not as mysterious as it seems. Some of the its behavior can be explained by its hybrid nature as a publicly created, but partly private, entity. (It’s reportedly the only central bank in the world that is not fully public.) As a result, the Fed’s leaders must struggle to accomplish their goals within a complex set of accountabilities, with multiple boards of directors that include many of the same bankers they are supposed to regulate.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Boundary changes could affect up to 200 Labour seats, says analysis

      Two hundred Labour seats – more than 85% of the party’s total – could be affected by the review of parliamentary boundaries due next month, according to a detailed analysis of the review’s likely impact.

      Up to 30 Labour seats could disappear altogether, says Lord Hayward, an analyst widely regarded as an expert on the boundary review, while the rest will see their composition altered in some form.

      Although the changes will also affect the Conservatives, Hayward, a Tory peer, said his analysis of demographics in the UK concluded that Labour is over-represented.

    • After Trump

      I recently got a call from a political analyst in Washington. “Trump is dropping like a stone,” he said, convincingly. “After Election Day, he’s history.”

      I think Trump will lose the election, but I doubt he’ll be “history.”

      Defeated presidential candidates typically disappear from public view. Think Mitt Romney or Michael Dukakis.

      But Donald Trump won’t disappear. Trump needs attention the way normal people need food.

      For starters, he’ll dispute the election results. He’s already warned followers “we better be careful because that election is going to be rigged and I hope the Republicans are watching closely, or it’s going to be taken away from us.“

    • Democrats Step Up Pursuit of House Republicans Left Limping by Donald Trump

      Emboldened by Donald J. Trump’s struggles in the presidential race, Democrats in Congress are laying the groundwork to expand the list of House Republicans they will target for defeat as part of an effort to slash the Republicans’ 30-seat majority and even reclaim control if Mr. Trump falls further.

      Mr. Trump’s unpopularity, which has already undermined the party’s grip on the Senate, now threatens to imperil Republican lawmakers even in traditionally conservative districts, according to strategists and officials in both parties involved in the fight for control of the House.

    • It Takes a Ruling-Class Village to Staff the White House

      That was all very stirring, but who actually comprises the “we” that makes executive branch policy in the name of the common good when either Democrats or Republicans hold the White House? Not the nation’s working- and middle-class majority, that’s for sure. The Dutch political scientists Bastiaan van Apeldoorn and Nana de Graaff recently constructed a richly detailed career profile of the U.S. presidency’s top “grand strategy makers” (GSMs)—holders of key policymaking cabinet and senior advisory positions—over the administrations of the 42nd, 43rd and 44th presidents: Bill Clinton (1993-2001), George W. Bush (2001-2009) and Barack Obama (2009-2017). Their findings are like something out of Karl Marx’s and Frederick Engels’ notion of “the executive of the modern state” as “nothing but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.”

      By van Apeldoorn and de Graaff’s calculations, 23 (more than 70 percent) of Obama’s top 30 GSMs had “top-level corporate affiliations”—executive, director, senior adviser or partner in a law firm—prior to their appointment to the U.S. executive branch. These 23 were linked through a combination of board memberships, executive positions and advisory roles to 111 corporations. These “affiliations in many cases display a revolving door pattern, indicating that the actors are not just closely tied to but actually themselves members of the corporate elite.”

      Elite travelers in and out of top positions in the Obama White House include Timothy Geithner, Jack Lew, Peter Orszag, Ken Salazar and Tom Donilon. Geithner went from being Citigroup Chair Robert Rubin’s handpicked head of the New York Federal Reserve Board to serving (Wall Street) as Obama’s first Treasury secretary to his current position as CEO of the leading Wall Street private equity firm, Warburg Pincus.

      Before replacing Geithner atop Treasury, Lew was chief operating officer at Citigroup’s alternative investment division, focused on risky and complex proprietary trading schemes.

      Orszag left his position as Obama’s Office of Budget Management director to become vice chair of global banking and chair of financial strategy and solutions at Citigroup and now serves as vice chairman of investment banking and managing director at Lazard. (Salazar and Donilon will be discussed later in this report.)

    • Tell Us Why We’re At War, Candidates

      When I was a kid, successive presidents told us we had to fight in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, because if we didn’t fight them over there, we’d have to fight them on the beaches of California. We believed. It was a lie.

      I was a teenager during the Cold War, several presidents told us we needed to create massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons, garrison the world, maybe invade Cuba, fight covert wars and use the CIA to overthrow democratically elected governments and replace them with dictators, or the Russians would destroy us. We believed. It was a lie.

      When I was in college our president told us that we needed to fight in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua or the Sandinistas would come to the United States. He told us Managua was closer to Washington DC than LA was. He told us we needed to fight in Lebanon, Grenada and Libya to protect ourselves. We believed. It was a lie.

      When I was a little older our president told us how evil Saddam Hussein was, how his soldiers bayoneted babies in Kuwait. He told us Saddam was a threat to America. He told us we needed to invade Panama to oust a dictator to protect America. We believed. It was a lie.

      Another president told us we had to fight terrorists in Somalia, as well as bomb Iraq, to protect ourselves. We believed. It was a lie.

    • Disrupting the myth of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the age of Trump, Sanders and Clinton

      The 2016 presidential election cycle and its three prominent candidates are being held up as representing polarizing interests that are emblematic of the political, economic and cultural tensions of our time. Yet, a look back at the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt reveals some familiar tones and policy positions that capture those of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

      As president, Roosevelt is widely celebrated by American “progressives” for fathering the New Deal, which encompassed financial regulations, union rights and a number of social programs. While FDR’s extramarital affairs are well known, what is less known is his racist and anti-Semitic worldview and white supremacist loyalties, which contributed to the suffering and death of millions of the most vulnerable people.

      Many understand the New Deal as a program to save U.S. capitalism based on Keynesian interventions meant to soften its blow via social programs and collective bargaining rights, while simultaneously regulating the most volatile aspects of the banking system.

    • Greenwald: Journalists Should Not Stop Scrutinizing Clinton Just Because Trump is Unfit for Office

      Media outlets have launched massive investigations into Donald Trump’s business and tax history, as well as probes into the lives and past work of his current and former campaign managers Steve Bannon and Paul Manafort. But are these same outlets and journalists refusing to scrutinize Hillary Clinton? For more, we speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald.

    • Greenwald: “Why Did Saudi Regime & Other Gulf Tyrannies Donate Millions to Clinton Foundation?”

      Questions surrounding Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation continue to grow. On Sunday, Democratic National Committee interim chairperson Donna Brazile defended Clinton’s meetings as secretary of state with Clinton Foundation donors, saying, “When Republicans meet with their donors, with their supporters, their activists, they call it a meeting. When Democrats do that, they call it a conflict.” Donna Brazile’s comments come in response to an Associated Press investigation revealing that while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, more than half of the private citizens she met with during the reporting period had donated to the Clinton Foundation. The AP investigation comes after a three-year battle to gain access to State Department calendars. The analysis shows that at least 85 of 154 people Hillary Clinton had scheduled phone or in-person meetings with were foundation donors. We speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept. His most recent piece is headlined “Why Did the Saudi Regime and Other Gulf Tyrannies Donate Millions to the Clinton Foundation?”

    • Clinton Campaign Happily Using Strong End-To-End Encryption To Communicate; Will They Let The Rest Of Us Use It Too?

      Of course, she then did a “on the other hand” and noted the concerns of security folks. Since then, she’s called for a sort of Manhattan Project on encryption, believing that if Silicon Valley people could just nerd harder, they could make encryption that could only be broken by law enforcement. That’s not how it works. She’s also complained that Silicon Valley treats the government “as its adversary.”

      So it seems rather noteworthy that, following questions about how well she secured her own emails, combined with email leaks from the DNC and reports that the campaign itself has been hacked, the Clinton campaign has now started using Signal, the popular encrypted messaging system from Open Whisper Systems (which made the protocol that is generally considered the best around for end-to-end encrypted messaging).

    • Hillary Clinton Alleged Barack Obama Sold Access To Big Donors; Now Criticizes Campaign Finance Attacks

      In the closing stretch of the New Hampshire primary campaign, Hillary Clinton has slammed critics for pointing out that she backed public policies that helped her major campaign contributors in the financial industry. At a debate sponsored by MSNBC, she said it was out of line for her opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, to “link donations to my political campaign, or really donations to anyone’s political campaign, with undue influence with changing people’s views and votes.”

      “But time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down to — you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought,” Clinton said. She dismissed such suggestions as a “very artful smear” of public officials that is unacceptable in American politics.

      In her previous presidential campaign, though, Clinton launched an aggressive attack on then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama over campaign finance issues. She explicitly alleged that Obama traded access and legislative deals for campaign cash in a set of public attacks, one of which was criticized as deeply dishonest.

    • What Landslide? New Polling Shows Clinton and Trump Still Neck and Neck

      With just over two months to go, pundits have all but called the results of the 2016 presidential election. But despite the never-ending torrent of bigotry and obfuscation streaming from the mouth (and fingers) of the Republican candidate, new polling shows that Donald Trump is still neck and neck with rival Hillary Clinton.

      As of Monday, the USC Dornslife/LA Times tracking poll had the two candidates locked in a virtual tie, with Trump leading slightly at 44 percent and Clinton polling at 43.6 percent.

      That survey uses a slightly different method than most, asking roughly 3,000 randomly recruited voters on a regular basis about their support for Clinton, Trump, or another candidate. The poll is updated daily “based on the weighted average of poll responses over the previous week,” which the Times explains, “means the results have less volatility than some other polls.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • PBS CENSORS JILL STEIN’S INTERVIEW – EXCLUSIVE COMMENT FROM JILL STEIN BELOW VIDEO!

      I got an exclusive comment on this situation from Jill Stein – “Thanks to the free and open internet, people’s eyes are being opened to how corporate-funded media outlets, including PBS, have controlled the narrative by choosing what to report and what to leave on the editing room floor.”

    • New Chinese film law to tighten censorship

      China will soon enact a new censorship law banning contents relating to preaching terrorism and mandating clearance of a film by three experts besides asking film personalities to abide by moral integrity. The draft of the law aiming to promote the development of the Chinese film industry is being reviewed by China’s legislature the National People’s Congress (NPC), state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

      The draw legislation includes rules stipulating people in the film sector to abide by laws as well as social and professional ethics. The bill was submitted for a second reading NPC Standing Committee which sits from Monday to Saturday.

      NPC routinely approves proposals from the government vetted by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC). According to the draft, people working in the movie industry, including actors and directors, should strive for “excellence in both professional skills and moral integrity,” and build good public images.

      Chinese film world was rocked by a series of scandals in the recent past as some actors were involved in consumption of drugs. A number of film stars including Chinese Hollywood star Jackie Chan’s son Jaycee Chan were caught in drug scandals.

    • Florida newspaper kills story of local official allegedly seeking favors from developer

      The South Florida Sun Sentinel killed a news story on its website about Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Bill Julian admitting on tape that he sought developer favors in return for his vote — a move by the newspaper’s leadership that appears to be part of a pattern of censoring controversial stories, according to multiple sources inside and outside the Fort Lauderdale newsroom.

      The story concerning Julian’s alleged bribe-taking was first reported by WPLG-10, where investigative reporter Bob Norman obtained a voice message that the commissioner mistakenly left after he failed to properly hang up a phone. Julian discussed voting favorably for the $450 million Diplomat Golf & Tennis Club and linked it to alleged pledges from the developer’s attorneys who allegedly promised campaign contributions and campaign volunteers as well as a new van for his favorite city charity.

      In a second report by Norman, Julian admitted it was his voice on the recording. Diplomat representatives deny wrongdoing. But Julian didn’t sound so sure in his interview with Norman.

    • Twitter is censoring Turkish accounts for RTs and likes

      The Daily Dot has previously reported that Twitter is censoring journalists’s accounts at the request of the Turkish government. The company appears to be censoring their followers’ accounts as well for “retweeting and liking” journalists’s tweets.

      The 5th Criminal Judgeship of Peace in Ankara, a court in Turkey’s capital, ordered a ban this year on 48 Twitter accounts that “spread posts of [journalist] @kamilmaman on Twitter by retweeting and liking [his tweets].” The judge listed 23 accounts who liked and 25 accounts who retweeted Kamil Maman, a former reporter of Bugün TV.

      The station was a critical Turkish channel that was raided violently by the police in October—four days before general elections—to replace its editors with government-appointed trustees. During the scuffle, Maman was handcuffed, dragged to the street, beaten by the officers, and spent the night in police custody; other journalists who opposed the new trustees’ editorial policy were fired on the spot.

    • Here’s Zimbabwe’s Censorship Act, the law that makes viewing, making and sharing porn illegal

      Porn is illegal in Zimbabwe but in spite of this fact, it’s still being consumed regularly in different formats with one of the recent indicators being the popularity of adult websites on the list of the most viewed sites.

      Thanks to technology like the internet and the way media is easier to share, produce and consume, it’s getting harder for the authorities to enforce any regulation on what people watch and make as well so it’s not surprising that a lot of people are helping themselves to such content.

      So what does the law actually say about indecent material like porn?

      According to Zimbabwe’s Censorship and Entertainment Act (which was instituted back in 1967), it is illegal to import, print, publish, manufacture, make or produce, distribute, display, exhibit or sell or offer or keep for sale any publication anything that is deemed by the Censorhip Board to be indecent.

    • UK Gov’t Report: Facebook, Twitter, And Google Are Pretty Much Unrepentant Terrorist Supporters

      I’m pretty sure giving terrorists free rein is more “damaging” to “brands” than the current status quo. Sure, chasing terrorists off the internet is just another form of whack-a-mole, but it’s not as though these companies aren’t trying. Facebook’s policing of content tends to lean towards overzealous. Twitter just removed over 200,000 terrorist-related accounts. And as for Google, it’s busy bending over backward for everyone, from copyright holders to a few dozen misguided governments. But the internet — including terrorists — perceives censorship as damage and quickly routes around it.

      The argument can be made (and it’s a pretty good argument) that it might be more useful to have terrorists chatting on open platforms where they can easily be monitored, rather than pushing them towards “darker” communications methods. But it’s tough to reason with lawmakers who find big corporations to be the easiest targets for their displeasure.

      And, really, their complaints are nothing more than a cheap form of class warfare, one that tacitly asks millions of non-terrorist internet users to sympathize with a government seeking to gain more control over the platforms they use.

    • Chinese TV host accuses Canada tourism body of censorship
    • China Focus: Talk show host accuses Canadian Tourism Commission of censorship
    • Chinese TV host accuses Canada’s tourism body of pressuring to remove program on First Nations
    • Chinese TV Star Accuses Canadian Tourism Officials of Trying to Censor Show About First Nations
    • Talk show goes offline under alleged pressure from Canada
    • Come to Canada for the natural beauty, stay for the … propaganda?
    • Talk show host’s fury at Canada ‘censors’
    • CBFC objected an ‘offensive shot of a woman’s brasserie’ and the mention of Savita Babhi in Baar Baar Dekho
    • CBFC at it again, asks to remove bra shot, Savita Bhabhi reference from ‘Baar Baar Dekho’
    • No Bra Shot & Definitely No Savita Bhabhi In ‘Baar Baar Dekho’ Thanks To Censor Board
    • Baar Baar Dekho: Censor board snips bra shot, Savita Bhabhi from Katrina Kaif, Sidharth Malhotra film
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Facebook’s newest app may have a huge security problem for teens

      Lifestage, Facebook’s new app aimed at teens, is a great concept that captures a bit of the energy Facebook once had as a startup. It’s got a huge privacy issue that may affect teens, though.

    • Whatsapp and Facebook data sharing: Privacy group threatens legal action over invasive new terms

      WhatsApp has been criticised by campaigners after it backtracked on a pledge to not change its privacy policy when it was bought by Facebook in 2014.

      The US-based Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic) has claimed the social media firm has violated a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consent order after it announced it would begin sharing user information such as phone numbers, profile data, status message and online status with Facebook.

      Under the Federal Trade Commission Act, firms are forbidden from “unfair or deceptive trade pratices”.

    • Leaked NSA Zero Days Already Being Exploited By Whoever Thinks They Can Manipulate Them

      There are still people out there who think it’s a good idea for the government — whether it’s the FBI, NSA, or other agency — to hoover up exploits and hoard vulnerabilities. This activity is still being defended despite recent events, in which an NSA operative apparently left a hard drive full of exploits in a compromised computer. These exploits are now in the hands of the hacking group that took them… and, consequently, also in the hands of people who aren’t nearly as interested in keeping nations secure.

      The problem is you can’t possibly keep every secret a secret forever. Edward Snowden proved that in 2013. The hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers are proving it again. The secrets are out and those who wish to use exploits the NSA never disclosed to affected developers are free to wreak havoc. Lily Hay Newman of Wired examines the aftermath of the TAO tools hacking.

    • New Baltimore Aerial Surveillance Program Raises Trust Issues

      The revelations triggered outrage from elected officials, defense lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union, who said the program raised privacy concerns and could aggravate public distrust in a city that exploded in riots last year after the death of a man in police custody.

      “Widespread surveillance violates every citizens’ right to privacy; the lack of disclosure about this practice and the video that has been captured further violates the rights of our clients who may have evidence supporting their innocence that is kept secret,” Paul DeWolfe, the Public Defender for Maryland said in a statement earlier this week.

      The response put Baltimore, where tensions between law enforcement and minority neighborhoods run high, on the edge of the debate about police use of rapidly evolving technology.

    • Experts: FBI Not Bidding On Hacked NSA Code With Bitcoin From Silk Road Seizure

      The FBI is not bidding on stolen National Security Agency (NSA) source code with bitcoins seized from Silk Road, contrary to a widely reported allegation. That’s according to security experts interviewed by The Hill.

      The allegation emerged when a bitcoin user sent money to both an NSA source code account and the seized bitcoin account, but no money changed between the accounts, according to experts.

    • Police Using Journalists’ Metadata to Hunt Down Whistleblowers

      The Nauru Files changed everything. The Guardian’s publication of leaked incident reports from the Manus Island detention centre finally confirmed what many suspected: that the Australian government has been complicit in a campaign of abuse and brutality against those seeking asylum within its borders.

      The expose, featured on front pages around the world, has turned Australia into an international pariah, and will be a black mark on our history for years to come.

      Although it’s received less attention, the Nauru Files have changed a lot for journalists too. Their union, the Media and Arts Alliance, has warned that they’re likely to become a test case for a little known provision snuck into the Government’s Data Retention laws, the Journalist Information Warrant Scheme. The new laws allow police and other investigative bodies to seek access to the phone records, emails and browser histories of journalists in order to track down sources they suspect of leaking confidential information.

      Even before the laws passed, the union had raised concern at the Government’s willingness to use police to investigate journalists’ sources.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • A Tale Of Greed and Stupidity

      As the Silk Road case winds down, Ars Technica posted a great article (seriously, read it) summarizing one of the most interesting aspects of the entire case.

      It is the story of how two corrupt officers in the DEA and Secret Service attempted to use the Silk Road investigations to illegally profit from and abuse the authority entrusted to them. After reading the article above I became interested in the case and decided to read the criminal complaint filing. Within it there were lots of interesting explanations of how the investigators were tipped off on the possibility of the corrupt activity as well as how they were able to produce the necessary evidence for the case.

    • In the Beginning We All Believed: Ramparts’ Warren Hinckle Dies

      Warren Hinckle, the progressive, flamboyant, truth-telling, hard-drinking editor and writer who earned the moniker “godfather of gonzo journalism” by publicizing the likes of Noam Chomsky, Eldridge Cleaver, Susan Sontag, Hunter Thompson, Seymour Hersh and Che Guevara, has died at 77. As editor of San Francisco’s muckraking Ramparts in the 1960s, he was credited with turning the country’s moral compass by publishing early denunciations of the Vietnam War, Cleaver’s prison letters, Guevara’s diaries and investigative pieces exposing CIA recruitment on college campuses, which won Ramparts the prestigious George Polk Award and the reputation of offering “a bomb in every issue.” When Ramparts went broke, he went on to start Scanlan’s Monthly, and then to decades of activism and newspaper columns for San Francisco’s Chronicle and Examiner.

      Hinckle’s mantra for writing and editing: “First you decide what’s wrong, then you go out to find the facts to support that view, and then you generate enough controversy to attract attention.” Always, reads one obituary, Hinckle “delighted in tweaking anyone in charge of anything and muckraking for what he fiercely saw as the common good.” He was startlingly prescient about America’s “professional megabuck politics,” and the need to challenge conventional wisdom. Hinckle starts his 1974 autobiography, ‘If You Have a Lemon, Make Lemonade’: “In the beginning, we all believed. We believed in many things, but mostly in America…It could be said that the youth of America, who had so recently studied it in civics classes, tested the system — and it flunked.”

    • Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism

      When Martin Luther King wrote of the white moderate, he wrote of the enemy of progress, the foe of social justice, the obstacle to the defining social movement of his time. He understood, perhaps better than many of his contemporaries, that the white moderate was the single most pernicious influence in the broader sociopolitical landscape. For it was the white moderate who opposed the essential and necessary radicalism, who blocked attempts at widening the Civil Rights Movement, who enjoined that demands be tempered, grievances be blunted; all while posing as a friend of the movement, a defender of the marginalized and oppressed.

      Such was the essence of the white moderate in King’s day. Such is the essence of the white liberal today. For it is the white liberal who finds any excuse to slander and attack radical people of color who challenge the ruling class; who justifies support for white supremacy, imperialism, and neocolonialism; and who does so with the palliative opiate of self-satisfaction – the genuine, though entirely wrongheaded, belief in his/her own essential goodness.

    • “Necessary Trouble” and a Long, Hard Struggle: Talking Movements With Sarah Jaffe

      Sarah Jaffe’s Necessary Trouble is one of the most essential books of the year — an extensive, vivid overview of “trouble-making” organizers and movements from the 2008 financial crisis until, if not quite today, then the moment the book went to press. Each chapter not only covers a movement or group of campaigns, but also provides a concise but nuanced historical summary of the issues at hand.

    • Graduate Students Are Workers: The Decades-Long Fight for Graduate Unions, and the Path Forward

      In the summer of 2004, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the five-member body which adjudicates US labor law, ruled that graduate student teaching assistants and research assistants at Brown University were “primarily students, and not workers.” The Bush-appointee-dominated board’s ruling had immediate implications for graduate students at private universities, who had won protected status under the National Labor Relations Act four years earlier, when the board had ruled in favor of graduate employees’ organizing efforts at New York University (NYU).

      The NYU administration, freed by the Brown University ruling from its obligation to negotiate a second contract with the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC), the first, and to this day, only union to win recognition at a private university (and twice, at that), elected to use the NLRB to break the union. In an attempt to force the recalcitrant administrators back to the bargaining table, NYU’s graduate employees went on strike on November 9, 2005, and remained on strike well into May of the following year. It was, and remains, the longest strike in the history of the US academic labor movement.

    • 5 Ways Growing Up Female In Saudi Arabia Is A Nightmare

      Saudi Arabia is governed by Sharia law, which is a set of Islamic rules that pretty much boil down to banning anything that stimulates in any way. Adam elaborates:

      “Everybody knows about beer, pork, and porn, but it also extends to congregating in large groups (more than five, I think) and the playing of music in public. Also, I think Jeddah [a popular Saudi resort town] has recently forbidden the walking of dogs in public, because they may be used to attract the ladies.”

      [...]

      Censorship also infiltrates the physical realm: “On occasion, I used to buy PC Gamer magazine, and all the computer-generated women had their arms, legs, and exposed cleavage colored in with black permanent marker. (Very precisely outlined, though. The censors were very fastidious in executing their jobs.) And since Islam prohibits the depiction of the human form, many people you’d see on billboards would have pixelated eyes.” (Or sport sunglasses, making all of Saudi Arabia look like it was sponsored by Ray-Ban.)

    • Women Bare Breasts for Gender Equality on GoTopless Day

      Women around the country are taking off their tops on GoTopless Day, a day that promotes gender equality and women’s rights to bare their breasts in public.

      GoTopless Day is celebrated annually on the Sunday closest to Women’s Equality Day, marking the day American women earned the right to vote.

      A group of about 50 women and men were walking topless in the oceanside Los Angeles neighborhood of Venice, behind a giant, inflatable pink breast that had the phrase “equal topless rights” written on it. One marcher carried a sign that said: “My Body Is Not A Crime.”

      A few dozen women, and some men, went topless as they walked down Broadway in New York City. Onlookers gawked and took photos as the parade participants went by.

      The events in New York City and Los Angeles were two of several planned for cities across the globe. Gatherings were planned in New Hampshire, Denver and more.

    • French Court lifts Municipal Burkini Ban; & Why should you care what other people wear?

      Nicolas Cadène, in an interview at L’Express analyzes the French court ruling issued Friday that struck down the ban by the mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet on Muslim women wearing modest clothing at the public beach. The ban was on the burkini, invented by a Lebanese fashion designer to allow observant Muslim women to go to the beach with their families. But women wearing loose street clothes at the beach have also been bothered by police.

      Cadène is a rapporteur at the “Secularism Watchdog” (l’Observatoire de la laïcité), a Ministry of Education body that advises the French government on the implementation of the secularism provisions of the French constitution.

      The Counsel of State found that wearing a Burkini creates no trouble for public order and is simply not illegal in current French law. In response, the French right wing has demanded that the National Assembly enact anti-Burkini legislation. L’Express worries that the French executive, or at least the ministry of interior, might be inclined to appease the Islamophobic and anti-immigrant right wing on this issue.

      L’Express asked Cadène for his reaction. He said he wasn’t surprised and was very pleased that the court had upheld rights in such a clear way. He said that the court had reaffirmed the principle that secularism cannot be invoked to forbid wearing a piece of clothing in a public space, which creates no actual difficulty with regard to public order. And they found that the Burkini doesn’t generate any such disturbances.

    • KING: Why I’ll never stand again for ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’

      Now that I have learned the truth about our national anthem and its author, I’ll never stand up for it again.

      First off, the song, which was originally written as a poem, didn’t become our national anthem until 1931 — which was 117 years after Key wrote it. Most of us have no true idea what in the hell we’ve been hearing or singing all these years, but as it turns out, Key’s full poem actually has a third stanza which few of us have ever heard. In it, he openly celebrates the murder of slaves. Yes, really.

      [...]

      While it has always been known that the song was written during American slavery and that when those words about this nation being the “land of the free” didn’t apply to the millions who had been held in bondage, few of us had any idea that the song itself was rooted in the celebration of slavery and the murder of Africans in America, who were being hired by the British military to give them strength not only in the War of 1812, but in the Battle of Fort McHenry of 1814. These black men were called the Corps of Colonial Marines and they served valiantly for the British military. Key despised them. He was glad to see them experience terror and death in war — to the point that he wrote a poem about it. That poem is now our national anthem.

      [...]

      I will never stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” another day in my damn life. I don’t care where I am or who’s watching. The statue of the racist Cecil Rhodes, which stood tall in South Africa as a painful relic from white supremacists until March of 2015, was finally removed once and for all. It should’ve never been erected. It should’ve been removed a very long time ago, student leaders made it clear that they had had enough.

      Like Kaepernick, I’ve had enough of injustice in America and I’ve had enough of anthems written by bigots. Colin Kaepernick has provided a spark.

    • Halfway to freedom with Stanley Cohen

      On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges discusses the business of privately-run halfway houses with civil rights attorney Stanley Cohen. After 11-months in prison for a federal tax violation, Cohen spent three months in a New York halfway house operated by the GEO Group. He reflects on what he calls the “vile” conditions and profit-driven approach at such facilities. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at the world of the for-profit halfway houses located in most major US cities.

    • Democracy, neoliberalism and talking to strangers: a kid on a local bus

      In the act of going out from an excluding individualism, breaking the idea that everyone can improve their life conditions on their own, there is a big step. Español

    • What Did the Olympics Really Do for Humanity?

      One might ask. After the too much excitement, fancy celebrations, and multibillion dollar gathering, what is next? What benefits did it bring to humanity?

      What did the poor get out of the abundant wealth that was spent for these games?

      It is sad to say that not only the poor didn’t get anything; some of them have lost their livelihoods and places of living altogether for the construction of the arenas.

      In her article The Olympics Are a Colossal Waste and a Shameful Distraction Sonali Kolhatkar stated, “The poorest sectors of society within the host countries experience displacement and other forms of oppression as authorities work hard to impress visiting athletes and spectators.”

      In Brazil, the first South American country to serve as the international showcase, this was certainly true; more than 20,000 families were displaced to make way for Olympics-related infrastructure. In fact, the state of Rio de Janeiro, where the games are being held, is in such desperate financial circumstances that state workers are not being paid and healthcare centers cannot even afford to take on the Zika virus crisis. Rio declared bankruptcy ahead of the games, and the state’s governor declared a “state of calamity.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Why Tim Berners-Lee is no friend of Facebook

      I f there were a Nobel prize for hypocrisy, then its first recipient ought to be Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook boss. On 23 August, all his 1.7 billion users were greeted by this message: “Celebrating 25 years of connecting people. The web opened up to the world 25 years ago today! We thank Sir Tim Berners-Lee and other internet pioneers for making the world more open and connected.”

      Aw, isn’t that nice? From one “pioneer” to another. What a pity, then, that it is a combination of bullshit and hypocrisy. In relation to the former, the guy who invented the web, Tim Berners-Lee, is as mystified by this “anniversary” as everyone else. “Who on earth made up 23 August?” he asked on Twitter. Good question. In fact, as the Guardian pointed out: “If Facebook had asked Berners-Lee, he’d probably have told them what he’s been telling people for years: the web’s 25th birthday already happened, two years ago.”

      “In 1989, I delivered a proposal to Cern for the system that went on to become the worldwide web,” he wrote in 2014. It was that year, not this one, that he said we should celebrate as the web’s 25th birthday.

      It’s not the inaccuracy that grates, however, but the hypocrisy. Zuckerberg thanks Berners-Lee for “making the world more open and connected”. So do I. What Zuck conveniently omits to mention, though, is that he is embarked upon a commercial project whose sole aim is to make the world more “connected” but less open. Facebook is what we used to call a “walled garden” and now call a silo: a controlled space in which people are allowed to do things that will amuse them while enabling Facebook to monetise their data trails. One network to rule them all. If you wanted a vision of the opposite of the open web, then Facebook is it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • WIPO Human Resources: All Is Harmony, Secretariat Says [Ed: like EPO under Battistelli they abuse workers]

      Staff dissension? A thing of the past, according to WIPO. Staff are being included and are at the center of everything. And (after a major upheaval, including the firing of the oppositionist Staff Council president in 2014 followed by staff protests outside the building), the report states: “Finally, staff are at the front, left, right and center in organizing elections for a WIPO Staff Council through which, for the first time, all staff members will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”

    • New Offices, Strategic Plan, GIs, Oversight Among Focus Of WIPO Committee [Ed: There’s no oversight there]

      The choice of hosting countries for new WIPO external offices and the Medium Term Strategic Plan 2016-2021 are among the hottest subjects of the week, according to several regional groups speaking at the opening today of the World Intellectual Property Organization Program and Budget Committee. Separately, the United States again called the attention to a 2015 treaty protecting geographical indications which they said should not be automatically administered by WIPO. And members called attention to audit and oversight issues at WIPO.

    • Copyrights
      • Head Of Anti-Counterfeiting Lobbying Group Says He’s Going To Make Counterfeit Techdirt T-Shirts

        Yes, yes, he’s obviously just being snarky and thinking he’s making a point, but it still seems odd for someone who insists he’s against counterfeiting to basically say he’s planning to counterfeit our shirt. At the very least, it actually gives us a platform to make our point: if he really wants to do so, he can absolutely go and make those cheap $5 shirts. But they won’t sell. Why? This is the whole point we’ve been trying to make all this time. The reason people buy shirts from us is because (1) they like the shirts and (2) they want to support Techdirt. Somehow, I get the feeling that the community that John Anderson has built up around his Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group aren’t exactly the kind of people who would jump at an offer to buy “Copying is Not Theft” T-shirts, even if they are 25% the price of our T-shirts.

        This is the point that so many fail to get when they freak out about people copying. If you’ve built up a community of people who want to support you and people who like and are interested in what you do, there’s nothing to fear from copying. It’s only when you don’t have that kind of support, or when you’re trying to force something on people that they don’t want that you suddenly have to worry about copying.

      • Leaked EU Copyright Proposal A Complete Mess: Want To Tax Google To Prop Up Failing Publishers

        Well, here we go again with the bad EU copyright proposals. Just a few days ago, Mozilla actually launched a petition to call on the EU to update its copyright laws for the 21st century, to make it “so we can tinker, create, share, and learn on the internet.” Apparently the EU’s answer to this is “Fuck You!”

        According to a leaked draft of the EU Commission’s plan to “modernize” copyright, the plan really seems focused on coming up with new ways to tax successful internet companies, like Google, to prop up other companies and industries that have failed to adapt. Apparently, the EU Commission thinks that copyright should be a tool to punish innovation and to reward those who have refused to innovate.

        The leaked draft talks repeatedly about this silly idea of a “value gap.” Just a few weeks ago we discussed why the “value gap” is a misleading talking point. It’s being used by companies that didn’t innovate to try to guarantee a business model, with that model being “have the government force successful companies to subsidize us, because we didn’t adapt to the current market.” And this draft is full of that kind of thinking.

        The draft also continues to weigh “the impact” of various proposals on different stake holders. For example, it notes whether different proposals will have a “positive, neutral, or negative” impact on rightsholders, internet services, consumers and “fundamental rights.” While it’s nice that they include the “fundamental rights” (and the public — who, it should be noted, are more than just “consumers”) it feels like they’re trying to set up proposals again that are sort of “balancing” all of these interests, rather than finding the one that maximizes overall utility. In fact, it’s quite troubling that they seem to think that anything that directly expands copyright automatically benefits “rightsholders.” We’ve seen how that’s not true at all. Greater freedom to remix, reuse and build on the works of others allow everyday people to become creators themselves more easily. And saddling internet platforms also harms many, many content creators who are only able to create, publicize, distribute, connect and monetize because of these new platforms. But the draft doesn’t seem to take much of that into account — or sort of hand-waves it away.

      • Prepare for the next EU copyright war

        The EU is to update the unions copyright laws. The first step was a public consultation, with a lot of input from so-called stakeholders, civil society, and ordinary citizens. The next step is to make an “impact assessment”.

      • Running a Torrent Tracker For Fun Can Be a Headache

        In January 2016, a BitTorrent enthusiast thought he’d launch a stand-alone tracker for fun. Soon, Zer0day.ch was tracking thousands of torrents after being utilized by The Pirate Bay and ExtraTorrent. Now it’s tracking almost four million peers and a million torrents, but the ride has been far from smooth.

      • Kim Dotcom Claims Revived Megaupload Will Run On Bitcoin Micropayments

        The controversial entrepreneur Kim Dotcom said last month that he was preparing to relaunch Megaupload, the file-sharing site that U.S. and New Zealand authorities dramatically shut down in 2012, with bitcoins being involved in some way.

        Now we know more. Dotcom, a German-Finnish man living in New Zealand and currently fighting extradition to the U.S. over copyright-infringement charges, tweeted Friday that the transfers taking place over Megaupload would be linked to very small bitcoin transactions.

        This system will be called Bitcache and Dotcom claimed its launch would send the bitcoin price soaring way above its current $575 value.

      • EU copyright reform proposes search engines pay for snippets

        The European Commission is currently working on major updates to existing copyright legislation, to reform copyright law to reflect digital content. One feature of this reform would allow media outlets to request payment from search engines, such as Google, for publishing snippets of their content in search results.

        The working paper recommends the introduction of an EU law that covers the rights to digital reproduction of news publications. This would essentially make news publishers a new category of rights holders under copyright law, thereby ensuring that “the creative and economic contribution of news publishers is recognized and incentivized in EU law, as it is today the case for other creative sectors.”

        Media outlets rely on Google and other search engines to boost traffic to their sites, while at the same time competing with them for advertising dollars. The updated copyright proposal would allow media outlets at their discretion to charge Google for publishing snippets of articles with the results of a user’s search request.

        The shift from print to digital consumption of newspaper and magazine content has created what is termed a ‘value gap’ – while a provider’s digital content is gaining popularity, revenues from digital content are not making up for the loss of print revenues.

Let Them Eat Patents

Monday 29th of August 2016 06:45:08 PM

…as if anyone with an idea/invention can afford them.


Reference: Let Them Eat Cake

Summary: A reality check regarding software patents and regarding those who truly benefit from an expensive patent system with an even more expensive litigation process/proceedings

THE USPTO is cracking down on software patents. Like TTIP lobbyists, patent lawyers will never publicly admit this. It was the same in Europe while UPC hype was all the rage (before Brexit effectively killed it).

Proponents of software patents seemingly resort to unrelated cases now, such as this patent. It’s about Mayo, not Alice, as it is not a software patent. The patent attorney writes “US Pat 8,586,610, administration of iloperidone; Survived 101/ Mayo Attack,” once again reusing these loaded words (like “attack” and “survive”, even when the “survivor” is the patent aggressor/plaintiff and the “attacker” is actually the defender/victim). Nice reversal of narrative, right? Like George Bush “defending” himself in Iraq and Ukraine “attacking” Russia…

“It was the same in Europe while UPC hype was all the rage (before Brexit effectively killed it).”Elsewhere in today’s news, we learn that “Prescient has received 13 patents on its software,” but software patents are pretty worthless right now. They just get invalided in the courts and the boards (and these are the ones whose holders actually believe have a chance, hence asserting them; the rest — or the untested patents — are likely easier to invalidate once scrutinised/challenged).

A pro-software patents site, Watchtroll, yesterday published this piece by Anthony de Andrade and Venkatesh Viswanath. It’s quite a shot in the foot actually as it serves to legitimise the site’s idealogical opponents. It shows that ‘global’ patents (applied for separately in several jurisdictions) is not for startups but for the richest people (or huge corporations). To get a patent virtually everywhere in the world (where it techncially matters) “an applicant would require $296,233 to file National Phase applications in said jurisdictions and maintain the applications” (renewal fees).

$296,233, eh?

“So much for protecting the ‘little guy’, eh?”For one. Single. Patent!

So much for protecting the ‘little guy’, eh?

This reminds us of Apple’s patents in the EPO — patents which Battistelli is totally clueless about. Remember that Apple is possibly the world’s richest company (by many criteria that are commonly assessed by major publications) and watch what it’s applying for now: “Apple filed for patent on unauthorized user biometric data collection system (AppleInsider) — If an “unauthorized user” (read: thief) uses an iPhone equipped with this technology, the device could capture a photo and fingerprint of the user for use by law enforcement. Not exactly rocket science to understand how this might be used by law enforcement remotely to assure a particular contact (read: target) is in possession of an iPhone, either. Keep an eye on this stuff.”

The Apple advocacy sites offer spin by reinforcing the idea that it’s OK because it will only be used against crime. To quote AppleInsider: “An Apple patent application published on Thursday describes a method of storing an unauthorized user’s biometric information, which can help strengthen security management or assist in device recovery and criminal prosecution in the case of a theft.”

“The Apple advocacy sites offer spin by reinforcing the idea that it’s OK because it will only be used against crime.”“Even as Apple contemplates surveillance software to catch thieves’ fingerprints,” IDG wrote, “it is also reportedly planning to redesign the physical elements of its devices that would make that approach possible.”

As usual, being an Apple story, it was all over the news (we saw more than dozens — perhaps hundreds — of articles, e.g. [1, 2]) and it was all praises and cheerleading, hardly criticism, just like that time Apple patented remote disablement of a phone’s camera (a ‘gentler’ form of kill switch that already exists).

“Apple had to spend a quarter of a million dollars getting a patent on this stupid ‘idea’ in every technologically-developed country, it would just be slush funds to Apple.”It takes sheer disregard for privacy and human rights to do what Apple expresses a desire to do here. It’s not at all innovation, just a lot of hype. If Apple had to spend a quarter of a million dollars getting a patent on this stupid ‘idea’ in every technologically-developed country, it would just be slush funds to Apple. Apple is suing companies (using patents) for billions. What about the mythical ‘little guy’? The patent system just isn’t for the ‘little guy’. Maybe it was a long time ago, but not anymore. See these comments in Reddit, one of which says about patent examiners: “They probably spend a lot more time digging themselves out from under the mountain of Apple / Samsung forms.”

This is, in essence, what the patent systems have turned into. To quote a comment that we mentioned yesterday (regarding the EPO), “Member States must decide very quickly if they wish to throw away more than 40 years of success, and replace it with a system that no longer rewards innovation, but instead becomes simply a tool for large corporations to dominate by means of their financial muscle.”

Nothing Whatsoever Has Improved at the European Patent Office, It’s Just Summer’s Recess (and Silence)

Monday 29th of August 2016 05:41:05 PM

Prepare for some EPO propaganda about staff being happy, even when the Organisation admits there is a crisis and the President has a 0% approval rate

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) has done absolutely nothing to improve the work atmosphere, it just alters the marketing strategy somewhat

THIS week, while on retreat in Wales, I intend to dive into hundreds of EPO documents. There is a lot of ‘dirty laundry’ in there (plenty of documents), but now isn’t the best time to write about them because not many people — both staff and journalists — will pay attention (many are still on holiday). Don’t let the silence be mistaken for pacification. We expect that Battistelli will misinterpret this silence and predict it won’t take long for the "Social Study" propaganda to come out (they have renamed it and expect to release it in several weeks, surely with journalists to be contacted to play along and spread/embed the EPO's lies).

“It may sound benign, but given the undisputed decline in EPO patent quality, is it worth bragging about?”There’s a similar/analogous situation at WIPO. IP Watch is playing along with WIPO’s PR/face-saving statements [1,2] (see below) today, whereas the EPO keeps rather quiet. In some promotional press releases, low quality control for EPO patents gets ignored and companies brag about intent to grant at the EPO. It may sound benign, but given the undisputed decline in EPO patent quality, is it worth bragging about? How long before the “Battistelli effect” is understood by all applicants?

For the first time in quite a while SUEPO published something today (not just a link). The workers are coming back (those who have not left or retired). “The London-based lawyers, Bretton Woods Law, specialise in the Rule of Law, International Human Rights law and International Administrative Law,” SUEPO explained this morning, sporting two PDFs that we made public a few months ago (these got leaked to us). “At the request of SUEPO, Bretton Woods Law produced a legal opinion concerning the actions of the President of the EPO, and the responsibility of the Administrative Council as well as the Member States of the EPO with respect to staff,” SUEPO continued. “In an Annex to the above document a number of the reforms are considered in the light of basic legal and democratic standards in Europe.”

“Expect September to be a busy month for EPO coverage.”One document is 22 pages long and the latter is 25 pages long. That’s a lot to read. But these are both well written and structured.

The EPO has not had any announcements for a while (other than the earthquake — Italy’s, not Battistelli'sgetting exploited). Universities are still 'spammed' by the EPO (new examples in [1, 2], even repeatedly today) and sometimes this pushing truly works, as it comes not only from the EPO to all Twitter ‘followers’. It’s promotion of Battistelli's next lobbying event (if he survives this long at the EPO).

Expect September to be a busy month for EPO coverage. Nothing at all has improved (for many months). In fact, things got worse. Those who wish to send us information can do so securely using anonymity-preserving methods of choice.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. WIPO Human Resources: All Is Harmony, Secretariat Says

    Staff dissension? A thing of the past, according to WIPO. Staff are being included and are at the center of everything. And (after a major upheaval, including the firing of the oppositionist Staff Council president in 2014 followed by staff protests outside the building), the report states: “Finally, staff are at the front, left, right and center in organizing elections for a WIPO Staff Council through which, for the first time, all staff members will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”

  2. New Offices, Strategic Plan, GIs, Oversight Among Focus Of WIPO Committee

    The choice of hosting countries for new WIPO external offices and the Medium Term Strategic Plan 2016-2021 are among the hottest subjects of the week, according to several regional groups speaking at the opening today of the World Intellectual Property Organization Program and Budget Committee. Separately, the United States again called the attention to a 2015 treaty protecting geographical indications which they said should not be automatically administered by WIPO. And members called attention to audit and oversight issues at WIPO.

Links 28/8/2016: Q4OS 1.6, ConnochaetOS 14.2

Sunday 28th of August 2016 11:24:20 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • #MyOpenHA Part 1 -Philosophy

    Home Automation. The holy hipster and geek grail. I have played with it. I have tried. I have failed. But today I am proud to have a solution I can truly endorse. So join me on this journey. This series will explain my solution, in excruciating detail. In the hope that I can learn from you while I am explaining. This series will be filled over time with more and more articles. But now, let’s talk about philosophy. The Why. Soon you will see the What and How. One promise, or the TL;DR: It is all 100% Open Source.

    Well, almost. I have integrated some quite non-open things but always in an Open Source Way.

  • Events
    • On speaking at community conferences

      Many people reading this have already suffered me talking to them about Prometheus. In personal conversation, or in the talks I gave at DebConf15 in Heidelberg, the Debian SunCamp in Lloret de Mar, BRMlab in Prague, and even at a talk on a different topic at the RABS in Cluj-Napoca.

    • TPM Microconference Accepted into LPC 2016

      Although trusted platform modules (TPMs) have been the subject of some controversy over the years, it is quite likely that they have important roles to play in preventing firmware-based attacks, protecting user keys, and so on. However, some work is required to enable TPMs to successfully play these roles, including getting TPM support into bootloaders, securely distributing known-good hashes, and providing robust and repeatable handling of upgrades.

      In short, given the ever-more-hostile environments that our systems must operate in, it seems quite likely that much help will be needed, including from TPMs. For more details, see the TPM Microconference wiki page.

    • More translations added to the SFD countdown

      Software Freedom Day is celebrated all around the world and as usual our community helps us to provide marketing materials in their specific languages. While the wiki is rather simple to translate, the Countdown remains a bit more complicated and time consuming to localize. One needs to edit the SVG file and generate roughly a 100 pictures, then upload them to the wiki.

      Still this doesn’t scare the SFD teams around the world and we are happy to announce three more languages are ready to be used: French, Chinese and German!

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Disable the new Firefox 48 location bar – Tutorial

        Here we are. Seven minutes later, our life is bearable again, but not perfect. Thank you Mozilla, thank you very much. This is exactly what I needed to enrich my life. After all, we all know, cosmetic changes are good, because that’s what plants crave. Stop with these idiotic tweaks please. No one cares. It won’t make the browser better. It won’t change the market share. It will not attract idiots, as idiots are happy. It will only alienate diehard users who keep on using your browser because they have no alternative. From a loved favorite to the least of evils choice. That’s what Firefox has become.

  • SaaS/Back End
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • The Importance of BSD

      The Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) is a Unix operating system developed by the Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) of the University of California, Berkeley.

    • Second FreeBSD 11.0 Release Candidate Restores Support for ‘nat global’ in IPFW

      Glen Barber from the FreeBSD project announced the availability of the second RC (Release Candidate) development build of the upcoming FreeBSD 11.0 operating system.

    • LLVM Might Get An AAP Back-End (Altruistic Processor)

      There’s an active proposal to incorporate a back-end into LLVM for AAP, a processor ISA for deeply-embedded Harvard architectures.

      AAP is designed for FPGA usage and there is an open-source soft-core with commercial deployments also being available. AAP is short for the Altruistic Processor and is described in technical detail here. AAP is said to be an original design but inspired by the OpenRISC / RISC-V projects.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Licensing/Legal
    • The Last LinuxCon, MariaDB Goes Open Core & More… [Ed: And a day later publicly attacks the Conservancy over GPL compliance against VMware]

      Linus Torvalds being interviewed by VMware’s Dirk Hohndel on the last day of the last LinuxCon North America. Next year’s event in Los Angeles will be renamed Open Source Summit.

    • GPL compliance suit against VMware dismissed

      In a setback to the Christoph Hellwig’s efforts to enforce the GPL on code that he wrote in the Linux kernel, his suit against VMware in Germany has been dismissed on procedural grounds. The court ruled that he had not provided enough specificity about the code he was claiming had been used by the company. The merits of the GPL and whether the two main parts of VMware’s product constitute a derived work of the kernel were not even considered. There may be another chance for the court to do so, however, as Hellwig will appeal the dismissal.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • UK-French Data Taskforce publishes joint report

      “Invest in and share experiences building core data registers, learning from the French National Address Database experience”; “develop initiatives to bring basic data literacy into primary and secondary education”; and “commission research into algorithmic transparency and accountability” are among the recommendations listed in a report published in July by the joint French-UK Data Taskforce.

    • Tuscany: how to promote the economy of sharing and collaboration

      In June, the region of Tuscany (Italy), in collaboration with Open Toscana and ANCI Toscana, launched a project, the goal of which is to “build a regional policy on the economy of sharing and collaboration”.

    • Open Data
      • MS Tries But Just Doesn’t Get FLOSS

        This is what drove me to GNU/Linux so many years ago.

      • Microsoft’s maps lost Melbourne because it used bad Wikipedia data

        Microsoft has laid part of the blame for Bing Maps’ mis-location of the Australian city of Melbourne by a whole hemisphere on Wikipedia.

        Yes, Wikipedia, “the free encyclopaedia that anyone can edit.”

        Microsoft made its admission after your correspondent took to Twitter on Monday to do what we in publishing call “pimping”the story of Melbourne’s mis-placement.

        Ricky Brundritt, a senior program manager at Bing Maps, noticed that pimping and responded as follows.

      • Northern Ireland promotes Open Data in education

        The Northern Ireland Department of Finance has supported a challenge that encourages the re-use of public Open Data in education. Called the OpenDataNI Challenge – Using Open Data for Education” (ODNI4EDU), this project, officially launched on June 14, intends to award two applications or educational tools and resources that make use of at least one dataset published on the portal OpendataNI.

Leftovers
  • Try this handy tool to convert a Web site into a native app with Electron
  • Introducing CloudiumOS [Ed: built on Electron]

    It is a complete multi platform operating system that allows you to manage your documents, access your media files and collaborate with other people on the go. CloudiumOS can work side-by-side with another operating system (either via a VM, a Desktop app or Mobile App) or as a standalone installation.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • EpiPen Maker’s Stock Value Plunges Nearly $3 Billion as Investors Panic

      Mylan Pharmaceuticals—the company that makes the EpiPen rescue device—has watched its stock value plummet over the last five days as panicky investors jump ship.

      According to U.S. Uncut, outrage over Mylan’s decision to jack up the price of the EpiPen has spooked shareholders, whose departures have reduced the value of Mylan stock by 12.4 percent. On August 19, Mylan stocks went from $49.20 per share to $43.11 on August 24, a net loss of nearly $3 billion for the company.

    • Big Pharma Increased Price of Life-Saving EpiPen by Over 450 Percent

      Martin Shkreli became one of the most notorious people in the United States for hiking the price of a rarely used life-saving drug by 4,000 percent in September 2015. And nearly a year later, dozens of reports are now coming out about how Mylan Pharmaceuticals hiked the price of the very common life-saving EpiPen by over 450 percent since Mylan bought EpiPen in 2007.

    • As the UN finally admits role in Haiti cholera outbreak – here is how victims must be compensated

      The United Nations has, at long last, accepted some responsibility that it played a part in a cholera epidemic that broke out in Haiti in 2010 and has since killed at least 9,200 people and infected nearly a million people.

      This is the first time that the UN has acknowledged that it bears a duty towards the victims. It is a significant step forward in the quest for accountability and justice.

      Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is frequently devastated by disasters – both natural and man-made. Yet cholera was not one of its problems before 2010. Then a group of UN peacekeepers was sent to help after an earthquake.

      The UN did not screen its peacekeepers for cholera, nor did it build adequate toilet facilities in its peacekeeping camps. As a result, wastewater carrying cholera flowed directly into a tributary that feeds Haiti’s main river. Given that vast numbers of the population rely on the Artibonite river for washing, cooking, cleaning and drinking, cholera quickly spread around many parts of the country. The disease is now endemic within the country. People continue to die at an alarming rate by this preventable and treatable disease.

    • The UN undermined both public health and human rights in Haiti

      Despite the clear risks, in the long run, the UN would have clearly benefited from transparent investigations into the outbreak, and could have risk-managed any negative outcomes. Its shortsighted obfuscation and failure to accept responsibility was disastrous from a public health perspective. It likely undermined efforts to control the cholera outbreak and led to more deaths of impoverished Haitians, already suffering in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. It also violated key human rights principles promoted by the organization, such as the right of Haitians to the highest attainable standard of health.

      Ultimately, this approach damaged the UN’s credibility, and sent an unfortunate message to other governments, multilateral organizations, as well as transnational entities (multilateral corporations) about how to behave in the face of tragic public health mistakes.

      [...]

      UN officials counter that the organization has been instrumental in efforts to remedy their mistake, leading the fight against cholera through public health messages and treatment. Should these efforts be integrated into any calculation of the harm caused by the UN? The amount demanded in a recent US court system filing—USD 40 billion—is five times the UN’s yearly peacekeeping budget. How would any payout affect ongoing efforts by the UN to address governance, development, and health challenges in Haiti and elsewhere? Does such a ruling have unforeseen negative consequences? Would it spur organizations working in challenging and dangerous environments, such as post-earthquake Haiti, to be more responsible or possibly deter such work?

    • Obamacare’s Faltering for One Simple Reason: Profit

      There have been dozens if not hundreds of news articles about Aetna leaving the Affordable Health Care Act’s online marketplaces in eleven states, and whether this signals serious problems for Obamacare down the road.

      But none of them have truly explained that what’s happening with Aetna is the consequence of a flaw built into Obamacare from the start: It permits insurance companies to make a profit on the basic healthcare package Americans are now legally required to purchase.

      This makes Obamacare fundamentally different from essentially all systems of universal healthcare on earth. (There is one tiny exception, the Netherlands, but of the four insurance companies that cover 90 percent of Dutch citizens, just one is for profit.)

  • Security
    • OpenSSL 1.1.0 Series Release Notes
    • Linux.PNScan Malware Brute-Forces Linux-Based Routers
    • St. Jude stock shorted on heart device hacking fears; shares drop

      The stock of pacemaker manufacturer St. Jude Medical Inc (STJ.N) fell sharply on Thursday after short-selling firm Muddy Waters said it had placed a bet that the shares would fall, claiming its implanted heart devices were vulnerable to cyber attacks.

      St. Jude, which agreed in April to sell itself for $25 billion to Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N), said the allegations were false. St Jude shares closed down 4.96 percent, the biggest one-day fall in 7 months and at a 7.4 percent discount to Abbott’s takeover offer.

      Muddy Waters head Carson Block said the firm’s position was motivated by research from a cyber security firm, MedSec Holdings Inc, which has a financial arrangement with Muddy Waters. MedSec asserted that St. Jude’s heart devices were vulnerable to cyber attack and were a risk to patients.

    • BlackArch Linux ISO now comes with over 1,500 hacking tools

      On a move to counter distros like Kali Linux and BackBox, BlackArch has got a new ISO image that includes more than 1,500 hacking tools. The update also brings several security and software tweaks to deliver an enhanced platform for various penetration testing and security assessment activities.

      The new BlackArch Linux ISO includes an all new Linux installer and more than 100 new penetration testing and hacking tools. There is also Linux 4.7.1 to fix the bugs and compatibility issues of the previous kernel. Additionally, the BlackArch team has updated all its in-house tools and system packages as well as updated menu entries for the Openbox, Fluxbox and Awesome windows managers.

    • Opera User? Your Stored Passwords May Have Been Stolen

      Barely a week passes without another well-known web company suffering a data breach or hack of some kind. This week it is Opera’s turn. Opera Software, the company behind the web-browser and recently sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million, reported a ‘server breach incident’ on its blog this weekend.

    • When it comes to protecting personal data, security gurus make their own rules

      Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of a company devoted to protecting people from hackers, has safeguarded his Twitter account with a 14-character password and by turning on two-factor authentication, an extra precaution in case that password is cracked.

      But Cooper Quintin, a security researcher and chief technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, doesn’t bother running an anti-virus program on his computer.

      And Bruce Schneier? The prominent cryptography expert and chief technology officer of IBM-owned security company Resilient Systems, won’t even risk talking about what he does to secure his devices and data.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Erdogan at a crossroad: dictatorship or democracy

      An interview with A.H. Banisadr, Iran’s former president, about the aftermath of the coup in Turkey.

    • The Dumbed-Down New York Times

      In a column mocking the political ignorance of the “dumbed-down” American people and lamenting the death of “objective fact,” New York Times columnist Timothy Egan shows why so many Americans have lost faith in the supposedly just-the-facts-ma’am mainstream media.

      Egan states as flat fact, “If more than 16 percent of Americans could locate Ukraine on a map, it would have been a Really Big Deal when Trump said that Russia was not going to invade it — two years after they had, in fact, invaded it.”

    • Where are the Child Victims of the West?

      The Facebook page contains a post cheering on al-Nusra, the US-designated terrorist group, referring to them as ‘rebels’, not ‘terrorists’ and also calling the Syrian government a ‘regime’, the standard terminology of the corporate media when referring to Assad’s administration. Such phrasing destroys the Aleppo Media Centre as a neutral, credible source.

    • Is Syria Ceasefire Achievable? US-Russia Talks Bring No Solution

      Meanwhile, U.S.-allied Kurdish forces say they are now being bombed by U.S.-backed Turkish forces, Reuters reported Saturday, which Common Dreams noted was Turkey’s goal from the start of its military incursion into Syria earlier this week.

    • Clintonites Prepare for War on Syria

      Neocons and Clintonites have launched a major campaign with the goal of direct US military intervention and aggression against Syria, potentially leading to war with Iran and Russia. An early indication emerged as soon as it was clear the Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic Party nominee. Following the California primary, the NY Times reported on State Department diplomats issuing an internal memo “urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al Assad.”

    • Venezuela’s Maduro Accuses US of “Imperialist Attack” Against Latin American Leftists

      Venezuela’s leftist president Nicolas Maduro told a crowd of supporters Saturday that the turmoil of recent months in progressive Latin American countries are the result of “an imperialist attack on all,” teleSUR reports.

    • Venezuela’s Maduro Says Dilma Coup, Killing of Bolivia Minister ‘Imperialist Attack’ Against All

      President Maduro said the recent events in Bolivia and Brazil are part of a new plan to destabilize progressive governments in the region.

      Following the murder of the Bolivian vice minister by miners and as the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff reaches its final stage, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro warned Saturday of “imperialist” attacks on the region’s left and compared the situation to a new Plan Condor.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Standing Rock Sioux Chairman: Dakota Access Pipeline “Is Threatening the Lives of My Tribe”

      In North Dakota, indigenous activists are continuing to protest the proposed $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which they say would threaten to contaminate the Missouri River. More than a thousand indigenous activists from dozens of different tribes across the country have traveled to the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, which was launched on April 1 by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The protests have so far shut down construction along parts of the pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has also sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over its approval of the pipeline. For more, we’re joined by Dave Archambault, chairperson of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He’s in Washington, D.C., where there is a hearing in the tribe’s lawsuit on Wednesday.

    • Singapore chokes on smoke from Indonesia’s slash-and-burn fires

      A swathe of south-east Asia is blanketed in a smoky haze as smoke from forest fires in Indonesia drifts across the Malacca Strait to neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore’s air quality has deteriorated to very unhealthy levels, peaking at a reading of 215 on the National Environment Agency’s Pollutant Standards Index. Levels above 100 are defined as unhealthy and above 200 very unhealthy.

    • Just 90 companies are to blame for most climate change, this ‘carbon accountant’ says

      Last month, geographer Richard Heede received a subpoena from Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Smith, a climate change doubter, became concerned when the attorneys general of several states launched investigations into whether ExxonMobil had committed fraud by sowing doubts about climate change even as its own scientists knew it was taking place. The congressman suspected a conspiracy between the attorneys general and environmental advocates, and he wanted to see all the communications among them. Predictably, his targets included advocacy organizations such as Greenpeace, 350.org, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. They also included Heede, who works on his own aboard a rented houseboat on San Francisco Bay in California.

    • What Baton Rouge Can Learn from New Orleans About Bringing Flood Victims Home

      In the wake of the nation’s worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy, flood recovery efforts are now underway in Baton Rouge: Electricity is operating in certain neighborhoods, damaged floors and walls are being removed from homes, and homeowners are beginning to deal with emergency assistance and insurance—or a lack thereof.

      Soon, another aftereffect of the storm will sweep Baton Rouge communities: climate refugees—people who are displaced by climate change or natural disasters—will begin the daunting task of rebuilding their lives.

    • Nature Is Not Benign, It’s Responsive

      There’s a reason why Indigenous peoples everywhere have led on dealing intelligently with climate change: not because they’re wiser or nobler but because they haven’t experienced a rupture with the non-human world to the same degree as most of us. They remain aware of the ways we’re part of the natural realm, and how dangerous and menacing it can be if, like any relationship, that one is left unattended or gets misshapen by a power imbalance. If you live oblivious to something you’re intimately part of, the odds don’t favor you, ultimately.

      Now when I look out the kitchen window and see the squirrel (not “a” squirrel anymore: he’s become an individual, with motives and capacities), I don’t think of him as “scampering” (too cute and generic); more like lurking, working and perhaps pondering a revisit. You could say we’ve entered a relationship, with mutual regard.

    • We Can Have a Healthy Climate With Zero Warming in Our Lifetimes

      We can have a healthy climate — a climate with zero warming — in our lifetimes. The message for the last 20 years has been that we have to reduce emissions drastically to prevent dangerous climate change of more than 2 degrees C (3.6 F). This strategy would have likely worked when it was first suggested, but we have delayed far too long since then. Now, even stringent emissions reductions allow our warming to at least double and likely triple before finally beginning to cool.

      We must begin to reduce the load of already-emitted, long-lived carbon dioxide (CO2) climate pollution in the sky, regardless of costs. The good news is that, not only will costs be very similar to many things we do in our society today whose costs are taken for granted, but by disconnecting emissions reductions strategies from the removal of already-emitted climate pollution in our sky, we vastly simplify the myriad strategies that have been developed to avoid dangerous climate change.

    • 10th Temperature Record-Breaking Month in a Row

      October. November. December. January. February. March. April. May. June. And now July.

    • Indonesian police arrest hundreds in connection to burning land

      Singapore’s National Environment Agency said on Friday it expected air quality to remain poor into the weekend as Indonesian disaster management officials cautioned that wildfires in Sumatra and Kalimantan could persist through September.

      On Thursday Indonesia’s newly appointed police chief Tito Karnavian said police had prepared cases against 454 individuals in connection with burning land. “The arrests of individuals has increased compared with last year,” he said in Jakarta. “Just in Riau [province] 85 people have been arrested.”

      The head of the police’s criminal investigation division, Ari Dono Sukmanto, said he expected the number of arrests to rise in the coming months. Indonesian environment minster Siti Nurbaya called on police to “investigate thoroughly” for any links to companies and local government officials.

    • Raging Amazon forest fires threaten uncontacted indigenous tribe

      In April 2012, Survival International launched a global campaign to save the Awá, an uncontacted indigenous people that has been called “Earth’s most threatened tribe.” Two years later, the campaign claimed victory when the Brazilian government sent troops to remove illegal cattle ranchers and loggers from Awá land.

      But now the Awá are facing yet another existential threat in the form of forest fires. According to Survival International, fires are “raging” in Awá territory on the edge of the Brazilian Amazon and “threatening to wipe out uncontacted members of the Awá tribe.”

      Small groups of Guajajara Indians, the Awá’s neighbors in the Amazon, reportedly battled the blaze for days without the assistance of government agents until Brazil’s Environment Ministry launched a fire-fighting operation two weeks ago.

      According to Survival International, nearly 50 percent of the forest cover in the territory was destroyed by forest fires started by loggers in late 2015, and the Environment Ministry has warned that the situation is “even worse this year.”

  • Finance
    • The Hidden Homeless Population

      Most children in the United States spend their school days dreaming of their next birthday party or worrying whether they’re popular enough. Not America’s homeless youth.

      Students like Jamie Talley, who first became homeless at age 2, are thinking about how the weather will affect their sleep and how to silence their growling stomachs during a test.

      “I was pushed out of the world and left to survive on my own,” Talley said in a scholarship essay quoted by the Washington Post. “I had given up on the possibilities for me to become somebody.”

      Fortunately, Talley had a teacher who helped her get Medicaid and pushed her to focus on her education.

      But most homeless students don’t feel supported at school. They feel that their schools simply don’t have the funding, time, staff, community awareness, or resources to help, and that’s the way it’s always going to be. This feeling of invisibility continues to disconnect citizens with consistent housing from those without.

      There are more than 1.3 million homeless students in the U.S., according to a new report by Civic Enterprises and Hart Research Associates. Seventy-eight percent of homeless youth surveyed in the study have experienced homelessness more than once in their lives.

      Why are so many of us disconnected from this crisis?

      Many homeless students say they’re uncomfortable talking with their schools about their housing situation and the challenges that impact their ability to learn. Additionally, 94 percent of those surveyed stay with different people on an inconsistent basis, adding to the ambiguity that makes recognizing homelessness more difficult.

    • She’ll keep America not so great for workers

      The Trump plan would, of course, be a disaster for working people–and another windfall for the rich, with its proposals for eliminating the estate tax and opening up new tax loopholes for the wealthy.

      But Clinton’s own economic plan isn’t very new, much less positive for working people. It reads a lot like the policies of the Bill Clinton administration–and while Hillary denounces the failed Republican policies recycled by Trump, the truth is Clintonomics repurposed many of the GOP proposals that came before it.

      Providing targeted tax breaks to corporations, cutting “red tape” and doing away with regulations on business were all hallmarks of the Clinton-era policies that successfully made a break from the Democrats’ past image of the party of social welfare spending.

    • Education Reformers’ Core Beliefs Are Objectionable

      America’s corporate education reform movement has been a marketing success. Reformers have popularized slogans that promote a radically new public school system; one where tenure and bargaining rights are abolished or severely degraded; where CEOs and administrators, who may have backgrounds in business, politics or public relations rather than education, make hiring and firing decisions; and where data-based accountability — necessarily driven by test scores — perpetually imperils schools, tenure- and union-less teachers, as well as students who must conform to onerous protocols and codes of conduct under charter school contracts. Reformers’ slogans such as “demography isn’t destiny” and “poverty is no excuse” have been ingrained in the minds of all who follow education issues — and have apparently been successful in advancing their agenda. But ironically, while reformers’ slogans are well known, their core ideas around such reformer bedrocks as Teach For America, charter schools, and educational expertise are so objectionably elitist that they are unutterable.

    • Postal Contract Narrows the Gap between Tiers

      They didn’t end three-tier in a single blow. But in a new contract covering 200,000 members, the American Postal Workers Union made serious headway and fended off most concessionary demands, including the Postal Service’s effort to create yet another tier.

      The union entered bargaining with little obvious leverage. It was up against a management that’s been openly collaborating with postal unions’ Congressional foes to push a frenzy of cuts—slashing delivery standards, shutting down mail plants, privatizing work, and selling off post offices to real estate sharks.

      Postal workers can’t legally strike. If the union and management don’t reach a deal, an arbitrator writes the contract—which is what finally happened. Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg announced the results July 8.

      He stopped short of eliminating the three-tier system, as the union had proposed. But the new contract shrinks the number of bottom-tier workers and improves their situation, while defending the traditional raises and no-layoff protection for the two upper tiers.

    • Close My Tax Loophole

      My fellow venture capitalists and private equity investors are paying close attention to the heated election-year rhetoric about the future of “carried interest,” which is the performance fee we charge to manage other people’s money. Carried interest is the fund manager’s share of the earnings from a profitable investment, normally paid on top of a much smaller management fee.

      It’s also a subject of increasing political disfavor. Over the past year, every major presidential candidate — from Jeb Bush and Donald J. Trump to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — has called for an end to a tax loophole that exists for carried interest. Mrs. Clinton has vowed that if Congress does not close the loophole, as president she would ask the Treasury Department to use its regulatory authority to do so.

      Ultimately, the controversy has to do with tax fairness, or the lack thereof. Instead of being taxed as wages or commissions earned, carried interest is currently taxed as if it were a personal investment, or capital gains. This gives us a significant tax advantage since the capital gains tax rate is about 50 percent lower than the top rate on ordinary income.

      When I started my first fund, Alan Patricof Associates, in 1970, I vividly remember my accountant telling me about my first sale of an investment: “We’re going to treat this as capital gain, but sooner or later, it will be characterized as ordinary income.”

    • Last BHS stores to close for final time after 88 years

      The last BHS stores are set to close their doors for the final time, ending an 88-year presence on the High Street.

      The closure of the final 22 shops dotted around the UK comes after the retailer was placed into administration in March but failed to find a buyer.

      Previous owners Dominic Chappell and Sir Philip Green have been criticised for mismanaging the chain and failing to protect the company pension scheme.

      Administrators have already made 141 store closures over recent weeks.

    • Dimon is Forever

      Since neither poor earnings by the bank nor a need to find the money with which to pay Mr. Dimon his $27.5 million annual compensation explains why the interest rate on credit card cash advances has increased, there has to be some other explanation and, in fact, there is. Morgan Chase raised the interest rate on those credit cards because it could.

    • ‘People In Poverty Do Work’: What Paul Ryan Misunderstands About Poverty

      Twenty years later, it’s clear that welfare reform has left more families with fewer resources. There has been a 75% drop in the number of Americans receiving cash assistance since 1996, and a sharp rise in the number of households with children with incomes of less than $2 per day. There are 3 million American children who now live on no money for at least three months out of the year.

      [...]

      Ryan claims he is focused on moving people into full-time work—the surest way to get people out of poverty, he says. And it’s true—full-time jobs that pay well and provide benefits are indeed the best path to get out of poverty.

      But that’s not what Ryan is promoting, and his solution—like welfare reform before it—would not have helped me. (Nor would his votes—at least 10 times—against raising the minimum wage.)

    • Obama’s Campaign for TPP Could Drag Down the Democrats

      How much is President Obama willing to harm the Democratic Party in order to win approval for the deeply unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “trade” agreement? We may soon find out.

      On Tuesday, Politico broke the story that the White House will be “making an all-out push to win passage of the deal in the lame duck session of Congress, organizing 30 events over the congressional recess.” The effort will be designed to put pressure not only on Democratic members of Congress, but also on swing Republican votes, by lobbying important business interests in their districts.

    • TTIP Has ‘De Facto Failed,’ Says German Economic Minister

      Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister said that the controversial Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has “de facto failed,” admitting that negotiations between the U.S. and E.U. have completely stalled.

      “Negotiations with the U.S. have de facto failed, because of course as Europeans we couldn’t allow ourselves to submit to American demands,” Sigmar Gabriel told the German news station ZDF in an interview that will air at 7pm German time Sunday, according to Der Spiegel.

      “Everything has stalled,” Gabriel said.

    • Germany’s economy minister: U.S.-EU free trade talks have failed

      Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade deal being negotiated by the United States and the European Union, had essentially failed.

      “The negotiations with the USA have de facto failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands,” he said, according to a written transcript from German broadcaster ZDF of an interview due to be broadcast on Sunday.

    • “TTIP Has Failed” – Global Justice Now Response

      “The fact that TTIP has failed is testament to the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets to protest against it, the three million people who signed a petition calling for it to be scrapped, and the huge coalition of civil society groups, trade unions and activists who came together to stop it. TTIP would have resulted in a massive corporate power grab, and sovereign democracies across the EU would have been deeply compromised.

    • Common Core’s New New Math Has the Same Problem as the Old New Math

      Bad ideas are like unlucky pennies – they keep coming back again.

      Take the New Math. Or maybe I should say the New New Math.

      Common Core State Standards suggests we teach children a new way to do arithmetic. We should focus on multiple ways to reach an answer with an emphasis on understanding the concept behind the problem rather than just manipulating numbers.

      It sounds fine in theory – until you think about it for five minutes.

      When learning a new skill, it’s best to master a single, simple approach before being exposed to other more complex methods. Otherwise, you run the risk of confusion, frustration and ultimately not learning how to solve the problem.

      Take directions.

      If you’re lost and you ask for directions, you don’t want someone to tell you five ways to reach your destination. You want one, relatively simple way to get there – preferably with the least amount of turns and the highest number of landmarks.

      Maybe later if you’re going to be traveling to this place frequently, you may want to learn alternate routes. But the first time, you’re more concerned about finding the destination (i.e. getting the answer) than understanding how the landscape would appear on a map.

      This is the problem with Common Core math. It doesn’t merely ALLOW students to pursue alternate methods of solving problems. It REQUIRES them to know all the ways the problem can be solved and to be able to explain each method. Otherwise, it presumes to evaluate the student’s understanding as insufficient.

    • A Do-Over for Our Unequal Economy?

      Families in the upper reaches of the American economy, by contrast, have done just swell. Families in the top 10 percent, the Congressional Budget Office calculates, have seen their net worths increase an average 153 percent.

    • Greek Debt and the New Financial Imperialism

      This week marks the first anniversary of the 2015 Greek debt crisis, the third in that country’s recent history since 2010. Last Aug. 20-21, 2015, the ‘Troika’—i.e., the pan-European institutions of the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB), plus the IMF-imposed a third debt deal on Greece. Greece was given US$98 billion in loans from the Troika. A previous 2012 Troika imposed debt deal had added nearly US$200 billion to an initial 2010 debt deal of US$140 billion.

      That’s approximately US$440 billion in Troika loans over a five year period, 2010-2015. The question is: who is benefitting from the US$440 billion? It’s not Greece. If not the Greek economy and its people, then who? And have we seen the last of Greek debt crises?

      One might think that US$440 billion in loans would have helped Greece recover from the global recession of 2008-09, the second European recession of 2011-13 that followed, and the Europe-wide chronic, stagnant economic growth ever since. But no, the US$440 billion in debt the Troika piled on Greece has actually impoverished Greece even further, condemning it to eight years of economic depression with no end in sight.

      To pay for the US$440 billion, in three successive debt agreements the Troika has required Greece to cut government spending on social services, eliminate hundreds of thousands of government jobs, lower wages for public and private sector workers, reduce the minimum wage, cut and eliminate pensions, raise the cost of workers’ health care contributions, and pay higher sales and local property taxes. As part of austerity, the Troika has also required Greece to sell off its government owned utilities, ports, and transport systems at ‘firesale’ (i.e. below) market prices.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Jill Stein in Colorado: The Photos You Need to See

      On Saturday, Jill spoke at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church. A large number of people showed up to hear her.

    • Clinton Foundation Official Requests State Lunch Invitation, Special Seating for Foundation Allies, Emails Show

      A series of newly released State Department emails obtained by ABC News offers fresh insight on direct contact between the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s inner circle while she was Secretary of State.

      The emails -– released as part of a public records lawsuit by conservative group Citizens United and shared exclusively with ABC — reveal what the group claims is new evidence Foundation allies received special treatment. [Read the emails here.]

      In one December 2010 email chain with Clinton’s closest aide Huma Abedin, then-top Clinton Foundation official Doug Band offers names for a State Department lunch with Chinese President Hu Jintao scheduled for January 2011.

    • Green Party Candidates: Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka

      Born in Chicago and raised in Highland Park, Illinois, Dr. Jill Stein is a physician and longtime political and environmental activist with the GPUS. According to her campaign website, Stein “graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1973, and from Harvard Medical School in 1979.” She unsuccessfully ran for governor of Massachusetts as the nominee of the Green-Rainbow Party, the Massachusetts affiliate of the national Green Party. Stein also ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives in 2004, and for Massachusetts secretary of the commonwealth in 2006, and was the Green Party nominee for U.S. president in 2012.

      Despite her loss in the 2012 presidential election, coming in fourth place with 469,628 votes (0.36 percent of the national vote), Stein holds the record for the most votes won by a female presidential candidate in a general election. However, Hil­lary Clinton, unless forced out of the race, is likely to break this record in November.

      Endorsing the Black Lives Matter movement, Stein selected and the Greens nominated radical Black Nationalist and human rights activist Ajamu Baraka as the Green Party vice-presidential nominee.

      Also born in Chicago, Baraka served as the founding executive director of the US Human Rights Network, a self-described “national network of organizations and individuals working to strengthen a human rights movement and culture within the United States,” from 2004 to 2011.

    • How Sanders Shaped the National Discourse on Class: A Media Analysis

      Now that Bernie Sanders’ campaign is officially over, many of his supporters are adrift. The same week the Sanders’ campaign officially ended, the systematic efforts of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to sabotage his campaign became a matter of public record, thanks to WikiLeaks. The media largely ignored this scandal and proceeded to fawn over various politicians at the Democratic National Convention, as if they were deities. And Bob Woodward appeared on the August 14 Fox News Sunday, smugly joking that Sanders will now “write his memoirs about the revolution that didn’t quite happen.”

      But Sanders supporters should not get disillusioned. It may seem easy to forget, but the primary goal of the Sanders’ campaign was not the presidency, but a “political revolution.” Winning an election was a goal, to be sure, but “revolution” was the goal. The distinction matters. Consider the dictionary definition of revolution: “a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.” Electing Sanders wouldn’t have been a revolutionary act by itself; the bulk of the work, no matter who won, was always going to take place after Election Day.

    • Number of registered lobbyists plunges as spending declines yet again

      The lobbying industry may start arguing for its own bailout bill, given the relentless decline in reported spending for its services.

      The first quarter of 2016 was sluggish, the second similarly so. And with it came a pronounced dive in the number of active registered lobbyists.

      With 325 fewer lobbyists registered in the second quarter of 2016 than in the first, this marks the biggest single-quarter drop in four years and puts the number of registered lobbyists at the lowest point OpenSecrets has ever recorded. Since 1998, the total number of lobbyists has never dipped below 10,000, but that figure has been falling ever since it peaked at nearly 15,000 in 2007 and this quarter’s decrease puts it at just more than 9,700.

    • Open up debates to Johnson, Stein

      With two less than optimum candidates for president filling the Democratic and Republican slots, two other candidates have generated heightened interest.

      But not enough, apparently, to convince the Commission on Presidential Debates to open the door and let them in.

      And a legal challenge to the format determined by the commission was rejected earlier this month by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer.

      The lawsuit had been brought by Libertarian party presidential nominee Gary Johnson and Green party nominee Jill Stein, among others. It alleged that the threshold set by the debate commission was designed to prevent any but the major-party nominees from participating in the debate. And that is clearly the case.

      This threshold is set at 15 percent support from an average of public polls, a much more exacting standard than the 5 percent threshold set by Congress to qualify for public campaign funds.

    • Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein campaigns in Colorado

      Voters not in tune with everything politics may not even know what the Green Party is. That’s the party Dr. Jill Stein represents. It’s the party that is based on principles like social justice and protecting the environment.

      The trouble for Stein? She’s not well-known. She represents the party that hardly gets any airtime, the party that does not spend millions on ad campaigns, the party hidden behind the big two candidates from the two big parties.

      But there is a market for Stein, one with plenty of devout supporters.

      New numbers show more and more Colorado voters are registering Green and Libertarian. Right now there are more than 11,000 registered Green Party voters and 35,000 registered Libertarian voters.

      That’s not enough to win a presidency, but that is not stopping Dr. Stein from hitting the campaign trail.

      She joined her supporters at a Colorado Springs park Saturday afternoon.

    • Let a Third Candidate Join the Clinton-Trump Debates

      A month from now, the Commission on Presidential Debates will let us know which candidates get a golden ticket to that national forum.

      Will America get to hear from anyone besides Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the two most distrusted and reviled candidates in modern political history?

      [...]

      The Commission on Presidential Debates, an organization set up and originally co-chaired by the then-chairman of Republican National Committee and his Democratic counterpart, has served as the debates’ gatekeeper since 1988.

      CPD describes its mission as ensuring that the debates “provide the best possible information to viewers.” But its real mission is to make the debate stage a “safe space” for major-party candidates. It does so by rigging the rules to protect them from unflattering camera angles, the microaggressions of uncooperative moderators and—most hurtful of all—the terror of third-party competition.

    • Hillary Clinton hasn’t held a news conference since December — but NPR has proven why it’s not media blackout

      One of the circulating scandals surrounding Hillary Clinton is that she hasn’t held a news conference in 265 days (and counting!), leading to allegations that she has something to hide or is trying to “run-out the clock.”

      The Clinton camp denies this, and has begun to claim that she has given more than 300 interviews this year alone. To prove it, they provided NPR with a list of interviews through the end of July. NPR “made minor corrections after conferring with the campaign, and analyzed the results,” finding some interesting things.

      Clinton by far gave the most interviews to television (both national and local) and local radio. Those three account for 81% of the interviews she’s given this year. Despite her affinity for television, she rarely appears on Sunday shows, usually considered a staple of a politician’s press diet. (Trump, for reference, has appeared on twice as many Sunday shows as she has this year — 43 to 22.)

      Most of her interviews only last for between three and eight minutes — short enough that the reporters don’t have the time to ask follow-up questions or really press her on the issues. In nearly a fifth of the interviews she gave, they weren’t with what NPR considers a journalist or reporter. One radio host gave her an astrological reading.

    • Trump and the Transformation of Politics

      Illiberal politicians are not very interested in civil liberties. They will manipulate the rule of law to “get things done.” They tend to appeal to religious or national identity rather than political ideology. They also generally favor greater state intervention in the economy.

      In short, they defy the usual political categories.

      If Donald Trump weren’t so personally unpopular and so tactically inept, he might be able to join the ranks of these successful illiberal leaders. Still, he has gotten as far as he has – seizing the nomination of a major political party – by articulating the same anger and resentment as the others.

    • Rich Upper East Siders Are Spending Millions to Mess With Elections in Brooklyn and the Bronx

      A new super-PAC is spending millions of dollars to oust four labor-backed black and Latino state Democrats from the Bronx, Brooklyn, and nearby Suffolk County. But most of the $3.17 million campaign, which has already begun to flood the Bronx with mailers, has not been financed by local organizations or concerned constituents.

      Of New Yorkers for Independent Action’s sixteen donors, all have addresses listed outside Brooklyn, Bronx, and Suffolk County, according to the New York State Board of Elections. All those registered in New York list addresses on the Upper East Side and in midtown. And all of the super-PAC’s donors appear to be white.

      The group’s main issue has been advocating for an education tax credit, which would give tax rebates to donors and companies for donations to private and parochial schools and has long been opposed by most state Democrats.

    • LISTEN: Maine’s Governor Unleashes Obscenities On Lawmaker Who Criticized Him

      The vulgar voicemail left Thursday was first reported by the Portland Press-Herald. The newspaper also reports that in an interview, LePage said he wished it were 1825 so that he could challenge Gattine to a duel — and that if he did, he wouldn’t shoot in the air like Alexander Hamilton.

      “I would point it right between his eyes, because he is a snot-nosed little runt,” LePage told the Press-Herald.

      LePage has since apologized for his language, and said his comments about shooting Gattine were metaphorical. Democratic leaders in Maine, meanwhile, have said the governor is not “mentally or emotionally fit to hold office.”

      The hostile remarks follow — and are directly linked to — a series of widely-criticized remarks the Republican governor made on race.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Pahlaj Nihalani is in favour of controlled censorship

      Pahlaj Nihalani has become quite inured to criticism these days, and in his 20-month tenure as the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), he has found the going tough since the online leak of censor copies of ‘Udta Punjab’ and ‘Great Grand Masti’ recently. In fact, Nihalani makes no secret of the fact that the CBFC has become a punching bag as everyone has got it into their head that all the ills that plague Bollywood have something to do with the CBFC.

    • Piers Morgan takes dig at Indian Twitter users, tweets about who Sachin Tendulkar follows
    • Twitterati teach Piers Morgan a lesson for poking fun at Indian Olympians
    • Piers Morgan TWEETS AGAIN: UK journalist takes credit for PM Modi setting up task force for next three Olympics
    • Piers Morgan and Indian athletes at Rio
    • Piers Morgan tweets Shekhar Gupta’s blog about India’s easy embrace to mediocrity and we kind of agree with both

      Days ago, British journalist and Television personality Piers Morgan was trending on twitter worldwide after he literally broke the internet. Morgan’s tweet questioning the over-zealous celebration by Indians for only two Olympic medals, agitated the Indian twitter and soon enough everyone was thrashing and slamming Morgan for it.

    • The Anti-Semitism Smear Against Canadian Greens

      So, establishment pro-Israel organizations are increasingly shrill in smearing the growing Palestinian solidarity movement. While supporters of Palestinian rights generally ignore these smears or reply that it’s not anti-Semitic to stand up for Palestinian rights, defensive strategies aren’t sufficient. The anti-Semitic label is too potent to not confront directly.

      [...]

      Of course, considering the historical oppression originally defined by the term, most progressive minded folk would be discomforted by the idea of mocking and re-appropriating “anti-Semitism”. But, isn’t this inevitable when “leading Jewish organizations” publicly denounce “anti-Semitism” in inverse relation to discernible anti-Jewish animus? When Jews fleeing Hitler’s atrocities were blocked from entering Canada, notes A Coat of Many Colours: Two Centuries of Jewish Life in Canada, the dominant Jewish organizations mostly shied away from publicly criticizing Ottawa’s prejudice. Similarly, some Jewish representatives negotiated with McGill over the cap it placed on Jews in some university programs in the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

      While some Jewish activists at the time pushed for a more forceful response to this quantifiable anti-Semitism, the “leading” community representatives didn’t want to rock the boat. Their aim was largely to join the power structure.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • NSA Whistleblowers: NSA Hack Was Likely An Inside Job

      The mainstream press is accusing Russia of being behind the release of information on NSA hacking tools.

      Washington’s Blog asked the highest-level NSA whistleblower in history, William Binney – the NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information, who served as the senior technical director within the agency, who managed six thousand NSA employees, the 36-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency and the NSA’s best-ever analyst and code-breaker, who mapped out the Soviet command-and-control structure before anyone else knew how, and so predicted Soviet invasions before they happened (“in the 1970s, he decrypted the Soviet Union’s command system, which provided the US and its allies with real-time surveillance of all Soviet troop movements and Russian atomic weapons”) – what he thinks of such claims.

    • Tampa man at center of web spying case that could impact the workplace

      A federal appeals court has ruled that a Tampa man can sue Awareness Technologies, a Connecticut firm that makes an electronic monitoring program.

      While the ruling by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals involved the use of the monitoring program in a divorce case, it could impact what happens in the workplace, an attorney involved in the case told the Wall Street Journal.

      Employees agree to be monitored as part of their jobs, but the people they communicate with do not provide the same agreements. That could lead to more exposure for companies that provide employee monitoring services, attorney Mark Pickrell, interim head of Vanderbilt Law School’s appellate litigation clinic, told the Journal.

    • Man Sues Surveillance Company for Spying on His Conversations With Married Woman

      Javier Luis, of Tampa, Florida, met a woman named Catherine Zang in a chat room on metaphysics in 2009. Zang’s husband, Joseph Zang, somehow became aware of the personal relationship and installed a program called WebWatcher, created by a company called Awareness Technologies, on the family computer to monitor her. WebWatcher made recordings of all the online interactions between Luis and Catherine Zang, which Joseph Zang was then able to review after they were routed to Awareness Technologies’ servers in California. Though Javier Luis and Catherine Zang never actually met in person, Zang’s husband allegedly was able to use the compiled communications to his advantage in their divorce proceedings.

    • Proposed ‘social media ID, please’ law draws outrage

      A plan by the U.S. government to require some foreign travelers to provide their social media IDs on key travel documents is drawing outrage.

      People who responded to the government’s request for comment about the proposal spared little in their criticisms. They call it “ludicrous,” an “all-around bad idea,” “blatant overreach,” “desperate, paranoid heavy-handedness,” “preposterous,” “appalling,” and “un-American.”

      But the feds are most serious about it.

      The plan affects people traveling from “visa waiver” countries to the U.S., where a visa is not required. This includes most of Europe, Singapore, Chile, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand — 38 countries in total.

      Travelers will be asked to provide their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and whatever other social ID you can imagine to U.S. authorities. It’s technically an “optional” request, but since it’s the government asking, critics believe travelers will fear consequences if they ignore it. Business and pleasure travelers are affected, too.

    • All the Ways Your Wi-Fi Router Can Spy on You

      City dwellers spend nearly every moment of every day awash in Wi-Fi signals. Homes, streets, businesses, and office buildings are constantly blasting wireless signals every which way for the benefit of nearby phones, tablets, laptops, wearables, and other connected paraphernalia.

      When those devices connect to a router, they send requests for information—a weather forecast, the latest sports scores, a news article—and, in turn, receive that data, all over the air. As it communicates with the devices, the router is also gathering information about how its signals are traveling through the air, and whether they’re being disrupted by obstacles or interference. With that data, the router can make small adjustments to communicate more reliably with the devices it’s connected to.

      But it can also be used to monitor humans—and in surprisingly detailed ways.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Nothing to See Here: The Counter-Revolution Against Black Lives Matter

      There is a phenomenon in this country that we need to examine and it’s just not in New York,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton told reporters in May, after addressing a national conference of police chiefs at the Times Square Marriott Marquis. “This has become very serious. I would almost describe it as an epidemic.”

      Bratton, who announced his retirement on August 3— much to the delight of Black Lives Matter demonstrators who set up an encampment at City Hall calling for his resignation one day previously — was not speaking of zika or ebola. He was talking about civilians filming police, a viral occurrence in recent years.

      Bratton went on to equate recording law enforcement with intimidation and attempts to free individuals in police custody. “The community has to make up their mind if they want law enforcement or if they want mob rule,” Bratton said.

    • As the Private Immigrant Detention Business Persists, Families Fight Back

      Moussa came to the United States nine years ago seeking asylum. He lost his asylum case, but while appealing the decision, he fell in love with Victoria. The two were married and have three beautiful children together. Moussa also adopted Victoria’s two children from a prior relationship. When Victoria filed for a family petition on his behalf in April 2015, they thought their immigration struggles were finally over. Sadly, they had just begun.

    • Slavery in modern Britain? Too true but today, it’s on farms and kitchens

      One victim said she came to England from south-east Asia to work as a servant in the home of a wealthy family. “I was forced to work 14 hours a day, even on building sites,” she said. “I felt like a chained dog. Even now, I feel like I am in chains. I still have nightmares that my boss is chasing me.”

      The woman is now in a safe house and is applying for asylum in the United Kingdom. Officials say 21st century slavery takes these basic forms: domestic servitude, sex trafficking, forced labour, forced marriage and child labour.

      The Salvation Army said that 44 per cent of those it helped had been exploited sexually, 42 per cent were used on farms and building sites, and 13 per cent were household slaves.

    • Hate Crime in Tulsa: Khalid Jabara’s Family Speaks Out After His Murder by Racist White Neighbor

      In Oklahoma, funeral services were held Friday for Khalid Jabara, a Lebanese-American man police say was shot dead by his next-door neighbor in a possible hate crime. Police say Stanley Majors will be charged with first-degree murder. Majors has harassed the Jabara family for years. The August 12 killing came less than a year after Majors was arrested and jailed for hitting Jabara’s mother with his car while she was jogging. At the time, the mother, Haifa Jabara, already had a restraining order against Majors, after he had threatened and harassed her. But eight months later, Majors was released on $60,000 bond even though Tulsa County prosecutors called him “a substantial risk to the public.” For more, we speak with Khalid’s brother and sister, Rami Jabara and Victoria Jabara Williams.

    • Socializing the Corrupt: Cheating, Education and Law Enforcement in Pennsylvania

      Collaborations between higher education institutions and law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania have multiplied in the past two decades. Although many of these collaborations purportedly aim to improve law enforcement by educating current and future generations of police officers, they have unfortunately produced ethically questionable and socially deleterious consequences, such as lowering academic integrity standards, encouraging systemic cheating and artificially inflating graduation rates. As a result, higher education institution executives and law enforcement leaders in Pennsylvania have managed to create an educational system for socializing successive generations of corrupt police.

      The expression socialization of the corrupt is Charles Bahn’s. In the 1975 article “The Psychology of Police Corruption,” he compares police corruption to academic cheating. In a study of students’ attitudes towards cheating and their actual cheating behavior, there was no correlation. Students who disapproved of cheating still cheated; others who approved of cheating chose to abstain. Bahn concludes that, “while verbal morality is learned, it is not necessarily true that the related behaviors are also learned.” The implication of this study for police training is that being taught the importance of an institution’s core values (e.g., honesty, integrity, fidelity) and expressing one’s commitment to these values do not curtail unethical behavior. Socializing the corrupt means filling students’ heads with empty slogans and moral platitudes, hoping that they will do what is right in any particular situation.

    • No Way to Call Home: Incarcerated Deaf People Are Locked in a Prison Inside a Prison

      Silent Voices is truly silent. The group’s three members are doing what looks like a dance in the front of a classroom at a state prison near the banks of the Mississippi River, just south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, performing their version of the song “I Believe” by R. Kelly. Instead of singing, the performers are interpreting R. Kelly’s lyrics into American Sign Language, or ASL, the sign language most commonly used in the United States. ASL is an animated language. Gestures, facial expressions and even foot-stomping the floor to a beat allow ASL speakers to add context, detail and music to their conversations. The three men in Silent Voices are stunning in this way. The performance is part ASL, part gospel choreography and it’s contagiously uplifting — in stark contrast with the backdrop of armed guards and barbed wire. The classroom erupts into applause.

    • Corporate Conquistadors Rape Indigenous Lands and Bodies

      Canada’s National Inquiry into Murdered and Disappeared Indigenous Women ought to investigate the role of the extractive industry.

      Recently, KWG Resources Incorporated, a Canadian mining company, posted a video online using women dressed in bikinis to promote the mining of chromite on Indigenous lands in northern Ontario, known as the Ring of Fire. KWG President Frank Smeenk defended his company’s actions saying “sex sells.” Perhaps this was the most honest statement of those in the industry.

    • A Shocking Story of How a Chicago Cop Killed a Teen — Then Locked Up His Best Friend for the Murder

      In 2012, 19-year-old Tevin Louis and his best friend Marquise Sampson allegedly robbed a restaurant. After reportedly making off with about $1,200, the two ran in different directions. Sampson crossed paths with an officer, who gave chase and ultimately opened fire, killing the teenager. Louis arrived at the scene where his friend was shot, and attempted to cross the police line. He was arrested for disorderly conduct. But in a shocking turn, Louis was eventually charged with first-degree murder in the death of his best friend, even though it was the officer who killed Sampson. Louis was found guilty. He is now serving a 32-year sentence for armed robbery and a 20-year sentence for murder. Louis is one of 10 people with similar cases exposed in the Chicago Reader’s new article headlined “Charged with Murder, But They Didn’t Kill Anyone—Police Did.” For more, we speak with the article’s authors: Alison Flowers, a journalist with the Chicago-based Invisible Institute, and Sarah Macaraeg, an independent journalist and fellow with the International Center for Journalists.

      [...]

      AMY GOODMAN: And, Alison Flowers, are police using this murder—this felony murder rule to protect their own misconduct?

      ALISON FLOWERS: That is what we heard from experts about this, that it’s really a red flag for misconduct when you see civilians or co-arrestee suspects being charged with a killing that they didn’t commit, but that police did. It’s often a red flag for misconduct. And, you know, here in Chicago, we have a problem with that, as we see nationwide, of course, but we know that 97 percent of Chicago police misconduct complaints go undisciplined. And so, there really is a problem of immunity, where police officers face little discipline, and it’s pretty easy for them to shift blame.

    • Why Colin Kaepernick Didn’t Stand for the National Anthem

      Explaining the gesture, Kaepernick said that he had decided to remain seated as a statement against racial oppression.

      “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told NFL Media in an interview published on Saturday.

    • Yes, Innocent People Confess To Crimes They Haven’t Committed

      A cop friend of mine told me not to talk to the police even if you aren’t even a suspect. She warned that, in court, they can take one tiny thing you said — take it totally out of context — and use to to yank you into a prison sentence. Like how you “hate that girl.” The sort of hyperbole many of us use without ever wanting to kill someone. Or it could be something more innocuous. Suddenly, you are a suspect. And in court, they only present the things that make you sound guilty.

      Via @PINACNews, Cops coerce a 13-year-old kid into confessing to a murder he did not commit, sending him to prison for three years. A question from the video — did he really understand Miranda rights? I think it’s probably often unlikely that young teens do understand the rights and the ramifications of talking.

    • Now we need a reunited kingdom, open to Europe and the world

      Despite being drawn from different political parties, all of us campaigned proudly and passionately for Britain to remain in the European Union. The result was not the one we wanted, but of course we respect the democratically expressed verdict of the British people.

    • New pro-European campaign organisation: Stronger In relaunched as Open Britain

      Open Britain will help tackle the many unanswered questions about our future relationship with the EU, whether over funding, trade, immigration, security, the environment or workers’ rights. We will also, we hope, play a part in the now necessary debate about how we make our economy fairer – arguably the most pressing issue after June 23rd.

    • How storytelling can help address police violence

      On the same evening that three police officers were killed and three more were wounded in Baton Rouge in July, media outlets around the country reported that police officers and members of a local Black Lives Matter group met for a peaceful cookout in Wichita, Kansas. A nation fatigued by police violence was quick to pick up on the story, and social media posts about the gathering were soon trending, signaling peoples’ overwhelming desire to affirm that “all is well.”

      Except that all is not well. As an Oakland member of Black Lives Matter stated the following week when asked to respond to the offer of a cookout with police, “I eat pigs, I don’t eat with them.” Many people are obviously dissatisfied with such piecemeal displays of collaboration, and are seeking something much more substantial.

      So what’s gone wrong? After all, police departments all around the country have been working to implement Department of Justice recommendations intended to reduce incidents of violence. Why have these recommendations, which focus on policing policies and practices, failed to result in meaningful reform?

      As the nation struggles to find a path forward, storytelling, one of the oldest human traditions, could help pave the way. In 2013, I began my own process of leveraging this ancient human tradition to begin building a restorative bridge in my community. I attempted to get law enforcement officers and members of the non-law enforcement community to publicly tell stories about their true, personal stories about police violence.

    • The ‘Burkini Battle’: France’s capitulation to extremism

      Approximately two years ago in Turkey, there was an odd case in which AKP-allied Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc made a statement declaring that it was indecent for women to laugh in public or, presumably, in mixed company.

      Naturally, this statement was effectively a call to arms. Women took to social media in droves, posting pictures of themselves smiling accompanied by the hashtags #direnkahkaha (resist laughing) and #direnkadin (resist woman). Many similar stories have come out of the Middle East since the rise of social media, in which online activists and citizens protest their government’s encroachments upon their self-representation and lifestyle.

      Recently, another such viral campaign came in the form of Masih Alinejad’s “My Stealthy Freedom Project.” A fascinating challenge to both Iran’s state-enforced gender binary and state-enforced veiling/modesty codes of dress, this campaign as well as the #resistlaughing campaign and many others like it have been hailed in international media as shining examples of women and their male allies fighting against a repressive and reactionary theocratic state, and received well-deserved popularity and accolades for their bravery.

      Last week, another story of reactionary state control over women’s bodies rose for its moment of international attention, yet this time the tone of coverage by international media outlets was generally one of uncomfortable ambivalence. Beginning with the cancellation of a planned party at a waterpark and expanding to include legislation by several towns in France and an ongoing protest, the ‘burkini’ (a swimming costume allowing for most of the body to remain covered while in the water) has become a central topic in France’s ongoing crisis over its relationship to its Muslim citizens.

    • The burkini as a mirror

      Last week, the mayor of Oye-Plage in France was so disturbed by seeing a woman in a burkini on the beach that he is planning to ban such a garb from the beaches of his own town. This reminded me of some of my own experiences in the past that may just be relevant to the current debates over the burkini in Cannes, Marseille and other beaches in France.

      About fourteen years ago I was in Jordan with my not-yet-adolescent daughter. We were in a goldsmith’s shop in Amman looking at jewelry. The shop was very small, almost a cubicle. At one point six to eight women entered. They were totally covered by burkas; only their eyes were partially visible through a bit of lacework. This was the first time I had found myself in such a situation, in a very small space, surrounded by a group of women of whom I could see nothing. I was more than a bit uncomfortable. We bought a pair of earrings and left the shop.

      Some two years later I was in Esalen, California for a conference. Among those attending was an old friend of mine, a very observant Jewish man who lives in an ultra-orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem. We were both quite taken with the open-air hot tubs, which famously look out over the Pacific Ocean.

      We quickly learned, however, that the etiquette of Esalen demanded that one enter the hot tubs naked, men and women together. We felt rather uncomfortable with this arrangement and contrived to go one morning at about 3:00 am, certain that nobody would be there. We took off our clothes, ran the water in the tubs, and were enjoying ourselves immensely when we were suddenly joined by—a naked woman.

    • Photo of the Week: A Burkini in Marseille

      A woman steps into the sea. Water displaced by her feet flies lightly into the air. Nearby, children wade and play. No one appears uncomfortable, yet the image is a trigger in France, where descendants of people who once displayed the words “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” in their public squares wish to exclude from those ideals certain peaceful others, many of whom were forced from their homelands by oppressors and events beyond their control.

      Bans on “burkinis” this month in more than a dozen French cities and towns—a move supported by many high-profile public figures—reminds us that the capacity for cultural intolerance or its more aggressive elder sibling, cultural bigotry, is a nagging constant in human affairs.

    • Truthdigger of the Week: Ethiopian Silver Medalist and Protester Feyisa Lilesa

      A member of the Oromo tribe of Ethiopia, Lilesa made headlines on the final day of the Rio Olympics when he raised his crossed arms in a gesture of solidarity with the Oromo people as he reached the finish line of the men’s marathon. He repeated the pose later during an Olympic ceremony. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 people have been killed and tens of thousands arrested since Nov. 2015, when the Ethiopian government began to forcibly displace Oromo and other people during an effort to develop land around the capital, Addis Ababa.

    • Airline pilots arrested on alcohol charge at Glasgow Airport

      Two airline pilots were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol as they prepared to fly from Glasgow Airport to New York.

      The United Airlines pilots, aged 35 and 45, were detained by police ahead of the 09:00 flight on Saturday.

    • Pilots arrested in UK over alcohol concern

      Two pilots were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol as they prepared to fly a transatlantic passenger jet from Scotland to the US.

      Concerns were reportedly raised over the pilots before the 9am United Airlines UA162 flight to Newark, New Jersey, was due to depart from Glasgow Airport on Saturday.

    • Police brutality against Blacks: ‘Changes in the air thanks to videotape & social media’

      Black Americans have had problems with police brutality in each generation. The difference now is the introduction of technologies that allow victims to pursue justice in a court of law, said Roland Martin, host and Managing Editor of TV One’s ‘News One Now’.

      Fifty one years ago, it was legal for African-Americans to be treated as second-class citizens in the United States of America. During the Jim Crow era African-Americans were prohibited from attending the same schools as the Whites, using the same restrooms, same restaurants and from drinking out of the same water fountains as white Americans. Now in 2016, segregation is no longer legal. But since the Jim Crow era ended it seems practices have been put into place to ensure African-Americans aren’t given a fair chance to succeed in the US.

      RT America correspondent Ashlee Banks focuses on issues related to the black community in the United States and discusses them with experts.

    • Colin Kaepernick Is Righter Than You Know: The National Anthem Is a Celebration of Slavery

      Before a preseason game on Friday, San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. When he explained why, he only spoke about the present: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. … There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

      Twitter then went predictably nuts, with at least one 49er fan burning Kaepernick’s jersey.

      Almost no one seems to be aware that even if the U.S. were a perfect country today it would be bizarre to expect African American players to stand for the Star Spangled Banner. Why? Because it literally celebrates the murder of African Americans.

    • Slavery: memory and afterlives

      Tomorrow, 23 August 2016, is International Slavery Remembrance Day; yesterday, the UK’s first ever memorial service to the victims of the transatlantic slave trade/African holocaust was held in Trafalgar Square. But what exactly should or can we remember, and why, and what should we ‘do’ with these memories? The forthcoming series of articles will reflect on these questions as they relate to the memory of slavery and the different conversations that can be had about its past and present. But they do not, and cannot, provide the answer to these questions, for there is no simple or single answer.

    • The living legacy of Emmett Till’s casket

      A casket is an unusual item to display in a museum. Most people visit museums not to dwell on death but to learn about what people did while alive. But there are times when a person’s death itself leaves an impact on history. Such is the case of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old from Chicago who was tortured and murdered by white supremacists in Mississippi on Aug. 28, 1955.

      Many Americans do not remember Till as a carefree, smiling teen but as a brutally disfigured civil rights martyr. Once a person has seen Till’s disfigured face inside his casket, it is impossible to forget.

      That’s why the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will open in Washington, D.C., next month, will feature Till’s casket among its exhibits. The display will give visitors to the museum the opportunity to hear an audio recording of Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, tell her son’s story and why she decided to shake up the civil rights movement by holding an open casket viewing and showing the world just how brutally Blacks were treated in America.

      A year before Till was killed while visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, the U.S. Supreme Court in its Brown v. Board of Education decision overturned the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling, holding that its doctrine of “separate but equal” was in fact unconstitutional.

    • Abu Zubaydah: Torture’s ‘Poster Child’

      Last week, Abu Zubaydah, who has been imprisoned at Guantanamo for 14 years without being charged with a crime, appeared for the first time before the U.S. military Periodic Review Board, which determines whether Guantanamo detainees will continue to be held as “enemy combatants.”

      Zubaydah argued he should be released because he has “no desire or intent to harm the United States or any other country.” During his hearing, Zubaydah also said he had been tortured by the CIA, an allegation confirmed by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report. The U.S. government maintains he is an enemy combatant.

    • Readers Think. Thinkers Read. – by Ralph Nader

      Here are my recommended books to read for the late summer holidays.

    • Journalist ‘Worried’ Next President May Order Assassination of WikiLeaks Founder

      ​As Jake Sullivan points out in his chilling opinion piece titled “Why I’m Worried America’s Next President Will Kill Assange,” the sentiment expressed by Beckel far from being an exaggerated response of anger has recently become part of the mainstream political discourse in the United States.

      The author points to a new narrative, budding primarily from the Hillary campaign but expressed by think tanks and defense analysts throughout the country that “Russia Weaponized WikiLeaks to Disrupt the US Election” and various derivative forms of the conspiracy theory that Julian Assange is an anti-Hillary agent of Putin.

      Assange for himself explained that he would gladly post damaging material on Donald Trump, but with the caveat that “we would have a hard time publishing something worse than what comes out of his mouth every second day.”

      [...]

      “Trump has indicated his treatment of an extradited Assange or Snowden would be severely harsh,” explained Sullivan. “Snowden, in particular, would be assassinated if Trump had his way. I can only shiver imagining how a President Trump would react to a major leak from the inner chambers of his new political empire.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Non-U.S. Universities with .edu Domain Names: They’re More Common Than You Might Think

      We were curious to see how many 2nd-level dot edu domains (including grandfathered edus) actually map to non-US IP address space. This may be of some practical importance since often people forget that users coming from legacy dot edu domains may not be from the United States.

      Now obviously, a non-US university could elect to host their domain in US address space, or a US university could choose to host their domain in non-US address space, but for the most part we’d expect to see US universities in US IP address space, and international universities in non-US address space.

      So can we identify dot edu domains that are hosted outside the US? It turns out that yes, yes we can.

    • ‘MegaMIMO 2.0’ wireless routers work together to triple bandwidth and double range [Ed: Runs Linux]

      Some enterprising researchers have found a way to make those routers work together, though. Dina Katabi and her team at MIT”s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory call it MegaMIMO 2.0, and they claim some pretty serious improvements: three times better data transfer speeds and doubled range.

      “In today’s wireless world, you can’t solve spectrum crunch by throwing more transmitters at the problem, because they will all still be interfering with one another,” said MIT grad student and lead author Ezzeldin Hamed. “The answer is to have all those access points work with each other simultaneously to efficiently use the available spectrum.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Library of Congress Might Become a Piracy Hub, RIAA Warns

        The U.S. Copyright Office is considering expanding the mandatory deposit requirement for publishers, so that record labels would also have to submit their online-only music to the Library of Congress. The Library would then allow the public to access the music. The RIAA, however, warns that this plan introduces some serious piracy concerns.

      • Commissioner Oettinger is about to turn EU copyright reform into another ACTA

        Instead, Commissioner Oettinger has let the publishing, film and music industries hijack the reform in an attempt to protect old business models from progress – at a tragic cost to freedom of creativity and expression on the internet, startups’ right to innovate and the cause of a Europe without digital borders.

The United States Has Gotten Over Software Patents

Sunday 28th of August 2016 08:04:18 AM

The very home (or origin) of software patents is finally breaking up with them

Summary: A roundup of new articles about software patents in the United States, 2 years into the post-Alice era (the US Supreme Court deeming patents on software too abstract to have merit)

WE are very pleased to see the USPTO (and also GAO) recognising that patent quality truly counts. The EPO under Battistelli treats quality control as a nuisance, which is a terrible mistake. A lot of people publicly acknowledge right now that software patents are somewhat of a “thing of the past”, even if few of these still trickle in past the examiners (later to be properly scrutinised by PTAB and/or the courts, whereupon there’s a reversal). Jakob Schnaidt, writing for MIP, said this: “In the early 1960s, patent practice was quiet and inventors often faced a hostile environment.” Nowadays, by contrast, “patent practices” take over the system (they write patent law by proxy), tax everything, and inventors face a hostile environment full of patent trolls and fear. Which way — or status quo — will we be better off with? Remember that back in the 1960s there was software but no software patents. In fact, back then FOSS (Free/Open Source software) was the norm; people openly shared source code and didn’t keep it secret. It didn’t work too badly, did it? A lot of software innovation happened around that time, arguably more so than today. Magazines used to publish source code (e.g. for compression) and there was no atmosphere of fear over patent lawsuits in the field of software.

“Remember that back in the 1960s there was software but no software patents.”An industry full of (or rife with) patent lawyers is certainly good for “patent practices” but not for developers. An article which was mentioned here before but reposted/revisited by MIP over the weekend compares the situation in Japan to that of the US. “As Suntory and Asahi settle their patent dispute over non-alcoholic beer,” says the summary, “John A Tessensohn surveys the state of litigation in Japan, and compares it with the United States” (spoiler alert: there’s a paywall).

Japan is arguably the only country in which software patents are potent, other than the United States (which is moving away from them anyway). There are a few other east Asian countries where software patents stand a chance, but then again, quality control there is virtually non-existent. Consider SIPO in China for instance…

Looking at some recent patent news from the US, Cioffi, which was mentioned here before, uses software patents against Google. Cioffi does this in the Eastern District of Texas, the capital of patent trolls where courts advertise themselves as plaintiff-friendly. The US Supreme Court might eventually weigh in (latest reports on the case suggest that the software patents might somehow reach SCOTUS), potentially reaffirming its position on Alice. As one writer put it: “Central to the decision was the court’s interpretation of two of the claims that Cioffi had made in the patents pertaining to a “web browser process” and a “critical file.” While Cioffi’s lawyers maintained that the terms as defined in the claim were narrow and specific in scope, Google argued that there were no common definitions for these terms on which to base an infringement claim.”

After Alice these patents are not likely to survive. Cioffi is wasting its time and money and once it leaves the crooked courts of the Eastern District of Texas it doesn’t stand a chance. These patents are far too abstract and broad, as Google already points out.

“Sadly for lawyers, in order to win cases they need to do more than just call patents “medical” or “health” (to convince judges).”Revisiting MIP, there are a couple of new articles about PTAB’s fourth anniversary [1, 2]. “Covered business method (CBM) proceedings have lost some of their appeal recently,” says one article. The same goes for software patents and “two recent interesting ITC decisions involving PTAB proceedings,” as the latter article puts it, further reaffirming this (see the statistics presented/charted in the pages). The ITC‘s rejections of software (or abstract) patents were covered here very recently in relation to two cases, not just one. There’s almost no hope left for software patents in the US and vocal patent law firms are fuming. Watchtroll, for instance, is now resorting to ‘medi-washing’ (see “life-saving results” in the headline) of software patents, in an order to make it sound as though if the US doesn’t grant software patents, people will die! These truly pathetic tricks that exploit a perceived dilemma over life — a sort of hostage situation or ransom — just come to show how low Watchtroll would stoop (recall how he mocked PTAB a month ago). As we saw at the EPO’s appeal boards, calling software "device" or "medical" does not make the software patentable. And speaking of software patents on something “medical”, here is a new article titled “What have we learned from four years of digital health patent fights?”

“In 2012,” notes the author, “CardioNet sued several companies, including heart-monitoring company MedTel for allegedly infringing five patents by either selling devices or offering cardiac monitoring services using CardioNet’s software.”

We wrote about this case one year ago (“Healthwashing Patents”). Sadly for lawyers, in order to win cases they need to do more than just call patents “medical” or “health” (to convince judges). As this article notes, even Intellectual Ventures does not bother with the strategy. To quote: “The biggest of these NPEs, Intellectual Ventures, hasn’t filed a single suit in the mobile health space according to the firm’s website, though it has litigated aggressively in the telecom and digital camera spaces since 2012.”

“It’s only now, decades too late, that the US Congress, GAO, courts, ITC, PTAB and even the USPTO (however begrudgingly) acknowledge this was a mistake all along.”Yes, the Microsoft-connected Intellectual Ventures even went after Linux with such patents, as we showed earlier this year and last year. Finally, notes this article, Alice changed everything. To quote: “The judges in those two cases cited a Supreme Court precedent, Alice v CSL Bank. Much older precedents have created a category of inventions that are unpatentable because they constitute an “abstract idea”. Under Alice, a 2014 unanimous decision, the Supreme Court devised a test for whether computer software was a patentable invention or just the application of technology to an unpatentable human process, and therefore an unpatentable abstract idea. Both American Well and Jawbone failed that test.”

Patent law firms will tell us that this is bad news (for “innovation” of course!); so will officials-turned-lobbyists like David Kappos. But the reality is, such patents should never have been granted at all. It’s only now, decades too late, that the US Congress, GAO, courts, ITC, PTAB and even the USPTO (however begrudgingly) acknowledge this was a mistake all along. Better fix the system; better late than never.

More Lies From President Benoît Battistelli and the EPO Crisis Which Continues to Deepen

Sunday 28th of August 2016 06:58:42 AM

“The Member States must decide very quickly if they wish to throw away more than 40 years of success, and replace it with a system that no longer rewards innovation, but instead becomes simply a tool for large corporations to dominate by means of their financial muscle.”

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO), collectively speaking, is still wrestling with a Battistelli infiltration (a circle of high-level managers) which habitually lies and viciously attacks those who dare counter these lies

MANAGEMENT of the EPO is a disaster and the cause of crisis. It has been doing far too much damage to be simply tolerated and taken for granted. More than 2 years since we began coverage of some of the cliquish scandals Battistelli is still in power (having merely broadened his ‘circle’) and his agenda, except the UPC, is still moving forward. Software patents in Europe will be promoted next month in New York [1, 2] because who cares about the EPC, right? These people don’t seem to care about patent quality, not even when the US is itself withdrawing or moving away from software patents (post-Alice). It often seems like the USPTO quickly redeems itself, whereas the EPO goes (or races) in the opposite direction under Battistelli. Have we learned nothing from the mistakes of David Kappos, who is publicly accused this weekend of discarding patent quality?

The EPO has been rather silent for several weeks, probably more so than last year (in spite of summer holidays). It can be seen messaging everyone with dull repetition but slight variation (as if from a set of templates) [1, 2, 3] regarding Battistelli’s next lobbying event. The EPO is now 'spamming' the University of Manchester too (it ‘spams’ quite a few universities to jack up the votes/nominations, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]). Apart from that, there’s nothing which counts as news, just a lot of repetition. The UPC is on the rocks, so there’s nothing to be celebrated. According to this report titled “U.K. Patent Bar Says Country Should Join EU Patent Court” (via), Team UPC has grown rather desperate as short of political mischief the UPC cannot happen in the UK (or anywhere in Europe unless profoundly overhauled). Still, these people are pushing Lucy to ratify the UPC for their own personal gain. This takeover by non-practicing elements led Henrion to stating (to one from Team UPC, his employer) that “upc is not a reform, it is n hostile takeover.” It’s a Battistelli-backed takeover. It would be valuable for large corporations from abroad, not to mention patent trolls from the US.

“Well, the lies of Battistelli are very common and very frequent.”As we already noted here years ago, the UPC would likely make the boards of appeal redundant and despite the fallout (post-Brexit) Battistelli is still punishing the boards. It speaks volumes about his horrible sense of leadership. Responding to an article from the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice, one person in the comments section now notes that Battistelli “has instructed staff to provide preferential treatment to such mega corporations,” as per leaks we published here a year ago. Here is the full comment:

It is encouraging to see a critique of the current situation at the EPO, but it focusses on the situation of the Boards of Appeal, without going into enough detail about the staff conflict, which has major repercussions for the mission of the EPO. The editorial seems to accept that there was a need for “reform” without saying what reform and why. Once on accepts the use of this term, much wielded by the President, it is a very short step to considering it a “good thing”, and that the only difficulty lies in its implementation. This is very far from the truth. The President’s aims since his appointment seem to be to replace the high- standard examination at the EPO, which has contributed so much to the its reputation, and to the rewarding of innovation by small and medium industries, with a registration system, such as prevails in France, which favours mega corporations with deep pockets for litigation. To this end he has instructed staff to provide preferential treatment to such mega corporations, made impossible productivity demands on examiners, and appears to be intent on destroying the Boards of Appeal. The editorial is correct in identifying the weakness of the governance of the EPO by those who benefit financially from it. The President has had no hesitation in exploiting that fact, linking grants to agreement with his agenda, promising that the EPO will pay for “emergency” dental treatment for delegates at AC meetings, etc. In fact he realized from the outset that the only real opposition he was likely to encounter was from the staff, and specifically, the staff union, SUEPO. The resistance of the staff is not linked to salaries and benefits, but rather to the idea that with privilege comes responsibility, and with pride in fulfilling that responsibility by providing a high standard of examination to the benefit of industry. Hence the President has specifically targetted the union, and the staff with a series of repressive measures that would be impossible in any member state, secure in the knowledge that, as the editorial correctly states, staff have little or no recourse to timely justice. He has dismissed or demoted Union officials on trumped-up charges, forbidden strikes, rigged the internal system of appeals, and done away with almost all of the feeble safeguards available to staff. Indeed the ATILO itself has expressed extreme disquiet at the overwhelming workload generated, to the extent that it is threatening to expel the EPO.

The editorial is right to say that something must be done. A reputation is built over many years, but can be destroyed quickly and is slow to be recovered. Already experienced staff are leaving in droves, and recruitment criteria are being greatly lowered. The Member States must decide very quickly if they wish to throw away more than 40 years of success, and replace it with a system that no longer rewards innovation, but instead becomes simply a tool for large corporations to dominate by means of their financial muscle.

As long as Battistelli demolishes patent quality at the EPO there is an uncertain future for the Office. NPOs (national patent offices) might turn out to be the better route in all cases, thus jeopardising everything that the EPC stood for. In the EPO’s own words (a couple of days ago): “To get protection in just a few countries, applying for national patents may be best” (under Battistelli it may be best under all circumstances).

Another comment said: “In the Administrative Council every member-state has the same level of voting power. One possible solution might be that there will be a different weight added to the vote of a member-state.” As readers may recall, the EPO’s President is rumoured to be ‘buying’ votes of small countries. He is also lying to Administrative Council delegates in order for them to support his unpopular proposals, including the crushing of the appeal boards.

In light of the recent coverage from Bernhard Lohr (not Katja Riedel or other colleagues), as well as an article about Haar for which a translation is still needed, one person published the following comment:

From the text of the reform concerning the relocation of the boards:

“in Germany, it was decided to separate the former boards of appeal administratively and physically from the German Patent and Trademark Office, as the new Federal Patent Court, in order to reinforce their independence.”

Actually, the trade mark department of the DPMA is in the same building as the Bundespatentgericht.

It is surprising that at least the German representative in the AC did not point out this lie of Battistelli. May be he will get a post as vice president or as the president of the boards in the near future.

Well, the lies of Battistelli are very common and very frequent. We pointed out some lies of his just a few days ago. Those who have the courage to question him and his lies are punished severely, so the record is rarely corrected from within. From September onwards we plan to accelerate coverage of the EPO. There is still a lot of ‘dirty laundry’ or skeletons in Battistelli’s closet.

Links 27/8/2016: Torvalds and GPL, “DOD Must Embrace Open-Source Software”

Saturday 27th of August 2016 07:41:27 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Are You a Linux Expert?
    • Common hardware causes Windows 10 Anniversary Update crashes, again

      Microsoft’s Anniversary Update is causing headaches yet again, this time for owners of Kindle e-readers. Some Kindle Paperwhite and Voyager devices are causing PCs running the Anniversary update to lock up and display the dreaded blue screen of death (BSOD) whenever the e-readers are connected via USB, as first reported by The Guardian.

      The reason for this odd behavior is unclear, but Microsoft says it’s working on it.

      “We are aware of an issue with a small number of Kindle Voyager and Paperwhite e-Readers causing an unexpected behavior when plugged into Windows 10 devices after installing the Anniversary Update,” Microsoft said on its support forums.

      The impact on you at home: For now, there isn’t a solid workaround for anyone who’s experiencing this problem. Some users are reporting, however, that leaving the Kindle plugged in to the PC while rebooting will allow them to use the Kindle normally and transfer files. Rebooting the PC and plugging the Kindle back in again just causes another lock-up.

  • Kernel Space
    • World Wide Web became what it is thanks to Linux

      Linux is used to power the largest websites on the Internet, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and Wikipedia.

    • SFC’s Kuhn in firing line as Linus Torvalds takes aim

      A few days after he mused that there had been no reason for him to blow his stack recently, Linux creator Linus Torvalds has directed a blast at the Software Freedom Conservancy and its distinguished technologist Bradley Kuhn over the question of enforcing compliance of the GNU General Public Licence.

      Torvalds’ rant came on Friday, as usual on a mailing list and on a thread which was started by Software Freedom Conservancy head Karen Sandler on Wednesday last week. She suggested that Linuxcon in Toronto, held from Monday to Thursday, also include a session on GPL enforcement.

    • Linux at 25: A pictorial history

      Aug. 25 marks the 25th anniversary of Linux, the free and open source operating system that’s used around the globe in smarphones, tablets, desktop PCs, servers, supercomputers, and more. Though its beginnings were humble, Linux has become the world’s largest and most pervasive open source software project in history. How did it get here? Read on for a look at some of the notable events along the way.

    • Microsoft at LinuxCon: Building Open Source Cred One Conference at a Time [Ed: Wim Coekaerts received just one salary from Microsoft and now he’s being painted as “Microsoft”, which still attacks Linux. Microsoft is just purchasing the illusion that it is loved by Linux and vice versa.]

      Coekaerts came to Microsoft after some off campus meetings at a Redmond area Starbucks with Scott Guthrie and Mike Neil, two vice presidents with the cloud and enterprise group, who convinced him that “open source is very important to Microsoft.”

    • How Cloud Native Computing Is Evolving

      “Cloud native” is a relatively new term that isn’t particularly well understood, but the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) aims to change that.

      At the Cloud Native Day here following LinuxCon, Dan Kohn, CNCF executive director (pictured), detailed what his organization does and how the cloud native approach is now evolving.

      The CNCF was formed in July 2015, as an effort to help unify and define the Cloud Native era. Kohn started off his keynote with a brief history of the cloud and the movement of workloads from physical servers.

    • Making Use Of eBPF In The Mainline Linux Kernel

      One of the exciting innovations within the Linux kernel in the past few years has been extending the Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) to become a more generalized in-kernel virtual machine. The eBPF work with recent versions of the Linux kernel allow it to be used by more than just networking so that these programs can be used for tracing, security, and more.

    • Linux turns 25 with a brilliant history

      Chances are, you use it every day. Linux runs every Android phone and tablet on Earth. And even if you’re on an iPhone or a Mac or a Windows machine, Linux is working behind the scenes, across the Internet, serving up most of the webpages you view and powering most of the apps you use. Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Wikipedia—it’s all running on Linux.

      Now, Linux is finding its way onto televisions, thermostats, and even cars. As software creeps into practically every aspect of our lives, so does the OS designed by Linus Torvalds.

    • Linus Torvalds says GPL was defining factor in Linux’s success

      Linus Torvalds and Dirk Hohndel, vice president and chief of open source at VMware, discussed the role that GNU GPL played in the success of Linux during a keynote conversation this week at LinuxCon NA in Toronto.

      Hohndel, who has been involved with the kernel for a very long time, said that during the past 25 years there have been many challenges, and one of the biggest challenges was the possibility of fragmentation. “How do we keep one single kernel?” he asked.

      “I used to be worried about fragmentation, and I used to think that it was inevitable at some point,” said Torvalds. “Everyone was looking at the history of Linux and comparing it with UNIX. People would say that it’s going to fail because it’s going to fragment. That’s what happened before, so why even bother?”

      What made the difference was the license. “FSF [Free Software Foundation] and I don’t have a loving relationship, but I love GPL v2,” said Torvalds. “I really think the license has been one of the defining factors in the success of Linux because it enforced that you have to give back, which meant that the fragmentation has never been something that has been viable from a technical standpoint.”

    • Graphics Stack
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • Bodhi Updates, KaOS & Antergos Reviews, Another 25?

        Today in Linux news, Jeff Hoogland posted a short update on the progress of Bodhi Linux 4.0 and reported on the updates to the project’s donations page. In other news, An Everyday Linux User reviewed Arch-based Antergos Linux saying it was “decent” and Ubuntu-fan Jack Wallen reviewed “beautiful” KDE-centric KaOS. makeuseof.com has five reasons to switch to the Ubuntu phone and Brian Fagioli asked if Linux can survive another 25 years.

      • Rescatux 0.40 beta 9 released

        Many code in the grub side and in the windows registry side has been rewritten so that these new features could be rewritten. As a consequence it will be easier to maintain Rescapp.

        Finally the chntpw based options which modify the Windows registry now perform a backup of the Windows registry files in the unlikely case you want to undo some of the changes that Rescapp performs.

        I guess that in the future there will be a feature to be able to restore such backups from Rescapp itself, but, let’s focus on releasing an stable release. It’s been a while since the last one.

        UEFI feedback is still welcome. Specially if the Debian installation disks work for you but not the Rescatux ones.

      • Bodhi 4.0.0 Updates and July Donation Totals

        Late last month I posted a first alpha look at Bodhi 4.0.0. Work since then has been coming along slowly due to a few unpredictable issues and my own work schedule outside of Bodhi being hectic over the summer. Bodhi 4.0.0 will be happening, but likely not with a stable release until September. I am traveling again this weekend, but am hoping to get out a full alpha release with 32bit and non-PAE discs next week.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts
    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the Weeks 2016/34

        Time seems to be flying, it feels like I only just wrote review of week 33 and now week 34 is already over again. A perfect moment to look back what the three snapshots (0818, 0820 and 0822) offered us.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat Virtualisation 4 woos VMware faithful

        It is easy for a virtual machine user to feel left out these days, what with containers dominating the discussion of how to run applications at scale. But take heart, VM fans: Red Hat hasn’t forgotten about you.

        Red Hat Virtualisation (RHV) 4.0 refreshes Red Hat’s open source virtualisation platform with new technologies from the rest of Red Hat’s product line. It is a twofold strategy to consolidate Red Hat’s virtualisation efforts across its various products and to ramp up the company’s intention to woo VMware customers.

      • Forbes Names Red Hat One of the World’s Most Innovative Companies

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced it has been named to Forbes’ “World’s Most Innovative Companies” list. Red Hat was ranked as the 25th most innovative company in the world, marking the company’s fourth appearance on the list (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Red Hat was named to Forbes’ “World’s Most Innovative Growth Companies” list in 2011.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • When creating updates remember to build for rawhide and Fedora 25 (devel)

          When ever we branch for a new release of Fedora I, and others, end up spending a non trivial amount of time ensuring that there’s a clean upgrade path for packages. From the moment we branch you need to build new versions and bug fixes of packages for rawhide (currently what will become Fedora 26), for the current stabilising release (what will become Fedora 25) as well as what ever stable releases you need to push the fix for. For rawhide you don’t need to submit it as an update but for the current release that’s stabilising you do need to submit it as an update as it won’t just automagically get tagged into the release.

          As a packager you should know this, it’s been like it for a VERY LONG TIME! Yet each cycle from the moment of branching right through to when a new release goes GA I still end up having to fix packages that “get downgraded” when people upgrade between releases!!

    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • 5 Reasons to Switch to Ubuntu Phone

            You’ve had Android phones, and you’ve had iPhones. Buying a smartphone for most people is a polarized, A/B choice. And for some, the experience of choosing a new phone is becoming… jaded.

            You might think that Android and iOS have the mobile market sewn up, but what if I was to tell you that you don’t need to look at Windows 10 Mobile or BlackBerry as alternatives? Various others are available, but perhaps the most impressive of them all is the Ubuntu Phone, which uses the Ubuntu Touch platform, and can be found on devices such as the Meizu Pro 5.

          • Ubuntu Linux 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Beta 1 now available for download (don’t talk back)

            Linux celebrated a 25th birthday yesterday — a spectacular open source milestone. For some folks, rather than eat cake, they reflected on how the kernel impacted their lives. For many, Ubuntu would be a big part of the picture — the desktop OS is wildly popular in the Linux community.

            Today, the first beta of Ubuntu Linux 16.10 sees release. Once again, a silly animal name is assigned, this time being the letter “Y” for the horned mammal, “Yakkety Yak”. This is obviously a play on the classic song “Yakety Yak” by The Coasters. Please be sure not to “talk back” while testing this beta operating system!

            “Pre-releases of the Yakkety Yak are not encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu flavor developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting and fixing bugs as we work towards getting this bos grunniens ready. Beta 1 includes a number of software updates that are ready for wider testing. These images are still under development, so you should expect some bugs”, says Set Hallström, Ubuntu Studio project lead.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • How Google Does Open Source

    Marc Merlin has been working as an engineer at Google since 2002 and has seen (and done) a lot of open source and Linux work during that time. Speaking at the LinuxCon North America event this week, Merlin provided a standing room only audience with an overview how Google uses and contributes to open source.

    “Google wouldn’t be around today without open source software,” Merlin said.

  • ownCloud-Forked Nextcloud 10 Now Available
  • Secure, Monitor and Control your data with Nextcloud 10 – get it now!

    Nextcloud 10 is now available with many new features for system administrators to control and direct the flow of data between users on a Nextcloud server. Rule based file tagging and responding to these tags as well as other triggers like physical location, user group, file properties and request type enables administrators to specifically deny access to, convert, delete or retain data following business or legal requirements. Monitoring, security, performance and usability improvements complement this release, enabling larger and more efficient Nextcloud installations. You can get it on our install page or read on for details.

  • What makes a great Open Source project?

    Recently the Document Foundation has published its annual report for the year 2015. You can download it as a pdf by following this link, and you can now even purchase a paper copy of the report. This publication gives me the opportunity to talk a bit about what I think makes a great FOSS project and what I understand may be a great community.

    If it is possible to see this topic as something many people already went over and over again, think again: Free & Open Source Software is seen as having kept and even increased its momentum these past few years, with many innovative companies developing and distributing software licensed under a Free & Open Source license from the very beginning. This trend indicates two important points: FOSS is no longer something you can automagically use as a nice tag slapped on a commodity software; and FOSS projects cannot really be treated as afterthoughts or “nice-to-haves”. Gone are the days where many vendors could claim to be sympathetic and even supportive to FOSS but only insofar as their double-digits forecasted new software solution would not be affected by a cumbersome “community of developers”. Innovation relies on, starts with, runs thanks to FOSS technologies and practices. One question is to wonder what comes next. Another one is to wonder why Open Source is still seen as a complex maze of concepts and practices by so many in the IT industry. This post will try to address one major difficulty of FOSS: why do some projects fail while others succeed.

  • Events
    • First FSFE Summit Will Focus on Social Issues and Strategies

      Free Software advocates from all over Europe will be meeting in Berlin Sept. 2-4 at the first ever Free Software Foundation Europe’s summit.

      This 2016 event, besides being long overdue, also marks 15 years since the creation of the FSFE. Throughout its history, the FSFE has had its fair share of landmark achievements. It has been instrumental in a successful antitrust-case against a big software corporation that intended to dominate the market of personal computers. It managed to keep software patents unenforceable in Europe, thereby avoiding a veritable apocalypse for European small and medium-sized tech companies. And, it worked alongside gpl-violations.org to get free licenses vindicated in German courts, setting ground-breaking precedents for the whole of the EU.

      One of the main missions of the Free Software community in general, and the FSFE in particular, is to put users back into the driver’s seat, so that people control technology and not the other way around. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it would likely not be an exaggeration to say that the FSFE has transformed the foundations of IT in Europe and that it has had a deep impact on anybody who has used a computer, a smartphone, or a tablet in the last decade or so.

  • BSD
  • Public Services/Government
    • Report: DOD must embrace open-source software

      The Defense Department increasingly relies on software for everything from weapons systems to accounting, but it is failing to capitalize on the power of open-source software, according to a report from the Center for a New American Security.

      In “Open Source Software and the Department of Defense,” CNAS argues that a number of cultural factors, biases and regulatory barriers are keeping DOD from embracing open-source options.

      “Unfortunately, software development is not currently a high-profile, high-priority topic in the discussion about diminishing U.S. military technical superiority,” the report states. “It should be.”

      Industry relies heavily on open-source software with great success, and DOD’s continued reliance on proprietary code is more expensive, slows innovation and puts America’s warfighters at greater risk, according to CNAS.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Black Women Do Breastfeed, Despite Intense Systemic Barriers in the US

      The movement to normalize breastfeeding in this country has generated positive results, but a racial gap in breastfeeding rates persists. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 79 percent of all newborn infants in the US started out breastfeeding in 2011. That is good news for both babies and mothers, as breastfeeding yields significant health benefits, such as a lower risk of asthma and childhood leukemia for children, and a lower risk of gynecological cancers and osteoporosis for mothers. But the data suggest that US mothers require more support in order to continue breastfeeding. Among US-born children in 2011, only 49 percent were still breastfeeding at six months; and at 12 months, only 27 percent of those babies were still breastfeeding. For Black mothers and their babies, support needs are greater, as Black women’s rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration are significantly lower than the US average.

    • EPA’s Inaction Made Way for Lead Poisoning in Children, Lawsuit Claims

      Environmental justice and public health groups are demanding that the federal government update regulations and expand efforts to protect young children from lead poisoning, which can cause irreversible cognitive and behavioral problems and tends to be more common in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

      In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, a coalition of groups asked a federal court in California to mandate that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) update its standards for assessing dangerous levels of lead dust on surfaces in homes and residential buildings, especially those built before 1978, when regulators began restricting the amount of lead in lead-based paints.

      In 2009, the EPA granted a citizens’ petition to update its lead dust standards and agreed to initiate rulemaking proceedings, after new scientific evidence showed that existing standards were inadequate for protecting children from lead poisoning. However, seven years have passed and the agency has yet to set new rules.

    • Slamming ‘Absurd’ US Healthcare, Sanders Backs Single-Payer in Colorado

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) this week endorsed a Colorado ballot measure that would create single-payer healthcare in the state, urging his supporters to rally around the amendment and stating, “If that proposal can win in Colorado, I believe that idea will spread around the country.”

      “It is absurd, it is beyond belief, that here in America we remain the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people,” Sanders said at an event in Vermont on Wednesday, where he offered his official endorsement.

      As the Denver Post reports, Colorado Amendment 69—known colloquially as ColoradoCare—would create a universal healthcare system funded by payroll taxes that would largely replace private health insurance. People could still choose to keep their own, although they would still be required to pay the tax.

    • Bernie Sanders endorses ColoradoCare universal health care measure

      Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has formally endorsed the Colorado ballot measure to create a universal health care system in the state.

      At an event in Vermont on Wednesday launching his new political organization, called Our Revolution, Sanders singled out Colorado’s Amendment 69 — also known as ColoradoCare — as something his supporters should rally behind.

    • In Zika-Gripped Florida, Concerns Mount Over Insecticide Use—and Efficacy

      Not only is the anti-Zika aerial insecticide spraying program raising health concerns in Florida and beyond, but the high-rise landscape in Miami Beach may be making such campaigns ineffective, to boot.

      Weeks ago, as mosquitoes carrying the disease became resistant to a less-potent pesticide, Miami-Dade County turned to the more controversial naled, which the Miami Herald noted is “toxic not just to the noxious flying parasites, but also to beneficial insects like honey bees, as well as birds, some fish—and people.”

    • Is insecticide sprayed to fight Zika a risk for people and wildlife?

      Faced with the need to quickly kill hard-to-reach mosquitoes spreading the Zika virus through Wynwood, Miami-Dade County has turned to a controversial pesticide that’s toxic not just to the noxious flying parasites, but also to beneficial insects like honey bees, as well as birds, some fish — and people.

    • The ADHD Epidemic: Smart Drugs and the Control of Bodies and Minds

      Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which has seen massive recent increases in diagnosis since 2000, is defined as a difficulty in paying attention, restlessness, and hyperactivity. By 2010, nearly one in three US children age 2-17 had been diagnosed as suffering ADHD, and by 2012, diagnoses of ADHD had risen 66% in the prior decade. Ballooning rates of diagnosis for ADHD have been met with unprecedented levels of medical prescriptions principally for the amphetamine pharmaceutical drugs Adderall and Ritalin. By 2011 11% of all US children 4-17 were diagnosed with ADHD and 6.1% were taking ADHD drugs and an estimated 8% to 35% of university students in the US using cognitive stimulants. Boys are diagnosed at nearly three times the rate as girls. About 80% of those children diagnosed with ADHD are using these medications. Children below the poverty line are diagnosed at higher rates especially poor toddlers.

  • Security
    • OpenSSL 1.1.0 released
    • Security advisories for Friday
    • Openwall 3.1-20160824 is out

      New Openwall GNU/*/Linux ISO images and OpenVZ container templates are out.

    • Scorpene Leak Could Be Part Of ‘Economic War,’ Says French Maker: 10 Facts

      The leak, was first reported in The Australian newspaper. Ship maker DCNS has a nearly 38 billion dollar contract with Australia, but the leak has no mention of the 12 vessels being designed for Australia.

    • Homeland Security has ‘open investigation’ into Leslie Jones hacking

      The Department of Homeland Security is investigating the cyberattack against Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones one day after her personal information and explicit images were leaked online.

      In a short statement on Thursday, a spokesperson for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said that the Homeland Security investigations unit in New York “has an open investigation into this matter”.

      “As a matter of agency policy and in order to protect the integrity of an ongoing investigation, we will not disclose any details,” the statement said.

      “As a matter of agency policy, we are unable to disclose any information related to an active investigation,” a spokeswoman said.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • The US: A Dead Nation Walking

      It is my conclusion that Washington is aware of the constraint that the desire for Western acceptance puts on the Russian government and that this is why Washington, in a direct thrust at Russia, was comfortable orchestrating the coup that overthrew the elected Ukrainian government. I believe that this constraint also explains the mistakes the Russian government made by refusing the requests of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics to be reincorporated as parts of Russia, where the territories formerly resided, and by the premature withdrawal from Syria that allowed Washington to resupply the jihadists and to insert US forces into the conflict, thus complicating the situation for Russia and Syria.

    • The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives up on Empire

      The main architect of Washington’s plan to rule the world has abandoned the scheme and called for the forging of ties with Russia and China. While Zbigniew Brzezinski’s article in The American Interest titled “Towards a Global Realignment” has largely been ignored by the media, it shows that powerful members of the policymaking establishment no longer believe that Washington will prevail in its quest to extent US hegemony across the Middle East and Asia.

    • Russia’s Misplayed Hand with Iran

      Iran’s annoyance that Russia over-played its hand in going public about its use of an Iranian airbase shows the risk of offending potential allies, a lesson that U.S. officials also need to learn, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • The High Cost of American Hubris

      Although renowned political scientist John Mearsheimer does not consider himself to be an isolationist – a term which has acquired a negative connotation since WWII – his definition is illuminating as much for clarifying what the term does not mean as for what it does.

      In America Unhinged, Mearsheimer writes: “Isolationism rests on the assumption that no region of the world outside of the Western Hemisphere is of vital strategic importance to the United States. Isolationists do not argue that America has no interests in the wider world, just that they are not important enough to justify deploying military force to defend them. They are fully in favor of engaging with the rest of the world economically as well as diplomatically, but they view all foreign wars as unnecessary.”

    • Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Others Condemn ‘Coup’ in Brazil

      Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Susan Sarandon, Arundhati Roy, and 17 other human rights activists, intellectuals, and public figures on Wednesday sent a letter to the Brazilian government condemning the impeachment of the country’s President Dilma Rousseff, and demanding that Brazil’s senate “respect the October 2014 electoral process which over 100 million people took part in.”

      [...]

      “The impeachment—labeled a coup by many Brazilians—has generated outrage and frequent protests in Brazil,” Mendonça adds.

      “We stand in solidarity with our fellow artists and with all those fighting for democracy and justice throughout Brazil,” the letter says, adding that “Brazil has only emerged from dictatorship some 30 years ago and these events could set back the country’s progress towards social and economic inclusion by decades.”

      Rousseff’s removal would end 13 years of Workers’ Party rule, as Common Dreams reported, and bring about the confirmation of “the unelected, right-of-center Temer” as president until 2018, the rest of Rousseff’s term.

    • Saudi-Led Bombing Kills 11 Civilians in Yemen, While Kerry Ignores US ‘Complicity’

      Another Saudi-led coalition airstrike in northern Yemen killed 11 civilians on Friday—only one day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Saudi Arabia, purportedly to urge Saudi King Salman to seek a “political solution” to the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing campaign in Yemen.

      And despite Kerry’s words about seeking peace in Yemen, the U.S. continues to supply Saudi Arabia with weapons that have been used to kill civilians in that country.

    • Saudi-Led Airstrikes Reportedly Kill 11 Civilians in Yemen

      Airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition in northern Yemen killed 11 civilians, including women and children, Yemen’s rebel-run news agency said Friday.

      The overnight attack in the city of Saada, a stronghold of the Shiite rebels known as Houthis, came as Iran’s foreign minister dismissed claims from Saudi Arabia that his country had supplied Yemen’s rebels with missiles.

      U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on a visit to Saudi Arabia the previous day, said he was “deeply troubled” over Saudi photographs showing Iranian-supplied missiles being positioned along the Saudi-Yemeni border. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said such statements were “baseless accusations.”

    • What Makes a Hate Group?

      “As a matter of fact, you have had a person attend your protests in Camp Douglas who has threatened to kill our Deputies.” This piece of startling news was revealed to me in a letter from Juneau County, Wisconsin, Undersheriff Craig Stuchlik dated July 25.

      I had written to the sheriff’s department requesting documents under the Open Records Law and for an explanation of the department’s response to a demonstration at Volk Field, a Wisconsin Air National Guard base near the town of Camp Douglas, where my colleague at Voices for Creative Nonviolence Kathy Kelly and I had been arrested onFebruary 23, carrying a loaf of bread and a letter for the base commander. There is a facility at this base where military personnel are trained in the operation of remotely controlled Shadow Drones that have been instrumental in the targeted assassination program that legal experts label war crimes and that military experts say recruit more enemies for our country than they kill.

      Undersheriff Stuchlik put this purported threat into a broader context that suggests that the sheriff’s department views Voices for Creative Nonviolence and the Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars that organizes these demonstrations as hate groups: “Law Enforcement Officers are being targeted in the United States by hate groups because they stand for law and order. Law Enforcement Officers are being executed by these hate groups at an alarming rate and it does not appear to be slowing down.”

    • Pundits, Decrying the Horrors of War in Aleppo, Demand Expanded War

      The devastating photo of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh sitting in an ambulance after his home was bombed in Syrian or Russian air strikes has amped up calls for direct US military intervention against the Syrian government. The now-viral photo of Omran—and the broader siege of east Aleppo—was prominently featured in most major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and several other publications. CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News all ran stories on the photo, and editorial boards and pundits weighed in as well, with several insisting that President Obama must “do something” to stop the suffering of the Syrian people.

      According to the Chicago Tribune editorial board, State Department officials “sent a cable to Obama, urging stronger military action against Syrian government forces. They suggested that could include cruise missiles and ‘targeted airstrikes.’ That’s what we mean by leverage, of a sort Putin would comprehend.”

      In The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof wrote (in response to the siege of Aleppo, but before the photo went viral): “Many experts recommend trying to ground Syria’s Air Force so it can no longer drop barrel bombs on hospitals and civilians. One oft-heard idea is to fire missiles from outside Syria to crater military runways to make them unusable.”

      And on Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough proclaimed: “Inaction by the United States and the West and the world is not only responsible for this [holding up the Omran image] and 500,000 deaths, it’s responsible for those images of those Syrian refugees, the little boy we saw washed up on the beach…. The world will look back. Save your hand-wringing…you can still do something right now. But nothing’s been done.”

    • How Veterans Are Losing the War at Home

      Among the prime movers in our corporatized politics are undoubtedly the two billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, and their cozy network of secret donors. It’s hard to grasp how rich they really are: they rank fifth (David) and sixth (Charles) on Business Insider’s list of the 50 richest people in the world, but if you pool their wealth they become by far the single richest “individual” on the planet. And they have pals. For decades now they’ve hosted top-secret gatherings of their richest collaborators that sometimes also feature dignitaries like Clarence Thomas or the late Antonin Scalia, two of the Supreme Court Justices who gave them the Citizens United decision, suffocating American democracy in plutocratic dollars. That select donor group had reportedly planned to spend at least $889 million on this year’s elections and related political projects, but recent reports note a scaling back and redirection of resources.

      While the contest between Trump and Clinton fills the media, the big money is evidently going to be aimed at selected states and municipalities to aid right-wing governors, Senate candidates, congressional representatives, and in some cities, ominously enough, school board candidates. The Koch brothers need not openly support the embarrassing Trump, for they’ve already proved that, by controlling Congress, they can significantly control the president, as they have already done in the Obama era.

      Yet for all their influence, the Koch name means nothing, pollsters report, to more than half of the U.S. population. In fact, the brothers Koch largely stayed under the radar until recent years when their roles as polluters, campaigners against the environment, and funders of a new politics came into view. Thanks to Robert Greenwald’s film Koch Brothers Exposed and Jane Mayer’s book Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, we now know a lot more about them, but not enough.

      They’ve always been ready to profit off America’s wars. Despite their extreme neo-libertarian goal of demonizing and demolishing government, they reportedly didn’t hesitate to pocket about $170 million as contractors for George W. Bush’s wars. They sold fuel (oil is their principal business) to the Defense Department, and after they bought Georgia Pacific, maker of paper products, they supplied that military essential: toilet paper.

      But that was small potatoes compared to what happened when soldiers came home from the wars and fell victim to the profiteering of corporate America. Dig in to the scams exploiting veterans, and once again you’ll run into the Koch brothers.

    • Colombia: Peace in the Shadow of the Death Squads

      As the Colombian government and left-wing FARC rebels near the signing of a comprehensive peace accord, and though they have already signed a bi-lateral ceasefire which is largely holding, Colombia is still suffering from the worst human rights abuses in the Western Hemisphere. These abuses are being carried out by right-wing paramilitary groups (aka, death squads), which the U.S. and Colombian governments conveniently deny even exist.

      These paramilitary groups, in accord with their long-time friend and ally, former President Alvaro Uribe, are openly and aggressively opposed to the peace accords, and will most certainly escalate their violence as a national referendum which will be held to ratify, or reject, these accords draws near. Thus, as Insight Crime recently reported, the Colombian Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) estimates that nearly 250 municipalities (or more than 25% of the 1,105 municipalities in all of Colombia) “are at risk of violence or fraud affecting the referendum on an anticipated peace deal” with the FARC. The departments of Choco, Arauca, Cauca and Putumayo – that is, departments with heavy concentrations of Afro-Colombians and indigenous – are among the departments with the greatest risk. Antioquia, the department of Alvaro Uribe who was governor there, has the greatest number of municipalities at risk.

      [...]

      Father Giraldo then expresses a seldom-uttered truth which I have certainly learned upon my numerous trips to Colombia in the past 17 years – that while the paramilitaries oppose the peace process because it will grant some immunity for rebels, the “popular movements feel more fear of the impunity of the powerful and of the paramilitaries and the agents of the government, whose war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide greatly exceed, both in quality and in cruelty, the crimes of the insurgency.”

    • ‘It Is Time to Give Peace a Chance’: Historic FARC Peace Deal Achieved

      After almost four years of negotiations and over 50 years of war, Colombia’s rebel FARC group and the government finally signed a peace accord in Havana, Cuba, late Wednesday.

      “We won the most beautiful of all battles: Peace,” said the rebel group’s top negotiator, Iván Márquez.

      “The war is over,” the Guardian quotes Humberto de la Calle, chief government negotiator, as saying after signing the deal. “It is the time to give peace a chance.”

      “Today marks the beginning of the end of the suffering, the pain and the tragedy of the war,” Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos said in an address to the nation after the announcement in Havana.

      Colombia’s government will hold a plebiscite on October 2 for citizens to either accept or reject the agreement.

    • Colombia’s president rushing vote on deal with rebels

      Colombia’s president is moving quickly to hold a national referendum on a peace deal meant to end a half-century of bloody conflict with leftist rebels, delivering the final text of the deal to congress on Thursday and declaring a definitive cease-fire with the guerrillas.

    • Pentagon Has No Idea Where Hundreds of Thousands of Guns Went in Iraq and Afghanistan

      The U.S. government has shipped over 1.4 million guns to Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, according a new analysis by the U.K.-based watchdog Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), but the Pentagon is only able to account for fewer than half of them.

      AOAV released its analysis of publicly available data on U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contracts on Wednesday, and added that when requested to provide its own accounting for the small arms provided to the war-torn nations, “the DoD data shows that over 700,000 small arms were sent from the U.S. to Iraq and Afghanistan within these periods. However, this amount only accounts for 48 percent of the total small arms supplied by the U.S. government that can be found in open source government reports.”

      AOAV also noted that the total number of small weapons the U.S. provided to Iraq and Afghanistan is likely to be far higher than even the group’s count, as the Pentagon kept such shoddy records of the planeloads of weapons it dispatched to those countries—if it kept any records at all.

    • Afghanistan, dynamic of war

      Afghanistan has somewhat fallen off the radar of western media, even though violent conflict there continues unabated. An exception is major incidents such as the ten-hour attack and siege against the American University in Kabul on 24 August, which killed fourteen people and injured many more. This rightly attracted attention as a grim indicator of continued Taliban activity, as did the bombing of a Hazara protest march on 23 July, also in the capital, when eighty people died and 250 were wounded.

      But other developments in the Afghan conflict, which are barely reported or even ignored by establishment media in the west, can carry much greater significance. So it was this week with a report at the bottom of an inside page of a leading military journal: “B-52 bombers rejoin US campaign in Afghanistan”.

    • Is the U.S. Finally Ending the Toxic Practice of Burning Old Munitions in Open Pits?

      By the year 2020, the U.S. is expected to have on its hands a growing stockpile of munitions nearing 1.1 million tons that are no longer considered useful to the military. As a means of disposal, these munitions, including small arms cartridges, rockets, mortars, artillery shells, tactical missiles and other wastes, have for decades been burned or detonated on large trays out in the open at military bases across the country.

      Canada and a number of European countries like Germany and the Netherlands have banned the practice, for good reason. Plumes of toxic smoke from burn pits have been documented drifting over surrounding communities, while the destroyed munitions expel pollutants that leach into the soil and groundwater. These pollutants include an array of highly toxic chemicals such as dioxins and furans, PCBs, chromium, dinitrotoluene (DNT), and perchlorate. Many of these toxic chemicals are known carcinogens, while all of them can cause chronic illnesses in humans and wildlife.

    • Is Turkey’s incursion into Syria about Daesh, or about the Kurds?

      Turkish military sources told the Anadol news agency that Wednesday’s military attack on the Syrian border town of Jarabulus, held for years by Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), involved hitting 82 targets. The objective, Ankara said, was to secure the Turkish border and to support the US-led Coalition in its war on Daesh and guarantee the unity of Syrian territory.

      The Turkish military chief of staff and his deputy said they followed the course of the operation from their operations room in Ankara.

      Daesh fighters withdrew from much of Jarabulus and surrounding villages, heading south to al-Bab, now the northernmost Daesh outpost in Syria.

    • Hillary Clinton Shows Dangerous Tendency to Go to War No Matter the Consequences

      In our extended interview with scholar Vijay Prashad, he discusses the U.S. presidential election and notes that while President Obama was reticent, then-Secretary of State “Hillary Clinton led the charge against Libya. This shows, to my mind, a profound dangerous tendency to go into wars overseas, damn the consequences. If you’re looking at this from outside the United States, there’s a real reason to be terrified.”

    • War ‘Has Become a Permanent Condition’ for the United States

      Did you know that Oliver Stone was a Vietnam vet? That explains a lot. No wonder he has come out so strongly against all the various American “war” fiascos since then. If you had suffered through all the shite that he did while fighting in Vietnam, you would most likely be anti-war as well.

      Stone recently spoke at the annual Veterans For Peace convention here in Berkeley—and he had a lot to say too. “America’s crackpot realists create the terror for which they then provide the antidote.” Apparently it’s the American thing to do.

      “In Vietnam, every time we took fire, we went berserk. We’d blow up everything. The mentality of absolute destruction. But when I came back from Vietnam, I thought that intelligence would finally start to reign. Didn’t happen. Reagan’s warning to the world was that Americans could be truly barbaric. That was the lesson of Hiroshima too—to let the Soviet Union know that America was capable of anything.”

    • Acceptable Losses

      Just a few short years ago, Yemen was judged to be among the poorest countries in the world, ranking 154th out of the 187 nations on the U.N.’s Human Development Index. One in every five Yemenis went hungry. Almost one in three was unemployed. Every year, 40,000 children died before their fifth birthday, and experts predicted the country would soon run out of water.

      Such was the dire condition of the country before Saudi Arabia unleashed a bombing campaign in March 2015, which has destroyed warehouses, factories, power plants, ports, hospitals, water tanks, gas stations, and bridges, along with miscellaneous targets ranging from donkey carts to wedding parties to archaeological monuments. Thousands of civilians — no one knows how many — have been killed or wounded. Along with the bombing, the Saudis have enforced a blockade, cutting off supplies of food, fuel, and medicine. A year and a half into the war, the health system has largely broken down, and much of the country is on the brink of starvation.

    • Mainstream Media Are Ignoring U.S. Accountability in Saudi Arabia’s Destruction of Yemen

      Many Americans were shaken last week after a picture of a stunned Syrian child, whose home had just been bombed into rubble, went viral. Time magazine noted that “[d]evastating pictures and footage from Syria are common now.” But what about children in other war-torn countries?

    • “This is Our War & It is Shameful:” Journalist Andrew Cockburn on the U.S. Role in the War in Yemen

      Even before the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen began more than a year ago, Yemen was ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. But now, a year and a half into the war, Yemen’s health system has broken down, and the population is facing the threat of starvation. For more, we’re joined by Andrew Cockburn, the Washington editor for Harper’s magazine. His latest piece for Harper’s is headlined “Acceptable Losses: Aiding and Abetting the Saudi Slaughter in Yemen.” He is author of “Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • “The Hunt”: Colonial Conservation, Caught on Film

      Over the last few weeks, BBC America has broadcast “The Hunt,” the latest offering from world-renowned natural history broadcaster David Attenborough. The formula is familiar: gorgeous photography, silky smooth voiceovers and tear-jerking narratives about the animals on screen. The series has profiled the world’s most “charismatic” predators — big cats, birds of prey, wolves, bears — and the ways in which they dominate their environment. The final episode focused on conservation and the threats faced by many of these species, which are unquestionably very serious.

      Sadly, rather than critiquing poaching or industrialization, the program placed most of the blame for endangering species like the lion and the tiger on the shoulders of the tribal people who live in the so-called “wildernesses” that had been photographed. The narrative was full of distortion and misrepresentation and seemed to support an essentially colonial form of conservation that is deeply problematic.

    • Waste Not, Save More

      On average, each person in the U.S. throws away five pounds of solid waste each day. While many eco–conscious citizens do their due diligence to recycle, compost, and reduce waste, others remain apathetic about preserving the environment.

      Wherever you might land on the eco-friendly scale, innovative “Pay As You Throw” (PAYT) programs are incentivizing people nationwide to increase (or start) recycling and composting through a usage-pricing model.

      Basically, the less trash you send to a landfill, the less you pay.

      Over 7,000 communities in the U.S. report using this green solution, with cities seeing an average of 45 percent less trash.

    • Day After Obama Tours Louisiana Flood Damage, Gov’t Holds Massive Gulf Oil & Gas Lease Auction

      On Tuesday, President Obama visited Louisiana for the first time since the devastating floods that killed 13 people and damaged 60,000 homes. The Red Cross has called it the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy. While many climate scientists have tied the historic floods in Louisiana to climate change, President Obama made no link during his remarks. However, on Tuesday, four environmental activists were arrested in New Orleans protesting the Interior Department’s decision to go ahead with a lease sale of up to 24 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas exploration and development. The sale is being held today in the Superdome—the very building where thousands of displaced residents of New Orleans sought refuge during Hurricane Katrina 11 years ago. We speak to Antonia Juhasz, an oil and energy analyst, author of “Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill.” She joins us from San Francisco.

    • Flood-Ravaged Gulf Coast Residents Ask President Obama To Cancel Federal Offshore Drilling Lease Auction

      During President Obama’s visit to a flood-ravaged area near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this week, a group of environmental activists delivered a petition to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) protesting the planned leasing of more of the Gulf of Mexico for oll and gas drilling.

      They gathered 184,000 electronic signatures over just six days calling for the President and BOEM to cancel its lease auction — scheduled to take place today, August 24.

      Four members of the group told police on the scene they planned to stay until either they got a response from President Obama or they were arrested.

    • Climate Change and the 1,000-Year Flood in Baton Rouge: When Will We Learn?

      The floodwaters are receding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the scale of the damage is revealing itself. It has been described as a 1,000-year flood, leaving at least 13 people dead and close to 60,000 homes ruined. According to Weather Underground meteorologists Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, August has been the wettest month in Baton Rouge in 174 years, when records were first kept. They added, “Since June 1, Baton Rouge has picked up an amazing 40.95 inches—more rain in three months than downtown Los Angeles has recorded over the last five years (38.79 inches)!”

      President Barack Obama traveled there Tuesday. “I think anybody who can see just the streets, much less the inside of the homes here, people’s lives have been upended by this flood,” he said after walking through part of the devastated city. While Obama was criticized by his political opponents for not visiting Baton Rouge earlier, it’s what happened one day later, in nearby New Orleans, that should have everyone concerned.

      The Obama administration conducted a massive auction of offshore oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The irony was not lost on Antonia Juhasz. She is a journalist and energy analyst who has long tracked the multinational petroleum corporations engaged in deep-water oil extraction. “Following Obama #LouisianaFlood visit, Interior Dept to auction offshore drilling leases to 24 million acres in Gulf on 8/24 at Superdome,” she tweeted, followed by, “After protests nearly shut down lease sale in March at Superdome, for first time, BOEM closes sale to public, makes viewing available online.” The BOEM is the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The agency was auctioning 23.8 million acres in the western section of the Gulf of Mexico, for deep-water oil and gas exploration and extraction.

    • 3 Reasons the Standing Rock Sioux Can Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

      America has more than 2.5 million miles of oil and gas pipelines crossing the country in every direction. So plans to construct the 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline from oil fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to Patoka, Illinois, were supposed to be a nonevent. The regulatory process was largely through state commissions and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and far less stringent than the successfully opposed Keystone XL pipeline.

    • From #NoDAPL to #FreedomSquare: A Tale of Two Occupations

      On the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota, Natives have been encamped for 146 days, in an ongoing effort to thwart construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. In Chicago, Black organizers with the #LetUsBreathe collective have created a living, breathing community space in the shadow of the infamous Homan Square police compound — a facility that some call a “black site,” where people have been held for days on end without being able to contact loved ones or an attorney and where some have been tortured.

    • Kandi Mossett on Native American Pipeline Protests

      This week on CounterSpin: For months now, hundreds and then thousands of indigenous people have been taking part in peaceful protests at the Sacred Stones camp in North Dakota. They’re protesting the construction of what’s called the Dakota Access pipeline, slated to carry fracked oil across the state and across the Missouri River. The Standing Rock Sioux say the Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipeline without their consent. For many people, what’s happening right now in North Dakota is a crucial story of a frontline fight of indigenous people against extractive industry—and on behalf of humanity, really, and the planet.

    • The American Petroleum Institute’s Desperate PR is Failing

      If you’ve watched any political coverage on television in the last few months, or the Olympics, or really anything on TV, you’re bound to have seen some pretty ridiculous advertising coming from the oil and gas industry.

      The American Petroleum Institute in particular has been putting out some pretty desperate stuff. Did you know that “A Vote for [Fossil Fuel] Energy is a Vote for Cheesesteaks?” That’s actually the title of one ad put out during the Democratic Convention, which was held in Philadelphia (Get it? Cheesesteaks!).

    • Win for Climate Protection as Obama Creates World’s Biggest Marine Sanctuary

      President Barack Obama’s creation on Friday of the world’s largest marine protected area drew praise from lawmakers, Hawaiian community members, and environmental groups alike, who say it will help protect biodiversity and increase resilience in the face of climate change.

      Obama is expanding the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii, more than quadrupling it in size to 582,578 square miles.

      A White House fact sheet says the expansion, which also bans commercial resource extraction, will afford “critical protections for more than 7,000 marine species,” “improve ocean resilience,” and help preserve “resources of great historical and cultural significance.”

      Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who was among those who had proposed the expansion to the president, praised the move, calling it “one of the most important actions an American president has ever taken for the health of the oceans.” He noted, however, that it was “only beginning” because “management, research, educational opportunities, and enforcement” need to follow.

      Similarly welcoming the move was Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), who said the expansion “will help to combat climate change, preserve biodiversity, and honor cultural traditions.”

    • New Study Warns Biofuels May Be Worse for Climate Than Gas

      A new study finds that biofuels—which are derived from plants like corn or soybeans and sometimes considered to be carbon-neutral—may actually be worse for the climate than gas.

      University of Michigan (UM) Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco analyzed all the greenhouse gas emissions created in the supply chains of various fuel types. For gas, that meant starting with extraction and transportation, among other parts of the process; for biofuels, it was farming and fertilizer use, but not tailpipe pollution, due to the presumed carbon dioxide offset, the Detroit Free Press explains.

    • Biofuels worse for climate change than gas, U-M study says

      The multi-billion-dollar U.S. biofuels industry — promoted and expanded for more than a decade by the federal government — may be built on a false assumption, according to a University of Michigan study published Thursday that is sure to stir all sides in the contentious debate over the industry.

      Despite their purported advantages, biofuels — created from crops such as corn or soybeans — cause more emissions of climate change-causing carbon dioxide than gasoline, according to the study from U-M Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco.

      The study is the latest salvo in the expanding battle over whether biofuels, and the farmland increasingly devoted to them, are actually providing the environmental and climate benefits many expected.

      [...]

      As for the petroleum industry funding, DeCicco said that years ago, he reached out to other more environmentally oriented funding sources that he declined to specify, who weren’t interested in funding his examination of life-cycle analysis.

    • Dakota Access Pipeline Protests Recall America’s Historical Shame

      Until a few years ago, the word “occupation” was synonymous with power, imperialism and foreign invasion. Today, in the post-Occupy Wall Street era, more and more activists are using their physical presence to make demands. From Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to Tahrir Square in Cairo, occupation has become a powerful method of organizing.

      One of the most dramatic such occupations is occurring in the form of a growing encampment at the Cannonball River in North Dakota, where indigenous tribes are leading a coalition of environmental activists in protest over the building of a new crude oil pipeline.

    • We’ve always “Occupied the Prarie” and We’re Not Going Anywhere

      In Occupying the Prairie: Tensions Rise as Tribes Move to Block a Pipeline by Jack Healy, New York Times, Aug. 23, 2016 we see and hear about Indians in paint on horseback, in “procession” out of their “tepee-dotted camp.” Who writes like that?

      While the almost 500 Nations of our indigenous brothers and sisters (over 80 are represented in the Sacred Stones Camp) are proud of the heritage of our peoples, it’s important to keep the focus on today and why we are here. This is our land, as defined in our times as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, a Sovereign Nation.

      In fact, what we call the United States is really comprised of Nations, it is a “united” Nations, of relationships formed by diplomacy.

      The Greater Sioux Nations predated the United States, so as the newly minted USA acquired more territory, agreements were sought in many cases with the existing nations of the Plains and elsewhere. One such Treaty, the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1851), matters now. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 was signed on September 17, 1851 between United States treaty commissioners and representatives of the Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapaho, Crow, Assiniboine, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara nations.

    • In Effort to Kill Pipeline, Groups Call Directly on Obama to Oppose Permits

      As Indigenous activists maintained resistance to a proposed oil pipeline in North Dakota this week, allied groups on Thursday sent an open letter to President Barack Obama asking him to urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to pull its permits for the project.

      “After years of pipeline disasters—from the massive tar sands oil spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2010, to the recent oil pipeline spills in the San Joaquin Valley and Ventura, CA—our organizations and our millions of members and supporters are concerned about the threat these projects pose to our safety, our health, and the environment,” reads the letter (pdf), signed by groups such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Sierra Club, and 350.org.

      The letter was published as a federal judge delayed a decision on allowing the construction to continue.

    • Fatigue, Migraines Linked to Fracking as Case Builds for National Ban

      New research published Thursday links severe fatigue and migraine headaches to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, leading to renewed calls for a ban on the controversial oil and gas extraction method.

      Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reported their findings online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, saying their research adds to “a growing body of evidence linking the fracking industry to health problems.”

    • Study: Fracking associated with migraines, fatigue, chronic nasal and sinus symptoms

      New research suggests that Pennsylvania residents with the highest exposure to active natural gas wells operated by the hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—industry are nearly twice as likely to suffer from a combination of migraine headaches, chronic nasal and sinus symptoms, and severe fatigue.

  • Finance
    • Median Income Is Down, But Public College Tuition Is Way Up

      Public colleges play a special role in making higher education affordable, but in recent years, soaring tuition is pushing that dream out of reach. From 2000 to 2014, the average cost of in-state tuition and fees for public colleges in America rose 80 percent. During that same time period, the median American household income dropped by 7 percent.

    • ‘Good News,’ Says Sanders, as McConnell Signals No Lame-Duck Vote on TPP

      Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that the U.S. Senate will not vote on the 12-nation, corporate-friendly Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) this year, buoying progressive hopes that the trade deal will never come to fruition.

      Responding to the news, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—whose opposition to the TPP was a hallmark of his presidential campaign—said: “This is good news for American workers, for the environment, and for the ability to protect public health.”

      McConnell told a Kentucky State Farm Bureau breakfast in Louisville that the agreement, “which has some serious flaws, will not be acted upon this year.”

      Grassroots groups have led a concerted campaign to prevent a vote during the so-called “lame-duck” session of Congress, after the November election and before President Barack Obama leaves office in January. The White House recently vowed to wage an “all-out push” in favor of such a vote.

      “We never thought we would agree with Mitch McConnell on something, but we do agree on not bringing the TPP to a vote in the lame-duck session,” said Adam Green, Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder, on Friday. “There’s widespread, bipartisan opposition to the corporate-written TPP and an unaccountable, lame-duck Congress voting on it.”

    • Sanders Welcomes McConnell Decision to Block TPP

      A leading opponent of the proposed Pacific rim trade pact, Sanders welcomed McConnell’s turnaround on the measure. The Republican leader on Thursday told an audience in Kentucky that he won’t bring the pact to the Senate floor for a vote this year because it “has some serious flaws.” Last June 23, McConnell engineered congressional passage of a measure that gave President Barack Obama and future presidents power to “fast-track” negotiations with the 11 other countries which are parties to the deal. He called it “a very important accomplishment for our country.”

    • Groups Demand Clinton Publicly Oppose Lame-Duck TPP Vote—Now

      Heavy-hitting progressive groups have sent a letter to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, urging her to make “a clear, public, and unequivocal statement opposing any vote on the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the post-election, ‘lame-duck’ session of Congress.”

    • How Small Donors Are Giving Super PACs a Run for Their Money

      Election reform advocates are closely watching Seattle to see whether it becomes a viable model for getting big money out of local politics. Last year the city approved a “democracy vouchers” program, which will publicly fund local candidates through small donors, requiring limits on campaign spending.

      Starting in 2017, all registered voters will receive $100 in vouchers from the city government to spend in $25 parcels on their preferred candidates for city office.

    • Debt Collectors Get Away With Daylight Robbery

      I thought Donnie Trump and his fellow Republicans were big law ‘n order politicians. So, why are they trying to scrap the sheriff and unleash thousands of robbers to run wild across America?

      The sheriff they want to nix is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

      The thieves they’re out to help are corporate debt collectors who pay pennies on the dollar for huge databases of overdue bills, then hound the borrowers to pay up.

      Debt collectors profit from weak regulations that let them bully, harass, and run roughshod over tens of thousands of consumers every year—including people who’ve already paid off their debt or never even incurred it.

    • Please Write and Tweet John Oliver to Thank Him for His Program Revealing Charter Fraud

      As readers of this blog know, deregulation of charters leads to fraud, graft, and abuse. On this site, I have documented scores of examples of fraudsters and grifters who take advantage of weak (or no) oversight to enrich themselves and to strand children in bad schools.

      A few days ago, John Oliver ran an excellent segment about charter schools and the fraud associated with them. He barely scratched the surface. Charter supporters are furious and are saying that he “hurt” children, he savaged children, etc. (This is a familiar tactic; when I criticized the improbable test scores in New York City almost a decade ago, I was told that I was “hurting children and their teachers” by questioning the validity of the dramatic rise in scores.)

      Fraud is a feature of deregulation, not a bug. When no one is looking, some people steal. Not everyone steals, but many do. That is why Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and California are scamming taxpayers. No one is demanding accountability. Politicians get paid off by charter friends, then cripple any effort to oversee them Ohio and Michigan spend $1 billion a year to subsidize charter schools, which are lower-performing than public schools.

    • Diane Ravitch to Readers: Don’t Let Charter Industry Silence John Oliver

      Shared opposition to the fraud and abuse associated with charter schools and other privatization efforts, of course.

      On Thursday, longtime educator and activist Diane Ravitch encouraged her readers to start a campaign of thanks to comedian John Oliver, who devoted a segment of his HBO show Last Week Tonight on Sunday to charter schools and fraud—and is now being targeted by privatizers and other corporate propagandists on Twitter.

      Charter supporters are “saying that he ‘hurt’ children, he savaged children,” she wrote, noting that this is “a familiar tactic” of intimidation that she faced after writing about dubious test-scoring methods in New York City school a decade ago.

    • John Oliver Slams Charter Schools And His Critics Totally Miss The Point

      Sometimes it takes a funnyman to make sense.

      Earlier this week, British comedian John Oliver devoted a “Back to School” segment on his HBO program Last Week Tonight to examining the rapidly growing charter school industry and what these schools are doing with our tax dollars.

      The Washington Post’s education blogger Valerie Strauss watched the segment and reports that while Oliver declined to address whether or not charters provide high quality education, he focused mostly on how often these schools are “terribly – and sometimes criminally – operated.” (You can see Oliver’s entire sketch here.)

      Editors at Rolling Stone watched Oliver’s broadcast as well and report Oliver focused much of his attention on three states – Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio – that have “especially depressing charter track records – including negligence in the approval process and school executives embezzling funds.”

    • Progressive Activists Take A Seat For The People At Federal Reserve Retreat

      Two years ago this week, the nonprofit Center for Popular Democracy and allied groups launched the Fed Up campaign, aimed at making the Federal Reserve more accountable to workers and communities of color. They converged then on the Jackson Lake Lodge in Wyoming, where Fed officials decamp every year to discuss policy and hobnob with the economic elite.

      How much political headway has the campaign made since then? This year, Fed Up activists were essentially put on the schedule for senior Federal Reserve officials, with a major meeting at the Jackson Hole summit.

      The group met Thursday, the first day of the summit, with eight of the 12 presidents of the regional Federal Reserve banks and two members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

      Fed Up activists have met individually with the governors and regional bank presidents before; they spoke with some Fed officials less formally at the past two Jackson Hole gatherings. This is the first time, however, that their delegation of some 120 rank-and-file activists had met with so many of the central bank’s decision-makers in one place.

    • Day Laborers Leader on Right-Wing Hostility: “So Far, We Have Won This Fight”

      Pablo Alvarado is executive director of the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)—a group dedicated to building a movement among low-wage workers, most of them immigrants and many of them undocumented. The 49-year old Alvarado, who came to the United States in 1990 from El Salvador, views NDLON as both a workers’ rights and an immigrants’ rights organization. It has been an important player in campaigns to win local minimum wage laws and to stop the exploitation of immigrant workers, many of whom survive in the shadow economy as day laborers, housekeepers, gardeners, restaurant workers and janitors.

      We recently spoke with Alvarado in his small office at the Pasadena Community Job Center in Pasadena, California, one of some 70 worker centers in 21 states connected with NDLON. He is a whirlwind of activity, typically working 12 hours a day, running a national organization while engaged in the daily activities of the Pasadena center—counseling workers, organizing demonstrations, negotiating with city officials, raising money and supervising staff.

      This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

    • The Tax Evasion Double Standard: How US CEOs Are Withholding Revenue

      If I refused to pay any taxes until the US government lowered my taxes to a so-called “fair rate,” I’d almost certainly be arrested for tax evasion. But when The Washington Post asked Apple CEO Tim Cook about the billions that his company has stashed in tax havens around the world, Cook declared: “We’re not going to bring it back until there’s a fair rate. There’s no debate about it.”

      And nothing happened, either to Cook or to Apple. Because when it comes to taxes, it’s truer today than ever that only the little people pay.

      Apparently though, that’s not enough for the CEOs of multinational corporations, like Tim Cook. He doesn’t just want to avoid taxes, he wants Americans to know that Congress isn’t writing the rules; Apple is.

    • Meet the Swedish politician ready to play hardball with the UK on Brexit

      During the febrile, topsy-turvy days after Britain voted to leave the European Union, there were plenty of tough messages from European leaders. But few sounded more uncompromising than the EU trade commissioner.

      A week after the result, Cecilia Malmström, Europe’s lead trade negotiator, stated that the UK could not even begin discussing a trade deal until it had left the bloc. “First you exit and then you negotiate the terms of the relationship,” she told Newsnight, opening up the prospect of the world’s sixth-largest economy being left dangling for years. When the BBC interviewer suggested this would damage businesses in Britain and on the continent, her response was straightforward: “Yes, but the vote was very clear.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Another Fly In The SugarMan Lemonade

      Recently Rudy Giuliani said if you want to find dirt on Hillary Clinton, just go on the Internet and google “Hillary Clinton”. Apparently he got that idea from out own Google master, the Sugarman (Remember that moniker? That’s the nickname given to him by some servers in a local eatery for his knack of ordering lemon water and sugar to make his own lemonade). The Sugarman actually said Lemon Water is only served in “High-Class” restaurants, I assume he thinks Chiles or Applebees are “High-Class”… Anyway, the Sugarman has been doing exactly what Giuliani suggested since day one. He scratches around Right Wing blogs until he finds something that he can use. In his last letter he found Democratic Convention goodies, never mind that they were mostly just made up. Things like, foreign flags like N. Korean, Soviet, Plastinian and Hamas but NO American flags. Really Sugarman? That was just one, he had a whole list of made-up stuff to share, he always does…

    • Donald Trump: The NSA Is ‘Coddling’ Hillary Clinton
    • Trump thinks NSA has Clinton’s deleted emails
    • Hillary Clinton Used BleachBit To Wipe Emails

      Have any Slashdotters had any experience with BleachBit? Specifically, have you used it for erasing “yoga emails” or “bridesmaids emails?”

    • In Defending His Support of Trump, Sean Hannity Says He ‘Never Claimed to Be a Journalist’
    • Sean Hannity Turns Adviser in the Service of Donald Trump

      During major inflection points in Donald J. Trump’s campaign, the advisers, family members and friends who make up his kitchen cabinet burn up their email accounts and phone lines gaming out how to get his candidacy on track (and what counsel he might go along with).

      But one person in the mix brings more than just his political advice. He also happens to control an hour of prime time on the Fox News Channel.

    • US: Clinton calendars won’t be released until after election

      Seven months after a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin releasing monthly batches of the detailed daily schedules showing meetings by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, the government told The Associated Press it won’t finish the job before Election Day.

    • From Booster to Adviser: Sean Hannity Has Erased His Final, Albeit Microscopic, Sliver of Impartiality

      Today in Austin, Texas, Republican presidential nominee – it still feels weird to type this – Donald Trump will tape a two-hour interview with his trained news poodle Sean Hannity. The event will likely entail 120 minutes of the Fox News host offering the sentient tangelo peel open-ended softball questions from which Trump can spin out extended rants about every conspiracy theory and nasty, subversive rumor he has ever heard about Hillary Clinton, egged on by the chuckles of the live audience brought in for the private, closed-to-the-press affair.

    • Embracing the Alt-Right: New Trump Campaign Chief “Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists”

      Last week, Donald Trump once again upended his campaign team and named Stephen Bannon, the head of Breitbart Media, to be his campaign chief. Breitbart regularly sparks controversy with headlines such as “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy,” “Trannies Whine About Hilarious Bruce Jenner Billboard” and “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew.” In a new article published by Mother Jones, investigative journalist Sarah Posner writes, “By bringing on Stephen Bannon, Trump was signaling a wholehearted embrace of the ‘alt-right,’ a once-motley assemblage of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, ethno-nationalistic provocateurs who have coalesced behind Trump and curried the GOP nominee’s favor on social media.” For more, we speak to Sarah Posner and Heather McGhee of Demos.

    • Weapons, Pipelines & Wall St: Did Clinton Foundation Donations Impact Clinton State Dept. Decisions?

      New questions have arisen this week over Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. On Tuesday, the Associated Press published a new investigation revealing that while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, more than half of the private citizens she met with had donated to the Clinton Foundation. The AP investigation comes after a three-year battle to gain access to State Department calendars. The analysis shows that at least 85 of 154 people Hillary Clinton had scheduled phone or in-person meetings with were foundation donors. This does not include meetings Clinton held with U.S. or foreign government workers or representatives, only private citizens. We speak to David Sirota of the International Business Times and Paul Glastris, editor-in-chief of the Washington Monthly. He was President Bill Clinton’s chief speechwriter from 1998 to 2001.

    • “Our Revolution”? Bernie Sanders Launches New Organization, But Key Staffers Quit in Protest

      Bernie Sanders and his supporters have launched a new political organization called Our Revolution. It seeks to support the next generation of progressive leaders, empower millions to fight for progressive change and elevate the nation’s overall political consciousness. More than 2,600 watch parties were held across the country last night to witness Sanders launch the new organization. But reports have emerged of political tumult within Bernie Sanders’s own team. Over the weekend, eight key staffers abruptly resigned in a dispute over the group’s leadership and legal structure. For more, we speak with Larry Cohen, incoming board chair of Our Revolution, and with Claire Sandberg, former digital organizing director for Bernie Sanders’s campaign, who resigned as the organizing director for Our Revolution.

    • Is Trump-Bashing Good for the Media?

      Just about everyone now concedes that the media have it in for Donald Trump. A survey of eight major news organs during the primaries, conducted by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy — one I cited in a previous post — showed that the press grew increasingly hostile to Trump, peaking at 61 percent negative to 39 percent positive at the end of the primary season. Even the conservative, Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal editorialized that he should consider quitting the race, and the normally cautious NBC Nightly News has turned reporter Katy Tur into a one-woman truth squad, correcting Trump whoppers.

    • Troglodyte Vs. Goebbelean Fascism: The 2016 Presidential Race

      Alienation is built into the societal edifice, a known factor long before Marx’s Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, which enabled him to write as presciently as he did. The commodity becomes engrained in the human psyche, and from there the merry race commences, codified in the institutions and culture of property, for superiority one over another fellow human being. Is it too late for systemic rectification of what should be regarded as the political culture of oppression and evil? That would make for an interesting starting point for discussion and possible action, not the mealy-mouthed platitudes offered by the candidates, their respective parties, and America as a whole.

    • Trump Illegally Pumped Up His Own Book Sales With Campaign Donations

      Now we know how Donald Trump manages to write so-called bestsellers. He buys up thousands of copies himself.

      The newest wrinkle in the Republican nominee for president’s con artistry is that he used campaign donations — to the tune of about $55,000 — to buy up approximately “3,500 copies of the hardcover version of Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, or just over 5,000 copies of the renamed paperback release, Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America,” the Daily Beast reported Wednesday morning.

      According to a Federal Election Commission filing, the Trump campaign paid $55,055 to Barnes & Noble for the books in May. While it’s not illegal to buy thousands of copies of your own book to artificially boost your sales, it is when you use campaign donations to do so, while also lining your own pockets.

    • Internet blind spot highlighted in Trump’s $8.4 million digital expenditure

      Since internet advertisements are usually targeted to a specific demographic, only the people who are targeted by the ad will know it is out there. The only way to tell if campaigns are getting what they paid for in terms of this digital marketing is if those targeted people show up to the polls and vote.

    • Reporter Tweets From Trump Rally: “His Supporters Are Ready for Violence”

      Since Donald Trump’s presidential campaign took off, there have been numerous reports of the sometimes violent nature of the crowds attending his massive rallies, including tales of pushing, shoving and other physical altercations instigated by attendees pumped up by Trump’s hateful rhetoric. “I can’t vote for Trump after that way I was treated,” said one student who was kicked out of a rally.

      Trump’s angry speeches at these rallies are nothing new, but the targets of his vitriol keep changing. In recent weeks, Trump has narrowed his focus to one enemy: the mainstream media.

    • The Independent “Women’s” Voice? Most Known Donors Are Men

      The Independent Women’s Voice touts its “independent” brand in reaching potential voters.

      But is it even women’s voices it is throwing? Let alone independent women?

      The reported data from the Federal Election Commission data says no.

      New research shows that the overwhelming majority of its known donors are men.

      Very rich men.

      Yes, men have provided most of the disclosed donations to fund election-related expenditures under the name of the “Independent Women’s Voice.”

    • How the Washington Post Sells the Politics of Fear

      Dana Milbank, a columnist for the paper, popped up at Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s news conference that focused on climate change. After Stein noted that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have gotten billions in free media, he chimed in: “Dana Milbank with the Washington Post segment of the corporate media. I have a conundrum I want to present to you. I could write about today and others could report here about what an important issue climate change is. And we would publish it or broadcast it. The fact is very few people will read it. They will go read or view stories about Trump’s staff machinations or Clinton’s e-mails. I’m not sure the issue is necessarily a corporate media but what people are demanding. Why is that? What is the way around that if there is one?”

      Milbank is pretending to be so concerned about what it is people want. What came to mind for me was John Milton’s aphorism: “They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them of their blindness.”

      Stein was more diplomatic: “Right now so many people are tuned out [of] the election and out of the political system in general because they are accustomed to being ignored by that system. Was Bernie Sanders tuned out? I don’t think so. I think he had more attention from the American public than just about anyone at least from my point of view. It looks to me like he was the guy saying that the emperor had no clothes and everyone was agreeing with him. Even Trump supporters were agreeing with him. Polls showed that the majority of Trump supporters are not motivated by supporting Trump. They are motivated by not liking Hillary Clinton. Let’s give them another choice besides Donald Trump as an alternative to Hillary Clinton.”

      Having been deftly rebuffed, Milbank didn’t note his own question in his column in the Post.

    • Jill Stein: Majority of Americans Want Another Choice

      Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein discusses the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and her campaign. She speaks on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

    • Tech Giants Go to Washington

      As they try to gain more influence with regulators and policymakers, several of the top technology companies are increasing the amount of money they spend on lobbying.

    • A Guided Tour of the ‘Alt-Right,’ by the Trump Campaign Chief’s Website

      And the “alt-right”? Well, Breitbart (3/29/16) tried to explain what that is in a 5,000-word piece last spring, written by Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos—perhaps best-known for being banned from Twitter for harassing actress Leslie Jones—and Allum Bokhari, who describes himself as the “resident kebab at Breitbart Tech” and “Milo’s deputy.”

    • Will Debates Inject Ideas Into Election Coverage? That’s Debatable

      After weeks of watching media rehash Clinton and Trump campaign talking points of the day, Americans can be forgiven for wanting to see some ideas injected into coverage of the presidential election. For some, debates are a natural opportunity to possibly pull candidates off script, force them to answer questions they didn’t write themselves. But, activists are saying, debates that include only the two major party candidates are far less likely to do that.

      As FAIR founder Jeff Cohen notes in a recent column, the Commission for Presidential Debates that runs the show, though sometimes mistakenly described as “nonpartisan,” is in fact vehemently bipartisan—really a sort of corporation run by the two major parties, and funded by powerful interests like oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and finance. CPD rules, Cohen says, don’t aim so much at eliminating “nonviable” candidates as preventing outsiders from ever becoming viable.

      In charge of debates since the 1980s, the CPD makes no bones about its intent to use its role to secure a Republican/Democrat duopoly. So much so that when they took over fully in 1988, the League of Women Voters, which had been running debates, pulled its sponsorship, saying, “The demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.”

    • ‘Good Riddance’: Canada’s Stephen Harper Bids Adieu to Politics, Hello to Consulting

      As expected, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced his resignation from Parliament, saying that he’s now gearing up for “for the next chapter of my life.”

      That chapter, as the Toronto Star reports, includes “launching a global consulting business.”

      Harper posted the news Friday on his social media accounts, saying, “I leave elected office proud of what our team accomplished together.”

      For the 57-year-old, the resignation marks the end of “nearly two often-tumultuous decades in public office,” Mississauga News reports.

      Harper lost power in October in a “devastating election defeat” when his Conservative Party lost to the Justin Trudeau-led Liberal Party.

      Since then, the Star adds, he “has only appeared in the Commons for votes since he lost power last fall, and has never spoken in debate as the MP for Calgary Heritage.”

    • Former Canadian prime minister Harper leaves politics

      Harper served as prime minister for almost a decade. Canada shifted to the center-right under Harper, who lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation, strongly supported the oil and gas extraction industry and backed the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His legacy includes merging two conservative parties in Canada.

      Harper now plans to consult on international issues.

    • American white nationalism isn’t isolationist #USA!USA!USA!

      Alt-right white nationalism is an apt term for a campaign that has electrified white supremacists so it makes sense that most people would focus on the racial angle. According to this analysis in the Guardian, the rising right wing ethno-nationalist movement in Europe is the progenitor of this American version, which adheres to its basic premise but brings its own special brand of deep-fried racism. Both share a belief that the white race is under siege and that “demands for diversity in the workplace which means less white males in particular forms the foundation for the movement.” So it stands to reason that Trump’s border wall, Muslim ban and bellicose appeals for “law and order” (along with his overt misogyny) is a clarion call to this faction.

    • Here’s a Bold Idea for Hillary’s Troubled Campaign

      3. Eliminate tax shelters and loopholes for 1-percenter households and businesses. The loopholes crying out for elimination include capital gains and other types of investment income, such as ‘carried interest’ and the truly outrageous ‘step-up in basis,’ which exclusively benefits inherited wealth. These function as direct federal subsidies to mostly affluent Americans. And they cost the national treasury some $250 billion per year, with the Congressional Budget Office estimating that a whopping 70 percent of this subsidy is hoovered by Americans in the top 1 percent income bracket (and nearly 93 percent by the top 20 percent bracket).

    • Maryland redistricting lawsuit can go forward, federal judges rule

      A lawsuit challenging Maryland’s contorted congressional district map on First Amendment grounds has merit and should go forward, a three-judge federal panel ruled Wednesday.

      The map, drawn by Maryland’s Democratic lawmakers following the 2010 Census, essentially ensured that seven of the state’s eight congressional seats would be under their party’s control.

      According to the lawsuit, the redistricting specifically targeted western Maryland’s 6th District, where lines were altered to help unseat 10-term incumbent Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R). Bartlett was defeated by John Delaney (D) in 2012.

    • Democracy Wins as ‘Biggest Gerrymandering Case in Generation’ Moves Forward
  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Facebook Reduces Human Involvement in Selection of Trending Topics

      Facebook Inc. is reducing human involvement in how it displays its Trending Topics after a controversy earlier this year over whether editors working for the social network operator silenced conservative news.

      After conducting an internal investigation and saying it found no bias, Facebook is still retooling the trending news section to rely more on computers than humans. Instead of showing a headline and a summary, the trending topics will instead show an algorithmically selected topic, like “Olympics,” as well as the number of people talking about it, the company said Friday in a blog post.

    • How I Was Blacklisted at CNN, and How Easily America Goes to War Now

      It was about two years ago to the day I was blacklisted at CNN.

      I don’t want to remind them they were sadly wrong, but they were. So write this off however you prefer, but understand that we were lied to again to drag us again into an open-ended war in Iraq-Syria. Last time it was Bush and those missing Weapons of Mass Destruction. This time is was Obama and saving the Yazidi people from genocide.

      Wait, what? Who are the Yazidis? How they get us back into Iraq?

      Ah, how fast time flies.

      Two years ago a group of Yazidis, a minority spread across Iran, Iraq and Turkey, were being threatened by a group called ISIS few American were focused on. Obama declared a genocide was about to happen, and the U.S. had to act. U.S. officials said they believed that some type of ground force would be necessary to secure the safety of the stranded members of the Yazidi group. The military drew up plans for limited airstrikes and the deployment of 150 ground troops.

    • Why There’s a Media Blackout on the Native American Oil Pipeline Blockade

      As the Lakota Sioux continue their peaceful blockade of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, the story’s absence from the national media narrative is palpable. Considering the corporate media’s chronic quest for controversial stories on government versus public standoffs, you’d think this situation would garner the typical media frenzy invoked during a right-wing militia occupation of a federal building, for example, or a tense standoff between the Black Lives Matter movement and police. But it’s not.

      As of late, the media has faced criticism for its selective coverage of certain events — like, say, focusing on single terror attacks in Western Europe that garner thousands of headlines while basically ignoring similar or worse attacks that occur on a constant basis in Muslim-majority countries.

    • Melania Trump threatens to sue news outlets

      Melania Trump has threatened to sue The Daily Mail, Politico and at least eight other news outlets for defamation, her lawyer says.

      Trump, the wife of the Republican presidential nominee, has placed The Daily Mail and other news organizations “on notice… for making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an ‘escort’ in the 1990s,” Charles Harder, a lawyer for Trump, said in a statement.

      In addition, Harder said that he had put Politico on notice for “false and defamatory statements” regarding its reporting on Trump’s immigration history. Politico confirmed that its reporters had been sent notices.

    • Lawsuit Over Facebook Post Raises Fears of Online Censorship in Bhutan

      Bhutanese journalist Namgay Zam is facing defamation charges over a Facebook post, marking the first time that anyone in the Himalayan country has been taken to court over their social media activities. Official statements surrounding the case indicate that social media users in Bhutan may soon be restricted in what they can say online.

      The suit against Zam revolves around a family that is fighting a property dispute against well-connected business man Ap Sonam Phuntsho, who is also father-in-law to the Chief Justice of Bhutan.

      In an online appeal posted by Namgay on Facebook, Dr. Sacha Wangmo explains how Phuntsho attempted to seize her family’s home when an estranged family member could not repay Phuntsho a debt of Nu 0.7 million. Wangmo says that Phuntsho forged documents to show that they sold their house to repay debts to him, something to which the family says they never agreed. The documents also indicated that their debts had compounded, rising from Nu 0.7 million to Nu 3 million.

    • Pakistani law could enable sweeping internet censorship

      Bangkok, August 26, 2016 – Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain should veto a bill that could allow for sweeping censorship of the internet and the prosecution of journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Pakistan’s National Assembly approved the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 last week and sent it to Hussain to sign into law, according to press reports.

      Ambiguous language in the bill, which the Pakistani Senate approved in July and the National Assembly approved on August 11, would give state regulators sweeping powers to censor the internet, including material posted to social media platforms, in the name of upholding stability, security, and “the glory of Islam,” news reports said. Penalties under the law include three years in prison and fines for “spoofing,” defined as creating a website or disseminating information online using a “counterfeit” identity with “dishonest” intent, a provision that could apply to satirical websites. Judges could also sentence those found guilty of publishing material deemed to “harm the reputation” of someone, reports said.

    • Israel’s war on open discourse: State censorship now reaches into international news sources and social media

      Since the beginning of this year, Israel’s attempts to control what people can read and write within the country and in occupied Palestinian territories have increased, reaching into new areas in ways that are of concern.

      Of course, all states carefully monitor information, and Israel is not the only country that advertises itself as being an “open democracy” while imposing strict kinds of censorship. But recent developments in Israel signal not only the kinds of things it wishes to censor beyond its borders, but also how it is systematically censoring political dissent and monitoring social media.

      Israel’s authority to carry out such monitoring and censorship still largely derive from measures called the “Defense (Emergency) Regulations,” which were put in place in 1945 during the British Mandate. These have been adapted to the present day in three problematic manners. First, Israel is imposing gag orders on international journalists. In some cases, this holds true even if the information included in an international report is already available in Israel itself. This puts international journalists and editors in the difficult position of determining how much information is worth fighting for.

      Second, Israel is using a vague and broad notion of “incitement” to arrest and detain individuals for things they post on Facebook and Twitter, and requiring that certain individuals gain the State’s approval before posting. Furthermore, Israel has publicly shamed Facebook for not catching certain posts in time — in effect, Israel is asking Facebook to adopt the State’s criteria for what is to be censored. Finally, Israel has also tried to enlist Facebook and Twitter to its cause, and recruited other countries to form a consortium of watchdogs.

    • Who is Nabeel Rajab?

      Have you expressed disapproval of your government? Called for more democratic decision-making in your country? Criticised prison conditions or criticised a country allied with your government? Retweeted a comment that included #opinionsarenotcrimes?

      You are a criminal. You could be facing up to 15 years in prison for simply expressing your point of view, if you lived in Bahrain.

      Nabeel Rajab, just like you, thinks his country could be better. And he has made those views public. He speaks out against poor prison conditions, and argues for more freedom of speech in Bahrain.

      On 5 September Rajab is due in court accused of spreading “false or malicious news, statements, or rumours”, evidence of which includes a retweet of an Index tweet; “offending a foreign country” through tweeted criticism of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Yemen; and “offending a statutory body” by condemning conditions in the country’s notorious Jau prison.

      What’s worse, it’s just the latest in a long line of actions taken by the Bahraini government against Rajab, one of the Middle East’s most prominent human rights defenders.

    • Shrinking space for journalism in Russia and Ukraine

      The conflict over Crimea between Ukraine and Russia is having a direct impact on journalists. Though the tactics have differed, each country has been narrowing the space for reporting information on events.

      “A review of incidents reported to the database show that increasingly — in both Russia and Ukraine — the public’s right to information is being jeopardised by the blocking of journalists’ professional duties. The long-term implications, reinforced by polarised viewpoints, are hardened by a lack of a free media,” Hannah Machlin, project officer of Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom platform, said.

    • Brazilian students return to the streets over classroom censorship laws
    • Social media throttling in Turkey points to wartime censorship efforts
    • Telemundo Responds To SAG-AFTRA’s Accusation Of Censorship For Not Airing Ad Critical Of NBCUniversal
    • Telemundo Refuses to Air SAG-AFTRA Ad About Language Equity
    • Telemundo refuses to air ad from SAG-AFTRA calling for pay uniformity
    • US Latin TV Network Underpaying Spanish Speakers
    • SAG-AFTRA Blasts Telemundo’s ‘Double Standard’ Treatment of Talent in TV Spot
    • Clinton’s Censorship Tactics Aren’t Working Against Trump
    • Journalists resort to self-censorship after Maldives passes draconian defamation law
    • Former President of Maldives Mohammed Nasheed flies secretly to Sri Lanka to unseat President Abdullah Yameen
    • Facebook Censors Video Exposing PBS Cutting Hillary/TPP Criticism From Jill Stein Interview

      Facebook is censoring a video created by Green candidate Dr. Jill Stein supporter Matt Orfalea that exposes PBS Newshour cutting Stein’s criticism of Hillary Clinton, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and Obamacare.

      Breitbart News reported on the Orfalea’s video exposing the Hillary bias and now it appears Facebook is censoring the exposure of censorship. Orfalea told Breitbart News: “It’s insane.”

    • PBS NewsHour Cuts Anti-Hillary Portions of Judy Woodruff’s Jill Stein Interview
    • Criticism of Clinton Edited from Jill Stein’s Answer During PBS Interview
    • Jill Stein Reportedly Censored In PBS Interview
    • PBS Gets Caught Cutting Criticism Of Hillary, TPP, and Obamacare From Jill Stein Interview
    • Just What Clinton Doesn’t Need: An Attack From the Left by Jill Stein
    • Extensive Criticism of Clinton Edited Out of Green Party Nominee’s Answer During PBS Interview
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Secret Cameras Record Baltimore’s Every Move From Above

      The sky over the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on June 23 was the color of a dull nickel, and a broad deck of lowering clouds threatened rain. A couple dozen people with signs—“Justice 4 Freddie Gray” and “The whole damn system is guilty as hell”—lingered by the corner of the courthouse, watching the network TV crews rehearse their standups. Sheriff’s officers in bulletproof vests clustered around the building’s doors, gripping clubs with both hands.

      Inside, a judge was delivering the verdict in the case of Caesar Goodson, the only Baltimore police officer facing a murder charge for the death of Freddie Gray. In April 2015, Gray’s neck was broken in the back of a police van, and prosecutors had argued that Goodson purposefully drove the vehicle recklessly, careening through the city, to toss Gray around.

    • Cisco starts patching firewall devices against NSA-linked exploit [Ed: Cisco should not deliver patches. It should liberate all the code, make it FOSS so that trust can be established]

      Cisco Systems has started releasing security patches for a critical flaw in Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) firewalls targeted by an exploit linked to the U.S. National Security Agency.

      The exploit, dubbed ExtraBacon, is one of the tools used by a group that the security industry calls the Equation, believed to be a cyberespionage team tied to the NSA.

      ExtraBacon was released earlier this month together with other exploits by one or more individuals who use the name Shadow Brokers. The files were provided as a sample of a larger Equation group toolset the Shadow Brokers outfit has put up for auction.

    • Cisco Takes Measures Against NSA Exploit Cyberweapon

      On Wednesday, Aug. 24, Cisco Systems has released some security patches for a critical flaw in Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) firewalls found to be the target of an exploit cyberweapon linked to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Security analysts expect that the networking company will soon release more fixes.

    • NSA cyber weapons ‘hacked’ by mysterious Shadow Brokers

      According to another expert, Matt Suiche, co-founder of security start-up Comae Technologies, the stolen sample also shows that network security equipment from different manufacturers and brands – including Cisco Systems, Juniper, Fortigate and Chinese industrial giant Topse – are targeted by Equation.

    • Hacker Group to Auction Off Supposed NSA Data From Breached Computer Systems

      The hacking group who perpetrated the cyber attack call themselves “The Shadow Brokers” and much speculation surrounds their origin.

      How sure are we that these tools actually belonged to the NSA?

      This code similarity makes us believe with a high degree of confidence that the tools from the ShadowBrokers leak are related to the malware from the Equation group.

    • Untangling the NSA’s latest alleged embarrassment
    • Should the NSA Reveal Leaked Exploits?

      The outing of the NSA-linked framework is the latest in a series of leaks of cyber toolsets that highlight that many governments are active in cyber operations against rival nations, non-governmental groups and even individuals. Mobile security firm Lookout and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab revealed on Aug. 25, for example, that an attacker, likely a nation, had used espionage tools allegedly created by the NSO Group—including exploits for three previously unknown iOS vulnerabilities—against a well-known Middle Eastern activist, Ahmed Mansoor. Mansoor had been targeted by similar attempts twice before.

    • Cisco updates advisory: “We have started publishing fixes” for NSA-linked exploits

      Cisco Wednesday updated a security advisory for a remote code execution vulnerability affecting the SNMP application-layer protocol. The vulnerability was discovered after the Shadow Brokers release of exploits believed to have been used by the Equation Group loosely tied to the National Security Agency (NSA).

      Omar Santos, principal engineer of Cisco’s product security incident response team (PSIRT), wrote in the advisory that the SNMP vulnerability (CVE-2016-6366) is related to the ExtraBacon exploit. “We have started publishing fixes for affected versions, and will continue to publish additional fixes for supported releases as they become available in the coming days,” Santos wrote.

    • Cisco, Huawei and Juniper play down NSA attack reports

      The reports emerged after a group called Shadow Brokers released files that seemed to show the NSA was targeting not only US companies such as Cisco and Juniper but also Chinese vendor Huawei.

      A Huawei spokesperson said: “We do view this as a bit of an old story”, but gave an official statement: “Huawei is aware of allegations of past government attempts to exploit commercial networking gear. We know that networks and related ICT product are under regular and widespread attack and we make significant investments in innovative technologies, processes and security assurance procedures to better secure them, as well as the networks and data of our customers.

    • Is There Another Edward Snowden Leaking NSA Info?

      After news that a cache of proprietary and powerful hacking tools had been stolen from the National Security Agency, the government suggested Russian hackers were to blame.

      But intelligence expert and former NSA whistleblower James Bamford writes that the theft probably isn’t the work of the Russians, and was more likely carried out by an insider, similar to famed NSA leak source, Edward Snowden.

      “If Russia had stolen the hacking tools, it would be senseless to publicize the theft, let alone put them up for sale,” Bamford wrote for Reuters. “It would be like a safecracker stealing the combination to a bank vault and putting it on Facebook.”

      On the weekend of Aug. 13 and 14, a hacker group calling itself the Shadow Brokers placed the stolen tools online. They consist of what The Washington Post called “a sophisticated cyber arsenal” capable of smashing through firewalls and exploiting weaknesses in network security.

    • Politicians renew call to bring Snowden to Germany

      The Green and Die Linke politicians wrote a letter to the Federal Court of Justice, asking that Snowden be allowed to be questioned in Germany for an ongoing inquiry into NSA surveillance.

      According to DPA sources, they want to break a blockade by the coalition government against having Snowden come for questioning about surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

      “Neither a questioning by video nor a hearing of Edward Snowden in Moscow are the same as a questioning in Berlin,” said Linke politician Martina Renner.

      “A testimony in Moscow or by video still would entail significant problems for security and the protection of information about the relevant concerns.”

      The German parliament set up an investigatory committee after Snowden leaked information that revealed the scale of the NSA’s spying, including claims that American agents had tapped into Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone.

      The information from Snowden also led to the emergence of information about Germany helping the NSA to spy on German companies and European politicians.

    • Letter: Liberals twist ‘hacks’ and ‘leaks’ [Ed: Whistleblowers need to defy rules in order to demonstrate misconduct and avoid cover-up. This letter ignores that.]

      What if the leaker signed a confidentially agreement not to share any information, as Manning and Snowden did? Did they not then break the law to obtain the information? What if someone physically enters into a restricted area at work and leaks this data to the media? Is this not theft?

    • NSA has a Most Skillfully Developed Hackers’ Team

      It’s presumed that Equation Group is a contractor that provides service to the NSA. To describe it differently it would be USA’s very own hackers’ team. Cyber Security Company Kaspersky Lab based in Moscow analyzed Equation Group as an extremely skilled hacking group equipped with resources and sophisticated techniques.

    • Were Stolen NSA Codes Leaked by ‘Another Snowden?’

      Top secret tools used by the National Security Agency are believed to be have been leaked by a group calling itself the “Shadow Brokers.”

      The “Shadow Factory” author James Bamford said he wouldn’t be surprise if the hack was caused by someone within the NSA.

      “All indications are that this probably came from somebody from the inside, not somebody from the outside, and certainly not the Russians,” Bamford said during an interview on the FOX Business Network’s Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast.

      The leaked toolkits, believed to be authentic, provided an inside look at the hacking toolkit of the NSA’s hacker unit from 2013. Bamford is convinced someone from within the agency is responsible for the security breach – an incident similar to the one in which Edward Snowden walked away with 1.7 million NSA documents.

    • If You’re Learning About It From Slate, Running Your Own Email Server Is A Horrendously Bad Idea

      And for what tradeoff? Well, there are some pretty big ones. If you’re not particularly skilled and experienced with online security issues, your personal email server is almost certainly significantly less secure than the big companies that have strong security teams and are constantly making it stronger and on the lookout for attacks. If you’re that good, you’re not learning about the issue of hosting your own email server for the first time in… Slate.

      The article insists that it’s a myth that running your own server is a security nightmare, but I’ve yet to see an online security expert who agrees with that even remotely. Even the comments to the Slate piece are filled with IT folks screaming about what a bad idea this is.

      In the end, this seems to be an issue of tradeoffs and skills. If you’re quite skilled with online security and you think the government might want secret access to your email, then maybe in some limited cases, it might make more sense for you to run your own server — though, even then you’re exposing yourself to being hacked by the government too, because, you know, they do that kind of thing also in some cases. Otherwise, you’re almost certainly opening yourself up to a home IT nightmare and a lot more trouble than it’s worth for significantly less security.

      In short, even if you’re not Hillary Clinton, running your own email server is a bad idea. And if you’re just now getting the idea from Slate… then it’s a really bad idea.

    • Privacy-Preserving Abuse Detection in Future Decentralised Online Social Networks
    • WhatsApp and Facebook to share data – even more snooping

      WhatsApp is an encrypted mobile messaging service. It was purchased by Facebook in February 2014 with the implication that its users’ data would never be shared. It is still saying that despite its latest blog indicating otherwise.

      WhatsApp’s latest blog “Looking ahead for WhatsApp” reveals changes to allow it to share user data with its parent Facebook for highly targeted advertising.

      The blog says, “By connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of. You can learn more, including how to control the use of your data, here.”

      The updated privacy policy, however, is a wordy document but essentially says, “We may provide you marketing for our Services and those of the Facebook family of companies, of which we are now a part.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Sheriff’s Raid to Find Blogger Who Criticized Him Was Unconstitutional, Court Rules

      An appellate court in Baton Rouge ruled Thursday that a raid on a police officer’s house in search of the blogger who had accused the sheriff of corruption was unconstitutional.

      The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals argued that Sheriff Jerry Larpenter’s investigation into the blog ExposeDAT had flawed rationale: the alleged defamation was not actually a crime as applied to a public official.

      The unanimous ruling from the three-judge panel comes after police officer Wayne Anderson and his wife Jennifer Anderson were denied assistance in local and federal court.

      “I love it when justice is tangible,” Jerri Smitko, one of the Andersons’ laywers, told The Intercept.

      “With that piece of paper it says that what they did was unconstitutional — that’s a great feeling because you’re holding it in your hand and it’s vindication for people that they intended to oppress,” she added.

      The raid was sparked by the sheriff’s investigation into who was behind the anonymous blog that accused local officials, including him, of corruption and fraud. Through a blog and a Facebook page called “John Turner,” ExposeDAT used public records to show conflicts of interest.

      The sheriff sought warrants when Tony Alford, a local business owner, filed a criminal complaint about the blog. On August 2, Larpenter and his deputies raided the Andersons’ house after they traced the IP address of the John Turner Facebook page through a warrant to AT&T.

      The information AT&T provided, according to an affidavit, gave the sheriff an address and a name: Wayne Anderson.

    • Patients violated, doctors rehabilitated

      Doctors who sexually abuse patients go to therapy and then return to practice

    • The Battle Over the Burkini

      There are at least two ways of looking at this: one from the perspective of much of the Muslim world, the other from the perspective of Western countries. The main difference here is this: Westerners or others have of course right to express personal opinions on this issue, but have no authority overseas to decide on the issues that essentially affect Muslim women and local practices in the Muslim world. (Unless we are talking about gross violations of human rights which this is not.)

      It is Muslim men and women who have to decide for themselves what norms they seek on social dress codes for their own countries and cultures. In the Muslim world there is no unanimity, and furthermore the issue is evolving with time.

      Let’s be clear — I’m talking about here the wearing of full face and body covering (burka), not about women’s modest Islamic dress such as the hijab — more like a nun’s habit — that covers the hair but not the face.

      I happen to personally believe that women’s place in society is basically held back by the wearing of the full body and face covering (burka). That is indisputably the case in the West, but even in the East as well. But that is just my personal opinion.

    • The Deep Colonial Roots of France’s Unveiling of Muslim Women

      Throughout the summer, as a growing number of southern French municipalities banned burkinis on their beaches, the measure was widely decried as Islamophobic, counter-productive and oppressive to women. While it would be easy to reduce it to a misled, demagogue measure by right-wing mayors attempting to appear ‘tough on extremism’ in the aftermath of the Nice attack and in a national climate of rising Islamophobia, the bans are only the latest development in a long history of state-led oppression of Muslim women. In fact, the French State has been unveiling Muslim women for decades.

      During colonial rule in Algeria and the Algerian War of Independence, French military propaganda enjoined women to unveil themselves as acts of allegiance to both the French state and “civilization” itself. In turn, remaining veiled was an act of cultural and national resistance. Following years of controversy on the subject, France passed a law to ban headscarves in schools in 2004, and in 2010 Nicolas Sarkozy’s government banned the burqa in all public spaces.

    • ‘Line in the Sand’: Court Halts Burkini Ban on French Beaches

      France’s highest administrative court halted the controversial ban on full-body “burkinis” imposed by the town of Villeneuve-Loubet on the grounds that it “seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms.”

      The court said a final decision on the legality of the ban—which is similar to those also in place in some 30 French towns, mostly on the Riviera—would be made later. If Villeneuve-Loubet’s ban is found to be illegal, that ruling could set a precedent for the others, the BBC reports. Correspondents said the court’s action makes it likely that the other bans will also be overturned.

      The ban on the full-body swimsuits has engendered widespread criticism from those who say it uses the language of human rights to impose discriminatory rules on Muslim women.

    • France: Reaction to court decision to overturn burkini ban

      Responding to the decision of France’s highest administrative court to overturn the ban on the burkini on a French beach, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said:

      “By overturning a discriminatory ban that is fuelled by and is fuelling prejudice and intolerance, today’s decision has drawn an important line in the sand.”

      “French authorities must now drop the pretence that these measures do anything to protect the rights of women. Rather, invasive and discriminatory measures such as these restrict women’s choices and are an assault on their freedoms of expression, religion and right to non-discrimination.”

    • When Police Body Cameras Aren’t The Answer

      Earlier this month, a too familiar tragedy unfolded in East Los Angeles when Los Angeles police officers shot and killed 14-year-old Jesse Romero. Witness accounts vary — the police department says Romero fled when officers approached him on suspicion of scrawling graffiti in his neighborhood, then fired at officers. Some civilians say he had a gun but tossed it away.

      As is increasingly common, the incident was captured on officers’ body cameras.

      Los Angeles officials have touted body cameras as a way to provide transparency and accountability and build trust between police and the public in moments of crisis. But that’s not how it has played out because the LAPD’s policies for body cameras don’t provide transparency or assure the public that officers will be held accountable.

      Instead, the department has stated that it generally holds videos from public view unless ordered by a court to release them. Romero’s family has called for the footage to be released.

      According to LAPD policy, officers are able to review body cam footage before talking to investigators. Instead of promoting transparency and trust, LAPD’s body camera program has resulted in more questions than answers.

    • NYPD Ignored Court-Imposed Rules While Spying on American Muslims

      A new report from the NYPD Inspector General provides more fodder for critics of the department’s discredited practices.

      The New York Police Department repeatedly violated important court-imposed safeguards when it secretly investigated American Muslims for years, according to a new report released this week by the police’s own watchdog.

      The report, issued by the Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD, examined the department’s compliance with the Handschu Guidelines, which protect New Yorkers’ lawful political and religious activities from unwarranted surveillance, and are incorporated into the NYPD’s Patrol Guide. The investigation focused on a sample of cases closed between 2010 and 2015 that largely involved American Muslims. The report found that the NYPD failed to follow important safeguards in place to protect people’s rights and the integrity of police investigations.

      In perhaps its most damning finding, the inspector general said that in more than half the cases reviewed, both NYPD investigations and their use of informants and undercover officers continued after approval expired. In some cases, the inspector general found the department failed to document any actual reason for extending investigations in which there was no reasonable indication of wrongdoing. This is just more proof that the NYPD’s surveillance of American Muslims was highly irregular and disturbing.

      In the cases reviewed, according to the inspector general, the NYPD always met the “informational threshold” required to open cases. That plainly does not jibe with what the ACLU and NYCLU discovered when looking at NYPD records. Our lawyers have said there were often no valid reasons for the NYPD to open or extend investigations of American Muslims.

    • Justice Department Pressed to Intervene When Police Arrest Grassroots Journalists

      Across the country, civilian journalists have documented government violence using cell phones to record police activities, forcing a much-needed national discourse. But in case after case after case after case, the people who face penalties in the wake of police violence are the courageous and quick-witted residents who use technology to enable transparency.

      Earlier this month, the International Documentary Association launched an online petition to the Department of Justice asking the federal government to intervene when local police arrest or otherwise harass civilians who document and record police violence. EFF was proud to sign the petition, since this is an issue on which we have been increasingly active.

      Led by film makers Laura Poitras and David Felix Sutcliffe, the petition also calls for an official investigation exploring “the larger pattern of abuse that has emerged on a federal, state, and local level, and the threat it poses to free speech and a free press.” Finally, the petition urges “our peers in the journalistic community to investigate and report on these abuses.”

      Poitras’ film Citizenfour, documenting the Edward Snowden revelations, won the 2015 Oscar award for Best Documentary. Sutcliffe directed (T)error, which is the first film ever to document an FBI sting operation as it unfolds (and in the interest of full disclosure, briefly features the author of this post).

    • Illinois Achieved Important Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reforms. But Those Reforms Represent Only A Fraction of What Must Be Done.

      While Illinois embraced some bipartisan criminal justice reform, the battle for systemic change has just begun.

      Earlier this week, Illinois’ Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and leaders from the Democratic-controlled legislature took a break from campaigning and gathered together at a ceremony in Chicago to smile for cameras and extol the spirit of compromise as the governor signed legislation aimed at reforming the state’s broken criminal justice system.

      To an observer outside Illinois politics, the significance of this show of bipartisanship might not be readily apparent. Election year politics aside, cooperation between Rauner and the General Assembly has been almost nonexistent since the governor took office in 2015. The two sides have been locked in a bitter and protracted budget battle, with the government operating on stopgap and court-ordered funding, while each side accuses the other of holding the state hostage.

      No one should expect that the recent bill signing represents a break in the impasse that has paralyzed government in Illinois. However, it does demonstrate that the growing consensus that Illinois’ criminal justice system is broken and in need of immediate reform has the power to transcend even the unprecedented partisan distrust and hostility that exists in Springfield today.

      The current state of Illinois’ criminal justice system is the product of a familiar story that is playing out in cities all across the country. Although crime rates have been on a steady decline for decades, our prisons are severely overcrowded as a result of “tough on crime” sentencing laws passed in the 1980s and 1990s, and the destructive impact of over-incarceration has fallen disproportionately upon communities of color and the poor. There is also a profound shortage of rehabilitative services to address behavioral health disorders that can thrust people into crisis and lead to negative interactions with law enforcement.

      Those released from prison face barriers to employment, education, and housing years after paying their debts to society. Not surprisingly, recidivism among those released from prison remains high. Meanwhile, relations between police and the community are at a tipping point, and our draconian drug sentencing laws have done nothing to stave off an epidemic of addiction and overdose.

      As the governor himself acknowledged, the five bills enacted into law on Monday are the first tiny steps in a long process of reform. Gov. Rauner created the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform in early 2015, and he tasked it with recommending specific reforms which, if implemented, will enable the state to safely reduce its incarcerated population by 25 percent over 10 years.

    • Federal police raids over NBN leak should ring alarm bells for journalists

      The last two people who were successfully prosecuted in Australia for receiving and disclosing an “official secret” were a former intelligence officer and the prostitute he gave classified documents to for the purposes of selling them on to a foreign government.

      But now, for the first time in decades, the Australian federal police has dusted off this rarely used law. There are no prostitutes this time, and no sordid allegations of espionage or intrigue.

      Instead, there’s a Labor staffer who is under investigation for allegedly receiving documents tantamount to an “official secret” from an anonymous source. The documents, according to Labor, are nothing to do with national security but do show failings and cost blowouts in the construction of Australia’s highly politicised national broadband network.

    • Administration Creates A Hack For A Entrepreneur’s Immigration Visa

      For many, many years we’ve talked about why the US should have an entrepreneur’s visa to let in smart entrepreneurs who are able to build companies and create jobs in the US, rather than kicking out the very people who are helping to build out the US economy. However, because immigration is such a touchy issue, attempts to do so via Congress have gone nowhere. And while we’ve had some concerns about the actual implementation (in particular the focus on requiring the entrepreneurs to raise a fair amount of venture capital), the general concept is a good one.

      [...]

      This does seem better than some of the earlier proposals, which included requirements after receiving the visa to have to raise upwards of $1 million from investors. We were worried that this would basically force entrepreneurs to take money from VCs when they might not otherwise need to. This parole system still has raising money as a criteria, but the amount is significantly lower and DHS also has the flexibility to still grant the parole without the investment if there is “other reliable and compelling evidence of the startup entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.”

    • Challenged Over ‘Racist’ Remarks, Maine Governor Leaves Unhinged Voicemail

      Maine’s Donald Trump-supporting, race-baiting, Republican Governor Paul LePage has gotten into hot water—again—after leaving a state lawmaker an expletive-laced and threatening voicemail on Thursday.

      In the phone message, LePage—who was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014—demands that Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine “prove” that he’s a racist, calls him a “son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker,” and says: “I am after you.”

      Gattine has denied that he called the governor racist after his latest diatribe on the racial background of drug dealers in the state. LePage on Wednesday said that “90 percent of drug dealers coming into Maine are black or Hispanic.”

    • ‘Prove I’m a racist’: LePage challenges Westbrook lawmaker in obscenity-laced voice mail

      Gov. Paul LePage left a state lawmaker from Westbrook an expletive-laden phone message Thursday in which he accused the legislator of calling him a racist, encouraged him to make the message public and said, “I’m after you.”

      LePage sent the message Thursday morning after a television reporter appeared to suggest that Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine was among several people who had called the governor a racist, which Gattine later denied. The exchange followed remarks the governor made in North Berwick on Wednesday night about the racial makeup of suspects arrested on drug trafficking charges in Maine.

    • Rights Advocates Slam Baltimore’s “Incomprehensible” Police Spying

      “The fact that the BPD has been engaged in a secret program of mass surveillance is both incomprehensible and unacceptable. It is even more astounding that this could be done during a Justice Department investigation into the BPD that found pervasive racial bias and lack of accountability,” Rocah said in a statement Wednesday.

    • Match the Fine For Palestine: The Higher You Build Your Barriers, the Taller We Become

      In what one admirer calls “a brilliant generous gesture… telling Palestinians they have not been forgotten,” activist fans of Scotland’s Celtics soccer team – the working-class, historically progressive community already facing punishment for flying Palestinian flags at a recent game against Israel to protest the Occupation – have launched a defiant fundraiser to match their likely upcoming fine, thus “hugging tighter” an oppressed population with which they’ve long felt a kinship. The Celtics plan to give the proceeds – their original goal of $20,000 quickly grew to a flood of about $200,000 – to two Palestinian charitable groups.

      Europe’s ruling soccer body UEFA has already announced disciplinary proceedings against Celtic for its display of an “illicit banner” at a game against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva team a couple of weeks ago. The act of solidarity was one of many over the years by a largely Irish Catholic community with a strong sense of affinity for the Palestinian struggle against colonization. With over 1,200 Scots of Palestinian origin, their own history of occupation and an ongoing sense of being underdogs in Scotland, says historian Tom Devine, “Part of their sense of communal identity is that sense of grievance about what was done in the past. People who are Irish nationalists will always tend to support independence movements they believe to be based on historical justice.”

    • Death to the Death Penalty in California

      On Election Day, California voters will make a monumental moral and financial decision. Proposition 62—the Justice That Works Act—is on the Nov. 8 ballot, and if the initiative passes, it will replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole. It will also require convicted murderers to work and pay restitution to their victims’ families. And it will save taxpayers $150 million a year, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

      Among the states still part of the U.S. death penalty system, California has the most people on death row—746. Florida is next, with 388 according to the Yes on 62 campaign. Overall, 2,943 people are on death row in the United States (as of Jan. 1)—meaning almost one in four people waiting to be executed are in the California penal system. The elderly make up 11 percent, and the oldest condemned inmate is 86. The average stay on death row is 18 years.

      Although California has spent about $5 billion administering the death penalty, it has executed just 13 people since 1978. This means taxpayers have spent about $384 million per execution.

      There is no evidence demonstrating that the death penalty deters crime, according to a 2012 National Academy of Sciences study. Capital punishment has been applied arbitrarily due to inherent bias, local political pressures on prosecutors and judges, and lack of access to quality defense attorneys by those convicted. According to Death Penalty Focus, the race of the victim and the race of the defendant are major determinants in who is sentenced to death in this country.

      [...]

      And look at the company we keep. Only China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia execute more people than the United States.

    • Where Is Our Martin Luther King Jr.?
    • Apple is the source of mistreatment of Chinese workers
    • iPhone or iExploit? Rampant Labor Violations in Apple’s Supply Chain

      A new report published August 24 by China Labor Watch (CLW) demonstrates that the same legal and ethical violations that attracted media attention in 2012 continue unabated at Apple supplier factories today. In the case of Pegatron, CLW reports that conditions have actually worsened since 2015, despite years of audits commissioned by Apple, a membership in the Fair Labor Association, and promises from the company that it is committed to ensuring the safety and dignity of those who make its lucrative products.

    • Why Walmart Matters to 21st Century Working-Class Struggle

      Service jobs as a share of US working hours increased 30 percent between 1980 and 2005, and their prevalence has only grown since the Great Recession. One 2012 study found that although two-thirds of the jobs lost during the recession were mid-wage jobs, 58 percent of the jobs regained by the time of the study were instead low-wage, paying less than $13.84 per hour. Retail sales alone added well over 300,000 jobs in this period, at an average wage of $10.97 an hour; just behind was food prep, paying an average of just over $9 an hour. The trend had begun before the crisis, but after the crisis hit, it was impossible to pretend that something fundamental hadn’t changed.

    • Temp Organizing Gets Big Boost from NLRB

      Thanks to a National Labor Relations Board decision, workers employed by temporary staffing agencies may find it easier to organize and bargain.

      The Board issued its long-awaited ruling last August in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI). The decision revamped the Board’s test for what’s considered a “joint employer,” imposing new legal obligations on employers who hire through temp agencies and potentially also on giant corporate franchisors.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • How the father of the World Wide Web plans to reclaim it from Facebook and Google

      When the World Wide Web first took off in the mid 1990s, the dream wasn’t just big, it was distributed: Everyone would have their own home page, everyone would post their thoughts – they weren’t called “blogs” until 1999 – and everyone would own their own data, for there was no one around offering to own it for us. The web consisted of nodes joined by links, with no center.

      Oh, how times have changed.

      Now a handful of companies own vast swaths of web activity – Facebook for social networking, Google for searching, eBay for auctions – and quite literally own the data their users have provided and generated. This gives these companies unprecedented power over us, and gives them such a competitive advantage that it’s pretty silly to think you’re going to start up a business that’s going to beat them at their own game. The fact that Facebook already has the data in 1.7 billion users’ profiles and, more important, the history of its users’ interactions means that you’re probably not going to attract a lot of savvy investors. Plus that’s where all your friend are already. Vendor lock-in is real.

    • How Is This Not A Net Neutrality Violation, Sprint?

      While the United States’ net neutrality rules are certainly better than nothing, we’ve noted a few times how they contain enough loopholes (and ignore enough hot button topics) as to be more than a little problematic. More specifically, they contain so much wiggle room they let ISPs of all stripes violate net neutrality — just so long as they’re a bit more creative about it. Verizon and Comcast were quick to highlight this when they began cap-exempting their own content, while still penalizing their competitors (without so much as a real peep from the FCC).

      T-Mobile pushed these creative barriers further with Binge On, which exempts only the biggest and most popular video services from the company’s usage caps (aka “zero rating”). This automatically puts thousands of smaller video providers, non-profits, educational institutions and startups at a notable market disadvantage, but by and large nobody outside of the EFF and academia seems to give much of a damn because a: ill-informed consumers are happy laboring under the illusion that they’re getting something for free and b: the public (and by proxy media) is lazy and tired of debating net neutrality.

      But the door being opened here leads to a monumental, potentially dangerous shift not only in how broadband service is purchased and sold, but in just how open the internet of the future is going to be.

  • DRM
    • Remember When Cracking Groups Said Denuvo Would End Game Piracy? Yeah, Didn’t Happen

      As you may recall, earlier this year a well-known hacking group that specializes in cracking PC games made the bold prediction that cracking games would no longer be a thing in another year or two. Contrasting with what seems like the neverending trend concerning DRM in software, 3DM stated that the software industry had apparently found its unicorn in a DRM called Denuvo, which was increasingly elongating the time between a game hitting the market and the crack for it becoming available. A practice that usually took days or weeks was suddenly being measured in months, pushing to a year. 3DM made the case that this amount of time and effort to crack a Denuvo-protected game made the practice too costly and, more importantly, that the DRM software was being updated and getting so good that it might essentially become uncrackable.

      This prediction, of course, flew in the face of the history of DRM and the speed with which it has always been defeated, leading me to be more than a bit skeptical of the prediction. Skepticism well-founded, it appears, now that Denuvo appears to have been neutered in the days since.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • France Passes Copyright Law Demanding Royalties For Every Image Search Engines Index Online

        The Disruptive Competition Project is detailing yet another bad copyright law change in Europe — France, in particular, this time. Called the Freedom of Creation Act, it actually passed a few months ago, but people are just beginning to understand and comprehend the full horror of what’s happening. Basically, it will now require any site that indexes images on the internet (i.e., any image search engine) to pay royalties for each image to a collection society.

      • Do passive hosting providers commit acts of communication to the public in relation to third-party content?

        The document is extremely interesting for various reasons. Among the things, the Commission addresses the problem of right holders facing great difficulties, or being unable, “to negotiate with online service providers that store and give access to large amounts of protected content uploaded by their users. This results in right holders having limited control over the use and the remuneration for the use of their content.” [p 124, the so called 'value gap'].

      • European Copyright Leak Exposes Plans to Force the Internet to Subsidize Publishers

        A just-leaked draft impact assessment on the modernization of European copyright rules could spell the end for many online services in Europe as we know them. The document’s recommendations foreshadow new a EU Directive on copyright to be introduced later this year, that will ultimately bind each of the European Union’s 28 member states. If these recommendations by the European Commission are put in place, Europe’s Internet will never be the same, and these impacts are likely to reverberate around the world.

        The 182-page document identifies three general objectives—ensuring wider access to content, adapting copyright exceptions to the digital and cross-border environment, and achieving a well-functioning marketplace for copyright. In this initial article we examine the recommendations that fall under the third of these three objectives, which are amongst the most alarming proposals, including new obligations on Internet platforms, and new copyright-like powers for news publishers.

        More specifically, this article will look at two of the proposals for what the Commission calls “upstream” problems, or difficulties faced by copyright owners in extracting value from the use of content online. We’ll deal with other parts of the document in later posts.

      • FBI-Controlled Megaupload Domain Now Features Soft Porn

        As part of its criminal case against Megaupload, the U.S. Government seized several domain names belonging to Kim Dotcom’s file-hosting service. Nearly five years later the authorities still control the domains but they haven’t done a very good job of securing them. Megaupload.org now links to a soft porn portal.

Links 26/8/2016: Maru OS Resurfaces, Android More Reliable Than ‘i’ Things, PC-BSD Becomes TrueOS

Saturday 27th of August 2016 12:36:20 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Windows, Mac or Linux… Which operating system best suits your business?

      Linux is a free alternative. Apart from the zero-cost factor, it’s still less prone to viruses than Windows. Most Linux machines start out as Windows computers that are reformatted. Linux is also adaptable — Linux is an OS kernel, not a full system, but is the heart of software distributions such as Ubuntu or Fedora.

      As for cons, Linux is more complex to learn and use. There are also far fewer programs written for Linux systems. Of course, someone with an advanced online computer science master’s degree will help you make the most of a Linux system by supplying the skills needed to innovate and implement custom solutions for your business environment.

    • Eight free open source alternatives to Windows 10: Chrome, Ubuntu, Solus and more Linux-based alternatives – what’s the best alternative to Windows OS?

      Initially released in 2004, Ubuntu is Debian-based and part of the open source Linux family. Ubuntu uses Unity as its default user interface and can be run on smartphones, tablets and PCs.

      Key features: Libre Office, Firefox, Thunderbird, built-in Ubuntu Software Center, F-spot, an image editor, an instant messaging client called Empathy, and Ubuntu Make (developer tools centre).

      Pros: Comes with popular open source software pre-installed, like Firefox and Libre Office.

      Cons: Unfamiliar interface, perhaps aimed at more technical audience.

    • Windows 10 computers crash when Amazon Kindles are plugged in

      Dozens of Microsoft Windows 10 users are reporting that their computers crash when plugging in Amazon Kindles.

      The issue appears to be caused by the recent Windows 10 Anniversary update. Users of Amazon’s Paperwhite and Voyage attempting to either transfer books or charge their devices via USB are seeing their various Windows 10 laptops and desktops locking up and requiring rebooting.

      Pooka, a user of troubleshooting forum Ten Forums said: “I’ve had a Kindle paperwhite for a few years no and never had an issue with connecting it via USB. However, after the recent Windows 10 updates, my computer BSOD’s [blue screen of death] and force restarts almost as soon as I plug my Kindle in.”

      On Microsoft’s forums, Rick Hale said: “On Tuesday, I upgraded to the Anniversary Edition of Windows 10. Last night, for the first time since the upgrade, I mounted my Kindle by plugging it into a USB 2 port. I immediately got the blue screen with the QR code. I rebooted and tried several different times, even using a different USB cable, but that made no difference.”

      Another forum user, Tuscat, who found the issue affected both an HP laptop and a Dell desktop said: “It’s pretty frustrating because I need to transfer some PDFs to the Kindle for my son’s school classes.”

      The issue appears to be affecting regular Windows 10 Anniversary update users and those on Microsoft’s Insider programme for pre-release software testing.

    • Linux survival guide: These 21 applications let you move easily between Linux and Windows

      If you need to navigate regularly between Linux and the Windows world, there are many applications that can make your job easier. We spotlight 21 quality applications that will pave the way.

    • City of Bern starts open desktop proof of concept

      The council of the Swiss capital of Bern wants to increase the city’s use of open source software solutions. Last week, the city approved a CHF 843,00 (about EUR 750,000) proof of concept study for a switch to open source desktop solutions. The proposal was supported by a clear majority in the council, with 49 votes in favour and 18 against.

  • Server
    • Open Source, Containers and the Cloud: News from ContainerCon and LinuxCon

      LinuxCon and ContainerCon, events focused on Linux, containers and open source software, wrapped up this week in Toronto. Here’s a round-up of the announcements and insights related to cloud computing that emerged from the meeting.

      LinuxCon and ContainerCon are co-located events. That made for an interesting combination this year because Linux is an established technology, which is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. In contrast, containers remain a new and emerging enterprise technology. (Yes, containers themselves are much older, but it has only been in the past three years, with the launch of Docker, that containers are becoming a big deal commercially.)

      The two events thus paired discussion of a very entrenched platform, Linux, with one that is still very much in development. But open source, the coding and licensing model behind both Linux and container platforms like Docker, tied everything together.

    • Citrix Enables NetScaler for Containers and Micro-Services

      At the LinuxCon ContainerCon event here, a core topic of discussion is about how to enable enterprises to be able to embrace containers. Citrix has a few ideas on how to help and is announcing enhancements to its NetScaler networking gear to enable load balancing for containers and micro-services.

    • Want to Work for a Cloud Company? Here’s the Cream of the Crop

      What do Asana, Greenhouse Software, WalkMe, Chef Software, and Sprout Social have in common? They’ve been deemed the very best privately held “cloud” companies to work for, according to new rankings compiled by Glassdoor and venture capital firm Battery Ventures.

      For “The 50 Highest Rated Private Cloud Computing Companies,” Glassdoor and Battery worked with Mattermark to come up with a list of non-public companies that offer cloud-based services, and then culled them, making sure that each entry had at least 30 Glassdoor reviews, Neeraj Agrawal, Battery Ventures general partner told Fortune.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
    • ‘Show-and-Tell’ Cool Maker Projects on Hangouts

      Wow! This live Hangout show looks a lot like a DIY version of one of the morning shows on over-the-air TV — and if there’s any doubt that the maker movement thrives on open source, the first guest’s project is all about Python and Arduino. Be sure to check out the cool Star Trek combadge. Beam us up, Mr. Shapiro!

  • Kernel Space
    • 25 things to love about Linux

      Today marks 25 years of Linux, the most successful software ever.

      At LinuxCon this week, Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation spoke words of admiration, praise, and excitement from the keynote stage, saying “Linux at 25 is a big thing” and “You can better yourself while bettering others at the same time.”

      To celebrate, we asked our readers what they love about Linux and rounded up 25 of their responses. Dive into the Linux love!

    • The 25 biggest events in Linux’s 25-year history

      You can argue about Linux’s official birthday. Heck, even Linus Torvalds thinks there are four different dates in 1991 that might deserve the honor. Regardless, Linux is twenty-five years old this year. Here are some of its highlights and lowlights.

    • 25 Years of Linux: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

      Happy Birthday Linux! You’re 25!

      When Linux was born on Aug. 25, 1991, it was little more than a hobby for then 21-year old Linus Torvald. Today the Linux community is estimated to be upwards of 86 million users strong. It has become the backbone of large enterprises, and it is installed in government systems and embedded in devices worldwide.

      The Linux operating system started out as an alternative to other platform architectures in use on mainframes and enterprise back-ends. It has grown into a major mainstream computing platform for small through large companies’ server operations, and has made inroads into consumer computing.

      Linux has been ported to more hardware platforms than any other operating system, thanks to the popularity of the Linux-based Android operating system, noted Meike Chabowski, documentation strategist at Suse.

      “Today, Linux has the largest installed base of all general-purpose operating systems worldwide. Linux is also the leading operating system on servers of any sort, and of 99.4 percent of the top 500 supercomputers,” he told LinuxInsider. “Also, you find embedded Linux in a huge quantity of devices and machines — built into cars, network routers, facility automation controls, entertainment equipment, and medical equipment such as X-rays.”

      Some people do not even know they are using it. Linux is everywhere, Chabowski said.

    • Google’s Continuing & Numerous Contributions To Open-Source

      Marc Merlin of Google presented at this week’s LinuxCon 2016 event in Toronto how the company has — and continues to — contribute to open-source software.

    • Why Linux is poised to lead the tech boom in Africa

      Certain emerging markets are advancing so quickly that they aren’t just speeding through the technology phases of developed countries. They’re skipping stages entirely — a phenomenon economists call “leapfrogging.”

      The most visible signs of leapfrogging are in consumer technologies, including the rapid adoption of the internet, mobile phones and social media. By 2020, Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to be the world’s second-largest mobile Internet market, surpassing Europe and ranking only behind Asia-Pacific, according to Frost & Sullivan.

      These advances in consumer technologies are creating a corresponding need for advances in IT infrastructure. This week to help meet that need, IBM announced a new LinuxONE Community Cloud for Africa. Developers will have access at no charge for 120 days utilizing the cloud to create and test their applications on IBM LinuxONE, the industry’s most powerful Linux system.

    • 25 Awesome (And Some Unexpected) Things Powered By Linux

      From your kitchen to the reaches of outer space, Linux is truly everywhere. Here are 25 different places where you can hear the beating of an open-source heart.

    • Special Anniversary Edition: This Week in Open Source News
    • Linux turns 25 years old! Happy birthday Linux!

      Valve aren’t the only ones celebrating a birthday this week (see here). Linux also just got a bit older and wiser. Linux is officially 25 years old today!

    • ​Linus on Linux’s 25th birthday

      It’s been twenty-five years since Linux began. Today, we’re living in a world where Microsoft has embraced Linux and everything — and I mean everything — depends on Linux. It didn’t start that way. It began as a small project without any great ambitions.

    • Open source software changing the connected world
    • Linux celebrates the first of its two 25th birthdays
    • Linux turns 25: Containers, cloud and IoT present new opportunities and challenges
    • Linux turns 25, kind of runs (part of) the world
    • 25 Years of Linux and the GPL, and How Android Benefits
    • Happy 25th birthday, Linux!
    • Twenty-five years of Linux overcoming hurdles and overshooting goals
    • Linux Took Over the Web. Now, It’s Taking Over the World
    • Twenty-five years of Linux: A quiet revolution
    • Linux turns 25 years young: an open, free and exciting future lies ahead
    • Linux celebrates its 25th birthday today! But can it survive another 25 years?
    • Happy Twenty-Fifth Birthday, Linux!
    • Linux: 25 years on and still going strong
    • Tech Quiz Of The Week: Linux At 25
    • 25 Years of Linux — so far

      On August 25, 1991, an obscure student in Finland named Linus Benedict Torvalds posted a message to the comp.os.minix Usenet newsgroup saying that he was working on a free operating system as a project to learn about the x86 architecture. He cannot possibly have known that he was launching a project that would change the computing industry in fundamental ways. Twenty-five years later, it is fair to say that none of us foresaw where Linux would go — a lesson that should be taken to heart when trying to imagine where it might go from here.

    • Happy 25th Birthday, Linux!
    • Happy Birthday, Linux
    • Slides for my LinuxCon talk on Mainline Explicit Fencing

      For those of you that are interested here are the slides of the my presentation at LinuxCon North America this week. The conference was great with very good talks and very interesting meetings on the hallway track.

    • Linux 4.8 May Fix An Issue Of Some Laptops Burning Through Power While Suspended

      It looks like some newer Intel laptops will be much happier when S3 suspended with the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel.

      For at least some newer Intel laptops with distributions like Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Fedora was a case where suspending the system would still still be consuming much power: a hot laptop and losing around 12% of the battery life per hour while “suspended.”

    • Linux 4.8 Intel P-State vs. CPUFreq Scaling Driver/Governor Benchmarks

      Given the underlying work that’s been happening in the CPUFreq/scheduler area and the introduce of the new Schedutil CPUFreq governor, I decided to run some fresh performance benchmarks of P-State and CPUFreq with the different governor options when testing from a Linux 4.8 Git kernel atop the current Fedora 25 development packages and using a Core i5 Skylake processor.

    • Upcoming Linux Tests With A $300 Broadwell-EP Xeon CPU
    • Linus Torvalds says first Linux release wasn’t public

      Keeping up with tradition, Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, and Dirk Hohndel, vice president and chief of open source at VMware, sat down to talk about Linux at LinuxCon NA. Here is an edited version of the conversation, in which they talked about the email Torvalds sent out 25 years ago to announce Linux.

    • LinuxCon: Tracing Linux’s Roots, Mapping Its Future

      On Aug. 25, 1991, a student at the University of Helsinki sent out a mailing announcing a new hobby operating system project. That student was Linus Torvalds, and his hobby operating system, now known as Linux, became the most widely used OS, powering stock exchanges, supercomputers, mobile phones and much more. From Aug. 22 to 25, the Linux community gathered at the annual LinuxCon North America event here to celebrate and discuss all things Linux. A highlight of the event was the appearance of Linus Torvalds, who reminisced about the past 25 years on what has gone wrong and what has gone right with Linux. A decade ago, LinuxCon was only about Linux, but this year, the event was co-located with ContainerCon, Xen Summit and Cloud Native Day. Linux in 2016 is about more than just an operating system. It is about a wider market of open-source technologies that Linux helps enable. (Highly telling is the fact that, starting next year, the conference will be renamed the Open Source Summit.) In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at highlights of this year’s LinuxCon event.

    • Happy birthday Linux: 25 years later, the ‘Year of Linux’ may finally be here

      25 years ago, one Linus Benedict Torvalds started working on a part-time project. This was not any project like travel, working time, hacking, learning music or anything typical. Instead, this part-time hobby project was to work on an ‘Operating System’. Yes, that’s right, an operating system.

      While mere mortals like us would waste our time gaming or sleeping, Linus Torvalds decided to build an OS. Well, technically not an entire operating system, but an OS Kernel. It’s the most crucial part of the operating system anyway.

    • Linux Celebrates Its 25th Birthday This Week
    • As Linux turns 25, its lies beyond desktops and mobile devices

      Today marks the 25th anniversary of the open-source operating system used to do everything from powering supercomputers to surfing the web: Linux.

      Linux began its journey 25 years ago, and now it’s a top product platform for apps for smartphones, Internet of Things devices, and computers—all of which primarily run on Linux.

      Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu), said that the organization is continuing to “support Linux’s journey as the production platform for the enterprise and telecoms infrastructure we see today.” She added that while cloud technology runs almost entirely on Linux, Canonical still thinks the desktop is important to Linux’s growth. Ubuntu also started as a desktop OS, and it’s still used for both mobile and desktop programs, she said.

    • Linux turns 25, with corporate contributors now key to its future

      That developer was of course Linus Torvalds and his free operating system came to be known as Linux. It’s since more or less conquered the world, first becoming the de facto heir to proprietary Unix and latterly serving as the operating system for enormous numbers of devices large and small.

      El Reg runs on Linux and these even Microsoft is embracing the OS, offering it in its cloud, porting products to it and even putting Linux to work running is data centre switches.

    • 2016 LiFT Scholarship Winner Alexander Popov: Linux Kernel Contributor

      Since 2012, Alex has had 14 patches accepted into the mainline Linux kernel. With his employer, Positive Technologies, he has helped develop a bare metal hypervisor that they hope to open source soon. And this year he spoke at LinuxCon Japan about his work porting Kernel Address Sanitizer (KASan) to his company’s bare-metal hypervisor.

      He is using the free training and certification provided by the LiFT scholarship to take the Linux Kernel Internals and Development (LFD420) course from The Linux Foundation.

    • Graphics Stack
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KaOS Brings Serious Relevance Back to KDE

        If you’ve been looking for a distribution to sway you back to the KDE desktop, look no further than KaOS. It’s beautiful, runs with the snap of a much lighter desktop, and feels as reliable as any other option available for Linux. I haven’t been this impressed with KDE for a very, very long time. And, I am certain users would find themselves equally happy to return to a desktop that has long needed a champion like KaOS.

      • Qt 5 based Colorpick

        Colorpick is one of my little side-projects. It is a tool to select colors. It comes with a screen color picker and the ability to check two colors contrast well enough to be used as foreground and background colors of a text.

      • KDE Connect 1.0 is here!

        Today we are officially publishing the first stable release of KDE Connect. Hooray! This version is the most solid yet feature-packed version we ever released. It’s been in development for a year now and it took a lot of hard work, we hope you like it!

      • KDE Connect 1.0 Released For Device/Phone Communication

        KDE Connect is the interesting project for integrating notifications and more from your phone or other mobile device onto the KDE desktop.

      • Qt Creator 4.1 Adds New Themes, Experimental Nim Support

        The Qt Company announced the release today of Qt Creator 4.1 as the newest version of its popular, cross-platform IDE.

      • Qt Creator 4.1.0 released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.1.0.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Fresh From the Oven: GNOME Pie 0.6.9 Released

        For a slice of something this weekend you might want to check out the latest update to GNOME Pie, the circular app launcher for Linux desktops.

      • GUADEC 2016 and the Butterfly Effect
      • GUADEC 2016 Notes

        I’m back from GUADEC and wanted to share a few thoughts on the conference itself and the post-conference hackfest days.

        All the talks including the opening and closing sessions and the GNOME Foundation AGM are available online. Big thanks goes to the organization team for making this possible.

  • Distributions
    • The Battle of The Budgie Desktops – Budgie-Remix vs SolusOS!

      Ladies and gentleman, it’s the moment you have all been waiting for… the main even of the evening! In this corner, wearing Budgie trunks, fighting out of Ireland, created by Ikey Doherty, the man behind Linux Mint Debian Edition — SolusOS! And in this corner, built on the defending champion, also wearing Budgie trunks, aiming to be the next flavor of Ubuntu, Budgie-Remix!

    • Reviews
      • An Everyday Linux User Review Of Antergos LinuxAn Everyday Linux User Review Of Antergos Linux

        So Antergos was recommended to me by a number of people and I have to say that the experience was decent.

        It isn’t difficult to install Antergos but if you have a slow internet connection then you have to be a bit patient.

        Most things worked ok and hardware support was fine across the board.

        The Steam thing I put down to something that the Steam developers need to resolve. Come up with a better installer.

        Would Antergos make my top five now that I have tried it? I would say no to that. It isn’t as good as Manjaro and that is the best distribution to pitch it against because they are both based on Arch. Manjaro has a more polished look and feel.

        Nevertheless Antergos is a good distribution and well worth a try.

    • New Releases
    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat Updates its Kernel-based Virtual Machine

        Red Hat updated its Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM)-powered virtualization platform for both Linux- and Windows-based workloads.

      • Red Hat Virtualization 4 Takes on Proprietary Competition

        Red Hat continues to move well beyond its core enteprise Linux-based roots with a string of new releases. The company has announced the general availability of Red Hat Virtualization 4, the latest release of its Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) -powered virtualization platform. It fully supports OpenStack’s Neutron – the networking project leveraged in SDNs.

        The company emphasizes that Red Hat Virtualization 4 challenges the economics and complexities of proprietary virtualization solutions by providing a fully-open, high-performing, more secure, and centrally managed platform for both Linux- and Windows-based workloads. It combines an updated hypervisor, advanced system dashboard, and centralized networking for users’ evolving workloads.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3 Beta Adds NVDIMM Support, Improves Security

        Today, August 25, 2016, Red Hat announced that version 7.3 of its powerful Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system is now in development, and a Beta build is available for download and testing.

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3 Beta brings lots of improvements and innovations, support for new hardware devices, and improves the overall security of the Linux kernel-based operating system used by some of the biggest enterprises and organizations around the globe. Among some of the major new features implemented in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3 release, we can mention important networking improvements, and support for Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Modules (NVDIMMs).

      • CentOS 6 Linux OS Receives Important Kernel Security Update from Red Hat

        CentOS developer and maintainer Johnny Hughes informed the community about the availability of an important Linux kernel update for the CentOS 6 Linux operating system.

        The new kernel update is here to patch various important security issues in the Linux 2.6.32 kernel packages used by CentOS 6, which is built on the freely distributed sources of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 operating system. This means that the new kernel has also been pushed upstream, in Red Hat’s repositories.

      • Release of Red Hat Virtualization 4 Offers New Functionality for Workloads

        Release of Red Hat Virtualization 4 Offers New Functionality for Workloads
        Red Hat has released Red Hat Virtualization 4 (formerly Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization), the latest release of its Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) virtualization platform that provides a centrally managed platform for Linux and Windows based workloads.

      • Red Hat CEO: Open-source innovation is always user-led

        According to Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, the prevailing narrative about the growth and spread of Linux is only half-true.

        The idea that a doughty community of coding geniuses, led by an irascible commissar in Linus Torvalds, quietly created a technological asset that eventually spread to the biggest users in the land is actually a little misleading, he told Network World at LinuxCon North America 2016 in Toronto.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Julita Inca Chiroque: How Do You Fedora?

          In 2012 Julita traveled to the Czech Republic for a hackfest. She participated with the GNOME Documentation team. She became aware of the relationship between Red Hat, CentOS and Fedora because the event was held in the Red Hat building. Chiroque was inspired to organize Fedora events after meeting Jiří Eischmann. Julita said, “I knew Jiří Eischmann from Fedora Czech Republic and I saw his work as organizer and I wanted to do the same in Peru.” She began working with Fedora LATAM to organize events, with Luis Bazan as her Fedora LATAM Mentor. Chiroque’s current focus is on young students interested in open source and Fedora.

          Julita organized the Fedora 17 release party, a five hour event, as her first in Peru. Activities included installation of Fedora and configuration of applications. The event also included a discussion on how to contribute to Fedora.

        • F25 Wallpaper

          Here are my rough designs so far for the Fedora 25 release wallpaper! Design inspiration? Archimedes; mathematician and inventor of the Achimedean screw. Note: none of these are the final design; they are just to give a sneak peak at the progress begin made by myself and the rest of the Design Team on this project

        • Another Set of Updated Fedora 24 Linux Live ISO Images Are Now Ready to Download

          Fedora Unity Project leader and Fedora AmbassadorBen Williams proudly announce the release of yet another set of updated Live ISO images for the Fedora 24 Linux operating system.

        • Wayland by default in Fedora 25?

          I’ve noticed various reports that Fedora has decided to switch to Wayland by default in Fedora 25. It’s true that the alpha release will default to Wayland, but these reports have misunderstood an authorization from FESCo to proceed with the change as a final decision. This authorization corrects a bureaucratic mistake: FESCo previously authorized the change for Fedora 24, but the Workstation working group decided to defer the change to Fedora 25, then forgot to request authorization again for Fedora 25 as required. An objection was raised on the grounds that the proper change procedure was not followed, so to sidestep this objection we decided to request permission again from FESCo, which granted the request. Authorization to proceed with the change does not mean the decision to proceed has been made; the change could still be deferred, just as it was for Fedora 24.

    • Debian Family
  • Devices/Embedded
    • 4Duino combines Arduino, WiFi, and a 2.4-inch touchscreen

      4D Systems launched a $79 “4Duino-24” Arduino compatible board, with a 2.4-inch resistive touchscreen and an ESP8266 WiFi module.

      One reason you might choose a Linux SBC like a Raspberry Pi over an Arduino is that it’s easier to control an LCD display for simple IoT GUIs and other HMI applications. Now the 4Duino-24 board aims to smooth the path to Arduino-based IoT displays with an Arduino Leonardo clone board that not only adds an ESP8266 WiFi module, but also includes a 2.4-inch TFT LCD display with resistive touch.

    • Tegra TK1 COM Express module runs Ubuntu at 15W

      Connect Tech has launched an Ubuntu-driven COM Express Compact Type 6 module with an Nvidia Tegra K1 and optional extended temperature support.

      Nvidia’s Tegra SoCs have faded fast in the smartphone world, but appear to be doing just fine in embedded, especially in automotive. (Nvidia just announced a Tegra-like, ARM Cortex-A57 based Parker SoC for its Drive PX 2 autonomous car platform.) Now Connect Tech has added to the growing market for Linux-driven, Tegra K1-based computer-on-modules aimed at the general embedded market with its “COM Express TK1 CMG601” COM Express Compact Type 6 module.

    • Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Code Club teaches kids skills to compete in our digital world

      For some time, the UK’s technology sector has been concerned about finding the right skilled workers to fill jobs in the future. This predicted “digital skills gap” warns that unless we help people to become confident with technology now, we will be facing a huge shortage in skilled workers in the future.

      One way to overcome the digital skills gap is to invest in training and education for the next generation.

      Code Club is a network of free coding clubs for primary school students, and all of the projects we work on are open source. There are over 4,500 Code Clubs currently in the UK, reaching an estimated 75,000 children.

    • Rugged 3.5-inch SBC runs Linux or Android on i.MX6

      Logic Supply has introduced a “ICM-3011” 3.5-inch board with a dual-core i.MX6, wide-range power input, and extended temperature support.

      Like the recent Pico-ITX form factor ICM-2010 SBC that’s also available in an ICS-2010 mini-PC, the ICM-3011 was built by Taipei-based Embux, and is being distributed and supported by Logic Supply. Like the ICM-2010, the $253 ICM-3011 runs on the 1GHz, dual-core DualLite version of NXP’s Cortex-A9-based i.MX6 SoC. It similarly is supported by images for Android 5.0.2 “Lollipop,” Yocto “Daisy” Linux 1.6.2, or Ubuntu Linux 12.04.

    • Phones
      • Tizen
        • Comparison of the Samsung Z1 vs Z2 vs Z3 Tizen smartphones

          Compare Samsung Z1, Z2, and Z3 Tizen Smartphones

          Lets do a quick history lesson: The first Tizen Smartphone was the Samsung Z1, then came the Z3, and yesterday was the turn of the 4G touting Z2 to take centre stage. On the whole the Z2 is very similar to the Z1 and can be thought of a Z1 2016 edition with the inclusion of 4G cellular connectivity and updated software with user requested features.

      • Android
        • iPhones are much more likely to ‘fail’ than Androids

          Apple’s once glittering reputation for quality took quite a few hits during the last few years, especially when it comes to iOS, the software that runs on iPhones. In some cases, recurrent software bugs have plagued users with issues such as the inability to use Wi-Fi, frequent crashes, and ridiculously short battery life. This week reports surfaced about a hardware flaw that makes some iPhone 6 screens inoperable. (Apple hasn’t confirmed any related problems.)

          It’s hard to tell how widespread some of these issues are, but a new report from a company that monitors smartphone quality suggests iPhones are far more likely to “fail” or suffer serious glitches than Android phones. The Blancco Technology Group says it collected performance data from millions of mobile phones during the second quarter of 2016, and it found that iPhones had an overall failure rate of 58 percent, compared to just 35 percent failure for Android devices. The term “failure” doesn’t necessarily mean that the phone has become a brick, according to Blancco. Instead, it means the device or software running on the device suffered some serious problem.

        • Maru OS is now open source (Turns Android phones into Linux desktops)

          Maru OS is a software project that lets you plug an Android phone into an external display to run desktop Linux software. First unveiled earlier this year, the software is very much a work-in-progress. Initially it only supported one phone: the Google Nexus 5.

          But things could get a lot more interesting soon, because the developer behind Maru OS has finished open sourcing the project and a group of developers are planning to start porting the software to run on additional devices.

        • Maru OS wants to turn your phone into a desktop with its latest open source build

          Not to be confused with Maru the adorable YouTube cat, Maru OS, the bite-sized Android add-on that turns your phone into a desktop, just went open source.

          Maru OS doesn’t change much about the way your phone operates on its own, but once you connect a desktop monitor via a slimport cable, Maru really comes to life. When connected to a display, Maru OS allows you to run a desktop Linux environment straight from your phone.

          Your phone is still a phone, it’ll take calls, send texts and do everything else it normally does, even while it’s connected to a desktop monitor running Linux on the side. It’s an interesting concept, but it’s still very much a work in progress. Today’s announcement could help move things along for Maru.

        • The long-awaited Maru OS source release

          Hey guys,

          I’m happy to announce that Maru has been fully open-sourced under The Maru OS Project!

          There are many reasons that led me to open-source Maru (https://blog.maruos.com/2016/02/11/maru-is-open-source/),
          but a particularly important one is expanding Maru’s device support with
          the help of the community.

          If you’d like to help out with a device port (even just offering to test a
          new build helps a lot), let the community know on the device port planning
          list (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/maru-os-dev/YufKu…)
          . We currently have a few Nexus, LG, and Motorola builds being planned. If
          you don’t see your device on there and would like to help with development
          or testing, please do chip in and we’ll get it added to the list.

        • Living with Android 7.0 Nougat: The most important changes

          Android 7.0 Nougat has finally reached Google’s Nexus devices after more than five months of developer preview testing. The final version is more stable and has a ton of new features. Most phones won’t get a Nougat update for a few months at least, and that’ll only happen if the carrier and OEM consider it a high priority. What can you expect when that glorious day finally arrives? I’ve been using Nougat on both a Nexus 6P and a Pixel C for the last few days. I won’t bother reciting all the features, which you can find a simple list of them on Google’s site. Let’s talk about what it’s actually like to use Android 7.0 Nougat as a daily driver.

        • Apple’s iOS ‘Failure Rate’ Is Higher Than Android’s For First Time

          Apple’s iOS devices like iPhones and iPads crashed twice as often in the second quarter compared to the previous one, new data shows.

          Fifty-eight percent of iOS-based devices suffered from “performance failures” like apps crashing or components shutting down during the second quarter, up from 25% in the first quarter, according to a study by mobile technology service provider Blancco Technology Group (BTG).

        • Is Android malware more popular than Google’s own app?
        • Android 7.0 Nougat Tip: Manage Battery Life
        • Android 7.0 Nougat has already been ported to a phone that doesn’t support it
        • Night Mode Enabler Brings Back Android Nougat’s Night Mode
        • Is your Android phone being controlled by a rogue Twitter account? Botnet is first to receive commands via tweets
        • Nougat’s Nav bar customizer still an option for Nexus 6P owners
        • Geekbench listing shows two Nokia-branded Android phones in the works
        • How to Use Multi-Window View in Android 7 Nougat
        • 1.5m US iPhone users are about to switch to Android

          If we take ComScore figures for January 2016 we see that around 198.5 million people in the US own smartphones. 52.8 percent of these use Android and 43.6 percent use iPhones, ComScore claims.

          If we use ComScore’s figures as base we can make some estimates based on Fluent’s research. Fluent believes 29 percent of all iPhone users will definitely buy a new phone this year, and while 87 percent of them will stick with Apple (21.8 million), 6 percent will switch to Android. This suggests that around 1.5 million US iPhone users will make this switch.

Free Software/Open Source
  • 5 Ways to Solve the Open Source Industry’s Biggest Problems

    Over the last decade, open source software and its audience of end users have greatly matured. Once only used by a small subset of tech-savvy early adopters, the convenience, effectiveness and cost savings of open source solutions are now driving enterprise IT to explore more ways to take advantage of the power of open source in their daily business operations.

    In today’s economy, enterprise IT has less to gain from developing and licensing software and more to gain from actively working with existing open source technology. However, the march toward open source still faces major obstacles before it becomes mainstream. In this slideshow, Travis Oliphant, CEO and founder of Continuum Analytics, outlines five challenges preventing enterprise IT from shifting to open source and tips for tackling them to keep the future of open source heading in the right direction. The road may be winding, but it will eventually lead companies to open source to help them innovate and as the way of the future.

  • Latest attacks on privacy…

    With the EU (in this case France and Germany) gearing up for another attack on privacy I’m quite happy and proud to have been part of the release of Nextcloud 10!

  • Events
    • Conferences and Kids

      I’ve taken my daughter, now 13, to FOSDEM in Brussels every year that I had slots there. She isn’t a geek, yet enjoys the crowds and the freebies. When I could, I also took my kids to other events, where I was speaking. In this post I’d like to capture my feelings about why children should be part of conferences, and what conferences can do to make this easier.

      First off, the “why?” Traditional conferences (in all domains, not just software) are boring, ritualized events where the participants compete to see who can send the most people to sleep at once. The real event starts later, over alcohol. It is a strictly adult affair, and what happens at the conf stays at the conf.

      Now our business is a little different. It is far more participative. Despite our history of finicky magic technologies that seem to attract mainly male brains, we strive for diversity, openness, broad tolerance. Most of what we learn and teach comes through informal channels. Finished is formal education, elitism, and formal credentials. We are smashing the barriers of distance, wealth, background, gender, and age.

  • SaaS/Back End
    • Rackspace to be Acquired for $4.3B

      Rackspace announced that it is being acquired in an all-cash deal valued at $4.3B. Pending regulatory anti-trust approval, the firm will be taken private by a group of investors led by Apollo Global Management in Q4 of 2016.

      This valuation equates to a price of $32/share. The 38% premium cited in the announcement is calculated against a base share price from August 3, as the news about the pending acquisition began increasing the company stock price as early as August 4.

      For historical context, this valuation falls considerably below the company’s peak market capitalization in January 2013 when Rackspace was worth $10.9B. This means that the company’s current valuation – including the premium – is less than 40% of what it was at its highest point.

    • More on Open Source Tools for Data Science

      Open source tools are having a transformative impact on the world of data science. In a recent guest post here on OStatic, Databricks’ Kavitha Mariappan (shown here), who is Vice President of Marketing, discussed some of the most powerful open source solutions for use in the data science arena. Databricks was founded by the creators of the popular open source Big Data processing engine Apache Spark, which is itself transforming data science.

      Here are some other open source tools in this arena to know about.

      As Mariappan wrote: “Apache Spark, a project of the Apache Software Foundation, is an open source platform for distributed in-memory data processing. Spark supports complete data science pipelines with libraries that run on the Spark engine, including Spark SQL, Spark Streaming, Spark MLlib and GraphX. Spark SQL supports operations with structured data, such as queries, filters, joins, and selects. In Spark 2.0, released in July 2016, Spark SQL comprehensively supports the SQL 2003 standard, so users with experience working with SQL on relational databases can learn how to work with Spark quickly.”

    • SDN, open source nexus to accelerate service creation

      What’s new in the SDN blog world? One expert says SDN advancements will be accelerated, thanks to SDN and open source convergence, while another points out the influence SDN has in the cloud industry.

    • Platform9 & ZeroStack Make OpenStack a Little More VMware-Friendly

      Platform9 and ZeroStack are adding VMware high availability to their prefab cloud offerings, part of the ongoing effort to make OpenStack better accepted by enterprises.

      OpenStack is a platform, an archipelago of open source projects that help you run a cloud. But some assembly is required. Both Platform9 and ZeroStack are operating on the theory that OpenStack will better succeed if it’s turned into more of a shrink-wrapped product.

    • Putting Ops Back in DevOps

      What Agile means to your typical operations staff member is, “More junk coming faster that I will get blamed for when it breaks.” There always is tension between development and operations when something goes south. Developers are sure the code worked on their machine; therefore, if it does not work in some other environment, operations must have changed something that made it break. Operations sees the same code perform differently on the same machine with the same config, which means if something broke, the most recent change must have caused it … i.e. the code did it. The finger-pointing squabbles are epic (no pun intended). So how do we get Ops folks interested in DevOps without promising them only a quantum order of magnitude more problems—and delivered faster?

    • Cloud chronicles

      How open-source software and cloud computing have set up the IT industry for a once-in-a-generation battle

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Oracle reveals Java Applet API deprecation plan

      Oracle has revealed its interim plan to help Java devs deal with browser-makers’ imminent banishment of plug-ins.

      Years of bugs in Java, Flash and other plugins have led browser-makers to give up on plugins. Apple recently decided that its Safari browser will just pretend Java, Flash and Silverlight aren’t installed. Google has announced it will soon just not run any Flash content in its Chrome browser.

      Oracle saw this movement coming and in January 2016 announced it would “deprecate the Java browser plugin in JDK 9”

  • Education
    • Marist College, Rockefeller Archive Center Partner on Open Source Digital Archival Tech

      Marist College and the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) in New York have partnered to develop and implement an open source digital records management system to support researchers, archival staff and the broader archival community.

      [...]

      At the same time, one of the goals of Marist College “is to offer open source technologies, such as Liferay and Blockchain, to like-minded organizations that create a lasting impact on our community,” said Bill Thirsk, vice president of information technology and CIO at the college, in a news release.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • More Details On PC-BSD’s Rebranding As TrueOS

      Most Phoronix readers know PC-BSD as the BSD operating system derived from FreeBSD that aims to be user-friendly on the desktop side and they’ve done a fairly good job at that over the years. However, the OS has been in the process of re-branding itself as TrueOS.

      PC-BSD has been offering “TrueOS Server” for a while now as their FreeBSD-based server offering. But around the upcoming FreeBSD 11.0 release they are looking to re-brand their primary desktop download too now as TrueOS.

    • PC-BSD > TrueOS, BSD’s Legacy, f25 Wayland Maybe

      A few days ago we reported that Wayland is set to be the default graphical server in upcoming Fedora 25 but today Michael Catanzaro said only if it’s ready. PC-BSD is renaming their desktop operating system to TrueOS and Christopher Tozzi looked at why BSD didn’t become the dominate Unix-clone. Elsewhere, Michael Mason examined Budgie Desktop distros and, of course, there’s more on Linux’ 25th.

    • FreeBSD 11.0-RC2 Arrives With Fixes

      The second release candidate to the upcoming FreeBSD 11 is now available for testing.

      FreeBSD 11.0-RC2 ships with various bug fixes, several networking related changes, Clang compiler fixes, and other updates.

      FreeBSD 11.0 is bringing updated KMS drivers, Linux binary compatibility layer improvements, UEFI improvements, Bhyve virtualization improvements, and a plethora of other work. Those not yet familiar with FreeBSD 11 can see the what’s new guide.

    • Open Source History: Why Didn’t BSD Beat Out GNU and Linux?

      If you use a free and open source operating system, it’s almost certainly based on the Linux kernel and GNU software. But these were not the first freely redistributable platforms, nor were they the most professional or widely commercialized. The Berkeley Software Distribution, or BSD, beat GNU/Linux on all of these counts. So why has BSD been consigned to the margins of the open source ecosystem, while GNU/Linux distributions rose to fantastic prominence? Read on for some historical perspective.

      Understanding BSD requires delving far back into the history of Unix, the operating system first released by AT&T Bell Labs in 1969. BSD began life as a variant of Unix that programmers at the University of California at Berkeley, initially led by Bill Joy, began developing in the late 1970s.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Public Services/Government
    • Uganda to cut costs with open source software

      Some of the FOSS customizable applications on the market include Word Press, Mozilla Firefox, and open office among others. The applications can be used to create websites, marketing business ideas, and conduct online business. Most startups find it difficult to break through but creation of an online presence has made some business gain faster traction. James Saaka, the NITA-U executive director, said government struggles to pay licenses to use programmes from Microsoft, Oracle which is so expensive to maintain.

  • Licensing/Legal
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
Leftovers
  • Science
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Is Big Pharma Out to Stop—Or Take Over—Marijuana Legalization?

      Geoffrey Guy stood out when he began attending conferences of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Washington, DC, in the mid to late 1990s. The stout British gentleman, dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit, was hard to miss among the other attendees dressed in tie-dye shirts and psychedelic parkas, recalled Allen St. Pierre, then NORML’s deputy national director.

      But while he might not have fit in, Guy, a doctor in his early 40s who’d already made millions by founding a UK-based pharmaceutical company, was eager to learn all he could at the events about medical marijuana.

      “He was like a dry sponge who desperately wanted to be thrown in a bucket of water,” said St. Pierre, who recently resigned from his 11-year stint as NORML’s executive director to pursue private-sector opportunities.

    • NHS cuts ‘planned across England’

      Plans are being drawn up that could see cuts to NHS services across England.

      The BBC has seen draft sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) which propose ward closures, cuts in bed numbers and changes to A&E and GP care in 44 areas.

      There have been have been no consultations on the plans so far.

      NHS England, which needs to find £22bn in efficiency savings by 2020-21, said reorganising local services is essential to improve patient care.

      But the Nuffield Trust think tank said while STPs could lead to “fundamental changes”, many of the plans do not meet the financial targets set by the government and will face a “dauntingly large implementation task”.

      Laura Townshend, director of the campaign group 38 Degrees, said the plans had received very little public or political scrutiny.

      She told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: “A key concern is why it hasn’t been this transparent up until now.

    • NHS plans closures and radical cuts to combat growing deficit in health budget

      NHS bosses throughout England are quietly drawing up plans for hospital closures, cutbacks and radical changes to the way healthcare is delivered in an attempt to meet spiralling demand and plug the hole in their finances, an investigation by the Guardian and campaign group 38 Degrees has revealed.

      Without the changes, the NHS at local level could be facing a financial shortfall of about £20bn by 2020-21 if no action is taken, the research suggests.

      The cost-cutting shakeup is being overseen by NHS England, but is already sparking a series of local political battles over the future of services, and exposes the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to fresh criticism after his controversial role in the junior doctors dispute.

      Last year’s Conservative manifesto pledged an extra £8bn a year for the NHS by the end of this parliament, as demanded by the NHS chief executive, Simon Stevens, in his 2014 “five-year forward view”. But Stevens made clear that was the minimum money needed, and radical reforms to the way healthcare is delivered would also be necessary to make the NHS hit its budgets.

    • Virus Sharing Key Against Next Flu Pandemic: Global Database Hosts Genetic Data Of Flu Viruses

      When a deadly influenza virus appears and threatens to become a pandemic, time is of the essence. The 1918 flu epidemic infected a large portion of the global population and killed millions of people. The next pandemic is inevitable, and surveillance of flu viruses is essential through the timely sharing of flu virus genetic data with the scientific and research communities. A collaborative database has become prominent in recent years.

    • The feminisation of males

      An increasing number of baby boys in the UK are being born with genital disorders. One in 350 male babies have a condition known as hypospadias. Instead of the opening of the penis being at the tip, it may be lower down the penis or even around the scrotum. In a few rare cases, there may not be an opening at all.

      Other disorders of the male reproductive system are also on the increase. Cryptorchidism is the most common genital malformation of all, when one of both testes fail to descend into the scrotum, affecting between two and four per cent of baby boys. Chordee – a downward curve of the penis, especially when erect – is usually, but not always, associated with
      hypospadias. Boys with chordee often have to sit down when they relieve themselves. In later life, the severe curvature from chordee can make intercourse impossible.

      Many experts believe that the defects seen in male babies are related to a broader problem- the feminisation of men. Male sperm counts have halved since 1941. Infertility and cancer of the testes are also on the rise. Testicular cancer is now the most common cancer of young men. Hypospadias is a congenital (present at birth) anomaly (abnormality), which means that the malformation occurs during foetal development. As the fetus develops, the urethra does not grow to its complete length. Also during fetal development, the foreskin does not develop completely, which typically leaves extra foreskin on the top side of the penis and no foreskin on the underside of the penis.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • The Death Toll in Yemen Is So High the Red Cross Has Started Donating Morgues to Hospitals

      Almost a year and a half into Saudi Arabia’s U.S.-backed bombing campaign in Yemen, the humanitarian toll has become so extensive that the International Committee of the Red Cross has taken the unusual step of donating entire morgue units to Yemeni hospitals.

      “The hospitals were not able to cope,” said Rima Kamal, a Yemen-based spokesperson for the Red Cross. “You could have more than 20 dead people brought into one hospital on one single day. The morgue capacity at a regular hospital is not equipped to handle this influx of dead bodies.”

      “At times several dead bodies had to be stored on one shelf to avoid further decomposition,” Kamal continued. “The situation was not sustainable.”

      Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen in March 2015, after Houthi rebels took control of the capital and forced Yemen’s Saudi-backed leader, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, into exile. The United Nations has since attributed the majority of the war’s 6,500 deaths to the Saudi coalition, which the U.S. and U.K. have resupplied with tens of billions of dollars of weapons.

    • Genocide in Plain Sight: Shooting Bushmen From Helicopters in Botswana

      In a healthy democracy, people are not shot at from helicopters for collecting food. They are certainly not then arrested, stripped bare and beaten while in custody without facing trial.

      Nor are people banned from their legitimate livelihoods, or persecuted on false pretenses.

      Sadly in Botswana, southern Africa’s much-vaunted ‘beacon of democracy’, all of this took place late last month in an incident which has been criminally under-reported. Nine Bushmen were later arrested and subsequently stripped naked and beaten while in custody.

      The Bushmen of the Kalahari have lived by hunting and gathering on the southern African plains for millennia. They are a peaceful people, who do almost no harm to their environment and have a deep respect for their lands and the game that lives on it. They hunt antelope with spears and bows, mostly gemsbok, which are endemic to the area.

      According to conservation expert Phil Marshall, there are no rhinos or elephants where the Bushmen live. Even if there were the Bushmen would have no reason to hunt them. They hunt various species of antelope, using the fat in their medicine and reserving a special place for the largest of them, the eland, in their mythology. None of these animals are endangered.

    • U.S. Military Now Says ISIS Leader Was Held in Notorious Abu Ghraib Prison

      In February 2004, U.S. troops brought a man named Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badry to Abu Ghraib in Iraq and assigned him serial number US9IZ-157911CI. The prison was about to become international news, but the prisoner would remain largely unknown for the next decade.

      At the time the man was brought in, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba was finalizing his report on allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib’s Hard Site — a prison building used to house detainees singled out for their alleged violence or their perceived intelligence value. Just weeks later, the first pictures of detainee abuse were published on CBS News and in the New Yorker.

      Today, detainee US9IZ-157911CI is better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. His presence at Abu Ghraib, a fact not previously made public, provides yet another possible key to the enigmatic leader’s biography and may shed new light on the role U.S. detention facilities played in the rise of the Islamic State.

      Experts have long known that Baghdadi spent time in U.S. custody during the occupation of Iraq. Previous reports suggested he was at Camp Bucca, a sprawling detention facility in southern Iraq. But the U.S. Army confirmed to The Intercept that Baghdadi spent most of his time in U.S. custody at the notorious Abu Ghraib.

    • Support for Saudi Arabia Gives U.S. Direct Role in Yemen Conflict

      It was a frenetic Monday afternoon at Abs Hospital in northern Yemen, with doctors and nurses busily shuttling among the patients and a maternity ward filled with 25 women expecting to give birth.

      The bomb from the Saudi jet dropped into the middle of the hospital compound, a facility run by Doctors Without Borders, landing between the emergency room and a triage area for new patients. Nineteen people were killed, dozens were injured, and a humanitarian group that for decades has braved war zones across the globe decided it had had enough.

      Doctors Without Borders announced in the days after the Aug. 15 strike that it was pulling out of six medical facilities in northern Yemen, the latest turn in a war that has further devastated one of the Arab world’s poorest countries and has bogged down a Saudi military ill-prepared for the conflict.

    • Dad accused of imprisoning his daughter in Saudi Arabia has ‘two weeks’ to allow her home

      A Saudi academic accused of imprisoning his 21-year-old daughter at his home in Jeddah has about two weeks to comply with a British judge’s order which says the woman must be allowed to return to the UK.

      Mr Justice Holman ordered Mohammed Al-Jeffery to return Amina Al-Jeffery to Britain on August 3 after analysing the case at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

      The judge said Mr Al-Jeffery had to “permit and facilitate” Miss Al-Jeffery’s return to England or Wales by 4pm on September 11.

      Solicitor Anne-Marie Hutchinson, who represents Miss Al-Jeffery and is a partner at London law firm Dawson Cornwell, says her client has yet to return.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Indonesia fires: Environmentalists urge authorities to act

      Smoke is rising once again from the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, one year after haze from Indonesian land-clearing fires caused major health problems across South-East Asia.

      Environmentalists have urged Indonesian authorities to make good on their promises to get serious about the burning-off.

      So far, much of the haze seems to be coming from the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo.

    • Billionaire’s 28-Year-Old Son Picks Digital Music Empire Over Palm-Oil Riches

      Kuok Meng Ru didn’t spend much time with his billionaire father when he was growing up.

      As the third child of an agribusiness tycoon, he was sent off to a British boarding school at 10, graduating later from Cambridge University with a mathematics degree.

      His father Kuok Khoon Hong was busy building Wilmar International Ltd. into the world’s largest palm-oil business, starting from scratch in 1991. His mother constantly reminded him: “Much has been given, much will be expected.”

      Yet it was the father who introduced his son to Eric Clapton’s music. That led to an obsession with B.B. King and a love affair with the blues guitar.

      “I always felt like I had a personal relationship with him,” Kuok said of the late guitarist.

    • Smoke from Indonesian fires hits ‘unhealthy’ level in Singapore

      Air pollution in Singapore rose to the “unhealthy” level on Friday as acrid smoke drifted over the island from fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said.

      Every dry season, smoke from fires set to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations in Indonesia clouds the skies over much of the region, raising concern about public health and worrying tourist operators and airlines.

      The 24-hour Pollution Standards Index (PSI), which Singapore’s NEA uses as a benchmark, rose as high as 105 in the afternoon. A level above 100 is considered “unhealthy”.

      The NEA said it planned a “daily haze advisory” as “a burning smell and slight haze were experienced over many areas” in Singapore.

      Indonesia has been criticized by its northern neighbors and green groups for failing to end the annual fires, which were estimated to cost Southeast Asia’s largest economy $16 billion in 2015, and left more than half a million Indonesians suffering from respiratory ailments.

    • Smoke from Indonesian fires hits ‘unhealthy’ levels in Singapore as authorities push to hunt offenders

      Air pollution in Singapore has risen to the “unhealthy” level as acrid smoke drifted over the island from fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, the city-state’s National Environment Agency (NEA) said, in a repeat of an annual crisis.

      Every dry season, smoke from fires set to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations in Indonesia clouds the skies over much of the region, raising concern about public health and worrying tourist operators and airlines.

      The 24-hour Pollution Standards Index (PSI), which the NEA uses as a benchmark, rose as high as 105 in the afternoon — a level above 100 is considered “unhealthy”.

      The NEA said it planned a “daily haze advisory” as “a burning smell and slight haze were experienced over many areas” in Singapore.

    • Indonesia Steps up Fire Response as Haze Blankets Singapore

      Six Indonesian provinces have declared states of emergency as forest fires blanketed a swath of Southeast Asia in a smoky haze.

      Singapore’s air quality deteriorated to unhealthy levels on Friday as winds blew smoke from fires on Sumatra, where millions of people are already affected by haze, across the city-state and into southern Malaysia.

      The number of hotspots detected in Sumatra and Borneo by weather satellites has increased in the past month though they are below levels last year when massive fires in Indonesia caused a regional crisis.

      Singapore’s three-hour air pollution index was at 157 by late afternoon, after peaking at 215. Its environment agency doesn’t give a health warning with the limited duration index, but on a 24-hour basis it says levels above 100 are unhealthy and above 200 very unhealthy.

    • Singapore air quality worsens overnight as Indonesia fire arrests jump

      Southeast Asia is bracing itself for its annual, uncomfortable tryst with haze as raging fires at Indonesian plantations worsen pollution in the region.

      On Friday, Singapore woke up to a deterioration in air quality overnight, as a thin cloak of haze hung over the city-state. The country’s environment agency said that its 3-hour Pollution Standards Index hit the unhealthy level at 10am SIN.

      Neighboring Malaysia had already been feeling the effects of the drifting smog since mid-August, local media reported.

      The latest bout of pollution comes even as Indonesia steps up efforts against the ‘slash-and-burn’ technique of cutting down vegetation on a patch of land, then burning off the undergrowth to make space for new plantations.

      The country has arrested 454 individuals in connection with forest fires so far this year, more than double the 196 arrests made in 2015, Reuters reported, citing police data released on Thursday.

      The ‘slash-and-burn’ method is prevalent in Indonesia as it the easiest, fastest and most cost-effective way to clear land. According to the World Bank, about 35 percent of the Indonesian workforce is employed in agriculture, with palm oil and pulp-and-paper industries key contributors.

    • Should We Be Having Kids In The Age Of Climate Change?

      Standing before several dozen students in a college classroom, Travis Rieder tries to convince them not to have children. Or at least not too many.

      He’s at James Madison University in southwest Virginia to talk about a “small-family ethic” — to question the assumptions of a society that sees having children as good, throws parties for expecting parents, and in which parents then pressure their kids to “give them grandchildren.”

      Why question such assumptions? The prospect of climate catastrophe.

      For years, people have lamented how bad things might get “for our grandchildren,” but Rieder tells the students that future isn’t so far off anymore.

      He asks how old they will be in 2036, and, if they are thinking of having kids, how old their kids will be.

  • Finance
    • Apple could be on the hook for $19 billion in taxes, and the Obama administration is livid

      The European Commission is expected to levy a judgment against Apple in the next few months that could total in the billions of euros.

      JPMorgan has estimated that Apple could be on the hook for as much as $19 billion — or about 17 billion euros — the Financial Times reports.

      The commission is accusing Apple of striking a sweetheart tax deal with Ireland, in which the iPhone maker would move its profits to wholly owned Irish subsidiaries to reduce its corporate taxes.

      Apple has one major defender in its corner, though: the US Treasury Department and, by extension, the Obama administration.

    • Uber & Lyft As An Extension Of… Or Replacement For… Public Transit
    • Bay Area transit system to subsidize Uber, Lyft rides

      In a first for California, a public transit agency next month plans to begin subsidizing fares of people who take private Uber and Lyft cars to local destinations rather than riding the bus.

    • Uber Loses at Least $1.2 Billion in First Half of 2016

      The ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. is not a public company, but every three months, dozens of shareholders get on a conference call to hear the latest details on its business performance from its head of finance, Gautam Gupta.

      On Friday, Gupta told investors that Uber’s losses mounted in the second quarter. Even in the U.S., where Uber had turned a profit during its first quarter, the company was once again losing money.

    • Uber Is Playing a $16 Billion Game of Chicken

      A Bloomberg report Thursday revealed that Uber continues to lose an astounding amount of money as it tries to figure out a business model that works internationally. Uber lost $1.27 billion globally in the first half of 2016, according to the report. But more concerning for domestic riders is the fact that, after a profitable quarter in the United States, Uber is now once again losing money in the US market as it tries to use the enormous amount of financing it’s raised ($16 billion) to destroy competitors such as Lyft.

      In its quest to corner the ridesharing market, that has meant steep price discounts and promotional fares for consumers that are subsidized by Uber’s investors. Uber lost $100 million domestically in the second quarter. Lyft isn’t faring any better—its goal is to lose less than $50 million per month, according to the Bloomberg report.

      “Uber has been engaged in a fierce price war with Lyft Inc. this year, and that has also contributed to the enormous losses,” Bloomberg reporter Eric Newcomer wrote. “Uber told investors on Friday’s call that it’s willing to spend to maintain its market share in the US. The company told investors that it believes Uber has between 84 percent and 87 percent of the market in the US, according to a person familiar with the matter. One investor said that he was expecting Uber to continue losing money in the US for the next quarter or two.”

    • Uber lost at least $1.27bn in first half of 2016 – report

      Ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies lost at least $1.27bn before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the first six months of 2016, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

      The subsidies Uber grants its drivers was the main reason for the loss, finance head Gautam Gupta told investors in a quarterly conference call, Bloomberg said, citing sources.

      Uber, whose investors include Goldman Sachs Group and Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, could not immediately be reached for comment.

      The company lost about $520m in the first quarter of the year and another $750m in the second quarter, Bloomberg said.

    • Brexit pushes up price of bacon butty as China takes advantage of weak sterling to buy British pork

      The price of a bacon butty has dramatically increased after Brexit as China snaps up Britain’s pork supply and takes advantage of the UK’s weak sterling.

      Pork suppliers have revealed they had bumped up the price of a pack of British smoked bacon by as much as 38 per cent since the beginning of August, causing price increases for Britons of up to 19 per cent.

      The rise is attributed to higher demand from China who are desperately trying to import British pork to make up for their own domestic shortage after floods wiped out huge swathes of Chinese pigs.

    • Government brings forward measures to boost tourism after Brexit puts UK into bargain basement bin

      The Government is bringing forward a raft of measures to boost tourism, as a weak pound makes trips to Britain cheaper for foreigners.

      Brits’ summer holidays became more expensive across the board following the Brexit vote, as the pound fell from $1.49 on referendum day to lows of $1.28 in July and August.

      As a result the cost of a beer in New York City bar went from £3.98 to £4.65 overnight for British visitors – with similar rises for all other expenses like hotels, museums, and some flights.

    • Brexit shock fades as consumer confidence jumps at highest rate in three years

      UK consumer confidence rose the most in more than three years this month as the initial shock from the Brexit vote faded.

      An index of sentiment by YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research jumped to 109.8 from 106.6 in July, which was a three-year low. The gauge is still below the level it was a year ago.

      While the Brexit vote initially knocked sentiment, it’s not yet clear how this might ripple into economic activity. The Bank of England took pre-emptive action in early August, cutting interest rates and restarting quantitative easing to counter any slowdown.

    • The top 10 reasons Brexit isn’t working, according to Brexiteers

      Over the next few years, it is likely that the economy will shrink, that the entire government will be consumed by trade negotiations at the expense of every other priority, and that EU leaders will use their considerable negotiation advantages to theatrically screw us. As this unpretty story unfolds, those who argued confidently for Brexit, in parliament and in the press, will feel compelled to maintain that they were right, and that if it hadn’t been for some other impossible-to-foresee factor everything would be going splendidly. What follows is an attempt to anticipate the most predictable post-rationalisations; I’m sure there will be more creative efforts.

    • Why the Norway model is a flawed blueprint for Brexit

      The Norway option contradicts most claims of “taking back control” made during the referendum campaign. This is because, in order to benefit from membership of the single market, Norway has to accept the free movement of persons, along with goods, services and capital. Free movement within the EEA is a package deal.

      Even if the UK was able to secure an agreement to join the EEA and introduce limits on free movement of persons (which seems unlikely), the Norway option would still betray the “control over our laws” promise, as the UK would, in practice, continue to be bound by a large proportion of EU law.

    • Brazil’s Congress — a den of corruption

      Brazil’s Senate is big on decorum, not even letting men in without a coat and tie. But when it comes to corruption allegations, the politicians judging suspended president Dilma Rousseff seem less worried.

      Analysis by corruption watchdog Transparencia Brasil reveals that 59 percent of the 81 Senate members who will vote on Rousseff’s impeachment have been convicted or been investigated for crimes at some point.

      It is the same proportion in the lower house, whose 513 deputies first ignited the impeachment process now in its final stage in the Senate.

      Rousseff is accused of illegally manipulating government accounts to mask the depth of the economic crisis. However, her alleged crime, which she argues is an accounting maneuver used by several previous governments, does not suggest personal corruption or common crime.

      The same cannot be said of many of those sitting in Congress in recent years with rap sheets ranging from embezzlement and vote buying to murder.

    • Finland plans to give out cash to create jobs

      The experiment aims to show if the measure can simplify the welfare benefits system and lower unemployment in the country.

      “The primary goal of the basic income experiment is related to promoting employment,” the ministry said.

      As part of the testing, which will begin next year, 2,000 randomly selected working-age recipients of unemployment benefit will receive a monthly tax free income of €560 instead of their current payment.

    • Finland gearing up to launch basic income experiment

      Finland is set to launch an experiment in which a group of randomly-selected recipients of unemployment benefits will receive a monthly basic income of 560 euros instead of their current benefits.

    • Finland tests giving every citizen a universal basic income

      Finland is pushing ahead with a plan to test the effects of paying a basic income as it seeks to protect state finances and move more people into the labour market.

      The Social Insurance Institution of Finland, known as Kela, will be responsible for carrying out the experiment that would start in 2017 and include 2,000 randomly selected welfare recipients, according to a statement released on Thursday.

      The level of basic income would be €560 euros per month (£480) tax free, and mandatory for those picked.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • “The Spoiler” Speaks

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on her campaign and building an alternative to the two corporate parties.

    • Did an ISIS Fighter Try to Sell Sex Slaves on Facebook?

      Well, maybe. It is amazing how these horrific stories about ISIS just happen to appear on global social media, and then are instantly picked up by the mainstream media as fact.

      Why, it is almost as if someone is creating them, and then calling the mass media’s attention to them on obscure sources, for anti-ISIS propaganda purposes. Hmm.

    • Clinton Wins in A Cakewalk? Don’t Bet the Ranch on It

      If you listen to the media and the pundits, most are predicting a surefire Clinton victory – if not a landslide. One of the reasons for this misplaced optimism is that they seem to believe Sanders’ revolutionaries are all prepared to join hands with the PACster politicians and DLC types dominating the Democratic Party and sing Kumbaya.

      [...]

      The 2014 mid-terms are a good guide in terms of what to expect. The President’s party usually loses in a mid-term, but the Democratic defeat in 2014 was off the charts. Republicans ended up with 247 House seats – their best showing since Hoover was President, and they took the Senate, ending up with 54 seats.

      Most of the pundits and even many of the Democrats themselves ascribed the 2014 shellacking to their favorite fantasy – that the majority of Americans are right-of-center and liberal issues like Obamacare sunk the Party. The fact is, the majority of Americans are left of center, and except for a brief blip in the 70’s and 80’s, they have been since World War II.

      In reality, “none of the above” won in 2014, and the Democrats lost because instead of running on progressive values they ran from them, and progressives – disgusted and with no one to vote for — stayed home in droves.

      As a result, 2014 ended up with the lowest voter turnout in over 70 years. If you were to ask what Democrats stood for in 2014, about the only conclusion you could come up with would be something like, “We’re not with the black guy, and well … er… um we really don’t like Obamacare much either …”

      Conservatives, in contrast, ran fanatically on their usual platform of jingoism, anti-government, free-marketeer nonsense, and while their base is much smaller, they got fired up and they showed up. Throw in the gerrymandered districts they got from strategically targeted down-ballot interventions in 2010, and the defeat was crippling.

    • Should Gary Johnson, Jill Stein be included in debates? Reader respond to our question: Letters

      Given the unpalatable candidates chosen by the two major parties for the upcoming presidential election, I feel it is essential that all credible third-party candidates be included in the debates, regardless whether they have polled at 15 percent or better.

      Should either the Democratic or the Republican candidate be elected president, I shudder at the tragic consequences that are sure to result. I certainly don’t plan on voting for the lesser of the two evils and hope that having third-party candidates in the debates may convince others to seriously consider voting for a third party.

    • From Dana Milbank, Trite Objections To Jill Stein

      One week after a CNN town hall event which created a momentary spike of interest in her presidential campaign, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. She hoped to convince reporters from establishment media outlets to give her campaign more coverage because voters are “hungry for more” information about her candidacy.

      Washington Post columnist and contrarian Dana Milbank was present. He published a piece on Stein based on what he heard (and decided not to hear) at the Press Club. This was not the kind of media coverage Stein wanted, but it is about what her campaign could expect from a seasoned Beltway hack, who thinks everything he does is hot fire.

      Columns from the Washington Post are syndicated widely. Just as the Washington Post introduced Americans to Jill Stein through an article that underhandedly suggested she was anti-vaccine, this column will make an impression on voters. That is why it deserves to be rebutted in its entirety.

      In the piece, Milbank attacks Stein for a tactical disagreement with left-wing scholar Noam Chomsky and does so with a joke because Milbank thinks he is hilarious. He once made a joke about what kind of a beer Hillary Clinton would be, “Mad Bitch Beer,” and had to apologize for it. (Yes, sometimes his edginess gets the best of him.)

    • If You’re Worried About Trump’s ‘Alt-Right’ Then Vote Jill Stein, Not Hillary Clinton

      Donald Trump has pandered to the extreme right this election, but Republicans have always engaged in this form of politics. My first Salon article (long before Joan Walsh lobbied the publication to stop publishing me) was in 2014, regarding Paul Ryan’s “tailspin of culture” comments. From Romney’s “47% Percent” remark to Reagan’s use of the “welfare queen” stereotype, Republicans have used race as a political weapon. Trump didn’t start the GOP’s use of racism to gain votes, but he’s been more vocal than previous Republican nominees. There’s a reason he won the Republican Primary and Tea Party politics has gained greater influence within the GOP.

      However, to assume that Hillary Clinton’s speech on Trump’s “alt-right” political alliance makes the case for voting Democrat ignores recent history. Clinton and Trump are two sides of the same coin, especially considering Trump donated $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation and is friends with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Voting for the lesser evil in 2016 (assuming you view Clinton to be less evil) only bolsters the ability of establishment Democrats to take money from prison lobbyists, without the condemnation of progressive media. Therefore, the only logical choice to truly undermine “alt-right” political ideology is voting for the Green Party’s Jill Stein. I explain in this YouTube segment why progressives shouldn’t worry about Trump and must vote Jill Stein to transform America’s lesser-evil political system.

    • Democratic Pundits Downplay Serious Ethical Issues Raised by the Clinton Foundation

      The Associated Press story this week revealing that as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton frequently met with donors to the Clinton Foundation, set off a firestorm in the media. Many Democrats and sympathetic pundits are criticizing the article — and have made the sweeping claim that, contrary to many deeply reported investigations, there is no evidence that well-heeled backers of the foundation received favorable treatment from the State Department.

      While there are some legitimate criticisms of the AP story — its focus, for instance, on a Nobel Peace Prize winner meeting with Clinton distracts from the thesis of the piece — it is nonetheless a substantive investigation based on calendars that the State Department has fought to withhold from the public. The AP took the agency to court to obtain a partial release of the meeting logs. Other commentators took issue with a tweet promoting the AP piece, which they said might confuse readers because the AP story reflected private sector meetings, not overall meetings.

      But in challenging the overall credibility of the AP story, Clinton surrogates and allies are going well beyond a reasoned critique in an effort to downplay the serious ethical issues raised by Clinton Foundation activities.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • China announces strict rules for P2P lenders, Yirendai’s stock price plummets

      After months of very high profile problems, China’s regulators have finally announced how they’re going to fix the online P2P lending industry. Among the new rules for P2P lenders:

      No accepting public deposits
      No pooling investor money to support the lender’s own projects
      No selling financial/wealth management products
      No issuing asset-backed securities
      All lenders must use third-party banks to watch over investors’ money

    • Lawyer Sues Basically All Mainstream Media For RICO Violations For How They Report On Donald Trump

      If you do a Google search on Roy Den Hollander, as I just did, you may discover that basically every result is a story about some absolutely ridiculous lawsuit he has filed. There was the time he sued a nightclub claiming that requiring him to buy a $350 bottle of vodka was a human rights violation. Or the time he sued a bunch of night clubs for violating the 14th Amendment by having “Ladies’ Nights.” Or the time he sued Columbia University for offering women’s studies courses. Or the time he wanted to file a lawsuit to force women to register for the draft. And these are all stories from just the first page of Google results (or following links from those stories). But, you get the idea.

      And now he’s back with a new lawsuit. He’s basically suing the entire mainstream media claiming that how they report on Donald Trump is a RICO violation. No, really.

    • Ai Weiwei Says He Was Removed from Inaugural Yinchuan Biennale for Political Reasons

      Ai Weiwei at his exhibition in 2015 at London’s Royal Academy of Art. Photo Alex B. Huckle/Getty Images. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei says that his work was removed from the inaugural Yinchuan Biennale for political reasons.

    • Dissident artist Ai Weiwei says work was pulled from Yinchuan Biennale due to ‘political sensitivity’

      Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei says his work has been pulled from the upcoming biennale in Yinchuan, China, due to his “political sensitivity.”

      Ai said on Instagram that he received a “vague” letter from Hsieh Suchen, art director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Yinchuan, China. The letter stated that his participation in the upcoming Yinchuan Biennale is now cancelled. The decision was made by higher officials due to his “political sensitivity,” Ai said.

      Scheduled to run from September 9 to December 18, the Yinchuan Biennale is the first biennale in the north west of China and the second in China. As the museum’s first Biennale, the exhibition represents Yinchuan’s entrance into the international art scene.

    • Groups charge censorship over relocation of paintings

      Anti-censorship groups recently appealed to the University of Wisconsin-Stout not to remove or relocate two 80-year-old paintings that depict First Nations people and French fur traders.

      UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer said the paintings were being relocated for display under “controlled circumstances” because of student complaints.

      Meyer said Native American students feel the paintings symbolize a time when their land and possessions were taken from them, according to the AP. The school is moving the paintings because of their potential for harmful effect and because they could reinforce racial stereotypes.

    • Twitter, Google, Facebook “consciously failing” to police extremism, MPs claim

      Twitter, Facebook, and Google are “consciously failing” to tackle the promotion of terrorism and killings on their services in the UK, a cross-party panel of MPs has claimed.

      The home affairs committee released a report on radicalisation on Thursday morning, following a 12-month-long inquiry. And the conclusion is damning for popular online sites such as YouTube.

      “The use of the Internet to promote radicalisation and terrorism is one of the greatest threats that countries including the UK face,” it said, before adding: “Networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the vehicle of choice in spreading propaganda and they have become the recruiting platforms for terrorism. They must accept that hundreds of millions in revenues generated from billions of people using their products needs to be accompanied by a greater sense of responsibility and ownership for the impact that extremist material on their sites is having.”

    • Newspaper Archive Disappears From Google, Because Company Wants To Cash In

      Another day, another case of copyright being used to lock up information, rather than make it more accessible. In this case, it’s the news archives of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, according to an interesting piece by Henry Grabar over at Slate. A decade or so ago, the newspaper partnered with Google to digitize all of its archives and make them publicly accessible.

    • After Outpouring Of Islamophobia, Oxford Dictionaries Suspends Most-Hated Word Survey

      Oxford Dictionaries suspended its #OneWordMap most-hated words project today. An update to the blog post describing the feature stated: “We regret to inform users that due to severe misuse we have had to remove this feature from our website.”

      It’s possible that the suspension stemmed from the apparent outpouring of anti-Islam sentiment in the submissions to the project. Some Twitter accounts posted screenshots purporting to show that Oxford Dictionaries had barred certain sensitive words, like “Islam,” from submission prior to the decision to take down the project.

      However, the nature of the misuse was not specified in the site’s statement, and as of this update, Oxford Dictionaries had not responded to a request for more details about why the program was halted.

    • UK lawmakers say Facebook, Google, and Twitter are ‘consciously failing’ to fight ISIS online

      A committee of UK lawmakers this week said that Facebook, Google, and Twitter are “consciously failing” to combat terrorist propaganda and recruitment on their platforms, escalating an ongoing debate over the role of social media companies in curtailing online extremism. In a wide-ranging report on radicalization published Thursday, the UK Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee said that social media platforms have become “the vehicle of choice in spreading propaganda and the recruiting platforms for terrorism.” The Wall Street Journal first reported on the committee’s findings on Wednesday.

      Lawmakers in the US and Europe have called on social media companies to crack down on propaganda spread by ISIS and other extremist groups, following a spate of recent attacks. The Obama administration has been working with tech companies to create counter-messaging campaigns, and some social networks have publicly touted an increase in suspended accounts linked to extremist groups. But some rights groups have said that the crackdown could curtail free speech, expressing concerns over governments delegating too much power to private tech firms.

    • Twitter developing keyword filtering tool to fight abuse, says report

      Twitter is reportedly working on a feature that will let users block certain keywords in order to fight abuse, reports Bloomberg. According to anonymous sources, Twitter has been discussing the tool internally for about a year, although it’s unclear when or if it might be put into place. Bloomberg compares the keyword filtering to a feature recently added by Instagram, which lets users block comments containing certain words from appearing on their posts. But where that would outright remove messages, this system sounds more like an expansion of Twitter’s existing “mute” feature, which simply lets people avoid seeing tweets from specific accounts.

      The report suggests that users could set these filters and avoid being shown tweets with racial or gendered slurs, or they could use it for inoffensive tweets about events or conversation topics they’re not interested in. That’s different from the filters Twitter has been suspected of using in the past, which would actively prevent people from tweeting specific keywords at another user. In fact, the description makes it sound a lot like the filtering systems that already exist in third-party clients like Tweetdeck or Tweetbot, although these aren’t mentioned.

    • Political Correctness: What Words Are Okay to Say?
    • Some Words One College Won’t Encourage
    • UWM ‘Just Words’ campaign sparks criticism of censorship
    • Korryn Gaines Shooting Prompts ‘Censorship’ Change

      A collective of activists sent an open letter to Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg asking him to implement an “anti-censorship policy” at the company for its dealings with law enforcement officials in the wake of the death of Korryn Gaines.

      Gaines, 23, died shortly after a standoff with Baltimore police. Her confrontation with police officers, which was streamed via the social media site’s Facebook Live feature, was turned off shortly after her death.

      Archived video footage from the stream was briefly unavailable as well. According to the letter, Facebook said the inconvenience was due to a “technical glitch.”

      But the consortium of activist groups say they don’t buy the “glitch” explanation.

    • Why Did Facebook Censor the Fatal Police Shooting of Korryn Gaines?
    • Black Lives Matter Demands Facebook Revive Account Of Woman Killed For SHOOTING AT COPS With Large Gun
    • Activists Request Anti-Censorship Policy from Facebook Following Death of Korryn Gaines
    • As Summer Ends, Tensions Remain High Between Black Community and Police
    • UPDATE: Amos Yee Pleads Guilty to Three Charges of ‘Wounding Religious Feelings’
    • Singaporean dissident blogger Amos Yee pleads guilty to three more charges
    • Amos Yee enters guilty plea on three more charges
    • Don’t censor terrorists’ names
    • Terrorists’ names, faces should be published
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • British Companies Are Selling Advanced Spy Tech to Authoritarian Regimes

      Since early 2015, over a dozen UK companies have been granted licenses to export powerful telecommunications interception technology to countries around the world, Motherboard has learned. Many of these exports include IMSI-catchers, devices which can monitor large numbers of mobile phones over broad areas.

      Some of the UK companies were given permission to export their products to authoritarian states such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Egypt; countries with poor human rights records that have been well-documented to abuse surveillance technology.

      “At a time when the use of these surveillance tools is still highly controversial in the UK, it is completely unacceptable that companies are allowed to export the same equipment to countries with atrocious human rights records or which lack rule of law altogether. There is absolutely a clear risk that these products can be used for repression and abuses,” Edin Omanovic, research officer at Privacy International, told Motherboard in an email.

    • BAE Systems Sells Internet Surveillance Gear to United Arab Emirates

      A Danish subsidiary of British defense contractor BAE Systems is selling an internet surveillance package to the government of the United Arab Emirates, a country known for spying on, imprisoning, and torturing dissidents and activists, according to documents obtained by Lasse Skou Andersen of the Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information.

      The documents from the Danish Business Authority reveal an ongoing contract between the defense conglomerate, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence A/S, and the Middle Eastern oil federation dating back to at least December 2014.

      The contract describes an internet surveillance product capable of deep packet inspection — “IP monitoring and data analysis” for “serious crime” and “national security” investigations. That could include capabilities like mapping a target’s social networks and extracting personal information and communications from devices including voice recordings, video, messages, and attachments.

    • Why can’t Apple spend its way out of security vulnerabilities?

      On most days, it’s the largest company in the world by market cap, and a surprising amount of that money is already in the bank. At the close of Q1 this year, the company had $55 billion in easily accessible cash along with another $178 billion in long-term securities that could be cashed in if the need arose. With the core business already at its peak, there’s no obvious place to put that money, which is why it’s so easy for Tim Cook to pour cash into areas like health-tracking or Frank Ocean albums.

    • IPhone Users Urged to Update Software After Security Flaws Are Found

      One of the world’s most evasive digital arms dealers is believed to have been taking advantage of three security vulnerabilities in popular Apple products in its efforts to spy on dissidents and journalists.

      Investigators discovered that a company called the NSO Group, an Israeli outfit that sells software that invisibly tracks a target’s mobile phone, was responsible for the intrusions. The NSO Group’s software can read text messages and emails and track calls and contacts. It can even record sounds, collect passwords and trace the whereabouts of the phone user.

      In response, Apple on Thursday released a patched version of its mobile software, iOS 9.3.5. Users can get the patch through a normal software update.

    • WhatsApp privacy backlash: Facebook angers users by harvesting their data

      Stop us if you’ve heard this one: Facebook rolls out a new feature and/or acquires a new company, vowing to protect the privacy of its users’ personal information with its last dying breath. A year or two later, it backtracks and decides it wants spin your data into gold after all – and if users don’t like it, they can delete their accounts.

      And so it is with today’s news about WhatsApp, the messaging service acquired by the world’s most unavoidable social network in February 2014. In a blogpost, WhatsApp announced it would begin sharing names and phone numbers with its parent company, to allow its more than 1 billion users “to communicate with businesses that matter to you too” – like notifications from airlines, delivery services or your bank, for example.

      Facebook will also use that data to make friend suggestions and combine that data with the reams of information it has already collected so that it can tailor ads even more specifically to your interests.

      Facebook did not want to comment on the change.

      The reaction was nothing if not predictable. Tech news site Gizmodo sums up the feeling of many tech observers: “The sentiment that WhatsApp is an app that protects and cares for your privacy is no longer a reality. It was nice while it lasted.”

      Some used Reddit to voice their disappointment, like Redditor Rakajj: “WhatsApp just lost a user. Was just a matter of time once the FB acquisition went through. Guess it’s time to finally give Telegram a whirl.”

    • You can stop WhatsApp from sharing your phone number with Facebook

      Hyper-popular messaging app WhatsApp announced yesterday that it would start sharing some user data — including your phone number — with parent company Facebook. The two companies say the new policy will help you find friends and “improve your Facebook ads and products experiences,” but it will also give businesses a new avenue to reach potential customers, with WhatsApp describing situations where banks and airlines will use your phone number to get in touch about fraudulent payments or delayed flights.

      WhatsApp has promised that it won’t sell or share that number with advertisers, but if you still balk at the idea of putting your phone number where a legion of hungry brands could potentially see it, you’re in luck — you’ve still got a chance to stop WhatsApp from handing Facebook this new data if you act fast. There are two methods, as Motherboard notes, but the first has to be done before you accept the messaging app’s new terms of service. Rather than clicking “agree” blindly, press the smaller “read more” option below, and uncheck the box that reads “Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook…”

    • Facebook Takes First Step Toward Making Money From WhatsApp Deal

      Facebook Inc. is laying the groundwork for its free messaging service WhatsApp to begin making money, easing its privacy rules so data can be used for Facebook advertising and allowing businesses to message its more than one billion users. It’s the first step toward monetizing the platform since the social network’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg paid $22 billion for the app in 2014.

      WhatsApp announced the change to its terms of service policy today. It allows businesses to communicate with users, including appointment reminders, delivery and shipping notifications and marketing pitches. In a corresponding blog post, WhatsApp said it will be testing the features over the coming months.

    • Here’s How to Prevent WhatsApp from Giving Facebook Your Phone Number

      A little more than two years ago, after Facebook bought his messaging startup for a cool $19 billion, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum stressed that “nothing would change” regarding his company’s well-regarded privacy policy and its handling of user data. “There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product,” Koum said.

      Times change.

      WhatsApp said on Thursday morning that it will now share with Facebook the phone numbers of its users in an effort “to improve your Facebook ads and products experiences.” So far, this “improved experience” primarily appears to mean giving businesses the ability to contact you via WhatsApp: banks will be able to message you when they detect fraudulent activity on your account, and airlines will be able to alert you when your flight is delayed. WhatsApp noted that it expects to begin testing these features within the next few months.

    • Inside Facebook’s (Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan) Political-Media Machine

      Open your Facebook feed. What do you see? A photo of a close friend’s child. An automatically generated slide show commemorating six years of friendship between two acquaintances. An eerily on-target ad for something you’ve been meaning to buy. A funny video. A sad video. A recently live video. Lots of video; more video than you remember from before. A somewhat less-on-target ad. Someone you saw yesterday feeling blessed. Someone you haven’t seen in 10 years feeling worried.

    • NSA’s SNMP exploit cyberweapon affects all Cisco ASA software

      The danger of the NSA-linked EXTRABACON exploit grew after researchers found an easy way to modify the SNMP exploit to be effective against newer versions of Cisco’s ASA software.

      EXTRABACON, released earlier this month as part of the Shadow Brokers dump of NSA cyberweapons, was described by Cisco as an exploit targeting a buffer overflow vulnerability in the Simple Network Messaging Protocol (SNMP) code used in Cisco’s Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) software.

      Cisco admitted the underlying vulnerability could be found in all supported versions of SNMP and therefore all Cisco ASA software releases were also affected. But, preliminary research indicated EXTRABACON was designed to be effective against Cisco ASA versions 8.4(4) and earlier.

      Silent Signal, a cybersecurity company based in Budapest, Hungary, proved the EXTRABACON code was modular and could easily be modified to make the SNMP exploit work on all Cisco ASA software.

    • The National Security Agency has no idea how a rogue hacking group leaked its exploits

      The US intelligence community is still attempting to figure out how a hacking group called the Shadow Brokers was able to obtain and leak a slew of NSA computer exploits used to circumvent security of routers and firewalls, top officials have admitted.

      “We are still sorting this out,” said James Clapper, director of national intelligence, at an event at the Nixon Presidential Library on 24 August. As reported by AP, he added: “It’s still under investigation. We don’t know exactly the full extent – or the understanding – of exactly what happened.”

      In what amounted to the first official comment on the hack, it’s clear the US government is still attempting to find out the true scope of the embarrassing blunder.

      The leaked toolkits, reportedly from 2013, contained NSA surveillance and infiltration exploits that relied upon previously unknown zero-day vulnerabilities.

    • Cisco starts patching firewall devices against NSA-linked exploit

      Cisco Systems has started releasing security patches for a critical flaw in Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) firewalls targeted by an exploit linked to the U.S. National Security Agency.

      The exploit, dubbed ExtraBacon, is one of the tools used by a group that the security industry calls the Equation, believed to be a cyberespionage team tied to the NSA.

      ExtraBacon was released earlier this month together with other exploits by one or more individuals who use the name Shadow Brokers. The files were provided as a sample of a larger Equation group toolset the Shadow Brokers outfit has put up for auction.

      ExtraBacon exploits a buffer overflow vulnerability in the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) implementation from Cisco’s ASA software. It allows attackers to remotely execute rogue code on the affected devices, as long as they can send traffic to their SNMP interface. This typically requires being on the same internal network as the targeted devices.

      Even though the ExtraBacon exploit was designed to work for versions 8.4(4) and earlier of the ASA software, other researchers demonstrated that it can be modified to also work on newer versions. Cisco confirmed in an advisory that all versions of SNMP in Cisco ASA software contain the flaw.

    • The Secret Behind the NSA Breach: Network Infrastructure Is the Next Target

      Advanced attackers are targeting organizations’ first line of defense–their firewalls—and turning them into a gateway into the network for mounting a data breach. On Aug. 13, the shady “ShadowBrokers” group published several firewall exploits as proof that they had a full trove of cyber weapons. Whether intended to drive up bids for their “Equation Group Cyber Weapons Auction” (since removed), or to threaten other nation-states, the recent disclosure raises the question: if organizations can’t trust their own firewalls, then what can they trust? Does the cache of cyber weapons exposed by ShadowBrokers signal a shift in attack methods and targets?

    • NSA Leaks are Scaring Big Tech. Heres Why

      After an unknown group came public with a cache of hacking tools from the National Security Agency earlier this week, some of the biggest tech companies in the world are in a hurry to fix their systems and software to protect themselves and customers from attacks.

      The leak came from an anonymous group and is calling itself The Shadow Brokers. While the group’s beginnings and reasons for the leak are unknown, cybersecurity experts and former agency employees have authenticated the NSA hacking tools.

      By exposing the custom-made malware online, the Shadow Brokers have made many of the systems American corporations rely on for security online more vulnerable to cyberattacks from criminals and spies.
      Many cybersecurity pros are asking why the NSA would stockpile so many of these kinds of security vulnerabilities without telling the affected companies such as networking giants Cisco and the digital security firm Fortinet.

    • Cisco Patches ASA Devices Against EXTRABACON

      Cisco has begun releasing software updates for its Adaptive Security Appliance devices to patch a zero-day flaw that was revealed via leaked Equation Group attack tools. Cisco ASA devices provide anti-virus, firewall, intrusion prevention and virtual private network capabilities (see Equation Group Hacking Tool Dump: 5 Lessons).

    • The Shadow Brokers Release More Potent Exploits To The Public

      The Shadow Brokers continue to make a name for themselves. Although their Bitcoin auction is not seeing much success, the group recently leaked some Cisco firewall exploits.

    • The NSA hacked equipment from Cisco, Huawei, and Juniper

      With sensitive NSA documents falling into the hands of hacking group Shadow Brokers, it was only a matter of time before the world gained some further insights on the security agency’s latest work.

    • Apple Updates iOS To Close Three Separate 0days That Were Being Exploited

      As you may have heard, if you have an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, even iPod Touch) you should be updating your devices, like a few hours ago. Seriously, if you haven’t done it yet, stop reading and go update. The story behind this update is quite incredible, and is detailed in a great article over at Motherboard by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai. Basically after someone (most likely a gov’t) targeted Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates with a slightly questionable text (urging him to click on a link to get info about prison torture), a team of folks from Citizen Lab (who have exposed lots of questionable malware) and Lookout (anti-malware company) got to work on the text and figured out what it did. And, basically the short version is that the single click exploits three separate 0days vulnerabilities to effectively take over your phone in secret. All of it. It secretly jailbreaks the phone without you knowing it and then accesses basically everything.

    • To The NSA, The Word ‘Security’ Is Synonymous With ‘Gaping, Unpatched Holes In US Developers’ Software’

      Suck it up, Cisco. That gaping hole uncovered by the Shadow Brokers was discovered at least three years ago by the NSA and if it chose not to tell you about it, it had its reasons. Namely: national security.

      The Obama administration made sympathetic noises in the wake of the Snowden leaks, suggesting the NSA err on the side of disclosure. It simultaneously gave the agency no reason to ever do that by appending “unless national security, etc.” to the statement.

      But part of the phrase “national security” is the word “security.” (And the other part — “national” — suggests this directive also covers protecting US companies from attacks, not just the more amorphous “American public.”) Allowing tech companies who provide network security software and hardware to other prime hacking targets to remain unaware of security holes doesn’t exactly serve the nation or its security. So, while Tanji may claim the NSA isn’t in the QA business, it sort of is. The thing is the NSA prefers to exploit QA issues, rather than give affected developers a chance to patch them.

    • Germany Interior Minister Pushing For Deployment Of Facial Recognition Software In Public Areas

      Facial recognition software is the wave of the future present. The FBI — acting without a required Privacy Impact Assessment — rolled out its system in 2014, finding that a 20% false hit rate was good enough for government (surveillance) work.

      Following in the footsteps of Facebook, governments slanting towards the authoritarian side (that’s you, Russia!) have deployed facial recognition software to help ensure its citizens are stripped of their anonymity.

      Other governments not so seemingly bent on obedience to the state have done the same. UK law enforcement has quietly built a huge facial recognition database and Brazil experimented with police equipment that would turn officers into Robocops — providing real-time facial recognition to cops via some sort of Google Glass-ish headgear. If what we know about facial recognition software’s accuracy rates holds true, the goggles will, indeed, do nothing.

      Germany has maintained an arm’s-length relationship with its troublesome past. The Stasi and Gestapo’s lingering specters still haunt current legislators, occasionally prompting them to curb domestic surveillance efforts. Concerns for the privacy of its citizens has also sometimes resulted in the government making angry noises at tech companies it feels are overstepping their boundaries.

    • EU backs Franco-German bid for access to encrypted messages

      France and Germany want to compel operators of mobile messaging services to provide access to encrypted content to terrorism investigations, after a series of deadly attacks in both countries.

      French intelligence services, on high alert since attackers killed hundreds of civilians in Paris in November and in Nice in July, are struggling to intercept messages from Islamist militants.

      Many of the groups now use encrypted messaging services rather than mainstream social media, with Islamic State a big user of such apps, investigators in several countries have said.

      French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the European Commission should draft a law obliging operators to cooperate in investigations of militants.

      “If such legislation was adopted, this would allow us to impose obligations at the European level on non-cooperative operators,” he told a joint conference with his German counterpart in Paris.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Why Obama Should Pardon Edward Snowden

      The power of independent journalism was demonstrated last week when the Justice Department announced the end of privately run prisons in the federal prison system. Seth Freed Wessler explains what it took to uncover dozens of questionable deaths in these corporate, for-profit facilities in his yearlong investigation for The Nation.

      [...]

      Plus: Amnesty for Edward Snowden. ACLU attorney Ben Wizner argues that President Obama should do the right thing in view of the NSA whistle-blower’s contributions to freedom and democracy.

    • Canadian Law Enforcement Want Government To Force People To Turn Over Their Passwords

      Mandating the divulging of passwords relies on some very dubious assumptions. One, it assumes that any information still unseen by prosecutors or investigators is of evidentiary value — hence the perceived need to force suspects to unlock devices. As was seen in the San Bernardino case, a lengthy court battle and a million-dollar payout to Israeli hackers recovered nothing of interest from the shooter’s iPhone.

      Second, it assumes law enforcement will use this power wisely and with restraint — something that has historically been a problem for it. When an agency uses repurposed military technology (Stingrays) to (almost) hunt down fast food thieves, it’s safe to assume forcing someone to expose their “whole personal life” by turning over a password is likely to result in the same sort of misuse… and abuse. It won’t be reserved for the “worst of the worst” criminal suspects and will likely be legislated into existence without enough statutory restrictions to prevent device seizures incident to even the most innocuous of arrests to be viewed as evidentiary fishing expeditions.

      The only standing between this law (if it becomes law) will be Canada’s judges. While some judges may be unwilling to expose a person’s entire life just because law enforcement swears it’s necessary, others will be more amenable. Bring on the forum shopping!

    • Jeff Wood’s Stay of Execution Casts More Doubt on the Texas Death Machine

      Terri Been was being interviewed by a reporter inside a Whataburger restaurant in East Texas on the afternoon of August 19 when the text came in: Her brother, Jeff Wood, on death row for his alleged involvement as an accomplice in the 1996 murder of his friend, and facing imminent execution, had been granted a stay. She read the text sent by Wood’s attorney twice before dialing him up. “Are you serious?” she asked.

      It had been a long and emotionally taxing day: Been and her husband, her parents, Wood’s daughter, and another friend had traveled to Huntsville, Texas, the location of the state’s execution chamber, for the first of several eight-hour visits with Wood in anticipation that he would be executed sometime after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 24. The news from the lawyer, Jared Tyler, was a serious relief. “I consider it a miracle,” she told The Intercept. “He’s stopped Texas from killing my brother.”

      That afternoon the state’s highest criminal court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, agreed with Tyler that a state district court should determine whether the punishment hearing portion of Wood’s 1998 trial was infected by junk science and misleading testimony offered by the notorious Dr. James Grigson. If the district court agrees that it was tainted, Wood could get a new hearing, and a chance to get off of death row.

      Grigson, who died in 2004, was known even among peers in the psychiatric community as “Dr. Death” for routinely offering scientifically unsupportable testimony that helped to send defendants to death row in a number of capital cases. He was expelled from the American Psychiatric Association and its Texas counterpart prior to testifying in Wood’s case, where he opined that unless sentenced to die Wood would continue to be violent, a determination he made without ever examining Wood.

    • When Boats Brought Hope to Gaza

      Israel continues to cut off the 1.8 million people of Gaza from receiving relief supplies from sea, an illegal blockade that will be challenged again this year by the Women’s Boat to Gaza, writes retired Col. Ann Wright.

    • What Israel’s Actions Have Wrought

      Israel’s repression of the Palestinians is often rationalized by the historical abuse of the Jews, but Israel’s misconduct is having the disturbing effect of stirring up new anti-Semitism, observes Lawrence Davidson.

    • Another Brick in the Wall: Children of the American Police State

      The nation’s young people have been given front-row seats for an unfolding police drama that is rated R for profanity, violence and adult content.

      In Arizona, a 7-year-old girl watched panic-stricken as a state trooper pointed his gun at her and her father during a traffic stop and reportedly threatened to shoot her father in the back (twice) based on the mistaken belief that they were driving a stolen rental car.

      In Oklahoma, a 5-year-old boy watched as a police officer used a high-powered rifle to shoot his dog Opie multiple times in his family’s backyard while other children were also present. The police officer was mistakenly attempting to deliver a warrant on a 10-year-old case for someone who hadn’t lived at that address in a decade.

      In Maryland, a 5-year-old boy was shot when police exchanged gunfire with the child’s mother—eventually killing her—over a dispute that began when Korryn Gaines refused to accept a traffic ticket for driving without a license plate on her car.

    • Baltimore Police Can’t Explain Why Their All-Seeing Spy Planes Were Kept Secret

      Police officials in Baltimore are trying to deflect controversy over an aerial mass-surveillance program exposed earlier this week, in which a private company quietly keeps watch over a 32-mile radius of the city by flying planes overhead for as many as 10 hours a day.

      The pilot program, which according to Bloomberg Businessweek has been run by the Ohio-based company Persistent Surveillance Systems since January, allows Baltimore police to do retroactive and real-time aerial tracking of people and vehicles using technology adapted from the Iraq war, which its creator describes as “Google Earth with TiVo capability.”

      During a press conference on Wednesday, Baltimore Police Department spokesperson TJ Smith attempted to dismiss privacy concerns about the BPD’s eye in the sky, going as far as refusing to call the program “secret.”

      “Secrecy is not the right word because it’s not a secret spy program … this is something that we’re looking into,” Smith said during the press conference, which was streamed on Periscope and Facebook Live.

    • ‘You are now in Canada’: Anger management ordered for Iranian-born man who attacked wife’s boss

      An Iran-born Edmonton man has been ordered to take anger management courses following a “nasty” attack on his wife’s boss stemming from a male co-worker saying hello to her in a mall.

      Aadel Moradi, 39, was given a suspended sentence and placed on probation for 18 months on Tuesday in provincial court after pleading guilty to assault charges over what was an apparent clash of cultures.

      “This was very nasty,” said Judge Kirk MacDonald, who described the Nov. 6, 2015, incident as a minor assault with “disturbing” undertones.

      “You are now in Canada. We do not place restrictions on the way that women live here, unlike in some other countries,” said MacDonald, adding it is “very sad” that Moradi doesn’t see it.

      The judge told Moradi — a Kurd who emigrated here from a city near Tehran about 15 years ago — that he had considered sending him to jail, but accepted the joint submission by Crown and defence.

      “Just because you think someone has displayed bad manners, getting into a fight is no remedy for that,” said MacDonald.

      Crown prosecutor Bethan Franklyn told court that Moradi and his wife had been at a city mall in late October 2015 when one of her co-workers came up to say hello.

    • Hindus flee Muslim extremists after Koran burned in Pakistan

      In the provincial town of Ghotki near Pakistan’s border with India, Ashok Kumar is packing his bags.

      He’s reached breaking point. Like many of his neighbours, and other Hindus in Sindh province, the small trader is fleeing to India.

      “I have four daughters and I fear that one day they will be kidnapped and will be converted to Islam forcibly and will be forced to marry Muslims,” he says.

    • Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’

      Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do not agree on much, but Saudi Arabia may be an exception. She has deplored Saudi Arabia’s support for “radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism.” He has called the Saudis “the world’s biggest funders of terrorism.”

      The first American diplomat to serve as envoy to Muslim communities around the world visited 80 countries and concluded that the Saudi influence was destroying tolerant Islamic traditions. “If the Saudis do not cease what they are doing,” the official, Farah Pandith, wrote last year, “there must be diplomatic, cultural and economic consequences.”

      And hardly a week passes without a television pundit or a newspaper columnist blaming Saudi Arabia for jihadist violence. On HBO, Bill Maher calls Saudi teachings “medieval,” adding an epithet. In The Washington Post, Fareed Zakaria writes that the Saudis have “created a monster in the world of Islam.”

      The idea has become a commonplace: that Saudi Arabia’s export of the rigid, bigoted, patriarchal, fundamentalist strain of Islam known as Wahhabism has fueled global extremism and contributed to terrorism. As the Islamic State projects its menacing calls for violence into the West, directing or inspiring terrorist attacks in country after country, an old debate over Saudi influence on Islam has taken on new relevance.

    • Literal Fashion Police Arrest Hundreds Of WhatsApp And Instagram Users In Iran

      I’ll admit I’ve had some fun in these pages with my friends over in the Iran over the years. In my defense, they have at times made the job quite easy for me, between trying to bolster their military reputation through video game footage, trying to suggest that the West carve out a non-free speech zone when it comes to criticizing Islam or members of its faith, and the country’s policy of futility in trying to block its citizens from using the wider internet. These are actions worth criticism and scorn.

      But things got a just a bit more dangerous for some in Iran this past week, as the country has announced it is cracking down on its citizens for actions against Islam and for infractions of fashion on display on several social media services. It seems some portion of the Revolutionary Guard has quite literally become the Fashion Police.

    • France’s Highest Court Suspends Burkini Ban In One Town, Other Challenges May Follow

      France’s highest administrative court, the Conseil d’État, reversed the burkini ban imposed in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet near Nice on Friday.

      At a hearing Thursday, the court heard a challenge — brought by the Human Rights League of France (LdH) — to the town’s decision to ban the full-body swimsuits with hoods that are popular with Muslim women. The attire has been at the center of a fierce religious and political debate in the country.

      The court invalidated the decree banning the burkinis for the city of Villeneuve-Loubet. In its ruling, also issued in English, the court said, “The mayor’s order had seriously infringed, in a manner that was clearly illegal, fundamental liberties such as the freedom to come and go, religious freedom and individual freedom.”

    • Lack of Accountability Has Made Baltimore an Overpoliced Panopticon
    • Private Prison Involved in Immigrant Detention Funds Donald Trump and His Super PAC

      Geo Group, the second largest private prison company in the U.S., and a major player in for-profit immigrant detention, filed a disclosure this month revealing that it provided $50,000 through its political action committee to Rebuilding America Now, the Super PAC backing the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.

      While Trump has not used his campaign to purchase campaign advertisements, an unusual dynamic noted by many in the campaign press, Rebuilding America Now has become his de facto paid media voice, with $2 million in recent anti-Hillary Clinton ad buys.

      Trump has promised sweeping policies to detain and deport millions of undocumented immigrants, a policy platform that he routinely references at rallies across the country.

      “You’re going to have a deportation force, and you’re going to do it humanely,” Trump explained on MSNBC last year. He also called for tripling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and ending birthright citizenship, a right enshrined in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

    • French muslim gang probed after British women GROPED and ASSAULTED on Spanish holiday

      One woman, a 19-year-old from Farnborough in Hampshire, suffered a broken nose after being punched in the face.

      A second woman, a 20-year-old from Essex, was taken to hospital semi-conscious with arm and head injuries.

      Witnesses claimed the men, French-born but of Arabic origin, began to attack the young women in the upmarket resort of Puerto Banus near Marbella after one tried to touch up the teenager who suffered the broken nose.

      One man was arrested for assault and three friends taken with him to a nearby police station so they could be identified as part of an ongoing investigation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • WIPO External Offices In High Demand As 18 Countries Offer Hosting [Ed: So they want violations?]

      Hosting a regional or national office of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization seems to be a high prize for WIPO members, 18 of which have submitted hosting proposals to be considered at the WIPO Program and Budget Committee next week. Most of those 18 countries are developing nations and all sought to demonstrate their commitment to intellectual property rights and IPR protection, with some underlining the importance of considering level of development. According to regional press reports, Algeria and Nigeria have been selected by the African region to host the two African external offices.

    • Copyrights
      • Is hosting providers’ safe harbour the real problem of copyright owners? A new article [Ed: No, the problem is that we’re led to assume ISPs are in the business of copyright judgment and policing]

        In the context of its Digital Single Market Strategy [Katposts here] the EU Commission is currently engaged in a discussion of whether the liability principles and rules contained in that EU directive for the benefit of ISPs should be amended [the next EU copyright package is awaited for release in the second half of September - see here for a leaked version].

        With specific regard to copyright, one of the principal concerns relates to a particular type of ISP, ie hosting providers.

        Unlicensed hosting providers have been increasingly said to invoke the relevant safe harbour immunity in the EU Ecommerce Directive [Article 14] lacking the conditions for its application. This alleged abuse has led to a distortion of the online marketplace and the resulting ‘value gap’ indicated by some rightholders.

      • The FBI’s Megaupload Domains Are Now Hosting Porn Ads

        Well, we know the FBI is particularly adept at hosting porn on the internet. After all, just a few days ago it was revealed that in the short time it was running a child porn site as a honeypot, it actually made the site run much faster. But now Torrentfreak points us to the news that some other FBI sites are serving up porn as well, though mostly out of FBI incompetence, rather than competence. Apparently the domain the FBI was using for its nameservers for the domains it seized from Megaupload expired, and someone else snapped it up and redirected all the sites using those nameservers to advertisements basically for porn. So, the FBI is now essentially pointing people to porn via Megaupload.

      • Dotcom Wants Extradition Hearing Live-Streamed, U.S. Does Not

        Kim Dotcom is hoping to have his fight with the U.S. government pushed further into the public consciousness by having his extradition appeal streamed live on the Internet. U.S. authorities are already objecting to Dotcom’s application but they could be up against stiff opposition since New Zealand is proud of its courtroom transparency.

      • Team Prenda Done Fighting Judge Otis Wright

        Well, one of the big Prenda cases may finally be over. As you may recall, the first truly scathing legal ruling against Team Prenda came a little over three years ago when Judge Otis Wright basically lit Team Prenda on fire.

      • Comcast/NBC Tone Deafness, Not ‘Millennials’ To Blame For Olympics Ratings Drop

        Olympics watchers repeatedly begged Comcast for live opening ceremonies, more live events, less host prattle, and fewer ads ahead of the recent games in Rio. What did Comcast deliver instead? A smorgasbord of abysmal bloviation, tape delays, and so many advertisements that many people stopped watching in disgust. As a result, the Rio Olympics were the lowest rated Summer Olympics since 2000, with average viewership down 17% and an overall audience that was 25% smaller than 2012 in the 18-to-49 demo.

      • If You’re Angry About Twitter Banning Someone ‘Permanently’ For Sharing Olympics GIFs, Blame Copyright Law

        The story has gone pretty viral (on Twitter, naturally), with lots of people expressing anger at Twitter. It also appears that soon after the story started spreading, Twitter actually changed its mind and put back his account.

        Here’s the thing, though: if you want to get upset about this, don’t get upset at Twitter. Get furious at parts of the DMCA and how some courts have interpreted it lately (and the International Olympic Committee — it almost always deserves the anger that is pointed in its direction for its extreme protectionist/copyright policies). But remember, not too long ago, the ISP Cox lost big time in an important DMCA case, at the key issue that swayed the judge was the lack of a competent “repeat infringer policy.” And what was one of the key things in that case? The fact that Cox didn’t permanently ban people.

        So if you’re the legal team at Twitter, and you’re keeping up on the caselaw, you better believe that you’re going to make sure that you have a serious “repeat infringer policy” that kicks people off permanently for sharing a few pieces of copyright-covered material. Because even as basically everyone is saying “what? you shouldn’t lose your account permanently for sharing a few happy gifs from the Olympics,” in court it would be spun as “Twitter has a history of failing to reasonably implement a repeat infringer policy, as required by the DMCA in Section 512(i)(1)(A).” And if the Olympics or whoever gets a judge like the one in the Cox case, who doesn’t seem to care much about whether people use the internet or not, Twitter might just lose.

Good Job, David Kappos, Says the ‘Boss’ (IBM)

Friday 26th of August 2016 07:54:21 PM

How shallow, spotted just hours after publication by Kappos


Manny Schecter works for IBM, the former employer of Kappos

Summary: Responses to the latest call against Alice (eliminator of many software patents), courtesy of the man from IBM (still paid by IBM) who was responsible for the policy that blindly approved a lot of software patents in the US

Our latest article about David Kappos (who has in essence been helping Microsoft's extortion of Linux using low-quality patents in large numbers) was well received by quite a few people. They know a lot better now what Kappos stands for and who pays him. Our many articles on the subject contributed to that. Interest groups and lobbyists are among the things we have been exposing for nearly a decade. Once exposed, they are a lot less capable of operating. Sometimes they need to rename.

As Henrion put it/told Manny Schecter (IBM), “he [Kappos] is a Microsoft/Apple spokesman.” He is also a former IBM employee who is now being paid by IBM for his lobbying.

This article from Kappos led to an article by Mike Masnick (via Professor James Bessen) shortly after we had mentioned it. Masnick said that “of course, if you’re former US Patent and Trademark Office boss David Kappos — who presided over a massive increase in patenting, which the Government Accountability Office recently noted was mainly due to basically no quality standards being used — this is a bad thing. Perhaps he takes it personally that the current patent situation really puts an exclamation point on the fact that he helped usher in hundreds of thousands of anti-innovation weapons that could be used to shake down actual innovators.”

Like the Battistelli-led EPO right now? AntiSoftwarePat highlights the part of the above article which says Kappos “presided over a massive increase in patenting… mainly due to basically no quality standards being used” (i.e. rubberstamping, with approval rates soaring).

Being for Patent Quality or Against Patenting Excess Does Not Make You Anti-Patents

Friday 26th of August 2016 07:28:21 PM

Black or white: either you’re a patent maximalist or you are “anti-patents” (or “anti-patent” as Watchtroll puts it, see below)

Summary: Like IAM, which tries to portray sceptics and critics of software patents as “anti-patents”, IP Watchdog (or Watchtroll as we call it) is ‘trolling’ the Electronic Frontier Foundation, simply because it expressed an opinion that patent maximalists cannot tolerate

Watchtroll’s site, being the usual loud-mouthed proponent of software patents (sometimes even very rude), responded to a topic on which we commented this morning. Daniel Nazer (EFF) noticed that this “New IP Watchdog post [is] slamming “DC Based Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leftist anti-patent activist coalition”” (it’s not anti-patent, it is pro-patent quality, as are we).

Here is the relevant passage from the post: “Another incursion into research university governance and operations is now underway. And this time all research universities are affected. Led by the DC Based Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leftist anti-patent activist coalition that has initiated a 50-state legislative campaign to shrink research university patent licensing rights at the state level. (See) The measure’s purported objective is to prevent publicly funded university research patents from being licensed to so-called “Patent Assertion Entities” (PAEs, also known by the pejorative term “patent trolls”).”

Like IAM's editor in chief, they are also in denial about the trolls problem, just like people who are in denial about climate change (because this reality, once realised by the public, is a threat to one’s business).

The OSI took note and wrote about my article via Former OSI Dir. Jim Jagielski who wrote: “Shows the danger of s/w patents… is it time to finally squash them once and for all?”

Carlo Piana, a famous lawyer for Samba and generally a very nice intellectual (against software patents) wrote on Friday: Has anybody, ever, read a #patent on software without thinking “WTF”? Honestly. And now I have read like 100 of them. And I’m no developer.”

Benjamin Henrion (FFII) responded: “the state urgently needs to intervene between me and my keyboard to save innovation!”

The matter of fact here is clear; anyone with a keyboard and some rudimentary coding skills is affected by software patents and the population in general suffers from slowed innovation and artificially increased prices (often due to lawyers’ fees and patent trolls if not billionaire patent bullies such as Microsoft and Apple). We wrote about it this morning.

Erosion of Patent Quality Enables Patent Extortion With Large Portfolios of Low Validity Rate

Friday 26th of August 2016 12:55:46 PM

Quality of patents causes markets to prosper or contrariwise perish


Giving aggressors like Microsoft sacks of patents to breed Mafia-like behaviour, not healthy competition

Summary: Revisiting the EPO’s vision of poor patent examination and the effect of discriminatory granting practices, favouring patent bullies such as Microsoft (which actively attacks Linux using low-quality and usually pure software patents)

“A skilled patent attorney working with a qualified searcher could cobble together a colorable obviousness argument against the vast majority of issued patent claims,” says a new article from Patently-O. Not to mention “abstract” criteria, prior art and so on. “Part of the difficulty for patentees,” continues the article, “stem from the the billions of prior art references available via increasingly effective search tools. Even when an invention results from a ‘flash of genius,’ patent law typically back-fills extensive knowledge for the obviousness analysis – even when that knowledge was not actually available at the time of the invention. The larger difficulty though is likely the large number of hard-to-pin-down facts such as the motivations, common sense, and level of creativity of a person having ordinary skill in the art.”

“In the case of large companies like Microsoft, mountains of patents (granted in bulk by the EPO]) can be used to compel companies to pay up without even a trial.”If the EPO replaces examiners with algorithms, things will exacerbate further and patents get granted incorrectly, leading to an ocean of frivolous lawsuits. In the case of large companies like Microsoft, mountains of patents (granted in bulk by the EPO) can be used to compel companies to pay up without even a trial. Recall the Microsoft v TomTom case. Picking on small companies is Microsoft’s thing; it doesn’t sue Google.

The above reminds us of the danger of poor patent quality as well as streamlining grants, which is what Battistelli’s EPO has in effect done for Microsoft (and evidence we showed for that led to legal threats from the EPO). They — like the USPTO — in effect facilitate patent racketeering by Microsoft.

“They — like the USPTO — in effect facilitate patent racketeering by Microsoft.”Watch this new article titled “Primetime: Microsoft’s Android Cross Patent Dealings”. That’s misleading because it's not cross-licensing, it's a patent settlement (in bundling form) and it’s essentially a patent shakedown without even a trial and without an opportunity to properly assess the quality (and thus in/validity) of patents. The article says that “to press on this advantage, Microsoft does need to sign into more cross licensing or similar patent deals with manufacturers. Given Microsoft’s patent portfolio and how useful this will be to those manufacturers wishing to break into the North American market, such as Xiaomi, we may be seeing more of these arrangements in the coming months. The alternative might be Microsoft suing any manufacturer that tries to sell devices into a patent-friendly market.”

But again, these are not cross-licensing deals, these are patent shakedowns. One might even call this extortion or racketeering, even though Microsoft is too well-connected to face court charges brought forth by the government.

It is worth noting that many of Microsoft’s patents — those which it uses to shake down Android players (OEMs) — are not even valid anymore (if properly scrutinised), but there are so many of them that it would cost a fortune to demonstrate it to the court. It’s a numbers game, quantity rather than quality. It’s cheaper to just settle and let Microsoft continue to wield software patents like a weapon, even post-Alice. PTAB cannot take a request to review hundreds of patents from just one single company because it’s already overburdened by a growing number of reviews (IPRs).

Speaking of patent aggressors, there is this new software patent from Facebook (the usual, see our Facebook wiki page). These are oftentimes surveillance patents, but this time is’s about languages, at a time of increased competition with Google. Facebook's growing stockpile of patents is a real problem (Facebook has a history of going aggressive with them) and The Next Web says that “the US patent office issued 6,789 patents. Each patent adds a little something new to the human knowledge base. As we cannot list all six thousand, the PatentYogi team has selected the five most interesting patents.” How many of these are software patents that oughtn’t have been granted? How many of these will be toothless some time in the near future?

Patently-O says “The number of pending Ex Parte appeals continue to drop. Great work PTO.” There are other statistics of interest, based on PDFs from the USPTO (like this one). Patently-O claims they suggest that: “Design patent applications expected to reach 40,000 for FY2016 – up from under 30,000 in FY2010. The PTO is working to improve design patent prosecution speed – current wait of more than a year for a first office action.”

Well, the Office may have granted 40,000 patents on designs, but once reassessed the Office may need to throw them all away, on a per-request basis (post-Apple v Samsung at SCOTUS). Granting again for the sake of granting? Until the next Alice happens?

Patent quality control is the principal pillar of true and potent patent offices, otherwise they would be just archives of untested claims (a registration/filing system).

The EPO’s Francesco Zaccà Presenting in Turin Alongside Patent Trolls (Like the Patent Mafia Sisvel) and Lobbyists/Front Groups for Software Patents, UPC

Friday 26th of August 2016 11:59:05 AM

In the pockets of the patent microcosm

Summary: Benjamin Henrion (FFII) on seeing the EPO alongside patent trolls and other nefarious actors, doing what they do best, which is undermining public interests and harming patent quality

“PUBLIC SERVANTS” has become misnomer for EPO officials. Consider the EPO‘s Francesco Zaccà, whom we first mentioned in this leak about "Closer Contact with Major Applicants" (with special ties to Qualcomm and Ericsson in his case). Benjamin Henrion drew attention to this recent talk, showing even the patent troll Sisvel at this recent event, which included Zaccà.

From the page in question: “The panel chaired by Francisco Mingorance, IP Europe, stressed the importance of innovation protection as a growth factor. Pasquale Marasco, head of ICT Innovation Pole at Torino Wireless Foundation, highlighted the SME’s stakes and concerns, as Matteo Sabattini, Sisvel CTO, reinforced the message detailing Sisvel’s example. Francesco Zaccà, Director in ICT of EPO, echoed the keynote address and said that «the main goal of the patent system is to protect innovation, to enable the innovation circle from protecting the invention, securing remuneration and re-investing in research. Yet, every challenge is a new opportunity for combining standards with open sources, and patents with protection». His opening statement «we are here to support innovation» fired up the crowd.”

“Francesco Zaccà, speaking for the EPO, is quoted or paraphrased as saying that every challenge is a new opportunity for combining standards with open sources, and patents with protection.”Francesco Zaccà, speaking for the EPO, is quoted or paraphrased as saying that every challenge is a new opportunity for combining standards with open sources, and patents with protection. What an odd thing to say. This sure sounds like the FRAND loophole for software patents in Europe. Not good…

Francisco Mingorance, now in IP Europe, is a former software patents lobbyist from the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a Microsoft front group which spent years lobbying for software patents in Europe (FRAND was one loophole they attempted to interject). Mingorance now chairs a panel with Zaccà in it. His employer, IP Europe, is a front for the patent microcosm and Henrion describes them, based on their words, as “Accelerating the entry into force of the Unified Patent Court (UPC Agreement): more trolling powers http://www.iptalks.eu/”

“They’re supposed to be focused on patent examination, not lobbying and lawmaking.”Some people still act as though the UPC will become a reality. It probably never will. It’s zombie legislation like ACTA, but the patent microcosm still wants us to believe there will be UPC after Brexit. It’s that old self-fulfilling prophecy method and they really ought to just give it all up. Found via this tweet was a Team UPC blog post the UPC “post-Brexit” (it would probably have to be rewritten and renamed to have any chance at all).

Thomas F. Cotter, a law professor from the US, more recently referred to a “paper in the June 2016 issue of GRUR Int (pp. 513-30) titled Schadensersatz und Einheitspatentsystem: Rechtliche Grundlagen und Systematik des Schadensersatzanspruchs im künftigen Einheitspatentsystem (“Damages and Unitary Patent System: Legal Principles and Schematic of Damages Claims in the Future Unitary Patent System”).”

According to him, this “article notes, among other things, that article 68(4) of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court appears to permit a court to award the infringer’s profits without evidence that the infringer knew or should have known of the patent (in contrast to German law). Towards the end of the article, the author also questions whether the Agreement contemplates anything comparable to the German practice of permitting a court to award damages in its free discretion (nach freier Überzeugung) under article 287 of the German Civil Procedure Code (see my recent article on Patent Damages Heuristics at p.20 & n.76 for brief discussion). My one critique of the article is that it doesn’t take account of the change made in the 17th and 18th drafts of the UPC Rules of Procedure, which in a departure from the 16th draft have eliminated the provision (article 118(2)) that would have allowed the court to award damages in lieu of injunctive relief (see discussion on this blog here). Overall, though, a good read.”

“People who believe that the UPC will become a reality some very time soon are truly out of touch, much like Battistelli and his circle of ‘loyals’.”The patent microcosm (which dominates Team UPC) wants the UPC for more lawsuits, more/higher damages, and a generally litigious atmosphere that brings them more business. It’s truly a shame that EPO staff, including Zaccà’s colleagues, are openly promoting it at events (as Philpott did last year). What credibility will they have left? They’re supposed to be focused on patent examination, not lobbying and lawmaking.

Found via this tweet was yet more promotion of the UPC, courtesy of Team UPC again. “Unitary Patent reforms are welcome, even though patent litigation in Europe has worked quite well” says the headline and Francisco Moreno, a critic of the UPC, uses the hashtags #UPCbelievers and #PrayForTheUPC (sarcasm) in relation to what Tufty Sylvestris wrote about the above: “Another Remainer disappointed about the effect of #Brexit on the UPC, but still hopeful (or in denial).”

People who believe that the UPC will become a reality some very time soon are truly out of touch, much like Battistelli and his circle of ‘loyals’. Maybe they too should quit embarrassing themselves and work on fixing the EPO. Pushing towards software patents in Europe (directly or indirectly) is just about the dumbest thing they can do.

The EPO, USPTO, and Patent Microcosm Peddle Myths About Patents in Public Universities and Research

Friday 26th of August 2016 11:27:24 AM

Summary: Tackling some of the commonly-spread myths about patents as “saving lives” and “promoting research” (in practice leading to the death of poor people and promoting trolls)

THE patent system exists for a reason, but nowadays that reason is no longer the original reason. “Page not found” says this link EPO‘s account regarding oppositions to particular patents, which is kind of poetic when one thinks about it. Battistelli’s EPO doesn’t want oppositions. Rubber-stamping is better for so-called ‘production’. That’s not what the patent system exists for.

Following its pattern of 'spamming' (not broadcasting to everyone on a per-subscription basis as in this new example), the EPO is pinging the University of Bonn with some template message like “Got any proposals for our Inventor Award 2017? Submit them here” (Battistelli’s lobbying event).

Why is the EPO bothering universities now? It has already sent dozens of such ‘spammy’ messages, but now it’s doing after universities.

“That’s not what the patent system exists for.”Mr. Nazer, writing about universities that pursue patents, correctly notes that many of these patents end up in the hands of patent trolls. Here is a portion of what he wrote for the EFF the other day:

EFF recently launched Reclaim Invention, a project to encourage universities to manage their patent portfolios in a way that maximizes the public benefit. Specifically, we’ve urged universities to sign a Public Interest Patent Pledge not to sell or exclusively license patents to patent assertion entities, also known as patent trolls. EFF is proud to partner with Creative Commons, Engine, Fight for the Future, Knowledge Ecology International, and Public Knowledge on this initiative.

As part of our project, we’ve also released draft state legislation that we hope state legislators can adapt to promote pro-innovation technology transfer at state universities. Our legislative language has two components. First, it requires university technology transfer offices to adopt a policy committing them to manage patent assets in the public interest.

If the public cares about innovation and good use of public money, then the public should prevent universities from filing for patents. Universities don’t need these, but friends of mine who work at the universities say that they are being pressured by administration staff to just amass patents, not just published academic papers. It’s not often that universities sue using patents because usually they do so indirectly or offload their patents to trolls.

“Patent lawyers want us to believe that effective and affordable medicine exists because of patents, but in reality it exists in spite of patents.”“75% of the 20 patent lawsuits filed yesterday were filed by patent trolls,” United for Patent Reform wrote the other day. “It’s time for Congress to take action to #fixpatents!”

The above seems to be a lot lower than the average. For technology patent lawsuits, it’s now estimated (based on a complete/exhaustive list) that just under 90% of the time these are filed by trolls. They dominate the system.

Research and development in the public sector need not rely on patents, no matter what nonsense the EPO spreads with stock photography and prose. Patent lawyers want us to believe that effective and affordable medicine exists because of patents, but in reality it exists in spite of patents. Cancer patients, as explained to the EPO, actually suffer from patents, but patent boosters are busy framing the USPTO as a friend of cancer research. To quote this new example from Professor Crouch: “The USPTO is playing an important role in the National Cancer Moonshot, a Presidential initiative we blogged about earlier this summer, to speed up cancer advances, make more therapies available to more patients, and improve the ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage. Today, we are launching the USPTO Cancer Moonshot Challenge to enlist the public’s help to leverage our intellectual property data, often an early indicator of meaningful research and development (R&D), and combine it with other economic and funding data (ie. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Food and Drug Administration reporting, National Science Foundation grants vs. philanthropic investments, venture capital funding, etc.). This comes on the heels of our Patents 4 Patients program, which was launched in July and aims to cut in half the time it takes to review patent applications in cancer therapy.”

Actually, a lot of cancer research money comes from the public (government grants, not just donations); afterwards there’s privateering with patents (monopoly on treatments and thus overpricing), so who gains and who dies?

EpiPen is under heavy fire this week for price hikes owing to Congressional nepotism, but Professor Crouch links to this horrible new article which glamourises patents (even those that kill poor people) as well as a famous patent troll. It’s sad to see that patent myths continue to thrive not just because of the patent industry but also the EPO and USPTO. They want us to believe that the more patents we have, the better. It’s usually better for patent offices, trolls, and few opportunists with crooked nepotism (see EpiPen’s example).

Large Corporations’ Lobbyist David Kappos Disgraces Former Employer USPTO by Meddling in Their Affairs on Software Patents, Downplaying the Supreme Court

Friday 26th of August 2016 10:56:54 AM

Microsoft, IBM and few other large companies pay former USPTO officials to promote software patents

Summary: The latest lobbying from David Kappos, who blatantly exploits his connections in patent circles to promote software patents and work towards their resurgence after Alice v CLS Bank

LAST NIGHT we wrote about the demise of software patents in the US. The USPTO, which David Kappos had turned into more of a rubber-stamping operation (because of the growing backlog), finally had to accept that many patents were erroneously granted (if not fraudulently granted to increase measurable figures).

“The FTC PAE report should be the final nail in the coffin for Software Patents,” AntiSoftwarePat wrote last night in response to my article. He or she has been saying this for quite a while. PAE is a type of patent troll, for those who don’t know.

“He doesn’t want people to know what he does for a living in his capacity as a de facto lobbyist.”Kappos deserves at least some of the blame for the terrible status quo. So many patents at the USPTO are junk and patent trolls needn’t even go to court and face the burden of proof; they just target small businesses in secret (divide and rule) to shake these down using bogus patents. Kappos is absolutely fine with that and we wrote a lot about this nefarious activity of his quite a lot this year. He doesn’t want people to know what he does for a living in his capacity as a de facto lobbyist. Instead, says his own description of himself: “Dave Kappos is a partner at Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP and previously served as under secretary of commerce and director of the United States Patent and Trade Office.”

He does not disclose he works for a front group funded by monopolists which support software patents. Yesterday, published in the Morning Consult Web site was this Kappos piece protesting Alice v CLS Bank. He took wonderful news, namely the gradual end of software patents in the US, and called it “the terrible” (not for software developers but for parasites like him and his ilk).

Once again he pretends it’s a loss to software innovation and other such malarkey. He does not disclose who pays him to utter this nonsense. Here is the ending paragraph:

Rather than celebrate or mourn the anniversary of Alice, we should recognize that its overly broad application stifles software innovation in fields that require major, sustained investments to address humanity’s truly daunting challenges—across industries from life sciences to information technology to transportation and beyond. There is some room for cautious optimism—recent decisions from the federal circuit in Enfish, Bascom and Rapid Litigation Management have upheld quality patents challenged on eligibility grounds—but unless the courts continue to provide clearer guidance, a long heritage of American innovation leadership will be at risk. We should seek balance by applying Alice narrowly, “lest [Section 101′s exclusionary principle] swallow all of patent law”— and let the other parts of the law do their work.

“When legislation and/or caselaw is up for sale we all lose.”It’s clear that he is asking for loopholes so that software patents can still be granted and asserted (successfully) in courts. It’s not about “clarity” (we explained this spin of his before and also showed the so-called whitepaper he published last year to reveal his bias on this topic). Quick to promote this article was IBM’s Manny Schecter, who is funding him through IBM (Kappos used to work at IBM, which now just pays him through a front group). Congratulating one’s own lobbyist again? Does he not see ethical breach amid all that patent aggression by IBM? Microsoft is paying Kappos as well and it too is attacking even Android/Linux using patents, as recently as a few days ago.

What will it take for these companies to stop bribing former officials and hide behind them while they lobby for the resurrection of software patents? Who are those people kidding? Can one file a formal complaint for “revolving doors” kind of abuse here? We might try soon, perhaps once we identify the best authority/institution to address regarding the unprofessional (and likely unethical if not in breach of contract) practice. When legislation and/or caselaw is up for sale we all lose.

Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice Calls the European Patent Office “Rotten”, Other Sources Scrutinise Recent Moves

Thursday 25th of August 2016 07:49:15 PM

It’s like another FIFA but in slow(er) motion

Summary: The patent office which was once known for being the best bar none is rotting under the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who made himself and his friends the main clients of the Office

THE European Patent Office (EPO) is trying to distract us all (staff and media) with the Italian earthquake (warning: epo.org links can be tracked by the EPO), but otherwise it has been largely silent for weeks. It just selfishly tries to maintain that sense of fear and emergency, especially when there are mass shootings (not just in Europe).

Recently, the local media (Süddeutsche Zeitung) published “Paris, London, Haar” which is an article about the EPO for which we need translation/s. Techrights is mentioned in this paragraph which says: “Innerhalb der Behörde wird jedenfalls schon heiß diskutiert, was solch ein Umzug an den Stadtrand mit sich bringen würde. In dem Internet-Blog Techrights lassen sich Mitarbeiter darüber aus, ob in Haar überhaupt die Hotels vorhanden sein würden, um die ausländischen Gäste passend unterzubringen. Über Sicherheitsfragen wird geredet und nicht zuletzt darüber, wie man ins Büro im Münchner Osten kommen kann, das mancher aus Versehen in der Gemeinde Vaterstetten ansiedelt. Mancher aus der betroffenen Abteilung sieht sich gar ins “Exil” nach Haar abgeschoben. Hintergrund ist ein seit Längerem schwelender Machtkampf mit dem Präsidenten des Patentamts, Benoît Battistelli.”

“The EPO’s reputation is so damaged right now (squarely the fault of Team Battistelli) that not much more damage can be done.”It has been said for quite some time that Benoît Battistelli might try to ‘gift’ Paris with some UPC court/s (or Administration). If true, it wouldn’t be the first time he did something nefarious like that. The EPO’s reputation is so damaged right now (squarely the fault of Team Battistelli) that not much more damage can be done. There’s already a crisis and talented people are leaving.

SUEPO mentioned the above in its public pages and so did a comment in IP Kat, which took note of another article shared by SUEPO. Coming from the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice (and composed by Darren Smyth from IP Kat), the article says this:

Recently, the EPO has been beset by problems. A programme of reform has been pushed through which has led to widespread industrial unrest amongst the workforce, and distrust between the examiners and senior management. The problems have been exacerbated by the fact that the only legal recourse for aggrieved EPO employees is the International Labour Organisation, which has an immense backlog (partly caused by the number of EPO grievances) leading to a delay of many years before cases are decided. While there was little dispute that some reform was needed, the pace and character of the reforms, as well as their style of introduction, created a toxic atmosphere, the scale and causes of which were denied by the management, and relatively unrecognized outside of the EPO itself. The relatively generous salaries of EPO examiners led to a lack of sympathy in some quarters. The wider world only noticed the increasingly troubled situation at the EPO when a member of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO was suspended by the President without the prior sanction of the AC, an action that appeared to compromise the judicial independence of the Boards of Appeal. This occurred shortly after a seminal decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA), which upheld an objection of suspicion of partiality against its Chairman, on the sole basis of his dual administrative role within the management of the Office. The response of the President, transferring some administrative powers from the EBA Chairman to himself, seemed to make the problem worse rather than better.

The judicial independence of the Boards of Appeal is crucial to the finality of their decisions. If the Boards are not accepted as a judicial instance, a national court could decline to give effect to their judgments on the basis of lack of compliance with European legal norms such as those embodied in Article 6 ECHR (right to fair trial). Before recent events, although national courts had always accepted the judicial character of the Boards, Board members took the view, supported by some commentators, that more autonomy was desirable. However, a proposal to increase the autonomy of the Boards had been shelved by the current administration.

It was clear that action needed to be taken, but new proposals from the President to modify the administrative structure of the Boards seemed to conflate independence with efficiency, and also addressed other matters, such as the management of possible conflicts of interest of Board members, which had never in reality seemed to be a problem. There was more concern with the appearance of independence, such as the physical location of the Boards, than independence itself.

“In the last issue of the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice an editorial has been published under the title Something is rotten in the state of the EPO,” one comment noted. “Eerie, this silence,” one person wrote, “probably there is a lot going on behind the screen?”

One person responded with: “Or the French are on holiday?”

Well, we have a lot of material we intend to publish this autumn. In the mean time, if someone can produce a translation of the Süddeutsche Zeitung article for us, this would be greatly appreciated (and of course published for the record).

PTAB Emerges as Hero of USPTO Because Quality of Patents Improves, Software Patents Are Effectively Dead (or Dying Once Reassessed)

Thursday 25th of August 2016 07:20:24 PM

A reminder of why the EPO‘s boards of appeal should be broadened, not squashed/scuttled/exiled

Summary: With help from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) — not just patent courts — software patents drop like flies by the thousands

TECHRIGHTS is gratified to see a decade of activism and long-sought reforms coming to fruition. A decade ago we could probably be called “crazy” for suggesting that software patents would one day be kaput even at the USPTO. But it’s actually happening and proponents of software patents are panicking (even writing “ALICE” in all CAPS or resorting to very old articles that are somehow supportive of their argument). No longer can they make a living by taxing software developers like yours truly and millions of people all around the world. Whatever one’s opinion might be on software patents, statistics show very clearly that the overwhelming majority of software developers reject them outright.

“Whatever one’s opinion might be on software patents, statistics show very clearly that the overwhelming majority of software developers reject them outright.”“Reading the Federal Circuit’s tea leaves on software patentability” is a new article whose summary introduces Alice: “In June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank decision, finding that a computer-implemented, electronic escrow service was a non-patentable abstract idea.”

From the body of the article: “Until two years ago, software was generally patentable in the United States. Section 101 of the Patent Act governs what subject matter is patent eligible, excluding among other things abstract ideas from being patented.

“But in June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank decision, finding that a computer-implemented, electronic escrow service was a non-patentable abstract idea. The Court held that that merely requiring “generic computer implementation” failed to transform an otherwise abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention.”

“We previously wrote about several Android applications that got axed (wiped off the face of the Earth) because of software patents.”Well, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has had to obey what the highest possible court said, even begrudgingly. That’s good for software developers, not necessarily FOSS developers but all developers in every country. “If you’re curious,” wrote a person on this new article about FOSS in Android, for lack of features “the reason is software patents.”

We previously wrote about several Android applications that got axed (wiped off the face of the Earth) because of software patents. Once they received a lawsuit threat, developers chose an immediate retreat. How does that promote/advance science and technology? It actually accomplishes the very opposite.

Deciding on matters like software patentability without even knowing how programming works and how computers work is outrageous, but it happens all the time. It has in fact become the norm. The following new article, which is behind a paywall, is titled “Patent Judges Should Be Scientists, Too” (Wall Street Journal). It says: “Patents are the lifeblood of biotechnology, the force that motivates companies to develop innovative medical treatments and bring them to market. The trouble is that these patents must be enforced in a court system that isn’t set up to adjudicate highly technical matters—resulting in rulings that seem arbitrary or even scientifically suspect.”

“They can discern or tell apart innovation from junk.”That is often true and applicable when it comes to copyrights in relation to code (see for example Oracle’s case against Google). At PTAB, by contrast, the chiefs are scientists, so no wonder they toss patents in the trash all the time. They can discern or tell apart innovation from junk.

MIP has a new article about PTAB’s chief judge Ruschke. Here is the part which is not behind a paywall:

In a call with reporters, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board chief judge said the number of judges now is enough, praised the impact of submitting expert declarations with preliminary responses, and said the Board was open to going beyond the 12-month statutory deadline for issuing final written decisions

David Ruschke, who took over as chief judge of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in May, is satisfied with both the number of quality of judges he has at the Board. Ruschke previously managed the intellectual property portfolio of Medtronic’s CSH unit.

“The number of our judges that we have now at 270 is essentially where we are going to be at going forward,” he told reporters on a conference call. “That groups of judges is going to be providing I think a wonderful basis for the PTAB going forward.”

PTAB has been a leading enforcer of Alice (it’s a lot quicker than clueless, technology-illiterate courts) and patent lawyers hate it. They call it a “death squad”. Here is a patent lawyers’ advocacy site, IAM, saying what most recently happened at PTAB: “For the third time in as many post-grant reviews decided by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the PTAB has declared a patent to be invalid based on the legal framework established in the 2014 Supreme Court decision in Alice Corporation Pty Ltd v CLS Bank International.”

Looking at another patent lawyers’ site, people are visibly upset at Alice. One of them wrote:

You must live in a different universe. The Supreme Court has been down right hostile to the CAFC.

One only has to read the fractured In re Alice decision (prior to the Supreme Court rewriting of law), to see what a mess the Supreme Court has made in its pursuit of power.

These are “captive patent courts,” Benjamin Henrion responded. Here is another comment:

The following link also supports the idea of tensions between the Supreme Court and Federal Circuit: http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/tug_of_war_over_interpretations_of_patent_law_continues_between_federal

They seem to be begging for some scandal that can somehow bring software patents back to life. Here is what Patently-O wrote about CAFC a few days ago: “Earlier this year, the Federal Circuit in a 2-1 panel decision in In re Queen’s University held there was a privilege over communications between a patent agent and client with respect to patent prosecution. That decision is here. I gave a talk earlier this year about how I think this case creates some risks even if it is followed, and the powerpoint for that talk is here.”

“In the above cases, the Federal Circuit does not deal with software patents, but when/if it does, then over 90% of the time it will throw them away.”PowerPoint is Microsoft lock-in, but in another new Patently-O post CAFC got mentioned in relation to OtterBox. To quote: “A substantial portion of the Federal Circuit’s appellate involve customs disputes stemming from the Court of International Trade (CIT). [...] In interpreting the statute, the Federal Circuit has taken the approach of construing HTSUS terms according to “common and commercial meanings, which we presume are the same.” Although not required by the statute, the court has also taken to relying upon the explanatory notes in the World Customs Organization tariff schedule to aid its interpretation. [...] In siding with OtterBox, the federal circuit stepped through Heading 4202 and found, inter alia, that the OtterBox cases would only fit as “similar containers,” but that they were not really similar. The important distinction is that OtterBox cases are designed so that the device is fully functional while in the case – that is not true for any of the cases listed in the heading.”

In the above cases, the Federal Circuit does not deal with software patents, but when/if it does, then over 90% of the time it will throw them away. This clearly bothers the software patents proponents, who as usual resort to BASCOM and Enfish (the few and rare exceptions]. Alluding to BASCOM and Section 101, Watchtroll writes somewhat of a rant. It starts innocently enough. “Last week the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) held its quarterly meeting at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). These quarterly meetings give those on PPAC an opportunity to be brought up to speed about what is going on inside the USPTO, and to ask questions of various senior officials,” Watchtroll writes. But then, this Watchtroll who stoops very low in his attacks on PTAB ended up concluding with: “Could the Patent Office address this differently? Yes. Is the way Patent Office senior officials are addressing 101 in the guidance incorrect or outside of the envelope of reasonableness? No. Is the way examiners are applying 101 in keeping with the guidance? Absolutely not. Is this one big mess? You bet!”

“Software patents are a dying breed of patents.”So, doing the right thing is “one big mess”. Right…

The patent microcosm (mostly lawyers) just keeps lobbying the USPTO in order to make it their eternal vassal on matters such as patent scope. They just try to undermine Alice rather than accept the decision and move on. They even got Kappos in lobbying mode, utilising his connections (he is the former Director of the USPTO) to throw away Alice and attempt to restore software patenting. Another new example of this reluctance to accept the new formality can be seen in this tweet that says “Drafting claims: preambles? Dangerous. Just analyzed BASCOM: preamble may establish what a claim is “directed to” (abstract idea) for Alice.”

No matter how artful they try to be in interpreting Alice, the statistics speak for themselves, both at PTAB and at CAFC. Software patents are a dying breed of patents. Sooner or later, once challenged sufficiently, all ‘pure’ software patents turn out to be abstract.

Creative Technology, Now Operating in ‘Patent Troll’ Mode, Shot Down by the ITC; Jawbone Too Shot Down

Thursday 25th of August 2016 05:42:02 PM

Has the U.S. International Trade Commission finally become less trigged-happy when it comes to embargoes?


By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Sound Blaster

Summary: Some good news from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which may have put an end to Creative’s new war on Android (using old patents)

OVER THE years we have not had much (or anything) good to say about the ITC. It seemed nationalistic and unreasonable. Based on allegation or suspicion alone it could suspend operations or businesses in the United States, especially when these were foreign (non-US).

Earlier this summer we wrote about Creative Technology, based in Singapore, going after Android OEMs with massive patent demands, having been ‘endorsed’ by Apple payments. Well, it turns out Apple should never have paid them in the first place. Their patents are junk.

“When once-famous brands like Creative and BlackBerry become nothing but a pile of patents there’s a lot of trouble for FOSS such as Android, which is built on top of Linux. ““First spotted by Law360,” an Apple advocacy site wrote, “Administrative Law Judge David Shaw of the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) has ruled that Creative Technology’s patent that addresses music library navigation and sorting in the iPod, and now iOS overall, was too abstract to be eligible for a patent.”

It also said: “A patent that Creative Technologies used in the beginning of the century against the iPod forcing a $100 million payout by Apple has been invalidated, saving the rest of the smartphone industry from costly settlements and protracted legal battles.”

According to this, “Apple paid Creative a single license fee of $100 million to use Creative’s software interface patent,” which is certainly a lot of money, probably enough to convince Creative to prey on Android OEMs that can barely afford it (and might prefer to settle out of court). The original report said “U.S. International Trade Commission judge handed smartphone makers a win Friday, ruling that a media player patent that netted a Singapore software company a $100 million settlement with Apple is invalid under Alice, in what appears to be the first time an ITC investigation has been terminated during its early review program.”

This is great news and a huge relief to some Android OEMs. On the face of it, ITC made a determination on another case, as reported by MIP. “In a first for its 100-day pilot programme, the ITC has invalidated a patent involved in a $100m iPod-related settlement a decade ago. In a separate ruling, the commission has ruled that Fitbit did not misappropriate Jawbone’ trade secrets,” says the summary. We wrote a great deal about the latter case too. It’s now a two-way battle. They would both be better off just focusing on development, not bickering over patents. The latter case was also mentioned in corporate media this week (albeit very briefly). To quote CNBC: “A U.S. International Trade Commission ruled Fitbit did not steal rival Jawbone’s trade secrets. Jawbone accused Fitbit of infringing six patents and luring away employees to with confidential data about Jawbone’s business.”

The behaviour of Creative without a doubt was becoming a problem for Android and by extension a threat to Linux, so the former of the two aforementioned cases is important. BlackBerry’s transition into ‘patent troll’ was also mentioned here recently and it’s receiving unwanted media attention from a trolls expert. “BlackBerry’s new round of patent lawsuits targets BLU—and Android,” says the headline. Here is an except:

BlackBerry has filed three patent infringement lawsuits in as many weeks. The struggling phone company’s offensive barrage began with a case filed against IP telephony company Avaya on July 27. Last week, BlackBerry filed two lawsuits against budget cell phone maker BLU’s products, alleging that BLU infringes a whopping 15 patents.

The dual lawsuits against BLU suggest that BlackBerry’s new turn toward patent licensing isn’t going to be a one-off event, but rather a more extended campaign. In a May earnings call, BlackBerry CEO John Chen told investors he’s in a “patent licensing mode” and is hoping to monetize his company’s 38,000 patents.

The new lawsuits also suggest that BlackBerry has patents it believes describe Android features, so don’t be surprised if more Android phones are in the crosshairs soon. One of the two cases filed last week accuses user-interface features that are more about Android than they are about BLU. A small manufacturer like BLU could make for a good “test case” against a maker of Android phones.

When once-famous brands like Creative and BlackBerry become nothing but a pile of patents there’s a lot of trouble for FOSS such as Android, which is built on top of Linux. Software patents need to end and patent sanity assured. Customers only lose when products are intentionally made more primitive due to fear of litigation. A lot of them are incredibly overpriced, too.

Corporate Media in India Misrepresents Startups to Push for Software Patents

Thursday 25th of August 2016 05:03:33 PM

Summary: A parade of misinformation as seen in Indian (but English-speaking) press this week as questions about patentability of software resurface

FOREIGN giants which operate in India (companies like IBM and Microsoft) just can’t help trying to repeatedly introduce software patents in India, aided by front groups and lawyers of theirs. Why on Earth is NASSCOM, which is connected to Bill Gates [1, 2, 3], participating in a debate in India regarding software patents or even just software? “NEW rules designed to boost India’s software industry will open for public consultation in a matter of days, say sources close to the matter,” said one new article among several this week (e.g. [1, 2). These mentioned software patents as well and some correctly noted that “this opens them [software companies] to patent trolls. Dealing with patent trolls here as India doesn’t have software patents.” The English here is problematic and then it says this: “So the conundrum for startups is whether to stay in India or not.”

“India is constantly being lobbied by big businesses that are not even Indian.”No, startups would be wasting their time pursuing patents on software. In practice, heavy-pocketed corporations from abroad want software patents. Indian startups do not. But don’t count on corporate media like the above to accurately represent the desires and needs of ordinary Indians. Neither should anyone trust NASSCOM, one among several Indian agencies that act like outposts and brought India nothing but EDGI.

India is constantly being lobbied by big businesses that are not even Indian. Watch what Microsoft has done to the Modi government earlier this year and last year. It shot down a Free/Open Source software policy.

Links 25/8/2016: Linux Turns 25, NetworkManager Turns 1.4

Thursday 25th of August 2016 04:39:37 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Kernel Space
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • The future is here

        Nautilus from master, updated everyday, parallel installable, in less than 3 minutes. I cannot believe this is possible. Note that due to be sandboxed with no permission handling there are things that are not working, like opening with an application.

        For someone not aware of the whole platform and the Linux desktop, it’s difficult to see how many implications this bring to us and the changes that will allow in the upcoming months. This truly changes the game for GNOME (and any other desktop) as a project and platform, including 3rd party developers and companies using Linux desktops or that want to support it.

      • GUADEC’16 report

        I got a chance to attend GUADEC’16 which happened in Karlsruhe, Germany from 11 – 17 August. I stayed for the whole duration including Workshop Day, core days and the later BOF days which were very learning. I’m grateful to my mentor David Woodhouse who guided me all the time. I thank GNOME community for giving me the chance to speak at intern lightning talk and i tried my best to present my project in front of those great people. I hope to get a chance someday again to speak up. We have finished our GSoC project so i am free now to wander around to find some more places and tasks in GNOME’s huge shelter. My experience of attending GUADEC was awesome, despite being a less speaker i was very comfortable to talk and interact to people in the community. I made some new friends in the community and i came to know a lot more about it. I loved attending social events after the long day of great and motivating talks. I am thankful to the GUADEC organizers, i didn’t feel any problem for a second staying 6,000 kms away from home.

      • GUADEC 2016

        I came back from Karlsruhe last week, where GUADEC 2016 took place.

        It was a wonderful event. Even though it was only my second GUADEC, I felt at home in this community, meeting with old and new friends.

      • Summer Talks, PurpleEgg

        The topics were different but related: The Flock talk talked about how to make things better for a developer using Fedora Workstation as their development workstation, while the GUADEC talk was about the work we are doing to move Fedora to a model where the OS is immutable and separate from applications. A shared idea of the two talks is that your workstation is not your development environment environment. Installing development tools, language runtimes, and header files as part of your base operating system implies that every project you are developing wants the same development environment, and that simply is not the case.

      • An awesome experience!

        GUADEC has been a week full of memorable moments. As my friend Rares mentioned in his post, our newcomers group was welcomed by friendly community members right as we arrived at the hotel. For someone who has never attended a similar event before, this really helped with getting into the conference atmosphere.

        In the first couple days of the conference, I found myself meeting a lot of people that I knew from IRC. It felt really nice to finally know the person behind the internet nick. I was especially excited about getting to meet my mentor, Carlos Soriano =). In between the presentations I also took the time to prepare my own lightning talk about compressed files in Nautilus. Speaking in front of the GNOME community for the first time was a unique experience.

  • Distributions
    • New Releases
    • Slackware Family
      • NOAA Breaks Weather Apps, Slackware Updates, Valve @ 20

        The LinuxCon headlines continue to dominate but, more importantly, our desktop weather apps are broken thanks to NOAA decommissioning the site. Liam Dawe looked back at 20 years of Valve and Sebastian “sebas” Kügler introduced new KDE kscreen-doctor. Slackware rolled out some updates including a rare kernel upgrade and The VAR Guy wants to hear about your first time.

    • Red Hat Family
      • New CentOS Atomic Host Update Released with Linux Kernel 3.10, Docker 1.10.3-46

        CentOS Project’s Jason Brooks is back again with some awesome news for those interested in using the CentOS Atomic Host operating system designed for running Docker containers on top of the RHEL-based CentOS Linux 7 platform.

      • Red Hat’s gunning for VMware with virtualization platform update

        Open-source Linux vendor Red Hat Inc. has thrown in support for OpenStack Neutron and other new technologies with the latest release of its software virtualization package, in what looks like a bid to steal customers away from VMware Inc.’s more widely-used solution.

        Targeted at convergence, Red Hat Virtualization 4 is the first version of the platform that doesn’t include the word “enterprise,” in a move that suggests the company is hoping its virtualized stack will become the platform for convergence, rather than a server density product.

        OpenStack Neutron is the open-source networking project used by Software-Defined Networks (SDNs), which up until now has only been available as a preview. Many have criticized Neutron’s development for lagging behind the rest of OpenStack’s code base, and Red Hat was one of several vendors to concede that things could be sped up a bit. With the inclusion of the software in Red Hat Virtualization, the company says its Linux platform can be used to run both cloud-enabled and “traditional” workloads in concert.

      • Red Hat Virtualization 4 woos VMware faithful

        It’s easy for a virtual machine user to feel left out these days, what with containers dominating the discussion of how to run applications at scale. But take heart, VM fans: Red Hat hasn’t forgotten about you.

        RHV (Red Hat Virtualization) 4.0, released today, refreshes Red Hat’s open source virtualization platform with new technologies from the rest of Red Hat’s product line. It’s a twofold strategy to consolidate Red Hat’s virtualization efforts across its various products and to ramp up the company’s intention to woo VMware customers.

      • Commvault Announces Support of Red Hat Virtualization 4 with Commvault Software
      • Fedora
        • UDP Failures and RNGs
        • F24-20160823 updated Live isos

          New Kernel means new set of updated lives.

          I am happy to release the F24-20160823 updated lives isos.

        • Curse you, Jon Masters! Why do you always have to be right!

          Long story short, Fedora 24 came out and I’m given the taste of the same medicine: the video on the ASUS is completely busted. I was able to limp along for now by using the old kernel 4.4.6-301.fc23, but come on, this is clearly a massive regression. Think anyone is there to bisect and find the culprit? Of course not. I have to do it it myself.

          So, how did F24 ship? Well… I didn’t test beta versions, so I don’t have much ground to complain.

        • Communication Anti-Patterns
        • Autocloud: What’s new?

          Autocloud was released during the Fedora 23 cycle as a part of the Two Week Atomic Process.

          Previously, it used to listen to fedmsg for successful Koji builds. Whenever, there is a new message the AutocloudConsumer queues these message for processing. The Autocloud job service then listens to the queue, downloads the images and runs the tests using Tunir. A more detailed post about it’s release can be read here.

          During the Fedora 24 cycle things changed. There was a change on how the Fedora composes are built. Thanks to adamw for writing a detailed blogpost on what, why and how things changed.

        • Modularity Infrastructure Design

          The purpose of our Modularity initiative is to support the building, maintaining, and shipping of modular things. So, in order to ensure these three requirements are met, we need to design a framework for building and composing the distribution.

          In terms of the framework, in general, we are concerned about the possibility of creating an exponential number of component combinations with independent lifecycles. That is, when the number of component combinations becomes too large, we will not be able to manage them. So that we don’t accidentally make our lives worse, we must limit the number of supported modules with a policy and provide infrastructure automation to reduce the amount of manual work required.

    • Debian Family
  • Devices/Embedded
    • Open source drone controller has an FPGA-enhanced brain

      Aerotenna has launched an open source, $499 “OcPoc” drone flight controller that runs Linux on an Altera Cyclone V ARM/FPGA SoC.

      Lawrence, Kansas based Aerotenna, which bills itself as “the leading provider of innovative microwave sensors and flight control systems,” describes OcPoC (Octagonal Pilot on Chip) as a ready-to-fly, open source flight control platform. The system integrates an IMU, barometer, GPS, and a CSI-camera interface.

    • Phones
      • Android
        • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 unveiled in China, priced at $135

          Xiaomi took the wraps off their latest smartphone offering, the Redmi Note 4, earlier today, and as is expected from the budget-friendly Redmi series, the device offers a premium look, specifications, and features, and more importantly, an ultra-affordable price tag.

          The Redmi Note 4 retains the premium full metal unibody construction that was introduced with its predecessor, but now comes with a brushed metal finish and chamfered edges that looks and feels even better. The design language is quite similar as well, with the Redmi Note 4 also coming with a fingerprint scanner on the back.

          Under the hood, the Redmi Note 4 comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD display that is covered with a 2.5D curved glass panel. The phone is powered by a MediaTek Helio X20 processor, that is backed by the Mali-T880MP4 GPU and 2 GB or 3 GB of RAM. 16 GB or 64 GB are the on-board storage options available, which also dictates how much RAM you get, and you also get expandable storage via microSD card to cover all your needs. Keeping everything running is a huge 4,100 mAh battery.

        • New study finds iPhones fail far more often than Android phones

          Apple customers are generally a shockingly loyal bunch. The company’s high repeat customer rate can be attributed to a combination of factors that concern iPhones themselves as well as Apple’s industry-leading customer service. Dealing with Apple’s customer care department has always been a pleasure compared to dealing with rival companies, and iPhones themselves have historically been very reliable, offering a consistently smooth user experience that people love.

        • Relax, Spire can now connect to Android phones

          Spire, the wearable that promises to help you with healthy breathing and mindfulness, was previously only available for iOS devices. But that should change with an update rolling out now.

        • Android 7.0 Nougat: Small changes that make a big difference in UX

          The seventh iteration of Android (Nougat) has finally been released by the mighty Google. If you happen to be the owner of a Nexus device, you might see this update very soon. Everyone else…you know the drill.

          So after an extended period of waiting for the update to trickle through your carrier and onto your device, what can you expect to happen to your Android device once its center has become a creamier shade of Nougat?

        • Two Nokia Android smartphones show up in benchmark

          Nokia is definitely coming out with a few Android smartphones later this year, but today’s Nokia has little in common with the company that ruled the mobile phone industry for years.

          For starters, the devices that will be released this year, or the next, will be made by a third-party company. Nokia won’t be manufacturing phones anymore and most likely it won’t manage the way they are sold through retailers and authorized resellers.

        • Proxima bae, Instagram scams, Android goes full crypto: ICYMI
        • PayPal adds proper Nexus Imprint fingerprint login support on Android
        • Google Duo has been downloaded 5 million times on Android since its release
        • Google’s New Android Brings a Much Needed Change

          Thanks in part to Samsung’s Galaxy Note lineup and Apple’s iPhone 6s Plus, large-screened phones are becoming more popular than ever. Time spent on these large phones, sometimes called “phablets,” grew by 334% year-over-year in 2015, according to data from Flurry Analytics.

          Still, few phone makers other than Samsung ssnlf have made good use of these larger devices. Google goog is hoping to change this with its newest version of Android. Called 7.0 Nougat, it notably features the ability to view apps in a split-screen mode. The software update, which Google began pushing out to certain Nexus devices this week, makes it possible for Android users to interact with more than one app simultaneously.

        • Google’s New Android Brings a Much Needed Change

          Real multitasking has finally come to stock Android — and it’s about time

          Thanks in part to Samsung’s Galaxy Note lineup and Apple’s iPhone 6s Plus, large-screened phones are becoming more popular than ever. Time spent on these large phones, sometimes called “phablets,” grew by 334% year-over-year in 2015, according to data from Flurry Analytics.

          Still, few phone makers other than Samsung have made good use of these larger devices. Google is hoping to change this with its newest version of Android. Called 7.0 Nougat, it notably features the ability to view apps in a split-screen mode. The software update, which Google began pushing out to certain Nexus devices this week, makes it possible for Android users to interact with more than one app simultaneously.

        • Android 7.0 has a hidden feature that could finally make it better than iOS

          Android and iOS have been in a user-interface war for years. Who is winning really depends on who you ask, but a secret feature buried in the code for Android 8.0 Nougat shows a feature that would give Android the upper hand.

          Android Police uncovered details and screenshots of a navigation bar customizer hidden in the code for Android Nougat. It’s not currently active, as it was pulled from the code base for being “not ready,” but a tipster managed to recreate the feature and provide screenshots.

        • 8 new things Android 7.0 can do that iOS can’t

          A new version of Android is here, and it looks to be a solid, if relatively low-key, upgrade. Whenever Android 7.0 (Nougat) gets to your device, you’ll probably be happy with it.

          It also means that it’s time, once again, to see how Android has separated itself from iOS. If you’ve been thinking of pledging allegiance to a new platform, then here are some new, Nougat-y features that you won’t find on any iPhone.

        • Android 7 boasts new encryption features as the Crypto War soldiers on

          Not too long ago, the idea of smartphone encryption set off a global debate.

          Now, with the release of Android 7.0, the rise of secure messaging apps, and a public awakening on cyberspying, encrypting your chats and data is easier than ever—encryption is a now marketable selling point for the world’s tech giants—even as the political controversy heats up once more.

          A year after the 2013 Edward Snowden intelligence leaks lit a political fire around spying and privacy, the American tech giants Apple and Google added full-disk encryption to iPhones and Android devices. Police, intelligence agencies, governments, criminals, hackers, and all sorts of prying eyes around the globe would be increasingly locked out of the ubiquitous device that knows so much about us all.

        • Google Drive for Android now creates file and folder shortcuts
        • Android Nougat offers more PC emojis, plus an avocado
        • There’s a hidden menu in Android that lets you unlock experimental features — here’s how to use it
        • Project Fi’s Wifi Assistant to serve all Nexus devices soon
        • How to use split-screen mode in Android Nougat
        • How to Block Annoying Spam Calls and Texts In Android Nougat
        • Google Photos, Android System Webview, and HP Print Service plugin all reach 500 million installs
        • Android Nougat kind of arrives on the Nexus 5, if you’re bold
        • Google may let you add clipboard, keyboard switcher to Android’s navigation bar
        • LG V20 leak shows the Android phone is keeping its second screen

          LG’s V20 is set to debut on September 6th, but mobile leaker Evan Blass has already got his hands on a high-resolution image of the Android flagship and posted it to Twitter. The image shows off a rather bland-looking smartphone with an uncluttered home screen devoid of any duplicate apps and unnecessary bloatware. What we can see from this image is LG’s commitment to the second screen concept it debuted with last year’s V10.

Free Software/Open Source
  • Education
    • 4 tips for teaching kids how to build electronics

      Kids are naturally curious about how things work, and with a new trend in hardware companies creating open source hardware products, it’s a great time to teach kids about electronics. But modern technology can seem too complex to even begin to understand. So where do you start?

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • more, less, and a story of typical Unix fossilization

      In the beginning, by which we mean V7, Unix didn’t have a pager at all. That was okay; Unix wasn’t very visual in those days, partly because it was still sort of the era of the hard copy terminal. Then along came Berkeley and BSD. People at Berkeley were into CRT terminals, and so BSD Unix gave us things like vi and the first pager program, more (which showed up quite early, in 3BSD, although this isn’t as early as vi, which appears in 2BSD). Calling a pager more is a little bit odd but it’s a Unix type of name and from the beginning more prompted you with ‘–More–’ at the bottom of the screen.

      All of the Unix vendors that based their work on BSD Unix (like Sun and DEC) naturally shipped versions of more along with the rest of the BSD programs, and so more spread around the BSD side of things. However, more was by no means the best pager ever; as you might expect, it was actually a bit primitive and lacking in features. So fairly early on Mark Nudelman wrote a pager with somewhat more features and it wound up being called less as somewhat of a joke. When less was distributed via Usenet’s net.sources in 1985 it became immediately popular, as everyone could see that it was clearly nicer than more, and pretty soon it was reasonably ubiquitous on Unix machines (or at least ones that had some degree of access to stuff from Usenet). In 4.3 BSD, more itself picked up the ‘page backwards’ feature that had motived Mark Nudelman to write less, cf the 4.3BSD manpage, but this wasn’t the only attraction of less. And this is where we get into Unix fossilization.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Public Services/Government
    • Uganda: Govt to Cut Costs With Open Source Software

      The private sector and government departments have been urged to adopt Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to increase their efficiency and competitiveness, writes ALI TWAHA.

      FOSS is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance to suit their needs, something that is not possible with commercial software currently being used in most government departments.

      Speaking during the seventh African conference on FOSS at Speke Resort hotel in Munyoyo, ICT minister Frank Tumwebaze said government departments will gradually integrate the use of FOSS to reduce the cost of public service delivery.

      “Presently, government has been spending over $40m (Shs132bn) annually on commercial software from the like of Oracle systems and Microsoft Cooperation. [Using] FOSS will result into enormous savings that can be re-injected into other under-funded areas,” Tumwebaze said.

    • Uganda: New Software Policy to Boost Innovation in Offing

      A Science, Technology and Innovations driven economy may soon be a reality in Uganda if Cabinet approves a free and open software being developed.

      Speaking at the 7th Africa Conference on Open Source Software at the Commonwealth Resort in Munyonyo on Monday, Mr James Saaka, the executive director of National Information and Technology Authority Uganda, said there is a lot of registered software being used but is very costly.

      He said globally, people develop Free Open Source Software (Foss) which Uganda would emulate for national development.

      Mr Saaka said the country is in the initial stages to develop Foss, adding that the software can spur investment in research and development.

      “We see that the Proprietary software is still expensive and if we are going to develop more online services, we can’t afford but use alternative means to develop our e-government service,” Mr Saaka said.

      He also added that in Uganda, there is an advent of talent skilled in Foss and can help in innovations.

    • Open Source: Of the people, for the people, by the people

      Open Source is the best option for e-Governance. Its open nature allows constant improvements from the open source community, and when built in the correct method using firewalls, the security is protected as well. The best part of the open source for Governments is that the overall cost of building these solutions are much less than other frameworks as it is built, improved, and maintained by a strongly, connect open source community. Truly… ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Data
      • Oil companies joining open source world by sharing data [Ed: No, oil companies, sharing data is open data and not open source. More openwashing, like greenwashing]

        The oil and gas industry has long collected huge volumes of data, but it hasn’t always known quite what to do with it all. Often, the terabytes aren’t even stored on computer systems that readily talk to each other.

        Industry insiders are used to it, said Michael Jones, senior director of strategy at the oil and gas software maker Landmark. But it’s not OK, he said. So, about a year ago, Jones and some of his oil industry colleagues set about to fix it.

        This week, at Landmark’s Innovation Forum & Expo at the Westin hotel in northwest Houston, the company unveiled the beginnings of a collaborative its members called groundbreaking. In a move to drive technology further, faster — and, perhaps, take a bigger piece of the burgeoning big-data market — Landmark is pushing its main computing platform into the cloud, for all to use.

    • Open Access/Content
  • Programming/Development
    • Go! Speed Racer Go!

      I finally reached a point where I could start running the go version of sm-photo-tool. I finished the option validation for the list command. While I was testing it I noticed how much faster the Go version felt. Here are the python vs Go versions of the commands.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • Semantic Interoperability for European Public Services will be presented at the SEMANTiCS 2016 conference

      The revision of the European Interoperability Framework and the importance of data and information standardisation for promoting semantic interoperability for European Public Services will be presented by Dr. Vassilios Peristeras, DG Informatics, ISA unit at the SEMANTiCS 2016 conference which takes place in Leipzig on September 13th and 14th 2016. The title of the presentation is “Promoting Semantic Interoperability for European Public Services: the European Commission ISA2 Programme” (slideset to appear here soon).

Leftovers
  • How Rio Ratings Surprised NBC and Will Impact Future Olympics

    Heading into the Summer Olympics, NBCUniversal executives were bullish on ratings for Rio de Janeiro. With a host city just one hour ahead of the Eastern Time Zone and a mountain of data pointing toward heightened interest in the games, NBCU projected that Rio would outpace the 2012 London Games in viewership.

    It did not. Instead of a bulletproof success story, Rio delivered a complex portrait of the rapid changes affecting the TV business and of a viewership still hungry for Olympics coverage, but also for new ways to consume it.

    Over 15 days of competition, NBCU’s Olympics coverage averaged 27.5 million viewers across all platforms, including digital streaming — down 9% from 2012. But traditional TV ratings told a far grimmer story, one that began with Nielsen numbers that showed viewership for the Aug. 5 Opening Ceremony decline 28% from London.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • A Spike in Rates of Pregnancy-related Deaths in Texas Spurs Soul-searching

      Last week, researchers studying maternal mortality in the U.S. reported an ominous trend: The rate of pregnancy-related deaths in Texas seemed to have doubled since 2010, making the Lone Star State one of the most dangerous places in the developed world to have a baby. Reproductive health advocates were quick to blame the legislature for slashing funding in 2011–12 to family-planning clinics that serve low-income women, calling the numbers a “tragedy” and “a national embarrassment.”

      Now a 15-member state task force has issued its own maternal mortality report, offering a new view of what might be going on. The bottom line: Maternal deaths have indeed been increasing in Texas, members said, and African-American women are bearing the brunt of the crisis. For 2011 and 2012, black mothers accounted for 11.4 percent of Texas births but 28.8 percent of pregnancy-related deaths.

    • Everything has water flowing through it

      And how do we communicate the health risks from contaminated water without causing panic? Sometimes people don’t even want to know about water contamination, as they have so many other things they are already dealing with – water is just another one of many worries. Community wide communication is a real challenge on a large reservation.

    • Stop Playing Politics With Reproductive Rights

      Young women voters have a lot to worry about this election cycle, from a flurry of anti-abortion messaging to diminishing access to reproductive services.

      Just this month, in fact, Congress put the brakes on vital legislation that would fund efforts to prevent the spread of Zika because they’re arguing over birth control.

      I have grown up in a generation of women who can take for granted our right to vote, work for money, own land, and not be treated as property—but I can never take for granted my right to choose what to do with my own body.

      Like 58 percent of the women who use the pill, I rely primarily on birth control to treat many medical conditions. I have hormone-based migraines, endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome, which puts me at a higher risk for a whole slew of other health issues—from cardiovascular disease to diabetes.

      But I’m lucky. Birth control treats all three of my conditions where other methods have failed.

    • The Louisiana Catastrophe Proves the Need for Universal, Single-Payer Disaster Insurance

      Of the tens of thousands of Lousianans who had their homes flooded this month, most do not have flood insurance. They weren’t supposed to need it, because flooding had never been a problem where they live. And now it is clear that the federal emergency help they receive will be wholly inadequate.

      Louisiana’s flood victims are in a terrible predicament, and they are not alone. In the America of 2016, thousand-year catastrophes seem to be occurring on a monthly schedule, while we remain stuck with pre-greenhouse home insurance. That is leaving countless families economically devastated.

  • Security
    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • This Android botnet relies on Twitter for its commands
    • Android Security Flaw Exposes 1.4B Devices [Ed: Alternative headline is, “Android is very popular, it has billions of users. And yes, security ain’t perfect.” When did the press ever publish a headline like, “Windows flaw leaves 2 billion PCs susceptible for remote takeover?” (happens a lot)]
    • Wildfire ransomware code cracked: Victims can now unlock encrypted files for free

      Victims of the Wildfire ransomware can get their encrypted files back without paying hackers for the privilege, after the No More Ransom initiative released a free decryption tool.

      No More Ransom runs a web portal that provides keys for unlocking files encrypted by various strains of ransomware, including Shade, Coinvault, Rannoh, Rakhn and, most recently, Wildfire.

      Aimed at helping ransomware victims retrieve their data, No More Ransom is a collaborative project between Europol, the Dutch National Police, Intel Security, and Kaspersky Lab.

      Wildfire victims are served with a ransom note demanding payment of 1.5 Bitcoins — the cryptocurrency favored by cybercriminals — in exchange for unlocking the encrypted files. However, cybersecurity researchers from McAfee Labs, part of Intel Security, point out that the hackers behind Wildfire are open to negotiation, often accepting 0.5 Bitcoins as a payment.

      Most victims of the ransomware are located in the Netherlands and Belgium, with the malicious software spread through phishing emails aimed at Dutch speakers. The email claims to be from a transport company and suggests that the target has missed a parcel delivery — encouraging them to fill in a form to rearrange delivery for another date. It’s this form which drops Wildfire ransomware onto the victim’s system and locks it down.

    • PNScan Linux Trojan Resurfaces with New Attacks Targeting Routers in India

      A trojan thought to have died out resurfaced with new attacks and a new and improved version, launching new attacks on routers running Linux-based firmware located in India’s cyber-space.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Provoking nuclear war by media

      The exoneration of a man accused of the worst of crimes, genocide, made no headlines. Neither the BBC nor CNN covered it. The Guardian allowed a brief commentary. Such a rare official admission was buried or suppressed, understandably. It would explain too much about how the rulers of the world rule.

      The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague has quietly cleared the late Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic, of war crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, including the massacre at Srebrenica.

    • The Two Tales of Russia Hacking NYT

      It’s quite possible both of these stories are misleading. But they do raise questions about why the spooks want to sensationalize these Russian hacks while NYT chooses to downplay them.

    • The Bogus ‘Humanitarian’ War on Serbia

      The exoneration of a man accused of the worst of crimes, genocide, made no headlines. Neither the BBC nor CNN covered it. The Guardian allowed a brief commentary. Such a rare official admission was buried or suppressed, understandably. It would explain too much about how the rulers of the world rule.

    • Fighting Absurdity With Absurdity: Heaven Forbid the Penis

      Arguing that carrying firearms on campus will be as effective against random gun violence as carrying dildos, thousands of students at the University of Texas at Austin protested the state’s insane new open carry law Wednesday by gleefully hoisting “Armed With Reason” and “Guns Do Kill People” signs along with over 4,500 donated dildos, flesh color to fluorescent, in what may prove to be the state’s largest ever anti-gun rally. The #CocksNotGlocks campaign, started by one alum as a bit of “defiant nonsense” aimed at fighting absurdity with absurdity, kicked off on the first day of classes by drawing big crowds, with some inventive students juggling dildos and others hawking them with “Come get a dick!”

      The campaign seeks to repeal Senate Bill 11, signed into law by GOP Gov. Gregg Abbott in June but only implemented August 1, allowing students or faculty at public universities to carry their favorite guns to class, because what could possibly go wrong? The law has been vociferously opposed at the relatively progressive Austin campus, where many spoke against it at earlier public forums, an esteemed Architecture Dean resigned rather than live with it, and three professors sought an injunction to block guns from their classrooms; a federal judge just denied their request. Campaign organizers have asked students to “open carry” or hang the sex toys on backpacks until the law is changed: “Why leave your dildos at home if other people won’t leave their guns at home? Wear ‘em proudly until SB11 is repealed.”

    • Top 6 Reasons Turkey is Finally attacking ISIL in Syria’s Jarabulus

      Turkey and coalition allies launch air strikes Wednesday morning against the Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) stronghold of Jarabulus, on the Syrian side near the Turkish border. At the same time, Turkish artillery on the ground pounded the town. With Manbij in the hands of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, Jarabulus is the last town affording a smuggling route for men and arms from Turkey into Syria’s al-Raqqa, the HQ of Daesh in the country. Turkey has left Jarabulus alone for years and winked at the Daesh smugglers. Why is it acting now?

    • Every Syrian fighter is waging an existential battle that can only end in victory or death

      Five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, his face bloody and bruised from bomb blast, stares out in bafflement at a world in which somebody had just tried to kill him. Pictures of his little figure in the back of an ambulance in Aleppo have swiftly become the living symbol of the slaughter in Syria and Iraq.

      In the past there would have been more demands for spurious responses to the latest atrocity in Syria, with calls for the immediate overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad or no-fly zones – measures that sound positive but are never going to happen. This time round there is greater wariness internationally about such quick-fix solutions, opening the way for more realistic action to reduce the present horrendous level of violence.

      I am always edgy about proposing anything that might mitigate the barbarity of the war in Syria and Iraq because explaining what aspects of the situation, however murderous, cannot be changed looks like justifying them. For instance, British policy since 2011 has been that Assad should go, but this was never going to happen because he controlled most of the population centres and was backed by Russia and Iran. To pretend otherwise might sound benign, but was in reality providing the ingredients for war without end.

    • Ankara’s climbdown on Assad

      Sharp changes in the war on Syria have impacted the policy of the Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Initially Mr. Erdogan believed that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would fall precipitously. It did not. Rather than overthrow Mr. Assad, the war has placed Turkey itself in danger — a ‘failed coup’ on July 15 came alongside a renewed war against Turkey’s Kurdish population, just as Islamic State (IS) attacks in the country have raised alarm bells about Mr. Erdogan’s adventurism. An adjustment of Turkey’s policy is now on the cards. The President’s August 9 trip to Moscow to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and the warm words exchanged when the Iranian Foreign Minister came to Turkey on August 10 indicate a change.

    • Arms Industry Donating to Hawkish Clinton Over Incoherent Trump

      Employees of 25 of the nation’s largest defense companies—such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon—are choosing to fill the coffers of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over those of her rival, GOP nominee Donald Trump.

      That’s according to a new analysis by Politico, published Wednesday and based on federal campaign finance filings.

      Indeed, Politico found that Clinton—whose hawkish tendencies have been front-and-center during the 2016 campaign—is leading Trump “by a ratio of 2-to-1 in campaign donations from employees working for defense giants like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. That’s a sharp turnaround from 2012, when defense contractors gave more to then-Republican nominee Mitt Romney than to President Barack Obama.”

      Specifically, employees of those 25 firms have donated $93,000 to Clinton, compared with $46,000 for Trump. “Clinton’s donor rolls also include more than two dozen top defense executives, while Trump’s show just two,” Politico adds.

    • Let the Peace Games Begin

      After the Olympic games in Rio drew to a close, another set of games have begun: military exercises between the United States and South Korea to prepare for a possible armed conflict with North Korea.

    • U.S.-Backed Turkish Offensive in Syria Targets U.S.-Backed Kurds

      Turkey has “launched a major military intervention in Syria,” the Guardian reports, dispatching tanks and warplanes to purportedly reclaim the city of Jarabulus, currently held by the Islamic State (ISIS), and to attack Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria.

      “At 4am this morning, operations started in the north of Syria against terror groups which constantly threaten our country,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara on Wednesday, according to the Guardian. Turkey’s government classifies Kurdish nationalists as terrorists, although Erdoğan also pointed to a bomb attack that killed 54 in Southern Turkey, which the Turkish regime blamed on ISIS, as justification for Wednesday’s siege in Syria.

      Turkey’s onslaught is backed by the U.S., while the Kurdish group that Turkey is targeting, the leftwing Kurdish nationalist YPG, is also backed by the United States.

      “If Turkey’s forces drive out ISIS,” observes the Christian Science Monitor, “it could lead to a messy confrontation between the Turkish government and the U.S.-backed YPG.”

      And while Turkey has long battled against Kurdish nationalists both within and outside of its borders while the West turned a blind eye, Wednesday marks the first large-scale Turkish military operation against Kurdish militias in Syria.

    • U.S. Weapons Sales Are Drenched in Yemeni Blood

      When Pope Francis visited the U.S. Congress in September 2015, he boldly posed a moral challenge to his American hosts, asking: “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?”

      “Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money,” he solemnly concluded. “Money that is drenched in blood.”

      In this case, it’s innocent Yemeni blood.

      During his almost eight years in office, President Obama has approved a jaw-dropping, record-breaking $110 billion in weapons sales to the repressive Saudi regime, all with Congressional backing.

      “In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and stop the arms trade,” Pope Francis said. Our lawmakers have failed miserably at heeding the Pope’s call.

    • Muslim leader ‘murdered by IS supporters for practising Islamic healing’

      Two IS supporters murdered an imam because they viewed his practice of Islamic healing as “black magic”, a jury has heard.

      Jalal Uddin, 71, suffered multiple injuries to his head and face in an attack, thought to have involved a hammer, in a children’s play area in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on the evening of February 18 this year.

      The Crown say the Bangladeshi national was targeted after he left the mosque where he usually prayed, ate a meal at a friend’s house and then walked home.

      Mohammed Hussain Syeedy, 22, and Mohammed Abdul Kadir, 24, were said to have developed “a hatred” of Mr Uddin when they discovered last year that he practised Ruqya healing – which involves the use of amulets.

    • Lawyer: Timbuktu Residents Felt Shame After Sites Destroyed

      By reducing historic mausoleums in Timbuktu to dusty piles of rubble, Islamic extremists desecrated holy sites, leaving residents ashamed and impoverished, a lawyer said Wednesday at the trial of the man accused of leading the destruction.

      Mayombo Kassongo, who represented victims at the trial of Muslim radical Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, said locals expressed “shame at seeing their saints stripped naked.”

      Al Mahdi led pickax-wielding rebels who wrecked the simple mud-brick mausoleums covering the saints’ tombs in June and July 2012 in the famed city in the Saharan nation of Mali. Kassongo said the destruction of the World Heritage-listed sites was also a financial blow to residents, crippling tourism in the remote African city.

      Al Mahdi pleaded guilty and expressed remorse Monday for his role in leading the destruction of nine mausoleums and a mosque door in Timbuktu and urged Muslims around the world not to commit similar acts.

      “They are not going to lead to any good for humanity,” he said.

      The trial is continuing despite Al Mahdi’s guilty plea to give Timbuktu residents a chance to speak about the impact of the destruction and to allow prosecutors and his defense lawyer to discuss a possible sentence.

      Prosecution lawyer Gilles Dutertre said Al Mahdi played “a key role” in the 2012 destruction and urged judges to sentence him to between nine and 11 years in prison.

    • Margaret Thatcher’s role in securing controversial £42bn arms deal with Saudi Arabia revealed

      Newly released files have exposed the role Margaret Thatcher personally played in securing one of the UK’s biggest and most controversial arms deals.

      The previously secret files show how officials helped then Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher carefully negotiate the notorious Al-Yamamah deal which saw Britain sell fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.

      The documents detail a meeting and private lunch between Mrs Thatcher and King Fahd, soon after which the £42bn contract was clinched, sparking anger form arms-trade campaigners.

      It came back to haunt Tony Blair who intervened to stop an investigation into the deal, that was exploring claims of ran a multimillion-pound “slush fund”.

    • US arms sale to Saudi Arabia under fire from lawmakers

      A bipartisan quartet of lawmakers is circulating a letter that seeks to delay a pending arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

      The lawmakers are targeting the arms sale as part of their opposition to U.S. support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

      Lawmaker criticism of U.S. support for the campaign has recently grown louder, following Saudi airstrikes that hit a school and a hospital, killing dozens of civilians.

      The $1.15 billion arms sale, which the State Department approved on Aug. 9, would include up to 153 tanks, hundreds of machines guns, ammunition and other equipment.

      By law, Congress has 30 days to block the sale, but the lawmakers are concerned that notification was given during Congress’s summer recess and that the 30-day period will end with lawmakers having just returned to D.C.

      “Any decision to sell more arms to Saudi Arabia should be given adequate time for full deliberation by Congress,” the letter to President Obama will say, according to a draft. “We are concerned, however, that the timing of this notification during the August congressional recess could be interpreted to mean that Congress has little time to consider the arms deal when it returns from recess within the 30 day window established by law.”

    • Filipino maid ‘raped by employer’ in Saudi Arabia dies in hospital

      A Filipino maid has reportedly died in Saudi Arabia after seeing her alleged rapist in the hospital where she was confined.

      Imra Edloy, 35, was rushed to King Salman Hospital in Riyadh on 13 August with severe injuries suspected to be from sexual assault. She fell into a coma soon after arriving in the hospital.

      While she was unable to identify her attacker, before falling unconscious she pointed at her employer when asked who abused her, ABS CBN News reports.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Global warming signal can be traced back to the 1830s, climate scientists say

      When Charles Dickens, the English novelist, was detailing the “soft black drizzle” of pollution over London, he might inadvertently have been chronicling the early signs of global warming.

      New research led by Australian scientists has pegged back the timing of when humans had clearly begun to change the climate to the 1830s.

    • North Dakota and Feds Suppress Native American Pipeline Protesters

      What’s the difference between these two pipelines? Only variations are the origin of the oil they may transport and their location as far as I can tell since they are described as competing pipelines.

      Oh, and the Keystone XL pipeline was vetoed by President Obama a year ago this past February because Congress tried to ram through approval, attempting to “circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest,” according to the president.

      In both cases — Keystone XL and the Dakota Access — the planned pipelines traversed Native American tribal lands and/or water systems upon which these sovereign nations relied. The affected tribes have protested the credible threats these pipelines pose to their health and safety as well as their heritage and sovereignty.

    • As Court Hears Arguments in Dakota Pipeline Suit, Protesters Say ‘Protect Our Water’

      As peaceful prayer camps grow in North Dakota against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, demonstrators in Washington, D.C. are marching and chanting in solidarity while a U.S. federal court hears arguments regarding the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s motion to halt pipeline construction.

    • Scale of Threat Seismic Blasting Poses to Whales, Dolphins Laid Bare

      Though the Obama administration in March put a halt on drilling for oil and gas in Atlantic, the dolphins and whales inhabiting the waters are still at risk, says one ocean conservation group, as proposed seismic airgun blasting to look for reserves of the fossil fuels would leave the marine mammals “profoundly impacted.”

      The scale of the threat they face was laid bare on Wednesday with a pair of new maps released by by Oceana. Based on extensive research from Duke University’s Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, the maps—one for bottlenose dolphins and the other for endangered humpback, fin, and sperm whales—show the overlapping areas of the proposed blasting in the area stretching from Delaware to Florida and the density of the whales and dolphins in those waters over a 12-month period.

  • Finance
    • 20 Years Later, Poverty Is Up, But Architects of “Welfare Reform” Have No Regrets

      A gathering Monday in Washington, D.C., featured a bipartisan group of former government officials agreeing on the benefits of slashing the nation’s safety net.

      This week marks the 20th anniversary of “welfare reform,” the 1996 law passed by Congress and administered by President Bill Clinton that strictly limited the amount of federal cash assistance that the poorest Americans can receive — transforming the Aid for Families with Dependent Children program into the more restrictive Temporary Aid for Needy Families.

      One of the main impacts of the law was to help double the number of American households living in extreme poverty in America – defined as living on less than $2 a day.

      The Capitol Hill event, hosted by the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute and the Progressive Policy Institute, which has been referred to as President Bill Clinton’s “idea mill,” celebrated the 20th anniversary of the law. Its architects said they had no regrets about its passage.

      Former Michigan Republican governor John Engler, who pioneered state-level welfare cutbacks and who today serves as the head of the corporate lobbying group the Business Roundtable, recounted how Bill Clinton’s support helped make national welfare reform possible.

      “It was pretty stunning in 1992 to have a Democratic candidate for president, albeit a 12-year veteran in the governor’s office talking about ending ‘welfare as we know it,’” he said. “That was a pretty decisive moment.”

      Right-wing praise for Bill Clinton was a reoccurring theme at the event. Robert Rector, a Heritage Foundation scholar who has been dubbed the “intellectual godfather” of welfare reform, claimed that Clinton took up the same cause as Ronald Reagan, allowing him to outmaneuver George W.H. Bush. “In my perspective that’s the issue that put Clinton in the White House in ’93,” Rector said.

    • Where Has All the Money for Our Schools Gone?

      As fall approaches, millions of moms and dads are scrambling to prepare for the first day of school, excited to support their children’s success.

      But are schools ready to receive our kids and foster that success? Increasingly, the answer is no.

      In at least 18 states, local government funding levels are declining, according to an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. And as a result, many schools will open with fewer teachers than last year, among other detrimental losses.

      As lawmakers throw up their hands and say, “sorry, there’s just not enough money,” we must ask: Where has all the money gone?

    • Stiglitz Blasts ‘Outrageous’ TPP as Obama Campaigns for Corporate-Friendly Deal

      Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has reiterated his opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), saying on Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s push to get the trade deal passed during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress is “outrageous” and “absolutely wrong.”

      Stiglitz, an economics professor at Columbia University and chief economist of the Roosevelt Institute, made the comments on CNN’s “Quest Means Business.”

      His criticism comes as Obama aggressively campaigns to get lawmakers to pass the TPP in the Nov. 9 to Jan. 3 window—even as resistance mounts against the 12-nation deal.

      Echoing an argument made by Center for Economic and Policy Research co-director Mark Weisbrot, Stiglitz said, “At the lame-duck session you have congressmen voting who know that they’re not accountable anymore.”

    • Mississippi Parents Demand an Answer: Are Charter Schools Constitutional?

      Mississippi parents are challenging the public funding of charter schools on the grounds that it’s not constitutional.

      The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an advocacy group, filed a motion for a summary judgment this week on behalf of the parents, for a speedy answer to this question.

      The only debate in the case is that of constitutionality, which makes it prime for answering, SPLC told Hinds County Chancery Judge Dewayne Thomas. The SPLC in July backed the lawsuit by several parents against Governor Phil Bryant, the Mississippi Department of Education, and the Jackson Public School District that challenged the funding of state charter schools.

      Plaintiffs say that because the privately-run, publicly-funded, corporate institutions are not overseen by the state or local superintendents, they do not qualify as “free” schools and therefore shouldn’t be eligible for taxpayer money. Three charter schools in Jackson are currently slated to receive $4 million in public funds this year.

    • Mississippi Charter School Challengers Seek Quick Judgment

      The plaintiffs project that the state and Jackson will transfer $4 million this year to three charter schools. About one-third of that money is collected from property taxes on buildings, vehicles and equipment.

    • Can Workers Get a Fair Deal in the Gig Economy?

      More and more businesses are exploiting what is known as the “1099 worker loophole”—hiring workers as “independent contractors” instead of as regularly employed workers. In some cases, companies have laid off all or most of their regular workers and then hired them back, but as independent contractors.

    • It Is Time to Begin the Process of Rebuilding Our Middle-Class Economy

      In The New York Times recently, the paper’s former Washington bureau chief, the veteran journalist Hedrick Smith, asked an important question: “Can the States Save American Democracy?” Smith, who traveled the country to write his latest book, Who Stole the American Dream?, also serves as the executive editor of the Reclaim the American Dream website, where he keeps a keen eye on efforts to revitalize politics closest to where people live. In his op-ed essay he answered his own question by reporting that “a broad array of state-level citizen movements are pressing for reforms… to give average voters more voice, make elections more competitive and ease gridlock in Congress.”

    • President Obama Aligns with Big Business to Smash Opposition to the TPP

      The Democratic primary of 2008, much like that of 2016, featured a sharp debate on global trade — about who writes the rules, who benefits, and who, ultimately, is harmed.

      And like 2016, the 2008 discussion was largely dominated by so-called trade agreements, namely the North American Free Trade Agreement. Signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993, NAFTA encompassed the economies of Mexico, Canada, and the United States, and its implementation was accompanied by the usual lofty promises.

      Whether these promises were fulfilled is another question entirely. Barack Obama, during his run for the presidency, made his view quite clear.

      After noting that Hillary Clinton celebrated NAFTA in her memoir, calling it a “legislative victory,” Obama lamented that “One million jobs have been lost because of NAFTA.”

      “And yet, 10 years after NAFTA passed, Senator Clinton said it was good for America,” he continued. “Well, I don’t think NAFTA has been good for America — and I never have.”

    • 38 Degrees and the 52 per cent: ‘Members who voted Leave are just as much members as those who voted Remain.’

      Martin Shaw has recently criticised 38 Degrees for adopting a neutral stance on whether or not the UK should leave the European Union. Quite a lot of members voted for Brexit on 23 June; probably around half. It’s no wonder that some people find this surprising – Brexit is a polarising issue, and it’s been widely observed that social media feeds can amplify a sense that all our friends share all our views. Particularly in the immediate aftermath of the vote, when emotions were running high, I heard some 38 Degrees members on both sides of the divide express incredulity that they shared values and campaigns with people who’d voted the opposite way to them.

    • Venturing Into ‘the Capitalist Labyrinth’ (Video)

      In this week’s episode of “On Contact,” Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges sits down with Rob Urie, author of “Zen Economics,” to discuss “the capitalist labyrinth.”

      The two dive into the concept of the “economic man” or “economic woman” that Urie introduces in his book. Urie explains that humans are conditioned to feel that capitalism is a “natural” state of being. It’s “the integration of psychology with corporate desire,” he explains.

      Urie and Hedges then discuss the “radical alienation” produced by capitalism, particularly how the system is responsible for nuclear weapons, climate change and even imperialism. “Alienation is the bedrock of consumer culture,” Hedges notes.

    • Basic Income — slides in English

      I will be speaking about basic income in Turku, Finland, tomorrow Thursday August 25, at a seminar organized by the Finnish Pirate Party and Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) Finland.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Get campaigning, UKIP’s Farage tells Donald Trump rally

      Outgoing UKIP leader Nigel Farage has urged Republicans to “get your walking boots on” and drum up support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

      He appeared before 15,000 activists in Jackson, Mississippi, being introduced by and sharing the stage with Mr Trump.

      And he said the party could “beat the pollsters” in the presidential race.

      Mr Trump, who is trailing his rival Hillary Clinton in the opinion polls, backed the UK’s exit from the EU.

      In a tweet last week, Mr Trump said: “They will soon be calling me Mr Brexit.”

      Mr Trump introduced Mr Farage as the man who “brilliantly” led the UK Independent Party’s campaign to secure a vote on the future of the UK’s 40-year membership of the European Union.

    • Donald Trump is Spending More on Hats and Other Merchandise Than on Campaign Staff

      Some GOP operatives and other political observers are starting to suspect that Donald Trump’s campaign is structured more as a publicity tour than a quest for the White House.

      Federal disclosures released this past weekend help make the case that the real estate mogul, at the very least, is not conducting a traditional campaign operation.

      They show, among other things, that Trump’s organization spent more money in July on the now-iconic “Make America Great Again” red hats, Trump T-shirts, and mugs than on the staff whose job it is to run the campaign.

      The Trump campaign paid more than $1.8 million to two vendors — California-based headwear-maker Cali-Fame and Louisiana’s Ace Specialties — for T-shirts, mugs, stickers, and the red hats (which the campaign spent over $400,000 on alone).

    • The Debut of Our Revolution: Great Potential. But.

      If Bernie and Our Revolution continue to evade the present-day realities of “the madness of militarism,” their political agenda will be significantly more limited than what our revolution requires for a truly progressive future.

    • ‘Our Revolution’ Kick-Off Signals New Phase for Movement Sanders Built
    • Bernie’s Next Revolution: New National Group to Launch to Promote Progressives

      Bernie Sanders returns to the political stage on Wednesday to try to do what no progressive has successfully done in decades—keep alive national grassroots momentum that led millions to support him and his agenda in 2016’s presidential nominating contests.

      At 9 PM Eastern, Sanders will address 2,600-plus meetings across the country to lay out the next steps in pushing the nation’s politics toward the progressive left. He will kick off a new group called Our Revolution, which will support like-minded candidates running for office and hold pro-corporate officeholders accountable on key issues.

    • Dear Us and Dear Bernie: A Few Notes on Our Revolution

      Left commentary berates mainstream media for serving up ‘too much Trump.” Fair enough, but left writers also flood us with endlessly repetitive Trump coverage.

      Left commentary claims that at election time an endless stream of writers overemphasize the ephemeral and ignore the serious. True, but left writers also continually repeat what people already know while offering few usable lessons for the future.

      Left commentary worries that Sanders will ratify the idea that politics is only about candidates and leave nothing lasting in place. Also fair, but left writers not only worry about this prospect, we contribute to it when we fixate on one person’s possible choices and ignore our own responsibility for achieving more.

      Left commentary bemoans distraction. Sensible, but the complaint becomes ironic when left writers continually repeat that elections don’t matter while not addressing what does matter, the longer term.

    • Understanding Trump’s Use of Language

      I have been repeatedly asked in media interviews about such use of language by Trump. So far as I can tell, he is simply using effective discourse mechanisms to communicate what his wants to communicate to his audience. I have found that he is very careful and very strategic in his use of language. The only way I know to show this is to function as a linguist and cognitive scientist and go through details.

      Let’s start with sentence fragments. It is common and natural in New York discourse for friends to finish one another’s sentences. And throughout the country, if you don’t actually say the rest of a friend’s sentence out loud, there is nevertheless a point at which you can finish it in your head. When this happens in cooperative discourse, it can show empathy and intimacy with a friend, that you know the context of the narrative, and that you understand and accept your friend’s framing of the situation so well that you can even finish what they have started to say. Of course, you can be bored with, or antagonistic to, someone and be able to finish their sentences with anything but a feeling of empathy and intimacy. But Trump prefers to talk to a friendly crowd.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Praises WikiLeaks, Calls Julian Assange a Hero
    • Questions About Clinton Campaign’s Transparency Ramp Up After a Weekend of Closed Fundraisers

      Meanwhile, concerns are growing about a potential conflict of interest between the Clinton Foundation and the government during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. And on Monday, it was announced that an additional 14,900 documents from Clinton’s private email server would be released by the State Department before the November election.

    • Donald Trump Isn’t Really Reaching Out To African-Americans

      Contrary to recent headlines, Donald Trump isn’t reaching out to African-Americans. He isn’t even talking to us. He’s talking past us, and saying exactly what his alt-right base wants to hear him saying to black folks.

      Donald Trump is telling African-Americans that our biggest problems are simply the result of listening to the wrong white people.

    • 4 experts make the case that the Clinton Foundation’s fundraising was troubling

      During the four years Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation run by her husband took tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments and corporations.

      Many of these donors had a lot riding on Clinton’s decisions. Saudi Arabia gave the foundation up to $25 million, and Clinton signed off on a controversial $29 billion sale of fighter jets to the country. Oil companies gave the foundation around $3 million, and Clinton approved a lucrative gas pipeline in the Canadian tar sands they’d long sought.

      We’ve known the basics of this story for months now. But another media feeding frenzy over the foundation kicked off again on Monday, when the State Department was forced to release emails showing that the foundation’s leadership tried to land its top donors meetings with the secretary of state.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Fundraisers: No Press Allowed

      Campaign donors will see and hear a lot from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the next month as she embarks on a fundraising tour, but voters will have little clue as to what she says behind closed doors.

    • FBI docs linked to Hillary Clinton role in Vince Foster’s suicide missing – report

      The FBI’s reports linked to Hillary Clinton’s role in the death of Vince Foster, a White House counsel and her friend, have allegedly gone missing. A journalistic investigation says it could be Clinton’s humiliation that pushed Foster to suicide.

      According to Daily Mail, documents containing interviews of Clinton conducted after Foster’s death in July 1993 have vanished from the National Archives.

      The report claims that author and journalist Ronald Kessler visited the National Archives and Records Service in College Park, Maryland multiple times to review the reports submitted by FBI agents investigating Foster’s suicide.

    • Huma Abedin’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood

      The Clinton campaign is attempting once again to sweep important questions under the rug about top aide Huma Abedin, her family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and to Saudi Arabia, and her role in the ballooning Clinton email scandal.

      The New York Post ran a detailed investigative piece over the weekend about Ms. Abedin’s work at the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs from 1995 through 2008, a Sharia law journal whose editor in chief was Abedin’s own mother.

      This is not some accidental association. Ms. Abedin was, for many years, listed as an associate editor of the London-based publication and wrote for the journal while working as an intern in the Clinton White House in the mid-1990s.

      Her mother, Saleha Abedin, sits on the Presidency Staff Council of the International Islamic Council for Da’wa and Relief, a group that is chaired by the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

      Perhaps recognizing how offensive such ties will be to voters concerned over future terrorist attacks on this country by radical Muslims professing allegiance to Sharia law, the Clinton campaign on Monday tried to downplay Ms. Abedin’s involvement in the Journal and the Muslim Brotherhood.

    • Why Did the Saudi Regime and Other Gulf Tyrannies Donate Millions to the Clinton Foundation?

      As the numerous and obvious ethical conflicts surrounding the Clinton Foundation receive more media scrutiny, the tactic of Clinton-loyal journalists is to highlight the charitable work done by the Foundation, and then insinuate – or even outright state – that anyone raising these questions is opposed to its charity. James Carville announced that those who criticize the Foundation are “going to hell.” Others Clinton loyalists insinuated that Clinton Foundation critics are indifferent to the lives of HIV-positive babies or are anti-gay bigots.

      That the Clinton Foundation has done some good work is beyond dispute. But that fact has exactly nothing to do with the profound ethical problems and corruption threats raised by the way its funds have been raised. Hillary Clinton was America’s chief diplomat, and tyrannical regimes such as the Saudis and Qataris jointly donated tens of millions of dollars to an organization run by her family and operated in their name, one whose works has been a prominent feature of her public persona. That extremely valuable opportunity to curry favor with the Clintons, and to secure access to them, continues as she runs for President.

    • Clinton Foundation Investigation Update: Key Details About Financial And Political Dealings

      The release of documents shedding more light on connections between the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton-led State Department has touched off a new political firestorm only weeks before voters begin heading to the polls in the 2016 election.

      Republican nominee Donald Trump — himself a foundation donor — has called for a special prosecutor to investigate the foundation, and Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has said the new disclosures are “evidence of the pay-to-play politics.” By contrast, the Clinton campaign has argued that there is no proof of any quid pro quo — a message echoed by her supporters in the pundit world.

      As the rhetoric about the Clintons’ public and private financial dealings intensifies, here is a brief review of the major investigative reporting that has been done about the Clinton Foundation.

    • Army Training Lesson Cited Clinton as ‘Insider’ Threat Risk

      An Army training presentation on insider threats included Hillary Clinton among a rogue’s gallery of killers and leakers, citing the former secretary of state as an example of “careless or disgruntled employees,” NBC News confirmed on Tuesday.

      The unclassified slide, which first emerged on a Facebook page that spoofs the military, was confirmed by a U.S. military officials, who said it was used as part of a lesson on how to secure classified materials and improve safety.

      A spokesperson from the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command said the slide was developed 18 months ago.

      “As is common with Army training requirements, the local unit was given latitude to develop their own training products to accomplish the overall training objective,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Europeans In Exodus To Russian Facebook to Avoid Censorship

      Germans who are critical of Islam and mass migration are fleeing to the site VK, known as the Russian Facebook to avoid censorship of their remarks and possible raids on their homes.

    • Council censorship eliminates free speech and thought

      There are a lot of TV and print and talk shows about terrorism here and terrorism there. It is a serious matter, terrorism is. What makes it worrisome is that it is not well defined, and it seems some government officials want it that way.

      Some of you may not recognize total censorship or censorship as terrorism. The Peoples got punished over the last few years for having an opinion about corruption in Colville tribal government from the top down. Letters to the editor were removed from our tribal newsprint in total.

      The “Clowncil” and its staff are lying about the censorship imposed since 2013. And now the Clowncil, through its staff, are lying about the censorship again, as they lifted “total censorship” and replaced it with “censorship.”

      Please re-read the December 2014 Tribal Tribune (TT) edition, page A6 “Letter To The Editor Policy.” “Policy” restricts tribal members’ freedom to have a letter also printed in outside newspapers while getting printed in the TT (paragraph 1) with a threat of total censorship; narrows the scope of topics a tribal members may write about (paragraph 3); requires a “respectful/professional tone” but does not define it, leaving censorship in whole (paragraph 4); Editor determines his or her own “facts” (paragraph 5); Editor determines what “hatred, contempt, suspicion or wrongdoing, scorn or ridicule” means and will censor according to the editor’s “belief” (paragraph 6). These standards are outside the bounds of journalistic “libel laws;” therefore, they narrow the scope of free speech and free thought, and, in actuality, eliminate both.

    • You don’t need to look abroad to find rampant censorship – it’s right here in Britain

      Since 9/11, Britons are increasingly watched, shadowed and snooped. This week the wall featuring the mural was smashed. I suspected silent censorship. Turns out it was a dopey builder. So, as it turns out, I was being somewhat paranoid and hasty. But is that worse than being sluggishly trusting and complacent? I was raised in Uganda where the state censored the media, books, art, and song lyrics. Citizens there were more alert to the danger than we are in the UK.

    • Censorship or smart thinking? UWM ‘Inclusive Excellence” group pushing to silence certain words

      But Williford said a list of words some deem offensive has him questioning a relatively new campus guideline.

      [...]

      Hill said “Just Words” is merely a suggestion — not censorship.

      “We are not doing that at all. As a matter of fact, we`re trying to improve and have open dialogue,” Hill said.

      Also on the list: ‘ghetto,’ ‘Nazi’ and even ‘politically correct.’

    • Cloudflare Fights RIAA’s Piracy Blocking Demands in Court

      Cloudflare has made it clear that the company isn’t going to block piracy sites without a proper court order. In addition, it now opposes an injunction requested by the RIAA, under which it would have to disconnect alleged MP3Skull accounts based on a keyword and IP-address.

    • CloudFlare Protects Internet Users By Insisting On Lawful Orders Before Blocking Customers

      This month, the online service provider CloudFlare stood up for its website-owner customers, and for all users of those websites, by telling a court that CloudFlare shouldn’t be forced to block sites without proper legal procedure. Copyright law limits the kinds of orders that a court can impose on Internet intermediaries, and requires courts to consider the pros and cons thoroughly. In this case, as in other recent cases, copyright (and trademark) holders are trying to use extremely broad interpretations of some basic court rules to bypass these important protections. As special interests keep trying to make things disappear from the Internet quickly, cheaply, and without true court supervision, it’s more important than ever that Internet companies like CloudFlare are taking a stand.

      The current dispute between CloudFlare and a group of record labels arose from the labels’ case against the music streaming site MP3Skull. The website’s owners never appeared in court to defend themselves against a lawsuit by the labels. The labels, who are all members of the Recording Industry Association of America, won a court judgment by default in March of this year. The judgment included a permanent injunction against the site and those in “active concert and participation” with it. On the last day of June, the labels’ lawyers sent the order to CloudFlare and demanded that they immediately stop providing services to various Internet addresses and domain names connected with MP3Skull.

    • Goodbye to the Loudest Drunk in NPR’s Online Bar

      Good riddance to NPR’s comment section, which is shutting down Tuesday after eight years. There has to be a better way for news organizations to engage with the public.

      NPR is joining a growing list of media organizations that have said “finito” to comments including, ‘This American Life,’ Reuters, Recode, Mic, The Chicago Sun-Times, Popular Science, CNN, The Toronto Star and The Week.

      When comments sections were initiated on news sites, they were hailed as a means to democratize the media, allowing a two-way conversation between readers and the journalists who serve them.

    • Singapore to cut off public servants from the internet

      Singapore is planning to cut off web access for public servants as a defence against potential cyber attack – a move closely watched by critics who say it marks a retreat for a technologically advanced city-state that has trademarked the term “smart nation”.

      Some security experts say the policy, due to be in place by May, risks damaging productivity among civil servants and those working at more than four dozen statutory boards, and cutting them off from the people they serve. It may only raise slightly the defensive walls against cyber attack, they say.

      Ben Desjardins, director of security solutions at network security firm Radware, called it “one of the more extreme measures I can recall by a large public organisation to combat cyber security risks”. Stephen Dane, a Hong Kong-based managing director at networking company Cisco Systems, said it was “a most unusual situation” and Ramki Thurimella, chair of the computer science department at the University of Denver, called it both “unprecedented” and “a little excessive”.

    • The gatekeepers are dead. Long live the World Wide Web!

      Until recently the tools for mass communication were expensive and in the hands of a small number of gatekeepers. Then, the price rapidly fell towards zero. With the Internet and the World Wide Web (that just turned 25 years old) anyone can communicate with the world by words, pictures, sound, and video – 24/365 – on a shoestring budget.

      Still, people need to know about you. So fame, reputation, and status are factors to take into consideration. But content, quality (in some sense) and virality is the new gold standard.

      This has upset the people who used to be in power, like bigwig politicians. They used to have their press releases copy-pasted into the media news flow without too much hassle. Today they still are visible in the slowly dying mainstream media. But on the Internet, they have to compete for attention with everybody and everything else.

      Also, media proprietors, the copyright industry and the big brick and mortar chains are upset – just to mention a few.

      It could have been very different.

      Tim Berners-Lee – who invented the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) together with his friends at W3C at Cern – decided not to patent this method of connecting the dots in the Matrix, but to give it to the world.

    • No Press Intimidation by Trump – hence: BREAKING REPORT: Melania Trump Was A Sex Worker After Moving To United States – repeating story the Trump Attorneys are now making bigger story than it was

      There is a story in a major British newspaper The Daily Mail, which reports that there are now stories that Melania Trump, who was a nude model in her past – that is not under question, had also been an Escort model ie a hooker ie a prostitute and has been working as a hooker, ie Escort in New York before she married Donald Trump. I do take it upon myself to ridicule and laugh at Donald Trump’s absurd political run this year. I did laugh at Melania when she was caught plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech at the Republican Convention in July and as it since emerged, she has lied about having a college degree from Ljubljana University in Slovenia, which she does not (they have removed references to the fake degree from her website since this news broke out). But this blog is not at war with Trump’s third wife, bought by Trump sixteen years ago, to rear some kids for Trump that Trump himself won’t bother to get to know until they’ve grown up to be adults. Wives, that Trump buys from East Europe and replaces roughly every 16 years. I was mainly focused on mocking Trump himself.

      [...]

      The Trump attorneys attacked Liberal America and Andrew Bradford insisting he must apologize or be sued .Andrew is not rich enough to defend himself against a Billionaire’s attorney attack-dogs so he relented and wrote an apology. Its quite an epic apology which does its best to keep all of the accusations still in view, and he also published in full the attorney’s letter. A letter which uses such phrases as “Melania Trump was a sex worker after moving to the United States” haha. So it is that letter in verbatim, which is now on the blogsite and further hopefully adding to smear Melania Trump’s name. But still, I feel very strongly about freedom of speech and feel a strong personal sense of support to Mr Bradfort that I have never met. I have never even heard of their publication, the Liberal America. But I now of course add my blog to the support of that issue. I link from this blog to Liberal America and I urge my readers to go read Andrew’s very smart article where he deals with the attorneys’ demand for apology.

    • How Facebook censors your posts
    • Activists Call for Facebook to Adopt ‘Anti-Censorship’ Policy
    • Unlike This: Social Media Companies Bow to Government Censorship Requests
    • Open letter to Facebook asks for ‘anti-censorship’ policy after Korryn Gaines death
    • Teen Vlogger Amos Yee Pleads Guilty To Two Charges, May Face Jail Time
    • Amos Yee pleads guilty to three out of six remaining charges
    • ‘That’s a Couple of Weeks in Jail’ – Singaporean Blogger Tweets During Trial
    • Amos Yee does U-turn and pleads guilty to two of his eight charges
    • Blogger Amos Yee, in another U-turn, pleads guilty to three more charges
    • Amos Yee pleads guilty to two charges
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • US parents largely unaware of what their children do online, research finds

      The parents of America’s digitally literate teenagers are largely in the dark about their children’s internet activity, new research has shown.

      The new study on teen internet use by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that only 13% of teens thought their parents understood the extent of their internet use.

      The survey of 804 online teens and 810 parents of teens found that 60% of teens have created accounts for apps or social media sites without their parents’ knowledge. Only 28% of parents thought their teens had accounts they didn’t know about.

      The gap between what teens are doing and what their parents know about is indicative of what the NCSA is calling a “digital disconnect between American teens and parents”.

    • Using PGP Phones Doesn’t Make You a Criminal, Ontario Judge Says

      Messaging your gun-toting, drug-trafficking friends by way of encrypted message isn’t proof that you’re a gun-toting drug-trafficker, an Ontario court has ruled.

      That useful bit of information comes after police booked a Hamilton man following a search of his room that turned up a 9mm Smith & Wesson unloaded handgun, a sock full of bullets, and a few grams of cocaine. They slapped five criminal charges on him, and hauled him before a judge.

      The Hamilton man was caught up in the investigation as police looked into a suspected drug trafficking ring. He just happened to be living at an address that was connected to the investigation.

      But his defense lawyers were quick to pick apart the search warrant that allowed the cops to bust down his door, and pry open his safe.

    • Germany, France demand golden key AND strong encryption just when you thought politicians had clued in to basic reality

      In a new level of dumb, Germany and France are demanding strong encryption for all citizens at the same time as they demand this strong encryption to be breakable. They also demand messaging providers of end-to-end encryption to provide police with keys they don’t have, and for terrorists to stop using freely available strong encryption without a messaging provider. You really couldn’t sound dumber if you tried.

    • Kuwait’s new DNA collection law is scarier than we ever imagined

      Horrible laws often follow major terrorist attacks. After 9/11, the U.S. Congress passed the Patriot Act. After the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris last year, European powers contemplated sweeping, strikingly bold internet surveillance laws. Following a July attack in Nice, French officials have passed laughably absurd laws against Muslim women wearing burkinis at public beaches.

      But after an ISIS-linked man ignited a bomb in a Shiite mosque in Kuwait last year, killing 27, the mother of all troubling laws was rushed through the country’s Parliament. The law requires that all citizens, residents and visitors to the country submit DNA samples to enter or stay in the country. It was passed in the name of national security and in helping identify victims of large scale attacks.

    • Liberal, Moderate or Conservative? See How Facebook Labels You

      You may think you are discreet about your political views. But Facebook, the world’s largest social media network, has come up with its own determination of your political leanings, based on your activity on the site.

      And now, it is easy to find out how Facebook has categorized you — as very liberal or very conservative, or somewhere in between.

      Try this (it works best on your desktop computer):

      Go to facebook.com/ads/preferences on your browser. (You may have to log in to Facebook first.)

      That will bring you to a page with your ad preferences. Under the “Interests” header, click the “Lifestyle and Culture” tab.

      Then look for a box titled “US Politics.” In parentheses, it will describe how Facebook has categorized you, such as liberal, moderate or conservative.

      (If the “US Politics” box does not show up, click the “See more” button under the grid of boxes.)

    • Report Shows Post-9/11 NYPD Spying on Muslims to Be ‘Highly Irregular’ [Ed: Not spying sufficiently on Wall Street hedge funds/banks because “Expensive lawyers”, “Job creators”, and “Free market”]

      In the wake of 9/11, New York City police repeatedly violated safeguards meant to protect lawful political and religious activities from unwarranted surveillance, according to the department’s own inspector general.

      A report (pdf) from the New York Police Department (NYPD)’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), released Tuesday, found the department to be “often non-compliant with a number of the rules” by failing to secure proper authorization or extensions for investigations of political activity, particularly those involving Muslims.

      The probe examined a sample of all closed cases between 2010 and 2015, some of which were opened as far back as 2004. More than 95 percent of the cases, according to the document, involved Muslims or political activity associated with Islam.

    • FMA joins National Privacy Commission in holding public consultations on privacy rules

      Following a successful, albeit brief consultation during a Philippine Computer Society meeting on June 28, the NPC partnered with a variety of groups from civil society, the research community, and the government to hold back-to-back consultations on July 13 and 14 at the University of the Philippines Diliman and Ateneo de Davao University, respectively. FMA participated in both consultations as a co-organizer. FMA organized another public consultation in Cebu City on July 28, whereas UP Manila hosted the last round on August 16.

    • Takedowns of Shadow Brokers Files Affirm Files as Stolen

      Now, don’t get me wrong. These are dangerous files, and I can understand why social media companies would want to close the barn door on the raging wild horses that once were in their stable.

      But underlying it all appears to be a notion of property that I’m a bit troubled by. Even if Shadow Brokers stole these files from NSA servers — something not at all in evidence — they effectively stole NSA’s own tools to break the law. But if these sites are treating the exploits themselves as stolen property, than so would be all the journalism writing about it.

      Finally, there’s the question of how these all came down so quickly. Almost as if someone called and reported their property stolen.

    • US Intelligence Still Sorting Out NSA Hack

      The US is still probing the extent of a recent cyber leak of what purports to be hacking tools used by the National Security Agency, the nation’s top intelligence official said Wednesday.

      “We are still sorting this out,” James Clapper, director of national intelligence, said at an event at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California.

      “It’s still under investigation,” Clapper said. “We don’t know exactly the full extent – or the understanding – of exactly what happened.”

      The tool kit consists of malicious software intended to tamper with firewalls, the electronic defenses protecting computer networks. The leak has set the information security world atwitter – and sent major companies rushing to update their defenses.

    • Word Games: What the NSA Means by “Targeted” Surveillance Under Section 702

      We all know that the NSA uses word games to hide and downplay its activities. Words like “collect,” “conversations,” “communications,” and even “surveillance” have suffered tortured definitions that create confusion rather than clarity.

      There’s another one to watch: “targeted” v. “mass” surveillance.

    • A hacker claims he has more leaked NSA files to view — If you can solve this puzzle

      A hacker named 1×0123 claims he has the other half of the recently-leaked NSA hacking toolkit for sale — but samples of the dataset are only available if you can figure out his cryptographic puzzle.

      On Sunday, the hacker posted on Twitter that he was selling the entire archive of files for $8,000, seemingly undercutting the mysterious “Shadow Brokers” hacking group that leaked one-half of the archive last week at various file-sharing websites with claims of an “auction” for the rest.

      It appears that 1×0123 is indeed a hacker who has found and sold security vulnerabilities in the past. Even ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden praised him in April for finding an issue on the Freedom of the Press website.

    • NSA’s leaked exploits affect Cisco, Juniper… and US foreign policy?

      An unprecedented data dump, of security exploits believed to originate form within the US National Security Agency (NSA) has left some firms scrambling to fix security holes dating back years, and revealed the extent to which the NSA stockpiles cyber-weapons..

      The dump includes attacks on network products from several vendors, including Cisco and Juniper. These so-called ’zero day exploits’ take advantage of software vulnerabilities which have been found, and kept secret from the vendor. Until the vendor knows and fixes these weaknesses, they can be attacked, and the exploits can be used with ’cyber weapons’. The dump appears to show the US agency is stockpiling these exploits, but that another power gained access to its stash of weapons – revelations which could have serious ramifications for the US cyber security and cyber warfare team, as well as for foreign relations.

    • Juniper confirms leaked “NSA exploits” affect its firewalls, no patch released yet

      Juniper confirmed exploits leaked by the Shadow Brokers group appear to affect its firewalls, but has not yet patched the vulnerabilities.

      The firewall manufacturer is “investigating the recent release of files reported to have been taken from the so-called Equation Group,” Juniper’s security incident response manager Derrick Scholl wrote in a corporate blog post.

      Juniper identified an exploit affecting its NetScreen firewall devices that run on the ScreenOS operating system. Initial analysis of the exploit “indicates it targets the boot loader and does not exploit a vulnerability on ScreenOS devices,” Scholl wrote in the post.

      On Tuesday, Ixia’s application and threat intelligence unit discovered an exploit that targets Watchguard Firewalls, according to Steve McGregory, senior director of the ATI group said in emailed comments to SCMagazine.com. Four of the exploits affect TopSec firewalls, primarily used in China, he added.

    • Second Snowden could be behind sale of NSA hacking tools

      WE ARE getting closer to unmasking the Shadow Brokers. Last week, the group put hacking tools from the National Security Agency up for auction, including security flaws in companies’ systems and remote access tools. There have been no serious bidders, but the documents have been confirmed as the real deal, raising the spectre of another whistleblower at the agency.

      Initially, the prime suspect was Russia, but this theory has now been downgraded. Certain naming conventions in the files point to scripts only accessible on a machine physically isolated from the network and therefore inaccessible to anyone not physically present in the NSA building. The idea that it was an accidental upload has also been debunked, shifting the focus internally.

      However, it couldn’t have been Edward Snowden, pictured, as it looks like the tools were stolen around October 2013, five months after he fled to Hong Kong.

    • Everyone’s Already Using the Leaked NSA Exploits

      Last week, an anonymous group calling itself the Shadow Brokers leaked a bunch of National Security Agency hacking tools. Whoever they are, the Shadow Brokers say they still have more data to dump. But the preview has already unleashed some notable vulnerabilities, complete with tips for how to use them.

      All of which means anyone—curious kids, petty criminals, trolls—can now start hacking like a spy. And it looks like they are.

      Curious to learn if anyone was indeed trying to take advantage of the leak, Brendan Dolan-Gavitt—a security researcher at NYU—set up a honeypot. On August 18 he tossed out a digital lure that masqueraded as a system containing one of the vulnerabilities. For his experiment, Dolan-Gavitt used a Cisco security software bug from the leak that people have learned to fix with workarounds, but that doesn’t have a patch yet.

      Within 24 hours Dolan-Gavitt saw someone trying to exploit the vulnerability, with a few attempts every day since. “I’m not surprised that someone tried to exploit it,” Dolan-Gavitt says. Even for someone with limited technical proficiency, vulnerable systems are relatively easy to find using services like Shodan, a search engine of Internet-connected systems. “People maybe read the blog post about how to use the particular tool that carries out the exploit, and then either scanned the Internet themselves or just looked for vulnerable systems on Shodan and started trying to exploit them that way,” Dolan-Gavitt says. He explains that his honeypot was intentionally very visible online and was set up with easily guessable default passwords so it would be easy to hack.

    • France, Germany Want Encrypted App Makers To Help Stop IS

      France and Germany pushed Tuesday for Europe-wide rules requiring the makers of encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram to help governments monitor communications among suspected extremists.

      Privacy advocates argue that encryption is essential to online security, notably for banking transactions. But security experts say encrypted apps are increasingly used by extremists to hide their location, coordinate operations and trade weapons and sex slaves.

      Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said French authorities have detained three people this month with “clear attack plans,” but police need better tools to eavesdrop on encrypted text conversations utilizing the kinds of powers used to wiretap phones.

    • New leaks prove it: the NSA is putting us all at risk to be hacked

      The National Security Agency is lying to us. We know that because of data stolen from an NSA server was dumped on the internet. The agency is hoarding information about security vulnerabilities in the products you use, because it wants to use it to hack others’ computers. Those vulnerabilities aren’t being reported, and aren’t getting fixed, making your computers and networks unsafe.

      On August 13, a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers released 300 megabytes of NSA cyberweapon code on the internet. Near as we experts can tell, the NSA network itself wasn’t hacked; what probably happened was that a “staging server” for NSA cyberweapons — that is, a server the NSA was making use of to mask its surveillance activities — was hacked in 2013.

    • Nick Asks the NSA: Shadow Brokers and the Leaking Ship

      For the second installation of Nick Asks the NSA, I offer Congress my services as to what questions in their oversight capacity they should be asking NSA about the Shadow Broker leak.

      It now safe to say that the “Equation Group” leak by Shadow Brokers is real and consists of a genuine trove of NSA tools used to hack firewalls. The leaked code references known programs, uses a particularly unusual RC6 and cruddy crypto techniques previously associated with NSA implants, and the Washington Post has confirmed the authenticity of the materials with two anonymous ex-NSA employees.

    • NSA Targeted Chinese Firewall Maker Huawei, Leaked Documents Suggest

      When the mysterious Shadow Brokers dumped a cache of hacking tools used by an NSA-linked group last week, researchers quickly identified a number of the spy agencies’ targets, including American security companies like Cisco, Juniper, and Fortinet.

      But until now, no one noticed that the leaked files suggest the NSA has also been targeting—and was likely able to hack—firewalls made by Huawei, a Chinese manufacturer of network infrastructure often seen as a threat to American companies given the suspicion that the Chinese government might have a backdoor and could spy in its products. The revelation is contained in an instruction file part of the leak.

      Within one of the leaked files (TURBO_install-new.txt) there are references to VRP 3.30, a version of Huawei’s proprietary operating system. While 3.30 is an older version, it still appears to be popular, according to a search on Shodan, which returns more than 1,600 devices running that version, mostly in China.

    • After NSA leaks, a renewed interest in vulnerability disclosure

      The code leaked by the Shadow Brokers group last week has set off calls from security researchers and tech groups for a national conversation about vulnerability disclosure policy.

      The code contains about a dozen vulnerabilities affecting firewall manufacturers that many industry professionals believe to be exploits used by the National Security Agency (NSA).

      While the Obama administration’s Vulnerability Equities Process (VEP) calls on intelligence agencies to disclose security vulnerabilities by default, tech companies and security pros are concerned by the prospect of an unknown number of zero-day vulnerabilities possessed by intelligence agencies.

      The Shadow Brokers leak highlights the need for transparency in the government’s disclosure process, according to Mozilla senior policy manager Heather West. “If the government chooses to engage in lawful hacking, it must also support responsible disclosure,” she wrote in an email to SCMagazine.com.

    • FISA Court: Government Can Collect Content Along With Dialing Data Using Pen Register Orders

      The Director of National Intelligence’s office has cleared another FISA court opinion [PDF] for release. These are getting far more interesting to read, even if little seems to be changing about the FBI/NSA’s collection methods. The process is now a little bit more adversarial, thanks to the USA Freedom Act, which introduced the possibility of someone arguing on behalf of the surveilled and in the interest of privacy and the Fourth Amendment.

      Unfortunately, this opinion finds the FISA court mostly unimpressed with the counterarguments. The discussion involved the use of pen register orders to capture “post-cut through” dialing digits — the sort of thing the court determined to be content, rather than metadata in the past.

      This time around, the court seems more amenable to the government’s arguments that any digits obtained along with dialed phone numbers is fair game — whether or not the orders actually allow for the collection of communications content.

    • Warrant for former DA Paul Zellerbach in wiretap case

      A judge issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for former Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach after he failed to appear at a court hearing to answer questions about an eavesdropping operation so vast it once accounted for nearly a fifth of all U.S. wiretaps.

      The warrant, however, will not be sent to law enforcement for Zellerbach to be arrested unless he does not show up for another hearing on wiretaps, now scheduled for Sept. 30.

      “He should have been there,” said Jan Ronis, the attorney who subpoenaed Zellerbach. “But he just blew us off. We could have had court today.”

    • Arrest Warrant Issued For District Attorney Involved In DEA’s California Wiretap Warrant Mill

      It’s not uncommon for Zellerbach to go missing when people need him. When Zellerbach ran the DA’s office, he was rarely there. The DEA found his office to be just as accommodating, with or without him, though. Although the DEA was supposed to run its wiretap warrant requests through federal judges and have them signed by the district attorney himself, it often found it easier to obtain a signature from whoever happened to be at the office and run them by Riverside County judge Helios Hernandez, who approved five times as many wiretap applications as any other judge in the US.

      The wiretap applications’ reach frequently exceeded their jurisdictional grasp, traveling far outside of Riverside County, California, to be deployed against suspects as far away as North Carolina. But that was only one issue with the warrants applications approved by Zellerbach’s office.

      The DOJ’s lawyers didn’t like the DEA’s skirting of federal rules for wiretap applications.

    • Baltimore Police Are Secretly Spying on Residents from the Air: Bloomberg

      Since January, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) has been using small aircrafts to spy on residents for as much as 10 hours a day, without informing the public, in a project financed by a private donor and facilitated by a private company, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

      The BPD, Bloomberg’s Monte Reel wrote, has been using aerial surveillance to investigate “all sorts of crimes, from property thefts to shootings.” The cameras capture an area of roughly 30 square miles and transmit images to analysts on the ground, while footage gets automatically saved to hard drives for later review.

      The technology comes from a company called Persistent Surveillance Systems. Its president, Ross McNutt, developed a similar tool for the Pentagon while working for the U.S. Air Force in 2006. Over time, he modified the technology for commercial use. McNutt eventually pitched the service to the BPD after his company had faltered in finding a department for a long-term contract. He opened his office in Baltimore in January, above a parking garage, denoted only by a piece of paper taped to his door that reads, “Community Support Program.”

    • Baltimore PD Can Keep Tabs On The Entire City, Thanks To Privately-Donated Aerial Surveillance System

      When all you have is repurposed war gear, everything looks like a war zone.

      It’s not just the Pentagon handing out mine-resistant vehicles and military rifles to any law enforcement agency that can spell “terrorism” correctly on a requisition form. It’s also the FBI acting as a gatekeeper (and muzzle) for cell phone-tracking hardware originally developed for use in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      The latest addition to the pantheon of “war gear, but for local law enforcement” is aerial surveillance. While this sort of surveillance is nothing new — police have had helicopters for years — the tech deployed to capture recordings is.

      Bloomberg has a long, in-depth article on aerial surveillance tech deployed by the Baltimore Police Department — all without ever informing constituents. Baltimore isn’t the first city to deploy this repurposed military tech. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department gave the same gear a test run back in 2014. The LASD also did little to inform the public about its purchase, claiming that people might get paranoid and/or angry if they knew.

      Baltimore’s acquisition of Persistent Surveillance Systems’ 192-million megapixel eye in the sky also occurred under the cover of governmental darkness. The tech was given to the police and paid for by a private donor — which kept the public out of the loop and any FOIA-able paper trail to a minimum.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Deaf driver’s shooting death by trooper under investigation

      The North Carolina Highway Patrol is urging people not to jump to conclusions as state agents investigate how a deaf driver with a history of minor offenses ended up dead after leading a trooper on a 10-mile chase.

      The family of Daniel Kevin Harris said he was unarmed and suggested the sequence of events last week was a tragic misunderstanding — the type the state’s training manual warns troopers to avoid when dealing with the hearing impaired.

      The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, Secretary Frank Perry of the state Department of Public Safety said in a news release.

      “Let us all refrain from making assumptions or drawing conclusions prior to the internal and independent reviews” by the patrol, the State Bureau of Investigation and the district attorney, said Perry, whose agency oversees the Highway Patrol.

    • Some thoughts that I don’t want to have, regarding people getting shot

      A number of (hearing) friends from a bunch of my (different) social circles recently sent me — almost simultaneously — links to news stories about Deaf people getting killed by cops who couldn’t communicate with them.

      This is nothing new. It’s been happening for ages. Someone with a gun gets scared and pulls the trigger, and someone else is dead. Maybe that person is Deaf. Maybe that person is Black. In any case, that person is now dead, and that’s not okay. (Maybe that person is both Deaf and Black, and we mention the second part but not the first. That’s disability erasure that, statistically, correlates highly with race; that’s also not okay.)

      I’ve been deaf as long as I can remember, and I’ve known these stories happened for a long, long time. But this is the first time I’ve watched them from inside the conversations of a Deaf community — for some definition of “inside” that includes confused mainstreamed-oral youngsters like me who are struggling to learn ASL and figure out where they fit.

    • Self-driving cars don’t care about your moral dilemmas

      As self-driving cars move from fiction to reality, a philosophical problem has become the focus of fierce debate among technologists across the world. But to the people actually making self driving cars, it’s kind of boring.

      The “trolley problem” is the name for a philosophical thought experiment created as an introduction to the moral distinction between action and inaction. The classic example is a runaway mine cart, hurtling down tracks towards a group of five oblivious people. With no time to warn them, your only option is to pull a switch and divert the cart on to a different track, which only has one person standing on it. You will save five lives, but at the cost of actively killing one person. What do you do?

      All kinds of tweaks and changes can be made to the basic problem, to examine different aspects of moral feeling. What if, rather than pulling a switch, you stop the mine cart by pushing one particularly large person in its way? What if the five people are all over the age of 80 and the one person is under 20? What if the five people are in fact five hundred kittens?

    • Engineers Say If Automated Cars Experience ‘The Trolley Problem,’ They’ve Already Screwed Up

      As self-driving cars inch closer to the mainstream, a common debate has surfaced: should your car be programmed to kill you if it means saving the lives of dozens of other people? This so-called “trolley problem” has been debated at universities for years, and while most consumers say they support automated vehicles that prioritize the lives of others on principle, they don’t want to buy or ride in one, raising a number of thorny questions.

      Should regulations and regulators focus on a utilitarian model where the vehicle is programmed to prioritize the good of the overall public above the individual? Or should self-driving cars be programmed to prioritize the welfare of the owner (the “self protective” model)? Would companies like Google, Volvo and others prioritize worries of liability over human lives when choosing the former or latter?

      [...]

      It’s still a question that needs asking, but with no obvious solution on the horizon, engineers appear to be focused on notably more mundane problems. For example one study suggests that while self-driving cars do get into twice the number of accidents of manually controlled vehicles, those accidents usually occur because the automated car was too careful — and didn’t bend the rules a little like a normal driver would (rear ended for being too cautious at a right on red, for example). As such, the current problem du jour isn’t some fantastical scenario involving an on-board AI killing you to save a busload of crying toddlers, but how to get self-driving cars to drive more like the inconsistent, sometimes downright goofy, and error-prone human beings they hope to someday replace.

    • Indonesia’s 51-Year-Old Ban on Communism to Stay in Place

      Indonesia’s current criminal code can send individuals to prison for “communist activities” for up to seven years.

      Indonesia maintained its ban on communism in its revision of the country’s criminal code system—controversial laws that have been in place for more than five decades.

    • School Board Elections in Ferguson Are Rigged Against Black Voters

      Nearly two years ago, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division began an investigation into the Ferguson Police Department for racial bias in the aftermath of the police shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager. What federal investigators found wasn’t pretty: a police department that consistently engaged in unconstitutional policing and that thought of the overwhelmingly Black community it was supposed to protect and serve as revenue sources for the city’s government. After the Justice Department’s report was released, it was only fair to ask how many other local institutions in the Ferguson area were afflicted with bias.

      Yesterday, the answer came when a federal court held that the Ferguson-Florissant School District’s system for electing its school board members violates the Voting Rights Act. The court recognized what many Ferguson-area residents know all too well: Once official discrimination — in education, housing, and public infrastructure — was outlawed in the Ferguson area, it shifted in form to other means of achieving the same ignoble goals.

    • French Police Create Propaganda for ISIS by Ticketing Muslim Women on Beaches

      Photographs and video of French police officers issuing tickets to Muslim women — for violating new local ordinances that ban modest beachwear as an offense against “good morals and secularism” in more than a dozen towns along the Riviera — spread widely on social networks on Wednesday, prompting waves of outrage and mockery by opponents of the laws.

    • My Brother Was Brutally Murdered, But the Delaware Supreme Court’s Decision to Ban the Death Penalty Was the Right One

      As the sister of a murder victim who opposes the death penalty, the Delaware Supreme Court’s decision in early August declaring the state’s death penalty statute unconstitutional gives me hope. The court’s decision affirms what death penalty opponents have known all along: Delaware’s death penalty doesn’t achieve justice for many reasons.

      The death penalty not only violates the rule of law, but it is costly, biased, prone to error, and ineffective at reducing violent crime and healing communities. Delaware’s statute, however, was particularly flawed. It had allowed a jury to recommend death without getting the approval of all 12 jurors, and it had allowed the judge in a capital case to override the jury’s sentencing recommendation to not put the convicted to death. Because the Delaware scheme diluted the historic role of a unanimous jury in criminal proceedings — to the point of denying capital defendants their constitutional right to a jury trial — the court struck it down.

    • “Deadly Heat” in U.S. Prisons Is Killing Inmates and Spawning Lawsuits

      In the summer months, 84 inmates at the Price Daniel Unit, a medium-security prison four hours west of Dallas, share a 10-gallon cooler of water that’s kept locked in a common area. An inmate there can expect to receive one 8 oz. cup every four hours, according to Benny Hernandez, a man serving a 10-year sentence at the prison. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults drink about twice that amount under normal conditions and even more in hot climates. According to Hernandez, in the summer the temperature in his prison’s housing areas can reach an astonishing 140 degrees.

      The prison provides ice for the cooler twice a day, but the ice has long melted before the hottest part of the day, he wrote in a post on Prison Writers, a website where inmates share their experiences behind bars. “Prisoners look upon the summer months in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) with dread and trepidation,” he wrote. “For one is acutely aware that one may not survive another summer. Many do not.”

    • Adam Curle, peace scholar: a ce