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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 53 min ago

Links 25/7/2016: Linux 4.7 Final, PostgreSQL 9.6 Beta 3

Monday 25th of July 2016 11:58:12 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Internet of Things Web Editor Open Source Project Started

    The StackSavings Web Editor has recently been launched as an open source project. The aim of the project is to be a Web Editor for the Internet of Things.

  • Fluxday: A no-fuss open source productivity tracker

    It would have been easier if we already had an open source platform we could build on. Although we did manage to build it quickly without disrupting our main projects, other companies might find it easier to adopt an existing platform rather than allocate extra time towards building an in-house productivity management application. For that reason, we’ve made Fluxday an open source project.

  • Reasons Organizations Opt Not to Use Open Source Software

    Black Duck’s latest open source survey shows that a majority of companies are now using open source. So what’s stopping the rest? Here’s a look at the reasons why businesses might choose not to use open source, or avoid partnering with companies that do.

  • Virtuozzo’s new Kernel-based Virtual Machine for ISPs is a ‘huge thing,’ years in the making
  • Virtuozzo debuts hyper-converged offering based on open source technology and optimized KVM

    Virtuozzo announced on Monday general availability of Virtuozzo 7. With this new version, the platform ushers in a new level of portability, reliability, and performance, especially for customers in large data center environments where vendor flexibility, as well as low latency, is critical.

  • Wire private messenger goes open source, invites users to build compatible clients

    Wire is one in a growing number of messaging services that promise to keep their users’ correspondence private. In this case, the service offers encrypted text, voice, and video calls. And now it’s open source.

  • Messaging Service ‘Wire’ Goes Open-Source, Invites Devs to Build Clients

    Encrypted text, voice and audio calling service Wire has gone open-source, releasing the code for everything devs need to build their own apps that interface with the service.

  • Apache Kudu is the Latest Open Source Big Data Project to Reach Top-Level Status

    For the past year, we’ve taken note of the many projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to Big Data and developer-focused tools in recent months. As Apache moves Big Data projects to Top-Level Status, they gain valuable community support and more.

    Continuing the trend, the foundation has announced that Apache Kudu has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). Kudu is an open source columnar storage engine built for the Apache Hadoop ecosystem designed to enable flexible, high-performance analytic pipelines.

    “Under the Apache Incubator, the Kudu community has grown to more than 45 developers and hundreds of users,” said Todd Lipcon, Vice President of Apache Kudu and Software Engineer at Cloudera. “We are excited to be recognized for our strong Open Source community and are looking forward to our upcoming 1.0 release.”

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Susan Chen, Promoted to Vice President of Business Development

        Susan joined Mozilla in 2011 as Head of Strategic Development. During her five years at Mozilla, Susan has worked with the Mozilla team to conceive and execute multiple complex negotiations and concluded hundreds of millions dollar revenue and partnership deals for Mozilla products and services.

  • SaaS/Back End
  • Databases
    • PostgreSQL 9.6 Beta 3 Released

      The PostgreSQL Global Development Group announces today that the third beta release of PostgreSQL 9.6 is available for download. This release contains previews of all of the features which will be available in the final release of version 9.6, including fixes to many of the issues found in the first and second betas. Users are encouraged to continue testing their applications against 9.6 beta 3.

    • PostgreSQL 9.6 Beta 3 Released This Week

      PostgreSQL 9.6 Beta 3 was released on Thursday as this major database update gets closer to its general availability release later this year.

      PostgreSQL 9.6 Beta 3 brings a number of fixes to the parallel query support and fixes many other items throughout the PostgreSQL server code. The official 9.6 release isn’t expected until “late 2016.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • OpenBSD 6.0 tightens security by losing Linux compatibility

      OpenBSD, one of the more prominent variants of the BSD family of Unix-like operating systems, will be released at the beginning of September, according to a note on the official OpenBSD website.

      Often touted as an alternative to Linux. OpenBSD is known for the lack of proprietary influence on its software and has garnered a reputation for shipping with better default security than other OSes and for being highly vigilant (some might say strident) about the safety of its users. Many software router/firewall projects are based on OpenBSD because of its security-conscious development process.

    • Google’s “Lanai” Backend In LLVM Seeks Non-Experimental Status
    • DragonFlyBSD 4.6 Up To Release Candidate Stage

      DragonFlyBSD 4.6 is up to the release candidate stage and the official release of this next feature version is coming in just a few days.

      The release candidate to DragonFlyBSD 4.6 is now available for testing.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • OpenKnit: Open Source Digital Knitting

      OpenKnit is an open-source, low cost, digital fabrication tool that affords the user the opportunity to create her/his own bespoke clothing from digital files. Starting from the raw material, the yarn, and straight to its end use, a sweater for example, in about an hour. Designing and producing clothes digitally and wearing them can now happen in the very same place, rewarding the user with the ability to make decisions regarding creativity and responsibility. (homepage) (full instructions for a Wally120 open-source knitting)

    • Open Access/Content
      • The Open Patient: Advocating for open access to medical data

        Steven Keating had always been interested in data and learning about things, which is why he volunteered to do a research scan when he was a student. The scan revealed an abnormality. In 2014, the abnormality had grown into a massive tumor. Soon he learned that there were many barriers keeping him from accessing his own data. “And that’s what I’ve been sharing, which is this question: How come as a patient we’re last in line for our own data? How come my doctors and my university researchers can see my tumor genome and I can’t?”

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Sports Federations, Not IOC, Will Decide Which Russian Athletes Can Play In Rio

      On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee decided not to call for a blanket ban on Russia for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games after reports of doping scandals endangered the country’s chances of competing.

      Instead, individual international sports federations will make the call on whether or not Russian athletes can compete in the games — which means they will review them all, one by one. Athletes who have been served suspensions for doping will not be allowed in the games. That includes athletes who already completed their suspensions, according to The Wall Street Journal. The findings must be upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to be final.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Afghanistan: President Obama’s Vietnam

      President Obama is keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan fighting an unwinnable war for fear of the political consequences if he faces reality and admits defeat, an echo of Vietnam, writes Jonathan Marshall.

    • Islamophobia Kills: German Munich shooter admired Breivik, Killed Turks

      The shooter at a Munich mall last week who killed 9 and left 27 wounded was an admirer of far right wing Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, and appears to have hated Muslims.

      Although David Sonboly was of Iranian heritage, he does not seem to have been a Muslim and appears to have felt no connection to that community.

      Iranians are mostly Shiite Muslims who are often victimized by ISIL, so it wasn’t ever very likely that his rampage was inspired by that organization.

      The current insistence by politicians and journalists on treating anyone with a drop of Middle Eastern blood as a “Muslim” is frankly racist. After all, millions of people of Christian heritage would now insist that they are not Christians. Why can’t people from Muslim families convert to other things, too? Sonboly appears to have considered himself a Christian or at least a Westerner.

      As with many mass killers, the 18-year-old likely had mental problems. But to the extent that he was driven by ideology, it was the that of the Islamophobia Network. Sonboly was part of a far-right anti-Muslim tendency that now haunts Europe .

      As many attacks in Europe are carried out by the white far right as by Muslims.

      The ambiguities of identity were on display in this case, since Sonboly shouted “I am German!” at the Turkish-Germans he targeted, whom he called ‘Fucking Turks.’ He seems to have blamed practicing Muslims for creating the conditions of prejudice toward people who looked like him in Germany.

    • Crimes Against the Future/The World After Me: Eternal ‘Wartime’ in America

      I wonder, too – how could I not with my future life as a “refugee” in mind? – about the 65 million human beings uprooted from their homes in 2015 alone, largely in places where we Americans have been fighting our wars for this last decade and a half. And it’s hard not to notice how many more have followed in their path this year, including at least 80,000 of the Sunni inhabitants of Iraq’s recently “liberated” and partially destroyed city of Fallujah. In the process, tens of millions of them have remained internal exiles in their own country (or what is left of it), while tens of millions have officially become refugees by crossing borders into Turkey, Lebanon, or Jordan, by taking to the seas in flimsy, overcrowded craft heading for Greece (from Turkey) or Italy (from Libya) moving onward in waves of desperation, hope, and despair, and drowning in alarming numbers. At the end of their journeys, they have sometimes found help and succor, but often enough only hostility and loathing, as if they were the ones who had committed a crime, done something wrong.

    • Political Correctness: Handle with Care

      Racial, gender, and ethnic diversity matters, of course, but political correctness (PC) tied to bourgeois identity politics can be deadly to Left thinkers and activists and to the causes of peace and social justice. Part of what made the deeply conservative Barack Obama attractive to the U.S. corporate and imperial establishment during the long run up to the 2008 presidential election was the American power elite’s reasonable, born-out expectation that Obama’s skin color and status as a First Black President (FBP) would help make progressives, leftists, and serious liberals reluctant to forthrightly protest his coming service to the nation’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money, class, empire, and (curiously and stealthily enough) white privilege. Smart power brokers calculated correctly that political correctness around race – and the related fear of being considered racist because one dared to criticize a FBP – would help keep the left in check on Obama’s corporatist, Wall Street-pleasing, and imperial policies.

    • Ansbach explosion: Syrian asylum seeker blows himself up in Germany

      A failed Syrian asylum seeker has blown himself up and injured 12 other people with a backpack bomb near a festival in the south German town of Ansbach.

      The state of Bavaria’s interior minister said the 27-year-old man had detonated the device after being refused entry to the music festival.

      About 2,500 people were evacuated from the venue after the explosion.

      Bavaria has been on edge since a knife rampage on a train claimed by so-called Islamic State last Monday.

      The Ansbach blast is reported to have happened at about 22:10 (20:10 GMT) outside the Eugens Weinstube bar in the centre of the town, which has a population of 40,000 and is home to a US military base.

    • Two dead, 14 wounded in shooting at Florida nightclub: U.S. media

      The shooting comes the month after a massacre at a nightclub in the Florida city of Orlando, in which a lone gunman killed 49 people in the deadliest mass shooting in U.s. history.

    • In troubled times, Germans embrace ‘Mommy’ Merkel

      Nothing erodes public confidence in the ruling class like political upheaval, violence and economic uncertainty. Yet in Germany these days, that combustible mix is fueling a quiet revival of Angela Merkel’s political fortunes.

      The weekend violence in Germany, which began with the deadly rampage by a bloodthirsty teen in Munich and ended with a suicide bombing in a small Bavarian city, marked the latest in a series of events, from the U.K. referendum to an ISIL-inspired hatchet attack on a German commuter train, that have unnerved the Merkel Republic.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • The Clean Energy Revolution Starts Now

      This weekend, we’re bringing the call for clean energy to Philadelphia in a big way, and if you want a ban on fracking, you won’t want to miss this.

    • Mass killing of elephants: Will the EU go on turning a blind eye?

      However, the EU continues to turn a deaf ear to the calls for a total ivory trade ban. On 1 July 2016, the European Commission decided that a global ivory trade ban did “not seem justified” and encouraged the Council to take a position against “a general closure of domestic ivory markets.”

      This recommendation comes ahead of the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to the 1976 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which will take place in South Africa from 24 September- 5 October and in which 182 member states of CITES will participate.

    • How Utah coal interests helped push a secret plan to export coal from California

      One by one, the seven council members present voted to uphold the ban on transporting coal. The decision was finalized by a second vote on July 19, leaving the proposed $250 million project in limbo. Without coal as one of the terminal’s possible bulk commodities, proponents warned, it would be at risk of losing critical funding — depriving an economically struggling neighborhood of job opportunities. Critics of the plan, however, worried that transporting millions of tons of coal by rail — even in covered cars — through West Oakland poses a public health and safety risk to local residents, who already experience high levels of air pollution.

    • Northwest Tribes Band Together to Stop Oil-by-Rail

      There’s no such thing as a good place for an oil-train derailment, but this year’s June 3 spill outside Mosier, Oregon, could have been worse if the 16 oil cars had derailed and caught fire even a few hundred feet in either direction. The derailment was just far enough away from populated areas, including a nearby school and mobile home park, that no injuries resulted, and the amount of oil that spilled into the river was limited. If it had happened another mile-and-a-half down the tracks, the damaged tank cars would have tumbled directly into the Columbia river during the peak of the spring Chinook salmon run.

    • Demonstrators Demand ‘Clean Energy Revolution’ on Eve of Dem Convention

      With plenty of overlap between them, both climate justice campaigners and supporters of Bernie Sanders held marches and rallies in downtown Philadelphia on Sunday, making their presence and political demands heard a day before the Democratic National Convention officially kicks off.

      Under a banner calling for a “Clean Energy Revolution,” the climate march put a focus on key shortcomings when it comes to the Democratic Party’s commitment to addressing an increasingly hot planet.

      Mark Schlosberg, national campaign director for Food & Water Watch, which spearheaded the protest with the backing of nearly 900 other local and national organizations, said neither party has shown the necessary urgency when it comes to dealing with the crisis. “Together,” Schlosberg explained in a blog post ahead of the march, “we are sending a clear message to our elected officials: we demand a future powered by clean, renewable energy, not one that depends on dirty, polluting fossil fuels.”

  • Finance
    • Long queues at Dover may be the first sign of what it means to live outside the European Union

      Perhaps Britain will find, in the uncertain new world it has chosen to live in, that it cannot implement Boris Johnson’s policy on cake – ‘pro having it and pro eating it’. Easy as a backbencher, or even mayor of London; not so easy as Foreign Secretary

    • Buddhism and economic transformation

      Economies have no essential nature. Once this is recognized, many more opportunities for change present themselves.

    • Sir Philip Green responsible for ‘systematic plunder’ of BHS, say MPs in scathing report

      ‘What kind of man is it who can count his fortune in billions but does not know what decent behavior is?’ – Frank Field MP, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee

    • Hewlett Packard Enterprise: Brexit, weak pound. A price hike is coming

      Hewlett Packard Enterprise is to bump up the price of its infrastructure gear in Blighty from today, 25 July, blaming the crash in the value of UK sterling currency for the hike.

      According to sources close to the matter, the cost of servers will go up between six to seven per cent, and storage and legacy networking by circa 10 per cent.

    • Theresa May visits Northern Ireland to insist border controls will not be erected after Brexit

      Theresa May will today insist that peace and stability in Northern Ireland is her “highest priority” as she pledges to ensure that border controls will not be erected after Brexit.

      The Prime Minister will travel to Belfast today to hold talks with First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, to discuss delivering stability in Northern Ireland in the wake of the EU referendum.

    • We Must Reject Economic Cannibalism

      “What can I do to fix a broken global economy?” It’s a question I’ve been asked a lot these past few months as I’ve crisscrossed the US speaking at TED venues, music concerts, the World Affairs Council, bookstores, on radio and TV shows, and at a variety of other forums.

      During this election year it is important to recognize that corporations pretty much run the world. Despite the outcome of the elections, they will continue to do so — at least until we organize and change the rules that have created the dominant neoliberal system.

    • Fighting for Seats at the Table: A Poor People’s Movement in a Rustbelt Town

      The Think Tank is an organization started in 2014 that is modelling a new approach for addressing poverty. Based in Newark, Ohio, the town where Wills lives, the group is made up of people currently struggling with poverty, or who have struggled in the past. The group’s goal is to have their voices heard by people who make decisions.

    • Thought we’d escaped TTIP by leaving the EU? Think again – it’s setting the terrifying blueprint for our future trade deals

      Despite being without national trade policy for four decades, we can predict a lot about the UK’s future trade deals outside of the EU from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and what we know gives great cause for concern.

      If and when Brexit is completed, TTIP will not directly apply to a UK outside the single market. But with the US knocking on the door to create a trade deal with the UK we know its interests are the same as expressed in TTIP. All the warning signs from TTIP suggest that under the current government vested interests will be satisfied ahead of the wider public interest.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Does Hillary Get It?

      Does Hillary Clinton understand that the biggest divide in American politics is no longer between the right and the left, but between the anti-establishment and the establishment?

      I worry she doesn’t – at least not yet.

      A Democratic operative I’ve known since the Bill Clinton administration told me “now that she’s won the nomination, Hillary is moving to the middle. She’s going after moderate swing voters.”

      Presumably that’s why she tapped Tim Kaine to be her vice president. Kaine is as vanilla middle as you can get.

      In fairness, Hillary is only doing what she knows best. Moving to the putative center is what Bill Clinton did after the Democrats lost the House and Senate in 1994 – signing legislation on welfare reform, crime, trade, and financial deregulation that enabled him to win reelection in 1996 and declare “the era of big government” over.

    • Mission Accomplished at DNC, Clinton Hires Wasserman Schultz for Top Post

      Clinton responds to party chair’s resignation on Sunday by thanking “longtime friend” for her service at DNC and immediately naming her as honorary chair of her own campaign

    • Wasserman Schultz to Have a New Role in Clinton Campaign

      Hillary Clinton is thanking her “longtime friend” Debbie Wasserman Schultz after the Florida congresswoman’s decision to step down as chair of the Democratic National Committee. Clinton says that Wasserman Schultz will serve as honorary chair of her campaign’s 50-state program to help elect Democrats around the country.

    • Leaked DNC emails reveal the inner workings of the party’s finance operation

      In the rush for big donations to pay for this week’s Democratic convention, a party staffer reached out to Tennessee donor Roy Cockrum in May with a special offer: the chance to attend a roundtable discussion with President Obama.

      Cockrum, already a major Democratic contributor, was in. He gave an additional $33,400. And eight days later, he was assigned a place across the table from Obama at the Jefferson Hotel in downtown Washington, according to a seating chart sent to the White House.

    • The Far Right Proposals in the 2016 Republican Party Platform

      Here are 50 excerpts from the 2016 GOP platform.

      1. Tax cuts for the rich: “Wherever tax rates penalize thrift or discourage investment, they must be lowered. Wherever current provisions of the code are disincentives for economic growth, they must be changed… We propose to level the international playing field by lowering the corporate tax rate to be on a par with, or below, the rates of other industrial nations.”

      2. Deregulate the banks: “The Republican vision for American banking calls for establishing transparent, efficient markets where consumers can obtain loans they need at reasonable rates based on market conditions. Unfortunately, in response to the financial institutions crisis of 2008-2009, the Democratic-controlled Congress enacted the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, otherwise known as Dodd-Frank.”

    • At RNC, Media Put a Happy Face on Suppression of Speech

      “News media could either be our ally or our enemy—we wanted them as an ally,” Laurie Pritchett said in a 1985 interview about his strategy as police chief in Albany, Georgia, during Martin Luther King, Jr.’s desegregation efforts in 1962.

      Pritchett famously ordered his officers to enforce the city’s segregation laws nonviolently and arrest as few protesters as possible. He knew that if he had acted as other police departments had—like Bull Connor’s dogs and firehoses in Birmingham (1963) and Jim Clark’s Bloody Sunday in Selma (1965)—news media would show the country how brutally oppressive police were, inspiring greater public support for King’s cause. In short, he beat nonviolent protesters at their own game by exploiting the media.

    • With DNC Leaks, Former ‘Conspiracy Theory’ Is Now True––and No Big Deal

      While it’s impossible to know whether systemic pro-Hillary Clinton bias at the DNC was decisive in the 2016 Democratic primary race, we now know beyond any doubt that such a bias not only existed, but was endemic and widespread. DNC officials worked to plant pro-Clinton stories, floated the idea of using Sanders’ secular Judaism against him in the South, and routinely ran PR spin for Clinton, even as the DNC claimed over and over it was neutral in the primary. The evidence in the leaks was so clear that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has resigned her role as DNC chair—after her speaking role at the Democratic National Convention this week was scrapped—while DNC co-chair Donna Brazile, who is replacing Wasserman Schultz in the top role, has apologized to the Sanders camp.

    • Trump Doesn’t Totally Rule Out Supporting A David Duke Candidacy

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump didn’t completely rule out the possibility that he would support a Democrat running against David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, who announced he is running as a Republican for U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana.

      When asked by Meet The Press’ Chuck Todd whether he would support a Democrat if it meant defeating Duke, Trump waffled, saying, “I guess, depending on who the Democrat, but the answer would be yes.”

    • [Older] Faith-based Attribution

      Every network attack against a company like Sony Entertainment, an organization like the DNC, or a government agency like OPM, comes with a series of questions to be answered, including the obvious ones like when did it begin? What was taken? Who was responsible? Are the attackers out of my network?

      Attribution, simply put, purports to answer the question of who is responsible. For example, CrowdStrike investigated the DNC network breach and determined that the Russian government was responsible. FireEye investigated the Sony Entertainment network attack and determined that the North Korean government was responsible.

      It’s important to know that the process of attributing an attack by a cybersecurity company has nothing to do with the scientific method. Claims of attribution aren’t testable or repeatable because the hypothesis is never proven right or wrong.

      Neither are claims of attribution admissible in any criminal case, so those who make the claim don’t have to abide by any rules of evidence (i.e., hearsay, relevance, admissibility).

      The closest analogy for a cybersecurity company’s assignment of attribution is an intelligence estimate, however intelligence analysts who write those estimates are held accountable for their hits and misses. If the miss is big enough (No WMDs in Iraq, missed India’s five nuclear bomb tests in ’98, missed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, etc.), there are consequences, and perhaps a Congressional investigation.

    • Kshama Sawant Shows Up at the DNC to Tell Bernie Sanders Supporters to Vote for Jill Stein

      On the heels of a law-and-order-obsessed Republican National Convention, Democrats are meeting this week in Philadelphia to do their thing. The protests are already more impressive than anything on the streets of Cleveland.

    • Let’s debate! Who will be the first woman president?

      On October 16, 2012, my vice presidential running mate and I were arrested. Our crime? Daring to try to attend a presidential debate.

      This year, I hope the American people will demand that Libertarian Gary Johnson and I take our rightful places in the presidential debates. Because Americans not only have a right to vote. We have a right to know who we can vote for.

    • In political turnabout, Democrats play soft-on-Russia card by linking Trump to Putin

      For decades, Republicans were the fiercest of Cold Warriors, fighting the spread of communism and, not incidentally, winning elections by painting Democrats as the party of the frail and feckless.

    • The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald on What’s Wrong (and Right) With the Media

      First of all, I think that a lot of coverage decisions are often made subconsciously. Most journalists think that they don’t actually make decisions about what’s newsworthy and what isn’t and their media outlets cover anything that’s newsworthy. And this is plainly not the case; there’s huge numbers of obviously newsworthy stories that are routinely, systemically ignored by large media outlets. And sometimes it’s just a by-product of the news-cycle rhythms, but a lot of times there are clear patterns to it. One major pattern is that the political media in particular views everything through a partisan lens. So if there’s some sort of dispute between the two parties, where the Democrats think one thing and the Republicans think another, that tends to get covered, because that’s viewed as an important political debate. But on the issues where there’s bipartisan consensus, where the two parties essentially agree, which is far more common than disagreeing, those tend to get completely ignored. So you look at U.S. support for Israel, or for Saudi Arabia in a foreign-policy context, or the idea that the U.S. should have the largest military in the world, or that we should continue with our state of mass incarceration, or just the general neoliberal economic policies that both parties believe in and support — those tend to be completely excluded from any kind of media discussion or coverage, because it just doesn’t get onto the radar of what matters. So these kinds of choices get made all the time.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein: Trump’s a ‘Racist’ and Clinton’s Not a True Progressive

      Jill Stein believes the American people deserve another choice between “a racist billionaire and a proponent of the billionaire club.”

      As the presumptive presidential nominee for the far-Left Green Party, Stein wants Donald Trump to be stopped. But she doesn’t think Hillary Clinton is the best alternative.

      “Donald Trump, he is a racist, a xenophobic, anti-woman, just anti-working people and it’s very important that that movement, that right wing extremism needs to be stopped,” Stein said in an interview with ABC News at the Democratic National Convention today.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Offers Glimpse of Hope for Bernie Sanders Supporters

      Protesters in Philadelphia have found a new glimpse of hope: Dr. Jill Stein.

      Though Stein has been running as the Green Party’s presumptive presidential candidate for 13 months now, here in the City of Brotherly Love she’s had something of a bump in public opinion.

      At a protest with a few hundred people today near City Hall, there were several rounds of chants for “Jill Not Hill” and signs lining Stein up with Sanders as the progressive alternative to Clinton.

    • Whether Or Not Russians Hacked DNC Means Nothing Concerning How Newsworthy The Details Are

      As you almost certainly know by now, on Friday Wikileaks released a bunch of hacked DNC emails just before the Democratic Presidential convention kicked off. While Wikileaks hasn’t quite said where it got the emails, speculation among many quickly pointed to Russian state sponsored hackers. That’s because of the revelation last month of two sets of hackers breaching the DNC’s computer system and swiping (at the very least) opposition research on Donald Trump. Various cybersecurity research firms, starting with CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC to investigate, pointed the finger at the Russians.

      Of course, whether or not you believe that may depend on how credible you find the big cybersecurity firms like CrowdStrike, FireEye and Mandiant (the big names that always pop up in situations like this). For what it’s worth, these guys have something of a vested interest in playing up the threat of big hacks from nation-state level hackers. For a good analysis of why this finger-pointing may be less than credible, I recommend two articles by Jeffrey Carr, one noting that these firms come from a history of “faith-based attribution” whereby they are never held accountable for being wrong — and another highlighting serious questions about the designation of Russia as being responsible for this particular hack (he notes that some of the research appeared to come pre-arrived at that conclusion, and then ignored any evidence to the contrary).

      Still, the claim that the data came from the Russians has become something of a story itself. And, of course, who did the hack and got the info is absolutely a news story. But it’s an entirely separate one from whether or not the leaked emails contain anything useful or newsworthy. And yet, because this is the peak of political silly season, some are freaking out and claiming that anyone reporting on these emails “has been played” by Putin and Russia. Leaving aside the fact that people like to claim that Russia’s behind all sorts of politicians that some don’t like, that should be entirely unrelated to whether or not the story is worth covering.

    • DNC Comms Guy Mocked Story Saying DNC Is Bad At Cybersecurity; Revealed Because DNC Is Bad At Cybersecurity

      Protip: maybe don’t laugh off accusations that you’re bad at cybersecurity in emails on a network that has already been infiltrated by hackers. That message did not make it through to one Eric Walker, deputy communications director for the Democratic National Committee. As you’ve heard by now, the DNC got hacked and all the emails were posted on Wikileaks. An anonymous user in our comments pointed us to a now revealed email from Walker brushing off a story in BuzzFeed, quoting cybersecurity professionals arguing that both the RNC and the DNC are bad at cybersecurity, mainly because they’re handing out USB keys at their conventions.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Wants To Be ‘Plan B’ For Bernie Sanders Supporter

      Third parties are not new to American politics. The Anti-Masonic Party emerged in the 1820s to campaign against the Freemasons, which its members viewed as a corrupt. The Free Soil Party opposed the expansion of slavery in the years before the Civil War. Others throughout history have emerged to champion various causes, like the Know-Nothings, the Progressives, the Prohibition Party, the Reform Party and many others.

    • teleSUR Host Abby Martin Arrested at DNC

      Martin was covering the DNC protests in Philadelphia for teleSUR.

      Abby Martin, host of “Empire Files,” was covering the DNC protests in Philadelphia for teleSUR when she was arrested by police.

      Martin was on her way to a “Democracy Spring” event where there were reports of civil disobedience and arrests being made. The police had closed off all streets surrounding the action.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Should Facebook And The Rest Of Silicon Valley Invoke More Paranoia Than The NSA?
    • Drug Dealer’s Lawyers Want To Know How Yahoo Is Recovering Communications It Previously Said Were Unrecoverable

      Russell Knaggs, the accused drug dealer, apparently utilized a Yahoo email account to hook up suppliers in Colombia with buyers in Europe. To add to the difficulty level, Knaggs did this while serving time for another drug bust. The method used was not all that uncommon. Everyone shared a single email account and composed draft messages. Each party would log into the account, read the draft message left for them, and compose a draft of their own in response. No emails were sent. All drafts were then deleted from both the “Draft” folder and the “Trash.”

    • Encryption backdoors appear on EU data chief’s ban wishlist

      Revised ePrivacy laws should guarantee confidentiality of communications and encourage encryption, the European Union’s data watchdog has said.

      European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Giovanni Buttarelli published his official opinion on the review of the ePrivacy Directive on Monday.

      An overhaul to the so-called Cookie Law is currently be worked on by officials at the European Commission, with the completion date expected before the end of the year to bring it into line with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

      “The EU rules designed to protect privacy in electronic communications need to reflect the world that exists today,” said Buttarelli.

    • We Can Stay Safe Without Creating a Surveillance State

      The new Prime Minister spent six years as Home Secretary but Theresa May’s legacy at the Home Office is not one to be proud of. She cut front line police services relentlessly and her record on civil liberties was appalling.

      Two years ago, at the height of summer, she rushed through legislation that gave GCHQ the power to force companies to hand over their customers’ personal data, including phone records and information about emails and browsing history.

      She used the spectre of terrorism to justify the legislation, called the Data Retention and Investigator Powers Act (DRIPA), but it was poorly drafted and deeply flawed. Among other things, it effectively gave the Government the right to monitor mobile phone data and internet browsing history without the approval of a judge. That’s why I took the unusual step of joining forces with my Conservative party adversary David Davis to sue the Government in the High Court.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Donald Trump’s War on Islam, Beheld Live from the Cleveland Floor, Part Two

      The Floor might have been a prop for TV, but it was beautiful. Spotlights danced off the red, white and blue bunting, off the tall, triangular signs spelling out the names of the states and the territories, off the delegates themselves, equal and unruly, a republic made flesh. To stand on it gave one a feeling of chaos and joy.

      The states were defined by red carpets running between them, and by their costumes. The Guam wore tropical-print shirts. Texas had Lone Star flag shirts and cowboy hats and supersized enamel pins. North Carolina seemed patrician and a slightly aloof in their seersucker suits. West Virginia wore hardhats and pinstripes waving “Trump Digs Coal” signs. Chunks of Colorado displayed a mutinous, die-hard love for Ted Cruz by walking out of the convention on Monday afternoon. The many-footed whip was walking up and down the aisles, handing out Trump/Pence signs, whipping up cheers of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” often settling for “USA! USA! USA!”

    • Rough handling and restraint: UK forced removals, still a nasty business

      The charter flight on Titan Airways departed Stansted for Nigeria and Ghana on May 24. It was staffed for the UK Home Office by the private security company Tascor, a subsidiary of Capita, who claim to achieve the “safe and secure escorting and removal of more than 18,000 individuals from the UK each year”.

    • 9/11 defense lawyers: Judge let U.S. secretly destroy CIA ‘black site’ evidence

      Defense lawyers for the alleged 9/11 plotters said for the first time Sunday that the government destroyed a secret CIA prison with secret permission of the trial judge, and they learned of it only after the fact.

      Defense attorneys have been complaining about a mysterious destruction of evidence episode in a cloaked manner since May. Prosecutors have said they did nothing wrong but declined to explain with any specificity. After a closed session Friday, during which the judge apparently agreed some details were no longer classified, the defense lawyers laid out what they knew in a Sunday roundtable.

    • History tells us what may happen next with Brexit & Trump

      It seems we’re entering another of those stupid seasons humans impose on themselves at fairly regular intervals. I am sketching out here opinions based on information, they may prove right, or may prove wrong, and they’re intended just to challenge and be part of a wider dialogue.

      My background is archaeology, so also history and anthropology. It leads me to look at big historical patterns. My theory is that most peoples’ perspective of history is limited to the experience communicated by their parents and grandparents, so 50–100 years. To go beyond that you have to read, study, and learn to untangle the propaganda that is inevitable in all telling of history. In a nutshell, at university I would fail a paper if I didn’t compare at least two, if not three opposing views on a topic. Taking one telling of events as gospel doesn’t wash in the comparative analytical method of research that forms the core of British academia. (I can’t speak for other systems, but they’re definitely not all alike in this way).

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • UNDP Initiative Seeks Impact-Driven Entrepreneurs From 10 Developing Countries

      The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a joint initiative with Impact Hub, an international community of social entrepreneurs. The initiative is a platform named “#Accelerate2030,” aiming at supporting and promoting the most promising impact-driven ventures focusing on the UN Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs).

    • Verizon Buys Yahoo In $4.8 Billion Attempt To Bore The Internet To Death
    • Copyrights
      • John Oliver’s Story On Campaign Music And Copyright Is… Wrong

        This is flat out wrong in most situations. As we’ve pointed out again and again and again and again, in nearly all cases, politicians using music at an event have the proper licenses. They don’t need to get permission from the musicians so long as either the campaign or the venue have ASCAP or BMI blanket licenses, which they almost always do. The whole point of ASCAP/BMI licenses is that you don’t need to get individual permission from the artists or their publishers.

        There are instances, occasionally, where politicians ridiculously don’t have such a license, but it’s pretty rare. And there may be a few other narrow exceptions, such as if there’s an implied endorsement by the musicians, but that’s rarely the case.

        Unfortunately, the song from John Oliver and friends ignores all of that, even stating directly at one point that for a politician to use music, you first have to call the publisher. That’s wrong. ASCAP and BMI already have taken care of that.

        Perhaps this isn’t a huge deal, but one would hope that Oliver would actually get the basic facts right on this too, because every election season this issue comes up and spreading more misinformation about it doesn’t help.

      • MPAA Front Group, Pretending To Represent Consumer Interests, Slams CloudFlare For Not Censoring The Internet

        So you may have seen reports last week charging CloudFlare and some other tech companies with “aiding” internet malware pushers. The “report,” called “Enabling Malware” was announced in a press release last week from the Digital Citizens Alliance — a group that describes itself as representing consumer interests online:

        Digital Citizens is a consumer-oriented coalition focused on educating the public and policy makers on the threats that consumers face on the internet and the importance for internet stakeholders – individuals, government and industry – to make the Web a safer place.

        And while the story wasn’t picked up that widely, a few news sources did pick it up and repeated the false claim that DCA is a consumer advocacy group. TorrentFreak, FedScoop and Can-India also picked up the story, and all simply repeated DCA’s claim to represent the interests of “digital citizens.”

        But that leaves out the reality: DCA is a group mostly funded by Hollywood, but also with support from the pharmaceutical industry, to systematically attack the internet and internet companies, for failing to censor the internet and block the sites and services that Hollywood and Big Pharma dislike. DCA has been instrumental in pushing false narratives about all the “evil” things online — “counterfeit fire detectors! fake drugs!” — in order to push policy makers to institute new laws to censor the internet. DCA buries this basic fact in its own description, merely noting that it “counts among its supporters… the health, pharmaceutical and creative industries.”

        The organization was formed in late 2012, partly as a response to the MPAA’s big loss around SOPA. Recognizing that it needed to change tactics, the MPAA basically helped get DCA off the ground to push scare stories about horrible internet companies enabling “bad things” online, and how new laws and policies had to be created to stop those evil internet companies. Much of this was merely speculation for a while, based on the fact that every DCA report seemed to wrongly blame internet companies for other people using those tools to do bad things online. However, it became explicit thanks to the Sony Hack, which revealed that a key part of the MPAA’s anti-Google plan, dubbed Project Goliath, involved having the DCA pay Mississippi’s former Attorney General Mike Moore (who mentored its current AG, Jim Hood), to lobby Jim Hood to attack Google.

Leaked: Boards of Appeal Face ‘Exile’ or ‘Extradition’ in Haar After Standing up to Battistelli

Sunday 24th of July 2016 10:35:35 PM

EPO Martial Law?

Summary: A look at some of the latest moves at the European Patent Office (EPO), following Battistelli’s successful coup d’état which brought the EPO into a perpetual state of emergency that perpetuates Battistelli’s totalitarian powers

THE EPO is in a state of deepening crisis and the other day we mentioned Haar as the likely location for the new site of the Boards of Appeal, following the exile/purge. Shortly thereafter the staff of the Boards of Appeal received the following confirmatory message:

To all members of DG3

Following a decision taken by the Administrative Council in June, the President has instructed PD44 to implement the relocation of the Board of Appeals.

PD44 has visited eleven locations in order to find a building that would best suit the requirements of staff and business partners of the BoA. The principles for the search were:

· Modern building with highly professional accommodation standards
· In the area of the European School
· Very good access to public transport
· Short distance to the city centre and Munich airport

Having considered the above factors, the relocation will take place to Richard-Reitzner-Allee 8 in Haar in the South-East of Munich.

“It is no longer a rumour,” one person told us, as “DG3 was sent an email on Friday.” Another person wrote: “It is no longer simply a rumour that the Boards of Appeal will be sent to Haar. A note was sent to all DG3 staff yesterday late afternoon, informing them that the Boards will move to the office building at Richard-Reitzner-Allee 8 in Haar. The rent contract will be signed after the Budget and Finance Committee approves the plan in October. The goal is to start the move in July 2017. It should be stressed that neither the Boards nor the stakeholders were consulted or even informed beforehand, just like no meaningful consultation took place on any other part of the reform proposal that was submitted to the Administrative Council. Being in DG3 myself, I can say that the current atmosphere is not very positive.”

Around the same time as the Munich shootings (which no doubt Battistelli will exploit to the fullest tomorrow) somebody responded with: “I wonder if any attention has been paid to the security aspects of the proposed new site …”

Quite a few people have mentioned this to us. Another asked, “did you hear the latest about Haar?”

“The building reserved for the BoA is supposed to be in Vaterstetten, which is near Haar (just a bit farther),” told us another person. “If they are really going to move there I would regard it as a total waste of EPO money. A sign of further erdoganization of what was once a respectable European organization fallen prey today to the megalomaniac ambitions of a ruthless president.”

That note about “erdoganization” of the EPO is timely as we have made this kind of comparison for about a year now.

“Interesting article about Erdoğan,” one reader told us about this one from the time of the coup. “Same problem with Battistelli…”

To quote: “You’d be wrong. Instead, the order came down from Erdogan’s thousand room palace that one Binali Yildirim — and only Yildarim — would replace Davutoglu as leader of the AKP and as Turkey’s new prime minister. Yildirim has been part of Erdogan’s inner circle for decades, an absolute loyalist certain to do his bidding. In a display of party discipline that would have made Lenin proud, more than 1,400 AKP delegates thereupon saluted smartly, sang paeans of praise and obedience to their great “chief” Erdogan, and voted unanimously to confirm his chosen candidate.”

“Sounds like the AC,” told us this reader, referring to the Administrative Council that has been reduced into a bunch of Battistelli lapdogs — those who recently helped him send the Boards of Appeal to exile near Haar.

Speaking of Erdoğan, coups and sovereignty/security (in light of Friday’s shootings), there is further militarisation going on at the EPO where the coup plotter is actually Battistelli and his ‘troops’ (so he is, in some sense, on the opposite side of Erdoğan, who was actually elected unlike the Turkish military).

“To better understand why people are treated so badly inside the EPO (and even outside of it, e.g. bloggers who are critics) look closely to what happened in Turkey over the past 10 days or less.”Writing about “who is who [at the] EPO,” one reader told us: “I know we both ***love*** FB. Here an interesting page of one recently-promoted BB’s [Battistelli] pet. Even more interesting [is] one of her “friends”: Perhaps a next director?”

This alludes to Jean-Baptiste Deprecq (photo above is from his account), who is connected to the recently-promoted Nadja Merdaci-Lefèvre.

“This give a lot to think about the saying “you chose your friends not you family”,” added our reader.

To better understand why people are treated so badly inside the EPO (and even outside of it, e.g. bloggers who are critics) look closely to what happened in Turkey over the past 10 days or less. Collective punishment at the hands of a megalomaniac isn’t so extraordinary. One might call it Martial Law.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comes Across as Against Software Patents, Relates to the EPO as Well

Sunday 24th of July 2016 09:49:24 PM

Summary: Some analysis of the input from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with focus on the EPO and software patents

Regarding the “EPO and USPTO,” one reader told us over the weekend, there is some curious text which is worth examining/scrutinising further. Just before the weekend we wrote about GAO's input, which mostly chastised the USPTO over patent quality. A closer look reveals even more about the subject.

“This helps highlight existing problems and there is a lot that the EPO can learn from this.”Here are direct links to the report/s [1, 2]. One reader asked us, “did you get these documents?” These were mentioned very quickly by good blogs like Patently-O, so we noticed them very promptly and commented on these based on concise coverage, not based on a thorough reading of the entire text. “The EPO had no comments on the draft,” our reader told us. “In GAO-16-490,” for example “see e.g. p.25-28 on quality / time, effect of “corridors” (high grades -> higher production), also GAO-16-479: see p.21-22…”

To quote from the text: “The Government Accountability Office has released two reports: one suggesting the USPTO should define quality, reassess incentives and improve clarity; the other suggesting the USPTO should strengthen search capabilities and better monitor examiners’ work…”

This helps highlight existing problems and there is a lot that the EPO can learn from this. To quote one new comment about the EPO: “Some weeks ago the Central Staff Committee [CSC] published a paper about overcapacity and reducing stocks, they also mentioned the contracts for examiners. I heard that a director in The Hague sent a mail to his examiners in which he disproved all the numbers as given by the CSC, showing that their publication was misleading. Does anyone have a copy of this mail? Some facts would be useful for this discussion!”

If anyone has a copy, please send it to us. There is a growing (and legitimate) concern about patent quality at the EPO, especially after Battistelli took over and derailed various processes, not just oversight, appeals, etc.

“With PTAB and Alice there has already been a turn for the better, but not every outcome is positive.”Based on WIPR‘s coverage of the GAO report, “most patent cases involve software-related inventions [...] that are easy to “unintentionally infringe” (this does not surprise us as we have been arguing this for years).

IAM too (an EPO mouthpiece) responded to these findings regarding USPTO patent quality being so low, reaffirming what we have said for a decade or more.

To quote IAM: “The recent report on USPTO patent quality by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) would not have made for easy reading at the agency. That said, its leadership presumably knew what was coming long before they saw a draft of the report prior to its general release. The office knows it has a problem with quality – raising the standard of grants wouldn’t have become such a banner issue of Director Michelle Lee’s time in charge if it didn’t.”

“They want to keep their cake (software patents) and eat it too.”With PTAB and Alice there has already been a turn for the better, but not every outcome is positive. Watch this new article by Ricardo Ochoa of PretiFlaherty. Weeks later, well after the Bascom case, patent law firms still exploit an exceptional case for software patents promotion. If they wish to be honest, they will admit that software patents are neither justified nor easy to defend in a court, as per evidence which exists everywhere.

WatchTroll, the most vocal proponent of software patents out there, wrote today about Alice. Here is a key sentence: “Those who have been involved in patent prosecution going back 12-15 years will recall that after the initial rush of business method patents began, in about 2002, the Patent Office instituted what they referred to as “second pair of eyes” review. Under no circumstances could a patent be issued on anything that related to a computer-implemented invention unless and until it had been approved by two separate patent examiners. It certainly sounds like that is what is happening once again.”

It’s about time too. They would not grant a “computer-implemented invention [CII is another term or euphemism for software patents] unless and until it had been approved by two separate patent examiners,” but still, what guidelines would these examiners follow? The USPTO has not been exactly enthusiastic about altering the rules in lieu with Alice. We wrote about the latest changes a week ago and these probably give too much weight to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which is where software patents came from in the first place.

As Benjamin Henrion (FFII) put it earlier today, “why should programmers respect patent law? we should benefit from free speech, not patent censorship.”

As Deb Nicholson from the Open Invention Network (OIN) put it not too long ago, as per this report about her talk (“The state of software patents after the Alice decision”):

Combating software patents—and other abuses of the patent system, like design patents—is a long-term process, Nicholson reminded the audience. OIN runs several programs it hopes will protect free-software developers from the ills of bad patents, such as its Linux patent pool, the License On Transfer Network, and Defensive Publications.

But Nicholson told the crowd there are other ways they can help improve the patent landscape in the long term, too. They can contribute to the campaigns run by non-profit organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Free Software Foundation, she said. Both are working to oppose the software-oriented provisions in the TPP, for example, among their other activities.

Individuals can also be powerful advocates for change within their own companies, pushing them to embrace a defensive, rather than offensive, approach to patents. And they can support the pending patent-reform legislation to lawmakers. Finally, they can continue to advocate for free and open-source software. The more we collaborate together, Nicholson said, the less we’ll want to sue each other.

The problem is though, as we last noted just over week ago, OIN does virtually nothing to stop software patents. Given the companies that formed it and steer this massive aggregate, it’s not hard to see why. They want to keep their cake (software patents) and eat it too.

In the US, Patent Trolls Engage in Patent Wars and Shakedowns, Whereas in China/Korea Large Android OEMs Sue One Another

Sunday 24th of July 2016 09:09:01 PM

“The most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it begins to reform.”

–Alexis de Tocqueville

Summary: Highlighting some of the differences between the US patent system and other patent systems

THE most notable deficiency at the USPTO right now pertains to overly broad patent scope and poor patent quality (the same direction which the EPO takes under Battistelli) and this leads to a lot of litigation by patent trolls. Startups (sometimes known here as SMEs) suffer the most and we rarely hear their stories because they must settle in secret and pay ‘protection money’ to non-practising entities. This clearly does not promote innovation. A lot of this activity, perhaps more than 90% of it (on a global scale), happens in the United States.

“It says a lot about what the USPTO fosters and why the EPO must not follow the same footsteps.”As of days ago, Ericsson’s case (via a patent troll it increasing uses inside Europe) against Apple found momentum at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), home of software patents, according to this short report and BlackBerry has just beaten Mobile Telecommunications LLC, after this apparent troll (whose whole public existence revolves around this lawsuit) started a high-profile patent case in the US (BlackBerry is Canadian, but it can be dragged down south).

Leading Android OEMs are also embroiled in a patent war in the far east (Asia) and there are lots of articles about it [1, 2, 3, 4] (many hundreds in English alone, so they should not be hard to find even several years down the line).

What’s worth noting here is that in Asia, where a lot of the world’s phones are actually being made, patent trolls are hardly even a topic, whereas in the US patent trolls have become an epidemic. They are sometimes proxies of large companies such as Ericsson. In the case of Nokia, Microsoft has already created or armed trolls using its patents.

It is important to realise the difference between two manufacturing Android giants like Samsung (Kroea’s domain leader) and Huawei (China’s domain leader) having patent disputes and some random LLC du jour trying to tax large companies as well as small ones (these latter cases rarely make any headlines). It says a lot about what the USPTO fosters and why the EPO must not follow the same footsteps.

Links 24/7/2016: Elive 2.7.1 Beta, New Flatpaks and Snaps

Sunday 24th of July 2016 08:10:43 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Linux in the Mainstream. What Will it Take?

      If you Google “Why Linux is Better Than Windows,” you’ll be able to go 20 pages deep and still find articles from tech blogs and news sites alike proclaiming reasons for Linux’s superiority. While most of these articles are just rehashing the same points, they are valid points nevertheless. And with all this ruckus over Linux, it begs the question: if Linux is so much better, why is it not competing for users at the same level that Windows is?

  • Server
    • Docker adds orchestration and more at DockerCon 2016

      DockerCon 2016, held in Seattle in June, included many new feature and product announcements from Docker Inc. and the Docker project. The main keynote of DockerCon [YouTube] featured Docker Inc. staff announcing and demonstrating the features of Docker 1.12, currently in its release-candidate phase. As with the prior 1.11 release, the new version includes major changes in the Docker architecture and tooling. Among the new features are an integrated orchestration stack, new encryption support, integrated cluster networking, and better Mac support.

      The conference hosted 4000 attendees, including vendors like Microsoft, CoreOS, HashiCorp, and Red Hat, as well as staff from Docker-using companies like Capital One, ADP, and Cisco. While there were many technical and marketing sessions at DockerCon, the main feature announcements were given in the keynotes.

      As with other articles on Docker, the project and product are referred to as “Docker,” while the company is “Docker Inc.”

  • Kernel Space
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • MATE Dock Applet 0.73 Released With Redesigned Window List, Drag And Drop Support

      MATE Dock Applet was updated to version 0.73 recently, getting support for rearranging dock icons via drag and drop (only for the GTK3 version), updated window list design and more.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Double Post – Lakademy and Randa 2016

        I Have a few favorites kde conventions that I really love to participate.

        Randa and Lakademy are always awesome, both are focused on hacking, and I surely do love to hack.

        On LaKademy I spend my days working on subsurface, reworking on the interface, trying to make it more pleasant to the eye,

        In Randa I worked on KDevelop and Marble, but oh my…

      • Plasma’s Publictransport applet’s porting status

        You might remember that I spoke about Plasma’s Publictransport applet getting some reworking during the summer. It’s been over a month since I made that announcement on my blog and while ideally, I’d have liked to have blogged every week about my work, I haven’t really been able to. This is largely down to the fact that I was occupied with work on a project back at my university and I shifted back to home from my hostel as well, after finishing four years of undergraduate studies.

      • KDE Community Working Group 2016
      • KDE Brasil Telegram group and IRC United

        That’s why the KDE Irc channel now has a bot that will forward all messages to our Telegram Channel and vice-versa, this way all the new cool kids can talk to all the old geeks around and continue to make the KDE awesome in their platform of choice.

      • Wiki, what’s going on? (Part 7)

        Tears followed by joy and happiness, discussions followed by great moments all together, problems followed by their solution and enthusiasm. Am I talking about my family? More or less, because actually I am talking about a family: the WikiToLearn community!

      • Kubuntu 16.04.1 LTS Update Out

        The first point release update to our LTS release 16.04 is out now. This contains all the bugfixes added to 16.04 since its first release in April. Users of 16.04 can run the normal update procedure to get these bugfixes.

      • Kubuntu Podcast #14 – UbPorts interview with Marius Gripsgard
      • KDStateMachineEditor 1.1.0 released

        KDStateMachineEditor is a Qt-based framework for creating Qt State Machine metacode using a graphical user interface. It works on all major platforms and is now available as part of the Qt Auto suite.

      • KDAB contributions to Qt 5.7

        The star of Qt 5.7 is the first stable release of Qt 3D 2.0. The new version of Qt 3D is a total redesign of its architecture into a modern and streamlined 3D engine, exploiting modern design patterns such as entity-component systems, and capable to scale due to the heavily threaded design. This important milestone was the result of a massive effort done by KDAB in coordination with The Qt Company.

      • Krita 3.0.1 Development Builds

        Because of unforeseen circumstances, we had to rejig our release schedule, there was no release last week. Still, we wanted to bring you a foretaste of some of the goodies that are going to be in the 3.0.1 release, which is now planned for September 5th. There’s lots to play with, here, from bug fixes (the double dot in file names is gone, the crash with cheap tablets is gone, a big issue with memory leaks in the graphics card is solved), to features (soft-proofing, among others). There may also be new bugs, and not all new features may be working correctly. Export to animated gif or video clips is still in development, and probably will not work well outside the developers’ computer.

      • KDE blowing out candles on FISL 17!

        My talk was the next. Its title was “20 anos de KDE: de Desktop a Guarda-Chuva de Projetos” (20 years of KDE: From Desktop to Project Umbrella). I presented the evolution process of our community, which led it from a desktop project to a incubator community. For those who did not attend the event the talk was recorded and it is available here. Below I also make available the slides of my presentation:

      • LabPlot 2.3.0 released

        Less then four months after the last release and after a lot of activity in our repository during this time, we’re happy to announce the next release of LabPlot with a lot of new features. So, be prepared for a long post.

      • Core improvements in digiKam 5.0

        Version 5.0.0 of the digiKam image-management application was released on July 5. In many respects, the road from the 4.x series to the new 5.0 release consisted of patches and rewrites to internal components that users are not likely to notice at first glance. But the effort places digiKam in a better position for future development, and despite the lack of glamorous new features, some of the changes will make users’ lives easier as well.

        For context, digiKam 4.0 was released in May of 2014, meaning it has been over two full years since the last major version-number bump. While every free-software project is different, it was a long development cycle for digiKam, which (for example) had released 4.0 just one year after 3.0.

        The big hurdle for the 5.0 development cycle was porting the code to Qt5. While migrating to a new release of a toolkit always poses challenges, the digiKam team decided to take the opportunity to move away from dependencies on KDE libraries. In many cases, that effort meant refactoring the code or changing internal APIs to directly use Qt interfaces rather than their KDE equivalents. But, in a few instances, it meant reimplementing functionality directly in digiKam.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Hamster-GTK 0.10.0 Released

        Just a few seconds ago the initial release of Hamster-GTK, version 0.10.0, has been uploaded to the cheese shop. That means that after the rewritten backend codebase hamster-lib has been out in the wild for a few days by now you can now have a first look at a reimplementation of the original hamster 2.0 GUI. It will come as no surprise that this current early version is rather unpolished and leaves a lot to be desired. However, if you are familiar with legacy hamster 2.0 aka hamster-time-tracker you will surely see some major resemblance.

  • Distributions
    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the Week 2016/29

        Week 29 brought us, as usual, 4 snapshots. Those were 0715, 0716, 0718 and 0720. The most spectacular update was in 0715, but the entire week is noteworthy as Tumbleweed brought you those updates:

        Plasma 5.7.0
        KDE Framework 5.24.0
        KDE Applications 16.04.3
        Freetype 2.6.5
        Kernel 4.6.4
        The Live images again contain an installer option – now based on NET install

    • Slackware Family
      • KDE 5_16.07 for Slackware 14.2 and -current

        I released a Slackware Live ISO containing Plasma 5.7.0 a few weeks ago, but did not make a fuss out of it – in other words, I did not write any communication about it on this blog. The Live ISO was made upon request of the KDE developers who wanted to show off the new Plasma 5.7 on Live Editions of as many distro’s as possible.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Elive 2.7.1 beta released

        The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the beta version 2.7.1
        This new version includes:

        Audacity (audio wave editor) included by default
        Timezone detection improved
        Detector of systems improved and updated to detect last windows installed systems
        Linux Kernel updated with a lot of new patches for new hardware, bugfixes and improvements
        Google Voice search on internet using your microphone

      • Ubuntu & Debian Abandon Intel X.Org Driver For Most Hardware, Moves To Modesetting DDX

        Ubuntu and Debian (and thus other Debian-based distributions too) have abandoned the xf86-video-intel X.Org driver for all recent generations of Intel graphics hardware and instead makes use of the xf86-video-modesetting generic driver in its place.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu tablet and smartphone: a personal “mini” review

            So when Ubuntu and Canonical revealed they were partnering with actual, big manufacturers for Ubuntu mobile devices, a spark of hope was rekindled in my heart. Let it be clear, I am by no means an Ubuntu user, not even a fan. I left the fold nearly a decade ago, after having spent quite some time using and contributing to Kubuntu (to the point of becoming a certified “member” even, though I never ascended to the Council). In terms of loyalties and usage, I am a KDE user (and “helper”) foremost. I use Fedora because it just works for me, for now. So, yes, an Ubuntu Touch device would be another compromise for me, but it would be the smallest one. Or so I hoped.

          • Ubuntu tablet and smartphone: a personal “mini” review

            So when Ubuntu and Canonical revealed they were partnering with actual, big manufacturers for Ubuntu mobile devices, a spark of hope was rekindled in my heart. Let it be clear, I am by no means an Ubuntu user, not even a fan. I left the fold nearly a decade ago, after having spent quite some time using and contributing to Kubuntu (to the point of becoming a certified “member” even, though I never ascended to the Council). In terms of loyalties and usage, I am a KDE user (and “helper”) foremost. I use Fedora because it just works for me, for now. So, yes, an Ubuntu Touch device would be another compromise for me, but it would be the smallest one. Or so I hoped.

          • Using snap with confinement on Arch Linux

            This week I was a guest on the Snappy Sprint in Heidelberg, hosted by Canonical, because I’m the maintainer of snaps packages on Arch Linux.

            Actually with official packages on Arch Linux, you can only use snaps without confinement (aka you can only install packages in devmode) and this is bad for security since any snap is not confined and it can do (almost) anything it want.

            The reason is that snap for confinement uses the ubuntu-patched version of apparmor not available in mainline kernel yet.

          • Get Pitivi directly from us with Flatpak

            Distributing apps as packages (deb, rpm, etc) is problematic. For example, the Pitivi package depends on the GTK package and Pitivi 0.95 broke in the distributions which updated to GTK version 3.20, because of the incorrect way we were using a virtual method. This is not the first time something like this happens. To avoid the slippery dependencies problem, two years ago we started making universal daily builds. They allowed everybody to run the latest Pitivi easily by downloading a large binary containing the app and all the dependencies.

          • LibreOffice 5.2.0.2 available in the snap store

            The latest release candidate of the upcoming LibreOffice 5.2.0 feature release is available for installation from the snap store. This makes it very easy to install this prerelease of LibreOffice for testing out new features (an incomplete glimpse on what to look forward for can be found on the LibreOffice 5.2 release notes page, which is still under construction, go on #libreoffice-qa if you want to help with testing).

          • Lunduke & Whatnot – Ubuntu 10-inch Tablet
          • Ubuntu 16.10 Supertux2 on Unity 7 vs Unity 8
          • Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS Released for Desktop, Server, and Cloud with All Flavors

            Canonical has announced the first point release of the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, finally allowing users of Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS (Trusty Tahr) to upgrade their installations.

          • Mozilla Thunderbird 45 Finally Lands in the Main Ubuntu Linux Repositories

            After a long wait, Canonical has finally decided that it was time to upgrade the Mozilla Thunderbird software on all of its supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems, where it is used as the default email and news client.

          • Flavours and Variants
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • The fall of Open Source

    Once upon a time FOSS was about Freedom. It was about exposing equality within source code. It allowed everyone equal rights and equal access to the technology they were using. An idea that if you were capable, you could fix code or pay someone to fix code. An ideology that there was something greater than yourself and that there was an inherent right built into what it is to be human with software.

  • Why Open Source is gaining momentum in Digital Transformation?

    Once upon a time in IT, using open source simply meant Linux instead of Windows, or maybe MySQL instead of Oracle.

    Now, there is such a huge diversity of open source tools, and almost every leading digital business and tech startup is making extensive use of them. It’s been a remarkable turnaround for open source over the last 10 years, placing the trend firmly at the heart of the digital revolution.

    The explosive growth of e-commerce, mobile and social media has completely altered the customer’s lifestyle and buying habits. Today, organizations are expected to engage with customers in Omni-channel environment. They need to create a customer journey. This is the driver of digital transformation.

  • Building an Open Source Company: Interview with GitLab’s CEO

    Please note that while we think of ourselves as an open source company it would be more accurate to call it an open core company since we ship both the open source GitLab Community Edition and the close source GitLab Enterprise Edition. Thanks to paxcoder for pointing this out on Hacker News.

    GitLab began as a labor of love from Dmitriy Zaporozhets and Valery Sizov, who built the first version together in 2011. Like many open source authors, they were only able to work on the project part time. Sid Sijbrandij joined forces a year later and created GitLab.com, the first SaaS offering and first experiment with monetization.

    Today GitLab is a model for open source sustainability and stewardship. It is being used in over 100,000 organizations including RedHat, NASA, Intel, Uber, and VMWare, to name just a few. Large organizations buy enterprise licenses, sustaining and growing both the company and the free open source project. GitLab now has over 90 employees, including Sid and Dmitriy who serve as CEO and CTO, respectively.

  • You can now build your own Wire client

    Interview with Wire CTO and co-founder Alan Duric about open source.

  • 50 Top Open Source Marketing Applications

    Clearly, open source marketing apps have their place. These days, marketing departments are responsible for a sizable percentage of enterprise application purchases and deployment decisions. In fact, Gartner has predicted that by 2017 chief marketing officers (CMOs) will spend more on IT than chief information officers (CIOs) do.

    While the accuracy of that forecast is open to debate, marketing teams are certainly becoming more involved in the selection of software. The marketing automation industry alone is now worth an estimated $1.62 billion per year, and many marketing teams are also involved in choosing content management systems, customer relationship management, ecommerce software and other solutions.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox to start blocking Flash content in August

        In Firefox 48, Mozilla will enable a new Firefox plug-in blocklist by default. Initially the blocklist will be small, mostly containing URLs of Flash SWF files that have been identified by Mozilla as supercookies (i.e. cookies that are very hard to shake off) or fingerprinting files (i.e. they scan your system and create a unique fingerprint, again usually for tracking purposes).

      • Firefox sets kill-Flash schedule

        Mozilla yesterday said it will follow other browser markers by curtailing use of Flash in Firefox next month.

        The open-source developer added that in 2017 it will dramatically expand the anti-Flash restrictions: Firefox will require users to explicitly approve the use of Flash for any reason by any website.

        As have its rivals, Mozilla cast the limitations (this year) and elimination (next year) as victories for Firefox users, citing improved security, longer battery life on laptops and faster web page rendering.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • PSPP 0.10.2 has been released

      I’m very pleased to announce the release of a new version of GNU PSPP. PSPP is a program for statistical analysis of sampled data. It is a free replacement for the proprietary program SPSS.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • Super-hard metal ‘four times tougher than titanium’

      A super-hard metal has been made in the laboratory by melting together titanium and gold.

      The alloy is the hardest known metallic substance compatible with living tissues, say US physicists.

      The material is four times harder than pure titanium and has applications in making longer-lasting medical implants, they say.

    • Dolly the sheep’s clones are perfectly healthy, which could be huge for the future of cloning

      When Dolly the sheep died of lung disease and severe arthritis in 2003 after a relatively short seven year life, many scientists speculated that perhaps cloning had something to do with it. Could cloning an adult mammal, they wondered, make the clone adult-like right from birth. Maybe clones were not meant to live very long.

      It appears that is not the case.

      Scientists at the UK’s University of Nottingham just released a study showing that clones can lead long, healthy lives after all. It is the first long-term study of the health effects of cloning in a large animal. As the video above shows, the scientists followed the lives of 13 cloned sheep, four of which were actually cloned from the very same cells that Dolly came from.

    • How a Guy From a Montana Trailer Park Overturned 150 Years of Biology

      In 1995, if you had told Toby Spribille that he’d eventually overthrow a scientific idea that’s been the stuff of textbooks for 150 years, he would have laughed at you. Back then, his life seemed constrained to a very different path. He was raised in a Montana trailer park, and home-schooled by what he now describes as a “fundamentalist cult.” At a young age, he fell in love with science, but had no way of feeding that love. He longed to break away from his roots and get a proper education.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • How average income earners will be pushed into private health insurance by 2020

      By 2020 average income earners will be forced to buy private health insurance or pay extra tax after the government quietly extended a freeze in the threshold for the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

    • Rio Olympics 2016: Russia not given blanket Games ban by IOC

      Russia will not receive a blanket ban from Rio 2016 following the country’s doping scandal.

      The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will leave it up to individual sports’ governing bodies to decide if Russian competitors are clean and should be allowed to take part.

    • Male circumcision: the issue that ended my marriage

      I was in my kitchen getting my children ready for the school run when my phone pinged. I glanced at my friend’s message: “Maybe of interest…!” I paused on seeing the news report she’d sent – a High Court ruling against a Muslim father’s wish that his two young sons be circumcised. The children in the case were to decide for themselves when they were old enough to do so. I felt stunned. Like the mother in the case, I’m from the UK, with a background in which male circumcision is no longer routine. Like the father, my ex-partner is Muslim and wished to have our sons circumcised according to his cultural and religious beliefs. The boys in the High Court case were a similar age to our sons, too – mine are now seven and five. The court’s decision felt extremely close to home.

      I took the children to school. On returning home, I sat down to re-read the all-too-brief news report. I cried tears of sadness, relief and remaining fears. While our family has managed to avoid taking our conflict over circumcision to court, the issue has been a major factor in the break-up of our marriage. It also remains alive for us as we negotiate the upbringing of our children. It is something I never imagined would affect me – I’m not Jewish or Muslim and think most parents in the UK don’t for a moment consider circumcising their sons. When you know it is not medically necessary, that it is painful and that there is no other reason to, why would you?

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Situation in Aleppo “devastating and overwhelming” says ICRC’s most senior official in Syria
    • US Media Find European Terror Deaths 19 Times More Interesting Than Mideast Terror Deaths

      A survey conducted by FAIR of US media coverage of ISIS or ISIS-inspired attacks in Europe and the Middle East reveals a disparity of coverage, showing that European deaths are roughly 1,800 percent more newsworthy than deaths in the Middle East.

      For the purposes of this survey, both articles and video reports were included. We chose the three most-circulated “traditional media” newspapers and Buzzfeed, one of the most popular newsites for “Millennials,” to get another perspective. The list was compiled using a combination of the Nexis news database and Google.

    • Study Says Drones Generate More Terrorism

      The idea of using lethal drones to kill “bad guys” on the other side of the planet is offensive to many people on moral grounds, but a new study suggests that it is also ineffective in reducing terrorism, observes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • The Right Way to Defeat Terrorism

      The recent attacks on Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia are just the most recent examples of the horrific terrorist acts taking place around the world. The Islamic State’s recent bombing in Baghdad killed 250 people and wounded hundreds. The uptick of ISIS murderous attacks is likely due to the would-be caliphate’s loss of territories in Iraq and Syria.

    • Behind Turkey’s Post-Coup Crisis

      The political crisis in Turkey, after a failed coup and mass arrests, sees President Erdogan consolidating his power and blaming his troubles on a Turkish exile living in Pennsylvania, as ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller explains.

    • Horrific Suicide Bombing Targets Minority Group In Afghanistan

      ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack in the Afghan capital, calling it a planned attack on a “gathering of Shi’ites,” though it can be difficult to independently verify ISIS’ level of involvement. If the bombing was carried out by ISIS, it could “signal its first deliberate effort to target Afghanistan’s Shiite minority, which it views as infidel,” according to the Washington Post’s reporting.

    • At Least 80 Dead in Kabul After Massive Attack on Peaceful March

      At least 80 people were killed, and more than 230 wounded, in Kabul on Saturday by suicide bombers who targeted a peaceful protest march by ethnic Hazaras, a minority Shia group in Afghanistan.

      “We were holding a peaceful demonstration when I heard a bang and then everyone was escaping and yelling,” Sabira Jan, a protestor who witnessed the attack and saw bloodied bodies strewn across the ground, told Reuters. “There was no one to help.”

    • Syrians Use Pokemon Go to Depict Their Plight

      The war in Syria, now in its sixth year with no end in sight, has killed more than 280,000 people. It is as if the only real question to be decided is if the West will run out of ammunition, or Syria out of people, first

    • The Appalling Violence of the World’s Three Superpowers

      Certainly none has a peaceful past. The United States, Russia, and China have a long history of expansion at the expense of neighboring countries and territories, often through military conquest. Those nations on their borders today, including some that have wrenched themselves free from their imperial control, continue to fear and distrust them. Just ask Latin Americans, East Europeans, or Asians what they think of their powerful neighbors.

    • Failed Turkish Coup Accelerated a Purge Years in the Making
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • How climate change is rapidly taking the planet apart

      Writing up articles on climate change is difficult these days. Last week alone, 46 new papers and reports were published. I am certain that there are many more. The figure only refers to the sources I usually consult. I try to read all abstracts and all articles I find interesting, but sometimes I shy away from it: it is just too depressing. According to Naomi Oreskes, a great number of climate change scientists (she interviewed most of the top 200 climate change scientists in the US) suffer from some sort of mood imbalance or mild or serious depression. It is easy to understand why: we see the climate change taking the planet apart right in front of our eyes. We also clearly see, right in front of us, what urgently needs to done to stave off global disaster on an unprecedented scale. We need carbon taxes and the reconversion of industry and energy towards zero CO2 emissions systems. This route is without any doubt technically and economically feasible, but politically it seems to be permanently locked. If we do not unlock it, the future looks bleak, not to say hopeless, for humankind.

    • Rise in plunder of Earth’s natural resources

      Humans’ appetite for gnawing away at the fabric of the Earth itself is growing prodigiously. According to a new UN report, the amount of the planet’s natural resources extracted for human use has tripled in 40 years.

      A report produced by the International Resource Panel (IRP), part of the UN Environment Programme, says rising consumption driven by a growing middle class has seen resources extraction increase from 22 billion tonnes in 1970 to 70 billon tonnes in 2010.

      It refers to natural resources as primary materials, and includes under this heading biomass, fossil fuels, metal ores and non-metallic minerals.

    • US Failing Dismally on Sustainable Development, Despite Vast Wealth

      The United States is far behind other wealthy countries when it comes to sustainable development, a new report found this week, meaning the country is “seriously far” from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ratified by United Nations member states in September 2015.

    • Australia Appoints “Mr Coal” As New Climate Change Minister

      Australia’s new climate change minister is an MP once dubbed “Mr Coal” who believes the climate polluting fossil fuel is the secret to lifting the world’s poorest countries out of poverty.

      Re-elected conservative Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has put Liberal Party MP Josh Frydenberg, the former resources minister, in charge of the country’s climate policy.

      Frydenberg replaces MP Greg Hunt who, as environment and climate change minister, was responsible for approving the largest coal mine in Australian history — the giant Adani Carmichael mine in the country’s Galilee Basin.

      The burning of coal is the world’s single biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change.

  • Finance
    • Donald Trump: EU was formed ‘to beat the US at making money’

      Donald Trump has claimed that the European Union was created to “beat the United States when it comes to making money” in an interview with NBC News.

      Speaking to Chuck Todd, whom the Republican nominee has repeatedly berated as “sleepy-eyed”, Trump also said of the EU “the reason that it got together was like a consortium so that it could compete with the United States”.

      The European Union was founded as the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952 in an effort to promote strong cross-border ties in Europe and avoid future wars. It has since evolved to a customs union and eventually to the transnational entity devoted to removing internal trade barriers, building a common market and a fiscal union. Its development and growth has been repeatedly supported by the United States under presidents of both parties.

    • Britain just got its first concrete sign that Brexit will destroy the economy

      Britain just got its first concrete sign that the British exit from the European Union, or Brexit, will crush the nation’s economy after a grim set of PMI data released by Markit on Friday morning showed a “dramatic deterioration” in the economy since the UK voted to leave the EU.

      Markit’s flash PMI readings for the UK’s economy showed that composite output fell to its lowest level since March 2009, during the tail end of the global financial crisis.

      Here is the scoreboard:

      Services PMI — 47.4, down from 52.3 in June and at an 87-month low. The figure was well below the 49.2 forecast.

      Manufacturing PMI — 49.1, a 44-month low, and well below the expected 50 reading.

      Composite PMI — 47.7, a drop from 52.4 in June, and at an 87-month low.

      The PMI, or purchasing managers index, figures from Markit are given as a number between 0 and 100.

    • Tim Kaine Has a Troubling Record on Labor Issues

      Hillary Clinton’s VP pick is a well-regarded senior Democrat, but he has split with labor on the TPP, banking regulation, and even “right-to-work” laws.

    • UK heading for recession post-Brexit, finance minister promises response

      With word that Britain’s economy is shrinking following the Brexit vote, the UK’s finance minister Philip Hammond is promising a “reset” of government policy if the weakness continues.

      Hammond – in China for a meeting of finance ministers from the G20 top economies – tried to counter business surveys indicating Britain is heading for recession.

      He said they show businesses’ confidence had been “dented”, but it is the government’s job to restore confidence by progressing trade talks with the European Union and other countries, including China.

      Also in Beijing, the head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde repeated her call for Europe to quickly resolve questions over Brexit: “Our first and immediate recommendation is for this uncertainty surrounding the terms of Brexit to be removed as quickly as possible.

    • Bitter Brussels bloc ‘to BAN British students from foreign exchange study after Brexit’

      Ruth Sinclair-Jones said: “We face a sad moment of uncertainty, after 30 years of this enrichment of so many lives.”

      Worryingly, the end to British participation in the scheme could hit the wallets of UK universities.

    • Brexit Blues

      British politics has never seen a purer example of the Overton window than the referendum on membership of the EU. In 1994, the billionaire James Goldsmith founded a political party whose sole purpose was to advocate a referendum. The Referendum Party was a long, long way outside the political mainstream, and a significant number of its members were openly mad. The party’s one moment of – ‘success’ is the wrong word – mainstream attention came when Goldsmith himself stood in the 1997 general election in Putney against David Mellor, the cabinet minister who had been caught having an affair with an actress. Her fuck-and-tell story ran in the tabloids and included the fictional detail that (to quote the front page of the Sun) ‘Mellor Made Love in Chelsea Strip’. In a better-ordered society, making up things like that wins you the Prix Goncourt. Goldsmith did poorly, coming fourth with 1518 votes, but Mellor lost anyway. At the declaration of the result, Goldsmith and his supporters chanted ‘Out! Out! Out!’ while Mellor was making his concession speech, the words sounding a lot like ‘Raus! Raus! Raus!’ and providing one of the 1997 election’s most memorably ugly moments. The Referendum Party contested 547 seats and lost all of them.

    • How Individualist Economics Are Causing Planetary Eco-Collapse

      Lester Thurow, almost alone among mainstream economists as near as I can tell, recognizes this potentially fatal contradiction of capitalism — even though he is no anti-capitalist and wrote the book from which this excerpt is drawn in the hopes of finding a future for capitalism. Until very recently the standard economics textbooks ignored the problem of the environment altogether. Even today, the standard Econ 101 textbooks of Barro, Mankiv and so on, contain almost no mention of environment or ecology and virtually no serious consideration of the problem. This reflects the increasingly rightward drift of the discipline since the seventies. The American economics profession has long-since abandoned the practice of critical scientific thought to seriously dissenting views. Today, a neo-totalitarian “neoliberal” religious dogma rules the discipline. Keynesianism, liberalism, to say nothing of Marxism, are all dismissed as hopelessly antiquated, ecological economics is suspect, and the prudent graduate student would be well advised to steer clear of such interests if he or she wants to find a job. As Francis Fukuyama put it back in the 90s after communism collapsed, history has reached its apogee in free-market capitalism and liberal democracy. The science of economics, Fukuyama pronounced, was “settled” with Adam Smith’s accomplishment. The future would bring no more than “endless technical adjustments” and no further theoretical thought is required or need be solicited.

    • Verizon and Yahoo are set to announce an exclusive $5 billion deal

      Verizon and Yahoo are set to announce that they are striking an acquisition deal, according to sources close to the situation. The news is expected by Monday, although it could come earlier or later.

      But Yahoo told other bidders this afternoon — those interested in buying Yahoo have included private equity firm TPG and a group led by Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert — that the telco giant was the winner of the four-month process, said sources.

    • What the Close Decision on Philip Morris Tells Us About ISDS

      Sometimes corporations don’t get what they want. That was the case earlier this month when a World Bank arbitration tribunal ruled against tobacco giant Philip Morris in its suit against Uruguay. In a split decision, a majority of two arbitrators sided with the Latin American sovereign’s right to regulate, while a dissenting arbitrator sided partly with the corporation (which had appointed him to the panel).

      Philip Morris launched the case in 2010, after Uruguay introduced a set of cigarette labeling policies to deter smoking. First, all cigarette packages were required to have graphic warning labels on 80 percent of their surface area. Second, each cigarette brand family could have only one design presentation. (Uruguay argued that tobacco companies used different color and design schemes to suggest certain variants were healthier than others.) These policies were driven by the administration of Tabaré Vázquez, a left-leaning oncologist first elected president in 2005. Although Philip Morris is headquartered in the U.S.—and although the U.S. and Uruguay have a bilateral investment treaty, or BIT—the tobacco company used its Swiss subsidiary and a Switzerland-Uruguay BIT to bring the case, as it is permitted to do.

    • EU Prosecutions and American Ignorance of The Criminal Trangressions of Multi-National Corporations and Bankers

      Perhaps the fact that the people of Europe endured the loss of more than 150 million people in World War II is what causes them to be so suspicious and fearful of oligarchs and super-powerful corporations, banks and entities, that they insist that their governments indeed do something about the multiple transgressions of these multinational companies and organizations whenever they engage in any activity which the people find to be oppressive, repulsive, impinging on their freedoms, or in any other way threatening them with the yoke of financial debt slavery and austerity programs.

      It appears that the same fervor that Americans have for their Second Amendment rights and guns, is emulated and mirrored in their European counterparts in trusting that their government (in this case the European Union, hitherto ‘EC’ or ‘EU’ in this article) will aggressively go after those super-rich entities to bring them down a notch or two, or perhaps three.

      But ironically, Americans, even though they are armed to the teeth, and bray constantly about the constant criminal transgressions of multi-national corporations and banks, are remarkably sedate when it comes to demanding that their federal, state and local governments, in the forms of the 3 branches (legislature, executive, and judicial) go after these international monied scoundrels, choosing instead to complain about it vociferously on FaceBook, Twitter, or other social media outlets, with the practical effect that nothing ever changes.

    • After Brexit, a game plan for the EU: unleash Project Pain

      A prospect far more threatening than Brexit is emerging: a reasonable deal for the UK. Reports from Brussels suggest a compromise is doing the rounds under which it would be given continued access to the single market plus concessions on freedom of movement. This would be a grave mistake. If Britain comes out of this looking anything less than severely diminished it will be devastating for the EU.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Wants To Be ‘Plan B’ For Bernie Sanders Supporters

      Third parties are not new to American politics. The Anti-Masonic Party emerged in the 1820s to campaign against the Freemasons, which its members viewed as a corrupt. The Free Soil Party opposed the expansion of slavery in the years before the Civil War. Others throughout history have emerged to champion various causes, like the Know-Nothings, the Progressives, the Prohibition Party, the Reform Party and many others.

    • Democrats Need to Stop Insisting That Everything Is Going Well

      Among members of the liberal press, the reaction to Donald Trump’s RNC acceptance speech has been almost unanimous. It was, they say, “grim,” “angry,” and “dark.” Trump painted a “Mad Max” picture of the United States, as a nation is crisis, beset by crime, terrorism, unemployment, and despair.

    • Green candidate: Sanders should leave party that ‘betrayed’ him

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein once again welcomed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) into her party, suggesting in a series of tweets that he could leave the party that “betrayed” him.

    • DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz under pressure to resign

      Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will not speak at or preside over the party’s convention this week, a decision reached by party officials Saturday after emails surfaced that raised questions about the committee’s impartiality during the Democratic primary.

      The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, as permanent chair of the convention, according to a DNC source. She will gavel each session to order and will gavel each session closed.

      “She’s been quarantined,” another top Democrat said of Wasserman Schultz, following a meeting Saturday night.

      Wasserman Schultz faced intense pressure Sunday to resign her post as head of the Democratic National Committee, several party leaders told CNN, urging her to quell a growing controversy threatening to disrupt Hillary Clinton’s nominating convention.

    • Leaked DNC email: Sanders’ attempt to moderate Israel stance “disturbing,” Clinton campaign used it to “marginalize Bernie”

      Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, called the attempt by the Bernie Sanders campaign to moderate the party’s stance on Israel “disturbing.”

      A top DNC official also noted that the Hillary Clinton campaign used Israel “to marginalize Bernie.”

      This is according to an email released by Wikileaks. The whistleblowing journalism organization released approximately 20,000 DNC emails on Friday.

    • Debbie Wasserman Schultz Out As Democratic Convention Chair After Email Leak

      Amid furor over an email leak that revealed a bias against Bernie Sanders inside the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is out as chair of the convention.

      In an email to NPR, the office of Rep. Marcia Fudge said she “has been named permanent chair of the Democratic National Convention.”

    • Sanders says leaked DNC emails don’t change his support for Clinton

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he will still support Hillary Clinton for president, despite leaked emails that showed Democratic Party leaders privately planned to undermine his presidential campaign.

    • Bernie Sanders called for the resignation of the head of the DNC, and there are signs it’s sort of working

      Bernie Sanders may be out of the running in the race to the White House, but he’s just shown he can still pack a punch when it comes to fighting the establishment.

      Debbie Wassermann Schultz will not speak or preside over daily functions at the Democratic Convention next week, CNN reports. It is a move that comes directly after Sanders called for her to step down as Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Sanders’ call was a response to a Wikileaks hack late last week that made tens of thousands of DNC emails public and gave weight to his longtime accusation that the party establishment was helping to support Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign while undermining his own.

    • Clinton VP Favorite Just Gave the Left Two More Reasons to Distrust Him

      Over the past two days, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Associated Press have all reported that Tim Kaine is emerging as a (if not the) favorite to become Hillary Clinton’s running mate. On Wednesday night, the Times reported that Bill Clinton is privately lobbying for the Virginia senator’s selection.

      It’s not hard to see why the Clintons’ might be feeling the Kaine: The former governor of Virginia and current member of the Senate Armed Services Committee boasts both executive and foreign-policy experience, speaks fluent Spanish, has ties to a swing state, and is a known quantity, having been vetted by Democratic nominees in cycles past. In a race where most polls show Clinton with a solid lead, picking a moderate, experienced white man makes some tactical sense.

      [...]

      This week, Kaine provided left Democrats with two fresh reasons to see his selection as a repudiation of their agenda. On Monday, the senator added his name to two letters urging the federal government to scale back regulations on community and regional banks.

      In a letter co-signed by 15 other Senate Democrats — and every Senate Republican — Kaine asked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to exempt community banks and credit unions from many of its regulatory requirements. In justifying these exemptions, the letter suggests that these regulations would make it more difficult for these small banks to continue “spurring economic growth” and that such rules are unnecessary, anyhow, since community banks “were not the primary cause of the financial crisis.”

    • Released Emails Suggest the D.N.C. Derided the Sanders Campaign

      Top officials at the Democratic National Committee criticized and mocked Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont during the primary campaign, even though the organization publicly insisted that it was neutral in the race, according to committee emails made public on Friday by WikiLeaks.

      WikiLeaks posted almost 20,000 emails sent or received by a handful of top committee officials and provided an online tool to search through them. While WikiLeaks did not reveal the source of the leak, the committee said last month that Russian hackers had penetrated its computer system.

      Among the emails released on Friday were several embarrassing messages that suggest the committee’s chairwoman, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, and other officials favored Hillary Clinton over Mr. Sanders — a claim the senator made repeatedly during the primaries.

    • Jeremy Corbyn has more than double the support of Owen Smith, poll shows

      The online poll finds that among those who say they back Labour, 54% support Corbyn against just 22% who would prefer Smith. Some 20% say they are undecided and 4% say they do not intend to vote.

    • Everyone Creeped Out By Donald Trump Touching His Daughter

      Twitter noticed how Donald Trump patted his daughter Ivanka last night. Not in a good way.

    • From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland

      The 2016 Republican National Convention began in the immediate shadow of a highly publicized death spiral involving police and black civilians in Dallas, Falcon Heights, and Baton Rouge. Against this backdrop, the Trump campaign seemed to choose the legacy of Richard Nixon rather than Ronald Reagan as the party’s patron saint. Indeed, 1968 has functioned as myth and symbol throughout the Trump campaign, as they have leaned on racially-charged Nixonian phrases like ‘law and order’, ‘Silent Majority’ and ‘forgotten Americans.’ It might be more accurate to say that Trump has bundled Nixon together with George Wallace, the segregationist Alabama governor whose independent campaign for president that year was more openly racist and confrontational, but who with Nixon defined the Republican Party’s white populist turn.

    • Jeremy Corbyn launches Labour leadership campaign in Salford to rapturous reception

      The last time I saw Jeremy Corbyn address Labour members here was a year ago.

      It was the start of July and he was speaking at a Unison hustings at the Renaissance hotel in Manchester city centre , near the start of the leadership campaign. The audience was, as you would expect, appreciative of his standpoint.

      So he got a warm reception, certainly warmer than Liz Kendall and from recollection warmer than the others too, but there were no fireworks. He ended on a Tony Benn quote.

    • How technology disrupted the truth

      Social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But the consequences go far beyond journalism

    • 1998: Trump Comments On The Lewinsky Scandal
    • WikiLeaks Email Dump Raises Questions About How The DNC Treated Bernie Sanders

      A WikiLeaks release of nearly 20,000 emails from top Democratic National Committee staffers is sparking controversy just days before the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Philadelphia.

    • Set for Convention Floor Fight, Push to End Superdelegates ‘Catching Fire’

      The push to abolish the “antidemocratic superdelegate system” within the Democratic National Committee is at its apex ahead of a DNC Rules Committee meeting on Saturday, at which an amendment to minimize the influence of those party insiders will be considered.

      Superdelegates, which only exist within the Democratic Party, are unpledged elected officials or party elites who may back the candidate of their choosing at the convention, regardless of how their state voted in a presidential primary or caucus. The vast majority lined up behind Hillary Clinton before the 2016 primary race even began.

    • DNC Votes to Keep Superdelegates, But Sets Some Conditions

      The rule-making body of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday defeated an amendment brought by Bernie Sanders delegates to abolish superdelegates — the unelected party elites who make up 15 percent of all delegates and are allowed to cast a vote for the presidential candidate of their choice, unbound by the popular vote. But the rules committee did approve a compromise measure that binds some superdelegates to the results of their state primaries.

    • Establishment Wins Again as DNC Rules Committee Rejects Proposal to Abolish Superdelegates

      After several rounds of voting Saturday afternoon, an effort by progressive Democrats to abolish what they see as the anti-democratic superdelegate process was defeated.

      The amendment, co-sponsored by 52 members of the Democratic Party Rules Committee, was defeated when 108 members voted against and just 58 voted in favor.

      Though a stinging defeat for those who campaigned in favor of the rule change, spearheaded largely by Bernie Sanders delegates and progressive advocacy groups, supporters took solace that because more than one-quarter of the committee voted ‘yes’ they will able to introduce a minority report during the full convention next week and demand a floor vote.

    • Donald Trump’s United States of #MAGA, Beheld Live at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, Part One
    • Clinton’s F-You to Progressives: This is How Trump Could Become President

      Before we explore these issues, let’s get some perspective here. Tim Kaine is not a right wing zealot. He’s backed expanding payroll taxes to cover a broader range of income to increase Social Security’s solvency. He’s supported some limited expansion of gun control in a state that loves its guns. He’s got a reasonably good record on LGBT rights (after “evolving” a bit). He’s got a mixed record on climate and energy, banning some but not all fracking when governor of Virginia, and supporting the use of fossil fuels as a “bridge” to clean energy (including support for clean coal); but at least he acknowledges the science on climate change. He’s suggested that waging war against ISIL requires congressional authorization, and he called for withdrawing from Afghanistan as quickly as possible.

    • In Reality, This Was a Media Convention

      More than 15,000 journalists descended on Cleveland to cover the Republican National Convention. But it was an unemployed TV reporter sitting in a Starbucks in Los Angeles, 2,345 miles away, who broke the biggest story of the week.

    • Why Donald Trump Could Be the Next President of the United States

      So as we move on to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, let’s be clear: The great tragedy of the moment is not rooted in the Republican Party’s self-cannibalization. It’s with a Democratic Party that “successfully” suffocated responsible answers to the crises consuming our world. Indeed, as Hillary Clinton’s selection of the milquetoast Tim Kaine as her vice president shows, the Dems have put forward a candidate who embodies an establishment widely recognized as having betrayed the majority of the American public.

    • 5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win

      Let’s face it: Our biggest problem here isn’t Trump – it’s Hillary. She is hugely unpopular — nearly 70% of all voters think she is untrustworthy and dishonest. She represents the old way of politics, not really believing in anything other than what can get you elected. That’s why she fights against gays getting married one moment, and the next she’s officiating a gay marriage. Young women are among her biggest detractors, which has to hurt considering it’s the sacrifices and the battles that Hillary and other women of her generation endured so that this younger generation would never have to be told by the Barbara Bushes of the world that they should just shut up and go bake some cookies. But the kids don’t like her, and not a day goes by that a millennial doesn’t tell me they aren’t voting for her. No Democrat, and certainly no independent, is waking up on November 8th excited to run out and vote for Hillary the way they did the day Obama became president or when Bernie was on the primary ballot. The enthusiasm just isn’t there. And because this election is going to come down to just one thing — who drags the most people out of the house and gets them to the polls — Trump right now is in the catbird seat.

    • Hillary-Kaine: Back to the Center

      By picking Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton has revealed her true preferences and shown that her move to the left on policy issues during the primaries was simply a tactical move to defeat Bernie Sanders. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. Clinton can talk about caring about the U.S. public, but this choice cuts through the rhetoric.

    • Bernie Revolutionaries, Give Your Love to Jill Stein

      If Bernie Sanders sounded one of the very few authentic notes in recent U.S. politics, it was in his call for political revolution. We need a political revolution not just against Donald Trump but also against the repulsively corrupt likes of Hillary Clinton. Because of the former secretary of state’s veiled but solid-as-granite lackey service to the 1 percent, she is probably just as responsible for sustaining Trump’s thuggish, scapegoating brand of populism as is the real estate mogul himself.

    • Donald Trump’s Strategy for Victory Is Clear, but Are Democrats Able to See It?

      There is an adage, based on Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: “Know your enemy.” After watching Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, I wonder just how well Democrats really know Trump and his strategy.

      It is easy to paint the businessman-turned-politician as a “racist” and “misogynist.” He is all those things and more. In fact, those descriptors are part of his political strategy. Pointing them out without seeing the larger picture of how he is planning on winning the November election is a recipe for failure.

      I knew that if I watched Trump give his speech, I would be so enraged by his loathsome manner and disgusting rhetoric that it might blind me to his bigger plan. When I read the transcript later, I still felt rage, but the topics appeared to be a confusing mess, with Trump jumping from domestic to foreign policy with no apparent coherence. But then a pattern emerged.

    • What the Roger Ailes’ Drama Says About Sexual Harassment in 2016

      When New York Magazine broke the news two weeks ago that Gretchen Carlson was suing her former boss, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, alleging sexual harassment, Kellie Boyle knew what she had to do. She had to speak up. The Virginia communications consultant called Carlson’s lawyer to share her story of how, in 1989, Ailes had sexually harassed her, then retaliated against her.

      “I just couldn’t not come forward. I knew what kind of abuse Gretchen was going to get,” Boyle said. “I wanted to support her.”

      But then a funny thing happened. Unlike the public trashing that other women have gotten when accusing powerful men in the past—think Anita Hill, called “nutty” and “slutty” in 1991 or the long line of Bill Cosby accusers who, until very recently, were dismissed as gold diggers—Carlson’s claims that Ailes ogled her and forced her out when she rebuffed him were taken seriously, listened to, and investigated.

    • Jon Stewart to Donald Trump and His Supporters in the Media: America Isn’t Yours

      Jon Stewart, former host of “The Daily Show,” briefly took over Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” on Thursday to expose the hypocrisy of conservative pundits who support Donald Trump, a presidential candidate who embodies much of what they claimed to despise about President Obama.

      “Here’s where we are,” Stewart said after reviewing a number of the pundits’ statements. “Either Lumpy [Fox News host Sean Hannity] and his friends are lying about being bothered by thin-skinned, authoritarian, less-than-Christian readers-of-prompter being president, or they don’t care, as long as it’s their thin-skinned, prompter, authoritarian, tyrant narcissist.”

      “You just want that person to give you your country back because you feel that you’re this country’s rightful owners. There’s only one problem with that: This country isn’t yours. You don’t own it. It never was. There is no real American. You don’t own it. You don’t own patriotism. You don’t own Christianity. You sure as hell don’t own respect for the bravery and sacrifice of military, police and firefighters.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Oliver Stone Says Corporate Censorship Led To ‘Snowden’ Movie Rejection

      Director Oliver Stone told fans at Comic-Con that every major movie studio turned down his narrative film about Edward Snowden because of censorship from their corporate leaders.

    • Snowden film ‘almost killed’ by self-censorship

      It was the largest data leak in United States history, fueling a firestorm over the issue of mass surveillance that resonated with Americans and ignited around the world.

      Oliver Stone’s hotly-anticipated “Snowden” tells the story of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in dramatic form for the first time — but the movie almost never made it to theaters.

      “Frankly, it was turned down by every major studio. The script was good, the budget was good, the cast was good. It was definitely… self-censorship,” Stone, 69, told San Diego fan convention Comic-Con International on Thursday.

    • Snowden has been cleared to appear at a theatre near you

      No matter which you believe, the epic story of why he did it, who he left behind, and how he pulled it off makes for one of the most compelling films of the year. He made that accusation at Comic-Con International, the annual four-day celebration of comics and other arts and culture.

      The biographical drama, which was produced by Moritz Borman, Eric Kopeloff and Philip Schulz-Deyle, is set to be released in theaters nationwide on September 16. (“I’m not an actor”, reminded Snowden, who appeared at the sci-fi convention via Google Hangout; Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays him in the film). At the very least, Snowden, who is reportedly hiding out in an undisclosed location in Russian Federation, would prefer not to have his location tracked. Stone met with him a number of times in Moscow, trying to gain his trust and decide whether to take on the project. Written by Stone and Kieran Fitzgerald and based on recent books about the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • #DNCLeaks disappears from trending news as WikiLeaks emails released

      Conservative Twitter users erupted on Friday after the social media platform torpedoed #DNCLeaks from its trending-news feed after Wikileaks released 20,000 emails by Democratic National Committee staff members.

      Embarrassing emails sent and received by DNC members had enough momentum to propel the story to Twitter’s top “trending” news feed on Friday afternoon. The #DNCLeaks entry vanished in the evening, but returned 20 minutes later after users cried foul.

      The story had 250,000 tweets at the time it was pulled. The Washington Examiner then aggregated a stream of angry feedback.

    • Twitter accused of shutting down #DNCLeaks of damaging email release by Wikileaks

      Nearly every time someone wants attention from social media they accuse Twitter of shutting down their cause, both left and right, but in this case there seems to be some real evidence that they’re suppressing info from a release by Wikileaks that can damage the Democrats.

    • Will the banning of @nero mark the »Peak Twitter« moment?

      Twitter banning Milo Yiannopolous is a story with interesting dimensions.

      Yiannopolous is very entertaining. He’s got some points. And he often provokes some interesting reactions.

      Yiannopolous also is a loudmouth and a troll. He doesn’t really give a shit. And sometimes his opinions are rather disturbing.

      The banning might very well have marked a »Peak Twitter« moment.

      The party is over. I think this might cause immense damage to Twitters image and trademark. Twitter just isn’t as exciting anymore.

    • Fans furious as Rajinikanth starrer Kabali ‘censored’, climax changed in Malaysia

      The Film Censorship Board of Malaysia said Rajinikanth’s ‘Kabali’ will have a different ending in that country simply to spread this particular message to the wider public: ‘crime does not pay’. The authorities have ordered these words to be superimposed at the very climax. However, for all intents and purposes, original climax scene in Kabali has given way to a final conclusive one that may spoil the storyline for many fans. The censor board had effected several cuts in the film of about five minutes duration, but insisted the storyline was intact.

      [...]

      Malay Mail Online quotes Abdul Halim as saying, “We asked the producer to put in a caption…. This was to send a message that the law cannot be taken into your own hands.” What may have swung the authorities into action so late in the day after the release of the movie is the extreme popularity of the film with thousands of people lining up since early morning to watch it – Rajni mania has gripped Malaysia as much as it did in Tamil Nadu or Kerala.

    • Tamil movie will have Malaysia-only ending thanks to film censors
    • Viewers surprised why Rajinikanth’s ‘Kabali’ given ‘U’ certificate by censor board
    • ‘Kabali’ to have different ending in Malaysia
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Pokémon Go is “new level of invasion,” says stony-faced Oliver Stone

      Pokémon Go heralds a new dystopian age that we should all be fretting about, film director Oliver Stone has warned.

      Speaking at Comic Con on Thursday to promote his new movie about US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, Stone described the data-slurping tactics of the freakishly successful game as “a new level of invasion.”

      The panel—also featuring Snowden stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, and Zachary Quinto—was asked about the surveillance potential of the game.

      Quinto, of Star Trek and Heroes fame, replied: “I feel as long as you can find a balance in that, and limit your Pokémon Go time, then I’m all for it. Have at it.” He joked that Comic Con was probably “crawling with Pokémon,” but a stony-faced Stone cut in: “It’s not really funny.”

    • NSA construction project expected to impact traffic, environment, historic buildings

      The project, according to the draft statement, calls for the construction of approximately 2.9 million square feet of new operations and headquarters space in five buildings and the demolition of 1.9 million square feet of buildings and infrastructure.

    • Windows 10 collects too much user data, lacks security says watchdog

      Microsoft has been told to reduce the data Windows 10 collects about users and tighten up the OS security or risk facing sanction for breaching data protection rules.

    • Oliver Stone concerned about Pokemon

      Film director Oliver Stone has branded the popular gaming app Pokemon Go a new level of invasion of privacy that could lead to totalitarianism and “robot society”.

      The American reportedly voiced concerns over the game as he promoted his new movie about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden at Comic Con International.

    • Oliver Stone Calls Pokémon Go “Totalitarian”

      And they have invested a huge amount of money into, what surveillance is, data mining. They’re data mining every single person in this room for information as to what you’re buying, what you like, above all, your behavior.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • ‘The Impact That It Had on People Was Not Really Covered’

      Coming amid a number of other high-profile decisions, the Supreme Court’s 4-to-4 deadlock blocking Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration may not have gotten the attention it deserved. The measures would have expanded eligibility for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as well as the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program, programs that shield people from deportation, at least temporarily. Who is affected by the ruling, and where does it fit on the bigger road to truly humane immigration policy?

    • Ralph Nader, Omar Barghouti to Receive Gandhi Peace Award in 2017

      Promoting Enduring Peace, founded in 1952 with the goal of promoting world peace and environmental sustainability, announced the recipients of next year’s Gandhi Peace Award on Friday. It will be presented jointly to consumer activist Ralph Nader and to Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights defender.

      The award, given since 1960, “comes with a cash prize and a medallion made of ‘peace bronze,’ metal fashioned from recycled copper from disarmed nuclear missile systems,” according to the organization’s news release.

    • Other erratic nations of our time

      While the US and the Soviet Union were in a proxy war, Americans were also fighting an internal ideological war, believing themselves defenders of liberal American thought in the face of communist evils.

    • Williams: Censorship is not the answer

      A national study found that lesbian, gay and bisexual youth in grades 7-12 were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. The numbers for transgender youth are believed to be even higher, with one study finding that out of 55 transgender young people, 25 percent reported suicide attempts.

    • As Courts Strike Down Discriminatory Voter ID Laws, RNC Delegates Cry ‘Voter Fraud’

      As the Republican National Convention unfolded in Cleveland this week with the Republican Party officially calling for measures to make it harder for people to vote, two different courts across the country issued rulings easing those restrictions.

      Federal judges this week ruled against voter identification laws in Wisconsin and then Texas, finding that they disproportionately impact minority voters and violate the Voting Rights Act. Those photo ID laws, which have become more prevalent across the country in the years since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the VRA in 2013, are formally included in the GOP platform.

    • Indiana Drops Murder Charge Against Woman For Her Abortion

      An Indiana appeals court dropped feticide charges Friday against a woman who used abortion medication to induce her own abortion. The court unanimously ruled that Indiana’s feticide law was not intended to apply to abortions, and that 35-year-old Purvi Patel was not an exception to the rule.

      Patel’s case, the first of its kind in the United States, was initially based on contradicting claims.

    • Is Obama’s Recent Ban on Military Gear to Police Already Coming to an End?

      When President Barack Obama last year banned the federal government from selling certain military equipment to police departments, civil liberties advocates cautiously welcomed the move as a positive development in curtailing militarized police forces.

      In announcing the step on May 18, 2015, Obama said, “We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people the feeling like there’s an occupied force, as opposed to a force that is part of that community it is protecting and serving.”

      But according to two of the law enforcement leaders who met with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden days after a gunman shot dead five Dallas police officers, the welcome may be short-lived, as Obama has “agreed to review each banned item,” Reuters exclusively reported Thursday.

    • RNC Protesters “Wall Off Trump” and Confront Police Violence

      Throughout the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, protesters have kept issues of poverty, racism and systemic police violence in the spotlight, even as Republicans attending the convention attempted to swerve the national debate on these issues toward the right.

      On Wednesday, hundreds of immigrants’ rights protesters from across the US erected a wall with several fence- and wall-like banners that stretched for several blocks outside the Quicken Loans Arena, where the RNC is taking place. The “Wall Off Trump” action was an effort to rebuff the Republican nominee’s promise to build a wall along the Mexican border, as well as his many bigoted comments against Mexican immigrants and other marginalized groups. The protesters first demonstrated at Cleveland’s Public Square, and then marched from the square to the inside of the secure perimeter just outside the convention center.

    • The American Dream Moved to Canada

      We’re witnessing accelerating advantages for the affluent and compounding disadvantages for everyone else.

    • A Brief History of the “War on Cops”: The False Allegation That Enables Police Violence

      As part of a global action proclaiming “Freedom Now,” Black Lives Matter groups shut down police operations around the country on July 20. From Oakland to Washington, DC, New York City to Chicago and Detroit, these bold and creative acts of civil disobedience issued a demand to “Fund Black Futures.” Protests in New York shut down the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association while those in DC closed the National Fraternal Order of Police office for the day.

    • Make America Straight Again? A Debate on What Could Be the Most Anti-LGBT Republican Platform Ever

      As the new Republican platform has been described as “the most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s 162-year history,” we get reaction from Charles Moran, board member with the Log Cabin Republicans, which represents LGBT conservatives and allies. He is a delegate to the Republican National Convention from California. We also speak with Alana Jochum, executive director of Equality Ohio, about how the platform opposes same-sex marriage, appears to endorse so-called conversion therapy and criticizes the Department of Education’s recommendation that schools allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

    • Trumpism Is a Scam — You’re Actually Voting for Mike Pence

      When he officially accepts the 2016 Republican nomination for president Thursday night, Donald Trump will do so as a different kind of Republican.

      Or so the thinking goes.

      A Trump presidency would be just like every other Republican presidency, arguably even worse.

      We now know this for fact.

      According to a story out today in the New York Times Magazine, when Donald Trump was looking for a running mate, he initially offered the job to one of his former opponents, Ohio Governor John Kasich.

    • Pastor on Tamir Rice Shooting: Ohio is an Open-Carry State Except If You’re an African-American Male

      The Republican National Convention is underway just a few miles from the park where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot dead by police in November of 2014 while he was playing with a toy pellet gun. We speak with Rev. Dr. Jawanza Karriem Colvin, the pastor of the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, which is one of the largest African-American congregations in Cleveland, about how city officials and activists responded to the killing. He was recently profiled in a Politico report titled “The Preacher Who Took on the Police.”

    • Facing Down Trump’s Demagoguery: Lessons From Weimar Germany

      Donald Trump is not the first authoritarian demagogue who could take power and undermine constitutional government in the US or Europe. Right-wing authoritarian populists have often grabbed power during economic crises, particularly in Western societies suffering national decline and severe racial divisions or culture wars.

      The classic example is Weimar Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s. The Nazis were one of many far-right movements in Weimar — and Hitler was only one of many hyper-nationalist demagogues stoking the flames of economic discontent and promising to restore Aryan racial supremacy and make Germany great again.

    • “I Alone”: Trump’s Megalomania on Cold Display

      How did Trump respond? He became Thor in the wasteland of an imagined apocalypse, vowing to wield his mighty hammer and smash anyone who did not eat at Arby’s or protested police violence. “Law and Order” went the refrain, over and over in a lightning-bright flashback to authoritarian, racially coded Republican campaign tactics of old.

    • Cleveland: a historical perspective

      The rhetoric that surrounds Donald Trump’s convention triumph signals a new phase in the intertwined history of fascism and populism.

    • Abolish Long-Term Solitary Confinement: It’s a Threat to the Public

      For nearly the first three years, I was denied a television or radio. Thus, I spent every waking hour reading, writing, cleaning, or working out in order to try to maintain my sanity. Still, by year five, I was experiencing auditory hallucinations (thinking I heard someone calling my name), extreme anxiety, erratic heart palpitations, and severe bouts of depression. All of these conditions were a direct consequence of long-term solitary confinement, and would become worse as the years wore on.

    • Turkey: Independent monitors must be allowed to access detainees amid torture allegations

      Amnesty International has gathered credible evidence that detainees in Turkey are being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, in official and unofficial detention centres in the country.

      The organization is calling for independent monitors to be given immediate access to detainees in all facilities in the wake of the coup attempt, which include police headquarters, sports centres and courthouses. More than 10,000 people have been detained since the failed coup.

      Amnesty International has credible reports that Turkish police in Ankara and Istanbul are holding detainees in stress positions for up to 48 hours, denying them food, water and medical treatment, and verbally abusing and threatening them. In the worst cases some have been subjected to severe beatings and torture, including rape.

    • Islam and the Free World: What Should be done as an Imperative Survival (A)

      It is the duty of the Muslims to propagate the only one true faith, Islam, throughout the world. It is the duty of the Muslim to invade, by force, to the lands of the infidels. Should the infidels refuse to embrace Islam, jihad is the means to vanquish them. These are the three main arms of Islam, the Muslims use at will and according to the circumstances.

    • CIA and State Dept Documents on Jack Valenti

      It was announced in April 1966 that Valenti would be leaving his White House position to take up the vacant job as head of the MPAA, so why was he simultaneously being granted a Top Secret security clearance? Valenti began his new job in June so he was a consultant to the State Department in the early months of his new job at the MPAA.

  • DRM
    • Microsoft Edge and Netflix — testing new restrictions by locking out competing browsers?

      Microsoft made the news last week when it announced that its Edge Web browser could deliver a better Netflix streaming experience than the other three most popular browsers. On Windows 10, Edge is the only one that can play Netflix’s video streams — which are encumbered with Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) — in 1080p high definition. A PCWorld article confirmed the claim, but no one writing online has been able to give a clear explanation for the discrepancy. Following the tone of Microsoft’s announcement, most writers seem content to imply that Edge’s “edge” in Netflix playback on Windows derives from technical superiority, and that intelligent Netflix users should switch to Edge.

    • EFF is suing the US government to invalidate the DMCA’s DRM provisions

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just filed a lawsuit that challenges the Constitutionality of Section 1201 of the DMCA, the “Digital Rights Management” provision of the law, a notoriously overbroad law that bans activities that bypass or weaken copyright access-control systems, including reconfiguring software-enabled devices (making sure your IoT light-socket will accept third-party lightbulbs; tapping into diagnostic info in your car or tractor to allow an independent party to repair it) and reporting security vulnerabilities in these devices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • The utter futility of the legal attack on KickassTorrents

        The operator of the torrent site KickassTorrents has been arrested in Poland on an extradition request from Hollywood, and the domains seized. This action, while deplorable, shows that the copyright industry is still some fifty years behind reality in its thinking: there are no central chokepoints you can control on the Internet, and the net reacts to any censorship like this with antifragility – hardening and decentralizing the damaged part.

        The old monopolized copyright industry is thinking in terms of central chokepoints, just like the Catholic Church was 500 years ago when trying to crush the printing press and its users. But just like the printing press, the Internet is decentralized, so it’s easy to circumvent chokepoints – and this has been predictable for a long time.

Links 23/7/2016: Leo Laporte on GNU/Linux, Dolphin Emulator’s Vulkan Completion

Sunday 24th of July 2016 12:09:03 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Science
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Monsanto Tries to Build a Society of GMO and Pesticide Devotees, One Child at a Time

      On October 14, 2015, the International Food Information Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation released a free, 38-page, downloadable lesson plan called “Bringing Biotechnology to Life: An Educational Resource for Grades 7-10.”

      The International Food Information Council is a front group funded by some of biggest names in biotech and junk food: Bayer, Dow, DuPont, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, Nestle and more. The American Farm Bureau Federation, according to SourceWatch, is a “right-wing lobbying front for big agribusiness and agribusiness-related industries that works to defeat labor and environmental initiatives, including climate change legislation.” The organization is adamantly against GMO labels, and even spoke out against Roberts’ and Stabenow’s deal for being too lenient.

      The lesson plan created by the International Food Information Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation is deceptively innocuous until Lesson 7, which includes the theme, “Where would we be without ‘GMOs’?” In the “discussion prompt” section, students are asked to choose between planting magical, problem-solving GMOs or allow people to get sick, go hungry or exploit the environment by not planting GMOs.

    • Indigenous Villages in Honduras Overcome Hunger at Schools

      A 2012 report by the World Food Programmme (WFP) indicated that in Central America, Honduras had the second worst child malnutrition levels, after Guatemala. According to the WFP, one in four children suffers from chronic malnutrition, with the worst problems seen in the south and west of the country.

    • Commentary: Identifying the “bad actors”— new challenges for the evaluation of endocrine disrupting chemicals

      The European Commission has proposed new criteria to identify and classify endocrine disrupting chemicals.

    • Rio 2016: Sympathy for clean Russian athletes – Mo Farah

      Double Olympic Champion Mo Farah says he feels sympathy for the clean Russian athletes unable to compete at the Rio Olympics but says countries have to follow the rules.

      Russian track and field athletes will remain banned from the Olympics following claims the country ran a state-sponsored doping programme.

  • Security
    • Ransomware Gang Claims Fortune 500 Company Hired Them to Hack the Competition

      Ransomware—computer viruses that lock a victim’s files and demand a payment to get them back—has become so common that experts believe it’s now an “epidemic.”

      Security experts have always assumed that ransomware hackers are in it for the ransom. But a shocking claim made by one ransomware agent suggests there may be another motive: corporate sabotage.

      In an exchange with a security researcher pretending to be a victim, one ransomware agent claimed they were working for a Fortune 500 company.

      “We are hired by [a] corporation to cyber disrupt day-to-day business of their competition,” the customer support agent of a ransomware known as Jigsaw said, according to a new report by security firm F-Secure.

    • How and why to verify your Twitter account
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Munich gunman acted alone, say police

      A gun attack at a Munich shopping centre which left nine people dead was carried out by one gunman who then killed himself, police have said.

      A huge manhunt was launched following reports that up to three gunmen had been involved in the attack at the Olympia centre.

      The body of the suspect was found about 1km (0.6 miles) from the shopping centre in the Moosach district.

      The motive for the attack, in which 10 people were wounded, is unclear.

    • Shooting rampage in Munich: At least 10 dead in shopping center attack

      Police treat the incident as a terrorist attack.

    • Nice – 14th July – Lie Propaganda in Overdrive – Murder Is the New Normal

      TeleSur reported that MLB’s brother in Tunisia was surprised having received a sudden transfer of € 100,000 from his brother, as compared to the former small transfers corresponding to MLB’s previously reported poverty and debt. Is this a hint to make us believe that he got paid a lot of money to carry out this mass-murder on behalf of Daesh?

      France as a country and through NATO is supporting ISIS-Daesh with training, weapons and money, along with Washington and Washington’s other European and Mid-Eastern vassals. Why would Daesh attack France?

    • Nice Attacks, Destroying Evidence at Crime Scene: French Government Orders Destruction of CCTV Video Footage

      The explanation given by the French Ministry of Justice is that they don’t want ‘uncontrolled’ and ‘non-authorised (non maîtrisée) diffusion of the images of the terrorist attacks. The Judicial Police have noted that 140 videos of the attacks in their possession show ‘important pieces of the inquiry’ (éléments d’enquête intéressants). The French government claims it wants to prevent ISIS from gaining access to videos of the attacks for the purposes of propaganda. They also claim that the destruction of evidence is intended to protect the families of the victims. The comments section of the Le Figaro article is replete with outrage and disgust by the fact that the French government, instead of preserving evidence for the purposes of a thorough, independent investigation, is in fact behaving rather more like the chief suspect in the attack – ordering the destruction of vital evidence.

    • Germany Preparing for War Against Russia

      According to a report issued on June 6th in German Economic News (Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, or DWN), the German government is preparing to go to war against Russia, and has in draft-form a Bundeswehr report declaring Russia to be an enemy nation. DWN says: “The Russian secret services have apparently thoroughly studied the paper. In advance of the paper’s publication, a harsh note of protest has been sent to Berlin: The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma, Alexei Puschkow, has posted the Twitter message: ‘The decision of the German government declaring Russia to be an enemy shows Merkel’s subservience to the Obama administration.’”

    • It’s all connected

      Anger and fear drove Brexit just as Donald Trump fans the flames of a disenfranchised America, which as Baton Rouge proves, is as racially and ethnically divided as Europe, which is dealing with mass immigration, an attempted coup in Turkey and seemingly relentless terrorism borne out civil war-torn Syria. Mark MacKinnon reports on the relationship between seemingly unconnected events across the globe

    • Nice authorities turn down police request to delete footage of fatal truck attack

      The request was sent by Anti-Terrorist Sub-Directorate (SDAT), a special police division battling extremism, to the mayor of Nice’s office on Wednesday, according to the paper.

      Le Figaro managed to obtain the copy of the document in which SDAT, citing articles of the criminal and penal codes, demands the city authorities delete “completely” nearly 24 hours of the attack captured on cameras on the Promenade des Anglais.

      “Delete the recordings between July 14, 2016 22:30 and July 15, 2016 18:00,” the documents demands.

      The anti-terrorist police named six cameras which recordings should be “particularly” deleted. Plus the city authorities should delete any footage from any camera “that captured the crime scene”, the paper added.

    • Will NYT Retract Latest Anti-Russian ‘Fraud’?

      In covering the new Cold War, The New York Times has lost its journalistic bearings, serving as a crude propaganda outlet publishing outlandish anti-Russian claims that may cross the line into fraud, reports Robert Parry.

    • Trump Blasts Clinton in a Foreign-Policy Fight Where Both Have Strayed From Their Parties

      Thursday night, Americans were treated to the longest Republican National Convention acceptance speech in decades when Donald Trump spoke for an hour and 15 minutes. The tone of his speech was dark and warlike as he focused on threats both domestically and abroad.

      Declaring that he would “defeat the barbarians of ISIS,” he used his time on stage to attack Hillary Clinton’s legacy as secretary of state. “America is far less safe—and the world is far less stable—than when Obama made the decision to put Hillary Clinton in charge of America’s foreign policy,” Trump said. “This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”

    • We May Be at a Greater Risk of Nuclear Catastrophe Than During the Cold War

      “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War,” warns William Perry [former U.S. defense secretary], “and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.”

    • The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO

      Perry has been an inside player in the business of nuclear weapons for over 60 years and his book, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” is a sober read. It is also a powerful counterpoint to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) current European strategy that envisions nuclear weapons as a deterrent to war: “Their [nuclear weapons] role is to prevent major war, not to wage wars,” argues the Alliance’s magazine, NATO Review.

      But, as Perry points out, it is only by chance that the world has avoided a nuclear war—sometimes by nothing more than dumb luck—and, rather than enhancing our security, nukes “now endanger it.”

      The 1962 Cuban missile crisis is generally represented as a dangerous standoff resolved by sober diplomacy. In fact, it was a single man—Russian submarine commander Vasili Arkhipov—who countermanded orders to launch a nuclear torpedo at an American destroyer that could have set off a full-scale nuclear exchange between the USSR and the U.S.

      There were numerous other incidents that brought the world to the brink. On a quiet morning in November 1979, a NORAD computer reported a full-scale Russian sneak attack with land and sea-based missiles, which led to scrambling U.S. bombers and alerting U.S. missile silos to prepare to launch. There was no attack, just an errant test tape.

    • Indonesia’s Mass Killings of 1965 Were Crimes Against Humanity, International Judges Say

      An international panel of judges has declared that Indonesia committed crimes against humanity during the 1965–66 mass killings and that the U.S., the U.K. and Australia were complicit in the crimes.

      Eight months after the International People’s Tribunal on 1965 Crimes Against Humanity in Indonesia (IPT 1965) held November in the Hague, presiding head judge Zak Yacoob — a former South African Constitutional Court Justice — read its findings on Wednesday.

      “The state of Indonesia is responsible for and guilty of crimes against humanity … particularly by the military of that state through its chain of command, of the inhumane acts detailed below,” Yacoob said via video link from South Africa that was broadcast to Indonesia, Australia, the Netherlands, Cambodia and Germany. He listed the brutal murder of an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 people; inhumane imprisonment of around 600,000 people; enslavement in labor camps; torture; forced disappearance; sexual violence; and depriving hundreds of thousands of citizenship.

    • Munich Shooting: Lone Gunman Reportedly Obsessed with Mass Killings

      Perpetrator may have lured some of victims to their deaths by enticing them with free meal

    • US says airstrikes on Syrian city Manbij to continue despite civilian deaths

      The US will not pause airstrikes in Syria despite appeals from opposition activists after what appears to be the worst US-caused civilian casualty disaster of the war against the Islamic State.

      Anas Alabdah, president of the Syrian National Coalition, has called on the US to suspend its airstrikes until it performs a thorough investigation into the attack near the contested northern city of Manbij on Tuesday that Syrian activists say killed at least 73 civilians – and possibly more than 125.

      Alabdah, in a statement, insisted on “accountability” for those responsible for the devastating airstrike, “revised rules of procedure” for future strikes, and warned that continuing the aerial bombardment would deliver the hard-fought region back into the hands of Isis.

      More strikes at the moment will drive Syrians “further into a spiral of despair and, more importantly, will prove to be a recruitment tool for terrorist organizations,” Alabdah said.

    • UNICEF on Syria: “Absolutely nothing justifies attacks on children”

      “This week in Syria, more than 20 children were reportedly killed in air strikes in Manbij and a 12-year-old boy was brutally murdered on-camera in Aleppo.

      “Such horrific incidents confront parties to this conflict with their shared responsibility to respect international humanitarian laws that protect children in war.

      “According to UN partners on the ground, families in the village of al-Tukhar near Manbij, 80 kilometres to the east of Aleppo, were preparing to flee the village when the air strikes hit.

      “UNICEF estimates that 35,000 children are trapped in and around Manbij with nowhere safe to go. In the past six weeks, and as violence has intensified, over 2,300 people were reportedly killed in the area, among them dozens of children.

    • US to Keep Bombing Syria Despite Civilian Deaths and Humanitarian Pleas
    • 29 Pages Revealed: Corruption, Crime and Cover-up Of 9/11

      First and foremost, here is what you need to know when you listen to any member of our government state that the newly released 29 pages are no smoking gun — THEY ARE LYING.

      Our government’s relationship to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is no different than an addict’s relationship to heroin. Much like a heroin addict who will lie, cheat, and steal to feed their vice, certain members of our government will lie, cheat, and steal to continue their dysfunctional and deadly relationship with the KSA — a relationship that is rotting this nation and its leaders from the inside out.

    • Backlash Against Turkey’s Coup Plotters Takes a Toll: Chart

      The backlash against Turkey’s alleged coup plotters has been swift and severe. More than 53,000 people have been either suspended, fired or stripped of their professional accreditation in the past week, the vast majority of them even before the country declared a state of emergency. That doesn’t include the 246 people killed in fighting related to the coup, the almost 15,000 detained or arrested in the counter-coup operations or the 3.4 million public employees who face travel restrictions.

    • Government quietly admits it was wrong to say Saudi Arabia is not targeting civilians or committing war crimes

      Ministers have quietly issued reams of corrections to previous ministerial statements in which they claimed that Saudi Arabia is not targeting civilians or committing war crimes

      The autocratic petro-state is currently engaged in a bombing campaign in Yemen where it has blown up hospitals, schools, and weddings as part of its intervention against Houthi rebels.

      Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, has said that “carnage” caused by certain Saudi coalition airstrikes against civilian targets appear to be war crimes.

    • Isis claims responsibility for Kabul fatal bomb attack on Hazara protesters

      At least 80 people have been killed and hundreds injured after two suicide bombers struck a peaceful protest in Kabul by a Shia minority group.

      Responsibility for the attack, which appears to have targeted a demonstration by the Hazara minority, was claimed by Islamic State via the group’s news agency, Amaq. If true, it would mark the first attack by Isis in Kabul, and its largest ever in Afghanistan.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Huge toxic algae bloom sickens more than 100 in Utah amid heatwave

      A huge toxic algae bloom in Utah has closed one of the largest freshwater lakes west of the Mississippi river, sickening more than 100 people and leaving farmers scrambling for clean water during some of the hottest days of the year.

      The bacteria commonly known as blue-green algae has spread rapidly to cover almost all of 150-square-mile Utah Lake, turning the water bright, anti-freeze green with a pea soup texture and leaving scummy foam along the shore.

    • Oil Lobby Paid Washington Post and Atlantic to Host Climate-Change Deniers at RNC

      At the award-winning seafood restaurant in downtown Cleveland that The Atlantic rented out for the entire four-day Republican National Convention, GOP Rep. Bill Johnson turned to me and explained that solar panels are not a viable energy source because “the sun goes down.”

      Johnson had just stepped off the stage where he was one the two featured guests speaking at The Atlantic’s “cocktail caucus,” where restaurant staff served complimentary wine, cocktails, and “seafood towers” of shrimp, crab cakes, oysters, and mussels to delegates, guests, reporters and, of course, the people paying the bills.

    • U.S., Mexico, Announce Climate Collaboration The Day After Trump Becomes GOP Nominee

      A man who openly vilifies Mexicans and Americans of Mexican descent accepted the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday in Cleveland. He has said that “Mexico is not our friend” and promised to make Mexico pay for a border wall. His supporters chanted “build that wall” during his acceptance speech.

      He also has claimed that climate change — which threatens the communities and integrated economies and ecosystems of North America — is a hoax.

      The next day, President Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto took a moment to show what is possible when allies work shoulder-to-shoulder to address the common problem of climate change.

    • Scorching Middle East Beats All-Time Heat Records for Eastern Hemisphere

      Thermometers in Kuwait and Iraq reached record-shattering temperatures this week, with Weather Underground reporting that the measurements could be the hottest ever seen in the Eastern Hemisphere.

      According to Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters, the temperature in Mitribah, Kuwait climbed to an “astonishing” 54°C (129.2°F) on Thursday. And on Friday, Basrah, Iraq International Airport reported a high temperature of 53.9°C (129°F).

    • Increased Asthma Attacks Tied to Exposure to Natural Gas Production

      New study in the heart of Pennsylvania’s fracking region shows increase in severity of asthma among residents exposed to most active wells.

    • Mary Bottari: Koch brothers’ fingerprints can be found all over GOP convention

      Though the Kochs have indicated they are staying out of the presidential election and Charles Koch has even had kind words for the Clintons, their fingerprints are all over the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week in the form of candidates and the extreme RNC platform.

    • A Bridge Too Far: How Appalachian Basin Gas Pipeline Expansion Will Undermine U.S. Climate Goals

      Oil Change International; Appalachian Voices; Bold Alliance; Chesapeake Climate Action Network; Earthworks; Environmental Action; Sierra Club (national); 350.org; Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League; Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights (Virginia & West Virginia); Sierra Club West Virginia Chapter; Friends of Water (West Virginia)

    • As Major Parties Embrace Fracking, Report Shows Natural Gas ‘Bridge to Climate Disaster’
    • Now the proof: permafrost ‘bubbles’ are leaking methane 200 times above the norm

      The swelling pockets in the permafrost – revealed this week by The Siberian Times – are leaking ‘alarming’ levels of ecologically dangerous gases, according to scientists who have observed this ‘unique’ phenomenon. Some 15 pockets have been found on the Arctic island, around one metre in diameter.

      Measurements taken by researchers on expeditions to the island found that after removing grass and soil from the ‘bubbling’ ground, the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration released was 20 times above the norm, while the methane(CH4) level was 200 times higher.

      One account said: ‘As we took off a layer of grass and soil, a fountain of gas erupted.’

    • Scorching Temperatures Just Set the Middle East’s Heat Records on Fire

      Unless you’ve been catatonic for the past seven months, you know that temperatures in 2016 have continuously skyrocketed. And now, I’m terrified to report that our planet is well on its way to becoming an actual inferno, as record-breaking heat records seem to indicate.

      Yesterday, temperatures in Mitribah, Kuwait smashed through the Middle East’s already scorching heat records. As Weather Underground meteorologists note, Mitribah got as hot as 129.2°F (54°C) on Thursday, according to the weather information service OGIMET. If confirmed, this would be the hottest-ever temperature on Earth documented outside of Death Valley, California, which reached an astonishing 129.2°F (54°C) on July 10, 1913.

      Earlier this week, Motherboard editor Kate Lunau wrote about the unprecedented climate anomalies that have been plaguing 2016. According to NASA, “in 2016, every month from January through June has set a record for the warmest month, globally, in modern recordkeeping—stretching back to 1880.” And as the climate in Kuwait underscores, we’ve reached an atmospheric tipping point. If you haven’t already, now would be a reasonable time to panic.

  • Finance
    • Brexit and the phenomenon of intra-European bigotry

      Nigel Farage, the face of Brexit victory, has been responsible for fuelling a strong anti-Eastern European sentiment for many years in the UK.

    • Erasmus scheme may exclude British students after Brexit

      Under the Erasmus scheme, British students can study at European universities for up to a year, and European students in the UK. But after Brexit, says the scheme’s UK director, Ruth Sinclair-Jones, “we face a sad moment of uncertainty, after 30 years of this enrichment of so many lives”.

      The potential end of British participation in the scheme would be “a devastating tragedy”, according to those who founded and administer it.

      Exclusion from Erasmus would also have what one vice-chancellor called “a stunning impact” on university finances, alongside the crisis facing funds for science, research and other grants. There are 120,000 students from EU countries at UK universities, of which 27,401 are through Erasmus, fees paid by the EU.

    • Kaine praised TPP as recently as Thursday

      Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) reportedly told Hillary Clinton he would oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership before she selected him as her running mate – but as recently as Thursday, the Virginia senator was praising the massive trade deal.

    • From Occupy Protests to the Platforms

      A lawyer-activist reflects on the significance of the Occupy Wall Street call for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall appearing in both the Democratic and Republican Party platforms.

    • Kaine comes out against Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal

      Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate, has gone on record saying he cannot support the Trans-Pacific Partnership in its current form— a stance calculated to make him more appealing to supporters of Bernie Sanders who revile the deal.

    • As Trump backers praise Brexit, UK and US are nations united in rage

      Donald Trump’s noisy, shambolic and furious convention in Cleveland broke every rule in the US campaigners’ handbook – including the relatively esoteric one that says British politics never, ever gets a mention. Deemed both obscure and irrelevant, the affairs of the UK have been reliably invisible in the US political argument since 1945.

    • Shell takes Malampaya tax dispute vs PH to int’l arbitration body

      The local unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC wants an international arbitration body to settle its tax dispute with the Philippine government involving the former’s Malampaya deep water gas-to-power project.

      Data from the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) showed that on July 20, Shell Philippines Exploration BV filed a request for an arbitration case against the Philippine government over “taxation [on] hydrocarbon concession].”

      The request is still pending before ICSID.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Wikileaks Proves Primary Was Rigged: DNC Undermined Democracy
    • Leaked Democratic Party Emails Show Members Tried To Undercut Sanders
    • DNC treatment of Sanders at issue in emails leaked to Wikileaks

      Nearly 20,000 emails sent and received by Democratic National Committee staff members were released Friday by Wikileaks, and some messages are raising questions about the committee’s impartiality during the Democratic primary.

      One email appears to show DNC staffers asking how they can reference Sanders’ faith to weaken him in the eyes of Southern voters. Another seems to depict an attorney advising the committee on how to defend Clinton against an accusation by the Sanders campaign of not living up to a joint fundraising agreement.

      The revelation threatened to shatter the uneasy peace between the Clinton and Sanders camps and supporters days before the Democratic convention kicks off next week.

    • Sanders Camp Says Someone Must Be ‘Accountable’ for What DNC Emails Show

      Bernie Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said his team was “disappointed” by the emails from the Democratic National Committee leaked through WikiLeaks, which seemed to reveal staff in the party working to support Hillary Clinton.

      “Someone does have to be held accountable,” Weaver said during an interview with ABC News. “We spent 48 hours of public attention worrying about who in the [Donald] Trump campaign was going to be held responsible for the fact that some lines of Mrs. Obama’s speech were taken by Mrs. Trump. Someone in the DNC needs to be held at least as accountable as the Trump campaign.”

      Weaver said the emails showed misconduct at the highest level of the staff within the party and that he believed there would be more emails leaked, which would “reinforce” that the party had “its fingers on the scale.”

    • Jeremy Corbyn has more than double the support of Owen Smith, poll shows

      Jeremy Corbyn is the overwhelming favourite to win the Labour leadership contest, according to the latest Opinium/Observer poll, which shows he has more than twice the level of support among party supporters as his challenger, Owen Smith.

    • Emails Released by WikiLeaks Appear to Show DNC Trying to Aid Hillary Clinton

      Just days before the Democratic National Convention, Wikileaks has released emails from top DNC officials that appear to show the inner workings of the Democratic Party and what seems to be them attempting to aid the Hillary Clinton campaign during the primaries.

      Several of the emails released indicate that the officials, including Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, grew increasingly agitated with Clinton’s rival, Bernie Sanders, and his campaign as the primary season advanced, in one instance even floating bringing up Sanders’ religion to try and minimize his support.

      “It might may [sic] no difference, but for KY and WA can we get someone to ask his belief,” Brad Marshall, CFO of DNC, wrote in an email on May 5, 2016. “Does he believe in God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My southern baptist peeps woudl draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”

      Amy Dacey, CEO of the DNC, subsequently responded “AMEN,” according to the emails.

      During the primary battle, Sanders and his supporters accused both the party and Wasserman Schultz of putting their thumb on the scale for Clinton and these emails may indicate support for those allegations.

    • Hillary and Bill Clinton: Specialists in Black Misery, Foreign and Domestic

      In Haiti, the Clintons rigged elections and preached that poverty is a competitive advantage.

    • Yes, The Democratic National Committee Flat Out Lied In Claiming No Donor Financial Info Leaked

      You may recall, from last month, that a hacker (who many have accused of working for the Russian government) got into the Democratic National Committee’s computers and copied a ton of stuff. All of the emails that were obtained (a little over 19,000, from seven top DNC officials) are now searchable on Wikileaks, so there are tons of stories popping up covering what’s been found. The Intercept, for example, appears to be having a field day exposing sketchy behavior by the DNC.

    • DNC email leaks, explained [Ed: watch how Goldman Sachs-funded and pro-Clinton site just blames only Russia. It says “journalists digging into the emails have not uncovered any smoking guns,” but lots of smoking guns are in there.]

      Perhaps as important as the email’s contents is who may have leaked them. The leak is believed to be the fruit of a network intrusion that was discovered last month by the DNC. According to security firms who spoke to the Washington Post, that was the work of hackers associated with the Russian government, raising the possibility that a foreign government is trying to manipulate the US election.

    • Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street

      Earlier this week, Bernie Sanders warned that Hillary Clinton’s eventual vice presidential pick must not be someone from the milieu of Wall Street and Corporate America. And while Sanders is still fighting to win the Democratic Party nomination in what many have argued is a rigged system with a foregone conclusion, it appears that Sanders is also intent on influencing the course of the Clinton campaign and the party itself.

      In a thinly veiled demand that Clinton embrace the core principles of the Sanders campaign in order to secure the support of Sanders’s political base, the insurgent Democratic candidate hoped aloud “that the vice-presidential candidate will not be from Wall Street, will be somebody who has a history of standing up and fighting for working families, taking on the drug companies…taking on Wall Street, taking on corporate America, and fighting for a government that works for all of us, not just the 1%.”

      And while that description may sound positive for its sheer idealism, it does not seem to account for the fact that banks and corporations effectively own both major parties, and that nearly every top Democrat is in various ways connected to the very same entities. In any event, it is useful still to examine a few of the potential Clinton running mates in order to assess just what sort of forces are going to be put in motion to help deliver a Clinton presidency.

    • Clinton Inflames Progressive Base with Choice of Tim f as Vice President

      Reporting in recent days increasingly signaled that Kaine was Clinton’s top choice, but the official announcement confirmed the worst fears of progressives who warned such a pick would be taken as “a pronounced middle finger” to the millions who voted for Sanders during the primary season. At stake, many critics of the choice indicate, are pressing issues—including reproductive rights, climate change, financial regulation, and corporate-friendly trade agreements—where Kaine holds positions far to the right of where they think the party, and the country, should be headed.

    • If Trump’s Speech Sounded Familiar, That’s Because Nixon Gave It First

      Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for president on a Thursday night in the long hot summer of 2016 with a speech that signaled his determination to exploit fears of violence as part of crusade to seize the White House from the Democrats.

    • Trump/Nixon: the parallels are startling

      As Donald Trump’s own advisers said this week that Trump would use Richard Nixon’s famous “law and order” rhetoric during his 1968 campaign as his inspiration for his Republican nomination speech on Thursday, many have begun comparing Trump to the disgraced former president. The parallels with a man who presided over another era in which there were widespread allegations of police brutality and killings of unarmed African Americans seem compelling.

    • CNN’s Revolving Door of Political Hackery

      Widespread outrage erupted in late June over CNN’s hiring of Corey Lewandowski, just four days after he was fired as Donald Trump’s chief of staff. Lewandowski is a controversial figure, and not merely because he was heading up a campaign fueled by bigotry and fear. In March he was charged with simple battery for making physical contact with a reporter (though these charges were later dropped). Moreover, his utility as a CNN contributor is clearly limited — if not worthless — since he is reported to have signed a non-disclosure agreement that bars him from saying anything disparaging about Trump or discussing anything he did during the campaign.

      CNN staffers were said to be enraged — but within a week, CNN’s newest contributor was on television using his soapbox to explain away another one of Trump’s very public and obvious appeals to bigotry. That CNN felt it needed to hire an election commentator who can’t say anything critical about Trump may seem strange, but it corresponds with CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker’s stated desire to push CNN to the right. Even Fox News has taken the moral “high ground” in this situation: It has blasted CNN and the decision at least twice.

    • Mike Pence May Be a Friend to Trump, But He’s No Friend to Workers

      Donald Trump’s vice-presidential pick of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence should have workers worried.

    • Trump and the Enablers of American Authoritarianism (2/2)

      Scholar Henry Giroux in conversation with Paul Jay says ‘lesser evilism’ is the wrong way to frame the elections – it’s about what’s better for the strategic interests of an independent people’s struggle

    • What’s on Display in Cleveland? The Republican Id

      The triumph of Trump has demonstrated the cost of the devil’s bargain that party elites — and the media — have accepted over the years.

      What is on display at the RNC in Cleveland is the Republican id. We always suspected it would look something like this. But even though it reared its ugly head on occasion on Fox News or in Congress — on the lips of some right-wing preacher or billionaire hedge-fund manager. They would compare gays to Satan, progressive taxation to Naziism and people of color to criminals at best, animals at worst — but the more polite, polished folks who spoke for the party would always regretfully shake their well-coiffed heads and explain that wasn’t what the party was really about.

    • How Can This Be Happening in America? International Journalists Reflect on Rise of Donald Trump

      On Wednesday, Democracy Now!’s Deena Guzder and Hany Massoud spoke to members of the international press covering the Republican National Convention to find out how other countries view Donald Trump.

    • Leaked Docs Reveal DNC Determined to Undermine Sanders Campaign

      WikiLeaks on Friday published roughly 20,000 leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

      The whistleblowing organization describes the trove, which includes over 8,000 attachments, as “part one of our new Hillary Leaks series,” and is just the latest in a series of document dumps that show the DNC—which, as the The Intercept notes, “isn’t supposed to favor one Democratic candidate over another until they receive a nomination”—seeking to bolster the candidacy of the former secretary of state and working against that of rival Bernie Sanders.

      It is unclear at this point whether the hacker known as Guccifer 2.0, who claimed responsibility for two previous leaks from the DNC servers, provided the latest documents to WikiLeaks.

      The new leaks span from January 2015 to May 2016, and come from what WikiLeaks describes as “the accounts of seven key figures in the DNC: Communications Director Luis Miranda (10770 emails), National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan (3797 emails), Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer (3095 emails), Finanace Director of Data & Strategic Initiatives Daniel Parrish (1472 emails), Finance Director Allen Zachary (1611 emails), Senior Advisor Andrew Wright (938 emails) and Northern California Finance Director Robert (Erik) Stowe (751 emails).”

    • “Build Bridges, Not Walls”: Medea Benjamin on How She Disrupted Donald Trump’s Speech

      CodePink’s Medea Benjamin disrupted Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention by holding up a banner reading “Build bridges, not walls!” Her protest diverted cameras away from Trump’s speech. Benjamin was removed after the disruption and says she was later interviewed by the Secret Service. Democracy Now! spoke to her on the street afterwards.

    • Stewart To the Ugly Madman In the Castle: This Country Isn’t Yours

      Where to begin with the GOP’s upstart vulgarian and his portrait of an apocalyptic hellscape of America, all fear and lies and venom? Maybe start with revisiting Norman Mailer and his prescient 1968 view of that “psychic island” of “an insane Republican minority with vast powers of negation and control.” Then to Jon Stewart, briefly back in his glorious righteous rage to remind Trumpsters, “This country isn’t yours. It never was.”

    • We Finally Have A Candidate That Speaks To ‘White Males,’ GOP Congressman Says

      The Trump campaign made efforts to broaden the GOP presidential nominee’s appeal last night. As unmoored from reality as it was, Ivanka made a case her father would be a champion for women. During his own speech, Trump made an appeal to the LGBT community, despite providing little indication to date he’d actually do anything on their behalf.

      Trump’s base, however, continues to be white men. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released early last month showed Trump with a huge 60 percent to 26 percent advantage among that demographic. It might not be enough for Trump to secure a general election victory — thanks to his unpopularity with others groups, Trump trailed Clinton overall in that same ABC poll — but it was enough to secure the Republican nomination.

      During a CNN interview this morning, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) acknowledged the Trump phenomenon for what it is — identity politics for white men.

    • Leaked DNC emails reveal secret plans to take on Sanders

      Top officials at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) privately planned how to undermine Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, according to a trove of emails released by WikiLeaks on Friday.

      The Sanders campaign had long claimed the DNC and Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz had tipped the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton during the party’s presidential primary.

      The email release will reignite that controversy just days before Democrats gather in Philadelphia for their convention to officially nominate Clinton for president.

      Guccifer 2.0 told The Hill he leaked the documents to Wikileaks.

      In one May 21 email, DNC press secretary Mark Paustenbach writes to communications director Luis Miranda about planting a narrative to the media that Sanders’s “campaign was a mess.”

    • WikiLeaks trove plunges Democrats into crisis on eve of Convention

      On the eve of the convention at which Hillary Clinton is to be confirmed as presidential candidate, the Democratic Party has been plunged into crisis – the US media is brimful of ugly and embarrassing stories from within the party’s head office, all based on 20,000 emails dropped on Friday evening by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

    • Understanding Trump

      Consider Trump’s statement that John McCain is not a war hero. The reasoning: McCain got shot down. Heroes are winners. They defeat big bad guys. They don’t get shot down. People who get shot down, beaten up, and stuck in a cage are losers, not winners.

    • WikiLeaks: Democratic Party officials appear to discuss using Sanders’s faith against him

      Internal Democratic National Committee emails appear to show officials discussing using Sen. Bernie Sanders’s faith against him with voters, with one saying “my Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.” The emails were published by WikiLeaks.

      Someone who answered the media line at the DNC on Friday afternoon said they weren’t available to comment immediately.

    • DNC Official Mulls “Fuck You Emoji” in Response to Fox News

      A new leak of emails from the Democratic National Committee includes one in which communications personnel share their considerable fury over a reporter’s question about Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct.

      In May, Fred Lucas, a freelance reporter who said he was working for FoxNews.com, emailed the DNC press office with a question. Donald Trump had called Hillary Clinton an enabler of Bill Clinton’s alleged misconduct with women, and Lucas wanted to know what the Committee thought of the attack strategy.

    • The Best Reporting on Tim Kaine Through the Years

      But Kaine also has been criticized as insufficiently progressive on banking and global trade issues by some in the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, which Clinton needs to energize this fall.

    • Trump’s Midnight in America

      “Thanks for joining our live coverage of the RNC. This concludes democracy.”

    • Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?

      Anyone who paid close attention in 2008 knew that Wall Street and corporate America vetted Barack Obama thoroughly, and that he passed their tests with flying colors.

      For everyone else, he was, for all practical purposes, a Rorschach inkblot upon whom the hopeful, the desperate, and the gullible projected their dreams.

    • On Watching Donald Trump’s Acceptance Speech

      I watched the Republican convention last night.

      Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka was light-hearted, loves her father, and gave a good introduction to a man whom few know well.

      Watching Trump give his speech was an out of body experience.

      I suddenly felt fearful. I felt fearful for myself, my community, my family, my country. Only he has the strength to save and protect us. Only he knows how to fix everything that is broken. Only he can bring back the happiness and prosperity that was once there for everyone. Remember the Good Old Days? Only he has the tenacity and courage to restore the American dream. Everyone else is too weak, too politically correct, too timid. He can do it. He said so.

    • The Lopsided Political Dialogue With the Working Class

      Democrats need to get comfortable with using the term “working class,” or risk losing those voters to Trump, who at least gives voice to their anxiety.

    • Donald Trump’s Dark and Scary Night

      The GOP presidential nominee’s acceptance speech was a litany of fear and resentment, a dog whistle to disaffected white Americans.

    • Melania’s Plagiarism Caps Really Weird Day One at RNC

      It was the perfect capper to a day that failed to disappoint, kicked off with talk of pee-pee and false flag operations at the pro-Trump America First Unity rally convened by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and political dirty trickster Roger Stone, who told rally-goers that he was “Italian from the waist down.” He also apparently mistook himself for Hillary Clinton when he described her as “a short-tempered, foul-mouthed, greedy, bipolar, mentally unbalanced criminal.” The rally from Planet Out There was followed by a bit of verbal mayhem on the convention floor when anti-Trump delegates were denied a roll call vote for an amendment they had put forward that would have unbound delegates from their pledges to vote for Trump as the Republican presidential nominee when that formality takes place on Thursday night. That’s one way to unify the party.

    • RNC Descends into Chaos as “Never Trump” Movement Attempts Revolt on Convention Floor

      Thousands of Republican Party delegates are here in Cleveland, Ohio, for the 2016 Republican National Convention, where the party is expected to formally nominate Donald Trump as the party’s presidential nominee. But not all delegates are happy about Donald Trump, and on Monday the RNC briefly descended into chaos as members of the Never Trump movement launched a revolt by demanding for a roll call vote—a lengthy process that would allow every state to have their vote count. However, when the time came to present the proposed rules to the full convention, the Trump campaign and Republican Party leadership quashed the rebellious faction by instead opting for a voice vote—quickly declaring the opponents lacked enough votes. Pandemonium erupted on the floor, with shouts for a roll call vote being drowned out by Trump supporters chanting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” Democracy Now!’s Deena Guzder filed this report.

    • Trump and the Fascistization of America (1/2)

      Scholar Henry Giroux tells Paul Jay that Donald Trump is not an eccentric populist, but the representative of a neofascist politics that ignores evidence, believes truth is merely an opinion, and says dissent is unpatriotic

    • Russian journalism’s double white lines

      A recent leak from a leading Russian media outlet has sparked a bitter debate about censorship and professional ethics, exposing how fragmented Russia’s journalist community truly is.

    • Exclusive: Hillary Clinton exchanged top secret emails on her private server with three aides

      Hillary Clinton exchanged nearly two-dozen top secret emails from her private server with three senior aides, the State Department revealed in documents released to VICE News late Friday.

      The 22 emails were sent and received by Clinton in 2011 and 2012. Clinton discussed classified information with her deputy chief of staff, Jacob Sullivan, her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns. A majority of the top secret emails are email chains between Sullivan and Clinton.

      This is the first time the State Department has revealed the identities of the officials who exchanged classified information with Clinton through her private email server.

      The new disclosure by the State Department comes three days before the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Philadelphia, where Clinton will formally accept her party’s nomination for president, and minutes before Clinton announced her vice presidential pick, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Mapping Media Freedom: A disastrous week for Turkish journalism

      Turkey has faced severe turmoil since last Friday’s attempted military coup. While it was ultimately thwarted, 290 people were left dead as of 18 July with many more injured. In response, the government has since cracked down on dissent and suspended the European Convention on Human Rights, with more than 50,000 people rounded up, sacked or suspended from their jobs.

      In addition, the country has seen an increase in violations against media workers, with journalists murdered, held hostage, arrested and physically attacked, as well as having equipment confiscated or destroyed. These violations have raised concerns from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, whose representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatović, has said: “Fully recognising the difficult times that Turkey is going through, the authorities need to ensure media freedom offline and online in line with their international commitments.”

    • Jersey City, Censorship and ‘Hypersensitivity’: An Interview With Monopoly Mural Artist Mr. AbiLLity

      In May, the Jersey City Mural Arts Program commissioned local artist Gary Wynans, aka Mr. AbiLLity, to create a 33-foot floor mural on the busy pedestrian plaza at Newark Avenue. A creative riff on the traditional Monopoly board game, Wynans’ mural uses Jersey City street names and local icons, harnassing the game’s focus on money and real estate to bring attention to income disparities and gentrification in real-life Jersey City.

    • We are far from powerless against the quiet horror of censorship at the SABC

      I WAS in Hong Kong when I first felt the quiet horror of media censorship.

      It was 2012 and I had just returned from the Canton Fair in Guangzhou-China’s industrious import and export mecca on the mainland. A friend of my father asked for my opinion on Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese human rights activist who had lit a diplomatic firestorm by escaping his house arrest and fleeing to the US embassy in Beijing. At the time it was a prominent, unfolding story covered by most of the major media outlets available in Hong Kong. But on the mainland, where the Communist Party of China (CPC) controls the media far more tightly, I saw nothing on any news station. I had no idea what my father’s friend was talking about.

      The chilling realisation that governments can use the media to manipulate their citizens is a driving force behind the constitutional freedoms afforded to the press. In many progressive constitutions, ours included, these rights are made explicit. A tragic irony is that China does in fact have a constitution that guarantees freedom of speech, and of the press. Many Chinese are not even aware that in 1982, all previous constitutions were superseded by 138 articles designed to protect the civil rights of individuals and lay the groundwork for state governance.

    • Publisher of Shuttered Liberal Magazine Says Censorship Not Work of Xi Jinping
    • Court Rejects Lawsuit From Besieged Liberal Journal
    • Chinese court rejects lawsuit filed by outspoken journal over sackings
    • ‘Political censorship’: Gov’t sends email asking for election candidate’s stance on HK independence
    • Pro-independence Hong Kong candidate pleads for more time to explain stance
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Spotify will play ads based on your playlists

      Your age, gender and song picks will determine the commercials you hear.

    • Obama Wants To Give The British Permission To Read American Emails

      According to the Wall Street Journal, the plan, proposed by the Obama administration, would allow the US government to search corporate computers in the UK while allowing the UK to do the same in the US. The major caveat being that searches could only be related citizens of the country doing the searching. So the UK could not peer into Trump’s private missives and the US could not take a gander at whatever was spewed forth from Boris Johnson’s keyboard.

      There are quite a few barriers to the Obama administration’s plans, however. First is the aforementioned ruling. In April, Microsoft sued the Department of Justice to keep the US government from serving secret search warrants to retrieve data held overseas. It won the case last Thursday, and the Department of Justice is now considering filing an appeal to appear before the Supreme Court.

      Beyond clearing that hurdle, the DoJ will also need the approval of the US legislature (the UK will need approval from its legislature as well). And things could get tricky there. The tech lobby, including Microsoft, Apple and Google, are opposed to expanded abilities by governments to search computer data overseas. When a powerful lobby is that opposed to a plan, it makes passing said plan difficult.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • ‘The Public Is Viewed Not as Someone to Be Helped, but as an Enemy to Be Contained’

      Had the US gotten serious about racist police violence every time media have announced we were, we presumably would no longer wake to stories and images of black or brown men, women and children killed by police officers who will not face punishment. Certainly there has been strong critical reporting on the issue, but for all the supposed soul-searching, media’s conversation about what to do about racist law enforcement doesn’t stray far from a few general ideas about “reform.” Activists and others say we have to go deeper, and ask bigger questions about the role law enforcement plays in the country.

    • Bipartisan Caucus Launches in the House to Defend Fourth Amendment

      On matters implicating privacy, such as mass surveillance or the powers of investigatory agencies, Congress has too often failed to fulfill its responsibilities. By neglecting to examine basic facts, and deferring to executive agencies whose secrets preclude meaningful debate, the body has allowed proposals that undermine constitutional rights to repeatedly become enshrined in law. In last week’s launch of a new bipartisan Fourth Amendment Caucus in the House, however, the Constitution has gained a formidable ally.

      Every Member of Congress swears an oath to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Yet the most significant threats to our Constitution include the powers of U.S. intelligence agencies, enabled by Congress’ faith in the agencies’ willingness to respect legal limits on their powers.

    • A Young Woman Seeking an Abortion Needs Compassionate Care, not Unnecessary Hurdles

      Today, the Alaska Supreme Court found unconstitutional a law requiring physicians to notify a parent, guardian, or custodian of a minor seeking an abortion. In its decision, the court found the law unjustifiably burdens only minors seeking an abortion – violating the equal protection guarantees of the Alaska Constitution.

      The decision comes less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt–the most significant abortion-related ruling from the Court in more than two decades.

    • Senate Bill Would End Tax Breaks for Private Prison Companies

      Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) introduced legislation last week that would make it tougher for private prison companies to take advantage of federal rules that provide massive tax breaks for special real estate firms, a move that racial justice and prison divestment activists say is an important step toward confronting the corporations that control around 8 percent of the nation’s prisons and immigrant jails.

      As Truthout has reported, the nation’s two largest prison firms, GEO Group and Corrections Corporations of America (CCA), avoided a combined $113 million in federal taxes in 2015 alone. Large portions of the companies are allowed to file with the IRS as Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, which enjoy a special tax status designed to encourage real estate investment.

    • Trump Promises Law and Order for an America He Says Is in Crisis

      The $60 million display of police force, which resulted in only a dozen or so arrests over three days, fit right into the night’s proceedings, which ended with a remarkable speech by the Republican nominee for president, who painted a dark picture of America in crisis and pledged to be America’s “law and order candidate.”

    • Turkey’s Erdogan, using emergency decree, shuts private schools, charities, unions

      President Tayyip Erdogan tightened his grip on Turkey on Saturday, ordering the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions in his first decree since imposing a state of emergency after the failed military coup.

      A restructuring of Turkey’s once untouchable military also drew closer, with a planned meeting between Erdogan and the already purged top brass brought forward.

      In the decree, published by the Anadolu state news agency, Erdogan extended to a maximum of 30 days from four days the period in which some suspects can be detained. It said this was to facilitate a full investigation into the coup attempt.

      Erdogan, who narrowly escaped capture and possible death during the July 15 coup attempt, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday he would restructure the armed forces and bring in “fresh blood”.

    • Appeals Court Says DOJ Can Keep Its Evidence-Production Guidelines To Itself

      Brady evidence — possibly exonerating evidence that prosecutors are required to turn over to the defense — is far too frequently withheld and/or buried. The punishments for violating this requirement are almost nonexistent. The prosecution hates to see wins become losses. And the government in general — despite declaring fair trials to be the right of its citizens — hates to play on a level field.

      A federal judge withdrew from a forensic evidence committee because the government told him it wasn’t his job to point out the severely-flawed pre-trial forensic evidence discovery procedures deployed by prosecutors. Judge Rakoff called the government out in his resignation letter.

    • Administration’s One-Year Experimentation With Reining In Police Militarization Apparently Over

      The administration’s brief flirtation with converting occupying forces back into police departments is apparently over. In the wake of the Ferguson protests, the administration announced its plan to rein in police departments which had been availing themselves of used military gear via the Defense Department’s 1033 program. This itself was short-lived. A year later, the administration mustered up enough enthusiasm for another run at scaling back the 1033 program, but it has seemingly lost some steam as Obama heads for the exit.

      The images of police greeting protesters with assault rifles, armored vehicles, grenade launchers, and officers who appeared to mistake the Midwest for downtown Kabul apparently was a bit too much. It looked more like an occupation than community-oriented policing — something every administration has paid lip service (and tax dollars) to over the past few decades while simultaneously handing out grants that turned police officers into warfighters.

    • Exclusive: White House to review ban on military gear for police – police leaders

      The White House will revisit a 2015 ban on police forces getting riot gear, armored vehicles and other military-grade equipment from the U.S. armed forces, two police organization directors told Reuters on Thursday.

      Shortly after the recent shooting deaths of police officers, President Barack Obama agreed to review each banned item, the two law enforcement leaders said.

      That could result in changes to the ban imposed in May 2015 on the transfer of some equipment from the military to police, said Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, and Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations.

    • Killer Robots Pose Potential Problems for Future Policing

      What if you got pulled over while driving and a humanoid robot walked up to your car and asked for your license and registration? That may be the future of American policing.

      When the Dallas police used a “killer robot” to kill Micah Johnson after he fatally shot five police officers earlier this month, many felt it was an alarm, suggesting the takeover of police departments by lethal robots.

      However, we’re not quite at that point yet.

      “What happened in Dallas was the use of an explosive affixed to a remotely controlled drone, but it was called a robot because in their inventory the Dallas police were calling it a bomb robot,” Mary Wareham, who works for the arms division of Human Rights Watch and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, told Truthdig.

    • Black Activists Occupy Police Union Offices in NYC & D.C., Demand End to Protection for Brutal Cops

      Activists in several cities are attempting to shut down the offices of two major police unions: the Fraternal Order of Police and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. In Washington, D.C., activists with Black Youth Project 100 and Black Lives Matter have locked themselves to the steps of the Fraternal Order of Police with chains. In New York City, activists with Million Hoodies and BYP 100 have locked themselves to each other using PVC pipes at the entrance to the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. The activists are demanding police officers stop paying dues to the private unions, which they accuse of defending officers accused of brutality. We go to Washington, D.C., for a live update from the scene with Samantha Master, member of BYP 100.

    • Young Black Protesters Blockade Police Facilities Across the Country

      During a week when political coverage has been dominated by the absurd spectacles of the Republican National Convention (RNC), the movement for Black lives raged on in the streets, with young Black people shutting down and disrupting police facilities in multiple cities on Wednesday. Individual cases of police violence and abuse were highlighted in some cities, while other protests zeroed in on the role of police unions in preventing accountability for police violence.

    • Feminism Slowly Gaining Support at United Nations

      “Being a feminist is a complete no-brainer. It’s like having to explain to people that you’re not racist. But clearly the word is still controversial so we have to keep using it until people get it,” she said.

    • Ailes Resigns—With $40M—But Will Fox’s “Cesspool of Sexism” Change?

      Rupert Murdoch, who owns 21st Century Fox, the news network’s parent company, will step in as acting chairman and CEO.

    • Pakistan burned teacher’s death was ‘not suicide’, investigation says

      A female Pakistani teacher who died of severe burns last month did not take her own life, as local police had claimed, a fact finding mission says.

      Maria Sadaqat’s family say she was attacked and set on fire at her home in Murree after turning down a suitor.

      Local police arrested four men – but later said the case was a suicide and released the men on bail.

      The investigation was “flawed” and the death had been painted “as suicide rather than murder”, the mission said.

      Ms Sadaqat, 19, suffered severe burns on 29 May, with local media reporting she had sustained 85% burns.

    • TSA agent took upskirt photos of women at Seattle airport, prosecutors say

      A Transportation Security Administration agent was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of taking upskirt photos of female passengers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

      Nicholas James Fernandez, 29, was detained as part of a voyeurism investigation. He’s been suspended indefinitely without pay pending the outcome of the case.

      King County, Wash., prosecutors say Fernandez left a TSA checkpoint during a break at 11:15 a.m. and rode an escalator to a lower level of the airport where he stood behind a woman wearing a skirt and began videotaping beneath it with his mobile phone, according to a probable cause statement.

    • Police Officers are Creating 3D Printed Finger Dummy Of A Murder Victim’s Finger

      An MSU professor Anil Jain has been approached by the law enforcement officers for the creation of 3D-printed fingerprint moulds of the victim of a murder case. The finger dummies will be used to unlock the smartphone of the victim for any traces of the murderer.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Lawsuit Claims Frontier Misused Millions In Federal Broadband Stimulus Funds

      If you want to see what the U.S. broadband market really looks like, you should take a close look at West Virginia. Historically ranked close to dead last for broadband access and quality, the state has been a perfect example of what happens when you let the incumbent telecom monopoly incestuously fuse with state regulators and politicians. For years now the state has been plagued by news reports of unaccountable broadband subsidies, money repeatedly wasted on unnecessary hardware, duplicate consultants overpaid to do nothing, and state leaders focused exclusively on ensuring nobody is held accountable.

      Frontier acquired Verizon’s phone and broadband networks in the state back in 2010, and while jumping from an entirely apathetic incumbent monopoly ISP to a barely competent one netted some slight improvements initially for users, the lack of competition continues to keep serious advancement at bay. In an attempt to improve access to neglected areas of the state, Frontier that same year received $126.3 million in federal stimulus funds to provide high-speed Internet to such areas, including 1,064 public facilities such as schools, courthouses and first responders.

      Roughly $40 million of that money was supposed to be used to build an “open-access middle-mile network” intended to help multiple, competing West Virginia ISPs improve last-mile connectivity to roughly 700,000 homes and 110,000 businesses. But it didn’t take long for allegations to surface that Frontier had used that money solely to shore up its broadband monopoly in the state, building fiber connections that only benefited itself. Allegations also surfaced that Frontier had manipulated just how much fiber was actually laid, with state investigations and audits, as they’re wont to do, going nowhere fast.

    • Verizon will cut off unlimited data users who use too much unlimited data

      Verizon’s continuing its ongoing mission to pare down the number of customers on unlimited data plans by migrating them to ones with hard limits. Recently, the company came up with a way to get rid of its biggest data hogs.

    • Verizon to Disconnect Unlimited Data Users Who Use “Extraordinary” Amounts of Data

      Verizon Wireless customers who have held on to unlimited data plans and use significantly more than 100GB a month will be disconnected from the network on August 31 unless they agree to move to limited data packages that require payment of overage fees.

  • DRM
    • EFF to DMCA: ‘Drop Dead’ & More…

      EFF’s sue you sue me blues: On Thursday the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced that it has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against several U.S. government agencies to address First Amendment issues around the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Being questioned is Section 1201 which contains the so-called “anti-circumvention” clause that makes it a crime to circumvent DRM.

      One of the major points the organization will make is that the section is a road block to “fair use,” which the Supreme Court has ruled is necessary for copyright protections to be constitutional.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • KickassTorrents Comes Back, Again! This Time As KAT.am

        KickassTorrents is back, again. This time, as KAT.am.

      • Digital Citizens Slam Cloudflare For Enabling Piracy & Malware

        Consumer interest group Digital Citizens Alliance has published a new report highlighting the connection between pirate sites and malware delivery. The group says that as many as one in three pirate sites are engaged in the practice, assisted by US-based companies including Cloudflare.

      • The KickassTorrents Case Could Be Huge

        Authorities arrested Vaulin, who is Ukrainian, in Poland, where he now awaits extradition. The Department of Justice seized seven domains affiliated with KAT, all of which are currently down. Law enforcement used a warrant to obtain an email and IP address associated with Vaulin that showed up in multiple iTunes purchases, and was used to log into the official KAT Facebook account. That, combined with a Whois and GoDaddy search, a financial trail, and messages that identified Vaulin’s known alias as “KAT’s purported ‘Owner,’” left investigators with little doubt as to his role in the site.

      • How Apple and Facebook helped to take down KickassTorrents

        It turns out that a couple of purchases on iTunes helped to bring down the mastermind behind KickassTorrents, one of the most popular websites for illegal file sharing.

        Apple and Facebook were among the companies that handed over data to the U.S. in its investigation of 30-year-old Artem Vaulin, the alleged owner of the torrent directory service. Vaulin was arrested in Poland on Wednesday, and U.S. authorities seized seven of the site’s domains, all of which are now offline.

        KickassTorrents was accused of enabling digital piracy for years, and investigators said it was the 69th most visited website on the entire Internet. It offered a list of torrent files for downloading bootleg movies, music, computer games and more, even as governments across the world tried to shut it down.

      • Best KickassTorrents Alternatives — Top 10 Torrent Websites Of 2016

        We have been regular in publishing the lists of best torrent websites on the internet for the last two years. The year 2016 reached has its second half, so we thought to update the list with any latest additions. Continuing the legacy further, we are now writing about the top 10 most popular torrent websites of 2016 which are also the alternatives to the dead KAT.

Links 22/7/2016: Wine 1.9.15, KaOS 2016.07 ISO

Friday 22nd of July 2016 11:51:43 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Science
    • UK employers still reluctant to hire recent CompSci grads

      Computer science graduates continue to top the UK’s higher education unemployment rankings, according to the latest figures compiled by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

      Ten per cent of computer science graduates failed to find a job six months after graduation in the academic year 2014/2015 – a figure higher than students who had studied Mass Communications and documentation, Physical sciences, or Engineering and technology (all 7.7 per cent).

      But the percentage is improving, albeit slowly. Last year’s statistics by HESA revealed 11.3 per cent of computer science graduates in 2013/2014 were unemployed.

  • Hardware
    • Digitimes Research: SoftBank chairman overoptimistic about benefits from acquiring ARM

      For Japan-based SoftBank’s plan to acquire a 100% stake in UK-based ARM at GBP24.3 billion (US$32.0 billion), SoftBank chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son indicated that the acquisition is motivated by the large business potential for IoT (Internet of Things). However, Son overestimated real benefits from the acquisition and underestimated difficulties in vertical and horizontal integration of industries for IoT application, according to Digitimes Research.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Civil Society Calls On India To Backtrack On Policy Threatening Global HIV Response

      The International AIDS Society made a statement today at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, voicing concerns about India’s recent policy which, according to the group, is threatening access to HIV treatment in India and around the world.

      The International AIDS Conference is taking place from 18-22 July.

      The statement co-signed by a number of civil society groups, said civil society is concerned “about the closing space both for the civil society groups that have been critical in the AIDS response nationally and internationally and for the public health-supporting policies that ensure quality, affordable generic drugs for the world.”

    • Emails reveal role of Monsanto in Séralini study retraction

      In September 2012 the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) published the research of a team led by the French biologist Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, which found liver and kidney toxicity and hormonal disturbances in rats fed Monsanto’s GM maize NK603 and very small doses of the Roundup herbicide it is grown with, over a long-term period. An additional observation was a trend of increased tumours in most treatment groups.

      In November 2013 the study was retracted by the journal’s editor, A. Wallace Hayes, after the appointment of a former Monsanto scientist, Richard E. Goodman, to the editorial board and a non-transparent review process by nameless people that took several months.

      Did Monsanto pressure the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) to retract the study? French journalist Stéphane Foucart addresses this question in an article for Le Monde.

    • The U.S. Lags Far Behind Other Developed Countries In Access To Affordable Abortion

      Seventy-four percent of countries with liberal abortion laws cover abortion costs. Why doesn’t the U.S.?

    • New French Law Opens Market For Non-Profits Selling Public Domain Seeds

      New legislation on biodiversity has been adopted by the French National Assembly, opening doors for the sharing and selling of seeds in the public domain to amateur gardeners. For some associations that had been illegally trading public domain seeds, this is seen as a major victory.

      Prior to the newly adopted legislation, only seeds listed in the national catalogue could be commercialised in France. The new law allows non-governmental organisations to transfer, share or sell seeds that are in the public domain to non-commercial users (IPW, Biodiversity/Genetic Resources/Biotech, 7 July 2016).

  • Security
    • As a blockchain-based project teeters, questions about the technology’s security

      There’s no shortage of futurists, industry analysts, entrepreneurs and IT columnists who in the past year have churned out reports, articles and books touting blockchain-based ledgers as the next technology that will run the world.

    • Fix Bugs, Go Fast, and Update: 3 Approaches to Container Security

      Containers are becoming the central piece of the future of IT. Linux has had containers for ages, but they are still maturing as a technology to be used in production or mission-critical enterprise scenarios. With that, security is becoming a central theme around containers. There are many proposed solutions to the problem, including identifying exactly what technology is in place, fixing known bugs, restricting change, and generally implementing sound security policies. This article looks at these issues and how organizations can adapt their approach to security to keep pace with the rapid evolution of containers.

    • Preventing the next Heartbleed and making FOSS more secure [Ed: Preventing the next Microsoft-connected trademarked bug for FOSS and making FOSS more secure from Microsoft FUD]

      David Wheeler is a long-time leader in advising and working with the U.S. government on issues related to open source software. His personal webpage is a frequently cited source on open standards, open source software, and computer security. David is leading a new project, the CII Best Practices Badging project, which is part of the Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) for strengthening the security of open source software. In this interview he talks about what it means for both government and other users.

    • Container Image Signing
    • Friday’s security updates
    • Protecting the open source software supply chain [Ed: FUD for marketing of Sonatype]
  • Defence/Aggression
    • The President of Turkey has launched a bloody coup against his own people, and it’s happening right now

      After a brutal military coup in Turkey against Erdogan’s presidency failed over the weekend, the Turkish president has responded in kind: with his own brutal coup against the Turkish people.

      In the name of defending democracy from the original coup plotters, Erdogan is literally targeting tens of thousands of Turkish citizens. And standing in the firing line are not just his political opponents, but Turkey’s largest ethnic minority, the Kurds.

    • Britain’s nuclear-weapons future: no done deal

      The warheads are developed and assembled at the Aldermaston/Burghfield complex which has annual running costs of at least £1bn a year. The missile submarines need protection by nuclear-powered (but not nuclear-armed) attack submarines, and are also given support from surface warships. One of the functions of the fleet of nine new Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime-patrol aircraft, also just ordered at a cost of a further £3 million, is to provide further protection.

    • State Department Worried About “Backsliding” in Turkey Following Failed Coup, Mass Arrests

      Secretary of State John Kerry said that he and his European counterparts will be paying close attention to developments in Turkey, after thousands of Turkish officials were punished in the wake of a failed coup attempt.

      “Obviously a lot of people have been arrested and arrested very quickly,” Kerry said Monday, in Brussels. “The level of vigilance and scrutiny is obviously going to be significant in the days ahead. Hopefully we can work in a constructive way that prevents a backsliding.”

      Kerry made the statements from a previously scheduled meeting held by the European Council, an EU executive branch organ. The Washington Post described the gathering as having morphed into “crisis management,” in response to developments in Turkey.

    • Wikileaks: Email says AK Party provided Barzani with $200 million in March

      The Wikileaks website released a cache of nearly 300,000 emails allegedly sent by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), some of which were related to the Kurdistan Region, four days after an attempted military coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

      One of the leaked emails dating back to March 12, 2016 stated the AKP gave an unspecified member of the Barzani family $200 million in “financial aid” after a temporary halt in oil exports via the Kirkuk-Yumurtalik pipeline – a major financial lifeline for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

      The KRG is not specifically mentioned in the email and the Kurdistan Region is referred to as “areas under the hand of Peshmerga.”

    • [Older] Jeremy Corbyn may have been proved right on Iraq – but he’s hopeless on the important matter of doing up his tie

      Like Tony Blair, we were all duped by the intelligence on Saddam Hussein – except for the millions that went on marches, and Nelson Mandela, and France, and the Pope, and the chief weapons inspector, and Robin Cook

    • Turkey’s Baffling Coup

      This time, it was very different. Thanks to a series of sham trials targeting secularist officers, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had managed to reconfigure the military hierarchy and place his own people at the top. While the country has been rocked by a series of terrorist attacks and faces a souring economy, there was no inkling of unrest in the military or opposition to Erdogan. On the contrary, Erdogan’s recent reconciliation with Russia and Israel, together with his apparent desire to pull back from an active role in the Syrian civil war, must have been a relief to Turkey’s top brass.

    • Donald Trump Crams Two Errors Into One Statement on Turkey

      In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, after suggesting that he might not defend another member of the NATO alliance in the event of a Russian attack, Donald Trump was asked if he was paying close attention to what was happening in Turkey, following the failed coup attempt last week.

      Trump replied that he had been impressed by the efforts of the Turkish people, who took to the streets to prevent the military from seizing power — but did so in a way that demonstrated his ignorance about a central facet of what took place last Friday night.

    • Erdogan Suspects US Sympathy for Coup

      Reports that Russian President Putin may have tipped off Turkish President Erdogan about last week’s coup attempt – while the U.S. apparently stayed silent – suggest a possible reordering of regional relationships, says John Chuckman.

    • Live updates: Several reported killed in Munich mall shooting

      Police believe three gunmen opened fire on Friday evening at and near a shopping mall in the German city of Munich, killing several people, authorities said. The shooting at Olympia shopping mall “looks like a terror attack,” a police representative said.

    • ‘Boom boom boom – he’s killing the kids’: Gunman shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ executed children in Munich McDonald’s before rampaging through mall killing NINE with police now hunting three attackers
    • Munich shooting: ‘Multiple deaths’ after shots fired at OEZ German shopping centre
    • Nice attack: City refuses police call to delete CCTV images

      The local authorities in Nice have refused a request by French anti-terror police to destroy CCTV images of last week’s lorry attack.
      The Paris prosecutor’s office said the request had been made to avoid the “uncontrolled dissemination” of images.

      But officials in Nice have responded by filing a legal document, arguing the footage could constitute evidence.

      It is the latest evidence of a growing dispute between the local and national authorities in the wake of the attack.

    • Nuclear weapons contractors repeatedly stifle whistleblowers, auditors say

      At laboratories and factories where American nuclear weapons are designed and built, and at the sites still being cleansed of the toxic wastes created by such work, contractor employees outnumber federal workers six to one. That makes them key sentinels when something goes awry, a circumstance that officials say explains why they get legal protections when whistleblowing.

      That’s the theory. It turns out that the Energy Department has actually handed most of the oversight over these protections to the contractors themselves, robbing workers at key nuclear weapons sites of confidence that pointing out security and safety dangers or other mistakes won’t bring retaliation, according to an audit released by the Government Accountability Office on July 14.

      The Energy Department’s decision to embrace contractor self-regulation of its whistleblowing protection system means in many cases that those overseeing it work for the contractors’ top lawyers, who must defend the contractor against employee claims of wrongdoing, or for those officials responsible for deciding about job cuts, the report disclosed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Big Oil, Not Big Tobacco, Wrote the Public Skepticism Playbook: Report

      The playbook on sowing public skepticism about health and climate issues originated not with Big Tobacco—as long believed—but with Big Oil, a new investigation reveals.

      Documents published Wednesday by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) show that the tobacco and fossil fuel industries used the same public relations firms, the same think tanks, and in many cases, the very same researchers, to foment doubt about public interest issues—starting with climate change. The documents show that the “direct connections” between the industries go back even earlier than previously believed, CIEL says.

      “Again and again we found both the PR firms and the researchers worked first for oil, then for tobacco. It was a pedigree the tobacco companies recognized, and sought out,” said the center’s president, Carroll Muffett.

    • Greenland Is Still Melting Away

      A new paper just published by scientists in Geophysical Research Letters presents results of their investigation into the ice sheet covering Greenland. They found that over the four-year period from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2014 Greenland lost over a trillion tons of ice.

    • The “Denial Playbook”: An Original Product Of The Oil Industry

      New documents reveal that the oil and tobacco industries took pages from the same book to engineer their decade long campaigns on denying the existence of climate change and smoking-related cancer. The playbook also appears to have originated not with tobacco, but with the oil industry itself, and the two even appeared to share patents.

      In their research, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), found that the two industries collaborated from the 1950s onwards, more closely and earlier than previously thought. Both industries had used the same PR firms, research institutes and researchers, many of whom began working for first the oil industry, and then tobacco.

  • Finance
    • Success! Leader Pelosi Stands Up for Users and Opposes the TPP

      Thank you, Leader Pelosi, for standing up for users to block this undemocratic, anti-user deal. Combined with the stated opposition to the TPP of both presidential candidates, and the likelihood that other House Democrats will follow Leader Pelosi’s courageous lead, it is now significantly less likely that the TPP will be introduced during the lame duck session, or if introduced, that it will pass the House.

    • HSBC’s Johnson Out on Bond After Airport Arrest in Currency Case

      Federal agents surprised an HSBC Holdings Plc executive as he prepared to fly out of New York’s Kennedy airport, arresting him for an alleged front-running scheme involving a $3.5 billion currency transaction in 2011.

    • Hours Before Hillary Clinton’s VP Decision, Likely Pick Tim Kaine Praises the TPP

      Hillary Clinton’s rumored vice presidential pick Sen. Tim Kaine defended his vote for fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Thursday.

      Kaine, who spoke to The Intercept after an event at a Northern Virginia mosque, praised the agreement as an improvement of the status quo, but maintained that he had not yet decided how to vote on final approval of the agreement. By contrast, Hillary Clinton has qualified her previous encouragement of the agreement, and now says she opposes it.

      Kaine’s measured praise of the agreement could signal one of two things. Either he is out of the running for the vice presidential spot, as his position on this major issue stands in opposition to hers. Or, by picking him, Clinton is signaling that her newly declared opposition to the agreement is not sincere. The latter explanation would confirm the theory offered by U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue, among others, who has said that Clinton is campaigning against the TPP for political reasons but would ultimately implement the deal.

    • Brexit, Austerity and the Future of the European Union

      Many commentators have focused on racism and xenophobia as major factors in the move to leave the EU. Undoubtedly these were important considerations. Many people in England, especially older ones, are uncomfortable with the country becoming more diverse. They fear and resent the people coming in from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere.

      But racism and xenophobia are not new for the United Kingdom. What is new is that these forces are powerful enough to force the country to break with a political union it joined more than four decades ago. Needless to say, there have been other situations where such forces came to dominate politics and they have not ended well.

      The issue in the UK and elsewhere is that there are real grievances which demagogues have been able to exploit. First and foremost is the austerity that had curbed growth in the U.K. and cut back funding for important programs. While austerity has not been as severe in the U.K. as in the euro zone (the U.K. is not in the euro), the conservative government sharply cut government spending in 2010, ostensibly out of concern that deficits and debt were harming the economy.

    • Lori Wallach, Peter Maybarduk and Karen Hansen-Kuhn on Corporate Globalization

      This week on CounterSpin: Few ideas are as hard-wired into current corporate media as the notion that so-called “free trade” agreements of the sort we have are, despite concerns, best for everyone. Given that the deals are not primarily about trade, and that what freedom they entail accrues to corporations and not people, you could say the very use of the term “free trade” implies a bias, against clarity if nothing else. This week, CounterSpin will revisit three interviews we’ve done on this issue.

    • #CETA #TTIP The next generation trade deals – We need to ask who benefits and why?

      The EU on behalf of the member states is current negotiating an EU US trade deal called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Talks around another trade deal between the EU and Canada have concluded – this deal is called The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

      Aside from the lack of coverage in the Irish media of the actual substance of these very critical trade talks, there are a number of concerns being expressed by campaign and civil society groups – in particular that a special court system will be incorporated into CETA & TTIP to allow corporations to sue EU member states who wish to introduce strong legislation to protect public health, food safety and environmental legislation for example.

    • Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street

      Nothing seems to rattle Hillary Clinton quite so much as pointed questions about her personal finances. How much she’s made. How she made it. Where it all came from. From her miraculous adventures in the cattle futures market to the Whitewater real estate scam, many of the most venal Clinton scandals down the decades have involved Hillary’s financial entanglements and the serpentine measures she has taken to conceal them from public scrutiny.

      Hillary is both driven to acquire money and emits a faint whiff of guilt about having hoarded so much of it. One might be tempted to ascribe her squeamishness about wealth to her rigid Methodism, but her friends say that Hillary’s covetousness derives from a deep obsession with feeling secure, which makes a kind of sense given Bill’s free-wheeling proclivities. She’s not, after all, a child of the Depression, but a baby boomer. Hillary was raised in comfortable circumstances in the Chicago suburbs and, unlike her husband, has never in her life felt the sting of want.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Leaked emails reveal Politico reporter made ‘agreement’ to send advanced Clinton story to DNC

      An influential reporter at Politico made an apparent “agreement” with the Democratic National Committee to let it review a story about Hillary Clinton’s fundraising machine before it was submitted to his editors, leaked emails published by WikiLeaks on Friday revealed.

    • DNC Staffers Mocked the Bernie Sanders Campaign, Leaked Emails Show

      A new trove of internal Democratic National Committee emails, stretching back to April 2016, released by Wikileaks show that the organization’s senior staff chafed at Bernie Sanders’s continued presence in the presidential primary. Staffers were also irritated by criticism that they were biased towards Hillary Clinton.

      In May, chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (DWS) reacted to an MSNBC anchor criticizing her treatment of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic presidential primary by trying to force her to apologize.

      On May 18th, DNC staffer Kate Houghton forwarded to Wasserman-Schultz a Breitbart News story highlighting remarks by MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski in which she called for the chairwoman to step down over perceived bias against Sanders during the presidential primary.

      Wasserman-Schultz reacted angrily, writing that this was the “LAST straw” and instructing communications director Luis Miranda to call MSNBC president Phil Griffin to demand an apology from Brzezinski.

    • Wikileaks emails: Democratic officials ‘plotted to expose Bernie Sanders’ as an atheist

      The Democratic National Committee – a supposedly neutral organisation – apparently hatched a plan to try and undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign against Hillary Clinton by getting someone to claim he was an atheist.

      The Sanders campaign for months complained that people in the DNC were biased in favour of the establishment candidate, Ms Clinton. The campaign even sued the DNC to allow it access to its voter database.

    • New Leak: Top DNC Official Wanted to Use Bernie Sanders’s Religious Beliefs Against Him

      Among the nearly 20,000 internal emails from the Democratic National Committee, released Friday by Wikileaks and presumably provided by the hacker “Guccifer 2.0,” is a May 2016 message from DNC CFO Brad Marshall. In it, he suggested that the party should “get someone to ask” Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders about his religious beliefs.

    • Major Errors In Reporting On Polling Data Must Be Corrected By International And Brazilian Media – OpEd

      A report on polling data first published on Saturday by Folha de São Paulo, Brazil’s largest-circulation newspaper, contained errors that were so “huge and fundamentally important to the current political crisis that they require much more than the usual correction,” according to CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot.

      “Bad polling happens quite often, but these are errors in both polling and reporting of a whole different magnitude,” said Weisbrot.

      As noted by The Intercept yesterday, Folha de São Paulo had reported that according to a poll conducted by the firm Datafolha, 50 percent of Brazilians wanted the interim president Michel Temer to serve through 2018; 32 percent wanted the elected president Dilma Rousseff to do this (the end of her current term of office); 4 percent wanted neither of the two; and just 3 percent wanted new elections.

    • Donald Trump’s Long Rant Thrilled David Duke, But Alienated Many Others

      As Donald Trump shouted for 76 minutes on Thursday night about how horrible everything is in the dystopian fiction he’s confused for America, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan found himself nodding along in agreement.

      So the white supremacist David Duke, who was nearly elected governor of Louisiana in 1991 by channeling white resentment, posted a rave review of the address on Twitter.

    • In Cleveland, Lonely Protesters Marched Through Empty Streets

      In total, 24 people were arrested in convention-related incidents as of Friday morning, most at a flag burning protest on Wednesday. But while legal observers denounced those arrests, and delays in the processing of arrestees, as “troubling,” the final count was significantly lower than what most expected, with the city having announced ahead of the convention that it was prepared to “handle upwards of 1,000 arrests per day.”

    • Republican Leaders Choose Their Own Future Over Donald Trump’s

      Republicans have nominated the least popular presidential nominee in recent history — and it showed. Throughout the week, the biggest names on the convention schedule consciously avoided lavishing too much praise on the nominee himself, for fear of their own political futures.

      House Speaker Paul Ryan mentioned Trump just twice in his address. Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, locked in a tough re-election race, mentioned the nominee just once. Ted Cruz, the second-place finisher in the primary, refused to endorse Trump at all, telling attendees instead to “vote your conscience.”

      And these were the Republicans who showed up to speak. Many major party figures didn’t attend at all. Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told the press he wasn’t attending because he had to mow his lawn. None of the Bushes showed up.

    • Ivanka Said Her Dad Cares About Child Care. Here’s What Happened When A Woman Asked Him About It.

      Ivanka Trump tried to portray her father as a champion of women while introducing him on the last night of the RNC. But not only is there no evidence that the man who has a reputation for demeaning women is actually a champion for them — an examination of his platform and history indicates quite the opposite.

      [...]

      Trump Organization’s salaries are not public, but that claim doesn’t hold up on his campaign. Trump pays his male campaign staffers 35 percent more money than female staffers. That’s partly because he has only two women among his senior-level staff, and just 28 percent of his staff is made up of women. One former staffer filed a complaint earlier this year saying she was paid $2,000 a month — about half what several men with the same title make.

      She also talked about how Trump would help families. “As president, my father will change the labor laws,” she said, suggested he’d make “child care affordable and accessible for all” and provide support for working mothers.

      While affordable child care is a cornerstone of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Trump has not released any plan for child care. The candidate has also shown zero interest in thinking about the issue. When an organizer asked him for his thoughts on child care back in December, he replied, “I love children” but refused to engage further, saying, “It’s a big subject, darling.”

    • Robert Scheer: Americans Shouldn’t Settle for Candidates ‘Who Have Created This Tremendous Mess’

      In a recent interview on The Real News Network, Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer sat down with Paul Jay, senior editor of The Real News Network, to discuss the current election and the future of the American democratic system. The interview begins with Scheer talking about the Republican National Convention and neofascist rhetoric. “You don’t get fascist movements taking over, rising to power, without people being in pain,” Scheer says. “And we have a situation now in the United States that is increasingly resembling a kind of post-Weimar Germany.”

      Jay then brings the conversation around to new movements like Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street, which Scheer says save “a reasonable established order” by forcing those in power to respond to the needs of the people. “It’s only when the established order is failing to respond to the real needs of people that you get madness and chaos, and that’s what I think you’re hearing at the Republican convention.”

    • Never Mind the RNC — This Is What Voters Care About This Election

      Despite their absence from the Republican National Convention, voters prioritize campaign finance reform and action on climate change.

    • Donald Trump’s Convention Speech Rings Terrifying Historical Alarm Bells

      Donald Trump’s speech tonight accepting the Republican nomination for president will probably go down as one of the most frightening pieces of political rhetoric in U.S. history.

      Even for people who believe the danger of genuine authoritarianism on the U.S. right is often exaggerated, it’s impossible not to hear in Trump’s speech echoes of the words and strategies of the world’s worst leaders.

      Trump had just one message for Americans: Be afraid. You are under terrible threats from forces inside and outside your country, and he’s the only person who can save us.

    • Volatile America

      Then the headlines shifted and, for the moment, “normalcy” returned. It’s a Trump-sated normalcy that’s anything but, of course, and the most recent heavily reported violence (at least as I write these words) — the murder of three police officers in Baton Rouge — blends into the endlessly simmering turmoil known as the United States of America.

      And the civil war, in fact, started long ago. But until recently, only one side has been armed and organized. That’s why the two latest police killings, by disciplined, heavily armed former military men, loose a terrifying despair. The victims are fighting back — in the worst way possible, but in a way sure to inspire replication.

      When people are armed and outraged, the world so easily collapses into us vs. them. All complexity vanishes. People’s life purpose clarifies into a simplistic certainty: Kill the enemy. Indeed, sacrifice your life to do so, if necessary. I fear this is still the nation’s dominant attitude toward its troubles. We’re eating ourselves alive.

      One way this is happening was described in a recent New York Times story, headlined: “Philando Castile Was Pulled Over 49 Times in 13 Years, Often for Minor Infractions.” Castile, who as the world knows was shot and killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop on July 6, was a young man caught in a carnivorous system pretty much all his adult life. Every time he started his car, he risked arrest for “driving while black.” The Times quotes a Minneapolis public defender, who described Castile as “typical of low-income drivers who lose their licenses, then become overwhelmed by snowballing fines and fees.” They “just start to feel hopeless.”

      The story goes on: “The episode, to many, is a heartbreaking illustration of the disproportionate risks black motorists face with the police. . . . The killings have helped fuel a growing national debate over racial bias in law enforcement.”

      A growing national “debate”? Oh, the politeness! How much racism should we allow the police to show before we censure them? It’s like talking about the “debate” we used to have over the moral legitimacy of lynching.

    • Ted Cruz Booed and Heckled for Refusing to Endorse Donald Trump

      In a remarkable show of disunity at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Sen. Ted Cruz was booed and heckled by many delegates on Wednesday night as it became clear that he had no intention of endorsing Donald Trump for the presidency.

      Cruz, who called Trump “a pathological liar” and “utterly amoral” when he dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination in May, refused to follow the lead of two of the other defeated candidates, Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio, who did endorse the billionaire in their speeches.

      Watching Cruz give what seemed like a campaign speech for himself, Trump’s children sat in silence. Then there were cheers and a ripple of applause from the delegates as Cruz looked into the camera and said, “to those listening, please don’t stay home in November.”

    • Donald Trump is the Loneliest Man in America

      Donald Trump may well be the loneliest man in America. And I’m only 45%-60% kidding. This belief springs from his use of one single word—a word that every native speaker of the English language other than Trump knows does not, in fact, exist: the word “bigly.”

      Consider this: Donald Trump is so rich, so insulated–and so truly bereft of friends—that he’s managed to walk around on this planet for more than 70 years without ever realizing that “bigly” is not an actual word.

    • Chamber of Commerce May Prefer Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump

      The president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday signaled that the big-business community is still undecided between newly minted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. Chamber President Tom Donohue’s statements to Fox Business News on Wednesday morning represented an astonishing break from the organization’s nearly invariable support for Republican candidates.

      “Trump talks about some important things in energy and taxes and financial areas,” Donohue said. “Hillary perhaps has more experience and businessmen like that — businessmen and women like that — but I don’t think that’ll be decided until you hear the speeches here and next week and you see the first debate, and I think people will start to move more clearly to where they’re going to vote.”

    • On violence, neoliberalism and the hallucinatory anti-politics of the Trump era.

      “If we can’t change consciousness, if we can’t get people to identify with the issues in a way that make them appear very real to their lives, then all of a sudden anger gets distorted and rerouted into something worse – it becomes racism, it becomes a movement mobilized by the need for saviors, it becomes a movement that embodies the worst possible political alternative.”

    • Roger Ailes leaves Fox News in wake of sexual harassment claims

      Roger Ailes, the longtime Fox News chairman who helped found the network and build it into a cable ratings behemoth, has been forced out of the company following allegations that he sexually harassed numerous subordinates, including former host Gretchen Carlson and star anchor Megyn Kelly.

    • Black Cleveland Residents Tell Tale of Two Cities in the Shadow of Republican Convention

      A day after Republican National Convention speakers discussed how to “make America safe again,” a group of young Clevelanders held their own “make America safe again” event at a downtown park.

      As police officers on horseback and bikes fended off a small rally down the block and helicopters buzzed overhead, the group of mostly black and Latino college students huddled around a picnic table Tuesday and talked about how irrelevant and offensive the Republican event is to many residents of its host city.

    • 9 Lies In Donald Trump’s Big Speech To The Republican Convention

      At the beginning of his big RNC-closing speech, Trump called for “a straightforward assessment of the state of our nation,” and said he would “present the facts plainly and honestly.” He didn’t follow through on that promise.

      Trump’s speech was much more scripted than his typically ad-libbed rally performances, which are riddled with falsehoods. But his formal acceptance of the nomination was also full of deception. Here’s a rundown of some of the misleading claims made by the man whose campaign statements were named the “lie of the year” by Politifact.

    • Trump Spent A Lot Of His Speech Fear-Mongering About Crime. These 3 Charts Prove Him Wrong.

      Donald Trump wants you to think that America is a scary, scary place. In his speech accepting the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, Trump claims that “decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement.” He unleashes a blizzard of cherry-picked statistics all directed at one purpose — convincing you that crime has run amok and that he is the only thing that can save you.

      Don’t believe him. The reality is that crime isn’t just on a downward trend, but it has been for a very long time.

    • Trump Campaign Manager Makes Astonishingly Sexist Argument For Why Women Should Vote For Trump

      “Many women feel they can’t afford their lives, their husbands can’t afford to be paying for the family bills,” Manafort said. “Hillary Clinton is guilty of being part of the establishment that created that problem. They will hear the message. As they hear the message, that’s how we will appeal to them.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • The CIA, NSA and Pokémon Go

      Before heading out to capture Pokémon, you might want to consider the data the game has access to and the history of the company that created the game

    • Snowden: ‘I never thought I’d be saved’ after NSA leaks

      When Edward Snowden leaked highly classified secrets about government spying in 2013, the undertaking took meticulous coordination.

      Snowden, a former NSA contractor, chatted with Guardian reporters Glenn Greenwald and documentary maker Laura Poitras over encrypted email exchanges. Their first meeting hinged on code words and a secret signal involving a Rubik’s cube.

      But when the first article revealing hush-hush surveillance programs went live that June while he was in a Hong Kong hotel room, that’s as far as Snowden had thought things through, he said over a live internet feed from Russia, where he’s been living in exile since the leaks.

    • China To Ban Ad Blockers As Part Of New Regulations For Online Advertising

      Since it’s hard to see the Chinese government really caring too much about the problems that ad-blocking software causes for online publishers, there is presumably another motivation behind this particular move. One possibility is that the Chinese authorities use the tracking capabilities of online ads for surveillance purposes, and the increasing use of ad blockers in China is making that harder. That clearly runs against the current policy of keeping an eye on everything that online users do in China, which is perhaps why the authorities want ad blockers banned in the country, despite the inconvenience and risks for users of doing so.

      It remains to be seen how successful the Chinese government will be in stamping out such popular software, or whether this will be another regulation that is largely ignored.

    • Former Homeland Security Advisor: Tech Companies Have The Burden Of Proving Harm Of Backdoored Encryption

      Last week’s one-sided “hearing” on encryption — hosted by an irritated John McCain, who kept interrupting things to complain that Apple hadn’t showed up to field false accusations and his general disdain — presented three sides of the same coin. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance again argued that the only way through this supposed impasse was legislation forcing companies to decrypt communications for the government. The other two offering testimony were former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein and former NSA Deputy Director Chris Inglis.

      Not much was said in defense of protections for cellphone users. Much was made of the supposed wrongness of law enforcement not being able to access content and communications presumed to be full of culpatory evidence.

      But one of the more surprising assertions was delivered by a former government official. Wainstein’s testimony [PDF] — like Vance’s — suggested the government and phone makers start “working together.” “Working together” is nothing more than a euphemism for “make heavy concessions to the government and prepare to deliver the impossible,” as Patrick Tucker of Defense One points out. Wainstein says phone manufacturers must do more than theorize that weakened encryption would harm them or their companies. They must hand over “hard data” on things that haven’t happened yet.

    • Wall Street Journal Reporter Hassled At LA Airport; Successfully Prevents DHS From Searching Her Phones

      Welcome to Bordertown, USA. Population: 200 million. Expect occasional temporary population increases from travelers arriving from other countries. Your rights as a US citizen are indeterminate within 100 miles of US borders. They may be respected. They may be ignored. But courts have decided that the “right” to do national security stuff — as useless as most its efforts are — trumps the rights of US citizens.

      Wall Street Journal reporter Maria Abi-Habib – a US-born citizen traveling into the States with her valid passport — discovered this at the Los Angeles International Airport. Her Facebook post describes her interaction with DHS agents who suddenly decided they needed to detain her and seize her electronics.

    • France calls end to Microsoft’s ‘excessive’ user data collection

      France is not happy about the amount of data collection and lack of security in Windows 10 and has given the firm three months to sort it out.

    • Microsoft responds to allegations that Windows 10 collects ‘excessive personal data’

      Yesterday France’s National Data Protection Commission (CNIL) slapped a formal order on Microsoft to comply with data protection laws after it found Windows 10 was collecting “excessive data” about users. The company has been given three months to meet the demands or it will face fines.

      Microsoft has now responded, saying it is happy to work with the CNIL to work towards an acceptable solution. Interestingly, while not denying the allegations set against it, the company does nothing to defend the amount of data collected by Windows 10, and also fails to address the privacy concerns it raises.

      Microsoft does address concerns about the transfer of data between Europe and the US, saying that while the Safe Harbor agreement is no longer valid, the company still complied with it up until the adoption of Privacy Shield.

    • Cloud Encryption Threat Map

      The Cloud has gained quite a bit of popularity within the past decade such that many companies can roll out their own or one hosted by a cloud provider with relative ease. However with this new world come new threats and it is important that organizations adequately model their networks, data and possible threats to ensure sensitive data is kept secure. Kenn White was kind enough to create this threat scenarios mind map and I thought it was worth sharing as it does a great job of showing scenarios that different security technologies help protect against.

    • Tor Could Protect Your Smart Fridge From Spies and Hackers

      There’s a growing fear that the exploding internet of things — from baby cams to pacemakers — could be a goldmine for spies and criminal hackers, allowing them access to all kinds of personal photos, videos, audio recordings, and other data. It’s a concern bolstered by remarks from top national security officials.

    • Opera browser sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million

      After a $1.2 billion deal fell through, Opera has sold most of itself to a Chinese consortium for $600 million. The buyers, led by search and security firm Qihoo 360, are purchasing Opera’s browser business, its privacy and performance apps, its tech licensing and, most importantly, its name. The Norwegian company will keep its consumer division, including Opera Apps & Games and Opera TV. The consumer arm has 560 workers, but the company hasn’t said what will happen to its other 1,109 employees.

    • Maxthon browser is a wolf in sheep’s clothing

      You may have installed the Maxthon browser on your mobile devices. If so, here’s why you should remove it. Immediately.

      [...]

      What exactly has been discovered that could be so damaging to this underdog browser? Fidelis Cybersecurity reported that Poland-based Exatel uncovered the Maxthon browser regularly sends a file, via HTTP, named ueipdata.zip, to a server in Beijing, China. The ueipdata.zip contains a file called dat.txt which stores information about the following:

      Operating system
      CPU
      Ad blocker status
      Homepage URL
      Browser history
      Installed applications (and their version number)

    • French State of Emergency: Overbidding Mass Surveillance

      Once again. The State of Emergency in France has been extended until January. In reaction to violence shaking the country and with the presidential election of 2017 only a few months away, political leaders are indulging an ignominious orgy of security-driven policy. Not satisfied with merely prolonging the state of emergency, lawmakers have also amended the 2015 Intelligence Act passed last year to legalize domestic mass surveillance.

      It is hard to believe that only 48 hours have passed since the bill was sent to the French National Assembly. With incredible speed, in the middle of summer, the Committee on Legal Affairs of the French Senate has given carte blanche to rapporteur Michel Mercier (UDI – centre-right wing and former Minister of Justice) to erase so-called “rigidities” in the Surveillance Law adopted last year.

      The provision, much criticised during the parliamentary debates at that time, provides for real-time scanning the connection data of individuals suspected of terrorist activities.

    • Snowden director Oliver Stone calls Pokemon Go new level of ‘surveillance capitalism’

      Filmmaker Oliver Stone tore into the Pokemon Go smartphone phenomenon on Thursday, describing it as “a new level of invasion” that could lead to totalitarianism.

      During a panel for his new movie Snowden on the first day of San Diego Comic-Con 2016, the director said the app was part of a larger culture of “surveillance capitalism.”

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden collaborates on ultra-secure iPhone case
    • Marines, NSA to Bring Combat-Adapted Smartphone Tech to the Battlefield

      The program will mirror a similar approach adopted by the US Army that will provide soldiers with the ability to transmit strike coordinates, access visual maps, and potentially engage weapon systems using a heavily-modified consumer-level smartphone.

    • WSJ Reporter: Homeland Security Tried to Take My Phones at the Border

      On Thursday, a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter claimed that the Department of Homeland Security demanded access to her mobile phones when she was crossing the border at the Los Angeles airport.

    • Edward Snowden’s New Research Aims to Keep Smartphones From Betraying Their Owners

      In early 2012, Marie Colvin, an acclaimed international journalist from New York, entered the besieged city of Homs, Syria, while reporting for London’s Sunday Times. She wrote of a difficult journey involving “a smugglers’ route, which I promised not to reveal, climbing over walls in the dark and slipping into muddy trenches.” Despite the covert approach, Syrian forces still managed to get to Colvin; under orders to “kill any journalist that set foot on Syrian soil,” they bombed the makeshift media center she was working in, killing her and one other journalist and injuring two others.

    • Against the Law: Countering Lawful Abuses of Digital Surveillance

      Front-line journalists risk their lives to report from conflict regions. Casting a spotlight on atrocities, their updates can alter the tides of war and outcomes of elections. As a result, front-line journalists are high-value targets, and their enemies will spare no expense to silence them. In the past decade, hundreds of journalists have been captured, tortured and killed. These journalists have been reporting in conflict zones, such as Iraq and Syria, or in regions of political instability, such as the Philippines, Mexico, and Somalia.

    • Snowden Designs a Device to Warn if Your iPhone’s Radios Are Snitching

      When Edward Snowden met with reporters in a Hong Kong hotel room to spill the NSA’s secrets, he famously asked them put their phones in the fridge to block any radio signals that might be used to silently activate the devices’ microphones or cameras. So it’s fitting that three years later, he’s returned to that smartphone radio surveillance problem. Now Snowden’s attempting to build a solution that’s far more compact than a hotel mini-bar.

    • New Snowden-Developed Smartphone Device Aims to Shield Journalists
    • Edward Snowden Makes An Open Source Anti-NSA Battery Case For iPhone 6
    • Snowden designs device to warn when an iPhone is ratting out users [iophk: "aside from the iphone problem, the real need is for an OSS baseband OS"]
    • Ed Snowden And Bunnie Huang Design Phone Case To Warn You If Your Phone Is Compromised

      Bunnie Huang is having quite a day — and it’s a day the US government perhaps isn’t too happy about. Huang has worked on a number of interesting projects over the years from hacking the Xbox over a dozen years ago to highlighting innovation happening without patents in China. This morning we wrote about him suing the US government over Section 1201 of the DMCA. And now he’s teamed up with Ed Snowden (you’ve heard of him) to design a device to warn you if your phone’s radios are broadcasting without your consent. Basically, they’re noting that your standard software based controls (i.e., turning on “airplane mode”) can be circumvented by, say, spies or hackers.

    • Edward Snowden designed an iPhone attachment that detects unwanted radio transmissions

      Edward Snowden thinks about phone security a lot more than the average person. And with good reason, as the world-famous whistleblower revealed methods of government data collection on phone calls, and even from his exile in Russia, still remains a major advocate for digital privacy.

    • Elon Musk’s Master Plan Includes Turning Tesla Into An Autonomous Uber

      Tesla’s Elon Musk is not afraid to think big and then go for it. He famously published the Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan ten years ago, and has pretty much stuck to that plan.

    • Data ruling should kill off the investigatory powers bill

      The European court of justice ruling that bulk data collection is only lawful if it is used to tackle serious crime (Report, 20 July) makes it clearer than ever that the monstrous (in size and aims) investigatory powers bill currently passing through the House of Lords is simply not fit for purpose.

      The proposed legislation sanctions the mass collection of citizens’ telephone and email data – something that is both ineffective and, as we now know, unlawful – and fails to put in place sufficient safeguards against the misuse of the powers granted to the intelligence services.

      The US last year ended the bulk collection of data from telephone calls when a report found that its counter-terrorism benefits were few or none. Firsthand evidence suggests that mass surveillance makes the security services’ jobs harder, not easier; you don’t look for a needle in a haystack more efficiently by making the haystack bigger.

    • Ed Snowden and Andrew “bunnie” Huang announce a malware-detecting smartphone case

      Exiled NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and legendary hardware hacker Andrew bunnie” Huang have published a paper detailing their new “introspection engine” for the Iphone, an external hardware case that clips over the phone and probes its internal components with a miniature oscilloscope that reads all the radio traffic in and out of the device to see whether malicious software is secretly keeping the radio on after you put it in airplane mode.

    • Film director Oliver Stone thinks Pokemon Go could lead to ‘totalitarianism’
    • ‘Snowden’ director Stone talks NSA, Pokemon GO at Comic Con
    • Oliver Stone Calls Pokemon Go a ‘New Level of Invasion’ at Comic-Con ‘Snowden’ Panel
    • Why Oliver Stone Thinks ‘Pokemon Go’ Could Create Totalitarianism
    • Edward Snowden On Oliver Stone, A Society Of Surveillance & Seeing His Story Onscreen – Comic-Con
    • 35 Years after Saint Reagan’s Order, Treasury Still Dawdles

      The other day, I Con the Record released an updated index of the procedures intelligence components use to comply with Executive Order 12333’s rules on sharing information about US persons. As is typical of I Con the Record, it didn’t admit that this new “transparency” really just incorporates information demanded under FOIA. In this case, the index released three newly available documents liberated by ACLU in their 12333 FOIA. I Con the Record also misrepresented how long the renewed effort to make sure agencies have such procedures in place has gone on; as I’ve noted, PCLOB has been pursuing this issue since 2013.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Foreign embassy staff accused of human trafficking and child sex offences

      Diplomatic staff with immunity, working in embassies in the UK, have been accused of child sex offences and human trafficking, the Foreign Office says.

      A total of 11 “serious and significant” offences were allegedly committed by such people in the past year.

      Diplomatic missions and international organisations ran up nearly £500,000 in unpaid parking fines in London last year, it was also revealed.

      Diplomats and some embassy staff are entitled to diplomatic immunity.

      This means they can be exempt from being tried for crimes.

      The allegations, contained a written ministerial statement by new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, include someone at the Mexican embassy allegedly causing a child aged 13 to 15 to watch or look at an image of sexual activity.

    • Public servant says Australian Bureau of Statistics forced him out because he was blind

      Ex-Bureau of Statistics worker Matthew Artis says he was unfairly moved around different sections of the ABS, treated as a liability and once told he was a “fish out of water” by one of his bosses.

      Mr Artis is suing his former employer in the Federal Circuit Court where he is alleging he was the victim of serious and blatant disability discrimination by the Commonwealth.

    • Can the British monarchy last forever?

      Increasing awareness of the shady dealings of the monarchy – and the institutions that protect it – are leading to a growing republican movement in the UK.

    • If the Risk Is Low, Let Them Go

      How a man who served 33 years on a 15-to-life sentence is pushing New York’s intransigent parole board to release violent offenders who have aged out of crime, the fastest growing segment of the prison population.

    • Court Says Cop Calling 911 With Suspect’s Phone To Obtain Owner Info Is Not A Search

      The background is this: James Brandon Hill exited a taxi cab without paying, leaving his phone behind. The cab driver reported this to the police and an officer dialed 911 to obtain the owner’s info. The court doesn’t touch the issue of abandonment — which would likely have made the search legal. But its decision that the method used to obtain this info isn’t a search seems to be a bit off.

      While the information received may have had no expectation of privacy, an officer accessing a cell phone without a warrant is questionable under the Supreme Court’s Riley decision. As noted above, the warrantless search still likely would have survived a motion to suppress as the phone was abandoned in the cab. In fact, Hill does not challenge the seizure of the phone — only the search.

    • Police brutality: Is America teetering on edge of sectarian violence?

      The tragic shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile occured because soldiers and police officers alike view themselves on the frontline and dangerous edge of preventing terrorist and criminal attacks.

    • May gets Hollande ultimatum: free trade depends on free movement

      Theresa May was warned by the French president, François Hollande, at their first meeting in Paris that the UK cannot expect access to the single market if it wants to put immigration controls on EU citizens.

      At a joint press conference in the Élysée Palace, Hollande made it clear that the new British prime minister was facing a choice about whether to accept free movement of people in return for free trade.

    • Chinese anti-graft protest leader arrested for taking bribes: Xinhua

      A former leader of a Chinese village who was democratically elected five years ago after taking a stand against corruption has been arrested for taking bribes, said Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

      Lin Zuluan, one of the Wukan village protest leaders in 2011 whose calls for an uprising attracted global attention, had called for fresh protests in June against new land grabs and graft in the fishing village in Guangdong province.

      His arrest is the latest move on the core group of Wukan village protest leaders from 2011.

    • From yurt-dwellers to bankers, Mongolians worn out by ‘corrupt’ politics

      Mongolia is known for the nomadic lifestyle of many of its citizens, its mines of global importance and for being an unlikely – if troubled – democracy landlocked by Russia and China. On 29 June, amid deep economic problems Mongolians showed their discontent by voting opposition Mongolian People’s Party into the State Grand Khural (parliament) in a landslide victory.

      The party took 85% of the seats in the parliament, defeating main rival the Democratic Party, which led a coalition from 2012-2016; about half of the elected candidates are first timers in the Khural. Voter turnout was above 72%, indicative of the electorate’s overwhelming discontent, and its apetite for change. The election period raised questions that stretch beyond the immediate economic crisis, making many reflect on the state of democracy, trust and public ethics.

    • ACLU of Florida Statement on the Police Shooting of an Unarmed Man in North Miami

      “We are extremely disturbed by the police shooting of Charles Kinsey, an unarmed caretaker helping a patient with autism outside a group home facility in North Miami. Thankfully, Mr. Kinsey is alive and not more gravely injured – but had the officer’s weapon been pointed just a few degrees differently, this senseless incident could have been a much greater tragedy.

      “This is the latest in what seems like an endless litany of police shootings of individuals who should not have been shot. Philando Castile in Minnesota, Alton Sterling in Louisiana, Vernell Bing in Jacksonville: there are too many to name them all here. Of the 598 people killed by U.S. police this year, 88 were unarmed. Mr. Kinsey or his patient could very easily have become number 89.

      “We have to stem the tide of violence, both nationwide and here in Florida. It starts with holding people accountable for their actions. There must be a thorough and independent investigation into this shooting that covers both whether officers violated internal use of deadly force policies and whether criminal charges should be brought.

    • With Arms in Air, Unarmed Black Caregiver Shot by Police

      Charles Kinsey, a black man and caregiver at a group home, was shot by police on Monday in North Miami, Florida.

    • Hong Kong ‘Umbrella Movement’ student leaders found guilty

      It’s a dark day for the student leaders of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests in 2014 that came to be known as the “Umbrella Movement.”

      On Thursday, a court convicted Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow for unlawful assembly, for their role in starting the protests.

    • Want police reform? Charge rich people more for speeding tickets

      Soon after the horrific video of Minneapolis-St Paul resident Philando Castile being killed by a cop during a routine traffic stop was broadcast live over Facebook, evidence of just how “routine” the stop actually was also became public.

      Castile, it turned out, had been pulled over at least 52 times in 13 years for a variety of minor infractions – a broken seat belt, an unlit license plate, tinted windows, a missing muffler – or what his mother called “driving while black”.

    • Immigrants Told To ‘Get In Line’ Are Waiting For Years Because Of Court Case Backlog

      Critics often tell immigrants to “get in line” to legally stay in the United States — but the only line in place spans years, as there are now more than half a million cases backlogged in the federal immigration court system.

      Based on new Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) findings by the Associated Press, the total number of immigration cases still pending has reached 500,051 — a number driven by Central American mothers and children who began arriving at the southern U.S. border beginning in late 2013.

      Immigration courts have been inundated with cases after the Obama administration prioritized and expedited court hearings for Central Americans in a process critically called a “rocket docket,” which gives lawyers and immigrants little time to gather evidence to support their claims for humanitarian relief.

    • Texas Governor Latest To Ask For A ‘Hate Crime’ Law That Covers Attacks On Cops

      Yet another politician can be added to the list of people who think police officers just don’t have enough protections as is. Following in the footsteps of legislators in New Jersey and Minnesota — along with Rep. Ken Buck (CO) — Texas governor Greg Abbott has decided it’s time to treat attacking officers as a “hate crime.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • I wanna go fast: HTTPS’ massive speed advantage

      In fact, a bunch of the internet was pretty upset. “It’s not fair!”, they cried. “You’re comparing apples and oranges!”, they raged.

    • CenturyLink Claims Broadband Caps Improve The ‘Internet Experience’ And Empower Consumers

      Broadband ISP CenturyLink this week confirmed it’s following on Comcast’s heels and starting to impose usage caps and overage fees on the company’s already pricey DSL services. As we’ve long noted, there’s no reasonable defense for what’s effectively a glorified rate hike on uncompetitive markets, but watching ISP PR departments try to justify these hikes has traditionally been a great source of entertainment (at least until you get the bill).

  • DRM
    • Statement on DMCA lawsuit

      My name is Matthew Green. I am a professor of computer science and a researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. I focus on computer security and applied cryptography.

      Today I filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, to strike down Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This law violates my First Amendment right to gather information and speak about an urgent matter of public concern: computer security. I am asking a federal judge to strike down key parts of this law so they cannot be enforced against me or anyone else.

    • Why I’m Suing the US Government

      Today I filed a lawsuit against the US government, challenging Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Section 1201 means that you can be sued or prosecuted for accessing, speaking about, and tinkering with digital media and technologies that you have paid for. This violates our First Amendment rights, and I am asking the court to order the federal government to stop enforcing Section 1201.

    • America’s broken digital copyright law is about to be challenged in court

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing the US government over ‘unconstitutional’ use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

    • EFF Lawsuit Challenges DMCA’s Digital Locks Provision As First Amendment Violation

      Computer security professor Matthew Green and famed hardware hacker Bunnie Huang have teamed up with the EFF to sue the US government, challenging the constitutionality of Section 1201 of the DMCA, also known as the “anti-circumvention” clause. As we’ve discussed for many years, 1201 makes it against the law to “manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof” that is designed to “circumvent” DRM or other “technological protection measures.” There are all sorts of problems with this part of the law, including the fact that it doesn’t matter why you have that tool or why you’re circumventing the DRM. For example, it would still be considered infringement if you cracked DRM on a public domain work. That’s… insane.

      The only “safety valve” on this is the ridiculous triennial review process, whereby people can beg and plead with the Librarian of Congress to “exempt” certain scenarios from being covered by 1201. The process is something of a joke, and even if you get an exemption one time, it automatically expires after three years, and the Library of Congress might not renew it.

    • Ever Buy Music From Apple? Use Linux? You Need This Tool

      Sure, you’re a hardcore superuser, but that doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy the finer things in life — like shiny squircles and getting every new app first. But, what’s an OS-indiscriminate person like yourself going to do when it comes time to purchase music? That’s where the recover_itunes tool shines, and if you’re a Linux user with an iPhone, it might just be your new best friend.

      iPhones and other Apple products work great when you’ve purchased music from iTunes, but can be a headache when your music comes from other sources. On the other hand, music purchased from iTunes is notoriously difficult to listen to on anything other than an Apple product. One major reason for the difficulty with the latter is in the way that iTunes handles metadata.

    • EFF sues US government, saying copyright rules on DRM are unconstitutional

      Since the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) became law in 1998, it has been a federal crime to copy a DVD or do anything else that subverts digital copy-protection schemes.

      Soon, government lawyers will have to show up in court to defend those rules. Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit (PDF) claiming the parts of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that deal with copy protection and digital locks are unconstitutional.

      Under the DMCA, any hacking or breaking of digital locks, often referred to as digital rights management or DRM, is a criminal act. That means modding a game console, hacking a car’s software, and copying a DVD are all acts that violate the law, no matter what the purpose. Those rules are encapsulated in Section 1201 of the DMCA, which was lobbied for by the entertainment industry and some large tech companies.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Report: Lifesaving New AIDS Drugs Remain Costly; Older Versions Get Cheaper

      The international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has found that prices of older HIV drugs continue to decline, but newer drugs largely remain expensive.

      The results were released on 21 July in Untangling the Web, the 18th edition of MSF’s report on HIV drug pricing and access, at the International AIDS Conference in Durban.

    • Commitment On Investment In Access To Essential Medicines Signed At UNCTAD14

      A commitment signed this week to facilitate investment in Africa’s pharmaceutical industry is expected to boost the sector’s production and make available essential medicines for millions of needy people.

      UNAIDS and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the African Union (AU), and the Kenyan and South African governments signed the pledge on 21 July, on the sidelines of the fourteen session of UNCTAD (UNCTAD-14), which is convening in Nairobi from July 17-22.

    • Trademarks
      • Running Out Of Puns: Get Ready For The Damn To Burst On Craft Beer Trademark Disputes

        With all the trademark actions we’ve seen taken these past few years that have revolved around the craft beer and distilling industries, it seems like some of the other folks in the mass media are finally picking up on what I’ve been saying for at least three years: the trademark apocalypse is coming for the liquor industries. It’s sort of a strange study in how an industry can evolve, starting as something artisan built on friendly competition and morphing into exactly the kind of legal-heavy, protectionist profit-beast that seems like the very antithesis of the craft brewing concept. And it should also be instructive as to how trademark law, something of the darling of intellectual properties in its intent if not application, can quickly become a major speed bump for what is an otherwise quickly growing market.

      • Dear US Olympic Committee: Tweeting About The Olympics Is Never Trademark Infringement

        It seems the USOC is just getting started with its bullying bullshit this Olympic season. Fresh off the heels of threatening Oiselle, a corporate sponsor of an Olympic athlete (but not a sponsor of the Olympics themselves), over trademark concerns because the company posted a congratulatory tweet for its sponsored athlete that included the Olympic bib she was wearing, the USOC is now sending out a helpful little reminder to other companies that have sponsored athletes but not the games. And by helpful, I mean that it’s helpful in seeing just how blatantly the USOC will outright lie in order to continue its bullying ways.

    • Copyrights
      • Kickass Torrents Gets The Megaupload Treatment: Site Seized, Owner Arrested And Charged With Criminal Infringement

        So just as the US government itself is accused of being engaged in massive copyright infringement itself, the Justice Department proudly announces that it has charged the owner of Kickass Torrents with criminal copyright infringement claims. The site has also been seized and the owner, Artem Vaulin, has been arrested in Poland. As with the original Kim Dotcom/Megaupload indictment, the full criminal complaint against Vaulin is worth reading.

        As with the case against Dotcom/Megaupload, the DOJ seems to ignore the fact that there is no such thing as secondary liability in criminal infringement. That’s a big concern. Even though Kickass Torrents does not host the actual infringing files at all, the complaint argues that Vaulin is still legally responsible for others doing so. But that’s not actually how criminal copyright infringement works. The complaint barely even shows how Vaulin could be liable for the infringement conducted via Kickass Torrents.

        But, of course, that doesn’t matter because the guy at Homeland Security Investigations (formerly: ICE: Immigrations & Customs Enforcement) just spoke to the MPAA and the MPAA said that Kickass Torrents had no permission to link to their content. Yes, link.

      • Amazon, Cable Industry Molest The Definition Of Copyright In Ongoing Scuff Up Over Cable Box Reform

        Last week we noted how copyright has once again become a straw man, this time as part of an attempt to kill the FCC’s plan to bring competition to the cable box. Under the FCC’s plan, cable providers would have to provide their programming to third-party hardware vendors — using any copy protection of their choice — without forcing consumers to pay for a CableCARD. The plan has little to actually do with copyright, but cable providers have tried to scuttle the effort by trying to claim more cable box competition will magically result in a piracy apocalypse (stop me if you’ve heard this sort of thing before somewhere).

        The cable industry’s attack on the FCC’s plan has been threefold: hire sock puppets to make violently misleading claims in newspapers and websites nationwide; push industry-loyal politicians (who have no real clue what the plan does) to derail the plan publicly as the worst sort of villainy, and present a counter proposal packed with caveats that makes it all but useless. This counter proposal involves the cable industry delivering its programming via apps (much like it already does), but forces consumers to continue renting a cable box if they want to record programs via DVR.

        Given the cable industry’s plan is little more than a press release, that’s only the caveat we know of. But anybody thinking the cable industry’s going to just give up $21 billion in set top rental fees and their walled garden control over the user experience is utterly adorable.

      • Following KickassTorrents Death, Streaming Website Solarmovie Disappears
      • IsoHunt Launches A Working KickassTorrent Mirror — kickasstorrents.website

        Shortly after the U.S. Government seized the domains of KickassTorrents, IsoHunt is here with a working mirror of the world’s largest torrent website. The mirror can be accessed by visiting a URL similar to KAT’s domains i.e. kickasstorrents.website. The new website also displays a manifesto, demanding KAT founder’s freedom.

      • How Apple And Facebook Got KickassTorrents Founder Arrested

        The founder of the world’s largest torrent hosting website KickassTorrents is now behind the bars. The cause of his arrest are the legal purchases he made on Apple’s iTunes Store which helped the homeland security department to track him down.

      • Trump campaign admits Melania’s speech plagiarized Michelle Obama

        Donald Trump’s campaign has acknowledged that Melania Trump’s speech on Monday at the Republican National Convention used identical phrasing as a speech from Michelle Obama in 2008.

        The admission came in a written statement (viewable below in its entirety) on Wednesday from Meredith McIver, the writer who worked with Melania on the speech. McIver identified herself as an “in-house staff writer for the Trump Organization” and a friend of the Trump family.

Haar Mentioned as Likely Site of Appeal Boards as Their Eradication or Marginalisation Envisioned by UPC Proponent Benoît Battistelli

Friday 22nd of July 2016 03:05:55 PM

Wouldn’t that be metaphorical given Battistelli's plan (all along) for the boards and mistreatment of ill staff?


Reference: The Killing of Psychiatric Patients in Nazi-Germany between 1939 – 1945 [PDF]

Summary: Not only the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) is under severe attack and possibly in mortal danger; the increasingly understaffed Boards of Appeal too are coming under attack and may (according to rumours) be sent to Haar, a good distance away from Munich and the airport (half an hour drive), not to mention lack of facilities for visitors from overseas

SUEPO (the only dominant EPO trade/staff union) leaders must be busy with their legal cases against EPO management (one to start/resume upon appeal later this year in the Supreme Court at The Hague, the other one having just started exactly a week ago), so it is not saying much about the monumental injustices at the EPO, at least not publicly. Having said that, anonymous voices continue to appear at IP Kat‘s comments, in spite of lack of coverage there about the EPO’s situation (nothing for weeks now).

A few comments there are floating new rumours about the fate of the appeal boards after they got punished for disloyalty (to Battistelli, not to the Office or the Organisation). Much of this began with a discussion about the UPC, which all along threatened to make the appeal boards obsolete, in due time. The UPC was first brought up in light of the decline/demise of justice at patent courts, as we noted a couple of hours ago (tackling patent examination justice). To quote the whole comment:

What good will it be to them to have good patents if their competitors can shut them down with vague and broad patents at the UPC?

A very important fact has been forgotten in Merpel’s article: the president of the council did not distanciate himself from the interference from Battistelli. Look at the text of the decision. Basically, what this means is that both the council and Battistelli view the enlarged board of appeal as subordinate to them and not as independent. The council did not object in their latest session.

In plain words: the enlarged board of appeal was expected to simply rubber-stamp a decision already taken. Even if the investigation was fraught with problems as some of the earliest comments in this thread noted.

These are the standards of justice of Battistelli and, we now understand, from the council. That is basically what the decision says.

Now, the all new UPC is created behind closed doors by the very same persons. How high do you expect the judicial standards of the new court to be?

Bonus question: how do you expect your clients to protect themselves against future decisions of the UPC?

There is a direct response to the above concerns about the UPC. “The danger comes when a court (UPC or any other) starts with a presumption of validity, just because it’s a European patent,” the following comment notes, reminding us of what happens in the USPTO and US courts, especially the ones in Texas:

Not sure I follow the logic here. I’m not saying that the national route produces stronger patents. I’m saying that, whereas the EPO previously provided a useful due diligence service (search and examination), this has now been diluted to the point where the national offices offer a competitive and lower-risk alternative.

Crap patents are fine, just as long as everyone recognises that they’re crap. The danger comes when a court (UPC or any other) starts with a presumption of validity, just because it’s a European patent.

An anonymous response to this said:

Crap patents are not fine, even the USPTO is getting convinced. And if the UPC independence is of the same kind as the enlarged board of appeal indepence, that is not fine either.

The article above describes a very serious problem. In most countries, interfering with the independence of justice would trigger a constitutional crisis.

In response to that, once again, the Turkey analogies came up:

The article above describes a very serious problem. In most countries, interfering with the independence of justice would trigger a constitutional crisis.

Apart from Turkey where a constitutional crisis triggers an interference with the independence of justice …

“The Boards of Appeal are now paying a very high price for asserting their independence,” noted the following commenter, correctly insinuating that this ‘exile’ (not as far as Vienna as feared last year) is a sort of punishment:

The Boards of Appeal are now paying a very high price for asserting their independence. Following the approval by the Administrative Council of the reform proposed by Mr Battistelli, they will firstly be exiled to a corner of the Munich area, viz. Haar, which is very well known for its psychiatric hospital, possibly a humorous touch introduced by the president.

Secondly, renewal of the members’ appointment every five years, which used to be the default (in fact, it has never happened that a member was not re-appointed) is now subject to, among other, a performance evaluation. Coupled with another element of the proposal, i.e. to increase the cost coverage for appeals from 6,3% to 20-25%, firstly by increasing the members’ productivity, there will now be a high pressure on members to focus on production if they don’t want to lose their job. And if they lose their job, taking up another job will now only be possible after approval by the Administrative Council.

Finally, Board of Appeal members will be excluded from “step advancements”, which are open to all other staff at the EPO, i.e. the members’ salaries will be frozen.

It was already known that if Mr Battistelli doesn’t like you, he will hit hard. He has proven this again with the reform package for the Boards of Appeal.

Here is more about the Haar rumour:

Do you have good reason for believing that the BoA will be moved to Haar?

EPO – CA-43-16 Rev. 1:
“As a main precondition, criteria like good traffic links and appropriate accommodation standards were taken into account”.

Although I do not know much about it, I doubt that Haar would satisfy this main precondition. For a start, there appear to be very limited hotel and restaurant facilities in the immediate vicinity of the S-Bahn stop, which is itself a significantly longer journey (by S-Bahn) to / from the airport.

Also, is there not going to be any consultation with users about this? If the decision is Haar, then I can envisage the users getting hopping mad about this – especially as they would be paying significantly more in appeal fees for the “privilege” of having an additional journey out of Munich centre to stay in hotels that may be unappealing to some. And all to address what the users have consistently argued was a non-issue, whilst no real progress (in fact, quite the opposite) has been made in addressing the substantive issues relating to the independence of the BoAs.

I know that a proposal for a new BoA location has to be put to the Budget and Finance Committee, but am unsure if the AC needs to take a formal decision upon that proposal. If so, then it looks like users will need to engage in intensive lobbying of AC representatives if the proposal really is for somewhere outside of Munich centre.

And responding to the above one person wrote:

Like someone wrote above, GET REAL.

What consultations were there in the first place regarding the so-called “reform” of the BoA? What was the public’s input in that hastily load of garbage pompously called a “plan”?

Were the outcries of the public, judges, etc. heeded when a BoA member was given the virtual sack for what was apparently a crime of lèse-majesté?

The latest comment was posted this morning and said:

If the rumours are true, it looks EPO will be gaining an office that is outside of Munich city centre and that (compared to the Isar building) is more difficult for visitors to Munich to reach and is by far less well supplied with hotel accommodation, restaurants and other facilities that such visitors will need.

If the EPO management were being truly practical about this, then they would decide that such an office really ought to be occupied by the department(s) of the EPO that receive the fewest visitors. Given that pretty much everything that the Boards of Appeal do involves summoning visitors to Munich, I am certain that it makes no sense whatsoever to move them to Haar.

With this in mind, if the EPO president really is determined to physically separate the two current residents of the Isar building, then logic dictates that it really ought to be the other resident (that is, the president himself) who moves to Haar. Anyone up for lobbying the representatives to the AC to vote for this alternative?

Well, “lobbying the representatives to the AC,” as the above put it, might be an exercise in futility given their demonstration of (almost) blind loyalty to Battistelli in the last AC meeting. One person earlier on wrote:

The Enlarged Board of appeal did not rubber-stamped the decision that the president and the council asked them.
Probably for this reason they are going to be moved, although several suitable buildings are available in Munich, to Haar, a village outside Munich mostly known for its lunatic asylum.
Next time they will think twice before taking a decision that does not please BB or the council.
So much for the judicial independence.

There is no judicial independence and there is no justice at the EPO anymore. To make matters worse, as one commenter put it:

It seems that some applicants have their offices in the same building complex.

The board members will improve their perceived independence by discussing the inventions directly with the inventors at lunch.

Yes, exactly. What a horrible move that would be. Instead of sending the boards to Haar maybe it’s time to send Battistelli to Haar. As one of the above comments noted, Haar “is very well known for its psychiatric hospital,” which sounds like something Battistelli could use. They can give him some toys to break rather than let him break people (and lives or even families as per the recent survey) at the EPO.

EPO Attaché Albert Keyack Viewed as Somewhat of a Mole, Reporting From the US Embassy in Brazil Until Shortly Before the Temer Coup

Friday 22nd of July 2016 02:19:28 PM

Another French term in Benoît Battistelli’s EPO after his de facto coup d’état


Reference: The Intercept (among many more at the time)

Summary: Public responses to the role played by Albert Keyack on behalf of the United States inside the European [sic] Patent Office

TECHRIGHTS is not a political site in nature, but sometimes it’s impossible to avoid a little bit of politics. Half a decade ago we wrote about the Brazil-based US Ambassador Sobel (now Republican fundraiser) lobbying/working for Microsoft in Brazil in his capacity as a diplomat (Microsoft Brazil President at the time was Michel Levy) — a subject on which we expanded in later posts on the subject, citing diplomatic cables leaked by Chelsea Manning quite shortly thereafter. Corruption levels in Brazil are relatively high and some people try to capitalise on weak regulatory powers. It kind of sounds like Benoît Battistelli and his EPO cronies, but it’s not. We used to say that the only European thing about the European [sic] Patent Office is the staff, but right now even the (external) PR team belongs to a US company (meddling inside European media) and some of the staff — at partial capacity at least — is from the US.

Days ago we wrote about Albert Keyack's new role at the EPO (announced only internally). Keyack is not an EU national. The following comment cites Techrights and says:

Sovereign principality of EPOnia appoints consul to the United States.

My mind is so boggled that it’s becoming numb.

Well, Battistelli breaks the rules, including his very own Code of Conduct, so the above isn’t thoroughly shocking. What’s interesting are the following legitimate points about the sovereignty of the EPO and issues pertaining to loyalty. As one person put it, “could he rather be the US envoy to the province of EPOnia, like Rome or Imperial Britain” (as Battistelli serves the 1% and thinks of himself in Napoleonic ways, the analogy seems apt). Here is the comment in full:

Nomination of Albert Keyack als “EPO Attaché”:

Keyack was reporting from the US Embassy in Brazil as least as late as May 2015, and had an E-mail address from the State Department. That was only one year ago.

The tone of his report linked above reflects the orthodox US foreign policy on “IP”, and Keyack’s affiliation is given to be with the USPTO.

It is rather ironical that the President who wants to control for two full years the lives of anyone “disloyal” enough to leave the EPO actually hired someone whose was serving a “competing” patent office. Isn’t there a line somewhere in whatever is left of the Codex about not accepting any instructions from foreign governments?

Or is the fellow hired on a service contract concluded with an entity created ad hoc for this purpose?

Whose interests is he actually representing? Europe’s? (And then, what is that position, and who defines it?) EPOnia’s? (ditto) European or US industry? Small applicants?

Or could he rather be the US envoy to the province of EPOnia, like Rome or Imperial Britain sent governors to their vanquished peoples? (If then, why should he be paid by the EPO?)

The President does have a little leeway under the Codex to appoint staff under the EPC from states which are soon to become EPC signatories. Could the US accede the EPC? Is EPOnia about to be moved somewhere in Virginia?

Here is another comment which explains why it’s improper or inappropriate:

I thought the ServRegs forbid to hire nationals of non-EPC member states (actually, other way around: allows only hiring of employees with a nationality of member states)…. The last time I checked, the USoA was not a signatory of the EPC…
But then, this person is granted an easy income the next few years, for virtually nothing. Whatever he does will not influence filing strategies anyway….
And since he’s neither French, Corsican, or Croatian, nepotism seems to be less of a problem this time….

Man, I chose the wrong career… But then, I love my job…

Incidentally, in response to “Use of English as an official EU language” (by CIPA) Benjamin Henrion wrote “as long as other languages are not discriminated like for the horrible “automated translations” Unitary Patent deal.”

Well, the EPO’s management now brags about US stakeholders being dominant, even if no country in ‘mainland’ Europe has English as its main language (only a few islands do). MIP’s latest catchup with Canada on trademarks and patents speaks about “Brexit putting the brakes on CETA” and says (the complete summary of the latter part): “A dismissal of a suit against Pfizer indicating consumers cannot be compensated for expenditures on invalidated patents, the NAFTA arbitration hearing of Eli Lilly’s complaint against the government, IP agents getting confidentiality privilege, the Federal Court awarding Janssen nearly C$20 million, and Brexit putting the brakes on CETA were among recent Canadian patent stories” (Brexit also undermines the UPC, as we noted here many times before).

Well, even after Brexit (assuming it happens) the US is working to impose TTIP/ISDS on Britain, reveals the latest article from Dr. Glyn Moody. It’s not hard to see who often holds the leash. We’ll say more on that in our next post.

EPO Insiders Explain Why the EPO’s Examination Quality Rapidly Declines and Will Get Even Worse Because of Willy Minnoye

Friday 22nd of July 2016 01:25:02 PM

Arrogant and abusive top-level management a major culprit

Summary: Public comments from anonymous insiders serve to highlight a growing crisis inside the European Patent Office (EPO), where experienced/senior examiners are walking away and leaving an irreplaceable bunch of seats (due to high experience demands)

THE EPO is in great danger because the people who now run it only care about short-term gains and are willing to destroy the Office (and the whole Organisation) in the long run if that personally suits them better. It’s a question of personal, institutional, and collective accountability. Both Benoît Battistelli and Willy Minnoye (hated even by the Directors, we've been told) are already in retirement age and accordingly, they were not supposed to be given the positions they now hold in the first place (as per the rules/guidelines).

What the heck is going on inside the EPO and what happened to the EPO so many of us were once so proud of?

The following comment makes the point that new recruits take a long time to be productive and for a long period of time they actually slow down their colleagues, meaning that they can either do very little (while on probationary employment period) of just grant lots of patents with minimal examination so as to satisfy Battistelli’s appetite for ‘production’ (as measured by number of grants, which is a terrible yardstick). Here is the comment in full:

Interesting timeline. When are the new recruits expected to start making a positive contribution?

In an area as complex as patents, my own experience teaches me that new recruits usually decrease productivity for quite some time (approx. 1 year). Assuming that it will take 6 to 12 months to recruit the numbers being targeted, that means that the management is effectively expecting the increased capacity provided by the new recruits to enable the backlog to be completely eliminated within about 2 years. Is that at all possible, do you think? Or is this just yet another indicator that quality will go out of the window?

On Wednesday the EPO made it rather apparent that it is unable to recruit the type of people it is looking for, having lost a lot of its talent (as insiders openly admit) and lost public respect. They’re actively lying to staff about it, but the truth of the matter is, the EPO is no longer an attractive employer. The EPO asks: “Know any engineers or scientists interested in joining an international team at the forefront of technology?”

Well, even if I knew of one, I would not recommend setting a single toe in Eponia, seeing the kind of mess Battistelli and his henchmen have sown there. It’s utterly scary and even SUEPO publicly warned about it. It said that the EPO’s management (or HR department) should be more honest/upfront about what it means to join the EPO (potentially ending up unable to find a job for years thereafter, under presidential sanctions).

Here is an EPO sceptic/apologist writing:

I see comments about overrecruiting, inflated production demands for newcomers, contracts for examiners.
It is a pity that there are no numbers attached to these allegations, no evidence.
Could any of you shed some light on this?

As I see it, the EPO has almost 4500 examiners who work, more or less, 30 years as examiner.
Doesn’t this mean that you have to recruit 150 examiners per year just to remain at constant workforce?

Has any examiner been employed on a contract already?

I think it is great that the EPO finally is doing the work they have already been paid for!

The following very detailed comment certainly comes from an insider or a former insider, based on the broad knowledge and in-house terminology. He or she explains why this policy dooms the EPO:

In order to correctly train people at the EPO you need at least three years, and this does not mean that the cost put into training are recouped. It needs in my opinion at least another two years. If the search backlog has to be down by 2020, which means in 4 years, provided the candidates are numerous enough to fill all corresponding posts. One should rather think of 3 years, as any present recruitment efforts will not bring the candidates into the office before 2017.

Creating overcapacity is always dangerous. The only way not to have a permanent problem is to give those people a five year contract. For examiners this is ludicrous for the reasons given above.

So by 2022 those people will have to leave the EPO if they are not fired before. Good scientists and engineers are getting scarce on the market. The perspective of going to The Hague/Berlin or Munich and having to leave again is very high and not encouraging. For sure no scientist or engineer having a good job will leave it for a stint at the EPO, as this also means to transplant the family. The possible candidates will be newly graduates. And for those the grass will be always greener on the other side.

One way to recoup the training costs quicker is simply to lower the training level. And request people to produce in the first year as much as 2/3 of what an experienced examiner produces. Before BEST, training in search and in examination was scheduled to be 3 years for search and 3 years for examination. When BEST came, which allegedly was giving a gain of productivity of 18%, the training time was halved. In three years an examiner has to be a good searcher and a good substantive examiner, i.e. a jack of all trades.

The quickest way to catapult the production/productivity is to use BEST as best as possible (sorry for the pun). Carry out a search with no results and then a direct grant is at the end. If this is in the interest of the applicants, even the big ones, is doubtful. It is certainly not in the interests of the so cherished SME’s by Battistelli and consorts.

And here you have your answer about the quality of what will come out. Skip corners in training and the quality goes inevitably down.

But by then VP1 who only has a faint idea of what a search is as he only ever searched in paper, will benefit from a super pension, and will have been congratulated by the AC for being an extraordinary manager, with probably an extra bonus on top.

On top of this the boards of appeal are wilfully destroyed thanks to Battistelli and consorts, with the help of an AC lacking any spine. One wonders if the AC could even be compared to a spineless shell fish. At least they have a shell. The AC seems to be nothing more than mollusc pushed around by Battistelli and consorts.

It is sickening!

Regarding decreasing experience of examiners and directors who ‘fake ‘production and were promoted for ‘loyalty’, the following comment says:

I am not an examiner, but I have understood that all reference numbers for production have been abolished. In other words: the number of files an examiner is told to produce is entirely decided by his or her director. The director gives you a number at the beginning of the year and the examiner must bring that output in december. There is a formal complaint procedure, but it brings out the same number anyway.

We have old school directors close to retirement who are trying to keep the numbers somewhat reasonable. We have newly promoted directors who have been chosen for “loyalty”.

Newly employed examiners are on a probation period. They get a set of formal courses and then they get a number of files to output till the end of the period. If they don’t bring out the number, they don’t get the contract. I would think that most of them bring out a fairly large output already in the first year. I would expect them to contribute significantly to the reduction of the backlog soon.

The problem will be to get them. Who will be desperate or ignorant enough to come to the office knowing that there will be “overcapacity” in 4 years, that you may be prevented to work for 2 years afterwards and that the Council may change any regulations (including retirement and insurances) whenever they want? The pay may be ok for someone fresh from University, but is not much higher than other places in Munich and whatever career opportunities examiners had (like being promoted to the board of appeal) has disappeared.

The issue with artificial “targets” for examination are brought up in this comment which asks for further information or brings up half-rhetorical questions:

Thanks for the info. Would you happen to know whether the “production” targets for newly-appointed examiners are significantly lower than those of their more experienced colleagues? It would be insane for new recruits to have (nearly) the same targets as experienced examiners, but you never know with the EPO these days…

The response to this was as follows:

I don’t know, but I imagine the number depends on the director. This is why the problem is not out: there are no official instructions, it just depends on the hierarchy being “loyal”. Of course, they were chosen accordingly.

What you should also realise is that the system works entirely in one direction: Minnoye thinks aloud the figures he wants (say: divide the stock by 4 for 4 years…) and the hierarchy pass them down. Reportedly, with the new style of “loyal” directors, some examiners were presented with figures much higher than last year. Tough luck, they just have to comply or face disciplinary sanctions. If I understood correctly, in the next council Battistelli wants to make these dismissals a simple administrative measure.
How do you think we were able to increase production 15% last year with less examiners?

What I don’t understand is how they expect to recruit any people at all, but Minnoye probably has a plan.

Well, with staff suicides and other bad news in the press (the EPO spends a fortune trying to change the media and dilute it with paid puff pieces), how would they attract skilled examiners?

Well, one day in the future we shall give an example of stories of people who favour the UK-IPO over EPO for reasons to do with sheer incompetence at the EPO. It’s too early to write about this because there’s a dispute ongoing and we don’t want to compromise or interfere with it. In light of that consider the following new comment:

Meanwhile, while the EPO has been eroding its USP (excellent search and examination quality), external parameters have changed, and the national route is increasingly attractive. Translation is now very cheap. You don’t need a middleman in each country (at least not in most EU/EEA/EFTA countries), and most importantly you don’t get tied up in fatuous, artificial arguments with examiners who haven’t had time to consider the facts and arguments properly.

To end it with somewhat of a joke:

Secret FAQ …

would like to reassure any applicant that every application will get the same high quality treatment as before, yet we’ll by give more responsibility to the Division (read: pressure to the Division) to bring a case to a conclusion (under pressure).

Early Certainty sooner than you expected.

We need a new thread for this.

Well, as leaked documents serve to show, pressure is put on examiners to grant to Microsoft faster (demonstrating that the above observations are definitely true in practice). Sadly, the EPO sent me a series of threatening legal letters on this matter alone, after my earlier leaks had caused huge backlash from stakeholders.

Today’s EPO is the kind of employer that anyone with a clue would not join (it’s different if one is already there), unless one is fanatic about the “following orders” mentality.

Battistelli, a French republican, has cultivated a culture of fear at all levels (examination, administration, management) and even outside the Office, e.g. appeal boards and delegations. He ruined the whole Office and time will tell if the ‘old’ (widely-respected) EPO can still be salvaged somehow. We sure hope so.

Patents Roundup: BlackBerry, Huawei, PTAB, GAO, Aggressive Universities With Patents, and Software Patents in Europe

Friday 22nd of July 2016 12:28:20 PM

“Patent monopolies are believed to drive innovation but they actually impede the pace of science and innovation, Stiglitz said. The current “patent thicket,” in which anyone who writes a successful software programme is sued for alleged patent infringement, highlights the current IP system’s failure to encourage innovation, he said.”

IP Watch on Professor Joseph Stiglitz

Summary: Various bits and pieces of news regarding patents and their fast-changing nature in the United States nowadays

AS WE wish to resume our EPO coverage (there is a lot more material on the way), we have decided to lump together various bits of news from the (primarily US) patent system, subdivided below and split into themes.

BlackBerry Still Dangerous

When Canadian powerhouse BlackBerry introduced not only one but several Android-based phones were were rather relieved, as at one point several years ago it seemed like BlackBerry was slowly transforming to become a patent troll or preparing to sell its very many patents to notorious trolls (or patent assertion firms/entities, PAEs for short). BlackBerry, which is still struggling based on the number of sales, may somehow be bound to become like a patent troll, judging by this new report which makes the company (now run by a Turbolinux executive who previously sold out to Microsoft on the patent front) sound like a PAE. “He also hinted at a future based around brand and technology licensing,” says the summary. Watch out for BlackBerry because if Android doesn’t give it the success it is looking for, then BlackBerry might simply choose to sue Android OEMs (directly or indirectly, like Ericsson and Nokia). They can always try to blame such aggression on “shareholders!”

China Comes Knocking, Not Knockoffs

“Watch out for BlackBerry because if Android doesn’t give it the success it is looking for, then BlackBerry might simply choose to sue Android OEMs (directly or indirectly, like Ericsson and Nokia).”Yesterday my wife and I had lunch with a businessman who is a distributor of goods from Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines. He warned about Chinese protectionism via SIPO and spoke about unusual restrictions, such as the imperative registration (can take about a year) in order to proceed to the simplest of enforcement inside China (even purely defensive enforcement in the face of counterfeiting or cheap imitations).

Put old stigmas aside for a moment. China is not stupid. China is also more than an imitator. It actually brings out some innovations these days and it is willing to go abroad to sue Western rivals. It’s not just on the defensive and increasingly it’s on the offensive. “Knocking out Chinese patents may be a lot harder than you think,” IAM wrote the other day and Dr. Glyn Moody, citing his colleague (article from 6 years ago), says “Just As We Warned: A Chinese Tech Giant Goes On The Patent Attack — In East Texas”. So, how is it working out for multinational US companies which relied so much on the USPTO and faithfully (or blindly) trusted it for protectionism? “Techdirt,” Moody explains, “has been warning for years that the West’s repeated demands for China to “respect” patents could backfire badly. In 2010 [before Moody wrote for Techdirt], Mike [Techdirt founder] pointed out that Chinese companies were starting to amass huge patent portfolios, which were soon used as weapons against foreign firms operating in China, most notably Apple.”

“China is not stupid. China is also more than an imitator. It actually brings out some innovations these days and it is willing to go abroad to sue Western rivals.”Based on articles like this new one, not only Huawei is suing; it is also being sued, this time by Samsung (from Korea). Samsung and Huawei have become top Android OEMs and there is a lot of money at stake when people pay up to $1,000 per phone. IAM seems to have taken an interest in many east Asian markets recently; one new article is titled “Korea’s antitrust watchdog hints Qualcomm can expect another near $1b fine in patent probe” and another is titled “Transpacific denied Enfish lifeline as Taiwanese companies’ NPE experiment hangs in the balance”. These are IAM’s latest attempts to float software patents because of an old patent case involving Microsoft. To quote: “Sensing a glimmer of hope from the US Federal Circuit’s judgment in Enfish v Microsoft – which went some way towards clawing back patent eligibility for software inventions in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Alice – Kinglite filed a motion asking that the Central California court to reconsider its decision on the invalidity of the ‘304 patent. However, this was rejected on the basis that Kinglite’s patent does not “disclose any of those mathematical algorithms that actually represent an application of the ‘abstract’ idea of securing the BIOS through authentication, nor a new concrete means of applying those algorithms… [unlike] the patent in Enfish which apparently disclosed a new method of building a database”.”

Enfish does not really change much, but IAM would use anything it can to promote the interests of its paymasters, often unproductive (or counterproductive) patent parasites like this one it has just written about.

USPTO Wants ‘Certainty’

“Samsung and Huawei have become top Android OEMs and there is a lot of money at stake when people pay up to $1,000 per phone.”Certainty (or contrariwise, uncertainty) has become one of those buzzwords that David Kappos and fellow patent maximalists (especially proponents of software patents) use to say that Alice is nasty and needs to be buried. Two more articles have been published about the efforts to trigger changes with a new memorandum [1, 2]. The latter says: “The extent to which these disparate analyses can be reconciled will depend, of course, on future case law, leaving the question of subject matter eligibility in its current state of uncertainty.”

When the author (patent maximalist who shamed even a SOCTUS Justice) says “leaving the question of subject matter eligibility in its current state of uncertainty” the simplest translation is “leaving the question of subject matter eligibility in its current state of denying software patents.”

This is a subject which was mentioned here the other day, especially in relation to IBM.

Dying Software Patents

“Certainty (or contrariwise, uncertainty) has become one of those buzzwords that David Kappos and fellow patent maximalists (especially proponents of software patents) use to say that Alice is nasty and needs to be buried.”Upon reassessment most software patents are invalidated these days. There are some exceptions like the BASCOM case and patent lawyers love latching onto those. An article from Jason Rantanen (Patently-O) is an example of this bias among professors as well. He wrote: “Since Alice v. CLS Bank, the Federal Circuit has issued four opinions rejecting a lack of patent eligible subject matter challenge: DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.com, L.P., 773 F.3d 1245 (Fed. Cir. 2014); Enfish LLC v. Microsoft Corp., 2016 WL 2756255 (Fed. Cir. May 12, 2016); Rapid Litigation Management Ltd. v. Cellzdirect, Inc., 2016 WL 3606624 (Fed. Cir. 2016), and BASCOM v. AT&T, with the latter three coming the last few months.”

Well, still, those are clearly in the minority and they come from a crooked court which is responsible for bringing software patents to the US in the first place.

Another software patent has in fact just died, thanks to Alice again. Patent Buddy wrote that “PTAB Holds Lottery Patent Claims Invalid under 101/ Alice: http://assets.law360news.com/0819000/819445/cbm2015-00105_termination_decision_document_36.pdf …”

“Another software patent has in fact just died, thanks to Alice again.”PTAB is very much dedicated to elimination of such patents because it has no incentive to empower plaintiffs, unlike CAFC. The US needs a lot less of CAFC (or anything like CAFC) and more of PTAB. Don’t be misled by all those spinners who equate PTAB with “death squads”. Patent law firms, for instance, still conveniently cherry-pick cases that support software patents (see “Another Software Patent Survives an Alice Challenge” by Seyfarth Shaw LLP). They put “abstract idea” in quotes (probably scare quotes, depending on style) and even add the word “alleged”, certainly not hiding their bias too well. To quote this latest ‘analysis’ (marketing): “In a rather complex case, Yodlee again focused on the definition of the “abstract idea” by the defendant. Many times, defendants frame the alleged “abstract idea” too broadly to improve their 101 invalidity argument, and courts or the PTAB find the definition is too broad. Other times, defendants frame the abstract idea too narrowly and courts agree with the defendant on the definition of the invention, but find such a narrow definition to not be drawn to an abstract idea. Here, the defendant framed the abstract idea in a manner inconsistent with the claimed invention, and the court found no apples to apples comparison.”

Improving Patent Quality

In our previous post we praised the USPTO (or PTAB by extension) for at least working to improve patent quality somewhat. Professor Crouch says that a new U.S. Government Accountability Office (U.S. GAO) report alluded to patent quality. “Patent Office Must Define and Improve Patent Quality” says the headline and the body of the short article says: “Regarding patent quality, the GAO suggested that the USPTO’s standard of patent quality should focus solely on the basics: defining “a quality patent as one that would meet the statutory requirements for novelty and clarity, among others, and would be upheld if challenged in a lawsuit or other proceeding.” However, patent clarity must be an important element of that definition.”

“For those who don’t know it yet, when IAM precedes something with “REPORT” it’s actually a euphemism for “SPONSORED CONTENT” or “ADVERTISING” (disguised as analysis by some particular firm).”This is good news. Compare that to propaganda sites like IAM where there is a new “REPORT” (i.e. paid-for marketing placement for a firm) titled “International report – Federal Circuit distinguishes between tests for obviousness and patent-eligible subject matter”. For those who don’t know it yet, when IAM precedes something with “REPORT” it’s actually a euphemism for “SPONSORED CONTENT” or “ADVERTISING” (disguised as analysis by some particular firm).

GAO’s input basically says that the Office must tighten patent scope, whereas the latter (propaganda/marketing) offers ‘tricks’ for getting around scope restrictions.

Using Taxpayers’ Money for Patent Stockpiling

“GAO’s input basically says that the Office must tighten patent scope, whereas the latter (propaganda/marketing) offers ‘tricks’ for getting around scope restrictions.”We quite liked IP Watch‘s article “Patenting By Universities Unhelpful, Paper Says; WIPO Programme To Be Reviewed” [1]. It was published a few days ago, just in time for IAM’s ‘report’ on Harvard University’s use of patents (granted using public money) to sue the private sector. IAM wrote: “Late last month Harvard University took the very unusual step of filing two infringement lawsuits against semiconductor manufacturers Micron and Global Foundries over their alleged infringement of two patents that are owned by the Ivy League institution. That in itself is a pretty rare occurrence – combing the Lex Machina database I found that Harvard has been a co-plaintiff on just one other patent suit since 2011, so it seems that this is the only case in at least the last five years that it has been the sole plaintiff in an action.”

This isn’t the first time that we write about universities getting aggressive with patents, not just selling patents to trolls who become aggressive with these (like Intellectual Ventures). What they do here is extremely unethical and should be grounds or basis for revocation of government grants. When universities are becoming like patent trolls (not producing but suing) it’s worse than classic patent trolls because taxpayers fund it and get punished for it, usually for the enrichment of some shady people.

“When universities are becoming like patent trolls (not producing but suing) it’s worse than classic patent trolls because taxpayers fund it and get punished for it, usually for the enrichment of some shady people.”In other IAM propaganda this week, watch this spin on patent litigation decline in the US. So patent trolls, which rely on software patents more than most (and pay IAM), lose momentum. A cause for celebration or for sobbing? Probably for sobbing at IAM. Bezos-owned news site Washington Post meanwhile reports, somewhat contradictorily (in light of the latest figures from Lex Machina), that “Patent lawsuits swell and watchdog says the government is to blame” (they actually decreased year-to-year in the past few months). To quote:

Inventors are filing an exploding number of lawsuits against companies that appropriate their products illegally — and a new report puts the blame for these costly disputes squarely at the feet of the federal government.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is so focused on rewarding its employees for the number of applications they review that the quality of patents they give out is in jeopardy, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The result is that licenses conferring someone’s sole right to an invention are “unclear and overly broad” and vulnerable to infringement by competitors.

“Software patents are not legal in Europe, but the likes of Battistelli don’t obey the rules anyway and more attempts to interject software patents into Europe are made by those who could not care less.”Here again we have GAO saying what it has been saying for quite some time. Will anyone listen? Will the advice be taken seriously? See what happened after an Australian (almost) equivalent had said something to the same effect. Local patent law firms got rather aggressive.

Software Patenting in Europe Still Being Attempted

Software patents are not legal in Europe, but the likes of Battistelli don’t obey the rules anyway and more attempts to interject software patents into Europe are made by those who could not care less. According to this article, there’s a Dutch dispute over a patented “superformula” (i.e. algorithm). As the author correctly notes: “Despite the noise being made by Genicap, there’s some question as to whether the company’s patent actually applies to No Man’s Sky. The European Patent Convention says directly that “discoveries, scientific theories, and mathematical methods” are not directly patentable, and US patent law also excepts “disembodied mathematical algorithms and formula” from patentability.”

“The Dutch people don’t need software patents; they’re usually just victims of such patents.”Well, such patents oughtn’t exist in the first place. The last time we heard of software patents in relation to the Netherlands it was Microsoft’s lawsuit against TomTom (Dutch company) and a Dutch developer who had his work killed [1, 2, 3] by a patent aggressor, Shazam. The Dutch people don’t need software patents; they’re usually just victims of such patents.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Patenting By Universities Unhelpful, Paper Says; WIPO Programme To Be Reviewed

    A new publication analysing the relationship between intellectual property and access to science explores ways countries have developed to counter the potential barriers created by IP rights, and says patenting by universities is counterproductive.

Glimpse at Patent Systems Across the World: Better Quality Control at the USPTO Post-America Invents Act (2011), Unlike the EPO Post-Battistelli (2010)

Friday 22nd of July 2016 10:32:03 AM

The pendency at the USPTO stands at around five years, as scrutiny has been increased


Image credit: Professor Dennis Crouch, Patently-O

Summary: While the EPO reportedly strives to eliminate pendency and appeal windows altogether (rubberstamping being optimal performance as per the yardstick du jour), the USPTO introduces changes that would strengthen the system and shield innovation, not protect the business model of serial litigants

PATENT systems across the world vary, but they’re streamlined/unified by various programs which enable litigation across nations and entire continents. We’ve covered some of these programs here before and half a decade ago we wrote numerous articles about the vision of a global patent system, at times citing leaked diplomatic cables that had been published by Wikileaks. ‘National’ patent offices are actually not so national and the ‘European’ Patent Office isn’t really about Europe (some of its member states, for example, are not in Europe). The same is true in the UK-IPO, which is going ‘to bed’ with Facebook right now (surveillance, censorship and propaganda site from another continent). Here is a new MIP article on patent litigation trends in Russia. It’s not often that we hear about Russian plaintiffs in European, Australian or American courts; domestic policy there probably does not incentivise pursuing patents in other countries (especially NATO members), either. As we shall show in a later article, China is increasingly going abroad for litigation, albeit it wasn’t traditionally the case (the West wrongly assumed all China could do was knockoffs or ‘piracy’ [sic] as the think tanks label it).

“It’s not hard to envision the beneficiaries of a global patent system and their actions.”Days ago IP Kat wrote about the Rhodia v Molycorp “patent jurisdiction tussle,” to quote the author’s headline. Here is some background for the uninitiated: “Rhodia is the exclusive licensee of the UK and German designations of a European patent entitled “Ceric Oxide and method for production thereof, and catalyst for exhaust gas clarification”. Rhodia commenced infringement proceedings in the English High Court alleging that the English domiciled Defendant, Molycorp, had infringed the UK and German designations of the patent.” Here we have a reminder of the unifying patent factor which does not even necessitate a so-called ‘unitary’ patent. Do we really need a ‘globalisation’ of patent systems? That is a rhetorical question of course. It’s not hard to envision the beneficiaries of a global patent system and their actions.

One country dominates the world’s patent systems (including the EPO where it’s ranked number one) and that country is not China, albeit it’s by far the largest population in the world. “In today’s free-trade environment, the USITC’s role is somewhat counter — protecting of U.S. industry,” Patently-O wrote the other day about the ITC, guardian of large US corporations, a nationalist body which has the word “international” in its name/acronym. To quote Patently-O, the “USITC Procedure sets up the USITC as the party prosecuting the case rather than the patentee. As such, the agency is the named respondent and will be represented by the Solicitor’s Office. I expect that the patentee BriarTek will also weigh-in. The patent at issue is U.S. Patent No. 7,991,380 and covers an emergency satellite communication system. The asserted claims were found invalid as anticipated and/or obvious. That holding was then affirmed on appeal by the Federal Circuit.”

“Suffice to say, calls to abolish CAFC altogether increased in recent years.”Well, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), as we noted here repeatedly, is an exceptionally abusive court which not only bypasses constitutional issues but also works for large corporations and for patent lawyers rather than the public (or justice). Simply put, it’s corruptible. Suffice to say, calls to abolish CAFC altogether increased in recent years. And speaking of CAFC, MIP says: “The Federal Circuit has provided some guidance on the issue of 180 days’ notice of launch in a recent biosimilars ruling, in Amgen v Apotex, but practitioners say there will be a lot more litigation before the patent dance is fully clarified” (we are not optimistic).

About the USPTO Patently-O wrote that “Patent Filings Rising Slowly,” according to figures plotted by Professor Dennis Crouch. Is this a case of the more, the merrier? Well, for patent lawyers surely it is merrier (more profitable). Here is what Crouch wrote about it:

The chart above shows USPTO application filings for non-provisional patent applications as well as RCE’s. Both have been on the rise for many years. The filing numbers appear to have continued to rise since implementation of the America Invents Act, although at a slower rate (acceleration has slowed). The USPTO expects that applications filed today will receive a first action within 16 months.

America Invents Act (AIA), with PTAB in particular, has served to introduce some new quality control (potential slowdown and greater pendency to be expected), albeit at too slow a pace as PTAB needs to be expanded to be able to deal with more than just a couple of thousands of patents per year (such workload keeps growing fast).

Patently-O wrote another article exclusively about AIA in which it’s said:

Although more than three years have passed since the changeover date, most new patents still fall under the old-rule. This long transition period is explained by the reality that most patents that issue claim priority to a prior patent filing document such as a foreign priority filing, international PCT application, US provisional application or parent non-provisional US filing. Once the non-provisional application is filed, patent prosecution process still that typically takes around three years. This results in an average pendency from priority filing to issuance of around five years.

The chart there shows that, even though there's a patent litigation slowdown (we’ll expand on that in a later article), problems are far from over. There’s a capacity problem and there’s growing demand. An article by Zachary Kinnaird (posted on his behalf by Professor Jason Rantanen), a patent attorney with International IP Law Group, looks at the number of patent practitioners. He shows some fancy charts and notes: “The number of practitioners removed from the USPTO database reveals a practitioner percentage removal trend that can be seen as a retirement estimate for patent practitioners. This trend shows that the longer a practitioner has had a registration number, the more likely they are to have retired, or otherwise been removed, from the roster.

“The health of the patent system worldwide is oftentimes improving, except at the EPO where patent quality declines* (more on that later today) and human rights are routinely violated.”“The chart below shows the percentage of patent practitioners who still remain registered on the USPTO roster as a function of each practitioner’s year of registration. The further to the right, the more recently the practitioner earned their registration number.”

Not much can be deduced from this (the way it’s presented is not too helpful), unless one is interested in a sob story which serves the party line of the patent microcosm, or the industry associated with patent activity as opposed to production of merchandise, software, etc.

The health of the patent system worldwide is oftentimes improving, except at the EPO where patent quality declines (more on that later today) and human rights are routinely violated. As a European national I am sad and ashamed to see what was once the best patent system in the world becoming one of the worst and most notorious (unless one asks the EPO's mouthpieces). Battistelli tramples everyone and everything.
____
* Pressured examiners, unskilled (new) examiners and expensive appeals (short duration, very high fees) in an already-understaffed department make the entire process applicants-friendly at the expense of long-term reputation (which made the EPO appealing and worth the exceptionally high prices).

Blockstream Has No Patents, But Pledges Not to Sue Using Patents

Friday 22nd of July 2016 09:14:56 AM

Read between the lines then…

Summary: Blockstream says that it comes in peace when it comes to software patents, which triggers speculations about coming Blockchain patent wars

THE PAST few years were baffling as companies equated promises not to sue with “Open Source” or “open-source” (with a dash, to help dodge the trademark perhaps). Examples we covered here included, notably, Tesla and Panasonic.

A couple of days ago we saw that Blockstream had claimed the following: “Today we are excited to announce some important steps we are taking on the patent front, why these defensive steps are necessary, and our hope that others will see merit in our approach and follow our lead.

“The system as it stands is inherently hostile towards GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source software, which is what Blockchain is all about.”“Core to the Bitcoin ethos is permissionless innovation. Without it and the level of contribution to which it gave rise Blockstream would not be on the exciting path we find ourselves today. It should not come as a surprise then that permissionless innovation is also core to Blockstream’s ethos. We firmly believe that in order for Bitcoin and related technologies’ potential to be fully realized they must be underpinned by a global platform that is free for any innovator to use without hesitation.”

As Benjamin Henrion rightly asked, “where do you have patents? which numbers?” Another person, a patent attorney who specialises in patent data/statistics, noted that “Blockstream Does Not Have Any Patents Assigned to It.” This is not entirely shocking. Having written about Blockstream in the past (we have very broad scope in our daily links), not once did we mention it in relation to patents. Patently German hypothesised: “Preparation for future #blockchain #patent wars? Blockstream announces defensive patent pledge and patent agreement…” (IBM, a patent bully with software patents, is also heavily involved in the same Linux-centric space)

IP Watch, a decent watchdog of patent matters, wrote the headline “Trust Us, We Won’t Sue You” (it sounds rather humourous or sarcastic). It said that “Blockstream, which developed the blockchain technology and bitcoin, has announced a defensive patent strategy. The crux of it: assurance that users of its technology won’t be sued.”

“It seems like shameless self-promotion or a publicity stunt with a “patents” angle.”The EFF wrote about this as follows: “We’ve written many times about the need for comprehensive patent reform to stop innovation-killing trolls. While we continue to push for reform in Congress, there are a number of steps that companies and inventors can take to keep from contributing to the patent troll problem. These steps include pledges and defensive patent licenses. In recent years, companies like Twitter and Tesla have promised not to use their patents offensively. This week, blockchain startup Blockstream joins them with a robust set of commitments over how it uses software patents.”

Bob Summerwill told me [1, 2]: “I see this as hugely positive. Looks directly analogous to what the GPL does for copyrights. Use system against itself.”

Right, but unless Blockstream actually has some patents (there is no evidence of it so far), what can they really use against the system? The system as it stands is inherently hostile towards GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source software, which is what Blockchain is all about.

Blockstream’s message is suggestive of unknown context (like something they know but are not telling us). It seems like shameless self-promotion or a publicity stunt with a “patents” angle. We have become accustomed to it. One company that should definitely do the same thing (but has not) is Red Hat. OIN membership does not guarantee this and if Red Hat got sold to some relatively hostile entity (like Sun to Oracle), there is no guarantee that Red Hat’s patents would not be used to wreak havoc (like a $10 billion lawsuit over a programming language alone, i.e. an order of magnitude worse than SCO versus IBM).

Links 21/7/2016: Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Xfce Beta

Thursday 21st of July 2016 08:10:34 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • 7 Differences Between Linux and Windows: User Expectations

      When I was a boy, I imagined that other languages were codes, whose words had a one-to-one correspondence to English. In the same way, many Windows users expect Linux to be an exact equivalent.

      The reality, of course, is quite different. Both Windows and Linux are operating systems — the programs used to run other applications — but they often fulfill basic functions in different ways. Like any application, they have their own unspoken logic, and part of learning either is to learn their logic.

    • Feral Linux users should learn when to shut up

      The very words alpha in the name of the release indicate that the Skype which was announced on 14 July is not ready for prime time. That should be apparent to anyone with the IQ of the common cockroach.

      But it is apparently not evident to some Linux users.

      Things do not seem to be clear to some so-called Linux writers, either. Here is one claiming that “The Skype for Linux alpha does not have all the features that will be released into the final version.”

    • Intel Developer Has Been Working On Systemd Support For Chrome OS

      Google’s Chrome OS currently relies upon Upstart as its init system, but work done by an Intel developer is pushing towards systemd support.

    • The Linux Setup – Jerry Bezencon, Linux Lite

      My name is Jerry Bezencon and I’m a technology consultant, investor, programmer and promoter of/advocate for free and open source software.

    • Microsoft ordered to fix ‘excessively intrusive, insecure’ Windows 10

      A French regulator has issued Microsoft a formal warning over Windows 10, saying the operating system collects excessive amounts of personal data, ships that information illegally out of the EU, and has lousy security.

      The warning comes from the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), an independent data privacy watchdog with the power to levy fines against companies. The CNIL has been investigating Windows 10 since its launch and has now drawn up a damning list of criticisms.

      “The CNIL has decided to issue a formal notice to Microsoft Corporation to comply with the Act within three months,” said the group on Wednesday.

      “The purpose of the notice is not to prohibit any advertising on the company’s services but, rather, to enable users to make their choice freely, having been properly informed of their rights. It has been decided to make the formal notice public due to, among other reasons, the seriousness of the breaches and the number of individuals concerned.”

  • Server
    • Containers rated more secure than conventional apps

      Containers are more secure than apps running on a bare OS and organisations that like not being hacked therefore need to seriously consider a move, according to analyst firm Gartner.

    • Evolution of Linux Containers and Future

      Linux containers are an operating system level virtualization technology for providing multiple isolated Linux environments on a single Linux host. Unlike virtual machines (VMs), containers do not run dedicated guest operating systems. Rather, they share the host operating system kernel and make use of the guest operating system system libraries for providing the required OS capabilities. Since there is no dedicated operating system, containers start much faster than VMs.

    • 10 Essential Skills for Novice, Junior and Senior SysAdmins

      As the world evolves for systems administrators, “Linux is exploding with new ideas and it’s a little scary …,” as commenter Mike Tarkowski put it.

      Keeping up with emerging technologies in cloud computing such as OpenStack will be key to navigating this changing landscape, according to Randy Russell, director of certification for Red Hat.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
    • FLOSS Weekly 397: CoreOS Update
    • SJVN Talks FOSS, Linux, Microsoft & More…

      The official Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols LinkedIn page says, “I’ve written over 9,000 articles on business and technology subjects. Highlights include the first popular news story about the web and the first Linux benchmarks. My articles range from features to reviews to OpEd to news reporting.”

      A large percentage of those articles have been about Linux and FOSS, so it was logical for us to ring up SJVN (as he is commonly known) and ask him what’s the biggest news about FOSS so far in 2016, and what we can expect in the rest of the year.

  • Kernel Space
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • GSoC Update: Tinkering with KIO

        Secondly, the ioslave is now completely independent from Dolphin, or any KIO application for that matter. This means it works exactly the same way across the entire suite of KIO apps. Given that at one point we were planning to make the ioslave fully functional only with Dolphin, this is a major plus point for the project.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Writing an ebook about usability?

        I write more about this on my Coaching Buttons blog, that I’m thinking about writing an ebook. Actually, it’s several ebooks. But the one that applies here is Open Source Usability.

      • GNOME Mutter 3.21.4 Released WIth New Screen Capture API, NVIDIA vRAM Robustness

        Various GNOME software components were checked in today in preparation for this week’s GNOME 3.21.4 development release.

        When it comes to the Mutter 3.21.4 compositor / window manager release, there are a few new features on top of fixes. This 3.21.4 release includes the frame-buffer / display work I talked about this morning that should allow multiple monitor setups to have different DPIs, among other design improvements. There is also improved X11 to/from Wayland copy/paste interaction, support for the NV_robustness_video_memory_purge extension, a screen capture API has been added to Mutter itself, and various other fixes/improvements.

      • Mutter 3.21.4
  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • Linux Top 3: Network Security Toolkit, Untangle NG Firewall and IPFire

        There is no shortage of Linux distributions that provide a platform for security researcher to conduct various security research. Among them is the Network Security Toolkit (NST), which was recently updated to version 24-7977. The 24 is a referenced to Fedora, which NST is based on.

        Aside from simply integrating existing tools, NST goes a step further and provides a number of innovative capabilities including a new Multi-Traceroute (MTR) networking tool.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts
    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Alpha 3 Released

        Ludwig Nussel has announced the release today of the third alpha release for the forthcoming openSUSE “Leap” 42.2 update.

        OpenSUSE 42.2 Alpha 3 finishes up the merge of SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP2 components, updates to GNOME, KDE Plasma 5.7 integration, and various other changes.

      • openSUSE Leap 42.2 Alpha3 released
      • SUSE LLC’s SUSE Manager

        SUSE Manager is a open-source IT management solution with a centralized console for managing multiple Linux distributions, hardware platforms (x86, IBM Power Systems and z Systems), as well as physical, virtual and cloud environments. SUSE says that the solution helps customers reduce the complexities of managing their IT infrastructures, a key advantage as customers look to cut costs and increase the responsiveness required to adopt DevOps and hybrid cloud solutions.

      • Tally ERP 9 on Linux

        Recently we implemented Tally ERP 9 solution for Antico Pumps. That itself is not interesting, the interesting part is they are using LTSP Fat client system on openSUSE. They have only one server from which all their client computers boot over the network, the clients do not have hard disk, client OS with all softwares they need including wine(Tally is Windows only software), as well as users’ data resides on the server. Once the client boots all the local resources are used so single low power server can be used to serve many clients.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Interoute gets certification from Red Hat

        Interoute was named a Certified Cloud and Service Provider by Red Hat for its networked cloud infrastructure platform, Interoute Virtual Data Centre (VDC).

      • Interoute becomes first European Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider with Red Hat Cloud Access Designation

        Interoute, owner operator of a global cloud services platform and one of Europe’s largest networks, has today announced that it has been named a Certified Cloud and Service Provider by Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, for its global networked cloud infrastructure platform, Interoute Virtual Data Centre (VDC).

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Microsoft Privacy Violations, Fedora: Season’s Pick

          Topping today’s Linux news is the wrist slapping of Microsoft by French Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés for excessive spying. Back in Linuxland, openSUSE 42.2 Alpha 3 and Mint 18 Xfce Beta were released for early testers. Bruce Byfield compares Linux and Windows users and Dedoimedo found another distribution he likes. VarGuy Christopher Tozzi ran down five Open Source projects that didn’t work out and Sam Varghese scolds Linux users for expecting Final quality out of Alpha releases.

        • Fedora 24 – And we represent!

          I am pleased. I am really pleased. Fedora 24 delivers an excellent, modern experience. Such a refreshing departure from all the sadness I had to deal with it in the last two months. While it’s not aimed at new users and does not offer D2D fun right away, Fedora still managed to give a most satisfying and a highly consistent experience. With a little bit of tweaking, it’s superb.

          Looking across the board, we have good networking support overall with a permanent workaround for Realtek woes, good smartphone support, stability, speed, battery life, excellent hardware compatibility, a much improved package management system. After pimping, the fun extends to multimedia and some extra customization. And Gnome isn’t half as bad as it used to be. Really lovely.

          There are some small problems still, here and there, the chief amongst them being the ultra short support life of a typical Fedora release. But then, just look at my CentOS 7.2 reviews, the recent Gnome and Xfce ones. You get pretty much the same experience plus a whooping 10 years of support. That’s what I’ve always been waiting for in Linux. Anyhow, Fedora 24 is a very good summer release. 9/10, and I’ve had a lot of fun sorting things out, because they remained sorted out, there are no silly errors, and the network is solid and stable. Linux as it should be. This is your pick for this season. Enjoy.

        • Fedora APAC FAD KL 2016

          Fedora APAC budget panning FAD 2016 was held on 9th-10th of July 2016 in Malaysia. I was there with Fedora ambassadors from other countries within APAC region.

        • Search for Code in Pagure

          I was trying to get into code search in Pagure, thing that I land up on got really interesting and amazing. If you want to have a code searching mechanism in your website you need to look into something called Indexing.

          The way search happens in some E-commerce sites like Amazon or be it the search happening on Google, with Google its web scrapping and then indexing on the results. The point being the response time , while you are searching for something you get results in few microseconds.

    • Debian Family
      • Reproducible builds: week 62 in Stretch cycle
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • The Ubuntu-powered BQ Aquaris M10 tablet: Almost amazing

            BQ Aquaris M10, the first Ubuntu-powered tablet to ship, has some flaws, but the fact that it runs traditional Linux desktop apps will make many Linux users happy

          • Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition Review – The King of All Ubuntu Phones

            It has been one year since our previous review of an Ubuntu Phone, namely examining the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition, and the time has come for us to take a look at the best handset powered by Canonical’s Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system that you can buy right now, the Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition.

          • Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS released

            The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS
            (Long-Term Support) for its Desktop, Server, and Cloud products, as well
            as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support.

            As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updated
            installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to
            be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and
            corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining
            stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

          • Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS Released
          • Howdy, Ubuntu on Windows! An Intro From Canonical’s Dustin Kirkland

            Hi there! My name is Dustin Kirkland, a Linux user for nearly 20 years, and an open source developer for almost as long. I worked on Linux at IBM for most of a decade, on site at Red Hat for a bit, and now at Canonical for nearly another decade. I started at Canonical as an engineer on the Ubuntu Server team and eventually evolved into the product manager responsible for Ubuntu as a server and cloud platform. I’ve authored many open source utilities used by millions of Ubuntu users every day. Open source software is my passion, my heart, and my soul.

            I was working in Cape Town, South Africa when I received a strange call from a friend and colleague at Microsoft in January of 2016. The call was decorated with subtlety as he danced around the technology underpinning what you and I today know as “Ubuntu on Windows,” but without any detail. There was plenty of confusion. Confusion around exactly what we were talking about. Confusion about how this could even work. Confusion about how I should feel about this.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Xfce – BETA Release

              Linux Mint 18 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 18 Sarah Xfce released in Beta

              So after the release of Linux Mint 18 sarah in the flavours of Cinnamon and MATE,now the team is focoused on working over other flavours too.As a result Xfce has been choosen to be the next flavour to be provided officially.

              So,If you were waiting for Linux Mint 18 to be available in Xfce DE(Desktop Environment) then Linux Mint team has started to roll the beta release of Sarah in Xfce DE. Linux Mint team announced the release of Linux Mint 18 Xfce Beta with some already known issues and workarounds too.This xfce edition features Xfce 4.12, MDM 2.0 and it is coming with Linux Kernel 4.4.

            • Linux Mint 18 Xfce beta is out

              While the release comes with the new X-Apps, the Mint-Y theme, new artwork, an Ubuntu 16.04 base, and version 4.4 of the Linux kernel, it still runs Xfce 4.12 and MDM 2.0, both of which were present in Mint 17.3. The reason Xfce and MDM are at the same versions is because they are the latest upstream versions. They’ll likely be updated with new point releases in the Mint 18 cycle.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Microsoft Isn’t Going Away Any Time Soon

    The only major negative for Microsoft in this report comes from the usual suspect: mobile. Microsoft phone revenue fell by 71 percent, for a dollar loss estimated by the Register to be $870 million. Even search advertising, which forever was a big loser for Redmond, saw in increase of over a half billion dollars.

  • Science
    • Something Is Causing Siberia’s Tundra to Literally Bubble Underground

      The frigid plains of northern Siberia are becoming a hotspot for mysterious geological phenomena. Over the past couple of years, sudden craters have been exploding from the permafrost-laden ground. Last month, we reported on a giant chasm in the Sakha Republic that looms so wide and deep, locals refer to it as a “gateway to the underworld.”

      Now, the frozen tundra on Siberia’s remote Belyy Island is home to the region’s newest aberration: eerie, rippling, underground bubbles.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • New Report: Problem Care Harms Almost One-Third of Rehab Hospital Patients

      Patients may go to rehabilitation hospitals to recover from a stroke, injury, or recent surgery. But sometimes the care makes things worse. In a government report published Thursday, 29 percent of patients in rehab facilities suffered a medication error, bedsore, infection or some other type of harm as a result of the care they received.

      Doctors who reviewed cases from a broad sampling of rehab facilities say that almost half of the 158 incidents they spotted among 417 patients were clearly or likely preventable.

      “This is the latest study over a long time period now that says we still have high rates of harm,” says Dr. David Classen, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Utah School of Medicine who developed the analytic tool used in the report to identify the harm to patients.

    • Free Trade Agreements Threaten Farmers’ Rights, Food Security, Group Says

      Small farmers around the world are threatened by new free trade agreements, a civil society group has argued. Those agreements go beyond the requirements of agreed international intellectual property rules and jeopardise the ability of small farmers to save, produce, and exchange seeds, the group said.

      GRAIN just published its latest opinion piece [pdf], part of its “Against the grain” series. This one focuses on the potential threat of free trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in Asia.

    • The Significance Of Uruguay’s Win Over Philip Morris International

      The tobacco industry’s global efforts to use bilateral and multilateral agreements to challenge the spread of tobacco control measures such as trademark-minimising plain packages were dealt a significant blow last week when the World Bank dispute settlement body dismissed a case brought by Philip Morris against the government of Uruguay.The decision is seen a landmark for those who view the company as using test cases to continually challenge and delay public health protection measures and discourage other countries, particularly those with fewer resources, from strengthening their health regulations. Additionally, the case reasserted that trademarks are subject to government regulations and also illustrated the role that international organisations and actors can play in support of national governments defending their health measures.

    • After Japan Embraces ‘Sensational’ Anti-Vaxxer Report, HPV Vaccination Rates Collapse

      Just three years after the Japanese government withdrew support for a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), a new report finds the country’s girls are dramatically more vulnerable to contracting the cancerous disease. Japan’s decision was solely informed by one “sensationalized” report from a non-medical anti-vaccine activist group called Vaccine Victims, which is under investigation by the Japanese government.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Open Source Information Security Tool Aimed at MSSPs

      A Virginia software developer announced today the release of what’s billed as the first open source information security analytics tool for managed security services providers (MSSP) and enterprise.

      IKANOW says its new platform features multi-tenancy, enterprise scalability and is fully customizable.

    • Most companies still can’t spot incoming cyberattacks

      Four out of five businesses lack the required infrastructure or security professionals with relevant skills to spot and defend against incoming cyberattacks.

      According to a new report by US cybersecurity and privacy think tank Ponemon Institute on behalf of cybersecurity firm BrandProtect, 79 percent of cybersecurity professionals say that their organisations are struggling to monitor the internet for the external threats posed by hackers and cybercriminals.

    • HTTpoxy Flaw Re-emerges After 15 Years and Gets Fixed

      After lying dormant for years, flaws in the HTTP Proxy header used in programming languages and applications, such as PHP, Go and Python, have now been fixed.
      Some flaws take longer—a lot longer—than others to get fixed. The newly named HTTpoxy vulnerability was first discovered back in March 2001 and fixed in the open-source Perl programming language, but it has sat dormant in multiple other languages and applications until July 18.

      The HTTPoxy flaw is a misconfiguration vulnerability in the HTTP_PROXY variable that is commonly used by Common Gateway Interface (CGI) environment scripts. The HTTPoxy flaw could potentially enable a remotely exploitable vulnerability on servers, enabling an attacker to run code or redirect traffic. The flaw at its core is a name space conflict between two different uses for a server variable known as HTTP Proxy.

    • Hack The World

      Currently HackerOne has 550+ customers, has paid over $8.9 million in bounties, and fixed over 25,000 vulnerabilities, which makes for a safer Internet.

    • EU aims to increase the security of password manager and web server software: KeePass and Apache chosen for open source audits [“pyrrhic because of Keepass : flushing the audit money down the toilet on MS based cruft” -iophk]

      For the FOSSA pilot project to improve the security of open source software that my colleague Max and I proposed, the European Commission sought your input on which tools to audit.

      The results are now in: The two overwhelming public favorites were KeePass (23%) and the Apache HTTP Server (19%). The EU has decided to follow these recommendations and audit both of these software projects for potential security issues.

    • KeeThief – A Case Study in Attacking KeePass Part 2

      The other week I published the “A Case Study in Attacking KeePass” post detailing a few notes on how to operationally “attack” KeePass installations. This generated an unexpected amount of responses, most good, but a few negative and dismissive. Some comments centered around the mentality of “if an attacker has code execution on your system you’re screwed already so who cares“. Our counterpoint to this is that protecting your computer from malicious compromise is a very different problem when it’s joined to a domain versus isolated for home use. As professional pentesters/red teamers we’re highly interested in post-exploitation techniques applicable to enterprise environments, which is why we started looking into ways to “attack” KeePass installations in the first place. Our targets are not isolated home users.

    • Giuliani calls for cybersecurity push

      Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani made a surprise appearance at the BlackBerry Security Summit, warning of the rapid growth of cybercrime and cyberterrorism.

      Cybercrime and cyberterrorism are both growing at rates between 20% and 40%, said Giuliani, who made a brief return from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to speak at BlackBerry’s New York event.

      “Think of it like cancer. We can’t cure it… but if we catch it early we can put it into remission,” he said. The quicker you can spot an attack, the less chance there is of loss.

    • Notorious Hacker ‘Phineas Fisher’ Says He Hacked The Turkish Government

      A notorious hacker has claimed responsibility for hacking Turkey’s ruling party, the AKP, and stealing more than 300,000 internal emails and other files.

      The hacker, who’s known as Phineas Fisher and has gained international attention for his previous attacks on the surveillance tech companies FinFisher and Hacking Team, took credit for breaching the servers of Turkey’s ruling party, the Justice and Development Party or AKP.

      “I hacked AKP,” Phineas Fisher, who also goes by the nickname Hack Back, said in a message he spread through his Twitter account on Wednesday evening.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • The Coup in Turkey has Thrown a Wrench in Uncle Sam’s “Pivot” Plan

      A failed coup in Turkey has changed the geopolitical landscape overnight realigning Ankara with Moscow while shattering Washington’s plan to redraw the map of the Middle East. Whether Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan staged the coup or not is of little importance in the bigger scheme of things. The fact is, the incident has consolidated his power domestically while derailing Washington’s plan to control critical resources and pipeline corridors from Qatar to Europe. The Obama administrations disregard for the national security interests of its allies, has pushed the Turkish president into Moscow’s camp, removing the crucial landbridge between Europe and Asia that Washington needs to maintain its global hegemony into the new century. Washington’s plan to pivot to Asia, surround and break up Russia, control China’s growth and maintain its iron grip on global power is now in a shambles. The events of the last few days have changed everything.

    • US-Led Airstrikes Kill as Many Civilians as Nice Attack–but Get No Front-Page Headlines in Major US Papers

      A coalition airstrike reported on Tuesday that killed at least 85 civilians—one more than died in the Nice attack in France last week—wasn’t featured at all on the front pages of two of the top US national newspapers, the New York Times and LA Times, and only merited brief blurbs on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, with the actual stories buried on pages A-16 and A-15, respectively.

      According to the London Telegraph (7/19/16), the airstrike killed “more than 85 civilians” after the “coalition mistook them for Islamic State fighters.” Eight families were represented among the dead, with victims “as young as three.” The Intercept (7/19/16) reported the death toll could end up being well over 100.

    • NYT’s ‘Journalistic Detachment’ Before Iraq War Is Detached From Reality

      One has to ask where the New York Times’ “journalistic detachment” was in 2002 and 2003. Rutenberg himself (2/18/03) in the lead up to the invasion reported on the use of “embedded journalists” for the first time since World War II. How “detached” from a war effort can journalists be if they are literally attached to an invading army?

      It’s a subtle piece of revisionism, but an important one: For those in center-left media, the impulse to rewrite their own role in selling the Iraq War is all too tempting–to turn Fox News into a cartoon propaganda outlet, and their own editorial drum-beating, war protester-mocking, aluminum tube-peddling and Dick Cheney water-carrying as “detached” journalism, simply calling balls and strikes. Certainly Ailes’ Fox News was more naked in its war promotion, but the New York Times, with its nominal liberal reputation and air of objectivity, was almost certainly more effective.

    • The ’28 Pages’ Explained

      It took fourteen years for the public to see this document…

    • Stomping the Embers of Turkey’s Democracy

      Whatever motivated Turkey’s failed coup, President Erdogan is exploiting the outcome to round up his political enemies and consolidate his dictatorial style rule, a challenge to the U.S. and E.U., as Alon Ben-Meir describes.

    • Failed Turkish Coup’s Big-Power Impact

      Turkey’s failed “coup” has shaken up the region’s geopolitics, splintering the powerful Turkish military, forcing President Erdogan to focus on internal “enemies,” and undermining the Syrian rebels next door, says ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

    • Orlando Shooter’s Statements Vindicate Ron Paul

      Despite all the articles and analysis in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting, one important fact seems to have been completely overlooked: the shooter validated Ron Paul’s warning that American military intervention in the Mideast causes terrorist attacks.

    • US-Backed Syrian ‘Moderates’ Behead 12-Year-Old

      The grisly beheading of a 12-year-old boy by U.S.-backed Syrian rebels spotlights Washington’s creepy excuses for arming “moderate” jihadists who are barely distinguishable from Al Qaeda and ISIS, reports Daniel Lazare.

    • Cashing in on a Failed Coup

      Mr. Erdogan, who has long attempted to create pliable state institutions, said that the coup was a “gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army”. The government arrested more than 6,000 people from the military and other state institutions. Saying that the Gülen movement had become a “cancer virus” on society, Mr. Erdogan pledged to purge its membership from positions of authority. The ultimate arbiter of who is or is not in the Gülen movement will be left to Mr. Erdogan’s own loyalists, who are likely to remove those who have long resisted the President’s own bid to monopolise power. Mr. Erdogan deliberately linked the Gülen movement to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which the Turkish army has attacked in its bases in south-eastern Turkey and in Iraq. To call both the Gülen movement and the PKK ‘terrorists’ is a convenient way to sweep up all Erdogan enemies into one target and use the coup — a “gift from God” — as the opportunity to go after them with vehemence.

    • The Surprising Popularity of Military Coups

      The attempted military coup in Turkey and the possibility of a President Trump may have more Americans considering the military option.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Hottest ever June marks 14th month of record-breaking temperatures

      As the string of record-breaking global temperatures continues unabated, June 2016 marks the 14th consecutive month of record-breaking heat.

      According to two US agencies – Nasa and Noaa – June 2016 was 0.9C hotter than the average for the 20th century, and the hottest June in the record which goes back to 1880. It broke the previous record, set in 2015, by 0.02C.

      The 14-month streak of record-breaking temperatures was the longest in the 137-year record. And it has been 40 years since the world saw a June that was below the 20th century average.

    • Republicans in Cleveland Deny Climate Change as Arctic Snow Turns Pink

      Donald Trump’s reported top pick for energy secretary, oil and fracking billionaire Harold Hamm, declared on the Republican National Convention stage on Wednesday night, “Every time we can’t drill a well in America, terrorism is being funded.”

      One day earlier, NASA had announced that this June was the hottest June on record, and that the same could be said for every month in 2016 — part of a long-term climate trend that has exacerbated geopolitical conflicts.

      The convention adopted a platform that rejected the Paris climate agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Meanwhile, researchers published a study indicating that climate change worsened a 2003 heat wave enough to kill 570 more people in Paris and London than would have died in an unchanged world.

      Rep. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee, who will take the convention stage Thursday, told a Cleveland panel on Monday that “the earth is no longer warming and has not. For about the past 13 years, it has begun to cool.”

    • A Climate Change Op-Ed the Wall Street Journal Simply Doesn’t Need

      I bet not many high schoolers read the Wall Street Journal. And, as a recent graduate, I can tell you confidently it’s because we’re too busy with other things. And I don’t mean busy playing Pokémon Go. I guess I’d consider myself an outlier as an unusually high consumer of news and opinion, particularly from the Wall Street Journal. Either way, as a young person that will feel the worst effects of climate change as I get older, it’s extremely important to me that the issue receives the attention it deserves from mainstream media.

      The Wall Street Journal hasn’t exactly been at the forefront when it comes to leading fair and unbiased commentary on climate change, especially on its editorial page. That’s why I was truly shocked by the full page ad series about man-made climate change currently running. I saw the first ad that ran back on June 14 and those that have run every few days since. The shock came partly just because the ad existed, but the fact that it was actually slamming the Wall Street Journal for its overt climate denial was almost unbelievable. I dug deeper and learned through a piece by the Washington Post that only for a fee higher than it normally charges for ad space was the Journal willing to place the ads… not exactly equitable. Does the WSJ charge Big Oil more to run their ads?

    • Trump’s Killer Kids
    • Taxpayer Groups, Environmentalists, Students Call on Congress to End $4 Billion Annual Oil Industry Subsidies

      In an open letter sent to Congress today, a coalition of 40 national taxpayer, labor, environmental and other groups called on the federal government to repeal almost $4 billion in annual tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, calling them wasteful and lambasting Congress for subsidizing activities that will make climate change worse.

      The groups called on Senators to support the FAIR Energy Policy Act, which would slowly phase out nine special tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry.

      “Oil companies receive billions in tax breaks, despite being among the world’s largest and most profitable corporations,” the groups wrote. “For too long, America has subsidized the oil industry’s bottom line at middle class Americans’ expense.”

      Another law passed earlier this year revokes the wind industry’s production tax credit, and the FAIR Energy Policy Act would wind down some of the oil industry’s subsidies on the same schedule.

  • Finance
    • Why Public Needs Go Begging

      For decades, Americans have been sold on rugged individualism and told to disdain collectivism and community, a philosophy that has starved many public institutions and fattened up the few at the top, as Lawrence Davidson explains.

    • Barroso: from Europeanist to Global Banker

      Mr. Barroso’s appointment as Goldman Sachs non-executive chairman is shameful. As a former President of the European Commission, he should be held to higher ethical standards.

    • Sovereignty and responsibility after Brexit
    • US eyes quick post-Brexit trade deal with UK to get stalled TTIP moving

      The US is hoping that a quick trade and investment deal with the UK after it leaves the EU could kickstart the stalled negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which has met increasing resistance on the continent.

      As well as serving the US’s purposes, such an agreement would be welcomed by the UK government as proof that it can recreate the necessary web of trade links post-Brexit.

      The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has just spent two days in the UK talking with the prime minister’s officials and with the new foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, exploring what form such a UK-US trade deal might take.

      As The Guardian explains: “The UK cannot formally sign any trade deals with other countries or trading blocs until it has left the EU, but it appears to be accepted that negotiations on the outline shape of such deals can start before that happens.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Tomgram: Adam Hochschild, Letting Tarzan Swing Through History

      Still, I wouldn’t have missed the film for the world. After all, it’s the first action movie that — as you’ll see from TomDispatch regular Adam Hochschild’s piece today — has ever based itself in any way on a book I edited, in this case his classic King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa. As a result, I left the theater filled with wild fantasies. (Even editors can dream, can’t they?) I began to imagine Who Rules the World?, Noam Chomsky’s latest book, absorbed into a future X-Men: Apocalypse America. Or the late Chalmers Johnson’s Dismantling the Empire as the basis for the next Jason Bourne romp. Or Ann Jones’s They Were Soldiers at the grim heart of American Sniper: The Next Generation. Or, in Tarzan-style, Andrew Bacevich’s writing on America’s twenty-first-century Middle Eastern wars as part of a reboot of Lawrence of Arabia — perhaps King David of Iraq: The Surge to Nowhere.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Top VP Pick Lets Big Banks Know He’s in Their Corner

      Sounding another alarm for progressives wary of the Democratic establishment’s support for Wall Street, the man said to be leading the pack of potential Hillary Clinton running mates—Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine—has just this week sent a clear message to big banks: He’s in their corner.

      Kaine, who is reportedly Bill Clinton’s favorite for the vice presidential slot, signed onto two letters on Monday pushing for financial deregulation—letters that show the Clinton camp “how Kaine could be an asset with banking interests on the fundraising trail,” according to David Dayen at The Intercept on Wednesday.

      The first missive, signed by 16 Democrats and every Republican senator, calls on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to exempt community banks and credit unions from certain regulations.

    • Tim Kaine, Possible Hillary Clinton Pick for Vice President, Goes to Bat for Banks

      Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, considered a leading contender for the Democratic vice presidential nomination, has spent this week signaling to the financial industry that he’ll go to bat for them.

      On Monday, Kaine signed onto two letters, one to federal banking regulators and the other to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, urging them to loosen regulations on certain financial players. The timing of the letters, sent while Kaine is being vetted for the top of the ticket, could show potential financial industry donors that he is willing to serve as an ally on their regulatory issues.

      In the letters, Kaine is offering to support community banks, credit unions, and even large regional banks. While separate from the Wall Street mega-banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, these financial institutions often partner with the larger industry to fight regulations and can be hostile to government efforts to safeguard the public, especially if it crimps their profits.

      They also represent a key source of donor funds, one that has trended away from Democrats. The Independent Community Bankers of America have given 74 percent of their $873,949 in donations this cycle to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Regional banks like PNC Financial Services, SunTrust Bank, and First Republic Bank, have given even higher percentages to the Republicans.

    • Saudi Arabia’s PR Machine Uses the 28 Pages to Blame Iran for 9/11 Attacks

      Last Friday the U.S. government finally released 28 pages of a 2002 congressional report that detail possible ties between the Saudi Arabian government and the 9/11 hijackers.

      The document lists various forms of assistance provided by Saudi agents to the hijackers, including help finding a flight school and various forms of financial support when the hijackers arrived in the United States. Many of the findings in the report have not been fully vetted as several of the Saudi agents named in the 28 pages have refused to cooperate.

      But that has not stopped Saudi-funded lobbyists and media outlets from claiming that the disclosure of the 28 pages ends all speculation about the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 terror attacks. Several outlets controlled by Saudi Arabia’s vast public relations machine are trumpeting the document as a vindication that closes the door on any suggestion that the Saudi government had any ties to the 9/11 terrorists.

      “The question of Saudi involvement in 9/11 should be entirely put to rest,” said Fran Townsend, a former Bush administration official, in a 28 pages-related video posted on social media this week. The video was produced by Focus Washington, an interview series managed by Qorvis MSL, a lobbying firm retained by the Saudi government to influence American policymakers. The Saudi Embassy Twitter account distributed the video.

    • This Is What a Broken Party Looks Like

      Cruz doesn’t disagree with Trump. He thinks Trump is a pretender to the cause, or he remains angry at how Trump personally insulted him, his wife and his father – or both.

      The person who really disagrees with Trump is his vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence, who said in December that “calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.” In 2006 he concluded “it is not logistically possible to round up 12 million illegal aliens.” He supports NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). And he disavowed negative campaigning 25 years ago.

    • VP Choice Pence Reaffirms Israel Devotion

      Donald Trump may alarm Washington’s foreign policy establishment with his “America First” rhetoric but Mike Pence, Trump’s VP choice, reaffirms a commitment to the traditional “Israel First” doctrine, as Sam Husseini shows.

      [...]

      I’ve heard him say that before. Being a journalist based in the Washington, D.C. area, I try to ask tough questions of political figures when I can. Perhaps my favorite question is some variation of “do you acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons?” I’ve asked this of many political figures and virtually no one has given me a straightforward response.

    • In the US, Money Talks When It Comes to Israel

      The grubby underside of US electoral politics is on show once again as the Democratic and Republican candidates prepare to fight it out for the presidency. And it doesn’t get seamier than the battle to prove how loyal each candidate is to Israel.

      New depths are likely to be plumbed this week at the Republican convention in Cleveland, as Donald Trump is crowned the party’s nominee. His platform breaks with decades of United States policy to effectively deny the Palestinians any hope of statehood.

    • This Anti-Feminist Leader Is Very Pleased With The GOP Platform

      As delegates at the Republican National Convention approved a platform banning women from combat, restricting a woman’s right to an abortion in cases of rape or incest, and without any mention of equal pay or paid family leave, Phyllis Schlafly looked on with a huge smile.

      The notorious 91-year-old anti-feminist and RNC delegate sat in her wheelchair in the back of Missouri’s delegation, craning to get a look at Donald Trump as he entered the arena for the first time on Wednesday night. During the 1970s, Schlafly led the opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have amended the Constitution to ban discrimination based on gender. Schlafly, who has participated in every convention since 1952, told ThinkProgress that Trump is the candidate to best represent the needs of women from the White House. In fact, she said, there’s no need for a woman in the Oval Office at all.

    • Folha’s Journalistic Fraud Far Worse Than We Reported Yesterday: A Smoking Gun Emerges

      On Wednesday, The Intercept published an article documenting the extraordinary journalistic fraud committed by Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, in radically distorting the views of Brazilians on the key questions of the country’s political crisis. Specifically, Folha blasted headlines to the country announcing that 50 percent of Brazilians now want the extremely unpopular interim president, Michel Temer, to complete Dilma’s term and remain as president through 2018, while only 3 percent favor new elections and only 4 percent want both Dilma and Temer to resign. That was squarely at odds with prior polling showing vast majorities opposed to Temer and favoring new elections. As we documented, the actual polling data — which Folha’s polling firm, Datafolha, only published days after the article — did not remotely support Folha’s claims.

      But after our article was published, much more evidence was found — through amazing collaborative work by internet sleuths — showing how extreme Folha’s behavior was, including the discovery of a smoking gun proving that it was much worse than we knew when we published yesterday. Do not let the fact that this story involves polling data and methodologies obscure how significant this episode is:

      Weeks before the conclusion of the country’s most virulent political conflict in at least a generation — the final Senate vote on Dilma’s impeachment — Folha, Brazil’s largest and most influential newspaper, not only distorted, but actively concealed, crucial polling data that completely negated what they “reported”: data that establishes that a large majority of Brazilians want “interim President” Michel Temer to resign, not remain in office as the paper claimed. Put simply, this is one of the most remarkable, flagrant, and serious cases of journalistic malfeasance one can imagine.

      [...]

      Most amazingly of all, this was all done in service of denying the need for democracy: deceiving the country into believing that most Brazilians support the person who seized power undemocratically and that there is no need for elections, when in fact the majority of the country wants this “interim President” to quit and new elections to be held to choose the legitimate leader.

      As we noted yesterday, it’s impossible to say whether Folha acted with deliberate intent to deceive or with extreme journalistic ineptitude and recklessness, although evidence suggesting the former is certainly more abundant now than it was yesterday. But motives aside, what is now beyond debate is that Folha misled the country in fundamental ways about this generation’s most consequential political conflict, and hid from the public vital evidence that they only admitted existed once they got caught red-handed doing all this.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Not censorship but responsible journalism is the need of the hour

      Even as newspaper printing resumed in the Kashmir valley on Wednesday after four days, a group of journalists who gathered here for a panel discussion condemned the alleged ban as a gag on the freedom of speech and expression.

      They also said that coverage by a certain section of the media was alienating the local population even further.

      During the panel discussion, Rahul Jalali, president of Press Club of India said, “It was one of the most bizarre incidents of censorship that took place in the country. As of now no assurance has been given to the journalists that they are free to function and would not be touched hereafter.”

    • Editors’ body condemns ‘undeclared censorship’ on newspapers in Kashmir
    • Does Delhi media care enough for Kashmiri media?

      Early this year, in February, the who’s who of Delhi journalism had assembled at the Press Club of India, at Raisina Road, to defend their right to report. The reason was the attack on journalists who were covering the Jawaharlal Nehru University sedition case at the Patiala House Court.

      Almost five months later, a motley group of journalists gathered at the same venue for same reasons – except this time, the attack was not on Delhi media but a ban on Kashmiri media. Barely 10 journalists sat on a dharna at about 1pm at the press club with the placard: “Journalists with Kashmir”.

    • As Constitutional Referendum Nears, Thailand Intensifies Censorship

      Thailand’s military-backed government has authorized the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to shut down TV and radio stations which are found guilty of broadcasting programs that threaten national security. Furthermore, the junta gave NBTC officials immunity from legal accountability.

      Human rights groups believe this ruling aims to prevent activists and other political forces from campaigning against the approval of a draft constitution in a national referendum scheduled for August 7.

    • Stop censorship of student journalists

      Censorship must be resisted on all fronts, at all times, wherever conflict occurs. Nowhere is that message more important than in our schools, and that’s why we applaud a newly re-introduced bill aimed at preventing administrative censorship of student newspapers.

      The bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly members Gail Phoebus, R-Sussex, and Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, would be similar to a Maryland initiative that has already been signed into law. It is rooted in concerns that oversensitive school officials have been preventing student publications from using certain stories of which they disapprove. That’s insufficient cause to ignore First Amendment principles, and the bill would forbid any requirement that all content be subject to administrative review before publication.

    • SABC censorship runs deeper than protest ban, says fired journalist

      THE SABC’s protest footage ban is just one of a slew of policies and “draconian anti-journalistic practices” at the public broadcaster, one of the fired journalists said on Thursday.

      “You can withdraw the protest policy but you still have an environment that is not conducive to the practice of ethical journalism in the SABC,” Thandeka Gqubule said.

    • Serbia populists exhibit criticism to fight censorship claim

      Serbia’s ruling populists have created an exhibition highlighting media critical of their leader and his government in a bid to counter mounting allegations of censorship in the Balkan country, which is seeking EU membership

    • Onlinecensorship.org Launches in Spanish

      We are excited to announce that Onlinecensorship.org, a joint project of EFF and Visualizing Impact, is now available in Spanish. Onlinecensorship.org seeks to expose how social media sites moderate user-generated content. By launching the platform in the second-most widely spoken language in the world, we hope to reach several million more individuals who’ve experienced censorship on social media. Now, more users than ever can report on content takedowns from Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube and use Onlinecensorship.org as a resource to appeal unfair takedowns.

    • Censorship in Venezuela: Over 370 Internet Addresses Blocked

      In Venezuela, at least 372 web portals have been blocked by main Internet service providers (ISP). Also, 43 Internet domains have been blocked by these same providers, both public and private.

      Of those, 44 percent are web pages related to black market dollars. An additional 19 percent of the pages are news media and an additional 12 percent feature blogs critical of Nicolás Maduro’s administration.

    • The South African Broadcasting Corporation in court over censorship saga
    • The SABC makes U-turn on its ‘censorship’ ruling
    • Court order prohibits SABC from implementing ‘the censorship decision’
    • SABC interdicted from protest censorship
    • Milo Yiannopoulos, rightwing writer, permanently banned from Twitter
    • Twitter Bans Milo Yiannopoulos for Leading Abuse Campaign Against Actress
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Edward Snowden’s New Research Aims to Keep Smartphones from Betraying Their Owners

      In early 2012, Marie Colvin, an acclaimed international journalist from New York, entered the besieged city of Homs, Syria while reporting for London’s Sunday Times. She wrote of a difficult journey involving “a smugglers’ route, which I promised not to reveal, climbing over walls in the dark and slipping into muddy trenches.” Despite the covert approach, Syrian forces still managed to get to Colvin; under orders to “kill any journalist that set foot on Syrian soil,” they bombed the makeshift media center she was working in, killing her and one other journalist, and injuring two others.

      Syrian forces may have found Colvin by tracing her phone, according to a lawsuit filed by Colvin’s family this month. Syrian military intelligence used “signal interception devices to monitor satellite dish and cell phone communications and trace journalists’ locations,” the suit says.

      In dangerous environments like war-torn Syria, smartphones become indispensable tools for journalists, human rights workers, and activists. But at the same time they become especially potent tracking devices that can put users in mortal danger by leaking their location.

      National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden has been working with prominent hardware hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang to solve this problem. The pair are developing a way for potentially imperiled smartphone users to monitor whether their devices are making any potentially compromising radio transmissions. They argue that a smartphone’s user interface can’t be relied to tell you the truth about that state of its radios.

    • The Secret Documents That Detail How Patients’ Privacy is Breached

      When the federal government takes the rare step of fining medical providers for violating the privacy and security of patients’ medical information, it issues a press release and posts details on the web.

      But thousands of times a year, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services resolves complaints about possible violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act quietly, outside public view. It sends letters reminding providers of their legal obligations, advising them on how to fix purported problems, and, sometimes, prodding them to make voluntary changes.

    • Internet of Things in healthcare: What’s next for IoT technology in the health sector

      Internet of Things technology holds the potential to revolutionise the healthcare industry, but not before overcoming barriers of security and data ownership.

      Internet of Things (IoT) refers to any physical object embedded with technology capable of exchanging data and is pegged to create a more efficient healthcare system in terms of time, energy and cost. One area where the technology could prove transformative is in healthcare – with analysts at MarketResearch.com claiming the sector will be worth $117 million by 2020.

    • The Snooper’s Charter still has an encryption problem: Parliament continues to grapple with end-to-end encryption in the Investigatory Powers Bill

      With everything else that has been happening in the UK and abroad over the past month you could be excused for missing a House of Lords debate over the Investigatory Powers Bill last week.

      With the majority of the country distracted by Brexit and the upheaval among the two major political parties – including the former Home Secretary and architect of the controversial Bill Theresa May becoming the UK Primer Minister – this vital legislation has not been quite so high on the news agenda.

      However, discussions around encryption at the 13 July Investigatory Powers Bill committee stage debate could have a huge impact on personal and enterprise data security – in particular the ability to ban end-to-end encryption. You can read the entire debate here.

    • Snooper’s Charter: What you need to know about the Investigatory Powers Bill

      Since December last year, the government’s Investigatory Powers Bill has sparked debate over the balance between privacy concerns and national security in the post-Snowden era, with controversy around encryption, bulk data and hacking being aimed at the former home secretary Theresa May.

    • This Guy Trains Computers to Find Future Criminals

      When historians look back at the turmoil over prejudice and policing in the U.S. over the past few years, they’re unlikely to dwell on the case of Eric Loomis. Police in La Crosse, Wis., arrested Loomis in February 2013 for driving a car that was used in a drive-by shooting. He had been arrested a dozen times before. Loomis took a plea, and was sentenced to six years in prison plus five years of probation.

      The episode was unremarkable compared with the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police, which were captured on camera and distributed widely online. But Loomis’s story marks an important point in a quieter debate over the role of fairness and technology in policing. Before his sentence, the judge in the case received an automatically generated risk score that determined Loomis was likely to commit violent crimes in the future.

    • Revealed: Rail companies’ plans to track your movements and make you pay more to stand on packed trains

      Rail passengers could be forced to pay more to stand on packed trains as the country’s biggest train ticket website plans to monitor their movements to “ease congestion”.

      Clare Gilmartin, chief executive of the Trainline, told The Telegraph that the website was planning to use GPS technology installed within its app constantly to let rail firms update ticket prices, under a scheme which could be rolled out in less than two years.

    • European court rights adviser recommends ‘strict’ guidelines on UK spying laws

      UK GOVERNMENT plans to retain communications data do not sit well with the European Court of Justice, which has warned that such plans should not be rushed through.

      Advocate general Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe and his peers have issued their opinion on British and Swedish plans to make communications providers sit on customer data for an extended period of time.

    • EU Court Of Justice Advisor Suggests UK’s Last Surveillance Bill May Be Legal, But Hints That The New One Might Not Be

      Over at the EU Court of Justice, the Advocate General has weighed in on the legal challenge to DRIPA, the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (DRIPA) that was rushed through the UK Parliament almost exactly two years ago. The law was challenged by a group made up of cross-party Parliament Members, and the Advocate General has sort of punted on the issue. If you don’t recall, the Advocate General’s role in the EU Court of Justice is basically to make a recommendation for the actual rulings. The court doesn’t have to (and doesn’t always) follow the Advocate General’s suggestion, but does so often enough that the opinions certainly carry a lot of weight and suggest what’s likely to happen. In this case, the opinion stated that, even though the court had previously rejected the EU-wide Data Retention Directive as intruding on privacy — the UK’s data retention law might be okay.

      The opinion basically says some data retention laws may be okay if the powers are “circumscribed by strict safeguards” set up by the national courts.

    • Marines, NSA To Bring Smartphones To Rifle Squad

      The Marine Corps and National Security Agency have joined forces to bring cellphones to the battlefield by 2019. Working with the NSA’s new Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) program should let the Marines acquire cutting-edge civilian technology swiftly without sacrificing security, said Maj. Kevin Shepherd of Marine Corps Systems Command.

    • From revolutionary art to dystopian comics: Ganzeer on Snowden, censorship and global warming

      It is 949 years since a global flood of biblical proportions. The world is reliant upon a vast grid of solar panels to power its factories around the clock. Night-time has been consigned to legend. In the aftermath of environmental catastrophe, the world’s clean water is now confined to a network of towers built by the world’s richest man.

      While the dystopian scenario of Ganzeer’s debut graphic novel, The Solar Grid, is science fiction, the story is rooted in history, political and personal. The Egyptian artist, best known for murals that championed the spirit of the 2011 Cairo revolution, took inspiration from his first sighting of the Nile’s Aswan dam. As child, he felt awe. Today, Ganzeer sees the environmental impact of the dam on Egypt as emblematic of humanity’s adverse impact across the whole planet.

    • Former NSA Official Sentenced to 12 Years in Death of Adopted Special-Needs Son

      A former division chief for the National Security Agency was sentenced to prison on Tuesday for causing the 2014 death of his 3-year-old adopted special needs son by throwing him against a wall, PEOPLE confirms.

    • For The Third Time, Whatsapp Blocked (And Then Unblocked) By Brazilian Judges For Failing To Decrypt

      What’s up with Brazilian judges not understanding Whatsapp? In the last few months, judges keep freaking out that Whatsapp messages are end to end encrypted, and that the company is unable to decrypt them at all. On Tuesday morning, the news broke that Judge Daniela Barbosa had ordered Whatsapp blocked yet again, along with a $50,000 per day fine until it decrypts information that it cannot decrypt. While various ISPs set about blocking the extremely popular app, as with the previous times, it took only a few hours for a higher court to suspend Barbosa’s ruling, and to make the app available again.

      Of course, this is the third time that Brazilian courts have done this particular dance. It happened in December and again in May. And who can forget the time in March where a Brazilian judge ordered a Facebook exec arrested over the same issue (Facebook owns Whatsapp).

    • Microsoft kills P2P Skype, native OS X, Linux clients [Ed: Microsoft is making it easier to do mass surveillance; will record all your calls, not just keystrokes.]

      In the same month as Microsoft announced its alpha WebRTC-based Skype for Linux, Redmond has put it and the native OS X Skype client on the end-of-life list due to a rebuild for Skype that will replace its peer-to-peer architecture with cloud-centric code.

    • Forget Trump: Peter Thiel Is So Dangerous and Fascinating You Have to Watch Him Tonight

      Thiel has also postured as a libertarian, and even as his ideology shifts toward something more nihilistic — The Economist now calls him a “corporate Nietzschean” — he continues to rail against government programs like Medicare and Social Security. Meanwhile, he is chairman and co-founder of Palantir Technologies, a mass-surveillance-software company that makes a good deal of its money selling to the government; Palantir’s clients reportedly include the Department of Defense (including the NSA and various military branches), the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the CIA. Thiel is, inexplicably, pro-monopoly. And don’t forget that Peter Thiel believes death is nothing but a bug in the feature set of mankind, and one he can buy his way out of.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Florida police shoot black man lying down with arms in air

      An autistic man’s therapist was shot and wounded by police in Florida while lying on the street with his hands in the air.

      Charles Kinsey, who works with people with disabilities, was trying to get his 27-year-old patient back to a facility from where he wandered, North Miami assistant police chief Neal Cuevas told the Miami Herald.

      Cuevas said police – who were responding to reports of a man threatening to shoot himself – ordered Kinsey and the patient, who was sitting in the street playing with a toy truck, to lie on the ground.

      Kinsey, who is black, lay down and put his hands up while trying to get his patient to comply. An officer fired three times, striking Kinsey in the leg, Cuevas said. No weapon was found on either Kinsey or his patient.

    • American Academy Of Pediatrics Claims Broad Consensus On Violent Media Effect That Doesn’t Remotely Exist

      Search through all of our stories about the supposed link between violent movies and games and real world violence by those that enjoy them, and you should come away with the impression that, at the very least, the science isn’t settled on the issue. The more specific impression you should get is that violent media might — might — have a short-term impact on behavior, but that there isn’t anything like a general agreement on the long term effects, which is obviously the vastly more important question.

    • Kudos To Senator Leahy: Fighting To Keep Privacy & Civil Liberties Board From Being Hobbled

      While I think that Senator Patrick Leahy has been ridiculously and dangerously wrong on copyright issues for years, he’s actually quite good on a number of other issues that are of interest to us here at Techdirt. In particular, he’s been a strong supporter of civil liberties on the internet and protecting the 4th Amendment (it’s unfortunate that he doesn’t see how his desired copyright policies might undermine some of that, but that’s another post for another day). Thankfully, his latest move is to push back against a plan by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees to strip the federal government’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Board (PCLOB).

      Back in May, we wrote about this effort, whereby Congress appeared to be deliberately stripping powers from the PCLOB in order to limit the board’s ability to actually make sure that the intelligence community wasn’t abusing its powers. Senator Leahy has now sent a fairly direct letter to Senate Intelligence chair Senator Richard Burr and vice chair Senator Dianne Feinstein calling out how terrible this plan is.

    • Turkey coup attempt: Crackdown toll passes 50,000

      More than 50,000 people have been rounded up, sacked or suspended from their jobs by Turkey’s government in the wake of last week’s failed coup.

      The purge of those deemed disloyal to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan widened on Tuesday to include teachers, university deans and the media.

      The government says they are allied to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who denies claims he directed the uprising.

    • Turkey Coup: Erdogan declares three-month state of emergency

      Turkey’s president has declared a state of emergency for three months following a failed coup to oust his government.

      President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the measure was being taken to counter threats to Turkish democracy. He said the move was not intended to curb basic freedoms.

      Speaking after a meeting of the National Security Council in Ankara lasting nearly five hours, he said the state of emergency was needed “to remove this threat as soon as possible”.

    • In Secret Email, CIA’s Chief Lawyer Mocked ‘Pesky Little International Obligations’

      Bush administration lawyers made the law into a joke, and no one has been held accountable.

      In response to an ACLU Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the government has released several documents that shed new light on Bush administration lawyers’ attempts to evade the absolute prohibition on torture and abuse of prisoners. The documents concern the widely-discredited legal process that purported to authorize the CIA to commit war crimes and include shocking new details.

      One revelation is an email by John Rizzo, the CIA’s acting general counsel, which displays the ways in which government lawyers actively undermined the laws they were sworn to uphold. Rizzo, a key architect of the torture program, has claimed, “[M]y major concern as the chief lawyer was: Were these techniques legal?”

    • Cleveland Police to RNC Protesters: Don’t Hide Your Faces (Facial Recognition)

      Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams issued a warning to an undisclosed number of masked protesters outside the Republican National Convention: “If you are a member of a group that causes you to have to hide your face, then you probably need a different cause.”

    • Welcoming Constitutional Expert David Cole as Our New National Legal Director

      Cole will oversee the ACLU’s Supreme Court practice and the work of the organization’s nearly 300 lawyers

      We’re excited to tap David Cole, a leading constitutional law expert and litigator, to become our National Legal Director, leading our Supreme Court practice and overseeing the work of the organization’s nearly 300 lawyers. The ACLU has participated in nearly every landmark case involving political expression, freedom of the press, speech on the internet, and separation of church and state in the U.S. Supreme Court during the last 96 years. Cole will replace Steven R. Shapiro, who has served as National Legal Director for a quarter century.

      In his role as National Legal Director, Cole will direct a program that includes approximately 1,400 state and federal lawsuits on a broad range of civil liberties issues. He will directly manage 100 ACLU staff attorneys in New York headquarters, oversee the organization’s U.S. Supreme Court docket, and provide leadership to more than 200 staff attorneys who work in ACLU affiliate offices in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. Another 1,700 volunteer cooperating attorneys throughout the country are engaged in ACLU litigation. With an annual headquarters budget of $140 million, and 1.3 million supporters, the ACLU is the nation’s largest and oldest civil liberties organization.

    • Cornel West: Justice and Accountability are Necessary to End Tension over Killings by Police

      We discuss the killing of three police officers in Baton Rouge and the recent nationwide protests against police brutality with Cornel West. Cornel West is a professor at Union Theological Seminary. “When I hear the authorities call for peace,” West says, “I say, yes, but it’s not the absence of tension. It’s got to be the presence of that justice and accountability.”

    • Terror, Tennis Balls and Tamir Rice

      Welcome to Cleveland, where the Republican National Convention (RNC) is underway. The RNC is a highly scripted, elaborately staged and lavishly publicly funded private party. Here, credentialed Republican delegates, most of them party activists from around the country, circulate within a militarized perimeter of what authorities have designated a “national special security event.” As such, the U.S. Secret Service is handed complete control of an area, in the case downtown Cleveland. The area is ringed with a temporary but imposing black steel fence, patrolled by the full spectrum of law enforcement, from local police to federal SWAT teams. Yet because Ohio has extremely lenient gun laws, people can “open carry” here. And they do. Scores of Trump supporters have proudly shown up with their guns at their sides, including semi-automatic AR-15s, walking the downtown streets.

      It is not a total free-for-all, however. Many things are banned: tennis balls, sleeping bags, selfie sticks and canned goods. To highlight the absurdity of the situation, the women’s peace organization Code Pink staged a demonstration at the security checkpoint to enter the RNC. In their bags, the dozen or so pink-clad women carried 500 pink and green tennis balls with the phrase “Ban Guns, Not Balls” written on them. They began tossing them to each other.

      A line of Cleveland police officers quickly formed and tried to encircle the protest. They started to confiscate the tennis balls. There was confusion, as one officer asked a superior, “What do we do with the balls?” “Put them in your pocket,” came the exasperated reply. The police aggressively expanded their line, pushing observers, and us journalists, farther away. We managed to dodge them and got in close to ask Code Pink member Chelsea Byers what was going on: “We’re here saying that it’s ridiculous that the RNC has banned tennis balls, and yet they continue to let open carry happen in these streets. If they’re concerned about safety, they should be taking the guns off of these streets, not banning toys.” To reinforce the Cleveland police, a large contingent of Indiana State Police showed up, then riot police were deployed. Finally, a phalanx of police on horseback arrived. All this for about 15 women and one man from Code Pink and their 500 tennis balls.

      The second evening of the RNC was about to begin. Thousands were packing into the Quicken Loans Arena. For the first time ever, an official from the National Rifle Association was invited to address the convention.

      Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin told us at the protest, “We think that the NRA has, unfortunately, been setting the agenda for this entire nation, especially the Republican Party. It’s unfortunate that the NRA has so much power in this country. That’s why we see guns on our streets and people being shot every single day, every single hour of every single day.” Eventually, with all the tennis balls safely confiscated, the police marched away.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Tennessee Study Shows State Remains A Broadband Backwater Thanks To AT&T Lobbyists, Clueless Politicians, And Protectionist State Law

      We’ve talked at great lengths about how AT&T’s gruesomely cozy relationship with many state legislatures has severely damaged broadband expansion and adoption across huge swaths of the country. That’s particularly true in Tennessee, one of nineteen states where AT&T lobbyists have literally written protectionist state laws defending AT&T’s monopoly from broadband competition. AT&T’s goal has been to stop the rise of public/private partnerships, which have only emerged as a direct response to AT&T’s apathy.

      AT&T lobbyists have been happily getting such laws passed for fifteen years with little attention by the media. That began to change with the rise of efforts like Google Fiber, which more clearly illustrated how public/private partnerships have become essential in bringing broadband competition to countless areas incumbent ISPs deem “not profitable enough” to care about. Last year, the FCC finally woke up from its own long slumber on the subject, stating it would be preempting measures in two such state laws (in North Carolina and Tennessee) that hindered municipal broadband efforts from expanding.

      Tennessee’s response? To sue the FCC — claiming that state rights were being violated (letting AT&T write bad state law? Perfectly ok, though).

    • Internet 3.0: How we take back control from the giants

      AT THE heart of the internet are monsters with voracious appetites. In bunkers and warehouses around the world, vast arrays of computers run the show, serving up the web – and gorging on our data.

      These server farms are the engine rooms of the internet. Operated by some of the world’s most powerful companies, they process photos of our children, emails to our bosses and lovers, and our late-night searches. Such digital shards reveal far more of ourselves than we might like, and they are worth a lot of money. They are not only used to target advertising and sell stuff back to us, but also form the building blocks for a new generation of artificial intelligence that will determine the future of the web.

      “Very big and powerful companies own a huge chunk of what happens on the web,” says Andrei Sambra, a developer with the World Wide Web (W3) Consortium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the main standards organisation for the web. But we – the ones producing this valuable data – have lost control.

      The time has come to push back. Sambra is part of a growing movement to wrest back control over our digital lives by breaking the monopolies of the server farms and the people who own them. Tweak the technology on which the web runs and we can each keep our own little part of it in our pockets, they say – and determine who or what makes money out of who we are.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • WHO Updates Patent Status Info For New Hepatitis C Medicines

      The World Health Organization has issued updated information on the patent status of hepatitis C medicines, including assessments of hurdles for affordable generic versions of latest drugs.

    • Quia timet, de minimus and Novartis v Hospira: Mr Justice Arnold speeds through Napp v Dr Reddy pain dispute

      The invention lay in the use of certain penetration-enhancing excipients which are solid at room temperature and were therefore thought to be of limited use in assisting diffusion out of the matrix into the skin. The patent disclosed that on melting and cooling, these excipients formed so called “supercooled melts”, which have a melting point above room temperature, but remain liquid after cooling to room temperature.

    • Trademarks
      • Miami Brewing Co. Sends Cease And Desist To M.I.A. Beer Co. Over Trademark Concerns

        We talk a lot about silly trademark disputes here at Techdirt. But the really infuriating trademark stories tend to deal with not just overly broad terms that have been granted marks by the USPTO, but terms that are so broad because they are simple geographic identifiers. The other aspect of trademark disputes that can be face-palm inducing are claims of confusion that are laughable in the extreme. The dispute we’re about to discuss mixes both of these, supercharging the frustration to dangerous levels.

      • Federal Court of Justice greenlights colour mark red

        In the ongoing dispute between the Sparkassen Group and Banco Santander, which led to the CJEU’s decision in cases C‑217/13 and C‑218/13, the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has annulled the decision of the Federal Patent Court which invalidated Sparkassen’s contourless colour mark “red” and held that the mark had acquired distinctiveness at the time of the Federal Patent Court’s decision in 2015.

        Sparkassen Group has been using the colour red in connection with financial services, namely retail banking, in Germany since the 1960s. In 2002, it filed a trade mark application for the contourless colour “red” (HSK 13) for financial services, namely retail banking, which was granted – after an initial rejection – sometime in 2007. Banco Santander and Oberbank, two new entrants to the German retail banking market that also used the colour red in their home markets, filed for invalidity. In 2009, the German IPO (DPMA) dismissed the actions. On appeal, the Federal Patent Court referred several questions to the CJEU, which the CJEU answered in joined cases C-217/13 and C-218/13 in 2014.

      • US Justice Department Nails Three In Mass Mailing Trademark Scam

        US Justice Department Nails Three In Mass Mailing #Trademark Scam http://www.ip-watch.org/2016/07/20/us-justice-department-nails-three-in-mass-mailing-trademark-scam/

    • Copyrights
      • Research and Remixes the Law Won’t Allow

        Some day, your life may depend on the work of a security researcher. Whether it’s a simple malfunction in a piece of computerized medical equipment or a malicious compromise of your networked car, it’s critically important that people working in security can find and fix the problem before the worst happens.

        And yet, an expansive United States law, passed in 1998 and emulated in legal codes all over the world, casts a dark legal cloud over the work of those researchers. It gives companies a blunt instrument with which to threaten that research, keeping potentially embarrassing or costly errors from seeing the light of day.

        That law is Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Simply put, Section 1201 means that you can be sued or even jailed if you bypass digital locks on copyrighted works—from DVDs to software in your car—even if you are doing so for an otherwise lawful reason, like security testing.

      • EFF Lawsuit Takes on DMCA Section 1201: Research and Technology Restrictions Violate the First Amendment

        Washington D.C.—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the U.S. government today on behalf of technology creators and researchers to overturn onerous provisions of copyright law that violate the First Amendment.

        EFF’s lawsuit, filed with co-counsel Brian Willen, Stephen Gikow, and Lauren Gallo White of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, challenges the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the 18-year-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). These provisions—contained in Section 1201 of the DMCA—make it unlawful for people to get around the software that restricts access to lawfully-purchased copyrighted material, such as films, songs, and the computer code that controls vehicles, devices, and appliances. This ban applies even where people want to make noninfringing fair uses of the materials they are accessing.

        Ostensibly enacted to fight music and movie piracy, Section 1201 has long served to restrict people’s ability to access, use, and even speak out about copyrighted materials—including the software that is increasingly embedded in everyday things. The law imposes a legal cloud over our rights to tinker with or repair the devices we own, to convert videos so that they can play on multiple platforms, remix a video, or conduct independent security research that would reveal dangerous security flaws in our computers, cars, and medical devices. It criminalizes the creation of tools to let people access and use those materials.

      • Section 1201 of the DMCA Cannot Pass Constitutional Scrutiny

        Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act forbids a wide range of speech, from remix videos that rely upon circumvention, to academic security research, to publication of software that can help repair your car or back up your favorite show. It potentially implicates the entire range of speech that relies on access to copyrighted works or describes flaws in access controls—even where that speech is clearly noninfringing.

        At EFF, we’ve been worried about this law since before it was passed. We were counsel in one of the first major tests of the law, but in those early days, we failed to convince the courts of its dangerous risk to speech. Ever since, we’ve documented those speech consequences. We’ve called on Congress to reform the law, to no avail. So today, we’re going to back to court, armed with nearly twenty years of knowledge about Section 1201’s interference with lawful speech and with key Supreme Court cases that have been decided in that time. For more about the problems caused by this law, see our companion post on the issue.

        Section 1201 was billed as a tool to prevent infringement by punishing those who interfered with technological restrictions on copyrighted works. After the DMCA was passed, the Supreme Court was asked to evaluate other overreaching copyright laws, and offered new guidance on the balance between copyright protections and free speech. It found that copyright rules can be consistent with the First Amendment so long as they adhere to copyright’s “traditional contours.” These contours include fair use and the idea/expression dichotomy.

      • KickassTorrents Alternative? KAT Makes A Comeback With ‘Dxtorrent.com’ Domain

        It looks like the world’s most popular torrent website KickassTorrents is back with a new domain dxtorrent.com. The website features the same layout and seems like a mirror of notorious torrent sharing website KAT. The original KickassTorrents domain was recently seized by the U.S. Government.

      • Paris Court Says Search Engines Don’t Need To Block Torrent Searches

        Copyright rulings in France have occasionally been a complete disaster in the past, so it’s nice to see the High Court of Paris recognize that Google and Microsoft cannot be forced to block any searches that include the word “torrent.” The two separate lawsuits were brought by SNEP, which could be seen as the French version of the RIAA. The organization argued that since the law allowed “all appropriate measures” to be used to block infringement, it could demand that search engines block any searches that include the word torrent.

      • Prenda (Mostly) Loses Again; Court Says ‘We Warned You To Stop Digging, But You Still Did’

        Because Steele and Hansmeier can’t help themselves, they appealed again, leading to this latest ruling. Believe it or not, Steele actually may be temporarily happy with this latest ruling as he actually won on one point (but may lose even bigger in the long run). Still, the court is clearly not happy with either Steele or Hansmeier. It does note that since Hansmeier has filed for a (highly questionable) bankruptcy, he cannot pursue the appeal and thus his appeal is dismissed out of hand.

      • U.S. Government Sued for Software Piracy, Maker Claims $600m
      • Alleged founder of world’s largest BitTorrent distribution site arrested
      • Feds Seize KickassTorrents Domains, Arrest Alleged Owner (Updated)
      • KickassTorrents domains seized after alleged owner is arrested in Poland
      • KickassTorrents Domains Seized, Alleged Founder Arrested

        KickassTorrent, the world’s most popular torrent website, has faced a major setback. The U.S. Government has arrested the alleged owner of the website and seized all of its domains.

      • More Copyright Law ≠ Less Copyright Infringement

        If you only listened to entertainment industry lobbyists, you’d think that music and film studios are fighting a losing battle against copyright infringement over the Internet. Hollywood representatives routinely tell policymakers that the only response to the barrage of online infringement is to expand copyright or even create new copyright-adjacent rights.

Links 21/7/2016: An Honorary Degree for Alan Cox, Looks Back at DebConf16

Thursday 21st of July 2016 07:44:45 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Has open source become the default business model for enterprise software?

    The announcement this week that Splice Machine is open-sourcing its product has become just the latest reminder that — in emerging technology markets — open source is increasingly the rule, not the exception.

    Open-source software is one of those overnight successes that’s been a decade and more in the making. It’s a far cry from the early aughts when Red Hat and JBoss blazed a trail that still has doubters. Arguably, there’s still the issue of whether Red Hat, a publicly-traded, open source company, is a Unicorn from a different twist. Nonetheless, today, when we get acquainted to a new startup, one of the first questions that we pop is whether they’re open source.

  • Spark-powered Splice Machine goes open source

    Splice Machine, the relational SQL database system that uses Hadoop and Spark to provide high-speed results, is now available in an open source edition.

    Version 2.0 of Splice Machine added Spark to speed up OLAP-style workloads while still processing conventional OLTP workloads with HBase. The open source version, distributed under the Apache 2.0 license, supplies both engines and most of Splice Machine’s other features, including Apache Kafka streaming support. However, it omits a few enterprise-level options like encryption, Kerberos support, column-level access control, and backup/restore functionality.

  • 3 lessons from Gratipay’s take-what-you-want compensation experiment

    This is the second in a two-part series on hiring and compensation practices in open organizations. In Want the best employees? Let them hire themselves, I introduced the concept of open hiring with examples from Drupal (the well-known CMS) and Gratipay (a payments start-up and open organization; I’m the founder). We saw how open source thinking about onboarding best practices can lead naturally to including new collaborators in money distribution.

  • Healthcare colored with blockchain’s open-source foundation

    Technological change forces economic growth. Technology extends the science of discovery and produces artifacts used in everyday life. It’s the small technical discoveries that make larger scientific endeavors possible. It’s also these seemingly unrelated breakthroughs that make their way into our daily lives.

  • Apache Foundation Crucial to Hadoop, Big Data’s Success

    Looking back at 10 years of Hadoop, project co-founder and Cloudera Chief Architect Doug Cutting can see two primary factors in the success of open source big data technology: a heap of luck and the Apache Foundation’s unique support.

  • What is DevOps? Gareth Rushgrove Explains

    Gareth Rushgrove is known by many people as the creator and editor of the popular DevOps Weekly email newsletter, and he spent several years working for the U.K. Government Digital Service (GDS) on GOV.UK and other projects. As Senior Software Engineer at Puppet, you can find him building some of the latest infrastructure automation products when he isn’t speaking at events on a wide variety of DevOps and related topics.

  • Coffee Shop DevOps: Clearly defining and communicating team goals

    Last month I interviewed the Cockpit team about team practices. We had an interesting conversation from many different angles, but most notable were the themes we kept returning to: understanding goals, the importance of feedback loops, and committing to open and transparent communication. I found I could easily correlate each of these back to other teams I have worked with in the past. When you inspect the behaviors and inner workings of a team, these themes seem to be remarkably central to team conflict.

  • Google’s Magenta Seeks to Leverage TensorFlow for Art and Music

    As we’ve noted, artificial intelligence and machine learning are going through aamini-renaissance right now. Google recently made a possibly hugely influential contribution to the field of machine learning. It has open sourced a program called TensorFlow that is freely available. It’s based on the same internal toolset that Google has spent years developing to support its AI software and other predictive and analytics programs.

    In a related open project from the Google Brain team, dubbed Magenta, Google is calling for efforts to leverage TensorFlow and machine learning to create compelling art and music. Some of the early examples from this effort are eye-opening.

  • Nintendo NX Spec Rumors Say The Console’s Games May Support Open-Source Virtual Reality

    Nintendo NX spec rumors keep coming, and the latest chatter suggests that the console may support open-source virtual reality for certain games. This would allow the 2017 machine to compete with the likes of Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR.

    The news comes to Design & Trend via Chinatimes as referenced by the sometimes-accurate Digitimes. The report should be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s certainly interesting.

    As indicated by the secondary source, Nintendo allegedly has a production partnership with a certain chipmaker called Pixart. While the outfit is most known for its heart-rate monitoring hardware, mentions are also made to “tape-out chips supporting VR technology by the end of 2016.” These chips “will support next-generation Nintendo NX game machines.”

  • Learn an instrument with this open source music teacher

    Playing musical scores is a heavy kind of art. The Nootka app will help you understand the basics of music notation reading, and help you improve by practicing various kinds of exercises. Nootka gives real-time feedback, has multiple difficulty levels, and is customizable.

  • Open source offers job security as businesses navigate an IT talent war

    If you’re in open source and looking for a job, chances are you won’t have to search long. According to recent research, businesses are going out of their way to find—and hang onto—their best open source talent. Last month, the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report found that 79% of hiring managers have increased incentives to retain their current open source professionals.

  • Google Leverages its AI Tools to Slash Data Center Energy Consumption
  • Tutorials, workflows, and a place to showcase high-quality FOSS photography

    There’s a special place to chat with fellow photographers, learn about high-end FOSS photography software, and share your work with others. It’s called PIXLS.US, and it’s a large and wonderful world beyond Photoshop.

    This is truly a golden age in the hobby of photography. Never before has it been so inexpensive and easy to take and share great photos. The rise of smartphones has fueled an explosion in casual photography, and the ecosystem is further extended through the proliferation of media-sharing apps like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Lower costs for better cameras has enabled many budding photographers to take up the hobby. Unfortunately, while much of the underlying software that fuels the apps and platforms is built on free/open source software, there is little fanfare for the projects that are available directly to photographers.

  • Events
    • Solskogen 2016 videos

      I just published the videos from Solskogen 2016 on Youtube; you can find them all in this playlist. The are basically exactly what was being sent out on the live stream, frame for frame, except that the audio for the live shader compos has been remastered, and of course a lot of dead time has been cut out (the stream was sending over several days, but most of the time, only the information loop from the bigscreen).

    • REMINDER! systemd.conf 2016 CfP Ends in Two Weeks!

      Please note that the systemd.conf 2016 Call for Participation ends in less than two weeks, on Aug. 1st! Please send in your talk proposal by then! We’ve already got a good number of excellent submissions, but we are interested in yours even more!

      We are looking for talks on all facets of systemd: deployment, maintenance, administration, development. Regardless of whether you use it in the cloud, on embedded, on IoT, on the desktop, on mobile, in a container or on the server: we are interested in your submissions!

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Reducing Adobe Flash Usage in Firefox

        Browser plugins, especially Flash, have enabled some of our favorite experiences on the Web, including videos and interactive content. But plugins often introduce stability, performance, and security issues for browsers. This is not a trade-off users should have to accept.

        Mozilla and the Web as a whole have been taking steps to reduce the need for Flash content in everyday browsing. Starting in August, Firefox will block certain Flash content that is not essential to the user experience, while continuing to support legacy Flash content. These and future changes will bring Firefox users enhanced security, improved battery life, faster page load, and better browser responsiveness.

  • SaaS/Back End
    • Empowering Growth Hackers with Big Data

      Growth hacking often leverages customer data in the experimentation process, in the form of A/B testing. The goal is to use big data to gain a better understand of the customer, via a complete view across every touch point of the organization, in order to enable an optimal customer experience. Growth hackers—who can be anyone from marketing professionals to product manager and engineers—are seeking insights to help optimize marketing campaigns across channels, increase customer loyalty and retention, and enhance the customer experience.

    • TP empowers Singapore students with big data analytics skills

      Temasek Polytechnic (TP), Singapore and Cloudera have teamed on cultivating the next generation of data professionals through the Cloudera Academic Partnership (CAP) program.

    • TP, Cloudera to help S’pore students prepare for big data-related roles

      Temasek Polytechnic (TP) and Cloudera are working together to cultivate the next generation of data professionals through the Cloudera Academic Partnership (CAP) program. Through this program, students from Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Informatics & IT (IIT) have access to the latest Apache Hadoop curriculum, software and skills training for the Hadoop platform.

    • Apache Hadoop at 10 – Doug Cutting, Chief Architect, Cloudera
    • Report Shows Hadoop Growing at 53.7% CAGR, But Complexity Remains an Issue

      The latest in a string of market research reports has arrived forecasting huge growth for big data analytics platform Hadoop, but not everyone agrees that Hadoop adoption is going so smoothly. According to researchers at Stratistics MRC, the global hadoop market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 53.7% over the forecast period 2015 to 2022. ” Increasing investments in data management, rising amount of structured and unstructured data, hasty growth in consumer data and rapidly increasing demand for big data analytics are the factors influencing the market growth,” the study’s authors report.

      Here are some of the details, and some of the warning signs coming in pointing to too much complexity required in deploying Hadoop.

    • 5 Stages of Cloud Adoption
  • Databases
    • Splice Machine Launches Open Source RDBMS Sandbox

      Splice Machine, which provides an RDBMS powered by Hadoop and Spark, has announced a cloud-based sandbox for developers to put its just launched open source Community Edition to the test. The company is making available an open source standalone and cluster download, and has announced the general availability of V2.0, and the launch of its developer community site.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LIBOCon: get around Brno

      Yesterday I added Get around Brno page to the LibreOffice Conference website. There you can find comprehensive information about public transport in Brno, how to buy tickets, how to get to the hotel/venue if you arrive by train/bus/car/plane etc. All accompanied with maps and pictures of described places. So hopefully no one will get lost on their way to the hotel or venue, or struggle purchasing tickets.

    • LibreOffice developer interview: Winfried Donkers

      In this week’s developer interview, we talk to Winfried Donkers, a Dutch coder who has been using LibreOffice (and its predecessors) for almost two decades, and today works on Calc.

  • CMS
    • Koha Integrated Library System Brings FOSS to Libraries

      Randal Schwartz, from TWiT.tv’s “FLOSS Weekly,” interviews Nicole Engard and Brendan Gallagher, about the open source Koha Integrated Library System (ILS), which originated in New Zealand in 1999. Along with being a web developer, Nicole is a prolific blogger on Opensource.com and last year was recognized by Red Hat for her significant contributions to open source advocacy.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Public Services/Government
    • Results of the EU-FOSSA survey

      Between 17 June and 8 July, you sent the EU-Fossa project 3282 answers, to help us choose which open source software to audit.

      First, thank you very much for the many interesting and encouraging comments!

    • EC to audit Apache HTTP Server and Keepass

      The European Commission is preparing a software source code security audit on two software solutions, Apache HTTP server and Keepass, a password manager. The source code will be analysed and tested for potential security problems, and the results will be shared with the software developers. The audits will start in the coming weeks.

    • NZ govt agencies now have open source software at their side

      Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is helping government agencies pave the way for open source software use, opening doors for software developers keen to shape new innovative software, says Land Information Minister Louise Upston.

      The NZGOAL Software Extension guidelines were themselves developed using open source tools and facilitated through Loomio, an online group decision-making platform. The final drafts were crafted through GitHub, an open source repository.

    • UK.gov digi peeps hunt open source chief

      The British government’s Digital Service is looking for a chief penguin to head up open source.

      GDS has created a brand-new position for an individual to conduct open source technology projects, adoption and working practices for the government’s IT arm.

      Moreover, the chosen candidate will be charged with forging relationships with individuals and projects outside government in the open-source community.

      Until now, GDS had a number of people working in different roles taking the lead on open source. The new individual will be nestled in GDS’s technical architecture team.

    • ‘GovStrap’ open source kit helps sites replicate GDS website theme

      Open Source Software specialist OpusVL has created a way to take the Gov.UK website theme created by the Government Digital Service (GDS) and reproduce it quickly in designing and building public sector websites.

      The solution uses Bootstrap, an HTML, CSS and JavaScript framework originating from Twitter, which is used for creating front end websites and applications. With an increase in the variety of devices used to view websites, Bootstrap is a standard toolkit for building responsive design and enabling websites to be mobile and tablet friendly.

      With sharing and re-use of software and technology high on the GDS agenda, OpusVL adopted the principle by importing the GDS work and “re-factoring” it in the form of the Bootstrap framework in addition to the methods originally created by GDS.

    • As it Mandates Open Source, is Bulgaria Opening Questionable Doors?

      For decades now, open source tools and applications have been gaining enormous traction in parts of Europe, and cities such as Munich have even been involved in a multi-year effort to transform technology infrastructure by throwing out proprietary applications and using open source tools instead.

      In the latest move on this front, Bulgaria recently passed legislation requiring that government software be open source. The move underscores how pervasive open source applications and platforms have become. Now, though, there is growing debate about whether Bulgaria is making a wise move, or one that could open it up to security threats.

    • Could Bulgaria’s open source law transform government software worldwide?

      Ripples from Bulgaria’s recent decision requiring all software written for the government to be open source could build into something bigger.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • The Importance of Following Community-Oriented Principles in GPL Enforcement Work

      The GNU General Public License (GPL) was designed to grant clear permissions for sharing software and to defend that freedom for users. GPL’d code now appears in so many devices that it is fundamental to modern technology. While we believe that following the GPL’s requirements is neither burdensome nor unreasonable, many fail to do so. GPL enforcement — the process to encourage those who fail to correct problems and join our open software development community — is difficult diplomacy.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Open-Source Farming Machine Plants And Waters Seeds

        While it is nice to have access to produce that is not in season, the unseen use of pesticides and other harmful additives is a difficult problem to avoid.

      • California dreaming: DIY, open-source SoCs with RISC-V

        With its customizable, open-source SoCs built on the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture, SiFive, a San Francisco start-up, is poised to reverse the industry’s rising licensing, design and implementation costs.

        With on the one hand Moore’s Law ended or approaching the end and on the other, vast investments required for to develop a modern, high-performance chip, it looks impossible for smaller system designers to join the traditional economic model of chip building. However, the body of software and tools available from the open-source community under the guidance of the RISC-V Foundation, can substantially cut the cost of developing custom silicon. System designers can use the SiFive Freedom platforms to focus on their own differentiated processor without having the overhead of developing a modern SoC, fabric or software infrastructur

      • Lawn Da Vinci Open Source RC Lawnmower (video)

        If you find the prices of the current range of robotic lawnmowers just a little too high for your budget, you might be interested in a new open source remote control lawnmower which has been created called the Lawn Da Vinci.

        Okay so it’s not completely autonomous but you can still add a little extra fun to those lawn mowing days, with the addition of a little remote control to the humble petrol powered lawnmower.

      • A open source toolkit for building your own home

        The evidence is overwhelming that large scale collaboration leads to superior technology. FOSS showed us the way and now free and open source hardware is rapidly gaining traction. There is a growing list of open source hardware projects, which are bringing millions (billion?) of dollars of value to the world. Now a new initiative from the Open Building Institute (OBI) is adding “house” to the list of killer open hardware apps.

      • Open Source Hardware: What It Means and Why It Matters

        You’ve heard of open source software. But what about open source hardware? Here’s an overview of what open source hardware is, what the challenges are and why open hardware is poised to grow in importance as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to boom.

      • The Ember 3D Printer: High-Resolution, Open-Source 3D Printing on Your Desktop

        Though Autodesk’s interest in 3D printing was not unknown, it may have been a bit of a surprise when the CAD developer entered the industry with its own 3D printer in 2014. Ember, Autodesk’s first hardware product, is a digital light processing (DLP) 3D printer capable of high-resolution prints for prototyping and even end part production. What may be most unique about the Ember is that both the printer and one of its materials are open-source, a bold move for a large corporation like Autodesk.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • AT&T, Orange target NFV, SDN open source, standards

      AT&T and Orange signed a deal to tackle NFV and SDN open source and standards issues that continue to plague the telecom industry

      AT&T signed a deal with European operator Orange to work on open source and standardization initiatives linked to the carrier’s push toward increasing control of its network resources using software-defined networking and network functions virtualization technology.

    • DIGST: ‘Denmark should update eInvoicing systems’

      Denmark’s public administrations should overhaul their eInvoicing solutions, writes the Agency for Digitisation (Digitaliseringsstyrelsen – DIGST). The agency wants public administrations to prepare to introduce a European-wide eInvoicing standard, and to concentrate on the use of Danish 2010 eInvoicing standard, OIOUBL. Its forerunner, OIOXML, is to be phased out.

Leftovers
  • The Dig: Is Your School’s Plan Right for Your Special Needs Child?

    Recently, I got a plea from the mother of a child with special needs. She asked: “Can you do a column on how to investigate your child’s special education file?” Two thoughts flashed to my mind: 1) That’s such a fundamental and important thing to be able to investigate. And 2) I don’t know anything about it.

    Luckily, one of the joys of working at ProPublica is being surrounded by super smart people. And our education reporter, Heather Vogell, is uncommonly sharp, having covered the most important stories in education for years. (Remember the cheating scandal in Atlanta schools? Heather and her colleagues at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution uncovered that.)

  • Science
    • Putting Your Computer Inside Oil Sounds Crazy, But It’s Super Useful. Here’s How To Do It

      Very few of you would be knowing about the existence of mineral oil-cooled PCs. These are custom made computers submerged in non-conductive mineral oil. Compared to regular air cooling , the mineral oil cooling setup works with up to 5-times more efficiency. If you find this interesting, you can read ahead and watch some useful videos that detail the process of making a mineral oil-cooled PC.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • WHO: Countries Need To Step It Up On Noncommunicable Disease Commitments

      Despite “remarkable” progress by some countries on addressing noncommunicable diseases like cancer and diabetes, there is a need to accelerate efforts in order to meet agreed global commitments, the World Health Organization said this week.

    • Jeremy Hunt has broken NHS funding pledges, report finds

      The government has broken its pledges on NHS funding and is misleading the public about how much extra money it is actually putting into the health service, a committee of MPs has said.

      In a highly critical report, the House of Commons health select committee accuses Jeremy Hunt and other ministers of giving the cash-strapped NHS “less than would appear to be the case from official pronouncements”.

      The cross-party group of MPs refutes the health secretary’s persistent claim the government will have given the NHS in England an extra £8.4bn by 2020-21 compared with 2015-16. That was one of the Conservatives’ key pledges in last year’s general election campaign, and was repeated many times after that by David Cameron and George Osborne while they were still the prime minister and the chancellor.

    • Damning Probe Finds EPA ‘Turning Blind Eye’ to Toxic Chemical Cocktails

      While the use of one toxic chemical—on our foods, lawns, and elsewhere—has its inherent risks, scientists warn that the combination of two or more such ingredients in common pesticides could have an even more noxious impact, one which is commonly overlooked.

      In fact, a investigation released Tuesday by the environmental watchdog Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) found that over the past six years the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved nearly 100 pesticide products that contain these so-called “synergistic” compounds, effectively “increasing the dangers to imperiled pollinators and rare plants.”

      As CBD explains, “[s]ynergy occurs when two or more chemicals interact to enhance their toxic effects,” turning “what would normally be considered a safe level of exposure into one that results in considerable harm.”

      “The EPA is supposed to be the cop on the beat, protecting people and the environment from the dangers of pesticides. With these synergistic pesticides, the EPA has decided to look the other way, and guess who’s left paying the price?” asked Nathan Donley, a scientist with the Center and author of the report, Toxic Concoctions: How the EPA Ignores the Dangers of Pesticide Cocktails (pdf).

  • Security
    • Mental Note: Keep Working Email on Forum Account
    • No Passwords Stolen During Ubuntu Forums Data Breach
    • SQL Injection Exposes 2 Million Ubuntu Forum Users
    • Ubuntu forum breach traced to neglected plugin
    • Ubuntu Forums Database Hacked
    • Passwords not compromised by Ubuntu Forums data breach
    • Ubuntu forum breach traced to neglected plugin
    • Canonical warns users after Ubuntu forum data breach
    • Flaw in vBulletin add-on leads to Ubuntu Forums database breach
    • CrypTech — Internet Engineers’ New Open Source Weapon Against ‘Creepy’ Governments

      The CrypTech project is an independent security hardware development effort that consists of an international team. CrypTech Alpha is an open source crypto-vault that stores the private/public keys and separates the digital certificates from the software using them. It has been developed as a hardware secure module (HSM) to make the implementation of strong cryptography easier.

    • Entrepreneur in £10m swoop for hacking team

      One of the northwest’s best-known entrepreneurs has splashed out about £10m on a cyber-security venture that helps businesses repel hackers.

      Lawrence Jones, who runs the Manchester-based internet hosting and cloud computing specialist UKFast, has bought Pentest, an “ethical hacking” firm whose staff help detect flaws in clients’ cyber-defences.

      Jones, 47, will merge Pentest’s 45 staff into his own cyber-security outfit, Secarma. “It’s become obvious that there is a massive need to put emphasis on cyber-security,” said the internet tycoon, whose wealth is calculated by The Sunday Times Rich List as £275m.

    • Guilt by ASN: Compiler’s bad memory bug could sting mobes, cell towers

      A vulnerability in a widely used ASN.1 compiler isn’t a good thing: it means a bunch of downstream systems – including mobile phones and cell towers – will inherit the bug.

      And an ASN.1 bug is what the Sadosky Foundation in Argentina has turned up, in Objective Systems’ software.

      The research group’s Lucas Molas says Objective’s ASN1C compiler for C/C++ version 7.0.0 (other builds are probably affected) generates code that suffers from heap memory corruption. This could be potentially exploited to run malware on machines and devices that run the vulnerable compiler output or interfere with their operation.

    • Security advisories for Tuesday
    • BlackBerry Inks Software Deal With U.S. Senate
    • BlackBerry inks security software deals, shares slip
    • BlackBerry Announces String of Small Security Software Deals
    • BlackBerry inks U.S. government software deals; shares slip
    • Carbanak Gang Tied to Russian Security Firm?

      Among the more plunderous cybercrime gangs is a group known as “Carbanak,” Eastern European hackers blamed for stealing more than a billion dollars from banks. Today we’ll examine some compelling clues that point to a connection between the Carbanak gang’s staging grounds and a Russian security firm that claims to work with some of the world’s largest brands in cybersecurity.

      The Carbanak gang derives its name from the banking malware used in countless high-dollar cyberheists. The gang is perhaps best known for hacking directly into bank networks using poisoned Microsoft Office files, and then using that access to force bank ATMs into dispensing cash. Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab estimates that the Carbanak Gang has likely stolen upwards of USD $1 billion — but mostly from Russian banks.

    • Now you can ask Twitter directly to verify your account

      Do you have an army of imposters online pretending to be you? Probably not, but now you can still request for a verified Twitter account.

      On Tuesday, Twitter launched an official application process so that any account can be verified and receive a blue checkmark badge next to its username. Twitter users interested in applying should have a verified phone number and email address, as well as a profile photo that reflects the person or company branding.

      Verified accounts get to filter their mentions to only see those from other verified accounts. But that seems to be the only real feature or perk that comes from having a blue badge–aside from bragging rights, of course. Additionally, verified accounts can’t be private, and the username must remain the same or you will have to seek verification all over again. If you are rejected, you can reapply after 30 days. Previously, the verification process was never clear-cut, and it seemed to require a direct connection to a Twitter rep.

    • Software flaw puts mobile phones and networks at risk of complete takeover [Ed: proprietary software]

      A newly disclosed vulnerability could allow attackers to seize control of mobile phones and key parts of the world’s telecommunications infrastructure and make it possible to eavesdrop or disrupt entire networks, security experts warned Tuesday.

      The bug resides in a code library used in a wide range of telecommunication products, including radios in cell towers, routers, and switches, as well as the baseband chips in individual phones. Although exploiting the heap overflow vulnerability would require great skill and resources, attackers who managed to succeed would have the ability to execute malicious code on virtually all of those devices. The code library was developed by Pennsylvania-based Objective Systems and is used to implement a telephony standard known as ASN.1, short for Abstract Syntax Notation One.

    • https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/07/rebooting-digital-security

      Wednesday, July 20 is the final day of EFF’s Summer Security Reboot, a two-week membership drive that focuses on taking stock of our digital security practices and bolstering the larger movement to protect digital civil liberties. Besides a reduced donation amount for the Silicon level membership, the Reboot features sets of random number generators: EFF dice with instructions on how to generate stronger and more memorable random passphrases. EFF even produced three new passphrase wordlists to improve upon Arnold Reinhold’s popular Diceware list, first published in 1995.

      EFF is a longtime advocate for personal security, and over the years we have continued to fight threats to user privacy and freedom. With the Summer Security Reboot, we want the public to engage with the larger questions of how one can and should control personal information in spite of high-profile attempt after attempt to compromise our devices. The world has increasingly recognized privacy and strong crypto as integral parts of protecting international human rights. A recent Amnesty International report states encryption is “an enabler of the rights to freedom of expression, information and opinion, and also has an impact on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and other human rights.” Strong passphrase use is but one basic part of a diverse toolkit that can help you protect personal information, whether from identity thieves or government surveillance (ideally both!).

    • Hacking Facebook By Stealing Facebook Access_tokens In Device Login

      A security researcher has located a flaw in Facebook’s device login feature that allows one to easily authorise apps on IoT devices. Due to the lack of CSRF protection, an attacker can fool Facebook’s systems and grab the access_token of the victim. Facebook has now fixed the bug and awarded $5,000 bounty to the white hat hacker.

    • Neutrino EK adopts new exploit after open source POC release

      The Neutrino exploit kit (EK) added a former Internet Explorer zero-day vulnerability affecting to its arsenal.

    • Arbor Networks Report: Largest DDoS Attack Of 579Gbps In The First Half Of 2016

      Arbor Networks has published the statistics of the DDoS attacks in the first half of 2016. The largest one went up to 579Gbps. An interactive map shows the DDoS attacks made on a global level.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • How many mobile phone accounts will be hijacked this summer?
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Hell Hath No Fury Like a Teflon Sultan

      When Turkish President/aspiring Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport early Saturday morning, he declared the attempted coup against his government a failure, and a “gift from God.”

    • Again? Op-ed by Philippe Aigrain in the aftermath of the Nice attacks

      Yet another? But yet another what? One does not even know. Once more tens of people killed, many more injured. Once more, a human being has carried them over towards death and suffering in his trajectory of violence and self-destruction. And both ISIS and most western commentators rush to describe him as the soldier of a cause when one does not even know if and when he discovered it.

    • The political strategy for peace

      The success of peace requires not only the legal security of the agreements, but also, importantly, a grassroots political process that includes popular support. To date, the government and guerrillas have done little to win public support over the agreement. In fact, many critics have opposed the advances of the Negotiating Table in La Habana, and some, including former president Álvaro Uribe, have called for a “civil resistance” claiming that the agreement promotes impunity. Levels of citizen knowledge about the agreements are low, legitimacy and popular confidence of the peace process have decreased in the latest months, polarization continues to grow with post-paramilitary groups committing human rights abuses, and political strategies to encourage support are non-existent.

    • Mhairi Black on Trident

      Note that the government benches are almost empty. The people who bothered to be present and listen to the debate were overwhelmingly those who voted against Trident. With all Scotland’s MPs but one opposing, this is yet another reason to get a move on with Indyref2. I don’t share the criticism of the Tories for calling this debate and vote – it helpfully clarifies that the representatives of Scotland are treated with contempt, and that the Blairite majority in the Parliamentary Labour Party are in hock to arms industry interests.

    • Ryan Richardson and Siddhattha Gurung: Kurdish Autonomy, Under Siege

      On a hot Friday afternoon in April, hundreds gather at the House of Mourning to pay their respects to the fallen youth of the Kurdish city of Diyarbakır. Among the crowd are families and friends, neighbors and colleagues, municipal officials and local politicians, as well as leaders of the Kurdish movement and many of its most committed supporters. At the invitation of our hosts, we are here to witness the funeral of Yusuf, 19, one of hundreds of young Kurds killed during recent clashes with Turkish forces in the ancient neighborhood of Sur.

    • Fox, Gould, Werritty and Israel – Please write to your MP

      It is to me disgusting that a politician so thoroughly disgraced as Liam Fox should be back in power. Answers were blanked on the actual purpose of the Werritty connection, and I think collectively we should try to do something about that.

    • ‘Fraud’ Alleged in NYT’s MH-17 Report

      An amateur report alleging Russian doctoring of satellite photos on the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 case – a finding embraced by The New York Times – is denounced by a forensic expert as an “outright fraud,” reports Robert Parry.

    • Erdogan Unleashes Unprecedented Crackdown: Fires All University Deans; Suspends 21,000 Private School Teachers

      Over the weekend, after the initial reports of the purge unleashed by Erdogan against Turkey’s public, we previewed the upcoming, far more dangerous counter-coup as follows: “it was the next step that is the critical one: the one where Erdogan – having cracked down on his immediate military and legal opponents – took his crusade against everyone else, including the press and the educational system.”

    • Summer Convention Fun: Keep an Eye (Ear) Out for the LRAD

      The LRAD was first deployed for use in Iraq, and quickly found its way onto Navy and commercial ships sailing amongst Somali pirates. The bad boy is a sound cannon.

      The LRAD company prefers to label its product a tool to broadcast messages and pain-inducing “deterrent” tones over long distances. The device produces a sound that can be directed in a beam up to 30 degrees wide, and the military-grade LRAD 2000X can transmit at up to 162dB up to 5.5 miles away.

      Fun fact: A jet engine at 100 feet is 140dB. Sound at 180db will cause tissue damage.

      But of course the LRAD is non-lethal, so its maker says that anyone within a 100 meters of the device’s sound path will experience extreme pain. The version generally utilized by police departments (the LRAD 500X) is designed for short bursts of directed sound that cause severe headaches in anyone within a 300 meter range. Anyone within 15 meters of the device’s audio path can experience permanent hearing loss.

      Permanent hearing loss begins at 130dB, and if the device is turned up to 140dB, anyone within its path would not only suffer hearing loss, they could potentially lose their balance and be unable to move out of the path of the audio.

    • Civilian Death Toll From Coalition Airstrikes in Syria Could Be Single Largest in U.S.-Led War on ISIS

      Scores of civilians trapped in Islamic State-controlled territory in northern Syria were reportedly killed Tuesday by airstrikes from Western coalition aircraft. The reported death toll, potentially the highest ever to result from a coalition bombing in the international campaign against ISIS, continued to climb as The Intercept reached out to monitoring groups tracking operations in the area.

      The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 56 civilians were killed when their convoy of vehicles attempted to slip out of an area north of the city of Manbij in the predawn darkness, as U.S.-backed forces pushed forward in an increasingly bloody offensive in the area. In a brief phone interview, a representative from the Britain-based organization said that while coalition aircraft were believed to be responsible for the air raid, the group suspected it was a “100 percent mistake.”

      Airwars, a nonprofit that tracks claims of civilian casualties resulting from the international air campaign against ISIS, said incoming reports indicated the death toll may prove to be well over 100 civilians — potentially making it the largest single loss of civilian life resulting from coalition airstrikes since the U.S.-led campaign to destroy ISIS began nearly two years ago. Tuesday’s reports were the latest in a string of recent incidents in which coalition aircraft have been implicated in the deaths of civilians in the Manbij area.

      “Really these civilians are in a desperate situation,” Chris Woods, head of Airwars, told The Intercept. “We’ve never seen anything like this.”

    • Chris Christie and Karl Rove’s US Attorney Project

      The Republicans were supposed to talk about how they plan to Make America Work Again last night. And I supposed Paul Ryan — and to a lesser extent Mitch McConnell, when he wasn’t being booed — presented a vision of how they think Republicans run the economy. That vision doesn’t actually resemble the protectionist big government approach Donald Trump has been running on. But given the revelation that Trump offered to let John Kasich run both domestic and foreign policy if he would be his VP candidate (Kasich was still reluctant), perhaps we should focus more on how Mike Pence wants to suffocate the economy.

      Instead, as most people have focused, Republicans continued to attack Hillary (Hillary continues to attack Trump, though I suspect she will focus somewhat more on policy next week than Republicans have thus far). Many people have unpacked Chris Christie’s rabble inciting witch hunt last night, but Dan Drezner backs his review of it with some data on the risks to democracy (click through to read all of, which is worth reading).

    • Senator Ron Johnson Lies About Hillary Clinton to Accuse Her of Dishonesty on Benghazi

      It has become an article of faith among Republicans that the anti-Islam video, which had sparked protests in Cairo in the hours before the attack in Benghazi, and across the Arab world in the days after it, had absolutely nothing to do with the killing of the Americans. Inside that bubble, carefully nurtured by Fox News, any suggestion that the offensive video — a trailer for a film biography of the prophet made to antagonize Muslims — acted as a catalyst for the assault by Islamist militants was part of a cover-up by the Obama administration.

      According to a subsequent investigation by New York Times reporters, however, “extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack” suggested that the violence was indeed “fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”

    • Turkey’s Nukes: A Sum of All Fears

      The post-coup chaos in Turkey is a reminder about the risk of leaving nuclear weapons in unstable regions where they serve no clear strategic purpose but present a clear and present danger, explains Jonathan Marshall.

    • 9/11: 28 Pages Later

      Why the long wait, and what do the 28 pages reveal?

      If we’re to believe the headlines in Saudi media (e.g. Al Arabiya) and mainstream American media (e.g. Time and the Washington Times) the big news is what they don’t reveal: A “smoking gun” connecting the government of Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 attacks.

      If we’re to believe the 28 pages themselves, the big news is that they do, in fact, reveal a “smoking gun” connecting the government of Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 attacks.

      Here’s the opening sentence from the newly released material: “While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected with the Saudi government.”

    • Military Regimes Shouldn’t be Recognized

      The military upheaval in Turkey, whose final consequences are yet to be seen, highlights a major weakness in worldwide efforts to promote democracy. This event underscores the need to establish binding international legal principles to ban the recognition of military regimes as a result of coups d’état. Establishment of such principles, and the creation of the legal mechanisms for applying them, would foster democracy throughout the world.

      The circumstances in Turkey mimic several similar situations in recent history: the coming to power of governments without support from the military. Once confronted with a threat to their political hegemony, the military either overthrow the civilian government or refuses to surrender power to democratically elected civilians.

      Overt recognition by Western democracies or implied recognition through ambivalent signs of disapproval have encouraged military officers to overthrow many constitutional governments freely chosen by the people. The military relinquish power only when forced by popular will, or when its own incapacity to govern has made its position untenable.

      This happened to the Greek junta after its debacle in Cyprus, to the Chilean regime under Augusto Pinochet and to the Argentine military after the Falklands conflict. New principles could be developed, however, that would automatically bar the recognition of such de facto regimes.

      Given the need to expand the role of the United Nations in keeping peace, the General Assembly and its International Law Commission could be called upon to draw up appropriate legislation. As the late Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold once said, the United Nations is “the most appropriate place for development and change of international law on behalf of the whole society of states.”

      Establishment of non-recognition of post coup d’état a universal principle raises some difficult practical questions. What about already established and recognized military regimes? These cases show the difficulties of applying the principle retroactively.

      But what if a country’s military forces stage a coup against an oppressive or corrupt civilian regime? An ousted civilian government that has been freely elected by the people should not be denied recognition in favor of a post-coup military regime unless the overthrown government was responsible for gross human rights violations. Further, after a coup, recognition should be withheld until another civilian government is chosen in free and democratic elections.

    • Should Police Use Bombs To Kill Criminals?

      In the wake of the two seemingly outrageous slayings of African American men by police in Minnesota and Louisiana and the equally heinous retaliatory killings of five police officers in Dallas by a black former Army Reservist, questions have been raised in all three cases about excessive police behavior.

    • US air strike in Syria kills nearly 60 civilians ‘mistaken for Isil fighters’

      A US air strike killed nearly 60 civilians, including children, in Syria on Tuesday after the coalition mistook them for Islamic State fighters.

      Some eight families were hit as they tried to flee fighting in their area, in one of the single deadliest strikes on civilians by the alliance since the start of its operations in the war-torn country.

      Pictures of the aftermath of the dawn strikes on the Isil-controlled village of Tokhar near Manbij in northern Syria showed the bodies of children as young as three under piles of rubble.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Prolific FOIA Requester Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of FOIA Law By Suing FBI Over Its Document Search Methods

      No better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act than filing a lawsuit claiming an agency is refusing to comply with it. FOIA enthusiast Ryan Shapiro has done exactly that, suing the DOJ [PDF] for the FBI’s continued refusal to perform anything more than a cursory search, using its most outdated software, for responsive records.

    • Justice department ‘uses aged computer system to frustrate Foia requests’

      Shapiro told the Guardian that the reason the DoJ gave for refusing to use its $425m Sentinel software to process Foia requests after ACS had failed to recover records was that a Sentinel search “would be needlessly duplicative of the FBI’s default ACS UNI index-based searches and wasteful of Bureau resources”.

    • Judge Tells DOJ Lawyers That A Search For FOIA Docs Requires More Than Chatting With A Couple Of Employees

      Jason Leopold is back in court (is he ever NOT there?) battling the NSA and the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) over the release of documents related to the NSA and FBI’s surveillance of federal and state judges. The two parties had already been told to do more looking around for responsive records by Judge Tanya Chutkan, who rejected their original request for summary judgment last July.

      The two agencies went back and performed another search. And still came up empty-handed.

      Let me rephrase that: the two agencies went back and performed another “search.” Here’s what that “search” actually entailed, as described in the opinion [PDF].

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Federal Agents Went Undercover To Spy on Anti-Fracking Movement, Emails Reveal

      When more than 300 protesters assembled in May at the Holiday Inn in Lakewood, Colorado — the venue chosen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for an auction of oil and gas leases on public lands — several of the demonstrators were in fact undercover agents sent by law enforcement to keep tabs on the demonstration, according to emails obtained by The Intercept.

      The “Keep it in the Ground” movement, a broad effort to block the development of drilling projects, has rapidly gained traction over the last year, raising pressure on the Obama administration to curtail hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and coal mining on federal public lands. In response, government agencies and industry groups have sharply criticized the activists in public, while quietly moving to track their activities.

      The emails, which were obtained through an open records act request, show that the Lakewood Police Department collected details about the protest from undercover officers as the event was being planned. During the auction, both local law enforcement and federal agents went undercover among the protesters.

      The emails further show that police monitored Keep it in the Ground participating groups such as 350.org, Break Free Movement, Rainforest Action Network, and WildEarth Guardians, while relying upon intelligence gathered by Anadarko, one of the largest oil and gas producers in the region.

    • ‘World’s saddest polar bear’ exhibited in Chinese shopping centre

      More than 285,000 people have signed a petition calling for the closure of an aquarium in southern China that is home to an animal dubbed “the world’s saddest polar bear”.

      The lethargic bear, whose name is Pizza, is on show at an “ocean theme park” located inside the Grandview shopping centre in the city of Guangzhou.

      The aquarium made international headlines after its opening in early January with one Hong Kong-based animal rights charity denouncing it as a “horrifying” animal prison.

    • This Ridiculously Low Oil Spill Fine Is What’s Wrong With Environmental Enforcement

      Six years after spilling more than 27,000 barrels of oil into local rivers, Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership is finally facing the music: a $177 million settlement with the U.S. government.

      The music is a little soft.

      The settlement covers two spills, but one of them was a doozy. On July 25, 2010, an Enbridge pipeline ruptured, ultimately spilling 20,000 barrels of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River and becoming the largest ever on-shore tar sands oil spill. Tar sands oil, extracted primarily in Canada and piped into and across the United States, is heavy, thick, and mud-like. Unlike most other oils, it sinks, making it even more difficult to clean up. After the Kalamazoo spill, Enbridge had to dredge the river and then replant native vegetation. At the five-year mark of the spill, the river’s ecology had not fully returned.

  • Finance
    • What Donald Trump doesn’t get about ‘free trade’

      The future Republican presidential nominee is right to criticize so-called ‘trade’ deals like NAFTA, but he does so for the wrong reasons.

    • The Republican Platform’s Surprise Revival of Glass-Steagall Legislation

      The last-minute decision to include in the Republican platform a call to restore the firewall between commercial and investment banking comes as a surprise, because Donald Trump himself has never publicly addressed or endorsed such a reform in his year-long presidential run.

      Trump did once say at a debate in New Hampshire, “nobody knows banking better than I do,” but a review of the transcripts of all twelve Republican debates shows that he never endorsed restoring Glass-Steagall, legislation first passed in 1933. Websites devoted to detailing Trump’s positions find no record of him having any opinion on the Depression-era law. The issues pages of Trump’s presidential website steer clear of anything related to banks or finance.

    • The Corporate Liberal in America

      Sound familiar? King’s white moderate and Marx’s ostensible friend is our corporate liberal. Same spin, different decade. The corporate liberal is an embodiment of the idea that political parties are the graveyards of movements. Hedges himself wrote a book called, “Death of the Liberal Class” five years ago. It should’ve been the elegy before the interment of the Democratic Party as a serious option in electoral politics. Yet here we are, about to anoint another corporate liberal to the highest seat in the land. In that case, consider this article yet another epitaph awaiting its headstone. Let’s hope it’s not a long wait. Voices like Sawant’s and the momentum of movements like BLM give us reason to think it won’t be.

    • What’s The Rent? NYC Housing Officials Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

      The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development is flouting a rent-reporting requirement for apartments built under the city’s single biggest housing tax break. Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t seem to mind.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Exclusive: Trump could seek new law to purge government of Obama appointees

      If he wins the presidency, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would seek to purge the federal government of officials appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama and could ask Congress to pass legislation making it easier to fire public workers, Trump ally, Chris Christie, said on Tuesday.

    • Trump Supporters Accused of Bullying Delegates Who Don’t Fall In Line

      Some Republican convention delegates are complaining that pro-Trump thugs harassed and threatened them for not falling into line behind the nominee.

      This is not a new phenomenon; there’s even a Delegate Defense Hotline set up by the Ted Cruz campaign in April that bullied delegates can call.

      Kera Birkeland, a delegate from Utah, said she was confronted by two women in the bathroom at the Quicken Loans Arena Monday night. “They yelled at me, called me names,” she wrote on Facebook. “They said I should die. They said the police should be pulled from the Utah delegation and we should all die. They never touched me. They did not say they would kill me. They just said I should die.”

      Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, joked about the incident on Tuesday. “I think I have a pretty good sense of what’s going on in this convention, but I haven’t gone in to the bathrooms yet,” he told reporters.

      Birkeland was part of a group of delegates who unsuccessfully called for a roll call vote on the convention’s rules on Monday – widely seen as the last gasp of a #Nevertrump movement. Birkeland initially supported Rand Paul for president, then Ted Cruz.

      Tommy Valentine, a 22-year-old Virginia delegate, told ThinkProgress that representatives from the Trump campaign threatened him about the petition for a roll call vote: “I had one Trump staffer who came to me and said, ‘When Trump becomes president, he will remember,’” Valentine said. “They were going around to the delegates who would sign the documents intimidating them and telling them to take their names off it.”

    • Trump Adviser Calls For Hillary Clinton’s Execution

      RNC delegates and convention-goers can buy merchandise calling Hillary Clinton a “bitch” and a “tramp.” On both Monday and Tuesday, the floor has broken out in chants of “lock her up!” Listening to the speaker after speaker spend a significant chunk of their time denouncing Clinton, one might be led to believe hating on Hillary is an official plank in the Republican Party’s platform.

    • G.O.P. Formally Nominates Donald Trump for President
    • RNC Headliners Avoid Talking About Jobs and Donald Trump on Day to Talk About Jobs and Trump

      Tuesday was “Make America Work Again” day at the Republican National Convention, which also happened to coincide with the party formally nominating Donald Trump as its nominee.

      But neither jobs nor Trump got much attention as a grab-bag of Republican headliners Tuesday spent most of their time demonizing Hillary Clinton and talking about themselves without offering an affirmative case for the nominee or a concrete economic policy agenda.

      The keynoter, House Speaker Paul Ryan, spoke nearly 1,500 words, but mentioned Trump’s name just twice. Promising he’ll be standing alongside “Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump” at next year’s State of the Union address, Ryan spent the lion’s share of his time castigating the Democratic Party instead.

    • Will Clinton VP Pick Be ‘Pronounced Middle Finger’ to Millions Who Voted for Bernie?

      Appropriate progressive response to inadequate choice, says one Democratic delegate, ‘would be expressions of outrage and nonviolent protest, from the convention floor in Philadelphia to communities across the country.’

    • GOP Crazy Talk Comes to Cleveland

      The Republican National Convention has been an orgy of crazy talk – mixed in with some plagiarism by Donald Trump’s wife and a vast kangaroo court convicting Hillary Clinton – a truly remarkable spectacle, as Michael Winship describes.

    • Donald Trump’s Most Idiotic Moments
    • The Coronation of a Charlatan

      Years from now, bright-eyed children will look up at Grandma or Grandpa and ask, “Where were you when they nominated Donald Trump?” Far too many prominent Republicans will have to hang their heads in shame.

      As the garish imperial coronation in Cleveland reaches its climax, there will be much commentary—some, no doubt, from me—about fleeting events. Did So-and-so’s speech help Trump or hurt him? Did one line of attack against Hillary Clinton seem more or less promising than another? All of this is news, but we must not lose sight of the big picture: The “Party of Lincoln” is about to nominate for president a man who is dangerously unfit for the office.

      Trump is a brilliant showman, no question about that. His life’s work has been self-aggrandizement, not real estate, and all those years of practice served him well when he turned to politics. He knows how to work a crowd. He understands television and social media. He dominated and vanquished a field of experienced campaigners as if they were mere apprentices.

    • Boris Johnson grilled over past ‘outright lies’ at uneasy press conference

      Boris Johnson was embarrassingly forced on to the back foot during his first London press conference as foreign secretary on Tuesday as he was repeatedly pressed to explain his past “outright lies” and insults about world leaders, including describing the US president as part-Kenyan and hypocritical.

      Standing alongside John Kerry, the US secretary of state, Johnson claimed his remarks had been misconstrued, that his past journalism had been taken out of context, and world leaders he had met since his appointment fully understood his past remarks.

    • A Lens on the RNC: Dispatches From Day 1 of the Convention (Photos)

      What happens outside Quicken Loans Arena during the 2016 Republican National Convention may be more interesting than what happens inside the star-spangled halls.

      Photojournalist Michael Nigro is in Cleveland to provide Truthdig with a view of noteworthy moments from around the convention centers, where protesters and activists have gathered to express their views.

    • Inside The Delegate Revolt At The RNC

      Boos, screams of “no,” and cries of “shame” rang throughout the Republican National Convention’s arena Monday afternoon as party leaders rejected demands from at least ten states to allow a vote on the rules that bind delegates to vote for Donald Trump.

      The delegates leading the eleventh-hour rebellion, including Colorado’s Kendal Unruh, were furious. She told ThinkProgress minutes after the vote that she felt cheated by her own party and its nominee.

    • Anti-Trump Dead-Enders Hit a Dead End

      Party divisions over Donald Trump reached the floor of the Republican Convention on Monday afternoon as anti-Trump delegates attempted a complicated procedural maneuver: petitioning the convention’s chairman to force a roll call vote over the acceptance of the convention’s rules.

      It was an act of desperation.

      “I think Trump is the absolute worst candidate that the Republican Party could put forth,” said Craig Licciardi of Flint, an alternate delegate from Texas who said that he supported the roll call vote. (Nearly half the delegates attending the convention are technically “alternates,” who don’t get an actual vote on the floor.)

      Like many from his state’s delegation, he wore a Lone Star shirt and a cowboy hat. “He’s a Democrat in disguise,” Licciardi said. “I would hope that everything he says has a measure of truth to it, but it was only a few years ago that he was praising Hillary and Bill as his good friends, and good people.”

    • The Long, Sad, Corrupted Devolution of the GOP, From Eisenhower to Donald Trump

      The Intercept and our partners at AJ+ produced the video above documenting the GOP’s 60-year-long de-evolution

      The Republican Party is poised to nominate a presidential candidate who has built his platform on promises to ban a billion people from entering the United States based on their religious faith and build a gigantic wall south of the border.

      But Donald J. Trump is not an accident. The GOP has in the last 40 years relentlessly devolved away from addressing the needs of ordinary people, catering instead to extreme ideologies and the wealthiest donors.

      Rather than addressing pressing problems like income inequality and climate change, the modern GOP focuses instead on cutting taxes for the super-wealthy, expanding earth-killing carbon extraction, and endless war.

      But it wasn’t always this way. Sixty years ago, the Republican Party was advocating for civil rights and gender equality, a stronger welfare state, and to protect the environment. This is the story of the Republican Party that once was.

    • American Pravda: Relying Upon Maoist Professors of Cultural Studies

      Last week America suffered the loss of Sydney Schanberg, widely regarded as one of the greatest journalists of his generation. Yet as I’d previously noted, when I read his long and glowing obituary in the New York Times, I was shocked to see that it included not a single word concerning the greatest story of his career, which had been the primary focus of the last quarter century of his research and writing.

      The cynical abandonment of hundreds of American POWs at the end of the Vietnam War must surely rank as one of the most monumental scandals of modern times, and the determined effort of the mainstream media to maintain this enormous governmental cover-up for over four decades raises serious doubts about whether we can believe what our newspapers report about anything else.

      A couple of mainstream academics, one liberal and one conservative, whose names would be recognized as those of prominent public intellectuals, dropped me notes strongly applauding my effort to reopen the POW controversy and help get the truth out at last.

    • GOP Leans In To Misogyny During Convention

      Each day of the Republican National Convention, as tens of thousands of delegates, reporters, and curious onlookers pushed and shoved their way down a single narrow street leading to the arena’s main stage, a group of vendors hawked t-shirts and buttons attacking Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

    • R.I.P., GOP?

      The Republican Party came to life as the bastion of “Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Speech, Free Men.” It was a reformist party dedicated to stopping the spread of slavery and to fighting a “Slave Power” its founders saw as undermining free institutions.

      The new political organization grew out of the old Whigs and reflected the faith that Henry Clay and his admirer Abraham Lincoln had in the federal government’s ability to invest in fostering economic growth and expanding educational opportunity. Its partisans embodied what John C. Calhoun, slavery’s chief ideological defender, described disdainfully as “the national impulse.” It was, in fact, a good impulse.

    • Trump-Loving KKK Leader: Jewish Speechwriter Sabotaged Melania Trump

      In the last 24 hours, the Donald Trump campaign has offered a number of dubious excuses for why Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention’s opening night appeared to lift passages of First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic Convention speech word-for-word. Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, who has enthusiastically endorsed Trump, offered a novel explanation: the Jewish agenda.

      Trump initially refused to disavow the notorious white supremacist’s endorsement, eventually distancing himself from Duke after pressure from the party establishment. But Duke has continued to vociferously defend Trump against all accusations of racism, generally by blaming the Jews.

    • Melania Trump Remarks on Values Plagiarized From Michelle Obama

      A central portion of Melania Trump’s speech to the Republican National Convention on Monday night, about the core values her parents instilled in her and her sister as children, seems to have been lifted almost word for word from the speech Michelle Obama gave on the first night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

    • GOP Platform Calls for Elimination of Almost All Campaign Finance Laws

      A key part of Donald Trump’s campaign to become the Republican presidential nominee was based on claiming to self-fund his campaign while calling his opponents “puppets” of big contributors. But the 2016 Republican platform takes some of the most extreme positions on money in politics, measures that would force almost all politicians to seek out their own personal puppet masters.

      First, the GOP platform advocates “raising or repealing contribution limits” on donations directly to politicians.

      Currently individuals can give only $2,700 per election directly to a candidate. Primaries count as separate elections, so you can give Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s campaigns $5,400 – half for the primary and half for the general elections.

      Thanks to Citizens United and related rulings, you can also — if you can afford to — give unlimited amounts to Super PACs that are theoretically uncoordinated with campaigns.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • GCHQ and Leamington charity aim to inspire girls to take up a career in cyber security [Ed: Today's femmewashing]
    • Surveillance, power and communication

      Algorithms make digitally mediated surveillance or watching over technically very easy. Applications can support and mitigate the damage of disasters, they can help protect people in public spaces, they can help signal health risks and in that sense, they combat disease. They help in monitoring climate change. Algorithms are being used to help companies to boost profits and countries are (in some cases) experiencing economic growth as a result – that is the claim and it can be verified. Algorithms also of course support sousveillance or undersight as Steve Mann and others call it; and so algorithmic based watching from below also supports a radical politics of resistance.

    • What Could Go Wrong With Asking Teachers To Monitor Kids for ‘Extremist’ Beliefs?

      The FBI wants to implement a program to counter extremism in U.S. schools that’s similar to a disastrous one in the U.K.

      Are these the tell-tale signs of kids at risk of committing violence: An 8-year-old who wore a t-shirt saying he wanted to be like a seventh-century Muslim leader? A 17-year-old who sought to draw attention to the water shortage in Gaza by handing out leaflets? A 4-year-old who drew a picture of his dad slicing a vegetable?

      Teachers and school officials in the United Kingdom thought so, and they referred these children for investigation as potential terrorists. They were interrogated by U.K. law enforcement. They’re likely subject to ongoing monitoring, with details of their childhoods maintained in secret government files potentially indefinitely.

      A report released last week by Rights Watch (UK) highlights these and other children’s experiences under a U.K. countering violent extremism (CVE) program known as Prevent. Prevent imposes a legal obligation on schools to implement policies assessing whether children have “extremist” views or are at risk of engaging in terrorism, and to “intervene as appropriate.” Intervention may include referring the child to a related program in which panels of police officers, teachers, and other government employees identify children they think are vulnerable to terrorist recruitment.

      Why should any of this concern Americans? Because the FBI wants to do something a little bit too close for comfort in U.S. schools, and American schoolchildren may come under similar suspicion and scrutiny.

    • France orders Microsoft to stop collecting excessive user data

      The French data protection authority on Wednesday ordered Microsoft to stop collecting excessive data on users of its Windows 10 operating system and serving them personalized ads without their consent.

      The French data authority, Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), said the US company had three months to stop tracking browsing by users so that Windows apps and third-party apps can offer them targeted advertising without their consent, failing which it could initiate a sanctions procedure.

      A number of EU data protection authorities created a contact group to investigate Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system following its launch in July 2015, the French privacy watchdog said.

    • Now You Can Hide Your Smart Home on the Darknet

      The privacy software Tor has aided everything from drug dealing marketplaces to whistleblowing websites in evading surveillance on the darknet. Now that same software can be applied to a far more personal form of security: keeping hackers out of your toaster.

      On Wednesday, the privacy-focused non-profit Guardian Project, a partner of the Tor Project that maintains and develops the Tor anonymity network, announced a new technique it’s developed to apply Tor’s layers of encryption and network stealth to protecting so-called “Internet of things” or “smart home” devices. That growing class of gadgets, ranging from refrigerators to lightbulbs to security cameras, are connected to the Internet to make possible new forms of remote management and automation. They also, as the security research community has repeatedly demonstrated, enable a new breed of over-the-Internet attacks, such as the rash of hackers harassing infants via baby monitors or the potential for hackers to steal your Gmail password from your fridge.

    • White privilege protects Taylor Swift’s Instagram while racist slurs force Leslie Jones off Twitter

      Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift had an exhausting day on the internet on Monday. In the immediate aftermath of Kardashian releasing video footage confirming that Swift did, in fact, have a conversation with Kanye West about her name drop in his song “Famous,” public opinion has taken a dramatic turn against Swift.

    • Instagram Protects Taylor Swift While Twitter Lets Racist Trolls Attack Leslie Jones

      Censorship on social media is a tricky issue. Platforms like Twitter and Instagram have to balance community policing with freedom of expression. When does bullying cross the line? Should hate speech be banned? And who gets to decide? It’s often a gray area — except when it’s black and white.
      Since Kim Kardashian uploaded snippets on Sunday night of Kanye’s conversation with Taylor Swift — you know, the phone call about “Famous” that Swift insisted never happened — Kimye supporters have been hard-core trolling Swift’s Instagram response to the debacle. Commenters have been calling her a liar, a fake, and things much nastier than that — or simply resorting to the snake emoji, as inspired by this tweet of Kardashian’s. Not nice — but nothing egregious or unusual, either.

    • Tor Veteran Lucky Green Exits and Withdraws Critical ‘Tonga’ Node and Relays
    • Health Gadgets and Apps Outpace Privacy Protections, Report Finds

      The federal patient privacy law known as HIPAA has not kept pace with wearable fitness trackers, mobile health apps and online patient communities, leaving a gaping hole in regulations that needs to be filled, according to a much-delayed government report released today.

      The report, which was supposed to be complete in 2010, does not include specific recommendations for fixing the problem, even though Congress asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide them.

    • Russia Asks For The Impossible With Its New Surveillance Laws

      It’s been a rough month for Internet freedom in Russia. After it breezed through the Duma, President Putin signed the “Yarovaya package” into law—a set of radical “anti-terrorism” provisions drafted by ultra-conservative United Russia politician Irina Yarovaya, together with a set of instructions on how to implement the new rules. Russia’s new surveillance laws include some of Bad Internet Legislation’s greatest hits, such as mandatory data retention and government backdoors for encrypted communications—policies that EFF has opposed in every country where they’ve been proposed.

      As if that wasn’t scary enough, under the revisions to the criminal code, Russians can now be prosecuted for “failing to report a crime.” Citizens now risk a year in jail for simply not telling the police about suspicions they might have about future terrorist acts.

      But some of the greatest confusion has come from Internet service providers and other telecommunication companies. These organizations now face impossible demands from the Russian state. Now they can be ordered to retain every byte of data that they transmit, including video, telephone calls, text messages, web traffic, and email for six months—a daunting and expensive task that requires the kind of storage capacity that’s usually associated with NSA data centers in Utah. Government access to this data no longer requires a warrant. Carriers must keep all metadata for three years; ISPs one year. Finally, any online service (including social networks, email, or messaging services) that uses encrypted data is now required to permit the Federal Security Service (FSB) to access and read their services’ encrypted communications, including providing any encryption keys.

    • Deep Dive: EFF’s New Wordlists for Random Passphrases

      Randomly-generated passphrases offer a major security upgrade over user-chosen passwords. Estimating the difficulty of guessing or cracking a human-chosen password is very difficult. It was the primary topic of my own PhD thesis and remains an active area of research. (One of many difficulties when people choose passwords themselves is that people aren’t very good at making random, unpredictable choices.)

    • The Things We Need to Know

      The national security state steps out of bounds.

      [...]

      After 9/11, Hayden and a small group of White House officials, intelligence officers, and lawyers secretly put in place a warrantless wiretapping program whose purported legality relied on radical exceptions to both the Fourth Amendment and a federal statute that strictly governs foreign-intelligence surveillance on domestic soil. Even as he defends the program, codenamed “Stellarwind,” as a “logical response” to 9/11 and “not the product of demented cryptologic minds,” Hayden calls it “the agency’s edgiest undertaking in its history.” (He may be right, but he devotes just five lines to describing the program’s most legitimate competitor for that title: the vast domestic spying, detailed in the 1975 and ’76 Church Committee Reports, that he calls a “scandal” in scare quotes. He mentions government surveillance of “the likes of” Jane Fonda, Joan Baez, and Benjamin Spock; he leaves out a host of legislators and civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr.) Situating the controversy Stellarwind ignited, Hayden writes my favorite sentence in the book: “Domestic intelligence has always been countercultural in America.”

    • Pokemon Go Cheat Fools GPS with Software Defined Radio

      Using Xcode to spoof GPS locations in Pokemon Go (like we saw this morning) isn’t that much of a hack, and frankly, it’s not even a legit GPS spoof. After all, it’s not like we’re using an SDR to spoof the physical GPS signal to cheat Pokemon Go.

    • DOJ Pushes Out Legislation Proposal To Undercut Microsoft Case Decision About Overseas Searches

      No sooner had the ink dried on the Second Circuit Appeals Court decision regarding Microsoft and its overseas servers than new legislation designed to undercut the court’s finding has been printed up by the DOJ and presented to the administration.

      Microsoft successfully argued that the US government couldn’t force it to unlock a server in Dublin, Ireland, so it could rummage around for evidence. Nor could the DOJ force the company to act on its behalf, performing a search of its overseas servers for documents the US government couldn’t access otherwise.

      Since that decision obviously just won’t do, the DOJ has presented proposed legislation [PDF] that would alter existing Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) so the agency can do the very thing a court just said it couldn’t do.

      The details are discussed in, um, detail over at the Lawfare blog by none other than a former DOJ lawyer (David Kris). Needless to say, the post skews towards “supportive,” but the analysis is thorough and offers some excellent insight on what the DOJ hopes to open up — and what it’s willing to concede in return for this new power.

    • Former Marine Dad Blames Son’s Beating Death on PTSD
    • Md. dad who killed adopted son sentenced to 12 years in prison
    • Former NSA Employee Sentenced for Adopted Son’s Death
    • Former NSA official gets 12 years in death of adopted son

      A former division chief for the National Security Agency, who admitted that he hurled his 3-year-old adopted son against a wall in his Maryland home, was sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday for the boy’s death.

    • War veteran gets 12 years in prison for brutally killing three-year-old adopted son
    • PTSD claim helps deadly dad get low end sentence
    • Former NSA official sentenced to 12 years in death of adopted son

      Much of the six-hour hearing dealt with O’Callaghan’s mental state. He had served tours in Kosovo and Iraq as a Marine, saw the dead bodies of children, and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, testimony showed. His attorney, Steven McCool, described that history as a mitigating factor in the crime.

    • Theresa May wrong to pass spy law, and DRIPA opinion proves it—MP says

      Politicians, lawyers, and civil rights groups have slammed the UK government’s present and future surveillance laws in light of the advocate general’s opinion on the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA)—which said that Theresa May’s emergency spy law is legal if strong safeguards are in place.

      [...]

      Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson—who, alongside Tory MP and the government’s new Brexit chief David Davis—brought the original legal action against the UK’s DRIPA legislation, said: “This legal opinion shows the prime minister was wrong to pass legislation when she was home secretary that allows the state to access huge amounts of personal data without evidence of criminality or wrongdoing.”

      Human rights group Liberty, which represented Watson in the courts, said that if the CJEU judges agree with the advocate general’s opinion, “the decision could stop the government’s fatally flawed Investigatory Powers Bill in its tracks and mark a watershed moment in the fight for a genuinely effective, lawful, and targeted system of surveillance that keeps British people safe and respects their rights.”

    • Germany Wants To Put Black Boxes In Self-driving Cars, Just Like Airplanes
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • There Will Be No Second American Revolution: The Futility of an Armed Revolt

      America is a ticking time bomb.

      All that remains to be seen is who—or what—will set fire to the fuse.

      We are poised at what seems to be the pinnacle of a manufactured breakdown, with police shooting unarmed citizens, snipers shooting police, global and domestic violence rising, and a political showdown between two presidential candidates equally matched in unpopularity.

      The preparations for the Republican and Democratic national conventions taking place in Cleveland and Philadelphia—augmented by a $50 million federal security grant for each city—provide a foretaste of how the government plans to deal with any individual or group that steps out of line: they will be censored, silenced, spied on, caged, intimidated, interrogated, investigated, recorded, tracked, labeled, held at gunpoint, detained, restrained, arrested, tried and found guilty.

      For instance, anticipating civil unrest and mass demonstrations in connection with the Republican Party convention, Cleveland officials set up makeshift prisons, extra courtrooms to handle protesters, and shut down a local university in order to house 1,700 riot police and their weapons. The city’s courts are preparing to process up to 1,000 people a day. Additionally, the FBI has also been conducting “interviews” with activists in advance of the conventions to discourage them from engaging in protests.

    • Court Says There’s No Remedy For Person Whose Vehicle Was Subjected To Civil Forfeiture After An Illegal Search

      A bizarre case comes out of the Texas court system — landing squarely in the middle of a legal Bermuda Triangle where illegal searches meet civil asset forfeiture… and everything is still somehow perfectly legal. (via FourthAmendment.com)

      The facts of the case: police officers arrested Miguel Herrera and seized his 2004 Lincoln Navigator. An inventory search of the vehicle uncovered drugs and the state moved to seize the vehicle itself as “contraband” using civil (rather than criminal — this is important) asset forfeiture. Herrera argued that the stop itself was illegal and anything resulting from it — the drugs and the civil seizure of the vehicle — should be suppressed.

      The Supreme Court of Texas examines the facts of the case, along with the applicable statutes, and — after discarding a US Supreme Court decision that would have found in Herrera’s favor — decides there’s nothing he can do to challenge the seizure. He can’t even move to suppress the evidence uncovered following the illegal stop — the same search that led to the state seizing his vehicle under civil forfeiture statutes.

    • FBI, Police ‘Visited’ Activists’ Homes Ahead of the Republican National Convention

      In another step towards the fascist state Donald Trump has warm dreams envisioning, FBI agents and Cleveland police officers “visited” the homes of local activists in an attempt to gather intelligence on possible planned demonstrations surrounding the Republican National Convention.

    • Republican Congressman Steve King Sets White Supremacist Tone in Cleveland

      Steve King, a Republican congressman from Iowa, insisted on Monday that there was nothing wrong with the lack of diversity at the Republican National Convention since, he said, members of other races had contributed relatively little to human civilization.

      King’s literal assertion of white supremacy, in response to criticism of the party by the Esquire blogger Charlie Pierce, came during a live appearance on MSNBC, and seemed to stun the host, Chris Hayes, as well as Pierce and April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks’ Washington bureau chief.

    • Amid Unrest, South Sudanese Journalist Arrested

      Alfred Taban, a prominent South Sudanese journalist and editor-in-chief of the Juba Monitor, was arrested by government national security service agents on Saturday, according to the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (DefendDefenders). His arrest reportedly stemmed from his recent editorial calling for the removal of South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir and his first vice president Riek Machar, following a new round of bloodletting in South Sudan’s long-running civil war.

      “What Alfred wrote was within the constitutional right (freedom of expression), it is not an offense,” Edmund Yakani, the executive director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, a civil society organization that tracks the harassment of journalists, told The Intercept by email.

    • The dangerous denial of dangerous instincts

      Power-seeking demagogues appeal, unknowingly, to our dangerous instinct to fear and hate rival groups: unknowingly, partly because the scientific community denies the existence of instinct.

    • Puerto Rican Police Officials Find Out They Can’t Force Officers to Pray or Demote Them When They Refuse

      It’s really simple: Government officials cannot punish subordinates for refusing to pray.

      How does a 13-year veteran of the Puerto Rico Police Department go from being a patrol officer to washing police cars? In the case of Officer Alvin Marrero-Méndez, all it took was refusing to participate in his boss’s official Christian prayers. After Officer Marrero-Méndez, an atheist, objected to the unlawful practice and declined to join his colleagues in prayer, he was demeaned by his supervisors, stripped of his gun, and effectively demoted to a messenger and car-washer.

      In 2013, the ACLU and ACLU of Puerto Rico filed a federal lawsuit against Officer Marrero-Méndez’s supervisors. Today, ruling against the supervisors, a federal appeals court affirmed the obvious: The government cannot punish someone for refusing to pray, and officials who violate this basic constitutional principle can be held liable in court for their conduct.

      The defendants had argued that they should be immune from liability because, according to them, the law at the time was not clearly established. But as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit explained today, “If these actions do not establish religious coercion, we would be hard-pressed to find what would.”

    • Police officer among three stabbed as Hyde Park water fight turns ugly

      One police officer was stabbed and another injured after a water fight in London’s Hyde Park on the hottest day of the year turned violent.

      Two other people suffered stab wounds in addition to the police officer as the park descended into a “war zone”.

    • Hyde Park disorder – two police officers injured and two others stabbed
    • Security, Territory and Population Part 2: Initial Discussion of Security

      The first lecture in the series Foucault calls Security, Territory and Population is primarily a discussion of security. Instead of a definition, Foucault gives two sets of examples. The first group involves penal statutes. In the simplest case, there is a prohibited practice (you shall not steal) and a punishment (amputation). In the second, the disciplinary case, the prohibition and the punishment are present, but in a more complex context, including a system of supervisions, inspections and checks to identify the likelihood that a person will commit a crime; and instead of a spectacular punishment like amputation or banishment, there are incarceration and efforts at transforming the person. In the third case, the first two remain in place, but we add a supervisory regime of statistics and other efforts to understand the problem created by the prohibited practice and to set up mechanisms that are cost-effective in trying to keep the prohibited acts at a tolerable level with cost-benefit analysis and other constructs.

      The second set of examples concerns illness. In the Middle Ages, leprosy was dealt with using a strict protocol of separation. A bit later, the Plague was treated with a robust series of quarantines, inspections and other regulatory steps to prevent spread. In the third case, there is smallpox, treated with inoculations, so that the crucial questions are the effectiveness of the vaccine, the modes of insuring widespread inoculation, and other more formal statistical understandings.

    • The choice before the Labour party

      Underlying this question for the party was a question for the country as a whole, the fundamental and perennial question, ‘who is to be master?’ Is society to be dominated by a few hundred thousand bankers, industrialists and landowners? Or will the whole nation come to comprehend and control its economic policy and ‘distribute the product of its labours in accordance with some generally recognised principles of justice?’

    • Brazil’s Largest Newspaper Commits Major Journalistic Fraud to Boost Interim President Temer

      One of the looming mysteries during the last several months of Brazil’s political crisis (as The Intercept has repeatedly noted) has been the complete absence of polling data from the country’s largest media outlets and polling firms. The lower house voted on April 17 — more than three months ago — to send to the Senate impeachment charges against democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff, which resulted in the temporary installation of her vice president, Michel Temer, as “interim president.”

      Since then, there had been no published polls from Datafolha — the polling firm used by Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de.S Paulo — asking Brazilians if they favor Dilma’s impeachment, if they favor the impeachment of Temer, and/or if they want new elections to choose a new president. The last Datafolha poll prior to the impeachment vote was on April 9, and it found that 60 percent favored Dilma’s impeachment, while 58 percent favored the impeachment of Temer. It also found that 60 percent wanted Temer to resign after Dilma was impeached, and 79 percent favored new elections once they both left.

    • Former STL Cardinals Scouting Director Gets Jail Time For Illegally Accessing Astros Scouting Database

      If you’ll recall, early on this year we wrote about the very strange story in which the at-the-time scouting director for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chris Correa, used the old passwords of a former employee who had since taken a job with the Houston Astros to break into the opposing team’s scouting database. The actions were fairly brazen, leading many to wonder how in the world Correa thought he was going to get away with this. The government charged him under the CFAA, to which Correa pleaded guilty. At the time, I concluded the post guessing that Correa, given his standing and the fact that he isn’t named Aaron Swartz, would get off with minimal if any jail time.

    • Cardinals Employee Sentenced to Almost 4 Years in Prison for Guessing a Password

      Christopher Correa, the former scouting director for Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals, has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for guessing the password of a Houston Astros manager.

    • Rudy Giuliani Brags About Treating All Muslims Like Criminal Suspects

      In his grab-the-pitchforks address to the Republican National Convention on Monday night, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani insisted the enemy wasn’t “most of Islam,” just “Islamic extremist terrorism.”

      But in an interview with The Intercept on the convention floor Tuesday night, Giuliani enthusiastically defended policies that treat all Muslims like criminal suspects.

      Asked whether he supports Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s proposals to have police spy on mosques, Giuliani replied “I was the mayor who put police officers in mosques, in New York and New Jersey.”

      Giuliani even claimed credit for a longer history of police surveillance of New York area mosques than is widely known, predating the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “We did it for the eight years I was mayor,” he said. Giuliani was mayor from 1994 through December 2001.

      “After the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center by Islamic extremist terrorists from New Jersey, I did it in early January of 1994.”

      After the 9/11 attacks, the New York Police Department launched a now well-documented but then-secret program of spying on every mosque within a 100-mile radius of New York City, including in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New England. The department acknowledged in 2012 court testimony that the program had never generated an investigative lead and in 2014, Mayor Bill De Blasio shut down the program’s most controversial unit.

    • Cleveland Police Swarm Protestors Brandishing Tennis Balls

      Dozens of police officers swarmed protestors from the activist group CodePink outside a main entrance to the Republican National Convention Tuesday, because they were holding tennis balls.

      In June, the City of Cleveland added tennis balls to its list of prohibited items inside a 3.3 square mile “event zone,” surrounding the Quicken Loans Arena. Other prohibited items included tape, rope, bike locks, and any stepstool that could be used to address a crowd. But the prohibition did not apply to guns – meaning that convention attendees and onlookers are allowed to openly carry firearms, including assault weapons.

      Cleveland Police requested that Ohio Gov. John Kasich suspend open carry laws inside the “event zone,” but he denied the request.

    • Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Long Nightmare at Guantánamo Is Finally Coming to an End

      After 14 years, the author of ‘Guantánamo Diary’ has been cleared for release from indefinite detention by the government.

      After 14 long years languishing at Guantánamo without charge or trial, Mohamedou Slahi has finally been cleared for release.

      Today the Periodic Review Board — a panel of national security, intelligence, and other officials — made that decision after determining that Slahi poses no significant threat to the United States. The government of his native Mauritania has said that it would welcome him home.

      Slahi is the author of the best-selling memoir “Guantánamo Diary,” and he appeared before the Periodic Review Board on June 2. We provided the PRB with a slew of evidence and support for Mohamedou’s release. We especially appreciate the letter of support from a former U.S. military guard at Guantánamo who was assigned to Slahi for 10 months, and another support letter from former chief prosecutor for the Guantánamo military commissions, Col. Morris Davis.

      A campaign to free Slahi spearheaded by the ACLU has gathered major support both in the U.S. and abroad. The ACLU and Change.org have collected more than 100,000 signatures calling for his release. High-profile supporters of the petition include Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Roger Waters. In the U.K., several members of Parliament signed a letter urging the British government to call on the U.S. to release Slahi.

    • “Guantánamo Diary” Author Cleared for Release After 14-Year Imprisonment

      An interagency review board has determined that Guantánamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi poses no threat to the United States and has recommended that he be released, setting the bestselling author on the path to be reunited with his family.

      Slahi was arrested in his native Mauritania in 2001, and was held and tortured in secret prisons in Afghanistan and Jordan before being secreted to Guantánamo, an odyssey he recounted in a memoir, Guantánamo Diary, which became a bestseller last year. He has been imprisoned for over 14 years without being charged with a crime.

      In early June, Slahi made his case to the Periodic Review Board as part of a sort of parole process instituted by the Obama administration to evaluate the cases of the remaining men at Guantanamo to determine if they might be safely transferred to another country.

      At that hearing, Slahi’s advocates, including his lawyer and two representatives from the military, described his plans to continue writing and to start a small business, and noted the strong network of family and other supporters who could help him. They spoke to his unusual language skills and warm relationship with his lawyers and even the guards assigned to him. The military representatives described him as “an advocate for peace,” and stated that they were “certain that Mohamedou’s intentions after Guantánamo are genuine, and that he possesses sound judgment, and that he is good for his word.” One former guard submitted a letter attesting that he “would be pleased to welcome [Slahi] into my home.” (In keeping with the general secrecy of proceedings at Guantánamo, Slahi was not allowed speak during the open portion of the review, and he declined to have his own statement from the closed session made public.)

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • La Quadrature du Net answers to BEREC EU consulation on Net Neutrality

      Today ends the BEREC consultation on Net Neutrality. This consultation aimed at consulting the people on the guidelines clarifying the implementation of the telecom regulation1. The version sent by La Quadrature du Net is the one written by the FDN Federation, we believe this answer is appropriate and we support its provisions.

    • Europe Builds a Network for the Internet of Things. Will the Devices Follow?

      With much industry fanfare last month, Dutch telco KPN announced that it had completed nationwide coverage of the Netherlands in a wireless Internet of things network. Like a traditional cellular network, but with far lower costs and energy requirements, KPN’s network can connect sensors monitoring everything from rail switches at Utrecht Central station to depth sounders at the Port of Rotterdam and baggage handling at Schiphol Airport.

    • Handover of internet control to ICANN now officially blocked by Republican policy

      The planned transition of the internet’s critical technical functions from the US government to a technical body may come under further attack after the Republican Party officially agreed to block it on Monday.

      The Republican Platform for 2016 [PDF] was formally approved during a chaotic first day of the party’s national convention in Cleveland, and among its 66 pages of policy positions is its stance on “Protecting Internet Freedom.”

      In contrast to most of the document, the effort to move ultimate control of IANA from the US Department of Commerce (DoC) to non-profit DNS overseer ICANN is covered in largely hyperbolic terms.

    • IoT Gateways

      IoT Gateways connect IoT Devices to IoT back-end systems. Gateways connect to devices using interfaces like Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, 6LoWPAN, RS-485 and CANbus. Gateways connect to back-end systems through the Internet, commonly using Ethernet, WiFi, or cellular connections. Gateways perform multiple tasks, including concatenation of multiple devices, protocol conversion, device management, and security. Gateways may also perform application processing.

  • DRM
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • EU Anti-Counterfeiting Rapid Intelligence System: One Database For All Data On IPR Infringement

      The Anti-Counterfeiting Rapid Intelligence System (ACRIS) is new database created by EUIPO’s Observatory in cooperation with DG Trade. The database provides EU companies with an overview of IP risks in third countries and offers a collection of IPR infringement cases. In the database, information is also given on the actions taken by third country local authorities in response to IP infringements. This information is intended to help companies to make informed decisions as to their business strategies in third countries and how to avoid and mitigate risks of IP infringement.

    • UK Government Called To Action To Further Boost IP Enforcement

      The United Kingdom-based Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) industry group launched a “manifesto” earlier this month, calling on the government to establish a more effective and comprehensive response to intellectual property crime.

      A summary press release and the manifesto can be found here.

      The UK government is estimated by industry to lose £1.3 billion in unpaid tax from the sale of counterfeits. Additionally, whilst there has been an increase in the counterfeit products entering the UK markets, there has unfortunately been a decrease in the number of these products being seized at EU borders, the group said.

    • Patenting By Universities Unhelpful, Paper Says; WIPO Programme To Be Reviewed

      A new publication analysing the relationship between intellectual property and access to science explores ways countries have developed to counter the potential barriers created by IP rights, and says patenting by universities is counterproductive.

    • AIDS Conference: Will The UN High-Level Panel Report Deliver R&D And Access To Medicines?

      The lessons derived from the history of AIDS treatment have become a rallying call for civil society organisations globally. Not being able to afford AIDS medicines should not be repeated for people with other diseases, including HIV co-infections, treatment activists told world leaders here.

    • Copyrights
      • German Software Company Sues US Gov’t For Copyright Infringement

        A German software company, Bitmanagement Software, is now suing the US government for copyright infringement and demanding almost $600 million. The lawsuit, which was filed in the US Court of Federal Claims (basically a special court set up just for cases involving suing the US government for money), says that the US Navy copied Bitmanagement’s 3D virtual reality software, BS Contact Geo. Apparently, the Navy had tested the software and had an evaluation license allowing the software to be used on 38 computers. And then the Navy just copied it onto hundreds of thousands of computers.

        The lawsuit notes that the Navy had specifically requested the removal of Bitmanagement’s usage tracking code, and then told the company that it wanted to license the software for upwards of 500,000 computers — but also that it started doing those installs while the company was still negotiating a license. While that negotiation was ongoing, someone (accidentally, apparently) forwarded an email to Bitmanagement indicating that the software had already been installed on 104,922 computers. Apparently, a few months later, the Navy also disabled some other tracking software, called Flexwrap. This part is a bit confusing in the lawsuit, since earlier it notes that the evaluation contract required Bitmanagement to remove tracking software, but then the lawsuit notes that later on it was the Navy that removed Flexwrap, “in violation of the terms” of the license.

      • The conflict between social media and copyright

        Sharing is an inherent feature of social media. But, asks Alice Gatignol, is there any way this can be reconciled with established principles of copyright protection?

      • How Google Fights Piracy? 523,000,000 Pirate Links Removed In 2016

        Copyright holders running after pirates is not a new tune to our ears. Google, the biggest search engine provider on the planet, publishes regular reports of their fight against removing pirated content. They’ve managed to blank out around 523 million links from Google Search this year and will continue to remove more of them in the coming months.

      • Francis Gurry appoints Sylvie Forbin, lobbyist for Vivendi, as new head of copyright at WIPO

        Francis Gurry has appointed the new Deputy Director General for the Copyright and Creative Industry Sector. She is Sylvie Forbin, a national of France, and most recently Senior Vice President for Public and European Affairs, for Vivendi. Here is the WIPO announcement: as PDF.

        If the past is a guide, she is a hardliner for the industry, opposing user rights and favoring very aggressive enforcement measures.

        Among other things, she has described the social movements for access to knowledge as “very organized” and “opaque networks” that serve technology giants.

      • A Fan’s Case For Putting Batman & Superman In The Public Domain

        The crux of the argument is that these iconic characters currently appear to be in a bit of a death spiral. Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman met with a mixed-at-best response from fans and critics, and while both made good money in the big picture, they also showed some worrying signs — like failing to catch up to Marvel’s superhero movies (which was the whole point) and breaking records of audience drop-off between the much-hyped opening night and the following week (when word begins to get around that the movie sucks). Schmidt is not the first to attribute this to the creators’ disdain for the characters: Zack Snyder has openly expressed his lack of real interest in Batman and Superman, and made it clear that he doesn’t really understand their appeal. Writer David Goyer has made similar comments. And the same people are already hard at work on the follow-up Justice League films, which seem unlikely to break the pattern of mediocrity.

      • Farmers Demand Right to Fix Their Own Dang Tractors

        This might be hard to believe for non-farmers, but owners of tractors aren’t actually allowed to fix them, thanks to a set of laws designed to protect software intellectual property.

      • Cable Industry’s False Copyright Claims Are Killing Cable Box Reform Efforts

        In the quest to stop the FCC from bringing competition to the set top box, the cable industry has trotted out all manner of misleading arguments, most of which have been pushed in editorials in newspapers nationwide without highlighting author ties to the sector. Some of them have tried to pretend that cable box competition will create a piracy apocalypse. Others have tried to somehow argue that better, cheaper hardware and choices will somehow harm minority communities. Most of those are just flimsy attempts to try and keep the FCC from cracking open a $21 billion monopoly on cable box rental fees.

        Fearing their own loss of control, the entertainment industry has joined the cable sector in also claiming new cable box rules will somehow violate copyright law. Under the FCC’s original proposal (pdf), the agency simply states that existing cable content must be delivered to third-party hardware using the copy protection of the industry’s choice. Nothing in the rules will change that, or magically give third-party vendors the right to violate copyright. Still, opponents of the rules have consistently tried to claim the rules are some kind of cabal by Google to freeload off of and repackage “their innovation.”

EPO USA: Under Battistelli, the ‘European’ Patent Office Emulates All the Mistakes of the USPTO

Wednesday 20th of July 2016 09:43:53 AM

Patent maximalism (rubberstamping), low examination quality, fiscal preference for large corporations and much more

Summary: Conservative Benoît Battistelli is trying to impose on the European Patent Office various truly misguided policies and he viciously attacks anyone or anything that stands in his way, including his formal overseers

MYSELF and others at Techrights worry deeply. We worry that Battistelli (of UMP, the French conservative party) will turn the Office into another large corporations-leaning USPTO and London (or some other European cities) into the next Eastern District of Texas, complete with venue shifting (dragging defendants to a distant and plaintiff-friendly court), high/unbearable litigation costs that favour settlement in spite of injustice (unless the defendant has deep pockets), massive scope of injunctions (beyond an entire continent), and of course software patents (among other low-quality patents). One reader told us yesterday, “have you heard of the latest load of rubbish from the EPO?” See the above screenshot. No comment is even necessary. How much Europe is there in the ‘European’ Patent Office when foreign companies are enjoying a fast lane?

“How much Europe is there in the ‘European’ Patent Office when foreign companies are enjoying a fast lane?”EPO workers are rightly afraid. Their job security (and their entire employer) has been compromised and is now at mortal risk (stakeholders know what’s happening) because of Battistelli and his friends. Battistelli does not even seem to mind. He attacks sceptics, not just critics. He is like Munich’s Erdoğan. Stability is not the goal; implementing his self-serving vision is the goal. Megalomaniacs can never admit their mistakes and change course.

News sites have learned to distrust Battistelli. Yesterday, for example, Managing IP asked readers about the latest lies from Battistelli's PR department rather than publish an article about it, perhaps seeing it for what it really is (propaganda). Yesterday the EPO PR people were trying to spread the message, but we have not yet seen a single Web site (even IP sites) covering it. Journalists seem to have learned their lesson; Battistelli has zero credibility and zero approval rating among his staff.

“Journalists seem to have learned their lesson; Battistelli has zero credibility and zero approval rating among his staff.”Looking at IP Kat yesterday, we saw nothing but affirmation that people now know better that there is a profound problem at the EPO. “In this context,” one person wrote, “I am also reminded of persistent rumors that the EPO quality is down.” Here is the comment in full:

I reread the discussion again and it seems indeed that the days of the board of appeal are counted. Unfortunately, that also means that the examiners quality will not be controlled any more. When I talk to examiners, their main concern is that the BOA would turn over one of their decisions. THAT is what prevents them from cutting corners.
In this context, I am also reminded of persistent rumors that the EPO quality is down. And I also know that the Office is hiring less competent examiners, quite simply because the pay is not as attractive as it was. Munich is expensive, local firms are not finding the engineers they need and have raised their entry salaries accordingly while the EPO has lowered theirs.

I also read here that some patent attorneys are suggesting that the applicants use the national route, for increased legal certainty. How will that solve their problems when the competitor comes with an infrigement case based on an unclear, vague patent granted by the EPO and validated by the UPC, which will have force of law in all EU states?

Another person wrote that “at least in 2015, the EPO faced significant problems in recruiting.” We keep hearing from numerous sources that the EPO is struggling with brain drain and accordingly it lowered the recruitment bar. New workers don’t receive the same type of salaries and almost none of the benefits (not even job security). They are pressured to grant a lot of patents to justify their place at the EPO, which is exactly what happens at the USPTO (with notorious quality control in recent years). Here is the comment in full:

If you want to know the future of the EPO, take a peek at the official “social report”:

http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponet.nsf/0/CA803AEC70D6E89FC1257FF40042DAA4/$File/social_report_2015_en.pdf

Despite being nothing more than a dry and dusty collection of statistics, the report contains some interesting figures.

Some of these clearly demonstrate that, at least in 2015, the EPO faced significant problems in recruiting. For example, relative to the figures for 2014:

Numbers of advertised vacancies: up >25%
Number of job applications received: down 12%
Nationalities decreased presence: GB (-32), DE (-29), NL (-28), AT (-10), SE (-7), DK (-6), CH (-5), IE (-3), PT (-1), LU (-1)
Nationalities increased presence: RO (+9), ES (+8), IT (+6), PL (+6), TR (+4), BG (+3), RS (+3), LT (+2), FI (+1), FR (+1), HR (+1), MK (+1)
Permanent staff: down 1.3%
Contract staff: up 13.45%
New hires: down 30%
Termination of employment: up 44%
Increases in termination: retirement (+51%), resignation (+44%), invalidity (+36%)

The figures also show signs of increasingly aggressive management tactics, such as no strikes allowed in 2015 (vs. 22 days in 2014), 99% of all internal appeals rejected (vs. 88% in 2014). The trend at ILOAT, however, is going in the opposite direction (with allowed or partially allowed cases virtually doubling in percentage).

Given the shocking trends that it reveals (which appear to point to an organisation that is in crisis), I am somewhat surprised that this report was produced at all.

What do the AC have to say about this? Figures that speak for themselves surely cannot be brushed under the carpet so easily.

Responding to the above, one person wrote: “Of course they can – at the European Patent Office the money brought in by the increased productivity speaks louder than any figures.”

“It is true that the office is experiencing difficulties at recruiting,” another person noted:

It is true that the office is experiencing difficulties at recruiting. But that did not stop Minnoye to start a project to eliminate all examination stock backlog until end 2020. The project involves recruiting enough examiners to deal with the backlog (=hundreds) thereby creating “overcapacity”. The project started this month, the first applicant were sent letters requiring them to state wether they were still interested in examination.

Minnoye will push this at all cost: stock must be zero within 4 years.

The EPO’s “AC is a permanent fixture, and so will eventually have to deal with the mess that is currently being created,” one person wrote. The comment in full:

Sure, but the increase in money will only be a short-term effect. Unlike BB, the AC is a permanent fixture, and so will eventually have to deal with the mess that is currently being created. From this perspective, I still find it somewhat puzzling that the AC is doing so little to stop BB dynamiting the foundations upon which the EPO (and its reputation) is built.

It won’t be long before the general public, not just insiders at the EPO, recognise this crisis and demand change. It’s not too late to save the EPO, especially if there is public acknowledgement of the errors and then an effort to fix the errors. The main problem, however, remains; attracting again the same experienced examiners (some of whom left or retired early) is impossible and revisiting all the erroneously-granted patents would be laborious and harm ‘customer’ confidence.

Battistelli has secured his place in history books for the same reason Erdoğan has.

Links 19/7/2016: ARM and Opera Buyout

Tuesday 19th of July 2016 11:25:24 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Bryan Lunduke and Matt Hartley – The Boys Are Back

    After some “going back and forth”, Bryan and I have decided it was high time we did a proper show together. Here are the details you need to know. Yes, it’s actually happening!

  • Top 6 Desktop Linux Blunders

    Ever since I first tried Linux on my desktop years ago, I’ve found myself wincing at what I felt were avoidable blunders. This observation doesn’t affect one distro more than another, rather it’s ongoing issues I’ve watch in utter amazement happen time and time again.

    No, I’m not giving a free pass to proprietary operating systems as they also have their share of epic blunder moments. But with Linux on the desktop, I guess you could say it just hits a bit closer to home. Remember, these are not merely bugs – I’m also talking about avoidable issues that affect folks even if they don’t realize it.

  • Desktop
    • Microsoft Releases Patch to Block Linux from Running on the Original Surface RT [Ed: but Microsoft loves Linux]

      The Register claims that MS16-094 fixes a loophole that allowed users to install other operating systems on Windows RT devices, including here Linux. With Windows RT becoming an OS with no future, many have looked into ways to install a different operating system on the Surface RT, but most attempts failed because of the locked bootloader and the other security systems that Microsoft put in place.

  • Kernel Space
    • Intel Developer Proposes “Kernel NET Policy” For Better Linux Network Performance

      Intel developer Kan Liang has published a set of 30 patches amount to more than two thousand lines of new kernel for implementing what he calls the Kernel NET Policy.

    • SGX For Linux — Intel Open Sources A Tool To Protect Your Code And Data

      As promised, Intel has open sourced an early version of its SGX tool for Linux. Intel SGX is a set of instructions that create a private region for sensitive code and data. This enclave is invisible to even the machine’s CPU with root privileges. At the moment, this release only supports Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit version.

    • Hardware Design for Linux Engineers by Grant Likely

      At the Embedded Linux Conference, Grant Likely — who is a Linux kernel engineer, and maintainer of the Linux Device Tree subsystem used by many embedded systems — described his embedded hardware journey in a presentation called “Hardware Design for Linux Engineers” — or as he put it, “explaining stuff I only learned six months ago.”

    • Graphics Stack
      • Intel Has More DRM Graphics Fixes Needed For Kabylake In Linux 4.7

        The Linux 4.7 kernel is expected to be officially released this coming weekend, but a pile of Intel Kabylake fixes are needed if the DRM graphics support is to be in order.

        Intel’s Daniel Vetter sent in a request to DRM subsystem maintainer David Airlie to consider pulling these Kabylake (KBL) fixes for Linux 4.7. He explained, “here’s the pile of kbl cherry-picks assembled by Mika&Rodrigo. It’s a bit much, but all well-contained to kbl code and been tested for a while in drm-intel-next. Still separate in case too much, but in that case I think we’d need to disable kbl by default again (which would be annoying too) in 4.7.”

      • Maxwell OpenGL Improvements Coming To Nouveau
      • Intel Finishes Up Another OpenGL ES 3.2 Extension In Mesa
      • libinput 1.4.0

        libinput 1.4.0 is now available. New features since the RC are a reduced
        middlebutton area on Dell clickpads. All Dell touchpads have a visible
        marker between the left and the right button so the middle button can be
        smaller too – users have a visual guide where to click.

      • Libinput 1.4 Officially Released With Graphics Tablet Modes & More

        Libinput 1.4 was officially released over night to add new features to this input handling library used by Wayland, X.Org, and Mir systems.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Qt WebBrowser 1.0

        We have recently open sourced Qt WebBrowser!

      • Qt WebBrowser 1.0 Open-Sourced
      • KDE Neon OS, a review

        After hopping between Red Hat Linux, CentOS, Fedora, and Ubuntu LTS over the past decade, I recently decided to give KDE Neon a shot.

        The potential of a cutting edge desktop environment on a stable 16.04 Ubuntu base really attracted me, the first because I’m a stickler for a good GUI based UX, and the latter because most current software is built against RHEL/Ubuntu.

        However I should preface this by saying that I spend more time on Windows than the GNU/*nix based OS’s combined, and so my perspective in this review may be different than how you feel.

      • System Settings help needed

        First of all I need help, but before you help me I’d like to show you what a user without development skills can do to make plasma better.

        I already post about the system settings redesign and cause developer are busy with other tasks, I reviewed the existing modules and update them to fit (more) our vision. I know it’s not how I would prefere in the end but I did the changes without development skills (no compiling, no new code). I use qt-creator for edit the ui files and play around with qml.

        The Mouse cursor theme was updated, by move the buttons to bottom as in most other kcm’s. The height of the resolution depandant button will be change soon. (left plasma 5.7 right 5.8)

      • Current status for mailrendering in kube & kmail
      • From LaTeX to ConTeXt

        Every year I start to create a new book, every year I delete the book folder because I think it’s going into the wrong direction, and ths year is no different, I’m starting to write a book about Qt5 programming with C++11, I hope this time things can go different. And what I usually do is setup my LaTeX enviroment (kile, texlive, a few libraries and all that) – but I was hitting a UTF8 issue that \includepackage[utf8 or utf8-x][inputenc] didn’t solved… And if you are not well versed in Tex debugging things can go hairwire in just no time.

  • Distributions
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • Mageia 6 Wallpaper, OpenMandriva 3 RC, Desktop Blunders

        Today in Linux news the Mageia project announced the winner of their artwork contest for upcoming version 6 as well as some of the other being included. OpenMandriva 3.0 Release Candidate 1 is available for download although the project has yet to announce it and Korora 22 is nearing the end of support. Matt Hartley identified the top six Linux desktop blunders and several Linux reviews caught my eye today.

      • And the winner is….

        We have completed the artwork contest and would like to extend our thanks to everyone that took part, there were some excellent pieces submitted and choosing the winners was a tough task.

        We would like to congratulate Jacques Daugeron on winning the background contest, the runners up will be available in the extra theme package as well.

        Here is the signature background for Mageia 6, it will be included in the next updates to the theme packages.

      • Breeze everywhere

        The first half of this year, I had the chance to work on icon and design for two big free-software projects.

        First, I’ve been hired to work on Mageia. I had to refresh the look for Mageia 6, which mostly meant making new icons for the Mageia Control Center and all the internal tools.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat Shoots to Solve Container Storage with Gluster and OpenShift

        Red Hat is the newest organization to take a stab at the persistent storage challenge for containers. Last month, the open source giant announced a new Gluster-based storage option for OpenShift, the company’s open source platform for running containerized apps.

        Gluster and OpenShift are two key parts of the Red Hat technology stack. Gluster provides open source distributed storage, while OpenShift offers an integrated, one-stop platform for deploying and managing containers using Docker and Kubernetes.

      • Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 Xfce – As good as it gets

        CentOS 7.2 Xfce is the most satisfactory distribution on the market today, alongside Trusty. Not perfect, not plug-n-play, but it is supported, stable and quite friendly. I did need several hours to sort things out, and that’s the price for converting a server distro into a home operating system.

        In this guise, it works well, with a few small exceptions, one or two outstanding niggles that need fixing, and the knowledge that I needed some third-party gear to achieve the level of productivity that I normally seek. That precludes CentOS 7 from being perfect or a candidate for my production setup, but it might be just the thing for you. If you’re not as bothered as I am around unofficial repos and adding some extra software on your own, then look no further. CentOS 7.2 Xfce is a slick, modern, good-looking choice with all the goodies for a healthy modern life. It is better than KDE and Gnome flavors, and comes with the unbeatable blend of simplicity and functionality.

        If anyone out there is interested in making the perfect home distro, based on Red Hat, please consider my words as a template for what needs doing. Drivers (signed), third-party software, basic customization. And that’s it. So simple. Then again, so difficult. But this is the most sensible formula for desktop use you will have seen in a long, long time. Enjoy.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Korora 22 Is About to Reach EOL

          As Korora uses Fedora as the base for our distribution and thus follow the Fedora Project’s life cycle, Korora 22 Selina will reach it’s End Of Life status on 22nd July.

        • Fedora APAC budget FAD

          Last week I attended the Fedora APAC budget planning FAD for FY’18. Ie. planning for Fedora activities that we expect to conduct between Mar 2017 – Feb 2018 and requisite budget for the same. Last year with Fedora.next reforms, we adopted a new approach to regional budget planning with an aim to increase transparency in the process. In this, each geographical region(ex. APAC) elects three delegates who handle major regional responsibilities. The Treasurer manages regional finance. The Logistician takes care of swag/media/banner production, dispatch and general coordination for Fedora presence at various events. And the Storyteller would collate information about regional events/activities and their impact/benefits to the Fedora project and report the same to the Fedora Community Action and Impact Lead(FCL) and the Fedora Council.

        • Design Prototypes – Week 2
        • FESCo Elections: Interview with Dominik Mierzejewski (rathann)

          I have a degree in software engineering. For over 12 years, I’ve worked as a Unix system administrator, with a short stint as a software engineer. Currently, I work for Citi as a senior IT infrastructure analyst. My primary responsibility at work is expert-level support of a heterogeneous environment consisting of RHEL, Solaris and AIX systems, both physical and virtual machines. Working at Citi while simultaneously being a Fedora developer allowed me to see both ends of the distribution development process and made me appreciate the excellent work of Fedora contributors even more. My past jobs include development of a particle detector model at CERN and system and network administration at the supercomputing centre of the University of Warsaw.

    • Debian Family
      • Enter new tool for newbie: Handy Linux

        Handy Linux has come out with handy Linux its new weapon in its arsenal. It is quite a simplified version to use the Linux operating system on desktop. The Handy Linux surfaced at around three years ago, however in June the latest version was released.

        The developers have made it easy to remove the layers of Handy Linux to reveal the more standard Linux environments which the users can learn. The users who do not need the IT installation tools included in the initial installation can delete them using Handy2Ddebian app from Handy’s main menu.

        Handy Linux is a standard Debian based OS which is light and shows some mix of Xfce desktop ecosystem. The remixed desktop is the signature mark for the Handy Linux.

      • Video: Systemd in Debian, a status update

        On July 5th, 2016 Michael Biebl spoke at DebConf16 on systemd in Debian.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu Demo Wireless Convergence on Bq M10 Tablet

            A video demoing wireless convergence on the Bq M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet has been shared by Canonical today.

            Ubuntu phone fans will know that wireless display technology was made available to users of the Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu phone in last month’s OTA-11 update.

            But for its latest over-the-air update Ubuntu is bringing it to the Bq Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition slate, which went on sale earlier in the year.

            “Our latest OTA-12 has just landed and we’re excited that you can now wirelessly connect your M10 tablet to a monitor,” Canonical say in the description accompanying the video.

            OTA 12 is, at the time of writing, scheduled to begin phased roll out from July 27, so don’t panic if you don’t get the update just yet!

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • 3 open source data visualization tools for Hadoop

    Looking for ways to draw meaningful conclusions from big data?

    In his lightning talk at Great Wide Open 2016, Rommel Garcia gives us quick takeaways for three open source tools that help Hadoop users do just that…

  • Splice Machine 2.0 combines HBase, Spark, NoSQL, relational…and goes open source

    Splice Machine is a well-kept secret though; Zweben told me the company has about 10 customers. Although he hails from the world of commercial software, Zweben believes that open sourcing the Splice Machine product will help spread the word more widely. So version 2 of the product will be available in a free and open source Community Edition with the full database engine. A paid Enterprise Edition, that includes professional support and DevOps features like integration with LDAP and Kerberos as well as backup and restore, will provide the monetization model for the company.

  • Splice Machine Open Sources Dual-Engine Big Data Technology
  • Splice Machine’s New Open-Source RDBMS Sandbox Goes Live on Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • As Splice Machine’s Database Goes Open Source, Apache Spark Could Spur it On

    Around the time that Splice Machine announced a milestone version of its RDBMS, which it bills as “the first hybrid in-memory RDBMS powered by Hadoop and Spark,” its fortunes were starting to rise along with Hadoop’s and Spark’s. In the big data space, there is tremendous need to marry powerful data analytics tools with powerful database tools. If you’re focusing on the Big Data and NoSQL arenas, along with relational databases, Splice Machine is worth a look.

    Now, Splice Machine is going open source, and it is also going live in a sandbox version on Amazon Web Services (AWS), so you can easily give it a try.

    Splice Machine aims to be a database solution that incorporates both the scalability of Hadoop, ANSI SQL, ACID transactions, and the in-memory performance of Spark.

  • How Open Source Guides Digital Transformation

    Almost everyone can agree the digital era is being fueled by five primary forces — mobile, social, sensor technologies, big data and the cloud. But doesn’t open source play a role in digital transformation as well?

    That was one of the topics discussed last week during a roundtable discussion sponsored by MIT Technology Review Custom and EnterpriseDB (EDB). The explored how open source software is helping organizations transform their infrastructures to meet today’s data-driven demands.

  • This Open Source Tool Can Map Out Bitcoin Payments

    Bitcoin is not anonymous. Anyone who has followed the dark web or the continuing regulation of the cryptocurrency should be familiar with that idea. If someone manages to link a real identity to a wallet—something that we’ve seen is possible—they can then follow other transactions around the public blockchain to see where else that person’s money has traveled.

  • CIR’s open-source Impact Tracker is live

    Almost two years ago, I began the process of building an Impact Tracker at The Center for Investigative Reporting to help us better understand the results of our work. Flash forward to today, and we have a custom-built platform that is being used by more than 20 organizations around the world.

    Today, we are releasing an open-source version, available to any organization.

  • OpenWest conference emphasizes importance of open-source technology

    Over 2,000 individuals wearing circuit board badges learned and talked about all things open source this past weekend at the South Towne Expo Center. The OpenWest conference is the largest regional tech conference promoting all things open— hardware, software, data, standards and more.

    The conference is put on by Utah Open Source and sponsored by V School, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Podium and Protocol, among others.

    Open source refers to software that anyone can see and edit. Open-source code is typically created in collaboration with both online and real-life communities. Liz Sands-Adams, OpenWest’s Director of the Privacy Education Track, said, “OpenWest survives because of a volunteer community that believes in empowering the open-source communities around them.”

  • Getting Exposure for Your Open Source Project

    With so many great open source projects spreading like wildfire, it is a great time to be a developer! I spend a considerable amount of time looking for great ideas across the open source community. For me, I’m always searching for modules we might include in our distributions, projects that could be enhanced and commercialized, or even crossovers into other areas for innovations. If something really resonates with our business we will apply resources to furthering that project.

    Generally, the first thing I do is hit the project description to see if it makes a connection with me. If it does, I’ll try it out or tag it for further research, perhaps even mention it on Twitter or discuss internally on a relevant Slack channel. Note, I did not look at your code, I looked at the idea. If you want your code to get out into the community, and actually ignite something bigger, you need to make sure your project is discoverable.

  • Web Browsers
  • SaaS/Back End
    • Prometheus unbound: Open source cloud monitoring

      Prometheus, an open source system for monitoring and alerting a wide spectrum of enterprise IT events, including containers, released its 1.0 revision this week.

      It’s also the second product in what amounts to a portfolio assembled by the CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation) for realizing the promise of a container-powered cloud built entirely on open source and open standards.

    • Prometheus reaches 1.0
    • Simplify your OpenStack installation with open source tools

      To avoid any confusion, let’s make this clear: OpenStack is a cloud-operating system. OpenStack is not a VM, but rather sits on top of VMs. Also, OpenStack is written in Python.

      As you install each component, OpenStack installs a command-line tool that works in tandem with it. The problem is that each component — of which there are dozens — has its own command-line tool, each with its own name and parameters. For example, you run Keystone to install users and roles in the Identity Service. Then you run Glance to load VM images. You would then use Nova to deploy those images. After a while, the sheer number of components and their respective command-line tools can get overwhelming.

      So, other than the command line, what options do we have to simplify the OpenStack installation process? Let’s have a look.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Why we use OpenBSD at VidiGuard

      At VidiGuard, we care a lot about physical security. In fact, it’s our job. But equally important to physical security is the security of our customers’ data. We also need a robust, reliable platform that can run with minimal interaction. To make both of those happen, we employ OpenBSD in our on-premise equipment and our data infrastructure. Why OpenBSD?

    • Building a home firewall: review of pfsense

      For some time now, I’ve been running OpenWRT on an RT-N66U device. I initially set that because I had previously been using my Debian-based file/VM server as a firewall, and this had some downsides: every time I wanted to reboot that, Internet for the whole house was down; shorewall took a fair bit of care and feeding; etc.

      I’ve been having indications that all is not well with OpenWRT or the N66U in the last few days, and some long-term annoyances prompted me to search out a different solution. I figured I could buy an embedded x86 device, slap Debian on it, and be set.

    • LLVM 3.9 Has Been Branched, LLVM 4.0 Will Be Up Next

      Right on schedule the LLVM 3.9 code was branched today in preparation for its formal release next month.

      LLVM 3.9 is another six-month feature update to the LLVM compiler stack. We’ll have more on its features and performance in the weeks ahead, in addition to the LLVM Clang benchmarks we already do daily with it at LinuxBenchmarking.com.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
  • Programming/Development
    • The Slashdot Interview With Larry Wall

      I run firefox on Linux, and chrome on my ancient Google phone, but I’m not a browser wonk. Maybe I’ll have more opinions on that after our JS backend is done for Perl 6…

    • Pulp 2.8.6 Generally Available

      This release includes a small number of fixes to severe bugs in Pulp Platform, the RPM plugin, and the Docker plugin.

    • 11 Programming Languages For DevOps Success

      DevOps uses languages for software development and languages for deployment automation. If you want to be successful with either side of DevOps, these languages will help.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • Physicists Achieve Atomic Data Storage

      Researchers from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have created a rewritable data-storage device capable of storing information at the level of single atoms representing single bits of information.

      The technology, which is described in the current issue of Nature Nanotechnology, is capable of packing data as dense as 500 terabytes per square inch. Theoretically, the device could store the entire contents of the US Library of Congress within a 0.1-mm-wide cube—though the proof-of-concept demonstrated by the group topped out at 1 kilobyte.

  • Hardware
    • Hardware Acceleration Teams Up with Software

      Like far too many things in this world, enterprise networking seems to bounce between two extremes. One year, hardware acceleration is all the rage. The next, a software-only approach seeks to transform the way networks are built and deployed altogether. In reality, new networking approaches such as software-defined networking (SDN) and networking functions virtualization (NFV) will require a balance between hardware and software.

    • SoftBank to acquire ARM

      The boards of directors of SoftBank and ARM have announced that they have reached an agreement on the terms of a recommended all-cash acquisition of ARM for GBP24.3 billion (US$32.2 billion).

    • ARM chip designer to be bought by Japan’s Softbank

      UK technology firm ARM Holdings is to be bought by Japan’s Softbank for £24bn ($32bn) it confirmed on Monday.

      The board of ARM is expected to recommend shareholders accept the offer – which is around a 43% premium on its closing market value of £16.8bn on Friday.

      The Cambridge-based firm designs microchips used in most smartphones, including Apple’s and Samsung’s.

    • ARM Is Being Bought Out By Japan’s SoftBank

      HARDWARE –
      Many news reports this morning are indicating that Japan’s SoftBank is working out a deal to buy ARM Holdings and that a deal could be officially announced as soon as this morning.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Field Drug Tests: The $2 Tool That Can Destroy Lives

      It only takes $2 and a few minutes to ruin someone’s life. Field tests for drugs are notoriously unreliable and yet they’re still considered to be evidence enough to deprive someone of their freedom and start a chain of events that could easily end in joblessness and/or homelessness.

      Ryan Gabrielson and Topher Sanders — writing for the New York Times magazine — take a detailed look at these field tests, filtered through the experience of Amy Albritton, who spent 21 days in jail thanks to a false positive.

      A traffic stop that resulted in a vehicle search turned up an empty syringe and a “suspicious” crumb of something on the floor. The field test said it was crack cocaine. Albritton was taken to a county jail where she spent the next three weeks after pleading guilty to possession, rather than face a trial and a possible sentence of two years.

      The crumb of whatever had been sent on to a lab for verification, but with Albritton’s guilty plea, there was no hurry to ensure the substance retrieved from Albritton’s car was actually illegal. In fact, with the case adjudicated and closed, the evidence could simply have been destroyed. It wasn’t. Long after Albritton had been released, the substance was tested.

    • The Indian Point Nukes: a Disaster Waiting to Happen

      “Indian Point” is a film about the long problem-plagued Indian Point nuclear power plants that are “so, so risky—so close to New York City,” notes its director and producer Ivy Meeropol. “Times Square is 35 miles away.”

      The plants constitute a disaster waiting to happen threatening especially the lives of the 22 million people who live within 50 miles from them. “There is no way to evacuate—what I’ve learned about an evacuation plan is that there is none,” says Meeropol. The plants are “on two earthquake fault lines,” she notes. “And there is a natural gas pipeline right there that an earthquake could rupture.”

      Meanwhile, both plants, located in Buchanan, New York along the Hudson River, are now essentially running without licenses. The federal government’s 40-year operating license for Indian Point 2 expired in 2013 and Indian Point 3’s license expired last year. Their owner, Entergy, is seeking to have them run for another 20 years—although nuclear plants were never seen as running for more than 40 years because of radioactivity embrittling metal parts and otherwise causing safety problems. (Indian Point 1 was opened in 1962 and closed in 1974, its emergency core cooling system deemed impossible to fix.)

    • Defeat Of Philip Morris In Its Corporate Sovereignty Case Against Uruguay Likely To Open Floodgates For Tobacco Packaging Legislation

      Last December, Techdirt wrote about Australia fending off an attempt by Philip Morris to use corporate sovereignty to overturn the country’s plain-packaging regulations. As we pointed out, this wasn’t proof that investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) was no threat to national sovereignty, despite what some were claiming. Australia won on purely procedural grounds, not because the ISDS tribunal agreed that Australia had a fundamental right to regulate.

  • Security
    • Flaw in vBulletin add-on leads to Ubuntu Forums database breach

      Ubuntu support forums users should be on the lookout for dodgy emails after the website’s database of 2 million email addresses was stolen.

      Canonical announced the security breach on Friday after being notified that someone was claiming to have a copy of the UbuntuForums.org database. An investigation revealed that an attacker did get access to the website’s user records through a vulnerability.

    • Flaw in vBulletin add-on leads to Ubuntu Forums database breach
    • Canonical hack exposes private data of 2 million forum members
    • Canonical sets off alarm after Ubuntu forum data breach
    • Ubuntu Linux forums hacked
    • Canonical warns of Ubuntu Forums breach
    • The Hacking of Ubuntu Linux Forums: Lessons Learned
    • Ubuntu Forums Breach Affects Two Million Users
    • Two Million Passwords Breached in Ubuntu Hack
    • VBulletin flaw exploited in breach of Ubuntu Forums

      A known SQL injection vulnerability affecting vBulletin software was exploited by an attacker to breach the Ubuntu Forums database.

    • Ubuntu Forums data breach exposes 2 million users

      Ubuntu aficionados beware, as a data breach of the Ubuntu Forum has resulted in the leak of information for two million users. It should be noted that the breach has not hit Canonical Ltd., which runs the Ubuntu operating system, but rather the forum, so other services are still safe.

      The notice from Canonical explains that the breach was made possible through an SQL injection vulnerability in the forum’s Forumrunner add-on, which had not been patched. By injecting certain formatted SQL into the forum database, the hacker could then reach any table, particularly the “user” table.

    • Ubuntu Forums Suffer Data breach; Credit Goes to SQL Flaw
    • Ubuntu Forums Hacked, Attackers Get Away With Names, Emails And Salted Passwords
    • Ubuntu Linux forum hacked, data of 2 million users leaked
    • Notice of Ubuntu Forums breach; user passwords not compromised
    • Ubuntu Forums hacked (again)

      Ubuntu Forums was previously hacked in 2013.

    • Ubuntu Forum Hack Exposes 2 Million Users

      Ubuntu Linux developer Canonical has confirmed that a data breach exposed personal information of two million users of its forum.

    • How to scam $750,000 out of Microsoft Office: Two-factor auth calls to premium-rate numbers

      Gaming two-factor authentication systems with premium rate phone numbers can be very profitable – or it was until the flaws got reported.

      Belgian security researcher Arne Swinnen noticed that the authentication systems used by Facebook-owned Instagram, Google and Microsoft allow access tokens to be received by a voice call as well as a text message. By linking accounts to a premium-rate phone number he controlled and could pocket money from, he was able to scam the three companies out of cash – in some cases potentially thousands of dollars a day.

    • How Do Hackers Easily Crack Your Strongest Passwords — Explained
    • Security Skills Give Open Source Professionals a Career Advantage

      In today’s market, open source professionals with security expertise are crucial players on an employer roster. The growing use of cloud and big data, as well as the overhaul and expansion of many companies’ tech infrastructures, are driving the demand and need for professionals with this skillset.

      According to the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report, 14 percent of hiring managers and recruiters surveyed believe security to be the most important open source skill to date, ranking third just behind cloud technologies (51 percent) and networking (21 percent). Employers aren’t the only ones that see the value in security; 16 percent of open source professionals surveyed cited security as the most important open source skill and the biggest driver for open source growth in 2016.

    • AT&T Unveils Powerful New Security Platform

      AT&T this week unveiled a new powerful security platform, using big data analysis based on a Hadoop architecture which allows the company to ingest and analyze 5 billion security events in less than ten minutes.

    • Software security: Does quality provide a blueprint for change?

      Software security has been in the news a lot lately, between various high profile social media hacks to massive data breaches it feels like people in the industry are always talking about security, or more appropriately, the lack thereof. While having a conversation with somebody from my company’s internal security team a few weeks ago I had a bit of an epiphany: security in 2016 is much like quality was in 1999.

      Let’s think back 17 years and remember what the quality process was like in 1999. Code was written in rather monolithic chunks with very little thought (if any) given to how that code was to be tested. Testers were on completely separate teams, often times denied access to early versions of the software and code. Testers would write massive sets of test cases from technical specifications and would accept large drops of code from developers only after a feature was considered completed. Automation was either a pipe dream or only existed for very stable features that had been around for a while. A manual testing blitz would then kick off, bugs would be filed, work thrown back over the wall, rinse and repeat. After several of these cycles it was the testers job to give a go/no-go on whether the product was good enough to ship, essentially acting as gatekeepers.

    • As a blockchain-based project teeters, questions about the technology’s security

      There’s no shortage of futurists, industry analysts, entrepreneurs and IT columnists who in the past year have churned out reports, articles and books touting blockchain-based ledgers as the next technology that will run the world.

      In the middle of all this hype is a small fire that threatens to put some of those words to ash: The hijacking last month of around US$40 million of dollars worth of a cryptocurrency called ether – named after its blockchain platform, Ethereum — from The DAO, a crowd-sourced investment vehicle that has so far raised over US$100 million in the digital currency. Instead, the DAO has become paralyzed and on the verge of collapse.

    • Sandia Labs Researchers Build DNA-Based Encrypted Storage

      Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico are experimenting with encrypted DNA storage for archival applications.

      Husband and wife team George and Marlene Bachand are biological engineers with a remarkable vision of the future.

      The researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies foresee a time when a speck of DNA on a piece of paper the size of a millimeter could securely store the entire anthology of Shakespeare’s works.

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Using a HooToo Nano as a magic VPN box
    • opensshd – user enumeration
    • Criminals plant banking malware where victims least expect it

      A criminal gang recently found an effective way to spread malware that drains online bank accounts. According to a blog post published Monday, they bundled the malicious executable inside a file that installed a legitimate administrative tool available for download.

      The legitimate tool is known as Ammyy Admin and is used to provide remote access to a computer so someone can work on it even when they don’t have physical access to it. According to Monday’s blog post, members of a criminal enterprise known as Lurk somehow managed to tamper with the Ammyy installer so that it surreptitiously installed a malicious spyware program in addition to the legitimate admin tool people expected. To increase their chances of success, the criminals modified the PHP script running on the Ammyy Web server, suggesting they had control over the website.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Germany axe attack: Assault on train in Wuerzburg

      Initial reports said up to 20 people had been injured but it was later revealed that at least 14 had been treated for shock.

      The motive for the attack is not yet clear.

      Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the attacker was a 17-year-old Afghan refugee who had been living in the nearby town of Ochsenfurt.

    • Hyping Terrorism, Stoking Fear Following Nice, France Incident

      Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called for banning Sharia. Will greater war on Islam follow than already?

      Wall Street Journal editors hyped Islamophobia, saying “Jihad has become the default assumption of our age.”

      They urged strengthening NATO, shamelessly claiming it’s to protect freedoms from “21st-century barbarism,” ignoring the real thing.

      State-sponsored war on humanity is terrorism’s most extremist form. Expect lots more coming – an endless body count of imperial victims.

    • Donald Trump Doesn’t Care If He’s a Hypocrite About Mike Pence’s Iraq Vote

      Donald Trump has condemned the Iraq War as a “disaster,” but he showed little concern during a 60 Minutes interview, broadcast Sunday, that his vice presidential candidate, Indiana’s Republican Gov. Mike Pence, was an outspoken advocate of that invasion.

      After Trump proclaimed that the United States should not have invaded Iraq because it had no involvement in 9/11, interviewer Lesley Stahl reminded him that his running mate, then-Indiana Republican Rep. Mike Pence, voted to authorize the war.

    • Would Turkey Be Justified in Kidnapping or Drone-Killing the Turkish Cleric in Pennsylvania?

      Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan places the blame for this weekend’s failed coup attempt on an Islamic preacher and one-time ally, Fethullah Gulen (above), who now resides in Pennsylvania with a green card. Erdogan is demanding the U.S. extradite Gulen, citing prior extraditions by the Turkish government of terror suspects demanded by the U.S.: “Now we’re saying deliver this guy who’s on our terrorist list to us.” Erdogan has been requesting Gulen’s extradition from the U.S. for at least two years, on the ground that he has been subverting the Turkish government while harbored by the U.S. Thus far, the U.S. is refusing, with Secretary of State John Kerry demanding of Turkey: “Give us the evidence, show us the evidence. We need a solid legal foundation that meets the standard of extradition.”

      In light of the presence on U.S. soil of someone the Turkish government regards as a “terrorist” and a direct threat to its national security, would Turkey be justified in dispatching a weaponized drone over Pennsylvania to find and kill Gulen if the U.S. continues to refuse to turn him over, or sending covert operatives to kidnap him? That was the question posed yesterday by Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor of Guantánamo’s military commissions who resigned in protest over the use of torture-obtained evidence:

      That question, of course, is raised by the fact that the U.S. has spent many years now doing exactly this: employing various means — including but not limited to drones — to abduct and kill people in multiple countries whom it has unilaterally decided (with no legal process) are “terrorists” or who otherwise are alleged to pose a threat to its national security. Since it cannot possibly be the case that the U.S. possesses legal rights that no other country can claim — right? — the question naturally arises whether Turkey would be entitled to abduct or kill someone it regards as a terrorist when the U.S. is harboring him and refuses to turn him over.

    • Of density, banality and terror

      Once again there will be an influx of notes of sorrow, by now customary calls for unity in face of the terror gripping our cities, our streets: the spaces of our public, convivial existence.

      But there is already something not-quite-right about the prime sentiment that grips some of us this morning as we skim through the endless videos of Nice’s howling urban beach-front stampede. The feeling that the city’s screaming agony is on the verge of becoming as commonplace as the street lights and the wide avenues on which it unfolds: an inseparable, however unwelcome, by-product of urban life.

    • Military Coups, Turkey and Flimsy Democracy

      Any aspect of instability in the state of Turkey is going to be greeted with trepidation by those partners who bank on its security role between East and West. The European Union, that rattled club of members who fear the next onslaught against its institutional credibility, have been bolstering Ankara in the hope to keep refugees at bay. There are security exchanges, and promises (always promises) of sweeter deals regarding the movement of Turkish citizens.

    • Turkey’s Faltering Democracy

      Turkish President Erdogan crushed a military coup this weekend but this victory for civilian rule will do little to revive Turkish democracy which Erdogan has been strangling with his autocratic grip on power, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • China’s Bad Day in Court
    • Theresa May Says “Yes,” She’s Prepared to Kill Hundreds of Thousands in Nuke Attack

      Newly installed U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is prepared to authorize a nuclear strike that could kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

      So she said before Parliament on Monday, as the body debated whether to renew Trident, Britain’s aging nuclear weapons system.

      According to the Independent, May was challenged on her support for the program by the SNP’s George Kerevan, who asked: “Are you prepared to authorize a nuclear strike that could kill hundreds of thousands of men, women and children?”

    • Iraq must not be forgotten: The humanitarian crisis worsens

      As ISIS continues to have devastating effects on Iraq, the country is facing some of the most profound challenges it has seen in the last decade. Rachel Sider, Humanitarian Policy Advisor, comments on the need for governments to prioritize the area as they meet this week in the United States at a donor pledging conference.

    • Israel’s Wolf-Crying about Iran’s Bomb

      Despite Israeli and neocon-led doomsday talk, the year-old Iranian nuclear agreement has achieved its principal goal of stopping Iran from getting the Bomb and has even quieted alarums from Israel, writes Trita Parsi.

    • CODEPINK Marches to Oppose Unlimited Funding for War Abroad While Millions Live in Poverty at Home

      CODEPINK will be part of the Coalition to Stop Trump and March on the RNC and the End Poverty Now! March on Monday, July 18th to protest the GOP’s corporate backers profiteering off of endless war abroad while the shameful epidemic of poverty continues unabated in the richest country on the planet.

    • Long Knives in Ankara: Victorious Erdogan begins Purge of Judiciary, Army

      President Tayyip Erdogan is taking advantage of the failed coup against him to purge the judiciary and security forces of anyone who is lukewarm toward or actively critical of him.

      These steps are, of course, the opposite of the ones Erdogan should be taking– he should be attempting to bring the country together in unity and to re-include in the polity those he has isolated and excluded in recent years. Instead, he is scapegoating and purging.

      Erdogan characterizes this purge as against the secretive and cult-like Gulen movement, one element in Turkey’s landscape of the religious Right. He blames the Gulen movement for the attempted coup, though its leader (in exile in Pennsylvania), Fethullah Gulen, denies the allegation.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Offshore wind powers ahead in Europe

      A building boom is underway offshore in Europe. Up to 400 giant wind turbines are due to be built off the northeast coast of the UK in what will be the world’s largest offshore wind development.

      Output from the Dogger Bank project will be 1.2 Gigawatts – enough to power more than a million homes.

      Next year, a 150-turbine wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands is due to start operating, and other schemes along the Dutch coast are in the works.

    • The British Climate Department Is Gone — But It Could Have More Power Than Ever

      The fallout from Brexit continues. The pound has hit record lows against the dollar.

      [...]

      “This is shocking news. Less than a day into the job and it appears that the new Prime Minister has already downgraded action to tackle climate change, one of the biggest threats we face,” Friends of the Earth U.K. CEO Craig Bennett said in a statement emailed to ThinkProgress.

      But while changing the actual name of the office that works on climate change might seem extreme, the change in branding might not be indicative of where the government plans to go.

      Simon Bullock, a spokesperson for Friends of the Earth, noted that Greg Clarke, the new head of the newly formed department, is “decent” on climate. “It’s reassuring that although [climate change] is not in the new department’s title, Clark at least sees climate as a part of his role,” Bullock said in an email.

  • Finance
    • Ukip’s trade policy would leave Britain isolated and vulnerable

      Say what you like about the UK Independence party, but do not call them economic isolationists. Ukip is mustard-keen on free trade as long as the EU is not negotiating on Britain’s behalf. Buoyed by its European election victory and clutching sweat-stained copies of David Ricardo’s pro-trade economic treatise, Ukip is promising a new trade deal as soon as Britain’s exit liberates the UK from the dead hand of European protectionism.

    • Revoking an Article 50

      The vote on 23 June for the UK to leave the EU is beginning to expose uncertainties in the withdrawal procedure laid down by Article 50 of the EU Treaty. Among the issues currently being debated is whether it would be possible to revoke a formal Article 50 notice to withdraw from the EU before the withdrawal process has been completed. In other words, would the die have been cast irretrievably for the UK to exit the European Union once Article 50 is triggered, or could the process be reversed before its conclusion if the UK wished to do so?

    • Lao Holdings continues legal battle on Savan Vegas sale

      Sanum Investments Ltd and its parent company, Lao Holdings NV, say they filed on Friday the latest move in a legal battle concerning the Savan Vegas Hotel and Entertainment Complex – a casino hotel in Savannakhet, Laos.

      The legal move opposes what is known as a ‘motion to dismiss’ filed earlier by San Marco Capital Partners LLC, a U.S.-based private investment firm that had been asked by the Laos government to handle the sale of Savan Vegas.

      The opposition to the motion to dismiss was filed with the United States District Court in Delaware.

    • SNP MPs at Westminster are giving their £7,000 pay rise to charity

      Westminster MPs of all parties are getting a 10 per cent, £7,000, boost to their pay packets after the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority said they were not paid enough.

    • Greenpeace replaces Brexit battle bus ‘lies’ with ‘messages of hope’ in Westminster stunt

      Greenpeace has acquired the Vote Leave battle bus and parked it in Westminster where it has been covered with thousands of messages for the new Government.

      They overhauled the bus to replace the “lies” about EU funding with demands for the “truth” in a stunt outside Parliament on Monday morning.

      The environmental activists are calling on members of the public to send in messages for the “rebranding” of the bus.

    • My 350 on BREXIT: Last call for new leaders?

      If the political discourse in the coming months and years changes to successfully countering populists with “popularizers” as leaders, preserving the European (western) order, and further reforming it, we could yet be thanking the UK for saving us by the alarm bell.

    • Bill Gates’ Silver-Bullet Misfiring at the Mandela Memorial Lecture

      But compare what can be termed Gates’ ‘philanthro-capitalism’ with Ford Foundation President Darren Walker’s proposal for a more appropriate approach to giving in the 21st century: “We foundations need to reject inherited, assumed, paternalist instincts… We need to interrogate the fundamental root causes of inequality, even, and especially, when it means that we ourselves will be implicated.”

      In contrast, Gates specialises in top-down technicist quick-fixes – ‘silver bullets’ – which often backfire on the economic shooting range of extreme corporate influence and neoliberal policies. As Global Justice Now’s Polly Jones complained in a report last month, Gates’ “influence is so pervasive that many actors in international development, which would otherwise critique the policy and practice of the foundation, are unable to speak out independently as a result of its funding and patronage.”

      Amongst the few exceptions are Katharyne Mitchell and Matthew Sparke, whose research critiques Gates’ “highly targeted investments, market-mediated partnerships, rapid technological fixes, constant assessment, quick exits, and the use of competition, benchmarking and rankings to set funding priorities.”

      [...]

      But the most damage done within South Africa was Gates’ promotion of intellectual property (IP) rights. Long-term monopoly patents were granted not only to Gates for his Microsoft software, but for life-saving medicines.

      IP became a fatal barrier to millions of HIV+ people who, thanks to Big Pharma’s profiteering, were denied AIDS medicines which cost R150 000/year fifteen years ago. The Gates Foundation was part of the problem by insisting on Merck-branded drugs in its Botswana AIDS clinics, complained Zackie Achmat of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in 2001.

      [...]

      Self-interest was perhaps a factor, because Gates got rich from IP illegitimately acquired thanks to blatantly anti-competitive practices, such as bundling Windows with the slow, security flaw-ridden Internet Explorer web-browser, according to US prosecutors. The emails that Gates and his colleagues sent each other unveiled their cutthroat, illegal approach to IT (and Gates’ own slipperiness), notwithstanding the internet’s massive government subsidies.

      And as Edward Snowden showed, Microsoft is in league with the United States National Security Agency’s Prism snoop service to hack your computer, Outlook, Hotmail and Skype accounts.

      Speaking of secrecy, Microsoft’s offshore tax-avoidance policies today earn the company more money than Gates gives annually in donations (less than $4 billion/year).

      [...]

      These forces show, objectively, that the world urgently needs far less corporate power – including in the hands of Bill Gates and Microsoft – and many more bottom-up activist initiatives to achieve thorough-going wealth redistribution.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Hillary Clinton’s Citizens United Pledge Doesn’t Matter; Her Small-Donor Matching Pledge Definitely Does

      Presidents play essentially no role in amending the Constitution. Any amendment Clinton proposed would have to be passed by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, and then would have to be ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states.

      That’s never going to happen. The U.S. has amended the Constitution just once in the past 45 years, with the non-earthshaking 27th Amendment prohibiting Congress from voting itself a pay raise that takes effect b