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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 40 min 58 sec ago

The Latest Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and CIPO’s Participation in Those

44 min 50 sec ago

They got CETA, but they won’t get UPC

Summary: Team UPC continues to overplay its chances, conveniently ignoring simple facts as well as the Rule of Law

THE EPO is quiet. So is SUEPO, the staff union of the EPO, whose Web site has not been updated for a while. On the UPC front, however, spin continues. Left unchallenged, some people out there might even believe it. Team UPC extravagantly lies, exaggerates, and places too much emphasis on perceived positives. Everything else is discarded, ignored, or ridiculed.

As we noted earlier this week, there’s UPC propaganda coming to Canada pretty soon. We can’t help but wonder, why would anyone actually pay to be lied to by Team Battistelli about the UPC in Montreal (Canada)? Maybe to make contacts/connections? A few days ago CIPO wrote: “Only 2 days left to register to the #Montreal roadshow with @EPOorg on Unitary #Patent & Unified Patent Court!”

That’s just basically Battistelli’s right-hand liar. She’ll be spreading the usual lies there. They will have the audience believe that the UPC is coming very soon. Bristows is doing the same thing this week, with staff pretty much repeating themselves regarding Scotland (never mind the reality of Brexit).

IAM’s chief editor also did his thing earlier this week. The UK-based IAM is perfectly happy that the EPO’s declining patent quality (which IAM helps Battistelli deny) brings its beloved patent trolls to Europe. Joff Wild speaks of the UPC again, joined by the term “BigTech” with the usual whipping boy being “Google”. Here are some portions:

And that brings me to patents. As everyone in the IP market knows, over recent year Europe has emerged as a much more important part of the equation for patent owners seeking to assert their rights. For multiple reasons – including the perceived quality of EPO-granted assets, speed to get a decision, the relatively low cost of litigating, the expertise of courts and, crucially, the availability of injunctions – the worsening environment for rights holders in the US is driving more companies to try courts in Germany, the UK and other European jurisdictions. Should the Unified Patent Court ever become a reality that process is likely to accelerate.

[...]

Where that leaves lobbying efforts that seek to water down or eliminate the UPC injunction regime, for example, remains to be seen. My guess is that as long as BigTech identifiably campaigns as BigTech it is unlikely to get much traction. Instead, what it needs are examples of small European companies falling foul of abusive patent litigants – the kinds of stories that it has always been possible to dig out in the US. The problem is that in Europe these are tough to find – precisely because the system is not troll-friendly. Getting around that may be a challenge that even the expertise of Silicon Valley’s best paid public relations advisers and lobbyists will struggle to meet.

Again, notice the term “BigTech”. The patent trolls’ sites (or patent maximalists) are openly demonising technology companies, e.g. those that protect PTAB. It makes it abundantly clear that they, the patent radicals, are against technology. We shall revisit the subject later this week.

The matter of fact is, UPC is a failed project. Even some insiders are willing to admit it now. The Boards of Appeal (BoA) need to stay and regulate patent quality, just like PTAB does at the USPTO. After Battistelli sent BoA judges to exile (as punishment, or simply to warn them) the EPO has the nerve to talk as if everything is fine and dandy. Earlier this week it wrote: “Oral proceedings at the new Boards of Appeal site are planned to start on 9 October” (but without independence for judges).

With Jesper Kongstad leaving in just over a week (end of this month), it remains to be seen if BoA has a future. If the UPC fails, which seems increasingly likely, many hirings will be needed for BoA (not UPC). Can the new (actually old) building in Haar facilitate growth? The only new building is in Rijswijk and Dutch media wrote about it some days ago. If there is something interesting in this Dutch article, it would be worth knowing. We try to keep abreast of the facts ahead of the ‘grand’ opening.

For those who are wondering where the UPC stands, not much has changed since we last wrote about it. Yesterday IP Kat summarised it as follows: “It has been confirmed that the complainant who filed the constitutional complaint against the ratification of the UPC Agreement in Germany was the attorney Ingve Stjerna. Stjerna has long been a vocal critic of the Unified Patent Court, and the complaint reflects some of his earlier criticisms.”

Looking at some of the latest comments at IP Kat, people now debate whether the UPC is “an EU institution” (it most certainly is) and therefore the UPC (which explicitly requires “UK” amid Brexit) is dead by definition.

Here is a comment about that, relaying the question to the CJEU:

If it is not an EU institution, then I do not understand why in the the preamble of the UPCA the following is said:

RECALLING the primacy of Union law, which includes the TEU, the TFEU, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the general principles of Union law as
developed by the Court of Justice of the European Union, and in particular the right to an effective remedy before a tribunal and a fair and public hearing within a
reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal, the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and secondary Union law;

Furthermore Art 1 of the UPCA states: The Unified Patent Court shall be a court common to the Contracting Member States and thus subject to the same obligations under Union law as any national court of the Contracting Member States.

If I understand well, the TEU and TFEU should thus be clearly applicable. Or did I miss something?

Divisions of the UPC can bring forward prejudicial questions to the CJEU, but the the text governing the UPCA cannot be submitted to the CJEU. I fail to understand the logic behind such a position.

Could somebody explain.

They then went off on a CJEU tangent.

One person said about the UPC, “how can the provisions of that Agreement be used to “harmonise” patent law” (they can’t).

Here’s the comment in full:

It’s not that hard to understand, given the limits of the jurisdiction of the CJEU.

In essence, the CJEU can only review the legality of EU Treaties and the (legislative) acts of EU bodies. The UPCA is not an EU Treaty or legislative act, as it is instead an international agreement (that just so happens to be exclusively between EU Member States).

However, this is not to say that the CJEU will have no teeth when it comes to the effects of the UPCA. That is, pursuant to Article 258 or 259 TFEU, the CJEU will be able to assess whether the Member States that are party to the UPCA are fulfilling their obligations under the EU Treaties. Unfortunately for the public, however, such actions can only be commenced either by the Commission or another Member State.

This effectively means that a challenge by Spain (under Article 259 TFEU) might be the only hope of sorting out whether the actions of the UPC (or the Participating Member States) are compliant with EU law.

It remains to be seen which grounds could be raised by Spain under Article 259 TFEU. However, Article 118 (attributing the European Union with exclusivity regarding the creation of uniform IP rights) is an interesting possibility.

In C-146/13, the CJEU held that:
Notwithstanding the fact that the contested regulation contains no list of the acts against which an EPUE provides protection, that protection remains uniform in so far as, regardless of the precise extent of the substantive protection conferred by an EPUE by virtue of the national law which is applicable, under Article 7 of the contested regulation, that protection will apply, for that EPUE, in the territory of all the participating Member States in which that patent has unitary effect”.

In other words, the CJEU held that Art. 118 TFEU was not contravened because EU law (the UP Regulation) has been used to achieve (partial) harmonisation, through the designation of a single, national law.

However, this would appear to mean that failure of the UPC to apply a single, national law (as determined under Art. 7 of the UP Regulation) would therefore not only contravene the Member States’ obligations under the UP Regulation but also their obligations under Art. 118 TFEU.

This puts an interesting “spin” on the law of infringement to be used under the UPP, doesn’t it?

For a start, it would appear that the UPC would only be able to refer to the infringement provisions in the UPCA to the extent that those provisions are fully incorporated into the national law selected under Arts. 5(3) and 7 of the UP Regulation. This means that the UPC, as well as all patent attorneys, will need to become experts on the extent to which this is true in each of the relevant Member States… and also what the significance might be of seemingly contradictory / non-identical provisions in national laws.

On the other hand, it would also seem to force the UPC to issue judgements for “traditional” (not opted out) EPs on a country-by-country basis. This is because the UP Regulation does not contain any provisions on the law to be applied to “traditional” EPs… meaning that there is no basis under EU law for the law of infringement for those EPs to be “harmonised”. Also, attempts by the Member States to “go it alone” with harmonisation of the law with respect to such EPs may well contravene the provisions of Art. 118 TFEU.

To put it another way, as the UPCA is not part of EU law, how can the provisions of that Agreement be used to “harmonise” patent law (for UPs or not opted out EPs) within the EU without infringing Art. 118 TFEU?

Spain was then brought up too. “Spain could think about a further challenge the legality of Regulation 1257/2012,” said the following comment.

Alternatively, Spain could think about a further challenge the legality of Regulation 1257/2012.

As previously mentioned, the impermissible, retroactive effect of Article 5(3) might be one ground for such a challenge. This is because that Article applies new / different laws (of infringement) to pre-existing patents and patent applications, as well as to acts committed prior to entry into force of the UPP. That hardly seems compliant with the principle of legitimate expectations!

Another, very interesting possibility might be alleged contravention of Article 18 TFEU (“any discrimination on grounds of nationality shall be prohibited”) by Article 5(3) of the UP Regulation.

Understanding this ground requires a little thought.

Firstly, Art. 5(3) states that the applicable law of infringement is determined by Art. 7. Secondly, the primary factor to be considered under Art. 7(1)(a) is residence / place of business. For many individual and corporate applicants, their residence / place of business will be the same as (ie equivalent to, or a surrogate for) their nationality.

Thus, the UP Regulation requires the selection of a single, national law based upon a criterion that, for many applicants, will be a surrogate for their nationality.

The final step is to realise that the national laws of infringement are not harmonised. Thus, inventors / applicants that have identical claims, but that have different nationalities, would have different laws of infringement applied to those claims (and hence potentially different results from litigation).

It really is hard to understand how this could possibly be compliant with Article 18 TFEU!

The next comment said:

If it is an EU institution why would it need its own dedicated Protocol on Privileges and Immunities ?
Surely it would be covered by the EU PPI ?

Regarding the situation in Germany and the CJEU, one person said that “here we are back to the other complaints before the German Constitutional Court.”

We are ahead of interesting times, and it might be possible that the CJEU considers the UPCA not in accordance with EU law. In view of the sometimes political nature of the CJEU’s decisions, I doubt that it would blow up the whole system, but it could severely harm it.

In the same vein, there is a further question which could be tricky as well. If an opposition is launched against a UP, can the opposition division be composed of nationals of non EU member states?

This becomes particularly critical if the EP has only been validated as a UP.

One could consider that since the EPO regains competence by virtue of an opposition, then the composition of the OD is irrelevant.

On the other hand, one could also consider that having become, at least in some member states of the EPC which are also members of the UPC, an asset according to EU law, its fate can only be decided by nationals of member states of the EU.

If the patent is revoked, then there is no revision possible. And here we are back to the other complaints before the German Constitutional Court.

This question was raised at the latest conference on the UPC in July in Munich, and has up to now not received a reply.

More on CJEU:

“the sometimes political nature of the CJEU decisions”? Are you suggesting that the CJEU might not demonstrate complete independence from the executives of the Member States and/or the executive arms of the EU?

If there is a (perception of) lack of independence, then perhaps it is high time that someone took a close look at the conditions of appointment of the judges of the CJEU, in order to see how well the CJEU fares regarding internationally recognised “best practice” for achieving judicial independence.

Speaking of “political decisions,” the next comment talked about Spain again:

I do not want to claim that all decisions of the CJEU are more of political than strictly judicial nature. It is a minority of decisions, but the manner in which the CJEU has dismissed the second complaint of Spain against the UPC is an example to me of more political decisions.

Any reason not to consider Spain’s complaint were good to dismiss the claims. Some of the questions were however quite specific.

In decisions on the correct application of directives it is certainly not politic. Plenty of those have been published and commented on this blog.

The bottom line is, for those lacking the time or background to read all the above, there are multiple aspects and levels that act as barriers to UPC, ranging from central to pertinent (e.g. Spain, UK, Germany and even Poland). Don’t be misled by EPO staff whose job is to lie about the UPC. No doubt the Canadian press (and maybe European press as well) will soon publish some lies about the UPC. The EPO has a sick habit of paying the media for puff pieces, including patently untrue statements.

The Patents Policy of Facebook is Causing an Exodus

1 hour 59 min ago

“They “trust me”. Dumb fucks”

–Mark Zuckerberg, President and Founder of Facebook (source)

Summary: Yet another major player walks away from Facebook’s code because of software patents

THE history of Facebook when it comes to patents is anything but relieving.

Facebook’s dirty patent games have in fact just driven away another company. We didn’t write much about this controversy until recently (relegated to our daily links), but now that the cautionary tale grows wings we decided it’s worth a mention. Last night there was another new example of this, with Gitlab being the latest to walk away. As The Register put it:

Using GraphQL, an increasingly popular query language for grabbing data, may someday infringe upon pending Facebook patents, making the technology inherently problematic for corporate usage.

In an analysis posted to Medium and in a related discussion in the GraphQL repo on GitHub, attorney and developer Dennis Walsh observed that Facebook’s GraphQL specification doesn’t include a patent license. In other words: using GraphQL in your software may lead to your code infringing a Facebook-held patent on the technology in future.

“The patents (as of a few weeks ago) were granted but not issued,” said Walsh in an email to The Register today. ”Damages can start before issuance but litigation cannot. But post-issuance, the threat is very real. My reading of two GraphQL granted applications and the GraphQL spec is that any properly implemented GraphQL server infringes.”

What’s pleasing to see here is that fairly large companies, not just individual developers, are willing to throw away code because of patent clauses. Spectators should take that for a sign that software patents have no room in software development. There’s a price to be paid for clinging onto them.

Links 20/9/2017: Wine Staging 2.17, Randa 2017, Redox OS 0.3.3

2 hours 37 min ago

Contents GNU/Linux
  • 5 fundamental differences between Windows 10 and Linux

    This comparison really only scratches the surface. And don’t get me wrong, there are areas where Windows 10 bests Linux (few, but they do exist). In the end, however, the choice is yours. Chances are you’ll be making the choice based on which platform will allow you get more work done and do so with a certain level of efficiency and reliability. I would highly recommend, to anyone, if Linux can enable you to get your work done…give it a go and see if you don’t find it more dependable and predictable.

  • Desktop
    • Manchester police still relies on Windows XP

      England’s second biggest police force has revealed that more than one in five of its computers were still running Windows XP as of July.
      Greater Manchester Police told the BBC that 1,518 of its PCs ran the ageing operating system, representing 20.3% of all the office computers it used.
      Microsoft ended nearly all support for the operating system in 2014. Experts say its use could pose a hacking risk.
      The figure was disclosed as part of a wider Freedom of Information request.
      “Even if security vulnerabilities are identified in XP, Microsoft won’t distribute patches in the same way it does for later releases of Windows,” said Dr Steven Murdoch, a cyber-security expert at University College London.

    • Pixelbook leak: Google’s new high-end Chromebook expected October 4

      According to Droid Life, on October 4, Google will release the first new retail version of the Chromebook Pixel since 2015, the Pixelbook.

      The Chomebook Pixel was the Rolls-Royce of Chromebooks. It was faster, more powerful, and came with a better display than any other laptop in its day. Google, however, decided that, while the company would still release new Pixels for in-house use, it wouldn’t sell them.

      Thanks to Chromebook Pixel fans, Google has elected to start selling this luxury Chromebook again.

    • Linux: Come for the Kernel, Stay for the Popcorn

      Linux offers so much for users to sink their teeth into that even among desktop and more casual users, it’s easy to get caught up in the tradecraft. It’s only too tempting to put your system’s technical capabilities to the test by trying out a new program or practicing a new command. As with any other interest, though, Linux is not much fun unless you can revel in it with fellow fans and enjoy the camaraderie.

      Here’s a short tour of some of the major cultural hallmarks of the vibrant Linux world, and some of the hubs where you can witness and indulge in the Linux life.

  • Server
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Kernel 4.12 Reached End of Life, Users Are Urged to Move to Linux 4.13

      Greg Kroah-Hartman published on Wednesday new maintenance updates for various of the supported Linux kernel branches that he maintains, including the Linux 4.12 series, which appears to have reached end of life.

    • Linux 4.9.51
    • Linux 4.13.3
    • Linux 4.12.14
    • Linux Weather Forecast

      This page is an attempt to track ongoing developments in the Linux development community that have a good chance of appearing in a mainline kernel and/or major distributions sometime in the near future. Your “chief meteorologist” is Jonathan Corbet, Executive Editor at LWN.net. If you have suggestions on improving the forecast (and particularly if you have a project or patchset that you think should be tracked), please add your comments below.

    • Graphics Stack
      • A New DRM Driver Is Coming For Linux 4.15

        TVE200 is a new Direct Rendering Manager driver being queued for Linux 4.15.

        The TVE200 DRM driver is for the Faraday Tech TVE200 “TV encoder” block. This mini driver was written by Linus Walleij of Linaro.

      • XDC2017 Kicks Off With X.Org, Wayland & Graphics Talks

        The X.Org Developers Conference kicked off a short time ago at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA. But even if you are not at the event, there is a livestream.

      • Mesa Sees An Initial Meson Build System Port

        A few months ago was a vibrant discussion about a Meson proposal for libdrm/Mesa while today the initial patches were posted in bringing a possible Meson build system port for Mesa.

      • NVIDIA Offers Update On Their Proposed Unix Device Memory Allocation Library

        James Jones of NVIDIA presented this morning at XDC2017 with their annual update on a new Unix device memory allocation library. As a reminder, this library originated from NVIDIA’s concerns over the Generic Buffer Manager (GBM) currently used by Wayland compositors not being suitable for use with their driver’s architecture and then the other driver developers not being interested in switching to EGLStreams, NVIDIA’s original push for supporting Wayland.

      • NVIDIA Legacy Linux Drivers Updated With Newer Kernel Support

        NVIDIA has issued new releases of its two legacy drivers for Linux.

        The NVIDIA 340.104 driver is now available for older Tesla architecture graphics processors while the NVIDIA 304.137 is out for the GeForce 6 and GeForce 7 generations.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Call for design: Artful Banner for Kubuntu.org website

        Kubuntu 17.10 — code-named Artful Aardvark — will be released on October 19th, 2017. We need a new banner for the website, and invite artists and designers to submit designs to us based on the Plasma wallpaper and perhaps the mascot design.

      • Randa 2017 Report – Marble Maps

        Just came back home yesterday from Randa Meetings 2017. This year, even though my major motive for the sprint was to use Qt 5.8’s Qt Speech module instead of custom Java for text-to-speech during navigation, that could not be achieved because of a bug which made the routes not appear in the app in the first place. And this bug is reproducible both by using latest code, and old-enough code, and is even there in the prod app in the Google Play Store itself. So, although most of my time had gone in deep-diving on the issue, unfortunately I was not able to find the root-cause to it eventually. I will need to pick up on that in the coming weeks again when I get time, to get it fixed.

      • Kube in Randa

        I’ve spent the last few days with fellow KDE hackers in beautiful Randa in the Swiss Mountains.
        It’s an annual event that focuses on a specific topic every year, and this time accessibility was up, so Michael and me made our way up here to improve Kube in that direction (and to enjoy the scenic surroundings of course).

      • KMyMoney’s Łukasz Wojniłowicz in Randa

        Please read the following guest post from Łukasz who joined me last week in Randa to work on KMyMoney.

      • Randa 2017 – Databases are back to KMyMoney

        On the morning of Day 5 we chased and fixed a problem that was introduced a long time ago but never caused any trouble. The code goes back into the KDE3 version of KMyMoney and was caused by some changes inside Qt5. The fix prevents a crash when saving a transaction which opens an additional dialog to gather more information (e.g. price information). With the help of other devs here in Randa, we were able to drill down the problem and update the code to work on KF5/Qt5 keeping the existing functionality.

      • Randa 2017 – Days 3 and 4

        On Day 3, we started out at 7:02 as usual with the team responsible for breakfast meeting in the kitchen.

        KMyMoney wise, we worked some more on keyboard navigation and porting to KF5. The dialog to open a database and the logic around it have been rewritten/fixed, so that it is now possible to collect the information from the user and proceed with opening. The database I have on file for testing does not open though due to another problem which I still need to investigate.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Usability testing for early-stage software prototypes

        In this article, Ciarrai Cunneen and I describe how to do a paper-based usability test, using an early redesign of the GNOME Settings app as an example. The updated Settings features in GNOME 3.26, released on September 13.

        When writing open source software, we often obsess about making our logic elegant and concise, coming up with clever ways to execute tasks and demonstrate ideas. But we sometimes forget a key fact: Software is not useful if it is not easy to use.

        To make sure our programs can be used by our intended audience, we need usability testing. Usability is basically asking the question, “Can people easily use this thing?” or “Can real people use the software to do real tasks in a reasonable amount of time?” Usability is crucial to the creative process of building anything user-based. If real people can’t use our software, then all the hard work of creating it is pointless.

        [...]

        In early 2016, GNOME decided to make a major UI update to its Settings application. This visual refresh shifts from an icon-based menu to drop-down lists and adds important changes to several individual Settings panels. The GNOME design team wanted to test these early-stage design changes to see how easily real people could navigate the new GNOME Settings application. Previously, GNOME relied on traditional usability tests, where users explore the software’s UI directly. But this wouldn’t work, since the software updates hadn’t been completed.

      • GNOME Foundation partners with Purism to support its efforts to build the Librem 5 smartphone

        The GNOME Foundation has provided their endorsement and support of Purism’s efforts to build the Librem 5, which if successful will be the world’s first free and open smartphone with end-to-end encryption and enhanced user protections. The Librem 5 is a hardware platform the Foundation is interested in advancing as a GNOME/GTK phone device. The GNOME Foundation is committed to partnering with Purism to create hackfests, tools, emulators, and build awareness that surround moving GNOME/GTK onto the Librem 5 phone.

        As part of the collaboration, if the campaign is successful the GNOME Foundation plans to enhance GNOME shell and general performance of the system with Purism to enable features on the Librem 5.

      • Now GNOME Foundation Wants to Support Purism’s Privacy-Focused Linux Smartphone

        GNOME Foundation, the non-profit organization behind the popular GNOME desktop environment designed for Linux-based operating systems, announced on Wednesday that they plan on supporting Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone.

        The announcement comes only a week after KDE unveiled their plans to work with Purism on an implementation of their Plasma Mobile interface into the security- and privacy-focused Librem 5 Linux smartphone, and now GNOME is interested in advancing the Librem 5 hardware platform as a GNOME/GTK+ phone device.

        “Having a Free/Libre and Open Source software stack on a mobile device is a dream-come-true for so many people, and Purism has the proven team to make this happen. We are very pleased to see Purism and the Librem 5 hardware be built to support GNOME,” said Neil McGovern, Executive Director, GNOME Foundation.

      • GNOME Joins The Librem 5 Party, Still Needs To Raise One Million More Dollars

        One week after announcing KDE cooperation on the proposed Librem 5 smartphone with plans to get Plasma Mobile on the device if successful, the GNOME Foundation has sent out their official endorsement of Purism’s smartphone dream.

        Purism had been planning to use GNOME from the start for their GNU/Linux-powered privacy-minded smartphone while as of today they have the official backing of the GNOME Foundation.

      • GNOME partners with Purism on Librem 5 Linux-based privacy-focused smartphone

        The Librem 5 smartphone by Purism has a long and difficult road ahead of it. Competing against the likes of Apple and Google on the mobile market has proven to be a death sentence for many platforms — including Microsoft with its failed Windows 10 Mobile. With that said, I am rooting for Purism and its Pure OS, as the world would benefit from a device that uses Linux and focuses on both privacy and security. Such an alternative to iPhone and Android would be a breath of fresh air.

        Luckily, Purism has found itself a new partner on this project — one of the most important organizations in the Linux community — The GNOME Foundation. Yes, the maker of the absolute best desktop environment is offering to assist with the Librem 5 — if it is successfully crowdfunded, that is. To date, it is only about 33-percent funded, although there is still more than a month to go.

      • GNOME Foundation Gives its Backing to Purism’s Linux Phone

        The GNOME Foundation has today given its backing to Purism’s ambition of building a free, open-source smartphone with user privacy and encryption as a central feature.

  • Distributions
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • A Quick Review Of PCLinuxOS

        Sometimes while I review distros I come across some cool distros that many persons don’t know about. PCLinuxOS is one of them. A user-friendly, stable and quite cool in features and app selection are the things that made me love this distro.

    • Slackware Family
      • liveslak 1.1.9 and new ISO images

        The ‘liveslak‘ scripts used to create the ISO images for Slackware Live Edition have been stamped with a new version, 1.1.9. The updates are significant enough to warrant an ‘official’ update and new ISO images.

        The latest set of Slackware Live Edition ISOs are based on liveslak 1.1.9 and Slackware-current dated “Tue Sep 19 20:49:07 UTC 2017“. Just in time (I was already creating ISOS based on -current “Mon Sep 18 19:15:03 UTC 2017“) I noticed that Patrick downgraded the freetype package in Slackware, and I re-generated all of the ISO images to incorporate the latest freetype package – because that one is working and the previous one had serious issues.

        If you already use a Slackware Live USB stick that you do not want to re-format, you should use the “-r” parameter to the “iso2usb.sh” script. The “-r” or refresh parameter allows you to refresh the liveslak files on your USB stick without touching your custom content.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Free software log (July and August 2017)

        August was DebConf, which included a ton of Policy work thanks to Sean Whitton’s energy and encouragement. During DebConf, we incorporated work from Hideki Yamane to convert Policy to reStructuredText, which has already made it far easier to maintain. (Thanks also to David Bremner for a lot of proofreading of the result.) We also did a massive bug triage and closed a ton of older bugs on which there had been no forward progress for many years.

        After DebConf, as expected, we flushed out various bugs in the reStructuredText conversion and build infrastructure. I fixed a variety of build and packaging issues and started doing some more formatting cleanup, including moving some footnotes to make the resulting document more readable.

      • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, August 2017

        Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

      • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #125

        16 package reviews have been added, 99 have been updated and 92 have been removed in this week, adding to our knowledge about identified issues.

      • Derivatives
        • There’s Now a Windows 10 Installer for the Debian-Based Q4OS Linux Distribution

          The Q4OS development team is pleased to inform us today about the immediate availability for download of a Windows installer for their Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution, Q4OS, allowing users to create a dual-boot environment on their PCs.

          For those not familiar to Q4OS, it’s an open-source and free Linux distro based on the popular Debian GNU/Linux operating system and built around the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE), which resembles the look and feel of the old-school KDE 3.5 desktop environment.

          Created with an emphasis on Windows users who want to migrate to a free, open-source, and more secure operating system, Q4OS now lets them install the distribution alongside Microsoft Windows in an easy manner, without having to do any modifications to your personal computer or install any other apps.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu GNOME Shell in Artful: Day 13

            Now that GNOME 3.26 is released, available in Ubuntu artful, and final GNOME Shell UI is confirmed, it’s time to adapt our default user experience to it. Let’s discuss how we worked with dash to dock upstream on the transparency feature. For more background on our current transition to GNOME Shell in artful, you can refer back to our decisions regarding our default session experience as discussed in my blog post.

          • Ubuntu Server Development Summary – 19 Sep 2017
          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter 519

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This is issue #519 for the weeks of September 5 – 18, 2017, and the full version is available here.

          • Ubuntu Desktop default application survey results

            Canonical has released the results of its default applications survey for the 18.04 long-term support release of Ubuntu.

            The results of the previous survey – for Ubuntu 17.10, dubbed Artful Aardvark – yielded great suggestions, many of which have made their way into the beta version of the operating system.

            For Ubuntu 18.04, over 15,000 responses were processed by the Ubuntu Desktop team.

            “The team is now hard at work evaluating many of the suggested applications,” said Canonical.

          • Ubuntu Dock Now Has Dynamic Transparency

            Ubuntu devs have listened to our gripe on the jarring contrast between GNOME 3.26′s transparent top bar and the Ubuntu Dock.

          • Ubuntu Dock Features Adaptive Transparency on Ubuntu 17.10, Here’s How It Works

            Ubuntu contributor Didier Roche continues his development on the look and feel of the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system, and today he announced that Ubuntu Dock is getting adaptive transparency.

            Canonical confirmed that Ubuntu 17.10 would come with the GNOME 3.26 desktop environment by default, though the default session has suffered numerous modifications compared to the vanilla one to make things easier for those using the Unity interface on Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

            Most probably, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS users won’t upgrade to Ubuntu 17.10, but we’re sure Ubuntu 17.04 users will because it’ll reach end of life in about four months from the moment of writing, sometime in January 2018. Therefore, Canonical wants to make their Unity to GNOME transition as painless as possible.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” Information Released

              Linux Mint Project Leader Clement Lefebvre, otherwise known as “Clem” released a blog post on Sept. 18, giving some information about the upcoming release of Linux Mint 18.3, dubbed “Sylvia.”

              In his blog post Lefebvre gave some ideas to some of the pieces of software and changes that will be coming, such as the inclusion of the popular system restoration tool Timeshift.

              For those of you who haven’t used Timeshift, it’s an application that creates snapshots of your system, and then restores them later, similar to Windows System Restore, or Mac OS’s Time Machine.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Architecting the future with abstractions and metadata

    The modern data center is built on abstractions, with Docker, Kubernetes, and OpenShift leading the way.

  • SRT open-source video project adds transfer, multiplexing features that can reduce streaming costs

    The SRT Alliance, an open-source initiative focused on developing methods for low-latency video streaming, has released version 1.3 of the SRT video transport protocol.

    This version supports encrypted fast file transfer of VOD files and the multiplexing of streams within the same network port.

    Founded by streaming video providers Haivision and Wowza, the SRT Alliance is focused on developing an open source alternative to proprietary technologies.

  • Redox OS 0.3.3 Released, Lowers RAM Usage

    The Rust-written Redox operating system is out with a new feature release.

    Redox OS 0.3.3 is the operating system’s new version and its primary benefit is much lower memory use. Redox OS 0.3.3 is now using just about 480MB of RAM rather than around 1.3GB.

  • Events
    • Watch the Keynote Videos from Open Source Summit in Los Angeles

      If you weren’t able to attend Open Source Summit North America 2017 in Los Angeles, don’t worry! We’ve rounded up the following keynote presentations so you can hear from the experts about the growing impact of open source software.

    • uniprof: Transparent Unikernel for Performance Profiling and Debugging

      Unikernels are small and fast and give Docker a run for its money, while at the same time still giving stronger features of isolation, says Florian Schmidt, a researcher at NEC Europe, who has developed uniprof, a unikernel performance profiler that can also be used for debugging. Schmidt explained more in his presentation at Xen Summit in Budapest in July.

      Most developers think that unikernels are hard to create and debug. This is not entirely true: Unikernels are a single linked binary that come with a shared address space, which mean you can use gdb. That said, developers do lack tools, such as effective profilers, that would help create and maintain unikernels.

  • Web Browsers
  • SaaS/Back End
    • Fast track Apache Spark

      These tips highlight Spark’s ability to deliver serious gains in productivity despite limited user computing capability. There is definitely an ideal Spark setup for each organization’s particular needs. One or all of the following will most likely be necessary once there is buy-in from stakeholders to create a robust analytics system: expanding to a cluster setup, building a data warehouse, and utilizing an infrastructure team. My hope is that this post has given you some tips to make it easier to create a proof-of-concept with Spark that justifies stakeholder investment, and that it has provided some pointers if you decide that a bare bones Spark setup is best for you.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Marketing activities so far in 2017: Mike Saunders

      Thanks to donations to The Document Foundation, along with valued contributions from our community, we maintain a small team working on various aspects of LibreOffice including documentation, user interface design, quality assurance, release engineering and marketing. Together with Italo Vignoli, I help with the latter, and today I’ll summarise some of the achievements so far in 2017.

  • CMS
    • Magento’s Open Source Release

      On 14th September 2017, Magento released “Open Source” (Magento 2.1.9) which seeks to improve and upgrade current Magento software.

      According to the Magento team, the new release contains 40 security fixes and enhancements.

  • Education
    • 7 Things You Should Know About… Open Source Projects in Education

      Halfway through the semester, Dr. Margaret Broadwater was excited by the progress her students were making in her course Open Source Software Development. Working with open source software projects and development communities gave her students hands-on experience with software development practices, technology frameworks, data structures, and product development. Students also completed installation exercises for open source projects from both developers’ and users’ perspectives, followed by finding and patching bugs in the software. Broadwater knew that her students were learning more than just how to work their way around code. In talking with students she emphasized that open source code was the heart of applications that had become ubiquitous in business and education, including Chrome and Firefox, and was the driver for software like the Apache web server, Fedora Linux, and OpenSSL. Moreover, open source had gained purchase in use by companies, organizations, and government agencies and was thus something they would need to know once they entered the workplace as software devel- opers and engineers. Broadwater knew that by working on open source projects in depth, her students were also learning about the ethos of building code in a community of developers—and, indeed, were becoming part of that community.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • LibrePlanet 2018: Let’s talk about Freedom. Embedded.

      The call for sessions is open now, until November 2nd, 2017. General registration and exhibitor and sponsor registration are also open. Pre-order a LibrePlanet 10th anniversary t-shirt when you register to attend!

      Do you want to discuss or teach others about a topic relevant to the free software community? You’ve got until Thursday, November 2nd, 2017 at 10:00 EDT (14:00 UTC) to submit your session proposals.

      LibrePlanet is an annual conference for free software enthusiasts and everyone who cares about the intersection of technology and social justice. For the past nine years, LibrePlanet has brought together free software developers, policy experts, activists, hackers, students, and people who are at the beginning of their free software journeys. LibrePlanet 2018 will feature programming for all ages and experience levels.

    • LibrePlanet free software conference celebrates 10th anniversary, CFP and registration open now

      The call for proposals is open now, until November 2, 2017. General registration and exhibitor and sponsor registration are also open.

      LibrePlanet is an annual conference for free software enthusiasts and anyone who cares about the intersection of technology and social justice. For the past nine years, LibrePlanet has brought together free software developers, policy experts, activists, hackers, students, and people who are at the beginning of their free software journeys. LibrePlanet 2018 will feature programming for all ages and experience levels.

    • dot-zed extractor
    • FSFE Newsletter – September 2017

      To push our demand, the FSFE launched a new campaign last week: “Public Money Public Code”. The campaign explains the benefits of releasing publicly funded Software under free licences with a short inspiring video and an open letter to sign. Furthermore, the campaign and the open letter will be used in the coming months until the European Parliament election in 2019 to highlight good and bad examples of publicly funded software development and its potential reuse.

    • Free Software Foundation Europe Leads Call For Taxpayer-Funded Software To Be Licensed For Free Re-use

      Considered objectively, it’s hard to think of any good reasons why code that is paid for by the public should not be released publicly as a matter of course. The good news is that this “public money, public code” argument is precisely the approach that open access advocates have used with considerable success in the field of academic publishing, so there’s hope it might gain some traction in the world of software too.

    • New FSF membership benefit: LibreOffice certification

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced that the opportunity to apply for LibreOffice certification for migrations and trainings is now available to FSF Associate Members.

      LibreOffice is a free software project of The Document Foundation (TDF), a non-profit based in Germany. An office suite, LibreOffice encompasses word processing, and programs for the creation and editing of spreadsheets, slideshows, databases, diagrams and drawings, and mathematical formulae. It uses the ISO standard OpenDocument file format (ODF).

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
  • Programming/Development
    • LipidFinder: An Open-Source Python Workflow for Novel Lipid Discovery

      Obtaining precise, high-quality lipidomic (or metabolomic) datasets comes with its challenges. One factor that I am sure comes to mind is the ability to minimize, or even better, eliminate those large numbers of artefacts that could otherwise hinder your mass spectrometry data analysis, to ensure accurate interpretation.

    • The Github threat

      The Github application belongs to a single entity, Github Inc, a US company which manage it alone. So, a unique company under US legislation manages the access to most of Free Software application code sources, which may be a problem with groups using it when a code source is no longer available, for political or technical reason.

    • Stack Overflow gives an even closer look at developer salaries

      Today, Stack Overflow announced a slightly more useful application for that same data, with the Stack Overflow Salary Calculator. Tell it where you live, how much experience and education you have, and what kind of developer you are, and it will tell you the salary range you should expect to make in five national markets (US, Canada, UK, France, Germany) and a handful of cities (New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, London, Paris, Berlin).

    • IBM open-sources a microservices-friendly Java app server

      A few weeks ago, Nginx released its multilanguage microservices-friendly app server, but without Java support at launch. Now IBM has a beta build of its own microservices-friendly app server for Java applications: the open source Open Liberty, which implements IBM’s version of Java EE and MicroProfile microservices implementation.

      Open Liberty will provide a runtime supporting Java microservices that can be quickly updated and moved among different cloud environments. When combined with the Eclipse OpenJ9 Java Virtual Machine, OpenLiberty will provide a full Java stack, IBM said. (OpenJ9 had been IBM’s J9 JVM, which it contributed to the Eclipse Foundation that now manages Java EE.)

    • The Future of HHVM

      Several months ago, PHP officially announced the end-of-life for PHP5.

      The HHVM team is happy about the direction PHP has taken with PHP7, and we’re proud of the role we’ve played in pushing the language and runtime to where they are today. Since the PHP community is finally saying goodbye to PHP5, we’ve decided to do so as well.

    • The Ten Essentials for Good API Documentation
Leftovers
  • Science
    • An introduction to machine learning today

      Machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML/AI) mean different things to different people, but the newest approaches have one thing in common: They are based on the idea that a program’s output should be created mostly automatically from a high-dimensional and possibly huge dataset, with minimal or no intervention or guidance from a human. Open source tools are used in a variety of machine learning and artificial intelligence projects. In this article, I’ll provide an overview of the state of machine learning today.

      In the past, AI programs usually were explicitly programmed to perform tasks. In most cases, the machine’s “learning” consisted of adjusting a few parameters, guiding the fixed implementation to add facts to a collection of other facts (a knowledge database), then (efficiently) searching the knowledge database for a solution to a problem, in the form of a path of many small steps from one known solution to the next. In some cases, the database wouldn’t need to or couldn’t be explicitly stored and therefore had to be rebuilt.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Media ‘Extremes’ on Healthcare: Universal Coverage or Taking Healthcare From Millions

      For many years, corporate media have largely ignored a single-payer system as a possible solution to the United States healthcare crises (FAIR.org, 3/6/09). This silent treatment, however, is increasingly hard to justify now that the most popular politician in the country has forced the issue into the mainstream of the Democratic Party.

      Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill now has 16 cosponsors, up from zero when he introduced a similar bill in 2013. Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, a record 119 of 194 Democrats are cosponsors of HR676, John Conyers’ single-payer legislation. The math is simple enough: 135 of 242 Democrats in Congress (and counting) are on the record as supporting the federal government assuming responsibility for the costs of healthcare.

      Unable to continue ignoring the policy, corporate media have, with predictable uniformity, undermined it as utopian nonsense. The typical elite narrative since Sanders’ bill was announced last Wednesday has been to amplify the same kind of scare tactics that have been injected into the national discourse for decades (at a considerable expense) by the for-profit health industry, the American Medical Association (AMA) and right-wing think tanks.

    • See jerkface bacteria hiding in tumors and gobbling chemotherapy drugs
    • Single Payer, the Democratic Party and the Non Profit Industrial Complex

      It’s not just the likes of Sierra Club taking $25 million from Chesapeake Energy and backing natural gas expansion or Sierra Club aligning itself with Clorox to greenwash the company. Or nominally anti-corruption groups like Transparency International in the United States and Canada getting taken over by corporate lobbyists and law firms.

      It’s more the public interest careerists who want to be players. And to be a player means to cut deals. And to cut deals means to cut out the grassroots activists, who are less likely to want to cut deals.

    • So Much for States’ Rights — GOP Senator Wants to Ban State Single Payer In New Health Care Bill

      Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy plans to use the most recent effort to repeal and replace portions of the Affordable Care Act to push an amendment that would bar states from enacting their own single-payer systems, he told reporters on Monday.

      When asked by The Intercept on Tuesday about the status of his legislation, Kennedy said that the bill’s co-sponsors, Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., told him that the measure already bans single payer, but that he was welcome to offer his amendment either way.

      “I don’t think states should have the authority to take money from the American taxpayer and set up a single-payer system,” Kennedy said. “Now some people think that that’s inconsistent with the idea of flexibility. But that’s what the United States Congress is for. I very much believe in flexibility, and I know the governors want flexibility. But it’s our job to make sure that that money is properly spent.”

    • Without opioids, our collective life expectancy would be 2.5 mos longer

      In a startling announcement, authorities in New York and New Jersey reported Monday that they had confiscated a whopping 122 kilograms (nearly 270 pounds) of opioids worth more than $30 million in a pair of recent busts. One of the seizures yielded 64 kilograms (more than 140 pounds) of the extremely potent fentanyl opioid. That batch alone is enough to provide lethal doses of opioids to 32 million people.

    • Covering All People With Single Payer, Says GOP Senator, Is Not Money ‘Properly Spent’

      Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced his intention Tuesday to introduce four amendments to the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one of which would forbid states from using the law’s block grants to provide residents with a state-run single payer healthcare system—provoking some to question his commitment to the perennial Republican issue of “states’ rights.”

    • Amid Opioid Crisis, Insurers Restrict Pricey, Less Addictive Painkillers

      At a time when the United States is in the grip of an opioid epidemic, many insurers are limiting access to pain medications that carry a lower risk of addiction or dependence, even as they provide comparatively easy access to generic opioid medications.

      The reason, experts say: Opioid drugs are generally cheap while safer alternatives are often more expensive.

  • Security
    • WordPress 4.8.2 Security and Maintenance Release

      WordPress 4.8.2 is now available. This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.

    • Attack on CCleaner Highlights the Importance of Securing Downloads and Maintaining User Trust

      Some of the most worrying kinds of attacks are ones that exploit users’ trust in the systems and softwares they use every day. Yesterday, Cisco’s Talos security team uncovered just that kind of attack in the computer cleanup software CCleaner. Download servers at Avast, the company that owns CCleaner, had been compromised to distribute malware inside CCleaner 5.33 updates for at least a month. Avast estimates that over 2 million users downloaded the affected update. Even worse, CCleaner’s popularity with journalists and human rights activists means that particularly vulnerable users are almost certainly among that number. Avast has advised CCleaner Windows users to update their software immediately.

      This is often called a “supply chain” attack, referring to all the steps software takes to get from its developers to its users. As more and more users get better at bread-and-butter personal security like enabling two-factor authentication and detecting phishing, malicious hackers are forced to stop targeting users and move “up” the supply chain to the companies and developers that make software. This means that developers need to get in the practice of “distrusting” their own infrastructure to ensure safer software releases with reproducible builds, allowing third parties to double-check whether released binary and source packages correspond. The goal should be to secure internal development and release infrastructure to that point that no hijacking, even from a malicious actor inside the company, can slip through unnoticed.

    • Apache bug leaks contents of server memory for all to see—Patch now

      There’s a bug in the widely used Apache Web Server that causes servers to leak pieces of arbitrary memory in a way that could expose passwords or other secrets, a freelance journalist has disclosed.

      The vulnerability can be triggered by querying a server with what’s known as an OPTIONS request. Like the better-known GET and POST requests, OPTIONS is a type of HTTP method that allows users to determine which HTTP requests are supported by the server. Normally, a server will respond with GET, POST, OPTIONS, and any other supported methods. Under certain conditions, however, responses from Apache Web Server include the data stored in computer memory. Patches are available here and here.

    • The Pirate Bay Takes Heat for Testing Monero Mining

      Cryptocurrencies usually are mined with CPU power initially, she told LinuxInsider. Users then find ways to speed up the hashing before going to GPU. They build specialized hardware and field programmable gate array (FPGA) chips to carry out the hashing function in order to mine much faster.

      [...]

      The notion that The Pirate Bay effectively would borrow resources from its own users is not the problem, suggested Jessica Groopman, principal analyst at Tractica.

    • Safer but not immune: Cloud lessons from the Equifax breach
    • Warning: If you are using this Kodi repository, you could be in danger

      Kodi is quite possibly the best media center software of all time. If you are looking to watch videos or listen to music, the open source solution provides an excellent overall experience. Thanks to its support for “addons,” it has the potential to become better all the time. You see, developers can easily add new functionality by writing an addon for the platform. And yes, some addons can be used for piracy, but not all of them are. These addons, such as Exodus and Covenant, are normally added using a repository, which hosts them.

      [...]

      We do not know 100 percent if the person that re-registered the metalkettle name on GitHub is planning anything evil, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

    • Infrared signals in surveillance cameras let malware jump network air gaps

      The malware prototype could be a crucial ingredient for attacks that target some of the world’s most sensitive networks. Militaries, energy producers, and other critical infrastructure providers frequently disconnect such networks from the Internet as a precaution. In the event malware is installed, there is no way for it to make contact with attacker-controlled servers that receive stolen data or issue new commands. Such airgaps are one of the most basic measures for securing highly sensitive information and networks.

      The proof-of-concept malware uses connected surveillance cameras to bridge such airgaps. Instead of trying to use the Internet to reach attacker-controlled servers, the malware weaves passwords, cryptographic keys, and other types of data into infrared signals and uses a camera’s built-in infrared lights to transmit them. A nearby attacker then records the signals with a video camera and later decodes embedded secrets. The same nearby attackers can embed data into infrared signals and beam them to an infected camera, where they’re intercepted and decoded by the network malware. The covert channel works best when attackers have a direct line of sight to the video camera, but non-line-of-sight communication is also possible in some cases.

    • Turning Off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in iOS 11′s Control Center Doesn’t Actually Turn Off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth [Ed: Proprietary software means you cannot trust it and anything you think it does it likely won't]

      Turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you’re not using them on your smartphone has long been standard, common sense, advice. Unfortunately, with the iPhone’s new operating system iOS 11, turning them off is not as easy as it used to be.

      Now, when you toggle Bluetooth and Wi-Fi off from the iPhone’s Control Center—the somewhat confusing menu that appears when you swipe up from the bottom of the phone—it actually doesn’t completely turn them off. While that might sound like a bug, that’s actually what Apple intended in the new operating system. But security researchers warn that users might not realize this and, as a consequence, could leave Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on without noticing.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Afghanistan Again?
    • Trump Apparently Wants a Massive Military Parade. ‘What’s Next, Portraits of Dear Leader Everywhere?’

      Citing France’s Bastille Day celebration in July—a “dramatic show of pageantry” featuring thousands of French troops and dozens of military jets—U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday suggested that he would like the United States to put on a massive display of “military might” on Independence Day, a proposal commentators immediately portrayed as evidence of Trump’s affinity for authoritarian displays of force.

    • Starve Them to Death: Wall Street Journal’s Solution to North Korea
    • An Escalating North Korea Crisis

      With President Trump demeaning North Korea’s leader as “Rocket Man” and threatening to “totally destroy” North Korea, tensions over Kim Jong Un’s nuclear missile program grow worse, as Dennis J Bernstein reports.

      [...]

      On August 21, the joint US/South Korean war games took place, but they were scaled down a little bit. So, instead of the usual 25,000 US troops, there were 17,500 US troops. That is not an insignificant de-escalation. In response to the war games, the North Koreans fired three short-range missiles.

      A little while later the US conducted new war games with Japan; And North Korea, to express its displeasure, fired an ICBM, which flew over Hokkaido and landed in the ocean. The US retaliated by bringing in B-1 bombers that were doing decapitation runs. This is exactly the kind of strategic asset deployment that the North Koreans consider to be a red line.

      In response to that, they detonated what they claim is an H-bomb on September 3. Later reports said that it was 6.3 on the Richter scale, somewhere between 100 and 150 kilotons, making it ten to fifteen times the power of the Hiroshima bomb. They claimed that this was the perfect test, that it was adjustable and that they were also capable of launching an electromagnetic pulse.

      So, if we look back, we can see a tit-for-tat process. In game theory, this is the only procedure that has been shown to result in de-escalation between two parties who are in conflict and who do not have accurate information.

    • Dealing with North Korean Missiles

      The real purpose of North Korea’s two recent missile tests over Japan is to cause a rupture in relations among the US, China, Japan, and South Korea. Rather than attack Japan, which would galvanize the US-Japan security treaty, these missiles provoke debate in Japan—about US reliability, Japan’s constitutional limitations on taking defensive or offensive action against a threat, and choices of weapons systems (including everything from missile defense to nuclear weapons). All these issues have implications for Japan’s relations with South Korea and China, both of which would strongly protest a major military buildup by Japan and undermine trilateral cooperation in dealing with North Korea.

    • Trump’s War on the North Korean People

      Amid renewed talk by the Trump administration of a military option against North Korea, one salient fact goes unnoticed. The United States is already at war with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK – the formal name for North Korea). It is doing so through non-military means, with the aim of inducing economic collapse. In a sense, the policy is a continuation of the Obama administration’s ‘strategic patience’ on steroids, in that it couples a refusal to engage in diplomacy with the piling on of sanctions that constitute collective punishment of the entire North Korean population.

      We are told that UN Security Council resolution 2375, passed on September 11, was “watered down” so as to obtain Chinese and Russian agreement. In relative terms, this is true, in that the original draft as submitted by the United States called for extreme measures such as a total oil embargo. However, Western media give the impression that the resolution as passed is mild or mainly symbolic. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    • Trump Falls in Line with Interventionism

      President Trump’s U.N. speech showed that despite his America First rhetoric, his policies are virtually the same as the neocon strategies of George W. Bush and liberal interventionism of Barack Obama, says Robert Parry.

    • The Greatest Threat Facing America

      The greatest threat facing America is not “radical Islamic terrorism.” Nor is it North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons, eliciting American UN ambassador Nikki Haley’s propagandistic charge that Kim Jong-un is ”begging for war.“ Nor is America’s greatest threat Muslim immigrants’ believed to be intent on gaining power and establishing Sharia law. Nor is it hordes of “criminally-disposed” Mexicans, whose “invading” presence is assumed to require more deportation officers and a border wall. Neither is it “inner city crime.” Nor is it about Black Lives Matter people, who are seen by many as a threat to established white status quo order.

      [...]

      Before running for president, Donald Trump was not guided by law and order in his business dealings. He faced lawsuits for refusing to rent apartments to black persons in his buildings. (See “ ‘No Vacancies’ for Blacks: How Donald Trump Got His Start, and Was First Accused of Bias,” By Jonathan Mahler and Steve Eder, The New York Times, Aug. 27, 2016) He became a one-man vigilante committee, taking out ads in New York City papers, claiming five black and Latino Harlem teenagers were guilty of assaulting and raping a white woman in Central Park and calling for reestablishing the death penalty. The teens spent several years in jail, and were finally released and awarded $41 million dollars after a serial rapist confessed to the crime and no DNA evidence had connected them to it. (See “Trump continues to blast Central Park Five long after they were exonerated: ‘They admitted they were guilty,’ “ By David Boroff, New York Daily News, Oct. 7, 2016) Trump says he is about protecting American workers, yet, as reported, “At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings reviewed by the USA TODAY NETWORK document people who have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work.” (“USA TODAY exclusive: Hundreds allege Donald Trump doesn’t pay his bills: among those who say billionaire didn’t pay: dishwashers, painter, waiters,“ By Steve Reilly, USATODAY, June 9, 2016).

    • A Captured American ISIS Fighter Could Undermine the Whole War

      An American citizen fighting for the so-called Islamic State is currently in the U.S. military’s custody. If Donald Trump decides to keep him there, it could spark a far-reaching legal challenge that could have a catastrophic effect on the entire war against ISIS, leading national security lawyers say.

      The unnamed American, whom the Pentagon says surrendered to U.S.-allied forces battling ISIS in Syria around Sept. 12, is currently held by the military as an enemy combatant. Multiple officials told The Daily Beast that the Trump administration has yet to decide whether that will be his long-term fate.

      Neither the Defense Department nor the Justice Department would comment Monday on active deliberations concerning whether the American will face criminal charges in the United States or remain a military detainee. “The disposition for any detainee is ultimately determined by what best supports the national security of the United States and of our allies and partners, consistent with domestic and international law,” said the Pentagon’s detentions spokesman, Maj. Ben Sakrisson.

    • US’ NSA Knew About India’s Secret Missile Projects: Edward Snowden’s Documents
    • US Knew About India’s Secret Missile Programmes in 2005: Leaked Documents
    • From Edward Snowden trove: US had data on Indian nuclear missiles in 2005
    • The Empire’s Hustle: Why Anti-Trumpism Doesn’t Include Anti-War

      Libertarian U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) declared from the Senate floor last week in anticipation of the vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2018:

      “I rise today to oppose unauthorized, undeclared and unconstitutional war…What we have today is basically unlimited war, anywhere, anytime, any place upon the globe.”

      With these words, Paul became one of the few voices to oppose the obscenity that is known as U.S. war policy. But only two other senators joined him: Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). But there is a wrinkle here: Paul is not concerned with the size of the military budget. He’s pointing his finger at the continuation of the Authorization to Use Military Force Act (AUMF) of 2001, which was the “legal” basis for the U.S. global “war on terror.” He wants Congress to re-assess this legislation that has prompted endless wars abroad.

      After Paul’s amendment to the NDAA was defeated, the Senate went on to approve it with a vote of 89-9 Monday in what the New York Times correctly identified as a bi-partisan effort, to authorize a military budget of $696 billion—an increase in the military budget of almost $75 billion and well over the $54 billion that Pres. Donald Trump had originally proposed.

    • Trump Uses UN Podium to threaten Nuclear Annihilation

      President Donald Trump raised the possibility of launching high-stakes US military operations in three corners of the world on Tuesday, at his first address to the United Nations General Assembly.

      The president targeted North Korea, Iran and Venezuela–which he termed as “rogue regimes,” from the UN podium, in a speech reminiscent of George W. Bush’s pre-Iraq War “Axis of Evil” State of the Union.

      Trump’s harshest rhetoric was reserved for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

      “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” he said.

      Pyongyang has recently conducted intercontinental ballistic missile tests over Japan, including one last week. On September 3, the North Korean military also conducted a hydrogen bomb test. The United Nations Security Council responded by voting to impose harsh economic sanctions on North Korea.

      South Korean officials have reacted to the tests by outlining an “aggressive response,” if Pyongyang is preparing a “missile or nuclear” attack on Seoul.

      While the plan would target “North Korean leadership,” it makes no invocation of the sort of wholesale destruction promised by Trump on Tuesday. Last month, Trump responded to North Korean missile tests by promising “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

    • Rand Paul: Unconstitutional Saudi War in Yemen Is Not in Our Interest and Congress Should Vote

      Last week, on the Senate floor, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) called out US participation in the Saudi war in Yemen.

    • Donald Trump Used the United Nations to Threaten a Massive Violation of International Law

      The United States has never cared much about international law. But most U.S. presidents had at least made an effort to pretend that they did. Based on President Donald Trump’s speech Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly, this is yet another American tradition that he’s discarding.

      [...]

      To clarify the legal significance of Trump’s words, here’s a quick explanation of the rules that purportedly govern the U.S.’s use of force.

      The U.S. was one of the original 26 signatories to the U.N. Charter in June 1945. The U.S. Constitution states that “all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” The U.N. Charter is a treaty, so it therefore is the “supreme law” of the U.S.

      Chapter I, Article 2 of the charter states, “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Governments turn tables by suing public records requesters

      Government bodies are increasingly turning the tables on citizens who seek public records that might be embarrassing or legally sensitive. Instead of granting or denying their requests, a growing number of school districts, municipalities and state agencies have filed lawsuits against people making the requests — taxpayers, government watchdogs and journalists who must then pursue the records in court at their own expense.

    • At Harvard, Chelsea Manning Lost Her Fellowship. At Fordham, a Former CIA Torture Proponent Kept His.

      It took less than 48 hours for Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government to revoke its fellowship invitation to whistleblower Chelsea Manning. The announcement that Manning would be a visiting fellow at the school’s Institute of Politics had been met with resistance from current and former denizens of the national security state — a former CIA director resigned his position as a fellow, and President Donald Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo withdrew from a planned speech at the school.

      About 200 miles south of Cambridge, Massachusetts, an inverse but much quieter debate unfolded after a top CIA veteran was named to an elite university fellowship. This much, however, resembled the row at Harvard: The security state is poised to win out in this showdown, too.

      On September 4, former CIA Director John Brennan began a two-year stint as a “distinguished fellow for global security” at Fordham University’s Center on National Security at Fordham Law, in New York. Brennan, a 1977 Fordham graduate, will participate in discussions at the school, make himself available to students during office hours, and sit in on classes in advance of teaching his own in the future.

      Some in the Fordham community — including faculty and alumni who were involved in activism against awarding Brennan a 2012 honorary doctorate of humane letters from the school — believe naming the former top spy to a fellowship sends the wrong message, especially given Brennan’s record of support for controversial policies.

      “By making him a fellow, Fordham is clearly endorsing the human rights violations committed under Brennan by the CIA through illegal torture and missile strikes,” said Sapphira Lurie, who graduated from Fordham this year. “Brennan’s status as a public figure is a result of severe violations of human rights.” Lurie noted that the administration has, in the past, distanced itself from Brennan’s actions at the CIA, but questioned whether his record outside of the CIA merited accolades from the university: “Why else would they be giving him an honorary degree and a position as a fellow?”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • We’re building roads to withstand last century’s climate

      Does it make sense to build something that will almost certainly end up wrecked before its useful lifetime is over? In most contexts, the answer is clearly “no,” since doing so is a waste of money and resources. But lots of people seem to have a blind spot when it comes to planning ahead for climate change. North Carolina, for example, went through a protracted debate over whether it should allow people to build on sites that were likely to be under water. And the Trump administration recently cancelled rules that were intended to prevent infrastructure from being built where the ocean would rise to meet it.

    • “Potentially catastrophic” Hurricane Maria set to strike Puerto Rico

      Only one Category 5 hurricane has ever made landfall on the island of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. That was the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane that crossed the island with sustained winds of 160mph and caused more than 300 deaths on the island. Later, that storm would become the second-deadliest hurricane in the history of the continental United States, with 2,500 deaths in Florida.

      Now, Hurricane Maria seems likely to become the second Category 5 to hit Puerto Rico. As of 5pm ET, the storm is intensifying, with 165mph sustained winds. Critically, the storm’s central pressure is also falling, and it is down to 916 millibars as of Tuesday evening. At that central pressure, Maria would rank among the 10 most-intense landfalling hurricanes in the Atlantic basin in the last 150 years.

      In response to the threat to the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, warnings from the National Hurricane Center have become increasingly dire during the last 48 hours. In a Tuesday evening public advisory, forecasters warned of Maria’s “potentially catastrophic” winds, rainfall, and storm surge. They urged that final preparations be rushed to completion.

    • ‘Devastating’: Thousands Evacuate as Mexico Struck By Yet Another Massive Earthquake

      On the anniversary of the horrific 1985 earthquake that killed at least 5,000 people, Mexico City on Tuesday was rocked by yet another powerful quake that destroyed buildings and forced thousands to pour into the streets for safety.

      The U.S. Geological Survey placed the quake’s preliminary magnitude at 7.1, and local outlets are reporting that several people have been killed.

    • Trump’s Response to Climate-Related Disasters: Open America’s “Crown Jewels” to Oil Drilling

      You would have thought that after being battered by two devastating hurricanes in recent weeks, which experts believe were fuelled by warmer seas caused by climate change, even the most die-hard climate denier would think again.

      But you would be wrong.

      You would have thought that as the cost of rebuilding after Hurricanes Irma and Harvey mounts, with an estimated bill of $150 billion so far, that politicians would press to move away from a fossil fuel economy.

      But you would be wrong again. In fact the opposite is happening.

      Instead of pushing for clean technology and to end our oil addiction, the Trump Administration is quietly pushing to open up one of America’s great last wilderness areas, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to oil drilling.

    • Hurricane Maria hits Virgin Islands and bears down on Puerto Rico

      Hurricane Maria is edging towards Puerto Rico as the devastating storm continues its north-westerly path across the Caribbean.
      The eye wall of the storm has now reached the outlying island of Vieques, the US National Hurricane Center says.
      The category five hurricane earlier hit St Croix in the US Virgin Islands.
      Dominica was badly hit on Monday night and aerial footage shows flattened houses. Details are scant as communications are down.
      The storm briefly weakened to a four but is now again packing top sustained winds of 280km/h (175mph).

    • Hurricane Maria – live updates: Category 4 storm hits Puerto Rico after battering British Virgin Islands and Dominica
    • Hurricane Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rico
    • Our hurricane-hit islands deserve aid. The rules that block it are wrong

      In a manner reminiscent of Stephen King’s Bazaar of Bad Dreams, dark clouds of despair and destruction hover yet again over the Caribbean with the passage of Hurricane Maria.

      The most recent version of our recurring ecological nightmare included Hurricane Harvey followed by Hurricane Irma, the latter setting a new record of three consecutive days as a category 5 storm with maximum wind speeds of 185mph, and leaving a trail of devastation British foreign secretary Boris Johnson described as “absolutely hellish”.

      Maria’s full fury is yet to be revealed but social media posts from Dominica’s prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, and acting high commissioner for Dominica to the UK, Janet Charles, early on Tuesday morning described the destruction, the latter posting on Facebook: “Dominica has been brutalised by the hurricane. Please let the world know. We need help!” Communications with Dominica have since been lost.

    • Trump admin wants to allow seismic study of Alaska refuge for oil drilling

      The US Department of the Interior (DOI) is moving to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration, which could reverse 30 years of conservation efforts in the far north of the 49th state. According to a document obtained by The Washington Post that was written in mid-August, the DOI requested that the US Fish and Wildlife Service update a 1980s provision to allow new seismic exploration in the Alaska refuge.

    • Fresh Hope Raised of Global Warming Limit

      Scientists in the UK have good news for the 195 nations that pledged to limit global warming to well below 2°C: it can be done. The ideal limit of no more than 1.5°C above the average temperatures for most of human history is possible.

      All it requires is an immediate reduction in the combustion of fossil fuels − a reduction that will continue for the next 40 years, until the world is driven only by renewable energy.

    • Koch Brothers Fuel the GOP’s War on Climate Science

      Now, in the wake of these two unprecedented storms, a third massive hurricane is bearing down on islands already reeling from Irma’s ferocity. Overnight, Hurricane Maria strengthened to a dangerous Category 3 hurricane, and is expected to make a direct hit on Puerto Rico as an even more dangerous Category 4 storm. Puerto Rico sustained serious damage from Irma but was spared the worst of the storm, and it is therefore harboring many who fled the devastation of neighboring islands, and those evacuees are now in harm’s way yet again.

      On The Real News, we have been speaking to leading climate scientists about the clear links between climate change and the ferocity of these storms. In one such interview, which we published on September 7, renowned climate scientist Michael Mann had this to say about the links between climate change and hurricane intensity.

    • Hurricane Maria knocks out power to island of Puerto Rico
    • Still a lethal Category 4 storm, Hurricane Maria pummeling Puerto Rico

      A ferocious Hurricane Maria bore down on Puerto Rico early Wednesday as the island girded for an entire day of vicious winds that are expected to devastate the nation.

      As of 5 a.m, the center of the storm was 50 miles southeast of San Juan – but winds overnight had already pummeled Puerto Rico, toppling trees and sparking flash-flood warnings in the nation’s capital.

      With sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, Maria weakened slightly, enough to make it a still-lethal Category 4 storm.

    • A Proterra electric bus just drove 1,100 miles on a single charge
    • Nikola Motor Company and Bosch team up on long-haul fuel cell truck
    • Setback for group seeking “hockey stick” climate scientists’ e-mails

      Those prone to rejecting the conclusions of climate science sometimes fixate on weird things. For years, there has been a concerted effort to prove that a specific paleoclimate record—often referred to as “the hockey stick” because of the sharp rise at the end—was somehow fraudulent. It doesn’t seem to matter that many other researchers have replicated and advanced those findings. These people seem to feel that all of climate science would come crashing down if you could just dig up a golden e-mail that reveals a dastardly scheme.

      The original record was partly the work of Michael E. Mann, now at Penn State, and he has been hounded ever since. There have been a number of attempts to get universities to turn over his e-mails over the years. But last year, an effort targeting one of Mann’s colleagues in Arizona seemed to have finally found success.

  • Finance
    • California Regulators Require Auto Insurers to Adjust Rates

      California regulators said they have required Nationwide and USAA to adjust their auto insurance rates as a result of a report by ProPublica and Consumer Reports that many minority neighborhoods were paying more than white areas with the same risk.

      The regulators said their review confirmed our finding that linked the pricing disparities to incorrect applications of a provision in California law. The statute allows insurers to cluster neighboring zip codes together into a single rating territory.

    • Can China help fix Venezuela?

      The Chinese government has said little about the dire situation in Venezuela, while few other outside actors – including nearby Latin American neighbours – have called attention to China’s role in it.

      This oversight is both puzzling and misguided, given China’s high-profile economic and diplomatic partnership with Venezuela. The lapse is rooted in China’s foreign policy principle of noninterference in other countries’ domestic politics, its own undemocratic political system, and its claims of fostering win-win relationships with other developing countries. All of these factors have combined to create a deafening silence regarding Beijing’s role in addressing what is, in the end, a crisis of democratic governance in Caracas.

      It is long past time to ask whether there is more that Beijing can and should do to help set Venezuela on a more sustainable path, both out of principle and China’s own practical national interest. Ultimately, China’s involvement in and response to Venezuela’s multilayered turmoil underscore a range of broader economic and diplomatic challenges that Beijing faces in its relations with other resource-rich, crisis-wracked developing countries around the world.

    • Facebook still booking most Australian revenue in Ireland, US

      Facebook has told a standing committee of the Australian Senate that it booked a vast majority of its Australian income for 2016 outside the country.

    • Uber Faces Widespread Asia Bribery Allegations Amid U.S. Criminal Probe

      Attorneys are focused on suspicious activity in at least five Asian countries: China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea. For instance, Uber’s law firm is reviewing a web of financial arrangements tied to the Malaysian government that may have influenced lawmakers there, the people said.

    • Failing Charter Schools Have a Reincarnation Plan

      This past June, Florida’s top education agency delivered a failing grade to the Orange Park Performing Arts Academy in suburban Jacksonville for the second year in a row. It designated the charter school for kindergarten through fifth grade as the worst public school in Clay County, and one of the lowest performing in the state.

      Two-thirds of the academy’s students failed the state exams last year, and only a third of them were making any academic progress at all. The school had had four principals in three years, and teacher turnover was high, too.

      “My fourth grader was learning stuff that my second grader was learning — it shouldn’t be that way,” said Tanya Bullard, who moved her three daughters from the arts academy this past summer to a traditional public school. “The school has completely failed me and my children.”

    • This Year’s Poverty Data Look a Lot Different When You Break Them Down by Race

      Yesterday’s Census release of data on income, poverty, and health insurance demonstrated two things: There are policies that work for people who are struggling, and there is still a lot of work left to do—especially for people of color in America.

    • The real saboteurs are the Tory fantasists backing hard Brexit

      In a startling announcement, authorities in New York and New Jersey reported Monday that they had confiscated a whopping 122 kilograms (nearly 270 pounds) of opioids worth more than $30 million in a pair of recent busts. One of the seizures yielded 64 kilograms (more than 140 pounds) of the extremely potent fentanyl opioid. That batch alone is enough to provide lethal doses of opioids to 32 million people.

      “The sheer volume of fentanyl pouring into the city is shocking. It’s not only killing a record number of people in New York City, but the city is used as a hub of regional distribution for a lethal substance that is taking thousands of lives throughout the Northeast,” Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan, said in a statement.

    • Condemned to Repeat It History as Rerun

      People on social media red with ire rage about the double-standard applied to both the left anti-fascist protestors, the antifa anarchists, and the white supremacist marchers. Numberless voices rant about how the police protected the free speech of the white supremacists, but actively cracked down on anti-fascists. Now the government is moving to label antifa groups as domestic terrorists while doing nothing to apply the same tag to violent fascist racists. Some fairly argue that antifa are not the same as the majority of anti-fascist protesters. The former are violent, the latter peaceful. But the violence of antifa will be used to brand the entire progressive left with the stigma of domestic terrorism. The right will largely be left alone.

      But this is nothing new. Capitalists and fascists have always had a symbiotic relationship. Before World War Two, historians blame insufficiently strident capitalist politicians like UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for “appeasing” the Nazis, as though they miscalculated the threat of fascism. What is forgotten is that they appeased the Nazis on purpose. Western capitalists rebuilt the German military and funded the rise of National Socialism after World War One. After all, the real threat to capitalism is communism, not fascism. As prolific and fearless author Michael Parenti writes, “fascism is nothing more than a final solution to the class struggle, the totalistic submergence and exploitation of democratic forces for the benefit and profit of higher financial circles.”

    • Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About the Trump-Republican Tax Plan
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Is Facilitating a Paid Informant Program Part of Journalism’s Job?

      The practice of encouraging people to provide incriminating information for money, however, raises questions. The Justice Department’s inspector general released a report last year that called into question the Drug Enforcement Agency’s use of paid informants, because “poor oversight” led to “an unacceptably increased potential for waste, fraud and abuse.” Lawyers and advocates against the drug war told the Washington Post (9/30/16) that “paying informants creates incentives to lie or fabricate evidence.”

      With those concerns being raised about a federal agency, which can be audited, what kind of protections or protocols do local, private nonprofits use when they dangle money in front of us in exchange for crime tips?

    • Francoist Clampdown in Catalonia

      I have received an email appeal from the Candidaturas de Unidad Popular in Barcelona to say that their party HQ is under siege by the Guardia Civil and that its leaders are resisting arrest.

      There is a peculiar reluctance in the British and other European mainstream media to state the truth about the very real Francoist origins of the Spanish government. The current government of Spain are the direct political heirs of Franco and that many of their ministers have personal and family connections to his rule. Rajoy, Spain’s current Prime Minister, started his political career in 1981 by joining the People’s Alliance, a party founded in 1979 and led by 7 of Franco’s ministers to carry on the Francoist legacy. The People’s Alliance became the major component in the now governing People’s Party. It is a directly Francoist party.

    • Forced Takeover of Catalan Government Institutions by Spanish Police

      I just got of the phone with Josep Maria Sole Sabaté, my friend and a leading Catalan historian and public intellectual. He was nothing short of breathless as he described the helicopters flying overhead stated flatly that he was in the the midst of a coup being carried out by the Spanish State.

      He wanted to get in touch with me and others “out there” because he was not sure how much longer free communication would be available to him and other out in the street protesting against he Spanish central government’s arrest of members of the Catalan Autonomous government.

    • How Netanyahu’s Son Became the Poster Boy for White Supremacists

      It depicts an Illuminati-like figure and a reptilian creature controlling the world through money and dark arts. Alongside them are a cabal of conspirators, their faces altered to show Netanyahu’s main opponents. They include George Soros, a Holocaust survivor who has invested billions in pro-democracy movements, and Ehud Barak, a former Israeli prime minister turned government critic.

      This is not Yair’s first troubling outburst. Last month he emulated US President Donald Trump in decrying demonstrators who opposed a rally by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left a woman dead.

    • John Kelly Is All Of Us
    • Resisting Trumpism

      New studies show that fascism and populism in government were successful when relied on their ability to keep support by mixing coercion and demagoguery. But they also succeed when the opposition was divided and the population became apathetic and politically disengaged. Trump fomented such divisions after Charlottesville by distributing blame for violence between the Nazis and the “Antifa” movement, and was echoed by others who sought to depict anti-fascism as just another form of totalitarianism. These politicised reactions are not surprising, but they present a genuine challenge: to what extent successful resistance to these governments requires coalitions of political parties, labour movements, and other mass organisations.

    • At U.N., Trump Hides Behind ‘Sovereignty’ to Shield His Administration From Scrutiny

      Trump mentioned “sovereignty” 21 times at the UN today. Here’s what he was getting at.

      This morning, in his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump deployed a transparent and familiar tactic to justify a shameful record: an appeal to national sovereignty over human rights.

      In his address, Trump mentioned “sovereignty” 21 times. That’s in contrast to a single reference to “human rights.” The United Nations, he stated, “was based on the vision that diverse nations could cooperate to protect their sovereignty, preserve their security and promote their prosperity.” That may be, but it’s far from the full picture.

      The U.N., and other international institutions that the United States helped build after the horrors of World War II, recognized that without justice and fundamental human rights, there can be no peace or security. As a result, the 1945 charter of the United Nations is actually more rigorous in its requirements that “human rights and fundamental freedoms” be protected and defended than it is in its defense of national sovereignty. Indeed, it explicitly assigned to the General Assembly the responsibility of “assisting in the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights set out those rights in clear terms just a few years later.

    • Media’s Instinct to Rehabilitate the Powerful Has Not Changed Under Trump

      When Stephen Colbert introduced a surprise guest at the end of his Emmys opening monologue on Sunday night, the audience didn’t seem to expect to see former Trump administration press secretary Sean Spicer. The Late Night host shocked most of the crowd—Veep actress Anna Chlumsky was particularly amazed—with the selection of one of comedy’s favorite targets of the last year.

    • On Anthony Barnett’s ‘Lure of Greatness’

      In the era of Brexit and Trump, if another world is possible, what should it look like? Jeremy Fox finds much to praise in Barnett’s timely new study – but also interrogates the book’s interpretations of nationalism and neoliberalism.

    • How to read Donald Trump

      The organizers of the white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville last month knew just what they were doing when they decided to carry torches on their nocturnal march to protest the dethroning of a statue of Robert E. Lee. That brandishing of fire in the night was meant to evoke memories of terror, of past parades of hate and aggression by the Ku Klux Klan in the United States and Adolf Hitler’s Freikorps in Germany.

      The organizers wanted to issue a warning to those watching: that past violence, perpetrated in defense of the “blood and soil” of the white race, would once again be harnessed and deployed in Donald Trump’s America. Indeed, the very next day, that fatal August 12th, those nationalist fanatics unleashed an orgy of brutality that led to the deaths of three people and the injuring of many more.

      Millions around America and the world were horrified and revolted by that parade of torches. In my case, however, they also brought to mind deeply personal memories of other fires that had burned darkly so many decades before, far from the United States or Nazi Europe. As I watched footage of that rally, I couldn’t help remembering the bonfires that lit up my own country, Chile, in the aftermath of General Augusto Pinochet’s September 11th coup in 1973 – that “first 9/11,” which, with the active support of Washington and the CIA, had overthrown the popularly elected government of Salvador Allende.

      We faced the task of finding the words for, the look of, a new reality.

    • Being anti-Trump won’t win in 2020. What will?

      Anti-Trumpers harbour grief and anger about their defeat – this they couple with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Trump’s sins. But Democrats have provided no clear idea of how to move forward.

    • Germany’s right-wing AfD Party poised for major gains on election day

      A little over a year ago, few people gave Germany’s controversial, right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party any chance of making a dent in German national elections. In recent months, the party suffered through several embarrassing internal spats and saw its polling numbers sink amid growing support for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

      But AfD is now poised to become Germany’s third largest political party after Sunday’s elections. Opinion polls show the AfD scoring as much as 12 percent of the vote on Election Day, allowing it to send dozens of lawmakers to national Parliament – or Bundestag – and potentially disrupting German politics.

      If the predictions hold, it will be the first time since the end of World War II that a far-right party has attracted enough votes to enter Germany’s Parliament. And the strong showing means the AfD will be the biggest opposition party if Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) continues its governing coalition with the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).

    • Unwanted ads on Breitbart lead to massive click fraud revelations, Uber claims

      Uber has sued an advertising firm, Fetch Media, over allegations that the British firm and its Japanese parent company, Dentsu, fraudulently billed Uber tens of millions of dollars for various fake online ads.

      According to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday afternoon in federal court in San Francisco, Uber first realized that something was wrong when, earlier this year, the company began receiving complaints that its ads were appearing on Breitbart, a well-known conservative news website. Uber had specifically requested that its ads not appear on Breitbart at all.

      However, when Uber looked into the matter, “the publisher-reported name of the websites and mobile applications where Uber advertisements supposedly appeared did not match the actual URL accessed. For example, one publisher retained by Fetch reported clicks on Uber ads as coming from placements such as ‘Magic_Puzzles’ and ‘Snooker_Champion.’”

    • They said Melania Trump was the face of success. She made them take down billboards with her face.
    • Spanish police storm Catalan government buildings to stop independence referendum
  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Senators hear emotional testimony on controversial sex-trafficking bill

      The legislation would alter Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects web publishers from being sued for content posted by third parties on their sites.

    • Is There A Single Online Service Not Put At Risk By SESTA?

      Earlier today, I wrote up a list of the many problems with SESTA and how it will be abused. Over and over again, we’ve seen defenders of the bill — almost none of whom have much, if any, experience in managing services on the internet — insist that the bill is “narrowly targeted” and wouldn’t create any problems at all for smaller internet services. However, with the way the bill is worded, that seems unlikely. As stated in the last post, by opening up sites to facing both lawsuits from state Attorneys General and civil lawsuits, SESTA puts almost any site that offers services to the public at risk. The problematic language in the bill is that this is the “standard” for liability…

    • Senator Blumenthal Happy That SESTA Will Kill Small Internet Companies

      So, earlier today the Senate Commerce Committee held a two and a half hour hearing about SESTA — the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017. The panelists were evenly split, with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Yiota Souras from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children being in support of the bill, and Professor Eric Goldman and Abigail Slater from the Internet Association worrying about the impacts of SESTA (notably, both highlighted that they’re not against all changes to CDA 230, they just want to be quite careful and are worried about the language in this bill). I was actually somewhat surprised that the hearing wasn’t as bad as it could have been. There certainly was some grandstanding, and some insistence that because SESTA says it will go after sex trafficking, it obviously will — but many Senators did seem willing to listen to concerns about the bill and how it’s written. Much attention was paid to the sketchy “knowledge” standard in the bill, which we wrote about this morning. And that’s good — but there was a fair bit of nonsense spewed as well.

    • Russian Sketch-Comedy Caved to State Censorship, Says Former Writer

      A former editor and actor in Russia’s leading humor television show revealed in a Sept. 11 Youtube interview that the show’s content passes through several rounds of censors before being broadcasted.

      Since it first aired in the Soviet Union, the KVN comedy game show has been broadcast on state-run Channel 1, Russia’s most popular TV network, whose shares are divided between the Russian government and businessmen loyal to the Kremlin.

      In an interview on the Youtube channel Wanna Banana, award-winning comedian Dmitry Kolchin described numerous instances when the show’s content was cut or filtered by Channel One editors.

    • Author of key Internet freedom law opposes new sex trafficking bill

      The United States Senate is moving toward passage of a bill that would—for the first time—water down a landmark 1996 law that shields website operators from lawsuits and state prosecution for user-generated content. And one of the authors of that 1996 law, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), argued Tuesday that this would be a mistake.

      The Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act now has 28 co-sponsors, and the breadth of that support was evident at a Tuesday hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee. The legislation would allow state attorneys general to prosecute websites that are used to promote sex trafficking—something that’s currently barred by Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. It would also allow private lawsuits against sites that host sex trafficking ads.

    • Censorship, social media and Saudi Arabia

      Snapchat is one of the most popular social media platforms in Middle Eastern countries, especially in Saudi Arabia with more than seven million users a day.

      However, they are not being allowed to see the Al Jazeera Discover Publisher Channel on Snapchat.

      It is blocked by Snapchat because the Saudi government said the channel’s content violates the cybercrime laws.

      It is the latest measure announced by Saudi leaders after they cut diplomatic ties with Qatar n June 5 and imposed a land, sea and air blockade on it along with few neighbouring states.

    • Saudi Arabia To Unblock Internet Calling Applications
    • ORG response to calls for automated takedowns of online extremist content

      “Internet companies have a role to play in removing illegal content from their platforms but we need to recognise the limitations of relying on automated takedowns. Mistakes will inevitably be made – by removing the wrong content and by missing extremist material.

      “Given the global reach of these companies, automated takedowns will have a wide-reaching effect on the content we see, although not necessarily on the spread of extremist ideas as terrorists will switch to using other platforms.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Government Drops Facebook Search Warrant Gag Order At Eleventh Hour

      Details from the case are limited, but the warrant appears to target protesters arrested during Trump’s inauguration. Nearly eight months after having the gag orders challenged, the government has decided to let Facebook inform users affected by the government’s demand for 90 days of Facebook activity from three accounts. But there’s no victory here for Facebook, because it appears the government is merely seeking to avoid losing the case and having gag order-unfriendly precedent established in a district where it does a whole lot of secretive work.

    • The NSA’s Weird Interest In File Sharing Programs

      Another large Snowden document dump from The Intercept uncovers many more off-brand uses of NSA surveillance tools. The pile of documents come from the NSA’s “SID (Signals Intelligence Directorate) Today” files, of which there are apparently thousands of available pages. The documents released late last week show that if it happened online, the NSA was looking at it.

    • Over 40,000 mobile phone ID users in Portugal

      Portugal’s Chave Móvel Digital (Digital Mobile Key) is now used by more than 40,000 citizens, reports the Agency for Administrative Modernisation (AMA). This authentication method for eGovernment services, combining a PIN code and a one-time security number sent by SMS or email, was introduced by AMA in 2014.

    • CYBERCOM and NSA leadership needs to evolve and that may mean a leadership split

      President Donald Trump already announced that U.S. Cyber Command will split off from the National Security Agency and become a full-fledged combatant command, but the matter of leadership is still to be determined.

    • What Cybercom’s independence means
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Middlebury College Policy Rewards Censorship And Makes Violent Threats Effective [Ed: GOP-aligned media continues to malign education, usually under the "college" flag]
    • Women who had relationships with police spies criticise inquiry

      Women who were deceived into sexual relationships with undercover police officers have called for an urgent meeting with the home secretary over fears the official public inquiry lacks openness and fails to recognise claims of institutional sexism within the Metropolitan police.

      In an open letter to Amber Rudd, 13 women who had relationships with men they did not know were undercover officers criticise delays and raise concerns over the suitability of the new chair of the undercover policing inquiry, Sir John Mitting QC.

    • No easy answers for ending forced labour in India

      The current targets and indicators proposed by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation as of 8 March 2017 for the realisation of SDG 8.7 are wholly inadequate. In particular, the implementation of laws should be monitored (as indicators) rather than the mere ratification of international conventions or adoption of laws. Similarly, alongside measuring the number of prosecutions of traffickers, it is essential to monitor or report on the budgetary allocation and expenditure on assistance to exploited people (bonded labourers, trafficked persons, etc.). In order to draw up an appropriate baseline, the government of India is urged to take advantage of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2018 to set out relevant data about the way in which Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is being respected in India.

    • Let Jeffrey Sterling Go

      Risen’s book was published soon after Sterling filed a racial discrimination suit against the CIA, arguing that he was denied an overseas assignment because, as his supervisor told him at the time, he would attract attention “as a big black guy speaking Farsi.” Sterling’s suit was dismissed on national security grounds (“We’d love to defend ourselves, but to do that we’d have to release classified information”) by the hanging judge who would later oversee Sterling’s conviction and send him to prison.

      After the book was published, the CIA argued that Sterling was Risen’s source, claiming that Sterling was seeking revenge against the Agency for having his suit dismissed. Prosecutors pointed to metadata indicating that Sterling and Risen had had a handful of phone conversations over the course of 18 months, and that Sterling was probably giving Risen classified information. That’s it. No proof. There were no recordings, no emails, no witnesses, no in-person meetings, no nothing. Just the CIA telling Sterling’s jury, “Take our word for it.”

      Sterling left for prison at Colorado’s FCI Englewood in mid-2015. The BOP has a regulation that prisoners will be assigned to prisons within 500 miles of their homes. It’s supposed to be an effort to keep families intact. But Sterling was sent to a prison nearly 900 miles from home. The BOP said – again, disingenuously – that it was a bed space issue.

      The BOP set out from the very beginning of Sterling’s sentence to make it as difficult as possible. A year ago, Sterling suffered a heart attack in prison that went undiagnosed and then untreated until activists petitioned Colorado Democratic senator Michael Bennett to inquire about his health. Sterling was denied medication until further activism forced some action. In April, he was sent to solitary confinement for several days for “standing too closely” to a corrections officer, an unprovoked outrage that was later dismissed by more senior prison officials.

    • Keith Tharpe’s Scheduled Execution Tests Our Nation’s Tolerance for the Death Penalty’s Racial Bias

      Only a unanimous jury can convict and impose a death sentence in Georgia, and the law has long recognized that misconduct by a single juror requires reversal. The juror’s stunning admission of racially biased views, including his view of the defendant, should have led to a hearing and a new trial. Instead, Tharpe faces possible execution next Tuesday, September 26, 2017.

      In what threatens to be a grave miscarriage of justice, no court has ever considered the testimony about this misconduct. The federal courts must act now under the law’s constitutional promise of equality and fairness and reopen his case so that his claim of racial bias can finally be heard.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • T-Mobile’s unlimited plan will soon let you use 50GB before slowdowns

      T-Mobile USA will soon let subscribers to its unlimited data plans use at least 50GB of data each month before risking slowdowns in congested areas.

      All four major nationwide carriers slow down their heaviest data users when they connect to congested cell towers. But while Verizon Wireless and AT&T set the potential throttle point at 22GB, and Sprint at 23GB, T-Mobile is already letting customers use at least 32GB a month before risking slowdowns.

    • Sign the open letter: European businesses concerned about US changes to net neutrality

      Josh from Fight for the Future writes, “The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is threatening to rollback its net neutrality protections, which help make the Internet a place of equal opportunity and international innovation.”

      “If these rules are repealed, major US Internet service providers will become gatekeepers of the country’s digital economy, and will be in a position to harm or destroy global businesses. For example, US ISPs would gain powers to block your sites and apps, or force your businesses to pay expensive “prioritization” fees just to reach customers online.

    • Stand Up for Net Neutrality: Help Paperstorm the FCC

      Ajit Pai, current Chairman of the FCC, put it bluntly: “We need to fire up the weed whacker” and remove rules like net neutrality, he said recently.

      To keep net neutrality (and a healthy internet) intact, Mozilla is deploying Paperstorm, our activism website developed alongside design studio Moniker.

  • DRM
    • HP Brings Back Obnoxious DRM That Cripples Competing Printer Cartridges

      Around a year ago, HP was roundly and justly ridiculed for launching a DRM time bomb — or a software update designed specifically to disable competing printer cartridges starting on a set date. As a result, HP Printer owners using third-party cartridges woke up one day to warnings about a “cartridge problem,” or errors stating, “one or more cartridges are missing or damaged,” or that the user was using an “older generation cartridge.” The EFF was quick to lambast the practice in a letter to HP, noting that HP abused its security update mechanism to trick its customers and actively erode product functionality.

      HP only made matters worse for itself by claiming at the time that it was only looking out for the safety and security of its customers, while patting itself on the back for being pro-active about addressing a problem it caused — only after a massive consumer backlash occurred.

    • EFF quits W3C over decision to accept EME as Web standard

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation has resigned from the World Wide Web Consortium after the latter announced it was accepting the published Encrypted Media Extensions as a Web standard.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Court Allows San Diego Comic-Con’s Suit Against The Salt Lake City Comic Con To Move Forward

        A few months ago, we alerted our readers that a trademark dispute between the San Diego Comic-Con and a company producing a Salt Lake City Comic Con, originally filed in 2014, was still going on. In fact, the district court hearing the case just recently ruled on several motions from both parties, including motions for judicial notice (essentially having the court affirm basic facts about the case), motions to exclude expert testimony, and motions for summary judgement. On the face of it, the news is mostly bad for the Salt Lake City convention, with nearly every ruling coming down against it. However, digging into the ruling itself, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

        As for the bad news, it seems to be mostly of the Salt Lake City Comic Con’s own making, or the making of its legal team. The court points out that the defendant’s lawyers motion and defenses are all over the place, in some places arguing for generecide — or that “comic con” has become a generic term — while in others arguing that “comic con” is generic ab initio — or that the term was generic even prior to San Diego Comic-Con’s initial use of it. It’s an important distinction for a couple of reasons, including that the defenses SLC has stated it will make revolve around genericide, yet much of the evidence in the motions in this ruling revolve around generic ab initio and, more importantly, the 9th Circuit doesn’t have any precedent or acknowledgement of generic ad initio as a matter of law, and this district court is governed by 9th Circuit precedent.

    • Copyrights
      • Pepe the Frog’s Creator Goes Legally Nuclear Against the Alt-Right

        Update: Several people who received legal threats from Matt Furie say they will fight back. Read our update—The Great Meme War II: Amid Lawsuit Threats, the Alt-Right Says Pepe Belongs to Them.

        Pepe the Frog creator Matt Furie has made good on his threat to “aggressively enforce his intellectual property.”

        The artist’s lawyers have taken legal action against the alt-right. They have served cease and desist orders to several alt-right personalities and websites including Richard Spencer, Mike Cernovich, and the r/the_Donald subreddit. In addition, they have issued Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown requests to Reddit and Amazon, notifying them that use of Pepe by the alt-right on their platforms is copyright infringement. The message is to the alt-right is clear—stop using Pepe the Frog or prepare for legal consequences.

      • Man who made “Pepe” wants his frog back, and he’ll use copyright to get it

        Matt Furie created the cartoon character Pepe the Frog in 2005 as a kind of peaceful stoner animal for his comic “Boys Club.” By 2008, the frog had become a meme at 4chan. In the 2016 election cycle, though, Pepe became something completely different—an ever-meme of the alt-right. The Anti-Defamation League characterizes Pepe as a hate symbol and has catalogued some of the most viciously racist and anti-semitic examples.

        Now Furie wants his comic frog back. After years of letting it slide, Furie has lawyered up and sent demand letters to several alt-right personalities, including white supremacist Richard Spencer, Mike Cernovich, and the subreddit “The_Donald.”

      • Publishers’ Legal Action Advances Against Sci-Hub

        On Friday (September 22), a hearing for ACS’s case against Sci-Hub will take place at a federal trial court in Virginia. The society filed a default judgement request on September 1, asking the court to order the site to cease illegal distribution of its material and pay $4.8 million in damages.

      • Stream Ripping Piracy Goes From Bad to Worse, Music Industry Reports

        New data not only reveals that stream ripping remains the music industry’s main piracy threat, but it’s growing too. IFPI’s latest music consumer insight report shows that more than a third of all Internet subscribers use stream rippers to access unlicensed music.

When Google Used Alex Converse to Raid the Public Domain With Software Patents

13 hours 4 min ago

Summary: In its overzealous pursuit of software patents, Google is now turning public domain methods into private ‘property’ (in defiance of critics)

Google lost its way; it lost its way on patents too. Google is not only pursuing software patents but it is also trying to privatise the public domain. As we had covered this twice already [1, 2] we decided to explore where things stand.

It turns out that the person who first brought up the subject is currently pursuing ways to “find legal help for defending ANS coding,” according to him.

“Google is not only pursuing software patents but it is also trying to privatise the public domain.”“I have seen your Techrights article mentioning my ANS Goolge patent situation,” he told us. “There is also another ongoing patent attempt which is nearly granted by USPTO (second Notice of Allowance), also for basic obvious possibility.

“This defense requires a serious legal help, I have no chance to afford. I have tried asking EFF and EFFE, but there was nearly no response (I wouldn’t be surprised if they were supported by Google, like in the Barry Lynn sandal).”

We have decided that the least we can do is raise this subject again (mention it publicly) and name the culprit/s in hope that bad PR alone would discourage him/them from proceeding. Failing that, we shall escalate with patent offices or whatnot.

“We have decided that the least we can do is raise this subject again (mention it publicly) and name the culprit/s in hope that bad PR alone would discourage him/them from proceeding.”It was all over the media in Poland, we have been told, but as usual, “Google does not comment.”

I have this experience too.

As it turned out, the so-called ‘inventor’ has fled Google. His name is Alex Converse and people have already noticed that he left. From a comment:

According to his LinkedIn profile he is no longer with Google https://www.linkedin.com/in/al… [linkedin.com]

And another right after that:

The engineer may no longer work for Google, but it is Google that is paying and pushing forward said patent. This shows Google patent team acting out with scum-like behaviour.

If higher levels of management are aware of what is going on and they choose not to drop this from patent submission, then they too are likely showing scum-like behaviour

“If Google would admit the mistake,” told us the complainer, “it should be accompanied with some declaration of reparation, emphasizing pathology of software patents and need to fight it…

“Prior art or not, public domain or not, this is a software patent that must never be granted.”“While it seems there is no hurry with Google, the first attempt got second “Notice of Allowance” a month ago. It covers ANS with the most basic statistical modeling (Markov) — what was mentioned in my paper, and much earlier there was other implementation, now it is widely used in CRAM DNA compressor.”

As is typical/usual, when one lives in a country not so wealthy, challenging a company like Google in or outside the patent system is far too expensive. It means that, unless there’s public scrutiny, those with deeper pockets will get their way.

We shall keep an eye on this and find out if Google (or Mr. Converse) is still willing to go further with this. Prior art or not, public domain or not, this is a software patent that must never be granted.

Mark Kokes, the Man Behind BlackBerry’s Patent Aggression, Leaves the Company

13 hours 53 min ago

He’ll be biking his scooter somewhere else

Summary: The man behind the patent troll-like behaviour of BlackBerry is leaving

DURING the weekend we wrote about BlackBerry becoming more like a patent troll. It was far from the first time we dabbled in this subject; we had been covering that for years.

BlackBerry’s patent deal was still in the news on Monday, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. This non-story (press release) simply refused to die.

But then, the following day, IAM said that the man behind this strategy was leaving. To quote:

Mark Kokes has left BlackBerry and is no longer its senior vice president of intellectual property, licensing & standards, IAM has learned. In a sudden move, Kokes departed in mid-August and is not thought to have taken another position. For its part, BlackBerry does not seem to have appointed a direct replacement. In a recent press release announcing that Timex had entered into a patent-based agreement with the company, reaction from BlackBerry came from senior director of intellectual property licensing, Jerald Gnuschke.

Kokes is the third big name corporate IP departure in the space of just a month, following Allen Lo’s move from Google to Facebook and Brian Hinman’s decision to leave Philips.

A non-lawyer with an engineering background, as well as the holder of six granted patents, Kokes joined BlackBerry in June 2014 from InterTrust. After a year spent largely on strategic planning and internal reorganisation, including building a transactions team from scratch, he made his first big splash in June 2015, when BlackBerry announced a royalty-bearing licence deal with Cisco. Others with Canon and International Game Technology followed soon afterwards, as did the company’s first forays into the courts – with a suit launched against Avaya in Texas in July 2016, followed by others against the likes of Nokia and BLU. On the sales side, meanwhile, patents were transferred to Centerbridge Partners and Chinese mobile company Oppo, among others.

Might BlackBerry be wise enough to change strategy after the departure of Kokes? We certainly hope so.

WordPress Demonstrates That Facebook’s Patent Strategy is Deterring/Alienating Developers

14 hours 12 min ago

“Yeah, I’m going to fuck them in the ear”

–Mark Zuckerberg, President and Founder of Facebook (source)

Summary: React is being dumped following Facebook’s attempt to restrict distribution/derivatives using software patents

HAVING spent years covering Facebook’s patent strategy, we recently came to see its troubling licensing issue resurfacing again in the media (it’s actually fairly old news, but Apache’s intervention brought that back from the dead). There’s a lot more about it in our daily links; we considered that mostly a software issue rather than a patents issue.

This week, however, things got a little ‘hotter’ for Facebook because one of the main project that disseminated React said that it would cease doing that. In a sense, Facebook is killing its own projects/products with software patents. The subject was covered not only by WordPress and its founder but also by technical media yesterday and the day before that.

As US media put it:

Facebook is in the middle of a fraught battle. No, it’s not over the pernicious tide of fake news surging onto our newsfeeds, nor is it about privacy issues on the platform. Rather, it pertains to how the social media giant deals with the open source community, the code it releases to the world, and one cool piece of software called React.

Put simply, React is a JavaScript library that makes it easier for developers to write sophisticated front-ends. It was built by an engineer at Facebook, and in 2013, Facebook released it to the developer community under an open-source license. This isn’t unusual; tech companies release open source software all the time.

Facebook used a license derived from the popular BSD license, which is used by other popular open source projects. But here’s the problem: Facebook also threw in a few other clauses, which many developers and companies are finding to be problematic.

British media put it like this:

Automattic, the developer of the popular content management system WordPress, has decided to stop using Facebook’s React.js library, citing legal concerns.

WordPress’ founding developer Matt Mullenweg explains the decision by noting that Automattic has used React since 2015, when it put the code to work in the “Calypso” update that emerged in 2016. At the time, WordPress’ legal people felt there was no problem with React and developers liked it so much they planned to use it again in another big update called Gutenberg.

[...]

“Automattic still has no issue with the patents clause,” he writes, “but the long-term consistency with core is worth more than a short-term hit to Automattic’s business from a rewrite. Core WordPress updates go out to over a quarter of all websites, having them all inherit the patents clause isn’t something I’m comfortable with.”

A Microsoft propaganda site, as one might expect, blames “Open Source”, but actually it’s the fault of software patents (not “Open Source Licensing”). David Ramel’s spin does not merit much attention.

Facebook will find out the hard way that the community has little or no tolerance for these patent traps. Software developers loathe software patents.

Links 19/9/2017: Pipewire, Mir Support for Wayland, DRM in W3C

Wednesday 20th of September 2017 01:03:12 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Seven things about Linux you may not have known so far

    One of the coolest parts about using Linux is the knowledge you gain over time. Each day, you’re likely to come across a new utility or maybe just an unfamiliar flag that does something helpful. These bits and pieces aren’t always life-changing, but they are the building blocks for expertise.

    Even experts don’t know that all, though. No matter how much experience you might have, there is always more to learn, so we’ve put together this list of seven things about Linux you may not have known.

  • Desktop
    • Black screen of death after Win10 update? Microsoft blames HP

      Microsoft is pointing the finger of blame at HP’s factory image for black screens of death appearing after a Windows Update.

      Scores of PC owners took to the HP forums last week to report that Windows 10 updates released September 12 were slowing down the login process. Users stated that once they downloaded the updates and entered their username and password, they only saw black screens for about five to 10 minutes.

      The forum members said that clean installs or disabling a service called “app readiness”, which “gets apps ready for use the first time a user signs in to this PC and when adding new apps” seemed to fix the delay.

      Today, a Microsoft spokesperson told The Register: “We’re working to resolve this as soon as possible” and referred affected customers to a new support post.

  • Server
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Foundation President uses Apple OS

      Jim Zemlin, President of the Linux Foundation, appears to have hit levels of fail unprecedented in the open saucy world.

      At the Open Source Summit 2017 not only did Zemlin do the usual comedy “this is the year of the Linux desktop” speech he did it using a comedy laptop with a joke operating system designed for those who know nothing about computers.

    • Linux 4.14 ‘getting very core new functionality’ says Linus Torvalds

      Linus Torvalds has unsentimentally loosed release candidate one of Linux 4.14 a day before the 26th anniversary of the Linux-0.01 release, and told penguinistas to expect a few big changes this time around.

      “This has been an ‘interesting’ merge window,” Torvalds wrote on the Linux Kernel Mailing List. “It’s not actually all that unusual in size – I think it’s shaping to be a pretty regular release after 4.13 that was smallish. But unlike 4.13 it also wasn’t a completely smooth merge window, and honestly, I _really_ didn’t want to wait for any possible straggling pull requests.”

      Hence the Saturday release, instead of his usual Sunday.

      Torvalds also says this merge window included “some unusual activity.”

    • First Linux 4.14 release adds “very core” features, arrives in time for kernel’s 26th birthday

      Linus Torvalds has announced the first release candidate (rc) for Linux 4.14, the next long term stable release of the Linux kernel.

      This release introduces several new core memory management features, a host of device driver updates, and changes to documentation, architecture, filesystems, networking and tooling.

      It’s the first of a likely seven release candidates before the new kernel reaches stable release around November.

    • Linus Torvalds Kicks Off Development of Linux Kernel 4.14, the Next LTS Release

      A day early than expected, Linux creator Linus Torvalds cautiously kicked off the development of the Linux 4.14 kernel series, which looks to be the next LTS (Long Term Support) branch, with the first Release Candidate (RC) milestone.

      That’s right, two weeks after the release of Linux kernel 4.13, which is currently the most stable and advanced kernel series, being adopted by more and more GNU/Linux distributions each day, the first RC development snapshot of Linux kernel 4.14 is ready for public testing, officially closing the merge window. And it looks like some core new functionality will be implemented in this release.

    • Linux Foundation wants to promote sustainable open source development with new initiatives

      During last week’s Open Source Summit North America in Los Angeles, the Linux Foundation announced a series of projects designed to promote sustainability and growth in open source development.

      We wrote last week about their “Open Source Guides for the Enterprise,” which will see a series of guides by professionals from many different organizations released over the next few months.

      Following that, the foundation announced the Community Health Analytics for Open Source Software, or CHAOSS, project. With CHAOSS, the Linux Foundation wants to provide a platform for measuring and analyzing open source projects.

      The foundation also announced that it has granted a CII security badge to 100 projects through a voluntary process for open source projects to prove their security measures stack up professionally.

    • Early Linux 4.14 Kernel Benchmarks Are Looking Promising

      I’ve begun running some Linux 4.14-rc1 kernel benchmarks and in some areas there appears to be nice gains with this in-development kernel.

      If you are behind on your Phoronix reading and don’t know about all of the changes coming for this next kernel release — which will also be an LTS kernel — see our Linux 4.14 feature overview that was published this past weekend.

      Here are just some very early benchmarks while more are on the way.

    • Linux Foundation LFCE Georgi Yadkov Shares His Certification Journey

      The Linux Foundation offers many resources for developers, users, and administrators of Linux systems. One of the most important offerings is its Linux Certification Program. The program is designed to give you a way to differentiate yourself in a job market that’s hungry for your skills.

      How well does the certification prepare you for the real world? To illustrate that, The Linux Foundation is highlighting some of those who have recently passed the certification examinations. These testimonials should help you decide if either the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator or the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer certification is right for you. In this article, recently certified engineer Georgi Yadkov shares his experience.

    • Graphics Stack
    • Benchmarks
      • EPYC Linux performance from AMD

        Phoronix have been hard at work testing out AMD’s new server chip, specifically the 2.2/2.7/3.2GHz EPYC 7601 with 32 physical cores. The frequency numbers now have a third member which is the top frequency all 32 cores can hit simultaneously, for this processor that would be 2.7GHz. Benchmarking server processors is somewhat different from testing consumer CPUs, gaming performance is not as important as dealing with specific productivity applications. Phoronix started their testing of EPYC, in both NUMA and non-NUMA configurations, comparing against several Xeon models and the performance delta is quite impressive, sometimes leaving even a system with dual Xeon Gold 6138′s in the dust. They also followed up with a look at how EPYC compares to Opteron, AMD’s last server offerings. The evolution is something to behold.

      • Opteron vs. EPYC Benchmarks & Performance-Per-Watt: How AMD Server Performance Evolved Over 10 Years

        By now you have likely seen our initial AMD EPYC 7601 Linux benchmarks. If you haven’t, check them out, EPYC does really deliver on being competitive with current Intel hardware in the highly threaded space. If you have been curious to see some power numbers on EPYC, here they are from the Tyan Transport SX TN70A-B8026 2U server. Making things more interesting are some comparison benchmarks showing how the AMD EPYC performance compares to AMD Opteron processors from about ten years ago.

      • Gigabyte X399 AORUS Gaming 7 Works As A Linux-Friendly Threadripper Motherboard

        For the past few weeks that I have been testing the AMD Threadripper 1950X on Linux, I have been using the Gigabyte X399 AORUS Gaming 7 motherboard. Overall, it’s been a pleasant experience and is running fine under Linux. Here’s a quick summary.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Plasma Mobile in Randa(aaaaaaaa)

        Last week I had a chance to attend the Randa meetings 2017, my plan was to work on the Plasma Mobile during the sprint, improve the state of current images.

      • Progress On KDE Plasma Mobile From Randa 2017

        KDE contributor Bhushan Shah has shared some highlights of Plasma Mobile progress made from this year’s Randa Meetings in Switzerland.

        At this annual KDE developer event in the Swiss mountains, some of the Plasma Mobile advancements worked on or reviewed included:

        - Plasma Mobile images are now being assembled by the KDE Neon build system rather than the Plasma Mobile CI.

      • Calligra Suite does not suit me

        It pains me to say so, but the split from KOffice to Calligra has given this program only a temporary infusion of hope, and looking back at my 2013 trial, it’s not made any progress since. On the contrary. Calligra Suite is slow, difficult to use, and it comes with less than ideal file format support. My conclusion here is much the same regarding different Linux software, be it distros or desktop environments. 90% of it just shouldn’t exist, and the effort must be focused on just one or two select programs with the highest quality and chance of making it big. The infinite forking doesn’t do anyone any good.

        Calligra Suite has the potential, but it’s far, far from realizing it, and the world of Plasma has left it behind. The interface split is bad, too much equity is taken by a confusing maze of options, the performance is dreadful, the stability flaky, and the rest does not scale or compare against LibreOffice, let alone Microsoft Office. I wish my findings were different, but it cannot be. Ah well. Like so many other flowers of the open-source world, this one must wilt. I’ll keep an eye, but I doubt there is ever going to be enough focus or love to make Calligra into a serious competitor. Dedoimedo’s sad prose out.

      • Plasma 5.11 beta available in unofficial PPA for testing on Artful

        Adventurous users and developers running the Artful development release can now also test the beta version of Plasma 5.11. This is experimental and can possibly kill kittens!

      • Kubuntu: Writing Japanese (Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana) Easily

        On Kubuntu system, we can write Japanese easily using Fcitx-Mozc tool! This awesome tool eases you with word-suggestions popup on-the-fly, with ability to switch between Kanji-Hiragana-Katakana-ASCII as simple as one click. It’s very well integrated to the whole screens inside KDE Plasma desktop, enables you to write Japanese in Firefox browser, LibreOffice, Kate text editor, and even Konsole terminal.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME 3.26 Released! Check Out the New Features

        GNOME 3.26 is the latest version of GNOME 3 released six months after the last stable release GNOME 3.24. The release, code-named “Manchester”, is the 33rd stable release of the free, open-source desktop.

  • Distributions
    • Top Linux Distros for Media Creation

      I find it interesting how many existing Linux users don’t realize there are specialized distributions just for media creation. These distributions come with a bundle of special media-centric applications, a real-time kernel and other tweaks provided by default.

      This article will provide a tour of these top Linux distros for media creation. I’m confident that even if you’ve heard of some of these distros, you might not be aware of what makes them unique when compared to a standard desktop Linux distribution.

    • Arch Family
      • Arch Arch and away! What’s with the Arch warriors?

        If you choose to begin your Linux adventures with Arch Linux after trying Ubuntu for a month, you’re probably doing it wrong. If there’s a solid reason why you think Arch is for you; awesome! Do it. You will learn new things. A lot of new things. But hey, what’s the point in learning what arch-chroot does if you can’t figure out what sudo is or what wpa_supplicant does?

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Ethical Hacking Distro Parrot Security Gets ZFS Support, It’s Based on Debian 10

        Parrot Security OS, the security-oriented GNU/Linux distribution designed with IoT (Internet of Things) security, ethical hacking, and cloud-based penetration testing in mind, has been updated recently to version 3.8.

      • Debian Policy call for participation — September 2017
      • Mini-DebConf 2017 Debian Conference to Take Place November 23-26 in Cambridge UK

        Debian developer and leader of the debian-cd project Steve McIntyre announced the official dates and schedule of this year’s Mini-DebConf conference for Debian developers and users.

        The Mini-DebConf 2017 conference will take place for four days, from Thursday, November 23 until Sunday, November 26, and it will be hosted at Arm’s office in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Arm is Steve McIntyre’s employer and the industry’s leading supplier of microprocessors for embedded and IoT devices.

        “I’m organizing another mini-DebConf in Cambridge this year. Again, my employer Arm is going to host the conference for four days in November,” said Steve McIntyre in the mailing list announcement. “I’m also hoping to find sponsors again to cover some other costs for the conference for things like food – please contact me if you can help!”

      • Derivatives
        • Tails 3.2 release candidate has been released for testing

          The LiveUSB Linux distribution, Tails (the amnesic incognito live system), has received a new release candidate for the upcoming 3.2 update that’s due out on the 26th of this month. The update comes with some big under-the-hood changes to the system which should improve hardware support and the email experience.

          If you’ve ever decided to try Tails on newer hardware, you may have had some driver issues; with this release, Tails ships with the Linux 4.12.12 kernel which is one of the latest. With it, users will get a better hardware experience; for example, the NVIDIA Maxwell series of graphics cards are now supported.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Can Artful Aardvark Regain Ubuntu’s Popularity on the Desktop?

            The upcoming Artful Aardvark release marks Ubuntu’s return to GNOME as its desktop environment. After seven years, Unity will be abandoned, along with plans for a single desktop for all devices and the replacement of the X window system with Mir.

            According to Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, these changes are being made in the hopes of making profitable Canonical, Ubuntu’s governing company, and to allow Canonical to focus on its server and OpenStack business. However, to desktop users, the more pressing issue is whether these changes can help Ubuntu regain its domination of the desktop.

          • Firefox, Thunderbird and VLC Are the Most Popular Apps Among Ubuntu Users

            Canonical’s Dustin Kirkland attended this year’s UbuCon Europe conference for Ubuntu users and developers in Paris, France, where he revealed the results of the Ubuntu desktop survey and the apps that users want to see by default in future Ubuntu releases.

          • Results of the Ubuntu Desktop Applications Survey

            I had the distinct honor to deliver the closing keynote of the UbuCon Europe conference in Paris a few weeks ago. First off — what a beautiful conference and venue! Kudos to the organizers who really put together a truly remarkable event. And many thanks to the gentleman (Elias?) who brought me a bottle of his family’s favorite champagne, as a gift on Day 2 I should give more talks in France!

          • Mir support for Wayland

            I’ve seen some confusion about how Mir is supporting Wayland clients on the Phoronix forums . What we are doing is teaching the Mir server library to talk Wayland in addition to its original client-server protocol. That’s analogous to me learning to speak another language (such as Dutch).

            This is not anything like XMir or XWayland. Those are both implementations of an X11 server as a client of a Mir or Wayland. (Xmir is a client of a Mir server or and XWayland is a client of a Wayland server.) They both introduce a third process that acts as a “translator” between the client and server.

          • Mir 1.0 Still Planned For Ubuntu 17.10, Wayland Support Focus

            Following our reporting of Mir picking up initial support for Wayland clients, Mir developer Alan Griffiths at Canonical has further clarified the Wayland client support. It also appears they are still planning to get Mir 1.0 released in time for Ubuntu 17.10.

          • Webinar: OpenStack Pike is here, what’s new?

            Sign up for our new webinar about the Canonical OpenStack Pike release. Join us to learn about the new features and how to upgrade from Ocata to Pike using OpenStack Charms.

          • Bright Computing Announces Support for Ubuntu

            right Computing, a global leader in cluster and cloud infrastructure automation software, today announced the general availability of Bright Cluster Manager 8.0 with Ubuntu.

            With this integration, organizations can run Bright Cluster Manager Version 8.0 on top of Ubuntu, to easily build, provision, monitor and manage Ubuntu high performance clusters from a single point of control, in both on-premises and cloud-based environments.

          • BlueBorne Vulnerability Is Patched in All Supported Ubuntu Releases, Update Now

            Canonical released today new kernel updates for all of its supported Ubuntu Linux releases, patching recently discovered security vulnerabilities, including the infamous BlueBorne that exposes billions of Bluetooth devices.

            The BlueBorne vulnerability (CVE-2017-1000251) appears to affect all supported Ubuntu versions, including Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) up to 16.04.3, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) up to 14.04.5, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) up to 12.04.5.

          • Flavours and Variants
  • Devices/Embedded
    • postmarketOS: An Ultimate Linux Distro For Your Smartphones Is Coming

      One of the key strengths of Linux-based operating systems is their ability to run on a variety of hardware, ranging from a decade old computers to the latest generation Intel chips. The kernel developers work day and night to keep our devices breathing running. In the past, we have also prepared a list of Linux distributions that are best suited for older computers with limited hardware requirements.

      This brings us to the question — Why aren’t tons of Linux operating system options available for mobile devices? The mobile ecosystem is chiefly dominated by Android and iOS, with Android enjoying a presence on a wide range of devices. But, on the fronts of updates, even Android fails to deliver. Very often the top-of-the-line flagship devices are deprived of the latest updates just after 2-3 years. To solve this question, postmarketOS has appeared on the horizon.

    • Linux friendly IoT gateway runs on 3.5-inch Bay Trail SBC

      While the MB-80580 SBC lists SATA II, the gateway indicates SATA III. Also, the gateway datasheet notes that the RS232 ports can all be redirected to RS232/422/485. Software includes Windows IoT Core and Server, as well as Yocto, Ubuntu Snappy Core, and CentOS Linux distributions.

    • Rugged panel PC scales up to a 19-inch touchscreen

      The fanless, IP65-rated WinSystems “PPC65B-1x” panel PC runs Linux or Win 10 on a quad-core Atom E3845, and offers 10.4 to 19-inch resistive touchscreens.

    • Portable Android SDR player supports DRM and DAB

      Titus SDR’s Android-based “Titus II” Software Defined Radio receiver has a 7-inch touchscreen, a WiFi hotspot, and support for FM, AM, DRM, DAB, and DAB+.

      Titus SDR is prepping an Android-based wideband digital RF receiver with Software Defined Radio (SDR) capabilities and a hi-fi amplifier. Built around a 7-inch Android tablet, the portable, battery-powered Titus II is billed as the world’s first consumer SDR digital receiver, “bringing true multi-standard radio reception with DRM (AM & VHF bands), DAB(+) and core data applications.”

    • 5 Raspberry Pi Alternatives to Build Your Own Small Computer

      A single board computer (SBC) is a complete computer built on a single circuit board. These tiny PCs were designed to be low cost and energy efficient. As such, SBCs proved to be popular with hobbyists, DIY enthusiasts and educational institutions.

      Upon the release of the Raspberry Pi, SBCs gained far greater attention. The Raspberry Pi was initially designed to teach basic computer science. The first-generation Raspberry Pi was released in 2012 and quickly surpassed expectations. It has since gone on to become the best-selling British computer of all time with over eleven million units sold.

      Despite its popularity, the Raspberry Pi family of computers are not the only SBCs on the market. In fact there are a number of manufacturers making SBCs at lower price points and with more powerful hardware. If you’re looking for a Raspberry Pi alternative, consider the SBCs below.

    • AMD Zen Temperature Monitoring On Linux Is Working With Hwmon-Next

      If you want CPU temperature monitoring to work under Linux for your Ryzen / Threadripper / EPYC processor(s), it’s working on hwmon-next.

      The temperature monitoring support didn’t make it for Linux 4.14 but being published earlier this month were finally patches for Zen temperature monitoring by extending the k10temp Linux driver.

    • Fanless Skylake computer offers four PCI and PCIe slots

      Adlink’s MVP-6010 and MVP-6020 embedded computers run Linux or Windows on Intel 6th Gen CPUs, and offer 4x PCI/PCIe slots, 6x USB ports, and 4x COM ports.

      If Adlink’s new MVP-6010/6020 Series looks familiar, that’s because it’s a modified version of the recent MVP-5000 and last year’s MVP-6000 industrial PCs. The top half appears to be identical, with the same ports, layout, and Intel 6th Gen Core “Skylake” TE series processors. Like the MVP-6000, it adds a PCI and PCIe expansion unit on the bottom, but whereas the MVP-6000 had two slots, the MVP-6010 and MVP-6020 have four.

    • Android
Free Software/Open Source
  • Open source – we need better pathways so inclusion can flourish

    Running a conference with a really strong cohort of diversity scholars this week, with a broad range of skills and backgrounds, really made me think. We had Ian Skerrett, VP of marketing at the Eclipse Foundation, and Abby Kearns, executive director of the Cloud Foundry Foundation at the event. Both are keen to improve diversity in their communities. But how are we going to create better and more welcoming pathways for a more diverse range of entrants?

    I asked both Ian and Abby what other roles there were outside writing code. They both gave solid answers about different roles and opportunities. One stock answer in open source is of course Write Documentation!

  • Cloudera Joins Eclipse Foundation Open Source IoT Community
  • Keybase launches fully encrypted Slack-like communications tool — and it’s free

    Keybase added to its encrypted tool kit today when it launched Keybase Teams, an open source, Slack-like communications tool with end-to-end encryption. Desktop and mobile versions are available for download now.

    It may seem like competing with Slack, the enormously popular enterprise communications tool would be a fool’s errand for Keybase. But by making it fully encrypted, open source and free, even for teams as large as 500 people, it could be attractive to cost- and security-conscious teams who are at all worried about anyone snooping on their communications.

  • Future Proof Your SysAdmin Career: Communication and Collaboration

    Today’s system administrators are wise to arm themselves with specialized technical skillsets, but sysadmins interact with people at least as much as they deal with systems, software, and security. Strong communication capabilities, problem solving, teamwork, and leadership skills are therefore not to be underestimated.

  • Demand for Open Source Skills on the Rise

    Hiring managers from 280 global businesses, along with 1,800 open source professionals participated in the July study by The Linux Foundation and tech career firm Dice.

    That’s good news if you have open source skills; indeed, 86 percent of professionals say open source has advanced their careers. The not-so-good news is 89 percent of hiring managers are finding it difficult to find this type of talent, which is in line with last year’s finding of 87 percent. The specific areas hiring managers say open source talent is in short supply are developers (73 percent), DevOps (60 percent) and SysAdmins (53 percent).

  • How a town uses an open source tool for collaboration and managing large files

    The internationally renowned ski resort village of Megève, France, uses open source to manage increasing volumes of data while also making it more easily accessible. Located in the French Alps, Megève welcomes more than 80,000 visitors annually as the host of multiple concerts, cultural, and sporting events, including the Tour de France. With more than 300 employees, the city’s IT department manages more than 220 workstations, 40 virtual servers, and 60 switches connected to its network.

    Sharing and collaborating on digital files is vital to all aspects of daily work in Megève. Many city departments must share files securely with external partners, particularly the communication department, which produces a great amount of content for tourists. This material includes large files such as models, final proofs, and photo libraries, which must be exchanged with designers, printers, and other partners. Similarly, architect firms working on calls for town planning projects routinely transfer files such as 3D plans, which can exceed 40+GB in size.

  • Google Code-in 2017 lets students win prizes while learning about open source

    Open source is changing the world, and it is important that children get educated on the subject as early as possible. Its a competitive workforce out there, and students need to be prepared. Of course, learning about open source doesn’t have to be a chore — gaining knowledge can sometimes be fun too.

    Google does a lot for the open source community — far more than just contributing code. Actually, the search giant hosts two very important education-focused open source events — “Google Code-in” for younger teen students and “Google Summer of Code” for University-level learners. Today, the company announces the 8th annual edition of the former — Google Code-in 2017. Not only can these teens gain experience by working on an open source project, but they can also win prizes!

  • Open source tool aims to deliver more efficient web development

    Websites are essential for businesses in the modern world, which puts web development teams under pressure to deliver results.

    Open source tool specialist DRUD Tech is launching a new tool called ddev which is designed to do away with the complicated steps and disparate components of website development.

    Using a simple interface, ddev manages many complex technologies, including industry standard components like MySQL, NGINX, and PHP, with the ability to extend to include Redis, Apache Solr, memcache, Varnish, and more. For experienced development teams this means ddev can eliminate unnecessary delays, errors, and inefficiencies common throughout the traditional development to deployment and hosting lifecycle.

  • Banks are turning to open source for blockchain, says Google engineer

    Banks have historically developed all software in-house and maintained a fierce secrecy around their code, but more recently they’ve embraced open-source. They’re likely to use open source for one of the most hotly tipped technologies out there – blockchain.

  • Innersource: How to leverage open source in the enterprise

    Companies of varying sizes across many industries are implementing innersource programs to drive greater levels of development collaboration and reuse. They ultimately seek to increase innovation; reduce time to market; grow, retain, and attract talent; and of course, delight their customers.

    In this article, I’ll introduce innersource and some of its key facets and examine some of the problems that it can help solve. I’ll also discuss some components of an innersource program, including metrics.

  • Events
    • Diversity Empowerment Summit Features Stories from Individual Persistence to Industry-wide Change

      Last week at The Linux Foundation’s first Diversity Empowerment Summit we heard from so many amazing speakers about how they are working to improve diversity in the tech industry.

      Leaders from companies including Comcast, DreamWorks, IBM, Rancher Labs, Red Hat and many others recounted their own personal struggles to fit in and advance as women and minorities in tech. And they gave us sage advice and practical tips on what women, minorities, and their allies can do to facilitate inclusion and culture change in open source and the broader tech community.

    • Open Source Summit: Day 1 in 5 minutes

      As you can see in the video below, the first day of the Open Source Summit was quite educational. My day was filled with clouds, containers, community building, flavors of Linux, and Linus Torvalds.

    • Reflection on trip to Kiel

      On Sunday, I flew home from my trip to Kiel, Germany. I was there for the Kieler Open Source und LinuxTage, September 15 and 16. It was a great conference! I wanted to share a few details while they are still fresh in my mind:

      I gave a plenary keynote presentation about FreeDOS! I’ll admit I was a little concerned that people wouldn’t find “DOS” an interesting topic in 2017, but everyone was really engaged. I got a lot of questions—so many that we had to wrap up before I could answer all the questions.

  • Databases
    • A quick tour of MySQL 8.0 roles

      This year at the Percona Live Open Source Database Conference in Dublin, I’ll be discussing a new feature introduced in MySQL 8.0: roles. This is a new security and administrative feature that allows database administrators to simplify user management and increases the security of multi-user environments.

      In database administration, users are granted privileges to access schemas, tables, or columns, depending on the business needs. When many different users require authorization for different sets of privileges, administrators have to repeat the process of granting privileges several times. This is both tedious and error-prone. Using roles, administrators can define sets of privileges for a user category, and then the user authorization becomes a single statement operation.

      Roles have been on the MySQL community’s wish list for a long time. I remember several third-party solutions that tried to implement roles as a hack on top of the existing privileges granting system. I created my own solution many years ago when I had to administer a large set of users with different levels of access. Since then, anytime a new project promised to ease the roles problem, I gave it a try. None of them truly delivered a secure solution, until now.

    • MyDiamo Expands Open Source Database Encryption Offerings to Include PostgreSQL
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • SPARC M8 Processors Launched

      While Oracle recently let go of some of their SPARC team, today marks the launch of the SPARC M8.

      The initial SPARC M8 line-up includes the T8-1, T8-2, T8-4. M8-8, and SuperCluster M8-8 servers.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Programming/Development
    • RcppClassic 0.9.7

      A rather boring and otherwise uneventful release 0.9.7 of RcppClassic is now at CRAN. This package provides a maintained version of the otherwise deprecated first Rcpp API; no new projects should use it.

    • Facebook’s HHVM To Focus More On Hack, No Longer Focusing On PHP7 Compatibility

      Some interesting remarks today by Facebook’s HHVM/Hack language team as they plot their future agenda.

      First up, the HHVM 3.24 release due out in early 2018 will be their last release to commit to supporting PHP5. PHP5-specific features after that release may end up being dropped.

      Along with dropping PHP5 support, HHVM developers will no longer be focusing on PHP7 compatibility.

    • IBM’s Eclipse OpenJ9 Is A Promising Open-Source JVM

      For those that missed the news over the weekend, IBM has open-sourced its in-house JVM and contributed it to the Eclipse Foundation. Eclipse OpenJ9 is this new, full-featured, enterprise-ready open-source Java Virtual Machine.

    • Some Early Tests Of The Eclipse OpenJ9 Java Virtual Machine

      With IBM’s newly open-sourced J9 Java Virtual Machine as the Eclipse OpenJ9, I’ve run some quick benchmarks to get an idea how its performance is comparing to the de facto Java Virtual Machine, Hotspot.

    • SCons 3.0 Released

      For those that haven’t jumped fully on the Meson build system bandwagon, the SCons 3.0 software construction utility is now available.

    • Small Glowing Thing

      Quite a while ago I obtained an Adafruit NeoPixel Stick. It was cheap enough to be an impulse buy but it took me some time to get around to actually doing something with it.

      I’ve been wanting to play a little more with the ATtiny range of microcontrollers so these things seemed to go together nicely. It turns out that getting an ATtiny programmed is actually rather simple using an Arduino as an ISP programmer. I’ve written up some notes on the procedure at the 57North Hacklab wiki.

    • Clang-Refactor Tool Lands In Clang Codebase

      The clang-refactor tool is now living within the LLVM Clang SVN/Git codebase.

Leftovers
  • Science
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Vox Hedges Headline in Fit of Single-Payer Skepticism

      Vox.com, which brands itself as both a news source and an “explainer” of news, constructs many of its headlines around the word “why.” These include opinion essays (e.g., “Why Now Is Such a Strange Era in American Political History,” 9/6/17) or interviews (“A Veteran GOP Strategist Explains Why Conservative Elites Put Up With Trump’s Lies and Corruption,” 3/22/17). The headline style assures the reader that they can turn to Vox to understand the reasons behind current affairs.

      Vox’s lead story on Wednesday (9/13/17) used the same structure, with a curious (and clunky) twist: “Bernie Sanders Explains Why He Thinks Everything Short of Medicare-for-All Is Failure.” The unnecessary addition of “he thinks” to the formula sacrifices elegance for an extra layer of skepticism.

    • Attorneys General in 37 States Urge Insurance Industry to Do More to Curb Opioid Epidemic

      Attorneys general for 37 states sent a letter Monday to the health insurance industry’s main trade group, urging its members to reconsider coverage policies that may be fueling the opioid crisis.

      The letter is part of an ongoing investigation by the state officials into the causes of the opioid epidemic and the parties that are most responsible. The group is also focusing on the marketing and sales practices of drug makers and the role of drug distributors.

      On Sunday, ProPublica and The New York Times reported that many insurance companies limit access to pain medications that carry a lower risk of addiction or dependence, even as they provide comparatively easy access to generic opioid medications. The safer drugs are more expensive.

    • Blowing the whistle on the meat industry

      Consumers have been exposed to meat contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria because of poor hygiene practices and ineffective regulations in some UK abattoirs, according to a whistleblower meat inspector.

      After 20 years of working in abattoirs – inspecting animal carcasses for disease and making sure safety and hygiene rules are followed – he has decided to speak out. Regular hygiene lapses, coupled with poor regulation, could lead to dirty meat getting into the food chain and endangering human health, he believes. Previously unpublished official reports obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism back up many of his claims.

    • Access To Generic Reproductive Health Supplies Decades Behind Medicines?

      Despite a massive worldwide push to improve access to contraceptives, generic manufacturers say they’re not yet getting a good share of the pie.

    • Breaking – WHO Issues Alarming Report On Coming Shortage Of Antibiotics

      A new report issued today by the World Health Organization shows a “serious lack” of new antibiotics in development, even as resistance to existing antibiotics are on the rise. The head of the WHO said the report shows an “urgent need” for investment into research and development. In addition, a second report today from WHO on prioritisation of pathogens for R&D into new antibiotics.

      The 48-page report, “Antibacterial agents in clinical development – an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis,” is available here, according to WHO.

      Most drugs currently in the pipeline are modifications of existing classes of antibiotics and are only short-term solutions, the report found. It “identifies 51 new antibiotics and biologicals in clinical development to treaty priority antibiotic pathogens, as well as tuberculosis and the sometimes deadly diarrhoeal infection Clostridium difficile,” the release said.

      [...]

      The report makes several references to patents. The study did not cover vaccines.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Monday
    • Here’s an Open Source Alternative to CCleaner
    • Software Has a Serious Supply-Chain Security Problem

      The warnings consumers hear from information security pros tend to focus on trust: Don’t click web links or attachments from an untrusted sender. Only install applications from a trusted source or from a trusted app store. But lately, devious hackers have been targeting their attacks further up the software supply chain, sneaking malware into downloads from even trusted vendors, long before you ever click to install.

      On Monday, Cisco’s Talos security research division revealed that hackers sabotaged the ultra-popular, free computer-cleanup tool CCleaner for at least the last month, inserting a backdoor into updates to the application that landed in millions of personal computers. That attack betrayed basic consumer trust in CCleaner-developer Avast, and software firms more broadly, by lacing a legitimate program with malware—one distributed by a security company, no less.

    • CCleaner Compromised to Distribute Malware for Almost a Month

      Version 5.33 of the CCleaner app offered for download between August 15 and September 12 was modified to include the Floxif malware, according to a report published by Cisco Talos a few minutes ago.

      Floxif is a malware downloader that gathers information about infected systems and sends it back to its C&C server. The malware also had the ability to download and run other binaries, but at the time of writing, there is no evidence that Floxif downloaded additional second-stage payloads on infected hosts.

    • From equanimity to Equifax [Ed: It’s NOT “about open-source software quality” but about Equifax not patching its software for >2 months]
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • The 2017 Linux Security Summit

      The past Thursday and Friday was the 2017 Linux Security Summit, and once again I think it was a great success. A round of thanks to James Morris for leading the effort, the program committee for selecting a solid set of talks (we saw a big increase in submissions this year), the presenters, the attendees, the Linux Foundation, and our sponsor – thank you all!

      Unfortunately we don’t have recordings of the talks, but I’ve included my notes on each of the presentations below. I’ve also included links to the slides, but not all of the slides were available at the time of writing; check the LSS 2017 slide archive for updates.

    • Key Considerations for Software Updates for Embedded Linux and IoT

      The Mirai botnet attack that enslaved poorly secured connected embedded devices is yet another tangible example of the importance of security before bringing your embedded devices online. A new strain of Mirai has caused network outages to about a million Deutsche Telekom customers due to poorly secured routers. Many of these embedded devices run a variant of embedded Linux; typically, the distribution size is around 16MB today.

      Unfortunately, the Linux kernel, although very widely used, is far from immune to critical security vulnerabilities as well. In fact, in a presentation at Linux Security Summit 2016, Kees Cook highlighted two examples of critical security vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel: one being present in kernel versions from 2.6.1 all the way to 3.15, the other from 3.4 to 3.14. He also showed that a myriad of high severity vulnerabilities are continuously being found and addressed—more than 30 in his data set.

    • APNIC-sponsored proposal could vastly improve DNS resilience against DDoS
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Stanislav Petrov, who averted possible nuclear war, dies at 77

      Stanislav Petrov was on duty at a Russian nuclear early warning centre in 1983 when computers wrongly detected incoming missiles from the US.

      He took the decision that they were a false alarm and did not report them to his superiors.

    • Soviet air defense officer who saved the world dies at age 77

      Former Soviet Air Defense Colonel Stanislav Petrov, the man known for preventing an accidental nuclear launch by the Soviet Union at the height of Cold War tensions, has passed away. Karl Schumacher, a German political activist who first met Petrov in 1998 and helped him visit Germany a year later, published news of Petrov’s death after learning from Petrov’s son that he had died in May. Petrov was 77.

      Petrov’s story has since been recounted several times by historians, including briefly in William Taubman’s recent biography of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Gorbachev: His Life and Times. Ars also wrote about Petrov in our 2015 feature on Exercise Able Archer. On the night of September 26, 1983, Petrov was watch officer in charge of the Soviet Union’s recently completed US-KS nuclear launch warning satellite network, known as “Oko” (Russian for “eye”). To provide instant warning of an American nuclear attack, the system was supposed to catch the flare of launching missiles as they rose.

    • Fake Arguments for Killing Iran-Nuke Deal

      Opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), always has been filled with disingenuous arguments. This reflects the fundamental illogic of the opponents’ position: if the agreement were to be junked, this would mean removing a panoply of restrictions on Iran and re-opening now-closed avenues to a nuclear weapon for the very country that the opponents constantly contend is a serious threat.

      [...]

      If a nuclear weapon is somewhere in Iran’s future, it won’t be because of such supposed and ridiculously unrealistic Iranian thinking but rather because the bargain that prevents an Iranian nuke will have been overturned by a U.S. administration reneging on U.S. commitments and destroying the JCPOA.

    • The U.S. Military Can’t Keep Track of Which Missions It’s Fueling in Yemen War

      The United States has come under increasing scrutiny for what seems like unconditional support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition waging a brutal air war in Yemen. One of the key measures of that support has been refueling operations: U.S. tankers fill up planes from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other coalition members, which go on to drop bombs in Yemen. Those bombs have killed at least 3,200 civilians and leveled hospitals and markets, leading to accusations that the U.S. is facilitating war crimes.

      But U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, now admits that it doesn’t even know how much fuel it offloads for Saudi Arabia and its partners — directly contradicting information about refueling operations that it previously released. Responding to questions from The Intercept, CENTCOM now says that it lumps together refueling data for the coalition with data for U.S. planes in the area, joint U.S.-Emirati missions, and possibly other operations. Even this pooled data has unexplained discrepancies.

    • The Senate’s Military Spending Increase Alone Is Enough to Make Public College Free

      One of the most controversial proposals put forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential campaign was a pledge to make tuition free at public colleges and universities. Critics from both parties howled that the pie-in-the-sky idea would bankrupt the country. Where, after all, would the money come from?

      Those concerns were brushed aside on Monday night, as the Senate overwhelmingly approved an $80 billion annual increase in military spending, enough to have fully satisfied Sanders’ campaign promise. Instead, the Senate handed President Trump far more than the $54 billion he asked for. The lavish spending package gives Trump a major legislative victory, allowing him to boast about fulfilling his promise of a “great rebuilding of the armed services.”

      The bill would set the U.S.’s annual military budget at around $700 billion, putting it within range of matching the spending level at the height of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • How the UN Covers for US Aggression

      President Trump opened his big United Nations week … and his famous mouth … with a predictable plug for one of his properties and some playful glad-handing with French President Emmanuel Macron. Trump also scolded the U.N.’s unwieldy scrum for “not living up to its potential.” He made a passing reference to the U.N.’s wasteful use of American money. And he called for “reform” of the much-maligned international forum.

    • Getting the Gulf of Tonkin Wrong: Are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick “Telling Stories” About the Central Events Used to Legitimize the US Attack Against Vietnam?

      This past spring I attended an advance screening of excerpts of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s documentary about the US War against Vietnam at Harvard, with these two in attendance, along with some Kennedy School “national security” types, who had evidently been recruited as “consultants.” (I was happy to see Peter Davis, the director of the truly commendable “Hearts and Minds” in the audience, and had a chance to say “hello.” Peter is himself a Harvard grad, is now writing novels and, happily, was acknowledged by Mr. Burns.)

      I was astonished to hear the Narrator in one of these excerpts refer to “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin.” I was doubly astonished when I heard Burns use the exact same phrasing — “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin” — during a discussion and Q&A which followed the screening (and even in a somewhat different context. [It must have been on his mind.])

      What could he possibly mean?

      “Retaliation” for Gulf of Tonkin?

      [...]

      The US Central Intelligence Agency had been coordinating “covert” attacks against the shoreline of North Vietnam for months (OPLAN 34-A). Finally, in early August of 1964, a mid-level NV naval officer may have been responsible for ordering NV patrol boats to chase the USS Maddox out into international waters, as a result of it’s believed role in supporting these attacks (which was actually the case; the Maddox had an unusual and special NSA surveillance unit on board, and was also engaged in what were labeled “DeSoto Patrols,” moving into and out of territorial waters claimed by the Government of North Vietnam.) Among other things, these US attacks were designed to test and gain information about North Vietnamese radar and air defenses.

    • ‘Genocidal’ Trump Blasted for Threatening to ‘Totally Destroy North Korea’

      For what he said—and also for what he refused to mention—President Donald Trump was lampooned by progressive critics as he delivered his first ever speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday morning.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • The CIA Wins: Harvard, Chelsea Manning and Visiting Fellowships

      It all began with an announcement, made public on the website of the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics at Harvard University. Chelsea Manning would be joining a curious array of Visiting Fellows, including Mr Disaster, Robby Mook, and Sean Bumbling Spicer. (Manning, Spicer and Mook has a curious ring to it, the name, perhaps, of an error-prone debt recovery agency.)

      Mook will have something to tell members of the Kennedy School, being credited with directing one of the worst electoral campaigns in US electoral history. His fanatical insistence on statistical determinations had its own role to play in sinking Hillary Clinton, the person who hired him to get elected.

    • WikiLeaks releases ‘Spy Files: Russia’ detailing shadowy mass surveillance programme
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Beyond Harvey and Irma

      Deployed to the Houston area to assist in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, U.S. military forces hadn’t even completed their assignments when they were hurriedly dispatched to Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to face Irma, the fiercest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. Florida Governor Rick Scott, who had sent members of the state National Guard to devastated Houston, anxiously recalled them while putting in place emergency measures for his own state. A small flotilla of naval vessels, originally sent to waters off Texas, was similarly redirected to the Caribbean, while specialized combat units drawn from as far afield as Colorado, Illinois, and Rhode Island were rushed to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, members of the California National Guard were being mobilized to fight wildfires raging across that state (as across much of the West) during its hottest summer on record.

      Think of this as the new face of homeland security: containing the damage to America’s seacoasts, forests, and other vulnerable areas caused by extreme weather events made all the more frequent and destructive thanks to climate change. This is a “war” that won’t have a name — not yet, not in the Trump era, but it will be no less real for that. “The firepower of the federal government” was being trained on Harvey, as William Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), put it in a blunt expression of this warlike approach. But don’t expect any of the military officials involved in such efforts to identify climate change as the source of their new strategic orientation, not while Commander in Chief Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office refusing to acknowledge the reality of global warming or its role in heightening the intensity of major storms; not while he continues to stock his administration, top to bottom, with climate-change deniers.

    • British tabloid told to admit its climate coverage was inaccurate

      Early this year, a British tabloid ran a hyperbolic article on climate change, claiming that world leaders had been “duped” by climate data that had been manipulated. It wasn’t unusual for the outlet or the article’s author to make badly misleading claims about climate research, and our own investigation into the underlying disagreement showed that the piece actually boiled down to a dispute about how best to archive data. These sorts of misrepresentations happen dozens of times a year.

      But something unusual did eventually happen as a response to the article in the Mail on Sunday: a UK press watchdog determined that the article breached the Editor’s Code of Conduct. Mail on Sunday was subsequently ordered to prominently display the inaccuracies above the article itself.

    • ‘Climate Change Is Making These Facilities Even More Dangerous’

      The story of devastating weather events like hurricanes is many stories, really. There’s no need to compete; they’re all critical. But there is something about the oil industry spurring climate disruption, lobbying against preventative or preparatory measures, and then adding to its harmful impact with their methods of operation. As Texas continues to reel under the effects of Harvey, it’s been noted that besides massive flooding, some communities were also faced with dangerous chemicals released into the air by refineries and petrochemical plants.

      How did that happen, and what can prevent it from happening again? Our next guest has been investigating that. Shaye Wolf is climate science director for the Center for Biological Diversity. She joins us now by phone from Oakland. Welcome to CounterSpin, Shaye Wolf.

    • ‘Heaven Help Those in Dominica Tonight’: Category 5 Maria Makes Landfall

      Hurricane Maria was ugraded to a powerful Category 5 and “potentially catastrophic” storm Monday evening, with sustained winds over 160 mph, just before it slammed into the independent Caribbean island of Dominica as it carved a terrifying path similar (though not exact) to Hurricane Irma less than ten days ago.

    • Quiet energy revolution underway in Japan as dozens of towns go off the grid

      northern Japanese city’s efforts to rebuild its electric power system after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami mark a quiet shift away from the country’s old utility model toward self-reliant, local generation and transmission.

      After losing three-quarters of its homes and 1,100 people in the March 2011 temblor and tsunami, the city of Higashi Matsushima turned to the Japanese government’s “National Resilience Program,” with 3.72 trillion yen ($33.32 billion) in funding for this fiscal year, to rebuild.

  • Finance
    • UN Assembly Tackles Role Of Technology And Innovation In Sustainable Development

      Governments and the private sector must work more closely together in the area of technology and innovation to make the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a reality by 2030, government and major tech company officials said at today’s UN high-level event in New York. Today’s development problems won’t be solved with yesterday’s solutions but by all stakeholders – governments, civil society, youth, businesses and academia – working together, said General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák. Everyone must have “fair access to technologies and innovations” and to training, he said.

      [...]

      People will be expected to relearn, but it’s not clear what jobs will be out there, said Ashish Thakkar, founder of the Mara Group and chair of the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council. Both men agreed that AI should be a basic human right, whether as SDG number 18 (there are currently 17) or as an embedded part of the other 17 goals.

    • What Are Bitcoins?

      Bitcoin is a digital currency or electronic cash the relies on peer to peer technology for completing transactions. Since peer to peer technology is used as the major network, bitcoins provide a community like managed economy. This is to mean, bitcoins eliminate the centralized authority way of managing currency and promotes community management of currency. Most Also of the software related to bitcoin mining and managing of bitcoin digital cash is open source.

    • Robots ‘could take 4m UK private sector jobs within 10 years’

      Four million jobs in the British private sector could be replaced by robots in the next decade, according to business leaders asked about the future of automation and artificial intelligence.

      The potential impact amounts to 15% of the current workforce in the sector and emerged in a poll conducted by YouGov for the Royal Society of Arts, whose chief executive, Matthew Taylor, has been advising Downing Street on the future of modern work.

      Jobs in finance and accounting, transport and distribution and in media, marketing and advertising are most likely to be automated in the next decade, the research says.

    • Boris’ attack on young people is part of Brexit’s ‘traitor’ narrative

      That was the moment the culture war became real. That was the moment we realised how deeply the Brexit project was changing what it was to be British. This was the politicisation of the idea of only ever being one thing. It was an explicit demand, from the prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to conform – to prove your allegiance.

      It’s an old idea, probably even a basic human impulse. It allows us to simplify life into manageable categories, to define people as being in the in-group or the out-group. It is the monkey part of our brain shouting in our ear.

      In modern British politics its most recent advocate was Norman Tebbit. Younger readers will be lucky enough to have never heard of him, but he still haunts the House of Lords, a ghoulish unreconstructed old right winger whose ideas are suddenly much more alive than we could ever have predicted a couple of years ago. “A large proportion of Britain’s Asian population fail to pass the cricket test,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1990. “Which side do they cheer for?”

      Anyone with a passing acquaintance of British Asian communities will know that the test refutes itself. It has within it the undermining of its own premise. Many Asian Brits support their country of heritage in the cricket and England in the football. Their identity is mixed. It is fluid. Tebbit could never understand this, just like he could never understand how an Olympic medallist like Leo Manzano would celebrate by running with an American and a Mexican flag together. These feelings are beyond the limits of his imagination.

    • Authorities Close In On Pro-Charter School Nonprofit For Illicit Campaign Contributions

      A New York-based education reform nonprofit funneled nearly $2.5 million to a related group in Massachusetts, according to new disclosures unearthed as part of a legal settlement.

      The Massachusetts operation, called Families for Excellent Schools-Advocacy, a pro-charter group, was hit with a record $426,500 fine for failing to disclose its donors related to a 2016 Massachusetts ballot campaign — a race that became the most expensive ballot measure in state history.

      FESA is a 501(c)(4) offshoot of the New York-based Families for Excellent Schools, a 501(c)(3). That connection raises the stakes for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has jurisdiction over Families for Excellent Schools in New York and has made clean campaigns a centerpiece of his agenda.

      In exchange for their tax-exempt status, federal law bars 501(c)(3) organizations from engaging in political activity, and some are calling on Schneiderman to investigate why Families for Excellent Schools made a multimillion-dollar contribution, now that the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance has acted.

      “This group spent $2.5 million on a Massachusetts ballot initiative. That is a screaming siren, a flashing red light,” says Michael Kink, executive director of the union-backed Strong Economy For All Coalition in New York. “I think it’s something the AG absolutely should look into. A number of other groups are aware of this potential violation, and we’re talking to each other. A substantive investigation is clearly needed.”

      A spokesperson for Schneiderman’s office declined The Intercept’s request for comment.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Moderators say Facebook didn’t prepare them to catch Russian propaganda

      The company relies on contractors who might screen thousands of ad components daily

    • A CASUALTY OF TRUMP’S WAR WITH CNN IS BACK IN THE GAME

      Earlier this summer, after he and two other investigative journalists were forced to resign from CNN following the retraction of an article about Trump consigliere Anthony Scaramucci, Thomas Frank considered leaving journalism altogether. The drama surrounding the Mooch story had seized the public’s attention, and Frank suspected that in the immediate future, no news outlet would want to touch him with a 10-foot pole. After his defenestration, he spent a lot of time looking at job postings for things in the realm of public-policy analysis. Think tanks seemed like a good option. Even lobbying wasn’t looking so bad.

      But within a few weeks, it became clear that the fallout from L’Affaire Scaramucci hadn’t turned Frank into a journalistic pariah. The story as it has unfolded is murkier, having as much to do with the idiosyncrasies of CNN’s journalistic culture—and its ongoing troubles with the president—as any error that may have been committed.

      Frank now has a new job covering national security and counterintelligence for BuzzFeed, which he landed after applying through a link he saw on Facebook. He will start on October 2 as the Web site’s first full-time reporter on that beat. In particular, Frank will focus on the very story that his former colleagues at CNN’s investigative unit have reportedly been told to lay off of—the various probes investigating the Trump team’s potential role in Russia’s alleged 2016 election interference.

    • The Trumps Say They’re Opening Hotels in Dallas, Nashville and Elsewhere. We Couldn’t Find Evidence of Them.

      Earlier this summer, the Trump Organization announced big plans to open a line of hotels across the country. The new brand, American IDEA, would be modestly priced and patriotically themed. “The product is very hometown and fits in every hometown in the United States,” Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger said during a presentation at Trump Tower in Manhattan, the same place where Donald Trump had announced his presidential campaign two years earlier.

      American IDEA would be part of a wider rollout with another higher-end hotel line, Scion, that the Trumps had already unveiled. Progress on the hotels would be swift, Danziger said.

      The Trump Organization had said it signed deals for Scion hotels in Nashville, Dallas, Cincinnati, Austin and New York. At various times, company officials have cited anywhere from 10 to 39 impending deals.

    • Sean Spicer Is Honored Because — As Bush Officials Have Shown — D.C. Elites Always Thrive

      Sean Spicer’s playful, glamorous appearance at last night’s Emmy Awards and being honored as a visiting fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School (the honorific which the CIA vetoed for Chelsea Manning) has prompted a mix of shock and indignation. Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau wrote: “Harvard fellowships, Emmy appearances, huge speaking fees: there’s just gonna be no penalty for working in Trump’s White House, huh?” Slate’s Jamelle Bouie added: “The degree to which Sean Spicer has faced no consequences is a glimpse into the post-Trump future.”

      There should be nothing whatsoever surprising about any of this, as it is the logical and necessary outcome of the self-serving template of immunity which D.C. elites have erected for themselves. The Bush administration was filled with high-level officials who did not just lie from podiums, but did so in service of actual war crimes. They invaded and destroyed a country of 26 million people based on blatant falsehoods and relentless propaganda. They instituted a worldwide torture regime by issuing decrees that purported to redefine what that term meant. They spied on the communications of American citizens without the warrants required by law. They kidnapped innocent people from foreign soil and sent them to be tortured in the dungeons of the world’s worst regimes, and rounded up Muslims on domestic soil with no charges. They imprisoned Muslim journalists for years without a whiff of due process. And they generally embraced and implemented the fundamental tenets of authoritarianism by explicitly positioning the president and his White House above the law.

    • A Sense of Proportion

      The Establishment is fast losing its grip on the loyalty of the populace. That decline in the respect of the population for their masters has coincided with the rise of the importance of the internet and social media, and the corresponding decline in consumption of traditional print and broadcast news and current affairs media. It is a little more complicated than simple cause and effect – at precisely the same period the income gap in western society has opened out massively, and the palliative protections of the masses, particularly trade unions, have been rendered impotent. But the overall impact is that respect of the people for their “betters” is vanishing. Indeed, very few people would accept anybody in the political class as their “better” today.

      [...]

      Today we have Hanna Flint in the Guardian apparently traumatised by a teacher asking her when she was 13 if her mum, Caroline Flint, would vote for the war in Iraq. Again I am sorry if that upset Hanna. No child should be upset. But there are hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children a very great deal more traumatised by having close family members blown to pieces in the Iraq conflict, thanks to the hardened and nasty right wing piece of work that is Caroline Flint. I imagine their trauma is rather worse. There are plenty of Iraqi children who got maimed themselves. There are plenty of Iraqi children who, unlike Hanna, never got the chance to grow up at all, thanks to Hanna’s warmongering mum. I am sorry for your childhood pain, Hanna, I really am. I hate to see any child unhappy. But forgive me if you are not first in line for my sympathy.

    • President Trump’s Mass Movement

      President Trump is building a mass movement – or a cult of personality – based on the alienation that millions of Americans feel toward the economic/political system, as Lawrence Davidson describes.

      In the Sept. 10 issue of the New York Times, there are two opinion pieces that have to do with Donald Trump and his supporters. One is entitled “The Trump Fever Never Breaks” and the other is “President Trump’s War on Science.” As we will see, the two pieces actually address different aspects of a single evolving phenomenon. However, we will examine each in turn and tie them together as we go.

    • Vincent Fort Angered Democratic Elites When He Endorsed Bernie Sanders. Can He Be Atlanta’s Next Mayor?

      On a recent Saturday afternoon in Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood, Vincent Fort was out working the voters. As the populist wing of the Democratic Party has surged in recent months, it has created an unusual problem for a politician like Fort. Accustomed to being on the outer edge of the party, he now sounds like pretty much everybody else.

      Or, as he puts it to one voter, everybody else now sounds like him.

      “They want to deal with gentrification and all that,” he says of his opponents, “but they haven’t done it until the epiphany of the last six months.”

    • Theresa May expects Boris Johnson to remain as Foreign Secretary after Brexit speech

      Theresa May is expecting Boris Johnson to remain in her Cabinet as Foreign Secretary, Downing Street has said.

      The statement was made after Mr Johnson dismissed suggestions that he might be on the verge of quitting and denied the Cabinet is split over Brexit, insisting: “We are a nest of singing birds.”

      Mrs May has called a special meeting of Cabinet at Number 10 on Thursday to discuss her crunch Brexit speech in Italy the following day, which a Downing Street source said would be “a significant moment” in the process of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Shockingly, NY Times Columnist Is Totally Clueless About The Internet

      It’s fairly stunning just how often the NY Times Opinion pages are just… wrong. Nick Kristof, one of the most well known of the NYT’s columnists, has spent years, talking about stopping sex trafficking — but with a history of being fast and loose with facts, and showing either little regard for verifying what he’s saying, or a poor understanding of the consequences of what he says. I would hope that everyone reading this supports stopping illegal and coerced sex trafficking. But doing so shouldn’t allow making up facts and ignoring how certain superficial actions might make the problems worse. Kristof, in particular, has been targeting Backpage.com for at least five years — but has been caught vastly exaggerating claims about the site to the point of potentially misstating facts entirely (such as claiming Backpage existed before it actually did, and that it operated in cities where it did not). Kristof also has a history of being laughably credulous when someone comes along with a good story about sex trafficking, even when it’s mostly made up. He’s been accused of having a bit of a savior complex.
      And that’s on display with his recent, extraordinarily confused piece attacking Google for not supporting SESTA — the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.” As we’ve explained in great detail, SESTA (despite its name) is unlikely to stop any sex trafficking and likely would make the problem worse. That’s because the whole point of SESTA is to undermine CDA 230, the part of the law that creates incentives for tech companies to work with authorities and to help them track down sex trafficking on their sites. What the bill would do is make websites owners now both civilly and criminally liable for knowledge of any sex trafficking activity on their sites — meaning that any proactive efforts by them to monitor their websites may be seen as “knowledge,” thus making them liable. The new incentives will be not to help out at all — not to monitor and not to search.

    • Live Blog: Senate Commerce Committee Discusses SESTA
    • The Wrong Answer to a Serious Problem

      Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson, thank you for the opportunity to testify today as one of the authors of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. As has been testified to by numerous experts over the years, Section 230 was a necessary step to bring our legal system into the 21st Century, it has provided the legal foundation for the growth of the Internet as a massive job creator and platform for free speech around the world and I strongly believe it should be kept intact.

      When I wrote Section 230 more than 20 years ago it was in recognition of the fact that the Internet was going to change the way we do business, the way we interact with each other, and frankly, virtually every other corner of our lives and our society. We understood that no amount of legislation and political bloviating could stop that change, but we could influence how it came about. Would we have an Internet dominated by private networks with all the worst impulses of human beings going on in impenetrable dark corners, or would it be a platform, open to the world, where such impulses would be exposed to the light, and the law.

      This is why we made it crystal clear that nothing in the statute protects against violation of federal criminal law, and more importantly, nothing in the statute protects individuals from the full force of the law when they commit, and leave evidence of, their crimes online.

    • Facebook’s war on free will

      In reality, Facebook is a tangle of rules and procedures for sorting information, rules devised by the corporation for the ultimate benefit of the corporation. Facebook is always surveilling users, always auditing them, using them as lab rats in its behavioural experiments. While it creates the impression that it offers choice, in truth Facebook paternalistically nudges users in the direction it deems best for them, which also happens to be the direction that gets them thoroughly addicted. It’s a phoniness that is most obvious in the compressed, historic career of Facebook’s mastermind.

    • Twitter rival Gab faces domain loss over extremist content

      It’s not easy to host extremist right-wing content on the modern Internet. Gab, a small Twitter rival that bills itself as a bastion of free speech, has received word from its Australian domain registrar that it has five days to find a new registrar, or its domain will be canceled.

      The story begins last month, when the neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer got a similar message from its domain registrar, GoDaddy. The editor of the Daily Stormer had written an article mocking Heather Heyer, who died in protest-related violence in Charlottesville. The Daily Stormer wound up losing its domain name, and two key people associated with the site—editor Andrew Anglin and webmaster Andrew Auernheimer—switched to Gab as their primary way of communicating with the public.

      Hosting Anglin and Aurenheimer—as well as other right-wing figures like Internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos—has created headaches for Gab. Days after Anglin became active on Gab, Google kicked Gab out of the Android app store, citing its lax moderation policies.

    • Censorship in media needs to f— off

      If a college paper goes years without addressing the absurdity of censorship in media, is it really a college paper?

      Thankfully, there is a remedy – these here words.

      First, to clear up the term “censorship,” this particular article will address the suppression of profanity, the blanketing of bad words, the flushing of potty mouths, etc.

    • The Senate Is Close To Undermining The Internet By Pretending To ‘Protect’ The Children

      Protecting children from harm is a laudable goal. But, as we’ve noted for many years, grandstanding politicians have a fairly long history of doing a lot of really dangerous stuff by insisting it needs to be done “for the children.” That doesn’t mean that all “for the children” laws are bad, but they do deserve scrutiny, especially when they appear to be reactive to news events, and rushed out with little understanding or discussion. And that’s a big part of our concern with SESTA — the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act — a “for the children” bill. With a name like that, it’s difficult to oppose, because we’re all in favor of stopping sex trafficking. But if you actually look at the bill with any understanding of how the internet works, you quickly realize that it will be tremendously counterproductive and would likely do a lot more to harm trafficking victims by making it much more risky for internet services to moderate their own sites, and to cooperate with law enforcement in nabbing sex traffickers using their platforms.

    • Pirate Bay Founder Is Offering Anonymous Hosting to Fight Government Censorship

      The north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia is celebrating an unofficial referendum for its independence on October 1, and the Spanish government is doing anything in its power to stop it—including censoring the internet.

      The Spanish government has seized the official domains of the referendum: referendum.cat and ref1oct.cat, and activists say it’s also using other techniques like manipulating the Domain Name System—the phonebook of the internet—to prevent people from accessing referendum-related sites. Meanwhile, Pirate Bay co-founder and long-time anti-censorship activist Peter Sunde is offering to keep information about the referendum online.

    • Ed Herbst: The genesis of ANC censorship – the Death of a Dream
    • Al Jazeera attacks Snap for ‘censoring’ content in Saudi Arabia
    • Snap faces its first censorship challenge, removes Al Jazeera’s Discover channel in Saudi Arabia
    • Snapchat blocks Al Jazeera in Saudi Arabia
    • Snap blocks Al Jazeera in Saudi Arabia to “comply with local laws”
    • Snapchat removed Al Jazeera’s channel from its app after pressure from the Saudi Arabian government
    • Snapchat Removes Al Jazeera Channel in Saudi Arabia
    • Snapchat takes down Al Jazeera’s channel in Saudi Arabia
    • Danger of Censorship Outweighs ‘Damage’ of Ugly Expression
    • Newseum Asked to Rescind Free Speech Award to Apple CEO Tim Cook
    • Tim Cook Could Have His ‘Free Expression Award’ Taken From Him Because Of Chinese Censorship
    • Netizen Report: Online Supporters of Myanmar’s Rohingya Face Censorship, Legal Threats

      Violence in northwest Myanmar has dominated headlines in recent weeks. More than 100,000 people from the ethnic minority Rohingya group have been displaced from their homes due to clearing operations of the Myanmar military, in response to attacks by a pro-Rohingya insurgent group. Tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees, who are mostly Muslim, are crossing into Bangladesh to escape the fighting.

      There is plenty of coverage of the situation by various media, ranging from mainstream wire services to independent Rohingya-run outlets like Rohingya Blogger. But it is still difficult to obtain accurate information about the conflict, as journalists both from the region and from abroad have been struggling to gain access to the conflict areas, and local media have a history of being punished for — and barred from — covering the Rohingya. Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar, has even accused various media of circulating “fake news” on the topic. Her government has established a Facebook page, known as the ‘Information Committee’, that claims to offer verified information about the conflict.

    • The twisted words of Myanmar’s Suu Kyi

      After three weeks of ethnic cleansing, mass murders, atrocities and all nature of civil rights’ abuses against the Rohingya people of Myanmar — a chapter that has seen nearly 400,000 of the persecuted Muslim minority flee through newly laid fields of landmines to seek refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh, Aung Sang Suu Kyi has ordained to speak to offer words of excuse to a shocked international community that stands in disbelief at her regime’s actions. This woman, who piously accepted a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for the civil rights abuses inflicted upon her and her political party by Myanmar’s junta and general, has become the apologist-in-chief for her own abusive, vile, violent – and elected – junta.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • There’s no crisis of free speech. Milo’s campus crusade is rank hypocrisy

      If you’re curious as to what a basket of deplorables looks like in real life, perhaps you should head over to Berkeley next week, where Steve Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter and friends will gather for a “festival of free expression” at the University of California campus. Maybe they’ll oblige by arriving in a hot air balloon, to render the metaphor entirely literal.

      The fact is, they may not arrive at all: Yiannopoulos, who is helping stage the series of events, has made a point of selecting “everyone who has been prevented from speaking at Berkeley in the last 12 months”. But “prevented” should be taken with a pinch of salt. Anti-immigrant firebrand Coulter, for example, decided of her own accord to cancel an appearance in April after the authorities allocated her a time slot designed to minimise the likelihood of a disturbance. “It’s a sad day for free speech,” she lamented, apparently without irony. This time around, the university administration has complained that deadlines for booking venues have been missed and fees remain unpaid. Yiannopoulos calls it a “coordinated bureaucratic mission to silence conservative voices”. Is it possible that the organisers would like nothing more than for Berkeley to insist on reasonable measures to ensure order, before flouncing off and crying censorship? Surely not.

    • Me, my data and I: Decode and the future of the personal data economy

      It’s no secret that personal data has become the key commodity of the online business world. The Internet giants – Facebook, Google, etc. – all provide their services “free”, but make money from the detailed profiles they create of our activity as we use social networks and move around the Web. Since we don’t have any choice in whether to allow this if we want to access the services, most people simple accept the practice as an inevitable if regrettable fact of digital life.

      But the consequences of doing so are serious. It means most of our activities online are tracked and stored – principally by companies, but also by governments that can draw on that data, using both front and back door access. It means that information about our supposed interests and preferences is fed back into the services to shape the content we see, and the ads that are displayed. It also means that intimate knowledge gleaned from the data can be used to manipulate us in subtle ways. But does it have to be like this? A project funded by the European Union called Decode (DEcentralised Citizen Owned Data Ecosystems) is exploring that question, in the hope that the answer is “no”:

    • Security Education: What’s New on Surveillance Self-Defense

      Since 2014, our digital security guide, Surveillance Self-Defense (SSD), has taught thousands of Internet users how to protect themselves from surveillance, with practical tutorials and advice on the best tools and expert-approved best practices. After hearing growing concerns among activists following the 2016 US presidential election, we pledged to build, update, and expand SSD and our other security education materials to better advise people, both within and outside the United States, on how to protect their online digital privacy and security.

    • Google’s Heather Adkins thinks everybody is going to get hacked and you need to be ready
    • Google’s Heather Adkins Talks NSA & Cyber Security Threats

      Google Manager of Information Security Heather Adkins said that she sees the United States National Security Agency as a general security threat while speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 on Monday. Ms. Adkins was asked whether she would label the NSA as a “state-sponsored threat” in the same vein that the likes of Russia and China are viewed, to which she responded positively. Google’s security chief suggested that the NSA itself isn’t a security threat so much as the software tools and techniques it develops are, likely referencing an April incident which saw a range of hacking tools supposedly created by the federal agency being leaked online. That same software was reportedly later used for enabling a global ransomware attack known as “WannaCry” which infected numerous computers around the planet and compromised a broad range of systems, including some that are critical in nature like hospital software.

    • A Google security chief considers the NSA a state-sponsored threat

      Today at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 Google’s Manager of Information Security Heather Adkins sat down for a fireside chat. Among the varying topics discussed, she spoke about what’s like to have the NSA tap the company’s lines and how she views state sponsored threats.

      Moderator and TechCrunch Senior Editor Frederic Lardinois asked Adkins if she thinks of the NSA as a state-sponsored threat in the same way as China and Russia. She confirmed, yes, she considers the US’ National Security Agency in that way. Does she worry about the NSA? Yes, she does and it’s good to worry about them because if they can attack, other organizations can attack too.

      She goes on to say that she thinks less about individual threats and rather focuses on the techniques and the surface available to be attacked.

    • Take Cybersecurity Away From Spies – For Everyone’s Sake

      Until 1994, GCHQ, the British signals intelligence agency, didn’t officially exist. Now, it has emerged out of the shadows to take a very public role at the heart of British cybersecurity.

      Public accountability for intelligence services is crucial to any democracy but, as the recent WannaCry ransomware attack showed, there are inevitable conflicts of interest between the role of intelligence services and network safety.

    • EFF, ACLU Sue Government Over Warrantless Electronic Searches At The Border

      If all goes well, we might have the US border join the rest of the United States in recognizing citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights. The Supreme Court’s Riley decision made it clear law enforcement needed to obtain warrants before searching people’s cellphones. Unfortunately, the so-called “border exception” — upheld by at least one court — says securing the border is more important than recognizing people’s rights.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Release: Portland Concludes Investigation into Uber’s use of Greyball

      By its own admission, Uber used Greyball to avoid regulation by PBOT enforcement officers in December 2014. These officers remained tagged by the Greyball program until the beginning of the first 120-day pilot period in April 2015.

    • The German schoolboy jailed for writing to the BBC

      They took saliva samples from the licked envelopes to identify blood groups which they cross-checked with doctor’s records. They traced fingerprints on the paper, sourced the ink and collated an extensive archive of handwriting samples.

      It was his handwriting that caught out Borchardt.

    • The Cybercrime Convention’s New Protocol Needs to Uphold Human Rights

      As part of an ongoing attempt to help law enforcement obtain data across international borders, the Council of Europe’s Cybercrime Convention— finalized in the weeks following 9/11, and ratified by the United States and over 50 countries around the world—is back on the global lawmaking agenda. This time, the Council’s Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY) has initiated a process to draft a second additional protocol to the Convention—a new text which could allow direct foreign law enforcement access to data stored in other countries’ territories. EFF has joined EDRi and a number of other organizations in a letter to the Council of Europe, highlighting some anticipated concerns with the upcoming process and seeking to ensure civil society concerns are considered in the new protocol. This new protocol needs to preserve the Council of Europe’s stated aim to uphold human rights, and not undermine privacy, and the integrity of our communication networks.

    • EFF to Court: The First Amendment Protects the Right to Record First Responders

      The First Amendment protects the right of members of the public to record first responders addressing medical emergencies, EFF argued in an amicus brief filed in the federal trial court for the Northern District of Texas. The case, Adelman v. DART, concerns the arrest of a Dallas freelance press photographer for criminal trespass after he took photos of a man receiving emergency treatment in a public area.

      EFF’s amicus brief argues that people frequently use electronic devices to record and share photos and videos. This often includes newsworthy recordings of on-duty police officers and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel interacting with members of the public. These recordings have informed the public’s understanding of emergencies and first responder misconduct.

    • Jeremy Corbyn blocks formation of key counter-terrorism watchdog

      The UK parliament’s influential intelligence and security watchdog has not met once during this summer’s string of deadly attacks, because Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has failed to put forward any candidates to sit on the committee, Middle East Eye can reveal.

    • Asylum-Seeker Says He’s Being Deported Because ICE Mishandled Evidence of Anti-Gay Attack

      On January 17, 2016, Sadat Ibrahim, a gay man from Accra, Ghana, arrived at the San Ysidro U.S. border checkpoint between San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico, pleading for help. He asked for asylum, telling immigration officials that he had fled home after he was ambushed and attacked by an anti-gay group.

      Homosexuality is illegal in Ghana, punishable by up to three years in jail, and vigilante gangs often terrorize gay people. According to testimony Ibrahim gave to an asylum officer, one of his friends had been beaten by an anti-gay gang in August 2015 and was forced to give up the names of gay acquaintances, including Ibrahim. Another friend texted Ibrahim to warn him, and he immediately went home to collect his belongings and leave the area. But as he was packing, gang members forced themselves into his apartment and attacked him. Ibrahim says he was stabbed in his left arm and only just managed to escape by hailing down a nearby taxicab.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Yet Another Report Says The Rate Of TV Cord Cutting Is Worse Than Anybody Thought

      For years the traditional cable and broadcast industry has gone to comedic lengths to deny that cord cutting (getting rid of traditional cable TV) is real. First, we were told repeatedly that the phenomenon wasn’t happening at all. Next, the industry acknowledged that sure — a handful of people were ditching cable, but it didn’t matter because the people doing so were losers living in their mom’s basement. Then, we were told that cord cutting was real, but was only a minor phenomenon that would go away once Millennials started procreating.

      Of course none of these talking points were true, but they helped cement a common belief among older cable and broadcast executives that the transformative shift to streaming video could be easily solved by doubling down on bad ideas. More price increases, more advertisements stuffed into each minute, more hubris, and more denial. Intentional blindness to justify the milking of a dying cash cow — instead of adapting.

    • Yes, You Can Believe In Internet Freedom Without Being A Shill

      You may have noticed lately that there’s an increasing (and increasingly coordinated) effort to paint today’s biggest and most successful companies as some kind of systemic social threat that needs to be reined in. As veteran tech journalist John Battelle put it, tech companies frequently are assumed these days to be Public Enemy No. 1, and those of us who defend the digital world in which we now find ourselves are presumptively marked as shills for corporate tech interests.

      But a deeper historical understanding of how we got to today’s internet shows that the leading NGOs and nonprofit advocacy organizations that defend today’s internet-freedom framework actually predate the very existence of their presumed corporate masters.

      To get taste a of the current policy debate surrounding Google and other internet companies, consider the movie I Am Jane Doe, which documents the legal battle waged by anti-sex-trafficking groups and trafficking victims against the website Backpage.com. The film, which premiered this February with a congressional screening, also tracks a two-year investigation and report by the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations into the site’s symbiotic relationship with traffickers.

    • “Fake” net neutrality comments at heart of lawsuit filed against FCC

      The Federal Communications Commission has ignored a public records request for information that might shed light on the legitimacy of comments on Chairman Ajit Pai’s anti-net neutrality plan, according to a lawsuit filed against the FCC.

      Freelance writer Jason Prechtel filed a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request on June 4 asking the FCC for data related to bulk comment uploads, which may contain comments falsely attributed to people without their knowledge. But while the FCC acknowledged receiving his FoIA request, it did not approve or deny the request within the legally allotted timeframe, Prechtel wrote in a lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

  • DRM
    • HTML5 DRM finally makes it as an official W3C Recommendation

      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the industry body that oversees development of HTML and related Web standards, has today published the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification as a Recommendation, marking its final blessing as an official Web standard. Final approval came after the W3C’s members voted 58.4 percent to approve the spec, 30.8 percent to oppose, with 10.8 percent abstaining.

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation Resigns From W3C Over Encrypted Media Extensions DRM

      [...] The W3C is a body that ostensibly operates on consensus. Nevertheless, as the coalition in support of a DRM compromise grew and grew — and the large corporate members continued to reject any meaningful compromise — the W3C leadership persisted in treating EME as topic that could be decided by one side of the debate. In essence, a core of EME proponents was able to impose its will on the Consortium, over the wishes of a sizeable group of objectors — and every person who uses the web. The Director decided to personally override every single objection raised by the members, articulating several benefits that EME offered over the DRM that HTML5 had made impossible.

    • An open letter to the W3C Director, CEO, team and membership

      Despite the support of W3C members from many sectors, the leadership of the W3C rejected this compromise. The W3C leadership countered with proposals — like the chartering of a nonbinding discussion group on the policy questions that was not scheduled to report in until long after the EME ship had sailed — that would have still left researchers, governments, archives, security experts unprotected.

      The W3C is a body that ostensibly operates on consensus. Nevertheless, as the coalition in support of a DRM compromise grew and grew — and the large corporate members continued to reject any meaningful compromise — the W3C leadership persisted in treating EME as topic that could be decided by one side of the debate. In essence, a core of EME proponents was able to impose its will on the Consortium, over the wishes of a sizeable group of objectors — and every person who uses the web. The Director decided to personally override every single objection raised by the members, articulating several benefits that EME offered over the DRM that HTML5 had made impossible.

      But those very benefits (such as improvements to accessibility and privacy) depend on the public being able to exercise rights they lose under DRM law — which meant that without the compromise the Director was overriding, none of those benefits could be realized, either. That rejection prompted the first appeal against the Director in W3C history.

      [...]

      We will renew our work to battle the media companies that fail to adapt videos for accessibility purposes, even though the W3C squandered the perfect moment to exact a promise to protect those who are doing that work for them.

    • World Wide Web Consortium abandons consensus, standardizes DRM with 58.4% support, EFF resigns

      In July, the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium overruled dozens of members’ objections to publishing a DRM standard without a compromise to protect accessibility, security research, archiving, and competition.

    • EFF quits W3C over decision to accept EME as Web standard

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation has resigned from the World Wide Web Consortium after the latter announced it was accepting the published Encrypted Media Extensions as a Web standard.

    • Christopher Allan Webber: DRM will unravel the Web

      I’m a web standards author and I participate in the W3C. I am co-editor of the ActivityPub protocol, participate in a few other community groups and working groups, and I consider it an honor to have been able to participate in the W3C process. What I am going to write here though represents me and my feelings alone. In a sense though, that makes this even more painful. This is a blogpost I don’t have time to write, but here I am writing it; I am emotionally forced to push forward on this topic. The W3C has allowed DRM to move forward on the web through the EME specification (which is, to paraphrase Danny O’Brien from the EFF, a “DRM shaped hole where nothing else but DRM fits”). This threatens to unravel the web as we know it. How could this happen? How did we get here?

      Like many of my generation, I grew up on the web, both as a citizen of this world and as a developer. “Web development”, in one way or another, has principally been my work for my adult life, and how I have learned to be a programmer. The web is an enormous, astounding effort of many, many participants. Of course, Tim Berners-Lee is credited for much of it, and deserves much of this credit. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Tim on a couple of occasions; when you meet Tim it’s clear how deeply he cares about the web. Tim speaks quickly, as though he can’t wait to get out the ideas that are so important to him, to try to help you understand how wonderful and exciting this system it is that we can build together. Then, as soon as he’s done talking, he returns to his computer and gets to hacking on whatever software he’s building to advance the web. You don’t see this dedication to “keep your hands dirty” in the gears of the system very often, and it’s a trait I admire. So it’s very hard to reconcile that vision of Tim with someone who would intentionally unravel their own work… yet by allowing the W3C to approve DRM/EME, I believe that’s what has happened.

    • W3C DRM appeal fails, votes kept secret

      Earlier this summer, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) — the organization responsible for defining the standards that make up the Web — decided to embrace DRM (aka “EME”) as a web standard. I wasn’t happy about this. I don’t know many who were.

      Shortly after that, the W3C agreed to talk with me about the issue. During that discussion, I encouraged the W3C to increase their level of transparency going forward — and if there is an appeal of their DRM decision, to make that process completely open and visible to the public (including how individual members of the W3C vote on the issue).

      The appeal happened and has officially ended. I immediately reached out to the W3C to gather some details. What I found out was highly concerning. I’ll include the most interesting bits below, as un-edited as possible.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Ukraine Faces Call for US Trade Sanctions over Online Piracy

        The MPAA, RIAA and other entertainment industry groups are unhappy with how Ukraine is handling online piracy. The country has become a safe haven for many pirate sites, they say. In a recommendation to the US Government the copyright holder groups recommend suspending or withdrawing several trade benefits until the situation improves.

      • Inside the MPAA, Netflix & Amazon Global Anti-Piracy Alliance

        Back in June, MPAA, Amazon, Netflix, CBS, HBO, BBC, Sky, Bell Canada, CBS, Hulu, Lionsgate, Foxtel, Village Roadshow, and many more, revealed the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, a brand new initiative to tackle piracy on a global scale. Today, TorrentFreak can reveal the deal behind this massive operation.

Links 18/9/2017: Linux 4.14 RC1, Mesa 17.2.1, and GNOME 3.26 on Ubuntu Artful

Monday 18th of September 2017 01:10:06 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Linux Foundation head proclaims year of Linux desktop – from a Mac

      In what could well take the award for the most hypocritical tech statement of the year, Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin last week announced that 2017 was the year of the Linux desktop – while using a macOS machine for his presentation.

      Zemlin’s statement was made during his keynote at the Open Source Summit 2017 that took place in Los Angeles from 11 to 14 September.

    • We’re giving away a Linux-ready laptop from ZaReason

      For the first time ever, Opensource.com is partnering with ZaReason to give away an UltraLap 5330 laptop with Linux pre-installed!

      Since 2007, ZaReason has assembled, shipped, and supported hardware specifically designed for Linux, and the UltraLap 5330 is no exception—the 3.6-lb laptop ships with the Linux distribution of your choice and boasts the following hardware specs:

  • Server
    • 7 tips for Linux cluster admins to help keep auditors happy

      The beauty of building extra-large Linux clusters is it’s easy. Hadoop, OpenStack, hypervisor, and high-performance computing (HPC) installers enable you to build on commodity hardware and deal with node failure reasonably simply. Learning and managing Linux administration on a small scale involves basic day-to-day tasks; however, when planning and scaling production to several thousand node clusters, it can take over your life, including your weekends and holidays.

  • Kernel Space
    • MIPS Changes Submitted For Linux 4.14: NI 169445, Omega2+, MT7628A Support

      There are many MIPS updates to find with the in-development Linux 4.14 kernel.

    • Linux 4.14 Dropping In-Tree Firmware

      Linux 4.14 is getting rid of its in-kernel firmware/ tree.

      For years now most everyone has been relying upon the external Linux-Firmware.Git tree for managing the firmware binaries needed by the Linux kernel device drivers. But prior to that was the in-tree firmware/ destination.

    • The DRM Changes For The Linux 4.14 Kernel

      With the Linux 4.14 merge window period combined with the fact of the DRM pull request having been submitted early this cycle, I didn’t have a chance to provide a recap of the Direct Rendering Manager changes for 4.14. Here’s that overview for those not in tune with the many individual articles that had been written about the different Linux 4.14 graphics driver changes.

    • Linux 4.14 Gets A Driver For PWM-Controlled Vibrators

      Dmitry Torokhov has sent in a second helping of input updates for the Linux 4.14 merge window that is closing this weekend.

    • Linux 4.14-rc1

      Yes, I realize this is a day early, and yes, I realize that if I had
      waited until tomorrow, I would also have hit the 26th anniversary of
      the Linux-0.01 release, but neither of those undeniable facts made me
      want to wait with closing the mege window.

      This has been an “interesting” merge window. It’s not actually all
      that unusual in size – I think it’s shaping to be a pretty regular
      release after 4.13 that was smallish. But unlike 4.13 it also wasn’t a
      completely smooth merge window, and honestly, I _really_ didn’t want
      to wait for any possible straggling pull requests.

      Don’t get me wrong – things don’t look bad, but I hate it when I find
      issues during the merge window that I feel should have been noticed
      before the code made it to me, and it happened a few times this
      release.

    • Linux 4.14-rc1 Released A Day Early
    • Kernel prepatch 4.14-rc1
    • The Exciting New Features Of The Linux 4.14 Kernel: Zstd, Vega Hugepages, AMD SME, New Drivers
    • Graphics Stack
      • The state of open source accelerated graphics on ARM devices

        I’ve been meaning to write about the state of accelerated open source graphics options for a while now to give an update on a blog post I wrote over 5 years ago in January 2012, before the Raspberry Pi even existed! Reading back through that post it was pretty dark times for any form of GUI on ARM devices but with the massive changes in ARM devices and the massive change in SBCs (Single Board Computers) heralded by things like the Raspberry Pi have things improved at all? The answer is generally yes!

      • The Graphics Talks Of The 2017 Open-Source Summit NA

        This week the Linux Foundation hosted their annual Open-Source Summit 2017 North America. There were two graphics talks this year led by Collabora developers.

        The slides for many of the talks from the 2017 Open-Source Summit NA can be found via the schedule page if hovering over a track.

        I’ve already covered some of the interesting ones like the Clear Linux GCC/GLIBC optimization approach while there were also just two Linux graphics talks of interest this year.

      • Experimental Nouveau Reclocking Patches Updated, Including For Maxwell GPUs

        Karol Herbst has sent out 29 updated patches on Friday for a major rework to the Nouveau clock related code for re-clocking and related functionality. This includes a “hacky workaround” for getting re-clocking to function on GeForce GTX 900 “Maxwell 2″ GPUs.

        The 29 patches by this independent Nouveau contributor work on restoring clocks after a system suspend, fixed reclocking when entering suspend, initial support for thermal throttling and to trigger reclocking on temperature changes, the “hacky workaround” for Maxwell2 reclocking, a new debugfs file for changing the boost mode, and other related work.

      • [Old] The beginning of the end of the RadeonHD driver

        Soon it will be a decade since we started the RadeonHD driver, where we pushed ATI to a point of no return, got a proper C coded graphics driver and freely accessible documentation out. We all know just what happened to this in the end, and i will make a rather complete write-up spanning multiple blog entries over the following months. But while i was digging out backed up home directories for information, i came across this…

      • mesa 17.2.1
      • Mesa 17.2.1 Released With Restored RADV Vulkan RX Vega Support

        As anticipated, Mesa 17.2.1 is now available for those wanting to use the latest stable point release of Mesa3D for the best, stable open-source 3D graphics user experience on Linux and other operating systems.

      • RadeonSI OoO Rasterization Lands In Mesa 17.3 For RX Vega & VI GPUs

        The RadeonSI out-of-order rasterization support for RX Vega “GFX9″ and Volcanic Islands GPUs has now landed in Mesa 17.3-devel Git.

        The out-of-order rasterization support should be able to boost the performance of these newer graphics cards in some Linux games. The support is enabled by default for now on Vega/VI GPUs while can be disabled with R600_DEBUG=nooutoforder.

      • Mir Now Has Initial Support For Wayland Clients

        Quietly being added to the Mir display stack a week ago was initial support for Wayland clients.

        Natively supporting Wayland clients within Mir has been a new goal for the remaining Mir developers at Canonical now that the original Mir plans were abandoned when Canonical did away with their grand vision for Unity 8. Mir is still being maintained at Canonical for some IoT use-cases while they hope some open-source projects will still decide to make use of their technology. With now at least having native Wayland client support, they stand some chance of Mir being useful to other groups.

    • Benchmarks
      • Linux RAID Performance On NVMe M.2 SSDs With EXT4, Btrfs, F2FS

        To little surprise, when starting things off with a SQLite database insertion test, EXT4 on RAID0 with the NVMe drives was the fastest but not much faster than the standalone MP500 on EXT4. F2FS was also competing very well with EXT4. Btrfs was the slowest file-system, due to its copy-on-write nature that by default it doesn’t tend to be as performant with database type workloads. Interestingly, using F2FS with RAID1 caused a significant performance regression. At least in all the configurations except Btrfs, using the Corsair MP500 NVMe drives were a big upgrade over the Samsung 850 PRO.

  • Applications
    • Fake A Hollywood Hacker Screen in Linux Terminal

      You might have heard this dialogue in almost every Hollywood movie that shows a hacking scene. There will be a dark terminal with ascii text, diagrams and hex code changing continuously and a hacker who is hitting the keyboards as if he/she is typing an angry forum response.

      But that’s Hollywood! Hackers break into a network system in minutes whereas it takes months of research to actually do that. But I’ll put the Hollywood hacking criticism aside for the moment.

    • 3 text editor alternatives to Emacs and Vim

      Before you start reaching for those implements of mayhem, Emacs and Vim fans, understand that this article isn’t about putting the boot to your favorite editor. I’m a professed Emacs guy, but one who also likes Vim. A lot.

      That said, I realize that Emacs and Vim aren’t for everyone. It might be that the silliness of the so-called Editor war has turned some people off. Or maybe they just want an editor that is less demanding and has a more modern sheen.

    • Open-Source Alduin RSS Reader for Linux

      RSS readers are useful if you want to get latest updates from website(s). Alduin is a free and open-source RSS feed reader available for Linux and Windows, built using modern technologies like: Electron, React, TypeScript and Less, it has easy to use user-interface and suitable for all types of users. It has native system notification support, and additionally it supports podcast feeds too.
      Using the Alduin RSS interface is fairly simple, just click on the plus shaped button, and it will pull new articles from that given feed url, you can delete already added feed sources, lock the side menu in place.

    • SelekTOR: A Frontend GUI For Tor Browser (Bypass Country Restriction)

      Tor is a free software designed to make communication anonymous. Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays to conceal a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Tor makes it more difficult for Internet activity to be traced back (Warning: still possible). Tor’s use is intended to protect the personal privacy of users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities from being monitored.

      SelecTOR is a frontend GUI for the Tor application. It is free for Linux and open-source based on Java released under license GNU GPL-2, it acts as a Tor launcher and exit node chooser for browsers that support system proxying using PAC files. It can be used for security and anonymization purposes or to bypass some firewall. Simplifies the process of selecting Tor exit nodes and manages selective URL pattern based on routing via system proxying.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Librem 5 Crosses $400k In Funding After Plasma Mobile Announcement

        Since announcing earlier this week that KDE is working on Plasma Mobile support for the Librem 5, Purism has managed to raise over $100k more towards their goal of building a free software GNU/Linux smartphone, but remain around 1.1 million dollars short of their goal.

        The announcement of Plasma Mobile support — while still planning to support GNOME on their device and it not being known yet if KDE/GNOME will be the default on the phone — managed to gain a number of new supporters with crossing the $400k crowdfunding threshold this weekend.

      • David Revoy teaches Krita course at local university in Paris
      • Randa Report Part 2

        And now for the serious part: in my last blog post, I talked about achieving our main goal for this year’s Randa meetings – we successfully ported the entire Kontact away from the obsoleted KDateTime class. Since we finished this on Thursday, there was still enough time left to start working on something new and exciting.

        Volker and Frederik went on to work on a KWin plugin to simulate various kinds of color blindness which will help developers to see how visually impaired users see their software, I did a bit more code clean-up after the porting and a bit of code-review.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
  • Distributions
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • Mageia 6

        Mageia 6 is very nice. While not much different from many of the other modern distributions, it comes with enough polish and extra features to make it worth checking out. The Welcome to Mageia application and Control Center make the distribution very friendly for new Linux users. Similarly, the ease of enabling non-free and tainted packages also makes it a good choice for anyone looking to quickly set up a fully functional system. While I cannot personally attest to their usefulness, users switching from Windows might find the various importing tools helpful for making their transition to Linux. If you are looking for a new distribution to try out, or want to take your first foray into the world of Linux, give Mageia 6 a try, you will not be disappointed.

    • Arch Family
      • BlackArch Linux A Pentesting Linux Distribution

        ​When it comes to penetration testing, the best way to go is Linux. Distros like Kali and Parrot are quite popular. Today we’re going to look at another awesome penetration testing distro known as Blackarch. Blackarch Linux is an Arch Linux-based penetration testing distribution for penetration testers and security researchers. The Blackarch comes with a tools repository that contains over 1800 tools with new ones being added quite frequently. Let us take a brief look at this Linux distro.

      • ArchLabs Linux “Mínimo” 2017.09 Released — Get A Fresh And Lightweight Linux Experience

        ArchLabs is a comparatively newer and lesser popular Linux distro as compared to other Arch Linux derivatives like Manjaro or Antergos. It came into existence when Crunchbang’s development was ceased and some fans decided to take inspiration from Bunsenlabs, which was itself a community-organized successor to Crunchbang, and create an Arch Linux based distribution named ArchLabs.

        ArchLabs, in early September 2017, decided to shift their focus of ArchLabs Mínimo, aka MSE-6, as their main release. It’s a stripped down, Openbox-based version of ArchLabs R2D2. For those who don’t know, MSE-6 are tiny repair droids seen in Star Wars.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Free Software Efforts (2017W37)

        I have updated txtorcon (a Twisted-based asynchronous Tor control protocol implementation used by ooniprobe, magic-wormhole and tahoe-lafs) to its latest upstream version. I’ve also added two new binary packages that are built by the txtorcon source package: python3-txtorcon and python-txtorcon-doc for Python 3 support and generated HTML documentation respectively.

      • Debian LTS work, August 2017

        I was assigned 15 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and carried over 1 hour from July. I only worked 10 hours, so I will carry over 6 hours to the next month.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Canonical Adds Support for GNOME’s JHBuild Tool to Its Snapcraft Snappy Creator

            Canonical’s Sergio Schvezov released a new update to the Snapcraft tool that application developers can use to package their apps as Snaps for easy distribution on Ubuntu and other Snappy-capable GNU/Linux distros.

            Snapcraft 2.34 has been released this week and it’s now available in the main repositories of various Ubuntu Linux releases that support the Snappy technologies, bringing a new plugin to support GNOME’s JHBuild tool for building the entire GNOME desktop environment or select packages from the version control system.

          • Wavebox, the Powerful Email Client, Is Now Available as a Snap on Ubuntu Linux

            If you’ve ever dreamed of having a central hub for all your web communication tools, you should know that the powerful Wavebox web app is now available for installation on Ubuntu Linux systems as a Snap.

            That’s right, Wavebox was finally ported to Canonical’s Snappy technologies that let application developers package their apps as Snaps to make their distribution easy across multiple GNU/Linux operating systems. And now, it looks Wavebox arrive in the Snappy Store and can be installed on Ubuntu and other supported distros.

          • Interview with Ubuntu boss: A rich ecosystem for robotics and automation systems

            In fact, ROS is not actually an operating system at all – it’s a set of software frameworks, or a software development kit, to be installed into an operating system like Ubuntu.

            As Mike Bell, executive vice president of internet of things and devices at Canonical, explains in an exclusive interview: “It’s a bit confusing because it’s called Robot Operating System, but the reason is because if you’re developing robot applications, you don’t need to worry about the fact that it’s running on Ubuntu.

          • GNOME 3.26 is Available on Ubuntu Artful!

            GNOME is a modern desktop user interface which is free software available for GNU/Linux, with mobile-like style and many applications. GNOME is well-known for its file manager, Nautilus, and its audio player, Rhythmbox. The 3.26 is the current stable version of GNOME released at 13 September 2017.

          • [Video] Checking out Ubuntu 17.10 beta 1 Gnome
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • To reduce costs, schools and colleges ready to use open source free software

    Many teachers and faculty of schools and colleges across the city are willing to use open source computer software for learning. This is because various interactive applications on these software, based on subject-wise learning, can help students. They will also help bring the cost of education down, eliminate the need for licencing and put an end to piracy.

  • Mumbai teachers learn benefits of open source software

    Free software activist groups from across the city came together at the Don Bosco Institute of Technology, Kurla on Saturday to celebrate Software Freedom Day (SFD) along with 100 school teachers, in order to educate them about the importance of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), a software that is owned socially and not by a specific proprietor.

    Proprietary software programmes like Windows, Photoshop, Corel or Tally, that have registration and application fees, can be replaced by FOSS, which is allegedly better and cheaper than the proprietary ones. Apart from this, the activists also focused on the privacy aspect that is lost in these software. The activists spoke to the teachers about open source software and its benefits.

  • How To Get An Open Source/Linux Job? — 9 Things To Keep In Mind

    Open source is becoming the new norm in the technology industry. All the major technology companies are busy using open source technologies and sharing their code on GitHub to help the developers use their quality code. This has resulted in a mutual benefit.

    Open source technologies like Android, Docker, Linux, etc., have dominated different markets and helped in creating more opportunities for the open source professionals. Highlighting the same, The Linux Foundation, in partnership with the careers website Dice, has released the results of the latest Open Source Jobs Survey and Report

  • Documentation needs usability, too
  • The Realities of Being a FOSS Maintainer
  • The Demand for Open-Source Professionals Soars

    While the majority of organizations anticipate hiring more open-source professionals over the next six months, an even greater number are struggling to recruit qualified candidates for their open positions, according to a recent survey from the Linux Foundation and Dice. The accompanying report, “Open-Source Jobs Report: Employers Prioritize Hiring Open-Source Professionals With Latest Skills,” paints an optimistic picture for open source as a career pursuit: Employers are scrambling to fill open positions to enhance the DevOps and app development capabilities in their company. They’re especially eager to hire a candidate who has certifications, and, if not, they’re often willing to help pay for the cost of getting certifications. Meanwhile, open-source pros are constantly getting recruiting calls, leading most of them to believe that it would be easy to find another job. “As open source becomes increasingly relevant and more companies globally leverage the technology in their stacks, demand for professionals with open-source experience will only intensify,” said Michael Durney, president and CEO of DHI Group, which owns Dice. “Successful employers recognize that open-source professionals will look at things beyond just the compensation, and will, for instance, express the opportunity to work on challenging projects during the recruiting process. Those firms [that] foster a spirit of teamwork and promote paths for professionals to advance their careers within the organization will attract highly skilled, passionate tech talent and, in turn, propel innovation forward for the future.” More than 280 global hiring managers and 1,800 open-source professionals took part in the research.

  • Events
    • LinuxChix Meet up experience!

      Today I got an opportunity to celebrate Linux’s 26th anniversary (17th September 1991) with the LinuxChix India team (http://india.linuxchix.org/).

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Google Chrome will block autoplay video starting January 2018

        Google is taking on the irritating trend of auto-playing Web videos with its Chrome browser. Starting in Chrome 64, which is currently earmarked for a January 2018 release, auto-play will only be allowed when the video in question is muted or when a “user has indicated an interest in the media.”

        The latter applies if the site has been added to the home screen on mobile or if the user has frequently played media on the site on desktop. Google also says auto-play will be allowed if the user has “tapped or clicked somewhere on the site during the browsing session.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • FreeBSD 10.4-RC1 Now Available

      The first RC build of the 10.4-RELEASE release cycle is now available.

      Installation images are available for:

      o amd64 GENERIC
      o i386 GENERIC
      o ia64 GENERIC
      o powerpc GENERIC
      o powerpc64 GENERIC64
      o sparc64 GENERIC
      o armv6 BEAGLEBONE
      o armv6 CUBOX-HUMMINGBOARD
      o armv6 GUMSTIX
      o armv6 PANDABOARD
      o armv6 RPI-B
      o armv6 WANDBOARD

    • Every Nintendo Switch appears to contain a hidden copy of NES Golf [Ed: The Switch, some claim, runs FreeBSD]

      Turns out, this is somehow weirder. Your Nintendo Switch may already have a fully playable NES game just sitting inside of it.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU lightning 2.1.1 released!

      GNU lightning is a library to aid in making portable programs that compile assembly code at run time.

    • Gnuastro 0.4 released

      I am happy to announce that the fourth release of Gnuastro now available.

      GNU Astronomy Utilities (Gnuastro) is an official GNU package consisting of various command-line programs and library functions for the manipulation and analysis of astronomical data. All the programs share the same basic command-line user interface for the comfort of both the users and developers.

    • GNU libffcall 2.0 is released

      libffcall version 2.0 is released.

    • Introducing Jitter, an efficient language Virtual Machine generator

      During the last few months of this long silence I’ve been busy working on a new project. Of course it is free software, and I plan to propose it soon as an official GNU project.

    • Unifont 10.0.06 Released

      Unifont 10.0.06 is now available. This version has many glyph improvements, most of which were contributed by David Corbett. This version also has make files with Mike Gilbert’s modifications to allow parallel make, and corrects a bug in unifontpic for generation of the large Unifont graphic images. See the ChangeLog for further details.

    • Announcing Guix-HPC

      Today, Inria, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), and the Utrecht Bioinformatics Center (UBC) are announcing a joint effort to consolidate GNU Guix for reproducible scientific workflows in high-performance computing (HPC). The three research institutes have been using Guix and contributing to it. The new effort, dubbed Guix-HPC, hopes to extend Guix functionality to better address the needs of HPC users, as well as augmenting its package collection.

      Guix was not initially designed with HPC in mind. However, we believe it has many good properties both for flexible software deployment on clusters, and as a foundation for reproducible scientific workflows. The Guix-HPC blog will regularly feature articles with HPC “howtos” and stories about our achievements. We are thrilled by the opportunities this new effort offers!

    • GNU Remotecontrol: Newsletter – September 2017
    • GNUHealthCon 2017 and Social Medicine Awards nominations

      GNUHealthCon 2017 (www.gnuhealthcon.org) is coming up this November in Las Palmas ! We are very excited, and working hard on the preparations so we can make it a success again.

      On Saturday night (Nov 25th), we will celebrate the GNU Health Social Medicine Awards 2017 ceremony. Besides having a great time with our colleagues from around the world, we will announce the winners of the Social Medicine Awards. The awards are a way to recognize the work of individuals and organizations that fight for social justice and freedom in this world, and a source of inspiration for all of us.

    • GNU Health 3.2.3 patchset released
    • Texinfo 6.5 released

      We have released version 6.5 of Texinfo, the GNU documentation format.

  • Programming/Development
    • Python explosion blamed on pandas

      Not content to bait developers by declaring that Python is the fastest-growing major programming language, coding community site Stack Overflow has revealed the reason for its metastasis.

      Coming a day after Programmer Day, which falls on the 256th day of the year – except January 7: – the explanatory post by data scientist David Robinson could be flagged as an off-by-one error.

      But his case for the rise and rise of Python is no less plausible for its tardiness. Programmers love pandas.

      Not the black-and-white bamboo eaters, but the Python data science library. “Pandas is by a large margin the tag most visited by Python developers, which isn’t surprising after we saw its earlier growth,” Robinson explained.

    • Devs unknowingly use “malicious” modules snuck into official Python repository

      The official repository for the widely used Python programming language has been tainted with modified code packages, a computer security authority in Slovakia warned. The authority also said the packages have been downloaded by unwitting developers who incorporated them into software over the past three months.

      Multiple code packages were uploaded to the Python Package Index, often abbreviated as PyPI, and were subsequently incorporated into software multiple times from June through this month, Slovakia’s National Security Authority said in an advisory published Thursday. The unidentified people who made available the code packages gave them names that closely resembled those used for packages found in the standard Python library. The packages contained the exact same code as the upstream libraries except for an installation script, which was changed to include a “malicious (but relatively benign) code.”

Leftovers
  • Science
    • New evidence of Viking warrior women might not be what it seems

      At first, the scientific paper seemed like scientific confirmation of a long-cherished myth about Vikings. DNA and geochemistry experts re-examined the famous Swedish grave of a high-ranking Viking warrior and discovered that the person buried alongside swords, armor, and two sacrificial horses was genetically female. In a paper published in American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Uppsala University archaeologist Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson and her team announced that they had, at last, proven that there were warrior women among the Vikings.

      The claim seemed to fit the evidence. Male Vikings were frequently buried with swords, and the sword was undoubtedly associated with the battle-scarred ideal of masculinity in Viking culture. If we assume that men buried with swords are warriors, then a woman buried with one was probably a warrior, too. Analysis of the stable isotopes in her tooth enamel suggested this woman had traveled widely, just like a warrior would have. On top of all that, Hedenstierna-Jonson and her colleagues pointed out the many references to women fighting in Old Norse poetry and myth. The bloodthirsty Valkyries are an all-female gang of magical creatures who come to every battle and decide who will fall. The recent paper in American Journal of Physical Anthropology was simply our first scientific evidence that there were real-life women fighting alongside the men.

  • Hardware
    • How long should a $999 iPhone last?
    • [Older] R.I.P. SPARC and Solaris [iophk: "Larry doing favors for Bill at his own expense"]

      According to comments on thelayoff.com, “SPARC people are out.” “The entire SPARC core team has been let go as of Friday. It’s gone. No more SPARC. You can’t have a SPARC w/o a team to develop the core.”

  • Health/Nutrition
    • ‘Single Payer Is a Rational Health-Care System’: An Exclusive Interview With Bernie Sanders on His ‘Medicare for All’ Plan

      The senator from Vermont explains why there is now so much interest in bold reform of America’s health-care system.

    • Democratic leaders keep distance from Sanders single-payer plan

      Democratic support for a single-payer health-care system has grown by bounds this year, attracting more lawmaker endorsements than any time in the past. But one group is conspicuously not on board: party leaders.

    • ATF Ran Illegal Mixed-Money Slush Fund For Years With Zero Oversight, Auditing, Or Punishment

      The ATF isn’t restrained by oversight. It’s hardly restrained at all. It’s made a business of fake stash house sting operations, where downtrodden suckers looking for cash are persuaded to rob a ficitonal stash house of its fictional drugs. The problem is the government then bases its charges on the amount of nonexistent drugs sting victims were told the fake stash house contained. In no sting operation was the “amount” of drugs lower than 5 kilograms — the amount needed to trigger a 20-year minimum sentence.

      Why is the ATF involved? Because every sting operation involves fictional armed guards, necessitating the use of illegally-obtained weapons by sting victims. Bang. More charges with lengthy minimum sentences.

    • The Push for a Medicare-for-All Plan

      Sen. Bernie Sanders has unveiled a new single-payer healthcare plan which would provide all Americans with government-sponsored health coverage. Sanders’s plan, supported by some 16 Democrats in the Senate, calls for an overhaul of the healthcare system with what would essentially be a tweaked and revitalized version of Medicare-for-all.

    • Dr. Mona’s work exposing problems with Flint water earns award, $250,000
    • A year later, Dakota Access pipeline protests changed people
    • International Water Study Will Pay Flint Residents to Participate
    • Sea salt around the world is contaminated by plastic, studies show

      Researchers believe the majority of the contamination comes from microfibres and single-use plastics such as water bottles, items that comprise the majority of plastic waste. Up to 12.7m tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year, equivalent to dumping one garbage truck of plastic per minute into the world’s oceans, according to the United Nations.

    • Amid Opioid Crisis, Insurers Restrict Pricey, Less Addictive Painkillers

      At a time when the United States is in the grip of an opioid epidemic, many insurers are limiting access to pain medications that carry a lower risk of addiction or dependence, even as they provide comparatively easy access to generic opioid medications.

      The reason, experts say: Opioid drugs are generally cheap while safer alternatives are often more expensive.

      Drugmakers, pharmaceutical distributors, pharmacies and doctors have come under intense scrutiny in recent years, but the role that insurers — and the pharmacy benefit managers that run their drug plans — have played in the opioid crisis has received less attention. That may be changing, however. The New York State attorney general’s office sent letters last week to the three largest pharmacy benefit managers — CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and OptumRx — asking how they were addressing the crisis.

    • Why Are Drug Prices So High? We’re Curious, Too

      This much is clear: The public is angry about the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. Surveys have shown that high drug prices rank near the top of consumers’ health care concerns.

      What’s not as clear is exactly why prices have been rising, and who is to blame.

      For the last four months, The New York Times and ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative journalism organization, have teamed up to answer these questions, and to shed light on the games that are being played to keep prices high, often without consumers’ knowledge or consent. Katie reports from the health desk at The Times, and Charles is a senior reporter at ProPublica.

      Our reporting journey has turned up some counterintuitive stories, like how insurance companies sometimes require patients to take brand-name drugs — and refuse to cover generic alternatives — even when that means patients have to pay more out of pocket.

  • Security
    • Don’t blame open-source software for poor security practices

      The Equifax breach is a good reminder of why organizations need to remain vigilant about properly maintaining and updating their software, especially when security vulnerabilities have been disclosed. In an ideal world, software would update itself the moment a security patch is released. WordPress, for example, offers automatic updates in an effort to promote better security, and to streamline the update experience overall. It would be interesting to consider automatic security updates for Drupal (just for patch releases, not for minor or major releases).

      In absence of automatic updates, I would encourage users to work with PaaS companies that keep not only your infrastructure secure, but also your Drupal application code. Too many organizations underestimate the effort and expertise it takes to do it themselves.

      At Acquia, we provide customers with automatic security patching of both the infrastructure and Drupal code. We monitor our customers’ sites for intrusion attempts, DDoS attacks, and other suspicious activity. If you prefer to do the security patching yourself, we offer continuous integration or continuous delivery tools that enable you to get security patches into production in minutes rather than weeks or months. We take pride in assisting our customers to keep their sites current with the latest patches and upgrades; it’s good for our customers and helps dispel the myth that open-source software is more susceptible to security breaches.

    • Don’t blame open-source software for poor security practices

      Equifax was hacked because the firm failed to patch a well-known Apache Struts flaw that was disclosed months earlier in March.

    • Northern Exposure: Data on 600K Alaskan Voters is Leaked

      Researchers have discovered the personal details of over half a million US voters exposed to the public internet, once again thanks to a misconfigured database.

    • Google purges malicious Android apps with millions of downloads
  • Defence/Aggression
    • FACT CHECK: Is the photo, widely shared as that of Rohingya Muslims charred to death, authentic?

      The picture used by The Times Headline is that from a 2010 Fuel Truck disaster that happened in Congo and is NOT of Rohingya Muslims.

    • Why no country wants Rohingya, why it’s so difficult to deport them

      India had condemned “terrorist attacks in… Rakhine, wherein several members of the Myanmar security forces lost their lives”; Myanmar, in turn, condemned the Amarnath yatra attack, and “various acts of terror perpetrated by terrorists from across the borders”.

    • Pakistan is fuelling unrest in Myanmar’s backyard

      The international community has questioned Myanmar for the Rohingya crisis but has forgotten the bloody contribution of Pakistan-based jihadist groups to this catastrophe

    • Thousands of non-Muslims evacuated as violence flares in northwest Myanmar

      Fighting involving the military and hundreds of Rohingya across northwestern Rakhine continued on Saturday with the fiercest clashes taking place near the major town of Maungdaw, according to residents and the government.

    • Angela Merkel tells asylum seekers not to take holidays in their country of origin

      “Taking holidays in the country in which you are being persecuted is not on,” she said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag, adding that it could be a reason to re-examine an asylum case.

    • Terror Warning: Britain home to 35,000 Islamist fanatics, says security chief

      European Union’s counter-terrorism co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove singled out the UK as having more radicalised [sic] muslims than any other country in Europe.

    • ISIS Central Planned Attacks in London a Year Before Borough Market Assault
    • Terror attacks caused by “misinterpretation” of Quran by mosques, claims Scots Muslim issued with fatwa

      Paigham Mustafa, 58, was accused of spreading “Satanic thoughts” in a fatwa issued by 15 imams in Glasgow after he published a series of articles questioning mosque teachings, which he says are based on the Hadith and Sunna, later Islamic texts, written after the Koran, which he claims are “replete with violence, misogyny and terror”.

    • Profiteering in War: the Case Against Mercenaries

      Opening the August 30 New York Times, I was surprised (and personally appalled) to find Erik Prince on the opinion page with his own by-lined article (“Contractors, Not Troops, Will Save Afghanistan”). While Prince is entitled to his opinion, it seemed to me his former role as head of Blackwater should have denied him the privilege of expressing it from the vaulted platform of the NYT.

      Taking issue with the Prince op-ed, I maintain that the U.S. military should never hire mercenaries, whether directly or through Blackwater-type firms since contract soldiers have a vested interest in prolonging a war. Their private employers, investors, and lobbyists have a similar interest in advocating pro-war policies in the halls of Congress.

      Enriched by a succession of lucrative government security contracts and serving for years as a CIA lackey, Prince’s security company Blackwater earned opprobrium for its high-handed aggressiveness in Iraq as it escorted government VIPs around Baghdad and beyond. Repeated abuses of Iraqi pedestrians and motorists came to a head when four Blackwater employees opened fire in a crowded square in Baghdad in 2007, killing 17 and wounding 20. Prince defended his security force but sold the company in 2010.

    • The Forgotten Victims of Agent Orange
    • Nigerian Parents Give Girls to Boko Haram as Bombers, Army Says

      Parents in the northeast of Nigeria are giving their daughters to Boko Haram terrorists for indoctrination and suicide bombing missions, the country’s military said.

    • Imam in Northern Region allegedly beats wife to death

      Worried residents who spoke to Ultimate News on condition of anonymity said Afa Tijani married a second wife and strained relationship with the deceased who had aggressively objected and tried to block the second marriage.

    • Jihadi mob attacked Ramganj Police station in Jaipur. Curfew imposed. 1 died, several injured.

      Mosque microphones were used to incite the violence as reported.

    • Swedish Library Outlaws Factual Book on Migration, Offers Hitler’s Mein Kampf

      A Swedish library has landed in hot water for freely offering Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf to its readership, while stopping books that question Sweden’s established view of immigration. This has evoked troubling hints at censorship in a country that takes pride in its openness.

    • What’s on the Mind of a Muslim ‘Refugee’?

      “One day we good Muslims will conquer their infidel lands.” I asked why he was receiving “infidel” money for living. “It’s just halal,” he answered. “They ['infidels'] are too easy to fool.”

    • When Islamic ‘occupation of Europe’ becomes a reality

      Op-ed: If Western European countries fail to wake up soon, they may find out within several decades—or maybe even by the end of the century—that the Muslims have become a majority in the population. The jihadists’ terror attacks in the continent are just the beginning.

    • Swedish Migration Board Staff Bedeviled By Death Threats From Angry Applicants

      Being a clerk at Sweden’s Migration Board is anything but a cakewalk due to vast workloads and occupational hazards. For instance, some of the asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected choose to track down the Migration Board employees responsible.

    • Why Sweden has more fatal shootings per capita than Norway and Germany

      “I think that tougher new laws, like automatically charging a person carrying a firearm, is the right way to go.”

    • Lidl Terrorism

      To create an effective blast, you need some sort of pressure vessel containing the explosive. There is no sign of this in the photos of the Parsons Green bomb and plainly there was no “blast” as such from the condition of the bucket. Some kind of fire event was rather created. If the police are arresting the right people, it is teenagers from social care backgrounds who did this. That is of a piece with what we know of so many recent attacks, where psychiatric health appears to be the cause of an interest in nihilist ideologies – as opposed to the other way round.

      We are entering a phase where we can expect the deep unpopularity of the government to worsen. Real wages continue to fall, and that is going to continue. Despite this and the massive mountain of personal debt, the Bank of England seems determined to raise interest rates in the next few months, which will put an even larger squeeze on the living standards of the poor. In particular, an increase in interest rates will not just cause the struggling and overly indebted to have higher repayments, in the Tory buy to let economy it will feed directly into higher rents.

      The government therefore needs an alternative narrative to distract the bulk of the population from their increasing penury. The Tory government will continue to use the Brexit negotiations, not to obtain the best outcome for the UK, but in order to manipulate events to highlight the issue of immigration and seek to further scapegoat immigrants as the cause of popular economic hardship. But they will also undoubtedly try to play up the “security” narrative. Expect more legislation to restrict civil liberties, and particularly expect amber Rudd to spearhead a coordinated media campaign to promote major censorship of the internet. That is the next major fight where we will have to stand up to the Tories.

    • UK to supply Qatar with Eurofighter jets in billion-dollar arms deal

      The British government and defence giant BAE Systems have agreed a major new deal to supply Qatar with Eurofighter Typhoon jets, despite fears of regional instability.

      British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon signed a letter of intent with Qatar on Sunday that will see BAE Systems provide 24 Typhoon jets and support capabilities worth billions of dollars.

      The move has shocked observers as it comes only three months after UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called on Qatar to do more to clamp down on the funding of militant groups.

      The wealthy Gulf state is at the heart of a regional dispute over the funding of terrorism, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt have since June imposed sanctions on Qatar, accusing it of financing extremist groups and allying with Iran, arch-foe of the Gulf Arab states – allegations Doha denies.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Chelsea Manning Has a Lot to Teach. Harvard Doesn’t Agree.

      On Wednesday, Harvard’s Kennedy School announced that Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst and whistle-blower, would be a visiting fellow this fall. The reaction was swift: A day later, Michael Morell, a former acting director of the C.I.A. and also a visiting fellow at the school, resigned from his own fellowship in protest. His resignation was quickly followed by the current director of the C.I.A., Mike Pompeo, canceling a speech scheduled at the school. In a statement, Mr. Pompeo unilaterally declared Ms. Manning a “traitor.”

      On Friday morning, the school folded, disinviting Ms. Manning in a cowardly act that does immense disservice to its students and the public debate around government secrecy.

    • Harvard’s Cowardice on Chelsea Manning

      Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government has shown that it is no profile in courage by withdrawing a visiting fellowship that had been awarded to Chelsea Manning, who served seven years in prison for revealing U.S. war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Harvard Caves to CIA Pressure, Revokes Chelsea Manning Title

      Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government revoked Chelsea Manning’s status as a “visiting fellow” on Friday, despite insisting the title was not intended as an honor. Extending the title “was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility,” the school’s dean, Douglas W. Elmendorf, wrote in a statement.

      On Sept. 13, Harvard University extended an invitation to Manning to speak to students in a short lecture series, igniting an unexpected firestorm. Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, leaked thousands of diplomatic cables revealing details about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      Although her title is revoked, Manning is still invited to speak to students at Harvard.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Interior Dept recommends reducing Bears Ears, other protected land: report

      The report, sent to the White House by the Department of the Interior in August, recommends scaling back the two national monuments as well as reopening hundreds of thousands of miles of protected oceans to commercial fishing.

    • Harvey and Irma aren’t natural disasters. They’re climate change disasters

      Make no mistake: These storms weren’t natural. A warmer, more violent atmosphere — heated up by our collective desire to ignore the fact that we live on a planet where such devastation is possible — juiced Harvey and Irma’s destruction.

    • Hurricanes Wreak Havoc Far Longer Than You Realize

      Houston didn’t just flood because of a lot of rain; it flooded because it let people build neighborhoods in known flood zones.

      [...]

      We listen to our weathermen when the storms are a few days away, but not our scientists and engineers when they tell us that planning for disasters takes years and money.

    • Indonesia Warns of Growing Risk of Wild Fires

      He also explained that at least 538 hot spots with a medium to high confidence level were located, although the current numbers could be higher.

      In that regard, he pointed out that the greatest number of outbreaks were detected in the provinces of West Kalimantan and Papua, with 193 and 143, respectively.

    • Barriers, Water-features, Trees Used to Protect Europe’s Landmark Sites
    • An update on Hurricane Jose and the next threat behind it

      Despite the comings and goings of two major hurricanes that affected the United States during the last month—Harvey and Irma—we remain in the midst of a very active Atlantic hurricane season that may not be done with us yet. Not only must the US East Coast keep an eye on Hurricane Jose as it finally begins moving forward, but another threat lurks behind it.

      This post will review the three active Atlantic storms, and their potential effects on the Caribbean islands and the United States during the coming days and weeks.

    • How Washington Made Harvey Worse

      Nearly two decades before the storm’s historic assault on homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast of Texas this week, the National Wildlife Federation released a groundbreaking report about the United States government’s dysfunctional flood insurance program, demonstrating how it was making catastrophes worse by encouraging Americans to build and rebuild in flood-prone areas. The report, titled “Higher Ground,” crunched federal data to show that just 2 percent of the program’s insured properties were receiving 40 percent of its damage claims. The most egregious example was a home that had flooded 16 times in 18 years, netting its owners more than $800,000 even though it was valued at less than $115,000.

    • Something is changing the sex of Costa Rican crocodiles

      After probing and peering at the genitalia of nearly 500 crocodiles in Palo Verde, Murray and his colleagues found something odd: The sex ratio was way out of whack, with males outnumbering females four to one among hatchling crocs. What’s more, the animals’ tissues were tainted with a synthetic steroid, which the researchers suspect was causing them to switch sex.

    • How mood-altering drugs are ending up in Great Lakes fish

      Antidepressant drugs, making their way through an increasing number of people’s bodies, getting excreted in small amounts into their toilets, and moving through the wastewater treatment process to lakes and rivers, are being found in multiple Great Lakes fish species’ brains, new research by the University of Buffalo has found.

    • Warning Letter to Harvey and Irma Survivors From Katrina Survivor

      Our hearts go out to you as you try to return to and fix your homes and lives. Based on our experiences, here are a few things you should watch out for as you rebuild your communities.

      One. Rents are going to skyrocket and waves of evictions are likely. With so many houses damaged and so many highly paid contractors coming into your region whose companies will pay anything to house them, landlords are going to start evicting people to make way for higher paying occupants. Work with local organizations to enact a moratorium on evictions and a freeze on rents to allow working and low income people to come home and have a place to stay.

      [...]

      Eleven. Don’t allow those in power to forget about the people whose voices are never heard. People in nursing homes, people in hospitals, the elderly, the disabled, children, the working poor, renters, people of color, immigrants and prisoners. There is no need to be a voice for the voiceless, because all these people have voices, they are just not listened to. Help lift their voices and their stories up because the voices of business and industry and people with money and connections will do just fine. It is our other sisters and brothers who are always pushed to the back of the line. Stand with them as they struggle to reclaim their rightful place.

  • Finance
    • Trump Administration Stayed Rule Targeting Ending the Wage Gap

      “Pay discrimination by gender is already illegal. But when employees, employers, and enforcement agencies do not know that discrimination is happening, they can’t fix it.”

    • How Corporate Capitalism Looted Democracy

      Democrats not only colluded with Republicans in the robbery—some may now be willing to allow corporations to evade hundreds of billions they owe in back taxes.

    • India likely to be 3rd largest economy by 2028: HSBC report

      India is likely to overtake Japan and Germany to become the third largest economy in the next 10 years but needs to be consistent in reforms and focus more on the social sector, British brokerage HSBC has said.

    • Frustrated EU fears Britain is ‘heading for the Brexit rocks’

      And now there is the unwelcome reappearance on the Brexit battlefield of Boris Johnson, with his insistence that the UK will succeed “mightily” as a low-regulation economy, no longer paying into the EU budget after March 2019. Speaking to the Observer, the leader of the socialist bloc, Gianni Pittella, fumed: “Boris Johnson is embarrassing his country once again by repeating the lies of the Leave campaign. He is jeopardising the Brexit negotiations by threatening to turn the UK into a low-regulation economy. And he insults the intelligence of the British people with his tub-thumping jingoism. It is more in keeping with Trump Tower than Whitehall.”

    • Alphabet might be about to invest $1 billion in Lyft

      Last week, my colleague Tim Lee explained why Lyft is going to be like Android, licensing and partnering with others rather than doing everything in-house. On Friday, Reuters reported on a notable deal that adds more weight to that analysis.

    • Here’s a real-life, slimy example of Uber’s regulator-evading software

      Portland, Oregon, was one of the cities we mentioned where Uber employed the so-called “Greyball” tool. The city has now released a scathing report detailing that Uber evaded picking up 16 local officials for a ride before April 2015, when the service finally won approval by Portland regulators.

      The Greyball software employs a dozen data points on a new user in a given market, including whether a rider’s Uber app is opened repeatedly in or around municipal offices, which credit card is linked to the account, and any publicly available information about the new user on social media. If the data suggests the new user is a regulator in a market where Uber is not permitted, the company would present that user with false information about where Uber rides are. This includes showing ghost cars or no cars in the area.

    • Gary Cohn Is Giving Goldman Sachs Everything It Ever Wanted From the Trump Administration
    • Use of ‘£350million per week’ figure to describe UK’s financial contributions to the EU
    • Boris’s nasty politics would hurt the Tories and Britain

      I used to have a lot of time for Boris Johnson. Sometimes whole days, in fact: from 8am until 8pm, I’d ring and text and email him, politely urging him to tell me what he planned to write his exquisitely expensive Telegraph column about, and when he’d deign to send it to me. It was, as others who’ve had the joy of calling him a colleague can attest, maddening. But he always filed, in the end.

      I don’t claim that working acquaintance with Boris gives me any unique insight into his soul. In fact, familiarity only makes his real character more obscure. My overall impression of a man famous for being talkative and flamboyant is that the real Boris Johnson, the man concealed beneath onionskin layers of artifice and performance, can be quite guarded and even a bit shy.

    • The Observer view on Boris Johnson’s analysis of Britain’s ills

      Mr Johnson succeeds in blaming almost every British ill – from uninspiring training to our dilapidated infrastructure – all or in part on the failing efforts of a Brussels elite to create a federal superstate. Incredibly, he writes that once free of the EU, Britain will be able to organise, plan, build the homes and infrastructure we need, give our children skills and – bingo! – we will become glorious and rich. None of this is allegedly possible as an EU member. The new alchemy will be simplifying regulations and cutting taxes, doing trade deals as “Global Britain”, alongside boosting wages and productivity.

      This, in the language of those gilded Etonians Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, is bilge and balderdash. It is true, as Johnson observes, that Britain is failing on many fronts, but to lay the blame, extending even to low wages, on unnamed EU regulations is fantastical. The blame needs to be firmly pinned on the policy framework – weak regulation, low taxation, minimal public intervention and unwillingness to invest in public infrastructure and services – which he champions.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Jemele Hill and the politicisation of everything

      What’s striking, though, is that this ever exploded in the first place. How did we get to the position where one of the major political battles of the week is between a PC sports commentator and the commander-in-chief? All of American culture seems to be being drawn into this battle of the snowflakes – where ‘white supremacists’ and ‘libtards’ spend their days trading epithets until someone gets sacked.

    • The Equal Protection Challenge to Winner Take All: A Legal Guide

      Today, the non-profit that I founded, EqualCitizens.US, announced it would crowdfund support for two lawsuits to challenge the way votes are allocated in the Electoral College. All but two states allocate their vote according to a winner-take-all system, in which the winner of the popular vote gets all the electoral votes for that state. We believe winner-take-all violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and we intend, through EqualVotes.US, to build a case (and a campaign) to get the Supreme Court to agree.

    • Will Donald Trump Destroy the Presidency?

      Donald Trump is testing the institution of the presidency unlike any of his 43 predecessors. We have never had a president so ill-informed about the nature of his office, so openly mendacious, so self-destructive, or so brazen in his abusive attacks on the courts, the press, Congress (including members of his own party), and even senior officials within his own administration. Trump is a Frankenstein’s monster of past presidents’ worst attributes: Andrew Jackson’s rage; Millard Fillmore’s bigotry; James Buchanan’s incompetence and spite; Theodore Roosevelt’s self-aggrandizement; Richard Nixon’s paranoia, insecurity, and indifference to law; and Bill Clinton’s lack of self-control and reflexive dishonesty.

    • DC eyes tighter regulations on Facebook and Google as concern grows

      Every time a television station sells a political ad, a record is entered into a public file saying who bought the advertisement and how much money they spent.

      In contrast, when Facebook or Google sells a political ad, there is no public record of that sale. That situation is of growing concern to politicians and legislators in Washington as digital advertising becomes an increasingly central part of American political campaigns. During the 2016 election, over $1.4bn was spent in online advertising, which represented a 789 percent increase over the 2012 election.

    • Facebook under fire over Russian ads in election

      Facebook is under fire after revealing that a Russian group tied to the Kremlin bought political ads on its platform during the 2016 elections.

    • Rolling Stone, Once a Counterculture Bible, Will Be Put Up for Sale

      The sale plans were devised by Mr. Wenner’s 27-year-old son, Gus, who has aggressively pared down the assets of Rolling Stone’s parent company, Wenner Media, in response to financial pressures. The Wenners recently sold the company’s other two magazines, Us Weekly and Men’s Journal. And last year, they sold a 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone to BandLab Technologies, a music technology company based in Singapore.

    • Everything we thought we knew about Devo’s “Whip It” was wrong

      While it would certainly be consistent with Devo’s methods to include a knowing double entendre, they are adamantly ambivalent about the common misunderstanding, which both goosed the song’s popularity and made it ever more clear that the masses would never quite get what the band were trying to do. “We wrote it as a ‘you can do it, Dale Carnegie’ pep talk for President Carter,” says Mark. “We were afraid that Republicans were going to get in there [in 1980], and they sounded very nasty at the time. They were running this guy, Ronald Reagan, that seemed like a total—he seemed like he didn’t even have a brain. We were like, ‘How could that be our president? That’s impossible, that they choose him to run for president.’ [...]

    • Donald Trump’s highly abnormal presidency: the week of Sept. 11
    • It’s Not Donald Trump’s Presidency That’s Highly Abnormal. It’s Trump

      People keep making apologies for Trump, that’s he’s not a politician, that he lacks experience, or that he just speaks his mind. Those are true but they are just the window-dressing of the problem. Trump’s absolutely nuts. No one in their right mind would plan on “winging it” or not having a plan to run something as complex as the government of the USA. Trump doesn’t have a plan at all, or if he does make one up, he changes it by breakfast time. He does all kinds of things that make no sense even to supporters, like depopulating the Department of State, banning one or another classes of people from USA not based on reason just who they are, building a wall that can’t be built at great expense for no purpose that anyone can see, and threatening dire consequences repeatedly and backing off. He trumpeted that Obama had no plan or that Obama was weak but Trump has less of a plan and is weaker.

    • Why ‘Juggalos’ are marching on DC

      “On paper, it sounds just plain ridiculous that a group of men and women who like a particular kind of music are being considered gang members, but it’s no laughing matter when you realize how many people’s lives are being destroyed by this gang designation.”

    • Why Merkel and Co want to keep politics ‘boring’

      However, the claim that the election process is boring is only half the truth. Yes, Merkel has a comfortable lead over the Martin Schulz of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). He is her main rival, though his party has been in coalition with Merkel over the past four years. But the elephant in the room is the anti-establishment AfD. This party, which is running on a largely authoritarian, anti-Islamic ticket, and which has opened itself up to many right-wing fringe groups, is back on the political stage after having done badly in some recent local elections. Many are now asking how strong AfD will become — or how strong Merkel really is, which amounts to the same question.

    • Stop being afraid of more government. It’s exactly what we need.

      Seeing the devastating effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and of wildfires out West, one cannot help but think about the crucial role that government plays in our lives. But while we accept, even celebrate, the role of government in the wake of such disasters, we are largely blind to the need for government to mitigate these kinds of crises in the first place.

      Ever since President Ronald Reagan, much of the United States has embraced an ideological framework claiming that government is the source of our problems. Reagan famously quipped, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

    • PM’s Father Endorsed “Restored Honour” For Convicted Paedophile

      Benedikt Sveinsson, the father of Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, provided a recommendation letter of “restored honour” for Hjalti Sigurjón Hauksson, a man convicted of having raped his stepdaughter almost daily for 12 years. This information was kept hidden from the general public, despite repeated requests from the media, until a parliamentary committee ruled that the Ministry of Justice was legally obliged to disclose this information. The Prime Minister was aware of his father’s actions since at least last July, but said nothing.

      Stundin reports that Hjalti was convicted of rape in 2004, but last August was granted “restored honour”, a legal procedure which effectively clears the criminal record of someone who has served a sentence for a serious crime and seeks to gain a position that a criminal conviction would normally prevent them from getting. In order to get restored honour, however, amongst the requirements is a letter of recommendation.

      Initially the Ministry of Justice refused to disclose who had recommended Hjalti receive restored honour, but after concerted pressure – including a parliamentary committee ruling that the Ministry had gone beyond the bounds of the law to keep the information secret – the Ministry relented. It was today revealed that Benedikt, who has long been a friend of Hjalti’s and reportedly visited him in prison, had provided a letter of recommendation for Hjalti.

    • Analysis: How Iceland’s Government Fell Apart

      Late last night, Iceland’s coalition government – led by the Independence Party and supported by Bright Future and the Reform Party – collapsed when Bright Future opted to leave the coalition. Today, Iceland is facing the prospect of early elections, less than a year from our last round of early elections in October 2016, which were themselves sparked by a scandal that made international headlines.

      Making sense of the chaos means taking a look at the key elements and players involved in this government crisis.

    • How a convicted pedophile brought down Iceland’s government

      In 2004, Hjalti Sigurjon Hauksson was imprisoned for raping his stepdaughter nearly every day for 12 years, starting when she was just 5. Thirteen years later, his crime has helped bring down Iceland’s government.

      The story involves Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson and his father, Benedikt Sveinsson.

      Here’s what happened: Several months ago, Sveinsson drafted a letter of recommendation for Hauksson, arguing that he should have his “honor restored.” In Iceland, convicts can have certain civil rights restored by submitting letters of recommendation extolling good character. Hauksson and another convicted pedophile, Robert Downey (formerly named Robert Arni Hreidarsson), received full pardons over the summer.

    • The Guardian view on deportation: contempt of court and of decency

      Three judges have now told the Home Office it was wrong to deport an asylum seeker back to Afghanistan – where he says armed men are looking for him already – and that it should return him to the UK at once. By not doing so, the Home Office has shown its contempt not only for decency, but for British law. Samim Bigzad believes he is a target for the Taliban because he worked in construction for the Afghan government and US companies. His asylum claim was rejected, but his lawyers applied for a judicial review. A high court judge ruled that he should not be removed while the process was under way. That order arrived when he had already been put on the second leg of the flight. He was not removed immediately and it took off shortly afterwards.

      Then a second high court judge has ruled that the home secretary is in prima facie contempt of court and must secure his return. A third – rejecting the government’s request to set aside that ruling – has reiterated that he should be brought back at once. It now appears that the Home Office may be arranging his imminent return, although it said in a statement that it was correct to deport him and is continuing to pursue legal action. It was wrong to send him to Kabul and it should have complied earlier.

    • America’s Slow-Motion Military Coup

      In a democracy, no one should be comforted to hear that generals have imposed discipline on an elected head of state. That was never supposed to happen in the United States. Now it has.

      Among the most enduring political images of the 20th century was the military junta. It was a group of grim-faced officers—usually three—who rose to control a state. The junta would tolerate civilian institutions that agreed to remain subservient, but in the end enforced its own will. As recently as a few decades ago, military juntas ruled important countries including Chile, Argentina, Turkey, and Greece.

      These days the junta system is making a comeback in, of all places, Washington. Ultimate power to shape American foreign and security policy has fallen into the hands of three military men: General James Mattis, the secretary of defense; General John Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff; and General H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser. They do not put on their ribbons to review military parades or dispatch death squads to kill opponents, as members of old-style juntas did. Yet their emergence reflects a new stage in the erosion of our political norms and the militarization of our foreign policy. Another veil is dropping.

    • Kobach and Windmills

      “‘Vote early and vote often,’ the advice openly displayed on the election banners in one of our northern cities.”— William Porcher Miles, 1858, Speech in the House of Representatives

      A number of you have written asking if Wikipedia is wrong. They cannot believe that Kris Kobach, the man whose awesome educational background is described in Wikipedia, is the same man who spends his time attacking 21st Century windmills. Those asking the question should remember that Don Quixote de la Mancha, too, was an educated man, who saw in windmills foes to overcome. For Don Quikobach de la Kansas, the windmill has been replaced by the electoral system.

      Don Quikobach graduated with highest honors as an undergraduate from Harvard, went on to Oxford where he earned an MA and PhD in politics, and from there, went on to Yale Law School. His post graduate career is proof that, as one university president said of college graduates, although they had graduated, you could never be sure they were educated men. Don Quikobach is proof of the pudding. His academic credentials notwithstanding, his life is filled with windmills that serve as his opponents and he is the hero of all who, like him, focus on those perceived enemies.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • MEP accused of trying to suppress cartoons critical of bloc and Merkel

      They said that critical cartoons about German Chancellor Angela Merkel were apparently discarded on the basis that she is currently facing a re-election battle. The exhibition takes place after Sunday’s election.

    • Malaysia blocked Steam because of a single game, those trying to play it will need a VPN
    • Free Speech for the Right? A Primer on Key Legal Questions and Principles

      The rise in national attention to the “alt-right” and fascist-white supremacist protesters has raised questions about the parameters of free speech in America. When can free speech be limited, if ever? What are the implications of attempting to limit controversial speech? And what precedents has the Supreme Court set regarding free speech? I address these questions below via an exploration of historical Supreme Court cases, which show that there’s no legal pretext for a blanket ban on far-right protests.

      There are numerous precedents related to the topic of controversial speech. One major case is Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), in which a KKK member, Clarence Brandenburg, spoke at a rally about the possible need for “revengeance” against people of color as related to government initiatives taken in support of minority groups. Brandenburg was convicted under state law and sentenced to 10 years in prison for advocating violence, in violation of a state statute prohibiting support for “crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform.” But in overruling the state conviction, the Supreme Court ruled that government could only restrict incendiary speech if there was an “imminent” violent action is incited by that speech.

    • Twitter rival Gab sues Google over app store rejection

      Gab, a Twitter rival popular with the Breitbart crowd, is suing Google. The lawsuit, filed in Pennsylvania federal court on Thursday, argues that Google violated antitrust laws when it rejected Gab’s app from its Android app store.

      Gab says Google rejected Gab to help its business partner Twitter. Google and Twitter signed a data-sharing deal in 2015, and Gab argues the deal gave Google a financial stake in Twitter’s success. The deal “makes the Google search engine immeasurably more valuable,” Gab writes in its lawsuit. As a result of the deal, “the two companies’ user bases have essentially been merged.”

    • [Older] Crisis hits the world’s biggest football league amid political censorship scandal [VIDEO]

      The world’s biggest football league is currently in crisis because of a political censorship scandal.

    • Censorship and free speech based on fear not fairness — can I say that?
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Equifax announces “retirement” of the IT execs who presided over the mass-doxing of America

      One week after announcing the worst breach in American history, and days after it was revealed that the breach had been caused by simple negligence, Equifax has announced the “retirement” of its Chief Information Officer, David Webb, and Chief Security Officer, Susan Mauldin, though “the company’s review of the facts is still ongoing.”

    • Athens Makeshift Μosques Under Police Surveillance – Report

      The Greek daily says that authorities are concerned due to evidence that certain imams and followers have expressed views applauding the so-called Islamic State for the terrorist attacks it has orchestrated in different parts of Europe.

    • ISPs can keep sharing your browsing history after California no-vote

      California state lawmakers ended their legislative session yesterday without enacting privacy protections for broadband customers after the proposed rule drew opposition from Internet service providers and advertisers.

      “By failing to pass A.B. 375, the legislature demonstrated that they put the profits of Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast over the privacy rights of their constituents,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation said today.

      The California legislation would have required ISPs to obtain customers’ permission before they use, share, or sell the customers’ Web browsing and application usage histories. The data is valuable for serving personalized advertisements to Internet users. But the bill was shelved before reaching a final vote.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • The Playdate Generation Goes To College
    • West Papua petition vote to go to UN

      Free West Papua campaigners have drawn attention to the 42 people they’ve said have been tortured and the two people who had been arrested in the Indonesian province as a direct consequence of the petition.

    • Turkey’s Genocide Denial: Four Narratives

      Turkey still denies the Armenian Genocide, during which 1.5 million Armenians perished. The Turkish state does not have just one policy or rhetoric concerning it. One could argue that there are four main narratives in Turkey concerning the genocide.

    • Environmental justice overlooked in Dakota pipeline saga, legal expert says

      If that weren’t enough, Kronk Warner writes, tribes opposed to the pipeline might challenge it based on international law. The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the United States has signed, provides guidance meant to preserve “indigenous self-determination,” she writes, including restitution or compensation “for the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent.”

    • Shailene Woodley says she was strip searched after Dakota pipeline arrest

      Woodley originally pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges. But she accepted a plea deal earlier this year in which she pleaded guilty in exchange for one-year probation.

    • Christian children ‘forced to recite Islamic prayers’ in order to receive food in Sudan refugee camps

      Christian children at refugee camps in Sudan are not receiving food unless they say Islamic prayers, according to reports received by sources close to the leading Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

    • Finland Named World’s Largest Jihad Exporter Per Capita

      Klor also claimed that the risk of radicalization of Muslims is far greater in wealthy societies compared with the poor ones. According to Klor, high GDP and high living standards directly correlate with a high proportion of Daesh recruits in non-Muslim countries. This phenomenon wholly applies to Finland, which in recent decades has been repeatedly ranked as one of the world’s best countries to live in.

    • Flint airport stabbing suspect won’t get access to addresses of witnesses

      A judge has denied a request from the man accused of stabbing an on-duty Flint Bishop Airport police officer in the neck to see the addresses of those who may testify against him.

    • The Golden Age of Private Prisons

      Either way, Deutsche Bank has discovered at least two crisis-proof investments. In a recent analyst report, the bank said it was bullish about the prospects for a pair of U.S. companies for which it recently issued “buy” recommendations. These companies are CoreCivic (CXW) and GEO Group, the two largest operators of private prisons in the United States.

    • Punjabi woman sold in Saudi Arabia as ‘slave’, travel agent booked

      He said his wife left India on July 23 and was employed with a Saudi family, adding that after reaching there Paramjit was told that she would not get any salary as she had been purchased by the family.

    • Crowd ‘cheer like they’re at a beach party’ as Saudi blogger is lashed 50 times

      She wrote: ‘This crowd is not a beach party, it’s how moderate Muslims act when they flog someone for expressing his own opinions.’

    • Nothing ‘moderate’ about Malaysia

      The constitution may in theory protect freedom of religion but it certainly doesn’t protect freedom from religion. Consequently, several states have strong apostasy laws that threaten “rehabilitation” and prison time for any Muslim who tries to leave the religion.

    • Open letter: hijab in the classroom
    • Muslim college student who lied about Trump supporter subway attack pleads guilty

      She must go through six months of counseling and complete three days of community service.

      If Seweid fulfills the terms of her deal, the top charge against her will be tossed and she’ll be left with just a violation.

    • Why is the US government keen on detaining and deporting Singaporean political asylee Amos Yee?
    • Elders ‘ban’ musical gatherings in Landi Kotal

      The organisers warned that the houses of those either holding musical gatherings or in possession of musical instruments would be burnt, the sources claimed.

    • In Indonesia, 3 Muslim Girls Fight for Their Right to Play Heavy Metal

      “They said that if we produce an album, they would burn it, and some people threatened to decapitate us,” Ms. Eusi said.

    • ‘Fed up with fantasies for male teenagers’: fixing the depiction of women in games

      “I was fed up with power fantasies for male teenagers,” says Stark, one half of Noosa-based family studio Disparity Games. “We wanted something different.”

    • Disturbing reality of child marriage in Australia revealed
    • Local Islamic leader refuses to shake hands with Norwegian female minister on TV (VIDEO)
    • Swiss feel threatened by Islam, according to survey

      In addition, 81 % favoured banning salafism, and 83% would like a system that requires imams to get official authorisation before they can preach in Switzerland. 80% would also like rules that require muslim leaders in Switzerland to recognise equality between men and women and the principle of the separation of the state and religion.

    • Submit a Public Comment: Do NOT Allow ICE to Destroy Records of Sexual Abuse and Death of People in Custody

      We have until September 15 to send public comments to the National Archives and Records Administration demanding they retract permission for ICE to destroy these records.

    • The Deal Prosecutors Offer When They Have No Cards Left to Play

      When DNA evidence exonerated two men convicted in a 1987 murder, one took his chances on a retrial to overturn his conviction. The other accepted a special deal and left prison immediately—as a convicted killer.

    • Pedro Hernandez Was Cleared of Shooting Charges

      Nine people, including the victim, said he didn’t commit the crime.

    • Watch: Aggressive cop pulls gun on motorcyclist and bullies him for no good reason
    • LA deputies’ private body cams raise transparency questions

      Whatever the number, not a single frame of any video from these cameras has ever made it into the public domain.

    • The Google Memo: The Economist On Nothing

      But also important were themes that often got overlooked: reason, open discussion, and classical liberalism.

    • Public Enemy

      More than two hundred potential jurors were excused from the trial.

    • Vermont State Police Rewrite Press Rules To Withhold As Much Information As Possible

      Various authority figures have attempted to define journalism, usually excluding their critics. A recent post here covered a police chief who decided he could determine a journalist’s credibility based almost solely on their web presence. Trimming down the definition of “journalist” allows government officials to limit their accountability by treating only certain outlets as credible.

    • Rejecting Trump Agenda, Immigrant Protections Bill Passes in California

      Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign the California Values Act, passed by lawmakers Saturday, which would make the state a “sanctuary state” with new protections for undocumented immigrants.

      The 27-11 vote, along party lines, was reached after lengthy negotiations. But immigrant rights groups applauded the final bill, noting that it represented a strong rebuke of President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration agenda, including the Justice Department’s threats to withhold law enforcement grants from sanctuary cities.

      “This was a hard-fought effort but the end product was worth the fight,” said Jennie Pasquarella, Immigrants’ Rights Director with the ACLU of California. “With SB 54, California will meaningfully improve state law to keep families together and communities whole—and not a moment too soon as the Trump administration continues its draconian and indiscriminate crackdown on immigrants.”

    • Examining the “Ten Truths about Jihad”

      So if there was an irreconcilable contradiction between the messages of two “revelations” in the Koran, then the most recent “revelation” abrogated (superseded) the earlier one and was now the one to be followed. Consequently, a “revelation” made in the Medinan period would supersede a similar, earlier “revelation” made in the Meccan period. Both verses remain in the Koran because they are considered the words of Allah, but it is the most recent “revelation” that now carries the doctrinal authority.

    • Burkas are political symbols not Islamic ones, Muslim scholar says

      Dr Manea says the veiled garment was not worn by women outside of Nejd until Saudi Arabia’s Wahabi regime came to power in the late 1970s.

    • Inside Assad’s prisons: Horrors facing female inmates in Syrian jails revealed
    • “They are bringing shame on the family, that b**** is going to die”: How innocent kiss led to honour killing of Banaz Mahmod

      Banaz Mahmod was raped, tortured and strangled with a length of plastic cord at her parents’ home in a brutal honour killing after her family felt she had “shamed” them by divorcing her arranged marriage husband and choosing her own partner.

    • What we can learn from France’s failed deradicalization center

      Political, rushed center cost the country 2.5 million euro and did not deradicalize a single individual

      [...]

      “Obviously, trying to counter-radicalize these individuals exclusively through the frontal confrontation with democratic values is ineffective,” he says, “what we have to do, I believe, is to work where the sources of the problem are and on prevention efforts.’’

      As these young citizens have rejected the country in which they live, Dantinne believes it is unlikely that they will, for example, listen to an Imam hired by the State:

      ‘’In the prison context, for example, what happens when these youths are confronted to moderate Imams? They do not even want to be in contact with them, because they see them as representatives of the State and are the symbol of a rogue Islam.’’

    • Ironic anti-Prevent report proves just how direly we need the counter-terrorism strategy

      While this is just a glimpse into Baig’s history of courting views typically taken by Islamists, his most recent report on Channel 4, one which the Deputy Editor of the channel Nevine Mabro called “fantastic” before viewers began picking it apart, easily takes the cake. In it, he interviews a number of young Muslim women who we are told are going to “fight back by rejecting stereotypes.” While the entire production of the report is absurd, with the interviewees standing in a boxing ring and striking punching bags and tyres, the most appalling aspect is perhaps Channel 4’s collection of what they assume to be ‘progressive’ female Muslim voices.

    • Scandal-Plagued Sheriff David Clarke Would Make a Bad Trump Administration Even Worse

      It is clear by now that, if Clarke gets any White House post, the threat this administration poses to the Bill of Rights will increase.

    • Shaun King on Donald Trump, Colin Kaepernick, and White Supremacy

      The role that Trump has played in fanning the flames of this violent hatred became a major discussion in the world of professional sports over the past week after comments from a popular ESPN host, Jemele Hill. In several tweets, she criticized Trump and bluntly labeled him a “white supremacist.” Her comment spurred calls for her to be fired and on Friday, the president himself tweeted: “ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!” His press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said Hill’s comments were a fireable offense, saying ESPN “should hold anchors to a fair and consistent standard.” The First Amendment implications of the president and his administration publicly attacking the free and constitutionally protected speech of a member of the news media are vast. Hill’s comments and the president’s response come amid a political debate consuming the world of professional sports about athletes engaging in protest.

    • Cyprus ‘selling’ EU citizenship to super rich of Russia and Ukraine

      Billionaire Russian oligarchs and Ukrainian elites accused of corruption are among hundreds of people who have acquired EU passports under controversial “golden visa” schemes, the Guardian has learnt.

      The government of Cyprus has raised more than €4bn since 2013 by providing citizenship to the super rich, granting them the right to live and work throughout Europe in exchange for cash investment. More than 400 passports are understood to have been issued through this scheme last year alone.

      Prior to 2013, Cypriot citizenship was granted on a discretionary basis by ministers, in a less formal version of the current arrangement.

      A leaked list of the names of hundreds of those who have benefited from these schemes, seen by the Guardian, includes prominent businesspeople and individuals with considerable political influence.

    • White House Pushes Stricter Travel Ban, Pointing to London Attack

      While no information has been released about the nationalities of two suspects in Friday’s subway bombing in London, national security advisor H.R. McMaster indicated Sunday that the Trump administration is eager to use the attack to bolster its argument for a ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries.

      Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday morning, McMaster said the White House is examining “how to protect the American people better, how to ensure that we know who these people are who are moving.”

    • Will Judge Overturn Arpaio Pardon?

      When Donald Trump plunged a dagger through the hearts of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s victims and all justice-loving people by pardoning the racist serial lawbreaker, many threw up their hands in resignation. The president’s constitutional pardon power is absolute, they thought.

      Not so, argue lawyers and legal scholars in two proposed amicus briefs filed in US District Court in Arizona. They contend the Arpaio pardon is unconstitutional.

    • Egypt: Torture Epidemic May Be Crime Against Humanity

      Under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s regular police and National Security officers routinely torture political detainees with techniques including beatings, electric shocks, stress positions, and sometimes rape, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

      Widespread and systematic torture by the security forces probably amounts to a crime against humanity, according to the 63-page report, “‘We Do Unreasonable Things Here’: Torture and National Security in al-Sisi’s Egypt.” Prosecutors typically ignore complaints from detainees about ill-treatment and sometimes threaten them with torture, creating an environment of almost total impunity, Human Rights Watch said.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Unlimited Data Customers Report Fewer Network Problems Than Capped Users

      Back in 2011, you might recall that AT&T and Verizon stopped offering users unlimited wireless data plans. Taking advantage of a lack of competition at the time, the duo worked in concert to shove users toward confusing, metered plans that imposed a usage cap, then socked users with overage fees upward of $15 per gigabyte. When users refused to migrate to these plans, both companies spent years making life as difficult as possible for these subscribers, AT&T going so far as to block users from accessing Facetime until they switched to these more expensive, metered plans (but who needs net neutrality rules, right?).

    • Sept 26-27: The Internet descends on Washington

      The FCC is set on killing net neutrality. But Congress is key. They can stop the FCC and block the bigger threat: ISP-backed bills that would end net neutrality forever. We’re organizing Internet users to meet with members of Congress—in DC, or locally—and we’re helping to cover travel costs. Are you in?

    • 8,500 Verizon customers disconnected because of “substantial” data use

      Verizon is disconnecting another 8,500 rural customers from its wireless network, saying that roaming charges have made certain customer accounts unprofitable for the carrier.

      The 8,500 customers have 19,000 lines and live in 13 states (Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin), a Verizon Wireless spokesperson told Ars today. They received notices of disconnection this month and will lose access to Verizon service on October 17.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Kodi ‘Trademark Troll’ Has Interesting Views on Co-Opting Other People’s Work

        Last week, the developers of Kodi revealed that Geoff Gavora, someone unconnected with the project, had registered the Kodi trademark in Canada. Surprisingly, it appears that Gavora’s Kodi business involves the promotion and distribution of addons that are banned by Kodi itself for supplying infringing content. But that isn’t the only thing interesting about this entrepreneur.

    • Copyrights
      • Music Industry Is Painting A Target On YouTube Ripping Sites, Despite Their Many Non-Infringing Uses

        Concentrated attacks on technology tools that can sometimes, but not always, be used for nefarious purposes have quite a long history, from Google and Wikipedia, to suing online sites like Craigslist over how users use the service. Even torrent technology itself, having become a four-letter-word that the content industry has managed to tether to copyright infringement, is nothing more than a tool with plenty of legitimate uses.

      • Call to Action: Write to the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee on the upcoming copyright vote

        On October 10, an important committee in the European Parliament will vote on future copyright law. It hangs in the balance, and ordinary people like you and I contacting Members of the European Parliament can really make a difference, like you’ll remember we did with ACTA five years ago and won. You don’t have to contact your representative; such a thing only exists in the US and UK. Rather, you should write a friendly mail to all of them.

Patent Trolls Update: Eolas, Conversant (MOSAID), Leigh Rothschild, and Electronic Communication Technologies

Sunday 17th of September 2017 09:57:14 PM

Boris Teksler keeps hopping from one troll to another


Credit: Japanese media

Summary: Patent trolls are still being watched — as they ought to be — even though some of them shy away, hide from the media, engage in dirty tricks, and file more lawsuits

THIS coming week we intend to start publishing a long series about the EPO. We therefore lack time to thoroughly write about each and every single patent thing in the US. This post is a quick outline of patent trolls of interest, all of which are based in the US.

We start this with McKool Smith, a law firm that’s notorious for helping patent trolls. We have mentioned it a lot over the years and this new post says that it got caught in a violation, this time when it represented Eolas (also covered here many times before). To quote:

This one is fun for me, since I teach civil procedure, patents, and ethics, and have written about prosecution bars way too much.

Prosecution bars are used when a court concludes that, although the usual rule is that lawyers will abide by provisions in a protective order that say “don’t use information disclosed in this suit for any other purpose,” there’s a risk that a lawyer will, perhaps even inadvertently, misuse the opposing party’s information disclosed in discovery because of work the lawyer does for his client. Here, in a case Eolas (represented by McKool) filed for its client against Amazon (and others), it seems that as part of the protective order, McKool agreed that its lawyers were in such a position — they were prosecuting patents for Eolas in similar technologies, presumably, to what was involved in the suit — and so the protective order provided that no McKool lawyer who received certain categories of confidential information from Amazon would prosecute patents for Eolas in those fields, for a time.

And there is the issue: how long? The protective order stated (in part — I’d want to see the entire thing to really understand this), that the bar expired “one (1) year following the entry of a final non-appealable judgment…”

Eolas lost at trial, and the Federal Circuit affirmed and entered judgment on July 22, 2013.

If the one year date runs from there — which I so far think it does — then it expired on July 22, 2014. And it was only after that date that McKool lawyers allegedly violated the prosecution bar.

In other news, this time about Conversant (used to be known as MOSAID, weaponised and emboldened by Microsoft), this is what IAM wrote a few days ago:

Patent pools in the wireless space have not enjoyed much success but the recent news that Lenovo, Verizon and Conversant have signed up as licensors in Via’s LTE pool suggests that, at the very least, this licensing collective for fourth generation mobile technology needs to be taken seriously. The three new members join a list of patent owners that already includes AT&T, China Mobile Communications Corporation, Google and NTT DOCOMO.

[...]

Teksler, who left his position as CEO of Unwired Planet in 2016 after it was acquired by Optis UP and was an adviser to Via prior to joining Conversant, identified increased transparency and predictability in the licensing process as one motivation for joining the LTE pool. He also claimed that, “historically, pools worked well with various audio and video standards and it is time that they were made to work again”.

Boris Teksler’s move was mentioned here before. What this article fails to say is that Conversant is a patent troll — one of the worst of its kind.

Next up we have Leigh Rothschild. On September 11th, a rather special day in the US, Leigh Rothschild, who is a patent troll we wrote about before, sued yet another real (producing) company called GoSpotCheck. It’s a small company from Denver. To quote the report from 3 days ago:

GoSpotCheck this week got a nod usually bestowed on tech giants like Oracle and Apple.

The distinction? All three have been sued by Leigh Rothschild.

In a federal court case filed this week, Rothschild, via his company Rothschild Digital Confirmation, claims that GoSpotCheck, which makes software used by field reps, violated a 2008 patent for attaching a timestamp and location data to an image.

GoSpotCheck “has directly infringed” Rothschild’s patent, the lawsuit alleges, and “will continue to do so unless enjoined by this court.” Rothschild says the company “has suffered monetary damages and is entitled to a monetary judgment” as a result.

GoSpotCheck CEO Matt Talbot said he had no knowledge of Rothschild’s patent, and called the complaint baseless.

Last but not least, the EFF is taking on/challenging more patent trolls, having recently defeated others. Here the introduction to the latest target:

Since 1992, Fairytale Brownies has sold delicious brownies based on a secret family recipe. It’s a small business founded by two childhood friends who were quick to see the potential of the Internet and registered the domain www.brownies.com in 1995. Fairytale Brownies became an e-commerce website before the first dot-com boom and has remained in business ever since.

But earlier this year, Fairytale Brownies received a surprising letter. The letter said its e-commerce website infringes U.S. Patent No. 9,373,261 (“the ’261 patent”). The ’261 patent is owned by Electronic Communication Technologies, LLC (“ECT”), a company that was previously known as Eclipse IP. We have written about it many times before.

What is the technology claimed by the patent?

Generally, ECT states that it patented “unique solutions to minimize hacker’s impacts when mimicking order confirmations and shipment notification emails.” From what we can tell, it claims to have invented sending an automated email in response to an online order, that contains personally identifiable information (“PII”). ECT claims that including PII allows customers to know that the email is not a “phishing” email or “part of an email fraud system,” and as a consequence customers will know to trust the links in the email.

Alice will probably squash this one easily. All it takes is money (which the EFF has). Will it put an end to this racket?

Microsoft is Promoting Software Patents in India in Another Effort to Undermine Free/Open Source Software, Microsoft-Connected Trolls Are Still Suing

Sunday 17th of September 2017 08:54:05 PM

Watch the men behind the curtain

Summary: The ongoing patent threat to Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) and the role played by Microsoft in at least much of this threat

THE company which claims that it “loves Linux”, Microsoft, unsurprisingly (given its track record on this) attacks GNU/Linux. It is still promoting software patents in India even though the rules are clearly preventing this. It is not allowed.

“…Microsoft, unsurprisingly (given its track record on this) attacks GNU/Linux.”How do we know?

See this report from a few days ago: “GNLU Centre for IPR in collaboration with GNLU-Microsoft chair on IPR and policy research, is organising a panel discussion on ‘Protecting software’s through Patents: Current Challenges and Future Solutions’ on 7th October, 2017 at Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat.”

Why would Microsoft organise a discussion on “Protecting software’s [sic] through Patents” in country that does not permit such patents?

“Why would Microsoft organise a discussion on “Protecting software’s [sic] through Patents” in country that does not permit such patents?”The matter of fact is, Microsoft is still an enemy of GNU/Linux, yet certain people choose not to see it.

Where is Microsoft when it comes to OIN? Non-aggression is not something Microsoft can commit to. As Simon Phipps keeps stating, he would not believe Microsoft unless or until it decides to join OIN. But that too would not be sufficient because we already know that Microsoft operates through trolls, too.

OIN made the headlines (again) a few days ago. But it required some digging to find (none of the major Linux news sites picked this).

According to the press release, JD.com Joins the Open Invention Network (OIN) ‘Community’, but OIN is not against software patents and it certainly cannot stop patent trolls, even by its very own admission, making itself susceptible to loopholes. To quote from the press release:

“The retail space is undergoing a significant sea change — perhaps the largest in its history — as consumers worldwide continue to accelerate their purchasing via online retailers. To meet this growing demand, sophisticated e-commerce platforms today are built on Linux and adjacent open source technologies,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network. “We greatly appreciate JD.com’s leadership in joining OIN and supporting patent non-aggression.”

OIN is still IBM-led (to some degree) and as we noted in our previous post, IBM lobbies for software patents. To patent aggressors, patent law firms and patent trolls that’s just extra business. Lawyers profit from both sides (plaintiff and defendant). To real companies that champion development/production these lawsuits are nothing but a money drain (lawyers’ gain). To OIN? Well, the greater the fear and uncertainty over patent lawsuits, the more money it will harvest. It just cares about its own relevance, i.e. it benefits from threat.

“Where is Microsoft when it comes to OIN?”Earlier this year we published many articles about Microsoft siccing trolls on its competition while offering ‘protection’ (or indemnification) from these trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. A few days ago we also saw Finjan, a Microsoft-connected patent troll, suing some more companies while attempting to dodge PTAB, which we wrote a lot about earlier today (two articles about PTAB, published earlier today, explain the relation to software patents). Finjan even issued this press release about it to say (about its software patents):

Finjan Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: FNJN), a cybersecurity company, and its subsidiary Finjan, Inc. today provide an update on four separate, but related matters including a summary judgment, IPR proceedings, Germany trial and an oral argument against Blue Coat Systems, Inc. (Blue Coat).

[...]

Second, in post-grant proceedings before the United States Patent & Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the PTAB denied two additional Blue Coat petitions for Inter Partes Review (IPR), namely, IPR2017- 00996, which challenged the validity of U.S. Patent No. 9,141,786 (the “’786 Patent”) and IPR2017-00997, which challenged the validity of Finjan’s U.S. Patent No. 9,219,755 (the “’755 Patent”), and instituted trial on IPR2017-00995, which challenges the validity of U.S. Patent No. 9,189,621 (the “’621 Patent”). Notwithstanding institution, Finjan remains confident that the ’621 Patent will survive IPR. To-date only 20% of IPRs have been instituted against Finjan’s patents and, more impressively, after institution, 99% of Finjan’s claims remain intact.

Incidentally, a former adviser of Finjan is unhappy to see them turning to what he called “patent blackmail”. He wrote this a few days ago, right after reading our articles about it.

“Earlier this year we published many article’s about Microsoft siccing trolls on its competition while offering ‘protection’ (or indemnification) from these trolls.”Obviously, Microsoft wants to be seen as a friend of Linux, but all of Microsoft’s competitors seem to be sued by Finjan these days. Almost everybody except Microsoft (which used to lend a hand to this troll). Classy.

Incidentally, the USPTO is nowadays distributing its data in Microsoft OOXML format (which Microsoft famously corrupted ISO for). As Patently-O put it some days ago:

Beginning this week, the USPTO has transitioned its Private Pair system to include text versions of its office action rejections as well as notices of allowances (actual XML and DOCX versions). It is a straightforward step to move these documents into a searchable database available for public consumption.

I’ll note here that the XML/DOCX files are quite nice and, although not well tagged, will make it easy for patent attorneys to cut & paste from the OA in their responses or client emails. The system also includes a new mechanism for submitting documents to the PTO.

The bottom line is, Microsoft has long leveraged software patents to undermine the competition. None of that has changed, it just takes a little more effort to track or trace back to the source.

“The bottom line is, Microsoft has long leveraged software patents to undermine the competition.”We began this post by highlighting what Microsoft had just gone in India and Watchtroll too, only four days ago, did something similar, ascribing the term “IP integrity” to “software patents”. To quote:

Open source software can provide significant benefits to an organization—it can decrease product development time, distribute development across a community, and attract developers to your organization—but some organizations shy away due to perceived risks and disadvantages around intellectual property (IP). Too many people fear that once they’ve incorporated open source into their products or open sourced their own code they’ve surrendered control over their most valuable assets, or even worse, left themselves vulnerable to litigation with no defensive weapons to counter the threat.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Utilizing open source doesn’t have to be an either-or decision. It’s possible to simultaneously support an open source program while maintaining an active IP program. A smart organization can avail themselves of the ease of use and constant updating of code that open source provides, they can identify aspects of their software to open source which are of interest to a broader development community or that encourage adoption of their platform, and they can protect those aspects of their software which are unique to their business or provide a competitive advantage through various IP protections.

“As long as Microsoft so stubbornly pursues software patents, as it has done for well over a decade, it cannot be friends with GNU/Linux.”In reality, the Free software community/ies would rightly shun companies/people for bringing software patents. Just watch what is happening to Facebook and React these days (the latest development is, WordPress dumped React over it, as noted in our daily links).

Free software and software patents cannot co-exist. As long as Microsoft so stubbornly pursues software patents, as it has done for well over a decade, it cannot be friends with GNU/Linux.

Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Under Attack by IBM and Other Patent Parasites Who Undermine Patent Quality

Sunday 17th of September 2017 08:05:40 PM

Summary: The PTAB, which has thus far invalidated thousands of abstract/software patents, is under a coordinated attack not by those who produce things but those who produce a lot of lawsuit

HAVING just covered the PTAB-dodging "scam" which the Mohawk tribe participates in, we now turn our attention to PTAB bashing or to shameless lobbying by the patent ‘industry’. The EPO has already marginalised its equivalent of PTAB, known as the appeal boards, in order to reduce patent quality, so why not the USPTO too?

“Manny Schecter, IBM’s patent chief who is friends with Watchtroll, is already lobbying the likely new Director of the USPTO.”Watchtroll is attacking PTAB again. It does this almost every other day. It has done this many dozens of times if not over a hundred times. Who or what is Watchtroll? This is basically a bunch of lawyers trying to destroy technology companies. Just look at who writes for them and who the founder is. His sidekick Paul Morinville is one of the radicals who burned stuff in unauthorised protests on USPTO premises and two days ago he too joined his ‘master’ in attacking PTAB. His headline speaks of a “failed PTAB experiment,” but actually, it has been exceptionally successful when it comes to squashing bad patents which should never have been granted in the first place. Technology companies certainly support and appreciate PTAB! We wrote a lot about that. There are very few exceptions to this, notably IBM. “IBM continues to push for legislation to abolish Alice and restore swpats [software patents] in the US,” Benjamin Henrion (FFII) wrote a few days ago. This does not surprise us because IBM is nowadays a lobbyist for software patents and it habitually attacks small(er) companies with large-scale patent lawsuits. Manny Schecter, IBM’s patent chief who is friends with Watchtroll, is already lobbying the likely new Director of the USPTO. In what platform? None other than Watchtroll (soon to be promoted by Patently-O, increasingly conjoined with Watchtroll).

Here are some portions from what Schecter wrote, citing the villainous Chamber of Commerce (it would not be surprising if it’s a front group to IBM too):

At long last, the next Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been revealed. My congratulations to Andrei Iancu of Irell & Manella on his nomination to lead the USPTO. I recently wrote about the direction the next leader of the USPTO will need to provide[1] and the U.S. patent system remains at an important crossroads. Assuming Director-designee Iancu’s nomination is eventually confirmed, he will have the opportunity, through a variety of channels, to meaningfully influence the path of the U.S. patent system going forward.

In the 2017 U.S. Chamber report on Global IP[2] the U.S. patent system fell from the best in the world to tenth, equal with the patent system in Hungary. The Chamber report explains that the post-patent grant challenge proceedings created under the America Invents Act adds substantial costs and uncertainty, and the Court’s narrow interpretation of patentability of biotech and computer-related inventions puts the U.S. in a disadvantageous position as compared to international standards. Clearly there is work to be done to restore the competitiveness of the U.S. patent system. Unfortunately, there is currently a lack of consensus in the U.S. on how to proceed. Patent subject matter eligibility is prime among the substantive issues for which legislation has been proposed, but to date no legislation has been formally introduced. Many of the major IP associations have published resolutions urging legislation to amend 35 U.S.C. 101, but work to build consensus continues .[3]

So he is bashing AIA, which brought PTAB into existence. This isn’t new or unexpected from him. The truth of the matter is, as IBM sues all sorts of companies the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) often comes to the victims’ rescue. We habitually name new examples, which this guy continues to keep abreast of [1, 2]. The latest:

  • Startup Perigen can’t get patent on fetal monitoring machines thx 2 PTAB random (mis)application of Alice precedent: https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016002806-08-30-2017-1 …
  • PTAB finds 2-page long, kitchen sink patent claim by IBM as just an”abstract idea” https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016003153-08-24-2017-1 … guess War&Peace also abstract?

IBM is a big patent bully, so PTAB invalidating its software patents and stopping its aggression is a good thing. But not in the eyes of the above patent maximalist, who is right now attacking the EFF in a patent trolls’ site (Dominion Harbor), only to be promoted by other patent maximalists, including patent trolls.

Spotted the pattern yet? Notice who’s attacking PTAB.

Again come out the PTAB bashers, who simply want software patents and a patent trolls resurgence, piggybacking SCOTUS by lobbying to abolish PTAB. There was a long article about this in Blooberg a few days ago. This long article by Tony Dutra did a reasonably OK job explaining that it’s the patent microcosm against those who actually make stuff. To quote some portions from the article:

Stakeholders have filed 31 friend-of-the-court briefs reviewing petitioner Oil States Energy Services LLC’s (OSES) argument that a patent is a private property right that can only be revoked by a federal court, not by the PTO ( Oil States Energy Servs., LLC v. Greene’s Energy Grp., LLC , U.S., No. 16-712, briefs filed 8/31/17 ). Companies and individual inventors with patents contend that patent rights include the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial, which is not provided for in a PTAB proceeding before administrative patent judges.

On the other side are the Silicon Valley heavyweights and generic drug manufacturers that have used IPR proceedings as a way to avoid the higher hurdle for showing patent invalidity in court. A federal judge and jury must presume the patent is valid and require clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. The AIA set up the IPR proceeding without the presumption of validity, with the challenger’s burden of proving invalidity by an easier standard, the preponderance of the evidence.

Counterarguments by Greene’s Energy Group LLC, the successful challenger to OSES’s U.S. Patent No. 6,179,053, which relates to protecting wellheads during fracking, and the U.S. Office of the Solicitor General, are due by the end of October. Several more amicus briefs supporting the AIA’s constitutionality are expected then as well.

The court has not yet set a date for oral arguments, but it should be before the end of this year, with a decision before June 2018.

Dutra then mentions the disgraced/corrupt judge, Randall Rader:

Critics often call the PTAB a “death squad” because of the high rate of patent claims that it kills, but the phrase was originally used to describe the constitutional questions about the board’s role.

Former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall R. Rader coined the term in 2013, before any IPR was decided. He meant it in a way that underlies the constitutional argument, that it is wrong to have the PTO with “7,000 people giving birth to property rights”—referring to the patent examiner corps—while PTAB judges are “acting as death squads, killing property rights.”

And finally:

IPLAC lays out the question in terms of the PTO’s rights as to follow-on action after a patent issues. Prior to the AIA, the Patent Act gave the PTO no such rights, according to the association’s brief. But the AIA changed the nature of the PTO’s ongoing involvement. From the implementation date, the PTO’s grant is better characterized as only an “issue-from-examination … while-subject-to-further-processes-of securement,” IPLAC said.

Not a bad article overall. Compare that to the usual PTAB/IPR bashing from Dennis Crouch. Days ago he wrote: “As a placeholder – I’ll note here that the pending en banc case of In re Aqua Products regarding amendments during IPR Proceedings is still pending before the Federal Circuit.”

“Companies that make stuff like PTAB.”Crouch spent a great deal of effort earlier this year trying to compel the Federal Circuit to step on PTAB's toes. Follow the money and the interests and it’s abundantly clear what the motivations are…

Companies that make stuff like PTAB. This isn’t a subjective observation.

Companies (or firms) that just make lawsuits hate PTAB. The evidence is out there for all to see (e.g. in the form of amicus curiae briefs, pretending to be the highest court‘s “amici”).

Some law firms have grown so afraid/wary of PTAB that they apparently have such a thing as “PTAB chair”. See this new article from a patent maximalists’ news site:

Scott McKeown (right) has joined Ropes & Gray as partner in Washington, DC, and as chair of the firm’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) practice.

Maybe they should focus more efforts on applying for better patents (quality rather than quantity); then, PTAB would not be a concern to them and their clients.

To close this on a more positive note, have a look at the CCIA’s Josh Landau with his analysis of Oil States, claiming that the PTAB’s IPRs have saved over $2,000,000,000 in just 5 years. Here’s a portion from Landau’s good article:

This Saturday, September 15, 2017, marks the five-year anniversary of the first filing of an inter partes review. We’ve seen nearly 7,000 post-grant reviews filed since then, a Supreme Court case dealing with IPRs, and there are a pair of IPR Supreme Court cases up this term. [Oil States] [SAS]

Over the next few weeks, I’ll tell you about particular stories where inter partes and covered business method patent reviews have curtailed abusive litigation and allowed smaller companies to defend themselves even if they might not have been able to fight a full-fledged patent lawsuit.

But today I just want to step back and look at the effects of the inter partes review system as a whole. One of the reasons IPR was created was to “provid[e] a more efficient system for challenging patents that should not have issued; and reduc[e] unwarranted litigation costs and inconsistent damage awards.” (Page 39-40 of the House Report on the AIA.)

All in all, the IPR system has been incredibly effective at achieving these goals—I estimate that the implementation of inter partes review has helped plaintiffs and defendants avoid at least $2.31 billion in deadweight losses by providing an efficient system for challenging patents.

This benefit is purely based on avoiding deadweight loss from legal fees; it does not account for the benefit of preventing transfers from defendants to plaintiffs based on patents that should have been invalidated. The financial data used in this analysis is based on publicly available data, as well as some data derived from the 2017 AIPLA Economic Survey. Unfortunately, this survey is not publicly available; where possible, I have linked to open summaries of the data contained in the survey.

We certainly hope that Justices can tell apart parasites from producers. At the moment, with very rare exceptions, all those who oppose PTAB basically oppose science and technology. All they want is more and more litigation, blackmail, and threats (which merely drain money out of the productive economy).

Why the Mohawk Tribe Should Fire Its Lawyers and Dump the Patents Which Now Tarnish Its Name

Sunday 17th of September 2017 07:07:59 PM

The quick buck isn’t worth the damage done to the Mohawks’ reputation

Summary: In order to dodge the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) with its Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs), the Mohawk tribe is being exploited — very much in direct detriment to its reputation and status

LAST week we wrote about the Mohawk people being used by vicious corporations that only need the Mohawk people because of corporate greed. We were actually very surprised that the Mohawk people had fallen for it (or rather their lawyers had plotted this). We last wrote about that six days ago.

Since then, much has been said about the subject. We certainly hope that the Mohawks will rethink the whole thing. Published by Mike Masnick on Wednesday was this article calling the whole thing a “scam” (in the headline). The Mohawk tribe ought to take this as a sign and fire the dumb (if not corruptible) lawyer/s. The tribe should then toss out these patents, thereby signaling to anyone else who thinks about such a scam that it will end up badly. To quote Masnick:

We’ve written a bunch over the past few years about the so-called Inter Partes Review (IPR) process at the US Patent Office. In short, this is a process that was implemented in the patent reform bill back in 2010 allowing people and companies to ask a special “review board” — the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) — at the Patent Office to review a patent to determine if it was valid. This was necessary because so many absolutely terrible patents were being granted, and then being used to shake down tons of companies and hold entire industries hostage. So, rather than fix the patent review process, Congress created an interesting work-around: at least make it easier for the Patent Office to go back and check to see if it got it right the first time.

Last year, part of this process was challenged at the Supreme Court and upheld as valid. However, the whole IPR is still very much under attack. There’s another big Supreme Court case on the docket right now which argues that IPR is unconstitutional (the short argument is that you can already challenge patents in court, and by taking them to an administrative board, it creates an unconstitutional taking of property without a jury). There are also some attempts at killing the IPR in Congress.

Joe Mullin, a trolls expert, hasn’t missed this news either. Several days ago he said that a “[d]rug company hands patents off to Native American tribe to avoid challenge” (PTAB). We reckon that the Mohawk tribe isn’t at fault here. It just doesn’t know it has a lawyer who exploits them and shames them in the process. Some people have rightly pointed out that this scam might have been enabled unintentionally (without the Mohawks intending to do harm). To quote Mullin:

A drug company has found a novel way to avoid challenges to some of its most prized patents: handing them off to a Native American tribe for safe-keeping.

On Friday, Allergan disclosed that it gave six patents covering its top-selling dry eye drug Restasis to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe in Northern New York. The deal will provide the tribe with $13.75 million immediately and an annual royalty of $15 million as long as the patents are valid. The new deal was soon reported in both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Allergan made the unprecedented move because it will prevent any meaningful challenge to the company’s patents at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, or PTAB. Challenging patents at the PTAB in a process called “inter partes review” (IPR) was authorized by the America Invents Act of 2011, and the IPR process has significantly changed the patent landscape since then. While invalidating a patent in district court typically costs millions of dollars, invalidating a patent via IPR can happen for the relative bargain of a few hundred thousand dollars.

A very detailed analysis from CCIA‘s Josh Landau was published to explain why the US legal system is disgraced when patents can enjoy immunity by having dodgy entities exploit Natives. To quote some key bits:

What do Seymour Cray’s high-performance computing research company SRC Labs and drug manufacturer Allergan have in common? Both SRC Labs and Allergan sold patents to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, then licensed them back from the tribe, in order to use tribal sovereign immunity to prevent challenges to their patents as invalid.

[...]

Sovereign immunity is not a topic that appears on many Patent Law syllabi. But in the past year, it’s become a more pressing issue when it comes to patents. First, state universities used it to avoid challenges to their own patents. And now, sovereign immunity is being sold to completely unrelated companies.

The University of Florida Research Foundation (UFRF) is a non-profit foundation established by the University in order to “to promote, encourage and provide assistance to the research activities of the University faculty, staff and students.” As part of this, they patent inventions by UF faculty and staff, and license those inventions.

Covidien (a medical device manufacturer) had a patent license agreement with UFRF. UFRF sued Covidien, and in response Covidien defended themselves by filing inter partes reviews (IPRs) against the UFRF patents. Back in January, UFRF claimed that, as a state entity, they were immune from IPR under Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board agreed and dismissed the IPR on Eleventh Amendment grounds.

Later in the year, a similar situation occurred, this time featuring the University of Maryland and NeoChord, another medical company. Maryland had given an exclusive license to several of their patents to Harpoon Medical, which sued NeoChord. NeoChord filed an IPR on the patents, and again, the PTAB dismissed the IPR on Eleventh Amendment grounds.

There are a few other instances of Eleventh Amendment immunity claims that may come up, including one by the University of Minnesota against Ericsson.

[...]

The tribe’s FAQ on this program is interesting. I don’t know if they got the wrong impression from their lawyers, just misunderstood, or what, but they claim that by doing this, they can help “protect[] from patent trolls.”

Bluntly put, preventing patents from being IPRed does not protect anyone from patent trolls—it protects patent trolls from IPRs.

The tribe also claims that IPR is “very unfair” and allows patent trolls to void valid patents. (Patent trolls do not generally try to invalidate patents, because they usually don’t have any products to be sued on.) The tribe also claims that they’ll file to have their patents reviewed in federal court, which, again, does not happen.

If IPR is unfair, why does the Federal Circuit affirm three quarters of appealed PTAB decisions? The PTAB is getting decisions right, there’s just a lot of invalid patents out there to be challenged.

On the other side of the fence, as usual, there are PTAB-bashing blogs like Patently-O/Crouch, who uses any opportunity to undermine PTAB. Silly US immunity from PTAB (e.g. for universities) means that dodgy companies now hide behind Natives. We have already explained why universities should enjoy no such immunity. Here is what Crouch wrote about it some days ago: (the typical PTAB bashing when he’s not carrying out automated assessment of words in patents)

US Law generally holds that Indian Tribes are “Sovereign Powers” that “possess immunity from suit,” although only “to the extent that Congress has not abrogated that immunity and the tribe has not clearly waived its immunity.” Breakthrough Management Group, Inc. v. Chukchansi Gold Casino and Resort 629 F.3d 1173 (10th Cir. 2010), cert denied. As the Supreme Court wrote, “without congressional authorization,” the “Indian Nations are exempt from suit.” United States v. United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co., 309 U.S., at 512 (1940).

The Mohawk tribe’s lawyer is a either fooled or a fooling actor. Whatever it is, the Mohawk need to get out of this PR debacle. They are only supported by sites that favour patent trolls. The Mohawk tribe’s lawyer was apparently told that this stops patent trolls, but the very opposite will be true. It actually does the very opposite, especially if other patent holders follow the example/tactics of Allergan/the Mohawks. Here is how IAM put it:

The recent news that pharma giant Allergan and tech company SRC have licensed patents to a Native American tribe in an attempt to protect the patents from inter partes review (IPR) has once again catapulted the controversial post-issuance review process into the wider business press. With the Supreme Court due to hear Oil States, a case concerning the constitutionality of IPRs, in its next term, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is in the spotlight like never before.

Since the move by the pharma giant was announced early last week there has been an avalanche of press and blog coverage (you can read what this blog had to say here and another piece on Indian tribes and sovereign immunity, which is particularly worth reading, here). The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe was clearly unimpressed by some of the ensuing coverage and so yesterday put out a statement in what it described as a clarification. Clearly keen to play to the patent gallery the statement ended with: “A strong patent system is in everyone’s best interest, which is why patent protection is one of our original constitutional rights.”

IAM says that the “Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is in the spotlight like never before” while it actively participates in PTAB bashing, as we shall show in our next post.

Sadly, corporate media too plays a role in misinformation. Consider this coverage from the New York Times 9 days ago. The headline in its own right is wrong. That’s not “how to protect a drug” but how to shield bogus patents from quality control (PTAB).

Here is what the Times said:

The drugmaker Allergan announced Friday that it had transferred its patents on a best-selling eye drug to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in upstate New York — an unusual gambit to protect the drug from a patent dispute.

Under the deal, which involves the dry-eye drug Restasis, Allergan will pay the tribe $13.75 million. In exchange, the tribe will claim sovereign immunity as grounds to dismiss a patent challenge through a unit of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The tribe will lease the patents back to Allergan, and will receive $15 million in annual royalties as long as the patents remain valid.

What kind of a scam is this and who seduced the Mohawks into this PR disaster? Whoever or whatever it is, they need to get out of it in order to (maybe, if it’s not too late) undo the damage. Media generally regards this as evidence of Mohawks being unintelligent, or even worse: mischievous and greedy.

Amazon and Google Have Both Become Part of the Software Patents Problem

Sunday 17th of September 2017 05:42:49 PM

Giants benefit from a so-called ‘thicket’ (patent barrier to entrants) that protects their monopoly/ies


Some truly fundamental software concepts — however trivial (simple reference count) — are already patented by Google (or Stanford)

Summary: The transition from so-called ‘defensive’ patents to offensive patents (ones that are used to suppress competition) as seen in Amazon and in Google, which is already suing rivals and is pursuing additional patents by acquisition

AS noted in our previous post, it’s still possible to get software patents granted, albeit they’re very difficult to successfully enforce in court.

Amazon is said to be one of the most litigated companies out there (if not the most, depending on what’s measured). There were articles about it last year. Amazon, as far as we’re aware, is not a patent bully, at least not yet (growing companies rarely need to resort to aggression). Google, by contrast, started patent aggression earlier this year.

“They are loathed partly because software patents are an abomination in general.”Generally speaking, software patents — especially after Alice/Section 101 — are lame ducks, but not if the accused (or defendant, mainly if this reaches the court) cannot afford a legal battle.

“Amazon, eBay, Google lead surge in AI patents” was the headline of this article from last week. As we noted in the last post, “AI” is one of those buzzwords that are frequently used to justify software patent grants. “The whitepaper,” it says, “titled “Artificial Intelligence in Retail: Patent Analysis,” suggests that the publication of patent filings may have peaked in 2015, with 329 publications that year, before drifting down to 296 in 2016. Prior to 2015, there were 128 AI-related patent filings published in 2012, 191 in 2013 and 224 in 2014. There have been only 54 published this year, though Netscribes stressed that there is often an 18-month lag between when patents are filed and when they are published.”

These are software patents.

As an article recently put it, Mr. Bezos suggested reducing the lifetime of “business method and software patents from 17 years to three to five.”

Well, he never did that or never really accomplished any of this. In the meantime, as stated above, Amazon continues to stockpile lots of horrible patents, as does Google. Amazon-friendly media like GeekWire has just published this podcast about the recently-expired one-click checkout patent of Amazon. From the show’s outline: “The patent was for the technology that made one-click checkout possible, and on this episode of the Week In Geek, we dig into why it was so unpopular and why patents themselves occupy a controversial place in the tech world.”

Well, this Amazon patent was one of many that are similarly outrageous. They are loathed partly because software patents are an abomination in general. Over the years we covered several other examples of Amazon patents that should never have been granted at all. Certainly, as it’s likely inevitable, one day Amazon too will resort to patent aggression. Or an aggressor might buy/receive these patents.

As for Google, well… an older article of ours reached Hacker News’ front page and Reddit last week. No idea why people suddenly cared half a year late, but we can only speculate that it had something to do with reports like this one (a subject we covered a week ago). Here’s another report about it:

Entropy coding technology known as ANS devised by a Polish academic is now sought to be patented by Google – even though he released it into the public domain precisely so no company could swoop on it and lock it up.

So Google is increasingly being portrayed as a raider of ideas and a patent opportunist that seeks a monopoly even on the public domain. Not good…

Now that Google uses patents pro-actively it cannot be cheered and can no longer be trusted with any patents. According to this blog post from IAM, Google might soon take HTC’s patents too:

Three weeks ago, Bloomberg reported that Taiwan smartphone maker HTC has held takeover talks with Google, as the struggling business explores ‘strategic options’. More recently, several outlets have reported that a deal – either for the whole company or just its smartphone unit – is in late stages. Other options on the table include an investment by the US company. Whatever happens, there is a good chance that HTC’s days as a stand-alone smartphone maker are numbered. If Google does pull the trigger, this latest hardware deal won’t have patent implications as big as its previous Motorola turnaround, but it will mark the unification of two long-term patent partners.

Remember that after Google had taken patents of Waymo it sued a competitor. It’s now a CAFC case, Waymo v Uber, reminding us of the real danger of any patents landing on Google’s lap. As Patently-O put it some days ago:

The Federal Circuit has released a pair of decisions (2017-2235; 2017-2130) in this patent / trade secret case. Waymo (Google) sued Uber (Ottomotto) for patent infringement and trade secret misappropriations. “Specifically, Waymo alleges that its former employee, Mr. [Anthony] Levandowski, improperly downloaded thousands of documents related to Waymo’s driverless vehicle technology and then left Waymo to found Ottomotto, which Uber subsequently acquired.”

Google uses patents against rivals. Expect it to do more of that (the temptation is greater once it has been done already). As for Amazon? Give it time and see Bezos too (as the world’s richest man, like Bill Gates before him) turning to patents as a last resort to save an empire.

‘“Other than Bill Gates, I don’t know of any high tech CEO that sits down to review the company’s IP portfolio” —Marshall Phelps (formerly of IBM, which also resorts to patent aggression because its empire crumbles)

Unless Physical, Inventions Are No Longer Patent-Eligible in US Courts, But USPTO Ignores Precedence

Sunday 17th of September 2017 04:47:38 PM

Unless you can actually see the supposed invention, it’s likely just code and thus invalid under Section 101/Alice

Summary: Even though the ability to enforce software patents against a rival (or many targets, especially in the case of patent trolls) is vastly diminished, the US patent office continues to grant these

THE US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled against software patents in the summer of 2013. Things have changed profoundly since then. Each year it seems like the system — mostly but not limited to the legal system — is becoming more hostile towards software patents. They’re just not worth the time and money anymore.

“We’re talking about trolls and serial litigators here. They suffer badly and some have gone out of business (good riddance!).”Software patents are not officially dead. Moreover, there’s a threat of them coming back, for circles that are hostile towards software development try to prop them up again. Every single week we write about several of their concurrent attempts, ranging from legislative/lobbying to subversion/entryism. For them, it’s likely a fight for their very survival. We’re talking about trolls and serial litigators here. They suffer badly and some have gone out of business (good riddance!).

The reality of the matter is, companies like Apple patent all sorts of malicious software that’s being celebrated in their fan sites. They don’t want the public to think of it as software, but since this particular domain is my professional domain it’s clear to me that it’s pure softwar which they patent and the USPTO tolerates this. Here is another new example, this time from Virtual StrongBox, which was mentioned here before (last month). They patent pure software. It’s mathematics. They just phrase things in a way that’s intended to dodge or work around Section 101. Here we see another case of nonsensical, meaningless buzzwords like “technical effect”. A translation says “when software solves a technical problem you are definitely in the area where a patent is possible” (page in Spanish). The EPO is equally culpable here. How about this new example? The USPTO is once again granting software patents — something in the realm business methods/mathematics (abstract).

To quote this article:

Pittsburgh entrepreneur Mike Wagner is best known for his high-growth company which specializes in optimizing carrier pricing in real-time. Now, Wagner’s Target Freight Management has introduced a new technology to an industry with the announcement of their patent for Freight Innovation Density Analytics – or FIDA.

That’s mathematics. The USPTO facilitates a race to the bottom if it permits this kind of grant. Here is another new example, where software gets patented under the guise of the buzzword “deep learning”. There’s a gold rush for software patents under the guise o buzzwords like “AI”, “machine learning” and so on (I know how these things technically work and implemented them in the past; it’s purely mathematics/statistics).

In the next post we shall take a closer look at technology giants that amass software patents and misuse these against competitors (we say “misuse” because these patents are likely patent-ineligible, but it’s expensive to prove so).

Citing the European Patent Convention, Spanish Court Tosses Lawsuit With EPO-Granted European Patent

Sunday 17th of September 2017 12:01:09 PM

Summary: The quality of European Patents (EPs) — a subject of growing levels of scrutiny — as demonstrated in Barcelona this summer

THE EPO has long been granting software patents in defiance of the European Patent Convention — something that would further accelerate if the UPC power-grab ever gained any traction/got a foothold (it’s very unlikely, hence our choice of tense in “would”).

Techrights is not an enemy of the EPO. Techrights wants what’s good for the EPO. Techrights is viewed as an enemy by top-level EPO management (Team Battistelli), hence it has been blocked by Battistelli. We are pretty certain that EPO examiners already know — and can check our history on this subject — that we care about quality of patents; it’s not about patents per se (in general). Our main complaint — all through these years — was granting of low-quality patents in defiance of the rules.

“Spain rejects the UPC for more than one reason (such as language). They specified several other reasons for shunning the terrible, awful UPC.”Every now and then we highlight a public display of the problem (symptom), such as the Administrative Council tossing a whole class of patents (biological processes), the appeal boards voiding patents, and sometimes actual courts (where fees are enormous, for both defendant/s and plaintiff) rejecting EPs upon closer scrutiny.

That makes perfect sense. If patents are improperly granted, sooner or later these patents will expire or be voided (one of the two).

Make no mistake about it. Not everyone wants patent quality, which typically translates into a decreased number of lawsuits. Consider for instance IAM Media. A short while ago IAM, a longtime advocate of the UPC (because it advocates for Battistelli and patent trolls), wrote that “Spain will not join UPC because Spanish is not one of the official languages. Go figure!”

That’s after IAM spread fake news about the UPC in Spain (about half a year ago when some Spanish media did the same thing).

Spain rejects the UPC for more than one reason (such as language). They specified several other reasons for shunning the terrible, awful UPC. We wrote many articles about it, going back to around 2010.

Does Spain need the UPC? No. The Spanish patent office does a better job (examination and searches) than the EPO under Battistelli, as we last noted a month ago, citing people who have worked with both.

Moreover, Ana-Laura Morales from Grau & Angulo has just published this self-promotional piece about a judgment from earlier this summer (we have not seen any press coverage of it in English). Here are the key facts:

In its judgment of June 30 2017, the Barcelona Court of Appeal confirmed the Barcelona Commercial Court Number 4 first-instance decision, which had dismissed the patent infringement action filed by Novartis against several generics for alleged infringement of European Patent 2’292’219 (EP’219)

[...]

In its first-instance decision, the Barcelona Commercial Court Number 4 upheld the defendants’ interpretation of the claim based on Article 69 of the European Patent Convention and thus dismissed Novartis’s infringement action. This judgment was in line with the court’s previous decisions and those of the Barcelona Court of Appeal in preliminary injunction proceedings.

With its June 30 2017 judgment, the Barcelona Court of Appeal confirmed the first-instance decision, thus interpreting the claim and establishing its scope in line with the defendants. In particular, the court reiterated the importance of interpreting a claim in light of the description of the patent, which in this case clearly supported the defendants’ understanding of its scope.

Got that? European Patents smacked down by the Catalans. And some people still wonder why we have a hard time with what’s going on at the EPO…

Looking up more information about the patent in question, it was used elsewhere this summer (e.g. Court of Appeal of The Hague) and it was granted on the 12th of June 2013, i.e. under Battistelli.

Links 16/9/2017: More of “Public Money, Public Code”, Equifax Failed to Patch for Months

Saturday 16th of September 2017 09:50:20 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Open Networking Foundation Subsumes On.Lab

    The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) this week declared its merger with On.Lab as complete. And it named AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch chairman of ONF’s board.

    The ONF and On.Lab initiated their merger a little less than a year ago. By that point, ONF’s role as a cheerleader for software defined networking was becoming obviated given that SDN had gained wide acceptance. The merged entity has two major projects to shepherd: the Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD) and the Open Network Operating System (ONOS).

  • Events
    • …and today is Software Freedom Day!

      For its fourteenth edition the Digital Freedom Foundation is happy to celebrate Software Freedom Day! At the time of this writting we have 112 teams listed on the wiki and about 80+ events registered. Over the year we’ve notice that this “double registration process” (creating a wiki page and then filling the registration form) is a bit difficult for some of our participants and we wish to change that. In the plan for the coming months we plan to have a single registration process which will in turn generate a wiki page. We also want to display the event date as some of us cannot celebrate exactly on this international day due to local celebrations or other reasons.

    • [Older] Two days remaining for PyCon Pune 2018 CFP

      The CFP for PyCon Pune 2018 will close at the end of 15th September AOE. If you are thinking about submitting a talk, this is a good time to do that. The conference will happen from 8-11th February in Pune, India. The first 2 days are the main conference, a single track event where will have around 650 people. The last two days will be devsprints.

    • Lyft and Uber on Stage Together at Open Source Summit in L.A.

      Envoy is a high-performance open source edge and service proxy that makes the network transparent to applications. Lyft Software Engineer Matt Klein led his team to design the technology to move their architecture away from a monolith toward a microservices model.

      Jaeger is an open source distributed tracing system inspired by Google Dapper paper and OpenZipkin community. It can be used for tracing microservice-based architectures. Uber began deploying Jaeger internally in 2015. It is now integrated into thousands of microservices and recording thousands of traces every second.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Verified cryptography for Firefox 57

        Traditionally, software is produced in this way: write some code, maybe do some code review, run unit-tests, and then hope it is correct. Hard experience shows that it is very hard for programmers to write bug-free software. These bugs are sometimes caught in manual testing, but many bugs still are exposed to users, and then must be fixed in patches or subsequent versions. This works for most software, but it’s not a great way to write cryptographic software; users expect and deserve assurances that the code providing security and privacy is well written and bug free.

      • Busting the myth that net neutrality hampers investment

        This week I had the opportunity to share Mozilla’s vision for an Internet that is open and accessible to all with the audience at MWC Americas.

        I took this opportunity because we are at a pivotal point in the debate between the FCC, companies, and users over the FCC’s proposal to roll back protections for net neutrality. Net neutrality is a key part of ensuring freedom of choice to access content and services for consumers.

        Earlier this week Mozilla’s Heather West wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai highlighting how net neutrality has fueled innovation in Silicon Valley and can do so still across the United States.

        The FCC claims these protections hamper investment and are bad for business. And they may vote to end them as early as October. Chairman Pai calls his rule rollback “restoring internet freedom” but that’s really the freedom of the 1% to make decisions that limit the rest of the population.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Oracle Joins Cloud Native Computing Foundation in Kubernetes Push

      Oracle has taken a plunge deeper into open source waters by joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as a platinum member. The announcement was made Wednesday, on stage with Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin, at Open Source Summit in Los Angeles. In addition, Oracle announced it’s bringing Kubernetes to Oracle Linux and open sourcing a Terraform Kubernetes Installer for Oracle Cloud. This prompted Zemlin to remark that “six of the largest clouds are now running Kubernetes.”

    • Larry Ellison: There is No One Left for Oracle to Buy

      Oracle isn’t likely to be buying any other big companies soon, according to founder Larry Ellison.

  • CMS
    • The challenges of supporting geolocation in WordPress

      As much as we get addicted to mobile phones and online services, nobody (outside of cyberpunk fiction) actually lives online. That’s why maps, geolocation services, and geographic information systems (GISes) have come to play a bigger role online. They reflect they way we live, work, travel, socialize, and (in the case of natural or human-made disasters, which come more and more frequently) suffer. Thus there is value in integrating geolocation into existing web sites, but systems like WordPress do not make supporting that easy. The software development firm LuminFire has contributed to the spread of geolocation services by creating a library for WordPress that helps web sites insert geolocation information into web pages. This article describes how LuminFire surmounted the challenges posed by WordPress and shows a few uses for the library.

      LuminFire developer Michael Moore presented the library, called WP-GeoMeta-Lib, at a talk (the slides are available in Moore’s blog posting) on August 16 at FOSS4G, the major open-source geolocation conference. FOSS4G’s success itself demonstrates the growing importance of geolocation, as well as the thriving free-software communities that create solutions for it through group projects such as the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). FOSS4G held its first conference in 2007 in Thailand. Its global wanderings, which would require sophisticated geolocation tools to track, brought it this year to Boston, where it topped 1,100 registered attendees—its biggest turnout yet.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Kubernetes
    • Kubernetes, containers help mainstream open-source software

      Open-source software is now a key part of the tech world, matching proprietary software through a combination of enthusiastic developers, organizations and shared standards. This trend is especially visible in the world of container technology, a popular virtualization method for deploying and running distributed software applications.

      “Open source is the mainstream now. It’s very hard to release a proprietary product right now and come up with some justification about why you have to do it,” said Steve Pousty (pictured), lead developer advocate, OpenShift Online, at Red Hat Inc.

    • Heptio Raises New Funding to Close Kubernetes Operational Gaps

      Craig McLuckie helped launch the open-source Kubernetes project while at Google and has been busy since November 2016 with his new company Heptio. Heptio is now moving forward, thanks to a $25 million Series B round of funding, bringing total funding to date for the startup to $33.5 million.

      “Kubernetes is doing really well, there is a lot of energy in the ecosystem, and many companies are making Kubernetes a core part of their operating practices,” McLuckie told eWEEK in a video interview.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Public money? Public Code!
    • Public Money? Public Code! 31 organisations ask to improve public procurement of software

      Digital services offered and used by public administrations are the critical infrastructure of 21st-century democratic nations. To establish trustworthy systems, government agencies must ensure they have full control over systems at the core of our digital infrastructure. This is rarely the case today due to restrictive software licences.

    • Public Money, Public Code, Public Control

      An interesting article published by the UK Government Digital Service was referenced in a response to the LWN.net coverage of the recently-launched “Public Money, Public Code” campaign. Arguably, the article focuses a little too much on “in the open” and perhaps not enough on the matter of control. Transparency is a good thing, collaboration is a good thing, no-one can really argue about spending less tax money and getting more out of it, but it is the matter of control that makes this campaign and similar initiatives so important.

    • FSFE: publicly funded software has to be open source

      Digital services offered and used by public administrations are the critical infrastructure of 21st-century democratic nations. To establish trustworthy systems, government agencies must ensure they have full control over systems at the core of our digital infrastructure. This is rarely the case today due to restrictive software licences.

    • Snowden: Public money shouldn’t fund software the public isn’t allowed to fix

      Paul Brown writes, “The FSFE’s ‘Public Money? Public Code!’ campaign wants to convince lawmakers that software created with public funds should be made available to the public under Free Software licences.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
  • Programming/Development
    • Python security transparency

      As Steve Dower noted in his lightning talk at the 2017 Python Language Summit, Python itself can be considered a security vulnerability—because of its power, its presence on a target system is a boon to attackers. Now, Dower is trying to address parts of that problem with a Python Enhancement Proposal (PEP) that would enable system administrators and others to detect when Python is being used for a nefarious purpose by increasing the “security transparency” of the language. It is not a solution that truly thwarts an attacker’s ability to use Python in an unauthorized way, but will make it easier for administrators to detect, and eventually disable, those kinds of attacks.

    • Open Source NativeScript Mobile Framework Tackles Augmented Reality

      With augmented reality the new hotness in the mobile development space, companies right and left are jumping on the AR bandwagon, including Progress, which just announced upcoming support in its open source, cross-platform NativeScript framework.

      AR, popularized last year by the runaway success of Pokémon GO, lets developers enhance real-world imagery with computer-generated sensory input, such as graphics and sound.

Leftovers
  • Sysadmin war story: “The network ate my font!”

    Turns out the printer had a cache for fonts and was using the font cached from the earlier check image which included the font! Moreover, the Toronto and Hollywood offices were on a different printer maintenance schedule — and as part of the maintenance the printers are rebooted which clears the font cache!

  • Why did Ford build a ‘fake driverless car’ using a man dressed as a seat?

    The “seat suit” stunt was the brainchild of Ford and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers to explore how self-driving vehicles can communicate their intent to pedestrians, human drivers and cyclists.

  • The Dark Side of William F. Buckley, Jr.

    Few public intellectuals infamous for defending McCarthyism and championing right-wing dictators would be popular and recurrent guests on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. Few pundits who opposed civil rights for African Americans and South African blacks would be asked to host the longest-running public affairs show in public television history.

  • The Harmful Consequences of Postel’s Maxim draft-thomson-postel-was-wrong-01

    Jon Postel’s famous statement in RFC 1122 of “Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send” – is a principle that has long guided the design of Internet protocols and implementations of those protocols. The posture this statement advocates might promote interoperability in the short term, but that short-term advantage is outweighed by negative consequences that affect the long-term maintenance of a protocol and its ecosystem.

  • Science
    • Flying coach is a ‘life-and-death’ concern [iophk: "from the title, I thought the article was going to be about deep vein thrombosis"]

      Seats are now so close together, according to Flyers Rights, that they render the “brace for impact” position depicted in airline safety manuals ineffective, thereby subjecting passengers to head trauma.

    • The Zero Just Got 500 Years Older Due To A New Study

      A new carbon dating study commissioned on an ancient birch bark manuscript has found that the indispensable digit dates to as early as the 3rd or 4th century – approximately five centuries older than scholars previously believed.

    • History of zero pushed back 500 years by ancient Indian text

      The symbol “0” is a familiar sight, but its origins are far from certain. A recent batch of carbon dating is causing the history of mathematics to be rewritten, as it has discovered zeros dating back to a period 500 years before previously seen.

    • The new study suggesting sitting will kill you is kind of a raging dumpster fire

      A new study out this week suggested that both sitting a lot overall and sitting for long, uninterrupted stretches can increase a person’s risk of all-cause mortality.

      The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, adds to evidence that sedentary lifestyles can increase health risks. However, the study aimed to push the conversation forward, not just look at how much time people spend sitting each day and what that does to health. The researchers also tried teasing apart patterns of sitting. The authors, led by researchers at Columbia University, hoped to address more nuanced questions, such as: if you have to sit all day for work, can you reduce your health risks by getting up every 30 minutes? Or, if you’re generally active, are there still health risks from a 10-hour Netflix binge each week?

      The questions are good ones. Based on the study’s vast media coverage, health-conscious Americans are leaping for answers and specifics on the risks of our sedentary, modern lives.

      But, sadly, this study doesn’t provide those answers or specifics. In fact, it’s kind of a flaming disaster. Like a junky old couch stuffed with crumbs, stale Cheetos, remotes from bygone TVs, and a random woodland creature between the cushions, this sitting study is crammed with red flags, limitations, and crippling weaknesses. It’s difficult to draw any conclusions.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Well That Settles It! Insurance and Drug Lobbyists Say Medicare for All “Cannot Work”

      The for-profit health care industry and its political surrogates were quick to criticize the sweeping universal Medicare legislation unveiled this week by Sen. Bernie Sanders and more than a dozen Senate Democrats.

      “Whether it’s called single-payer or Medicare for All, government-controlled health care cannot work,” David Merritt, vice president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a lobbying group for health insurance companies, said in a statement to reporters.

      The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, another insurance lobby group, released a statement declaring that it “adamantly opposes the creation of a single-payer regime, and our guard is up on these efforts.” The release cited the rising popularity of single-payer proposals in California, New York, and Colorado, and now Sanders’s effort in Congress.

    • The unflushable debate resurfaces: A 130-ton mass clogs London’s sewer

      A 250-meter-long mass weighing 130 metric tons has blocked a Victorian-era sewer tunnel in the east side of London, the BBC reports.

      To put the size and heft of the clog in perspective: it’s longer than two American football fields and as heavy as 11 double-decker buses. The mass is a concrete-hard amalgamation of flushed items, including condoms, diapers, and—most notably—wet wipes that have all been cemented together with oils and fats that were also washed down drains. For that reason, these types of clogs are sometimes called “fatbergs.”

      Authorities expect it will take three weeks to remove.

      While the size of this particular clog is extraordinary—possibly the largest ever reported—its existence is no surprise to those who manage wastewater systems. In fact, it highlights a growing problem in the world’s sewer systems: unflushable flushables.

    • Dems Not Backing Medicare for All Get Twice as Much Industry Cash as Co-Sponsors
    • Why Bernie Sanders’ single-payer push is great policy and even better politics
    • Sanders’s Bill Electrifies Growing Single-Payer Movement

      Political campaigns, protests and civil disobedience have often centered around Medicare for All, reflecting the fact that 25 percent of the country views health care as, according to a Monmouth poll, the “top concern for American families.”

    • Whole Foods “Free-Range” Chicken Supplier Said To Actually Run Factory Farm

      When Amazon purchased Whole Foods last month, it didn’t just get the retail locations. It picked up Whole Foods’s baggage as well. Among the bigger issues inherited by Amazon appears to be a four-month investigation from the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere that challenges Whole Foods’s core selling point of healthy and humane food.

      The group accused Pitman Family Farms, the maker of Mary’s Free Range Chicken and a supplier to Whole Foods in six Western states, of breaking its promises of free-range environments for its birds.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • US policy is ‘not to defend Canada’ in any N Korea attack

      A top general has told Canadian MPs they cannot count on US support if North Korea launches a nuclear attack on their country.

      Lt Gen Pierre St-Amand told the national defence committee in Ottawa there is no policy that requires the US to aid Canada in any nuclear attack.

      But on the upside, the committee also heard North Korea views Canada as a “peaceful” and “friendly” country.

    • NATO?

      ISTR that USA and others joined with Canada in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which had the stated purpose to defend any and all members against attack. If it’s indeed true that USA is no longer willing to do that, perhaps it’s time Canada went nuclear too.

    • China rejects US demand to cut oil exports to North Korea

      China rebuffed US demands to cut off oil exports to North Korea as a way to dissuade Kim Jong-un’s regime from pursuing nuclear weapons, saying instead it was American leaders who needed to tone down their rhetoric and come to the negotiating table.

      China will implement all United Nations Security Council resolutions, “no more, no less”, Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the US, told reporters at a briefing in Washington when asked if Beijing would cut oil shipments. Any further steps would need to be worked out with the agreement of the entire UN Security Council, he said.

    • Diplomats in Cuba have been under attack—but the weaponry is a mystery

      On Tuesday, the State Department confirmed that two more Americans have fallen victim to an ongoing series of mysterious attacks targeting diplomats in Cuba, the Associated Press reports. The new cases bring the total of Americans affected by the assaults to 21.

      US authorities first acknowledged the attacks in August, about nine months after diplomats began reporting bizarre sonic experiences and a puzzling spectrum of symptoms, from brain injuries to hearing loss. Despite an international investigation into the attacks, which have also affected Canadian diplomats, authorities and scientists are still baffled as to what kind of weapon or devices could have been used—let alone by whom.

    • Cuba mystery grows: New details on what befell US diplomats

      The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed in a Havana hotel. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. Inexplicably, the agonizing sound hit him again. It was as if he’d walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room.

      Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 U.S. victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba. The top U.S. diplomat has called them “health attacks.” New details learned by The Associated Press indicate at least some of the incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, baffling U.S. officials who say the facts and the physics don’t add up.

    • The Saudi Project Has Failed

      Books will be written on the designs of the Saudi regime to reshape the greater Middle East. Entire chapters could be dedicated to the depth of United States and Israeli involvement and their shared partnership with the House of Saud and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states to do so. The titles may even stipulate it as a Saudi-U.S.-Israeli Project for emphasis. That said, the role played by Saudi Arabia within this alliance is not insignificant.

      The undertaking has directly touched nearly a half-dozen Arab countries, unified largely by their common effort to resist the import of radical, extremist groups unleashed in retribution for not abiding by the diktats of the Gulf dynasties. Others opposed monarchical rule, their royal proxies or a Saudi-directed foreign policy and attempts to impose a uniform media narrative.

      The scope of such a discussion is certainly worthy of a comprehensive and detailed analysis but only a summation is given here. Consider it the last page of the last section of the last chapter.

    • Why I Wish Hillary Clinton Had Won

      Still, my neurons might not be firing this particular skin-crawling icky-ness I endure when I see a video of Donald Trump, when I read about his behavior. He’s just so exceedingly repulsive. Even more repulsive than George Bush. Yes. Even. More. I conjure an image of G. Bush, clearing brush on his ranch or landing on that aircraft carrier in a flight suit, an ejection harness between his legs to emphasize his package. Then images of Trump’s rear end as he plays golf. Images of Trump, his pasty, bloated face, the mouth (that my sister Laura says looks like a rectum) poised to consume a bucket of fried chicken. Trump, grabbing pussy. Sure, Bill Clinton was a pussy grabber, but he was a smoother pussy grabber. Just as Obama was a smoother war criminal than G. Bush, smother even than B. Clinton.

      Recall Obama’s range of smooth. His statement in the wake of yet another murder of a black man. About Trayvon Martin. That Trayvon could have been his son. Obama become teary. Nice touch. This is the preference, smooth and articulate. As Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford said, Obama wasn’t the lesser evil. Obama was the more effective evil.

    • May rebukes Trump over London terror suspect tweet

      Theresa May has raised concerns with Donald Trump over his claim the perpetrators of the Parsons Green Tube bombing had been “in the sights” of Scotland Yard.

      After chairing a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee, the Prime Minister publicly rebuked the US president, saying it was not “helpful” to speculate on an ongoing investigation.

      Mrs May is understood to have raised the issue during a “cordial” telephone call.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Murdoch-Owned Media’s Radical Climate Denial in the Face of Disaster

      A recent survey by progressive watchdog Public Citizen (9/12/17) on the media’s coverage of hurricanes Harvey and Irma confirms what’s long been known: Corporate media are indifferent to the causal relationship between climate change and extreme weather, and by far the worst offenders are the Rupert Murdoch–owned Fox News, Wall Street Journal and New York Post.

      The survey covered 18 outlets hurricane coverage for the week of August 25–September 1: ten major newspapers, three weekly news magazines, and ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News. Out of 2,000 media items, there were only 136 mentions of climate change, many denialist in content.

    • Daimler has new electric trucks and a buyer for them: The United Parcel Service

      But automakers seem up to the challenge. In August, diesel truck engine maker Cummins announced an electric powertrain for truck makers that can be paired with an auxiliary diesel generator. And in a statement, Head of Daimler Trucks Asia Marc Llistosella hinted that his company is wasting no time in competing with Tesla. “In times when everybody is talking about electric trucks, we are the first to actually commercialize a series-produced all-electric truck. Having a long history in alternative drivetrains, we are proud to step into this new era.”

      Reuters noted that Daimler officials plan to step up the power and range of their trucks. Llistosella told reporters that “the game has started” while revealing that a larger electric truck will be shown off by Daimler at the Tokyo Motor Show next month. “The company will expand its electric truck production as lower cost, longer-range batteries become available within two to three years,” Reuters reported.

    • Hurricane Irma took 7 million cable and wireline subscribers offline

      More than 7 million subscribers to cable or wireline telecom services have lost service due to Hurricane Irma.

      “There are at least 7,184,909 (down from 7,597,945 yesterday) subscribers out of service in the affected areas in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia,” the Federal Communications Commission reported Tuesday in its latest storm update. These are subscribers to Internet, TV, or phone service or some combination of the three.

      In addition to those 7 million, many subscribers in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands lost service. “Since there are widespread power outages in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the FCC has received reports that large percentages of consumers are without either cable services or wireline service. Companies are actively working to restoring service,” the FCC said.

    • Coffee vs. climate change: The news is not good

      This is serious: climate change could put your caffeine supply at risk. Coffee is notorious for being picky about its climate conditions, with the most popular varieties only growing at specific altitudes in the tropics. That alone makes coffee susceptible to climate change, but the plants are also fussy about their pollinators, which will also be affected by the changing climate.

      A new analysis suggests that climate change on its own could cause coffee producing areas in the Americas to drop production by roughly 80 percent. But the remaining productivity might drop even further unless we ensure the crops have access to pollinators.

    • Solar now costs 6¢ per kilowatt-hour, beating government goal by 3 years

      On Tuesday, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that utility-grade solar panels have hit cost targets set for 2020, three years ahead of schedule. Those targets reflect around $1 per watt and 6¢ per kilowatt-hour in Kansas City, the department’s mid-range yardstick for solar panel cost per unit of energy produced (New York is considered the high-cost end, and Phoenix, Arizona, which has much more sunlight than most other major cities in the country, reflects the low-cost end).

    • NOAA gets judge to agree that its scientists’ e-mails are protected

      Once upon a time (in mid-2015), some climate scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a study in the journal Science. This sort of thing happens all the time. Yet, in this case, all hell broke loose.

      The problem was that this study put yet another nail in the crowded lid of a coffin housing the claim that global warming had somehow suddenly ceased in 1998. Because the study involved an update to NOAA’s global temperature dataset, some who disliked its conclusion—like US House Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-Texas)—alleged without evidence that the scientists had improperly manipulated data.

      [...]

      Judicial Watch has the opportunity to appeal this decision, but it did not respond to a request for comment. The group also has not posted the documents that NOAA handed over in May 2016 on its website. Initially, a spokesperson told Ars only that “Judicial Watch is a 501(c)(3) educational foundation, and, as such, we analyze and formulate our thoughts on incoming documents and then make them publicly available.” But since then, Judicial Watch has not responded to multiple requests for an update on its plans.

      It was unclear how the federal government would handle this case once President Trump, who has been openly dismissive of climate science, took office. But when the Department of Commerce (which contains NOAA) submitted its final filing in mid-March of this year, its position was unchanged.

  • Finance
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Social media stars face crackdown over money from brands

      Instagram’s popularity with young people, and women in particular – in April it reported 700 million members – has led to a roaring trade between marketers and so-called influencers with large and engaged followings. Members of the Kardashian family, who promote a range of products from “detox” tea to waist-training corsets to their tens of millions of followers, can reportedly command as much as $500,000 (£370,000) per post.

    • Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Understand Why the Corporate Media Is So Bad

      Hillary Clinton has every right to be infuriated by the performance of the press during the 2016 election. In her new book “What Happened,” Clinton mainly indicts television news for abandoning coverage of any actual public policy issues in favor of its berserk obsession with her use of a private email server. Subsidiary malefactors include Matt Lauer, for asking her about almost nothing else at NBC’s September 2016 Commander-in-Chief Forum on national security, and the New York Times, for its spasmodic freak-out when FBI Director James Comey declared he was re-opening the Bureau’s investigation into her emails just before the election.

      But here’s where Clinton and I part ways:

      In an interview Tuesday, she said, “I don’t think the press did their job in this election, with very few exceptions.” She believes the problem is something new, and the fault of bad individuals.

      Clinton’s problem is obvious: At 69 years old and after a lifetime in politics, she somehow doesn’t understand what the corporate media’s job is.

    • Amina Lone and the shame of the Labour Party in the UK

      Labour has a reputation for being the party for Black and Minority Ethnic voters and candidates, particularly women. At a time when we need more voices from within Muslim communities, it is outrageous that the Labour Party has stabbed a fellow party member in the back, sending out the message that any dissent or strong voices are not welcome.

    • Pop Culture is Far Ahead of Washington When it Comes to Monopoly Politics

      “I think people are interested because everybody is using these sites, including Amazon,” said Patterson in an interview. “Most people find them interesting and some find them troubling.”

      Often, people hold both views at the same time, and that internal conflict makes them ripe for pop-culture interrogation. Popular entertainment habitually reflects the preoccupations of society. After the financial crisis, a wave of books and films presented financiers as amoral villains: The Big Short, The Wolf of Wall Street, George Clooney’s Money Monster, even Oliver Stone’s long-awaited follow-up to Wall Street. But the national mood has shifted. America has become more wary of Silicon Valley, and political movements on the left and right have turned against it. And these concerns have propelled a diverse set of narratives, from thrillers to comedies to animated features.

    • Judge rules in city’s favor on sanctuary cities, grants nationwide injunction

      In a ruling with national impact, a federal judge in Chicago on Friday blocked the Trump administration’s rules requiring so-called sanctuary cities to cooperate with immigration agents in order to get a public safety grant.

      U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber held that Chicago has shown a “likelihood of success” in its arguments that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions exceeded his authority in imposing new standards governing Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants across the country.

    • Trump Advisers Secretly Met With Jordan’s King While One Was Pushing A Huge Nuclear Power Deal

      In the days leading up to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, when his soon-to-be national security adviser Michael Flynn was reportedly pushing a multibillion-dollar deal to build nuclear reactors in Jordan and other Middle East nations, Flynn and two other top Trump advisers held a secret meeting with the king of Jordan.

      The meeting — details of which have never been reported — is the latest in a series of secret, high-stakes contacts between Trump advisers and foreign governments that have raised concerns about how, in particular, Flynn and senior adviser Jared Kushner handled their personal business interests as they entered key positions of power. And the nuclear project raised additional security concerns about expanding nuclear technology in a tinderbox region of the world. One expert compared it to providing “a nuclear weapons starter kit.”

      On the morning of Jan. 5, Flynn, Kushner, and former chief strategist Steve Bannon greeted King Abdullah II at the Four Seasons hotel in lower Manhattan, then took off in a fleet of SUVs and a sedan to a different location.

    • How to Read Donald Trump

      The organizers of the white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville last month knew just what they were doing when they decided to carry torches on their nocturnal march to protest the dethroning of a statue of Robert E. Lee. That brandishing of fire in the night was meant to evoke memories of terror, of past parades of hate and aggression by the Ku Klux Klan in the United States and Adolf Hitler’s Freikorps in Germany.

      The organizers wanted to issue a warning to those watching: that past violence, perpetrated in defense of the “blood and soil” of the white race, would once again be harnessed and deployed in Donald Trump’s America. Indeed, the very next day, that fatal August 12th, those nationalist fanatics unleashed an orgy of brutality that led to the deaths of three people and the injuring of many more.

    • Police in Catalonia hunt for hidden ballot boxes in bid to foil referendum

      Armed police in Spain have raided several print works and newspaper offices in Catalonia in recent days in a hunt for voting papers, ballot boxes and leaflets to be used in an Oct. 1 independence referendum which Madrid vehemently opposes.

      The searches, which have so far yielded nothing, are part of a concerted effort by the government to prevent the ballot from going ahead, amid fears that a vote to break away could trigger a political crisis even if Spain does not recognize the outcome.

    • Experts Say the Use of Private Email by Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission Isn’t Legal

      President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission came under fire earlier this month when a lawsuit and media reports revealed that the commissioners were using private emails to conduct public business. Commission co-chair Kris Kobach confirmed this week that most of them continue to do so.

      Experts say the commission’s email practices do not appear to comport with federal law. “The statute here is clear,” said Jason Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle and former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.

      Essentially, Baron said, the commissioners have three options: 1. They can use a government email address; 2. They can use a private email address but copy every message to a government account; or 3. They can use a private email address and forward each message to a government account within 20 days. According to Baron, those are the requirements of the Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, which the commission must comply with under its charter.

    • Taxpayers billed $1,092 for an official’s two-night stay at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club
    • Trump’s Bonfire of Washington Politics

      Last week, President Trump threw a grenade into the U.S. political structure. Political fragments now lie scattered on the ground around Washington. The final outcome of this lightening act by Trump may take time to fully assess, but for sure, for the coming months (and probably until the U.S. mid-term elections are over), uncertainty will reign, and foreign policy will not find it easy to shoulder its way into anyone senior’s attention.

      [...]

      Why the debt ceiling is so crucial is that when an annual U.S. budget is set, it is not a simple exercise of matching expenditure and revenue because most Federal expenditure is automatic expenditure, deriving from past legislation (some, dating back decades), and which increases inexorably from its built-in automaticity. Without a debt ceiling, total U.S. debt levels effectively are uncontrolled, and their momentum is inexorably upwards – and upwards today at an accelerating pace.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Great Failure
    • Hillary Happened

      It soon became apparent that Hillary shouldn’t have treated Feinman so churlishly. What Happened would have greatly benefited from her stylistic enhancements. The prose in this book is as brittle as the mind behind it. Notice the lack of a question mark in the title. This is a telling punctuational elision. It signals that this text will not be an investigation into the dynamics behind the most perplexing election in American history. Don’t skim these pages in search of a self-lacerating confession or an apologia. What Happened reads more like a drive-by shooting rampage. The book is a score-settling scattershot rant, enfilading anyone who stood in Clinton’s way, from Bernie Sanders to James Comey. Amid Hillary’s hitlist of villains, even toothless Joe Biden gets gut-shot.

    • German elections 2017: 8 proposals for Germany’s progressives

      DiEM25’s German activists have moved fast and are in the process of confirming a list of candidates willing to adopt DiEM25’s proposed policy agenda for Germany. We will publish the list ahead of the elections. Below you can read our original proposal, “8 proposals for Germany’s Progressives.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • President Trump wants to “cut off” the internet in response to terrorism [iophk: "centralization of communications via faecebook is a first step"]

      This isn’t the first time that Donald Trump has tweeted about his dream internet policy. Back in December of 2016, he even said he would call for Bill Gates to help him in banning the internet. In March of 2017, President Trump signed away American’s internet privacy protections.

    • Texas AG’s office accuses ‘reputation management company’ of procuring fraudulent libel takedown lawsuits

      For the past year, I’ve been researching libel takedown and deindexing injunctions. People get these injunctions chiefly to send them to Google and other search engines: Once Google sees that a court has determined that material is libelous, it will often remove it from Google indexes so that searchers won’t see it. The material will thus, practically speaking, largely vanish from the Internet.

    • Texas Attorney General Issues Complaint Against Reputation Management Company For Bogus Lawsuits

      Still more evidence continues to be uncovered linking shady reputation management companies to fraudulent defamation lawsuits. This tactic has only recently been exposed, thanks mainly to the efforts of Eugene Volokh and Paul Alan Levy. (Pissed Consumer spotted some questionable lawsuit activity as well, shortly before the Volokh/Levy deluge.)

      So far, one victim of this fraudulent behavior has obtained a settlement from one of these reputation management firms. It’s likely more such judgments are on the way as more details linking firms to bogus lawsuits are dug up. One judge has already passed on info to the US Attorney’s office. Now, Eugene Volokh is reporting the Texas attorney general’s office has filed a civil complaint against a company called Solvera that, up until recently, performed illegitimate Google takedown services for customers paying upwards of $10,000, using nothing more than bogus libel lawsuits filed by nonexistent companies against fake defendants.

    • Dear Government Employees: Asking Questions – Even Dumb Ones – Is Not A Criminal Offense

      What is it with federal government officials and their weird belief that being questioned by the public — even with dumb questions — is a criminal offense? Does it take three stories to make a trend? Perhaps. Let’s do these one at a time.

      [...]

      Look, this isn’t that hard. Being a government official — whether elected or appointed — is not a fun gig. You have lots of people questioning you and second guessing you all the time. And some of those people are mean. Possibly really mean. But, that’s kinda part of the territory when you live and work in a mostly open democracy, rather than an authoritarian dictatorship. People get to ask questions — even stupid, annoying or scary ones. And we don’t arrest them and throw them in jail.

    • Charles Harder Loses Again: You Can’t Just File Defamation Lawsuits In A Random State Because You Like Its Statute Of Limitations

      As you may know, Charles Harder is the lawyer behind the lawsuit Shiva Ayyadurai filed against us, so feel free to view everything we say here through that prism. Last week, of course, the judge in our case dismissed the case against us, noting that everything we said was clearly protected by the First Amendment. But that wasn’t Harder’s only loss of the week. Eriq Gardner points out that he also lost a case he filed against The Deal.

      That case had been filed a couple months before our lawsuit, in federal court in New Hampshire. It was filed on behalf of Scottsdale Capital Advisors, a company based in Arizona, and one of its execs, the Nevada-based John Hurry, against the Delaware-registered and New York-based “The Deal” and one of its reporters, the California-based William Meagher. Now, you may wonder why this lawsuit was filed in New Hampshire, seeing as none of the states above include “New Hampshire.”

    • ‘Violent Orwellian censorship’: Brussels exhibition rejects caricatures of EU leaders & policies

      The EU has rejected 12 caricatures by Greek artists for a Brussels exhibition as the “inflammatory” cartoons mocking EU leaders and their policies allegedly go against “European values.” Organizers denounced it as an act of “violent censorship.”

      The exhibition, which features work from both French and Greek cartoonists, was due to be unveiled at the European Parliament in Brussels on September 25 as part of the year marking 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. However, after evaluating the work for offensive content, MEP Catherine Bearder rejected 12 of the 28 submissions from Greek artists.

    • Letter: GSRC needs to encourage conversation, not censorship

      There are many common reasons why prospective students choose Carleton University as their academic home for four to five years of their lives. For some, that reason could be the various varsity sports teams, academic program quality or the plethora of academic and non-academic resources that are offered to students of all backgrounds. This includes of course, the resources offered by the Gender and Sexuality Resource Centre (GSRC), specifically to students who identify as LGBTQ+ here on campus.

    • Facebook Moves to Prevent Advertisers From Targeting Haters

      In the wake of ProPublica’s report Thursday that Facebook advertisers could have directed pitches to almost 2,300 people interested in “Jew hater” and other anti-Semitic topics, the world’s largest social network said it would no longer allow advertisers to target groups identified by self-reported information.

      “As people fill in their education or employer on their profile, we have found a small percentage of people who have entered offensive responses,” the company said in a statement. “…We are removing these self-reported targeting fields until we have the right processes in place to prevent this issue.”

    • When Godwin’s Law Met The Streisand Effect

      Okay, here’s a fun post for a Friday evening: Earlier this week, I was at World Hosting Days, where I gave a keynote speech about the importance of CDA 230 and things like intermediary liability protections — and why they are so important to protecting free speech online. The emcee of the event was Mike Godwin, who (among his many, many accomplishments over the years as an internet lawyer and philosopher) coined Godwin’s Law. The organizers of the event, realizing that they had the guy who coined Godwin’s Law and the guy (me!) who coined the Streisand Effect in the same place at the same time, thought it might be fun to have the two of us talk about these two memes.

    • Crowdsourcing My Libel Defence – Web Detectives Needed

      On 29 and 30 April 2016 Jake Wallis Simons, Associate Editor of Daily Mail Online, wrote a series of tweets about me which have since been deleted. These feature in my libel defence and it would be extremely useful to be able to recover them. His twitter stream on those days also included several of his followers calling me an anti-Semite and other awful stuff, and it would be most useful to recover those too.

      More generally there was much evidence in Mr Wallis Simons’ twitter stream in the months and years prior to 29 April 2016 of he or his followers making allegations of anti-Semitism widely. Any of that which could be recovered would also be extremely helpful.

      The date when material was deleted is extremely important – perhaps even more important to me than the recovery of the material itself. Mr Wallis Simons now has an app which deletes all his tweets at a 2 month cut-off date. I need to discover when that app came into operation on his account and material started to vanish.

    • Facebook allowed advertisers to reach anti-Semitic individuals: report
    • Facebook allowed advertisers to target ‘Jew haters’

      A Facebook algorithm had created the antisemitic categories, and the company said it is considering changes to prevent this kind of problem.

    • Facebook Removes Advertiser Ability to Target ‘Jew Haters’

      Facebook software creates targeting categories for advertisers automatically, and the company adjusts them after problems are noticed by people. Facebook has run into similar issues with this type of reactionary enforcement before, both in its ad business and consumer-facing services. Its live video service has occasionally shown actual murders or suicides with enough time to go viral before being noticed by the company and taken down.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • [tor-talk] Document Leak: German Agency BND cooperates with NSA and GCHQ to attack Tor
    • California Legislature Sells Out Our Data to ISPs

      In the dead of night, the California Legislature shelved legislation that would have protected every Internet user in the state from having their data collected and sold by ISPs without their permission. By failing to pass A.B. 375, the legislature demonstrated that they put the profits of Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast over the privacy rights of their constituents.

      Earlier this year, the Republican majority in Congress repealed the strong privacy rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission in 2016, which required ISPs to get affirmative consent before selling our data. But while Congressional Democrats fought to protect our personal data, the Democratic-controlled California legislature did not follow suit. Instead, they kowtowed to an aggressive lobbying campaign, from telecommunications corporations and Internet companies, which included spurious claims and false social media advertisements about cybersecurity.

    • Facebook Gave Special Counsel Robert Mueller More Details on Russian Ad Buys Than Congress

      Facebook Inc. has handed over to special counsel Robert Mueller detailed records about the Russian ad purchases on its platform that go beyond what it shared with Congress last week, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • DID JARED KUSHNER’S DATA OPERATION HELP SELECT FACEBOOK TARGETS FOR THE RUSSIANS?

      The headlines were about Facebook admitting it had sold ad space to Russian groups trying to sway the 2016 presidential campaign. But investigators shrugged: they’d known or assumed for months that Facebook, as well as Twitter and other social-media platforms, were a tool used in the Kremlin’s campaign. “The only thing that’s surprising is that more revelations like this haven’t come out sooner,” said Congressman Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat and a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “And I expect that more will.”

      Mapping the full Russian propaganda effort is important. Yet investigators in the House, Senate, and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office are equally focused on a more explosive question: did any Americans help target the memes and fake news to crucial swing districts and wavering voter demographics? “By Americans, you mean, like, the Trump campaign?” a source close to one of the investigations said with a dark laugh. Indeed: probers are intrigued by the role of Jared Kushner, the now-president’s son-in-law, who eagerly took credit for crafting the Trump campaign’s online efforts in a rare interview right after the 2016 election. “I called somebody who works for one of the technology companies that I work with, and I had them give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting,” Kushner told Steven Bertoni of Forbes. “We brought in Cambridge Analytica. I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley who were some of the best digital marketers in the world. And I asked them how to scale this stuff . . . We basically had to build a $400 million operation with 1,500 people operating in 50 states, in five months to then be taken apart. We started really from scratch.”

    • Remember the artist whose iPhone was searched at border? He’s suing the feds

      A Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer, a California artist, a limousine driver, and several other Americans have sued the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection over what they say are unconstitutional and warrantless searches of their digital devices at the United States border.

    • Trump Administration Says It’s Classified If They Can Let The NSA Spy On Americans

      Senator Ron Wyden, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, spent half a decade trying to get President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, to answer some fairly straightforward questions about NSA surveillance on Americans. As you may recall, this got so bad that Clapper flat out lied to Wyden in an open Senate hearing, which inspired Ed Snowden to leak documents to Glenn Greenwald. With the Trump administration, Dan Coats took over Clapper’s job… and Clapper’s role of obfuscating in response to important questions from Wyden concerning NSA surveillance. Despite promises to the contrary, Coats (like Clapper before him) has refused to share just how many Americans have their information sucked up under Section 702. Since that program is up for renewal later this year, that kind of information seems quite relevant to the debate.

    • The Right to Keep Personal Data Private: Carpenter v. U.S.

      The Supreme Court could in this case make major strides in ensuring that Fourth Amendment protections keep pace with advancing technology.

      In 2011, FBI agents in Detroit obtained several months’ worth of location records from cell phone companies for suspects in a robbery investigation — all without a warrant. They were able to do so because of an outdated legal theory called the “third-party doctrine” that has been used by law enforcement to access personal data without ever having to demonstrate probable cause to a judge.

    • One Last Chance for Police Transparency in California

      As the days wind down for the California legislature to pass bills, transparency advocates have seen landmark measures fall by the wayside. Without explanation, an Assembly committee shelved legislation that would have shined light on police use of surveillance technologies, including a requirement that police departments seek approval from their city councils. The legislature also gutted a key reform to the California Public Records Act (CPRA) that would’ve allowed courts to fine agencies that improperly thwart requests for government documents.

      But there is one last chance for California to improve the public’s right to access police records. S.B. 345 would require every law enforcement agency in the state to publish on its website all “current standards, policies, practices, operating procedures, and education and training materials” by January 1, 2019. The legislation would cover all materials that would be otherwise available through a CPRA request.

    • This hilarious video shows why you don’t want Theresa May reading your emails

      Liberty – the human rights group – has released a campaign video showing why you really don’t want the government spying on you. And it is as funny as it is genius.

    • Privacy International wants answers on ‘secretive’ government data sharing

      “Privacy International, in partnership with 30+ national human rights organisations, has today written to national intelligence oversight bodies in over 40 countries seeking information on the intelligence sharing activities of their governments,” said the group.

    • Your phone can now be turned into an ultrasound sonar tracker against you and others

      New research shows how a mobile phone can be turned into a passive indoor ultrasound sonar, locating people with high precision indoors using multi-target echolocation, and is even able to discern a rough selection of activities. It does this by overlaying imperceptible ultrasound sonar pings into played-back music, measuring the reflections coming back to the phone’s microphone. The privacy implications are staggering.

    • Descrambling split-band voice inversion with deinvert

      Voice inversion is a primitive method of rendering speech unintelligible to prevent eavesdropping of radio or telephone calls. I wrote about some simple ways to reverse it in a previous post. I’ve since written a software tool, deinvert (on GitHub), that does all this for us. It can also descramble a slightly more advanced scrambling method called split-band inversion. Let’s see how that happens behind the scenes.

    • The Chinese IT giant Huawei has big plans for the cloud in Western markets, with important implications for privacy

      In China, government surveillance is baked in to every online service, not just in safe cities. But again, the situation outside China is not that different: everything we do on Google or Facebook is tracked and analyzed for the purpose of selling advertising. As we now know from Snowden’s leaks, under the Prism program, the US government taps into that commercial surveillance data to gather intelligence. So the only difference between China and the West is that the former does not attempt to hide the fact that it spies on its citizens, while the latter tries to deny it. Similarly, Huawei has no problem openly offering its new AI-enhanced cloud-based surveillance systems, while its Western rivals are doubtless doing the same, but keeping quiet about it. The real issue is our meek acquiescence in the continual roll-out of privacy-harming technology by both governments and companies everywhere.

    • Internet Giants Try to Rein in Automated Offensive Ad Targeting

      Facebook Inc. shut off a key self-service ad tool, while Google stopped its main Search ad system automatically from suggesting offensive phrases for targeting. The moves are the latest sign of rising scrutiny of the largest U.S. internet companies and how their software-driven services and ad businesses are influencing society.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Barrett Brown’s Exclusive Interview with Wanted Hacker Lauri Love

      The second main difference is the length of the likely sentencing, so for the offenses of which I’m accused in the US, I’ve not been charged with any offenses in the UK, because they somehow failed to do that. If I was charged with the same offenses in the UK, and if I was convicted, the maximum custodial sentence would be 36 months.

      Whereas in the USA, I am facing a potential maximum sentence of 99 years.

    • My Police Department Vowed to ‘Get Rid’ of Me After I Had My Son, so I Fought Back for Other Female Officers

      I loved my job in law enforcement, but I was demeaned, demoted, and discriminated against for choosing to be a mom. I was a police officer and investigator with the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force for five years before I was pushed off the job for breastfeeding my son.

      In that time I worked my way up in the force, starting as a patrol officer and eventually becoming an undercover agent and training officer. Fewer than ten percent of officers work undercover and train recruits. These were competitive positions and promotions that I worked hard to earn.

    • President Trump Is Poised To Slash the Number of Refugees In the U.S., Replaying the Worst of Our History

      In coming days, President Trump is expected to announce the maximum number of refugees the United States will accept in the next fiscal year. Trump may cap the number at 50,000 or even lower, The New York Times has reported — fewer than any year since the beginning of the modern refugee resettlement program in 1980. In the midst of the world’s largest refugee crisis since World War II, the United States is set to abdicate its global leadership and abandon tens of thousands of vulnerable people.

      This is not only about numbers.

    • Trump Adviser Spent a Decade Using Street Gang MS-13 to Justify Anti-Immigrant Agenda. Now It’s Happening

      In President Donald Trump’s push to restrict immigration to the United States, MS-13 has become the perfect villain. Trump has focused obsessively on the violent street gang tied to immigrants from El Salvador, appearing at events across the country to highlight brutal murders committed by the group, focusing on two teenagers who gang members allegedly hacked to death with machetes.

      There’s a political angle to the singular focus on MS-13. The Trump administration has made its strident demands to wipe out the gang in explicit conjunction with sweeping calls to unravel so-called sanctuary city protections, to promote laws to ramp up deportation proceedings and expand the detention of immigrants, to broaden immigrant gang-tracking databases and special gang task forces, to deputize local law enforcement for immigration enforcement, and in recent days, even to justify the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

    • Saudi crown prince tries to consolidate power with string of arrests
    • Saudis urged to report on each other’s social media activity

      Saudi Arabia is urging people to report subversive social media activity via a phone app, part of an apparent crackdown on potential government critics before demonstrations called for by exiled opposition figures.

    • Saudi Arabia Cracks Down on Dissenting Clerics Amid Rumors of Crown Prince’s Rise to Throne

      Saudi Arabia arrested a trio of prominent clerics last weekend, a sign that the kingdom may be preparing for the formal ascendance of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, who is a key decision-maker on the country’s domestic and international affairs but is technically subservient to his father, King Salman.

      Salman al-Odah, Awad al-Qarni, and Ali al-Omary were arrested with little explanation over the weekend, but activists suspect that their failure to follow MBS’s hawkish line on Qatar played a role in their imprisonment.

      Human rights activists told the Wall Street Journal that Odah’s arrest came after he declined to come out in support of the Saudi government’s actions against Qatar.

    • U.S. Embassy Memos Offer a Glimpse Into the “Devastated” Lives of Refugees Rejected by the Travel Ban

      In internal memos, American embassies in Jordan and Ethiopia detailed how refugees there were “devastated” by January’s U.S. executive order barring travel from predominately Muslim countries. The memos back to State Department headquarters tell of the desperation of asylum-seekers who had their hopes of getting into the United States dashed by the order — including a girl who tried to kill herself when her family was told they could not travel.

    • Ethnic cleansing and the price of silence

      Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s condemnation of fellow Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for her silence in the face of the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya has stirred the world’s conscience. ‘If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep’, he wrote.

      For decades, the Rohingya have faced persecution in Burma. Stripped of their nationality in 1982 they have been repeatedly victimised at the hands of the military and local fanatics who are now burning their villages. In addition to the physical attacks, since losing their rights to citizenship the Rohingya have been denied a host of other rights, including the right to marriage, freedom of movement, access to hospitals and schools, and state protection. All of this has precipitated their exodus from Myanmar.

      Bangladesh has however been a far cry from sanctuary. In 2010 Physicians for Human Rights reported how once in Bangladesh the Rohingya were forced into bonded labour or languished in make-shift camps and suffered serious malnutrition. Others were pushed back by the police into Myanmar. Like many other states, Bangladesh has been quickly constructing a border fence which was reportedly more than 70 per cent complete as of last April. Bangladeshi authorities have expressed much sympathy for the Rohingya but claim to be overwhelmed.

    • When is a genocide a genocide?

      My heart has broken. Many times, in many ways over the past twenty days. It has been splintered, hammered, shattered, parched, starved and numbed beyond recognition.

      As a human rights advocate who has worked on the Rohingya issue for about ten years, I have experienced my fair share of despair in the face of the many atrocities this community has endured. Through my work, I have become familiar with an ever-growing list of violations against them, which have increasingly convinced me that the Rohingya – widely recognised as the most persecuted minority in the world – are the victims of crimes against humanity and genocide. Not a conclusion I arrived at lightly, but one which I have grappled with over time.

    • House Passes Amendment Rolling Back Jeff Sessions’ Civil Asset Forfeiture Expansion

      Trump’s pick for attorney general unsurprisingly holds the same ideals as his boss. He also holds the same misconceptions and misplaced nostalgia for tough-on-crime policing that went out of vogue as soon as it became apparent it wasn’t doing anything but filling up prisons.

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been going hot and heavy on a 1980s-esque law enforcement policy revival. He booted the DOJ off the civil rights beat, telling states and cities to solve their own police misconduct problems — something they were clearly unwilling to do on their own, hence the DOJ’s intercession. He told cops they’re getting back their access to war gear, rolling back the Obama administration’s minimal 1033 program reforms.

    • Saying Someone Might Do Something Illegal With Cash Isn’t Enough For Gov’t To Seize It, Court Rules

      Charles Guerrero and his wife were no angels. But neither were they high-level drug dealers. Both apparently had crippling heroin addictions and engaged in a small amount of dealing to ensure the incoming flow of heroin.

      But that’s not enough to excuse the government nabbing bail money under the theory it probably came from drug dealing or — more spuriously — that it might have been used to purchase drugs if it hadn’t been spent on bail.

      Guerrero had his friend take the cash to pay the bail because Guerrero had no valid ID. Guerrero claims he had about $14,000 in cash in his home obtained from insurance settlements and the sale of a vehicle. The government made its own claims, based on the discovery of drugs in the vehicle Guerrero was sitting in, along with a dog that said, “Yes. That is drug money.”

    • Chelsea Manning: We must think critically about how code can be misused

      Speaking at the Noisebridge hackerspace Tuesday evening, Chelsea Manning implored a crowd of makers, nerds, and developers to be ethical coders.

      “As a coder, I know that you can build a system and it works, but you’re thinking about the immediate result, you’re not thinking about that this particular code could be misused, or it could be used in a different manner,” she said, as part of a conversation with Noisebridge co-founder Mitch Altman.

      Altman began the conversation by asking about artificial intelligence and underscoring some of the risks in that field.

    • Trump’s self-driving car strategy: Don’t regulate self-driving cars

      On Tuesday, the Trump administration released a document laying out its vision for the self-driving car industry. Titled “Automated Driving Systems 2.0,” it gives recommendations for car manufacturers, technology companies, and state regulators about how to handle the self-driving car revolution.

      The most important sentence in the document is this one: “This Guidance is entirely voluntary, with no compliance requirement or enforcement mechanism.” In other words, if Waymo, GM, or the California DMV want to throw the document in the trash unread, they’re free to do so. To a large extent, the Trump administration’s strategy for regulating self-driving cars is to not regulate self-driving cars.

    • Critic-Raiding Sheriff Settles With Bloggers Who Sued Him Over His Unconstitutional Actions

      Now that Terre Bonne Parish sheriff Jerry Larpenter has had his immunity stripped by a federal court, it appears he’s ready to pay up to keep the damages from mounting. Sheriff Larpenter abused a terrible law — Louisiana’s still-on-the-books-for-some-reason criminal defamation law — to harass a critic of his. On the way to getting slapped by the court, Larpenter went judge-shopping (bringing his warrant to an off-duty judge) for someone willing to sign his unconstitutional warrant — a judge who later found the warrant with his signature on it to be perfectly legal.

      The state court of appeals shot down Larpenter’s warrant. The inevitable civil suit that followed found Larpenter being de-immunized in successive decisions, leaving him to actually bear some responsibility for his act of censorship.

    • Bungie apologizes for Destiny 2 item that resembles neo-Nazi flag

      The Destiny 2 item’s similarity to the Kekistan flag follows many other neo-Nazi campaigns to sneak white nationalist iconography into pop culture—in ways that could be explained away or excused, no less. Bungie is already scrambling to clear its name: “This does NOT represent our values, and we are working quickly to correct this,” the company wrote on Twitter. Whether or not the symbol was intentional, the Internet’s biggest hate campaigners can already claim “top kek” and/or social-media points for the icon’s sharing.

    • Bungie explains how white supremacist symbol ended up in Destiny 2

      Community Manager David “DeeJ” Dague writes that the gauntlet in question, which features a “kek” symbol that resembles the “Kekistan flag” popularized by 4chan, was originally created by the game’s developers back in June of 2015. Dague says the gauntlet was one of many items in the game that “reference real world art, iconography, typeface, and other design elements” and that “some of the reference imagery featured the simple mirrored chevron shapes found in the finished piece.”

    • DEA Agent Gave Convict Girlfriend Access To Evidence, Classified Info; Received Almost No Punishment

      Routine misconduct by DEA agents? The DEA could not possibly care less. An Inspector General’s report released in 2015 in the aftermath of a sex-parties-and-harassment investigation showed 8 of the 14 agents investigated received bonuses and awards while still under investigation, a violation of DEA policy. None of the agents were fired or even demoted. The DEA’s unwillingness to address serious misdeeds seriously made it clear DEA agents are nigh un-fireable.

    • Teen sends dick pic to 22-year-old woman, now he’s a child pornographer

      The Washington Supreme Court has upheld the conviction under state child porn laws of a 17-year-old boy who sent a picture of his own erect penis to a 22-year-old woman. The case illustrates a bizarre situation in which Eric Gray is both the perpetrator and the victim of the crime. Under state law, Gray could face up to 10 years in prison for the conviction.

      On appeal, Gray’s attorneys had argued that the language of the law was ambiguous—lawmakers did not anticipate a situation like this—and that the law was potentially in violation of the state and the federal constitutions. The court, in a 7-1 ruling, disagreed.

    • Russia’s gubernatorial elections marred by political pressure

      In the past week, one of the highest profile political prosecutions in Crimea, the 26 February Case, concluded with the sentencing of the deputy chair of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Akhtem Chiygoz, to eight years in prison on charges of organising a riot. The prosecution against Chiygoz is based on clashes between supporters and opponents of the Euromaidan on 26 February 2014. All the defendants in the case are Crimean Tatars, that is to say representatives of one of the sides of the conflict — the side loyal to the new Ukrainian authorities. The trials of five other people, also charged with taking part in riot, continue.

      Tatiana Kotlyar, a human rights defender from Kaluga, has been found guilty of registering refugees at her apartment on false grounds. The court sentenced Kotlyar to a fine of 150,000 roubles (£1.900), though she will not have to pay it due to the statute of limitation expiring.

      In Chelyabinsk, local police have opened a criminal case against Gamil Asatullin, an activist of the Stop GOK movement which seeks to halt the development of the Tominsk copper processing plant. Asatullin is accused of attempting to set fire to the plant. His supporters believe he has been framed. During one of the interrogation sessions, officers of the Anti-Extremism Centre used threats to force Asatullin to refuse legal counsel and to testify against one of the leaders of the Stop GOK movement, Vasily Moskovets. Asatullin testified that Moskovets allegedly initiated the arson attempt.

    • Italy Imprisons Refugees Who Were Forced to Pilot Smuggling Boats At Gunpoint

      The refugees have just been pulled from the waters of the central Mediterranean when Italian coast guard investigators pick out a handful of them for questioning. As the rescue ship steams towards Sicily, the chosen refugees are taken aside and interviewed, returning after about an hour now labeled with a plastic wristband. Some say “witness,” others, “suspect.” Usually, two of them say “smuggler.”

      When the refugees disembark at port in Sicily, those with wristbands are handed off to Italian police, who will interview them again and arrest the suspected smugglers, in an effort to break up the criminal networks that have brought over 85,000 people to Italy this year. Regardless of whether rescued by the coast guard or ships run by NGOs, every boatload of refugees that arrives in Sicily goes through a similar process.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Washington DC braces for net neutrality protests later this month

      A coalition of activists and consumer groups are banding together to express concerns over an FCC proposal to rewrite the rules governing the Internet

    • FCC’s New ‘Diversity Chair’ Has Long History Of Undermining Minority Consumers At Comcast’s Behest

      For years one of the greasier lobbying and PR tactics by the telecom industry has been the hijacking of minority and civil rights groups to help parrot awful policy positions. Historically, such groups are happy to take financing from a company like Comcast, in exchange repeating whatever memos are thrust in their general direction — even if the policy dramatically harms their constituents. The tactic of creating or “co-opting” such groups helps foster the illusion of broad support for awful, anti-consumer policies, whether that’s support for the latest competition-killing merger or support for the assault on net neutrality.

      Because this cozy quid pro quo is implied but never put into writing, ISPs traditionally respond with breathless indignance to the mere suggestion they’re using minority voices as policy props. But Comcast has found that tactic consistently so successful, a few years back it went so far as to give its top lobbyist, David Cohen, a new title: “Chief Diversity Officer.” Said title not only lets Cohen profess the company’s unwavering dedication to minorities with one hand while undermining them with the other, but helps him skirt the government’s flimsy restrictions on lobbying.

    • Comcast Continues To Insist Its Sneaky, Misleading Fees Are Just The Company’s Way Of Being ‘Transparent’

      We’ve noted for years now how broadband and cable providers have created a high art out of bogus, misleading fees. Such fees, ranging in name from Comcast’s “broadcast TV fee” to CenturyLink’s “internet cost recovery fee” — allow these companies to falsely advertise one price, then sock consumers with a much higher rate once the bill comes due. This allows these companies to not only jack up prices while claiming the don’t, but it has the added bonus of making direct price comparisons with competitors almost impossible.

      Comcast initially charged $1.50 when its broadcast TV fee first appeared back in 2013, but now charges upwards of $6.50 more per month in many markets — a 333% increase in just three years. With the occasional exception, regulators and lawmakers tend to turn a blind eye to this practice as little more than pricing creativity. Comcast was however sued for the practice last year, plaintiffs claiming that this practice is not only false advertising, but is primarily designed to let the company raise rates on customers it convinced to sign long-term contracts.

    • Comcast puts YouTube in its TV boxes to entice would-be cord-cutters
    • Comcast raises sports and TV fees again, says it’s about “transparency”

      Comcast TV customers in Oregon will soon have to pay $14.50 each month for the controversial “Broadcast TV” and “Regional Sports Network” fees. Currently, the two fees combined cost customers $11 a month but will rise by $3.50 starting October 1, The Oregonian reported yesterday.

    • The Google Fiber Honeymoon Period Appears To Be Over

      That said, the company has gone through two CEOs in a matter of months, laid off an unspecified number of employees during a restructuring last fall, and has begun to show signs that the company’s dedication to the project is wavering at best, and notably derailed at worst. Reports began to circulate last fall that high-level Alphabet execs were bored with the slow pace and high cost of fiber deployment, and were considering pivoting the entire Google Fiber business model to wireless. But the company’s messaging regarding this transition has been anything but clear, only driving unease among those waiting for the promised revolution.

    • Comcast said he used too much data—so he opted to live without home Internet

      Longtime Comcast customer Drew Weaver was surprised in mid-May of this year when he got an automated call notifying him that he’d gone over his 1TB monthly data cap. First of all, Comcast alleged that he’d exceeded the data cap two months in a row, and Weaver says he never got a notification about the first overage. Moreover, Weaver just didn’t believe that he’d used more than 1TB of data.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Netflix Has Narcos Actors Threaten To Shoot The Families Of French People For Pirating The Show

      First, let’s all just take a moment to drink in that headline above. 2017, people: it’s a weird time to be alive. In any case, you likely have heard of Netflix’s hit original show, Narcos. The show follows the exploits of Pablo Escobar’s drug organization and was once the subject of Escobar’s brother demanding a billion dollars from Netflix over the portrayal. Netflix, of course, was the disruptive new streaming service for movies and television that has since decided to go the route of copyright protectionist now that it is producing its own original content. It’s a strange look for a company that exploded on a model of convenience over piracy, raking in tons of legit dollars by simply being an option better than or comparable to pirating films and television. Rather than continuing to compete in that arena, the company has begun to go the way of Big Content, firing off all kinds of DMCA notices.

    • Trademarks
      • Another Craft Beer Brand Gets Bullied To Death Over Shaky Trademark Claims

        The warning bells for the craft beer industry have been sounding for some time now, but the trademark disputes keep on coming. Even as trademark registrations in craft beer grow exponentially and intellectual property attorneys themselves are predicting an explosion in disputes on the horizon, the legal cases and threat letters have begun to grow. What once was an industry known for cooperative and congenial attitudes on trademark issues has devolved into corporate protectionism. But inter-industry disputes aren’t the only concern, as the explosion in the craft beer industry has also invited trademark disputes from those outside of the industry.

      • Chicago Bears Back Off GoBears Hashtag Dispute Over Trademark Concern With Cal

        With the trademarking of hashtags now in full swing, it’s about time some light was shone on exactly what type of trademarks are granted on them. The trademarking of hashtags isn’t in and of itself perplexing, although it does cause this writer some mild annoyance. Locking up language in general is something that should be treated carefully, but doing so specifically with social media language in an ecosystem designed for proliferation and sharing is ripe for conflict. One need only look at how the Olympics treats hashtags to see this, or how big businesses will greedily “protect” the use of hashtags, no matter any actual concern about public confusion over the use of the marks. The point is, the same general problem with the practical application of trademarks is exacerbated by social media: trademarks too often aren’t specific or identifying enough.

      • Maradona sues Dolce&Gabbana over 2016 ‘MARADONA’ jersey

        In the case of Maradona, the main complaint seems to relate to the misappropriation and misuse of his name.

        Article 6 and 7 of the Italian Civil Code expressly recognize the right to one’s own name. In particular, Article 7 states that a person who may suffer a prejudice from the undue use of their name by a third party can request a court order that would put an end to such use, as well as the compensation of any damages.

    • Copyrights
      • Can a tattoo on human flesh be copyrighted? We’ll soon find out

        There’s a tattoo as a design, and then there’s that same tattoo after it’s inked on the human body. Tattoo artists often copyright their tattoos. But does that copyright stick once the image is inked on the human body?

        So far, no US court has ruled that it does, despite several lawsuits on the topic that have settled out of court or have been dropped. But barring a settlement, we might soon get our first ruling on the topic, and we have video games to thank.

        Tattoo artists are suing the makers of the highly popular NBA 2K game series for the allegedly unauthorized use of their tattoos as they appear on popular players like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kenyon Martin, DeAndre Jordan and others. In short, Solid Oak Sketches says that Take-Two Interactive Software is infringing its copyrighted works because the game shows the players with their real-world inked tattoos that Solid Oak Sketches has copyrighted.

      • Free Software, Open Access, And Open Science Groups Join Fight Against EU Copyright Directive’s Terrible Ideas

        Techdirt has been covering the EU’s plans to “modernize” copyright law for years now, and noted how things seem to be getting worse. Two ideas — the so-called link tax and the upload filter — are particularly one-sided, offering no benefits for the public, but providing the copyright industry with yet more monopolies and powers to censor. That much we knew. But two new initiatives reveal that the harmful effects are much, much broader than first thought.

      • Lawyer: Without The Monkey’s Approval, PETA Can’t Settle Monkey Selfie Case

        Ted Frank is a well-respected lawyer who has heroically dedicated much of his career to stopping bad legal practices, including sketchy settlements in class action lawsuits. Now he’s taking action in another case involving a sketchy settlement: the monkey selfie case. As we highlighted earlier this week, while it was no surprise that PETA and photographer David Slater worked out a settlement agreement to end the ridiculous lawsuit PETA had filed, it was deeply concerning that part of the settlement involved PETA demanding that the original district court ruling — the one saying, clearly, that animals don’t get copyrights — should be thrown out.

      • Founder of Fan-Made Subtitle Site Convicted for Copyright Infringement

        Fansubbing site Undertexter.se was raided by police in the summer of 2013, following complaints from Hollywood. Four years later the case has come to an end after a Swedish District Court sentenced the operator for copyright infringement. The decision confirms that the unauthorized distribution of movie subtitles is a crime in Sweden.

      • Australian Government Want ISPs to Adopt Anti-Piracy Code

        The Australian Government has proposed new copyright regulations which require copyright holders and carriage service providers to adopt a voluntary code to identify and deter online piracy. The new measures must address the ongoing piracy concerns but should not be too costly or burdensome for ISPs, the proposal clarifies.

      • BREIN Tracks Down and Settles With “Libra Release Team”

        BREIN has booked another victory against a group of prolific uploaders. The Hollywood backed organization signed settlements with two people connected to the “Libra Release Team.” The group in question shared hundreds of infringing movies and TV-shows on torrent and Usenet sites, focusing on the Dutch market.

      • EU Prepares Guidelines to Force Google & Facebook to Police Piracy

        Companies including Google and Facebook could face tougher legislation if they don’t act proactively to remove illegal content from their platforms. That’s according to draft EU guidelines due to be published at the end of the month, which will require service providers to “significantly step up their actions” to address the problem.

      • MetalKettle Addon Repository Vulnerable After GitHub ‘Takeover’

        A removed and nonactive third-party Kodi repository has become vulnerable after an outsider re-registered the GitHub account of its developer. Former Kodi-addon developer MetalKettle urges people to delete his repository, stating that it’s no longer safe.

BlackBerry Has Turned Into a Patents and Licensing Company

Saturday 16th of September 2017 07:17:57 PM

How long before BlackBerry is nothing but a pile of old patents?

Summary: The Canadian company that made fairly reputable phones early in this century is left with nothing but the power to sue other companies — a power to which it increasingly gravitates

IT’S KIND of sad to see what BlackBerry has turned into. Over the past few years we wrote about a dozen articles about how, having dominated the market of corporate phones for a while (about a decade or more ago), it rapidly turned into something worse than useless. It became a patent parasite that files lawsuits in Texas (not even Nokia has gone that rogue).

“It became a patent parasite that files lawsuits in Texas (not even Nokia has gone that rogue).”BlackBerry isn’t our enemy of choice or anything remotely like that. In fact, BlackBerry has embraced Android and thus Linux. It’s trying to reinvent itself, but each time it fails it just falls back on patent litigation and squeezing of the ‘portfolio’. This is why we always advise against patent maximalism, no matter how supposedly benevolent the patent holder may be (at the time).

A few days ago IP3 had this press release issued to speak of a “collaborative patent buying program.” This is a patent trolls-feeding program — one that the likes of BlackBerry might be tempted to set a foot on.

“This is a patent trolls-feeding program — one that the likes of BlackBerry might be tempted to set a foot on.”Several days ago BlackBerry made the news again. No, it cannot sell anything anymore, but it makes secret patent deals instead (and never mind the fact that it sues Android OEMs in Texas). This from CrackBerry is the first article we found on the subject. “In a rather quick and straight to the point press release,” it stated, “BlackBerry has now announced they have entered into a patent license agreement with Timex Group. The agreement includes on-going royalty payments from Timex to BlackBerry but other terms of the agreement have been kept confidential.”

A while later we managed to find the original. This press release says BlackBerry speaks of “on-going royalty payments”. It added very little to that and just said that “financial structure of the deal includes on-going royalty payments from Connecticut-based Timex to BlackBerry. Additional terms of the agreement are confidential.”

“What’s noteworthy here is that BlackBerry does not make the product. It’s just licensing patents.”This was soon followed by a lot more coverage, some as recent as today [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s about a branded “Android Smartwatch”, according to speculations like these, unlike simple edits of the press release.

What’s noteworthy here is that BlackBerry does not make the product. It’s just licensing patents. Is this the future of BlackBerry? We already know that it partly gave up on some of its phone ambitions, but what happens if BlackBerry does nothing but tax other companies?

European Patent Office Continues to Paint a Rosy UPC Picture Even Though the UPC May Already be Dead

Saturday 16th of September 2017 06:24:52 PM

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) doesn’t let facts get in the way as another week passes with UPC promotion and further staff repressions

AS WE noted earlier this month, the EPO spits on local tradition/customs, probably for the sake of so-called ‘productivity’, as highlighted more officially in the EPO’s Web site yesterday (promoted via this tweet).

There is, moreover, a lot of greenwashing by Eponia (this example is from yesterday, but it’s repeated every couple of days).

If the EPO intends to repair its reputation, then it certainly does a really poor job. Yesterday, once again, it pushed the Unitary Patent, perhaps forgetting that it’s a patent office, not a lobbyist. “Looking for an all-encompassing guide for the Unitary Patent?”

They keep pushing the illusion of the UPC. But the UPC is dead/dying. Should so-called ‘customers’ not be told about that? The latest on this matter is, the whole thing is stuck at least until next year. The head of the Organisation is leaving in a fortnight and the head of the Office is leaving in summer. What happens then?

Thankfully, the tune of comments at IP Kat (those that get approved) is rapidly changing. Yesterday and today we found 4 comments on the subject, all of them rather pessimistic and quote-worthy. The first of these serves to remind us of patent trolls, which are obviously a threat/menace to British (or any European for that matter) businesses.

The comment focuses on the UK:

To quote from the original (UK) series of House of Cards: “You may well say that, but I could not possibly comment”.

The avoidance of duplication of litigation is easy to understand: if you only have to litigate at the UPC instead of at least in the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands, then there could be a cost saving.

However, I would still take issue with the apparent presumption that there will be a “saving”. This is because those UK-based companies that litigate patents in multiple jurisdictions are hardly going to put many (or even any) of their key patents in an untested and uncertain system – especially where it is pretty certain that the UK will have to leave the UP system and may well not even be able to stay in the UPC system. There won’t be much of a “saving” if you still have to litigate separately in the UK!

Also, what about the additional costs to UK-based industry for defending / settling infringement actions launched (or threatened) at the UPC? Let’s not forget that there is a significant court fee (EUR20k) for mounting an invalidity defence… which could encourage “troll-like” behaviour from non-practising entities and could also have a chilling effect on UK (SME-based) industry.

All in all, I think that Mr Johnson’s figures nicely demonstrate what I have always perceived as problems with the UPP from the perspective of UK industry. Also, let’s be honest, those problems are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems with the UPP.

As I see it, one of the biggest problems is that it attempts to meld together multiple sources of law (the UP Regulations, the Brussels Regulation, the EPC, the UPCA and national laws) and just expects that this will somehow magically work and will not contravene important principles under EU or national (constitutional) laws. And this is even before we consider the attempt to retain the UK in the system post-Brexit!

I therefore agree that the CJEU really should have looked at the system in detail well before anyone considered signing up to it (let alone bringing it into force). To be frank, the whole system is such a dog’s breakfast that it would be much better to write it off as a bad job and instead put effort and energy into creating a system that stands a decent prospect of actually working. Let’s hope that the BVerfG agree!

The next comment says that “many in the “pro-UPC” camp [are] adopting tactics of dismissing / minimising, or even turning a blind eye,” as usual. Facts don’t matter to them. To quote:

Of course, the reason why the CJEU was not asked up-front for its opinion on the UPCA is because that Agreement is not “between the Union and third countries or international organisations”, meaning that it was impossible to invoke the mechanism under Article 218 TFEU for obtaining an opinion.

This is a shame. Also, it is a shame that Spain’s challenge did not additionally allege contravention of EU laws due to the retroactive effect of Article 5(3) of Regulation 1257/2012. I would have been interested in the CJEU’s views on that point.

The constitutional challenge in Germany therefore provides the first (and much needed) opportunity for a court to express a view on whether the unitary patent package is consistent with important laws and legal principles. The delay caused by the BVerfG’s review of the complaints will no doubt be frustrating for those who are eager for the system to get up-and-running. However, I would merely point out that it is plain common sense to check for fatal problems before an important system “goes live”… to do otherwise would frankly be irresponsible.

In this context, I have been disappointed to observe many in the “pro-UPC” camp adopting tactics of dismissing / minimising, or even turning a blind eye to, the grounds of the constitutional complaint. Such attitudes are at best extremely unhelpful and at worst are painting a seriously misleading picture to clients and contacts.

To anyone engaging in such behaviour, I would merely comment that the complaint is what it is. It might be something or it might be nothing, but presuming that it is the latter is nothing more than wishful thinking. Having to scrap the whole system and start again would be a huge pain, especially given the efforts expended so far and the arrangements already made. But that is the price that has to be paid when a system is set up in such a way as to effectively ensure that there can be no independent oversight (to confirm compliance with existing laws) until such a late stage.

In this respect, I think that it would be very dangerous indeed to assume that the huge political and financial costs that would result from the system being killed at this stage will lead to the BVerfG somehow finding a way of dismissing the complaint. This is because such an assumption is an affront to democracy and the rule of law. That is, it would be akin to “boots on the ground” diplomacy, where the rights and wrongs of the situation become irrelevant because key developments are perceived to be too difficult to reverse.

With this in mind, I can only hope that the BVerfG feels able to judge the merits (or otherwise) of the complaints from a purely legal perspective.

“Why were they then so complacent with the UPC?”

That’s what the next comment says:

I can only but agree with Proof of the pudding. It is not too late, and before the UPC starts the agreement, as well as its RoP, should be checked by the CJEU.

In another blog, Kluwer not to name it, one commenter asked why the UPC Preparatory Committee was not asked to comment by the Federal Constitutional Court?

The reason is very simple to me: it wanted to have a non-biased reply about the UP and the UPC.

What is to be looked at with caution is the way the UPC Preparatory Committee was set up and was functioning. It is the result of this procedure which is questioned by Mr Stjerna in his complaint to the FCC. Only a small number of people ever discussed the matter, and the presence of some national judges cannot disguise the fact that only a limited number of lawyers firms were represented in the process and could well be considering as leading the process.

I cannot say whether or not Mr Stjerna is right when he has criticised those points in numerous publications (all available in English), but the feeling of a small group of people, which might consider itself as a kind of elite, has taken far reaching decisions without any parliamentary or democratic control, as only the UPC Agreement has been open to ratification.

I think that those are the questions behind Mr Stjerna’s complaint, and it is indeed to be hoped that the FCC sends the lot to the CJEU, even if the fiercest proponents of the UPC hope that the complaint will be dismissed. The quorum problem is not the most important one, and this can be settled easily by a new vote in the German Parliament. The other parts of the complaint are much more of a problem and cannot be dismissed at once.

What is at stake is not only the UPC agreement on its own, but also, and may be more importantly, its RoP. Packing substantive aspects into Rules is certainly more practical, as the RoP can be changed more easily, but by doing so, those aspects escape parliamentary or democratic control.

At the revision conference of the EPC in 2000, attempts were made in that direction, but they were resisted by the member states. Why were they then so complacent with the UPC?

Our guess is, as always, that the UPC in its current form will fail. It will fall flat on its face and they’ll start all over again (as they did before).

In reply to the above, someone says that the UPC “would really be immune from any parliamentary oversight as in the case of the EPO.”

Great news, eh? Another reason to crush the UPC before it even gets off the ground. To quote:

A lot seems to hinge on whether the UPC is an EU institution.
If it is then it might be considered subject to oversight by the European Parliament.
If not, then it would really be immune from any parliamentary oversight as in the case of the EPO.

http://ipkitten.blogspot.ie/2015/01/developments-at-european-patent-office.html

The bottom line is, the UPC should not be considered “just a matter of time” or “potentially desirable”; it has the potential to make a horrible mess in Europe, like Texas did in the US. Later this weekend we’ll show that China too is creating a growing, sordid mess by adopting policies proposed by the patent ‘industry’ instead of the massive manufacturing industry.

Tax Evasion by Patent Boxes and Lies About Small Businesses (SMEs) in the Corporate Media

Saturday 16th of September 2017 05:47:17 PM

Similar to what happens on the Internet and copyright law, where producers’ or artists’ voices are being hijacked by those who exploit them

Summary: The lobbying effort of the patent ‘industry’ — and its largest beneficiaries — paints its own perks as something that’s intended for their small/minuscule competitors (whom they actually attempt to misrepresent and crush)

THREE days ago we mentioned those same old "patent boxes" (so-called ‘boxes’ that have nothing to do with boxes). It’s one of the criticisms of the EPO; the subject was brought up in an article earlier this month.

The subject was explored here in past years. It’s very rarely covered (or seldom covered properly by corporate media) because corporations don’t want people to know the underlying purpose of patent boxes.

“It’s very rarely covered (or covered properly by corporate media) because corporations don’t want people to know the underlying purpose of patent boxes.”Just before the weekend, the Tory-leaning Telegraph described as an “SMEs” thing what LARGE corporations use for tax evasion. When it comes to the UPC too, corporate media likes to speak about “SMEs”, which would be most vulnerable to a ‘unitary’ regime; the media tries to sell the fairytale of SMEs looking forward to UPC. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Watch the title of the video from the Telegraph. It says “Patent Box: can government do more to support SME innovation?”

What a loaded question and malicious spin. Here is what the article said:

The UK Government already has a scheme called Patent Box, introduced in 2013 and revamped in 2016, that aims to create a competitive tax environment to incentivise companies to retain, develop and exploit patents in the UK supporting business investment and economic growth.

While Patent Box goes some way to addressing this issue, it is focused on rewarding companies at the “end of the process”, by way of reducing corporation tax to 10pc on profits from the worldwide sale of patented inventions.

While that is good news for large corporations that have upfront investment budgets and an established forward innovation process, the scheme falls far short for SMEs, which last year made up 99.9pc of the UK’s 5.5 million private sector businesses and provided 60pc of private sector employment.

HOW2, through its advisory service work with SMEs on identifying, developing and protecting their IP and/or claiming under the Patent Box regime, believes that government, to effectively support UK innovation, needs to follow the proactive approach of many European countries and the US.

It’s just a tool for tax evasion, nothing to do with SMEs.

“Remember to be sceptical when the word “SME” is brought up by large corporations-owned media.”Earlier today Benjamin Henrion found another spin like this from the front group “IP Europe” (one can imagine, based on its name, who it represents). It said “CEOs of tech SMEs asked President Juncker to support #innovation and open standards…”

Henrion responded to them with: “This is asking for supporting patent trolls masqueraded as “inventors”. Plus “open standards” are without restrictions of use.”

Remember to be sceptical when the word “SME” is brought up by large corporations-owned media. Or front groups of large corporations for that matter (or law firms whose main clients are large corporations). SMEs are rarely consulted about this, except very selectively. They’re very often misrepresented, intentionally, for the sake of steering agenda (changing policy in favour of large multinationals). We see a lot of that when it comes to the UPC, which we shall cover in our next post.

Links 15/9/2017: Mesa 17.2.1 RC, Wine 2.17, WordPress to Ditch React Over Patents

Friday 15th of September 2017 11:42:51 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • How an open source tool is helping hurricane victims

    After Hurricane Harvey recently ripped through the Houston area, causing catastrophic flooding and devastation, the Stephen F. Austin Community Health Network (SFA) responded quickly by leveraging open source technology to reach out to patients and victims of the crisis in areas of Texas that are virtually inaccessible.

    Using an advanced cloud-based version of the OpenEMR software, the SFA Community Health Network was able to treat patients in clinics that were physically unreachable by care providers. The next-generation version of the open source electronic health record (EHR) was developed and is maintained by St. Louis-based Williams Medical Technologies, Inc. (WMT).

  • 13-year-old coder works to advance cognitive tech

    Folks say computers are a young person’s game, and one of the best examples is Tanmay Bakshi (pictured), algorithmist and cognitive developer. Thirteen years old, going on 14, he represents the energy and innovation of young coders. Some of the biggest companies in the industry have offered the enthusiastic Bakshi a seat at the table.

    When asked about the coolest thing he’s working on, Bakshi replied: “It would have to be a tie between AskTanmay, DeepSPADE and advancements with the cognitive story.” Bakshi is an Honorary Cloud Advisor with IBM Corp.

  • Developers must simplify, standardize tech to expand reach, says analyst

    It’s good for a company to have the technology it needs, however, putting that tech to use is another matter. Few companies are staffed with enough tech wizards, and for technology to expand into the mainstream, developers must make it easy for non-tech businesses to integrate new innovations in open source software, according to Jono Bacon (pictured), founder of Jono Bacon Consulting.

  • GMO Blockchain Open Source Software project enters fourth phase

    This time, GMO Internet has teamed up with GMO-Z.com RUNSYSTEM JSC to demonstrate the security applications of blockchain technologies. As many of you are aware, the enhanced security is one of the main advantages of this type of technologies.

  • Open Source as a Service platform launches

    Instaclustr has announced the launch of its Open Source-as-a-Service platform. This comprehensive platform offers customers across industries – and from startups to the enterprise – fully hosted and securely managed Apache Cassandra, Apache Spark, Elasticsearch, Kibana, Lucene, and Zeppelin. Each is delivered to customers in its 100% open source form, with no vendor or technical lock-in. The platform arrives as the company continues to deliver top-line growth in excess of 100% YoY, and has reached milestones of 10 million node hours and 1 petabyte of data under management.

    In an industry where, all too often, providers will deliver open source solutions repackaged into proprietary versions that promote vendor lock-in, Instaclustr is ensuring that every solution it provides will always consist of fully portable open source code.

  • BlueZ 5.47 Released, Working On Bluetooth 5.0 Support & More

    BlueZ 5.47 has been released as the latest user-space components to the Linux Bluetooth stack.

    BlueZ 5.47 is a bit more exciting on the feature front than some of the past releases. BlueZ 5.47 includes support for decoding Bluetooth 5.0 commands and events, Bluetooth Mesh advertising bearer decoding, support for Bluetooth Mesh control applications, the ability to retrieve supported discovery filters, and support for appearance and local name advertising data.

  • Events
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Public Services/Government
    • Public Money? Public Code!

      31 organisations ask to improve public procurement of software

      Today, on 13 September 2017, 31 organisations are publishing an open letter. The letter calls for lawmakers to advance legislation requiring publicly financed software that has been developed for the public sector be made available under a Free and Open Source Software licence.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • MP3 Is Dead! Long Live MP3!

      Back in May, there was an unexpected surge in press coverage about the MP3 audio file format. What was most unexpected about it was it all declared that the venerable file format is somehow “dead”. Why did that happen, and what lessons can we learn?

      What had actually happened was the last of the patents on the MP3 file format and encoding process have finally expired. Building on earlier work, it was developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG) built on the doctoral work of an engineer at Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. Many companies held patents on the standard and it was not until April that the last of them expired. There’s no easy way to ascertain whether a patent has expired even after the date one moght expect it, so the wave of news arose from announcements by Fraunhofer Institute.

      Framing this as an “ending” fits the narrative of corporate patent holders well, but does not really reflect the likely consequences. Naturally the patent holding companies would rather everyone “upgrade” to the newer AAC format, which is still encumbered under a mountain of patents necessitating licensing. But for open source software, the end of patent monopilies signals the beginning of new freedoms.

    • On React and WordPress

      Big companies like to bury unpleasant news on Fridays: A few weeks ago, Facebook announced they have decided to dig in on their patent clause addition to the React license, even after Apache had said it’s no longer allowed for Apache.org projects. In their words, removing the patent clause would “increase the amount of time and money we have to spend fighting meritless lawsuits.”

      I’m not judging Facebook or saying they’re wrong, it’s not my place. They have decided it’s right for them — it’s their work and they can decide to license it however they wish. I appreciate that they’ve made their intentions going forward clear.

      A few years ago, Automattic used React as the basis for the ground-up rewrite of WordPress.com we called Calypso, I believe it’s one of the larger React-based open source projects. As our general counsel wrote, we made the decision that we’d never run into the patent issue. That is still true today as it was then, and overall, we’ve been really happy with React. More recently, the WordPress community started to use React for Gutenberg, the largest core project we’ve taken on in many years. People’s experience with React and the size of the React community — including Calypso — was a factor in trying out React for Gutenberg, and that made React the new de facto standard for WordPress and the tens of thousands of plugins written for WordPress.

      We had a many-thousand word announcement talking about how great React is and how we’re officially adopting it for WordPress, and encouraging plugins to do the same. I’ve been sitting on that post, hoping that the patent issue would be resolved in a way we were comfortable passing down to our users.

      That post won’t be published, and instead I’m here to say that the Gutenberg team is going to take a step back and rewrite Gutenberg using a different library. It will likely delay Gutenberg at least a few weeks, and may push the release into next year.

    • WordPress to ditch React library over Facebook patent clause risk

      Automattic, the company behind the popular open source web publishing software WordPress, has said it will be pulling away from using Facebook’s React JavaScript library over concerns about a patent clause in Facebook’s open source license.

      In a blog post explaining the decision yesterday, WordPress’ Matt Mullenweg said Automattic had hoped to officially adopt React for WordPress — noting it has already used it for the Calypso ground-up rewrite of WordPress.com a few years ago, and had started using it for its major Gutenberg core project.

      But he reveals it’s changed its mind after seeing Facebook dig in behind the patent clause — which was recently added to the Apache Software Foundation’s (ASF) list of disallowed licenses.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
  • Programming/Development
    • Machine Learning Lends a Hand for Automated Software Testing

      Automated testing is increasingly important in development, especially for finding security issues, but fuzz testing requires a high level of expertise — and the sheer volume of code developers are working with, from third-party components to open source frameworks and projects, makes it hard to test every line of code. Now, a set of artificial intelligence-powered options like Microsoft’s Security Risk Detection service and Diffblue’s security scanner and test generation tools aim to make these techniques easier, faster and accessible to more developers.

      “If you ask developers what the most hated aspect of their job is, it’s testing and debugging,” Diffblue CEO and University of Oxford Professor of Computer Science Daniel Kroening told the New Stack.

    • Are Women in Tech Facing Extinction?

      We hear a lot about how few women work in tech. The numbers range from 3 percent in open source to 25 percent industry-wide. But frankly, those aren’t the numbers that scare me most. The numbers that scare the hell out me are the ones that underscore how many women are choosing to leave tech.

      The latest NCWIT data shows that women leave tech at twice the rate of men, and that number has been increasing since 1991. A Harvard Business Review study found that as many as 50 percent of women working in science, engineering and technology will, over time, leave because of hostile work environments.

    • Sublime Text 3.0 is released for download on MacOS, Windows and Linux
    • Open Source Atom Code Editor Gets IDE Features

      GitHub is morphing its open source code editor, Atom, into more of a full-fledged IDE with a new project appropriately called Atom-IDE.

      Just announced this week, Atom-IDE integrates programming language support in order to offer IDE-like features.

    • Migrating GitHub’s Web and API to Kubernetes Running on Bare Metal

      Over the last year GitHub has evolved their internal infrastructure that runs the Ruby on Rails application responsible for github.com and api.github.com to run on Kubernetes. The migration began with web and API applications running on Unicorn processes that were deployed onto Puppet-managed bare metal (“metal cloud”) servers, and ended with all web and API requests being served by containers running in Kubernetes clusters deployed onto the metal cloud.

      According to the GitHub engineering blog, the basic approach to deploying and running GitHub did not significantly change over the initial eight years of operation. However, GitHub itself changed dramatically, with new features, larger software communities, more GitHubbers on staff, and many more requests per second. As the organisation grew, the existing operational approach began to exhibit new problems: many teams wanted to extract the functionality into smaller services that could run and be deployed independently; and as the number of services increased, the SRE team found they were increasingly performing maintenance, which meant there was little time for enhancing the underlying platform. GitHub engineers needed a self-service platform they could use to experiment, deploy, and scale new services.

    • Oracle turns Java EE over to an open source foundation
    • The Basics of Going Serverless with Node.js

      Linda Nichols, of Cloudreach, will discuss the basics of serverless and why it works so well with Node.js at Node.js Interactive, Oct. 4-6, 2017 in Vancouver, BC Canada.
      The Linux Foundation

      Developers are continuing to look for more efficient and effective ways to build out applications, and one of the new approaches to this involves serverless applications, which are the future of lightweight, scalable, and performant applications development.

      The space of “serverless” is still fairly new and many developers and companies are wanting to go “serverless,” but don’t know how to orchestrate decisions like how to choose the right cloud provider, how to avoid vendor lock in. And, if you do change your mind about the cloud platform, does that mean you have to rewrite your application code?

    • Clear Linux & Their Love For FMV + dl_platform/dl_hwcap In The Name Of Performance

      For those mesmerized by the numbers whenever posting a cross-distribution comparison like the recent Core i9 7900X vs. Threadripper 1950X On Ubuntu 17.10, Antergos, Clear Linux with showing Intel’s performance optimizations done on Clear Linux, Intel engineer Victor Rodriguez presented this week at the 2017 Open-Source Summit North America about some of their Linux performance boosting work.

      While Clear Linux ships with aggressive compiler flags and other optimizations, contrary to the belief of some, their distribution does work on Intel hardware going back to ~2011 and just not the most recent generations of CPUs. But for remaining optimized for both new and old hardware, they do utilize Function Multi-Versioning (FMV) as offered by GCC. They also rely upon optimized binaries for particular hardware platforms via GLIBC with the dl_platform/dl_hwcap features for shipping optimized libraries that are then selected at run-time based on the CPU. This is one of the approaches to how Clear Linux is already shipping with AVX-512 optimized libraries.

    • GCC Finishing Up C++17 Adjustments, Preparing For C++2A

      While C++17 was just formally approved days ago and is now waiting for ISO publication, GCC (and Clang) developers have largely finished up their C++17 (formerly known as “C++1z”) support for some time. There are just a few lingering patches for GCC and already are beginning to lay the ground work for C++2a.

      There’s the longstanding GCC C++ status page where it does show all the major features of C++17/C++1z are complete in GCC 7. Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek sent out a patch this week with the final adjustments and now that C++1z is indeed going to be called C++17 officially.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Independent Monitors Found Benzene Levels After Harvey Six Times Higher Than Guidelines

      As a longtime resident of Manchester, Guadalupe Hernandez is used to the chemical smells that waft through his southeast Houston, Texas neighborhood, a low-income, predominantly Hispanic community near a Valero Energy refinery. But when Hurricane Harvey blew in the weekend of Aug. 26, the stench became noticeably stronger for about five hours, a scent like “glue or boiled eggs,” he said.

      The Environmental Protection Agency has assured the public they looked into complaints in the area a week after the storm hit, and spent several days taking air pollution measurements with a mobile laboratory. The agency didn’t release any specifics, but said concentrations of several toxic chemicals, including the carcinogen benzene, met Texas health guidelines.

      Now, environmental advocacy groups have shared their own, detailed data with ProPublica and the Texas Tribune, based on air sampling from the same Manchester streets over six days. It shows a more nuanced picture than the one given by the EPA: in numerous locations, benzene levels, though under the Texas threshold of 180 parts per billion, far exceeded California’s guidelines, which is 23 times more stringent and is well-respected by health advocates nationwide.

    • The Obamacare Fight Is Over — Now It’s On To Universal Medicare

      In June, as the fight over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act reached its climax, then-White House spokesman Sean Spicer delivered a warning. “It’s not a question of Obamacare versus the AHCA,” he said, referring to the GOP alternative, the since-failed American Health Care Act. The question, Spicer said, was between repealing Obamacare and moving to single payer.

      History may prove him right. The battle over the Affordable Care Act is over. The fight for what comes next will begin in earnest on Wednesday with the introduction of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s bill to create a universal Medicare program, the most fleshed-out single-payer proposal ever introduced in Congress.

      The campaign for the Vermont independent’s bill will start with the backing of at least 15 Democratic cosponsors and 24 progressive and healthcare advocacy groups, numbers that will only grow in the coming days and weeks.

    • Bernie’s Army: 24 Organizations With Millions of Members Vow To Help Pass His Universal Medicare Plan

      On Wednesday morning, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is set to unveil a bill that would make Medicare universal with the co-sponsorship of at least 15 Senate Democrats. The legislation would finally make health care a human right for all Americans.

      The question is: What do proponents think will make this push for single payer any more successful than others in the past? After all, activists who backed such an approach during 2009’s health care debate were literally arrested at hearings, and their legislation was sidelined and never even brought to a vote.

      But this time, as he launches his campaign, Sanders has the support of 24 grassroots organizations with a combined membership base of tens of millions of people.

    • Pharma CEO Worries Americans Will Say “Enough Is Enough” and Embrace Bernie Sanders’s Single-Payer Plan

      Brent Saunders, the chief executive of Allergan, one of the largest pharmaceutical firms in the world, is concerned that in an era of increasing political polarization, Americans will become fed up and embrace the single-payer health care plan set to be unveiled Wednesday by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

      He shared his candid thoughts last weekend at the Wells Fargo Healthcare Conference in Boston, a gathering for investors and major pharmaceutical and biotech firms.

      Americans have lost trust in drug companies, Saunders said, noting the industry consistently ranks lower than oil and tobacco companies in public trust surveys.

    • Malaysia Grants Compulsory Licence For Generic Sofosbuvir Despite Gilead Licence

      A much cheaper version of a groundbreaking hepatitis C medicine is expected to be available soon for the hundreds of thousands of hepatitis C patients in Malaysia, as it decided to grant a compulsory licence to sofosbuvir, according to sources. The decision comes right after the medicine originator decided to expand its voluntary licensing scheme to four more countries, including Malaysia.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • North Korea fires second ballistic missile over Japan

      North Korea has fired a ballistic missile across Japan, creating new tension in the region after its nuclear bomb test less than two weeks ago.

      The missile reached an altitude of about 770km (478 miles), travelling 3,700km before landing in the sea off Hokkaido, South Korea’s military says.

      It flew higher and further than one fired over Japan late last month.

      Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his country would “never tolerate” such “dangerous provocative action”.

    • Unrealistic North Korean Sanctions

      The new United Nations Security Council resolution on North Korea was mainly a U.S.-promoted show, even though it passed unanimously. The principal story of the resolution concerned how severe a set of sanctions the United States could get enacted, and how much it needed to water down the resolution to get support from other members of the council and especially to avoid vetoes from China and Russia.

    • The Clinton Book Tour is Largely Ignoring the Vital Role of Endless War in the 2016 Election Result

      To pitch her book, Hillary Clinton is sitting down this week for a series of media interviews, mostly with supportive TV personalities, such as Rachel Maddow, to discuss her views of “What Happened,” the book’s title. Calls for Clinton to be quiet and disappear are misguided for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that she is a very smart, informed, and articulate politician, which means her interviews — especially when she’s liberated from programmed campaign mode — are illuminating about how she, and her fellow establishment Democrats who have driven the party into a ditch, really think.

      An hourlong interview she sat for with Vox’s Ezra Klein is particularly worthwhile. Clinton, for good reason, harbors a great deal of affection for Klein, which she expressed on multiple occasions during their chat. But Klein nonetheless pressed her on a series of criticisms that have been voiced about her and the Democrats’ stunted political approach, banal policies, status-quo-perpetuating worldview, and cramped aspirations that seem far more plausible as authors of her defeat than the familiar array of villains — Bernie Sanders, Vladimir Putin, Jill Stein, Jim Comey, the New York Times — that she and her most ardent supporters are eager to blame.

    • How North Korea Outmaneuvered U.S.

      This was evident the moment the U.N. Security Council voted on Monday to slap the DPRK with yet another round of economic sanctions, its ninth in 11 years. The Security Council resolution certainly sounded tough enough as it accused Kim of “destabilize[ing] the region” by exploding an underground thermonuclear device on Sept. 3 and posing “a clear threat to international peace and security.”

      But thanks to Russia and China, it ended up with so many loopholes as to be well-nigh meaningless. The resolution imposes trade restrictions, for example, but rejects a U.S. bid to allow outside powers to enforce them by stopping and inspecting North Korean ships on the high seas or by forcing down aircraft suspected of carrying contraband. Where the U.S. had pushed for a total energy embargo, it allows oil imports to continue at current levels. It permits North Korean workers in foreign countries to continue sending hard currency back home, a practice the United States had hoped to stop. And it rebuffs U.S. demands for a ban on the North Korean national airline, Air Koryo.

    • The Trump Administration Was Ordered to Disclose the Legal Basis for its Syria Strike. It Handed Over Squat.

      After President Donald Trump launched a cruise missile strike against Syria in April, his administration struggled to justify the legal basis for the attack. For months, a watchdog group has hounded the Trump administration for its legal reasoning. Under court order, the government has finally produced documents that reveal little, if anything.

      One document the administration saw fit to release is simply an aggregation of praise for Trump’s strike from pundits, lawmakers, and world leaders. It was prepared by Trump’s National Security Council.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • No Gas in Florida: Give Truth a Chance

      As I heard Florida’s governor demanding gas, I wondered why they don’t learn from Cuba, and send buses. Cuba was there in the CBC newscasts about Florida. It was the country under the satellite image, under the “lingering” eye of category five Irma. For hours, that awful image was in the background as the CBC anchor kept returning to Florida’s need for gas.

      They won’t learn from Cuba. And it is not because Cuba is part of the world’s “left-overs”, who don’t count and whose ideas don’t count either. It’s not even because of Cold War mentality. The problem is deeper. It’s about culture and truth. In short, it’s about a culture that denies truth.

    • Pruitt Gives Another Present to Coal Executives

      Yesterday, Donald Trump’s EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, granted a polluter petition to “reconsider” new clean water protections against dangerous coal ash pits near America’s drinking water supplies. Pruitt’s decision came ahead of opening arguments for a pending case on the water protections in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and is widely considered to be a ploy to scrap the protections entirely – benefiting coal plant owners eager to avoid accountability for the substantial public health dangers their coal ash pits pose to communities living near them.

    • After Massive Giveaways to Industry, Mining Executives Will Spend Big at Trump’s D.C. Hotel

      The chief executives of some of the largest coal and mining companies in the country have chosen the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., for a private conference next month, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

      The hotel is a natural venue for such an event. The host of the conference, the National Mining Association, an industry lobby group, has won a string of policy victories and carve-outs from the Trump administration and its Republican allies in Congress.

      The NMA board of directors meeting, which takes place October 3-4, is yet the latest example of a special interest group spending thousands of dollars on a property owned directly by the Trump family. The Trump International charges over $800 a night for the days the mining event is scheduled.

    • How Young People are Tackling Climate Change, One Innovation at a Time

      Climate entrepreneurship is a rapidly growing branch of contemporary business. Environmental and climate change issues are increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives. The global population is predicted to reach 11 billion by 2100. We can also expect an average global temperature increase of more than 1°C above pre-industrial levels.

      People around the world are dealing with extreme weather events, food and water shortages, waste management, urbanisation and overpopulation – from Cameroon to Thailand and from the US to Australia.

    • While Hurricanes Ravage US, Trump Pushes LNG Exports
    • Southern Oregon Wildfires: the Rhetoric and the Reality

      Recently a low-intensity, backing wildfire dropped into my community from the ridge above, cleaning up fuels, thinning young trees and re-initiating the ancient process of fire in a fire-starved environment. Firefighters and engines lined the road and waited, stationed at every home to protect our small community as the Abney Fire, part of the Miller Complex, approached. They safely guided the fire down the slope to containment lines adjacent to our homes.

      Trapped beneath a heavy inversion layer, smoke filled the forested canyon. Smoke smothered the sun, trapping moisture, limiting air movement, reducing temperatures, and moderating fire severity. Believe it or not, when wildfire is at your doorstep, smoke is an ally. Despite the impact to local communities, the smoke inversion itself moderates fire behavior and helps ensure a natural, mixed-severity fire. Although a nuisance, when smoke lingers in our valleys and canyons, wildfires are more likely to burn slow and cool.

      [...]

      Timber industry lobbyists such as Schott are working hard to perpetuate the myth that logging will reduce fire hazards and eliminate the smoke and effects of wildfire. This is simply untrue. Fire is a natural process, and unless Schott thinks logging can eliminate lightning storms, we must learn to live with it.

  • Finance
    • The Latest: Brazil’s Temer charged with obstructing justice

      Brazilian President Michel Temer is being charged with obstruction of justice and leading a criminal organization in a case that could suspend him from office for up to six months.

      Brazil’s attorney general’s office said Thursday that the country’s top prosecutor is accusing Temer of paying hush funds to a former speaker of the lower Chamber of Deputies and to an operator of his political group. Attorney General Rodrigo Janot also alleges that Temer is the criminal organization that operates in Brazil’s Congress and executive.

      Temer has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The end of anonymity? Trump and the tyranny of the majority

      Long before the trickle of anonymous leaks from the White House became a steady downpour, President Trump delivered a characteristically meandering address to the Conservative Political Action Conference, in February this year. Tucked into a library catalogue of complaints (against “bloodsucker consultants”, Obamacare and “bad dudes”) and compliments (for miners, Bernie voters, border police, and “really strong and really good” regulations), was a brief tirade against anonymous sources. “I’m against the people that make up stories and make up sources. They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out,” the President declared. “A source says that Donald Trump is a horrible, horrible human being. Let them say it to my face. Let there be no more sources.”

      The President’s remarks, and his subsequent sustained and vitriolic attacks on the news media, reveal as much about the severity of his personality flaws as they do about his dangerous disregard for an independent and pluralistic media. But they also suggested a more fundamental contestation of a key pillar of democratic and human rights-respecting societies – the right to anonymity.

    • Why are Nazis so afraid of clowns?

      “White power!” the neo-Nazi group shouted, and the clowns pretended they finally understood their mistake. “Oh, white flowers!” they cried out, handing white flowers to passersby, including some of the neo-Nazis themselves.

      “White power!” they yelled again. “Tight shower?” the clowns called back, holding a shower head in the air and crowding together in a ridiculous attempt to follow the directions of the white supremacist group.

      They tried once more: “White power!” And the female clowns exclaimed, as though they finally understood, “Wife power!” raising letters in the air to spell out the words and hoisting the male clowns in the air, running around and carrying them in their arms.

    • Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Get It

      In the first hundred pages of What Happened, Hillary Clinton writes that she decided to run for office during a vacation with the designer Oscar de la Renta and that when she lost she received an invitation from George W. Bush to get burgers. These bookends are an early sign that there is something amiss in this much-anticipated tell-all of the 2016 campaign, which attempts—and fails—to offer a diagnosis of how Clinton lost an election to the most unqualified and most loathed presidential candidate in modern history. These anecdotes suggest a fatal lack of awareness, an inability to see that she and her party may have grown out of touch. To the contrary, she says. She was the victim of forces beyond her control. Journalists, Russia, Bernie Sanders: These are a few of her least favorite things.

    • Catalonia referendum: Spanish state poised to seize Catalan finances

      The Spanish government has given the regional government in Catalonia 48 hours to abandon “illegal” referendum plans or lose budgetary powers.

      Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro said a mechanism had been approved for the state to take control of the autonomous region’s finances.

      Madrid is seeking to stop the Catalan government spending public money on its planned independence referendum.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • The NSA’s 12-Year Struggle to Follow the Law

      This spring, the government announced a change to the way the National Security Agency collects information targeting foreigners, using the telecom backbone in what it calls “upstream” collection. Whereas for 10 years, the agency had sucked up communications mentioning a target’s selector—say, collecting all emails sent to someone in this country that include Osama bin Laden’s phone number in the body of the email—in April it stopped doing so domestically (though it will still do tons of it in collection overseas).

    • NSA spied on illegal downloaders until it realised they were only using streaming software to share Britney Spears tunes, documents reveal
    • The NSA was snooping on your early-2000s Kazaa downloads, probably

      A NEW CACHE of Edward Snowden documents have revealed that the NSA was actively monitoring file-sharing networks more than 12 years ago.

      According to a report at The Intercept, the NSA formed a research group dedicated to studying peer-to-peer internet traffic, via apps including LimeWire, eDonkey, Kazaa and BitTorrent, to see if it could find valuable intelligence by monitoring such activity.

      “One question that naturally arises after identifying file-sharing traffic is whether or not there is anything of intelligence value in this traffic,” the NSA document begins.

      “By searching our collection databases, it is clear that many targets are using popular file sharing applications; but if they are merely sharing the latest release of their favourite pop star, this traffic is of dubious value (no offence to Britney Spears intended).”

    • NSA once spied on your *NSYNC downloads from Kazaa

      A nostalgic new cache of Edward Snowden files shows the National Security Agency (NSA) has been snooping online for a lot longer than you may think. While you were listening to Enya on your state-of-the-art iPod, the agency was looking into peer-to-peer encryption sites like Napster, Limewire and Kazaa, according to a report by The Intercept. Its crowning achievement was to crack the encryption used by at least two sites, Kazaa and eDonkey, exposing search queries and shared files.

    • Global campaign on intelligence sharing

      Yestarday, Privacy International, FIDH, LDH and La Quadrature du Net have written to the French surveillance oversight bodies (the CNCTR – Commission nationale de contrôle des techniques de renseignement – and the Délégation parlementaire au renseignement) in the context of a global campaign for greater transparency around secretive intelligence sharing activities between governments. We publish here the press release issued yesterday by Privacy International.

      Privacy International, in partnership with 30+ national human rights organisations, has today written to national intelligence oversight bodies in over 40 countries seeking information on the intelligence sharing activities of their governments.

      Countries may use secret intelligence sharing arrangements to circumvent international and domestic rules on direct surveillance. These arrangements can also lead to the exchange of information that can facilitate human rights abuses, particularly in countries with poor human rights records or weak rule of law.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • ‘Undocumented Immigrants Are Constantly Used as a Bargaining Chip’

      Now there are thousands of people marching in the street across the country in support of the immigration program DACA—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Democratic lawmakers are speaking out in support, thus demonstrating what the Washington Post called a “lurch to the left,” and corporate media are presenting a clear for-and-against battle over the program that allowed some 800,000 people who came to the US as children to legally work, drive and travel outside the country.

      But if the “against” argument is obvious, and obviously bogus—they’re criminals who steal jobs while somehow simultaneously draining welfare—the argument of supporters and recipients is not always especially thoughtfully explored. Tina Vasquez is the immigration reporter at Rewire. She joins us now by phone from North Carolina. Welcome to CounterSpin, Tina Vasquez.

    • My Police Department Vowed to ‘Get Rid’ of Me After I Had My Son, so I Fought Back for Other Female Officers

      I loved my job in law enforcement, but I was demeaned, demoted, and discriminated against for choosing to be a mom. I was a police officer and investigator with the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force for five years before I was pushed off the job for breastfeeding my son.

      In that time I worked my way up in the force, starting as a patrol officer and eventually becoming an undercover agent and training officer. Fewer than ten percent of officers work undercover and train recruits. These were competitive positions and promotions that I worked hard to earn.

      I grew up wanting to help people and decided that becoming a police officer was how I would protect my community. In my hometown of Tuscaloosa, I had witnessed firsthand how prescription drug addiction was killing people and ruining lives. I wanted to help.

    • Judge in Arpaio Case Wants to Hear Arguments Before Vacating Former Sheriff’s Conviction

      When the Founding Fathers created the presidential pardon power, they likely had a few ideas about how that authority could be used. Clemency might be granted in a show of mercy, or to undo a miscarriage of justice. Or maybe the president would want to pardon anti-government rebels in an attempt to restore peace to the republic, much like President Andrew Johnson would do after the Civil War.

      But what the founders could not possibly have envisioned was that a president would pardon an elected official for ignoring a court order to stop violating constitutional protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Those rights, after all, did not exist until two years after the Constitution came into force.

      Or so goes the argument by civil rights groups that say, for this reason, that President Donald Trump’s controversial pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio cannot stand.

    • DiEM25: A historic moment for the international progressive movement?

      DiEM25 needs to create a Janus-faced, progressive union out of the cooperation of every individual – individuals who in turn need to willingly relax their egos for the bigger cause.

      [...]

      The pragmatists think of DiEM25 as a practising political organisation, and therefore wish to support policies and parties that already have acquired wider support — in the way Momentum has supported Jeremy Corbyn lately, DiEM25 should for example advocate a reconsideration of Brexit. In addition, they would prefer to develop concrete policies such as the European New Deal, and they want to take these policies to the ballot box themselves, or even better: get politicians elected to implement them. Without such a visible electoral politics, DiEM25 would be exclusively confined to exerting its influence through a European demos, or populace, which does not yet seem to exist.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • FCC’s New Diversity Chair Lobbied Against Net Neutrality and Services for Minority Communities

      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has selected Julia Johnson, president of a consulting firm called NetCommunications, to lead the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment, a group Pai said he established to champion the voice of every American, “no matter their race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.”

      Despite the laudatory title and mission of the diversity committee, Johnson is a consultant who perfectly embodies the corporations-first agenda of President Donald Trump’s FCC.

      Johnson has long worked on behalf of industry groups seeking to undermine consumer regulations and promote the interests of large corporate clients.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • We’re Asking the Copyright Office to Protect Your Right To Remix, Study, and Tinker With Digital Devices and Media

        Who controls your digital devices and media? If it’s not you, why not? EFF has filed new petitions with the Copyright Office to give those in the United States protection against legal threats when you take control of your devices and media. We’re also seeking broader, better protection for security researchers and video creators against threats from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

        DMCA 1201 is a deeply flawed and unconstitutional law. It bans “circumvention” of access controls on copyrighted works, including software, and bans making or distributing tools that circumvent such digital locks. In effect, it lets hardware and software makers, along with major entertainment companies, control how your digital devices are allowed to function and how you can use digital media. It creates legal risks for security researchers, repair shops, artists, and technology users.

More in Tux Machines

GNU/Linux, Docker Gain in Rented Space

LibreOffice Help From FSF, Mike Saunders

  • New FSF membership benefit: LibreOffice certification
    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced that the opportunity to apply for LibreOffice certification for migrations and trainings is now available to FSF Associate Members. LibreOffice is a free software project of The Document Foundation (TDF), a non-profit based in Germany. An office suite, LibreOffice encompasses word processing, and programs for the creation and editing of spreadsheets, slideshows, databases, diagrams and drawings, and mathematical formulae. It uses the ISO standard OpenDocument file format (ODF).
  • Marketing activities so far in 2017: Mike Saunders
    Thanks to donations to The Document Foundation, along with valued contributions from our community, we maintain a small team working on various aspects of LibreOffice including documentation, user interface design, quality assurance, release engineering and marketing. Together with Italo Vignoli, I help with the latter, and today I’ll summarise some of the achievements so far in 2017.

Debian/Ubuntu: Q4OS, Ubuntu Dock and LXD Weekly Status Update

  • There's Now a Windows 10 Installer for the Debian-Based Q4OS Linux Distribution
    The Q4OS development team is pleased to inform us today about the immediate availability for download of a Windows installer for their Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution, Q4OS, allowing users to create a dual-boot environment on their PCs. For those not familiar to Q4OS, it's an open-source and free Linux distro based on the popular Debian GNU/Linux operating system and built around the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE), which resembles the look and feel of the old-school KDE 3.5 desktop environment. Created with an emphasis on Windows users who want to migrate to a free, open-source, and more secure operating system, Q4OS now lets them install the distribution alongside Microsoft Windows in an easy manner, without having to do any modifications to your personal computer or install any other apps.
  • Ubuntu Dock Now Has Dynamic Transparency
    Ubuntu devs have listened to our gripe on the jarring contrast between GNOME 3.26's transparent top bar and the Ubuntu Dock.
  • Ubuntu Dock Features Adaptive Transparency on Ubuntu 17.10, Here's How It Works
    Ubuntu contributor Didier Roche continues his development on the look and feel of the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system, and today he announced that Ubuntu Dock is getting adaptive transparency. Canonical confirmed that Ubuntu 17.10 would come with the GNOME 3.26 desktop environment by default, though the default session has suffered numerous modifications compared to the vanilla one to make things easier for those using the Unity interface on Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus). Most probably, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS users won't upgrade to Ubuntu 17.10, but we're sure Ubuntu 17.04 users will because it'll reach end of life in about four months from the moment of writing, sometime in January 2018. Therefore, Canonical wants to make their Unity to GNOME transition as painless as possible.
  • LXD: Weekly Status #15
    This week has been pretty quiet as far as upstream changes since half the team was attending the Open Source Summity, the Linux Plumbers Conference and the Linux Security Summit in Los Angeles, California.

Events: KDE/Randa 2017 and Linux Foundation

  • KMyMoney’s Łukasz Wojniłowicz in Randa
    Please read the following guest post from Łukasz who joined me last week in Randa to work on KMyMoney.
  • Randa 2017 – Databases are back to KMyMoney
    On the morning of Day 5 we chased and fixed a problem that was introduced a long time ago but never caused any trouble. The code goes back into the KDE3 version of KMyMoney and was caused by some changes inside Qt5. The fix prevents a crash when saving a transaction which opens an additional dialog to gather more information (e.g. price information). With the help of other devs here in Randa, we were able to drill down the problem and update the code to work on KF5/Qt5 keeping the existing functionality.
  • Randa 2017 – Days 3 and 4
    On Day 3, we started out at 7:02 as usual with the team responsible for breakfast meeting in the kitchen. KMyMoney wise, we worked some more on keyboard navigation and porting to KF5. The dialog to open a database and the logic around it have been rewritten/fixed, so that it is now possible to collect the information from the user and proceed with opening. The database I have on file for testing does not open though due to another problem which I still need to investigate.
  • Watch the Keynote Videos from Open Source Summit in Los Angeles
    If you weren’t able to attend Open Source Summit North America 2017 in Los Angeles, don’t worry! We’ve rounded up the following keynote presentations so you can hear from the experts about the growing impact of open source software.
  • uniprof: Transparent Unikernel for Performance Profiling and Debugging
    Unikernels are small and fast and give Docker a run for its money, while at the same time still giving stronger features of isolation, says Florian Schmidt, a researcher at NEC Europe, who has developed uniprof, a unikernel performance profiler that can also be used for debugging. Schmidt explained more in his presentation at Xen Summit in Budapest in July. Most developers think that unikernels are hard to create and debug. This is not entirely true: Unikernels are a single linked binary that come with a shared address space, which mean you can use gdb. That said, developers do lack tools, such as effective profilers, that would help create and maintain unikernels.