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Links 27/4/2014: US Troops in Lithuania, Clinton Disses Snowden

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 free open source and web alternatives to commercial software

    Adobe Photoshop is considered to be the ultimate photo editor. Certainly it’s great, but it can be replaced. We all heard about GIMP and if you wonder “Can it compete with Photoshop?”, the answer is “Yes.” It may require some adjustments, you’ll need a separate converter for RAWs and some time to get used to its shortcuts, but ultimately you can switch to GIMP. No subscription required – it’s free, powerful and cross-platform.

  • Events

    • LinuxFest Northwest 2014 Day 0

      The trip was rather uneventful… except Gary decided to bypass Seattle and take a much more scenic router that goes through a quaint town named Leavenworth, Washington. What’s quaint about it? Well, Leavenworth is styled after a Bavarian village. How can you tell that? Well the buildings on the road through town all look like they are in the Alps or something. The lettering used on all of the business signs is in some kind of weird font that is obviously somehow mandated by the place… since even the big box stores and fast food chains have altered signage that uses the city font. Really… even Napa and McDonald’s don’t look quite right. It was definitely a pretty route with quite a bit of snow in the mountains with occational streams flowing down… (the road followed) a winding river much of the way… and apple orchards. The spead limit was 60 MPH but there was very little traffic and we hit the Seattle area just North of Everett I believe… so even when we got on the 6 lane highway, it wasn’t that crowded. It difinitely made for a much more pleasant trip. Gary took the same route home last year but this is the first time we took it on the way up.

    • OSI Sponsors International Competition in Free and Open Source Software Multimedia

      The OSI is thrilled to announce the launch of the International Competition in Free and Open Source Software Multimedia (ICOM). Organized by the Sena Primary School (SK Sena), Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) along with the state government of Perlis, Malaysia and the Ministry of Education Malaysia the video competition is open to students from around the world: from primary school children to those attending institutions of higher learning. The main objectives of ICOM are as follows:

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Report: Public and PaaS Cloud Markets are Poised for Hypergrowth

      It’s no secret that cloud computing is one of the hottest trends in all of technology. Microsoft’s upbeat earnings report this week was partly driven by success in the cloud, and companies like Red Hat are organizing their whole business strategies around open source cloud computing platforms like OpenStack. Forrester Research is out with a new report that puts some numbers on the hypergrowth being seen in the cloud arena. Among other forecasts, the report predicts that the global public cloud market will hit $191 billion by 2020. To put that in perspective, Forrester reported that the public cloud market was at $58 billion as of the end of last year.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Healthcare

    • Health Works With FLOSS

      There are reasons FLOSS works in health. There’s no lower-cost, no more reliable and no more flexible model for software in IT.

  • Business

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source core of Warsaw hospital e-health system

      Open source delivers safe, efficient and modern e-health services to Warsaw’s university hospital. Its integrated medical system is based completely on open source and, according to project leader and medical specialist Radosław Rzepka, is shaping the future of Poland’s medical databases.

    • Spanish hospitals test open source data portal

      Spain’s largest hospital chain, Quirón, will be piloting a portal based on the Openstack open source cloud computing solution, to provide patients with access to their radiology data. The pilot is one part of a three-year research project called Coco Cloud, which in 2013 received a 2.8 million euro grant from the European Commission’s FP7 funding programme. Some of the requirements for the secure cloud-computing environment will be formulated by Italy’s governmental ICT resource centre, the Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale (AGID).

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Science

  • Security

    • New Internet Explorer 0-day [Back door with no fix]

      Microsoft just published security advisory 2963983 which acknowleges limited exploits against a 0-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer (IE). The vulnerability CVE-2014-1776 affects all versions of IE starting with version 6 and including version 11, but the currently active attacks are targeting IE9, IE10 and IE11. The attack vector is a malicious web page that the targeted user has to access with one of the affected browsers.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Four ways the Ukraine crisis could escalate out of control to use of nuclear weapons

      Improbable it may seem, but doctrine and capabilities exist on both sides that could lead to nuclear use in a confrontation over Ukraine.

    • Killed by mistake

      According to a report by veteran journalists Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, the US Military and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are increasingly relying on artificial intelligence powered by the National Security Agency (NSA) for electronic surveillance and assassination of suspected militants in Pakistan’s northern areas.

    • A legal way to kill?

      When President Obama decided sometime during his first term that he wanted to be able to use unmanned aerial drones in foreign lands to kill people — including Americans — he instructed Attorney General Eric H. Holder to find a way to make it legal, despite the absolute prohibition on governmental extrajudicial killing in federal and state laws and in the Constitution itself.

    • U.S. drones continue to kill civilians instead of al-Qaeda

      The identification of the dead revealed that non-Yemeni Arab fighters were also among those killed.
      The U.S. hasn’t commented on the strikes, but reports say that the U.S. carried out the drone offensive based on intelligence inputs from Saudi Arabia.

    • Panel on Drone Warfare Opens Discussion

      Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone noted in a 2012 article that there is a much larger concern: transparency.

    • Report claims Eric Holder approved drone strike against Bundy ranch

      On Friday, John Jacob Schmidt of Radio Free Redoubt said that according to Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, Attorney General Eric Holder has approved drone strikes against the Bundy ranch to take place some time in the next 48 hours. According to Schmidt, the information came from a source Oath Keepers has within the Department of Defense.

    • Congress should outlaw drone strikes

      Drones are like vigilantes or lynching parties — lawless and cowardly. They use brute power to kill the powerless. The powerful choose who is right and who is wrong; the powerless have no ability to defend themselves with arms or due process. Oh, sometimes the killers make mistakes, but their intentions are pure, aren’t they?

    • FOIA win against government on drones

      The enormous increase in public attention to the drone war in the past year arguably began with the leak of a Justice Department “white paper” laying out the legal rationale for killing a US citizen who’d joined Al Qaeda. A few months later, President Obama gave a major speech in which described the government’s criteria for going after suspected terrorists beyond the war in Afghanistan. The administration also released the names of four US citizens who had been killed in drone strikes. Among them was Anwar Al Awlaki, the New Mexico-born cleric who died in Yemen in September 2011. – See more at: http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/foia_win_against_government_on.php#sthash.3j2nJQXo.dpuf

    • New Hampshire Drone Bill Shot Down in Senate

      After two years of legislative work, a bill that would restrict the use of commercial drones was effectively killed by the Senate Thursday.

    • What Happened When The U.S. Dropped Drones On Al-Qaeda In Yemen This Weekend

      As with much of the past three days, it is unclear which U.S. agencies or departments took part in the raids.

    • The real terrorists

      I think this message should be sent to our commanders who allow drones to fly over villages, terrorizing the people there, who never know if or when the next bomb is falling on their house, whom it is killing next. People who come home to find pieces of their loved ones in the ruin of their house, killed by a drone; people whose crime is to be living in the wrong place, it seems.

    • Israel’s Remote Occupation: Women Drone Jockeys Kill Gazans Remotely
    • Human Rights Watch Calls on Israel to Stop Shooting at Gaza Civilians
    • Israel: Stop Shooting at Gaza Civilians
    • America’s “exceptional” reality

      “We own the finish line!” Our Vice President was saying that America owns the world. That “God” is on our side, marching in lockstep with our troops. That America is exceptional, and superior, and the envy of other nations. Like a “city set on a hill.” Biden embodies America’s delusionary—and destructive–“exceptional” reality.

    • Panetta: America’s greatest threat is from within

    • Ex-CIA boss: Biggest US dangers are within
    • MSNBC’s Chris Hayes calls Bundy ranch supporters ‘insurgents’

      The propaganda effort to demonize anyone to the right of Josef Stalin continues, as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes called supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy “insurgents,” Paul Joseph Watson said at Infowars Tuesday. Hayes and his guests spent about 15 minutes in what was clearly a propaganda effort designed to marginalize Bundy supporters and certain alternate media outlets as fringe kooks.

    • Do you really want an increased presence of US troops, armaments?

      National democratic activists, the bloc usually lumped by mainstream press as ‘the Left,’ have declared the entire week that US President Barack Obama is in Asia as “National Sovereignty and Patrimony Week” in the Philippines (22-30 April). They propose to discuss and challenge what they call as “heightening US intervention, increasing presence of US and allied foreign troops, intensifying foreign economic plunder and worsening puppetry of the Aquino regime to the US government.”

    • Obama’s Syrian cyberwar conundrum

      But President Barack Obama appears to have taken the option of cyber attacks off the table. The reason: the United States is vulnerable to counterstrikes.

    • U.S. can’t have it both ways on drone killings

      Furthermore, the people of this country have the right to understand how the administration constitutionally justifies the killing of one of its citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki, in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.

    • President Obama’s targeted kill list takes a hit

      In a victory for transparency, opponents of the President’s veil of secrecy over drone killings has been partially lifted by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeal’s opinion filed on Monday in New York Times v. Departments of Justice (DOJ), Defense (DoD), and the CIA (Case Nos. 13-422 and 13-445).

    • CIA ‘torture’ methods included these 21 songs, artists
    • CIA Arms and Trains Syria Rebels Through Secret Jordan Programme

      The United States is siphoning weapons and providing combat training to moderate Syria rebels via a secret Central Intelligence Agency programme in Jordan.

      Growing US involvement has been propelled by continued strikes on rebel strongholds by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

    • CIA “secretly” providing arms to Syrian rebels and terrorists

      Among the terrorists groups directly and indirectly affiliated with the Syrian rebels, and possibly benefiting from US support include the following:

      1) Al-Nusra Front (ANF), an Al-Qaeda associate operating in Syria.

      ANF – has been described as “the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force”. This group has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations, the United States (see article: US blacklists Syrian rebel group al-Nusra http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/12/2012121117048117723.html) , Australia, and the United Kingdom.

      Abu Mohammad al-Golani, the current leader of ANF, has confirmed the ANF’s allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. By May 2013, a faction of ANF declared its loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

    • Senate Report Confirms Ethical Breaches of Health Professionals in CIA Torture Program

      Physicians for Human Rights Calls for Public Reckoning on U.S. Violations of the Convention Against Torture

    • New Report on CIA Torture Expected to Be Declassified
    • CIA Acts In Syria, Slipping Weapons To Rebels In Secret
    • CIA Is Quietly Ramping Up Aid To Syrian Rebels, Sources Say
    • Agents of Destabilization in Venezuela: The Dirty Hand of the National Endowment for Democracy

      Anti-government protests in Venezuela that seek regime change have been led by several individuals and organizations with close ties to the US government. Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado- two of the public leaders behind the violent protests that started in February – have long histories as collaborators, grantees and agents of Washington. The National Endowment for Democracy “NED” and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have channeled multi-million dollar funding to Lopez’s political parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, and Machado’s NGO Sumate and her electoral campaigns.

    • Op-Ed: New Wikileaks cable shows the immorality of the U.S. government

      Inspected by US and Iraqi forces since late 2005, Site 4 is a detention facility operated by the Iraqi National Police, which according to the cable is overcrowded, with little running water, and sewage spills. In one inspection of the facility, prisoners told the inspectors cases of abuse, rape, and molestation. The gravest of the crimes was children, held illegally in the jail, informing investigators they were anally raped, beaten, and forced to perform oral sex on interrogators.

    • US Troops Arrive In Lithuania Amid Ukraine Tensions

      The United States deployed 150 paratroopers to Lithuania today, part of efforts by Washington to reassure its eastern European allies, worried by events in Ukraine, that NATO would offer protection if they face Russian aggression.

      A total of 600 US troops are to be deployed to Poland and the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for infantry exercises. They are expected to remain in the region on rotation until the end of the year.

    • US brings Europe to Brink of War over Ukraine – Intentionally

      The situation in Ukraine continues escalating. A military operation against pro-reform protesters in southeastern Ukraine, launched by Kiev, is tearing the country apart and forced Russia’s move to heighten security at its border. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, threatens that “the window to change course is closing” while additional troops are deployed to Lithuania. Using discredited “evidence” prompts some observers to doubt Kerry’s “wisdom”. Don’t, said a German analyst who reiterates that the US is systematically pushing Europe into a crisis for which the US has planned for decades.

    • Defending economic sovereignty

      The US pivot to Asia, which is the raison d’etre for the entire visit, is, after all, not just about shifting its military weight closer to China. It also involves repairing and reinforcing its economic and political alliances in the region and creating more favorable conditions for furthering the neoliberal agenda to arrest its own deep crisis and overall decline.

    • British helicopter crash: Five UK troops killed as Taliban claims responsibility for Afghanistan attack

      Ahmad Zia Durrani, a spokesman for the Kandahar police chief’s office, said the helicopter was on a “training flight” and that it was unclear why it crashed.

    • Ecuador expels US group at embassy

      Ecuador has ordered the U.S. Embassy’s military group, about 20 Defense Department employees, to leave the country by month’s end, in a further indication of strained relations.

      The group was ordered to halt operations in Ecuador in a letter dated April 7, the U.S. Embassy confirmed Friday.

    • Ecuador expels US officers, cancels military program

      Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has ordered all US military officers to leave the country by the end of month and canceled a security cooperation program with the Pentagon, US officials said on Friday.

    • Pentagon staff heeds Ecuador’s wish to leave

      Ecuador has ordered the U.S. Embassy’s military group, about 20 Defense Department employees, to leave the country by month’s end, in a further indication of strained relations.

    • Assange stakeout costs Londoners $9 mn
    • Scotland Yard runs up huge bill for keeping an eye on Assange

      Scotland Yard has run up a “ludicrous” bill of £6 million (Dh37 million) patrolling outside an embassy in London since Julian Assange sought refuge there two years ago.

      Police are stationed day and night outside the Ecuadorian Embassy, racking up £1million in overtime alone, as they wait to arrest the WikiLeaks founder, who claimed asylum as he faced extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations.

    • Julian Assange Punches Out Priest On Easter Sunday

      The WikiLeaks founder met with boxing champion Solomon Egberime, then had a sparring match with Father David Smith (a.k.a. ‘Fighting’ Father Dave), his team tells The Huffington Post. Smith describes himself on Twitter as a professional boxer, 6th degree black belt and social activist (as well as an Anglican parish priest).

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Simon Ostrovsky

      But none of my interview was shown in the programme, nor was I mentioned. Instead a New Labour minister was interviewed and he was allowed to say, unchallenged, that the film was absolutely shocking and the British government had no prior idea this was happening; they would now look into it etc. Needless to say they still did nothing, nor has anything ever been done to have child slave cotton banned from the UK. Why do you think Primark is so cheap?

    • Big Tech Companies Agree To Pay Up Over Hiring Collusion

      Last month, we pointed out that Google, Apple, Adobe and Intel would almost certainly settle, rather than face an ongoing lawsuit concerning their collusive hiring practices, in which they promised not to poach employees from one another in an effort to keep employees longer and (more importantly for them) to keep salaries down. That has now come to pass, with the four companies agreeing to pay out $324 million to settle the charges. This is good. As we noted in our original story, the hiring collusion was shameful and, worse, antithetical to the kind of job shifting and idea sharing that helped make Silicon Valley into Silicon Valley.

    • From colonialism to new-colonialism

      The relationship between advanced economies and their developing counterparts is complex. Human rights and working conditions in emerging nations, where many products consumed in developed countries are made, have been debated for many years. The contours of the Rana Plaza accident that killed 1,100 people, which I discussed yesterday*, the first anniversary of the tragedy, captured the key issues of that debate. But none of it is new. Its origins lie in the colonial past.

    • ‘Happy Days’ no more: Middle-class families squeezed as expenses soar, wages stall

      On a routine drive to the beauty salon, Robin Johnson had one of those life-happens moments: Her 13-year-old Durango, with 200,000 miles on the odometer, overheated and started sputtering. Convinced that the car was on its last legs, Robin and Scott Johnson scrutinized their already-tight family budget, looking for a way to fit in car payments.

    • I’m a Whistleblower: Want Fries with That?

      At age 53, everything changed. Following my whistleblowing first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, I was run out of the good job I had held for more than 20 years with the U.S. Department of State. As one of its threats, State also took aim at the pension and benefits I’d earned, even as it forced me into retirement. Would my family and I lose everything I’d worked for as part of the retaliation campaign State was waging? I was worried. That pension was the thing I’d counted on to provide for us and it remained in jeopardy for many months. I was scared.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Remote storage disservice

      Microsoft’s remote storage disservice, OneDrive, has been caught inserting modifications into code in some of the files users store there.

      Although this has not been reported about any other remote storage disservice, any of them could start doing this, which means you would be a fool to trust them with anything other than checksummed files.

      All of these disservices spy on their users, and that is plenty of reason to reject them, for anything other than encrypted (and checksummed) files. In order for the encryption to be trustworthy, you need to do it on your own computer with free software.

      Services provided by network servers can raise several different ethical issues, including nonfree client-side JavaScript (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/javascript-trap.html), surveillance (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/surveillance-vs-democracy.html), and SaaSS (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/who-does-that-server-really-serve.html). Whether any of these problems applies depends on the facts.

      The purpose of the marketing buzzword “cloud” is to encourage you to disregard the facts and not judge. Don’t let them “cloud” your mind: reject the term “cloud”.

    • The revolving door between Google and the Department of Defense
    • OwnCloud, an open source alternative to DropBox

      My previous two posts were about the angst of privileged middle classes. I wrote first about the middle class habit of moving into the catchment area for good schools. Then I excused our tendency to maintain a less-than ethical existence. Untrained eyes could be forgiven for mistaking my motives in writing these posts. Am I not simply trying to assuage my own guilt at doing precisely those things?

    • WATCH: Hillary Clinton Blasts Edward Snowden for Fleeing to Russia and Chin

      Hillary Clinton didn’t have to directly deal with Edward Snowden’s leaks when she was secretary of state. Clinton had already stepped down from her post by the time the Guardian published its first revelations on the expansive scope of spying by the National Security Agency. But at an event at the University of Connecticut on Wednesday night, Clinton made it clear that she’s no fan of the NSA leaker, insinuating that Snowden had cooperated with countries hostile to the United States and unintentionally aided terrorist organizations. “I don’t understand why he couldn’t have been part of the debate at home,” she said.

    • Verizon Challenged the NSA’s Phone Data Collection Program and Lost

      One of the phone companies participating in the US National Security Agency’s call data collection program challenged its legality before the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court early this year. But according to newly declassified court filings, that challenge was rejected.

    • Full Show: Disband The NSA

      Shahid Buttar, the Executive Director of The Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance sit down with host Dennis Trainor, Jr. in this episode of Acronym TV to discuss, among other things…

    • NSA internal documents lays down US surveillance practices

      The NSA document is very clear about data collection or surveillance of U.S. citizens living in foreign country.

    • NSA’s Utah Data Center using less water than thought — so far
    • The Canadian Government’s ‘Secure’ Phones Come Straight from the NSA

      “World leaders may be fretting over whether the NSA bugged their phones, but Canadian government officials aren’t particularly worried—they bought theirs directly from the agency. A survey of procurement records kept on public government websites reveals that Canada has spent over $50 million purchasing a bevy of secure communications equipment from the largest branch of the American intelligence community.”

    • Canada Bought NSA Telecom Equipment To The Tune Of $50 Million-Plus: Report
    • Campus Activism Against NSA Spying is Growing Fast

      EFF has been on the road, traveling to cities and towns across the country to bring our message of digital rights and reform to community and student groups.

      And while we had the tremendous opportunity to talk about our work and our two lawsuits against the NSA, the best part of the trip was learning about all of the inspiring and transformative activism happening everyday on the local level to combat government surveillance and defend our digital rights.

      We met students and professors in Eugene, Oregon who held a campus-wide digital rights event at the University of Oregon. There, students had the opportunity to unpack their campus privacy policy, download and learn freedom-enhancing software, and explore their library’s open access initiative.

    • The NSA Comes Home: Police Departments Conceal Phone Tracking Equipment From Courts

      The intricate surveillance equipment used by the federal government to track and store the cellphone data of millions of people and to monitor terrorism suspects is making its way to Main Street.

    • Hillary Clinton Mocks Snowden, Displays Her Ignorance When It Comes to Whistleblowers

      Both Obama and now Clinton want the public to overlook the administration’s history of support for spying, as presented by The New York Times, prior to the disclosures. Obama aides anonymously told the Times that the president had been “surprised to learn after the leaks…just how far the surveillance had gone.” The administration fought groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in the courts as they tried to convince judges to release documents that would at minimum confirm the secret legal interpretations of surveillance authorities under the law. So, it is fraudulent for Obama, Clinton or any other politician to claim to Americans that the White House was about to bring transparency and promote debate on government surveillance.

    • More Internet than the Internet

      An experimental ‘mesh network’ in Tunisia aims to curtail government spying. The project has a surprising backer – the U.S. State Department

    • Putin calls internet a ‘CIA project’ renewing fears of web breakup
  • Civil Rights

    • Indiana adopts protections from warrantless searches

      Indiana state lawmakers have taken steps to improve privacy protections for people by restricting police collection of cellphone data.

      Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill into law prohibiting police from searching cellphones during routine traffic stops without a search warrant.

    • The Money Behind Fox’s Promotion Of Cliven Bundy’s Battle With The Feds

      Right-wing media have been rushing to distance themselves from the Nevada rancher they’ve spent weeks championing after Cliven Bundy revealed his racist worldview, but two of Bundy’s biggest cheerleaders — Sean Hannity and Fox News — have vested corporate, financial, and political interests in the promotion of Cliven Bundy’s anti-government land ownership agenda.

    • Former DHS Watchdog, A Tyrant, Failure And Alleged Felon, ‘Punished’ With Transfer To Another Government Agency

      Good news, Americans! The former “top watchdog” for the Department of Homeland Security, Charles K. Edwards, was an incredibly perverse blend of crooked and spineless and yet we still managed to avoid being terrorized to death during his run as Inspector General (2011-2013). That’s the resilience of the American public. Even while the agency was being bumblefucked into (even greater) uselessness, those who hate us for our way of life (which now includes drone strikes, neverending military ‘interventions’ and the constant watching of damn near everybody) were unable to find a way to maneuver around the “security” “provided” by the DHS.

    • New Lawsuit Claims FBI Used No Fly List To Pressure Muslims Into Becoming Informants
    • Switzerland-Cuba Association Decries Zunzuneo Subversive Project

      The Switzerland-Cuba association Geneva’s section condemned the secret program of the United States Agency for International Assistance (USAID), called Zunzuneo, which was targeted at boosting subversion and destabilization in the Caribbean country.

      It is evident that the US government does not give up its effort to destroy the Cuban Revolution, if necessary by the flagrant violation of the national legislation, and the international regulations, noted the organization in a communique released today.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Netflix accuses Comcast of charging twice for the same internet content

      When Netflix opposed Comcast’s looming merger with Time Warner Cable on Monday, the streaming video company did so by raising net neutrality concerns. It argued that Comcast could use its newfound power to charge a toll for content that might compete with its own video offerings — a toll like the one that Netflix already found itself paying to improve the quality of streaming for Comcast customers. Comcast wasn’t too happy about that, of course, firing back that it was Netflix’s decision to cut out the middleman and work directly with Comcast to speed things up, and that the fee is standard practice for companies that offer “transit service” to quickly move data between networks.

    • Creating a Two-Speed Internet

      Dividing traffic on the Internet into fast and slow lanes is exactly what the Federal Communications Commission would do with its proposed …

    • FCC Proposal Angers Net Neutrality Proponents

      FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says new proposed rules will protect competition, while consumer advocates call them an “insult” to the open Internet.

    • Is FCC the solution for net neutrality?

      The problem is that ISP’s are more than capable of increasing speeds in the U.S., but choose not to so they can gouge consumers for more money. For those who are in areas that offer Google Fiber, have you noticed how prices have mysteriously dropped and services have improved on the part of the competition?

    • The FCC’s “fast lane” rule is awful for the Internet—just ask the FCC

      The proposal would formalize pay-for-play arrangements in which streaming video companies and other types of Web services pay Internet service providers for a faster path to consumers over the “last mile” of the network.

    • Verizon Knows You’re A Sucker: Takes Taxpayer Subsidies For Broadband, Doesn’t Deliver, Lobbies To Drop Requirements

      Ten years ago (!?!) we wrote about how Verizon conned Pennsylvania taxpayers out of billions of dollars. Verizon predecessor Bell Atlantic had cut a deal with the state to wire up every home in the state with symmetrical fiber. That didn’t happen. And while Verizon’s former CEO Ivan Seidenberg did, in fact, make a big bet on fiber with FiOS, Wall Street hated it and kept punishing the company for daring to do something so stupid as investing in the future. This is a quarter-to-quarter world, and spending on capital improvements that would bulk up the entire economy over the long haul is not a bet that Wall Street folks want to make, since it doesn’t pay off in a few months. So, it was no surprise that once Seidenberg was out of the picture, it basically dropped all plans to expand FiOS — and then started looking to push its DSL users to cable providers, so it could focus on the wireless business instead.

    • The FCC Is About to Axe-Murder Net Neutrality — What You Should Know
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Stalemate: U.S. and Japan Fail to Advance Trade Talks

      President Obama recently wrapped up a meeting in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, where the leaders once again failed to make a breakthrough on their deadlock in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

      Obama and Abe have been in negotiations over Japan’s treatment of sensitive agricultural products, including rice, beef, pork, wheat, and dairy products, and over trade in automobiles — but a breakthrough is still out of reach. This lack of progress is just one of several indicators that the TPP is faltering, if not failing.

    • Copyrights

      • Ex-Wife Allegedly Using Copyright To Take Down Husband’s Suicide Note

        Via Silverscarcat we learn of an absolutely bizarre situation in which it appears that the ex-wife of a man who committed suicide late last year, is claiming copyright on his lengthy suicide letter in an attempt to get it taken offline entirely. It should be noted that all of the public information at this point is coming from websites that advocate for men’s rights in family courts (i.e., not quite a neutral third party), but it is true that original version of the letter has been removed from Scribd, and the reason stated is a copyright claim. The site A Voice for Men has refused to take the letter down, but provides the following explanation:

      • Economist Explains How Copyright Just Isn’t Working

        Alex Tabarrock, one of the contributors to Marginal Revolution (and associate professor of Economics at George Mason University) has often dealt with the subject of intellectual property from an economist’s perspective. Recently, he changed things up and posted about his personal experiences with the frustrations inherent to intellectual property laws. Dealing with copyright in practice is much, much more aggravating and ridiculous than dealing with it in theory.

      • RIAA Claims That It Is ‘Standing Up For’ Older Musicians That It Actually Left To Rot

        The RIAA is not exactly known for its positive treatment of musicians. If you’re at all familiar with the art of RIAA accounting, you’d know about how they structure deals to totally screw over musicians, doing everything possible to make sure they never get paid a dime. Yes, many are given advances, but those advances are “loans” on terrible terms in which the labels add on every possible expense that needs to be “paid back” before you ever see another dime. Very few musicians ever “recoup” — even after the labels have made back many times what they actually gave the artists. For the most succinct example of how the labels make out like bandits, profiting mightily while still telling artists they haven’t recouped, here’s Tim Quirk, who a few years back explained how it worked with his band, Too Much Joy (TMJ):

      • Criminal Conviction In South Africa For Posting A Movie To The Pirate Bay

        A few years ago, we wrote about an insanely aggressive anti-piracy campaign in South Africa, in which the local version of the RIAA (RISA) suggested people “shoot the pirate.” That hyperbolic and ultra-aggressive campaign resulted in some actual violence, when RISA sent a group of artists (armed with that slogan) onto the streets to “confront” counterfeit CD sellers. So, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to find out that a man in South Africa has been criminally convicted for posting a torrent for a local movie to the Pirate Bay, and given a suspended prison sentence.

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  1. Links 22/3/2019: Libinput 1.13 RC2 and Facebook's Latest Security Scandal

    Links for the day

  2. Why the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) Cannot Ignore Judges, Whereas the EPO Can (and Does)

    The European Patent Convention (EPC) ceased to matter, judges' interpretation of it no longer matters either; the EPO exploits this to grant hundreds of thousands of dodgy software patents, then trumpet "growth"

  3. The European Patent Office Needs to Put Lives Before Profits

    Patents that pertain to health have always posed an ethical dilemma; the EPO apparently tackled this dilemma by altogether ignoring the rights and needs of patients (in favour of large corporations that benefit financially from poor people's mortality)

  4. “Criminal Organisation”

    Brazil's ex-President, Temer, is arrested (like other former presidents of Brazil); will the EPO's ex-President Battistelli ever be arrested (now that he lacks diplomatic immunity and hides at CEIPI)?

  5. Links 21/3/2019: Wayland 1.17.0, Samba 4.10.0, OpenShot 2.4.4 and Zorin Beta

    Links for the day

  6. Team UPC (Unitary Patent) is a Headless Chicken

    Team UPC's propaganda about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has become so ridiculous that the pertinent firms do not wish to be identified

  7. António Campinos Makes Up Claims About Patent Quality, Only to be Rebutted by Examiners, Union (Anyone But the 'Puff Pieces' Industry)

    Battistelli's propagandistic style and self-serving 'studies' carry on; the notion of patent quality has been totally discarded and is nowadays lied about as facts get 'manufactured', then disseminated internally and externally

  8. Links 20/3/2019: Google Announces ‘Stadia’, Tails 3.13

    Links for the day

  9. CEN and CENELEC Agreement With the EPO Shows That It's Definitely the European Commission's 'Department'

    With headlines such as “EPO to collaborate on raising SEP awareness” it is clear to see that the Office lacks impartiality and the European Commission cannot pretend that the EPO is “dafür bin ich nicht zuständig” or “da kenne ich mich nicht aus”

  10. Decisions Made Inside the European Patent Organisation (EPO) Lack Credibility Because Examiners and Judges Lack Independence

    The lawless, merciless, Mafia-like culture left by Battistelli continues to haunt judges and examiners; how can one ever trust the Office (or the Organisation at large) to deliver true justice in adherence or compliance with the EPC?

  11. Team UPC Buries Its Credibility Deeper in the Grave

    The three Frenchmen at the top do not mention the UPC anymore; but those who promote it for a living (because they gambled on leveraging it for litigation galore) aren't giving up and in the process they perpetuate falsehoods

  12. The EPO Has Sadly Taken a Side and It's the Patent Trolls' Side

    Abandoning the whole rationale behind patents, the Office now led for almost a year by António Campinos prioritises neither science nor technology; it's all about granting as many patents (European monopolies) as possible for legal activity (applications, litigation and so on)

  13. Where the USPTO Stands on the Subject of Abstract Software Patents

    Not much is changing as we approach Easter and software patents are still fool's gold in the United States, no matter if they get granted or not

  14. Links 19/3/2019: Jetson/JetBot, Linux 5.0.3, Kodi Foundation Joins The Linux Foundation, and Firefox 66

    Links for the day

  15. Links 18/3/2019: Solus 4, Linux 5.1 RC1, Mesa 18.3.5, OSI Individual Member Election Won by Microsoft

    Links for the day

  16. Microsoft and Its Patent Trolls Continue Their Patent War, Including the War on Linux

    Microsoft is still preying on GNU/Linux using patents, notably software patents; it wants billions of dollars served on a silver platter in spite of claims that it reached a “truce” by joining the Open Invention Network and joining the LOT Network

  17. Director Iancu Generally Viewed as a Lapdog of Patent Trolls

    As Director of the Office, Mr. Iancu, a Trump appointee, not only fails to curb patent trolls; he actively defends them and he lowers barriers in order to better equip them with bogus patents that courts would reject (if the targets of extortion could afford a day in court)

  18. Links 17/3/2019: Google Console and IBM-Red Hat Merger Delay?

    Links for the day

  19. To Team UPC the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Has Become a Joke and the European Patent Office (EPO) Never Mentions It Anymore

    The EPO's frantic rally to the very bottom of patent quality may be celebrated by obedient media and patent law firms; to people who actually produce innovative things, however, this should be a worrisome trend and thankfully courts are getting in the way of this nefarious agenda; one of these courts is the FCC in Germany

  20. Links 16/3/2019: Knoppix Release and SUSE Independence

    Links for the day

  21. Stopping António Campinos and His Software Patents Agenda (Not Legal in Europe) Would Require Independent Courts

    Software patents continue to be granted (new tricks, loopholes and buzzwords) and judges who can put an end to that are being actively assaulted by those who aren't supposed to have any authority whatsoever over them (for decisions to be impartially delivered)

  22. The Linux Foundation Needs to Speak Out Against Microsoft's Ongoing (Continued) Patent Shakedown of OEMs That Ship Linux

    Zemlin actively thanks Microsoft while taking Microsoft money; he meanwhile ignores how Microsoft viciously attacks Linux using patents, revealing the degree to which his foundation, the “Linux Foundation” (not about Linux anymore, better described as Zemlin’s PAC), has been compromised

  23. Links 15/3/2019: Linux 5.0.2, Sublime Text 3.2

    Links for the day

  24. The EPO and the USPTO Are Granting Fake Patents on Software, Knowing That Courts Would Reject These

    Office management encourages applicants to send over patent applications that are laughable while depriving examiners the freedom and the time they need to reject these; it means that loads of bogus patents are being granted, enshrined as weapons that trolls can use to extort small companies outside the courtroom

  25. CommunityBridge is a Cynical Microsoft-Funded Effort to Show Zemlin Works for 'Community', Not Microsoft

    After disbanding community participation in the Board (but there are Microsoft staff on the Board now) the "Linux Foundation" (or Zemlin PAC) continues to take Microsoft money and polishes or launders that as "community"

  26. Links 14/3/2019: GNOME 3.32 and Mesa 19.0.0 Released

    Links for the day

  27. EPO 'Results' Are, As Usual, Not Measured Correctly

    The supranational monopoly, a monopoly-granting authority, is being used by António Campinos to grant an insane amount of monopolies whose merit is dubious and whose impact on Europe will be a net negative

  28. Good News Everyone! UPC Ready to Go... in 2015!

    Benoît Battistelli is no longer in Office and his fantasy (patent lawyers' fantasy) is as elusive as ever; Team UPC is trying to associate opposition to UPC with the far right (AfD) once again

  29. Links 13/3/2019: Plasma 5.15.3,Chrome 73 and Many LF Press Releases

    Links for the day

  30. In the Age of Trumpism EFF Needs to Repeatedly Remind Director Iancu That He is Not a Judge and He Cannot Ignore the Courts

    The nonchalance and carelessness seen in Iancu's decision to just cherry-pick decisions/outcomes (basically ignoring caselaw) concerns technologists, who rightly view him as a 'mole' of the litigation 'industry' (which he came from)


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