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06.20.15

Microsoft Has Chosen Patent Extortion and Patent Lawsuits Over Actual Products

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 6:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“People that use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us.”

Steve Ballmer

Satya Ballmer
Satya Ballmer

Summary: Satya Nadella continues Steve Ballmer’s tradition of just attacking the competition rather than outperform or fairly compete against it

MICROSOFT not only invests in patent aggressors (e.g. Finjan) but is also feeding some patent trolls with patents (e.g. MOSAID, a.k.a. “Conversant” following a rename), creating new patent trolls (like the world’s biggest, Intellectual Ventures), and turning real companies into trolls (case of point being Nokia, which we wrote about yesterday in light of royalty stacking against Android).

We cannot emphasise this strongly enough: Microsoft is not a troll. It is a super troll. It is one giant troll (not the stereotypical kind), masquerading or hiding behind its brand and some products that nobody really wants to buy (OEMs force their customers to pay for these and in areas like phones or tablets even OEMs currently refuse to pay).

Nokia keeps pretending to be anything but a Microsoft stooge, but this revealing new interview with the post-Elop chief speaks volumes. “Microsoft makes mobile phones,” Rajeev Suri (Nokia chief) said. “We would simply design them and then make the brand name available to license.”

Make no mistake here; Nokia isn’t separated or even separable from Microsoft. The staff has been genetically engineered/modified/selected based on loyalty to Microsoft since 2011. The ‘original’ Nokia still has a lot of patents and it now officially uses them to tax Android, as we first reported last night. Nadella (not the real boss but the tactless and latest public face) continues Microsoft’s racketeering strategy against Linux and Android (we repeatedly wrote about this with accompanying examples) while having the audacity/nerve to say that “Microsoft loves Linux” (it very clearly hates GNU/Linux). Nokia as a troll and Microsoft as a troll is not dramatic labelling; just look at what they’re doing. They are selling almost nothing while taxing almost everything, including Apple’s line of ‘i’ devices.

“The ‘original’ Nokia still has a lot of patents and it now officially uses them to tax Android, as we first reported last night.”Microsoft is of course not the only company that behaves like this. Jawbone, for example, sues Fitbit again [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] (seems like litigation is Jawbone’s busines plan) and some companies like Cardiac Science are making patents their revenue source. Then there is the patent trap which is Blu-ray Disc™ (a big pile of patents) and Juristat, a new service, aims to untangle some of the patent web/backlog. There is a patent thicket in many areas right now and it’s only getting worse, hence harder for examiners to properly assess for duplicates/merit. Juristat tries to help patent lawyers increase their ‘output’. As this new article put it: “The Software as a Service (SaaS) company allows users to plot their chance of success in all aspects of the patent application process. Among the many features, Juristat can tell an attorney the number of allowed (approved), pending and abandoned patent applications in front of a current examiner, the likelihood of your application getting allowed and your chances of success in an appeals.”

In this world that had increasingly become patent-obsessed and then saw a bubble burst (Microsoft's patenting numbers dropped sharply this year) we are bound to see desperate/dying companies using patents in their last battle against competition that truly wins (like Android). Software patents may still have some years of lifetime in the US (they are a ticking time bomb waiting to implode, not explode). This is why Microsoft has been so focused (especially since the Novell deal) on attacking GNU/Linux with patents.

After Alice Case ‘Judges Invalidated Patents Wholesale’

Posted in America, Patents at 5:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wonderland may be on the horizon now

Alice in Wonderland

Summary: Courts in the United States are rapidly eliminating many software patents, but the media, (mis)informed by patent lawyers and other patent practitioners, is slow to report it if it ever reports this at all

PatentBuddy says that “ABA [American Bar Association] Alice Task Force found that Dist. Ct. judges invalidated patents wholesale, citing Alice, without any evidence, 66% of time.” Separately it claims that “ABA Post Alice Task Force Found that USPTO Rejections of Claims under 101/Alice Relied upon Boilerplate only, no evidence, 64% of time.”

Whichever figure is taken (with a grain of salt of course), it is clear that a lot of software patents are being invalidated and patent lawyers (and by extension barristers or judges) are expectedly worried. Lawyers are trying to discredit courts’ decisions to invalidate software patents because it’s basically their livelihood — preying on programmers who are actually creating something, not just printing lots of pages and fighting in courts or sending threatening letters at the rate of approximately $300 per hour.

“Whichever figure is taken (with a grain of salt of course), it is clear that a lot of software patents are being invalidated and patent lawyers are expectedly worried.”PatentBuddy also shares this PDF and writes that this is “Amicus Brief in Support of Ultramercial’s Petition to S.Ct. Seeking 101 Clarity Post Alice” (for the uninitiated, 101/Alice alludes to invalidation based on how abstract a patent is).

Techrights is of course delighted to see some software patents diminishing in the US, for their demise in the US might, in turn, lead to their global demise (even in Japan and maybe China).

Scott Graham, a writer for The Recorder, says that the “Federal Circuit Tightens Squeeze on Software Patents”. He writes (behind a paywall of some esoteric kind): “En banc ruling Tuesday in ‘Williamson v. Citrix’ means more patents will be subject to statutory requirements for means-plus-function claims.”

This is again good news, especially coming from the Federal Circuit despite its notorious biases.

Obviously, software patents are still celebrated in the corporate media. Even the so-called ‘Guardian’ does it. Language of lawyers can be found in Science Magazine (behind paywall), saying that “IBN has generated more than 300 patents, 80 licenses” (as if patents are “generated” and licences are “generated”), but we have come to expect that from media that large corporations are controlling, irrespective of what courts are ruling. Here is a prominent blog of patent lawyers speaking about patents being sold like a commodity, sometimes to trolls (at the behest of corporations even). It says: “The chart above shows the percentage of U.S. patents issued to Inventors and not (reportedly) assigned to any organization or government. The data comes from the PTO. While this chart shows a dramatic drop, the actual number of inventor-owned patents has stayed relatively stable over the past decade — the dropping percentage is due more to a rise in the number of patents granted to corporate owners. The drop here does not necessarily mean that independent inventors are being squeezed-out — just that the rise in patent grants is not due to independent inventors.”

The term “independent inventors” is in itself a form of propaganda. It seeks to promote the old myth that patents exist to protect the “small guys” rather than massive corporations with a gigantic library — perhaps weighing at millions of pages — of patent monopolies (to be wielded like a weapon).

All in all, things appear to be improving with each ruling on software patents in the US. Don’t expect patent lawyers to acknowledge that. It would be like Microsoft publicly stating that proprietary software is doomed.

Better Watch Out or the United States Will Export Software Patents to Europe, Along With Patent Trolls

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 4:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The lobbyists are evidently and demonstrably working behind the scenes

Unitary Patent
Picture from FFII

Summary: The growing risk of an ‘export’ of patent trolling through increasingly corporations-leaning globalisation (e.g. trade agreements) in Europe

IN THE UNITES STATES there is plenty of talk about patent reform (it’s everywhere in the media), but the existing reform is pretty weak if not altogether bogus as it’s designed to discourage participation by small patent aggressors for large corporations’ sake [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s already weakened by lobbyists of these large corporations, as always.

IAM’s patent maximalists, as we last mentioned a day ago in light of glorification of patent aggressors, is all for it. “There is a reason US patent owners with infringement issues like the German system,” it wrote, “look forward to the UPC” (see what we previously wrote about the UPC in relation to Europe; it is helping patent trolls expand to Europe). Rather than a reform it’s a revolution, exploiting the merger of European member states to launder some laws on behalf of large corporations. We should definitely keep an eye on this. As Richard Stallman warned some years ago (well before the Benoît Battistelli era), EPO staff “went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money. One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

“Rather than a reform it’s a revolution, exploiting the merger of European member states to launder some laws on behalf of large corporations.”The capital of patent trolls, Texas, where software patents run like water, must be licking its lips in anticipation for this long-promised European expansion (taking their racket to another wealthy continent). As the EFF’s article “Judges in Texas Unfairly Impose New Requirements on Patent Defendants” serves to show, Texas has high hopes for patent trolls. It’s all about profit (a hoard at programmers’ expense) for some opportunistic lawyers. Engadget, for example, wrote: “Federal courts might have made it harder for patent trolls to sue over vague ideas, but the Eastern District of Texas (the trolls’ preferred venue) just put the ball back in their court. Some judges in the region now demand that the targets of these lawsuits get permission before they file motions to dismiss cases based on abstract concepts. If the defendants don’t show “good cause” for needing those motions, the lawsuits go ahead — and historically, that means that the trolls either win their cases or extract settlements from companies unwilling to endure the costs of a prolonged legal battle.”

These parasitic creatures — patent trolls — are already causing huge financial damage in the United States. Financial organisations are reportedly taking action. To quote one new report: “Financial services organizations are continuing to urge Congress to pass legislation that combats patent abuse. They’re claiming demand letters from so-called “patent trolls” signify a great and growing threat to financial service organizations.

“NAFCU, CUNA, the Independent Community Bankers of America, the American Bankers Association, the American Insurance Association, The Clearing House, Financial Services Roundtable, NACHA and The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies have asked Congress to adopt needed legislation to stop abusive practices from law firms representing patent assertion entities.”

“These parasitic creatures — patent trolls — are already causing huge financial damage in the United States.”On the other hand, a venture capital trade group defends the trolls. As Fortune put it: “The latest attempt by Congress to curb the problem of “patent trolls” is on the ropes yet again, and this time the opposition is coming from an unlikely source: The National Venture Capital Association, a trade group which is taking steps to water down patent reform legislation, even though many of its members are vocal advocates for it.”

Andy Updegrove, a lawyer for the Linux Foundation, has meanwhile spoken to a European trade group (OFE), discussing the US patent ‘reform’ and software patents here in Europe. Below are some of the relevant parts of this interview:

MB: I would like to talk about patent reform. I know you have done quite a lot of work on this and so I was wondering if you could give our readers – particularly those in the EU who might not have been following the debates so closely – a top-level view of the current state of patent regulation in the US.

AU: Patent reform suffers from several challenges. One of which is the concept of the patent as a one size fits all, legally speaking. In software there is little doubt that the engineer would create an invention with or without patents and indeed in the US until the late 1990s, software was not even recognised as being patentable. And yet there was an enormous amount of software written in the golden age of software. You could even say that the first golden age of Operating System development occurred when patents were not available for them at all. And indeed in Europe the ability to patent software is very limited and yet innovation continues. So my personal belief is that there would be just as much innovation in software if patents were to become unavailable today….

MB: And what has the US Government and US Congress done to address this? Can you talk a little bit about the policy and legal rather initiatives that have been put forward to address concerns around “patent trolls”.

AU: There is a lot of lobbying in the US on this, especially from large patent holders. But you have to understand that these companies are both patent owners and patent consumers. So they have a very schizophrenic relationship as well. In fact, many of the companies with the most patents comparatively rarely actually sue anyone for infringement. They worry as much about being sued by other owners of patents, so at the same time as they invest enormous amounts of money in patents they also want to have a patent system where they can defend themselves successfully when they think that they are being sued unfairly. So there is something of a check and balance and it would be wrong to assume that most high-tech companies necessarily campaign against reform. They in fact are in favour of legislation that would curtail trolls….

These fragments of text about software patents and the so-called ‘reform’ ought to remind us of the great dangers posed by the corrupt EPO, where expansion of patent scope has been a strategic focus. We have written about this for nearly a decade now.

Expect the secretive trans-Atlantic ‘agreements’ (between rich people on both sides of the ocean) to deal more and more with patents, blurring the continental gaps that currently guard many European businesses from an abundance of patent trolls in north America. Actors who do this are usually lobbyists or front groups that also paved the way to software patents in Europe.

Links 20/6/2015: Mageia 5, Saudi Leaks

Posted in News Roundup at 4:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Plane stowaway falls to his death from British Airways flight as another survives

    A man is in hospital recovering after clinging onto a flight from South Africa for 11 hours while another has died after he landed in south west London

  • Science

    • Russia, US competing for space partnership with Brazil

      The United States and Russia are competing for a strategic role in Brazil’s plan to launch commercial satellites from its base near the equator, opening up a new theatre in their rivalry for allies and influence.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • NSA Contributes Security Tools For Puppet

      Puppet Labs said Friday (June 19) that NSA is releasing to the open source community a set of tools based on Puppet Labs’ technologies called Systems Integrity Management Platform, or SIMP. The framework is intended to automatically enforce compliance with various profiles called the Security Content Automation Program.

    • Does NSA Spying Leave the U.S. Without Moral High Ground in China Hack?

      All signs point to China being responsible for one of the worst hacks in U.S. history, exposing sensitive records of millions of federal employees.

      But the U.S. is an awkward position in deciding how to respond to the humiliating blow. That’s partially because in the two years since Edward Snowden’s leaks about U.S. surveillance, the Obama administration has repeatedly argued that hacking into computer networks to spy on foreigners is completely acceptable behavior.

    • Experts: NSA Spying May Leave the U.S. Without Moral High Ground in OPM Hack
    • OPM Official: Agency Has History of Problems with Security

      By exposing the names and addresses of foreign relatives, the cybertheft of private information on U.S. security clearance holders by hackers linked to China will complicate the deployment and promotion of American intelligence professionals with special language skills and diverse backgrounds, current and former U.S. officials say.

    • Sex, lies and debt potentially exposed by U.S. data hack

      When a retired 51-year-old military man disclosed in a U.S. security clearance application that he had a 20-year affair with his former college roommate’s wife, it was supposed to remain a secret between him and the government.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • MEPs back changes to proposed EU trade secrets rules

      Disclosing a trade secret on public interest grounds would not be an offence under new laws backed by a committee of MEPs.

    • Buying Silence: How the Saudi Foreign Ministry controls Arab media

      On Monday, Saudi Arabia celebrated the beheading of its 100th prisoner this year. The story was nowhere to be seen on Arab media despite the story’s circulation on wire services. Even international media was relatively mute about this milestone compared to what it might have been if it had concerned a different country. How does a story like this go unnoticed?

      Today’s release of the WikiLeaks “Saudi Cables” from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs show how it’s done.

    • WikiLeaks ‘Saudi Cables’ reveal secret Saudi government influence in Australia

      WikiLeaks has revealed secret Saudi Arabian influence in Arabic media and Islamic religious groups in Australia as well as covert monitoring of Saudi students studying at Australian universities.

      More than 61,000 leaked Saudi diplomatic documents have been released by WikiLeaks in what the international transparency group says will be the first instalment of the publication of more than half a million secret papers in batches over coming weeks.

      “The Saudi Cables lift the lid on an increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100th beheading this year, but which has also become a menace to its neighbours and itself,” WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange said in a statement released on Saturday.

    • The Injustice Handed out to Julian Assange Must End

      Julian Assange, founder and editor of WikiLeaks, has now been a refugee in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for three years. The key issue in his extraordinary incarceration is justice. He has been charged with no crime. The first Swedish prosecutor dismissed the misconduct allegations regarding two women in Stockholm in 2010. The second Swedish prosecutor’s actions were and are demonstrably political. Until recently, she refused to come to London to interview Assange. Finally, when the British government almost pleaded with her to come, she agreed. She has now cancelled her trip. It is a farce, but one with grim consequences for Assange should he dare step outside the Ecuadorean embassy.

    • Assange ‘was to be quizzed this week’

      Julian Assange has accused Swedish prosecutors of being “reckless” by cancelling plans to interview him in the Ecuadorian embassy in London this week.

    • #3years2long Message From Christine Assange

      Welcome!…and many thanks to supporters old and new for being here today, to stand up for justice for Australian journalist Julian Assange, and his work as Editor in Chief of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.

      Although uncharged with any crime, anywhere in the world, at the request of the US , the UK Govt has detained Julian for nearly 5 years now, under constant 24 hour surveillance and house arrest.

      Today marks 3 yrs of his refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Ecuador granted Julian political asylum due to threats on his life and liberty by the US Govt and its agencies.

    • Julian Assange: Swedish prosecutor cancels appointment to interview Wikileaks founder

      The Swedish prosecutor has cancelled an appointment to interview Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London, according to the WikiLeaks founder.

      Speaking on the third anniversary of his entering the embassy to avoid extradition over allegations of sexual assault in Sweden, Mr Assange said that the move by Marianne Ny was “reckless”.

    • Frustrated Assange marks three years in Ecuadoran embassy

      The Australian activist said a long-awaited interview with the prosecutors fell through in what he labelled a “public relations exercise”, although the prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

    • London: WikiLeaks founder Assange marks three years in Ecuador’s embassy, as new cables released

      Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have gathered outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, to mark the third anniversary of the 43-year-old Australian seeking refuge there.

      Assange has been in the building since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual assault against two women in 2010. He denies the accusations.

    • Ecuador to Reply to Swedish Prosecutors’ Assange Interview Request in Weeks

      Ecuador will reply in the coming weeks to the Swedish prosecutors’ request to interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who today marked his third year in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the country’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, said Friday.

    • Assange™ celebrates third year in Ecuadorian embassy broom closet

      Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa said Assange hadn’t overstayed his welcome, but that the situation could easily be resolved if Assange was granted immunity. Correa was scathing about the police guard that is keeping Assange inside the London embassy’s grounds.

    • WikiLeaks: Julian Assange releases Saudi diplomatic cables to mark third year in London embassy

      WikiLeaks has published more than half a million secret documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry to mark Julian Assange’s third year of asylum in London’s Ecuadorian embassy on 19 June.

    • WikiLeaks marks three years since Assange’s flight to Ecuador’s UK embassy

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will on Friday mark three years stuck in Ecuador’s London embassy where he took refuge to avoid extradition to Sweden over alleged sex crimes and what he believes would be his eventual handover to U.S. authorities.

    • Leaks from Saudi ministry appear to show extent of influence over regional media

      A new cache of documents reportedly leaked from Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry appears to reveal the extent of the Gulf giant’s funding of regional media outlets. The documents also disclose information about Saudi Arabia’s external affairs and could prove embarrassing to the kingdom and its allies.

      WikiLeaks, the transparency advocacy website responsible for publishing leaked documents from various world powers, said on Friday that the 61,000-plus documents published on Friday were the first of around half a million to be released over the coming weeks.

    • WikiLeaks documents provide insight into Saudi diplomacy

      One of the most inflammatory memos carries the claim that Gulf countries were prepared to pay $10 billion to secure the freedom of Egypt’s deposed strongman, Hosni Mubarak. The memo, written on a letterhead bearing only a single palm tree and crossed scimitars above the words “top secret,” quotes an unnamed Egyptian official as saying that the Muslim Brotherhood would agree to release Mubarak in exchange for the cash “since the Egyptian people will not benefit from his imprisonment.”

    • Wikileaks: Saudi top secret memo says Iran bombed South Sudan

      Another top secret memo says Gulf countries were prepared to pay $10 billion to secure freedom of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

    • Bin Laden Son Asked U.S. For Father’s Death Certificate, Wikileaks Says
    • Saudi Arabia WikiLeaks: US refused Osama bin Laden’s son certificate for father’s death

      The son of the late al-Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden sent a letter to the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia to ask for his father’s death certificate – a request that was refused by the diplomatic mission.

    • Wikileaks: US ‘refused to give’ Osama Bin Laden’s son his death certificate

      Osama Bin Laden’s son reportedly asked the US for his death certificate and was refused, it has been reported.

      A letter addressed to Abdullah bin Laden, claiming to be from a US embassy official in Saudi Arabia, was published online by Wikileaks.

    • Bin Laden’s son asked US for father’s death certificate – WikiLeaks

      WikiLeaks has released a letter revealing how one of Osama bin Laden’s sons had asked Washington for a death certificate after US Navy SEALS said they had taken him out.

    • Wikileaks: Bin Laden’s son ‘asked for father’s death certificate’

      A son of Osama Bin Laden reportedly asked the US for a death certificate for his father, according to the whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks.

    • Julian Assange and Wikileaks on news again

      “The Saudi Cables lift the lid on an increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100th beheading this year, but which has also become a menace to its neighbours and itself,” WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange said in a statement.

    • Hillary’s passport info released by Wikileaks

      Saudi Arabia was one of the countries that contributed to the Clinton Foundation, which came under recent scrutiny amid Clinton’s 2016 presidential run.

      The documents published Friday include reports from Saudi Arabia’s interior and intelligence arms, as well as emails between the diplomatic branch and other foreign entities.

    • WikiLeaks follows up its Sony post with Saudi cables
    • WikiLeaks publishes diplomatic cables from Saudi Arabia

      More than 60,000 diplomatic messages from Saudi Arabia have been published by WikiLeaks. It said it would release half a million more in the coming weeks. The group also released additional Sony Pictures documents.

    • WikiLeaks publishes Saudi documents

      WikiLeaks is in the process of publishing more than 500,000 Saudi diplomatic documents to the internet, the transparency website says.

      In a move that echoes its famous release of US State Department cables in 2010, WikiLeaks said it had already posted about 60,000 files. Most of them appear to be in Arabic.

    • WikiLeaks is about to release a mammoth load of new secret files

      And another document from the same year, sent from the Saudi embassy in Abu Dhabi, said the United Arab Emirates was putting ‘heavy pressure’ on the Egyptian government not to try former president Hosni Mubarak.

    • WikiLeaks spills ‘Saudi secrets’

      The Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately return repeated messages seeking comment.

    • WikiLeaks posts Saudi cables

      WikiLeaks is in the process of putting more than 500,000 Saudi diplomatic documents online, in a move that echoes its infamous release of US State Department cables in 2010.

      WikiLeaks said in a statement that it had already posted roughly 60,000 files. Most are in Arabic and they are now being examined by The Associated Press.

    • Saudi Arabia warns citizens against sharing “faked” documents after Wikileaks release

      Saudi Arabia on Saturday urged its citizens not to distribute “documents that might be faked” in an apparent response to WikiLeaks’ publication on Friday of more than 60,000 documents it says are secret Saudi diplomatic communications.

      The statement, made by the Foreign Ministry on its Twitter account, did not directly deny the documents’ authenticity.

      The released documents, which WikiLeaks said were embassy communications, emails between diplomats and reports from other state bodies, include discussions of Saudi Arabia’s position regarding regional issues and efforts to influence media.

    • Sony execs worried about stars spreading herpes

      In new leaked emails released on June 19, it seems Sony executives were worried about the spread of herpes.

    • Wikileaks: Sony Asked Stars About Herpes During Film Productions
    • Wikileaks’ new batch of Sony files reveals a survey asking stars if they’ve had oral herpes

      Following the Sony hack last winter, Wikileaks has uploaded a second batch of files containing 276,000 more documents obtained from the incident this week. Although most of the documents are related to legal and financial affairs, Radar Online uncovered a set of unusual questionnaires asking whether or not stars have had oral herpes.

    • WikiLeaks spills second huge cache of Sony docs

      Sony is yet to comment on the latest revelations, and it’s likely to take some time before details from the huge stack of digitized documents begin to make headlines.

    • WikiLeaks Drops More Sony Documents

      WikiLeaks has published a second giant cache of documents — 276,394 in all — that it claims hackers stole from the studio in one of the most devastating corporate computer breaches in history.

    • WikiLeaks Unloads Second Batch Of Sony Files Into Its Database
    • Sony hack: WikiLeaks releases new batch of 270,000 documents
    • WikiLeaks Dumps More Sony Docs, Include Secret Apple Deal
    • National security suppression order lifted after uploaded by WikiLeaks

      A SUPREME Court judge has revoked a suppression order made to protect Australia’s national security and international relations after it was published by WikiLeaks.

      But Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth today granted a temporary stay on lifting the orders until next month to give the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade time to consider whether it will appeal the decision.

    • Revealed: How DOJ Gagged Google over Surveillance of WikiLeaks Volunteer

      Newly unsealed court documents obtained by The Intercept reveal the Justice Department won an order forcing Google to turn over more than one year’s worth of data from the Gmail account of Jacob Appelbaum (pictured above), a developer for the Tor online anonymity project who has worked with WikiLeaks as a volunteer. The order also gagged Google, preventing it from notifying Appelbaum that his records had been provided to the government.

    • Should Julian Assange face “justice”?

      Anyone stupid enough to think Assange has actually committed a crime should hang his head in shame. You are a dog, a slave, a puppet, a fool. You are utterly, deplorably, insane.

      Yes, more interesting than the details of any charges accusations against Assange, is the fact that they were invented for the sole purpose of arresting a dissident. It is a story that has been heard so many times that I don’t know why everyone can’t recognize this farce immediately. Dissident criticizes government, dissident suddenly has some strange and elusive criminal charges like embezzlement or sexual assault to answer for.

      Should we, even for a brief moment, overlook our scumbag politicians – who consorted with pedophiles and tried to cover up their crimes – and instead look at the supposed moral deviations of one dissident who tried to subject them to greater scrutiny? If someone accuses a top politician of being the pedophile he is, the result will be libel charges being brought against the accuser. If some liar accuses of Assange of rape, the result is a case being brought against Assange.

      In reality, the only ones who deserve to be on trial are not Assange but his accusers and, ultimately, the regime that has fabricated this case against an innocent man. They are, each and every one of them, liars, fabricators, and vicious enemies of democracy who deserve to suffocate in their own filth and hypocrisy just for consenting to be part of this offensive spectacle.

    • Ecuador Accuses Sweden of Violating Assange’s Human Rights

      Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño says someone in Sweden must be held responsible for human rights violations.

    • WikiLeaks Decries UK Media’s Eyes Wide-Shut in Trident Safety Leaks

      In a 18-page report posted by WikiLeaks earlier this month, William McNeilly, a 25-year-old former engineer employed at the Trident facility in Scotland, described the nuclear deterrent’s safety procedures and general state as a “disaster waiting to happen.”

    • ‘Thank goodness for Wikileaks’: Greens

      Greens Co-Deputy Larissa Waters slams the secrecy surrounding the Trade In Services agreement, and says important details have only been made public because of Wikileaks.

    • Greens senator urges support for Assange

      Greens senator Scott Ludlam says Julian Assange’s work needs support, three years after the WikiLeaks founder sought asylum in a London embassy.

    • Greens condemn Coalition and Labor hostility towards Julian Assange as the WikiLeaks publisher marks three years in Ecuador’s embassy
    • WikiLeaks trolls Alan Rusbridger on last day as The Guardian editor

      Assange has been unable to leave Britain, living in the Ecuadorean embassy’s quarters in central London over fear of extradition to Sweden or the United States, where authorities are investigating his disclosures of secret information.

      Sarah Tisdall, a former Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) clerical officer, was jailed after she leaked classified British government documents to The Guardian.

      WikiLeaks also posted the link to an article written by Assange titled “How The Guardian Milked Edward Snowden’s Story”. The website did not immediately respond to Hindustan Times’ request for a comment on its tweets.

      The Guardian newspaper has appointed Katharine Viner, currently editor of Guardian US, its 12th editor-in-chief after Rusbridger.

    • WikiLeaks Releases 500K U.S. Cables from 1978 on Iran, Sandinistas, Afghanistan, Israel & More

      On Wednesday, WikiLeaks added more than half a million U.S. diplomatic cables from 1978 to its Public Library of US Diplomacy database. The documents include diplomatic cables and other diplomatic communications from and to U.S. embassies and missions in nearly every country. “1978 actually set in progress many of the geopolitical elements that are playing out today,” Assange said. “1978 was the beginning of the Iranian revolution … the Sandinista movement started in its popular form … the war period in Afghanistan began in 1978 and hasn’t stopped since.”

    • Wikileaks releases 7000 new cables on Colombia

      Wikileaks released 500,000 US diplomatic cables from during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, more than 7,000 of which are related to Colombia.

      [...]

      In Colombia, the US at the time was concerned about the 1978 presidential election race, kidnapping and drug trafficking.

    • WikiLeaks founder still in limbo

      Ecuador granted him political asylum, but the United Kingdom refuses to grant him safe passage to leave the country. Instead, the U.K. wants to extradite him to Sweden to answer questions about allegations of sexual misconduct, although charges have never been filed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • CBS Evening News Provides False Balance On Climate Science In Report On Pope’s Encyclical
    • Energy Storage Is The Real Target Of Spain’s New Tax On The Sun

      The Spanish government wants to impose new fees on consumers that use batteries to store electric power produced by their own solar panels.

      In early June, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism released a draft of proposed legislation designed to discourage the use of solar charged batteries by people who produce their own electricity.

    • A child born today may live to see humanity’s end, unless…

      Humans will be extinct in 100 years because the planet will be uninhabitable, according to Australian microbiologist Frank Fenner, one of the leaders of the effort to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. He blames overcrowding, denuded resources and climate change.

      Fenner’s prediction is not a sure bet, but he is correct that there is no way emissions reductions will be enough to save us from our trend toward doom. And there doesn’t seem to be any big global rush to reduce emissions, anyway. When the G7 called on Monday for all countries to reduce carbon emissions to zero in the next 85 years, the scientific reaction was unanimous: That’s far too late.

    • How Pope Francis just destroyed the GOP’s religious con artists

      Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard the initial cannon volleys from the parapets of the GOP hurled in the direction of Pope Francis. But as of yesterday, when the Pope delivered a major encyclical on the climate crisis, there was a thermonuclear freakout, from not just Fox News and AM talk radio, but nearly every Republican with internet access. Already, Greg Gutfeld from Fox News Channel’s The Five referred to the Pope as the “most dangerous man in the world.”

    • Washington State’s Oil Train Traffic Is Shrouded In Secrecy

      Derailments and explosions have occurred around North America since the oil boom began, including a 2013 catastrophe that killed 47 people in rural Quebec.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Why Carly Fiorina can’t lose

      Misleading headline alert: Carly Fiorina is not going to be the GOP presidential candidate. She’s polling at 1.8 percent in the most recent Fox News poll. That puts her in a solid 13th place. It would take every Sherpa in Nepal to guide her to the top against those odds.

      But she will win, in one sense, because she’s positioned herself perfectly for the right side of the slash. As in, Rubio/Fiorina, Walker/Fiorina or Bush/Fiorina.

    • The Parallel Universes of the Cuban Press

      In several countries in the region, there are groups that control most of the local press and attack governments when these undertake social programs. There, digital media and networks have become the only hope of countering the propaganda of the Right.

  • Censorship

    • Censorship helped create environment that allowed collusion to flourish

      THE revelations contained in RTÉ’s Collusion documentary aired on Monday – which highlighted yet more widespread and systemic collusion between British military and RUC forces with unionist death squads – will not have come as a surprise to most An Phoblacht readers or Sinn Féin activists.

    • Podcast: Are religious freedom and free speech intertwined?

      Does freedom of religion and freedom of speech come as a package or can you pick and choose? Do those suggesting freedom of expression should be “civilised” and that we should be wary of causing offence to people’s religious sensibilities have a point? Or are there too many people who are easily offended? Are our attempts to be polite actually significant obstructions to the discussion of important issues? These were just some of the questions tackled at “The new civility: are religious freedom and freedom of speech intertwined?” the 10 June event organised as part of the Leeds Big Bookend festival.

    • Why Facebook Failed Our Censorship Test

      If you click around Facebook’s “Government Request Report,” you’ll notice that, for many countries, Facebook enumerates the number of “content restrictions” the company has fulfilled. This is a sanitized term for censorship.

    • U.K. Newspaper Tries To Silence Glenn Greenwald Criticism With Copyright Claim

      Accused of publishing government propaganda against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Sunday Times is using copyright to hit back at its strongest critic.

    • Sunday Times fires off copyright complaint at Snowden story critics

      The Sunday Times has apparently sent a copyright complaint to critics of its article that claimed British and American overseas spies have had their covers blown by Edward Snowden.

      The London-based newspaper unquestioningly parroted the UK government’s spin at the weekend, claiming that classified files obtained by the NSA whistleblower and leaked to journalists had somehow made their way into the hands of China and Russia. The piece quoted anonymous government sources in Blighty.

    • Sunday Times levels copyright charges at Greenwald after he debunks Snowden report

      The UK newspaper Sunday Times is accusing US journalist Glenn Greenwald of copyright violations after he debunked the paper’s report on Russian and Chinese spies allegedly accessing Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks.

    • Art of diplomacy: how French schools abroad cope with censorship

      It is one of the great allegorical paintings celebrating the French revolution: Liberty Leading the People, by Eugène Delacroix, shows a barefoot, bare-breasted woman – representing Marianne, the female symbol of the republic – brandishing a tricolour in one hand and a bayonetted musket in the other, leading the people over the bodies of the fallen.

    • France Wants Google To Target French Citizens Worldwide & Censor Their Search Results

      The French data privacy regulator CNIL wants Google to somehow identify French citizens wherever they are in the world and block them from seeing material removed under the Right To Be Forgotten.

    • Australian Lawmakers Rush Through Copyright Censorship Bill That Won’t Work, And Will Do Harm

      Scarcely a week after the release of a legislative committee report on Australia’s copyright censorship bill, the bill is gathering speed on its roll through Parliament. Although reports that the law has already passed are premature—it has only passed the lower house so far, and is scheduled to be debated in the Senate on Thursday, Australian time—it is clear that the bill is being rushed through, in an effort to get it out of the way ahead of the Parliament’s mid-winter break.

      We addressed some of the serious shortcomings of the bill, which would allow courts to block overseas websites that either infringe copyright, or are merely judged to be “facilitating” infringement…

    • Censorship tourism in British Columbia?

      But the real problem, of course, lies with the courts’ attempt to control, by application of its view of the law, the content that appears on websites operated by a US corporation outside the boundaries of the court’s lawful jurisdiction. [Google actually offered to remove offending sites from searches that were viewable at Google.ca, but the plaintiffs were not satisfied with that outcome].

    • Canadian Court asks Google to block its Websites Globally

      It all began a year ago where a lower court ruled that Google needed to block access to a website globally in a troublesome lawsuit filed against them. The case involved one company charging another of selling copied equipment or counterfeit, and even though Google was not even a party to the case, was directed by the court to make sure no one could find the site in question via Google anywhere in the world.

    • Canadian Court Forces Google to Take One Step Closer to Internet Censorship

      A dangerous precedent has been set in Canada where a court rejected Google’s appeal in a case the company has been fighting for years, and now it has to remove links to particular pages from its worldwide search results.

    • This Unbelievable Nurse Sex Story Is Causing A Lot Of Trouble At Northwestern

      In response to the school’s meddling, Atrium’s editors took down all of Atrium’s online content, initiating a yea-long standoff. The controversy remained in the shadows until recently, when another censorship controversy erupted at Northwestern. Prof. Laura Kipnis faced a formal Title IX investigation over an essay she wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the sexual politics of American universities. Following this incident, Dreger threatened to go public, and Northwestern allowed all of Atrium’s content to go back online. According to Dreger, though, the school says future issues of Atrium will have to be approved by a group of administrators and public relations staff to make sure they are acceptable.

    • Northwestern Faculty Magazine Censored Over Article About Nurse Blow Job
    • Story of sex with nurse prompts censorship claims at Northwestern
    • Censoring ISIS’s online propaganda isn’t working out very well

      As Fidler indicates politely, this has created a terrible mess. There is very little transparency around government requests for censorship (by coincidence, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has just published a short piece complaining that Facebook does not provide any information on U.S. government censorship requests). In addition, different private actors, with different codes and standards, engage in private forms of censorship on their own behalf that generate confusion and inconsistency. Companies have to make complicated judgment calls. For example, I’m aware from my own conversations that YouTube initially censored footage from pro-democracy protests in Iran in 2009 showing the violence perpetrated against the protesters, on the grounds that this violated its code of conduct. After thinking through the political implications of this censorship, YouTube changed its mind — but it could (with different leadership) have opted for the opposite choice.

    • 2,000 Israeli Artists Sign Petition Accusing National Government of Censorship

      Signatories of the petition said the government’s actions in withdrawing funding from the school play A Parallel Of Time, by the al-Midan Theatre, are anti-democratic. The play tells the story of the Palestinian Walid Daka’s time in prison for torturing and murdering the Israeli soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984.

    • Israeli artists sign petition against ‘anti-democratic’ censorship

      Pledging to fight for artistic freedom, cultural figures defiantly offer their names for a government ‘blacklist’

      [...]

      It concludes with the hope that Israel will not stoop to becoming a state that blacklists artists who express their opinions. “But should that happen,” the petition defiantly states, “here is the list.”

    • Why is a festival of Israeli film fighting for censorship in London?

      Its screening had been due to take place at the Odeon Swiss Cottage. But the director, Rechy Elias, insisted that only women could attend. Elias is from the ultra-conservative Haredi sect of Judaism, which, like extreme movements in all the world’s major religions, is flourishing with a depressing vigour. As with so many other fundamentalist creeds and cults, sex is an obsessive source of interest to the Haredis. A Haredi school in Stamford Hill recently announced that, Saudi–style, it would not allow women to drive children to its gates. With similar reasoning, Ms Elias said her film was controversial because it contained scenes of women dancing. No man could see them, for lord knows what they would do if they did.

    • Wikipedia official criticizes increasing censorship against Turkish Vikipedi

      A high-ranking official from the world’s largest free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has criticized Turkey over increasing censorship that its Turkish version — Vikipedi – has been exposed to, vowing to take legal action to stop this censorship.

    • Wikipedia releases warning on Turkey’s censorship, monitoring

      Wikipedia has warned its users that Turkey “blocks” a number of its articles and is also monitoring contributors to the site.

      “Did you know that some articles on Turkish Vikipedi have been blocked to users in Turkey?” Wikipedia’s Turkish homepage warns, giving a list of censored articles.

      As of June 19, Turkey blocks a total of five Wikipedia articles: “Human penis,” “Female reproduction organs,” “Scrotum,” “Vagina” and “Opinion polling for the Turkish general election, 2015.”

    • Why Facebook Failed Our Censorship Test

      If you click around Facebook’s “Government Request Report,” you’ll notice that, for many countries, Facebook enumerates the number of “content restrictions” the company has fulfilled. This is a sanitized term for censorship.

    • ‘This Week In Unnecessary Censorship’ Takes Aim At Donald Trump
    • How Facebook Is Censoring Content In The United States

      Facebook vows to be transparent, and yet the Electronic Frontier Foundation discovered that the company is hiding all the ways that it blocks access in the United States, on behalf of law enforcement.

    • If Facebook wants our trust, it needs to explain when and why it censors things

      Almost every major digital platform, including Google and Twitter, publishes a so-called “transparency report,” in which the company in question lists the number of requests it has gotten from government authorities and legal entities to take down information. Facebook does this too, except that its version isn’t nearly as forthcoming on what exactly it has been asked to remove, and by whom.

    • Reddit refugee camp Voat dropped by German webhost for ‘political incorrectness’

      It is interesting to note the reasons for the termination of the contract. There is no mention of illegal content, just content which has been deemed politically incorrect. This is clearly a very subjective matter, and Atko says that the hosting provider shut down the server “without issuing a warning or trying to talk to us”. It is something of a blow for freedom of speech if webhosts start to police the content of the sites they power not because they are breaking the law, but because they just don’t like the content.

    • Reddit-clone Voat booted by its German webhost

      The Reddit-clone Voat announced Friday that its hosting provider shut off its servers and terminated its contract.

    • Amid censorship brouhaha, Reddit clone Voat has its servers closed by hosting provider

      Switzerland-based Reddit clone Voat says its servers have been closed down and contracts terminated by its hosting provider, which comes less than two weeks after it saw a surge in signups following a clampdown in online harassment by Reddit.

    • Anti-censorship community Voat dropped by hosting service over ‘political correctness’

      European hosting service hosteurope.de recently terminated its contract with Voat, a Reddit clone that promises not to censor users. Voat managed to move its database to an unnamed cloud platform hours ahead of the shutdown to avoid service interruption.

  • Privacy

    • John McAfee: NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden is a man of soft character

      Even the most casual observer must see that the Sunday Times anonymous leak is an effort to distract attention from the utter failure of the US government, as a government, to act responsibly in the task of protecting it’s citizens and the citizens of its allies. It is an attempt to shift blame – pure and simple.

      Is Snowden a good man or a bad man? I have no clue and even less interest. Are we as citizens of this new cyber age, ever going to get a clue? That is the real question.

    • ‘No evidence’ Snowden was working for foreign power says ex-NSA boss

      When asked if Snowden was working for a foreign power, Hayden replied that, thinking inductively as intelligence operatives are supposed to do, there was “no evidence” Snowden had defected.

    • Hayden Mocks Extent of Post-Snowden Reform: “And This Is It After Two Years? Cool!”

      Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden on Monday marveled at the puny nature of the surveillance reforms put in place two years after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed a vast expansion of intrusive U.S. government surveillance at home and abroad.

    • VIDEO: Former NSA Director Hayden Dismisses Snowden’s Impact

      At The Wall Street Journal’s CFO conference, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden disparaged the idea that the leaking of data collection documents by Edward Snowden was a two-year “nightmare” for the agency.

    • Ex-NSA chief celebrates two years of failed reform after Snowden leaks
    • Even former NSA chief thinks USA Freedom Act was a pointless change

      The former director of the National Security Agency isn’t particularly concerned about the loss of the government’s bulk metadata collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

    • Fight the snoopers’ charter

      “We kill people based on metadata” said General Michael Hayden, former director of the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA.

      A government commissioned report says that UK intelligence agencies should be allowed to keep their powers to gather bulk communications data on a massive scale – records of emails, phone calls and social media (metadata).

      This is in addition to eavesdropping and reading of the content of communications.

      David Anderson QC, the report’s author, has, however, argued that the power to authorise surveillance warrants should be removed from government ministers and given to a new judicial body. The government is resisting this proposal.

    • Spy court clears path to renewing NSA powers

      The secretive federal court that oversees the nation’s spies is laying the groundwork for temporarily reauthorizing the National Security Agency’s (NSA) sweeping collection of U.S. phone records.

      In an order released on Friday, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said that a brief lapse in some Patriot Act provisions would not bar the court from renewing the NSA’s powers. Although the court asserted its ability to renew the controversial NSA program, it has yet to issue an order giving a green light to the spy agency.

    • Secretive Surveillance Court Skips Talking to Privacy Advocates

      The secretive court that oversees U.S. spying programs selected to not consult a panel of privacy advocates in its first decision made since the enactment earlier this month of major surveillance reform, according to an opinion declassified Friday.

    • Surveillance court moving toward renewal of NSA spying program for 6 months

      The secretive court that oversees US government spying requests has indicated that it will temporarily renew the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records collection authority despite a new reform law that ended the dragnet.

      The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) – often seen as a compliant “rubber stamp” for US government spying requests – released an order on Friday positing that lapsed spying powers vested in the Patriot Act – which expired without renewal on June 1 — would not restrict the court from reauthorizing for six months the phone metadata collection program. The FISC order, though, is not yet an official revival of the NSA’s surveillance program.

    • The Gov’t Really, Really Wants You to Visit These Websites (Op-Ed)

      In a campaign that’s received nearly as much effort and funding as presidential elections themselves, the U.S. federal government is trying to steer people toward visiting sites that give step-by-step instructions on how to encrypt digital communications.

      The passage of the USA Freedom Act, the declassified documentation about the NSA’s secret sister agency NSAC, and the passage of “net neutrality” have all been cleverly orchestrated to deliver one resounding message: “Just a friendly reminder, citizen: it’s time to protect yourself from our fascist predations.”

    • ‘Sunday Times’ story branded ‘journalism at its worst’

      An exposé claiming that the top-secret files leaked by Edward Snowden have been obtained by Russia and China has come under fire.

      The story in ‘The Sunday Times’ claimed Western intelligence agencies were “forced into rescue operations” to mitigate the damage, and one UK government source claimed that Mr Snowden had “blood on his hands”.

      But Snowden confidante Glenn Greenwald has attacked the report as “journalism at its worst”.

    • Greenwald Says the Sunday Times Report on Snowden’s Files is a Lie
    • Britain pulls out spies as Russia, China crack Snowden files – report

      Describing the report as “the very opposite of journalism” Miranda’s partner and the man who was central to the publication of the Snowden documents, Glenn Greenwald, has written a scathing review of the Sunday Times report.

    • “Reporter” who wrote ridiculous story about Snowden leaks in China admits he was just acting as a government stenographer

      Tom Harper wrote the ridiculous cover story in the Sunday Times in which anonymous government sources claimed that the Russians and Chinese had somehow gained the power to decrypt copies of the files Edward Snowden took from the NSA, depite the fact that these files were never in Russia and despite the fact that the UK government claims that when criminals use crypto on their communications, the state is powerless to decrypt them.

    • Sunday Times reporter tells CNN everything you need to know about Snowden story

      There has been a fair amount of criticism of last weekend’s Sunday Times story claiming that sensitive NSA files taken by Edward Snowden have ended up in the hands of the Russian and Chinese governments – and that British intelligence staff have been put at risk as a result.

    • CNN interview with author of discredited Sunday Times story on Snowden is painful to watch

      If you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to watch this video. It’s CNN’s George Howell interviewing Sunday Times buffoon Tom Harper about his now-discredited report that said the governments of Russia and China have decrypted files leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Op-Ed: The govt. made me do it: Reporter defends anti-Snowden story
    • ‘We Just Publish What We Believe to Be the Position of the British Government’

      Harper made that statement during a CNN interview during which he was pressed on why British authorities believe that their Chinese and Russian counterparts have accessed the files. It was an ugly defense for what was always going to be a thinly-sourced story. Since the Snowden story first broke two years ago, press reporting about his revelations have been riddled with claims by various officials — both named and not — claiming that the leak had undermined vital intelligence powers and cost lives. These reports share a common characteristic: a lack of hard evidence.

    • This interview encapsulates why everyone is outraged about the controversial Sunday Times’ Snowden story

      In case you missed it, a front page story in the UK-based Sunday Times magazine generated a furor this weekend. It covered the purported repercussions of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks for western intelligence agencies. The report—which relied heavily on unnamed “senior officials” and “senior government sources”—parroted a number of unsubstantiated claims, according to its critics, hammering home a single point of view: that of the British government.

    • “Sunday Times” Reporter On Source For His Snowden Story: “We Just Publish What We Believe To Be The Position Of The British Government”

      CNN’s George Howell speaks with Sunday Times correspondent Tom Harper about reports that Russia and China have decrypted files stolen by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Harper explains the process of how he and his paper source news stories based on what the British government tells them, without independently checking facts; they even submitted the final draft of the story to the Home Office for approval.

    • Snowden files ‘read by Russia and China’: five questions for UK government

      The story is based on sources including “senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services”. The BBC said it had also also been briefed anonymously by a senior government official.

      Anonymous sources are an unavoidable part of reporting, but neither Downing Street nor the Home Office should be allowed to hide behind anonymity in this case.

    • Bruce Schneier: Russia hacked NSA for Snowden docs

      China and Russia have copies of Edward Snowden’s leaked documents by hacking the NSA itself before the whistleblower even arrived in Russia, according to security expert Bruce Schneier.

      He believes lax security controls at the US spy agency, rather than Snowden residing in Russia, being responsible for allowing foreign countries to get their hands on top secret documents.

    • Bruce Schneier: China and Russia had top secret files long before Snowden stole them
    • Russia and China have cracked encrypted Snowden files, report says
    • Bruce Schneier: China and Russia do have Snowden docs

      Bruce Schneier has claimed that China and Russia have laid hands on the intelligence documents leaked by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, in a further twist to a controversial story run by the Sunday Times last weekend.

    • Russians and Chinese Got Snowden Documents the Old-Fashioned Way

      British surveillance functionaries placed a story over the weekend in the Sunday Times (London) claiming that the Russians and Chinese had gotten hold of the documents that Edward Snowden sneaked out of the NSA computers and had broken their encryption. As my colleague Scott Shackford points out the Sunday Times offered nothing more than the assertions of unnamed British spy agency sources as evidence. He noted that one of the Sunday Times’ reporters actually admitted on CNN: “We just publish what we believe to be the position of the British government at the moment.”

    • China and Russia had Snowden docs before he took them – Schneier

      The Edward Snowden documents were in China and Russia’s possession before he even took them and went on the run, believes renowned security specialist Bruce Schneier.

      Writing in Wired, the cryptographer, entrepreneur and former chief technology officer of BT Counterpane, part of telecoms giant BT, added that the documents were already “certainly” in the possession of China and Russia – but not due to Snowden, who has become a convenient scapegoat for security services’ failings.

    • Journalist who met Snowden in Hong Kong rebuts claim that files were breached

      A journalist who published the first reports from Edward Snowden’s leaked documents offered a detailed rebuttal Monday to allegations that Russian and Chinese spies accessed the former intelligence contractor’s files.

      Glenn Greenwald, writing on the online news website The Intercept, said the reports by the Sunday Times and BBC were based on the false premise that Snowden kept possession of the files he took from the US National Security Agency.

    • Snowden’s lawyer slams Times story claiming leaks ‘betrayed’ British spies

      Robert Tibbo could not be more straightforward. “There was no possibility of interception. Zero,” says the Canadian lawyer from Montreal who has represented Edward Snowden in Hong Kong since June of 2013. That was when the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor leaked classified documents on America’s mass surveillance programs to members of the press. Mr. Tibbo’s client came under pressure after British sources revealed last weekend that spies were pulled out of operations because China and Russia have cracked Mr. Snowden’s files.

      “He left this place [Hong Kong] with no data on him”, Mr. Tibbo claimed in a telephone interview from Hong Kong on Monday. He was one of the only two people, along with solicitor Jonathan Man, who had any knowledge of Mr. Snowden’s whereabouts in the city at the time. In an interview Mr. Tibbo was with Mr. Snowden when the whistleblower left Hong Kong for Russia.

    • Glenn Greenwald denies reports Russia, China accessed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s files

      The American journalist said the Sunday Times had “quietly deleted” from its online report the claim that Mr Miranda had met with Snowden in Moscow before being detained.

      Greenwald also said the Sunday Times “mindlessly” repeated a claim that Snowden downloaded 1.7 million documents, when there was no evidence to support the number.

    • Norway denies Snowden entry for freedom prize

      Norway’s government has refused to allow the NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden to cross over the border from Russia to to collect a freedom of speech prize, warning that he may be at risk of arrest.

    • Surveillance Reform: The Congressional-Intelligence Complex Strikes Back

      House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) clearly hates being on the end of a losing vote. He is now working overtime to reverse his most recent policy and legislative loss.

      [...]

      Clapper also claimed that the ban on mandating that American tech companies build in encryption “back doors” to their products would prevent the FBI and the Intelligence Community from working with tech companies “even with their consent”. Also false. The amendment simply prohibits the government from forcing companies to make defective products. Nowhere does the amendment prohibit voluntary cooperation with federal law enforcement agencies.

    • Why Mass Surveillance Violates International Law

      Around the world repressive governments are trying to stop Internet users from either posting anonymously or using encryption to communicate securely. Russia requires bloggers with more than 3,000 visitors to register with the state and identify themselves; pseudonyms are outlawed in Vietnam; Ecuador requires commenters on websites to use their real name; Pakistan’s government must grant approval for the use of encryption; and Ethiopia convicted members of the dissident blogging collective Zone 9 on terrorism charges based in part on participation in an online encryption workshop.

    • Germany Warns Of Cyber-Attack Threat

      Cyber-threats ‘one of the biggest challenges’ in the coming years, according to Germany’s defence minister, as Bundestag reportedly hacked

    • ​Germany BND chief to restructure agency following NSA spying scandal – report

      The head of Germany’s BND foreign intelligence service is reportedly aiming to bring more oversight to the agency and hire external advisers, in an effort to prevent a repeat of the NSA spying scandal that engulfed it this year.

    • German intelligence ‘to be reorganised in response to spy scandal’

      German intelligence is reportedly facing a major overhaul in response to a damaging scandal after it emerged it had spied on European partners at the request of the US.

      Gerhard Schindler, the head of the BND intelligence service, wants to bring all 6,500 of its field officers back under central control, according to Süddeustche Zeitung newspaper.

    • Spy chief seeks to bring field officers to heel

      The head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has decided to reorganize the agency to stop a repeat of the US National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal that has engulfed it this year.

    • Germany’s Spy Agency Monitored Own Branch Tied to US

      Germany’s foreign intelligence agency BND spied on its own branch, gathering information at the US request, the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported Sunday.

    • German Investigation Into NSA Surveillance Of Angela Merkel Dropped

      Moreover, as Techdirt noted back in 2013, the refusal by the US authorities to address these and other allegations of surveillance is contributing to the German public’s jaundiced view of the TAFTA/TTIP negotiations, which are increasingly in trouble. That skepticism is reflected by the fact that among the 2 million signatures gathered so far by the pan-European Stop TTIP online petition, fully one half come from Germany. The decision to drop the investigation into claims that the NSA listened in on Merkel’s phone calls is unlikely to make things better.

    • Probe Against Alleged NSA Wiretapping of Merkel’s Phone Calls Dropped
    • Merkel’s office suggests special investigator see U.S. spy list
    • German BND Reform Should Reduce Agency’s Dependence on NSA – Lawmaker

      German member of the European Parliament Udo Voigt claims that the reform of the German intelligence service BND should make the body less dependent from NSA.

    • German parliament’s NSA probe enters ‘neutral’ stage

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed that a third-party investigator be appointed to inspect a list of targets that German intelligence tracked on behalf of the US National Security Agency.

    • Congress seeks to block U.S. intel from German NSA probe

      President Obama wants to share U.S. secrets with a German parliamentary committee investigating the National Security Agency’s spying in Germany. The move is in direct opposition to Congressional restrictions, which were added to the fiscal 2016 intelligence authorization bill that would block intelligence sharing.

      In a notice sent to Congress Tuesday, the Office of Management and Budget outlined a series of objections to the current House intelligence bill, including a section of the bill that would prevent sharing classified U.S. intelligence in response to requests by foreign governments.

    • Congressional Intel Sharing Ban Would Prevent German NSA Probe

      A new notice from the Office of Management and Budget is objecting strongly to language in the newest intelligence funding bill which would ban any intelligence sharing with foreign countries, saying the language imperils foreign relations on several fronts.

    • Senate rejects US ruling on metadata, Snowden investigation

      The federal government has refused to recognise a decision by a US appeals court which ruled that mass collection of telecommunications metadata.

      Parliament today rejected a motion by Greens communications spokesman Senator Scott Ludlam that the senate take note the ruling and recognise that “Australians and the global community have legitimate and ongoing concerns about the erosion of privacy caused by the unchecked growth of government electronic surveillance programs”.

    • Oregon Bill to Take on Warrantless Collection of Cellphone Data Passes State House

      A bipartisan Oregon bill that would prohibit law enforcement from obtaining information from electronic devices without a warrant in most cases overwhelmingly passed the state House last week. The proposed bill would not only protect privacy in Oregon, but would also address a practical effect of NSA spying.

      Sen. Chip Shields (D-Portland), Rep. Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland), Sen. Tim Knopp (R – Bend) and Rep. John Huffman (R-The Dalles) introduced Senate Bill 641 (SB641) in February. The bill prohibits state and local law enforcement officers from using forensic imaging to obtain information contained in a portable electronic device except with a warrant, or by consent. “Forensic imaging” means “using an electronic device to download or transfer raw data from a portable electronic device onto another medium of digital storage,” but does not include photographing or transcribing information “observable from the portable electronic device by normal unaided human senses.”

    • U.S. losing battle for top tech talent in wake of Snowden revelations

      The government agencies that defend America are in the midst of a charm offensive — trying to win the hearts and minds of Silicon Valley’s tech workers.

      The move is evoking considerable skepticism from the U.S. tech community.

      In recent months, the U.S. Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security have announced the opening of Silicon Valley offices as part of an effort to mend fences.

    • Where’s Cromwell? Edward Snowden has been neutralized

      While ensconced in safety and security in Russia, the likelihood of Snowden being the spark that lights the fuse for real change in governments’ accountability around the globe dims with each passing day. Still, Snowden’s role in exposing the villainous plot in charge of Washington was a pivotal decision; on his part, a real personal sacrifice; but for the rest of the West, a good starting point.

    • Editorial: Freedom Act should make you shake your head

      The USA Freedom Act is literally as much an oxymoron as its parallel predecessor — the Patriot Act.

    • Will the “Freedom Act” Bring Real Freedom to Americans?

      To sum it up, be it a real move or a temporary fix to keep up appearances, the fact is that monitoring and tracking activities by US intelligence services are continuing at full speed. Furthermore, these laws pertain only to the intelligence activities regarding US citizens and do not include any articles on restricting intelligence activities regarding non-US citizens or US citizens abroad.

    • Privacy fight far from finished

      The cost to the tech industry as a result of NSA spying is estimated to reach $200 billion by 2016…

    • The USA Freedom Act: what it changes and (mostly) doesn’t for cloud services–and is it really the issue

      The recent showdown over renewal of certain provisions of the USA Patriot Act (often called simply the Patriot Act) and the subsequent enactment of the USA Freedom Act have raised a number of questions about the ongoing impact of these laws on data traversing or being stored in the United States. While the new law takes the NSA out of the direct business of maintaining metadata (which includes phone number called, the time and duration of the call, and location information) on all phone calls originating or terminating in the US (with a declared intent of transitioning instead to a program that will allow court-moderated access to phone company data) and reinstates provisions that enable so-called “roving wiretaps” and monitoring of “lone wolves,” it essentially leaves unchanged the underlying laws that govern the US authorities access to data stored in the cloud.

    • Spy law looks the same

      Libertarians and constitutionalists feel betrayed by the long hated extreme surveillance measures implemented in the misnamed Patriot Act (should be named Surveillance of Americans Act) of October 2001, six weeks after 9/11. Authors of the bill knew at the time such measures meant an unprecedented expansion of government and loss of privacy for most Americans — hence the five year renewal provisions of the more Draculan parts. Both recent presidents have requested its continuance in 2005 and again in 2010.

      Sen.Rand Paul’s heroic June 1 Senate filibuster helped prevent the Senate from extending the Patriot Act, as wanted by most Republicans, and as had happened twice before. Thank God, Paul and the Democrats for its defeat. The five-year renewal of the Patriot Act did not have the votes. Instead, we got virtually the same thing in the so-called USA Freedom Act, again misnamed. How can freedom be enhanced by the government’s enhanced surveillance of its own citizens? Thanks to President Barack Obama and the Republicans, government’s unwarranted and indefinite storage of private records and communications continues.

    • Will GOP stop NSA? Well, that depends

      A former U.S. Justice Department attorney predicts some Republicans seeking the White House would continue the controversial collection of Americans’ information.

    • NSA Celebrates Passage of USA ‘Freedom’ Act, While Skype Keeps Its Spying Eyes on You

      Both privacy advocates and the NSA are celebrating the USA Freedom Act that passed the Senate on June 2. The act legalized and simplified the collecting of phone metadata for the NSA. Meanwhile Skype continues to collect voice, chat, video and other data, and deliver it to the Five Eyes international spy coalition.

      The passage of the USA Freedom Act — penned by General Keith Alexander, director of the NSA — was followed by general celebration over what is considered a small victory for privacy advocates, and the biggest surveillance reform since the 1970s.

    • NSA Surveillance: Things to know about newly approved USA Freedom Act
    • French Surveillance Bill: a Major Defeat for Liberties

      The Commission Mixte Paritaire — a joint parliamentary committee responsible for reaching a compromise between the lower and upper house — met on 16th June to reach an agreement on the final version on the Surveillance Bill, between the version approved by the National Assembly on 5th May, and the one approved by the Senate on 9th June. However, a last minute change modified deeply the spirit of the Bill and its application on French territory. La Quadrature du Net regrets this umpteenth anti-democratic procedure and renews its call to French representatives to reject this text during the final vote on the 23rd and 24th June.

    • Assange: Google’s dominant position should be broken up

      Assange: In some ways the higher echelons of Google always seemed more distant and obscure to me than the halls of Washington. When my colleague told me the executive chairman of Google wanted to make an appointment with me I was intrigued that the mountain would come to Muhammad. But it was not until well after Schmidt and his entourage had gone that I came to understand who had really visited me.

    • Julian Assange: ‘Western Civilization Has Produced a God, the God of Mass Surveillance’

      Now finally, Western civilization has produced a god, the god of mass surveillance. How is it like a god? It’s a little bit Abrahamic. If you look at most definitions, a god is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. In particular, god knows when you are doing something that you shouldn’t be doing and whether you are playing according to god’s rules. The conception of national security agencies and mass surveillance is that the overwhelming majority of communications are surveilled upon. Even conversations happening in person may be recorded through an Android phone, or through other electronic gadgets that are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Maybe your friend, although you just talked to them in person, can gossip over electronic media about what you said.

    • Obama Asks for 6 more Months of NSA Bulk Surveillance Collection

      It’s the oldest trick in the book—when Dad tells you no, ask Mom if you can do it. Now President Barack Obama is playing that game with the surveillance of Americans’ phone records.

      The Obama administration, on the same day the USA Freedom Act became law on June 2, went to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court) with a request (pdf) to continue sweeping up phone records during a six-month “transition” period before the Freedom Act provisions take effect.

      The USA Freedom Act specifies that call records be maintained by the phone companies, and the government may access them only with a warrant from the FISA court. That’s evidently not good enough for the Obama administration.

    • Under the radar, secret NSA database open for business

      NSA isn’t commenting on its plans for retaining these phone call records.

      But with nothing forcing the Corporate Store to close for business, ACLU attorney Patrick Toomey said, “This NSA database may grow even more quickly than ever before.”

    • New Snowden documents show NSA has expanded U.S. web spying

      Most of the Snowden disclosures have shed light on the NSA’s basic mission of gathering foreign “signals intelligence”, but the way the agency does its job in the Internet age by necessity involves exploiting weaknesses in the same technology the rest of United States use. He also cited laws in Europe and in South America protecting citizens from mass surveillance. Until now, this program was never disclosed to the public. What gives this protocol another layer of security is the fact that Apple has no access to all the encryption keys which means that the company can’t produce any data stored on their own devices even if issued by a warrant from a government agency. In the wake of 9/11, the government dismantled this protection, arguing that it would impede the investigation of terrorists.

    • As Senate rejects cyber bill, privacy trumps security concerns

      Taken together, those measures could amount to a new backdoor for government surveillance, according to some experts. The revelation earlier this month that the NSA monitors Americans’ Internet traffic in its hunt for foreign cybersecurity threats has only heightened those fears, according to Jennifer Granick of Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society.

    • Shami Chakrabarti: Let me be clear – Edward Snowden is a hero

      The hyperbole that followed yesterday’s story was astonishing – Professor Anthony Glees reportedly branded Snowden “a villain of the first order” – Darth Vader eat your heart out.

      So let me be completely clear: Edward Snowden is a hero. Saying so does not make me an apologist for terror – it makes me a firm believer in democracy and the rule of law. Whether you are with or against Liberty in the debate about proportionate surveillance, Anderson must be right to say that the people and our representatives should know about capabilities and practices built and conducted in our name.

      For years, UK and US governments broke the law. For years, they hid the sheer scale of their spying practices not just from the British public, but from parliament. Without Snowden – and the legal challenges by Liberty and other campaigners that followed – we wouldn’t have a clue what they were up to.

    • Encrypted email service with MIT ties opens to general public

      Protonmail, the easy-to-use encrypted mail service that launched in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA spying and was built in part by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers, opened to the general public Sunday evening.

      The founders of the Switzerland-based service announced the news on its website and released a link for easy sign-up. They also said Protonmail now has 500,000 users. Financial contributors have been able to get accounts for about a year.

    • [Reposted] NSA whistleblower speaks in Eden Prairie
    • Anonymous Carries Out Massive Cyber-Attack In Retaliation Of NSA Style Canadian Bill C-51

      The hacker collective Anonymous is taking credit for a massive cyber-attack on the federal government that made multiple government websites go dark this afternoon — apparently in protest against the Harper government’s controversial security legislation, C-51.

  • Civil Rights

    • German police arrest Al Jazeera journalist in Berlin: lawyer
    • Nicola Corbyn and The Myth of the Unelectable Left

      There was only any public enthusiasm for Blair in 97 – and to put that in perspective, it was less than the public enthusiasm for John Major in 1992.

    • The Invasion Of Privacy

      Radack was not part of the original criminal defense team that represented Drake during 2010 and 2011, and she has said that she found out about the alleged destruction of records relating to Drake’s case via the OSC. The information she has comes from secret complaints that were filed by officials from the Pentagon inspector general’s office, some of whom still work there. It is not known who they are as they formally requested the OSC respect their anonymity for fear of retaliation.

      It is understood that the Justice Department claimed prior to Drake’s impending 2011 trial that some documents had been destroyed, but that this has been done according to “a standard document destruction policy.” Radack maintains that there is no such policy, and that rather the inspector general’s office has a Records Management Program that demands documents are kept on file.

      Drake has been quoted as saying these allegations are his last chance to hold the NSA accountable for “illegal retaliation” against whistleblowers.

    • Possible Pentagon destruction of evidence in NSA leak case probed

      Two government watchdog agencies are investigating whether the Pentagon inspector general destroyed evidence improperly during the high-profile leak investigation of former National Security Agency senior official Thomas Drake.

      The Justice Department acknowledged the probes in a letter last week to a federal magistrate judge who recently received the allegations from Drake’s lawyers. The judge is determining whether she should take further action in a case that ended in 2011 when Drake pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

    • Destroyed Documents In NSA Surveillance Case Under Investigation

      Government watchdog agencies are looking into whether officials at the Pentagon improperly destroyed evidence documenting whistleblower cases, McClatchy reported Monday. The documents in question involve the 2011 prosecution of Thomas Drake, who was charged under the espionage act with leaking documents about National Security Agency surveillance to the media.

      The investigation centers on whether Pentagon officials were right to destroy documents related to Drake’s case in 2011. At the time, officials said they were destroyed “pursuant to a standard document destruction policy.” Most federal agencies are required to keep schedules that detail which documents should be retained and which can be destroyed.

    • Has the U.S. Learned Anything From Edward Snowden’s NSA Revelations?

      For instance, a draft Inspector General report found that CIA Director Leon Panetta disclosed such information about the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. Similarly, former CIA director David Petraeus provided classified information to his biographer. Panetta was never charged, and Petraeus was let off with a misdemeanor.

    • America hates its whistle-blowers: The tortured legacy of Edward Snowden

      Snowden, meanwhile, sits in exile — a fugitive for exposing his own government’s unprecedented system of surveillance. While Snowden’s critics say he should come back to the United States to air out his grievances in open court, journalist Glenn Greenwald notes: “He’s barred under the Espionage Act even from arguing that his leaks were justified; he wouldn’t be permitted to utter a word about that.”

    • Bureau of Prisons Puts CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling in Prison Around 900 Miles from Wife & Family

      CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling was notified at the end of last week that he will serve his prison sentence of three and a half years at Federal Correctional Institution Englewood, a medium-security facility in Littleton, Colorado, that is around 900 miles away from where his wife and family live in St. Louis. That is at least a 12-hour drive.

    • Potential Impact, Reprisal Called Foremost to Whistleblowers

      In addition, agencies “are motivated to continue retaliation indefinitely because it creates a chilling effect that silences others,” testimony said.

    • Why Are Persons Unknown More Likely to Be Called ‘Terrorist’ Than a Known White Supremacist?

      In the wake of mass violence, a nation struggling to understand turns to its news outlets to see how they frame events. The language journalists use in the immediate aftermath of a bloodbath helps form public attitudes and has a major impact on official reactions.

      When two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, killing three and injuring hundreds, it was inevitably a huge story: A search of the Nexis news database for US newspapers on the next day turns up 2,593 stories mentioning the marathon, virtually all of them about the bombing. Of these, 887, or 34 percent, used the word “terrorism” or a variant (“terrorist,” “terroristic” etc.)–even though the bombers, let alone the bombers’ motivations, would not be known until days later.

    • Despite Soaring Popularity, Women’s Sports Got More Coverage a Generation Ago

      If someone told you that there is less coverage of women’s sports on televised news programs today than there was in 1989, would you believe them? It would be reasonable if your response was “no.”

      Certainly, girls and women’s participation in sport has dramatically increased over the past 25+ years, and there are a number of professional women’s leagues today that did not exist in 1989. There’s also been a tremendous growing interest in and fan base for women’s sports over the last quarter century.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Music industry wins against UK government over private copying of music

        The UK’s music industry has successfully landed a significant judgement from the UK’s High Court, countering a copyright exception that was brought in by the UK government last year. Since last October, there was a law that allowed you to make private copies of your own music; now the future of that law is uncertain.

        The exception finally legalised what everyone has been doing for decades: making copies for personal, private use of copyright works they had bought, including format-shifted versions. Despite the marginal nature of the exception—it did not extend to making copies for family and friends, for example—the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, the Musicians’ Union, and UK Music successfully applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the change to UK law.

      • UK’s Legalization of CD Ripping is Unlawful, Court Rules

        Several music industry organizations in the UK have won a judicial review which renders the Government’s decision to allow copying for personal use unlawful. According to the High Court, there’s insufficient evidence to prove that the legislation doesn’t hurt musicians and the industry at large.

      • Lack of fair compensation requirement in UK private copying exception not supported by sufficient evidence, High Court rules

        What may happen now is that a reference to the CJEU is made, seeking further clarification about questions yet to be determined.

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