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Links 8/11/2015: 1,600 Games in Valve’s Steam for GNU/Linux, MiniDebconf Cambridge

Posted in News Roundup at 6:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Linux Containers Will Disrupt Virtualization Incumbents

      The next wave of virtualization on servers is not going to look like the last one. That is the thinking of Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu Linux project more than a decade ago and head of strategy and user experience at Canonical, the company that provides support services for Ubuntu.

  • Kernel Space

    • Many Network, WiFi, & eBPF Changes For The Linux 4.4 Kernel

      The networking subsystem update landed earlier this week in the Linux 4.4 Git code and it comes with several new features.

    • Linux Foundation wants to extend Swagger in connected buildings

      Members of the Linux Foundation have met in San Francisco to push its newly announced Open API initiative. The collective want to harmonise efforts in the development of connected building technology.

      Founding members of the Open API Initiative, including Google, IBM, Intuit, Microsoft and PayPal, want to extend the range of Swagger, the popular framework for building application programming interfaces (APIs). Their collective ambition is to create a vendor neutral, portable and open specification for providing metadata for APIs based on the representational state architecture (REST).

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau NVC0 Enables Compute Support For Fermi GPUs

        The latest Nouveau Gallium3D driver work enables compute support for GeForce GTX 400/500 “Fermi” graphics cards.

        But before getting too excited, this isn’t complete support nor is it good enough yet for executing your complex OpenCL kernels. The current state just handles simple compute kernels like for reading MP performance counters.

      • Have Troubles With 4K Displays On Intel Linux? Try The Linux 4.3 Kernel

        At least for the Dell P2415Q 4K monitor that I bought a few weeks ago as the latest 4K test-bed, the Intel mode-setting support tends to be flaky unless using the new Linux 4.3 kernel. If booting Ubuntu 15.10 out-of-the-box, you may not have any luck getting a GUI. This has happened on both my Skylake systems and I believe a Haswell system too (it’s been going on for a few weeks but have just got around to writing this word of caution).

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Skylake Graphics: Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Performance

        This article is an OpenGL performance comparison between Windows 10 Pro x64 and Ubuntu 15.10 when upgrading to the very latest open-source graphics driver stack. Atop Ubuntu 15.10 was the upgrade to the Linux 4.3.0 stable kernel and also switching to Mesa 11.1-devel Git using the Padoka PPA. On the Windows side, the latest Intel graphics driver was used for benchmarking this Skylake system.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • 3D View: Challenge that makes me crazy

        But I spent a few grips, I could not make the Qt link with VTK. At that time I had very little experience with Linux environment, which made me give up using VTK and and tried to use pure OPenGl with QOpenGLWidget, that Qt provides.

      • KDE at FOSDEM 2016

        FOSDEM is the biggest free software conference and KDE will have a stall and help organise the Desktop devroom for talks. If you have something interesting to talk about the call for talks in the devroom is open now. We should have a stall to promote KDE, the world best free and open source community. I’m organising the KDE party on the Saturday. And there are thousands of talks going on. Sign up on the wiki page now if you’re coming and want to hang around or help with KDE stuff.

      • KActivities library no longer requires Boost

        There were some complaints from our Windows people that it is difficult to build KActivities (on Windows) due to its usage of boost.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • MX-15 beta1 available for testing

        We are pleased to announce the first public beta of MX-15 (codename ‘Fusion’)
        based on the reliable and stable Debian Jessie (8.2) with extra enhancements from our packaging team.
        Just like MX-14, this release defaults to sysVinit (though systemd is available once installed for those that prefer to use it).

    • Arch Family

      • Disk I/O Scheduler Tests On Manjaro Linux

        With having an Arch-based Manjaro Linux installation around from the recent large Linux distribution comparison / performance showdown I carried out some extra tests this weekend.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • How to make live-patching Linux really cool

        When it comes to numbers, SUSE Linux is a long, long way behind Red Hat, the 800-lb gorilla of commercial Linux companies.

        Now that gap may widen even further after Red Hat signed a deal with Microsoft to collaborate on cloud installations.

        But when it comes to making technology cool, SUSE does appear to have a better handle on things.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Announces The Availability Of Gluster On Azure

        Red Hat Inc. announced that its Gluster Storage is available in Microsoft Azure as a fully supported offering. Through Gluster, Azure users will have a scale-out, POSIX compatible, massively scalable, elastic file storage solution with a global namespace. This announcement also means that existing Gluster users will have another public cloud environment to run Gluster in.

      • William Blair Expects Red Hat (RHT) to Earn Q1 2016 Earnings of $0.30 Per Share

        Stock analysts at William Blair dropped their Q1 2016 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday, Zacks reports. William Blair analyst J. Ader now expects that the brokerage will post earnings per share of $0.30 for the quarter, down from their previous forecast of $0.33. William Blair has a “Buy” rating on the stock. The consensus estimate for Red Hat’s Q1 2016 earnings is $0.32 per share.

      • William Blair Reduces Q2 2016 EPS Estimates for Red Hat (RHT)

        A number of other brokerages also recently weighed in on RHT. Mizuho reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $88.00 price target on shares of Red Hat in a research note on Friday. Deutsche Bank upgraded Red Hat from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price target for the company from $75.00 to $90.00 in a research report on Tuesday. Cowen and Company lowered Red Hat from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $82.00 price objective on the stock. in a report on Thursday, October 22nd. Drexel Hamilton began coverage on Red Hat in a research note on Friday, October 9th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $90.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Pacific Crest reissued an “equal weight” rating on shares of Red Hat in a research note on Wednesday, September 23rd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and twenty-six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Red Hat currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $83.52.

      • Fedora

        • Korora 23 (Coral) Beta – Now Available

          The Korora Project is very pleased to announce that the beta release of version 23 (codename “Coral”) is now available for download.

        • Fedora Core 1 Computer Reaches 1 Year Uptime

          The server was built in 1998 and Fedora Core 1 was installed on May 12th 2004. I wish I could say that I always ran Linux or BSD on this box but the truth is it was originally a Windows 95 box and later on a Win2K box. One of the reasons why the uptimes weren’t longer was due to utility power failures. Currently the server has a decent APC ES 725 UPS connected via USB cable, but this will be upgraded in the near future.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Why Google Might Want to Design Chips for Android Phones

          Google may be trying to exert control over the Android ecosystem. Analysts suggest reasons Google might want to design chips for Android smartphones.

          Google is reportedly seeking to design its own smartphone chips in a bid to gain more control over what it sees as a rapidly fragmenting Android ecosystem.

          Earlier this year, Google spoke with some chip manufacturers apparently to gauge their interest in developing chips based on Google’s designs, The Information reported Nov. 5.

        • Mlais Smartwatch Surfaces, Might Ship With Android Wear

          Mlais is a Hong Kong-based company which has released a handful of smartphones thus far. We’ve reviewed a number of those devices, including Mlais MX Base, M7, M52 Red Note and M4 Note. Most of these devices managed to surprise us as far as quality and general performance goes, Mlais did a really good job overall. That being said, It seems like Mlais is getting ready to release a smartwatch, and it could be Android Wear-powered, which is very interesting. Anyhow, let’s see what’s what.

        • Google Offering Android Auto Support Through Twitter

          Smart in-car infotainment systems are becoming a reality with various smartphone projection standards like Android Auto and Apple Carplay starting to see support from car makers, although the pace of uptake leaves a lot to be desired. The Android Auto project was announced at Google I/O 2014, and the mobile app for the same was released to the Google Play Store in March this year. For the uninitiated, what Android Auto does essentially is that it makes your phone’s apps and data available through the built-in touchscreen head-unit of a vehicle that supports the standard. Meaning, no more having to pick up the phone to access your contacts, text messages, calls, GPS navigation, internet access etc. What’s more, the calling and texting features are voice-controlled by default, which promises to cut down on the would-be distractions, thereby improving safety.

        • Android 6.0 Marshmallow is Coming to Motorola Devices With the Exception of Moto E, Moto G, and Moto X First Gen!
        • BlackBerry Priv Android slider phone will be available on Verizon, too

          It looks like AT&T won’t have a domestic exclusive on the BlackBerry Priv after all. Verizon Wireless has hinted on Twitter that it, too, will offer the keyboard-equipped Android phone to its customers. No other information is available on Verizon’s website, but the carrier does say that the phone is “coming soon.”

        • Apple TV (2015) vs NVIDIA Shield Android TV – Comparison [Video]

          Today we’re comparing the forth generation Apple TV to the NVIDIA Shield. These are quite possibly the two best set top boxes out right now. I won’t be going into every little detail here, but instead the things that are most important for myself. But before we get in-depth with either option, let’s take a look at specifications between the two…

        • Fly Labs acquisition means Google Photos could finally bring robust video editing to Android
        • Review: 3 Android phones that offer something different

          New Android phones appear with regularity, but far too few of them really seem … new.

          Sure, cameras keep getting better and phones keep getting faster. For the most part, though, you’d be hard-pressed to single out many new features that aren’t just tweaks for the sake of tweaking. Though manufacturers frequently customize Google’s Android software to set their phones apart, those alterations often just make things worse by hiding features or breaking some apps.

        • BlackBerry could solve Android’s security issues

          BlackBerry is still around, though, and that is a good thing. At least it is if you’re concerned about security and your privacy. BlackBerry has long been among the most secure devices available.

          That will likely include its new PRIV (short for private), its first Android phone. In fact, the company’s security chief says PRIV will be the most secure Android device available, saying “it’s second to none in the industry.”

Free Software/Open Source


    • GNU Smalltalk 3.2.91

      I am happy to announce the second alpha release on the way to GNU Smalltalk 3.3.


  • Manchester Christmas lights switch on: Replay all the action from Albert Square

    The countdown to Christmas in Manchester began tonight as the city’s lights were switched on.

    Thousands of families filled Albert Square to watch Coronation Street’s Catherine Tyldesley and Kym Marsh flick the switch, with a spectacular 10-minute firework finale adding to the sparkle.

    The soap stars were joined on the line-up by Scouting for Girls and Lemar, and there were also appearances from the cast of the Opera House’s Cinderella and The Lowry’s Sound of Music.

  • Pictures: Manchester Christmas lights switch on finishes with spectacular fireworks display in Albert Square
  • Native American Students Left Behind

    Native American students have writhed for decades in a bureaucratic school system bogged down by a patchwork of federal agencies responsible for different aspects of their education.

    Today, native youth post the worst achievement scores and the lowest graduation rates of any student subgroup. Last school year 67 percent of American Indian students graduated from high school compared the national average of 80 percent. And many of their school facilities have been equally neglected, lacking even basic essentials such as heat and running water.

  • PC tech support tell customers to avoid Windows 10 [Ed: as covered here before]

    While Microsoft might be revved up about getting people onto Windows 10 as fast as possible, if you call your PC maker’s tech support line, you might be advised to roll back to older versions.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Environmentalists on Trial for Defending Palm Beach Gardens Forest

      A trial taking place today brings attention once again to the plight of the 700-acre Briger Forest, a rare tract of pristine land in Palm Beach County that environmentalists have been trying to protect for years. Developers have begun to clear trees and build roads to construct homes, stores, and laboratories for the private, nonprofit Scripps Biotech Institute.

    • Bill Gates gives Exxon cover: The Gates Foundation is deadly wrong on climate change, fossil fuels

      The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s wealthiest charitable foundation, has been under an unprecedented amount of scrutiny regarding their investments in the fossil fuel industry lately.

      Alongside a persistent and growing local Seattle-based campaign, about a quarter of a million people joined the Guardian in calling on the Foundation to join the $2.6 trillion worth of investors who have committed to divest from fossil fuels.

      In response, Bill Gates has proffered two public rejections of fossil fuel divestment, the most recent in a lengthy interview on climate change in this month’s edition of the Atlantic. Both rejections were based on misleading accounts of divestment which created straw men of the divestment movement, and downplayed the remarkable prospects for a clean energy revolution.

    • What you should know about Indonesia’s devastating fires

      For the past two months, enormous forest fires have been raging across large swaths of Indonesia. So far, 120,000 active fires have been detected in the country. The smoke has been so bad it could be seen from space. Below is a guide to the basic facts you should know about the disaster.

    • Setting a country alight: Indonesia’s devastating forest fires are manmade

      Thousands of the fires raging through the forests of Indonesia were deliberately started to clear land for industrial use. The results have been deadly

    • Indonesian fires: Forget the orangutans, is the blaze a tipping point for carbon emissions?

      The fires in Indonesia are more than just a threat to endangered orangutans. They have shortened by up to two years the window to reduce carbon emissions and avoid runaway climate change, according to one of the CSIRO’s leading climate scientists.

  • Finance

    • Reddit Bitcoin Censorship in Focus as 30 CEOs Join Roger Ver’s AMA

      Yesterday, Roger Ver and the Bitcoin.com team hosted the largest bitcoin AMA, with the participation of prominent bitcoin entrepreneurs, startups and developers including Gavin Andresen, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, Xapo CEO Wences Casares, Overstock CEO Patric Bryne and bitcoin core developer Mike Hearn, which will continue until december, with over 70 respected figures from the bitcoin scene hosting Q&A sessions on forum.bitcoin.com.

    • Bill Gates-owned Corbis photo company cutting 15 percent of workers

      The Seattle-based company has been stockpiling a trove of historic photos since Gates founded Corbis in 1989. But recently, it has seen an “accelerated decline” in its ability to license its images, according to a memo CEO Gary Shenk sent employees this week that was obtained by Bloomberg.


      A source with knowledge of the situation told Bloomberg the cuts will affect 15 percent of Corbis workers.

    • Bill Gates spent a fortune to build it. Now a Florida school system is getting rid of it.

      Here we go again. Another Bill Gates-funded education reform project, starting with mountains of cash and sky-high promises, is crashing to Earth.

      This time it’s the Empowering Effective Teachers, an educator evaluation program in Hillsborough County, Florida, which was developed in 2009 with major financial backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A total of more than $180 million has been spent on the project since then — with Gates initially promising some $100 million of it — but now, the district, one of the largest in the country, is ending the program.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • There’s Method To The Mad Satire Of ‘Censorship Now!!’

      Ian Svenonius is a strange man. Anyone who’s followed his career over the past 25 years knows he has a knack for incendiary sloganeering that often borders on the surreal, first as the singer in the legendary Washington, D.C. punk band The Nation of Ulysses (he currently leads the “crime rock” group Chain and the Gang) then as the author of the nonfiction books The Psychic Soviet and Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ‘n’ Roll Group. In his stylish, suit-and-tie persona as a pop-culture gadfly and revolutionary rhetorician — which may or may not be a self-caricature; part of his appeal is his Andy Kaufman-like commitment to character — he’s put forth ideas as bizarre as comparing Fidel Castro to The Velvet Underground. Favorably, of course.

    • Textbook takes a comical approach to censorship

      But instead of including the awful word “fuck,” which may corrupt the minds of psychology students, Weiten takes a comical approach by just changing the word to “mating.” He of course could have used the word “fornicating,” but that just wouldn’t be funny at all.

    • China Seeks to Export Censorship to Overseas-Registered Domain Names: Report [Ed: like in the West. “Radio Free Asia” is probably like “Radio Free Europe”]

      China has compiled a “blacklist” of keywords banned by its complex Internet censorship regime, known as the Great Firewall, and is now seeking to apply them well beyond its physical borders via a domain-name registry based in the United States, according to recent reports.

      U.S.-based domain-name registry XYZ.com recently made a deal with the Chinese government requiring it to enforce Beijing’s censorship globally based on a list of banned words, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.

      The registry will let China ban domain names based on a list of “sensitive words” including “freedom,” “democracy,” and a multitude of words seen as referring to the Tiananmen Square massacre, including the title of singer Taylor Swift’s 1989 album and tour.

    • Google’s Move Toward China Littered With Censorship Challenges

      Google’s move back into China might not be as welcome as initially expected — not by China’s citizens, but the United States. The Web site for Google’s holding company is registered with a company that is helping China censor thousands of top level domain names, according to one report.

    • Google Faces New China Censorship Problem

      Meanwhile, the .XYZ registry is not owned by a Chinese company but by Daniel Negari, a young American entrepreneur from Beverly Hills. Negari said by email that XYZ will formally address the issue on Wednesday afternoon.

    • China Censors Your Internet
    • China, Working with a U.S. Company, Aims to Censor Online Content

      China is already famous for massive Internet surveillance and censorship inside its borders. Now, through a partnership with American company XYZ.com, Chinese authorities are also aiming to censor online content around the world in an unprecedented suppression of Internet privacy and freedom.

    • China just banned 12,000 words from the internet
    • EFF Challenges Informal Government Censorship

      EFF, along with the Center for Democracy & Technology and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in the case of Backpage.com v. Dart.

      Backpage.com sued Thomas Dart, the sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, arguing that the sheriff’s successful campaign to get Visa and MasterCard to cease providing financial services to the website amounted to informal government censorship in violation of the First Amendment.

    • Unionist parties in censorship row after demanding removal of painting showing ‘Orangemen in KKK clothing’

      More than 300 works are on display in Northern Ireland’s biggest visual arts show, but a controversy erupted this week over a square inch of canvas.

    • Ku Klux Klan painting ‘feeds into climate of bitterness’

      A leading Orangeman has hit out at media backing for Orange Order brethren being depicted as Ku Klux Klan members.

    • Controversy over Orange Order ‘KKK’ artwork
    • Warning sign erected near Joseph McWilliams painting

      A WARNING notice has been placed beside a painting at a Belfast museum amid claims it shows members of the Orange Order dressed in Ku Klux Klan clothing.

      The 7ft oil canvas entitled `’Christian Flautists Outside St Patrick’s’, was the last major work by renowned Belfast artist Joseph McWilliams before his death last month.

      The painting depicts loyalist bands men marching in circles outside St Patrick’s Church in the city in 2012.

    • Orange Order to meet Ulster Museum chiefs over ‘KKK’ painting

      Staff at the Ulster Museum have erected a sign to warn visitors that some images – including one linking Orange Order supporters with the racist Ku Klux Klan – are “potentially offensive”.

    • Leaked Emails From Pro-Clinton Group Reveal Censorship of Staff on Israel, AIPAC Pandering, Warped Militarism

      LEAKED INTERNAL EMAILS from the powerful Democratic think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) shed light on several public controversies involving the organization, particularly in regard to its positioning on Israel. They reveal the lengths to which the group has gone in order to placate AIPAC and long-time Clinton operative and Israel activist Ann Lewis — including censoring its own writers on the topic of Israel.

    • Ann Lewis and AIPAC pressured Democratic thinktank to censor writers deemed ‘anti-Israel’

      Three years ago two writers got run out of the Democratic thinktank the Center for American Progress by the Israel lobby. We wrote a lot about it at the time. Rightwing Republican Israel supporters smeared the writers for stuff they were writing about Israel at Think Progress; and lo and behold they were gone in months. Ali Gharib and Eli Clifton–all moved on to more independent pastures after they were censored by CAP.

    • We’re obsessed with ‘no platforming’ but aren’t resisting the return of harder censorship

      In the preface to his classic 1961 book about censorship, Obscenity, Blasphemy, Sedition, the conservative journalist Peter Coleman struck an unexpectedly elegiac note.

      “It is still too soon,” he wrote, “to write an autopsy of Australian censorship, but nevertheless the censorship of morals, blasphemy and sedition has almost entirely disappeared, and the remaining cases of literary censorship, while irritating to many, are few in number.

      “At the same time, since the new freedom of censorship has been accompanied by the emergence of ‘mass culture’, of a debased literature, and of a general attitude of indifference to cultural standards, the spirit of crusade has gone out of the old cause.”

    • Australia urges Nauru to uphold rule of law and stop censorship

      Australia says it is concerned at the erosion of the rule of law in Nauru, and has urged the Pacific nation to allow journalists to visit, stop censoring the internet and decriminalise same-sex relationships, in a frank assessment at the United Nations.

      Nauru is being assessed before the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a quadrennial assessment of countries’ human rights record by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

    • Burma’s journalists battle censorship and inexperience ahead of ‘relatively’ free elections

      Their predecessors suffered torture, imprisonment and death at the hands of a diehard military regime for more than half a century. Now, Burma’s journalists — newly fledged, muscle-flexing but also still apprehensive — are challenged with the first general election since 1960 to be covered with relative freedom.

      The independent press for months has been girding itself with training and strategy sessions, figuring out how to breach barriers to polling access and expose cheating and other irregularities — both widely anticipated during what is heralded as a historic showdown Sunday between the ruling party, backed by the still-powerful military, and one headed by pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

      “It’s a milestone in my career and that of everyone here,” says Kyaw Zwa Moe, editor of The Irrawaddy, earlier imprisoned for eight years for publishing a political journal and participating in the pro-democracy movement. “I told my reporters, ‘You have to have passion to cover these elections. You are not only doing your duty as journalists but serving your country. You are opening people’s eyes.’”

    • Censorship in paradise

      Thus, it was very good news when the festival made the decision to host several sessions as a platform for discussing the controversial events that occurred between Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 1965 and the subsequential mass killings of alleged leftists.

    • This week in Jakarta: Censorship, polls, and rain at last

      Censorship in Indonesia became a topic of public debate this week after local authorities moved to silence discussions on the 1965 anti-communist killings. Meanwhile, polls weighed in on Jokowi’s first year as president, and the first rains of the season offered some relief to areas affected by haze.

    • Singapore Writers Festival: Indonesia’s Goenawan Mohamad on how to write under censorship
    • Writers continue to resist, navigate censors
    • Indonesia writers fear censors over the 1965 communist purges

      Endy Bayuni was one of four panellists whose identities were overtly recorded last Thursday. Attendees were also photographed, and other events on Indonesia’s 1965 communist purges were cancelled.

    • Southeast Asia’s forgotten genocide

      October marked 50 years since the Indonesian military launched one of the twentieth century’s worst mass murders. Yet the anniversary passed almost unnoticed. The massacre of some 500,000 members or sympathisers of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) during 1965-1966 is the least talked-about genocide of the last century.

    • Meet the website Facebook is censoring from your News Feed

      Facebook, which just announced it averages 1 billion daily users, is actively censoring any mention of Tsu.co. The social media giant has accused the brash young startup of not complying with its spam policies and now cites every mention of the site made on Facebook, Messenger, or Instagram as spam, censoring any post that includes the site’s URL (Tsu, the popular Chinese name, is still permissible).

    • Facebook deletes and blocks all links to small social media site Tsu.co

      The social media giant has deleted more than one million posts which mention small social media platform Tsu.co

    • Facebook is censoring links to competitor social network Tsu and deleting old mentions

      Log in to Facebook, create a post, and type in “Tsu.co.” Facebook will censor the link on all its platforms. That means facebook.com, as well as Messenger, Instagram, and the Facebook apps for iOS and Android.

      Facebook did something a lot scarier, too. The retroactively censored over a million Facebook posts which mentioned Tsu.co. So those Facebook posts, and associated images, videos, or comments? All deleted by Facebook. Gone.

      The word “Tsu,” which is a competing social network, is okay. But “Tsu.co,” or any links from the domain, are automatically censored.

    • #KillAllWhiteMen? What about #KillAllMuslims?

      Yes, it is all well and good to defend Bahar Mustafa, the Goldsmiths student diversity officer arrested and charged under UK communications law. As the free-speech lobby English PEN claims, noting that the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen ‘was clearly a joke’ rather than a real threat: ‘It was a political statement, however inadvisable it was for an elected students’ union official to post it.’

    • Commissioners urged to alter policy seen as censorship

      Toledo-based attorney Terry Lodge accused the commissioners of violating his client’s First Amendment right to free speech. The policy, which has been listed in writing on the commissioners’ agendas for several weeks, requires would-be speakers at weekly commissioner meetings to disclose the subject of their comments prior to speaking.

    • Risk of censorship of Chilcot report

      I, too, am disgusted by the delay in publishing the results of the Chilcot inquiry about the causes and consequences of the second Iraq War, which should have been unnecessary if George Bush senior had not lost his nerve, following the US massacre of retreating Iraqi troops on the Basis Road, after the liberation of Kuwait.

      I doubt we will ever get the whole truth, because it is probably inconsistent with the whole idea of democratic government.

    • A question of censorship: 25 years after the Mapplethorpe trial
    • Oregon officials must justify their censorship

      Censorship of public information needs to justify itself, not the public’s right to know.

    • Filmmaker Sees Online Censorship as Danger to Cambodian Democracy

      Recently, a video of two opposition lawmakers being beaten by an angry mob went viral on social media. How do you think this speaks to cyber-democracy in Cambodia?

    • The TPP and Internet censorship

      For an example of just how bad the TPP is for Canadians, let’s take a look at the Intellectual Property (IP) chapter. For years, digital rights experts the world over have been calling it “one of the worst global threats to the Internet.”

    • The TPP, Internet censorship, and Trudeau’s first big test as prime minister
    • Books for book fair not censored: Official

      A deliberation on the contribution of the freedom to publish in guaranteeing freedom of expression was one of the first sessions on the second day of the 3rd Arab Publishers Conference. The debate was moderated by Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al Qasimi, an Emirati activist, writer, and former board chairman of the UAE branch of the Young Arab Leaders (YAL), with Ibrahim Al Moallem, Ola Wallin, and Ibrahim Al Abed as panellists.

    • Official says ‘no censorship’ of books entering UAE for book fairs

      National Media Council adviser Ebrahim Al Adel says UAE open to all opinions and criticism

      There is no censorship of books of any kind at UAE book fairs, a senior official told the third Arab Publishers Conference in Sharjah on Tuesday.

      Ebrahim Al Abed, adviser to the chairman of the National Media Council (NMC), also said the UAE never rejects constructive criticism, even if it is about politics.

    • The TPP: A Time Bomb That Could Blow Up a Free Internet

      The copyright provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership could curtail Internet users’ basic access to information and right of self-expression on the Web, criminalizing common online activities and enforcing widespread Internet censorship, writes digital rights campaigner Evan Greer at The Guardian.

    • Lego should not censor: Chinese artist should be free to use any medium

      Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, intended to create political art with the use of Legos, and was denied the bulk use of Lego’s products to make his piece.

      Lego’s spokesperson claimed that they “refrain, on a global level, from actively engaging in or endorsing the use of Lego bricks in projects or contexts of a political agenda.”

    • Apple Is Self-Censoring in China. Is Facebook Next?

      Larry Salibra was traveling across China last month when he noticed something strange with his iPhone. Apple’s news aggregation app News and its Beats 1 radio station had worked fine in Hong Kong, where he began his trip and where there is basically no internet censorship, but became unavailable as he entered mainland China, where the internet most definitely is censored.

    • Malaysia: Zunar mounts constitutional challenge to Sedition Act

      In a surprise turn, the Malaysian cartoonist and his lawyers have applied to the country’s high court to consider whether the Sedition Act is constitutional

    • Michael Moore’s new film gets ‘R’ rating for images of Eric Garner’s death

      Gadfly documentarian Michael Moore has chased down the chief executive of General Motors, annoyed President George W. Bush and stormed Wall Street with Rage Against the Machine.

    • Michael Moore on ‘Where to Invade Next’ censorship row: ‘I will make no cuts’
    • Michael Moore: documentary’s R rating from footage seen on ‘any news show’
    • Michael Moore challenges R rating given to his new documentary, Where To Invade Next
    • Michael Moore rants against MPAA for giving his new film that shows footage of Eric Garner’s death an ‘R’ rating
    • Michael Moore: ‘I won’t make cuts in new film’
    • Defy censors, Moore says
    • Hacktivists Create a Revolution in Censorship
    • OAS Secretary General Urges to Combat Violence against Journalists: “the Most Extreme Form of Censorship”
    • Journalists should not have to engage in self-censorship because they fear for their life: UN Sec. Gen.

      The Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon issued a message today on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. The message reads:

      “Today we remember the journalists and media workers who have been killed in the line of duty.

      More than 700 journalists have been killed in the last decade — one every five days — simply for bringing news and information to the public.

    • Samira Shackle: Little comfort for Bangladesh’s secular bloggers

      Facing the double threat of extremist violence and state repression, Bangladeshi bloggers daring to speak up for secular values are fighting for their lives

    • Magazine accuses Boudreaux of censorship

      The publishers of a magazine catering mostly to inmates has filed a lawsuit against Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, claiming he violated county inmates’ First Amendment rights by not allowing them to receive the magazine.

    • Pittsburgh’s censorship battle heats up as ADF speaks out against free speech violations

      Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman spoke before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit against a Pittsburgh censorship zone ordinance. In March, ADF attorneys appealed a district court decision that upheld the ordinance.

    • Turkey: Increased pressure on journalists jeopardises public interest

      The International Press Institute (IPI) released a report on the Joint International Emergency Press Freedom Mission to Turkey undertaken last week by a broad coalition of international free expression and press freedom groups.

      The report builds on mission participants’ finding that escalating pressure on media in the period between parliamentary elections in June and repeat polls set for Sunday has significantly impacted journalists’ ability to report on matters of public interest and is likely to “have a significant, negative impact on the ability of voters in Turkey to share and receive necessary information, with a corresponding effect on Turkey’s democracy”.

    • Syria: No word on Bassel Khartabil’s whereabouts

      Syria’s authorities have yet to disclose the whereabouts of Bassel Khartabil, a software developer and defender of freedom of information, one month after his transfer to an undisclosed location, 22 organizations said today. Syrian authorities should immediately reveal his whereabouts and release him.

      Military intelligence detained Khartabil on March 15, 2012. On October 3, 2015, Khartabil managed to inform his family that security officers had ordered him to pack but did not reveal his destination. His family has received no further information. They suspect that he may have been transferred to the military-run field court inside the military police base in Qaboun.

      “Each day without news feels like an eternity to his family,” a spokesperson for the organizations said. “Syrian authorities should immediately reveal his whereabouts and reunite him with them.”

    • Quick Takes: Police Censorship

      When, according to a Gallup poll, almost half of the U.S. population mistrusts the police’s ability to enforce laws appropriately, one director voicing his negative opinions at a rally is irrelevant. This recent boycott by the NYPD and LAPD of their negative portrayal in the media is just a pathetic attempt to salvage their pride and does nothing to take actual responsibility for their public reputation.

    • Why are student-union officials censoring criticism of Islamic State?

      It’s true there are two sides in the YPG v Isis conflict. One side has both men and women fighting hard to protect their homeland and people from falling to brutal Islamist rule; the other pushes gay people off buildings, stones adulterers, sets fire to its prisoners of war, and mows down anyone who stands in the way of the growth of its creepy Caliphate. If you can’t ‘take sides’ in a conflict like that, then your moral compass is in serious need of repair.

    • Sex, violence and religion: The films banned by councils

      Monty Python’s Life of Brian has finally had its first public screening in Bournemouth after almost 35 years of being banned in the town. But it’s not the only film to suffer the shackles of local censorship.

  • Privacy

    • What Shall We Love?

      The Moscow Un-Summit wasn’t a formal interview. Nor was it a cloak-and-dagger underground rendezvous. The upshot is that we didn’t get the cautious, diplomatic, regulation Edward Snowden. The downshot (that isn’t a word, I know) is that the jokes, the humour and repartee that took place in Room 1001 cannot be reproduced. The Un-Summit cannot be written about in the detail that it deserves. Yet it definitely cannot not be written about. Because it did happen. And because the world is a millipede that inches forward on millions of real conversations. And this, certainly, was a real one.


      I asked Ed Snowden what he thought about Washington’s ability to destroy countries and its inability to win a war (despite mass surveillance). I think the question was phrased quite rudely—something like “When was the last time the United States won a war?” We spoke about whether the economic sanctions and subsequent invasion of Iraq could be accurately called genocide. We talked about how the CIA knew—and was preparing for the fact—that the world was heading to a place of not just inter-country war but of intra-country war in which mass surveillance would be necessary to control populations. And about how armies were being turned into police forces to administer countries they have invaded and occupied, while the police, even in places like India and Pakistan and Ferguson, Missouri, in the United States—were being trained to behave like armies to quell internal insurrections.

    • Insight – NSA says how often, not when, it discloses software flaws
    • The NSA keeps 9% of the vulnerabilities it discovers to itself

      Openness and the NSA are not happy bedfellows; by its very nature, the agency is highly secretive. But in recent years, post-Edward Snowden, the organization has embarked on something of a PR campaign in an attempt to win back public trust.

      The latest manoeuvre sees the NSA promoting the fact that when it discovers security vulnerabilities and zero-days in software, it goes public with them in 91 percent of cases… but not before it has exploited them. No information about the timescale for disclosures is given, but what most people will be interested in is the remaining 9 percent which the agency keeps to itself.

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden notes ‘extraordinary change’ in attitudes toward him during Democratic primary debate

      Edward Snowden has described the Democratic presidential debate last month as marking an “extraordinary change”in attitudes towards him.

      In a lengthy interview with Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter published on Friday, Snowden said he had been encouraged by the debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, her main challenger for the Democratic nomination.

      During the televised encounter, both candidates called for Snowden to face trial , but Sanders said he thought the NSA whistleblower had “played a very important role in educating the American people”.

    • Snowden Says Clinton And Sanders Are ‘Refreshing,’ Give Him Hope To Return
    • Edward Snowden Still Has Influence: ‘Exile as a Strategy Is Beginning to Fail’

      Even his separation from his girlfriend, whom he left in Hawaii when he fled the country, has been resolved. She has been living with him in Moscow for just over a year.

    • Only ‘tiny handful’ of ministers knew of mass surveillance, Clegg reveals

      The majority of the UK cabinet were never told the security services had been secretly harvesting data from the phone calls, texts and emails of a huge number of British citizens since 2005, Nick Clegg has disclosed.

      Clegg says he was informed of the practice by a senior Whitehall official soon after becoming David Cameron’s deputy in 2010, but that“only a tiny handful” of cabinet ministers were also told – likely to include the home secretary, the foreign secretary and chancellor. He said he was astonished to learn of the capability and asked for its necessity to be reviewed.

    • Theresa May’s recent internet history
    • Seven Major Takeaways From the U.K.’s Proposed Surveillance Rules

      THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT on Wednesday published a proposed new law to reform and dramatically expand surveillance powers in the United Kingdom. The 190-page Investigatory Powers Bill is thick with detail and it will probably take weeks and months of analysis until its full ramifications are understood. In the meantime, I’ve read through the bill and noted down a few key aspects of the proposed powers that stood out to me — including unprecedented new data retention measures, a loophole that allows spies to monitor journalists and their sources, powers enabling the government to conduct large-scale hacking operations, and more.

    • ProtonMail Learns That Paying Ransom Doesn’t Stop Attacks

      When confronted by a cyber-extortionist, do you pay the ransom or do you stand firm and not negotiate? It’s both an ethical and a procedural dilemma.

      By paying the ransom, in some respects, the victim is enabling and perhaps encouraging the extortionist to commit future acts since after all, if it worked once, it might well work again. In giving extortionists what they want, the general idea is that the victim will get back what they want and it could well be the quickest route to resolving a ransom situation.

    • Security News This Week: 9 Out of 10 Websites Leak Your Data to Third Parties

      This week, hackers won a million dollar bounty for discovering a long-sought iOS zero-day. Federal lawmakers introduced the Stingray Privacy Act, a new bill that would require state and local lawmakers to get a warrant before using the invasive surveillance devices. The world got its first look at the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. We found out the UK’s TalkTalk telecom hack may not be as bad as it looked. Android users can finally use Open Whisper Systems’ RedPhone app and TextSecure messaging app in one app, called Signal. And Crackas With Attitude, the teens who hacked CIA Director John Brennan, are back with a new hack.

    • Theresa May’s threat to the privacy of reading

      Reading through the draft investigatory powers bill on Wednesday evening, one name came to mind, that of Frederick Douglass. He was an African American former slave who became one of the most eloquent campaigners for the abolition of slavery and was the living refutation of plantation owners’ contention that their “property” lacked the intelligence to function as independent citizens.

      Douglass was a remarkable orator and at least as remarkable a writer. His autobiography is one of the glories of the 19th century. In it, he records how, as a slave, he managed to learn to read, partly due to the initial kindness of his owner’s wife. But when her husband learned of this, he forbade her to continue. “The first step in her downward course,” recalls Douglass, “was in her ceasing to instruct me. She now commenced to practise her husband’s precepts. She finally became even more violent in her opposition than her husband himself. She was not satisfied with simply doing as well as he had commanded; she seemed anxious to do better. Nothing seemed to make her more angry than to see me with a newspaper. She seemed to think that here lay the danger.”

    • In ‘Spectre,’ James Bond becomes Edward Snowden

      In the terms of the intelligence world, “Spectre” is an argument between old-fashioned human intelligence (Humintel) and signals intelligence (SIGINT). The script imagines an expansion of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing program of the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to “Nine Eyes,” adding in countries such as China and South Africa. This expansion is spearheaded by a mole within MI6, “C” (Andrew Scott), though it seems clear that “C” is a stand-in for the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Although the US National Security Agency became notorious for its lawlessness and massive reach after the Snowden revelations, GCHQ is even more unconstrained. Because internet communications bounce around the world before arriving at the recipient, many are routed through undersea cables across the Atlantic. These cables come up out of the water on the west coast of Britain, and GCHQ has put sniffers on them, scooping up petabytes of our information and data-mining it.

      The government of David Cameron, and especially the crypto-fascist Home Minister Theresa May, have long engaged in massive domestic surveillance and now intend to the bulk collection and storage of information on all the websites a Briton visits. In addition, Cameron wants to outlaw consumer encryption of the sort Apple is now increasingly offering its customers (Apple can’t turn over information to the FBI or NSA because even it doesn’t have the encryption keys). It seems a little unlikely that any such encryption ban is possible.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • In leaked document, Comcast admits data caps are not about congestion

      The internet service provider has often complained (such as when lobbying against net neutrality) that it must impose limits on service to prevent network congestion. The argument suggests that these measures are required for the public good: to manage traffic, to give everyone fair access to the “road,” to stymie abusive or selfish “drivers,” you shouldn’t be using more than 250 gigabytes of data each month.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • White House may have to renegotiate Pacific trade pact-senator

      A key U.S. senator said on Friday the Obama administration may have to renegotiate parts of a Pacific trade pact, heralding a tough battle to win support in Congress.

      The administration notified lawmakers on Thursday it plans to sign the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, starting a countdown to a congressional vote that could come in the middle of next year’s election campaign.

    • We made President Obama’s big TPP trade deal searchable

      On Thursday morning, after months of questions about the contents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal negotiated and championed by President Obama, his administration released the agreement in its complex entirety.

      The problem, though, is that it was released as a series of posts on Medium — and, worse, a collection of PDFs — making it hard to search for topics across the entire document.

    • Copyrights

The EPO’s Investigative Unit Exposed: Part VI

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Investigating the investigators

Sebastian Bauer in an EPO protest
Sebastian Bauer watches those brave people who ‘dare’ to exercise their right to protest; other people’s faces are pixellated so as to obscure and thus better protect their identity

Summary: Research into the harsh methods used by the infamous Investigative Unit (I.U.) of the EPO and its Chief Investigator (shown above)

IN previous parts of this multi-part investigation, namely [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], we rather politely talked about the people who turned the EPO into the gestEPO. "Gestapo" is what some people call the Investigative Unit internally, equating it with Geheime Staatspolizei, or the Secret State Police. “The Investigative Unit of the European Patent Office,” one source told us, “was created by Mr Battistelli in 2012. Officially, this unit was designed to protect the organisation from fraud and corruption. It was also presented as a “service to EPO colleagues” in order to protect the weak against the strong. However, when the I.U. reported that all allegations of corruption against Željko Topić were unfounded it became clear that this unit was just a political police in the hands of Mr Battistelli.” It should be noted that Željko Topić lost his case, so the allegations are quite likely true, at least on the balance of probabilities, and more criminal charges remain. In light of this, Topić seemed to be an apt addition to the gestEPO. Today we continue providing some background information about various individual members of the Investigative Unit. We focus on high-level people and we strongly adhere to the principle that we should only use information which is already publicly accessible. It’s not an attack on people’s privacy but a criticism of their track record at the EPO, where many overly stressed people commit suicide.

“It’s not an attack on people’s privacy but a criticism of their track record at the EPO, where many overly stressed people commit suicide.”This article focuses on Sebastian Bauer, who is the Chief Investigator at the I.U.

“One of the key players in Zanghi’s team,” told us a source, “is a “gentleman” by the name of Sebastian Bauer who is noted for his sartorial elegance.

“It is not clear where exactly he acquired his taste for expensive suits but this may have been during his post-graduate studies at Cambridge where he acquired an LL.M master’s degree in International Law.”

His full resumé can be found on LinkedIn (don’t click if/whilst logged in, as that may accidentally reveal one’s identity to him; here is a local copy [PDF]).

As the resumé makes quite evident, Mr. Bauer started off his career as a humble trainee law clerk in the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Munich in 2004, but it soon became clear that he was destined for greater things.

By 2009 he was working as an “Ethics Officer” for the World Bank in Washington, according to his profile on XING that says “Employee in Washington, D.C.”

“It is not clear where exactly he acquired his taste for expensive suits but this may have been during his post-graduate studies at Cambridge where he acquired an LL.M master’s degree in International Law.”
      –Anonymous source
We wish to kindly remind (or inform) readers of a long history of World Bank whistleblowers, some better known than others (whistleblower.org has a partial list).

By 2011, Mr. Bauer had advanced to the role of “Investigator” at the World Bank where his duties included “Investigation of staff misconduct”, “Resolution of workplace grievances” and “Outreach and communication to staff members on internal grievance procedures”.

He joined the EPO in March 2012, where he was initially attached to the Legal Services Department. It is rumoured, based on our sources, that he played a key role in drafting the “Guidelines for Investigations”, the notorious “Circular No. 342″ which we covered in parts I and II.

After the entry into force of “Circular No. 342″, Bauer joined the newly-formed Investigative Unit in January 2013. In the mean time he had made quite a name for himself with his reputedly aggressive interrogation techniques which are said to include the skillful application of the “Reid Technique”.

“It is rumoured, based on our sources, that he played a key role in drafting the “Guidelines for Investigations”, the notorious “Circular No. 342″ which we covered in parts I and II.”Wikipedia defines it as “a method of questioning subjects to try to assess their credibility through a non-accusatory interview process, and then if the investigative information indicates the subject’s probable involvement in the commission of the crime, an accusatory interrogation is initiated to develop the truth. Supporters argue the Reid technique is useful in extracting information from otherwise unwilling suspects, while critics have charged the technique can elicit false confessions from innocent persons, especially children. Reid’s breakthrough case resulted in an overturned conviction decades later.”

This seems to be similar to the method used on Quinn Norton to overzealously manufacture a case against Aaron Swartz, who later committed suicide. Watch the interview with a weeping Norton in the film “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz” (free to watch), a timely film by Brian Knappenberger because yesterday was Aaron Swartz Day. Mr. Bauer should be made aware of the dire consequence of the Reid technique.

“Mr. Bauer is also regularly spotted as an “observer” at EPO Staff demonstrations.”
      –Anonymous source
“When dealing with ordinary staff members,” told us another source, “the I.U. becomes an accusation unit. Their goal is to put the head of the accused on a silver plate and bring it to the President.”

Their “interrogation technique is criticized in European democratic countries because it is suspected to bring false confessions. No staff member can be prepared for such an experience. It was even reported that some attempted to commit suicide afterwards.”

Again, Mr. Bauer should be made aware of the potential consequences of continuing these practices.

“There are also many rumours in circulation,” said our source, “which suggest that he is quite adept at “constructing” allegations and misrepresenting facts to the detriment of those under investigation.

“Mr. Bauer is also regularly spotted as an “observer” at EPO Staff demonstrations.”

The photo above is a photo of a demonstration in front of the EPO’s main building in Munich, where he could be seen keeping a watchful eye on the protesters.

““Legal experts that [this source] talked to have been of the opinion that some of the actions of the Investigative Unit violate national laws and could provide a basis for criminal charges if national courts were to decide to lift immunity.””
      –Anonymous source
We asked one of the sources we trust about this situation, only to be told what we knew all along. To quote: “Legal experts that [this source] talked to have been of the opinion that some of the actions of the Investigative Unit violate national laws and could provide a basis for criminal charges if national courts were to decide to lift immunity.”

As one former EPO staff member (apparently that’s his/her background) put it last month (with slight edits): “The investigations against EPO staff and union representatives continue with the help of Control Risks, the company that allegedly spied on journalists on behalf of Deutsche Telekom in order to identify contact persons inside the company who were involved in leaking information to external parties. For sure, Control Risks people are operating within the EPO in many situations immoral and illegal. All EPO co-workers should collect evidences and facts from Control Risks activities, that possibly infringe national German and/or Dutch laws. These evidences [sic] and facts can help in eventual legal actions against Control Risks in Germany and The Netherlands.”

To date, the Investigative Unit has relied on the EPO’s immunity to protect itself from such unpleasant legal consequences.

“Some people inside the EPO’s management seem to believe that as public servants they have a right to remain invisible and never be criticised for their actions.”However, with the recent motion passed by the Dutch Parliament which called on the Dutch Government to take action to ensure that the EPO complies with international legal norms and which also called for limits to be imposed on the immunity of international organisations in cases involving breaches of national rules, the legal landscape may be slowly changing in this regard. See this new comment from the same person.

I myself have already considered (and was pressing to take) legal action against EPO individuals, for reasons that shall become apparent later this month. There is a lot more to come. Some people inside the EPO’s management seem to believe that as public servants they have a right to remain invisible and never be criticised for their actions. We don’t actually infringe the privacy of anyone; this stuff is already in the public domain. The close-up photo of Sebastian Bauer, for example (in the resumé extracted from his public profile), actually comes from a LinkedIn profile, which is publicly accessible.

What else has the I.U. been up to? How do they work? Stay tuned for the next part.

“Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.”

Bruce Schneier

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