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11.17.15

Patent Boundaries in the US and the Risk of Europe Repeating the Mistakes of the US

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 8:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent systems without boundaries become utterly meaningless, ripe for abuse

Fence

Summary: Software patentability and other undesirable patents in the US (as viewed by various Web sites), plus some timely commentary about the lessons the EPO must learn from the mistakes of the US, where patent trolls are now a massive epidemic

THE wrath of patent lawyers is rather telling. They are upset that Alice is ruining their so-called ‘business’ and they attempt to find workarounds, urging fellow patent lawyers to do the same. Gene Quinn, one of the loudest proponents of software patents, is still quite loud about it. These patent lawyers and boosters of software patents openly express their sheer worry about where things are going for software patents (hence their parasitic business) after Alice. It’s expected. “One might think,” Quinn writes, “that just about everything that can be said about Alice has already been said, but that is unfortunately not the case.”

“They are striving to change the status quo by changing perceptions.”Actually, what we appear to be seeing since the ruling (nearly a year and a half ago) is thousands of patent lawyers babbling about it and saturating the media with spin. They are striving to change the status quo by changing perceptions. Watch Quinn speaking to other boosters of software patents so as to spread yet more pro-software patents views in the media, just like IAM does.

No doubt the USPTO still allows patents on some software, including some in my research area, imaging technology. To quote this one new blog post, “USPTO Awards Additional Patent to E-ImageData Relating to its Digital Microform Imaging Technology. In a new development in the patent and trademark world, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued an additional U.S. Patent to E-ImageData relating to its digital microform imaging technology (U.S. Patent No. 9,179,019). E-ImageData is a renowned name in the field of Imaging Data Technology which is powering most prestigious libraries and private companies across the globe.”

“What does the presence of so many patent trolls tell us about the US patent system?”Notice how quickly the patent numbers are rising (approaching 10 million). It’s not bizarre given that around 92% of patent applications in the US are eventually accepted. This just serves to show how ludicrous it has become and the EPO under Battistelli goes down a similar route right now (patents on life too are being accepted, not to mention software patents).

There are new debates about patents’ impact on or correlation to the US economy. These will be focused on patent trolls. What does the presence of so many patent trolls tell us about the US patent system? This new blog post says that “Texas Emerges as the Favorite Place for Patent Trolls this Year” (as usual). To quote: “Texas Emerges as the Favorite Place for Patent Trolls this Year. Patent trolling is common but emergence of nearly half of all patent case filings from a single federal court district in a remote part of the country is something that is uncommon and unusual. But, same is the case with East Texas which has emerged as the single largest battle ground for most of the patent infringement lawsuits filed by various players and companies in the United States. According to reports around 44 percent of patent lawsuits have been filed in the Eastern District of Texas Court alone in this financial year which is a point to consider.”

“We are going to say a lot more about patent scope in Europe and its impact.”The sad thing is that there is hardly any talk anymore about US patent reform and the SCOTUS has just formally sided with patent monopolies by rejecting an appeal. To quote yesterday’s report from Reuters: “The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal filed by manufacturers of liquid crystal displays that are contesting claims that they infringe on a patent held by Eidos Display.”

Where does it all leave us? Well, we spoke to a former EPO patent examiner, who told us it had become a big issue. This examiner wanted to send us a scanned version of Chapter 3 from the following recent book, which he thinks should generally interest us. “The title says it all,” said this person, “Exclusions from Patentability — How Far Has the European Patent Office Eroded Boundaries?”

We are going to say a lot more about patent scope in Europe and its impact. We shall do so some time in the near future. There are currently more urgent articles about the EPO in our pipeline.

Still No Disclosure From Red Hat Regarding Patent Agreement With Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 8:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Still in pursuit of answers from the “Open Organization” [sic]

Mirrors at airport

Summary: Quick progress report about the effort to convince Red Hat to explain its patent standstill — whatever that practically means — with Microsoft

IN THE political spheres or most political media it is widely recognised that in order to discourage certain policies and certain types of behaviour one might need to shame those who propose or exercise any such policy or action, respectively. This, for example, is why we criticise proponents of software patents and even Red Hat’s patent agreement with Microsoft. The example they give to others is dangerous and without public challenge it can carry on and even expand.

“The example they give to others is dangerous and without public challenge it can carry on and even expand.”Red Hat should be based in Raleigh, not Red Mond [sic], where Red Hat now sends its engineers to work under Microsoft leadership while receiving salaries from Red Hat. We had a long chat about this with someone from Red Hat last night. We still hope that Red Hat will decide to do the right thing. Like Novell’s Cambridge lab, which it used along with Microsoft to promote Microsoft’s agenda, now we have Red Hat staff sharing space with Microsoft staff. Microsoft is a proponent of software patents and still insists that Linux players should pay Microsoft for patents. So how can one reconcile or compromise? In our Open Letter to Red Hat’s new CEO (Jim Whitehurst) 8 years ago we told him that it is “hard to name companies that have benefited from a Microsoft pact” (this is still true).

We will continue to wait and give Red Hat an opportunity to explain what was done with Microsoft regarding patents. We encourage others to ask Red Hat those questions as well. If public pressure is sufficient to influence Red Hat’s PR/marketing experts, Red Hat will decide to open up. For a company steered by shareholders it all boils down to money and reputation.

“What we [Novell and Microsoft] agreed, which is true, is we’ll continue to try to grow Windows share at the expense of Linux. That’s kind of our job. But to the degree that people are going to deploy Linux, we want Suse Linux to have the highest percent share of that, because only a customer who has Suse Linux actually has paid properly for the use of intellectual property from Microsoft. And we took a quota, you could say, to help them sell so much Suse Linux. That’s part of the deal. We are willing to do the same deal with Red Hat and other Linux distributors, it’s not an exclusive thing. But after a few years of working on this problem, Novell actually saw the business opportunity, because there’s so many customers who say, ‘Hey look, we don’t want problems. We don’t want any intellectual property problem or anything else. There’s just a variety of workloads where we, today, feel like we want to run Linux. Please help us Microsoft and please work with the distributors to solve this
problem, don’t come try to license this individually.’ So customer push drove us to where we got.”

Steve Ballmer

Another French Tragedy: Only the Insane Would Put Windows in Airports

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If you (Senator Wellstone) vote against the war in Iraq, the Bush administration will do whatever is necessary to get you. There will be severe ramifications for you and the state of Minnesota.”Vice President Dick Cheney to Senator Paul Wellstone (D), October, 2002, just days before Wellstone’s death in an airplane accident

At airport

Summary: The involvement of Microsoft Windows in mission-critical systems (where many lives are on the line) shows extreme negligence and lack of foresight

FRANCE appears to have had problems other than terrorism. Headlines today serve to confirm, with Russia’s acceptance too, that its plane was recently taken down by terrorists, killing about twice as many people as died in Paris on Friday. Days ago the British media ran some scare stories about a French person in a British airport (a lot of misreporting about that, see our daily links for more), but how about basic technological errors? Remember what happened to a Spanair flight and also the poor judgment of British aviation. More planes crash due to technical malfunction than due to terrorism.

“Microsoft seems to be good at nothing these days, perhaps other than back doors and back room deals.”Based on a new report, France is still running mission-critical systems with Windows, even really ancient versions of it, as ancient as 3.1 (see “Windows 3.1 Is Still Alive, And It Just Killed a French Airport” in [1] below). What are they thinking? This is just nuts! It’s not from The Onion and it’s definitely no satire.

Microsoft seems to be good at nothing these days, perhaps other than back doors and back room deals. Recall Microsoft’s new body cameras partnership with TASER, which we mentioned a few times, then see [2,3] below. Conficker, a Windows virus, is now being preinstalled on body cameras. How many lives will likely be sacrificed as a result of this? Police brutality too needlessly kills a lot of people.

“Haven’t Snowden’s leaks shown enough to convince everyone that genuine security is not the goal at Microsoft but actually somewhat of a foe?”Windows is not suitable for anything that requires security because Windows is simply not designed to be secure. It’s designed for “national security” (meaning back doors and bogus encryption that the state can crack). Proprietary software in general is bad, including firmware [4], based on new reports. Microsoft is now silently modifying its patches after it bricked Outlook, which has back doors. To quote the British media: “Many IT managers and normal folks held off on last week’s patching cycle after one Microsoft fix – KB 3097877 – broke several versions of Outlook. The error came in how the software handled fonts, and resulted in the email client crashing as soon as some emails were scrolled through.”

We have already covered this here the other day, in relation to back doors in Microsoft data encryption. It is unthikable and rather unbelievable that some people still get away with putting Windows in mission-critical systems, even in governments and businesses. Haven’t Snowden’s leaks shown enough to convince everyone that genuine security is not the goal at Microsoft but actually somewhat of a foe?

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Windows 3.1 Is Still Alive, And It Just Killed a French Airport

    A computer glitch that brought the Paris airport of Orly to a standstill Saturday has been traced back to the airport’s “prehistoric” operating system. In an article published Wednesday, French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné (which often writes serious stories, such as this one) said the computer failure had affected a system known as DECOR, which is used by air traffic controllers to communicate weather information to pilots. Pilots rely on the system when weather conditions are poor.

    DECOR, which is used in takeoff and landings, runs on Windows 3.1, an operating system that came onto the market in 1992. Hardly state-of-the-art technology. One of the highlights of Windows 3.1 when it came out was the inclusion of Minesweeper — a single-player video game that was responsible for wasting hours of PC owners’ time in the early ’90s.

  2. Police Body Cameras Shipped with Pre-Installed Conficker Virus

    US-based iPower Technologies has discovered that body cameras sold by Martel Electronics come pre-infected with the Conficker worm (Win32/Conficker.B!inf).

  3. Who controls the cop cam?

    At the end of October this year, 14,000 police officials from around the world gathered in a Chicago conference center for the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference. It was equal parts political convention and trade show, with panels on crisis response splitting time with hundreds of small companies selling bomb-disposal robots and guns.

    There were more than a dozen body camera companies on the show floor, but Taser made the biggest splash, constructing a Disney-style amphitheater called the USS Axon Enterprise. The show began with a white-jacketed captain, who announced he had traveled back in time from the year 2055, where lethal force has been eliminated and police are respected and loved by their communities. To explain how to get there, he ran through a history of policing tech. Approaching the present moment, he fell into a kind of disappointed sadness.

  4. Badware in the firmware all over the place

    This is really no surprise: embedded system vendors aren’t good at carrying out quality assurance on their firmware images, and their embedded Web server software is what you’d expect from something written in the last 20 minutes of Friday afternoon.

Links 17/11/2015: BQ Aquaris Ubuntu Edition in Russia, 4K Samsung Tizen (Linux) TVs

Posted in News Roundup at 6:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Visiting the System76 headquarters — a Willy Wonka-like superfan experience

      Users of Linux-based operating systems often buy Windows-powered computers, format the hard drive and install their favorite distro. This can sometimes be a fine experience, although, quite often, it comes with annoyances such as non-working hardware (usually Wi-Fi). Not to mention, the keyboard will likely house a “Windows” key, which taints the experience.

      The holy grail for many Linux users — besides building their own computer — is to get a desktop or laptop that comes pre-loaded with a Linux-based operating system. One of the most popular such manufacturers, System76, sells computers pre-loaded with Ubuntu, including a lifetime of telephone tech support. Obviously the company has accumulated many fans over the years, so this past Thursday and Friday, it held its first-ever superfan event. Fans were flown to its Denver headquarters. I was honored to be given the opportunity to cover it.

    • Senior Tech: Sometimes Linux Isn’t the Solution

      She was using a Dell Optiplex with Windows Vista installed, and it was a mess. It wasn’t virus-laden, it was I-love-all-of-these-toolbars-they-make-life-so-easy laden. She mentioned that Claude said I could put a program on her computer that was better than what she had, and I said, yes, I did have such a program and would she like to see how it worked before I put it on her computer. She said she would be thrilled to do that.

  • Server

    • Best Linux Distribution for Your Hosting

      There’re also a wide variety of special purpose distros out there in the market which may play an important role in the deployment, if the dedicated server’s purpose matches that of the distro. Some good examples are the Boot2docker or the CoreOS, which are so small distros that are mainly designed for just launching the Docker containers, and such containers might include more standard Linux distros.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Kubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf – Pretty useless

        I heard there’s been a change of management with the Kubuntu community or some sort like that. Well, perhaps it’s for the greater good. I am quite close to abandoning Kubuntu forever. Much like PCLinuxOS, it’s slowly creeping toward irrelevance, offering none of the love and fire that you’d want and expect. It’s exhausted, it’s defeated. It just doesn’t try to win you in any way. It’s there because it exists. Nothing more.

        Moreover, there’s the matter of inconsistency. I mentioned this before, and I will mention it again. I absolutely loathe when things break in between releases. Small, simple things. Like Samba or printing or codecs. Why? WHY? WHY! How difficult is it to try to offer a sane, steady user experience? Why do I have to dread every single update? You can never really know. One version, things work, and then they don’t. Samba sharing. Year 2015. How difficult can it be to copy files from one frigging computer to another without problems? It’s not like sending probes to Mars. Just a bloody copy operation, source destination. Simple.

        On top of that, Kubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf literally fails in every aspect. It’s totally useless, it’s buggy, it’s crashy, and it offers nothing that would make it even remotely interesting. Nothing useful or practical about it really. Nothing. I’m sad. And angry. Avoid at all costs. 0/10. Bye bye now.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and CentOS 5 Receive an Important Kernel Update

        The latest Red Hat Bug Fix Advisory (RHAB) informs users of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server (RHEL) 5.x and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop 5.x operating system about a new kernel update that fixes multiple vulnerabilities.

      • Vendor Q&A Series: Mark Enzweiler, Red Hat

        Open source will play a big part in this evolution. It is, after all, the foundation of many of these technologies. Solution providers will need to become intimately familiar with how open source works and the benefits it provides.

      • Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) – Large Cap End of Day Report
      • Fedora

        • Fedora Elections November / December 2015

          The Fedora 23 release has been a huge success and now it’s time for Fedora Elections!

        • Introducing Autocloud

          During Fedora 23 release cycle as part of Two week atomic image, we have developed, and deployed a new service in Fedora Infrastructure, called Autocloud. In simple words this services listens to fedmsg messages for successful koji builds of cloud base, and atomic images. When found, it downloads those images, and test them locally using Tunir. It tests the standard qcow2 images, and also the box files for vagrant. Yes, we test both libvirt, and Virtualbox based vagrant images (using tunir).

        • Fedora 23: “Possibly my favorite release they’ve ever done”

          Network World recently published an article review comparing three major distributions: Fedora, Ubuntu, and OpenSUSE. What did they have to say about Fedora?

        • Rawhide: notes from the trail (2015-11-16)

          The python 3.5 rebuild has landed. The vast majority of it was done in a side tag by Peter Robinson, Kalev Lember and Robert Kuska (and others!), then merged back into rawhide on friday (the 13th). There are still a number of packages that need fixes to build against python 3.5, expect most of them to get fixed up this week. If you have some of those installed, dnf may well hold back python3 and all the newly rebuilt packages until the ones you have installed are all fixed or you remove them.

        • Design Clinics

          Back to work after Django Girls workshop and attending PyconCZ! It was all super exciting and I’m for sure going to write a separate blog post just about those events, as soon as all the pics and videos are out. But while we wait, it’s high time I posted about all the design clinics I had in past couple months. So let’s get to it!

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 Already Got a New Web Browser App, Thai Font Support

            Canonical’s Łukasz Zemczak has just sent his daily report on the work done by the Ubuntu Touch developers in preparation for the soon-to-be-released OTA-8 software update for Ubuntu Phones, as well as some initial details about the next major update, OTA-9.

          • Libxml2 Vulnerabilities Closed in Ubuntu OSes

            Details about a number of libxml2 vulnerabilities that have been found and fixed in Ubuntu 15.10 Ubuntu 15.04, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS were published in a security notice.

          • HP Linux Imaging and Printing Driver Update with Support for Ubuntu 15.10

            Today, November 16, HP had the great pleasure of announcing a new release of its open source and freely distributed HPLIP (HP Linux Imaging and Printing) driver for GNU/Linux operating systems.

          • BQ Aquaris Ubuntu Edition Phones Land in Russia

            After previous successful launches of the Aquaris E4.5 and E5 HD Ubuntu Editions, BQ will now release Ubuntu Phones in Russia. Devices will be available for purchase through a host of local distributors such as Ozon.ru. The Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition will be sold at a price of 15,499 ₽ with the soon to be launched Aquaris E4.5 at a price of 12,499 ₽.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • TPP Harmful To Open Source

    It’s not enough to mitigate this ban on open source by partial mitigation to allow secret disclosure to governments. Our perspective is that simply having source made available for viewing by select parties is not sufficient. Source code related to public regulatory matters should be released under an OSI approved license and thus made available to all those who use the software. Doing so allows them to study, improve and share the software as well as to check that their lives are not negatively impacted by its defects. Ideally, all software written using public funds should also be made available as open source.

    There’s much else in TPP to be concerned about, as the EFF notes, but this clause is especially regressive and is cause alone to reject the agreement. The clock is ticking — President Obama notified Congress on November 5 that he intends to ratify TPP on behalf of the USA — so the time to protest is now.

  • Today’s open source movement takes cue from Ben Franklin

    Open source innovation is a phrase we tend to associate with post-millennial creativity, but it’s actually a 300-year-old idea. Benjamin Franklin famously did not patent his lighting rod, his bifocals, his stove, and many other of his inventions because he thought that these ideas were simply too important not to share.

    This is the same mindset behind today’s open source movement: unrestricted access to designs, products, and ideas to be used by an unlimited number of people in a variety of sectors for diverse purposes.

  • Three reasons I love open source

    I am a user of open source software. My earliest experiences with open source software was with the Minecraft server software Bukkit as a kid, when I was attempting to make a cool game server for friends. I started using Fedora in December 2013 with my first laptop, ending a lifetime of using Apple devices. I like to believe that I am familiar and experienced with open source software as an everyday user.

  • Tim Bray

    Watching Tim Bray talk to an audience is a little intimidating. He talks fast and every word counts. And he wants action – he wants his audience to change the world. After founding companies, co-authoring the XML specification, working at Sun Microsystems and then Google (leaving because he famously didn’t want to leave Canada for Silicon Valley), Tim has seen, thought and talked about most things to do with technology. He’s even making his own security contributions to the amazing open source Android email application, K-9. His keynote at OSCON 2014 was about threats – threats to our privacy, threats to our online freedoms and threats to our data, and “Now is the time for sensible, reasonable, extreme paranoia,” as he puts it. Which is exactly what we wanted to talk about when we met with him.

  • Open Source a hit with Bengaluru’s techies

    Open source is a software or a set of instructions that can be used for free and modified without having to worry about copyright issues. People like Arora are a growing species in the city, thanks to its ever blossoming tech culture.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • France votes for open source, Govt. not keen

      After India, it seems the French public are the next in queue favouring open source for government administrative offices. The results of a public consultation on France’s Digital Republic bill came out after 20 days of public voting and debate. 147,710 votes were cast, 8501 proposals received and 21,330 participants took part.

      The proposal was submitted by April, France’s free software advocacy group and the one relevant to open source software usage in administrative offices is in the third spot in the results.

  • Programming

    • Profiling Python using cProfile: a concrete case

      Profiling a Python program is doing a dynamic analysis that measures the execution time of the program and everything that compose it. That means measuring the time spent in each of its functions. This will give you data about where your program is spending time, and what area might be worth optimizing.

Leftovers

  • Former Apple designers say the company has lost ‘the fundamental principles of good design’

    Two early Apple designers have written a piece on Co.Design chastising Apple’s new design direction, which they claim puts elegance and visual simplicity over understandability and ease of use. Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini, who was Apple’s 66th employee and the writer of its first human interface guidelines, and Don Norman, Apple’s user experience architect from 1993 to 1996, aren’t holding back in the least.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Could Antibiotics in Meat Be Making Our Kids Sick?

      There’s another place to watch for antibiotic overuse: the meat your children are eating, whether beef, pork, turkey or chicken. As a result, the country’s leading pediatrics group is calling for farmers to stop using antibiotics to help livestock grow faster.

      In a report Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics detailed the overuse of antibiotics in animals, which can make bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and Campylobacter stronger and resistant to drugs previously able to fight them off. The federal government has been warning Americans about the dangers of overusing antibiotics in hospitals and of asking doctors to prescribe them when they aren’t necessary, but what hasn’t received as much widespread attention is the danger that can occur when these medicines are overfed to animals, the academy wrote.

    • Pediatricians say farm use of antibiotics harms children

      In a new technical report, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) argues that unnecessary use of antibiotics in livestock is fueling drug-resistant, life-threatening infections in humans, particularly young children. The report, published Monday in Pediatrics, recommends limiting the use of antibiotics on farms.

      As Ars has reported before, the vast majority of antibiotics used in the US go to agriculture and aquaculture—about 80 percent of total tonnage, to be exact. Those drugs are often given to livestock to fatten them up or prevent future illness. Such doses of drugs, many of which have crossovers in human medicine, can spur drug-resistant microbes that may make their way off the farm and spread to food or share their drug-resistant genes with other microbes, the AAP noted.

  • Security

    • The most popular curl download – by a malware

      During October 2015 the curl web site sent out 1127 gigabytes of data. This was the first time we crossed the terabyte limit within a single month.

      [...]

      The downloads came from what appears to be different locations. They don’t use any HTTP referer headers and they used different User-agent headers. I couldn’t really see a search bot gone haywire or a malicious robot stuck in a crazy mode.

    • Your containers were built in some guy’s barn!

      Except even with as new as this technology is, we are starting to see reports of how many security flaws exist in docker images. This will only get worse, not better, if nothing changes. Almost nobody is paying attention, containers mean we don’t have to care about this stuff, right!? We’re at a point where we have guys building cars in their barns. Would you trust your family in a car built in some guy’s barn? No, you want a car built with good parts and has been safety tested. Your containers are being built in some guy’s barn.

    • More Privacy, Less Latency – Improved Handshakes in TLS version 1.3

      TLS must be fast. Adoption will greatly benefit from speeding up the initial handshake that authenticates and secures the connection. You want to get the protocol out of the way and start delivering data to visitors as soon as possible. This is crucial if we want the web to succeed at deprecating non-secure HTTP.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Russia confirms Sinai plane crash was the work of terrorists

      The mid-air explosion of a Russian jetliner over the Sinai desert last month that killed all 224 people on board was the result of a terrorist attack, Russia’s chief intelligence officer said Tuesday.

      At a meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin, Federal Security Service head Alexander Bortnikov said that traces of explosives found in the plane’s wreckage indicated that an improvised explosive device had been detonated on board.

    • Chilling video warned of attack on Paris Bataclan SEVEN years ago

      A group of revellers queuing up to into the club watch on in concern as the same man goes on a three-minute rant about their fury over the venue hosting “galas to raise fund for the Israeli army” adding “and we can’t continue to accept that”.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Vast forest fires in Indonesia spawn ecological disaster

      Palm oil and paper pulp companies illegally set fire to forests to clear land to plant more trees in the cheapest and fastest way possible. Authorities are investigating more than 300 plantation companies and 83 suspects have been arrested, according to national police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti. The licenses of three plantation companies have been revoked and those of 11 others have been suspended.

    • Indonesian fires: world environmental crisis – corporations responsible

      Thousands of fires have been lit to clear land simply because it is 75% cheaper than other methods. By burning down forests companies can get access to the land and can commence industrial pulp and palm oil plantations.

    • The World Runs on Palm Oil, and That’s Fueling Climate Change

      The worst climate crisis of the year is happening right now in Indonesia due to slash-and-burn deforestation that sends up as much carbon dioxide as the U.S. does. It’s all for the sake of palm oil.

      Each day in Indonesia, forest fires release as much carbon dioxide as the entire United States. The fires have been burning since July, thanks to a combination of slash-and-burn land clearing, flammable peat soil, and El Nino. And the worst part is, although your and my consumption habits are largely to blame, there’s almost nothing we can do about it.

    • Gates Foundation would be $1.9bn better off if it had divested from fossil fuels

      Analysis of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation health charity, and 13 other major funds, reveals moving investments out of coal, oil and gas and into green companies would have generated billions in higher returns

  • Privacy

    • As Predicted: Encryption Haters Are Already Blaming Snowden (?!?) For The Paris Attacks

      Well, as you already know, on Friday there was a tragic and horrifying terrorist attack in France that killed over 100 people. And it took basically no time at all for defenders of the surveillance state to start… blaming Snowden and encryption? It started with the usual talking heads, such as former George W. Bush press secretary and current Fox News commentator, Dana Perino, who seriously seemed to blame Snowden for the attacks based on… who knows what.

    • Don’t fast-track the new surveillance bill: it needs considered scrutiny

      Lord Carlile’s call for the investigatory powers bill to be rushed through parliament in the wake of the Paris attacks is a misjudged knee-jerk reaction

    • How the Baseless ‘Terrorists Communicating Over Playstation 4′ Rumor Got Started

      On Friday evening, a group of terrorists launched a string of simultaneous attacks in Paris, killing at least 129 people, according to media reports.

      Very little information is known about how the terrorists, who allegedly had links to ISIS, planned the attacks. Yet, that hasn’t stopped commentators and the media from speculating the group likely avoided surveillance by using messaging apps that use encryption, and even by communicating over PlayStation 4.

      Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon ignited the speculation over the weekend when he complained that communications over PlayStation 4 are extremely hard to spy on. His comments were not related to the Paris attacks, however; in fact, they came three days before they even happened, during a talk at a POLITICO event.

    • Cameron might fast-track snooping bill after Paris attacks

      Update: Home secretary Theresa May may have ruled out any fast-tracking of the bill in a statement made to the House of Commons on the UK’s response to the Paris attacks. May said it is: “important that this landmark legislation undergoes proper Parliamentary scrutiny”.

    • Interior Minister: Finland needs web surveillance – sooner rather than later

      Interior Minister Petteri Orpo has called for a speedy reform of intelligence regulations, saying that amendments to existing legislation could take years to implement. Orpo said that it is possible to conduct online intelligence gathering without violating fundamental rights or individual privacy.

    • After Paris Attacks, Here’s What the CIA Director Gets Wrong About Encryption

      It’s not surprising that in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks last Friday, US government officials would renew their assault on encryption and revive their efforts to force companies to install backdoors in secure products and encryption software.

    • Paris Attacks Blamed on Strong Cryptography and Edward Snowden

      I was going to write a definitive refutation to the meme that it’s all Snowden’s fault, but Glenn Greenwald beat me to it.

    • Paris attacks: questions being raised over missed ‘Isil red flags’

      …Paris attackers were already known to authorities

    • Moscow tells Twitter to store Russian users’ data in the country

      Moscow has warned Twitter that it must store Russian users’ personal data in Russia, under a new law, the national communications watchdog told AFP on Wednesday.

      Legislation that came into force on September 1 requires both Russian and foreign social media sites, messenger services and search engines to store the data held on Russian users on servers located inside the country.

    • Encryption is not the enemy: A 21st century response to terror

      Whenever terrorists strike, governments respond. It is in the quality and wisdom of those responses that the future of our society rests. David Gewirtz looks at the question of encryption, and how we should think about policy and security in light of the Paris attacks.

  • Civil Rights

    • NC dad fatally shot during struggle for Taser with Harnett Co. deputy, witness says

      A dad was shot several times and died in an officer-involved shooting in Spring Lake Sunday morning, witnesses said.

    • Paris attacks: French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve calls for ‘dissolution of mosques where hate is preached’

      The interior minister of France has reportedly said he will begin the dissolution of “mosques where hate is preached” following a series of terror attacks across Paris, which have killed at least 129 people.

      Bernard Cazeneuve made the announcement during an interview with French television, according to MSNBC.

      He is reported as saying: “I don’t expect the state of emergency for me to attack preachers of hate but the state of emergency should allow us to act more rapidly.”

    • Following Paris Attacks, Right-Wing Media Echo GOP Call To Accept Only Christian Refugees

      Right-wing media figures are bolstering calls from Republican presidential candidates following the attacks in Paris to limit Syrian refugees entering the United States to Christians only, claiming it will stop terrorists from entering the U.S.

    • 5 Ways Conservative Media Are Exploiting The Terrorist Attacks In Paris To Hype Misinformation

      Right-wing media seized on the November 13 terror attacks in Paris to make at least five false or misleading claims about Syrian refugees, past statements from Hillary Clinton, President Obama’s strategy against ISIS, the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees, and how guns in civilian hands could have supposedly changed the outcome of the attacks.

    • Fearing Fear Itself

      The point is not to minimize the horror. It is, instead, to emphasize that the biggest danger terrorism poses to our society comes not from the direct harm inflicted, but from the wrong-headed responses it can inspire. And it’s crucial to realize that there are multiple ways the response can go wrong.

    • Did Marco Rubio’s Campaign Violate The CFAA? Will He Commit To Reforming It?

      We’ve talked a lot in the past few years about the desperate need to reform the CFAA — an absolutely horrible “anti-hacking” law that has been stretched and broadened and twisted by people over the years, such that it’s frequently used to “pile on” charges when nothing else will stick. If you want to go into a lot more detail, you can listen to the podcast we recently did about the CFAA, or listen to this wonderful podcast that Reply All did about the CFAA (where I also make a brief appearance). But one of the biggest problems with it is that it considers you to be a dangerous hacker if you access a computer/network “without authorization” or if you merely have “exceeded authorized access.” It’s that latter phrase that often causes trouble. What does it even mean? Historically, cases have been brought against employees who use their employer’s computers for non-work related things, against someone for supposedly failing to abide by MySpace’s terms of service and for downloading too many academic journals that were freely available for downloading on MIT’s campus network.

    • Who controls the cop cam?

      At the end of October this year, 14,000 police officials from around the world gathered in a Chicago conference center for the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference. It was equal parts political convention and trade show, with panels on crisis response splitting time with hundreds of small companies selling bomb-disposal robots and guns.

      There were more than a dozen body camera companies on the show floor, but Taser made the biggest splash, constructing a Disney-style amphitheater called the USS Axon Enterprise. The show began with a white-jacketed captain, who announced he had traveled back in time from the year 2055, where lethal force has been eliminated and police are respected and loved by their communities. To explain how to get there, he ran through a history of policing tech. Approaching the present moment, he fell into a kind of disappointed sadness.

    • On CNN, Muslim Refugee Advocate Slams Conservatives’ Call For A “Christian-Only” Refugee Policy

      Arab American Association Of New York’s Linda Sarsour: They Are “Bar[ing] The Very People Who Are Running Away From The Same Terrorism That We’re Talking About”

    • Context-Free Coverage of Terror Helps Perpetuate Its Causes

      It feels callous to question the allocation of outrage; empathy is in such short supply in this world that one hesitates to question it when it emerges. But as a long-time citizen of New York City, I’m all too aware of the weaponization of grief. The outpouring of no-context, ahistorical sympathy after 9/11 helped pave the way for a violent reaction that killed in Iraq alone roughly 150 times as many people as died in Lower Manhattan that day—an opportunistic catastrophe that did more to mock than avenge those deaths.

    • Rupert Murdoch Endorses Religious Test For Refugees, Calls For “Special Exception For Proven Christians”
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Anne Frank foundation moves to keep famous diary copyrighted for 35 more years

        The diary of Anne Frank is just six weeks away from entering the public domain in most of Europe—but it might not happen. The Basel-based Anne Frank Fonds, which owns the copyright, has a plan to retain ownership until 2050.

        Anne Frank and her family famously hid from the Nazis in occupied Amsterdam during World War Two. They were ultimately discovered, and Anne died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. Her father, Otto Frank, survived the Holocaust and published her diaries and notebooks.

        Most European copyrights end 70 years after the author’s death, meaning that on Jan. 1, 2016, the diary becomes public domain in much of the continent. But the Anne Frank foundation has a new legal strategy to keep its most valuable copyright: declare that Otto Frank is actually a “co-author” of the diaries, not merely an editor. Since Otto Frank died in 1980, anything he authored will stay under copyright until 2050. (The book was first published in the US in 1952, so copyright stateside will last until 2047 regardless of what happens in Europe.)

        This weekend’s New York Times carried the news that the foundation is issuing an “early warning” to publishers that they aren’t allowed to freely publish the diary. That’s led to criticism of the foundation, including some who have threatened to begin publishing the diary online, whether the foundation likes it or not.

      • BitTorrent Usage Doesn’t Equal Piracy, Cox Tells Court

        U.S. Internet provider Cox Communications is scheduled to go to trial soon, defending itself against copyright infringement claims from two music companies. In a new motion Cox asks the court to prohibit the use of any material claiming that BitTorrent equals piracy. BitTorrent has plenty legitimate uses and equating it to infringement would mislead the jury during trial, the ISP argues.

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