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02.01.16

Links 1/2/2016: Linux 4.5 RC2, KDevelop 5.0 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source contribution is not just code

    Contributing to open source technology is all about code contributions and code commits — right?

    Actually, no… it kind of goes further than that.

  • UNICEF is looking to invest in tech that helps children in need

    The United Nations Children’s Fund, more commonly known as UNICEF, wants to start investing more in technology startups. This new initiative is part of its Innovation Fund, which seeks to develop projects that can make life better for underprivileged children across the globe. But first, companies must meet a few requirements to qualify for UNICEF’s funding: The idea must be open source and have a working prototype, while the tech behind it can be novel or improve an existing one.

  • Unicef to invest in technology startups to help children

    Christopher Fabian, Unicef Innovation Co-Lead, said: “The purpose of the Unicef Innovation Fund is to invest in open source technologies for children. We’ll be identifying opportunities from countries around the world including some that may not see a lot of capital investment in technology start-ups. We are hoping to identify communities of problem-solvers and help them develop simple solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing children.”

  • UNICEF Innovation Fund to invest in open source technology start-ups

    “The purpose of the UNICEF Innovation Fund is to invest in open source technologies for children,” said Christopher Fabian, UNICEF Innovation Co-Lead. “We’ll be identifying opportunities from countries around the world including some that may not see a lot of capital investment in technology start-ups. We are hoping to identify communities of problem-solvers and help them develop simple solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing children.”

  • Farewell to a forebear of open source, Marvin Minsky

    Last week one of the founding fathers of personal computing, Marvin Minsky, died at age 88. It so happened that I’d been reading about some of Minsky’s work at MIT in Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution by Steven Levy. Levy recounts how in 1961 Minsky encouraged and supported some of the first human encounters with real time computing, opening the door for undergrads to experiment with the DEC’s (Digital Equipement Corporation) first product, the PDP-1. These students formed a collectively brilliant group united by their obsessive love of computing, who came to call themselves hackers.

  • Web Browsers

    • Is Brave the new champion the open web needs?

      On January 20, Andreas Gal, former CTO of Mozilla, the company behind the popular open source browser Mozilla Firefox, announced in a blog post that former Mozilla CEO and Javascript founder Brendan Eich had launched a browser called Brave. “Brendan is back to save the web,” Andreas wrote, and I quickly went to the Brave GitHub repository and cloned the repository to build a binary from source so I could check out what Brave was all about.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • BSD

  • Standards/Consortia

    • IRCv3

      IRCv3 is a working group of client/server software authors and network operators from the community, set up to advance the IRC protocol.

      IRCCloud has been an active participant in the group since early on, and we’ve implemented the protocol enhancements where they’ve made sense.

      Today, we gave a big upgrade to our support and we now handle most of the IRCv3.2 specification. You can check our compatibility progress in the client support tables.

      We’re excited to be part of the future of IRC, and support for these enhancements represents our commitment to IRC as the best-suited chat protocol for open communities.

Leftovers

  • On American Indian reservations, challenges perpetuate the digital divide

    Recently, Sam Tenakhongva, a teacher living on the Hopi reservation in northern Arizona, bought a Chevrolet pickup truck equipped with integrated 4G LTE. As the company’s advertising boasts, the feature was novel for a commercial vehicle and unprecedented for a truck. Intrigued, Tenakhongva decided to take advantage of a free trial.

    It didn’t take long for him to eschew the service. The truck only connected when Tenakhongva was in a 4G network and, given the region’s limited broadband access, Tenakhongva knew such an occurrence would be too rare to justify the cost.

    Today, this situation rings true for an overwhelming majority of American Indians living on reservations. This year, the Federal Communications Commission reported that 41 percent of Americans living on tribal lands lacked access to broadband (which the FCC currently defines as 25Mbps for downstream speeds and 3Mbps for upstream speeds); that number leaps to 68 percent for those in rural areas of tribal lands.

  • WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE AMENDED DEFEND TRADE SECRETS ACT

    Last Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee favorably voted out the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”), which would amend the Economic Espionage Act (“EEA”) to give trade secret plaintiffs the option of filing civil claims for misappropriation directly in federal court. The vote reflected broad bipartisan support (there are now 27 cosponsors in the Senate) and followed a substantive hearing on December 2 at which I had the privilege to testify. Since that time a number of senators engaged in discussions about how to improve the legislation. The result was a series of amendments, all of which have been adopted. Because the bill is likely to proceed quickly at this point, it would be useful to describe what has changed and what those changes could mean for practitioners and companies.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Media Attacking Single-Payer Are Getting Paid Under Current Health System

      Seth Ackerman over at Jacobin wrote a good breakdown Monday of these attacks, detailing why the gatekeeper left media’s handwringing over Sanders’ single-payer proposal is disingenuous ideology-policing rather than an objective analysis based on the actual policy merits of the plan. The arguments being made by critics—specifically Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias at Vox, and by the Washington Post—basically boil down to two objections: Sanders’ single-payer proposal is not “realistic” and too “vague.”

    • Pork meatballs: Denmark’s latest bulwark against migrants

      Cultural diversity is framed as one of the main challenges in our contemporary societies, triggering socioeconomic tensions, provoking conflicts and prompting nationalist responses. Culturally based discourses have replaced older on race – an approach no longer seen as legitimate. How else to describe the welcoming of new Danish citiziens by serving a portion of the celebrated Danish roasted pork?

      But at the Randers City council the other day, former PM Helle Thorning Schmidt also delivered a press conference on her version of the ‘pork meatball war’ by warning against the practice of some public institutions to prefer serving halal meat and opt pork dishes out.

    • Flint’s toxic water crisis was 50 years in the making

      In the fall of 1966, African American activists from the impoverished North End of Flint, Michigan, turned out en masse for a series of hearings on racial inequality sponsored by the state’s Civil Rights Commission. One of those who testified, Ailene Butler, drew links between the segregationist policies that had created the North End and the corporate practices that had immiserated its inhabitants.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • You Won’t Believe What This US Ambassador Said About al-Qaeda’s Syrian Allies

      Robert Ford was US Ambassador to Syria when the revolt against Syrian president Assad was launched. He not only was a chief architect of regime change in Syria, but actively worked with rebels to aid their overthrow of the Syrian government.

      Ford assured us that those taking up arms to overthrow the Syrian government were simply moderates and democrats seeking to change Syria’s autocratic system. Anyone pointing out the obviously Islamist extremist nature of the rebellion and the foreign funding and backing for the jihadists was written off as an Assad apologist or worse.

      Ambassador Ford talked himself blue in the face reassuring us that he was only supporting moderates in Syria. As evidence mounted that the recipients of the largesse doled out by Washington was going to jihadist groups, Ford finally admitted early last year that most of the moderates he backed were fighting alongside ISIS and al-Qaeda.

    • If Only the Nuclear Arsenal Were Fool Proof

      In his book Atomic Accidents (Pegasus, 2014), James Mahaffey reports that the US has lost, destroyed or damaged nuclear weapons 65 times between 1945 and 1989. Jan. 24 was the anniversary of a B-52 crash in N. Carolina where two 6,500-lb hydrogen bombs fell from the plane and nearly detonated when the bomber broke up in the air. Two recent accidents highlight the dangers today’s weapons still pose to the people who pay for them.

    • Can the Saudi-led coalition win the war in Yemen?

      Defence Minister Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, April 2014. Wikicommons/Mazen AlDarrab. Some rights reserved.In 1934 the newly established Kingdom of Saudi Arabia went to war against Imamate Yemen, resulting in the Saudis taking control of the provinces of Aseer, Jizan and Najran. King Abdul Aziz withdrew his forces as soon as he had achieved his basic goal.

    • The Five Lamest Excuses for Hillary Clinton’s Vote to Invade Iraq

      That war not only resulted in 4,500 American soldiers being killed and thousands more permanently disabled, but also hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, the destabilization of the region with the rise of the Islamic State and other extremists, and a dramatic increase in the federal deficit, resulting in major cutbacks to important social programs. Moreover, the primary reasons Clinton gave for supporting President George W. Bush’s request for authorizing that illegal and unnecessary war have long been proven false.

      As a result, many Democratic voters are questioning – despite her years of foreign policy experience – whether Clinton has the judgment and integrity to lead the United States on the world stage. It was just such concerns that resulted in her losing the 2008 nomination to then-Senator Barack Obama, an outspoken Iraq War opponent.

    • Half the Foreign Policy Experts Signing Clinton’s Anti-Sanders Letter Have Ties to Military Contractors

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign released a letter this week in which 10 foreign policy experts criticized her opponent Bernie Sanders’ call for closer engagement with Iran and said Sanders had “not thought through these crucial national security issues that can have profound consequences for our security.”

      The missive from the Clinton campaign was covered widely in the press, but what wasn’t disclosed in the coverage is that fully half of the former State Department officials and ambassadors who signed the letter, and who are now backing Clinton, are now enmeshed in the military contracting establishment, which has benefited tremendously from escalating violence around the world, particularly in the Middle East.

    • Obama’s Iranian Missile Sanctions Were Deceptive and Hypocritical

      Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the two leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, have clashed over Iran policy, but not over the new sanctions announced immediately after Implementation Day. Clinton called for new sanctions against Iran over its missile test after the lifting of the old sanctions. Sanders has not made a specific statement on the issue.

    • Quotations From Madame Hillary
    • Bill to Block Syrian and Iraqi Refugees Stalls in the Senate

      THE PUBLIC DEBATE about accepting refugees from the Middle East rages on. But legislative action has been stalled for now, after the U.S. Senate on Wednesday defeated a bill that would have made it effectively impossible for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to find safe haven in the United States.

      H.R.4038, also known as the American SAFE Act, needed 60 votes to clear the Senate, but failed to proceed after receiving only 55 votes. The bill had passed the House of Representatives last November by a vote of 289 to 137, leading to fears among many that the gratuitously anti-refugee bill might become law.

      Opponents of the SAFE Act have characterized it as an attempt to manufacture an administrative backlog that would prevent Iraqi and Syrian refugees from ever being cleared to come to the United States. The text of the bill states that refugees who are nationals of Iraq or Syria “may only be admitted to the United States after the secretary of homeland security, with the unanimous concurrence of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the director of national intelligence, certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the covered alien is not a threat to the security of the United States.”

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Copenhagen to drop all fossil fuel investments

      The Danish capital’s 6.9 billion kroner ($1 billion, €925 million) investment fund will sell off all its stocks and bonds in coal, oil and gas if the proposal passes as expected.

      “Copenhagen is at the forefront of the world’s big cities in the green transition and we are working hard to become the world’s first CO2-neutral capital by 2025. Thefore it seems totally inappropriate for the city to still be investing in oil, coal and gas,” Mayor Frank Jensen told Information.

  • Finance

    • Tories lobbying to protect Google’s £30bn island tax haven

      Britain has been privately lobbying the EU to remove from an official blacklist the tax haven through which Google funnels billions of pounds of profits, the Observer can reveal.

      Treasury ministers have told the European commission that they are “strongly opposed” to proposed sanctions against Bermuda, a favoured shelter for Google’s profits and one of 30 tax jurisdictions in Brussels’ sights.

    • Bernie Sanders Vows to Crack Down on Greedy Corporate Tax Dodgers

      Singling out what he dubs the “top 10 corporate tax dodgers,” Bernie Sanders on Friday pledged to close loopholes that let huge corporations avoid paying their fair share in taxes.

      The list (pdf) includes General Electric, Boeing, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Merck, and notes that several of the companies’ CEOs, even as they sit on massive retirement savings, want to raise the eligibility age for—and make significant cuts to—social safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security.

      “In America today we are losing $100 billion in revenue every single year because large corporations are stashing their profits in the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens,” Sanders said during a swing through eastern Iowa three days before the state holds its first-in-the-nation caucuses.

    • Tomgram: Nomi Prins, The Big Money and What It Means in Election 2016

      Honestly, you couldn’t make this stuff up. How do you respond to a rampaging bull of a billionaire in the political arena? In America in 2016, the answer is obvious. You send in not the clowns, but the matador: another billionaire, of course. So Michael Bloomberg is now threatening to enter the race as a third-party candidate. According to the New York Times, he’s considering spending at least $1 billion of his $36 billion (or is it almost $49 billion?) fortune if it looks like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders (just about the only candidate in the race not backed by billionaires and so an obvious threat to any billionaire around) might truly be nominated for president. Of course, if he wanted to, Bloomberg could dump billions into an election run, since he may be worth 11 or more Donald Trumps. (And he could potentially tip the election to the Republicans or, if no one ends up with a majority in the Electoral College, even put it in the House of Representatives, making Paul Ryan the equivalent of the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore.)

    • Trump Is Going to Raise Taxes on the Rich!

      I really want to know more about this. They “plugged” Trump’s tax plan into their “software”? What software is that? And how does it tell them that Trump’s plan means “a little higher” taxes on the rich? On average, Trump’s plan would cut taxes on the rich by more than a million dollars.

    • Swiss should not have disclosed 1MDB probe, says Zahid

      The Swiss attorney-general should not have made public his request for Malaysia’s help with its investigations into 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

      He said such details should have been kept private between the two governments.

      “I had hoped that information like that would be conveyed through official government channels because it is on a G-to-G (government to government) basis.

      “By making a public statement, in my opinion, it is not good because it not only strains ties between the two countries, but also creates bias in media reports,” Zahid told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today.

    • The Times Endorses Hillary Clinton with a Banner Ad from Citigroup

      Today’s digital edition of The New York Times captures the essence of the cancer eating away at our democracy: a leading newspaper is endorsing a deeply tarnished candidate for the highest office in America while a major Wall Street bank that has played a key role in her conflicted candidacy runs a banner ad as if to salute the endorsement. The slogan on Citigroup’s ad, “cash back once just isn’t enough,” perfectly epitomizes the frequency with which the Clintons have gone to the Citigroup well.

      According to the Center for Responsive Politics, among the top five largest lifetime donors to Hillary’s campaigns, Citigroup tops the list, with three other Wall Street banks also making the cut: Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley. (The monies come from employees and/or family members or PACs of the firms, not the corporation itself.)

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Hollywood’s Pathetic Treatment of Women Is Ready for Its Close-Up

      The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has taken a lot of heat lately for its failure to nominate any actors of color for the Oscars, two years running. But race may not be Hollywood’s biggest diversity problem.

      The number of women directing big-budget films and TV series is stunningly low. Only 9 percent of the directors of last year’s 250 top-grossing movies were female, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. And women accounted for just 12 percent of the directors on more than 225 shows on prime-time TV and Netflix during the 2014-15 season.

    • Paul Krugman Unironically Anoints Himself Arbiter of “Seriousness”: Only Clinton Supporters Eligible

      For years, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has repeatedly complained about the DC orthodoxy-enforcing tactic of labelling only those who subscribe to Washington pieties as “Very Serious People,” or “VSPs.” It’s a term Krugman borrowed (with credit) from the liberal blogger Atrios, who first coined it to illustrate how Iraq War opponents were instantly marginalized in establishment discourse and only war advocates are deemed to be Serious. Krugman mockingly uses it so often that The New York Times created a special tag for the term. The primary purpose of the “VSP” tactic is to malign anyone who dissents from DC establishment pieties as non-Serious or un-Serious, thus demeaning them as someone who can (and should) be ignored as residing on the fringe, unworthy of engagement or a real platform regardless of the merits of their position.

    • Huffington Post’s Anti-Trump Disclaimer Falsely Implies Other GOP Candidates Aren’t Also Xenophobes

      After abandoning its previous attempts to cover GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump only in its “entertainment” section, the Huffington Post said Thursday that it will now carry a disclaimer on all Trump stories highlighting Trump’s extreme anti-immigrant views.

      At the bottom of a story Wednesday night, the online news site wrote: “Note to our readers: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.”

      A Huffington Post spokesperson told Politico that they were doing this only for Trump: “Yes, we’re planning to add this note to all future stories about Trump … No other candidate has called for banning 1.6 billion people from the country! If any other candidate makes such a proposal, we’ll append a note under pieces about them.”

    • Trump just proved: it’s possible to win a debate you didn’t attend
    • CNN’s Double-Dealing in Des Moines
    • Where Did the Years Go? NYT Dismisses Experience of ‘Fringe’ Candidates
  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Ban internet anonymity – says US Homeland Security official

      Internet anonymity should be banned and everyone required to carry the equivalent of a license plate when driving around online.

      That’s according to Erik Barnett, the US Department of Homeland Security’s attaché to the European Union.

      Writing in French policy magazine FIC Observatoire, Barnett somewhat predictably relies on the existence of child abuse images to explain why everyone in the world should be easily monitored.

    • DHS Official: Balance Rights to Anonymity with Rights to Public Safety
    • The day Google went evil

      Now, it will activelly prevent you from using it unless you enable cookies (with excuse of european data protection laws).

    • If You Go Near the Super Bowl, You Will Be Surveilled Hard

      Super Bowl 50 will be big in every way. A hundred million people will watch the game on TV. Over the next ten days, 1 million people are expected to descend on the San Francisco Bay Area for the festivities. And, according to the FBI, 60 federal, state, and local agencies are working together to coordinate surveillance and security at what is the biggest national security event of the year.

      The Department of Homeland Security, the agency coordinating the Herculean effort, classifies every Super Bowl as a special event assignment rating (SEAR) 1 event, with the exception of the 2002 Super Bowl, which got the highest ranking because it followed the September 11 terror attacks—an assignment usually reserved for only the Presidential Inauguration. A who’s-who of agencies, ranging from the DEA and TSA to the US Secret Service to state and local law enforcement and even the Coast Guard has spent more than two years planning for the event.

    • No one has been able to solve this cryptic puzzle by a British spy agency
    • British intelligence and security agency’s brain teasing puzzle stumps readers
    • GCHQ Back ‘Hacking Course’ To Train Next Generation Of Frontline Cyber Defence Staff [Ed puff pieces aplenty]
    • There’s only a few hours left to solve the GCHQ Christmas puzzle
    • Time’s up for cryptographers who tried to solve GCHQ challenge
    • What Is The Difference Between HTTP And HTTPS?

      In your browser’s address bar, the URL of every website you visit always starts with either HTTP or HTTPS, the latter one considered more secure. You might have noticed that numerous times while you were busy with your internet life, didn’t you? Even Facebook with almost a billion daily active users flaunts its status as of a HTTPS website and you confidently post your personal information without giving it a second thought. What if it gets into the wrong hands? Well, you know chances are less such blunder ever happens on the Facebook planet.

    • How a Small Company in Switzerland Is Fighting a Surveillance Law — And Winning

      A small email provider and its customers have almost single-handedly forced the Swiss government to put its new invasive surveillance law up for a public vote in a national referendum in June.

      “This law was approved in September, and after the Paris attacks, we assumed privacy was dead at that point,” said Andy Yen, co-founder of ProtonMail, when I spoke with him on the phone. He was referring to the Nachrichtendienstgesetzt (NDG), a mouthful of a name for a bill that gave Swiss intelligence authorities more clout to spy on private communications, hack into citizens’ computers, and sweep up their cellphone information.

      The climate of fear and terrorism, he said, felt too overwhelming to get people to care about constitutional rights when people first started organizing to fight the NDG law. Governments around the world, not to mention cable news networks, have taken advantage of tragedy to expand their reach under the guise of protecting people, even in classically neutral Switzerland — without much transparency or public debate on whether or not increased surveillance would help solve the problem.

    • Canada Cuts Off Some Intelligence Sharing With U.S. Out of Fear for Canadians’ Privacy

      Canada’s CBC network reported Thursday that the country is slamming on the brakes when it comes to sharing some communications intelligence with key allies — including the U.S. — out of fear that Canadian personal information is not properly protected.

      “Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan says the sharing won’t resume until he is satisfied that the proper protections are in place,” CBC reported.

      Earlier on Thursday, the watchdog tasked with keeping tabs on the Ottawa-based Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Jean-Pierre Plouffe, called out the electronic spying agency for risking Canadian privacy in his annual report.

    • Canada stops sharing intelligence with Five Eyes partners over data breach

      Canada says it will stop sharing certain types of intelligence with some of its closest international allies until it ensures that Canadian citizens’ information is not included in the data given to foreign spy agencies. The announcement follows an official admission, made earlier this week, that a Canadian intelligence agency failed to remove Canadian citizens’ data from information it shared with member-agencies of the so-called Five Eyes Agreement. The pact, which is sometimes referred to as the UK-USA Security Agreement, has been in existence since World War II. It provides a multilateral framework for cooperation in signals intelligence (SIGINT) between the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

  • Civil Rights

    • How Michael Gove won the cabinet row about the Saudi prison contract

      On the morning of Tuesday 13 October 2015 the UK Prime Minister David Cameron had a serious political problem – a problem which seemed to many political observers to have almost come from nowhere.

      The problem was about a proposed commercial relationship between the UK’s Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for courts and prisons services in England and Wales, and the government of Saudi Arabia.

      The contract – for providing training to the Saudi prison system – had not even been signed and was still at bidding stage. And the value of the deal at £5.9 million was not that significant in the context of UK-Saudi relations.

    • The “Star Wars” Kids Aren’t Alright: The Movie Gets Millennials Right — Our Fight Isn’t With “The Man,” but With Each Other

      The bad guys, the Empire, are the Establishment, the Man. They’re a bevy of middle-aged white guys with British accents in uniforms who seem in love with bureaucracy and procedure. There’s precious little passion in them, compared to the Rebels; instead they’re driven mostly by an officious sense of duty and sneering contempt for their inferiors. Stormtroopers idly chitchat about nonsense while pulling tedious shifts of guard duty, with no particular emotions about the Rebels except as “scum” to be exterminated. Middle-aged Imperial officers bicker over status at staff meetings, and the only time we see young faces among them it’s as a sight gag–the field-promoted Admiral Piett nervously stepping into the place of his recently Force-choked predecessor, the put-upon, in-over-his-head Moff Jerjerrod–pathetic figures, sellouts, the 1960s stereotype of a gormless milquetoast Young Republican.

      [...]

      Our enemies, the ones that matter, aren’t our parents or grandparents–the real enemies will be our classmates, our colleagues, our brothers and sisters, our friends. The real test of our generation won’t be our ability to overthrow the last generation–every generation succeeds at that, in the end, if only through the passage of time. It will be our ability to overcome ourselves.

    • The Origins of Totalitarianism: Interlude on Right-Wing Authoritarianism

      I think the important question is not whether many Trump supporters are authoritarians, it’s whether the circumstances facing a many people encourage acting out authoritarian impulses at a national political level. That’s a good reason to look at Arendt’s description of the rise of the Nazis as I did in Part 4.

    • Cartoonist Is Arrested as Egypt Cracks Down on Critics

      A popular Egyptian cartoonist was arrested Sunday on charges of running a website without a license, the Interior Ministry said, in the latest escalation of a campaign to silence the government’s online critics.

      The cartoonist, Islam Gawish, 26, who has 1.6 million Facebook followers, was arrested during a police raid on the offices of a news website based in Cairo. Although his satirical cartoons have been published online, Mr. Gawish was not seen as an especially vehement critic of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

      It was the most prominent arrest since the Jan. 25 anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ultimately toppled President Hosni Mubarak, which had been preceded by a wave of arrests and closures that focused on democracy activists and well-known cultural spaces in downtown Cairo.

    • Sweden’s border controls: the domino effect

      This is the first time since the 1950s that travellers from Denmark to Sweden have to present a valid photo ID in order to complete their journey. The decision also marks a turning point for the Social Democrat and Green coalition in Sweden, which had previously welcomed asylum seekers into the country. While many commentators say that this may be the beginning of the end for Schengen, a more pressing question arises. What does this mean for Europe as a project and for the people coming here in search of safety?

    • Did Reporting on Snowden Docs Deny a White House Advisor His Security Clearance?

      Barely a month after his appointment, security reseasrcher and former FTC chief technologist Ashkan Soltani is leaving his post as a White House senior advisor, apparently unable to get security clearance from the US government.

      Government officials have not commented on the nature of Soltani’s departure, or why he was not cleared—a White House spokesperson merely told The Guardian’s Danny Yardon that “his detail has ended”—but many have speculated it is due to his work reporting on documents leaked by former NSA intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

    • Father charged with homicide after police fatally shot his 12-year-old daughter

      The father of a 12-year-old Pennsylvania girl accidentally shot and killed in her home by a police officer earlier this month has been charged in her death, The New York Times reported Friday.

      Ciara Meyer was fatally shot while standing behind her father, 57-year-old Donald Meyer Jr., during a confrontation with Constable Clark Steele as he attempted to evict the family from their home outside of Harrisburg around 10 a.m. on Jan. 11.

    • Obama’s Justice Department Likes Criminally Prosecuting People, But Not Corporations

      Fewer than one in eight federal agency criminal referrals of corporations led to actual criminal prosecutions between fiscal years 2010 and 2014, according to Justice Department data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube Wins This Round In Germany In The Stupid Neverending War With GEMA Over Streaming Rates

        For many, many years, the big German music performance rights organization GEMA has been at war with YouTube over what rates YouTube must pay for any streamed music. It started with GEMA more or less arguing that a stream on YouTube was effectively the same as a purchased download on iTunes, and that it should get $0.17 per stream (yes, per stream). For anyone who understands even basic economics you’d recognize that’s not even remotely in the realm of reality. The battle has gone on ever since, and unlike basically every other country in the world GEMA has refused to budge. Because of this YouTube has blocked most major label music from its service in Germany, while GEMA has filed a variety of lawsuits against YouTube in the country arguing that YouTube is somehow responsible for what YouTube users upload.

      • Completely Ignoring the DMCA an Option for Torrent Sites?

        Removing content when asked to by copyright holders enables file-sharing sites to comply with the DMCA and its European equivalents. However, with many large platforms now of interest to the police, is there any point in them complying with copyright law? Or does compliance ensure that sites live to fight another day?

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    Benjamin Henrion (FFII) on seeing the EPO alongside patent trolls and other nefarious actors, doing what they do best, which is undermining public interests and harming patent quality



  9. The EPO, USPTO, and Patent Microcosm Peddle Myths About Patents in Public Universities and Research

    Tackling some of the commonly-spread myths about patents as "saving lives" and "promoting research" (in practice leading to the death of poor people and promoting trolls)



  10. Large Corporations' Lobbyist David Kappos Disgraces Former Employer USPTO by Meddling in Their Affairs on Software Patents, Downplaying the Supreme Court

    The latest lobbying from David Kappos, who blatantly exploits his connections in patent circles to promote software patents and work towards their resurgence after Alice v CLS Bank



  11. Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice Calls the European Patent Office “Rotten”, Other Sources Scrutinise Recent Moves

    The patent office which was once known for being the best bar none is rotting under the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who made himself and his friends the main clients of the Office



  12. PTAB Emerges as Hero of USPTO Because Quality of Patents Improves, Software Patents Are Effectively Dead (or Dying Once Reassessed)

    With help from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) -- not just patent courts -- software patents drop like flies by the thousands



  13. Creative Technology, Now Operating in 'Patent Troll' Mode, Shot Down by the ITC; Jawbone Too Shot Down

    Some good news from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which may have put an end to Creative's new war on Android (using old patents)



  14. Corporate Media in India Misrepresents Startups to Push for Software Patents

    A parade of misinformation as seen in Indian (but English-speaking) press this week as questions about patentability of software resurface



  15. Links 25/8/2016: Linux Turns 25, NetworkManager Turns 1.4

    Links for the day



  16. Links 24/8/2016: More From LinuxCon, Uganda Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  17. Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

    Links for the day



  18. The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

    This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles



  19. Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

    Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli



  20. Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

    Battistelli's lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures



  21. The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

    The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever



  22. Apple's Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

    Apple's insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns



  23. Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

    Links for the day



  24. Links 21/8/2016: Apple and Microsoft Down, Systemd Spreading to Mount

    Links for the day



  25. Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

    Links for the day



  26. Patents Roundup: Trolls Dominate Litigation, PTAB Crushes Patents, Patent Box Regime Persists, and OIN Explains Itself

    Another roundup of patent news from around the Web with special focus on software patenting



  27. The Cost/Toll of the 'New' EPO and Where All That Money Goes or Comes From

    The European Patent Office has become a servant of the rich and powerful (including large foreign corporations) and even its own employees now pay the price associated with misguided new policies (or 'reforms' as Battistelli habitually refers to these)



  28. Links 19/8/2016: Linux Mint With KDE, Linux Foundation's PNDA

    Links for the day



  29. The End of an Era at the USPTO as Battistelli-Like (EPO) Granting Policies Are Over

    The United States is seeing the potency of patents -- especially software patents (which make up much of the country's troll cases) -- challenged by courts and by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)



  30. Battistelli's European Patent Office Goes to the United States to Speak About the UPC and Software Patents

    The European Patent Office is showing its utter contempt -- not just disregard -- for the very fundamental rules that put it in its place and brought it into existence


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