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Links 31/3/2016: Bodhi Linux 3.2.0, Kirigami UI

Posted in News Roundup at 7:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-source microprocessor

    Software source codes and hardware designs tend to be closely guarded trade secrets. Not so with open-source products. For instance, the code of open-source software is freely available to all: the best known example is the Linux operating system. Not only are interested developers able to use the software, they can also further develop it and adapt it to their own needs.

  • Open-Source Microprocessor
  • Engineers Develop Open-Source Microprocessor for Wearables and IoT
  • eBay first to open source a FIDO UAF authentication server
  • eBay becomes first ecommerce member of FIDO Alliance
  • eBay joins FIDO Alliance
  • Google Introduces Open Source VR View For Easy 360-Degree Photo And Video Embeds On The Web And In Apps
  • Glucosio helps diabetics track blood sugar
  • Apcera is Integrating Kubernetes into its Cloud Platform

    Apcera has remained among the more interesting companies differentiating themselves in the cloud computing space, as we explored in our recent interview with Apcera SVP of Product and Engineering Neeraj Gupta (shown here). Now, Apcera has announced it will extend its platform to support Kubernetes, which recently moved under the direction of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The company also announced that Apcera founder and CEO, Derek Collison, has joined the governing board for CNCF.

  • 1btn is a powerful, open source, do-it-all button for the Internet

    What can a simple button do? Amazon’s Dash can re-order houeshold supplies. Domino’s will order you your favorite pizza. The open-source 1btn, on the other hand, is capable of doing a whole lot more.

    1btn won’t be limited to performing a single action. You’ll be able to make it do just about anything you want via an easy-to-use web-based interface. No companion app is required to do it, either. You simply connect a Wi-Fi device to the hotspot that 1btn creates the first time you turn it on, launch a web browser, and point it to the 1btn’s built-in web server.

    Several popular services will be supported out-of-the-box, including Twilio to send SMS messages or emails. You’ll be able to set up URL-based actions like turning connected lights on and off, summon a ride to your front door, or start a pot of tea without putting your entire network at risk.

  • Profitable licensing models could bring more open source solutions to the enterprise

    While companies like Red Hat have managed to make a fortune by offering an open source solution, other open source developers have struggled to monetize what is commonly viewed as “free.” A Fair Source license could be a solution to help developers make money, while still upholding the spirit behind open source code.

  • Two key challenges of using open source in the enterprise [Ed: misses the point. Proprietary software has exactly the same 'challenges' (if not worse)]

    The proliferation of open source technologies, libraries, and frameworks in recent years has greatly contributed to the advancement of software development, increased developer productivity, and to the flexibility and customization of the tools landscape to support different use cases and developers’ preferences.

    To increase productivity and encourage a culture of autonomy and shared ownership you want to enable teams to use their tool(s) of choice. That being said, since the advent of agile development, we see large enterprises wrestle with striking a balance to allow this choice while also retaining a level of management, visibility, and governance over all the technologies used in the software delivery lifecycle. And this problem gets harder over time, because with every passing day new tools are being created and adopted to solve increasingly fine-grained problems in a unique and valuable way.

  • Events

    • Event: OSDC 2016

      Open Source Data Center Conference (OSDC) is a conference on open source software in data centers and huge IT environments and will take place in Berlin/Germany in April 2016. I will give a talk titled “Continuous Integration in Data Centers – Further 3 Years Later” there.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Everyday Internet Users Can Stand Up for Encryption — Here’s How

        At Mozilla, we believe encryption is critical to the health of the Web. It allows us to live, work and play on a more secure Internet. Encryption helps keep the Internet exceptional.

        Today, encryption is being threatened around the world. More and more governments are proposing policies that would harm user security by weakening encryption. From France to Australia to the UK, these suggested measures would thwart strong encryption for everyday Internet users. And in the U.S., the FBI was asking Apple to undermine the security of its own products.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Rancher Rolls Out Docker Container Management Platform

      The open-source effort hits general availability, enabling developers to manage and deploy containers.

      Rancher Labs today announced the general availability of its namesake platform Rancher 1.0, which provides tools that enable organizations to easily manage and deploy Docker containers.

    • The OpenStack Schizophrenia

      When I started contributing to OpenStack, almost five years ago, it was a small ecosystem. There were no foundation, a handful of projects and you could understand the code base in a few days.

      Fast forward 2016, and it is a totally different beast. The project grew to no less than 54 teams, each team providing one or more deliverable. For example, the Nova and Swift team each one produces one service and its client, whereas the Telemetry team produces 3 services and 3 different clients.

  • Databases

    • How NoSQL graph databases still usurp relational dynasties

      Despite being assaulted from all sides, the relational model for databases is still the king of the hill and it looks like it will not only survive, but thrive as well.

      NoSQL databases have become increasingly popular and have been offering a number of data and deployment modes that have overcome the limitations – real or imagined – of their SQL cousins.

      NoSQL databases come in a number of guises, but essentially they are designed either to make the life of the programmer easier or to overcome the problem of distributing data at scale.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Apache OpenOffice Notice on Extensions

      Since 2012 we at SourceForge have been proud partners of the Apache OpenOffice community. We’ve maintained both the Apache OpenOffice Extensions and Templates sites and made sure to spread the word about their latest news and developments.

      It’s been reported that extensions that haven’t been updated in a while are displaying this warning message:

      “This extension was not updated recently. It might not work with latest versions of OpenOffice.”

      For registered users, there’s an additional message that allows them to contact the original author and apply to be a co-maintainer. As co-maintainer they can edit the extension description and create releases.

  • CMS

    • Drupal creator on saving the open web

      Can we save the open web? Dries Buytaert, creator of Drupal, talked to a group during SxSW Interactive about how he began the content management service (CMS) Drupal in his dorm room in 2001. Today, Drupal powers 1 out of 30 websites in the world. Technology has changed a lot from 2001 to 2016. Back in 2001, only 7% of the population had Internet access, there were only 20 million websites, and text messaging was just introduced. So, when we talk about the open web what we’re talking about is people having choice and transparency in their options.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • BMW complies with GPL by handing over i3 car code

      BMW has sent Terence Eden a DVD containing GPL-licenced code used in its electric i3 model .

      Why should you care? Because Oxford resident Eden last month inadvertently caused something of a global stir when he pondered the quality of the i3′s software and the security of BMW’s update mechanisms. Along the way he noticed that the i3′s on-board “About” screen mentioned it uses some GPL-licenced code and idly wondered if the auto-maker complies with the licence.

    • All’s Well That Ends Well With The GPL
    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: April 1st (not a joke)

      While the Free Software Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world over the past decade, it has the potential of being a resource of even greater value. But it needs your help!

  • Public Services/Government

    • Study: Organisation’s understanding impacts IT projects

      How much management and staff understand IT has a major influence on public administration’s large IT projects, writes Denmark’s ‘Government IT Project Council’ (Statens IT-projektråd). In its progress report on large IT projects, the Council recommends that public administrations improve project execution and project management competencies.

    • OMB Considering Greater Open Source Push

      OMB has published a draft policy to improve the way custom-developed government code is acquired and distributed by requiring that it be made available for reuse across federal agencies.

    • MIT Media Lab defaults to free & open source software

      MIT Media Lab, that 30-year-old tech innovation factory that has had a huge hand in churning out everything from LEGO MindStorms to the Guitar Hero video game, has now wowed the open source and free software crowd.

      Lab Director Joi Ito over the weekend revealed on the Medium blogging platform that MIT Media Lab has changed its approach to software releases to FLOSS (free/libre/open-source software) by default.

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Study: ‘Smart cities need knowledge sharing platforms’

      Sustainable smart cities need to exchange best practices, focus on increasing citizen participation, and allow public and non-public delivery of innovative services. These are three of the policy recommendations in the ‘Smart Sustainable Cities – Reconnaissance Study’, published by the United Nations University in March.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Opendesk, cracking the production code for open-source furniture

        Before the Industrial Revolution, if you wanted a new piece of furniture, you’d go to your local carpenter. Today, you’re more likely to buy a chair that’s made of Brazilian wood, designed by a Swede, and manufactured in China than one with even a single locally-produced nail. Enter Opendesk, a furniture company with a global network and local manufacturing model, which might just spark a new revolution in the industry.

  • Programming/Development


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Open source recycling initiative Precious Plastic launches to help users 3D print every type of plastic

      As the 3D printing community consumes vast amounts of plastic on a daily basis, it’s strange that recycling isn’t a more prominent theme in the community. To be sure, our failed prints are hardly responsible for filling the oceans and beaches of the world with non-degradable plastic, but as localized consumers of many different plastics, we could play a huge role in fighting plastic pollution. The only downside: not every plastic is easily 3D printable and recycling equipment is very costly. Fortunately, Dutch open source recycling initiative Precious Plastic has just launched an excellent alternative: they have provided all the blueprints and equipment necessary to set up your own recycling plant and allows you to reuse plastics, either as 3D printable filament or with DIY molding machines.

    • Two New Reports Released on the Current State of US Plastics Recycling
  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Falklands Nonsense

      Britain shows utter disregard to the right of self determination of the people of Diego Garcia, yet claims it as inalienable for the Falklanders. Evidently it is a vital universal right, except for rather dusky people.

      The corporate media have universally demonstrated their inability to understand any complex situation, in reporting the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf’s determination on Argentina. Here is a quick guide to what really was decided.

    • State Department: Let’s Fight ISIS With the #TeeVee

      No, no, just kidding about Taylor Swift, but the other stuff is sadly, pathetically true.

      To understand this, you need to understand the State Department. The Department is made up of a few old people in senior positions, and lots of young people (“millennials.”) Think of the old people as your sad, old dad after a divorce, bugging you to explain to him stuff like Tindr and Molly that wasn’t around when he was “dating” but now suddenly seems like something he needs to “get down with.”

      So that’s what happens inside State. Old people are told to stop ISIS somehow. They ask the young staffers about this social media gadget they read about in AARP magazine and the young people, none of whom have a rat’s butt worth of overseas knowledge but have lived their whole lives within a media bubble, tells the olds “Let’s do something social media, or make a TV thing we can show on YouTube. We’ll get, like, seriously, a zillion hits. Anti-ISIS will go, literally, viral, you know.”

    • Medea Benjamin and Arnie Gunderson

      Peter and Mickey open the program with a wide-ranging conversation with long-time social justice activist Medea Benjamin; the discussion covers topics from trade deals to drone warfare, as well as her latest project of trying to alert Americans about the human rights abuses committed by US ally Saudi Arabia.

    • Iraq Ranks In Ten Most Corrupt Countries In World, Again

      Iraq, the failed state that over 4,600 (and counting…) Americans died to free from some evil tyrant 13 years ago, is still ranking high internationally in something. Unfortunately, that something is corruption.

      A couple of other places where America has been intervening for freedom also made the list.

      Germany’s Transparency International released its newest corruption index for 2015, and as usual Iraq was on the list. The ten worst countries in its new study were Somalia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan, South Sudan, Angola, Libya, Iraq, Venezuela, and Guinea-Bissau.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • After Leading The Attack On Investigative Journalism, President Obama Whines About A Lack Of Investigative Journalism

      But he leaves out his own administration’s actions as a big part of why the job of reporting has “gotten tougher.” While he came into office promising “the most transparent administration in history” and one of his first official actions as President was to tell the entire federal government to default to revealing information in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, as we’ve detailed over and over again, the administration has actually been one of the most opaque, setting records for denying FOIA requests, and making it nearly impossible to get any information out of the government without a lawsuit.


      And then, of course, there are the criminal lawsuits. The Obama administration has used the Espionage Act against more journalists and leakers than every other President in history combined… and doubled. And, as of two years ago, he had put media leakers in jail for nearly 50 times as long as all other administrations combined.

      That is not supporting investigative reporting. That is threatening and intimidating journalists and their sources. Creating true chilling effects and scaring people away from doing the very work that the President insists the media should be practicing.

      Way back in 2011, I saw Daniel Ellsberg speak, and he speculated that a key reason why President Obama was so incredibly hostile to a free and open press was because he was embarrassed by his own actions that they were investigating. Ellsberg pointed out that the previous president, George W. Bush was known for widely abusing the power of his position, but he seemed proud of doing so. President Obama, on the other hand, got elected with promises of moving away from such abuses and restoring civil liberties. But that didn’t happen. Things went in the other direction under his watch and his command. So you could understand why the President remains less than keen about leaks and the media digging into things like mass surveillance of Americans, or secret drone bombing campaigns.

    • BGA Sues CPD For Failing To Turn Over Video Footage

      Chicago Police Department stonewalls Better Government Association request for video of all fatal shootings by cops over past five years, so BGA takes agency to court.

    • Chicago’s New Era Of Transparency Looks Pretty Much Identical To Its Old Era Of Opacity

      Mayor Rahm Emanuel ushered in a new age of law enforcement/city transparency recently by opening his mouth and saying words to that effect. This followed the city/law enforcement sitting on the recordings of a highly-controversial shooting by police officers for more than a year.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Sea levels set to rise by more than a metre over next century, claims new research

      Sea levels are set to rise by more than a metre over the next century – more than twice the previous forecast, according to alarming new research.

      The threat posed by rising sea levels is much greater than had been thought because scientists have underestimated the effect of atmospheric global warming on Antarctic ice sheets – having tended to concentrate more on climate change’s role in warming the water than increasing the air temperature.

    • A new study predicts that parts of the ice sheet on western Antarctica may melt faster than scientists had previously figured

      Warmer air, less frigid water and gravity may combine to make parts of Antarctica’s western ice sheet melt far faster than scientists had thought, raising sea levels much more than expected by the end of the century, according to a new study.

      New physics-based computer simulations forecast dramatic increases in melting in the vulnerable western edge of the continent. In a worst case scenario, that could raise sea level in 2100 by 18 to 34 inches (46 to 86 centimeters) more than an international panel of climate scientists predicted just three years ago.

      And even if the countries of the world control heat-trapping gases at the moderate levels they pledged in Paris last year, it would still mean three to 12 inches (8 to 31 centimeters) higher seas than have been forecast thought, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

    • Adopting Sustainable Energy to Combat Climate Change

      The U.N. has reported that pollution caused by indoor stoves that use fire, coal, charcoal, or animal waste could account for as many as 4.3 million premature deaths annually. At the January 2016 summit, Ban noted that climate change disproportionately affects women and children, because they are the ones most directly exposed to these stoves and open flames. Furthermore, “It is women and girls who bear the brunt of collecting firewood and fuels,” argues Ban, activities that “limit their work and education opportunities.”

  • Finance

    • Sajid Javid Deliberately Collapsed British Steel

      The banks received state subsidies to the value of £35,000 from every man, woman and child in the UK. Yet it is unquestionable dogma that not even 0.1% of that can be given to aid manufacturing industry. I can think of no legitimate explanation of this duality.

    • Fight for the Future condemns Internet Association’s support for TPP

      Today the Internet Association, a trade group representing major web companies including Google, Twitter, and Facebook, endorsed the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP). Leading digital rights group Fight for the Future launched an online campaign in response, calling for the companies to drop their misguided support, and issued the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director Evan Greer:

    • US Tech Industry Associations Endorse TPP

      A number of internet and software industry in the United States have come out in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiated by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) last year.

      USTR sent a note to reporters today highlighting the trade associations that have supported TPP. The memo is reprinted below.

    • Ezra Klein and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Tax Calculator

      Actually, it does no such thing; it’s a gimmick that is entirely useless except as a deceptive advertisement for Hillary Clinton.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How They Brainwash Us — Paul Craig Roberts

      Anyone who pays attention to American “news” can see how “news” is used to control our perceptions in order to ensure public acceptance of the Oligarchy’s agendas.

      For example, Bernie Sanders just won six of seven primaries, in some cases by as much as 70 and 82 percent of the vote, but Sanders’ victories went largely unreported. The reason is obvious. The Oligarchy doesn’t want any sign of Sanders gaining momentum that could threaten Hillary’s lead for the Democratic nomination. Here is FAIR’s take on the media’s ignoring of Sanders’ victories: http://fair.org/home/as-sanders-surges-cable-news-runs-prison-reality-show-jesus-documentary/

      We can observe the same media non-performance in the foreign affairs arena. The Syrian army adided by the Russian air force just liberated Palmyra from ISIS troops that Washington sent to overthrow the Syrian government. Although pretending to be fighting ISIS, Washington and London are silent about this victory on what is supposed to be a common front against the terror group.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Google has also been asked to unlock stuff for the FBI

      APPLE IS NOT the only firm to be approached by the US authorities under the hoary All Writs Act, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the request has also gone the way of Google.

      Apple has been getting all the attention for defying demands under the All Writs Act in recent weeks, but an ACLU study found that 63 other requests had been directed at Google.

    • The Trouble with Tor

      The Tor Project makes a browser that allows anyone to surf the Internet anonymously. Tor stands for “the onion router” and that describes how the service works. Traffic is routed through a number of relays run across the Internet where each relay only knows the next hop (because each hop is enclosed in a cryptographic envelope), not the ultimate destination, until the traffic gets to the final exit node which connects to the website — like peeling the layers of an onion.

    • Global majority backs a ban on ‘dark net,’ poll says

      The findings, from a poll of at least 1,000 people in each of 24 countries, come as policymakers and technology companies argue over whether digital privacy should be curbed to help regulators and law enforcement more easily thwart hackers and other digital threats.

    • The state has lost control: tech firms now run western politics

      By now, the fact that transatlantic democratic capitalism, once the engine of postwar prosperity, has run into trouble can hardly be denied by anyone with the courage to browse a daily newspaper.

      Hunger, homelessness, toxic chemicals in the water supply, the lack of affordable housing: all these issues are back on the agenda, even in the most prosperous of countries. This appalling decline in living standards was some time in the making – 40 years of neoliberal policies are finally taking their toll – so it shouldn’t come as a shock.

      However, coupled with the spillover effects of wars in the Middle East – first the refugees, now the increasingly regular terrorist attacks in the heart of Europe – our economic and political malaise looks much more ominous. It’s hardly surprising that the insurgent populist forces, on both left and right, have such an easy time bashing the elites. From Flint, Michigan, to Paris, those in power have accomplished such feats of cluelessness and incompetence that they have made Donald Trump look like a superman capable of saving planet Earth.

    • Former NSA deputy director says Edward Snowden lacks courage

      In the first segment of an interview with Chris Inglis, former deputy director of NSA, the Irari Report talks with him about his perceptions of Edward Snowden’s motivations and intentions in committing his acts of espionage. In the video segment, Inglis discusses his impressions of Snowden, and theorizes as to why Snowden left for China, and to where he intended to defect.

      Edward Snowden’s defection occurred during Inglis’ tenure as Deputy Director of NSA, and as such, Inglis was extremely involved in overseeing the investigation incident and mitigation of the resulting damage. Inglis states that Snowden was indiscriminate in his release of information, and is full of rage. When asked to comment on why Snowden has not released any documents about Russian or Chinese domestic surveillance efforts, which are plentiful throughout NSA, and would have been readily available to Snowden while he was at NSA, Inglis stated that Snowden lacks any courage to speak up about any concerns while he might be held accountable.

    • Global majority backs a ban on ‘dark net,’ poll says

      Seven in 10 people say the “dark net” – an anonymous online home to both criminals and activists fearful of government surveillance – should be shut down, according to a global Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.

      The findings, from a poll of at least 1,000 people in each of 24 countries, come as policymakers and technology companies argue over whether digital privacy should be curbed to help regulators and law enforcement more easily thwart hackers and other digital threats.

    • European hearing may limit GCHQ’s powers

      An upcoming European hearing over UK surveillance laws may result in a severe limitation on GCHQ’s powers.

      The Guardian reported yesterday that a European emergency hearing over the legality of such laws would be held for the first time on April 12th.

      In dispute are laws like the incoming Investigatory Powers bills or the 2014 Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA), which makes telecommunications providers retain the data of customers for potential later use by security services.

      Both laws are widely condemned by privacy advocates for the violating powers that they grant the forces of national security.

      Tom Watson MP and David Davis MP, leading members of the Labour and Conservative parties respectively, brought a legal challenge against the Home Office last year, over the rushing through of DRIPA. The two MPs claimed that such a law directly conflicted with law which superseded the authority inherent in DRIPA, like the European Union Charter on Human Rights.

    • Protesters interrupt former NSA, CIA director’s lecture at Duquesne University

      Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and the CIA, said he was not surprised when four young protesters interrupted his remarks Tuesday afternoon at Duquesne University. He has had to make some difficult and controversial decisions in the war on terror.

    • Protesters interrupt former NSA, CIA head’s Duquesne lecture
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Congressman Wants To Make Attacking A Cop A Federal ‘Hate’ Crime

      The proposal is also accompanied by a heartfelt “Dear Colleague” letter that talks about cops “holding together the fabric of our nation” and how they’ve been “intimidated” by recent acts of violence. No statistics are cited to back up his insistence that this a real problem that needs to be addressed with legislation… because there aren’t any.

      The National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund’s stats show the number of officers killed in the line of duty has been decreasing over the last several years and appears to have hit a lower plateau of ~120/year for the past four years.

    • UNHRC investigator: Hebron killing has all the signs of an ‘extra judicial execution’

      The Hebron shooting last week was an extrajudicial execution, charged United Nations special rapporteur Christof Heyns on Wednesday, as he weighed in on the controversial incident in which an IDF soldier shot a Palestinian assailant as he lay apparently wounded and immobile on the ground.

    • Why do some Israeli soldiers use unauthorized force?

      An Israeli soldier was detained last week after allegations that he shot and killed a wounded Palestinian man lying incapacitated on the ground. Moments earlier the Palestinian, 21-year-old Abd al-Fatah a-Sharif, along with another man, had allegedly stabbed and injured a soldier in the West Bank city of Hebron. The stabbing is one of the latest in a wave of attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians in the past six months.

    • Groups Call for France to Investigate IDF Shooter for ‘War Crime’ if Israel Absolves Him

      Human rights groups said Wednesday that France should investigate the French-Israeli soldier filmed shooting a Palestinian attacker in the head and killing him while he lay motionless, if the Israeli justice system fails to convict him.

    • Israeli military chief appeals to soldiers after shooting
    • Why Israel Is Warming Up to The World’s Largest Muslim Country

      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the establishment of official diplomatic relations with Indonesia on Monday, as the world’s largest Muslim country continues to look eastwards to boost diplomatic and economic ties.

    • Police Charge Trump Campaign Manager With Battering Reporter, Release Video Evidence

      Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been charged with battering then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields.

      The incident occurred on March 8. Fields alleged Lewandowski forcibly yanked her after she asked Trump a question. Despite an eyewitness account from a Washington Post reporter corroborating her version of events, Lewandowski denied any involvement with the incident whatsoever and called Fields an “attention seeker.”

    • My daughter was offered a place at an academy – so I’m home-schooling until she can go somewhere I trust

      And I don’t trust academies. Not one bit. I don’t trust any organisation that removes their employees’ right to unionise, or one that no longer values the trained over the untrained. If you don’t respect teaching qualifications, after all, then why should my child respect your teachers?

    • Appeals Court Says Indiana’s Bad Anti-Texting Law Can’t Be Used To Justify Stops Or Searches

      The opinion dismantles the government’s arguments with aplomb, taking apart each assertion made to defend a drug bust predicated on something that doesn’t even approach “reasonable” suspicion. Extending the government’s logic to other possibly illegal acts, the court points out the government’s reliance on this terrible law is woefully misguided. Since the government can’t possibly know how many people looking at their phones while driving are performing illegal acts, it can’t base traffic stops on nothing more than the mere possibility something illegal may be happening.

    • Jean Charles de Menezes: Family of Tube shooting victim lose human rights case

      The family of Jean Charles de Menezes have lost a human rights challenge over the decision not to bring charges against British police marksmen over his death.

      Judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled British prosecutors were right not to charge police officers over Brazilian electrician’s fatal shooting in 2005.

      It comes more than a decade after he was mistaken for a suicide bomber and shot dead by police marksmen on a London Tube train.

    • Conductors to shut down rail network in wildcat strike

      Train conductors in Finland will walk off the job on Thursday in protest at the government’s transport policies, causing the cancellation of some 300 long-distance services. The move comes on the heels of the announcement that some 214 jobs could be lost as the state railways company VR looks to cut costs.

    • Passenger train monopoly nears the end of the line, several operators show interest

      Finland’s passenger train traffic is set to open up for competition in 2017, a move that will likely end years of market domination by the state-owned operator VR. The Ministry of Transport and Communications says over ten companies have expressed an interest in the prospect of a market share.

    • ‘We Have Never Ignored Cuba’

      FAIR contributor Adam Johnson noted recently how in this country discussion of US history, and that of its allies, is permitted a certain moral nuance, while official enemies are presented as essentially, unrelievedly evil. So it is with Cuba, where Barack Obama just paid the first visit by a sitting US President in 88 years. Any mention of, say, Cuba sending doctors overseas to help in crisis zones is nullified in elite US debate by the fact that—it’s Cuba! Where Castro lives! Few countries are drawn as cartoonishly, making a clear view of Cuba’s strengths and struggles, along with the meaning of any supposed thaw with the US, harder to come by.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T Follows Comcast’s Lead, Now Charging Users $30 More To Avoid Usage Caps

      Last fall, Comcast added a new wrinkle to its plan to impose arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps on the company’s broadband customers. It began charging users a $30-$35 premium if users wanted to avoid caps, effectively turning the idea of unlimited data into a luxury option many could no longer afford. Caps continue to be a great way to impose price hikes on uncompetitive broadband markets, charge more money for the same service, with the added bonus of both curtailing — and cashing in on — the growing use of Internet video.

    • FCC Commissioner: Gov’t Should Never Interfere In Private Markets…Unless ISPs Have A Chance To Mock Netflix

      As we just got done noting, Netflix recently admitted that it has been throttling the streams it sends to AT&T and Verizon wireless customers in order to lessen the impact of usage caps. While most everybody agrees that Netflix should have been transparent about the practice, most also agree that Netflix — an outspoken opponent of usage caps and supporter of net neutrality — was actually trying to improve the customer experience with the move. As such, no real harm was done, and nobody even noticed that Netflix had been doing it — for five years. Really not much of a story in and of itself.

      But the telecom industry and its allies, outraged by Netflix’s support of net neutrality, opposition to usage caps, and the threat it poses to legacy TV, have been desperately and hysterically trying to paint Netflix’s reveal as some kind of immense gotcha.

    • Romania opens broadband networks to competition

      The Romanian government has approved a draft law aiming to reduce the cost of broadband communication infrastructure. For example, the bill sets tariffs that give competitors access to physical telecommunications infrastructure. The law also defines a single point of information, to be managed by the Agency for Digital Agenda of Romania.

  • DRM

    • Why Won’t W3C Carve Security Research Out Of Its DRM-In-HTML 5 Proposal?

      A few years back, we wrote a few stories about the unfortunate move by the W3C to embrace DRM as a part of the official HTML5 standard. It was doubly disappointing to then see Tim Berners-Lee defending this decision as well. All along this was nothing more than a focus by the legacy content providers to try to hinder perfectly legal uses and competition on the web by baking in damaging DRM systems. Even Mozilla, which held out the longest, eventually admitted that it had no choice but to support DRM, even if it felt bad about doing so.

      There are, of course, many problems with DRM, and baking it directly into HTML5 raises a number of concerns. A major one: since the part of the DMCA (Section 1201) makes it infringing to merely get around any technological protection measure — even if for perfectly legal reasons — it creates massive chilling effects on security research. To try to deal with this, Cory Doctorow and the EFF offered up something of a compromise, asking the W3C to adopt a “non-aggression covenant,” such that the W3C still gets its lame DRM, but that W3C members agree not to go after security researchers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • India, EU Leaders Touch On IPR, Innovation, ICTs, Pharmaceuticals

      The leaders of India and the European Union today in Brussels discussed a wide range of topics including intellectual property rights – including geographical indications – innovation, digital issues, and health and pharmaceuticals.

      But details on what was said were few.

      The 13th EU-India Summit was held on 30 March. The EU was represented by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. India was represented by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

    • Trademarks

      • Federal Circuit denies writ of mandamus in Slants case

        Tam, who fronts the Asian-American band The Slants, petitioned the Federal Circuit for a writ of mandamus to instruct the director of the USPTO to publish his application, which the director opposed.

      • CJEU on taser, ahm, tacit prorogation of jurisdiction

        The facts of the case are rather simple. In 2008, Taser International concluded an agreement with the Romanian company Gate 4 which obliged Gate 4 to assign to Taser International the Taser trade marks which Gate 4 had registered, or for which it had applied for registration, in Romania. The agreement contained a clause conferring exclusive jurisdiction on a court in the United States. Gate 4 refused to fulfil its obligations and Taser International sued it before the Tribunalul Bucureşti (District Court, Bucharest). Gate 4, despite the jurisdiction clause, entered an appearance before the Romanian court without challenging its jurisdiction. The Romanian court found for Taser and ordered Gate 4 to execute the formalities necessary to transfer the trade marks.

      • Court Rules Against Lionsgate In TD Ameritrade Suit For Dressing Up Copyright Claim As A Trademark Claim

        Last year, we wrote about a lawsuit Lionsgate Studios had initiated against TD Ameritrade over a throwaway line at the end of one of the latter’s advertising spots. That commercial included the line, “Nobody puts your old 401(k) in the corner,” an imperfect parody of a famous line from Dirty Dancing, the rights for which are owned by Lionsgate. The fact that the ad was no longer running at the time of the lawsuit, nor the fact that Lionsgate was in no way involved in the investment business, failed to keep the studio from claiming this was trademark infringement. The studio even went so far as to hilariously claim that consumers would be confused into thinking that TD Ameritrade either had rights to the movie or was in some way affiliated with Lionsgate Studios.

    • Copyrights

      • Creative Content UK Aims to Re-Educate Book Pirates

        The UK government’s multi-million pound campaign to deter Internet piracy is now hoping to reach out to book fans. A new and rather pleasant video published under the Creative Content UK banner extols the virtues of buying books from genuine sources, but whether it will resonate with the younger generation more used to digital acquisition remains to be seen.

      • Copyright Does Not Protect the Klingon Language, Court Hears

        Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios can’t claim copyright over the Klingon language, Vulcan’s pointy ears, or Phaser weapons, a court heard this week. This defense comes from the makers of crowdfunded Star Trek spin-off ‘Prelude to Axanar’, who were sued over their use of various well-known Star Trek elements.

      • DMCA’s Notice And Takedown Procedure Is A Total Mess, And It’s Mainly Because Of Bogus Automated Takedowns

        Both Congress and the Copyright Office continue to explore possible ways to reform copyright laws, and one area of interest to a lot of people is reforming the whole “notice and takedown” process in the DMCA. The legacy players have been pushing for a ridiculously stupid concept they’re calling “notice and staydown” in which they argue that once there’s a notice for a particular piece of content, a platform needs to proactively block any copies of that content from ever being uploaded again. This is dumb and dangerous for a variety of reasons, starting with the fact that it would place tremendous burdens on smaller players, while locking in the more dominant large platforms that can build or buy systems to handle this. But, even more importantly, copyright infringement is extremely context dependent. The same content may be infringing in one context, while protected fair use in another. But a notice and staydown process would completely wipe out the fair use possibilities, and potentially violate the First Amendment (remember, the Supreme Court itself has declared fair use to be the “safety valve” that allows copyright law to fit with the First Amendment).

      • Nigerian Government Says Country Needs More Jail Time For Pirates And Control Over Content Of Creative Works

        That should make people “respect” copyright more. Put ‘em in jail for violating ethereal rights. Or for contributing to terrorism. Or for making the government look bad. It’s all pretty much interchangeable as far as the government — and the backers of the government’s plan — are concerned. Stiffer penalties have done little to curb piracy elsewhere in the world and are frequently a PR nightmare when imposed. Piracy spread Nollywood’s influence throughout the world and allowed its films to be viewed by residents of other repressive nations whose governments have maintained local control of creative content.

        The minority represented here is hoping to control not only the distribution, but the content, of future creative works. Piracy may be the talking point, but government expansion and increased protectionism are the ultimate goals.

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DecorWhat Else is New

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