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04.03.16

Links 3/4/2016: LabPlot 2.2.0, NixOS 16.03

Posted in News Roundup at 11:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Crowdsourcing code: why startups are turning to open-source software

    A startup wants a mobile menu for their new app. It’s going to cost them time and money to build one from scratch, so they search on Google to find one that is ready-made, a template if you will.

    It is because of publicly available ‘open-source software’ (OSS) that finding such a component is relatively easy. Simply put, OSS is when a product, and the source code that accompanies it, is made available for others to use and even change, or add on to, as they see fit.

  • Events

    • Tickets are live for foss-north

      I’ve written about foss-north earlier. From now, tickets are available. What we are looking at is a free and open source one day conference in Gothenburg. Great speakers already now, and the CfP isn’t even closed.

    • Talking at FOSSASIA 2016 in Singapore

      This year I was able to attend this year’s FOSSASIA in Singapore. It’s quite a decently sized event with more than 150 speakers and more than 1000 people attending. Given the number of speakers you can infer that there was an insane number of talks in the two and a half day of the conference. I’ve seen recordings being made so I would expect those to show up at some stage, but I don’t have any details. The atmosphere was very friendly and the venue a-maze-ing. By that I mean that it was a fantastic and huge maze. We were hosted in Singapore’s Science Museum which exhibits various things around biology, physics, chemistry, and much more. It is a rather large building in which it was easy to get lost. But it was great being among those sciency exhibits and to exchange ideas and thoughts. Sometimes, we could see an experiment being made as a show to the kids visiting the museum. These shows included a Tesla coil or a fire tornado. Quite impressive.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox and cookie micromanagement

        For most of its existence, Firefox has provided users with the ability to manage how cookies are stored with a rather high degree of granularity: users can block specific cookies, create site-wide exceptions to the accept/block policy, and configure behavior for third-party cookies. Up until Firefox 44, there was an additional option as well, one that allowed users to choose the expiration point (that is, expiring them at the end of the session or letting them persist) for every cookie they encounter. That option was removed in the Firefox 44 release, which has made some users rather unhappy.

        The option in question was found in the Privacy preferences screen, labeled “Ask me every time” on the “Keep until:” selector. When enabled, the option raised a dialog box asking the user to accept or reject each cookie encountered, with a “accept for this session only” choice provided. Removing the option was proposed in 2010, although the patch to perform the removal did not land until 2015. It was released in Firefox 44 in January 2016.

      • How Safe Browsing works in Firefox

        If you want to learn more about how Safe Browsing works in Firefox, you can find all of the technical details on the Safe Browsing and Application Reputation pages of the Mozilla wiki or you can ask questions on our mailing list.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Testing ODF on Document Freedom Day

      Because OpenDocument Format (ODF) is the open standard that I am involved in most, I want to write a few words about it.

      Since last autumn, I’m working on the ODF standard for the Dutch government. Supporting standards in government is an important task: new software comes and goes, but documents, once created, should be readable and reusable into the future.

    • LibreOffice Logic

      When you switch to LibreOffice, you can usually assume that all the features available in other office suites are available. They might have a slightly different name, or be placed in another menu, but the basic functionality should be the same in both. If you make a note of the features you use most often, and systematically learn how to do each one, you can often cope with the transition.

  • BSD

    • Book Review: FreeBSD Mastery: Specialty Filesystem

      A filesystem is nothing but the data structures that an operating system uses to keep track of files on a disk. The filesystem stores pictures, music, videos, accounting data and more. The different operating system comes with various filesystems. One may need to move data between FreeBSD and other Unix-like systems like OS X or Linux based devices. Knowing all about filesystem help us to archive or move data between system. The “FreeBSD Mastery: Specialty Filesystem” is an essential, practical and well-written book.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Inessential weirdnesses in free software

      I’ll discuss aspects of our behavior and jargon that stop or slow down some new users and contributors in free software, so that in outreach efforts, we can be better at bridging the gap. These include git’s terrible UI, our in-person conference structures, and widespread scorn of and dismissiveness towards team sports, Top 40 music, patriotism, religion, small talk, and Microsoft Windows. In getting rid of unnecessary barriers, we need to watch out for disrespectful oversimplification, so I’ll outline ways you can know if one of our weirdnesses is necessary. And I’ll talk about how to mitigate the effects of an inessential weirdness in your outreach efforts.

    • PSPP 0.10.1 has been released

      I’m very pleased to announce the release of a new version of GNU PSPP. PSPP is a program for statistical analysis of sampled data. It is a free replacement for the proprietary program SPSS.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Is Source Code covered by the PSI Directive?

      Concerning France, the court decision may have a considerable impact, as the source code of any software produced by or for the various national or local administrations becomes legally “libre” or open source under no or very permissive conditions. Therefore the interest to clarify the applicable licence: when communicating it, relevant administration should then apply the EUPL or the French CeCILL, according to the 12 September 2012 prime minister Ayrault circular.

    • MIT Media Lab Changes Software Default to FLOSS*

      The MIT Media Lab is part of an academic ecosystem committed to liberal sharing of knowledge. In that spirit, I’m proud to announce that we are changing our internal procedures to encourage more free and open-source software.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • BMW *are* complying with the GPL

      Earlier this month I accidentally kicked off a minor kerfuffle over whether BMW was respecting the GPL. Their i3 car contains a huge amount of Open Source Software and there was some confusion as to BMW’s compliance with the licence terms.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Atom reaches one million active users

      We have reached an exciting milestone: one million people have launched some version of Atom in the last month. That’s three times the number of active users we had under a year ago at the one-year anniversary of Atom becoming completely open-source.

    • Here’s A New Programming Language That Talks To Living Cells And DNA

      The genius minds at MIT have created a new system that uses a programming language to design complex DNA circuits and control the living cells. As a part of their research, MIT researchers have programmed 60 circuits with a variety of functions.

    • JavaScripthon — A Simple Python To ES6 JavaScript Translator

      So many, Python and JavaScript seem like similar languages — object oriented, functional hybrid, dynamically typed and a rich library. Keeping the same in mind, probably, a coder has created a small and simple Python to JavaScript translator.

Leftovers

  • Here’s What Happened to Apple’s Third Co-Founder

    “WHEREAS,” it read, “Mr. Stephen G. Wozniak (hereinafter referred to as WOZNIAK), Mr. Steven P. Jobs (hereinafter referred to as JOBS), and Mr. Ronald G. Wayne (hereinafter referred to as WAYNE), all residents of the County of Santa Clara, State of California, have mutually agreed to the formation of a company to be specifically organized for the manufacture and marketing of computer devices, components, and related material, said company to be organized under the fictitious name of APPLE COMPUTER COMPANY.”

  • Can Premier League leaders Leicester City hold their nerve? [Ed: off topic]

    It was a year ago, on 4 April 2015, when the great recovery to survival started as bottom-of-the-table Leicester beat West Ham United 2-1. With the pressure to avoid relegation at its height, Leicester won seven of their last nine games to stay up.

  • Southampton boss: Jamie Vardy’s rise from non-league to Leicester and England is crazy

    Vardy has helped push Leicester City to the verge of the Premier League title, and forced his way into England’s Euro 2016 reckoning just four years after plying his trade in non-league football.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Libyan Enterprise: Hillary’s Imperial Massacre

      In fact two documents strongly backed Qaddafi on this issue. The first was a secret cable to the State Department from the US embassy in Tripoli in 2008, part of the Wikileaks trove, entitled “Extremism in Eastern Libya,” which revealed that this area was rife with anti-American, pro-jihad sentiment.

      [...]

      By October of that year, Muammar Qaddafi was dead and stuffed in a meat locker. Denied post mortem imagery of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, the world was presented with photographs of Qaddafi, dispatched with a bullet to the head after being wounded by NATO’s ground troops outside Sirte.

    • Cleaning Up Hillary’s Libyan Mess

      U.S. officials are pushing a dubious new scheme to “unify” a shattered Libya, but the political risk at home is that voters will finally realize Hillary Clinton’s responsibility for the mess, writes Robert Parry.

    • Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit Neglects 98 Percent of the World’s Bomb-Ready Uranium

      But critics have pointed out that the summits have only focused on highly enriched uranium in civilian possession, which, according to the Department of Energy, only accounts for 2 to 3 percent of the world’s supply. That small percentage is used mostly by academics for research and medical isotope production.

      The remaining 97 to 98 percent is held in military stockpiles, which the security summits have largely ignored. Countries keep the safeguards on these stockpiles secret, and military material falls outside the scope of international security agreements.

    • A ‘Silent Coup’ for Brazil?

      Brazil and other Latin American progressive governments are on the defensive as U.S.-backed political movements employ “silent coup” tactics to discredit and remove troublesome leaders, writes Ted Snider.

    • Iraq is Broke. You Have to Pay for It.

      The next time a candidate or reporter asks during a debate about education or healthcare “But how are you going to pay for that?” I would like the person being questioned to respond “The same way we find money to pay for Iraq.”

      So maybe it would just be better for Flint, Michigan to claim it is under attack by ISIS instead of just being poisoned because no one has the money to fix America’s infrastructure.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ‘I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me’: Clinton snaps at Greenpeace activist

      A question about fossil-fuel-industry donations to her campaign unleashed a rare flash of anger from Hillary Clinton on the rope line in New York on Thursday.

      The moment was recorded by an activist, whom Greenpeace identified as Eva Resnick-Day, who sought to pressure Clinton about the roughly hundreds of thousands of dollars her campaign has received from individuals with ties to fossil-fuel industries.

    • Unilever ditches major palm oil trader after its sustainability certification is revoked

      Unilever has cancelled its contracts with the IOI Group, after the major Malaysian palm oil trader was suspended by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) for destroying forests and peatlands in Indonesia.

      The IOI Group – whose customers include Kellogg’s and Mars – is one of the largest companies to have lost RSPO certification since the roundtable was formed in 2004.

      The decision will be seen as a test of consumer company policies on responsible sourcing of palm oil, which commit major brands to excluding suppliers responsible for deforestation and peatland drainage.

    • The Danger of a Runaway Antarctica

      The startling new finding was published Wednesday in the journal Nature by two experts in ice-sheet behavior: Robert DeConto of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and David Pollard of Pennsylvania State University. It paints a grimmer picture than the one presented only three years ago by a United Nations panel that forecast a maximum sea level rise of three feet by 2100. But that projection assumed only a minimal contribution from the massive ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. And things could get worse in the centuries to come — the melting from Antarctica alone, not counting other factors like thermal expansion, could cause the seas to rise by nearly 50 feet by 2500, drowning many cities.

    • Saudi Arabia Plans $2 Trillion Megafund for Post-Oil Era: Deputy Crown Prince

      Saudi Arabia is getting ready for the twilight of the oil age by creating the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund for the kingdom’s most prized assets.

      Over a five-hour conversation, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman laid out his vision for the Public Investment Fund, which will eventually control more than $2 trillion and help wean the kingdom off oil. As part of that strategy, the prince said Saudi will sell shares in Aramco’s parent company and transform the oil giant into an industrial conglomerate. The initial public offering could happen as soon as next year, with the country currently planning to sell less than 5 percent.

    • Norway Is Killing Whales To Feed Animals Raised For Fur

      Norway has killed more whales than any other nation over the past four years, and some of that meat has become animal feed for the Norwegian fur industry, according to new documents unveiled by two environmental organizations.

      Revelations from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) come as Norway opened up its whaling season Friday, and a week after Japan reported killing more than 300 minke whales — including pregnant females — for what it labeled as research. Now, groups are once again calling for an end to whaling — though this time the attention is placed on Norway, which along with Iceland and Japan, ignores a 30-year-old international moratorium on whale hunting.

    • With Coal Crashing, Will Polluted Communities Be Left Holding the Bag?

      Federal law requires coal companies to clean up and reclaim toxic mining sites. But what happens when a coal company’s gone bankrupt?

    • Flesh Vs Fossil: Let’s shut down the UK’s largest opencast coal mine in May

      2016 has got off to an even worse start. The United States’ second largest coal company – Arch Coal –­ filed for bankruptcy. The Chinese government announced the closure of more than 5,000 coal mines, with 1,000 to go this year. Almost half the UK’s coal power stations have announced closure in the last 12 months.

    • Did Sanders Lie About Clinton’s Oil Money? NPR Factchecker Can’t Be Bothered to Check

      So the factchecker’s job is to determine whether Clinton is right to say that she just gets money from people who work for fossil fuel companies, and that the Sanders campaign is lying about this, or whether the Sanders campaign is actually correct in saying that she relies heavily on funds from fossil-fuel lobbyists—right?

      See, that’s why you don’t have a job at NPR.

    • Bernie Sanders Took Money From the Fossil Fuel Lobby, Too — Just Not Much

      The Bernie Sanders campaign countered by pointing to a Greenpeace tally that says she has collected “$1,259,280 in bundled and direct donations from lobbyists currently registered as lobbying for the fossil fuel industry.”

      Additionally, Greenpeace found “$3,250,000 in donations from large donors connected to the fossil fuel industry to Priorities Action USA,” the main Super PAC backing Clinton’s campaign.

    • Flint Moves to Sue Michigan Over Water Contamination Fallout

      Flint has made moves to sue the state of Michigan, citing “grossly negligent oversight” that led to the city’s ongoing water contamination crisis.

      The city filed a notice of intent to sue with the Court of Claims on March 24, and it was reported on by various Michigan news outlets on Friday.

      It names the state, the Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and four MDEQ employees as defendants.

      Flint mayor Karen Weaver wrote in the notice of intention to file claim, which the Flint Journal has posted here (pdf), that “the damage to the water system infrastructure caused by the MDEQ employees’ grossly negligent oversight is irreversible.”

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • You’re not a farm animal: A plea to journalists to release themselves from Trump’s press pens

      Covering the Trump campaign on a daily basis today appears to be a rather miserable media existence. Reporters are threatened by staffers, and the Trump communications team seems to be utterly nonresponsive to media inquires. (“There is no Trump press operation,” one reporter told Slate.)

    • “It’s a Revolution”: Actress Rosario Dawson on Why She Supports Sanders for President Over Clinton

      As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders campaign in New York ahead of the state’s primary later this month, more than 16,000 people gathered in St. Mary’s Park in the South Bronx for a Sanders rally on Thursday. He spoke alongside film director Spike Lee and actress and activist Rosario Dawson, known for her roles in “Kids” and many other films, including “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.” Amy Goodman caught up with Dawson after the rally to discuss why she supports Bernie Sanders. “It’s a revolution,” Dawson says, noting the corporate media has failed to fairly cover his platform. She also discusses the rise of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump. “He isn’t the problem,” she says. “There is a lot of stuff been going on for many years that has gotten out of control.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • German Television Pulls Satire Mocking Turkey’s Erdogan

      GERMANY’S STATE BROADCASTER, ZDF, apologized on Friday for what it called satire that had crossed the line into slander and removed video of a comedian reading an obscene poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from its website and YouTube channel.

      The poem, which was read by the German satirist Jan Böhmermann on Thursday’s edition of his late-night show “Neo Magazin Royale,” described Erdogan in vile, obscene terms — even comparing him, at one stage, to Josef Fritzl, an Austrian man who fathered seven children with a daughter he held in a cellar for 24 years — but the text was presented as part of a comic demonstration of the difference between satire and slander.

    • For Israel’s Sake The Israel Lobby Must Be Held To Account

      It was ten years ago that the London Review of Books published an article on the Israel Lobby by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, distinguished scholars at two of America’s top universities. The following year the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux found the courage to publish The Israel Lobby, a book with 357 overwhelmingly 5 star amazon.com reviews.

      The Israel Lobby is an understated critique of the enomous influence that the tiny state of Israel, which consists of land stolen by fire and sword from the helpless Palestinians, exercises over United States foreign policy. The crazed Israel Lobby went berserk. Mearsheimer and Walt were demonized as anti-semetics who wanted to bring back Hitler.

      Also in 2006 former President Jimmy Carter’s book, Peace Not Apartheid, was published by Simon & Schuster and became a New York Times bestseller with 846 overwhelmingly 5 star amazon.com reviews. Carter, who as US president did his best to bring Israel and Palestine to a settlement, truthrully explained that Israel was the barrier to a settlement. The Israel Lobby demonized Carter as an anti-semite, and the Jews on the board of the Carter Center resigned.

    • Espousing freedom of speech, and practising censorship

      Have you noticed how people you are eager to meet often prove to be disillusioning? Perhaps anticipation builds up huge expectations but they end up less than they originally seemed. Rather than their perceived star qualities it’s their faults and flaws you notice. Consequently, heroes end up with feet of clay.

    • Bonnici wants criminal libel removed, but censorship law comes first

      Justice minister says government is discussing the removal of criminal libel but the pending censorship and freedom of expression law takes precedence

    • Criminal libel should have been abolished in 2011 – Law Commissioner Franco Debono

      Law Commissioner Franco Debono yesterday told The Malta Independent that the whole criminal libel controversy involving shadow Justice Minister Jason Azzopardi could have been avoided if criminal libel was abolished in 2011, as he had proposed in a private members bill.

      The ‘controversy’ that Dr Debono spoke of is the 6 April criminal libel case against Shadow Minister for Justice, Dr Jason Azzopardi which was instituted through a criminal complaint by former police Commissioner Peter Paul Zammit.

    • Busuttil insists police ‘in Muscat’s grip’ over Azzopardi arraignment

      Opposition leader Simon Busuttil insisted that the police, who are instituting criminal defamation charges against PN MP Jason Azzopardi, are “state apparatus in the grip of Joseph Muscat”.

      Busuttil told MaltaToday that criminal defamation is a perfectly acceptable legal tool unless “manipulated by government to intimidate the Opposition” and that Opposition MPs are only charged in court with criminal defamation in banana republics and dictatorial regimes.

    • Some prominent Chinese are chafing against censorship

      The editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times, a tabloid closely tied to the Communist Party and known for its often-rabid nationalism, isn’t exactly the kind of guy you’d expect to be calling publicly for more freedom of speech and less censorship.

    • China Party journal denounces critics seeking to discredit anti-graft drive

      A top magazine of China’s ruling Communist Party lashed out at critics of its ongoing anti-corruption campaign, saying foreign media and individuals from home and abroad were intentionally trying to discredit the effort as a political “power struggle”.

      Chinese President Xi Jinping has pursued a sweeping campaign to root out corruption since assuming power about three years ago, and has promised to strike hard at both senior and low-level officials, the “tigers” and “flies”.

      Nonetheless, there has been persistent speculation that the graft crackdown is also about Xi taking down his rivals.

    • It’s time for America’s lawyers to come to the aid of their Chinese counterparts

      Last summer, the Chinese Communist Party regime began a nationwide crackdown on human rights activists and attorneys. It’s time that the American Bar Association, the largest attorneys organization in the world’s most powerful democracy, took a clear, unequivocal stand on the crackdown in defense of universal values and the rule of law.

    • China’s tight control of speech
    • Norwegian band Slutface change name to Sløtface due to ‘social media censorship’
    • Slutface change name to Sløtface due to “social media censorship”
    • Slutface changes name to SLØTFACE, shares new single “Sponge State” — listen
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Bringing Signal to the desktop

      The non-profit Open Whisper Systems (OWS) organization is best known for its smartphone apps: first TextSecure and, more recently, Signal. Lately, however, the project started branching out by developing a desktop front-end for Signal, thus allowing users to take advantage of verifiable, end-to-end encryption for instant messages and group chats from the comfort of a full-size keyboard. The desktop version remains linked to the smartphone edition, although opinions certainly may vary as to whether that constitutes a plus or a minus.

      TextSecure was released as open-source software in 2011, followed by an encrypted voice-calling app named RedPhone in 2012. OWS then merged the functionality into a single iOS app called Signal in March 2015; the Android version was released in November of the same year. Signal Desktop was announced in December, via a beta program for which potential users had to sign up and wait to receive an invitation. As with all of OWS’s projects, of course, the source code for Signal Desktop is available on GitHub.

    • Decentraleyes Addon Fixes Browser Privacy, Circumvents CDNs

      Widespread CDN acceptance has been a security flaw that sacrifices privacy simply because it breaks web pages on anything put a text-based browser, which is a sacrifice few are willing to make for the sake of their information remaining local.

    • Remember that California bill to ban the sale of encrypted phones? It just got worse

      The assemblyman, who decried Apple for “risking our national security and the safety of our kids” by using encryption, also uses an iPhone.

    • RAF’s new ‘GCHQ in the sky’ spy planes which can hack enemy emails and phone calls

      Air chiefs have bought nine spy planes, each one like a flying GCHQ.

      The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is as effective at information ­gathering as the Government’s eavesdropping headquarters.

    • Sure, why not? FBI agrees to unlock iPhone for Arkansas prosecutor

      The FBI, which just a few days ago was attempting to convince the country of its helplessness in the face of encrypted iPhones, has generously offered its assistance in unlocking an iPhone and iPod for a prosecutor in Arkansas, the Associated Press reports.

      TechCrunch has contacted the prosecutor’s office for details, which for the moment are thin on the ground — but the timing seems unlikely to be a coincidence. It was only Monday that the FBI announced it had successfully accessed a phone after saying for months that it couldn’t possibly do so — and that Apple was endangering national security by refusing to help.

    • British Authorities Demand Encryption Keys in Case With “Huge Implications”

      BRITISH AUTHORITIES are attempting to force a man accused of hacking the U.S. government to hand over his encryption keys in a case that campaigners believe could have ramifications for journalists and activists.

      England-based Lauri Love (pictured above) was arrested in October 2013 by the U.K.’s equivalent of the FBI, the National Crime Agency, over allegations that he hacked a range of U.S. government systems between 2012 and 2013, including those of the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and NASA.

      The U.S. Justice Department is seeking the extradition of Love, claiming that he and a group of conspirators breached “thousands of networks” in total and caused millions of dollars in damages. But Love has been fighting the extradition attempt in British courts, insisting that he should be tried for the alleged offenses within the U.K. The 31-year-old, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, has argued that he would not get a fair trial in the U.S., where his legal team says he could face a sentence of up to 99 years in jail.

    • ODNI Lawyer Bob Litt Says There’s No NSA Data Sharing With Law Enforcement… If You Don’t Count The FBI, DEA, Etc.

      Just when we thought some surveillance reforms might stick, the administration announced it was expanding law enforcement access to NSA data hauls. This prompted expressions of disbelief and dismay, along with a letter from Congressional representatives demanding the NSA cease this expanded information sharing immediately.

    • The Trouble with CloudFlare

      Wednesday, CloudFlare blogged that 94% of the requests it sees from Tor are “malicious.” We find that unlikely, and we’ve asked CloudFlare to provide justification to back up this claim. We suspect this figure is based on a flawed methodology by which CloudFlare labels all traffic from an IP address that has ever sent spam as “malicious.” Tor IP addresses are conduits for millions of people who are then blocked from reaching websites under CloudFlare’s system.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Video shows white cops performing roadside cavity search of black man

      For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on an investigative series about police abuse in South Carolina. I’ve found a dizzying number of cases, including illegal arrests, botched raids, fatal shootings and serious questions about how all those incidents are investigated. Many of these cases were previously unreported, or if they were reported, the initial reports were a far cry from what actually happened. The series will run at some point in the next week. But in the meantime, I want to share one particularly horrifying incident that I came across this week while researching the series.

    • asha bandele and Laura Carlsen on the War on Drugs

      What this country calls a War on Drugs has never been indiscriminate in its victims. The punitive, interventionist drug policies embraced by a succession of US administrations have hit hardest in communities of color, and, in Latin America, it has been the poor, the indigenous and those outside of power that have borne the brunt of practices, nominally aimed at stopping drug-trafficking, that have only driven corruption and horrific violence.

    • DOJ Reopens Asset Forfeiture Sharing Program After Temporary, Budget-Related Shutdown

      Right before the end of last year, the DOJ — facing budget cuts — announced it would be ceasing its “equitable sharing” program with local law enforcement agencies. These agencies complained loudly about the unfairness of being decoupled from the asset forfeiture money train, as this partnership often allowed them to route around more restrictive state laws.

    • The feds have resumed a controversial program that lets cops take stuff and keep it

      The Justice Department has announced that it is resuming a controversial practice that allows local police departments to funnel a large portion of assets seized from citizens into their own coffers under federal law.

    • ‘They Want South America Back the Way They Used to Have It’

      Mark Weisbrot: “They’ve been trying to get rid of all the left governments, really, for the whole 21st century.”

      [...]

      “In a flash, Argentina has become pro-American,” CBS’s 60 Minutes told viewers, and Leslie Stahl shared that watching Macri and his wife play with their daughter, “you can’t help but think of the Kennedys and Camelot.” US corporate media seem to concur: Macri is a pragmatist, and though they aren’t certain he can lift Argentina from what CBS called “a morass of debt, inflation and international isolation,” it’s clear we’re meant to wish him well.

    • Houston Federal Marshal Tries to Snatch Camera from Citizen Journalist Who Was Assaulted by 2nd Agent

      “You’re about to go to jail for being a dumb-ass,” said a Houston Federal Agent Calderon to PINAC citizen journalist David Warden.

      Boy, was he wrong.

      The Houston Federal Court Security Agent assaulted PINAC correspondent David Warden when he lawfully recorded outside of a Federal Courthouse on its sidewalk.

    • Texas Cops’ Complaint Censorship Attacks YouTube Videos of Public Officials in Public

      Texas police launched a “complaint censorship” attack on David Warden’s YouTube channel News Now Houston, claiming his videos violate their privacy.

    • Houston Prosecutors Exonerate PINAC Correspondent Recording Near Shell Oil Refinery

      Texas prosecutors admitted they can’t prove their contempt of cop case “BARD” against PINAC correspondent David Warden, who recorded video near a Shell Oil Refinery on the outskirts of Houston.

      In other words, state attorneys had no way to prove that David Warden interfered with public duties of an officer last December, as charged, because BARD stands for ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ and officers couldn’t conceive of a single illegal thing Warden did while recording near the oil refinery as you can see in the legal document below.

  • DRM

    • Fighting DRM in HTML, again

      In 2013, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) raised the ire of many in the free-software community (and elsewhere) by adopting an API that adds support for DRM modules within web content. Now, the working group that produced the API in question has come up for renewal, and a number of high-profile parties—including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Free Software Foundation (FSF)—are using the occasion to push back against the DRM camp, in hopes of regaining some of what was lost.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Awesome Stuff: Putting Nature In The Public Domain

        This week, we’ve got one standout project that seems worth highlighting here at Techdirt because of its commitment to things we all care about: cutting-edge media technology, the planet we all live on, and the public domain. Catalog.Earth is a project to use the first to capture the second and dedicate it to the third.

      • EFF to Copyright Office: Improper Content Takedowns Hurt Online Free Expression

        Safe Harbors Work for Rightsholders and Service Providers

        Washington, D.C. – Content takedowns based on unfounded copyright claims are hurting online free expression, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told the U.S. Copyright Office Friday, arguing that any reform of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) should focus on protecting Internet speech and creativity.

        EFF’s written comments were filed as part of a series of studies on the effectiveness of the DMCA, begun by the Copyright Office this year. This round of public comments focuses on Section 512, which provides a notice-and-takedown process for addressing online copyright infringement, as well as “safe harbors” for Internet services that comply.

        “One of the central questions of the study is whether the safe harbors are working as intended, and the answer is largely yes,” said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. “The safe harbors were supposed to give rightsholders streamlined tools to police infringement, and give service providers clear rules so they could avoid liability for the potentially infringing acts of their users. Without those safe harbors, the Internet as we know it simply wouldn’t exist, and our ability to create, innovate, and share ideas would suffer.”

      • Today [Friday] is your last day to comment on Internet censorship through copyright abuse
      • Music Industry: DMCA Copyright Law is Obsolete and Harmful

        A coalition of 400 artists and various music groups including the RIAA are calling on Congress to reform existing copyright law. The DMCA is obsolete, dysfunctional and harmful, they claim, calling for stronger measures against the ongoing piracy troubles they face.

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  1. Patent Lawyers' Media Comes to Grips With the End of Software Patents

    The reality of the matter is grim for software patents and the patent microcosm, 'borrowing' the media as usual, tries to give false hopes by insinuating that the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) may overturn Alice quite soon



  2. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Foes Manipulate the Facts to Belittle the Impact of PTAB

    In an effort to sabotage PTAB with its inter partes reviews the patent microcosm is organising one-sided events that slam PTAB's legitimacy and misrepresent statistics



  3. Links 21/11/2017: LibreELEC (Krypton) v8.2.1 MR, Mesa 17.3.0 RC5

    Links for the day



  4. PTAB Inter Partes Reviews (“IPRs”) Are Essential in an Age When One Can Get Sued for Merely Mocking a Patent

    The battle over the right to criticise particular patents has gotten very real and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) fought it until the end; this is why we need granted patents to be criticised upon petitions too (and often invalidated as a result)



  5. Chinese Patent Policy Continues to Mimic All the Worst Elements of the American System

    China is becoming what the United States used to be in terms of patents, whereas the American system is adopting saner patent policies that foster real innovation whilst curtailing mass litigation



  6. Links 20/11/2017: Why GNU/Linux is Better Than Windows, Another Linus Torvalds Rant

    Links for the day



  7. “US Inventor” is a “Bucket of Deplorables” Not Worthy of Media Coverage

    Jan Wolfe of Reuters treats a fringe group called “US Inventor” as though it's a conservative voice rather than a bunch of patent extremists pretending to be inventors



  8. Team Battistelli's Attacks on the EPO Boards of Appeal Predate the Illegal Sanctions Against a Judge

    A walk back along memory lane reveals that Battistelli has, all along, suppressed and marginalised DG3 members, in order to cement total control over the entire Organisation, not just the Office



  9. PTAB is Safe, the Patent Extremists Just Try to Scandalise It Out of Sheer Desperation

    The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), which gave powers to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) through inter partes reviews (IPRs), has no imminent threats, not potent ones anyway



  10. Update on the EPO's Crackdown on the Boards of Appeal

    Demand of 35% increases from the boards serves to show that Battistelli now does to the 'independent' judges what he already did to examiners at the Office



  11. The Lobbyists Are Trying to Subvert US Law in Favour of Patent Predators

    Mingorance, Kappos, Underweiser and other lobbyists for the software patents agenda (paid by firms like Microsoft and IBM) keep trying to undo progress, notably the bans on software patents



  12. Patent Trolls Based in East Texas Are Affected Very Critically by TC Heartland

    The latest situation in Texas (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in particular), which according to new analyses is the target of legal scrutiny for the 'loopholes' it provided to patent trolls in search of easy legal battles



  13. Alice Remains a Strong Precedential Decision and the Media Has Turned Against Software Patents

    The momentum against the scourge of software patents and the desperation among patent 'professionals' (people who don't create/develop/invent) is growing



  14. Harm Still Caused by Granted Software Patents

    A roundup of recent (past week's) announcements, including legal actions, contingent upon software patents in an age when software patents bear no real legitimacy



  15. Links 18/11/2017: Raspberry Digital Signage 10, New Nano

    Links for the day



  16. 23,000 Posts

    23,000 blog posts milestone reached in 11 years



  17. BlackBerry Cannot Sell Phones and Apple Looks Like the Next BlackBerry (a Pile of Patents)

    The lifecycle of mobile giants seems to typically end in patent shakedown, as Apple loses its business to Android just like Nokia and BlackBerry lost it to Apple



  18. EFF and CCIA Use Docket Navigator and Lex Machina to Identify 'Stupid Patents' (Usually Software Patents That Are Not Valid)

    In spite of threats and lawsuits from bogus 'inventors' whom they criticise, EFF staff continues the battle against patents that should never have been granted at all



  19. The Australian Productivity Commission Shows the Correct Approach to Setting Patent Laws and Scope

    Australia views patents on software as undesirable and acts accordingly, making nobody angry except a bunch of law firms that profited from litigation and patent maximalism



  20. EPO 'Business' From the United States Has Nosedived and UPC is on Its Death Throes

    Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot further accelerate the ultimate demise of the EPO (getting rid of experienced and thus 'expensive' staff), for which there is no replacement because there is a monopoly (which means Europe will suffer severely)



  21. Links 17/11/2017: KDE Applications 17.12, Akademy 2018 Plans

    Links for the day



  22. Today's EPO and Team UPC Do Not Work for Europe But Actively Work Against Europe

    The tough reality that some Europeans actively work to undermine science and technology in Europe because they personally profit from it and how this relates to the Unitary Patent (UPC), which is still aggressively lobbied for, sometimes by bribing/manipulating the media, academia, and public servants



  23. Links 16/11/2017: WordPress 4.9 and GhostBSD 11.1 Released

    Links for the day



  24. The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) is Rightly Upset If Not Shocked at What Battistelli and Bergot Are Doing to the Office

    The EPO's dictatorial management is destroying everything that's left (of value) at the Office while corrupting academia and censoring discussion by threatening those who publish comments (gagging its own staff even when that staff posts anonymously)



  25. EPO Continues to Disobey the Law on Software Patents in Europe

    Using the same old euphemisms, e.g. "computer-implemented inventions" (or "CII"), the EPO continues to grant patents which are clearly and strictly out of scope



  26. Links 16/11/2017: Tails 3.3, Deepin 15.5 Beta

    Links for the day



  27. Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot Have Just Ensured That EPO Will Get Even More Corrupt

    Revolving door-type tactics will become more widespread at the EPO now that the management (Battistelli and his cronies) hires for low cost rather than skills/quality and minimises staff retention; this is yet another reason to dread anything like the UPC, which prioritises litigation over examination



  28. Australia is Banning Software Patents and Shelston IP is Complaining as Usual

    The Australian Productivity Commission, which defies copyright and patent bullies, is finally having policies put in place that better serve the interests of Australians, but the legal 'industry' is unhappy (as expected)



  29. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Defended by Technology Giants, by Small Companies, by US Congress and by Judges, So Why Does USPTO Make It Less Accessible?

    In spite of the popularity of PTAB and the growing need/demand for it, the US patent system is apparently determined to help it discriminate against poor petitioners (who probably need PTAB the most)



  30. Declines in Patent Quality at the EPO and 'Independent' Judges Can No Longer Say a Thing

    The EPO's troubling race to the bottom (of patent quality) concerns the staff examiners and the judges, but they cannot speak about it without facing rather severe consequences


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