EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.29.16

Links 29/4/2016: GNOME 3.21.1, Fairphone

Posted in News Roundup at 6:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • RMS Gets Award, OwnCloud Founder Resigns & More…
  • Coreboot Gets Ported To A Unique Industrial Board

    While the Siemens MC_BDX1 will likely be unavailable for purchase as a computer motherboard similar to some of the past Siemens Coreboot ports, it’s still worth mentioning and interesting watching them bring Coreboot to more industrial boards. The MC_BDX1 in this case is a unique motherboard based off Intel’s Camelback Mountain CRB platform, a.k.a. a Xeon D Broadwell motherboard.

  • 4 keys to leading open source teams

    I like to be busy and have a lot of energy to be a part of leadership teams in open source communities, aside from my fulltime job as Developer Evangelist for Cisco in the DevNet.

    I’m a community leader and member of the PHP and the Joomla communities. I’ve been part of the Joomla organization since 2011 and have held leadership roles for the past few years. Previously, I was a Board of Director for Open Source Matters (OSM), the organization that supports the Joomla! Project legally, financially, and from all business aspects. For the past year, I’ve been on the Joomla Production Leadership Team (PLT), which is responsible for coordinating the production of the Joomla CMS and Framework, including the code, documentation, and localization. I was brought on to help evangelise and market the Joomla project in the greater developer communities by speaking about our community and code. I also run the Seattle PHP meetup and Seattle Joomla meetup. And, I organize the Pacific Northwest PHP Conference in Seattle (PNWPHP).

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Coming up: the Month of LibreOffice

      There’s so much fantastic work going on in LibreOffice at the moment, in all areas of the project: development, translations, bug fixing, documentation, user support and much more. The community is doing stellar work to make the software better, faster, more reliable, easier to use, and available for everyone.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Ionic Downloads $8.5M to Rev Up Business Around Open-Source Software

      But the company saw a bigger opportunity with Ionic, which allows developers to use Web-based languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to make mobile apps that work across different platforms—meaning users can simultaneously create iOS, Android, and Windows apps. The software is geared toward Web developers, many of whom have never built a mobile app before. One of the goals is to help companies’ existing staff of Web developers quickly and easily build mobile apps, thereby saving businesses time and money they would’ve spent to hire or contract with more mobile-savvy developers.

  • BSD

    • LLVM Pulls In More Than $300,000 USD A Year In Sponsorships

      The LLVM Foundation published its plans and budgets this week for 2016. There are a few interesting details when analyzing the information.

      The post at LLVM.org explains of the LLVM Foundation for those unfamiliar, “The LLVM Foundation originally grew out of the need to have a legal entity to plan and support the annual LLVM Developers’ Meeting and LLVM infrastructure. However, as the Foundation was created we saw a need for help in other areas related to the LLVM project, compilers, and tools. The LLVM Foundation has established 3 main programs: Educational Outreach, Grants & Scholarships, and Women in Compilers & Tools.”

    • LLVMpipe Ported To Android x86 For Running Android Apps Without GPU Support

      For x86 Android users, patches are available for making use of Mesa’s LLVMpipe driver in Gallium3D for cases where hardware drivers are not available.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • ACM RECOGNIZES MAJOR TECHNICAL CONTRIBUTIONS THAT HAVE ADVANCED THE COMPUTING FIELD

      Richard Stallman, recipient of the ACM Software System Award for the development and leadership of GCC (GNU Compiler Collection), which has enabled extensive software and hardware innovation, and has been a lynchpin of the free software movement. A compiler is a computer program that takes the source code of another program and translates it into machine code that a computer can run directly. GCC compiles code in various programming languages, including Ada, C, C++, Cobol, Java, and FORTRAN. It produces machine code for many kinds of computers, and can run on Unix and GNU/Linux systems as well as others.

      GCC was developed for the GNU operating system, which includes thousands of programs from various projects, including applications, libraries, tools such as GCC, and even games. Most importantly, the GNU system is entirely free (libre) software, which means users are free to run all these programs, to study and change their source code, and to redistribute copies with or without changes. GNU is usually used with the kernel, Linux. Stallman has previously been recognized with ACM’s Grace Murray Hopper Award.

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: April 29th
    • Tumbleweed gets glibc 2.23

      There has not been a new snapshot for openSUSE Tumbleweed for the past week, and it has been a couple weeks since the last time it was discussed on news.opensuse.org.

      A new snapshot of Tumbleweed arrived today and the reason for not having one the past week is that the entire rolling release distribution was rebuilt on the Open Build Service and thoroughly tested by openQA.

  • Public Services/Government

    • FRAND Is Not A Compliance Issue

      The European Commission has been persuaded by lobbyists to change its position on standards to permit the use of FRAND license terms for patents applicable to technologies within those standards. This is a massive mistake that will harm innovation by chilling open source community engagement.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Saving Lives with Open-Source Electrocardiography

      A few months ago, MobilECG wowed us with a formidable electrocardiograph (ECG, also EKG) machine in the format of a business card, complete with an OLED display. We’ve seen business card hacks before, but that was the coolest. But that’s peanuts compared with the serious project that it supports: making an open-source ECG machine that can actually save lives by being affordable enough to be where it’s needed, when it’s needed.

  • Programming/Development

    • Why and how I became a software engineer

      Throughout my experiences, the fascinating weeks I’d spent writing out DOS commands remained a prominent influence, bleeding into little side projects and occupying valuable study time. As soon as Geocities became available to all Yahoo! Users, I created a website where I published blurry pictures that I’d taken on a tiny digital camera. I created websites for free, helped friends and family fix issues they had with their computers, and created a library database for a church.

      This meant that I was always researching and trying to find more information about how things could be made better. The Internet gods blessed me and open source fell into my lap. Suddenly, 30-day trials and restrictive licenses became a ghost of computing past. I could continue to create using GIMP, Inkscape, and OpenOffice.

    • PHP version 5.5.35, 5.6.21 and 7.0.6
    • Learn Perl Online for Free
    • Top Ten Programmers of All Time

      3. Linus Torvalds

      The man who created Linux Kernel. Linux operating system is a clone to the Unix operating system, written originally by Linus Torvalds and a loosely knit team of programmers all around the world.

      [...]

      5. Richard Stallman

      He founded the Free Software Foundation, developed the GNU Compiler Collection(GCC). Richard Stallman is the prophet of the free software movement. He understood the dangers of software patents years ago. Now that this has become a crucial issue in the world. He has hugely successful efforts to establish the idea of “Free Software”.

    • Node.js version 6 is now available

Leftovers

  • EU Regulators Can Barely Contain Their Desire To Attack Google And Facebook, Believing It Will Help Local Competitors

    Look, we warned everyone. Back in December of last year, we told you that the EU Commission was looking to put in place new regulations that were clearly designed to hamper Google and Facebook with needless regulations. It was pretty obvious from the way it phrased its broken survey form, that this was the intent. We, along with a bunch of internet startups told the EU that this was a mistake. We explained that Google and Facebook are big and they’ll be able to handle whatever regulations the EU throws at them, because they can just throw money at the problem.

    But… everyone else? They’re going to get screwed over. The folks over at Euractiv have got their hands on a leaked draft of the plan to regulate online platforms, and it’s more or less what we expected, and what was hinted at a few weeks ago.

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • USB Type C speed test: Here’s how slow your laptop’s port could be

      USB Type C is the intriguing new port that began appearing in laptops, tablets, phones, and other devices well over a year ago, but we had no real way test its throughput performance until now. Thanks to Sandisk’s Extreme 900, we’re finally able to push that tiny reversible port to its limits. To do that I gathered up no fewer than eight laptops equipped with USB Type C ports, and threw in a desktop PCIe card for good measure too.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Outrage and outsourcing in Russian healthcare

      The doctor is out. Hunger strikes, mistreatment of patients and general desperation are beginning to seem like a feature – as opposed to a bug – of Russia’s healthcare system.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Hacking Slack accounts: As easy as searching GitHub

      A surprisingly large number of developers are posting their Slack login credentials to GitHub and other public websites, a practice that in many cases allows anyone to surreptitiously eavesdrop on their conversations and download proprietary data exchanged over the chat service.

      According to a blog post published Thursday, company researchers recently estimated that about 1,500 access tokens were publicly available, some belonging to people who worked for Fortune 500 companies, payment providers, Internet service providers, and health care providers. The researchers privately reported their findings to Slack, and the chat service said it regularly monitors public sites for posts that publish the sensitive tokens.

    • Time for a patch: six vulns fixed in NTP daemon
    • NTP Daemon Gets Fixes for Vulnerabilities Causing DoS and Authentication Bypass
    • Cisco Spots New NTP Bugs
    • Network Time Keeps on Ticking with Long-Running NTP Project [Ed: corrected URL]
    • Open Source Milagro Project Aims to Fix Web Security for Cloud, Mobile, IoT

      As the Internet continues to both grow in size and widen in scope, so do demands on the supporting infrastructure. The number of users and devices, amount of activity, internationalization of the web, and new devices that range from mobile apps and cloud instances to “Internet of Things,” put strain on the system. Not just for bandwidth or service availability, but also on the assurance of trust — trust that the entities at each end are who (or what) they say they are, and that their communications are private and secure.

    • M2Mi Obtains DHS Open-Source Cryptographic Tool Development Funds

      Machine-to-Machine Intelligence Corp. has been awarded $75,000 in funds by the Department of Homeland Security‘s science and technology directorate to create a deployable cryptographic protocol for an Internet of Things security initiative.

    • Encrypted Network Traffic Comes at a Cost

      The use of encryption over the Internet is growing. Fueled by Edward Snowden’s revelations on the extent of NSA and GCHQ content monitoring, encryption is now increasingly provided by the big tech companies as part of their standard product offerings. It’s effectiveness can be seen in the continuing demands by different governments for these same tech companies to provide government backdoors for that encryption. Encryption works: it safeguards privacy.

      Against this background, the use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt network traffic is likely to grow dramatically. Google is encouraging this. It already uses HTTPS as a positive weight for web sites in its search algorithm, while current rumors suggest it will soon start to place a warning red X in the URL bar of sites that do not use it. Taken together, these are strong incentives for businesses that don’t currently use SSL/TLS to start doing so. Some predictions believe that almost 70% of network traffic will be encrypted by the end of this year.

    • Raptor Engineering Updates Details On Their POWER8-Based Talos Secure Workstation

      Raptor Engineering has published new information around their proposed high-performance Talos Secure Workstation that for around $3k is a high-end POWER8 motherboard.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Tony Blair courted Chinese leaders for Saudi prince’s oil firm

      Tony Blair obtained a “blessing” from Chinese leaders for a company owned by a Saudi prince to do business in China as part of an arrangement that paid the former UK prime minister’s firm £41,000 a month and a 2% commission on any multimillion-pound contracts he helped to secure.

      A series of documents, seen by the Guardian, show how Blair courted some of the most influential Chinese political leaders in 2010 and then introduced them to the Saudi-owned company he worked with, PetroSaudi. The company was not allowed to divulge his role without permission, according to the contract.

    • ‘It’s Remarkable How Little Real News Comes From Saudi Arabia’

      Janine Jackson: The New York Daily News cover is a photograph of Barack Obama with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, and the headline “Oil Protect You, Sire.” It’s far from elegant, but the paper’s trying to say something about the relationship CNN likened to “an unhappy marriage in which both sides, for better or worse, are stuck with each other.” News of Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia changed by the hour: First we were told things were chilly, then that they’d been smoothed over. But people who might want to understand more about the abiding goals of the US alliance with a monarchy where women can’t have bank accounts could easily remain confused.

    • The Coming World of ‘Peak Oil Demand,’ Not ‘Peak Oil’

      On the structural side, global demand for energy had, in recent years, ceased to rise quickly enough to soak up all the crude oil pouring onto the market, thanks in part to new supplies from Iraq and especially from the expanding shale fields of the United States. This oversupply triggered the initial 2014 price drop when Brent crude – the international benchmark blend – went from a high of $115 on June 19th to $77 on November 26th, the day before a fateful OPEC meeting in Vienna. The next day, OPEC members, led by Saudi Arabia, failed to agree on either production cuts or a freeze, and the price of oil went into freefall.

      The failure of that November meeting has been widely attributed to the Saudis’ desire to kill off new output elsewhere – especially shale production in the United States – and to restore their historic dominance of the global oil market. Many analysts were also convinced that Riyadh was seeking to punish regional rivals Iran and Russia for their support of the Assad regime in Syria (which the Saudis seek to topple).

    • Hiding the Indonesia Massacre Files

      Perhaps nowhere does U.S. hypocrisy over human rights stand out more clearly than Indonesia’s “Year of Living Dangerously” slaughter of vast numbers of people in 1965, dirty secrets that Jonathan Marshall says finally deserve airing.

    • It’s Not About Drones, It’s About Lazy War

      Clinton dabbled in other conflicts, such as bombing what turned out to be a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory in 1998. And yes, Kosovo was his big blowout event in 1999. Yet, he didn’t walk away from office with the reputation as a warmonger. If anything, his stickiest critique was that he didn’t kill Osama Bin Laden when he had the chance. That comes from the right. Mostly on the left, Clinton is loved and missed – or at least a world in which a presidential sex scandal was the biggest news is missed.

      Bush Jr. was loud, and obvious in his wars. The damage that his administration wrought in the Middle East will be felt for generations. And so, yes, Obama felt like a revelation simply because he wasn’t Bush. He even said a few things that were called “apologizing for America” by offended hawks. This usually meant that Obama was admitting America had not been perfect in its foreign policy choices in the past.

      [...]

      The Obama administration has stretched the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force to impossible lengths, using it to justify excursions into Syria and elsewhere that Daskal very nearly calls illegal (she goes with “expansive legal interpretation” instead). Perhaps hoping to use a carrot instead of a stick, Daskal suggests Obama knows better than this. Yet, there’s little evidence to suggest that he does. And she notes, Obama’s suggested a narrower AUMF to justify his current adventuring, but intended for it to be piled atop the old one, thereby adding, and not extracting war-making powers.

    • Drone Wars Produce PTSD Victims on Both Sides

      “When we are in our darkest places and we have a lot to worry about and we feel guilty about our past actions, it’s really tough to describe what that feeling is like,” says Daniel, a whistleblower who took part in drone operations and whose last name is not revealed in National Bird. Speaking of the suicidal feelings that sometimes plagued him while he was involved in killing halfway across the planet, he adds, “Having the image in your head of taking your own life is not a good feeling.”

    • Trump’s Foreign Policy Mishmash

      Donald Trump’s “big” foreign policy speech was a mishmash of his reasonable calls for American restraint blended with some bluster about unleashing military force, salted with some predictable Obama bashing, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • No Dissent from Anti-Russian Propaganda

      The European Union prides itself on its commitment to free expression, except apparently when a documentarian diverges from the official line bashing Russia. Then silencing dissent becomes the “responsible” response, as Gilbert Doctorow explains.

    • Pentagon Denies War Crimes Allegations In Kunduz Hospital Killings

      Nearly seven months after the first shots were fired, the Pentagon has released its full report detailing the night of chaos and horror that left 42 patients and staffers dead at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. In publishing the highly anticipated account, the military concluded that its attack did not amount to a war crime because its effects were not intentional, a view at odds with certain interpretations of international law.

    • Doctors Without Borders Launches New Solidarity Action as U.S. Military Brushes Off Deadly Kunduz Attack as ‘Accidental’ (Video)

      The International medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) was attacked Wednesday in the Syrian city of Aleppo. According to the charity, the direct U.S. airstrike killed more than a dozen doctors and patients including “one of the city’s last pediatricians.”

    • The Joke of U.S. Justice and “Accountability” When They Bomb a Hospital

      Ever since the U.S. last October bombed a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Kunduz, Afghanistan, the U.S. vehemently denied guilt while acting exactly like a guilty party would. First, it changed its story repeatedly. Then, it blocked every effort – including repeated demands from MSF – to have an independent investigation determine what really happened. As May Jeong documented in a richly reported story for The Intercept yesterday, the Afghan government – rather than denying that the hospital was targeted – instead repeatedly claimed that doing so was justified; moreover, they were sympathetic to calls for an independent investigation, which the U.S. blocked. What is beyond dispute, as Jeong wrote, is that the “211 shells that were fired . . . were felt by the 42 men, women, and children who were killed.” MSF insisted the bombing was “deliberate,” and ample evidence supports that charge.

    • As More American Boots Hit the Ground in Syria, U.S. Parses “Boots” and “Ground”

      After President Obama announced on Monday that he would deploy 250 additional special operations troops to Syria, State Department spokesperson John Kirby tried to deny that Obama had ever promised not to send “boots on the ground” there.

    • “To demand peace is not a crime”: Turkish academics on trial

      Last Friday, April 21st, four Turkish academics, Meral Camci, Kivanc Ersoy, Muzeffer Kaya and Esra Mungan, after five weeks remanded in prison, were brought to the Heavy Penal Court in Istanbul to face charges of making “propaganda for terrorism” and of association with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), labelled as a terrorist organisation by the EU and the US. The indictment accused them under Article 7(2) of Turkey’s anti-terror law and if convicted they could face sentences of up to 7 ½ years in detention.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Why Climate Change Is No Longer Shocking Enough

      Back in the real world, 97% of climate scientists have determined that climate change is happening and caused by human activity. And, it’s already affecting people and places all over the world. Climate change should be the issue of the 2016 election, but the only way for this to happen is if the media partners with the people to put actual issues ahead of circus-like entertainment value. This is also where young people must come in.

    • Droughts trigger tree ‘heart attacks’

      Research identifying survival traits in different tree species could prove vital in helping to reduce the massive losses caused by heat extremes as the world warms.

    • $5 Million In Arizona Higher Education Funding Is Going To Koch-Backed ‘Freedom Schools’

      Five million dollars has been earmarked for conservative institutes at Arizona’s public universities.

    • These Republican Lawmakers Are Turning To Climate Action To Help Keep Their Seats

      For most Senate Republicans, climate change is an anathema: 70 percent of Republicans in the Senate deny the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and humans are the main cause.

      But a growing number of liberal and moderate Republican voters are concerned about climate change and want their elected officials to reflect that concern. And that leaves Republicans in tight campaigns for reelection with an interesting choice: embrace climate action, long seen as a liberal stance, or risk losing crucial voters.

    • Using the “Public Trust” to Frame “Break Free From Fossil Fuels” Actions

      Governments have no more right to authorize the emission of greenhouse gases that destroy the climate than the trust officers of a bank have to loot the assets placed under their care. , The people of the world have a right to our common natural resources. And we have a right, if necessary, to protect our common assets against those who would destroy them.

    • Widespread loss of ocean oxygen to become noticeable in 2030s

      A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

      Scientists know that a warming climate can be expected to gradually sap the ocean of oxygen, leaving fish, crabs, squid, sea stars, and other marine life struggling to breathe. But it’s been difficult to determine whether this anticipated oxygen drain is already having a noticeable impact.

    • Save the Starfish: Deoxygenated ‘Dead Zones’ Threatening Marine Life
    • Why is Congress Trying to Give Military Half a Wildlife Refuge it Doesn’t Want?

      The overreaching rider is part of a trend: this is only the latest attempt by the House Armed Services committee, long dominated by Republicans, to demolish endangered species protections through the NDAA, the annual “must-pass” legislation that authorizes annual military spending.

    • America’s Most Notorious Coal Baron Is Going to Prison. But He Still Haunts West Virginia Politics

      As CEO of Massey Energy, central Appalachia’s largest coal producer, Don Blankenship towered over West Virginia politics for more than a decade by spending millions to bolster Republican candidates and causes. That chapter came to an end in April, when Blankenship was sentenced to a year in prison for conspiring to commit mine safety violations in the period leading up to the deadly 2010 explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine. But even in absentia, he casts a long shadow over state politics. For evidence, look no further than the contentious Democratic primary for governor.

    • Retrofitting Suburbia: Communities Innovate Their Way Out of Sprawl

      The future for suburbanites, who now have twice the carbon footprint of city dwellers, seems to be pointing backward to pre-automobile, train-based living.

    • Obama’s Offshore Drilling Proposal Based on Fossil Fuel Industry Research

      A key component of President Barack Obama’s push for offshore oil drilling—an economic analysis touting the benefits of opening up waters in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic—was based on studies conducted by the fossil fuel industry, a new investigation reveals.

      The “apparently impartial” analysis from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) justified the offshore drilling proposal unveiled last month as having potential for “increased wages, additional jobs, increased tax collection, revenue sharing, and proximity of supply and consumers economic,” the nonprofit research group Public Accountability Initiative states in its report, Offshore Shilling: An Analysis of the Economic Studies Justifying the Department of Interior’s Offshore Drilling Plan.

  • Finance

    • Chevron Lobbied For Corporate Sovereignty Rights In TAFTA/TTIP To Act As ‘Environmental Deterrent’

      Back in 2014, Techdirt noted that arguably the most serious problem with corporate sovereignty was not the huge awards that could be imposed on countries, but the chilling effect the mere threat of those awards could have on national sovereignty. In that post, we quoted from a remarkable 2001 article in The Nation. A former Canadian government official in Ottawa revealed that numerous proposals for new environmental regulations had been dropped in the face of threats that NAFTA’s investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) framework would be used against Canada if it brought in new laws. The Techdirt post also mentioned a case in Indonesia, where a mining company dropped a corporate sovereignty case when it was offered “special exemptions” from a new mining law.

      More recently, we’ve seen New Zealand put on hold its plans to require plain packaging for cigarettes, as a result of Philip Morris bringing an ISDS claim against the Australian government for doing the same. The New Zealand government was concerned it too might get hit, and so decided to wait. Now that the Australian case has been thrown out, New Zealand is pressing ahead with its plain packs legislation.

    • Weighing Obama’s Economic Legacy–With a Thumb on the Scale

      The economy has also seen close to 3 million prime-age workers (ages 25–54) drop out of the labor force. No one had predicted this back in 2009 when President Obama took office. The number of people who are working part-time involuntarily is still close to 1.7 million above its pre-recession level. No one had expected this back in 2009, either.

      The 73 consecutive months of private-sector job growth, “the longest period of sustained job growth on record,” is kind of a joke. This is sort of like a weak-scoring basketball player telling a reporter about the number of consecutive games in which he scored points; it is an utterly meaningless statistic. It is the average job growth, GDP growth and improvement in living standards that matter, not the monthly job creation streak. (And President Obama wonders why people don’t feel better.)

      Sorkin then turns to mind-reading on the Wall Street bailout, telling readers: “But Obama, convinced that anything short of a major bailout could lead to economic catastrophe, said Democrats should back Paulson’s plan. They did.”

      Sorkin doesn’t indicate how he knows that Obama was “convinced.” No one has ever given an argument as to why the government could not have boosted the economy with massive spending after the market had been allowed to work its magic in putting Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and the rest out of business. Elite types call people names who raise this point, but that doesn’t mean it is not valid.

    • More Lies From the Government

      The government has reported a growth in first quarter 2016 GDP of one-half of one percent — 0.5%.

      Residential investment accounted for the entire increase.

      Yet housing starts fell by 0.7%.

    • How to Redistribute Wealth—Without the Guillotine

      We can’t just tax billionaires’ paychecks. We should tax the wealth they’ve already amassed.

    • The Question Is Not “Free Trade” and Globalization, It Is Free Trade and Globalization Designed to Screw Workers

      Why are none of the “free trade” members of Congress pushing to change the regulations that require doctors go through a U.S. residency program to be able to practice medicine in the United States? Obviously they are all protectionist Neanderthals.

      Will the media ever stop the ridiculous charade of pretending that the path of globalization that we are on is somehow and natural and that it is the outcome of a “free” market? Are longer and stronger patent and copyright monopolies the results of a free market?

      The NYT should up its game in this respect. It had a good piece on the devastation to millions of working class people and their communities from the flood of imports of manufactured goods in the last decade, but then it turns to hand-wringing nonsense about how it was all a necessary part of globalization. Actually, none of it was a necessary part of a free trade.

      First, the huge trade deficits were the direct result of the decision of China and other developing countries to buy massive amounts of U.S. dollars to hold as reserves in this period. This raised the value of the dollar and made our goods and services less competitive internationally. This problem of a seriously over-valued dollar stems from the bungling of the East Asian bailout by the Clinton Treasury Department and the I.M.F.

      If we had a more competent team in place, that didn’t botch the workings of the international financial system, then we would have expected the dollar to drop as more imports entered the U.S. market. This would have moved the U.S. trade deficit toward balance and prevented the massive loss of manufacturing jobs we saw in the last decade.

    • Crime Can Pay if It’s Big Enough

      For banksters like Goldman Sachs, federal criminal settlements are just a cost of doing business.

    • Could US Trade Threaten Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba?

      The future of agroecology in Cuba rests not only on how U.S.-Cuban relations continue to develop but also on how the Cuban state proceeds with ongoing economic reforms. Cuban farmers who practice agroecological methods by necessity will face a choice between committing to them in principle and returning to using imported agrochemicals to resolve the issue of labor shortages. The Cuban government will face a tricky balancing act between using U.S. agricultural exports to settle the question of food security and protecting its own industries, particularly agroecological and organic farms, from increased competition. Will a pioneering, sustainable food system that emerged from a period of extreme scarcity and hardship survive the transition to an era of relative abundance?

    • ‘Brazil Is One of the Most Unequal Countries in the World’

      The situation in Brazil—where President Dilma Rousseff faces impeachment charges spurred by legislators, many of whom are themselves under investigation for corruption—is hard to grasp at a glance, but glances are all we get in US media. And when it comes to Latin America, elite media haven’t been shy about their disaffection for leftist governments, sometimes going to great lengths to paint them as delusional and dangerous to the region, and somehow to the US.

    • NYT Photographer Mauricio Lima, 2016 Pulitzer Winner, Denounces Globo and the “Coup” in Brazil

      Ten days ago, the photographer Mauricio Lima was feted by Brazil’s large corporate media when he won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography, the first Brazilian ever to win the award. Lima shared the Pulitzer with fellow New York Times photographers Sergey Ponomarev, Tyler Hicks and Daniel Etter, with whom he worked to produce a series of stunning photographs documenting the journey of a Syrian refugee family, the Majids, as they traveled from Greece to Sweden to seek asylum. The year before, Lima, along with two colleagues, was named a Finalist in the same Pulitzer category for his work in The New York Times showing the devastation from the war in Ukraine. Last week, one columnist for O Globo quoted Joseph Pulitzer’s definition of journalism’s purpose and gushed that “there is no better definition to describe the work of Maurício Lima.”

    • Puerto Rico Is Cracking Down On Tax-Exempt Status For Churches

      Locked in the midst of a spiraling debt crisis, the government of Puerto Rico has taken a number of drastic steps to make money, such as cutting public education, hiking sales tax to be the highest in the U.S., and raising the cost of amenities such as water and electricity.

      But this past week, its Treasury Department announced another, somewhat unusual tactic: cracking down on churches that abuse tax-exempt status.

    • Republicans Shoot Down Rule That Bans Financial Advisers From Scamming Retirees
    • As Millions of Workers Face Pension Cuts Thanks to Wall Street Greed, Executive Benefits Remain Lavish

      In October of 2008, while the economy was in the early stages of what the IMF called “the worst recession since World War II,” the Washington Post reported that the “stock market’s prolonged tumble has wiped out about $2 trillion in Americans’ retirement savings in the past 15 months, a blow that could force workers to stay on the job longer than planned.”

      Thanks, in other words, to Wall Street’s reckless and criminal behavior, workers who were promised a secure retirement were cheated out of the benefits they worked hard — for decades — to attain.

      Which brings us to 2016: Just over a week ago, the Washington Post reported (déjà vu?), “More than a quarter of a million active and retired truckers and their families could soon see their pension benefits severely cut — even though their pension fund is still years away from running out of money.”

    • The Sanders Campaign – From Sea to Shining Sea

      Really, you can’t fault Hillary Clinton’s campaign for trying to get Bernie Sanders out of the race. It’s a campaign – that’s what you do. They want to win the nomination. We on the Sanders side want it too and we’d love to see Clinton out. But we’re also campaigning to change the nation by ending the corporate stranglehold on Washington. And as more and more people come to understand what that’s all about, we think we’re winning that campaign.

    • Banks Assert Constitutional Right to Billions in Subsidies

      A trade group for the nation’s largest banks has asserted a constitutional right to risk-free profit from the Federal Reserve.

      Rob Nichols, the chief lobbyist for the American Bankers Association, argued in a comment letter Thursday that a recent federal law reducing the dividend on the stock that banks purchase as part of membership in the Federal Reserve system, violates the Fifth Amendment clause banning the uncompensated seizure of property.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Amid Media Megamergers, a Mosaic of Community Media Thrives

      The business press is all atwitter with merger news, as federal regulators are set to approve a massive deal between cable giants Charter, Time Warner and Bright House Networks. The $78 billion transaction will create the second-largest cable TV/Internet company, dubbed “New Charter,” next to Comcast, and leave just three major cable providers in the U.S. Meanwhile, the Gannett Company, which owns more than 100 newspapers, including USA Today, is attempting to acquire Tribune Publishing, which owns several major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

      This looming consolidation in the corporate media is happening as we celebrate “Democracy Now!” news hour’s 20th anniversary. We are on a 100-city tour of the United States, going from city to city, hosting fundraisers for community media outlets and broadcasting the news as we travel. Our travels confirm that a thriving, vibrant community media sector exists, serving the public interest, free from the demands to turn a profit at any cost.

    • To Clear the Air, Sanders Should Challenge New York Vote

      In November 2004, the officially announced results of the Ukrainian presidential election differed from exit polling by 12%.

      U.S. officials officially cried fraud.

      Last Tuesday, the results of the New York primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders differed from exit polling by 12%.

      Tim Robbins has cried fraud, and the Washington Post’s most consistent Clinton hack this cycle is leading the charge in mocking him.

    • Does the First Amendment Justify Corruption?

      Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s Supreme Court corruption appeal will help decide whether the First Amendment protects average Americans or special interests.

    • Opening the Closed Political Culture

      Don’t they know how American democracy works? Real change isn’t part of the game. The mainstream media looks on in fascination at those (mostly young people) who don’t get this yet and seem to think that something more is at stake than which preselected big-money candidate wins the election.

    • The Pragmatic Impacts of Sanders’ Big Dreams

      The race for the Democratic presidential nomination has pitted a dreamer against a realist, right? Bernie Sanders is the unrealistic one, and Hillary Clinton, the pragmatist, is the candidate who can get things done.

      That’s what many pundits say. But, even with Tuesday’s setbacks to the Sanders campaign, it’s worth examining which is actually unrealistic—Bernie’s pledge to make the country more equitable and sustainable? Or Hillary’s progressive talking points, given her deep ties to corporate power players?

      One way to see if Sanders really is a dreamer is to look at his record as mayor of the city of Burlington, Vermont.

    • Fourteen to Go: Sanders Set on ‘Transforming Nation’

      That’s how many Democratic presidential nominating contests remain. From Indiana next week to the District of Columbia on June 14—with delegate prizes as large as 546 in California and small as 12 in Guam to be won in between—14 states and territories have yet to hold their respective caucus or primary.

    • Reputation Management Revolution: Fake News Sites And Even Faker DMCA Notices

      Pissed Consumer has uncovered another apparent case of bad reputation management, this one revolving around bogus websites facilitating bogus DMCA takedowns. It previously exposed a pair of lawyers using shell companies and highly-questionable defamation lawsuits to force Google to delist negative reviews hosted around the web. These faux litigants always managed to not only find the supposed “defamers,” but to also obtain a signed admission within 48 hours of the lawsuit being filed — a process that usually takes weeks or months, especially if the alleged “defamer” utilizes anything other than their real name when posting negative reviews.

      In this case, the reputation management scheme involves the use of hastily-set up “news” sites that contain a blend of scraped content and negative reviews hosted at sites like Yelp, Ripoff Report and Pissed Consumer.

    • Rhode Island’s Primary Results Show Us How Independents Are Shaping the 2016 Election

      Rhode Island’s primary results “show just how tough and unpredictable the battle for the presidency will be this year, all the way to the White House,” Guardian journalist Suzanne McGee writes.

      The key factor is the rising anger of middle-class or formerly middle-class Americans, an experience given voice by the author and critic Neal Gabler in a recent essay for The Atlantic, in which he confesses that he is one of many Americans suffering from “financial impotence,” or the inability to find even $400 to cover an emergency. One study suggests 47 percent of Americans find themselves in this plight, and “millions of Americans are succumbing to a form of economic despair, a factor that has been cited as one of the contributing factors in sending the US suicide rate to a 30-year high,” McGee says.

    • Yanis Varoufakis, Former Greek Finance Minister, Returns to Public Life More Hopeful Than Ever

      Just a year ago the eyes of progressives all over the world were turned toward Greece. That which rarely happens had transpired in the Greek electoral system: a left-wing party with a strong ideological position was elected to power. The Syriza Party, which had upheld a staunchly anti-austerity platform, was propelled by the collective despair of the Greek populace into a landslide victory.

      The challenge of Syriza, and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, lay in navigating between the opposing pressures of austerity-weary Greeks on the one hand, and the troika of creditors (the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund) on the other. Part of international fascination with this European moment was based on the hope that if Greece could thumb its nose at neoliberal capitalism, there might be positive repercussions throughout Europe and even elsewhere.

    • How the New York Times Helped Hillary Hide the Hawk

      In our critique of the media, we tend to focus on the New York Times, because it purports to be the gold standard for journalism, and because others look to the paper for coverage guidance. But the same critique could be applied to the Washington Post,Politico, CNN, and most other leading outfits.

      In prior articles, we noted how the Timeshelped Clinton walk away with most of the African-American vote—and therefore victory in many states—by essentially hiding Sanders’ comparably far more impressive record on civil rights. We also noted how it seemed that every little thing the Clinton camp did right was billboarded, while significant victories against great odds by Sanders were minimized.

      These are the kinds of decisions that determine the “conventional wisdom,” which in turn so often determines outcomes.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Rosemary Collyer’s Worst FISA Decision

      Collyer has a history of rulings, sometimes legally dubious, backing secrecy and executive power, some of which include,

      2011: Protecting redactions in the Torture OPR Report

      2014: Ruling the mosaic theory did not yet make the phone dragnet illegal (in this case she chose to release her opinion)

      2014: Erroneously freelance researching the Awlaki execution to justify throwing out his family’s wrongful death suit

      2015: Serially helping the Administration hide drone details, even after remand from the DC Circuit

      I actually think her mosaic theory opinion from 2014 is one of her (and FISC’s) less bad opinions of this ilk.

    • GCHQ Has Disclosed Over 20 Vulnerabilities This Year, Including Ones in iOS

      Earlier this week, it emerged that a section of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK’s signal intelligence agency, had disclosed a serious vulnerability in Firefox to Mozilla. Now, GCHQ has said it helped fix nearly two dozen individual vulnerabilities in the past few months, including in highly popular pieces of software like iOS.

      “So far in 2016 GCHQ/CESG has disclosed more than 20 vulnerabilities across a number of software products,” a GCHQ spokesperson told Motherboard in an email. CESG, or the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance, is the information security wing of GCHQ.

    • Russia’s Trace in NSA Spying Scandal Proofless Rumors – Ex-BND Chief

      The Russian involvement in Edward Snowden’s leaks on the BND targeting European authorities and individuals at NSA’s request should be qualified as unsubstantiated rumors, August Hanning, former head of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND), told Sputnik Friday.

    • Senators Burr & Feinstein Write Ridiculous Ignorant Op-Ed To Go With Their Ridiculous Ignorant Bill

      Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein are not giving up that quickly on their ridiculous and technically ignorant plan to outlaw real encryption. The two have now penned an op-ed in the WSJ that lays out all the same talking points they’ve laid out before, without adding anything new. Instead, it just continues to make statements that show how incredibly ignorant they are. The piece is called Encryption Without Tears (and may be paywalled, though by now everyone knows how to get around that), which already doesn’t make any sense. What they’re pushing for is ending basic encryption, which will lead to many, many tears.

      [...]

      I love this. They give two examples that have been rolled out a bunch in the last few weeks. The attack in Garland, Texas, where the attackers supposedly exchanged some messages with potential ISIS people, and the case of Brittney Mills, who was tragically murdered, and whose case hasn’t been solved. Mills had her smartphone, but no one can get into it. Of course, it took nearly two years of fretting before law enforcement could dig up these two cases, and neither make a very strong argument for why we need to undermine all encryption.

      It’s a simple fact that law enforcement never gets to have all of the evidence. In many, many, many criminal scenarios, that’s just the reality. People destroy evidence, or law enforcement doesn’t find it or law enforcement just doesn’t understand it. That’s not the end of the world. This is why we have police detectives, who are supposed to piece together whatever evidence they do have and build a picture for a case. Burr and Feinstein are acting like in the past, law enforcement immediately was handed all evidence. That’s never been the way it works. Yes, law enforcement doesn’t get access to some information. That’s how it works.

    • Notorious “FOIA Terrorist” Jason Leopold “Saves” FBI Over $300,000

      I noted at the time that 1) Jim Comey has a history of telling untruths when convenient and 2) he had an incentive to exaggerate the cost of this exploit, because it would pressure Congress to pass a bill, like the horrible Burr-Feinstein bill, that would force Apple and other providers to help law enforcement crack phones less expensively.

    • Supreme Court Approves Rule 41 Changes, Putting FBI Closer To Searching Any Computer Anywhere With A Single Warrant

      The DOJ is one step closer to being allowed to remotely access computers anywhere in the world using a normal search warrant issued by a magistrate judge. The proposed amendments to Rule 41 remove jurisdiction limitations, which would allow the FBI to obtain a search warrant in, say, Virginia, and use it to “search” computers across the nation using Network Investigative Techniques (NITs).

      This won’t save evidence obtained in some high-profile cases linked to the FBI’s two-week gig as child porn site administrators. Two judges have ruled that the warrants obtained in this investigation are void due to Rule 41(b) jurisdiction limitations. (Another has reached the same conclusion in an unrelated case in Kansas). The amendments recently approved by the US Supreme Court would strip away the jurisdiction limitation, making FBI NIT use unchallengeable, at least on jurisdiction grounds.

    • FBI Spent $1.3 Million To Not Even Learn The Details Of The iPhone Hack… So Now It Says It Can’t Tell Apple

      Once the DOJ told the court in San Bernardino that it had succeeded in hacking into the iPhone of Syed Farook, the big question people asked is whether or not the FBI would then tell Apple about the vulnerability. After all, the administration set up the so-called “Vulnerabilities Equities Policy” (VEP) with the idea of sharing most vulnerabilities it discovers with companies.

    • The Shell Game the Government Played During Yahoo’s Protect America Act Challenge

      The unsealed classified appendix released today (the earlier released documents are here) provides a lot more details on the shell game the government played during the Yahoo litigation, even with Walton. (It also shows how the government repeatedly asked the court to unseal documents so it could share them with Congressional Intelligence Committees or other providers it wanted to cooperate with PAA).

      [...]

      As a result of the government’s successful argument Yahoo had to argue blind, it did not learn — among other things — that CIA would get all the data Yahoo was turning over to the government, or that the government had basically totally restructured the program after the original expiration date of the program, additional issues on which Yahoo might have challenged the program.

    • Here’s Why FBI Won’t Tell Apple How It Hacked San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone

      After it was possible to hack into the San Bernardino iPhone, FBI has again come up with another statement that it cannot reveal the information about the method that was used to hack into the iPhone as FBI did not purchase the rights to the technique used in hacking.

    • The NSA doesn’t even know how many Americans it’s spying on
    • Now FBI Can Hack Any Computer In The World With Just One Warrant
    • ‘Snowden’ Movie Trailer: Can Oliver Stone Make Whistleblowing Suspenseful?
    • Oliver Stone’s Snowden: American whistleblower portrayed as hero in trailer
    • Edward Snowden Reacts To ‘Snowden’ Movie Trailer
    • Official Trailer Released for Oliver Stone Film ‘Snowden’
    • Snowden movie trailer teases an action-packed NSA thriller
    • Ssh, Don’t Tell Anyone, But The Official Trailer For ‘Snowden’ Has Leaked
    • Watch: First trailer for ‘Snowden’ looks intense
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • It’s unfair to say Hillsborough police were incompetent – it takes great organisation to tell such shocking lies

      One touching side to the aftermath of the Hillsborough verdict, is how few people responsible for the tragedy, the lies or the cover-up appear to show the slightest signs of remorse, which is heartening because there’s no point in adding to the suffering is there?

      This is excellent news as it should save on counselling. For example, Paul Middup, who as chair of South Yorkshire Police Federation blamed the disaster on a “rampaging mob”, has refused to make a further statement.

      So if he had to see a therapist, they’d say, “Now Paul, you were at a traumatic event weren’t you? And the force you speak for was partly to blame, but you invented a rampaging mob to deflect that blame. Do you ever experience feelings of, perhaps, slight guilt in any way?” And he’d say “no not really”, and the session would be over, saving on costs all round.

      [...]

      It also suggests our society is now controlled by new age liberals, as the police falsified at least 116 statements, which we’ve known about since the last inquiry, and no one’s yet been punished for it. Because it’s wrong to see these police officers as liars, they’re suffering from Compulsive Statement Alteration Syndrome, and we shouldn’t be negative by saying they make stuff up but recognise they’re “differently realitied” – which is why many of them have been promoted, to raise their self-esteem.

    • British Police Forces Sued for “Abuse on an Industrial Scale” Over 96 Soccer Fans’ Deaths

      This past Tuesday, a jury ruled that the fans were not to blame, that the 96 dead were “unlawfully killed,” and that the chief officer in charge was had been “in breach of duty.”

    • A Battery of Dangerous Cybercrime Proposals Still Hang Over Brazil

      Digital rights activists across Brazil held their breath yesterday, as the country’s Parliamentary Commission on Cybercrime (CPICIBER) debated whether to send its report to the full lower house of Congress for committee assignment and debate. In the end, the vote was postponed, and rescheduled for Tuesday, May 3rd. A postponement does not fix the problems with the commission’s proposals — but it may show a growing realization of the negative attention the report is gathering from Brazil’s Internet users.

    • Our children aren’t inheriting the liberties of our parents: The importance of “Analog Equivalent Rights”

      The civil liberties of our parents are not being passed down to our children. Somehow, liberties are being interpreted to only apply to analog technology, despite this limitation being nowhere in the books. This is a disastrous erosion of the fundamental liberties our ancestors fought, bled, and died to give us.

      This week, there was news of a new law passed in the US House of Representatives – the lower legislative chamber in the United States – passing a bill to require a search warrant for the government to search and seize people’s e-mail. In other words, the government would need a search warrant to obtain people’s private correspondence if it happened to be transmitted electronically, which practically all correspondence is today.

    • Cruelty of Solitary Detention Challenged as Obama Pushes State-Level Reform

      When President Obama in January announced plans to limit federal prisons’ use of solitary confinement—a practice a UN expert described as “torture” and “cruel”—human rights activists applauded.

      Those activists were still skeptical, however, that such a measure would reach far enough to enact meaningful change, as the vast majority of solitary confinement happens in state-level prisons. A total of about 90,000 people are imprisoned in solitary in state prisons, compared to about 10,000 incarcerated in segregated cells in federal facilities. (The nationwide total of approximately 100,000 people in solitary confinement surpasses the total prison populations of countries such as France, Japan, Germany, and the UK, as the Yale Law Journal points out.)

    • Anti-Trump protesters shatter windows of police cruiser at California rally
    • Trump Held A Rally In A Heavily Latino City Last Night. Chaos Ensued.
    • One Ugly Summer: Is Latest Trump Rally Violence Just Taste of What’s to Come?

      If events in California outside a Donald Trump rally on Thursday night are any indication, the months ahead are likely to inspire more acrimony than political inspiration as billionaire media personality Donald Trump emerges as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

      While holding an event at the Orange County Fair grounds in the city of Costa Mesa, approximately twenty people were arrested after anti-Trump demonstrators clashed with the candidate’s supporters and police were confronted with a hostile crowd who vowed to challenge the noxious views of Trump’s campaign.

    • FBI failed to follow its own rules when it impersonated The Associated Press in a 2007 investigation

      The FBI failed to follow its own rules when agents impersonated an Associated Press reporter in order to locate a criminal suspect in 2007, according to documents newly released in response to a FOIA lawsuit filed by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and The Associated Press.

      The documents further show that after the impersonation became public, an FBI analysis determined that the non-compliance was reasonable, raising questions about the efficacy of the guidelines altogether.

      The Reporters Committee and AP sued the FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice last August for records related to the FBI’s practice of impersonating the news media.

    • Historic Ruling Puts Justice Within Reach for CIA Torture Victims

      CIA torture victims are a big step closer to accountability.

      A federal judge has ruled against two CIA contract psychologists, James Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen, in their effort to dismiss a case brought against them on behalf of three victims of the torture program they designed and implemented for the agency.

      Senior Judge Justin Quackenbush announced his decision rejecting the psychologists’ motion to dismiss during an argument last Friday in Spokane, Washington. Yesterday, the federal court issued its written opinion.

    • Robert Scheer Talks With Eddie Conway About Making Real News After Prison

      In this week’s “Scheer Intelligence,” the Truthdig editor in chief sits down with former Black Panther Eddie Conway to hear about how he helped fellow prisoners organize for reform while serving a nearly 44-year term sentence for a murder he didn’t commit.

    • Texas Prisons Assert Right to Censor Inmates’ Families on Social Media

      On the morning of April 15, Pat Hartwell drove up from her home in Houston, Texas, to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Austin, where the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which runs the state’s prisons, was holding a board meeting. The board only offers a public comment period during two of its meetings each year, and this would be the first time in 2016 that the public would have a chance to air grievances or concerns about agency operations, for example, or prison conditions.

    • You Serve Your Time, Earn Your Freedom, Then the Job Market Shuts the Door in Your Face

      I decided I had to prove to the next potential employer that I’m worthy. On my next interview, I took the actual piece of paper with the executive grant commuting my sentence that the president gave me. When the interviewer asked me about my conviction, I showed her my executive order. Next thing I know, she is calling other people into the room, and they are looking at me and my clemency paper. The interviewer told me she would talk to the manager and tell him to hire me because she knows how hard it is for someone who has served time to get a job. Her brother was in prison, and she’d seen it happen to him. The manager agreed to hire me as a welder, but I was unable to get the job because I didn’t have a driver’s license. Mine had expired after 17 years, and it was going to take a month to take a driving test.

    • Reforming Democracy From the Grassroots Up

      America is in the midst of a grassroots revolution. Ordinary people are standing up to big money and denouncing the culture of corruption that permeates our political system. Just this month, more than 1,200 people were arrested and sent to jail for protesting special interests and lobbyists. Thousands more joined anti-corruption rallies in communities across America to demand a government that represents us.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Cable Industry Threatens To Sue If FCC Tries To Bring Competition To Cable Set Top Boxes

      Back in February the FCC voted on a new plan to open up the traditional cable box to competition. According to a fact sheet being circulated by the agency (pdf), under the FCC’s plan you’d still pay your cable company for the exact same content, cable operators would simply have to design systems — using standards and copy protection of their choice — that delivered this content to third-party hardware. The FCC’s goal is cheaper, better hardware and a shift away from the insular gatekeeper model the cable box has long protected.

      Given this would obliterate a $21 billion captive market in set top box rental fees — and likely direct consumers to more third-party streaming services — the cable industry has been engaged in an utterly adorable new hissy fit. This breathless hysteria has primarily come in the form of an endless stream of editorials — most of which fail utterly to disclose financial ties to cable — claiming that the FCC’s plan will boost piracy, hurt privacy, “steal the future,” and even harm ethnic diversity.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • USTR: Foreign Governments Engaging In Censorship And Rights Abuses Should Add IP Enforcement To Their ‘To Do’ Lists

      If it’s mid-spring, it means it’s time for the US Trade Representative’s “Special 301 Report,” the annual “event” that names and shames countries who don’t live up to US industries’ intellectual property protection ideals. The same countries that have made the list for years still make the list, although a few have moved up a notch from the “Priority Watch” list to just the normal “Watch” list.

      There are lots of familiar names on the lists, including such perennial favorites as China, India, Russia and… Canada. The report offers congratulations to countries like Italy, which has managed to steer clear of the watchlists by instituting censorious IP enforcement procedures like site-blocking. And it pats other countries on the head for ceding to the USTR’s IP imperialism in exchange for upgraded 301 listings.

    • China Tops Annual US Trade Watch List — Again [Ed: pushing for software patents]

      The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has released the 2016 Special 301 Report on the global state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement.

      [...]

      India also remains on the 2016 Priority Watch List “for lack of sufficient measurable improvements to its IPR framework despite more robust engagement and positive steps forward on IPR protection and enforcement undertaken by the Government of India.” The Priority Watch List includes a total of 11 countries, including Algeria, Argentina, Chile, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela.

    • Discussions Continue On How To Govern WHO Interactions With Outside Actors

      The World Health Organization interacts with a large number of actors aside from governments, such as industry, philanthropic organisations, academia, and civil society. With an eye to preventing undue influence on the work of the organisation, member states have been trying to finalise a draft framework on WHO interaction with those actors. This week, what was seen as a last effort at reaching a consensual text did not quite meet the goal and some additional informal discussions are expected to take place before the annual World Health Assembly in late May.

    • Congress May Be About to Shake Up Trade Secret Law: Is That a Good Thing?

      Defend Trade Secrets Act may be the ‘most significant expansion’ of federal IP law in 70 years

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Captured U.S. Trade Agency Resorts to Bullying Again in 2016 Special 301 Report

        Every year at around this time the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issues a Special 301 Report in which it chastises other countries for not submitting to its unilateral demands (often lacking any legal basis) as to how they should be enforcing copyrights, patents, trademarks and trade secrets in their countries. And just like last year, this gives us the opportunity again to point out how unbalanced these demands are, missing the real harms of strict copyright and patent enforcement and failing to acknowledge the benefits of a more flexible, user-centered approach.

        It would be unfair to say that the USTR just doesn’t get this; after so many submissions pointing this out the agency surely gets it just fine. Rather, it just doesn’t care, because its priorities lie with appeasing the special interest groups who pre-write most of the demands that end up in the report; major entertainment companies and the pharmaceutical industry [PDF]. In the USTR’s calculus, the concerns of other stakeholders—such as technology users, cultural institutions, remixers, fans, patients, people with disabilities, libraries and archives, independent creators and innovators—scarcely figure at all. After all, it’s Hollywood and the pharmaceutical industry who offer former USTR staff a much more lucrative career path.

      • Freedom of panorama in France: could even a visit to Père Lachaise become a problem?

        Game of Thrones? House of Cards? Forget them.

        The battle around what until recently was an area of copyright not many cared knew about, ie freedom of panorama, has now become one of the most eventful sagas ever.

        The relevant provision in this sense is Article 5(3)(h) of the InfoSoc Directive, which allows Member States to introduce national exceptions/limitations to the rights harmonised by that directive to permit the “use of works, such as works of architecture or sculpture, made to be located permanently in public places”.

      • The end of the Google Books legal saga

        While I was a law student in India, I was required to search for books in a physical library and the resources therein were few and far between. Searching manually took a lot of time but with Google Books, every student, researcher, lawyer, academician stands to benefit as it brings them to the book at the click of a mouse and also the authors close to their target audience. Therefore, I for one, cannot extol enough the virtues of the Google Books project.

        The Supreme Court too seems to embrace the goal of Google Books, which is, to make the life of every researcher or avid book reader much easy. The decision of the Supreme Court augers well for the reading/researching population. This case has certainly brought delight to researchers all over the world but dismay to the Authors Guild.”

      • Who’s downloading pirated papers? Everyone

        Just as spring arrived last month in Iran, Meysam Rahimi sat down at his university computer and immediately ran into a problem: how to get the scientific papers he needed. He had to write up a research proposal for his engineering Ph.D. at Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran. His project straddles both operations management and behavioral economics, so Rahimi had a lot of ground to cover.

        But every time he found the abstract of a relevant paper, he hit a paywall. Although Amirkabir is one of the top research universities in Iran, international sanctions and economic woes have left it with poor access to journals. To read a 2011 paper in Applied Mathematics and Computation, Rahimi would have to pay the publisher, Elsevier, $28. A 2015 paper in Operations Research, published by the U.S.-based company INFORMS, would cost $30.

      • Paramount Copyright Claim on Klingon Language Challenged in Klingon Language

        The Language Creation Society has filed an amicus brief challenging Paramount’s claim of copyright over the Klingon language in its lawsuit against Axanar, a fan-produced film set in the Star Trek universe. Marc Randazza, a top notch first amendment attorney who has helped out Reason on copyright issues, and Alex Shepard filed the brief yesterday.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 25/5/2017: Mesa 17.1.1, Qt 5.9.0 RC, and Much More

    Links for the day



  2. Links 24/5/2017: New RHEL Beta, SteamOS Updated

    Links for the day



  3. Great News: While IBM et al Try to Undermine Patent Reform the Supreme Court Deepens the Reform in TC Heartland Case

    In a unanimous decision, with the court ruling 8-0 against TC Heartland, the monkey business in East Texas (beneficial to patent trolls and large businesses that leverage software patents) may have just come to an end



  4. Speculations About Battistelli's End of Term, Campinos at EUIPO, and Failed UPC Ambitions

    Rumours and speculations surrounding the fate of the EPO's leadership now that the UPC gravy train is stuck again and Battistelli's protector, Jesper Kongstad, is about to leave



  5. Martijn van Dam is Wrong to Believe That Battistelli's Abuses Are Somehow Acceptable or Tolerable Because His Term is Possibly Ending

    Coverage of Martijn van Dam’s stance (he is the Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs) reveals that economic gain trumps ethics and justice, irrespective of what the law says



  6. Media and Staff Association Elections at EPO and WIPO Are Compromised

    A campaign of abuse (legal bullying) and gifting to the media, combined with a wide-ranging assault on critics who represent the interests of staff, have led WIPO and EPO down the route to totality



  7. New Documents Help Demonstrate That ILO Delivers Institutional Injustice to EPO Employees and Cushions Team Battistelli

    The International Labour Organisation Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) delivers not justice but merely the illusion of justice, probably in defiance of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)



  8. Leaked: 2017 European Inventor Award Finalists, or Stooges Whom the Tyrant Battistelli Exploits for PR Purposes and Media Manipulation

    The stupidest ceremony in Europe (turning serious science into something sketchy such as Eurovision) is disliked among EPO staff and is exploited by the person who destroys the EPO (Benoît Battistelli) to pretend all is fine and dandy, at huge expense to the Office (as extraordinary as about 5 million Euros for a ~2-hour show)



  9. EPO: Can the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) Still Save It?

    Genuine concerns about the slow process at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the lack of progress at ILO, which coincide with weakening of the unions and threat to jobs of patent examiners (leaving ordinary Europeans more vulnerable to meritless patent lawsuits)



  10. Links 21/5/2017: Linux 3.18.53, Tizen 4.0

    Links for the day



  11. Cloudflare's Enemy is Software Patents, Not Just One Software Patent or One Patent Troll

    With a bounty of $50,000, which is likely less than the cost of legal defense, Cloudflare looks for help with its own case rather than the underlying issues that need tackling worldwide



  12. Patent Laws -- and Especially Eligibility of Software Patents -- Are Being Hijacked by Large Corporations and Their Front Groups

    Intervention by large multinational corporations and their lawyers, front groups, etc. (like the classic lobbying model) gives room for concern in multiple continents where most software development is done



  13. Links 18/5/2017: Catching Up With the Past Three Days

    Links for the day



  14. The US Supreme Court Consults USPTO Director Michelle Lee Regarding the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Which is Invalidating Software Patents With CAFC's Approval

    Software patents continue to get knocked out by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) whose introduction of PTAB gave a helping hand to companies that are susceptible to abusive litigation (with bogus patents)



  15. IBM and Its Revolving Doors Lobby Are Plotting to Undermine Supreme Court Rulings to Restore Patentability of Software

    IBM has become so evil that it is now trying to steal democracy, label programmers "thieves", and basically attack the rule of law by extra-judicially overturning a Supreme Court decision



  16. 3 Years After the Alice Case at the Supreme Court the Plague of Software Patents is Easier to Cope With

    Litigation figures are down, rejection rates of software patents remain high, and only spin (e.g. cherry-picking) or constant lobbying can save those who used to profit from software patents



  17. The Attacks of Patent Trolls as Outlined in the Media This Past Week

    An outline of some of the latest troll cases to be aware of and their consequences too (e.g. software patents being used to literally shut down entire programs)



  18. Links 14/5/2017: Linux 4.12 RC1 and KDE Frameworks 5.34.0

    Links for the day



  19. Industry Giants Challenge Qualcomm's Patent Practices While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Closely Examines Such Behavior

    Scrutiny of Qualcomm's patent aggression and coercion -- scrutiny that can profoundly change the way software patents, SEPs and FRAND are viewed -- as seen in various amicus briefs (amici) from industry giants that are affected



  20. Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette Questions Whether Patents Work When Patent Scope is Too Broad

    Citing MIT economist (and MacArthur “genius”) Heidi Williams, Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette from Stanford challenges old myths and quotes: “we still have essentially no credible empirical evidence on the seemingly simple question of whether stronger patent rights—either longer patent terms or broader patent rights—encourage research investments.”



  21. OIN is Still a Distraction Unless We Want GNU/Linux to Coexist With Software Patents (Rather Than Eliminate Those)

    Another wave of media coverage by/for the Open Invention Network (OIN) necessitates a reminder of what OIN stands for and why it is not tackling the biggest problems which Free/Open Source software (FOSS) faces



  22. Links 13/5/2017: Neptune Plasma 5 ISO, a Shift to Free (FOSS) Databases

    Links for the day



  23. Countries With a Dozen European Patents Are an Easy Photo-Op 'Sell' for Battistelli While the EPO's Demise is Largely Ignored by the Patent Microcosm

    Behind the façade of legitimacy, the EPO suffers from an incompetent, insecure and delusional boss, whose actions will almost certainly lead to the collapse of both the Office and the entire Organisation (whose founding document he routinely shreds to pieces)



  24. Our Assessment: Unitary Patent (UPC) Will Crumble Along With Battistelli's Regime at the EPO

    A reflection and an opinion on where the EPO stands and what it means for the UPC, which doesn't seem to be going anywhere (it's all talk and lobbying)



  25. The European Patent Office Has a Long History/Track Record of 'Screwing' Contractors

    The European Patent Office (EPO) appears to have quite an extensive track record/reputation for ‘screwing’ contractors and then misusing immunity to get away with it



  26. Links 12/5/2017: Wine 2.8, Kdenlive 17.04.1, NHS Windows Syndrome

    Links for the day



  27. Links 11/5/2017: New OpenShot, GIMP, and GNOME (3.24.2)

    Links for the day



  28. The Sickness of the EPO – Part IX: Using Confidential Medical Records as a Weapon Against Staff

    In defiance/violation of labour laws and medical oaths etc. the EPO is passing around medical information, either for dismissal pretexts or a sort of blackmail -- a serious abuse in its own right



  29. The EPO is in Disarray and Additional Complaints to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) May Be Imminent

    Team Battistelli reaps what it has sown, as complaints are being made to a court with “47 member states [that] are contracting parties to the Convention,” (European Convention on Human Rights) according to Wikipedia



  30. By Promoting the UPC, in Defiance of Public Will, the EPO Has Become Patent Trolls' Best Friend

    The patent–industrial complex, aided by the EPO under Battistelli's iron-fisted reign, is trying to convince us that the UPC is coming soon and that it is desirable (it's neither of those things)


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts