Links 10/5/2016: New RHEL and Fedora Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 6:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source skills in high demand but finding talented staff not easy

    Demand for open source skills is growing, according to the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report based on research conducted by the Linux Foundation and tech career recruiter Dice.

    Hiring managers at various companies revealed that 59 per cent will recruit people with open source skills in the next six months as demand increases for those with the technical know-how to get digital projects up and running.

  • Zillow Eschews Open Source for Proprietary Splunk

    As homeowners and realtors track the dynamic U.S. housing market, platforms like the online real estate database Zillow are seeing surges in traffic as buyers and sellers keep tabs on which properties are moving and when a seller might be ready to drop the asking price.

    To keep up with demand for its services and gauge customer preferences, Zillow Group Inc. (NASDAQ: Z) said this week it is standardizing on Splunk Inc.’s real-time “operational intelligence” platform. Seattle-based Zillow said the ongoing shift to Splunk (NASDAQ: SPLK) includes its mobile as well as web-based real-estate services.

  • Goldman Sachs Talks Open Source

    As you might expect for someone who is constantly surrounded by bankers, Don Duet uses the term “intellectual property” a lot — but it’s good to know that Wall Street is investing in sharing.

    Goldman Sachs doesn’t get a lot of positive press these days (for good reason), but check out what Don Duet, co-head of the Technology Division there, had to say about open source in this video that was posted last June.

  • Databases

    • Redis launches modules to add extensibility to the open source database

      Redis, a type of open source NoSQL database known as a key-value store, is getting an important but long delayed addition. Today at the 2016 RedisConf conference in San Francisco, Redis creator Salvatore Sanfilippo is announcing the launch of modules, a way to extend the functionality of the software.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Italian military to save 26-29 million Euro by migrating to LibreOffice

      The Italian Ministry of Defence expects to save 26-29 million Euro over the coming years by using LibreOffice. The LibreDifesa project aims to eventually migrate all of the organisation’s well over 100,000 desktops to the open-source office productivity suite. “Taking into account the deadlines set by our current Microsoft Office licences, we will have 75,000 (70%) LibreOffice users by 2017, and an additional 25,000 by 2020,” says General Camillo Sileo, Deputy Chief of Department VI, Systems Department C4I, for the Transformation of Defence and General Staff. That will make this deployment of LibreOffice the largest in Europe.

    • Another Big Rollout of LibreOffice Saves Money
  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • GCC 6.1 vs. LLVM Clang 3.9 Compiler Performance

      After carrying out the recent GCC 4.9 vs. 5.3 vs. 6.1 compiler benchmarks for looking at the GNU Compiler Collection performance over the past three years on the same Linux x86_64 system, I then loaded up a development snapshot of the LLVM 3.9 SVN compiler to see how these two dominant compilers are competing on the performance front for C/C++ programs.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • The Rise of Open Source Hardware

        “You’ve heard of open source software,” said Templeton, who in 1998 founded ClariNet Communications Corp. — an early dot-com success. “The software that’s running in your phone, in most of your laptops, except for Windows, [and] the Web service you’re going to, where everyone builds software and contributes it back to the world. This idea is actually spreading now into hardware.”


  • The Leicester City Miracle: Playing Against the Statistics

    In that particular erroneous equation, one person’s celebrated Christiano Rinaldo is as good as any other Lionel Messi, both being the grand figures in a broader game of power, capital and statistics. They represent huge clubs that take centre stage and strangle the game as a grand corporate venture rather than an emotional team experience.f

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Latest Strategy To Prevent Women From Getting A Safe Abortion

      Called Dilation and Evacuation (D&E), this type of surgical abortion has become the only legal option left for abortions that take place after 14 weeks that doctors consider safe. But, using inflammatory language describing the D&E procedure as “dismemberment” abortion, state lawmakers are moving to block doctors from using it.

    • 5 Reasons Why You Should Think Twice Before Jumping Into Your Local River

      Is that stream that runs through your backyard safe? What about the river that flows through your local park? Is it polluted? Americans should know that the waterways they swim, play or fish in don’t present a health hazard. But a shocking new report on the nation’s streams and rivers paints a bleak picture: The vast majority are not effectively studied for water quality.

    • Woman killed by ambulance billed $25K for ambulance ride she didn’t live long enough to take

      An ambulance company added insult to injury after billing an Indiana woman’s family for an emergency transport she didn’t live long enough to take.

      Sheila Breck was killed Sept. 23 when an ambulance slammed into her SUV at 85 mph as she was going to pick up her daughter from work, reported WRTV-TV.

      The emergency crew that responded to the Hancock County crash, which also injured two ambulance crew members and a pickup truck driver, called for a medical helicopter for the 64-year-old Breck—who died before it arrived.

    • From Cancer Patient to Medicines Activist

      But, Lyon points out to the crowd, most cancer patients are not this lucky. New cancer treatments average a whopping $10,000 per month. Many patients can’t afford that, even though it is likely their taxpayer dollars paid to develop the medicines. “In fact, much of cancer research happens in publicly funded research hospitals and universities,” Lyon explains. “But the publicly funded research often turns into privately held patents on these new therapies.”

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • This Botnet, Called Jaku, Only Targets Scientists, Engineers, And Academics

      Jaku Botnet discriminates while targeting its victims in the wild. It is easier to download from the famous sources like images or Torrents — thanks to the unforced human errors — and once installed, it grips that computer and makes that a part of the Botnet network.

    • Reproducible builds: week 54 in Stretch cycle

      There has been a surprising tweet last week: “Props to @FiloSottile for his nifty gvt golang tool. We’re using it to get reproducible builds for a Zika & West Nile monitoring project.” and to our surprise Kenn confirmed privately that he indeed meant “reproducible builds” as in “bit by bit identical builds”. Wow. We’re looking forward to learn more details about this; for now we just know that they are doing this for software quality reasons basically.

    • Security Analyst Arrested For Disclosing Security Flaw In Florida County’s Election Systems

      A Florida man has been charged with felony criminal hacking charges after disclosing vulnerabilities in the voting systems used in Lee County, Florida. Security analyst David Levin was arrested 3 months after reporting un-patched SQL injection vulnerabilities in the county’s election systems. Levin was charged with three counts of unauthorized access to a computer, network, or electronic device and released on $15,000 bond. Levin’s first and biggest mistake was to post a video of himself on YouTube logging into the Lee County Elections Office network using the credentials of Sharon Harrington, the Lee County Supervisor of Elections.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • No More Fig Leafs: Doctors Without Borders Rejects World Aid Summit, Rips U.N. For Ongoing War Crimes

      Having watched in aggrieved horror the last year as over 75 of its hospitals were bombed and hundreds of its patients and health workers were killed “in violation of the most fundamental rules of war,” Doctors Without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières, has withdrawn from the World Humanitarian Summit slated for later this month in Turkey. The action comes just days after an MSF-supported hospital in Aleppo, Syria was attacked, killing at least 50 people, including one of the city’s last pediatricians. It also follows last week’s almost entirely redacted, predictably egregious Pentagon report finding that 16 U.S. military personnel involved in the grisly bombing of a MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan in October 2015 – killing 42 and injuring many more – committed “errors” worthy of “disciplinary measures,” but no war or any other kind of crime. The bombings have led many to charge that U.S. so-called policy in those countries is a murky “recipe leading to disaster” born of massive political confusion, and that in the wake of its inevitable disasters, “the Pentagon shouldn’t get to absolve itself for bombing a hospital.”

    • Police chief apologises after ‘suicide bomber’ shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ during Trafford Centre training exercise

      Greater Manchester Police came under fire on social media following the staged training exercise with people demanding to know why it had been linked to Islam

    • CIA-NSA Coup in Brazil loses steam [Ed: assuming that’s what it was in the first place]

      The impeachment proceedings against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, instigated by NSA surveillance and led by a corrupt legislator who bribed colleagues to vote against the country’s leader, faces a major setback.

    • Obama to visit Hiroshima, won’t apologize for World War II bombing

      Barack Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima in Japan later this month, but he will not apologize for the United States’ dropping of an atomic bomb on the city in World War Two, the White House said on Tuesday.

      Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize early in his presidency in 2009 in part for his commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, Obama on May 27 will visit the site of the world’s first nuclear bomb attack with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

      With the end of his last term in office approaching in January 2017, Obama will “highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” the White House said in a statement.

    • Still at War with Iran-Nuke Deal

      As neocons look forward to dominant roles in a Clinton-45 administration, they are continuing their attacks on the Iran nuclear deal, thus keeping hope alive to eventually bomb-bomb-bomb Iran, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

    • U.S. Can’t Say Whether or Not $759 Million Spent on Education in Afghanistan Helped Anything

      If at where you work you spent $759 million on something, and then told your boss you have no idea if anything was accomplished, and that the little data you do have is probably fraudulent, how might that work out for you?

      If you are the U.S. government in Afghanistan, you would actually have no problem at all. Just another day at the tip of freedom’s spear, pouring taxpayer cash-a-roni down freedom’s money hole.

    • A Longwinded and Winding Rhodes

      Official Washington is abuzz about the boasts of President Obama’s foreign policy speechwriter Ben Rhodes regarding his selling the Iran nuclear deal, a new club being wielded by the bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran neocons, explains James W Carden.


      Rhodes, through the help of some well-connected family friends, quickly found his true calling: climbing the greasy pole of the Washington foreign policy establishment.

    • Top 4 Reasons Iran will stand by Syrian gov’t despite High Casualties

      On Saturday, Iran announced that 13 members of the Revolutionary Guards Corps had been killed and 21 wounded when the al-Qaeda-led Army of Islam fundamentalist Sunni coalition took the village of Khan Touman near Aleppo.

      Iran will nevertheless continue to back the regime of Bashar al-Assad against rebels. An envoy of Iran’s clerical leader, Ali Khamenei, was in Damascus on Saturday. Ali Akbar Velayati said he wanted actually to strengthen Iranian ties with Syria.

    • Christians among the victims in an unstable Yemen

      Christians and Yemen’s other dwindling minorities are now being targeted with little hope of protection from a divided, dysfunctional, and deteriorating state.

    • Which Country Will Vladimir Putin Go After Next?

      The most compelling aspect of The Master Plan is in how it surveys Russia’s relentless propaganda war in the Baltic States. The Russian-state media channels are freely accessible in the Baltics, and are the main news source for 70 percent of their Russian-speaking communities. They have gone to great lengths to “create a fog around the truth,” as Inga Springe, another Re:Baltica journalist, puts it. Much of the rest of the local population feels that they can’t trust any version of the information they receive. Meanwhile, the few Russian journalists who strive to report real news are often fired, and at times forced into exile. Galina Timchenko, the former Editor-in-Chief of lenta.ru, previously one of the most popular news sites in Russia, was fired by the Kremlin-linked owner at the lead up to the Crimean takeover. “They needed to clear the information channels before the Crimean operation,” Timchenko says in the film, speaking from the office of her new media outlet, Meduza, based in Latvia.

    • ISIS Under Bombs: Battered But Not Defeated

      It may not come to this. Not all the news is bad. The most hopeful sign in Syria is that Russia and the US are on occasion acting in unison and have been able for the first time in five years to prod their allies into agreeing ceasefires however shaky and short term. The lesson of the last five years in Syria and the last 13 years in Iraq is that it is very difficult for any single army, government, militia, party, sect or ethnic group to fight successfully for a long period without the support of a foreign power or powers. They may not want to compromise but they may be forced to do so if the alternative is the loss of this essential outside backing. Given that the Assad and anti-Assad forces hate each other, want to kill each other and have no intention of sharing power in future, such compromises are likely to be grudging and short term.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Lost in Bonkers: the Latest Episode in Pro-Nuclear Quackery

      In the old country, where I come from, you call a rubbish article like this one by Professor Steven Hayward, “bollocks.” And if it’s bollocks, then it needs a bollocking. Contrary to popular belief, we Brits are not very polite. So sorry about that, and here goes.

      Firstly, the article is barely by Hayward at all. Twelve of its 18 paragraphs were actually written by — and are attributed to — Hayward’s undeclared Breakthrough Institute crony; Twelve of its 18 paragraphs were actually written by — and are attributed to — Hayward’s undeclared Breakthrough Institute crony; its recently departed president, Michael Shellenberger (who–beware–now runs some outfit called Environmental Progress).

    • ‘Warning for the World’: Five Pacific Islands Officially Lost to Rising Seas

      Five Pacific Islands have been swallowed by rising seas and coastal erosion, in what Australian researchers say is the first confirmation of what climate change will bring.

      The submerged region, which was part of the Solomon Islands archipelago and was above water as recently as 2014, was not inhabited by humans.

      However, a further six islands are also experiencing “severe shoreline recession,” which is forcing the populations in those settlements—some of which have existed since at least 1935—to flee, according to a study published last week in Environmental Research Letters.

    • Climate change is corroding our values, says Naomi Klein

      The need for fossil fuels is destroying regions and communities, causing war and famine in the process, argues the activist and author

    • Why Used Electric Car Batteries Could Be Crucial To A Clean Energy Future

      Battery costs are plummeting to levels that make EVs a truly disruptive technology, as we’ve explained. That’s why electric vehicle (EV) sales are exploding world-wide, and why Tesla broke every record for pre-sales with its affordable ($35,000), 200+ mile range Model 3 last month.

    • Duke Study Finds A “Legacy of Radioactivity,” Contamination from Thousands of Fracking Wastewater Spills

      Thousands of oil and gas industry wastewater spills in North Dakota have caused “widespread” contamination from radioactive materials, heavy metals and corrosive salts, putting the health of people and wildlife at risk, researchers from Duke University concluded in a newly released peer-reviewed study.

    • Coal Power Plant Accused Of Contaminating Neighbors’ Well Water With Carcinogens

      So Kerr — who a week ago moved out of a property that state documents say is worth more than $100,000 — won’t discuss how Pat Calvert, an activist with James Riverkeeper, knocked on her door last year and offered to test her well water. She won’t discuss that, as state documents obtained by ThinkProgress show, small levels of various potentially toxic substances not normally found in nature, including hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen that is often detected in coal ash, were found in her well. She even avoids saying that the Southern Environmental Law Center, which only represents organizations, put her in contact with a lawyer that helped her and her husband navigate the process of negotiating with Dominion.

    • N.C. produces flawed study to dismiss cancer-cluster fears near Duke Energy coal plants

      The spill of tens of thousands of tons of coal ash into the Dan River from an impoundment at a Duke Energy power plant in North Carolina back in February 2014 triggered a long-overdue public discussion in the state about the dangers of toxic coal plant waste and how it might be better handled.

      Some of the most alarming stories came from communities near Duke’s plants, where residents fear the pollution is affecting their health. For example, people living near the Buck plant in Rowan County have reported unusual patterns of cancers and birth defects. Residents near the Belews Creek plant in Stokes County have also complained about high cancer rates, while those living close to the Asheville plant have pointed to unusual numbers of cancers in both people and their pets.

    • The Self-Indulgence of Prioritizing Income Equality While Ignoring US Militarism in the Era of Climate Change

      Income inequality has been rising in the United States for the last forty years and has become especially drastic since 2008. This state of affairs is no accident. Since the late 1970’s, regardless of which party holds the White House, public policy has favored redistribution of wealth upwards through a variety of means including tax cuts, deregulation and, starting in 2008, simply handing out cash, in the case of the bank bail-outs.


      The economic might of the US was historically attained and is currently maintained by the power of its military. Our wealth is literally the spoils of war. It started with the theft of land from the Indians, was built on the backs of black slavery, and became a global imperial force through two world wars, the second of which ended with the only use (so far) of nuclear bombs on civilian populations. The slaughter continues to the present, with “peace candidate” Obama carrying on open warfare against at least seven countries, having not ended a single conflict begun by his predecessors. If one wants to see a graphic example of the price paid by some people to support US privilege, Google “Fallujah birth defects.”

      Making the world safe for US corporate resource extraction has been the driving force of American foreign policy. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler revealed that this business was going on a century ago: “I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.” Nothing has changed. The nation’s pie of wealth is still the product of global exploitation.

    • It’s Time for Turkey to Break Free from Coal

      Turkey is emerging as one of the biggest coal battlegrounds in the world, currently there are 71 coal projects at various stages of planning and permission. The Turkish government is pursuing an energy strategy that involves a rapid expansion of coal-fired generation, to meet the needs of a growing economy and reduce the country’s dependence on imported gas. But this rush to exploit coal will cost our country dearly in terms of our population’s health, our environment and also our financial well-being.

      Turkey currently relies heavily on gas-fired generation and has enormous potential for solar and wind power, despite this the government is looking to diversify towards coal justifying this choice by citing security of energy supply. This official plan would involve a 145% increase in coal-fired generation and a 94% jump in power sector emissions.

    • ‘On Borrowed Time’: Human Activity Puts One in Five Plant Species at Risk of Extinction

      Human activity, from the razing of forests to the spewing of carbon, has imperiled large swaths of the plant kingdom, according to a landmark survey of the world’s flora published Tuesday.

    • France studying possible ban on import of U.S. Shale gas – minister

      French Energy Minister Segolene Royal said on Tuesday she is investigating legal means to ban the import of shale gas from the United States because France has banned shale gas exploration using hydraulic fracking for environmental reasons.

      Royal, answering a question in parliament, said contracts signed by French gas utility Engie and power utility EDF with a U.S. producer have led to the import of LNG which contained about 40 percent shale gas.

      “I have asked the two companies why they weren’t vigilant and I have also asked for an examination of a legal means for us to ban the import of shale gas,” Royal said in parliament.

  • Finance

    • A few weeks after the Panama Papers’ release, The New York Times and Washington Post start digging in

      The Washington Post and The New York Times, initially not invited to participate in the worldwide Panama Papers investigation, have now signed collaboration agreements with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists leading the project.

    • Trump’s Dangerous National Debt Plan Is Also Unconstitutional

      Presumptive Republican presidential nominee has an unusual plan for our nation’s finances: intentionally refuse to pay back America’s debt.

      Trump offered this idea during an interview with CNBC last Thursday. “I would borrow,” Trump said. “knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal.” The “deal” Trump envisioned was an arrangement that would allow America to effectively repudiate some of its debt by not paying its creditors in full.

    • Trapped in ‘Vicious Circle,’ Greece Passes Crushing New Austerity Package

      Amid protests and strikes, Greek lawmakers passed a crushing new austerity package early on Monday.

      The reform package, which passed by a razor-thin margin, was described as “the toughest…the thrice bailed-out nation has been forced to enact since its debt crisis began,” according to the Guardian.

      The austerity measures represent €5.4 billion ($6.2 billion) in savings and would reduce Greece’s pension payouts while raising taxes. The so-called “Troika” of international creditors—the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank—are demanding such painful reforms in return for an €86 billion bailout agreed to last July in a bid to pull Greece out of its debt crisis.

    • The Ugly Truth Behind the Greek Bailout

      Meantime in Greece, transportation and civic services throughout the country grind to a screeching halt, full stop, as the people hit the streets.

      Queen Christine’s backroom stratagem, described in a Wikileaks’ leaked confidential letter exclusive to Troika members, preceded the three-day nationwide strike in very strong protest against more and more, infinitely more, austerity measures burying the Greek people as quid pro quo for bailout money, which almost exclusively (95%) serves to service creditors. This is insanity of the highest order. How can Greeks at all accede to a measly 5%?

    • 3 Oligarchs-Turned-GOP Governors Who Are Laying Ruin to Their States

      Bevin, Rauner and Scott are only too happy to attack the poor at every turn while their own fortunes continue to grow.

    • Sanders’ Tax Plan Will Reduce Inequality, But Could Go Much Further

      Perhaps, the biggest hole in his proposals is a greater focus on the taxation of income and not on the taxation of wealth—where one finds the greatest disparity.

    • Why the Economy Should Stop Growing—And Just Grow Up

      Listen to the political candidates as they put forward their economic solutions. You will hear a well-established and rarely challenged narrative. “We must grow the economy to produce jobs so people will have the money to grow their consumption, which will grow more jobs…” Grow. Grow. Grow.

    • Calling for New Global Rules, Economists Decry Financially Useless Tax Havens

      Hundreds of top economists on Monday released a letter stating that tax havens hurt the global poor and have no economic justification, urging world leaders to abolish offshore secrecy.

      “The existence of tax havens does not add to overall global wealth or well-being; they serve no useful economic purpose,” the letter reads. “Whilst these jurisdictions undoubtedly benefit some rich individuals and multinational corporations, this benefit is at the expense of others, and they therefore serve to increase inequality.”

      Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, which helped organize the letter, warned that “millions of the world’s poorest people will continue to be the biggest victims of tax dodging until governments act together to tackle tax havens.”

    • Higher education and neoliberal temptation

      The neoliberal agenda that came into being a few decades ago in the northern hemisphere, and was eventually globalized, now seems to threaten systems of higher education worldwide. The persistence of this phenomenon has become alarming to many who care about its social consequences. As you have correctly and insightfully observed in your 2014 book Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education, “a full-fledged assault is also being waged on higher education in North America, the United Kingdom and various European countries. While the nature of the assault varies across countries, there is a common set of assumptions and practices driving the transformation of higher education into an adjunct of corporate power and values”. Why is this agenda taking over societies that are so different from each other? What makes neoliberalism so overwhelmingly powerful and resistant to criticism as well as to social action? Why do governments give themselves up to neoliberal ideology, even if they claim to represent quite different ideological positions?

    • Middle classes in Latin America (7). Impoverishment in Venezuela
    • Middle classes in Latin America (6). Between political instability and authoritarianism in Bolivia

      Understanding the emerging groups is a key ingredient for understanding the risks and challenges that Bolivia and other Latin American nations face. A context of economic crisis could force many of these new non-poor back into poverty, producing a sense of malaise and dissatisfaction that could fuel political instability and turmoil. On the other side, the unconditional support for an already strong government could consolidate an authoritarian project that ignores the constitution and the mechanisms that guarantee the division of powers that are basic for a republican government. A combination of responsible management of the economic and prudent democratic leadership could lead these emerging groups to consolidate themselves as the majoritarian middle class the country never had. But a combination of economic crisis and abusive leadership could imply the return to a past of instability that many think is gone forever.

    • TPP Critics to Make Case Against the Controversial Deal at Montreal Consultations
    • Why Millennials Have the Greatest Stake in Social Security Expansion

      Discussions about Social Security in politics and the media often focus on its role as a retirement program that provides vital protections to seniors. But the fact is that Social Security provides vital retirement, disability, and survivors’ insurance for all generations of Americans. In addition to significantly reducing senior poverty, Social Security is the nation’s largest children’s program and lifted 6.9 million Americans under age 65 out of poverty in 2014. And no generation has a greater stake in the fight to protect and expand Social Security benefits than today’s young workers, the millennial generation.

    • Hedge Funds Faced Choppy Waters in 2015, but Chiefs Cashed In

      He recently made headlines when he paid $500 million for two pieces of art. In September, Mr. Griffin, 47, reportedly paid $200 million to buy several floors in a new luxury condo tower that is being built at 220 Central Park South, in Manhattan.

    • Meet the Ayn Rand Enthusiast Whose Private College Empire Reaps a Fortune From the Govt.

      Yet, according to a New York Times profile by Patricia Cohen, Barney sees himself as a principled ideologue, contributing millions of his own dollars to the Ayn Rand institute and forcing employees who seek to advance in the ranks to read Atlas Shrugged, as well as his own manifesto.

      “This is what Rand taught me,” Barney told the Times, “identify that values are important to you and practices the virtues to achieve that.”

      In fact, Barney—who immigrated from Britain to the United States in the 1960s, told Cohen that the “central purpose” Rand infused him with inspired him to go into education in the first place. He described thinking, “Wow…you could actually buy a college? That’s what I want to do.”

      Barney did not buy just one college, purchasing or establishing CollegeAmerica, Stevens-Henager and California College, as well as the online Independence University. These schools in 2012 merged with the free market, non-profit “Center for Excellence in Higher Education,” whose organizational structure allowed Barney’s education empire to attain nonprofit status.

    • Big Banks Want To Take The Sting Out Of Payday Loans. Predatory Lenders Are Not Happy About It.
    • Donald Trump Still Loves Tax Cuts for the Rich

      TPC figures the average gazillionaire will save $1.3 million per year under Trump’s tax plan. So what Trump is saying is that he’s willing to consider a plan in which the gazillionaires will only get a tax cut of, say, a million dollars per year.

      Do you want percentages instead? Of course you do! Under Trump’s plan—like all Republican tax plans—a middle-class worker gets a tax reduction of only 4.3 percentage points. The gazillionaires get a whopping reduction of 12.5 percentage points.

      Quite the man of the people, no?

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Neoconservatism and the Trump Effect

      However, Trump’s ascendance is and will remain a particular cause for concern when it comes to the neoconservative wing of the Republican coalition, for whom Trump’s apparent foreign policy propensities are a much bigger issue than they are for the average Republican voter. Trump has hinted at holding philosophies that would be anathema to the neoconservative movement. For example, his promise to make “America first…the overriding theme of my administration,” and to “never send our finest into battle unless necessary, and I mean absolutely necessary,” suggests an isolationism that obviously clashes with the aggressively interventionist streak that defines neoconservatism. Trump has also talked about positioning himself as “neutral” on Israel-Palestine, and although it’s not clear exactly what he means by that it is a position that couldn’t be much more at odds with the neoconservative right’s unabashedly pro-Israel fervor. He’s also challenged core neocon precepts by heavily criticizing (and lying about his own record in opposing) the Iraq War, and famously mocking Jeb Bush’s contention that his brother George W. “kept us safe.”

    • Ralph Nader and Chris Hedges Breaking Through Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

      “Kshama Sawant and I spoke with Bernie Sanders at an event we did together the night before the climate march,” Hedges said. “We had urged Sanders not to run as a Democrat for precisely the reasons that are now evident. The Democratic Party establishment had fixed the system against him. He did surprisingly well given that they lock out independents, they have superdelegates, Clinton has super PACs.”

    • Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders: Debunking Some Election Fraud Allegations

      But looking at our criteria or factors that may indicate election fraud, there isn’t just a question of substantial-ness. Bernie actually outperformed his expectations from the initial entrance polling by around 6% and by 3% from the pre-election polling. There are mutual allegations of “cheating” coming out of the Polk County convention. You can read an exhaustive blow by blow of it here from a local blogger who has Bernie sympathies but strives to be fair to all. At the end of the day, it seems to me like Americans passionate about politics going a bit overboard.

    • Clinton and the DNC Are Not Just Colluding — They’re Changing the Rules for Superdelegates

      The award for most deliberate and egregious burying of a lead has just been handed out.

      It goes to NBC News, for a story entitled, “Bernie Sanders Makes Things Awkward for Hillary Clinton’s DNC Takeover.”

      Put aside for a moment that the story’s central premise is the uncritical repetition of a nonsense: the idea that a major-party convention can’t — as in literally cannot be — planned without a nominee being declared at least a month and a half in advance. We know that’s untrue because, up until a week ago, that’s exactly what the GOP was (with minimal public grousing by RNC Chair Reince Priebus) planning to do.

    • This Attack on Sanders’ Medicare-for-All Plan is Ridiculous

      The Urban Institute and the Tax Policy Center today released analyses of the costs of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ domestic policy proposals, including single-payer national health insurance. They claim that Sanders’ proposals would raise the federal deficit by $18 trillion over the next decade.

      We won’t address all of the issues covered in these analyses, just single-payer Medicare for all. To put it bluntly, the estimates (which were prepared by John Holahan and colleagues) are ridiculous. They project outlandish increases in the utilization of medical care, ignore vast savings under single-payer reform, and ignore the extensive and well-documented experience with single-payer systems in other nations – which all spend far less per person on health care than we do.

    • New Polling Shows Sanders, Not Clinton, Most Formidable Against Trump

      As forces in both major parties have begun to mobilize against a Trump presidency, a new national poll out Tuesday reveals the most surefire way to derail the GOP frontrunner: Nominate Bernie Sanders.

      The NBC News/SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll found that if the 2016 presidential election were held today, 53 to 40 percent of voters would elect Sanders over Donald Trump—which is more than double the margin that Hillary Clinton holds over the presumptive Republican nominee.

      According to the survey, which was conducted online from May 2 through May 8, the former secretary of state also leads Trump, but with a far smaller margin: 49 to 44 percent, with an error estimate of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points.

      Meanwhile, a separate poll found that in key presidential swing states the anointed nominees are running neck and neck.

      The latest Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday shows Clinton beating Trump by just one point—43 to 42 percent—in both Florida and Pennsylvania. In Ohio, the real estate mogul holds a four-point lead over Clinton, with 43 to 39 percent.

    • Automatic Motor-Voter Registration Now Law in Four States

      In a year when many states are making it harder to vote, some are pushing in the opposite direction.

    • Bernie Sanders Explains to Stephen Colbert How He Can Still Take Out Hillary Clinton

      Bernie Sanders has a response for anyone wondering why he hasn’t dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination: “It is not a lost cause.”

      The Vermont senator shared that message with Stephen Colbert on Monday night, as the Late Show host struggled to get his hands on a much-desired candy bar that got lodged inside a broken vending machine.

      “You can’t give up on that contested confection,” Sanders said, swaying the machine to successfully release the candy bar. “You’ve got to rock the system!”

    • Watch: Bernie Sanders Makes His Case to Colbert in Most Charming Way Possible

      “You’ve got to believe, Stephen. You’ve got to rock the system.”

    • Hillary Clinton Protesters in East L.A. Would Rather ‘Deport Her’ Than Support Her (Multimedia)

      Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop in East Los Angeles on Cinco de Mayo, but not everyone in the Mexican-American community welcomed the Democratic presidential candidate.

      Hundreds of protesters (some estimated the count to be as high as 1,000) gathered at Belvedere Park and then marched to East Los Angeles College, two blocks away, where Clinton spoke to supporters at a rally that included an eight-piece mariachi band.

      According to KPCC radio, the demonstration was organized by members of Unión del Barrio, an independent political group that also went to a recent rally for Donald Trump in Costa Mesa, Calif.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Father of Scientology Leader Goes After Inhumanity of the ‘Church’ as Controversy Builds Around His Tell-All Book

      The book’s publication has been met with protest from Scientology and David Miscavige — lawyers have sent letters to the book’s British and American publisher warning of a lawsuit for defamation. A statement from the Church calls the book “a sad exercise in betrayal” and claims that “Ronald Miscavige was nowhere around when David Miscavige ascended to the leadership of the Church of Scientology, mentored by and working directly with the religion’s founder L. Ron Hubbard, and entrusted by him with the future of the Church.”

    • Whistle-Blowers Accuse Facebook of Censorship, Bias

      But it might surprise you to know that Facebook may be deliberately filtering out some kind of stories and boosting others. This week, five former Facebook employees revealed to Gizmodo that they routinely suppressed conservative news. All of the former news curators declined to be named in the report for fear of violating their non-disclosure agreements with the company.


      Though the idea of censorship might rub you the wrong way, many argue that Facebook is a private company that can promote the kind of content it wants. New York University Professor Jay Rosen, the author of PressThink, a blog about journalism in the digital age, weighs in on the debate.

    • Facebook disputes political censorship reports

      Facebook is pushing back on a Gizmodo report Monday that employees in charge of its “trending” bar avoided stories popular among conservatives. The social network didn’t reject the report outright, but said it has guidelines to ensure fairness. “There are rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality. These guidelines do not permit the suppression of political perspectives. Nor do they permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or on news outlet over another,” the company said in a statement.

    • Facebook denies censoring conservative stories from trending topics
    • Does Facebook Suppress Conservative News Outlets and Topics?

      Ex-staffers of the social media behemoth claim stories written by and about conservatives are deliberately kept from “Trending.”

    • ‘Blacklisting’ of Right-Wing Stories More Proof that Facebook ‘Rules the News’

      Revelations that Facebook may have regularly “blacklisted” conservative stories from the platform’s “trending” news section was met with outrage on Monday from journalists across the political spectrum who found the company’s alleged abuse of power “disturbing” and potentially dangerous.

      After speaking with several former “news curators,” Gizmodo technology editor Michael Nunez reported Monday that the social media platform routinely censored stories “about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.”

    • New unlimited VPN app for iPhone is designed to bypass censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Korea’s Next Generation

      Street protests throughout the southern tier of Europe – in Greece, in Spain – were also fueled by unemployed youth. In Greece, the unemployment rate for young people peaked at 60 percent in 2013, a time of huge popular unrest. The Spanish rate hit a high of 55 percent in July 2013, also a time of mass protests.

    • What It’s Like To Be A Principal Of Color Dealing With White Parents

      In a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in northwest D.C., a parent attending a school meeting is angry that her child doesn’t have enough time to play at recess. She berates the school principal — a black woman nearly a foot shorter than she is — in front of the other parents, pointing a finger no more than two inches away from her face and shouting, “How do you expect to keep your job?”

    • This Guide Challenges Colleges’ Tendency To Ask Students About Criminal Record

      On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education released a guide for colleges that will help them decide how to ask questions about someone’s criminal justice record — and that raises the issue of whether colleges should be asking for that information at all.

    • #StopTrump Protesters Lock Themselves to Ladders to Block Traffic Outside Trump Rally in Washington

      On Saturday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made his first campaign visit to Washington state, where he addressed thousands of supporters in Spokane and later in Lynden. He decried the loss of manufacturing jobs, and vowed to win Washington state in November. He also warned of the threat posed by Syrian refugees. Meanwhile, outside the rally, dozens of #StopTrump activists blockaded a highway in Lynden as Trump held a rally in the rural community near the Canadian border. Three activists were arrested after they used chains and PVC pipe “lockboxes” to form a human chain across two lanes of traffic. They said their action was a protest against what they described as a campaign rooted in fear and hatred. The protest held up traffic for more than a half-hour, delaying many Trump supporters. Democracy Now! was at the protest.

    • The curse of Brexit: the referendum claims its first scalp, Scottish Labour

      The UK’s 23 June referendum on membership of the EU is a European event and will have ramifications across the continent. Already it has had one clear consequence. The Labour party in Scotland has become the first victim of the Brexit referendum.

    • Brexit bunkum II – the professors and their pamphlet

      The “Economists for Brexit” pamphlet is riddled with nonsense.

    • The Anti-Semite’s Best Friend

      What Montagu and most other Jews feared was that the creation of a Jewish state in a far-flung territory dovetailed a little too neatly with the aspirations of Europe’s anti-Semites, then much in evidence, including in the British government.

      According to the dominant assumptions of Europe’s ethnic nationalisms of the time, the region should be divided into peoples or biological “races”, and each should control a territory in which it could flourish.

      The Jews were viewed as a “problem” because – in addition to lingering Christian anti-semitism – they were considered subversive of this national model.

      Jews were seen as a race apart, one that could not – or should not – be allowed to assimilate. Better, on this view, to encourage their emigration from Europe. For British elites, the Balfour Declaration was a means to achieve that end.

    • Gideon v. Wainwright in the Age of a Public Defense Crisis

      In my recent article in the Columbia Law Review, “What Gideon Did,” I examined the grassroots effects of Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark 1963 Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to state-provided counsel in criminal cases. For a number of structural reasons, state-level funding for Gideon’s implementation has proven unpredictable in the best of times, and susceptible to collapse in the worst of times, as defendants in Louisiana can attest. Given this history, Congress should step in to secure the Gideon guarantee with federal funding, so that defenders like Natasha George—and the poor people they serve—are not so vulnerable to the politics of state budgets.

    • This 27-Year-Old Is Going to Prison for Life Because His Fiancée OD’d

      At every level of the criminal justice system, from patrol cops to judges, there’s an increased push for a more humane approach to drug use—treating addiction where it exists instead of shoveling drug users into America’s overcrowded jails and prisons.

      But you can always count on U.S. prosecutors to find some way to exact inhumanely long prison sentences. In several states, prosecutors have begun to charge people who sell or give someone drugs with murder if that person dies.

    • Prosecutor wants jail for Luxleaks whistleblowers

      Luxembourg prosecutors Tuesday asked for 18-month prison sentences for two whistleblowers accused of stealing private financial information in connection with the so-called Luxleaks scandal.

      Concluding a two-week trial, the prosecutors said that whistleblower protections should not apply to two French defendants, Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet, both former employees of the audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. The prosecutors also recommended a fine for another defendant in the case, French journalist Edouard Perrin.

      The three are on trial over actions that led to the November 2014 Luxleaks media revelations of favorable tax deals that Luxembourg gave to 350 multinational companies, including Amazon, Apple, Ikea and Disney. They are charged with theft and violation of trade secrets.

    • Private Prison CEOs ‘Pleased’ Their Earnings Soared From Keeping Immigrant Kids In Detention

      During separate conference calls to talk about earnings reports, two of the country’s largest for-profit private prisons indicated that they saw their profits soar from holding immigrant mothers and children in detention centers across the country.

      Revenues increased during the first quarter of 2016 for both the Corrections Corp. of America and GEO Group, executives told shareholders on conference calls.

      CCA saw a revenue of $447.4 million, a 5 percent increase from last year’s first quarter. The company’s press release attributed much of that increase to a federal contract with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

    • Student Hit With 70 Criminal Charges After Exposing Himself During Yearbook Photo Shoot

      When will schools tire of involving law enforcement in routine disciplinary matters? Not soon enough, apparently.

      Hunter Osborn, a senior at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, AZ, did a “teen” thing. Prompted by other teens who enjoy a good bit of teen lowbrow comedy, Osborn slipped the tip of his penis over his waistband during the football team’s photo shoot. Osborn and his crotch-level co-star went unnoticed as yearbooks and game programs containing his exposed penis were published and handed out.

      The school, of course, was furious. Instead of handling its own problems, it decided to turn it over to law enforcement — for reasons only completely understood by school administrators who believe “school discipline” is pronounced “police matter.” Perhaps this overreaction was fueled by the school’s own editorial lapse, as it only noticed the exposed penis in the photograph after Osborn bragged about it on “social media.”

    • Sadiq Khan and Trump: Why KKK Donald’s values are Unacceptable

      The charismatic young mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is calling out Donald Trump for his bigotry toward Muslims. He says he plans to visit the United States this fall before the presidential election, because in case Trump wins, he won’t be able to.

    • Local funding is not just an option anymore—it’s an imperative

      Most importantly of all, this small but growing field, which emphasizes multi-stakeholder governance and local asset development, and local philanthropy as key to constituency building, has a particular relevance for civil society sectors more generally in the context of shrinking spaces for civil society, the criminalization of activism and the overall reduction of resources in many parts of the world.

    • Somali Reporter Blocked From Entering Courtroom Is The Latest In String Of Incidents In Minneapolis

      Shortly after 8 a.m. on Monday, Mukhtar Ibrahim tried to make his way through a security checkpoint and into a federal courtroom in Minneapolis.

      Ibrahim, a Minnesota Public Radio journalist covering the first day of the trial of three Minnesota men accused of plotting to join ISIS, looked on as a white reporter and others make it through the checkpoint without incident. But when he reached the front of the line, a marshal stopped him.

    • Republicans Only Care About Children Before They’re Born

      When it comes to children, Republicans are hypocrites.

      They go on and on about how “pro-life” they are, but they really only care about “humans” before they’re born. After that, they couldn’t care less.

      Case in point: the so-called “Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016,” the brainchild of Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita that would decimate a key part of the federal free lunch program.

    • Filipinos Just Elected Rodrigo Duterte, Their Version of Trump, as President

      Despite his fondness for peppering campaign speeches with crude jokes about rape victims and his use of Viagra, the next president of the Philippines will be Rodrigo Duterte, a 71-year-old mayor whose signature policy proposal is a promise to eliminate crime within six months by licensing the police to murder suspects.

    • An Indian teen was raped by her father. Village elders had her whipped.

      The teenage girl, dressed in pink, sits in the dirt before six community elders.

      In a scene captured on a cellphone video, one of the men wags his finger angrily at her. He rages: This girl must be punished.

      A villager ties her waist with rope, holding the other end, and lifts a tree branch into the air. She bows her head. The first lash comes, then another, then another. Ten in all. She lets out a wail.

      Eventually the crowd starts murmuring, “Enough, enough,” although nobody moves to stop the beating. Finally, the man throws down his stick. It’s over.

    • Judge Rejects Attempt To Force Lauri Love To Decrypt His Computers, Despite Never Charging Him With A Crime

      Back in March, we wrote about the troubling situation in the UK, in which the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) was trying to force hacker/activist Lauri Love to decrypt his computers, despite never actually charging him with a crime. Back in 2014, US authorities sought to extradite Love for supposedly hacking into government computers. As part of that process, the government took all of his electronics and demanded he turn over his encryption keys. He refused. Under the RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) law in the UK, prosecutors could then charge him for failing to disclose his passwords… but, importantly, they did not do so.

      Last year, the NCA actually returned most of Love’s stuff, but held onto six items: three computers, two hard drives and an SD card. Love sought to get them back, using a civil legal action against the NCA. The NCA then, somewhat ridiculously, sought to use that civil action to again force Love to decrypt the devices it held, in particular asking that he decrypt some TrueCrypt files on the SD card and hard drives. Thankfully, the court has flatly rejected the NCA’s demand, noting that it appeared to be a clear attempt to do an endrun around RIPA, which has a variety of protections.

    • Judge refuses attempt to force alleged hacker Lauri Love to hand over passwords

      The National Crime Agency has lost its attempt to force alleged hacker Lauri Love to hand over the passwords and encryption keys to his seized computers and hard drives.

      In a landmark case, the security service failed to convince the court that it required access to all of the contents on Love’s seized devices. Had the NCA won, it would have created a backdoor into personal encrypted devices for law enforcement.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Immediate action for Human Resource Departments on the Defend Trade Secrets Act [Ed: The government of the corporate empire has new weapon against whistleblowers.]

      Whistle Blower Immunity: The Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) amends 18 U.S.C. 1832 to provide limited whistle blower immunity. The headline for the provision is “immunity from liability for confidential disclosure of a trade secret to the government or in a court filing.” Thus, an action that would otherwise count as trade secret misappropriation will be immunized if the disclosure:

      (A) is made (i) in confidence to a Federal, State, or local government official, either directly or indirectly, or to an attorney; and (ii) solely for the purpose of reporting or investigating a suspected violation of law; or (B) is made in a complaint or other document filed in a lawsuit or other proceeding, if such filing is made under seal.

      The statute is clear that the immunity extends to protect against both state and federal law; both civil and criminal allegations. A statute also (unnecessarily in my view) includes a provision that allows someone “who files a lawsuit for retaliation by an employer for reporting a suspected violation of law” to disclose trade secrets to his attorney and “use the trade secret information in the court proceeding” so long as documents containing the trade secrets are filed under seal and are not disclosed except by court order.

    • Trademarks

      • Wines, spirits, cheese – and less GI infringement please!

        I enjoyed reading the European Union Intellectual Property Office’s report, “Infringement of Protected Geographical Indications for Wine, Spirits, Agricultural Products and Foodstuff in the European Union” last week—in no small part because it addressed some of my favourite things: wine, spirits, and cheese! Of course, not all things are created, or sold, equal. Some of my favourite things (like Scotch Whisky and Parmigiano Reggiano) are protected by Geographical Indications (GIs), a sui generis intellectual property right under EU law, and others are not.

    • Copyrights

      • UK Gov’t Pushing For 10-Year Jail Sentences For Copyright Infringement Based On ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        For many years, we’ve pointed out that so much policymaking around copyright law is what we’d argue to be purely “faith-based.” The fact that there is little to no actual evidence that stronger copyright protections lead to better outcomes for the public, the economy or for society is ignored by people who just know it must be true. And the constant assertions about extending and expanding copyright always seem to come from this same faith-based positioning. An exploration into the empirical basis for copyright law finds that there basically is none and the reason we have copyright is because a couple of centuries ago some people thought it was a good idea, and no one’s really bothered to check since then.

        One of the most ridiculous examples of this “faith-based” reasoning is the belief, among many, that the way to stop widespread copyright infringement is just to increase the punishment for those who are caught. Sure, you can understand the armchair economists’ reasoning here: if you increase the punishment, you’re increasing the “cost,” which should decrease the activity. But, that’s just wrong on many, many levels. First, let’s take a step out of the copyright realm and into the criminal justice realm. After vastly expanding punishment (via things like “three strikes” laws), many, many people (even those who supported such programs) are now admitting that long sentences don’t actually do much to deter crime. While there were some studies in the 80s and 90s suggesting long sentences reduce crime, more recent (and much more thorough) studies have basically rejected that view. A recent survey of many studies in the area found little support for the idea that longer sentences deter criminal activity.

EPO an Ill Organisation, Lots to Protest Against Tomorrow

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cross section of Team Battistelli: Željko Topić, Benoît Battistelli, and Elodie Bergot

MoU signed by Bergot

Summary: A look at the ill aspects of EPO mistreatment of staff representatives, who are viewed as enemies (for saying the truth) rather than partners and are punished severely for exercising their rights

THERE IS an EPO protest tomorrow and we hope that thousands will attend to send out a strong message a month ahead of the next Administrative Council meeting, which would end the Battistelli reign if it actually wanted to end the crisis.

Staff is sick of the management and sometimes literally sick. This one new comment says: “Indeed in TH [The Hague] in particular one SUEPO official and central staff rep is currently being hit very hard with a cut of 100% of his remuneration since beginning 2016 by decision of PD 43 (Mrs Bergot the spouse of Battistelli right-arm Requena) who decided to disregard the from his physician duly established medical certificates. After having abolished occupational disease, Bergot is now abolishing sickness altogether…. Let us hope this will not generate a new drama (eg suicide)” (sixth in recent years).

“The “disciplinary sanctions and proceedings against staff or trade union representatives” in the above resolution,” Merpel wrote earlier tonight, “refers to the fact that three of the 10 staff representatives have been singled out for disciplinary proceedings, resulting in the sacking of two and the downgrading of another in January 2016. Merpel understands that two others are also facing disciplinary proceedings. One of the staff representatives who was dismissed, Elizabeth Hardon who is the chair of SUEPO Munich, additionally had her pension docked; however this further sanction was removed following an internal appeal.”

Well, we covered this before, also in Spanish. But the interesting bit there is the disciplinary proceeding against “10 staff representatives” (this is similar to the figure we’re aware of). Bergot must be rather afraid of any of the staff representatives (not from the yellow union that reportedly hangs out with her) because she probably got her job only because of nepotism and if outside scrutiny was to be applied, not only she would risk her job but also her husband and his old buddy, Battistelli, who put them there in the first place (building his circle of loyal drones).

Bergot was also mentioned in an internal communication not too long ago, in relation to how she put her paws on everyone’s medical records (as unbelievable as it may seem in a civilised country):

Confidentiality of staff medical data

In the January Gazette (page 20-21) the Office announced a restructuring of the medical departments, bringing the Medical Advisory Unit and Occupational Health Department under a common director, within the HR Department, i.e. under Ms Bergot. The Gazette article hails the restructuring as a “prescription for clarity and best duty of care”. As usual with the Battistelli administration, the reality is just the opposite:

(a) Because of their very different roles, having the Medical Advisory Unit (advising the administration in medical decisions) and the Occupational Health Services (meant to support staff) in a single unit is anything but best practice.

(b) The Occupational Health Physician is supposed to be independent. Having the Occupational Health Physician within the Personnel Department with Ms Bergot as his/her reporting officer is not to best way to guarantee independence.

(c) Since Dr Koopman left in summer 2014, the Medical Advisory Unit (MAU) is headed by a non-medical person originally recruited to VP4’s office and who is now reporting to Ms Bergot. This construct means that the confidentiality of medical data stored in the Medical Advisory Unit, in particular vis-à-vis the Personnel Department (Ms Bergot), is no longer guaranteed.

(d) Under the new structure, the same will apply for the Occupational Health Department. It seems highly likely that the current interim manager will become director of the newly created medical unit. The EPO’s current medical doctors will no longer have a managerial role but will be reporting to the Director and merely advising him/her as “medical experts”.

Such a structure would not seem legal in any of our host states. We suppose that this does not bother Mr Battistelli. But it should bother our medical doctors who – according to our understanding – are precluded from entering data in medical files held by the department if confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.

We already knew that some French people were getting their hands on confidential staff details, but not medical records. As a reminder see:

  1. Jacques Michel (Former EPO VP1), Benoît Battistelli’s EPO, and the Leak of Internal Staff Data to Michel’s Private Venture
  2. Europatis: “Turnover of €211,800 and Zero Employees”
  3. Loose Data ‘Protection’ and Likely Privacy Infringements at the EPO: Here’s Who Gets Employees’ Internal Data
  4. Summary of the EPO-Europatis Series
  5. Revolving Doors of High-Level EPO Management: Jacques Michel and the Questel Deal With the EPO

In our humble assessment, Bergot and her confidants (who are afraid of SUEPO) may be using “illness” selectively as a weapon against dissidents among staff or against ‘unwanted’ staff (not for technical but for purely political reasons), where illness itself can be induced by chronic abuse (cause for depression, breakdowns and so on).

Don’t make up with the management. It’s only getting a lot worse over time. A massive protest is needed tomorrow to reassure the Administrative Council that nothing has changed for the better and to also attract media attention, French (political) interventions, etc.

Golden Parachute or Not, Battistelli is Wasting Huge Amounts of Money on His Longtime Bodyguards Fetish

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What next? A private bulletproof limousine for Sun King?

EPO Frame Breaking

Summary: Battistelli is wasting huge amounts of money at the European Patent Office (EPO) because of his manic state of mind and more people start talking about it

Battistelli’s bodyguards obsession and paranoia is nothing new. This guy’s ego is bigger than even the whole of Bavaria and he sees conspiracies in everything around him. A king in his own mind, Battistelli exhibits many of the symptoms of megalomania and this megalomania costs the EPO (or taxpayers, or applicants) a great deal of money.

“This guy’s ego is bigger than even the whole of Bavaria and he sees conspiracies in everything around him.”Merpel has just published this new post about EPO affairs; a lot of it repeats or revisits information that is weeks or months old, but there are some new (to us) bits of information. Here is the last paragraph, which is most eye-catching:

In the meantime, reports of the contracts recently signed by the EPO refer to 6 contracts with 6 individuals to provide “Close Protection” because of “increased security requirements”, at a reported cost of €550,000 for 6 months. Merpel is astonished that senior EPO management are considered to be in need of such protection.

As one person points out: “Regarding ‘close protection’, the President himself related the problem of being a Frenchman in a significant position as head of an international organisation – this comment came after the various recent terrorist activities withinFrance (and Belgium). I wouldn’t assume that it relates to any internal matters.”

Another person says: “I am still astonished that the UPC is to be built on the foundations of the EPC, when the EPC requires reform to ensure independence of judiciary and executive.”

Well, we wrote about it earlier this evening (far too much EPO propaganda regarding the UPC these days, as agenda is more important than truth). We humbly hope that EPO examiners will join our fight against this antidemocratic effort to punish nearly everyone inside the EPO for the sake of corporations from across the Atlantic. This is neoliberalism at work.

“We humbly hope that EPO examiners will join our fight against this antidemocratic effort to punish nearly everyone inside the EPO for the sake of corporations from across the Atlantic.”As a side note, in relation to this older article from IP Kat, one reader told us: “That´s what appeared on IPkat. However, there´s much more to it. Several directors informed the examiners that Batistelli´s new initiative, Early certainty from search, is budgeted for a loss. A loss that may be as high as 400 million EUR!”

“I can´t provide more information now,” the reader said, “but maybe you could ask a question about this. I´m sure that other EPO staff could contribute.”

Having already received some valuable leaks we hope that someone will get in touch and provide information about this.

A Soup of UPC Lies Courtesy of the EPO, Patent Lawyers, and Large Clients (Like Multinational Corporations)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 2:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They want everyone to believe that nothing can stop the antidemocratic UPC

UPC impact

Summary: The Unified Patent Court coup, or the effort to push the unitary patent into Europe (using all sorts of different names and false claims), is progressing nicely if the self-fulfilling prophecy attempts are to be believed

WHENEVER we write about technical problems with the EPO we foresee it adopting the low standards of the USPTO (in terms of examination), which may also mean software patents in Europe. One emerging tactic for bringing about software patents is FRAND, which was mentioned in the previous post. Another is the UPC, which just like TPP threatens to bring software patents into Europe (the technicalities of this process were explained here many times before, including yesterday).

The Mirage of Appeals and/or Oppositions (for the Rich)

One problem we have is lack of information about the UPC. As we put it earlier this year, "The Media is Still Awash With Unitary Patent (UPC) Misinformation" and this is still the case. It should not be surprising given the fashion in which EPO officials and European patent lawyers habitually spread deceptive claims. NLO currently repeats EPO lies/spin regarding so-called ‘results’ [1, 2, 3] or other such statistics that are not complete. To quote: “Opposition before the European Patent Office (EPO) is a powerful tool for challenging the validity of a granted European patent. It is a way of obtaining a central decision of a technically qualified board that applies in all countries in which the patent is valid, thereby saving on litigation costs before individual national courts. Opposition success rates are high. In its most recent annual report (2015), the EPO revealed the chances of having a patent revoked (31%), maintained in amended form (38%) or maintained as granted (31%); 69% of oppositions resulted in a modification in the scope of protection of the challenged patent.”

This is similar to PTAB in the US (inter parte reviews), but this overlooks the fact that this process is expensive and laborious. Small patent developers, for example, have neither the time/money nor motivation to pursue such a process. This means that this status quo remains heavily biased and thoroughly tilted against SMEs. Moreover, consider the UPC’s likely impact on boards; they could soon be rendered obsolete.

Pretense (or Self-Fulfilling Prophecy) of Italian UPC Ratification

Now, consider what we wrote yesterday about Italian rumours regarding the UPC. The EPO, based on today’s marketing, wants everyone to believe that UPC is good. It’s not. We wrote about the UPC earlier this month in order to shed light on escalation in such propaganda tactics and now we see even WIPR acting upon hearsay, basing an entire article on patent lawyers who have an agenda and are thus not exactly objective a source for this, as we explained the other day. “According to Trevisan & Cuonzo lawyer Valerio Meucci,” wrote the author to a large audience, “the minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Paolo Gentiloni, proposed the approval of the draft bill, which the government accepted.”

This is a big mistake (if true at all). Italy opposed this for more than half a decade and there were good reasons for this. Some pro-patents people are now spreading this rumour around (they deny bias even though they describe their Twitter account as “Follow us for latest news and developments on European patent law and key milestones on the road to the Unified Patent Court”) and one person wrote: “#Italy takes step to ratify #unifiedpatentcourt agreement http://bit.ly/1WUZG3a #upc #ratification”

Based on cited articles [1, 2], there is now a press release. To quote one author’s account of it: “According to the official press release, Italy’s ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement will help to fight the entry into the European Union of counterfeit goods.”

But this does not actually imply ratification and the press release tells an outright lie, as was the case with TPP and TTIP. This mirrors the recent trend of so-called ‘trade’ deals, which are shrouded in secrecy and benefit from misleading press coverage (if any at all).

UPC Bad for SMEs

The UPC would work against SMEs, even based on a poll conducted by sites which target patent lawyers and other such maximalists. To quote Nordic Patent (connected to Kongstad): “The polls are in, a majority of @ManagingIP followers think the #UPC and #UnitaryPatent are bad for European #SMEs.”

Here is what Managing IP (MIP) wrote: “Indeed: 56% say #UPC #UnitaryPatent bad for SMEs in Europe. We will do a more comprehensive survey later this year.”

“What’s needed is not “a more comprehensive survey” but a survey that does not ask the MIP choir,” I told them, to which they replied with: “The MIP choir has a pretty broad spread of voices, as it happens!”

We don’t truly think so, but nevertheless, it sure seems like even MIP readers admit that the EPO’s claims about UPC being good for SMEs are lies.

More self-Fulfilling Prophecies and US Hopefuls

Based on this tweet, UPC is already here. But it’s not. To quote: “Technical teaching for #patent judges. And will the views of the #UPC technical judges have too much weight?”

“Will”? Maybe they mean would. The UPC is not even here yet. To quote what this is based on: “Does this look a bit like what we expect from the long-anticipated Unified Patent Court? The UPC will employ about 50 technical judges alongside a similar number of legally qualified judges.”

“The UPC will employ” is wrong. The UPC, if it ever became a reality at all, would do all sorts of things, but given the atmosphere of propaganda (see the SME propaganda above), one shouldn’t believe anything at all. Watch how US patent lawyers hold an event about the UPC in the US. They seem to know who the UPC is for and it’s not for Europeans. SMEs from Europe won’t fly to the US to attend such a conference, one of several such US conferences sponsored by the EPO's PR firm (which just ‘happens’ to be a US-based firm).

Patent lawyers in the US promote and celebrate the UPC. What does that tell us about who benefits?

Patent Policy is a Mess and It’s Not Hard to See Why

Posted in America, Australia, Europe, Patents, RAND at 1:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Corruption and greed have become embedded in this whole system

CAFC corruption
Composition of [1, 2, 3, 4]

Summary: A critique of some patent injustices and the reasons why scientists are sacrificed for the benefit of revenue-maximising managers and their lawyers/lobbyists

Cory Doctorow, citing his EFF colleague, says what an Australian Commission has found regarding software patents. It’s strongly against them. It’s a subject which we covered here before [1, 2]. “The report,” Doctorow writes, “which was commissioned in part to investigation the codification of fair use in Australian copyright law, condemns virtually the whole edifice of Australian IP law. It calls for shorter copyright terms, more flexibility for copyright users, stricter criteria for granting patents, tightened rules and shorter terms for software and business-method patents, and more.”

“It seems as though each time there is evidence-based research into this subject the outcome says software patents are bad.”The EFF’s post says they “wrote about a discredited industry report that spread misinformation about the supposed costs of Australia adopting fair use into its copyright law. That document, commissioned by media and entertainment giants, had been written in anticipation of a recommendation for the adoption of fair use by the Australian Productivity Commission, a government agency tasked with improving Australia’s capacity for production and innovation.”

Further down it says: “Restricting the availability of patents for software and business method inventions, which are an impediment to further innovation. As regards software, the Commission notes that software development cycles of around 5 years are far shorter than the 20 year term of protection granted by patents, and that other incentives for software development (among them copyright) also exist.”

It seems as though each time there is evidence-based research into this subject the outcome says software patents are bad. Europe came to the same conclusion a very long time ago, but the EPO conveniently (for its own gain) ignores the law. There is now a new software patents loophole in the EU, as Dr. Glyn Moody showed last month. Yesterday he had more to say about that:

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a disturbing aspect of the European Commission’s proposed Digital Single Market: the fact that “ICT standardisation requires a balanced IPR [intellectual property rights] policy, based on FRAND licensing terms.” That’s a problem, because FRAND licensing is inherently incompatible with open source.

As well as generating a fair amount of interest here on Ars, the article seems to have provoked some discussions in the wider open source community, and inside the European Commission too. Given that interest, and the absolutely key nature of this issue, I thought it would be worth exploring it a little more deeply, not least because there have been some important developments in the last two weeks, including a way for Ars readers to help stop open source being locked out of EU standards.

First, it’s probably a good idea to summarise why FRAND, which stands for “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory,” is a problem for open source. Put at its simplest, licensing terms can be totally fair, quite reasonable, and absolutely non-discriminatory and yet impossible to implement in free software.

For example, a patentholder might think they are being super-kind by requiring a per-copy licence payment of just €0.001. And for traditional software, that might indeed be generous. But consider what happens with open source code, which by definition can be copied and shared freely as many times as you like. Since there is no way of knowing how many copies have been made, it’s impossible to pay even that “reasonable” €0.001 per copy. The only licensing fee that works in this context is zero—and even then, it’s not guaranteed that the licence will be compatible with free software. For example, there may be some other limitations on use, which aren’t allowed for open source.

What is needed is not just “royalty-free” licensing, but “restriction-free.”


The other case concerns the open source giant Red Hat, and how it settled a patent dispute with a company called Firestar. What is remarkable about this deal is that Red Hat not only acquired a licence for itself, it obtained it for everyone else in the open source community, upstream and downstream from Red Hat. In other words, it effectively took out a patent licence for the open source world.

Again, some have pointed to this as an example that proves that paying patent licences is perfectly compatible with open source; and once more, that’s not true. First, this solution was only possible because Firestar agreed to provide this blanket licence for the open source community: the fact that it had never been done before shows how exceptional that was. For companies that offer FRAND licensing, there is no reason at all why they would have to follow Firestar’s example.

“This is IAM doing its usual routine trying to urge companies — even in China — to pursue more and more patents/patenting obsession.”It is not too shocking that lobbyists for software patents get their way in spite of what scientists and programmers are saying. The lobbyists never grow tired and they are backed by wealthy corporations like IBM. There is now a push for new taxes in the embedded Linux space (increasingly characterised using the silly buzzword, “IoT”). “If demand for connected devices does prove durable,” IAM wrote, “then Chinese appliance makers could be big winners – and so could patent licensors. But the big Chinese players are likely not finished spending money to beef up their patent positions in the hopes of easing their royalty burdens.” This is IAM doing its usual routine trying to urge companies — even in China — to pursue more and more patents/patenting obsession. In Europe they encourage companies to pursue patents even in domains that are out of reach, e.g. software, as in the US patent system it is growingly a challenge (inevitably, they cannot just snub the courts eternally). This new article from Robert Sachs says: “On May 4, the USPTO issued a new memorandum for patent examiners, “Formulating a Subject Matter Eligibility Rejection and Evaluating the Applicant’s Response to a Subject Matter Eligibility Rejection” (“Examiner Instructions”) along with a new set of five example claims, this time in the life sciences and chemistry arts. The Examiner Instructions are a positive step forward in refining the examination process, but leave open many questions.”

A notoriously corrupt court, CAFC, is where software patents came from in the first place (several decades ago) and it has just been brought up by Patently-O in relation to the Patent Act. “The Federal Circuit created the rule of automatic assignment through agreement without any basis in the Patent Act,” Patently-O says and to quote some bits: “The core problem is that the court has ignored the Erie doctrine. Under the Supreme Court’s 1937 decision in Erie v. Tompkins, a federal court ruling on a matter of state law under its diversity jurisdiction must apply the law of the state from which the dispute arose. Which state law to apply is a matter of choice of law principles. What the federal court cannot do is create its own federal common law in lieu of the state statutory or common law. As the Court affirmed in Butner v. United States, 440 U.S. 48 (1979), the Erie doctrine applies to a court’s supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims attendant to a federal question. By creating its own federal common law of contracts, the Federal Circuit reveals a fundamental error in its understanding of the federal court system. [...] The case of conflicting patent assignments bears some similarity to the law on intangible future interests in creditor-debtor law. Both entail rights in property that has yet to come into being. The main lesson from creditor-debtor law, which is largely a matter of state law, is that many interests are implicated and therefore simple rules are not satisfactory. The Federal Circuit has arguably adopted too simple and misguided a rule in the Filmtec. The Supreme Court has confounded the error in the Stanford decision by ignoring the issue of automatic assignments. One way to correct course is by granting Shukh’s petition for certiori and restore the proper balance between federal patent law and state commercial law.”

“We regret to say that a lot of laws, practices, policies etc. around patents are still corrosive and this is caused by systemic corruption.”This may seem like an injustice because it is. A lot of patent law in the US is completely unhinged from sanity, evidence, facts, and justice. The other day we wrote about how NASA had hoarded a lot of patents; it should not have patents at all (taxpayers pay NASA to explore space, not to acquire patent monopolies) and it gets worse when NASA gives these to private hands and sells them to trolls. Yesterday we found 31 articles about NASA’s latest patent PR, but not a single decent article which actually put claims to scrutiny and did an actual investigation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31].

We regret to say that a lot of laws, practices, policies etc. around patents are still corrosive and this is caused by systemic corruption. Many countries are negatively affected by this.

IBM is Not a ‘Patent Troll’ But Increasingly, Over Time, Troll-Like

Posted in IBM, Patents at 1:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When products aren’t selling those who have amassed patents weaponise them and tax the rivals’ products

Ginni Rometty

Photo source (modified slightly): The 10 Most Powerful Women in Technology Today

Summary: Groupon, which has come under a software patents attack from IBM, strikes back and spin sites like IAM keep denying that the term “patent trolls” means anything at all

EARLIER this year we chastised IBM for attacking companies using software patents. What became mainstream news today is “Groupon counters IBM over software patents.” We found many articles about it this morning [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and they indicate that IBM’s victims are fighting back. IBM’s ‘blowback’, so to speak, did not sink the stock or anything like this [1, 2], but surely this will generate negative press for IBM.

“We don’t call IBM a “patent troll”, but some pundits do (John Dvorak for instance called them the biggest patent troll).”When thugs like IBM attack using software patents (whilst actively lobbying for them) they essentially put pressure on other companies, including those not enamoured with/fond of patents, to file for ‘defensive’ patents, perpetuating the problem. Now that IBM is openly attacking legitimate companies using such patents (and surely extorts others) one can hope that IBM will go bankrupt fast, or alternatively appoint a new CEO who doesn’t choose to be a bully. Some pundits now call IBM a "patent troll", which definitely harms IBM’s reputation and ruins the brand.

If anyone among our readers chooses to cancel a contract with IBM (one probably should) or refuse/reject their marketing people, tell them it’s due to patent aggression as this can definitely help change their policy. Looking for someone to blame for IBM going rogue, lobbying for software patents and attacking legitimate companies using software patents? Blame Manny Schecter as well, not just the CEO. He’s the company’s patent chief and he has been rather outspoken as of late against any nation which rejects software patents.

We don’t call IBM a “patent troll”, but some pundits do (John Dvorak for instance called them the biggest patent). Some also call Yahoo a potential “patent troll”, so IAM — partly funded by patent trolls — attacks them. To quote IAM: “While we wait to see how potential acquirers value the IP, some in Silicon Valley are getting worked up about just what might happen to those patents. Last week the well-known tech journalist and author Steven Levy published a piece on his Backchannel blog which asked, “Will Yahoo become a patent troll?””

“Microsoft even has a standalone patent troll entity called “Microsoft Licensing”, putting aside all sorts of satellites and other patent trolls is uses to blackmail rivals.”It’s not news that IAM is a trolls denialist. To quote the concluding paragraph: “There will no doubt be many more column inches – on this blog and elsewhere – written on the Yahoo sale before it reaches its conclusion. Hopefully it will give members of the patent and investor communities an opportunity to discuss just how a public company – failed or otherwise – should properly value its intangible assets particularly in the current climate. But please, whatever happens, lets leave the troll moniker out of it.”

As we have seen in the case of Nokia after Microsoft had hijacked it, Nokia patents could be passed to patent trolls who later also paid IAM (literally, the same troll in the case of MOSAID). In today’s IAM output one can also see/learn that it has “been widely reported in Chinese-language (and, increasingly, English-language) media over the past few days that Huawei may be receiving hundreds of millions of US dollars in patent licensing fees from Apple.” Given what Nokia has done to Apple and what Apple has done (and is still doing) to many Linux-centric companies, it’s hard to find any sympathy for any of these companies. They put patents before products as time goes on and sales of actual product are harder to make (Apple has suffered a significant decline recently). While we never called companies like IBM, Yahoo, Nokia or Apple “trolls”, some people do call them that and to a certain degree it’s indeed trolling given how they position themselves. Microsoft even has a standalone patent troll entity called “Microsoft Licensing”, putting aside all sorts of satellites and other patent trolls is uses to blackmail rivals.

Links 10/5/2016: Zorin OS in Italy, CoreOS Funding

Posted in News Roundup at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Ones to watch: Influential women in open source

    Don’t let the technology gender gap fool you; there are many outstanding women in open source. Some founded companies, some are leading major projects and many are among the most interesting and influential figures in the open source world.

    Here, in alphabetical order, are the ones to watch. (This list is ever growing so if you know someone who should be on it, let me know.)

  • What’s New in the First Open Source CUBA Platform Release?

    The major update is the new licensing policy: the main part of the platform is now open source under the Apache 2.0 license, the optional components such as BPM, Charts and Maps, Reporting and Full-Text Search are available by per-developer subscription. The CUBA Studio is free for small projects with up to 10 entities and requires the subscription for bigger projects.

  • Demand for open source talent on the rise

    According to the latest 2016 Open Source Jobs Report, 59 percent of hiring managers will increase the number of open source talent in their organization within the next six months.

  • Announcing The Journal of Open Source Software

    The Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS) is a new take on an idea that’s been gaining some traction over the last few years, that is, to publish papers about software.

    On the face of it, writing papers about software is a weird thing to do, especially if there’s a public software repository, documentation and perhaps even a website for users of the software. But writing a papers about software is currently the only sure way for authors to gain career credit as it creates a citable entity1 (a paper) that can be referenced by other authors.

    If an author of research software is interested in writing a paper describing their work then there are a number of journals such as Journal of Open Research Software and SoftwareX dedicated to reviewing such papers. In addition, professional societies such as the American Astronomical Society have explicitly stated that software papers are welcome in their journals. In most cases though, submissions to these journals are full-length papers that conflate two things: 1) A description of the software and 2) Some novel research results generated using the software.

  • Journal of Open Source Software helps researchers write and publish papers on software

    With so many public software repositories and places for documentation, it can be difficult for developers to write and publish credible papers that others can reference. The newly announced Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS) wants to tackle this problem of software papers and help authors gain the credibility they deserve.

  • On Open Source Laws and Licensing
  • Talk about contributing to FLOSS
  • Google Pushes A Ton More Chromebook Device Code Into Coreboot

    Over night Google engineers landed a bunch more code in Coreboot for supporting new Chromebook devices.

    Elm was added as a derivative of Oak. This family is for devices with a MediaTek SoC.

  • The Cloud Foundry Way: Open Source, Pair Programming and Well Defined Processes

    Cloud Foundry is a unique open source software project. Actually, it’s a collection of projects that all together make a product that helps organizations run applications on an industry standard, multi-cloud infrastructure. A whole bunch of developers and product managers, who believe it should be easier to develop, deploy and maintain apps in the enterprise, have gotten together to make this possible. Cloud Foundry helps organizations run applications across languages and clouds.

  • Opening up networks to choice, at last

    To wit, Networks Function Virtualization (NFV) was merely a concept just three years ago. But in those three years, the networking world has seen a remarkable evolution, and choice has never been more available. Software is now king, and its first order of business is to open up the networks and break down the limitations of proprietary and box-centric software to give network operators the opportunity to make the network more flexible through programmability.

  • SDN and NFV for Network Automation – Promises of Network Transformation
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Want the best employees? Let them hire themselves

      Drupal is a mature open source project that a non-profit organization, called the Drupal Association, steers. The project’s use of Gratipay was a skunkworks initiative by two core contributors, who intended to eventually hand the reins to the Association. These two contributors defined criteria for adding and removing others from revenue sharing on Gratipay, and then they recruited fellow Drupal community members to the pilot program. Roughly 200 people were eligible to participate.

      Like most successful open source projects, Drupal already has clearly documented onboarding procedures. Anyone may start contributing to the project, without asking permission or going through a hiring process first. From there, establishing criteria for someone’s work to grant them revenue-sharing privileges is a natural step.


      With Drupal, we caught a glimpse of open source evolving into open hiring. To truly see take-what-you-want compensation in action, we will have to look elsewhere: to Gratipay itself.

  • Microsoft and its proxies

  • Funding


    • Intel’s Clear Linux Distribution Switches Over To GCC 6.1 By Default

      Intel’s Clear Linux operating system is now one of the first to be re-built under GCC 6 with using GCC 6.1 as its default compiler.

      Most distributions won’t be migrating from GCC 5 to GCC 6 until later in the year, but this daily-updating Linux distribution out of Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center that continues to be focused on delivering optimized performance has already re-based from GCC 5.3 to GCC 6.1.0.

    • gNewSense 4.0 Promises a Solid Debian-Based Linux OS with 100% Free Software

      The gNewSense 4.0 GNU/Linux operating system has been released at the beginning of the month, and today we take a closer look at its new features and technologies.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • What is an open source program office? And why do you need one?

      The open source program office is an essential part of any modern company with a reasonably ambitious plan to influence various sectors of software ecosystems. If a company wants to increase its influence, clarify its open source messaging, maximize the clout of its projects, or increase the efficiency of its product development, a multifaceted approach to open source programs is essential. Having viewed the operations of many such teams, I have summarized six common characteristics of successful open source programs….


      As engineering efforts go, these were smashing successes. Intel’s contributions to Linux and other open source ecosystems are well-known. IBM is still famous for its “$1 Billion investment in Linux” and the “Peace, Love and Linux” marketing campaign, not to mention its own efforts around establishing the Eclipse Foundation and significant contributions to the Apache Software Foundation. Both companies also armed themselves quite well with attorneys who were well-versed in intellectual property law, especially as it pertains to copyright and trademark laws that affect open source software. These efforts paved the way for a wider understanding of IP law in an open source context.

    • Open Data

      • Why open data matters today

        The main factor in any change first begins with observation. The data we collect allows us to analyze complex human patterns and behavior. Without data, there’s nothing to be observed.

        For some time, the government has been gathering large amounts of data. But now, they’re officially making that data accessible to the citizen. When President Obama recently announced the launch of The Opportunity Project, it set off a new initiative that seeks to improve economic mobility for all citizens with the use of digital tools and data sets.

      • What can you do with open data?

        Play a word association game and the word “open” will almost surely be followed by “source.” And open source is certainly an important force for preserving user freedoms and access to computing. However, code isn’t the only form of openness that’s important.

  • Programming/Development

    • What Are Microservices and Why Should You Use Them?

      Traditionally, software developers created large, monolithic applications. The single monolith would encompass all the business activities for a single application. As the requirements of the application grew, so did the monolith.

      In this model, implementing an improved piece of business functionality required developers to make changes within the single application, often with many other developers attempting to make changes to the same single application at the same time. In that environment, developers could easily step on each other’s toes and make conflicting changes that resulted in problems and outages.

    • Progress announces NativeScript 2.0 for native mobile app dev with Angular 2

      Progress announces the latest releast of NativeScript enabling developers to build native mobile apps in JavaScript running on all major mobile platforms.


  • Greece looks to international justice to regain Parthenon marbles from UK

    Greece has not abandoned the idea of resorting to international justice to repatriate the Parthenon marbles and is investigating new ways in which it might bring a claim against the British Museum.

    As campaigners prepare to mark the 200th anniversary of the antiquities’ “captivity” in London, Athens is working at forging alliances that would further empower its longstanding battle to retrieve the sculptures.

    “We are trying to develop alliances which we hope would eventually lead to an international body like the United Nations to come with us against the British Museum,” the country’s culture minister, Aristides Baltas, revealed in an interview.

  • Revenge Porn Creep Kevin Bollaert’s Appeal Underway… And Actually Raises Some Important Issues

    Let’s start with the basics: Kevin Bollaert is a creep who did some really horrible and shady stuff. He was something of a latecomer to the revenge porn space, basically copying a few of the more popular revenge porn sites that came before him in creating “YouGotPosted.” He also copied at least some of the “business model” of Craig Brittain’s “IsAnybodyDown” website, which purported to work with a third party (the fictitious “lawyer” “David Blade III”) who you could pay to take down those naked pictures someone leaked to the site. In the case of YouGotPosted, Bollaert set up a companion website, called ChangeMyReputation, where you could pay and that site would magically get images taken down off YouGotPosted (there is some dispute over how clear it was that the two sites were connected).


    Not surprisingly, California relies heavily on the infamous Rommates.com ruling, a rare case where a service provider lost its safe harbors by having a drop down menu that was seen as asking a discriminatory question about roommate preferences, violating fair housing laws. California is arguing that, by requiring uploaders to post user information, YouGotPosted is similar to Roommates.

  • Science

    • Why It’s Not Academia’s Job to Produce Code That Ships

      At the heart of the frustration is a legitimate accusation*: that academics care more about producing papers than about producing anything immediately (or close to immediately) useful for the real world. I have been hearing some variation of this criticism, from academics as well as industry people, for longer than I have been doing research. But these criticisms are equivalent to saying that TV writers care more about making a good show than being technically realistic. While both are correct observations, they should not be complaints. The real problem here is not that academics don’t care about relevance or that industry does not care about principles, but that there is a mismatch in expectations.

      It makes sense that people expect academic research results to work in companies right away. Research that makes tangible, measurable contributions is often what ends up being most popular with funding sources (including industry), media outlets, and other academics reviewing papers, faculty applications, and promotion cases. As a result, academic researchers are increasingly under pressure to do research that can be described as “realistic” and “practical,” to explicitly make connections between academic work and the real, practical work that goes on in industry.

      In reality, most research–and much of the research worth doing–is far from being immediately practical. For very applied research, the connections are natural and the claims of practicality may be a summer internship or startup away from being true. Everything else is a career bet. Academics bet years, sometimes the entirety, of their careers on visions of what the world will be like in five, ten, twenty years. Many, many academics spend many years doing what others consider “irrelevant,” “crazy,” or “impossible” so that the ideas are ready by the time the time the other factors–physical hardware, society–are in place.

    • China Closes the Innovation Gap

      While the U.S. expands spending on wars and “regime changes” – and slashes its budget for science and infrastructure – China is making different choices, now rapidly closing the gap on scientific innovation, writes John V. Walsh.

    • Watch John Oliver Dismantle the Stupid Way the Media Covers Every Scientific Study

      Does coffee cause cancer—or help prevent it? What about red wine? These are some of the vital questions that scientists have long struggled to answer, with journalists by their side to misreport the findings.

      For the media, scientific studies can be a great source of stories: Someone else does all the work on reaching a conclusion that appears to directly affect something your audience cares about (often their health). What’s more, that conclusion comes with a shiny gloss of indisputable factuality: “This isn’t just some made-up nonsense—it’s science! It must be true.” We’ve all seen how scientific conclusions that were carefully vetted by other scientists can be reduced or distorted beyond recognition for the sake of TV ratings or story clicks. I’m sure I’ve done it myself.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • There Could Be Lead in Your Water at Home. Here’s What You Can Do About It.

      Since news broke of the Flint crisis, lots of readers have asked for tips on how to avoid lead contamination in their own water. And for good reason: Lead pipes and plumbing are still relatively common in America, and water testing for the contaminant is notoriously spotty.

      Until the mid-1900s, lead was a go-to material for plumbing and service lines—the pipes that connect the city’s main pipes to each home. It wasn’t until 1986 that the US Environmental Protection Agency, recognizing the element’s disastrous effects on kids’ brains, mandated that all new lead solder, plumbing, and service lines be “lead-free.” The catch is that the rule didn’t apply to buildings constructed before 1986, and “lead-free” was defined as 8 percent lead until 2014, when a new policy kicked in that lowered that number to 0.25 percent.

      Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, utilities are supposed to test water for lead each year—and if more than 10 percent of homes have higher levels than the federal standard of 15 parts per billion, utilities have to notify customers and take action. But until this February, when the EPA clarified its policy, many utilities had protocols in place that misrepresented the results, says Erik Olson, a senior director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Some avoided testing older homes that likely had lead plumbing or discounted high results that skewed the average. Some would tell customers to flush out the water, releasing particulate contamination before the sample was taken. Some collected water in sample bottles with narrow tops; when the sample is collected at a trickle, it is less likely to carry particulates with it. In response to the crisis in Flint, the EPA clarified its water testing protocols in February, though the guidance is not legally binding.

    • People may be breathing in microplastics, health expert warns

      Environmental health professor says microparticles of plastic, known to damage marine life, could be entering the air

    • White Americans Are Dying Younger as Drug and Alcohol Abuse Rises [Ed: older]

      Life expectancy declined slightly for white Americans in 2014, according to new federal data, a troubling sign that distress among younger and middle-age whites who are dying at ever-higher rates from drug overdoses is lowering average life spans for the white population as a whole.

      The new federal data, drawn from all deaths recorded in the country in 2014, showed that life expectancy for whites dropped to 78.8 years in 2014 from 78.9 in 2013. Men and women had declines, but because of statistical rounding, the decline did not appear as sharp among men.

      Life expectancy for women fell to 81.1 in 2014 from 81.2 in 2013. The average life span for men also fell, but not enough to sink below 76.5 years, their life expectancy in 2013.

      “The increase in death in this segment of the population was great enough to affect life expectancy at birth for the whole group,” said Elizabeth Arias, the statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics who analyzed the data, referring to whites from their mid-20s to their mid-50s. “That is very unusual.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Why study the ‘bad guys’?

      Researchers have historically avoided getting up close and personal with ‘bad guys’ such as warlords or criminals. This aversion is not particularly surprising. Fieldwork in difficult and dangerous locations is challenging from both methodological and ethical perspectives. Yet face-to-face research with ‘bad guys’ is important if we want to understand the root causes of major social and political problems. In order to understand how injustice is produced and experienced by individuals, we have to take seriously the perpetrators of violence from a methodological standpoint.

    • Toddlers Have Already Shot 23 People This Year And It’s Only May

      According to a report via the Washington Post, American children aged three and under have shot at least 23 people in 2016 which is a five person increase since last year. In an analysis from October 2015 conducted by reporter Christopher Ingraham, the nation’s toddlers were shooting people at an average rate of one per week. These numbers are most likely on the low side, too. While sometimes it certainly feels like every week brings another story of a child stumbling upon a gun and shooting another person, consider the fact that the stories that get the press are the ones in which the victims suffer grievous harm. That means that toddlers have shot 23 people this year…that we know about.

    • Toddlers have shot at least 23 people this year

      This past week, a Milwaukee toddler fatally shot his mother after finding a handgun in the back seat of the car they were riding in. The case drew a lot of national attention given the unusual circumstances: Little kids rarely kill people, intentionally or not.

    • Cuba Will not Fall!

      I am not sure who has invented those rumors that Cuba is now facing a mortal danger, that it has lost its bearings, and that it could collapse at any moment, after just one lethal visit by US President Barack Obama. The rumors and speculations are snowballing, and in some circles of the North American and European Left, they are already being confused with reality.

    • How war trauma is passed down through families

      After VE Day, a look at how trauma can transcend generations, and the need for peacebuilding work to overcome the consequences of conflict.

    • Neo-fascists, racists, and misogynistic people are finding new voice with Donald Trump’s presidential bid
    • Voting for Empire is the Sole Option for Democrats and Republicans

      The presidential primaries offer a single choice for both Democrats and Republicans to vote for empire and permanent war. This year’s entertainment spectacle, what we call democratic elections, is a particularly gross circus of meaninglessness, misinformation, sound bites, and lies. Both parties are in support in the continuation of the US/NATO global empire of permanent war and the protection of the capital of the global 1%. Even Bernie Sanders calls for drone strikes and continued war on Isis and other evil terrorists.

      Neo-fascists, racists, and misogynistic people are finding new voice with Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Neo-conservatives and fundamentalists found hope with Ted Cruz. Moderates, liberals and women see Hillary Clinton as a chance for Supreme Court balance and gender equality, and left-leaning liberals are cheering for democratic socialist Sanders to save our economy by breaking up big banks and restoring trust in government.

    • Sufi preacher latest victim of Bangladesh killing spree

      A 65-year-old Muslim Sufi preacher was hacked to death by unidentified machete-wielding assailants in northwest Bangladesh, two weeks after a liberal university professor was killed in a similar attack claimed by the dreaded ISIS.

      Shahidullah was found dead with gashes on the right shoulder and a slit throat in a mango orchard in Rajshahi city’s Tanor upazila, in an attack that bears the hallmark of previous murders of intellectuals, bloggers and minorities by Islamists in the country.

    • Pakistani activist murdered after praising London for electing first Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan

      A Pakistani activist has been murdered by gunmen hours after hailing Londoners for electing Sadiq Khan as the new mayor of the city.

      Khurram Zaki, a former journalist and activist, was shot and killed by gunmen riding motorcycles in the southern port city of Karachi, according to Pakistani police officer Muqaddas Haider.

    • Seven people shot dead as polls open in the Philippines

      Seven people were shot dead and another was wounded when a convoy of vehicles was ambushed in the Philippines Monday just hours before polls opened for national elections, police said.

    • The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Prison

      Having returned from his cherry picking expedition with a basket full of rocks, Ferguson told us of the structural violence to which Kissinger has been subject at the hands of “the conspiracy theorists of the left.” “In his People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn argues that Kissinger’s policies in Chile were intended at least in part to serve the economic interests of International Telephone and Telegraph,” Ferguson writes. As we saw last time, Zinn argued nothing of the sort — and neither did the section of the Senate committee report that Zinn had actually been closely paraphrasing, which merely provides examples of ITT’s involvement without making any suppositions about anyone’s motivations whatsoever. This didn’t stop Ferguson from rather weirdly going on to denounce Zinn’s dry restatement of the Church Committee’s findings as numbering among the “diatribes” in which Zinn and his ilk provide “gratuitous insults” against Kissinger “in place of evidence;” the “insult” in question turned out to have been made years later, in another book. Then he did some other odd and dishonest things as well, all in the space of a single paragraph. Go back and read the full account if you haven’t already; I’ll be sitting here worrying about the New Republic, for without TNR, where will our nation’s center-left hawks hammer out dynamic new solutions to the Arab Question?

    • Kenya To Close Refugee Camps Citing Economic Issues And Fear Of Terrorism

      The Kenyan government announced plans last week to shut down all its refugee camps — including the world’s largest camp — in a decision that will affect more than 600,000 people already displaced by famine and war.

      The move will affect two major camps in Kakuma and Dadaab. The Kakuma camp holds about 190,000 refugees, mostly from South Sudan. The camps in Dadaab hold around 300,000 people, primarily Somali refugees fleeing from Al Qaeda-linked Shabaab insurgents in their war-torn country.

    • Turkey: Border Guards Kill and Injure Asylum Seekers

      Turkish border guards are shooting and beating Syrian asylum seekers trying to reach Turkey, resulting in deaths and serious injuries, Human Rights Watch said today. The Turkish authorities should stop pushing Syrian asylum seekers back at the border and should investigate all use of excessive force by border guards.

    • German kills one in ‘Islamist motivated’ knife attack

      A man killed one person and wounded three others in a knife attack at a German railway station Tuesday that prosecutors said had “an apparent Islamist motive”.

      It is Germany’s third knife attack with an apparent Islamist motivation since September.

      Police said they had arrested a 27-year-old German man who had slashed four people around 5 am (0300 GMT) at the station in the small town of Grafing, east of Munich.

      One of the victims, a 50-year-old man, later died of his wounds in hospital, said Ken Heidenreich, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.

      The others wounded were men aged 43, 55 and 58, Heidenreich said.

      “Around 5 am this morning a 27-year-old German attacked four people with a knife,” Heidenreich told AFP.

    • Man held after Germany knife attacks

      A knife man’s been arrested after a rampage at a train station in Germany that’s left at least one dead and wounded others. Paul Chapman reports.

    • Mock terror attack: ‘Suicide bomb’ at Trafford Centre

      A mock terror attack, featuring a bomber simulating killing and injuring shoppers, has been staged at one of England’s largest shopping centres.

      It was part of a terrorism training exercise at the Trafford Centre, Greater Manchester overnight to test the emergency response to an attack.

    • Dramatic pictures of anti-terror exercise at Trafford Centre

      Emergency services have been taking part in a major anti-terror exercise overnight at the Trafford Centre.

      Armed with machine guns, officers from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit are testing their response to a potential attack.

      Around 800 people will take part in the exercise which continues tonight and ends at a disused community home in Newton le Willows.

    • How Schooling Leads to War

      How did we become so manipulable and herd-like? So easily spooked into hysterical stampedes? So docile and ready to be driven by our government herders over the precipice of war?

    • America’s Two-Faced Policy on Iran

      The Obama administration seeks to demonize Iran — along with Russia and China — while also demanding their help in areas of U.S. interest, an approach that is both disingenuous and dangerous, as British diplomat Alastair Crooke explains.

    • A Gift of Culture to Battered Palmyra

      Even those with a limited knowledge of Russia may be credited with having heard of St. Petersburg being called the Venice of the North. This is a title it must share with a variety of other claimants famed for their canals, such as Bruges in Belgium, although St. Petersburg has more justification than competing cities given its common architectural roots with the Venice of the South, namely the leading Eighteenth Century Italian architects who contributed greatly to forming its appearance.

    • The World Through Trump’s Eyes

      With his proposals for a registry of Muslims, a ban on their entry into the country, building a wall to prevent illegal immigration, and the deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants, Donald Trump, if he were elected president, might trend the country domestically toward fascism. (His election is possible but still unlikely, because the Democrats have an intrinsic advantage on the electoral college map, and President Obama’s approval rating has begun to exceed fifty percent, traditionally a key determiner for the outcome of the election of a president’s successor.) But what would the world look like if Donald Trump actually became president?

    • Trump’s empty administration

      As presumptive nominee takes first steps on transition, GOP policy veterans say they’re not interested.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Top palm oil producer sues green group over deforestation allegations

      One of the world’s largest palm oil producers is suing the green body that suspended its sustainability certification last month because of allegations it had deforested Indonesian rainforests.

      The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a body set up by industry and NGOs to address environmental concerns about the commodity’s production, confirmed it had been served with a lawsuit by the Malaysian palm giant, IOI.

    • In Wake of Cáceres Murder, Dam Funders Pull Out—But Repression Continues

      One day after a Honduran judge charged four suspects in the murder of renowned activist Berta Cáceres—including one executive of the Honduran company DESA, a developer of the Agua Zarca dam Cáceres opposed so passionately—European financiers said they “seek to exit” the controversial project that likely got her killed.

      According to Friends of the Earth International (FOEI), the European development banks FMO and FinnFund said Monday that they “will organize a mission to Honduras, to take place as soon as possible, comprised of independent experts, to develop a strategy for exiting the project.”

      In the wake of Cáceres’ March 3rd assassination, both FMO and FinnFund temporarily suspended all disbursements towards the Agua Zarca project, located in Western Honduras. Prior to the killing, COPINH, the Indigenous rights group Cáceres co-founded, had “repeatedly contacted” both institutions, “insisting that they should not fund the Agua Zarca project, as the project sponsor had not obtained the required free, prior, informed consent of the indigenous Lenca people, and because land titles had not been properly obtained,” FOEI notes.

    • The 4th Largest Economy In The World Just Generated 90 Percent Of The Power It Needs From Renewables

      On Sunday, for a brief, shining moment, renewable power output in Germany reached 90 percent of the country’s total electricity demand.

      That’s a big deal. On May 8th, at 11 a.m. local time, the total output of German solar, wind, hydropower, and biomass reached 55 gigawatts (GW), just short of the 58 GW consumed by every light bulb, washing machine, water heater and personal computer humming away on Sunday morning. See the graph below, courtesy Agora Energiewende, a German clean energy think tank. (It’s important to note that most likely, not all of that 55 GW could be used at the time it was generated due to system and grid limitations, but it’s still noteworthy that this quantity of power was produced.)

    • India Seeks to Shut 12% of Power Capacity in Anti-Pollution Move

      India plans to shut aging coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 37 gigawatts to cut emissions and reduce the use of fuel and water.

      The plants are more than 25 years old and have turned uneconomical, said S.D. Dubey, chairman of the Central Electricity Authority, the planning wing of the country’s power ministry. They will be replaced by super-critical units, which are more efficient, at the same sites, he said, without giving a timeline.

    • India Wants To Kick Its Dirty Coal Habit
    • Exclusive: Emails Reveal Navy’s Intent to Break Law, Threatening Endangered Wildlife

      When it comes to getting its way with war-gaming in the Pacific Northwest, nobody is better at the concept of “distributed lethality” than the US Navy. In 2015, the Navy introduced this concept “that promised to add more fire power to all manner of Navy vessels and operate them in a way that would spread thin enemy defenses.” The Navy seems determined to move forward with planned military activities like increasing jet dogfighting, electromagnetic warfare training and other actions, regardless of how many animals it kills. Internal emails show how the Navy has been working to manipulate the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) biologists into bending the law, then proceeded to break the law, whilst the consultations between the two entities are ongoing.

    • Why Predator-Friendly Beef Isn’t So Friendly, After All

      While non-lethal means of protecting livestock are desirable, one should never conclude that this makes livestock production “predator friendly.” It’s like suggesting that electronic cigarettes are “safer” than smoking a regular cigarette. The best thing that anyone can do who wants to help predators, the environment ,as well as their personal health, is to eat less meat.

    • Break Free or Burn in Hell: a Message From the Canadian Tar Sands

      Some time ago, the environmentalist “Break Free” movement planned a number of protest actions around the world during the first two weeks of May. The protests have a simple and basic message: burning fossil fuels is unsafe and those resources must be left in the ground.

    • Tar-ma is a Bitch!: the Real Tragedy of Fort McMurray

      The myth then perpetuated by the government was that the Tar Sands could undergo “reclamation” whereby the land is dug up after the oil is extracted and then to be returned to its original state. No mention was made of the strip mines and tailings ponds that are, in reality, left behind. No mention is made of the damage caused in detail by these tar sands which is a constant toxic pollution which functions as a very slow-motion oil spill affecting the region’s rivers and ground water (experts estimate that this could be far worse than the Exxon Valdez oil spill); those people living downstream (notably First Nations) have already chronicled the deformations of pickerel and walleye in Lake Athabasca, game animals and fish have being found covered with tumours and mutations and since the early naughts, there has been observed in humans cancers and autoimmune diseases in Fort Chipewyan.

    • Wildfire: Syrian Refugees in Canada Donating to help climate Refugees

      Syrian refugees in Canada are using Facebook and web sites to raise donations for climate refugees from the massive tar sands fire that has destroyed much of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada and forced the evacuation of 80,000 people living in the city and its surroundings.

      The worst fire disaster in the North American west coast in a century is expected to become even bigger in coming days, fanned by heavy winds. It will threaten further communities.

    • Will Climate Change make the Mideast Uninhabitable & trigger mass exodus?

      Researchers at Germany’s Max Planck Institute and their scientific partners have found that even with just a 3.6 degree average rise in global temperatures, parts of the Middle East could become too hot to live in.

      Warming won’t be even around the world. Some places will warm more and faster than others. The Middle East is such a place. Summer temperatures are expected to increase twice as fast as the world average.

    • Rural Paraguayans fight for land amid corruption, poverty and violence

      This fight centres on land ownership. According to a 2008 census, 1.6% of Paraguay’s population controls 80% of its agricultural land. At the same time, 300,000 family ‘farmers’ live without access to any land at all. This shapes a situation in which a third of the rural population lives in extreme poverty.

      Such inequity is a legacy of the country’s long years of dictatorship. During his 35-year rule, General Stroessner tortured his opponents in bathtubs, threw them out of planes, or parcelled them in barbed wire before dumping their bodies in the River Paraguay.

      As part of the clientilist networks through which he maintained power, Stroessner divided public land among the country’s military and political elite. 10 million hectares – 25% of all the land in Paraguay – were given away or sold at negligible price

    • These States Don’t Want You to Get Solar Power

      A lot has been said already about the success of the states that are leading the adoption of solar energy. There’s plenty to celebrate, as solar installations smash records and as the industry grows 12 times faster than the U.S. economy. At the same time, it’s important to recognize that many people live in places where the government is either not facilitating a solar market or is actively smothering it.

    • Indigenous leaders from three continents are touring Europe begging people to boycott palm oil

      Willian Aljure bangs his hand on the table. He’s speaking in Spanish, trying desperately to make a roomful of quiet, laptop-focused London journalists absorb his point:

      “It cannot be a coincidence,” he says, anger rising in his voice, “that four countries are talking about the same damage.”

      Aljure represents indigenous communities in Colombia that he says have been decimated, their lands grabbed and their forests cut down, by large agribusiness operations planting biofuels and palm oil. Nine members of his family have died as a result of the companies’ aggression and destruction, Aljure says, and the last was his mother. His voice cracks. He passes the mic, drinks from a glass of water, and covers his eyes.

      On his right are community leaders from Indonesia. On his left, representatives from Peru and Liberia. All have similar stories.

      So far, so painfully familiar.

    • WWF seal cam draws 225K watchers

      The World Wide Fund for Nature began streaming live video of a rock in Saimaa lake known to be a favourite spot for the ultra-rare Saimaa ringed seal. More than 200,000 viewers have tuned into the new service and been treated to live footage of the animal.

    • Sea Level Rise Is Here, And Is Gobbling Up Islands

      Sea level rise isn’t a distant threat: It’s already swallowing islands, according to a recent study.

      The study, published Friday, found that sea level rise and coastal erosion has caused five low-lying coral atolls in the Solomon Islands to disappear into the ocean. These islands were vegetated — once densely-so, the Washington Post reports, with palms, oaks, mangroves, and other trees — but weren’t populated.

  • Finance

    • Newspaper chain sending IT jobs overseas

      The McClatchy Company, which operates a major chain of newspapers in the U.S., is moving IT work overseas.

      The number of affected jobs, based on employee estimates, range from 120 to 150.

      The chain owns about 30 newspapers, including The Sacramento Bee, where McClatchy is based; The Fresno Bee, The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., The State in Columbia, S.C. and the Miami Herald.

      In March, McClatchy IT employees were told that the company had signed a contract with Wipro, an India-based IT services provider.

    • Microsoft Revenue Quietly Surpasses $1 Trillion [Ed: while evading tax]

      As Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat expressed shock that Boeing’s tax breaks saved it $304 million last year, I noted that the legislature’s actions here are saving Microsoft approximately $776 million in 2016 (I’ve been reporting on Microsoft’s Nevada-based tax dodge since 2004.)

      According to my data, Apple surpassed $1 trillion in revenue 2015 but selling pricier hardware has given it a historical advantage. Still, Apple’s cumulatively earned only $261.6 billion in profit to Microsoft’s $265.2 billion. Google’s earned $96.3 billion cumulatively.

    • Trump Completely Contradicts Himself On Taxes For The Wealthy In Two Interviews Hours Apart

      Within hours, Republican presidential candidate and presumptive nominee Donald Trump took two very different stances on taxes for the wealthy.

      On Sunday, speaking with ABC’s “This Week,” Trump insisted that although analyses show that the detailed tax plan he released earlier in the campaign cycle would give the wealthy an enormous tax break, overwhelming the relief he would give to the poor and middle class, that that’s not what the final outcome will be. Instead, he insisted, the rich will pay more in taxes under President Trump.

      “They will go up a little bit,” he said of the taxes paid by the wealthy. “In my plan they’re going down, but by the time it’s negotiated they’ll go up.”

      When host George Stephanopoulos pointed out that is a different position than outlined in his plan, he responded, “It’s not a change, George. It’s a negotiation,” adding, “If I could get my plan approved the way it is now I’d be very happy. But it’s not going to happen… By the time it gets negotiated it’s going to be a different plan.” His plan is “just a concept,” he said. “We’re putting in policy. We’re putting in a statement. It’s just a concept.”

    • Yes, Voters Really Are Angry and Anxious About the Unfairness of the Economy

      There is a growing amount of contrarian analysis these days suggesting that Americans really aren’t so angry about the economy after all, that what appears to be economic populism is really just a cover for racism, sexism or other cultural issues, and that ultimately the only thing the majority of voters really want is a stable technocrat who will keep the good times rolling while fixing some social issues. Some of my colleagues have written pieces in this vein, including Nancy LeTourneau yesterday, and Harold Pollack in March. Washington Monthly alum Kevin Drum hammers away at this theme again and again. John Sides at the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage uses consumer index statistics to argue that Americans are really happier about the economy than they’ve been since “Morning in America,” which in turn was picked up by Matt Yglesias at Vox.

    • Scientology leader’s father slams son as ‘military strongman’ living large while followers slave away [Ed: Ponzi scheme dressed up as "religion" to dodge law]

      The father of the leader of the Church of Scientology ripped into his own son for living high on the hog while followers of the cult-like religion eke out a meager existence, often giving back their earnings to buy presents for the church leader.

    • So Sue Them: What We’ve Learned About the Debt Collection Lawsuit Machine

      ProPublica spent years gathering data to shed light on how debt collectors use the courts. Today, we run through the most important lessons we learned about a tactic that affects millions.

    • Puerto Rico Has Become America’s Version of Greece

      Puerto Rico has now firmly established itself as America’s analogue to Greece. To get back to fiscal sanity, Puerto Rico is going to need some combination of debt forgiveness, political reform, and privatization. Congress may be in a position to help, but it will have to face down powerful special interests to do so.

      After missing relatively small bond payments last August and this January, Puerto Rico’s public sector defaulted on at least $367 million of principal due May 1. As a consolation, investors did receive $9 million in interest from the defaulting entity, Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank.

      The fact that Puerto Rico even has a Government Development Bank should raise an eyebrow. State-owned banks are not a major feature of the mainland US economy, perhaps because failures of state banks contributed to a number of state bond defaults in the 1840s. Since the US didn’t take over Puerto Rico until 1898, the island was not around to learn that lesson. The GDB is one of over fifty public corporations dominating Puerto Rico’s economy. Others control the island’s electricity, water, and sewer services.

    • Protests Threaten Trans-Atlantic Trade Deal

      An unprecedented protest movement of a scope not seen since the Iraq war in Germany has pushed negotiations over the TTIP trans-Atlantic free trade agreement to the brink of collapse. The demonstrations are characterized by a level of professionalism not previously seen.

    • Ireland’s tax arrangements are as clear as a pint of Guinness

      Ireland has repeatedly been in the spotlight for its favourable and controversial tax incentives – which have attracted numerous large tech companies to its shores.

      However, the country has also been accused of being less than transparent in some of its tax arrangements.

      The European Commission is currently investigating the emerald isle over allegations it cut a sweetheart deal with Apple, claiming the arrangement amounts to “state aid”. The investigation, which began in June 2014, was expected to conclude earlier this year. The commission said it is waiting for Ireland to submit further information.

    • The Collapse of the Middle-Class Job

      Our middle-income jobs are disappearing. That fact may be disputed by free-market advocates, who want to believe Barack Obama when he gushes, “We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private sector job creation in history.”

      But the evidence shows that living-wage, family-sustaining positions are quickly being replaced by lower-wage and less secure forms of employment. These plentiful low-level jobs have padded the unemployment figures, leaving much of America believing in an overhyped recovery.

    • Wall Street Donors Flocking to Clinton

      Now that Donald Trump has secured his position as the presumptive Republican nominee, Wall Street donors are fleeing the party and throwing their support behind Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

      A Wall Street Journal analysis published late Sunday found that the former secretary of state “has raised $4.2 million in total from Wall Street, $344,000 of which was contributed in March alone.”

      In fact, Clinton has seen a surge in financial sector donations since business-friendly Republican candidates—namely former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio—dropped out of the race. According to the newspaper’s reporting on fundraising data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics, “the former secretary of state received 53 percent of the donations from Wall Street in March, up from 32 percent last year and 33 percent in January through February, as the nominating contests began.”

      WSJ notes that “Trump, by contrast, hasn’t garnered more than 1 percent of Wall Street contributions in any month through March,” although the New York billionaire is expected to be much more active in soliciting donations for the general election.

      The report further cites an analysis by the nonpartisan crowdfunding resource Crowdpac, which found that “more than 500 donors, including many Wall Street executives, who gave more than $200 to a Republican who later dropped out, including Messrs. Bush and Rubio, have since given to Mrs. Clinton,” WSJ wrote.

    • Sue your bank! Why it’s better to go to court than to arbitrate in the long run

      In plain English, that means you’re losing your right to join together with other bank customers who have been hit by the same kind of fees and push back against the policy in a class-action lawsuit. A lawyer isn’t likely to represent just you – unless you’re really wealthy, in which case, the bank probably would be waiving all those fees anyway, right?

    • Clinton Campaign to Republican Donors: Hillary Shares Your Values

      Late last week, Politico reported that Clinton operatives have initiated efforts to “peel off establishment Republicans who might otherwise grudgingly support Trump,” demonstrating their eagerness to win over big money donors previously wedded to the conservative establishment.

      Specifically, Clinton supporters have been targeting the donor base of Jeb Bush, whose main super PAC raised a striking $121 million, much of it before the race for the Republican nomination began to heat up. We know how that ended.

      But the Clinton camp sees opportunity lying in the rubble of the former Florida governor’s failed campaign.

    • Trump Picks Former Goldman Partner And Soros Employee As Finance Chairman

      In an oddly ironic twist, today Donald Trump announced that he has picked as chairman of his newly launched fundraising operation none other than a former employee of the bank he has repeatedly criticized in the past, and which he used as a foil to criticize Ted Cruz: Goldman Sachs.

    • Trump Sells Out

      Jameson’s thesis and the antithesis in Trump demonstrate hypotheticals that can give one a moment for contemplation. Our political discourse has moved in a phenomenal direction over the past eight years. When Obama came around, calling him a socialist was a slur, now most mainstream voters born after the end of the Vietnam War who remember the end of the USSR as a childhood news item are willing to describe their politics as social democratic. Mainstream Republicans like Matalin are now embracing an isolationist platform. The collapse of these insurgent populist candidacies could give the opening for a midterm election wherein Greens and Libertarians would have an honest shot at Congress, though I think the Libertarians are for too trusting of Gary Johnson. Nevertheless, the Vote Pact Sam Husseini advocates for is a step towards a true parliamentary order.

    • LuxLeaks court case against two whistleblowers and a journalist

      As Luxembourg strives to mend its tarnished image with a ‘Nation Branding’ scheme, a lawsuit against two whistleblowers and a journalist puts the small country back into the international spotlight.

    • Panama Papers Goes Live with Searchable Database of Tax Evaders

      It also follows the publication of a manifesto last week written by the whistleblower, who still goes by the anonymous name John Doe, which slammed “America’s broken campaign finance system” and denounced capitalism as “financial slavery.”

    • Panama Papers database dump reveals 200,000 secret offshore account details

      The “Panama Papers” database went live on Monday – the largest ever release of secret offshore companies and the people behind them.

      The data, collated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), comes from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca and includes information about companies, trusts, foundations and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens, from Hong Kong to Nevada in the United States.

    • Will the Trans-Pacific Partnership Turn Silicon Valley Into Detroit?

      The proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) like to describe it as a free-trade deal for the 21st century. That might be a good sales pitch, but it’s not accurate. The TPP has little to with reducing trade barriers, which in most cases were already low. The TPP can more accurately be described as a piñata that is chock full of special deals for the corporate interests who negotiated it. It will likely do more to impede trade than promote it, and in the process it creates rules that potentially override democratic decision-making at all levels of government.

    • A Reality Check for ‘Charter School Week’

      For education observers in the U.S., every week seems like Charter School Week. As billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates, Eli Broad, the Walton family, the Koch brothers, and others put millions of dollars per year into a “reform” movement that undermines and supplants truly public education, the government diverts more and more of taxpayer money to charters and other variations of “choice.”

    • Putinism won’t end with a bang, but a warrant

      New charges concerning several leading Russian officials reveal the greatest threat to the Kremlin’s hold on power — elite corruption.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hillary is Trump’s dream opponent: Clinton is exactly the “limousine liberal” his coalition distrusts the most

      Two images have electrified American politics for the last half century. One is quintessentially sophisticated, goes about in bespoke clothing, and comes equipped with the most imposing social credentials of fame, fortune, higher learning and prestige. The other is lacking in all that, dresses in non-designer jeans and polyester, is of modest means, employment, and education, and flies well beneath the radars of social visibility. Both images were invented at more or less the same moment. Both were strategically deployed by political elites running the Republican Party to vanquish their Democratic Party foes. However, those creatures have now turned on their creators. The Grand Old Party is in shambles as a result.

    • Hillary Clinton Versus Bernie Sanders: Taking Election Fraud Allegations Seriously (Part 1)

      Joshua Holland’s editor at The Nation apparently did not think much of his work to debunk election fraud allegations in the contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Instead, Holland put the half-baked column out at Raw Story after giving a softball interview, replete with a textbook example of circular reasoning, to the sole exit pollster for this election cycle. As with his since debunked debunking of a federally coordinated crackdown on the Occupy movement, Holland afterward went on his merry mocking way. Here, even though he acknowledged that he’d been alerted by dozens, if not hundreds of people, that a citizens group gave sworn testimony to irregularities in Chicago’s audit of electronically cast ballots between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Holland did not bother with so much as a phone call to Chicago’s Board of Elections to ask about those allegations.

    • Why I’m out at the Las Vegas Review-Journal

      In the five months since the Las Vegas Review-Journal was sold to the family of Sheldon Adelson for an obscene amount of money, I’ve watched my colleagues put their jobs on the line time and again in the name of journalistic integrity.

    • Trump Says He Likes Bernie’s Ideas, but Hillary Appears to be Running Away From Them

      Donald Trump has made it clear that he’s paying attention to Bernie Sanders’ sharpest critiques of Hillary Clinton and plans to use them if she’s the nominee—just as he has mimicked other Sanders stances. So why isn’t Hillary embracing Bernie’s best ideas?

      That question came into sharper relief in this past week, after Trump secured the GOP nomination after Indiana’s primary and Sanders upset Clinton and pledged to keep running despite her large lead in delegates. With the prospect that Clinton will be attacked by both Trump and Sanders as the primary season continues, one wonders why she is not doing more to embrace his best ideas.

    • On World Stage, Clinton and Trump Present Different, but Serious, Dangers

      The best that can be said of this political season is that the fixed framework of American politics appears to be fracturing. This will be a fine thing if it proves to be so, and I view this development as especially important in its medium-term potential on the foreign policy side. The question is whether things will truly fall apart, or at least begin to do so. Two policies hang in the balance above all others—the relationship with Israel and our fomented confrontation with Russia—and I will return to them.

    • The Left Is Winning the Debate Around the World: So Now What?

      Nobody—least of all Corbyn—assumed that he would win the debate, let alone the election, with one of the largest majorities of any Labour leader.

    • Donald Trump is Destroying My Mind

      The thugs with whom Trump has increasingly surrounded himself ought to be the cause of major concern and investigation. Forget Cory Lewandowski, whose lashing out at people (physically, not only rhetorically) is a concrete extension of Trump’s statements at that protestors at his rallies ought to be thrown out or roughed up, rather than escorted out of these events without bodily harm. Since Trump has proposed the hit-them-back method numerous times, is that how he will treat people who oppose his agenda should he become President? That used to be known as “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” which is frightening as hell. Yet Lewandowski pales in the face of Paul Manafort, who has propped up some of the vilest Eastern European dictators of our time with dirty tricks and false information. Shouldn’t we all cringe now that Trump has been provided with Secret Service information and that highly secure information may be shared with Manafort?

    • The Distortion of American Politics

      Consequently, it must have come as an unpleasant shock to the Times Union’s editors when, in the April 19 New York State Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders emerged victorious not only in the city of Albany, but in the entire capital region. Indeed, Sanders garnered 53.3 percent of the Democratic vote in New York’s 20th Congressional district (an area comprising all of Albany and Schenectady Counties, as well as portions of Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Montgomery Counties). Having defeated Hillary Clinton by a healthy margin of almost seven percent, Sanders won four out of the seven delegates allocated to the district by the New York State Democratic Party. The outcome of the race was a reversal of the results in the 2008 Democratic primary, when Clinton handily defeated Barack Obama in the capital region.

    • Ian Warren, the Nuneaton Charlatan, or How to Fabricate Front Page News

      Firstly, the whole sample is 16 people. That is right, 16 people. They are supposed all to be ex-Labour, though there is little evidence of that in the transcripts. What is not in dispute is that they are all Tory voters.

      So you have 16 Tory voters, in two groups male and female. But out of 16 people there is not one retired person. Not one young voter. Not one person unemployed. And every single one is in a nuclear heterosexual relationship with children. Every single one is a homeowner.

      Furthermore their sources of information are (by order most mentioned) the Daily Mail, Sky, the BBC and the Sun. Only one out of 16 mentions the internet as a source of political information.

      People who voted Tory constitute already just 24% of the general population. Exclude retired, tenants, single, childless, gay, young and internet savvy people as well, and you get down to a deliberately chosen 5% of the population from which to choose your sample. You then get these 16 carefully chosen, blinkered right wing bigots into a room. Nevertheless something still goes wrong for your research. Two of the 16 (in the female group) state a firm intention to vote Labour next time (while a larger number state they would consider it).

    • The Need for Progressive Voices

      Changing the corporate media for the better is easier than you think.

    • Why are Russia’s journalists so prone to conspiracy theory?

      “A coincidence? I don’t think so!” – the calling-card response of Dmitry Kiselyov, host of Russia’s prime-time news show and director of Russia Today, has long become a conspiracy meme on the Russian internet. It also reflects the rise of conspiracy theory in Russian media.

      Nowadays, Russian state television channels frequently expose the “criminal” activities of domestic NGOs, the “foreign agents” working to subvert the Russian state. Prominent anti-corruption campaigner and opposition politician Aleksei Navalny is declared to be agent of all western security services. Russia, it seems, is being forced to defend itself from the “information war” unleashed by Washington and Brussels. Talk shows and news bulletins constantly rotate a cast of experts who explain, their voices faltering with emotion, how the US is secretly controlling the world.

    • This Election Inspired a John Grisham Novel. Now It Just Got Even Weirder.

      “If Don Blankenship drops $3 million into an election years ago with a shadow group called And for the Sake of the Kids,” says Bailey, the plaintiff’s attorney, “and [now] the Chamber and the Republican Party drop in $2 million on a nonpartisan, one-shot primary type deal, you tell me what improvement we’ve had.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • In Syria’s rebel areas, journalists complain of new censorship

      Journalists in Syria’s opposition or rebel-held areas say they are being censored and violently intimidated, sometimes as badly as under the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

      Many Syrians in these areas where the government has been cast out had hoped the Syrian uprising would bring all sorts of freedoms, including press freedoms. However, those hopes have been dealt a severe blow over the past several years.

    • European Parliament Orders MEP To Take Down A Video About His Attempt To Visit The ‘Reading Room’ For Trade Documents

      We’ve written many times about the insane levels of secrecy around various trade agreements, including the TTIP agreement that is being worked on between the EU and the US. Basically, everything gets negotiated behind closed doors — though certain lobbyists get full access — and then it will be presented as a final document when it’s too late for the public to actually weigh in. It’s the ultimate in corrupt processes. In the past the USTR has admitted that it demands such secrecy because if it had to reveal its positions publicly, the public wouldn’t support the agreement. In the US this has led to ridiculous situations like such as when Senator Ron Wyden, who at the time was the chair of the Senate’s subcommittee on international trade, was not allowed to bring a staffer of his, who is an expert in international trade, with him to read the latest text of a trade negotiation. Because that went against the rules.

      And it’s been standard practice in the US that if a politician does want to see the documents, they can’t bring anything with them (not just no staff, but no electronics, no way to write anything down). They can just “read and retain.” The EU has been following the US’s lead on this, with special “reading rooms” for elected officials where someone watches over their every move. Again, they’re not allowed any electronics. They are allowed a pen and are given paper to write on, which is a modest improvement on the USTR’s system, but still ridiculous.

    • The Long Arm of Chinese Censorship Reaches South Korea

      In recent months, incidents of Communist Party restrictions on free expression extending beyond China’s borders have occurred across Asia. Now South Korea, a leading democracy in the region, has joined this disturbing trend.

      On May 4, a court in Seoul issued a last-minute ruling canceling a series of classical Chinese dance and music shows by Shen Yun Performing Arts, scheduled to take place at KBS Hall over the weekend. The ruling explicitly cites threats by the Chinese embassy aimed at the theater owner, including implicit references to financial reprisals if the shows go on as planned.

    • Erdogan, Turkish President, Seeks to Gag German Media Boss
    • Turkish Government Censors Video Projection and Youth Biennial Artworks

      This year hasn’t been particularly easy for members of the arts community in Turkey, as they have come increasingly under fire, facing growing censorship and cancellations of exhibitions. It’s an uncertain, tense environment in which there is little tolerance for artistic dissent. This past New Year’s Eve, members of the arts community were arrested during the peaceful demonstration “Barış İçin Yürüyorum (I Am Walking for Peace)” in Diyarbakır, and while they have been subsequently released they might be eventually charged like hundreds of others have been in the aftermath of the Gezi Park protests, including minors and the elderly. In February, the exhibition Post-Peace, curated by Russian curator Katia Krupennikova, to be held at the cultural nonprofit Akbank Sanat, was cancelled a week before the opening because of the delicate situation in Turkey in the aftermath of the Ankara bombings. In March, ARTER, one of the city’s leading institutions, cancelled the opening reception for its major exhibitions of the season, also in response to recent bombings.

    • Censorship Never Works

      Initially the campaign against the Jews involved burning its books. Almost three quarters of all Hebrew books written and printed in Europe were either destroyed or confiscated. The Jews responded by having more copies of its core books printed beyond the reach of the Inquisition. Yet the Church also initiated a formidable campaign of censoring and altering Jewish texts, whether the Talmud, commentaries on the Bible, polemics, or prayerbooks it considered offensive to Christianity or heretical. A specific publication was issued, called Sefer Hazikkuk, which gave detailed instructions on what to look out for and how alterations had to be made in order to satisfy the censors before a text could be released.

    • Comment: ‘Jew’ is right word, but sounds wrong

      I tried to explain that to say one is a Jew is not offensive in the slightest, but she was adamant.

    • Unfair Attack on UK’s Labour Party

      The British Labour Party is under attack for “anti-Semitism” because a few of its members have made remarks critical of Israel and Zionism, but this assault is an abuse of a very serious accusation, says Lawrence Davidson.

    • South Africa’s new Internet censorship law – FPB will force ISPs to block online content

      Ellipsis Regulatory Solutions has provided an overview of the Film and Publication Board’s new Online Regulation Policy.

    • Africa’s “worst internet censorship law” gets updated, and it’s not that bad

      South African online users received a bit of a shock last year, when the Film and Publications Board (FPB) released its Draft Online Regulation Policy, a document designed to bring the FPB’s powers up-to-date for an age of digital distribution.

      The organisation maintained its primary purpose was to protect children by regulating the availability of inappropriate content online, but because the language of the original document was so broad reaching the US-based Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called it “Africa’s worst new internet censorship law.”

    • Reddit’s Technology Subreddit Ponders Banning Wired & Forbes For Blocking Adblock Users

      Over the last year there has been a growing number of websites that have decided to “deal” with the rise of ad blockers by blocking ad blocking users entirely. Blocking the blockers was the recently recommended course of action by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), which suggested the best way to have a “conversation” about ad blockers was to try and prevent them from being used. And while sites like the New York Times, GQ, Forbes and Wired have all happily pursued this course of action, their actual implementation has ranged from frustrating to downright comical.

    • Adelaide censorship film vies for awards

      Young Adelaide filmmaker Henry Thong’s mission to create a short film exploring free speech and censorship was prompted by two international events: the terrorist attack on French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo and the hacking of Sony Pictures data.

    • New artists emerge as religious censorship eases: Iran

      Iran is open for business.

      Nuclear sanctions are being lifted.

      Its leaders are hoping for tens of billions of dollars in investment.

      And behind the scenes in the back streets and cafes… a different sort of opening is under way.

      Musicians have found religious censorship is also easing.

      That’s led to a new wave of artists coming to light.

      But how far will they be allowed to go?

      Middle East correspondent, Matt Brown, has been speaking to musicians in Tehran.

    • Obama slams campus censorship (and calls out anti-Trump protestors?) [VIDEO]
    • Obama Advises Students Against Disrupting Political Campaign Rallies
    • Japanese vagina kayak artist found guilty of obscenity
    • After Apple and Disney, China’s Censorship Crackdown Goes After More Than 7,000 Foreign NGOs

      The recent shutdowns of iTunes, iBooks and DisneyLife are keeping foreign companies on the edge of their seats.

      The censorship ruckus had CNN asking: After heavyweight firms Apple and Disney felt the wrath of China’s online media crackdown, who’s next?

    • RNC Chairman Reince Priebus demands that Facebook answer censorship allegations

      Republicans are reacting to a Gizmodo story that Facebook routinely suppressed conservative news.

    • The RNC Pounces, Rails Against Facebook for ‘Conservative Censorship’
    • Facebook says it doesn’t permit censorship in Trending Topics
    • Liberal lies feed Facebook’s censorship of conservative content
    • Facebook Responds To Allegations Of Conservative Censorship
    • All 3 Networks Ignore Report Revealing Censorship of Conservatives on Facebook
    • Limbaugh blows lid off ‘Fakebook’ censorship ‘surprise’
    • Facebook accused of censoring conservatives, report says
    • The Algorithm Is Gonna Get You
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • DOJ Confirms One or More Agencies Acted Consistent with John Yoo’s Crummy Opinion

      There’s a whiff of panic in DOJ’s response to ACLU’s latest brief in the common commercial services OLC memo, which was submitted last Thursday. They really don’t want to release this memo.

      As you recall, this is a memo Ron Wyden has been hinting about forever, stating that it interprets the law other than most people understand it to be. After I wrote about it a bunch of times and pointed out it was apparently closely related to cybersecurity, ACLU finally showed some interest and FOIAed, then sued, for it. In March, DOJ made some silly (but typical) claims about it, including that ACLU had already tried but failed to get the memo as part of their suit for Stellar Wind documents (which got combined with EPIC’s suit for electronic surveillance documents). In response, Ron Wyden wrote a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, noting a lie DOJ made in DOJ’s filings in the case, followed by an amicus brief asking the judge in the case to read the secret appendix to the letter he wrote to Lynch. In it, Wyden complained that DOJ wouldn’t let him read his secret declaration submitted in the case (making it clear they’re being kept secret for strategic reasons more than sources and methods), but asking that the court read his own appendix without saying what was in it.

    • Senate Judiciary Committee Begins Review of Mass Surveillance Statute

      The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act Tuesday May 10. The Act, passed in 2008, created what is now known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

      Section 702 is used for mass spying, and government surveillance conducted under the law unconstitutionally searches and seizes Fourth Amendment-protected communications. Indeed, in 2011, a judge on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) acknowledged the programs store more than 250 million communications annually in NSA repositories and that tens of thousands of wholly domestic emails were being collected under the statute. A report by the Washington Post revealed more: hundreds of thousands of Americans’ emails were being collected and nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations were not the intended surveillance targets. The section is one of the core statutes at issue in our lawsuit against the NSA.

    • Petition Calls For James Comey To Hang Up His Anti-Encryption Hat And Resign As Head Of The FBI

      James Comey continues to cut himself adrift from the encryption debate, taking a hardline stance not reflected by others in the intelligence community. While he has a few voices in his echo chamber (mainly Manhattan DA Cy Vance and… well, that’s really about it), for the most part, Comey has become a street corner doomsayer, alternately crying out against the going-darkness and mumbling about “smart people” at “tech companies” and their unwillingness to carve government-sized doors in their encryption.

      His testimony before Congress– during the heated battle with Apple over the unlocking of a dead terrorist’s iPhone — was mostly composed of things he couldn’t talk about and things he didn’t know. At times, it was difficult to distinguish between the two.

    • Facebook—More Dangerous than the NSA

      A while back, Edward Snowden blew the whistle on our National Security Agency. They’re spying on all our digital devices, have been for years. Our privacy has vanished.

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden featured on techno song

      Nearly three years after rocking the world with his unprecedented leak of documents about classified, top-secret government surveillance programs, Edward Snowden is finally making his dance music debut.

      Hey, weirder-sounding things have happened on the musical front.

      But before you start calling the NSA whistleblower an EDM beat-dropper, it’s important to note that Snowden isn’t just up and abandoning his information privacy work to become a recording artist.

    • Privacy and the New Math

      Among the countless essays and posts I’ve read on the fight over crypto that’s been going on between Apple and the FBI, one by the title above by T.Rob Wyatt in Medium stood out so well that I asked if he’d like to help me adapt it into an article for Linux Journal. He said yes, and here it is.—Doc

      In the Apple vs. FBI case, the real disputes are between math and architecture, and between open and closed. Linux can play an important role in settling those disputes, because it is on the right side of both.

    • India claims to have tool to defeat iPhone encryption

      Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s communications and IT minister, said Friday that a tool for mobile forensics has been developed that can handle smartphones, including Apple’s iPhone, according to the New Indian Express. Prasad didn’t reveal details about how the tool works.

    • SEC And Chuck Grassley Still Trying To Stop Email Privacy Act That Got UNANIMOUS Support In The House

      Hey, remember last week, when lots of folks were super excited about the US House of Representatives unanimously voting in favor of the Email Privacy Act? They voted 419 to 0. That kinda thing doesn’t happen all that often. I mean, sure it happens when condemning ISIS, but they couldn’t even make it when trying to put sanctions on North Korea. Basically, something needs to be really, really screwed up to get a unanimous vote in the House. And the Email Privacy Act, which goes a long way (though not far enough) towards fixing ECPA (the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986) that makes it way too easy for the government to snoop on your electronic communications, actually got that unanimous vote.

      So it should be moving forward and well on its path to becoming law, right? Right?!? Well… about that. You see, as we’d mentioned in the past, the SEC has been the main voice of opposition to the Email Privacy Act, since it (along with the IRS), kinda like the fact that they can snoop through emails without a warrant. Never mind that it’s probably unconstitutional, it makes their jobs so much easier. And, really, isn’t that the important thing?

    • New cyber security qualification on offer at HoW College [Ed: making espionage sound academic]

      HEART of Worcestershire (HoW) College has teamed up with a cyber security organisation to start offering a recognised qualification in the subject.

      HoW College is working with Cyber Security Challenge UK and City & Guilds to offer the qualification through an e-learning platform, offering students a three month long course on the basics of cyber security.

      The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is equivalent to an AS Level, and can be worth as much as 70 UCAS points. It’s aimed at giving students an understanding of the entire cyber domain, covering everything from risk management to digital forensics.

    • Scottish teens recruited by government spy agency GCHQ [Ed: another timely puff piece]

      SCOTTISH teenagers are being encouraged to take part in a summer camp – run by the government’s secretive spy agency GCHQ.

      Dozens of 16 and 17-year-olds are expected to sign up to the four-day course, which hopes to produce the country’s next generation of online crime fighters.

    • EU proposes Minority Report-style facial recognition for refugees

      In its attempts to bring the refugee crisis to heel, the European Commission wants to expand its fingerprint database, introduce facial recognition software, store the information for even longer than before and include minors in the process. EurActiv Germany reports.

      The EU is planning wholesale changes to the bloc’s asylum law. In addition to a “fairer” distribution system for refugees and an extension of border controls within the Schengen area, the Eurodac fingerprint database, which is currently used to identify asylum seekers and irregular migrants, is to be enlarged.

      The system is set to be supplemented with facial recognition software and personal data will be stored for a longer period of time, with the aim of ensuring that irregular migrants stay on the authorities’ radar; the information of underage refugees will also be kept. The upgrade will cost some €30 million.

    • Stingray Memo From FBI To Oklahoma Law Enforcement Tells PD To Engage In Parallel Construction

      The concept of “checks and balances” kind of takes a beating when one branch of the government says it’s ok to lie to another branch. We’ve already seen the FBI tell law enforcement agencies — through extensive NDAs it makes them sign before they can deploy cell site simulators — that it’s better to let suspected criminals walk away from charges than risk allowing details on Stingray devices to make their way into the public domain via submitted evidence.

      Many law enforcement agencies appear to be doing exactly that. More than one agency has misled judges with applications for pen register orders and requests for cell site location data — neither of which provide details on the technology actually being used.

    • David Patraeus, Who Leaked Classified Info To His Mistress, Says Snowden Should Be Prosecuted

      That’s a pretty good summary of the “high court” situation that lets powerful people like Petraeus get away with passing on such information that could have legitimately put people at risk.

      So, it was interesting, just days later, to see a long interview in the Financial Times with David Petraeus, in which he’s asked about Snowden (warning: the link may be paywalled).


      First, it’s bullshit because Petreaus himself got off with barely a wrist slap for his own activity, which had nothing to do with whistleblowing and appeared to be much more dangerous than what Snowden did. Second, as Petreaus absolutely knows, the intelligence community does not treat whistleblowers well. Previous whistleblowers, including Thomas Drake, basically had their lives destroyed as punishment for using the “appropriate” channels for whistleblowing. Hell, just last week, we wrote about yet another case of an intelligence community whistleblower, who used the “appropriate” channels, suddenly having her home raided and her career in shambles.

      Third, it’s bullshit because even in using the “appropriate” channels, as an NSA contractor, Snowden was not protected from direct retaliation for whistleblowing. Fourth, it’s bullshit because the “proper channels” would just be to run it up the line of people who thought it was hunky dory to lie to the American public to reinterpret the PATRIOT Act to enable them to spy on everyone’s communications data. That wouldn’t have done anything. Fifth, it’s bullshit because once the information actually did get out through the press — which never would have happened through “appropriate channels,” it has set in motion a number of changes, among companies, individuals, Congress and the intelligence community. That’s the point of whistleblowing, to actually change the behavior through alerting more people to what’s going on.

    • Facebook to sponsor GOP convention despite Zuckerberg’s veiled dig at Trump

      In April, Zuckerberg talked of ‘fearful voices building walls’ – but Facebook insists that sponsorship of Republican convention is not an endorsement

    • One Swede Will Kill Cash Forever—Unless His Foe Saves It From Extinction [iophk: "continuing to leverage the long, ongoing Swedish crime wave to eliminate cash and anonymity"]

      Nothing is more ordinary than a Monday morning at a Swedish bank.

      People go about their business quietly, with Scandinavian efficiency. The weather outside is, more likely than not, cold and gray. But on April 22, 2013, the scene at Stockholm’s Östermalmstorg branch of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken got a jolt of color. At 10:30 am, a man in a black cap burst into the building. “This is a robbery!” he announced, using one arm to point a gun at the bankers and the other to hold out a cloth bag. “I want cash!”

    • NSA employees watching an ‘unbelievable’ amount of child porn

      Some of the same folks who have access to all of our digital communications data are using equipment at the National Security Agency to view child porn— and the agency can’t even explain how widespread the sickening behavior is among its employees.

      That’s according to remarks made by Daniel Payne, director of the Defense Security Service, and Kemp Ensor, NSA security director, at a conference last week in Virginia.

      “The amount of child porn I see is just unbelievable,” Payne said.

    • Illinois residents can sue Facebook for photo tagging, judge says

      Last week, a Northern California District Judge ruled that Facebook will have to face a class action lawsuit (PDF) from Illinois Facebook users who are unnerved by the site’s photo-tagging feature that relies on facial recognition to suggest people to tag.

      The plaintiffs argue that the feature runs afoul of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which was passed in 2008 and restricts how private companies are allowed to collect biometric data.

      The lawsuit had been transferred from an Illinois court to one in California at Facebook’s request. The social media company then asked the judge to dismiss the case, saying that the plaintiffs had no grounds to sue given that Facebook’s Terms and Conditions have stipulated since 2015 that claims against the company must be litigated according to California law, where no such provision against biometric tagging exists.

      The judge denied the request to dismiss the case, ruling that dismissing the case because California has no such prohibition against the collection of biometric data is “contrary to a fundamental policy of Illinois.”

      The ruling notes that Illinois’ lawmakers were concerned because “Biometrics are unlike other unique identifiers . . . [and] are biologically unique to the individual; therefore, once compromised, the individual has no recourse, is at heightened risk for identity theft, and is likely to withdraw from biometric-facilitated transactions.”

    • Judge OKs suit accusing Facebook of violating Illinois privacy law with its photo-tag technology

      A federal judge has given a green light to a class action lawsuit contending that deployment of a Facebook feature using facial-recognition technology to tag photographs violates an Illinois privacy statute.

      Initially filed in Illinois and since transferred to California, the suit alleges that Facebook violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act by failing to inform the plaintiffs about the collection of biometric information, as BIPA requires.

    • The day we discovered our parents were Russian spies

      Tim Foley turned 20 on 27 June 2010. To celebrate, his parents took him and his younger brother Alex out for lunch at an Indian restaurant not far from their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both brothers were born in Canada, but for the past decade the family had lived in the US. The boys’ father, Donald Heathfield, had studied in Paris and at Harvard, and now had a senior role at a consultancy firm based in Boston. Their mother, Tracey Foley, had spent many years focused on raising her children, before taking a job as a real estate agent. To those who knew them, they seemed a very ordinary American family, albeit with Canadian roots and a penchant for foreign travel. Both brothers were fascinated by Asia, a favoured holiday destination, and the parents encouraged their sons to be inquisitive about the world: Alex was only 16, but had just returned from a six-month student exchange in Singapore.

    • Why the NSA’s Incidental Collection under Its Section 702 Upstream Internet Program May Well Be Bulk Collection, Even If The Program Engages In Targeted Surveillance

      Section 702 surveillance, which comprises the Prism and Upstream 702 programs, is still shrouded in mystery, despite the Intelligence Community’s post-Snowden pledge to provide more and better transparency.i A lengthy 2014 study by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), declassified legal documents and three DNI transparency reports reveal nothing about the total number of communications the NSA acquires through the Section 702 program, nor about how many American and foreign bystanders might get swept up in the 702 surveillance net. The government consistently has presented Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which targets selected foreigners outside the United States, as a model of targeted, discriminate, selector-based surveillance, the exact opposite of indiscriminate bulk collection. The relatively small “estimated number of targets” affected by Section 702, listed on the DNI’s annual transparency reports (89,138 targets in 2013; 92,707 in 2014, 94,368 in 2015), are cited as proof that the NSA doesn’t broadly access customers’ data, but only collects “a minuscule fraction of the over 3 billion Internet users worldwide.” Over-collection of domestic communications happens rarely, is merely incidental, and hence lawful, as ODNI General Counsel Robert Litt has argued.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Super Manly Book Clubs Are The Latest In Fragile Masculinity

      There’s nothing innately wrong with having a book club focused on manliness—and certainly nothing wrong, of course, with men joining book clubs. But there maybe is something wrong with framing the idea of men reading, or joining book clubs, as some sort of exercise in outré anthropology or goofy cultural excavation. Okay, you’ve got a book club with a bunch of guy friends; that’s nice, more power to you. The NYC Gay Guys’ Book Club sounds lovely, and they’re reading James Baldwin—can’t fault that.

    • Compared to Rest of World Americans are Delusional, Prudish, Selfish Religious Nuts: Study

      That said, if all the world’s a stage, America is a prime player: a rich, loud, attention-seeking celebrity not fully deserving of its starring role, often putting in a critically reviled performance and tending toward histrionics that threaten to ruin the show for everybody else. (Also, embarrassingly, possibly the last to know that its career as top biller is in rapid decline.) To the outside onlooker, American culture—I’m consolidating an infinitely layered thing to save time and space—is contradictory and bizarre, hypocritical and self-congratulatory. Its national character is a textbook study in narcissistic tendencies coupled with crushing insecurity issues.

    • Breaking News: ‘There Is No Migrant Crisis’

      In fact, the world is facing ‘a crisis of global injustice caused by war, poverty, and inequality,’ says Global Justice Now

    • Ivy League Professor Doing Math Equation on Flight Mistaken for Terrorist

      An Ivy League professor said his flight was delayed because a fellow passenger thought the math equations he was writing might be a sign he was a terrorist.

      American Airlines confirms that the woman expressed suspicions about University of Pennsylvania economics professor Guido Menzio. She said she was too ill to take the Air Wisconsin-operated flight.

    • South Yorkshire Chief Constable steps down after one day

      Deputy Chief Constable Dawn Copley, who was appointed acting chief constable of South Yorkshire Police after the suspension of David Crompton following the Hillsborough inquest findings, has “offered to step back to her substantive role” while another temporary chief constable is sought, South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said.

    • David Miliband exposed as being behind cover-up of Britain’s secret involvement in torture of terror suspects

      Nothing could be clearer. David Miliband, then Labour’s Foreign Secretary, laying claim to the moral high ground, proclaiming: ‘I abhor anything that constitutes torture. Water-boarding, it’s perfectly clear to me it is torture.

      ‘I never supported extraordinary rendition to torture, always said that Guantanamo should be closed. There is no clash of ideals and pragmatism there.’

      His uncompromising comments came in an interview in the New Statesman magazine in 2009.

    • A whistleblower directive for Europe!

      Tomorrow, together with my group in the European Parliament, I will present a draft for a new EU directive on whistleblower protection. The draft directive, which has been launched coinciding with the trial of LuxLeaks whistleblower Antoine Deltour, aims to provide the basis and further impetus for a proposal to this end from the European Commission.

      The protection of trade secrets may not take precedence over the protection of whistleblowers. People who reveal questionable business practices and tax evasion should not be criminalised but encouraged.

    • Thai Activist’s Mother Faces Prison Term for One-Word Facebook Reply

      The mother of a pro-democracy activist faces up to 15 years in prison after acknowledging that she had received a private message on Facebook that the police say insulted Thailand’s monarchy.

      The activist’s mother, Patnaree Chankij, 40, who works as a maid, will be tried by a military court under Thailand’s lèse-majesté law, which makes it a crime to insult the long-reigning King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the queen or the crown prince.

      On Saturday, human rights activists called Ms. Patnaree’s arrest a day earlier a “new low” for Thailand, which has increased prosecutions under the lèse-majesté law since the military took power in 2014.

      Poonsuk Poonsukcharoen, a lawyer advising Ms. Patnaree, said Ms. Patnaree had sent only a one-word reply, “Ja,” acknowledging receipt of the Facebook message, similar to saying “Yeah,” but had not expressed agreement with it or commented on its content. The message was not made public, so as not to repeat the alleged insult, as is typical in such cases. The sender of the message, Burin Intin, 28, was arrested last month.

    • Israel’s General Golan Compares Modern Israel to 1930s Germany

      Shir Hever of the Alternative Information Center says Golan is an elite member of the military and his statements on Holocaust Remembrance Day is sparking a national debate

    • Judaism and Racism

      In its recent responsum concerning the status of non-Jews in Jewish law and lore, the Rabbinical Assembly, representing Masorti/Conservative rabbis throughout the world, has made an attempt not only to counter the racist pronouncements of extremist rabbis that echo the doctrines of Meir Kahana and have led to violence and hatred against non-Jews, but also to rectify those laws within rabbinic literature that are discriminatory in nature.

    • Secret Service Handcuffs The First Amendment

      Thomas Jefferson said that an informed citizenry is critical to a democracy, and with that as a cornerstone the Founders wrote freedom of the press into the First Amendment to the Constitution.

      The most basic of ideas at play is that the government should in no way be allowed to control what information the press can report to the people, and cannot place restrictions on journalists. One of the principal characteristics of any fascist state is the control of information, and thus the press is always seen as a check on government power that needs to be stomped on. Ask any surviving journalist in North Korea, or Saudi Arabia.

    • Civil Rights Activists Seek Justice for Racial Violence in the Name of Emmett Till

      On the day of her death, Mamie Till Mobley was scheduled for a call with Mississippi assistant attorney general Jonathan Compretta, civil rights activist Alvin Sykes, and Keith Beauchamp, a filmmaker working on a documentary about the August 1955 lynching of her 14-year-old son, Emmett Till. The two white men who kidnapped and murdered Till were acquitted within weeks of the killing, and Mobley spent the rest of her life fighting to have the case reopened. On that day, almost 48 years later, it seemed that events might finally bend towards some form of belated justice.

    • Laurel Krause

      The guests are Laurel Krause, sister of shooting victim Allison Krause, and founder of the Kent State Truth Tribunal, and activist-attorney Michael Kuzma. They discuss recently-discovered evidence, as well as Kuzma’s FOIA lawsuit to obtain documents which could illuminate the FBI’s involvement.

    • Long-Serving Intelligence Executive: Sure, Government Has Been Thoroughly Pawned But What about Ordinary Citizens?

      Now, if the government is a cybersecurity sieve, then why is Shedd bitching that there’s nothing in Obama’s policy for “ordinary citizens” or the private industry companies that aren’t getting pawned? Shouldn’t locking down the nation’s nuclear secrets — a point I’ve emphasized — be a higher priority than saving Target from liability when its customers get their credit card data stolen (besides the fact, for customers who can afford an iPhone, as Shedd pointed out, Apple is already doing something)? In a purportedly capitalist society, should the government free private industry of all responsibility for its own security?

      Crazier still, Shedd — who worked in Bush’s National Security Council until 2005, then moved to Director of National Intelligence, then in 2010 moved to DIA — is bitching that no one (aside from Katherine Archuleta) got fired for the OPM hack. In several of those positions, Shedd was in a place where he should have been one of the people asking why the security clearance data for 21 million people was readily available to be hacked — though no one in his immediate vicinity thought to ask those questions until 2013 and even then not including the non-intelligence agencies that might be CI problems. He was in a position when he may have — probably should have — reviewed some of the underlying database consolidation of clearance databases, including (at ODNI) identifying them as a counterintelligence threat.

    • Mining a Heart of Gold? Slave Wages and Humanitarianism in Africa

      What do you call people who try to make people believe what they say but ignore the results of what they do? How about spin-sploiters?

      After a few years of research I have come to realize that there is a long and ignoble history of Westerners exploiting Africans while touting humanitarian objectives. Unfortunately, this practice is not confined to the distant past.

      A leading Canadian NGO official, who then founded Québec’s largest mining company, provides a recent example.

    • France to set up a dozen deradicalisation centres

      Plan to combat home-grown terrorism aims to establish early warning system to pick up would-be extremists

    • Pushing the envelope through intentional provocation and factual presentation

      Political apathy among the youths in Singapore is prevalent, and I must admit, after the dismal GE2015 results, I have almost lost faith that things will ever change in our small little island. But with a young teen like Lhu silently creating works of this level on the sidelines, maybe there is this tiny, tiny glimmer of hope after all.

    • ‘Forget The Laws On Human Rights’ Says Likely Winner In Philippines Presidential Elections

      Populist demagoguery isn’t unique to the U.S. presidential elections, as 71-year-old Rodrigo Duterte, a man known as the ‘Punisher’ for his propensity to advocate lethal extrajudicial solutions to crime problems, leads the polls in the Philippines.

    • Duterte rival concedes in Philippines presidential election

      Rodrigo Duterte, whose outspoken commentary — including joking about the rape of a missionary — drew international attention to the Philippines’ national elections, appeared poised to win his country’s presidency Monday after a top rival conceded.


      Sen. Ferdinand Romualdez “Bongbong” Marcos, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, is running for vice president.


      Dubbed “Duterte Harry” and “the Punisher” by the local press for his exploits, Duterte is a colorful and controversial figure known for his inflammatory comments on a gang rape, his sexual conquests and tough stance on crime.

      In Davao City, where Duterte has held office for decades, he has long been dogged by allegations of ties to death squads and extrajudicial killings.

      He has vowed to execute 100,000 criminals and dump them into Manila Bay. He’s also suggested that he has killed people before.

      In April, a YouTube video surfaced appearing to show him joking about the 1989 rape and murder of an Australian missionary in Davao City. He later described it as “gutter language” but refused to apologize.

      In his last campaign stump Saturday, Duterte played his role to the hilt and again vowed to butcher criminals as he told thousands in central Manila: “Forget the laws of human rights.”

    • Ferguson’s New Police Chief Is Inheriting A Mess

      Before joining the Ferguson Police Department, Moss worked for the Miami Police Department for 32 years. A black officer, Moss told the New York Times that he is acutely aware of historical tensions between police and African Americans, as well as racism within law enforcement itself. To better reflect the municipality, one of the major reforms he wants to make is diversifying the department with more women and black officers. He also wants to build trust between officers and youth through a mentor program.

    • Are US Courts Going Dark?

      Now that the cell phones in San Bernardino and Brooklyn have been unlocked (no thanks to Apple), FBI warnings about “going dark” in the face of advancing digital encryption seem less urgent than before. Perhaps there are other ways — buying exploits in the zero-day market, plea bargaining pressure — to skin the encryption cat, after all. Are privacy advocates correct that a “Golden Age of Surveillance” has arrived, and the real question is whether law enforcement has too many tools, rather than too few? Or will unchecked encryption enable criminals and terrorists to wreak havoc via the Dark Web, as Director Comey fears? Although an interested spectator, I am in no position to judge that technical debate.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Crunch time for net neutrality rules, says EU digital rights warrior

      The next few months will be a critical time for net neutrality in the EU, according to the chief of Europe’s digital rights’ lobby group.

      Joe McNamee, executive director of EDRi, told Ars that it was crucial to engage people about the issue over the course of the next few months. Draft net neutrality guidelines are due to be presented by the European Commission on June 6, followed by a consultation for 20 working days on those proposed rules.

      “The next four months are equivalent to the moment when the big successes were achieved in the US and India,” he said.

    • Netflix Settles Throttling ‘Controversy’ By Letting Mobile Users Throttle Themselves (Or Not)

      Last month, you might recall that Netflix found itself at the center of some “controversy” after it admitted it was throttling AT&T and Verizon customer Netflix streams to 600 kbps. At the time, the company stated it was only doing so to help out customers on metered usage plans. Netflix also stated that it wasn’t throttling the streams of Sprint and T-Mobile users, since “historically those two companies have had more consumer-friendly policies” (read: still offer unlimited data plans).

      The cable industry and net neutrality opponents quickly tried to claim Netflix’s admission meant the company was a hypocrite on net neutrality, with some even calling for an “investigation.” The telecom industry’s PR push was short lived however, given most people realized that Netflix was actually trying to help consumers out, and it’s kind of odd to punish a company for technically throttling its own service. At the end of the day, the consensus was that the only real thing Netflix did wrong was not being fully transparent about what it was doing, and why.


      Net neutrality rules are only necessary in telecom due to the lack of competition.

  • DRM

    • Save iTunes!

      I remember the launch of iTunes in 2001. Hurrying home from the MacWorld conference in San Francisco, downloading the app, making a stack of CDs next to my Powerbook, ripping them as fast as my machine would go. Rip, Mix, Burn, baby!

      The other thing I remember is how the media industry viewed iTunes: they hated it. They hated people using iTunes to rip CDs, they hated mixing and burning. The only reason they let the iPod/iTunes ecosystem live was because when they sued the company that made the first MP3 players, they lost.

      The record companies thought that anything that let listeners do more with their music had to be illegal. After all, they had big plans for the future of music and those plans hinged on being able to control how you and I used our music. They’d made big money selling cassettes to LP owners, and CDs to cassette owners, and they viewed selling digital versions of those same songs to us as their inalienable right. If we could rip our own CDs, how would they sell us that music again?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • White House on Non-Competes and Trade Secrets

      While still apparently fully on-board with ramping-up US trade secrecy law through the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), the White House has also released a new report that criticizes non-compete agreements and state laws that over-zealously enforce those agreements. Although the report recognizes that non-compete agreements are wrapped-up with trade secrecy enforcement, but suggests that a large number of non-competes are not used for that purpose.

    • As Patients Wait, WHO Members Chip Away At Decision On Medical R&D Funding

      A number of World Health Organization member states attended a meeting last week aimed finding ways to sustainably finance research and development for medical products, especially those for poor populations lacking means to pay high prices. According to the outcome document and a WHO official, they heard many viewpoints from experts and made progress but much was left for the World Health Assembly later this month.

    • Trademarks

      • The Saratoga Conundrum: Is It Water, Or Is It Juice

        So many of the trademark disputes we talk about here involve stories centered around the questions of customer confusion and like-market competition. These are two tests central to the question of whether trademark infringement has actually occurred: are the two entities competing with one another for the same customers and are those customers, or could those customers be, confused by the alleged trademark violation. Quite often, the markets and products in question aren’t of the basic-needs variety, perhaps creating some wiggle room in the minds of some as to whether there is a like-market issue to consider.

        But to create a truly absurd trademark accusation, the accusing side should really be a producer of one of the basic necessities of life, while the accused does not. Take, say, water. In Saratoga, for example, a large bottled water company is going after a chain of juice bars because both include the word “Saratoga” in their respective trademarks.

    • Copyrights

      • The Pirate Bay And KickassTorrents Uploader Slapped With €7,500 Fine

        You might have heard and read the news of big piracy fish like The Pirate Bay facing bans. However, this doesn’t mean that the individual uploader and users of these websites don’t face any consequences. Along the same lines, an illegal torrent uploader has been hit with a fine of €7,500.

      • The Fight Over Copyrighting Klingon Heats Up, And Gets More Ridiculous

        Last year, we wrote about a somewhat speculative article by Charles Duan from Public Knowledge, connecting the ridiculous result of the Oracle/Google fight on the copyrightability of software APIs, to the idea of trying to claim copyright in a language, with a particular focus on Klingon, the made up language from the Star Trek universe. And, then, of course, back in March, that speculative hypothetical became much more real, when Paramount’s lawsuit against a Star Trek fan film did, in fact, argue that Klingon was covered by copyright, and that the fan film violated that copyright.

        A bunch of things have happened since then, as this mess careens towards trial, and we wanted to catch you up. First, the lawyers for the fan film, put together by Axanar Productions, challenged many of the claims made by Paramount in its amended complaint, noting that many of the things listed as copyright infringing, clearly were not — including the language of Klingon.

      • Why Your Browser Is Warning You About Pirate Bay

        Access to torrent site The Pirate Bay appears to be blocked by most major browsers, users noticed on Saturday.

        Typing in the web address brings up phishing warnings blocking The Pirate Bay on mobile and desktop versions of Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. The Chrome warning tells users, “Deceptive site ahead: Attackers on Thepiratebay.se may trick you into doing something dangerous like installing software or revealing your personal information.” It elaborated in the details: “Google Safe Browsing recently detected phishing on thepiratebay.se. Phishing sites pretend to be other websites to trick you.”

        Similarly, Firefox warned: “Web forgeries are designed to trick you into revealing personal or financial information by imitating sources you may trust. Entering any information on this web page may result in identity theft or other fraud.”

      • Italian court says that rightholders do NOT have to indicate URLs when submitting takedown requests

        When does a hosting provider become liable for third-party infringements? Does an internet service provider (ISP) have an obligation to monitor the information it stores at the request of third parties? Do rightholders need to indicate the precise location of allegedly infringing works by means of URLs? Where can one sue for alleged online copyright infringement?

        These are questions which both the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and national courts have addressed over the past few years (although not always answered clearly).

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