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05.14.16

Links 14/5/2016: GMOME Board of Directors Elections, ZFS Linux Compatibility

Posted in News Roundup at 5:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Linksys WRT routers won’t block open source firmware despite FCC rules

    Linksys has been collaborating with chipmaker Marvell and the makers of OpenWrt to make sure its latest WRT routers can comply with the new rules without blocking open source firmware, company officials told Ars

  • FCC rules won’t kill open source Wi-Fi router firmware after all

    Open source advocates had warned the rules, which require manufacturers to prevent users from using the routers outside of legal frequency and power limits, could spell the end of programmable routers. But Linksys says it will instead store the FCC-regulated parameters outside the reach of configurable firmware.

  • Day of reckoning arrives for BitKeeper’s Larry McVoy

    Eleven years after he rocked the Linux community by withdrawing the non-commercial version of BitKeeper, his source code management system, Larry McVoy has finally been forced to open source the application.

  • Corsa Technology Uses SDN to Traffic-Slice the WAN

    Corsa Technology has been touting its programmable data-plane appliance as a way to implement SDN and OpenFlow. With the introduction of a smaller appliance today, the startup is talking more about a specific use case: virtualization for the metro and WAN networks.

  • Embracing SDN & NFV to Optimize Enterprise Data Center Operations

    Virtualization technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) offer new opportunities for how data centers can manage their IT infrastructures. As networks become more programmable, enterprise data centers can achieve greater agility. SDN and NFV are influencing the convergence of IT, data center, and telecommunications. They give data center managers the flexibility and scalability to anticipate changing market demands and stay ahead of customer expectations.

  • What’s the Difference Between Open-O & OSM?

    It’s ridiculously early in the existences of Open-O and Open Source MANO (OSM), two open source NFV management and network orchestration (MANO) efforts that emerged at almost the same time this year. But it’s not too early to spot differences between the two.

    Specifically, each group hopes to solve different problems. OSM will focus on network service orchestration, which fits on the right-hand (MANO) side of the ETSI NFV MANO diagram (see below). Open-O will expand the scope of its work beyond MANO to include orchestration over the entire network.

  • The Zen of Making: 13 Rules for Creating an Open Source Community
  • Evolution or Revolution? The Impact of Open Source on Communication Providers

    The march toward open source is rapidly turning into an all-out race, with research projects and applications extending to new industry sectors, including communication providers. What started out in the software realm has moved into the hardware space, bringing with it significant changes for providers and vendors alike. Most recently, the Open Compute Project (OCP) and its spin-offs, including the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), have not only reinforced this shift toward open source, but have accelerated the trend.

    The open source approach is about more than just lower costs. Improvements in innovation, reliability, security and flexibility are giving providers greater control of their development roadmap. Importantly, the current roster of projects indicates a strong relationship between the shift to open source and the trend toward virtualization. These projects and initiatives set the stage for communications providers to create new differentiated services and to deploy them quickly.

  • Amazon’s DSSTNE deep learning software now open source

    Amazon has decided to follow in the footsteps of Google and other technology companies by open-sourcing its deep learning software.

    The company has released its deep learning software DSSTNE (pronounced destiny) on GitHub under an open-source Apache license. Deep learning has gained a lot of traction in recent months and many tech companies are currently developing their own software to help teach computers.

    Around five months ago, Google made its own deep learning library TensorFlow open-source as well. Amazon included a frequently asked questions page along with its library to explain why it has decided to open-source DSSTNE: “We are releasing DSSTNE as open source software so that the promise of deep learning can extend beyond speech and language understanding and object recognition to other areas such as search and recommendations. We hope that researchers around the world can collaborate to improve it. But more importantly, we hope that it spurs innovation in many more areas”.

    Amazon’s deep learning software does have its limitations and currently it is unable to support convolutional workloads for image recognition and has limited support for recurrent neural networks. However, the software is able to utilize two graphics processing units (GPUs) simultaneously which other frameworks are unable to do.

  • Cloud Native Computing Foundation to Support Open Source Prometheus Platform

    The Cloud Native Computing Foundation has announced it is adding a second platform to its cloud native technologies initiative. The group’s first hosted project was Kubernetes and now it is adding the Prometheus platform, which offers an open source time series and metrics tool inspired by Google’s internal monitoring tools (Borgmon).

  • Google Opens Up What it Bills as the World’s Best Language Parser
  • Google makes its most powerful language engine ‘Parsey McParseface’ open-source
  • Google Open-Sources Neural Network Framework And Powerful Language Parser For Smarter AI: Meet Parsey McParseface
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • All Things Graph: Computing vs. Analytics vs. Transactions
    • Comparing graph with other database technologies

      Today’s cloud applications are intensely multi-faceted where data management is concerned. The data flowing through these applications is complex, ever-changing, large in volume, and highly connected.

      The number of data relationships coupled with the data distribution, scale, performance, volume, and uptime requirements of the application are not a fit for a relational database. However, these requirements are addressed natively by a graph database that possesses scale-out and active-everywhere capabilities.

    • Apache Spark Heavyweights Make Their Next Moves

      Two of the most prominent companies advancing the Apache Spark Big Data toolset are out with new releases. MapR has announced the immediate availability of Apache Spark 1.6.1 on the MapR Converged Data Platform. The company also noted that the free, online Spark On Demand Training (ODT) courses via MapR Academy have achieved the highest course enrollment rate since the ODT program’s initial launch.

  • Databases

    • Fifteen years with phpMyAdmin and free software

      Today it’s fifteen years from my first contribution to free software. I’ve changed several jobs since that time, all of them involved quite a lot of free software and now I’m fully working on free software.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Upcoming Features of LibreOffice 5.2

      The Document Foundation is currently planning on the release of the next major version of the LibreOffice open-source and cross-platform office suite, LibreOffice 5.2.

      And, in the good tradition of our “Upcoming features of” series of articles, and because more new features have been unveiled already for the upcoming LibreOffice 5.2 release, we thought that it will be a good idea to keep you guys in the loop and let you know what is to be expected from the LibreOffice 5.2 office suite.

    • Italian Military Goes LibreOffice, HBO Abuses DMCA & More…

      The Italian military is saving $43 million by migrating to LibreOffice. It’s finally beginning to seem as if the entire world is beginning to understand that in most cases proprietary software is a waste of money. We can now add the Italian military to our list of those who’ve wised up. We learned in September that the military was planing on dropping its use of MS Office entirely in favor of LibreOffice. On Wednesday, we learned that the migration is underway, with 5,000 workstations already running FOSS’ flagship office suite.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC Plugin Infrastructure Still Being Worked On For The Linux Kernel

      As part of the Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative, kernel developers continue working on a GCC plugin infrastructure for use by the Linux kernel with this code originally developed by the GrSecurity/PaX maintainers.

      This GCC plugin infrastructure is about providing extra features to the compiler, such as for runtime instrumentation and static analysis. The code they’re working on for the Linux kernel supports GCC 4.5 and newer for this feature of adding extra functionality to the kernel.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Perl 5.24 upgrade
    • Avoiding common hang-ups in DevOps pipelines

      This is not surprising; getting a basic continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) process to work correctly is difficult and takes time. Ideally, there is always some type of source control management (SCM) solution, build server and application platform for app deployment. Hooking these components together can be nontrivial.

    • Ben Rady’s Serverless Single Page Apps (The Pragmatic Programmers)

      Readers of Rady’s book will skip over building an application server, avoid messing around with middle-tier infrastructure and get right to the Web app their customers want. Using a Web browser, a prepared workspace and an editor, readers learn the fundamental technologies behind modern single-page apps and use Web standards to create lean Web applications that can take advantage of the newest technologies.

    • devRant — Here’s The Ultimate App That Every Developer Must Use

      devRants is an app that was created specifically for developers who want to laugh at things happening around them, vent their frustration and move on. I’m sure that you’ll love this different kind of lighthearted community. Happy ranting!

Leftovers

  • I Am His Hands. He Is My Eyes.

    Enough slime this week. Now meet two men from the Chinese village of Yeli who have made the most of it. Jia Haixia is blind; his best friend Jia Wenqi lost his arms as a child. Since 2002, they have spent their days planting trees for the environment and for future generations. Despite their respective hardships, they say, “When we work together, two become one.” At first, the village was skeptical the men could overcome what was “a wasteland.” Today, their over 10,000 new trees guard the village “like green soldiers.” “Planting trees has become an important mission of ours,” says Haixia. “It may be hard financially, but we’re so delighted spiritually.” Humanity may yet prevail.

  • Science

    • Exxon’s Lawyer in Climate Science Probe Has History Helping Big Tobacco and NFL Defend Against Health Claims

      Ted Wells, an attorney hired by ExxonMobil to represent the company against accusations it lied about the climate risks of burning fossil fuels, also represented the tobacco industry in the lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1999 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, DeSmog has found. Wells also defended the National Football League (NFL) in the infamous “Deflategate” matter as well as in litigation over the far more serious issue of concussions.

      Wells has represented ExxonMobil since at least December 2015, following New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s announcement that his office would probe Exxon’s role in funding climate change denial despite its long-held understanding and pioneering research into climate change.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Is the EPA Being Pressured on Atrazine? New Findings of Environmental Concerns about Syngenta’s Crop Chemical Removed from EPA Site

      The Environmental Protection Agency released a very troubling preliminary risk assessment that the routine use of the chemical atrazine is likely harming animals and our ecosystems.

      Atrazine is manufactured and distributed by Syngenta, a foreign global chemical company, that markets the product in the U.S. to limit plants that may compete with commodity crops or would be considered weeds on golf courses.

      The EPA memo that was released was hand-signed by six scientists in the U.S. government’s Environmental Risk Branch of the Environmental Fate and Effects Division. The 500+ page study was co-authored by Dr. Frank T. Farrugia, Colleen M. Rossmeisl, Dr. James A. Hetrick, and Melanie Biscoe, and was subject to peer review by twelve other scientists.

      Its top-line findings are “based on the results from hundreds of toxicity studies on the effects of atrazine on plants and animals, over 20 years of surface water monitoring data, and higher tier aquatic exposure models.”

    • Ex-Health minister under fire over switch to private healthcare firm

      The Deputy Mayor of Helsinki responsible for Health and social care has quit her job and announced she is moving to a leading role at a private healthcare firm. Laura Räty, who served as a Health minister in the last government, has rejected claims of a possible conflict of interest.

    • Tests in Illinois Town Show Lead Problem Extends Beyond Flint

      This railroad town promotes its ties to Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and the poet Carl Sandburg. But Galesburg’s long history also shows in a hidden way: Aging pipes have been leaking lead into the drinking water for decades.

      Blood tests show cause for concern. One in 20 children under the age of 6 in Knox County had lead levels exceeding the state standard for public health intervention, a rate six times higher than the Illinois average, in 2014.

    • High Lead Levels Found in Water Systems Across Illinois: Report

      Nearly 200 public water systems in Illinois, which serve over 800,000 people, exceeded Environmental Protection Agency lead standards during at least one year since 2004, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis.

      Federal officials are also encouraging local officials to supply bottled water or filters to affected residents in downstate Galesburg, which has faced repeated problems with lead-contaminated water.

    • You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to know Hunt is getting the NHS wrong – this week, everyone does!

      MPs are waking up to the scale of the unnecessary destruction being wrought on the NHS. But with local NHS leaders now told to choose between sacrificing services or their careers, will it be too late?

    • Whistleblower Fired for Exposing Flint Mayor’s Plan to Take Water Donations

      Every time the Flint, Mich., water crisis seems to have finally hit rock bottom, a new development tosses that assumption out the window. A lawsuit filed this week claims Flint city administrator Natasha Henderson was fired by Mayor Karen Weaver unjustly, but why?

      According to Henderson’s lawyer, her dismissal came after becoming aware of allegations that Mayor Weaver had been instructing her staff to redirect donor funds to the mayor’s PAC — not the actual campaign aimed at helping Flint families.

      The suit asserts City Administrator Natasha Henderson was approached by a city employee “in tears” with fears of going to jail. She told Henderson that Weaver had specifically ordered her and a volunteer to show would-be donors, step by step, how to contribute to the “Karenabout Flint” fund, rather than the official Safe Water/Safe Homes charity.

  • Security

    • Thursday’s security advisories
    • Friday’s security updates
    • I never imagined a nuclear plant’s control system being online

      Many people think that the web is the internet. They see the Googles, the Facebooks, the Reddits… but the web is something built on top of the internet and so only the tip of the iceberg. The iceberg is composed of webcams, power plants, printers… billions of devices.

    • Heart Surgery Stalled For Five Minutes Thanks To Errant Anti-Virus Scan [Ed: Microsoft Windows]

      If you’ve ever had the pleasure of simply asking one medical outfit to transfer your records to another company or organization, you’ve probably become aware of the sorry state of medical IT. Billions are spent on medical hardware and software, yet this is a sector for which the fax machine remains the pinnacle of innovation and a cornerstone of daily business life. Meanwhile, getting systems to actually communicate with each other appears to be a bridge too far. And this hodge podge of discordant and often incompatible systems can very often have very real and troubling implications for patients.

    • How to make containers more secure

      CoreOS’s Matthew Garrett talks about the security risks in containers and how he and others are working to mitigate such risks.

    • Docker Ramps Up Container Security

      Docker this week announced the rollout of security scanning technology to safeguard container content across the entire software supply chain.

    • Jenkins security patches could break plug-ins

      Popular open source automation server Jenkins has fixed multiple security vulnerabilities. The latest version changes how plug-ins use build parameters, though, so developers will need to adapt to the new process.

    • Security From Whom?

      To take advantage of the X11 protocol issues, you need to be able to speak X11 to the server. Assuming you haven’t misconfigured something (ssh or your file permissions) so other users’ software can talk to your server, that means causing you to run evil X11 protocol code like XEvilTeddy.

    • Convenience, security and freedom – can we pick all three?

      Moxie, the lead developer of the Signal secure communication application, recently blogged on the tradeoffs between providing a supportable federated service and providing a compelling application that gains significant adoption. There’s a set of perfectly reasonable arguments around that that I don’t want to rehash – regardless of feelings on the benefits of federation in general, there’s certainly an increase in engineering cost in providing a stable intra-server protocol that still allows for addition of new features, and the person leading a project gets to make the decision about whether that’s a valid tradeoff.

    • Announcing Certbot: EFF’s Client for Let’s Encrypt
    • Signal Return Orientated Programming attacks

      When a process is interrupted, the kernel suspends it and stores its state in a sigframe which is placed on the stack. The kernel then calls the appropriate signal handler code and after a sigreturn system call, reads the sigframe off the stack, restores state and resumes the process. However, by crafting a fake sigframe, we can trick the kernel into executing something else.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US Army Chaplain Resigns in Protest Over Drones, ‘Policy of Unaccountable Killing’

      An Army chaplain has resigned in protest over the United States “policy of unaccountable killing” through drone warfare and the nation’s continued investment into nuclear weapons, which “threaten the existence of humankind and the earth.”

      In his letter sent April 12, 2016 to President Barack Obama, Rev. John Antal, a Unitarian Universalist Church minister in Rock Tavern, New York, wrote, “The Executive Branch continues to claim the right to kill anyone, anywhere on earth, at any tie, for secret reasons, based on secret evidence, in a secret process, undertaken by unidentified officials.”

      Antal served as a chaplain from September 2012 to February 2013 at the Kandahar Airbase in southern Afghanistan. “While deployed,” he wrote in Feb. 2015 a the Times Herald-Record, “I concluded our drone strikes disproportionately kill innocent people.”

    • LBJ’s ‘X’ File on Nixon’s ‘Treason’

      The 1968 election had one shocking turn after another, but its final and arguably worst twist – still largely unknown to Americans – traded untold death in Vietnam for political power in Washington, Robert Parry wrote in 2012.

      By Robert Parry (Originally published on March 3, 2012)

    • The Ghosts of ’68 Haunt the Election of 2016

      A slender, long-forgotten work of fiction foresees the rage and frustration of Donald Trump’s America.

    • Ghosts of ’68 in Election 2016

      In the midst of all this, civil rights giant Martin Luther King Jr., is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, and riots erupt across the cities of the United States. Two months later, Kennedy is murdered in the kitchen of a Los Angeles hotel just minutes after winning the California primary.

    • The US in Korea: Lessons Lost, Lessons Learned

      With the American public’s limited attention span for international affairs tied up by fears of ISIS (also known as Daesh), intractable wars in the Middle East and unease about Putin’s Russia, Obama’s much-touted Asia-Pacific pivot frequently gets third or fourth billing on the foreign policy marquee.

      The “pivot” (also called the “Indo-Asia-Pacific Rebalance”) is centered on exerting a greater US economic, diplomatic and military influence in the world’s most populous and economically vibrant region.

      But on the Korean peninsula, even as the United States bolsters its military posture with more troops, training and weapons, US politicians and the public view the standoff with North Korea without fully knowing or considering important historical realities and potential opportunities.

    • Apologize for Nagasaki?

      This monumental crime marked the U.S as the only nation to use nuclear weapons on civilian populations. It was perpetrated to demonstrate unassailable U.S. power to the world and especially to the Soviet Union in the post-WWII era. The purpose was clear, as Gar Alperovitz and numerous other historians have shown. with abundant primary source research.

    • U.S. Hypocrisy: Front and Center, as Always

      In its never-ending need to flex military muscle around the world, the United States, not content with creating chaos in the Middle East, has now decided to bait China. If ever a country was itching to start World War III, the U.S. seems to be that country.

      Let us look at the current situation, and see not only the U.S.’s typical saber-rattling, but its astounding hypocrisy as well.

    • The GOP’s Veil of Unity

      McCain’s military service was a profile in courage; what he’s doing now is not. Leaving aside the personal insult, McCain has spent his career advocating a muscular foreign policy. His has been one of the loudest and most persistent voices arguing that more U.S. troops be sent to Syria and Iraq. Trump, by contrast, has proclaimed an “America first” doctrine that focuses resources on solving problems at home. Trump has even expressed deep skepticism about NATO, which has been the cornerstone of the West’s security architecture for more than half a century.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Fires in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

      Suomi NPP’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument captured a look at the fire and the smoke generated by numerous fires burning over Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Actively burning areas detected by VIIRS are outlined in red. February to May is the dry season in this part of the world, and these fires may be intentional agricultural fires set by people to prepare for the upcoming growing season, or they may be accidental forest fires.

    • The Coal vs. Fracking Canard

      It’s not coal versus fracking that we should be debating; it’s fossil fuels versus renewables.

    • Colorado Legalizes Rain Barrels

      Until Thursday when Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill legalizing rain barrels, it was a crime to catch and use rainwater in the state of Colorado. That’s right — the state legalized recreational use of marijuana before a commonplace water conservation tool.

      Yesterday, Coloradans gathered at the bill-signing event to celebrate this win for water-conscious consumers.

    • Another Reason to Keep It in the Ground: Shell Spills 90,000 Gallons of Oil Into the Gulf of Mexico

      In case you needed another reason to join the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground, Shell Oil is here to give you one. Yesterday, the company spilled nearly 90,000 gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.

    • ‘Status Quo’: Shell Spews Nearly 90,000 Gallons of Oil into Gulf of Mexico in Latest Spill

      Royal Dutch Shell’s offshore drilling operations were pouring oil into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, ultimately releasing nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the water off the Louisiana coast.

      [....]

      The company said the spill was spotted above an underwater pipeline system, although specific details regarding the leak’s cause were not made public.

    • Break Free from Fossil Fuels for Our Collective Survival

      My name is Arianne Kassman. I am a Pacific Climate Warrior from Papua New Guinea. I want to tell you about why it’s important for my people, and for the Pacific, that fossil fuels remain in the ground.

      I am fourth generation Tatana, a descendent of a strong beautiful woman called Dihanai. I carry the name of her daughter Philomena’s husband and my Great Grandfather Arien. My Great Grandfather worked as a Plantation Manager and together with his eldest son, Allan, he worked in two villages called Pinu and Obo. He was a fair, honest and hard-working man; this earned him great respect among the local labourers from Pinu village, and in turn, was gifted Toutu Village. This is where both my maternal grandparents are laid to rest.

      Last week marked one year since my family laid my grandmother to rest in the village, and so to commemorate that, we travelled to the village to celebrate her life with a Holy Mass. As I sat at their grave sides last Sunday, I was overcome with joy and peace being surrounded by family.

    • Climate Actions Underway Worldwide for Final Days of Break Free 2016

      ‘Climate change is a global problem, and we need global resistance to make sure fossil fuels remain in the ground’

    • No, Humans Are Not Like ‘Slowly Boiling Frogs’

      It’s as hard to kill the boiling frog metaphor as it is to kill an actual boiling frog.

      Even though people keep saying that the slow human response to climate change makes us “like the proverbial frog in boiling water” — or that “the Universal Windows Platform is like Facebook and a boiling frog” — the metaphor/simile is not merely a cliché. It isn’t even accurate.

      Since May 13 is Frog Jumping Day — and since just two weeks ago was “Save The Frogs” Day — it seems like a good time to explain once again why this cliché should be retired.

    • Canadian PM Arrives in Fire-Ravaged Fort McMurray

      Canada’s Prime Minister arrived in wildfire-ravaged Fort McMurray on Friday and after taking a helicopter tour to assess the damage said he doesn’t think most Canadians comprehend yet the scope of what happened in the oil sands capital, where more than 88,000 people were forced to evacuate.

      Just Trudeau arrived in the northern Alberta city almost two weeks after a massive wildfire ignited, tearing through the isolated region and surrounding areas, causing several oil sands operations to shut down. Alberta officials say they will have a plan within two weeks for getting residents back into their homes.

  • Finance

    • Washington Coup in Brazil? Was Incoming President US Embassy Informant?

      Adding to suspicions of a US role in the ouster of independent-minded Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is a revelation making the rounds today that Michel Temer, the opposition leader who will step in as interim president, had met with US embassy officials in Sau Paulo to provide his assessment and spin on the domestic political situation in Brazil. Thanks to Wikileaks, we have the US embassy cable that resulted from the incoming president’s visit to US political officers.

      Acting president Temer will hold office for up to six months while impeached president Rousseff stands trial in the Brazilian senate. If her impeachment is finalized by a two-thirds vote, Temer will remain in office until elections in 2018.

    • Brazil’s First Female President Has Just Been Suspended, And The New Cabinet Is All Men

      On Thursday, Brazil’s Senate voted after an all-night debate to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and begin an impeachment trial. Rousseff, the country’s first female president, has been replaced by Vice President Michel Temer, who immediately unveiled a new cabinet entirely devoid of women or people of color.

    • With Rousseff Out, Brazil’s Interim President Installs Conservative All-White, All-Male Cabinet

      Brazil’s former vice president, Michel Temer, assumed power as interim president Thursday after the country’s Senate voted to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and begin impeachment proceedings over accusations she tampered with accounts in order to hide a budget shortfall. Rousseff called the move a coup. Temer is a member of the opposition PMDB party and has been implicated in Brazil’s massive corruption scandal involving state-owned oil company Petrobras. He was sworn in Thursday along with a new Cabinet that is all white and all men, making this the first time since 1979 that no women have been in the Cabinet. We are joined from Rio de Janeiro by Andrew Fishman, researcher and reporter for The Intercept, who discusses the role of the United States in protests against Rousseff, and the background of Temer’s new Cabinet members.

    • Bank Lobby Takes Aim at Last Remaining House Republican Who Backed Dodd-Frank

      The American Bankers Association, a lobby group for the banking industry, this week used a subsidiary called the Fund for Economic Growth to pour $50,000 into campaign advertisements in support of Taylor Griffin, a candidate seeking to unseat Jones in the Republican primary on June 7.

    • MPs Protest against Government’s Decision on Possible Privatisation of Major Companies

      Yesterday’s decision by the government that some companies might be privatised causes strong reactions in Parliament.

      Yesterday’s telephone session of the government, at which the government decided to remove eight companies from the list of strategically important state-owned companies which cannot be privatised, prompted on Thursday many members of Parliament to express their strong disapproval, reports Index.hr on May 12, 2016.

    • Trump Says His Tax Rate Is No One’s Business

      Donald Trump says he doesn’t keep money in Swiss banks or offshore accounts and his tax rate is no one’s business.

    • ‘A Corporate Agenda Is Really What’s Driving the Process’

      Corporate media talk about trade pacts, which have little to do at this point with actual trade, but the coverage is generally pretty thin and vague, perhaps in part because for corporate media, corporate globalization is simply inevitable. If the horse-trading of livelihoods and lives for markets is unseemly, well, let’s not try to take too close a look.

      The leak of a draft of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, by Greenpeace Netherlands may have thrown a wrench in that deal’s inevitability, though media’s interpretation of the document’s meaning will play a role there. So what’s in and what’s not in the TTIP, according to these revelations? We’re joined now by Karen Hansen-Kuhn, director of trade, technology and global governance at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. She joins us by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Karen Hansen-Kuhn.

    • Trade Deals and the Environmental Crisis

      With the release of leaked documents from the TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) ‘trade’ deal Greenpeace framed its conclusions more diplomatically than I will: the actions of the U.S. political leadership undertaken at the behest of American corporate ‘leaders’ and their masters in the capitalist class make it among the most profoundly destructive forces in human history. At a time when environmental milestones pointing to irreversible global warming are being reached on a daily basis, the U.S. political leadership’s response is to pronounce publicly that it favors environmental resolution while using ‘trade’ negotiations to assure that effective resolution never takes place.

    • Where’s the corruption Mr Cameron? Look behind you!

      Cameron’s bizarre pantomime routine with the Queen, the Archbishop of Canterbury and a couple of nervous court jesters having a go at the former colonies was the perfect platform for today’s anti-corruption celebration of British-ness. And he will not be worried about the fallout. He has the force of international (elite) opinion behind him. Despite the panama papers revelations that implicated huge numbers of British-owned shell companies in British Overseas Territories and British Crown Dependencies, he can still plausibly claim that corruption is not Britain’s problem, but the rest of the world’s. After all, he has the league tables to prove it.

      In January of this year it was reported that the UK was now the 10th least corrupt country in Transparency International’s benchmark Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). It was a remarkable rise up the charts from 2010, David Cameron’s first year of office, when Britain was in 20th place. Robert Barrington, the head of Transparency International UK qualified the result by pointing our there “good reasons why people are skeptical about whether Britain really merits a top 10 ranking”.

    • Economic Update: False Economic Recovery, True Journalism

      This episode provides updates on “carrried interest” tax loopholes, state subsidies for businesses, negative interest rates and bank “bail-ins” versus “bailouts.” Finally, we interview reporter Bob Hennelly about the United States’ false economic recovery and dissolving society, and real journalism.

    • Hillary thinks America’s great. Why don’t you?

      How can Hillary Clinton be so out of touch with the concerns of working-class people and be so sure she can run the country?

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Anatomy of a Propaganda Blitz

      We live in a time when state-corporate interests are cooperating to produce propaganda blitzes intended to raise public support for the demonisation and destruction of establishment enemies.

    • Sanders’ Wins In West Virginia, Indiana Prove He Should Fight To The Convention

      Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders won a landslide victory in West Virginia on May 10, beating Hillary Clinton by fifteen points. With that victory, Sanders has won 19 state primaries, and his campaign is now in a position to do very well in the remaining primaries.

      West Virginia is a state, where Clinton crushed Obama and won by over 40 points in 2008. This time around she lost by double digits.

      About 18 pledged delegates were awarded to Sanders while 11 pledged delegates were awarded to Clinton. It brought the number of pledged delegates Sanders needs to bypass her in the pledged delegate count down to approximately 280 pledged delegates.

    • Post-truth politicians such as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are no joke

      In this era of post-truth politics, an unhesitating liar can be king. The more brazen his dishonesty, the less he minds being caught with his pants on fire, the more he can prosper. And those pedants still hung up on facts and evidence and all that boring stuff are left for dust, their boots barely laced while the lie has spread halfway around the world.

      The proof is on show most visibly in the US, where Republican nominee-to-be Donald Trump enjoys a relationship to the truth that is chilly, occasional and distant. The Washington Post’s fact-checker blog has awarded its maximum dishonesty rating – four Pinocchios – to nearly 70% of the Trump statements it has vetted. And it’s vetted a lot. That doesn’t mean the other 30% turned out to be true. They just earned three Pinocchios rather than the full four, which means the Post found a shrivelled kernel of veracity wrapped inside the thick layers of fraud, distortion and deception.

    • Two very different Donalds, one White House goal
    • Could Trump presidency close down Washington?

      Donald Trump’s campaign for the nomination showed an intimidating style. He attaches ugly labels to those who compete with him — and then announces that the other guy “started it.”

    • Immigrant Advocates Deliver Taco Bowls To GOP Lawmakers Who Support Donald Trump

      The presumptive GOP nominee has made inflammatory remarks characterizing Latino immigrants as rapists, criminals, and drug dealers. He also favors deporting the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the country; stripping away an executive action issued by President Obama that would grant temporary work authorization and deportation relief to certain undocumented immigrants; and banning Muslim immigrants from entering the country. And though Trump’s rhetoric has inspired some of his supporters to become violent toward Latinos and immigrants, the presidential nominee has yet to condemn those acts.

    • Democrats, Too Clever by Half on Clinton

      Indeed, some Democrats reportedly are slipping into panic mode as they watch Clinton’s poll numbers tank and the Republican Party come to grips with the Trump phenomenon. The new storyline of Campaign 2016 is the tale of top Republicans reconciling to Trump’s populist conquest of the party. At least, these GOP leaders acknowledge, Trump has excited both average Republicans and many independents.

    • NYT’s Glass Is Half Full of Half-Truths

      Easterbrook is particularly upset about progressive pessimism. “In recent decades, progressives drank too deeply of instant-doomsday claims. If their predictions had come true…crop failures would be causing mass starvation.” According to the UN World Food Programme, malnutrition kills more than 3 million children a year. I guess that’s not mass enough for him.

    • Why Bernie Sanders Should Stay in the Race—and How He Can Win

      Make no mistake: Settling for Hillary Clinton means abandoning the political revolution that Bernie Sanders has inspired. It means unconditional surrender after overcoming many obstacles in a rigged primary. That’s why the revolution must continue through November and beyond, and the Vermont senator’s supporters must urge him to keep fighting.

    • The BBC may soon be unable to compete

      The requirement for output to be “distinctive”, coupled with the growth of media consortia, could force the BBC out of the game.

    • What is the vision behind the BBC White Paper?

      After weeks of rumour and speculation about an imminent assault on the BBC the publication of the White Paper on the corporation’s future has been seen by some as anti-climactic. But while the headlines have been restrained, the document makes several suggestions that would have a significant impact on the corporation, including major changes to governance, programming and the mission statement. Last night The Media Society hosted a discussion about the paper, unpacking its key points and asking how they might unfold in the long-term.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Yes, Facebook’s Algorithm Is Biased. So Is Literally Everything.

      Facebook news curators elevate stories based on whether the world’s top 10 media organizations — CNN, BBC, Fox News, the Guardian, NBC, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Yahoo — are covering them. They follow a style guide and dismiss certain topics or keywords, either permanently or temporarily, if they are redundant or can’t be tied to an actual news event. All of this is done in addition to Facebook using an algorithm to find top trending stories.

    • Zuckerberg: Facebook investigating censorship claim [Ed: mentioned before]

      Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said the company is investigating claims it censored news reports with conservative viewpoints.

    • Is Facebook Lying?

      Did Facebook lie publicly about how it determines which stories to put in its trending news module?

      The company has been under intense fire since a Gizmodo investigation earlier this week that alleged the company has a liberal news bias. In response, Facebook vehemently denied the accusations and released what it says are the current guidelines for its trending news section.

      However these guidelines, and a set of older training documents leaked to The Guardian, appear to show that Facebook lied or misrepresented the truth to journalists.

      The documents appear to conflict with previous statements from the company assuring that algorithms—not humans—select what you see in your news feed, and that its curators never “inject” stories into the trending tool.

    • A long talk with Facebook about its role in journalism

      If consumers’ embrace of the format was easy to predict — who enjoys waiting for a website to load? — publishers’ feelings about Instant Articles were harder to gauge. The run-up to launch was met with tremendous anxiety among some publishers as they grappled with two realities: one, the majority of their audience is consuming news on Facebook; and two, allowing Facebook to host their articles directly meant giving up some control over their appearance and the ads that could run inside them. More than one publisher worried Facebook’s end game was to get publishers “hooked” on the format and then demand an ever-growing share of their ad revenue.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Promises an Investigation Into Facebook Trending Topics

      The social network denies accusations that conservative media is suppressed on its trending list

    • Politician recites bestiality poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in German parliament

      A German politician has ignited a diplomatic row between his country and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by reading out a poem suggesting he likes fornicating with goats.

      Detlef Seif, a backbench member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party, quoted extensively from the controversial poem which also implies Mr Erdogan enjoys child porn, kicking Kurdish people and attacking Christians in his spare time.

      When the poem was first performed by German comedian Jan Böhmermann in April it sparked a diplomatic row between Ankara and Berlin as Mr Erdogan’s demanded he be arrested under the terms of an out-of-date German law which forbids insulting foreign leaders.

      Ms Merkel gave in to the demand and the comedian is now facing prosecution and up to five years in prison.

    • Turkey’s Erdogan Clears Path to Dictatorship

      The ouster of Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu marks another troubling milestone in President Erdogan’s consolidation of dictatorial power, a development that Alon Ben-Meir sees as further enflaming the region.

    • Egyptians Are Using Selfies To Send A Powerful Message About Government Censorship

      Thousands of Egyptian citizens are proving that selfies are more than just fun — they can also send an important political message. In response to crackdowns on political dissent, recent social media posts are asking the government, “Does a mobile phone camera shake you?”

      The protest was sparked by an incident earlier this week in which five members of a satirical group called Atfal al-Shawarea (Street Children) were arrested for mocking the country’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in a selfie-style video. The group members are reportedly being investigated for “inciting protests.”

    • Total Croatia News Announces Affiliate Partnership with Index on Censorship

      An interntional affiliate partnership for TCN on May 13, 2016, as we team up with London-based Index on Censorship to cooperate on the documentation of declining press freedom in Croatia.

    • MPAA Signs Anti-Piracy Deal With Large Domain Registry

      The MPAA has signed its first anti-piracy partnership with a domain name registry outside the United States. The Hollywood group will act as a “trusted notifier,” helping Radix, Asia’s largest new gTLD applicant, to prevent pirate sites from using their domain names.

    • Leaked EU Draft Reveals Geo-Blocking Can Stay For Video

      Excitement over the European Commission’s plans to abolish geo-blocking and filtering restrictions across EU member states is in jeopardy following the publication of a leaked draft. The 34-page document proposes exceptions for audio-visual content, meaning that services like Netflix would be excluded.

    • A Document With a Mission

      The introduction is a reiteration of Zionist slogans. It purports to set out the historical facts, and very dubious facts they are.

      For example, it starts with the words “Eretz Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious, and political identity was shaped.”

      Well, not quite. I was taught at school that God promised Abraham the land while still in Mesopotamia. The 10 Commandments were given to us by God personally on Mount Sinai, which is in Egypt. The more important of the two Talmuds was written in Babylon. True, the Hebrew Bible was composed in the country, but most of the religious texts of Judaism were written in “exile”.

    • A Palestinian Perspective on Britain’s ‘Anti-Semitic’ Controversy

      There is a witch-hunt in the British Labour Party. Britain’s Opposition party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is being hounded for not rooting out alleged anti-Semitism in his party. Those leading the charge are pro-Israel Zionists and their supporters within the party, members who are mostly allied with the former Prime Minister, the largely discredited pro-war Tony Blair. The Blairites are quite unhappy that Corbyn, who won the party’s leadership election last September with a landslide victory is a non-elitist politician, with a deep-rooted grassroots activist past, and, yes, a strong stance for Palestinian rights.

    • Censorship Of Media Dampens Burgeoning Filmmakers In Arab World
    • Arab Filmmakers Strive For Wider Audience Reach On Both Local And International Fronts
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Security clearances in the age of social media

      Of the roughly 323 million citizens of the United States, more than four million hold federal security clearances. An even smaller number of these individuals hold the highest clearances. They are simultaneously the most trusted—and some of the most scrutinized—individuals in the world. Until now, that scrutiny generally stopped where the real and virtual worlds coalesce: social media.

    • Prep for next-gen encryption should start yesterday

      The National Institute of Standards and Technology is getting nervous about quantum computers and what they might mean for the cryptographic systems that protect both public and private data. Once seen as far off — if not borderline science fiction — quantum computing now seems a much closer reality.

      A few days ago, IBM announced that students, researchers and “general science enthusiasts” can now use a cloud-based, 5-quibit quantum computing platform, which it calls the IBM Quantum Experience, to see how algorithms and various experiments work with a quantum processor.

    • FBI Questions Veracity Of Emails It Released To FOIA Requester While Defending Refusal To Discuss Hacking Efforts

      The FBI has entered its explanation for its declaration that it won’t discuss the NIT (Network Investigative Technique) in open court or with the defense — no matter what. Its decision to run a child porn website for two weeks while it deployed the NIT has backfired immensely, resulting in successful challenges of the warrant and the evidence obtained. For the most part, the NIT warrant used by the FBI has been declared invalid because it violates Rule 41′s limitations on deployment: a warrant obtained in Virginia can’t be used to search computers located in other jurisdictions.

      The FBI says it will only discuss the NIT with the judge in an ex parte in camera proceeding, cutting the defense entirely out of the loop. It also argues against the defendant’s portrayal of the agency as inherently untrustworthy, what with its long history of hiding information from the courts, starting with its Stingray NDAs.

    • FBI Response To FOIA Request About Whether It Is Hacking Your Amazon Echo: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      We’ve talked in the past about how claims of dangerous silence from certain law enforcement and intelligence groups within the American government are so much the crying of “wolf!” As some will decry the use of security tools like encryption, or other privacy tools, the fact is that the so-called “internet of things” industry has created what is essentially an invited-in army of confidential informants. Domestic surveillance, once a time-consuming, laborious, and difficult task for those doing the spying has since become laughably easy by relative standards. One can imagine J. Edgar Hoover having to change his trousers if he learned exactly to what degree Americans today have accepted hackable or easily-compromised cameras and microphones into our homes, so excited would he be.

      In this era, then, it would seem the public buying these IoT products would have an interest in learning if their government is using those products against them in this way. In large part, it seems that the government ain’t telling. Take the Amazon Echo, for instance, a device with a microphone that is voice-activated to play your favorite music, tell you the weather, read you the latest news, *cough*-let the government spy on you-*cough*, tells you the traffic, and reads you your audiobook– wait, what was that government spying thing? Is that for real?

    • FBI Hid Surveillance Devices Around Alameda County Courthouse

      Federal agents planted hidden microphones and conducted secret video surveillance at Alameda County’s Rene C. Davidson Courthouse for ten months, despite having no court warrant. The surveillance operation was part of an investigation into alleged bid rigging at foreclosed property auctions where thousands of houses and apartment buildings were sold by banks. But defense attorneys for some of the individuals accused say the FBI’s surveillance tactics violated their clients’ constitutional rights, and everyone else whose conversations might have been captured on tape.

      One of the people recorded by the hidden surveillance devices was Michael Marr, the East Bay landlord who is at the center of our feature story in this week’s edition of the Express. Marr and his business associates frequently attended the foreclosure auctions. They bought hundreds of properties, many of them in Oakland, but were indicted in November 2014 on charges that they conspired to rig the auctions. Marr’s case is now being heard in federal court. He has pleaded innocent.

    • FBI Found To Be Harvesting Surreptitious Recordings Around Two Other California Courthouses

      Earlier this year, the FBI was catching heat for some undersupervised and overly-broad surveillance it deployed around the San Mateo courthouse in California. Hoping to catch conversations related to suspected bid-rigging during real estate auctions, the FBI scattered hidden microphones around the courthouse steps where the auctions took place.

      The defendants’ legal representation raised hell, claiming the surreptitious recordings violated their clients’ rights. After all, the Supreme Court had declared in 1967 that closing a phone booth door was not dissimilar to holding a conversation in hushed tones, bringing a limited expectation of privacy to public places.

      The FBI couldn’t have felt all that confident about its secret recordings as it vowed not to enter any of the conversations it captured into evidence. That wasn’t enough for the judge, however, who said he still needed to determine whether other evidence had been tainted by this questionable surveillance.

      Not only was there a question about the legality under the Fourth Amendment, but there were unanswered questions about how many completely irrelevant conversations the FBI’s bugs might have picked up — like privileged discussions between lawyers and clients, both of whom are often at courthouses simultaneously.

    • UK.gov is about to fling your data at anyone who wants it. How? Why? Shut up, pleb

      The government is poised to legislate on how it intends to use your data for public services – but its woefully worded “data sharing” consultation suggests it hasn’t learnt much from the ongoing controversies of Care.data.

      Whitehall is due to publish a response to the consultation, set out in Better Use of Data – Consultation Paper, which recently closed following a two-year series of “open policy” meetings.

      That will feed into the long-rumoured Digital Economy Bill and is expected to get a mention in the Queen’s Speech next week.

      It will create the governance framework for how mandarins share our information between government departments and with third parties, as well as setting out the security principles for using personal information.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • EU mission ‘failing’ to disrupt people-smuggling from Libya

      The EU naval mission to tackle people smuggling in the central Mediterranean is failing to achieve its aims, a British parliamentary committee says.

      In a report, the House of Lords EU Committee says Operation Sophia does not “in any meaningful way” disrupt smugglers’ boats.

    • Alabama Prison Strike Organizer Speaks from Behind Bars: We Are Engaged in a Struggle for Our Lives

      We go behind bars to get an update on the end of a 10-day strike by Alabama prisoners to protest severe overcrowding, poor living conditions and the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which bans slavery and servitude “except as a punishment for crime,” thus sanctioning the legality of forced, unpaid prison labor. “These strikes are our methods of challenging mass incarceration, as we understand the prison system is a continuation of the slave system, which is an economic system,” says Kinetik Justice, who joins us by phone from solitary confinement in Holman Correctional Facility. He is co-founder of the Free Alabama Movement and one of the organizers of the strike. He says organizers tried petitioning their conditions via the courts and lawmakers, but when they were unsuccessful, “we understood our incarceration was pretty much about our labor and the money that was being generated from the prison system, therefore we began organizing around our labor and used it as a means and a method to bring about reform in the Alabama prison system.”

    • Part 2: Alabama Prison Strike Organizer Joins with Pastor to Achieve Criminal Justice Reform

      We continue our interview with an Alabama prisoner about the end of a 10-day strike to protest severe overcrowding, poor living conditions and the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which bans slavery and servitude “except as a punishment for crime,” thus sanctioning the legality of forced, unpaid prison labor. We speak with Kinetik Justice, who joins us by phone from solitary confinement in Holman Correctional Facility and is co-founder of the Free Alabama Movement and one of the organizers of the strike, and with Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, founder and national president of The Ordinary People’s Society (TOPS), a faith-based organization focusing on criminal justice reform and rehabilitation of repeat offenders.

    • ‘They Place These Kids on a Superpredator Pedestal’

      New York tabloids didn’t bother with terms like “alleged” in their stories on the early morning raid in the Bronx in which law enforcement—local and federal—arrested more than a hundred people accused of gang membership. There was no need to observe such niceties in a tale of “violent thugs” being “taken down.”

      The New York Times did use the word “accused,” but their depiction of the community involved was no less cartoonish. “For the last ten years,” the Times told readers, “life in the northern Bronx has largely been defined by wanton violence.” One wonders how much the Times knows about what defines life in the northern Bronx, and why they and other media are so ready to cheer uncritically for this style of militarized intervention ostensibly aimed at reducing violence.

    • Marcia Gallo on Kitty Genovese

      This week on CounterSpin: The 1964 New York city murder of Kitty Genovese started as a personal tragedy and a tiny item on a New York Times back page. Within months, it had become an internationally known, emblematic tale—not about Genovese, whose life most reports dispensed with quickly with the phrase “Queens barmaid,” or about her killer, Winston Moseley—but about the neighbors, 38 of them, we were told, who reportedly watched Genovese die in the street but did nothing, didn’t come to her aid or call the police. They just, we heard, didn’t want to get involved. The idea of “urban apathy” struck a deep cultural chord that resonates to this day.

    • How the High Cost of Justice Pushes the Poor into Prison

      In the American justice system, there’s often an assumption that if you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you. But thousands of Americans arriving in court each year over family disputes, domestic violence, eviction, foreclosure, denied wages, discrimination on the job, and an array of other civil issues have no right to counsel. If they can’t afford a lawyer, they’re on their own to face a system that is often confusing and riddled with fees. For poorer citizens, the cost of seeking justice often becomes so prohibitive they just give up.

      Even as criminal justice reform and the reduction of mass incarceration gain support across party lines, civil rights advocates warn that the inaccessibility of the civil justice system tends to channel people into the criminal system. Those with no access to the courts are more likely to take justice in their own hands, lose homes, or face incarceration over failure to pay child support or fines they can’t afford. For some, denials of justice in civil cases can lead to crimes of survival.

    • Social Media Fame Shields Dissidents, Until It Doesn’t

      The first time I spoke with Zainab al-Khawaja, in a Skype video conversation in late 2011, the Bahraini dissident explained to me that the popularity of her @angryarabiya Twitter feed — which she used to chart the violent suppression of Bahrain’s Arab Spring uprising that year — seemed to have given her a measure of protection from the authorities.

      I asked why she had not been immediately arrested at a protest the week before, when she stood defiantly in front of the riot police firing tear gas at other pro-democracy protesters — an image of defiance that went viral and embarrassed the Persian Gulf monarchy, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. Khawaja replied that she had overheard officers being instructed not to detain or beat her. “One officer kept telling the police, ‘Not this one,’” she recalled.

      Khawaja was detained and briefly interrogated by a female police officer later that day, before being released. “I think the reason is that I am active, I am known, in the country and internationally, not to a big extent, but I have a big following on Twitter.”

      “I wish that every Bahraini was protected the way I am,” she added. “Just because I’ve been speaking out on Twitter and other places doesn’t have more rights.”

    • Appeals Court Shoots Down ACLU, Says Full CIA Torture Report Is Beyond The Reach Of FOIA Requesters

      Unless the Supreme Court chooses to get involved, it looks like we’ll never get to see the full “Torture Report.” We’ll just have to make do with the Executive Summary, which was released at the end of 2014. The summary is just 500 pages out of ~7,000 total. The rest of these pages remain in the hands of the Senate and the CIA, and neither is willing to part with them.

      FOIA enthusiast Jason Leopold’s request for the full document has already been shut down. The ACLU’s request was similarly denied by the DC District Court. The Appeals Court has reached its decision, and it agrees with the lower court.

      The denial hinges on the court’s determination that the full report is nothing more than a collection of Congressional communications and documents, rather than being in the possession of the CIA where they could (theoretically) be accessed via FOIA requests. The court cites a 2009 letter from the Senate Committee to the CIA that spells this out explicitly.

    • Amos Yee arrested, police ransacked his house in ongoing investigations

      A police spokesman said that a 17-year-old has been arrested under Sections 174 and 298 of the Penal Code. Alfred Dodwell has confirmed that the individual arrested by the police is Amos Yee. Amos was convicted at about this time last year for wounding the feelings of Christians and uploading an obscene image. Mr Dodwell, a lawyer, defended him in Court at that time.

      Section 174 pertains to failure to attend a session as ordered by public servant, whereas Section 298 involves uttering words with an intent to wound religious and racial feelings.

    • Who is Amos Yee, teen blogger in Singapore police crosshairs?

      Singapore’s controversial teen blogger Amos Yee has been arrested yet again a year after he was convicted of hurting religious feelings and spending time in the jail.

      Singapore authorities said several reports were lodged against him for allegedly hurting religious or racial feelings deliberately. Yee was ordered to report to a police station a number of times for investigations after the police reports were lodged, but he failed to do so.

    • Local Fox Affiliate’s Reaction To Brutal Police Beating Is A Dereliction Of Its Duty

      What you see is the suspect surrendering, exiting the vehicle, lying upon the ground as instructed, and then being pummeled for a brief moment before the camera quickly zooms out and renders the action indiscernible. Why the camera operator did so remains unanswered, but we know from other footage captured by an NBC affliate that the police spent the next half-a-minute or so beating the shit out of a man who was lying surrendered on the pavement. Were we to need to rely on the Fox footage to determine what had happened, we wouldn’t have this full picture of the beating in our minds. Instead, we’d have a moment or two of the violence, which could quite possibly be excused and waived off by what would be a typical dismissal by the authorities.

    • Massachusetts State Police Beat Man On Live News

      A 50 year old man led police on a chase for a few hours before he decided that enough was enough and pulled over to give up. The news cameras on scene captured the man pulling over and putting his hands outside the window. He then followed orders to lay on the ground. The shocking gang beating that happened next is hard to describe. Watch the video to judge it for yourself.

    • Analyst Uses NYPD’s Open Data To Uncover Millions Of Dollars Of Bogus Parking Tickets

      The following story — sent in by an anonymous Techdirt reader — shows the power of opening up government data for examination by citizens… as well as the reason many government agencies may be reluctant to do so.

      Ben Wellington, a research analyst who has used New York City’s open data to push for policy changes, runs the I Quant NY blog. Looking through the city’s parking ticket data, he found some addresses were listed on an extremely high number of tickets for blocking pedestrian ramps.

    • James Comey Still Trying To Blame Increase In Violent Crime On ‘Viral Videos’

      FBI Director James Comey says we’re “going dark” as more platforms move towards encryption. Nobody’s buying it. Not Congress. Not NSA officials. Definitely not those who have actually researched the subject.

      He also says people with cameras are causing spikes in crime rates by making police officers so self-conscious they can’t do their job. Comey blamed citizens with cameras for escalating crime rates last October. He was immediately contradicted by Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Having learned nothing from the experience, Comey has dusted off his 2015 talking points for redeployment in 2016.

    • Undercover Uncovered: Govt. Spy Truck Found Disguised As Google Street View Car
    • Philly Cops Tried To Disguise An SUV With License Plate Readers As A Google Maps Vehicle

      Well, we have a WHO. What we don’t have is a WHY. Of what possible use was this crappy, little fakeout? Anyone stupid enough to believe a hulking SUV with a city parking permit was a Google Maps vehicle is also too stupid to know what the cameras mounted on it are actually used for. For everyone else above that level, the easiest conclusion to draw is that the Philly police are stupid enough to think this would work. If so, they’ve shorted the wrong set of collective IQ.

      A more benign explanation is also possible, though. It could have just been a poorly thought out attempt at a joke. Who sports more cameras and hoovers up more photos than Google’s mapping vehicles? This may have just been a few cops poking fun at themselves, co-opting Big Data’s look for their Big Brother plate scanning: the Google Maps of law enforcement, making sure no obscure side road goes “unmapped.”

    • Barring Prisoners From Voting Undermines Democracy

      For those who have done time in U.S. prisons, punishments often extend beyond the point of sentencing, reaching well into their post-prison lives. From job applications that inquire into one’s criminal background to states throwing people back in prison for failing to pay fees they owe to the state, the penalty decreed by the judge can be more extensive than it initially appears.

      A staggering 5.85 million Americans weren’t able to vote in 2014 because of laws that disenfranchise citizens. While much attention has been given to freed citizens who can’t vote because of a previous felony, less has been paid to those still behind bars who may want to take part in the voting process.

    • Baltimore’s election results decertified, state begins precinct-level review of irregularities

      State election officials ordered the results of Baltimore’s primary election decertified Thursday and launched a precinct-level review of irregularities.

      State election administrator Linda H. Lamone said she became concerned when city officials — who on Monday certified their primary election results — later reported they had found 80 provisional ballots that had never been analyzed.

    • It’s official: employers can’t force you to be happy. Hallelujah

      Rejoice, haters! The law now says that you don’t have to be happy about coming to work.

      In April, the National Labor Relations Board presided over a conflict between T-Mobile and some employees who felt that the company was asking too much by demanding that workers maintain a “positive work environment” at all times.

    • Petition Calls on Progressive Corp. to Pull Its Name From Cleveland Indians’ Stadium

      Amid growing national outcry from activists and sports fans alike who argue that it’s time to change racially charged team names and mascots, the Cleveland American Indian Movement (AIM) has spent decades pushing for the end of the “Cleveland Indians” baseball team name.

    • Michael Ratner, attorney for WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, dies at 72

      Civil and human rights lawyer also helped start group representing Guantánamo Bay detainees pro-bono, considered ‘largest mass defense effort in US history’

    • Julian Assange: Michael Ratner was a “Campaigner for Justice” from Guatemala to Palestine

      And so, he was very effective as a lawyer and as a campaigner for justice, because he would do things—for example, seeing that people might be extradited to the United States, take up the battle at the place of extradition—for example, here in the United Kingdom, with one of my other lawyers, both on my case and in relation to some alleged terrorism cases, Gareth Peirce. Other lesser lawyers, lesser human beings, might have gone, “Well, I can get the glory, and I can get the credit, once that person is extradited to the United States, and then can be—the trial can be exploited, and great precedence can be set in the United States.” Michael was much more concerned, at a human level, to take action early in the process, and try and stop grand juries or try and stop extraditions, before the person entered in to a U.S. justice system that has become increasingly difficult to deal with.

    • Noam Chomsky on US Military Presence in Europe and the Case of Edward Snowden

      In this interview with MIT professor, anarchist, philosopher and renowned linguist Noam Chomsky, we discuss US military presence in Europe and the case of Edward Snowden.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • ISPs Are Now Forcing Cord Cutters To Subscribe To TV If They Want To Avoid Usage Caps

      We’ve noted time and time again how broadband usage caps on fixed-line networks are arbitrary, unnecessary, and harm innovation. They’re also a useful weapon against streaming video competitors, and the natural evolution of TV competition. Caps can be used to either punish users who try and cut the cord with higher prices, but they also allow ISPs to exempt their own streaming services from said caps (something currently being done by both Verizon and Comcast), thereby giving these services a distinct and unfair advantage in the market.

      But broadband ISPs are now coming up with a new way of attacking cord cutters: forcing them to subscribe to television if they want to avoid usage caps.

  • DRM

    • Open letter to from EFF to members of the W3C Advisory Committee

      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has made a sea-change: now, in addition to making open web standards that anyone can implement, they’re creating a video DRM standard designed to prevent people from implementing it unless they have permission from the big movie and TV companies, by invoking the notorious Digital Millennium Copyright Act and its international equivalents.

      The committee that’s designing this standard is called the Media Extensions Working Group, and its charter from the W3C runs out in September. When that happens, all W3C members will have a say in whether to renew that charter, and so I’m writing to those organizations and companies on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation to get them to pledge to block the charter, unless the W3C takes steps to safeguard web users, security researchers and browser implementers from the DMCA.

    • What Do Customers Think They’re Getting When They Buy Media Online?

      Until recently, it was uncontroversial that you could take books or music from your collection, and lend them, sell them, or give them away.

      Rightsholders, however, have long tried creative ways to restrict your ability to do these things, as they believe it would let them make more money by either charging you for the privilege or simply by reducing “competition” from the sale or lending of used media.

      Of course, making media less valuable for the purchaser would also hurt sales of that same media, but only if the reduction in value is apparent to purchasers. A seller could both maintain high prices and strip away the ability to resell or lend books if enough purchasers don’t notice at the time of sale that they’re getting less for their money.

      Enter the “Buy Now” button. A team of researchers from UC Berkeley and Case Western have published a study showing that customers think they are getting traditional ownership rights when they buy digital media online, even when a vendor’s site includes legal terms (often buried in click-wrap agreements) purporting to limit those rights.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • India Releases New Intellectual Property Policy; Reactions Building

      The Indian government today released its long-awaited new intellectual property policy, and preliminary reactions appear to be that it caters to international pressures while attempting to provide a national focus. A more careful reading with reactions will follow.

      [...]

      Initial reactions from industry suggest that they are happy. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chair and managing director of Biocon Limited, said India has its stood its ground on the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), while respecting genuine innovators and start-ups.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Sony Pictures Targets Torrent Sites With Preemptive Takedowns

        Copyright holders commonly ask torrent sites to remove links to pirated content, such as the latest blockbuster movies. However, Sony Pictures Networks goes a step further. This week the Indian company sent a stark warning to torrent sites, urging them to keep an eye out for pirated versions of an unreleased film, or else.

      • Former Sun chief says Java APIs were free for use

        The former chief executive of Sun Microsystems, Jonathan Schwartz, took the stand at the second Google-Oracle trial on Wednesday, testifying that Sun and Google tried to negotiate a deal for the latter to use parts of Java but failed to come to an agreement.

        The trial is trying to decide on what damages, if any, Google should pay Oracle — which became the owner of Java when it acquired Sun in 2009 — for the use of 37 APIs in its Android mobile operating systems.

        Schwartz testified that Java and its APIs were free and open to use when the language was under Sun’s umbrella. But subsequently, APIs have been declared copyrightable following the reversal of a judgement that was made in the first trial in 2012.

        [...]

        In an email that was produced in the 2012 trial, and again on Wednesday, a software engineer from Google, who had been asked by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to evaluate technical alternatives to Java, wrote that everything else sucked and Google needed to negotiate a licence to use Java.

      • Oracle-Google trial over Android has software industry on edge
      • Trial Focuses on Google’s Past Efforts to License Java Software
      • Google, Oracle court battle hinges on rights to brew with Java software
      • Why everyone in Silicon Valley should care about Google-Oracle battle

        Oracle and Google are back in court debating a 6-year-old case tied to the Android operating system. The stakes extend well beyond the walls of the two Silicon Valley giants.

      • Google Foreshadows Legal Strategy in Epic API Copyright Case Against Oracle

        That was the sound of the bell as two titans — Oracle and Google — came out of their corners on Tuesday to duke-out the final round in their epic legal battle over the latter’s usage of Java APIs in the Android operating system. Already, this final round lacked no shortage of star power as Google started by putting its CEO Eric Schmidt on the witness stand. His role? To answer questions about many of the assumptions that Google made at the time it decided to base key parts of the Android operating system on Sun’s Java technology; a technology that now belongs to Oracle.

      • Former Sun CEO backs up Google’s claim, Java was ‘free and open to use’

        The Oracle v Google case continued yesterday with another full day of testimony. It continues today, with former Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz taking the witness stand to give his side of the story. During questioning by Google’s lawyers, Schwartz confirmed that Java and its APIs were “free and open to use.” He explained that by making Java free, it allowed the company to expand its reach, allowing Sun to sell its products to a broader client list.

      • Former Sun CEO: Google Is Right, Java Was Free

        The multi-billion dollar legal drama between Google and Oracle regarding alleged infringement of Java-related licenses continues. This Wednesday, the former CEO of Oracle’s defunct subsidiary Sun Microsystems that created the Java language in the 90s – Jonathan Schwartz – testified at court in favor of Google. Schwartz stated that the Java language and its APIs were “free and open to use” since the very inception of the thereof, which was long before he even arrived at the company.

      • Google Engineer Admits Scrubbing Java References in Android

        Google, owner of the Android mobile device operating system, took another set of body blows from Oracle attorneys May 13 on Day 5 of the third Oracle v. Google copyright infringement trial in San Francisco.

      • In Oracle v. Google, a Nerd Subculture Is on Trial

        The problem with Oracle v. Google is that everyone actually affected by the case knows what an API is, but the whole affair is being decided by people who don’t, from the normals in the jury box to the normals at the Supreme Court—which declined to hear the case in 2015, on the advice of the normals at the Solicitor General’s office, who perhaps did not grasp exactly how software works.

      • Mega Ordered to Hand Over Users’ Details to U.S. Court

        Mega, the cloud storage site founded by Kim Dotcom, has been ordered to hand the IP addresses and personal details of some of its users to a U.S. court. The ruling follows the uploading of sensitive documents to Mega following a hack on a foreign government computer system. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Mega chairman Stephen Hall expressed concerns over the process.

      • Court Orders Pirate Bay Domains to be Forfeited to the State

        The Swedish Court of Appeal has today ruled that The Pirate Bay will have its Swedish domains confiscated. ThePirateBay.se and PirateBay.se will both be forfeited to the state but Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij informs TorrentFreak that he will appeal claims that he owns the domains at the Supreme Court.

      • California’s Legislature Wants to Copyright All Government Works

        AB 2880 will give state and local governments dramatic powers to chill speech, stifle open government, and harm the public domain.

        The California Assembly Committee on Judiciary recently approved a bill (AB 2880) to grant local and state governments’ copyright authority along with other intellectual property rights. At its core, the bill grants state and local government the authority to create, hold, and exert copyrights, including in materials created by the government. For background, the federal Copyright Act prohibits the federal government from claiming copyright in the materials it creates, but is silent on state governments. As a result, states have taken various approaches to copyright law with some granting themselves vast powers and others (such as California) forgoing virtually all copyright authority at least until now.

        EFF strongly opposes the bill. Such a broad grant of copyright authority to state and local governments will chill speech, stifle open government, and harm the public domain. It is our hope that the state legislature will scuttle this approach and refrain from covering all taxpayer funded works under a government copyright.

      • User Content Platforms Take the Heat for Artists’ Struggles at WIPO

        All this week, EFF has been at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, debating with delegates from around the world at the 32nd session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR). We could write an exhaustive report of the discussions at the meeting (tl;dr: proposals for a broadcasting treaty continue to edge forward, while rich countries remain at loggerheads with users and poorer countries about copyright exceptions for education and libraries). But what’s more remarkable are the persistent themes that are recurring in these discussions, as well as the motivations of regional groups, rightsholders and individual countries that propel them.

      • Hesitant Steps For Broadcasting Treaty At WIPO; Study On Copyright Exceptions Praised

        The protection of broadcasting organisation against signal piracy has been discussed at the World Intellectual Property Organization for two decades. However technological advances might have made the draft treaty as it stands obsolete some say, while others maintain that the treaty should stick to its original intent, leading to difficult discussions on core principles. On another subject of the WIPO committee on copyright meeting this week, a draft study was presented mapping the copyright limitations and exceptions provisions for educational activities in most WIPO member states.

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