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05.26.16

Links 26/5/2016: CentOS Linux 6.8, Ansible 2.1

Posted in News Roundup at 5:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 open source skills in high demand

    The open source job market is booming and companies need talent to drive their business. Here are the five most in-demand skills for open source IT professionals.

  • 7 Essential Skill-Building Courses for the Open Source Jobs Market

    Dice and The Linux Foundation recently released an updated Open Source Jobs Report that examines trends in open source recruiting and job seeking. The report clearly shows that open source professionals are in demand and that those with open source experience have a strong advantage when seeking jobs in the tech industry. Additionally, 87 percent of hiring managers say it’s hard to find open source talent.

  • Open-Source Software Companies Try a New Business Model

    Early open-source software companies adopted a strategy of selling services to support technology freely available on the Web. Red Hat, which has about $2.0 billion in annual revenue, demonstrated that open-source software companies could scale, but it is one of several exceptions to the rule, according to Jake Flomenberg, a partner at venture capital firm Accel Partners.

  • 3 open source alternatives to AutoCAD

    CAD—Computer aided design, or computer aided drafting, depending on who you ask—is technology created to make it easier to create specifications for real-world objects. Whether the object you’re building is a house, car, bridge, or spaceship, chances are it got its start in a CAD program of one type or another.

    Among the best-known CAD programs is AutoDesk’s AutoCAD, but there are many others out there, both proprietary and open source alike. So how do the open source alternatives to AutoCAD stack up? The answer depends on how you plan to be using them.

  • A Template Job Posting for Open Source Office Lead

    I ran into several folks this past week at OSCON who expressed a keen interest in creating a dedicated role for Open Source at their respective companies. So what was stopping them? One simple thing: every single one of them was struggling to define exactly what that role means. Instinctively we all have a feeling of what an employee dedicated to Open Source might do, but when it comes time to write it down or try to convince payroll, it can be challenging. Below I have included a starting point for a job description of what a dedicated Open Source manager might do. If you are in this boat, I’d highly recommend that you also check out the slides from our talk at OSCON this year. In addition, the many blog posts we’ve published about why our respective companies run Open Source.

  • SDN and Cloud Foundry

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Cray builds Urika-GX for open source data analytics

      High Performance Computing Supercomputer (HPCS) outfit Cray is one of those special companies.

    • Datadog Announces New Hadoop Monitoring Solution

      There are many more enterprises running Hadoop at scale now, and for a lot of them, monitoring has become important. Toward that end, there are new front ends and dashboards that make monitoring easier. Datadog, which has a SaaS-based monitoring platform for cloud applications, has announced support for Hadoop with a focus on monitoring.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • OSS Funding, CentOS 6.8, Open Source Hardware

      Johnny Hughes announced the release of CentOS 6.8 topping the Linux news today. Slackware-current received more updates today and Alicia Gibb announced a new Open Hardware certification. Jeremy Garcia offered some financial assistance to Open Source projects “in need of funding” and Gentoo developer Andreas Huettel today said, “Akonadi for e-mail needs to die.”

    • Are You Involved With an Open Source Project That’s In Need of Funding? I May Be Able to Help.

      With that in mind, are you involved with an Open Source project that would benefit from a targeted donation to accomplish a specific goal or task? If so please contact me with details and we’ll see if Linux Fund is a good fit. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact me directly or post here.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Here I am casually using GDB with Infinity
    • Rust implementation of GNUnet with GSoC

      I will be participating in Google Summer of Code this year with GNUnet. The project is on improving the Rust implementation of GNUnet utils. The primary objective is to add asynchronous IO in a way that is general, extensible and resemble the original GNUnet API.

    • libbrandt GSoC kickoff

      I was accepted for a Google Summer of Code project and will be developing an auctioning library. During the community bonding period I have so far read four papers relevant to the topic, choosen a few algorithms with slightly different properties which I want to implement and reconstructed one of them within the pari/gp CLI (see attachment). I also started with a first draft of the library interface which will be published in a git repository shortly.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Governance, one of the main sectors using open data

        Governance, data and information technology, and research and consulting are the three sectors that most frequently use open government data across all regions, the Open Data Impact report reveals.

        The report, published in May, aimed at assessing the use of open data from the perspective of the people and organisations that use it – unlike the Open Data Barometer or Open Data Index which assess open data supply and quality in the world.

        “In the governance sector, uses focus on government accountability and transparency, providing services to government agencies, or improving governance and policy on specific issues”, whereas “data/ information technology organisations work to make open government data more useful and applicable for other businesses”, the report notes. “In a similar way, organisations that offer research and consulting services help other organisations and companies succeed and create economic and social value ”, the report added.

      • Matt Hancock (UK) pledges transparency through open data at OGP meeting

        Promoting transparency through open data was at the center of a visit by Matt Hancock, UK Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, to South Africa for an OGP Steering Committee meeting in May.

        Matt Hancock reaffirmed the UK government’s commitment to transparency and noted that the country was recently ranked first in the Open Data Barometer of the World Wide Web Foundation.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development

    • Pyston 0.5 released

      Today we are extremely excited to announce the v0.5 release of Pyston, our high performance Python JIT. We’ve been a bit quiet for the past few months, and that’s because we’ve been working on some behind-the-scenes technology that we are finally ready to unveil. It might be a bit less shiny than some other things we could have worked on, but this change makes Pyston much more ready to use.

    • Pyston 0.5 Released As A Faster Python JIT

      The Dropbox engineers working on their Pyston project as a high-performance JIT implementation today announced version 0.5 of the software.

    • Jono Bacon Leaves GitHub

      One rumor FOSS Force has heard puts him on his way back to Canonical. In his blog post, Bacon hints that he has some plans, “I have a few things in the pipeline that I am not quite ready to share yet, so stay tuned and I will share this soon.”

Leftovers

  • Get ready for more ads on Google Maps

    The search giant adds new ways for brands to lure people using its maps service. What this could mean for you: more stops at McDonald’s during road trips.

  • Unsafe at Many Speeds

    Visual Evidence looks at the ways design and data visualization can create or solve real-world problems, from making weather warnings easier to read to finding meaning on the bottom of our shoes. This week, we’ll transform some data on an everyday — some might even say, pedestrian – topic into a more visual and interactive form.

  • Move to scrap university entrance exams gains speed

    The hectic rush every spring as thousands of frazzled university applicants attend entrance exams has engendered even more talk than usual this year, as several fronts are pressing for dropping the demanding tests all together. The problem is finding a suitable replacement that would still be a fair determinant of applicant merits.

  • Science

    • NFL’s War Against Science and Reason

      As a powerful corporation and cultural icon, the NFL expects to always get its way whether muscling aside concussion scientists or ignoring science in a witch hunt against one of its best quarterbacks and teams, writes Robert Parry.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Unaffordable Medicines Now Global Issue; System Needs Change, Panellists Say

      At a side event to this week’s annual World Health Assembly, a member of the Netherlands Ministry of Health delivered an unexpected speech on access to medicines, calling for more clarity in the setting of medicine prices, looking inside and outside of the patent system for solutions, and praising de-linkage. Other panellists viewed partnerships as a key ingredient to fill research and development gaps. And a representative from the Gates Foundation advised against a hasty switch to new system.

      Yesterday, an event co-organised by Health Action International, Medicines for Malaria Venture, and Oxfam gathered four speakers asked to discuss ways to achieve affordable access to health technologies.

    • Big Pharma: Pushing the Edge of the Envelope

      Wall Street’s drive for profits is hiking drug prices, says Caroline Poplin, MD, JD

    • GOP Lawmakers Capitalize on Zika Threat to Pass Bill Dubbed ‘Making Pesticides Great Again’ Act

      Representative Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.)., meanwhile, said it “is a sham.”

      “It is nothing but trying to weaken the environmental regulations. It exempts, a broad exemption, of toxic pesticides from the Clean Water Act,” she said to PBS Newshour Monday, adding that the bill stands to “pollute our rivers and contaminate our water.”

      Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.) spoke out against the measure on the House floor Tuesday, calling it “misguided” and “harmful.”

      “I am very concerned about the effect of these pesticides on the health of our rivers, on our streams, and especially the drinking water supplies of all our citizens, including pregnant women,” Napolitano added.

      Slamming the repeated iterations of the bill that threatens “to undo protections that safeguard our environment and public health,” Hoyer said that to “bring the same bill back to the Floor last week and again today, renamed with ‘Zika’ in the title, is one of the most egregious displays of dishonesty I’ve seen while serving in the House.”

      “It is an act that seeks to provide political cover for Republicans who refused to act on President Obama’s urgent request for funding to address the Zika outbreak in a serious way. House Republicans might as well bring this bill to the Floor and rename it the ‘Making Pesticides Great Again’ Act, because in truth it would remove virtually all federal oversight concerning the use of chemical pesticides to ensure they do not end up in our water supply,” he charged.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘Big Stink, Necessary Evil’: A Poem That Will Change Your Perspective on the Atomic Bombings (Audio)
    • “American Sniper” Chris Kyle Distorted His Military Record, Documents Show

      No American has been more associated with the Navy SEAL mystique than Chris Kyle, known as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. His bestselling autobiography, American Sniper — a story of honor, glory, and quiet heroism — has sold more than a million copies. The movie adaptation became the highest-grossing war film in American history.

      “All told,” Kyle wrote in his book, “I would end my career as a SEAL with two Silver Stars and five Bronze [Stars], all for valor.”

      But Kyle, who was murdered by a fellow military veteran several years after leaving the Navy, embellished his military record, according to internal Navy documents obtained by The Intercept. During his 10 years of military service and four deployments, Kyle earned one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars with Valor, a record confirmed by Navy officials.

    • Will Russia Succumb To Washington’s Economic Attack?

      If Russia is going to allow the West to control its economy, it may as well allow Washington to control its armed forces.

    • Former 9/11 Commissioner Won’t Rule Out Saudi Royal Family Foreknowledge of 9/11 Plot

      A former member of the 9/11 Commission on Tuesday left open the possibility that the Saudi royal family knew about the 9/11 terror plot before it happened.

      Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., asked members of the panel at a House Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing to raise their hands in response to this question:

      “How many of you there believe that the royal family of Saudi Arabia did not know and was unaware that there was a terrorist plot being implemented that would result in a historic terrorist attack in the United States, in the lead-up to 9/11?”

      Two of the four panelists raised their hands, but Tim Roemer, 9/11 Commission member and a former congressman from Indiana, did not. Neither did Simon Henderson, director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

    • After ‘Destroying’ Canada, Stephen Harper Leaving Politics to ‘Make His Fortune’

      News that former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper would be leaving politics presumably to “make his fortune” was met with derision and delight from his many critics who say that the conservative MP “destroyed the social fabric of Canada.”

      Harper is expected to resign from federal politics before Parliament resumes in the fall. According to the Globe and Mail, which broke the news Wednesday, he plans to “pursue new interests on corporate boards and the establishment of a foreign policy institute,” which, according to an undisclosed source, “won’t be academic or domestic-policy focused…but directed largely at global ‘big picture’ issues.”

    • Harper will step down as MP before Parliament’s fall session

      Along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr. Harper pushed austerity and balanced budgets at the G20 summits, a view not shared by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government expects to run a $30-billion deficit this fiscal year.

    • Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army

      In a surprise move, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week forced out his long-serving defence minister, Moshe Yaalon. As he stepped down, Yaalon warned: “Extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel.”

      He was referring partly to his expected successor: Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, whose trademark outbursts have included demands to bomb Egypt and behead disloyal Palestinian citizens.

      But Yaalon was also condemning extremism closer to home, in Netanyahu’s Likud party. Yaalon is to take a break from politics. With fitting irony, his slot is to be filled on Likud’s backbenches by Yehuda Glick, a settler whose struggle to destroy Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque and replace it with a Jewish temple has the potential to set the Middle East on fire.

    • Let Obama’s Hiroshima visit open up debate in the U.S. about the nuclear attacks

      Years ago, when I lived in San Diego, I saw a Cadillac with a homemade sign taped to the window that read “If there was not a Pearl Harbor, there would not have been a Hiroshima.” The car’s specialized license plate indicated that the owner was a Pearl Harbor veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart. The combination of messages perfectly encapsulated what is often the American understanding of the atomic bombs: necessary, just and, above all, uncomplicated.

      Tomorrow, Barack Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima. It is a powerful moment for both Americans and Japanese. As a historian, I hope we can see this visit as an opportunity to open up the debate on the standard narratives of the nuclear attacks.

    • A Year Ago, I Crossed the DMZ in Korea. Here’s Why.
    • Evo Morales: Latin America Must Fight US Coups with ‘Democratic Revolution’

      Bolivian President Evo Morales called on leftist governments in South America to counter U.S. plans to control the region with a “democratic revolution.”

      “In some countries it should be like a wake-up call where [governments] must start permanent conferences to relaunch democratic and cultural revolutions for Latin America and the Caribbean [region],” Morales said during an interview in Cuba on Monday night with the program Cubavisión, according to TeleSUR.

    • Evo Morales Urges ‘Democratic Revolutions Against US Empire’

      The Bolivian head of state further warned that several socialist governments in the region are facing “a battle against the empire” which has launched a campaign to discredit and destabilize those governments.

    • Do Clinton Voters Care About War?

      In America, we do not lock up our murdering politicians. We rarely prosecute or impeach them. The only scandals that stick are sex ones. Serious voters, writers, pundits, and anyone else who feels as if they have deep principles invariably buckle under the partisan weight of the political system.

      She hasn’t yet been coronated, but Hillary Clinton is surely about to win the Democratic nomination. Sure, Sen. Bernie Sanders has given her an amusing amount of trouble. And though he’s voted for deaths abroad as well, he hasn’t voted for as many as Clinton. (This is not an argument for Sanders, but it is unquestionably an argument against Clinton.) Still, she’s got this thing in the bag, because she’s got party loyalty, and she may even win the hearts of a few lost, sad little neocons running away from Donald Trump.

    • The Pentagon’s Huge Atomic Floppies

      When you hear the phrase “floppy disk,” your mind (assuming you’re of a certain age) flashes back to those ubiquitous 3.5-inch versions that were AOL’s Johnny Appleseed in the mid-1990s, spreading “You’ve Got Mail!” across the land. Only the aged among us can recollect what came before: the behemoth 5.25-inch models that owned the (tiny computer universe of the) 1980s.

    • US nuclear force ‘still uses floppy disks’ [iophk: "Newer is not better. Different is not better. Only better is better. Let's hope that the new stuff is not infected with Microsoft"]

      The US nuclear weapons force still uses a 1970s-era computer system and floppy disks, a government report has revealed.

      The Government Accountability Office said the Pentagon was one of several departments where “legacy systems” urgently needed to be replaced.

      The report said taxpayers spent $61bn (£41bn) a year on maintaining ageing technologies.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Canary Watch – One Year Later

      Along the way, the project has been part of the massive popularization of the concept: we began with just eleven canaries listed, and now just a year later we have almost seventy. In the course of tracking those, we have learned many lessons about the different types of canaries that are present on the web, as well as what happens when a canary goes away.

      In that way, the Canary Watch project has been a major success, and we’ve decided that it has achieved the goals we set out for it. As of today we will no longer accept submissions of new canaries or monitor the existing canaries for changes or take downs.

    • Obama Promised Open Government, But Hasn’t Delivered Yet

      President Obama took office promising to usher in an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability in the federal government.

      Back in 2009, when he said federal agencies “should take affirmative steps to make information public,” he promised that the administration would make openness a centerpiece of its agenda.

      But as the curtain closes on Obama’s second term, many of his lofty promises remain unfulfilled.

    • Swedish court upholds Assange arrest warrant

      A Swedish lower court upheld on Wednesday the arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, saying the stay at Ecuador’s London embassy did not equal detention.

      Assange, 44, is wanted by Swedish authorities for questioning over allegations, which he denies, that he committed rape in 2010.

    • Report: Swedish Police Excuse Migrant Rape, Blame ‘Nordic Alcohol Culture’ And ‘Ignorance’

      A Swedish police report into rape and sexual assault committed by migrants has blamed “Nordic alcohol culture,” “ignorance” and the “non-traditional gender roles” of European women for the growing problem.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • US insurance aid props up climate-risk homes

      Major insurer calls for an end to government subsidies that encourage expensive house-building schemes in areas of the US at high risk of floods and storms.

    • Activists and Investors Hold Exxon’s Feet to the Fire for Climate Crimes

      Exxon shareholders on Wednesday rejected a resolution that would have forced the oil giant to calculate and report the impact of climate change on its long-term business prospects, as well as other climate-related proposals, in some cases by an “overwhelming majority.”

      DeSmog Blog’s Steve Horn reports that “shareholders voted against one that called for the company to limit global warming to 2-degrees Celsius, with 18-percent voting for it and 82-percent against it. Further, 79-percent of shareholders voted against a resolution calling for the company to insert a climate expert on its Board.”

    • Striking Workers Shut Down France’s Oil Depots, Move to Blockade Nuclear Plant

      Striking workers with the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), one of France’s largest unions, are clashing with French government forces after the union members blockaded oil refineries and depots in response to President François Hollande forcing unpopular labor reforms through parliament earlier this month.

      Hollande’s proposed legislation would make it easier to fire employees, increase employees’ work hours, and move jobs offshore, in defiance of France’s long history of labor protections.

      The blockades shut down a quarter of the France’s gas stations and forced the country to dip into reserve petrol supplies.

  • Finance

    • We Have Entered The Looting Stage Of Capitalism

      Having successfully used the EU to conquer the Greek people by turning the Greek “leftwing” government into a pawn of Germany’s banks, Germany now finds the IMF in the way of its plan to loot Greece into oblivion .

      The IMF’s rules prevent the organization from lending to countries that cannot repay the loan. The IMF has concluded on the basis of facts and analysis that Greece cannot repay. Therefore, the IMF is unwilling to lend Greece the money with which to repay the private banks.

    • The Financial Invasion of Greece

      The IMF is preparing to bail out Ukraine, to say you don’t have to pay your debts that you owe to Russia or any governments that the U.S. doesn’t like. You have to sell off your land to George Soros and the people whom the U.S. government does like. Look at the duel standard that the IMF is imposing on Greece compared to what it’s doing for the Ukrainian government. You see that the IMF has become a tool of the New Cold War and the Syriza people and the Greeks can do is point out how unfair this is and to try to let the world know that what is happening is a movement way to the right wing of the political spectrum and that finance is war.

    • Lawsuit accusing 16 big banks of Libor manipulation reinstated by US court

      A US appeals court on Monday reinstated a civil lawsuit accusing 16 major banks of conspiring to manipulate the Libor benchmark interest rate. The ruling, which overturns a 2013 decision, could bankrupt the institutions, the judges warned.

      A lower court judge erred in dismissing the antitrust portion of private litigation against Barclays, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, UBS and others on the ground that the investors failed to allege harm to competition, according to the US circuit court of appeals in Manhattan.

      Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, underpins hundreds of trillions of dollars of transactions and is used to set rates on credit cards, student loans and mortgages. It is calculated based on submissions by banks that sit on panels.

    • Bernie Sanders Makes Hay With His Old-School Oratory Skills

      They were insistent that Sanders stay in the race against Hillary Clinton. “We haven’t had our primary yet,” Ewald said. “It should all count,” echoed Selden. “I think he should stay. He has to. The only people who want him to stop are the big corporations.”

    • 39,000 Verizon Workers Mark Six Weeks on Strike in Biggest U.S. Labor Action in Years

      Today marks six weeks since nearly 40,000 Verizon workers went on strike along the East Coast, from Massachusetts to Virginia, marking one of the biggest U.S. strikes in years. The workers have been without a contract since August amid attempts by Verizon to cap pensions, cut benefits and outsource work to Mexico, the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. On Tuesday, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam admitted the company’s second-quarter earnings may take a hit because the strike has resulted in the company falling behind on new internet and television installations. This comes as financial analysts are projecting the strike will cost Verizon $200 million in profits this year and a loss of $343 million in revenue in the second quarter alone. The Verizon strike is being organized by two unions: the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. We speak to Verizon worker Pamela Galpern and Bob Master, assistant to the vice president of Communications Workers of America.

    • Pentagon Cafeteria Workers Faced Retaliation From Managers After Going On Strike

      Food service managers at the Pentagon have been illegally retaliating against workers for going on strike, attorneys for the National Labor Relations Board have found.

      Multiple employees at a Pentagon cafeteria managed by Seven Hills, Inc., participated in strikes alongside other federal contract workers across the Washington, D.C., area in recent years. The campaign is the first of its kind, and has already won the support of the Obama administration in both word and deed.

    • The Other Big Surprise of 2016 Is the Return of Democratic Socialism

      Democratic socialism used to be a vibrant force in American life. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the Socialist Party of America, headed by the charismatic union leader, Eugene V. Debs, grew rapidly, much like its sister parties in Europe and elsewhere: the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, the Swedish Social Democratic Party, the Australian Labor Party, and dozens of similar parties that voters chose to govern their countries. Publicizing its ideas through articles, lectures, rallies, and hundreds of party newspapers, America’s Socialist Party elected an estimated 1,200 public officials, including 79 mayors, in 340 cities, as well as numerous members of state legislatures and two members of Congress. Once in office, the party implemented a broad range of social reforms designed to curb corporate abuses, democratize the economy, and improve the lives of working class Americans. Even on the national level, the Socialist Party became a major player in American politics. In 1912, when Woodrow Wilson’s six million votes gave him the presidency, Debs―his Socialist Party opponent―drew vast, adoring crowds and garnered nearly a million.

    • Republicans Demand Flint-Like Solution To Puerto Rico Debt

      Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) explains how Wall Street financial interests contributed to the economic crisis in Puerto Rico at the “Take On Wall Street” campaign event Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol.

      In 2008 Wall Street got in over its head, and the U.S. government and Federal Reserve stepped in with trillions of dollars to bail them out. Now Puerto Rico has debt that it cannot pay. Instead of helping, though, Republicans in Congress are demanding increased austerity and an unelected “oversight board” that sets aside democratic governance – the same way Republicans imposed unelected government on Michigan cities like Flint. (We know how that turned out.)

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Myth That Sanders Hasn’t Been Criticized Won’t Go Away

      This line of argument has been advanced by, for example, everyone from Slate’s Michelle Goldberg to the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky to MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid. The problem is this Beltway dogma is based entirely on rhetorical sleight-of-hand, conventional wisdom and unfalsifiable assumptions.

      The refrain that the Clinton campaign hasn’t run a negative attack on Sanders, thus protecting him from the sort of criticism that lies ahead, is just a lie — one that normally reserved PolitiFact (5/22/16) deemed Clinton’s claim to this effect “false.” This argument has been repeated by several pundits, notably Goldberg (5/2/16), who wrote, “Clinton has not hit Sanders with a single negative ad.” Tomasky (5/24/16) added, “While [Sanders] all but called Clinton a harlot, she’s barely said a word about him.”

    • WATCH: Amy Goodman on MetroFocus (PBS)

      Amy Goodman appears on the PBS show MetroFocus and breaks down all that is wrong with the media’s coverage of Election 2016.

    • 72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election

      A 72-year-old college professor named Alexander van der Bellen, running for president as the candidate of the leftist Austrian Green Party, a fringe party that had never been considered a serious contender in post-war Austrian politics, just won a narrow victory over Norbert Hofer, a right-wing candidate of the neo-fascist Freedom Party who had been favored to win.

    • If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent

      As of late I have not been particularly kind to Senator Sanders‘ ability or even intentions to truly fight for what desperately must be done to salvage a vague sense that democracy is not a complete illusion in the United States of America. Early on, when he threw his hat into the election circus ring, we made proper official interview requests to the Senator from Vermont through his Senate staff, and were never granted the courtesy of any sort of response. In several columns we have called him a “Hillary Clinton seat warmer” a “limp candidate” and other unflattering names. As the primary charade is about to end, Bernie Sanders still has a chance to not let his many supporters completely down. Sanders still can be a real contender, but the window of opportunity is closing extremely quickly.

    • Dems Reportedly Asking: Has Debbie Wasserman Schultz Become ‘Too Toxic’?

      Democratic Party insiders are reportedly discussing whether to remove Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) before this summer’s nominating convention in Philadelphia.

      “There’s a strong sentiment that the current situation is untenable and can only be fixed by her leaving,” a senior Democratic aide told The Hill. “There’s too much water under the bridge for her to be a neutral arbiter.”

    • DNC chair on thin ice

      Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is on increasingly thin ice as she risks losing key support to stay in her job.
      Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of Hillary Clinton’s leading supporters on Capitol Hill, told CNN Wednesday that Wasserman Schultz is seen by supporters of Bernie Sanders as “part of the problem.” She said the Florida congresswoman is playing a “starring role” ahead of the Democratic National Convention in July, which is unusual for someone in her position.

    • Hillary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz Pick Influence Peddlers to Guide DNC Platform

      Three professional influence peddlers, including a registered corporate lobbyist, have been chosen by Hillary Clinton and Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., to serve on the committee responsible for drafting the party’s platform.

      The 15-member panel has six members chosen by Clinton, five chosen by Bernie Sanders and four chosen by Wasserman Schultz.

      Wendy Sherman and Carol Browner, two of the representatives chosen by Clinton, work at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a “government affairs” firm that was created in 2009 through a merger with Madeleine Albright’s consulting company and Stonebridge International, a defense contractor lobbying shop.

    • Blaming ‘Too Much Democracy’ for Trump

      The latest lament of the neocon establishment is that America is suffering from too much democracy – leading to Donald Trump – but the opposite is more to the point, how elite manipulation set this stage, explains Mike Lofgren.

    • Hillary Clinton ripped by State Department inspector over e-mail flap

      The Republican Party and Donald Trump just got some fresh campaign fodder. A State Department inspector general report released Wednesday concludes that Hillary Clinton sidestepped security by running a private e-mail server when she was Secretary of State.

      The 83-page report by Inspector General Steve Linick noted that the Office of the Secretary has had “longstanding, systemic weaknesses related to electronic records.” What’s more, the report (PDF) concludes the office hasn’t addressed these issues fast enough.

    • Government Report on Clinton Email Scandal Much Worse Than Expected

      Hillary Clinton and her top aides failed to comply with U.S. State Department policies on records by using her personal email server and account, possibly jeopardizing official secrets, an internal watchdog concluded in a long-awaited report (pdf) on Wednesday.

      Clinton also never sought permission from the department’s legal staff to use the server, which was located at her New York residence, a request which—if filed—”would not” have been approved, the report by the agency’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) states.

    • Hillary Clinton Is Criticized for Private Emails in State Dept. Review

      The State Department’s inspector general on Wednesday sharply criticized Hillary Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, saying that she had not sought permission to use it and would not have received it if she had.

      The report, delivered to members of Congress, undermined some of Mrs. Clinton’s previous statements defending her use of the server and handed her Republican critics, including the party’s presumptive nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, new fodder to attack her just as she closes in on the Democratic nomination.

    • Sanders Calls for Kentucky Vote Review, Clinton Nixes California Debate

      Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are revving up their campaigns in anticipation of the California primary, which will be held on June 7. This week, their pre-California strategies are growing clear: Sanders is attempting to engage with Hillary and create campaign momentum, whereas Clinton is continuing to go after Trump while trying to ignore any hindrances to her own campaign. Midway through this week’s madness, let’s look at what’s happening with both the Democratic nominees.

      On Monday, it was announced that Sanders would pick members for the platform-writing portion of the Democratic Party. The Washington Post reports that of the 15 members in the body, Clinton will appoint six and Sanders will appoint five. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Convention’s chair, will appoint the remaining four.

    • Transgender Group ‘Perplexed’ At Why Clinton Won’t Fill Out Questionnaire

      A national group for trans people in the United States is waiting for Hillary Clinton to complete a survey on where she stands on issues. On the other hand, the group is not waiting for Bernie Sanders. He followed through on his commitment to fill out the questionnaire.

    • Five Takeaways From Democracy Spring

      April 2016 was a turning point for democracy in the United States.

      Under the banner of Democracy Spring, thousands of Americans decided to fight back against a broken democratic system that represents only the wealthiest in society. They gathered in Washington, D.C. to march, rally, and risk arrest (over 1300 people were arrested on the Capitol steps) to get big money out of politics and ensure that every American has the right to vote.

      These protestors had clear demands, endorsing four pieces of legislation already introduced in Congress.

    • Television Meets History

      “All The Way,” an HBO biopic of LBJ from his first days of presidency through the election victory of 1964, aired on Saturday to the delight of critics and, one suspects, also most of the viewers. The adaptation of Robert Schenkkan’s Tony award-winning 2014 theater piece is certainly timely, in the fifty-year anniversary sense alone, but it has a lot more going for it. Jay Roach, who memorably directed Bryan Cranston, star of this film, as Dalton Trumbo in an earlier biopic, here has crafted a Lyndon Johnson true to the life, vulgar and manipulative but in many ways the loyal son of the New Deal that Johnson imagined himself.

      What may it mean to people not yet born fifty years ago, most of all to today’s young, economically sunken and political restless population? How do they (or we) understand a political crisis of the two party system in the face of another political crisis, at least as intense? And what do we make, on the Democratic side in particular, of rivals who hearken back to that political era, where they developed their ideas and hardened themselves for an extended upward climb?

      It would seem especially difficult for mainstream Democrats, now in a rush to get Bernie Sanders into the concession mode, to imagine a teenage Hillary Clinton as the Goldwater Girl of suburban Chicago, 1964. Respectable Republican suburbanites mostly disdained use of the N Word as evidence of lower class vulgarity. But Barry Goldwater’s insistence that the Constitution forbade “forced” integration of schools and other public facilities had a special resonance for the Country Club set. As suburbs sprouted, racial covenants had sprouted with them way back to the 1920s, marking off large, mostly prosperous living space—especially compared to the tax-starved cities—from the taint of a non-white presence. Hillary Rodham’s own Park Ridge was a prime case in point: 99.9% white in 1960, its residents undoubtedly wished to keep it that way.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • A Huge, Huge Deal

      Here and there we’ve reported on the Hulk Hogan lawsuit against Gawker. As you probably know, Hogan won the case and won a massive judgment of $115 million dollars and an additional $25 million in punitive damages. While it is widely believed that the verdict is likely to be reversed on appeal or at least the judgment dramatically reduced, Gawker had to immediately place $50 million into escrow. The anticipated need to produce that sum forced Gawker to sell an undisclosed amount of the company to a Russian oligarch named Viktor Vekselberg. Simple fact: It’s hard to feel too much sympathy when a publication gets sued for publishing excerpts of someone’s sex tape. But some new information emerged this morning that, in my mind, significantly changes the picture.

    • Silicon Valley Billionaire Peter Thiel Accused Of Financing Hulk Hogan’s Ridiculous Lawsuits Against Gawker

      So here’s a crazy and unfortunate story. On Monday evening, the NY Times posted a rather weird story suggesting that there was someone with a grudge against Gawker funding the various lawsuits against the site, including Hulk Hogan’s multiple lawsuits (he recently filed another one, even more ridiculous than the first — which resulted in a $115 million verdict against Gawker that hopefully will get tossed on appeal). The NYT piece was weird in that it was pure innuendo — just saying that Gawker’s Nick Denton was increasingly sure that someone who really disliked the site was funding the lawsuits. It was surprising that the NY Times ran it given the lack of anything beyond speculation and rumor.

    • Prisoners’ Voices Blocked and Censorship in U.S. Prisons

      Like many political prisoners, the author’s freedom of speech rights are routinely curtailed. “While prisoners do have a legal right to express their thoughts and report on issues and abuses, actually getting your words out is often very hard or impossible.” U.S. prisons operate their own “kangaroo courts” that often shut down inmate communications “even if the prisoner ultimately wins appeal and has his or her communications restored.”

    • D&AD Next Photographer winner Tam Hoi Ying on challenging censorship in China

      Hong Kong-Chinese photographer Tam Hoi Ying has received this year’s D&AD Next Photographer award for a series of images which raise awareness of issues surrounding freedom of speech and human rights in China. Here, she discusses her work and how she hopes to challenge censorship

    • Copyright As Censorship: Questionable Copyright Claim Forces Indie Musician To Destroy All Physical Copies Of New Album

      Indie musician Will Toledo has a band (it’s all him, actually) called Car Seat Headrest that just (sorta) put out its first album with a label (pretty famous indie record label) after a whole bunch of self-released albums, and lots of (well-deserved) internet buzz. The album was released this past Friday… sorta. Apparently one of the songs included an homage to a song by The Cars. I’ve read a bunch of articles on this and Toledo’s own statement, and the homage is called a bunch of different things, from a “sample” to a “cover” and no one ever clarifies which it actually is. And that’s important because the legal issues are potentially different with each. But, it also doesn’t matter at all because Toledo and Matador have agreed to destroy all the physical copies of the album after The Cars’ Ric Ocasek complained that he didn’t like it. So the digital release came out, with a replacement version of the song that Toledo apparently rewrote a week before the album was released, and a new physical version will come out… sometime.

    • Car Seat Headrest LPs Destroyed Because Ric Ocasek Wouldn’t Authorize a Cars Sample

      Car Seat Headrest’s new album, Teens of Denial, will be digitally available next Friday, May 20 via Matador. The record was originally supposed to be physically released on May 20, too. However, the physical release has been delayed to the summer due to a legal issue over “Just What I Wanted/Not Just What I Needed,” an album track containing elements of the Cars’ “Just What I Needed.” In a press release, the label writes, “Matador had negotiated for a license in good faith months ago, only to be told last week that the publisher involved was not authorized to complete the license in the United States, and that Ric Ocasek preferred that his work not be included in the song.” As a result, the currently printed copies of the record will be recalled and destroyed. The song, meanwhile, will be edited to remove the Cars reference.

    • Censorship & Upcoming Royal Society Evo Meeting

      The world is awash with the latest scientific evidence that anyone and everyone can now access on the Internet. Science in that sense has been democratized and everyone who wants to be in the know can be — including the Royal Society organizing committee — and can have an educated opinion.

    • Ekho Moskvy Chief Alleges Censorship In Cancellation Of Putin Critic’s Show

      The editor in chief of Ekho Moskvy radio, one of Russia’s most prominent independent-minded media outlets, says a popular talk show hosted by a searing Kremlin critic has been pulled off the air due to censorship by the station’s management.

      The comments by Aleksei Venediktov come amid mounting concerns that the authorities are stepping up efforts to curtail hard-hitting investigative reporting and dissenting voices anywhere in the Russian media.

    • Liberal censorship: breaking out of the echo chamber

      Universities, once recognized as bastions of tolerance and diversity, bear perhaps the greatest blame. Kristof cites studies showing that just 6 to 11 percent of humanities professors are conservatives. Fewer than one in ten social-studies professors call themselves conservative. For perspective, consider that twice that number identify as Marxists!

    • Lawmakers From The Great Theocracy Of Utah Looking To Block Porn On Cell Phones

      When we’ve talked in the past about government attempting to outright block pornography sites, those efforts have typically been aimed at sites hosting child pornography. Blocking child porn is a goal that’s impossible to rebel against, though the methods for achieving it are another matter entirely. Too often, these attempts task ISPs and mobile operators with the job of keeping this material out of the public eye, which is equal parts burdensome, difficult to do, and rife with collateral damage. Other nations, on the other hand, have gone to some lengths to outright block pornography in general, such as in Pakistan for religious reasons, or in the UK for save-the-children reasons. If the attempts to block child porn resulted in some collateral damage, the attempts to outright censor porn from the internet resulted in a deluge of such collateral damage. For this reason, and because we have that pesky First Amendment in America, these kinds of efforts attempted by the states have run into the problem of being unconstitutional in the past.

    • Meet The Social Justice Foundation That Pays For Censorship And Lies

      In addition, the foundation has partnered with Microsoft in an effort to replace standardized testing with an educational video game system that would likely bring a progressive message to millions of American students.

    • NUJ: Amendments to CMA 1998 must not restrict right to freedom of expression

      The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has cautioned that the proposed amendments to the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 must not restrict the right to freedom of expression online.

      “NUJ considers it best to bring up the right to reporting and freedom of press since online news now play a bigger role in informing the public.

      “Clamping down on online reporting will not only maim freedom of information but also removes the democratic rights of the people,” it said in statement on Wednesday.

      Proposed amendments to the Act include mandatory registration of political bloggers and online news portals, and an increase in penalties for offences under the Act.

    • NUJ expresses concerns over proposal to amend Communication and Multimedia Act

      The NUJ said it considered it best to bring up the right to reporting and freedom of the press since online media now plays a bigger role in keeping the public informed.

    • NUJ: Proposed law could entrench censorship

      The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Malaysia has lent its support to calls against proposed amendments to the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998.

    • WhatsApp ban ignites Brazil censorship fears
    • Security Researcher Revealing “Secure” Advertising Claim By DigiExam As Utterly False Threatened With Copyright Monopoly Lawsuit
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Mid-2016 Tor bug retrospective, with lessons for future coding

      Recommendation 5.1: all backward compatibility code should have a timeout date. On several occasions we added backward compatibility code to keep an old version of Tor working, but left it enabled for longer than we needed to. This code has tended not to get the same regular attention it deserves, and has also tended to hold surprising deviations from the specification. We should audit the code that’s there today and see what we can remove, and we should never add new code of this kind without adding a ticket and a comment planning to remove it.

    • Anti-Choice Groups Use Smartphone Surveillance to Target ‘Abortion-Minded Women’ During Clinic Visits

      Women who have visited almost any abortion clinic in the United States have seen anti-choice protesters outside, wielding placards and chanting abuse. A Boston advertiser’s technology, when deployed by anti-choice groups, allows those groups to send propaganda directly to a woman’s phone while she is in a clinic waiting room.

      [...]

      When Ads Follow You Around

      By now, most Americans have experienced the following phenomenon: You look at something online—a hotel, a flower delivery service, a course at a local college—and the next thing you know, ads for that thing follow you around the internet for the next week.

      A watch you looked at now pops up next to your Facebook feed; an ad for a coffee machine you researched on Amazon now lurks on your favorite news sites. And maybe, after researching cars online, it seems that Toyota knows whenever you visit a lot, and sends ads to your phone as you walk through the dealership’s doors.

    • Dropbox Wants More Access To Your Computer, and People Are Freaking Out

      On Tuesday, Dropbox published more details about upcoming changes to the company’s desktop client that will allow users to access all of the content in their account as if it is stored on their own machine, no matter how small the hard-disk on their computer.

      In other words, you can browse through your own file system and have direct access to your cloud storage, without having to go and open a web browser nor worry about filling up your hard-drive.

      Sounds great, but experts and critics have quickly pointed out that Dropbox Infinite, as the technology is called, may open up your computer to more serious vulnerabilities, because it works in a particularly sensitive part of the operating system.

    • Is Facebook eavesdropping on your phone conversations?

      It’s irresistible, enticing and addicting. And, it’s available 24-hours a day all over the world to billions of people. Facebook beckons to users seemingly with a two-prong approach – both the pressure and pleasure to post.

      We share stories, photos, triumphs and tragedies. It is ingrained into our daily lives so deeply that studies show people check Facebook, on average, 14 times a day. With all those eyes all over the globe dialed in and the purchasing power available, the online giant has tapped into a controversial delivery of data into its intelligence gathering. It all starts with something that you may not even realize is enabled on your phone.

    • Senate Judiciary Committee Must Pass the Email Privacy Act Without Weakening Amendments

      The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the Email Privacy Act on Thursday. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) plan to introduce near-identical text of the House-passed bill, H.R. 699, as substitute language for the existing Senate bill, S. 356. This manager’s amendment contains minor changes. In addition, up to eight different amendments may be offered.

      The Email Privacy Act would amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to require the government to get a probable cause warrant from a judge before obtaining private content stored in the “cloud” with companies such as Google, Facebook, and Dropbox. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 699 last month by a unanimous vote of 419-0. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing last September on the need to reform ECPA and codify the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2010 ruling that the government violated the Fourth Amendment when it obtained emails stored by third parties without a probable cause warrant.

    • Congrats, FBI, You’ve Now Convinced Silicon Valley To Encrypt And Dump Log Files

      Soon after the original Snowden revelations, I went around talking to a bunch of startups and startup organizers, discussing whether they’d be more willing to speak out and complain about excessive government surveillance. Some certainly did, but many were cautious. A key thing that I heard over and over again was “well, our own data privacy protections… aren’t that great, and we’d hate to call attention to that.” Every single time I’d hear that I’d point out that this should now be their first priority: clean up your own act, now and fix your own handling of people’s data, because it’s an issue that’s going to become increasingly important, and you’re being foolish and shortsighted to ignore it.

      While the Snowden revelations certainly did get some companies to improve their own practices, it looks like the FBI’s decision to go after Apple over encryption, has really galvanized many in Silicon Valley to take action to truly protect their users from snooping government officials — meaning making use of real (not backdoored) encryption and also diong other things like dumping log files more frequently.

    • We toured the NSA museum, a building dedicated to America’s secrets and spies — take a look [Ed: Pro-NSA site (not just me saying so) does a puff piece for NSA today
    • The NSA will neither confirm nor deny these are items in its gift shop[Ed: puff pieces for the NSA continue to come from BI]
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A computer program rated defendants’ risk of committing a future crime. These are the results.

      Courtrooms across the nation are using computer programs to predict who will be a future criminal. The programs help inform decisions on everything from bail to sentencing. They are meant to make the criminal justice system fairer — and to weed out human biases.

      ProPublica tested one such program and found that it’s often wrong — and biased against blacks. (Read our story.)

    • Drinking Milk While Black: Middle School Kid Busted For “Stealing” Milk Carton He Was Entitled To, and Besides They Probably Have A Frig At Home Too

      A valiant police officer in Prince William County, Virginia arrested and handcuffed an aspiring thug and middle school student – who is black but obviously that had nothing to do with it – after the boy allegedly “stole” a 65-cent milk carton already available to him under a free lunch program. Ryan Turk was confronted by the school cop – wait, tell us again why we have cops in school? – in the cafeteria after he went back to the lunch line to get milk. When the officer grabbed him and charged him with stealing it, he protested – “I yanked away from him and I told him to get off me because he’s not my dad,” the perpetrator later admitted – at which point two officers handcuffed him because he “broke the rules and became disorderly.” Turk was taken to the principal’s office, where he was searched for drugs, charged with larceny and suspended from school for “acting inappropriately” – more specifically, “theft, being disrespectful and using his cell phone.”

    • A School Accused A Student Of Milk Theft. He Was Innocent But Is Still Going To Court.

      A middle school student in Virginia was handcuffed and charged with stealing a 65-cent carton of milk from his school cafeteria, local television station WTVR reported — even though the student, who’s on the school’s free lunch program, wasn’t responsible for paying for it anyway.

      The student’s mother told WVTR she’s very frustrated her son was handcuffed. “They are charging him with larceny,” she said. “I don’t have no understanding as to why he is being charged with larceny when he was entitled to that milk from the beginning.”

    • Prosecutors Still Using Race to Choose Juries in Death Penalty Cases, Despite Century of Supreme Court Rulings

      Yesterday’s 7-1 Supreme Court decision in Foster v. Chatman was a huge victory for Timothy Foster, a 49-year-old Black man who has been on Georgia’s death row for 29 years. The ruling also reflects a systemic problem with the death penalty: prosecutors’ repeated, deliberate use of race to choose jurors. This practice alone makes capital punishment so fundamentally unfair that we must end it.

    • In fighting corruption, whistleblowers must be encouraged

      Corruption is a complex phenomenon, and I think it depends a lot on which point of view you choose to look at it. I think the reality today is a reality of light and shade. Although it is true that there are many more corruption scandals –and we just witnessed a global explosion with the Panama Paper revelations–, corruption has also become a lot more visible than in the past. And that speaks well of the investigation mechanisms, and of the tools of transparency and social mobilisation in many places, which have resulted in these cases coming to light. Before there was much more opacity, I think, on the issue of corruption.

    • Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500

      It’s less than a month since the ‘Frisco Five’ began their hunger strike, with a single demand: that Police Chief Greg Suhr resign or be fired. This chief, who for five years has been crying ‘crocodile tears’ while justifying every police killing of a Black or Latino person. This chief, who for five years has been vigilantly protected by the mayor, the media and the city’s Democratic political establishment.

    • 5,600 Refugees Rescued in 48 Hours an Indictment of Crises Created by West

      As humanitarian groups plead with European officials to allow refugees safe passage—and as Europe closes its borders to asylum seekers—more and more people are risking their lives in the treacherous sea crossing from North Africa to Europe, with disastrous results.

      The Italian Coast guard announced Wednesday morning that a staggering 5,600 migrants had been rescued from treacherous waters off the coast of Libya in only the last 48 hours—straining all search and rescue agencies in the region to absolute capacity.

      On Tuesday alone, 3,000 asylum seekers were rescued in 23 separate operations.

    • DHS/ICE Knew Its World Series ‘Panty Raid’ Was A Bad Idea; Pressured To Do So Anyway

      The Kansas City Royals’ long-delayed return to competitive baseballing coincided with one of the most ridiculous raids ever conducted by the Department of Homeland Security. Birdies, a Kansas City lingerie shop, was “visited” by DHS agents — working in conjunction with ICE — who seized a number of panties emblazoned with a handcrafted take on the Royals’ logo, along with the phrase “Take the Crown.”

    • Will Rhode Island Double Down on the CFAA’s Faults?

      Legislators in Rhode Island have advanced a dangerous bill that would duplicate and exacerbate the faults of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Four organizations joined EFF this week in signing a letter and supporting memo to state legislators explaining the bill’s faults and why it should not pass.

      In addition to threatening innocent activities like security research, whistleblowing in the public interest, and anyone who violates a corporate Terms of Service (TOS) agreement to access confidential information, the bill would place enormous power in the hands of prosecutors, impose steep criminal penalties without even requiring an intent to obtain financial gain, and compound the problematic vagueness of terms in existing Rhode Island state law.

    • Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Takes High-School Detention to a New Level

      Thursday, Jan. 28, was a cold morning in Durham, North Carolina. Wildin David Guillen Acosta went outside to head to school, but never made it. He was thrown to the ground and arrested by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He has been in detention ever since. Wildin, now 19 years old, fled his home in Olancho, Honduras more than two years ago. He was detained when crossing the border, but, as he was a minor at the time, he was allowed to join his family in North Carolina. He started out at Riverside High School, and was set to graduate this June. He wanted to become an engineer. Instead, he has been locked up in the notorious Stewart Detention Center in rural Lumpkin, Georgia, which is run by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America.

    • Bill Would Require DNA Samples From Americans When Sponsoring Family Visas

      A new immigration bill under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee would impose unprecedented restrictions on U.S. citizens seeking to sponsor the immigration of their family members, requiring that all parties submit to mandatory DNA testing as part of their visa applications.

      H.R. 5203, the Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016, would require that “a genetic test is conducted to confirm such biological relationship,” adding that, “any such genetic test shall be conducted at the expense of the petitioner or applicant.”

      A public letter from the American Civil Liberties Union protesting the bill notes that its provisions would require “even a nursing mother [to] undergo DNA testing to prove the biological relationship with her infant,” and “would amount to population surveillance that subverts our notions of a free and autonomous citizenry.” It is unclear how the bill would account for adopted children, or those who for a variety of other reasons might not fully share the DNA characteristics of their parents.

    • Amos Yee makes video to hurt Muslims, but the community’s too mature for him

      Amos Yee has made an extremely provocative video with the intent of hurting the beliefs and sentiments of Muslims.

    • Amos Yee to face new charges related to religion

      Less than a year after he was released from jail for posting online an obscene image and content intended to hurt the religious feelings of Christians, teenage blogger Amos Yee is set to be charged on Thursday (May 26) with similar offences.

      The 17-year-old will face eight charges, including five for allegedly wounding the religious feelings of Muslims and one for allegedly wounding the religious feelings of Christians. These charges relate to content he posted online between November last year and last Thursday.

      The remaining two charges are for allegedly failing to show up at Jurong Police Division last December and this month, despite a notice from Assistant Superintendent of Police Doreen Chong and a magistrate’s order to do so.

    • Muslim students face $5K fine if they refuse Swiss teachers’ handshakes

      Educational authorities in Switzerland ruled Wednesday that the parents or guardians of students who refuse to shake a teacher’s hand — a Swiss tradition — can be fined up to $5,000.

      The decision comes after a school in the northern town of Therwil, near Basel, agreed last month to allow two teenage Muslim boys to refuse to shake hands with their female teachers on religious grounds. The school also decided the boys would not shake hands with male teachers to avoid discrimination.

      The incident sparked a national debate — Swiss students often shake their teachers’ hands at the beginning and end of the day.

    • Police release chilling bodycam footage of the moments before unarmed father-of-two was shot dead in a hotel by Arizona police officer – but crucially omits the moment he begged for his life

      Police in Arizona have released an edited bodycam video of the night an unarmed father was shot dead by cops, although it crucially omits the moment he was killed while begging for his life.

      The shaky footage, published publicly on Tuesday, fails to show the moment Daniel Shaver, 26, was shot dead by officer Philip Brailsford in Mesa on January 18.

      Shaver, a married father-of-two from Texas, was in the city for business relating to his work in pest control.

      Police were called to his hotel after reports that someone was pointing a gun from a window on a high-up floor in La Quinta Inn & Suites on East Superstition Springs Boulevard.

      Though Shaver carries two pellet guns with him for work, he was unarmed at the time.

      In the footage released by police, all that can be seen or heard in the video is the armed response team ordering guests on the fifth floor to get out their rooms as they surrounded Room 502, Shaver’s room.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T’s Broadband Caps Go Live This Week And Are The Opening Salvo In An All-Out War On Cord Cutters

      For a company that just spent $69 billion on DirecTV to unlock “amazing synergies” across the TV, wireless and broadband sectors, AT&T’s latest quarterly earnings subscriber tallies landed with a bit of a thud. The company actually posted a net loss of 54,000 video subscribers, a net loss of 363,000 postpaid phone subscribers, and a net gain of just 5,000 broadband customers during the quarter — suggesting that any “synergies” AT&T envisioned are going to be somewhat slow in coming, if they arrive at all.

      That AT&T spent $69 billion on a satellite TV provider on the eve of the cord cutting revolution — especially given its fixed broadband network lags cable speeds and is in desperate need of upgrade — turned numerous heads on Wall Street. But skeptics haven’t yet really keyed in to the cornerstone of AT&T’s plans or its ultimate secret weapon in the war on evolving markets: usage caps.

    • GOP budget bill would kill net neutrality and FCC’s set-top box plan

      House Republicans yesterday released a plan to slash the Federal Communications Commission’s budget by $69 million and prevent the FCC from enforcing net neutrality rules, “rate regulation,” and its plan to boost competition in the set-top box market.

      The proposal is the latest of many attempts to gut the FCC’s authority, though it’s unusual in that it takes aim at two of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s signature projects while also cutting the agency’s budget. The plan is part of the government’s annual appropriations bill.

  • DRM

    • As Netflix Locks Down Exclusive Disney Rights, The New Walled Gardens Emerge

      Back in 2012, Netflix and Disney struck a deal wherein Netflix would be the exclusive online provider of Disney content starting in 2016. And while we knew that the deal had been struck, it was only this week that Netflix announced on its blog that the exclusive arrangement would formally begin in September. As of September 1, if you want to stream the latest Disney (and by proxy Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar) films — you need to do it via Netflix.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Leaked European Council Document On Major Evaluation Of EU Drug Affordability

      The 28 European Union member governments are preparing to request the European Commission to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the availability and affordability of EU medicinal products that could lead to changes in R&D and pricing models. An apparent first-of-its-kind, the assessment would look at market and data exclusivity, supplementary protection certificates, and intellectual property issues, according to an alleged copy of the draft Council conclusions obtained by Intellectual Property Watch.

    • Trademarks

      • SCHHH … it’s not a single brand

        The IPKat is very grateful to David Pellisé and Juan Carlos Quero of Pellisé Abogados in Barcelona, for telling him about a new reference that is fizzing its way to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

        Interested in the limits of parallel importation? Then pour yourself a stiff G&T and read on. The Barcelona Commercial Court (nº 8) in Spain has essentially asked the CJEU to rule on what happens when the owner of a trademark right has caused uncertainty as to the function of origin.

      • City Of Mesa Abusing Trademark Law To Punish City Council Candidate They Don’t Like

        Another day, another story of abusing trademark law to try to silence speech. Paul Levy has the story of how the city of Mesa, Arizona, has sent a ridiculous cease and desist letter to Jeremy Whittaker, who is running for city council. Apparently, his opponent in the election is the preferred choice of many current city officials, suggesting that they don’t really appreciate Whittaker’s candidacy. But the city took things a ridiculous step too far in sending that cease and desist, arguing that Whittaker’s campaign signs violate the city’s trademark on its logo.

      • Urban Outfitters With A Surprising First Win In Navajo Trademark Dispute: Navajo Isn’t Famous

        Earlier this year, we wrote about an ongoing trademark dispute between the Navajo Nation and Urban Outfitters. The clothier had released a line of clothing and accessories, most notably women’s underwear, with traditional Native American prints and had advertised them as a “Navajo” line. The Nation, which has registered trademarks on the term “Navajo”, had sued for profits and/or damages under trademark law and the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which prohibits companies from passing off goods as being made by Native Americans when they were not. In that post, I had focused on whether or not the term “Navajo” was deserving of trademark protection at all, or whether it ought to be looked at in the same way we consider words like “American”, “Canadian” or “Mexican”, as generic terms to denote a group of people.

    • Copyrights

      • Fan-Created Movie Subtitle Site Operator Facing Prison

        The operator of a site that hosted fan-made translated movie subtitles has been prosecuted in Sweden. Undertexter.se was raided by police in the summer of 2013, despite many feeling that the site had done nothing wrong. That is disputed by the prosecutor who says that the crimes committed are worthy of imprisonment.

      • Hollywood Writers & Copyright Scholars Point Out That Piracy Fears Over Open Set Top Boxes Are Complete FUD

        We’ve been covering for a while the ridiculous ongoing fight about the FCC’s plan to open up the set top box market to actual competition. Historically, we’ve always seen that when closed technologies are opened up, it generally leads to much more innovation that benefits everyone. But the big cable companies are freaking out, because locked set top boxes are a huge moneymaker for them: they get customers to “rent” those cable boxes for an average of $230 per year. The industry, as a whole, takes in approximately $20 billion from set top box rentals alone. And they can only do that because the market is locked down. And the cable companies don’t want to give that up.

        They’ve been trying various strategies to kill off the FCC’s plans, including the ridiculous, but frequently used, argument that opening up set top boxes will harm diversity (the opposite is actually true, but… details). But a key vector of attack on this plan has been to convince their buddies at the MPAA that open set top boxes are just another name for piracy. They’ve convinced some truly confused Hollywood types to freak out about more innovation in set top boxes meaning more piracy, leading to a series of similar op-ed pieces showing up basically everywhere. And those op-eds have influenced some of our clueless lawmakers too, who are now asking if open set top boxes will lead to a Popcorn Time revolution.

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  1. High Courts in the United States Still Neither Grappling/Interfering With PTAB Nor Overturning <em>Alice</em>

    In spite of unprecedented pressure from Watchtroll, Dennis Crouch and other prominent elements of the patent microcosm in the United States, software patents continue to enjoy no backing from the courts while the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) accelerates its crackdown on such patents



  2. Hailo and Qualcomm Both Want to Profit From Software Patents Rather Than Actual Products

    The (mis)use of software patents for "easy money" is being challenged and it does not look particularly encouraging to those who rely on such patents in 2017



  3. “Spectator” and “The Patent Scam” (New Site/Movie) Tackle the Patent Trolls Epidemic

    The mainstream criticism of patent trolls, culminating even in movies like "The Patent Scam" and others, might be enough to sway public opinion on the subject



  4. Unified Patent Propaganda Courtesy of a Cabal of Firms That Constructed the UPC

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC), a proposed patent litigation system which would harm European industry for the benefit of law firms and their largest clients (abroad), is only being boosted by few selfish and patently dishonest stakeholders, including/enjoying the EPO's massive PR/lobbying budget (FTI Consulting)



  5. Twitter Shadowbans Critics of the EPO Now?

    Criticise the EPO's European Inventor Award 2017 (in a way that becomes visible), get shadowbanned by Twitter (rendering this criticism invisible)



  6. RecogniCorp v Nintendo is Another Nail in the Coffin of Software Patents in the United States

    A precedential new decision against software patents is terrible news for the patent microcosm -- something for them to spin or moan about for a long time to come



  7. Battistelli is Busy Securing the Vote of Countries Whose Support and Tickets Are Easy to 'Buy'

    Battistelli’s banana republic politics and tricks are viewed as his ticket to endless ‘leadership’ (domination by sheer force) of a sinking patent office, whose rules he repeatedly breaks (including lack of eligibility to run it, for multiple reasons)



  8. Patent Snake Oil From Brunel University London and PatentDive

    The ludicrous notion of replacing patent examiners (or searches by humans) with machines is seriously considered by some who should know better... but don't



  9. This is How 'Independent' the Boards of Appeal Are Under Battistelli

    A rather revealing new factoid about the interview that never happened (potentially contradicting a previous one with Battistelli), or why it did not happen



  10. Links 29/4/2017: Endless OS, Pinebook, and New Mozilla Foundation Board Members

    Links for the day



  11. Links 28/4/2017: Subsurface 4.6.4, GNOME Shell & Mutter 3.25.1

    Links for the day



  12. Kather Augenstein and Bristows Shift Attention to Germany in an Effort to Ram the Dying UPC Down Everyone's Throats

    Down the throat, hopes Team UPC, the Unitary Patent system will go, even though Britain cannot ratify, throwing the whole thing into grave uncertainty



  13. United for Patent Reform Defends USPTO Director Michelle Lee From Attacks by the Patent Microcosm

    Michelle Lee is finally (if not belatedly) shielded by a bunch of large technology companies; The deep-pocketed industry finally steps in line with our position, which is usually when things turn out the way we advocate for



  14. Team UPC and CIPA Are Lobbying, Publishing Puff Pieces, and Rewriting the Law for Unitary Patent (UPC) Behind Closed Doors

    A collection of the latest news and views on the UPC, which is being lied about by those who stand to benefit from it and is probably going nowhere because Brexit means that the UK stays out, in which case it must be reset and pertinent ratifications done all over again



  15. China's Suffering From Patent Maximalism Has Europe Forewarned

    The parasitic elements inside China -- those that just want lots of litigation (even if from patent trolls) -- are winning over, much to the detriment of the Chinese economy, and Team UPC threatens to do the same in Europe with help from Battistelli



  16. Links 27/4/2017: Mesa 17.0.5 RC1, Git 2.13.0 RC1, and Linkerd 1.0

    Links for the day



  17. The Latest Expensive PR Blitz of the EPO, Led by Jana Mittermaier and Rainer Osterwalder Under the 'European Inventor Award' Banner

    The PR agencies of the Corsican in Chief, who appears to be buying political support rather than earning any, are very busy this week, as yet another reputation laundering campaign kicks off



  18. Links 26/4/2017: SMPlayer 17.4.2, Libreboot Wants to Rejoin GNU

    Links for the day



  19. PatentShield is Not the Solution and It Won't Protect Google/Android From Patent Trolls Like Microsoft's

    A new initiative called "PatentShield" is launched, but it's yet another one of those many initiatives (Peer-to-Patent and the likes of it, LOT Network, OIN, PAX etc.) that serve to distract from the real and much simpler solutions



  20. Patent Quality Crisis and Unprecedented Trouble at the European Patent Office (EPO) Negatively Affect Legitimate Companies in the US As Well

    The granting en masse of questionable patents by the EPO (patent maximalism) is becoming a liability and growing risk to companies which operate not only in Europe but also elsewhere



  21. Blog 'Takeovers' by Bristows and Then Censorship: Now This Firm Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Then Deletes Comments That Point Out the Errors

    Not only are Bristows employees grabbing the mic in various high-profile IP blogs for the purpose of UPC promotion (by distortion of facts); they also actively suppress critics of the UPC



  22. Links 25/4/2017: Kali Linux 2017.1 Released, NSA Back Doors in Windows Cause Chaos

    Links for the day



  23. Astoundingly, IP Kat Has Become a Leading Source of UPC and Battistelli Propaganda

    The pro-UPC outlets, which enjoy EPO budget (i.e. stakeholders' money), are becoming mere amplifiers of Benoît Battistelli and his right-hand UPC woman Margot Fröhlinger, irrespective of actual facts



  24. EPO Fiasco to be Discussed in German Local Authority (Bavarian Parliament) Some Time Today as the Institution Continues Its Avoidable Collapse

    Conflict between management and staff -- a result of truly destructive strategies and violations of the law by Benoît Battistelli -- continues to escalate and threatens to altogether dismantle the European Patent Office (EPO)



  25. In the US and Elsewhere, Qualcomm's Software Patents Are a Significant Tax Everyone Must Pay

    The state of the mobile market when companies such as Qualcomm, which don't really produce anything, take a large piece of the revenue pie



  26. In South Asia, Old Myths to Promote Patent Maximalism, Courtesy of the Patent Microcosm

    The latest example of software patents advocacy and patent 'parades' in India, as well as something from IPOS in Singapore



  27. Links 24/4/2017: Linux 4.11 RC8, MPV 0.25

    Links for the day



  28. Why Authorities in the Netherlands Need to Strip the EPO of Immunity and Investigate Fire Safety Violations

    How intimidation and crackdown on the staff representatives at the EPO may have led to lack of awareness (and action) about lack of compliance with fire safety standards



  29. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part IX: Testament to the Fear of an Autocratic Regime

    A return to the crucial observation and a reminder of the fact that at the EPO it takes great courage to say the truth nowadays



  30. For the Fordham Echo Chamber (Patent Maximalism), Judges From the EPO Boards of Appeal Are Not Worth Entertaining

    In an event steered if not stuffed by patent radicals such as Bristows and Microsoft (abusive, serial litigators) there are no balanced panels or even reasonable discussions


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