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05.27.16

Links 27/5/2016: Android for Raspberry Pi, Google Beats Oracle in Court

Posted in News Roundup at 5:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source is in our DNA

    The same thing that compels us to make Linux (and many other projects) free and open source is present in many of humanity’s greatest achievements

  • Why Open-Source Pros Are in Great Demand

    The majority of hiring managers predict that the demand for open-source IT professionals will rise more than other recruitment-based areas of interest over the next six months, according to a recent survey from the Linux Foundation and Dice. The resulting report, “Moving Toward Professionalization: Rising Need for Open-Source Skills in 2016,” indicates that these managers struggle to fill open-source positions, especially when trying to find candidates with needed cloud, networking and/or security experience. Meanwhile, when considering an offer, open-source professionals said they’re most interested in working on appealing projects with cutting-edge technology challenges. Money and perks are of secondary interest, even though, given the hot market, many open-source specialists are able to negotiate a great compensation package. According to the report, “In the last decade, open-source development has experienced a massive shift: Once a mostly community and volunteer-based concern, the model has since become a mainstay of the IT industry. Flexibility in accommodating new technologies and speed at adapting to a changing market have made open source vital to modern companies, which are now investing zealously in open source and open-source talent. More and better code is the way forward, and the skilled professionals who can make it happen are highly in demand.” More than 400 hiring managers and 4,500 open-source professionals took part in the research.

  • Open Source Realm Mobile Database Hits Version 1.0

    Citing advantages over the SQLite and Core Data databases commonly used in iOS and Android apps, Realm today launched version 1.0 of its namesake “mobile-first database.”

  • Realm has hit the version 1.0 milestone, and now reaches over 1 billion users

    As mobile databases go, Realm was already a fan favorite. Now we get an idea of just how popular it really is, as the company notes it now reaches one billion iOS and Android users via 100,000 active developers.

  • Rackspace Adopts OX’s Dovecot Pro Open Source IMAP Email Platform

    Dovecot, the open source email platform from Open-Xchange, received a significant endorsement this week from Rackspace, which announced that it will use the company’s Dovecot Pro product for email hosting.

  • An Apparent Exodus Continues At OwnCloud

    This week we’ve now seen the announcements by Jos Poortvliet, Lukas Reschke, Björn Schießle, and Arthur Schiwon are among those leaving ownCloud Inc. Each of their blog posts confirm they are leaving but don’t shed much light on the underlying situation at the company.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Google Inbox Notifications

        I made a Firefox addon that brings that functionality to Google Inbox. It gives you a notification when new mail arrives and updates the pages title with the unread mail count. You can get it here!

  • Networking

    • Accelerating and Maintaining NFV Adoption: Prodip Sen, HP and OPNFV
    • AT&T: OPNFV Can Bring Open Source Sanity

      The Big Communications Event — It will be up to one open source group, the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), to provide a “fair playing field” to sort the multiple industry open source initiatives around orchestration, an AT&T executive said here Wednesday.

    • Telecom Companies Collaborate Through OPNFV to Address Unique Business Challenges

      Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is an emerging alternative to using dedicated hardware appliances, particularly for service providers, where quick, flexible responses to traffic pattern shifts and user demand changes are essential. It implements network tasks like access security, load balancing, and packet filtering as software modules suitable for virtualized cloud environments.

    • Securing the Cloud With SDN

      It’s becoming clear that rising network security threats will drive increasing integration between network virtualization (NV) and security, as we’ve long predicted here. This means that software-defined networking (SDN) will become a key technology for securing the cloud.

    • Telstra Shares PEN Plans

      Just one year after Telstra completed its acquisition of Pacnet, the Australian-based service provider is taking big steps to expand its global footprint using its PEN platform built on SDN.

    • Cisco Looks to Open Source for ‘Badder Ass’ Internet

      Big Communications Event — Cisco needs open source to build a “badder ass” Internet — a network with sufficient performance, reliability and security for major business applications, a company executive said.

    • ETSI Open Source MANO group delivers first code package

      The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) announced that its new ETSI Open Source MANO group has delivered its Release 0 code package, a month ahead of schedule. The institute said OSM Release 0 integrates the seed code supplied by Telefonica, RIFT.io, Canonical and others into a documented package of running code. Release 0, which is available now for download from the OSM project website, meets the commitment made at MWC 2016 to deliver working code that enables end-to-end service instantiation and represents a number of significant steps forward since the MWC demo.

    • ETSI Open Source MANO group releases initial code package
  • Education

    • American schools are teaching our kids how to code all wrong

      To truly impact an children’s cognitive development, and prepare them for future computing jobs that may not even exist yet, we must move beyond pop computing. I strongly believe that learning computing should become mandatory in all schools, and should be viewed in the same context as reading and writing. Students must be challenged and encouraged to think differently in each grade level, subject matter, and read/write various computing projects every day in their academic life. With this mindset and approach we’ll help this generation of students fill those one million jobs, all of which require so much more than dragging and clicking.

  • BSD

    • Faces of FreeBSD 2016: Michael Lucas

      Back by popular demand, we’re again sharing a story from someone involved in FreeBSD with our Faces of FreeBSD series. It may be a story from someone who’s received funding from us to work on development projects, run conferences, travel to conferences, or advocate for FreeBSD. Or, it may be from someone who gives back to FreeBSD financially or in another way. Regardless, it is always from someone who is making a positive difference in the FreeBSD world.

    • pfSense 2.3.1 FreeBSD Firewall Update Patches Web GUI Security Issue, Seven Bugs

      Released a week ago as the first maintenance build in the 2.3 stable series, pfSense 2.3.1 received its first update, bringing a patch for a major security issue in the Web GUI, as well as seven other bug fixes.

      pfSense 2.3.1 was a major point release of the FreeBSD-based network firewall distribution that introduced over 100 changes, but pfSense 2.3 brought a new pkg system that lets the project’s maintainers update only individual parts of the system.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Upcoming governance workshop for the European Catalogue of ICT Standards for Public Procurement

      On the 15th June, 2016, DG Connect and DG Growth wil be co-hosting an interactive workshop for the European Catalogue of ICT Standards for Public Procurement. This catalogue of standards is being developed to assist public procurers implement interoperable ICT solutions across Member States, as well as reducing incidence of vender lock-in, and ultimately to assist in the continued development of the Digital Single Market.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Announcing the Open Source License API

      Over the last 19 years, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has been the steward of the Open Source Definition (or OSD), establishing a common language when discussing what it means to be an Open Source license, and a list of licenses which are known to be compatible with the OSD.

      This is taken to its logic next step this year, with the OSI providing a machine readable publication of OSI approved licenses at api.opensource.org. This will allow third parties to become license-aware, and give organizations the ability to clearly determine if a license is, in fact, an Open Source license, from the authoritative source regarding Open Source licenses, the OSI.

  • Programming/Development

    • Announcing Rust 1.9

      The Rust team is happy to announce the latest version of Rust, 1.9. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

    • Rust 1.9 Released

      Rust 1.9 brings controlled unwinding support, support for deprecation warnings, new targets (MIPS Linux Musl C library and i586 Windows MSVC), compile-time improvements, more library stabilization work, and new Cargo features.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • How Paper Shaped Civilization

      Over centuries, writing moved across more than a dozen materials. Clay tablets dominated for three thousand years—“a considerably longer period than the reign of paper up until now,” Kurlansky writes—because they had the advantage of being inexpensive, readily available, and easy to use. But the tablets’ lack of portability was a problem. People turned to papyrus, the reedy plant found in marshy areas, but that disintegrated easily, and much of the world’s supply was too spindly for making high-quality writing sheets. Wax was one alternative, but it was best for disposable writing, so parchment was next in line, made by scraping and processing animal skins. As many as two hundred animals were needed to make a single book.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Most Drugs Aren’t Tested on Pregnant Women. This Anti-nausea Cure Shows Why That’s a Problem

      For years, Zofran was the most popular morning-sickness medication in the U.S. Now it’s being accused of causing birth defects. The larger issue is a drug-safety system that excludes women from clinical trials, potentially putting them and their babies at risk.

    • Scientists Just Discovered Exactly What Air Pollution Does To Your Arteries

      Air pollution has been linked to heart disease for years, prompting concern as well as some skepticism, as the physiological steps showing a cause-and-effect have gone less understood. But now, a multi-year study has for the first time documented that air pollution thickens blood and hardens arteries, a condition that causes cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and strokes.

      “What’s new here is the linkage between air pollution and actual evidence of progression of atherosclerosis, the underlying disease process that leads to most [heart] attacks and strokes,” Joel Kaufman, lead author and University of Washington professor, told ThinkProgress. “The study provides important new information on how pollution affects the main biological process that leads to heart disease.”

    • Bayer and Monsanto: A Marriage Made in Hell

      The two multinationals that teamed up during the Vietnam War to poison millions of people with its Agent Orange herbicide—St. Louis, Mo.-based Monsanto and Germany’s Bayer AG—are looking to become one.

      Bayer has announced a bid to buy Monsanto in a deal that would expand Bayer’s GMO and pesticide holdings and add drugs to Monsanto’s global portfolio. Monsanto has rejected the latest bid, but the two are still in talks.

      If Monsanto, perhaps the most hated GMO company in the world, joins hands with Bayer, one of the most hated Big Pharma corporations on Earth (whose evil deeds date back to World War I and the Nazi era), the newly formed seed-pesticide-drug behemoth would have combined annual sales of $67 billion.

    • Who Will Replace Our Century-Old Water Pipes?

      The water that comes out of your tap is clean, right?

      It should be. But in the United States, we can’t afford to keep taking for granted that safe, clean water flows from our taps.

      The crisis in Flint, Michigan is the leading edge of a desperate situation for our tap water in communities across the country as our water infrastructure crumbles. That’s why Food & Water Watch has worked with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to introduce the WATER Act, one big step to ensure our water’s safety for generations to come.

    • Nebraska Drug Warriors Lose Bust Thanks To Jurisdictional Limits On Criminal Conspiracy Charges

      The legalization of marijuana in a few states has led to some interesting law enforcement problems. To date, most of the “solution” appears to be camping out on the borders and seizing drugs from travelers headed out of the state. The lack of legalization on a federal level inflates drug bust stats but doesn’t do much for visitors to pot-friendly states whose purchases are completely legal, but their possession — once crossing the border into a neighboring state — suddenly isn’t.

      The legality of the transaction at the point of purchase also makes for some rather unusual court decisions, like the one highlighted by Noel Erinjeri of Fault Lines. Two Minnesota natives were traveling to Colorado to purchase some weed when they were stopped by Lancaster County (NE) Sheriff’s deputies, resulting in their arrest and seizure of the cash they were carrying.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Paul Vixie on IPv6 NAT, IPv6 security and Internet of Things

      Internet pioneer Paul Vixie spoke with SearchSecurity about IPv6 NAT, IPv6 and the Internet of Things, and the long, thankless path to deploying IPv6.

    • PHP 7.0.7 Released Fixing 28 Bugs

      As is the case with a .xy update, this is mostly a bug fix update, with at least 28 different issues being fixed in an effort to make PHP 7.x more stable. Though the PHP project hasn’t identified any specific security vulnerabilities that are fixed in the update, I see at least one with bug #72162.

    • Skimmers Found at Walmart: A Closer Look

      Recent local news stories about credit card skimmers found in self-checkout lanes at some Walmart locations reminds me of a criminal sales pitch I saw recently for overlay skimmers made specifically for the very same card terminals.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Britain’s nuclear deep: a new transparency

      For its part, the UK’s ministry of defence may claim to be unconcerned by the prospect of the Trident system being no longer able to remain hidden in the depths. But the global trend is very much towards the oceans’ increased transparency. That process is already well underway. How much further will it go over the twenty-year timespan for developing and deploying a new class of missile submarines?

    • Greenpeace Calls Out Obama’s Double Standards for a Nuclear-Free World at Hiroshima Visit
    • Obama’s Historic Hiroshima Visit Underscores Nuclear Hypocrisy

      President Barack Obama on Friday will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit to Hiroshima, Japan—a visit, according to anti-nuclear campaigners, that “rings hollow without far bolder efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons.”

      During his visit, Obama will reportedly offer no apology for the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on the Japanese city 71 years ago, which killed 140,000 people, though lingering effects, both physical and psychological, remain today.

      At the start of his presidency, in 2009, Obama gave a speech in Prague during which he called for world without nuclear weapons and said, “the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons. To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same.”

    • My Dreams Seek Revenge: Hiroshima

      Unlike President Obama, who today is the first sitting president to ever visit the site of the first atomic bombing, I’ve visited Hiroshima many times while living in Japan.

      The thing that always struck me about Hiroshima was simply being there. The train pulled into the station under an announcement that you had arrived in Hiroshima. It was another stop on the bullet train’s long run from Osaka to Fukuoka, so they called out the name as if it was just another stop. I’d get off the train, step out into the sunlight — that sunlight — and I was in Hiroshima. I had the same feeling only once before, taking a bus out of Munich and having the driver announce the next stop as Dachau. Somehow such names feel wrong being said so prosaically.

    • Israel, a Palestinian State and Anti-Semitism

      The issues of anti-Semitism and support for Israel reared their serpentine heads once again when major candidates either attended, or refused to attend, the yearly conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March 2016. AIPAC is seen by many as the single most important molder of public opinion regarding Israel in the US. Ben Norton wrote in Salon that Hillary Clinton “sounded indistinguishable from that of a neocon,” when she spoke before the AIPAC conference about Israel and the greater Middle East. Bernie Sanders did not speak at that conference, and has been the only major candidate with a critical stand on the issues surrounding the establishment of a Palestinian state.

    • The Coming Drone Blowback

      The targeted assassination of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour last weekend wasn’t just another drone strike.

      First of all, it was conducted by the U.S. military, not the CIA, which has orchestrated nearly all drone strikes in Pakistan.

      Second, it didn’t take place in Afghanistan or in the so-called lawless tribal region of Pakistan known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA. The guided missile turned a white Toyota and its two passengers into a fireball on a well-traveled highway in Balochistan, in southwest Pakistan.

      Prior to this particular drone strike, Pakistan allowed the United States to patrol the skies over the northwest region of FATA, a Taliban stronghold. But President Obama decided to cross this “red line” to take out Mansour (and a taxi driver, Muhammad Azam, who had the misfortune to be with the wrong passenger at the wrong time).

    • A 10-Minute Debate on War

      And this is the state of American democracy during an election year: a 10-minute debate in Congress about the future of war and a reckless cowboy’s logical conclusion that since we’ve made a whole lot of nuclear weapons — we have over 7,000 in the stockpile right now — a president ought to have the right to use one or two if he’s really annoyed with another country’s behavior. No doubt this is how you make America great again.

      In other words, the United States is under the almost total control, politically and emotionally, of a confluence of economic and military interests that go by various names: the military-industrial complex, the Deep State. And the defense budget, of course, quietly passes in Congress, releasing a new round of unquestioned funding — more than $600 billion — for the Department of Defense to use as it sees fit. Funding is scarce for everything from schools to lead-free water pipes to addressing the Zika virus. But nukes and weapons development and the war on terror continue unchallenged.

      Lee asks: “Since 1991, the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars, dropped hundreds of thousands of bombs and lost thousands of brave servicemen and women in Iraq. Do you feel any safer? Are we any safer?”

    • The Death Toll in Syria: What Do the Numbers Really Say?

      What is the Syrian death toll now? 400,000? Less? More? While the aphorism “One death is a tragedy, one million deaths is a statistic”, has been attributed to many, it is likely none foresaw the inverse utility of this concept for shaping narratives in an age of humanitarian intervention. Statistics are now weapons in themselves. Raw numbers are ambiguous; as journalist Sharmine Narwani writes, “It doesn’t tell us who is killing and who is dying. And that information matters – the global political response to a genuine civil conflict would be different than to a genocide committed by a ruthless authority.”

      When the United States’ Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) released its eighth summary of the Syrian death toll in mid-2015 it painted this confused picture: 230,000 total deaths, between 150,000 and 160,000 ‘opposition deaths’ (civilian and military), a further 98,000 ‘other’ civilian deaths, and a very precise 18,476 ‘regime’ deaths – an actual minimum total of 266,476.

    • Some Light in Iraq’s Dark Tunnel

      The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 blasted apart the country’s political structure and left behind widespread chaos, but Iraqis may be slowly digging out of the wreckage, says ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

    • The New York Times’s (and Clinton Campaign’s) Abject Cowardice on Israel

      In fact, essentially the entire world recognizes the reality of Israeli occupation with the exception of a tiny sliver of extremists in Israel and the U.S. That’s why Chris Christie had to grovel in apology to GOP billionaire and Israel-devoted fanatic Sheldon Adelson when the New Jersey Governor neutrally described having seen the “occupied territories” during a trip he took to Israel. But other than among those zealots, the word is simply a fact, used without controversy under the mandates of international law, the institutions that apply it, and governments on every continent on the planet.

    • USA Still Uses Floppy Disks To Control Its Nuclear Missiles And Bombers

      According to a report of the US Government Accounting Office, many important government institutions are still using more than 50-year-old systems to perform important tasks. While the U.S. Defense Department uses 8-inch floppy disks to handle the function of its nuclear force operations, the Treasury Department calculates tax returns on a 56-year-old IBM mainframe computer.

    • A European army is exactly what the EU and UK needs

      Germany has been among the most vocal opponents of Brexit. So it was perhaps surprising that it was from here that a mini-missile was launched into the referendum campaign, with leaked details of a defence White Paper pushing the creation of a European Army.

      For the UK’s flailing Brexiteers, this was just what was needed. Veterans for Britain duly popped up to warn of the threats to UK sovereignty and to Nato, the alliance that had kept the country safe through the Cold War and beyond.

    • James Bovard on the Cost of the War on Terror
    • Natural borders, beware a dangerous idea

      Whatever borders follow the ongoing violence and war, they must under no circumstances be ‘natural’.

    • Europe Revolts Against Russian Sanctions

      From ministerial offices to barricades on the streets, Europe is in open revolt against anti-Russian sanctions which have cost workers and businesses millions of jobs and earnings. Granted, the contentious issues are wider than anti-Russian sanctions. However, the latter are entwined with growing popular discontent across the EU.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • State Dept. IT staff told to keep quiet about Clinton’s server

      Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to use a private email server ran afoul of the government’s IT security and record retention requirements, according to a report by the department’s inspector general released today.

      This use of a private email server did not go unnoticed within the Department of State’s IT department. Two IT staff members who raised concerns about Clinton’s use of a private server were told not speak of it.

      Clinton was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 and during that period she used a private email server in her New York home.

    • Clinton’s Imperious Brush-off of Email Rules

      The State Department’s Inspector General issued a blunt report criticizing Hillary Clinton’s imperious refusal to follow email rules as Secretary of State, adding to Clinton’s credibility problem, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

      [...]

      It turns out that she deliberately chose to use a hacker-friendly, unprotected email server, and not so much for convenience – unless you define “convenience” as the ability to operate in total secrecy with no possibility of being held accountable for your policies or behavior. In one email to an aide, Clinton explained, “I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”

    • ‘Smart Grid’ Company Demands MuckRock Turn Over Info On Anyone Who Might Have Seen Public Records Docs Involving It

      The replacement of regular meters with potentially-invasive “smart meters” is due to begin in 2017, despite concerns about health and privacy. As the EFF points out, the power company’s ability to record pinpoint data on customers’ power use may seem innocuous, but it’s not nearly as benign if that information is shared, either purposefully or inadvertently.

      [...]

      Multiple documents were provided to Mocek by Seattle City Light, including documents related to the company awarded the smart meter contract: Landis+Gyr. Landis+Gyr isn’t happy the city of Seattle has made these documents public, so it’s logically responded by suing MuckRock. Yes, it’s also suing the city and the utility, but for some reason has decided MuckRock (and Phil Mocek) should be included in the litigation, despite them only being the recipients of documents Landis+Gyr wants to keep out of the public’s hands.

      It’s seeking to have future planned responses from the city involving its “trade secrets” blocked. (Seattle plans to release another batch of documents to Mocek on May 26.) But it’s also making requests pertaining to MuckRock that are both chilling and completely ridiculous. Not only does Landis+Gyr want the documents taken down, but it also wants info on every MuckRock reader who may have viewed them.

    • New WikiLeaks Trove Further Exposes TISA’s Neoliberal Agenda

      Docs reveal trade deal negotiations have gone ‘very far from legitimate trade concerns into the territory of a sweeping deregulatory political agenda’

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Deadly effect of farming’s dirty needs

      Farming is a dirty business – so dirty now that, according to new research, air pollution from agriculture in the form of fine particles of lung-choking dust outweighs all other human sources of that kind of pollution.

      These particles are calculated to cause around 3.3 million deaths a year worldwide − and most of this lung-penetrating murk is from fertilisers. Back in 1950, the world produced 20 million tons of artificial fertilisers, but farmers now spread on their fields every year around 190 million tons.

      Ammonia from the nitrogen-based compounds gathers in the air, and combines with the sulphates and oxides of nitrogen from the combustion of fossil fuels and wood smoke to make tiny aerosols, each around one-thirtieth of the thickness of a human hair.

    • Hundreds of Millions to Be Displaced by Climate Change, French Minister Warns

      Calamitous global conflict as a result of climate change will produce hundreds of millions of refugees by 2100, said France’s environmental minister Ségolène Royal to representatives from 170 countries at the UN environment assembly in Nairobi on Thursday.

      [...]

      “The difficulty of having access to food resources leads to massive migration, south-south migration,” she said, referring to migration between developing countries.

      “The African continent is particularly hit by this south-south migration,” Royal continued. “If nothing is done to combat the negative impact of climate change, we will have hundreds of millions of climate change migrants by the end of the century.”

    • The Desperate Plight of Petro-States

      Some petro-states like Venezuela and Iraq already appear to be edging up to the brink of collapse. Others like Russia and Saudi Arabia will be forced to reorient their economies if they hope to avoid such future outcomes. Whatever their degree of risk, all of them are already experiencing economic hardship, leaving their leaders under growing pressure to somehow alter course in the bleakest of circumstances — or face the consequences.

    • Congressman to Red Cross: ‘How Do You Get Lost Going to a Disaster Area?’

      Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the ranking member of the congressional committee that oversees the Red Cross, sent a three-page letter to the charity’s CEO on Monday demanding that she explain why the Red Cross struggled to respond to record flooding in Mississippi this spring.

    • Utah Congressman Wants To Block Proposed National Monument In Maine

      Despite Bishop’s criticism of a potential Maine Woods national monument, polling shows that two-thirds of Maine residents support creating a unit of the national park system in the Katahdin region. More than 200 Maine businesses have signed a letter stating their support for a park.

    • In ‘Epic Fight for Justice,’ Activists Descend on Chevron Meeting

      Chevron CEO John Watson became “visibly flustered” at his company’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday, after being confronted by an Indigenous leader whose community has been gravely affected by the oil company’s pollution in the Amazon.

    • We Stopped Keystone, Canada Can Stop Energy East

      Since I last visited Canada to share my experiences dealing with TransCanada as a rancher along the proposed Keystone XL path, and as a member of Bold Nebraska, a lot has changed. President Obama has since put the final nail in the coffin of Keystone XL, listening to the voices of ranchers, Indigenous communities and climate activists united in their opposition to the tar sands, or oil sands, pipeline.

    • Meet Proterra, The Next Generation Of Bus

      “Everything that has an urban drive cycle will ultimately be an electric vehicle.” That’s what Ryan Popple, the president and CEO of Proterra, the leading U.S. electric bus company, explained to me in a recent interview.

      The future of transit isn’t cleaner diesel, hybrids, natural gas, or hydrogen fuel-cell buses, argues Popple. The rapidly dropping price for electric batteries combined with new fast-charging technology appears to render the competition obsolete. Right now, the biggest question isn’t which technology will win in the bus market — it’s how quickly all-electrics will take over, and whether Proterra can keep ahead of the Chinese competition, like electric vehicle giant BYD.

    • Deadlock over political coercion at work causes 3 FEC commissioners to issue scathing statement

      The complaint stemmed from a piece The New Republic published on Oct. 4, 2012, about how Murray Energy required all employees to attend a Mitt Romney campaign event. Attendance was mandatory, even though the company shut down the mine and those workers reportedly were not paid for that day.

    • How coal shipping accidents are damaging coral reefs around the world

      Just a few kilometres from the wild south-western coast of Madagascar, home to part of the world’s third largest coral reef system, the coal-laden New Mykonos ship has sunk and is slowly breaking apart.

      The sinking of the coal vessel comes as a new scientific study published in Nature warns of the damaging effects of coal on coral, seagrass and fish.

      Back in late February the Panamanian-registered New Mykonos left the Richards Bay Coal Terminal in South Africa and set sail for the Indian port of Vizag with 160,000 tonnes of coal aboard.

    • Burned By Slow Government Response To A Polluter, Residents Mistrust Cleanup Efforts

      When residents don’t trust the company who poisoned their water and soil, and they don’t trust the government agencies mandated to stop the company, they’ll either ignore everything and hope for the best, or they’ll take matters into their own hands.

      Both reactions are in abundance in Vernon, California near the site of a now-shuttered battery recycling plant now owned by Exide Technologies. Exide and the plant’s previous owners knowingly leached lead and other carcinogens into the soil, air and water in surrounding residential neighborhoods, a problem made much worse by inadequate government oversight.

      State regulators repeatedly warned Exide Technologies, which ran the Vernon battery smelting facility since 2000, and its previous owners that the plant was releasing dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere. Exide responded only by paying fines and continuing business as usual.

      The fines were small considering the scope of the damage. A Los Angeles Times investigation found that, over more than 15 years, Exide paid $869,000 in penalties and that “most of the fines were assessed in the last two years.”

    • Student Activism Pushes UMass to Become First Major Public University to Divest

      University of Massachusetts students—who just over one month ago were arrested for demanding that their school divest from fossil fuels—were validated on Wednesday after it was announced that the school would become the first major public university to pull its direct holdings from polluting industries.

      The decision was made by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors of the UMass Foundation, which oversees the endowment, valued at $700 million at the end of the last fiscal year.

    • Our Lives are on the Line: Protesters Blockade Planned Pipeline Site Near Nuclear Plant Outside NYC

      In Peekskill, New York, just about an hour north of New York City, residents have launched a blockade in efforts to stop the construction of a gas pipeline slated to run only hundreds of feet from the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant. The proposed project has sparked concerns from residents and nuclear experts that a pipeline break could cause a catastrophic nuclear disaster that would threaten the entirety of New York City. The pipeline is being built by Spectra Energy and is officially known as the Algonquin Incremental Market Project, or AIM pipeline. Well, only hours ago, Peekskill residents and activists escalated the campaign to stop this pipeline’s construction by installing a fully sustainable shipping container at the entrance of Spectra’s work yard—complete with two activists living inside. Democracy Now! was there as the blockade was launched.

    • EU referendum: Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn to join forces in climate change warning

      Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband will publicly join forces to warn that Britain’s membership of the European Union is vital in the fight against climate change.

      In their first major appearance together since the Labour leader took over the party eight months ago, Mr Miliband and Mr Corbyn will share a platform together at Raventhorpe solar farm to emphasise the central role the pair believe the EU has had in tackling climate change.

      The intervention by Mr Miliband, who led the Labour party to a bruising election defeat in May last year, could also quell rumours about of tensions between the two men.

    • Hope and Burnout in the Anthropocene

      Between May 3 and May 16, thousands of people gathered in 20 acts of civil disobedience spanning 6 continents, to protest society’s continued reliance on fossil fuels. Dubbing their collective action “Break Free 2016,” they placed themselves in the paths of oil trains, coal ships and mining equipment, in an effort to convince those in power of the urgency of action on climate change.

    • Climate Action is Needed Whether Exxon Likes it or Not.

      Last week, we were among a handful of organizations who received a letter signed by 13 members of Congress claiming that we may be violating Exxon’s right to free speech. They’re requesting that we divulge any communication we may have had with state officials and many private organizations with regard to looking into what Exxon knew about climate change and when. At face value this request is a threat to constitutional rights. The signers of the letter clearly want to send a message that advocacy organizations and others should only pursue their rights to petition the government, exercise free speech and enjoy freedom of association at their own peril. In short, it’s a blatant attempt to use governmental power to find and deter anyone that shares our values and wants to join us in our efforts.

    • On Climate, Trump Promises To Let The World Burn

      President Obama’s climate change policies would be undone. Regulations on greenhouse gas emissions would be eliminated. The Keystone XL pipeline would be built. There would be no international agreement to prevent catastrophic climate change.

      That is what Donald Trump’s energy policy would look like should he be elected president, the presumptive Republican nominee promised on Thursday before a pro-fossil fuel development crowd in Bismark, North Dakota.

      In a speech laying out his energy agenda for the United States, Trump promised to undo essentially every major policy developed in the last decade intended to slow human-caused global warming.

    • Treating cattle with antibiotics affects greenhouse gas emissions, and microbiota in dung and dung beetles

      Antibiotics are routinely used to improve livestock health and growth. However, this practice may have unintended environmental impacts mediated by interactions among the wide range of micro- and macroorganisms found in agroecosystems. For example, antibiotics may alter microbial emissions of greenhouse gases by affecting livestock gut microbiota. Furthermore, antibiotics may affect the microbiota of non-target animals that rely on dung, such as dung beetles, and the ecosystem services they provide. To examine these interactions, we treated cattle with a commonly used broad-spectrum antibiotic and assessed downstream effects on microbiota in dung and dung beetles, greenhouse gas fluxes from dung, and beetle size, survival and reproduction. We found that antibiotic treatment restructured microbiota in dung beetles, which harboured a microbial community distinct from those in the dung they were consuming. The antibiotic effect on beetle microbiota was not associated with smaller size or lower numbers. Unexpectedly, antibiotic treatment raised methane fluxes from dung, possibly by altering the interactions between methanogenic archaea and bacteria in rumen and dung environments. Our findings that antibiotics restructure dung beetle microbiota and modify greenhouse gas emissions from dung indicate that antibiotic treatment may have unintended, cascading ecological effects that extend beyond the target animal.

  • Finance

    • Clean-Energy Jobs Surpass Oil Drilling for First Time in U.S.

      The number of U.S. jobs in solar energy overtook those in oil and natural gas extraction for the first time last year, helping drive a global surge in employment in the clean-energy business as fossil-fuel companies faltered.

    • Good News: Turns Out Most People Don’t Want to Give Their Business To A Small Insecure Money-Grubber

      Savagely telling it like it is, our favorite woman warrior Elizabeth Warren shredded the presumptive Drumpf this week in a speech at the Center for Popular Democracy’s annual gala. Citing his newly revealed and fabulously revealing remark in a 2007 interview that he was kinda looking forward to the idea of a housing meltdown” – who SAYS these things out loud?!? – because he could rake in the profits, Warren called him out not just as a sorry specimen of manhood but as a small, cruel, greedy, amoral human being who’s spent his whole life saying to hell with the social contract most sentient beings at least acknowledge. Now, after his lifetime of fuck yous, it seems, Warren is ready to return the favor.

      Noting Drumpf admitted he was “drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown because it meant he could buy up a bunch more property on the cheap,” she rhetorically asked, “What kind of a man does that? Root for people to get thrown out on the street,” to lose their jobs and pensions and sometimes end up living in a van? She then furiously responds, “I’ll tell you exactly what kind. A man who cares about no one but himself. A small, insecure money-grubber who doesn’t care who gets hurt, so long as he makes some money off it.” Warren went on to blast Trump for suggesting he’d dismantle Dodd-Frank because he is “worried about helping poor little Wall Street,” adding, “Let me find the world’s smallest violin to play a sad, sad song.” Oh yes. She’s good.

    • India says Apple must sell locally-sourced goods to set up stores: source

      India has said Apple Inc must meet a rule obliging foreign retailers to sell at least 30 percent locally-sourced goods if it wishes to open stores in the country, a senior government official told Reuters.

      Apple is hoping to expand its retail presence in India, one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets, at a time when sales in the United States and China have slowed.

      A change in legislation last year exempted foreign retailers selling high-tech goods from the rule, which states 30 percent of the value of goods sold in the store should be made in India.

    • Foxconn replaces ’60,000 factory workers with robots’

      Apple and Samsung supplier Foxconn has reportedly replaced 60,000 factory workers with robots.

      One factory has “reduced employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000 thanks to the introduction of robots”, a government official told the South China Morning Post.

      Xu Yulian, head of publicity for the Kunshan region, added: “More companies are likely to follow suit.”

    • Britain’s poorest people pay more of their income in tax than the very richest

      Britain’s poorest people pay more of their income in taxes than the very richest, official figures reveal.

      The worst-off tenth of households handed 47% of their money back to the government in 2014/15 – up from 43% two years earlier.

      Yet the richest tenth paid just 34%, down slightly from 35% in the two years previously.

      The gulf was laid bare today in annual figures by the Office for National Statistics which show the richest 10% earn £108,000 while the poorest earn just £4,467.

    • Report says banks still generate billions in overdraft fees

      A new federal law implemented six years ago was supposed to resolve the issue of bank overdraft fees, which often blindsided consumers with unexpected expenses.

      Before the law was passed, a consumer making a debit card purchase, and not having sufficient funds to cover the purchase, would be automatically “loaned” the funds to cover the purchase. The bank would then charge the consumer a fee of $30 or so for that service.

    • I, Daniel Blake

      More space has been devoted by the mainstream media in the last week to the terrible effects of “austerity” on the vulnerable, than in total since the Westminster election.

    • Bank of America’s Winning Excuse: We Didn’t Mean To

      Back in the late-housing-bubble period, in 2007, Countrywide Home Loans, which was then the largest mortgage provider in the country, rolled out a new lending program. The bank called it the “high-speed swim lane,” or HSSL, or, even more to the point, “hustle.” Countrywide, like most mortgage lenders, sold its loans to Wall Street banks or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two mortgage giants, which bundled them and, in turn, sold them to investors. Unlike the Wall Street banks, Fannie and Freddie insured the loans, so they demanded only the ones of the highest quality. But by that time, borrowers with high credit scores were getting scarcer, and Countrywide faced the prospect of collapsing revenue and profits. Hence, the hustle program, which “streamlined” Countrywide’s loan origination, cutting out underwriters and putting loan processors, whom the company had previously deemed not qualified to answer borrowers’ questions, in charge of reviewing loan applications. In practice, Countrywide dropped most of the conditions meant to insure that loans would be repaid.

    • Greek Debt Negotiations: Will the IMF Exit the Troika?
    • Demanding ‘What We Need to Survive,’ Workers to Descend on McDonald’s Shareholders Meeting

      As McDonald’s prepares to hold its annual meting on Thursday, low wage workers—buoyed by successes from the “unstoppable” Fight for $15 movement—are gearing up to confront the burger giant and again demand a decent wage and union rights.

      On Wednesday, in addition to a mid-day strike at the flagship Rock N Roll McDonald’s in Chicago, organizers say thousands of underpaid workers will stage a protest at the company’s headquarters just outside the city, in Oak Brook, Illinois.

      The suburban location will be the site of a second rally and march on Thursday as well as the shareholder meeting takes place.

    • The TPP Has Always Been About Corporate Dominance, Not Trade or Economic Growth

      A report released by the U.S. International Trade Commission last week found, as Deirdre Fulton notes, “that the controversial trade deal” — the Trans-Pacific Partnership (also known by some as NAFTA on steroids) — “will produce negligible economic benefits while damaging most Americans’ jobs and wages.”

      To a large extent, the report falsifies — or, at least, calls into question — many of the key premises of the Obama administration’s argument in favor of the far-reaching pact.

      President Obama, himself, has stepped into the fray and lobbied aggressively for the agreement, often demeaning those who speak out against it. He has made it clear that he views the passage and implementation of the deal as a crowning achievement that will ultimately cement his legacy as an advocate of free trade and economic development worldwide.

      He has insisted that the deal will boost growth, create jobs, “promote American values,” “protect American workers,” and erode unnecessary trade barriers.

      The agreement’s contents, however, differ wildly from the advertised product.

      Indeed, much of the discussion of the deal’s potential effects on economic growth is, in fact, a red herring, a distraction that prevents discussion of the underlying purpose of trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    • CUNY Professors and Staff Consider Future Strike to Defend Public Education Funding

      Higher education in the United States is facing serious problems with state disinvestment, lack of protections for adjuncts and low pay for faculty, among other reasons. The situation is no different at the City University of New York (CUNY), where the problems have affected professors, staff and students for decades. But 92 percent of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the union representing more than 25,000 CUNY professors and staff, decided earlier this month to approve use of a strike to fight not only for a new contract, but also to ensure a quality education for students.

    • New Mexico Officials Accused Of Tampering With Documents To Deny Citizens Emergency Food Stamps

      Kimberly Jones knows just how hard it is to wait for emergency food stamps to come through. New Mexico is supposed to grant people in dire financial situations expedited benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) within seven days, rather than the 30 it takes to process regular applications. But it often doesn’t work out that way.

    • America’s Cosmic Tax Gap

      That wouldn’t matter all that much if the IRS had plenty of agents out in the field doing in-depth audits. But the IRS has been losing staff. The tax agency had 50,400 full-time-equivalent enforcement staff available in 2010. The 2016 figure: only 38,800.

    • Average CEO Raise Last Year Amounted to 10x What Most Workers Made in Total

      It was another banner year for chief executives at the biggest companies.

      For its latest annual study of CEO compensation, the Associated Press, using data from Equilar, looked at what 341 executives at companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index brought home from salary as well as other perks like stock awards and deferred compensation.

      The study found that the median compensation was $10.8 million, up from $10.3 million the CEOs took in the year before.

    • CEO pay climbs again, even as their stock prices don’t

      CEOs at the biggest companies got a 4.5 percent pay raise last year. That’s almost double the typical American worker’s, and a lot more than investors earned from owning their stocks — a big fat zero.

      The typical chief executive in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index made $10.8 million, including bonuses, stock awards and other compensation, according to a study by executive data firm Equilar for The Associated Press. That’s up from the median of $10.3 million the same group of CEOs made a year earlier.

    • Greek media and independent journalism under austerity

      In Greece, the media landscape under austerity has created bleak conditions for journalism and media freedom; a post-austerity agenda could change this situation.

    • Hillary Clinton: A Major Gold-Digging Liability

      As much as the Clinton machine may welcome their stay at Hotel California in early June, they might check out any time they like only to find themselves never leaving the Trump-leads-the-national-average-poll syndrome.

      This was never the original script, as Manifest Destiny was supposed to have – finally – fully entitled the Queen of the Perma-Smirk to the Presidency. What has she done to deserve this? Well, a myriad of factors come into play. Let’s cut to the chase and follow the money.

      Now that I found you I can’t let you go

      While still in the Senate, the Queen of Chaos manifested a vague interest in going after tax havens, as in “people who create a mailbox, or a drop, or send one person to sit on the beach in some island paradise and claim that it is their offshore headquarters.” But – and that’s a crucial “but” – no bills proposed by Hillary ensued. After all, what to do about the Clinton machine’s virtually unlimited access to a pool of vast, non-transparent funds?

      The Clinton machine could not be savvier on onshore/offshore tax havens. Six years ago their home in Chappaqua, New York, of subterranean email fame, was conveniently placed in a “residence trust.”

      Bill Clinton for his part spent a wholesome five years as just a mere adviser to $3.2 billion-worth playboy Ron Burkle – now reduced to the status of former Clinton pal. While the friendship lasted, Burkle’s investment fund registered in Dubai and the Cayman Islands added at least $15 billion to Bill’s piggy bank.

    • Los Angeles Is Considering Taxing Millionaires to Help Homeless People, and More

      In today’s On the News segment: Los Angeles is considering taxing millionaires to help homeless people; global unemployment is expected to overtake 200 million people for the first time on record by the end of 2017; a new poll shows that two-thirds of all Americans would struggle to cover a $1,000 crisis; and more.

    • This Confirms It was a Coup: Brazil Crisis Deepens as Evidence Mounts of Plot to Oust Dilma Rousseff

      A key figure in Brazil’s interim government has resigned after explosive new transcripts revealed how he plotted to oust President Dilma Rousseff in order to end a corruption investigation that was targeting him. The transcripts, published by Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, document a conversation in March, just weeks before Brazil’s lower house voted in favor of impeaching President Rousseff. Romero Jucá, who was then a senator but became a planning minister after Rousseff’s ouster, was speaking with a former oil executive, Sérgio Machado. Both men had been targets of the so-called Car Wash investigation over money laundering and corruption at the state-controlled oil firm Petrobras. In the conversation, the men agree that ousting President Rousseff would be the only way to end the corruption probe. In the transcript, Jucá said, “We have to change the government so the bleeding is stopped.” Machado then reportedly said, “The easiest solution is to put Michel in”—a reference to Vice President Michel Temer, who took power once Rousseff was suspended. We speak to Maria Luisa Mendonça, director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights.

    • Wall Street’s New Man in Brazil: The Forces Behind Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment

      According to recent internal documents, provided by WikiLeaks, on several occasions Michel Temer was an embassy informant for U.S. intelligence. Temer secretly shared information to the U.S. Southern Command concerning the 2006 election of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the vitality of his center-left Workers’ Party. Temer assured the Defense Department that despite Lula’s clear path to reelection the president would have to negotiate with the opposition, the Brazilian Democratic Workers Party (PMDB), who had just won most governorships and the Senate. He also assured the U.S. that the PMDB would soon coalesce with Brazil’s right wing parties, therefore greatly minimizing the Workers’ Party platform. Additionally, Temer also criticized the social programs being implemented by Lula and the Workers’ Party, claiming Lula was too concerned the poor and not concerned enough about “economic growth.” In these communications a thin line was drawn between espionage and informant. Temer’s loyalty seemed to be with the United States and capital and not to Brazil and democracy.

    • Clinton accuses Trump of “rooting” for a crash caused by her own donors

      A new attack ad put out by the Hillary Clinton campaign this week achieves the near-impossible, making Donald Trump look wronged and (almost) like a victim. More believably, it makes the Democrats look sleazy and disingenuous in comparison.

      [...]

      This ad is disingenuous in a dozen different ways. For one thing, the destruction that the Clinton campaign describes was not caused by people swooping in after the bubble burst, buying at the bottom of the market.

    • To Avoid Regulations, Uber Describes Itself as Either, Neither and Nor

      Uber is a traditional employer recruiting employees. Or Uber is a non-employer facilitating the work of independent contractors. Or Uber is a technology company supplying an app to small businesses.

      It depends on which lawsuit you read. The company, valued at over $62 billion, changes its description of what it does depending on what best allows it to avoid regulatory scrutiny.

    • Poultry And Meat Workers Face Some Of The Cruelest Working Conditions In The Country

      “The conditions that these workers are forced to endure is an outrage, and have no place in our nation,” Casey said, according to The Hill. “This is a matter of basic justice. The meat and poultry industry must quickly take substantial steps to improve the workplace conditions for those in this industry.”

      Latinos and immigrants make up a large part of the meat and poultry industry workforce, according to a 2005 human Human Rights Watch report. But because some of the immigrants are undocumented, they often “suffer violations of their rights but are afraid to challenge them,” which allows employers to exploit them with bad pay and dirty, dangerous working conditions.

      Jose Gaytan, an immigrant from Mexico, began working in slaughterhouses at the age of 19 because he thought the job would pay well. He began to feel his hands change from the effects of his job to “pull the tenderloin, which is where the filet mignon comes from,” he previously told ThinkProgress. Every night, his hands would “sting” and hurt.

      Pedro, a poultry worker at a Tyson plant in North Carolina, processes 45 to 60 chickens every minute. To treat his hands — which get so swollen from handling the chickens that he has to wear 3XL-sized plastic gloves — a nurse told him to take ibuprofen and to soak his hands in Epsom salt and hot water.

      Although Pedro and Jose have to work through the pain, they are actually among the fortunate in the meat industry. Other workplace injuries in this sector have resulted in fatalities. The new GAO report found that between 2004 and 2013, 151 workers died on the job, with transportation incidents cited as the most frequent cause of death.

    • REXLot Suspends Trading After Shares Tumble on Anonymous Report

      REXLot Holdings Ltd. suspended its shares from trading in Hong Kong after they tumbled on a research report questioning the lottery machine maker’s accounting.

      REXLot sank 9.3 percent to 44 Hong Kong cents, the lowest intraday level since August 2012, before the stock was halted from trading at 11:33 a.m. local time. Volume was about quadruple the three-month daily average. Anonymous Analytics rated the company a strong sell with a target price of 12 Hong Kong cents in a report today, saying REXLot exaggerates its revenue and the amount of cash on its balance sheet.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The ‘Woman Card’ Brings a Wealth of Disadvantages

      I am no fan of Hillary Clinton, simply because she is a neoliberal centrist wolf cloaked in progressive sheep’s clothing. However, she has many advantages propelling her toward the Democratic nomination, including the support of her party’s establishment, Wall Street executives and even Republicans.

    • Neil Young Now Okay With Donald Trump Using His Music

      That familiar situation played itself out again last June, when iconic singer-songwriter—and big-time supporter of Bernie Sanders—Neil Young told Donald Trump to cease and desist using his classic song “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Since then, the billionaire has become the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, resulting in an awful lot of backtracking on the part of big-money donors and former political foes. Amid this group, surprisingly, is Neil Young, who is now apparently totally okay with the Donald using his music.

    • Writers speak out against Donald Trump

      An Open Letter to the American People

    • Sanders to Trump: Let’s Debate in ‘Biggest Stadium Possible’

      Donald Trump has doubled down on his challenge to debate Bernie Sanders, telling reporters in Bismarck, North Dakota on Thursday that he would agree to a one-on-one with the Vermont senator for “something over $10 million.”

      “If we can raise for maybe women’s health issues or something, if we can raise $10 or $15 million for charity,” he said. “We have had a couple of calls from the networks already and we’ll see.”

    • Happy 25th birthday, TV-2, or the rise and fall of independent Russian TV

      This month TV-2, an independent TV channel in the Siberian city of Tomsk, turns 25 years old. It hasn’t been on the air for 18 months.

    • Trump and the Polls of Loathing

      Caught between a cynical Clinton machine and a shape-changing reality television show, US politics has featured its latest twist in the saga of surges and poll ratings. Now, we are being told that Donald Trump does have a chance against Hillary Clinton, spluttering ahead in some of the figures.

      There should be no sharp intake of breath on this. Reactionary politics and a certain voodoo mastery of reality was already perfected by Ronald Reagan when he secured the White House and ensured the irrevocable decline of an ailing empire. Making America great has remained the caption of failed politics, but it seems entirely at home in the Trump argot.

    • The Bruenig Firing: ‘Civility’ As A Tool To Control Political Dissent

      The idea that political civility is a necessary element of political discourse—one which is meant to emulate a kind of ideal courtroom politesse—is a bourgeois conviction. Expressions of civility are said to uphold democratic standards and tame violent language, and are therefore considered hallmarks of respectability and, mostly importantly, of enlightenment.

      In a report from 2004 entitled Democracy Online, Zizi Papacharissi, professor and communications department head at the University of Illinois at Chicago, described George Washington’s work on the subject of civility as a guiding factor in the conceptualization of the characteristics of consummate citizenry. Papacharissi writes that this “model of civility…was integral to American citizenship and democracy,” guiding one’s morality, and above all, helped to “cool hot passions of citizenry.”

      This civility model is designed to restrain and adjudicate what’s often characterized as being the savagery of political disobedience. For those who depart from this standard, there may be material consequences.

      On May 20, the progressive public policy organization, Demos, fired Matt Bruenig, a popular writer who covered poverty and inequality.

    • Read Between the Lines: The Case for Bernie Sanders Running as an Independent

      Everyone seems to think Bernie Sanders is finished. The establishment wants him out, Hillary Clinton has moved onto the general election and pundits clamor over the mathematical impossibility of his nomination. Even Donald Trump, who likely has ulterior motives, has called attention to this reality. But through all of this, one individual appears unfazed: Bernie Sanders himself. He has been called to back away and give up, but he has done just the opposite. If anything, he has further embroiled and empowered himself and his movement with his recent rhetoric.

    • Who’s Lobbying for Millennial Interests? Meet the “AARP for Young People”

      Millennial voters have gotten a bad rap when it comes to politics. They’re often brushed off as self-obsessed and disengaged, a stigma rooted in their abysmal turnout in recent elections. Just 21 percent of millennials voted in the 2014 midterms.

    • ‘Game On’: With Clinton Refusing, Sanders Agrees to Debate Trump in California

      Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have seemingly agreed to a one-on-one debate ahead of California’s primary on June 7—or, as Politico puts it, “the debate the world has been waiting for.”

      Appearing on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Wednesday night, Trump said he would debate Sanders if the proceeds from the event went to charity.

      “If I debated him it would have such high ratings,” the presumptive Republican nominee said.

      Minutes later, Sanders tweeted, “Game on.”

    • Jeffrey Sachs: Bernie Sanders easily wins the policy debate

      Mainstream U.S. economists have criticized Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s proposals as unworkable, but these economists betray the status quo bias of their economic models and professional experience. It’s been decades since the United States had a progressive economic strategy, and mainstream economists have forgotten what one can deliver. In fact, Sanders’s recipes are supported by overwhelming evidence — notably from countries that already follow the policies he advocates. On health care, growth and income inequality, Sanders wins the policy debate hands down.

    • Neck-and-Neck in California as Sanders Virtually Erases 50-Point Deficit

      Less than two weeks before California’s critical Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are locked in a dead heat in that state, according to a poll released Wednesday.

      The same poll (pdf) shows Sanders outperforming Clinton in a hypothetical match-up against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

      The survey, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), shows that among Democratic primary likely voters, 46 percent support Clinton and 44 percent support Sanders. Sanders leads Clinton among those who are very liberal (64% to 35%) as well as among younger voters (66% to 27%). Latino voters are slightly more likely to support Clinton (52% to 43%), while white voters are more divided (47% Clinton, 41% Sanders).

      The San Jose Mercury News points out: “Sanders started the campaign a year ago trailing Clinton in California by more than 50 percentage points in early polls, but he had pared down her lead to single digits earlier this year. PPIC’s last poll in March found Sanders trailing by seven percentage points.”

    • Amid Election Chaos, Communities Show Where the Real Power Is

      Economic pain is the most obvious reason so many feel alienated. Many economists tell Americans we should be celebrating the recovery, but I found communities stuck in poverty and debt and lacking affordable health care, decent housing, and even safe water. We are told it is our own fault if we are struggling, even though the structure of the economy has shifted profoundly to the advantage of the superrich.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • European Parliament prepares for actual Internet Censorship using “Terrorism” as justification buzzword

      Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, groups in the European Parliament wants to give police the power to censor the Internet and even individual accounts with social media providers at will. This is not just a stark attempt to justify sharp reductions in liberty with the buzzword “terrorism”, it also flies in the face of the most fundamental anti-censorship principles. The Directive (sort of a European Federal Law) isn’t completed yet, but is starting to take shape, and it’s looking horrifying.

    • New test for VCE literature sparks censorship concerns

      Books, plays and films studied for VCE will soon be screened to ensure they don’t offend religious and cultural groups.

      Education Minister James Merlino has ordered the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA) to review its text selection process for VCE English, literature, drama and theatre studies.

      A spokesman for Mr Merlino said the Minister requested to “extend” the guidelines to “ensure that the views and sensitivities of cultural and religious groups are considered”.

      This comes after two Jewish groups slammed the inclusion of a play on the VCE drama list, Tales of a City by the Sea, which depicted life during war in Gaza, and was written by Palestinian playwright Samah Sabawi.

    • A WTO challenge to China’s internet censorship is long overdue [Ed: Corporate lobby (AEI) wants to expand the Empire of Corporations to China and uses censorship as WTO excuse]
    • The Great Rap Censorship Scare of 1990

      Jack Thompson, a conservative lawyer from Coral Gables, spearheaded a campaign to restrict sales of the album in Florida’s Broward County, eventually leading to a U.S. District Court ruling that declared the album’s lyrics obscene. A record store owner in Ft. Lauderdale was subsequently arrested for selling As Nasty As They Wanna Be, and members of 2 Live Crew were detained and charged with obscenity after a show at an adults-only club in Hollywood, Florida.

    • Looking To Destroy A Media Organization Through Lawsuits Is A Big Deal Even If You Don’t Like The Media Organization

      So I had thought that our post yesterday about Peter Thiel allegedly financing Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker would be the only time we posted about that story, but a few things have happened that seem to merit a further post. First, Thiel has admitted to it, and insisted that he views it as “philanthropy.” There are a number of claims that Thiel makes that are quite troubling. First, he admits that he didn’t just back Hogan, but rather gave lawyers money to go hunting for anyone who might want to sue Gawker, directly out of spite.

      [...]

      Incredibly, Thiel, who has given a large amount of money to the Committee to Protect Journalists, and who has claimed to be a big supporter of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, pulled a classic “I support freedom of speech, but…” line in response to questions along those lines, basically saying that he doesn’t think Gawker counts.

    • Facebook admits: ‘Rogue employees’ may be behind censorship of conservatives

      After investigating itself, the social media giant Facebook said it saw no “systematic political bias,” but admitted that “rogue employees” may be behind the censorship of conservative news on the site, the Washington Times reported Monday. Facebook also said it couldn’t rule out the possibility these rogue employees unintentionally acted with malice in “isolated improper actions.” The report did not specify what these “actions” might have entailed.

    • Unrepentant Facebook Censors Complaints of Censorship, Makes Tiny Tweaks

      It’s been over a week since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with leaders of conservative media to calm down accusations that the social media site was censoring conservative news and opinion. After the meeting one of the attendees, Media Research Center Pres. Brent Bozell “characterized the meeting between Zuckerberg and conservative leaders as generally positive and ‘cordial’ – but, also expressed a cautious wait-and-see reaction to Facebook’s promises of reform, citing the social media giant’s loss of public trust.” He also said “We’ll see how the [internal] investigation turns out”

    • Twitter abuse – ’50% of misogynistic tweets from women’

      Half of all misogynistic tweets posted on Twitter come from women, a study suggests.

      Over a three-week period, think tank Demos counted the number of uses of two particular words as indicators of misogyny.

      It found evidence of large-scale misogyny, with 6,500 unique users targeted by 10,000 abusive tweets in the UK alone.

    • Hong Kong cartoonist drops publisher amid charges of self-censorship

      A Hong Kong cartoonist claimed he is the victim of “self-censorship gone too far” after a publisher wanted to edit or delete content in his new political satire book.

      Artist Ar To said on Facebook Thursday that he couldn’t reach a compromise with the publisher, whom he did not wish to name. He is now seeking a new publisher who will issue the book without any changes.

    • ‘Satya’ to ‘Veerappan’: Watch Ram Gopal Varma talk about cinema, censorship

      Among other changes they demanded, Varma reveals that the Censors asked him to cut out a line from the film in which the real-life bandit Veerappan points out that LTTE chief Prabhakaran killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Varma says the Censors expressed concern that these words uttered as a statement of fact could hurt Tamil sentiments and asked him to replace them with a speculative sentence about Prabhakaran’s role in Rajiv’s assassination.

    • ‘Don’t you know that you’re toxic?’

      Amos Yee is back: After an apparent short escape to Australia and less than a year since his jail stint, the controversial teen blogger with a potty mouth will be charged in court today. He faces eight charges, including five for hurting the feelings of Muslims and Christians. If convicted, he could go to jail for up to three years and be fined.

    • Singapore teenage blogger Amos Yee back in court for ‘insulting Islam’
    • Singapore blogger faces fresh insulting Islam charges
    • Local blogger Amos Yee to claim trial to 8 new charges
    • Amos Yee claims trial to 8 charges, bail extended
    • Amos Yee back in court, faces eight new charges
    • Teenage blogger Amos Yee faces 8 new charges
    • Teen blogger Amos Yee to claim trial to eight charges
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Privacy Shield must be Schremsproof, says one MEP—others wave it through

      MEPs have expressed concern about the many “deficiencies” in the current text of the Privacy Shield data-sharing deal with the US, and urged officials to negotiate a better agreement.

      In a non-binding resolution passed by 501 votes to 119 with 31 abstentions on Thursday, politicos urged the European Commission—which is the executive wing of the EU—to address issues such as US authorities’ access to data; the possibility of collecting bulk data in “exceptional cases” contrary to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; the independence of a proposed US ombudsperson, and the complexity of the redress system.

      The Privacy Shield deal is expected to replace the now defunct Safe Harbour mechanism to allow the transfer of European personal data to the US. Safe Harbour was ruled invalid by the European Court of Justice last October in the Max Schrems case. Many MEPs acknowledged that Privacy Shield was a substantial improvement on the previous system, however gaps opened up between political groups on how to approach it.

    • Microsoft and Facebook building underwater transatlantic ‘MAREA’ data cable [Ed: surveillance companies take control of the Internet backbone/infrastructure]

      As the world’s need for high-speed internet grows, there will be an increasing strain on existing infrastructure. While both the internet and the web can create a border-free exchange of data, something still needs to connect continents so that it can be shared. While you will likely never see it with your own eyes, there are actually data cables under the sea which connect large masses of land.

      Today, Microsoft and Facebook announce a partnership to build a transatlantic subsea data cable. Called ‘MAREA’, it will connect the United States to Europe. More specifically, it will connect the State of Virginia to the country of Spain. The project will begin this August, with a targeted completion date of October 2017.

    • Facebook and Microsoft to build private internet highway underwater

      The two technology companies announced on Thursday they are to install an undersea cable from the east coast of the US to Spain to help speed up their global internet services.

      Fast connectivity is particularly important to Facebook, which wants to encourage users across the world to broadcast live video and meet in virtual reality. Both activities can consume vast amounts of bandwidth.

    • Facebook and Microsoft team up to lay a massive internet cable across the Atlantic
    • Audio fingerprinting being used to track web users, study finds

      A wide-scale study of online trackers carried out by researchers at Princeton University has identified a new technique being used to try to strip web users of their privacy, as well as quantifying the ongoing usage of some better-known tracking techniques.

      The new technique unearthed by the study is based on fingerprinting a machine’s audio stack via the AudioContext API. So it’s not collecting sound played or recorded on a machine but rather harvesting the audio signature of the individual machine and using that as an identifier to track a web user.

    • Academics Make Theoretical Breakthrough in Random Number Generation

      Two University of Texas academics have made what some experts believe is a breakthrough in random number generation that could have longstanding implications for cryptography and computer security.

      David Zuckerman, a computer science professor, and Eshan Chattopadhyay, a graduate student, published a paper in March that will be presented in June at the Symposium on Theory of Computing. The paper describes how the academics devised a method for the generation of high quality random numbers. The work is theoretical, but Zuckerman said down the road it could lead to a number of practical advances in cryptography, scientific polling, and the study of other complex environments such as the climate.

    • Mission: Montreal! (Building the Next Generation of Onion Services)

      A few weeks ago, a small group of Tor developers got together in Montreal and worked on onion services for a full week. The event was very rewarding and we wrote this blog post to share with you how we spent our week! For the record, it was our second onion service hackfest, following the legendary Arlington Accords of July 2015.

    • Billionaire’s revenge: Facebook investor Peter Thiel’s nine-year Gawker grudge

      Billionaire Silicon Valley investor, Donald Trump delegate and Facebook board member Peter Thiel has made secrecy his brand. So when it emerged that Thiel appeared to be bankrolling former wrestler Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker, many people were surprised.

      Yet by publicly outing him as gay in 2007, Gawker founder Nick Denton shattered the privacy of Thiel’s fiercely guarded personal life and techno-libertarian vision. And Thiel, it turns out, can hold a grudge.

    • The name’s Mum – Spy Mum: Government recruiting middle-aged mums to be SPIES because of their ‘skills and mindset’
    • British spy chiefs’ mission to recruit female spooks
    • Wanted – Middle aged mothers to spy for MI5 (flexible hours available): Intelligence agencies target women after being told to become more diverse
    • Spy chiefs’ Mumsnet mission to recruit Jane Bonds [Ed: femmewashing day (appealing to women they spy on)]
    • Less than 10% of Germany’s SIGINT Spying Targets Terrorist

      Among the things I did was attend a presentation from Konstantin von Notz, one of the Bundestag members who is investigating Germany’s SIGINT spying in the wake of the Snowden leaks.

    • Surveillance cameras could put your home at risk

      FOX23’s Michelle Linn is taking a closer look at how security cameras could let anyone watch you
      Security experts say some websites give people access to security cameras

      For less than $200 people can install a security camera and keep an eye on what’s happening, but FOX23 found out it’s very easy for anyone to see what’s going on at their house.

    • Surveillance technology has advanced far beyond the laws that govern it

      Last week, we filmed our second episode of Ars Technica Live in Oakland, California, and we had a tremendously interesting conversation with UC Davis law professor Elizabeth Joh, who researches surveillance technology and policing. Right out of the gate, Joh made it clear that the problem isn’t surveillance per se—governments “need surveillance,” she said, to figure out what its citizens require in terms of benefits, help, and security. The problem is when this surveillance becomes invasive, and the government inhibits freedom of expression and punishes unconventional behavior. How do we balance the need for surveillance and the need for free expression and privacy in a democratic society?

      Joh talked a lot about the future legal landscape we’re creating with cutting-edge technologies like self-driving cars, facial recognition, and body cams. When you’re talking about law and policy, the issue is always that adoption of devices like body cams tends to precede careful thought about what rules will govern them. After the Ferguson protests, for example, police departments started using body cams as an accountability measure. But there are no federal guidelines for how cops will use these cams. Will they be able to turn them off whenever they want? Who has access to the data they collect? Can they use facial recognition in body cams? All of these questions remain unanswered, yet body cams are in widespread use across the US.

    • Secret Text in Senate Bill Would Give FBI Warrantless Access to Email Records

      A provision snuck into the still-secret text of the Senate’s annual intelligence authorization would give the FBI the ability to demand individuals’ email data and possibly web-surfing history from their service providers without a warrant and in complete secrecy.

      If passed, the change would expand the reach of the FBI’s already highly controversial national security letters. The FBI is currently allowed to get certain types of information with NSLs—most commonly information about the name, address, and call information associated with a phone number or details about a bank account.

      Since a 2008 Justice Department ruling, the FBI has not been allowed to use NSLs to demand “electronic communication transaction records” such as email subject lines and other metadata, or URLs visited.

    • Report: Impacts of surveillance on contemporary British activism

      St Andrews University and openDemocracy interviewed 25 activists, and surveyed more than a hundred, about the impacts of surveillance on activism in the UK. Here are our findings.

    • Top Websites Using Audio Fingerprinting to Secretly Track Web Users

      Despite browsing incognito, blocking advertisements, or hiding your tracks, some websites monitor and track your every move online using a new web-tracking technique called Audio Fingerprinting.

      This new fingerprinting technique can be utilized by technology and marketing companies to deliver targeted advertisements as well as by law enforcement to unmask VPN or Anonymous users, without even decrypting the traffic.

    • Government still holding on to 5 years of NSA phone-snooping metadata

      The National Security Agency’s phone-snooping program ended six months ago this Saturday, but the government is still holding on to the mountain of data it piled up over the previous five years, worrying civil liberties advocates who say it’s time to start expunging the legally questionable information.

      Government officials say they no longer access the information, but the intelligence community’s past behavior has some civil libertarians skeptical of those assurances. And the mere existence of the data, which includes the time, duration and numbers involved in phone calls, worries critics who say there’s no reason for it to be sitting under government control.

    • Feds say they have no evidence of any NSA surveillance of refuge occupiers

      Federal prosecutors say they have no evidence that any national security surveillance was used to investigate the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

      Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight said intelligence agents made no wiretap interceptions in the case, and he’s not aware of any electronic surveillance by national security agencies targeting the 41-day occupation of the refuge in Harney County.

      [...]

      The surveillance under question falls under what’s called Executive Order 12333, a Reagan-era directive signed in 1981 to extend the powers of U.S. intelligence agencies and direct the leaders of federal agencies to cooperate with CIA requests for information.

    • America shut down the original NSA because ‘gentlemen do not read each other’s mail’ [Ed: B-I puff pieces for NSA continue]
    • Don’t Spy On Us: British surveillance campaign ignores BND and NSA and resorts to orientalism

      Stereotypes about the “threat from the east” should have been buried along with the Cold War. Regrettably, they are seeping back into Western discourse. Such crude pigeonholing coarsens debate as a new British poster campaign proves.

      Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are the poster boys for a new British anti-surveillance advertising campaign. Meanwhile, Barack Obama and Angela Merkel are absent – never mind the ample proof showing that the NSA and BND routinely spy on ordinary citizens.

      The BND is so generous with Germans’ most private information it routinely passes it on to NSA colleagues. On the other hand, there is no proof the Russian and Chinese services have developed, or are deploying, data gathering schemes similar to their Western counterparts.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • G4S promises (again) to repaint asylum seeker red doors and relocate families at risk

      Back in January I helped The Times expose racial abuse of asylum seekers whose landlords in the north east of England — the security company G4S and its subcontractor Jomast — had painted their front doors a distinctive red.

      People who had fled their home countries to escape persecution reported having dog excrement pushed through their letterboxes and graffiti daubed on their doors, because their homes were so easy to locate.

    • Will Canada Recognise Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Developing Countries Too?

      While Canada’s long-awaited support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples brought hope and celebration last week, it’s not yet clear whether the rights of Indigenous people in developing countries harmed by Canadian mining companies will also be included.

      The Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, told IPS that Canada’s support for the Declaration is a “breath of fresh air.”

      For almost a decade, Ottawa had voted against the Declaration, a global set of collective human rights covering an array of indigenous issues. The Conservative government that was voted out last year claimed that the provision requiring government to consult indigenous groups before making any decision that might impact their way of life or their ability to exercise rights over traditional lands and territories would amount to a indigenous veto on major resource projects. Signing the Declaration would be ignoring the human rights of non-indigenous Canadians, it asserted.

    • 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.

    • Theresa May launches review of Sharia law in England and Wales

      The Government has announced the launch of its long-awaited independent review into Sharia law in England and Wales, to be chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui.

      It said that there is “evidence some Sharia councils may be working in a discriminatory and unacceptable way, seeking to legitimise forced marriage and issuing divorces that are unfair to women”. A statement released by the Home Office claimed this was “contrary to the teachings of Islam.”

    • Sharia councils face inquiry into ‘discrimination against women’

      Home Secretary Theresa May has launched an independent inquiry into the state of Sharia law in the UK to examine whether Islamic courts are being used to support forced marriage and issue unfair divorces.

      The government is concerned that some Sharia councils in Britain may be misusing the religious legal code to cause “harm” in communities.

      The Home Office announced the review, which will be chaired by Islam expert Professor Mona Siddiqui, on Thursday.

      The inquiry is part of the government’s counter-extremism strategy and is expected to be completed by 2017.

    • Holocaust Survivor and Human Rights Activist Hedy Epstein Dies at 91

      Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, 91, died at her home in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, on May 26, 2016. An internationally renowned, respected and admired advocate for human and civil rights, Hedy was encircled by friends who lovingly cared for her at home.

      Born August 15, 1924, in the Bavarian region of Germany, her lifelong commitment to human rights was formed by the horrific experiences she and her family endured under the repressive Nazi regime.

    • NYPD Commissioner Calls Rappers ‘Thugs,’ Blames Them For Violence At Concert

      By calling rappers “thugs” Bratton is relying on coded language with specific, racist associations for black men.

    • Former NBA Player Calls Out Racist Train Rider

      On Friday, Thomas posted an account on Facebook about an experience he had while riding a train in an unnamed city. He wrote that he asked to sit in the empty seat next to a white woman, and she told him it was taken. Moments later, however, when a white man asked for the same seat, she moved her things for him.

    • We Shall be the Prey and the Vulture

      The police kill protestors all over the country and vulnerable groups like prisoners, sex workers, street traders and squatters are ruled with violence all over the country. But while the most egregious single incident of rule by violence was, of course, the massacre of striking workers at Marikana near Rustenburg in 2012 the problem of political violence is particularly acute in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. It is usually assumed that this is rooted in the militarisation of politics in this part of the country during the last years of apartheid.

    • Cancelled brain scan could have saved UK immigration detainee

      Inquest, Day Four: Neurologist testifies that he might have saved 25 year old Bruno Dos Santos.

    • How Anti-Choice Groups Push Message “Directly Into Women’s Phones”
    • Saudi Cleric Says Posing for Photos With Cats Is Forbidden

      A prominent Saudi cleric has declared photographs with cats, and other animals, forbidden unless completely necessary due to an upsurge in Saudis “who want to be like Westerners.”

      On a televised broadcast, Sheikh Saleh Bin Fawzan Al-Fazwan, a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, was told about “a new trend of taking pictures with cats has been spreading among people who want to be like Westerners.”

    • Woman left with horrific burns after acid attack for rejecting marriage proposal

      A young Pakistani woman had her skin burned off in a brutal acid attack for turning down a marriage proposal.

      Saima Mehmood, 21, from North Karachi, had acid thrown in her face as punishment for refusing to marry a suitor, leaving her with horrific injuries.

      The victim recently got engaged to another man, resulting in the revenge attack, according to The Express Tribune.

    • Elderly Christian woman stripped naked and paraded through streets by mob

      The 300-strong mob of Muslim men in rural Egypt also burned down seven homes belonging to Orthodox Coptic families, over rumours of an affair between a local Christian man and a Muslim woman

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • EU Commission Releases Plans To More Directly Regulate Internet, Pretending It’s Not Regulating The Internet

      Well, this isn’t a surprise. After all, we warned you that it was likely to happen, and we helped get together folks to warn the EU Commission that this was a bad idea, but the EU Commission has always seemed dead set on a plan that they believe will hold back big successful American internet firms, while fostering support for European ones. This week they made their first move by releasing details of some of their plans. This is all part of the “Digital Single Market” plan, which, in theory, makes a ton of sense. The idea is to knock down geographical regulatory barriers on the internet, such as geoblocking. And the first part of the EU’s plan is right in line with that idea and makes perfect sense. It talks about getting rid of geoblocking and also making cross-border delivery of packages easier and less expensive — basically making e-commerce work better. That’s all good.

      But it’s the second part that is concerning, and that’s where they start talking about updating “audiovisual rights” and the regulation of “online platforms.” The audiovisual rights stuff is getting most of the press attention, because of silly rules like requiring video platforms to promote more European-created content.

    • As Expected, Verizon’s Attempt To Woo Millennials Is Falling Flat On Its Face

      For years now Verizon has made it clear that it no longer wants to be in the fixed-line broadband business. Despite countless billions in taxpayer subsidies and numerous unfinished obligations, the company has all-but frozen serious fiber deployments. It has also been either selling off unwanted DSL customers to smaller, ill-equipped telcos (which which almost always ends poorly for everybody except Verizon accountants and lawyers) or has quite literally tried to drive unwanted users away with both rate hikes and apathy.

      Instead, Verizon executives decided to try and transform the stodgy old telco into a sexy new Millennial-focused advertising juggernaut. So far that has involved launching the company’s Millennial-targeted “Go90″ streaming video service, spending $4.4 billion on acquiring AOL, trying to acquire the drifting wreckage that is Yahoo, and developing controversial stealth ad tracking technology to build covert profiles of customer behavior as they wander around the Internet.

    • How the Internet works: Submarine fiber, brains in jars, and coaxial cables

      But how does it work? Have you ever thought about how that cat picture actually gets from a server in Oregon to your PC in London? We’re not simply talking about the wonders of TCP/IP or pervasive Wi-Fi hotspots, though those are vitally important as well. No, we’re talking about the big infrastructure: the huge submarine cables, the vast landing sites and data centres with their massively redundant power systems, and the elephantine, labyrinthine last-mile networks that actually hook billions of us to the Internet.

    • Cities Rushing To Restrict Airbnb Are About To Discover That They’re Violating Key Internet Law

      Fights over tech policy are going increasingly local. Most technology regulations have been federal issues. There have been a few attempts to regulate on the state level — including Pennsylvania’s ridiculous attempt to demand ISPs filter out porn in the early 2000s. But state legislators and Attorneys General eventually learned (the hard way) that federal law — specifically CDA 230 — prevents any laws that look to hold internet platforms liable for the actions of their users. This is why state Attorneys General hate Section 230, but they need to deal with it, because it’s the law.

      It’s looking like various cities are now about to go through the same “education” process that the states went through in the last decade. With the rise of “local” services like Uber and Airbnb, city by city regulation is becoming a very, very big deal. And it seems that a bunch of big cities are rapidly pushing anti-Airbnb bills that almost certainly violate Section 230 and possibly other federal laws as well. In particular, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago are all pushing laws to further regulate platforms for short term housing rentals (and yes, the SF effort comes just months after another shortsighted attempt to limit Airbnb failed).

    • House Budget Bill Guts Net Neutrality, Kills FCC Authority — All Because The FCC Dared To Stand Up To Comcast & AT&T

      We’ve noted a few times now that ever since the FCC passed net neutrality rules, loyal ISP politicians in the House and Senate have been engaged in a full-court press to punish the agency for daring to stand up to big broadband ISPs. That has involved an endless parade of taxpayer-funded hearings pretending to be about agency transparency and accountability — but are really just about publicly shaming the agency. It has also involved a laundry list of bills that attempt to thoroughly gut FCC funding and authority under the pretense of saving the country from a power-mad FCC.

    • The Next Battle for Net Neutrality Is Getting Bloody

      Net neutrality is a slippery subject. Months after the government appeared to get greedy telecom companies in check, carriers have come up with another clever trick to make more money and jeopardize the open internet. The latest trick is something called zero-rating, and your mobile carrier probably already uses—or abuses—this net neutrality loophole.

      This week, 58 tech companies, including Reddit, Yelp, and Kickstarter, asked the FCC in a letter to lead a transparent discussion about zero-rating practices. Basically, they want the same open discussion that spurred 4 million people to send comments to the FCC because they believe zero-rating policy could have a dramatic effect on the health of net neutrality in the US.

    • House spending bill takes swipes at FCC rules

      Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee are pushing a spending bill that would temporarily block a slate of controversial regulations at the Federal Communications Commission.

      The panel’s Financial Service and General Government spending bill would block the agency from enforcing its net neutrality rules until a court challenge is over, and it would block the commission from using those rules to regulate broadband prices.

      In addition, the spending bill would force the FCC to complete a study before it finishes writing its regulations to open up the TV set-top box market. It would also force the commission to post the text of new rules on its website for 21 days before any vote.

      A House Appropriations subcommittee advanced the bill Wednesday, which will later get taken up by the full committee.

      The bill is largely a GOP wish list. Similar provisions to blunt the agency’s internet service regulations were included in last year’s spending bill. But they were stripped out of a final deal that make it to President Obama’s desk.

      Republicans are almost universally against the FCC’s net neutrality rules approved last year, which reclassify internet service providers under strict common carrier regulations. The new authority gives the agency power to ban internet service providers from blocking, throttling, create fast lanes or unreasonably discriminating against certain kinds of internet traffic.

    • Jesper Lund – Internet Regulation: A Danish Perspective
  • DRM

    • Huge Billboard Protests VPN Blocking at Netflix HQ

      Netflix’s ongoing VPN crackdown is meeting fierce resistance from concerned users around the world. Today, privacy activists are driving a massive billboard around Netflix’s headquarters, hoping the company will respect their privacy and reverse the broad VPN ban.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Threatening someone with IP infringement? Law Commission explains what you need to know about the new IP (Unjustified Threats) Bill

      No threats action can be brought against a professional adviser acting for a client in a professional capacity providing legal or attorney services for which they are regulated.

    • Copyrights

      • Should it be legal to resell e-books, software, and other digital goods?

        One of the most interesting questions in the world of modern entertainment may soon be pondered at Europe’s top court: can people resell the e-books that they buy?

        This question is vital in the digital era, and relevant not just to the world of book publishing, but also the realms of music, film, and games. You’re able to resell the CDs and DVDs that you buy, so why can’t you do the same with downloaded copies of albums and movies?

        The case involves a Dutch second-hand e-book platform called Tom Kabinet, which took a previous ruling by the European Court of Justice, involving second-hand software, as the go-ahead for its own business model. Since 2014, Tom Kabinet has been at war with the Dutch Publishers Association (NUV), which sees it as a threat to the entire book industry.

      • Bankruptcy Fight May Be The Least Of Team Prenda’s Concerns, As The FBI Comes Knocking

        Of course, it’s been three years since then and a few things have happened. One of the three main members of Team Prenda (though, probably the least involved of the three) passed away. But the other two are both facing bar complaints over ethical violations. Paul Hansmeier also famously tried to declare bankruptcy, but appears to have lied to the court in the process. Fight Copyright Trolls just recently had an update on that case, and suffice it to say, it’s hilarious. Hansmeier has not just lost his lawyer after she told the court that she could no longer represent him and be a servant of the court (i.e., heavily hinting that Hansmeier was likely asking her to lie to the court), but he’s also lashed out at the trustee handling his bankruptcy for… buying a new car.

        And, of course, both Hansmeier and Steele have moved on to a revamped version of the same old trolling trick, but this time using the Americans with Disabilities Act as the fulcrum, rather than copyright law.

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  28. Supposedly 'Pampered' Prisoners Are Still Prisoners of the EPO

    Response to those gross and familiar attempts to portray patent examiners, not politicians who trample all over them, as the cause of all the problems at the EPO



  29. Insulting Reversal of Narratives at the EPO: Team Battistelli as the Victim

    At times of great oppression against staff, in clear defiance of the law in fact, journalists are being asked (or expected) to view the oppressor as the victim, even when this oppressor drives people to suicide



  30. Battistelli's EPO Copies China -- Not the US -- When it Comes to Patenting Software and Expanding Patent Scope

    A detailed explanation of some of the latest reports from China and the US, serving to show that one opens up to software patents whereas the other shuts the door on them (and guess whose lead the EPO is taking)


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