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06.20.16

Links 21/6/2016: GNU/Linux in China’s HPC, Linux 4.7 RC4

Posted in News Roundup at 5:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds Announces Linux Kernel 4.7 Release Candidate 4, Go Test It Now

      Just a few minutes ago, Linus Torvalds announced the general availability of the fourth RC (Release Candidate) version of the upcoming Linux 4.7 kernel.

    • Linux 4.7-rc4 Kernel Released

      Linus Torvalds announced the release of the Linux 4.7-rc4 kernel on Sunday night.

      Linus explained in the announcement, “It’s been a fairly normal week, and rc4 is out. Go test. The statistics look very normal: about two thirds drivers, with the rest being half architecture updates and half ‘misc’ (small filesystem updates,. some documentation, and a smattering of patches elsewhere). The bulk of the driver updates are usb and gpu, but there’s iio, leds, platform drivers, dma etc).”

    • Graphics Stack

      • Trying The Intel Vulkan Driver On Skylake With Dota 2 + Talos Principle

        With the recent report that Intel’s Vulkan Linux driver should now work with Dota 2, I was curious to test out the game — and Talos Principle — with the latest Mesa Git code that houses this open-source “Anvil” Vulkan driver.

        With the Padoka PPA now shipping the Intel Vulkan driver by default, it’s super easy on Ubuntu-based Linux systems to fetch a Mesa Git snapshot within the past day or two that does have the Vulkan driver for Intel hardware built and enabled. So that’s what I went with for trying Mesa 12.1-dev state of the Intel Vulkan driver as of today on a Core i5 6600K “Skylake” box running Ubuntu 16.04.

      • Why The R9 290 & Other Select Radeon GPUs Are Performing Miserably On Linux 4.7

        With this weekend’s 5-Way Mesa 12.1-dev + Linux 4.7 Git Radeon Comparison and other tests I’ve done on Linux 4.7 Git with Radeon hardware, the R9 290 has regressed to the point of performing noticeably worse than other AMD GCN GPUs… Many other Phoronix readers with different Rx 200/300 graphics cards have also confirmed their graphics cards performing poorly on Linux 4.7.

      • NVIDIA Launches Tesla P100 PCI-E Card
      • Mesa Lands Support For GL_EXT_window_rectangles

        The newest OpenGL extension now supported by Mesa is GL_EXT_window_rectangles.

        GL_EXT_window_rectangles is a newer OpenGL extension and explained via the OpenGL.org registry, “this extension provides additional orthogonally aligned ‘window rectangles’ specified in window-space coordinates that restrict rasterization of all primitive types (geometry, images, paths) and framebuffer clears.”

    • Benchmarks

      • 5-Way Mesa 12.1-dev + Linux 4.7 Git Radeon Comparison

        Following the massive Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 16.04 Graphics Performance With Radeon Software, AMDGPU-PRO, AMDGPU+RadeonSI article, I immediately started work on my next article… In preparation for a hardware launch Linux testing later this month, I started testing my collection of AMD cards on Linux 4.7 and Mesa 12.1-dev. Here are some of those results if you are curious, including performance-per-Watt metrics.

        The cards tested so far this weekend on this bleeding-edge driver stack were the R9 270X, R9 285, R9 290, R7 370, and R9 Fury. Mesa 12.1-dev was from Git yesterday using the Padoka PPA and also built with LLVM 3.9 SVN. The Linux 4.7 kernel was from Git in the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA this week.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • The Qt Company Is Still Aiming To Get Qt 5.8 Out This Year

        This year has already encountered the releases of the much-delayed Qt 5.6 followed quite quickly by Qt 5.7.

      • QtWebKit Technology Preview 2
      • New Technology Preview Of QtWebKit

        There’s a new technology preview release of QtWebKit for those wanting to use this formerly retired WebKit-based module instead of the newer QtWebEngine that makes use of Chromium’s Blink engine.

        As covered earlier this month, QtWebKit has been aiming for a return by interested developers wishing to continue to leverage WebKit in Qt applications rather than moving over to Qt WebEngine. Konstantin Tokarev who has been leading the revival on QtWebKit announced the release of its second technology preview release.

      • Qt 5.7 Consolidates Open Source, Commercial Versions Under New Licensing

        The Qt Company has released a new version of its namesake C++ cross-platform app dev tool, featuring new licensing that consolidates the open source and commercial versions of its Qt for Application Development offering.

      • KDE Desktop project finally fixes 13-year-old bug

        A bug in the KDE Desktop Environment, a popular desktop for Linux users, has been fixed after 13 years, according a post from one developer for the project.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GTK’s Roadmap Updated, Here’s What Is Coming For GNOME 3.22

        This past week the GTK+ road-map was updated during the GTK hackfest with more plans for the future, on top of their new vision for GTK+ 4.0 and beyond.

        The work that remains on the GTK roadmap for the GNOME 3.22 release this fall includes the (already completed) Wayland graphics tablet support along with plans for an image viewing widget, merging GSK, an image viewing widget, moving menu placement to GDK for Mir/Wayland, cleaning up display/screen/monitor code, GtkPathBar improvements, and more.

      • Progress so far
  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Devil-Linux 1.8.0 Distro to Add Google Authenticator for PAM, Moves to SquashFS

        Devil-Linux developer Heiko Zuerker has announced that the Devil-Linux 1.8.0 operating system is now open for development, and a Release Candidate is ready for public testing.

        Devil-Linux 1.8.0 promises to be a major release with many improvements and additions, among which we can mention the use of SquashFS as the main file system, along with high compression LZ4, and a Google authenticator was added for PAM (Pluggable Authentication Module).

      • 4MRescueKit 18.0 Enters Beta, Adds Antivirus Live CD 18.0-0.99.2 & 4MParted 18.0

        Today, June 20, 4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki proudly informed Softpedia about the general availability of a Beta release of his upcoming 4MRescueKit 18.0 Live CD project.

      • NetOS 8.0.2 Arrives with Improved Support for Chromebook Pixel and Surface Pro

        Black Lab Software (PC/OpenSystems LLC) CEO Roberto J. Dohnert informs Softpedia today, June 20, 2016, about the immediate availability for download of the NetOS 8.0.2 operating system.

      • ISO Refresh 2016.06.18
      • Antergos Spins New ISOs, The Last Time Pushing 32-bit Media

        Antergos 2016.06.18 has been released as a re-spin of this Arch-based Linux distribution.

        Antergos 2016.06.18 has a number of fixes and package updates over their earlier ISOs. The fixes do include addressing some issues with UEFI and its installer.

      • Solus 1.2 Shannon Released

        We are proud to announce the release of Solus 1.2, the second minor release in the Shannon series of releases. Solus 1.2 builds upon the groundwork of 1.1 and 1.0, with continued improvements to Budgie, a huge focus on software optimizations, in addition to laying the framework for providing a performant gaming experience. Solus 1.2 furthers us on our journey to realizing the future of home computing.

      • Solus 1.2 Linux Distribution Released
      • Solus 1.2 “Shannon” Officially Released, First OS to Ship with Arc Icon Theme

        Softpedia has been informed today, June 20, 2016, by Solus Project’s Ikey Doherty, about the release and immediate availability for download of the Solus 1.2 “Shannon” operating system.

        We’ve talked a lot lately about Solus 1.2 and the fact that it is coming soon. Well, today is that day, the day when you can finally enjoy all the goodies that the great Ikey Doherty and the skillful team of developers behind the Solus Project have prepared for you during the past three months, since the release of Solus 1.1.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Slackware Family

      • Zenwalk 8.0 final release candidate – RC2

        This pre-release ISO should be at 99% the stable target, you will get latest Libreoffice 5.1.3, latest Chromium 51, Mplayer 1.3, ffmpeg 3.0.1, latest Slackware current system (many upstream packages updated) featuring the Linux kernel 4.4.13, and a new desktop layout for XFCE 4.12.

        Lately, system tools have been heavily improved to fully integrate Policykit privileges elevation features, enabling the unprivileged user to tweak many system parameters that require root ownership : you can now change your user password from the XFCE Panel by just entering your previous password, you can set the Xorg keyboard layout without root privileges, set your locale, set the login manager settings, set system clock, etc…). All these features can of course be hardened with Policykit to disallow automatic privileges elevation for users.

      • Zenwalk 8.0 Is Just Around the Corner, Final Release Candidate Out for Testing

        Zenwalk developer Jean-Philippe Guillemin has informed users of the Slackware-based operating system that the final Release Candidate (RC) milestone of the upcoming Zenwalk 8.0 release is now available for public testing.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat launches a Docker Compose rival for running containers

        Vendors are hard at work adapting their products to support the containerized workloads that are starting to appear in enterprise environments. One of the companies at the forefront of the push is Red Hat Inc., which today introduced a new native Docker management tool for Ansible, the popular automation framework it acquired last year.

        Users will now be able to deploy and define the behavior of containerized applications in the same interface where they control the other components of their infrastructure. Policies are inputted in the form of Playbooks, which can be used to perform everything from setting up an AWS instance to orchestrating multi-stage update outs. They play an analogous role to Puppet’s Modules and the Cookbooks in Chef, the two most popular configuration automation tools on the market. Red Hat says that using native functionality is more convenient than opening an external tool like Docker Compose or Dockerfile in a separate tab and constantly switching back and forth during development.

      • Red Hat Launches Ansible-Native Container Workflow Project
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 24: Comparing Gnome, KDE Plasma, Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, LXDE

          It is interesting to look at the gaps in this table – for example, the KDE spin doesn’t include digiKam, which seems very odd, and please don’t try to tell me that Gwenview should count as a photo management application! Why does the Cinnamon spin not have a music player? Perhaps I overlooked it… but I don’t think so. Also, even though LXDE is expected to be a lightweight distribution, the lack of any kind of PDF viewer seems rather extreme.

          So that’s the whole family — six different desktops, ranging from the most fully equipped to the most leanly stripped. They will all be available starting Tuesday, 21 July from the Fedora Downloads page. Get it while it’s hot!

        • Plex Media Server on Fedora 24 weird SELinux issue

          Recently I upgraded my Plex Media Server from Fedora 23 to Fedora 24, and upon restart my Plex Media Server service was not starting.

        • Fedora 24 and CentOS/RHEL 7 repositories

          Fedora 24 repositories have been available for quite some time now, but here is the official statement that everything should be supported out of the box.

          As part of the repository availability, I would like to say that starting from Fedora 24, the repositories are self-sustained and do not require RPMFusion to be enabled. I try to preserve compatibility between the two, so if you step into any problem just open an issue to the specific package on Github, send me an email or drop a message in the comment section of the various pages. Please note that “compatible” means that actually you shouldn’t get any conflict when installing packages, and not that I will not overwrite/obsolete the packages provided in the other repositories.

    • Debian Family

      • Security expert Appelbaum no longer part of Debian

        Well-known privacy advocate and developer Jacob Appelbaum is no longer a member of the Debian GNU/Linux project, with his status as developer having been revoked as of 18 June.

      • Go Debian!

        As some of the world knows full well by now, I’ve been noodling with Go for a few years, working through its pros, its cons, and thinking a lot about how humans use code to express thoughts and ideas. Go’s got a lot of neat use cases, suited to particular problems, and used in the right place, you can see some clear massive wins.

      • Wheezy LTS and the switch to OpenJDK 7

        Wheezy’s LTS period started a few weeks ago and the LTS team had to make an early support decision concerning the Java eco-system since Wheezy ships two Java runtime environments OpenJDK 6 and OpenJDK 7. (To be fair, there are actually three but gcj has been superseded by OpenJDK a long time ago and the latter should be preferred whenever possible.)

        OpenJDK 6 is currently maintained by Red Hat and we mostly rely on their upstream work as well as on package updates from Debian’s maintainer Matthias Klose and Tiago Stürmer Daitx from Ubuntu. We already knew that both intend to support OpenJDK 6 until April 2017 when Ubuntu 12.04 will reach its end-of-life. Thus we had basically two options, supporting OpenJDK 6 for another twelve months or dropping support right from the start. One of my first steps was to ask for feedback and advice on debian-java since supporting only one JDK seemed to be the more reasonable solution. We agreed on warning users via various channels about the intended change, especially about possible incompatibilities with OpenJDK 7. Even Andrew Haley, OpenJDK 6 project lead, participated in the discussion and confirmed that, while still supported, OpenJDK 6 security releases are “always the last in the queue when there is urgent work to be done”.

      • Weekly Report for GSoC16-week 1 and week2
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu phone is not yet ready for prime time

            Phones that run Canonical’s Ubuntu Phone operating system have been around for more than a year but given that they appear to be predominantly aimed at European markets, they are a rare sight in Australia.

            One cannot blame Canonical, the company behind the phone, for Australia is a very small market and one that tends to follow American trends.

            The first Ubuntu phones were released in February 2015 and came in for some criticism because they were under-powered, being a modified version of the Aquaris E4.5. With a 4.5-inch, 540×960 resolution display, a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek Cortex A7 processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, they were not much to write home about.

          • Software radio apps are open-source on Ubuntu App Store

            Lime Micro (London, UK) has announced that Ubuntu is putting together an App Store for LimeSDR that can be accessed once the LimeSDR crowd funding campaign successfully reaches its $500,000 pledge goal. The Snappy Ubuntu App Store will ensure the software defined radio (SDR) apps developed with the LimeSDR board are downloadable and those developed by Lime remain completely open-sourced.

          • Snappy vs flatpak

            There is fierce debate brewing in the Linux community right now. Here we have two rival formats for packaging software. which one will be victorious and become the standard across all Linux desktops ? The answer in our opinion is that both will find a strong following for various reasons. Both will serve the common user, but one will reign supreme for industrial use. From as security viewpoint, at least for now, Flatpak has the advantage.

          • Linux Snap Package Format Goes Multi-Distro

            Snapcraft — the Linux package format Canonical developed for Ubuntu — now works on multiple Linux distros, including Arch, Debian, Fedora and various flavors of Ubuntu, Canonical announced last week.

            They’re being validated on CentOS, Elementary, Gentoo, Mint, OpenSUSE, OpenWrt and RHEL.

            “Distributing applications on Linux is not always easy,” said Canonical’s Manik Taneja, product manager for Snappy Ubuntu Core.

          • Goodbye to other packages (rpm & deb), Say Hello to Snaps

            Multiple Linux distributions and companies announced collaboration on the “snap” universal Linux package format, enabling a single binary package to work perfectly and securely on any Linux desktop, server, cloud or device.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • The next wave in software is open adoption software

    There’s a big shift happening in how enterprises buy and deploy software. In the last few years, open technology — software that is open to change and free to adopt — has gone from the exception to the rule for most enterprises.

  • Open source innovation is significantly impacting the IT marketplace: IDC Canada

    Open source is having a huge effect on IT operations. In fact, it has fundamentally changed the marketplace, according to David Senf, program vice president, Infrastructure Solutions Group, at IDC Canada.

  • Treasure Data Releases Latest Version of Open Source Phenomenon Fluentd, Joins the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)
  • Pentaho Labs Extends Open Source Innovation with New Docker Utilities
  • Pentaho Docker utilities: massage & pedicure for software footprints

    Pentaho has tabled a set of Docker open source utilities intended to help simplify big data analytics. Emanating from its Pentaho Labs division, this containerised open source platform is available through the Pentaho Server. So what is actually happening here?

  • Open Source Licensing for Altair’s PBS Professional Now Available
  • SourceForge Seeks a Return to Relevancy

    The new owners of SourceForge, once the primary code repository for open source projects, work to make good on a promise to restore a reputation that was tarnished by its former owners.

    It’s been about 2 1/2 years since GIMP began what became something of a mass exodus of large open source projects away from SourceForge, which at one time had been the go-to code repository for open source projects.

    The site’s reputation began to wane almost immediately after it was purchased from Geeknet in September, 2012, by Dice Holdings in a deal that included Slashdot and Freecode/Freshmeat. In July, 2013, Dice introduced DevShare, an optional profit sharing feature that included closed-source ad-supported content in the binary Windows installers and gave projects agreeing to use the feature a portion of the revenue.

  • Under new management, SourceForge moves to put badness in past

    It has been six months since the company formerly known as Dice (DHI Group) sold off Slashdot Media—the business unit that runs Slashdot and SourceForge—to BIZX, LLC, a San Diego-based digital media company. Since then, the new management has been moving to erase some of the mistakes made under the previous regime—mistakes that led to the site becoming a bit of a pariah among open source and free software developers.

    In an e-mail to Ars, Logan Abbott—the new president of Slashdot and SourceForge—said, “SourceForge was in the media a lot last year due to several transgressions, which we have addressed since the acquisition. Unfortunately, the media has thus far elected not to cover the improvements (probably because bad press is more popular).” In the conversation that followed, Abbott emphasized the transformation underway at SourceForge.

    Abbott has an uphill climb, to be sure. The shifting nature of the software development world has made repositories such as GitHub a go-to for open source projects of all sorts, while the focus on application downloads has shifted heavily toward the mobile world. But Abbott said he believes SourceForge is still “a great distribution channel,” and that developers will come back to host with the repository “when end users see us as a trusted destination once again.”

  • Can SourceForge regain credibility with Linux users and developers?
  • How cloud, open source enable new digital experience government

    Government agencies have been on the web since the 1990s, but today’s digital government strategies look very different. Far from the static sites of past years, great government sites today must be less agency-centric and more reflective of the needs of citizens and others. Sites need to be engaging, easy to navigate, available on any device and make it easier than ever for citizens, businesses and other stakeholders to access. Re-imagining digital for citizen engagement is a major investment, but the payoff is a more efficient, accessible and responsive government.

  • Open Source 2.0

    The open source movement is typically portrayed as an egalitarian response to the constraints imposed on software development by the entities that previously “controlled” software evolutions. The general principles espoused by open source, however, have a much longer history.

  • What Employers Want in an Open Source Applications Developer

    In the end, whichever method(s) you choose to brush up on or expand your skills base doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you are continuously learning and keeping current on what’s trending in tech. As a problem solver, you need to have a keen familiarity with the latest platforms and skills in order to offer up the best solutions.

  • Breathing Games Joins Open Source Initiative

    The Open Source Initiative welcomes unique community of heath care professionals and open source developers collaborating to transform breathing therapy into games.

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), recognized globally for promoting and protecting open source software and development communities, announced today that Breathing Games has become an affiliate member. Breathing Games is an international, multidisciplinary community working to improve the quality of health care and life expectancy for people with respiratory disease through therapeutic, science-based-and fun-games.

  • Netflix Open Sources New Machine Learning Tool

    While open source machine learning tools make headlines nearly every day now, it’s still a young science. Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix is one of the many companies that has been making extensive use of machine learning tools for years, and we’ve reported on Netflix open sourcing a series of interesting “Monkey” cloud tools that it has deployed as satellite utilities orbiting its central cloud platform.

    Now, Netflix is open sourcing a machine learning system it built to orchestrate the workflows that improve recommendations to users on what to watch next. Here are details on this tested and hardened offering.

  • Events

    • Dockercon 16 Descends on Seattle

      This particular Dockercon will be a major event, larger than any other prior Docker event anywhere in the world. But size alone isn’t what anyone should judge the success of an event about – it’s the quality of speakers and sessions that truly matter.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Containers Allow You to Browse with Separate Personas

        When it comes to browsers, you don’t see as many truly innovative features arrive as often they did years ago. Mozilla, however, has a new idea that it is testing with the Firefox browser that does qualify as innovative.

        A new Containers Feature in Firefox lets users browse with separate personas. Here are the details.

        Containers is an experimental feature in Firefox that caters to the idea that as we browse the web we take on different personas, such as shopper, reader, communicator, etc.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 11.0 Alpha 4 Released

      The fourth alpha release of the upcoming FreeBSD 11.0 is now available for testing.

      FreeBSD 11.0 Alpha 4 ships the very latest fixes for this major BSD update. FreeBSD 11.0 is scheduled to be officially released in early September with the code freeze happening last week, the beta builds beginning in July, and release candidates in August. The FreeBSD 11.0 schedule can be found via FreeBSD.org.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Removing Barriers to the Uptake of Open Source Software

      Public sector procurement organisations such as Crown Commercial Services in the UK are guiding public sector organisations to facilitate the procurement of Open Source Software based solutions. However there is little or no guidance of how to negotiate contracts and measure the effectiveness of open source software solutions compared to proprietary solutions.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Arduino Open Source Self-Reconfigurable Modular Robot (video)

        Arduino enthusiasts and makers with access to a 3D printer might be interested in a new open source self reconfigurable modular robot that has been created and powered by an Arduino Nano development board.

        Check out the video below to see the Dtto modular robot in action, and how it can both self assemble and disassemble itself and has been built as an entry for the 2016 Hackaday Prize.

      • Masterwork Tools’ amazing collection of 3D printable open source tabletop gaming scenery

        It’s no secret that 3D printing technology provides a fantastic opportunity for spicing up your gaming nights. Nothing quite takes the fun out of an evening of tabletop gaming as fighting over the same cardboard constructions every time, but you don’t have to bankrupt yourself to change that. Thanks to Masterwork Tools’ excellent OpenForge 2.0 project, you can now easily 3D print amazing scenery pieces free-of-charge, from fantastic wall sections for D&D dungeon crawls, to castle walls, gothic crypts fantastic Egyptian-style monuments and a lot more.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • APFS in Detail: Overview

    Apple announced a new file system that will make its way into all of its OS variants (macOS, tvOS, iOS, watchOS) in the coming years. Media coverage to this point has been mostly breathless elongations of Apple’s developer documentation. With a dearth of detail I decided to attend the presentation and Q&A with the APFS team at WWDC. Dominic Giampaolo and Eric Tamura, two members of the APFS team, gave an overview to a packed room; along with other members of the team, they patiently answered questions later in the day. With those data points and some first hand usage I wanted to provide an overview and analysis both as a user of Apple-ecosystem products and as a long-time operating system and file system developer.

  • Press Eats Up ‘App’ That Helps People Search For Migrant Boats On The Meditarranean… Despite It Not Actually Doing Anything

    Apparently, last week there was some buzz in the press about a new “app” that was being offered for iPhone users, put together by the charity group Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) and Grey for Good, a group that’s associated with the ad giant Grey Group (itself a part of WPP). The idea behind the app is that it feeds users real-time satellite imagery of the Mediterranean Sea, and if you happen to see a boat full of migrants, you alert MOAS and they’ll go check it out. Many in the press ate it up because it hits all the buttons: it’s an app (ding!) that lets people feel good (ding!) by pretending they’re changing the world (ding!) on a topic of great public interest (ding!). And thus, we got a bunch of stories, though only Reuters went with the most obvious of headlines: Want to save migrants in the Mediterranean? There’s an app for that. Other reports appeared at Wired, Mashable, Huffington Post, the Evening Standard and a variety of other, smaller publications.

  • Science

    • For better recall, try a work out four hours after learning something

      To make sure you’ll be able to jog your memory quickly, you might want to go for an actual jog a little after learning something.

      Healthy volunteers that exercised four hours after learning patterns had better recall 48 hours later than those that didn’t exercise at all or exercised directly after learning. The delayed exercise may spur the release of molecules that boost the brain’s normal ability to consolidate and bank memories for long-term storage, researchers report in the journal Current Biology. If the finding holds up in further studies, it may suggest that working out a little after cramming could help bulk up your noggin.

    • Summer solstice brings longest daylight, brightest moonlight

      The longest day of the year is upon us.

      This Monday brings the summer solstice, which marks the beginning of the season and a chance to soak in copious amounts of sunshine.
      The solstice is celebrated by a variety of cultures worldwide. Every year, thousands gather at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, to rejoice the prospect of sunny summer days.

      As if this day wasn’t already a wonderful excuse to run outside, Monday will also feature a full “Strawberry” moon — the name comes from the belief that strawberry-picking season is at its peak during this time of the year, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

  • Security

    • BusyBotNet is a Fork of Busybox with Security Tools

      Busybox provides a lightweight version of common command line utilities normally found on “big” Linux into a single binary, in order to bring them to embedded systems with limited memory and storage. As more and more embedded systems are now connected to the Internet, or as they are called nowadays the Internet of Things nodes, adding security tools, such as cryptographic utilities, could prove useful for administrators of such system, and so BusyBotNet project wsa born out of a fork of Busybox.

    • Making a Case for Security Analytics

      Being a victim of a data breach no longer results in a slap on the wrist. Instead it can lead to costly fines, job loss, physical damage and an organization’s massive loss of reputation. Case in point: Target. Following its high-profile breach in late 2013, Target suffered large losses in market valuation and paid more than $100 million in damages.

    • GoToMyPC password hack – urgent, change passwords NOW

      If you use the popular Citrix GoToMyPC remote access product for macOS, Windows, Kindle, iOS, and Android you will need to change all passwords now.

    • Web Application Defender’s Field Report: Account Takeover Campaigns Spotlight

      ATO attacks (also known as credential stuffing) use previously breached username and password pairs to automate login attempts. This data may have been previously released on public dumpsites such as Pastebin or directly obtained by attackers through web application attacks such as SQLi. The goal of the attacks is to identify valid login credential data that can then be sold to gain fraudulent access to user accounts. ATO may be considered a subset of brute force attacks, however it is an increasing threat because it is harder to identify such attacks through traditional individual account authentication errors. The Akamai Threat Research Team analyzed web login transactions for one week across our customer base to identify ATO attack campaigns.

    • Google’s security princess talks cybersecurity

      Her talk was even-keeled, informative, and included strong FOSS messaging about everyone’s vested interest in internet security and privacy. After the talk was done, I watched her take audience questions (long enough for me to take a short conference call) where she patiently and handily fielded all manner of queries from up and down the stack.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘Our Anger Is Past Its Limit’: Tens of Thousands Rally Against US Bases in Okinawa

      Demonstration a reflection of years of resentment against US military footprint on island, with former Marine suspected of recent murder and rape adding fuel to fire

    • America’s Nuclear Weapons in Europe Are the Nuclear Elephant in the Room

      A little more than 60 miles from Brussels Airport, Kleine Brogel Air Base stands as one of six overseas repositories in the world where the United States still stores nuclear weapons. The existence of the bombs is officially neither confirmed nor denied, but it has been well-known for decades.

    • Undeterred: Amid Terror Attacks in Europe, US H-bombs Still Deployed There

      “A little more than 60 miles from Brussels airport,” Kleine Brogel Air Base is one of six European sites where the United States still stores active nuclear weapons, William Arkin wrote last month. The national security consultant for NBC News Investigates, Arkin warned that these bombs “evade public attention to the extent that a post-terror attack nuclear scare in Belgium can occur without the bombs even being mentioned.”

    • Syria: Change the (Dissent) Channel

      The US State Department’s “Dissent Channel” is a mechanism through which department personnel may disagree with administration policy without fear of job retribution. On June 17, Mark Landler of the New York Times revealed the existence of a recent “Dissent Channel” memo bearing the signatures of 51 diplomats and other department officials and calling for “a more militarily assertive US role in Syria [versus the Assad regime], based on the judicious use of standoff and air weapons.”

      Let me open my dissent to the dissent by invoking the late Pete Seeger: “Oh when will they ever learn?”

      The “judicious use” of US military force in the Middle East and Central Asia has made things worse, not better, for 25 years now.

    • NRA Lobbyist: Pro-Gun Control Lawmakers ‘Will Pay A Price’

      One of the nation’s top gun lobbyists thinks that the Orlando shooting had little to do with gun control, and that any politician who tries to blame the gun lobby for the tragedy will “pay the price” for it.

      Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, said on ABC’s This Week Sunday that the people of the United States have a “God-given right to defend ourselves and firearms are an effective means to doing just that.”

      “Politicians who want to divert attention away from the underlying problems and suggest that we are somehow to blame will pay a price for it,” he said.

    • A Peace Journey to Russia

      The dangers from a new Cold War between the U.S. and Russia have prompted American peace activists to reach out to the Russian people and to fellow Americans to urge a step back from the cliff, as Kathy Kelly describes.

    • The New Iron Curtain

      A foreign army consisting of 31,000 soldiers from an anti-American alliance are conducting military “exercises” a few miles from San Diego. Hundreds of tanks converge on the Rio Grande, while jets from 24 countries converge in attack formation, darting through Mexican skies.

      It isn’t hard to imagine Washington’s response.

      Yet that’s precisely what has been happening on Russia’s border with the NATO alliance, as the cold war returns. Economic sanctions aimed at sinking Russia’s fragile economy, plus a propaganda campaign designed to characterize Russian President Vladimir Putin as the second coming of Stalin – or, in Hillary Clinton’s view, Hitler – have history running in reverse. Once again, an iron curtain is descending across Europe – only this time it’s the West’s doing.

    • Neo-Nazi Group Linked to Murder of British MP Has Long Been Ignored by US Media

      The National Alliance was founded in 1974 by William Pierce, an associate of American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell and the former editor of the magazine National Socialist World. The group was a reorganization of the National Youth Alliance, itself an outgrowth of Youth for Wallace, an organization that came out of the 1968 presidential campaign of segregationist George Wallace. Pierce turned the group, in the words of the SPLC, into “the most dangerous and best organized neo-Nazi formation in America.”

    • The Roots of Trump’s Cruel Populism

      Donald Trump’s angry and ugly populism has roots going back to Jim Crow-era race-baiters and Cold War-era red-baiters, including Joe McCarthy’s adviser Roy Cohn and his disciples, write Bill Moyers and Michael Winship.

    • British Trumpism? Anti-Immigrant “Britain First” White Terrorist kills Member of Parliament

      The assassin shouted “Britain First!” as he repeatedly stabbed Jo Cox in the stomach with a hunting knife and then shot her with an old revolver several times. He also cut a 77-year-old man who unsuccessfully attempted to intervene.

      Cox, 41, and mother of two, served as a Labour member of the Mother of Parliaments from the constituency of Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire (north-central Britain).

    • Far-Right Britain First Party Distressed to Be Linked to Killer Who Shouted “Britain First”

      One day after a British lawmaker, Jo Cox, was assassinated by a constituent with a history of mental illness and support for white nationalist groups, who reportedly shouted “Britain First!” during the attack, the leaders of a fringe political party with that slogan for its name tried to dissociate themselves from the suspect by spreading misinformation about the accounts of eyewitnesses.

      In a video message posted on Britain First’s social media channels on Friday, Jayda Fransen, the party’s deputy leader, disputed evidence that its name was shouted and falsely claimed that Cox, a former aid worker who was elected to Parliament last year, was not assassinated, but killed while trying to break up a fight between two men on a street in the Yorkshire town of Birstall.

    • Death, and the referendum

      As tragedy strikes Britain’s referendum, it’s too late for Berlusconist Boris Johnson to retrospectively distance himself from Farage’s hateful campaign.

    • A Father’s War, A Son’s Toxic Inheritance

      Stephen Katz’s estranged father was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. Now the Virginian-Pilot photographer wonders if that caused his own health problems.

    • Reliving Agent Orange: What The Children of Vietnam Vets Have To Say

      For the past year, ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot have examined how Agent Orange has impacted the health of Vietnam vets. We’ve written about Blue Water Navy veterans who are currently ineligible for benefits, as well as vets with bladder cancer and their struggle for compensation.

    • Know-Nothing “Diplomats” Prepare For Hillary’s War On Syria

      The U.S. is unwilling to stop the war on Syria and to settle the case at the negotiation table. It wants a 100% of its demands fulfilled, the dissolution of the Syrian government and state and the inauguration of a U.S. proxy administration in Syria.

    • Why Doesn’t Dianne Feinstein Want to Prevent Murders Like those Robert Dear Committed?

      In response to Chris Murphy’s 15 hour filibuster, Democrats will get a vote on several gun amendments to an appropriations bill, one mandating background checks for all gun purchases, another doing some kind of check to ensure the purchaser is not a known or suspected terrorist.

      [...]

      First, minor, but embarrassing, given that Feinstein is on the Senate Judiciary Committee and Ranking Member Pat Leahy is a cosponsor. This amendment doesn’t define what “investigate” means, which is a term of art for the FBI (which triggers each investigative method to which level of investigation you’re at). Given that it is intended to reach someone like Omar Mateen, it must intend to extend to “Preliminary Investigations,” which “may be opened on the basis of any ‘allegation or information’ indicative of possible criminal activity or threats to national security.” Obviously, the Mateen killing shows that someone can exhibit a whole bunch of troubling behaviors and violence yet not proceed beyond the preliminary stage (though I suspect we’ll find the FBI missed a lot of what they should have found, had they not had a preconceived notion of what terrorism looks like and an over-reliance on informants rather than traditional investigation). But in reality, a preliminary investigation is a very very low level of evidence. Yet it would take a very brave AG to approve a gun purchase for someone who had hit a preliminary stage, because if that person were to go onto kill, she would be held responsible.

    • DOJ Rushed To Link Orlando Shooter To ISIS, Now Plans To Redact What He Said During 911 Call For… Reasons

      The FBI/DOJ had no problem rushing out claims last week that Omar Mateen, the guy who killed 49 people in a rampage at a club in Orlando last weekend, had “pledged allegiance” to ISIS.

    • Sheriff confirms FBI gag order and Orlando 911 audio censorship
    • The Obama Administration’s Orwellian Censorship of Orlando Transcripts

      In George Orwell’s prescient novel about totalitarian government, 1984, the main protagonist is a censor working to rewrite history so it maintains a message that is to the approval of the party. Of course, he isn’t called a censor, he is given the much more pleasing title of clerk at the Ministry of Truth. The party instructs him to alter the records so they always reflect the party line and encourages him to insert newspeak into the records as a way of limiting the range of thought of readers. Newspeak is a language that perverts English words and grammar in a way that completely reduces the meaning.

    • Loretta Lynch: We Scrubbed The Orlando Killer’s Pledges Of Allegiance To Terror Groups In 911 Transcript
    • Todd and Others Yawn as Lynch Proclaims Mateen Transcripts Will Censor His ISIS Pledge
    • Where Did the Justice Dept. Learn to Censor Info About Violent Attacks? From the Public
    • Loretta Lynch’s censorship
    • Jorge Gutierrez and Soraya Chemaly on Orlando Massacre

      This week on CounterSpin: After the June 12 massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, social and independent media were filled with grief from the LGBTQ and Latinx community, immediately combined with a refusal to allow that grief to be weaponized for use against Muslims, which corporate media were swinging into gear to do as soon as they learned the killer’s identity.

    • Since Tuesday the Medical Examiner Has Known How Many Orlando Victims Were Killed by Cops

      As I noted in another post, on Monday, Orlando’s police chief said that it was possible that some law enforcement officers — that might include the four who initially responded to Omar Mateen or the nine SWAT team members who later did — had (accidentally) shot Pulse patrons.

    • Only Muslims Are Terrorists. It Is Now Official

      Mair is not an isolated case. Ryan McGee – who built a nail bomb to attack Muslims – and Pavlo Lapshyn – who murdered a Muslim and bombed mosques – were not charged with terrorism either. Mair, McGee and Lapshyn would all, beyond any possible shadow of a doubt, have been charged with terrorism if they were Muslims. The decision is made by the Crown Prosecution Service, which has also recently decided that Tony Blair, Jack Straw, John Scarlett, Mark Allen et all will not stand trial for extraordinary rendition and complicity in torture, despite overwhelming evidence presented by the Metropolitan Police, including my own.

    • The Sad Death of Jo Cox, and What is Terrorism?

      But the Jo Cox death has caused immediate and fierce debate as to whether it was “terrorism” or not. This follows closely a similar and interesting debate over the Orlando killings. The questions raised over Omar Mateen, who undoubtedly had mental health issues, and was himself perhaps gay, complicated the question of his motivation, beyond his own declaration of loyalty to ISIS. It is to the credit of the US political establishment that their reaction reflected this complexity, Trump aside.

    • Tensions are ratcheting up between China and the United States over maritime boundaries in Asia

      Two recent close encounters between US spy planes and Chinese jets spell trouble for relations between Washington and Beijing. The first, between a US EP-3 spy plane and two Chinese jets over the South China Sea (SCS) near China’s Hainan Island, was strikingly similar to the 2001 incident in the same area in which a Chinese jet and an EP-3 collided, resulting in the death of the Chinese pilot, the forced landing and detention of the US crew, and a tense diplomatic row. The second involved a US RC-135 plane that was closely tracked by a Chinese jet over the East China Sea (ECS).

    • World’s Largest Arms Dealers Lecture Americans on ‘Assault Weapons’

      What’s more, an International Business Times investigation found that “Under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation.” Those include such rights-respecting regimes as Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

    • Gen. Breedlove, Strangelove-ian War Hawk

      Ex-NATO Commander Breedlove was so bellicose toward Russia that the Germans objected to his dangerous provocations, but he is now strutting his stuff in hopes of landing a job in a Clinton-45 administration, says Gilbert Doctorow.

    • Hate, Terror, and Collectivism Culminate in Orlando

      The massacre in Orlando has the usual political narratives all jumbled up. It was gun violence against gays. Therefore, say Hillary Clinton supporters, it validates calls for gun restrictions and anti-hate laws. Yet it was also an act of terrorism by a Muslim whose parents immigrated from Afghanistan. Therefore, say Donald Trump supporters, it validates calls for immigration restrictions and religious profiling.

    • Tomgram: Andrew Cockburn, Victory Assured on the Military’s Main Battlefield — Washington

      When it comes to Pentagon weapons systems, have you ever heard of cost “underruns”? I think not. Cost overruns? They turn out to be the unbreachable norm, as they seem to have been from time immemorial. In 1982, for example, the Pentagon announced that the cumulative cost of its 44 major weapons programs had experienced a “record” increase of $114.5 billion. Three decades later, in the spring of 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the military’s major programs to develop new weapons systems — by then 80 of them — were a cumulative half-trillion dollars over their initial estimated price tags and on average more than two years delayed. A year after, the GAO found that 47 of those programs had again increased in cost (to the cumulative tune of $27 billion) while the average time for delivering them had suffered another month’s delay (although the Pentagon itself swore otherwise).

    • Neocons Scheme for More ‘Regime Change’

      The neocons are back on the warpath, seeking to bomb the Syrian government and scheming to destabilize nuclear-armed Russia en route to another “regime change” – while ignoring the grave dangers, says James W Carden.

    • DOJ Thinks Releasing Omar Mateen’s ISIS Allegiance Claims It Released Last Week Will Revictimize the Victims

      I’ve been suggesting not only that Mateen was likely motivated for other reasons — but that FBI likely missed those cues because they were evaluating him for one and only one kind of threat, an Islamic terrorist rather than an angry violent man threat.

    • Dissent for Peace, Not More War

      Fifty-one mid-level U.S. diplomats signed a “dissent cable” calling for the U.S. military to launch air strikes against the Syrian military to tilt the civil war back in favor of the rebels, a mistake, writes ex-U.S. diplomat Ann Wright.

    • US drones hit Taliban more than terrorist networks despite end of Afghan war

      The majority of US airstrikes in Afghanistan in 2016 have been in support of ground troops including Afghan forces fighting the Taliban, rather than targeting suspected terrorists.

      An investigation by the Bureau reveals that more than 200 strikes, the majority by drones, have been conducted to defend ground forces battling a rising insurgency, despite the fact that combat missions came to an end in 2014. These strikes represent more than 60% of all US airstrikes in the country.

    • The Killing Fields: Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines

      2016, he is haunted by broken promises of solving past extrajudicial killings and preventing new ones from happening. Aquino’s performance with regard to human rights leaves much to be desired, with Human Rights Watch calling his record “disappointing due to failure to address impunity for the government’s rights violations.”

    • Now Can We Ditch the Saudis?

      Meanwhile, Haykal Bafana, a usually reliable commentator on events in Yemen, has suggested that not just the one UAE helicopter reported more broadly, but two more, have been downed in recent days, by Saudi missiles. And the UAE tweeted out yesterday that it was withdrawing from the war in Yemen.

    • The War Risk of Hillary Clinton

      Hawkish State Department officials and Official Washington’s neocons are eager for a Hillary Clinton presidency, counting on a freer hand to use U.S. military force around the world, but that future is not so clear, says Michael Brenner.

    • Who’s the Bigger Danger — Clinton or Trump?

      Donald Trump has offered some unnerving ideas about foreign policy, including a cavalier attitude toward nuclear proliferation, but Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness may represent a bigger danger of nuclear war, as Ivan Eland explains.

    • Thousands protest U.S. bases on Okinawa after Japan woman’s murder

      Tens of thousands of people gathered in sweltering heat on Japan’s Okinawa island on Sunday in one of the biggest demonstrations in two decades against U.S. military bases, following the arrest of an American suspected of murdering a local woman.

      The protest marked a new low for the United States and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in their relations with the island and threatens plans to move the U.S. Marines Futenma air station to a less populous part of the island.

    • Omar Khayyam, Orlando & Magnanville

      The last one of these three events is obviously not comparable in terms of gravity and horror with the first two. The first one is an an attack of a terrorist (no matter how mentally unstable he may be) against a gay nightclub, somebody who felt compelled to kill innocent people because of who they are. We know how radical Islam works. It’s not just the women they fear and oppress. It’s the Jews. It’s the Christians. It’s all the non-Muslims. It’s all the Muslims they don’t deem to be obedient enough to their own made-up creed and rules du jour. And of course it’s the Gays. And anybody who drinks alcohol. Anybody who has fun. Anybody who represents what they hate (in the case of the two cops, they represent France, its society and its History) . The price is never too high for them. A decerebrated scumbag cutting the throat of a woman in front of her 3 year-old child for three hours seems acceptable to them.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • A Better World Is Possible: A Father’s Day Note

      That’s why I work with Climate Parents, a group of parents and grandparents around the country taking action to help prevent catastrophic climate change so that we leave you and all kids everywhere a livable planet. And in doing that work every day, I see signs of hope emerging in so many places – the solar panels and wind turbines sprouting up like daffodils in springtime, the coal-fired power plants shutting down, the students suing governments for stronger climate action, the school boards voting to teach students the truth about climate change, the countries of the world agreeing in Paris to keep temperatures from rising to unbearable levels.

    • Exxon Sues Second Attorney General In Response To Fraud Investigation

      ExxonMobil sued a second attorney general involved in the fraud investigation against the company this week. The investigation, brought by attorneys general around the country and some environmental groups, looks into whether the oil company was hiding the truth about climate science from the public and their investors.

    • Global Warming Adds to Mideast Hot Zone

      Official Washington’s neocons hope they will finally get their wish to bomb Syria’s government, but the crisis of the Mideast – made worse by drastic climate change – won’t be solved by more war, explains Jonathan Marshall.

    • Big men on campus: The Koch brothers’ university donations are a veiled political weapon

      Through his family foundations, billionaire industrialist and conservative political mega-donor Charles Koch gave $108 million to 366 colleges and universities from 2005-14, and he’s donated millions more since then.

      Much of that money established free-market academic centers on campuses; dozens of Koch-funded centers exist, and in Arizona, where Koch’s political money helped elect GOP Gov. Doug Ducey and conservative state legislators, three centers at public schools will now receive annual state funding.

    • The Decline of the Coal Industry in One Chart

      It’s no surprise that the coal industry has received plenty of regulatory attention and its decline has been covered extensively in the press. Consider that in the “War on Coal,” EPA and the Department of Interior have combined to impose $312 billion in costs and more than 30 million paperwork burden hours. All of these burdens aren’t directed solely at the coal industry, but the Clean Power Plan, coal residuals rule, the MATS measure, and Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will impose nearly $20 billion in annual burdens on the industry. The sharp drop in natural gas prices also plays a role, declining 70 percent since 2008. However, the market cap of four of the largest coal companies was more than $35 billion in 2011. After a flurry of regulation, it’s now a smudge on the graph below, a decline of 99 percent. Behold, the steep decline of coal in one chart:

  • Finance

    • Switzerland Withdraws Application To Join EU: Only “Lunatics May Want To Join Now”

      Resentment toward the EU hit a new high yesterday when the upper house of the Swiss parliament on Wednesday followed in the footsteps of Iceland, and voted to invalidate its 1992 application to join the European Union, backing an earlier decision by the lower house. The vote comes just a week before Britain decides whether to leave the EU in a referendum. Twenty-seven members of the upper house, the Council of States, voted to cancel Switzerland’s longstanding EU application, versus just 13 senators against. Two abstained the Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported.

    • Education Department Recommends Killing Accreditor of For-profit Colleges

      U.S. Education Department staff are moving to terminate the oversight authority of embattled for-profit college accreditor, ACICS, citing “egregious” mistakes.

    • EU referendum: Baroness Sayeeda Warsi defects from Leave to Remain

      ‘Are we prepared to tell lies, to spread hate and xenophobia just to win a campaign? For me that’s a step too far’

    • Anti-EU Poster Sees Warsi Shift To Remain Camp

      A leading Conservative has defected to the Remain camp, citing Nigel Farage’s controversial anti-migrant poster as the final straw.

      Baroness Warsi, a former Foreign Office minister, had been a Brexit supporter but said she had been turned off by what she described as their spreading of “hate and xenophobia”.

      The UKIP poster she said was the final straw showed non-white migrants queuing to get into Europe under the slogan “Breaking Point”.

      She said: “That ‘breaking point’ poster really was, for me, the breaking point to say: ‘I can’t go on supporting this’.

      “Are we prepared to tell lies, to spread hate and xenophobia just to win a campaign? For me, that’s a step too far.”

      But Bernard Jenkin, a senior figure in the Leave camp, tweeted that he had not seen Baroness Warsi at a single meeting – suggesting she was not part of the campaign.

      She is not the first politician to criticise the poster.

    • EU referendum: Baroness Warsi attacks ‘lying’ Michael Gove as she quits Leave campaign

      Former Tory Party Chairman Sayeeda Warsi has condemned the “scaremongering” tactics of the campaign to leave the EU, as she became the latest high-profile figure to defect.

      Lady Warsi, who was Britain’s first Muslim cabinet minister, said she had become increasing uncomfortable with Vote Leave messaging and pointed the finger at her old colleague Michael Gove.

      Speaking on BBC Radio 4′s Today Programme, she labelled the Chief Whip’s comments on Turkey “a lie”.

    • John Oliver rails against Brexit in profane song

      Oliver’s segment on Sunday’s show questioned many of the arguments being used by proponents in favor of the U.K. leaving the European Union, calling the arguments “bulls—.”

      He said proponents of the “Leave” movement vastly overstated the amount of money Brits pay the EU. Oliver also questioned whether it would give the country greater control over immigration and whether it would actually free British companies from EU regulation.

    • Microsoft avoids £100m in UK tax

      Microsoft, one of the world’s richest companies, has avoided up to £100m a year in UK corporation tax by booking billions of pounds of sales in Ireland under a confidential deal with the British tax authorities.

    • Italy to block democratic vote on CETA for 500 million Europeans, according to leaked letter

      The Italian government has offered to block a move to give national parliaments—and hence some 500 million European citizens—a say on the CETA deal between the EU and Canada.

      The national legislatures in the 28 member states could vote on CETA, but only if all EU governments demand it. If Italy refuses to join with the other countries, the European Commission would be able to send the agreement to the Council of the European Union for approval, where a “qualified majority” would be enough for it to be passed. There would also be a vote on the agreement in the European Parliament. However, the latter would be a simple yes/no decision, with no option to make changes to CETA’s text.

      Although a standard part of the EU legislative toolkit, such yes/no votes put pressure on MEPs to accept the bad parts of a deal in order to gain the benefits. However, the European Parliament set an important precedent for saying “no” to unbalanced trade deals when it rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in 2012.

    • Brexit is a fake revolt – working-class culture is being hijacked to help the elite

      I love fake revolts of the underclass: I’m a veteran of them. At secondary school, we had a revolt in favour of the right to smoke. The football violence I witnessed in the 1970s and 80s felt like the social order turned on its head. As for the mass outpouring of solidarity with the late Princess Diana, and by implication against the entire cruel monarchic elite, in the end I chucked my bunch of flowers on the pile with the rest.

      The problem is, I also know what a real revolt looks like. The miners strike; the Arab spring; the barricade fighting around Gezi Park in Istanbul in 2013. So, to people getting ready for the mother of all revolts on Thursday, I want to point out the crucial difference between a real revolt and a fake one. The elite does not usually lead the real ones. In a real revolt, the rich and powerful usually head for the hills, terrified. Nor are the Sun and the Daily Mail usually to be found egging on a real insurrection.

      But, all over Britain, people have fallen for the scam. In the Brexit referendum, we’ve seen what happens when working-class culture gets hijacked – and when the party that is supposed to be defending working people just cannot find the language or the offer to separate a fake revolt from a real one. In many working-class communities, people are getting ready to vote leave not just as a way of telling the neoliberal elite to get stuffed. They also want to discomfort the metropolitan, liberal, university-educated salariat for good measure. For many people involved, it feels like their first ever effective political choice.

    • Goldman Sachs’ email censorship sends the wrong message

      First they took away the smoking room, and I said nothing, because I was not a smoker. But now they are coming for our email, and, comrades, we must fight back. To explain: an internal memo from Goldman Sachs has leaked, which lists all the words and phrases that should not be used in emails, unless you want to provoke an investigation from the bank’s compliance department. Swearing is out, as is the expression of strong emotion or doubt. For example, don’t whatever you do say “I am extremely worried” or “Don’t you fucking understand?” This will not go down well. The sensors will go ping, and before you know it you will be heading upstairs for one of those meetings.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ‘Allegedly’ Disappears as Russians Blamed for DNC Hack

      Then something strange happened. Wednesday afternoon, a person or persons using the name “Gufficer 2.0” (referencing a hacker who infamously got into the Bush family emails) published online what appears to be detailed information derived from the hack. In the post, Gufficer 2.0 claimed the hack wasn’t nearly as sophisticated as CrowdStrike claimed, and wasn’t the work of hackers working for Russian intelligence.

    • No, That Donald Trump Ad Is Not Real

      This should go without saying, but the deliriously funny “Japanese Donald Trump Commercial” viewed nearly 8 million times since its release on Wednesday — in which a young woman joyfully imagines her hero, Donald Trump, becoming “World President” — is a work of satire.

    • Was the Democratic Primary Just Manipulated, or Was It Stolen?

      The debacle that was the 2016 primary season is nearly over, but the primary system itself may have destroyed faith in American democracy. Certainly it has divided the Democratic Party.

      The Internet is awash with accusations that the Democratic primary was rigged; anger, confusion, and fault-placing are running wild, and so are the online right-wing “trolls” who feed the fires of discord between the two camps of the Democratic Party through misinformation and divisive invective.

      With buyer’s remorse sweeping the GOP, election fraud lawsuits pending, millions of Bernie Sanders supporters crying foul and some vowing “Bernie or Bust,” many are even forecasting the breakup of the two-party system.

    • Bernie Sanders Calls on Progressives to Run for State and Local Office
    • The Democrats’ ‘Super-Delegate’ Mistake

      Democratic “super-delegates” – hundreds of party insiders – tilted the presidential race to Hillary Clinton though not chosen by voters, an undemocratic idea that was never intended, says Spencer Oliver who was there at the creation.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • FBI’s Facial Recognition Database Still Huge, Still Inaccurate, And DOJ Shows Zero Interest In Improving It

      The FBI’s biometric database continues to grow. Its Next Generation Identification system (NGI) is grabbing everything it can from multiple sources, compiling millions of records containing faces, tattoos, fingerprints, etc. from a blend of criminal and non-criminal databases. It went live in 2014, but without being accompanied by the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) it promised to deliver back in 2012.

      Lawsuits and pressure from legislators finally forced the FBI to comply with government requirements. That doesn’t mean the FBI has fully complied, not even two years past the rollout. And it has no interest in doing so in the future. It’s currently fighting to have its massive database exempted from federal privacy laws.

      Much of the information we have about the FBI’s NGI database has come from outside sources. The EFF and EPIC have forced documentation out of the agency’s hands via FOIA lawsuits. And now, the Government Accountability Office (in an investigation prompted by Sen. Al Franken) is turning over more information to the public with its review of the system.

    • Judge In Playpen Case: FBI’s Warrant Is Valid, Even If Its Claims About No Privacy In IP Addresses Are Not

      Another court handling an FBI Playpen case has handed down its decision on a motion to suppress. Like other courts fielding prosecutions resulting from this massive investigation, it has found [PDF] that the FBI’s NIT (Network Investigative Technique) is invasive enough to be called a “search.” (via FourthAmendment.com)

      The FBI must have felt its NIT deployment would be considered a search. That’s why it obtained a warrant in the first place. But it’s been frantically peddling “not a search” theories as court after court has declared its warrant invalid because the searches were performed outside of the issuing magistrate’s jurisdiction.

      In this case, the issue of whether or not the NIT deployment was a search has not been disputed by either party. The court addresses it anyway because it affects the reasoning that follows.

    • Supreme Court Knocks A Little More Off The 4th Amendment; Gives Cops Another Way To Salvage Illegal Searches

      The Supreme Court hasn’t necessarily been kind to the Fourth Amendment in recent years. While it did deliver the Riley decision, which instituted a warrant requirement for searches of cellphones, it has generally continued to expand the ability of police to stop and search anyone for almost any reason.

      Its Heien decision said it was perfectly fine for police officers to remain ignorant of the laws they’re enforcing by allowing them to continue making bogus traffic stops predicated on nonexistent laws. The Rodriguez decision at least prohibits officers from artificially extending stops to bring out drug dogs or beg for consent to search a vehicle, but it doesn’t do anything to prevent the bogus stops in the first place.

    • CIA Director John Brennan Says Non-US Encryption Is ‘Theoretical’

      You would think that someone in charge of the Central Intelligence Agency would have some knowledge about what he’s discussing while at a Senate Hearing on intelligence. Perhaps not so much. CIA Director John Brennan completely incorrectly said last week that non-US encryption was “theoretical” despite there actually being hundreds of such products on the market.

    • House Leaders Politicize a Tragedy to Block Bipartisan Surveillance Reforms

      After hurdling procedural barriers, a congressional attempt to protect privacy and encryption failed on the House floor yesterday, falling short of a majority by a mere 24 votes.

      Two years ago, the House stood united across party lines, voting by a remarkable margin of 293–123 to support the same measures, which would enhance security and privacy by limiting the powers of intelligence agencies to conduct warrantless backdoor searches targeting Americans, and to undermine encryption standards and devices.

    • New Report: FBI Can Access Hundreds of Millions of Face Recognition Photos

      Today the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) finally published its exhaustive report on the FBI’s face recognition capabilities. The takeaway: FBI has access to hundreds of millions more photos than we ever thought. And the Bureau has been hiding this fact from the public—in flagrant violation of federal law and agency policy—for years.

      According to the GAO Report, FBI’s Facial Analysis, Comparison, and Evaluation (FACE) Services unit not only has access to FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) face recognition database of nearly 30 million civil and criminal mug shot photos, it also has access to the State Department’s Visa and Passport databases, the Defense Department’s biometric database, and the drivers license databases of at least 16 states. Totaling 411.9 million images, this is an unprecedented number of photographs, most of which are of Americans and foreigners who have committed no crimes.

    • ‘Hidden’ data found in 92% of interactions with UK companies

      With the EU’s GDPR coming into effect in under two years, ignorance of ‘hidden’ data could result in monstrous fines for UK companies, according to new research from Ground Labs. That research adds that such ignorance could increase risks of identity fraud with the billions of personal information residing on PCs, servers and mobile devices.

    • The Weaponising Of Social Part 2: Stomping On IOError’s Grave

      I once tried to tell Jacob Appelbaum a funny joke. He did not think it was funny.

      In fact, he was visibly mortified and uncomfortable.

      My joke was a retelling of something that had happened to me when I was still on the opposite side of the planet.

      I have a really dark, sardonic, acerbic Kiwi sense of humour, that has been sharpened by surviving everything that has been thrown at me to date.

      Unfortunately, it didn’t translate well.

      Fortunately, he didn’t make a smear website lambasting me about it.

      [...]

      One of the first ‘corroborating’ public testimonies against Appelbaum was a historic claim made by Leigh Honeywell.

      [...]

      So if Appelbaum supporting an alleged rapist tipped the balance for Honeywell, but then the alleged rapist turns out to be innocent, where does that leave us?

      Yet not only does Honeywell still blame Assange, she describes the allegations against him – as recently as this month – as “sexual violence“.

      Despite there being no allegation of such.

    • ​Tor Is Teaming Up With Researchers To Protect Users From FBI Hacking

      The FBI has had a fair amount of success de-anonymizing Tor users over the past few years. Despite the encryption software’s well-earned reputation as one of the best tools for online privacy, recent court cases have shown that government malware has compromised Tor users by exploiting bugs in the underlying Firefox browser—one of which was controversially provided to the FBI in 2015 by academic researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

    • Ex-White House Officials Criticize Vague Rules Around Disclosure of Hacking Tools

      They also questioned the role of the NSA in decision making, because the inherent conflict between its two missions — to protect cybersecurity and gather intelligence — “throws into question whether [it] can serve as a neutral manager of the process.”

    • The FCC Must Update ISP Privacy Rules

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is collecting comments from the public about how the laws that govern consumer privacy over broadband networks should be applied. In its response, EFF has called on the FCC to ensure that the legal obligations of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to their customers are clearly established and that the agency prohibits practices that exploit the powerful position ISPs hold as gatekeepers to the internet.

    • Help Us Stop the Updates to Rule 41

      The Department of Justice is using an obscure procedure to push through a rule change that will greatly increase law enforcement’s ability to hack into computers located around the world. It’s an update to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. If Congress does nothing, this massive change will automatically go into effect on December 1.

    • House reverses course, upholds NSA phone snooping as terrorist attacks shift debate

      With the terrorist-inspired Orlando shooting fresh in their minds, House lawmakers reversed course last week and voted to uphold the government’s ability to snoop through its data when it believes American citizens are involved in terrorism — suggesting the post-Snowden wariness of the NSA has dissipated.

      The Thursday vote marked a defeat for civil libertarians, who in 2014 and 2015 won showdowns on the House floor, but whose support has dissipated as terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Europe have reshaped the debate.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • CIA Director Promises Answers on Accountability for Torture

      The CIA will give the Senate intelligence oversight committee a closed briefing on how employees were held accountable and punished for their involvement with torture, the agency’s director told lawmakers in a hearing Thursday.

    • New CIA Torture Documents Confirm Chilling Details of Khaled El-Masri’s ‘Kafka-esque’ Ordeal

      After being mistakenly abducted in Macedonia and detained in a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan, Khaled El-Masri told his interrogators that his ongoing detention was like “a Kafka novel.” A cable to CIA headquarters reported that El-Masri said he “could not possibly prove his innocence because he did not know what he was being charged with.”

    • Netanyahu’s Petty Corruption

      Many years ago I received a phone call from the Prime Minister’s office. I was told that Yitzhak Rabin wanted to see me in private.

      Rabin opened the door himself. He was alone in the residence. He led me to a comfortable seat, poured two generous glasses of whisky for me and himself and started without further ado – he abhorred small talk – “Uri, have you decided to destroy all the doves in the Labor Party?”

      My news magazine, Haolam Hazeh, was conducting a campaign against corruption and had accused two prominent Labor leaders, the new president of the Central Bank and the Minister for Housing. Both were indeed members of the moderate wing of the party.

      I explained to Rabin that in the fight against corruption I could make no exceptions for politicians who were close to my political outlook. Corruption was a cause in itself.

    • As Corruption Engulfs Brazil’s “Interim” President, Mask Has Fallen Off Protest Movement

      Momentum for the impeachment of Brazil’s democratically elected president, Dilma Rousseff, was initially driven by large, flamboyant street protests of citizens demanding her removal. Although Brazil’s dominant media endlessly glorified (and incited) these green-and-yellow-clad protests as an organic citizen movement, evidence recently emerged that protests groups were covertly funded by opposition parties. Still, there is no doubt that millions of Brazilians participated in marches demanding Rousseff’s ouster, claiming they were motivated by anger over her and her party’s corruption.

    • ‘Climate of Xenophobia’ Gripping Europe, UN Official Warns

      As more details indicate the killing of British lawmaker Jo Cox was politically motivated, the United Nations Refugee Agency head is warning of a “climate of xenophobia” gripping Europe.

      Speaking to Agence France-Presse in Tehran on Saturday, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said, “Refugees… don’t bring danger” but “flee from dangerous places.”

    • Jeffrey Sterling Completes One Year Of Unjust Prison Sentence

      Yesterday, June 16th, marked one year since Jeffrey Sterling began his 3.5 year prison sentence for divulging classified information to a New York Times journalist, a crime he did not commit. One year he was deprived of the freedom that so many of us take for granted every day; one year separated from his loving wife, his friends and his family, and one year of wasted talent as a licensed attorney, a former CIA case officer fluent in Farsi, and a successful investigator who uncovered over 32 million dollars in healthcare fraud.

    • “It’s Absolutely Stupid.” Fifth Trial Planned in Bite-Mark Murder Case

      Just weeks after a unanimous California Supreme Court threw out Bill Richards’s murder conviction, prosecutors in San Bernardino County have indicated that they will seek a fifth trial for the 66-year-old. “It’s absolutely stupid,” said Richards’s longtime defender Jan Stiglitz, a founder of the California Innocence Project, which has represented Richards since 2001.

      Richards was convicted in 1997 of killing his wife, Pamela, four years earlier. The case has long been controversial and considered a wrongful conviction based on the discredited junk science of bite-mark analysis. Indeed, prosecutors tried three times to convict Richards — including two full trials that ended in hung juries and a third that ended in a mistrial — before employing at his fourth trial the testimony of a renowned forensic dentist who claimed that an alleged bite mark found on Pamela’s hand was a definitive match to Richards’ supposedly unique lower dental pattern.

    • Seeking Justice For Tamesha Means in Court Today

      I was honored to be in court today representing Tamesha Means, a woman who was denied appropriate care during her miscarriage at a Catholic hospital. Ms. Means’s water broke when she was only 18 weeks along, and she rushed to the only hospital in her community, Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon, Michigan.

    • Senator: Red Cross Misled Congress, Refused To ‘Level With the People’ on Haiti Money

      “One of the reasons they don’t want to answer the questions is it’s very embarrassing,” says Sen. Charles Grassley, who just finished a yearlong investigation of the Red Cross.

    • Human Rights Activists Lament Loss Of Murdered British MP

      Activists and human rights workers are lamenting the loss of British Labour MP Helen Joanne “Jo” Cox, after she was was attacked and killed by a man believed to be a radical right winger with Neo-Nazi sympathies. But her loss enacts a particularly strong blow for Syrian and Palestinian activists considering her outspoken support for humanitarian issues in the Middle East.

    • Judge Doesn’t Find Much To Like In ‘Material Support For Terrorism’ Lawsuit Against Twitter

      The lawsuit against Twitter for “providing material support” to ISIS (predicated on the fact that ISIS members use Twitter to communicate) — filed in January by the widow of a man killed in an ISIS raid — is in trouble.

      Twitter filed its motion to dismiss in March, stating logically enough that the plaintiff had offered nothing more than conclusory claims about its “support” of terrorism, not to mention the fact that there was no link between Twitter and terrorist act that killed the plaintiff’s husband. On top of that, it pointed out the obvious: that Section 230 does not allow service providers to be held responsible for the actions of their users.

      As reported by Nicholas Iovino of Courthouse News Service, the presiding judge doesn’t seem too impressed by what he’s seen so far from the plaintiff.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Not Neutral on Net Neutrality: All Things Considered Considered Only One Side

      The segment opened with a strong nod to the anti-neutrality camp, describing the ruling as “a massive blow to internet service providers” and quoting Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s description of net neutrality as “Obamacare for the internet.” Then, rather than drawing directly from either the court’s written decision or FCC chair Tom Wheeler’s reaction, host Kelly McEver turned to NPR tech blogger Alina Selyukh for context and analysis.

    • Net Neutrality Ruling Finally Rights a Terrible Wrong

      “For the reasons set forth is this opinion, we deny the petitions for review.” Those were the sweetest words I’ve heard in a long while, as the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit turned down the ridiculous efforts of the big telecom companies to derail the Federal Communications Commission’s open-internet — or “net-neutrality” — rules.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Disappointing: Twitch Brings CFAA & Trademark Claim Against Bot Operators

        I think most people agree that bots that drive up viewer/follower counts on various social media systems are certainly a nuisance, but are they illegal? Amazon-owned Twitch has decided to find out. On Friday, the company filed a lawsuit against seven individuals/organizations that are in the business of selling bots. There have been similar lawsuits in the past — such as Blizzard frequently using copyright to go after cheater bots. Or even, potentially, Yelp suing people for posting fake reviews. When we wrote about the Yelp case, we noted that we were glad the company didn’t decide to try a CFAA claim, and even were somewhat concerned about the claims that it did use: including breach of contract and unfair competition.

        Unfortunately, Twitch’s lawsuit uses not just those claims, but also throws in two very questionable claims: a CFAA claim and a trademark claim. I understand why Twitch’s lawyers at Perkins Coie put that in, because that’s what you do as a lawyer: put every claim you can think of into the lawsuit. But it’s still concerning. The CFAA, of course, is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which was put in place in the 1980s in response to the movie War Games (no, really!) and is supposed to be used to punish “hackers” who break into secure computer systems. However, over the years, various individuals, governments and companies have repeatedly tried to stretch that definition to include merely breaching a terms of service.

    • Copyrights

      • Big Win for User-Generated Content Hosts in Vimeo Case

        The Second Circuit has released its long-awaited opinion in Capitol Records v. Vimeo, fully vindicating Vimeo’s positions. EFF along with a coalition of advocacy groups, submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, supporting Vimeo.

        The Second Circuit considered three important issues. First, whether a service provider could rely on the DMCA safe harbor when it came to pre-1972 sound recordings. Second, whether evidence of Vimeo employees watching certain well-known songs was enough to create “red flag” knowledge that the videos were infringing. And third, whether Vimeo was “willfully blind” to infringement occurring on its service.

        For each of these issues, the Second Circuit ruled for Vimeo.

      • KickassTorrents Becomes One Of The World’s Most Popular Websites

        Achieving a rare milestone, torrent index KickassTorrents has managed to break into the top 70 of Amazon’s web traffic tracker Alexa. KickassTorrents has become the new torrent king due to its own impressive downtime and legal troubles of The Pirate Bay.

Under Battistelli’s Regime the EPO is a Lawless, Dark Place

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reign of terror by Team Battistelli

The coat of arms of East Germany

Summary: How the EPO’s Investigative Unit (IU) and Control Risks Group (CRG), which is connected to the Stasi through Desa, made the EPO virtually indistinguishable from East Germany (coat of arms/emblem above)

THE EPO‘s top management continues to rule by fear and the more afraid people are — or the more irrational and dangerous the management seems — the less likely people are to dissent, unless anonymously. We should note that some blogs from EPO workers vanished over the past two years (some did exist) and not much has remained for the expression of dissenting views, such as the view that patent quality significantly fell under Battistelli's watch. Moreover, if not more so, staff representatives are afraid. They are rightly afraid given the extreme sanctions against existing staff representatives in Munich and The Hague (using exaggerated and/or made-up allegations).

As one person put it: “Dialog… really?”

“It seems like the harsher the methods employed by Battistelli, the less likely he is to be able to engage in any meaningful social dialogue.”There is hardly even an illusion of social dialogue anymore. Battistelli does almost whatever he wishes. He does not even listen to the Administrative Council. He lives in his own fantasy world, where everything he pleases he believes will happen with or without backlash (he hardly worries about backlash as he insists he’s above the rules and repeatedly demonstrates that). Who takes the toll? The EPO’s reputation. Does Battistelli care? He doesn’t seem to mind, he’s already at retirement level/age.

“Simultaneously to the demonstration,” one person recently wrote, “the General Consultative Committee, GCC, took place in the ISAR building in presence of the top management.”

Was there any real dialogue there? Not really, “[h]aving learnt from a painful experience made by a former member of the IAC [Internal Appeals Committee], Aurélien Pétlaud, who was downgraded in 2015 in exactly this situation, the elected Staff representatives which had the obligation to participate.”

“Seeing a large bunch of disgruntled EPO workers (who seem to be the overwhelming majority by now), Battistelli has chosen the use of force rather than consent.”It seems like the harsher the methods employed by Battistelli, the less likely he is to be able to engage in any meaningful social dialogue. One begins to legitimately wonder if he’s actually interested in such a dialogue or only wants to tell the media about such fiction.

“On the Agenda [there were] precisely two reform proposals on Investigation procedures and Disciplinary Procedures,” we learned about aforementioned proposals, “giving even broader powers to the investigation unit and the president: knowing that these are already on the agenda of the coming AC (Disciplinary: CA/53/16 & CA/53/16 add1 – Investigations… sorry the official term is “fact finding”: CA/52/16 and add2), the debate was nothing more than the usual rhetorical exercise, that some may qualify a yet another of these sad “Battistelli-movies”.”

“Is this the future of Eponia? Another East Germany?”So even when there’s an attempt at dialogue it seems to involve yet more escalations in the attacks on staff, including staff representatives. This has got to be some kind of a farcical exercise. That’s like sitting down with one’s enemy for “peace talks” while deciding which targets are “ideal” for “mutual” nuclear strike/impact (as in power plants, water supply and so on).

From the same text: “It was [supposedly] the opportunity for the Staff representatives to state their utter disappointment with the last president disciplinary decisions (see as an illustration one intervention made in the GCC by an elected CSC representative) and Staff broad disagreement with the present management policy.”

This text, which reached us not by intention, serves to demonstrate which kind of atmosphere prevails not only at the appeal boards but also in panels or discussions pertaining to staff rights. It’s ludicrous and moreover it serves to show that Battistelli’s mask may not have fallen off yet. He wishes to get even nastier and he wishes to authorise even more authoritarian powers (maybe some of which were exercised beforehand, even before these were ‘legalised’ to retroactively justify/excuse them).

“Under Battistelli’s regime, the unthinkable becomes possible (for him, Battistelli) and ordinary things become verboten (for everyone) if Battistelli decides so.”Seeing a large bunch of disgruntled EPO workers (who seem to be the overwhelming majority by now), Battistelli has chosen the use of force rather than consent. When BlueCoat and the IU (or CRG) can’t identify disgruntled EPO workers one should wonder if they also reach out to their friends in spy agencies (CRG is connected to Desa, i.e. former Stasi staff, and maybe GCHQ also, as we noted last year). Is this the future of Eponia? Another East Germany?

As one insider recently told us about Battistelli, “do you think he’s not universally despised here? Even directors despair at the methods… [but Battistelli] has the money to spread around [...] so many people eating from his palm [...] there’s a good article in the Sueddeutsche about the slide downwards [...] that people lose job security and more and more jobs are precarious, on the border to the survival level [...] it’s also what´s being promoted at the EPO, with the limited time contracts” (which pressures to grant more patents rather than do one’s job and also reject applications).

Regarding Team Battistelli we got told that “Topic depends on Battistelli so he’ll do whatever Battistelli asks of him [...] hopefully he will get sentenced in Croatia, then things would become clearer, but justice in Croatia doesn’t move that fast [...] best hope is Battistelli himself who will certainly provide some more ammunition [...] he has no idea what a manager should be like (never heard words like “inspirational”, “motivating”, etc.) [...] he has no shame (who else would’ve brought nine French friends and distributed them in high positions?)”

“It’s enough to be flagged or accused by Battistelli to lose one’s job and potentially be barred from taking employment elsewhere (for several years).”Under Battistelli’s regime, the unthinkable becomes possible (for him, Battistelli) and ordinary things become verboten (for everyone) if Battistelli decides so. The notion of justice, in a system which is intended to provide justice (on patents), is totally absurd. “Institutionalised injustice,” as anonymous writers recently referred to it, is now the norm under Battistelli and here are some figures to support that: “CA/20/16 shows that things have since gotten worse. The documents show that the success rate of the “requests for review” has further gone down from about 5% in 2014 to about 4% in 2015, in terms of number of cases (page 55/116; table under point 285). The success rate in the Internal Appeals Committee (IAC) was about 9% in 2014. This was already a very bad year. Previously the success rate was between 25 and 35%. In 2014 the IAC did not meet after summer, until the members appointed by the Staff Committee resigned in October 2014. At the end of the year the IAC then whipped out a large number of opinions in 3-member composition, without staff representatives. From the overall success rate for the year it seems that the vast majority, if not all, of these opinions were negative for staff. As a next step the nominees appointed by the Staff Committee were replaced by “volunteers” recruited by Mr. Battistelli. Subsequently the success rate in the IAC went down to 4%, again in terms on the number of cases (page 56/116; first table under point 287). In terms of number of appellants, the figures are much worse still. According to the next table under point 287, of the final decisions after the IAC taken in 2014 still about 15% were positive for the appellant. The higher success rate compared to the IAC recommendations of the same year presumably comes from IAC recommendations issued by the IAC in 2013, many more of which were positive. In 2015 the success rate final decisions after IAC also dropped dramatically. Of the 243 cases (from a total of 2.420 appellants), Mr. Battistelli only allowed two, one of which only in part, giving an overall success rate of 0.8%. These data show that the current administration tries to win conflicts with its employees rather than to try and solve them. Under the circumstances it should not come as a surprise that the Board “observes” a growing number of ILOAT files (page 59/16). But for the Auditors all of this seems to be no reason for concern. The Board simply mentions the figures, without much comment and without giving any recommendations for improvement.”

Put succinctly and in very simple terms, there seems to be no point appealing anything inside the EPO, and outside of it, notably at ILO, justice is far too slow and even then it’s somewhat dubious (based on statistics on cases). This means that Battistelli can do to staff pretty much anything he pleases and there’s no veto power, no ‘safety net’ of appeals. So much for ‘job security’ at the EPO. It’s enough to be flagged or accused by Battistelli to lose one’s job and potentially be barred from taking employment elsewhere (for several years). Talk about reign by terror…

“The future shape of IP in Europe,” one person said, or “the balance between legal security and the need for costly litigation, is being determined by one thing only- the greed of the AC and the national patent offices.”

Another person wrote the other day, vaguely alluding perhaps to the Enlarged Board of Appeal:

A truly historic moment for the EPO.

At last somebody within the organisation* has stood up for the rule of law and takes a principled stand against the abuses of the EPO management.
(* And I am not referring here to the Administrative Council!)

Many people have been waiting such a long time for a hopeful signal like this and are truly grateful that it has finally come.

Sad to think that such hideous abuses of power are tolerated for so long at the highest political levels throughout Europe. But those responsible will wash their hands and pretend that “we were never informed”, “we didn’t know” etc. while they dance on merrily to the tune of “Put another nickel in the nickelodeon”.
Shame on them.

The “idea that the investigation unit would be ordered to investigate a BoA decision is objectively too ridiculous,” one person wrote. Here is the comment in full:

It would be unfortunate if that turns out to be the reasoning of the EBA. It would convince only those who need no convincing, which is just useless.

A mere “unlawful” by the president who does not get to decide anyway (Art. 23(3)) should have been easy to dismiss.

The threat had better be real and serious. Probably it was, but at the moment it is impossible to tell. The idea that the investigation unit would be ordered to investigate a BoA decision is objectively too ridiculous to take serious unless the letter actually makes such threat.

“Who would really be surprised if one or more members of the EBoA would be marched out of the EPO,” one person said regarding Battistelli’s EPO. It would not be surprising at all, hence the insistence that the suspended (on ‘house ban’) judge gets a fair assessment, not politically-charged accusations and dismissal:

the two of recent of our feline friend concerning EPONIA, start on the sidebar with

“Extraordinary news has just reached Merpel.”
(this concerns the EBoA OP that was torpedoed )

the other reads “Merpel thought that nothing at the European Patent Office could surprise her any more. How wrong she was. ” (post employmen restrictions)

Who would really be suprised if one or more members of the EBoA would be marched out of the EPO because somebody ruled that a house ban was the right thing for these Judges , who are not really Judges ?

Sir Robin Jacob is then recalled, for his epic intervention on this matter:

Actually, a lot of people at the time were surprised.

Remember Sir Robin Jacob’s Letter?

And the one of the Six National Judges?

And the one from Dr Tilman Müller-Stoy? – with the caption from Merpel: “who’s asking the DE delegation to the AC to set the EPO management straight” (sorry, Dr. Müller-Stoy: it really did not work …).

After Battistelli informed the AC – and the public – that the suspended member of the BoA was (allegedly) an armed nazi, I can understand their reluctance to continue to defend him … but now? After the AC failed for 3 TIMES to have him dismissed, would it not be the time to SAY SOMETHING?

Actually, the silence of the IP world is defeaning.

Only Merpel is brave enough to continue to cover, comment on and criticize what is going on at the EPO.

Where are you Sir Robin?

In response to the above:

I would not expect too much from Sir Robin and his friends.
They may be in a quandry.

Rumour around the EPO has it that a retired British judge chaired a disciplinary body appointed by the Admin Council which rubber-stamped the work of the IU.
Seems like he never heard of Article 23 EPC.
A bit embarrassing for all concerned.
It cannot be pleasant to wake up and realise that you have been a Presidential patsy.
Might help to explain the current silence.

The following person believes that the EPO is like “East Germany” now:

When people who dare criticize and resist a dictatorship are caught, they are never good family’s fathers.

To avoid that normal people could identify themselfes with the person expressing a legitimate critic or an act of resistance, they are publicly presented as monsters, perverts, with the convenient discovery in their offices of incriminating material.

Defending someone like this becomes embarassing – Sir Robin is not heard anymore.

But the person has not acted alone! – we are told. Further conspirators are discovered, guilty by association – first the Judge, then the Union Leaders.

Thus, one by one, the pillars of a civil society are silenced – in secret trials in which the State’ s security may be conveniently invoked to avoid embarassing witnesses to appear, or with reformes to enhance the “perception” of independence, presented with grand fanfare.

And all this is appening – of all places – in Germany, the representative of which in the Administrative Council belongs to the Minister of – wait for it – “Justice”.

I’m surprised that nobody noticed this – but then, not everybody lived in the former East Germany.

“With the EPO,” one person says, “Maas has a politician’s dream: a half-plausible excuse to say “not my department!”.” Here is the full comment:

Justice minister Heiko Maas (SPD) ain’t really the sharpest knife in the drawer. Look at his performance in the NSA and Netzpolitik scandals…

With the EPO, Maas has a politician’s dream: a half-plausible excuse to say “not my department!”.

But it could still be worse… A lot worse… Three words: Thomas. de. Maizière.

Also, “forbidding the three members of the Investigation Unit to appear,” one person said, “is the real scandal here!” Battistelli is probably just trying to cover his own behind, having (quite likely) broken his own rules again:

Everybody here is focusing on a real or perceived threat in the letter of the President – the details of which we will probably never know.

In my opinion, forbidding the three members of the Investigation Unit to appear at the hearings, as requested by the EBoA, is the real scandal here!

The following comment explains that “Battistelli obstructs justice.”

So what happens next?

Whether it was by failure of allowing witnesses to be heard or by a threat letter to the enlarged board, one thing is clear: Battistelli obstructs justice.

Another thing is clear: in their last meeting, the administrative council gave clear instructions that “justice must be seen to be done”. In addition to “restore social peace”, “start talks with the unions”, etc…

Normally, in cases as clear and detrimental to the function of the EPO as this one, the expected answer would be: lift Battistelli immunity and find another President at interim to sort out the mess.

So I am asking the question again: what happens next?

Perhaps the best comment so far points out that “the Investigation Unit might have violated the private e-mail accounts of the accused member” (probably a lot more than once). As we noted here before, the EPO’s Investigative Unit claims to have read private E-mails of bloggers like Florian Müller (one might nonchalantly wonder if Google had something to do with it because Gmail was used). When HP got caught doing such things the ramifications were enormous, but in Eponia? No justice. Here is the comment in full:

Quite amazingly, the President himself has given an indication of why the procedure against the accused member of the boards might have had to be stopped at all costs.

In his final decision against Elizabeth Hardon, the recently fired chairwoman of SUEPO, as published here: http://techrights.org/2016/01/16/battistelli-has-isssues-with-hardon/ the President wrote:
“As regards the defendant’s request concerning the DPO authorisation, the Office’s explained both the technical and the legal aspects. It has explained the exact circumstances under which the investigation took place. For the avoidance of any doubt, the Office did not intercept your correspondence to Mr XX, nor access your private email account. Rather, it collected evidence in the context of an investigation against unknown persons within the premises of the Office and more specifically at one of the Office’s public PC kiosks. Screen shots of email correspondence and activities of Mr XX were obtained in that context. These included screen shots of two-way correspondence between Mr XX and you. It was in that way that your involvement came to light. It was demonstrated to the Committee that the Office had not relied upon intercepting your private email at all, and you were mistaken to think so. These reasons and details were considered carefully by the Disciplinary Committee who fully understood and accepted them. They do not require further elaboration“ see § II (iv) of the President´s final decision.

The President´s final decision thus evokes a suspicion that the Investigation Unit
might have violated the private e-mail accounts of the accused member of the boards and of his alleged accomplice, Elizabeth Hardon. The Disciplinary Committee in Hardon’s case, chaired by the very Mr. McGinley, see § II (i) of the decision, who a few days ago unexpectedly announced his early resignation http://techrights.org/2016/06/15/ciaran-mcginley-is-leaving-epo/ was apparently satisfied by the explanations of the Investigation Unit that they did not gain access to any private e-mail accounts.

It cannot be excluded that a public hearing by the EBA of several members of the Investigation Unit in the present case, which obviously relies upon the same investigations, could on the contrary have revealed that the Office in addition to its admitted spying on publicly available computers also hacked the private e-mail accounts of its staff, with disastrous consequences.

One might begin to wonder if last Tuesday’s hearing helped motivate Ciaran McGinley to take early 'retirement'. If he was ever implicated in obstruction of justice or the aforementioned illegal spying, what would be the impact?

New Paper Demonstrates That Unitary Patent (UPC) is Little More Than a Conspiracy of Patent ‘Professionals’ and Their Self Interest

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“When asked by Ars, the EPO’s spokesperson mentioned the imminent arrival of the unitary patent system as an important reason for revising the EPO’s internal rules…”

Dr. Glyn Moody

Unitary Patent expert teams

Summary: Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna’s latest paper explains that the UPC “expert teams” are in fact not experts but people who are using the UPC as a Trojan horse by which to promote their business interests and corporate objectives

THE UPC is not “unitary”, it is not “EU”, and it is not “Community” (as it used to be labeled). It is a patent lawyers’ wishlist and they are getting close to making this wishlist European law and practice. This is extremely dangerous and it’s rather clear who this is going to serve. Battistelli’s EPO, which is in the pockets of large corporations, obviously supports the UPC. Battistelli himself has supported the UPC (in previous incarnations thereof) for well over half a decade. He travels to the UK amid referendum to promote his agenda. This ENA graduate knows the drill and it’s certainly not serving the public (as those sufficiently familiar with ENA politicians probably know all too well by now).

“Battistelli himself has supported the UPC (in previous incarnations thereof) for well over half a decade.”Here in the UK we have what can be viewed somewhat like “moles”, or people whose role in the British economy is rather parasitic. They want more for themselves at the expense of those who produce things, such as software. They want software patents and they want the UPC. As we noted here before, Bristows are some of the biggest UPC propagandists out there (also for software patents) and Brian Cordery who is affiliated with Bristows now says that the “reshaping of UK patent litigation by the Judges coincided with the decision by many multinational companies in all sectors to coordinate their European patent litigation more and more – to devise, stress-test and implement strategies in key cases. Many UK law firms were chosen to assist their clients in this process which enabled these firms to gain a wider perspective and provide more joined-up advice to their clients.”

How revealing. He then admits that there is a “microcosm of patent litigation” in the mix. To quote: “It seems to the author that in the microcosm of patent litigation, sharing views and learning from each other has led to improved practices across the continent. Now we are of course on the brink of the most exciting development in European patent litigation for nearly half a century. The Unified Patent Court represents an enormous challenge – and an enormous opportunity – to all UK patent litigators. If the UK votes to leave the EU next week, the future of the UPC is uncertain although the future of the UK’s part in the UPC will be clear enough. What would this mean for UK patent litigation? Maybe not so much in the short to medium term – it is not unreasonable to suppose that the English Patents Court might become akin to its counterparts in Canada or Australia – still a venue for patent cases of high value and/or strategic importance. But how much more exciting would it be to shape the UPC which surely has the potential to become the world’s most attractive forum for patent litigation by the end of the next decade?”

“The problem is, the people who engineered the UPC, as the above admits, are people who stand to profit from it.”So UPC “has the potential to become the world’s most attractive forum for patent litigation,” right? Don’t we all love litigation as much as patent lawyers do?

The problem is, the people who engineered the UPC, as the above admits, are people who stand to profit from it. Members of the general public were excluded, as noted here many times before, and Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna, a longtime opponent of the UPC and its predecessors, has a new paper about it, having just published a whole book on the subject. We have already written a great deal about the UPC being all about rigged panels (excluding particular points of view), which effectively makes it a coup in broad daylight. In the words of Ingve Björn Stjerna: “There have probably rarely been legislative proceedings of such technocratic nature as those on the European “patent package”. Patent practitioners, especially judges and members of the legal profession, have been involved extensively in order to use their experience for the new system. An important role in this is played by the Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court which is entitled to appoint so-called “expert teams” for its support and advice. Conflicts of interest do not seem to play a role when it comes to filling the positions of these teams. Appointments from the legal profession, the members of which often have significant financial interests in the realisation of the “patent package”, have repeatedly been made in favor of the same individuals from only a few law firms. Some of these persons use their membership for promoting the advocacy services of their law firms. These “expert teams” and their composition will afterwards be given a closer look.”

Here is the direct link to the PDF in English (there is also one in German). “The “expert teams” of the Preparatory Committee,” he explains, is an “[a]rticle on the composition of the “expert teams” of the Preparatory Committee for the Unified Patent Court and on the participation of members from the legal profession “in their personal capacity” (16/06/2016)”

“Perhaps it’s time to start a broad, Europe-wide information campaign about the UPC.”Well, it sure looks like the UPC might never become a reality at all. Even the EPO quit pretending that this is inevitable. Are politicians even aware of what it is they are ratifying and where it came from? Do they care? Perhaps it’s time to start a broad, Europe-wide information campaign about the UPC. We recently heard that FFII might be interested in pursuing this.

Money Flying to Private Companies Without Tenders at Battistelli’s EPO (by the Tens of Millions!)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Another fine example of why we sometimes call it the European Private Office [1, 2]

No tenders at EPO

Summary: Extravagant and cushy contracts to the tune of tens of millions of Euros are being issued without public scrutiny and without opportunities to competition (few corporations easily score cushy EPO contracts while illusion of tendering persists — for small jobs only)

THE European Patent Office ought to be widely viewed as Europe’s most scandalous ‘public’ (corporate) institution. As we noted here before, the EPO‘s French CIO from “Informatique CDC” was wasting heaps of money on “IT” (not far from a hundred million Euros). Combine this kind of budget with lack of oversight and you might expect something like the Bygmalion affair, with massive contracts given to French companies (adjacent to the CIO’s previous employer) such as Infotel. Alarms were already raised about this, judging by the following explanation based on which we produced the chart above:

One thing that is noteworthy is that there are more direct placements (79 in total) than there are awards after competitive bids (42 in total) and that the average value of the direct placements are higher than those of the competitive bids. The big winners are IT consultants, among which InfotelConseil S.A. (Neuilly, near Paris), SaM Holding GmbH (Gilching, near Starnberg) and Everis Spain S.L. (in Brussels). For Infotel the total value of the listed contracts is slightly over 14 million Euro. The total value of the 5 awards after competitive bids is about 1.8 million, i.e. almost 340 thousand Euro per contract. The total value of the 11 (!) direct placements is almost 12.5 million, with an average value of about 1.1 million per contract. We see a similar pattern with Everis Spain, with a total value of the listed contracts of over 15 million Euro. The 8 contracts after competitive bids have an average value of 574 thousand Euros. The 14 (!) direct placements are worth almost 11 million Euros, i.e. 770 million Euro / contract. SaM Holding won 2 competitive bids leading to contracts with a value of 1.7 million, i.e. 850 thousand per contract. Its 9 direct placements (among which 3 of over 2 million) amounted to 13.4 million Euro, i.e. an average of almost 1.5 million Euro per contract.

Direct placements by the EPO are highly problematic because of their lack of transparency and because these contracts are not open to any effective form of control or challenge. Already, potential competitors cannot challenge such placement for the simple reason that they are not informed of their existence. They also do not know the rules that apply. The only possible controls are from within the Organisation, i.e. by the Board of Auditors or by the staff representation. The EPO’s Board of Auditors, appointed by the EPO’s Administrative Council, is notoriously inefficient in finding irregularities. In the rare cases where it does find something wrong, the Office mostly ignores their comments. Given the lack of alternative controls, the staff committee challenged a direct placement (later also flagged as irregular by the Auditors! See page 159 of CA/20/09) at ILOAT. In its Judgment 3343 the Tribunal held the complaint irreceivable because the alleged violation of the rules did not have “a direct and immediate bearing on the employment status or rights of employees.” This leaves the EPO’s about multi-million Euros procurement budget essentially without any control.

Secret contracts to FTI Consulting — contracts which were recently expanded — ought to be investigated alongside Battistelli’s expensive information war [1, 2, 3, 4] (more contracts, even for surveillance and censorship). There’s also an urgent need to look into Battistelli's buying of the media. With so much to hide inside Europe’s second-largest public institution, a lot of ‘military-grade’ propaganda may be needed, not just managers with military background (there are quite a few of them now). EPO management is ‘managing’ its budget pretty much like the Pentagon allocates money.

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