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06.29.16

Links 29/6/2016: SteamOS 2.83 Beta, Alpine Linux 3.4.1

Posted in News Roundup at 11:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Glyphosate: one pesticide, many problems

      The latest episode in the glyphosate saga just took place, with the EU’s Health and Food Safety Commissioner, V. Andriukaitis, announcing that the European Commission would extend the current market authorisation of glyphosate by 18 months. [this article is an updated version of the same piece on June 24.]

    • Brexit: Vote Leave wipes NHS £350m claim and rest of its website after EU referendum

      The cached version includes a banner image touting the pledge to ‘give our NHS the £350 million the EU takes every week’ – which has already been walked back by Leave supporters

    • Private docs remain popular despite rising fees

      Costs of private doctors’ services have risen much faster than inflation, the newspaper Savon Sanomat reports on Tuesday. However reimbursements by the Social Insurance Institution (Kela) have not risen at the same pace. For instance prices at paediatric receptions rose by more than 23 percent within five years. Nearly one in three Finns visits a private doctor at least once a year.

      Whereas general inflation was around nine percent in the years 2010-15, some doctors’ fees rose by three times that much during the same period.

      The biggest spike, 28 percent, was in psychiatrists’ fees. Other significant price rises were in visits to paediatricians (23.5 percent) as well as to gynaecologists and general practitioners (both 22 percent).

    • Flint water crisis probe costs triple, may hit $5 million

      Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s wide-ranging probe into the Flint water crisis could cost as much as $4.9 million, more than triple the amount allocated by the state in a contract in March, according to a posting on the state Administrative Board website.

      Earlier this year, Schuette received approval from the board to expand the contract to up to $1.5 million, from the original $249,000, with Flood Law, a Royal Oak legal firm. Todd Flood is the lawyer Schuette tapped to head his investigation into whether any state laws were violated in the lead contamination of Flint drinking water, which has led to state and federal emergency declarations and instructions to Flint residents not to drink tap water without using a lead filter.

  • Security

    • Security Analysis of TSA PreCheck

      The Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program is risk-based screening that allows passengers assessed as low risk to be directed to expedited, or PreCheck, screening. We begin by modelling the overall system of aviation security by considering all layers of security designed to deter or disrupt a terrorist plot to down an airliner with a passenger-borne bomb. Our analysis suggests that these measures reduce the risk of such an attack by at least 98%. Assuming that the accuracy of Secure Flight may be less than 100% when identifying low and high risk passengers, we then assess the effect of enhanced and expedited (or regular and PreCheck) screening on deterrence and disruption rates. We also evaluate programs that randomly redirect passengers from the PreCheck to the regular lines (random exclusion) and ones that redirect some passengers from regular to PreCheck lines (managed inclusion). We find that, if 50% of passengers are cleared for PreCheck, the additional risk reduction (benefit) due to PreCheck is 0.021% for attacks by lone wolves, and 0.056% for ones by terrorist organisations. If 75% of passengers rather than 50% go through PreCheck, these numbers are 0.017% and 0.044%, still providing a benefit in risk reduction. Under most realistic combinations of parameter values PreCheck actually increases risk reduction, perhaps up to 1%, while under the worst assumptions, it lowers risk reduction only by some 0.1%. Extensive sensitivity analyses suggests that, overall, PreCheck is most likely to have an increase in overall benefit.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Tuesday’s security advisories
    • The future of security
    • Prepare to be hacked: Information security for small organizations

      Information security is challenging, and can be breathtakingly expensive in money and staff energy. Smaller organizations may not have the money or staffing expertise to do the job right, even when the need is the greatest. At OSCON 2016, Kelsey Gilmore-Innis of Sexual Health Innovations (SHI) gave a really interesting talk on how her small nonprofit has done some creative thinking about security, and how that influences the deployment and operation of their application.

    • DDoS Attack Powered by 25,000 CCTV Cameras

      Security researchers have revealed a unique new DDoS attack launched against a small business, which was powered entirely by thousands of compromised CCTV units.

      Sucuri founder Daniel Cid explained in a blog post that 25,513 IP addresses were spotted, with a plurality in Taiwan (24%), the US (12%) and Indonesia (9%) – although they spread out over 105 countries in total.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Tony Blair responds to war criminal claims with astonishing attack on Jeremy Corbyn

      Jeremy Corbyn represents the “politics of protest” and is standing by while people are “bombed, beaten and starved into submission” in Syria, Tony Blair has said, in his most vehement attack on the Labour leader yet.

    • Moment Istanbul airport attacker is shot before detonating suicide bomb

      A triple suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport has killed at least 36 people, including foreigners, with Turkey’s prime minister saying early signs pointed to an assault by the Islamic State group.

      The attackers began spraying bullets at the international terminal entrance before blowing themselves up at around 10.00 pm local time on Tuesday, Turkish authorities said.

      It is the deadliest of four attacks to rock Turkey’s biggest city this year, with two others blamed on Isil and another claimed by a militant Kurdish group.

      Though there was no immediate claim of responsibility for Tuesday’s carnage, “the evidence points to Daesh,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told journalists at the scene, using another name for the jihadists.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • This Could Be the Biggest Threat To Our Climate If We Don’t Act Fast

      When you think “peatland,” you probably picture water, or mosquitoes, or creepily preserved human artifacts. What most of us don’t consider are catastrophic wildfires—but that’s precisely what scientists are now worried about when it comes to one of the most carbon-rich ecosystems on Earth.

      Mike Waddington is a forest ecologist at McMaster University in Ontario. He’s been studying the peatlands that pepper the Canadian boreal forest for going on thirty years, and he’s begun to notice an alarming trend. When peatlands that have been drained by humans for forestry or mining catch on fire, they burn like crazy, eating through meters of carbon-rich soil over the course of months.

      “I always tell people to think about the fire swamp from Princess Bride,” Waddington told Gizmodo. “Peat fires are very difficult to put out because they just keep smoldering down into the soil.”

  • Finance

    • Scottish MEP receives standing ovation in European Parliament after passionate speech saying Scotland ‘voted to remain’

      A Scottish MEP has received a lengthy standing ovation from hundreds of members of the European Parliament after asking members “not to let Scotland down”.

      Alyn Smith, from the Scottish National Party (SNP), addressed a special session on the Brexit in Brussels moments after Nigel Farage hailed Britain’s “independence day”.

    • The 2016 Abolition Act

      I think it is time for parliamentary democracy to re-establish itself, and this legislation will be just the thing to bring sense back to British politics.

    • Trump vows to reopen, or toss, NAFTA pact with Canada and Mexico

      Trump criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement as a U.S. job killer, saying he would be willing to scrap the pact if Canada and Mexico were unwilling to budge. He also tried to link Democratic rival Hillary Clinton to the deal on the eve of a meeting in Ottawa of the “three amigos,” the leaders of the three NAFTA signatories: the United States, Mexico and Canada.

    • Trump Plans To Ruin USA

      I imagine Canadian trade with Mexico will do really well if USA agrees to stop trading with both of us, although we may have to trade by sea.

    • Democratic Party Platform Committee Undermines Clinton On TPP

      The Democratic party’s elites must not think that trade and jobs will be big issues in the coming election. Apparently, they’ve never listened to a Donald Trump speech, and didn’t notice that working-class people in the United Kingdom just voted to “brexit” from the European Union (EU) over these issues.

      The Democratic platform writing committee has voted not to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), with the pro-TPP majority saying that doing so would undercut President Obama’s efforts to pass the agreement.

    • Hillary Clinton Hints at Giant, Trump-Like Giveaway to Corporate America

      Hillary Clinton gave a big speech in Raleigh on her plans for the economy on June 22. It was full of Bernie Sanders-like rhetoric about “outrageous behavior” by business and Wall Street.

      But it also included a dog whistle that only huge multinational corporations would hear, telling them that she plans to deliver on one of their greatest dreams and slash their longterm taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars.

    • JP Morgan says Scottish independence, new currency now its ‘base case’

      U.S. bank JP Morgan said on Wednesday it now expects Scotland to vote for independence and introduce its own currency before Britain leaves the European Union in 2019.

      “Our base case is that Scotland will vote for independence and institute a new currency at that point (2019),” JP Morgan economist Malcolm Barr said in a note to clients on Wednesday.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Angela Eagle’s Local Party Has Backed Jeremy Corbyn

      Angela Eagle’s local Labour party has come out in support of Jeremy Corbyn, HuffPost UK can reveal.

      The chair and secretary of Wallasey constituency Labour party have written to express their backing for the leader.

      Kathy Miller and Kathy Runswick said that their local party had decided at their annual meeting on Friday to urge their MP to oppose the ‘motion of no confidence’ in Corbyn.

      MPs voted by 81% today to back the motion and Eagle, the former Business Secretary, is expected to announce she will stand in a leadership contest.

    • Bernie Sanders influences the Democratic Party platform — with some limits

      Over the weekend, the Democratic National Committee began drafting the party’s official policy platform, which will be rolled out next month at the organization’s national convention in Philadelphia. Though it’s virtually impossible that Sen. Bernie Sanders would become the Democratic nominee, he’ll still have a big influence on the party’s agenda going forward.

    • Scalia’s Lurch to the Left–and Other New York Times Pipe Dreams

      That’s the message of a chart that takes up a good chunk of some of the most valuable journalistic real estate in the world, the top half of the front page of the New York Times (6/28/16). Looking at the chart, you can see that just about every justice has moved to the left over time: Of the Democratic appointees, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Bryer are all well to the left of where they were when they were appointed; only Elena Kagan is more or less where she started out.

    • Another Media Setup?

      This picture has been all over twitter, promoted by every high level Blairite you can think of, from JK Rowling down. Yet all may not be what it seems.

    • Brexit: Who governs Britain? This is the UK’s new 10-party system

      Who governs Britain? Farage? Boris? Gove? Cameron? May? Sturgeon? Corbyn? Corbyn’s critics? Never have so many actors mattered and so few had any actual power.

      In the wake of Brexit, the old party divisions no longer apply. Britain is now a ten-party system, with the major parties cleaved in two between leavers and remainers.

      Using data from YouGov, who have reweighted their final EU referendum poll to reflect Thursday’s 52:48 vote for Brexit, we can discover the proportion of each party’s supporters who voted for leave or remain.

      And if we take the vote shares for each party at last year’s general election (the latest polls suggest similar shares), we can see where power really lies.

    • Donor promised to make Clinton ‘look good’ if appointed to board

      A major Democratic donor personally lobbied then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office for a seat on a sensitive government intelligence board, telling one of her closest aides that if appointed he would make Clinton “look good.”

      Rajiv Fernando acknowledged that he may not have the experience to sit on a board that would allow him the highest levels of top-secret access, but he assured deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin in newly released 2009 emails that he was talking to two professors who were “getting me up to speed on the academics behind the field.”

      Fernando, who contributed to Clinton, her family’s foundation and Barack Obama, described himself as one of “Hillary’s people” and mentioned that he recently had sent an ailing Clinton flowers to wish her a speedy recovery.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Twitter Deletes SCOTUSblog Twitter Account Briefly Thinking Its Running Of The Trolls Meant It Was Hacked

      We’ve mentioned and linked to the wonderful SCOTUSblog many times in the past, and have even mentioned its annual running of the trolls, in which the site’s Twitter account responds sarcastically to people who think that it is the Supreme Court’s twitter account, rather than a blog of some journalists and lawyers covering the court. Part of the confusion comes from the fact that the Supreme Court doesn’t have its own Twitter feed, combined with Twitter’s eagerness to suggest alternate accounts when people are assuming SCOTUS must have a Twitter feed. But, really, a big part of the problem is people tweeting inane things at SCOTUSblog without realizing it’s not SCOTUS.

    • Twitter debacle

      Today we had our annual running of the trolls — wherein we respond to people who direct mostly hateful and sometimes cute things to our @SCOTUSblog account, thinking it is the official Twitter account of the Supreme Court. We’ve done this for several Terms without incident. But this Term, Twitter — probably through some automated system — decided that our account had been hacked. So it kicked us out of our account — thinking we were the hackers — and then blocked all the tweets, so they have disappeared. We’re trying to get our account back — so far without success. But for posterity, and for those who thought we had deleted the tweets ourselves, here are some screen shots captured from our Twitter followers (many others are blocked by Twitter so even retweets don’t show them):

    • Will Murdoch’s new media outlet bow to UAE’s censorship rules?

      Have you heard of Vice Media? Rupert Murdoch has – in 2013 he called the internet and print publishing upstart a “wild interesting effort to interest millennials” and a “global success.” Not long after, he bought a five per cent stake in what is known as the “hipsters bible”, and his son, James, now sits on its board. The company, which runs dozens of websites and magazines, is said to be at least as valuable as the New York Times.

      Last week it was announced that Vice is moving into the Middle East with a major new partnership with Moby Group, an Afghan media company which has also been a long-term collaborator. Together, the companies hope to bring the Vice brand to much of the Arab world, including all the Gulf Cooperation Council states, Jordan, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Algeria as well as to Afghanistan.

    • Artist Updates Ancient Indian Erotica To Show Just How Messed Up Censorship Is

      The Khajuraho temples are a group of Hindu and Jain holy shrines built between 950 and 1050 in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Although 85 were originally built, only 22 remain today.

      The holy structures are known for housing an extensive array of erotic images — from Kamasutra-style entangled sex positions to sculptures of curvaceous, nude women celebrating their sensual forms. The temples even included some wonderfully nasty depictions of orgies and bestiality.

    • S. African broadcaster in censorship battle

      A simmering row at public broadcaster SABC could soon boil over into renewed protests. Just weeks before crucial polls, journalists, civil society, and trade unions accuse SABC of political meddling and censorship.

    • Allegations of censorship at SABC

      There are no issues within the SABC according to its Chief Operating Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng – despite the public broadcaster having decided to censor public protest visuals on television.

      For the past few weeks, the SABC’s decision not to show footage of violent service delivery protests has raised some concern. The media believe that the broadcaster is engaging in censorship, but Motsoeneng has denied it. According to him, censorship is English, and he added that he doesn’t know what it is.

    • Behave or go, says Hlaudi

      Controversial SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng has effectively told frightened employees to make peace with being dutiful lapdogs or walk out.

      Motsoeneng, the chief operating officer, allegedly made these remarks during a staff meeting at the SABC headquarters in Auckland Park, Joburg, on Tuesday.

    • We welcome Matthews’s decision to resign – NUMSA

      The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) strongly condemns the suspension of three South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) journalists – economics editor, Thandeka Gqubule, Radio Sonder Grense executive producer Foeta Krige and senior journalist Suna Venter – for the “offence” of questioning the ban on visual coverage of protests, in particular a protest against censorship at the public broadcaster itself.

    • These brave SABC employees have publicly spoken out against Hlaudi

      The recent editorial shakeup that has been taking place at the SABC is a very serious issue, with the media freedom of the public institution being threatened. Journalists have been censored by the banning of showing violent protest and the threat of suspension and dismissal hanging over their heads. However through all this, there have been a number of brave journalists from the SABC who have spoken out against Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the recent editorial decisions being made at the public broadcaster.

    • Journalists mutiny over SABC censorship

      South Africa’s public broadcaster is battling to quell a journalist revolt over censorship of programmes that portrayed the government in a negative light and its ban on screening footage of protesters destroying property because it didn’t want to encourage violence.

    • ACLJ Demands Answers, Files FOIA Request to Expose Obama Administration’s Censorship of Jihadist’s 911 Transcript
    • ACLJ Files FOIA Lawsuit Against Obama Administration, Seeks Records on Iran Negotiation Cover-up
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Facebook Privacy Status Hoax Is Back To Fool You. Don’t Fall For It.

      Facebook privacy hoax status update is back to fool you. Before going into the details, let me tell you one thing — DON’T fall for this hoax and copy-paste some privacy message on your wall. You are in full control of your Facebook content and you can take a privacy checkup anytime to confirm it.

    • Facebook backtracks, saying it isn’t stalking you to recommend friends

      SOCIAL ADVERTISING PORTAL Facebook has made a dramatic U-turn. Despite confirming to The INQUIRER on Tuesday that the site tracks your location to recommend new friends, the firm has since changed its mind and said that it’s not.

      News broke this week, courtesy of news site Fusion, that Facebook has been taking it on itself to recommend hooking up with people in the same area. People did this organically in the old days by meeting or speaking.

      The report said that the privacy-unaware company has already exposed a couple of concerned parents and identified them following a hook-up at an anonymous help session.

    • Facebook’s Flip-Flop: Is It a Law Enforcement Thing?

      One part of this comment is easy: Facebook is not using locations you mark for yourself (so if I said I was in Grand Rapids, they wouldn’t use that to find new Grand Rapids friends for me). But it’s not really clear what they mean by “device location.” Determined by what? GPS? Cell tower? IP location? Wifi hotspot colocation?

      Which got me thinking about the way that federal law enforcement (in both the criminal and FISA context, apparently) are obtaining location data from social media as a way to tie physical location to social media activity.

    • Snowden: Norway gives no guarantees

      Norway can issue no guarantee that Edward Snowden will not be extradited to the US, should he visit the country. This a Norwegian court decided Monday. The court argues that such guarantees can not be given when it comes to someone who is not presently inside the country.

    • India goes from village to village to compile world’s biggest ID database

      The digital revolution arrives in remote Indian villages such as Akbarpur by communication methods old and new: a WhatsApp message buzzes through to the village chief; he notifies his fellows via megaphone.

      The world’s biggest biometric ID programme is coming to town.

      The next day, two men arrive at the village in Palwal district, Haryana state, with devices the residents have never seen: an iris scanner, a fingerprint machine, a camera and laptop. They are here to register the people of Akbarpur.

    • People Can’t Tell What Apps Use Encryption, And Don’t Really Care, Study Finds

      Is your messaging app using encryption? And, actually, do you even care about that?

      Even though people have more choices than ever when using mobile messaging apps billed as secure and private, and surveillance and encryption have been steadily in the news for the last few years, some consumers don’t seem to really grasp what an encrypted app actually is, and they might not really care that much, according to a new study.

      [...]

      The researchers conducted the study trying to figure out how much users, both security experts and regular people, cared about security and privacy when choosing and using messaging apps.

      As it turns out, when choosing apps, the main motivation is whether other people, mainly “friends,” use it, not whether it’s secure or private, according to the study.

      [...]

      Another participant said he or she stopped using an (unnamed) app after news of a privacy incident, switching to a more secure alternative. But eventually, he or she had to go back to the original messenger because it’s “too dominant” among his friends.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • US Suddenly Discovers Why Supranational Tribunals Are A Problem, Just As It Starts Losing In Them

      As the article explains, that’s not going down too well with other WTO members, including Brazil, the European Union, Japan, and South Korea, who are traditionally allies of the US in trade matters. So what exactly has Chang done to incur the wrath of the US?

    • White Supremacists Are Met With Rocks in Sacramento and Scorn in Newcastle

      As my colleague Glenn Greenwald argues, it is too simple to suggest that last week’s rejection of the European Union by more than half of the British electorate, like Donald Trump’s victory in the Republic primary, can be explained by dismissing the voters as racists.

      In both countries, and across the Western world, xenophobic bigots who pin the blame on foreigners, and promise to restore prosperity by walling us off into ethnic-nationalist enclaves, have grown in prominence only after decades of failure by the traditional parties of left and right to find solutions for the suffering caused by the globalization.

      At the same time, however, it seems clear that the rhetoric of the referendum campaign in Britain, like Trump’s demonization of Mexican and Muslim immigrants, has emboldened the white supremacist fringe in ways too dangerous to ignore.

      As the British historian Victoria Stiles observed, the referendum result, which has been followed by a 57 percent spike in reported hate crimes, seems to have encouraged the kind of public displays of racism in Britain that make physical assaults more likely.

    • A Week in the Life of the American Police State

      Not content with merely spying on our emails and phone calls, the NSA wants to spy on thermostats, refrigerators, and pacemakers.

    • Canadian jailed in Iran over ‘feminism and security’ issues

      A Montreal-based university professor being held in an Iranian jail is being investigated for ‘dabbling in feminism and security matters,’ according to her family.

      Homa Hoodfar’s niece, Amanda Ghahremani, said the Tehran public prosecutor made a statement to Iranian media on the case on Friday.

      Ghahremani said the family doesn’t know whether Hoodfar has been charged with a crime.

      She said the prosecutor’s statement was the first indication of why the 65-year-old professor has been held in Iran’s notorious Evin prison since her arrest on June 6.

      “We’re very concerned that we have no news from her, that the family hasn’t been able to see her, that the lawyer hasn’t been able to see her, and we don’t know her mental state, her health, or the conditions of her detention,” Ghahremani told The Canadian Press.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Europe’s ‘Net Neutrality’ Rules Fail to Ban BitTorrent Throttling

      After years of negotiating Europe has agreed on a set of Net Neutrality rules. While the legislation is a step forward for some countries, experts and activists warn that it may leave the door open for BitTorrent and VPN throttling. With the “EU Slowdown” campaign that launches today, they encourage the public to have their voice heard to improve the current rules.

    • Why ISPs’ fight against net neutrality probably won’t reach Supreme Court

      The US appeals court decision upholding the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules wasn’t quite the final word on the matter, as ISPs immediately vowed to appeal the ruling, with AT&T saying it “expect[s] this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court.”

      But while ISPs will give it their best shot, there are reasons to think that the Supreme Court won’t take up the case. The appeal probably won’t even make it to a rehearing by the full appeals court, a potential intermediate step before a Supreme Court case, legal expert Andrew Jay Schwartzman wrote last week in a Benton Foundation article titled, “Network Neutrality: Now What?” Schwartzman is a Georgetown Law lecturer, an attorney who specializes in media and telecommunications policy, and a longtime consumer advocate who previously led the Media Access Project.

  • DRM

    • Netflix hurt by Australian competitors and VPN blocking

      The news of explosive SVOD growth in Australia over the past year has not been good for the global market leader Netflix which finds that two well-resourced local competitors are nipping at its heels, while it appears to have cut off its nose to spite its face by blocking access to its big differentiator.

      As reported in iTWire this week, SVOD subscriptions would have grown by almost 900,000 during the 12 months to the end of June 2016.

      However, the main beneficiaries of that growth have been local players Stan (jointly owned by Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media) and Presto (jointly owned by Foxtel and Seven West Media).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • A Comprehensive And Fair Solution To The Price Of Medicines

      Marie-Paule Kieny, World Health Organization Assistant Director-General, Health Systems and Innovation, writes: Amid public outcry, political battles and media articles, no one seems to understand how, exactly, medicines prices are set. For years, pharmaceutical research companies have cited the large investment of time and resources that go into bringing a drug to market. More recently, they argue that their medicines are actually saving money by preventing expensive medical interventions like surgery and hospitalization.

      But whatever the argument used, the price setting mechanisms for commodities that are inextricably linked to people’s health and survival must be made more transparent so that we can, as a global community, devise effective solutions.

    • Embassy In London Under Siege, IP A ‘Neo-Liberal Pillar’, Ecuador Minister Says

      Guillaume Long, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador, who was fresh from a three-day visit to the UN in Geneva with several meetings, including with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said during a press briefing that he paid a visit to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on 19 June in the Ecuadoran embassy in London, on the 4th anniversary of his taking refuge in the embassy.

      Four years ago, Long said, Julian Assange walked into the embassy and asked for asylum. After two months of studying his request, Ecuador decided to grant Assange asylum on human rights grounds, Long said, in particular because there were fears of significant political persecution of Assange, he said.

      In particular, Ecuador was unable to obtain a guarantee that Assange would not be extradited to a third country, he said. Ecuador is not seeking to interfere with the Swedish judicial system but have been told by the United Kingdom government that it can neither confirm nor deny that Assange would be extradited.

      [...]

      On a separate issue, access to health and access to medicines are pillars of Ecuadoran policy, Long said today, answering a question from Intellectual Property Watch on the leading role that Ecuador has said it wanted to have in the management of intellectual property policy. In particular, Ecuador has issued a number of compulsory licences, allowing the production of generic versions of expensive brand name drugs.

      When criteria for compulsory licences are met, Ecuador will carry on issuing compulsory licences when the country has to do so. “We are in the confines of the WTO [World Trade Organization] and other bodies,” he said, as he underlined the country’s “progressive approach to IP.”

      “Intellectual property is the new free trade agenda, the new neo-liberal pillar,” he said. In most trade agreements, “intellectual property is massive.”

      “We are in a knowledge economy and a science and technology age, and a patenting age,” he added.

      Unfortunately, since the 1980s, he said, patenting has become much more recurrent and more lenient. There is a greater privatisation of knowledge which affects countries that are low producers of knowledge and do not have an innovation economy, he said.

      The more knowledge circulates, the more it becomes a public good, and the more innovation you can have, he explained. Although intellectual property is legitimate, the right balance should be struck, he said.

    • Copyrights

      • Two Judges Punch Holes In Copyright Trolls’ Claims That An IP Address Is The Same Thing As A Person

        Fight Copyright Trolls has tracked down two more court decisions that reach an obvious conclusion: an IP address is not a person. In both cases, the normal trolling tactics were used: legal threats against alleged infringers, based on nothing more than IP addresses. In the first case, New Jersey Judge Kevin McNulty disagreed with Malibu Media’s request for default judgment, pointing out that the limited info it was working with could not rule out a successful defense being raised by the accused infringer.

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

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



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

    Links for the day



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

    Links for the day



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

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



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

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



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

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



  21. EPO Staff Representatives Fired Using “Disciplinary Committee That Was Improperly Composed” as Per ILO's Decision

    The Board of the Administrative Council at European Patent Organisation is being informed of the union-busting activities of Battistelli -- activities that are both illegal (as per national and international standards) and are detrimental to the Organisation



  22. Links 23/4/2017: End of arkOS, Collabora Office 5.3 Released

    Links for the day



  23. Intellectual Discovery and Microsoft Feed Patent Trolls Like Intellectual Ventures Which Then Strategically Attack Rivals

    Like a swarm of blood-sucking bats, patent trolls prey on affluent companies that derive their wealth from GNU/Linux and freedom-respecting software (Free/libre software)



  24. The European Patent Office Has Just Killed a Cat (or Skinned a 'Kat')

    The EPO’s attack on the media, including us, resulted in a stream of misinformation and puff pieces about the EPO and UPC, putting at risk not just European democracy but also corrupting the European press



  25. Yann Ménière Resorts to Buzzwords to Recklessly Promote Floods of Patents, Dooming the EPO Amid Decline in Patent Applications

    Battistelli's French Chief Economist is not much of an economist but a patent maximalist toeing the party line of Monsieur Battistelli (lots of easy grants and litigation galore, for UPC hopefuls)



  26. Even Patent Bullies Like Microsoft and Facebook Find the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Useful

    Not just companies accused of patent infringement need the PTAB but also frequent accusers with deep pockets need the PTAB, based on some new figures and new developments



  27. Links 21/4/2017: Qt Creator 4.2.2, ROSA Desktop Fresh R9

    Links for the day



  28. At the EPO, Seeding of Puff Piece in the Press/Academia Sometimes Transparent Enough to View

    The EPO‘s PR team likes to 'spam' journalists and others (for PR) and sometimes does this publicly, as the tweets below show — a desperate recruitment and reputation laundering drive



  29. Affordable and Sophisticated Mobile Devices Are Kept Away by Patent Trolls and Aggressors That Tax Everything

    The war against commoditisation of mobile computing has turned a potentially thriving market with fast innovation rates into a war zone full of patent trolls (sometimes suing at the behest of large companies that hand them patents for this purpose)



  30. In Spite of Lobbying and Endless Attempts by the Patent Microcosm, US Supreme Court Won't Consider Any Software Patent Cases Anymore (in the Foreseeable Future)

    Lobbyists of software patents, i.e. proponents of endless litigation and patent trolls, are attempting to convince the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to have another look at abstract patents and reconsider its position on cases like Alice Corp. v CLS Bank International


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