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07.07.16

Links 7/7/2016: New Information About Ian Murdock, New Snap Desktop Launchers

Posted in News Roundup at 4:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Who needs a GUI? How to live in a Linux terminal.

      Ever consider the idea of living entirely in a Linux terminal? No graphical desktop. No modern GUI software. Just text—and nothing but text—inside a Linux shell. It may not be easy, but it’s absolutely doable. I recently tried living completely in a Linux shell for 30 days. What follows are my favorite shell applications for handling some of the most common bits of computer functionality (web browsing, word processing, etc.). With a few obvious holes. Because being text-only is hard.

    • Not Your Mother’s Linux

      As someone who’s primarily used Windows since the early ’90s (with some minor dabbling in OS X), I’ve found Ubuntu MATE Linux to be pretty intuitive during my month or so of casual experimentation. I would even go so far as to say it’s been easier to figure out than recent iterations of Windows — which I hope says more about how clunky that old operating system has become and less about how woefully incompetent I might be with computers.

      I have a confession to make — one that will come as no surprise to anyone who’s read this column in the past. I’m not really a computer person. My mother would disagree, but she’s never owned a computer — no matter how many times I’ve tried to get her on board for the admittedly selfish reason of being able to communicate with her in a fashion that avoids phone companies and post offices. She insists it’s because she “doesn’t like to type,” but I know her mistrust of technology goes far beyond computers (and if I got her a tablet, she’d be annoyed at the endless invasion of fingerprints — a complaint to which I can relate).

    • Full-screen Nagware: Microsoft’s Final Attempt To Push Windows 10 Is Its Worst Yet

      Microsoft has been able to convince millions of users to install Windows 10 on their PCs. To grab more user base, Microsoft is now showing full-screen upgrade pop-ups notifying the people to perform the upgrade before 29.

  • Kernel Space

    • Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space

      I believe the best and worst thing about Linux is its hard distinction between kernel space and user space.

      Without that distinction, Linux never would have become the most leveraged operating system in the world. Today, Linux has the largest range of uses for the largest number of users—most of whom have no idea they are using Linux when they search for something on Google or poke at their Android phones. Even Apple stuff wouldn’t be what it is (for example, using BSD in its computers) were it not for Linux’s success.

      Read more

    • More Polaris & Tonga Fixes For Linux 4.7

      Another batch of AMDGPU DRM driver fixes has been sent in for landing in Linux 4.7.

      These latest AMDGPU fixes are for taking care of some PowerPlay issues for Radeon RX 480 “Polaris” and Tonga (e.g. Radeon R9 285) graphics cards. There are no other changes outside of these Polaris/Tonga PowerPlay fixes.

    • Stale Data, or How We (Mis-)manage Modern Caches by Mark Rutland
    • Taming the Chaos of Modern Caches

      “If you’re a bit tired, this is a presentation on cache maintenance, so there will be plenty of opportunity to sleep.” Despite this warning from ARM Ltd. kernel developer Mark Rutland at his recent Embedded Linux Conference presentation, Stale Data, or How We (Mis-)manage Modern Caches, it was actually kind of an eye opener — at least as far as cache management presentations go.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD’s Linux Driver Will Likely See A Power Change For The Radeon RX 480 Too

        By now you may have heard that there is the potential for the Radeon RX 480 to draw more power from the PCI-E bus than it’s rated to provide. In rare situations, this could potentially cause problems for the system. AMD/RTG is preparing to release a Windows driver fix while I checked in with AMD about addressing this situation under Linux.

      • AMD improves its Linux drivers

        It looks like AMD has finally got the memo when it comes to Linux machines. Its new AMDGPU-PRO 16.30 driver offers day-one support for its new Radeon RX 480 from day one.

        The new driver is currently available for download from AMD’s website. It is officially supported on 64-bit versions of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. It’s very similar to the earlier beta release and AMD still calls it a beta, but apparently it is stable and there are installation instructions on the website.

      • Dirk Hohndel Is No Longer Intel’s Chief Linux/OSS Technologist

        Well this somehow slipped under our radar last week and comes as a big surprise… Dirk Hohndel has left Intel Corp after being their chief Linux and open-source technologist the past number of years.

        Dirk Hohndel had been working at Intel since 2001 where he had been leading the Linux/open-source charge. Dirk frequently spoke at Linux/FLOSS conferences about Intel’s involvement in these areas. Given his tenure at Intel and his frequent involvement in the Linux/open-source communities, it comes as a surprise to see him leave. Prior to Intel, he was CTO at SUSE.

      • OpenChrome 0.5 Has Working Support For Multiple Monitors

        For those still leveraging VIA x86 hardware on Linux, the DRM/KMS driver hasn’t been restored yet but there is a new xf86-video-openchrome DDX feature release now available.

        Kevin Brace has continued taking up the maintenance of the OpenChrome X.Org driver. Three months ago he released xf86-video-openchrome 0.4 while now available is OpenChrome 0.5.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME and Flatpak

      • GNOME Calendar supports alarms

        In another of my (appearently common) insomnia nights, I decided to add a cool new to my pet application – Calendar.

      • GNOME Calendar Will Support Alarms, GNOME Software to Better Handle Flatpaks

        The GNOME developers are hard at work this summer to bring you the latest innovations and technologies for the modern GNOME 3 desktop environment, as part of the GNOME 3.22 release.

        GNOME 3.22 is in heavy development until the end of September, when the final release will hit the streets, but it will take a while (~two or three weeks) for it to arrive in the main software repositories of some of the most popular GNU/Linux operating systems, Arch Linux being among the first, but it will worth the wait.

      • Flatpak, Snap and AppImage

        Over the past few months we have been hearing a lot about two new package formats, Flatpak and Snap (aka Snappy, aka snaps). These two new methods of packaging software have been getting a lot of attention, especially in the Ubuntu and Fedora communities. Both package formats attempt to make packaging easier for developers as all of an application’s dependencies can be bundled in the one portable package. Both Flatpak and Snap also claim to be (in theory at least) universal. The idea here is that any distribution which provides the Snap framework will be able to run any Snap package. Likewise, any Linux distribution with the Flatpak software installed should be able to run any Flatpak package. This should make it possible for developers to make one package for their software which will run on any distribution.

  • Distributions

    • This Week in Solus – Install #30
    • Reviews

      • Running Linux on the Acer Switch Alpha 12

        The Acer Switch Alpha 12 is a 2-in-1 tablet with a high-resolution display, a detachable keyboard cover, an optional pressure-sensitive pen, and after having reviewed the tablet, I can say it offers the kind of performance you’d expect from a mid-range laptop… but in a 2 pound, fanless package.

        Best of all, the Switch Alpha 12 is reasonably priced: you can buy one for about $600 and up.

    • New Releases

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • New toolset makes it possible to build and ship Docker containers within Ansible

        A new project from the creators of the system automation framework Ansible, now owned by Red Hat, wants to make it possible to build Docker images and perform container orchestration within Ansible.

        Ansible Container, still in the early stages of development, allows developers to use an Ansible playbook (the language that describes Ansible jobs) to outline how containers should be built; it uses Ansible’s stack to deploy those applications as well.

      • Red Hat, Eurotech collaborate on IoT cloud platform
      • Red Hat expands cloud management solution

        Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, has announced the general availability of Red Hat CloudForms 4.1, the latest version of its award-winning open hybrid cloud management solution.

      • What You Missed at DevNation & Red Hat Summit 2016
      • Red Hat’s Ansible Container Aims to Streamline Container Workflows

        The system automation framework Ansible, which is under the wing of Red Hat, has given rise to a new way to build Docker images and perform container orchestration within Ansible. Ansible Container allows for the complete creation of Docker-formatted Linux containers within Ansible Playbooks, eliminating the need to use external tools like Dockerfile or docker-compose.

        The new toolset is now available on GitHub. Here is more on what it can do.

      • A brief guide to hiring with culture in mind
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Upgraded from F23

          It was my first upgrade from a previous release and all went fine and smooth.

        • Event report: Fedora Cloud FAD 2016

          Around a month back the Fedora Cloud Working Group met in Raleigh for two days for Cloud FAD. The goal of the meet was to agree about the future we want, to go through major action items for the coming releases. I reached Raleigh one day before, Adam Miller was my room for this trip. Managed to meet Tom after a long time, this was my first visit to mothership :) I also managed to meet my new teammate Randy Barlow.

        • Summer training 2016 is on

          The 9th edition of dgplug summer training started few weeks back. This year in the IRC channel (#dgplug on freenode) we saw around 186+ nicks participating in the sessions. Till now we have went through communication guidelines, IRC, mailing list how to, a text editor ( Vim in this case), blogging, basic bash commands, a few more bit advanced bash commands. We also learned about reStructured Text, and Sphinx. We also managed to live demos to all students from the mentor’s terminal.

    • Debian Family

      • The State Of Systemd In Debian (2016)

        Debian developer Michael Biebl has presented a status update on systemd in Debian at this week’s DebConf 16 event in Cape Town, South Africa.

        On Tuesday was a presentation by Biebl about systemd in Debian and the progress that’s been made with systemd as the default init system for the past year. The video presentation has yet to be uploaded, but there are PDF slides for those interested.

      • Mysterious death of software pioneer Ian Murdock ruled suicide

        Ian Murdock, the Linux programmer who died under mysterious circumstances after claiming he was beaten by police, hanged himself.

      • New Details Emerge About Debian Founder Ian Murdock’s Death
      • Murdock Death Ruled Suicide, Terrible Linux Regressions

        CNN’s Jose Pagliery today reported that Ian Murdock’s death was officially ruled a suicide. Murdock, who founded Debian GNU/Linux in 1993, became despondent after a run-in with San Francisco police. He took to social media to accused police of brutally beating him and threaten suicide. Murdock was found hours later face down with an electrical cord tied around his neck. The investigator said he found no obvious signs of trauma although the autopsy directly contradicts that statement. Pagliery reported that no announcement had been made publicly and that the details of his body being covered in bruises only came out in the autopsy report obtained by CNN. “The autopsy records also note his body was covered in bruises — on his chest, abdomen, back, arms and legs.”

      • twenty years of free software — part 9 small projects
      • Avoiding SMS vendor lock-in with SMPP

        There is increasing demand for SMS notifications about monitoring alerts, trading notifications, flight delays and other events. Various companies are offering SMS transmission services to meet this demand and many of them aggressively pushing their own proprietary interfaces to the SMS world rather than using the more open and widely supported SMPP.

      • Derivatives

        • Debian Edu / Skolelinux Jessie

          Then Debian Edu is for you. The teachers themselves or their technical support can roll out a complete multi-user multi-machine study environment within a few days. Debian Edu comes with hundreds of applications pre-installed, but you can always add more packages from Debian.

          The Debian Edu developer team is happy to announce Debian Edu 8+edu0 “Jessie”, the latest Debian Edu / Skolelinux release, entirely based on Debian 8 “Jessie”, update 8.5. Upgrades from previous beta releases of Debian Edu Jessie to this release are possible and encouraged!

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Review: Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS shines

            Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) represents the first release from Canonical to deliver long-term support since 2011 (version 14). While the latest improvements may not be entirely revolutionary, Ubuntu 16.04 rounds up exciting features to fortify the server base and enhance the desktop experience. InfoWorld reviewed the new desktop release in April. In this review, I’ll focus on the server.

            One of the key updates in this release comes by way of the new Snap package archive. Canonical’s LTS repositories are notoriously outpaced by modern software release cycles. It’s the classic trade-off for stability: Canonical moves slowly to adopt new versions of packages in order to vet applications and ensure they don’t muck up your system. Unfortunately, that induces a lag time that leaves users waiting as the latest and greatest software passes them by.

          • Ubuntu Linux to be bundled as preferred OS with Pivotal Cloud Foundry app platform

            Canonical and Cloud Foundry developer Pivotal have agreed a partnership in which Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux will become the preferred operating system for running Cloud Foundry, with secure certified Ubuntu images included.

            Cloud Foundry is one of the most popular platform-as-a-service suites for developing and deploying cloud-native applications, and versions of it are integrated in a number of platforms such as IBM’s Bluemix developer cloud and HPE’s Helion Stackato.

          • Pivotal Adds Ubuntu to Cloud Foundry

            The steady shift to cloud native infrastructure continues with a partnership between enterprise software vendor Pivotal and Linux specialist Canonical that will provide secure images from Canonical’s Linux distribution Ubuntu on the Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

          • uNav GPS Navigation App for Ubuntu Phones Now Offers Offline Maps, Convergence

            Today, July 6, 2016, Marcos Costales has had the great pleasure of announcing the release and immediate availability of a new update of his uNav GPS navigator app for Ubuntu Phone devices.

          • Nexus 6 Is Now an Unofficial Ubuntu Phone, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Support Coming Soon

            We told you the other day that Ubports’ Marius Gripsgård is on vacation, which means that he has a lot of time on his hands to improve the unofficial Ubuntu Touch port for various devices.

          • Linux Distributions Are Soon Dropping The Support For 32-bit Computers

            Today, few people are using the hardware that can’t run 64-bit CPUs. A recent proposal by Ubuntu’s Dimitri John Ledkov states that Canonical will be killing the 32-bit hardware support soon. This move is also inspired by the fact that 32-bit testing needs double effort and turns out to be costly for an open source project.

          • Canonical-Pivotal partnership makes Ubuntu preferred Linux distro for Cloud Foundry
          • Ubuntu Announces New Snap Desktop Launchers

            Canonical developers have been working on new Snap desktop launchers for improving integration of Snap GUI packages with the converged Ubuntu desktop.

            These new Snap desktop launchers provide a closer and more unified level of integration among packaged desktop applications. Didier Roche, Ubuntu Desktop Technical Leader at Canonical, explained, “The goal was to streamline the experience and ensuring that all following user visible features are working, independent of the toolkit or technology you are using.”

          • Announcing new snap desktop launchers

            Integrating desktop applications with snaps has been a little bit challenging in terms of getting them looking and behaving as part of the system. This means following general desktop theming, having global application menu integration, getting the icon caches, getting configuration keys and such. Also, the technologies and toolkits like GTK, Qt, demand a little bit of expertise on that front.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Mint 18 – Forgetting Sarah Linux

              Linux Mint. Version 18. Sarah. Cinnamon Edition. This was supposed to be the sweetest LTS yet. Only it’s very buggy, it’s worse than the previous edition and the three before, or maybe all of them. It’s even buggier than Ubuntu, and it’s been released a good two months after its parent. There are so many regressions in the system. And I know I’m trying every trick in the English language and scientific method to explain and convince you that this has nothing to do with my hardware, because with the same nuts and bolts in place, you can still baseline, calibrate, evaluate, and compare over time.

              With none of the other parameters changed – my box and me – Mint 18 Sarah is just not a very good release. The live session is awful. I don’t have any smartphone support, at all. Quite a few other aspects of the desktop experience are missing or lacking, and they are just not as refined as they used to be. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, yesterday you told me about the blue blue distro. This season is bad. There’s no other way of putting it. And my experience was so unrewarding, there are many other aspects of this system that I just did not evaluate in any depth, like the x applications and such. What’s the point?

              I wish I could tell a different story. But the simple reality is, I can’t. It defies logic that the previous releases of Mint or perhaps Xubuntu 15.04 or whatever give me everything I need, but this new LTS struggles in roughly 6 out of 10 critical areas. Read it any way you will, think what you want of me, seek flaws in my methods, seek affirmation in my words, there’s no escaping the awful and painful conclusion. One, I’m shattered. Two, this season is absolutely terrible. Three, Sarah Cinnamon deserves only about 3/10. Please stick with the R-releases, and do not upgrade.

            • Upgrading Linux Mint 17.3 to Mint 18 In Place

              Okay, I thought I could wait, but I couldn’t, so yesterday I decided to do an “in place” upgrade of my office desktop from Linux Mint 17.3 to Mint 18.

              It didn’t go smoothly.

              First, let me stress that the Linux Mint community strongly recommends a fresh install every time you upgrade from one release to another, and especially when it is from one major release, like Mint 17, to another, i.e. Mint 18. They ask you to backup your home directory and package lists, base the system and then restore. The problem is that I often make a lot of changes to my system which usually involves editing files in the system /etc directory, and this doesn’t capture that.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Florida Doctor Pleads Guilty to Fraud — Years After Complaints About His Prescribing

      Seven years after a U.S. senator cited him as a national example of aberrant practices, the onetime top prescriber of antipsychotic drugs in Florida’s Medicaid program is in federal custody awaiting sentencing on fraud charges.

      The second-highest prescriber is serving a four-year term in federal prison after pleading guilty to fraud charges in 2012, but he only relinquished his license to practice medicine in Florida last fall.

      Taken together, the cases illustrate how long it can take regulators and law enforcement to take action against problem doctors — and how those physicians can continue prescribing drugs paid for by taxpayers in the meantime. In 2011, ProPublica wrote about the suspicious prescribing patterns of the two Miami-area psychiatrists, Fernando Mendez-Villamil and Huberto Merayo.

    • Ghostbusters, GMOs and the Feigned Expertise of Nobel Laureates

      The letter is a defense of “Golden Rice”, a GMO said to address vitamin deficiencies associated with blindness in the Global South and perhaps one of the worst of the frequent scientific frauds perpetrated by biotechnology interests. The Nobel Prize recipients fell for a zombie rice story that refuses to die and persists as a central legitimizing narrative in the pseudo-humanitarian rhetoric that regularly spews from the pro-GMO propaganda machine. I have written about this in the past to show how Monsanto and the other Gene Giants are spending hundreds of millions on a deceptive campaign to misinform the public about the fake scientific consensus they spin based on inadequately designed industry-led studies of risk, toxicology, and food safety (see the post of May 2, 2014).

    • Activists Expose Monsanto’s Senate Lackeys Minutes Before DARK Act Vote

      Just before a controversial genetically modified (GM or GMO) labeling bill came up for a cloture vote in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, food and consumer advocates dropped over $2,000 on the chamber floor in a symbolic protest against what they are calling the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” (DARK) Act.

    • What Percentage of Doctors at Your Hospital Take Drug, Device Payments?

      Where a hospital is located makes a big difference in how many of its doctors take payments from drug and medical device companies. See how your state compares and look up your hospital below.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Java Deserialization attacks on JBoss Middleware

      Recent research by Chris Frohoff and Gabriel Lawrence has exposed gadget chains in various libraries that allow code to be executed during object deserialization in Java. They’ve done some excellent research, including publishing some code that allows anyone to serialize a malicious payload that when deserialized runs the operating system command of their choice, as the user which started the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The vulnerabilities are not with the gadget chains themselves but with the code that deserializes them.

    • Linux Mint 18 improves security, but at a cost

      The default update settings of Linux Mint would not update the Linux kernel or notify the user when security updates and bug fixes were published upstream (from Ubuntu, which Mint is directly based on, or Debian, which is the basis of Ubuntu). This default behavior left users vulnerable to root exploits, and potential hardware issues for which patches were issued alongside security fixes. Other upstream updates were also blacklisted from Linux Mint for conflicting with the design of the Cinnamon desktop.

    • Safer automotive software through Open Source?

      Linux is about to conquer one of the last blank spots in the world of open source software: The car. EE Times Europe talked with Dan Cauchy, General Manager of Automotive at the Linux Foundation, about intentions and status of Automotive Grade Linux.

    • GnuTLS 3.5.2

      Released GnuTLS 3.3.24, GnuTLS 3.4.14, and GnuTLS 3.5.2 which are bug fix releases in the old, current and next stable branches.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Obama Makes It Official: Either Trump or Clinton Gets to Keep Longest War in US History Going

      Confirming that either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will inherit the longest war in U.S. history, President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that over 8,000 troops will stay in Afghanistan after he leaves the White House.

      The figure is thousands more than the 5,500 soldiers he said in October 2015 would remain in the country.

    • Confessions of a War Propagandist

      Scheunemann was the public relations mastermind and one of the most influential behind the scenes operators in Washington during the winter of 2002-2003. Many of the talking points (“We will be greeted as liberators,” “Sadaam has used chemical weapons on his own people,” “Rogue state rollback”) came right out of our office. A former aide on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to Majority Leader Trent Lott, Scheunemann proudly displayed a signed letter and framed photograph from President Clinton on his office wall, thanking him for his drafting of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, the stated goal of which was regime change. A frequent visitor to our office was Ahmad Chalabi, the American educated Iraqi dissident who provided much of the information that was passed directly to the Department of Defense and the White House through our office.

    • ‘Military action was not a last resort’: Chilcot finally releases Iraq War report

      Britain chose to join the invasion of Iraq in 2003 before peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted, the Chilcot Inquiry has found. Sir John Chilcot’s seven-year inquiry concluded that military action “was not a last resort.”

      The massively delayed and hugely controversial Chilcot Inquiry, reporting back on Wednesday, was tasked with examining the first eight years of the war, starting with the run-up to hostilities and including the period of occupation.

    • U.K. Iraq Inquiry Criticizes Blair and Spies Over War Failures

      Britain’s involvement in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was a failure, carried out before peaceful options had been exhausted and based on intelligence that was overstated, an official inquiry concluded.

      The investigation into the build-up to the war, its execution, and aftermath is highly critical of government ministers, the intelligence services and the military. But the biggest impact of the report, published Wednesday by former civil servant John Chilcot, will be on the reputation of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, the man responsible for Britain’s involvement.

    • Chilcot report: 2003 Iraq war was ‘unnecessary’, war was not ‘last resort’ and Saddam Hussein was ‘no imminent threat’

      The long-awaited official report into Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War has delivered a scathing verdict on Government ministers’ justification, planning and conduct of a military intervention which “went badly wrong, with consequences to this day”.

    • Jeremy Corbyn apologises on behalf of Labour for ‘disastrous decision’ to join Iraq War

      Jeremy Corbyn has apologised on behalf of the Labour Party for Tony Blair’s “disastrous decision” to go to war in Iraq.

      “The decision to go to war in Iraq has been a stain on our party and our country,” the Labour leader said after apologising at a private meeting with families of some of the 179 British servicemen and women killed in Iraq, veterans of the military operation and Iraqis who lost family members.

    • 5 takeaways from Chilcot Report on Tony Blair’s Iraq war

      Thirteen years on and the magnitude of the Iraq war continues to grow.

      The 2003 invasion and its devastating aftermath now infects every sinew of British politics. Trust in government is shot, the special relationship undermined, Britain diminished.

      Despite widespread public acceptance that the invasion has proved a disaster, Wednesday’s official judgement remained shocking for the sheer force of its condemnation.

      After seven years and £10 million of public money, Sir John Chilcot finally produced his findings and certainly pulled no punches. No element of the British establishment escaped unscathed, least of all former prime minister Tony Blair.

      The British army had been let down and humiliated, Chilcot found. Blair’s cabinet had been supine and the intelligence was just wrong.

    • The Tragedy of Tony Blair

      The scathing Chilcot verdict on Tony Blair’s contribution to the war on Iraq brings to mind a more awful tragedy: that more politicians – notably of the American variety – have not suffered the public, private and utter disgrace now falling on Perfidious Albion.

    • Tariq Ali on Chilcot Iraq Report: Tony Blair is a War Criminal for Pushing Us into Illegal War

      While Iraq is marking a third day of mourning, a long-awaited British inquiry into the Iraq War has just been released. The Chilcot report is 2.6 million words long—about three times the length of the Bible. Using excerpts from private correspondence between former Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush, the report details how Blair pushed Britain into the war despite a lack of concrete intelligence. For example, eight months before the invasion, Blair wrote to Bush: “I will be with you, whatever.” Then, in June 2003, less than three months after the invasion began, Blair privately wrote to Bush that the task in Iraq is “absolutely awesome and I’m not at all sure we’re geared for it.” Blair added, “And if it falls apart, everything falls apart in the region.” For more, we speak with British-Pakistani writer, commentator and author Tariq Ali.

    • Tony Blair unrepentant as Chilcot gives crushing Iraq war verdict

      A defiant Tony Blair defended his decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 following the publication of a devastating report by Sir John Chilcot, which mauled the ex-prime minister’s reputation and said that at the time of the 2003 invasion Saddam Hussein “posed no imminent threat”.

    • Hacked Former NATO General Defends Plotting to Push Obama to Escalate Tensions With Russia

      Former NATO Commander Philip Breedlove defended himself on Saturday after The Intercept reported on leaked emails that showed him plotting to push President Obama to escalate tensions with Russia. “I think what you see is a commander doing what commanders ought to do,” Breedlove told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

    • Merkel Urged to Temper NATO’s Belligerence

      U.S. intelligence veterans are calling on German Chancellor Merkel to bring a needed dose of realism and restraint to the upcoming NATO conference, which risks escalating the dangerous new Cold War with Russia.

    • General Breedlove and the Russophobes
    • Israel’s New Open-Fire Rule Authorizes ‘Extra-Judicial Execution’ of Palestinian Youths

      Israeli police are officially permitted to use deadly force against stone-throwing Palestinian teenagers, according to updated regulations made public on Tuesday by an Israel-based human rights organization.

      The new open-fire regulations, revealed by Adalah, a rights organization and legal center that defends Palestinians living in Israel as well as the occupied territories, state that “an officer is permitted to open fire [with live ammunition] directly on an individual who clearly appears to be throwing or is about to throw a firebomb, or who is shooting or is about to shoot fireworks, in order to prevent endangerment.”

    • Yemeni Drone Victim Responds to President Obama’s Civilian Casualty Figures
    • Happy Flag-Waving Drone Document Dump

      ODNI (update–and now I Con the Record) has released its report on the number of drone deaths. The overview is that the US intelligence community is reporting (more on that in a second) far, far fewer drone deaths than credible outside researchers do.

    • The Nonviolent History of American Independence

      Independence Day is commemorated with fireworks and flag-waving, gun salutes and military parades . . . however, one of our nation’s founding fathers, John Adams, wrote, “A history of military operations . . . is not a history of the American Revolution.”

      Often minimized in our history books, the tactics of nonviolent action played a powerful role in achieving American Independence from British rule. Benjamin Naimark-Rowse wrote, “the lesson we learn of a democracy forged in the crucible of revolutionary war tends to ignore how a decade of nonviolent resistance before the shot-heard-round-the-world shaped the founding of the United States, strengthened our sense of political identity, and laid the foundation of our democracy.”

    • Chilcot Report: Tony Blair Told George W. Bush, “If We Win Quickly, Everyone Will Be Our Friend.”

      The Chilcot Report, the U.K.’s official inquiry into its participation in the Iraq War, has finally been released after seven years of investigation.

      Its executive summary certainly makes former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who led the British push for war, look terrible. According to the report, Blair made statements about Iraq’s nonexistent chemical, biological, and nuclear programs based on “what Mr. Blair believed” rather than the intelligence he had been given. The U.K. went to war despite the fact that “diplomatic options had not been exhausted.” Blair was warned by British intelligence that terrorism would “increase in the event of war, reflecting intensified anti-US/anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, including among Muslim communities in the West.”

    • From Paris to Istanbul, More ‘War on Terror’ Means More Terrorist Attacks

      At least 41 people were killed in the recent bombing of Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.

      The day before, suicide bombers killed five people in Qaa, a small village in Lebanon. And while the Saudi-led and U.S.-backed war in Yemen continues to rage, an ISIS affiliate claimed responsibility for attacks in the Yemeni port city of Mukalla that killed at least 12.

    • In Political Fights Over Chilcot Report, Iraqi Lives Don’t Matter

      The bitter political debate over the 2003 Iraq war resumed once again on Wednesday in the United Kingdom and the United States, thanks to the release of a report on the British role in the invasion and occupation.

      Parsing the report, prepared by a committee of Privy Counsellors chaired by Sir John Chilcot, will take time since it runs to 2.6 million words, but the reaction online has already begun. Partisans for and against the war are sifting through the text for new details that might support their original positions, a reminder that Iraq has only ever mattered to most Americans and Britons as material for attacks on their political opponents.

      That becomes glaringly obvious when you compare the intensity and volume of commentary on the report to how relatively little was said about a suicide bombing in Baghdad on Sunday that killed 250 Iraqis.

    • Terrorism’s Murky Message

      Moreover, there are different scales on which to measure sophistication besides the number of people involved. Success in killing people other than oneself might be one of those ways of measuring. The recent attacks have presented a mixed picture in this regard. The triple suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia don’t look very sophisticated. One of the bombers managed to kill four security guards, but the other two blew up no one but themselves.

    • Bush, Blair and the Lies That Justified the Illegal Iraq War

      In front of the assembled 1,500 journalists, Bush showed a series of slides of himself looking under papers, behind drapes and out the window of the oval office. A smiling Bush narrated, “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere,” followed by, “Nope, no weapons over there,” and “Maybe under here?” The transcript shows that this stand-up routine was greeted with “laughter and applause.”

    • Lost in the Military-Industrial Complex

      Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have ducked any serious discussion of America’s escalating military spending, suggesting that whoever wins will be captive of President Eisenhower’s “Military-Industrial Complex,” writes Chuck Spinney.

    • Where Are The Drone Casualty Figures the White House Promised Months Ago?

      Despite months of repeated promises, the White House has yet to release its estimate of civilian casualties from the administration’s drone program – a delayed disclosure the New York Times Editorial Board described as “too little, too late.”

      In March, Lisa Monaco, President Barack Obama chief counterterrorism adviser, announced that the White House would “in the coming weeks” release an “assessment of combatant and non-combatant casualties” from U.S. drone strikes since 2009. Monaco doubled down on the commitment in a second speech a few weeks later.

      The figures are likely to show aggregate numbers of people killed by country in nations not recognized as battlefields – like Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya – according to the Washington Post. Death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan will not be included.

      The President is also expected to sign an executive order requiring the release of annual casualty figures going forward.

  • Classification

    • FBI: Clinton “Extremely Careless” Handling Classified Info, But No Charges Recommended

      The bureau also revealed it was likely that Clinton’s personal email server was compromised by foreign hackers.

    • The Department of Political Justice

      Is it worth impairing the reputation of the FBI and the Department of Justice to save Hillary Clinton…

    • FBI: Hillary Clinton Broke the Law, But Don’t Prosecute Her

      The latest in shocking but not surprising news came yesterday as FBI Director Jim Comey formally recommended not indicting Hillary Clinton for her alleged mishandling of classified information.

      Given America’s less-than-stellar track record of prosecuting the powerful, this outcome has been a virtual certainty for some time. Even so, the event is still important. It offers the clearest evidence to date that the rule of law does not exist. One set of rules applies to the politically connected, and an entirely different set applies to everyone else. Nothing could illustrate this fact better than the Clinton email scandal.

    • In a Rigged System, Hillary Clinton Is Too Big to Indict

      The long-roiling question finally has been answered: Hillary Clinton will not be indicted for using a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. Period. Full stop. Pause a moment, and let it sink in.

      FBI Director James Comey delivered the word in a surprise news conference Tuesday morning, exactly three days after Clinton’s 3½-hour interview Saturday at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C.

      There was plenty of evidence that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and her staff had been “extremely careless” in their handling of classified and sensitive information, Comey said, but not enough to prove they had acted with the criminal intent or willfulness needed to secure a conviction. “No reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” he concluded.

      While the FBI’s evaluation technically is not binding on the Justice Department, any indictment is now clearly off the table. Last week, following her embarrassing and ethically suspect encounter with Bill Clinton on the tarmac at the Phoenix airport, Attorney General Loretta Lynch publicly pledged to follow the bureau’s lead. And the bureau, via Comey, has spoken.

    • Commentary: What the FBI didn’t say about Hillary Clinton’s email

      Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey’s recommendation that no charges be brought against Hillary Clinton for her use of an unclassified email server while secretary of state is significant, but what he did not address is equally important.

    • Why Hillary Clinton Should be Prosecuted for Reckless Abuses of National Security

      Yesterday FBI Director James Comey described Hillary Clinton’s email communications as Secretary of State as “extremely careless.” His statement undermined the defenses Clinton put forward, stating the FBI found 110 emails on Clinton’s server that were classified at the time they were sent or received; eight contained information classified at the highest level, “top secret,” at the time they were sent. That stands in direct contradiction to Clinton’s repeated insistence she never sent or received any classified emails.

      All the elements necessary to prove a felony violation were found by the FBI investigation, specifically of Title 18 Section 793(f) of the federal penal code, a law ensuring proper protection of highly classified information. Director Comey said that Clinton was “extremely careless” and “reckless” in handling such information. Contrary to the implications of the FBI statement, the law does not require showing that Clinton intended to harm the United States, but that she acted with gross negligence.

      The recent State Department Inspector General (IG) report was clear that Clinton blithely disregarded safeguards to protect the most highly classified national security information and that she included on her unprotected email server the names of covert CIA officers. The disclosure of such information is a felony under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Wanton Disregard for US Laws and National Security

      There is a new poster child for the U.S. government’s double standard in dealing with violations of public policy and public trust—former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who will receive no punishment for her wanton disregard of U.S. laws and national security. Clinton merely received a blistering rebuke from FBI director James Comey, who charged her with “extremely careless” behavior in using multiple private email servers to send and received classified information as well as using her personal cellphone in dealing with sensitive materials while traveling outside the United States. Some of these communications referred to CIA operatives, which is a violation of a 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act to protect those individuals working overseas under cover.

    • Hillary Clinton as Damaged Goods

      FBI Director Comey’s judgment that Hillary Clinton was “extremely careless” but not criminal in her sloppy email practices leaves her limping to the Democratic nomination and stumbling toward the fall campaign, writes Robert Parry.

    • FBI Recommends ‘No Consequences’ for Clinton’s Reckless Email Handling
    • FBI Declares ‘No Charges Are Appropriate’ in Hillary Clinton Email Investigation

      Comey noted in his statement: “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences.”

    • Judge Responds To Open Records Request By Having Requester Indicted, Arrested

      We’ve seen government officials do some pretty questionable things to avoid turning over documents to FOIA requesters. The most common method is just to stick requesters with a bill they can’t pay. Stonewalling is popular, too — so much so that the federal government sends out “Still interested?” notices to people whose requests have been backburnered for years.

      More rarely, officials will race requesters to the courthouse, hoping to secure a judgment in their favor stating that they’ve already fully complied with a FOIA request — even when they’ve done nothing but withhold and redact. Stripped of all the legal wrangling, this is basically the government suing individuals for asking for documents, forcing taxpayers to go out-of-pocket if they hope to counter the officials’ assertions.

    • WikiLeaks Releases Over 1,200 Clinton Emails on Iraq War

      WikiLeaks on Monday marked the yearly celebration of American independence by releasing over 1,200 private emails belonging to former secretary of state and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton pertaining to the Iraq War.

      The whistleblower platform announced the new archive in a tweet, noting that the emails would be made public just two days before the UK government is set to release its official inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq, initiated by former U.S. President George W. Bush with substantial backing from then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

      Adding even more fuel to the speculation surrounding the Chilcot Inquiry, WikiLeaks on Monday also released a complete list of British MPs who voted to invade Iraq.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate Change Deniers Can Rest Easy Knowing The Democratic Party Isn’t Out To Prosecute Them

      Last week, a couple right-leaning news publications published headlines suggesting that the Democratic Party wants to prosecute individual people who disagree with the scientific consensus on climate change.

      This is not true, and the stories themselves don’t suggest it. But the headlines are conspicuously misleading. “Dem Party Platform Calls For Prosecuting Global Warming Skeptics,” screamed one headline from The Daily Caller. Townhall’s headline read nearly the same. The Washington Times went with “Democrats force Clinton’s hand on prosecution of climate skeptics.”

    • Big Coal Just Saw One Of Its Favorite Loopholes Closed

      The Obama Administration last week took a closely-watched first step in its effort to reform the federal coal program by issuing a rule that will make it harder for coal companies to dodge royalty payments when mining on taxpayer-owned public lands.

      The rule, issued by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR), closes a loophole that enabled coal companies to sell coal to their own subsidiaries — and then pay royalties on that artificially depressed price. Through these self-dealing transactions, coal companies have been able to shortchange U.S. taxpayers and state governments millions of dollars in royalty payments that are owed on federal coal.

  • Finance/Brexit

    • Sterling falls to new low against the dollar in Asia trade

      The pound has hit a new low in Asian trading as concerns about the UK’s vote to leave the European Union continue to weigh on investor confidence.

      It touched 1.2798 against the dollar on Wednesday, a 31-year low, before recovering slightly to $1.2963.

      The pound has now fallen about 14% against the dollar since hitting $1.50 ahead of the referendum result.

    • How Brexit Will Affect U.S. Foreign Policy

      British voters’ decision to leave the European Union last week caused panic in world financial markets, with stocks dropping like a stone around the world. The British pound and the euro sank, and many “experts” lamented the beginning of the end of the EU. Maybe it’s true that Brexit will lead to a period of instability in stock markets, currencies and European politics. But there’s a bigger issue at play—European foreign policy in support of U.S. interventions around the world.

      As Chris Hedges eloquently noted in a recent Truthdig column, the U.K. is generally viewed as the closest ally of the United States. Washington uses that relationship to push its foreign policy under the guise of European and Western unity.

      Is Libya falling apart? The U.S. and EU intervene, and it’s all a show of unity.

    • Brexit: the cost of bad governance

      What has come to pass in the United Kingdom with the referendum on membership of the European Union would be called bad governance and patronage anywhere across the developing world. Short-sighted self-interest and political ambition have trumped long-term vision and the collective good. This is, by definition, the problem besetting all those countries that the UK and other international donors work with in efforts to help them become more effective – as well as fairer and more inclusive.

    • Lionel Messi handed jail term in Spain for tax fraud

      Argentina and Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud, Spanish media say.

      His father, Jorge Messi, was also given a jail term for defrauding Spain of €4.1m (£3.5m; $4.5m) between 2007 and 2009.

      They also face millions of euros in fines for using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay used to conceal earnings from image rights.

      However, they are likely to avoid jail.

    • CETA will be voted on by EU member states after all, perhaps thanks to Brexit

      In an unexpected move, the European Commission has announced that national parliaments will be given the chance to vote on the CETA trade deal with Canada. As Ars reported last month, it was widely expected that the commission would try to claim that CETA was an “EU-only” agreement, meaning it would therefore be only need to be ratified by the three main EU institutions: the Commission itself, the Council of the European Union, and the European Parliament.

      In a press release announcing its formal proposal for the signature and conclusion of the EU-Canada trade deal, the European Commission explains its decision as follows: “To allow for a swift signature and provisional application, so that the expected benefits are reaped without unnecessary delay, the commission has decided to propose CETA as ‘mixed’ agreement”—that is, requiring all of the individual EU governments to ratify the deal as well.

    • TTIP impossible in 2016, French minister says

      It will be “impossible” for the European Union and the United States to conclude negotiations on a trade deal by the end of 2016, France’s junior minister for trade and commerce said on Tuesday (5 July).

      “I think a deal in 2016 is impossible and everyone knows it, including those who say otherwise,” said the minister, Matthias Fekl in a statement highly critical of the deal.

      Fekl’s position doesn’t seem to be a big surprise. France has already said that TTIP talks are likely to grind to a halt because of Washington’s reluctance to make concessions. But the real reason seems to be that France will hold presidential elections in April-May 2017 and the incumbent president François Hollande doesn’t want this issue to be part of the campaign.

    • The TTIP and the privitization of health

      The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Treaty (TTIP) may present a genuine threat to health and to the outcomes we have reached in the healthcare systems today. With all its problems, the National Health Care System (SNS) that we know today, is internationally recognized as one of the best and most efficient in the world. In the State of Spain, Osakidetza holds recognized prestige in this field. Experts agree that “universal health systems with public property and management and based on Primary Care are those that offer the best results in health and are also the most efficient, the fairest and the most humane”.

    • SRSLY: BoJo, The #Brexit Bro

      BoJo is the tousle-haired towhead who went to the most haute of all British high schools for boys — it costs $13,000 just to drop out in the middle of a term, and that’s a bargain thanks to the falling value of the Great British pound — and yet, he managed to convince vast swaths of the plebeian old country (and I do mean old: “Leave” crushed among British seniors) that he should be their medium for social change. Johnson was previously the mayor of London, which voted heavily to stay, before he became the hair of the Leave Campaign.

      [...]

      He later lost a political appointment for lying to a superior about an affair he was having with a columnist at the magazine he was editing. He might’ve gotten away with that one if, according to the Daily Mail, the columnist hadn’t been a famous socialite whose mother revealed publicly an abortion stemming from the affair with Johnson. Johnson had previously dismissed the affair rumors as an “inverted pyramid of piffle.” Natch.

    • Despite Anti-Trade Rhetoric, Donald Trump’s Campaign Team Includes Pro-Trade Lobbyists

      Donald Trump denounced the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement on Tuesday and charged that Hillary Clinton, a long-time supporter of the deal, is deceiving voters when she says she now opposes it.

      Trump wasn’t wrong to charge that Clinton has surrounded herself with members of the global elite who promote and benefit from deals such as TPP. In fact, many members of Clinton’s inner circle have continued to advocate for the trade agreement.

    • Donald Trump’s Evil Twin Brother

      Just to clarify, Carl Icahn couldn’t actually be Trump’s biological “twin” because at age 80, he’s ten years older than his fellow billionaire. Still, in regard to swinish greed, naked ambition, and unvarnished contempt for working men and women, he surpasses Donald in almost every category, which is saying something, and which is why, even in hard-bitten business circles, Icahn has been described as “evil.”

      Carl Icahn gained fame in the 1980s with his “raider mentality” and highly publicized hostile takeovers of corporations. He would borrow enormous sums of money to purchase a company, then pay off the accrued debt by breaking it up and selling its components, basically destroying the company. One can’t help but recall Harold Wilson’s reference to Edward Heath: “He reminds me of a shiver looking for a spine to run down.”

    • New York Isn’t Telling Tenants They May Be Protected From Big Rent Hikes

      In February of 2015, Lilian Piedra received a letter with devastating news: Her landlord was jacking up the rent for her four-bedroom apartment in Manhattan’s Washington Heights from $2,100 a month to $3,500.

      The notice did not say she faced eviction, but Piedra immediately understood that’s what it meant. She and her husband were already struggling to raise three young children on her salary as a bank customer service representative and his as a parking garage manager.

    • Sports Direct reports worse-than-forecast 15 percent drop in profit

      British retailer Sports Direct (SPD.L) posted a worse-than-expected 15 percent drop in annual profit on Thursday, blaming tough conditions on the high street and negative publicity about its working practices.

      The company, which is not paying a dividend, said current political uncertainty after Britain voted to leave the European Union last month was likely to act as a continuing drag on consumer confidence.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hillary Rebuffs Bernie’s Policy Demands

      Eager to hold the political “center,” Hillary Clinton has budged little on Bernie Sanders’s policy proposals beyond nice-sounding platitudes, a strategy that could lead to clashes at the Democratic convention, says Lawrence Davidson.

    • In the Bloodpot of Human Hearts: Standing Up Against Old Man Trump and His Creepy Racist Son Too

      The lyrics, scribbled by Guthrie over 60 years ago but just discovered earlier this year, describe the racist rental policies of Trump Sr.’s housing project Beach Haven. Notes Guthrie, “I suppose/Old Man Trump knows/Just how much/Racial Hate he stirred up/In the bloodpot of human hearts/When he drawed/That color line.” In honor of the release, Morello shot a video in which he proclaims, “I’m standing up against Old Man Trump.” He goes on vis a vis the son who followed in his father’s – and grandfather’s – bigoted footsteps, “When it comes to race relations, he’s like an old-school segregationist. When it comes to foreign policy, he’s like an old-school napalmist. When it comes to women’s issues, he’s like a frat-house rapist. So let’s not elect that guy.”

    • Clinton’s Pro-Charter School Comments Draw Boos from Teachers Union

      Hillary Clinton was booed at a National Education Association (NEA) event on Tuesday after suggesting that public schools have something to learn from their charter counterparts.

      “When schools get it right, whether they’re traditional public schools or public charter schools, let’s figure out what’s working and share it with schools across America,” she said to the labor union’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., provoking audible boos. “Rather than starting from ideology, let’s start from what’s best for our kids.”

    • The GOP’s Date from Hell

      For a half century, Republicans pandered to Americans angry about racial integration and other social change – even as GOP elites got rich off the “base” – leading to Donald Trump, the party’s date from hell, says Michael Winship.

    • Sanders Reportedly Booed by House Dems Who Just Want Clinton Endorsement Already

      Bernie Sanders spoke to Democratic members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday but was reportedly booed as he attempted to explain that his endorsement of presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton might not fit into an easy timeline and that transforming the nation is about more than one election.

      While providing anonymity to all of its sources, Politico reported how “one person inside the room” said there were “boos from lawmakers” while Sanders was addressing questions about endorsing Clinton.

      One unnamed “senior Democrat” described being personally frustrated that Sanders used the meeting to talk about the central issues of his historic campaign while refusing to simply say when Clinton would receive his blessing publicly. “It was frustrating because he’s squandering the movement he built with a self-obsession that was totally on display,” the individual said.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Europol’s online censorship unit is haphazard and unaccountable says NGO

      Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (IRU) celebrated its first birthday at the weekend, but civil liberties organisations are worried that it goes too far in its efforts to keep the Web free from extremist propaganda.

      The IRU has been up and running since July 2015 as part of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) in the Hague. The unit is charged with monitoring the Internet for extremist propaganda and referring “relevant online content towards concerned Internet service providers” in particular social media. Much was made of how the IRU could “contact social network service provider Facebook directly to ask it to delete a Web page run by ISIS or request details of other pages that might be run by the same user.”

    • DA Demands Answers for SA’s UN Vote Against Internet Freedom

      South Africa’s vote against a United Nation (UN) resolution promoting Internet freedom is disturbing but unsurprising, given the ANC-government’s penchant for censorship.

      Last week, the South African government’s representatives at the UN voted against a resolution that sought to promote and protect human rights on online platforms. Part of the resolution sought to condemn the intentional disruption of Internet access to the public. In voting against this resolution, South Africa has joined the ranks of China, Russia and North Korea, countries that have poor human rights track records and are the biggest practitioners of censorship.

    • Selected-Information Age: The new face of censorship

      South Africa voted with China and Russia against a UN resolution on freedom of the internet. It is ironic that censorship is flourishing in the information age.

      Two beliefs exist about modern journalism. One is that the digital revolution is the most powerful force disrupting the news media. The second is that the internet and the social media platforms it spawned, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, are shifting power from high authorities to civil society and to bloggers, or rather, “citizen journalists.”

    • Helen Suzman Foundation launches court case against SABC censorship

      On Monday 4 July, News24 reported that the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) has launched an urgent court bid to stop the SABC from implementing its decision to censor reporting of protests.

      The application is against the SABC, its board, COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, the HSF said in a statement on Monday.

    • Anti-censorship picketers to SABC: Cooperate or face more demonstrations

      An anti-censorship picket is underway outside the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) offices in Auckland Park, despite SABC management refusing to meet with protesting organisations.

      The picket is being led by the Save Our SABC (SOS) Coalition, together with the Gauteng South African Communist Party (SACP).

    • SABC protests to continue this week

      Protests will continue for the rest of the week in connection with SABC censorship and the dismissal of SABC journalists.

      The protest campaigns are being organised by civil societies such as Right2Know Campaign and SOS Coalition as well as Support Our SABC campaign.

    • Has Subaru’s SiriusXM ‘Censorship’ Crossed a Line?

      “Subaru has no business monitoring what I listen to and resetting my radio every time I turn off the car, when, in Subaru’s high and mighty opinion, I’m listening to something questionable,” remarked Patton.

    • UK High Court Upholds Blocking Of Infringing Websites In Trademark Cases

      Internet service providers can be ordered to block websites that offer counterfeit goods for sale despite the lack of an express law to that effect in trademark cases, the UK Court of Appeal for England and Wales said in a 6 July decision.

    • Professor breaks silence in University of Northern Colorado academic freedom case
    • University of Northern Colorado President Kay Norton’s letter to campus community
    • EXCLUSIVE: Transcript of Bias Response Team Conversation with Censored Professor
    • Colorado ‘Bias Response Team’ Threatened Prof To Change His Lessons
    • UNC prof shares tale of censorship by Bias Response Team
    • Campus opinion police

      The latest low point in higher education comes from the University of Northern Colorado, where the campus Bias Response Team came down on two professors for merely suggesting supposedly controversial viewpoints to students.

      The professors didn’t argue their opinions. And they didn’t compel students to do so, either. They simply suggested them. But that was enough for offended students to report them.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Shaping Traffic and Spying on Americans

      At the Intercept earlier this week, Peter Maass described an interview he had with a former NSA hacker he calls Lamb of God — this is the guy who did the presentation boasting “I hunt SysAdmins.” On the interview, I agree with Bruce Schneier that it would have been nice to hear more from Lamb of God’s side of things.

      But the Intercept posted a number of documents that should have been posted long, long ago, covering how the NSA “shapes” Internet traffic and how it identifies those using Tor and other anonymizers.

      I’m particularly interested in the presentations on shaping traffic — which is summarized in the hand-written document to the right and laid out in more detail in this presentation.

      Both describe how the NSA will force Internet traffic to cross switches where it has collection capabilities. We’ve known they do this. Beyond just the logic of it, some descriptions of NSA’s hacking include descriptions of tracking traffic to places where a particular account can be hacked.

      But the acknowledgement that they do this and discussions of how they do so is worth closer attention.

      That’s true, first of all, because of wider discussions of cable maps. In discussing the various ways to make Internet traffic cross switches to which the NSA has access, Lamb of God facetiously (as is his style) suggests you could bomb or cut all the cable lines that feed links to which the NSA doesn’t have access.

    • Secret Rules Make It Pretty Easy for the FBI to Spy on Journalists

      Secret FBI rules allow agents to obtain journalists’ phone records with approval from two internal officials — far less oversight than under normal judicial procedures.

      The classified rules, obtained by The Intercept and dating from 2013, govern the FBI’s use of National Security Letters, which allow the bureau to obtain information about journalists’ calls without going to a judge or informing the news organization being targeted. They have previously been released only in heavily redacted form.

      Media advocates said the documents show that the FBI imposes few constraints on itself when it bypasses the requirement to go to court and obtain subpoenas or search warrants before accessing journalists’ information.

    • FBI Must Not Sidestep Privacy Protections For Massive Collection of Biometric Data

      The FBI, which has created a massive database of biometric information on millions of Americans never involved in a crime, mustn’t be allowed to shield this trove of personal information from Privacy Act rules that let people learn what data the government has on them and restrict how it can be used.

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed comments today with the FBI, on behalf of itself and six civil liberties groups, objecting to the agency’s request to exempt the Next Generation Identification (NGI) database from key provisions of federal privacy regulations that protect personal data from misuse and abuse. The FBI has amassed this database with little congressional and public oversight, failed for years to provide basic information about NGI as required by law, and dragged its feet to disclose—again, as required by law—a detailed description of the records and its policies for maintaining them. Now it wants to be exempt from even the most basic notice and data correction requirements.

      NGI includes prints and face recognition data from millions of everyday people who’ve committed no crime but have had their biometric data collected when they needed a background check for a job, applied for welfare benefits, registered for immigration, or obtained state licenses to be a teacher, realtor, or dentist. For example, NGI holds millions of photographs searchable through facial recognition and accessible by 20,000 foreign, federal, state, and municipal-level law enforcement agencies.

    • EFF and ACLU-led Coalition Opposes Dangerous “Model” Employee and Student “Privacy” Legislation

      EFF, ACLU, and a coalition of nearly two-dozen civil liberties and advocacy organizations and a union representative are urging the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) to vote down dangerous model employee and student privacy legislation.

      The bill, the Employee and Student Online Privacy Protection Act (ESOPPA), is ostensibly aimed at protecting employee and student privacy. But its broad and vaguely worded exceptions and limitations overshadow any protections the bill attempts to provide. As our joint letter explains, ESOPPA will result in only further invasions of student and employee privacy.

      The ULC is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to researching, drafting, and promoting the enactment of uniform state laws, which it drafts and circulates as “models.” The ULC will vote on ESOPPA on July 11 at its annual meeting, and if it passes, the ULC will circulate the bill to legislators across the country in the hope of uniform adoption in all fifty states. But ESOPPA falls far short of its goal and does not live up to the prevailing standard for protecting social media privacy currently being enacted by the states and as required by the U.S. Constitution.

    • Go Big, Go Global: Subject the NSA’s Overseas Programs to Judicial Review

      The next round of surveillance reform is a time for the United States to go big – and to go global. We should get out of our defensive crouch and show the world how to balance robust intelligence capabilities with rules to protect privacy and civil liberties in the digital age.

      Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act authorizes collection of data inside the United States, so long as the direct targets are foreign citizens located outside the United States, with judicial review on a programmatic basis. Section 702 expires at the end of 2017. The debate over reauthorizing it pits supporters ­– who argue the law is vital and should be extended without change – against civil libertarians who urge its expiration or at least significant reforms. This paper is an effort to reframe that debate.

    • India’s High-Tech Billion-Person Aadhaar Identity System Can’t Cope With Real-Life Biometrics

      It sounds like getting India’s 1.29 billion population to use the Aadhaar system for routine daily transactions is going to be something of a challenge, to put it mildly.

    • Going Underground – the Snoopers’ Charter

      Here is a recent interview I did for the RT UK’s flagship news channel, “Going Underground” about the horrors of the proposed Investigatory Powers Bill – the so-called “snoopers charter” – that will legalise previously illegal mass surveillance, mass data retention, and mass hacking carried out by GCHQ in league with the NSA…

    • “Only Facts Matter:” Jim Comey Is Not the Master Bureaucrat of Integrity His PR Sells Him Has

      There’s an intimately related effort Comey gets some credit for which in fact led to fairly horrible conclusions: torture. Jack Goldsmith, with Comey’s backing, also withdrew the shoddy John Yoo memo authorizing waterboarding and other torture (Goldsmith also prevented Yoo from retroactively authorizing more techniques).

    • Federal Court Hears Long Overdue Arguments Over 2008 Surveillance Law

      More than seven years after President George W. Bush signed a law authorizing warrantless surveillance of international communications, a federal appellate court heard arguments challenging the 2008 law for the first time.

      Congressed passed the FISA Amendments Act in the wake of revelations that the Bush administration was wiretapping all Americans’ transnational communications. Rather than reigning in the program, Congress effectively legalized it – providing legal immunity to the phone companies involved, and allowing the government to conduct surveillance without a court order, as long as the “target” was a foreigner living overseas.

      In 2013, documents from by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the government cites the law as the legal authority for its PRISM and Upstream programs – which collect Americans’ emails and browsing histories with individuals and websites hosted overseas.

    • Author adds perspective to NSA’s covert activities

      The intelligence community hasn’t always escaped study. Long before Snowden became the patriot or goat, depending on perspective, the Church Committee in the U.S. Senate took a look into the government’s spy agencies after Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon put the CIA and NSA on personal projects.

    • The Secrets that Remain about Journalist NSLs

      Which brings me back to the other point about NSLs I keep harping on. The 2014 NSL IG report showed that the FBI was not reporting at least 6.8% of their NSLs, even to Congress, much less to the Inspector General. When asked about that, FBI said an accurate number was really not worth trying to do, even while it admitted that the uncounted NSLs were “sensitive” cases — a category that includes journalists (and politicians and faith leaders).

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

      It started when — as increasingly happens in her work — someone came to her with a scary problem. Facebook recommended he friend someone he had only just met for the first time at a meeting for parents of suicidal teens. In response, Facebook confirmed they do use co-location for such recommendations.

    • Massive Security Boost: TOR Privacy Features Are Coming To Mozilla Firefox

      In order to make your web browsing experience a lot better, Mozilla is integrating some key privacy features of TOR browser into its Firefox web browser. These features will go live with the final Firefox 50 release and make it a better Google Chrome alternative.

    • Court to Hear Case on NSA’s Warrantless Spying Program

      On Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in U.S. v. Mohamud, where a man is fighting his conviction for Attempted Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction after undercover agents caught him attempting to remotely detonate a fake bomb that agents had provided. Mohamed Osman Mohamud is appealing, saying that federal agents illegally monitored his online activity during their investigation, getting data through an NSA surveillance program, Reuters reported. Through that program, the NSA collected information from online communications and international phone calls of Americans without a warrant.

    • Senate Funding Bill For State Dept. Asks It To Figure Out Ways To Stop Bad People From Using Tor

      It would appear that Congress is not so happy that the State Department is a major funding source for the Tor project. Tor, of course, is the internet anonymyzing system that was originally developed with support from the US government as a way to promote free and safe access to the internet for people around the globe (mostly focusing on those under threat in authoritarian countries). Of course, other parts of our government aren’t huge fans of Tor, because it doesn’t just help activists and dissidents in other countries avoid detection, but also, well, just about anyone (except on days when the FBI decides to hack their way in).

      There has, of course, always been some tension there. There are always the conspiracy theorists who believe that because Tor receives US government funding it is by default compromised. Those tend to be tinfoil hat wearing types, though. The folks who work on Tor are not exactly recognized for being particularly friendly to intrusive government surveillance. They tend to be the exact opposite of that. And, of course, part of the Snowden revelations revealed that Tor was one tool that still stymied the NSA in most cases.

    • 9th Circuit To Hear ‘Christmas Tree Bomber’ Appeal Wednesday
    • ‘Christmas tree bomber’ will appeal conviction
    • Mohamed Mohamud case and challenge to electronic surveillance go before appeals court
    • Oregon Lawyers Question American Surveillance Tactics
    • Appeals court hears warrantless spying case. Could it change surveillance law?
    • Warrantless surveillance in Portland holiday tree-lighting bomb plot challenged in court
    • US defends warrantless spying in Christmas tree bomber case
    • Man convicted of Portland tree-lighting bomb plot wants sentence overturned
    • Appeals court hears challenge to use of NSA data in criminal cases
    • Christmas bomber case appeal challenges NSA surveillance
    • Attorneys debate use of warrantless surveillance in Portland bomb appeal
    • Mohamed Mohamud back in court today to appeal conviction

      Mohamed Mohamud, the young Somalian American convicted in 2014 of trying to bomb Portland’s downtown square during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in November 2010, is back in court today where an appeal of his conviction will be heard.

      The appeal will be heard today by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit at 11 a.m. at the Pioneer Square Courthouse in Portland.
      Mohamud is serving a 30-year prison sentence. The appeal argues the sting operation was a setup. It also claims the FBI surveillance of Mohamud violated his constitutional right against unlawful search and seizure. Mohamud’s lawyers are seeking a reversal of his conviction or a new trial.

      Prosecutors are standing firm, saying Mohamud intended to commit an act of terrorism.

    • U.S. court to hear arguments in warrantless NSA spying case

      A U.S. appeals court will weigh a constitutional challenge on Wednesday to a warrantless government surveillance program brought by an Oregon man found guilty of attempting to detonate a bomb in 2010 during a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.

      The case before a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the first of its kind to consider whether a criminal defendant’s constitutional privacy rights are violated under a National Security Agency program that allows spying on Americans’ international phone calls and internet communications.

      Mohamed Mohamud, a Somali-American, was convicted in 2013 of plotting to use a weapon of mass destruction and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

    • VIDEO: Oh I do like to spy beside the seaside – GCHQ invites bids for learn-on-the-job cash [Ed: puff piece]
    • NSA Looks to IT Industry to Harden Vulnerable U.S. Nets [Ed: Another “NSA is the Good Guys” puff piece; they actively undermine networks’ security]
    • Protect your privacy: Resist mass cracking by US law enforcement

      In 2014, the Judicial Conference of the United States, which frames policy guidelines for courts in the US, proposed changes to Rule 41 of the FRCrmP that gives federal magistrate judges the authority to issue warrants for cracking and surveillance in cases where the targeted computer’s location is unknown. That means law enforcement could request warrants allowing mass cracking of thousands of computers at once. The Supreme Court, which oversees the Rules, submitted the changes to the US Congress in April. This is an unprecedented, broad government cracking authorization, and it is dangerous to the privacy and security of all Internet users.

    • The single reason I trust Google with my data
    • The Two Reasons I Don’t Trust Google With My Data
    • Should you trust Google with your data?
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Former Police Chief Pushes Through Legislation To Keep Body Cam Footage Out Of The Public’s Hands

      Whatever accountability and transparency could be achieved with the deployment of police body cameras often seems to be undercut by legislative activity. Minnesota legislators, prompted by law enforcement, tried to cut the public out of the process. So did a sheriff-turned-legislator in Michigan. The LAPD preemptively declared its body cam footage would not be considered “public records,” which means legislators will have to act to roll back the PD’s policy. And in Illinois, a law enforcement agency decided to stop using body cameras altogether because accountability is just too much work.

      Over in North Carolina, one legislator is sponsoring a bill that would exempt body cam footage from public records laws. His concern, of course, is the privacy of all involved.

    • Chelsea Manning ‘rushed to hospital after trying to take own life’

      Chelsea Manning, the military whistleblower serving a 35 year sentence, has been rushed to hospital after reportedly trying to take her own life.

      A US media report said that Manning, who is being held at in a cell at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, was taken to hospital early on Tuesday morning. CNN said that it was believed that the 28-year-old had tried to take her life. There was no immediate independent confirmation of this.

    • Police Claim They Arrested Man Who Burnt American Flag Because Of Threats He Received

      Meet Bryton Mellott. Bryton’s just a guy from Urbana, IL. A guy with a Facebook page that he uses to share stuff with friends, post hilarious memes, and post a picture of himself burning the American flag on the 4th of July, the anniversary of when President Washington personally haymaker-punched the King of England right in the face (I think), thereby setting all some Americans free of our British overseers.

      As you can imagine, lots of people didn’t like Bryton’s picture. Some called the police about it for reasons we will get into in a moment. Others threatened him with violence and death. Still others threatened him with violence and death at his place of work. A few meager folks stuck up for him. You know, Facebook.

      And at the end of the day, Bryton was arrested by Urbana police.

    • Whitewashing Sharia councils in the UK?

      In an Open Letter to the UK Home Secretary, hundreds of women’s human rights organisations and campaigners warn against a further slide towards privatised justice and parallel legal systems.

    • From Captive to Captor: A Journalist’s Journey from Prisoner to Prison Guard

      Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer has spent much of his career reporting on criminal justice. For years he’d been frustrated by the secretive nature of the American private prison industry. Tired of old-fashioned document-hunting, he tried an unconventional approach. He went undercover, spending four months as a prison guard at Winn Correctional Center in Winnfield, Louisiana.

      His 35,000-word story provides a rare, harrowing look at the closed world of private prisons — a system that holds 131,000 people nationwide. What he saw still haunts him: men stabbing each other with handmade knives as guards looked on; officers in tactical gear storming the prison’s dormitories; an assault victim writhing in panic as he pleaded for protection from a predatory inmate; a prisoner whose gangrene went untreated so long he had to have his legs amputated.

    • Tomgram: Nick Turse, Revolving Doors, Robust Rolodexes, and Runaway Generals

      Here’s an oddity: Americans recognize corruption as an endemic problem in much of the world, just not in our own. And that’s strange. After all, to take but one example, America’s twenty-first-century war zones have been notorious quagmires of corruption on a scale that should boggle the imagination. In 2011, a final report from the congressionally mandated Commission on Wartime Contracting estimated that somewhere between $31 billion and $60 billion U.S. taxpayer dollars were lost to fraud and waste in the American “reconstruction” of Iraq and Afghanistan (which undoubtedly will, in the end, prove an underestimate). U.S. taxpayer dollars were spent to build roads to nowhere; a gas station in the middle of nowhere; teacher-training centers and other structures that were never finished (but made oodles of money for lucky contractors); a chicken-plucking factory that never plucked a chicken (but plucked American taxpayers); and a lavish $25 million headquarters that no one ever needed or bothered to use. Thanks to tens of billions of U.S. dollars, whole security forces were funded, trained, armed, and filled with “ghost” soldiers and police (while local commanders and other officials lined their pockets with completely unspectral “salaries”). And so it went.

    • Alaa Abd El Fattah Must Be Released, Says UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

      Nearly two years ago, along with the Media Legal Defence Initiative and with consent and input from his family, we submitted a petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) for the release of Egyptian coder, blogger, and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah. Abd El Fattah was arrested on November 28, 2013, two days after participating in a peaceful demonstration against a law allowing Egyptian civilians to be tried in military courts. His arrest was conducted without a warrant, he was beaten by police officers, and authorities raided his home while his wife and child were present. He was later sentenced to five years in prison.

    • Brazil’s Globo Attacks Protesting Cops to Protect Its Olympics Payday

      Police officers and firefighters in Rio de Janeiro protesting their lack of pay as the Olympics approach are engaged in “ethically reprehensible” actions “bordering on terrorism,” according to an editorial on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro’s largest newspaper, O Globo. The newspaper, a property of Grupo Globo, which is owned and controlled by the billionaire Marinho family, is Brazil’s dominant media conglomerate and a primary sponsor and beneficiary of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

      In attacking the police, the paper was not criticizing the epidemic of police killings of black and brown youth, nor the militarized occupation of many of Rio’s slums that has failed to improve public security, nor the criminal gangs of off-duty and former officers, known as milícias, that violently control and extort vast swaths of the city. Instead, Globo’s indignation was targeted at public servants nonviolently demonstrating for a basic worker’s right — being paid — as part of a protest that happens to threaten Globo’s own business interests worth hundreds of millions of dollars, a fact the paper neglected to disclose to its readers.

      “Welcome to Hell. Police and firefighters don’t get paid; Whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe,” read a sign in English held by disgruntled police officers in Rio’s international airport on Monday, just weeks before the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics. The state of Rio, after wasting billions on lavish corporate tax breaks and delayed, over-budget Olympic construction contracts with notoriously corrupt firms, has declared a financial emergency, forcing it to cut benefits, postpone paying salaries and pensions to public workers, and slash operating budgets. Police and firefighters have for months been in conflict with the state over budget shortfalls. The state’s teachers union has been on strike for nearly four months.

    • ‘What Is a Journalist if Not an Advocate on Behalf of the Public?’

      Today’s US news watchers might not recognize that the pretense of objectivity in journalism, the view that reporters should strive to report the news as if from nowhere, is—besides not being possible—not a value that adheres to journalism the world around, or that has even always held sway in this country. Many of those thought of as the giants of the profession — Ida B. Wells, Lincoln Steffens — were advocacy journalists before that term was considered not just a pejorative, but an oxymoron. Things seem to be changing again, though, with a growing awareness that if taking a side against poverty or racism or climate change means breaking some rule of straight journalism, then it’s the rules that ought to change.

    • Does More Security at Airports Make Us Safer or Just Move the Targets?

      At Ataturk airport, passengers pass through metal detectors and their bags are scanned as they enter the terminal.

      This differs from the procedures at most American airports, where anyone can enter the terminal without being screened.

      Turkish officials said the attackers initially tried to enter the building, but were turned away at the security screening.

      They returned with “long-range rifles” from their suitcases. Two of the attackers entered the terminal in the ensuing panic.

      One set off his explosives on the arrivals floor of the terminal; the other detonated his on the departures floor one level above. A third attacker blew himself up outside the terminal as people fled.

    • Falcon Heights shooting: Facebook video captures aftermath of fatal police encounter in Minnesota

      Ms Reynolds described the sequence of events repeatedly throughout the video, during which she said the officer asked the driver for his license and registration.

      “He told him that it was in his wallet, but he had a pistol on him because he’s licensed to carry. The officer said don’t move. As he was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm four or five times,” she said.

    • Senate Bill Would Force Red Cross to Open Books to Outside Oversight

      Legislation introduced in the Senate today would open the American Red Cross to outside oversight that it has long resisted.

      The bill was introduced by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, following a lengthy investigation by his staff that raised questions about the charity’s spending after the 2010 Haiti earthquake and documented how Red Cross leaders resisted an earlier congressional inquiry. Grassley launched his probe in response to reporting by ProPublica and NPR.

      Grassley’s American Red Cross Transparency Act, would amend the group’s congressional charter to allow unfettered access to its records and personnel by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. The Red Cross operates as a private nonprofit but was created by Congress over 100 years ago and has a mandated role to work alongside the federal government after disasters.

    • Major New Brazil Events Expose the Fraud of Dilma’s Impeachment — and Temer’s Corruption

      From the start of the campaign to impeach Brazil’s democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff, the primary justification was that she used a budget trick known as pedaladas (“peddling”: illegal delay of re-payments to state banks) to mask public debt. But this week, as the Senate conducts her impeachment trial, that accusation was obliterated: The Senate’s own expert report concluded there was “no indication of direct or indirect action by Dilma” in any such budgetary maneuvers. As the Associated Press put it: “Independent auditors hired by Brazil’s Senate said in a report released Monday that suspended President Dilma Rousseff didn’t engage in the creative accounting she was charged with at her impeachment trial.” In other words, the Senate’s own objective experts gutted the primary claim as to why impeachment was something other than a coup.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Pressure Helps Bring Netflix To Comcast Cable Boxes

      We’ve long noted how Comcast is a bit of an anti-competitive jackass on both the TV and broadband fronts. When the nation’s biggest cable provider isn’t using usage caps to hinder streaming video competitors, it’s busy finding new and creative ways to prevent paying customers from wandering too far outside of Comcast’s well-cultivated walled garden. And while many global cable companies have joined the year 2016 by integrating Netflix functionality into their cable boxes for consumer benefit, Comcast has historically fought such a move, instead trying to drive consumers to its own Netflix knockoff.

    • Dish Sues Tribune Because It Called The Company ‘Dishgusting’

      For years now, consumers have been stuck in the middle of increasingly-ugly carriage fee disputes between broadcasters and cable companies. Usually they go something like this: a broadcaster demands a massive rate hike from cable companies to carry their channels. Cable TV providers balk, and the broadcaster pulls access to the channels in question until the cable provider pays up. Consumers not only lose access to content they’re paying for (refunds are never provided), but they’re also hammered by ads from both sides trying to get consumers to call and bitch at the other guy for being greedy.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • The USPTO Moves to Clear “Trademark Deadwood”

        Is there a “trademark deadwood” problem? The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) thinks there is a “trademark deadwood” problem in its register. On June 22, 2016, the USPTO announced its intention to make new rules requiring additional documentation under section 8 and section 71 of the Trademark Act to ensure that a party is actually using the mark in commerce.

        It is axiomatic in the United States that use is a prerequisite for trademark rights. With respect to some limited exceptions, use is required to obtain rights at common law and to secure federal registration on the Principal Register. Fundamentally, if there is not use, there is ordinarily less opportunity for goodwill to develop or for a likelihood of confusion to arise.

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom Hints at Second Coming of Megaupload

        Kim Dotcom has confirmed to TorrentFreak that he has a brand new cloud storage site under development. After an extended planning period, the entrepreneur says the platform will be his best creation yet. It could launch next January with a name that “will make people happy.”

      • UK Bill Introduces 10 Year Prison Sentence for Online Pirates

        The UK Government’s Digital Economy Bill, which is set to revamp current copyright legislation, has been introduced in Parliament. One of the most controversial changes is the increased maximum sentences for online copyright infringement. Despite public protest, the bill increased the maximum prison term five-fold, from two to ten years.

      • Porn sites will require age verification checks in the UK by 2017

        THE UK GOVERNMENT has unveiled the Digital Economy Bill that includes plans for age verification requirements on porn websites.

        The government has long been keen on this idea. We’re still none the wiser as to how such checks will be implemented, but the Digital Economy Bill explains that sites will be required to obtain age verification from visitors to stop children accessing such websites accidentally or purposefully.

        This is unlikely to go down well with privacy advocates, and the Open Rights Group has previously spoken out about the porn age check plans.

      • Mike Huckabee paying $25,000 for playing ‘Eye of the Tiger’

        Failed presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is paying $25,000 for playing “Eye of the Tiger” at a rally last year without the band’s permission, CNNMoney has discovered.

      • Mike Huckabee Settles For Five Figures With Survivor Over Copyright Infringement

        The claim that the rally was a religious gathering and not connected to the Huckabee campaign reportedly fell apart because he had listed the rally as a campaign expense on his records. Interestingly, despite Huckabee’s claim that it was not a campaign event, that it was so will allow him to use his campaign’s warchest to pay off the settlement.

      • American Copyright Trolls Continue To Abuse Canadian Courts In Search Of Easy Settlements

        In the United States, copyright trolls are finding it more difficult to save on filing fees by pursuing file sharers en masse. More than a few judges have shot down attempts to file infringement suits against “Does 1-30,” etc., ruling that these defendants are improperly joined.

        Meanwhile, in Canada, copyright trolls are trying a novel approach to suing alleged file sharers in big bunches: the reverse class action. Voltage Pictures is suing a nominative “class” of Does yet to be named for copyright infringement. This is its attempt to route around restrictions placed on it by another court, as well as the costs associated with complying with the demands.

        But in doing so, Voltage Pictures is making a mess of Canadian privacy laws. Rogers, the service provider standing between Voltage and the subscriber information it’s demanding, wants to know why the studio is abusing Canada’s “notice and notice” system to obtain information it’s not supposed to be able to acquire without a court order.

      • Why The Latest Supreme Court Ruling In Kirtsaeng May Have A Much Bigger Impact On Copyright & Fair Use

        Earlier this month, we wrote briefly about the Supreme Court’s second Kirtsaeng ruling, which focused on the issue of fee shifting in copyright cases. We didn’t spend that much time on it (and hadn’t covered the run up to the Supreme Court either). We had basically assumed that the first Kirtsaeng ruling from the Supreme Court, about whether or not the First Sale Doctrine applied to goods outside the US, was the real legacy of the Kirtsaeng fight, rather than a more mundane issue about fee shifting — especially when the more recent Kirtsaeng ruling was basically just “courts need to look at more than just if the original lawsuit was ‘objectively reasonable’” (but fails to give much guidance about what else should be looked at). Yes, we noted, this may ward off some bogus copyright lawsuits, depending on what standards the courts start to coalesce around, but there wasn’t much big news in the ruling.

      • UK Proposes To Tighten IP Protections Online

        The United Kingdom Digital Economy Bill, floated this week, aims to “enable access to fast digital communication services for citizens and businesses, to enable investment in digital communications infrastructure, to shape the emerging digital world to the benefit of children, consumers and businesses, and to support the digital transformation of government, enabling the delivery of better public services, world leading research and better statistics,” the UK government said in the document.

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