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07.18.16

Large Corporations’ Software Patenting Pursuits Carry on in Spite of Patent Trolls That Threaten Small Companies the Most

Posted in IBM, OIN, Patents at 9:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hostile environment in which trolls thrive owing to software patents and cashless startups that must settle

Robert BahrSummary: With unconvincing excuses such as OIN, large corporations including IBM continue to promote software patents in the United States, even when public officials and USPTO officials (like Bahr on the left) work towards ending those

SOFTWARE patents remain a very major barrier not just to FOSS developers but to all software development. Such patents, unsurprisingly, are being promoted by monopolists and their facilitators, to whom they’re a major source of revenue. Those monopolists continually rig the whole system in their favour as they can definitely afford it; in fact, it might be considered part of the obligation to shareholders (protectionism through legislation).

The mainstream media or corporate media no longer talks about software patents. Instead it speaks about “patent trolls” and by patent trolls it means the small ones, not the media owners. Apple, for instance, is directly connected to some major media conglomerates, so bias in patent coverage is to be expected in some cases (we wrote about this in past years). Let’s be easily deluded and just ignore Apple demanding billions (not millions) from Android OEMs (patent aggression and sometimes trolling includes big vendors) and also forget Apple’s unique role in Intellectual Ventures (explained here several years ago), the world’s largest patent troll which goes after Android vendors. The article “Apple will pay $25M to patent troll to avoid East Texas trial” is eye-catching and so is “Newegg’s Three-Step Solution to Fighting Patent Trolls” by Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of Consumer Technology Association (CTA). This group likes to focus on patent trolls rather than patent scope. Here is some of the latest from Gary Shapiro:

Lee Cheng is a troll trapper. As chief legal officer for Newegg.com, the second-largest online only retailer in the United States, Cheng has successfully battled the almost three dozen trolls that have attacked his company in the last ten years. And not just fight them, but win.

Patent trolls — sometimes called “non-practicing entities,” or NPEs — don’t actually create any products or services. Instead, they scoop up patents for the express purpose of using them to extort money from real companies large and small that can’t or don’t want to pay high legal defense costs. NPEs focus on settlements and generally have no desire to test their generally poor-quality patents in trial and through appeal. Even bad patents can generate millions in settlement dollars.

A newly-updated Harvard Business School study finds patent trolls sue cash-rich firms “seemingly irrespective of actual patent-infringement” — because that’s where the money is. The Harvard researchers noted trolls are taking a toll on innovation at the firms they target: “After settling with NPEs (or losing to them in court), companies on average reduce their research-and-development (R&D) investment by more than 25 percent.” So instead of funding development of the Next Big Thing in consumer technology, these American small businesses are handing over legalized extortion payments to trolls.

Research estimates that patent trolls drain a prodigious $1.5 billion a week from the economy. I sat down with Lee Cheng to get a from-the-trenches account of the patent troll problem, and to let him share his lessons for taking down the trolls.

“They also rely a great deal on software patenting, as a look at their patent portfolio easily and instantly reveals.”What Gary Shapiro misses here is that patent trolls are often part of a broader shell game played by large corporations such as Microsoft. They also rely a great deal on software patenting, as a look at their patent portfolio easily and instantly reveals. All the focus is now being shifted towards trolls, both in the media and US Congress. Just see this new tweet (“VIDEO: Sen. Jeff Flake Targets Patent Trolls”).

Proskauer Rose LLP, which likes to cherry-pick cases in promotion of software patents, recently released this so-called ‘analysis’. They try to maintain a grip on software patents no matter what. Some large corporations are doing the same thing and it’s not limited to Microsoft. Consider IBM.

IBM’s commitment to Free software, especially now that it pays lobbyists like David Kappos for software patentability, should be seriously doubted. It just likes “Linux”. Manny Schecter, a patent chief at IBM, is an ardent proponent of software patents and he has just linked to “Latest very brief USPTO update to patent examiners on subject matter eligibility in view of recent cases…”

This is a PDF of a new Robert Bahr (Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy) letter regarding the Rapid Litigation case and Sequenom case (both covered here earlier this month). Herein he is alluding to Mayo and Alice as he might try to gently challenge these or begrudgingly adopt what the ‘pesky’ Supreme Court said. Here is a quote from the PDF: “In summary, the USPTO’s current subject matter eligibility guidance and training examples are consistent with the Federal Circuit’s panel decisions in Rapid Litigation Management and Sequenom. Life sciences method claims should continue to be treated in accordance with the USPTO’s subject matter eligibility guidance (most recently updated in May of 2016). Questions should be referred to Technology Center subject matter experts or your SPE.”

Where does IBM stand on the subject? It’s hardly even a mystery. IBM does not like Alice because IBM loves software patents and actively works to expand these to more countries/continents. At the same time IBM brags about OIN as though it magically makes IBM’s patent policies absolutely fine and compatible with FOSS. “I don’t think there is an alternative choice when you are small entity,” told me someone today. “When has OIN actually helped a small company? Even as a deterrent,” I replied. “When your entity is relatively small,” he said, “OIN represents a potential shield to provide you even a minimum of security.”

“Life sciences method claims should continue to be treated in accordance with the USPTO’s subject matter eligibility guidance (most recently updated in May of 2016).”
      –Robert Bahr
But how in practice can OIN protect one against a troll for example? It cannot. OIN is totally useless against patent trolls. Don’t ever forget that. I saw that firsthand when I was part of E-mail thread I had initiated. Small companies sometimes try taking rivals to court with their patents. If the rival is big enough, then countersuit is massive (IBM has a massive portfolio which virtually every software patents infringes on), defeating the very point of bothering with a lawsuit in the first place. Large companies may use trolls as satellites/proxies, so the lawsuits/countersuits can come from all sorts of mysterious directions.

“Intel and McAfee Sued for Patent Infringement,” writes Patent Buddy this week. Security Profiling LLC (LLCs are usually patent trolls) is suing in the Eastern District of Texas. What can Intel do about it? Nothing. Intel is now trying to sell/offload McAfee, based on last week’s news reports (see our daily links for half a dozen such reports). Has it become too much of a burden perhaps? The point about patent trolls and OIN sticks, no matter what. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has just fallen for the OIN public relations machine, joining the chorus which began with an 'exclusive' puff piece. OIN is not a “Linux” thing as some want it to be widely viewed; it’s mostly an IBM, Sony etc. thing. It helps legitimise software patents rather than acknowledge that they are not compatible with FOSS or Linux and thus need to be ended.

Battistelli Has Implemented De Facto EPO Coup to Remove Oversight, Give Himself Total Power, and Allegedly Give UPC Gifts (Loot) to French Officials

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Using (or milking) the Office for his personal purposes?

Police probe
Things are not always as simple as they may seem

Summary: Benoît Battistelli’s agenda at the EPO is anything but beneficial to the EPO and suspicions that Battistelli’s overall agenda is transitioning to the UPC to further his goals grow feet

EIGHT years ago we wrote about vendor capture in relation to ISO. Individuals or companies sometimes take advantage of police departments (see famous example above), public institutions or even other companies and the EPO appears to become a good example of this.

Some anonymous voices openly allege that Battistelli is not only surrounding himself with French people (former colleagues, family members etc.) at the top-level management (astronomical salaries and job security) but is also serving French buddies of his in France (he is politically-affiliated, in defiance of ILO or EPO rules), looking to empower himself in Paris (several sources sent us rumours over the years about his pursued role inside UPC). The following new comment repeats what we too have been saying regarding the UPC and Battistelli’s controversial actions, only to be proven correct by EPO management. They even explicitly admitted to it when asked by Dr. Glyn Moody several months ago. Here is what the comment says about the board of appeals (which relate to DG3):

I have been suggesting for ages that BB [Benoît Battistelli] is busy “clearing the path” for the UPC and its seat in Paris. For as long as DG3 exists, some litigants might prefer to dispute validity in Munich rather than in Paris. How badly will that hinder the growth of a healthy caseload docket in Paris?

But now it seems that the UPC is dead. No docket then for Paris, in the foreseeable future.

Time for the AC to press BB to stop clearing the path, to change direction and reinvigorate DG3, so it can dispatch cases in reasonable time? Wake up industry. Put pressure on your governments to instruct their AC representative accordingly.

Here is another comment on the subject:

Let me just say this: it is going to be the UPC, it is going to be in Paris and the board of appeal members will have nothing to say about it. They will never get employed by the UPC. The council and the president agree, nothing can stop them.

This was, as it turns out, noted also in the German media, not just Ars Technica (the aforementioned article from Glyn Moody). To quote:

That is certainly the plan of BB & Co. as was revealed in the Süddeutsche Zeitung in October 2015.

One alleged aim of the failed coup attempt against BB was “… to prevent the Office from facing the biggest change in its history: the transition to the single European patent and a new jurisdiction with the Court in Paris, including branch offices, also in Munich. The Enlarged Board would be replaced as soon as all States have ratified the agreement.

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/europaeisches-patentamt-der-erfundene-skandal-1.2695424

Unfortunately in the meantime the Süddeutsche seems to have stopped reporting about EPO affairs:

http://techrights.org/2016/07/17/suddeutsche-and-epo-pr/

Battistelli’s attempt to ‘revolutionise’ the EPO for his own benefit goes quite a while back, also to his very appointment. “If you look at ILOAT 3699, it is about Bernard Paye,” one source told us, “the ex-head of Internal Audit, who was pushed aside because of the abolition of the Audit Committee, which he objected to.”

Something such as the Audit Committee existed for the function of oversight — something which Battistelli absolutely could not (and still cannot) stand — and he took little time — once he had seized power — to totally destroy it, as we first noted here in 2014 (the Audit Committee and independence of Internal Audit was abolished).

Internal Audit, as we noted before (years ago), is directly under Battistelli’s control now. We also mentioned this more recently, even a in relation to the EPO’s Investigative Unit. The story of how this came about must be recalled. Bernard Paye has now won his case against the Office, but not many people will have noticed (let alone remember him). “The ILOAT is pretty damning of the Office,” a source told us, and “the language is quite strong, “inconsistent arguments”, etc.”

“Battistelli’s attempt to ‘revolutionise’ the EPO for his own benefit goes quite a while back, also to his very appointment.”We spent some time converting this decision into HTML and adding highlights in yellow. This once again reminds us of the important of whistleblower protections at the Office. As the decision below helps reaffirm, Bernard Paye was assigned to (or offered) a fictitious post — a similar thing to what happened in Croatia when Battistelli’s ‘bulldog’ tries to get rid of people (we covered this before). He was effectively fired for not agreeing with Battistelli and his “yes men”. The UPC is mentioned there too, namely “the strategic responsibilities inherent in the new post of Senior Advisor for planning and preparation of the unitary patent” (it all boils down to the UPC quite so often).

The decision below was reached (not yet published) earlier this month, so it took several years to reach a conclusion, at which point the chance of redemption, justice etc. was rather hard to reason about. In fact, this long delay would likely serve as a deterrent against future such cases (complaints) and the compensation offered is only a sixth of what was requested, which makes this entire ordeal (long process) less than worthwhile, except maybe as a matter of principle and setting the record straight.

Here is the full decision’s text (in English this time, not French):

Organisation internationale du Travail Tribunal administratif
International Labour Organization Administrative Tribunal

Registry’s translation,
the French text alone
being authoritative.

P. (No. 2)
v.
EPO

122nd Session
Judgment No. 3699

THE ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL,

Considering the second complaint filed by Mr B. Y. P. against the European Patent Organisation (EPO) on 20 June 2013 and corrected on 12 July, the EPO’s reply of 11 November 2013, the complainant’s rejoinder of 31 January 2014 and the EPO’s surrejoinder of 10 June 2014;
Considering Article II, paragraph 5, of the Statute of the Tribunal;
Having examined the written submissions and decided not to hold oral proceedings, for which neither party has applied;
Considering that the facts of the case may be summed up as follows:
The complainant challenges the decision to transfer him to a Senior Advisor post.
At the material time, the complainant held the grade A6 post of Head of the Internal Audit department, that is, Principal Directorate 0.6 of the European Patent Office, the EPO’s secretariat. When the President of the Office proposed that the Administrative Council abolish the Audit Committee – one of its subsidiary bodies – the complainant expressed his disagreement. On 30 June 2011 the Administrative Council adopted decision CA/D 4/11 abolishing the Audit Committee with immediate effect.
By a letter of 21 July 2011, the President of the Office informed the complainant that his public “opposition” to the decision to abolish Judgment No. 3699 the Audit Committee made it impossible for him to continue as Head of Internal Audit, and that he considered that this was no longer in the interests of the service. Under Article 12, paragraph 2, of the Service Regulations for permanent employees of the EPO, the President therefore proposed to transfer the complainant to a post of “special advisor” and asked him to submit his “reactions” by 1 August.
A vacancy notice for the grade A6 post of Senior Advisor planning and preparation of the unitary patent – which was to be filled by way of a transfer – was published on 6 September. On 16 September the complainant wrote to the President stating that he did not intend to apply for that post as he did not believe he had the necessary qualifications and experience. By a letter of 29 September the complainant was notified that in the Office’s interests the President had decided to transfer him to the post with effect from 1 October. On 14 December 2011 the complainant filed an internal appeal against this decision, submitting that it constituted an abuse of authority, a hidden disciplinary sanction and an affront to his dignity. He requested the cancellation of the decision, his reinstatement in a post that corresponded to his qualifications, experience and level, and redress for the injury that he claimed to have suffered.
The Internal Appeals Committee, to which the matter was referred, delivered its opinion on 14 December 2012 after hearing both parties. Considering in particular that the complainant’s transfer to a post that did not really correspond to grade A6 had injured his dignity, the Committee unanimously recommended that the President cancel the decision to transfer the complainant, award the complainant 25,000 euros in moral damages and take prompt action to reassign him to a genuine grade A6 post with a view to allowing the complainant to end his career on a positive note. Failing this, the complainant should be awarded additional damages of 5,000 euros. By a letter of 25 March 2013, which constitutes the impugned decision, the complainant, who had retired on 31 December 2012, was notified of the President’s decision to dismiss his internal appeal.

The complainant asks the Tribunal to rule that the impugned decision to transfer him to the post of Senior Advisor was unlawful and to award him 60,000 euros in compensation for the moral injury he considers he has suffered as well as 2,000 euros in costs.

The EPO asks the Tribunal to dismiss the complaint in its entirety.

CONSIDERATIONS

1. In his complaint, the complainant asks the Tribunal to rule that the decision of the President of the Office to transfer him to a post of senior advisor unlawful and to award him 60,000 euros in compensation for moral injury as well as costs in the amount of 2,000 euros. In support of his complaint, he submits that his “transfer constituted an abuse of authority and a hidden disciplinary sanction and that the post to which [he] was transferred was fictitious and was created to suit the circumstances
in violation of the applicable procedures
”. He further submits that the post in question was not commensurate with his grade.

2. The EPO denies that the decision to transfer the complainant was unlawful. It further submits that, contrary to the complainant’s assertion, he was transferred to a post with grade A6 duties in keeping with his qualifications and experience.

3. This case presents two material questions. The first is that of whether or not the complainant’s transfer was wrongful. The second relates to the grade of the duties which the complainant was assigned; in other words, did the post of Senior Advisor to which the complainant was appointed correspond to a grade A6 position?

4. According to the complainant, his transfer was wrongful and was in fact a hidden sanction. He adds that the post to which he was assigned was “fictitious”. The defendant submits that the complainant was transferred in the EPO’s interests in light of his continuing opposition to the abolition of the Audit Committee.

5. Although the complainant believes that his transfer was a hidden sanction, he does not bring any evidence in support of this allegation. His submissions merely contain an unsubstantiated assertion that his transfer to the contested post of Senior Advisor was a hidden sanction for his refusal to apply for that post. Furthermore, in his rejoinder he writes that he has “never disputed the right of the President of the Office to order a transfer in the Organisation’s interests, of which he is the judge”. There is no doubt here as to the Organisation’s interests: as the defendant argues persuasively, “it was no longer in the Office’s interest for the complainant to remain as Head of Internal Audit given that his continuing opposition to the abolition of the Audit Committee demonstrated a marked divergence of opinion regarding the conditions in which Internal Audit was to operate and its position”. Moreover, the evidence shows that, contrary to what the complainant asserts, the post to which he was assigned involved duties that were real – irrespective of their level, which will be addressed below – and the post cannot therefore be regarded as “fictitious”.

6. The complainant submits that the post of Senior Advisor to which he was transferred was not commensurate with his A6 grade. In this regard, he stated in his internal appeal that Senior Advisor posts were “posts held by staff members who held grade A4 at most and who [did] not exercise any authority”. He added that the grade A6 responsibilities outlined in the “Job Descriptions” appended to the Service Regulations, according to which “[t]he Officer runs a prominent organisational unit covering several specialised fields or is chairman of a Board of Appeal [and] duties primarily consist in developing [...] authoritative guidelines [...] and taking decisions in particularly difficult and important cases”, were not involved in the task assigned to him, which merely consisted in “conduct[ing] an in-depth analysis of the situation and draft[ing] proposals”. The EPO maintains that the complainant’s duties in his new role of Senior Advisor corresponded to grade A6.

7. It is to no avail that the EPO attempts to show that the complainant’s duties were of grade A6 level. First, it invites the Tribunal to interpret the job description appended to the Service Regulations liberally as, in the defendant’s view, it would not be possible for the Office to perform its functions properly “if it were obliged to apply the generic post descriptions strictly to the letter, without regard to the particular circumstances of the case in question”. Next, it poses the question, tailored to this particular case, of “whether, in the circumstances of the present case, the complainant’s new role was reasonably commensurate with his grade”, and not that of whether it corresponded exactly to grade A6 duties. Lastly, it asserts that “the strategic responsibilities inherent in the new post of Senior Advisor for planning and preparation of the unitary patent, though involving no management responsibilities, were nevertheless at the same level as those of a grade A6 post”. These inconsistent arguments, submitted by the defendant to convince the Tribunal that the complainant’s new duties were at grade A6 level, poorly disguise the fact that this was not at all the case. The defendant itself acknowledges in its submissions that “the complainant’s new role did not entail all of the characteristics of a grade A6 post according to the generic description provided in the Service Regulations”. The Tribunal concludes that the complainant’s new duties were not commensurate with grade A6. The complainant did not run a prominent organisational unit covering several specialised fields; he was neither a Principal Director nor a Chairman of a Board of Appeal; he could not take decisions in particularly difficult or important cases. Hence, the contested transfer decision must, as the complainant requests, be ruled unlawful.

8. The EPO will be ordered to pay the complainant the sum of 10,000 euros as redress for the moral injury incurred as a result of that decision.

9. As the complainant succeeds in part, he is entitled to an award of costs, set at 2,000 euros. For the above reasons,

1. The impugned decision is quashed and the contested transfer decision is declared unlawful.

2. The EPO shall pay the complainant 10,000 euros in moral damages.

3. It shall also pay him 2,000 euros in costs.

In witness of this judgment, adopted on 28 April 2016, Mr Claude Rouiller, President of the Tribunal, Mr Patrick Frydman, Judge, and Ms Fatoumata Diakité, Judge, sign below, as do I, Dražen Petrović, Registrar.

Delivered in public in Geneva on 6 July 2016.
(Signed)

CLAUDE ROUILLER
PATRICK FRYDMAN
FATOUMATA DIAKITÉ
DRAŽEN PETROVIĆ

Battistelli’s abuses may as well end up bankrupting/fossilising the Office (compensations, millions spent on buying the media for UPC promotion and setting up lobbying events). He has already, based on reports made to us, reduced demand for EPO services as stakeholders recognise the sharp decline in quality of service and thus go elsewhere or recommend/advise clients to turn to national offices etc.

There are more cases like the above and we intend to mention or properly cover them in the future as they serve to highlight/establish Team Battistelli’s guilt.

EPO Social [sic] Report is a Big Pile of Lies That Responsible Journalists Must Ignore

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 11:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Here’s why…

caricature

Summary: A reminder of where the EPO stands on social issues and why the latest so-called ‘social’ report is nothing but paid-for propaganda for Battistelli’s political ambitions

THE EPO is in a state of crisis (as even the entire Organisation admits). The President has 0% approval rating and there is growing unrest. Later this year EPO management will probably be chastised by the Dutch Supreme Court (and Dutch politicians, never mind Dutch media) and another trial at The Hague began on Friday. There are clearly several cases against EPO management at The Hague right now. The latter is about the attack on staff representatives (more of them silently got sacked recently) and the former about a variety of issues less severe (but nonetheless ones for which the EPO was found guilty).

Erdoğan and EPOEPO workers, we recently learned, are already doing fund-raisers for a post-Battistelli party. This party would probably take a while to actually take place and additionally, his departure isn’t the end of it all. He has polluted the entire management rank. It’s full of his cronies now. If Battistelli’s craziness and his paranoia continue to escalate, soon enough he’ll hire people with jobs skills like “eating” to test (or taste) his food for him. He has become just about as insane as Erdoğan or other tyrants which history turned into iconic symbols (not just Napoleon). “Still no comment from the EPO President about the coup attempt in Turkey,” one person wrote earlier today. “Doesn’t he care about what is going on there? Let us not forget that Turkey is an EPO member state!!!”

The EPO has said nothing about Turkey but instead it has just released a pile of lies (they call it “social report” rather than “social study”, maybe to help dodge — SEO-wise — the negative association with the long-malign ‘study’). We wrote about this study many times before, e.g. in [1, 2, 3]. Insiders have warned about how it was done and why it would tell lies once released. Right now the EPO's PR team and its outside help (FTI Consulting, with over a million Euros of EPO budget) must be pressuring journalists to repeat their ‘social’ lies. How many will they manage to bamboozle and/or co-opt? That remains to be seen.

It typically takes a day or two for the EPO to mention its blog posts or “news” [sic] in its Twitter account. Over at Twitter today the EPO is promoting this event in Madrid, Spain. In spite of or because Spain is a thorn in the EPO’s side? Remember that Spain is one of the biggest barriers to the UPC and mind the fact that “EPO management is still busy with the UPC,” according to this new comment. Here is the comment in full: “People discuss the future of the board of appeal as it it had a future. The president said it many times: in his mind, there is no need for the board of appeal with the UPC. The board of appeal members missing have not been replaced in the past years (just check how many posts are still vacant) and will not be replaced. The move to another place is classical in French politics, just check how it was done at French Telecom (it’s in the press): they moved people around to harass them and force them to resign. The EPO management is still busy with the UPC, BTW. They believe brexit is not a problem.”

“This so-called ‘social’ report (propaganda to mislead about the management’s antisocial behaviour) is just the latest distraction.”The EPO can ignore Brexit all it wants, but it pretty much rendered the UPC dead (or dying, or in a limbo for several years to come). Looking beyond the failed UPC, Sweden opens a new specialised court of its own. “A new era for the Swedish intellectual property market will be ushered in on September 1 2016 with the opening of the Patent and Market court in Stockholm,” wrote a sister site of WIPR. “On the whole, Swedish participants in this year’s WTR 1000 research process are expecting the introduction of a specialised, IP-exclusive court to be an overwhelmingly positive development for their jurisdiction.”

Things are not working out so well for the EPO these days. This so-called ‘social’ report (propaganda to mislead about the management’s antisocial behaviour) is just the latest distraction.

Links 18/7/2016: Vista 10 a Failure, FreeType 2.7

Posted in News Roundup at 5:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Microsoft’s Windows RT security patch also stops you from loading Linux

    It was big news when Microsoft announced it was working on a version of Windows that would run on tablets with ARM-based processors… but by the time Windows RT actually launched it was a lot less exciting. Devices like the Microsoft Surface and Surface 2 couldn’t run desktop Windows apps and weren’t significantly cheaper than Intel Atom-powered tablets running the full version of Windows, and they didn’t even get better battery life.

  • Desktop

    • Microsoft blocks Linux installations

      Microsoft has closed a backdoor left open in Windows RT even though the OS is pretty much dead in the water as Vole can’t be bothered with it any more.

      This vulnerability in ARM-powered locked down Windows devices was left by Redmond programmers during the development process. Exploiting this flaw, a hacker could boot operating systems of his/her choice, including Android or GNU/Linux.

    • “Windows 10 Is A Failure” — According To Microsoft’s Own Metric [Ed: in spite of very dirty if not illegal tricks]

      Microsoft has accepted that Windows 10 has failed to perform as expected. The software giant hoped that by mid-2018, Windows 10 will be running on 1 billion devices. Now, this number seems far-fetched due the constantly shrinking PC market and poor performance of Windows 10 Mobile.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland’s Weston Now Working On Libweston-Desktop

        Wayland developers continue working on Libweston, which is aiming to make more of the Weston reference compositor reusable by other Wayland compositors. This library offers much of the boilerplate code around the Wayland protocols to allow more sharing by compositors and making it more straight-forward to get things up and running. The latest component is Libweston-desktop.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Herding Cats, or Managing Complexity

        Determined to find a rational web based development environment, something stable, that works, has support and is flexible enough to deal with future demands, as well has minimal html involved, I ended up using Angular 2 on a Meteor base.

      • Gsoc 2016 Neverland #7

        When I was working with Mediawiki, I realized its source code isnt good.

      • #29: GSoC with KDE Now – 7
      • The KApiDox poll results (at last!)
      • About my GSoC project

        My mentor gave me a task (it was one of the first ones) to refactor QMap structure, which was holding archive entries metadata, into an Archive::Entry class, which would use QProperty system. Such refactoring would bring more extensibility and allow to pass and manipulate data in more convenient ways. And of course QProperty is a big step forward for possible future using QtQuick and other nice modern Qt stuff. Today I’m finished with it. That was a huge amount of work in order to complete that task. It was not hard itself, but rather routine, because this structure was used by large part of code. Though after that I faced a tough challenge to fix all the bugs I’ve done with that refactoring. Now I’m happy I can proceed to other important things.

      • Accelerating Vector Tile Creation

        Late summer brings a couple of interesting dates for the Marble community: On the Desktop we’ll release Marble 2.0 and around the same time our Android app Marble Maps will have its first stable release. Later on in September it’s time to celebrate the 10th birthday of the Marble project!

        The common theme to the upcoming release is the introduction of the Vector OSM map: A beautifully styled map based on data from the OpenStreetMap project that spans the entire world from globe to street zoom level. In order to make this possible we’re working very hard behind the scenes to optimize both the tile data and the rendering in Marble to give you a smooth experience.

      • 17th FISL, KDE Brazil and cake!

        In this last week happened in a cold city called Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, the 17 edition of FISL, the Free Software International Forum.

        Well… KDE has always participated in this forum, and the organization gave to us all day in a room, so the KDE Community could make a lot of talks.

      • KDEPIM ready to be more broadly tested

        As was posted a couple of weeks ago, the latest version of KDE has been uploaded to unstable.

        All packages are now uploaded and built and we believe this version is ready to be more broadly tested.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GSoC 2016: The adventure begins

        Hello! I am Razvan, a technology & open-source enthusiast and I am working on what is probably the most interesting project for me so far, Nautilus. So far, this has been the highlight of my experience – lots of interesting things learned while coding and a great interaction with the community. This is mainly thanks to Carlos, captain of Nautilus, who always finds the time to help me and other contributors whenever we get stuck. On top of this, the funny chats with him and people from the GNOME community make contributing so much more enjoyable! Up until now I’ve been titled King of the Trash™, I’ve learned about some file system magic from Christian Hergert, and I’ve also been threatened by a katana-wielding GNOME samurai. Awesome, right?

      • Extraction support in Nautilus

        As a result, the output will always have the name of the source archive, making it easy to find after an extraction. Also, the maximum number of conflicts an extraction can have is just one, the output itself. Hurray, no more need to go through a thousand dialogs!

      • Improved File Extraction Coming To GNOME’s Nautilus

        As part of Google Summer of Code, improved extraction support for compressed files is being worked on for the Nautilus file manager.

      • Builder Happenings

        Over the last couple of weeks I’ve started implementing Run support for Builder. This is somewhat tricky business since we care about complicated manners. Everything from autotools support to profiler/debugger integration to flatpak and jhbuild runtime support. Each of these complicates and contorts the problem in various directions.

        Discovering the “target binary” in your project via autotools is no easy task. We have a few clever tricks but more are needed. One thing we don’t support yet is discovering bin_SCRIPTS. So launching targets like python or gjs applications is not ready yet. Once we discover .desktop files that should start working. Pretty much any other build system would be easier to implement this.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux Lite 3.0

        Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Linux Lite 3.0 is a lightweight distribution with the Xfce 4.12 desktop. In addition to being lightweight, it is also aimed at providing a familiar user experience for users transitioning from Microsoft Windows. In the wide array of Ubuntu derived distributions, Linux Lite has a lot of competition, so what sets Linux Lite apart from the other options? I downloaded the 955MB 64-bit install media to find out and below I share my experience with this very nice, polished distribution.

        Booting and installing the distribution is a very familiar experience for anyone who has used Ubuntu or any distribution based on Ubuntu. The standard Ubiquity installer walks the user through the install experience providing guidance and making the experience pretty straight forward. In this regard, Linux Lite 3.0 is almost identical to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

        Because Linux Lite 3.0 is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, it features version 4.4 of the Linux kernel and supports a wide variety of hardware out of the box using open source drivers. If the user needs proprietary drivers, all the drivers that are available for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS can be installed. Unfortunately users who need to use the proprietary ATI Catalyst drivers will run into problems because Linux Lite 3.0, just like Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, does not support the Catalyst drivers. One other hardware related issue to note is that the Linux Lite documentation recommends switching the computer’s BIOS to Legacy mode instead of using UEFI mode and Secure Boot. The documentation states that “Linux Lite does not support or advocate the use of Secure Boot” and it notes that the distribution can be made to work with UEFI booting, but “The solution requires intermediate knowledge of Linux” and provides a link to a YouTube video which provides instructions.

    • New Releases

      • Solus 1.2.1 Releases Tomorrow

        We’re really excited to be releasing our last “traditional” release, Solus 1.2.1, tomorrow. We opted to delay by a day just to ensure we don’t push ourselves too hard after the recent Hackfest, as well as being able to take the time to do additional QA.

    • Red Hat Family

      • CentOS 7 – Daily papercut fixes

        That’s all for today. A bunch of small, innocent and possibly personal fixes that you might not like and appreciate, but they should come useful if you decide to embark on a serious day-to-day mission of using and taming CentOS. And not because it’s bad and needs extra effort compared to the Ubuntus and Mints and Fedoras of this world. Because it stays put once tweaked, in a loving, predictable fashion. Something that compels me to keep on trying despite an occasional hiccup here and there. What’s the word I’m looking for? Right. No regressions! That’s that one! Fix once and forget about it – not dread what will happen in six months. Jolly good. These fine little tips and tricks just make the whole thing even more pleasurable.

        I will expand this list as I continue exploring the CentOS 7 desktops more and more. We also have the Xfce adventure ahead of us. Truth to be told, I have never been so excited about CentOS before. Something had always been amiss. When I had modern hardware, CentOS 6 was approaching its zenith. Then CentOS 7 came about, but my laptops became outdated, and the newest box refused to boot this distro. Until now.

        With the right combo of modern – on both the hardware and software side, I can finally give CentOS its full attention. And this means more games, more tweaking, and far more detail than almost any other distro attempt. It has taken the bulk of my Linux time, and I am really enjoying the experience. So you should expect more articles, more guides. One day, we might actually nail the perfect distro formula for all eternity. Stay sweet.

      • Red Hat adds SDN support to latest cloud management platform

        Red Hat, Inc. has announced the general availability of Red Hat CloudForms 4.1, the latest version of its open hybrid cloud management solution. With support for Google Cloud Platform, Red Hat CloudForms 4.1 now supports greater choice and flexibility for customers who want to run hybrid cloud workloads on Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • New guidelines for Fedora Ambassadors and Design

          This week, some Ambassadors, CommOps, and Design Team members collaborated on improving and redefining the guidelines for how to request artwork and other art assets. As the advocates and representatives of Fedora across the globe, the Ambassadors often need many tools and resources for demonstrating Fedora. Examples of this might be fliers, banners, tablecloths, stickers, badges, and more. Until recently, the process for requesting artwork assets was not well-defined and somewhat unclear. This can cause problems when Ambassadors need something designed for an event. Sometimes it can draw out the request or end up in an accident, such as purple DVD media covers!

        • GSoC 2016 Weekly Rundown: Documentation and upgrades

          This week and the last were busy, but I’ve made some more progress towards creating the last, idempotent product for managing WordPress installations in Fedora’s Infrastructure for GSoC 2016. The past two weeks had me mostly working on writing the standard operating procedure / documentation for my final product as well as diving more into handling upgrades with WordPress. My primary playbook for installing WordPress is mostly complete, pending one last annoyance.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • ARM grabbed for £24.3bn by Japan’s SoftBank

      British microprocessor designer ARM, an icon of the UK’s technology sector, has agreed a £24.3bn cash sale to Japan’s acquisitive SoftBank Group in a surprise deal announced this morning in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.

      The purchase by SoftBank will be one of the biggest-ever M&A deals in tech – and certainly the biggest in the UK. The agreed takeover may spark a bidding war for ARM, whose technology has become the de facto standard for mobile microprocessors, while the company represents the main competition for chip giant Intel.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Washington Is Politicizing The Olympics Again

      Washington and its Canadian vassal are trying to use a Western media-created Russian athletic doping scandal to ban Russian participation in the Olympic games in Brazil. Washington and Canada are pressuring other countries to get on board with Washington’s vendetta against Russia. The vendetta is conducted under the cover of “protecting clean athletics.”

      You can bet your life that Washington is not motivated by a respect for fairness in sports. Washington is busy at home destroying fairness to the poor, and Washington, which disregards the sovereignty of countries and international law against naked aggression, is busy abroad destroying millions of lives for hegemonic purposes.

    • Your Hands in the Soil: Tending the Garden of a Nation

      Serious gardening is meditation. It is a long pause in the cupped hand of life itself. There is a good deal of work involved in creating something from nothing, in taking a blank space and painting it green and red. I put my hands in the dirt and smell the soil between my knuckles, I feel the sun on my neck, I shoo away the early summer flies and plant at pace, seed here and seedling there. I watch the weather like a meteorologist to know when to water and when to let it ride because a soft rain beats the sprinkler any day. I watch the leaves for signs of yellow. I watch for buds and flowers. All the while, I am outside in an ocean of green and blue with hummingbirds and hawks and dragonflies, and I am also inside myself, diving deep as I perform the rote duty of tying a stalk to a stake.

    • Industry Report Tracks Innovation’s Value To AIDS Treatment In Developing Countries

      A new report launched in time for this week’s AIDS conference in South Africa analyzes factors relating to access to HIV/AIDS treatments over the past 15 years. The analysis includes a look at government policies used during that time, the contribution of generic and research-based industries, and the importance of voluntary licensing.

    • Public Health Takes a Hit Even as Uruguay Prevails in Infamous Philip Morris Investor-State Attack

      Thankfully, a years-long campaign to shame Philip Morris and the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system for the tobacco giant’s infamous ISDS attack on Uruguay ultimately prevailed, but not without leaving deep and damaging scars to global tobacco-control efforts. An ISDS tribunal ruled that Uruguay did not have to compensate Philip Morris after the firm attacked Uruguay’s public health law requiring that 80 percent of tobacco product packages feature graphic medical warning labels.

      But what happens when a government “wins” an ISDS attack should be a cautionary tale for the threats posed by the Trans-Pacific Partnerships (TPP). If enacted, the TPP would double U.S. ISDS liability overnight.

  • Security

    • The sad state of Linux download security

      Installation images for many of the most popular Linux distributions are difficult or impossible to obtain securely via download.

    • Why we use the Linux kernel’s TCP stack

      Let’s start with a broader question – what is the point of running an operating system at all? If you planned on running a single application, having to use a kernel consisting of multiple million lines of code may sound like a burden.

      But in fact most of us decide to run some kind of OS and we do that for two reasons. Firstly, the OS layer adds hardware independence and easy to use APIs. With these we can focus on writing the code for any machine – not only the specialized hardware we have at the moment. Secondly, the OS adds a time sharing layer. This allows us to run more than one application at a time. Whether it’s a second HTTP server or just a bash session, this ability to share resources between multiple processes is critical. All of the resources exposed by the kernel can be shared between multiple processes!

      [...]

      Having said that, at CloudFlare we do use kernel bypass. We are in the second group – we care about performance. More specifically we suffer from IRQ storms. The Linux networking stack has a limit on how many packets per second it can handle. When the limit is reached all CPUs become busy just receiving packets. In that case either the packets are dropped or the applications are starved of CPU. While we don’t have to deal with IRQ storms during our normal operation, this does happen when we are the target of an L3 (layer 3 OSI) DDoS attack. This is a type of attack where the target is flooded with arbitrary packets not belonging to valid connections – typically spoofed packets.

    • Ubuntu user forums hack leaks millions of user details [Ed: Canonical continued using proprietary software that had already been breached, now gives GNU/Linux a bad name again. Many journalists out there cannot tell the difference between operating system and forums software, never mind proprietary and Free software. How many so-called "technology" journalists still say "commercial" software instead of proprietary software, as if FOSS is non-commercial?]

      Attacker took advantage of unpatched software.

      Canonical, the parent company of popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, has disclosed that its user web forums have suffered a major data breach.

      Over the weekend, Canonical said that it had come across claims that a third party had a copy of the Ubuntu Forums database.

      The company was able to verify that a breach had taken place, with a database containing details of two million Ubuntu Forums users being leaked.

    • As Open Source Code Spreads, So Do Components with Security Flaws[Ef: Catalin Cimpanu's headline would have us believe that proprietary software has no "Security Flaws", only FOSS]

      The company that provides hosting services for the Maven Central Repository says that one in sixteen downloads is for a Java component that contains a known security flaw.

    • OpenSSH has user enumeration bug

      A bug in OpenSSH allows an attacker to check whether user names are valid on a ‘net-facing server – because the Blowfish algorithm runs faster than SHA256/SHA512.

      The bug hasn’t been fixed yet, but in his post to Full Disclosure, Verint developer Eddie Harari says OpenSSH developer Darren Tucker knows about the issue and is working to address it.

      If you send a user ID to an OpenSSH server with a long (but wrong) password – 10 kilobytes is what Harari mentions in his post – then the server will respond quickly for fake users, but slower for real users.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • You, Too, Armenia?

      Come on, give us a break, will you? Most of us are still digging out of news on France’s latest terror attack, the 28-pages released on Friday, and Turkey’s so-called coup. Couldn’t you wait until later this coming week?

      Apparently not.

      Reliable reports are even more scarce than for Turkey as Armenia is even more aggressive in its monitoring and policing of social media. What reports have emerged indicate an organized, armed hostage-taking event demanding the release of a political prisoner rather than a coup.

    • Military Regimes Shouldn’t Be Recognized

      The military upheaval in Turkey, whose final consequences are yet to be seen, highlights a major weakness in worldwide efforts to promote democracy. This event underscores the need to establish binding international legal principles to ban the recognition of military regimes as a result of coups d’état. Establishment of such principles, and the creation of the legal mechanisms for applying them, would foster democracy throughout the world.

      The circumstances in Turkey mimic several similar situations in recent history: the coming to power of governments without support from the military. Once confronted with a threat to their political hegemony, the military either overthrow the civilian government or refuses to surrender power to democratically elected civilians.

      Overt recognition by Western democracies or implied recognition through ambivalent signs of disapproval have encouraged military officers to overthrow many constitutional governments freely chosen by the people. The military relinquish power only when forced by popular will, or when its own incapacity to govern has made its position untenable.

    • Turkey coup arrests hit 6,000 as Erdogan roots out ‘virus’

      Turkey has arrested 6,000 people after a failed coup, with President Erdogan vowing to purge state bodies of the “virus” that caused the revolt.

      Mr Erdogan’s top military aide Col Ali Yazici is among those now in custody.

      The overall death toll for the weekend violence has risen to 290, the foreign ministry said. More than 100 of those were participating in the coup.

    • Fears for Turkey’s Democracy Build as Post-Coup Crackdown Continues

      The fallout from the failed military coup in Turkey extended through the weekend, as the number of people arrested rose to about 6,000 and world leaders continued urging restraint from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has said the plotters would pay a “heavy price.”

      Erdoğan on Sunday vowed to “clean all state institutions of the virus” of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish president blamed for the uprising. He said members of the “Gülen group” have “ruined” the country’s military and are being taken into custody throughout all ranks.

      “This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army,” Erdoğan said.

      Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, has denied involvement in the revolt, which began late Friday night and was quashed by citizens responding to Erdoğan’s call to action.

    • Turkey’s Attempted Coup

      Turkey’s democracy is dead. It was dying anyway, as President Recep Tayyib Erdogan took over media outlets, arrested political opponents and journalists, and even re-started a war with the Kurds last autumn in order to win an election. But once part of the army launched a coup attempt on Friday night, it was dead no matter which way the crisis ended.

    • 6 Police Officers Shot, At Least 3 Dead in Baton Rouge Ambush

      Six police officers were shot and three are dead after a shoot-out took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Sunday morning.

      The attack was said to be an ambush, after police reportedly received a call of a “suspicious person walking down Airline Highway with an assault rifle,” according to a CNN source. When police arrived, the man, reportedly clad in black and wearing a face mask, opened fire on them.
      Six law enforcement officers were shot—three are dead and three others are injured, Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola told CNN.
      The suspect, who was killed at the scene, has been identified by police as Gavin Eugene Long.

    • Police Officers Reportedly Shot in Baton Rouge

      Three police officers have been confirmed killed and at least three others were injured in a shooting Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, according to the sheriff’s office.

    • Two Baton Rouge police officers killed in shooting Sunday, mayor’s office confirms

      At least one police officer has been shot in Baton Rouge on Sunday morning, and there’s an active shooter situation in the area of Airline and Old Hammond highways, Baton Rouge police confirm.

    • Three Police Officers Dead in Baton Rouge Shooting

      Six police officers have been shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and three are dead, according to local news reports citing police sources.

      At a Sunday afternoon press conference following the shooting, Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson said that “there is no active shooter scenario going on in Baton Rouge. We believe that the person that shot and killed our officers was shot and killed at the scene.”

    • Nuclear weapons have almost been launched accidentally 13 times – it’s time to stop believing in the fantasy that Trident keeps us safe

      It is my firm view, based on the best available evidence, that renewing Trident will not only fail to improve Britain’s security, but in fact poses significant dangers to us. These weapons of mass destruction have the potential to cause death on an unimaginable scale, and they do nothing to hinder the real threat of lone gunmen or extremists. Their very presence here – and the transport of nuclear warheads on our roads – is not only a target for terrorism but a continued risk of accidents linked to human error or technical failure. A recent report from Chatham House confirms this threat, listing 13 occasions from across the world when nuclear weapons were nearly launched accidentally. These weapons present a huge risk – and there’s no evidence to suggest they keep us any safer.

      If we’re serious about ridding the world of nuclear weapons and fulfilling our obligations under the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, then genuine disarmament is non-negotiable. Keeping these weapons sends a dangerous signal to the rest of the world that security is dependent on being able to use weapons of mass destruction, and thus drives proliferation.

      The UN is currently working on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Britain can play a part in ridding the world of these weapons, but not if we refuse to lay down our own nuclear arms.

    • Cleveland Police Ask For Emergency Suspension Of Open Carry Laws During Republican Convention

      The request will put Governor Kasich in an awkward position. In general Republicans argue that open-carry laws are an important party of the right to bear arms and improve public safety. The research does not support this argument.

    • Turkey’s Erdogan Expands Post-Coup Crackdown To Target Judges, Key Military Leader

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is further enforcing his reputation as a shrewd political operator in the aftermath of Friday’s attempted coup, arresting some 6,000 people, including a prominent military official, connected to Friday’s events.

      General Bekir Ercan Van — the commander of the Incirlik Air Base — was just one of thousands of soldiers and members of the judiciary to be arrested. Erdogan said the coup was “a gift from God…because this will help us claim our military from these members of this gang.”

      Analysts say Erdogan is using the coup to dispose of his known opponents in government. Erdogan and his moderate Islamist party AKP was once widely hailed as a reformist leader who helped ease tensions with Kurdish separatist groups and played a positive role in regional events. But after around a decade in power, Erdogan began attempts to consolidate his power and advance his own political values and influence in Turkey. Friday’s attempted coup will likely further embolden Erdogan to crack down on his opponents in government and beyond.

    • MH-17: Two Years of Anti-Russian Propaganda

      Two years ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot out of the sky over eastern Ukraine killing 298 people and opening an inviting path for a propaganda campaign toward a new Cold War with Russia, writes Robert Parry.

    • MH-17: Russia Convicted By Propaganda, Not Evidence
    • Here’s Why Activists Don’t Buy Hillary Clinton’s Justification for the Honduras Coup

      In April 2016, Hillary Clinton was asked about her role in Honduras’ 2009 coup by Democracy Now’s Juan González. The coup, which took place while Clinton was Secretary of State, ousted the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya and plunged the country into chaos. Today, Honduras is one of the most violent countries on earth, particularly for activists. On March 3, 2016, Berta Cáceres, a Honduran indigenous Lenca and a leading human rights activist and environmentalist, was assassinated in Honduras. Shortly before her death she singled out Clinton for criticism, holding her accountable for legitimizing the country’s current political situation.

    • Trump Campaign Weighs In On Open Carry At The Republican Convention

      Hours after the head of Cleveland’s police union pleaded with the governor to suspend Ohio’s open-carry laws during the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump’s spokesperson told ThinkProgress she is “not nervous at all” that people are walking around the city with assault weapons.

      “I am recommending that people follow the law,” Katrina Pierson said Sunday when asked whether she believes people should arm themselves in the convention zone. Under Ohio law, residents over 21 years old who have permits can openly carry guns in public.

    • 29 Pages Revealed: Corruption, Crime and Cover-up Of 9/11

      First and foremost, here is what you need to know when you listen to any member of our government state that the newly released 29 pages are no smoking gun – THEY ARE LYING.

      Our government’s relationship to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is no different than an addict’s relationship to heroin. Much like a heroin addict who will lie, cheat, and steal to feed their vice, certain members of our government will lie, cheat, and steal to continue their dysfunctional and deadly relationship with the KSA – a relationship that is rotting this nation and its leaders from the inside out.

      When CIA Director John Brennan states that he believes the 29 pages prove that the government of Saudi Arabia had no involvement in the 9/11 attacks, recognize that John Brennan is not a man living in reality – he is delusional by design, feeding and protecting his Saudi vice.

      When Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Anne W. Patterson, testifies – under oath – that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an ally that does everything they can to help us fight against Islamic terrorism, recognize that her deep, steep Saudi pandering serves and protects only her Saudi vice.

    • The Saudis Did 9/11

      News reports about the recently released 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks are typically dismissive: this is nothing new, it’s just circumstantial evidence, and there’s no “smoking gun.” Yet given what the report actually says – and these news accounts are remarkably sparse when it comes to verbatim quotes – it’s hard to fathom what would constitute a smoking gun.

      To begin with, let’s start with what’s not in these pages: there are numerous redactions. And they are rather odd. When one expects to read the words “CIA” or “FBI,” instead we get a blacked-out word. Entire paragraphs are redacted – often at crucial points. So it’s reasonable to assume that, if there is a smoking gun, it’s contained in the portions we’re not allowed to see. Presumably the members of Congress with access to the document prior to its release who have been telling us that it changes their entire conception of the 9/11 attacks – and our relationship with the Saudis – read the unredacted version. Which points to the conclusion that the omissions left out crucial information – perhaps including the vaunted smoking gun.

    • The Trojan Drone

      Think of it as the Trojan Drone, the ultimate techno-weapon of American warfare in these years, a single remotely operated plane sent to take out a single key figure. It’s a shiny video game for grown ups — a Mortal Kombat or Call of Duty where the animated enemies bleed real blood. Just like the giant wooden horse the Greeks convinced the Trojans to bring inside their gates, however, the drone carries something deadly in its belly: a new and illegal military strategy disguised as an impressive piece of technology.

      The technical advances embodied in drone technology distract us from a more fundamental change in military strategy. However it is achieved — whether through conventional air strikes, cruise missiles fired from ships, or by drone — the United States has now embraced extrajudicial executions on foreign soil. Successive administrations have implemented this momentous change with little public discussion. And most of the discussion we’ve had has focused more on the new instrument (drone technology) than on its purpose (assassination). It’s a case of the means justifying the end. The drones work so well that it must be all right to kill people with them.

    • Scores of educators held for inciting terrorism in Bangladesh

      Bangladeshi police have discovered that dozens of university professors and high school teachers have been inciting their students to engage in Islamic terrorism.

      One English teacher is quoted by a school caretaker as saying that ““Muslims are being persecuted around the world, so let us attack non-Muslims”.

    • Erdogan Had It Coming: But the Turkish Coup Failed

      Recep Tayyip Erdogan had it coming. The Turkish army was never going to remain compliant while the man who would recreate the Ottoman Empire turned his neighbours into enemies and his country into a mockery of itself. But it would be a grave mistake to assume two things: that the putting down of a military coup is a momentary matter after which the Turkish army will remain obedient to its sultan; and to regard at least 161 deaths and more than 2,839 detained in isolation from the collapse of the nation-states of the Middle East.

      For the weekend’s events in Istanbul and Ankara are intimately related to the breakdown of frontiers and state-belief – the assumption that Middle East nations have permanent institutions and borders – that has inflicted such wounds across Iraq, Syria, Egypt and other countries in the Arab world. Instability is now as contagious as corruption in the region, especially among its potentates and dictators, a class of autocrat of which Erdogan has been a member ever since he changed the constitution for his own benefit and restarted his wicked conflict with the Kurds.

    • Hello and Goodbye Turkey

      And then we got word of the military coup d’état that was launched while she was airborne that rocked Turkey and the world. Had our kid had a slightly later connection, she would have been out of luck because Ataturk Airport was shut down for about the next 24 hours. She would have to sleep there and then be jostled by thousands of anxious passengers all trying to get the hell out at the same time. Thankfully, that was not to be, and with our personal concerns out of the way, my Turkish wife and I stayed glued to all channels trying to understand what in Allah’s name was going on in the fatherland.

    • Russia, America, it’s time to talk face-to-face

      During the late 1980s, superpower leaders demagnitised international confrontation by speaking directly to the other side. Why shouldn’t we do this again?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Op-ed: TransCanada lawsuit highlights need to scuttle TPP

      The Obama administration is still trying, against the odds, to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment agreement (TPP) through the lame-duck session of Congress after the November presidential vote. The administration knows that TPP can’t pass before the election because both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump oppose it; therefore, they are hoping for a stealth Senate vote between the election and inauguration of the new president in 2017. We can therefore “thank” TransCanada for reminding us why the TPP needs to be scuttled.

    • Yes on 1 for the Sun: The Florida Anti-Solar Ballot Initiative from Utilities

      Last week, the Florida utility-backed anti-solar initiative officially launched their campaign to block solar leasing in the sunshine state with the confusing name, “Yes on 1 for the sun.” The utility-backed group running the initiative campaign, called the “Consumers for Smart Solar” has been funded by nearly $7 million in contributions from the investor-owned utilities and fossil fuel front groups to date.

      Energy & Policy Institute previously revealed that Consumers for Smart Solar is funded by utilities and front groups seeking to prevent changes to state law that would open the solar market in Florida and specifically allow third party solar leases. Third party solar accounted for 72 precent of residential solar installed across the country in 2014.

  • Finance

    • Popular Uprising Backs Striking Teachers in Southern Mexico

      In Chiapas, Mexico, what started as a fight for teachers union power has exploded into a popular movement against the privatization of public education and the entire public sector.

      Fifty thousand teachers, students, parents, and small-business owners marched at sunset July 11 through the streets of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital city of Chiapas—in just one of at least 10 protests across five states.

      Meanwhile an hour east, in the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas, parents, students, social justice organizations, and members of civil society were gathering for the 15th night of their highway blockade.

    • This year’s GOP platform pushes federal land transfers

      The Republican Party is drafting its 2016 platform, which represents a hard swerve to the right on social issues. But other parts of its stance have long been consistent – most notably, its push for transferring federal lands to state control.

      [...]

      “Congress should reconsider whether parts of the federal government’s enormous landholdings and control of water in the West could be better used for ranching, mining, or forestry through private ownership… The enduring truth is that people best protect what they own.”

    • India ‘gold man’ battered to death

      An Indian man who bought one of the world’s most expensive shirts made entirely of gold has been allegedly battered to death, police said.

      Datta Phuge shot into the global limelight in 2013 when he bought a shirt made with more than 3kg of gold and worth $250,000 (£186,943).

      A money lender based in western Pune, Mr Phuge was called “the gold man”.

      Four persons have been detained for questioning. Police suspect a dispute over money led to the murder.

    • With Wall Street Fees in Danger, Bloomberg Tries to Make Mom and Pop Afraid

      Bloomberg News is really pushing the frontiers in journalism. In order to give readers a balanced account (7/14/16) of a proposal by Rep. Peter DeFazio to impose a 0.03 percent tax on financial transactions (that’s 3 cents on every hundred dollars), it went to the spokesperson for the Investment Company Institute, the chief investment officer from Vanguard and an academic with extensive ties to the financial industry. It also presented an assertion about the savings from electronic trading from Markit Ltd. Based on this diverse range of sources, Bloomberg ran the headline:

      Democrats Assail Wall Street With Plan That May Hit Mom and Pop

      If Bloomberg were interested in views other than those of the financial industry, it might have found some people who supported the tax to provide comments for the article. Or it might have tried some basic arithmetic itself.

      Most research finds that trading is price elastic, meaning that the percentage change in trading in response to a tax is larger than the percentage increase in trading costs that result from the tax. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center assumed an elasticity of -1.25 in its analysis of financial transactions taxes.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trustworthy Hillary

      Hillary Clinton’s 6-point lead over Donald Trump in last month’s CBS News poll has now evaporated.

    • A Prime Day to Celebrate the Boss’s Business

      That was the lead on a news story in the Washington Post (7/13/16)—owned, of course, by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

      And the story discloses that parenthetically: “(Jeffrey P. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, owns the Washington Post.)” But there seems to be some confusion: While welcome, disclosure is not an inoculation. We still look askance at a news story with lines like, “That the sale drew such strong spending from shoppers for a second year suggests that Amazon is making inroads establishing this as an appointment summer shopping event.”

    • ‘We Can Stand Together’: Protesters Prep for Cleveland as RNC Nears

      Cleveland, Ohio is preparing for what many expect to be a volatile Republican National Convention (RNC) on Monday, as protesters and supporters converge on the city and controversy around presumptive nominee Donald Trump and his divisive running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, continues to build.

      About 50,000 people are expected to take part in protests and rallies for the four days of the convention, from July 18-21. The Guardian reports that thousands of police officers, secret service, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents “swarmed the downtown area throughout the weekend.”

      As Common Dreams reported last week, officials are readying extra jail space and keeping courts open late “in case protesters are arrested en masse.”

      Activists are rallying against Trump’s caustic rhetoric, now signature to his speeches, as well as the issues of police brutality and racism—particularly significant in Cleveland, where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by officers in November 2014.

    • Does the Trumpence Nightmare Coalition Have a Chance? Yeah, Because It’s 2016 and Chaos Reigns

      So here we are, at a major pivot point in the unfolding narrative of America’s Stupidest Election Ever. (Admittedly I haven’t gone back and taken a hard look at “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.”) Our two major political parties head into their conventions with two deeply flawed and widely disliked candidates, who despite their divergent styles and opposed positions come from the same elite caste in American life, and have known each other for years. There has been yet another presumed or probable terrorist attack in France, a gruesome event whose timing in terms of the American presidential election was coincidental, but whose symbolism was not. If the deranged Islamic radicals of Europe don’t actually support Donald Trump, they are nonetheless doing their damndest to get him elected.

    • Is there any hope for New Age politics?

      Picture a human anus superimposed on President Obama’s mouth, or a smiling Hilary Clinton attached to the giant belly of a hog, or a presidential primary debate “featuring Donald Trump comparing his genitals with those of a group of fellow frat boys.” Disgusting right? Welcome to election season in America.

    • NBC Gives Glenn Beck A Platform To Re-Mainstream Himself

      NBC’s Chuck Todd gave noted-conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck a national platform to re-mainstream himself on the July 17 edition of Meet The Press. Todd introduced Beck as “founder of the conservative website and TV network The Blaze” and a “vocal critic of Donald Trump right from the start.”

      During his appearance, Beck criticized presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his vice presidential running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — who Beck alleged has previously criticized Trump behind closed doors — and lamented that “the problem is in our society that there’s no authenticity. You can’t trust anybody.” Beck also criticized Republican officials, including RNC chairman Reince Priebus.

    • That Far Left Entryist Takeover of the Labour Party

      At its height in the 1980’s, Militant claimed 8,000 members. In 2013 its descendant, the Socialist Party, claimed 2,500 members and crowed that it was now bigger than the Socialist Workers Party. The SWP replied, not by claiming to have more than 2,500 members, but by saying that the Socialist Party’s claim of 2,500 was inflated. The various manifestations of the Communist Party are smaller. An umbrella group, the People’s Assembly against Austerity, incorporates more or less all of these disparate elements plus much of the organised left of the Labour Party and trades union supporters. Its mailing list, which includes many Greens and other radicals like me, is 40,000 people. That is probably an exaggeration of the membership of the formal left in the UK and it should be noted that a significant proportion of that 40,000 are long term Labour members. Momentum, the Blairites’ bete noir, has only about 10,000 members.

      I have therefore watched with bemusement the claims that the 120,000 new Labour members now banned from voting, and perhaps half of the remaining 400,000 Labour electorate, are entryists from organisations of the “hard left”. Anybody who believes there are over 300,000 members of “hard left” groups in the UK is frankly bonkers.

    • The Dream is Over: Bye, Bye Bernie

      Bernie Sanders has gone over to the enemy side; it is now written in stone. Everyone who felt the Bern will have to deal with that as best they can. The dream is over.

    • ‘The Sham Is Over’: Elizabeth Warren Has the Last Word on ‘Thin-Skinned Fraud’ Donald Trump

      Outside of a humiliating defeat in November, Donald Trump’s biggest nightmare has to be the continuing attacks by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren who continually leaves him in a stuttering rage, only able to use smears about her heritage that likely cost her former opponent, Scott Brown, his seat in the Senate.

      Warren stomped all over Trump’s big day on Saturday when the presumptive GOP presidential announcing his Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his choice of a running mate.

    • Donald Trump’s Big Show: Get Ready for Wild Conspiracy Theorists and Pistol-Packin’ Bikers

      No sooner had word broken in news reports that three police officers were shot to death Sunday morning in Baton Rouge, La., than Republican presidential nominee apparent Donald J. Trump did what a brave man does: He took to social media to declare himself the “law and order candidate.” The reason for the shootings, Trump proclaimed, was a “lack of leadership” —a taunt aimed at President Barack Obama.

      Trump’s good buddy, Alex Jones, the far-right conspiracy theorist whose InfoWars radio show Trump has frequented, attributed the shootings to “Obama-sponsored terrorists.”

      Before you yell at me for alleging guilt by association, consider that on Monday in Cleveland, as the Republican National Convention gets underway here, Jones, together with Republican political operative Roger Stone, will host an “America First Unity Rally” — and that Trump has lauded Jones for his “amazing” reputation. (Well, that wasn’t exactly a lie; it is a pretty amazing thing. Consider his Space Lizard riff on Obamacare.)

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Its World Emoji Day, let’s talk about Microsoft’s censorship of LGBT and “profane” emoji

      Since we’ve already patted Microsoft on the back for keeping up with the trends with regards to the sheer number and variety of emoji, its time to tut at them for what appears to be a cynical move with regards to expressive emoji.

      I’ve noted this down a while back when Microsoft launched new emoji for Windows 10 but refrained from commenting on this, but this seems a good time as ever to say this; Microsoft censors emoji on their platforms.

    • How Bollywood is fighting ‘irrational’ censorship in India

      Udta Punjab is currently the eighth highest-grossing Bollywood film of the year. But a month ago, the makers of the film worried if it would ever release, due to censorship issues. BBC Asian Network’s Haroon Rashid speaks to Bollywood actors and writers about creative freedom and censorship in India.

      The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had asked the Udta Punjab filmmakers to make 94 cuts, including removal of expletives, references to cities in Punjab and any shots of drugs being consumed, ironically in a film about drug abuse.

    • POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: News censorship at SABC heads for court

      THE issue of the SABC’s self-censorship will come to the boil this week, when the high court hears an application from the Helen Suzman Foundation for an urgent interdict against a ban on screening footage of violent protests.

      Also, with a little over two weeks before the local government elections, the general political temperature in the country is likely to increase, as campaigning from all political parties intensifies.

      SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng and board chairman Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe have yet to file responding papers to the court.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Abuse victim ‘appalled at intimidation’ by church

      A British man who travelled to Verona in an attempt to forgive the Catholic missionary who sexually abused him at Mirfield seminary in Yorkshire almost 50 years ago is being prosecuted in the Italian courts on three counts of “trespassing, stalking and interference in private life”.

    • A hard truth for Leave voters: Brexit means big government

      Without the European Union’s shackles, Britain will be free to develop new products and innovate for greater success. Like a gleaming stallion racing away from the herd, the UK will leave Europe’s deadbeat economy in the dust. It’s a Brexiters’ image that also pictures Europe falling back, unable to maintain its poise while protecting the interests of unionised workers and ageing elites.

      The most recent economic figures appear to bear this out, with lower growth posing a fresh problem for Brussels and European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi, who had presumed that increases in GDP, while still only moderate, were steady and assured.

      And it’s true that policymakers in Denmark, Sweden and even some quarters of liberal Germany fear that, without the UK, Europe will turn inwards and ossify, forcing them to question their own membership.

    • Mississippi’s prison town are in danger of collapse, thanks to tiny reforms in the War on Drugs

      Towns in Mississippi and other Tea Party-ruled states with large (often private) prison industries are totally reliant on state/fed funding transfers to local prisons for cash and jobs, forced prison labor to provide local services for free, and War on Drugs arrests and minimum sentencing to fill those jails. The first tiny steps toward criminal justice reform have eroded the underpinnings of the whole system, leaving the towns facing collapse.

      Increasing vacancy rates in these prisons mean less revenue (and less free, forced labor), but the counties and towns still have to keep up payments on the bonds they floated to raise the money to build their prisons.

      Meanwhile, “fiscally responsible” states run by slash-and-burn Tea Party governors have cut services and transfer payments (except the per-prisoner/per-diem payments), eroding the towns’ infrastructure (see also), leaving the towns in a state of absolute precarity.

    • After the Horror, We Must Build One America

      “It is more dangerous to be black in America. You’re substantially more likely to be in a situation where police don’t respect you.”

      [...]

      The challenge now — for every concerned American — is how we react to the injustice and the violence. We know that our justice system suffers from massive and systematic racism. It is more dangerous to drive while black. African Americans are more likely to be stopped, more likely to be searched, more likely to be arrested if stopped, more likely to be charged if arrested, and more likely to be jailed if convicted. The budget of many small towns is based upon the fines, penalties and fees largely paid for by African-American offenders. Police, state’s attorneys and judges tend to have a shared perspective, an organizational kinship.

    • In Ukraine, not only heroes deserve justice

      A Ukrainian blogger sentenced for his scandalous views on the conflict in the Donbas has just been released.

    • Police Already Have Broad Powers to Detain Us; and the Supreme Court Gave Them Even More

      I don’t want to end up like Alton Sterling.

      Or Philando Castile. Or Eric Garner. Or Freddie Gray. Or Amadou Diallo. I don’t want to end up dead after a police stop, probably based on wrongful suspicion, which leads cowardly police officers to resort to unjustifiable force.

      I don’t want to die like this. Nobody does.

      But the statistical fact is that black men are likelier to be victims of the criminal justice system. Black men are victimized by lengthier sentences. They’re victimized daily by harassment and stop-and-frisk. And in the worst cases, they are victims of police who kill them, an act that is rarely prosecuted.

    • Continues to Rise: Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)

      Muhammad Ali’s life could be summed up in a single statement: freedom is always worth fighting for.

    • Noam Chomsky on Anarchism, Communism and Revolutions

      As global capitalism, with neoliberalism being a necessary accompaniment, has covered now the entire globe, it is extremely useful to revisit some of the great radical traditions of the 19th and 20th centuries — namely, anarchism and communism. What do they stand for? What are their main differences? Did Soviet Communism represent an authentic form of socialism or was it a “reformed workers’ stage” — or, even worse, a tyrannical form of stage capitalism? In this exclusive interview for Truthout, Noam Chomsky shares his views on anarchism, communism, and revolutions in hopes that the new generation of radical activists does not ignore history and continue to grapple with questions about strategies for social change.

    • Writing as Resistance

      Ringelblum formed his small army of writers clandestinely. Nazi discovery of any writer’s involvement meant his or her immediate execution or deportation to a death camp.

    • Cleveland Protesters Counter Noise of Hate With Silence and Love

      On a day that started with news of the murder of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, thousands of people gathered here on the eve of the Republican National Convention in a “a nonpartisan, no-labels, no-issue event” designed to “Circle the City with Love.”

      On Sunday afternoon, thousands of people, many in white T-shirts declaring Standing in Love, walked in two lines onto the art deco Hope Memorial Bridge over the Cuyahoga River. Once the marchers were in place and formed a circle, the Dixieland band stopped playing and conversation ended as the group observed a half-hour of silence. Many held hands, some prayed, and when an air horn signaled the end of the silent period, the crowd broke into good-natured cheers, exchanged hugs, and began leaving the bridge.

    • Erdogan is using this failed coup to get rid of the last vestiges of secular Turkey

      The sweeping purge of soldiers and officials in the wake of the failed coup in Turkey is likely to be conducted with extra vigour because a number of close associates of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are among the 265 dead. The number of people detained so far is at 6,000 including soldiers, and around 3,000 judges and legal officials who are unlikely to have been connected to the attempted military takeover.

      On Sunday, Erdogan attended the funeral of the elder brother of his chief adviser, Mustafa Varank. Varank’s older brother, Dr Ilhan Varank, studied at Ohio State University, and was the chairman of Computer and Technology Education Department at Istanbul’s Yildiz Technical University, according to Anadolu Agency (AA). It says that the 45-year-old was shot at and killed as he demonstrated in front of the Istanbul Municipality building on the night of the coup, 15 July.

    • OiThe Cyberpower Crushes Coup

      I am not a military strategist, but I have lived through a couple coups in Thailand, so I have some first hand experience of what they look like. The guide book to running a coup is still Luttwak’s Coup d’État, but it needs to be revised to reflect the use of cyberpower. In the same vein, people who talk about cyberpower need to understand what it actually is (hint: it isn’t a stockpile of exploits, it’s the ability to create and maintain advantage.)

    • The International Labour Organization: workers rights champion or 90-pound weakling?

      In 1969, at the height of its global influence, the International Labour Organization (ILO), a specialized agency of the UN, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its work in protecting labour rights, a vital subset of social rights. However, by the early twenty-first century, with the liberal-social democratic consensus left in tatters by the onslaught of globalization, the authors of a volume on international labour standards described the ILO as “the 90-pound weakling of UN agencies.”

      Few would deny that the ILO is having a difficult time promoting labour rights in the age of economic globalization when political actors seem to have ambivalent views about the very idea of labour rights.

      Making things more difficult for the ILO is the principle of national sovereignty that, though more porous now, remains a central feature of international relations. States are free to ignore the urgings and determinations of international organizations, including those of the ILO.

      That said, the ILO has brought a lot of its impotence upon itself. Member states are deeply reluctant to make use of the stronger measures at its disposal. For the most part, the ILO relies on its reporting mechanisms to encourage compliance with its standards and little else.

    • Why Black Lives Matter Won’t Go Away: a Primer on Systemic Racism in America

      Intellectually lazy. Willfully ignorant. Blinded by privilege. Drunk with prejudice. These are some of the words that come to mind when I think of the 30 percent of Americans in 2016 who agree “our country has made the changes needed to give blacks equal rights to whites.” There’s no excuse for such irresponsible comments considering the mountain of statistical data showing American institutions treat citizens very differently based on race.

      The shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling have re-energized a Black Lives Matter movement that’s remained remarkably vigilant over the years. I have no interest in judging the specifics of the Castile and Sterling shootings in this piece, or in judging the police officers involved in the court of public opinion prior to official legal action being taken. Individual stories and anecdotes can be spun any which way supporters and opponents of Black Lives Matter wish. But at the end of the day, these stories are just that – stories. They are symbolically powerful, but they won’t convince many who didn’t already agree that America is racist. What I’m interested in are the comprehensive studies of racial prejudice in American political and social institutions.

    • Living in the shadows of slavery

      Everybody agrees on the importance of bringing together the study of ‘old’ slave systems with research on the contemporary marginalities and exploitation that fall under the category of ‘modern’ or ‘new’ slavery. But how to do so is a different question entirely, since each step paves the way for disagreement. ‘Old’ and ‘modern’, for example, are in quotes because they are relative terms: north Atlantic slavery is ‘modern’ compared to that of Antiquity and the Mediterranean world; and the ‘modern’ and ‘new’ slaveries that anti-slavery organisations target are new in relation to the slave systems of the 18th and 19th centuries that abolition wiped out. Yet not all agree on this naming.

    • Jail for Sharing Your Netflix Password? Understanding the Law That Could Make it a Federal Crime

      It’s become so common that it’s almost a joke. One person has a Netflix account and three other people are using it. A recent court ruling found that because of a law called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), using someone else’s password could be considered a federal crime with an extremely harsh punishment. Someone who violates the CFAA can face decades in prison and large fines.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Time Is Running Out to Save Net Neutrality in Europe

      One month after a US federal court upheld strong rules protecting net neutrality—the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible—the battle over how to protect the internet’s open, freewheeling nature has shifted to Europe.

      A coalition of prominent open internet advocates, including Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, is mounting a last-ditch campaign urging European officials to stand up to the telecom industry and strengthen the EU’s net neutrality policy before the bloc’s regulatory public consultation period ends on Monday.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Taylor Swift is taking on YouTube, and it won’t be an easy fight

        When Apple announced its plans to offer customers a three-month trial of its Apple Music streaming service, Taylor Swift kicked off. The free trial meant no royalties for artists, and Tay-Tay wrote an open letter describing the terms as “shocking” and “disappointing” – and revealed she’d be withholding her music from the platform. Her tens of millions of fans magnified her protest and the tech giant made a rapid and uncharacteristic U-turn.

        Now Swift and other music artists are publicly taking on YouTube, calling for better protections against copyright infringement and better pay for artists. But this time she’s unlikely to win.

      • Google Wipes Record Breaking Half Billion Pirate Links in 2016

        Copyright holders asked Google to remove more than 500,000,000 allegedly infringing links from its search engine in 2016 thus far. This nearly equals the number of takedown notices it received for the whole of 2015. Rightsholders see the surge as evidence of a failing system, but Google clearly disagrees.

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