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07.21.16

Links 21/7/2016: Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Xfce Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 3:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • 7 Differences Between Linux and Windows: User Expectations

      When I was a boy, I imagined that other languages were codes, whose words had a one-to-one correspondence to English. In the same way, many Windows users expect Linux to be an exact equivalent.

      The reality, of course, is quite different. Both Windows and Linux are operating systems — the programs used to run other applications — but they often fulfill basic functions in different ways. Like any application, they have their own unspoken logic, and part of learning either is to learn their logic.

    • Feral Linux users should learn when to shut up

      The very words alpha in the name of the release indicate that the Skype which was announced on 14 July is not ready for prime time. That should be apparent to anyone with the IQ of the common cockroach.

      But it is apparently not evident to some Linux users.

      Things do not seem to be clear to some so-called Linux writers, either. Here is one claiming that “The Skype for Linux alpha does not have all the features that will be released into the final version.”

    • Intel Developer Has Been Working On Systemd Support For Chrome OS

      Google’s Chrome OS currently relies upon Upstart as its init system, but work done by an Intel developer is pushing towards systemd support.

    • The Linux Setup – Jerry Bezencon, Linux Lite

      My name is Jerry Bezencon and I’m a technology consultant, investor, programmer and promoter of/advocate for free and open source software.

    • Microsoft ordered to fix ‘excessively intrusive, insecure’ Windows 10

      A French regulator has issued Microsoft a formal warning over Windows 10, saying the operating system collects excessive amounts of personal data, ships that information illegally out of the EU, and has lousy security.

      The warning comes from the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), an independent data privacy watchdog with the power to levy fines against companies. The CNIL has been investigating Windows 10 since its launch and has now drawn up a damning list of criticisms.

      “The CNIL has decided to issue a formal notice to Microsoft Corporation to comply with the Act within three months,” said the group on Wednesday.

      “The purpose of the notice is not to prohibit any advertising on the company’s services but, rather, to enable users to make their choice freely, having been properly informed of their rights. It has been decided to make the formal notice public due to, among other reasons, the seriousness of the breaches and the number of individuals concerned.”

  • Server

    • Containers rated more secure than conventional apps

      Containers are more secure than apps running on a bare OS and organisations that like not being hacked therefore need to seriously consider a move, according to analyst firm Gartner.

    • Evolution of Linux Containers and Future

      Linux containers are an operating system level virtualization technology for providing multiple isolated Linux environments on a single Linux host. Unlike virtual machines (VMs), containers do not run dedicated guest operating systems. Rather, they share the host operating system kernel and make use of the guest operating system system libraries for providing the required OS capabilities. Since there is no dedicated operating system, containers start much faster than VMs.

    • 10 Essential Skills for Novice, Junior and Senior SysAdmins

      As the world evolves for systems administrators, “Linux is exploding with new ideas and it’s a little scary …,” as commenter Mike Tarkowski put it.

      Keeping up with emerging technologies in cloud computing such as OpenStack will be key to navigating this changing landscape, according to Randy Russell, director of certification for Red Hat.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • FLOSS Weekly 397: CoreOS Update
    • SJVN Talks FOSS, Linux, Microsoft & More…

      The official Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols LinkedIn page says, “I’ve written over 9,000 articles on business and technology subjects. Highlights include the first popular news story about the web and the first Linux benchmarks. My articles range from features to reviews to OpEd to news reporting.”

      A large percentage of those articles have been about Linux and FOSS, so it was logical for us to ring up SJVN (as he is commonly known) and ask him what’s the biggest news about FOSS so far in 2016, and what we can expect in the rest of the year.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • GSoC Update: Tinkering with KIO

        Secondly, the ioslave is now completely independent from Dolphin, or any KIO application for that matter. This means it works exactly the same way across the entire suite of KIO apps. Given that at one point we were planning to make the ioslave fully functional only with Dolphin, this is a major plus point for the project.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Writing an ebook about usability?

        I write more about this on my Coaching Buttons blog, that I’m thinking about writing an ebook. Actually, it’s several ebooks. But the one that applies here is Open Source Usability.

      • GNOME Mutter 3.21.4 Released WIth New Screen Capture API, NVIDIA vRAM Robustness

        Various GNOME software components were checked in today in preparation for this week’s GNOME 3.21.4 development release.

        When it comes to the Mutter 3.21.4 compositor / window manager release, there are a few new features on top of fixes. This 3.21.4 release includes the frame-buffer / display work I talked about this morning that should allow multiple monitor setups to have different DPIs, among other design improvements. There is also improved X11 to/from Wayland copy/paste interaction, support for the NV_robustness_video_memory_purge extension, a screen capture API has been added to Mutter itself, and various other fixes/improvements.

      • Mutter 3.21.4
  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Linux Top 3: Network Security Toolkit, Untangle NG Firewall and IPFire

        There is no shortage of Linux distributions that provide a platform for security researcher to conduct various security research. Among them is the Network Security Toolkit (NST), which was recently updated to version 24-7977. The 24 is a referenced to Fedora, which NST is based on.

        Aside from simply integrating existing tools, NST goes a step further and provides a number of innovative capabilities including a new Multi-Traceroute (MTR) networking tool.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Alpha 3 Released

        Ludwig Nussel has announced the release today of the third alpha release for the forthcoming openSUSE “Leap” 42.2 update.

        OpenSUSE 42.2 Alpha 3 finishes up the merge of SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP2 components, updates to GNOME, KDE Plasma 5.7 integration, and various other changes.

      • openSUSE Leap 42.2 Alpha3 released
      • SUSE LLC’s SUSE Manager

        SUSE Manager is a open-source IT management solution with a centralized console for managing multiple Linux distributions, hardware platforms (x86, IBM Power Systems and z Systems), as well as physical, virtual and cloud environments. SUSE says that the solution helps customers reduce the complexities of managing their IT infrastructures, a key advantage as customers look to cut costs and increase the responsiveness required to adopt DevOps and hybrid cloud solutions.

      • Tally ERP 9 on Linux

        Recently we implemented Tally ERP 9 solution for Antico Pumps. That itself is not interesting, the interesting part is they are using LTSP Fat client system on openSUSE. They have only one server from which all their client computers boot over the network, the clients do not have hard disk, client OS with all softwares they need including wine(Tally is Windows only software), as well as users’ data resides on the server. Once the client boots all the local resources are used so single low power server can be used to serve many clients.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Interoute gets certification from Red Hat

        Interoute was named a Certified Cloud and Service Provider by Red Hat for its networked cloud infrastructure platform, Interoute Virtual Data Centre (VDC).

      • Interoute becomes first European Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider with Red Hat Cloud Access Designation

        Interoute, owner operator of a global cloud services platform and one of Europe’s largest networks, has today announced that it has been named a Certified Cloud and Service Provider by Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, for its global networked cloud infrastructure platform, Interoute Virtual Data Centre (VDC).

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Microsoft Privacy Violations, Fedora: Season’s Pick

          Topping today’s Linux news is the wrist slapping of Microsoft by French Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés for excessive spying. Back in Linuxland, openSUSE 42.2 Alpha 3 and Mint 18 Xfce Beta were released for early testers. Bruce Byfield compares Linux and Windows users and Dedoimedo found another distribution he likes. VarGuy Christopher Tozzi ran down five Open Source projects that didn’t work out and Sam Varghese scolds Linux users for expecting Final quality out of Alpha releases.

        • Fedora 24 – And we represent!

          I am pleased. I am really pleased. Fedora 24 delivers an excellent, modern experience. Such a refreshing departure from all the sadness I had to deal with it in the last two months. While it’s not aimed at new users and does not offer D2D fun right away, Fedora still managed to give a most satisfying and a highly consistent experience. With a little bit of tweaking, it’s superb.

          Looking across the board, we have good networking support overall with a permanent workaround for Realtek woes, good smartphone support, stability, speed, battery life, excellent hardware compatibility, a much improved package management system. After pimping, the fun extends to multimedia and some extra customization. And Gnome isn’t half as bad as it used to be. Really lovely.

          There are some small problems still, here and there, the chief amongst them being the ultra short support life of a typical Fedora release. But then, just look at my CentOS 7.2 reviews, the recent Gnome and Xfce ones. You get pretty much the same experience plus a whooping 10 years of support. That’s what I’ve always been waiting for in Linux. Anyhow, Fedora 24 is a very good summer release. 9/10, and I’ve had a lot of fun sorting things out, because they remained sorted out, there are no silly errors, and the network is solid and stable. Linux as it should be. This is your pick for this season. Enjoy.

        • Fedora APAC FAD KL 2016

          Fedora APAC budget panning FAD 2016 was held on 9th-10th of July 2016 in Malaysia. I was there with Fedora ambassadors from other countries within APAC region.

        • Search for Code in Pagure

          I was trying to get into code search in Pagure, thing that I land up on got really interesting and amazing. If you want to have a code searching mechanism in your website you need to look into something called Indexing.

          The way search happens in some E-commerce sites like Amazon or be it the search happening on Google, with Google its web scrapping and then indexing on the results. The point being the response time , while you are searching for something you get results in few microseconds.

    • Debian Family

      • Reproducible builds: week 62 in Stretch cycle
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • The Ubuntu-powered BQ Aquaris M10 tablet: Almost amazing

            BQ Aquaris M10, the first Ubuntu-powered tablet to ship, has some flaws, but the fact that it runs traditional Linux desktop apps will make many Linux users happy

          • Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition Review – The King of All Ubuntu Phones

            It has been one year since our previous review of an Ubuntu Phone, namely examining the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition, and the time has come for us to take a look at the best handset powered by Canonical’s Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system that you can buy right now, the Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition.

          • Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS released

            The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS
            (Long-Term Support) for its Desktop, Server, and Cloud products, as well
            as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support.

            As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updated
            installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to
            be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and
            corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining
            stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

          • Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS Released
          • Howdy, Ubuntu on Windows! An Intro From Canonical’s Dustin Kirkland

            Hi there! My name is Dustin Kirkland, a Linux user for nearly 20 years, and an open source developer for almost as long. I worked on Linux at IBM for most of a decade, on site at Red Hat for a bit, and now at Canonical for nearly another decade. I started at Canonical as an engineer on the Ubuntu Server team and eventually evolved into the product manager responsible for Ubuntu as a server and cloud platform. I’ve authored many open source utilities used by millions of Ubuntu users every day. Open source software is my passion, my heart, and my soul.

            I was working in Cape Town, South Africa when I received a strange call from a friend and colleague at Microsoft in January of 2016. The call was decorated with subtlety as he danced around the technology underpinning what you and I today know as “Ubuntu on Windows,” but without any detail. There was plenty of confusion. Confusion around exactly what we were talking about. Confusion about how this could even work. Confusion about how I should feel about this.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Xfce – BETA Release

              Linux Mint 18 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 18 Sarah Xfce released in Beta

              So after the release of Linux Mint 18 sarah in the flavours of Cinnamon and MATE,now the team is focoused on working over other flavours too.As a result Xfce has been choosen to be the next flavour to be provided officially.

              So,If you were waiting for Linux Mint 18 to be available in Xfce DE(Desktop Environment) then Linux Mint team has started to roll the beta release of Sarah in Xfce DE. Linux Mint team announced the release of Linux Mint 18 Xfce Beta with some already known issues and workarounds too.This xfce edition features Xfce 4.12, MDM 2.0 and it is coming with Linux Kernel 4.4.

            • Linux Mint 18 Xfce beta is out

              While the release comes with the new X-Apps, the Mint-Y theme, new artwork, an Ubuntu 16.04 base, and version 4.4 of the Linux kernel, it still runs Xfce 4.12 and MDM 2.0, both of which were present in Mint 17.3. The reason Xfce and MDM are at the same versions is because they are the latest upstream versions. They’ll likely be updated with new point releases in the Mint 18 cycle.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Microsoft Isn’t Going Away Any Time Soon

    The only major negative for Microsoft in this report comes from the usual suspect: mobile. Microsoft phone revenue fell by 71 percent, for a dollar loss estimated by the Register to be $870 million. Even search advertising, which forever was a big loser for Redmond, saw in increase of over a half billion dollars.

  • Science

    • Something Is Causing Siberia’s Tundra to Literally Bubble Underground

      The frigid plains of northern Siberia are becoming a hotspot for mysterious geological phenomena. Over the past couple of years, sudden craters have been exploding from the permafrost-laden ground. Last month, we reported on a giant chasm in the Sakha Republic that looms so wide and deep, locals refer to it as a “gateway to the underworld.”

      Now, the frozen tundra on Siberia’s remote Belyy Island is home to the region’s newest aberration: eerie, rippling, underground bubbles.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New Report: Problem Care Harms Almost One-Third of Rehab Hospital Patients

      Patients may go to rehabilitation hospitals to recover from a stroke, injury, or recent surgery. But sometimes the care makes things worse. In a government report published Thursday, 29 percent of patients in rehab facilities suffered a medication error, bedsore, infection or some other type of harm as a result of the care they received.

      Doctors who reviewed cases from a broad sampling of rehab facilities say that almost half of the 158 incidents they spotted among 417 patients were clearly or likely preventable.

      “This is the latest study over a long time period now that says we still have high rates of harm,” says Dr. David Classen, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Utah School of Medicine who developed the analytic tool used in the report to identify the harm to patients.

    • Free Trade Agreements Threaten Farmers’ Rights, Food Security, Group Says

      Small farmers around the world are threatened by new free trade agreements, a civil society group has argued. Those agreements go beyond the requirements of agreed international intellectual property rules and jeopardise the ability of small farmers to save, produce, and exchange seeds, the group said.

      GRAIN just published its latest opinion piece [pdf], part of its “Against the grain” series. This one focuses on the potential threat of free trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in Asia.

    • The Significance Of Uruguay’s Win Over Philip Morris International

      The tobacco industry’s global efforts to use bilateral and multilateral agreements to challenge the spread of tobacco control measures such as trademark-minimising plain packages were dealt a significant blow last week when the World Bank dispute settlement body dismissed a case brought by Philip Morris against the government of Uruguay.The decision is seen a landmark for those who view the company as using test cases to continually challenge and delay public health protection measures and discourage other countries, particularly those with fewer resources, from strengthening their health regulations. Additionally, the case reasserted that trademarks are subject to government regulations and also illustrated the role that international organisations and actors can play in support of national governments defending their health measures.

    • After Japan Embraces ‘Sensational’ Anti-Vaxxer Report, HPV Vaccination Rates Collapse

      Just three years after the Japanese government withdrew support for a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), a new report finds the country’s girls are dramatically more vulnerable to contracting the cancerous disease. Japan’s decision was solely informed by one “sensationalized” report from a non-medical anti-vaccine activist group called Vaccine Victims, which is under investigation by the Japanese government.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Open Source Information Security Tool Aimed at MSSPs

      A Virginia software developer announced today the release of what’s billed as the first open source information security analytics tool for managed security services providers (MSSP) and enterprise.

      IKANOW says its new platform features multi-tenancy, enterprise scalability and is fully customizable.

    • Most companies still can’t spot incoming cyberattacks

      Four out of five businesses lack the required infrastructure or security professionals with relevant skills to spot and defend against incoming cyberattacks.

      According to a new report by US cybersecurity and privacy think tank Ponemon Institute on behalf of cybersecurity firm BrandProtect, 79 percent of cybersecurity professionals say that their organisations are struggling to monitor the internet for the external threats posed by hackers and cybercriminals.

    • HTTpoxy Flaw Re-emerges After 15 Years and Gets Fixed

      After lying dormant for years, flaws in the HTTP Proxy header used in programming languages and applications, such as PHP, Go and Python, have now been fixed.
      Some flaws take longer—a lot longer—than others to get fixed. The newly named HTTpoxy vulnerability was first discovered back in March 2001 and fixed in the open-source Perl programming language, but it has sat dormant in multiple other languages and applications until July 18.

      The HTTPoxy flaw is a misconfiguration vulnerability in the HTTP_PROXY variable that is commonly used by Common Gateway Interface (CGI) environment scripts. The HTTPoxy flaw could potentially enable a remotely exploitable vulnerability on servers, enabling an attacker to run code or redirect traffic. The flaw at its core is a name space conflict between two different uses for a server variable known as HTTP Proxy.

    • Hack The World

      Currently HackerOne has 550+ customers, has paid over $8.9 million in bounties, and fixed over 25,000 vulnerabilities, which makes for a safer Internet.

    • EU aims to increase the security of password manager and web server software: KeePass and Apache chosen for open source audits [“pyrrhic because of Keepass : flushing the audit money down the toilet on MS based cruft” -iophk]

      For the FOSSA pilot project to improve the security of open source software that my colleague Max and I proposed, the European Commission sought your input on which tools to audit.

      The results are now in: The two overwhelming public favorites were KeePass (23%) and the Apache HTTP Server (19%). The EU has decided to follow these recommendations and audit both of these software projects for potential security issues.

    • KeeThief – A Case Study in Attacking KeePass Part 2

      The other week I published the “A Case Study in Attacking KeePass” post detailing a few notes on how to operationally “attack” KeePass installations. This generated an unexpected amount of responses, most good, but a few negative and dismissive. Some comments centered around the mentality of “if an attacker has code execution on your system you’re screwed already so who cares“. Our counterpoint to this is that protecting your computer from malicious compromise is a very different problem when it’s joined to a domain versus isolated for home use. As professional pentesters/red teamers we’re highly interested in post-exploitation techniques applicable to enterprise environments, which is why we started looking into ways to “attack” KeePass installations in the first place. Our targets are not isolated home users.

    • Giuliani calls for cybersecurity push

      Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani made a surprise appearance at the BlackBerry Security Summit, warning of the rapid growth of cybercrime and cyberterrorism.

      Cybercrime and cyberterrorism are both growing at rates between 20% and 40%, said Giuliani, who made a brief return from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to speak at BlackBerry’s New York event.

      “Think of it like cancer. We can’t cure it… but if we catch it early we can put it into remission,” he said. The quicker you can spot an attack, the less chance there is of loss.

    • Notorious Hacker ‘Phineas Fisher’ Says He Hacked The Turkish Government

      A notorious hacker has claimed responsibility for hacking Turkey’s ruling party, the AKP, and stealing more than 300,000 internal emails and other files.

      The hacker, who’s known as Phineas Fisher and has gained international attention for his previous attacks on the surveillance tech companies FinFisher and Hacking Team, took credit for breaching the servers of Turkey’s ruling party, the Justice and Development Party or AKP.

      “I hacked AKP,” Phineas Fisher, who also goes by the nickname Hack Back, said in a message he spread through his Twitter account on Wednesday evening.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Coup in Turkey has Thrown a Wrench in Uncle Sam’s “Pivot” Plan

      A failed coup in Turkey has changed the geopolitical landscape overnight realigning Ankara with Moscow while shattering Washington’s plan to redraw the map of the Middle East. Whether Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan staged the coup or not is of little importance in the bigger scheme of things. The fact is, the incident has consolidated his power domestically while derailing Washington’s plan to control critical resources and pipeline corridors from Qatar to Europe. The Obama administrations disregard for the national security interests of its allies, has pushed the Turkish president into Moscow’s camp, removing the crucial landbridge between Europe and Asia that Washington needs to maintain its global hegemony into the new century. Washington’s plan to pivot to Asia, surround and break up Russia, control China’s growth and maintain its iron grip on global power is now in a shambles. The events of the last few days have changed everything.

    • US-Led Airstrikes Kill as Many Civilians as Nice Attack–but Get No Front-Page Headlines in Major US Papers

      A coalition airstrike reported on Tuesday that killed at least 85 civilians—one more than died in the Nice attack in France last week—wasn’t featured at all on the front pages of two of the top US national newspapers, the New York Times and LA Times, and only merited brief blurbs on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, with the actual stories buried on pages A-16 and A-15, respectively.

      According to the London Telegraph (7/19/16), the airstrike killed “more than 85 civilians” after the “coalition mistook them for Islamic State fighters.” Eight families were represented among the dead, with victims “as young as three.” The Intercept (7/19/16) reported the death toll could end up being well over 100.

    • NYT’s ‘Journalistic Detachment’ Before Iraq War Is Detached From Reality

      One has to ask where the New York Times’ “journalistic detachment” was in 2002 and 2003. Rutenberg himself (2/18/03) in the lead up to the invasion reported on the use of “embedded journalists” for the first time since World War II. How “detached” from a war effort can journalists be if they are literally attached to an invading army?

      It’s a subtle piece of revisionism, but an important one: For those in center-left media, the impulse to rewrite their own role in selling the Iraq War is all too tempting–to turn Fox News into a cartoon propaganda outlet, and their own editorial drum-beating, war protester-mocking, aluminum tube-peddling and Dick Cheney water-carrying as “detached” journalism, simply calling balls and strikes. Certainly Ailes’ Fox News was more naked in its war promotion, but the New York Times, with its nominal liberal reputation and air of objectivity, was almost certainly more effective.

    • The ’28 Pages’ Explained

      It took fourteen years for the public to see this document…

    • Stomping the Embers of Turkey’s Democracy

      Whatever motivated Turkey’s failed coup, President Erdogan is exploiting the outcome to round up his political enemies and consolidate his dictatorial style rule, a challenge to the U.S. and E.U., as Alon Ben-Meir describes.

    • Failed Turkish Coup’s Big-Power Impact

      Turkey’s failed “coup” has shaken up the region’s geopolitics, splintering the powerful Turkish military, forcing President Erdogan to focus on internal “enemies,” and undermining the Syrian rebels next door, says ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

    • Orlando Shooter’s Statements Vindicate Ron Paul

      Despite all the articles and analysis in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting, one important fact seems to have been completely overlooked: the shooter validated Ron Paul’s warning that American military intervention in the Mideast causes terrorist attacks.

    • US-Backed Syrian ‘Moderates’ Behead 12-Year-Old

      The grisly beheading of a 12-year-old boy by U.S.-backed Syrian rebels spotlights Washington’s creepy excuses for arming “moderate” jihadists who are barely distinguishable from Al Qaeda and ISIS, reports Daniel Lazare.

    • Cashing in on a Failed Coup

      Mr. Erdogan, who has long attempted to create pliable state institutions, said that the coup was a “gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army”. The government arrested more than 6,000 people from the military and other state institutions. Saying that the Gülen movement had become a “cancer virus” on society, Mr. Erdogan pledged to purge its membership from positions of authority. The ultimate arbiter of who is or is not in the Gülen movement will be left to Mr. Erdogan’s own loyalists, who are likely to remove those who have long resisted the President’s own bid to monopolise power. Mr. Erdogan deliberately linked the Gülen movement to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which the Turkish army has attacked in its bases in south-eastern Turkey and in Iraq. To call both the Gülen movement and the PKK ‘terrorists’ is a convenient way to sweep up all Erdogan enemies into one target and use the coup — a “gift from God” — as the opportunity to go after them with vehemence.

    • The Surprising Popularity of Military Coups

      The attempted military coup in Turkey and the possibility of a President Trump may have more Americans considering the military option.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hottest ever June marks 14th month of record-breaking temperatures

      As the string of record-breaking global temperatures continues unabated, June 2016 marks the 14th consecutive month of record-breaking heat.

      According to two US agencies – Nasa and Noaa – June 2016 was 0.9C hotter than the average for the 20th century, and the hottest June in the record which goes back to 1880. It broke the previous record, set in 2015, by 0.02C.

      The 14-month streak of record-breaking temperatures was the longest in the 137-year record. And it has been 40 years since the world saw a June that was below the 20th century average.

    • Republicans in Cleveland Deny Climate Change as Arctic Snow Turns Pink

      Donald Trump’s reported top pick for energy secretary, oil and fracking billionaire Harold Hamm, declared on the Republican National Convention stage on Wednesday night, “Every time we can’t drill a well in America, terrorism is being funded.”

      One day earlier, NASA had announced that this June was the hottest June on record, and that the same could be said for every month in 2016 — part of a long-term climate trend that has exacerbated geopolitical conflicts.

      The convention adopted a platform that rejected the Paris climate agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Meanwhile, researchers published a study indicating that climate change worsened a 2003 heat wave enough to kill 570 more people in Paris and London than would have died in an unchanged world.

      Rep. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee, who will take the convention stage Thursday, told a Cleveland panel on Monday that “the earth is no longer warming and has not. For about the past 13 years, it has begun to cool.”

    • A Climate Change Op-Ed the Wall Street Journal Simply Doesn’t Need

      I bet not many high schoolers read the Wall Street Journal. And, as a recent graduate, I can tell you confidently it’s because we’re too busy with other things. And I don’t mean busy playing Pokémon Go. I guess I’d consider myself an outlier as an unusually high consumer of news and opinion, particularly from the Wall Street Journal. Either way, as a young person that will feel the worst effects of climate change as I get older, it’s extremely important to me that the issue receives the attention it deserves from mainstream media.

      The Wall Street Journal hasn’t exactly been at the forefront when it comes to leading fair and unbiased commentary on climate change, especially on its editorial page. That’s why I was truly shocked by the full page ad series about man-made climate change currently running. I saw the first ad that ran back on June 14 and those that have run every few days since. The shock came partly just because the ad existed, but the fact that it was actually slamming the Wall Street Journal for its overt climate denial was almost unbelievable. I dug deeper and learned through a piece by the Washington Post that only for a fee higher than it normally charges for ad space was the Journal willing to place the ads… not exactly equitable. Does the WSJ charge Big Oil more to run their ads?

    • Trump’s Killer Kids
    • Taxpayer Groups, Environmentalists, Students Call on Congress to End $4 Billion Annual Oil Industry Subsidies

      In an open letter sent to Congress today, a coalition of 40 national taxpayer, labor, environmental and other groups called on the federal government to repeal almost $4 billion in annual tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, calling them wasteful and lambasting Congress for subsidizing activities that will make climate change worse.

      The groups called on Senators to support the FAIR Energy Policy Act, which would slowly phase out nine special tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry.

      “Oil companies receive billions in tax breaks, despite being among the world’s largest and most profitable corporations,” the groups wrote. “For too long, America has subsidized the oil industry’s bottom line at middle class Americans’ expense.”

      Another law passed earlier this year revokes the wind industry’s production tax credit, and the FAIR Energy Policy Act would wind down some of the oil industry’s subsidies on the same schedule.

  • Finance

    • Why Public Needs Go Begging

      For decades, Americans have been sold on rugged individualism and told to disdain collectivism and community, a philosophy that has starved many public institutions and fattened up the few at the top, as Lawrence Davidson explains.

    • Barroso: from Europeanist to Global Banker

      Mr. Barroso’s appointment as Goldman Sachs non-executive chairman is shameful. As a former President of the European Commission, he should be held to higher ethical standards.

    • Sovereignty and responsibility after Brexit
    • US eyes quick post-Brexit trade deal with UK to get stalled TTIP moving

      The US is hoping that a quick trade and investment deal with the UK after it leaves the EU could kickstart the stalled negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which has met increasing resistance on the continent.

      As well as serving the US’s purposes, such an agreement would be welcomed by the UK government as proof that it can recreate the necessary web of trade links post-Brexit.

      The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has just spent two days in the UK talking with the prime minister’s officials and with the new foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, exploring what form such a UK-US trade deal might take.

      As The Guardian explains: “The UK cannot formally sign any trade deals with other countries or trading blocs until it has left the EU, but it appears to be accepted that negotiations on the outline shape of such deals can start before that happens.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Tomgram: Adam Hochschild, Letting Tarzan Swing Through History

      Still, I wouldn’t have missed the film for the world. After all, it’s the first action movie that — as you’ll see from TomDispatch regular Adam Hochschild’s piece today — has ever based itself in any way on a book I edited, in this case his classic King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa. As a result, I left the theater filled with wild fantasies. (Even editors can dream, can’t they?) I began to imagine Who Rules the World?, Noam Chomsky’s latest book, absorbed into a future X-Men: Apocalypse America. Or the late Chalmers Johnson’s Dismantling the Empire as the basis for the next Jason Bourne romp. Or Ann Jones’s They Were Soldiers at the grim heart of American Sniper: The Next Generation. Or, in Tarzan-style, Andrew Bacevich’s writing on America’s twenty-first-century Middle Eastern wars as part of a reboot of Lawrence of Arabia — perhaps King David of Iraq: The Surge to Nowhere.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Top VP Pick Lets Big Banks Know He’s in Their Corner

      Sounding another alarm for progressives wary of the Democratic establishment’s support for Wall Street, the man said to be leading the pack of potential Hillary Clinton running mates—Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine—has just this week sent a clear message to big banks: He’s in their corner.

      Kaine, who is reportedly Bill Clinton’s favorite for the vice presidential slot, signed onto two letters on Monday pushing for financial deregulation—letters that show the Clinton camp “how Kaine could be an asset with banking interests on the fundraising trail,” according to David Dayen at The Intercept on Wednesday.

      The first missive, signed by 16 Democrats and every Republican senator, calls on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to exempt community banks and credit unions from certain regulations.

    • Tim Kaine, Possible Hillary Clinton Pick for Vice President, Goes to Bat for Banks

      Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, considered a leading contender for the Democratic vice presidential nomination, has spent this week signaling to the financial industry that he’ll go to bat for them.

      On Monday, Kaine signed onto two letters, one to federal banking regulators and the other to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, urging them to loosen regulations on certain financial players. The timing of the letters, sent while Kaine is being vetted for the top of the ticket, could show potential financial industry donors that he is willing to serve as an ally on their regulatory issues.

      In the letters, Kaine is offering to support community banks, credit unions, and even large regional banks. While separate from the Wall Street mega-banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, these financial institutions often partner with the larger industry to fight regulations and can be hostile to government efforts to safeguard the public, especially if it crimps their profits.

      They also represent a key source of donor funds, one that has trended away from Democrats. The Independent Community Bankers of America have given 74 percent of their $873,949 in donations this cycle to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Regional banks like PNC Financial Services, SunTrust Bank, and First Republic Bank, have given even higher percentages to the Republicans.

    • Saudi Arabia’s PR Machine Uses the 28 Pages to Blame Iran for 9/11 Attacks

      Last Friday the U.S. government finally released 28 pages of a 2002 congressional report that detail possible ties between the Saudi Arabian government and the 9/11 hijackers.

      The document lists various forms of assistance provided by Saudi agents to the hijackers, including help finding a flight school and various forms of financial support when the hijackers arrived in the United States. Many of the findings in the report have not been fully vetted as several of the Saudi agents named in the 28 pages have refused to cooperate.

      But that has not stopped Saudi-funded lobbyists and media outlets from claiming that the disclosure of the 28 pages ends all speculation about the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 terror attacks. Several outlets controlled by Saudi Arabia’s vast public relations machine are trumpeting the document as a vindication that closes the door on any suggestion that the Saudi government had any ties to the 9/11 terrorists.

      “The question of Saudi involvement in 9/11 should be entirely put to rest,” said Fran Townsend, a former Bush administration official, in a 28 pages-related video posted on social media this week. The video was produced by Focus Washington, an interview series managed by Qorvis MSL, a lobbying firm retained by the Saudi government to influence American policymakers. The Saudi Embassy Twitter account distributed the video.

    • This Is What a Broken Party Looks Like

      Cruz doesn’t disagree with Trump. He thinks Trump is a pretender to the cause, or he remains angry at how Trump personally insulted him, his wife and his father – or both.

      The person who really disagrees with Trump is his vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence, who said in December that “calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.” In 2006 he concluded “it is not logistically possible to round up 12 million illegal aliens.” He supports NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). And he disavowed negative campaigning 25 years ago.

    • VP Choice Pence Reaffirms Israel Devotion

      Donald Trump may alarm Washington’s foreign policy establishment with his “America First” rhetoric but Mike Pence, Trump’s VP choice, reaffirms a commitment to the traditional “Israel First” doctrine, as Sam Husseini shows.

      [...]

      I’ve heard him say that before. Being a journalist based in the Washington, D.C. area, I try to ask tough questions of political figures when I can. Perhaps my favorite question is some variation of “do you acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons?” I’ve asked this of many political figures and virtually no one has given me a straightforward response.

    • In the US, Money Talks When It Comes to Israel

      The grubby underside of US electoral politics is on show once again as the Democratic and Republican candidates prepare to fight it out for the presidency. And it doesn’t get seamier than the battle to prove how loyal each candidate is to Israel.

      New depths are likely to be plumbed this week at the Republican convention in Cleveland, as Donald Trump is crowned the party’s nominee. His platform breaks with decades of United States policy to effectively deny the Palestinians any hope of statehood.

    • This Anti-Feminist Leader Is Very Pleased With The GOP Platform

      As delegates at the Republican National Convention approved a platform banning women from combat, restricting a woman’s right to an abortion in cases of rape or incest, and without any mention of equal pay or paid family leave, Phyllis Schlafly looked on with a huge smile.

      The notorious 91-year-old anti-feminist and RNC delegate sat in her wheelchair in the back of Missouri’s delegation, craning to get a look at Donald Trump as he entered the arena for the first time on Wednesday night. During the 1970s, Schlafly led the opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have amended the Constitution to ban discrimination based on gender. Schlafly, who has participated in every convention since 1952, told ThinkProgress that Trump is the candidate to best represent the needs of women from the White House. In fact, she said, there’s no need for a woman in the Oval Office at all.

    • Folha’s Journalistic Fraud Far Worse Than We Reported Yesterday: A Smoking Gun Emerges

      On Wednesday, The Intercept published an article documenting the extraordinary journalistic fraud committed by Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, in radically distorting the views of Brazilians on the key questions of the country’s political crisis. Specifically, Folha blasted headlines to the country announcing that 50 percent of Brazilians now want the extremely unpopular interim president, Michel Temer, to complete Dilma’s term and remain as president through 2018, while only 3 percent favor new elections and only 4 percent want both Dilma and Temer to resign. That was squarely at odds with prior polling showing vast majorities opposed to Temer and favoring new elections. As we documented, the actual polling data — which Folha’s polling firm, Datafolha, only published days after the article — did not remotely support Folha’s claims.

      But after our article was published, much more evidence was found — through amazing collaborative work by internet sleuths — showing how extreme Folha’s behavior was, including the discovery of a smoking gun proving that it was much worse than we knew when we published yesterday. Do not let the fact that this story involves polling data and methodologies obscure how significant this episode is:

      Weeks before the conclusion of the country’s most virulent political conflict in at least a generation — the final Senate vote on Dilma’s impeachment — Folha, Brazil’s largest and most influential newspaper, not only distorted, but actively concealed, crucial polling data that completely negated what they “reported”: data that establishes that a large majority of Brazilians want “interim President” Michel Temer to resign, not remain in office as the paper claimed. Put simply, this is one of the most remarkable, flagrant, and serious cases of journalistic malfeasance one can imagine.

      [...]

      Most amazingly of all, this was all done in service of denying the need for democracy: deceiving the country into believing that most Brazilians support the person who seized power undemocratically and that there is no need for elections, when in fact the majority of the country wants this “interim President” to quit and new elections to be held to choose the legitimate leader.

      As we noted yesterday, it’s impossible to say whether Folha acted with deliberate intent to deceive or with extreme journalistic ineptitude and recklessness, although evidence suggesting the former is certainly more abundant now than it was yesterday. But motives aside, what is now beyond debate is that Folha misled the country in fundamental ways about this generation’s most consequential political conflict, and hid from the public vital evidence that they only admitted existed once they got caught red-handed doing all this.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Not censorship but responsible journalism is the need of the hour

      Even as newspaper printing resumed in the Kashmir valley on Wednesday after four days, a group of journalists who gathered here for a panel discussion condemned the alleged ban as a gag on the freedom of speech and expression.

      They also said that coverage by a certain section of the media was alienating the local population even further.

      During the panel discussion, Rahul Jalali, president of Press Club of India said, “It was one of the most bizarre incidents of censorship that took place in the country. As of now no assurance has been given to the journalists that they are free to function and would not be touched hereafter.”

    • Editors’ body condemns ‘undeclared censorship’ on newspapers in Kashmir
    • Does Delhi media care enough for Kashmiri media?

      Early this year, in February, the who’s who of Delhi journalism had assembled at the Press Club of India, at Raisina Road, to defend their right to report. The reason was the attack on journalists who were covering the Jawaharlal Nehru University sedition case at the Patiala House Court.

      Almost five months later, a motley group of journalists gathered at the same venue for same reasons – except this time, the attack was not on Delhi media but a ban on Kashmiri media. Barely 10 journalists sat on a dharna at about 1pm at the press club with the placard: “Journalists with Kashmir”.

    • As Constitutional Referendum Nears, Thailand Intensifies Censorship

      Thailand’s military-backed government has authorized the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to shut down TV and radio stations which are found guilty of broadcasting programs that threaten national security. Furthermore, the junta gave NBTC officials immunity from legal accountability.

      Human rights groups believe this ruling aims to prevent activists and other political forces from campaigning against the approval of a draft constitution in a national referendum scheduled for August 7.

    • Stop censorship of student journalists

      Censorship must be resisted on all fronts, at all times, wherever conflict occurs. Nowhere is that message more important than in our schools, and that’s why we applaud a newly re-introduced bill aimed at preventing administrative censorship of student newspapers.

      The bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly members Gail Phoebus, R-Sussex, and Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, would be similar to a Maryland initiative that has already been signed into law. It is rooted in concerns that oversensitive school officials have been preventing student publications from using certain stories of which they disapprove. That’s insufficient cause to ignore First Amendment principles, and the bill would forbid any requirement that all content be subject to administrative review before publication.

    • SABC censorship runs deeper than protest ban, says fired journalist

      THE SABC’s protest footage ban is just one of a slew of policies and “draconian anti-journalistic practices” at the public broadcaster, one of the fired journalists said on Thursday.

      “You can withdraw the protest policy but you still have an environment that is not conducive to the practice of ethical journalism in the SABC,” Thandeka Gqubule said.

    • Serbia populists exhibit criticism to fight censorship claim

      Serbia’s ruling populists have created an exhibition highlighting media critical of their leader and his government in a bid to counter mounting allegations of censorship in the Balkan country, which is seeking EU membership

    • Onlinecensorship.org Launches in Spanish

      We are excited to announce that Onlinecensorship.org, a joint project of EFF and Visualizing Impact, is now available in Spanish. Onlinecensorship.org seeks to expose how social media sites moderate user-generated content. By launching the platform in the second-most widely spoken language in the world, we hope to reach several million more individuals who’ve experienced censorship on social media. Now, more users than ever can report on content takedowns from Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube and use Onlinecensorship.org as a resource to appeal unfair takedowns.

    • Censorship in Venezuela: Over 370 Internet Addresses Blocked

      In Venezuela, at least 372 web portals have been blocked by main Internet service providers (ISP). Also, 43 Internet domains have been blocked by these same providers, both public and private.

      Of those, 44 percent are web pages related to black market dollars. An additional 19 percent of the pages are news media and an additional 12 percent feature blogs critical of Nicolás Maduro’s administration.

    • The South African Broadcasting Corporation in court over censorship saga
    • The SABC makes U-turn on its ‘censorship’ ruling
    • Court order prohibits SABC from implementing ‘the censorship decision’
    • SABC interdicted from protest censorship
    • Milo Yiannopoulos, rightwing writer, permanently banned from Twitter
    • Twitter Bans Milo Yiannopoulos for Leading Abuse Campaign Against Actress
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Edward Snowden’s New Research Aims to Keep Smartphones from Betraying Their Owners

      In early 2012, Marie Colvin, an acclaimed international journalist from New York, entered the besieged city of Homs, Syria while reporting for London’s Sunday Times. She wrote of a difficult journey involving “a smugglers’ route, which I promised not to reveal, climbing over walls in the dark and slipping into muddy trenches.” Despite the covert approach, Syrian forces still managed to get to Colvin; under orders to “kill any journalist that set foot on Syrian soil,” they bombed the makeshift media center she was working in, killing her and one other journalist, and injuring two others.

      Syrian forces may have found Colvin by tracing her phone, according to a lawsuit filed by Colvin’s family this month. Syrian military intelligence used “signal interception devices to monitor satellite dish and cell phone communications and trace journalists’ locations,” the suit says.

      In dangerous environments like war-torn Syria, smartphones become indispensable tools for journalists, human rights workers, and activists. But at the same time they become especially potent tracking devices that can put users in mortal danger by leaking their location.

      National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden has been working with prominent hardware hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang to solve this problem. The pair are developing a way for potentially imperiled smartphone users to monitor whether their devices are making any potentially compromising radio transmissions. They argue that a smartphone’s user interface can’t be relied to tell you the truth about that state of its radios.

    • The Secret Documents That Detail How Patients’ Privacy is Breached

      When the federal government takes the rare step of fining medical providers for violating the privacy and security of patients’ medical information, it issues a press release and posts details on the web.

      But thousands of times a year, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services resolves complaints about possible violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act quietly, outside public view. It sends letters reminding providers of their legal obligations, advising them on how to fix purported problems, and, sometimes, prodding them to make voluntary changes.

    • Internet of Things in healthcare: What’s next for IoT technology in the health sector

      Internet of Things technology holds the potential to revolutionise the healthcare industry, but not before overcoming barriers of security and data ownership.

      Internet of Things (IoT) refers to any physical object embedded with technology capable of exchanging data and is pegged to create a more efficient healthcare system in terms of time, energy and cost. One area where the technology could prove transformative is in healthcare – with analysts at MarketResearch.com claiming the sector will be worth $117 million by 2020.

    • The Snooper’s Charter still has an encryption problem: Parliament continues to grapple with end-to-end encryption in the Investigatory Powers Bill

      With everything else that has been happening in the UK and abroad over the past month you could be excused for missing a House of Lords debate over the Investigatory Powers Bill last week.

      With the majority of the country distracted by Brexit and the upheaval among the two major political parties – including the former Home Secretary and architect of the controversial Bill Theresa May becoming the UK Primer Minister – this vital legislation has not been quite so high on the news agenda.

      However, discussions around encryption at the 13 July Investigatory Powers Bill committee stage debate could have a huge impact on personal and enterprise data security – in particular the ability to ban end-to-end encryption. You can read the entire debate here.

    • Snooper’s Charter: What you need to know about the Investigatory Powers Bill

      Since December last year, the government’s Investigatory Powers Bill has sparked debate over the balance between privacy concerns and national security in the post-Snowden era, with controversy around encryption, bulk data and hacking being aimed at the former home secretary Theresa May.

    • This Guy Trains Computers to Find Future Criminals

      When historians look back at the turmoil over prejudice and policing in the U.S. over the past few years, they’re unlikely to dwell on the case of Eric Loomis. Police in La Crosse, Wis., arrested Loomis in February 2013 for driving a car that was used in a drive-by shooting. He had been arrested a dozen times before. Loomis took a plea, and was sentenced to six years in prison plus five years of probation.

      The episode was unremarkable compared with the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police, which were captured on camera and distributed widely online. But Loomis’s story marks an important point in a quieter debate over the role of fairness and technology in policing. Before his sentence, the judge in the case received an automatically generated risk score that determined Loomis was likely to commit violent crimes in the future.

    • Revealed: Rail companies’ plans to track your movements and make you pay more to stand on packed trains

      Rail passengers could be forced to pay more to stand on packed trains as the country’s biggest train ticket website plans to monitor their movements to “ease congestion”.

      Clare Gilmartin, chief executive of the Trainline, told The Telegraph that the website was planning to use GPS technology installed within its app constantly to let rail firms update ticket prices, under a scheme which could be rolled out in less than two years.

    • European court rights adviser recommends ‘strict’ guidelines on UK spying laws

      UK GOVERNMENT plans to retain communications data do not sit well with the European Court of Justice, which has warned that such plans should not be rushed through.

      Advocate general Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe and his peers have issued their opinion on British and Swedish plans to make communications providers sit on customer data for an extended period of time.

    • EU Court Of Justice Advisor Suggests UK’s Last Surveillance Bill May Be Legal, But Hints That The New One Might Not Be

      Over at the EU Court of Justice, the Advocate General has weighed in on the legal challenge to DRIPA, the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (DRIPA) that was rushed through the UK Parliament almost exactly two years ago. The law was challenged by a group made up of cross-party Parliament Members, and the Advocate General has sort of punted on the issue. If you don’t recall, the Advocate General’s role in the EU Court of Justice is basically to make a recommendation for the actual rulings. The court doesn’t have to (and doesn’t always) follow the Advocate General’s suggestion, but does so often enough that the opinions certainly carry a lot of weight and suggest what’s likely to happen. In this case, the opinion stated that, even though the court had previously rejected the EU-wide Data Retention Directive as intruding on privacy — the UK’s data retention law might be okay.

      The opinion basically says some data retention laws may be okay if the powers are “circumscribed by strict safeguards” set up by the national courts.

    • Marines, NSA To Bring Smartphones To Rifle Squad

      The Marine Corps and National Security Agency have joined forces to bring cellphones to the battlefield by 2019. Working with the NSA’s new Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) program should let the Marines acquire cutting-edge civilian technology swiftly without sacrificing security, said Maj. Kevin Shepherd of Marine Corps Systems Command.

    • From revolutionary art to dystopian comics: Ganzeer on Snowden, censorship and global warming

      It is 949 years since a global flood of biblical proportions. The world is reliant upon a vast grid of solar panels to power its factories around the clock. Night-time has been consigned to legend. In the aftermath of environmental catastrophe, the world’s clean water is now confined to a network of towers built by the world’s richest man.

      While the dystopian scenario of Ganzeer’s debut graphic novel, The Solar Grid, is science fiction, the story is rooted in history, political and personal. The Egyptian artist, best known for murals that championed the spirit of the 2011 Cairo revolution, took inspiration from his first sighting of the Nile’s Aswan dam. As child, he felt awe. Today, Ganzeer sees the environmental impact of the dam on Egypt as emblematic of humanity’s adverse impact across the whole planet.

    • Former NSA Official Sentenced to 12 Years in Death of Adopted Special-Needs Son

      A former division chief for the National Security Agency was sentenced to prison on Tuesday for causing the 2014 death of his 3-year-old adopted special needs son by throwing him against a wall, PEOPLE confirms.

    • For The Third Time, Whatsapp Blocked (And Then Unblocked) By Brazilian Judges For Failing To Decrypt

      What’s up with Brazilian judges not understanding Whatsapp? In the last few months, judges keep freaking out that Whatsapp messages are end to end encrypted, and that the company is unable to decrypt them at all. On Tuesday morning, the news broke that Judge Daniela Barbosa had ordered Whatsapp blocked yet again, along with a $50,000 per day fine until it decrypts information that it cannot decrypt. While various ISPs set about blocking the extremely popular app, as with the previous times, it took only a few hours for a higher court to suspend Barbosa’s ruling, and to make the app available again.

      Of course, this is the third time that Brazilian courts have done this particular dance. It happened in December and again in May. And who can forget the time in March where a Brazilian judge ordered a Facebook exec arrested over the same issue (Facebook owns Whatsapp).

    • Microsoft kills P2P Skype, native OS X, Linux clients [Ed: Microsoft is making it easier to do mass surveillance; will record all your calls, not just keystrokes.]

      In the same month as Microsoft announced its alpha WebRTC-based Skype for Linux, Redmond has put it and the native OS X Skype client on the end-of-life list due to a rebuild for Skype that will replace its peer-to-peer architecture with cloud-centric code.

    • Forget Trump: Peter Thiel Is So Dangerous and Fascinating You Have to Watch Him Tonight

      Thiel has also postured as a libertarian, and even as his ideology shifts toward something more nihilistic — The Economist now calls him a “corporate Nietzschean” — he continues to rail against government programs like Medicare and Social Security. Meanwhile, he is chairman and co-founder of Palantir Technologies, a mass-surveillance-software company that makes a good deal of its money selling to the government; Palantir’s clients reportedly include the Department of Defense (including the NSA and various military branches), the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the CIA. Thiel is, inexplicably, pro-monopoly. And don’t forget that Peter Thiel believes death is nothing but a bug in the feature set of mankind, and one he can buy his way out of.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Florida police shoot black man lying down with arms in air

      An autistic man’s therapist was shot and wounded by police in Florida while lying on the street with his hands in the air.

      Charles Kinsey, who works with people with disabilities, was trying to get his 27-year-old patient back to a facility from where he wandered, North Miami assistant police chief Neal Cuevas told the Miami Herald.

      Cuevas said police – who were responding to reports of a man threatening to shoot himself – ordered Kinsey and the patient, who was sitting in the street playing with a toy truck, to lie on the ground.

      Kinsey, who is black, lay down and put his hands up while trying to get his patient to comply. An officer fired three times, striking Kinsey in the leg, Cuevas said. No weapon was found on either Kinsey or his patient.

    • American Academy Of Pediatrics Claims Broad Consensus On Violent Media Effect That Doesn’t Remotely Exist

      Search through all of our stories about the supposed link between violent movies and games and real world violence by those that enjoy them, and you should come away with the impression that, at the very least, the science isn’t settled on the issue. The more specific impression you should get is that violent media might — might — have a short-term impact on behavior, but that there isn’t anything like a general agreement on the long term effects, which is obviously the vastly more important question.

    • Kudos To Senator Leahy: Fighting To Keep Privacy & Civil Liberties Board From Being Hobbled

      While I think that Senator Patrick Leahy has been ridiculously and dangerously wrong on copyright issues for years, he’s actually quite good on a number of other issues that are of interest to us here at Techdirt. In particular, he’s been a strong supporter of civil liberties on the internet and protecting the 4th Amendment (it’s unfortunate that he doesn’t see how his desired copyright policies might undermine some of that, but that’s another post for another day). Thankfully, his latest move is to push back against a plan by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees to strip the federal government’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Board (PCLOB).

      Back in May, we wrote about this effort, whereby Congress appeared to be deliberately stripping powers from the PCLOB in order to limit the board’s ability to actually make sure that the intelligence community wasn’t abusing its powers. Senator Leahy has now sent a fairly direct letter to Senate Intelligence chair Senator Richard Burr and vice chair Senator Dianne Feinstein calling out how terrible this plan is.

    • Turkey coup attempt: Crackdown toll passes 50,000

      More than 50,000 people have been rounded up, sacked or suspended from their jobs by Turkey’s government in the wake of last week’s failed coup.

      The purge of those deemed disloyal to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan widened on Tuesday to include teachers, university deans and the media.

      The government says they are allied to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who denies claims he directed the uprising.

    • Turkey Coup: Erdogan declares three-month state of emergency

      Turkey’s president has declared a state of emergency for three months following a failed coup to oust his government.

      President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the measure was being taken to counter threats to Turkish democracy. He said the move was not intended to curb basic freedoms.

      Speaking after a meeting of the National Security Council in Ankara lasting nearly five hours, he said the state of emergency was needed “to remove this threat as soon as possible”.

    • In Secret Email, CIA’s Chief Lawyer Mocked ‘Pesky Little International Obligations’

      Bush administration lawyers made the law into a joke, and no one has been held accountable.

      In response to an ACLU Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the government has released several documents that shed new light on Bush administration lawyers’ attempts to evade the absolute prohibition on torture and abuse of prisoners. The documents concern the widely-discredited legal process that purported to authorize the CIA to commit war crimes and include shocking new details.

      One revelation is an email by John Rizzo, the CIA’s acting general counsel, which displays the ways in which government lawyers actively undermined the laws they were sworn to uphold. Rizzo, a key architect of the torture program, has claimed, “[M]y major concern as the chief lawyer was: Were these techniques legal?”

    • Cleveland Police to RNC Protesters: Don’t Hide Your Faces (Facial Recognition)

      Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams issued a warning to an undisclosed number of masked protesters outside the Republican National Convention: “If you are a member of a group that causes you to have to hide your face, then you probably need a different cause.”

    • Welcoming Constitutional Expert David Cole as Our New National Legal Director

      Cole will oversee the ACLU’s Supreme Court practice and the work of the organization’s nearly 300 lawyers

      We’re excited to tap David Cole, a leading constitutional law expert and litigator, to become our National Legal Director, leading our Supreme Court practice and overseeing the work of the organization’s nearly 300 lawyers. The ACLU has participated in nearly every landmark case involving political expression, freedom of the press, speech on the internet, and separation of church and state in the U.S. Supreme Court during the last 96 years. Cole will replace Steven R. Shapiro, who has served as National Legal Director for a quarter century.

      In his role as National Legal Director, Cole will direct a program that includes approximately 1,400 state and federal lawsuits on a broad range of civil liberties issues. He will directly manage 100 ACLU staff attorneys in New York headquarters, oversee the organization’s U.S. Supreme Court docket, and provide leadership to more than 200 staff attorneys who work in ACLU affiliate offices in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. Another 1,700 volunteer cooperating attorneys throughout the country are engaged in ACLU litigation. With an annual headquarters budget of $140 million, and 1.3 million supporters, the ACLU is the nation’s largest and oldest civil liberties organization.

    • Cornel West: Justice and Accountability are Necessary to End Tension over Killings by Police

      We discuss the killing of three police officers in Baton Rouge and the recent nationwide protests against police brutality with Cornel West. Cornel West is a professor at Union Theological Seminary. “When I hear the authorities call for peace,” West says, “I say, yes, but it’s not the absence of tension. It’s got to be the presence of that justice and accountability.”

    • Terror, Tennis Balls and Tamir Rice

      Welcome to Cleveland, where the Republican National Convention (RNC) is underway. The RNC is a highly scripted, elaborately staged and lavishly publicly funded private party. Here, credentialed Republican delegates, most of them party activists from around the country, circulate within a militarized perimeter of what authorities have designated a “national special security event.” As such, the U.S. Secret Service is handed complete control of an area, in the case downtown Cleveland. The area is ringed with a temporary but imposing black steel fence, patrolled by the full spectrum of law enforcement, from local police to federal SWAT teams. Yet because Ohio has extremely lenient gun laws, people can “open carry” here. And they do. Scores of Trump supporters have proudly shown up with their guns at their sides, including semi-automatic AR-15s, walking the downtown streets.

      It is not a total free-for-all, however. Many things are banned: tennis balls, sleeping bags, selfie sticks and canned goods. To highlight the absurdity of the situation, the women’s peace organization Code Pink staged a demonstration at the security checkpoint to enter the RNC. In their bags, the dozen or so pink-clad women carried 500 pink and green tennis balls with the phrase “Ban Guns, Not Balls” written on them. They began tossing them to each other.

      A line of Cleveland police officers quickly formed and tried to encircle the protest. They started to confiscate the tennis balls. There was confusion, as one officer asked a superior, “What do we do with the balls?” “Put them in your pocket,” came the exasperated reply. The police aggressively expanded their line, pushing observers, and us journalists, farther away. We managed to dodge them and got in close to ask Code Pink member Chelsea Byers what was going on: “We’re here saying that it’s ridiculous that the RNC has banned tennis balls, and yet they continue to let open carry happen in these streets. If they’re concerned about safety, they should be taking the guns off of these streets, not banning toys.” To reinforce the Cleveland police, a large contingent of Indiana State Police showed up, then riot police were deployed. Finally, a phalanx of police on horseback arrived. All this for about 15 women and one man from Code Pink and their 500 tennis balls.

      The second evening of the RNC was about to begin. Thousands were packing into the Quicken Loans Arena. For the first time ever, an official from the National Rifle Association was invited to address the convention.

      Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin told us at the protest, “We think that the NRA has, unfortunately, been setting the agenda for this entire nation, especially the Republican Party. It’s unfortunate that the NRA has so much power in this country. That’s why we see guns on our streets and people being shot every single day, every single hour of every single day.” Eventually, with all the tennis balls safely confiscated, the police marched away.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Tennessee Study Shows State Remains A Broadband Backwater Thanks To AT&T Lobbyists, Clueless Politicians, And Protectionist State Law

      We’ve talked at great lengths about how AT&T’s gruesomely cozy relationship with many state legislatures has severely damaged broadband expansion and adoption across huge swaths of the country. That’s particularly true in Tennessee, one of nineteen states where AT&T lobbyists have literally written protectionist state laws defending AT&T’s monopoly from broadband competition. AT&T’s goal has been to stop the rise of public/private partnerships, which have only emerged as a direct response to AT&T’s apathy.

      AT&T lobbyists have been happily getting such laws passed for fifteen years with little attention by the media. That began to change with the rise of efforts like Google Fiber, which more clearly illustrated how public/private partnerships have become essential in bringing broadband competition to countless areas incumbent ISPs deem “not profitable enough” to care about. Last year, the FCC finally woke up from its own long slumber on the subject, stating it would be preempting measures in two such state laws (in North Carolina and Tennessee) that hindered municipal broadband efforts from expanding.

      Tennessee’s response? To sue the FCC — claiming that state rights were being violated (letting AT&T write bad state law? Perfectly ok, though).

    • Internet 3.0: How we take back control from the giants

      AT THE heart of the internet are monsters with voracious appetites. In bunkers and warehouses around the world, vast arrays of computers run the show, serving up the web – and gorging on our data.

      These server farms are the engine rooms of the internet. Operated by some of the world’s most powerful companies, they process photos of our children, emails to our bosses and lovers, and our late-night searches. Such digital shards reveal far more of ourselves than we might like, and they are worth a lot of money. They are not only used to target advertising and sell stuff back to us, but also form the building blocks for a new generation of artificial intelligence that will determine the future of the web.

      “Very big and powerful companies own a huge chunk of what happens on the web,” says Andrei Sambra, a developer with the World Wide Web (W3) Consortium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the main standards organisation for the web. But we – the ones producing this valuable data – have lost control.

      The time has come to push back. Sambra is part of a growing movement to wrest back control over our digital lives by breaking the monopolies of the server farms and the people who own them. Tweak the technology on which the web runs and we can each keep our own little part of it in our pockets, they say – and determine who or what makes money out of who we are.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WHO Updates Patent Status Info For New Hepatitis C Medicines

      The World Health Organization has issued updated information on the patent status of hepatitis C medicines, including assessments of hurdles for affordable generic versions of latest drugs.

    • Quia timet, de minimus and Novartis v Hospira: Mr Justice Arnold speeds through Napp v Dr Reddy pain dispute

      The invention lay in the use of certain penetration-enhancing excipients which are solid at room temperature and were therefore thought to be of limited use in assisting diffusion out of the matrix into the skin. The patent disclosed that on melting and cooling, these excipients formed so called “supercooled melts”, which have a melting point above room temperature, but remain liquid after cooling to room temperature.

    • Trademarks

      • Miami Brewing Co. Sends Cease And Desist To M.I.A. Beer Co. Over Trademark Concerns

        We talk a lot about silly trademark disputes here at Techdirt. But the really infuriating trademark stories tend to deal with not just overly broad terms that have been granted marks by the USPTO, but terms that are so broad because they are simple geographic identifiers. The other aspect of trademark disputes that can be face-palm inducing are claims of confusion that are laughable in the extreme. The dispute we’re about to discuss mixes both of these, supercharging the frustration to dangerous levels.

      • Federal Court of Justice greenlights colour mark red

        In the ongoing dispute between the Sparkassen Group and Banco Santander, which led to the CJEU’s decision in cases C‑217/13 and C‑218/13, the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has annulled the decision of the Federal Patent Court which invalidated Sparkassen’s contourless colour mark “red” and held that the mark had acquired distinctiveness at the time of the Federal Patent Court’s decision in 2015.

        Sparkassen Group has been using the colour red in connection with financial services, namely retail banking, in Germany since the 1960s. In 2002, it filed a trade mark application for the contourless colour “red” (HSK 13) for financial services, namely retail banking, which was granted – after an initial rejection – sometime in 2007. Banco Santander and Oberbank, two new entrants to the German retail banking market that also used the colour red in their home markets, filed for invalidity. In 2009, the German IPO (DPMA) dismissed the actions. On appeal, the Federal Patent Court referred several questions to the CJEU, which the CJEU answered in joined cases C-217/13 and C-218/13 in 2014.

      • US Justice Department Nails Three In Mass Mailing Trademark Scam

        US Justice Department Nails Three In Mass Mailing #Trademark Scam http://www.ip-watch.org/2016/07/20/us-justice-department-nails-three-in-mass-mailing-trademark-scam/

    • Copyrights

      • Research and Remixes the Law Won’t Allow

        Some day, your life may depend on the work of a security researcher. Whether it’s a simple malfunction in a piece of computerized medical equipment or a malicious compromise of your networked car, it’s critically important that people working in security can find and fix the problem before the worst happens.

        And yet, an expansive United States law, passed in 1998 and emulated in legal codes all over the world, casts a dark legal cloud over the work of those researchers. It gives companies a blunt instrument with which to threaten that research, keeping potentially embarrassing or costly errors from seeing the light of day.

        That law is Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Simply put, Section 1201 means that you can be sued or even jailed if you bypass digital locks on copyrighted works—from DVDs to software in your car—even if you are doing so for an otherwise lawful reason, like security testing.

      • EFF Lawsuit Takes on DMCA Section 1201: Research and Technology Restrictions Violate the First Amendment

        Washington D.C.—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the U.S. government today on behalf of technology creators and researchers to overturn onerous provisions of copyright law that violate the First Amendment.

        EFF’s lawsuit, filed with co-counsel Brian Willen, Stephen Gikow, and Lauren Gallo White of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, challenges the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the 18-year-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). These provisions—contained in Section 1201 of the DMCA—make it unlawful for people to get around the software that restricts access to lawfully-purchased copyrighted material, such as films, songs, and the computer code that controls vehicles, devices, and appliances. This ban applies even where people want to make noninfringing fair uses of the materials they are accessing.

        Ostensibly enacted to fight music and movie piracy, Section 1201 has long served to restrict people’s ability to access, use, and even speak out about copyrighted materials—including the software that is increasingly embedded in everyday things. The law imposes a legal cloud over our rights to tinker with or repair the devices we own, to convert videos so that they can play on multiple platforms, remix a video, or conduct independent security research that would reveal dangerous security flaws in our computers, cars, and medical devices. It criminalizes the creation of tools to let people access and use those materials.

      • Section 1201 of the DMCA Cannot Pass Constitutional Scrutiny

        Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act forbids a wide range of speech, from remix videos that rely upon circumvention, to academic security research, to publication of software that can help repair your car or back up your favorite show. It potentially implicates the entire range of speech that relies on access to copyrighted works or describes flaws in access controls—even where that speech is clearly noninfringing.

        At EFF, we’ve been worried about this law since before it was passed. We were counsel in one of the first major tests of the law, but in those early days, we failed to convince the courts of its dangerous risk to speech. Ever since, we’ve documented those speech consequences. We’ve called on Congress to reform the law, to no avail. So today, we’re going to back to court, armed with nearly twenty years of knowledge about Section 1201’s interference with lawful speech and with key Supreme Court cases that have been decided in that time. For more about the problems caused by this law, see our companion post on the issue.

        Section 1201 was billed as a tool to prevent infringement by punishing those who interfered with technological restrictions on copyrighted works. After the DMCA was passed, the Supreme Court was asked to evaluate other overreaching copyright laws, and offered new guidance on the balance between copyright protections and free speech. It found that copyright rules can be consistent with the First Amendment so long as they adhere to copyright’s “traditional contours.” These contours include fair use and the idea/expression dichotomy.

      • KickassTorrents Alternative? KAT Makes A Comeback With ‘Dxtorrent.com’ Domain

        It looks like the world’s most popular torrent website KickassTorrents is back with a new domain dxtorrent.com. The website features the same layout and seems like a mirror of notorious torrent sharing website KAT. The original KickassTorrents domain was recently seized by the U.S. Government.

      • Paris Court Says Search Engines Don’t Need To Block Torrent Searches

        Copyright rulings in France have occasionally been a complete disaster in the past, so it’s nice to see the High Court of Paris recognize that Google and Microsoft cannot be forced to block any searches that include the word “torrent.” The two separate lawsuits were brought by SNEP, which could be seen as the French version of the RIAA. The organization argued that since the law allowed “all appropriate measures” to be used to block infringement, it could demand that search engines block any searches that include the word torrent.

      • Prenda (Mostly) Loses Again; Court Says ‘We Warned You To Stop Digging, But You Still Did’

        Because Steele and Hansmeier can’t help themselves, they appealed again, leading to this latest ruling. Believe it or not, Steele actually may be temporarily happy with this latest ruling as he actually won on one point (but may lose even bigger in the long run). Still, the court is clearly not happy with either Steele or Hansmeier. It does note that since Hansmeier has filed for a (highly questionable) bankruptcy, he cannot pursue the appeal and thus his appeal is dismissed out of hand.

      • U.S. Government Sued for Software Piracy, Maker Claims $600m
      • Alleged founder of world’s largest BitTorrent distribution site arrested
      • Feds Seize KickassTorrents Domains, Arrest Alleged Owner (Updated)
      • KickassTorrents domains seized after alleged owner is arrested in Poland
      • KickassTorrents Domains Seized, Alleged Founder Arrested

        KickassTorrent, the world’s most popular torrent website, has faced a major setback. The U.S. Government has arrested the alleged owner of the website and seized all of its domains.

      • More Copyright Law ≠ Less Copyright Infringement

        If you only listened to entertainment industry lobbyists, you’d think that music and film studios are fighting a losing battle against copyright infringement over the Internet. Hollywood representatives routinely tell policymakers that the only response to the barrage of online infringement is to expand copyright or even create new copyright-adjacent rights.

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