Links 2/8/2016: Chrome 52 and Firefox 48 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • IBM’s Wager on Open Source Is Still Paying Off

    When IBM got involved with the Linux open source project in 1998, they were betting that giving their code and time to the community would be a worthwhile investment. Now, 18 years later, IBM is more involved than ever, with more than 62,000 employees trained and expected to contribute to open source projects, according to Todd Moore, Vice President of Open Technology at IBM, speaking at ApacheCon in May.

    “It became apparent that open source could be the de facto standards we needed to be the engine to go out and drive things,” Moore said in his keynote at ApacheCon. “[The contributions] were bets; we didn’t know how this was going to come out, and we didn’t know if open source would grow, we knew there would be roadblocks and things we’d have to overcome along the way, but it had promise. We thought this would be the way of the future.”

  • The Open Source World of Today: How We Got Here

    Is the closed-source system on its last legs? Maybe not just yet, but we’re pretty close to it. Consider the phenomenal growth in the last five years of new open source technologies and processes, such as containers, Hadoop and databases like MongoDB, ElasticSearch and Redis. An entirely new set of architectures, most of them open source, have sprung up, spawning fresh business models and robust ecosystems.

    The open source stack and all that it engenders is driving the closed source, proprietary stack toward irrelevance and economic infeasibility. Take, for example, the great success of Docker with containers and its resulting ecosystem. Its popularity is largely a result of its open source model that reflects the ascendance of software engineers in the creation and deployment of software. And Docker is giving closed source VMware a headache as a result.

  • Are Open Source Applications Your Best Option?

    That’s because one of the major attractions of open source software is that you’re not stuck with the features it comes with. Instead of paying a corporation a license fee for the product it chooses to offer you, you can pay a developer to take the open source code and add exactly the features you need so the result meets your requirements exactly.

    That’s the theory anyway, but it’s important to remember that software choice is not always about features and there are certain applications for which open source software may be the wrong choice.

  • Events

    • Wireless Workshop Accepted into 2016 Linux Kernel Summit and Linux Plumbers Conference
    • Wireless Workshop accepted into the 2016 Linux Kernel Summit and Linux Plumbers Conference

      It might well be that wireless networking recently made the transition from an ubiquitous networking technology to the dominant networking technology, at least from the viewpoint of end-user devices. Part of this trend is the use of wireless in automobiles, and this workshop will look at Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (WAVE), also know as IEEE 802.11p. In addition, the bufferbloat problem is starting to focus on the more difficult wireless environment, and to that end, this workshop will discuss FQ/Codel integration, testing, and development. As usual, the workshop will encompass the full 802.11 stack, not just the kernel portions, and therefore wpa_supplicant will also be on the agenda.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 52 for Android arrives with smoother video playback, faster load times, and better battery life

        Following the release of Chrome 52 for desktop two weeks ago, Google last week also launched Chrome 52 for Android. For whatever reason, the company didn’t share what’s new until today. You can download the new version from Google Play.

        Chrome 52 for Android makes video playback feel smoother, load faster, and consume less battery. More specifically, video playback has been improved for speed and power efficiency, meaning you should expect smoother playback and faster load times (so videos will start playing sooner, instead of pausing briefly before starting). Your Android device’s battery should also last longer if you consume a lot of video online.

    • Mozilla

      • Exciting Improvements Delivered Today in Firefox for Desktop and Android

        Today we’re proud to announce the initial rollout of multi-process Firefox for Desktop to our general audience. With this, we’re taking a major step forward in improving Firefox for Desktop. Users should experience a Firefox that is less susceptible to freezing and is generally more responsive to input, while retaining the experience and features that users love.

        In Firefox 48, we aim to slowly enable multi-process Firefox (also known as Electrolysis or e10s) for release users, starting with one percent and ramping up to nearly half the Firefox Release if things go as expected. e10s promises to offer a major improvement to your browsing experience by separating Web content and Firefox UI processes. This means when a web page is consuming a large part of your computer’s processing power, your tabs, buttons and menus won’t lock up. Wondering if your Firefox instance has enabled e10s? Type “about:support” into the URL bar. If e10s is active, you’ll see “1/1 (Enabled by default)” under the Multiprocess Windows line item.

      • Announcing the Second Cohort of Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellows

        That’s why Ford Foundation and Mozilla launched the Open Web Fellows program two years ago: To empower a network of leaders capable of defending the open web. The Open Web Fellows program places bright technologists and activists on the front lines of the open internet movement. Last year, Ford and Mozilla placed six fellows at leading NGOs like Amnesty International and the ACLU, where they used their tech savvy to fight for issues like freedom of expression and gender equality online.

      • Firefox 48 Released, This Is What’s New (Updated)

        Mozilla Firefox 48 features new security settings, improves WebRTC, and makes it easier to find bookmarked content from the Awesome bar.

      • Mozilla Firefox 48.0 Now Officially Available

        Firefox 48 takes the first Rust code into production within this web browser, Electrolysis is beginning to be turned on by default, a variety of WebRTC improvements, improved Linux Canvas support, various security improvements, enforcing that add-ons be signed/verified through Mozilla, and more.

      • See what’s new in Firefox!
  • SaaS/Back End

    • Network Virtualization Merging LANs & WANs

      For as long as anyone in the networking world can remember, management of local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs) has been distinctly different. LANs were primarily the responsibility of local IT departments, while WANs have been made up of MPLS and Internet connections controlled by carriers. Network virtualization (NV) is starting to blur the lines between the LAN and the WAN.

    • Sparkling Water: Bridging Open Source Machine Learning and Apache Spark

      Although many people have experience with the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence through applications in their pockets, such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, the scope of this technology extends well beyond the smartphone. H2O.ai, formerly known as Oxdata, has carved out a unique niche in the machine learning and artificial intelligence arena because its primary tools are free and open source, and because it is connecting its tools to other widely used data analytics tools. As a case in point, H2O.ai has now announced the availability of version 2.0 of its open Sparkling Water tool. Sparkling Water, H2O.ai’s API for Apache Spark, allows users of Spark to leverage very powerful machine learning intelligence.

    • Convox takes DevOps deliberation out of cloud infrastructure planning

      Convox might sound like a great name for an industrial toilet cleaner, except it isn’t. The name actually belongs to a piece of software (yes, it’s makers would like us to say ‘platform, but please don’t write in) designed to help with deploying, managing and monitoring applications in cloud infrastructures. But there are plenty of tools in that space — so, so what?

    • Keynote: Apache OpenTech is Fueling Tomorrow’s Game Changing Innovations – Todd Moore
    • Container Format Dispute on Twitter Shows Disparities Between Docker and the Community

      Should the Docker container image format be completely standardized? Or should Docker not be held back from evolving the format ahead of the open specification? This was the topic of a heated Twitter tussle last week between Google evangelist Kelsey Hightower and the creator of the Docker itself, Solomon Hykes.

      Hightower wants to see the Docker format image be completely standardized, so companies, including Docker, can build additional functionality atop of the specification. Hykes, however, balked at full standardization, asserting that the format is still too new and evolving too quickly.

    • With New Partners, Mesosphere Takes Aim at “Container 2.0″ [Ed: Do not forget that Mesosphere is controlled by Microsoft (money strings)]
    • Mesosphere Declares ‘Container 2.0,’ the Stateful Era
    • MesosCon Europe
  • Databases

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • MOOCs platform: Not all is open or SWAYAM about it

      A Rs 38 crore mandate awarded by the Union HRD Ministry in June to an affiliate of Redmond-based Microsoft Corp for developing a flagship web-based education platform is coming under increasing fire in the academic circles — both for the manner in which the contract was handed out and on the choice of proprietary software over free open source options already being deployed by premier educational institutions in the country.

      Microsoft was selected as the technical partner for the HRD ministry’s SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) platform based on the recommendations of a “technical committee”, presumably after the tendering process for selecting a system integrator for SWAYAM —a MOOC or massive open online courses platform — floated thrice through the e-procurement platform since November last year failed to elicit any response. While the Ministry of Human Resource Development has cited the decision of a “technical committee” behind its choice of proprietary software over open source software and that selecting Microsoft does not run foul of the rulebook, the deal has raised eyebrows over the lack of objective criterion on how the decisions were taken in the first place.

      The choice of proprietary software, entailing costs of Rs 38 crore and more for tools such as SQL (structured query language), is being questioned on the grounds that the selection of proprietary software on payment basis was done despite a clear option of going in for open source platforms such as Open EdX. For instance, Open edX — an open-source, not-for profit platform floated by MIT and Harvard University that was released as open source in March 2013 to act as the WordPress for MOOC platforms — is used across at least 126 universities and organisations globally. Even more intriguing is the fact that an MoU is already in place between IIT Bombay and edX, under which edX released complete platform code in open source. The signing of the MoU in June 2013 was actually facilitated by the Ministry of HRD. Open source platforms such as Open edX allow users to use plug-ins to expand the core functionality, thereby imparting tremendous flexibility when it comes to scaling up the platform or modify it to suit the specific requirements of a particular college or university. Since January last year, IIT Bombay decided to opt for Open edX and launch a customised version called IITBX as an extended online educational services for the benefit of Indian learners and training workshops for teachers, wherein the premier engineering institute has added significant functionality to the Open edX platform to create and offer MOOCs. Similarly, IIT Madras had a Google-based Course Builder platform ported in their own computer infrastructure while IIT Kanpur had a homegrown platform called MOOKIT, based again on open source software.

    • Black Duck Announces Creation of Global Center for Open Source Research & Innovation [Ed: A Microsoft proxy declares itself “Global Center for Open Source Research & Innovation”]
    • Black Duck Launches Promising Open Source Innovation Center [Ed: Microsoft proxy wants to become world authority on Microsoft's competitors]
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Combining individual powers to make team collaboration easy

      Collaboration can seem intimidating at first. I get it. Thinking about having to collaborate with others on a project used to give me that same sinking feeling I got every time a teacher announced a group project. When not everyone is invested, the passionate people—the ones who understand the importance of the mission and are willing to give their time and effort—end up doing twice the amount of work as they carry everyone else along (and I always wanted good grades, so I did a lot of carrying).

    • WikiHouse’s lead architect on how open-source idealism could cure a sickly building market
    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • HardwareX Is A Scientific Journal For Open Hardware

        Disruption is a basic tenet of the Open Hardware movement. How can my innovative use of technology disrupt your dinosaur of an establishment to make something better? Whether it’s an open-source project chipping away at a monopoly or a commercial start-up upsetting an industry with a precarious business model based on past realities, we’ve become used to upstarts taking the limelight.


  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Mexican rape victim, 13, refused access to abortion

      Health officials in northern Mexico have refused to authorize an abortion for a 13-year-old girl who was raped by a family acquaintance after a judge downgraded the crime to a charge of sexual coercion.

      Abortion is banned in Sonora, apart from in cases of rape. But human rights advocates say the decision violates federal health regulations introduced earlier this year which guarantee rape victims unrestricted access to safe abortion services – regardless of where they live and whether the crime was reported or not.

    • CDC Issues Unprecedented Travel Warning for US City Over Zika Spread

      For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel warning for a continental U.S. city, as Miami grapples with a burgeoning Zika outbreak.

      Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced this week that an additional 10 people in the state have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne virus, bringing the total to 14.

      CDC Director Tom Frieden warned pregnant women against traveling to the “transmission area” and advised people already in the area to take extra precautions against mosquito bites.

    • With 10 new Zika cases in Miami, CDC advises pregnant women to avoid Wynwood

      Federal health officials on Monday advised pregnant women to avoid a Miami neighborhood — marking the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned against travel to any area within the continental United States — as a Zika outbreak in South Florida has led to 10 more local cases spread by mosquitoes.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Targeting the Islamic State in Libya

      Bottom Line Up Front:

      • On August 1, the U.S. conducted airstrikes against Islamic State targets in the Libyan city of Sirte.

      • The airstrikes, requested by the Libyan Government of National Accord, appear to be the beginning of a sustained military campaign.

      • The U.S. has long planned to increase direct military action in Libya to prevent the Islamic State from further entrenching itself along the coast.

      • Libya does not present the same growth potential for the Islamic State as Iraq and Syria, though systemic extremism and lawlessness ensure the group will linger in Libya for years.

    • Reminder: Puget Sound has a ton of nuclear weapons

      The ad pierces your consciousness and catches you by surprise. Plastered on the side of King County Metro buses, it hurls you momentarily back in time, to a time when nuclear weapons were an imminent threat to our survival. Or did the era never end?

      The ad — sponsored by activists from the Poulsbo-based Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action — reads: “20 miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.”

      Behind this text is a map, depicting the proximity of Seattle to Naval Base Kitsap, located on the eastern shore of Hood Canal. An estimated 1,344 nuclear warheads are contained in this complex, according to Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

      This is arguably the biggest single concentration of nuclear warheads not only in the U.S., but in the world.

    • Top Five Ways to tell if a Terrorist is still al-Qaeda despite name Change

      The leftist Beirut newspaper al-Safir comments scathingly on the name-change of the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front led by Abu Muhammad al-Julani, to the Syria Conquest Front.

      Here are some reasons that the name change isn’t going to work:

      1. Al-Julani got permission from 9/11 mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of old al-Qaeda, to sever public ties with him because, you know, being in a command line to al-Qaeda was a PR problem for the Syrian guerrilla opposition to the Syrian regime. But if you have to get permission from al-Qaeda to change your name, then guess what? You’re still al-Qaeda.

      2. In the announcement of the name change, as al-Safir points out, there was no explicit renunciation of the ties between al-Julani and al-Qaeda or of the pledge of fealty al-Julani gave al-Zawahiri. (Or I might add, any apology for having hooked up with al-Qaeda, ). He just said that a new organization has been formed that has no relations with any foreign quarter.

    • Is the French Press Right to stop Printing Pictures, Names of Terrorists?

      47 people were shot in Chicago last weekend without generating headlines elsewhere in the country.

    • The US is bombing Libya again. It’s a too-familiar vicious cycle

      Just five years after bombing Libya to dispose of Muammar Gaddafi, the US is now officially bombing the country again, this time against alleged Isis terrorist strongholds that cropped up in the power vacuum created by the last bombing.

      It’s yet another episode of the War on Terror Circle of Life, where the US bombs a country and then funnels weapons into the region, which leads to chaos and the opportunity for terrorist organizations, which then leads more US bombing.

      Like usual in the Obama administration’s wars, there was no congressional vote on the latest airstrikes in Libya and no declaration of war, as required by the constitution. The administration is pinning the legal authority for this military incursion on the 2001 Authorization for Military Force that was meant for Afghanistan and the perpetrators of 9/11, al-Qaida. Isis, of course, didn’t exist until years later, and the two groups are now enemies, but those technicalities don’t seem to bother the Obama administration, which is continuing to expand US military presence abroad with little to no public input.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Federal Officials Investigating Massive EPA Spill That Turned River Orange

      Federal officials are launching a criminal investigation into the 2015 Gold King Mine spill that sent millions of gallons of toxic waste into a Colorado waterway and memorably turned portions of the state’s 126-mile Animas River orange.

      The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which caused the spill, made the announcement Monday as it sent letters to members of U.S. Congress to update them about the agency’s own analysis of the spill, according to the Denver Post.

      EPA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) said the probe, launched by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, part of the Department of Justice, was “based on requests from several members of the House and Senate.”

    • Criminal investigation into Gold King spill confirmed; EPA’s tab reaches $29M
    • Two Towns Battle Colorado for Freedom to Ban Fracking

      Two of Colorado’s leading critics of natural gas drilling say they didn’t know much about fracking until it arrived in their towns.

      “If you had asked me about community rights or fracking, you would have drawn a blank stare,” said Clifford Willmeng, board member of the Colorado Community Rights Network and a resident of Lafayette, a town just outside of Boulder.

      Tricia Olson agrees. Founder and executive director of the grassroots group Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development, Olson began looking into fracking when she learned that it was coming to her neighborhood. She didn’t like what she found.

  • Finance

    • Public service austerity broadcasts

      Public service broadcasters are implicated in legitimising neoliberal policies in response to political and economic crisis. The coverage of RTÉ, for example, invited Irish viewers to cheer on the forces of technocratic fiscal responsibility.

    • Unlike US, Ireland Just Sent Three Bankers to Jail for Role in 2008 Crisis

      A Dublin court has sent three former senior banking executives to jail for committing “sham transactions” in an effort to deceive customers and shareholders during the 2008 financial crisis.

      “The trio will be among the first senior bankers globally to be jailed for their role in the collapse of a bank during the crisis,” as Reuters reports.

      Former Anglo Irish Bank executive John Bowe got a two-year sentence, former Irish Life and Permanent chief executive Denis Casey was given a sentence of two years and nine months, and Bowe’s colleague and former Anglo executive Willie McAteer got three and a half years.

    • Former bankers sentenced to jail over Anglo fraud scheme

      Three former bankers were in Mountjoy Prison in Dublin last night after receiving jail sentences for their roles in a €7 billion fraud committed at the height of the banking crisis in 2008.

      Judge Martin Nolan said the senior executives had taken part in a “dishonest, deceitful and corrupt” scheme to make Anglo Irish Bank’s finances look stronger than they were.

      Former Anglo executive Willie McAteer (65) was sentenced to 3½ years while his ex-colleague John Bowe (52) received a two-year term. Denis Casey (56), the former group chief executive of Irish Life and Permanent, was jailed for two years and nine months.

    • Latest Senate Food Workers Victory Highlights Perils of Privatization

      The long-abused cafeteria workers of the U.S. Senate, who risked their jobs to fight to earn a living wage only to have the private contractor that runs the cafeteria renege on an order to increase their pay, won a key victory this week.

      The Labor Department declared that the contractor had engaged in wage theft from 674 of its workers, deliberately misclassifying them so that they would earn less than their actual work entitled them to earn. The contractor also forced employees to do unpaid work “off the clock.” As a result, the multinational conglomerate Restaurant Associates and a subsidiary will have to give the workers back pay totaling $1,008,302.

    • Clinton, Trump and Budget-Busting Tax Cuts

      At the Democratic convention we got some insights into the Clinton campaign’s line of attack on Donald Trump. While they rightfully intend to confront his racism, sexism and xenophobia, the Clinton campaign also seems prepared to attack Trump’s “budget-busting” tax cuts. This is an area where caution would be advised.

      The basic story is that, in the usual Republican tradition, Trump wants to give huge tax cuts targeted primarily to the wealthy. According to calculations from the Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, these tax cuts will cost $9.5 trillion in lost revenue over the next decade before accounting for interest.

      Of course $9.5 trillion is a REALLY BIG NUMBER, and you can often scare people with really big numbers. But if we want to be serious about matters, we need to put this number in some context. The Congressional Budget Office projects that over the next decade, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be roughly $240 trillion. That means that the amount of revenue lost due to Donald Trump’s tax cuts plan will be just under 4 percent of GDP. Given that we now spend 3.5 percent of GDP on the military, this is real money.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Record: An American Horror Story

      This essay documents Hillary Clinton’s history and record as an agent of Wall Street, war, racial violence and inequity, economic inequality and conservative ideology. While Clinton’s early Republican Party history is well documented, it is unfair to judge her (or anyone) based on the political views of her youth. Like Clinton, all people are heavily influenced by the beliefs and values of their parents, local communities, religion, cultural and social identities as well as U.S. dominant culture. Based on various factors, many people with conservative backgrounds are able to develop progressive and humanistic world views over time based on personal struggle, a capacity for empathy, and an expanded sense of consciousness through education and life experience. None of this appears to have happened for Hillary Clinton. Instead, she stayed the course as she and her husband pioneered the “New Democrat” (Centrist Democrats) movement and steered the party toward a neoliberal “Third Way” (dogmatic free-market and moderately liberal social policies). Yet, when it comes to the Clintons, many of their social policy positions are also distinctly conservative.

    • Where will the night tube go?

      The decline of independent nighttime venues in London threatens to render this £17 million project useless.

    • Signs of the Coming Economic Crash

      Eight years after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the economy is doing much better in many important ways. We have now seen almost 80 straight months of job growth, unemployment is down below 5 percent and some numbers suggest that wages are ticking upwards, however slowly. But make no mistake: The next crash is coming. It’s not a question of “if.” It’s a question of “when.”

      And that’s because the underlying cause of the 2008 crisis is still with us today — the economy is too financialized.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Real Reckoning

      They want to return to business as usual because many of them make their bread on that business – working for big corporations, Wall Street, or wealthy individuals as political consultants, lobbyists, corporate lawyers, government-relations specialists, public-relations specialists, trade association staff, and paid experts.


      In a Gallup poll taken in mid-July, before the conventions, 82 percent said America was on the wrong track.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Selects Human-Rights Activist Ajamu Baraka as Running Mate

      Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate running for President against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, announced Monday that she has selected Ajamu Baraka, a human-rights activist and intellectual, as her prospective Vice President.

      Stein, a doctor turned politician who also ran for the country’s highest office in 2012, described Baraka as an “activist, writer, intellectual and organizer with a powerful voice, vision, and lifelong commitment to building true political revolution” in a statement.

    • Sanders supporters turn to Jill Stein: ‘You should vote your conscience’

      Bernie Sanders may have endorsed Hillary Clinton, praised Hillary Clinton, and urged his supporters to vote for Hillary Clinton, but it seems even the maverick Vermont senator has been unable to convince his fans, many of whom say they are planning to cast their ballot for the Green party candidate Jill Stein instead on 8 November.

      Support for Stein, who won 469,501 votes as the Green party nominee in 2012, was impossible to escape at the Democratic national convention last week. Inside the Walls Fargo Center, some Sanders delegates dressed in green and wore Green party pins.

      Outside the hall, hundreds of Sanders supporters – in Philadelphia to demonstrate against Clinton’s nomination – attended a Green party rally at which Stein accused the Democratic party of derailing Sanders’ campaign.

      Vanessa Perez was among the protesters outside the Wells Fargo arena. Originally a Sanders supporter, she plans to vote for Stein in November and will canvass for the presumptive Green party nominee over the next three months.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Names Activist Ajamu Baraka as Her VP

      Ajamu Barakaan is an activist known for fighting for Black and Indigenous rights in the U.S. and abroad.

      Presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein announced Monday that Ajamu Baraka will be her vice presidential running mate.

    • Green Party’s Stein picks human rights activist as running mate

      Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, has chosen human rights activist Ajamu Baraka as her running mate.

      Baraka was founding executive director of the U.S. Human Rights Network and coordinator of the U.S.-based Black Left Unity Network’s Committee on International Affairs.

      He’s served on boards of several human rights organizations, including Amnesty International (USA) and the National Center for Human Rights Education. He’s also served on boards of the Center for Constitutional Rights; Africa Action; Latin American Caribbean Community Center; Diaspora Afrique and the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights.

    • Obama Says Republicans Should Withdraw Support for Trump

      In his strongest denunciation of Donald J. Trump so far, President Obama on Tuesday said Mr. Trump was “unfit to serve as president” and urged the leaders of the Republican Party to withdraw their backing for his candidacy.

      Mr. Obama said the Republican criticisms of Mr. Trump “ring hollow” if the party’s leaders continue to support his bid for the presidency this fall, particularly in light of Republican criticisms of Mr. Trump for his attacks on the Muslim parents of an American soldier, Humayun Khan, who died in Iraq.

      “The question they have to ask themselves is: If you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?” Mr. Obama said at a news conference at the White House.

      Mr. Obama said that in addition to Mr. Trump’s comments about the Khan family, the Republican nominee had demonstrated that he was “woefully unprepared to do this job.” The president said Mr. Trump lacked knowledge about Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

    • Trump Attacks Muslim Mother of Slain U.S. Soldier in Comments “Beyond Limit of Human Decency”

      Last week at the Democratic National Convention, one of the most powerful speeches came from Khizr Khan, the father of a U.S. soldier who died serving in Iraq in 2004. Onstage in Philadelphia, Khan asked Donald Trump whether he’d ever read the U.S. Constitution, and he offered Trump his own copy. In response, Trump attacked Khizr’s wife, Ghazala Khan, who appeared onstage alongside her husband. Trump’s comments sparked widespread outrage—including from the Khans themselves, who denounced Donald Trump, saying he is “totally unfit for the leadership of this country.” For more, we speak with Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates.

    • Jill Stein Chooses Human Rights Activist Ajamu Baraka as Running Mate

      Presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein has chosen her vice-presidential running mate: human rights scholar and activist Ajamu Baraka. Baraka is presently a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. He is the founding executive director of the U.S. Human Rights Network. The Green Party’s presidential convention begins on Thursday in Houston, Texas.

    • Why Sanders’ ‘Berners’ Kept Up the Heat

      For the fourth straight day of the Democratic convention, I’m sitting in the California delegate section, anxiously taking in the start of the final night’s program.

      In a couple of hours, Hillary Clinton will finally accept her nomination as the first female presidential nominee, breaking the glass ceiling. It will be a historic exclamation point for women and the country at large; the red, white and blue balloons are in flag formation on the ceiling, ready to drop; the whole stadium is vibrating with excitement.

      Just as I am settling in, I feel a nudge on my shoulder and then my neighbor, a 20-something, blond girl in jeans and a neon green Bernie Sanders “Enough is Enough” T-shirt, points to a newly installed, gray, speaker-type thing on the wall behind us. This contraption definitely wasn’t there yesterday. My fellow California Sanders delegate explains that it’s a white noise machine—installed last night to drown out our section’s chanting. “Wow,” I think, “I really am in the eye of the storm.” Yes indeed, there can’t be any more appropriate symbol of this choreographed and sanitized convention than the foreboding, dull-gray piece of supposed suppressive technology humming 10 feet above me.

    • High-Powered Debate on a Woman President and What the Democratic Party Might Be Willing to Do

      Hillary Clinton has been long enough in politics that she has her own independent track record, as secretary of state, as a warmonger and as a lobbyist-in-chief for big business and for multibillionaire interests. I don’t see how we can, in any honesty, expect a woman who takes, you know, a quarter of a million dollars for every speech that she makes to Goldman Sachs, you know, who has been a rapacious factor in the global economic crisis, as somebody who will represent the interests of ordinary people. But I think, you know, again, we need to move away from an individualized and personalized narrative of politics to the larger context in which all of this is happening. The real problem here is not just her, but the fact that the Democratic Party and the establishment that controls it has a long track record of a systematic betrayal of the interests of working people and, you know, not to mention war abroad.

    • Don’t Fall for It: The Nader Myth and Your 2016 Vote

      Once again, fear is being ramped up to manipulate progressive voters into voting for what they do not want, Hillary Clinton, instead of someone who represents their values. The fear of Trump is the card being played this year and to justify it people are being told that Gore lost to Bush in 2000 because of third party candidates. One of the most effective pieces of political propaganda in this century has been the Nader Myth, which says that Al Gore lost in 2000 because Ralph Nader ran for president.

      This myth is repeated by many Democratic Party operatives and people in the media, who are essentially serving as Democratic Party spokespersons. Since the Democratic Party’s method of convincing people to vote for Hillary Clinton is fear of Trump, people should be prepared with the facts around the 2000 election so they can dispel the Nader Myth.

      Ben Jealous Calls for the Facts, Then Ignores Them

      One recent example was Ben Jealous, the former Sanders’ supporter who has endorsed Hillary Clinton and, as a result, got a spot on the stage at the Democratic National Convention. He debated Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, on Democracy Now and brought up the Nader Myth, saying:

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • DMCA Takedown Company Thinks It’s Making A Point With ‘Transparency Report’ — Really Just Looks Like A Jackass

      If you went to that website, for at least a little while, Remove Your Media was posting full details of people who filed counternotices to some of its DMCA takedowns. These postings made no effort whatsoever to redact personal information such as emails and phone numbers (TorrentFreak has an image where it redacted the info itself).

      The “point” that Remove Your Media is so weakly trying to make is that there is a tiny group of copyright extremists who think that Lumen / Chilling Effects is itself a source of piracy because in posting DMCA notices, it leaves the links that copyright holders are demanding be taken down (it’s noteworthy that Lumen does redact personal information, though). Of course, these are apples to oranges differences. The reason that Lumen leaves up those links is because the whole point of Lumen is to act as a clearinghouse of data for people to understand how the DMCA is used. And, in fact, it’s been an invaluable tool for us and other researchers in finding examples of DMCA abuse. That would be significantly more difficult if the links in the notices were redacted. In fact, it would take away nearly all of the value of the database.

    • Melbourne Has Invited Anurag Kashyap To Conduct An Extensive Masterclass On Censorship!

      The world has seen enough of Anurag Kashyap v/s Censorship battles. Anurag Kashyap’s films have faced Censor board’s axe a couple of times but he has always fought till the end to make sure that his films reflect his originality.

    • How The Olympics Bullshit Ban On Tweeting About The Olympics Is Harming Olympic Athletes

      Every couple of years as the Olympics gears up again, we end up posting a series of stories about massive bullshit overclaims by the Olympics concerning trademark law. And none of it is actually about what trademark law allows. It’s all about the Olympics’ weird infatuation with making sure no company that doesn’t give them a ton of money first can “associate” with the Olympics. Again, that’s not how trademark law actually works, but few companies are willing to stand up to the International Olympic Committee or the US Olympic Committee. This year, the crackdown seems even more ridiculous than usual, with letters being sent to companies who are helping and sponsoring athletes stating that, unless they’re official sponsors with the US Olympic Committee, they can’t even tweet anything mentioning the Olympics. Companies that had sponsored athletes were being forced to blur out or delete social media posts about their own athletes because their racing bibs said “Olympics” on them.

    • Opposition Bloc demands Ukrainian authorities should curb corruption, stop censorship and lawlessness

      The Opposition Bloc party has demanded the Ukrainian authorities heed conclusions made by the international community about corruption, justice system and freedom of speech in Ukraine and stop political prosecution of the opposition.

      “Ukraine remains a non-free country dominated by corruption, censorship, and where there is no fair justice. High-profile murders of journalists and opposition figures still haven’t been properly investigated and resolved. Attacks of political radicals on the offices of mass media have become usual practice,” the party said in a statement published on Tuesday.

    • Trump Can’t Stop Attacking the Press—He Still Thinks It Is a Reality Show He Controls

      Donald Trump has a pretty complicated relationship with the press. On one hand, the Republican nominee knows the value of free media; at least part of his meteoric rise to the top of the ticket can be attributed to the billions of dollars worth of free media he’s received throughout his campaign. On the other hand, he routinely bullies and berates journalists for pointing out his least favorite thing (the truth), and occasionally gets off mocking reporters with disabilities and/or vaginas.

      Given Trump’s troubling treatment of the press throughout the primaries (when he first floated the idea of “open[ing] up” libel laws to increase his ability to sue reporters), it’s no surprise that the relationship has grown even more turbulent since he became the official candidate of the Grand Old Party and brought on VP pick Mike Pence. Here are some of the more egregious attacks the Trump/Pence campaign has waged against the press.

    • Facebook blocks Michael Savage for posting news on Islamic crime

      Facebook has temporarily blocked talk-radio host Michael Savage from posting stories to his page after he put up a link to a story about a Muslim migrant killing a pregnant woman in Germany.

      A message from the social media giant on Savage’s page said: “You recently posted something that violates Facebook policies, so you’re temporarily blocked from using this feature.”

    • Clinton bikini/niqab mural becomes black wall as Melbourne authorities win censorship battle

      A mural of a scantily-clad Hillary Clinton created by an Australian artist was briefly changed into a Muslim woman dressed in a niqab, following a complaint by the local council. However, the latest makeover also left the authorities unimpressed.

    • Hillary Clinton mural censored by Melbourne street artist with niqab
    • Street Artist Censored by Instagram After Provocative Mural of Hillary Clinton Goes Viral
    • Melbourne graffiti artist sprays burqa over provocative Hillary Clinton mural
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Edward Snowden Attacks Wikileaks For Being Reckless With Information

      However a core principle of Wikileaks is that it should publish all information it receives without vetting its suitability.

      The organization responded by suggesting that Snowden was trying to woo Hillary Clinton for an official pardon, (meaning he could return to the US,) arguing that “opportunism won’t earn you a pardon from Clinton & curation is not censorship of ruling party clash flows.”

    • NSA certifies Raytheon encryption [Ed: Cross-pollination with the military-industrial complex, implicating the Internet]
    • What Europe Got Wrong About the NSA [Ed: CFR is shaming Europe into mass surveillance]
    • NSA Director Rogers On DNC Hacking, Cyberwarfare And ISIS [Ed: Funded by plutocrats like Bill Gates, NPR gives the NSA a propaganda platform]

      Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, and NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly talk about the state of cybersecurity, the recent hacking into Democratic Party systems and ISIS strategy.

    • Disney is watching you: park patents footwear tracking system to monitor guests

      In a move that sounds like something from the pages of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Disney World is developing new foot-tracking technology that would allow it to follow customers around its attractions.

      The Walt Disney Company, owner of the Disney theme parks, has secured a patent for the system, which would scan and photograph customer’s shoes and allow park authorities to track punters through the Magic Kingdom.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • State Supreme Court Says Secret Software Used In Sentencing Determinations Not A Violation Of Due Process Rights

      An algorithm is deciding certain criminal defendants should spend more time in prison. And that determination can’t be fully challenged because the code belongs to a private company which provides the software to the government.

      Eric Loomis was determined to be a “high risk” defendant, based on something called a “COMPAS score.” COMPAS — Criminal Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions — cranks out Presentence Investigation Reports for use in the courtroom, utilizing a number of factors to generate a score that lets judges know how likely the defendant is to re-offend.

      The problems with this system are numerous. For one, the code is proprietary, so defendants aren’t allowed to examine the factors that lead to this determination, unlike other sentencing guidelines created by the government, which are open to the public to examine.

    • Outlining Key Demands, Vision For Black Lives Calls for Complete System Change

      More than 50 organizations representing people of color across the United States on Monday put forth what they say is their “shared vision of the world we want to live in,” in the form of a comprehensive policy document that calls for nothing short of “a complete transformation of the current system.”

      “In recent years we have taken to the streets, launched massive campaigns, and impacted elections, but our elected leaders have failed to address the legitimate demands of our Movement. We can no longer wait,” reads the platform, published by the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), which is a coalition of groups including Color of Change, Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter Network, Highlander Research and Education Center, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and many others.

    • Courts Strike Down Voter Restriction Laws That Target African Americans with “Surgical Precision”

      Voting rights advocates have won a number of major victories that could reshape the November election. Over the past 10 days, a series of court rulings have struck down new voting restrictions in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas and Texas. In North Carolina, judge Diana Motz wrote, “We cannot ignore the recent evidence that, because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history.” Meanwhile in Wisconsin, U.S. District Judge James Peterson also struck down a voting rights law, writing that the objective of the law was to “suppress the reliably Democratic vote of Milwaukee’s African Americans.” A week earlier, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit struck down a Texas law which has been described as the nation’s most restrictive voter ID law. For more, we speak with Ari Berman, senior contributing writer for The Nation, where he covers voting rights. Berman’s recent piece for The Nation is called “The Country’s Worst Anti-Voting Law Was Just Struck Down in North Carolina.”

    • Amnesty International: Turkish Authorities Are Committing Mass Torture in Crackdown

      The global watchdog organization Amnesty International says it has received “credible evidence” that the Turkish state under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is committing mass torture — including rape — in a crackdown following an alleged coup attempt.

      “Amnesty International has credible reports that Turkish police in Ankara and Istanbul are holding detainees in stress positions for up to 48 hours, denying them food, water and medical treatment, and verbally abusing and threatening them,” the organization reported on Sunday. “In the worst cases some have been subjected to severe beatings and torture, including rape.”

      Basing its findings on anonymous interviews with lawyers, doctors and “a person on duty in a detention facility,” Amnesty International continued: “Detainees are being arbitrarily held, including in informal places of detention. They have been denied access to lawyers and family members and have not been properly informed of the charges against them, undermining their right to a fair trial.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Broadband Industry Formally Tries, Once Again, To Kill Net Neutrality

      If at first you don’t succeed, try to waste everybody’s time in perpetuity. That’s apparently the plan of the broadband industry, which has formally unveiled its latest attempt to kill U.S. net neutrality rules and the FCC’s reclassification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Telecom Act. As leaks had suggested, multiple broadband providers and trade organizations have requested an en banc review from the full 9-member DC Circuit Court of Appeals in the hopes of overturning last June’s massive FCC legal win.

List of Academics Who Are Protecting Patent Trolls

Posted in Deception, Patents at 9:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some, including Adam Mossoff, are associated with Conservative think tanks [1, 2]

Trolls-friendly professors

Summary: In the face of a system that is so abusive and unjust, the above academics oppose a reform that would limit the reach of Eastern District of Texas, capital of patent trolls

TITLES can be misleading. They don’t say much about a person’s affiliation or integrity and when universities are privately-owned and funded by large corporations it’s not enough to interpret the title “professor” as an instant legitimiser or indication of impartiality. There are still academics who promote GMOs, for example, but many are funded (one way or another, directly or indirectly) by the likes of Monsanto. It’s a lucrative business with billions of dollars at stake; throwing some corporate money at universities is ordinary practice, more so in the US than in Europe (where the EPO even pays academic publishers to print what EPO marketers write).

This week, Patently-O wrote about “28 Law Professors” (the term Professor does not mean in the US what it means in the rest of the world, some are just lecturers or RAs) and said they they sent a letter to politicians. “The new letter,” according to Professor Dennis Crouch (who does not agree with them), “argues that the venue limiting proposals are basically serving as a mechanism of weakening the power of patent holders: “The reality is that the major proponents of changing the venue rules are primarily large high-tech companies and retailers with an online presence sued in the Eastern District of Texas that would rather litigate in a small number of more defendant-friendly jurisdictions.””

Well, obviously. Put another way, those who oppose patent trolls want their cesspool, the Eastern District of Texas, to stop its madness. The Eastern District of Texas openly promotes its bias and hopes to promote litigation this way. This is not acceptable. It does not help innovators, it merely hurts them. What kind of academics support such a system? What does that say about such academics and the institutions that pay their salaries?

“The District of Massachusetts ruled that Limelight Networks did not infringe, but one decade later (and millions of dollars in legal fees) there is an outcome that has been favourable mostly to patent lawyers. How typical!”Blockstream, says a new article by Mike Masnick, “Promises Not To Abuse Patents” even though it hasn't got patents. “Over the years,” he writes, “we’ve discussed various examples of tech companies taking a stand against patent abuse. That is, in lieu of actual patent reform to fix a broken system, some companies are doing things on their own (we even had a podcast discussing a bunch of examples). One of my personal favorites was Twitter’s Innovator’s Patent Agreement which effectively lets the named inventors on the patent issue their own licenses to undermine trolls should the patents ever fall into trollish hands. Think of it as something of a poison pill to make the patents worth a lot less to pure trolls. One of the tricks though has been convincing smaller startups to take some of these steps — even the license on transfer network, which is sort of a no brainer for startups. So it’s good to see, as pointed out by EFF, that Blockstream, a fascinating company in the blockchain space that employs a ton of super smart people, take a big commitment to be a good player in the patent realm.”

Perhaps Blockstream has some impending patents and is preparing for backlash when the public finds out about it. Still, what happens if Blockstream gets bought by some hostile company along with its patents? Or worse: what is the patents are sold to trolls? Will the pledge still be applicable? It’s quite chaotic out there as one single company can be compelled to pay $54 million in ‘damages’ over one single patent, as per the Supreme Court‘s ruling in this case (Akamai v Limelight Networks). To quote MIP: “Limelight Networks has entered into a settlement agreement with Akamai Technologies to end the longstanding battle over a global hosting patent. The settlement converts the $51 million judgment into a $54 million license that will be paid in 12 equal quarterly installments starting August 1.”

Where does all of that money go? Surely not R&D. Limelight Networks is based in Arizona and the plaintiff/s included MIT, which produces no products and enjoys funding from taxpayers. The District of Massachusetts ruled that Limelight Networks did not infringe, but one decade later (and millions of dollars in legal fees) there is an outcome that has been favourable mostly to patent lawyers. How typical!

Software Patents a Dead End in the United States, But Some Large Companies and Trolls Can’t Help Trying (and Failing) to Float Them

Posted in America, Apple, IBM, Patents, SCO at 9:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Even East Texas, which advertises itself as plaintiff- and troll-friendly, might not tolerate software patents for much longer

Rodney Gilstrap

Summary: Examining some of the latest software patents that make this week’s headlines and what we can learn from these

SOFTWARE patents are dying in the US, owing largely to § 101 (post-Alice). Patent lawyers, as expected, are in denial about it (misleading customers in order to maintain demand) and there is a new article today/this week about § 101 analysis. Mentioned therein is a “conclusion that the claims at issue fail to meet the standard for patent eligibility under § 101.”

“The significance of this outcome is that once again (as before) we see software patents — once challenged enough, scrutinised properly and reassessed sufficiently — falling short.”The de facto ban on “abstract” software patents (that ought to cover all software patents) does not deter everyone, especially not deep-pocketed companies which simply hoard thousands (if not tens of thousands of patents) and then cross-license or shake down companies in bulk. According to dozens of news reports from yesterday (e.g. [1, 2, 3]), Amazon continues to patent software (this patent for audio surveillance) and today we learn that Disney tries patenting foot surveillance in parks. Talk about lack of ethics… Amazon has pushed software patents as far as Europe in spite of the clear exclusions.

As we mentioned here briefly at the start of this week, VirnetX's software patent attack on Apple is falling short, as does the stock of VirnetX [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. VirnetX is a patent troll whose existence (or worth) is little more than software patents, so the loss of the case (or at least a $625,000,000 award) was big news yesterday [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15], not just in Apple-centric sites.

The significance of this outcome is that once again (as before) we see software patents — once challenged enough, scrutinised properly and reassessed sufficiently — falling short. Time to leave East Texas for a balanced venue? It’s probably a waste of time (and money) trying to assert these patents in a court of law, especially against large companies that can afford to withstand/endure lots of motions and appeals. That’s why the main victims of software patents (and patent trolls) are small businesses; they would often settle rather than risk the high cost of never-ending legal proceedings. The SCO case has gone on for 13 years because IBM can afford this and SCO, whose only remaining existence is this one case, goes to the grave (well past bankruptcy) in a desperate effort to extract some money (much like VirnetX).

Patent Lawyers Continue to Shoot the Messenger (Attack PTAB) in a Desperate Effort to Salvage Software Patents and Other Rubbish

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 8:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A “licence to kill”? What is this, a James Bond movie?

James Bond and IAM

Summary: The patent microcosm has reached the verge of the pathetic with its attacks on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which is invalidating software patents and other abstract patents at a high pace (correcting the mistakes of the grant-happy Patent Office)

PTAB, an integral part of AIA, is incredibly popular among practicing professionals, unlike beaurocrats like lawyers who make money out of feuds (not production).

A self-described “IP lawyer”, writing about Cuozzo [1, 2, 3, 4] for the EPO‘s mouthpiece, demonises PTAB using the typical characterisation (“attacks”, “kills”, “death squad”) in the piece “PTAB ‘licence to kill’ renewed” (what next? Will they call the Boards of Appeals too “death squads” and help Battistelli demolish these obstructions to rubber-stamping or “productivity” as Battistelli refers to rubber-stamping?) and a patent attorney who is afraid of PTAB (and uses similar characterisations on a daily basis) says that “CAFC’s EPG decision contrary to Diamond v Diehr-alarm activated is invalid under 101 (EPG) vs mold door opened.is valid (Diamond)” (invalid under § 101, as is usually the case these days).

“Reports of software patents dying at CAFC or PTAB can be found every week (if not every day) because software patents are a dying breed in the US, thanks primarily to Alice.”Speaking of CAFC, Patently-O writes about it this week in relation to definiteness standard. It says that “[t]he Patent Act requires that claims be written in a way that “particularly point[s] out and distinctly claim[s] the subject matter which the inventor . . . regards as the invention.” 35 U.S.C. 112(a). In Nautilus, the Supreme Court held that a patent claim survives this test only if it provides “reasonable certainty” as to the scope and bounds of the invention.”

Sloppy patent applications are bound to incur the Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) wrath and one has to wonder how many shoddy patents that USPTO examiners let through the sieve are basically a worthless piece of paper.

It is apparent that many software patents are no longer valid, whether they’re actually being challenged or not. Their value is close to zilch. CAFC‘s changing tune after SCOTUS ruled on Alice is noteworthy. We wrote about Diamond v Diehr many times over the years, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4].

Reports of software patents dying at CAFC or PTAB can be found every week (if not every day) because software patents are a dying breed in the US, thanks primarily to Alice.

The Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the UPC is a Dead End, But Team UPC Tries to Ram it Down Europeans’ Throats

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In the face of Brexit, despite the obvious barriers it creates, Team UPC (a conspiracy of patent lawyers looking to gain from the UPC and standing to profit at Europe’s expense) stubbornly lobbies the UK’s government

Reference: Waterboarding; “Photo from a protest against waterboarding, on the occasion of Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Iceland, by Campaign Against Military Bases. Condoleezza Rice was invited to the protest and to try waterboarding for herself but as she didn’t show some volunteers tried it out for themselves.” (Credit: Karl Gunnarsson)

Summary: The European public, and even those beyond or outside the EU, are subjected to deep-throating tactics by the patent microcosm (military–industrial complex equivalent), which is force-feeding everyone a system which serves nobody other than large (usually foreign) corporations, patent trolls, and of course their lawyers

THE EPO has not mentioned the UPC for weeks. The European media has not mentioned it for quite a while, either. Why? Because it’s dying. They know it; they almost gave up.

Patent lawyers and their convenient little 'cartel', on the other hand, pressure the British government and hope to shame it into ratifying the UPC without discussion, without public consent and without even assessing the post-Brexit situation. This morning MIP published a UPC “progress [sic] report” and said in its summary: “Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the UPC signed; IP community puts pressure on the UK government; Preparatory Committee and Select Committee to continue with final preparations” (preparation for nothing, just pretense and self-fulfilling prophecy attempts).

“There are sadly not enough (little or none) sites that explain to the public what the UPC would mean to producing actors (like European SMEs), except few conglomerates that lobby for the UPC and sneakily hijack the voices of Europeans.”These people’s disdain for democracy is utterly contemptible. From start to finish the UPC has been an attempt to steal democracy and ram down people’s throats an undesirable system. There’s even ‘roadkill’ inside the EPO (like those resisting Battistelli’s EPO plot) and we are surprised that not more people speak out against the UPC (perhaps because they don’t understand it well enough, if at all). MIP says: “The Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the UPC is an important legal instrument which safeguards the function of the UPC in the participating member states. The Protocol has now been signed by 13 member states excluding the UK, whose acceptance is required before it can enter into force.”

Last month we wrote about the role played by Battistelli’s ally Lucy Neville-Rolfe and it would be a shameful disgrace if she was allowed to interfere in the process (it is not unthinkable). In a new edition of IAM’s ‘magazine’ there is this article titled “Brexit leaves the UPC in limbo – and that’s no bad thing” (behind paywall). The editor has already stated, repeatedly, that it can take years (it not forever) for UPC to happen. He said this after he had spent years pushing for the UPC. Another article about this alluded to the piece behind the paywall, in which it’s summarised as follows: “The United Kingdom’s recent vote to leave the European Union is likely to have a significant impact on IP management strategies in Europe – some of which are explored in the Insight section – but what it won’t do is curb the growing enthusiasm that European patent owners are showing for the monetisation of their rights. Anders Arvidsson, Keith Woomer and Lucia Alvarado take a look at the current state of play in various European industries and predict how things may develop over the coming years. For anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of what is a highly complex market, this is essential reading.”

As one might expect, coming from a highly biased site that is funded in part by patent trolls and in this case composed by professional patent boosters, the analysis is more optimistic than elsewhere. There are sadly not enough (little or none) sites that explain to the public what the UPC would mean to producing actors (like European SMEs), except few conglomerates that lobby for the UPC and sneakily hijack the voices of Europeans.

Links 2/8/2016: Kodi 17 Alpha 3, OpenSSH 7.3, TP-Link Forced to Open Up

Posted in News Roundup at 6:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Middle School Students Aim to Change the World With Linux

    The end of March of 2016 had arrived, and parent teacher conferences were in full swing at Community School of Excellence in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Parents came into the school for their appointments with their children’s teachers, and they sat down and discussed grades, behavior, and classroom activities. This time, however, was a little different. While the teachers were talking with the parents, one additional question was asked by teachers of parents: Do they need a computer at home for their children to use for school work? Parents who said “yes” were then sent down to talk to our school’s Linux club, the CSE Asian Penguins.

  • 10 reasons you shouldn’t upgrade to Windows 10 [iophk: "Mentions Chrome/Linux and Android/Linux but could have used a mention of GNU/Linux too"]
  • August 2016 Issue of Linux Journal
  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Container adoption remains in its infancy – but businesses should get ready for the next wave of virtualisation

      There has been a surge of interest in containers in recent years, particularly in the wake of Docker’s popularity among developers. Many are now suggesting that the virtualisation technology could eventually replace the hypervisors which have become near-ubiquitous in enterprise data centres.

      Simply put, containers offer a lightweight alternative to virtual machines, offering even greater resource utilisation, simplified management and the ability to quickly move applications betwee servers.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Logs Search Provider

        In this post I will be telling you about the search provider for the GNOME Logs as implemented by me in the last two weeks.

      • Looking forward to GUADEC

        GUADEC is approaching quickly and we just spend a whole day finalizing the planning so that everything will go smoothly during the conference. A few announcements for the conference are still in the pipeline including the social events and the complete talk schedule. So watch out for more announcements during the next two weeks.

      • Days Grid

        This is for the progress on the calendar. So far, you have seen a zoomed in version of the header of the calendar. So let’s zoom it out a bit.

      • Rejoice! Arc GTK Theme Will Be Available in Ubuntu 16.10

        If you love the Arc GTK theme, but don’t love needing to hunt down an install package every time you perform a fresh install, you’re going to love Ubuntu 16.10.

      • Beautiful Arc GTK Theme Now Available in the Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Repos

        It would appear that the popular and beautiful Arc GTK Theme created by Horst3180 has finally landed in the software repositories of the Ubuntu Linux operating system.

  • Distributions

    • Submit Your Top 5 Linux Distributions

      Last week I wrote a list of the 5 Linux distributions I recommend for the everyday linux user.

      As expected I am receiving comments asking why I didn’t include this distribution or that distribution.

      I am therefore opening the floor to you guys and girls.

    • New Releases

      • 4MRecover 19.0 Data Recovery Live CD Enters Beta, Includes TestDisk 7.0

        Today, August 1, 2016, 4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki informs Softpedia about the availability of the Beta milestone of the upcoming 4MRecover 19.0 data recovery Live CD.

        Based on the latest Beta release of the 4MLinux 19.0 GNU/Linux operating system, 4MRecover 19.0 is now ready for public testing and it appears to include the usual TestDisk 7.0 and PhotoRec 7.0 utilities for recovering lost partitions and files from damaged disks and removable drives.

      • Simplicity Linux 16.07 out now

        Simplicity Linux is well know for it’s lightweight nature and support for netbooks. The team behind this wonderful distribution has annonced the release of Simplicity 16.07. This distribution is based on Puppy Linux but this time there is a little twist. This time Simplicity Linux is avaialble in Debian based version too. Simplicity 16.07 is released in dektop and mini editions which are based on Puppy Linux and it uses LXDE as default desktop environment. As we said earlier there is X version of Simplicity 16.07 which is based on Debian via AntiX distribution.

    • Arch Family

      • Arch Linux 2016.08.01 Is Now Available for Download, Ships with Kernel 4.6.4

        It’s the first day of August 2016, and, for us, Arch Linux users, it means that we can get our hands on a new ISO respin that can be used to deploy the popular GNU/Linux operating system on PCs without going to all the trouble of downloading lots of updates.

        Yes, you’re reading it right, Arch Linux 2016.08.01 is now available for download today, August 1, 2016, distributed as a dual-arch, bootable ISO image that supports installations on 64-bit and 32-bit computers and includes all the up-to-date core components that have been pushed to the distro’s main software repositories since July 1.

        However, Arch Linux 2016.08.01 ships with a kernel from the Linux 4.6 series, as the distribution’s maintainers have not yet moved to the latest Linux 4.7 kernel branch. Linux kernel 4.6.4 powers the Arch Linux 2016.08.01 ISO image, despite that fact that the latest release from the series is Linux kernel 4.6.5.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Finance

    • Debian Family

      • Retiring as a Debian developer

        This is a repost and update of my retirement letter sent privately to Debian last month, July 10, 2016. At that time I received many notes of appreciation and good wishes which I treasure. Now, I’d like to say goodbye to the broader Debian community and, as well, indicate which of the cleanup items have since been addressed in strikethrough style and with annotations.

      • Debian and Tor Services available as Onion Services

        We, the Debian project and the Tor project are enabling Tor onion services for several of our sites. These sites can now be reached without leaving the Tor network, providing a new option for securely connecting to resources provided by Debian and Tor.

        The freedom to use open source software may be compromised when access to that software is monitored, logged, limited, prevented, or prohibited. As a community, we acknowledge that users should not feel that their every action is trackable or observable by others. Consequently, we are pleased to announce that we have started making several of the various web services provided by both Debian and Tor available via onion services.

      • Doha and the past year in APT

        One of the more interesting topics that I attended was the ‘apt’ talk . There are 3-4 tools in the Debian world i.e. apt, aptitude, apt-get, dpkg and dselect. More often than not people know aptitude and apt-get whereas the rest of the packages are not thought so much about. What I somewhat suspected about the history of apt was revealed to be true today, courtesy David K.

      • Reproducible builds: week 65 in Stretch cycle
      • Free software activities in July 2016
      • Techno TV broadcasting live across Norway and the Internet (#debconf16, #nuug) on @frikanalen

        Did you know there is a TV channel broadcasting talks from DebConf 16 across an entire country? Or that there is a TV channel broadcasting talks by or about Linus Torvalds, Tor, OpenID, Common Lisp, Civic Tech, EFF founder John Barlow, how to make 3D printer electronics and many more fascinating topics? It works using only free software (all of it available from Github), and is administrated using a web browser and a web API.

      • AppRecommender: A package recommender system

        Hello, my name is Lucas Moura and this post will present AppRecommender. This project is a package recommender system for Debian systems. The intent of this application is to look for packages that users have already installed in their system and recommend new useful packages based on them. This approach is similar as the one seen on Netflix or Amazon, where the movies or goods that a user has already seen determine other items that will be recommended.

      • AppRecommender: My Google Summer of Code project

        AppRecommender is a package recommender system for Debian.

      • Derivatives

        • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” Gets the Latest Debian Security Fixes, Update Now

          The Parsix GNU/Linux development team informs the community about the availability of new security updates for their Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” operating system.

          There’s been a lot of updates released upstream, on the Debian GNU/Linux 8.5 “Jessie” software repositories during the month of July 2016, and Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” users have now received them all, starting with the massive Linux 4.1.28 LTS kernel update.

          Among the packages that received security fixes during the month of July, we can mention Apache2, MariaDB 10.0, PHP5, collectd, Xen, libgd2, libdbd-mysql-perl, NTP, Perl, phpMyAdmin, OpenSSH, Squid3, MySQL 5.5, Pidgin, Horizon, python-django, and mysql-connector-java.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • BQ’s Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition is an underwhelming tablet [Review]

            The Aquaris M10 is very much a first attempt for BQ and you would expect future iterations to have some significant improvements. It’s also hard to find compelling reasons why iOS or Android fans would want to switch over to an Ubuntu tablet, but those familiar with the operating system should be excited to finally have their needs met in the tablet market.

            One positive factor is that switching between tablet and desktop mode works very well for the most part, so can definitely fulfill professional needs as much as casual ones. This could be a viable option for someone who wants that flexibility and isn’t too fussed about some of the more superficial features.

            Aspects such as the cameras, display and build quality could all be improved, but are about right for the price point in this unspectacular but solid device.

            With the HD version costing €229.90 (£187) and the full HD tablet coming in at €279.90 (£227), the M10 offers decent value for money and provides a solid platform for BQ to build on in the future.

          • So Far Ubuntu Phone Hasn’t Tempted Me, But Would Highly Consider A Tizen Device

            With writing this weekend about switching to an S7 Edge powered by Android as my primary smartphone, it generated a flurry of comments in the forums and elsewhere with people wanting to share their two cents.

          • Win an Ubuntu Linux laptop in the System76 ‘Pop Quiz’ giveaway

            The upcoming school year is quickly approaching, meaning many parents and students are busy shopping. While some kids still need old-school things like pens and paper, the really fun thing to buy is a new laptop.

            Understandably, money is tight for many folks, meaning a quality computer might not be in the budget. Luckily, System76 is giving away one of its most popular Linux-based laptops — the Lemur. The pre-installed Ubuntu operating system is absolutely brilliant for education, making it a sweet prize for the winner. If you are interested in entering, you can find out the details below.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Review: Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” MATE

              That is where my time with Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” MATE ended. Overall, I can still give this a good recommendation for people who have at least a tiny bit of experience with Linux and may be looking for a stable, easy-to-use system. However, the usability issues I encountered, while each fairly minor, added up to the extent that I don’t feel as confident recommending this to total newbies (because while I would be able to work through these issues easily by myself, I don’t expect the same of a newbie), unless they have a more experienced friend helping them to install this (though after that, they should be OK on their own). To be able to retake the newbie demographic, I think this distribution needs just a bit more polish; I’d be excited to see what the future point releases hold, and I hope that these issues do get addressed.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Become a Better Open Source Advocate by Becoming a Better Human Being

    The best role models for any cause, open source or otherwise, are people you would admire even if they didn’t support your cause. In other words, your support of open source will be more meaningful if you strive to be a good person.

  • How Open Source is Shaping the Future of Wireless

    Most developers aren’t impressed by the ease of use of wireless protocols – they were originally invented by large corporations and heavily patented, which blocked individual developers from innovation. You had to have very deep pockets to bring any alternative to market.

  • FCC forces TP-Link to support open source firmware on routers

    Networking hardware vendor TP-Link today admitted violating US radio frequency rules by selling routers that could operate at power levels higher than their approved limits. In a settlement with the Federal Communications Commission, TP-Link agreed to pay a $200,000 fine, comply with the rules going forward, and to let customers install open source firmware on routers.

    The open source requirement is a unique one, as it isn’t directly related to TP-Link’s violation. Moreover, FCC rules don’t require router makers to allow loading of third-party, open source firmware. In fact, recent changes to FCC rules made it more difficult for router makers to allow open source software.

  • FCC settlement with Wi-Fi router maker a win for open source advocates
  • TP-Link fined $200k, told to be nice to wireless router tinkers after throwing a hissy fit
  • FCC Demands TP-Link Support Third-Party Router Firmware
  • TP-Link settles with the FCC over risky WiFi router power levels
  • FCC settlement means TP-Link routers might support third-party firmware after all
  • FCC Settles WiFi Router Power Investigation
  • TP-Link to allow third-party firmware on routers
  • TP-Link To Pay Up In Wi-Fi Router Settlement With FCC
  • Apache Mesos turns 1.0, but it’s no Kubernetes clone
  • Events

    • Top Reasons The Open Source Community Attends Events

      It should go without saying that there is no substitute for face to face collaboration. And what is open source if not the ultimate example of collaboration? Open source events provide a wide range of opportunities for the community to connect, and the end result of all of this is good for the community and good for business.

    • 2nd annual Open Source Open Society

      Using open source to improve how business and Government work at 2nd annual Open Source Open Society

    • Last day for SeaGL talk submission

      SeaGL conference in Seattle in November is still looking for speakers and today is the last day to submit talks. This is an all inclusive conference, featuring Allison Randal, President of the Open Source Initiative as the keynote speaker.

    • Last chance to submit linux.conf.au talks
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • In the browser election, Chrome leads by a landslide

        Chrome reached a major milestone last month when it was used by more than half of those browsing from a personal computer, data published Monday showed.

        According to U.S. analytics vendor Net Applications, Chrome’s user share grew by more than 2 percentage points in July, the fourth time in the last six months that its gains were of that size, to end the month at 51%.

        In the last 12 months, Chrome has added 23.1 percentage points to its user share, starting that stretch with less than 30% and ending by owning a majority of the worldwide desktop browser market. Only two browsers have controlled more than half of the global browser share this century: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE), which held a majority until December 2015, and now Chrome.

        As throughout 2016, most of Chrome’s July gains came at the expense of Microsoft’s browsers. IE and the newer Edge collectively lost 2.1 percentage points, dropping to 34.7%, a record low. Apple’s Safari shed one-tenth of a point, falling to 4.5%, its lowest level since November 2015.

    • Mozilla

      • Working for Women’s Economic Empowerment with the United Nations High Level Panel

        Mozilla Foundation Webmaker Program, Indonesia (photo credit: Laura de Reynal)

        It is critical to ensure that women are active participants in digital life. Without this we won’t reach full economic empowerment. An explicit focus on women and digital life is necessary for economic empowerment because the statistics are striking: over 1.7 billion women in low- and middle-income countries do not own mobile phones. Women in South Asia are 38 percent less likely to own a phone than men; in Africa, they are 50 percent less likely to use the internet.

        This is the perspective and focus I bring to the UN High Level Panel for Women’s Economic Empowerment, an initiative of the United Nations that aims at unlocking the power of women to work and achieve their financial independence. You can read here about my participation to the Panel.

        I joined fellow Panel members in Costa Rica a few weeks ago for a meeting hosted by Costa Rica President, Luis Guillermo Solis. Many thanks to President Solis for leading the meeting with both commitment and authenticity!

  • SaaS/Back End

  • CMS

    • Govstrap.io enables rapid deployment of UK government websites

      United Kingdom government websites can now be deployed within minutes by re-using the familiar theme produced by Government Digital Services (GDS) in combination with the Bootstrap framework.

      The open source software specialist OpusVL has made it possible to take the official Gov.UK website theme, which is under the MIT license, and reproduce it quickly and easily using Bootstrap, which originated from Twitter. Bootstrap is an HTML, CSS, and JavaScript framework for creating front end websites and applications. With an increase in the variety of devices used to view websites, Bootstrap is a standard tool kit for building responsive design, and enabling websites to be mobile- and tablet-friendly.

    • Concrete5 Releases Version 8 Beta, More Open Source CMS News

      Portland, Ore.-based concrete5 released its version 8 beta for testing and feedback. It’s good for site builders who are comfortable reporting and fixing bugs, and who are prepared to build their test sites from scratch. Just remember: Beta releases are never recommended for production websites.

      Technology evangelist Jessica Dunbar called it “a key milestone and is the work of more than 230 contributors.” To find out about the new features, see what’s in store for version 8.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • OpenSSH

    • OpenSSH 7.3 Released, Adds ProxyJump & IdentityAgent Options

      OpenSSH 7.3 was released today by the OpenBSD camp with some security fixes while also providing a few new options and other features.

    • OpenSSH 7.3 released

      OpenSSH is a 100% complete SSH protocol 2.0 implementation and includes sftp client and server support. OpenSSH also includes transitional support for the legacy SSH 1.3 and 1.5 protocols that may be enabled at compile-time.

    • OpenSSH 7.3

      OpenSSH 7.3 has just been released. It will be available from the mirrors listed at http://www.openssh.com/ shortly.

    • OpenSSH 7.3 Officially Released, Now Refuses RSA Keys Smaller Than 1024 Bits

      On August 1, 2016, the OpenBSD project proudly announced the availability for download of the OpenSSH 7.3 and Portable OpenSSH 7.3p1 open source software projects.

      OpenSSH is a 100% complete, freely distributed, and open-source Secure Shell (SSH) 2.0 protocol implementation for GNU/Linux and UNIX-like operating systems. It comes pre-installed with SFTP client and server support, as well as transitional support for the legacy SSH 1.3 and SSH 1.5 protocols, which can be enabled during compilation.

  • Public Services/Government

    • France pilots open source-based cloud services

      The French government is trying out various open source-based alternatives for building its own cloud computing infrastructure, writes SGMAP. “Free software enables modernisation of IT systems, including its most important new projects”, writes the government modernisation unit.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • SoldiPubblici one of OGP showcases awarded star status

      SoldiPubblici, an open data portal providing the public with information on Italian government expenditure, has been acknowledged as a “star” commitment by the Open Government Partnership (OGP). In the evaluation report ‘Star Reforms in the Open Government Partnership’ star status is given to a selection of commitments from OGP Action Plans to which the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) awarded star status in their latest reporting cycle. “These showcases represent exemplary reforms that have a potentially transformative impact on citizens in the country of implementation.”

    • UK and Finland Europe’s eGovernment leaders – UNPAN

      The United Kingdom and Finland are Europe’s eGovernment leaders, according to the United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) 2016 UN eGovernment Survey. The list of top 10 eGovernment countries is completed by Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Estonia, Germany, Austria, and Spain.

    • UNPAN reports improvements for most EU countries

      The United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) 2016 UN eGovernment Survey shows improvements in most of the lower ranking EU Member States. While in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Romania, eGovernment services improved, these were lower than the European average.

  • Programming/Development


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Obama Signed Into Law Controversial GMO Labeling Bill. Now What?

      What’s an advocate of clear GMO labeling to do now that President Barack Obama has signed into law the food industry-supported measure dubbed the DARK Act?

      One option, according to the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), is to join roughly half a million people who’ve said they will boycott brands that won’t label their products—in a clear way for everyone to see—that have been produced with genetic engineering.

      When Obama on Friday signed the measure “paid for and written by corporations who clearly have something to hide,” said Ronnie Cummins, international director of OCA, the president “succumbed to industry pressure to betray the 90 percent of Americans who want GMOs labeled.”

      Congress passed the measure, which supercedes Vermont’s historic labeling law, last month, and now, as the Associated Press reports, the “Agriculture Department has two years to write the rules.”

    • Rural counties across the US becoming a powder keg for HIV outbreak

      A man was lying sedate after injecting drugs. His fellow users, to amuse themselves, threw needles at him like a human dartboard to see if they would stick, according to a recent police report in Wolfe County, Kentucky.

      “Back in the day, all we had to worry about was people drinking or smoking weed,” said special deputy Gary Smith, who is entering his 25th year with the Wolfe County sheriff’s department.

      But with a growing US opioid epidemic that has escalated the number of injection drug users, the bucolic county has become acutely at risk from another public health problem.

      Wolfe County tops the list of places that are most vulnerable to an HIV outbreak.

      A new alarm for the HIV epidemic sounded early last year when a small, rural town in Indiana was beset with a staggering 188 cases of the hard-to-control disease – and the sirens have been heard in similar towns across the country.

    • New Cold War at the Olympics

      The Western media’s Russia-bashing has become epidemic, creating a dangerous dynamic as the world plunges into a new Cold War, with even sports becoming a propaganda arena, as Rick Sterling explains.

    • Superbugs, Sewage, and Scandal: Are Rio Olympics Poised for Disaster?

      A biology professor has simple advice for athletes and tourists descending on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Olympics’ start on Friday: “Don’t put your head underwater.”

      Dr. Valerie Harwood, chair of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida, remarked on the dangers posed by Rio’s water to AP, which reported Monday that a 16-months-long study revealed that “the waterways of Rio de Janeiro are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria.”

    • Rio 2016: Swimmers need to ingest only three teaspoons of water to be almost certain of contracting a virus

      A report commisioned by the Associated Press has revealed that water in Rio’s Olympic and Paralympic venues holds viral levels 1.7m times what would be considered alarming in the United States and Europe just five days before the Games get underway

    • 40 now hospitalised after anthrax outbreak in Yamal, more than half are children

      The concern among experts is that global warming thawed a diseased animal carcass at least 75 years old, buried in the melting permafrost, so unleashing the disease.

      A total of 40 people, the majority of them children, from nomadic herder families in northern Siberia are under observation in hospital amid fears they may have contracted the anthrax. Doctors stress that so far there are NO confirmed cases.

      Up to 1,200 reindeer were killed either by anthrax or a heatwave in the Arctic district where the infection spread.

      Specialists from the Chemical, Radioactive and Biological Protection Corps were rushed to regional capital Salekhard on a military Il-76 aircraft.

      They were deployed by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to carry laboratory tests on the ground, detect and eliminate the focal point of the infection, and to dispose safely of dead animals.

    • Use of Dicamba-Resistant Monsanto Crops Leads to Soybean Death
    • Crime In The Fields: How Monsanto And Scofflaw Farmers Hurt Soybeans In Arkansas

      The story starts with Monsanto because the St. Louis-based biotech giant launched, this year, an updated version of its herbicide-tolerant soybean seeds. This new version, which Monsanto calls “Xtend,” isn’t just engineered to tolerate sprays of glyphosate, aka Roundup. It’s also immune to dicamba.

      Monsanto created dicamba-resistant soybeans (and cotton) in an effort to stay a step ahead of the weeds. The strategy of planting Roundup-resistant crops and spraying Roundup to kill weeds isn’t working so well anymore, because weeds have evolved resistance to glyphosate. Adding genes for dicamba resistance, so the thinking went, would give farmers the option of spraying dicamba as well, which would clear out the weeds that survive glyphosate.

      There was just one hitch in the plan. A very big hitch, as it turned out. The Environmental Protection Agency has not yet approved the new dicamba weedkiller that Monsanto created for farmers to spray on its new dicamba-resistant crops. That new formulation of dicamba, according to Monsanto, has been formulated so that it won’t vaporize as easily, and won’t be as likely to harm neighboring crops. If the EPA approves the new weedkiller, it may impose restrictions on how and when the chemical may be used.

      But, Monsanto went ahead and started selling its dicamba-resistant soybeans before this herbicide was approved. It gave farmers a new weed-killing tool that they couldn’t legally use.

      Monsanto says it did so because these seeds weren’t just resistant to dicamba; they also offered higher yields, which farmers wanted. In an email to The Salt, Phil Miller, Monsanto’s vice president for global regulatory and government affairs, wrote that “there’s incredible value in the Xtend technology independent of herbicide applications: There is great demand for strong yield performance and our latest industry leading genetics.” Monsanto says it also made it clear to farmers that they were not allowed to spray dicamba on these dicamba-resistant beans.

      Farmers themselves, however, may have had other ideas. Robert Goodson, an agricultural extension agent in Phillips County, Ark., believes that some farmers were hoping that the EPA would approve the new dicamba weedkiller in the course of the growing season, so they’d get to spray it over their crops.

  • Security

    • Securing Embedded Linux

      Until fairly recently, Linux developers have been spared many of the security threats that have bedeviled the Windows world. Yet, when moving from desktops and servers to the embedded Internet of Things, a much higher threat level awaits.

      “The basic rules for Linux security are the same whether it’s desktop, server, or embedded, but because IoT devices are typically on all the time, they pose some unique challenges,” said Mike Anderson, CTO and Chief Scientist for The PTR Group, Inc. during an Embedded Linux Conference talk called “Securing Embedded Linux.”

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Packt security bundle winner announced!
    • Everyone has been hacked

      Unless you live in a cave (if you do, I’m pretty jealous) you’ve heard about all the political hacking going on. I don’t like to take sides, so let’s put aside who is right or wrong and use it as a lesson in thinking about how we have to operate in what is the new world.

      In the past, there were ways to communicate that one could be relatively certain was secure and/or private. Long ago you didn’t write everything down. There was a lot of verbal communication. When things were written down there was generally only one copy. Making copies of things was hard. Recording communications was hard. Even viewing or hearing many of these conversations if you weren’t supposed to was hard. None of this is true anymore, it hasn’t been true for a long time, yet we still act like what we do is just fine.

    • Android Security Bulletin—July 2016
    • The July 2016 Android security bulletin
    • How To Use Google For Hacking?
    • Securing Embedded Linux by Michael E. Anderson
    • Botnet DDoS attacks in Q2: Linux Botnets on the rise, length of attacks increase

      Kaspersky Lab has released its report on botnet-assisted DDoS attacks for the second quarter of 2016 based on data provided by Kaspersky DDoS Intelligence*. The number of attacks on resources located on Chinese servers grew considerably, while Brazil, Italy and Israel all appeared among the leading countries hosting C&C servers.

    • Cisco Cybersecurity Report Warns of Serious Ransomware Dangers
  • Defence/Aggression

    • MH370 flight was deliberately flown into ocean, crash expert says

      Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was deliberately flown into the sea, an expert air crash investigator has claimed.

      Larry Vance said photos of the plane’s flaperon found on a beach 2,500 miles from the search area show “definite evidence” it was extended at the time of the crash, suggesting the pilot brought the plane down in the ocean.

      “Somebody was flying the airplane at the end of its flight,” Mr Vance told Australia’s 60 Minutes programme.

    • MH370 was flown into water ‘deliberately’, says senior crash expert

      One of the world’s leading air crash investigators says he believes flight MH370 was “deliberately” crashed into the sea by a rogue pilot in a possible murder-suicide bid.

      Larry Vance said erosion on the edges of recovered wing parts suggested the plane was lowered to its doom in a controlled fashion.

      The erosion was caused by a part of the plane’s wing – called a flaperon – being exposed to the elements when it was extended.

    • U.S. Says New Bombing Campaign Against ISIS in Libya Has No “End Point at This Particular Moment”

      The U.S. launched a major new military campaign against ISIS on Monday when U.S. planes bombed targets in Libya, responding to requests from the U.N.-backed Libyan government. Strikes took place in the coastal town of Sirte, which ISIS took in June of last year.

      The strikes represent a significant escalation in the U.S. war against ISIS, spreading the conflict thousands of miles from the warzones in Syria and Iraq.

      All of these attacks took place without Congressional authorization or even debate.

      “We want to strike at ISIL anywhere it raises its head,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook. “Libya is one of those places.” He said the airstrikes “would continue as long as [the Libyan government] is requesting them,” and that they do not have “an end point at this particular moment in time.”

    • US Launches Airstrikes in Libya in ‘Deeply Concerning’ New Offensive

      The U.S. on Monday launched airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Libya, expanding its war in the region in what the Pentagon indicated will be a long-term offensive against the militant group and what critics said was a “deeply” concerning move.

      Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said Monday that she was “deeply concerned about the expansion of U.S. airstrikes in Libya. The U.S. military continues to become more engaged in the Middle East, despite the lack of a Congressional debate or specific authorization.”

    • US Airstrikes Hit Libya To Bolster UN-Created Government

      The Pentagon has announced today that the US has begun conducting military airstrikes against Libya with the stated intent of defeating ISIS in that country. According to the Pentagon spokesman, the Libyan “Government of National Accord” requested that the US begin airstrikes against what they claim is an ISIS stronghold in the Libyan town of Sirte, the birthplace of murdered Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

    • Empire’s Chain Reaction

      Donald Trump suggested that his campaign may take away press credentials from The New York Times, his latest attack on the media over the course of his presidential campaign.

      At a campaign event in Columbus, Ohio, Monday, the Republican presidential nominee called the Times’ coverage of him “very dishonest” and suggested adopting the same ban on the newspaper as he has on The Washington Post. Trump revoked the Post’s press credentials in June after the newspaper published an article critical of Trump’s statements about a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.

      “It’s gotten a little better,” he said about the Post’s coverage. “I should do it with the Times.”

      Over the course of the election, Trump’s campaign has banned nearly two dozen news organizations from campaign events, including POLITICO, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Univision and The Des Moines Register. The bans, which have been criticized on First Amendment grounds, have been enforced unevenly. Trump has told CNN that, if elected president, he would not interfere with the White House press credentialing process.

    • Past Time To Rethink NATO

      On bringing Estonia into NATO, no Cold War president would have dreamed of issuing so insane a war guarantee.

    • “Pow, Pow, Yous Are Dead!”

      And then, of course, there were my kids, my husband, and those “guns.” As a boy, Patrick wasn’t allowed to play with toy guns. Instead, he, his parents, and their friends would go to the mall during the Christmas buying spree to put “Stop War Toys” stickers on Rambo and G.I. Joe action figures. When he went to his friends’ houses, he had to tell them that war toys were verboten.

      I grew up in a similar family of activists. We, too, were forbidden toy guns and other war toys. My brother and I were more likely to play games like “protester at the Pentagon” than cops and robbers. I’ve been thinking recently about why toy guns didn’t have a grip on our imaginations as kids. I suspect it was because we understood — were made to understand — what the big gun of U.S. militarism had done in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Indochina, and throughout Central America. Our dad had seen the big gun of war up close and personal. His finger — the same one he pointed at us when we were in trouble — had pulled the trigger again and again in France during World War II. He was decorated there, but had zero nostalgia for the experience. He was, in fact, deeply ashamed of the dashing figure he had once cut when home from the front. And so, dad screwed up a new kind of courage to say no to war and violence, to killing of any kind. His knowledge of war imbued his nonviolent peace activist mission with a genuine, badass, superhero style swagger.

      Our parents — our community of ragtag, countercultural Catholic peace activists — made that no-violence, no-killing, no-matter-what point again and again. In fact, my early experience of guns was the chilling fear of knowing that, in protest, my father, mother, and their friends were walking into what they called “free fire zones” on military bases, where well-armed, well-trained soldiers were licensed to kill intruders. So we didn’t point toy guns at each other. We didn’t pow-pow with our fingers or sticks. We crossed those fingers and hoped that the people we loved would be safe.

      Our inner city Baltimore neighborhood, where crack cocaine madness was just taking hold, drove that point home on a micro level. Our house was robbed at gunpoint more than once — and we had so little worth taking. We watched a man across the street bleed to death after being stabbed repeatedly in a fight over nothing. People from our house ran to help and were there for far too long before an ambulance even arrived. We knew as little kids that violence was no laughing matter, nor child’s play. It was serious business and was to be resisted.

    • Russian & Iranian Press deplore Hillary Clinton Hawkishness; Israelis complain she’s Dove

      How is the international press responding to the Democratic National Convention and the formalization of Hillary Clinton’s status as the party’s standard-bearer in the presidential campaign?

      BBC Monitoring helped me find these reports, which I’m paraphrasing or quoting from their translation:

      Boaz Bismuth in the Hebrew edition of Yisrael Hayom (Israel Today), which is pro-Netanyahu, criticized the Democrats for their message that the US is unprecedentedly strong. He wrote that polls show Americans to be concerned about terrorism and rising crime. Then he pointed to the Syrian government siege of east Aleppo (with Russian aerial help) as another thing the US has to worry about.

      This newspaper is given away free and is owned by allegedly corrupt US casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, so its talking points are Republican ones. Actually, crime is not rising in the US; violent crime is at historic low. And, while the siege of east Aleppo is troubling from the point of view of human rights (you’re not allowed to starve out civilians), it is hard to imagine most Americans caring, one way or another.

    • Pope and French Muslims try Muslim-Christian outreach instead of ‘War on Terror’ Polarization

      AFP reported from the papal airplane on Pope Francis’s remarks about Islam in the wake of the brutal murder of an elderly priest by two teenagers of North African heritage in Normandy last Tuesday. Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) claimed responsibility.

    • We Can’t Bomb Our Way to Better Schools

      From the left and the right, policy proposals are flying fast and furious. It is an election year, after all. But one topic is completely off the agenda from both sides of the party line: decreasing military spending.

      Today’s political candidates are universally unwilling to discuss the military budget, overseas aggression, nuclear weapons, militarism, or imperialism—except to recommend more of it.

      The problem is, we can’t bomb our way into better schools.

      Year after year, we continue to pour our tax dollars into the war budget at the expense of other social programs. And, even as we overfund the military contractors, we also fail to care for our veterans and renege on our recruitment promises of education and jobs for the youth. Neither of the two major-party presidential candidates will discuss ending the endless war, bringing our troops home, or investing in improving the infrastructure, education, and opportunities here at home.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • 15 fire-linked firms escape prosecution in Indonesia’s Riau

      On July 23 the local police headquarters in the Sumatran province of Riau released SP3 notices related to 15 companies that the Ministry of Environment and Forestry had listed in connection with last year’s fires. A SP3 is an official police document that confirms a case has been closed. No charges will be brought against any of the 15 firms.

      “We are very disappointed with the issuance of the SP3,” said Riko Kurniawan, the executive director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) in Riau province. It showed the police “lacked seriousness” in their pursuit of errant companies, he told Mongabay.

      “This is one of the indicators to show how serious the government is — particularly law enforcement — to tackle forest fires,” added Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Teguh Surya.

      The El Nino weather event in 2015 prolonged the dry season and fueled annual fires that incinerated more than 2 million hectares in Indonesia. Much of what went up in smoke was highly combustible peat stored within marshes near the coastal areas of Riau, South Sumatra and West Kalimantan provinces.

      The result was a national health emergency and a disastrous spike in Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions. At one point Indonesia’s chief security minister said Indonesia would commandeer ships from the state ferry company to evacuate the helpless in their thousands.

    • NOAA helps save nearly 100 wetland acres for Michigan restoration

      The Great Lakes hold 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water, making habitat restoration critically important for severely degraded industrial areas near their shores. In Michigan, NOAA has moved that goal forward by supporting the recent purchase of 98.8 wetland acres near Muskegon Lake, which feeds directly into Lake Michigan.

    • Forest restoration gets a cutting edge

      Research by scientists from the UK and Tanzania has revealed that assisted ecological restoration can lead to dramatic increases in growth of new and established trees – helping to mitigate climate change and boost biodiversity.

      All that is required, they say, is effective control of lianas, the fast-growing, woody climbing vines that, left to their own devices, quickly take over forest in which most or all of the merchantable timber has been cut, and crowd out emerging tree seedlings.

    • Melting Permafrost Releases Deadly, Long-Dormant Anthrax in Siberia

      A Russian heatwave has activated long-dormant anthrax bacteria in Siberia, sickening at least 13 people and killing one boy and more than 2,300 reindeer.

    • Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease

      The boy, Denis, died on Saturday from the virulent intestinal form of anthrax after eating infected venison. His grandmother died a day earlier, but as yet the cause is not established.

      Eight other people are now confirmed to be suffering from anthrax, including three children, according to preliminary diagnoses in the outbreak on the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia.

      The dead boy was a member of a reindeer herding family.

      A total of 72 people are now in hospital, a rise of 32 since Friday, under close observation amid fears of a major outbreak. 41 of those hospitalised are children as Russia copes with a full scale health emergency above the polar circle which has also killed thousands of reindeer.

    • Once-in-a-Millenium Rainfall Descends on Maryland, Killing 2

      An entire month’s worth of rain fell on Ellicott City, in Howard County, Maryland, within two hours late Saturday evening, causing catastrophic flash floods that killed two people and forced over 100 others to be rescued.

      The local Patapsco River rose more than 13 feet, according to The Weather Channel. A state of emergency was declared Sunday in Howard County, where the community of 65,000 is located.

      Local resident Joyce Healy told NBC that she was driving on Ellicott City’s Main Street when she saw a Mercedes-Benz “floating back down the road.”

      “I’ve never seen anything like this, ever—the devastation down here,” Healy said.

      Howard County executive Allan Kittleman characterized the flooding as “a terrible, terrible, horrific incident” in comments made to NBC on Sunday afternoon, adding that “it looks like a war zone.”

  • Finance

    • Facebook May Owe $5 Billion to the Internal Revenue Service
    • Donald Trump Ducks Tax Disclosure

      As Donald Trump’s tweets pile one atop another, generating sensational headlines, issues of true substance are tending to get lost in the shuffle. None is more important for voters to keep in mind than the failure of Mr. Trump to disclose his full income tax returns, something he is not likely to do by Election Day.

      He is the first major party candidate since 1976 — since Watergate, essentially — to deny voters that vital measure of credibility. It is not required by law that candidates furnish their returns. But Americans have come to expect it.

      The interest in Mr. Trump’s case is particularly high. He is running for the White House partly as a business wizard, but is he really as rich and talented as he boasts? Is he as philanthropic as he claims with his reputed billions? Has he truly no conflicts of interest in Russia, whose computer hackers he has bizarrely invited to spy on Hillary Clinton, his campaign rival?

      These questions are of Mr. Trump’s own making, and a timely release of his tax returns would provide some answers. “There’s nothing to learn from them,” he tried to insist in May, arguing that he would not make the returns public until after an Internal Revenue Service audit is complete.

      But the I.R.S. says Mr. Trump is free to release the returns at any time and to defend their accuracy, just as President Richard Nixon did while he was undergoing an audit. In the past, Mr. Trump has not hesitated to attack the I.R.S. as “very unfair,” but now he stands before the voters using the agency as a shield against disclosure.

    • Theresa May’s Brexit shake-up of Whitehall sending “mixed messages” to the EU

      Institute for Government says Department for International Trade’s remit is at odds with comments from new prime minister Theresa May

    • Nothing simple about UK regaining WTO status post-Brexit

      In the weeks that preceded the UK’s EU referendum, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo broke his silence over the UK leaving the EU (Brexit), first with the Financial Times, followed by Reuters, the Guardian, and others. One of his key points was that the UK would face complex talks in the World Trade Organization. What did he mean?

    • Return to the Commonwealth? UK-Africa trade after Brexit will not be straightforward

      In a speech to the Institute of Chartered Engineers in February, David Davis MP – now Secretary of State for Exiting the EU – told the audience: ‘The only Commonwealth country to enjoy a free trade agreement with the EU so far is South Africa.’ In fact, there are free trade agreements either awaiting adoption or in force between the EU and 32 Commonwealth countries. Regardless of its accuracy, Davis’s assertion reflects a broader narrative put forward by the ‘liberal leavers’ in the Brexit campaign. Their argument was that membership of the‘protectionist’ EU constrains the UK’s ability to make trade links with the wider world – and particularly with Britain’s apparently natural partners in the Commonwealth.

    • Leaving the EU customs union: what is involved?

      A key issue from a trade perspective will be whether or not the UK stays in the EU customs union when it leaves the European Union (EU).

      The customs union is an important element of the EU Single Market. Under its rules, the EU operates as a trade bloc, operating common external tariffs and customs barriers, and negotiating trade deals as one. As a member of the customs union, the UK is not allowed to negotiate other bilateral trade deals – which is why Liam Fox has argued that it needs to leave.

    • Don’t listen to the fearmongers: our Brexit negotiations are in safe hands

      When Michel Barnier was appointed EU commissioner for financial services in 2009, I admit I was worried. After all, President Sarkozy could not hide his satisfaction that a Frenchman would be in charge of the City of London, ready to launch an onslaught of new financial regulation. Some of our newspapers called Barnier the “most dangerous man in Europe”.

    • Lords could delay Brexit decision, says Tory peer

      The House of Lords could halt or delay an attempt to activate Article 50 and enact Brexit, a Tory peer has said.

      Baroness Wheatcroft said she felt it was “imperative” to not activate Article 50.

      Speaking to The Times, she said she hoped that delays in the Lords of any potential Brexit legislation would result in a second referendum.

      A legal challenge as to whether the government can trigger Article 50 without the authorisation of Parliament will be heard in the autumn.

    • CNN and Fox News Are Finally Covering the TPP After Ignoring It for Two Years

      Up until recently, cable news outlets almost completely ignored the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — the 12-nation government agreement that would dramatically expand corporate and investor rights at the expense of medical affordability, the environment, and labor rights.

      The impact of this news blackout was devastating on Americans’ ability to understand what the agreement entailed. A June 2015 New York Times poll found that 78 percent of Americans said they had heard or read “not much” or “nothing at all” about the TPP.

    • Is Hillary Double-Talking on Trade Deals?

      Hillary Clinton is promising to take a tougher stand on U.S. trade deals, but is that just campaign talk to appease supporters of Bernie Sanders and steal some backing away from Donald Trump, asks JP Sottile.

    • We need to reach out

      Like many campaigners in Scotland, and up and down the length of the UK, I’m shattered. Exhausted after years of pounding pavements delivering leaflets; spending every waking minute organising meetings; writing post after post trying to persuade friends, colleagues and twitter trolls of the rights and wrongs of our respective positions; even standing for election. Exhausted because after all these years of work, at times I find myself wondering whether any of it was worth it.

      In the Brexit-destined Britain of today, it feels impossible to be inspired and hopeful about the better future we’ve been working for. But whilst giving up and stepping back is as tempting as lying on a beach in the sun for a month, there is a way to build that future without destroying ourselves in the process.

    • Washington State: Charter School Backers Want to Oust Judge Who Authored Anti-Charter Decision

      Voters of Washington State, wake up!

      The billionaires who have been trying to privatize your public schools are up to their old tricks.

      Bill Gates and his pals have been pushing charters schools since the late 1990s. There have been four referenda on charter schools in Washington State. The privatizers lost the first three, but swamped the race with millions in their 2012 campaign and won by a razor-thin margin, defeating the NAACP, teachers, parents, the League of Women Voters, and school board members.

      Defenders of public schools sued to stop public money from going to privately managed charter schools. In 2015, Washington’s highest court agreed with them that charters are not common schools, as required by the state constitution, because their boards are not elected. Funding charter schools with public money, the high court ruled, was unconstitutional.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Clinton Foundation, State and Kremlin Connections

      Hillary Clinton touts her tenure as secretary of state as a time of hardheaded realism and “commercial diplomacy” that advanced American national and commercial interests. But her handling of a major technology transfer initiative at the heart of Washington’s effort to “reset” relations with Russia raises serious questions about her record. Far from enhancing American national interests, Mrs. Clinton’s efforts in this area may have substantially undermined U.S. national security.

    • How Paul Manafort Wielded Power in Ukraine Before Advising Donald Trump

      Few political consultants have had a client fail quite as spectacularly as Paul Manafort’s did in Ukraine in the winter of 2014.

      President Viktor F. Yanukovych, who owed his election to, as an American diplomat put it, an “extreme makeover” Mr. Manafort oversaw, bolted the country in the face of violent street protests. He found sanctuary in Russia and never returned, as his patron, President Vladimir V. Putin, proceeded to dismember Ukraine, annexing Crimea and fomenting a war in two other provinces that continues.

      Mr. Manafort was undaunted.

      Within months of his client’s political demise, he went to work seeking to bring his disgraced party back to power, much as he had Mr. Yanukovych himself nearly a decade earlier. Mr. Manafort has already had some success, with former Yanukovych loyalists — and some Communists — forming a new bloc opposing Ukraine’s struggling pro-Western government.

    • Paris strikes astonishing partnership with secret Isis sponsor tied to Hillary Clinton [EXCLUSIVE]

      The City of Paris has struck a corporate partnership with French industrial giant, Lafarge, recently accused of secretly sponsoring the Islamic State (Isis or Daesh) for profit.

      Documents obtained by several journalistic investigations reveal that Lafarge has paid taxes to the terror group to operate its cement plant in Syria, and even bought Isis oil for years.

      Yet according to the campaign group, SumOfUs, Lafarge is the corporate partner and sand provider to the City of Paris for this summer’s Paris-Plages urban beach event. The project run by Office of the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, will create artificial beaches along the river Seine in the centre and northeast of Paris.

      Lafarge also has close ties to Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Apart from being a regular donor to the Clinton Foundation, Clinton herself was a director of Lafarge in the early 1990s, and did legal work for the firm in the 1980s. During her connection to Lafarge, the firm was implicated in facilitating a CIA-backed covert arms export network to Saddam Hussein.

    • Killary
    • DNC Breach extended to systems used by Clinton campaign

      An analytical system hosted by the Democratic National Committee and used by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign team was accessed by hackers. In a statement issued by the Clinton campaign, a spokesperson said that a network intrusion had exposed data on the system maintained by the DNC, but that the campaign organizations’s own systems did not appear to have been breached. No financial or personal identifying data other than voter information was stored on the analytical system.

    • How Hillary Clinton helped create Donald Trump – and how he could destroy her

      Hillary Clinton should have been a safe bet for President. Yet now she is fighting her own shadowy reflection in Donald Trump – a spectre she and her party helped create. With just 100 days until the vote, how did we get here? What happens next? And what does this election show us about America today?

    • NSA whistleblower: The agency has all of Hillary’s deleted emails
    • Did “Another Snowden” Leak Hillary Clinton’s Emails?
    • Former NSA analyst: Clinton email leak may have come from the U.S.
    • Blaming Russia For the DNC Hack Is Almost Too Easy

      A critical look exposes the significant flaws in the attribution. First, all of the technical evidence can be spoofed. Although some argue that spoofing the mound of uncovered evidence is too much work, it can easily be done by a small team of good attackers in three or four days. Second, the tools used by Cozy Bear appeared on the black market when they were first discovered years ago and have been recycled and used against many other targets, including against German industry. The reuse and fine-tuning of existing malware happens all the time. Third, the language, location settings, and compilation metadata can easily be altered by changing basic settings on the attacker’s computer in five minutes without the need of special knowledge. None of technical evidence is convincing. It would only be convincing if the attackers used entirely novel, unique, and sophisticated tools with unmistakable indicators pointing to Russia supported by human intelligence, not by malware analysis.

      The DNC attackers also had very poor, almost comical, operational security (OPSEC). State actors tend to have a quality assurance review when developing cyberattack tools to minimize the risk of discovery and leaving obvious crumbs behind. Russian intelligence services are especially good. They are highly capable, tactically and strategically agile, and rational. They ensure that offensive tools are tailored and proportionate to the signal they want to send, the possibility of disclosure and public perception, and the odds of escalation. The shoddy OPSEC just doesn’t fit what we know about Russian intelligence.

      The claim that Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian false flag operation may not hold up either. If Russia wanted to cover up the fact it had hacked the DNC, why create a pseudonym that could only attract more attention and publish emails? Dumping a trove of documents all at once is less valuable than cherry picking the most damaging information and strategically leaking it in a crafted and targeted fashion, as the FSB, SVR or GRU have probably done in the past. Also, leaking to Wikileaks isn’t hard. They have a submission form.

      Given these arguments, blaming Russia is not a slam dunk. Why would a country with some of the best intelligence services in the world commit a whole series of really stupid mistakes in a highly sensitive operation?

    • Hillary Clinton Lies About Emails, Again

      In one of her first post-convention interviews, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace that “[FBI] Director Comey said my answers [regarding the email scandal] were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people, that there were decisions discussed and made to classify retroactively certain of the emails.”

      This is flatly not true and, more to the point, Hillary Clinton knows it is flatly not true.

    • Campaign says Clinton didn’t mean to mislead with her various email explanations

      Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign struggled Monday to square her claims that she told the truth about her secret email account with the sworn testimony of the FBI director last month, as top Clinton aides insisted that Mrs. Clinton didn’t mean to mislead voters with her various explanations.


      Media fact-checkers rejected Mrs. Clinton’s explanation Monday. PolitiFact rated it a “Pants on Fire,” and The Washington Post gave it “four pinocchios.” Both of those are the worst ratings on their respective scales.

    • Who Should Bernie Voters Support Now? Robert Reich vs. Chris Hedges on Tackling the Neoliberal Order

      The day after Senator Bernie Sanders spoke at the Democratic National Convention and urged his supporters to work to ensure his former rival wins the presidential race, we host a debate between Clinton supporter Robert Reich, who served as labor secretary under President Clinton, and Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who backs Sanders.

    • The Audacity of Hope and Hacks

      The conventions underscore that both parties’ identities are shifting rapidly.

    • 20 Reasons Black Women & Men Should Consider #JillNotHill This November
    • Green Party candidate Jill Stein announces VP running mate

      Dr. Stein made it official Monday on Twitter, saying she was “Honored to announce human rights champion Ajamu Baraka as my VP running mate!”

      On Baraka’s personal website, he is described as having “roots” in “the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles.” He was, until 2011, the Founding Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network. His work has been primarily in the humanitarian sector, and he has partnered with Amnesty International in the past. He is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC.

    • Jill Stein Picks Long-Time CounterPuncher Ajamu Baraka as Her VP Running Mate

      Green Party presumptive Presidential nominee Jill Stein has offered her vice-presidential bid to international human rights scholar and activist Ajamu Baraka.

      “I am honored and excited to announce that my running mate in the 2016 presidential election will be Ajamu Baraka, activist, writer, intellectual and organizer with a powerful voice, vision, and lifelong commitment to building true political revolution,” Stein announced.

      “Ajamu Baraka is a powerful, eloquent spokesperson for the transformative, radical agenda whose time has come – an agenda of economic, social, racial, gender, climate, indigenous and immigrant justice. Ajamu’s life’s work has embodied the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Stein continued. “In this hour of unprecedented crisis, we are honored to lift up a unified movement for justice in the only national political party that is not held hostage by corporate money, lobbyists and super-PACs. We look forward to bringing this agenda for justice to the American people in the exciting race ahead.”

    • After Reports to the Contrary, Tim Kaine Says He Still Supports the Hyde Amendment

      In an interview Friday morning with CNN, Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine said that he still supports the Hyde Amendment. Kaine said that, despite reports, “I have not changed my position,” on the bill which bans the use of federal money on abortion services.

      At the beginning of the Democratic National Convention, spokespeople for both Clinton and Kaine said that he would support a repeal of the Hyde Amendment. Clinton committed to repealing Hyde early in her campaign, and the Democratic platform reiterated that position. The amendment, which primarily impacts Medicaid recipients, has long been the target of pro-choice activists who argue that it targets the reproductive health care of poor women.

      Kaine has long been vocal about his personal reservations on abortion, but as NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and other pro-choice groups have stressed, his voting record in the Senate is “100 percent pro-choice.” Yet Kaine’s nomination concerned some activists who pointed to his time as Virginia governor. During his tenure, Kaine signed a handful of anti-abortion bills, many of which, as Think Progress notes, are still in effect today. Among other things, Kaine signed a law that provided funding for so-called crisis clinics.

    • No Matter Who Our Next President Is, They Won’t Understand Technology

      Politico has an article with a misleading title — the return of the Luddite president — which discusses how neither of the two major party Presidential candidates are even remotely tech savvy. The headline is an unfortunate oversell. Luddites aren’t just people who don’t know anything about technology. They’re people who actively dislike certain technologies, in the belief that such advances will harm their own livelihoods. In a broader sense, the term is used to discuss people who generally dislike the march of technological progress. Again, that does not appear to be the case with either of the two candidates, who (at best) might just be described as agnostic to/indifferent to new technologies and somewhat ignorant on what that might mean from a policy perspective.

    • Meet Trump’s latest political enemy: Fire marshals

      Even before Donald Trump kicked off his town hall event Monday he gathered reporters to decry “politics at its lowest” — but he wasn’t talking about Hillary Clinton or the latest controversy swirling around his campaign, his feud with the parents of a slain Muslim US soldier.

      Instead, Trump was unleashing on the local fire marshal, accusing the city official of turning away thousands of Trump supporters without cause. It was the second time in three days Trump has lambasted a local fire marshal during a campaign rally.

      “He ought to be ashamed of himself. They turned away thousands of people,” Trump told supporters when he kicked off his rally.

    • Media’s political influence: We can bash Trump and his supporters all we want — but will it work?

      Did the media grasp the importance of the moment Thursday night as the Democratic National Convention concluded? I don’t mean the importance of the first woman major-party candidate being nominated for the presidency. On that score, I think they did pretty well.

      I mean the moment of rescue that the convention constituted — the moment at which this country, now on a fulcrum, could either tip toward authoritarianism, hopeless division and chaos, or toward a more charitable and hopeful vision of the future.

      Did the media understand what’s at stake? As Vox’s Ezra Klein bluntly put it, “This campaign is not merely a choice between the Democratic and Republican parties, but between a normal political party and an abnormal one.”

      The media, like the country itself, have a challenge, and it would not be an easy one even if they wanted to face up to it — which most in the mainstream media do not. They seem perfectly content to broadcast The Donald Trump Show, with all its wild careening and boastful bigotry, because it makes for good entertainment, as well as high ratings and readership. And while the TV convention pundits were quick to comment about how unusual this election is likely to be, they have been slow to point out that the surreal Trump is a threat to this country and to the world — an egocentric charlatan who wallows in his ignorance. We are all at risk.

    • Can mythbusters like Snopes.com keep up in a post-truth era?

      The most scenic way to find truth on the internet is to drive north of Los Angeles on the Pacific Coast Highway, blue ocean foaming to the left, sunlit hills cresting to the right, until Malibu Canyon Road, where you take a sharp right and wind for a few miles through the oak-lined knolls and dips of Calabasas, past gated estates that are home to the likes of Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian and Mel Gibson, and keep going until you reach an odd-looking wood-and-brick house with a US flag on the porch: the home of David Mikkelson.

      It feels like a good jumping off point for a hike, or a pony trek. But really it is the ideal place to explore fibs like whether Hillary Clinton stole $200,000 in White House furnishings, or whether Donald Trump called Republicans the “dumbest group of voters”, or whether Black Lives Matter protesters chanted for dead cops, or whether Nicolas Cage died in a motorcycle accident, or whether chewing gum takes seven years to pass through the digestive system, or whether hair grows back thicker after being shaved, or, if you really, really must know, whether Richard Gere had an emergency “gerbilectomy” at Cedars-Sinai hospital.

      Mikkelson owns and runs Snopes.com, a hugely popular fact-checking site which debunks urban legends, old wives’ tales, fake news, shoddy journalism and political spin. It started as a hobby in the internet’s Pleistocene epoch two decades ago and evolved into a professional site that millions now rely on as a lie-detector. Every day its team of writers and editors interrogate claims ricocheting around the internet to determine if they are false, true or somewhere in the middle – a cleaning of the Augean stables for the digital era.

    • Only 9% of America Chose Trump and Clinton as the Nominees
    • American Horror Story: How the Democrats found a boogeyman in Hillary’s Emails

      Bernie Sanders won the presidential nomination, but he was cheated out of it by the Democratic National Committee which is the operating body for the Democratic Party. They helped Hillary win the nomination by combining vote miscounts and appointing super delegates whom no one elected to vote for Hillary. So, she won this nomination illegitimately. All of Bernie Sanders’ supporters know that. They have turned against Hillary, and it is unlikely that many of them will vote for Clinton. The Democratic National Committee said: “Who do they dislike more than Hillary? The Russians”, as they’ve been demonizing the Russians for the last 3-4 years. So, the Americans are told to dislike the Russians. That’s why they blame Putin for WikiLeaks’ release of the emails that showed how the Democrats were cheating with votes. Hillary is a crook in many ways. But she has escaped prosecution because she is too useful for the oligarchs. So they shift all the blame onto Putin, saying that this is all a Russian plot to get Donald Trump elected. Is that what this is? I don’t think this will fool many people. It will be played with in the media because the media is not honest, not independent. It’s like the old Soviet media – it has to answer to the master and can’t say much independently. It’s not going to fool the American people that all this email thing was done by Putin.

    • NYT Leads With Russia Hack Conspiracy–Despite ‘No Evidence’ (in Next-to-Last Paragraph)

      The 11th-hour detail might send readers, scratching their heads, back to the beginning.

      “Clinton campaign officials have suggested that Russia might be trying to sway the outcome of the election,” Times reporter Eric Lichtblau writes in the second paragraph. Here, one would think, would have been the place to mention that those officials have no evidence for their claim.

      Instead this fact in consigned to the penultimate paragraph—a lonely wilderness where the vast majority of readers don’t tread—of a piece filled with weasel words and caveats like “said to,” “appears to,” “apparently,” etc. The headline of the digital version has two: “Computer Systems Used by Clinton Campaign Are Said to Be Hacked, Apparently by Russians.”

    • The Convention Film on Hillary Clinton Lied to America

      Follow the money and it is obvious that the Democratic Party as much as the GOP is now the plaything of the super-rich. GOP nominee Trump is one of the few egomaniacal outliers who think they can game the system on their own. But in this election, for the multinational corporate hustlers who view governance as a means of establishing a convenient world order supportive of their plunder, Clinton triangulation best fits the bill.

    • Election mailouts under censorship as fourth candidate barred from running

      Election mailouts submitted by two different lists containing words such as “self-determination” are being delayed by the election regulatory body. The news came as a fourth candidate was disqualified for the September election.

      Nathan Law Kwun-chung of Demosisto and Eddie Chu Hoi-dick both said the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) was consulting the Department of Justice before it can confirm whether any of the mailouts would be allowed to be sent to households for free – a privilege given to candidates.

      Law’s mailouts contained phrases like “civil referendum,” “self-determination movement,” and “autonomy is difficult under Chinese economic pressure.” Those of Chu included policies promoting the idea that Hong Kong people should determine their own political system in a democratic fashion.

    • Government condemns personal attacks against officers responsible for electoral matters

      A spokesman for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government said today (August 1) that the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC), the Returning Officers (ROs), the Registration and Electoral Office and all officers responsible for electoral affairs have been handling election-related matters in strict accordance with the Basic Law and relevant legislation. This is to ensure that elections are conducted in an open, fair and honest manner.

    • Donald Trump Unleashes More Outrages and Lies at Bizarre News Conference

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump—I can’t believe I wrote those words—gave a news conference Wednesday. Shall we first count the outrages or the lies?

      I think we need to start at the top of the outrage column. Asked about the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails, which many experts believe was carried out by agents of the Russian government, Trump speculated that Russia might also have hacked into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Then he asked the Russians to release any deleted emails they might have found there.

    • Occupying the DNC

      In an unusual move for a reclusive layabout, last week I took a bus to Philly to advocate for peace, justice and what I supposed was the American Way, and do my little part to make the Democratic National Convention less of a coronation for the Queen of Chaos.

      Of course, now we know—thanks to anonymous sources on wikileaks—that the DNC rigged the whole campaign in her favor, just as Bernie had been saying. She and they quickly intimated that the Rooskies were behind the hack, but they’re just sayin’ because nobody really knows except them what did it. And now we’re starting to learn how they rigged the convention for her highness too, even though they really didn’t need to.

    • Fast-Growing Corporate Evils That Should Be Media Issues…and Campaign Issues

      Corporations are viewed as untouchable by big business media giants like the Wall Street Journal, which blurts out inanities like “Income inequality is simply not a significant problem.” and “Middle-class Americans have more buying power than ever before.”

      In the real world, inequality is destroying the middle class. The following four issues, all part of the cancer of corporatocracy, have grown in intensity and destructiveness in just the last few years. They should be campaign issues, given more than just lip service from corporation-funded candidates like Hillary Clinton, and given more than just passing reference in the news reports of an unresponsive, irresponsible mainstream media.

    • It’s as If They’re Trying to Lose: Democrats’ Optimism Ignores the Struggles of Millions

      Writing in 2008, months before the year’s presidential election, Ezra Klein — an ostensibly clear-headed, data-driven policy wonk — lavished effusive praise upon Barack Obama, praise that verged on the metaphysical.

      “Obama’s finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don’t even really inspire. They elevate,” Klein informed readers of The American Prospect. “He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I’ve heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.”

      Though they so frequently congratulate themselves for their ability to jettison emotion and opinion in the service of objectivity and respectability, mainstream analysts often, as Klein did above, forget their self-professed role precisely when it would best serve the country.

      For the eventual victory of Obama in 2008 was also — as Noam Chomsky, Adolph Reed, and others noted at the time — a victory for the advertising industry: Obama’s success represented an astounding achievement for the politics of imagery and personality, for a political message that provides a kind of blank slate onto which voters can project their ideological preferences.

    • Sanders Surrogate Nina Turner Considering Green Party’s VP Offer
    • Amid DNC Scandal, Wasserman Schultz Losing Grip on House Race

      The hits keep coming for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the disgraced former chair of the Democratic National Committee, as new polling released on Sunday found that her once-longshot challenger Tim Canova is swiftly closing the gap in the primary race for her House seat.

      According to FloridaPolitics.com, the survey released by the Canova campaign found Wasserman Schultz leading her opponent 46 percent to 38 percent in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. However, after the pollsters provided more information about the outsider candidate—who has been endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders—to likely voters, Wasserman Schultz’s lead plummeted to just three points, 43 percent to 40 percent.

      What’s more, the survey found that 35 percent of district voters regard her unfavorably, which represents “a staggering decline from her popularity in past campaigns,” the pollsters noted. For Canova, the numbers show that he has a “real chance to win” in the August 30th Democratic primary.

      The survey of 400 random voters in Florida’s 23rd district was conducted late last week, amid the Democratic National Convention and in the immediate aftermath of Wasserman Schultz’s resignation as party chair following the damning WikiLeaks revelations that the Democratic party actively worked to undermine Sanders’ bid for the nomination.

      Wasserman Schultz, a longtime friend and ally of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, was accused throughout the primary campaign of tipping the scales in her favor.

    • Populism Even Republicans Can Get Behind

      A new campaign aims to oust every single member of Congress — from either party — who’s backed by Big Money.

    • An open letter to Hillary from a Bernie delegate

      Like most of the other Bernie Sanders delegates at the national convention last week, I don’t trust you. At the same time, we have a common interest in defeating Donald Trump. That ought to be the basis for a tactical alliance during the next 99 days — but you need to make a major course correction.

      The problem can’t be solved by staying on message and telling your pal Terry McAuliffe to keep quiet. (Have you considered gifting him a vacation to a deserted island for the next hundred days?) He let slip what so many Bernie delegates and supporters around the country already figured — we’d be fools, given your record, to believe that your conversion to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership is genuine.

      But here’s my point: Complacency about getting the votes of people who went for Bernie in the primaries is dangerous, wishful thinking. Many of the same pundits who, two weeks ago, were predicting a Democratic convention of tranquility and unity, are still citing polls that say 85 or 90 percent of Bernie voters will go for you in November. Such assessments are dubious.
      You’re in danger of a steep falloff of turnout from Bernie’s primary voters. And crucially, in swing states, turnout will make all the difference. If an appreciable number of those Bernie voters opt to stay home or vote for a third-party candidate in the fall, here comes President Trump.

      A week ago, polling analysts at FiveThirtyEight concluded that you were coming into the convention “with a real problem.” Even before the release of Democratic National Committee emails showing that the supposedly evenhanded DNC was aiding your campaign, “Clinton had about a third of Sanders supporters left to try to win over.” That’s easily a million swing-state voters.

    • Green Party Gains Ballot Access in Six More States as Signature Counts More than Double State Requirements

      Voters will have a chance to cast their ballot for Green Party presumptive Presidential nominee Jill Stein, as well as several local- and state-level Green Party candidates, in six more states as of today. Green Party ballot-access signature drives in Kansas, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, New Jersey, Vermont, and Missouri easily surpassed, and in most cases more than doubled, the required number of signatures to secure a ballot line.

      In Kansas, 10,908 signatures were submitted, double the required threshhold of 5,000 signatures. This is the first time the Green Party will be on the ballot in Kansas since 2000.

      In Pennsylvania, around 22,000 signatures were submitted, several times over the current requirement of 5,000, which had been lowered through a successful court challenge last month.

    • Society Is Failing Our Families: Sister Simone Campbell on Inequality, Donald Trump & Women’s Health

      Last week in Philadelphia, a caravan of Nuns on the Bus pulled up to the Democratic National Convention after visiting 13 states, where they hosted conversations with ordinary Americans on both sides of the political spectrum in an effort to bridge the divide. To learn more about their journey, we sat down with the caravan’s leader, Sister Simone Campbell. She’s a lawyer and poet and the executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice.

    • Popular delusions: Corbynism constructs its people

      The idea of the people is now as pervasive on the left as the idea of class once was. Its pervasiveness owes to a surge in left populism. With Corbynism, the UK caught what swept Europe post-crisis. But continental populism’s successes highlight the divergence. Syriza carefully constructed a popular platform through practical solidarity work. Podemos harnessed media messaging to articulate a popular project around points of popular grievance. Insofar as people power is possible within capitalism at all, these interventions worked.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Black, White, and Blue: Working Class Self-Defeat in Somerville

      According to the Associated Press, roughly 50 police officers and their supporters rallied to protest a Black Lives Matter (BLM) banner that has been hanging outside City Hall in the predominantly white and historically working class Boston suburb of Somerville for a year. The primarily Caucasian haters of the banner chanted “All lives matter!,” “Take it down!,” and “Cops lives matter!” It was part of the “Blue Lives Matter” movement.

      According to the president of the Somerville Police Employees Association, the banner sends an “exclusionary message” and “implies that Somerville police officers are somehow responsible for racially motivated decision-making against minorities.”

      A local white firefighter claimed that BLM had become “almost synonymous with killing cops.” He’s talking the line taken by the decrepit white supremacist Rudolph Guliani (a close Donald Trump ally and adviser) on FOX News.

      But BLM is “almost synonymous with killing cops” only in the minds of people who can’t differentiate between a civil rights movement two lone gunmen. Yes, two mentally unhinged Black military veterans – one in Dallas and one in Baton Rouge – got pushed over the edge by recent videos of Black men being senselessly killed by white police officers. And yes, the ongoing epidemic of such shootings is what drove the rise of BLM. But, no, BLM activists have never advocated “killing cops.” They have gone to great lengths to distance themselves from such actions.

    • Chelsea Manning faces punishment for suicide attempt, highlighting injustice of US prison system

      The ALCU have announced that Chelsea Manning is facing disciplinary action at the military prison where she is serving her 35 year sentence. Incredibly, the military is seeking to punish Chelsea in connection with her attempt to take her own life on 5 July this year. We have written previously about how officials at Fort Leavenworth abused Chelsea’s rights by informing the media about her medical issues before her family, friends or legal team.

      Chelsea has dictated details of her charge sheet to a supporter over the phone. If convicted of these administrative charges, Chelsea potentially faces penalties including indefinite solitary confinement and reclassification out of general population, with all of the social and communicative restrictions that implies. Her chances of being granted parole may also be impacted.

    • Sadly, The Deceased Muslim Army Captain’s Mother Is Wrong: Women Are Anything But Men’s Equals Under Islam

      Sadly, women are anything but “equal” under Islam — and the Quran is supposed to be the words of Allah, brought by the Angel Gabriel to Mohammed. It is thus to be followed unquestioningly and not interpreted as a historical document. (Christians are not going around slaughtering their neighbors for adultery.)

    • Shooting of 76-year-old man by State Police a ‘tragic mistake,’ family friend says

      Sykes’ wife woke him up and he went into the living room. At that point, according to longtime family friend and attorney Rich Kaser, Sykes looked out through the French doors leading to a deck where he saw the shadow of a person outside.

      Kaser said Sykes went back into his bedroom and got his shotgun.

      Sykes “felt intruders were trying to get in and he was yelling to his wife to call 911,” Kaser said.

      What happened next is subject of investigation. Authorities say two state troopers had come to the home after mistakenly being told it was the location of a 911 hang-up call.

      According to authorities, shots were exchanged. One trooper fired four times and Sykes fired his shotgun once.

    • Wife of Raif Badawi, Imprisoned Saudi Blogger, Feels Pain From Afar

      The story of how Ensaf Haidar first encountered her husband, Raif Badawi, is an unusual version of “meeting cute.”

      In 2000, Ms. Haidar was a cloistered young woman studying the Quran in a small town in Saudi Arabia, where she lived with her family and rarely interacted with men.

      It all started with an accidental meeting. Ms. Haidar was using a borrowed phone and mistakenly returned a call from Mr. Badawi. At first she hung up, but he called back, and kept calling.

      Over time she gave in, leading to a secret, phone-based romance and eventually, marriage. Now, 16 years later, the couple’s romance endures under extraordinary circumstances — across thousands of miles, through prison walls and against the backdrop of an international fight over freedom of expression.

      Mr. Badawi, 32, has been in prison in Saudi Arabia since 2012, serving a 10-year sentence for creating and posting in an online forum called Free Saudi Liberals Network. He was also sentenced to 1,000 lashes, delivered 50 at a time.

      The first flogging was carried out in a public square in January 2015, provoking an international outcry. A despondent Ms. Haidar watched a cellphone video of the flogging that circulated online. The second one has been postponed many times.

    • Hungary’s Orban says “every single migrant is a terror risk”

      Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban said “every single migrant represents a public security and terror risk” and made clear his country refuses to accept the quota system that the EU Commission tries to impose.

      Orban, speaking after hosting a meeting with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, said Hungary is willing to take back some migrants from Austria under European rules, but would then return them to their countries of origin, mostly Kosovo and Albania

      Orban made it clear that Hungary would take back only those migrants who first entered the European Union by registering in Hungary, in accordance with the so-called Dublin asylum rules. The return of migrants, like those from the Middle East who entered the EU through Greece, would be rejected.

    • Whipped in public just for daring to go on a date: Unmarried couples are flogged for violating Sharia law in Indonesia

      In total, three Acehnese couples were sentenced to receive public lashes for violating Sharia law in a brutal new crackdown in the region.

      Under the law men and women, who are not spouses, are not allowed to get too close due to the ‘khalwat’ offence – and punishment is by public caning.

    • Slow-motion replays can distort criminal responsibility

      Slow-motion video replays of crimes shown in courtrooms may be distorting the outcomes of trials, according to a US study.

      Researchers found that slowing down footage of violent acts caused viewers to see greater intent to harm than when viewed at normal speed.

      Viewing a killing only in slow motion made a jury three times more likely to convict of first degree murder.

      The research has been published in the journal PNAS.

      The importance of video evidence in courtrooms has grown in tandem with its supply in recent years.

      As well as the mountains of smartphone recordings, CCTV also routinely captures assaults, robberies and even murders. Some police officers even wear on-body cameras.

      Courts all over the world are willing to accept these recordings in evidence and they are sometimes shown in slow motion, to help juries make up their minds about what really happened within the often chaotic environment of a crime scene.

    • Abuses against Children Detained as National Security Threats

      The rise of extremist armed groups such as the Islamic State and Boko Haram has brought renewed attention to the plight of children—both as victims of abuses, and as fighters and militants. All too often, the concern and assistance governments offer abuse victims does not extend to those children caught up on the wrong side of the law or front line.

      Human Rights Watch field research around the world increasingly finds that in countries embroiled in civil strife or armed conflict, state security forces arrest and detain children for reasons of “national security.” Often empowered by new counterterrorism legislation, they apprehend children who are linked to non-state armed groups or who pose other perceived security threats, and often hold them without charge or trial for months or even years. Their treatment and conditions of detention frequently violate international legal standards.

    • Human Rights Watch Reports That US Government Tortured Children

      What kind of US government would pay two US psychologists $81 million to help the CIA devise torture techniques? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/09/cia-torture-contractors_n_6296758.html Only a lawless government with no respect for US law and international law.

    • Ultra-Right Annotated Edition of Pocket Constitution Tops Amazon Charts After Khizr Khan’s DNC Speech

      Following Gold Star father Khizr Khan’s powerful speech at the Democratic convention last week, sales of pocket Constitutions have skyrocketed. But the edition topping Amazon’s charts – right up there with the new Harry Potter book — comes with annotations and right-wing commentary from Glenn Beck’s favorite conspiracy theorist.

      “Let me ask you: have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy,” Khan said last week in Philadelphia, pulling his edition out of his pocket. “In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law’.”

      But the version that Amazon is touting as a best-seller is not the one Khan held up. And readers looking for those words in the edition there will be misled. It’s published by the National Center for Constitutional Studies, a fringe Mormon group focused on teaching a fundamentalist interpretation of the founding documents.

      The Washington Post, Forbes, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, and PBS NewsHour have all noted the extraordinary popularity the NCCS version is enjoying on Amazon — but all failed to note the edition’s unusual features.

      The Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, simply described it as having been “printed by the nonpartisan National Center for Constitutional Studies”

      Some Amazon shoppers expressed their outrage. One reviewer wrote, “please do not get this edition.” Another warned: “tread with caution.” Yet another wrote: “Just give me the document our wise forefathers wrote, not a bunch of excess quotes and jargon to convince me they were right.”

    • An Overdue Examination of Detroit’s Forgotten Rape Kits

      Over 11,000 untested rape kits were found in a Detroit police warehouse in 2009. Some of the kits – many containing the DNA of attackers needed for prosecution — were decades old, leaving hundreds of victims without any hope for justice.

      Detroit is by no means the only city that has faced such a large backlog of rape kits in recent years. Memphis recently uncovered 12,000; Cleveland, 4,000; and Miami, nearly 3,000.

    • We must abandon the idea of legal protest

      On 16th August 1819, some sixty to eighty thousand people assembled in St Peter’s Field, central Manchester. Men and women, young and old. They had gathered to protest for greater suffrage, and for an end to the Corn Laws that had plunged many into poverty, exacerbating the disastrous effects of the famine ushered in by the Napoleonic Wars. The local magistrates, understandably alarmed, read out the following fifty three words to the few who could hear them over the din:

      “Our sovereign lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God save the King.”

      This is the infamous Riot Act: a piece of legislation giving local authorities the power to disband groups of twelve or more people, or else. A gesture of slick political magicianship designed to transform a crowd of citizens into a dangerous mob. This particular dangerous mob, of course, did not disperse after the Act was read. So, hundreds of heavily armed militiamen set about the task of preventing tumults and riotous assemblies – with swords, with horses and with guns. Fifteen protesters were killed, and hundreds injured.

    • Scientists and engineers as partners in protecting human rights

      Growing interest in pro bono service among scientists and engineers is generating new opportunities for human rights organizations.

      When the government told residents of Temacapulín in Mexico that—as a result of dam construction—they had to leave their homes or they would drown, the community immediately reached out to human rights lawyers. But where could they turn for help understanding the engineering plans and the environmental impact assessments? How could they develop alternative proposals in their negotiations with the government?

    • The Meaning of BLM

      Police boast frequently about their own bravery. Where is that vaunted courage when they witness one of their own obviously murder an unarmed civilian? We see virtually no bold selflessness in those cases. Instead, our “good” cops act more like good Germans, silent in the face of blatant lawbreaking by their brothers in blue.

    • The European migration crisis – have we lost the moral high ground?

      The scope of the problem is gargantuan. There are more than eighteen million displaced persons and refugees in Africa, the highest this number has been in history. Eight armed conflicts have begun or intensified since 2010, resulting in a seventeen percent spike in the number of refugees and displaced persons in Sub-Saharan Africa, per UNHCR.

    • ACLU Provides Constitutions for All After Khan Disgraces Trump in DNC Speech

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is handing out free, pocket-sized U.S. Constitutions to meet a rising demand after Khizr Khan, father of a Muslim-American soldier killed in action, offered to lend his copy to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in an electrifying speech at the Democratic National Convention last week.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Trade Groups are Once Again Challenging Net Neutrality Rulings

      The recent court ruling that upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules is still making waves. The rules were upheld after a three-judge panel reviewed them last summer, classifying broadband as a regulated telecommunications service. It’s that classification that is now at issue again, as trade groups CTIA, USTelecom, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and the American Cable Association on Friday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to rehear their challenge to the ruling.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Florida International University Loses Trademark Appeal Against Florida National University

        It’s too rare that we see courts get trademark questions right on the merits of actual customer confusion, so it’s nice to highlight some examples of when they do get it right. It’s even more fun when the court takes the time to add just a dash of snark and narrow-eyed language into its opinion. Such appears to be the case in an appeals ruling between Florida International University, a public college, and Florida National University, a for-profit institution. FIU sued FNU for trademark infringement and, having lost its initial case, took it to appeal. The claim FIU made is that potential students were confused between the two schools based solely on the similarity of their names.

    • Copyrights

      • Don’t Wrap Anti-Competitive Pay-TV Practices In A Copyright Flag

        The Federal Communications Commission has proposed to break cable and satellite TV companies’ monopoly over the hardware and software used by their subscribers. Those companies are fighting back hard, probably to preserve the $20 billion in revenue they collect every year from set-top box rental fees. Major TV producers and copyright holders are pushing back too. They want to control how you can search for TV shows and discover new ones, and the order in which shows appear to you. And they want to limit the features of your home and mobile TV setups, like how and when you can control the playback.

        One tactic these major media companies are using to try to derail the FCC’s proposal is to claim that allowing customers to buy pay-TV viewing technology from independent vendors (something that Congress actually ordered the FCC to do way back in 1996) somehow violates “principles of copyright law.”

        As we explained to the FCC along with top legal scholars, the plan to break the set-top box monopoly doesn’t change copyright law or allow anyone to get pay-TV content without paying for it. But by crying “copyright,” cable companies and TV producers have rallied opposition to the FCC’s plan from some members of Congress, and possibly from the Copyright Office. It’s a misleading tactic.

        Today, TV studios influence the design and features of home video equipment by specifying them as terms in the deals they make with cable companies. The cable companies have to accept those terms because under copyright law, they need permission from major copyright holders (the TV studios) to transmit programming to subscribers. And because cable companies have a monopoly over the technology on the subscriber’s end—the set-top boxes and apps that can access cable channels—the TV studios effectively have veto power over that technology.

      • Blizzard Allows Release Of Fan-Game It Initially Tried To Shut Down, Reaps Rewards It Should Have Had All Along

        We’ve dinged Blizzard quite a bit in these pages for acting overly protectionist of its intellectual property in the past. And that dinging has been well deserved, with Blizzard doing things like trying to twist copyright law as a way to combat cheat software within its multiplayer games, to use intellectual property as an excuse to shut down a World of Warcraft vanilla fan-server, and has otherwise not always acted in human or awesome ways towards its own fans.

        But sometimes, with much kicking and screaming and the insistence of making many a mistake along the way, even a company like Blizzard can manage to do what game companies like DoubleFine have already done: loosen the leash on its own IP and reap the rewards. StarCraft Universe is a fan-made mod that consists of a full new game in a genre that Blizzard had never taken the StarCraft universe into.

      • Copyright Office Intent On Changing The Part Of Copyright That Protects Libraries & Archives, Even Though No One Wants It Changed

        It’s no secret that the US Copyright Office has been acting pretty nutty lately. For decades, the office has basically carried the water of the legacy copyright/entertainment industries, but at least they would sometimes try to appear marginally balanced. Now it appears that all caution has been thrown to the wind and the entire office is actively looking to suppress and attack user rights and innovation. In just the past few weeks and months, we’ve pointed out a series of really bad ideas on reforming the notice-and-takedown safe harbors of the DMCA, a separate plan that would effectively strip tons of websites of their DMCA safe harbors by requiring them to remember to keep re-registering, and a disturbing willingness to totally misrepresent the copyright issues at play with regards to the FCC’s set-top box proposal.

        So, perhaps, we shouldn’t be all that surprised that the Copyright Office appears to be making a move to screw over libraries now, too. Section 108 of the Copyright Act has explicit carve-outs and exemptions for libraries and archivists. These are stronger than fair use, because they are clear exemptions from copyright, rather than fuzzy guidelines that have to be adjudicated in court. Section 108 is super important for libraries and archives (including the Internet Archive). So why does the Copyright Office want to change it? That’s a bit of a mystery in terms of public explanations, but it’s not hard to take some guesses.

        The Copyright Office started exploring this issue a few years back, insisting that Section 108 was “outdated” for the digital age. And while there are many aspects of copyright law that are obsolete for the digital age, the exemptions for libraries and archives were not among them. And everyone let the Copyright Office know that. And… the Copyright Office has basically ignored them all. Back in June, the Copyright Office announced via the Federal Register that it was moving forward with putting together recommendations on changing Section 108, and anyone who had comments could “schedule meetings in Washington, DC to take place during late June through July 2016.”

      • Getty Makes Nonsensical Statement On Photographer Carol Highsmith’s Lawsuit For Falsely Claiming Copyright

        First of all, huh? “The content in question has been part of the public domain for many years”? Actually, it has not. As Highsmith noted, she retained the copyright to her images, but rather did a deal with the Library of Congress to make the works available royalty free. It was basically a Creative Commons attribution license before Creative Commons existed. She still retains the copyright. So the images are not public domain.

        And, uh, even if they were, what a weird claim for Getty to make, because it was a Getty subsidiary that then threatened Highsmith for posting her own images. If Getty now claims it believes the images were in the public domain why was it shaking her down for money? This makes no sense at all.

        Finally, trying to pawn blame off on Alamy is ridiculous. Alamy is a co-defendant in the lawsuit, but LCS and Piscount are both subsidiaries of Getty, and both sent Highsmith letters demanding payment. It’s almost as if Getty’s PR people have absolutely no clue what they’re talking about.

      • Getty Images Bites Back in $1 Billion Copyright Dispute

        Last week Carol Highsmith filed a copyright complaint against Getty Images after an agent threatened the photographer for using her own photograph without their permission. Now Getty is fighting back, warning that it will defend itself vigorously if the dispute can’t be settled.

      • Peter Sunde’s Pirate Innovation Dream Won’t Happen Anytime Soon

        This week, Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde reiterated his belief that the pirate scene and its sites will need to innovate and collaborate to stay alive. Intrigued, TF spoke with several players in the torrent scene to see if something like this might emerge sometime soon. The upshot: don’t hold your breath.

      • uTorrent Quietly Ditches Rating and Comment Features

        Without alerting its users, the team behind the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent has removed the software’s widely used comment and rating functionality. It’s unclear why the functionality was stripped, but it’s possible that spam issues or legal concerns played a role.

      • Anti-Piracy Group Reveals Personal Details of Counter-Notice Senders

        In what appears to be a retaliatory move against DMCA notice archive Lumen Database, anti-piracy outfit Remove Your Media has launched a transparency report of its own. The report lists people who have sent the company DMCA counter-notices but it goes much further than Lumen by publishing their names, addresses, and telephone numbers.

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