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Links 4/8/2016: Dumping Windows, WARHAMMER Comes to GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 6:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source reshaping vendor business models – Wikibon

    A new trend among enterprises to make open source software a priority in their criteria for new infrastructure and application use will impact venture capital investments, startups, established IT vendors and cloud providers, writes Wikibon Lead Cloud Analyst Brian Gracely in “Open Source Software: Reshaping Vendor Business Models” on Wikibon.com. In this second part of Gracely’s examination of the impacts of open source, he looks at all four of these aspects of the vendor ecosystem.

    Open source companies, with the exception of Red Hat Inc., have struggled to achieve profitability, making venture capitalists less willing to invest in them. Open source-centric startups that already have achieved their initial funding now must find a way to monetize the business as they approach new funding rounds. An increasing number of established IT providers are becoming heavily involved in open source, while their proprietary solutions face increasing pricing pressure from open source competition.

  • Broadband Forum backs open source SDN

    There has been a stand-off brewing between the Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab) and OpenDaylight – two open source software defined networking (SDN) platforms pushing for network transformation at a massive scale – attracting membership signatures of operators hungry for next generation broadband services.

    Adding to its growing list of supporters, ON.Lab has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Broadband Forum to extend its collaborative work to the Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD) Project community – an open source reference implementation combining SDN and NFV to bring datacenter economics and cloud agility to the Telco Central Office.

  • Open Source OVN to Offer Solid Virtual Networking For OpenStack

    Open Virtual Networking (OVN) is a new open source project that brings virtual networking to the Open vSwitch user community and aims to develop a single, standard, vendor-neutral protocol for the virtualization of network switching functions. In their upcoming talk at LinuxCon North America in Toronto this month, Kyle Mestery of IBM and Justin Pettit of VMware will cover the current status of the OVN project, including the first software release planned for this fall. Here, Mestery and Pettit discuss the project and its goals and give us a preview of their talk, “OVN: Scalable Virtual Networking for Open vSwitch.”

  • Sony’s Hero Open Source Developer Title for May-June Awarded to XDA RD Bumble-Bee

    Of the many OEMs that we talk about here on XDA-Developers, only a very few actually work for and with the community. Most are all talk, but actions speak louder than words, and only a handful truly speak.

    Sony is one of those OEMs that continues to foster relationships with the developer community, with several initiatives in place that promote external developers to work on Sony devices. Heck, the Sony Xperia Z3 was the ONLY device outside of Nexus and Android One devices to have had the Android N Developer Preview released for it.

    One of Sony’s pro-Open Source initiatives is the Hero Open Source Developer Program. Under this program, Sony recognizes and rewards developers that contribute to the Open Device projects. The developer with the most accepted commits to the SonyXperiaDev github during the preceding two months stands to win a device from Sony as a reward. The winner for the period of May-June is none other than Shane Francis, aka XDA Recognized Developer Bumble-Bee. Shane has won a Sony Xperia X Performance for his efforts and contributions to the AOSP for Xperia Projects, including helping with the fingerprint scanner on the Z5 on AOSP. We congratulate Shane for his prize from Sony, and thank him for his contributions to open source.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Awards $585,000 to Nine Open Source Projects in Q2 2016

        Last quarter’s Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS)-awarded projects are diverse, but they have one thing in common: they believe in innovation for public benefit. Projects like Tails, PeARS and Caddy are paving the way for the next wave of openness, which is why Mozilla has allocated over $3.5 million to the MOSS initiative in support of these and other open source projects. We’re excited to share the program’s progress this quarter, which includes $585,000 in awards, nine new projects supported and two new tracks launched.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Drug lobby plans counterattack on prices

      Washington’s powerful drug lobby is gearing up to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a post-election ad war pushing back against politicians from both parties who have savaged its members over drug prices.

      The massive campaign by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America — expected to start positive by highlighting drugs that save or prolong lives — will dwarf the $20 million that health insurers spent on the iconic “Harry and Louise” campaign credited with sinking Hillary Clinton’s health reform plan in the early 19

    • Big Pharma Plans Massive Ad Blitz to Fight Criticism of Drug Prices

      The pharmaceutical lobby is gearing up for a massive, multi-million-dollar post-election ad blitz to fight the shifting rhetoric surrounding drug prices, Politico reports.

      Skyrocketing drug prices have become a central issue in the 2016 election cycle, bolstered by recent bipartisan legislation that aims to wrangle back control of the market and outspoken criticism from Bernie Sanders and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

      Now, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) is planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to push back on politicians from both sides of the aisle—a campaign that “will dwarf the $20 million that health insurers spent on the iconic ‘Harry and Louise’ campaign credited with sinking…Clinton’s health reform plan in the early 1990s,” reports Politico’s Sarah Karlin-Smith.

    • On Eve of Olympics, Top Investigator Details Secret Efforts to Undermine Russian Doping Probe

      In a blistering public critique on the eve of the Olympics, the former chief investigator for the World Anti-Doping Agency claims his efforts to investigate Russian doping were repeatedly delayed by WADA’s president, who preferred to privately settle matters with Russian officials.

      Jack Robertson, who left the agency in January, said he was forced to leak information to the media in order to pressure WADA president Sir Craig Reedie to act and, even then, he says, the agency sat on credible allegations that suggested Russian doping extended far beyond track and field.

      Ultimately, Robertson says, the investigation delays have allowed the president of the International Olympic Committee — who has reportedly been supported by Vladimir Putin — to claim that the committee didn’t have enough time to determine whether it should ban all Russian teams. The result is that Russia may still have one of the largest delegations in Rio.

    • Law, Order and the Wall: Would Trump and Pence Fuel the Drug War?

      Writing about what drug policy might look like under a Trump administration is not easy. Donald Trump’s views on drugs have changed radically over the years, and the Republican nominee’s rambling statements on the subject suggest that they are shaped by gut reactions and political opportunism, not ideology or a deep understanding of social currents and medical science.

      Trump’s vice-presidential pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has a clearer track record on drug policy because he has actually held political office, but some of his positions are so archaic that the Trump campaign may wish to keep them off the national stage.

      Let’s try a thought experiment to make this a bit easier. Imagine that I’m 16 years old and Trump and Pence are my parents. Let’s not worry about the circumstances by which they became my two dads; this is my imaginary scenario, and I say it doesn’t matter. All three of us are sitting in a suburban living room, with busts of Ronald Reagan and Mel Gibson peering down from the mantle overhead. Pence has just discovered a small bag of marijuana that I’ve been hiding in a drawer full of soccer socks.

    • Monsanto in India: Meet the New Boss – Same as the Old Boss?

      In capitalism, the state’s primary role is to secure the interests of private capital. The institutions of globalised capitalism – from the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO right down to the compliant bureaucracies of national states or supranational unions – facilitate private wealth accumulation that results in the forms of structural inequalities and violence (unemployment, poverty, population displacement, bad food, poor health, environmental destruction, etc) that have become ‘accepted’ as necessary (for ‘growth’) and taken for granted within mainstream media and political narratives.

    • Philip Morris gets its ash kicked in Uruguay; where will it next blow smoke?

      Philip Morris International just lost a six-year battle to block Uruguay’s strong cigarette warning labels, which cover 80 percent of the front and back of cigarette packs, including graphic photos of the damages of smoking.

      The decision was made by the World Bank’s trade tribunal, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the world’s the leading body to settle international investment disputes.

      Philip Morris became the first tobacco company to take on a country in an international court, and it took on one of the smallest. The company argued that Uruguay had violated terms of an investment treaty with Switzerland by enforcing anti-smoking laws. The operational headquarters for Philip Morris International is in Lausanne.

    • Kazakhstan Suspends Cattle Imports From Russia Over Anthrax Outbreak

      Kazakhstan has suspended cattle imports from Russia amid concerns over an anthrax outbreak in northwestern Siberia.

      The Kazakh Agriculture Ministry says the imports have been suspended as of August 3.

      Russian officials say the anthrax outbreak in Yamalo-Nenets region has killed a 12-year-old boy, and more than 20 local residents have been diagnosed with the bacterial disease.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Donald “Dr. Strangelove” Trump and some of the Times We almost had a Nuclear War

      I have long wondered why no one in Hollywood has remade Stanley Kubricks’s 1964 “Dr. Strangelove: Or How I learned to Stop worrying and Love the Bomb.” They’ve remade almost everything else from the 1960s, but that classic Peter Sellers film languishes in black and white and I’m not sure most Millennials have seen it.

    • [Older] UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria: ISIS is committing genocide against the Yazidis

      The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) is committing genocide against Yazidis, according to a report, “They Came to Destroy: ISIS Crimes Against the Yazidis”, issued today by the independent international Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. The report by the Commission of Inquiry also determined that ISIS’s abuse of Yazidis amounts to crimes against humanity and war crimes.

    • Czech president warns of migrants’ ‘barbaric acts’

      Czech President Milos Zeman has said migrants pose a security threat to his country. He also criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policies.

    • One Beheaded Child Here and There…

      One incident here and there — up to and including beheading a child — will not make you a terrorist group, but buying $245 of gift cards for an FBI actor will make you a terrorist.

      That’s not to say Young isn’t a dangerous man or that he should work as a policeman in any organization. But even there, it’s not clear what kind of dangerous person he is. He likes military weapons, Nazis, Islamic terrorists, and may beat his spouse. The FBI, of course, chose to focus on the Islamic terrorism rather than the domestic abuse or Nazism. Even then, by far the most frequent “incriminating” details cited in the affidavit against Young describe his unhappiness about FBI surveillance (including that they spoke to his family in 2010 before they interviewed him when the FBI first had concerns about his associations) and his efforts to thwart it. The FBI presented this operational security as incriminating even though they deemed him not to have violated the law in several earlier reviews, the presumption being that every person who has been investigated should therefore be willing to undergo persistent surveillance for the foreseeable future.

      The closest Young actually came to joining a terrorist group was in 2011 when he “had been” with rebels working to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi (the FBI improbably creates the impression that they somehow didn’t monitor his two trips to Libya after investigating him for months leading up to these trips, not even after he was stopped by Egyptian authorities). A description later in the affidavit explains he must have been hanging out with the Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade, a group that arose out of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which the US has variously considered a terrorist group or not as its global interests dictated, though which they treated like rebel partners in 2011. Just as the US now considers Harakat Nour al-Zenki worthy of its financial support, in sums delivered in far greater increments than $245 gift cards.

    • French MPs Visit Crimea: Suggesting Early End to Sanctions

      A delegation of 11 French lawmakers and senators arrived in Crimea on July 28 to take part in celebrating Russian Navy Day in Sevastopol.

      There are no grounds to keep anti-Russian sanctions in place, said the head of the delegation Thierry Mariani, addressing the Crimean Parliament in Simferopol. Republican MP Jacques Myard also emphasized the importance of lifting the sanctions.

      In July 2015, a group of 10 French deputies visited Crimea for the first time despite domestic and European criticism. Back then the lawmakers said that what they saw was completely different from the picture painted by Western media. They say the same thing now after having seen the situation with their own eyes.

    • Fissures in the Empire

      Washington has raised the cost of being a member of its Empire too high. Vassals such as France and Germany are beginning to exercise independent policies toward Russia. Observing the cracks in its Empire, Washington has decided to bind its vassals to Washington with terror. Most liikely what we are witnessing in the French and German attacks is Operation Gladio.

    • Terrorism as a Word and Epithet

      The word “terrorism” – classically defined as violence against civilians for political effect – has become an epithet hurled at despised groups while not against favored ones, a challenge of hypocrisy and propaganda, explains Michael Brenner.

    • Reaching Beyond the Candidates

      What would it take to cause Hillary Clinton to distance herself from the newly launched bombing campaign in Libya? Or call for a congressional debate on it? Or suggest the obvious: that the war on terror isn’t working?

      Of course it won’t happen. But the fact that it sounds so absurd — almost as fanciful as the notion of movie characters stepping off the screen into real life — indicates how illusory, how unglued from reality, American democracy is at the presidential level. It’s a spectator sport — mud wrestling, say — doled out to us as entertainment by the media in sound bites and poll numbers.

    • After the Coup, Turkey is Being Torn Apart

      Coup attempt and purge are tearing Turkey apart. The Turkish armed forces, for long the backbone of the state, are in a state of turmoil. Some 40 per cent of its generals and admirals have been detained or dismissed, including senior army commanders.

      They are suspected of launching the abortive military takeover on 15-16 July, which left at least 246 people dead, saw parliament and various security headquarters bombed and a near successful bid to kill or capture President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

      In response, Erdogan and his government are carrying out a purge of everybody from soldiers to teachers connected in any way to the movement of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen accused of organising the coup attempt.

    • Brazil Committee Votes for Rousseff Final Impeachment Trial [Ed: completing the coup]

      Brazil’s Senate impeachment committee recommended putting suspended President Dilma Rousseff on trial for illegal financial transactions, paving the way for her permanent ouster within a month.

      A report by Senator Antonio Anastasia accused Rousseff of taking credits without congressional authorization and through state banks, violating the Constitution. The report was approved by 14 senators in favor and 5 against. It now goes to the floor of the Senate for an Aug. 9 vote.

      Acting president Michel Temer has fanned investor confidence with pledges to rein in a near-record budget deficit and adopt more market-friendly policies to pull Latin America’s largest economy out of its deepest recession in decades. Yet he requires Rousseff’s permanent ouster to gain more legitimacy for controversial measures that include cutting pension pay and deregulating labor laws.

    • FBI Had Undercover Agent at Scene of “Draw Muhammad” Shooting in Texas

      When two men opened fire at the “Draw Muhammad” contest in a Dallas suburb in 2015, the FBI had an undercover agent on the scene, newly filed court documents reveal.

      On May 3, 2015, two men from Arizona armed with assault rifles — Elton Simpson and his roommate, Nadir Soofi — attacked a convention center in Garland, Texas, where Pamela Geller had organized the “First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest.” The two attackers shot a guard outside the convention center and were then killed in the parking lot by Texas police.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Irish agriculture faces emissions dilemma

      Ireland is facing a classic conflict, pitching economic growth targets against the need for action on climate change.

      On one hand, Ireland’s planners want to see significant growth in its food and agriculture industry – a sector that is one of the main pillars of the country’s economy, accounting for about 8% of gross domestic product.

      On the other hand, the country − along with other members of the European Union (EU) − is committed to lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by “at least” 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

    • The Frackopoly Comes to Power

      In 1964, a group of wealthy funders instigated a radical insurgency that reshaped the political landscape and weakened democracy. Although their ultraconservative presidential candidate in 1964, Senator Barry Goldwater, was defeated in a historic landslide victory by Lyndon B. Johnson, the election spurred the development of a long-term strategy to take back control of the nation.

    • Break the silence on Azerbaijan oil workers’ deaths

      Nine months after 31 workers drowned in Azerbaijan’s worst-ever oil industry disaster, the country’s authorities have still not said a word about how it happened or what mistakes could be avoided in future.

      Most of the victims were thrown into the water when a lifeboat smashed against the side of production platform no. 10 at the Guneshli oil field in the Caspian sea, as they tried to escape a fire during a force 10 gale on 4 December last year.

      The Oil Workers Rights Protection Organisation (OWRPO), a campaign group, says state oil company managers broke safety laws for the sake of keeping production going, and that workers did not even have life jackets on during the attempt to evacuate the platform.

  • Finance

    • Mark Carney: ‘Timely’ measures should stop UK sliding into recession

      Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said today’s (4 August) historic package of measures was put together because the outlook for UK growth has “weakened markedly” since the Brexit vote.

      The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to cut interest rates to 0.25% from 0.5%, where they have been for seven years. It will also boost its quantitative easing by another £60bn ($70bn), bringing the programme up to £435bn.

      It also announced a new Term Funding Scheme (TFS) to reinforce the pass-through of the cut in interest rates and the purchase of up to £10bn in UK corporate bonds.

      He said: “The banks have no excuse not to pass this cut onto their customers.”

      The Bank did not rule out a further cut if deemed necessary.

    • Carney Quantifies Gloom With BOE Stimulus Debate at Crunch Point

      Mark Carney is about to put numbers on the gloom.

      Six weeks after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union sent shock waves across the nation, on Thursday the Bank of England governor will present a detailed assessment of what it means for the economy as well as his plan of action. With initial reports showing the U.K. may be headed for recession, he’ll need to balance a realistic picture of what’s in store against the prospect of being labeled a doom-monger.

      The Monetary Policy Committee’s first post-Brexit analysis is set to drive its debate over how to tackle weaker growth and faster inflation. With business and consumer sentiment faltering, the pound slumping and industries from airlines to manufacturers warning of a negative fallout, economists expect Carney to unveil a suite of stimulus.

    • Peter Allard vs. Barbados: Investor argues breach of environmental laws

      Peter Allard vs. Barbados: Investor argues breach of environmental laws

      Peter Allard, a Canadian investor who owns a nature sanctuary in Barbados, has brought an ISDS claim against Barbados. In a nutshell, he grounds his claim on the failure of the government of Barbados to enforce its own environmental law which, as a result, has polluted his sanctuary. He is also accusing Barbados of refusing to abide by its international obligations under the Convention on Wetlands and Convention on Biological Diversity.

      The actions and inactions by Barbados, according to the investor, have destroyed the value of his investment in the sanctuary. The claim is brought under Canada – Barbados Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).

      The sanctuary, which is an eco-tourism facility, consists of almost 35 acres of natural wetlands situated on the Graeme Hall wetlands, a site protected under the Convention of Wetlands of International Importance in the south coast of Barbados. Mr Allard, as written in his notice of dispute, made investment in this sanctuary with the purpose to conserve the environmental heritage of Barbados.

    • Universal Basic Income Will Likely Increase Social Cohesion

      I think we should avoid letting our ideologies inform our opinions on matters of social and economic policy. What matters is scientifically observed evidence. I support the idea of providing everyone with an unconditional basic income not because I just think it’s the right thing to do, and the best way to make ongoing technological unemployment work for us instead of against us, but because such an overwhelming amount of human behavioral evidence points in the direction of basic income.

      In their opinion pieces for the week-long series about universal basic income published in September by the Washington Post, I was struck by how both Oren Cass and Jonathan Coppage expressed a distinct lack of knowledge of the evidence we have available to inform our opinions on giving people money without strings attached, by citing none of it. Science involves testing our hypotheses. They both expressed the shared hypothesis that giving people additional income in the form of a basic income would somehow reduce social cohesion, and that it is growing social inequality that’s leading to economic problems and not the other way around. We can test such a hypothesis by simply looking at what actually happens when people are provided unconditional cash, and comparing it to a control group of those who aren’t.

    • No Walls in the Global Village

      Besides the fact that the misguided working class will not find their salvation in isolationism, the “leave us alone” tendency of the British blue collar populace is ironic, to say the least. Beyond ironic, this sentiment is nothing short of hypocrisy and utter disrespect to millions of people that have been exploited for centuries. A nation that for centuries knew no walls and respected no borders — back when it pillaged four continents, from the riches of Africa to the treasures of Indochina and the entire Indian subcontinent, is now crying foul, demanding a wall and asking to be left alone.

    • Oligarchs Are Feeling Right at Home in the Democratic Party

      In April of 1999, the new leaders of the Democratic Party — or, as the Wall Street Journal called them, the “chief theorists of the Third Way” — came together for a major conference in Virginia.

      The goal of the conference, attended by such prominent figures as President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, was to set forth a new agenda for Democratic politics, one that would eschew traditional notions of “tax and spend” liberalism and articulate a way forward, one that held appeal beyond the constituencies fostered by the New Deal coalition and its successors.

      In an introductory speech, Al From, founder of the then-surging Democratic Leadership Council, succinctly worded the fundamental values of the so-called New Democrats.

      “Its first principle and enduring purpose is equal opportunity for all, special privilege for none,” From proclaimed. “Its public ethic is mutual responsibility. Its core value is community. Its outlook is global, and its modern means are fostering private-sector economic growth — today’s prerequisite for opportunity for all — and promoting and empowering government that equips citizens with the tools they need to get ahead.”

    • Jeremy Corbyn Launches Bold Progressive Vision to Transform UK

      Leader of the British Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn announced a 10-point plan on Thursday designed to “rebuild and transform” the U.K. while undoing the damage wrought by privatization schemes and concerted attacks on the public good.

      Corbyn launched his plan with a series of social media messages, including this short YouTube video explaining the need for a national transition:

      The ten pledges include: An economy that works for all; Secure homes for all; Security at work; Secure our National Health Service and social care; A free national education service; Action to secure the environment; Democracy in our economy; Cut income and wealth inequality; Act to end prejudice and injustice; and Peace and justice abroad

      Corbyn’s announcement comes as he battles to retain his leadership position in the Labour Party, fighting off a challenge from Owen Smith, a more centrist Labour MP and former lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry. The two will square off in a debate Thursday night.

      Read the full set of policy pledges here.

      Like Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in the U.S., Corbyn has been seen as a progressive champion fomenting a populist insurgency against entrenched interests of powerful elites represented by the Tories, other right-wing parties like UKIP, and factions of Labour’s own liberal center-left.

    • After Cambridgeshire’s NHS deal collapses, the future of Staffordshire’s similar £1.2billion sell-off is mired in confusion

      Cambridge’s ‘UnitingCare’ deal and its advisors have been discredited, and NHS England promises to investigate a similar planned huge NHS sell-off in Staffordshire – but local bosses seem to have their heads in the sand.

    • The Decline in Homeownership

      The homeownership rate fell again in the second quarter of 2016, hitting the lowest rate in more than 50 years, more than 6 full percentage points below the peak bubble years. This is both good news and bad news.

      It is good news because homeownership is not always good for everyone at all points in their lives. The building, banking and real estate industry have worked hard to make renting seem un-American. While homeownership can be a useful way for families to accumulate wealth, it’s not generally advisable for people not in a stable employment and family situation.

      The transaction costs associated with buying and selling a home are roughly 10 percent of the sales price, which comes to almost $25,000 for a typical home. This is a lot of money to throw away for someone who has to move after a year or two because of losing a job or a family break-up. Of course the lost money to the homeowner is income for bankers and realtors.

      The other reason it might be a good thing to see a declining homeownership rate is that it seems some markets are again rising into bubble territory. The bottom third by sales price of homes in Miami saw a 55.6 percent price increase over the last three years. By contrast, rents have risen just 10.4 percent. In Chicago the price of the bottom third of homes increased by 40.7 percent in the last three years, while rents rose by 6.9 percent.

      There are several other cities in which prices in the less expensive segment of the market are rising precipitously. It would be a good thing if moderate income families didn’t buy into bubble inflated markets yet again.

    • London Falls Behind New York and Hong Kong in Most Expensive City Rankings

      London has been knocked from its perch as the world’s most expensive city to live and work in after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

      The U.K. capital is now third behind New York and Hong Kong, according to research on global cities from property broker Savills. The research examines the costs for an employee to live in rented housing and work in an office for a year.

      London had spent the last 2½ years at the top. But it fell in July because of the drop in sterling against the dollar and cooling U.K. real-estate markets, both of which accelerated after the EU referendum in June.

    • World Bank’s New Rules Condemned for Disregarding People and Planet

      Lending further support to the United Nation’s characterization of the World Bank as a “human rights-free zone,” the notorious lender is expected to approve new policies Thursday that have been widely condemned by rights advocates for endangering human rights and the environment.

    • New World Bank Policies Imperil Environment and Land Defenders

      Just 5 months since the murder of Honduran environmental defender Berta Caceres, the Bank is passing new safeguards that do more harm than good.

    • Why Say No to the TPP? Corporations Already Have Too Much Power

      It took two days for 60 members of the Cowboy and Indian Alliance to plant the heirloom seeds by hand. It was the spring of 2014, and there were prayers, burning of sage and sweetgrass, and, one by one, volunteers pressed the red corn seeds into the earth of Art and Helen Tanderup’s farm in Neligh, Nebraska. There, along the Ponca Trail of Tears, the Ponca people in 1877 were forced to leave their homeland after planting their corn seeds, many dying along the way or starving when they arrived in Oklahoma. But the sacred red seeds were being planted again in Nebraska for the first time in more than 100 years.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • [Older] Top spy: Despite intelligence ‘war’ with Russians, it’s too soon to blame them for DNC hack

      Spy chief James Clapper said Thursday that U.S. intelligence services are facing a “version of war” with Russia — but it’s too soon to blame the old Cold War rival for hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails.

      He said it’s also too early to say whether the people who leaked those emails are trying to throw the presidential election to Donald Trump, as Hillary Clinton’s campaign has charged.

      “I don’t think we’re quite ready yet to make a call on attribution,” Clapper said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. “There are just a few usual suspects out there.” Additionally, he said, “We don’t know enough to ascribe motivation regardless of who it might have been.”

    • Donald Trump’s Tiff With Paul Ryan Symbolizes Growing Divisions in the GOP Over Corporate Power

      Donald Trump refused to endorse Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan in his primary election on Tuesday, drawing attention to Paul Nehlen, Ryan’s insurgent challenger, who has adopted many of the same themes as the real estate mogul.

      While stopping short of endorsing Nehlen, Trump credited him with running a “very good campaign.” The primary is on August 9. The two recently had a warm exchange on Twitter:

      In many ways, Nehlen is evidence that Trump’s messaging has found its footing in down-ticket Republican races.

    • Why Hope Has Power in This Gut-Wrenching Election Year

      No wonder thousands of Americans are supporting third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein and protesting both conventions. In such a challenging time, how do we keep our eyes and energies fixed on our goal of real democracy? Hope is key. It is an essential ingredient for change.

    • Trump’s Ultimate Sacrifice (Video)

      Award-winning animator Mark Fiore is having a tough time following all of the Republican presidential candidates antics, so he condensed a few into his latest animation. Watch the clip and read Fiore’s thoughts on Trump below.

    • The Danger of Excessive Trump Bashing

      The prospect of Donald Trump in the White House alarms many people but bashing him over his contrarian views on NATO and U.S.-Russian relations could set the stage for disasters under President Hillary Clinton, writes Robert Parry.

    • Khizr Khan’s Son Sacrificed His Life for a War That Never Should’ve Happened

      Clinton’s rhetoric on the Muslim world might be friendlier than Trump’s, but her record is much bloodier.

    • Promises of Peace, Realities of War

      With Donald Trump, and with the political habits that engendered his gaining the Republican nomination, these reasons for discrepancy between campaign hopes and in-office performance are present in abundance. Trump illustrates splendidly the clinical definition of the personality disorder known as narcissism.

    • How the GOP’s Cynical Election Strategy Is Imploding

      As Donald Trump enmeshed himself in a bitter fight with the parents of an American Muslim military hero — and Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and John McCain looked to put distance between themselves and their party’s presidential nominee — there’s actually worse news for Republicans.

      Several important court victories for voting rights since Friday could dramatically remake the campaign for Congress and the White House, and this time, GOP leadership may have a harder time distancing themselves from un-American tactics.

    • State of Fear: Trump v. Clinton

      Shudders of fear emanate from the institutions of the United States establishment as Donald Trump claims the leadership of the Republican Party. The Washington Post, one of the leading national newspapers, ran an editorial with a clear headline: “Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy” (July 22). The Post is owned by Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, who had previously run afoul of Trump. The Republican leader had accused Bezos of anti-trust violations; the allegation was that he had used his paper to push for a corporate tax policy that would benefit his retail company. Such behaviour has become normal in U.S. society, where large firms see it as their right to influence state policy. Trump’s unpredictable stances have meant that on occasion he goes after his fellow billionaires for the way they have crafted the system (he has admitted that his real estate deals have also been advantaged by such coziness with elected officials). A characteristic Trump conspiracy theory might now assume that Bezos’ paper is going after Trump only because of this dust-up earlier in the year. Trump, his supporters say, is a “blue-collar billionaire”, a rich man with a poor man’s sensibility. The billionaires do not like him because he is willing to criticise them.

      That unpredictable part of Trump has meant that he has seized upon several criticisms of U.S. policy that have become standard in the U.S. Left. First among these is his position against the kind of free trade agreements—such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—that allow U.S. firms to move to parts of the world where labour costs are lower than in the U.S. Even The Post had to acknowledge that this part of Trump’s appeal “has resonated with many Americans whose economic prospects have stagnated”. This is also why the Democratic Socialist candidate, Bernie Sanders, was able to appeal to so many Americans who had seen their aspirations reduced to dust. This large segment of American —from West Virginia coal miners to Michigan factory workers—“deserve a serious champion”, says The Post, “and the challenges of inequality and slow wage growth deserve a serious response. But Mr Trump has nothing positive to offer, only scapegoats and dark conspiracy theories.”

    • Messages for the Future From the Margins of the DNC

      While covering the Democratic National Convention (DNC) last week, I found myself seeking a community context for the events in Philadelphia — what does this convention mean to the local voters, particularly those not connected to one party or another? Moreover, what does the historic nomination of Hillary Clinton mean for different groups of women around the country — Latina women, working-class women, queer women, single mothers? And of course, what does the convention mean to those who left disappointed, who stood in silent protest and marched outside the DNC gates to protest political elitism, reeling from the knowledge of party bias?


      The real power at the DNC was not the spectacle unfolding onstage. It was the messages of these local leaders and activists — messages for the future, messages of continued efforts, relentless energy and a healthy sense of possibility. What follows is the transcript of our interviews with these inspiring messengers of change.

    • Here’s a Terrifying Truth: Trump Could Win

      The strongest single predictor of Trump support is a trait called “authoritarianism.” It’s a mindset that political scientists have only recently found a way to identify and measure, but it will be the key to this election — because the army of Trump authoritarians is large — and it is growing.

    • 20 of Trump’s Blunders that Would Lose the Election for Clinton (If Clinton Had Done Them)

      Trump gets away with a lot. I mean, a lot. He’s made so many mind-blowingly idiotic missteps that it’s hard to remember them all. Some of these missteps are so egregious that I suspect they would completely ruin Clinton’s chances of getting elected if she had made them. Yet Trump’s followers don’t seem to care how much he lies, breaks the rules, and makes a fool out of himself. Perhaps this has to do with Trump’s support base consisting primarily of uneducated white people. Or perhaps it has to do with the zeitgeist of anti-intellectualism that imbues contemporary American conservatism.

    • First Evidence Surfaces of Foreign Money Pouring into U.S. Elections After Citizens United

      Six years ago, President Obama warned the nation that foreign corporations could soon pour money into the U.S. election system thanks to the Supreme Court Citizens United decision. Now, direct evidence has emerged for the first time showing a foreign company has indeed donated money to a federal campaign. Documentation obtained by The Intercept shows a company owned by Chinese nationals donated $1.3 million to Jeb Bush’s super PAC after receiving advice from a prominent Republican lawyer. To talk more about the exposé, we are joined by The Intercept’s Lee Fong, who co-wrote the multi-part series “Foreign Influence.”

    • The Decay of American Politics

      To contrast the virtues and shortcomings of Stevenson and Eisenhower with those of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald Trump is both instructive and profoundly depressing. Comparing the adversaries of 1956 with their 2016 counterparts reveals with startling clarity what the decades-long decay of American politics has wrought.


      But let’s not just blame the candidates. Trump and Clinton are also the product of circumstances that neither created. As candidates, they are merely exploiting a situation — one relying on intuition and vast stores of brashness, the other putting to work skills gained during a life spent studying how to acquire and employ power. The success both have achieved in securing the nominations of their parties is evidence of far more fundamental forces at work.

    • My View: Both Trump, Rio Olympics earn gold in hyperbolic hurdles

      Both Trump and the Olympics position themselves as philanthropic, donating to both charities and fulfilling grandiose promises to the host city. But as with Trump, whose donations have proved to be more phantom than opera, the great benefits that the Games supposedly bestow on everyday people in the host city have turned out to be more aspirational than inspirational. Look no further than Rio de Janeiro. Hosting the Olympic Games was supposed to jumpstart the cleanup of the city’s waterways. But today Guanabara Bay and the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, which will soon host Olympic water-events, look more like scenes from the Old Testament, plagued by massive fish die-offs and sludgy carpets of trash clogging the shoreline.

    • The D.N.C. and the Summer of Discontent

      The scheme succeeded only modestly. The D.N.C. chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned, but she was already in trouble: Bernie Sanders supporters believed that her bias toward Clinton had cost their candidate the nomination, even though Clinton won nearly four million more primary and caucus votes. In any event, Bernie-or-Bust delegates streaming into Philadelphia did not require foreign inspiration to agitate against Clinton. Sanders, for his part, made clear that he was over the imbroglio and was committed to unity in order to defeat Trump. “It is easy to boo,” he scolded a catcalling delegation from California on the second day. “It is harder to look your kids in the face who would be living under a Donald Trump Presidency.”

    • New York Times Relentlessly Biased Against Trump, Reports New York Times

      An astonishing piece appeared in the New York Times (NYT) recently. It reported a fierce bias in the Times’s coverage of politics and current affairs, most notably when it comes to Donald Trump. The bias turns up not just in the opinion pages but in the News, reports Liz Spayd, the new “public editor,” a position once called the ombudsman.

      But the surprise does not end there. Spayd’s report is based on letters from liberal readers, which are filling her inbox to overflowing. Here are some examples that she cites:

      “You’ve lost a subscriber because of your relentless bias against Trump — and I’m not even a Republican,” writes an Arizonan.

      “I never thought I’d see the day when I, as a liberal, would start getting so frustrated with the one-sided reporting that I would start hopping over to the Fox News webpage to read an article and get the rest of the story that the NYT refused to publish,” writes a woman from California.

    • Watch a Year’s Worth of Trump Supporters Spouting Vitriol, Racism, Fascist Rhetoric

      It’s no secret that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fills his speeches with nationalism and xenophobia.

      And in a three-minute video published by the New York Times late Wednesday, a collection of clips from the divisive nominee’s rallies throughout the past year reveals how Trump’s chilling rhetoric is being channeled by his followers.

    • The Kremlin may savor Trump – but still might prefer Clinton

      Is Donald Trump “our man?”

      That’s the question that Komsomolskaya Pravda, a leading Russian tabloid, asked its readers on Wednesday, summing up a debate that has intrigued and exasperated readers from the Capitol Beltway to the Moscow Ring Road.

      In the United States, Trump’s professed affinity for Vladimir Putin as a strong leader, and his offbeat statements, including a call on Russia to release the rest of Hillary Clinton’s emails after a hacking attack on the Democratic National Committee, prompted surprise and some breathless derision of him as the “Siberian candidate.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Police Get Facebook To Kill Livestream Of Standoff Which Ended With Suspect Being Shot To Death

      A 23-year-old woman, and mother of a 5-year-old child, is dead. She was killed by police officers who came to serve a warrant for failure to appear charges stemming from a March 11th traffic stop. That this ever escalated to the point where bullets started flying is incomprehensible. Then again, much of what the woman, Korryn Gaines, did was incomprehensible.

      Gaines apparently considered herself a “sovereign citizen,” which meant she chose not to recognize whatever laws she felt weren’t worth following — like registering her vehicle, insuring it, and equipping it with valid plates. Instead, she chose to make plates of her own out of cardboard that made some sort of statement about her sovereign citizen status. The traffic stop on March 11th escalated into an altercation with officers, resulting in more charges being added to the traffic violations.


      While the assertions made here may be true, the fact that law enforcement can make third-party recordings disappear is highly problematic. While the full statement shows the Baltimore County PD has asked Facebook to retain the video as evidence and will be seeking a search warrant to access the recording, the fact is that the recording will now be in the hands of law enforcement, rather than the public.

      If any video of the standoff was captured with body cameras, it will be a long time before it’s made public — if it ever is. While very few recordings are truly objective, the one recording of the standoff whose existence can be confirmed is now (mostly) gone. And the unanswered question is whether or not the situation would have been handled differently if the officers knew the public was watching.

    • Woman Fatally Shot By Police Had Facebook Account Deactivated During Standoff

      Some viewers told Gaines, who had her 5-year-old son nearby, not to listen to negotiators, said Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson. Authorities filed an emergency request to Facebook, successfully petitioning the company to suspend Gaines’ account. About an hour later Gaines’ social media accounts were taken offline.

      “Gaines was posting video of the operation, and followers were encouraging her not to comply with negotiators’ requests that she surrender peacefully,” a spokesperson for the Baltimore County Police Department said. “This was a serious concern; successful negotiations often depend on the negotiators’ ability to converse directly with the subject, without interference or distraction during extremely volatile conditions.”

      By the time the standoff was over Gaines would be fatally shot by police and her son injured by a bullet. The incident highlights the relationship authorities have with social media platforms like Facebook at a time when people are increasingly filming and broadcasting their interactions with police.

    • Rose Must Fall: censorship at UCT

      Rose is foreign affairs editor of Jyllands Posten, the magazine which, in 2005, published a set of cartoons titled ‘The Face of Muhammad’. One of them was a drawing of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. The cartoons, which many Muslims considered blasphemous, sparked international furore as other newspapers around the world reprinted the images. Mobs set fire to the Danish embassies in Syria and Lebanon, protesters clashed with police, and would-be assassins attempted to murder Rose and the illustrator, Kurt Westergaard. Altogether, 139 people were killed in the protests.

      The TB Davie Memorial Lecture celebrates ‘the freedom to explore ideas, to express these and to assemble peacefully’. Previous speakers in the series, which began in 1959, include Howard Zinn (1982), Noam Chomsky (1997), Alan Kors (2006), and Nadine Strossen (2011).

    • Erdogan’s Coup Survival: Don’t Call It Democracy

      Nihad Awad, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) executive director, is in Turkey this week. It isn’t clear why, but Awad is taking advantage of his travels to post upbeat photographs celebrating that country’s recent failed military coup.

      Last month, a faction of Turkey’s military tried to oust Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has consolidated power and steered his country away from the secular ambitions laid out by modern founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and toward a decidedly Islamist state.

    • Turkey’s president ramps up censorship amid post-coup purge

      Since the coup attempt on July 15, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been giving many interviews to international media, trying to defend what the observers named the #TurkeyPurge—the unprecedented scale of mass dismissals and detentions of state employees from all branches of the government.

    • Anurag Kashyap to take a masterclass on movie censorship
    • Anurag Kashyap to Give Master Class on Censorship in Australia
    • Anurag Kashyap to talk censorship in Australia
    • After multiple face-offs with censor board, Anurag Kashyap to give a masterclass on censorship
    • How to access Tor, even when your country says you can’t
    • Pluggable Transports Help Tor Users Go Around State-Level Censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Australians threaten to take leave of their census

      2016 Australian census stores names and addresses, prompting privacy, security outrage.

    • UAE recruiting ‘elite task force’ for secret surveillance state

      Italian security expert Simone Margaritelli divulged details of the project after recently travelling to Dubai for a job interview that turned out to be for what he described as an “extremely shady” surveillance system.

      Margaritelli is a mobile security researcher who lives in Rome and works in the research and development team at the San Francisco-based mobile security company Zimperium.

      He was targeted for recruitment by the UAE partly because of his work on BetterCap, an open source tool that eavesdrops on online communications.

    • Microsoft Pitches Technology That Can Read Facial Expressions at Political Rallies

      On the 21st floor of a high-rise hotel in Cleveland, in a room full of political operatives, Microsoft’s Research Division was advertising a technology that could read each facial expression in a massive crowd, analyze their emotions, and report back in real time. “You could use this at a Trump rally,” a sales representative told me.

      At both the Republican and Democratic conventions, Microsoft sponsored event spaces for the news outlet Politico. Politico, in turn, hosted a series of Microsoft-sponsored discussions about the use of data technology in political campaigns. And throughout Politico’s spaces in both Philadelphia and Cleveland, Microsoft advertised an array of products from “Microsoft Cognitive Services,” its artificial intelligence and cloud computing division.

      At one exhibit, titled “Realtime Crowd Insights” a small camera scanned the room, while a monitor displayed the captured image. Every five seconds, a new image would appear with data annotated for each face – an assigned serial number, gender, estimated age, and any emotions detected in the facial expression. When I approached, the machine labeled me “b2ff,” and correctly identified me as a 23-year-old male.

    • Comcast Tells The FCC It Should Be Able To Charge Broadband Users A Premium For Privacy

      A few years back, we noted how AT&T had begun charging broadband users a significant premium if they wanted to opt out of the company’s Internet Essentials advertising program. Under that program, AT&T uses deep packet inspection to track consumer browsing behavior around the Internet — down to the second. By default, AT&T users are opted in to the program. If they want to opt out of this data collection, consumers need to not only navigate a confusing array of options, but they also need to pay $44 to $62 more per month. AT&T, in typical fashion, has actually claimed this is a “discount.”

      With the FCC’s Title II and net neutrality rules upheld, the agency is now considering new basic broadband privacy protections primarily focused on two things: ensuring ISPs properly disclose what’s being collected and sold, and ensuring that ISPs provide customers with clear, working opt-out tools. But the agency is also considering banning ISPs from turning your privacy into an expensive luxury option.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Australia: Appalling Abuse, Neglect of Refugees on Nauru

      About 1,200 men, women, and children who sought refuge in Australia and were forcibly transferred to the remote Pacific island nation of Nauru suffer severe abuse, inhumane treatment, and neglect, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. The Australian government’s failure to address serious abuses appears to be a deliberate policy to deter further asylum seekers from arriving in the country by boat.

      Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. They endure unnecessary delays and at times denial of medical care, even for life-threatening conditions. Many have dire mental health problems and suffer overwhelming despair – self-harm and suicide attempts are frequent. All face prolonged uncertainty about their future.

    • My Mother, Stopped for Driving While Black

      When the police pulled their guns on my mother, I reached for my phone and told her to be calm and do as they say.

      My parents and I had just been swarmed by police cars, sirens blaring, as we drove on I-64 through Virginia. Shock and fear consumed my family as we came to a stop and were ordered out of the vehicle at gun point. A third car even showed up to stop traffic.

      The officers then arrested my mother without any explanation. I felt helpless.

      As I questioned the police about why they stopped us, a family of three just driving along and minding our own business, a passing white motorist stopped his car. He gave the police officers a thumbs-up and told them, “We support the great job you’re doing.”

      I was stunned.

      My parents sought asylum in the United States from Eritrea many years ago. We work hard and obey the rules. But that’s not enough. In a sad twist of fate, our family has stumbled into institutional injustice in a new form.

    • Is democracy incoherent?

      Is democracy illusory and troublingly incoherent? Or is an ideal democracy yet to be fully realised?

    • Woman Livestreams Her Supervisor Asking for Sexual Favors

      Makana Milho, 21, is a transgender woman who was in the process of completing six days of community service on account of a theft charge. During that time, Milho was allegedly assaulted by the city worker who was supervising her community service. According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, Harold Villanueva Jr., 47, pinched Milho’s buttocks and said he would send her home early in exchange for sex acts. Villanueva also bragged about preying upon other community workers for sex.

      Milho recalled that Philando Castile’s girlfriend had recorded his shooting by a police officer. “I do watch the news,” said Milho, “I saw one lady who Facebook-lived her boyfriend’s death. I just did it.”

      Milho uploaded the video to Facebook and received nearly 200,000 views, before taking it down after she received a flurry of hateful backlash. Before taking it down, she tagged the police department. The video led to an investigation of Villanueva and he was arrested on sexual assault charges.

    • New York Makes Playing Pokemon Go, Other Online Games A Sex Offender Parole Violation

      While I don’t play Pokemon Go, I’ve still found the public hysteria surrounding the game to be endlessly entertaining. I’ve laughed as “get off my lawn” types bitch and moan simply because people are having harmless fun in ways they don’t understand. I’ve chuckled as Pokemon Go players forget that the rules of reality still apply while in augmented reality. And I’ve laughed at the absurd new lawsuits popping up to try and cash in on the phenomenon.

    • Will Bill Bratton’s Resignation Slow Down the Militarization of the NYPD? Not Likely

      NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton, a key architect of “broken windows” policing who hyped so-called terror threats to wrangle big buys of military-style gear, announced Tuesday that he is stepping down from his position as the most powerful law enforcement figure in the country.

      The revelation came as protesters staged an occupation of City Hall Park demanding that Bratton step down. Meanwhile, the FBI is launching an investigation into police corruption in the top ranks of the NYPD and federal prosecutors are considering charges for the police killing of Eric Garner. Grassroots organizations immediately celebrated the ouster

    • New York’s newest protesters are right: it’s time to defund police

      My professor friend AJ and I led a walking tour of college students earlier this week about protest and policing in New York City. Between our stop at One Police Plaza, where “broken windows” policing was unleashed on our city, and the site of Eric Garner’s death on Staten Island, we stopped at the newest occupation in town at City Hall Park.

      Mayor Bill de Blasio had just announced police commissioner Bill Bratton’s resignation as we walked through the park, quickly achieving one of the occupying group’s three ambitious goals when they appeared on Monday. The other two call for defunding the NYPD and using some of that money for reparations for survivors of “police terrorism”.

      The group, Millions March NYC, makes a solid point: it is imperative to defund police departments across the country immediately, redirecting that money instead to black futures and the marginalized. Because while reparations paid to next of kin for police abuse is already a billion-dollar business, there is no need for anyone to be executed in the first place.

    • Wrongfully Convicted Louisiana Man Asks Justice Department to Investigate New Orleans Prosecutors

      Throughout the 1990s, senior New Orleans prosecutor Jim Williams kept a model electric chair on his desk. The chair held photographs of five African-American men his office had helped place on death row. He considered it a major achievement and was pictured with the chair in a 1995 issue of Esquire magazine.

      Years later he was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article, saying of his career as a prosecutor: “It got to the point where there was no thrill for me unless there was a chance for the death penalty.”

      Of the men photographed, two have since had their sentences commuted to life, one won at a retrial, and two have been exonerated.

      On Tuesday, John Thompson, one of the exonerated men, filed a 29-page complaint with the Justice Department. Thompson, 54, petitioned for a federal investigation of what he and his lawyers call “a pervasive and unapologetic pattern of unethical improper conduct” perpetrated by Williams and his colleagues at the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office.

    • Canada Finally Launches Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women

      Rights groups have long called for such an inquiry, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a promise to establish one.

    • Canada unveils inquiry into murdered indigenous women

      For over a decade, indigenous community leaders and human rights advocates across Canada have urged Ottawa to formulate a national strategy to address high rates of violence against indigenous women and girls.

    • In Historic Move, Obama Grants Clemency to 214 Prisoners

      President Barack Obama on Wednesday issued a record-breaking 214 commutations for people serving drug-related sentences in federal prison—the largest single-day granting of clemency in U.S. history.

      The commutations bring the total of people granted early release under Obama’s administration to 562, more than the past nine presidents combined, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It is Obama’s third use of his clemency powers this year.

      “The president made history today. President Obama granted more commutations today alone than any president has granted during their entire time in office since the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson,” said Cynthia W. Roseberry, project manager for Clemency Project 2014, a working group of lawyers and advocates that provides free legal assistance to people who meet the criteria for early release.

    • 11-year-old Boy Forces Pence to Explain Allegiance to Trump

      Which is why at a political rally featuring Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence in North Carolina on Thursday, it was an 11-year-old boy named Matthew who forced the adult on the stage into an awkward situation by asking him to explain exactly where he stands when it comes to his running mate Donald Trump.

      “I noticed that you’ve been softening up some of Mr. Trump’s policies and words, is this going to be your role in the administration?” asked the young boy when called upon – a question that despite its apparent earnestness drew immediate laughter from the crowd.

    • “Beef with Byron”: the restaurant on the frontlines of the immigration debate

      In comparison with recent actions where cockroaches, locusts and crickets were released into central London restaurants, Monday’s demonstration at the Holborn Byron Burger restaurant was of a more orderly nature. Beneath the front window of the establishment, closed for the day by the impending picket, a crowd gathered to demand justice for those members of Byron staff recently deported to Brazil, Nepal, Egypt and elsewhere. The staff had been summoned to early morning training sessions that transpired to be a Home Office immigration raid. Byron have claimed the training session was not collusion, despite many consistent testimonials to the contrary by deported staff. This seems to be a lie that evidences the wrongdoing the company sense it has committed.

    • Castles in the Sky

      Elena of Avalor is Disney’s new princess. She has been branded as the “First Latina Princess,” and hailed as a milestone for diversifying the Disney brand, and also reaching out to one of the fastest-growing consumer markets (and youngest demographics) in the country. She’s basically a brown-tinted version of the generic template: sparkly dress with baroque-slash-victorian aesthetics, the hint of an hourglass shape without distracting cleavage, wavy brunette hair betraying no ethnic peculiarities, and of course, a tiara. There’s something comforting about seeing an underrepresented group grafted so seamlessly onto the quintessential icon of femininity. But as always, the pages of this fairy tale are slightly frayed around the edges.

      We’re moving past the days when all fairy tales were festooned with lily-white virgins and virile patrarchs, and the oddball side characters aren’t encoded with vile ethnic caricatures masquerading as off-color animals—the cackling crow, the conniving Siamese cats. Now the heroine is a lady of color and in this royal family at least, there’s the lilt of a creole.

    • The Voting Rights Acts in the Era of Jim Crow 2.0

      The appeals court wrote, “The new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision.” The judges found that the North Carolina Legislature and governor, under Republican control since early 2011, offered no proof of voter fraud—the primary Republican justification for enacting restrictive voting laws. Or as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump warned with no evidence, “We may have people vote 10 times.”

    • Malware Linked to Government of Kazakhstan Targets Journalists, Political Activists, Lawyers: EFF Report

      Editors Who Exposed Corruption, Political Opponents of Authoritarian Government’s President, and Their Legal Teams Were Sent Malware

      San Francisco—Journalists and political activists critical of Kazakhstan’s authoritarian government, along with their family members, lawyers, and associates, have been targets of an online phishing and malware campaign believed to be carried out on behalf of the government of Kazakhstan, according to a new report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

      Malware was sent to Irina Petrushova and Alexander Petrushov, publishers of the independent newspaper Respublika, which was forced by the government of Kazakhstan to stop printing after years of exposing corruption but has continued to operate online. Also targeted are family members and attorneys of Mukhtar Ablyazov, co-founder and leader of opposition party Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, as well as other prominent dissidents.

      The campaign—which EFF has called “Operation Manul,” after endangered wild cats found in the grasslands of Kazakhstan—involved sending victims spearphishing emails that tried to trick them into opening documents which would covertly install surveillance software capable of recording keystrokes, recording through the webcam, and more. Some of the software used in the campaign is commercially available to anyone and sells for as little as $40 online.

    • The Propaganda War With Putin
    • ‘We Have to Have Disability as Part of Our Discussion’ – CounterSpin interview with David Perry on disability and police violence

      When behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey asked the Florida police officer why he had shot him, given that he was lying on his back with his hands in the air, the officer’s answer was, “I don’t know.” Later this was amended for what was apparently deemed an acceptable alternative: He’d meant to shoot Arnoldo Soto, the 23-year-old man with autism holding the toy truck, whom Kinsey was trying to help.

      The spotlight that Black Lives Matter and other activists have forced onto police brutality and overpolicing of African-Americans can’t help but shed light on other aspects of the problem as well, including the frequency with which those killed by police are people with disabilities.

      Our next guest’s work, however, suggests that being at risk is not, so far, enough to get them an appropriate role in media’s coverage of the story. David Perry is a disability rights journalist and associate professor of history at Dominican University. He’s co-author, with Lawrence Carter- Long, of a new white paper for the Ruderman Family Foundation on media coverage of law enforcement use of force and disability. He joins us now by phone from Illinois. Welcome to CounterSpin, David Perry.

    • The Left’s Abandonment of Females

      In her first PMQ (Prime Minister’s Questions) last week, Theresa May took aim at Jeremy Corbyn, ironising his welcome to her: “You refer to me as the second woman Prime Minister, in my years here in this House I’ve long heard the Labour Party asking what the Conservative Party does for women—well, just keep making us Prime Minister.” And while May’s comments drew laughter in Parliament, she has put her finger on an issue plaguing the left in the UK and beyond. And the left has a woman problem which extends far beyond the lack of a party leader uniquely, but also involves the elision of women’s voices, especially on issues concerning, paradoxically, women. And this sort of problem within the left runs from the political theatre all the way through academia and publishing. What a woman on the left is allowed to say is still largely administered out by males who either applaud or cast her out of the party. And this elision of women is taking place within government and publishing, both in the UK and the USA.

      There is a pattern among many leftist publications which consider themselves to be “anti-sexist” to engage in patently sexist practices by shifting away from from issues that specifically affect women or by taking sides in debates where women’s bodies and lives are suddenly rendered commodity. Suddenly the tone of what is acceptable historical materialism shifts radically when women are pointing out issues that pertain to their reality. Quite suddenly there is no room for debate and where there is a need for discussion about issues that directly effect women, the left is largely abandoning the voices of women as both political constituents and political thinkers.

    • The Dangerous Fantasies of Jeffrey Goldberg

      In Goldberg’s fantasy, Israel is as enlightened as he is: liberal, democratic and just. Don’t you dare try casting doubt on that – Goldberg’s liberalism won’t tolerate it. He will praise freedom of expression in Israel, as he did at a Haaretz conference in Palo Alto last November, and will say that Israelis’ freedom of the press and lively public debate is what makes Israel so popular in America. But from now on, it will have to be without Haaretz and the lively public debate it fosters about Zionism among Jewish Americans.

      According to Goldberg, Haaretz is doing something unforgiveable: it’s shattering his fantasy. Because of an op-ed piece in which two American-Jewish historians explain why they’ve abandoned Zionism, as well as a piece of my own (“Yes, Israel is an evil state,” July 31), the liberal Goldberg has decided he’s had enough of Haaretz. He tweeted to his 107,000 Twitter followers that these sort of pieces make him sick. Neo-Nazis, he said, have been distributing my op-ed, so he was going to have to “take a break” from Haaretz.

      I would love to know who those neo-Nazis are. After all, neo-Nazis and the radical right are now some of Israel’s best friends. Did Goldberg mean to say that BDS advocates are neo-Nazis? And besides, I’m not sure I understand. What, the pieces are true, but it’s only the way they’re used that angers Goldberg? Should they not be published because neo-Nazis disseminate them? Or are the articles not actually true?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Techdirt Reading List: The Copyright Wars: Three Centuries Of Trans-Atlantic Battle

        Baldwin’s book goes into even more detail on centuries upon centuries of battles around copyright law — what it’s for, what it’s designed to do and the inevitable tensions it runs into as modern technology changes. It also highlights how some of the battles are really cultural and national battles — with ideas around openness and sharing stemming more from the American side, while the stronger focus on making copyright solely about protecting creators coming from a more European tradition. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise — things like the Berne Convention which massively expanded copyrights came from a European push and the US was very late in adopting it. But sometimes people get so focused on the expansion of copyright driven by the US film and recording industries that we forget that they were simply co-opting ideas from Europe. Either way, it’s an excellent read to put more of our copyright wars into context.

      • Even The Usual Defenders Of The RIAA Are Pointing Out They’re Simply Lying About YouTube

        To be clear, looking at the details from Midia itself, it’s not saying that only 2% of the videos are unauthorized, but 2% of music video views on YouTube are of unauthorized videos. And that’s still an important point. It suggests that, contrary to what the industry likes to claim, the kids these days aren’t spending very much time at all using YouTube to watch unauthorized streams. It’s almost non-existent. The same report also found that music represents just 12% of all YouTube viewing time. That kinda shows how the claims of the industry about how YouTube is supposedly only successful because of music uploads is complete hogwash.

      • Copyright Office to FCC: Hollywood should be able to killswitch your TV

        20 years ago, Congress ordered the FCC to begin the process of allowing Americans to buy their pay TV boxes on the open market (rather than every American household spending hundreds of dollars a year renting a trailing-edge, ugly, energy-inefficient, badly designed box that is increasingly the locus of networked attacks that expose both the home LAN and the cameras and mics that are more and more likely to be integrated into TVs and decoder boxes) — now, at last, the FCC is doing something about it.

      • Why Is The Copyright Office Lying To Protect The Cable Industry’s Monopoly Stranglehold Over The Cable Box?

        The FCC’s attempt to bring some much needed competition to the cable box has birthed an absolute torrent of lobbying shenanigans by the cable and entertainment industries. They’ve pushed a flood of misleading editorials in major papers and websites claiming the plan is somehow racist and will unveil a piracy apocalypse. They’ve nudged Congressional campaign contribution recipients to bash the plan as an extreme case of government over-reach. They’ve also managed to convince the press and some FCC staffers the idea is an attack on copyright, when copyright has absolutely nothing to do with it.

        Quick background: under the FCC’s original proposal (pdf), the FCC wants cable companies to provide programming access to third-party hardware vendors without the need for a CableCARD, the goal being to generate competition in the space resulting in better, cheaper and more open cable boxes. Under the proposal cable operators would be able to use any copyright protection or DRM standard they choose to deliver this content to companies like Google, Amazon or TiVO — and the FCC has repeatedly stated any final rules would respect existing copyright and financial arrangements between cable and the customer.

        But because the plan would cost cable providers $21 billion annually in rental fee revenue and result in more open cable boxes (more likely to direct viewers to third party streaming competitors), they’ve been trying to use a false definition of “copyright” to protect its monopoly stranglehold over cable hardware. And now, the cable industry has another ally in their attempt to mislead the press and public on this subject: The United States Copyright Office.

      • Copyright Office Jumps Into Set-Top Box Debate, Says Hollywood Should Control Your TV

        The Federal Communications Commission has a plan to bring much-needed competition and consumer choice to the market for set-top boxes and television-viewing apps. Under the FCC’s proposed rule change, pay-TV customers would be able to choose devices and apps from anywhere rather than being forced to use the box and associated software provided by the cable company, ending cable companies’ and major TV studios’ monopoly in the field.

        But major entertainment companies are trying to derail this effort and keep control over TV technology. Central to their argument is a set of misleading claims about copyright law. Hollywood thinks that copyright holders should be able to use licensing agreements to place whatever restrictions they like on how people can access their content.

        Unfortunately, the Copyright Office has sent a letter to Congress supporting those claims. The letter is wrong as a matter of law, and it’s also bad policy. Rather than promote innovation, the Copyright Office offers ideas that would be hostile to choice and innovation in all kinds of information technology, not just pay TV.

      • China’s Home-Grown Version Of Spotify Shows How To Make Money In A World Of Digital Abundance

        The fact that the best-known music streaming service, Spotify, is still struggling to turn a profit despite its huge popularity, is often held up as proof that making money in a world of digital abundance is almost impossible. Of course, here on Techdirt, we’ve published many posts about people and companies that have adopted various innovative strategies to get around the problem. But what about music streaming as a mass medium: will it ever be possible to make money in this sector?

Apple’s Lawsuits Against Android Are Helping Patent Trolls, Canadian Android OEM BlackBerry Turns to Texas for Trolling

Posted in America, Patents at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

BlackBerry is not a friend but growingly a troll as business prospects sour


Summary: Apple’s “thermonuclear” war on Android is helping parasites, venue-shifting to Texas remains a problem, and BlackBerry fulfills our expectation of becoming a patent assertion entity (practically a troll) down south in Texas

OVER THE years GNU/Linux became just “Linux” (a misnomer) and nowadays many people know it as “Chrome OS” or “Android”. Patents on software profoundly affect those platforms (Microsoft claims to “own” some of these platforms and demands “licensing” at the point of a gun) and this highlights the longstanding problem for Free/libre software; it is inherently incompatible with software patenting. Things become even stranger when patent aggressors like Sony, Ericsson and BlackBerry embrace Android while suing other Android players. We wrote about this many times before.

OpenTV’s patents have been mentioned here for quite some time, including earlier this year (a district court found OpenTV’s patents ‘abstract’ under Alice). Like many companies out there, it envies Apple’s wealth and decides to sue Apple (knowing that Apple might be willing to settle, using its deep pockets for calm rather than endless disputes/appeals in courts). Well, the case has just been settled [1, 2], but it’s a relatively small case compared to the upcoming SCOTUS case of Apple against Samsung. Pro-Apple sites and few other sites note that the case could help patent trolls. To quote Inside Sources:

When the Supreme Court decides in October whether Apple is entitled to the total profit of Samsung smartphones for infringing on Apple patents, the ruling could stretch from Silicon Valley into America’s heartland.

If the nation’s highest court upholds both federal district and appeals court decisions ordering Samsung to turn over its total profit from select Galaxy smartphones for infringing on three Apple design patents, the fallout in patent litigation will have an especially hard impact on the farming sector, an industry expert said Tuesday.

Leroy Watson of the agriculture non-profit National Grange said the subsequent wave of patent trolling predicted by numerous experts would have a severe impact on the next generation of telecommunications-equipped farming equipment.

The threat of a lawsuit for the total profit from the sale of such equipment, which commonly serves only a niche market of non-wealthy consumers, will deter innovators from developing those products, setting the agriculture industry technologically back by a generation, according to Watson.

The pro-Apple site, Apple Insider, chose the headline “Tech firms worry Supreme Court win for Apple over Samsung could benefit patent trolls,” so here is another reason to cheer for the Android OEM.

Earlier this week we wrote about some US professors who effectively sidle with patent trolls. Matt Levy, writing in a trolls-friendly site for a change, says today that “Opposition to Venue Reform Misses Target”. This is consistent with what Levy has campaigned on for a number of years in his (and CCIA‘s) blog, Patent Progress.

In other noteworthy news, BlackBerry — as we have feared for years — is becoming like a patent troll in Texas. It uses its patents to shake down competitors. BlackBerry’s CEO* says “We have today about 44,000 patents.” Irrespective of quality for sure, given this irrational number (no company can make this number of groundbreaking innovations). According to this report from the trolls-friendly IAM: “The move [Texas suit against Avaya] comes just over a year since Blackberry announced itself as a major player in the monetisation space with an agreement signed with Cisco, in which the Canadian company not only secured a cross-licensing deal but also “a license fee from Cisco”. Another royalty-bearing deal was done with an unnamed company around the same time. Since then, the company has also signed two more deals with Canon and International Game Technology, both of which look to contain a royalties element to them; while in January it emerged that late last year Blackberry had sold a portfolio of patents to investment firm Centerbridge Partners for as much as $50 million.”

If BlackBerry isn’t saved by Android, then not much will be left of this company other than a textbook definition of patent troll (no products, just shakedowns and litigation).
* Involved in the Microsoft-connected Silver Lake and was involved in Turbolinux, which sold out to Microsoft with a notorious patent deal.

Multimedia Software Patents Declared Invalid in the United States

Posted in America, EFF, Patents at 3:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The long and destructive tail of faulty or shoddy patent examination

A snake

Summary: A look at a highly destructive software patent (on podcasting) reaching a dead end only after the well-funded EFF stepped in and another new court decision which ruled a video streaming patent invalid

TECHRIGHTS spent many years writing about the infamous “podcasting patent” — a patent which was used to shake down many small businesses and even hobbyists. Not only was such a patent not justified to begin with; it deliberately targeted those without incentive to fight back in court (as it’s expensive).

The EFF stepped in some years back and two days ago it reported the latest in a press release by Daniel Nazer. It says:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will urge a federal appeals court at a hearing Thursday to find that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) correctly invalidated key claims of a patent owned by Personal Audio, which had used the patent to threaten podcasters big and small.

EFF is defending a USPTO ruling it won last year in its petition challenging the validity of key claims of Personal Audio’s patent. EFF argued, and the USPTO agreed, that the claimed invention existed before Personal Audio filed its patent application.

So even the USPTO, which granted this patent in the first place, agreed/admitted/acknowledged that it had made an error. How many people and businesses have so far been harmed (financial impact, health impact etc.) by this terrible judgment? Who will be held accountable for it? There will never be proper compensation, let along a refund. Even without Alice — as the above clearly notes that it boils down to prior art — this patent should never have existed.

Looking elsewhere in the news, patent lawyers (as usual, Tyrus Cartwright from Seyfarth Shaw LLP in this case) only cover (or cherry-pick, or scrape the bottom of the barrel for) cases that end up in favour of software patents*, but if one looks a little further at the latest in the docket (patent lawsuits, not PTAB), “Video Streaming Patents [Are Found] Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101″. To quote: “The court granted defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings because the asserted claims of plaintiff’s video streaming patents encompassed unpatentable subject matter and found that the claims were directed toward an abstract idea. “[T]he claims are directed to an abstract idea because the claims are not directed to an improvement in computer functionality, and the physical components of the claim merely provide a generic environment for carrying out the abstract idea. . . . The court is not persuaded that the claimed invention results in an improvement to computer functionality. [Plaintiff] did not invent the technology that converts video files into streaming format. . . . Moreover, [plaintiff] was not confronted with the problem of how to combine conversion technology and the Internet, or how to associate identification tags with video files. At most, the claims merely automate a sequence of known steps using conventional technology so that a human is not burdened with various manual steps. . . . The ordered arrangement of such conventional features provides no discernable benefits to computer functionality. This stands in stark contrast to claims which achieved such improvements to computing technology.””

Software patents die every week if not every day in the US (PTAB decisions are more frequent than court decisions). Things have gotten so out of hand for software patents proponents that they doubt Yahoo’s patent portfolio is worth much at all; today Forbes asks, “could Pokemon Go’s profit engine be derailed by challenges to the software patents underlying the game?”

Well, not really. Nintendo can afford going to court and since software patents typically die there, Nintendo will endure. In fact, post-Alice it’s unlikely that any firm (even patent troll) will bother suing.
* In this case [PDF], “patents-in-suit are directed to inventions that verify the delivery and integrity of electronic messages” as judged by PTAB, not actual courts. Not all avenues/means have been exhausted and the analysis is not as thorough as can be.

Patent Quality in Europe (EPO) Declining Under Battistelli in Spite of the USPTO’s Cautionary Tale

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 2:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Defeating the whole point or purpose of a patent (examination) system


Summary: A glance at some of the latest news and developments at the European Patent Office and what the US system serves to teach about the long-term effects

THE world’s patent systems have become a primary point of focus here. It’s not at all limited to the EPO and it never was.

SUEPO has not updated its public Web site in nearly a month (which is rather rare an infrequency), since around the time it had a hearing at The Hague. in Twitter, the EPO’s PR folks promote the EPO’s event in the US, next year’s lobbying event, and various courses, empty forums, etc. Basically nothing new. The media too is mostly silent and we are still working our way through ILO rulings, having recently explained how actions by Team Battistelli undermined the European Patent Convention (EPC). There are dozens of rulings to go through, so this may take some time (these cases are years old anyway, with only the outcomes/rulings being new).

“Will appeals even exist at the EPO under or after Battistelli?”After years of UPC promotion the editor of IAM, the EPO's mouthpiece, says that there is growing interest in Brexit’s impact. The UPC is a colossal threat to patent quality and a potential open door to patent trolls from abroad.

Quality control at the EPO is dying (Battistelli ended it using his utterly misguided policies) and judging by this new announcement [1, 2], it seems improbable that improper patent grants will be revoked fast enough or easily enough. Will appeals even exist at the EPO under or after Battistelli? The appeal boards are understaffed, they will soon be overpriced, and appeal windows will be narrowed (shortened time for appeals). It is already happening (effective a month ago, possibly to exacerbate in the near future).

Chloe Grover, writing in a sponsored “REPORT” (i.e. marketing) from a British law firm, Carpmaels & Ransford LLP, speaks about “designations of European patents where validity is also challenged”. Nowadays, as we pointed out before, it is harder to challenge validity because Battistelli does not wish for the weakness of examination to become apparent.

“The appeal boards are understaffed, they will soon be overpriced, and appeal windows will be narrowed (shortened time for appeals).”Europe is in growing need of a fix. There is a growing danger that low-quality patents will make it through to the point of attracting patent trolls (manifestation or fermentation of them). In the USPTO, as a cautionary tale, patent mazes/thickets and uncertainties accomplished what they’re supposedly there for: protectionism without studying the broader impact (facts-based cost analysis). But they also created a growing niche for patent trolls, to the point where nearly 90% of lawsuits there (in the technology sector) are filed by patent trolls, almost always with software patents. This means little of no progress in high-tech industry, as noted by Professor James Bessen the other day. One person says that it’s “because poor legalities like Patent Trolling [that can] destroy start up businesses” (this person is adamantly against software patents).

Even a new article by Professor Dennis Crouch complains about the USPTO this week. People are clearly not happy with the way things are run over there (the US) and Battistelli is rapidly emulating or copying all the mistakes made there. He brings neoliberalism to Europe, or patent liberalism in the quality sense (if in doubt, or under pressure of time/quota, grant liberally).

Links 4/8/2016: Microsoft Wiping Dual Boot (Linux) Partitions

Posted in News Roundup at 9:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • A New Project for Linux at 25

    After Linux took off (as GPL’d free software), I could see clearly how freedom worked because the means were there—not just for demonstrating it to everybody, but for developing more and more with it. I suspect the same could be true for promise-based financial dealings such as rent and buy.

    So my request here is to help Kevin debug the case he makes for his ideas, while putting them to work.

  • Some news from LWN

    Nate will continue to contribute articles to LWN. But we suspect that the intricacies of Béziers, brush strokes, and kerning are going to take a lot of time and attention, meaning that we will be needing somebody to help fill his shoes. Thus, LWN is hiring. If you would like to write full-time for one of the most discriminating readerships in the world — but also one of the most interesting, engaged, and supportive readerships — we would like to hear from you. This is your chance to make your mark on one of the community’s oldest publications.

    Speaking of “oldest,” the basic format of LWN’s Weekly Edition has changed little over the last 18 years. Some pages have come and gone (long-time readers will remember the desktop page, or the once-interesting “Linux in the News” page), but substantive changes have been few indeed. That format has served us well over the years; among other things, it helps us to ensure that each edition covers a wide range of topics. But it can also be somewhat limiting; it is a sort of treadmill of slots to be filled each week that makes it hard to focus on specific areas in response to what is happening in the community.

  • Desktop

    • Making the switch to open source as a non-programmer

      This was sometime around 2008. I wasn’t even 20 years old. I didn’t know how to code (apart from basic HTML stuff), nor did I have any particular tech skills. However, I was part of a community radio station that was embedded in an open source culture. After a full year as a member of that community, I decided it was time to fully convert and decided to install a Linux-based OS on my first ever laptop.

      My friends (and engineers-in-the-making) at Radio Zero were split between the recommended distributions, with some leaning towards Debian and others towards Ubuntu. After carefully listening to pros and cons and asking many times about whether I’d be able to actually work with any of them, I decided to go with Ubuntu.

      I was determined to install an open source OS on my computer regardless of my Dad’s* warnings about possible compatibility issues. Despite not being a programmer, or anything even remotely related, I was incredibly excited about what Linux had to offer. The promise of an operating system that was designed and developed with accessibility for all in mind, that you can tweak and improve as you please, and that is developed by and for the community sounded like a dream coming true. On top of all this, it was free. So, what was there not to like?

    • Warning: Windows 10 Anniversary Update might delete your Linux partitions [Ed: and you cannot stop the update. Sabotage, as noted yesterday]
    • Linux Users Reporting Windows 10 Anniversary Update Hoses Their Dual Boot Partitions [Ed: only to be expected from the ‘new’ Microsoft]

      If you’re a Linux user who happens to dual-boot with Windows, you should exercise extreme caution when upgrading to the just-released Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Not long after Microsoft’s latest release, reports began to hit the Web concerning issues of hard drives having their data deleted. The issue has proven to have enough credence to push Ubuntu’s Community Manager Alan Pope to shoot out a warning…

    • Partition disappears in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

      Microsoft hoped the Windows 10 Anniversary Update would literally be a revelation for all users, but shortly after installing the update, users encountered various issues. Despite Microsoft’s efforts to anticipate all the possible bugs, the list of complaints is getting longer every day.

  • Server

    • SDN: 7 Educational Opportunities

      Networking professionals hear all the time that they need to learn new skills to keep up with a rapidly changing industry. On-the-job training would be a practical option, but if your company hasn’t plunged into software-defined networking – and plenty haven’t — how do you expand your knowledge when you’re mired in CLI?

      As it turns out, the options for learning new approaches to networking are growing as SDN adoption gradually expands beyond hyper-scale Internet companies and service providers. This spring, the Linux Foundation rolled out a software-defined networking training course to address what the foundation described as a skills gap for networking pros. In launching the SDN training, the foundation said many network engineers lack experience with software virtualization.

  • Kernel Space

    • Blockchains and the public sector: Distributed ledger technology reaches the G-Cloud

      Isle of Man startup Credits has become the first to offer blockchain DLT to Britain’s public sector

      Britain’s public sector can start experimenting with distributed ledger technology (DLT) for the first time after confirmation that blockchain-as-a-service startup Credits has been enrolled as part of the latest G-Cloud 8 framework agreement.

      Credits is a small Isle of Man firm whose back story was recently covered in sister title Techworld but access to the distributed ledger technology (DLT) that comes with blockchain marks an important milestone for the G-Cloud Digital Marketplace and its public sector users.

    • Graphics Stack

      • New Linux Kernel Patches Tease Upcoming AMD FreeSync Support

        It appears that Linux gamers running AMD Radeon graphics cards could soon be treated to long-awaited FreeSync support. Some eagle-eyed folks at reddit spotted interesting Kernel patches submitted yesterday that both requests the addition of a FreeSync ioctl device, and also the mechanism for activating and deactivating FreeSync with full-screen apps.

        Because this patch would be implemented in the Linux kernel itself, the FreeSync mechanism should be able to work with both the open-source and proprietary drivers. I am unsure about the state of G-SYNC in the open-source Nouveau driver, but NVIDIA’s proprietary driver has supported G-SYNC for quite some time.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 4.4 To 4.7 – EXT4 vs. F2FS vs. Btrfs Benchmarks

        I’ve been a bit behind on my file-system benchmarking the past few months but for your viewing pleasure today are some EXT4 vs. Btrfs vs. F2FS file-system tests on an NVMe SSD when testing the Linux 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, and 4.7 kernels.

        The three file-systems were each tested on the latest four stable kernel series. In the next week or so I will provide some complementary figures using Linux 4.8 Git once the merge window is over and the release candidates begin. All of the file-systems were tested with the Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVM Express SSD.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • FCC Demands TP-Link Support Open Source Third-Party Firmware On Its Routers
  • 10 skills to land your open source dream job

    In 2014, my colleague Jason Hibbets wrote up a great article based on an excellent talk from Mark Atwood on the skills necessary to get a job with open source.

  • Which open source job skill is most in demand?
  • When Slashdot Was the Hub for FOSS News and Discussion

    Starting in the last years of the last century, when Linux and free software were first making their mark on the world, a website called Slashdot was the king-hell news and discussion site for such things, along with a variety of other topics that interested the kind of people you might meet at a LUG meeting or in the CS department of your local university. The original Slashdot tagline (no longer visible on the site) was “News for nerds, stuff that matters.” And one of the people who worked on Slashdot during those heady days was Timothy Lord, who is such a devout Linux person that he has a Tux tattoo (which we forgot to have him show in the video, darn it).

    FOSS was not the only news that interested nerds, and other stuff mattered, too, as the extensive Wikipedia Slashdot page explains. So let us go then, you and I, while FOSS Force is spread out, Prufrock-like, upon the monitor, to a distant land and time, with Timothy — and learn how things were in the days of yore, when Linux was still unknown to the masses and the people who cared about it, and about FOSS in general, were an interesting bunch we shall politely not call weirdos since many of them became our good friends over the years. But normal they were not, which was a large part of their charm — and what gave Slashdot its unique flavor.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.2 “fresh” released, for Windows, Mac OS and GNU/Linux

      The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 5.2, a feature-rich major release of the best free office suite ever created – targeted to early adopters and power users – with several user interface improvements and enterprise grade features.

      At the same time, LibreOffice 5.1.5 has been released, for enterprise class deployments and more conservative office suite users.

    • LibreOffice Versions 5.2 and 5.1.5 Released

      The Document Foundation today announced the releases of LibreOffice 5.2 and 5.1.5. LibreOffice 5.2 is the latest in the Fresh branch of the popular office suite bringing a new document classification system that will help keep prying eyes out. Other improvements include a single line toolbar option, quicker access to Print to File, and several other goodies. Of course, they’re always tweaking the core code as well making for a faster and more stable experience. But wait, there’s even more…

      As security concerns increase the Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program is a public-private partnership formed to secure electronic communication primarily for defense contractors and government entities. They’ve laid out specifications and frameworks that allow for more secure shared documents over the Internet. LibreOffice 5.2 adheres to these document classification specifications so it can be deployed in more sensitive projects.

    • LibreOffice 5.2 ‘Fresh’ Released, Download For Linux, Windows, and Mac

    • Guess who this GNU is?
    • Guix System Distribution 0.11 Uses Linux-Libre Kernel 4.7, Supports RAID Devices

      Ludovic Courtès reports for the GNU Guix project, an open-source package management system for the GNU system, on the availability of the Guix System Distribution (GuixSD) 0.11.0.

      It appears that this is the first time we write here something about the Guix System Distribution, so we feel obliged to inform the reader about the fact that GuixSD is an advanced distribution of the GNU system powered by the Linux-libre kernel and using GNU Guix as default package manager, thus respecting user’s freedom.


  • Hardware

    • Hard Drive Stats for Q2 2016

      Q2 2016 saw Backblaze: introduce 8TB drives into our drive mix, kickoff a pod-to-vault migration of over 6.5 Petabytes of data, cross over 250 Petabytes of data stored, and deploy another 7,290 drives into the data center for a total of 68,813 spinning hard drives under management. With all the ins-and-outs let’s take a look at how our hard drives fared in Q2 2016.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Portland Teachers Expose Lead in Schools

      The school superintendent in Portland, Oregon, has resigned amid a widening scandal, after news broke that the district waited months to tell the public that drinking water at two elementary schools had tested positive for lead.

      Even school employees only learned about the elevated lead levels at Creston and Rose City Park when a local newspaper ran an exposé.

      “What set all of us off initially was the cover-up,” said Belinda Reagan, president of the union that represents school clerical staff. “They lied about it. They knew. That’s a notorious manner of handling things in this district. They are not forthcoming.”

      The first two schools were just the tip of the iceberg. “Now we are finding out, as they are testing more schools, that all of them have the issues,” Reagan said.

      The four unions representing teachers, custodians, and clerical employees quickly united to put pressure on the district—and to find out how this problem went unfixed for so long. They’re demanding testing of all schools, safety protection for students and employees, and a role in the plan to make schools safe by the fall.

  • Security

    • Kaspersky Lab Launches Bug Bounty Program With HackerOne

      The security firm allocates $50,000 to pay security researchers for responsibly disclosing flaws in its security products.
      Kaspersky Lab is no stranger to the world of vulnerability research, but the company is now opening up and enabling third-party security researchers to disclose vulnerabilities about Kaspersky’s own software.

    • Reproducible builds for PaX/Grsecurity

      A series of scripts are created to do reproducible builds for Linux kernel with PaX/Grsecurity patch set.

      Thanks to:

      Debian GNU/Linux Community
      Shawn C[a.k.a “Citypw”]
      Linux From Scratch

      Without the contributions of the projects, community and people, the scripts cannot be accomplished.

    • Four flaws in HTTP/2 could bring down web servers

      SECURITY RESEARCHERS have uncovered at least four flaws in the HTTP/2 protocol, the successor to HTTP that was launched properly only in May last year, after Google rolled up its SPDY project into HTTP/2 in February.

      The flaws enable attackers to slow web servers by overwhelming them with seemingly innocent messages that carry a payload of gigabytes of data, putting them into infinite loops and even causing them to crash.

      The HTTP/2 protocol can be divided into three layers: the transmission layer, including streams, frames and flow control; the HPACK binary encoding and compression protocol; and the semantic layer, which is an enhanced version of HTTP/1.1 enriched with server-push capabilities.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Turkey’s clash of Islamists: Erdogan vs Gülen

      What does the power struggle between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and powerful Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen mean for Turks who want democracy?

    • Engineering an uprising: what the democracy rallies in Turkey tell us

      A striking feature of the aftermath of the attempted coup in Turkey are the mass gatherings and demonstrations that have been taking place on a nightly basis in towns across the country. But what has spurred people to take to the streets in such numbers? And how is the government’s narrative of traitors and infiltrators, in opposition to defenders of democracy, likely to shape future developments in Turkey?

      Whereas significant incidents, such as the spate of recent terrorist attacks, have generally been met by an immediate media blackout in Turkey, this time the media clearly had a crucial role to play. It was in a live broadcast on CNN Turk that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched his appeal for people to take to the streets to ‘defend their democracy’, as the military coup attempt was unfolding on July 15th. The call was made via mobile application Facetime and was then widely disseminated via social media – an irony given Erdoğan’s well-known aversion to such platforms.

      In what may have come as a surprise to those familiar Erdoğan’s polarising rhetoric, people across the country heeded the call in vast numbers. Zehra Aydogan, living in an area close to Istanbul’s main airport, reported that within an hour the streets of her neighbourhood were flooded with men and boys streaming towards the airport.

    • A secret group bought the ingredients for a dirty bomb — here in the U.S.

      The clandestine group’s goal was clear: Obtain the building blocks of a radioactive “dirty bomb” — capable of poisoning a major city for a year or more — by openly purchasing the raw ingredients from authorized sellers inside the United States.

      It should have been hard. The purchase of lethal radioactive materials — even modestly dangerous ones — requires a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a measure meant to keep them away from terrorists. Applicants must demonstrate they have a legitimate need and understand the NRC’s safety standards, and pass an on-site inspection of their equipment and storage.

      But this secret group of fewer than 10 people — formed in April 2014 in North Dakota, Texas and Michigan — discovered that getting a license and then ordering enough materials to make a dirty bomb was strikingly simple in one of their three tries. Sellers were preparing shipments that together were enough to poison a city center when the operation was shut down.

    • More than 400 government files missing from National Archives

      More than 400 government documents have gone missing from the National Archives in the last four years.

      They include Foreign Office files from the 1970s on “military and nuclear collaboration with Israel” and a 1947 letter from Winston Churchill.

      One MP from the parliamentary group on official archives told the BBC he was “concerned” by their loss.

      The National Archives said it was running a “robust” programme to locate the documents.

      A response by officials to a Freedom of Information request from the BBC showed that 402 historical files remain unaccounted for since 1 January 2012.

      They include more than 60 Foreign Office files, more than 40 from the Home Office and six from the official records of former prime ministers.

      The National Archives in Kew, London, holds more than 11 million official documents, many of which have been transferred from government departments and are often opened as public records after 30 years.

    • Trump asks why US can’t use nukes: MSNBC

      Donald Trump asked a foreign policy expert advising him why the U.S. can’t use nuclear weapons, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said on the air Wednesday, citing an unnamed source who claimed he had spoken with the GOP presidential nominee.

      “Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump. And three times [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked at one point if we had them why can’t we use them,” Scarborough said on his “Morning Joe” program.

      Scarborough made the Trump comments 52 seconds into an interview with former Director of Central Intelligence and ex-National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden.

    • Robbed in Rio: Danish Olympic team hit by thieves

      Olympic thieves have robbed Denmark’s team of mobile phones, clothes and sheets, and even had the cheek to deprive Morten Rodtwitt, the country’s Olympic boss of his iPad.

      “It’s extremely irritating,” Morten Rodtwitt, Denmark’s chef de mission in Rio, told Berlingske.

      “In connection with the many extra workers, cleaners and housekeepers who have been squeezed into the Olympic village because of our requirements and requests, we have been subjected to a series of thefts,” he told TV2.

      The thefts come on top of a string of problems with the athletes rooms which have forced the Danish delegation to complain of no fewer than 150 issues with their 36 apartments.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hillary Clinton And Climate Change: Pro-Fracking Businessman Hosts Clinton Fundraiser In Colorado

      Before a campaign stop at a boutique tie manufacturer in Denver and a rally, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton raised money from a deep-pocketed donor with a potential interest in one of the most controversial issues facing voters in Colorado this November.

      Clinton attended an Aspen fundraiser Tuesday hosted by Charif Souki, who amassed his fortune working for natural gas companies including one he founded last year, Tellurian Investments. The debate about fracking is intensifying in Colorado. In recent months, activists in the swing state have been pushing ballot initiatives to limit the practice while the oil and gas industry has pushed back with a multimillion-dollar campaign.

      Under Clinton, the U.S. State Department was a major proponent of fracking, and her campaign has benefited from millions of dollars from donors connected to the oil and gas industry, according to a recent report from Greenpeace. By some estimates, Clinton raised at least $650,000 at the fundraiser with Souki, based on the number of people in attendance and the price of admission.

      During the primary season, Clinton refused to say that she would completely ban fracking as president but implied that with the various restrictions she supports, including the ones being fought for in Colorado, there wouldn’t be a lot of land left over for fracking developments.

    • Lawsuit Challenges Plan to Turn California Aquifer Into Dump for Oil Waste

      The Center for Biological Diversity today sued California regulators for supporting a so-called “aquifer exemption” plan to turn underground water in the Price Canyon area of San Luis Obispo County into a permanent disposal site for oil wastewater and other fluids. There are at least 100 water supply wells for drinking water and crop irrigation within a mile of this aquifer.

      Today’s lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in San Luis Obispo, faults regulators for not analyzing the aquifer exemption plan’s risks as required by the California Environmental Quality Act. The suit asks the court to set aside the state’s approval of the aquifer exemption and halt oil company injection into this underground water until regulators have complied with CEQA.

  • Finance

    • Time Inc. Plans to Lay Off Over 100 Workers

      Time Inc., which in recent weeks has undergone a major corporate reorganization and a retooling of its sales and marketing staff, is laying off an estimated 110 people across all areas of the company, according to people familiar with the situation.

      As part of its reorganization efforts, Time Inc. has created new teams to focus on specific advertising categories in a bid to sell more advertising and advertising services to marketers across all its titles.

    • Bookmakers have lost faith in Article 50 ever being triggered
    • “When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers”: How Private Equity Profits off Our Daily Lives

      When you woke up this morning, chances are your morning routine was touched in some way by a private equity firm. From the water you drink to the roads you drive to work, to the morning newspaper you read, Wall Street firms are playing an increasingly influential role in daily life. So says a compelling new article in The New York Times, “This Is Your Life, Brought to You by Private Equity.” For more, we speak with New York Times reporter Danielle Ivory, one of the contributors to the series as well as co-author of the recent article “When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers.”

    • Why Austerity?

      In uncertain economic times, austerity is oft prescribed as a panacea to a nation’s economic ills. International organisations, business groups, mainstream political parties and the media lead the cheer squad about nations needing to live within their means. To the person on the street, there is logic to it; in household finance, earning more than you spend is seen as prudent, therefore governments should follow the same formula.

      The trouble is, if you have ever studied a reasonable mainstream version of economics, you would know that in uncertain economic times, governments need to go into deficit to sustain economic growth. Although the aforementioned groups would have you believe otherwise, this is not a radical notion. In fact, it is largely attributed to a stuffy product of the British establishment, the economist John Maynard Keynes and his concept of the circular flow of income.

    • U.K. Interest Rates: A Record Low

      Britain’s central bank cut Thursday interest rates from 0.5 percent to 0.25 percent—their lowest levels ever since the Bank of England was established in 1694. The cut is also the first since March 2009, when the world was in the midst of the great recession.

      The move Thursday is an attempt to boost the U.K.’s economy after the unease caused by the Brexit vote.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • CNN hosting Green Party town hall

      CNN announced Wednesday it will host one of its town hall events with the Green Party’s presumptive presidential nominee Jill Stein and her presumptive running mate, Ajamu Baraka.

      The hour-long event will be held on Wednesday, August 17 at 9:00 p.m. ET. The event will broadcast live on CNN, CNN International, CNN en Espanol and online via CNNgo.

      Stein has consistently polled as the fourth-most popular option in the presidential race, after Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Libertarian Gary Johnson. In the most recent CNN/ORC poll, Stein received 5% support nationwide, four points behind Johnson, her nearest competitor.

    • Folded, Spindled, Mutilated: The Unspooling of Donald Trump

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had a baby thrown out of his rally in Virginia Tuesday night. No, really, he did. “Don’t worry,” he said, “the mom’s running around, don’t worry about it. It’s young and beautiful and healthy, that’s what we want. Actually, I was only kidding. You can get the baby out of here. I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I’m speaking.”

      You’re supposed to kiss the babies, jackass, not have them bodily removed. That was, by far and away, the least weird thing to happen on Planet Trump in the last 140 hours.

      Khizr and Ghazala Khan’s tectonic appearance at last week’s Democratic National Convention transmuted Trump into a national punchline, again, for many prospective voters. He picked a fight with a Gold Star family and they ate his lunch on national television. The simple fact of the Khan family and the fallen soldier son they honor daggers home the lesson: Mess not with the righteous, lest you be shredded like cheese in the medium you thought you commanded.

    • Former NSA head Hayden: I may not vote this fall
    • New Ad Shows GOP Leaders Slamming Trump’s Ability To Be Commander-In-Chief

      A new ad from Priorities USA isn’t relying on Democrats to make the case against Donald Trump. Instead, it’s a who’s who of Republican leaders, from Mitt Romney to former CIA Director Michael Hayden, all arguing that the Republican nominee is a “clear and present danger” to the United States.

    • The Party That Lost Its Soul

      “What does this say about your party that this is your standard bearer?”

      The headlines from President Obama’s excoriation of Donald Trump on Tuesday rightly highlighted his flat declaration that the Republican nominee is “unfit to serve as president.” But the challenge to Republican leaders who fell in line behind Trump was even more devastating.

      Obama was not simply condemning a man whose brutal cruelty finally came home to anyone with a heart after Trump’s attacks on a Gold Star family. The president was also indicting the entire GOP leadership for courting the extremism that led to Trump and for acquiescing in his nomination.

      Let’s focus on the most revealing aspect of this week’s turmoil within a party now aghast over the unstable egotist at the top of its ticket.

    • Pundits Lament Loss of a Reasonable, Competent GOP That Never Was

      So, for decades Republicans were strategically pretending to be doofuses—Boot claims, for instance, that Dwight Eisenhower sometimes “resorted to gobbledygook in public…in order to preserve his political room to maneuver”—but have now been taken over by a real one. Ignoring for the moment the raw cynicism of this admission (consistent with the intellectual godfather of neoconservatism Leo Strauss’s theory of “the noble lie”), it’s important to note that “stupidity” in this context is simply a matter of marketing, not substance. Boot is right that Trump’s ignorance of the most basic facts is, on its own, disturbing, but what did the “thoughtful” GOP of the past get us?

      Lamenting the lost reign of “Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz and George F. Will,” Boot offers, as exemplar of a remaining link to the party’s proud history in “the realm of ideas,” House Speaker “Paul Ryan, who devised an impressive new budget plan for his party.” Never mind that the plan impresses by zeroing out government agencies wholesale while taking food from the mouths of the poor; or that Ryan mindlessly votes in favor of every war, and has spent every moment in Congress making life harder for the poor, people of color, LGBT and women. In Boot’s world, pandering to voters’ ignorance in order to make life harder for the most vulnerable is A-OK, but a politician actually being ignorant calls for outraged denunciation.

      And what does it mean to be “stupid,” anyway? Boot, who presumably considers himself part of the right-wing intelligentsia, was a staunch advocate of the Iraq War, which led to the deaths of over a million people and directly resulted in ISIS. He defended the war as late as 2013. He called for war against both Iran and Syria in 2011. In October 2001, he made “the case for American empire.” If this is the deliberative thoughtfulness Trump is deviating from, then it’s simply a different kind of stupid, not an absence of it.

    • Donald Trump’s Spokeswoman Katrina Pierson Says a Lot of Things That Are Not True

      Let this news, and the fact that it is news, sink in: Katrina Pierson, the former Tea Party activist who is now Donald Trump’s national spokeswoman, admitted on Wednesday that Barack Obama was not the president of the United States in 2004.

      The reason it was considered necessary to extract this concession to reality from Pierson is that she had insisted, during an interview with CNN the night before, that President Obama was responsible for the death of Capt. Humayun Khan, an American soldier who was killed in Iraq five years before he became commander-in-chief.

    • Can Jill Carry Bernie’s Baton? A Look at the Green Candidate’s Radical Funding Solution

      Bernie Sanders supporters are flocking to Jill Stein, the presumptive Green Party presidential candidate, with donations to her campaign exploding nearly 1000% after he endorsed Hillary Clinton. Stein salutes Sanders for the progressive populist movement he began and says it is up to her to carry the baton. Can she do it? Critics say her radical policies will not hold up to scrutiny. But supporters say they are just the medicine the economy needs.

      Stein goes even further than Sanders on several key issues, and one of them is her economic platform. She has proposed a “Power to the People Plan” that guarantees basic economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities; living-wage jobs for every American who needs to work; an improved “Medicare for All” single-payer public health insurance program; tuition-free public education through university level; and the abolition of student debt. She also supports a basic income guarantee; the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, separating depository banking from speculative investment banking; the breakup of megabanks into smaller banks; federal postal banks to service the unbanked and under-banked; and the formation of publicly-owned banks at the state and local level.

    • DNC Leak Shows Mechanics of a Slanted Campaign

      If you supported Hillary Clinton, it probably won’t bother you that the Democratic National Committee is revealed in these documents to have essentially acted as an arm of the Clinton campaign during the contested primary season.

      Most people guessed at this anyway. But it wasn’t until these documents were dumped last week under mysterious circumstances that the extent to which the party both advocated for Hillary and against her opponent Bernie Sanders was made plain.

      Nowhere is the discrepancy on greater display than in an episode involving the DNC’s reaction to a May 2nd article by Politico reporters Ken Vogel and Isaac Arnsdorf, which itself pointed at a backdoor advantage for the Clinton campaign.

      The exchanges over this Politico story were barely mentioned in the wake of the DNC leak, except by right-wing media that shortsightedly dinged Vogel for submitting a draft of his piece of the DNC before publication, suggesting “collusion.”

      Vogel maybe shouldn’t have sent a whole copy for review, but his intent wasn’t to give the DNC or Hillary a break – far from it. It seems pretty clear that he wanted to make sure he didn’t miss with a piece full of aggressive, original reporting that took on a very powerful target.

      In the piece, headlined “Clinton fundraising leaves little for state parties,” Vogel and Arnsdorf discovered an anomaly in Federal Election Commission filings.

      A joint fundraising committee called the Hillary Victory Fund, ostensibly designed to funnel money from rich donors to local party committees, had in fact been used as a cut-out to funnel money back to the national party and the Clinton campaign.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Bizarre Decision Keeps Hope Alive In Enigma Software’s Defamation Suit Against BleepingComputer

      Enigma Software joined the long line of aggrieved companies who feel that legal threats and questionable lawsuits are the best form of reputation management. It sued BleepingComputer over a “defamatory review” — which was actually just a forum post by a member that detailed (with supporting links) its questionable SpyHunter software and its “rogue tactics” over the years.

      In addition to the defamation claims, Enigma Software also argued that BleepingComputer only did this to steer site readers towards its own products, alleging a handful of Lanham Act violations.

      Unfortunately, Enigma Software’s dubious claims have survived a motion to dismiss by BleepingComputer, thanks to some similarly dubious reasoning [PDF] by the judge presiding over the case. Not only are the Lanham Act claims given far too much credence (thanks to some twisted judicial analysis that assumes that because trademark is a part of the Lanham Act, false advertising claims under the Lanham Act are also intellectual property claims, exempt from Section 230 of the CDA), but the court’s decision to allow the lawsuit to process also punches a few more holes in Section 230 protections.

      Because the author of the post was a third-party contributor, BleepingComputer should not have been held responsible for the content of the post. However, the court appears to be bothered that the user in question was referred to as a “staff member” by BleepingComputer, even if it was actually a volunteer administrative post and BleepingComputer did not directly control the content of the user’s contributions.

    • Banning a bully is not political censorship [Ed: The Yorker calls Milo Yiannopoulos “a bully”. I think they attribute to HIM what OTHER people did.]
    • The Censorship Monster: Who’s Afraid Of A Queer Nipple In The Digital Age?

      Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

      I’d like to share with you a very personal account of censorship in the digital age.

      About a month ago, during the Gay Pride weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Annual NYC Dyke March, with its festive climax in one of my favorite Downtown spots, the Washington Square. Being an integral and proud part of the community of several thousand march participants and spectators, I documented the happy lesbians parading around and flashing their breasts in the fountain.

      It was a cheerful, peaceful and liberating event, much-needed after a couple of dreadful weeks following the devastating news of the Orlando mass shooting. To commemorate this exciting moment, I posted a picture on my Instagram of one happy bull dyke with a cool hairdo wearing nothing but a patriotic American bikini — the ideal poster girl for this year’s NYC Dyke Pride.

    • Censorship is crucial in giving the readers the correct information-Kambwili [Ed: fact-checking!=censorship]

      Dr Kambwili said although the public media had been given the authority to cover opposition political parties, it was important to censor the information that would be disseminated to the public to avoid raising alarm.

    • Google slammed for removing Palestine from its maps

      The Palestinian Journalists’ Forum has denounced Google for deleting the name of Palestine from its maps and replacing it with Israel.

      In a statement released yesterday, the forum said Google’s decision to remove Palestine from its maps on 25 July “is part of the Israeli scheme to establish its name as a legitimate state for generations to come and abolish Palestine once and for all.”

      “The move is also designed to falsify history, geography as well as the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland, and a failed attempt to tamper with the memory of Palestinians and Arabs as well as the world.”

      The forum said the move was “contrary to all international norms and conventions”, stressing that Google should back track on its actions.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The 28-Year-Old Activist Who Took on Facebook. And Won

      A new U.S.-European Union data-privacy accord that took hold this week could have been a reason to celebrate for Max Schrems, the 28-year-old whose successful landmark lawsuit against Facebook last year led to the new rules affecting more than 4,000 companies. Instead, he’s saying the new rules should be thrown out as well.

      Schrems says the new framework is muddled, allowing mass amounts of data collected by American technology companies to continue making its way to U.S. national security agencies. He expects the new policy to be struck down again by courts, leaving global companies further in limbo. “Privacy Shield is the product of pressure by the U.S. and the IT industry – not of rational or reasonable considerations,” Schrems said in a statement after the rules, which began Aug. 1, were passed by European lawmakers last month. “It is very likely to fail again.”

    • Oliver Stone asks moviegoers to power down phones—and leave them off [iophk: "may quiet the ringing and texting but smartphones don't fully power down"]

      We’re all used to warnings and promos ahead of films, from candy-filled “let’s all go to the lobby” sequences to a polite-yet-firm reminder to power phones off. Sometimes, those sequences get a cute touch-up (my favorite is probably this wild, vulgar parody from the Aqua Teen Hunger Force film), but starting this week, moviegoers can expect something a little darker—as in, a harrowing warning that sounds like it might have been written by Edward Snowden.

      It wasn’t, however. Instead, the message was written, and is delivered, by Snowden film director and script co-writer Oliver Stone.

      The Oscar winner appears in the one-minute clip, seated in a lovely den—complete with decadent furniture and giant bottles of assumedly fine liquors—with a smartphone in his hand. He starts describing the many things “this amazing little device” can do, from mass communication to cat-video streaming (and we’re shown a few kitties briefly to make the point).

    • Breaking through censorship barriers, even when Tor is blocked

      While Tor Browser provides many security and privacy properties and features, not everyone around the world has the luxury to connect to use it. By default, Tor Browser makes all of its users look alike by spoofing UserAgent (and other methods) to avoid fingerprinting attacks. However, it doesn’t hide the fact you’re connecting to Tor, an open network where anyone can get the list of relays. This network transparency has many benefits, but also has a downside: Many repressive governments and authorities benefit from blocking their users from having free and open access to the internet. They can simply get the list of Tor relays and block them. This bars millions of people from access to free information, often including those who need it most. We at Tor care about freedom of access to information and strongly oppose censorship. This is why we’ve developed methods to connect to the network and bypass censorship. These methods are called Pluggable Transports (PTs).

      Pluggable Transports are a type of bridge to the Tor network. They take advantage of various transports and make encrypted traffic to Tor look like not-interesting or garbage traffic. Unlike normal relays, bridge information is kept secret and distributed between users via BridgeDB. If you’re interested in helping censored users, you can become a bridge operator. And if you’re a developer and have interesting ideas on how to make new PTs or want to contribute code, we’ve some good documents to get you up to speed.

      And finally, if you’re a censored user and want to take advantage of PTs, I’ve good news for you. They’re already included in Tor Browser and this how-to graphic should help you configure it to bypass censorship.

    • Snapping up cheap spy tools, nations ‘monitoring everyone’
    • Microsoft Brings Blockchain to Azure Testing Environment [Ed: NSA leader in Blockchain is a bad move]
    • Microsoft releases Blockchain-as-a-Service platform for developers
    • The Rise Of More Secure Alternatives To Everyone’s Favorite Chat App, Slack

      Like a ton of people and companies, we’ve been using Slack here. While we saw some folks claim it was revolutionary, we found it to be a nice, but somewhat marginal, upgrade to our previous use of Skype chat rooms. But, over time, it has certainly gotten comfortable, and there have been some nice feature add-ons and integrations that have made it a pretty cool service overall — though if you really want to use it to its fullest extent and switch to the paid version, it can get pretty pricey, pretty quickly. I also am in a bunch of other group Slack chats, as it’s basically become the platform of choice for group discussions.

      However, in these days where hacked emails are in the headlines, I can see why some might get nervous about using a tool like Slack. Not that there have been any known breaches of Slack that I’m aware of, and I’m sure that the company takes security very seriously (it would undermine its entire business if it failed on that front…), it’s been interesting to see other options start to pop up, which might be more appetizing for those who are extra security conscious.

    • “IT’S TIME” — Edward Snowden Just Issued A Mysterious Warning On Twitter

      The NSA whistleblower posted a puzzling tweet on Aug 3. He said, “It’s time” and requested his former colleagues, probably who were working with NSA, to reconnect with him. Snowden also mentions the name of Barton Gellman.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Canadian Judge Tosses Case After Finding Law Enforcement Entrapped Supposed Terrorists

      It’s not just FBI agents playing with Home-Grown Terrorist™ Erector Sets. It’s also Canada’s top law enforcement agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. When there apparently aren’t enough actual terrorists to be found, agencies like these need to front the $40 at Wal-Mart for terrorist supplies, or dupe someone with an IQ of 51 into becoming the latest Indictment Du Jour.

      Despite this, courts have largely gone along with the charade. It’s almost impossible for someone to successfully raise an entrapment defense, whether it’s a group of senior citizens who’ve been molded by undercover agents into an ad hoc terror unit or a bunch of easily-impressed thugs being hounded into stealing nonexistent drugs from fake stash houses.

      Up in Canada, though, the law enforcement game may be played by the same rules, but one court isn’t willing to encourage the RCMP’s Build-a-Terrorist shenanigans.

    • Widely Reported D.C. Metro Police “Terrorism” Arrest Involved Gift Cards, Not Violence

      The FBI “terrorism” arrest of a Washington, D.C., Metro police officer making headlines all over the world on Wednesday actually involved a man who sent $245 worth of gift cards to an FBI informant he thought was his friend.

      Nicholas Young, a 36-year-old Virginia man, had previously tried to dissuade the informant from joining ISIS, even as the informant spent years cultivating him and waiting for him to do something illegal.

      Young was accused of attempting to provide material support to the militant group the Islamic State. News reports highlighted his job prominently and announced that he had been accused of “helping ISIS” — making it sound like he was about to blow up the subway.

    • Reclaiming Europe from the powers that be: an interview with Barbara Spinelli MEP

      If we really care to defend the European project, it is completely unreasonable to start institutional revisions before having radically changed the policies that brought us to this multi-faced crisis, so similar to the one of the 30s, in the first place. And the root-cause is not only in the EU’s economic-financial make-up but also in its democratic failure, the disintegration of societies, and a loss of orientation and hope experienced collectively by European citizens.

    • Gassing of Indigenous youth in Australian detention system reeks of colonialism

      Last week, shocking footage depicting security personnel in a Northern Territory (NT) juvenile detention center teargasing and torturing indigenous detainees made headline news in Australia. In contrast to the uproar it has now engendered, this incident was actually first reported two years ago and attracted little outcry from a largely disinterested Australian public. Despite the tireless efforts of indigenous and social justice advocates, the vast majority of Australians remain reluctant to address the elephant in the room: that the use of mass incarceration among indigenous people in Australia is a tool of ongoing colonization.

      It’s been 25 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody made 339 recommendations on how the government could finally take action on the systematic discrimination and grave maltreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian justice system. One of the foremost recommendations was that incarceration should be used as a last resort.

    • Labor’s Stockholm Syndrome: Why Unions Must Stop Backing Anti-Labor Candidates in the Primaries

      Stockholm syndrome: Feelings of trust or affection felt in certain cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor.

      In the 2016 Democratic primary, US labor unions overwhelmingly endorsed Hilary Clinton and invested millions of dollars in ensuring her nomination. Few eyebrows were raised, despite Clinton’s questionable record and platform towards workers. Why not? Organized labor’s support for political enemies of unions and workers is so common it has become expected. The labor movement suffers from a political Stockholm syndrome, embracing the very politicians who attack them. The embrace of Hillary Clinton, openly hostile to the current campaigns of some of the very unions who endorsed her, exposes the self-destructive absurdity of the situation. An intervention is needed or unions will be hard-pressed to reverse their current decline if they do not shake the Stockholm syndrome and adopt different political strategies.

      Endorsing less-than-friendly politicians is nothing new for US unions but the widespread endorsement of Hilary Clinton is a reductio ad absurdum of the practice. Clinton, in addition to maintaining a general anti-labor slant, has opposed the principal campaigns of some of the very unions endorsing her.

      For example, how did the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) respond to Clinton’s refusal to support a $15 minimum wage, something the SEIU has invested many years and untold millions of dollars into? By enthusiastically endorsing her, investing millions of dollars into her campaign (SEIU has already given her more than $2 million), and vigorously mobilizing its members to vote and volunteer for Hillary as their champion.

    • Freedom Square: Making Black Lives Matter

      In Chicago, the #LetUsBreathe Collective has transformed a lot adjacent to the Homan Square facility, exposed as a Chicago Police Department “black site” by The Guardian last year, into a beautiful organizing space aptly called Freedom Square. While the city continues to divest social resources from our communities, this site of torture has become a site of freedom and visionary love in a neighborhood that is over-policed and over-incarcerated. According to Million Dollar Blocks, North Lawndale committed nearly $241 million to incarceration in 2005-2009.

    • The Constitution: Still a Bestseller After All These Years

      Throughout our 96-year history, the Constitution has guided so much of what we do at the ACLU — we strive to help people understand and care about our founding document and show how it’s relevant in our everyday lives. And suddenly, during this year’s election cycle, the Constitution ended up being an especially hot topic.

      After Khizr Khan’s speech urging Donald Trump to read the Constitution, we decided to offer our pocket Constitutions free of charge from ACLU’s online store. We received a more enthusiastic response than we ever could have imagined, with over 100,000 copies ordered in the span of a few days! Thanks to this unprecedented demand, we are officially sold out of pocket Constitutions.

      We’re thrilled to discover so many fellow Constitution nerds.

    • Israeli Racism Unmasks Netanyahu Goodwill Video

      Was it meant as an epic parody or an insult to his audience’s intelligence? It was hard to tell.

      Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media to apologise for last year’s notorious election-day comment, when he warned that “the Arabs are coming out to vote in droves” – a reference to the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian.

      In videos released last week in English and Hebrew, Netanyahu urged Palestinian citizens to become more active in public life. They needed to “work in droves, study in droves, thrive in droves,” he said. “I am proud of the role Arabs play in Israel’s success”.

      Pointedly, Ayman Odeh, head of the Palestinian-dominated Joint List party, noted that 100,000 Bedouin citizens could not watch the video because Israel denies their communities electricity, internet connections and all other services.

    • Chinese activist Hu Shigen jailed for subversion

      A Chinese activist has been jailed for more than seven years for subversion, the second person jailed in two days in a crackdown on legal activism.

      Hu Shigen pleaded guilty in Tianjin to “damaging national security and harming social stability”, said state media.

      On Tuesday, Zhai Yanmin was found guilty of subversion and handed a three-year suspended jail sentence. Two more activists also face trial.

      The cases have been widely seen as an attempt to silence government critics.

      Around 300 lawyers and activists have been arrested since last year as part of the nationwide campaign. About 20 are still detained.

    • When Children Witness Violence at Home

      When violence rocks a household, most often a woman bears the blows. But even if they’re just onlookers, children can become victims, too.

      Some youngsters are amazingly resilient—after witnessing the horrors of domestic violence, they grow up without suffering from trauma.

      In other cases, children don’t get over what they see at home. Their exposure to violence scars them mentally and emotionally, and the damage can last a lifetime.

      As school starts in the United States this fall, an ambitious national campaign will address the effects of domestic violence on children. Its goal is to raise awareness among adults who work with them, including teachers, coaches and social workers. The campaign will complement existing programs that help young people build resilience.

    • The blackness within.

      It’s the most unsettling memory of my childhood.

      Watching my father physically drag my mom out of bed, her body thumping onto the floor, and him throwing clothes at her while screaming. Every few words, he would hurl an item of clothing at her.

      For Christ’s sake Lois, get out of the *** ****** bed and take care of this ******* house. He stood over her, glaring while my mother curled into a fetal position and sobbed. He turned around and saw me in my doorway across from their bedroom. I quickly pulled my arms around myself in a protective posture and dropped my gaze to the floor. The hard slap to the side of my head never came.

      He didn’t say a word to me. He left the bedroom, slamming the door behind him and stomped down the stairs and out the kitchen door. The glass in that outer kitchen door shattered violently as he slammed it for punctuation. I waited to even move until I heard the engine of his old truck fire to life and the sound of tires on gravel as he left our driveway onto the main road.

      It wasn’t until I turned to go back into my bedroom, I realized I had urinated in my pajamas.

    • During Fatal Standoff, Police Asked Facebook To Deactivate Woman’s Account

      Baltimore County police shot and killed Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old black woman, after an hours-long standoff on Monday — during which Facebook and Instagram, at police request, temporarily shut down Gaines’ accounts.

      Gaines, who police say was armed with a shotgun, is the ninth black woman shot and killed by police so far this year, The Washington Post reports. Her 5-year-old son was wounded in the exchange of gunfire. The case has attracted a significant amount of attention on social media.

    • Facebook account deactivated as Baltimore woman posts during deadly standoff

      In the midst of a five-hour standoff that turned deadly, Facebook granted an emergency request from the Baltimore County Police Department to take offline the social media accounts belonging to a woman who wielded a shotgun at officers.

      Baltimore County Police officers shot and killed Korryn Gaines, 23, after she barricaded herself inside her Randallstown apartment with her 5-year-old son and pointed a shotgun at officers attempting to serve an arrest warrant.

    • Korryn Gaines: Video by mother killed during stand-off with police shows son saying ‘they trying to kill us’

      A mother who was involved in an armed stand-off with Maryland police had been posting live videos to social media before she was shot dead in a raid which also saw her five-year-old son wounded.

      Korryn Gaines, 23, barricaded herself in her apartment for five hours and allegedly pointed a shotgun at officers who were trying to arrest her over a missed court appearance.

      Videos posted to Facebook and Instagram showed Ms Gaines talking to armed police stood in the doorway to her home, as well as to her son.

      And it has now emerged that Facebook granted an emergency request from police to have Ms Gaines’ profile shut down during the stand-off, amid fears public comments on her videos could undermine negotiators’ efforts.

    • Petition Against Female Genital Mutilation Provokes An Angry Backlash

      For many minorities, what happens in the community stays in the community.

      But last winter, 17 Indian women from a tiny sect of Islam blew the lid off a guarded secret, spurring scrutiny, controversy, debate and vituperative abuse. Since then, online and off, they’ve been called sexually promiscuous, non-believers and traitors to their faith.

      Their crime? They authored a petition asking the government of India to outlaw female circumcision.

      Until the petition went public in December, many Indians didn’t know female genital mutilation — or FGM — happens in the country at all. In India, the Dawoodi Bohra Muslims are the only community that practices female genital mutilation in the form of circumcision, a practice they call khatna that dates back 1,400 years, according to the clergy. There are about a million Dawoodi Bohra Muslims globally; the majority live in India and some in Pakistan, with diaspora populations across the world.

      “Nobody talked about it at all. It was never a part of conversation, ever. It was such a secret, such a top secret,” says Masooma Ranalvi, one of the women who spearheaded the petition. “Sexuality is not anything you talk about with anyone. What happened to me as a child, what part of me was cut or why was it cut, was never something I talked about with my mother or my sisters. My elder sisters had both been through it in a similar way — exactly the same procedure, my grandmother took them as well. We never communicated with each other, then or as adults. It remained between you and the grandmother that took you for it.”

      Ranalvi, who runs a publishing house in Delhi, says she was in college when she realized what had been done to her.

    • Ukip leadership hopeful Lisa Duffy wants ‘total ban’ on Muslim schools

      A “total ban” on Muslim state schools has been called for by Lisa Duffy, the Ukip leadership hopeful.

      Ms Duffy, who is expected to be announced as once of the candidates in the party’s leadership race at noon today, has called for Islamic faith schools to be shut down in a bid to tackle radicalisation.

    • Men-only sessions in Luton pool a ‘cultural thing’

      Luton’s olympic swimming pool has began hosting gender-segregated swimming sessions because of “cultural” reasons, it has been alleged.

      Users of the competitive pool at Inspire Sports Village in Stopsley – built with taxpayer-funded Olympic money – were given sudden notice that there would be men-only sessions on Friday evenings from July 29.

      Women-only sessions will also take place on a Friday evening, but in the smaller community pool.

      One outraged female swimmer told Luton News: “The Friday night session for everyone is now closed because of the listed men-only sessions.

      “I have asked a team leader about it – as there are no managers at the weekend – and he said it was a ‘cultural thing’.”

      Women who do not want to use the community pool are reportedly told to use Lea Manor or Lewsey Pools.

      The woman added: “Why has one section of the community in Luton been allowed to dominate and take over the best pool in the borough?

      “Why can’t they instead have booked Lea Manor or Lewsey pools?

    • Archbishop Warns Europe Migration Crisis Fueled by Muslims’ ‘Will to Conquer’

      One of the most important prelates in the Catholic Church in Hungary has warned that the enormous waves of migrants rolling into Europe are due in no small part to a Muslim “will to conquer,” by expanding their territory into the continent.

    • Police study: Finland’s private sector more corrupt than public

      Corruption is on the up in Finland—and the private sector leads the way. That’s the main finding in a new report from the Police University College, which looked at how prevalent different forms of corruption are across business and the state sector.

  • DRM

    • Classified! LibreOffice 5.2 adds document access control

      LibreOffice 5.2, the newest version of the open source productivity suite, is aiming at becoming a tool of government and professional organizations, not merely a free substitute for Microsoft Office.

      Most notably, Version 5.2 supports the Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program (TSCP) standards for document classification. These standards describe the sensitivity of the information in a document and how heavily its access should be restricted.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Report: Operating Systems Should Actively Block Pirated Downloads

        Apple, Google and Microsoft, are in an ideal position to deter piracy, according to a new report published by Black Market Watch and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime. The controversial report opts for voluntary or mandatory blocking of pirated content on the operating system level.

      • Pensioner fills in crossword puzzle art exhibit, claims copyright of “new” work

        The lawyer of a 90-year-old woman, who mistakenly started filling in an art exhibit in the form of a crossword puzzle, claims that she holds the copyright of the “new” work. The 1977 creation by the 20th-century artist Arthur Köpcke was lent to Nuremberg’s Neues Museum by a private collector, and is said to be worth around £68,000.

        The retired German dentist, Hannelore K.—her full name has not been released—visited the gallery along with other pensioners last month. During a half-hour interview with the local police following the discovery of her additions to Köpcke’s creation, the woman said that she started filling in the artwork’s crossword puzzle because it bore the phrases “Insert words” and “so it suits.”

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