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Patent Law Firms, David Kappos, and IAM ‘Magazine’ Still Shelter Software Patents by Cherry-Picking and Lobbying

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 5:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ignoring the bulk of cases or inter partes reviews in order to advance their agenda

Many cherries

Summary: Amid the gradual collapse of software patents in the United States there are disingenuous efforts to bring them back or maintain a perception that these patents are still potent

FOLLOWING the CAFC-level McRO case we have seen a new wave of software patents lobbying. We last wrote about it in yesterday's sole article and prior to it we showed how McRO got exploited for software patents agenda by the patent microcosm [1, 2, 3]. We estimated that we would probably see it lasting for weeks in the media and indeed, even a week later we still see new examples. Fenwick & West LLP of Bilki Blog is promoting software patents using this decision and watch this sensationalist and misleading headline from Paul Hastings LLP (a truly gross generalisation). They are intentionally extrapolating/generalising while ignoring all the court outcomes that they don’t like (because it disproves their claims/marketing).

Judging by the article “Alice Ruling Limits Patentability of Business Processes”, David Kappos is still at it. He is a software patents lobbyist (he used to be an official, namely USPTO Director, but he is taking money from Microsoft and IBM these days). He bemoans Alice at every turn and here’s the latest talking point from him:

David Kappos, a former director of the patent office, is quoted by Bloomberg Businessweek saying that invalidation of patents is “out of control” and has “definitely gone too far. Important software innovations that are highly technical are being deemed unpatentable. You can get software patents allowed in both China and Europe that aren’t allowable in the U.S. anymore.”

Other proponents of software patents, sites like IAM for instance, cherry-pick data (in this case focusing on “most frequent filers”) to make PTAB progress look like it’s stalling, even when figures from MIP suggest otherwise. Fun with statistics; they’re being shaped based on one’s desired conclusion.

The loudest proponent of software patents, Gene Quinn, wrote many articles bashing PTAB and insulting PTAB. He also published quite a few article celebrating McRO and now he helps the coordinated effort to [cref 95347 belittle abuse (even fraud) by the USPTO. Such is the modus operandi of people with such an agenda. If only more Web sites bothered pointing this out…

Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Going Places and Suing Microsoft Rivals, Microsoft Wants More ‘Linux Patent Tax’

Posted in Apple, Asia, GNU/Linux, LG, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 5:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

troll dollSummary: Microsoft-connected patent trolls like Larry Horn’s MobileMedia are still attacking Microsoft rivals and Microsoft wants more money from Korea, after it attacked Linux with software patents over there (notably Samsung and LG)

“US Pat RE39231,” wrote a patent attorney, eventually meant that “Apple Must Pat MobileMedia $3M for Infringing this Patent” (MobileMedia is not as real company and we wrote about it before, in relation to MPEG-LA and Larry Horn; we wrote about him in [1, 2]).

How many people out there know that MPEG-LA is a patent troll whose head himself is/was a patent troll? Not many people know this. Horn relies on dishonest lawyers from Proskauer Rose and sues Apple, which itself is part of MPEG-LA (we already took note of how bizarre this is).

Well, “Apple loses ringtone infringement case to Nokia and Sony’s patent troll firm,” according to the headline of this report. To quote: “Apple has been ordered to pony up $3 million in damages by a Delaware judge for infringing the patent of a firm partially owned by Sony and Nokia. The case, which has been running since way back in 2010, saw MobileMedia Ideas originally accuse Apple on 16 counts of patent infringement. Six years and plenty of court activity later, the original claim has been whittled down to just one patent pertaining to iPhone ringer alerts, for which MobileMedia has been awarded a tidy sum of money.”

A patent troll connected to Nokia — a legacy of Microsoft entryism and subsequent passage of patents to trolls like MOSAID — is somewhat of a pattern we’ve seen a lot of recently. Android too is being targeted by these trolls.

“MobileMedia Ideas just won a Delaware trial against Apple over a former Sony patent,” Florian Müller wrote about it. “May file further lawsuit now over iPhone 4S and later.”

Tom O’Reilly from Mobile Media Ideas is advertising for this patent troll. He passed around the press release “MobileMedia Ideas Wins Trial against Apple” and it said:

(CHEVY CHASE, MD, US – 21 September 2016) – MobileMedia Ideas LLC is pleased to announce that the US District Court for the District of Delaware today found MobileMedia Ideas’ “polite-ignore” patent (Re 39,231) for mobile phone call silencing valid and infringed by the iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 and awarded $3M in damages. The case did not include the iPhone 4S, 5/5C/5S and 6/6 Plus on which there may be further proceedings. The patent was filed in 1994 by Sony Corporation, a pioneer in the development of mobile and other consumer electronics technology, and is now part of the patent portfolio licensed by MobileMedia Ideas.

MobileMedia Ideas President and CEO Larry Horn said, “We thank the jury for its service and hard work. This case could have been avoided by the taking of a license, however. MobileMedia Ideas’ business model is based on offering reasonable licenses to a valuable portfolio of important inventions widely practiced across a broad array of mobile phone and other portable products. We still welcome Apple to respect intellectual property developed by others with the taking of a license.”

MobileMedia Ideas was represented by a team of litigators at Proskauer Rose led by Steve Bauer and Kim Mottley of the Boston office.

In relation to an article/report mentioned here earlier this week, there is now an important update. Coming from the Korea Times, it says that the tax authority is likely to reject Microsoft’s appeal for refund of tax. To quote the opening parts:

The South Korean tax authority is expected to reject an appeal by U.S. software giant Microsoft Corp. to refund 634 billion won ($575.7 million) in a withholding tax, according to the tax authority and industry sources Thursday.

Microsoft filed complaints last month against the National Tax Service (NTS), seeking a refund of the withholding taxes paid by Samsung Electronics Co. to the NTS for using the software giant’s patents.

When will Microsoft pay the tax it has evaded? Above the law, still? A lot of the above sum comes from Linux-powered devices (we wrote about this many times before).

Those who believe that Microsoft has changed surely aren’t paying attention to what it does through patent trolls, through Nokia (which Microsoft demanded should pass patents to trolls), and in various distant countries like Korea. Microsoft just became a little more covert in its war against Linux.

Links 22/9/2016: Linux Professional Institute Redesign, Red Hat Upgraded

Posted in News Roundup at 3:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Dronecode’s Craig Elder speaks about open-source software for drones

    Earlier this month it was revealed that ArduPilot, an open-source autopilot solution, would no longer be associated with the Linux Foundation’s Dronecode Project, an open-source drone platform. This came as a surprise to many considering that the idea of Dronecode came from the minds of ArduPilot.

    “Dronecode was established around ArduPilot,” said Craig Elder, former technical community manager for Dronecode who leads software teams in ArduPilot. “What we tried to do with Dronecode was to do a better job at engaging the companies who are using ArduPilot.”

    The reasoning behind this move is that ArduPilot is based on the open-source GPL license. According to Chris Anderson, chairman of Dronecode, the GPL license is great for the open-source development community, but toxic for companies.

  • Google open-sources Show and Tell, a model for producing image captions

    Google today is announcing that it has open-sourced Show and Tell, a model for automatically generating captions for images.

    Google first published a paper on the model in 2014 and released an update in 2015 to document a newer and more accurate version of the model. Google has improved the technology even more since then, and that’s what’s becoming available today on GitHub under an open-source Apache license, as part of Google’s TensorFlow deep learning framework.

  • Lenovo N21 Chromebook Now Has Mainline Coreboot Support

    The Lenovo N21 Chromebook is now supported by mainline Coreboot. But then again that’s not a huge surprise considering Google’s focus on Chromebook/Chromebox support in Coreboot.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Says Goodbye to Firefox Hello in Firefox 49

        In October 2014, as part of the Firefox 34 beta release, Mozilla introduced its Firefox Hello communications technology enabling users to make calls directly from the browser. On Sept. 20, 2016, Mozilla formally removed support for Firefox Hello as part of the new Firefox 49 release.

        The Mozilla Bugzilla entry for the removal of Firefox Hello provides little insight as to why the communications feature is being pulled from the open-source browser. As it turns out, the Firefox Hello removal is related to shifting priorities at Mozilla.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Cloudera Tests Impala Against Competitive Analytics Engines

      In the cloud and on the Big Data scene, there is a pronounced need for advanced data analytics and database-driven insigts. Apache Impala has emerged as an important tool providing these solutions, and Cloudera is out with some notable test results for Impala. Cloudera, focused on Apache Hadoop, released benchmark results that show that its analytic database solution, powered by Apache Impala (incubating), delivers very fast capabilities for cloud-native workloads but does so at better cost performance compared to alternatives.

    • Learn how to deploy OpenStack for free

      The course is designed for those who want a high-level overview of OpenStack to gauge whether their organization needs OpenStack solutions or not. The course also helps users in getting started with a small scale OpenStack test environment so they can test and experiment with it.

    • Support Is Now the Differentiator in the OpenStack Race

      When it comes to OpenStack cloud computing distributions, now offered by a variety of vendors, we are at a tipping point. As businesses and organizations demand flexible solutions for deploying cloud solutions based on OpenStack, competition is fierce. With so many vendors competing in this arena, market consolidation was bound to arrive, and it is here. What will the key differentiator be going forward? That would be support.

      Just last month, Red Hat announced its latest platform: OpenStack Platform 9. One day later, VMware introduced VMware Integrated OpenStack 3. Both distributions are based on the OpenStack Mitaka release. From Mirantis to Canonical, Hewlett-Packard and others, there are now several OpenStack distribution providers competing with each other, and updates arrive at a rapid-fire pace.

  • Funding

    • Almost Fully Funded – Pledge now!

      The Pepper and Carrot motion comic is almost funded. The pledge from Ethic Cinema put it on good road (as it seemed it would fail). Ethic Cinema is non profit organization that wants to make open source art (as they call it Libre Art). Purism’s creative director, François Téchené, is member and co-founder of Ethic Cinema. Lets push final bits so we can get this free as in freedom artwork.

      Notice that Pepper and Carrot is a webcomic (also available as book) free as in freedom artwork done by David Revoy who also supports this campaign. Also the support is done by Krita community on their landing page.


    • An Early Port Of GCC To AMD’s GCN Architecture

      While still in its early stages, there’s a port in the works of the GNU Compiler Collection for AMD’s GCN (Graphics Core Next) instruction set architecture.

      Longtime SUSE toolchain expert Jan Hubicka started a port of GCC to AMD GCN a few weeks back. Hubicka has been experimenting with porting GCC to GCN for running on recent generations of GPUs. He noted in an email to Phoronix that it’s still a bit early to report on, but the slides are now uploaded for any interested readers.

    • The State Of GNU’s GDB Debugger In 2016

      At the GNU Tools Cauldron that took place earlier this month in Hebden Bridge, UK was the annual status update of the GDB debugger.

      Red Hat developer Pedro Alves talked about the state of the GNU Debugger with some recently-accomplished changes plus other work on the horizon for this widely-used GNU program.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Hybrid approach to federal open source

      The White House’s recent Federal Source Code Policy is its latest push in an ongoing effort to modernize and innovate government technology. It takes a focused aim at overhauling and democratizing federal software procurement and application by calling upon department and agency heads to consider the wider value of open source software (OSS), including releasing 20 percent of new custom-developed code as OSS. Noting that the federal government annually dispenses a whopping $6 billion on more than 42,000 software transactions, this guidance strongly encourages the exploration of solutions that better support cost efficiency, reduce vendor lock-in and encourage re-use across agencies.

    • Key article on China and Open Source Software, thoughts for Europe

      05 The fastest way for Europe to achieve all these goals is to create an Open Source (Technologies) Agency in partnership with China and India and I would go so far as to also suggest Iran, Russia, and Turkey as well as Malaysia and Indonesia. We divide the world at our peril. My memorandum to Vice President Biden is still available online for exploitation by anyone. The Americans refuse to take open source seriously because vendors own the US Congress and the US White House and they will pay to the death of all of us for the right to continue looting public treasuries instead of providing integrated open source solutions helpful to humanity. There are 9 major open source categories, 27 critical sub-categories — I have listed them at the P2P Foundation Category:Open Source Everything, but there is no government anywhere that a) understands this or b) is addressing open source as a universal ecology. That is the next big leap, in my generally humble opinion.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Help Send Conservancy to Embedded Linux Conference Europe

      Last month, Conservancy made a public commitment to attend Linux-related events to get feedback from developers about our work generally, and Conservancy’s GPL Compliance Program for Linux Developers specifically. As always, even before that, we were regularly submitting talks to nearly any event with Linux in its name. As a small charity, we always request travel funding from the organizers, who are often quite gracious. As I mentioned in my blog posts about LCA 2016 and GUADEC 2016, the organizers covered my travel funding there, and recently both Karen and I both received travel funding to speak at LCA 2017 and DebConf 2016, as well as many other events this year.

    • Copyleft, attribution, and data: other considerations

      When looking at solutions, it is important to understand that the practical concerns I blogged about aren’t just theoretical — they matter in practice too. For example, Peter Desmet has done a great job showing how overreaching licenses make bullfrog maps (and other data combinations) illegal. Alex Barth of OpenStreetMap has also discussed how ODbL creates problems for OSM users (though he got some Wikipedia-related facts wrong). And I’ve spoken to very well-intentioned organizations (including thoughtful, impactful non-profits) scared off from OSM for similar reasons.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Telenav releases OpenStreetView, an automotive-integrated open source platform designed to accelerate the advancement of OpenStreetMap

        Telenav®, Inc. (NASDAQ:TNAV), a leader in connected car and location-based services today announced the availability of OpenStreetView (OSV), a free open source platform designed to accelerate the advancement of OpenStreetMap® (OSM). The platform includes free iOS and Android apps with optional auto OBD-II integration and web tools to equip drivers and the nearly three million global OSM editors.

      • Open Budget: updated data reveal volatile practices

        “The data confirm a broader trend documented by IBP on volatility in government budget transparency practices. Improvements in budget transparency are often followed by regressions in subsequent years”, OGP added. But on the positive side, “the data show that more governments are publishing Citizens’ Budgets —simplified summaries of technical budget reports issued in languages and through media that are widely accessible.”

      • Amsterdam, Murcia and Zurich to test CPaas project

        The project aims to provide an open platform (City Platform-as-a-service – CPaas) that combines Open Government data with big data and the Internet of Things technologies to address challenges of the modern urban environment. The three European cities were chosen because of their proven experience in Open Data, the project website says.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Industrial IoT Group Releases Security Framework

      The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) , which was founded by AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM, and Intel, released a common framework for security that it hopes will help industrial Internet of Things (IoT) deployments better address security problems.

      Security is critical to industrial IoT because attacks could have dire consequences, such as impacting human lives or the environment, said Hamed Soroush, senior research security engineer with Real-Time Innovations and the co-chair of the IIC security working group.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Virginia Governor Photographed With Willie Nelson’s Pot — But Arrests Thousands for Possession

      The governor stopped by Nelson’s bus while thanking several performers at Farm Aid 2016, an annual festival meant to benefit family farmers. His spokesman, Brian Coy, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that McAuliffe was not aware of the marijuana. McAuliffe, who opposes marijuana legalization, visited Nelson for 10 minutes or less and “had no idea” what else was on the bus, Coy said.

      “He was not and still is not aware of whatever was on the table or anywhere around him and wouldn’t know marijuana or related paraphernalia if it walked up and shook his hand,” Coy said. “He’s cool, but he’s not that cool.”

    • If It Needs a Sign, It’s Probably Bad Design

      Despite having pen in its name, the EpiPen isn’t really designed like a pen at all. A pen usually has a cap that covers the pen tip. But the cap of the EpiPen is on the opposite end as the needle tip. Joyce Lee, a pediatrician and University of Michigan professor who also studies patient-centered design, points out that this broken metaphor causes confusion over which end is which – and has led to people accidentally pushing their fingers into the needle. Between 1994 and 2007 there were over 15,000 unintentional injections from EpiPens, including many cases of trained healthcare professionals who accidentally gave themselves a dose of epinephrine in the thumb or finger while trying to deliver the life-saving medicine to someone else.

    • U.S. Coast Guard investigates strong oil smell in waters off Vallejo as residents report trouble breathing

      The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating reports of an oil sheen and strong smell near Vallejo that prompted firefighters to recommend residents shelter in place after some complained they had trouble breathing.

      A Coast Guard helicopter planned to conduct a search Wednesday morning to try to locate the sheen near Vallejo and Mare Island. Coast Guard boats and a helicopter crew did not find the sheen on Tuesday.

      The ferry Intintoli first reported a strong smell of oil at about 8 p.m. Later, other ferry vessels and crew members from Coast Guard Station Vallejo reported seeing a sheen on the water.

      Coast Guard officials said it’s unclear if the sheen is related to the strong odor that prompted the Vallejo Fire Department to advise its residents to stay indoors, close their windows and turn off any air conditioning.

      Pacific Gas & Electric said a team was working with public safety officials in Vallejo to determine the origins of the odor.

      Residents reported difficulty breathing because of the strong odor, with many flocking to Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center to seek medical assistance, KPIX-TV reported.

    • How ZIP Codes Nearly Masked the Lead Problem in Flint

      My job was to examine blood lead data from our local Hurley Children’s Hospital in Flint for spatial patterns, or neighborhood-level clusters of elevated levels, so we could quash the doubts of state officials and confirm our concerns. Unbeknownst to me, this research project would ultimately help blow the lid off the water crisis, vindicating months of activism and outcry by dedicated Flint residents.

      As I ran the addresses through a precise parcel-level geocoding process and visually inspected individual blood lead levels, I was immediately struck by the disparity in the spatial pattern. It was obvious Flint children had become far more likely than out-county children to experience elevated blood lead when compared to two years prior.

    • Overusing Antibiotics Could Cost the World Trillions of Dollars

      It has become increasingly clear that we’re overusing antibiotics, and now it’s costing us big money.

      Here in New York, the United Nations is ready to take on what has become a global threat. The UN General Assembly High-level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance that’s set to happen today has a singular message to policymakers: get antimicrobial resistance under control for the sake of the human and economic health.

      According to a World Bank report titled “Drug-resistant Infections: A Threat to Our Economic Future,” drug-resistant infections are causing economic damage up to 3.5 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). Middle and low- income countries could lose up to 5 percent of their GDP. In total, the global economic loss could cost nearly $100 trillion by 2050.

      The report emphasized that if antimicrobial resistance continues to spread, several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at risk of failure. These goals include missions to end hunger, improve nutrition and food security, promote sustainable agriculture, and reduce inequality within and among nations.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Why we should just simply call ourselves Hackers

      Developers, Programmers, Engineers, Code Artists, Coders, Codesmiths, Code Warriors, Craftsmen … these are currently the labels we use to explain our profession. One can get an idea of how this can appear confusing to the outsider.

      Computers can enrich our lives, give focus, amplify our adventures, gauge our science and grow our business. Right now computing is being embedded into everything and it is now more than ever that we need to redefine our role and show. some. fucking. solidarity.

      Rather than confusing pre-existing labels and shoe-horning them to our profession, which makes use of synthetic intelligence more than any, I propose that we call ourselves Hackers instead of the myriad other ways.

    • Germany surveys cyber-attacks

      Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has launched a survey to obtain information about actual cyber-attacks on business and government, to assess potential risks, and to determine protective measures. The study should result in new ICT security recommendations.

    • Matthew Garrett Explains How to Increase Security at Boot Time [Ed: Microsoft apologist Matthew Garrett is promoting UEFI again, even after the Lenovo debacle]

      Security of the boot chain is a vital component of any other security solution, said Matthew Garrett of CoreOS in his presentation at Linux Security Summit. If someone is able to tamper with your boot chain then any other security functionality can be subverted. And, if someone can interfere with your kernel, any amount of self-protection the kernel might have doesn’t really matter.

      “The boot loader is in a kind of intermediate position,” Garrett said. It can modify the kernel before it passes control to it, and then there’s no way the kernel can verify itself once it’s running. In the Linux ecosystem, he continued, the primary protection in the desktop and server space is UEFI secure boot, which is a firmware feature whereby the firmware verifies a signature on the bootloader before it executes it. The bootloader in turn verifies a signature on the next step of the boot process, and so on.

    • Is open source security software too much of a risk for enterprises? [Ed: inverses the truth; proprietary software has secret back doors that cannot be found and patched]

      Although free, there are many institutions that are reluctant to use open source software, for obvious reasons. Using open source software that is not controlled by the enterprise — in production environments and in mission-critical applications — introduces risks that could be detrimental to the basic tenants of cybersecurity, such as confidentiality, integrity and availability. This includes open source security software like the tools Netflix uses.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Tolstoy On Iraq

      As Tolstoy explains it, the French thought they were in a ritual duel with rapiers between two honorable combatants. Suddenly the Russian side realizes its danger, picks up a cudgel and beats its rival senseless. Tolstoy says that Napoleon complained to the Russian Emperor Alexander I and General Kutusov that the war is carried on “…contrary to all the rules – as if there were any rules for killing people.”


      The publisher of my version explains that a new edition was warranted especially by Hitler’s invasion of Russia. We might see it as a good time to understand a lesson ourselves. The US Army and its allies destroyed the Iraqi Army, but the people were not defeated. The US Army won many battles with the army of North Viet Nam and conflicts with guerrillas in Viet Nam, but the people were not defeated. And the debacle in Afghanistan is even harder to understand in light of that country’s history.

    • The Assassination of Orlando Letelier and the Politics of Silence

      Forty years ago last night, agents working for the Chilean secret service attached plastic explosives to the bottom of Orlando Letelier’s Chevrolet as it sat in the driveway of his family’s home in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

      A few blocks away across Massachusetts Avenue my family’s Pinto sat in our driveway unmolested. Our whole neighborhood, including my mother and father and sister and me, slept through everything.

      Forty years ago this morning, the Chilean agents followed Letelier as he drove himself into Washington, down Massachusetts to the think tank where he worked. The bomb went off as Letelier went around Sheridan Circle, ripping off most of the lower half of his body. He died shortly afterward, as did Ronni Moffitt, a 25-year-old American who’d been in the car with him. A second passenger, Moffitt’s husband Michael, survived.

      Letelier’s murder was ordered by the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who’d overthrown the country’s democratically elected president Salvador Allende three years before in a military coup. Letelier, who had been Allende’s defense minister, was arrested during the coup and tortured for a year until Pinochet bowed to international pressure and released him. But in Washington, Letelier became the leading international voice of the opposition to Pinochet, who decided he had to be eliminated.

      There are still many unanswered questions about this time. Exactly how complicit was the U.S. in the overthrow of the Chilean government? Why did the CIA ignore a cable telling it that Chile’s agents were heading to the U.S.? Why did Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State, cancel a warning to Chile not to kill its overseas opponents just five days before Letelier was murdered?

    • After We Help the Saudis Commit More War Crimes We’re Going to Mars!

      But we had to help the Saudis kill Yemeni civilians, Lindsey argued, because Iran humiliated American sailors who entered Iranian waters, purportedly because of navigation errors.

      That argument — one which expressed no interest in the well-being of Yemenis but instead pitched this as a battle for hegemony in the Middle East — held the day. By a vote of 71-27, the Senate voted to table the resolution.

    • 27 U.S. Senators Rebel Against Arming Saudi Arabia

      A Senate resolution opposing a $1.15 billion arms transfer to Saudi Arabia garnered support from 27 senators on Wednesday, a sign of growing unease about the increasing number of civilians being killed with U.S. weapons in Yemen. A procedural vote to table the resolution passed 71-27.

      The Obama administration announced the transfer last month, the same day the Saudi Arabian coalition bombed a potato chip factory in the besieged Yemeni capital. In the following week, the Saudi-led forces would go on to bomb a children’s school, the home of the school’s principal, a Doctors Without Borders hospital, and the bridge used to carry humanitarian aid into the capital.

      Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen in March 2015, four months after Houthi rebels from Northern Yemen overran the capitol, Sana’a, and deposed the Saudi-backed ruler, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

      In addition to providing Saudi Arabia with intelligence and flying refueling missions for its air force, the United States has enabled the bombing campaign by supplying $20 billion in weapons over the past 18 months. In total, President Obama has sold more than $115 billion in weapons to the Saudi kingdom – more than any other president.

      After the White House failed to respond to a letter from 60 congressman requesting the transfer be delayed, Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced a resolution condemning the arms sale. Paul and Murphy said they had planned to pursue binding legislation if their resolution was successful.

      “It’s time for the United States to press ‘pause’ on our arms sales to Saudi Arabia,” Murphy said. “Let’s ask ourselves whether we are comfortable with the United States getting slowly, predictably, and all too quietly dragged into yet another war in the Middle East.”

    • How Video Games Are Influencing War Propaganda in Syria

      Since the country’s uprising began in 2011, Syrian civil society activists have created a huge range of media documenting their own experience of the conflict. Professional documentary filmmaking in Syria has undergone a renaissance of sorts, with films like Bassel Shehadeh’s “Streets of Freedom” and the award-winning 2013 documentary “Return to Homs” portraying the effect of years of war on the Syrian people.

      Dauber says sophisticated political films like the one produced by Ahrar al-Sham are an attempt to promote a particular narrative of events in Syria, as well as to recruit others to their cause. Like all war propaganda, it is questionable how closely this polished image reflects reality. Amateur footage from the Syrian war, typically produced by citizen journalists with cellphones, portrays a reality that is harsher, uglier, and more morally conflicted than the tidy narratives of militant groups and states.

      But even as they gloss over the realities of war, politically driven films like “Rage Wind” reflect a generational change in the way that conflicts are depicted.

    • Why US Had to Kill the Syrian Ceasefire

      There are several sound reasons for concluding that the US-led air strike on the Syrian army base near Deir Ezzor last weekend was a deliberate act of murderous sabotage. One compelling reason is that the Pentagon and CIA knew they had to act in order to kill the ceasefire plan worked out by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

      The compulsion to wreck the already shaky truce was due to the unbearable exposure that the ceasefire plan was shedding on American systematic involvement in the terrorist proxy war on Syria.

      Not only that, but the tentative ceasefire was also exposing the elements within the US government responsible for driving the war effort. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter – the head of the Pentagon – reportedly fought tooth and nail with Obama’s top diplomat John Kerry while the latter was trying to finalize the ceasefire plan with Russia’s Lavrov on the previous weekend of September 9 in Geneva.

    • Syria declares end of ceasefire, US seeks clarification from Russia

      The initial seven days of the nationwide ceasefire in Syria have run their course, the Syrian Army has declared. However, it failed to add whether the truce will be reinstated in the near future. In response the US has called on Russia to clarify the statement made by the Syrians.

      The Syrian Army’s statement blames “terrorist groups” for jeopardizing the cessation of hostilities, Reuters reports.

    • America’s Worldwide Impunity

      After several years of arming and supporting Syrian rebel groups that often collaborated with Al Qaeda’s Nusra terror affiliate, the United States launched an illegal invasion of Syria two years ago with airstrikes supposedly aimed at Al Qaeda’s Islamic State spin-off, but on Saturday that air war killed scores of Syrian soldiers and aided an Islamic State victory.

      Yet, the major American news outlets treat this extraordinary set of circumstances as barely newsworthy, operating with an imperial hubris that holds any U.S. invasion or subversion of another country as simply, ho-hum, the way things are supposed to work.

    • Syrian Rebels Unite With al-Nusra Front, Prepare for Offensive – Russian MoD

      The only parties adhering to the truce are Moscow and the Syrian government forces, while the United States and opposition groups it controls have not fulfilled a single obligation according to the Russia-US agreement, the General Staff said.

      “The United States and so-called moderate opposition groups under its control have not fulfilled a single commitment taken on under the Geneva agreements. Above all, the moderate opposition has not been separated from al-Nusra Front [also known as Jabhat Fatah al Sham],” Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said at a briefing.

      Syrian rebels have taken advantage of the ceasefire observed by the Syrian army and currently are preparing to advance in the Aleppo and Hama provinces, the Russian reconciliation center said.

    • Deconstructing Samantha Power’s Big Lies on US Warplanes Massacring Syrian Forces

      She’s Obama’s neocon UN envoy, a despicable character, complicit in his high crimes by outrageously supporting them.

      Edward Herman once called her a member of “the cruise missile left.” She glorifies US-sponsored genocides outrageously called humanitarian interventions, ignoring or shamelessly justifying Washington’s sordid record of repeated supreme crimes against peace.

      She disgraces the office she holds, part of Obama’s permanent war criminal cabal. Her notion of responsibility to protect is mass slaughter and destruction to advance America’s imperium.

    • In Russia, some men want to watch the world burn

      Greenpeace activist Mikhail Kreindlin after he was attacked in Krasnodar region. Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Russia.Mikhail Kreindlin, the head of Greenpeace’s protected areas programme, returned to Moscow with relief. Two weeks ago, Kreindlin was in the southern region of Krasnodar, home to the Kuban river, to fight wildfires. But the trip left Kreindlin with a broken nose, a badly cut eyebrow and possible concussion.

      Russia’s volunteer firefighters have never had to face this kind of “patriotic vigilance” before. The problem is, vigilante justice seems to be a cover for corrupt officials.

    • How US Hardliners Help Iran’s Hardliners

      U.S. neocons keep pounding the propaganda drum about Iran in line with Israel’s regional desires but not helpful to American interests or even to the cause of moderating Iran’s behavior…

    • Fight Between Saudis and 9/11 Families Escalates in Washington

      On Monday, a constellation of lobbyists for Saudi Arabia, which has spent more than $5 million this past year to buy influence in Washington, called a crisis meeting to try to stop legislation allowing the families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue the Saudi government for any role in the plot.

      On Tuesday, the 9/11 families, represented in their multibillion-dollar lawsuits by lawyers including Jack Quinn, a former White House counsel with deep relationships in Washington, demonstrated outside the White House to pressure President Obama not to veto the legislation, as he has vowed to do.

      On Wednesday, these two powerful forces, one operating in the shadows and the other more in the open, converged on Capitol Hill in the culmination of one of the biggest and most emotional lobbying fights of the year. The battle is a reflection of the enduring dominance in Washington of the 9/11 families and the diminishing clout here of Saudi Arabia, which once advanced its agenda unencumbered in the West Wing and corridors of Congress.

    • Third World War has never been so close

      As we have already said many times, the main aspect of this political season is not elections, but war. But if elections do have importance somewhere, then this is in the US where, once again, they are closely connected to war. Two days ago, on Saturday, September 17th, the likelihood of this war was breathtakingly high. As we know, American troops, who no one ever invited to Syria, bombed the positions of the Syrian army at Deir ez-Zor. As a result of the bombing, 60 Syrian soldiers were killed.

      This strike was extremely important for ISIS militants, whom the US is informally advising and arming while supposedly fighting them. This crossed the line. Bombing Syrian soldiers is one thing, but this means declaring war not only against Syria, but also Russia, which is fighting in Syria on Assad’s side. And this means that we have reached a climax.

      Sure, the US leadership immediately reported that the airstrike was a mistake and warned the Russian leadership not to express any emotions. But Americans can only be lying, as modern technology allows satellite objects to be seen from a desktop. Theoretically, American bombers could not have simply confused such a strike. And what’s most important: if they had told you that they were preparing to bomb you, and you said nothing, then does that mean you agree?

    • Simple Ignorance vs. Politically Slanted Ignorance

      The principal reason Mr. Johnson was on the show was that he is running for president of the United States on the Libertarian Party ticket. And, of course, the president of the U.S. is the world’s most powerful leader and his or her awareness level is expected to reflect that.

      Therefore, those running for president are assumed to know everything about what is going on in the world as well as in their own country. This is of course impossible, though there is always a short list of issues that are center-stage.

    • “Indifferent to Yemen’s Misery,” Senate Approves Massive Saudi Arms Deal

      The bipartisan resolution to block the weapons sale failed 71-27, with two senators not voting.

      During the floor debate, many of those in favor of the weapons sale echoed Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who declared: “This is a sale that benefits us.” Although even Corker admitted Saudi Arabia is not a “perfect ally” and that many civilians had been killed in Yemen, he argued that the massive sale of new weapons should be approved because it will benefit the U.S. economically. Corker further claimed that arming the Saudi regime serves U.S. geopolitical interests by pushing back against the Iranians, who support the anti-Saudi Houthi factions in Yemen.

      Voting in favor of the arms deal were right-wing senators such as Corker and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) alongside several centrist Democrats, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

    • We’re Winning the War Against ISIS! Maybe? On Social Media?

      Despite the reality that propaganda in wartime is as old as dirt, America collectively is freaking out because a lot of ISIS’ takes place on social media. The elderly and feeble who run our government do not understand The Online gizmos and thus are terrified of them and declare they must be turned off with a big switch somewhere.

      The young who serve them and understand little outside their own online bubbly life, all want to get ahead and so are eager to “engage” in online warfare with ISIS as if it was all just a cooler version of Pokemon Go.

      So it was without meaning or surprise that the Obama Administration announced that Twitter traffic to pro-ISIS accounts has fallen 45 percent in the past two years.

    • For $178 million, the U.S. could pay for one fighter plane – or 3,358 years of college

      Does free college threaten our all-volunteer military? That is what Benjamin Luxenberg, on the military blog War on the Rocks says. But the real question goes beyond Luxenberg’s practical query, striking deep into who we are and what we will be as a nation.

      Unlike nearly every other developed country, which offer free or low cost higher education (Germany, Sweden and others are completely free; Korea’s flagship Seoul National University runs about $12,000 a year, around the same as Oxford), in America you need money to go to college. Harvard charges $63,000 a year for tuition, room, board and fees, a quarter of a million dollars for a degree. Even a good state school will charge $22,000 for in-state tuition, room and board.

      Right now there are only a handful of paths to higher education in America: have well-to-do parents; be low-income and smart to qualify for financial aid, take on crippling debt, or…

      Join the military.

      The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides up to $20,000 per year for tuition, along with an adjustable living stipend. At Harvard that stipend is $2,800 a month. Universities participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program make additional funds available without affecting the GI Bill entitlement. There are also the military academies, such as West Point, and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, commonly known as ROTC, which provide full or near-full college scholarships to future military officers.

      Overall, 75 percent of those who enlisted or who sought an officer’s commission said they did so to obtain educational benefits. And in that vein, Luxenberg raises the question of whether the lower cost college education presidential nominee Hillary Clinton proposes is a threat to America’s all-volunteer military. If college was cheaper, would they still enlist?

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • EFF Fights to End Court Case Against MuckRock

      After successfully defending MuckRock’s First Amendment right to host public records on its website earlier this summer, EFF filed documents in court on Monday seeking to end the last lawsuit brought against it in Seattle.

      The lawsuit was one of three filed by companies against MuckRock, one of its users, and the city of Seattle after the user filed a public records request in April seeking information about the city’s smart utility meter program, including documentation of the technology’s security.

      The lawsuits were all aimed at preventing disclosure of records the companies claimed contained trade secrets. In one of the cases, a company obtained a court order requiring MuckRock to de-publish two documents from its website that the city had previously released. A court quickly reversed that clear violation of MuckRock’s First Amendment rights and MuckRock put the public records back online.

      After the dust settled, companies in two of the lawsuits agreed to dismiss MuckRock. This occurred after EFF explained that the website is an online platform that hosts its users public records requests and any documents they receive. As such, MuckRock did not actually request the records subject to the lawsuits and merely facilitated and hosted the request by its user.

      MuckRock thus has no particular interest in the lawsuits because the underlying dispute is about whether certain documents contained trade secrets that must be redacted or withheld under Washington state’s public records law.

      The company in the third case, however, has refused to dismiss MuckRock. This is particularly curious because MuckRock currently does not host any documents from the company, Elster Solutions, LLC, that are subject to the public records request.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Green: at what price?

      On the shores of Lake Victoria in southern Uganda, a parcel of land is pitting a Norwegian timber company against more than 10,000 villagers.

    • AFL-CIO’s Lust for Oil Pipeline Jobs

      Despite the existential risk from global warming, short-term self-interest often wins out, whether opposition to the cost of building mass transit or readiness to put oil-industry jobs over the danger from fossil fuels, as Norman Solomon explains.

  • Finance

    • ‘You Know That It’s Not a Few Rotten Apples’ – CounterSpin interview with William Black on Wells Fargo fraud

      Janine Jackson: Wells Fargo employees illegally opened some 2 million accounts in the name of customers who didn’t authorize them, but were still charged with fees. Employees say the bank set aggressive goals for “cross-selling” its products, goals on which bonuses and jobs depend. But CEO John Stumpf tells the Wall Street Journal, “There was no incentive to do bad things.” Well, they say the fraud was concentrated in one division, and more than 5,000 employees have been fired. But the $185 million fine from regulators is still less than the $200 million worth of stock Stumpf holds, and only a little more than the retirement package given the executive in charge of the division identified as the epicenter of abuse. So how does that incentive system work again?

    • Former EU Official Among Politicians Named in New Leak of Offshore Files from The Bahamas

      A cache of leaked documents provides names of politicians and others linked to more than 175,000 Bahamian companies registered between 1990 and 2016

      For years, Neelie Kroes traveled Europe as one of the continent’s senior officials, warning big corporations that they couldn’t “run away” from the European Union’s rules. The Dutch politician sympathized with average citizens who worried they’d been left to pay the bills “as infringers cream off the extra profits.”

      As the EU’s commissioner for competition policy from 2004 until 2010, she was Europe’s top corporate enforcer and made Forbes magazine’s annual list of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” five times.

      What Kroes never told audiences – and didn’t tell European Commission officials in mandatory disclosures – was that she had been listed as a director of an offshore company in the Bahamas, the Caribbean tax haven whose secrecy and tax structures have attracted multinational companies and criminals alike.

      Kroes was listed as director of a Bahamian company from 2000 to 2009, according to documents reviewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

    • TiSA leaks set alarm bells ringing

      Despite the rumours and assertions by several Member States that Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is dead, the fight for safeguarding citizens’ rights and freedoms via so-called “trade agreements” is far from over. Now it is time to address the threat from the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Just days after Wikileaks made public some key negotiating documents concerning TiSA, Greenpeace Netherlands has released another batch of crucial and worrying documents.

    • Revelations on Neelie Kroes: Outstanding negative example of corrupting trust in politics

      A new investigation of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reveals that former EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes has breached the EU Commission’s Code of Conduct by withholding information about her participation in an offshore company in the Bahamas. A whistleblower shared the intransparent company register of the Bahamas with ICIJ. Kroes served as EU Commissioner for Competition from 2004 to 2010 and as EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda from 2010 to 2014.

    • Sir Alan Duncan: Boris Johnson didn’t want Brexit win

      Boris Johnson only campaigned to leave the EU to set himself up as the next Conservative leader, Sir Alan Duncan said the day before June’s referendum.

      Sir Alan said he believed the now foreign secretary, who is his current boss, wanted to lose narrowly and be the “heir apparent” to David Cameron.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • There’s One Other Reason Gary Johnson and Jill Stein Should Be Invited to the Debates

      In 2012, Dr. Stein became the most successful female presidential candidate in history…

    • Bush Just Made a MASSIVE Announcement About Donald Trump – BREAKING NEWS

      Former President George H.W. Bush, an American patriot and World War II veteran, has just made a shocking announcement about the 2016 Presidential election.

      Bush will vote against his own party, and cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton in the November election.

      Even with a FBI criminal scandal and countless criminal acts, Bush is willing to vote for her anyway. This is probably because of things Trump said in the primary.

    • Justice Kennedy, Author of Citizens United, Shrugs Off Question About His Deeply Flawed Premise

      Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the author of the 2010 Citizens United decision that unraveled almost a century of campaign finance law, doesn’t seem to care that the central premise of his historic decision has quickly unraveled.

      I spoke briefly to Kennedy during his visit to the U.S. Courthouse in Sacramento, before his security detail escorted me out of the room.

      In the Citizens United decision, Kennedy claimed that lifting all campaign finance limits on independent groups — now known largely as SuperPACs — would not have a corrupting effect upon candidates. “By definition,” Kennedy wrote confidently, “an independent expenditure is political speech presented to the electorate that is not coordinated with a candidate.”

    • Sorry, the Boundary Commission is not Gerrymandering

      There is no point in declaring yourself of independent mind if you proceed to try to ingratiate yourself with any particular group of people or defined set of political opinions. Occasionally I express opinions which are not palatable to many of my readers, and I am afraid this is one of those times. But the plain fact is, that the boundary review of Westminster constituencies is neither deliberate gerrymandering nor unfairly favourable to the Tories.

      The starting point for any sensible discussion must be that the first past the post system will virtually never produce any kind of fair representation, especially in a multi-party system. I detest UKIP, but a system which gave them just 0.15% of the seats for 9.5% of the vote is not equitable. Between the two “main” parties, FPTP in modern times had always advantaged Labour, as boundary changes lagged behind declining populations in old industrial areas. But the 2015 trouncing of Labour by the SNP changed this and it took more votes to elect each Labour MP than each Tory. But in a sense this is all pointless – FPTP is not meant to be fair. Its theoretical advantage is in ensuring the proper representation of individual constituencies.

    • Security Top Priority as Hofstra Presidential Debate Nears

      Law enforcement is planning to drop a safety net around Hofstra University for next week’s presidential debate, which Nassau County police’s top cop called the most “significant security event” the county has hosted in decades.

      During a press conference at Hofstra University Wednesday, Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said at least a half-dozen law enforcement agencies have allocated manpower and other resources for the event. In total, more than a 1,000 cops are expected to flood the debate area.

    • Judge: child porn evidence obtained via FBI’s Tor hack must be suppressed

      A federal judge in Iowa has ordered the suppression of child pornography evidence derived from an invalid warrant. The warrant was issued as part of a controversial government-sanctioned operation to hack Tor users. Out of nearly 200 such cases nationwide that involve the Tor-hidden child porn site known as “Playpen,” US District Judge Robert Pratt is just the third to make such a ruling.

      “Any search conducted pursuant to such warrant is the equivalent of a warrantless search,” Judge Pratt wrote Monday in his 19-page order in United States v. Croghan.

      While the charges against Beau Croghan have not been dropped yet, the ruling significantly hinders the government’s case.

      Earlier this year, federal judges in Massachusetts and Oklahoma made similar rulings and similarly tossed the relevant evidence. Thirteen other judges, meanwhile, have found that while the warrants to search the defendants’ computers via the hacking tool were invalid, they did not take the extra step of ordering suppression of the evidence. The corresponding judges in the remainder of the cases have yet to rule on the warrant question.

    • Evidence FBI Gathered While Running Porn Site Thrown Out Again

      For the third time, a federal judge has ruled that a mass hack by the FBI – which ensnared thousands of computers based on only one warrant – was illegal.

      Like the previous ones, the decision was based on a jurisdictional technicality: Rule 41 of criminal procedure holds that magistrate judges can only authorize searches inside their jurisdiction – meaning a judge in one district cannot authorize a search in a different geographical location.

      The hack in question was part of an investigation into a child pornography website called Playpen. Playpen was hosted on the dark web, meaning that users could only access it through a service that concealed their IP address, making it impossible for the FBI to tell who was accessing the site and downloading child pornography.

      In 2014, the FBI received a tip from a foreign intelligence agency that Playpen’s server was operating out of Lenoir, N.C. The FBI seized the server, but instead of shutting the website down, continued running it — placing a copy of the site on government-run servers in Virginia.

    • What Happens When Visa Applicants Forget Their Old Social Media IDs?

      After being pushed into it by Congress, Customs and Border Protection has been going through the rule-making process on asking visa applicants for their social media IDs. The idea is root out people like Tashfeen Malik, the wife in the San Bernardino attack couple, who spoke in radicalized terms on private messaging areas of Facebook before she came to the country.

      At first, the idea was just to ask for applicants to turn over social media sites voluntarily. But given the pressure CBP already uses, even with US citizens, it’s easy to see how that “voluntary” request can be made to seem obligatory in the pressure of a border encounter.

    • Is Hillary Clinton Turning into Jeb Bush?

      One of last winter’s cruelest spectacles was the harpooning of Jeb Bush’s candidacy by upstart wiseacre Donald Trump. Like a neatly dressed schoolboy vowing to eat his mashed potatoes in peace, only to find himself plunged into them face-first, Jeb consistently fell prey to Trumpian assaults on his dignity—he was boring, and “low energy,” and last in the polls.

      Such indecorousness proved nearly impossible for anyone to combat. Should the victim try to stay aloof, the way Jeb did? That just made you look like a stiff. Should you try to match Trump on his own terms, the way Marco Rubio did? That just made you look silly. Should you just scorch the terrain, the way Ted Cruz did? Your opponent might just take things one step further and start insulting your wife. Only primary voters had the power to punish such a lowering of standards, but many of them were in no such mood this year. Their spite was directed toward a pompous and clueless establishment, with Jeb as its quintessential face and Trump as the overdue pie.

    • Don’t Waste Your Vote on the Corporate Agenda—Vote for Jill Stein and the Greens

      Clinton’s billionaire backers, who wined and dined her throughout August, want her to promise as little as possible to ordinary people for fear of a mass movement developing under her administration. They know that working people, and young people especially, are fired up in a way that we haven’t seen in decades. E-mails recently leaked from Nancy Pelosi’s office contain explicit instructions not to agree to any specific demands from Black Lives Matter.

      The Democratic Party has a special talent for enabling the right. President Obama was first elected in 2008 on a wave of opposition to eight years of George W. Bush’s wars and tax cuts for the rich. But he and the Democrats continued the bailout of Wall Street and stood by as millions lost their homes—and the leadership of the labor movement and most progressive organizations gave him a pass. This created space for the Tea Party to exploit the legitimate anger of large sections of the working and middle class. It wasn’t until 2011 that Occupy Wall Street gave a genuine left-wing expression to the widespread outrage at corporate politics.

    • John Boehner Cashes Out, Joins Corporate Lobbying Firm That Represents China

      John Boehner, the retired speaker of the House, is monetizing his decades of political relationships and cashing out to serve some of the most powerful special interests in the world.

      Boehner is joining Squire Patton Boggs, a lobbying firm that peddles its considerable influence on behalf of a number of foreign nations, including most notably the People’s Republic of China. Serving Beijing is somewhat appropriate: Boehner has long been a supporter of unfettered trade, helping to lead the effort to grant Most Favored Nation status to China. Squire Patton Boggs also represents a long list of corporate clients, including AT&T, Amazon.com, Goldman Sachs & Co., Royal Dutch Shell, and the Managed Funds Association, a trade group for the largest hedge funds in the country.

      Boehner is signing onto Squire Patton Boggs “as a strategic advisor to clients in the U.S. and abroad, and will focus on global business development.”

      The news comes just a week after the announcement that Boehner will be joining the board of Reynolds American, the tobacco company responsible for brands such as Camel and Newport cigarettes. The tobacco board seat will likely earn Boehner over $400,000 a year in stock and cash. The Squire Patton Boggs salary has not been disclosed, but lawmakers of Boehner’s stature have easily obtained salaries at similar gigs in the seven-figure range.

      Boehner is reportedly declining to register as a lobbyist for his new job at a lobbying firm, but that label makes little difference these days. Thousands of professionals engaged in government affairs positions work to influence policy on behalf of well-heeled special interests every day without registering under the Lobbying Disclosure Act. The law governing lobby registration is virtually unenforced.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Digital Homicide Sues Steam Reviewers, Steam Drops It Like It’s Hot

      In recent days, megalith digital games platform Steam found itself making headlines with a tweak to its game reviews system. At issue was Steam’s prioritizing reviews from customers who bought a game on Steam over anyone else. Asked for an explanation for the move, Valve suggested that some game developers were attempting to game the reviews system by exchanging download codes for positive reviews. While this explanation omitted the prevalence of crowdsource funding of games, such as Kickstarter funding, Valve at least was putting on a public face of trying to treat its gaming customers well.

      And now we have the second such story of Valve looking out for its gaming customers, as the platform has chosen to entirely drop a game developer known for its anti-consumer behavior off of the Steam store. You may recall that Digital Homicide is a game developer that has been featured on these pages before, having decided that the best way to deal with some mildly scathing reviews of its games was to sue the reviewer for ten million dollars, alleging emotional, reputational and financial distress. It seems that lawsuit wasn’t a one-off, as Digital Homicide has now apparently filed suit against a whole bank of Steam users (at least 100), who reviewed Digital Homicide games, to the tune of $18 million, with a court recently granting a subpoena requesting that Steam turn over identification data for those users.

    • Author talks about banned books, censorship

      The Western Kentucky University graduate spoke about censorship and banned books to about 115 people Tuesday at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College. The event was part of the college’s activities for Banned Book Week, which is Sunday through Oct. 1.

      Harper talked about some of the books that have been banned, including “Matilda,” “I Am Jazz,” “The Holy Bible” and “Two Boys Kissing.”

    • Street artists use anonymity to accentuate the message

      In the latest issue of Index on Censorship magazine, The Unnamed: Does anonymity need to be defended?, Index’s contributing editor for Turkey, Kaya Genç, explores anonymous artists in Turkey. In the piece the artists discuss how vital anonymity is in allowing them to complete their more controversial work. The Index on Censorship youth advisory board have taken inspiration from this piece for their latest task, in which they investigate anonymous art around the world.

    • Censorship is becoming more common

      Lately it seems issues relating to censorship come up with surprising frequency. While one might be tempted to say that people are trying to control our thoughts “more than ever before”, that simply is not true – censorship and attempting to control how other people think has been prevalent for centuries.

      But the problem with censorship today is that it seems to be becoming increasingly mainstream and coming from people on all sides of different issues.

      For starters, we have the Colin Kaepernick issue in regards to his protest of the national anthem and the American flag. His demonstrations have engulfed the media and people’s attention over the past weeks over this hot-button issue. While the validity and appropriateness of his protest can be debated, he has the complete freedom of speech to act how he pleases – his protest does not harm anyone nor is it particularly disruptive. No one, aside from his employers, possibly, has the right to try to tell him that he should think differently or behave differently in his benign protest.

    • Digital rights organizaton wants to map internet censorship affecting Latin American journalists

      Researcher Olga Khrustaleva is looking for journalists and activists across Latin America to share their experiences with Internet censorship.

      Her goal: to map types of Internet censorship in the region and to find out how journalists and activists are changing their behavior as a result.

    • Canadian company helped Bahrain censor the internet

      Canadian technology company Netsweeper helped the Bahraini government in their bid to censor the internet against content they deem inappropriate, according to a new report by the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

    • Canadian company helped Bahrain censor the internet
    • Not just Yemen: Canadian cyberarms dealer Netsweeper also helped censor the net in Bahrain
    • Bahrain using Canadian software to stifle dissent: report
    • Guelph firm ‘Netsweeper’ accused of helping facilitate online censorship for Bahrain
    • The Canadian Government Has Funded a Notorious Censorship Company for a Decade
    • Netsweeper, tech used to censor dissent, funded by NRC in 2012
    • U of T’s Citizen Lab implicates Canadian company in Bahrain Internet censorship
    • Waterloo company accused of helping Bahrain censor online content
    • Arab Nominees for Israeli Film Awards Accuse Local Academy of Censorship

      Four Palestinian citizens of Israel nominated for the country’s top film award are accusing the Israel Academy of Film and Television of censorship.

      In a letter sent to all academy members on Monday, the four accused the academy of barring a performance by Tamer Nafar and Yossi Tzabari from tomorrow’s Ophir Awards ceremony because it was slated to include a poem by Mahmoud Darwish, regarded as the Palestinian national poet.

      However, in a letter of response, academy chairman Mosh Danon denied the censorship charge. He said organizers of the ceremony only asked Nafar to show them the performance in advance “so we could suit it to the general tone of the ceremony from a musical and staging standpoint.” When that didn’t happen, they “decided, with great regret, to dispense” with the performance, including Darwish’s poem.

    • Turkey Overwhelmingly Leads World In Twitter Censorship

      Turkey is rapidly ramping up its efforts to censor Twitter, according to the site’s new transparency report.

      The biannual report, which was released Wednesday and covers the first half of 2016, shows that the United States continues to lead the world in requests for information about users. During this period, U.S. law enforcement issued such requests for 8,009 accounts, far more than anywhere else in the world. However, in a separate metric, which tracks government requests to block specific Twitter users, the U.S. issued 150 requests for Twitter user data in the first half of 2016, a slight increase from the 107 requests in the six months before. But in aggregate, other countries almost doubled their attempts to get Twitter to take down users’ tweets and accounts.

      By and large, those attempts have been unsuccessful. In the last half of 2015, the world tried to censor 11,092 Twitter accounts, though only 423 of those attempts were successful. In the following six months, the number of attempts skyrocketed to 20,571, though the number of censored accounts actually dropped to 240.

    • ‘Safe space’ now a tool of liberal censorship

      IF YOU thought the term “safe space” had something to do with crèches or playgrounds you would be wrong. It applies to universities and places of public debate, places traditionally the preserve of adults who are particularly well able to look after themselves. The term is a new construct which means it is socially unacceptable to attack or ridicule peoples’ cherished views and convictions or say anything that might potentially be imputed to reflect negatively on any demographic. The end of debate? Well, clearly not. Not for some at any rate.

      Media sphere was never more awash with opinions and theories which, of their very nature, evoke disagreement or agreement in varying measures. So, qualification is needed. People who promote the safe place concept want protection for themselves and their own views, not necessarily and, at times under no circumstances, for those who oppose them. It is the usual tyranny of the consensus, however it may be formed. Being enlightened and progressive, onside with the current zeitgeist as well as, of course, on the side of history, was always a privileged place to be. It used to the the Church that censored: It is now the new secular guardians of “liberties” who suppress voices of dissent.

      It the realms of twitterdom and other media platforms, fair and informed comments, respectfully made, are less common than offensive, bellicose ones. They chase each other down chat threads petering out often in a completely unrelated discussion. However, nothing worth its salt comes cheaply and freedom of speech and expression, within the bounds of libel and defamation laws, is surely bought cheaply if the price is merely the verbal equivalent of tomatoes and rotten eggs.

    • Donald Trump’s warning about impending ‘online censorship’ is dead wrong
    • Surprise, Donald Trump Has No Idea How Internet Censorship Works

      Back in December, Donald Trump suggested fighting terrorism online by “closing the internet in some way,” openly mocking potential First Amendment concerns. Since then, the alleged computer user seems to have changed his mind, joining Ted Cruz’s bizarre crusade for an American takeover of the internet’s address book in the name of freedom of speech.


      In the end, Trump and Cruz’s ICANN campaign appears to be little more than political theater making use of a digital disguise.

    • Donald Trump Doubles Down On Ted Cruz’s Blatantly Confused And Backwards Argument Over Internet Governance
    • Facebook’s Nudity Ban Affects All Kinds of Users

      Facebook’s recent censorship of the iconic AP photograph of nine year-old Kim Phúc fleeing naked from a napalm bombing, has once again brought the issue of commercial content moderation to the fore. Although Facebook has since apologized for taking the photo down from the page of Norwegian publication Aftenposten, the social media giant continues to defend the policy that allowed the takedown to happen in the first place.

      The policy in question is a near-blanket ban on nudity. Although the company has carved out some exceptions to the policy—for example, for “photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures”—and admits that their policies can “sometimes be more blunt than we would like and restrict content shared for legitimate purposes,” in practice the ban on nudity has a widespread effect on the ability of its users to exercise their freedom of expression on the platform.

      In a statement, Reporters Without Borders called on Facebook to “add respect for the journalistic values of photos to these rules.” But it’s not just journalists who are affected by Facebook’s nudity ban. While it may seem particularly egregious when the policy is applied to journalistic content, its effect on ordinary users—from Aboriginal rights activists to breastfeeding moms to Danish parliamentarians who like to photograph mermaid statues—is no less damaging to the principles of free expression. If we argue that Facebook should make exceptions for journalism, then we are ultimately placing Facebook in the troubling position of deciding who is or isn’t a legitimate journalist, across the entire world.

    • YouTube announces crowdsourced censorship
    • Read: Amol Palekar’s essay on censorship makes a blistering case for the freedom of expression
    • ‘I Just Got Really Mad’: The Norwegian Editor Tackling Facebook on Censorship
    • Editor Calls Out Facebook For Decision To Block Iconic Vietnam War Photo
    • Comments about OARS and CSM age ratings

      I’ve had quite a few comments from people stating that using age rating classification values based on American culture is wrong. So far I’ve been using the Common Sense Media research (and various other psychology textbooks) to essentially clean-room implement a content-rating to appropriate age algorithm.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Why Is DOD Paying Dataminr $13M for Data It Claims to Believe Twitter Won’t Deliver?

      Last week I did a post on John McCain’s promise, given in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, to “expose” Twitter for refusing to share you Tweets in bulk with intelligence agencies. Later in the hearing, Jeanne Shaheen returned to the issue of Twitter’s refusal to let Dataminr share data in bulk with the Intelligence Community. She asked Under Secretary for Intelligence Marcell Lettre what the committee needs to get more cooperation. Lettre responded by suggesting one-on-one conversations between Executive Branch officials and the private sector tends to work. Shaheen interrupted to ask whether such an approach had worked with Twitter. Lettre responded by stating, “the the best of my knowledge, Twitter’s position hasn’t changed on its level of cooperation with the US intelligence community.”

      That’s interesting, because on August 26, 2016, DOD announced its intent to sole-source a $13.1 million one-year contract with Dataminr to provide alerting capability based off Twitter’s Firehose.

    • National Software Reference Library: An important digital tool for forensic investigators

      The story starts with Stephen M. Cabrinety, the Stanford University Libraries, and NIST’s National Software Reference Library (NSRL). Cabrinety collected more than 50,000 pieces of commercial software and nearly 300 functioning microcomputer systems—some dating back to the mid-1980s.


      Something not often thought about is how a digital forensic scientist working on a criminal case knows if a particular software application having thousands of lines of code has been altered to hide an incriminating piece of evidence. Using NSRL tools, investigators can quickly know if the code has been doctored by comparing the hash from the suspect code against the RDS hash of the original and pristine code—saving time and effort.

    • BaycloudSystems Joins EFF’s Do Not Track Coalition

      Baycloud Systems has become the latest company to join the EFF’s Do Not Track (DNT) coalition, which opposes the tracking of users without their consent. Baycloud designs systems to help companies and users monitor and manage tracking cookies. Based in the UK, it provides thousands of sites across Europe with tools for compliance with European Union (EU) data protection laws.

      In contrast to the U.S., with its scant legislative privacy protection and weak self-regulatory system, EU data protection law requires companies that collect user data to provide a legal basis for using it–the most important aspect of which is user consent. And this requirement has real teeth: the new General Data Protection Regulations mean that companies will soon face serious fines of up to 2 or 4 percent (depending on the violation) of worldwide turnover.

      EU rules also require user consent before a site sets cookies, and public disclosure of information as to their purpose (such as feature functionality or behavioral profiling). Although the cookie rules have been applied unevenly and have not stopped tracking, the principle requiring user consent is sound.

    • Join the Movement for Community Control Over Police Surveillance

      From cell-site simulators in New York to facial recognition devices in San Diego, law enforcement surveillance technologies are spreading across the country like an infectious disease. It’s almost epidemiological: one police department will adopt a new, invasive tool, and then the next and the next, often with little or no opportunity for the citizens to weigh in on what’s needed or appropriate for their communities. Sometimes even elected officials and judges have no idea how technologies are being used by the police under their supervision.

      2016 is the year we start to turn it around. In California, we helped pass legislation to require transparency and public hearings on technologies such as cell-site simulators and automated license plate readers before they can be adopted by cities and counties. Specifically, earlier this year, the County of Santa Clara passed a groundbreaking ordinance limiting how and when law enforcement can adopt new surveillance technologies.

    • Let There Be Light: Cities Across America Are Pushing Back Against Secret Surveillance by Police

      Big Brother is watching local communities, some more than others.

      Think about how it feels when you are driving down a road, look in your rearview mirror, and notice a police car driving directly behind you. You tense up. You slow down. You try not to drift too much in your lane as you drive. One false move and those red flashing lights will switch on. Only after the police car drives past can you finally relax and exhale. As internationally renowned security technologist Bruce Schneier observed in his book “Data and Goliath,” this is what surveillance feels like. But for many Americans who live in communities that are disproportionately targeted by police surveillance technologies, that feeling never goes away.

    • Oliver Stone talks “Snowden”: NSA leaker is more than a whistleblower; he’s a “lie exposer”

      “I know you’re not going to believe this, but I see myself as a storyteller,” said Oliver Stone. The director of “JFK,” “Platoon” and the new political thriller “Snowden” added that he tries to tell stories that others ignore. “There are too many things that are taboo in the American public,” he lamented.

      The Academy Award-winning director spoke last week at a small Manhattan event about “Snowden,” his new movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      While being interviewed by journalist Amy Goodman, Stone described the difficult process of producing the film, which was released last week to much acclaim. He also applauded whistleblowers for exposing government lies and providing the public with the truth.

      “We never made this an activist film,” Stone said, explaining that “Snowden” was not meant to be part of a larger campaign to win a presidential pardon for Snowden, who has been living in Russia as a stateless refugee for the last several years. A new coalition of rights groups, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, is pressuring President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden before he leaves office. The heads of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch published an op-ed in The New York Times last week defending the whistleblower’s many contributions to the American public.

    • Cisco Reveals Major Security Exploits to its Customers
    • Over 840000 Cisco Devices Are Exposed To NSA Exploit Cyberweapon
    • More than 840000 Cisco devices are vulnerable to NSA-related exploit
    • How GCHQ stopped thousands of scam tax refund emails [Ed: I thought they exist “because terrorism”…]
    • Google Allo: Why people such as Edward Snowden are advising against using the app

      The launch of the new chat app – which Google had hoped would focus on its use of artificial intelligence and the huge amounts of information it stores – has in fact revolved around the threat to privacy and safety that it represents. It culminated with a warning from Edward Snowden that nobody should use the app.

      It was just the latest reminder that our messaging apps might not be as private as they seem. And that is very private indeed – unlike social networks and other semi-public spaces, messages are perhaps the most sacred and private spaces on the entire internet.

    • No matter what, don’t use Google’s new Allo messenger app, says Edward Snowden

      The search giant’s new WhatsApp competitor combines messaging with a digital assistant to allow you to chat like never before—but those who care about their privacy and mass surveillance should steer clear of the app, Edward Snowden said in a series of tweets.

    • Don’t Use Allo

      The buzziest thing Google announced at its I/O conference Wednesday was Allo, a chatbot-enabled smartphone messaging app that looks to take on iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and the Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

      Early sentiment about Allo is overwhelmingly positive: It looks beautiful, lets you doodle on images before you send them, comes with stickers as well as emojis, and it’s the first Google product to offer end-to-end encryption, which is certainly a good thing.

    • Whatever you do, do not use Google Allo: Snowden

      However, the efficiency of time-saving typing may end up costing customers their already compromised privacy.

      When Google first announced the introduction of Allo earlier this year they, too, had planned end-to-end-encryption in “Incognito Mode” and assured they would only store messages transiently, rather than indefinitely.

      However, it now appears that Google won’t be doing that after all. Wednesday’s announcement revealed Google plans to store all conversations that aren’t specifically started in “incognito mode” by default.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Not Content With Silencing Human Critics, Russia Has Now Arrested A Robot

      You might be forgiven if you were under the impression that the Russian government is a bit behind the times when it comes to modern technology and its never ending desire to stifle every last bit of dissent possible. Between the bouts its had with internet censorship and some strange claims about how binge-watching streaming services are a form of United States mind-control, it would be quite easy to be left with the notion that this is all for comedy. Alas, blunders and conspiracy theories aside, much of this technological blundering is mere cover for the very real iron grip the Russians place upon free speech, with all manner of examples in technology used as excuses to silence its critics.

      And now it’s no longer just human beings that need fear the Russian government, it seems. Just this past week, a robot was arrested at a political rally. And, yes, I really do mean a robot, and, yes, I really do mean arrested.

    • Here Are Eight Policies That Can Prevent Police Killings

      With 788 people killed by police this year alone, death at the hands of law enforcement has become so routine in this country that it risks becoming expected and predictable, as if it were inevitable. Every time a new video emerges, anger soars, as do calls to end police violence. Then invariably, within days or sometimes mere hours, police somewhere else kill again.

      This week was no exception. Last night, the now familiar scene of angry protests met with tear gas unfolded again, this time in Charlotte, North Carolina, after a police officer shot and killed Keith L. Scott, a 43-year-old black father who had been sitting in his car waiting to pick up a child from school. Police said on Wednesday that Scott was holding a gun, which they said they later recovered, and that he ignored orders to drop it. Scott’s family said he had been holding a book, and his daughter speculated that police would plant evidence on the scene. The officer who killed Scott was not wearing a body camera.

      Debate over such details, too, has become common, and increasingly supplemented by video evidence that has rarely made a difference in bringing about greater accountability. Just hours before Scott was killed, police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, released footage showing another black man, Terence Crutcher, being shot to death by a police officer while he walked away, unarmed, and with his hands up. A week earlier, Tyre King, a 13-year-old with a BB gun who was reportedly running away from police, was killed by a Columbus, Ohio, police officer who had killed someone else in 2012.

      But as commonplace as they have become, police killings are neither inevitable nor even that hard to prevent, and a new report released today suggests that curbing police violence is really not rocket science when departments and local officials are committed to doing it.

    • Peak Kinnock

      Brendan Cox left Save the Children due to allegations from several women that he sexually harassed female staff and volunteers. Justin Forsyth left at the same time amid allegations he had not effectively acted to have his friend Cox investigated. This has not stopped Forsyth from now popping up as Deputy Chief Executive of UNICEF. Misery for some is a goldmine for others.

    • Kids Like Esme Shouldn’t be Behind Bars

      These kids asked for asylum. The U.S. government locked them up. They need a fair hearing.

      Nine-year-old Esme (a pseudonym) came to the United States with her mother and two siblings seeking asylum from violence in Central America. But rather than finding a safe haven, U.S. officials picked up Esme and her family and put them in immigration detention. The family has been locked up in Pennsylvania for the better part of a year, which means her baby brother’s been behind bars for nearly half his life.

      Instead of shopping for school supplies and wondering about what’s in her lunch box, Esme is thinking about things no kid should have to consider. She worries about guards waking her up at night, whether the prison food will make her sick, and whether her family will ever be free and safe.

    • Poverty Is Not a Crime, so Why Are People Being Trapped in Immigration Detention for Being Poor?

      Immigrants shouldn’t be locked up just because they can’t afford bail.

      You shouldn’t be imprisoned for being poor. But that’s what’s happening to thousands of immigrants across the country who are unable to afford to pay a bond to be released from immigration detention. People accused of immigration violations — who have no criminal record whatsoever — can be assigned exorbitantly high bail that leaves them trapped in detention for years.

      Today, members of Congress introduced legislation to prevent immigration detainees from being overcharged for bail. The Immigration Courts Bail Reform Act, co-sponsored by Reps. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), and 25 other lawmakers, is critical to ensure that no immigrant — whether a legal resident, asylum seeker, or undocumented person — is imprisoned solely because he or she can’t afford to get out.

      Bail is not supposed to keep a defendant in jail — but to allow the defendant to leave. The American Bar Association says that judges should use bail to “ensure that defendants will appear for trial and all pretrial hearings for which they must be present.”

    • Americans Should Examine Our Treatment of People Seeking Asylum — Not Just on a Boat in the Mediterranean, but at Our Border

      The U.S. imagines itself as protector of the dispossessed, but that portrait doesn’t reflect reality.

      Around the world, more than 65 million people are currently displaced by conflict, amounting to the worst worldwide refugee crisis since World War II. This week, heads of state are gathering at the United Nations headquarters in New York “with the aim of bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach” to the global refugee and migration crisis. President Obama is hosting his own meeting with world leaders to increase funding for U.N. programs and international organizations serving refugees and expanding the number of refugee resettlement places worldwide.

      But as the United States urges other countries to take more action in response to the global refugee crisis, we should examine our own treatment of those who come to our borders seeking asylum and protection. Even as the U.S., the most powerful country in the world, seeks to establish leadership on refugees, we continue to block Central American asylum seekers from coming to us and punish those who arrive.

      President Obama fought to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees this year — still a drop in the bucket of almost 5 million registered with the U.N. — and defended his plan against nativist attacks. Thirty state governors attempted to halt refugee resettlement of Syrians in their state, citing security concerns; federal courts blocked the most serious attempts in Texas, Indiana, and Alabama. Almost 50 anti-refugee bills in 19 states have been introduced in state legislatures, most of which attempt to block resettlement altogether. President Obama has stayed true to his commitment, and the administration recently announced plans to increase overall refugee admissions by 30 percent.

    • Dashcam shows mentally-ill man shot 14 times as he flees Sacramento police

      Video and audio recordings were released by Sacramento Police Chief Sam Somers on Tuesday after mounting pressure from the mayor, members of the city council and Mann’s family, who called for more information surrounding the July 11 shooting.

    • ‘Disturbing’ helicopter footage shows Tulsa police kill unarmed man

      Video footage released Monday showed Tulsa police shooting an unarmed man to death on Friday night after he approached his SUV with his arms raised.

      In footage filmed from a police helicopter, Terence Crutcher, 40, can be seen slowly walking from the edge of a street north of Tulsa toward his vehicle, which authorities said had been reported abandoned at 7:36 p.m. (8:36 p.m. ET) and left running in the middle of the road.

    • What’s It Like To Try And Be Normal After A Career As A Spy

      I joined the CIA out of a sense of wanting to serve my country, and the notion that the U.S. government was going to pay me to live and work overseas was a tantalizing bonus. I come from a family where public service was part of our DNA: My father was an Air Force officer who served in World War II. My brother was a Marine, wounded in Vietnam. As I developed my expertise in nuclear counterproliferation — making sure bad guys, from terrorists to leaders of rogue states, did not acquire a nuclear capability — I was incredibly proud of my ability to contribute to this critical national security interest. My CIA colleagues were smart, dedicated, funny and creative. Yes, there was sometimes stifling bureaucracy, boredom, colleagues who never should have been there, and later, deeply disturbing stories of the CIA’s involvement in torture. Still, I got to do work I thought was incredibly important and, many times, had fun doing it.

      When I suddenly found myself “a civilian,” it dawned on me that so many of the skills I learned and carried out in the CIA — many of which had become second nature — were no longer of use or necessary. I didn’t constantly have to check my rear-view mirror to see if I had picked up covert surveillance. (For a while there, the only people following me were reporters and photographers.) I didn’t have to memorize safe codes or be sure to clear my desk at the end of every work day. I didn’t have to worry that a disguise wig would slip off or look ridiculous. I didn’t have to go through my mental Rolodex when I met a new person to be sure I got my name right. I was simply Valerie Plame: wife, mother of twins and former spy.

    • The Playpen Story: Some Fourth Amendment Basics and Law Enforcement Hacking

      First, the government’s malware “seized” the user’s computer. More specifically, the execution of the government’s code on a user’s device “meaningful[ly] interfered” with the intended operation of the software: it turned a user’s computer into a tool for law enforcement surveillance. By hacking into the user’s device, the government exercised “dominion and control” over the device. And that type of interference and control over a device constitutes a “seizure” for Fourth Amendment purposes.

      Next, the government’s code “searched” the device to locate certain specific information from the computer: the MAC address, the operating system running on the computer, and other identifying information. In this instance, where the search occurred is central to the Fourth Amendment analysis: here, the search was carried out on a user’s personal computer, likely located inside their home. Given the wealth of sensitive information on a computer and the historical constitutional protections normally afforded peoples’ homes, a personal computer located within the home represents the fundamental core of the Fourth Amendment’s protections.

    • Muslim migrant boat captain faces murder charges for pushing Christians overboard

      A Cameroonian immigrant has been put on trial in Spain for the murder of six fellow occupants of a flimsy migrant boat because of their Christian religious beliefs.

      Survivors of the hellish 2014 crossing from Morocco to the southern shore of Spain described how the accused, the Muslim captain of the inflatable craft identified as Alain N. B., blamed Christian passengers for the onset of a storm and forced six men off the boat to a certain death.

      According to some of the 29 survivors from the more than 50 sub-Saharan migrants who boarded the boat near Nador, northern Morocco, the accused “blamed the rough seas which were rocking the boat on the prayers led by a Catholic pastor on board”.

    • Syrian refugee ‘threw three children out of first-floor window because his wife wanted more freedom’ in Germany

      A Syrian asylum seeker is on trial for allegedly throwing his three children out of a first floor window in Germany because his wife wanted greater freedom.

      The 36-year-old man has been accused of attempted murder after his two daughters, aged one and seven, and five-year-old son were injured at refugee accommodation near Bonn.

      Police arrived at the scene in February to find the two elder children suffering broken bones and skull fractures, with the baby girl left with bruising and a liver contusion after landing on her brother.

      According to an indictment seen by Germany’s DPA news agency, the suspect admitted the crime and said it stemmed from anger with his wife.

    • Syrian man ‘threw children out of window because his wife demanded same rights as Germans’

      A SYRIAN asylum seeker who is accused of hurling his three children from window after fighting with his wife when she demanded the “same freedom” as German women will go on on trial on attempted murder charges.

    • Muslim man who KICKED woman in the head for wearing shorts says ‘Islamic law demanded it’

      Aysegul Terzi was assaulted on a bus in Istanbul after the man claimed Islamic law demanded he attack the young woman.

      In shocking footage the 23-year-old girl is seen being brutally kicked in the face by Abdullah Cakiroglu.

      The thug was incredibly freed by prosecutors when he said he was following Islamic law by assaulting the woman and it was decided to classify the incident as an assault that did not justify custody.

    • Should Hacking a Tor User to Get an IP Address Require a Warrant?

      On Monday, a judge chucked out all evidence obtained by a piece of FBI malware in a child porn case, becoming the third court to suppress evidence related to the FBI’s investigation of dark web site Playpen.

      But US District Court Judge Robert W Pratt also threw a punch in an ongoing legal debate with implications that stretch beyond any single case.

      In recent months, judges, defense lawyers, and the government have fought over whether obtaining a Tor user’s real IP address, perhaps through hacking, counts as a search under the Fourth Amendment. The debate has serious consequences for whether law enforcement requires a warrant to break into a suspect’s computer, even if it’s only to learn the target’s IP address.

      Pratt argued that when the FBI hacked suspected Playpen users and grabbed their IP addresses, that constituted a search.

      “If a defendant writes his IP address on a piece of paper and places it in a drawer in his home, there would be no question that law enforcement would need a warrant to access that piece of paper—even accepting that the defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the IP address itself,” Pratt writes in his order.

    • Keith Lamont Scott Identified as Disabled Black Man Shot Dead by NC Police While Reading in Car

      A disabled black man has died at the hospital after being shot by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., police officer Tuesday afternoon on Old Concord Road in University City, a subdivision of Charlotte.

      Police said that they were searching for someone who had outstanding warrants when they saw a man with what they believed to be a gun leave a vehicle.

      According to police reports, the man, who has not been named, returned to his vehicle. Police claim that when they approached the man, he “posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers,” according to the New York Times, and one of them opened fire. An eyewitness reportedly told the victim’s daughter that a Taser was used on her father, and then he was shot at least three times.


      As previously reported by The Root, a jury deadlocked in the trial of former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Randall Kerrick, 27, who was charged with voluntary manslaughter in the 2013 shooting death of 24-year-old former Florida A&M football player Jonathan Ferrell.

      On the night of Sept. 14, 2013, Ferrell, who was unarmed, was seeking help after a car accident when he knocked on the door of a nearby home. Instead of helping him, the homeowner slammed the door in Ferrell’s face and called 911 to report that someone was forcibly breaking into her home.

      Kerrick was one of several officers who responded. Kerrick shot at Ferrell 12 times—with 10 bullets piercing his body—and at least eight of those shots were fired while Ferrell was crawling on the ground.

    • Fight for the Future Releases Formal Charge Sheet And Other Documents Ahead of Chelsea Manning Disciplinary Board

      Chelsea Manning faces an administrative disciplinary board tomorrow that may punish her for charges directly related to her July suicide attempt. This board is happening even though it was the government’s own mistreatment of Chelsea that drove her to attempt to take her own life earlier this year.

      The process of preparing for the board has been very emotional and traumatizing for Chelsea. It requires her to continually relive the painful experience over and over again. Chelsea must prepare her defense completely on her own, and will appear in front of the three person panel alone. She is not permitted to consult with or have an attorney or other advocate present during the hearing. The hearing itself could last for hours and there will be no transcript or account of the proceedings available to the public beyond what Chelsea herself is able to convey.

    • Chelsea Manning Facing Indefinite Solitary Confinement For Attempting Suicide, Possessing A Book On Hackers

      As you may have heard, Chelsea Manning, who leaked a ton of State Department cables to Wikileaks and is now in jail for decades, attempted suicide earlier this year. And the Army’s response is to threaten her with indefinite solitary confinement to punish her for the attempt. Really. Of course, Manning has been held in solitary confinement in the past — under conditions that the UN itself declared to be torture. And just last year, Manning was also threatened with indefinite solitary confinement for “disrespecting” corrections officers and for having a toothbrush and certain books and magazines that she wasn’t supposed to have.

      What about this time? Well, Fight for the Future has posted the details including the charge sheet and it’s ridiculous. She’s charged with “resisting” when the “force cell team” went to her cell to respond to her suicide attempt. “Resisting” in this case being that she was unconcious. Really.

    • Video Shows Terence Crutcher Was Not Reaching Into Car When Shot, Lawyer Says

      Crump accused a police department spokesperson, Officer Jeanne Mackenzie, of spreading “misinformation that he caused his own death” when she told reporters on Friday night that Crutcher had prompted the shooting by refusing to raise his hands and reaching into his vehicle.


      Finding that initial police account hard to believe, Crutcher’s family had demanded the release of unedited police footage of the incident. The department complied with that request on Monday.

      David Riggs, a former state attorney general who chairs the Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission, also addressed a report that the police had found the hallucinogenic drug phencyclidine, or PCP, inside Crutcher’s car after the shooting. Riggs said that the shooting was not justified even if Crutcher was intoxicated. “Not everybody who’s under the influence of something is a threat to other people,” Riggs said.

      Crump also noted, as many others did on social networks, that the killing of Crutcher stood in stark contrast to the capture of Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspect in the New York and New Jersey bombings, after a shoot-out with police officers there.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Europe will get free roaming after all as EC cans 90-day cap plans

      THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC) has outlined new plans to govern how much data, text and phone services travellers can use when roaming costs are abolished across the continent.

      The EC had previously suggested a 90-day cap on roaming in any one year and no more than 30 consecutive days’ use. However, this was withdrawn after a backlash, with people arguing that such caps went against the purpose of the proposals.

    • AT&T Will Zero Rate its Upcoming Streaming TV Service, Doesn’t Think FCC Will Act

      We’ve long noted how the FCC’s decision to avoid prohibiting zero rating (exempting your own or a paid partner’s content from usage caps) opened the door to letting incumbent ISPs trample net neutrality — if they’re just creative enough about it. And that’s precisely what has happened, with Comcast and Verizon now exempting their own content from usage caps, while T-Mobile and Sprint explore throttling all video, games and music unless users pay a $20 to $25 leave me the hell alone fee.

      The FCC’s total inaction on this front has also emboldened AT&T, which recently began exempting its own DirecTV streaming video app from the company’s usage caps while still penalizing customers that use competitors like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon. But as we warned then — AT&T isn’t done.

  • DRM

    • HP Retrofits Ink Cartridge DRM on Printer

      You’ve owned your printer for a year or more, and have happily used off-brand ink cartridges during that time. Suddenly the manufacturer says you can’t do that anymore, and suddenly orders the printer you own to not accept the ink cartridges of your choosing.

      Have you tried using you HP printer recently? If not, if you use certain models and keep your expenses down by using third party ink cartridges, you might find you have a “damaged” cartridge that needs replacing before the printer will operate. Open up a new cartridge that you’ve been keeping on hand and if it’s branded Office Max, Office Depot or anything other than “genuine HP,” it’ll be “damaged” too.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Shared Experiences Of Indigenous Peoples In The WIPO Negotiating Process

      Members of indigenous communities this week shared their experiences in negotiating for their rights at the World Intellectual Property Organization and gave their advice on negotiations for potential treaties on genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore.

      A panel was held at the outset of this week’s WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), entitled “IGC Draft Articles on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge: Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ Perspectives.”

    • Nagoya Protocol Gains Members, Implications Spread Ripples

      The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) announced early this month that five new countries ratified its protocol on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources, bringing membership to 85 countries.

      The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization now counts 85 members. The CBD in a press release [pdf] called for 15 new ratifications to reach the goal of 100 ratifications before the second meeting of the Parties to the protocol, on 14-17 December in Cancun, Mexico.

    • Copyrights

      • Law Professor Mark Lemley: Hollywood Is Simply Wrong About FCC’s Set Top Box Plan
      • Don’t let copyright box us in

        The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering rules that would free cable and satellite television subscribers from the tyranny of the set-top box. Doing so would surely make the world a better place.

        The cable set-top box is an anachronism. No one carries a physically separate phone, modem, calculator, address book, street directory, and camera today when they can have one flexible device loaded with apps. Abolishing the monopoly of the set top box by allowing apps on existing devices to run programming will introduce this same flexibility to the devices we use to watch cable and satellite TV.

        The world has changed. Young people are “cutting the cord.” People everywhere consume their media on a wide variety of devices. The FCC is right to bring the cable and satellite industries along with that change. Indeed, in the long-term cable and satellite companies too will benefit from ending their exclusive reliance on the set-top box. The last two decades have proven beyond much doubt that while people are willing to pay for content, they are not willing to put up with artificial constraints on when and where they watch it. And if they can’t get their content easily and lawfully, too many turn to getting it easily but unlawfully.

        App based TV will make it easier for all of us to pay for our media delivered when we want it, how we want it.

      • Stop Piracy? Legal Alternatives Beat Legal Threats, Research Shows

        Threatening file-sharers with high fines or even prison sentences is not the best way to stop piracy. New research published by UK researchers shows that perceived risk has no effect on people’s file-sharing habits. Instead, the entertainment industries should focus on improving the legal options, so these can compete with file-sharing.

      • Yet Another Report Says More Innovation, Rather Than More Enforcement, Reduces Piracy

        It’s not like many of us haven’t been saying this for years: but fighting piracy through greater copyright enforcement doesn’t work. It’s never worked and it’s unlikely to ever work. A year ago, we released our big report, The Carrot or the Stick? that explored at a macro level what appeared to lead to reduced levels of piracy — enforcement or legal alternatives — and found overwhelming evidence that enforcement had little long-term impact (and a small short-term impact), but that enabling legal alternatives had a massive impact in reducing piracy. This should sound obvious, but it was important to look at the actual data, which backed it up.

        Now, there’s a new and different study that further supports this idea. Researchers at the University of East Anglia, Lancaster University and Newcastle University have a new report saying that promoting legal alternatives is much more effective in stopping piracy than the threat of legal consequences.

      • Former Refugee Who Took Skittles Photograph Donald Trump Jr. Used In A Stupid Meme Threatens Copyright Lawsuit

        FWIW, this is an old and a dumb and meaningless meme. It’s not always Skittles, though. Last year failed Presidential contender Mike Huckabee used the same concept, but with Peanuts — and John Oliver mocked him for it, noting that “peanuts themselves have killed far more people than terrorist refugees.” Another version involved M&Ms, and it was used by a variety of groups — including a feminist “Yes All Women” campaign. Some are arguing that the switch from M&Ms to Skittles is even more racist, because it’s based on the fact that when Trayvon Martin was shot dead by George Zimmerman, Martin had a pack of Skittles in his pocket. And, of course, the Intercept argues that this meme goes all the way back to a top Nazi propagandist making sure that the meme is sufficiently Godwined.

        But… of course, most of that has little to do with what we normally cover around these parts. But what we do often cover is copyright related issues — so it’s interesting to find out that the image used in that Skittles graphic that Trump Jr. posted was copied from Flickr, where it pretty clearly has an “all rights reserved” copyright notice on it. Oh, and the guy who took the photo, David Kittos, happens to be a former refugee himself, who is not at all pleased that his image is being used in this manner.

Links 22/9/2016: Red Hat’s Latest Results, GNOME 3.22 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • In a world of free operating systems, can Windows 10 survive?
    • Microsoft is planning to buy back €36bn worth of its own shares [Ed: Microsoft is collapsing. Now it’s buying back its OWN shares. history of fraud]

      Microsoft on Tuesday raised its quarterly dividend by 8pc and said it would buy back up to $40bn (€36bn) as part of a new share repurchase program.

      The company raised its dividend to 39c per share, up 3c from the previous quarter.

    • Microsoft keeps good piece of Steve Ballmer legacy
    • Warning: Microsoft Doesn’t Want You To Install Linux On Its “Signature PCs”

      Microsoft hates it when its customers wish to install Linux or other operating systems on its PCs. A Redditor has expressed concern over his inability to install Linux on a Yoga 900 ISK2 Ultrabook. Trying to justify this, Lenovo has said that Yoga 900 runs a Signature Edition of Windows 10 Home installed and it’s locked per our agreement with Microsoft.

    • Lenovo reportedly blocking Linux on Windows 10 Signature Edition PCs (updated)

      According to Reddit user BaronHK, it is impossible to install Linux onto the Signature Edition Lenovo Yoga 900 ISK2 UltraBook because the SSD is locked in a proprietary RAID mode that Linux doesn’t support, and that even Windows 10 cannot use without an Lenovo driver being downloaded first.

      Evidence — in the form of owner reports and reviews — has been uncovered which suggests that the Yoga 900S, and Yoga 710S are locked in a similar manner.

      To confuse matters further, there is a post from a Lenovo “product expert” claiming that Signature Edition PCs have to lock out Linux users because Microsoft says so.

    • Microsoft Reportedly Requires “Signature PCs” To Be Locked To Only Running Windows

      Lately I’ve heard a few reports of some newer PCs being less than friendly with Linux, namely a number of Lenovo devices who have issues with installing Linux. Based upon new information that’s come to light from a Phoronix reader, it appears that PCs receiving Microsoft’s “Signature Edition” tag are being locked-out from running non-Windows platforms.

      Ryan Farmer wrote in explaining that his Yoga 900 ISK2 UltraBook hasn’t been able to see Linux installed over a proprietary RAID mode that’s locked by the UEFI/BIOS of this ultrabook: Linux can’t see the SSD. When contacting Lenovo, he was told by a Lenovo representative, “This system has a Signature Edition of Windows 10 Home installed. It is locked per our agreement with Microsoft.”

    • Microsoft Said to Ban Linux on Windows 10 Signature Edition PCs

      So much for the “Microsoft loves Linux” phrase

    • Lenovo’s Signature laptops refuse to install Linux
    • Lenovo denies claims it plotted with Microsoft to block Linux installs
    • Microsoft is now blocking laptops from installing Linux, Lenovo says [Update]
    • If You’re A Linux User, Be Wary Of Microsoft’s ‘Signature’ PCs
    • Lenovo denies blocking Linux on its Windows 10 PCs
    • Windows 10 Home Signature Editions Lenovo Yogas locked to disallow Linux installations
    • You Can’t Install Linux on a Microsoft Signature Edition Laptop
    • Users are reporting that Lenovo is blocking them from installing Linux on their Yogas [Ed: thanks to UEFI]
    • Microsoft Signature PC Program Allegedly Blocks Installation Of Linux, Or Does It?
    • Lenovo Says Linux Is Not Blocked on Its Windows 10 PCs
    • Lenovo confirms and denies locking Linux operating systems out of Yoga notebooks
    • The blame game: Lenovo locked Linux out of certain Microsoft’s Signature hardware
    • Some Lenovo PCs can’t run Linux
    • Lenovo confirms that Linux won’t work on Yoga 900 and 900S laptops
    • Lenovo denies deliberately blocking Linux on Windows 10 PCs
    • Surprise! Microsoft Isn’t Blocking Linux on Lenovo Laptops
    • Lenovo Denies Claims It Plotted With Microsoft To Block Linux Installs
    • Lenovo laptops refuse to run Linux due to storage woes, not Microsoft evildoing
    • Microsoft aren’t forcing Lenovo to block free operating systems [Ed: says a famous Microsoft and UEFI apologist]
    • No, Microsoft Isn’t Locking Linux Out of PCs [Ed: here come the Microsoft mouthpieces like Thurrott]
    • No, Microsoft is not locking users out of Lenovo laptops [Ed: and those who repeat/parrot these mouthpieces]
    • ‘Microsoft isn’t forcing Lenovo to block free operating systems’
    • Rosy Red Hat, GNOME 3.22, MS/Lenovo Barricading

      Red Hat, Inc. released the financial results for the second quarter ending August 31, 2016 in a press release today. Red Hat stock seems to be going in the right direction for them as well even as insiders sell off their shares. The top story today must have been the skirmish resulting from reports of Linux being blocked from certain Lenovo laptops under orders from Microsoft. Elsewhere, GNOME 3.22 was released as a new age rating system is planned for 3.23. And finally, The Document Foundation reported the results of its 2016 Membership Committee elections.

      It was widely reported today that Lenovo laptops featuring Windows 10 lock the hard drive with proprietary code that Linux can not read – so in essence, blocking users from installing Linux. A user asking in a Lenovo support forum was told by an employee that Linux was blocked due to an agreement with Microsoft. The news traveled around the Intertubes with lightening speed making headlines at every tech site in existence. So, Lenovo and Microsoft jumped into damage control saying it was due to proprietary RAID software. Former kernel contributor Matthew Garrett addressed the issue on his blog today saying the sensational headlines are distracting from a real issue here. He said this is probably because “recent Intel hardware needs special setup for good power management and Microsoft could be insisting that Signature Edition systems ship in “RAID” mode in order to ensure that. Or it could be a misunderstanding regarding UEFI Secure Boot.” He said it all boils down to Intel doing “very little to ensure that free operating systems work well on their consumer hardware.” In any case, two major contributors to the Linux kernel and open source really couldn’t care less about either. Today’s sensational headlines might not be accurate, but they do point to a real problem, among many others.

    • Lenovo responds to Linux blocking issue, issues non-denial denial
    • True Love…and Microsoft Love

      Stop the patent blackmail

      Microsoft has been going to licensees of Android and threatening the licensees with suit if the licensees do not pay Microsoft money for using software that Microsoft says violates their patents. When the companies agree to settle out of court, Microsoft then requires them not to discuss publically which patents are claimed in violation or anything about the settlement. Of course this means that the FOSS community can not study the patents (to see if they are valid or not) or know which sections of code could be re-written to avoid the patents.

      This is more important than Microsoft just getting their pound of flesh for some code that they did not write, which may have existed as “prior art” while Bill Gates was still getting speeding tickets in New Mexico.

      When companies start to develop products they want to know about as many risks as possible. Therefore they worry about patents that exist in code that could be used to block their product, or make it more expensive than they thought the product would be.

      Not knowing what the patents are, or how much Microsoft will charge for them, or even if they are valid, the companies can not make that decision easily. Therefore they might avoid a FOSS (particularly Android) solution.

      Another problem with software patents is that it makes it expensive, difficult and/or dangerous for companies to distribute code over the Internet or on some media. If there is patent-bearing code in the distribution, a distribution could not afford even a penny royalty if there are going to be millions of copies of their code downloaded, with (perhaps) only 100,000 actually installed. This is why some distributions have a separate package for royalty bearing code (usually multimedia codecs), and others have a version for the USA and other countries that recognize software patents and another version for “the rest of the world”.

      The problem with this technique being applied to Microsoft’s claimed patents is that the patents claimed appear to be in the kernel, and the Linux community does not know which patents or to what code the patents apply.

      For Microsoft to show their love for FOSS, I would recommend them joining the Open Invention Network, or simply agree to license these questionable patents free of charge to organizations using FOSS. Microsoft could still charge royalties for their patents used in closed, proprietary software. I have heard Apple has a lot of cash on hand.

      Allow FOSS proponents to keynote at major Microsoft events.

      Microsoft has been coming to FOSS events for many years now. At first there was always the question of whether a FOSS event should allow someone who has been calling you a “virus”, or “a communist” or talking about your “crappy software” to come to their events, but normally it was felt that for FOSS people to exclude Microsoft personnel from attending or to eliminate them from speaking, or even to refuse to take their sponsorship money was not being very “open”. So Microsoft started coming to FOSS events, having booths, speaking, and trying to hire FOSS programmers.

      On the other hand I remember several times where I was chased out of a general purpose computer event by event managers because Microsoft had complained that we were handing out free CDROMs of GNU/Linux to show attendees. At one event I was even forbidden to hand them out on the street corner in front of the event because the side walk also belonged to the venue (or so they said).

      One time we allowed a Microsoft product manager to participate in a panel with Linus, and about ten seconds before we went on the stage the Microsoft manager pulled out the results of software tests to prove that for some obscure function Microsoft Windows was some percentage faster than Linux. Linus, of course, could not refute this, but he did go home and investigate the issue, and in the next release of Linux that function was two or three times faster than Microsoft Windows.

      Nevertheless, I do not remember Microsoft ever allowing a FOSS person to discuss the benefits of the FOSS model of software at a major Microsoft customer or developer event, and if Microsoft really “loved Linux” (and their customers) you would think Microsoft would want their developer and customer base to know about those values and benefits.

      So for Microsoft to really show its love, I think they should invite recognized FOSS advocates to speak as keynote speakers at Convergence, //Build, the Worldwide Partner Conference and Microsoft Ignite. I am sure I could find the time in my schedule to attend one or two of them and there are other FOSS people who could also help out.

    • Lenovo Accused Of Locking Linux Out Of Certain Laptops At Microsoft’s Request

      So whether Microsoft is truly to blame here is still an open question. At the very least, it does seem like Lenovo has some questions to answer — and one hopes that the company will be more forthright and honest than it was back during the Superfish episode when it basically lied through its teeth until it couldn’t lie any more.

    • Polychromatic Works With New Razer Linux Drivers, Even More Devices
  • Server

    • Beginning Grep for Linux SysAdmins

      GNU grep is an amazing power tool for finding words, numbers, spaces, punctuation, and random text strings inside of files, and this introduction will get you up and running quickly.

      We’ll stick to GNU grep and the Bash shell, because both are the defaults on most Linux distros. You can verify that you have GNU grep, and not some other grep…

    • Cloud Migration Is Making Performance Monitoring Crucial

      Application performance monitoring (APM) and network performance monitoring (NPM) are becoming increasingly important as businesses that have adopt cloud-based services and virtualized infrastructure.

      In the recent SDxCentral report, “Network Performance Management Takes On Applications,” more than half of surveyed respondents are actively looking at APM and NPM systems, and more than one-third are in the testing and deployment phases of adoption. Another 16 to 20 percent are piloting these systems, and roughly 15 percent have already deployed them in their network.

    • Containing container chaos with Kubernetes

      You’ve made the switch to Linux containers. Now you’re trying to figure out how to run containers in production, and you’re facing a few issues that were not present during development. You need something more than a few well-prepared Dockerfiles to move to production. What you need is something to manage all of your containers: a container orchestration system.

  • Kernel Space

    • OpenDaylight Introduces ‘Boron’ SDN Platform Release

      The industry consortium’s fifth release of its SDN platform puts a focus on the cloud, NFV, performance and tools.
      The OpenDaylight Project effort to create a common platform for network virtualization continues to mature with the unveiling of the group’s fifth release, dubbed “Boron.”

      The industry consortium announced the Boron release Sept. 21, a week before the OpenDaylight Summit kicks off in Seattle Sept. 27. Project officials said the new release brings with it improvements around the cloud and network-functions virtualization (NFV), and is the result of contributions by consortium members in a range of areas, including performance and tools.

    • Is an Editable Blockchain the Future of Finance?

      Blockchain, the technology that underlies the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, has been celebrated as a way to change the way transactions of all kinds are made. But a suggestion to make an editable version of the technology is now dividing opinion.

      The consultancy firm Accenture is patenting a system that would allow an administrator to make changes to information stored in a blockchain. In an interview with the Financial Times (paywall), Accenture’s global head of financial services, Richard Lumb, said that the development was about “adapting the blockchain to the corporate world” in order to “make it pragmatic and useful for the financial services sector.”

    • OPNFV Taking the Best of Open Source to Build an NFV Platform

      The OPNFV project is somewhat unlike other collaborative projects hosted at Linux Foundation. Rather than being the home for a specific single piece of technology, OPNFV works with multiple upstream open-source communities in a bid to compose a complete Network Function Virtualization (NFV) platform.

    • Graphics Stack

      • OpenGL ES 3.2 Officially Enabled For Intel Mesa Driver, Limited To Skylake+

        Intel’s Mesa driver has supported all of the extensions required by the OpenGL ES 3.2 specification, but only today is the support being officially advertised.

        Today’s commit by Kenneth Graunke of Intel explains, “It’s already advertised because the version.c extension checks are fulfilled, but we didn’t actually claim support, so trying to create a ES 3.2 context would fail. It’s all done, and the CTS results look good, so let’s turn it on.”

      • NVIDIA Is Working Towards HDR Display Support For Linux, But The Desktop Isn’t Ready

        NVIDIA supports HDR displays on Windows and Android, but not currently under Linux for the infrastructure not being in place to support High Dynamic Range displays from the Linux desktop. NVIDIA though is looking at working towards ultimately supporting HDR displays on Linux.

      • Some Fresh Linux 4.8 + Mesa 12.1-dev OpenGL Benchmarks For Radeon GPUs

        For those craving some fresh Mesa Git benchmarks, here are a few OpenGL tests I carried out with some AMD Radeon GPUs when comparing the out-of-the-box Ubuntu 16.04 LTS performance to what’s offered currently by Linux 4.8 and Mesa 12.1-dev Git.

      • NVIDIA Presents Over GBM vs. EGLStreams, The Big Wayland Support Debate Continues
      • XDC2016 Day 1: GLVND, Tizen Wayland/Vulkan, PRIME Sync
      • How Google’s Android Runtime On Chrome OS Uses Wayland, DRM

        Google developer David Reveman presented at this morning’s XDC2016 conference in Finland about the Android Runtime for Chrome making use of Wayland (ARC++) and how the rest of its graphics stack looks for running Android programs on Chrome OS.

        For rendering with ARC++, Gralloc and the OpenGL ES driver are using the Direct Rendering Manager, applications have full access to OpenGL ES, and there are support for other rendering APIs. Compositing with ARC++ is handled by the Android HWComposer and then surfaces are forwarded to Chrome for compositing with the rest of Chrome OS’ user-interface.

      • Wayland 1.12 Next-Gen Linux Display Server Officially Released with Many Goodies

        Today, September 21, 2016, Bryce Harrington has had the great pleasure of announcing the immediate availability of the Wayland 1.12.0 display server for GNU/Linux operating systems, along with the Weston 1.12.0 compositor.

        Development for Wayland 1.12 and Weston 1.12 started exactly a month ago when the first Alpha build was seeded to public testers, and it already contained many of the new functionalities and improvements implemented in this final build we can install today on our GNU/Linux distributions.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • MATE 1.16 Desktop Environment Officially Released with More GTK+ 3 Improvements

      Just a few minutes ago, Ubuntu MATE project leader, and now a Canonical employee, Martin Wimpress, informed us about the availability of the MATE 1.16 desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating systems.

      It has been six long months since the MATE 1.14 desktop environment was announced, during which the MATE development team worked hard on bringing lots of improvements to the core applications included in the lightweight graphical desktop interface used by default in the Ubuntu MATE operating system and other GNU/Linux distributions, as well as lots of other enhancements and cosmetic changes.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.22 core apps

        GNOME 3.22 is scheduled to be released today. Along with this release come brand new recommendations for distributions on which applications should be installed by default, and which applications should not. I’ve been steadily working on these since joining the release team earlier this year, and I’m quite pleased with the result.

      • Catanzaro: GNOME 3.22 core apps
      • GNOME 3.22 Released: the Future is Now
      • GNOME 3.22 released
      • GNOME 3.22 released
      • GNOME 3.22 Officially Released

        Matthias Clasen announced the official GNOME 3.22.0 release a short time ago. He wrote in part, “This release brings comprehensive Flatpak support. GNOME Software can install and update Flatpaks, GNOME Builder can create them, and the desktop provides portal implementations to enable sandboxed applications. Improvements to core GNOME applications include support for batch renaming in Files, sharing support in GNOME Photos, an updated look for GNOME Software, a redesigned keyboard settings panel, and many more.”

      • Parsix’ Nice GNOME, OpenMandriva 3 Sluggish, Firefox 49
      • GTK+ 3.22 GUI Toolkit Released for GNOME 3.22 as Devs Prepare for GTK+ 4.0

        Immediately after announcing the final release of the GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, Matthias Clasen also had the pleasure of informing us about the availability of the GTK+ 3.22 GUI toolkit.

        Most of you out there developing GTK+ apps know what this open source software is all about, and the latest stable build is now 3.22, released as part of the GNOME 3.22 desktop environment. However, it looks like this will be the last release in the GTK+ 3 series, as the developers are now preparing to bump the development builds to version 3.90.x towards GTK+ 4.0.

      • GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” Desktop Environment Is Officially Out, Here’s What’s New

        Today, September 21, 2016, is a big day for Linux users, especially those who love the GNOME desktop environment, as the next major release is now officially available.

      • Introducing GNOME 3.22: Karlsruhe

        GNOME 3.22 is the latest version of GNOME 3, and is the result of 6 months’ hard work by the GNOME community. It contains major new features, as well as many smaller improvements and bug fixes. In total, the release incorporates 22980 changes, made by approximately 775 contributors.

        3.22 has been named “Karlsruhe” in recognition of this year’s GUADEC organizing team. GUADEC is GNOME’s primary conference, which is held in Europe each year, and is only possible due to the amazing work of local volunteers.

      • GNOME 3.22 Official Release Video Uploaded to YouTube

        A GNOME 3.22 release video has gone live on YouTube. It gives users a look at the key changes that feature in the latest update to the Linux desktop environment.

      • GNOME 3.22 Released, This Is What’s New

        GNOME 3.22 is out, and it features comprehensive Flatpak support, file manager improvements, and a whole host more besides. Click through to read more.

      • Who wrote GTK+ 3.22

        Now that GTK+ 3.22.0 and GLib 2.50.0 have been released, it’s time to look back at this development cycle and see the contributions from people and companies that made these releases possible.

      • GNOME Software and Age Ratings

        After all the tarballs for GNOME 3.22 the master branch of gnome-software is now open to new features. Along with the usual cleanups and speedups one new feature I’ve been working on is finally merging the age ratings work.

      • GNOME 3.22 Released

        The GNOME Community has just announced the official release of GNOME 3.22. GNOME 3.22 — which is slated to be used as the desktop environment for Fedora Workstation 25 — provides a multitude of new features, including a the updated Files application, and comprehensive Flatpak integration with the Software application.

        Fedora users that want to try out the new features in GNOME 3.22 can install a pre-release version of Fedora 25, which currently contains a pre-release of GNOME 3.22, but will be updated to include the stable 3.22 release. Alternatively, if you are running Fedora 24, and want to try out individual applications from the GNOME 3.22 release, these can be installed via Flatpak.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • OpenMandriva Lx 3.0

        OpenMandriva is a member of the Mandriva (formally Mandrake Linux) family of Linux distributions. OpenMandriva strives to be a newcomer friendly, desktop operating system. The latest release, version 3.0, features version 5.6 of the KDE Plasma desktop environment and the Calamares system installer. This release of OpenMandriva was compiled using the Clang compiler which is unusual for a Linux distribution as most distributions use the GNU Compiler Collection to build their software. From the end-user’s perspective the choice of compiler will probably have no practical impact, but it does suggest the OpenMandriva team sees either a practical or philosophical benefit to using the liberally licensed Clang compiler.

        OpenMandriva is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture. I downloaded the project’s 64-bit build which is approximately 1.8GB in size. Booting from the project’s media brings up a menu asking if we would like to start a live desktop session or launch the Calamares system installer. Taking the live option brings up a graphical configuration wizard which asks us a handful of questions. We are asked to select our preferred language from a list, accept a license agreement, select our keyboard’s layout from a list and confirm our time zone. With these steps completed, the wizard disappears and the Plasma desktop loads. The desktop displays an application menu, task switcher and system tray at the bottom of the screen. The wallpaper is a soft blue and, on the desktop, we find an icon which will launch the Calamares system installer. Other icons on the desktop are available for launching a welcome screen and accessing the OpenMandriva website.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Accepted apt 1.3 (source) into unstable
      • APT 1.3 Linux Package Manager Has Been Officially Released in Debian Unstabl

        On September 20, 2016, the APT development team, through Julian Andres Klode, announced the release of version 1.3 of the APT (Advanced Packaging Tool) command-line package manager.

        APT 1.3 has been in the works since early May this year, and it received a total of twelve development releases that brought numerous improvements and new features to one of the oldest and most acclaimed package managers for Debian-based GNU/Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

      • APT 1.3 Released For Debian Linux Distributions

        APT 1.3 is now available as the newest version of this Debian command-line package manager.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Snapcraft GUI 3.0 Released for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and Ubuntu 16.10

            Softpedia was informed today, September 21, 2016, by Snapcraft GUI developer Keshav Bhatt about the release of a new major update, version 3.0, for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and above.

            Last week, we introduced you guys to the Snapcraft GUI application, whose main goal is to help application developers who want to distribute their projects across multiple GNU/Linux distributions using Canonical’s innovative Snap universal binary package format build Snappy packages more easily.

          • Ubuntu to Run Much Faster in Virtual Machines, as Well as When Using It Remotely

            After releasing the OTA-13 update for Ubuntu Phone and Ubuntu Tablet devices, Canonical is now working hard on putting all the pieces together for next month’s Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) operating system.

            Ubuntu 16.10 will be officially released on October 13, 2016, but until then we will be able to get an early taste of its new features by downloading the Final Beta ISO images, which for some of the opt-in flavors is called Beta 2. However, for Ubuntu itself, this will be the first and only Beta release.

          • Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Final Beta Freeze Now in Effect, Lands September 22

            Today, September 21, 2016, Canonical’s Adam Conrad announced that the soon-to-be-released Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Final Beta is now in freeze stage and will arrive, as initially planned, on September 22, 2016.

            However, early adopters should look for the release late Thursday or very early on Friday, September 23, because the Ubuntu developers are a little busy right now pushing last minute updates to the stable archive, and they also managed to land the new Linux 4.8 kernel packages earlier today, as reported right here on Softpedia.

          • Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Is Now Officially Powered by Linux Kernel 4.8

            Ubuntu 16.10 being in development and all that, it usually gets at least a few updated packages every 24 hours, and today, September 21, 2016, we were surprised to see that the Linux 4.8 kernel packages have finally landed.

          • IBM Forges More OpenStack Ties with Canonical and Red Hat

            IBM has a slew of news announcements this week. Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, is spreading out with its OpenStack eforts. It has announced that Ubuntu OpenStack is now available for IBM customers who want to manage their own OpenStack cloud across IBM platforms such as IBM z Systems, IBM LinuxONE and IBM Power Systems, including IBM’s newly announced OpenPOWER LC servers. This is an expansion of the companies’ hybrid cloud partnership, and many instances of OpenStack already run on top of Ubuntu. We covered the news in depth here.

            Meanwhile, the company launched many new products that consist of a combination of Power, z Systems, and storage, with cloud-ready functionality already bundled.

          • Ubuntu Wants Your Opinion On Scopes and Colors

            Got a spare five minutes? You can help the Canonical design out by filling in a questionnaire. The team is looking to “gather information about how people perceive colours and use Scopes.” The short questionnaire is split into two sections: colour and Scopes.

          • Ubuntu Smartphones / Tablets Are Getting Ubuntu Touch OTA-13 Update
          • An Easy Way To Set the Bing Image of the Day As Your Linux Wallpaper
          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • A tiny Arduino Zero clone, and an Arduino for cosplayers

      Rabid Prototypes shipped a tiny Arduino Zero clone called the “Tau,” and launched an expanded Zero-like “Firecricket” for light, sound, and motion control.

      Early this year, before Boston-based Rabid Prototypes launched its second-generation, 36 x 18mm Neutrino 2.0 Arduino Zero clone on Kickstarter, it mounted a KS project for a smaller, 28 x 15mm “Tau” clone of the Arduino Zero. Due to ship in May, the Tau was delayed throughout the summer, but is finally shipping to backers. It’s also available for order to newcomers for $15, which is $5 more than the KS price. The original Neutrino 1.0 is once again back in stock, as well.

    • Hands-on with the quad-core ARM9 Roseapple Pi hacker SBC

      I use Raspberry Pi boards for several real-world jobs. My “STEAMpunk Conference Personality Identification Device” (aka: conference badge) uses a Pi to show an mp4 promotional video on its tiny 1.8-inch color TFT display while “orbing” its blue LED “ozone tube”, for added attention grabbing. Oh, it also includes my stage name “DR TORQ”, in big, bold antique-looking letters.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Tizen Store in Indonesia now supports Iocal currency (IDR)

          The next target market for the launch of the Samsung Z2 is expected to be Indonesia. The Tizen store recently started supporting Indonesian language and also recently the Samsung Z2 had passed certification process in Indonesia. Judging by the pace at which these developments are taking place with respect to Tizen in the country, it seems like we are just a matter of days away from its official unveiling. Samsung have now introduced paid services to the Tizen Store in Indonesia to release paid apps into the country.

        • Tizen-Running Samsung Gear Fit 2 price reduced on Amazon

          There is no doubt Samsung has got one of the best fitness and activity tracker in the market in the Gear Fit 2. The Samsung Gear Fit 2 is not only a robust wearable device but also one with lots of awesome features and it is no wonder the Tizen-powered wearable doesn’t come cheap.

          The thing is at its current price of $179.99, the Gear Fit 2 offers users much more than its monetary worth but even at that, the wearable device has got a price slash on Amazon, so intended buyers will have some change when they purchase the Gear Fit 2 from Amazon.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source software free (but not the free you’re thinking of)

    I like practical application. Recently, I’ve been trying to expand my horizons through studying Linux operating systems. I’ll use this opportunity to reinforce some of what I’ve learned and hopefully shed a little light on exactly what open source software is and how it’s used. For the sake of clarity, there is a lot more to the topic than discussed below, but we can only stuff so much info into the column!

    A common misconception is that open source software means free (as in beer). Open source software may be free to use or paid for, but the “free” in open source applies to the rights (as in speech) of the general public to use, distribute or modify the source software at will. Digging further, there are degrees of “openness” of open source software. As the term indicates, the source is open but generally the source is just the base element of the overall application. For instance, operating systems are typically comprised of a kernel and many other programs which work together, resulting in products like Microsoft Windows, macOS or Red Hat.

  • How do you get programmers to join your project?

    I inherited a project coded in $programming_language when the original developer quit and no one else stepped forward. It is currently hosted on GitHub and has a GPL 3 license.

    It’s a tool I use every day and I don’t want to see it die. I know very little $programming_language and very little GUI programming, so I can’t maintain it myself.

  • How open source is bringing blockchain to the enterprise

    During her part of the keynote address at IBM Edge 2016, Donna Dillenberger, IBM fellow, Watson Research Center, at IBM, demonstrated how analytics and transactions work together using The Linux Foundation’s version of blockchain, called Hyperledger.

  • Google’s Jigsaw subsidiary is building open-source AI tools to spot trolls

    Can Google bring peace to the web with machine learning? Jigsaw, a subsidiary of parent company Alphabet is certainly trying, building open-source AI tools designed to filter out abusive language. A new feature from Wired describes how the software has been trained on some 17 million comments left underneath New York Times stories, along with 13,000 discussions on Wikipedia pages. This data is labeled and then fed into the software — called Conversation AI — which begins to learn what bad comments look like.

  • Confessions of a Necromancer

    Bringing the dead machines to life was my passion for decades. Via the FFII I learned that people are the real challenge. I began to move into community building, spending a while helping Wikidot.com build their community. Yet in the end, there is nothing quite like writing some code and seeing a light turn on, and turn off again.

  • JPEG-Turbo Library 1.5.1 Released

    Version 1.5.1 of the libjpeg-turbo library is now available. For those that have somehow managed to never hear of it, libjpeg-turbo is a BSD-licensed, faster JPEG image codec than libjpeg and has various other feature differences.

  • Checking in on the Taiga project management tool

    Taiga is one of the most popular open source project management tools out there right now. It is known for being usable and having a beautiful interface, and Opensource.com listed it in both the Top 5 open source project management tools in 2015 and the Top 11 project management tools for 2016.

    I covered Taiga soon after it was released in October 2014, and two years later it’s time to check in and see how things are going for the new company. I spoke with co-CEO Enrique Posner about their 150,000 users, developer community, and what’s next.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Ditching Microsoft Office? Tips on how to switch to LibreOffice

      Since open-source office suites started gaining popularity more than a decade ago, some large organizations have been turning away from Microsoft Office.

      The Italian ministry of defence’s migration of more than 120,000 PCs to the open-source LibreOffice is just the latest in a string of projects to replace Microsoft at European authorities.

      However, while momentum may be gathering, these organizations remain in the minority, and businesses generally haven’t followed suit in jumping off the Microsoft Office bandwagon.

    • Official Results of the 2016 Membership Committee Elections

      The board wants to take the opportunity to thank all past and new members of the Membership Committee for their service to the community, and all candidates for running. Congratulations to the newly elected committee members and their deputies!

  • CMS

    • A brief history of Drupal from 1.0 to 8.0

      Drupal began as a forum for a few friends to monitor their shared Internet connection, which “was expensive and being spliced between them,” according to Jared Whitehead’s The rise of Drupal and the fall of closed source. Today, it’s one of the most popular content management systems out there, competing with powerhouses like WordPress.

      So, what has the Drupal community done to ensure continued competitiveness, usability, and overall sustainability? In this article, I’ll walk you through Drupal’s evolution chronologically, including key design decisions and feature upgrades. My sources include the History of Drupal: from Drop 1.0 to Drupal 8.0 slideshow by WebSolutions HR and Drupal’s CHANGELOG.txt.

  • Education

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


  • Public Services/Government

    • Dear The Sun: we need to talk about your understanding of open source

      I want to talk to you about this article, and the claims it makes about open source software. I would have liked to chat to your cited expert, whom you’ve listed only as Neil Doyle. Sadly, the article fails to specify his area of expertise and both messages and emails to author Ryan Sabey asking for further information have gone unanswered. So I’m responding to it here, supported by some brilliant, contactable experts in security and open source.

      After sitting open-mouthed at the misinformation in this article for some time, I began to reach out to fellow tech experts to see if they felt the same. I first contacted Dr. Jessica Barker, the independent cybersecurity authority behind cyber.uk. I asked if she could address the concerns you raised that use of open source software in the public sector would pose security risks.


      “The Sun seems to be implying that open source software is more vulnerable to attack than closed source, which is a sweeping misunderstanding that fails to take the complex nature of cybersecurity into account.

      Both open source and closed source software can be vulnerable to exploit, however these vulnerabilities are arguably more likely to be discovered in open source rather than closed source software as more people (including security researchers) are able to look at it. By its nature, it is publicly available and so it’s harder to hide malicious vulnerabilities”.

    • DOD Aims to Make Cybersecurity a Fundamental Part of Its Tech Mission
    • The Department of Software?

      Well-developed software can make or break modern weapons systems. Software problems initially hindered F-35 production, for example. The Department of Defense (DOD) set up a Digital Service team last year to help the military solve its information technology problems. Future work on autonomous systems will heavily rely on software development. Most importantly, the DOD will have to protect its own data. To improve the DOD’s use of software, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) looked at how the Pentagon could better use “open source software.” While the DOD uses some open source software, its full utilization for military software development will require deeper changes to how the DOD approaches code.

    • John Weathersby: Selling Open Source to the Federal Government

      John Weathersby founded and ran the Open Source Software Institute to “promote the development and implementation of open source software solutions within U.S. federal, state, and local government agencies.” A worthy goal!

      But why stick to nothing but software? In 2014, Weathersby founded The Open Technology Center at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center (in Mississippi), which is a “non-profit research and development entity sponsored by the Mississippi National Guard and U.S. Department of Homeland Security whose mission is to innovate and integrate open source software technologies for use within national defense and security organizations.”

      The OTC is doing some neat stuff, ranging from autonomous vehicles to making it easier for local governments to request, receive, and account for disaster recovery funds in the wake of an emergency. It’s all good! And it’s all about open source, which is why it’s worth listening to what Weathersby has to say.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • OSI Approved Licenses, a Foundation for Federal Source Code Policy

      The Federal Source Code memorandum includes a subject line that clearly communicates the federal government’s commitment, “Achieving Efficiency, Transparency, and Innovation through Reusable and Open Source Software,” and we applaud the OMB for their compressive work: introducing the benefits of open source software, development and communities to a bureaucracy often challenged to move away from traditional modes of practice and policy; engaging with the larger technology sector in a inclusive and comprehensive review of current, and potential future-states for software development and use within the government, and; actually delivering a policy that can serve as a foundation to build on.

    • GitHub repos now prominently show open-source licenses

      GitHub, the source code repository software company with a website where people host and collaborate on open-source software projects, today announced a small but meaningful update to repository pages online — now they prominently display which open-source licenses are used. When you click on the name of the license, you’ll be brought to the license for the repository.

      The change will be coming to GitHub Enterprise, just like the updated profiles, GitHub Projects tool, and pull request reviews that GitHub brought to the GitHub.com last week, GitHub product manager Ayman Nadeem wrote in a blog post.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • The Future of Geomatics is Open Source

        With no disrespect intended to the other geomatics conferences around (and there are many with high-quality and extremely relevant programmes), the FOSS4G (‘Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial’) conferences are different. FOSS4G 2016 was held in the former plenary chamber of the German Bundestag in Bonn yet, despite this prestigious setting, the atmosphere was very laid-back. Participants dressed in shorts and FOSS4G T-shirts, a beer (or two) in the afternoon, a sense of humour throughout the whole event and a very vibrant social programme (the ice-breaker at the wonderful BaseCamp Hostel Bonn and the Rhine cruise were instant hits!) summed up the vibe at FOSS4G.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • UltraSoC lends debug to open-source ISA RISC-V

        RISC-V was originally designed to support computer architecture research and education, but as concern has grown in the industry about the increasing dominance of one or two proprietary microprocessor architectures, the RISC-V ISA has aroused interest as a potential open architecture for commercial use. A strong development and debug infrastructure is essential to the success of any chip architecture, and UltraSoC’s vendor-neutral, partnership-based approach, the company believes, complements the RISC-V open ISA principles.

  • Programming/Development

    • is go an acceptable cml?

      Yesterday I tried to summarize the things I know about Concurrent ML, and I came to the tentative conclusion that Go (and any Go-like system) was an acceptable CML. Turns out I was both wrong and right.

    • concurrent ml versus go

      Peoples! Lately I’ve been navigating the guile-ship through waters unknown. This post is something of an echolocation to figure out where the hell this ship is and where it should go.

      Concretely, I have been working on getting a nice lightweight concurrency system rolling for Guile. I’ll write more about that later, but you can think of it as being modelled on Go, though built as a library. (I had previously described it as “Erlang-like”, but that’s just not accurate.)


  • Why project managers need to lose control

    Being accountable for the planning, execution, and delivery of a project is demanding. Managing people, facilitating communication, resolving conflict, and mitigating risk are prerequisites to completing on schedule, and within an agreed budget. Add to this the often unpredictable nature of these factors and it’s little wonder that project managers feel a great burden of responsibility.

    Those suited to such a role are acutely aware of this responsibility and it’s something they take on quite willingly. They perceive the role of a project manager as a guardian presiding over a project in order to protect it from failure. They are the last line of defense, willing to take the fall should something go wrong. It’s an admirable position of leadership they seek to adopt, but the responsibilities attached to it can become overwhelming for even the most seasoned practitioners.

    That’s why I think they need to lose control.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • UN Agrees Political Declaration On Antibiotic Resistance

      The membership of the United Nations today agreed a political declaration on antimicrobial resistance, elevating the global fight against overuse and misuse of antibiotics – and lack of new antibiotics – to the highest political level. The declaration struck by world leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York includes mention of separating medicine prices from the cost of research and development, and calls on the UN secretary-general to create an interagency coordination group. Now – as framed by many governments, intergovernmental organisations and nongovernmental representatives – attention moves to implementation of actions aimed at staving off this threat to humanity itself.

  • Security

    • Bug that hit Firefox and Tor browsers was hard to spot—now we know why

      As a result, the cross-platform, malicious code-execution risk most recently visited users of browsers based on the Firefox Extended Release on September 3 and lasted until Tuesday, or a total of 17 days. The same Firefox version was vulnerable for an even longer window last year, starting on July 4 and lasting until August 11. The bug was scheduled to reappear for a few days in November and for five weeks in December and January. Both the Tor Browser and the production version of Firefox were vulnerable during similarly irregular windows of time.

    • Florida Man Charged With Hacking Linux Servers

      Donald Ryan Austin of South Florida has been arrested on charges of hacking into the networks of Linux Kernel Organization and Linux Foundation and installing malicious software. A US Department of Justice (DoJ) release said Austin, who is a computer programmer, is now out on bail and could face a maximum sentence of 10 years if convicted.

      According to the indictment, Austin stole the credentials of an employee to break into the Linux networks and installed rootkit and Trojan software apart from altering the servers. He has been charged with four counts of deliberate damage to a protected computer.

    • Why do hackers prefer Linux?

      Linux has much to offer any computer user, but it has proven to be particularly popular with hackers. A writer at The Merkle recently considered the reasons why hackers have so much love for Linux.

    • How To Get “Hollywood Hacker Feel” In Your Linux Command Line?

      A developer has created a command line utility which can give you the feel of Hollywood movie hacker. His tool replicates the decrypting text seen from the 1992 hacker movie Sneakers. The code is freely available on his GitHub page.

    • DDoS attacks: For the hell of it or targeted – how do you see them off?

      Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can be painful and debilitating. How can you defend against them? Originally, out-of-band or scrubbing-centre DDoS protection was the only show in town, but another approach, inline mitigation, provides a viable and automatic alternative.

      DDoS attacks can be massive, in some cases reaching hundreds of Gbits/sec, but those mammoths are relatively rare. For the most part, attackers will flood companies with around 1 Gbit/sec of traffic or less. They’re also relatively short affairs, with most attacks lasting 30 minutes or less. This enables attackers to slow down computing resources or take them offline altogether while flying under the radar, making it especially difficult for companies to detect and stop them.

    • IoT and a new type of threat for Linux

      Linux has played a significant role in establishing IoT devices as increasingly important parts of our everyday lives, both at home and in the enterprise. Linux based OSes make it easy for developers to create applications that can run on anything, from a fridge to a car, and as a result 73 percent of IoT developers use Linux to run applications on.

      Now, however, questions of security are arising. With IoT gesturing in a brave new world of connected devices, businesses must cope with a greater number of entry points and vulnerabilities, with security the top concern in the industry.

      By placing such a burden on Linux’s security capabilities, there are now real fears that IoT devices will be left exposed and businesses will pay the price.

    • NIST Seeks Comments on Cybersecurity Reports

      The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has recently issued two draft reports on cybersecurity issues of interest to industrial IoT users, and is seeking industry comment before making their final revisions. One report describes the proposed manufacturing profile for NIST’s Cybersecurity Framework. The other addresses cryptography standards and practices for resource-constrained processors.

      Recognizing that the national and economic security of the United States depends on the reliable functioning of critical infrastructure, NIST created in 2014 a voluntary Cybersecurity Framework, which is a compendium of industry standards and best practices to help organizations manage cybersecurity risks. Created through collaboration between government and the private sector, the Framework helps guide cybersecurity activities and encourages organizations to consider cybersecurity risks as part of their risk management processes. Profiles, a key element of the Framework, help an organization align its cybersecurity activities with its business requirements, risk tolerances, and resources. A profile is intended both to help identify opportunities for improving cybersecurity as well as providing a touchstone to compare against in order to prioritize process improvement activities.

    • Hackers Able To Control Tesla S Systems From Twelve Miles Away

      Over the last few years, we’ve well documented the abysmal security in the internet of things space. And while refrigerators that leak your Gmail credentials are certainly problematic, the rise in exploitable vehicle network security is exponentially more worrying. Reports emerge almost monthly detailing how easy it is for hackers to bypass vehicle security, allowing them to at best fiddle with in-car systems like air conditioning, and at worst take total control of a compromised vehicle. It’s particularly problematic given these exploits may take years to identify and patch.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • DR Congo is once again spiraling into violence ahead of an election

      The headquarters of one the Democratic Republic of Congo’s main opposition parties was torched on Sept. 20. According to Reuters, at least two people died in the blaze. A day earlier, an anti-government protest turned deadly, after at least 17 people died in clashes, according to the country’s interior ministry. Opposition parties put the number at 53, while activists say 25 protesters were shot.

      The violence has once again left Africa’s largest country teetering on the brink of violence ahead of a crucial election. The resource-wealthy country has never experienced a peaceful transition and the political violence carries the fear that a civil war that left nearly four million people dead between 1996 and 2003 may resurface.

  • Finance

    • New Economic Study Indicates EU-Canada Trade Deal Will Cause ‘Unemployment, Inequality And Welfare Losses’

      As Techdirt noted back in January, it is astonishing that the TPP negotiations proceeded for years with almost no detailed analysis of whether they would be beneficial. It was only recently, after the text had been finalized, that a number of studies started to appear which explored the likely impact of TPP in some depth. Strikingly, every single one of them predicted almost no benefit for the US economy from the deal.

      The situation for TPP is rather better than for the other big US trade negotiations currently underway, TAFTA/TTIP, where attempts to model its impact are thin on the ground. The same is true for CETA, the EU-Canada trade deal that was supposedly “finished” two years ago, and yet still hasn’t been passed because of the text’s deep problems, not least because of its corporate sovereignty provisions. Despite the fact that CETA may be quite close to final ratification — although growing resistance to it in Europe may still stop it — we have very few studies of what benefits it might bring. The main one is the official analysis that was used to kick off the talks (pdf) in the first place, published in 2008.

    • ‘No TTIP, No CETA!’ Brussels Protests Against Free Trade

      Thousands of protesters marched through Brussels on Tuesday to demand the European Union abandon planned trans-atlantic free trade deals they say will worsen labor conditions and allow big business to challenge governments.

      Organizers, including unions, environmental and consumer groups and public health insurers, said between 10,000 and 15,000 people headed to the EU quarter of Brussels by early evening. Police put the number at 6,000.

    • ICIJ publishes leaked Bahamas info to offshore database

      New revelations published today by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and news organizations from Europe, South America, Asia and Africa reveal fresh information about offshore companies in the Bahamas.

      Alongside detailed reporting, ICIJ, Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners are making details from the Bahamas corporate registry available to the public. This creates, for the first time, a free, online and publicly-searchable database of offshore companies set up in the island nation that has sometimes been called “The Switzerland of the West.”

      “We see it as a service to the public to make this basic kind of information openly available,” said Gerard Ryle, the director of ICIJ.

      “There is much evidence to suggest that where you have secrecy in the offshore world you have the potential for wrong doing. So let’s eliminate the secrecy.”

      The cache of documents from the island nation’s corporate registry provides names of directors and some owners of more than 175,000 Bahamian companies, trusts and foundations registered between 1990 and early 2016.

    • Legal doubt, political concerns, overshadow CETA-TTIP ahead of Bratislava Summit

      Tomorrow’s two day meeting of EU trade ministers in Bratislava is set to be interesting. A circle of rumours and uncertainty surround both TTIP and CETA, and both face a mountain of legal and political challenges that may still be their undoing.

      French Foreign Trade Minister has vowed to ask his colleagues that the TTIP talks are suspended (which may already de facto be the case.) In a sign of desperation, German minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel flew to Canada last week to personally secure further concessions in CETA, despite the Canadian government and the Commission reaffirming that the negotiations are closed. This week, tens of thousands took to the streets in protest in Brussels and German cities, while sources all but confirm that TTIP will be effectively shelved until next summer, after no signs of progress from the US side and Brexit implications to mull over. All of these developments will need to be considered by EU ministers in Bratislava.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Your Vote For Jill Stein Is Not A Wasted Vote

      When Jill Stein ran as the Green Party’s presidential nominee in 2012, media attention to her candidacy was rare. Now, with two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in history, she has received widespread attention. There seems to be record interest in third party campaigns, including Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

      The Nation published a debate between Socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant and Nation contributor Joshua Holland.

      The editors gave Sawant’s column the negative headline—”Don’t Waste Your Vote On the Corporate Agenda—Vote for Jill Stein and the Greens”—but column does not hinge on loathing Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Rather, it makes a positive case for supporting Stein by primarily arguing the need for progressives to build an alternative to the two pro-capitalist political parties in America. It has a long-term focus on bringing about radical change.

    • Voting for Jill Stein is a Moral Imperative if George H.W. Bush Votes for Clinton

      When Seth MacFarlane warns people on Twitter that voting for Jill Stein will lead to Trump, he forgets that Hillary Clinton spread this photo of Barack Obama in 2008. President Obama’s campaign manager at the time described it as “the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election.” Furthermore, while Donald Trump is overtly xenophobic and utilizes racism to gain votes, Clinton also ran a 3 a.m. ad in 2008 that contained a “racist sub-message.” As stated by Harvard’s Orlando Patterson in The New York Times, “It is striking, too, that during the same weekend the ad was broadcast, Mrs. Clinton refused to state unambiguously that Mr. Obama is a Christian and has never been a Muslim.”

    • A Cop Killed a Black Man–Then Things Got ‘Ugly’

      Funny—some might say that the turn toward ugliness occurred in the afternoon, when a police officer fatally shot a black man.

    • Media Ask Which Candidate Can Better Exploit Our Irrational Fear of Terrorism

      Something missing from these reports is any discussion of the relative danger of terrorism. The reporters begin with the premise that voters are afraid of it, never challenging the underlying rationality of those fears.

      The reality is that terrorism remains, objectively, a very minor threat. (One is 82 times more likely to be killed falling out of bed than by a terrorist.) But by framing the issue as an urgent danger, with two candidates “dueling” over opposing ways of addressing this menace, the media further inflate terrorism’s importance. Can one even imagine Trump and Clinton “jockeying” for position on climate change, or violence against women and LGBT communities, or lowering heart disease—all of which, statistically, are far, far more dangerous than terrorism?

      This isn’t a new problem, of course. In nine Democratic primary debates, for example, the moderators asked a total of 30 questions about terrorism or ISIS, and not one question about poverty (FAIR.org, 5/27/16). (A 2011 study by Columbia’s school of public health estimated that 4.5 percent of all deaths in the United States are attributable to poverty.)

    • Hillary Clinton’s $21,667,000 “Speaking Fees” Fortune, Broken Down Speech by Speech

      And an aside…if you think Hillary’s $21,667,000 was a lot of income for the Clinton clan, you can also tack on an additional $26,630,000 for her ex-president hubby Bill Clinton, and his “speaking fees” collected during the same time period.

      4/18/2013, Morgan Stanley Washington, DC: $225,000
      4/24/2013, Deutsche Bank Washington, DC: $225,000
      4/24/2013, National Multi Housing Council Dallas, TX: $225,000
      4/30/2013, Fidelity Investments Naples, FL: $225,000
      5/8/2013, Gap, Inc. San Francisco, CA: $225,000
      5/14/2013, Apollo Management Holdings, LP New York, NY: $225,000
      5/16/2013, Itau BBA USA Securities New York, NY: $225,000
      5/21/2013, Verizon Communications, Inc. Washington, DC: $225,000
      5/29/2013, Sanford C. Bernstein and Co., LLC New York, NY: $225,000
      6/4/2013, The Goldman Sachs Group Palmetto Bluffs, SC: $225,000
      6/6/2013, Spencer Stuart New York, NY: $225,000
      6/16/2013, Society for Human Resource Management Chicago, IL: $285,000
      6/17/2013, Economic Club of Grand Rapids Grand Rapids, MI: $225,000
      6/20/2013, Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Boston, MA: $225,000
      6/20/2013, Let’s Talk Entertainment, Inc. Toronto, Canada: $250,000
      6/24/2013, American Jewish University Universal City, CA: $225,000
      6/24/2013, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Company, LP Palos Verdes, CA: $225,000
      7/11/2013, UBS Wealth Management New York, NY: $225,000
      8/7/2013, Global Business Travel Association San Diego, CA: $225,000
      8/12/2013, National Association of Chain Drug Stores Las Vegas, NV: $225,000
      9/18/2013, American Society for Clinical Pathology Chicago, IL: $225,000
      9/19/2013, American Society of Travel Agents, Inc. Miami, FL: $225,000
      10/4/2013, Long Island Association Long Island, NY: $225,000
      10/15/2013, National Association of Convenience Stores Atlanta, GA: $265,000
      10/23/2013, SAP Global Marketing, Inc. New York, NY: $225,000
      10/24/2013, Accenture New York, NY: $225,000
      10/24/2013, The Goldman Sachs Group New York, NY: $225,000
      10/27/2013, Beth El Synagogue Minneapolis, AIN: $225,000
      10/28/2013, Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Chicago, IL: $400,000
      10/29/2013, The Goldman Sachs Group Tuscon, AZ: $225,000
      11/4/2013, Mase Productions, Inc. Orlando, FL: $225,000
      11/4/2013, London Drugs, Ltd. Mississauga, ON: $225,000
      11/6/2013, Beaumont Health System Troy, 111: $305,000
      11/7/2013, Golden Tree Asset Management New York, NY: $275,000
      11/9/2013, National Association of Realtors San Francisco, CA: $225,000
      11/13/2013, Mediacorp Canada, Inc. Toronto, Canada: $225,000
      11/13/2013, Bank of America Bluffton, SC: $225,000
      11/14/2013, CB Richard Ellis, Inc. New York, NY: $250,000
      11/18/2013, CIIE Group Naples, FL: $225,000
      11/18/2013, Press Ganey Orlando, FL: $225,000
      11/21/2013, U.S. Green Building Council Philadelphia, PA: $225,000
      01/06/2014, GE Boca Raton, Fl.: $225,500
      01/27/2014, National Automobile Dealers Association New Orleans, La.: $325,500
      01/27/2014, Premier Health Alliance Miami, Fl.: $225,500
      02/06/2014, Salesforce.com Las Vegas, Nv.: $225,500
      02/17/2014, Novo Nordisk A/S Mexico City, Mexico: $125,000
      02/26/2014, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Orlando, Fl.: $225,500
      02/27/2014, A&E Television Networks New York, N.Y.: $280,000
      03/04/2014, Association of Corporate Counsel – Southern California Los Angeles, Ca.: $225,500
      03/05/2014, The Vancouver Board of Trade Vancouver, Canada: $275,500
      03/06/2014, tinePublic Inc. Calgary, Canada: $225,500
      03/13/2014, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association Orlando, Fl.: $225,500
      03/13/2014, Drug Chemical and Associated Technologies New York, N.Y.: $250,000
      03/18/2014, Xerox Corporation New York, N.Y.: $225,000
      03/18/2014, Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal Montreal, Canada: $275,000
      03/24/2014, Academic Partnerships Dallas, Tx.: $225,500
      04/08/2014, Market° Inc. San Francisco, Ca.: $225,500
      04/08/2014, World Affairs Council Portland, Or.: $250,500
      04/10/2014, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. Las Vegas, Nv.: $225,500
      04/10/2014, Lees Talk Entertainment San Jose, Ca.: $265,000
      04/11/2014, California Medical Association (via satellite) San Diego, Ca.: $100,000
      05/06/2014, National Council for Behavioral Healthcare Washington D.C.: $225,500
      06/02/2014, International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association Denver, Co.: $225,500
      06/02/2014, Lees Talk Entertainment Denver, Co.: $265,000
      06/10/2014, United Fresh Produce Association Chicago, II.: $225,000
      06/16/2014, tinePublic Inc. Toronto, Canada: $150,000
      06/18/2014, tinePublic Inc. Edmonton, Canada: $100,000
      06/20/2014, Innovation Arts and Entertainment Austin, Tx.: $150,000
      06/25/2014, Biotechnology Industry Organization San Diego, Ca.: $335,000
      06/25/2014, Innovation Arts and Entertainment San Francisco, Ca.: $150,000
      06/26/2014, GTCR Chicago, II.: $280,000
      07/22/2014, Knewton, Inc. San Francisco, Ca.: $225,500
      07/26/2014, Ameriprise Boston, Ma.: $225,500
      07/29/2014, Coming, Inc. Coming, N.Y.: $225,500
      08/28/2014, Nexenta Systems, Inc. San Francisco, Ca.: $300,000
      08/28/2014, Cisco Las Vegas, Nv.: $325,000
      09/04/2014, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP San Diego, Ca.: $225,500
      09/15/2014, Caridovascular Research Foundation Washington D.C.: $275,000
      10/02/2014, Commercial Real Estate Women Network Miami Beach, Fl.: $225,500
      10/06/2014, Canada 2020 Ottawa, Canada: $215,500
      10/07/2014, Deutsche Bank AG New York, N.Y.: $280,000
      10/08/2014, Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) Chicago, II.: $265,000
      10/13/2014, Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers Colorado Springs, Co.: $225,500
      10/14/2014, Salesforce.com San Francisco, Ca.: $225,500
      10/14/2014, Qualcomm Incorporated San Diego, Ca.: $335,000
      12/04/2014, Massachusetts Conference for Women Boston, Ma.: $205,500
      01/21/2015, tinePublic Inc. Winnipeg, Canada: $262,000
      01/21/2015, tinePublic Inc. Saskatoon, Canada: $262,500
      01/22/2015, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Whistler, Canada: $150,000
      02/24/2015, Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women Santa Clara, Ca.: $225,500
      03/11/2015, eBay Inc. San Jose, Ca.: $315,000
      03/19/2015, American Camping Association Atlantic City, NJ.: $260,000

      Total: $21,667,000

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Belgium unveils plans for its own highly intrusive Snoopers’ Charter

      Belgium’s government has called for a bevy of intrusive surveillance powers. New capabilities included in the bill, which has been sent to Belgian parliament, include requiring Internet companies to cooperate with law enforcement agencies during their investigations; giving investigators the power to break into systems and access data, including by paying hackers to do so; and allowing undercover agents to break the law online.

      According to a report in the Belgian newspaper L’Echo, the new bill requires communications service providers to help the authorities with their investigation, and specifically mentions WhatsApp and Viber as services that will be required to comply. That would seem to raise the problem of end-to-end encryption that other countries are grappling with, including the UK, but it is not clear what the Belgian government hopes to do here.

    • ePrivacy Directive: The European Commission Must Commit to Confidentiality of the Communications

      The European Commission should submit this autumn a draft revision of the 2002 directive on privacy in the electronic communications sector, also called “ePrivacy directive”. This future draft follows a public consultation launched by the European Commission in April 2016 that La Quadrature answered. While for months the telecoms industry, GAFA and member States have been intensely lobbying against this fundamental text, the European Commission must resist these pressures and seriously take into account the proposals from civil society associations in order to produce legislation respectful of fundamental rights, including the right to encryption.

    • Fifteen secret warrants in force granting bulk data collection in UK

      There are 15 secret “directions” in force under the Telecommunications Act enabling the intelligence services to collect bulk data about online and phone traffic, a surveillance watchdog has revealed.

      The number of orders imposed on telephone and internet companies under section 94 of the 1984 legislation has been published for the first time by the interception of communications commissioner’s office (IOCCO). The firms involved have not been identified.

      A further eight directions have been made to provide for emergency services and to protect security personnel, according to a report on the operation of the rarely disclosed powers.

      Parliament does not have to be notified of section 94 directions and until last year they were not subject to formal oversight from any watchdog. Their operation will be reorganised under the investigatory powers bill although the IOCCO is pressing for stronger oversight of bulk communications data collection.

    • Sitting Down with a Post-9/11 Whistleblower

      In the years after 9/11, Thomas Drake, then a National Security Agency (NSA) executive, saw something he couldn’t abide: an NSA-led program named Stellarwind. The dragnet-surveillance operation was spying on American citizens using a combination of wiretapping and mass-data collection through the internet.

      Drake protested internally, feeling that Stellarwind violated the Fourth Amendment and was highly illegal—a warrantless surveillance of citizens on home soil. But Michael Hayden, then the head of the NSA who presided over the program, believed American spies had to do whatever it took to prevent another such tragedy.

    • Google backs off on previously announced Allo privacy feature

      When Allo was announced at Google’s I/O conference earlier this year, the messaging app was presented as a step forward for privacy. Alongside the end-to-end-encrypted Incognito Mode, the Allo team talked about bold new message retention practices, storing messages only transiently rather than indefinitely.

      But with the release of the app today, Google is backing off on some of those features.

      The version of Allo rolling out today will store all non-incognito messages by default — a clear change from Google’s earlier statements that the app would only store messages transiently and in non-identifiable form. The records will now persist until the user actively deletes them, giving Google default access to a full history of conversations in the app. Users can also avoid the logging by using Allo’s Incognito Mode, which is still fully end-to-end encrypted and unchanged from the initial announcement.

    • U.S. judge lists one year’s government electronic surveillance requests in D.C.

      A federal judge released a list Wednesday of all sealed requests made in Washington in 2012 for a rapidly growing form of government electronic surveillance, a step toward bringing more public scrutiny to secret law enforcement activities.

      The action came in a case brought by a journalist to unseal a much larger collection of information about court-ordered surveillance of Americans’ telephone and Internet activity in closed criminal investigations in the nation’s capital.

      Legal experts say even the selective release marks the first time a U.S. district court has made a systematic disclosure of how often law enforcement seeks court orders under a 1986 statute to obtain individuals’ electronic records from communication service providers. The release potentially could serve as a model for court disclosure elsewhere, several legal experts said.

    • Head of Dutch security service is fed up with privacy concerns

      Will people who value privacy know that they allowed a terrorist attack to take place? Rob Bertholee, head of the General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands (AIVD) made this and other bold statements in a revealing interview, clearly showing his frustration about legitimate privacy concerns.

      In the interview (in the Dutch daily De Volkskrant) he demands access to any encrypted communications despite the major security implications this may have for millions of citizens. By taking this position he even goes against the position of the Dutch government made earlier this year, when it said it would: “not adopt restrictive legislative measures against the development, availability and use of encryption within the Netherlands.”. And when he is challenged by the interviewer, Huib Modderkolk, about the negative consequences of the new powers he demands, he responds by framing the issue as a false dichotomy between privacy and security.

      Bits of Freedom is worried that the head of the Dutch security service does not fully recognize that the right to privacy and the use of encryption is a core element of a secure and free society. It is not possible to weaken encryption just a little bit for “good causes” only. Introducing back doors would not only allow the Dutch security service to access encrypted communications but also make our communications vulnerable to criminals and foreign intelligence services.

    • ‘Snowden’ movie presents another side to whistleblower

      This is a pretty in-your-face criticism of empire, the kind that we rarely hear in the major media — even if the simple truth of it is well-known to tens of millions of Americans. The idea that foreign terrorism, which kills fewer Americans than lightning each year, could be used as an excuse for all kinds of abuses and interventions worldwide, is widely suppressed in the United States.

      We also learn from Snowden that he was morally repulsed by the war crimes that our government commits under the false pretext of “national security.” He explains to his coworkers, while working for Booz Allen Hamilton as a contractor for the CIA, that they could be criminally liable for killing civilians with drone strikes, and for other crimes.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Police Accidentally Record Themselves Conspiring to Fabricate Criminal Charges Against Protester

      The ACLU of Connecticut is suing state police for fabricating retaliatory criminal charges against a protester after troopers were recorded discussing how to trump up charges against him. In what seems like an unlikely stroke of cosmic karma, the recording came about after a camera belonging to the protester, Michael Picard, was illegally seized by a trooper who didn’t know that it was recording and carried it back to his patrol car, where it then captured the troopers’ plotting.

      “Let’s give him something,” one trooper declared. Another suggested, “we can hit him with creating a public disturbance.” “Gotta cover our ass,” remarked a third.

    • Stein/Baraka statement on the death of Keith Lamont Scott

      Stein/Baraka statement on the death of Keith Lamont Scott and protests in Charlotte, NC – the demand is simple: stop the killing.

      Our hearts are breaking once again. Keith Lamont Scott, a disabled father of seven, was reportedly killed by police in Charlotte, North Carolina yesterday while sitting in a car reading a book. This gut-wrenching incident follows the death of Terence Crutcher earlier this week, who was killed by police with his hands up next to his car.

      The community response in Charlotte is an understandable expression of anguish and represents the unmet demand for justice.

    • Whistleblower air marshal is back to work, but on the ground

      The whistleblower won his job back thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court – a rare victory, and a vindication. But what does winning mean when you actually show up at work?

      For improperly fired air marshal Robert MacLean, it meant six months in a far-flung office with no colleagues and no duties. It meant complaints filed with various governmental agencies over continued retaliation. And, as of last month, it meant finally being sprung from near-solitary confinement and assigned to the Transportation Security Administration’s VIPER team in Washington D.C.

      That’s “Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response” to you and me. Its mission is counterterrorism, and it patrols aviation, rail and marine facilities nationwide.

      “I’m actually doing police work,” said MacLean, formerly of Ladera Ranch, who was blackballed from law enforcement after the TSA fired him for disclosing information that embarrassed the agency.

    • Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Appears to Have Suffered a Heart Attack in Prison

      Prison medical officials told Jeffrey two weeks ago that they would take him out to see a specialist, but that never happened. They told Jeffrey recently that it was the cardiologist who had cancelled the visit, a very unlikely proposition. In the meantime, he was forced to initiate something called the “Administrative Remedy Process,” which theoretically would force the warden to take action to help him. More on that in a moment.

      Holly Sterling has been tireless in her work to get her husband to a cardiologist. She asked Jeffrey’s sentencing judge, Leonie Brinkema, to intervene. Brinkema refused. She then enlisted the support of Norman Solomon’s Roots Action, which has asked supporters to call Warden Deborah Denham at 303-763-4300. In addition to the warden, Solomon recommends contacting the Bureau of Prisons’ North Central Regional Office by calling Sara M. Revell at 913-621-3939 or writing to her at ExecAssistant@bop.gov. Our grass roots pressure may be the only thing that gets Jeffrey Sterling to a cardiologist. It could save his life.

    • Florida Forces Students Without Parent Note To Stand During Pledge, National Anthem

      Florida’s Orange County Public Schools announced this week students must have parental permission if they want to kneel during the national anthem at football games or otherwise silently protest, such as refusing the say the pledge of allegiance.

      The move comes after students in a single school district knelt in solidarity with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest against social injustice in America.

      Exercising First Amendment rights in Florida now requires parental permission.

    • Teenage Girl Dies After Incident at For-profit Group Home

      Maryland is one of several states that send difficult cases to AdvoServ because they cannot find beds and schooling closer to home. The company, which is owned by a private equity firm, is based in Delaware and reported last year that it cared for roughly 700 children and adults in that state, Florida, and New Jersey, and was expanding into Virginia.

      Gowen filed a lawsuit this summer in Delaware against AdvoServ , on behalf of a young resident who says he was left unsupervised and raped repeatedly by other clients at AdvoServ homes during more than four years there. His neck was also injured during a restraint performed by workers.

    • Documents From Chelsea Manning Show How Army Is Punishing Her For Suicide Attempt

      Chelsea Manning has released documents through the grassroots advocacy organization, Fight For the Future, which offer a glimpse into how the United States Army is punishing Manning for attempting suicide in July.

      On September 22, Manning will go before a three-person disciplinary board. The board will review evidence related to three administrative charges she faces and determine her punishment. It could involve indefinite solitary confinement, loss of access to the phone and law library, or an extension of the time before she is eligible for parole.

      One form indicates Manning has a “right to consult with an attorney” over the phone at her “own expense,” but she is not allowed to have her attorney with her at the hearing. She may “present during all open sessions” of the disciplinary board, make statements and present documentary evidence, call witnesses to present relevant testimony, and question “adverse witnesses” through the board’s president.

    • Another Judge Declares FBI’s Playpen Warrant Invalid, Suppresses All Evidence

      Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica reports that another federal judge has found the warrant used by the FBI to deploy its Tor-busting malware is invalid. This finding isn’t unique. Multiple judges in various jurisdictions have found the warrant invalid due to Rule 41, which limits execution of warrants to the jurisdiction where they were issued. But only in a few of the dozens of cases stemming from the FBI’s child porn investigation has a judge ruled to suppress the evidence obtained by the FBI’s NIT.

    • Hillary Clinton To Silicon Valley: Nerd Harder, To Silence Terrorists, Nerds!

      With the explosive devices in NY and NJ from this past weekend, Hillary Clinton has decided, once again, that it’s time to blame Silicon Valley for not doing more to magically stop terrorists from terroristing.

    • ‘The Bodies of Prisoners Are Commodities’ – CounterSpin interview with Noelle Hanrahan on prison strike

      Corporate media could barely have shown less interest. One CBS report, an AP story, and some local accounts in Florida and Alabama were about it, as we tape on September 15. The US, we are told, is engaged in a newly serious conversation about mass incarceration. Leave it to elite media to think they can host that conversation without talking to incarcerated people.

      Joining us to talk about the strike and the issues behind it is Noelle Hanrahan. She’s an investigative journalist, a private investigator, and the director of the multimedia production studio Prison Radio. She joins us by phone from Philadelphia. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Noelle Hanrahan.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cable Lobbyists Stop Using The Word Cable In Hopes You’ll Think Industry Has Evolved

      It often seems like the modern cable industry often goes out of its way to remain decidedly un-modern. Thanks to regulatory capture and limited competition, the sector consistently ranks among the very worst industries in terms of customer satisfaction and support. And whether it’s opposing net neutrality or fighting efforts to bring competition to the cable box, you’ll often find the industry’s top lobbying organization — the National Cable and Telecommunications Association at the forefront of fighting nearly every pro-consumer initiative that comes down the pike.

    • Here’s how small the North Korean Internet is

      I checked out all of them. Many are dead links, but some were active. One site, cooks.org.kp, contained information about North Korean cuisine. Curiously, gnu.rep.kp wasn’t about the GNU project. Rather, it contained science and technology news from North Korea.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Book Review: Arnold reviews “Economic Approaches to Intellectual Property”

      This new book by Kat Dr Nicola Searle (formerly Economist at the UKIPO and now a lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London) and Martin Brassell (co-founder and Chief Executive of Inngot, an intellectual property valuation consultancy) provides an introduction to the economics of intellectual property for lawyers, managers and policymakers. Unlike many texts on the economics of IP, it assumes no prior knowledge of economics and begins with an introduction to economics which explains the basic principles. Moreover, it contains no equations and few graphs. While it does include a certain of amount of economic jargon, each term is carefully explained as it is introduced. By contrast, the book does assume a basic knowledge of copyrights, designs, patents and trade marks, although it explains the less commonly encountered rights such as geographical indications and plant breeders’ rights.

    • First Revised Articles Of Potential Treaty Protecting TK At WIPO Issued Today [Ed: By trying to distinguish between traditional knowledge and monopoly WIPO (run by former lobbyists and revolving doors) privatises ideas. See how it treats its own staff.]

      A suggestion from the United States, also in the policy objectives, is reflected in the alternative paragraph. It states that the instrument’s objective is “to benefit mankind by preserving to the holder of traditional knowledge certain limited in scope and duration rights in a manner conducive to social and economic welfare, balances rights and obligations, and that is mutually advantageous to holders and users of traditional knowledge”; as well as the “value of a vibrant public domain.”

      Since a “tiered approach” was considered at the last traditional knowledge (TK) IGC discussion, by which different rights might be awarded to different types of TK, the facilitators have provided tentative definitions in the use of terms for four types of TK: secret TK, sacred TK, narrowly diffused TK, and widely diffused TK.

    • Trademarks

      • Food companies have a taste for 3D trademarks

        Ferrero Group’s Daniele Lingua says his firm prefers three dimensional trade marks to trade dress

        Attendees heard from a range of counsel at food and beverage companies in the Buon appetito! IP & Food session at the AIPPI World Congress.

        Andrea Chianura of Lavazza in Italy gave an overview of the coffee company’s strategy.

    • Copyrights

      • European copyright reform coming – slowly

        Fundamental copyright proposals made by the European Commission will face “a barrage of criticism” and “reform will take some time”. Those were some of the predictions made about the Digital Single Market at the AIPPI World Congress

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