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10.01.16

Links 1/10/2016: Linux 4.7.6 and 4.4.23, Blender 2.78

Posted in News Roundup at 3:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Linux Unable To Boot Lenovo Yoga 900 & 900; Is Microsoft At Fault?

      The popular device developer Lenovo has verified the claims that Lenovo Yoga 900 and 900s unable to boot Linux OS but only Microsoft Windows 10. The new Lenovo convertible laptop, Lenovo Yoga 900 and 900s, would reject and decline any attempt to install Linux operating system, making users turn their heads to Microsoft as the suspect for this issue.

      [...]

      This issue about the OS started when an identity of BaronHK posted on Reddit about installing Linux on the latest Lenovo Yoga book in which BaronHK encountered being blocked by a locked solid state drive (SSD) which Linux cannot define itself, and come up to link the issue to Microsoft.

  • Server

    • Why Good Linux Sysadmins Use Markdown

      The Markdown markup language is perfect for writing system administrator documentation: it is lightweight, versatile, and easy to learn, so you spend your time writing instead of fighting with formatting.

      The life of a Linux system administrator is complex and varied, and you know that documenting your work is a big time-saver. A documentation web server shared by you and your colleagues is a wonderful productivity tool. Most of us know simple HTML, and can whack up a web page as easily as writing plain text. But using Markdown is better.

    • How to Effectively and Efficiently Edit Configuration Files in Linux

      Every Linux administrator has to eventually (and manually) edit a configuration file. Whether you are setting up a web server, configuring a service to connect to a database, tweaking a bash script, or troubleshooting a network connection, you cannot avoid a dive deep into the heart of one or more configuration files. To some, the prospect of manually editing configuration files is akin to a nightmare. Wading through what seems like countless lines of options and comments can put you on the fast track for hair and sanity loss.

      Which, of course, isn’t true. In fact, most Linux administrators enjoy a good debugging or configuration challenge. Sifting through the minutiae of how a server or software functions is a great way to pass time. But this process doesn’t have to be an exercise in ineffective inefficiency. In fact, tools are available to you that go a very long way to make the editing of config files much, much easier. I’m going to introduce you to a few such tools, to ease some of the burden of your Linux admin duties. I’ll first discuss the command-line tools that are invaluable to the task of making configuration more efficient.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.7.6

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.7.6 kernel.

      All users of the 4.7 kernel series must upgrade.

    • Linux 4.4.23
    • Linux Kernel 4.7.6 Is Out with MIPS and OCFS2 Improvements, Updated Drivers

      Today, September 30, 2016, renowned Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the release of the sixth maintenance update to the latest stable Linux 4.7 kernel series.

      Linux kernel 4.7.6 comes only five days after the release of the previous maintenance version, Linux kernel 4.7.5, and, according to the appended shortlog and the diff from the last update, it changes a total of 76 files, with 539 insertions and 455 deletions. In summary, it updates multiple drivers, adds improvements to various filesystems and hardware architectures, and improves the networking stack.

    • Linux Kernel 4.4.23 LTS Has ARM and MIPS Improvements, Updated Filesystems, More

      Immediately after announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.7.6, Greg Kroah-Hartman proudly informed the community about the general availability of the Linux 4.4.23 LTS kernel.

      The Linux 4.4 kernel is a long-term supported branch, the latest and most advanced one, used in many stable and reliable GNU/Linux operating systems, including Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and Alpine Linux 3.4. Therefore, it is imperative for it to receive regular updates that bring fixes to the most important issues, as well as other general improvements.

    • From NFS to LizardFS

      If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that we started our data servers out using NFS on ext4 mirrored over DRBD, hit some load problems, switched to btrfs, hit load problems again, tried a hacky workaround, ran into problems, dropped DRBD for glusterfs, had a major disaster, switched back to NFS on ext4 mirrored over DRBD, hit more load problems, and finally dropped DRBD for ZFS.

    • IBM’s Ginni Rometty Tells Bankers Not To Rest On Their Digital Laurels
    • BUS1, The Successor To KDBUS, Formally Unveiled — Aiming For Mainline Linux Kernel

      BUS1 has been in development as an in-kernel IPC mechanism building off the failed KDBUS project. An “RFC” will soon be sent out to Linux kernel developers about BUS1 and the subject will be discussed at next month’s Kernel Summit.

      David Herrmann, one of the BUS1 developers, presented at this week’s systemd.conf conference about the new capability-based IPC for Linux. He talked about how BUS1 is superior to KDBUS, how BUS1 is similar to Android’s Binder, Chrome’s Mojo, Solaris’ Doors, and other common IPC implementations.

    • A New Wireless Daemon Is In Development To Potentially Replace wpa_supplicant

      In addition to the BUS1 presentation, also exciting from the systemd.conf 2016 conference is a thorough walkthrough of a new wireless daemon for Linux being developed by Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center.

      Intel has been developing a new wireless daemon for Linux to potentially replace wpa_supplicant. This new daemon isn’t yet public but the code repositories for it will be opened up in the next few weeks. This new daemon has improvements around persistency, WiFi management, reduced abstractions for different operating systems and legacy interfaces, and changes to operation. This daemon is designed to be very lightweight and work well for embedded Linux use-cases especially, including IoT applications.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Libinput X.Org Driver Updated For X.Org Server 1.19

        Peter Hutterer has announced the release of a new version of xf86-input-libinput, the X.Org DDX driver that makes use of libinput for input handling on the X.Org Server.

      • xf86-input-libinput 0.20.0

        Most important fix is the use of input_lock() instead of the old SIGIO stuff to handle the input thread in server 1.19.

      • Mesa 13.0 Planning For Release At End Of October, Might Include RADV Vulkan

        Following the mailing list talk over the past two days about doing the next Mesa release, plans are being discussed for releasing at the end of October and it might have just got a whole lot more exciting.

        Emil Velikov, Collabora developer and Mesa release manager for the past several release series, has commented on that previously discussed mailing list thread. He mentioned he was secretly waiting in hopes of seeing the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver merged for this next release! He said he’d even be willing to see it merged even if it’s “not perfect/feature complete.”

    • Benchmarks

      • FreeBSD 11.0 Comes Up Short In Ubuntu 16.04 vs. macOS Sierra Benchmarks

        Yesterday I published some macOS 10.2 vs. Ubuntu 16.04 LTS benchmarks from a Mac Mini and MacBook Air systems. For those curious if BSDs can outperform macOS Sierra on Apple hardware, I tested the MacBook Air with FreeBSD 11.0 compared to the Linux and macOS results on that Core i5 system. Here are those results.

      • Early Benchmarks Of The Linux 4.9 DRM-Next Radeon/AMDGPU Drivers

        While Linux 4.9 will not officially open for development until next week, the DRM-Next code is ready to roll with all major feature work having been committed by the different open-source Direct Rendering Manager drivers. In this article is some preliminary testing of this DRM-Next code as of 29 September when testing various AMD GPUs with the Radeon and AMDGPU DRM drivers.

        Linux 4.9 does bring compile-time-offered experimental support for the AMD Southern Islands GCN 1.0 hardware on AMDGPU, but that isn’t the focus of this article. A follow-up comparison is being done with GCN 1.0/1.1 experimental support enabled to see the Radeon vs. AMDGPU performance difference on that hardware. For today’s testing was a Radeon R7 370 to look at the Radeon DRM performance and for AMDGPU testing was the Radeon R9 285, R9 Fury, and RX 480. Benchmarks were done from the Linux 4.8 Git and Linux DRM-Next kernels as of 29 September.

      • How Ubuntu 16.10 Beta 2 Performance Compares To Some Other Linux Distros

        The final Ubuntu 16.10 Beta for “Yakkety Yak” was released this week and we found its performance doesn’t differ much from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (with the exception of the newer graphics stack) while here are some results comparing it to other modern Linux distributions.

        Tested for this quick, one-page-article comparison were Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS, Ubuntu 16.10 Beta 2, Clear Linux 10660, Fedora 24, openSUSE Tumbleweed 20160927, and the Arch-based Antergos 16.9-Rolling release.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt 3D WIP branches
      • New Qt 3D Functionality Is Being Worked On

        Sean Harmer of KDAB is organizing work around some upcoming “major Qt 3D features” for the open-source toolkit.

        It’s not known if the next round of Qt 3D features will be ready for the Qt 5.9 tool-kit release, but KDAB is looking to have these new branches for feature work with continuous integration coverage.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Calendar App to Feature a New Sidebar, Week View & Attendees in GNOME 3.24

        GNOME developer Georges Stavracas wrote an in-depth blog post the other day to inform the GNOME, Linux, and Open Source communities about the upcoming improvements and new features coming to the GNOME Calendar apps.

        Now that some of us are already enjoying the recently released GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, the GNOME developers are hard at work to improve the GNOME apps and core components by either adding new exciting features and technologies or improving existing ones.

      • Cinnamon 3.2 in Linux Mint 18.1 Supports Vertical Panels, Better Accelerometers

        After informing the community a few days ago about the Mintbox Mini Pro PC and the upcoming improvements and new features shipping with the XApps software projects in Linux Mint 18.1, Clement Lefebvre just published the monthly Linux Mint newsletter.

      • Cross-compiling WebKit2GTK+ for ARM

        Of course, I know for a fact that many people use local recipes to cross-compile WebKit2GTK+ for ARM (or simply build in the target machine, which usually takes a looong time), but those are usually ad-hoc things and hard to reproduce environments locally (or at least hard for me) and, even worse, often bound to downstream projects, so I thought it would be nice to try to have something tested with upstream WebKit2GTK+ and publish it on trac.webkit.org,

      • Should we drop Vala?

        Is it Vala development a waste of time? Is Vala suitable for long term support libraries?

  • Distributions

    • LXLE: A Linux distro to give new life to old hardware

      I’ll bet that somewhere, perhaps at home and most likely at work, you’ve got some old hardware lying around. What to do with it? It still works but what’s it running? Windows XP? Vista? Windows 7 Starter or Home Basic?

      Yep, you’re stuck on some old version of Windows but moving that machine up to a newer version of Windows could be tricky ‘cause one or more of those old graphics cards and printer drivers have probably have fallen out of the update cycle.

      Even if those subsystems are still available, you’ll still have a problem as the newer OSs’ are pretty much guaranteed to suck the life out of old processors with the result that performance and therefore usability will be marginal at best.

      So, what to do? Before you start looking for a deal on a new machine and an e-waste disposal site, consider moving to Linux and, most specifically, consider migrating to LXLE, the LXDE eXtra Luxury Edition (though some people also claim it stands for Lubuntu Extra Life Extension).

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat, Logicalis in digital transformation partnership in Latin America

        PromonLogicalis, a provider of information technology and communication solutions and services in Latin America, and Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, announced a collaboration that aim to help organizations navigate the digital transformation of their infrastructures to pave the way for cloud and the software-defined technologies, and to advance open source technology awareness in the region.

        Open source is delivering significant advancements in many areas of technology through community-powered innovation, including cloud computing, mobile, big data, and more. And, as companies embrace modern technology as a competitive advantage via digital transformation efforts, many are turning to open source because of the flexibility and agility it can enable.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • PHP version 5.6.27RC1 and 7.0.12RC1
        • An Easy Way To Try Intel & RADV Vulkan Drivers On Fedora 24

          Fedora 25 should have good support for the open-source Vulkan Linux drivers (particularly if it lands the next Mesa release) while Fedora 24 users can now more easily play with the latest Mesa Git RADV and Intel ANV Vulkan drivers via a new repository.

          A Phoronix reader has setup a Fedora Copr repository that is building Intel’s Vulkan driver from Mesa Git plus the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver re-based from its source (David Airlie’s semi-interesting GitHub branch). Fedora COPR, for the uninformed, is the distribution’s equivalent to Ubuntu PPA repositories.

        • Meeting users, lots of users

          Every year, I introduce Fedora to new students at Brno Technical University. There are approx. 500 of them and a sizable amount of them then installs Fedora. We also organize a sort of installfest one week after the presentation where anyone who has had any difficulties with Fedora can come and ask for help. It’s a great opportunity to observe what things new users struggle with the most. Especially when you have such a high number of new users. What are my observations this year?

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 reasons why CIOs should consider open source software

    A recent survey shows 78 percent of companies run part or all of their operations on open source software. Indeed, open source continues to gain market traction as more companies adopt open technology to speed innovation, disrupt industries and improve overall productivity.

    Those who remain hesitant about adopting open source are in danger of being left behind. Because open source architecture lends itself to more frequent updates, and because of the openness, open source provides the freedom to innovate and mature in the way that enterprises need.

  • Kubernetes Arrives in New Flavors

    Kubernetes has taken center stage in recent days, and, as we’ve been noting in recent posts, the open source container cluster manager is heading in new directions. Google has just announced the release of Kubernetes 1.4, which makes the tool much easier to install.

    Meanwhile, Canonical has now launched its own distribution of Kubernetes, with enterprise support, across a range of public clouds and private infrastructure. It’s Kubernetes at the core, but features a number of extra bells and whistles.

  • 2016 Women in Open Source Award Winners

    We hope you enjoy and are inspired by this short video celebrating Preeti Murthy and Jessica McKellar, the winners of this year’s Red Hat Women in Open Source Awards.

  • Tech, talent and tools: The secret to monetizing open-source

    “In California during the gold rush, you didn’t make money digging for gold; you made money selling shovels,” said Mehta. A fitting metaphor for the idea that investing in talent and tools, especially tools, is how to turn a profit. The actual data, databases, algorithms and so on would be open source. Money would come from the tools to use that technology to benefit specific areas, such as automation of healthcare.

    And healthcare is a good place to start. “Big Data is all about making life cheaper, better. … If we forget about how to solve problems for humans, we’ve lost. We want to be known for enriching life,” said Mehta.

  • Changing the way we design for the web

    On the one hand, open source should mean lower cost of entry for people from poorer communities (like me, growing up). But on the other, I feel it is hard to contribute when under- or unemployed. I had a grant to work on the Web Animations API documentation, but I can’t do as much as I’d like with other animation features (motion paths, advanced timing functions) because I need to spend a lot of time working on my own business, getting paid.

    Essentially this leads to an awkward model where the only contributors are employed programmers—and when it comes to open source animation or design APIs, platforms, etc, this lack of user input really starts to show. Or, the only products with thriving open source development teams are those that have financially lucrative futures, turning the open source software (OSS) model into a capitalist one.

  • Asterisk 14 Improves Open-Source VoIP

    Digium, the lead commercial sponsor behind the Asterisk open source PBX project announced the release Asterisk 14 this week, continuing to evolve the decade old effort, making it easier to use and deploy.

  • Yahoo open-sources a deep learning model for classifying pornographic images

    Yahoo today announced its latest open-source release: a model that can figure out if images are specifically pornographic in nature.

    The system uses a type of artificial intelligence called deep learning, which involves training artificial neural networks on lots of data (like dirty images) and getting them to make inferences about new data. The model that’s now available on GitHub under a BSD 2-Clause license comes pre-trained, so users only have to fine-tune it if they so choose. The model works with the widely used Caffe open source deep learning framework. The team trained the model using its now open source CaffeOnSpark system.

    The new model could be interesting to look at for developers maintaining applications like Instagram and Pinterest that are keen to minimize smut. Search engine operators like Google and Microsoft might also want to check out what’s under the hood here.

    “To the best of our knowledge, there is no open source model or algorithm for identifying NSFW images,” Yahoo research engineer Jay Mahadeokar and senior director of product management Gerry Pesavento wrote in a blog post.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • CloudReady by neverware

        I thought I would put together a quick “installation” review of a product called CloudReady by neverware. What is CloudReady? CloudReady is basically a project to bring Chromium OS to those who would like to convert traditional laptops into Chromebook-like devices. I stumbled on them several months ago and finally decided to see how hard it was to install Chromium OS and how functional it actually was as a Chromebook-like device. I have a few low end (netbook-like) devices and I have been trying to figure out how I could make them functional for my boys, I thought this might be the solution.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla tells Firefox OS devs to fork off if they want to chase open web apps vision

        The Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox development team has decided enough is enough and will stop supporting Windows XP and Vista in March 2017 and also bin Firefox OS.

        The OS first. In this post Mozillans Ari Jaaksi and David Bryant, respectively the head of connected devices and veep for platform engineering, write that “By the end of 2015 Mozilla leadership had come to the conclusion that our then Firefox OS initiative of shipping phones with commercial partners would not bring Mozilla the returns we sought.”

        That decision means that “as of the end of July 2016 have stopped all commercial development on Firefox OS.”

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Cloudera Delivers Release Built on Apache Spark 2.0, and Advances Kudu

      Cloudera, focused on Apache Hadoop and other open source technologies,has announced its release built on the Apache Spark 2.0 (Beta), with enhancements to the API experience, performance improvements, and enhanced machine learning capabilities.

      The company is also working with the community to continue developing Apache Kudu 1.0, recently released by the Apache Software Foundation, which we covered here. Kudu is an open source columnar storage engine built for the Apache Hadoop ecosystem designed to enable flexible, high-performance analytic pipelines. Taken together, Cloudera’s new tools are giving it more diverse kinds of presence on the Big Data scene.

      Cloudera claims it was the first Hadoop big data analytics vendor to deliver a commercially supported version of Spark, and has participated actively in the open source community to enhance Spark for the enterprise through its One Platform Initiative. “With Spark 2.0, organizations are better able to take advantage of streaming data, develop richer machine learning models, and deploy them in real time, enabling more workloads to go into production,” the company reports.

    • Cloudera Delivers Enterprise-Grade Real-Time Streaming and Machine Learning with Apache Spark 2.0 and Drives Community Innovation with Apache Kudu 1.0
    • Vendors Pile on Big Data News at Strata

      Cloudera, Pentaho and Alation are among vendors making Big Data announcements at this week’s Strata event.

      Vendors big and small are making news at this week’s Strata + Hadoop event as they try to expand their portion of the Big Data market.

      Cloudera highlighted a trio of Apache Software Foundation (ASF) projects to which it contributes. Among them is Spark 2.0, which benefits from a new Dataset API that offers the promise of better usability and performance as well as new machine learning libraries.

    • New alliances focus on open-source, data science empowerment

      How can data science make a true market impact? Partnerships, particularly amongst open source communities. As IBM solidifies its enterprise strategies around data demands, two new partnerships emerge: one with Continuum Analytics, Inc., advancing open-source analytics for the enterprise; and another with Galvanize, initiating a Data Science for Executives program.

      Continuum Analytics, the creator and driving force behind Anaconda — a leading open data science platform powered by Python — has allied with IBM to advance open-source analytics for the enterprise. Data scientists and data engineers in open-source communities can now embrace Python and R to develop analytic and machine learning models in the Spark environment through its integration with IBM’s DataWorks Project.

      The new agreement between IBM and Galvanize, which provides a dynamic learning community for technology, will offer an assessment, analysis and training element for Galvanize’s Data Science for Executives program. This program empowers corporations to better understand, use and maximize the value of their data. The program will support IBM’s DataFirst Method, a methodology that IBM says provides the strategy, expertise and game plan to help ensure enterprise customers’ succeed on their journey to become a data-driven business.

    • Apache Spot: open source big data analytics for cyber
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • TDF Releases Fresh Update to LibreOffice 5.2

      The Document Foundation today announced the availability of LibreOffice 5.2.2, the second update to the “fresh” 5.2 family. “LibreOffice 5.2.2, targeted at technology enthusiasts, early adopters and power users, provides a number of fixes over the major release announced in August.” These fixes include the usual number of import/export/filter fixes as well as a lot of interface adjustments and a few crashes.

      One of the more interesting import bugs fixed had first been reported 4 1/2 years ago. In version 3.5.0 when importing RTF files with several tables the formatting isn’t retained in all cases. The original reporter said this included column widths and placement. Comments updated the report throughout several versions on various systems. The bug sat for another year before being bumped and eight months later a patch was committed. After further input and more adjustments, Miklos Vajna committed patches for several versions including today’s 5.2.2.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD 6.0 Limited Edition CD set (signed by developers)

      Five OpenBSD 6.0 CD-ROM copies were signed by 40 developers during the g2k16 Hackathon in Cambridge, UK.

      Those copies are being auctioned sequentially on ebay.

      All proceeds will be donated to the OpenBSD Foundation to support and further the development of free software based on the OpenBSD operating system.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Licensing resource series: Free GNU/Linux distributions & GNU Bucks

      When Richard Stallman set out to create the GNU Project, the goal was to create a fully free operating system. Over 33 years later, it is now possible for users to have a computer that runs only free software. But even if all the software is available, putting it all together yourself, or finding a distribution that comes with only free software, would be quite the task. That is why we provide a list of Free GNU/Linux distributions.

      Each distro on the list is commited to only distributing free software. With many to choose from, you can find a distro that meets your needs while respecting your freedom.

      But with so much software making up an entire operating system, how is it possible to make sure that nothing nasty sneaks into the distro? That’s where you, and GNU Bucks come in.

    • Friday Working together for Free Software Directory IRC meetup: September 30th
    • August and September 2016: photos from Pittsburgh and Fresno
    • Libre Learn Lab: a summit on freely licensed resources for education

      Libre Learn Lab is a two-day summit for people who create, use and implement freely licensed resources for K-12 education, bringing together educators, policy experts, software developers, hardware hackers, and activists to share best practices and address the challenges of widespread adoption of these resources in education. The 2nd biennial conference is Saturday, October 8th, and Sunday, October 9th, at the MIT Tang Center.

      The keynote addresses will be delivered by the FSF’s own Richard M. Stallman, former Chief Open Education Advisor Andrew Marcinek and founder of HacKIDemia Stefania Druga. At the event, there will be a special tribute to Dr. Seymour Papert (the father of educational computing) by Dr. Cynthia Solomon.

  • Programming/Development

    • Machine Learning with Python

      I first heard the term “machine learning” a few years ago, and to be honest, I basically ignored it that time. I knew that it was a powerful technique, and I knew that it was in vogue, but I didn’t know what it really was— what problems it was designed to solve, how it solved them and how it related to the other sorts of issues I was working on in my professional (consulting) life and in my graduate-school research.

      But in the past few years, machine learning has become a topic that most will avoid at their professional peril. Despite the scary-sounding name, the ideas behind machine learning aren’t that difficult to understand. Moreover, a great deal of open-source software makes it possible for anyone to use machine learning in their own work or research. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that machine learning already is having a huge impact on the computer industry and on our day-to-day lives.

Leftovers

  • Salesforce tries to block Microsoft’s LinkedIn acquisition

    Microsoft made a splash earlier this year when it announced the largest acquisition in its history, signing an agreement to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. But now, Salesforce is trying to convince the European Union to block the deal.

    Salesforce Chief Legal Officer Burke Norton will argue to the EU’s competition authority that Microsoft’s control of LinkedIn’s dataset following an acquisition would be anticompetitive. EU competition chief Margarethe Vestager said in January that her agency would be looking directly at whether a company’s use of data is bad for competition, and these complaints seem aimed squarely at those comments.

    “Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of LinkedIn threatens the future of innovation and competition,” Norton said in a statement on Thursday. “By gaining ownership of LinkedIn’s unique dataset of over 450 million professionals in more than 200 countries, Microsoft will be able to deny competitors access to that data, and in doing so obtain an unfair competitive advantage.”

  • The Rise of the Helpful Operational Bots: ChatOps

    While some of the concepts surrounding ChatOps has been around for a long time, it is fair to say that the idea only really began to get traction within technical communities when Jesse Newland gave a talk on ChatOps at Github during PuppetConf 2012. Since 2012 we have seen a growth in interest in the new use of bots within operations.

  • Facebook Video Metrics Crossed The Line From Merely Dubious To Just Plain Wrong

    What happened here is actually pretty subtle, so bear with me. Facebook distinguishes “plays” from “views” — with the former being every single play of the video, including those auto-plays that you scroll straight past and never even look at, and the latter being only people who actually watched the video for three seconds or longer. Of course, there are still a million ways in which this metric is itself broken (I’ve certainly let plenty of videos play for more than three seconds or even all the way through while reading a post above or below them) but the distinction is a good one. All of the more detailed stats are based on either plays or views (mostly views) and are clearly labeled, but the one metric at issue was the “Average Duration of Video Viewed.” This metric could be fairly calculated as either the total amount of time from all plays divided by the total number of plays, or the same thing based only on time and number of views — but instead, it was erroneously being calculated as total play time divided by total number of views. In other words, all the second-or-two autoplays from idle newsfeed scrollers were being totalled up, and that time was being distributed among the smaller number of people who stayed on the video for more than three seconds as part of their average duration, leading to across-the-board inflation of that figure.

  • Journalist Tom Henderson on Cloud Vendor Lock-In

    This video is not technically about free or open source software, but it’s 100 percent about the danger of falling victim to proprietary vendors and their habit of making it hard to leave their sweet embrace once they get their paws on you. The Network World column by Tom Henderson that generated this interview is titled, The Many Dimensions of Cloud Value, and is subtitled, “Put your snorkels on: The marketing for cloud services is getting deep.” So is the marketing for many other proprietary something-as-a-something offerings ranging from operating systems to (obviously) cloud platforms.

  • Science

    • Why Deep Learning Is Suddenly Changing Your Life

      Over the past four years, readers have doubtlessly noticed quantum leaps in the quality of a wide range of everyday technologies.

      Most obviously, the speech-recognition functions on our smartphones work much better than they used to. When we use a voice command to call our spouses, we reach them now. We aren’t connected to Amtrak or an angry ex.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Bayer Makes Deal With GMO Giant Monsanto

      That preemption bill was similar to other anti-local democracy measures peddled by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

      From fracking bans to minimum wage and GMO labeling, ALEC and its politicians have successfully driven preemption efforts with its “model” legislation throughout different parts of the country at the behest of giant corporations.

      An Oregonian who leads a group with ties to Monsanto claimed he authored the bill, but as Lisa Arkin of the Pesticide Action Network North America noted both the Oregon bill and the ALEC bill share the same name and have the same core operative language and effect: “A local government may not enact or enforce a . . . measure, including but not limited to an ordinance, regulation, control area, or quarantine, to inhibit or prevent the production or use of agricultural seed, flower seed . . . or vegetable seed or products of agricultural seed, flower seed . . . or vegetable seed.”

      After the Oregon bill was introduced in 2013, it was taken to ALEC’s 40th anniversary meeting in Chicago, as the “Preemption of Local Agricultural Laws Act,” which is known as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” by its foes.

    • More Than 9 in 10 People Breathe Bad Air, W.H.O. Study Says

      The World Health Organization said Tuesday that 92 percent of people breathe what it classifies as unhealthy air, in another sign that atmospheric pollution is a significant threat to global public health.

      A new report, the W.H.O.’s most comprehensive analysis so far of outdoor air quality worldwide, also said about three million deaths a year — mostly from cardiovascular, pulmonary and other noncommunicable diseases — were linked to outdoor air pollution. Nearly two-thirds of those deaths are in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific region, compared with 333,000 in Europe and the Americas, the report said.

      “When you look out through the windows in your house or apartment, you don’t see the tiny little particles that are suspended in the air, so the usual perception is that the air is clean,” Rajasekhar Balasubramanian, an air quality expert at the National University of Singapore who was not involved in the study, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

      “But the W.H.O. report is a clear indication that even in the absence of air pollution episodes, the concentrations of particles suspended in the air do exceed what’s considered to be acceptable from a health viewpoint,” he said.

      In previous studies, the W.H.O. estimated that more than eight in 10 people in urban areas that monitored air pollution were breathing unhealthy air and that about seven million deaths a year were linked to indoor and outdoor pollution.

  • Security

    • Linaro organisation, with ARM, aims for end-end open source IoT code

      With the objective of producing reference software for more secure connected products, ranging from sensors and connected controllers to smart devices and gateways, for the industrial and consumer markets, Linaro has announced LITE: Collaborative Software Engineering for the Internet of Things (IoT).

      Linaro and the LITE members will work to reduce fragmentation in operating systems, middleware and cloud connectivity solutions, and will deliver open source device reference platforms to enable faster time to market, improved security and lower maintenance costs for connected products. Industry interoperability of diverse, connected and secure IoT devices is a critical need to deliver on the promise of the IoT market, the organisation says. “Today, product vendors are faced with a proliferation of choices for IoT device operating systems, security infrastructure, identification, communication, device management and cloud interfaces.”

    • An open source approach to securing The Internet of Things
    • Addressing the IoT Security Problem

      Last week’s DDOS takedown of security guru Brian Krebs’ website made history on several levels. For one, it was the largest such reported attack ever, with unwanted traffic to the site hitting levels of 620 Gbps, more than double the previous record set back in 2013, and signalling that the terabyte threshold will certainly be crossed soon. It also relied primarily on compromised Internet of Things devices.

    • Linaro beams LITE at Internet of Things devices

      Linaro launched a “Linaro IoT and Embedded” (LITE) group, to develop end-to-end open source reference software for IoT devices and applications.

      Linaro, which is owned by ARM and major ARM licensees, and which develops open source software for ARM devices, launched a Linaro IoT and Embedded (LITE) Segment Group at this week’s Linaro Connect event in Las Vegas. The objective of the LITE initiative is to produce “end to end open source reference software for more secure connected products, ranging from sensors and connected controllers to smart devices and gateways, for the industrial and consumer markets,” says Linaro.

    • Don’t Trust Consumer Routers

      Another example of why you shouldn’t trust consumer routers. d-link

      It isn’t just this specific d-link router. We’ve seen the same issues over and over and over with pretty much every non-enterprise vendor.

      Plus we don’t want our devices used by crackers to DDoS Brian Krebs anymore, right?

      We are Linux people. We CAN do this ourselves.

    • D-Link DWR-932 router is chock-full of security holes

      Security researcher Pierre Kim has unearthed a bucketload of vulnerabilities affecting the LTE router/portable wireless hotspot D-Link DWR-932. Among these are backdoor accounts, weak default PINs, and hardcoded passwords.

    • The Cost of Cyberattacks Is Less than You Might Think

      What’s being left out of these costs are the externalities. Yes, the costs to a company of a cyberattack are low to them, but there are often substantial additional costs borne by other people. The way to look at this is not to conclude that cybersecurity isn’t really a problem, but instead that there is a significant market failure that governments need to address.

    • NHS trusts are still using unsupported Windows XP PCs

      AT LEAST 42 National Health Service (NHS) trusts in the UK still run Microsoft’s now-defunct Windows XP operating system.

      Motherboard filed Freedom of Information requests with more than 70 NHS hospital trusts asking how many Windows XP machines they use. 48 replied within the allotted time, and a whopping 42 of them admitted that they still use the operating system that reached end-of-life status in April 2014.

      Some of the culprits include East Sussex Healthcare, which has 413 Windows XP machines, Sheffield’s Children’s hospital with 1,290, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust in London with an insane 10,800 Windows XP-powered PCs.

      23 replied to Motherboard’s quizzing about whether they have an extended support agreement in place and, unsurprisingly, the majority said that they do not.

    • Friday’s security advisories
    • ICANN grinds forward on crucial DNS root zone signing key update

      The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is moving — carefully — to upgrade the DNS root zone key by which all domains can be authenticated under the DNS Security Extensions protocol.

      ICANN is the organization responsible for managing the Domain Name System, and DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) authenticates DNS responses, preventing man-in-the-middle attacks in which the attacker hijacks legitimate domain resolution requests and replaces them with fraudulent domain addresses.

      DNSSEC still relies on the original DNS root zone key generated in 2010. That 1024-bit RSA key is scheduled to be replaced with a 2048-bit RSA key next October. Although experts are split over the effectiveness of DNSSEC, the update of the current root zone key signing key (KSK) is long overdue.

    • Cybersecurity isn’t an IT problem, it’s a business problem

      The emergence of the CISO is a relatively recent phenomenon at many companies. Their success often relies upon educating the business from the ground up. In the process, companies become a lot better about how to handle security and certainly learn how not to handle it.

      As a CIO, knowing the pulse of security is critical. I oversee a monthly technology steering committee that all the executives attend. The CISO reports during this meeting on the state of the security program. He also does an excellent job of putting risk metrics out there, color coded by red, yellow, and green. This kind of color grading allows us to focus attention on where we are and what we’re doing about it.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Congress May Rewrite Saudi 9/11 Law After Veto Override

      The two top Republicans in Congress said they’re prepared to rewrite legislation allowing victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia — less than 24 hours after Congress took the extraordinary step of overriding President Barack Obama’s veto of the measure to make it law.

      Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the measure could have unintended consequences — including the fact that it could leave U.S. soldiers open to retaliation by foreign governments.

      “I would like to think there’s a way we can fix so that our service members do not have legal problems overseas while still protecting the rights of the 9/11 victims,” Ryan told reporters Thursday, one day after his chamber voted 348-77 to override the veto.

      McConnell also said he was worried about unintended consequences of the measure, saying changes to the law might be needed.

      “It’s worth further discussing,” he told reporters Thursday. “It was certainly not something that was going to be fixed this week.”

    • Arab responses to 9/11 bill point to US interventions abroad

      Others support the bill, but point out that the U.S. is meanwhile backing a Saudi-led intervention in Yemen that has led to the deaths of thousands of civilians there.

      Two Arabic hashtags were trending on Twitter when the bill was passed, one referring directly to the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, and the other simply titled: #TheAmericanTerrorism.

      Some Arabic Twitter users shared a photo montage that depicted U.S. military actions in Japan and Vietnam, as well as naked Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison being humiliated by smiling U.S. troops. It read: “Japan, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan can’t wait for JASTA to be implemented so they can, in turn, prosecute the U.S.”

      Another shared a 2005 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial cartoon of a young boy on his father’s lap watching an image of the Hiroshima mushroom cloud and asking: “Which terrorist group did that?”

      One post shared more than 750 times included a clip with Arabic subtitles of stand-up American comedian Eddie Griffin talking about U.S. interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying these wars are about “money, money, money.”

      The criticism, of course, is nothing new, says Eurasia Group’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa Ayham Kamel.

      “The Middle East, as a region where the U.S. has been dominant, has always been critical of U.S. policy,” he said.

    • Pakistan threatens to DESTROY India with nuclear bomb as atomic enemies edge to the brink of war

      PAKISTAN’S Defence Minister has threatened to “destroy” India – after India said on Thursday it had carried out “surgical strikes” on suspected militants preparing to infiltrate from Pakistan-ruled Kashmir.

      The strikes, which were a response to shots fired across the de facto border through the disputed Himalayan territory, could lead to a military escalation between the two nuclear-armed neighbours – risking a ceasefire agreed in 2003.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • ‘We Believe in What We’re Doing’

      WikiLeaks is now 10 years old. SPIEGEL met with founder Julian Assange, 45, to discuss the whistleblower platform’s achievements and whether recent criticism leveled at the site is justified.

      SPIEGEL: Mr. Assange, 10 years after the founding of WikiLeaks, the whistleblower platform is again being criticized. WikiLeaks is said to have put millions of Turkish voters in danger. What is your response?

      Assange: A few days after the publication of internal emails from the Democratic National Committee, an entirely false story was put out that we had published the names, addresses and phone numbers of all female voters in Turkey. It is completely false. And it was and is simple to check. Power factions fight back with lies. That’s not surprising.

      SPIEGEL: Quite a few German journalists have long sympathized with WikiLeaks and also with Edward Snowden. But they aren’t impressed with the publishing of the DNC emails. Are you campaigning on behalf of Donald Trump?

      Assange: Our publication of the DNC leaks has showed that the Democratic National Committee had effectively rigged the primaries in the United States on behalf of Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders. That led to the resignation of leading members of the DNC, including its president Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

      SPIEGEL: People within the Clinton campaign have suggested that the DNC emails were given to you by the Russian secret service.

      Assange: There have been many attempts to distract from the power of our publications. Hillary Clinton is the favorite to win. As always, most media aligns with the presumptive winner even though their claimed societal virtue is to investigate those in power.

      SPIEGEL: The fact is, WikiLeaks is damaging Clinton and bolstering Trump.

      Assange: We’re not going to start censoring our publications because there is a US election. Our role is to publish. Clinton has been in government so we have much more to publish on Clinton. There is a lot of naivety. The US presidency will continue to represent the major power groups of the United States — big business and the military — regardless of who the talking head is.

      SPIEGEL: If someone submitted internal documents from the Trump campaign or the Republican Party, you would publish that as well?

      Assange: Yes, of course. That’s what we do.

    • CIA Took Three Years To Reject FOIA Request For Criteria For Rejecting FOIA Requests

      Curious about what criteria the CIA have for determining if they “can neither confirm nor deny” something? So did Jason Smathers, who back in 2010 filed one of MuckRock’s earliest requests for exactly that. Six years later, he still doesn’t know.

      Smathers first filed in October 2010 – to the agency’s credit, they only took a mere two months to get back to him.

    • Government Agencies Apparently Not Interested In Following Congressional Directives On Overclassification

      I’m not sure what this says about government transparency. Maybe it doesn’t say anything useful. Maybe it’s just the mixed signals we can expect from agencies only willing to make the most minimal transparency efforts. Or maybe it says something about the momentum of even slowly-moving large objects. A bureaucracy has a large turning radius and asking it to suddenly change its ways means you have to lower your expectations as to how “suddenly” should be defined. Whatever it says, it’s nothing good.

      Overclassification is a government-wide problem. Legislation has been passed to fix it. While the government expects the private sector to get right on it when laws are passed, it obviously cuts itself a lot more slack when faced with internal legislative redirection.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate justice meets racism: Standing Rock was decades in the making

      Attack dogs and waves of arrests by police in riot gear could look like isolated incidents of overreaction to the activism stemming from the Standing Rock reservation. But for the Lakota Sioux who live in these marginalized hillsides, the escalated militarization behind their battle against the Dakota Access pipeline is a situation decades in the making.

      North Dakota is not the whitest state in America, but it’s arguably the most segregated. More than 60 percent of its largest minority population, Native Americans, lives on or near reservations. Native men are incarcerated or unemployed at some of the highest rates in the country. Poverty levels for families of the Standing Rock tribe are five times that of residents living in the capital city, Bismarck. In Cannon Ball, the heart of the tribal community, there are rows of weathered government homes, but no grocery store. Tucked behind a lonely highway, this is where mostly white farmers and ranchers shuttle to and from homesteads once belonging to the Sioux.

    • Most people alive today set to witness dangerous global warming in their lifetime, scientists warn

      The world could hit two degrees Celsius of warming – the point at which many scientists believe climate change will become dangerous – as early as 2050, a group of leading experts has warned.

      In a report called The Truth About Climate Change, they said many people seemed to think of global warming as “abstract, distant and even controversial”.

      But the planet is now heating up “much faster” than anticipated, said Professor Sir Robert Watson, a former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and one of the authors of the report.

      If their analysis is correct, it means the majority of people alive today will experience what it is like to live on a dangerously overheated planet.

    • 9 wonders of the world set to vanish forever: How many have you ticked off?

      This month, we learned that Spain was facing the prospect of becoming the first European Union member state to have a natural World Heritage Site make Unesco’s “danger list”. The Doñana coastal wetlands in Andalucía – home to the endangered Iberian lynx – is said to be under threat from a mining and dredging plan, as well as 1,000 illegal wells in the area.

      But it’s just one among a number of incredible sites the world over that, according to Unesco, could be lost forever. Here are just a few World Heritage Sites in Unesco’s danger zone that you might need to scrub off the bucket list.

    • To Reduce Haze and Save Indonesia’s Forests, Address the Root Cause of Fires

      Over the past few months we have seen heated debates over the problem of Indonesian forest fires and the associated haze in neighboring countries like Singapore. A new law in Singapore permits the prosecution of companies deemed to be responsible for causing such fires, and speculation about how the El Nino phenomenon might lead to particularly intense fires in the next month have drawn global attention to the issue.

      Three years ago, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made a pledge to dedicate the remainder of his term in office to protect Indonesia’s environment and forests. Over the last three years he has done just that — with the historic moratorium on new logging concessions implemented in 2011, which has since been extended to May 2015. This policy has helped to protect more than 63 million hectares of primary forest and peat land, equivalent to an area larger than the landmass of Malaysia and the Philippines combined, and helped to lower Indonesia’s deforestation rate from 1.2 million hectares per year between 2003 and 2006, to between 450 and 600 thousand hectares per year since 2011. We also see the private sectors in the region stepping up their zero-deforestation commitments, including from the pulp and paper and palm oil industries.

    • Fires driving deforestation in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem

      Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem lost 4,097 hectares of forest cover in the first six months of 2016, according to Forest, Nature and Environment of Aceh (HAkA), an NGO. At the same time, 187 fire hotspots were recorded in the nationally protected area during the period.

      “The hotspots overlay the forest cover loss in Aceh,” HAkA’s Agung Dwinurcahya said at a press conference in Jakarta. “For example, the high number of hotspots in Aceh Timur is the main contributor to deforestation in Aceh Timur.”

      Leuser, home to one of the Southeast Asian country’s last great swaths of intact rainforest, lies in Indonesia’s westernmost Aceh and North Sumatra provinces. It’s the only place in the world where orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers coexist in the wild.

    • Seven Popular Foods That Might Disappear Because of Climate Change

      Throughout history, different types of food have surged and dropped in popularity, and some foods that existed at one point just aren’t around anymore. But we’re not talking about foods that aren’t popular, quite the opposite in fact. Some of our favorite foods and drinks could be considered “endangered” because the places where they are grown are being severely impacted by climate change. If this isn’t proof that we need to do something about climate change, I don’t know what is. To start off, here are a few foods that are part of our everyday lives that might not be around for long.

  • Finance

    • In Wells Fargo Case, News Really Did Happen To An Editor

      Several years after I returned to New York from Oregon, I made a strange discovery. Bank accounts I was certain I had closed were inexplicably racking up service charges. It seemed bizarre, particularly because I had gone in person to a newly opened local branch of my West Coast bank to make sure the accounts were shut down.

      The failure to pay these charges (bills were sent to my old address and never caught up with me) resulted in penalties and a report to a credit agency. After an increasingly frustrating series of exchanges at the local branch, the bank agreed to wipe out the charges but said I would have to deal with the credit agencies on my own.

      It seemed outrageous, and as the editor in chief of an investigative news operation, I thought about asking Paul Kiel, ProPublica’s crack reporter on bank shenanigans, to take a look.

      But then I stopped myself.

      There’s an old saying in the journalism business for this sort of thinking: News is what happens to an editor.

      As with so many newsroom aphorisms, it’s meant to be proclaimed with an eye roll and a tone of deep sarcasm. Reporters view editor-generated stories as the bane of their existence, and not without reason. Random events and pet peeves are not often a great starting point for serious stories.

    • People born in the 1980s are HALF as wealthy in their thirties as people a decade older

      People born in early Eighties were around half as wealthy at age 30 as their counterparts who were born in the Seventies, analysis shows.

      The children of the “Baby Boomer” generation, currently in their early 30s, have an average net household wealth of £27,000 each a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a think tank showed.

      By comparison the median wealth of those born in the 1970s had £53,000 on average by the same age. The figure takes into account housing, financial and private pension wealth.

    • Wealth of people in their 30s has ‘halved in a decade’

      People in their early 30s are half as wealthy as those now in their 40s were at the same age, a report finds.

      Today’s 30-something generation has missed out on house price increases and better pensions, according to research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

      Those born in the early 1980s have an average wealth of £27,000 each, against the £53,000 those born in the 1970s had by the same age, said the IFS.

      They will also find it harder to amass wealth in the future, it added.

      The think tank found that people born in the early 1980s were the first post-war group not to have higher incomes in early adulthood than those born in the preceding decade.

    • Children of Thatcher era have half the wealth of the previous generation

      The children of the Thatcher era have reached adulthood with half as much wealth as the previous generation, finds a major study published today.

      The report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies concludes people born in the early 1980s are the first post-war generation to suffer smaller incomes in early adulthood than those born 10 years before.

      A toxic mix of low interest rates and the calamitous crash of 2008 mean it is much harder to accumulate wealth, leaving them with meagre pensions and a lower rate of home ownership.

    • Basic Income — A concrete and financed proposal for Sweden

      I have now translated my proposal for basic income for Sweden, which I presented in Swedish some time ago.

      Although the proposal as such is strictly about Sweden and Swedish conditions, I am hoping that the reasoning and design principles I have applied may be of interest to basic income activists in other Nordic and European countries as well. In many ways, the welfare systems we have today are basically quite similar, and many of the problems we face are the same as well.

    • Portugal threatened with first treaty claim

      A Mexican company has threatened to bring a €42 million investment treaty claim against Portugal over a cancelled deal to privatise part of Lisbon’s public transport system.

      Grupo Autobuses de Oriente (ADO) announced last week that it had served a notice of dispute to the Portuguese government under the Mexico-Portugal bilateral investment treaty after negotiations proved “fruitless”.

      If the dispute reaches arbitration, it would be the first known investment treaty case that Portugal has faced – as well as a rare example of a Latin American multinational invoking a BIT to protect investments in a European state.

      The dispute relates to two “sub-concession agreements” that ADO, through its Spanish subsidiary Avanza, signed with Portugal’s then centre-right government under Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho in June 2015.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Gary Johnson Is Not the Third-Party Candidate You’re Looking For

      With Hillary Clinton failing to provide a genuine voice for the 99% against Donald Trump’s bigoted fake-populism, a left-wing third-party candidate like Jill Stein can act as an important pole of attraction for a section of workers and youth sick and tired of the status quo. But Stein isn’t the only third-party challenger to Trump and Clinton. Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico, is running for president under the Libertarian Party. Johnson has been consistently outpolling Stein, and some polls even show Johnson beating Stein among former Bernie Sanders supporters.

      Given his polling results, Johnson may appear to be the best bet for building a viable challenge to the two-party system. And Johnson has a number of progressive positions on certain isolated issues, such as support for the legalization of marijuana and opposition to government surveillance. But, as socialists, we have to be clear that Gary Johnson, and libertarian politics in general, are a dead end for anyone trying to build a voice for the 99%.

    • Hacked Audio Reveals Hillary Clinton Sees Herself Occupying “Center-Left to Center-Right”

      In the hacked recording of a private conversation with campaign donors in February, Hillary Clinton distanced herself from progressive goals like “free college, free healthcare” and described her place on the political spectrum as spanning from the center-left to the center-right.

      Clinton has been inconsistent in the past about espousing political labels. She has at times touted herself as stalwart liberal. For instance, she said last July: “I take a backseat to no one when you look at my record in standing up and fighting for progressive values.” But a few months later, she told a group in Ohio: “You know, I get accused of being kind of moderate and center. I plead guilty.”

      The newly disclosed comments came in audio, apparently from hacked emails, that was revealed this week by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative blog run by a Republican communications strategist. Clinton was speaking at a Virginia fundraiser hosted by Beatrice Welters, the former U.S. ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, and her husband Anthony Welters, the executive chairman of an investment consulting firm founded by former Clinton aid Cheryl Mills.

      Clinton’s opponent at the time, Sen. Bernie Sanders, was pointing to successful programs in Norway and Sweden, which provide universal daycare, family leave, and government sponsored healthcare and college education, as policies that he would seek to adopt.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Palestinians boycott Facebook over ‘censorship’

      Palestinian activists have recently launched a campaign to boycott Facebook after the popular social-media platform blocked several Palestinian accounts and deleted numerous posts – at Israel’s request – for alleged “incitement”.

      Earlier this week, campaigners – using the hashtag #FBCensorsPalestine – called on supporters to refrain from posting on Facebook between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. (Jerusalem time) on Sept. 25.

      Hussam al-Zayegh, the campaign’s Gaza-based spokesman, told Anadolu Agency that the initiative had been launched in response to what he described as Facebook’s “pro-Israel bias”.

      According to al-Zayegh, the world’s most popular social-networking site is actively working to undermine Palestinian activists and journalists who rely on Facebook to help spread their message.

    • Palestinian Activists Are Angry About Alleged Facebook Censorship

      Palestinian activists are running an online campaign to hold Facebook accountable after the social media giant deleted a number of pro-Palestine posts and suspended several Palestinian journalists’ accounts.

      Quds News Network and other publications launched the hashtag #FBCensorsPalestine on Friday, when news emerged that seven Palestinian journalists associated with popular outlets in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories had their accounts shut down for “violating community guidelines.”

      According to the seven journalists, four of whom work for Shehab News Agency and three of whom work for Quds, Facebook provided no further explanation of what standards were violated.

    • Donald Trump and the Return of Seditious Libel

      In 1733, New York printer John Peter Zenger began publishing the eighth newspaper in the American colonies, and the first willing to venture criticism of the government. The New-York Weekly Journal was the second paper in a city of 10,000 or so people, 1700 of them slaves.

      As we are reminded in Richard Kluger’s comprehensive new book, “Indelible Ink,” the first full-length account of Zenger’s travails, by 1735, Zenger (and the likely editor of his paper, James Alexander) had so offended Britain’s royal governor of New York and New Jersey, William Cosby, that Cosby brought suit against Zenger for seditious libel—the crime of criticizing the government. Under the law then in effect in Britain and its colonies, truth was not a defense to this charge. The leading legal treatise of the day explained that “since the greater appearance there is of truth in any malicious invective, so much the more provoking it is.” And: “The malicious prosecution of even truth itself cannot… be suffered to interrupt the tranquility of a well-ordered society.” This was deemed especially the case with true attacks on those in power, as they would have “a direct tendency to breed in the people a dislike of their governors and incline them to faction and sedition.”

    • Thoughtless and dangerous EU approach to free speech online

      There is a lot of ambiguity when it comes to the EU cooperation with Facebook, Twitter, Youtube/Google and Microsoft to censor the Internet – the Joint Referral Platform.

      On the one hand, it has been marketed as a tool to stop »radicalization« that could lead young people to religiously motivated violence, e.g. terrorism or joining the Islamic State in the Middle East.

      On the other hand, in documents and speeches the EU is totally focused on this project to stem »illegal online hate speech«, e.g. when it comes to racism and Islamophobia.

      On that account, what is deemed to be »illegal« adds to the confusion. Incitement to violence is clearly and reasonably within this definition. But when it comes to the broader definition of hate speech, laws vary between EU member states.

    • Chinese Communism’s Anniversary Shines Light On Censorship — In America

      Due to SAPPRFT restrictions, all American movie scripts are vulnerable to “requested” changes or self-censorship based on the Communist Party’s wishes.

    • Popular YouTuber Experiments With WebTorrent to Beat Censorship

      A popular YouTuber is experimenting with torrent-based technology in order to take control of his content and avoid third-party censorship. Bluedrake says that the potential for freedom when using WebTorrent “blows his mind” and has already carried out tests to get the project underway.

    • Banned Book Week brings awareness to censorship, individual choices

      Banned Books Week is from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.

      This year will be the 34th anniversary of Banned Books week. The last week of September) will be when words will attempt to overthrow unnecessary censorship.

      After all, in the words of Laurie Anderson “censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance.”

      The heat-wave surrounding censorship of books sent the media in a frenzy in the 1980s, urging society to fight against authority, ensuring that there would be a change in social behavior and moral values.

    • Orwell 2016: Censorship in the age of social media

      If George Orwell is watching from above, he must be impressed. In his novel 1984, what was meant as a cautionary tale against government control and intellectual obscurantism, seems to have come to pass without our full knowledge.

      Where have our media taken us?

      To be brutally honest, I would say down the yellow brick road and around the tree a few times over already. As our world has become more and more dependent on media, we have opened ourselves up to the bite of censorship, control and the ever-evolving deity which is ‘social trend’.

      In other words, our need to be “connected” has pretty much left us dependent on information technology.

    • Singapore court sends teen blogger back to jail for criticising religion
    • Singapore rebel teen jailed for anti-religion posts
    • Singapore Teen Gets 6 Weeks in Jail for ‘Intending to Wound’ God’s Feelings
    • Teen blogger jailed in Singapore for insulting Muslims, Christians
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The “Pardon Snowden” Case Just Got Stronger

      Yesterday, the Department of Justice Inspector General (DoJ IG) issued a long overdue Congressionally-mandated report on FBI compliance with the PATRIOT Act’s Section 215 “business records” provision between 2012 and 2014. It is the first such report issued that covers the initial period of Edward Snowden’s revelations about widespread domestic mass surveillance by the federal government. Since his indictment for leaking the information to the press, Snowden’s lawyers have argued that he should not be prosecuted under the WW I-era Espionage Act because his revelations served the public interest.

    • Intel Community To Institute Actual Whistleblower Award For ‘Speaking Truth To Power’

      The Intelligence Community is looking to reward whistleblowers for “speaking truth to power.” No, seriously. Steven Aftergood of Secrecy News has posted a recent Intel Community announcement [PDF] that looks to fold a whistleblower honor into the community’s existing awards program.

      This is part of the intel community’s cautious foray into the harsh sunlight of transparency — itself a response to a presidential directive that our nation’s spies head outside for a bit and expose themselves a bit.

      The award may as well be called the “Snowden.” But the wording makes it explicit Snowden himself will never be eligible to receive the honorific fruits of his whistleblowing.

    • How Bulk Interception Works

      Mobile digital devices are ever more ubiquitous, generating new forms of data in quantities that continue to grow exponentially. Moreover, the costs of storing data have decreased drastically, and continue to do so every year. Most importantly, the technical means of combining datasets and analyzing this vast trove of data have advanced so rapidly that what were previously considered meaningless or incoherent types and amounts of data can now produce incredibly revelatory analyses. Metadata is structured in such a way that computers can search through it for patterns faster and more effectively and learn more about us than similar searches through the actual content of our communications.

    • The secret smartphone war over the struggle for control of the user

      There’s a war going on behind closed doors for control of your smartphone. It’s between the phone makers and the operators, but it’s not over privacy or data or cost – it’s over you.

      The battles are raging over who owns the consumer and your phone: is it the buyer or the manufacturer? And is the smartphone a device you purchase, or a service you pay for monthly?

      The boom years for the industry, when a smartphone was a user’s first, are long gone in developed nations with most smartphones now sold to people who already have one. In the US and UK market penetration has hit roughly 85%. This means the growth a phone maker needs each year can only come at the expense of a competitor. And that has changed how the manufacturers see the market.

      Marina Koytcheva, director of forecasting at CCS Insight says: “After years of analysts and commentators talking about mobile phone market peaking within the visible horizon, it has now reached that point.”

      The research firm expects total mobile phone sales to decline by 1.3% this year over last, with smartphones accounting for almost three-quarters of the market and up only 4.1% globally.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Cops Dodge 4th Amendment By Phoning In ‘Anonymous’ Tips; Watch Their Drug Bust Vanish After They’re Exposed

      The two horses called in tips twice, resulting in searches of two residences. Despite costing them a nice drug bust and successful prosecution, both the DA (Shane Scanlon) and the Chief of Police (Carl Graziano) are defending not only the faux tipsters’ actions, but their work as law enforcement officers as well.

    • NYPD sent undercover officers to Black Lives Matter protest, records reveal

      Legal papers filed by the New York police department reveal that the department sent its own undercover officers to protests led by Black Lives Matter after the death of Eric Garner. The NYPD documents also show that it collected multimedia records about the protests.

      The NYPD disclosed its undercover operations in response to a group of New York attorneys requesting records under the state freedom of information law. The department has thus far declined to provide the records requested. But its descriptions in August court filings of the records it is refusing to release provide new details about its monitoring of protests at Grand Central Station:

      The first set contains “multimedia records” relating to the petitioners’ request for “pictures, videos, audio recordings, data, and metadata” collected or received by the NYPD at the Grand Central Station protests, which Black Lives Matter groups are still leading, according to the NYPD response.

      The second “consists entirely of communications between and among NYPD undercover officers and their handlers”, pertaining to the protests. According to a 22 August NYPD Memorandum of Law, these undercover communications “consist primarily of immediate impressions concerning ongoing events”.

    • FBI, DOJ And Their Forensic Scientists State They’ll Continue Using Discredited Junk Science To Put People Behind Bars

      For dozens of years, criminal prosecutions have relied on junk science. Forensic science, properly applied, can actually provide matches that identify suspects. But it’s not properly applied. In the hands of the DOJ, forensic evidence examination is a closed loop. Outside scientists have been granted access to the DOJ’s DNA work, but everything else — from fingerprints to hair samples — has been locked away in the government’s database.

      Still, the DOJ insists its science is solid, something it bases on confirmation bias. The matches determined in its forensic labs are “scientifically certain” because the DOJ’s expert witnesses have said so in court. Not only are outside scientists locked out of examining evidence and forensic processes, but defense lawyers are as well.

      The DOJ has finally decided to dial back its “scientific certainty” a bit by issuing guidance instructing its experts to not make this claim in court. This follows years of bogus matches being presented as sure things by forensic experts in court, leading to an unknown number of false convictions. This step back is a step forward for an agency that is mostly unwilling to admit to any mistakes or wrongdoing.

    • Video released shows officers shooting 6-year-old

      A Louisiana judge released body cam video Wednesday showing officers firing multiple rounds into a car, unknowingly striking and killing a 6-year-old boy.
      The incident, which happened in September 2015, resulted in the indictments of two marshals on second degree murder and second degree attempted murder charges.

      The marshals began pursuing the car after they witnessed an argument between a man and his girlfriend in front of a local bar, a source told CNN. Officers moved to detain the man, identified as Christopher Few, who took off in his car.
      The pursuit ended in gunfire on a dead-end street in Marksville, Louisiana.

    • Massachusetts Detective who Threatened to Murder Teens and Plant Drugs Won’t Be Fired or Charged

      A Springfield, Massachusetts narcotics detective has been placed on leave for 60 days, but not fired, after videos surfaced showing him threatening to murder two teenagers and plant drugs on them — videos which have cast doubt on the detective’s numerous drug cases.

      Detective Gregg A. Bigda was caught on video on February 26 at the Palmer Police Department, where he interrogated two teenagers, who along with a third teen were suspected of stealing an undercover police car outside a pizza shop, when he made the threats, according to a report on MassLive.com.

    • New Jersey Woman Forced into Mental Facility for Video Recording Courthouse

      It was a beautiful day in Freehold, New Jersey, so Jen Coombs decided to do First Amendment audits at the Monmouth County jail and courthouse to see how well officials there would respect her right to record in public.

      The New Jersey woman who runs a Facebook page called Time to Stand – New Jersey ended up forced into a mental facility against her will for four days. Not that it kept her from doing another First Amendment audit on the same courthouse upon her release.

      It all started on September 15, 2016 when Coombs made her way around the public areas of the facility and was approached within minutes by two jail employees who seemed determined to snatch the camera out of her hand before even asking her what she was doing.

      It wasn’t just her camera they were after. Coombs was immediately placed in handcuffs and her car keys were taken. Police then used her keys to find her parked car.

      Officials did not stop at just running her tags to get her information though. They used the keys to open her car and rummage around inside in an apparent search for something, anything, to charge her with.

    • Christian boy, 16, facing DEATH PENALTY for offending Muslims in Facebook post

      The boy has been arrested and charged with blasphemy after a photo of the Kaaba in Mecca, one of the holiest sites in Islam, appeared on his profile.

      A Muslim man told police the image, which was part of an alleged derogatory post against Islam on the boy’s profile, was insulting and sacrilegious.

      The black cube-shape is built around an ancient stone at the centre of Islam’s most sacred mosque Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

      Locals reportedly claimed the image showed the Kaaba with a pig’s head on top.

    • Is It Still An Anonymous Tip If It’s Me?

      In Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, two police officers found a way to get around one of those annoying loopholes that prevent them from locking up people who are guilty, guilty, GUILTY!!! The loophole is known to the rest of us as “The Fourth Amendment,” which states (among other things) “that no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause.”

      Detective Harold Zech and Lawrence Spathelf didn’t have probable cause to search the homes of Albert McCullough and Dakeem Booker, so they made their own. They phoned in “anonymous” tips to McCullough’s and Booker’s parole officers, who searched their and found some heroin.

    • New Guantánamo intelligence upends old ‘worst of the worst’ assumptions

      The “Dirty 30” probably weren’t all Osama bin Laden bodyguards after all. The “Karachi 6” weren’t a cell of bombers plotting attacks in Pakistan for al-Qaida. An Afghan man captured 14 years ago as a suspected chemical weapons maker was confused for somebody else.

      An ongoing review shows the U.S. intelligence community has been debunking long-held myths about some of the “worst of the worst” at Guantánamo, some of them still held today. The retreat emerges in a series of unclassified prisoner profiles released by the Pentagon in recent years, snapshots of much larger dossiers the public cannot see, prepared for the Periodic Review Board examining the Pentagon’s “forever prisoner” population.

    • DEA’s Army of 18,000 Informants Pocketed $237 Million Over Five Years

      It’s no secret that the Drug Enforcement Administration relies heavily on an army of confidential sources — men and women compelled, coerced, or enticed to share information with law enforcement, sometimes to alleviate their own legal troubles, sometimes for cash.

      Precisely how those relationships play out, however, is often shrouded in secrecy.

      A recently published audit by the Department of Justice has now offered a startling glimpse behind the scenes of those operations, revealing a world in which hundreds of millions of dollars have been doled out to thousands of informants over the last five years. Those informants include package delivery personnel, bus company employees, and Transportation Security Administration agents moonlighting as drug war spies — all operating with abysmal oversight and scant evidence of return on investment.

    • Military-Style Raid Ends Native Prayer Against Dakota Pipeline

      Up to 21 people were arrested during a peaceful prayer service.

      North Dakota police with military-style equipment surrounded Native Americans gathered in prayer against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on Wednesday, disrupting their plan to cross sacred and treaty-protected land in protest of a project they fear will destroy their livelihood.

    • U.S. Court Of Appeals Upholds Ruling That New Hampshire’s Silly Ballot Selfie Ban Violated The First Amendment

      You may recall that roughly a year ago, a federal judge struck down a New Hampshire law that made “ballot selfies” illegal. The state had essentially updated its laws revolving around limiting the ability to sell votes or influence the public through depicting who a person voted for to include criminalizing anyone that took a picture of their completed ballot and shared it on social media. The state had said that allowing that sort of thing encouraged voter corruption, with the idea that ballot selfies would be used as a form of proof that a bought vote had been completed, or might otherwise be used to influence other members of the public as to how to vote. It was a strange theory, given how unlikely it would be for a corrupted voter to post evidence of his or her corruption on Facebook, not to mention that stating that a person essentially couldn’t engage in a form of political speech via a picture was flatly unconstitutional. The federal judge agreed.

    • Border Patrol Agent Caught Watching Porn On The Job Blames The Internet Filter For Not Stopping Him

      We talk about porn filters occasionally here at Techdirt. Usually those discussions revolve around how useless and easily circumvented those filters are, even as the more clueless in government insist that we need more of this non-filtering filtering. This is not one of those stories. Instead, it is the story of one of the most tone-deaf individuals with a penchant for excuse-making I’ve ever come across.

      We start with Gizmodo, a website that used to be owned by Gawker Media until a rich guy decided to show America exactly what a rich guy with a lot of money could do and had Gawker shut down, presumably then diving into a pile of gold coins and rubbing hundred dollar bills on his nipples. Gizmodo recently filed an FOIA request to get at documents involving the misuse of computer equipment with the Department of Homeland Security. The site was hoping to see if there were any cases of overreach and abuse of technology by the department. Instead, it uncovered four cases of people watching porn, including one really special case involving a border patrol agent that simply would not stop looking at porn while on the job.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Ridiculously Stupid: 4 State Attorneys General File Totally Bogus Lawsuit Against Internet Transition

      Okay, this is really dumb. What is it about state attorneys general making totally bullshit claims? It seems to happen with fairly consistent frequency. The latest is that four state AGs (from Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Nevada) have filed a lawsuit to stop the IANA transition. If you don’t recall, we’ve written about this a bunch. A bunch of people are up in arms over something they don’t seem to understand. The IANA transition is a good thing. It’s not the US government handing over the internet to Russia and China as you may have heard. It’s the Commerce Department severing an almost entirely symbolic link between it and a very specific internet governance capability concerning top level domains. And it’s important to complete the transition because other countries (including Russia and China) keep pointing to this symbolic link as a reason for why they should have more say in internet governance. Getting rid of the link keeps the internet functioning as it has for decades — and takes away a weapon from Russia and China. More importantly, going back on the transition now actually gives even more ammo to Russia and China, allowing them to point to unilateral actions by the US gov’t to block a process that everyone had agreed upon earlier.

      Anyway, to the actual lawsuit. It’s dumb. It’s really dumb. If you live in Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma or Nevada, you should be embarrassed for your Attorneys General. Elect better ones next time, please. First of all, they have no standing whatsoever to file this lawsuit. The IANA/top level domain system is not those states. They have no claim here other than “HEY LOOK! POLITICAL FOOTBALL THAT WE CAN GRANDSTAND OVER!” That does not give them standing. The best they can come up with for claiming standing is… uh… “hey, we have some websites.” No, really.

    • Judge Says No Way To Attorneys General Looking To Block IANA Transition

      Well, this isn’t much of a surprise, but following the ridiculous last minute attempt to block the IANA transition by four state attorneys general (who have absolutely no standing or argument), a judge has flatly denied their request for an injunction meaning that the transition is a go for midnight tonight, barring any really last minute unforeseen methods to block it (or a desperate leapfrog to an appeals court).

      Having spent part of the morning responding to clueless conspiracy theorists on my earlier post, I’m sure you’re going to hear the standard ridiculous lizard people warnings about how this is enabling “the UN” or “leftists” and “globalists” to “takeover” the internet and how it will allow China to build the “Great Firewall” into the core functioning of the internet. None of that is even remotely true. What happens tonight at midnight is… nothing, basically. ICANN, which has managed the IANA function through its multistakeholder process for almost two decades… will continue to do so. Nothing changes. The only “change” is that the US Commerce Dept. no longer has to issue a contract to ICANN for the IANA functions. And that’s it.

    • Net Neutrality: BEREC on the Right Path, Let’s Keep the Pressure on

      Net Neutrality is one of central challenge in the application of fundamental rights in the digital space. Too often it has been only considered as a technical or commercial issue, but it has serious impact on the real exercise of right to freedom of speech, right to information and on how the society build and think of itself; but also has important impacts on industrial and commercial issues. La Quadrature du Net has followed this issue since its start in the European debate circa 2009 by trying to defend a definition and wording in EU law of a strict Net Neutrality, protecting users and guaranteeing opportunities of development in a sane digital environment. As the BEREC guidelines for the Telecom Regulation adopted in October 2015 have been published, it is time to come back on the few years of campaign and to present the next fights and challenges for fundamental rights.

      La Quadrature du Net has defended, since 2009 and the first announces of EU works on Net Neutrality, an approach based on the defence of fundamental rights: to secure Net Neutrality, it is to defend the access of all to the Internet network, it is to allow to receive and send information with the same condition for all, it is to guarantee technical condition to a free and fair exercise of freedom of speech and information.

      It was not self-evident: as soon as the subject was within the speeches of Telecom operators and big digital companies, everything was made to consider Net Neutrality only from the perspective of financing Internet traffic and not as a major issue for the balance of the network that determines the quality of access and circulation of the information and services for the users as a whole.

    • A Massive Cable Industry Disinformation Effort Just Crushed The FCC’s Plan For Cable Box Competition

      Back in February the FCC proposed a new plan to bring competition to the cable box. Under the plan, cable providers would need to provide their programming to third party hardware vendors without the need for a CableCARD. The goal? Bring some competition to bear on a stagnant, captive market, resulting in cheaper, more open, and higher quality cable boxes. But because the plan would demolish $21 billion in rental fees while eroding sector control, the cable industry launched one of the most unprecedented lobbying and disinformation efforts I’ve ever seen in 16 years of covering the sector.

      Politicians loyal to the cable industry wrote letters lambasting the FCC for “jeopardizing the incredible evolution of video distribution services,” falsely comparing the idea to Popcorn Time. A flood of editorials magically began appearing in newspapers country wide claiming the FCC’s plan would boost piracy, hurt consumer privacy, and even “steal the future.” The cable sector even trotted out Jesse Jackson, who claimed in a horribly misleading op-ed that increased cable box competition was akin to the “snarling dogs, water hoses and church bombings” of America’s racist history. Seriously.

  • DRM

    • Racing Game Developers Sacrifice Playability On The Altar Of Anti-Piracy, Deliver Laggy Mess To Paying Customers

      So much for the advantages of PC gaming. Build a rig to your specifications and company reps tell you to use bog-standard settings to keep from being tripped up by anti-piracy and anti-hacking asset checks. If gamers wanted a one-size-fits-all gaming experience, they’d have settled for the console version. And there’s no guarantee that will work. The problem has been linked to on-the-fly decryption of game assets, which isn’t going to be solved in all cases by using default video settings.

      There’s a fix on the way but it’s tough to see how the developers are going to get around built-in asset checks that run through Windows EFS. There’s no easy “switch” to turn that off. While I understand developers are concerned about software piracy and cheaters/hackers ruining the online experience of honest players, there’s simply nothing to be gained by irritating those who’ve spent perfectly functional money on deliberately-broken software.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Time To Talk Digital Issues At WTO With Focus On Developing Countries, Forum Hears

      Now is the time for those who want to bring new voices to the digital trade and general trade debate involving the World Trade Organization, says an adviser to a leading security think tank in Switzerland.

      “If the objective is for trade policy to effectively bring in non-traditional voices this is a perfect time for that to take place,” Nick Ashton-Hart, a consultant and associate fellow for the Geneva Centre for Security Policy said at the WTO’s 27-29 September Public Forum yesterday.

    • Uber hires former Google licensing executive in what could be a familiar pre-IPO play

      In a major move in the licensing community, former Google patent executive Kurt Brasch has moved to Uber as senior manager, patents. He joins an IP team led by fellow former Google employee Michael Meehan who jumped ship in February of this year.

      Brasch left Google earlier in the summer as the search giant let go of most of the legacy licensing team that it had picked up through its 2012 acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

      At Google he played a role in the Patent Purchase Promotion and its recent industry-wide successor IP3; helped launch the Patent Starter Program designed to encourage start-ups to join the License on Transfer Network; and led the team behind the 2014 cross licence with Cisco. That series of successes last year led this blog to name him as one of the IP personalities of 2015.

    • Gurry Speaks On Allegations For First Time As WIPO Members Discuss Actions

      Heading into next week’s annual UN World Intellectual Property Organization General Assemblies, WIPO member states are considering a report from the United Nations investigations office regarding allegations of wrongdoing made involving WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. And for first time since the allegations arose, Gurry has offered his defence. Spoiler alert: he neither confirmed nor denied it but raised questions about the legality of sharing the report with member states.

    • Trademarks

      • Supremes to rule on feds’ trademark censorship

        The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the case alleging improper government censorship of a trademark for a band named The Slants, a precedent that also likely will impact significantly the current fight over the Washington NFL team’s name, the Redskins.

        According to the Rutherford Institute, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the band’s name, the censorship “openly discriminates against speech on the basis of content and viewpoint, violating the most fundamental constitutional guarantees to freedom of expression under the First Amendment.”

        The Asian-American dance rock band sued after the federal government, through its U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, censored them.

      • Can you trademark an offensive name or not? US Supreme Court to decide

        The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would decide, once and for all, whether federal intellectual property regulators can refuse to issue trademarks with disparaging or inappropriate names.

        At the center of the issue is a section of trademark law that actually forbids the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) from approving a trademark if it “consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.”

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