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11.10.16

Links 10/11/2016: Latest Microsoft Attacks on GNU/Linux (by Proxy), F2FS Growing Up

Posted in News Roundup at 10:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 open source dashboard tools for visualizing data

    I’ve always been fascinated by finding new and interesting ways to bring meaning to data with interactive visualization tools. While I’m definitely a geek for numbers, the human mind is simply much better at interpreting trends visually than it is just picking them out a spreadsheet. And even when your main interest in a dataset is the raw numbers themselves, a dashboard can help to bring meaning by highlighting which values matter most, and what the context of those numbers is.

    Figuring out how to best visualize your data can be challenging. Maybe you started out by creating a few graphs in a spreadsheet and are trying to find a way to tie them all together. Or maybe you’re working with an existing analytics tool and want to find a way to make your data more accessible to a wider audience. Or perhaps you’ve go several real-time sources and are trying to find a way to tie them all together.

    Fortunately, there are a number of great open source dashboard tools out there that make the job much easier. On one end of the spectrum are open source business intelligence tools, like BIRT or Pentaho. But for a smaller project, tools like these could be overkill, and in some cases, you might be able to find a dashboard tool that is already designed to work with the kind of data you are dealing with.

  • Events

    • NetBSD machines at Open Source Conference 2016 Tokyo/Fall
    • My First International FOSS Event: FUDCon Cambodia

      It was a privilege to be a speaker at FUDCon, Cambodia 2016. This being my first international FOSS event was ever more exciting. Right from the day I received the invitation from Sirko, I felt extremely privileged. On reaching the place I found that the event was much bigger than what I had expected it to be. There was a bar camp being organised by the university with over 5000 participants. Simply speaking it was a grand and huge occasion.

    • Endace Sponsors Open Source Suricata Conference

      Endace, a world leader in high-speed network monitoring and recording technology, is a sponsor of Suricon, which kicks off on Wednesday November 9th at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza in Washington D.C. Suricon, which draws attendees from around the world (including Suricata project contributors, developers and users), is the annual conference for the community behind the popular open-source intrusion detection (IDS) application, Suricata.

    • Message parsing and community building: All Things Open 2016

      Last week I visited All Things Open, one of the largest open source conferences of the US East Coast. The venue was the monumental building of the Raleigh Convention Center, just two blocks from Red Hat’s headquarters. I was presenting syslog-ng in the Operations track of the conference, but luckily I had a chance to stay for the full two days of the event.

      There were over 2400 visitors at the conference, so registration and check-in already started the day before. Those who leveraged this opportunity could not just avoid the crowd next morning, but also receive a nice t-shirt together with the conference badge:

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5 – Free Office Suite Keeps Getting Better

      LibreOffice is the best office software available, or at least on Linux. LibreOffice is a powerful office suite that comes with a clean interface and feature-rich tools that seeks to make your productive and creative. LibreOffice includes several applications including Writer for word processing, Calc for spreadsheets, Impress for presentations, Draw for vector graphics and flowcharts, Base for databases, and Math for formula editing.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • TrueOS Succeeds PC-BSD Desktop-Friendly Unix OS

      The FreeBSD Unix operating system is one of the earliest open-source operating system projects, and it continues to be actively developed. The most recent update is the FreeBSD 11 release, which debuted Oct. 10. While FreeBSD is a robust operating system, it is not a desktop focused platform, which is where the PC-BSD operating system, based on FreeBSD used to fit in. On Sept. 1, PC-BSD was re-branded as TrueOS, providing FreeBSD users with an easy-to-use desktop as well as a new release cadence. In the past, PC-BSD releases followed FreeBSD milestones, providing users with code that had already been included in a generally available release. With TrueOS, the release model is now moving to what is known as a rolling release, with packages constantly being updated as they become available. As such, TrueOS is not based on the recently released FreeBSD 11; instead, it is based on the FreeBSD “current” branch that is the leading edge of the operating system development. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at the new TrueOS operating system and what it offers desktop users.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Can America’s two-party system evolve to crowdocracy?

      Since I’ve studied civics and governments, I’ve never thought a two-party system of elected officials in our executive and legislative branches was the best form of democracy. It worked for a time, but now it’s time for change. In the United States, our representative democracy has become polarized and plagued with raising money for re-elections instead of focusing on the issues—issues that are largely influenced by lobbyist and corporate interests.

    • Open Data

      • Who is leading Open Data in Europe? Walking the Open Data talk

        Capgemini Consulting’s Wendy Carrara, project manager for the European Data Portal, discusses the UK’s open data readiness, including ways it could learn from its neighbours and even improve on its open data policy

        Open data – that is, publicly available data that’s free for all to use – is set to have a monumental impact on societies in the next five years. Whether it’s information regarding public transportation, citypolicy or city infrastructures, open data enables public sector bodies, business and citizens alike to make more informed decisions about the things that really matter. While it may sound like a popular buzzword from years gone by, governments across the globe are now developing policies that encourage the release of open government data. However, having policy in place is a far cry from actually getting it done.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Nestlé Just Granted Permit to Double Water Extraction 120 Miles from Flint, MI

      Nestlé is at it again. Recently publicly condemned for pumping 36 million gallons of water from Strawberry Creek in the San Bernardino National Forest, paying a meager $524 annually for a permit that expired long ago, the multi-national company is now planning to milk the citizens of Flint, Michigan, to keep their water privatization plan afloat.

      Nestlé was just given a permit to almost double the groundwater they extract from the Michigan area amidst the recent Flint water crisis. This means the company will be taking more than 210 million gallons annually while many Flint residents are still suffering from the long-term effects of lead exposure.

      Nestlé is not even based in the U.S., but the Swiss transnational is taking water from hundreds of local water supplies. The U.S. represents its largest bottled water market. Nestlé also controls more than 70 of the world’s bottled water brands, among them Perrier, San Pellegrino, Ice Mountain, Pure Life, and Vittel.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Pentagon Again Dramatically Under-Reports Civilians Killed in Airstrikes

      Previous reports from Centcom were a dramatic under-count, and that trend continued with this new report, which carefully omitted some of the biggest and most well-documented incidents, which apparently fell into the category of strikes that the Pentagon decided not to investigate at all.

      The most conspicuously absent figures are from mid-July, when a flurry of US airstrikes against the city of Manbij and the surrounding area killed an estimated 200 civilians. At least 56 civilians were killed in one single incident, which at the time the US claimed they “mistook for ISIS.”

      Despite the Pentagon feeling the need to come up with excuses for the Manbij strikes at the time, they not only didn’t include them in the final death toll, but didn’t even hazard an attempt to mention the well-documented incidents in the document.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Now that Trump has won, TransCanada wants to give Keystone XL pipeline another try

      TransCanada said it hopes to persuade a new Trump administration to revive the controversial Keystone XL crude oil pipeline that President Obama rejected on Nov. 6, 2015.

      Taking advantage of President-elect Trump’s vow to launch a series of major infrastructure programs, Calgary-based TransCanada said it was “evaluating ways to convince the new administration on the benefits, the jobs and the tax revenues this project brings to the table.”

      “TransCanada remains fully committed to building Keystone XL,” the company said.

    • Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline set to begin its final, most contested stretch

      The company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline is preparing to tunnel under Lake Oahe, the body of water at the heart of the protests against the crude oil pipeline. This last phase of construction would join the two already-completed sections of the pipeline, Reuters reports.

      The company, Energy Transfer Partners, announced today that drilling underneath the lake will start in two weeks despite government agencies’ requests to wait, according to The Guardian. The pipeline is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, the company says.

      Protesters, including the local Standing Rock Sioux tribe, have been fighting the the $3.7 billion pipeline since April. They argue that the pipeline, which is intended to carry crude oil from North Dakota to a refinery in Illinois, could pollute water supplies and destroy culturally important land. In September, the US Justice and Interior Departments and the Army Corps of Engineer requested that Energy Transfer Partners voluntarily stop construction underneath the lake.

    • America’s Brief Role as a Climate Leader Is Probably Over

      While America was watching Donald Trump sweep the polls, climate representatives from over 200 countries saw America’s commitments to international climate goals blow away. This week, climate negotiators—along with NGOs, journalists, and other observers—are gathered in Marrakesh, Morroco to flesh out the details of the Paris agreement, newly ratified and enacted by the United Nations to address climate change. And though Trump hasn’t described his climate and energy policies in detail, he has made it clear that he will not honor promises the Obama administration made to combat the intensifying global warming catastrophe.

      The Clean Power Plan. Tax breaks for renewable energy. Cabinet appointees and a Supreme Court seat. Trump has the power to drastically change US environmental policy—and as the soon-to-be-leader of the world’s largest economy and second-largest greenhouse gas emitter, his decisions will change the math for other nations previously committed to climate regulations. Some will follow the US, and dial back (or abandon) their goals. Others will stay the course. And still others might double down on climate goals, potentially gaining global clout as a result. However the 45th president of the US proceeds, his decisions on climate will affect everyone on Earth.

  • Finance

    • Shock as India scraps 500 and 1,000 rupee bank notes

      Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says “honest people” have no need to worry about a decision to scrap 1,000 and 500 rupee notes.

      Mr Jaitley said the move would flush out tax evaders, adding that all old notes deposited in banks would be subjected to tax laws.

      The surprise move, announced on Tuesday evening, is part of a crackdown on corruption and illegal cash holdings.

    • Robots Will Take Two-Thirds of All Jobs In the Developing World, UN Says

      It’s a common belief that low-wage workers will be hit the hardest by advanced robots in the workplace. When we take a global perspective on this, the people that will be most affected by widespread automation won’t be workers in North America, according to a new United Nations report—it’ll be people in developing countries.

      Automation stands to reduce opportunities for low-wage workers in North America, the report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development states. But the types of jobs most likely to be eliminated entirely are more prevalent in developing nations. That’s because those same jobs, in sectors like farming and manufacturing, have already mostly dried up in wealthier nations as corporations have moved their operations abroad, in search of higher profits through lower wage costs.

    • Feeling the oil crunch: Saudi Arabia cancels $266bn in projects

      Saudi Arabia’s governing economic body called the Council of Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA) has cancelled $266.7 billion in projects, the Saudi Press Agency said, and announced it would be settling much-delayed private-sector payments by year end.

      The projects that have been canceled are the ones that are not expected to accelerate the kingdom’s growth or improve the living standards for its people.

      The cancellations were first considered in September, but at the time, it was noted that only $20 billion in projects would be considered to put on the chopping block.

      The size of the delayed payments—mainly due to severe hits to the kingdom’s oil revenue—remains undisclosed, but it includes delayed payments to construction firms, medical establishments, and foreign consultants. One analyst, according to Reuters, estimated that the amount still owing just to construction firms was US$21 billion.

    • Engineer sold as slave in Saudi Arabia, family wants him back

      An automobile engineer, who went to Saudi Arabia for better job opportunities, has allegedly been “sold” to a Saudi national as a slave to work in his camel farm. The family members of Jayanta Biswas have approached the Ministry of External Affairs for help in bringing him back from Saudi Arabia.

      However, they are yet to receive a word from the ministry. “We appeal to the Indian government to initiate action in order to bring my brother back. We are at our wit’s end,” Gouri Biswas, elder sister of Jayanta, said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Huffington Post ending editor’s note that called Donald Trump ‘racist’

      The Huffington Post’s editor’s note calling Donald Trump as a “racist” and “xenophobe” is no more, a source in the newsroom tells POLITICO.

      For months, every story on the Huffington Post about Trump came with the following note at the bottom of the article.

    • Vigils and protests swell across U.S. in wake of Trump victory

      Vigils and protests continued into the early hours Thursday as opponents of President-elect Donald Trump expressed dismay with the election results, underscoring the difficult task he faces in uniting a fractured country.

      Despite Hillary Clinton and President Obama urging their backers to accept Trump’s victory and support his transition into power, thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets decrying his crude comments about women and attacks on immigrants.

      Protests were reported in cities across the nation, from major metropolitan centers like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, to smaller cities, such as Richmond and Portland, Ore. Dozens of demonstrators were arrested.

      Even cities in red states, such as Atlanta, Dallas and Kansas City, Mo., saw demonstrations.

      At least two police officers in Oakland, Calif., were injured as protesters took to the streets and chanted slogans against Trump, a police spokeswoman said. A few protesters threw objects at police dressed in riot gear, set off fireworks and started small trash fires.

    • Donald Trump and the Art of the Political Deal

      If you have a quick look at President-Elect Donald Trump’s approach – as a businessperson – to legal obligations, you may see something interesting about his approach to politics.

      Trump sees himself as a master of the “art of the deal”.

      And he certainly has an interesting and artful approach to contract law.

      By way of background, classical contract law is about the sanctity of the agreement: the bargain.

      All parties to a contract agree in advance what to do throughout the period of the contract regarding foreseeable risks. This means that there is a lot of “front-end” thought put into a contract: more time working things out in advance, the fewer problems later.

    • The US Election

      But my main point is the European establishment’s response to the Trump presidential victory. And let us not deceive ourselves here – this was an emphatic victory. The American people wanted a candidate for change, for a push-back against the perceived Washington political elite.

      Perhaps the election could have swung in another direction towards another candidate for change – if Bernie Sanders had been the Democrat nominee. Alas, as we know from the DNC files leaked to and published by Wikileaks, his campaign was undermined by his own party in favour of Hillary Clinton, while promoting Trump as the Republican candidate that Clinton could beat.

    • Canadian immigration site crashes after Trump leads in election

      As the US presidential elections move along, Canada’s informational website for immigration has unexpectedly crashed as Donald Trump currently leads in votes.

    • RNC model showed Trump losing

      The RNC’s sophisticated predictive modeling had Trump losing in the campaign’s last stretch, all the way until the Friday afternoon before the election, according to an embargoed briefing the RNC delivered to reporters at the party’s Capitol Hill headquarters on Friday afternoon.

      At the time of the briefing, the RNC’s model showed Trump finishing 30 electoral votes short of the tally needed to clinch the White House, while losing by various margins to Hillary Clinton in the battleground states of Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

      Trump won all those states, and the Associated Press declared him the winner at 2:31 a.m. on Wednesday — a shocking upset victory that most pollsters struggled to explain.

      [...]

      The briefing was called ostensibly to highlight the RNC’s advances in voter modeling and its heavy investment in the party’s ground game. But it also seemed at least partly intended to prove that the Republican Party gave Trump — and all of its 2016 candidates — the tools to succeed in 2016.

      The suggestion was unmistakable: if Trump loses, the blame should fall on the rookie candidate and his overmatched campaign — and not the party or its chairman Reince Priebus.

      The briefing was conducted by the RNC’s top staff, who asked reporters to agree not to divulge details — or even the existence of the briefing — before the election was called.

      The RNC’s model included 9.8 billion rows of data collected from 26 million phone calls that allowed the RNC to assign scores between 0 and 100 on all manner of issues.

    • [Old] How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind

      I was born and raised in Trump country. My family are Trump people. If I hadn’t moved away and gotten this ridiculous job, I’d be voting for him. I know I would.

    • How Does the Electoral College Work?

      The Electoral College is a group of people that elects the president and the vice president of the United States. (The word “college” in this case simply refers to an organized body of people engaged in a common task.)

      As voters head to the polls on Tuesday, they will not vote for the presidential candidates directly, in a popular vote. Instead, they will vote to elect specific people, known as “electors” to the college. Each state gets a certain number of electoral votes based on its population.

    • Trump won – now what?

      In some sort of a reaction against the political elite, a corrupt system, and political correctness – the US has elected Donald Trump as president.

      On the one hand, it is more or less impossible to foresee the president elects politics on IT, mass surveillance, and civil rights. (OK, he has opened up for torture of suspected terrorists – but I’m not sure that he himself will remember or stand by that.)

    • Why TV News Couldn’t Quit Donald Trump

      Donald Trump’s relationship with the news media during his successful run for the presidency was, put politely, complex. A better word might be codependent. Trump lashed out regularly at those whose coverage of his campaign he found unfavorable — tweeting insults, banning and unbanning news organizations, promising to strengthen libel and defamation laws. But free media coverage, particularly from TV news outlets, was also the fuel that powered the Trump machine.

      What television news outlets received in return were outsize ratings. For the four weeks of Oct. 10-Nov. 6, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC averaged 84% more primetime viewers than they did over the same period a year ago. The increased numbers — and accompanying ad dollars — rolled in as the networks handed large swathes of airtime over to live feeds of Trump campaign events. Those same networks were caught by surprise Tuesday night by Trump’s victory. Now they must decide whether the trade-off was worth it.

      “I think they have to examine the amount of unfiltered airtime they gave to the President-elect,” said Katz Television Group’s Bill Carroll. “If you were going to look at any of the cable networks for the last year, often the key phrase would be, ‘And now we go to a rally for Donald Trump.’”

    • The Day After

      So: we wake up the morning after the US election to discover … what?

      Here’s my short term prediction, followed by my long term prediction. (And if you are American, I’m very, very, sorry.)

      Next couple of months: Obama exits. People will feel a strange sad fondness for the utopian era of good governance. (In time, the past 8 years will seem surrounded by a rosy glow, as of Camelot during the days of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table; they will even come to think kindly of George W. Bush.)

    • Industry, party figures mix with Trump loyalists for cabinet picks

      The US government’s science efforts are split across a variety of agencies. Some are obvious, like the EPA, the Department of Energy, and the Department of the Interior, which oversees the national parks and Endangered Species Act. But others are less so. For example, the Commerce Department includes the NOAA, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, while the National Institutes of Health falls within the Department of Health and Human Services.

      The people who run these agencies will have major say over the US’ research priorities for the next four years, and they’ll determine what role science plays in making policy decisions. So, as the Trump transition team begins the work of vetting potential candidates, the rumored names may say a lot about what we can expect.

      A lot of these rumors are preliminary enough that they essentially tell us nothing. For example, possible candidates floated for Commerce Secretary include everyone from the Republican National Committee finance chair (Lew Eisenberg), to two different business executives, to several of Trump’s former primary opponents like Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Perry. The NOAA keeps one of the US’ two temperature records used for climate monitoring (NASA keeps the other), and it tracks the ocean’s health. (It may also get all of NASA’s earth sciences research.) But it’s hard to guess whether any of these figures would pay much attention to these activities, much less make major revisions in them.

    • WikiLeaks not letting up on Clinton, Podesta

      WikiLeaks on Wednesday published a 36th batch of emails from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, just hours after the presidential election concluded with Donald Trump’s victory over Clinton.

      The release, which includes 225 emails obtained from Podesta’s personal Gmail account, brings the total released by WikiLeaks to 58,660. The organization began releasing the messages in early October, and claimed at the time to have around 50,000 on hand. It isn’t clear how many more the website holds, or how long the releases will continue, but they seemed timed to hurt Clinton’s chances of becoming the next president.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • China’s vast Internet prison

      CHINA’S INTERNET is a universe of contradictions. It has brought hundreds of millions of people online and has become a vast marketplace for digital commerce, yet it is also heavily policed by censors to snuff out any challenge to the ruling Communist Party. Under President Xi Jinping, the censors are working overtime to keep 721 million Internet users under control.

    • China’s new cybersecurity laws could have chilling effect on Tibet

      The Chinese government is to further restrict Internet use by adopting a new law that may have serious consequences for Tibetans who try to communicate with the outside world.

      The regressive measure named the Cybersecurity Law was passed by China’s Parliament on 7 November in order to combat what Beijing said is a growing threat of hacking and terrorism, but it has drawn criticism from the international community, business groups and human rights groups.

      The law aims to strengthen the country’s already restrictive internet controls by forcing companies to censor information the government declares “prohibited” and to support state surveillance requests. This includes requiring them to monitor network activity and provide investigative assistance to security agencies.

    • Far-right Polish groups protest Facebook profile blockages

      Several far-right Polish groups have protested outside Facebook’s office in Warsaw after the social networking site temporarily blocked their profiles.

      About 120 people demonstrated in the Polish capital Saturday afternoon, denouncing what they said was “censorship.”

      Facebook recently blocked the profiles of far-right nationalist groups ahead of nationalist demonstrations on Independence Day next Friday, Nov. 11. In recent years, extremist groups have clashed violently with police on the annual holiday. Facebook has since unblocked the profiles.

    • When the screen goes blank

      The Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s 24-hour ban on the television channel NDTV India over its Pathankot coverage is being seen as an attempt to muzzle inconvenient live reportage. And worse, a case of selective vendetta. The Ministry has invoked the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2015, on the ground that the channel broadcast “crucial information” which compromised national security. These rules prohibit “live coverage of any anti-terrorist operation by security forces” and restrict media coverage to “periodic briefing” by a designated officer “till such operation concludes”. It is not clear if the channel’s impugned broadcast was ‘live coverage’ or just ‘reportage’.

    • Censorship and ‘censorship’

      AT&T, the communications conglomerate which owns Direct TV, was hauled into the court of public opinion Friday, charged with censorship for pulling the plug on Fox News.

      Irate customers of the satellite television subscriber service took to the internet to voice their suspicions, tar and feathers at the ready.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • A madman has been given the keys to the surveillance state

      When the USA PATRIOT Act was signed into law on October 26, 2001, it erased many of the vital checks and balances that stood between the American people and their government. As Bush supporters cheered the unprecedented power that their people in Washington now held, the civil liberties world warned them: “Your president has just fashioned a weapon that will be wielded by all who come after him.”

    • Facebook built another Snapchat clone specifically for emerging markets [Ed: Facebook comes up with new ways to spy on people people, hoarding more secrets that can be sold]

      We’ve seen this play out before. Twice, in fact. In both instances — first with Poke, then with Slingshot — Facebook’s attempt to create a legitimate Snapchat competitor flopped.

    • Google’s Android Phones Threaten Democracy, ACLU Technologist Warns

      The editors at Businessweek like that approach. In a Halloween post on Bloomberg View, the editors argued privacy would be better served if internet service providers gave consumers the option to pay for it rather than for the FCC to require—as it recently has—that consumers must opt in to corporate surveillance. The editors wrote, “So-called pay-for-privacy policies, in which companies charge users more in exchange for not tracking them, is one promising approach.”

      It turns out that privacy already has a price, and one can roughly find it in a straightforward way, according to Christopher Soghoian, a technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union. It runs about $400. That’s the price of the cheapest new iPhone available on the market today.

      In a recently released TED talk, Soghoian said there’s a “digital security divide” between wealthier iPhone users and generally low-income buyers of devices running on Google’s Android operating system. This threatens democracy, he argues, because today’s new civil rights movements run on mobile technology, but most of these new leaders’ followers will receive marching orders on phones that don’t protect them.

    • A Trumped America makes for bad UK surveillance, warns Open Rights Group

      THE OPEN RIGHTS GROUP (ORG) has been quick to express concerns that the new American president, a known reactionary blowhard, now runs the US National Security Agency (NSA) and will therefore work closely with GCHQ.

    • Trump’s torture support could mean the end of GCHQ-NSA relationship
    • Obama has handed a surveillance state and war machine to a maniac

      In a little over two months, Donald Trump – after his shocking victory last night – will control a vast, unaccountable national security and military apparatus unparalleled in world history. The nightmare that civil libertarians have warned of for years has now tragically come true: instead of dismantling the surveillance state and war machine, the Obama administration and Democrats institutionalised it – and it will soon be in the hands of a maniac.

      It will go down in history as perhaps President Obama’s most catastrophic mistake.

      The Obama administration could have prosecuted torturers and war criminals in the Bush administration and sent an unmistakable message to the world: torture is illegal and unconscionable. Instead the president said they would “look forward, not backward”, basically turning a clear felony into a policy dispute. Trump has bragged that he will bring back torture – waterboarding and “much worse”. He has talked about killing the innocent family members of terrorists, openly telling the world he will commit war crimes.

    • President Obama Should Shut Down the NSA’s Mass Spying Before It’s Too Late

      Modern surveillance programs would be a disaster under President Trump

      President Obama has just 71 days until Donald Trump is inaugurated as our next commander-in-chief. That means he has a matter of weeks to do one thing that could help prevent the United States from veering into fascism: declassifying and dismantling as much of the federal government’s unaccountable, secretive, mass surveillance state as he can — before Trump is the one running it.

    • Scared About Trump Wielding FBI And NSA Cyber Power? You Should Be
    • People in tech are freaking out about Donald Trump being given control of the NSA

      Last month, Wired published a story with the headline “Imagine if Donald Trump controlled the NSA.” Now there’s no need to imagine.

      Trump overcame all odds on Wednesday when he became the 45th president-elect of the United States. As a result, he’s about to gain control of the US intelligence agencies, including the NSA (National Security Agency).

    • Could President Trump Really Turn the NSA Into a Personal Spy Machine?

      It’s the nightmare scenario that many worried about: the US elects a president who uses the country’s nearly omnipotent surveillance powers for his or her own gain. Edward Snowden has described the NSA’s spying capabilities as the “architecture of oppression,” with the fear being that it could be deployed by a malicious commander in chief.

      But what could President Trump, a man who has incited hate speech against minorities and threatened to jail his political rivals, actually do with the NSA? Could he turn the NSA into his own personal spying army?

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Girls as young as 12 married off overseas, dropped off at school by 30-year-old husbands

      A Sydney woman, who attended Islamic colleges in Sydney’s west, says girls as young as 12 would be married off overseas and some were dropped off at school by husbands aged in their 30s.

      Iraqi-born Bee al-Darraj, now 24, said she tried to report multiple counts of child marriage among her friends and relatives to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) without success.

    • Erdogan: Don’t heed what Europe says, listen to what Allah says

      Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called on his supporters not to heed what “Europe says and care about what Allah says,” on the latest developments in his country which the European Union described as “extremely worrying.”

      Addressing a public gathering in the capital Ankara, Erdogan slammed the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) leaders and lawmakers, 10 of whom Turkish authorities imprisoned since Friday.

      “Those who lean on terrorists will continue paying the price,” said Erdogan referring to a speech by the now jailed HDP co-chair Figen Yuksekdag.

      The HDP co-chair had earlier praised the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) fight against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

      “We lean on the YPG, YPJ, and Rojava,” Yuksekdag had declared in a July 2015 speech to a crowd in the Suruc district of Urfa Province right across the border with the town of Kobani in Syrian Kurdistan.

      Kobani was notably saved from a complete IS takeover earlier in the year by the US-backed Kurdish forces.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality is suddenly on the chopping block

      The release of the FCC’s net neutrality rules in 2015 heralded one of the most important progressive changes to the internet in memory. The rules, which barred data throttling and paid fast lanes, were celebrated as a central tenet of Obama-era government regulation. At the time, Obama said the “decision will protect innovation and create a level playing field for the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

      Now it seems possible that next generation won’t see net neutrality in action. Although telecom policy was hardly a central pillar of Trump’s candidacy, he has gone on record against it. “Obama’s attack on the internet is another top down power grab,” Trump tweeted in 2014. “Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media.” (It’s unclear what Trump means with comparisons to the FCC’s long-eliminated Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to provide airtime for opposing views. Conservative media was also not “targeted” by net neutrality in any tangible way.)

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Troll Backs Down When Faced With Exposure

        Companies that make money from threatening alleged file-sharers are known for their bullying tactics but those who are prepared to fight back can enjoy success. A letter sent by a defense lawyer to the copyright trolls behind the movie London Has Fallen provides an excellent and highly entertaining example.

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  1. Patent Lawyers' Media Comes to Grips With the End of Software Patents

    The reality of the matter is grim for software patents and the patent microcosm, 'borrowing' the media as usual, tries to give false hopes by insinuating that the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) may overturn Alice quite soon



  2. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Foes Manipulate the Facts to Belittle the Impact of PTAB

    In an effort to sabotage PTAB with its inter partes reviews the patent microcosm is organising one-sided events that slam PTAB's legitimacy and misrepresent statistics



  3. Links 21/11/2017: LibreELEC (Krypton) v8.2.1 MR, Mesa 17.3.0 RC5

    Links for the day



  4. PTAB Inter Partes Reviews (“IPRs”) Are Essential in an Age When One Can Get Sued for Merely Mocking a Patent

    The battle over the right to criticise particular patents has gotten very real and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) fought it until the end; this is why we need granted patents to be criticised upon petitions too (and often invalidated as a result)



  5. Chinese Patent Policy Continues to Mimic All the Worst Elements of the American System

    China is becoming what the United States used to be in terms of patents, whereas the American system is adopting saner patent policies that foster real innovation whilst curtailing mass litigation



  6. Links 20/11/2017: Why GNU/Linux is Better Than Windows, Another Linus Torvalds Rant

    Links for the day



  7. “US Inventor” is a “Bucket of Deplorables” Not Worthy of Media Coverage

    Jan Wolfe of Reuters treats a fringe group called “US Inventor” as though it's a conservative voice rather than a bunch of patent extremists pretending to be inventors



  8. Team Battistelli's Attacks on the EPO Boards of Appeal Predate the Illegal Sanctions Against a Judge

    A walk back along memory lane reveals that Battistelli has, all along, suppressed and marginalised DG3 members, in order to cement total control over the entire Organisation, not just the Office



  9. PTAB is Safe, the Patent Extremists Just Try to Scandalise It Out of Sheer Desperation

    The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), which gave powers to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) through inter partes reviews (IPRs), has no imminent threats, not potent ones anyway



  10. Update on the EPO's Crackdown on the Boards of Appeal

    Demand of 35% increases from the boards serves to show that Battistelli now does to the 'independent' judges what he already did to examiners at the Office



  11. The Lobbyists Are Trying to Subvert US Law in Favour of Patent Predators

    Mingorance, Kappos, Underweiser and other lobbyists for the software patents agenda (paid by firms like Microsoft and IBM) keep trying to undo progress, notably the bans on software patents



  12. Patent Trolls Based in East Texas Are Affected Very Critically by TC Heartland

    The latest situation in Texas (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in particular), which according to new analyses is the target of legal scrutiny for the 'loopholes' it provided to patent trolls in search of easy legal battles



  13. Alice Remains a Strong Precedential Decision and the Media Has Turned Against Software Patents

    The momentum against the scourge of software patents and the desperation among patent 'professionals' (people who don't create/develop/invent) is growing



  14. Harm Still Caused by Granted Software Patents

    A roundup of recent (past week's) announcements, including legal actions, contingent upon software patents in an age when software patents bear no real legitimacy



  15. Links 18/11/2017: Raspberry Digital Signage 10, New Nano

    Links for the day



  16. 23,000 Posts

    23,000 blog posts milestone reached in 11 years



  17. BlackBerry Cannot Sell Phones and Apple Looks Like the Next BlackBerry (a Pile of Patents)

    The lifecycle of mobile giants seems to typically end in patent shakedown, as Apple loses its business to Android just like Nokia and BlackBerry lost it to Apple



  18. EFF and CCIA Use Docket Navigator and Lex Machina to Identify 'Stupid Patents' (Usually Software Patents That Are Not Valid)

    In spite of threats and lawsuits from bogus 'inventors' whom they criticise, EFF staff continues the battle against patents that should never have been granted at all



  19. The Australian Productivity Commission Shows the Correct Approach to Setting Patent Laws and Scope

    Australia views patents on software as undesirable and acts accordingly, making nobody angry except a bunch of law firms that profited from litigation and patent maximalism



  20. EPO 'Business' From the United States Has Nosedived and UPC is on Its Death Throes

    Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot further accelerate the ultimate demise of the EPO (getting rid of experienced and thus 'expensive' staff), for which there is no replacement because there is a monopoly (which means Europe will suffer severely)



  21. Links 17/11/2017: KDE Applications 17.12, Akademy 2018 Plans

    Links for the day



  22. Today's EPO and Team UPC Do Not Work for Europe But Actively Work Against Europe

    The tough reality that some Europeans actively work to undermine science and technology in Europe because they personally profit from it and how this relates to the Unitary Patent (UPC), which is still aggressively lobbied for, sometimes by bribing/manipulating the media, academia, and public servants



  23. Links 16/11/2017: WordPress 4.9 and GhostBSD 11.1 Released

    Links for the day



  24. The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) is Rightly Upset If Not Shocked at What Battistelli and Bergot Are Doing to the Office

    The EPO's dictatorial management is destroying everything that's left (of value) at the Office while corrupting academia and censoring discussion by threatening those who publish comments (gagging its own staff even when that staff posts anonymously)



  25. EPO Continues to Disobey the Law on Software Patents in Europe

    Using the same old euphemisms, e.g. "computer-implemented inventions" (or "CII"), the EPO continues to grant patents which are clearly and strictly out of scope



  26. Links 16/11/2017: Tails 3.3, Deepin 15.5 Beta

    Links for the day



  27. Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot Have Just Ensured That EPO Will Get Even More Corrupt

    Revolving door-type tactics will become more widespread at the EPO now that the management (Battistelli and his cronies) hires for low cost rather than skills/quality and minimises staff retention; this is yet another reason to dread anything like the UPC, which prioritises litigation over examination



  28. Australia is Banning Software Patents and Shelston IP is Complaining as Usual

    The Australian Productivity Commission, which defies copyright and patent bullies, is finally having policies put in place that better serve the interests of Australians, but the legal 'industry' is unhappy (as expected)



  29. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Defended by Technology Giants, by Small Companies, by US Congress and by Judges, So Why Does USPTO Make It Less Accessible?

    In spite of the popularity of PTAB and the growing need/demand for it, the US patent system is apparently determined to help it discriminate against poor petitioners (who probably need PTAB the most)



  30. Declines in Patent Quality at the EPO and 'Independent' Judges Can No Longer Say a Thing

    The EPO's troubling race to the bottom (of patent quality) concerns the staff examiners and the judges, but they cannot speak about it without facing rather severe consequences


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