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12.07.16

Links 7/12/2016: ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Plasma 5, Ubuntu Touch OTA-14

Posted in News Roundup at 7:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • NIPS conference: Google releases open-source, AI, 3D game-development project

    Today, on the opening day of the marquee AI conference Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference in Barcelona, Google announced in a blog post the release of its DeepMind Lab project available to the AI community under open source licensing terms.

    Artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) are the next two computing platforms. DeepMind Lab is a 3D AI platform for building virtual games that bring these two platforms together in multiple dimensions. DeepMind Lab uses a special kind of AI, called machine learning (ML). And within the field of ML, it uses an advanced form of machine learning called deep reinforcement learning (DeepRL).

  • 7 cool little open source projects that stood out in 2016

    In the early days of the open source movement, a lot of the attention was on operating systems, and later on large content management systems. These days, containers are mentioned regularly even in mainstream news outlets. The big tech stories are great, but they miss the other great activity in the niches of the open source space. I’ve rounded up seven interesting lesser-known projects from the past year. You can see more articles about projects like this in my Nooks and Crannies column.

  • The most in demand skills you need for an open source job

    With coding and software development in serious need of talent, it’s essentially a graduate’s market, but you still need the right combination of skills and attributes to beat the competition. When it comes to open source and DevOps, a deeper understanding is essential.

  • Why the Open Source Cloud Is Important

    To this end, foundations such as the Cloud Foundry Foundation, Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and Open Container Initiative (OCI) at The Linux Foundation are actively bringing in new open source projects and engaging member companies to create industry standards for new cloud-native technologies. The goal is to help improve interoperability and create a stable base for container operations on which companies can safely build commercial dependencies.

  • AI Platforms Welcome Devs With Open Arms

    Two leaders in the field of artificial intelligence have announced that they’re open-sourcing their AI platforms.

    After investing in building rich simulated environments to serve as laboratories for AI research, Google’s DeepMind Lab on Saturday said it would open the platform for the broader research community’s use.

    DeepMind has been using its AI lab for some time, and it has “only barely scratched the surface of what is possible” in it, noted team members Charlie Beattie, Joel Leibo, Stig Petersen and Shane Legg in an online post.

  • Open source is so much more than free code

    In 2011, the Department of Veterans Affairs officially moved its most critical software, the VistA electronic health record system, into open source by establishing the Open Source Electronic Health Record Alliance (OSEHRA). Along the way, VA officials solicited and followed advice from numerous open source experts, including Red Hat, Carnegie Mellon University and the Industry Advisory Council.

  • Events

  • Databases

    • SQL Server on Linux signals Microsoft’s changing development landscape [Ed: This headline is wrong. There is no SQL Server on Linux; it runs on a Windows compatibility layer and it's entirely proprietary.]
    • Exploring the Trend Towards Open Source Database Management Systems

      The popularity of open source DBMSs, as measured by the DB-Engines Ranking, has reached a new record. So, we’re going to analyze the underlying details.

      We have 154 open source systems in our ranking, slightly less than the 156 commercial systems. If we add up the popularity scores of all the open source systems, we get 46% of the overall scores, whereas 54% goes to commercial systems.

    • Cloud convenience is killing the open source database

      Open source has never been more important or, ironically, irrelevant. As developers increasingly embrace the cloud to shorten time to market, they’re speeding past open source, making it even harder to build an open source business.

      After all, if open source were largely a way for developers to skirt legal and purchasing departments to get the software they needed when they needed it, the cloud ups that convenience to the nth degree. In Accel’s annual business review, the vaunted venture capital firm writes: “‘Product’ is no longer just the bits of software, it’s also how the software is sold, supported, and made successful.” The cloud is changing the way all software is consumed, including open source.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, More: Keeping Up With Open Source CMS

      Due to its organic nature, the world of open source software is in constant flux, which makes it difficult to keep tabs on.

      To keep you in the loop, I’m kicking off a monthly roundup of open source CMS news, starting today.

      Here are your latest open source CMS highlights.

    • 4 open source peer-to-peer marketplaces

      What happens if your startup can’t afford one of these proprietary solutions or you need customized features? You go look for an open source alternative that could open the space for new solutions and modules. Here are four peer-to-peer marketplaces that are working to become the WordPress or Prestashop of their kind.

    • WordPress 4.7 “Vaughan”

      Version 4.7 of WordPress, named “Vaughan” in honor of legendary jazz vocalist Sarah “Sassy” Vaughan, is available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. New features in 4.7 help you get your site set up the way you want it.

  • Education

    • Pencils down: Why open source is the future of standardized testing

      Administering standardized tests online is trickier than it sounds. Underneath the facade of simple multiple choice forms, any workable platform needs a complex web of features to ensure that databases don’t buckle under the pressure of tens of thousands of test takers at once. On top of that, it also needs to ensure that responses are scored correctly and that it’s impossible for students to cheat.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Why your teams may be failing at the collaboration game

      When we think about skills needed to build open structures and establish open mindsets, collaboration jumps to mind immediately. In order to collaborate effectively, communication—or rather, clear communication—is imperative to making it all work.

      Communication can be defined as a transfer of information from one space or person to another—but it can look like dialogue, conflict resolution, listening skills, or even a knowledge commons. In open organizations, we look for timely transfers of information to all members so that they may do their jobs effectively and efficiently.

    • Open Data

      • Portugal’s AMA publishes two open data guides

        The Portuguese Agency for Administrative Modernisation (Agência para a Modernização Administrativa, AMA) has published two national open data guides.

        As its title implies, the ‘Open Data Introduction Guide’ is aimed at the general public or those interested in learning about the subject.

        The ‘Open Data Guide’ is the official government publication on the subject of public sector data openness. It addresses theoretical issues and practices relevant to the development of open data in Portugal. The topics include open movements, the potential of data openness, processes of opening information, ways of reuse, and an introduction to technical issues. This document is aimed at the various stakeholders in the Portuguese open data ecosystem, such as public agencies, researchers, journalists, citizens and companies interested in reusing or analysing public sector information.

      • Poland looking for new Digital Services and Open Data director

        The Polish Ministry of Digital Affairs is looking for a new director for its Department of Development of Digital Services and Open Data. The director is expected to be a “creative and proactive person who will set out the directions and lead the way for the most important and boldest changes in the state administration”.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Accelerating Innovation: Michigan Tech patent database/app promotes open-source hardware

        Open-source innovation is making the traditional patent system obsolete. Michigan Technological University associate professor Joshua Pearce and his team work with what is called open-source hardware development.

        “What that means is sort of developing technologies that don’t rely on patents,” Pearce said. “We work collaboratively with engineers and scientists all over the world, and (it’s) fairly successful. And the reason it’s successful is because if you have thousands of people working on something, it tends to get pretty good pretty fast.”

        Pearce said the concept began some time ago with open-source software.

      • Non-profit creates open-source drinking water filter for 1/10th of the cost

        The high-tech vision of open-source software meets low-tech design at non-profit organization OHorizons, an international coalition of innovators working to solve persistent global challenges. The team’s most recent invention is the open-source Wood Mold, designed to allow even the least experienced person to create a BioSand Filter that can deliver clean water at 1/10th of the cost of the traditional method. The Wood Mold is designed to be accessible by anyone who has the DIY, open-source construction manual that OHorizons offers for free online.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • The Operating System Fountain of Youth: iOS

    When I returned to the store this week, the display was gone. Still, the idea is in the air, the two individuals mentioned didn’t know about the Microsoft product.

    The Microsoft implementation might be too kludgy, or immature, or the concept itself could just be a doomed Rube Goldberg fantasy. Back to reality, we’re likely to pick up fresher clues on iOS direction when new iPads show up, probably next quarter.

  • 15+ Stunning Satellite Photos That Will Change How You See Our World

    Every single day, Grant shares one satellite photo from Digital Globes to change the way we see our planet. “With a focal length 16 times longer than a standard DSLR camera, the cameras are so powerful that you can take a picture of a beach ball on the Golden Gate Bridge in full resolution…from Los Angeles,” Grant told Bored Panda. “I try to present the images with no bias and let people decide what these altered landscapes mean, based on the facts and the visual evidence in the frame. I believe that this perspective is a means to start a conversation about the condition of our planet and how we can better protect it.”

  • Science

    • Teachers’ union ‘concerned’ over Pisa results

      Finland has slipped down the Pisa rankings in recent years, and that trend continued in the latest set of the OECD educational charts released on Tuesday. Although Finland was the only country where girls outperformed boys in science, the number of poor performing students was up and there were fewer high-achievers.

      Finland’s teaching union, the OAJ, says it is concerned about the development in Finnish Pisa results.

      “Finnish results have declined clearly when compared to previous years,” said OAJ expert Jaakko Salo. “The biggest concern in this is that our cornerstone—equality in education—looks to be crumbling.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why is a banned pesticide that harms bees actually being used more?

      Goulson called it “sinister” last week when made aware of the silence, but now concludes it was probably an innocent error. Bob Maurer, chairman of the show, told me the event has never received any sponsorship from the big chemical companies that manufacture neonicotinoids. He believes an accidental “technical hitch” by the video producer was responsible.

      Concern over this coincidence can be dismissed as a conspiracy theory, but what cannot be dismissed is the solid scientific evidence that Goulson is helping to produce, showing how neonicotinoids harm bees and other insects.

    • Civil rights commission to discuss Flint water crisis report

      The Michigan Civil Rights Commission will discuss an early version of its report about the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint at its next meeting.

      The commission, which meets Monday morning at the University of Michigan Detroit center, is expected to check on progress and provide feedback. The report is scheduled to be released next month.

    • California bill would require reporting of ‘superbug’ infections, deaths

      A California state senator introduced a bill on Monday that would mandate reporting of antibiotic-resistant infections and deaths and require doctors to record the infections on death certificates when they are a cause of death.

      The legislation also aims to establish the nation’s most comprehensive statewide surveillance system to track infections and deaths from drug-resistant pathogens. Data from death certificates would be used to help compile an annual state report on superbug infections and related deaths.

      In September, a Reuters investigation revealed that tens of thousands of superbug deaths nationwide go uncounted every year. The infections are often omitted from death certificates, and even when they are recorded, they aren’t counted because of the lack of a unified national surveillance system.

      “The (Reuters) story highlighted some of the problems that have come from the lack of information, the lack of reporting, especially deaths,” said state Senator Jerry Hill, who introduced the bill. “I wasn’t aware that on death certificates, antibiotic-resistant infections have never been called out.”

      Because there is no federal surveillance system, monitoring of superbug infections and deaths falls to the states. A Reuters survey of all 50 state health departments and the District of Columbia found that reporting requirements vary widely.

  • Security

    • HP shutting down default FTP, Telnet access to network printers

      Security experts consider the aging FTP and Telnet protocols unsafe, and HP has decided to clamp down on access to networked printers through the remote-access tools.

      Some of HP’s new business printers will, by default, be closed to remote access via protocols like FTP and Telnet. However, customers can activate remote printing access through those protocols if needed.

    • Google Chrome 55 Fixes Flaws, Blocks Flash
    • Cyberattacks are going to get a lot worse, former NSA official says

      The face of cybercrime is changing. Healthcare has gone from a declared mission of stealing personal data to much more disruptive issues. In fact, healthcare has seen the largest jump in ransomware attacks than in any other industry.

      When Joel Brenner opened the HIMSS Privacy & Security Forum in Boston Monday morning, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology research fellow – who focuses on cybersecurity, privacy and intelligence policy – and former senior counsel at the National Security Agency, didn’t sugarcoat the state of healthcare security.

      The government isn’t going to sort out that problem until we suffer some great losses, Brenner said.

    • Chrome 55 Now Blocks Flash, Uses HTML5 by Default

      Chrome 55, released earlier this week, now blocks all Adobe Flash content by default, according to a plan set in motion by Google engineers earlier this year.

      Back in May, Google’s staff announced that starting with Q4 2016, Chrome would use HTML5 by default, while Flash would be turned off.

      While some of the initial implementation details of the “HTML5 By Default” plan changed since May, Flash has been phased out in favor of HTML5 as the primary technology for playing multimedia content in Chrome.

    • Google Debuts Continuous Fuzzer for Open Source Software

      A new Google program aimed at continuously fuzzing open source software has already detected over 150 bugs.

      The program, OSS-Fuzz, currently in beta mode, is designed to help unearth programming errors in open source software via fuzz testing. Fuzz testing, or fuzzing is when bits of randomly generated code is inputted into programs as a means to discover code and security flaws.

    • Google Opens Up a Powerful FOSS Security Tool

      Back in 2014, public exposure of the OpenSSL Heartbleed security bug created a stage for security experts and commentators to field opinions on the open source error that left an estimated two thirds of the internet unsecured. We followed up back then with a guest post for OStatic from Eren Niazi, founder of Open Source Storage, where he discussed the security implications for the open source community.

    • Google Finally Patches ‘Dirty COW’ Linux Vulnerability With December Android Security Update [Ed: Google patches don’t matter to news sites until there’s some stupid brand with logo and Web site]
    • Google patches Dirty Cow vulnerability in latest Android security update
    • Docker CEO: Docker Already Is a Security Platform (with Swarm, That Is)

      In a reinforcement of his company’s marketing message that containerization as an architecture is more secure by design, Docker Inc. CEO Ben Golub [pictured right above, with HPE Executive VP Antonio Neri] told attendees at HPE’s Discover London 2016 event last Tuesday morning that the Docker platform addresses and ameliorates its users’ security concerns just by its very architecture.

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • On CVE-2016-4484, a (security)? bug in the cryptsetup initramfs integration
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste

      The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.

      Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.

      The report, issued in January 2015, identified “a clear path” for the Defense Department to save $125 billion over five years. The plan would not have required layoffs of civil servants or reductions in military personnel. Instead, it would have streamlined the bureaucracy through attrition and early retirements, curtailed high-priced contractors and made better use of information technology.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange defies Swedish prosecutors by releasing rape statement

      Julian Assange has thumbed his nose at Swedish investigators, who he says have robbed him of his freedom for six years, by releasing the answers he gave to them under questioning in Ecuador’s London embassy last month.

      The decision to issue the statement, which contains for the first time a detailed account by the WikiLeaks founder of his encounter with a woman in August 2010 who made rape allegations against him, marks a fresh twist in a case in which Assange claims an early leak of information from the Swedish police has shaped opinion.

      The transcript of a police interview with the woman was leaked to media in December 2010, which the Australian, who has not been charged with any crime, says helped to establish an aura of guilt around him.

      Since then, Assange has repeatedly asked to be allowed to tell his side of the story to prosecutors, but until recently they insisted he come to Sweden for questioning. Assange has been confined to Ecuador’s cramped London embassy since June 2012, after claiming asylum to avoid extradition over the allegations.

    • Julian Assange says texts show he is ‘entirely innocent’ of rape; WikiLeaks founder criticises Swedish prosecutor

      The ABC has obtained a copy of the statement the WikiLeaks founder gave prosecutors from his refuge inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London on November 14.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • A threat to rainforests in Indonesia: Big banks

      In early 2015, scientists monitoring satellite images at Global Forest Watch raised the alarm about the destruction of rain forests in Indonesia.

      Environmental groups raced to the scene in West Kalimantan province, on the island of Borneo, to find a charred wasteland: Smouldering fires, orangutans driven from their nests, and signs of an extensive release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

      “There was pretty much no forest left,” said Dr Karmele Llano Sanchez, director of the non-profit International Animal Rescue’s orangutan rescue group, which set out to save the endangered primates. “All the forest had burned.”

    • Republicans Vow to Finish the Dakota Access Pipeline Under Trump

      This weekend the Army Corps of Engineers said Dakota Access Pipeline won’t go through as planned since it could have destructive environmental consequences. But, as activists know, that doesn’t mean Republicans are done fighting for the oil pipeline.

      President-Elect Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan were among pipeline supporters who emphasized their commitment to the project, and promised to approve the project in the next term. Trump has suggested in prior speech he would push an oil pipeline through during his first 100 days in office, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    • Five things to watch in Dakota Access pipeline fight

      The Obama administration halted construction on the Dakota Access oil pipeline Sunday, saying it would hold off on granting the final easement for the project while it conducts a thorough environmental review.

      Both the developer and President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team have vowed to finish construction, while protesters say they could bring the conflict to court.

      Here are five things to watch in the unfolding fight.

      Trump’s strategy

      When Trump and his administration take office, approving Dakota Access probably won’t be as simple as signing a piece of paper.

      The Army Corps of Engineers ordered an environmental impact statement for the project Sunday. Experts say that because of that, Trump’s administration will have to either complete the yearslong process or find a way to remove the requirement for testing the environmental impact. Doing the latter, however, would be a rare move that could subject the pipeline to a lawsuit.

    • Melting Permafrost Could Affect Weather Worldwide

      Melting permafrost is causing significant changes to the freshwater chemistry and hydrology of Alaska’s Yukon River and could be triggering global climate impacts, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report released yesterday.

      Researchers say the study, which analyzed more than 30 years of data, sheds light on how climate change is already affecting the Arctic.

      According to the report, the Yukon River and one of its major tributaries have accumulated increasing levels of calcium, magnesium and sulfates over the last three decades due to thawing permafrost.

    • Standing Rock protesters asked to ‘go home’ by Sioux leader

      The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has asked the thousands of “water protectors” gathered in encampments along the Missouri river to “go home” after the US Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the river.

      In a video statement Dave Archambault thanked the thousands of Native American and environmental activists who travelled to North Dakota to help the tribe fight back against the pipeline, which they feared would contaminate their water source and destroy sacred sites.

      But after the “huge victory” of the Army Corps decision, Archambault said: “There’s no need for the water protectors or for anyone to be putting ourselves in unsafe environments.

    • Indonesia takes new step to combat loss of forests, fires

      Indonesia has strengthened its moratorium on converting peat swamps to plantations in a move a conservation research group says will help prevent annual fires and substantially cut the country’s carbon emissions if properly implemented.

      President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s amendment to the moratorium regulation, which was issued on Monday, expands it to cover peatlands of any depth and orders companies to restore areas they’ve degraded.

      Indonesia’s move was welcomed by Norway, which in 2010 pledged $1 billion to help the country stop cutting down its prized tropical forests but has released little of it. As a result of the expanded regulation, Norway said it would give $25 million to Indonesia to fund restoration of drained peatlands and another $25 million once an enforcement and monitoring plan is ready.

      Draining of peat swamps by palm oil and pulp wood companies is a big contributor to destruction of tropical forests in Indonesia and the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The land conversion worsens annual dry season fires that release huge amounts of carbon stored in the peat. Many of the fires are deliberately set to clear land of its natural vegetation.

    • Britain could slash environmental and safety standards ‘a very long way’ after Brexit, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg says

      Britain could slash environmental and safety regulations on imported products after it leaves the EU, a Tory MP has suggested.

      Jacob Rees-Mogg said regulations that were “good enough for India” could be good enough for the UK – arguing that the UK could go “a very long way” to rolling back high EU standards.

      The idea, floated at a hearing of the Treasury Select Committee, was immediately rejected by an economist, who said such a move would likely cause “quite considerable” difficulties.

  • Finance

    • The Soviet Union collapsed overnight. Don’t assume western democracy will last forever

      Below the medieval citadel in Kazan, two vast frozen rivers turn the landscape white. On a Saturday afternoon there are a few hardy locals shuffling through the icy sludge to take selfies against the mosque, the Christmas lights and the Soviet-era statues.

      It’s 25 years since I was last in Russia, trying and failing to revive the left during the chaotic first days of Boris Yeltsin’s economic reforms. Half a lifetime later I am here to address a room full of people who want to talk about replacing capitalism with something better – and suddenly we have something in common: now we both know what it’s like to see a system that once looked permanent collapsing.

      Since I’ve been here, almost everyone who has chosen to come and hear me is involved in either contemporary arts or philosophy. The journalists who want to interview me – a public critic of Putin’s policy in Syria and Ukraine – mainly write for cultural magazines. These, if not exactly the new rock’n’roll, are the safest intellectual spaces in which critical thought can take place.

    • Tar Heel heist: How the charter school industry is hijacking public education

      If the American Dream is still alive – the one that includes a good job and a house with a yard, kids, and a two-car garage – you can see it taking shape in Wake County in the heart of the state of North Carolina. Signs of surging prosperity are everywhere this morning as I make my way to West Lake Middle School in Apex, NC, on the outskirts of Raleigh.

      What were once sleepy two-lane country roads are now teaming with impatient commuters, school busses, and mini-vans. New housing developments, shopping centers, and office buildings are transforming the rolling Piedmont landscape.

    • TPP May Be Dead – But Its Impact Lingers

      Despite the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being – to all-intents-and-purposes – dead in the water, pursuit of some of the most egregious objectives of the corporate interests driving the TPP agenda rolls on. Pharma is persisting in its push for countries to adopt not just TRIPS-Plus, but in some cases even TPP-Plus intellectual property rules – presumably groundwork for the later emergence of a ‘son-of-TPP’ agreement.

    • India ready to resume BTIA talks with EU without preconditions

      Government is committed to an early and balanced outcome of India-EU Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) negotiations and is willing to resume talks without any preconditions, Parliament was informed today.

      “The European Union (EU) has expressed willingness to re-engage with India in India-EU Broad based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) negotiations subject to certain conditions.

    • The Mafia State

      The list of financial titans, including Trump, who have profited from a rigged financial system and fraud is endless. Many in the 1 percent make money by using lobbyists and bought politicians to write self-serving laws and rules and by forming unassailable monopolies. They push up prices on products or services these monopolies provide. Or they lend money to the 99 percent and charge exorbitant interest. Or they use their control of government and the courts to ship jobs to Mexico or China, where wages can be as low as 22 cents an hour, and leave American workers destitute. Neoliberalism is state-sponsored extortion. It is a vast, nationally orchestrated Ponzi scheme.

      This fevered speculation and mounting inequality, made possible by the two ruling political parties, corroded and destroyed the mechanisms and institutions that permitted democratic participation and provided some protection for workers. Politicians, from Reagan on, were handsomely rewarded by their funders for delivering their credulous supporters to the corporate guillotine. The corporate coup created a mafia capitalism. This mafia capitalism, as economists such as Karl Polanyi and Joseph Stiglitz warned, gave birth to a mafia political system. Financial and political power in the hands of institutions such as Goldman Sachs and the Clinton Foundation becomes solely about personal gain. The Obamas in a few weeks will begin to give us a transparent lesson into how service to the corporate state translates into personal enrichment.

    • We don’t need a charter-school lobbyist as education secretary: Stephen Henderson

      In Detroit, parents of school-age children have plenty of choices, thanks to the nation’s largest urban network of charter schools.

      What remains in short supply is quality.

      In Brightmoor, the only high school left is Detroit Community Schools, a charter boasting more than a decade of abysmal test scores and, until recently, a superintendent who earned $130,000 a year despite a dearth of educational experience or credentials.

      On the west side, another charter school, Hope Academy, has been serving the community around Grand River and Livernois for 20 years. Its test scores have been among the lowest in the state throughout those two decades; in 2013 the school ranked in the first percentile, the absolute bottom for academic performance.

    • Jill Stein Takes Long-Shot Recount Campaign to Trump Tower

      Jill Stein went to Trump Tower on Monday to press her case for long-shot recounts in three closely contested states in last month’s presidential election.

      Ms. Stein, the Green Party presidential nominee and now the leader of the recount campaign, appeared emboldened by an early morning federal court ruling that ordered Michigan elections officials — over the protests of President-elect Donald J. Trump and his allies — to begin a recount by noon Monday.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Republican ‘faithless elector’ says he will not cast his vote for Donald Trump as he is ‘unfit for presidency’

      A REPUBLICAN presidential elector has issued the shock claim that he will not cast his vote for Donald Trump in an attempt to block his path to the White House.

      Christopher Suprun said in an article for the New York Times that he could not approve Mr Trump in good conscience as he felt the president-elect was unfit for public office.

      “Mr Trump urged violence against protesters at his rallies during the campaign,” he wrote. “He speaks of retribution against his critics.”

      “I owe no debt to a party. I owe a debt to my children to leave them a nation they can trust.”

    • Trump’s lawyer suggests the president-elect’s fraud claim isn’t true

      As you’ve probably heard, there are progressive efforts underway to force recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – three traditionally “blue” states where Donald Trump narrowly prevailed. Had these three states, where literally every independent poll showed Hillary Clinton ahead in the months leading up to Election Day, voted Democratic, Trump would’ve lost.

    • Jill Stein charges ahead with recount efforts

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is vowing to move ahead with recount efforts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, despite legal setbacks and growing opposition from Republicans and other Donald Trump allies in each state.

      “We will not give in to intimidation, to legal maneuvering and to bureaucratic obstruction,” Stein said at a news conference outside of Trump Tower on Monday.

      Her vow came as Stein’s campaign on Monday morning filed a federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania — an attempt to revive the push there after Stein and other Pennsylvania voters dropped a state-based lawsuit to try to force a recount. They gave up on the state-based lawsuit when a judge raised the bond to $1 million, a price Stein panned as exorbitant .

      But even as she railed against the roadblocks in Pennsylvania, Stein lauded developments in Michigan, which was to begin its recount by noon Monday.

    • Trump’s Threat to the Constitution

      On July 7, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, met privately with House Republicans near the Capitol. I was present as chief policy director of the House Republican Conference. Mr. Trump’s purpose was to persuade the representatives to unite around him, a pitch he delivered in a subdued version of his stream-of-consciousness style. A congresswoman asked him about his plans to protect Article I of the Constitution, which assigns all federal lawmaking power to Congress.

      Mr. Trump interrupted her to declare his commitment to the Constitution — even to parts of it that do not exist, such as “Article XII.” Shock swept through the room as Mr. Trump confirmed one of our chief concerns about him: He lacked a basic knowledge of the Constitution.

    • Michigan recount begins, as Jill Stein’s legal battle moves to Pennsylvania

      Presidential candidate Jill Stein’s fight to force presidential recounts in three states focuses Monday on Pennsylvania, where her Green Party is seeking an emergency federal court order for a statewide recount, and Michigan, where a federal judge has ordered a hand recount to begin by noon.

      The recount is underway in Wisconsin.

      President-elect Donald Trump narrowly defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in all three states. The recounts were not expected to change enough votes to overturn the result of the election.

      Stein says her intent is to verify the accuracy of the vote. She has suggested, with no evidence, that votes cast were susceptible to computer hacking.

    • The Frankfurt School Knew Trump Was Coming

      Shortly after the Presidential election, a small piece of good news came over the wire: the Thomas Mann villa in Los Angeles has been saved. The house, which was built to Mann’s specifications in the nineteen-forties, went on the market earlier this year, and it seemed likely to be demolished, because the structure was deemed less valuable than the land beneath it. After prolonged negotiations, the German government bought the property, with the idea of establishing it as a cultural center.

      The house deserves to stand not only because a great writer lived there but because it brings to mind a tragic moment in American cultural history. The author of “Death in Venice” and “The Magic Mountain” settled in this country in 1938, a grateful refugee from Nazism. He became a citizen and extolled American ideals. By 1952, though, he had become convinced that McCarthyism was a prelude to fascism, and felt compelled to emigrate again. At the time of the House Un-American Activities Committee’s hearings on Communism in Hollywood, Mann said, “Spiritual intolerance, political inquisitions, and declining legal security, and all this in the name of an alleged ‘state of emergency.’ . . . That is how it started in Germany.” The tearing down of Mann’s “magic villa” would have been a cold epilogue to a melancholy tale.

    • 9 Things Obama Can Do Before Leaving Office to Prepare for the Trump Takeover

      In less than seven weeks, President Barack Obama will hand over the government to Donald Trump, including access to the White House, Air Force One, and Camp David. Trump will also, of course, inherit the infamous nuclear codes, as well as the latest in warfare technology, including the Central Intelligence Agency’s fleet of killer drones, the National Security Agency’s vast surveillance and data-collection apparatus, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s enormous system of undercover informants.

    • Why is Donald Trump delegitimizing an election that he won?

      On the other hand, what he DOES is important. When he settled the Trump University for 25 Million, despite prolonging it for multiple years and putting all of the plaintiffs through years of frustration and debt, the news stories lasted less than 12 hours before being drowned by the Hamilton Tweets. My own reaction to the tweet was reflexively the same as others: Our President-elect is so sensitive that anything even slightly negative is considered an insult. But, you have to work HARD to find a story today talking about the settlement (or the fact that some are contesting it), but the fallout from the tweets lasted days. Looking back, more than once a fundamental issue concerning Trump was obscured by Tweet reactions. Nude underage beauty contestants, Manafort Russian connections, a debate that clearly showed Trump unprepared, unpresidential, and unhinged turned immaterial as the world reacted to his tweets about Alicia Machado.

    • Jill Stein On What’s Next With the Recount Effort in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has initiated recount efforts in three states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by a combined margin of 103,519 votes. (A fourth, partial recount is underway in Nevada, by independent presidential candidate Roque De La Fuente).

      Though considered an “extreme long shot” by the New York Times, Stein’s campaign raised her initial goal of $7 million — twice as much as she raised in her failed campaign bid — in just a matter of days. Clinton’s campaign has cooperated with the effort.

    • Bob Dole’s Law Firm Was Paid $20,000 A Month To Lobby For Taiwan

      The Taiwanese representative office in Washington paid the law firm of former Sen. Bob Dole $20,000 a month to advance its interests in Washington, public filings show. Dole said on Monday his firm helped broker a controversial phone call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

      Dole told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that his law firm “may have had some influence” on the phone call, which broke decades of diplomatic precedent, but has been widely praised by China hawks for the tough signal it sends to Beijing. An unnamed Trump transition team official told the paper that Dole had arranged the call.

    • US Power Will Decline Under Trump, Says Futurist Who Predicted Soviet Collapse

      Johan Galtung, a Nobel Peace Prize-nominated sociologist who predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union, warned that US global power will collapse under the Donald Trump administration.

      The Norwegian professor at the University of Hawaii and Transcend Peace University is recognized as the ‘founding father’ of peace and conflict studies as a scientific discipline. He has made numerous accurate predictions of major world events, most notably the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

    • Half of Detroit votes may be ineligible for recount

      One-third of precincts in Wayne County could be disqualified from an unprecedented statewide recount of presidential election results because of problems with ballots.

      Michigan’s largest county voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but officials couldn’t reconcile vote totals for 610 of 1,680 precincts during a countywide canvass of vote results late last month.

      Most of those are in heavily Democratic Detroit, where the number of ballots in precinct poll books did not match those of voting machine printout reports in 59 percent of precincts, 392 of 662.

    • Mismatched numbers means Mich. precincts can’t be recounted

      A single missing ballot was enough to scuttle the recount of a Michigan precinct Monday.

      The computerized poll book in Rochester Hills precinct 11 listed the names of 848 voters who cast ballots there, but the ballot box contained just 847 ballots. So where is the other ballot? The poll workers’ notes offered no explanation.

      “It didn’t match on the canvass and it doesn’t match now,” said Joe Rozell, Oakland County’s director of elections. “This precinct is not recountable.”

      Two Michigan counties began the recount process Monday, hours after a federal judge ordered the immediate start of the presidential recount. Six counties are expected to start the recount process Tuesday, with the last batch of counties to start Dec. 12.

    • How the Electoral College Really Started
    • Florida voters sue for recount

      Three central Florida voters are mounting an unlikely bid to overturn the presidential election result in the Sunshine State.

      In a lawsuit filed Monday in Leon Circuit Court, they assert that Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, actually won Florida. The plaintiffs, who live in Osceola and Volusia counties, say the state’s official election results were off because of hacking, malfunctioning voting machines and other problems.

      They’re asking for a hand recount of every paper ballot in Florida, at the expense of defendants including Trump, Gov. Rick Scott and the 29 Republican presidential electors from Florida.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • 3 Tips for Teachers to Help Teens Distinguish Fact From Fiction

      The rise in websites dispensing false information has become a problem for Facebook. But for one high school teacher, having students take misinformation at face value is nothing new – though it’s gotten worse.

      “I’m constantly got kids coming to me, ‘Did you know?’ insert whatever conspiracy theory,” says Dave Stuart Jr., who teaches world history at Cedar Springs High School in Michigan. “Ranging from the Apollo missions to the moon never happened, to current events-related stuff.”

      The Common Core standards focus strongly on skills that should prepare students to detect fake news – the standards emphasize the need for students to write and read arguments using and looking for strong reasoning and evidence, says Dana Maloney, an English teacher at Tenafly High School in New Jersey.

    • Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube team up to stop terrorist propaganda

      Four of the largest tech companies—Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and YouTube—are coming together to stop the spread of terroristic content on social media.

      The plan is to create a shared database and track the digital fingerprints of accounts who share propaganda for terror networks helping them identify the content and easily remove photo or videos from their sites.

      “Our companies will begin sharing hashes of the most extreme and egregious terrorist images and videos we have removed from our services — content most likely to violate all of our respective companies’ content policies,” the companies announced in a joint statement Monday night.

    • Pakistani Cinema’s Censorship Problem

      Actor Hameed Sheikh, known for his phenomenol performance in Jami’s Moor, spoke about the difficulty he faced while trying to release the movie

    • Hacker News calls for “political detox,” critics cry censorship

      Can social media even exist without political debate? What about trolls? Hacker News, the social news site run by Y Combinator, is trying to find out.

      The head of the Hacker News community since 2014, Daniel Gackle (whose HN handle is “dang”) on Monday initiated a site-wide “Political Detox Week.”

    • With a new Star Trek TV series incoming, we revisit the show’s long history of censorship at the BBC…

      Star Trek is not a franchise you’d normally associate with controversy. Nevertheless, between 1969 and 1994, four episodes of the original series – Empath, Whom Gods Destroy, Plato’s Stepchildren and Miri – were not aired on the BBC, and other episodes were heavily redacted.

    • Internet giants will join forces to stop online sharing of terrorist material

      Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube have announced that they will be working together to curb the dissemination of terrorist material online. The Web giants will create a shared industry database of hashes—digital fingerprints that can identify a specific file—for violent terrorist imagery and terrorist recruitment materials that have previously been removed from their platforms.

      According to a statement the four companies have jointly released, the hope is that “this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online.”

    • I’m a Journalist and I Was Stopped From Covering Standing Rock

      It was an assignment that I barely prepared for. I didn’t think I had to.

      For most reporting trips I have made in the last decade, I would think long and hard about where I was going and what the variables were. If I was heading to a conflict zone, I would need body armor and a trauma kit. If it was a natural disaster, I would bring a satellite phone and spare food. If I was heading to an authoritarian country where journalism was not allowed, I would need a mix of burner phones, encrypted hard drives and a disposable laptop. I felt I was prepared for every eventuality. But I never thought that I would have to think about these things so close to home.

      For my recent assignment heading from Canada to the U.S. to cover the anti-oil pipeline protests in Standing Rock for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, I didn’t prepare for anything extraordinary. But at the border, after handing over my Canadian passport I was taken aside. I wasn’t worried. Why should I be? I had nothing to hide, and I felt like it was the one border in my travels where I could proudly proclaim that I was a journalist to safe ears.

    • Ahead of 2022 World Cup, Qatar doubles down on internet censorship and blocks independent news website

      Last week, an independent news website in Qatar, Doha News, discovered that they had been blocked in Qatar. While there has been no official news on why this block has happened, Doha News stated that they suspect that the block happened at the behest of the government. The news site has a reputation for toeing the line in Qatar, and had previously done such “unprecedented” things in the emirates such as publishing an anonymous article by a homosexual Qatari man. Ahead of the 2022 World Cup, it is more than possible that this is just the first of many censorship actions by Qatar. Another famous international media site that is based in Qatar is none other than Al Jazeera.

      Doha News confirmed that Qatar’s two ISPs, Ooredo and Vodaphone, have blocked Doha News. The independent news source tried to create a new domain name to get past the block but that new website was quickly blocked as well. Doha News’s editor, Shabina Khatri was forced to use a different Medium to communicate after the block.

    • Facebook reportedly testing new tool to combat fake news

      Facebook appears to be testing a tool designed to help it identify and hide so called “fake news” on the social network, in an attempt to quell increasingly vocal criticism of its role in spreading untruths and propaganda.

      The tool, reported by at least three separate Facebook users on Twitter, asks readers to rank on a scale of one to five the extent to which they think a link’s title “uses misleading language”. The articles in question were from reliable sources: Rolling Stone magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Chortle, a news site which reports on comedy.

    • Facebook and Google make lies as pretty as truth

      If you asked Google who won the popular vote just after the election, there’s a chance you would have been sent to a conspiracy blog with bogus results. And the site is likely to have looked as legitimate as any other.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA’s best are ‘leaving in big numbers,’ insiders say

      Low morale at the National Security Agency is causing some of the agency’s most talented people to leave in favor of private sector jobs, former NSA Director Keith Alexander told a room full of journalism students, professors and cybersecurity…

    • Who Are The NSA’s Elite Hackers?

      Last week, a mysterious group calling itself The Shadow Brokers dumped online a series of hacking tools associated with the NSA. The leak provided an unprecedented look into the actual tools that the NSA uses to hack its targets, and in the process, put the spotlight on a little-known team that works inside the spy agency—its elite-hacking unit.

      Known as Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, its existence was barely—if at all—discussed in public until 2009, when intelligence historian and author Matthew Aid described it in his book about the history of the NSA as a “super-secret” unit that taps into “thousands of foreign computer systems” and accesses “password-protected hard drives and email accounts of targets around the world.”

    • Appeals Court to Hear Argument in ACLU Challenge to NSA Internet Surveillance

      A federal appeals court will hear oral argument Friday in Richmond, Virginia, in the case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a broad group of organizations challenging the National Security Agency’s mass interception and searching of Americans’ international internet communications.

    • German Investigation Committee ‘Protracting’ Inquiry Into NSA Spying Scandal

      WikiLeaks published 2,400 documents on the NSA spying affair, according to which Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) was involved in the creation of the spy software that was later used by the NSA to tap top-ranking officials. It was also said that BND used the software in its work.

    • Court upholds warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens under Section 702

      The U.S. federal appeals court has ruled in United States v. Mohamud, a case that began with a 2010 holiday bomb plot and will end with unique implications for the private digital communications of American citizens.

      Digital privacy advocates had hoped that the appeals case might prompt reform for a contentious portion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) known as Section 702. The provision accommodates U.S. surveillance of foreign targets located abroad, although its many detractors argue that Section 702 allows the U.S. government to collect the bulk communications of Americans in the process.

    • United States v. Mohamud
    • No Appeal For US Man Believed Convicted With Warrantless NSA Evidence

      A U.S. man convicted after his emails were revealed by the NSA’s PRISM program, the first public case of its kind, will not have his case overturned, an appeals court has found.

    • German spy agency penetrated by ISIS

      My recent interview about the German domestic spy agency, the BfV – the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, ironically – being allegedly infiltrated by ISIS.

    • Canada Wants Software Backdoors, Mandatory Decryption Capability And Records Storage

      The new Canadian government is looking to further expand its surveillance powers by requiring decryption capabilities for all services, mandatory storage of both internet and phone records for service providers, backdoors that allow interception, and warrantless access to basic subscriber information.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Saudi journalist banned from media after criticising Trump

      Saudi authorities banned journalist Jamal Khashoggi from writing in newspapers, appearing on TV and attending conferences, the Alkhalij Aljadid reported in Arabic.

      This came after Khashoggi’s remarks during a presentation he made at a Washington think-tank on 10 November in which he was critical of Donald Trump’s ascension to the US presidency.

      Two weeks ago, an official Saudi source was cited by the Saudi News Agency as saying that Khashoggi did not represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in his interviews or statements.

    • Michael Coe, associate of hate preacher Anjem Choudary, jailed for 28 months

      An associate of hate preacher Anjem Choudary has been jailed for 28 months for knocking a schoolboy unconscious because he cuddled his girlfriend in the street.

      Michael Coe, a Muslim convert, has a long record of violent offences starting when he was 16, including assaults, burglary, robbery and violent disorder.

      The married father of two was convicted in August of attacking the boy after he took exception to the 16-year-old cuddling his teenage girlfriend in Newham, east London, in April.

    • Coincidence? German Stats Show Surge in Sex Crime Rate Around Refugee Centers

      A group of German activists have carried out a study which found that rates of sexual offenses increase significantly in the vicinity of asylum reception centers, Germany’s Journalistenwatch news portal reported.

    • Afghan migrant woman ‘hunted down to Europe by abusive husband’

      Forced into marrying a man 25 years her senior after he had allegedly raped her, this 23-year-old Tajik woman from Kabul is now in a Greek camp for migrants.

      But Lina told the BBC that the abusive husband she ran away from is now following her, threatening to kill her for disobeying him.

      Her story was corroborated by volunteers for a Spanish refugee charity.

      Lina’s husband is one step behind her and her two small children, having reached the Greek island of Lesbos shortly after she was transported to mainland Greece.

    • Muslims are failing to integrate because men keep marrying abroad, major report warns

      Muslim communities remain isolated even after decades in the UK because men keep marrying foreign wives, a Government adviser has warned.

      Dame Louise Casey said that there is a “first generation in every generation” phenomenon in Muslim communities which is acting as a “bar” to integration.

      The review also accuses Labour and local authorities of having “ignored or even condoned” harmful cultural traditions for fear of being branded “racist or Islamaphobic”.

      It reports concerns that Sharia Courts in the UK have been “supporting the values of extremists, condoning wife-beating [and] ignoring marital rape”.

    • British ‘subjects’ did not deserve legal equality with their colonial masters: Interview with Marieme Helie Lucas on Sharia Courts in Britain

      Today, the British law of the land applies to all citizens, be they Catholics, Protestants, atheists, etc. Not one single citizen is beyond the law. Except for the former ‘natives’, be they actually British citizens or migrants: those – and those only – are, once more, entitled to laws of their own, because, beyond their official citizenship, they are still seen as ‘different’ from – and inferior to – the (former?) colonial master. ‘Let them have their own customs, it is their way’.

      ‘Proper’ British citizens are ruled by laws they have voted on, that they can change if they come together and press their MPs. How can ‘Sharia laws’ be changed by the will and vote of citizens? A significant proportion of British citizens are now under supposedly religious laws that they have neither voted for, nor can change through a democratic process. Democracy for ‘proper’ British citizens but unchangeable ‘tribal native customs’ for others?

    • European Union Directive on counterterrorism is seriously flawed

      European Union Member States must ensure that a new effort to standardise counterterrorism laws does not undermine fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, a group of international human rights organisations said today.

      Amnesty International, the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), European Digital Rights (EDRi), the Fundamental Rights European Experts (FREE) Group, Human Rights Watch (HRW), the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF) are warning that the overly broad language of the new EU Directive on Combating Terrorism could lead to criminalising public protests and other peaceful acts, to the suppression of the exercise of freedom of expression protected under international law, including expression of dissenting political views and to other unjustified limitations on human rights. The Directive’s punitive measures also pose the risk of being disproportionately applied and implemented in a manner that discriminates against specific ethnic and religious communities.

    • Amber Rudd says EU nationals in post-Brexit UK will need ‘form of ID’

      More than 3 million European Union citizens living in Britain after Brexit will have to be issued with “some form of documentation”, the home secretary has said.

      Amber Rudd told MPs she would not yet set out the details for any new EU ID card, but said: “There will be a need to have some sort of documentation. We are not going to set it out yet. We are going to do it in a phased approach to ensure that we use all the technology advantages that we are increasingly able to harness to ensure that all immigration is carefully handled.”

      The home secretary’s statement came in response to Labour’s Hilary Benn, who told MPs that EU citizens already in the UK would need to be documented so that employers and landlords could distinguish them from EU citizens arriving after Brexit.

      During Home Office questions in the Commons, Rudd also said she was aware of the need to continue the seasonal agricultural workers’ scheme after Brexit, but again ruled out demands to remove international students from the annual net migration target.

    • Diverse yet divided: UK is growing apart, Casey report finds

      The UK is becoming more divided as it becomes more diverse, a Government-commissioned review has claimed.

      In the report by Dame Louise Casey, it is revealed that the ‘pace of immigration in some areas has been too much’.

    • Theresa May’s government condemned for driving ‘more austerity and more racism’ after integration review

      Campaigners have condemned a review of integration for “adding to the politics of racism and scapegoating” after it called for immigrants to swear an oath to the UK and children to be taught “British values” in schools.

      Dame Louise Casey’s review, which was commissioned by the Government, found the country is becoming more divided amid growing “ethnic segregation” and that Muslim women in particular were being marginalised by limited English language skills.

    • Sorry, Louise Casey, but Muslim women are held back by discrimination

      Despite the fact that more British Muslim women than men are getting degrees, we are the most disenfranchised group in the country. Not only are we subject to high levels of unemployment and poverty, but discrimination on the basis of our faith, gender and ethnic background hinders our entry into the labour market.

    • Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Have Allowed Agencies To Withhold Names Of Officers Who Deploy Deadly Force

      Last month, Pennsylvania legislators wrapped up a little gift for the state’s law enforcement agencies: a bill that would have allowed agencies to withhold the names of officers involved in deployments of deadly force for at least 30 days. This was just the mandatory withholding window. The bill never stipulated a release date past that point, meaning “never” was also an acceptable time frame.

      The normal concerns for “officer safety” were given as the reason for the new opacity. Rather than see disclosure as an essential part of maintaining healthy relationships with the communities they served, law enforcement agencies saw disclosure as just another way to hurt already very well-protected officers.

      The DOJ itself — often a defender of entrenched police culture — recommended a 72-hour window for release of this information. State legislators, pushed by local police unions, felt constituents would be better served by being kept in the dark. Given the back-and-forth nature of public sentiment, it was unclear how Governor Tom Wolf would react to the passed proposal.

    • Theresa May urged to raise human rights concerns on Gulf visit

      Theresa May has been urged to confirm she will put human rights reform on her agenda when she meets Saudi and Bahraini leaders on Tuesday, after announcements on her two-day trip to the Gulf were squarely focused on trade and security.

      Rights campaigners in Bahrain argue that although the UK has been assisting Bahrain with judicial and police reform since 2012, current levels ofengagement on rights issues have not prevented crackdowns on journalists and pro-democracy activists in the country.

      May said: “I think the UK has always had the position, and we continue to have the position, that where there are issues raised about human rights, where there are concerns, we will rightly raise those.

    • The terrible human rights records of the countries Theresa May is having dinner with tonight

      Theresa May is visiting Bahrain to meet with leaders of Gulf states, who are in the country for a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

      She will attend a dinner with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman on Tuesday, before addressing the plenary session of the summit on Wednesday.

      The Prime Minister will use the visit to announce a new working group with regional nations to combat the financing of terrorists. The UK will provide three specialist cyber experts to the Gulf states to help deal with extremism.

    • Please, Theresa May, save my husband from death in Bahrain

      In 2014 Mohammed was arrested at Bahrain’s airport where he worked as a police officer. My husband believes in human rights, democracy and transparency. He attended peaceful marches in Bahrain calling for our government to respect these values. As a state employee, he knew that it was risky for him to go to these protests. But he believes in reform and so he went anyway.

      After Mohammed was taken into custody, our family heard nothing for four days – we had no idea where he was, or even if he was alive. Eventually, two weeks later, we were allowed to see him, but only with three guards watching us on a surveillance camera. As soon as we saw him, it was clear that Mohammed had been tortured by the security services.

      Mohammed seemed weak and exhausted, and his body was trembling; this suggested to us that he had been subjected to extreme torture. But no one would tell us the reasons for his arrest or the charges against him.

    • Angela Merkel Calls for Ban on Full-Face Veils in Germany

      To loud applause, Chancellor Angela Merkel told her party members on Tuesday that Germany should ban full-face veils “wherever legally possible” and that it would not tolerate any application of Shariah law over German justice.

      Accepting her party’s nomination as its candidate for another four-year term, the chancellor used the moment to broaden her stance on banning the veil, trying to deflect challenges from far-right forces that have made some of their deepest gains since World War II.

      In welcoming nearly one million asylum seekers to Germany a year ago, Ms. Merkel emerged as a powerful voice for tolerance across a Europe gripped by anxiety over waves of arriving migrants and fears of terrorism.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Will Donald Trump Dismantle the Internet as We Know It?

      Talking about net neutrality is so boring, the comedian John Oliver once quipped, that he would “rather listen to a pair of Dockers tell me about the weird dream it had” than delve into the topic.

      So it’s unsurprising that Donald Trump—an entertainer with a flair for the dramatic and little interest in wonky details—has stayed away from the issue almost entirely.

      If you want to captivate a nation, discussing thorny telecommunications policy is generally a terrible way to do it. (For those who have managed to avoid reading up on net neutrality thus far, the term refers to open-web principles aimed at curbing practices that give certain companies competitive advantages in how people access the internet. The FCC formally established rules last year that allow the agency to regulate broadband the way it oversees other public utilities. Those rules ban internet service providers from throttling—or slowing—connections to certain content online, and prohibit providers from offering faster connections to corporations that can afford to pay for premium web services. The rules also discourage zero-rating—in which an internet service provider subsidizes a consumer’s cost of going online but often does so in exchange for a competitive advantage.)

    • Millions in US still living life in Internet slow lane

      Millions of Americans still have extremely slow Internet speeds, a new Federal Communications Commission report shows. While the FCC defines broadband as download speeds of 25Mbps, about 47.5 million home or business Internet connections provided speeds below that threshold.

      Dealing with speeds a bit lower than the broadband standard isn’t too horrible, but there are still millions with speeds that just aren’t anywhere close to modern. Out of 102.2 million residential and business Internet connections, 22.4 million offered download speeds less than 10Mbps, with 5.8 million of those offering less than 3Mbps. About 25.1 million connections offered at least 10Mbps but less than 25Mbps.

      54.7 million households had speeds of at least 25Mbps, with 15.4 million of those at 100Mbps or higher. These are the advertised speeds, not the actual speeds consumers receive. Some customers will end up with slower speeds than what they pay for.

  • DRM

    • W3C at a crossroads: technology standards setter or legal arms-dealer?

      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an amazing, long-running open standards body that has been largely responsible for the web’s growth and vibrancy, creating open standards that lets anyone make web technology and become part of the internet ecosystem.

      Since 2013, the W3C has been working on a very different kind of standard: Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), designed to enable DRM for streaming video, is more than a technology standard. Thanks to US-propagated laws that give DRM makers the right to sue people who break DRM, even for legal purposes, EME will — for the first time in W3C history — give its members the power to sue security researchers, accessibility toolmakers, and competitors who improve EME implementations, regardless of whether these improvements enable copyright infringement or other illegal outcomes.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay Blocking Case Heads Back to Court in Sweden

        In 2015, a coalition of copyright holders lost a court case which demanded an ISP blockade of The Pirate Bay in Sweden. A year later and Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music and Nordisk Film are back, hoping for a victory in a brand new court that could open the floodgates for widespread website blocking.

      • Court: ‘Falsely’ Accused ‘Movie Pirate’ Deserves $17K Compensation

        An Oregon District Court has sided with a wrongfully accused man, who was sued for allegedly downloading a pirated copy of the Adam Sandler movie The Cobbler. According to the court’s recommendations, the man is entitled to more than $17,000 in compensation as the result of the filmmakers “overaggressive” and “unreasonable” tactics.

      • Wild Boys Sometimes Lose It: Duran Duran fail to reclaim their US copyright

        A few weeks after his eighteenth birthday, Duran Duran co-founder Nick Rhodes signed a music publishing agreement assigning his existing and future copyrights to a publisher, as did the other band members. None of them was aged more than 21 at the time.

      • Aussie Celebrities Join Campaign to Oppose Fair Use

        A campaign has been launched in Australia to prevent proposed changes to copyright law and the introduction of a “fair use” doctrine. Australia currently has a “fair dealing” provision but the royalties and anti-piracy group APRA AMCOS and its celebrity supporters are opposing rules that would provide more freedom.

      • Ten Years in Jail For UK Internet Pirates: How the New Bill Reads

        The Digital Economy Bill is currently at the report stage. It hasn’t yet become law and could still be amended. However, as things stand those who upload any amount of infringing content to the Internet could face up to 10 years in jail. With the latest bill now published, we take a look at how file-sharers could be affected.

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  14. Expect Team UPC to Remain in Deep Denial About the Unitary Patent/Unified Court (UPC) Having No Prospects

    The prevailing denial that the UPC is effectively dead, courtesy of sites and blogs whose writers stood to profit from the UPC



  15. EPO in 2017: Erroneously Grant a Lot of Patents in Bulk or Get Sacked

    Quality of patent examination is being abandoned at the EPO and those who disobey or refuse to play along are being fired (or asked to resign to avoid forced resignations which would stain their record)



  16. Links 21/4/2017: System76 Entering Phase Three, KDE Applications 17.04, Elive 2.9.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  17. Bristows-Run IP Kat Continues to Spread Lies to Promote the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Advance the EPO Management's Agenda

    An eclectic response to some of the misleading if not villainous responses to the UPC's death knell in the UK, as well as other noteworthy observations about think tanks and misinformation whose purpose is to warp the patent system so that it serves law firms, for the most part at the expense of science and technology



  18. Links 20/4/2017: Tor Browser 6.5.2, PacketFence 7.0, New Firefox and Chrome

    Links for the day



  19. Patents on Business Methods and Software Are Collapsing, But the Patent Microcosm is Working Hard to Change That

    The never-ending battle over patent law, where those who are in the business of patents push for endless patenting, is still ongoing and resistance/opposition is needed from those who actually produce things (other than litigation) or else they will be perpetually taxed by parasites



  20. IAM, the Patent Trolls' Voice, is Trying to Deny There is a Growing Trolling Problem in Europe

    IAM Media (the EPO's and trolls' mouthpiece) continues a rather disturbing pattern of propaganda dressed up as "news", promoting the agenda of parasites who drain the economy by extortion of legitimate (producing) companies



  21. The Patent Microcosm Keeps Attacking Every Patent Office/System That is Doing the Right Thing

    Patent 'radicals' and 'extremists' -- those to whom patents are needed solely for the purpose of profit from bureaucracy -- fight hard against patent quality and in the process they harm everyone, including individual customers



  22. Another Final Nail in the UPC Coffin: UK General Election

    Ratification of the UPC in the UK can drag on for several more years and never be done thereafter, throwing into uncertainty the whole UPC (EU-wide) as we know it



  23. Links 19/4/2017: DockerCon Coverage, Ubuntu Switching to Wayland

    Links for the day



  24. Links 18/4/2017: Mesa 17.0.4, FFmpeg 3.3

    Links for the day



  25. Patents Roundup: Microsoft, Embargo, Tax Evasion, Surveillance, and Censorship

    An excess of patents and their overutilisation for purposes other than innovation (or dissemination of knowledge) means that society has much to lose, sometimes more than there is to gain



  26. How I Learned that Skype is a Spy Campaign (My Personal Story) -- by Yuval Levental

    Skype is now tracking serial numbers, too



  27. Links 17/4/2017: Devil Linux 1.8.0, GNU IceCat 52.0.2

    Links for the day



  28. EPO Patent Quality and Quality of Service Have Become a Disaster, Say EPO Stakeholders

    Stakeholders of the EPO, in various sites that attract them, are complaining about the service of the EPO, the declining quality of patents (and the rushed processes), including the fact that Battistelli's blind obsession with so-called 'production' dooms the already-up-in-flames EPO and makes it uncompetitive



  29. IAM is a Think Tank for Patent Trolls, Software Patents, the EPO, Microsoft, and Whoever Else is Willing to Pay

    The site where you get what you pay for continues to promote highly damaging agenda, which threatens to disrupt operations at a lot of legitimate companies that employ technical people



  30. An Australian Patent Troll, Global Equity Management (SA) Pty Ltd (GEMSA), is a Bully Not Just in the Patent Sense, Explains the EFF

    The mischievous troll GEMSA, which doesn't seem to get enough out of bullying real companies, is now attacking a civil rights group's free speech rights


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