Eight Wireless Patents Have Just Been Invalidated Under Section 101 (Alice), But Don’t Expect the Patent Microcosm to Cover This News

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 5:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nostalgic and picky/selective (as always and forever) with ‘facts’, ignoring what’s inconvenient

Con de ReyaSummary: Firms that are profiting from patents (without actually producing or inventing anything) want us to obsess over and think about the rare and few cases (some very old) where judges deny Alice and honour patents on software

SOFTWARE patents are a dying breed and thus a dying business for patent law firms. They know it, hence they’re angry and vindicative. Some of them even attack judges (the messengers). These patents keep dying both inside and outside the courtroom (e.g. PTAB) in the US, in spite of some USPTO examiners granting them, probably in an effort to inflate some numbers.

According to this patent attorney, “VA Dist. Ct. Killed 8 Wireless Patents under Alice/101: http://assets.law360news.com/0878000/878025/https-ecf-vaed-uscourts-gov-doc1-18917727618.pdf” (deemed abstract and thus ineligible).

We have not seen a single article about this case. None!

What we are seeing, on the other hand, is patent law firms’ sites romanticising/bringing up old cases, like this quick mention of McRO behind a paywall. To quote:

The full Federal Circuit has denied a bid by Electronic Arts and other gaming companies to rehear its September decision that found McRO Inc. software patents for lip-sync animation technology patent-eligible under Alice, according to an order issued by the appeals court Friday.

In other words, nothing is changing. But again, this is one among perhaps four (just 4!) decisions in the whole year when the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled not to invalidate a software patent. What about all the rest? What about all those patents (hundreds if not thousands) that PTAB and the courts invalidated? Shouldn’t the patent microcosm inform clients (and potential clients) of the reality?

Mishcon de Reya, the nasty and malicious firm that the EPO hired to spy on/silence Techrights, has just been quoted in relation to the same CAFC case, courtesy of a relatively new site:

Bandai Namco Games America has been denied an en banc rehearing in its cornerstone software patent case against McRO.

All regular active judges for the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard the petition and issued their response at the end of 2016.

Mark Raskin, partner at Mishcon de Reya, who is serving as trial counsel in the case, said: “We’re very excited that the entire Federal Circuit has recognised the technical innovations of our client’s inventions and the California cases will now proceed, hopefully expeditiously.”

The McRO case drew a lot of attention with its interpretation of the landmark Alice v CLS Bank decision.

As we noted before, Mishcon de Reya also works for Microsoft and the EPO. It’s hardly surprising that the firm advocates software patents. Another legal firm — one that the EPO hired to threaten Techrightspromotes the UPC.

There is another new article from a law firms’ platform, covering the Amdocs case (also at CAFC) as follows:

An interesting case came out of the Federal Circuit in Amdocs (Israel) Limited v. Openet Telecom, Inc., No. 2015-1180, 2016 WL 6440387 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 1, 2016) in which the Court reversed the district court’s granting of Openet’s motion for judgment on the pleadings on the basis that the patents were not directed to patent eligible subject matter under § 101. This is significant not for the result but for how the Court arrived at its conclusion. The majority and dissenting opinions offer several important insights: (1) the Court is struggling to find the proper “decisional mechanism” for deciding whether a software patent is directed to patent ineligible subject matter; (2) members of the Court continue to suggest borrowing from other sections of the Patent Act to analyze Section 101; and (3) claim construction can be very effective at staving off dismissal based on patent eligibility.

This ‘news’ is more than two months old. Why aren’t these legal firms covering some of the latest? Probably because it’s not convenient for them. It’s not good for their business.

2017: Latest Year That the Unitary Patent (UPC) is Still Stuck in a Limbo

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 4:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO‘s Battistelli has lost his main UPC ally in the UK, Lucy Neville-Rolfe

Summary: The issues associated with the UPC, especially in light of ongoing negotiations of Britain’s exit from the EU, remain too big a barrier to any implementation this year (and probably future years too)

THE UPC was a big topic, more so towards the end of last year, especially because of Lucy’s ludicrous statement about it and then her resignation/firing, culminating in yet more uncertainty and a limbo. SUEPO correctly (if not belatedly) took note of top posts in the patent microcosm’s sites. On IAM it wrote: “IAM blog’s top 20 most-read stories of 2016 (IAM Magazine, 22 December 2016). EPO info can be found at reference points 9, 11, 15 and 16.”

“A lot of the above articles are actually not about the EPO directly but about the UPC, which Battistelli keeps promoting.”On Kluwer Patent Blog (Team UPC) SUEPO wrote: “Brexit and EPO unrest in top ten of most popular posts Kluwer Patent Blog in 2016 (Kluwer Patent Blog, 01 January 2017). EPO info can be found at reference points 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10.”

As we noted here a couple of days ago, IP Watch too shared some statistics and noted that articles about the EPO topped their list. A lot of the above articles are actually not about the EPO directly but about the UPC, which Battistelli keeps promoting. Battistelli lies a lot about the UPC. According to what he told the media in 2015 (his so-called ‘media partners’ even printed these lies), the EPO was in great shape and UPC would have been a done deal and ready to roll last year. We recently wrote the following series which explains why, as long as the UK intends to leave the EU, the UPC is basically stuck or deadlocked. Brexit and UPC are inherently incompatible. Revisit the following:

Towards the end of this series we quoted Dr. Luke McDonagh (University of London’s Law School) quite a lot. He is a UPC sceptic in the sense that he does not believe it can happen and next month he will speak about it, debating with/against the patent microcosm. [via]

“Brexit and UPC are inherently incompatible.”McDonagh is not a patent attorney and he is definitely not part of the patent microcosm, so his input on this subject has been refreshing and valuable. We look forward to his talk and maybe even reports about it (probably not only to be covered by the patent microcosm’s sites). From the description of this event: “At this event Dr Luke McDonagh of The City Law School will launch his new book ‘European Patent Litigation in the Shadow of the Unified Patent Court’ (Edward Elgar, 2016) with a panel discussion on the impact of Brexit on patent litigation in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, with a particular focus on the forthcoming Unified Patent Court and future relations between the UK and EU.”

The book’s description can be found here (first chapter free, as mentioned here before) and to quote from the outline: “Making use of evidence from within the business and legal communities, this book highlights the key issues concerning the new system and examines what the impact of the reforms is likely to be on Europe’s patent litigation system in the near future.”

In its current form, the UPC is in impasse/deadlock. It won’t become a reality unless something quite radical happens.

Links 7/1/2017: Linux 4.9.1, Wine 2.0 RC4

Posted in News Roundup at 3:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 2017 And The FUD Still Flows

    Well, here it is 2017 and folks are still trotting out the arguments against GNU/Linux they were using fifteen years ago.

  • Do People Really Use That? 15 Weird Linux Operating System Names

    When you see the word Windows capitalized, do you even think about the glass panes that let you see outside your house? How often does the “mac” in macOS make you think of burgers? Once a name gets popular enough, we all collectively disregard how peculiar it is.

    Linux isn’t that popular, so it doesn’t get this pass. For those of you unfamiliar with the open source operating system, you don’t install Linux itself — you install one of its many versions, which are known as distributions (“distros”). Many of these distros have odd names.

    I’ve put together a list of 15 distros with odd or comical names, in no particular order. Some of them are relatively popular in the Linux world. Others, even if they were mainstream, would still sound downright silly. Tell me if you agree.

  • These Linux myths need to die

    A Reddit user recently started a thread in which they asked which myths and misconceptions about Linux annoy users the most.

    The post spawned a lively discussion with points being raised for and against Linux.

    The prominent myths raised in the Reddit thread, along with several which have been doing the rounds for a while, are listed below.

  • Linux Marketshare Up To 3% According To One Popular Website

    According to one popular NSFW web-site, the 53rd most popular web-site in the world ranked by Alexa, their Linux traffic went up 14% in 2016.

  • Desktop

    • $89 Pinebook Linux Laptop Expected to Launch in February

      If you’ve heard the name Pine64 before, it’s most likely in relation to the Pine A64 single-board computer sold by the company as an alternative to the Raspberry Pi$40.99 at Amazon. However, Pine64 is branching out and will launch a couple of extremely cheap laptops next month.

      The so-called Pinebook laptop will ship in two forms, both offering the same internal components while one has an 11.6-inch screen and the other a larger 14-inch panel. Inside you’ll find a 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex A53 processor running at 1.2GHz coupled with 2GB DDR3 RAM. Graphics will be handled by the embedded dual-core Mali 400 MP2 GPU, and storage, as with most cheap laptops, is limited to a 16GB eMMC flash drive. According to OMG!Ubuntu!, power is provided by a 10,000mAh LiPo battery and there will be two USB 2.0 ports, a MicroSD card slot, headphone jack, and mini HDMI out.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.9.1

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.9.1 kernel.

      All users of the 4.9 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.9.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.9.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


    • Linux 4.8.16
    • Linux 4.4.40
    • Heterogeneous Memory Management v15 For The Linux Kernel

      Jerome Glisse of Red Hat has published his first set of Heterogeneous Memory Management (HMM) revisions for 2017.

      This long-in-development work for the Linux kernel to implement Heterogeneous Memory Management allows device memory to be used inside any process transparently and without modification. The HMM patches also allow mirring a process address space on a device. NVIDIA is one of the vendors working on support for their binary NVIDIA Linux driver and Nouveau open-source to make use of HMM with their latest GPUs.

    • VMware joins Open-O project targeting NFV, SDN orchestration

      The Linux Foundation-based open source group Open-O snares VMware as “premier” member joining the likes of China Mobile, Huawei.

      The Open-O Project recently welcomed new member VMware to the open source organization hosted by The Linux Foundation.

    • 10 years with util-linux project!

      Yes, we had util-linux before (and many thanks to Adrian Bunk and Andries E. Brouwer), but I believe that with git and close collaboration between Linux distributions and Linux kernel community it better now :-)

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Kaveri vs. Intel Skylake With The Latest Linux/Mesa Open-Source Drivers

        I’m in the process of testing a lot of my different CPUs/APUs in preparation for some Kaby Lake Linux benchmarks next week with the Core i5 7600K and Core i7 7700K. Along the way with the different CPU benchmarks I’ve also been running some fresh integrated Linux graphics tests on the newer and interesting hardware.

        The integrated graphics tests are still early on and will have much more data when the weekend is through. But so far with numbers from an AMD A10-7850K “Kaveri” APU compared to Skylake-based Core i5 6500 and Core i5 6600K, those numbers alone were interested so I figured I’d share those early numbers this morning.

      • How AMD Kaveri’s Graphics Performance Has Evolved Under Linux

        As mentioned earlier when posting some fresh AMD Kaveri vs. Intel Linux graphics benchmarks, I have some fresh AMD A10-7850K “Kaveri” APU numbers with running the latest Ubuntu 16.10 + Linux 4.10 + Mesa 13.1-dev stack on many of my benchmarking systems in the basement server room. With having an A10-7850K Kaveri system running with the latest Linux open-source driver code, I figured I’d compare it to some of my older Kaveri results.


        Following these initial results in this article are some more numbers going back further to then look at the Ubuntu 14.10 and fglrx 14.20/14.50 performance. All of these OpenGL benchmarks were done in a fully-automated manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

      • AMD Developer Posts X.Org Modesetting “MS_ALL_IN_ONE” Patches
      • PlayStation 4 Running Linux Can Now Use AMDGPU-PRO With Vulkan

        The work to run Linux on the PlayStation 4 continues to advance and previously we reported on those behind it managing to exploit the Radeon graphics found on the AMD APU powering the PS4. The latest milestone is they now have Vulkan running on the PS4.

      • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided On Linux With Latest RadeonSI – Up To 2~3x Faster

        With Marek’s latest set of RadeonSI Gallium3D patches, which are said to improve the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided performance by around 70%, having landed in Mesa Git, here are some fresh benchmarks with a Radeon RX 480 and R9 Fury.

        The “before” results were from the Christmas-timed 31-Way NVIDIA GeForce / AMD Radeon Linux OpenGL Comparison – End-Of-Year 2016 and then the “new” results are using Linux 4.10 and Mesa 13.1-dev Git as of today. The RX 480 and R9 Fury were used for benchmarking.

      • There Are A Few More Performance Changes With RadeonSI From Mesa Git

        With Marek’s optimizations having landed in Mesa Git that targeted Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, I ran benchmarks and found Deus Ex: MD is generally much faster and can be 2~3x faster, much more than the 70% originally thought by Marek. Now that more time has passed, I have carried out some more Linux gaming tests.

      • Polaris 12 Support Being Sent In To Linux 4.10 Kernel

        AMD is looking to land initial support for upcoming “Polaris 12″ graphics processors into the in-development Linux 4.10 kernel.

        AMD published initial Polaris 12 open-source Linux driver support back in December. This new revision of Polaris is expected to be for lower-end GPUs while waiting for Vega on the high-end. Details on Polaris 12 remain scarce. But in terms of the Linux driver support, it’s basically adding in the new PCI IDs and sharing the existing code-paths with Polaris 10/11.

      • RADV Vulkan Driver Gets Its First Fix From A Valve Developer

        It appears Valve Linux developers are doing a bit more tinkering with the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.8.5 and Applications 16.12 by KDE now available in Chakra

        The latest updates for KDE’s Plasma and Applications series are now available to all Chakra users, together with other important package upgrades.

        Plasma 5.8.5 provides another round of bugfixes and translation to the 5.8 release, with changes found mostly in the plasma-desktop, plasma-workspace and kscreen packages.

        Applications 16.12.0 is the first release of a new series and comes with several changes. kdelibs has been updated to 4.14.27.

      • KaOS 2017.01 released as new year’s gift
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Weather updates with OpenWeather GNOME Shell extension

        If you have ever wanted weather updates on your Desktop, one of the easiest and neatest ways with the OpenWeather GNOME Shell extension. This nifty extension provides an always-visible display of the current weather status and temperature in the top bar of Fedora Workstation. If you open up the weather status monitor, it will also provide you with more details on the current weather, including a forcast for upcoming days, wind, humidity, atmospheric pressure, and sunrise & sunset times for the current location.

  • Distributions

    • The Best Linux Distros for 2017

      The new year is upon us, and it’s time to look toward what the next 365 days have in store. As we are wont to do, Linux.com looks at what might well be the best Linux distributions to be found from the ever-expanding crop of possibilities.

      Of course, we cannot just create a list of operating systems and say “these are the best,” not when so often Linux can be very task-oriented. To that end, I’m going to list which distros will rise to the top of their respective heaps…according to task.

      With that said, let’s get to the list!

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Release update: Soft freeze for stretch
      • Debian Stretch Enters Its Soft Freeze, Full Freeze In One Month

        The soft freeze is now upon us for Debian 9.0 “Stretch” while the full freeze will happen in February.

        The soft-freeze means that no new source packages will enter Stretch. The full freeze will then happen on 5 February, after which point all changes will require approval to land.

      • RFH: screen that hurts my eyes

        Two years ago, I bought myself a new fancy motherboard (a Asus B85M-G C2) with a new fancy Intel-based processor with built-in graphics (an Intel Core i7-4770) and memory to go with it. I installed it in the place of my old AMD-based motherboard, keeping everything else (my hoard of hard drives and such) excepted the graphics card, which was not needed anymore. I immediately noticed my eyes were aching when using the computer. I was quite surprised since I had been using the screen very heavily for almost 10 years before that, without any problems. I attributed that to Intel Graphics, so I tried putting back the old graphics card, but it did not help. The situation was very frustrating, since working on the computer for an hour or so was making my eyes hurt for several days. This problem was specific to this computer, I could keep on using my computer at work and my laptop without problems.

      • Getting to know diffoscope better

        Let me just say that I was a Debian user for years when I discovered it is taking part in Outreachy as one of organisations. Their Reproducible Builds effort has a noble goal and a bunch of great people behind it – I had no chances not to get excited by it. Looking for a place where my skills could be of any use, I discovered diffoscope – the tool for in-depth comparassion of files, archives etc. My mentor, Mattia Rizzolo, supported my decision to work on it, so now I am concentrating my efforts on improving diffoscope.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Mint 18.1 Xfce Nearing, Weird Names, Die Linux Myths

              Clement Lefebvre today announced a beta release of Mint 18.1 Xfce with updated software, refinements, and “many new features.” MakeUseOf chuckled at some of the crazy names folks pin on Linux distributions and Jan Vermeulen picked up on a Reddit conversation discussing Linux myths that “need to die.” Elsewhere in Linux news, Bruce Byfield compared and contrasted Debian and Ubuntu while Mark Shuttleworth discussed Snappy vs. Flatpak.

            • Linux Mint 18.1 “Serena” Xfce – BETA Release

              This is the BETA release for Linux Mint 18.1 “Serena” Xfce Edition.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • What is Open Source Software and How Can You Use it For Business?

    Small businesses are always looking for ways to save time and cut the operating costs of their business. One way to do this is by using open source software (OSS) to run their business.

  • AT&T now an open source believer

    Networked data traffic will only grow moving forward, said Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin, and making ECOMP open-source will allow the network to adjust.

    For many of those giants looking to modernize, open source has been the answer, as it allows for flexibility and a vast trove of material to draw from.

    Other legacy companies like GM and GE have also been working hard to reinvent themselves for the digital age, recognizing that they must evolve or face potential extinction. GE CEO Jeff Immelt wants to make GE a leading software company by 2020, while General Motors CEO Mary Barra is working to shift that company to become more of a tech innovator and incubator.

  • The impact of Open Source on operators, systems integrators and vendors

    Open source refers to the ability to access and modify source code, develop derived works, and sell or distribute software. Open source does not imply free of charge. In the context of telecom networks, open source builds on Network Function Virtualisation (NFV). While open source refers traditionally to software, it can apply to hardware in which case a reference design is shared in an open community. The construct of open source leads to collaborative communities, and a product development philosophy that is based on a relatively fast iterative process. This contrasts with the relatively slow ‘waterfall’ process used in the development of telecom network equipment and services.

  • Hyperledger Blockchain Project Announces ‘Technical Working Group China’ Following Strong Interest

    The Hyperledger Project, a cross-industry collaborative effort to study, develop and implement open-source blockchain solutions and standards has set up a working group as an extended arm in China.

  • In the 2017 Tech Job Pool, Open Source Skills Rule

    Here it is: 2017. As the year gets going, the cloud computing and Big Data scenes are absolutely flooded with talk of shortages in people with deployment and management expertise. There just are not enough skilled workers to go around. The OpenStack Foundation, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and other organizations are now taking some important steps to address the situation.

    Here are some of the best ways to start the new year by getting certified for the open source cloud and Big Data tools that are makng a difference.

    As part of its efforts to grow the OpenStack talent pool and global community, the OpenStack Foundation has announced professional certification programs that are meant to provide a baseline assessment of knowledge and be accessible to OpenStack professionals around the world. Some of the first steps in advancing the program are taking place now, and Red Hat is also advancing OpenStack certification plans..

  • Ford, Toyota to challenge Apple CarPlay, Android Auto

    Wednesday’s announcement establishes the SmartDeviceLink Consortium, a non-profit group that will manage the open source software in SmartDeviceLink. Ford’s AppLink, a part of Ford Sync, is the underlying software in SmartDeviceLink. Ford deeded AppLink to the open source community in 2013. The idea is individual automakers can then build their own center stack display interfaces that look and feel different, while still retaining the voice and instrument panel controls already created by SDL. Right now, Apple CarPlay looks about the same on a $25,000 Chevrolet Cruze (image above) and a $60,000 Audi, to the annoyance of all automakers.

  • Riot: An open team collaboration tool for everyone

    How many times have you wished you had a quick access to a collaboration tool in the palm of your hands? And how many times have you wished that same tool could not only reach out to a team of your choosing, but to a community of similar users?

    Such is the way of Riot. This particular open source take on collaboration (available on Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux) makes working with others on ideas and issues as easy as possible. Not only can you join the myriad available rooms, you can create your own rooms and make them either public or private. Riot even allows for room encryption, to ensure security.

  • CyanogenMod’s death and rebirth, new open source automotive group, and more news

    In this edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at Cyanogen Inc. pulling the plug on CyanogenMod, Toyota and Ford forming the SmartDeviceLink Consortium, and more.

  • Haiku OS Gaining Ground On UEFI, FreeBSD Compatibility Layer, Remote Debugging

    For those interested in the BeOS-inspired Haiku open-source operating system, they have issued their latest monthly progress report to end out 2016.

  • Events

    • Crossing the AI chasm

      I recently presented those learnings at ApacheCon, and in this article I’ll share my top four lessons for overcoming both the technical and product chasms that stand in your path.

    • Call for Presentations at LinuxFest NorthWest, May 6-7, 2017

      Freedom, Friends, Features, First. The theme of this years LinuxFest NorthWest is ‘The Mechanics of Freedom’.

      Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things are becoming even more integrated in the lives of regular citizens. Along with these changes comes concern over the trade-offs between convenience and privacy. For example: Privacy in the age of relentless online tracking, How bots can help you onboard new community members, Training driverless vehicles, How the Internet of Things took down DNS.

  • Web Browsers

    • 2016 sees Internet Explorer usage collapse, Chrome surge

      At the start of 2016, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was still the most commonly used browser on the Web; it finished 2015 being used by about 46 percent of Web users, with 32 percent preferring Chrome, and 12 percent using Firefox. But Explorer’s days have been numbered ever since Microsoft essentially ended its development. While the venerable browser is still supported and still gets security updates, its features and standard support have been frozen since 2015. Instead, Microsoft shifted active development to Edge, its new browser. While Edge is faster, more secure, and boasts much better support for Web standards, it’s only available for Windows 10, which greatly limits its audience.

  • CMS

    • Launching a Site or Blog? Open Source Creation Tools Give You Many Choices

      Late last year, Datamation came out with an extensive evaluation of which open source content management systems (CMS) really stand out, which is a topic near and dear to us here at OStatic. Our site runs on Drupal, which is an open source platform that powers many sites around the web, but there are key differences between CMS offerings, and if you’re looking for the right solution, we have some good resources for you.

      The Datamation story provides a nice overview of the open CMS space, but here are some of our newly updated, favorite ways to go about evaluating which is the right CMS for you.

      Marking a true renaissance for tools that can help anyone run a top-notch website or manage content in the cloud, open source content management systems (CMS) have come of age. You’re probably familiar with some of the big names in this arena, including Drupal (which Ostatic is based on) and Joomla. As we noted in this post, selecting a CMS to build around can be a complicated process, since the publishing tools provided are hardly the only issue.

  • Microsoft Cuts


    • GNU Officially Boots Libreboot

      FSF and GNU decide to grant Libreboot lead developer Leah Rowe’s wishes. The project is no longer a part of GNU says RMS.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • SiFive rolls out fully open source chip for IoT devices

        SiFive has also released an Arduino based software development board called HiFive1, along with the FE310 chip. In addition to that, the company has also released the RTL (register-transfer level) code for FE310 under an open source license that will allow chip designers to customize their own SoC on top of the base FE310.

        I talked with Jack Kang, VP of Product and Business Development at SiFive, to understand the chip’s impact on IoT world.

      • CES 2017 – Renault create world’s first open-source mass market vehicle

        The new vehicle POM, based on Renault’s popular Twizy, will be available to start-ups, independent laboratories, private customers and researchers, allowing them to customise the software and driving experience.

  • Programming/Development

    • Top 50 Developer Tools of 2016

      It took a bit of time to comb through the data, but there are some killer insights in here. To piece this list together, we aggregated usage from 40K+ tech stacks, over a million unique visits, and thousands of developer comments, reviews, and votes across all of 2016 (more on methodology below). Through it, we found some of the top tech trends coming into 2017 and what should be on your bucket list. Let’s get started!

    • Keynote: State of the Union: node.js by Rod Vagg, NodeSource

      During his keynote at Node.js Interactive in November, Rod Vagg, Technical Steering Committee Director at the Node.js Foundation talked about the progress that the project made during 2016.

    • Node.js: The State of the Union

      By all metrics, it has been a good year for Node.js. During his keynote at Node.js Interactive in November, Rod Vagg, Technical Steering Committee Director at the Node.js Foundation talked about the progress that the project made during 2016.

    • RcppTOML 0.1.0

      Big news: RcppTOML now works on Windows too!


  • Science

    • Finnish brain drain picks up speed, entire research groups now moving abroad

      Cuts to universities and state-funded research centres are contributing to growing brain drain from Finland and increasing unemployment among the highly educated, says Petri Koikkalainen, the head of the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers.

      The incidence of highly-educated people moving abroad has increased by one-third in the last few years, while the increase in the number of researchers leaving Finland behind is only slightly behind this percentage. According to Statistics Finland, 2,223 individuals with top academic degrees moved abroad in 2016.

      This brain drain has grown steadily since 2011, the researcher and teacher’s union president Koikkalainen said in a Radio Suomi interview on January 5.

      “The problem is not that people are moving abroad from Finland; the problem is that they never come back. We can’t attract highly-educated international experts to Finland, either,” Koikkalainen said.

      “There’s no use debating whether the shrinking university resources are contributing to the growing brain drain. At this point, we should just concede the obvious.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • China’s Airpocalypse Paves a Path for New Cancer Medicines

      The thick haze of pollution blanketing northern China this winter is a grim reminder of the nation’s new growth industry: lung cancer drugs.

      China logged more than 700,000 new cases of the disease in 2015, the product of a surge in air pollution, high smoking rates and unhealthy lifestyles as China has prospered in recent decades. Lung cancer is now the most common type of cancer in the country and its spread has spawned new listings as well as billion-dollar market values for Chinese companies like Betta Pharmaceuticals Co. and Hutchison China MediTech Ltd., which are attempting to build blockbuster treatments.

      Zhejiang, Hangzhou-based Betta Pharma, which sells just one lung cancer drug called Conmana, shot up to as much as $5.6 billion in market value late last year after raising about $110 million in a public offering on the Shenzhen exchange in November. Hutchison China MediTech, whose pipeline of experimental therapies is also heavily focused on lung cancer, also attracted $110 million in a new listing on the Nasdaq in March.

    • ‘Elephants are not the only victims’: the lament of China’s ivory lovers

      In a tiny workshop at his home in the Tai Po district of Hong Kong, 84-year-old Au Yue-Shung shows me an ivory carving he has been working on for months. Measuring just 5×10 inches, Nine Sages in Mount Xiang depicts the 9th-century poet Bai Juyi and eight of his peers in full creative flow in Henan province, far from the imperial court that Bai once served. The point of the story is that the sages tried to maintain their integrity by staying close to nature and art, and away from the ugly politics of the time. This is a piece that Au created for himself rather than a client. It is his statement about life after going through many ups and downs.

      Born during the Japanese occupation of China in the 1930s, Au joined Guangzhou’s Daxin ivory carving factory at the age of 13 as an apprentice. With only one year’s formal education and with no one caring to teach him, he taught himself drawing and carving in his spare time. Unable to afford drawing paper, he drew on toilet paper. His gift was soon recognised and by the late 1960s he had become a key carving artist at Daxin. Later, at the height of the Cultural Revolution, he decided that he had had enough of the political and artistic repression.

    • State cannot shut people out when it comes to Flint water crisis

      How many more insults can the state lob at the city of Flint?

      The latest came this week when the state Michigan Department of Environmental Quality tried to sneak through an invitation-only town hall meeting on the condition of Flint water.

      In a city where no one can safely drink the water without a filter, the state apparently thought it was perfectly acceptable to hold a public session with a handpicked selection of people.

      A city spokeswoman said the state dropped the invite-only rule Tuesday, Jan. 3, at Flint Mayor Karen Weaver’s urging after city and state officials were asked about the program by MLive-The Flint Journal.

    • 2016 was the worst year in NHS history – we must fight for its survival

      The last 12 months have been the worst in the history of the NHS. Our health system is under pressure like never before. The moment of crisis many warned of has arrived, and it is not clear that the NHS can be retrieved from this state of affairs.

      We used to say that flailing A&Es represented an early warning sign that the health service was under pressure. And so that has proven to be. England’s major A&Es are under record strain with black alerts being regularly sounded, and in some instances wards turning patients away. Last year the A&E crisis spread to other sectors.

    • The Breakthrough: The $2 Drug Test

      We’re calling it The Breakthrough. We’re kicking things off today with two ProPublica reporters, Ryan Gabrielson and Topher Sanders, talking about how they discovered police departments nationwide use a $2 test for detecting drugs that can send innocent people to jail.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • FBI dispute with DNC over hacked servers may fuel doubt on Russia role

      The FBI may have been forced into a misstep when investigating whether Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee — the agency never directly examined the DNC servers that were breached.

      Instead, the FBI had to rely on forensic evidence provided by third-party cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which the DNC hired to mitigate the breach.

      “The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed,” the agency said on Thursday in a statement.


      CrowdStrike didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But it wasn’t the only private security firm to examine the breach. Fidelis Cybersecurity was brought in to look at the malware samples, and concluded that suspected elite Russian hackers were behind the intrusion.

      Nevertheless, the FBI should have conducted its own review of the hacked servers, Bambenek said. “This is a highly political case, and perception matters,” he said. “In this situation, they need to be building credibility.”

      Critics might now question if the FBI missed pieces of evidence in its investigation or if U.S. intelligence agencies rushed to blame Russia for the hack.

    • Fort Lauderdale shooting leaves ‘mutiple people’ dead, eight hospitalized: authorities

      As many as five people may have been killed and eight people wounded following a shooting by a reported lone gunman at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport on Friday afternoon, according to law enforcement authorities, social media, and local and national media reports.

      The suspected gunman, who has not been identified, is in custody, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office. It confirmed via Twitter that “multiple people are dead” and that “eight people were injured and transported to an area hospital.”

      BSO officials said they received a call around 12:55 p.m. about shots fired at the airport. Airport officials tweeted that “there is an ongoing incident in Terminal 2, Baggage Claim,” but gave no other details.

    • The Ft. Lauderdale Airport Shooter And How TSA Dumbthink Makes Us Less Safe

      And then there’s the photo of him making that one-fingered salute that’s the sign of the tawhid — “the absolute unity of the godhead.”

      If we actually had real security — security that was meaningful in any way — the guy wouldn’t be running around with a gun…checking his gun in at the airport, no less.

      So, we have this expensive, huge bureaucracy, and people being put on the no-fly list because they have the same name as some terrorist, but nobody thinks to put any little notiepoo in the TSA files about a guy who’s reportedly hearing voices from ISIS?

      Think about that, the next time some repurposed mall food court worker is (screw probable cause!) batting at your balls or sticking her hand up your hoohoo.

    • Alleged Target of Drone Strike That Killed American Teenager Is Alive, According to State Department

      The U.S. State Department confirmed on January 5 that the man the U.S. government once claimed was the target of the drone strike that killed American teenager Abdulrahman Awlaki in 2011 in Yemen is alive. The department announced that it has designated Ibrahim al Banna “a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.” The U.S. is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to al Banna’s killing or capture.

      Al Banna’s name was floated by anonymous U.S. officials as the target of the October 14, 2011, drone strike that killed Awlaki, a 16-year-old U.S. citizen born in Colorado. Awlaki’s family insists he was having dinner with his teenage cousin and some others in Shebwah, Yemen, when they were killed in the strike. The Obama administration has never explained why Awlaki was killed, other than anonymous officials implying he was with a terror target at the time or that it was a lethal mistake. Awlaki’s estranged father, Anwar al Awlaki, was a radical pro-al Qaeda imam whose sermons influenced and inspired many terrorists in the English speaking world. The elder Awlaki, who was also a U.S. citizen, was an enigmatic figure who supported George W. Bush’s 2000 election campaign, spoke at the Pentagon shortly after 9-11, and went on to become an important propaganda figure for the growing radical Islamist movement after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He was killed in a U.S. drone strike two weeks before his son was killed.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • ‘Hannity’ Exclusive: Wikileaks’ Assange: Governments ‘Hate Transparency. They Loathe It’

      “We’re in the business of publishing information about power,” Assange said. “Why are we in the business of publishing information about power? Because people can do things with power, they can do very bad things with power. If they’re incompetent, they can do dangerous things. If they’re evil, they can do wicked things.”

    • WikiLeaks or US Intelligence?: CNBC journalist trolled for asking ‘who Americans believe’

      CNBC Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood, whose cosy relationship with the Clinton campaign was exposed in the Podesta Leaks, asked which source Americans believe regarding the hacking of the Democratic National Committee – WikiLeaks or US Intelligence.

      The Twitter poll comes as President-elect Donald Trump’s refusal to accept US Intelligence reports that claim Russia is behind the DNC hacking escalated tensions between the incoming and outgoing White House administrations.

    • Christmas tale from CIA, NSA and FBI: Elusive ‘Russian hacker’ is Putin
    • WikiLeaks Is What It Is Today Because Of U.S. Government And Media

      If a report from the United States intelligence community is to be believed and WikiLeaks knows the Kremlin used their organization to undermine a United States election, then the U.S. government and press bear some responsibility for the organization’s lack of concern about it.

      The U.S. government launched a grand jury investigation into the media organization and held the grand jury’s first session in 2011. According to a “Manhunting Timeline,” it encouraged Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and other countries to file criminal charges against the organization’s editor-in-chief, Julian Assange.

      WikiLeaks’ most prominent and arguably important source in the organization’s history, Chelsea Manning, was abused by the Marines in pretrial confinement and zealously prosecuted by the U.S. military as if she were a spy, who aided al Qaida terrorists. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison for Espionage Act-related offenses. Her disclosures were motivated by whistleblowing and yet, as her legal team argues, she received “far and away the most severe sentence ever adjudged.”

      For the most part, U.S. establishment media outlets went along with the U.S. government’s commitment to criminalizing and isolating WikiLeaks. Even with the revelation of Google search warrants against WikiLeaks staff, editorial boards and journalists remained largely silent about an investigation that could have profound implications for freedom of the press, particularly now that someone like Trump will be president for the next four years.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • London breaches annual air pollution limit for 2017 in just five days

      London has breached its annual air pollution limits just five days into 2017, a “shameful reminder of the severity of London’s air pollution”, according to campaigners.

      By law, hourly levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide must not be more than 200 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) more than 18 times in a whole year, but late on Thursday this limit was broken on Brixton Road in Lambeth.

      Many other sites across the capital will go on to break the annual limit and Putney High Street exceeded the hourly limit over 1,200 times in 2016. Oxford Street, Kings Road in Chelsea and the Strand are other known pollution hotspots.

      NO2 pollution, which is produced largely by diesel vehicles, causes 9,500 early deaths every year in London. Most air quality zones across the country break legal limits and the crisis was called a “public health emergency” by MPs in April. This week scientists said that one in 10 cases of Alzheimer’s in people living near busy roads could be linked to air pollution.

    • US energy analysis sees renewable electricity passing coal by 2030

      Yesterday, the US Energy Information Administration released its energy outlook for 2017. These annual reports provide projections of current energy trends out to 2040, and they provide policymakers with a sense of where the country could be decades from now, should things continue as they have been.

      Anyone who’s up on current trends wouldn’t be surprised by many of the EIA’s results. With coal’s continued decline, natural gas becomes the dominant source of energy in the US, followed by renewable generation. Most of the scenarios the report considers see the continued growth in US energy production far outstripping a sluggish growth in demand. This pattern will transform the country into a net exporter of energy by the 2030s.

      But EIA reports are notoriously conservative in their projections, and this can lead to completely unrealistic results. In the past, for example, the EIA’s projections didn’t foresee the radical drop in photovoltaic prices, and so the organization had solar playing little role in US energy markets. This year’s version is no exception, as it suggests installation of wind power in the US will essentially stop once tax incentives run out in the early 2020s.

    • Giant iceberg poised to break off from Antarctic shelf

      A thread of just 20km of ice is now preventing the 5,000 sq km mass from floating away, following the sudden expansion last month of a rift that has been steadily growing for more than a decade.

      The iceberg, which is positioned on the most northern major ice shelf in Antarctica, known as Larsen C, is predicted to be one of the largest 10 break-offs ever recorded.

    • The Stuff You Buy Is Destroying Animals Around the World

      There are certain products that everyone knows are directly destructive to wildlife. As such, most people and countries around the world generally try to avoid them. Using ivory for trinkets causes elephant slaughter; eating shark fins—you guessed it—is not good for sharks. But those are easy to give up, because a.) we don’t need any of them, and b.) they very blatantly come from certain wild animals.

      Much of the things we use in daily life, however, from iPhones, to jeans, to Ikea furniture, also have negative impacts on endangered wildlife around the globe. But how can you tell? In an attempt to answer that question, scientists from Norway and Japan used a global trade model to trace consumer demands around the world to threats on endangered wildlife. They’ve created a series of maps based on their findings that show the threat “hotspots” around the world and what countries are endangering them. The rationale is that if you know where in the supply chain you’re doing the most damage, you can take steps to alleviate it. Their findings are published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

    • Warmer Winters
    • Another pipeline through Indian land – this time in Mexico

      The Yaqui community is less that pleased about the Agua Prieta pipeline’s projected route, which goes straight through their territory. Things went from bad to worse on October 21, when the pipeline’s supporters attacked a group of protesters, killing one, wounding eight, and causing substantial property damage.

      The Yaqui tribe, which has endured a long history of repression, has also a history of resistance. Like other indigenous communities in Mexico, several members of the Yaqui tribe have lost their lives fighting against invasive private companies and non-indigenous authorities. Just two years ago, before the conflict over the Agua Prieta pipeline, the Yaquis protested against a large-scale aqueduct that would have diverted what was left of their sacred river to the city of Hermosillo.

    • Exxon predicts 25% rise in energy demand

      The world’s biggest oil conglomerate says it expects global energy demand to increase by a quarter in the next 23 years.

      ExxonMobil is the largest of the world’s big oil companies, the supermajors. Up to the end of 2016, Rex Tillerson, who has been nominated by US President-elect Donald Trump as his Secretary of State, was Exxon’s chairman and CEO.

      In this year’s annual Outlook for Energy, a look-ahead to 2040, Exxon says: “Over the next 25 years, growing economies and an expanding middle class will mean better living standards for billions, through increased access to better education and health care as well as new homes, appliances and cars. This means the world will need more energy, even with significant efficiency gains.”

      With world population expected to grow by 1.8 billion people to a total of 9bn by 2040, the company believes global energy demand will increase by 25% – and that India and China together will account for 45% of that increase.

  • Finance

    • Farmers could ‘reap a post-Brexit bonus when Britain leaves the EU’

      Farmers will reap a post-Brexit bonus as Britain is liberated from “over-bureaucratic” European Union rules on agriculture, according to a new report.

      It argued that departure from the bloc will enable the government to better target financial help at the farmers who need it most.

      The report from the Centre for PolicyStudies (CPS) said that Theresa May has a “strong hand” to deploy in Brexit negotiations because of the UK’s £16.7bn annual deficit in food and drink with the EU.

    • Finland Will Give 2000 Unemployed People $590 Every Month, No Strings Attached, Even After They Get A Job

      As that indicates, this isn’t a universal basic wage, since it’s aimed at just a few of those receiving unemployment benefit, and the money will replace existing financial support. On the other hand, it isn’t just some kind of creative accounting, because they will continue to receive the monthly sum even if they find work. There are already plans to roll it out more widely.

      As the Guardian notes, other parts of the world, including Canada, Italy, the Netherlands and Scotland, are also looking to try out the idea. At a time when there are fears that automation may well reduce the total number of workers needed in industry, it’s great to see these experiments exploring an approach that could help to alleviate social problems arising from this shift.

    • Sir Ivan Rogers, UK’s ambassador to the EU quits

      Sir Ivan, the man who would play a main role in the negotiations with the EU during the UKs extraction has resigned, sending a 1400-word thank you letter to his staff setting out his problems with why he felt his position was untenable and the current Governments position with regards to leaving the EU.

    • Kamala Harris Fails to Explain Why She Didn’t Prosecute Steven Mnuchin’s Bank

      Former California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Wednesday vaguely acknowledged The Intercept’s report about her declining to prosecute Steven Mnuchin’s OneWest Bank for foreclosure violations in 2013, but offered no explanation.

      “It’s a decision my office made,” she said, in response to questions from The Hill shortly after being sworn in as California’s newest U.S. senator.

      “We went and we followed the facts and the evidence, and it’s a decision my office made,” Harris said. “We pursued it just like any other case. We go and we take a case wherever the facts lead us.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • NYT Makes the Case for Trump Via Racialized Rural Mythology

      Washington Post‘s Paul Farhi wrote a piece last month (12/9/16) reporting that “major newspapers, from the Washington Post to the New York Times, have struggled to find and publish pro-Trump columns for months.” Perhaps that explains why some of the Trump-sympathizing columns they do manage to turn up—like a piece that ran today in the Times (1/5/17)—leave a lot to be desired in terms of logic and accuracy.

      To be fair, the Times op-ed wasn’t written by a self-professed Trump fan, but by Robert Leonard, the news director for an Iowa country music station, who says, “I consider myself fairly liberal,” and confesses that he has “struggled to understand how these conservative friends and neighbors I respect—and at times admire—can think so differently from me.”


      Voting for Trump, though, with the idea that he will do something about the hospitals-too-far-away problem would be childish. If op-ed pages can’t find writers who can make a grown-up case for Trump, perhaps they should be willing to allow the case to go unmade.

    • Speaker Paul Ryan, After Passing Regulatory Rollback, Parties With Lobbyists at Fundraiser

      Just hours after passing the very first bill of the new Congress on Wednesday — one designed to roll back a range of environmental and consumer regulations — House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., celebrated with a corporate lobbying firm at a fundraiser for his campaign committee.

      The vote on the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017 took place at 4:48 p.m. on Wednesday. The fundraiser, at the offices of the BGR Group, a major lobbying firm, started at 7 p.m.

      The bill would amend existing law to allow Congress to repeal en masse multiple regulations finalized since the end of May last year. The law is believed to be aimed at rolling back a rule designed to deter mining companies from polluting drinking water sources, rules designed to curb hazardous methane emissions from fracking sites, and a rule that extends the threshold for overtime pay to workers, among others.

    • Clinton quite effective at discrediting herself’ Ex-CIA analyst blasts hacking claims

      Larry C Johnson branded the newly declassified US intelligence report “as a farce and a charade”, adding Russian attempts to discredit the Democrat candidate Hilary Clinton were unnecessary because “she was quite effective at it herself”.

      On Friday, intelligence officials published their findings into alleged Russian hacking during November’s US election.

      The report claimed the Russian president personally ordered an online campaign to influence the outcome of the ballot in Trump’s favour.

      It said Mr Putin’s goal was to undermine the democratic process and denigrate Mrs Clinton, by using intermediaries such as DCLeaks.com, Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks to publicly expose private emails acquired from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and top level Democrats.

    • Trump Already Demanding Leak Investigation and He’s Not Even President Yet

      President-elect Donald Trump isn’t waiting until his inauguration to push for investigations of leaks to the press — an indication that he’ll emulate and possibly surpass President Obama’s practice of criminalizing disclosures to the media.

    • Underwhelming Intel Report Shows Need for Congressional Investigation of DNC Hack

      After President Obama and Donald Trump were briefed on a classified report explaining the United States Intelligence Community’s belief that Russia hacked the Democratic Party, the public has received its own, declassified version. Unfortunately for us, it appears virtually anything new and interesting was removed in the redaction process, leaving us without the conclusive, technical evidence we were hoping for — and that the American people are owed. Failing a last minute change of heart, the next best (and perhaps last) hope for the government to show us its work would be a formal, bipartisan probe.

    • Conservatives Plot Their Course on the Rising ‘Sea of Red’ in State Capitals

      The American Legislative Exchange Council — a nonprofit better known as ALEC — briefed its members and allied groups on the bright future for its agenda now that Republicans will effectively control 68 of the nation’s 99 state legislative bodies, as well as 33 governor’s mansions. Among other things, group members said they would push bills to reduce corporate taxes, weaken unions, privatize schooling and influence the ideological debate on college campuses.

    • Glenn Greenwald: Democrats Eager to Blame “Everybody But Themselves” for Collapse of Their Party

      As Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies at a Senate hearing on Russian cyberthreats ahead of a highly classified briefing today with President-elect Donald Trump, we speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has faced an onslaught of criticism for questioning the premise of Russian hacking of the U.S. election. “Because Democrats are so desperate to put the blame on everybody but themselves for the complete collapse of their party, they’re particularly furious at anybody who vocally challenges this narrative,” Greenwald says. “And since I’ve been one of the people most vocally doing so, the smear campaign has been like none that I have ever encountered. I have been accused of being a member of the alt-right, of being an admirer of Breitbart, of being supportive of Donald Trump, of helping him get elected and, of course, of being a Kremlin operative.”

    • Facebook’s New Head of News Partnerships, Campbell Brown, Has Deep Ties to Trump Nominee

      Facebook announced Friday that former CNN host and education reform activist Campbell Brown will be leading its news partnership team.

      Brown wrote in a statement on her Facebook page that she will “help news organizations and journalists work more closely and more effectively with Facebook. I will be working directly with our partners to help them understand how Facebook can expand the reach of their journalism, and contribute value to their businesses.”

      Brown’s hiring should raise eyebrows given her close ties to Betsy DeVos, the president-elect’s nominee to lead the Education Department. DeVos is a Michigan-based billionaire heiress who has poured millions of dollars into organizations supporting school vouchers and charter schools.

    • Donald Trump Demonstrating How Much Of Our Political System Is Based On Tradition & Custom, Not Rules

      And… that’s really quite interesting, because of how little many people — especially policy experts — have really stopped to consider how much of the way we do things is based on custom, and not actual rules. There are two ways of looking at this. First, there absolutely are serious problems with “the way things have always been done.” So there’s potential value in having someone who doesn’t feel hamstrung by traditions and customs that might not make sense. But, the flip side of that is that there are often really good reasons for the way many of these things are done. And, so far, the customs and traditions that Trump has been indicating he’ll ignore, are ones that do seem to be based on solid reasoning, rather than just silly legacy reasons. Intelligence reports, secret service protection, and anti-nepotism rules make sense.

    • The Internet Archive is building up a Trump presidential library — of everything he’s ever said, on video

      The Internet Archive launched Thursday a huge Trump Archive dedicated to housing videos of everything Trump’s said on video: in everything from broadcast speeches, debates, interviews, and newscasts about the President-elect. The archive currently contains more than 700 videos — that’s more than 520 hours of Trump — compiled by way of the TV News Archive, the Internet Archive’s broadcast tracking resource, and currently dates back to December 2009 (Trump formally announced his candidacy June of 2015).

    • Ignoring anti-Trumpers: Why we can expect media blackout of protests against Trump’s inauguration

      On Jan. 20 — 16 years ago — thousands of protesters lined the inauguration parade route of the incoming Republican president. “Not my president,” they chanted. But despite the enormity of the rally, it was largely ignored. Instead, pundits marveled over how George W. Bush “filled out the suit” and confirmed authority.

      “The inauguration of George W. Bush was certainly a spectacle on Inauguration Day,” marvels Robin Andersen, the director of Peace and Justice studies at Fordham University, in the 2001 short documentary “Not My President: Voices From the Counter Coup.”

      It’s nearly impossible not to anticipate the eerie parallels between George W. Bush’s inauguration and that of Donald Trump.

    • Drunk tweets? Foul-mouthed Vicente Fox challenges Trump, ‘I’m not paying for that f**kin’ wall’

      Fox tweeted: “I am not paying for that f*cken wall. Be clear with US taxpayers. They will pay for it.”

    • Betraying Campaign Promise, Trump Now Says US Taxpayers Will Pay for Wall

      Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), congressional liaison for the Trump transition team, doubled down on Trump’s position in comments to CNN: “When you understand that Mexico’s economy is dependent upon U.S. consumers, Donald Trump has all the cards he needs to play,” Collins said. “On the trade negotiation side, I don’t think it’s that difficult for Donald Trump to convince Mexico that it’s in their best interest to reimburse us for building the wall.”

      However, Mexico’s president has vociferously and repeatedly said that the country will not pay for Trump’s promised wall. “We’re not going to pay for that fucking wall,” former president Vicente Fox added last March, as Common Dreams reported.

    • ‘US intel community lost professional discipline’: Ex-NSA tech director on ‘Russia hacking’ report

      The undisguised and clearly politically motivated report on the alleged 2016 US “election hack” displays a severe lack of “professional discipline” in the intelligence community, former NSA technical director and whistleblower William Edward Binney told RT.

    • Poor People, Don’t You Know You Have Jobs?

      It’s not Trump you have to worry about. You’re thinking short-term.

      As people struggle to find third-parties to blame for Hillary Clinton’s defeat (pick one or more: Putin, Bernie Bros, Comey, The Media, Electoral Collegians, the Racist/Misogynist Hordes), an amorphous group has emerged as a popular domestic target: stupid poor white people who do not understand how much better they have had it over the last eight years.

      These slack-jawed yokels just can’t seem to grasp that they have great jobs in a growing economy. The numbers prove it: the U.S stock market is at record highs and unemployment at its lowest level since the Great Recession.

    • Circus of Liars: How Trump & GOP are Twisted into Pretzels over Putin Hack

      The US NSA hacked the whole world for many years until Ed Snowden blew the whistle on them.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Court Says 791 Days Of Warrantless Location Tracking ‘Unreasonable,” But Refuses To Toss Evidence

      A confusing and disturbing conclusion has been reached by a New York federal court. The court has decided that 791 days of location tracking with a GPS ankle bracelet is unreasonable, but somehow not worthy of evidence suppression. (via FourthAmendment.com)

      Kemal Lambus — the defendant challenging the evidence — was granted parole, but with certain conditions. One of those was imposed a few months after his release: wearing an ankle bracelet to ensure he abided by his curfew. This was in addition to the normal amount of diminished privacy afforded parolees, which includes any number of warrantless searches by parole officers.

    • Michael Rogers: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

      Another reason that Rogers has drawn criticism is that he failed to prevent further security breaches in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations.

      In August 2016, for example, the FBI arrested an NSA contractor named Harold T. Martin III who they believed had stolen and disclosed 50 terabytes of data, according to The New York Times.

    • NSA seeks pay bump for its ‘high-end, exquisite civilian talent’ [Ed: due to brain drain]

      NSA Director Michael Rogers recently authorized the introduction of a specially tailored compensation package for the spy agency’s “high-end” cybersecurity workers.

    • Belgium Wants EU Nations To Collect And Store Personal Data Of Train, Bus And Boat Passengers

      It’s become pretty common for the authorities to collect personal information about passengers from airlines, supposedly to ensure security. It’s a sensitive area, though, as shown by the many years of fraught US-EU negotiations that were required in order to come up with a legal framework for transferring this data to the US when EU citizens were involved. However, not all EU countries are so concerned about that privacy thing. Belgium, for example, thinks that the current approach doesn’t go far enough, and that it should be extended to include all forms of mass transport. As this EurActiv article notes, the Belgian parliament has already voted to bring in a national system for trains, buses and boats by May 2018, and the country is calling for the rest of the EU to follow suit…

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • FBI Dismisses Child Porn Prosecution After Refusing To Hand Over Details On Its Hacking Tool

      The FBI has decided to let one of its Playpen defendants walk rather than turn over information on its Network Investigative Technique. The NIT, deployed all over the world on the back of a single warrant obtained in Virginia, unmasked Tor users by dropping code on Playpen visitors’ computers that sent back IP addresses and other information about the user’s computer.

      The warrant itself has been ruled invalid by a number of judges presiding over Playpen prosecutions, although not all of them have determined that the evidence obtained by the NIT should be suppressed. The FBI not only sent malware to site visitors, but it also ran (and possibly improved) the child porn website for two weeks while pursuing its investigation.

      Michaud’s lawyer asked the court to force the FBI to hand over information on the NIT. The FBI countered, saying it wouldn’t turn over the information even if ordered to do so. Judge Bryan, after an in camera session with the agency, agreed with the government that there was a law enforcement need to keep the details of the tool secret. But he also made it clear the government couldn’t have both its secrecy and its evidence. He ordered all evidence suppressed.

    • Judge Tells DOJ It Can’t Un-Suppress Evidence By Starting The Indictment Process All Over Again

      Sure, we like the DOJ when it’s handing down scathing reviews of local law enforcement agencies and belatedly issuing warrant requirements for IMSI catchers, but we’re not nearly as thrilled when it argues against warrant requirements for cell phone searches, demands backdoors in phone encryption, or beats mild miscreants over the head with the CFAA.

      In fact, there’s very little to like about the DOJ outside of its civil rights division. Here’s yet another reason why the Department of Justice often seems like a misnomer. (h/t Brad Heath)

      A decision [PDF] has been handed down by a federal court in Puerto Rico, presumably with an eyeroll and an exasperated sigh.

      In 2014, Homeland Security agents searched Jose Silva-Rentas without reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or a warrant. Silva happened to be next to somebody HSI agents did search with probable cause. Rentas moved to suppress the evidence and the court agreed that the government’s theory of probable cause osmosis wasn’t enough to salvage the search.

    • Jenna Jameson, newly Jewish, launches anti-Islam rant: ‘I don’t care about your false prophet’

      Jenna Jameson launched into an anti-Islam rant on Twitter this week, slamming the religion as one that “promotes child rape, female genital mutilation, butchering non believers and polygamy.”

      The former porn legend, who converted to Judaism last year ahead of her upcoming marriage to Israeli boyfriend Lior Bitton, spent the better part of the week defending her attacks against Islam and “spending all [her] free time” watching YouTube videos about the Quran by Christian apologist David Wood.

    • Briton ‘jailed for adultery in Bahrain’ released from prison

      A British woman jailed in Bahrain after being accused of adultery has been released amid a fundraising appeal by her mother to bring her home.

      Hannah James, said to originally be from Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, moved to the country with husband Jassim Alhaddar and their young son, but her mother, Shelley James, claims she was a victim of domestic abuse and wanted to leave Bahrain.

    • Six essays on media, technology and politics from Data & Society

      danah boyd writes, “Yesterday, a group of us at Data & Society put out six essays on ‘media, technology, politics.’ Taken together, these pieces address different facets of the current public conversation surrounding propaganda, hate speech, and the US election. Although we only allude to specifics, we have been witnessing mis/disinformation campaigns for quite some time as different networks seek to manipulate both old and new media, shape political discourse, and undermine trust in institutions and information intermediaries. In short, we are concerned about the rise of a new form of propaganda that is networked, decentralized, and internet-savvy. We are also concerned about the ongoing development of harassment techniques and gaslighting, the vulnerability of old and new media to propagate fear and disinformation, and the various ways in which well-intended interventions get misappropriated. We believe that we’re watching a systematic attack on democracy, equality, and freedom. There is no silver bullet to address the issues we’re seeing. Instead, a healthy response is going to require engagement by many different constituencies. We see our role in this as to help inform and ground the conversation. These essays are our first attempt to address the interwoven issues we’re seeing.

    • Obama Picks Up the Pace on Commutations, But Pardon Changes Still in Limbo

      Near the start of his second term, President Obama had granted clemency at a lower rate than any president in recent history. He had pardoned 39 people and denied 1,333 requests. He had used his power to commute a prisoner’s sentence just once.

      But as Obama enters the final days of his administration, he has dramatically picked up the pace. He’s now issued commutations to 1,176 people since entering office — more than George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan put together. In December, Obama commuted the sentences of 231 people in a single day.

      Much of Obama’s increased activity can be attributed to an initiative begun in 2014 to shorten sentences of non-violent offenders who would likely have received less time for their crimes under current law and who had already served at least 10 years of their prison sentences. Low-level drug offenders have received most of the commutations, part of a broader push by the administration to reform sentencing guidelines.

    • Alleged Chicago Assault Reignites Issue of Hate Crimes Against Whites

      The meaning and enforcement of the Illinois hate-crimes statute seems destined for intense scrutiny with the arrest this week of four young black adults in Chicago in connection with the assault of a mentally disabled white man. The arrests by the Chicago Police Department resulted in part from what appeared to a livestreamed video of the disabled man being abused while bound and gagged. The recording captures one or more of the attackers making references to Donald Trump and white people.

    • Ellen Schrecker on the New McCarthyism

      This week on CounterSpin: The “what could possibly go wrong?” meme might be overused, but it’s hard not to think it, watching the government create new tools and powers for countering “disinformation” that will be handed to a president-elect who calls journalists “the lowest form of life.” Donald Trump didn’t create the present terrain, however, and pretending that fearmongering and watchlists and looking the other way are all newly minted will not serve us. In fact, we can look to history to help us understand what’s happening, and what we can do to resist it.

    • Signs Look Grim for Media Picking the Side of Liberty and Dissent

      This is a kind of “which side are you on?” moment for journalists. Will they defend the rights and liberties of the many communities under threat—Muslims, women, those reliant on government assistance? Will they keep alive a space for dissent and critical questioning in the face of a White House that declares itself indifferent to rules about conflicts of interest, among many other things, and that threatens revenge on those it calls “enemies”?


      USA Today solved the problem, we’re told, by getting Trump and Pence themselves to write for them. Maybe the New York Times will adopt that strategy, given its editor’s statement that his paper “could have done better.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Canadian Regulators Declare 50 Mbps To Be The New Broadband Standard

      A few years back, the FCC here in the States bumped the base definition of broadband from 4 Mbps downstream, 1 Mbps upstream, to 25 Mbps downstream, 4 Mbps upstream. This was done in large part to highlight the lack of competition (two-thirds lack access to speeds of 25 Mbps from more than one provider) at faster speeds, largely thanks to telcos that no longer really want to be in the residential broadband business and are refusing to upgrade their networks at any scale. Needless to say, neither ISPs — nor the politicians paid to love them — were happy with the new standard.

      Recently the Canadian government took things further, announcing new rules that make 50 Mbps downstream, 10 Mbps upstream the new industry standard. In addition to declaring that this 50 Mbps option should be considered “basic telecom service” moving forward, the CRTC announced that it’s requiring that Canadian ISPs at least offer users the ability to purchase an uncapped, unlimited broadband connection.

    • Utterly Tone Deaf To Cord Cutting, Cable Contract Feuds And Blackouts Skyrocket

      We’ve noted for years that as broadcasters and cable companies bicker over new programming contracts, already-annoyed customers are left in a lurch. Usually these feuds go something like this: a broadcaster demands a huge rate increase for the exact same content. The cable company balks, and the content is usually pulled out of the cable lineup. Customers aren’t given any sort of refund for this missing content, they’re just inundated with PR pitches from both sides trying to get them pissed at the other guy. Ultimately a new, confidential contract is struck, and the rate hikes are then passed on to the consumer.

      In short, consumers are repeatedly punished with blackouts and petty PR bitching between companies incapable of responsibly signing new contracts, after which they get a lovely new price hike. It’s no wonder that 2016 was a record year for cord cutting.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • UN Establishes Technology Bank For Least-Developed Countries, Including An IP Bank [Ed: poor countries don’t need “IP”]

      The United Nations has established a “technology bank” for least-developed countries that aims to strengthen the science, technology and innovation capacity of LDCs that includes better management of intellectual property rights.

    • Trademarks

      • Bushy’s Brewery, Isle Of Man Govt. Have Trademark Hissy Fit Over Two Letters: TT

        If there is one lesson you take away from writing about trademark law and disputes, it’s how simple it would be to avoid a massive percentage of the conflicts by holding trademark applications to a far higher standard then they often are. If the world’s many trademark offices kept in mind that the entire point of this form of intellectual property is supposed to be keeping the public confident in their ability to determine the source of a given product or service by its trademarked branding, then it would be obvious that approved trademarks should be unique and distinct.

        As a counterexample to that line of thinking, consider the current dispute going on between Bushy’s Brewery, located on the Isle of Man, and the Manx government, all over the government’s trademark for exactly two letters: TT.

    • Copyrights

      • FACT Lawyer Reveals Challenges of Kodi Box Seller Prosecutions

        A lawyer who has worked on piracy cases for the Federation Against Copyright Theft has revealed the challenges posed by Kodi and IPTV box prosecutions. Ari Alabhai says that copyright can be complicated for a jury to understand, so prosecutions under the Fraud Act may be preferred. Even that has its complications, however.

      • Pirates across Europe… What can we expect in 2017?

        There are good reasons to keep an eye on the performance of the Pirates across Europe – as we know from the Icelandic experiance, strong showings in other countries can help support the UK Pirate Party as it brings knowledge of Pirate Politics to new people. There are also opportunities to ‘Pirate’ each others ideas and bring the best of what works in campaigns to the UK.

      • Polls suggest Iceland’s Pirate party may form next government

        The Pirate party, whose platform includes direct democracy, greater government transparency, a new national constitution and asylum for US whistleblower Edward Snowden, will field candidates in every constituency and has been at or near the top of every opinion poll for over a year.

        As befits a movement dedicated to reinventing democracy through new technology, it also aims to boost the youth vote by persuading the company developing Pokémon Go in Iceland to turn polling stations into Pokéstops.

        “It’s gradually dawning on us, what’s happening,” Birgitta Jónsdóttir, leader of the Pirates’ parliamentary group, told the Guardian. “It’s strange and very exciting. But we are well prepared now. This is about change driven not by fear but by courage and hope. We are popular, not populist.”

        The election, likely to be held on 29 October, follows the resignation of Iceland’s former prime minister Sigmundur Davið Gunnlaugsson, who became the first major victim of the Panama Papers in April after the leaked legal documents revealed he had millions of pounds of family money offshore.

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