EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.17.17

Links 17/1/2017: GIMP Plans, New Raspberry Pi Product

Posted in News Roundup at 7:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • D-Wave Unveils Open-Source Software for Quantum Computing

    Canada-based D-Wave Systems has released an open-source software tool designed to help developers program quantum computers, Wired reported Wednesday.

  • D-Wave builds open quantum computing software development ecosystem

    D-Wave Systems has released an open source quantum computing chunk of software.

    Quantum computing, as we know, moves us on from the world of mere 1’s and 0’s in binary to the new level of ‘superposition’ qubits that can represent many more values and therefore more computing power — read this accessible piece for a simple explanation of quantum computing.

  • FOSS Compositing With Natron

    Anyone who likes to work with graphics will at one time or another find compositing software useful. Luckily, FOSS has several of the best in Blender and Natron.

  • Hadoop Creator Doug Cutting: 5 Ways to Be Successful with Open Source in 2017

    Because of my long-standing association with the Apache Software Foundation, I’m often asked the question, “What’s next for open source technology?” My typical response is variations of “I don’t know” to “the possibilities are endless.”

    Over the past year, we’ve seen open source technology make strong inroads into the mainstream of enterprise technology. Who would have thought that my work on Hadoop ten years ago would impact so many industries – from manufacturing to telecom to finance. They have all taken hold of the powers of the open source ecosystem not only to improve the customer experience, become more innovative and grow the bottom line, but also to support work toward the greater good of society through genomic research, precision medicine and programs to stop human trafficking, as just a few examples.

    Below I’ve listed five tips for folks who are curious about how to begin working with open source and what to expect from the ever-changing ecosystem.

  • Radio Free HPC Looks at New Open Source Software for Quantum Computing

    In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at D-Wave’s new open source software for quantum computing. The software is available on github along with a whitepaper written by Cray Research alums Mike Booth and Steve Reinhardt.

  • Open Source, Vendor Lock-In Are Top of Mind for Execs This Year

    The use of open source software has increased dramatically in the past decade, and this year could be the one in which we see real maturity in the market.

    Couchbase Chief Executive Officer Bob Wiederhold spoke with Information Management about what he sees for the market in 2017, as well as issues related to digital infrastructure and vendor lock-in.

  • Events

    • Why events matter and how to do them right

      Marina Paych was a newcomer to open source software when she left a non-governmental organization for a new start in the IT sector—on her birthday, no less. But the real surprise turned out to be open source. Fast forward two years and this head of organizational development runs an entire department, complete with a promotional staff that strategically markets her employer’s open source web development services on a worldwide scale.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Equal Rating Innovation Challenge: And the Semifinalists are…

        About three months ago we launched this global Equal Rating Innovation Challenge to help catalyze new thinking and innovation to provide access to the open Internet to those still living without. Clearly the idea resonated. Thanks to the help of numerous digital inclusion initiatives, think tanks, impact hubs and various local communities that supported us, our challenge has spurred global engagement. We received 98 submissions from 27 countries around the world. This demonstrates that there are entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators in myriad fields poised to tackle this huge challenge with creative products and services.

        [...]

        Following the mentorship period, on March 9, we will host a day-long event in New York City on the topic of affordable access and innovation. We will invite speakers and researchers from around the world to provide their valuable insights on the global debate, various initiatives, and the latest approaches to affordable access. The main feature of this event will be presentations by our semifinalists, with a thorough Q&A from our judges. We will then have a week of open public voting on EqualRating.com to help determine the winners of the Challenge. The winners will then be announced at RightsCon on March 29 in Brussels.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Exploring OpenStack’s Trove DBaaS Cloud Servic

      You can install databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, or even MongoDB very quickly thanks to package management, but the installation is not even half the battle. A functioning database also needs user accounts and several configuration steps for better performance and security.

      This need for additional configuration poses challenges in cloud environments. You can always manually install a virtual machine in traditional settings, but cloud users want to generate an entire virtual environment from a template. Manual intervention is difficult or sometimes even impossible.

    • Mobile Edge Computing Creates ‘Tiny Data Centers’ at the Edge

      “Usually access networks include all kinds of encryption and tunneling protocols,” says Fite. “It’s not a standard, native-IP environment.” Saguna’s platform creates a bridge between the access network to a small OpenStack cloud, which works in a standard IP environment. It provides APIs about such things as location, registration for services, traffic direction, radio network services, and available bandwidth.

    • Serverless Computing: 10 Things You Need to Know

      In fact, Gartner referred to serverless computing in its Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017. The firm sees serverless as part of the trend toward mesh app and service architecture, and explains, “the mesh app and service architecture (MASA) is a multichannel solution architecture that leverages cloud and serverless computing, containers and microservices as well as APIs and events to deliver modular, flexible and dynamic solutions.” But the firm also cautions that this is a long-term trend that will require IT to adopt new tools and new ways of doing things.

    • Apache Beam Unifies Batch and Streaming Data Processing

      We’re only half way through January of 2017, and as we’ve steadily taken note of, the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating numerous promising open source projects to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to Big Data and developer-focused tools in recent times. Just last week, Apache graduated its Eagle project to Top-Level status. Eagle is an open source monitoring and alerting solution for instantly identifying security and performance issues on Big Data platforms such as Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark, and more.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Community-supported development of GEGL now live

      Almost every new major feature people have been asking us for, be it high bit depth support, or full CMYK support, or layer effects, would be impossible without having a robust, capable image processing core.

      Øyvind Kolås picked up GEGL in mid-2000s and has been working on it in his spare time ever since. He is the author of 42% of commits in GEGL and 50% of commits in babl (pixel data conversion library).

    • 2016 in review

      When we released GIMP 2.9.2 in late 2015 and stepped over into 2016, we already knew that we’d be doing mostly polishing. This turned out to be true to a larger extent, and most of the work we did was under-the-hood changes.

      But quite a few new features slipped in. So, what are the big user-visible changes for GIMP in 2016?

    • Meet Guix at FOSDEM

      FOSDEM takes place in Brussels, Belgium, on the 4th and 5th of February, with the Guile track all day long on Sunday 5th. Hope to see you there!

    • FSF announces a major overhaul of free software High Priority Projects List

      The HPP list highlights projects of great strategic importance to the goal of freedom for all computer users. A committee of free software activists, assembled in 2014, spent a year soliciting feedback from the free software community for the latest revision of the list.

      “As the technological landscape has shifted over the last decade since the first version of the list was published, threats to users’ freedom to use their computers on their own terms have changed enormously,” said Benjamin Mako Hill, who is part of the High Priority Projects committee and also a member of the FSF’s board of directors. “The updated High Priority Projects list is a description of the most important threats, and most critical opportunities, that free software faces in the modern computing landscape.”

      Launched in 2005, the first version of the HPP list contained only four projects, three of them related to Java. Eighteen months later, Sun began to free Java users.

    • FSF New “High Priority Projects” List: Phone OS, Security, Drivers, More Inclusivity

      The list hasn’t made much sense at times and projects on the list didn’t necessarily advance during their time on the list or receive financial/developer support from the FSF along with other controversies. In 2014 they began forming a committee to maintain this high priority project list while today they announced a brand new list.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Happy birthday: Jimbo Wales’ sweet 16 Wikipedia fails

        Sixteen years ago, Larry Sanger had the idea for a wiki-based encyclopaedia anyone could edit: the “wiki-pedia”. On January 15, 2001, he and Jimmy Wales launched the site. Today, it’s everyone’s go-to place for quick factlets.

        Wikipedia’s convenience is undeniable. But its anonymously compiled content has flaws and quirks traditional encyclopaedias never had. Understanding these is vital for wiki-literacy.

        To illustrate the issues, here are sixteen of Wikipedia’s biggest cock-ups. Follow the hyperlinks to go down the Wikipedia wormhole…

  • Programming/Development

    • Dart-on-LLVM

      Dart already has an excellent virtual machine which uses just-in-time compilation to get excellent performance. Since Dart is dynamically typed (more precisely, it’s optionally typed), a JIT compiler is a natural fit — it can use the types available at runtime to perform optimizations that a static compiler can’t do.

    • Google Developers Experiment With Plumbing Dartlang Into LLVM

      It’s been a while since last hearing much excitement around Google’s Dart programming language that’s an alternative to JavaScript. This ECMA-approved language is now being used with IoT devices, can still be source-to-source compiled for JavaScript, and the latest is that the Google developers have been experimenting with wiring it into LLVM.

    • A behind the scenes look at Exercism for improving coding skills

      In our recent article, we talked about Exercism, an open source project to help people level up in their programming skills with exercises for dozens of different programming languages. Practitioners complete each exercise and then receive feedback on their response, enabling them to learn from their peer group’s experience.

      Katrina Owen is the founder of Exercism, and I interviewed her as research for the original article. There are some fantastic nuggets of information and insight in here that we wanted to share with anyone interested in learning to programming, teaching programming, and how a project like this takes contributions like this from others.

    • ‘You are Not Expected to Understand This’: An Explainer on Unix’s Most Notorious Code Comment

      The phrase “You are Not Expected to Understand This” is probably the most famous comment in the history of Unix.

      And last month, at the Systems We Love conference in San Francisco, systems researcher Arun Thomas explained to an audience exactly what it was that they weren’t supposed to understand.

Leftovers

  • Maybe it is time to tell new stories of Scotland

    Politics isn’t everything. Just as important is culture – a word used and over-used, seemingly about everything and everywhere, but difficult, and sometimes impossible to pin down and define.

    Culture when we forensically examine it can mean so many things. It can describe individual growth and enrichment. It can be about a group or community’s way of life. It expresses the activities of consuming culture. And finally, it is also used to define the way groups and organisations act and the codes and practices which shape them.

    The many facets of culture and the propensity not to define them can be seen in our nation. We have a politics which is meant to be all-encompassing, but often evades detail and substance. Reinforcing this is a widespread characteristic of not wanting to define Scottish culture – for fear of ghettoising and marginalising.

  • Science

    • The passing of Gene Cernan reminds us how far we haven’t come

      I was sitting with Apollo 7 veteran Walt Cunningham in his west Houston living room on Monday afternoon when his wife, Dot, stepped tentatively in. “I’m sorry for interrupting,” she said. “But Gene’s dead.”

      She meant Eugene Cernan, the US Navy Captain who commanded Apollo 17, and the last person to walk on the Moon. He was 82 and had been ill for about six months.

      We took a moment to process this. Six of NASA’s 12 Apollo Moonwalkers were now dead. The other six are in their 80s or older. And for Cunningham, this was personal. Cernan served as back-up to Cunningham as the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 7, the first flight of the Apollo capsule. Cunningham sighed. “I guess that’s the way it is,” he said. “I’ll be 85 in two months. I’m starting to face up to the fact that everybody I know is going to be gone soon, and probably me too.”

    • Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan has passed away

      Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon, has died at the age of 82, according to NASA. He was a veteran of three spaceflights: as the pilot for Gemini 9A, the Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 10, and as the commander of Apollo 17.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • I’m an Abortion Provider in a Red State, and I Expect the Attacks on Reproductive Freedom to Intensify in Trump’s America

      In 2013, I opened my own medical practice in Phoenix, Arizona: Desert Star Family Planning, LLC. I had already been providing women’s health care for years as a board-certified OB-GYN, but I wanted to pursue my vision of a private practice that fully integrates abortion care with general gynecological services.

      Desert Star is exactly what I’d dreamed it would be: a home base for women’s wellness; a safe space for LGBT people and teens; a warm, supportive environment where, on any given day, my staff and I may be called on to provide cancer screenings or abortion care or treatment for acute gynecological problems.

      But I have been under assault by the Arizona Legislature since the day I opened, and Donald Trump’s election means that things are only going to get worse. The truth is, I couldn’t even bear to stay up late watching the election returns. Once the tide began turning, I turned in.

      There are many ways a Trump administration can make life even harder and more dangerous for abortion providers like me. At the federal level, Congress could pass legislation with President Trump’s support that would prohibit clinics that provide abortion care from receiving Medicaid reimbursement for the many nonabortion services we provide. If that happens, many of my patients will no longer be able to afford to come to me for care.

    • If we sign up to the TTIP trade deal with Trump, the first thing to be sold off to US corporations will be the NHS

      With Theresa May indicating that Britain’s future lies outside the EU single market and Donald Trump signalling his desire for a quick US-UK trade deal, the likelihood of a future deal with America has shot up the agenda. But, in line with Barack Obama’s warning, the “back of the queue” may be the best place when it comes to a deal with Trump’s America.

      Let’s not forget the USA is the UK’s most important “single country” trading partner. In the absence of any deal, the US is already the UK’s largest export partner and second-largest import partner.

      But transform this into a “new generation” trade deal similar to the controversial TTIP and CETA pacts, and we risk losing the NHS, triggering another financial crisis, and replacing the European Court of Justice with a dystopian set of secretive, one-way “corporate courts” designed for big businesses to sue governments for lost profits. In one fell swoop, the ancient British principle of “equality before the law” will be destroyed.

    • Scientists to Government: Make It Easier to Study Marijuana

      Even as more and more states allow their residents to use marijuana, the federal government is continuing to obstruct scientists from studying whether the drug is good or bad for people’s health.

      A report published last week by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine points out that scientists who want to study cannabis have to seek approvals from federal, state and local agencies and depend on just one lab, at the University of Mississippi, for samples. As a result, far too little is known about the health effects of a substance that 28 states have decided can be used as medicine and eight states and the District of Columbia have approved for recreational use.

      The situation is so absurd, the report says, that chemists and brain researchers are not allowed to study cannabis concentrates and edibles. Yet those forms of the drug are widely used. For example, in Colorado, where voters decided to create a regulated market for marijuana in 2012, sales of concentrates reached $60.5 million in just the first three months of last year.

    • 18 million would lose insurance in first year of Obamacare repeal without replacement, CBO report says

      At least 18 million people would lose health insurance in the first year if Republicans move ahead with plans to repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan, estimates a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

      The number of people without insurance would grow to about 32 million within the first decade if congressional Republicans follow a 2015 plan to repeal the health-care law without an alternative, the new report says. It also estimates that health insurance premiums for people buying individual non-group coverage would double within a decade, further complicating GOP promises that people will not lose coverage under their plan.

  • Security

    • Truffle Hog Finds Security Keys Hidden in GitHub Code

      According to commentors on a Reddit thread about Truffle Hog, Amazon Web Services has already been using a similar tool for the same purpose. “I have accidentally committed my AWS secret keys before to a public repo,” user KingOtar wrote. “Amazon actually found them and shut down my account until I created new ones. Kinda neat Amazon.”

    • 5 Essential Tips for Securing Your WordPress Sites

      WordPress is by far the most popular blogging platform today.

      Being as popular as it is, it comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. The very fact that almost everybody uses it, makes it more prone to vulnerabilities. WordPress developers are doing a great job of fixing and patching the framework as new flaws are discovered, but that doesn’t mean that you can simply install and forget your installation.

      In this post, we will provide some of the most common ways of securing and strengthening a WordPress site.

    • Google ventures into public key encryption

      Google announced an early prototype of Key Transparency, its latest open source effort to ensure simpler, safer, and secure communications for everyone. The project’s goal is to make it easier for applications services to share and discover public keys for users, but it will be a while before it’s ready for prime time.

      Secure communications should be de rigueur, but it remains frustratingly out of reach for most people, more than 20 years after the creation of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP). Existing methods where users need to manually find and verify the recipients’ keys are time-consuming and often complicated. Messaging apps and file sharing tools are limited in that users can communicate only within the service because there is no generic, secure method to look up public keys.

    • How to Keep Hackers out of Your Linux Machine Part 2: Three More Easy Security Tips

      In part 1 of this series, I shared two easy ways to prevent hackers from eating your Linux machine. Here are three more tips from my recent Linux Foundation webinar where I shared more tactics, tools and methods hackers use to invade your space. Watch the entire webinar on-demand for free.

    • 3 Lessons in Web Encryption from Let’s Encrypt

      As exciting as 2016 was for encryption on the Web, 2017 seems set to be an even more incredible year. Much of the infrastructure and many of the plans necessary for a 100 percent encrypted Web really solidified in 2016, and the Web will reap the rewards in 2017. Let’s Encrypt is proud to have been a key part of that.

      But before we start looking ahead, it’s helpful to look back and see what our project learned from our exciting first full year as a live certificate authority (CA). I’m incredibly proud of what our team and community accomplished during 2016. I’d like to share how we’ve changed, what we’ve accomplished, and what we’ve learned.

      At the start of 2016, Let’s Encrypt was supporting approximately 240,000 active (unexpired) certificates. That seemed like a lot at the time! Now we’re frequently issuing that many new certificates in a single day while supporting more than 22 million active certificates in total.

    • [Older] Kali Linux Cheat Sheet for Penetration Testers
    • Report: Attacks based on open source vulnerabilities will rise 20 percent this year [Ed: The Microsoft-connected Black Duck spreads FUD against FOSS again, together with IDG; Black Duck was created for the purpose of attacking the GPL, by its very own admission.]

      The number of commercial software projects that were composed of 50 percent or more of free, open source software went up from 3 percent in 2011 to 33 percent today, said Mike Pittenger, vice president of security strategy at Black Duck Software.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • UK cosying up to Trump over Middle East peace process, say EU ministers

      Britain has been accused of cowering in the face of Donald Trump after becoming involved in a second row in 24 hours with European leaders over the future of the Middle East peace process.

      The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, with support from Estonia and Hungary, blocked an EU foreign ministers’ statement on how the EU could support the process, it emerged on Monday.

    • The Drone Assassination Assault on Democracy

      What do Reyaad Khan, Ruhul Amin, Samir Khan, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, Junaid Hussain and Micah Xavier Johnson have in common? All of these young, brown-skinned males were killed extrajudicially through the use of remote-control technology under authorization by their very own government.

      British nationals Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin had traveled to Syria to join up with ISIS (the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) in response to Western military intervention in the Middle East. Both were killed by the Royal Air Force (RAF) in August 2015 using lethal drones, even though the British parliament had voted down Cameron’s call for war in Syria. Ironically, in the year of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the prime minister chose to deploy missiles to destroy these compatriots without indicting or trying them for crimes. Following the precedent set by US President Barack Obama four years earlier, Cameron claimed to be acting in national self-defense. Obama had authorized the drone killing in Yemen of US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, an outspoken opponent of US militarism and an advocate of jihad.

    • The Horror of the Iraq War, One Hundred Years From Now

      AFTER SADDAM HUSSEIN, after the U.S. invasion, after the Islamic State, what will Iraq ultimately look like? The future of Iraq, its borders, economy, religious and cultural identity, is a matter of constant speculation for foreign policy experts.

      Now there’s a literary response, in the form of a new collection of short fiction, Iraq +100: Stories from a Century After the Invasion. In the book, Iraqi writers who are inside the country and outside it imagine their homeland one hundred years from the fateful month of March 2003, when the U.S. invasion began. Iraq +100 is a fine example of critical dystopia, a genre that the writer Junot Diaz recently described as “not just something that is ‘the bad place.’ It is something that maps, warns, and hopes.”

      Iraq +100 was edited by Hassan Blasim, the author of a chilling, excellent book of stories called The Corpse Exhibition, which was published in 2014. Blasim is perhaps the best-known of the writers in Iraq +100. Almost all of the stories in The Corpse Exhibition include a fantastical element, but they are dark and grotesque, and the violence in them is surreal only until you think of what Iraqis have endured in recent decades. In the title story of The Corpse Exhibition, master assassins compete with one another to construct the most elaborate and impressive public displays of the bodies of their victims, describing maiming, splaying, and dismembering as an art form. Those and other stories made for grisly satire not far removed from real atrocities committed by U.S. troops and sectarian militias, and a queasy preview of the theatrical violence of executions carried out by the Islamic State, which swept through Iraq after Blasim’s book came out.

    • Jeremy Corbyn Accused of Being Russian “Collaborator” for Questioning NATO Troop Build-Up on Border

      The leader of the UK’s Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, called for a “de-escalation” of tensions between NATO and Russia, adding in a BBC interview on Thursday: “I want to see a de-militarisation of the border between them.” Along with the U.S., the UK has been rapidly building up its military presence in the Baltic region, including states which border Russia, and is now about to send another 800 troops to Estonia, 500 of which will be permanently based.

      In response, Russia has moved its own troops within its country near those borders, causing serious military tensions to rise among multiple nuclear-armed powers. Throughout 2016, the Russian and U.S. militaries have engaged in increasingly provocative and aggressive maneuvers against one another. This week, the U.S. began deploying 4,000 troops to Poland, “the biggest deployment of US troops in Europe since the end of the cold war.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The CIA’s Secret History Is Now Online

      Decades ago, the CIA declassified a 26-page secret document cryptically titled “clarifying statement to Fidel Castro concerning assassination.”

      It was a step toward greater transparency for one of the most secretive of all federal agencies. But to find out what the document actually said, you had to trek to the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and hope that one of only four computers designated by the CIA to access its archives would be available.

      But today the CIA posted the Castro record on its website along with more than 12 million pages of the agency’s other declassified documents that have eluded the public, journalists, and historians for nearly two decades. You can view the documents here.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Study says pesticide is a threat to survival of bats

      Imidacloprid — a neonicotinoid pesticide that the US Environmental Protection Agency says can be harmful to bees — is a threat to the survival of bats, a research team said.

      The team, headed by National Taiwan Normal University professor of life sciences Wu Chung-hsin (吳忠信) found that bats feeding on imidacloprid-tainted insects were unable to fly along learned paths and often got lost while hunting.

      With Formosan leafnosed bats as their experimental subject, the team found that animals treated with a low dose of imidacloprid developed neural apopotosis — a process of programmed cell death — in the brain, Wu said.

      “The sonogram of ultrasounds emitted by such bats becomes incomplete,” Wu said on Wednesday, discussing research published in April last year in Neuroreport, a peer-reviewed journal of neuroscience.

    • Saudi Plans for Early End to OPEC Pact May Leave Job Undone

      OPEC and Russia won’t need to prolong output cuts beyond June because the agreed reductions will have already ended the oversupply in world crude markets, Saudi Minister of Energy and Industry Khalid Al-Falih said in Abu Dhabi on Monday. However, ending the deal by mid-year and restoring production would mean the surplus just starts building again, thwarting OPEC’s ambition of whittling down bloated oil inventories.

    • Global Sea Ice Hits Lowest Levels ‘Probably in Millenia’

      Global sea ice levels are at their lowest in recorded history, according to new statistics from the U.S. National Snow & Ice Data Center.

      In the Arctic, the loss is due to climate change and extreme weather events that are likely influenced by global warming, while the changes in the Antarctic may be attributed to natural variability, the center said.

    • @Ivanka from Brighton sends climate change reply to Donald Trump

      Replying to Trump, she tweeted: “And you’re a man with great responsibilities. May I suggest more care on Twitter and more time learning about #climatechange.”

      She also tweeted data pointing out that 97.5% of publishing climatologists and about 90% of all publishing scientists supported the human-induced climate change theory.

  • Finance

    • Clintons Shutter Global Initiative as Donations Dry Up

      The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) filed a WARN — Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification — with New York State’s Department of Labor on Thursday, announcing that, effective April 15, 2017, it would be closing its doors and laying off 22 employees. The CGI’s stated reason: “Discontinuation of the Clinton Global Initiative.”

      Following the election, foreign governments that had been regular donors began cutting their contributions to the Clinton Foundation, some severely. For example, news.com.au noted that the Australian government “has not renewed any of its partnerships with the scandal-plagued Clinton Foundation, effectively ending 10 years of taxpayer-funded contributions worth more than $88 million.” The government of Norway, which had been contributing as much as $20 million a year to the foundation, cut its contribution by nearly 90 percent.

    • Donald Trump’s businesses owe $1.8bn to more than 150 different institutions, new study suggests

      Donald Trump’s companies are almost $1.8 billion in debt to more than 150 institutions, a new report has suggested – raising fresh questions about potential conflicts of interests when the Republican takes office in January.

      The new evidence exposes the extent to which the businessman will soon be responsible for regulating many of the institutions he owes sizeable amounts of money to.

      Mr Trump has previously declared $315 million (£254 million) of debt owed to ten different lenders.

    • Moody’s to Pay $864 Million for its Role in Subprime Mortgage Crisis

      Moody’s Corporation will pay $864 million to settle federal and state claims that it gave misleading ratings to risky mortgage investments, leading to the subprime mortgage crisis in the US and to the Great Recession.

      In the deal, announced January 13, the ratings agency will give $437.5 million to the Justice Department and $426.3 million to be divided among the 21 involved states and the District of Columbia.

    • Taxi races show black cabs beat Uber on speed but not cost [iophk: “neglects to mention that the passenger costs are subsidized by venture capital”]

      London Bridge to Trafalgar Square. You take an Uber, I’ll take a black cab. Ready, set, go!

      A group of researchers led by Anastasios Noulas at Lancaster University, UK, recently raced to settle the debate over which taxi service is fastest. They ran a three-day experiment taking 29 journeys from different locations around London. One researcher hailed a taxi from the Uber app while another took a traditional black cab to the same destination, with the route left up to the driver.

      At the end of their trial, black cabs worked out faster, taking on average 88 per cent of the time an Uber did – although they were also around 35 per cent more expensive.

      “Uber drivers rely on navigation apps, but in dense parts of the city these can be slower than a black cab driver to react to traffic build up,” says Noulas.

      The researchers ran their experiment while developing a taxi price comparison app called OpenStreetCab, which is currently available in London and New York and aims to be like Skyscanner for taxis. Comparing prices for taxi services is more difficult than for flights, however, because Uber’s prices constantly change depending on demand. For both services, the final cost also depends on the route the driver takes.

    • Brexit: UK to leave single market, says Theresa May

      Theresa May has said the UK “cannot possibly” remain within the European single market, as staying in it would mean “not leaving the EU at all”.

      But the prime minister promised to push for the “freest possible trade” with European countries and to sign new deals with others around the world.

    • Crippling costs for sheep sector in ‘hard’ Brexit, NSA warns
    • Prime minister vows to put final Brexit deal before parliament

      Theresa May has committed to putting the final Brexit deal to a vote in parliament in a speech on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union, and insisted that if she failed to get what she wanted no deal would be better than a bad deal.

    • Theresa May’s Brexit focus should be on the least harmful way of leaving

      Theresa May, who makes a major speech on Tuesday, has reached a moment of truth on Brexit. No one can blame her for the result of the referendum – she was a remainer – but from now on she takes responsibility for the consequences. If Britain not only leaves the EU but also loses free access to its main export market in Europe, our economy will become smaller and poorer.

      Of course, she will argue that British exporters will not be barred from Europe’s vast marketplace, and technically that is true. But from now on we will be selling our goods and services on Europe’s terms; not as insiders but as competitors and rivals. Any deal that helps us will depend on Europe’s willingness to grant us preferential access.

      Without favoured treatment, many exports to the EU could face tariffs in some cases of 10% or a lot more. Robust customs barriers will add significant export costs and expensive delays, and many exports of services will be blocked once we abandon Europe’s single regulatory rulebook. This means not just a hard Brexit but a destructive and harmful rupture that will, over time, reduce trade, shrink manufacturing investment and destroy jobs.

    • See you in Davos (not)

      It’s hard to find examples of how the World Economic Forum lives up to its motto of ‘improving the state of the world.’

    • Netherlands will block post Brexit trade deal if UK doesn’t ‘firmly tackle’ tax avoidance, says deputy PM

      The deputy prime minister of the Netherlands has said his country will block any post-Brexit EU trade deal with the UK unless it can agree on “firmly tackling” tax avoidance.

      Lodewijk Asscher, leader of the Dutch Labour party, fears a “race to the bottom” led by a British Conservative government, which would have negative ramifications across Europe.

      This is reminiscent of the fears of many Remain campaigners, who believe the government could try to entice businesses to the UK after EU withdrawal by cutting taxes and regulation.

    • Theresa May’s Brexit speech: ‘No deal for Britain is better than a bad deal’ – Politics live

      The Irish government has signalled its intent to exploit May’s plans to leave the single market and customs union with bids to woo EU agencies from London to Dublin.

      A spokesperson for the government in Dublin said there were now “economic opportunities that may arise for Ireland” following the UK’s decision.

      “Bids for the EU agencies currently located in London – the European Medicines Board and the European Banking Authority have already been announced and the state enterprise agencies are actively pursuing opportunities for increased investment, business and job creation in Ireland,” they said.

      “Economic opportunities for Ireland will be pursued vigorously”, the government spokesperson continued.

      The government in Dublin said it welcomed the prime minister’s commitment to maintaining the pre-EU common travel area between Britain and Ireland as well as her promise that there would be no “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

      May will meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin later this month to discuss ares of common interest, the spokesperson said.

    • Theresa May’s Brexit plan is taking ‘extreme gamble’ with UK’s future, says Caroline Lucas

      Caroline Lucas, the co-leader of the Green Party, has responded to Theresa May’s speech on Brexit.

      Ms May laid out 12 objectives for negotiations to take Britain out of the European Union and said the UK will no longer be a part of the Single Market.

      Ms Lucas said it was an “extreme gamble”.

    • Inflation at 29-month high of 1.6% as food and air fares rise

      The headline rate of inflation has hit its highest level since the summer of 2014 as weaker sterling starts to affect the cost of many everyday prices.

      Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the Consumer Price Index (CPI) hit an annual rate of 1.6% in December – up from 1.2% the previous month.

      It meant the measure was at its highest level since July 2014 and came in above the expectations of economists who had pencilled in a rise to 1.4%.

    • Worried This Billionaire Will Destroy Public Education, Teachers Have Some #Questions4Betsy

      Defenders of public education have a few questions they want to ask Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s controversial pick to lead the Department of Education, when she appears at her senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday.

      With a new campaign targeting members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), as well as its members and supporters, are sharing questions they’d like to see answered by the billionaire Amway heiress and notorious critic of public schools.

      “DeVos has no relevant experience in public education, but as a billionaire with an agenda she’s promoted disastrous ideology and pushed destructive policies across her home state of Michigan—working to undermine, defund and privatize public schools, expand for-profit charters without accountability, and push unconstitutional private school vouchers,” Randi Weingarten, president of AFT, wrote in an email to supporters on Monday.

      “We need a secretary of education who would strengthen and improve public schools, not one who is out to destroy them,” Weingarten added. “We need our questions answered before she gets anywhere near our children’s futures.”

    • At the Birthplace of Auto Workers’ Sit-Down Strikes, Locked Out for Eight Months and Counting

      This month, auto workers from Chicago and Detroit made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of auto workers’ sit-down strikes to lend solidarity to workers who’ve been locked out for eight months and counting.

      Honeywell locked out 320 aerospace workers with Auto Workers (UAW) Local 9 in South Bend, Indiana, on May 9 after they voted 270-30 to reject the company’s offer. Another 40 Honeywell workers with Local 1508 at in Green Island, New York, are also locked out.

      Honeywell was demanding the power to change health care premiums and deductibles unilaterally. The rejected proposal would also have eliminated cost-of-living increases and retiree health care, frozen pensions, curtailed overtime pay, subcontracted work, and voided seniority rights.

    • Is MLK’s Legacy to the 99 Percent Being Reversed in the Age of Trumpian Reaction?

      Reaction has two main meanings in English. One is to respond to some new situation (not specifying the nature of the reaction). The other is to resist some innovation. In this second sense, a reactionary is one who wants to go back to a previously existing condition of society. A reactionary is worse than a conservative. A conservative resists progressive change that benefits large numbers of people but does not help the rich. A reactionary wants to undo a progressive change already long since effected, taking achievements away from the people for the sake of the 1%.

      We live in a reactionary age. Trump crony Newt Gingrich wants to undo the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt entirely, getting rid of social security and condemning large numbers of elderly Americans to penury. (In the 1930s the elderly were the poorest segment of society; that is no longer true today, and people can hope to retire and live with dignity, because of social security). We live in a moment where 8 billionaires are as rich as the poorer half of humankind and when the top 1% takes home 20% of the US national income (up from 10% only a few decades ago). Ironically, it is in this moment, when workers and the middle classes are prostrate and the lion’s share of resources is going to 1.2 million households out of 124 million American households– it is at this very moment that reactionaries are demanding that ordinary people surrender their pensions and social security and health care for the sake of a further fat tax cut for the super-rich. The average wage of the average worker has been flat since 1970 in the US, as any increases in productivity or real economic growth appears to have been taken right to the top and the 1% by the Republican tax-cut conveyor belt. A loss of entitlements would actually reduce their incomes substantially, sending them back to the 1950s.

    • Corona has a Trump-Mexico problem

      Just one day after Donald Trump was elected president, the U.S. company that distributes Corona took a 7% dive in the stock market — and it hasn’t recovered.

      Constellation Brands’ stock remains down 10% since the election, seriously missing out on Wall Street’s big Trump rally.

    • Trump would win trade war with China, says aide

      One of Donald Trump’s closest advisers has told the BBC that the US would win a trade war with China.

      Anthony Scaramucci warned that if China chose to retaliate when the Trump administration imposed tariffs on imports, it would cost them “way more” than it would cost the US.

      He added the current trade relationship was “more favourable to China than us”.

    • Polls And Politics: There’s No Mandate For A Hard Brexit

      During the referendum campaign I argued strongly that the European Union has fostered and supported democracy in our continent. I must admit that at the time I had in mind the transition from communism in Eastern Europe and fascism in Mediterranean Europe. But the disturbing reality is that we are witnessing how our own democracy has been weakened by our vote to leave.

      Democracy relies on a shared vision of the future. Those who do not win an election still have a right to be respected and some of their wishes to be included in the political compromise. The Brexit chant: ‘We won; you lost: shut up!’ is not compatible with democracy.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Bush Counting Down Days Until He Is No Longer Worst President in History
    • America’s Self-Destructive Obsessions

      The U.S. population is led from one hysteria to the next, now transitioning from the Global War on Terror to the New Cold War with Russia, a fearful madness that is infecting the collective psyche, says Michael Brenner.

    • Democrats Lost in a Corporate Wilderness

      Over the past quarter century, the national Democratic Party merged with the Clinton pay-for-play money machine and lost touch with American populism. So, what must be done and what are the party’s prospects, asks Lawrence Davidson.

    • Playing Politics with Terrorism List

      Legislation introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Florida, to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) is regrettable on multiple counts. It represents a perversion of the FTO list and reflects an attitude that is likely to increase rather than decrease Islamist terrorism.

      [...]

      The 1996 legislation established a procedure in which the various departments and agencies involved participate in a lengthy review process to examine which groups should be listed as FTOs. The law spells out the criteria to govern the review, which basically are that the group must be an identifiable organization that is foreign and has engaged in terrorism that somehow affects U.S. interests. The review process has been thorough and laborious, including the preparation of detailed “administrative records” assembling the available information about each group under examination. The Secretary of State makes the final determinations regarding listing or delisting.

      There has been some political manipulation of the list, though it has been to keep or move a group off the list rather than putting it on. The most salient case of this involved the Iranian cult and terrorist group known as the Mojahedin-e Khalq, which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delisted in 2012. The group, which has killed American citizens in terrorist attacks and clearly met the criteria for being on the FTO list, had not changed its stripes. Instead, the delisting was a response to the group’s long-running and well-financed lobbying campaign to win favor in Washington and especially among members of Congress.

    • Trump’s Remaking of US Foreign Policy

      Over the weekend, President-elect Trump received two journalists from mainstream European print media — The Times of London and the German magazine Bild — for a joint interview in New York City’s Trump Tower. The event was videotaped and we are seeing some remarkable sound bites, particularly those of interest to the British and German publics.

      [...]

      For the general public’s consumption, Donald Trump used the interview to explain his special affection for Britain, speaking about his Scottish mother’s delight in the Queen and her watching every royal event on television for its unequaled pageantry. But we may expect that Prime Minister May will find there is a bill to pay for the “special relationship” with the U.S. under President Trump.

      Rather than the British media’s early speculation that Prime Minister May would be the one to set the misguided Trump straight about the nefarious Vladimir Putin, she may now have to become a leading European advocate for détente with Russia at Trump’s behest. In this connection, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson’s advice to Congress during his visit to Washington last week that Official Washington “stop demonizing Putin” may well have been a straw in the wind.

    • The Real Reason Any Russian Meddling Is an Emergency

      The bizarre saga of potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has created a genuine emergency in American politics. This isn’t necessarily because of Russia’s actual actions — unless the most peculiar allegations turn out to be accurate — but because of Donald Trump’s response, and what this indicates about how he’ll govern.

      Ignore the Trump “dossier” for the moment and forget the baseless conjecture about Russia hacking the U.S. voting process itself. All we need to know about Trump and the Republican Party can be found in their position on the simplest, most plausible part of the story: that Russia was behind the hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and John Podesta.

      Is this in fact what happened? Certainly the Obama administration did itself no favors by failing to release any of the evidence underlying the strong conclusions in the the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s report. But Trump himself said at last week’s press conference, presumably based on a classified briefing, that “I think it was Russia.” Mike Pompeo, Trump’s nominee to run the Central Intelligence Agency, agreed during his confirmation hearings. There’s also the crucial dog that hasn’t barked: Unlike during the lead up to the Iraq War, no one from the intelligence agencies has been leaking doubts or claims that they’re being leaned on by the White House to provide the desired conclusion.

    • Could Trump Have Been Caught in a Classic “Honey Trap”?

      Finally, some fun. Finally, something to off set the angst, the fear, the crushing dread of a Trump presidency. Of course, nothing has been verified as yet (and very likely never will be), but given the Soviet Union’s history of espionage, and Trump’s notorious impetuosity, the first reports to leak out have proven to be tantalizingly believable.

      Basically, the story going around is that the Russians have compromised Donald Trump. They did it by tricking him into committing some fairly bizarre sexual indiscretions, recording them on film (their standard Cold War modus operandi), and filing them away for future use, which is to say, for blackmail purposes.

    • Actually Mr. Trump, Turns Out Americans ‘Care a Lot’ About Your Tax Returns

      President-elect Donald Trump has claimed that the American people “don’t care at all” about whether he releases his tax returns. Turns out, he was wrong.

      In fact, new ABC News/Washington Post polling data released on Monday shows that 74 percent of all Americans, including 49 percent of his own supporters, say he should release his tax returns.

      What’s more, the number of people curious about Trump’s finances has risen since he’s been elected. “In May, 64 percent said he should release the returns, and in September, 63 percent said he was not justified in withholding them,” ABC News reports.

      Last week, the incoming president held a news conference during which he announced that he would not divest his holdings in his business empire and stood by his refusal to release his tax documents.

    • Filmmaker Michael Moore Organizing Pre-Inauguration Rally
    • A Demand for Russian ‘Hacking’ Proof

      You, on the other hand, enjoy far more credibility – AND power – for the next few days. And we assume you would not wish to hobble your successor with charges that cannot withstand close scrutiny. We suggest you order the chiefs of the NSA, FBI and CIA to the White House and ask them to lay all their cards on the table. They need to show you why you should continue to place credence in what, a month ago, you described as “uniform intelligence assessments” about Russian hacking.

      At that point, if the intelligence heads have credible evidence, you have the option of ordering it released – even at the risk of damage to sources and methods. For what it may be worth, we will not be shocked if it turns out that they can do no better than the evidence-deprived assessments they have served up in recent weeks. In that case, we would urge you, in all fairness, to let the American people in on the dearth of convincing evidence before you leave office.

    • People Are RSVPing To Trump’s Inauguration In The Most Hilarious Wa

      On Saturday, Mike Pence shared a video of Trump “inviting” people to come to his inauguration. Almost immediately, the comments section went wild.

    • Brian Covert

      Peter and Mickey spend the hour with journalist and media scholar Brian Covert, discussing the too-close relationship between the CIA and U.S. media, as well as other issues, including the Obama Administration “pivot” toward Asia. Brian Covert is an independent journalist, and a lecturer at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. His chapter on the CIA and the media, “Played by the Mighty Wurlitzer,” appears in the Censored 2017 yearbook.

    • WaPo, Organ of Extreme Center, Calls MLK ‘True Conservative’

      Because words and history evidently have no meaning, the Washington Post (1/16/17) decided to honor civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. by painting him as a “true conservative.” In what one can only hope was a terribly botched attempt at high-wire satire, the Post’s editorial board attempted to use King’s frequent appeals to the “founding fathers” as evidence King should be lumped in the same ideological category as William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater.

    • CIA Director John Brennan Rejects Donald Trump’s Criticism

      Outgoing Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan on Monday rejected Donald Trump’s suggestions that he may have leaked an unsubstantiated dossier on the president-elect while defending the U.S. intelligence community more broadly from Mr. Trump’s recent attacks on its credibility and integrity.

    • Donald Trump tweets at wrong Ivanka during daughter’s CNN interview

      The President-elect mistook a woman in the United Kingdom for his 35-year-old daughter while proudly live-tweeting her interview airing on CNN Monday night.

    • Donald Trump will reportedly keep tweeting from his personal account

      The @realDonaldTrump handle is the most notorious account in Twitter’s brief history, and it appears as though its owner and author isn’t yet ready to let it go. NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell reports word directly from the transition team of US president-elect Donald Trump that he will continue to use his personal Twitter account. The widespread presumption, with any other president, might have been that he (or she) would pick up the @POTUS handle to conduct all his public-facing tweeting. Mr. Trump, however, has expressed a desire to keep growing his following, which at this point surpasses 20 million people on Twitter alone — and that’s just direct followers, many follow him indirectly through endless waves of reverberating reactions to his latest proclamations.

    • Politician Arrested for Pinching Woman’s Genitals ‘Said He No Longer Had to Be Politically Correct’

      Connecticut Republican politician Christopher von Keyserling was arrested and charged with sexual assault after he was caught on a security camera pinching the genitals of a woman with whom he got into a political disagreement.

      Von Keyserling, the 71-year-old chair of the Representative Town Meeting in Greenwich, encountered the unnamed woman in the hallway of an unnamed town facility on Dec. 8, according to the Westport Weston. She told him it was “a new world” politically, to which he allegedly replied, “I love this new world, I no longer have to be politically correct,” according to the warrant.

      She told him that if he was “proud of that I can’t help you,” after which he called her a lazy, bloodsucking union employee, the warrant said. He allegedly followed her into her office, saying he wanted to talk to her co-worker. Her co-worker came into the office, refused to talk with him, and left.

      The first woman attempted to do the same, at which point von Keyserling “reached in from behind to place his hand between her legs and pinch her in the groin area,” according to the police arrest warrant. She threatened to hit him if he tried to pinch her again, and he replied, “It would be your word against mine and nobody will believe you,” according to the warrant.

    • Celebrating Two Centuries of Thoreau

      For someone generally associated with serenity, Henry David Thoreau can get people riled up. In a 2015 essay in The New Yorker, Kathryn Schulz wrote that the transcendentalist and his work had become “simplified and inspirational,” and that our beatific vision of him “cannot survive any serious reading of ‘Walden,’ ” which reveals a writer “in the fullest sense of the word, self-obsessed: narcissistic, fanatical about self-control, adamant that he required nothing beyond himself to understand and thrive in the world.” Donovan Hohn counterargued at length in The New Republic, saying that Schulz simply replaced “the distortions of hagiography with those of caricature, and the caricature has been drawn before.”

      Many political observers have recently noted the renewed relevance of the essay “Civil Disobedience” with Donald Trump moving into the White House, but that’s not the only reason the 19th-century thinker is on our minds. In 2017, if the air at Walden had been really, really health-giving, Thoreau would have turned 200. With the bicentennial arrive several books about the naturalist. (Kevin Dann’s “Expect Great Things: The Life and Search of Henry David Thoreau” is reviewed on Page 13 this week by John Kaag.) This spring will see a focus on narrow slices of his work, like Richard Higgins’s “Thoreau and the Language of Trees,” and “Thoreau’s Animals,” edited by Geoff Wisner. Robert M. Thorson’s “The Boatman,” about Thoreau’s relationship to the Concord River and alterations made to it during his lifetime, promises what the publisher, Harvard University, calls, “the most complete account to date of this ‘flowage controversy.’ ”

      An ambitious new full biography by Laura Dassow Walls, an English professor at Notre Dame, will be published in July — the month when Thoreau officially turns the big 2-0-0.

    • Trump Team Considers Moving Press Corps, Alarming Reporters

      In the 1890s, journalists covering the president were forced to stand vigil outside the White House fence, querying visitors for scraps of information and appealing for audiences with presidential aides.

      Today’s reporters are concerned that President-elect Donald J. Trump could send them back into the past.

      The White House press corps was stunned on Sunday by reports of a proposal by the Trump administration to eject reporters from their home in the West Wing — a move that, if carried out, would uproot decades of established protocol whereby journalists are allowed to work in the White House close to senior officials.

    • Donald Trump blames dissolution of European Union on refugees — ‘all of these illegals’

      President-elect Donald Trump blamed Europe’s acceptance of Mideast refugees — as he put it, “all of these illegals” — for the decision by Britain to leave the European Union, and predicted the organization would disintegrate barring a reversal of immigration policies promoted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

      “People, countries, want their own identity and the UK wanted its own identity,” Trump told representatives of the Times of London and the German publication Bild about the June Brexit vote. “But, I do believe this, if they hadn’t been forced to take in all of the refugees, so many, with all the problems that it … entails, I think that you wouldn’t have a Brexit.”

      “I believe others will leave … I think it’s gonna be very hard to keep it together because people are angry about it.”

      Merkel, a longtime U.S. ally who is facing election this year, came in for tough treatment from Trump, who also criticized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that has been the western bulwark against Russia on the European continent.

    • Britons’ trust in government, media and business falls sharply

      Levels of trust in the UK government, media and businesses have plummeted, according to a key survey.

      The annual trust barometer survey by PR firm Edelman has for the first time published a separate UK-specific supplement, which showed a sharp drop in levels of trust in the last 12 months.

      Trust in the British government, which was already low at 36% at the start of last year, fell to 26% by the start of 2017, the survey showed.

      In a separate question, the prime minister, Theresa May, was given a trust rating of 35% following the EU referendum but this compared favourably with 23% for Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader.

      The number of people in the UK saying they trusted the media fell from 36% in 2016 to 24%, while trust in businesses fell from 46% to 33% and charities from 50% to 32%.

    • Former Intelligence Official: Trump Conflict With Spy Agencies Creates ‘Dangerous Moment’

      I think it’s a dangerous moment. Because of how important it is for the political leadership of the country, up to and including the president, to have confidence in the information and analysis that we are getting from the intelligence community. And right now the intelligence community is being told that what they say doesn’t matter, or that it’s biased, or that it’s partisan, and those criticisms cut to the core of the whole reason for the existence of the intelligence community. That is, to be outside of the political process, to be expert, so your opinions do matter, and then to be able to inform political leaders in a way that gives leadership a decision advantage. That’s the mission of the intelligence community. And if the President-elect is saying that those things aren’t true, then there’s no reason for the intelligence community to exist. That’s why the most significant criticism that can be levelled at an intelligence professional is this idea that they’re biased.

      In the short term, if the president just ignores the intelligence community that’s obviously extremely dangerous, because the decisions won’t be made based on the facts. But in the long run, you can actually have an impact on the intelligence community itself. So that a young person coming out of a graduate program decides instead of going to the CIA, I’m going to instead go to Goldman Sachs, and make a lot more money anyway.

      For now, what I experienced at the National Counterterrorism Center, out of the thousand or so people there, across the board there were just incredibly talented, mostly young people, who could’ve gone to Wall Street or to Silicon Valley, but wanted to go fight al-Qaida. And it was enormously gratifying to walk into a briefing room and have these people who were just incredibly talented and dedicated. And I’m concerned that one of the impacts of the latest controversy over the Russian hacking starts to undermine the fact that the intelligence community can continue to recruit and retain the most talented thinkers in the country.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • President Duterte has banned porn in the Philippines; Filipinos now need to unblock porn websites

      Internet users in the Philippines are now being forced by their government to use technological means to unblock porn. The South East Asian country is the latest to ban the world’s biggest legal porn websites, following in the steps of the UAE and Russia. Major porn sites such as Pornhub and Xvideos have been blocked by the government as of Saturday. Those attempting to visit these websites from within the Philippines without a VPN or proxy end up seeing this message:

    • The Philippine government has reportedly shut down a range of adult sites

      THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT HAS TAKEN SWIFT action after it discovered that a lot, and we mean a lot, of its citizens are accessing adult sites and probably masturbating over them.

      People reckon that the cold shower of a block on pages is down to a recent report from at least one page that we have never heard of called PornHub. PornHub recently revealed that it gets a lot of visitors from the country and that they hang around on its pages.

      “The Philippines is holding onto its first place position here with an average visit length to Pornhub of 12:45, exactly the same as where they were at in 2015,” says Pornhub.

    • YouTube under siege as porn is hidden in its privates

      YOUTUBE IS under siege from drive-by smut-peddlers who are uploading dinkles and fou-fous to the video-sharing site using a loophole to pull it off.

      As long as the video isn’t posted publically, it doesn’t appear in YouTube listings and is served up from the old Google Videos site.

      TorrentFreak reports that the embed code for these private videos still works, meaning that any budding Paul Raymonds can start their own debauched domain of dinkles and use YouTube to host the video.

    • Record Labels Target ‘Singing’ President Obama with Takedown Notices

      President Obama has many talents, and with help from the people at “baracksdubs” he can sing virtually any song. Whether it’s Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’ or Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas,’ Obama can do it. These parodies have also drawn the attention of some rightsholders who, perhaps unintentionally, are targeting them with takedown requests.

    • Women talk about self-censorship

      On Wednesday January 11, a salon-style discussion about women’s experiences with self-silencing was organized by Imago Theatre, in partnership with Béatrice Média, at Cafe Sfouf, an intimate venue welcoming approximately thirty people.

      Hosted by Rebecca Munroe, a radio host at CJLO – 1690AM, the talk featured three panelists: Dominique Pirolo, a Talent Acquisition Specialist for the German multinational software corporation SAP; Tracey Steer, a writer and blogger whose work has appeared in Today’s Parent and Reader’s Digest; and Christina Vroom, the Associate Director of University Advancement at McGill’s Faculty of Dentistry.

      The panel discussion accounted for the first part of the event, in which the panelists explored when and why they censored themselves. Following this, audience members were invited to share their own experiences of self-censorship. Eventually, the conversation progressed into a collective exchange of strategies to combat the entrenched structures that contribute to why women feel inclined to recede and self-silence.

    • Milo isn’t dangerous, but censorship is

      Thanks to its decision to publish a book by alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, Simon & Schuster is the latest company threatened with a consumer boycott. ‘YUCK AND BOO AND GROSS’, comedian Sarah Silverman elegantly tweeted after news of his $250,000 advance. He may well earn more from royalties, especially if feminists and other progressives continue providing him with free publicity and an excuse to proclaim himself a victim of political correctness.

      But the prospect that Yiannopoulos stands to profit from a boycott should trouble his opponents less than the chilling effect of consumer book boycotts on speech. As the National Coalition Against Censorship points out, boycotts like this are increasingly familiar: ‘We are aware of at least seven other similar situations involving threats or fears of boycotts, four of which were successful in having books withdrawn, delayed, revised, or not reprinted.’ As boycotts become more common, corporate media may become less willing to publish controversial books, right and left. Simon & Schuster’s entire publishing enterprise, not just the Yiannopoulos screed or the imprint publishing it, is being targeted, which means that Yiannopoulos could prosper while the company and other authors suffer.

    • Robin Greenler: DNR censorship of science is shameful

      The DNR website now says that “the earth is going through a change. The reasons for this change … are being debated and researched by academic entities …” The best scientists our country has ever produced have done the research and they are in consensus: Climate change is real and caused by human actions (see the National Academy of Sciences, Science Magazine, or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports). That train has left the station.

    • From the Quad to the Kremlin: Exploring Russian Censorship

      On Wednesday, January 11, Choldin gave a talk at the Seminary Co-Op on her latest book, Garden of Broken Statues: Exploring Censorship in Russia. The memoir begins here in Chicago, with Choldin growing up in Hyde Park and listening to her grandmother’s stories of life as a young Jewish girl in Ukraine.

      Judith Stein, Choldin’s interlocutor and close friend since O-Week 1958, said Choldin has been an impressive force since her days at the College. (Other friends from the audience jumped in: “Since the College? No, since high school!” And another: “No, since elementary school!”) Insatiably curious, with a drive to match, she even translated a book from English to German in her spare time while she was a student.

      Indeed, Choldin described herself as a “conference kid,” going to academic talks and conferences from a young age with her father, an anthropology professor at UChicago. It was at one of these conferences that Choldin’s “love affair with Russian” began. She was 14, sitting on a bench outside the lecture hall, nose buried in an English translation of War and Peace. Two Soviet anthropologists—the first Soviets she met, as it was during the heart of the Cold War—noticed her book. They sternly told her that if she was to read War and Peace, she must read it in Russian.

      Later, as a first-year at UChicago, she drilled verb patterns in her Russian 101 class in preparation for a trip to Moscow that summer, benefiting from a slight thaw in the Cold War. For Choldin, the experience was like walking “onto another planet—not another world, another planet.” The people looked different, spoke differently, and lived by different rules and customs. Her curiosity was irreversibly piqued as she explored the city, pushing the bounds of her one-year knowledge of Russian. Choldin would eventually return to UChicago for her doctorate in the 1970s.

      A run-in with a Soviet customs officer, who confiscated books and magazines from passengers entering Russia by train, spurred Choldin’s obsession with censorship. Her responsibilities of organizing and managing the library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign led her to stumble upon literary works that had been marked up and edited by Tsarist censors.

      According to Choldin, censorship in Imperial Russia was blatant. Books arriving from Western Europe would have lines blacked out with pen, pages cut out with razor blades, and passages taped over with scraps from other books.

    • Manchester City’s Bacary Sagna fined £40,000 by FA for social media post

      Bacary Sagna has been fined £40,000 for misconduct in relation to a comment on social media about the referee Lee Mason. The Manchester City defender has also been warned about his future conduct.

    • In Our Opinion: Apple caved in to censorship and tyranny

      We know it’s an outrageous concept, but there should be some things more important than profit.

      Things such as integrity and the courage to tell a major client that there are just some things his threats won’t make you do.

      Well, we did say it was an outrageous concept.

      We doubt very much whether the folks who own the majority shares in Apple — the multi-multibillion-dollar operation that sold you your iPhone — are hurting for money.

      We mean, how many billions of dollars are enough? As the old saying goes, how many horses can you ride when you only have one tushie?

    • Another brick in the Great Firewall: China begins censoring mobile apps
    • China Continues to Crack Down on App Stores – Tightens App Oversight
    • App stores must register with state: China
    • Enough with the self-censorship
    • Your Voice Deserves to be Heard
    • Syrian Migrant Says He’s Tired Of Being The Subject Of ‘Fake News,’ Sues Facebook For Posts Linking Him To Terrorism

      No sooner had Germany announced it was looking to start fining Facebook for the publication of “fake news” than we have a lawsuit being filed to take advantage of this brand new breed of criminal violation.

      Syrian migrant Anas Modamani has announced he will sue Facebook over posts by users depicting him as a supposed participant in multiple terrorist attacks.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Obama approves expansion of NSA’s power to share private data on US citizens

      In his final few days in office, President Barack Obama has overseen a measure that dramatically expands the power of the National Security Agency (NSA) to share intercepted data with other intelligence agencies.

      The new rules put into place by President Obama permit the sharing of data the NSA gathers on private citizens with a number of other intelligence and law enforcement agencies, all before applying the legally required privacy protections or obtaining a warrant. In order to be intercepted legally, communications such as phone calls and emails must cross network switches abroad, so any digital interactions you have with people outside of the United States, or even domestic communications that travel across international switches, are already susceptible to legal NSA surveillance, but now the data gathered can be shared more freely within the law enforcement community.

    • Now It’s Much Easier for Government Agencies to Get NSA Surveillance Data

      Just days before Donald Trump takes office, the director of national intelligence and attorney general have issued new procedures that undermine Americans’ right to privacy and Fourth Amendment constitutional protections. These procedures will allow the NSA to share with other intelligence agencies “raw intelligence” that it collects while conducting mass surveillance under Executive Order 12333, which has been in effect since 1981. Raw intelligence just what it sounds like—emails and phone calls and anything else that the NSA collects during its daily surveillance. These records aren’t minimized or redacted to mask identifying information.

    • Why Is Obama Expanding Surveillance Powers Right Before He Leaves Office?

      On Thursday, the Obama administration finalized new rules that allow the National Security Agency to share information it gleans from its vast international surveillance apparatus with the 16 other agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community.

      With the new changes, which were long in the works, those agencies can apply for access to various feeds of raw, undoctored NSA intelligence. Analysts will then be able to sift through the contents of those feeds as they see fit, before implementing required privacy protections. Previously, the NSA applied those privacy protections itself, before forwarding select pieces of information to agencies that might need to see them.

    • A Plea to President Obama: Pardon Edward Snowden

      The constitutional pardon power is best known for its association with historic events like Watergate, which is why it is generally discussed in terms of the worthiness of its beneficiaries, rather than the god-like authority it vests in the president alone. There are only theoretical restrictions on the scope of federal lawbreaking the president has the power to forgive. But precisely because the power is so broadly applicable, and so narrowly held, its potential for abuse is tightly circumscribed by politics. Presidents might be tempted to pardon many people, but few want to answer for why this or that high-profile felon or suspect deserves leniency when others don’t.

      There is a regular exception to this dynamic, though. The end of every presidency eases political constraints considerably, and makes the pardon power a potential source of incredible good or, as in Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich, gross impropriety.

      President Barack Obama has been relatively stingy with the pardon power over the past eight years, but he has an important opportunity in this final week of his presidency to use the power in a way that pays lasting political dividends, and signals his belief that the Trump era will be a trying one for liberal democracy.

    • Google Launches Key Transparency While a Trade-Off in WhatsApp Is Called a Backdoor

      The issue at question is WhatsApp’s answer to the question of what applications should do when someone’s phone number changes (or they reinstall their app, or switch phones).

      Suppose Alice sends a message to Bob encrypted with Bob’s key K1. Alice’s message is stored encrypted at the server until Bob can connect and download it. This behavior is required for any app that allows asynchronous communications (meaning you can send a message to somebody while they are offline), which nearly all popular messaging apps support.

    • Let’s save ‘backdoor’ for the real thing

      The Guardian reported on Friday last week that WhatsApp – owned by Facebook – has a “backdoor” that “allows snooping on encrypted messages”. The report was based on research by Tobias Boelter, published in April 2016. The Guardian has since changed the word “backdoor” in its article to “vulnerability” or “security vulnerability”.

      A few days before the Guardian article was published, the journalist contacted ORG for a quote. She couldn’t discuss the details of the alleged security flaw so we gave a generic quote about the importance of transparency from companies that offer end-to-end encryption and the dangers to encryption within the Investigatory Powers Act.

    • Will Mark Zuckerberg run for political office?

      That’s the question percolating in tech and media circles in recent days.

      The Facebook (FB, Tech30) CEO announced this week he has hired David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s former campaign manager, to head policy and advocacy efforts at his philanthropic effort.

      The high-profile politico’s appointment came just days after Zuckerberg unveiled his New Year’s resolution to meet with people from every state in the U.S.

      “After a tumultuous last year, my hope for this challenge is to get out and talk to more people about how they’re living, working and thinking about the future,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post, sounding curiously like a politician.

    • What you eat, how you drive and even if you’ve brushed your teeth: What insurance companies want to know about you

      Twice a day, Scott Ozawa’s Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush tells his dental insurer if he brushed for a full two minutes.

      In return, the 41-year-old software engineer gets free brush heads and the employer which bought his insurance gets premium discounts.

      The scheme, devised by Beam Technologies Inc, is just one of the latest uses of technology by insurers hungry for more real-time information on their customers that they say lets them assess risk more accurately and set rates accordingly.

    • Over 1 million people signed a petition urging Obama to pardon Edward Snowden

      According to PardonSnowden.org, the Pardon Snowden campaign submitted a petition to President President Obama last Friday that it claims contained over 1 million signatures, urging the president to see to it that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is pardoned.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Smearing Snowden and WikiLeaks In The Name Of Anonymous

      The WikiLeaks and Snowden smears are getting more disingenuous by the day.

      In the latest attack on what is without doubt the most significant media organization in the world—WikiLeaks—a far less consequential publisher—The Daily Kos—has managed to squeeze an entire article out of one Twitter rant by what they describe as a “quasi-official Anonymous Twitter account” – @YourAnonCentral, also known as YAC.

      In doing so, The Daily Kos is the latest to demonstrate that there is nothing more intellectually insubstantial than the recent trend of quasi-journalists slapping together an entire quasi-article about someone having had a moan on Twitter.

    • More Swedish Women Haunted by Fears of Rape

      Sweden was once known as one of the world’s most secure countries, where violent crime was almost non-existent. Apparently, this is not the case any longer, as almost a third of Swedish women (31 percent) believe the streets are unsafe. Sexual assaults have more than doubled in the Nordic nation in the past three years.

    • Viral Washburn High School fight video was a hoax, district says

      A video posted Friday afternoon to Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook purportedly showing a Muslim student at Washburn High School using her fists to exact revenge on a boy who tugged her hijab is fake, a Minneapolis schools spokesman said Saturday.

      The video, titled “Welcome to Washburn,” has gone viral since it was posted to Facebook, with more than 6.5 million views, more than 161,000 shares and more than 29,000 comments — many supporting the girl, who appears to be defending herself.

      But Dirk Tedmon, a spokesman for the school district, said Saturday that school officials who talked to families of the students after viewing the video learned that it was a “play fight” and intended as a joke. School safety and security staff confirmed the alleged incident never happened. By the time it was discovered to be a hoax, the video had gone viral, Tedmon said.

    • Egypt Drops Case Against Mob That Attacked Christian Woman

      Egyptian prosecutors have thrown out a case brought by an elderly Christian woman against several members of a Muslim mob who stripped off her clothes and paraded her naked through the streets, her lawyer said Sunday.

      Last May’s assault in the central Minya province began after rumors spread that the son of the 70-year-old woman had an affair with a Muslim woman — a taboo in majority Muslim and conservative Egypt.

      Saturday’s decision by the prosecutors cited lack of sufficient evidence, according to the lawyer, Eihab Ramzy. Another case against the alleged perpetrators of the violence, which also targeted Christian homes, remains ongoing.

    • Martin Luther King Day: Lady Liberty is Black

      The United States will release a gold coin featuring Lady Liberty as a Black woman, the first time she has been depicted as anything other than white on the nation’s currency.

      “Part of our intent was to honor our tradition and heritage,” stated a spokesperson from the Mint. “But we also think it’s always worthwhile to have a conversation about liberty, and we certainly have started that conversation.”

      Good for everyone. Only the most dark hearted could be upset that a fictional character is represented in any particular way. This can’t be bad.

    • US Refusing to Intervene as Ex-CIA Agent Faces Extradition, Prison in Italy

      Time continues to tick away for former CIA agent Sabrina de Sousa, who faces extradition from Portugal to Italy on Tuesday to face a four-year jail sentence for her involvement in the highly classified Bush-era rendition of a radical Muslim cleric known as Abu Omar.

      The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has been aggressively advocating on her behalf.

      An Italian court convicted de Sousa in absentia in 2009 for allegedly planning the operation. None of the defendants were informed of the charges against them by their Italian court-appointed lawyers.

    • As Obama’s Presidency Comes to an End, Take Some Time to Reflect but Never Forget to Keep Climbing

      When thinking of President Obama’s presidency, I invariably return to thoughts of the night in 2008 when he was elected. I spent the early part of the evening watching the returns with my now 97-year-old mother. My mother was born in Summerville, South Carolina, and came up to New York at age 9 in 1928 to rejoin her mother, who had moved north to work as a domestic for white families in Pennsylvania and New York. Like so many black families who were part of the great migration, they had moved north to escape discrimination and the lack of opportunity in the South only to face different manifestations of America’s original sin in the North.

    • Remember Dr. King—and What He Endured

      Annual celebrations of the life and work of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. often lionize the civil rights era, rightfully focusing on its achievements.

      But celebrations often overlook the federal government’s attempts to “neutralize” the movement. While we remember Dr. King’s many achievements today, we also must remember the documented and unfounded vilification by U.S. intelligence agencies that he, and others in the civil rights movement, endured.

      As our nation approaches a new administration, led by a president-elect whose rhetoric has shown little respect for constitutional limits on executive power and armed with an entrenched surveillance state, that experience offers a prescient warning.

    • EU: Orwellian counter-terrorism laws stripping rights under guise of defending them

      Dangerously disproportionate: The ever-expanding national security state in Europe reveals how a deluge of laws and amendments passed with break-neck speed, is undermining fundamental freedoms and dismantling hard-won human rights protections.

      “In the wake of a series of appalling attacks, from Paris to Berlin, governments have rushed through a raft of disproportionate and discriminatory laws,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe.

      “Taken alone these individual counter-terrorism measures are worrying enough, but when seen together, a disturbing picture emerges in which unchecked powers are trampling freedoms that have long been taken for granted.”

      The report, based on more than two years’ research across 14 EU member states, as well as analysis of initiatives at international and European levels, reveals the extent to which new legislation and policies intended to address the threat of terrorism have steamrolled rights protections.

    • What the “Santa Clausification” of Martin Luther King Jr. Leaves Out

      The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated annually on a federal holiday on the third Monday of January. Politicians across the political spectrum put out statements praising his life’s work, and children in classrooms across America are told the tale of a man who stood up defiantly against racism and helped changed civil rights law.

      But what they don’t mention is that King was not just a fighter for racial justice, he also fought for economic justice and against war. And as a result, he spent the last years of his life, before being assassinated in 1968, clashing not just with reactionary Southern segregationists, but with the Democratic Party’s elite and other civil rights leaders, who viewed his turn against the Vietnam War and the American economic system as dangerous and radical.

    • Dr. King, Labor Leader

      The photograph is iconic. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., only 39 years old but the nation’s most prominent civil rights leader, lay fatally wounded on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. His lieutenants stood over his body, pointing frantically across the parking lot in the direction of the shooter.

      Dr. King was in Memphis to support the city’s sanitation workers — members of the union I’m proud to serve as president, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — who were striking in protest of poverty wages and dangerous, degrading working conditions. Their fight for dignity and respect was expressed with a simple, compelling slogan: “I Am a Man.”

    • Let’s not forget — Martin Luther King Jr. was preaching economic justice, too

      “Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not only for celebration and remembrance, education and tribute, but above all a day of service,” wrote King’s widow, Coretta Scott King.

      In Atlanta, where King pastored, volunteers will hand out energy-efficient light bulbs in low-income communities. In Chicago, where King lived briefly to draw attention to segregated housing, volunteers will package food for needy elderly residents and give coats to the homeless.

      In Memphis, Tennessee, where King was killed nearly 50 years ago, volunteers will pick up trash in more than a dozen neighborhoods.

    • Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

      President Obama on Tuesday largely commuted the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the army intelligence analyst convicted of an enormous 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world, disrupted the administration, and made WikiLeaks, the recipient of those disclosures, famous.

      The decision by Mr. Obama rescued Ms. Manning, who twice tried to commit suicide last year, from an uncertain future as a transgender woman incarcerated at the male military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction.

      Now, under the terms of Mr. Obama’s commutation announced by the White House on Tuesday, Ms. Manning is set to be freed in five months, on May 17 of this year, rather than in 2045.

      The commutation also relieved the Department of Defense of the difficult responsibility of her incarceration as she pushes for treatment for her gender dysphoria — including sex reassignment surgery — that the military has no experience providing.

    • Chelsea Manning: majority of prison sentence commuted by Obama

      Chelsea Manning, the US army soldier who became one of the most prominent whistleblowers in modern times when she exposed the nature of modern warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, and who then went on to pay the price with a 35-year military prison sentence, is to be freed in May as a gift of outgoing president Barack Obama.

      In the most audacious – and contentious – commutation decision to come from Obama yet, the sitting president used his constitutional power just three days before he leaves the White House to give Manning her freedom. She will walk from the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on 17 May, almost seven years to the day since she was arrested in a base outside Baghdad for offenses relating to the leaking of a vast trove of US state secrets.

    • DOJ, Obama Administration Fight Order Requiring The Full CIA Torture Report To Be Turned Over To The Court

      The Obama administration has responded to calls to declassify the full CIA Torture Report with a “will this do?” promise to lock up one copy in the presidential archives. While this ensures one copy of the full report will survive the next presidency, it doesn’t make it any more likely the public will ever see more than the Executive Summary released in 2014.

      Other copies may still be scattered around the federal government, many of them in an unread state. The Department of Defense can’t even say for sure whether its copy is intact. Meanwhile, an ongoing prosecution in which the defendant is alleging being waterboarded by the CIA has resulted in an order to turn over a copy of the full report to the court.

      This order would preserve a second full copy — with this copy being as close as we’ve gotten so far to seeing it become part of the public record. Of course, the DOJ is challenging this court order on behalf of the Obama administration, which certainly never intended to participate in this much transparency. Charlie Savage of the New York Times notes (on his personal blog) that a motion has been filed seeking to reverse the court’s preservation/deposit order.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC chairman warns next administration: Don’t go backward

      The outgoing chairman of the Federal Communications Commission issued an impassioned warning to the next administration: Don’t go backwards.

      “We are at a fork in the road. One path leads forward. The other leads back to re-litigating solutions that are demonstrably working,” Tom Wheeler said in his final public speech as head of the FCC on Friday, according to prepared remarks.

      “It is time to keep moving forward,” he added in the speech at the Aspen Institute. “This is not the time to retreat and take things away.”

      Wheeler focused much of his speech on upholding net neutrality regulations, which are intended to keep the Internet and open fair. The rules, approved in early 2015, require Internet service providers to treat traffic from all web services and apps equally.

    • Outgoing FCC Boss Warns New FCC About The Perils Of Killing Net Neutrality

      We’ve noted a few times how the incoming Trump-lead FCC has made it clear it not only wants to roll back net neutrality and new broadband privacy rules, but defund and defang the FCC entirely. The majority of Trump telecom advisors believe that the FCC serves absolutely no role as a consumer protection agency, and should be torn down to the studs — its only function being to help manage wireless spectrum. With the broadband market clearly broken and uncompetitive (exhibit A: Comcast and its hidden fees, usage caps, and historically awful customer service), eliminating most regulatory oversight of the sector would obviously compound most of the existing problems.

      In his last speech as acting agency head (pdf) ahead of his resignation this week, FCC boss Tom Wheeler warned the new, incoming FCC that rolling back net neutrality is going to not only drive massive consumer backlash against net neutrality opponents, but it’s going to be legally difficult after the FCC’s court victory last year.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • UK Company Sues Disney Over Its Use Of The Same Public Domain Book Title

        Because the Disney corporation is so overprotective of its IP and generally willing to pull the trigger on legal threats/lawsuits, it’s always a bit entertaining to see lawsuits filed against it for alleged infringement. But the quality of lawsuits brought against the entertainment giant are very much hit-and-miss. And just because it’s the courtroom villain being sued, it doesn’t automatically make those bringing the suits the heroes.

        UK company Alice Looking Ltd. has registered trademarks on the phrase “Alice Through The Looking Glass” covering a wide variety of products, most of them being expensive shirts. What it doesn’t have is any claim to “Alice” the character, or anything from the Lewis Carroll original, or really anything else other than those words in that order. (h/t Courthouse News Service)

        Disney, on the other hand, recently released a film entitled “Alice Through The Looking Glass” — a live-action take on the Carroll original and yet another rerub of stuff taken from the public domain by a studio that has done its best for the last 70 years to ensure nothing it owns will ever end up in the public’s control. Alice Looking Ltd. feels the release of the Disney movie undercuts the US market for high-end goods with its trademarked phrase on them.

      • It’s Copyright Week: Join Us in the Fight For A Better Copyright Law

        Copyright law touches everyone. But despite its constitutional mandate to serve the public, policymakers have often treated it as the private preserve of major media and entertainment industries. Those industries built entire empires on copyrighted works, and they’ve shaped the law to reflect their interests and desires. But with copyrighted software and digital technologies now integral to our daily lives, copyright affects everyone – and the law should serve all of us.

        Today, copyright law not only impacts the music you hear or the movies you watch, it shapes your ability to communicate with others online, to create, post or share content to online platforms, to make art that talks back to popular culture, and to use, fix, and tinker with your own belongings. When copyright law is out of balance – when content holders are given too much power to control how new technologies and copyrighted works are used – it limits our basic freedoms to access information, to express ourselves, to control our own digital devices, and to innovate to create new tools and creative works.

      • Landmark Movie Streaming Trial Gets Underway in Sweden

        A landmark trial of two men accused of running a popular streaming site begins today. The operators of Swefilmer, whose case had been put on hold pending a copyright ruling from the European Court, face charges of copyright infringement and money laundering. The case is a first of its kind in Sweden.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. No, Doing Mathematical Operations on a Processor Does Not Make Algorithms Patent-Eligible

    Old and familiar tricks -- a method for tricking examiners into the idea that algorithms are actual machines -- are being peddled by Watchtroll again



  2. Paid-for UPC Proponent, IAM 'Magazine', Debunked on UPC Again

    The impact of the corrupted (by EPO money) media goes further than one might expect and even 'borrows' out-of-date news in order to promote the UPC



  3. Lack of Justice in and Around the EPO Drawing Scrutiny

    The status of the EPO as an entity above the law (in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and so on) is becoming the subject of press reports and staff is leaving in large numbers



  4. Links 19/2/2017: GParted 0.28.1, LibreOffice Donations Record

    Links for the day



  5. The EPO is Becoming an Embarrassment to Europe and a Growing Threat to the European Union

    The increasingly pathetic moves by Battistelli and the ever-declining image/status of the EPO (only 0% of polled stakeholders approve Battistelli's management) is causing damage to the reputation of the European Union, even if the EPO is not a European Union organ but an international one



  6. Patent Misconceptions Promoted by the Patent Meta-Industry

    Cherry-picking one's way into the perception of patent eligibility for software and the misguided belief that without patents there will be no innovation



  7. As the United States Shuts Its Door on Low-Quality Patents the Patent Trolls Move to Asia

    Disintegration of Intellectual Ventures (further shrinkage after losing software patents at CAFC), China's massive patent bubble, and Singapore's implicit invitation/facilitation of patent trolls (bubble economy)



  8. Links 17/2/2017: Wine 2.2, New Ubuntu LTS

    Links for the day



  9. Bad Advice From Mintz Levin and Bejin Bieneman PLC Would Have People Believe That Software Patents Are Still Worth Pursuing

    The latest examples of misleading articles which, in spite of the avalanche of software patents in the United States, continue to promote these



  10. Patents Are Not Property, They Are a Monopoly, and They Are Not Owned But Temporarily Granted

    Patent maximalism and distortion of concepts associated with patents tackled again, for terminology is being hijacked by those who turned patents into their "milking cows"



  11. SoftBank Group, New Owner of ARM, Could Potentially Become (in Part) a Patent Troll or an Aggressor Like Qualcomm

    SoftBank grabbed headlines (in the West at least) when it bought ARM, but will it soon grab headlines for going after practicing companies using a bunch of patents that it got from Inventergy, ARM, and beyond?



  12. Technicolor, Having Turned Into a Patent Troll, Attacks Android/Tizen/Linux With Patents in Europe

    Technicolor, which a lot of the media portrayed as a patent troll in previous years (especially after it had sued Apple, HTC and Samsung), is now taking action against Samsung in Europe (Paris, Dusseldorf and Mannheim)



  13. Michelle Lee is Still “in Charge” of the US Patent System

    Contrary to a malicious whispering campaign against Lee (a coup attempt, courtesy of patent maximalists who make a living from mass litigation), she is still in charge of the USPTO



  14. Our Assessment: EPO Wants a Lot of Low-Quality Patents and Low-Paid Staff With UPC (Prosecution Galore)

    The European Patent Office seems to be less interested in examination and more interested in facilitating overzealous prosecution all across Europe and beyond; The Administrative Council has shown no signs that it is interested in profound changes, except those proposed by Battistelli in the face of growing resistance from staff and from ordinary stakeholders



  15. Links 16/2/2017: HITMAN for GNU/Linux, Go 1.8

    Links for the day



  16. Yet More Complaints About the European Patent Office in the Bavarian Regional Government

    Some German politicians do care about the welfare of EPO staff, a lot more so than the EPO's management that is actively crushing this staff



  17. EPO Staff Representatives to Escalate Complaint About Severe Injustices to the EPO's Secretive Board 28

    In a new letter to President Benoît Battistelli it is made abundantly apparent -- however politely -- that Battistelli's gross abuses could further complicate things for Battistelli, who is already embroiled in a fight with his predecessor, Roland Grossenbacher



  18. New Survey Reveals That High Patent Quality, or Elimination of Bad Patents, is Desirable to Patent Holders

    A new survey from Bloomberg BNA and AIPLA reveals that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which still grows in prominence, is supported by people who have themselves gotten patents (not those who are in the bureaucracy of patents and self-serving politics)



  19. Open Patent Office is Not the Solution; Ending Software Patents is the Solution

    Our remarks about the goals and methods of the newly-established Open Patent Office and what is instead needed in order to combat the menace that threatens software development



  20. New Scholarly Paper Says “UK’s Withdrawal From the EU Could Mean That the Entire (Unitary Patent) System Will Not Go Into Effect”

    A paper from academics -- not from the patent microcosm (for a change) -- provides a more sobering interpretation, suggesting quite rightly that the UPC can't happen in the UK (or in Europe), or simply not endure if some front groups such as CIPA somehow managed to bamboozle politicians into it (ratification in haste, before the facts are known)



  21. Patent Trolls Update: Rodney Gilstrap Maintains His Support for Trolls, MPEG-LA Goes Hunting in China, and Blackberry Hits Nokia

    A roundup of the latest news about patent trolls and what they are up to in the United States, Europe, and Asia



  22. Guest Post: EPO, an Idyllic Place to Work

    The true face of the EPO as explained by an insider, recalling the history that led to the negative image and toxic work atmosphere



  23. Links 15/2/2017: Linux 4.9.10 and Linux 4.4.49

    Links for the day



  24. Claude Rouiller (ILOAT) and ILO Rulings Effectively Disregarded by the European Patent Office

    The compositions of kangaroo courts at the EPO continue to be absurd, in spite of a ruling from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which insisted that change must be made following a lot of mistrials



  25. National Law Journal Believes That Gorsuch as Supreme Court Justice Would be Opponent of Patent Reform

    Whispering campaign surrounds Neil Gorsuch's alleged or perceived views on patents, and in particular the America Invents Act (AIA) which brought the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), a serial invalidator of software patents, owing to Alice (a Supreme Court decision)



  26. Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU) is a Lobby Group for Software Patents and Patent Maximalism

    An introduction to what the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding really is, what it is for, and who is behind it



  27. The European Patent Office Looks More and More Like the Sicilian Mafia Every Day

    Battistelli has constructed or pulled together a Mafia-like family inside the EPO, where all those who protect the 'King' (or Don) are rewarded and the rest are removed with prejudice



  28. EPO-Connected Writers Are Using Alternative Facts or Fake News to Promote the Unitary Patent in British Media

    The misuse of publications for the purpose of lobbying by Battistelli and Team UPC (a small group of opportunists looking to exploit change that they themselves introduce) is worth noting, for its frequency is on the rise again



  29. Microsoft Has Not Managed to Blackmail Huawei Over Android and GNU/Linux, But Its Trolls/Satellites Are Trying

    The story of Huawei gets more complicated, even though software patents are losing their teeth and notorious patent trolls are altogether losing their patents



  30. IBM Has Become an Enemy of GNU/Linux and a Loud Proponent of Software Patents

    IBM's poisonous policy on patents, which has long been incompatible with Free/Libre software, has gotten even worse and the company now takes the lead in lobbying for patenting of software


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts