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

02.01.17

Links 1/2/2017: LibreOffice 5.3 Officially Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • HPI’s Latest Thin Clients Include a Linux Version

      The HP mt20 also offers a battery designed for daylong work to go with a pre-installed Linux-based OS. This thin client features the Intel Celeron 3865 Processor (1.8 GHz dual core) with Intel HD Graphics. Other operating systems available include HP ThinPro/Smart Zero Core and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise for Thin Clients.

    • If you want privacy you need to run Linux

      I recently bashed Windows for being too darn snoopy, but you know what? It’s not just Windows. Ever since Yosemite came out, Apple’s macOS has been just as untrustworthy. As for Chrome OS, Android and iOS, come on! They’re all built around cloud services; by design, they share everything you do with third-party services. What’s the answer? Desktop Linux.

    • Protecting Your Privacy With Firefox on Linux

      Privacy and security are becoming increasingly important topics. Though it’s impossible to be 100% secure, there are measures that you can take, especially on Linux, to help defend your online privacy and security when browsing the web.

      Firefox is probably your best option when selecting a browser for these purposes. Google Chrome cannot be trusted. It’s owned by Google, a company known for data collection, and it’s closed source. Chromium may be okay, but can’t be guaranteed. Only Firefox has maintained a degree of commitment to user rights.

    • Is Linux More Efficient Than Windows When it Comes to RAM Consumption?

      With lower system requirements for Linux distributors than Windows, switching to Linux is a great way to rejuvenate an old computer. This is because Linux requires less hard drive space thereby putting a lesser load on your computer’s CPU.

    • Linux: Does price matter more than freedom?

      One of the best things about Linux is that each user is free to use or modify any open source software. But one redditor recently raised the issue of the price of open source software as a big attraction for some users.

    • The Clock Ticks…Even The Silence Has An Echo…..

      I suppose System76 has to make money on their addons, but holy frickin’ cow. I’m not posting this to rage against System76, although they make it extremely easy to do so. I’m just showing you one of the many hangups we’ve had in getting enough money to operate for the next year.

  • Server

    • Performance made easy with Linux containers

      Software containers backed with the merits of microservices design, or Service-oriented Architecture (SoA), improves performance because a system comprising of smaller, self-sufficient code blocks is easier to code and has cleaner, well-defined dependencies on other system components. It is easier to test and problems, including those around resource utilization and memory over-consumption, are more easily identified than in a giant monolithic architecture.

      When scaling the system to serve increased load, the containerized applications replicate fast and easy. Security flaws are better isolated. Patches can be versioned independently and deployed fast. Performance monitoring is more targeted and the measurements are more reliable. You can also rewrite and “facelift” resource-intensive code pieces to meet evolving performance requirements.

    • CoreOS Drives Container Management Forward with Tectonic 1.5

      CoreOS is updating its flagship Tectonic platform with the new Tectonic 1.5 release, officially announced on Jan. 31. The new platform benefits from improvements in Kubernetes as well as innovations purpose-built by CoreOS.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.10 Desktop to Add Spring-Loading Functionality in Folder View, More

        With KDE Plasma 5.9 out the door, the KDE development team can now concentrate on adding new features or improving existing ones for the next major version of the KDE desktop environment.

        We all know how much work was done during the short development cycle of the KDE Plasma 5.9 desktop, but KDE developer Eike Hein reports today on some of the hottest new features coming to the next KDE Plasma iteration.

        Spring-loading in Folder View is one of them, and will allow KDE Plasma users to navigate folders just by hovering with the mouse cursor above them during drag and drop. Check out the image and video attached below to see the functionality in action.

      • Where To Download The (Gorgeous) KDE Plasma 5.9 Wallpaper
      • KDE Plasma 5.9 released
      • KDE Plasma 5.9 Released, 5.10 Previewed; Steam Machines RIP

        Jonathan Riddell announced for the KDE team the arrival of Plasma 5.9, the next big update to the desktop family. This release brings some new features such as Global Menus and a new network configuration module. And if that wasn’t enough KDE for you, Eike Hein blogged of some of the goodies being cooked up for 5.10. The Register reported on a bug in Cryptkeeper that triggered its removal from Debian, other distros are waiting for upstream fixes. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols said Linux is the right choice for those who appreciate a modicum of privacy and Mairin Duffy said today to come join in the Fedora IRC chats.

      • Simple Menu Launcher Is The KDE App Launcher I’ve Been Dreaming Of

        I’ve recently started using KDE Plasma again after several years of only poking around in GNOME-based desktops, e.g. Unity, Budgie, Cinnamon, etc.

        While I wouldn’t say I’m fully orientated in K Desktop Environment land just yet I am enjoying the learning curve; playing with a desktop environment as configurable as Plasma is actually rather fun, and encountering quirks and new different workflows is a constructive challenge, making me think about why I ‘prefer’ to do things in certain ways.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Neil McGovern Named New GNOME Foundation Executive Director

        The GNOME Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Neil McGovern as its new Executive Director. McGovern officially starts work for the GNOME Foundation on February 15, 2017 and will operate from the United Kingdom.

        McGovern is an experienced leader in Free Software projects and is best known for his role as Debian Project Leader from 2014-15. He has been on the Boards of numerous organizations, including Software in the Public Interest, Inc. and the Open Rights Group.

  • Distributions

    • Arch Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • GeckoLinux Plasma: for Die Hard OpenSuSE fans

        GeckoLinux is a difficult thingie to understand. It was created to ease the life of people who want to explore OpenSuSE. Neither OpenSuSE nor GeckoLinux are actually easy distributions to deal with. Maybe I am just very subjective towards OpenSuSE, but that’s my position.

      • An Everyday Linux User Review Of OpenSUSE Leap 42

        So here is the deal. If as the Everyday Linux User you are going to use openSUSE then you have to stick with it and in reality it should be the only operating system on your machine. Trying to dual boot will probably tie you up in knots.

        After you have installed it and you have the most important non-free packages installed (Google Chrome being the main one) then you are likely to find openSUSE and GNOME a joy.

        GNOME is really easy to use. It really is point and click and if you can get a handle on those keyboard shortcuts then life will be very easy indeed.

        openSUSE is stable and it won’t let you down with odd quirks that some other distributions have. It really is a case of taking that bit more time to get used to than you may have to with a Linux Mint for instance.

        The good news is that there is a lot of documentation available and most things you will try have been tried before and there is usually a straight forward guide to follow to get to where you want to be.

        All in all a positive experience.

      • openSUSE Cloud Images are Ripe for Users

        Cloud images for openSUSE Leap 42.2 are now available for Amazon Web Services (AWS EC2), Azure, Google Compute Engine and more cloud providers.

        Last week, openSUSE Leap 42.2 cloud image became available in the AWS Marketplace and within the past few weeks cloud images for Azure, Google Compute Engine and OpenStack also became available.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CIO shares 4 tactics to make the most of your first 100 days on the job

        When you start a new CIO role, having a 100-day plan is table stakes. Having that plan-on-a-page is only part of the equation for a successful transition, though. When I recently joined Red Hat as CIO, I took several other actions that I believe can be useful for anyone beginning a new leadership role.

      • Red Hat and Boston University Collaborate to Advance Emerging Technologies and Open Source Research and Education

        Red Hat, Inc. (RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced a collaborative research and education agreement with Boston University (BU), an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research, to advance research and education on open source and emerging technologies, including cloud computing, machine learning and automation, and big data. Via the five-year agreement, Red Hat plans a broad educational and research collaboration with BU with grants totaling $5 million administered by BU’s Cloud Computing Initiative.

      • CloudLinux 5 Operating System Series to Reach End of Life on March 31, 2017

        CloudLinux’s Mykola Naugolnyi announced today that support for the CloudLinux 5 operating system series is ending next month, along with production phase support for its kernel packages.

        CloudLinux is a commercial operating system based on the freely distributed sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). It uses a modified Linux kernel based on the OpenVZ kernel and it’s compatible with the CentOS and RHEL packages.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 26 Linux to Ship with GNOME 3.24 Desktop, Support Creation of LVM RAID

          The last day of January 2017 was an important date for Fedora 26 Linux’s development cycle as it meant the deadline for submitting proposals for system-wide changes was reached.

          So we can’t help but notice that multiple such system-wide change proposals for the upcoming Fedora 26 operating system appeared on the Fedora Project mailing list, informing us about some of the most excinting new features coming this summer to Fedora Linux users.

        • GNOME 3.24, LDC 1.1 & Minimal Container Image Proposed For Fedora 26

          There are more fairly last-minute change/feature proposals for Fedora 26.

          It should come as no surprise at all, but for formalities, there is the change proposal for GNOME 3.24 in Fedora 26. As usual, Fedora sticking to the latest GNOME upstream components for their Fedora Workstation releases. GNOME 3.24 is working on many improvements including better Wayland support, updated GNOME System Settings, ownCloud integration in some components, UI improvements to Epiphany, and a whole lot more as we’ve been covering in many articles.

        • Helping new users get on IRC

          Hubs uses Freenode IRC for its chat feature. I talked quite a bit about the basics of how we think this could work (see “Fedora Hubs and Meetbot: A Recursive Tale” for all of the details.)

          One case that we have to account for is users who are new Fedora contributors who don’t already have an IRC nick or even experience with IRC. A tricky thing is that we have to get them identified with NickServ, and continue to identify them with Nickserv seamlessly and automatically, after netsplits and other events that would cause them to lose their authentication to Nickserv, without their needing to be necessarily aware that the identification process was going on. Nickserv auth is kind of an implementation detail of IRC that I don’t think users, particularly those new to and unfamiliar with IRC, need to be concerned with.

    • Debian Family

      • My free software activities, January 2017

        The debmans package I had so lovingly worked on last month is now officially abandoned. It turns out that another developer, Michael Stapelberg wrote his own implementation from scratch, called debiman.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Releases Snapcraft 2.26 Snap Creator Tool for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, 16.10

            Canonical’s Sergio Schvezov published today, February 1, 2017, a new stable update of the Snapcraft utility that Open Source application developers can use to package their apps as Snaps.

            Snappy is Canonical’s application sandboxing and distribution framework and Snap is a universal binary format designed to allow devs to distribute their apps across multiple Linux-based operating systems without having to create a special package for each distro. Snapcraft is the tool to build the Snap packages.

            The latest version, Snapcraft 2.26, comes approximately two weeks after the release of version 2.25 and promises to introduce a bunch of new features, such as support for GUI (Graphical User Interface) in Snaps, a new plugin directory location, support for snapcraft.yaml in a Snap directory, as well as support for go-packages.

          • Canonical Releases Important OpenSSL Updates for Ubuntu to Fix 6 Vulnerabilities

            Canonical’s Marc Deslauriers announced earlier the availability of updated OpenSSL packages for all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems, which address several vulnerabilities discovered recently.

            According to to Ubuntu Security Notice USN-3181-1, it would appear that a total of six security issues were fixed by various developers in the OpenSSL packages included in Ubuntu. These packages provide the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) cryptographic library and tools needed by various applications.

          • System76 Rolls Out A NVIDIA-Powered GPU Linux Server
          • System76 Launches Ubuntu-Powered Ibex Pro GPU Server with Up to 40K CUDA Cores

            System76, the Colorado-based computer manufacturer specializing in delivering state-of-the-art desktop, notebook, server machines with Linux-based operating systems pre-installed on them, is announcing today the launch of the Ibex Pro GPU server.

            The company, which many of you know for their powerful Ubuntu-based computers, is kicking off the new year with a brand-new GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) server dubbed Ibex Pro. The focus has been on creating an innovative and extremely powerful server that would help scientists and engineers achieve their research productivity goals on advancing machine learning algorithms, rendering 3D graphics, or simulating complex systems.

          • Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS Delayed Until February 9 Due to Serious Boot Regression

            If you were expecting to upgrade to the second point release of the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system on February 2, you’d have to wait one more week because Canonical has just delayed its launch for another week.

            Ubuntu kernel manager Leann Ogasawara is reporting today, January 31, 2017, that her team recently identified a serious boot regression on AArch64 (ARM64) hardware, and it could take a few more days for the developers to patch the issue, which will require them to push new versions of the Linux kernel and other related packages.

          • You Can Now Install Snap Apps on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

            Yup, you read that right: Ubuntu 14.04, aka the Trusty Tahr, aka the LTS before the most recent LTS.

            While most people reading this post will be doing so from a more recent version of Ubuntu than Trusty, the arrival of Snapd in the Trusty archives means even more folks can fool around with the new software deployment and package management system.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Olimex spins open source Allwinner A64 based laptop kit

      Olimex unveiled an open source, Linux-driven “Teres I” laptop with an 11.6-inch display, an Allwinner A64, 1GB RAM, 4GB eMMC, WiFi, and modular I/O boards.

      Olimex, which is known for its open spec, Allwinner A20 and A33 based OlinuXino hacker boards, has now taken on the quad-core, Cortex-A53 Allwinner A64 SoC. Yet, instead of releasing another SBC, it is delivering an entire open source laptop built around the SoC. The Teres I laptop, which will soon be available in kit form for 225 Euros ($242), is the first of several developer-oriented open source Linux laptops from Olimex based on a variety of SoCs.

    • Rugged SODIMM module runs Linux on i.MX6UL

      EMAC’s $150, SODIMM-style “SoM-iMX6U” COM runs Linux on an i.MX6UL, and offers 4GB eMMC, 4x serial ports, -40 to 85°C support, and an optional carrier.

      NXP’s low-power, IoT oriented i.MX6 UltraLite (i.MX6UL) SoC has conquered yet another computer-on-module. EMAC’s SoM-iMX6U joins other Linux-driven modules based on the single-core, 528MHz Cortex-A7 SoC such as OpenEmbed’s SOM6210.

    • COM runs Linux on tiny, power-sipping Cortex-A53 SoC

      F&S announced a tiny, wireless enabled “efus A53LS” module that runs Linux on NXP’s QorIQ LS1012A, billed as the world’s smallest 64-bit ARM SoC.

      F&S Elektronik Systeme has unveiled the efus A53LS computer-on-module, which adopts its 62 x 47mm “efus” form-factor, as found in the i.MX6UL based efus A7UL. This time, F&S has tapped what might be considered the i.MX6UL of the 64-bit ARM world: NXP’s 9.6 x 9.6mm QorIQ LS1012A.

    • Retro Gaming with RetrOrangePi 3.0

      Retro gaming consoles are quite popular now, but these deives are typically locked down, have a preset and unchangeable selection of games, and their availability may be limited. Often for less money and using a pi board, you can have much greater freedom to play the games you want from all the popular gaming consoles of years past. Setting up a pi board as a retro gaming console is easy and inexpensive, with no Linux expertise really needed, as the this brief review and set up guide for RetrOrangePi demonstrates.

    • LEDE v17.01.0-rc1 released

      The LEDE Community is proud to announce the first release candidate of the upcoming LEDE 17.01 stable version series. It incorporates thousands of commits made during the course of the last months and allows us to refine the code base for the final v17.01.0 version.

      With this release, the LEDE development team closes out an intense effort to modernize many parts of OpenWrt and incorporate many new modules, packages, and technologies.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • The ‘homeless spikes’ in Manchester city centre have been REMOVED after a huge public backlash

    Homeless spikes installed in the city centre designed to stop people sleeping rough have been removed after an outcry from M.E.N. readers.

    The pointed barriers were installed in an area outside an office block in Pall Mall Court which is often used by rough sleepers.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • EU Parliament Committee Adopts Report On Increased Medicines Access In Europe

      The European Parliament Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee has voted to adopt a draft report on measures to increase availability of medicines within the European Union, according to sources.

      The draft report proposed numerous measures to increase access to medicines, asking the parliament to study the impact that intellectual property protections actually have on promoting innovation and to increase publicly funded research to better address patient need. Direct measures to control the cost of drugs and increase competition were also requested, including regular monitoring of patent settlement agreements which may restrict entry of generics into the market, guaranteeing timely entry of generic and biosimilar drugs, and ending patent linkages.

    • Resolution On Compulsory Licences For Patented Medicines Passes In Chile

      The resolution is available here [in Spanish]. A partial unofficial translation has been posted by Knowledge Ecology International, which first issued notification of the resolution. IP-Watch also carried out an informal translation of the 5-page text.

      According to translations, the resolution directs the health minister to facilitate the acquisition of necessary drugs at prices affordable for the population, and to build the administrative procedures necessary to prioritise certain medicines which could be considered for compulsory licensing. The resolution additionally directs the Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism to review and update Chile’s existing law on compulsory licences, and to develop administrative guidelines on the granting of licences that are consistent with the right to health and life, in an effort to make the future issuance of any compulsory licence more legally certain.

    • UN High-Level Panel, Medicines Access Find Foothold At World Health Assembly In May

      World Health Organization member states seeking solutions for ensuring medicines access have been looking for ways to get a recent controversial report from the UN headquarters on the WHO agenda. The Executive Board this week heard concerns and left open the possibility that it will come up at the annual World Health Assembly in May.

    • HHS Nominee Tom Price Targeted Panel That Urged Fewer Cancer Screenings

      If the last few years are any guide, one group that may find itself in the crosshairs of Rep. Tom Price, President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, is an influential panel of medical experts.

      The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, a group of mostly physician and academics from top universities, reviews medical practices to see whether they are supported by research and evidence.

  • Security

    • Epic Fail: Linux Encryption App, Cryptkeeper, Has Universal Password “p”

      Cryptkeeper is a popular Linux encryption application that’s used to encrypt your valuable data. But, it’s not as safe as you think. A bug has was recently discovered that allows universal decryption using a single letter password “p.” Debian developer Simon McVittie has advised the dev team to take it out of Debian altogether.

    • AppArmor – or: Working for the enemy?

      Some weeks ago, someone asked on the opensuse-wiki mailinglist if it’s acceptable to move documentation (in this case about Icecream) from the openSUSE wiki to the upstream repo on github.

    • Spotting vulnerabilities in your open source code [Ed: Inadequate title because the same issues occur in proprietary software and usually remain unfixed]

      ESET researchers have offered programmers a few tips for spotting vulnerable code and how to correct them before they make it into your system.

    • Linux Journal February 2017

      It doesn’t take more than a glance at the current headlines to see data security is a vital part of almost everything we do. Whether it’s concern over election hacking or user accounts being publicized after a website compromise, our data integrity is more important than ever. Although there’s little we can do individually to stop hackers from attacking websites we don’t personally control, we always can be more conscious of how we manage our data and credentials for our own accounts. As is becoming more and more common, this month, we look at a lot of security issues.

    • Latest Ubuntu Update Includes OpenSSL Fixes

      Ubuntu users are being urged to update their operating systems to address a handful of recently patched OpenSSL vulnerabilities which affect Ubuntu and its derivatives.

      Developers with Canonical, the company that oversees the Linux distribution, announced the updates on Tuesday, encouraging users to install the latest OpenSSL package versions depending on which distribution they’re running.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Here Are All The Hoaxes And Bullshit Stories That Spread After The Quebec Mosque Shooting

      As police and news media scrambled to respond, early reports claimed that two shooters had entered the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec and opened fire on worshippers. Police later confirmed they only have one suspect, 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette.

    • Dust Settles. Finally, The Truth About Shooting At Mosque In Quebec

      Please click on the link to the right. It traces the growth and branching of #FakeNews about the shooting. Much of that was trying to blame Muslims for shooting Muslims. Imagine if this event had been in USA with 10X the population of nut-cases. Yes, that’s where the anti-Muslim rhetoric has grown like a cancer warping minds so badly they’ll vote for a lecherous fat old guy known to rip off investors, banks and ordinary working guys while buying stuff from China and blaming China, banks, Mexicans, Muslims and global trade for the shortage of work despite full employment. Yes, that’s where ~40% of the population voted for a serial liar and chose him to be POTUS of the most powerful country on Earth. Click on the link. Read how this nonsense takes on a life of its own, baseless lies stretched so thin only hot air pumped in can keep it up.

    • Quebec: Alexandre Bissonnette charged with six murders

      Authorities in Canada have charged Alexandre Bissonnette, a French-Canadian university student known for his far-right views, over a shooting rampage on a Quebec City mosque that killed six people.

      Bissonnette faces six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder, but has not been charged with any terrorism-related offences, despite Sunday’s attack being widely condemned, including by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as a “terrorist act” against Muslims.

      When asked on Tuesday why Bissonnette was not facing terrorism-related charges, Thomas Jacques, a representative of the prosecutor’s office, replied: “The charges laid correspond to the evidence available,” said.

      Prosecutors added that all of the evidence was not yet ready and Bissonnette, a 27-year-old anthropology and political science student at Laval University, was set to appear again on February 21.

    • Suspect in mosque shooting a moderate conservative turned extremist, say friends, classmates

      A shy chess-player, a bullied introvert, a moderate conservative turned far-right troll — these are the descriptions being offered of Alexandre Bissonnette since he was accused of perpetrating a deadly shooting at a Quebec City mosque.

      Bissonnette looked nervous during his brief court appearance on Monday. He didn’t say a word and shuffled in his handcuffs; before being escorted out, he was charged with 11 counts of murder and attempted murder.

    • Clinton Gang Push for War with Iran

      So what are the Clinton gang doing while Trump introduces anti-Muslim immigration discrimination? Oh, they are pushing for war with Iran, which might give pause to some who think the world would have been less awful had Hillary won.

    • Trump’s Muslim Ban Will Only Spark More Terrorist Attacks

      Donald Trump’s travel ban on refugees and visitors from seven Muslim countries entering the US makes a terrorist attack on Americans at home or abroad more rather than less likely. It does so because one of the main purposes of al-Qaeda and Isis in carrying out atrocities is to provoke an over-reaction directed against Muslim communities and states. Such communal punishments vastly increase sympathy for Salafi-jihadi movements among the 1.6 billion Muslims who make up a quarter of the world’s population.

      The Trump administration justifies its action by claiming that it is only following lessons learned from 9/11 and the destruction of the Twin Towers. But it has learned exactly the wrong lesson: the great success of Mohammed Atta and his eighteen hijackers was not on the day that they and 3,000 others died, but when President George W Bush responded by leading the US into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that are still going on.

    • America Should Look in the Mirror

      Thirteen years after invading Iraq, the consensus is that the invasion was an error. Whether the error was intentional or not, Iraq suffered more than a quarter of a million dead, a million wounded, and the destruction of infrastructure, education, economy and medical services. If this were murder, the culprit (and in this case the president of the United States) would be convicted either of murder if it was premeditated or manslaughter if it were not. Many around the world have called it a war crime.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange Lawyer to Justice Department: Your Move

      Julian Assange said he was willing to come to the United States. It’s not that simple.

      On January 12, WikiLeaks tweeted that founder Julian Assange, holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, would “agree to US extradition” if President Barack Obama granted clemency to convicted Army leaker Chelsea Manning. Five days later, Obama commuted Manning’s sentence, and the spotlight turned to Assange. The embattled Australian said that although he’d hoped for a full pardon for Manning, he would stand by his pledge and discuss a return to the United States with the Department of Justice.

      But the situation isn’t that simple, says Barry Pollack, Assange’s Washington, DC-based lawyer. Assange, Pollack says, is stuck in limbo because the Justice Department won’t make clear what it’s intentions are—whether it will charge him, whether he’s already been indicted, or whether there’s room to talk about a resolution.

      “I have, for quite some period of time, been trying to get the Department of Justice to engage in some sort of a dialogue about what it is they are looking for,” Pollack tells Mother Jones. “Where does Julian fit into whatever investigation they’re doing? Have they charged him? Will they charge him? Are they seeking to extradite him? And the Department of Justice has just repeatedly refused to engage or provide any information whatsoever.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate Scientists Turn To Canadian Organizations To Save Vulnerable Data From Trump

      Scientists, and others who fear Donald Trump’s administration could spur the loss of crucial data, are turning to Canadian companies and academics to store their findings.

      Trump has called global warming a hoax, and one of his top advisors says he plans to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, according to Reuters.

      On Jan. 20, the day Trump became president of the U.S., the White House website’s page on climate change suddenly read “Page Not Found.”

      Now, a search on the site turns up no mentions of the phrase “climate change” at all.

    • Army Corps told to clear way for Dakota Access construction

      The acting secretary of the Army has instructed federal officials to issue the easement necessary to build a controversial segment of the Dakota Access pipeline, members of the North Dakota congressional delegation said Tuesday.

      “The Acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer informed us that he has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with the easement needed to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) said in a Tuesday night statement.

      “This will enable the company to complete the project, which can and will be built with the necessary safety features to protect the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and others downstream.”

    • ‘We Should Not Be Subsidizing an Industry That Is Hurting Our Communities’

      “With one swipe of the presidential pen, the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines were back on the agenda,” so reported CNN. But back on the agenda is not the same thing as being a done deal. Our next guest says those pipelines will not be completed. David Turnbull is campaigns director at Oil Change International. He joins us now by phone from Oakland. Welcome to CounterSpin, David Turnbull.

  • Finance

    • Public rejects Theresa May’s ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ threat to leave the EU with no deal

      Most British people oppose Theresa May’s “take-it-or-leave-it” threat to leave the EU with no deal and risk a damaging economic crash, a new poll has found.

      The Prime Minister is urged instead to go back and negotiate a better agreement with EU leaders if Parliament rejects the Brexit terms she strikes in a “final deal” vote expected in 2019.

      The verdict comes ahead of a likely debate next week in which the Government will be urged to concede a “meaningful” vote – one staged early enough for her to go back and seek those better terms.

    • Parties must work together to stop the UK falling off a Brexit cliff edge

      As the co-leader of a party that stands for environmental, social and economic justice, I will not support a government offering no assurances to EU nationals living in Britain, threatening the funding of our public services, and planning to end our membership of the single market and customs union.

      It has been heartening to see such cross-party cooperation on these key issues. I very much hope Labour will rethink their three-line whip on the vote tonight, and that individual MPs will put principle before party loyalty, rather than cast a vote for extreme Brexit. Whatever the outcome, however, I’ll remain open to working with MPs from all parties to amend this bill – that’s the only responsible option if we want to protect this country from the very real dangers of triggering article 50 on the terms Theresa May has so far revealed.

    • Brexit free movement restrictions would ruin Britain’s £26bn legal services industry, country’s top lawyers warn

      Britain’s £26 billion legal industry is under threat from post-Brexit restrictions to freedom of movement and exit from the single market, the country’s top lawyers have warned.

      MPs on the Justice Select Committee, who are gathering evidence on the impact of leaving the EU, were told that there would be little left to “salvage” of the successful industry if lawyers were stripped of free movement and lost the right to practise in the EU because of differing regulations.

      The legal services industry contributes £3.6 billion of Britain’s exports and trade. It was reported last year that it grew by 8 per cent in 2015, significantly faster than the rest of the economy.

    • #DeleteUber: how social media turned on Uber

      Last modified on Tuesday 31 January 2017 14.37 GMT

      There was plenty to be angry about this weekend – and many people were extremely irate about the ride-hailing company Uber.

    • Ethical Banking

      HSBC whistleblower ‘Mr Ethical’ has won his hard, drawn-out, 13-year-long battle against his former employer.

      Four million pounds in compensation is due to be split between 6,700 people who had been forced to pay unreasonable debt collection charges.

    • Leaked TISA Safe Harbor Proposal: the Right Idea in the Wrong Place

      A new leak of the Electronic Commerce chapter [PDF] of the Trade in Services Agreement from the November 2016 negotiating round has exposed a brand new U.S. government proposal on Internet intermediary safe harbors. The proposal, which the European Union is shown as opposing, is a rough analog to 47 U.S.C.§ 230, enacted as part of the Communications Decency Act (known simply as “Section 230″, or sometimes as CDA 230).

      Section 230 is one of the most important provisions of U.S. law for online platforms that host users’ speech. It provides a shield protecting online intermediaries against a range of laws that would otherwise that would otherwise hold them responsible for what their users say or do online. Although there are exceptions to this law—for example, the immunity does not protect platforms’ hosting of user-generated material that infringes copyright (which is governed by the weaker DMCA safe harbor)—Section 230 remains an invaluable catalyst to innovation and free expression online, and a major reason for the success of U.S. Internet platforms around the world.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • “United we stand, divided we fall”: letter by President Donald Tusk to the 27 EU heads of state or government on the future of the EU before the Malta summit

      In order to best prepare our discussion in Malta about the future of the European Union of 27 member states, and in light of the conversations I have had with some of you, let me put forward a few reflections that I believe most of us share.

      The challenges currently facing the European Union are more dangerous than ever before in the time since the signature of the Treaty of Rome. Today we are dealing with three threats, which have previously not occurred, at least not on such a scale.

      The first threat, an external one, is related to the new geopolitical situation in the world and around Europe. An increasingly, let us call it, assertive China, especially on the seas, Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine and its neighbours, wars, terror and anarchy in the Middle East and in Africa, with radical Islam playing a major role, as well as worrying declarations by the new American administration all make our future highly unpredictable. For the first time in our history, in an increasingly multipolar external world, so many are becoming openly anti-European, or Eurosceptic at best. Particularly the change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation; with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy.

      The second threat, an internal one, is connected with the rise in anti-EU, nationalist, increasingly xenophobic sentiment in the EU itself. National egoism is also becoming an attractive alternative to integration. In addition, centrifugal tendencies feed on mistakes made by those, for whom ideology and institutions have become more important than the interests and emotions of the people.

    • Trump A Threat To EU

      Wow! Just as I’ve been saying for a year now, Trump is recognized as a threat to world peace, just like those nasty terrorists of which he promises us he will protect us. Could it be Trump is really in league with those uppity Russians?

    • Covering Trump the Reuters Way

      In a message to staff today, Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler wrote about covering President Trump the Reuters way:

      The first 12 days of the Trump presidency (yes, that’s all it’s been!) have been memorable for all – and especially challenging for us in the news business. It’s not every day that a U.S. president calls journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth” or that his chief strategist dubs the media “the opposition party.” It’s hardly surprising that the air is thick with questions and theories about how to cover the new Administration.

      So what is the Reuters answer? To oppose the administration? To appease it? To boycott its briefings? To use our platform to rally support for the media? All these ideas are out there, and they may be right for some news operations, but they don’t make sense for Reuters. We already know what to do because we do it every day, and we do it all over the world.

    • The Censorship Conspiracy Theories Have Begun, And Media Organistions Should Be Very Worried

      Last night, an ABC news broadcast suffered a technical glitch, and during a segment on the travel ban the feed was cut. When the channel returned to normal, it was reporting a different story.

    • No, Trump Didn’t Censor ABC News Last Night—Here’s What Really Happened
    • Green party demands travel ban for Trump to Germany

      Germany’s Green party has suggested drastic consequences for the US President after he ordered a temporary travel block for refugees and citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.

      Donald Trump’s executive order issued on Friday suspends all refugee admissions into the United States for 120 days, bars all Syrians indefinitely, and blocks citizens of seven mostly Muslim countries for 90 days – including dual citizens.

      This impacts tens of thousands of German citizens who also hold, for example, Iranian passports – Iranian citizens cannot revoke their citizenship. The Green party told financial newspaper Handelsblatt that this would also impact the party’s vice chief of the German-American parliamentary group, Omid Nouripour, who holds both German and Iranian passports.

    • Message from Sally Yates to Justice Department lawyers before she was fired

      Act­ing Atty. Gen. Sally Yates ordered Justice De­part­ment at­tor­neys not to de­fend Pres­id­ent Trump’s ex­ec­ut­ive or­der on travel and refugees in court. Hours later, Trump fired her. Here is the memo she wrote.

    • Why psychiatrists are speaking out about Donald Trump’s mental health

      For decades, professional psychologists and psychiatrists have kept schtum with regard to their expert views on political candidates they haven’t personally assessed.

      Under ethical rules set out by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), shrinks are banned from publicising their professional diagnostic opinions.

      And yet over the course of last year’s US presidential election campaign and increasingly since the inauguration, psychiatrists have put the rule to one side and been speaking out about their concerns over the new President’s mental health.

    • Trump will use Facebook Live to announce his Supreme Court Justice nominee tonight

      President Donald Trump will announce his nominee for the Supreme Court tonight on Facebook Live at 8PM ET. The White House announced the stream today on Twitter.

      CNN reported earlier today that Trump’s top two picks for the position, Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman, have both been brought to Washington. An unnamed source told the publication that the White House is attempting to keep the nomination a secret and build suspense until the official announcement; another anonymous source said that Trump could still change his mind.

    • Trump Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch seen in the mold of Scalia

      Federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch, the U.S. Supreme Court pick of President Donald Trump, is a conservative intellectual known for backing religious rights and seen as very much in the mold of Antonin Scalia, the justice he was chosen to replace.

      Gorsuch, who has not shied away from needling liberals on occasion, is 49 and could influence the high court for decades to come in the lifetime post, if confirmed by the Republican-led Senate. He is the youngest Supreme Court nominee since Republican President George H.W. Bush in 1991 picked Clarence Thomas, who was 43 at the time.

    • Message To Dems: Block Neil Gorsuch Nomination ‘Using All Available Means’

      In accepting the nomination at the podium in the White House, Colorado federal appeals court judge Gorsuch called the late Justice Antonin Scalia “a lion of the law.” Indeed, many have noted that Gorsuch follows in Scalia’s footsteps; of all the potential justices scored on the Washington Post’s “Scalia scale,” Gorsuch scored highest.

      Democrats in Congress and progressive advocacy groups—incensed that the Republican-led Senate never acted on former President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland—have vowed to fight Trump’s pick.

    • China’s Response To Study Confirms It Uses ‘Strategic Distraction’ To Prevent Collective Action. Sound Familiar?

      When Techdirt first wrote about this work last year, it was undoubtedly interesting, and added to our knowledge of how governments flood the Internet with false information. But in the wake of the events of the last few days, during which the White House has disseminated what it calls “alternative facts,” and “collective action” has emerged as a key political response, it has acquired a heightened relevance.

    • The Emoluments Clause, Impeachment, and Trump: An Explainer

      There are mostly questions and very few answers about the Emoluments Clause. There are also legitimate concerns over conflicts of interest during the Trump administration; no president in history has come into office with as vast and complex financial holdings. Modern presidents have bypassed all of this by using blind trusts, something Trump has said he will not do. This is clearly uncharted legal and political territory.

      That said, it appears use of the Emoluments Clause to impeach Trump is another Clinton martyrdom political fantasy. Any clarification will involve extensive travel through the court system, and given the initial question of who even has standing to pursue that, nothing can happen quickly, if at all.

    • Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert Predict Trump’s Next Executive Orders (Video)

      “The Late Show” hosted a special guest Tuesday—and no, despite the dead animal on his head and the overly long red tie, it wasn’t the newly minted president.

      “I’ve got to imagine, though,” said host Stephen Colbert, “after 10 days and 20 orders, he’s got to be done right?”

      “He’s got more, he’s got more,” shouted the prodigal Jon Stewart as he dejectedly took the stage. “Trust me, he’s got more.”

    • After NY Cop Salutes Violence Against Anti-Trump Protester, His Online Post Comes Under Review

      A video posted on Jan. 22 by a pro-Trump Facebook page shows a physical altercation between anti-Trump protesters and a passerby in Washington, D.C. The pedestrian punches a protester, and about 20 seconds later, he hits the same woman in the face a second time.

      On Jan. 23, Brian Faustina, a 22-year veteran officer with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, shared the video on his Facebook wall with the text, “Grow up bitches and get a job.” Two retired Port Authority police officers joined in, saying “This needs to happen more often!” and “Thats [sic] what the [sic] all need, a little ass kicking.”

    • BBC Daily Distortion

      What makes the malice in Kuenssberg’s dealings still more evident is that she had in fact asked Corbyn a question specifically about Paris, and received a very different answer from Corbyn: “Of course you’d bring people onto the streets to prevent and ensure there is safety within our society.”

      But she broadcast neither the actual question nor the actual answer about Paris.

      The deceit, malice and deliberate bias could not be more obvious. The BBC Trust really had no choice in its finding, and it specifically noted that Kuenssberg “had not achieved due impartiality.” That is an extremely important word – it was not just a lapse in judgement, it was a clear indication that Kuenssberg is partial in her political affiliations.

    • Calling a Lie a Lie in the Age of Trump

      The U.S. mainstream media bends over backward not to call the President a liar even when it’s deserved, but Donald Trump’s falsehoods are so glaring that the L word should apply, says ethicist Daniel C. Maguire.

    • Donald Trump’s Demolition Derby

      We’re a week into the Trump administration and it’s pretty obvious what he’s up to. First, Donald Trump is running a demolition derby: He wants to demolish everything he doesn’t like, and he doesn’t like a lot, especially when it comes to government.

      Like one of those demolition drivers on a speedway, he keeps ramming his vehicle against all the others, especially government policies and programs and agencies that protect people who don’t have his wealth, power or privilege. Affordable health care for working people? Smash it. Consumer protection against predatory banks and lenders? Run over it. Rules and regulations that rein in rapacious actors in the market? Knock ‘em down. Fair pay for working people? Crush it. And on and on.

    • Federal Disobedience: Why We Must Support Federal Worker Noncooperation

      After 17 years at the US State Department, for example, TJ Lunardi decided to call it quits. Like other senior foreign service officers who, on January 25, 2017, left in what Washington Post journalist Josh Rogin characterized as an “ongoing mass exodus,” Lunardi concluded that he “simply could not serve in an executive branch” where he “would have to carry out [Trump's] orders as president.” Trump, he decided, is “a threat to our constitutional values.”

      After Trump ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on that same day to remove its climate change page from the EPA website, an anonymous Badlands National Park federal employee (or group of employees) defiantly fired off a series of tweets that blended climate change facts with “exhortations to oppose Donald Trump’s nominees.” The Twitter campaign spread to other parks, with more tweets on climate change on official social media accounts.

    • Here Is Some of the Human Misery Caused by President Trump’s Muslim Ban From Those Most Impacted

      With the sweep of his pen, President Donald Trump caused the U.S. immigration system to go into total disarray and sowed global chaos and confusion on Friday afternoon. The executive order he signed at 4:42 p.m. suspended all Syrian refugees from entering the country indefinitely, prohibited any other refugees from coming into the country for 120 days, and banned foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries from visiting the country for 90 days.

      Refugees and people were caught completely off-guard by the order. They reacted with fear, disbelief, and outrage as their lives were turned upside down by the president’s discriminatory and unconstitutional Muslim ban. Some refugees and immigrants had already given away or sold all of their belongings.

    • How to Build an Autocracy

      It’s 2021, and President Donald Trump will shortly be sworn in for his second term. The 45th president has visibly aged over the past four years. He rests heavily on his daughter Ivanka’s arm during his infrequent public appearances.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Hearing Thursday: American Fights to Continue Case Against Ethiopian Spyware

      On Thursday, February 2, at 9:30 am, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the law firms of Jones Day and Robins Kaplan will urge an appeals court to let an American continue his suit against the Ethiopian government for infecting his computer with custom spyware and monitoring his communications for weeks on end.

      With the help of EFF and the Citizen Lab, the plaintiff in this case found Ethiopian government spyware on his personal computer in Maryland several years ago. Our investigation concluded that it was part of a systemic campaign by the Ethiopian government to spy on perceived opponents.

    • Van Hollen, former NSA director discuss government, private sector collaboration

      U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen and the former director of the NSA talked Wednesday in Linthicum about the importance of the government working with the private sector to improve the country’s cyber security.

    • When the NSA Thought Mind Control Would Be an Actual Military Concern [Ed: cross-posted]
    • Told you so: Airport-style identity checks coming to train travel

      Several European countries will start requiring photo ID from passengers to ride trains, similar to airport identity checks. The requirement concerns the high-speed Thalys and Eurostar services in Europe, with the vague goal of “tightening security and tracking criminals”. Activists said this would happen when useless security theater appeared in airports – it will just spread, but people dismissed the idea at the time as preposterous, probably because it still is.

    • Trump stresses cybersecurity but postpones executive order

      U.S. President Donald Trump called on government agencies to better protect their networks, but he delayed signing an executive order to kick-start a government-wide review of cybersecurity policy.

      A draft copy of the order, leaked earlier, would give the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security 60 days to submit a list of recommendations to protect U.S. government and private networks.

      Trump had been scheduled to sign the executive order Tuesday but canceled shortly before it was due to happen.

      Instead of signing the executive order, Trump told reporters he’ll hold cabinet secretaries and agency heads “totally accountable” for the security of their networks. US. agencies “certainly” don’t have as much cybersecurity protections as they need, he said during a short briefing Tuesday.

    • Trump Orders The Cyber To Be Fixed In The Next Sixty Days

      No one likes it when a new boss takes over the office and starts acting like the entire operation can be turned around in a matter of days, if not hours. A “can do” spirit is overrated, especially when it’s possessed by someone who knows almost nothing about the day-to-day business or, indeed, anything about this sort of business in general.

      But that’s what we have going on here. Within days of taking over the job, the new President has unleashed multiple orders and directives to FIX EVERYTHING… with details to follow sometime between “shortly” and “never.” The plan to “make America great again” involves:

      Telling Americans you’re going to “fix” all of these things.
      Telling government agencies and officials that they’re going to fix all these things
      Right now
      ????

    • Why Are People Afraid Of Bannon’s Connections To The NSA?

      On Saturday, President Trump reshuffled the National Security Council to include his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, as a member, in one of three executive actions he took that day that sparked controversy. Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, is now a permanent member of the “principals committee” of the NSC, while the director of national intelligence and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will only attend meetings if the “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.” The shake-up has elevated Bannon’s position even further, and his new role — which is leaving people worried over how he might be able to impact the National Security Agency — has been much discussed in the media. So, why are people afraid of Bannon’s NSA connections?

    • Not Only Is Steve Bannon Sitting In On National Security Meetings, The Usual Paper Trail Is Disappearing
    • National Security Council Changes Are Very Significant, Hayden Says
    • Editorial: When a president knows nothing, others creep in
    • Veterans of the NSA’s psychic wars

      Last week, we looked at the early days of the CIA’s foray into extrasensory espionage. Today we’ll be following up with the veterans of the NSA’s psychic wars, which they foresaw being waged well into the ’90s and beyond.

      The NSA document, dated from early 1981, calls for a number of steps to be taken, including identifying the potential for mind control.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • White Supremacist Richard Spencer Hails Trump’s ‘de-Judaification’ of Holocaust

      For Richard Spencer, the leading ideologue of the so-called “alt-right,” Donald Trump’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that failed to mention Jews or anti-Semitism was an important, perhaps revolutionary, step.

      Spencer dubbed it the “de-Judaification” of the Holocaust.

      [...]

      The Holocaust, in Spencer’s eyes, has become a sort of moral bludgeon — used against white nationalists like himself.

      “We can’t limit immigration, because Hitler. We can’t can’t be proud of ourselves as a Europeans, because Holocaust. White people can be Christian, but not too Christian, because Auschwitz,” he wrote.

    • Twitter Activist Security

      Many people are starting to get politically active in ways they fear might have negative repercussions for their job, career or life. It is important to realise that these fears are real, but that public overt resistance is critical for political legitimacy. This guide hopes to help reduce the personal risks to individuals while empowering their ability to act safely.

      I am not an activist, and I almost certainly don’t live in your country. These guidelines are generic with the hope that they will be useful for a larger number of people.

    • Jews in a small Texan city gave Muslims the keys to the synagogue after their mosque burnt down

      Jewish people in a small Texas city handed Muslim worshippers the keys to their synagogue after the town’s only mosque was destroyed in a fire.

      The Victoria Islamic Centre burned down on Saturday and had previously been burgled—the cause is being investigated by federal officials.

      But the town’s Muslim population will not be without a place to worship while their building is reconstructed, thanks to their Jewish neighbours.

    • FBI Routinely Hides Payments To Informants, Gives Them A Cut Of Asset Forfeiture Proceeds

      The Intercept has obtained another secret document — this one pertaining to the FBI’s confidential informant program. The sprawling web of so-called Confidential Human Sources (CHS) is examined in multiple posts at the site. (The document, unfortunately, consists of multiple photos of the source pages, so it won’t be embedded below.)

      In addition to things already known about the FBI’s aggressive pursuit of informants — including using the CBP to push incoming foreigners to act as informants by threatening to withhold travel privileges or approval of visa applications — there’s much, much more contained in the FBI’s guidelines.

      One of the interesting aspects is the government’s payment of informants. Considering the FBI has more than 15,000 informants in its network, there’s always the possibility evidence produced by CHSs could be challenged if it appears the FBI is using private individuals to bypass warrant requirements (with “private” searches) or otherwise routing around legal restrictions pertaining to its investigations.

    • Sir Nigel Rodley versus Donald Trump on torture

      It is perhaps a sign of our times that on the same day of Sir Nigel Rodley’s death, Donald Trump was discussing the use of waterboarding (a torture technique that involves strapping a person to a board and dousing his cloth-covered face with water to cause the sensation of drowning) as an interrogation technique, as well as torture more generally. “Do I feel [waterboarding] works? Absolutely, I feel it works.”

      Sir Nigel Rodley (1941-2017) spent his life trying to convince governments to respect the human right to be free from torture.

    • Billionaire Trump Adviser Peter Thiel Bought His New Zealand Citizenship, Documents Show

      In 2011, before Peter Thiel became a household name for his covert campaign against a free press or his loud support for Donald Trump, he was engaged in another covert plan: secretly securing citizenship in New Zealand, where according to a recent New Yorker article, he hopes to safely ride out the apocalypse. As part of his purchase, the new adviser to Trump’s “America First” administration swore an oath to Queen Elizabeth.

      [...]

      In his personal statement, Thiel was also sure to point out, as evidence of his philanthropy, “that I am a primary supporter of the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, non-profit group that promotes press freedom worldwide by defending the rights of journalists to report news without fear of reprisals.” Just one year after typing those words, a legal campaign of fear and reprisal against the journalists and writers of the now-defunct Gawker Media began, years later revealed to have been bankrolled by Thiel (in full disclosure, I previously worked at Gawker Media during that time).

      On this basis, along with a few letters from members of the New Zealand business community (including a recipient of his money), the government recommended his application be approved on the strength of his business acumen, which it was in 2011.

      [...]

      Thiel’s current devotion to “Make America Great Again” seems to conflict not only with his pledge of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth, but also with another portion of his personal statement: “I am happy to say categorically that I have found no other country that aligns more with my vision of the future than New Zealand.” Perhaps that vision of the future was one in which, sometime in the next four to eight years, an apocalyptic disaster has spread across the globe, and he and his fellow billionaires safely reside in armored bunkers. America First, indeed.

    • First They Came for the Immigrants–and NYT Said People Should Anonymously Inform on Them

      As Donald Trump issued an executive order intended to single out Muslims for immigration restrictions, many Americans searched their consciences for the right way to respond to this act of discrimination by their government. “First they came for the Communists/And I did not speak out/Because I was not a Communist,” begins the famous poem by Martin Niemoller. How can we avoid making the same mistake that the Germans made who failed to stand up against the first acts of repression by the Nazi regime?

    • ‘People Have the Right to Take to the Streets’

      A spontaneously organized rally in opposition to Trump’s proposed travel ban for people from Muslim-majority countries packed Washington Square Park here in New York January 25, just days after millions took part in women’s marches around the country, those coming the day after thousands demonstrated at Trump’s inauguration. As this administration proceeds, more and more people are feeling driven to show resistance in some visible way, including taking part in street protests, which makes the treatment of protesters by law enforcement and the courts—always critical—a front-burner concern.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Congress Prepares To Gut Net Neutrality With Bills Pretending To Save It

      As we’ve noted a few times, the Trump administration and new FCC boss Ajit Pai have made it abundantly clear net neutrality protections will be going the way of the dodo under their watch. Given the threat of activist backlash and the logistical complications of rolling back the rules via the FCC, neutrality opponents’ (like Pai) first step toward eliminating net neutrality will likely be to simply refuse to enforce them. From there, ISPs have been lobbying Congress to pass new laws that either hamstring regulatory authority, or pretend to protect net neutrality while actually doing the exact opposite.

      For example, the House last week quickly passed a trio of new bills that would not only allow Congress to roll back Obama-era regulations (including net neutrality) en masse, but would give Congress effective veto power over future regulations from a number of regulatory agencies (including the FDA, EPA, and FCC). But there’s also indications the GOP is cooking up a Communications Act rewrite with an eye toward weakening the FCC’s authority over industry giants like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T even further.

    • New York AG Sues Charter For Slow Broadband Speeds, Says Company ‘Ripping Off’ Users With Substandard Service

      For some time now, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has been taking broadband companies to task for advertising broadband speeds they consistently fail to deliver. Last year, Schneiderman’s office brought in Tim Wu, Columbia professor and the man who coined the term net neutrality, to help dig into the data. With Wu as the AG’s “senior lawyer and special adviser,” Schneiderman sent letters to NYC area broadband incumbents Verizon, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable — questioning whether they actually deliver the speeds they advertise.

  • DRM

    • RIP Denuvo: Resident Evil 7 Cracked In Five Days

      The Denuvo saga has been impressive on a couple of levels. The DRM software’s public cycle was notable first in that game-cracking groups, notorious for their confidence in their own abilities, initially sounded the alarm over Denuvo’s status as an anti-piracy unicorn that would never be broken and would lead to the end of software piracy. That happened in January of 2016. By August, Denuvo was being broken by other cracking groups. By the time winter rolled around, game developers, including developers of AAA titles, were pushing out quiet updates to games to remove Denuvo from their software entirely. Denuvo’s makers, meanwhile, spun this as a success story, suggesting that developers were chiefly using Denuvo to protect games during the initial release cycle and then removing it afterwards.

      But that thin thread of relevancy appears to have snapped, relegating Denuvo to the same scrap pile as every other form of DRM ever tried, now that a cracking group has successfully cracked a Denuvo-protected game in five days’ time.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Do cake designs count as intellectual property?

      Cake hasn’t been controversial since the 1800s when French queen consort Marie Antoinette allegedly declared France’s poor, who had no bread, should eat brioche instead (in English: “let them eat cake”). But at US president Donald Trump’s inauguration celebrations on Jan. 20, cake became a matter of debate again.

    • A Case For Trade Enforcement: Colombia And Intellectual Property [Ed: Imposing, sometimes by shaming, protectionism tools on Colombia to control it economically]
    • Trump Advisor Pens Almost Totally Clueless Piece About ‘Intellectual Property Theft’

      I realize that there are much bigger issues at hand right now, but those of us who follow copyright, patent and trademark policy have been somewhat perplexed about what a Trump administration might do on that front. The issue was basically entirely ignored by Trump and his campaign during election season. And because of that, you now have lots of organizations on all sides of the debate pressing Trump to simply buy into their views of intellectual property, no matter how inane.

      However, I recently came across a piece at Business Insider, entitled “Why intellectual property theft is one of the biggest crimes threatening the US economy,” that was so clueless of the actual issues related to intellectual property, that I went to see who wrote it — only to discover that the author, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, was on Trump’s transition team (something that is not disclosed by Business Insider for unknown reasons). This does not bode well. The whole article is problematic and confused, so let’s dive in.

    • Copyrights

      • Digital Economy Bill Briefing to House of Lords Committee Stage

        Digital technology has transformed the way we live and opened up limitless new ways to communicate, connect, share and learn across the world. But for all the benefits, technological developments have created new threats to our human rights. We raise awareness of these threats and challenge them through public campaigns, legal actions, policy interventions and tech projects.

      • EU Adoption Of Marrakesh Treaty For Blind Readers Imminent After Years Of Delay?

        The European Parliament Legal Committee this week did not bother to further discuss the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty on copyright exceptions for print disabled persons. Instead, Rapporteur Max Andersson declared that he favoured putting the file to a vote right away. Andersson told Intellectual Property Watch that the parliament would adopt the report in March or latest April.

      • Swedish Govt. Mulls Tougher Punishments to Tackle Pirate Sites

        Authorities in Sweden are mulling new measures to deal with evolving ‘pirate’ sites. As part of a legislative review, the government wants to assess potential legal tools, including categorizing large-scale infringement as organized crime, tougher sentences, domain seizures, and site-blocking.

EPO Stakeholders Want Battistelli and His Goons Ousted, They Can Accomplish This by Working Together (Like a Union)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Just like the staff survey showed, not a single person is of the opinion that the current President does a good job

Battistelli zero confidence
Source: King Battistelli tries again to break Euro Patent Office union, 31st of January, 2017. Kieren McCarthy.

Summary: The EPO crisis and the impact it has on the whole European industry does not escape the attention of various firms that protect their own (and clients’) interests

THE EPO is anything but a happy home. But there is even growing unrest outside the EPO. Attorneys and their clients, for example, are complaining. It’s not some sole/individual’s dissent; it is also not a “vocal minority” but a mass movement. Battistelli cannot deny this anymore. As we noted the other day, a Juve survey served to confirm this yet again. Below are some of the findings, which were originally published in German.

“It’s not some sole/individual’s dissent; it is also not a “vocal minority” but a mass movement.”After the initial (paywalled) article had become available some people passed around paper copies and then came this followup article. SUEPO said about the seminal piece: “Summary only, press article requires registration and payment. Those of us who are interested in ordering the article, the edition number is 02/2017.”

“Here is a summary of some of the key findings of the JUVE web article,” one reader told us, breaking it down as follows:

About 170 heads of patent departments of German industrial groups and SME’s, and international technological giants participated in the survey concerning the European Patent system.

UPC

While about 70 % of the survey participants deplore the delay caused by the Brexit, one quarter (25 %) consider the UPC detrimental to the European Patent system.

Boards of Appeal reform

Less than one third of the participants believe that the reform of last year will lead to more independence of the Boards, while more than 80 % want a complete independence.

Patent quality

More than 90 % of the survey participants consider the EPO important for their patent strategy, but less than 50 % of them are happy with the current quality of the patent granting process, and about 50 % of them see a quality problem with BoA decisions.

The president

None of the participants was of the opinion that the current president does a good job (0 % confidence rating). Merely one out of 25 considers his ‘efficiency strategy’ useful. More than 50 % said that Benoît Battistelli should resign.

“96% said that Battistelli should not interfere with Boards of Appeal matters,” told us another reason, or at least “should not interfere any more. Many gave, as an example, the case of the suspended DG3 member as an example of the President transgressing his competencies.”

“It’s a large study or a broad survey, which shows extremely unsupportive views on Battistelli.”More bits of information can be retrieved from the latest article from The Register (screenshot above). A day ago this mainstream British news site wrote about this, and it helped give the gist (succinct/concise) of these findings.

From the article of Juve: “”The situation is alarming, the working conditions are shameful for a European authority”. The head of a pharma giant makes no bones about it.”

Remember that this cannot be dismissed as a “propaganda mill” or partisan nonsense (like IAM with its notorious, EPO-’approved’ surveys), as it’s somewhat of a comprehensive if not near-exhaustive census (at least among respondents). It’s a large study or a broad survey, which shows extremely unsupportive views on Battistelli. To quote: “At the end of November 2016 JUVE surveyed the heads of 168 selected international technology firms. This included German industrial companies as well as medium-sized enterprises and international technology giants, such as from the Silicon Valley. The firms represent all important branches of technology and file at the European Patent Office.”

“If EPO stakeholders (applicants, attorneys etc.) want anything to remain of the EPO and their EPs to be worth anything, they should kick out Battistelli.”If Battistelli does not step down, the Chinchilla will need to fire him. Failing to do so means that loyalty to Battistelli is more important to the Chinchilla than the EPO itself, which is a form of betrayal (considering this role of his), thereby disqualifying him too. When departments fail to supervise one another all we’re left with is a cult or a monarchy, not a professional institution.

To quote more from the article (translated): “The continuing conflict between President Battistelli’s management and some of the staff, in particular the main trade union SUEPO, alarms industry representatives. 79.2% of those asked are disturbed by it. They consider Battistelli to be mainly responsible. An overwhelming 96 percent think that the EPO President should be less confrontational with the unions. Only 4 percent of those asked think that it is necessary.”

Here is another gem: “Industry representatives find that an efficiency strategy, as well a demotivated work force, is responsible for the lack of quality”.

If EPO stakeholders (applicants, attorneys etc.) want anything to remain of the EPO and their EPs to be worth anything, they should kick out Battistelli. These stakeholders need to organise and get rid of this tyrant (Battistelli and the “swamp” he brought with him to the EPO). We believe that stakeholders should work together now, for their common interests. They’re the main source (lion’s share) of income of the EPO and if they demand the resignation of Battistelli and his swamp, then it will need to actually happen.

Someone Needs to Explain/Remind EPO Management That Software Patents Are Not (Supposed to Be) Valid in Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patents in EPO

Summary: The decline of patent quality at the EPO (including expansion of scope to abstract things) should be a cause for concern not just to software developers/users but to everyone who cares about the reputation of the EPO, and by extension Europe

Software patents in EPO vocabulary is “CII”, which is just a trick for avoiding the more controversial term, “software patents”. The EPO has used the misleading term for at least a decade and yesterday it wrote the above. “Great explanation,” it said. “You can also have a look here for more info on patents for computer-implemented inventions…”

One major problem though is that these patents are banned (not that EPO will obey the law anyway, especially under Battistelli’s rule).

“KIPO and JPO have probably become better than the EPO (in terms of quality) after that Battistelli ‘reform’, which basically meant reducing the Office to rubbish.”Bastian Best, who has a blog dedicated to software patents in Europe (promoting them), has been flirting with the EPO for quite some time and writing almost exclusively in support of software patents. Why does the EPO promote these patents against its own rules? So desperate for fresh patent applications? We have been hearing that application inventories (backlog) are rapidly running out, which means that staff will become redundant. Is the EPO’s unofficial strategy to just lower patent quality, expand patent scope, and hope that lots of rubbish patent applications will come flooding in?

The use or misuse of “CII” as a euphemism/weasel word is not new to us. We already saw the devastating effect of such patents in the US, where the USPTO, PTAB, CAFC, etc. belatedly undo the mistakes and attempt to repair the damage. A famous CAFC judge recently said that software patents are in conflict with free speech and are thus, arguably, unconstitutional.

Yesterday the EPO wrote: “What changes to the law are coming up in Japan & Korea?”

Well, Korea already forbids software patents for example, among other low-quality patents. KIPO and JPO have probably become better than the EPO (in terms of quality) after that Battistelli ‘reform’, which basically meant reducing the Office to rubbish. What happens when everyone finds out? As we shall show in our next post, stakeholder are already finding out.

The Netherlands With Its Bizarre Decision to Let the EPO Violate Dutch Law, Now in English

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law, Patents at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Holland fights to market itself as safe haven for unaccountable (and often abusive) organisations

Dutch decision on EPO

Summary: A recent decision on the EPO (from a high Dutch court) is now available for reading in English

OUR previous coverage on this subject, namely EPO management getting away with anything on Dutch territory, pretty much said everything that needed to be said. Here are 5 articles about it (there are more):

Yesterday afternoon we found this update in SUEPO’s Web site. It said the following:

Judgment of the Dutch Court of Cassation issued on 20 January 2017

JUDGMENT OF THE DUTCH COURT OF CASSATION IN SUEPO v EPO ISSUED ON 20 JANUARY 2017
Dutch courts have no jurisdiction in European Patent Organisation dispute
The European Patent Organisation can invoke jurisdiction immunity in a dispute with trade unions. That is the ruling issued by the Supreme Court 5 today, and means the Dutch courts have no jurisdiction to examine disputes brought before them between the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg) and two trade unions: the Trade Union of the European Patent Office (VEOB) and the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO). Previous rulings by the court in preliminary relief proceedings and the Court of Appeal in The Hague 10 have been set aside by the Supreme Court.

Original judgment text is in Dutch. English translation is available.

We have local [PDF] copies of both [PDF] English translations. We have uploaded these PDFs for long-term preservation (as SUEPO is under attack and sometimes pressured to censor itself).

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 Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts