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05.04.17

The EPO’s Administrative Council (AC) is “Amazingly Complicit” or “Awfully Compliant” (Like Much of the Media and Much of the System)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flag of EPO and TurkeyRelated: Kongstad and Battistelli Have Staged a Coup at the European Patent Organisation (EPO)

Summary: In spite of overwhelming evidence of very serious abuses by Team Battistelli — abuses that are impossible to deny — the media, the politicians and even the governing body of the European Patent Organisation continue to play along with tyranny, presumably because UPC ambitions trump everything including the law itself

Complicity with EPO tyranny can be found at many levels. Here are some older posts of relevance to this:

There are many more articles like these (even about the German media having complicity of silence), implicating not just EU, Dutch, German and representative authorities. Sometimes it’s convenient (safer) for politicians to just play along and not rattle the system. Some would conveniently misinterpret criticism of the EPO as an “anti-EU” sentiment and thus “extreme”. According to a new comment from IP Kat, the number of rumours that Battistelli intends to 'pull an Erdoğan' and stay indefinitely are growing. Here is the latest:

Turns out that Battistelli does want another term as EPO President. Who would have guessed? The million Euro question is whether the AC will grant his wish. With “AC” these days seeming to stand for “Amazingly Complicit” or “Awfully Compliant”, who would bet against it?

Time for applicants to wake up and demand that the AC actually follows the rules by which it is bound!

And one should know he can get away with it. He’s already sucking up to nations whose vote is easy and cheap to buy. The whole system is thoroughly compromised. He’s also sending to exile (or worse — firing) anything representing/resembling perceived threat to his absolute tyranny.

Unrelated to the above comment, SUEPO explains how this “Amazingly Complicit” or “Awfully Compliant” AC is giving him even greater powers as a ‘reward’ for his abuse, to help him cover up that abuse rather than punish him, oust him, publicly denounce him etc.

“A lot of these abuses are routinely being justified as being part of a ‘reform’, which we assume means UPC.”Is this Bavaria or Ankara?

A lot of these abuses are routinely being justified as being part of a ‘reform’, which we assume means UPC. Well, the UPC isn’t happening. It just isn’t. Not any time soon. If ever!

The Unitary Patent is just a concept. It has been around for over a decade and all we have right now is just a big pile of papers. Taxpayers pay politicians to waste a lot of time on this worthless junk. Brexit, Poland and Spain are just some of the many barriers to UPC and they alone doom it for the time being (if not in perpetuity).

“Brexit, Poland and Spain are just some of the many barriers to UPC and they alone doom it for the time being (if not in perpetuity).”“France does not recognise software patents, but that will change with UPC,” Benjamin Henrion has just warned. The same is true for the UK, which is why British software firms strongly oppose the UPC (not multinational giants from another country).

IP Kat, having lost its way, still mentions UPC in the body of yesterday’s post as though it’s unstoppable and inevitable in the UK and elsewhere. It’s not at all unstoppable or inevitable. As someone pointed out in the comments, that part is “only valid insofar as UK participates to the UPC post-Brexit, which is anything but sure…”

“Jumping ahead to the illusion of UPC?”We are sadly likely to see more and more of this UPC propaganda. It’s often used as a catch-all excuse for human rights abuses, rejection of democracy and so on. See this erroneous press release from 2 days ago . It’s patently wrong right from the headline, which associates EPs or the EPO with “European Union Patent”. It’s nothing to do with that. It’s just not. Not EU. Jumping ahead to the illusion of UPC?

Remember that the EPO is not a EU thing, yet the EU now publicly helps promote Battistelli’s lobbying event, reinforcing a certain perception of complicity. IP Kat too has just disseminated another ad/plug for the villainous EPO management, reaffirming a trend (the blog helps Battistelli now). “Call for projects for the EPO Academic Research Programme” it called this latest PR stunt. Will it act as a pro bono media partner for ‘European Inventor Award’ 2017 as well?

“When asked by Ars, the EPO’s spokesperson mentioned the imminent arrival of the unitary patent system as an important reason for revising the EPO’s internal rules…”

Dr. Glyn Moody

Latest WIPO Scandal, Echoing EPO Scandals, Demonstrates Freedom of the Press Coming Under Attack From International Patent Institutions

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

WIPO — like EPO — is attacking the media for reporting facts

Related (days old): Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part X: When EPO Calls the Truth “Defamation”

Battistelli

Summary: The corporate ties of WIPO are the least of all troubles when WIPO attacks critical media and leads critical staff to suicide, just like the EPO

International institutions are, in general and rather broad terms, dangerous entities because they are not subjected to national laws and their staff isn’t protected by such laws, either. It makes a lot of people vulnerable and ILO fails to fulfill its mission. One day, if time permits, we intend to expose the complicity of ILO, as we have documents that show some truly nefarious things. I first became aware of malice at international institutions well before covering EPO scandals. I had heard from and received many documents from aggrieved UN staff that suffered severe retaliation for speaking out the truth (this implicated the US military too), leading to suicidal tendencies and character assassination attempts, health issues, etc. Sounds familiar? Well, the main impediment to publication back then was most of the legal documents being in French, as well as reasonable concerns about source protection. We’d rather publish nothing than put a source at jeopardy/danger. We have a perfect record at that and we intend to maintain it.

“We remind readers that Gurry and Battistelli tried to get that very same job. Eventually they both ended up causing people to blow whistles and sometimes commit suicide.”Battistelli's banana republic is rather unique. It’s probably by far the worst. Yes, even worse than WIPO. Where are the safeguards? Where is the oversight? Where is ILO in all this? Well, there are serious issues there too and no real access to justice. Legally speaking, staff is in no-man’s land and yet there’s some sort of façade of legal recourse, which keeps the media out/apathetic.

Last year we did an article about the subcommittee which dealt with WIPO scandals (in the US). This implicated but was not limited to Gurry (he has facilitators, like in the EPO). We remind readers that Gurry and Battistelli tried to get that very same job. Eventually they both ended up causing people to blow whistles and sometimes commit suicide. They are both utterly terrible individuals who probably derive pleasure from power alone. They feel as though they can get away with anything (as so often they do).

Francis Gurry

Gurry is a thug. Some would call him a criminal (in the white-collar sense) and would probably be justified in doing so. He is now attacking the press. And for what? For merely pointing out his horrible deeds? The EPO did this too. It threatened to sue me several times, it sanctioned IP Kat for reporting truths, and it has been strongly condemning TV programs which present facts. Truth cannot be tolerated by autocrats and their cronies. To them, truth is a fierce enemy and they try to send out the message that those who dare say the truth will face severe consequences. That’s reign by fear; it's terror.

World Press Freedom Day is the 3rd of May (yesterday), so now is a suitable time to bring up the latest scandal from WIPO.

Some readers sent us this PDF and urged us to cover it (Respecting Freedom of the Press at the United Nations — an article by Matthew Parish dated 25/4/2017).

“See the document by the Geneva-based lawyer Matthew Parish,” one reader told us. It’s several pages long and we need not reproduce the whole thing here as it’s already widely circulated. “Criminal investigations for defamation,” he says, “are virtually unheard of in Switzerland. It has long been thought that these provisions of the Swiss Criminal Code are close to obsolete. It might be thought extraordinary that Mr Gurry, through the Swiss Ambassador (the same individual in the DNA case as now), is almost uniquely able to ensure the exceptionally swift investigation of such complaints in respect of legislative provisions commonly regarded as close to dead.”

There is a little press coverage in English. Written by Alex Newman from the US media, for example, as article which was published some days ago (last Thursday) says this:

In violation of the unalienable rights to free speech and freedom of the press, yet another United Nations agency, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), is again abusing the legal system in an attempt to bring criminal charges against a journalist over his factual reporting. The explosive scandal was outlined in a document this week sent to every UN member state’s mission in Geneva, where the scandal-plagued agency and its rogue director-general, Francis Gurry, are based.

The revelations follow another, similar scandal in which a communist-linked bureaucrat running the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome is abusing arcane laws to persecute a local newspaper and its editor.

Ironically, despite the developments, the UN itself claims to support the decriminalization of defamation in places where it remains a criminal offense. And yet, the UN allowed the WIPO agency and its leader to host the important UN Chief Executives Board meetings this week.

The most recent attempt by a UN agency to quash free speech surrounds a criminal complaint filed by WIPO boss Gurry against a reporter in Switzerland. The journalist in question, a reporter with World Radio Switzerland, reported on a January protest against Gurry over his alleged corruption, bullying, and abuse of power.

“The [WIPO] organization has also been described as the FIFA of the UN by a U.S. Congressional Committee,” the reporter noted. FIFA refers to the corruption-plagued soccer association, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or International Federation of Association Football. “Staff councils across the UN accuse WIPO management of intimidation, suppressing investigations, interference in the procurement process and even DNA theft. Gemma Vestal, General Secretary of the Federation of International Civil Servants Association says enough is enough, the WIPO head, Francis Gurry, has to go.”

None of those statements are even controversial, and every one is demonstrably true, in addition to being widely reported around the world. In fact, it only scratches the surface of Gurry’s corruption and wild abuses, much of it documented by members of the U.S. Congress in both parties. Among other concerns, for instance, Gurry was credibly accused of violating U.S. law and UN sanctions by multiple sources for sending sensitive dual-use technology to the brutal dictatorships ruling Iran and North Korea, reportedly in exchange for the votes of those regimes in his bid to run WIPO. When whistleblowers tried to expose the scandals, Gurry went ballistic, retaliating against the officials and stonewalling the investigations. He even reportedly ordered that DNA be collected from his subordinates in his zeal to unmask anonymous critics within WIPO.

For those who may have already forgotten (or never knew), WIPO previously threatened Watchtroll as well. That’s hostility towards blogs, too.

SUEPO has mentioned this as well. SUEPO’s text is a reproduction of a FICSA E-mail message whose body goes as follows:

Following Council’s request that the FICSA membership be provided updates relative to staff-management relations in some of the more troubling organizations, we would like to provide you with the attached document published yesterday by a lawyer who is currently defending a Geneva-based journalist who had reported on the relatively recent FICSA/CCISUA organized demonstration against the WIPO Director General.

The document states that the Swiss Ambassador who this time lent his name to the WIPO Director General’s criminal complaint, is the same Ambassador who had allegedly helped the WIPO Director General when WIPO staff members’ stolen personal effects were illegally transmitted to a Swiss laboratory for DNA analysis several years ago, without the staff members’ knowledge and consent. An OIOS investigation was blocked due to the Swiss/Geneva authorities’ refusal to cooperate with the OIOS investigators.

The WIPO Director General has now put into place his own Staff Council, denying the rights of more than 600 WIPO Staff Association dues-paying members to be represented and defended by the elected leaders of their Staff Association in discussions and negotiations with the WIPO Director General.

FICSA will continue to provide advice and assistance to the WIPO Staff Association for as long as this unacceptable situation persists.

We don’t typically cover WIPO (we lack sources from WIPO, but would happily welcome any as material can be supplied anonymous). In any case, to deal with WIPO as a subject entirely separable from EPO would be unwise because some of the same abuses occur in both and there’s probably room for cooperation against tyranny. The governing bodies, as we shall show in our next post, have become growingly complicit in the abuses and oversight got dismantled — to the point where unaccountable, corrupting, abusive entities run amok, destroying many people’s lives.

Links 4/5/2017: 250,000th Raspberry Pi Zero W, New Man Pages Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 7:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.04 is here
  • OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.04 Adds USB 3.0 Support

    The OpenIndiana crew maintaining this open-source Solaris/Illumos operating system is out with their first release of 2017 and it comes with new features and updated packages.

    First of all, OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.04 is their first release adding support for USB 3.0 devices. In addition to the long overdue USB3 support, their Intel kernel mode-setting driver ported from the Linux kernel was reworked and should now work for most Intel graphics hardware.

  • OpenIndiana 2017.04 Operating System Integrates Support for USB 3.0 Devices

    Alexander Pyhalov from the OpenIndiana project, an open-source, community-driven illumos Solaris operating system that continues the vision of OpenSolaris, announced today, May 3, 2017, the release of OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.04.

    OpenIndiana 2017.04 represents a new major update to the “Hipster” series of the distribution, implementing various new features and updating several core components and applications. The most prominent change of this release being the integration of support for USB 3.0 devices.

  • Bareflank Hypervisor 1.1 Brings Windows Support

    Bareflank 1.1 is now available as the newest release of this open-source lightweight hypervisor written in C++.

    Bareflank 1.1 introduces its own new build system catered towards its needs, adds Windows 8.1/10 OS support, openSUSE 42.2 support, VMM isolation capabilities, multi-core support, VMCall support, the VMM can now be cross-compiled using LLVM/Clang, various SSE and AVX optimizations, and testing improvements.

  • Events

  • Databases

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GRUB 2.03 Begins Development

      With GRUB 2.02 released after five years in development, this GNU bootloader code has now been bumped for GRUB 2.03 as development begins with new features.

      As of today, the version in Git master is now GRUB 2.03 for marking the new development cycle in the eventual road to GRUB 2.04. Since the version bump to GRUB 2.03 a few hours ago, a number of patches have begun landing that were queued until the 2.02 release.

    • GCC 7.1 Released With New Features — Marks 30th Anniversary Of GCC 1.0

      GNU’s Jakub Jelinek has announced the release of GCC 7.1, which is the first stable release of GCC 7. This major release also marks the 30th anniversary of first stable GCC release. Talking about the new features, there’s experimental C++17 support, improvements in optimizers, emitted diagnostics, and Address Sanitizer, etc. You can download GCC 7.1 compiler from GNU servers.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Is The GPL Really Declining? [Ed: Remember all those lies from Black Duck that’s paid by and comes from Microsoft?]

      At the huge FOSDEM developer meetup in Brussels in early February, I attended a panel where speakers discussed whether the use of “permissive” open source licenses like the Apache License is now outstripping use of “viral” licenses, such as the GPL. The discussion was spirited, with advocates associated with the Free Software Foundation pushing back on the assertion the GPL is “dying”.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • New Open Source Project Enlists Students To Find Cures For Neglected Diseases

      The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) has launched a collaborative project with five universities in India, United Kingdom, and the United States to help with the research on a debilitating neglected disease.

      According to a DNDi’s press release, the project named “the Open Synthesis Network (OSN)” includes 25 undergraduate and master’s students in chemistry from the participating universities, expected to work on improving chemical compounds for the neglected disease visceral leishmaniasis.

      Visceral leishmaniasis is a potentially fatal disease which is characterised by irregular bouts of fever, substantial weight loss, swelling of the spleen and liver, and anaemia, according to the World Health Organization.

    • New open source project engages universities in neglected diseases drug discovery
    • Imperial students collaborate on drug discovery for neglected diseases

      Chemistry students are making compounds that may help treat diseases thanks to an open collaboration with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative.

      The Open Synthesis Network (OSN) is a partnership between the non-profit research and development organisation Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and five universities from the UK, US and India.

    • Open Data

      • Mapillary opens up 25k street-level images to train automotive AI systems

        As more companies wade into the business of building artificial intelligence systems to help you drive (or do the driving for you), a startup founded by an ex-Apple computer vision specialist is open sourcing a huge dataset that can help them on their road to autonomy.

        Mapillary, a Swedish startup backed by Sequoia, Atomico and others that has built a database of 130 million images through crowdsourcing — think open-source Street View — is releasing a free dataset of 25,000 street-level images from 190 countries, with pixel-level annotations that can be used to train automotive AI systems.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Aaron Louis Technology to launch first open-source 3D printer with closed loop motor on Kickstarter

        As the 3D printer market becomes more and more inundated with machines at a range of different price points, and as previously advanced features are now the standard for most 3D printers, it is getting more and more difficult for smaller manufacturers to find a niche. That doesn’t seem to have been the case for Aaron Louis Technology, however. It is soon to launch a crowdfunding campaign for its OP1720 and CL1720 3D printers, the latter of which is one of the first available open-source machines to offer a closed loop motor control system.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Serverless Security implications—from infra to OWASP
    • Xen hypervisor faces third highly critical VM escape bug in 10 months

      The Xen paravirtualization mode is proving to be a constant source of serious vulnerabilities, allowing attackers to escape from virtual machines

    • Security like it’s 2005!

      The 2017 world has a solution to these problems. Use the cloud. Stuff as a Service is without question the way to solve these problems because it makes them go away. There are plenty who will naysay public cloud citing various breeches, companies leaking data, companies selling data, and plenty of other problems. The cloud isn’t magic, but it lets you trade a lot of horrible problems for “slightly bad”. I guarantee the problems with the cloud are substantially better than letting most people try to run their own infrastructure. I see this a bit like airplane vs automobile crashes. There are magnitudes more deaths by automobile every year, but it’s the airplane crashes that really get the attention. It’s much much safer to fly than to drive, just as it’s much much safer to use services than to manage your own infrastructure.

    • Security Sessions: Why CSOs should care about machine learning
    • Reproducible builds folks: Reproducing R packages
    • Hacker Extortion Attempt Falls Flat Because Netflix Actually Competes With Piracy

      A hacking group calling itself TheDarkOverlord (TDO) has tried, and failed (so far) to extort Netflix and several other companies after stumbling onto a server of unreleased content. TDO was apparently able to compromise the servers of an audio post-production company by the name of Larson Studios. Among the content acquired from the hackers were ten episodes of the as-yet-unreleased new season of the popular Netflix show “Orange is the New Black,” which isn’t supposed to see full release until June. Outside of some free advertising in the news media and some wasted calories, the group’s efforts don’t appear to have culminated in much.

    • Free search engine tool hunts down malware-infected computers

      Internet search engine Shodan provides enterprise security teams a wealth of information about open ports on servers and other internet-connected devices. Now, as part of a partnership with threat intelligence company Recorded Future, security analysts and researchers can work with Shodan to uncover systems manipulated to control malware-infected devices.

    • Report says 135m Indian govt payment card details leaked

      “Based on the numbers available on the websites looked at, the estimated number of Aadhaar numbers leaked through these four portals could be around 130-135 million and the number of bank accounts numbers leaked at around 100 million from the specific portals we looked at,” the report said.

    • Reproducible builds folks: Reproducible Builds: week 105 in Stretch cycle

      On April 26th Chris Lamb gave a talk at foss-north 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden on Reproducible Builds.

    • Don’t trust OAuth: Why the “Google Docs” worm was so convincing [iophk: "benefits of The Cloud (tm) and of not-using native distributed file systems"]

      The interesting thing about this worm was just how convincing it was. The e-mail was great—it used the exact same language as a Google Docs sharing e-mail and the exact same “Open” button. Clicking on the link brought up an authentic Google log-in page, served up from Google’s servers. Then you were presented a real Google OAuth permissions page, also from Google’s servers. The trick was that the app claiming to be “Google Docs” wasn’t really Google Docs. The screen showed a third-party app with the name “Google Docs” and a profile picture that matched the Google Docs logo.

    • Thieves drain 2fa-protected bank accounts by abusing SS7 routing protocol

      The unidentified attackers exploited weaknesses in Signalling System No. 7, a telephony signaling language that more than 800 telecommunications companies around the world use to ensure their networks interoperate. SS7, as the protocol is known, makes it possible for a person in one country to send text messages to someone in another country. It also allows phone calls to go uninterrupted when the caller is traveling on a train.

    • All your Googles are belong to us: Look out for the Google Docs phishing worm
    • Don’t click that Google Docs link! Gmail hijack mail spreads like wildfire
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Why Do North Koreans Hate Us? One Reason — They Remember the Korean War.

      It’s a question that has bewildered Americans again and again in the wake of 9/11, in reference to the Arab and Muslim worlds. These days, however, it’s a question increasingly asked about the reclusive North Koreans.

      Let’s be clear: there is no doubt that the citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) both fear and loathe the United States. Paranoia, resentment and a crude anti-Americanism have been nurtured inside the Hermit Kingdom for decades. Children are taught to hate Americans in school while adults mark a “Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism Month” every year (it’s in June, in case you were wondering).

      North Korean officials make wild threats against the United States while the regime, led by the brutal and sadistic Kim Jong-un, pumps out fake news in the form of self-serving propaganda, on an industrial scale. In the DPRK, anti-American hatred is a commodity never in short supply.

    • India must be cautious, the China-Pakistan corridor has a geopolitical subtext
    • Devon student guilty of planting homemade bomb on London tube

      A student from Devon has been found guilty of planting a homemade bomb filled with ball bearings on the tube, after a jury rejected his claim that it was meant to be a prank.

      Damon Smith, 20, pleaded guilty to perpetrating a bomb hoax but said he intended the device to work as a smoke bomb to stop the train “for a bit of fun”. He pleaded not guilty to possession of an explosive substance with intent, contrary to the 1883 Explosive Substances Act. He decided not to give evidence at the trial.

      Smith has Asperger syndrome and took a keen interest in weapons, which might have been connected to his condition, a jury at the Old Bailey in London heard during his five-day trial. He was also interested in gambling and Islam, and had collected photos of extremists, including the ringleader of the 2015 Paris attacks.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Comey Says Only Reason Assange Not ‘Apprehended Yet’: He’s Out of Reach

      Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, FBI director James Comey said that while he wouldn’t “confirm whether or not there are charges” pending against the WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange, the reason he “hasn’t been apprehended is because he’s inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London.”

      While speculation has long been that the U.S. government has a sealed indictment against Assange, the government refuses to openly say whether or not criminal charges exist against the man whose media organization has published troves of classified material, much of which has exposed secrets that paint the global superpower—and many of its top political leaders—in a negative light.

    • FBI chief knows ‘intelligence porn’ when he sees it, and it’s WikiLeaks

      FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday that the radical transparency group WikiLeaks should not be considered a legitimate journalistic organization because it trafficked in “intelligence porn” and sought to damage the United States.

      “There’s nothing that even smells journalistic about some of this conduct,” Comey told a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    • Comey slams WikiLeaks as ‘intelligence porn’

      FBI Director James Comey slammed WikiLeaks as “intelligence porn” on Wednesday, accusing the anti-secrecy group of serving as a conduit for Russian and other foreign intelligence agencies to publish stolen information intended to damage the United States.

      Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey was asked why the United States had not charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with a crime. Comey said he had to be careful with his answer, because he did not want to confirm whether there were charges pending against Assange, but then responded: “He hasn’t been apprehended because he is inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.”

    • Tear up detention order: Assange lawyer

      Julian Assange’s lawyer has asked a Swedish court to rescind a detention order against the WikiLeaks founder over an alleged rape and allow him to go to Ecuador to be safe from extradition to the US.

      Assange, 45, has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, after taking refuge there to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape, which he denies.

      He fears Sweden will in turn hand him over to the US to face prosecution over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest information leaks in US history.

    • Courage marks World Press Freedom Day

      Wednesday 3 May marks World Press Freedom Day, amid a growing consensus that press freedoms are at risk internationally. Since 1993, the UNESCO-initiatied event has been used to draw attention to threats to free expression. The past year journalists have found themselves at severe risk in many countries, with the situation in Turkey, Syria and Azerbaijan being particularly acute.

    • WikiLeaks’ Assange to Clinton: ‘Blame yourself’ for election loss

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Hillary Clinton on Wednesday to blame herself for losing the 2016 presidential election.

      Assange sent a tweet Wednesday pushing back on Clinton a day after she blamed the anti-secrecy organization in part for her election loss.

    • [Older] US steps up campaign against Julian Assange

      On Thursday, CNN reported, citing unnamed US officials, that the Trump Justice Department has prepared charges against Assange based on supposed “proof” that WikiLeaks actively assisted former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in releasing classified documents exposing the agency’s vast and illegal spying operations.

      At a press conference on Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions indirectly gave credence to the report, saying, “We’ve already begun stepping up our efforts [against leakers] and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Greens call for emergency intervention into air pollution crisis

      The Green Party is calling for an emergency intervention into the air pollution crisis ahead of the publication of the Government’s draft air quality plan [1].

      Jonathan Bartley, Green Party co-leader, spoke at an assembly at a London school this morning and called on the Government to clean up the UK’s filthy air, which is linked to 40,000 early deaths every year.

  • Finance

    • Tim Cook says Apple is investing $1 billion in US manufacturing [iophk: "anything to avoid US taxes apparently"]

      “It’s $1 billion of our US money, which we have to borrow to get. That’s another whole topic…”

    • Apple joins ‘Made in America’ trend with $1 billion fund to promote U.S. manufacturing [iophk: "how about paying some US taxes from time to time?"]

      In a Wednesday interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC’s Mad Money, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple is creating a fund to promote advanced manufacturing in the United States, and seeding it with $1 billion to start.

    • Brexit: This is what having no leverage looks like

      For nearly a year now the British government has been acting like a drunk man in a bar trying to start a fight with a guy twice his size. Whenever one of his sober friends tells him to maybe tone it down a little, he shouts at him to shut up. Whenever they say he’s in no fit state for this, he starts pushing them around and calling them names. But now the time for mouthing off is over and he has to actually fight.

      Britain isn’t powerless. On a good day, it’s actually pretty strong. It is towards the bottom of the top tier of countries. It has a big market, big security spend and a willingness to use it, it has huge reserves of soft power and long-nurtured diplomatic influence. It has key global alliances, not least with the US. It has a seat on the Security Council, nuclear weapons, is in the G7, is well regarded at the WTO. It is part of the cultural life of almost every single person on this planet, whether it’s because they watch Downton Abbey, or follow the Premier League, or listen to the Rolling Stones. It punches above its weight, as it always has done.

    • Czech government to resign amid finance minister row

      Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka announced the resignation of his government after a row with Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, local media reported Tuesday.

      Sobotka, who has been leading the country’s coalition government since 2014, said it was not possible for him to continue to bear responsibility for Babiš, leader of the centrist ANO party.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • FBI’s Comey says he is “mildly nauseous” to think he influenced election

      FBI Director James Comey told a Senate panel on Wednesday that it would have been “catastrophic” for the bureau to not have disclosed in October, just 11 days before the presidential election, that the agency was revisiting the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal.

    • Trudeau backer endorses Gina Miller’s tactical voting campaign

      The founder of a strategic voting initiative that helped propel Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party into office in Canada believes Gina Miller’s campaign for tactical voting in the UK election has a “great chance” of blunting Theresa May’s bid to consolidate power.

      Hisham Abdel-Rahman has already been in touch with Miller’s Best for Britain team, which launched its campaign last week with a £300,000 war chest raised through crowdfunding.

      “I would absolutely love to be involved and to come to Britain and help Gina. We’ve had one conversation already and I believe if the progressives get their act together they have a great chance,” said Abdel-Rahman, who is an IT consultant and self-confessed “political junkie”.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Mounting Privacy Problems In Europe For Facebook’s Acquisition Of WhatsApp

      When it comes to online privacy, the European data protection authorities tend to be quite interventionist as they try to police the movement of personal data within and out of the EU. The concerns over the Safe Harbor and Privacy Shield frameworks are one manifestation of this. Another is the increasing EU scrutiny of Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp.

    • Facebook Reports More Than Half Of Gov’t Demands For Content And Data Come With Gag Orders Attached

      US government requests for Facebook data are up, according to the company’s latest biennial transparency report. Total requests jumped from 23,000 to 26,000, as compared to the first six months of 2016. Overall, it’s an increase of about 12,000 requests over 2015′s total.

      At this point, Facebook is fielding about 1,000 more requests a month as compared to 2015. While there’s not a whole lot of detail in the presented data, the social media platform is now able to report something it hadn’t been able to do before the passage of the USA Freedom Act. Both of the 2016 reports now show what percentage of data requests come with a gag order attached.

    • Back to the roots: FidoNet

      A FidoNet system (node) usually consists of a mailer that does the exchange with other systems, a tosser that “routes” the mail to the recipients, and a reader with which you can finally read and write messages to others. Back in the old days I ran my mailbox on my Amiga 3000 with a Zyxel U-1496E+ modem, later with an ISDN card called ISDN-Master. The software used was first TrapDoor as mailer and TrapToss as a tosser. Later replaced by GMS Mailer as a mailer and MailManager as a tosser and reader.

      [...]

      Yes, FidoNet is maybe outdated technology, but it’s still alive and I would like to get a FidoNet node running again. Are there any other FidoNet nodes running on Debian and give assistance in setting up? There are maybe some fully integrated solutions like MysticBBS, but I’m unsure about those.

    • At Senate Hearing, Comey Hints At Expanded NSL Powers And Encryption Backdoors

      James Comey testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee today where he faced an oddly-unified bipartisan group of senators irritated with the FBI (but for different reasons). Most senators took a large amount of the their time during the first round of questions to not actually ask questions, but to express their displeasure with the Clinton email investigation and the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation.

      The opening statements varied depending on the party of the senator addressing James Comey. Comey had very few answers about various Trump-related investigations (which are still ongoing), but made the most of his opening statement by dodging the questions and making a sales pitch for the renewal of Section 702 — the statute permitting the NSA’s internet data/communications collection the FBI makes frequent use of.

      According to Comey, the 702 collection is essential to national security. Possibly true. But not so essential that concerns about Fourth Amendment violations should be swept aside. This was only one of the sales pitches Comey managed to squeeze in during questioning.

    • US Intelligence “transparency report” reveals breadth of surveillance by NSA, others

      A report issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) yesterday provides a sobering set of statistics on the breadth and depth of US intelligence surveillance of targets both overseas and within the United States. Even after steps were taken to reduce the collection of phone call metadata—ending bulk collection of phone company records and limiting collection to specific requests against records held by telecommunications providers—the National Security Agency collected over 151 million phone call records while tracking only 42 targets.

    • NSA still collecting Americans’ phone call data
    • NSA called out for continued tracking of millions of phone records
    • Obama’s team ‘asked for NSA secrets on more than 30,000 Americans in 2016 and circulated 6,000 intelligence reports WITHOUT removing their names’

      Barack Obama’s team used NSA technology to examine data gathered on tens of thousands of Americans abroad during the election, it has emerged.

    • Russia Tries To Deliver The Killing Blow To VPN Use

      Last year Russia passed a new surveillance bill that promised to bring greater security to the country. As is par for the course for these types of bills, the legislation did the exact opposite by not only mandating new encryption backdoors, but by also imposing harsh new data-retention requirements on ISPs and VPN providers. As a result, some VPN providers like Private Internet Access wound up leaving the country after finding their entire function eroded and having some of their servers seized. The end result? Russia’s pledge to shore up security wound up making everybody in the country notably less secure.

      And now Russia appears poised to dramatically up the ante.

    • Florida judge rules that compelling a suspect to reveal smartphone pin passcodes doesn’t violate the Fifth Amendment

      A Florida judge has granted a motion to compel two suspects in an ongoing case to reveal their smartphone passcodes. Prosecutors were granted a motion to compel two defendants to give up their smartphone pin passcodes to search for evidence related to an extortion allegedly carried out by a couple, Victor and Voigt. The two devices in question are an iPhone and a Blackberry. The suspects’ attorneys argued that passwords are protected as testimonial content by the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.

      Judge rules that passcodes aren’t protected by the Fifth Amendment

    • Sextortion suspect must unlock her seized iPhone, judge rules

      A Miami-Dade county judge has ruled that two defendants in a sextortion case must provide police with the passwords to their respective iPhones so authorities can unlock the devices and execute a search warrant.

      Whether or not courts can force individuals to give up passwords to their locked computers or phones is not a settled matter. In essence, the question it boils down to is: “Is giving up a password testimonial, and therefore in violation of the Fifth Amendment? Or is it more like being asked to give up a key to a safety deposit box?”

      “For me, this is like turning over a key to a safety deposit box,” said Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Charles Johnson, who ruled from the bench during a Wednesday hearing, according to the Miami Herald.

    • This tool shows the political parties targeting you on Facebook

      The Google Chrome browser extension can scan users’ Facebook profiles and tell them the political parties that are advertising to them the most.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Don’t Get Fooled: The Plan Is To Kill Net Neutrality While Pretending It’s Being Protected

      Back in February, we had former top FCC staffer Gigi Sohn on our podcast and she laid out the likely strategy of Ajit Pai and Congress to kill net neutrality while pretending that they were protecting net neutrality. And so far, it’s played out exactly according to plan. Each move, though, seems to be getting reported by most of the tech press as if it’s some sort of surprise or unexpected move. It’s not. There’s a script and it’s being followed almost exactly. So, as a reminder, let’s go through the exact script:

    • RIP About.com: A Look at the Tumultuous Life of a Web Legend

      About.com didn’t die of natural causes. It was killed by its CEO despite still being profitable. The story of why it had to die in order for this new thing to be born tells you a lot about the way the internet has changed since its earliest days.

    • Examining Decentralized Social Networks

      “Social networks” have been around a lot longer than many folks realize. My own first experience was a “bulletin board system” back in the 80’s using a dial-up modem where you registered on a computer and could interact with, and send messages to other users on that system. This expanded into more mainstream email accounts and ushered in the era of AOL, CompuServe and others. These spun off into other community-based web sites which launched ideas into larger and larger platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and so on.

      These platforms are “centralized” in the sense that there is only one entity responsible for your account access, and managing access to any content you choose to upload and share privately or publicly on their platform. Many users aren’t crazy at the idea of large entities controlling access to their content, which has resulting in many viral ownership claims that get recycled from time to time. It’s a valid concern, especially when the platform isn’t 100% clear on how they’ll use your content for additional monetization efforts.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Game Maker Sues Milwaukee Over Permit Requirement To Make Augmented Reality Games

      One of the great stories in unintentional consequences in technology in the past few years has been Pokemon Go. The augmented reality game application has resulted in all kinds of legal action and consequences, including New York declaring playing it to be a sex offender parole violation, lawsuits stemming from players of the game wandering onto private property and annoying the residents there, and even the DOD releasing guidelines for safe Pokemon hunting.

    • Enlisting Government Help To Protect Your Trade Secrets [Ed: When government helps corporations with secrecy]

      Most businesses think protecting their intellectual property is their own responsibility, and it is. But what about when your intellectual property rights are violated by an evildoer? Who are you going to call?

    • The MP3 Format is now Patent Free [iophk: "still sucks compared to Ogg and the others, but at least now it is unencumbered"]

      MP3 decoding was already free and got recently included in Fedora. But now, encoding is also free according to Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS: “On April 23, 2017, Technicolor’s mp3 licensing program for certain mp3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated.” The Wikipedia MP3 article confirms that.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright infringement now punishable with up to 10 years in jail

        While the overzealous new rules were keenly disputed by the Open Rights Group (ORG) when a draft of the bill was published last year, the government refused to soften its approach.

        As a result, in theory it’s now possible for copyright holders to pursue criminal cases for an infringer of any size [...]

      • Copyright Troll Sends DMCA Notices Targeting Anti-Troll Websites & Lawyers

        We talk a lot around here about the many problems with the copyright trolling industry. Those problems take several forms, but they can be best globalized as a problem of the copyright troll’s basic business model. These groups claim to tackle piracy in defense of the content creators with whom they contract, but they do so not by spear-fishing confirmed infringers with sound evidence, but rather they cast as wide a net as possible based on flimsy evidence at best, all in the hopes of producing enough settlement money from scared recipients to make some coin. This bird-shot approach, to further mix my hunting analogies, inevitably creates serious collateral damage and exposes how poorly constrained the technology used to identify infringement is to reality.

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