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06.18.17

Links 18/6/2017: New Debian Release, Catchup With a Lot of News

Posted in News Roundup at 6:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Nextcloud 12 Beta 2 out, get a t-shirt by finding upgrade issues!

    We announced Nextcloud 12 Beta 1 to a great deal of press attention. It is a revolutionary release, moving the goal posts for open source file sync and share solutions in terms of capabilities the way Nextcloud 11 raised the bar in terms of security and scalability to a level no other open source technology has caught up to.

  • An Interview with HashiCorp’s Armon Dadgar

    Our vision for HashiCorp was to change the way we build and deploy applications, from development through production. We had a certain set of philosophies we wanted to promote that we’ve published as our Tao of HashiCorp, most of which were not mainstream at the time. What really have us the confidence to even try was our early experiences in open source. Mitchell was the primary developer behind the very popular Vagrant tool, and I had a few small OSS projects mentioned before, and together that gave us the confidence to start HashiCorp.

  • How Liri came to Be

    We desired to make a nice desktop and apps using new and modern technologies like QtQuick without mixing it with QtWidgets or any compatibility shortcut in order to have a consistent, good looking and functional UI.

    For that purpose we needed a sound design language with well defined rules. Material Design is a complete design language made by talented professionals, its clarity and structure allow us to focus on the code.

    Liri officially debuted in January 2017 when we thought there was a solid groundwork to start from and let people be aware of our initiative.

  • Google Open Sources More, Machine Learning Computer Vision Technology
  • Google releases new TensorFlow Object Detection API
  • Google wants to speed up image recognition in mobile apps
  • Google designed an object-recognition program that won’t need the internet

    Artificial intelligence is giving a simple photograph the power to recognize objects, faces, and landmarks — sometimes with more detail than a set of human eyes can assign. Now, more of those features will be coming to mobile devices, thanks to Google’s release of MobileNets software.

  • AWS Blox enters crowded open source container market amid skepticism

    While much of the developer community turns to Kubernetes to schedule containers, open source AWS Blox could carve out a niche among container and serverless users.

    [...]

    Blox is available from GitHub, but AWS hasn’t provided the source code to an open source organization, in which groups of people can argue over what features or functions to include in the next release. Because AWS is not traditionally an open source contributor, this move has some experts questioning the true open source nature of the service. While Amazon will be a player in the container orchestration market, Blox might struggle to find a user base.

  • Introducing Reladomo – Enterprise Open Source Java ORM, Batteries Included! (Part 2)
  • More Librem 13 Enablement Lands In Coreboot

    Last week I wrote about Librem 13 v2 support landing in upstream Coreboot while now more work for this Purism laptop is now set in Git.

    It’s looking like the Purism Librem 13 v2 support in Coreboot is getting squared away with more of the functionality working under this open-source BIOS alternative. Among the most recent commits to Coreboot Git are now audio support for the laptop.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chromium Mus/Ozone update (H1/2017): wayland, x11

        Since January, Igalia has been working on a project whose goal is to make the latest Chromium Browser able to run natively on Wayland-based environments. The project has various phases, requires us to carve out existing implementations and align our work with the direction Chromium’s mainline is taking.

        In this post I will provide an update on the progresses we have made over 2017/H1, as well as our plans coming next.

        In order to jump straight to the latest results section (including videos) without the details, click here.

    • Mozilla

      • Browse Against the Machine

        I head up Firefox marketing, but I use Chrome every day. Works fine. Easy to use. Like most of us who spend too much time in front of a laptop, I have two browsers open; Firefox for work, Chrome for play, customized settings for each. There are multiple things that bug me about the Chrome product, for sure, but I‘m OK with Chrome. I just don’t like only being on Chrome.

      • Firefox hogs less memory and gets a speed bump in its latest update

        In an attempt to even the playing field with competitors, Mozilla Firefox stepped up its game Tuesday by releasing an update that will increase browser speeds and cut down on memory usage.

        Firefox 54 has opened up its upper limit of processes from one to four, although users can customize it to be more by entering “about:config” in the address bar and adjusting the settings themselves.

        This new version of Firefox feels faster and it scores higher on an online browser speed test than Chrome or Safari, even after opening 20 tabs, although it still gives the old loading sign on all of the pages. Firefox product vice president Nick Nguyen calls this upgrade “the largest change to Firefox code in our history,” according to his blog post detailing the changes.

      • [Older] Firefox memory usage with multiple content processes

        My previous measurements found that four content processes are a sweet spot for both memory usage and performance. As a follow up we wanted to run the tests again to confirm my conclusions and make sure that we’re testing on what we plan to release. Additionally I was able to work around our issues testing Microsoft Edge and have included both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Firefox on Windows; 32-bit is currently our default, 64-bit is a few releases out.

        The methodology for the test is the same as previous runs, I used the atsy project to load 30 pages and measure memory usage of the various processes that each browser spawns during that time.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Quality Assurance: six months in statistics (part 1)

      During the last six months (from 23 November 2016 to 21 May 2017), many things have happened in LibreOffice and in Bugzilla, its bug tracker, where bugs are reported by users, triaged by the quality assurance (QA) team and finally handled by developers, if needed.

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Generating FreeBSD packages with CPack

      For software that uses CMake as (meta) buildsystem, and then gets packaged by distro’s — at least on FreeBSD — there’s something weird going on: the meta-buildsystem knows exactly what files are generated and where they get installed, but then knowledge about those files gets re-created outside of the meta-buildsystem in the ports tree, and that re-created information is used to do the actual packaging. To me, it feels like a duplication of effort, since CPack can be used to (re)use the information straight from the meta-buildsystem.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Meet G0v, the Open Source, Digital Community Transforming Democracy in Taiwan

      In 2014, a digital-driven movement emerged in Taiwan that challenged the former ruling party Kuomintang’s move to fast-track the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement. The members of the movement felt the trade deal between China and Taiwan would impinge on Taiwan’s sovereignty. The Sunflower Movement, a youth-driven, tech-savvy, cross-sectoral coalition, occupied the Taiwanese Parliament for more than three weeks. To the surprise of many, it was ultimately successful.

      [...]

      First of all, g0v does not have a “governance” structure. We consider ourselves as a community rather than an organization. Like other open-source tech communities, we believe everyone is equal to participate in the community. We welcome every citizen to join any projects since all our projects are all open online, including codes, documents, videos, and images, etc.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • [Older] U.S. District Court Denies Pre-Trial Motion to Dismiss GPL Infringement Case

      The District Court for the Northern District of California has denied a motion to dismiss a complaint of breach of contract and copyright infringement claims in a case regarding the GPL. The plaintiff, Artifex Software Inc., is the creator of Ghostscript, an AGPL-licensed PDF interpreter. In 2016, the company filed a lawsuit against Hancom, a South Korean software company that incorporated Ghostscript into its Hangul word processing software without complying with the GPL.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • German researchers release open-source tomato and wheat seeds to boost research

      Breeders from the Göttingen University and Dottenfelderhof agricultural school in Bad Vilbel, Germany, have released new varieties of tomato and wheat seeds. The catch? They’re free for anyone to use, ever, as long as the products of their work remain free to use. In essence, these are open-source seeds.

    • Expert Conversation: Using Open Source Drug Discovery To Help Treat Neglected Diseases

      The Open Source Drug Discovery project, launched in 2008 by biophysicist Samir Brahmachari, aims to develop low-cost treatments for neglected diseases using an open-source approach. Brahmachari is founding director of India’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology. He was interviewed by Gaëll Mainguy, director of development and international relations for the CRI (conversation has been edited and condensed for publication).

    • The Community Data Science Collective Dataverse

      I’m pleased to announce the Community Data Science Collective Dataverse. Our dataverse is an archival repository for datasets created by the Community Data Science Collective. The dataverse won’t replace work that collective members have been doing for years to document and distribute data from our research. What we hope it will do is get our data — like our published manuscripts — into the hands of folks in the “forever” business.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • ATMIA 2017 on 3D printing and Open Source

        During a talk at ATM&Cash Innovation 2017, taking place at the Lancaster Hotel, London on 14th June, Achim Boers, Head of Corporate Innovation at Prosegur, pointed towards 3D printing and open-sourcing when asked about his view on the biggest game-changers in the industry.

      • M3D Stays Low-Cost, Goes Industrial with Open-Source, Feature-Packed Promega 3D Printer

        M3D will always be known for the M3D Micro, the 3D printer that catapulted them to success with a multimillion-dollar Kickstarter campaign in 2014. The Micro was followed up with the Pro and the Micro+, released just recently, which continued the company’s mission of delivering affordable, low-cost, compact consumer 3D printers. Now M3D is introducing another 3D printer – but it’s quite different than anything they’ve produced so far as they step away from consumer orientation for the first time.

      • M3D launches the Promega, its first industrial open source 3D printer

        Having previously focused its products on the entry-level consumer 3D printing market, M3D has now introduced their first-ever industrial 3D printer – the Promega.

      • M3D Raised Millions On Kickstarter. Now Its Founder Is Launching His Own Crowdfunding Site
      • Open Source Digital Cinema

        Years in the making, Apertus has released 25 beta developer kits for AXIOM–their open source digital cinema camera. This isn’t your point-and-shoot digital camera. The original proof of concept from 2013 had a Zynq processor (a Zedboard), a super 35 4K image sensor, and a Nikon F-Mount.

        The device today is modular with several options. For example, there is an HDMI output module, but DisplayPort, 4K HDMI, and USB 3.0 options are in development. You can see several sample videos taken with the device, below.

  • Programming/Development

    • Inkscape moves to GitLab

      The tools that projects use to manage code have changed in the last ten years and the Inkscape project has wanted to take advantage of the more advanced and modern systems available and encourage more contributions. But these newer platforms have involved a large step of exporting the code base and all of the many branches into a new system. But we needed to take the leap into a new system, because our code platform and repository system was putting off new contributors and made working on Inkscape harder for existing developers.

    • [Older] Perl 5.26.0 released

      We are thrilled to announce perl v5.26.0, the first stable release of version 26 of Perl 5.

    • [Older] GDB 8.0 released!

      Release 8.0 of GDB, the GNU Debugger, is now available via anonymous FTP. GDB is a source-level debugger for Ada, C, C++, Objective-C, Pascal and many other languages. GDB can target (i.e., debug programs running on) more than a dozen different processor architectures, and GDB itself can run on most popular GNU/Linux, Unix and Microsoft Windows variants.

    • GCC 7 – The importance of a cutting-edge compiler

      At first sight, it is not clear why the compiler warns if alloca was called to allocate memory which is automatically freed. It was called for sizes of 1kb and less, which is the limit implicit in “-Walloca-larger-than”. However, since n is signed, a negative value would result in a call to the function well in excess of the limit. Thus, the warning is triggered.

    • What Are Interfaces?

      This is a blog post about interfaces in Go. I wanted to write about a headscratcher that cost me several hours of work when I first started learning Go, and I figured I might as well start from the beginning and write the article on interfaces that I wish I had read back then. The story of my encounter with nil interfaces is coming soon, but for now, here’s a brief and hopefully accessible piece on interfaces in Go.

    • Go support in KDevelop. GSoC week 3. Why test coverage of parser matters?
    • The C standard committee effort to kill C continues

      So the intent of at least some members of the C standard committee is to make production C code fail in some unpredictable manner as an “optimization”. Despite the best efforts of developers of rival programming languages, C’s advantages have preserved it as an indispensable systems and applications programming language. Whether it can survive the C standards process is a different question.

Leftovers

  • 28 Hotspots Detected on Sumatra Island

    The hotspots were found in Aceh, North Sumatra, Riau, and Lampung provinces, Slamet Riyadi, head of the data section of the Pekanbaru meteorology station, said on Tuesday.

  • Don’t Use Bots to Engage With People on Social Media

    I am going to be honest with you, I am writing this post out of one part frustration and one part guidance to people who I think may be inadvertently making a mistake. I wanted to write this up as a blog post so I can send it to people when I see this happening.

    [...]

    Firstly, automated Direct Messages come across as spammy. Sure, I chose to follow you, but if my first interaction with you is advertising, it doesn’t leave a great taste in my mouth. If you are going to DM me, send me a personal message from you, not a bot (or not at all). Definitely don’t try to make that bot seem like a human: much like someone trying to suppress a yawn, we can all see it, and it looks weird.

  • CenturyLink made millions by ripping off customers, lawsuit claims

    CenturyLink customers have paid “many millions” of dollars for services they didn’t want because CenturyLink employees added services to their accounts without the customers’ authorization, a former employee alleges in a lawsuit against the company.

    Heidi Heiser worked from home as a customer service and sales agent from August 2015 to October 2016. She says she “was fired days after notifying Chief Executive Officer Glen Post of the alleged scheme,” Bloomberg reported in an article describing the lawsuit. The lawsuit against the landline phone and Internet provider was filed this week in an Arizona Superior Court.

  • Science

    • US Senators: Heartland Institute Mailings to Grade School Science Teachers ‘Possibly Fraudulent’

      If you teach science to American schoolchildren, there’s a good chance that you might open your mailbox soon and find a package containing a free, unsolicited 135-page book and 11-minute DVD, plus a cover letter from the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based free-market “think tank.”

      “How do you teach global warming?” the letter begins. “I am writing to ask you to consider the possibility that the science in fact is not ‘settled.’ If that’s the case, then students would be better served by letting them know a vibrant debate is taking place among scientists on how big the human impact on climate is and whether or not we should be worried about it.”

      The climate “educational” supplies have already been mailed out to tens of thousands of science teachers — with 25,000 more planned every two weeks, the institute’s CEO told PBS in March.

      [...]

      The mailers were recieved positively by some science teachers, a Heartland spokesperson told Buzzfeed News, adding that they’d been invited to give classroom presentations by some educators. But many science teachers smelled something off about the book’s arguments on climate science.

      “It’s just loaded with citations,” Cheryl Manning, a Colorado science teacher at Evergreen High School who received the mailing told Buzzfeed. “But it’s circular. It’s all self-citations. Citing their own stuff instead of citing other people’s work.”

  • Hardware

    • You Can’t Open the Microsoft Surface Laptop Without Literally Destroying It

      The company, which provides repair tools and manuals for popular gadgets like the iPhone and PlayStation, has handed the Surface Laptop a score of 0 out of 10 in terms of user repairability, stating definitively that the laptop “is not meant to be opened or repaired; you can’t get inside without inflicting a lot of damage.”

    • 2017 Surface Pro least repairable ever; Surface Laptop is made of glue

      iFixit’s pictures, as ever, give a great look at the insides of the two machines. The Laptop has no external screws at all; to get into the system, iFixit had to peel off the glued-down fabric keyboard surround, an operation that obviously can’t be undone, producing a machine that offers essentially no serviceability whatsoever.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Media Help Republicans Gut Obamacare Behind Closed Doors

      This is similar to a strategy Senate Republicans’ counterparts in the House used to jam a bill through last month, announcing the vote the night before so as to leave no time for meaningful public discussion or debate—or even a Congressional Budget Office score, as is customary.

      Congressional Republicans even attempted Tuesday to bar TV reporters from the halls of Congress so they couldn’t ask questions about the AHCA—only retreating from the plan after public outcry. One would think that after such transparent efforts to avoid meaningful public debate on the gutting of Obamacare—especially given the GOP ran the exact same playbook just last month—the press would be sounding the alarm nonstop on a potentially radical shift in policy affecting tens of millions Americans.

    • WHO Starts Work On Essential List Of Diagnostics To Facilitate Access, Lower Prices

      The World Health Organization announced yesterday that it has begun work on a list of essential diagnostics, as an echo of its Model List of Essential Medicines.

      According to a WHO release, the Essential Diagnostics List is indented to provide “evidence-based guidance to countries to create their own national lists of essential diagnostic tests and tools.”

    • Paul Ryan Says ‘Death Tax’ Hurts Wisconsin Small Businesses. IRS Data Shows Otherwise.

      Does the estate tax really hurt small businesses? House Speaker Paul Ryan thinks so.

      He revived this longstanding debate in a May 17 column in the Kenosha News, in which he defended the Republican plan to abolish the levy on inherited wealth. Ryan wrote that the “death tax” can “result in double, and potentially even triple, taxation on small businesses and family farms, both of which are prevalent in Wisconsin.”

      President Trump made a similar claim in his budget proposal a few days later, calling for repeal of the estate tax on the grounds that it “penalizes farmers and small business owners who want to pass their family enterprises on to their children.”

    • Mental help: the story of Gaza’s trauma unit

      Palestine has the highest rate of mental health disorders in the MENA region. Even though resources are limited, there are incredible people fighting for mental health in Gaza.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Islamist push blamed for Anzac Cove monument destruction

      Originally, the text read, “Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace.”

    • Historians outraged by destruction of Anzac memorials at Gallipoli

      Ataturk’s famous tribute to fallen Allied soldiers was gouged under so-called “restoration” works in Turkey, with up to 15 other memorials on one-time ­battlefields of the Gallipoli Peninsula slated to be “modernised” under orders by the fundamentalist Islamic government led by anti-West President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    • Minorities Face Horrors as Bangladeshi Gov’t Colludes with ISIS: Report

      In an exclusive interview with Shipan Kumer Basu, head of the Hindu Struggle Committee, Kumer related that Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government has let Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) gain a foothold in Bangladesh in recent times. He reported that ISIS has committed numerous atrocities against the minority communities, such as grabbing lands, raping women and burning down homes while preaching jihad.

    • ISIS Fears Mean Finland, The World’s Safest Country, Is Raising Its Threat Level

      Finland, a country classified as the safest in the world, where people dog-sled, cross-country ski and enjoy saunas in peace, raised its threat level on Wednesday, citing small numbers of people inspired by jihadi groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS).

      The Finnish Security Intelligence Service, or SUPO, said it had obtained knowledge of extremism-related plans being made in the country. In response, it raised the threat from ‘low’ to ‘elevated.’

      “The most significant terrorist threat in Finland is still posed by individual actors or small groups motivated by radical Islamist propaganda or terrorist organizations encouraging them,” SUPO said in a statement.

    • ‘We will break every bone’: Islamist leaders threaten Bangladesh lawyer

      Human rights groups have warned about the safety of a prominent Bangladesh lawyer after Islamist leaders threatened to “break every bone” in her body for defending the installation of a Lady Justice statue outside the country’s supreme court.

    • Terrorists Kill 6 Policemen In South Kashmir’s Anantnag, Disfigure Faces With Bullets

      After the incident, clashes broke out between protesters and security forces at nearly a dozen places in the Valley, including downtown Srinagar, Tral, Pampore, Pulwama town and Anantnag in south Kashmir, Hajin in Bandipora and Sopore in Baramulla in north Kashmir.

    • The Myth of Hiroshima

      With rare exception, the question of whether the atomic bombs were necessary to end World War Two is debated only deep within the safety of academic circles.

      Could a land invasion have been otherwise avoided? Would more diplomacy have achieved the same ends without the destruction of two cities? Could an atomic test on a deserted island have convinced the Japanese? Was the surrender instead driven primarily by the entry of the Soviets into the Pacific War, which, by historical accident, took place two days after Hiroshima—and the day before Nagasaki was immolated?

      [...]

      For President Obama to visit Hiroshima without reflecting on the why of that unfortunate loss of lives, acting as if they occurred via some natural disaster, is tragically consistent with the fact that for 71 years no American president felt it particularly important to visit the victimized city. America’s lack of introspection over one of the 20th century’s most significant events continues, with 21st century consequences.

    • My Father’s Gun Charge Almost Ruined My Family. Fair Sentencing Saved It.

      My dad pulled a gun on a man who threatened my little sister.

      My sister was 17-years-old at the time. There was a block party on our street, and my father was listening to his music very loudly. He exchanged unpleasant words with a visitor to a neighbor’s house. When my father went into the house to grab meat for the grill, the visitor began arguing with my sister. He was a grown man. She was a teenage girl.

      Afterward, a few witnesses said a knife was pulled on my sister. Others say the knife was being used by the man to prep food for barbecuing. All my father heard was my sister screaming bloody murder and the word “knife.”

      My dad rushed out as my sister cried and the man screamed at her. Our German shepherd was barking. Neighbors were staring. It was bad situation. My dad made it worse. He got a gun, and put it on his waist. He walked out and lifted his shirt to intimidate the man.

    • Moral Injury and Hooper’s War

      Moral injury differs from PTSD in that it is tied to the parts of a person that decide right and wrong, and applies guilt, regret or shame as a penalty. PTSD is fear-based, and includes stresses like hyperalertness that worked well over there in war (quite valid adaptations in the mind and body, such as hitting the ground when hearing loud noises, to the real situation of other people trying to kill you), but are dangerous, exhausting, and frightening back here. The flight-or-fight response just won’t shut off, even in the absence of threat. PTSD to many is a loss of safety, but not a loss of self. Moral injury might be thought of as a disconnect between one’s pre-war self and a second self develops in the face of death, action, or inaction. Moral injury jumbles these two selves which cannot in fact live well together inside one body.

    • On the Ethics of Hell

      The ethics of hell come into play when we think a bit on what those flyers were doing in the skies over Fukuoka: dropping bombs in hopes of burning, shredding or maiming as many Japanese as possible.

      The U.S. at this late stage of the war was as a strategy not discriminating between “military” and “civilian” targets, and often conducted mass firebombing raids over cities. Thousands of incendiaries were dropped simultaneously in hopes of creating a firestorm, a conflagration that burned hot and long enough to literally suck the oxygen out of the air and kill everything beneath it.

    • Brad Pitt’s “War Machine” Offers an Absurd and Scathing Critique of America’s Delusional Generals

      How do military leaders persuade their soldiers to fight an insane war?

      Here’s one way. The setting is a bitter outpost of the American war in Afghanistan. The years-long nightmare has no prospect of ending so long as American troops stay in a country that has a nearly unblemished record of grinding foreign armies to ashes. A bullish general is trying to generate a dose of enthusiasm in the hearts and minds of his unenthusiastic men.

    • What It’s Like Being A Student In An ISIS-Controlled School

      Drone strikes, at least, are frequently used as a recruiting tool by terrorist groups. Meanwhile, at least some evidence seems to suggest that more kids making it to secondary school “has a negative impact on the supply of terrorism.”

    • Swedish brewery names beer ‘F*** you I’m Millwall’ in tribute to man who fought London Bridge attackers
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Why My Heart Stands With Julian

      Many people have courage and strength in their convictions. But how many people have stood up to the ultimate bully, a superpower, with 1200 military bases all around the world? When the courage of their convictions would bring them into conflict with the United States government, how many people would have stuck to their principles and refused to stand down?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • As homelands devastated, Indonesian tribe turns from animism to Islam

      Yusuf’s group converted to Islam, the predominant faith in Indonesia, and gave up their nomadic ways in January in a bid to improve livelihoods that have been devastated by the expansion of palm oil plantations and coal mines into their forest homelands.

    • Poll shows trust for NASA on climate, but some put Fox News in second

      There are plenty of places where you can find dodgy information about climate change. If you’re the arguing (“debating”) type, you have likely, at some point, been exasperated by the obviously low quality of the sources cited by your opponent (or uncle). Setting aside the occasional conspiratorial mind who believes “those scientists” can’t be trusted, who does everyone else actually trust on the topic?

      A survey project led by the University of New Hampshire’s Lawrence Hamilton and Jessica Brunacini and Stephanie Pfirman of Columbia University asked about 700 people in the US this question. Specifically, they asked whether people trusted the leaders in their political party, their faith, their friends and family, websites they frequent, science agencies like NASA, or Fox News.

  • Finance

    • [Older] For an Inclusive Culture, Try Working Less

      “You know what we call people who work past 5:00pm?” he said.

      “What?”

      “Chumps.”

    • Trump is selling a privatization scam and calling it an infrastructure plan

      In reality, Trump’s jobs agenda is a sham that does not involve a trillion dollars, won’t do much for the country’s infrastructure and won’t create many jobs.

    • Trump’s Business Ties in Persian Gulf Raise Questions About His Allegiances

      Stepping away from management without giving up ownership does not diminish Mr. Trump’s financial incentives or conflicts, as the director of the Office of Government Ethics warned before Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

    • Housing Regulation

      …I do agree with David Lammy that there is potential criminal culpability…

    • Blockchain Primer: Where’s Blockchain Headed?

      The distributed database technology Blockchain has the potential to disrupt business and finance in profound ways. To explore the topic, I spoke with Bernard Golden, CEO at Navica. Golden, who Wired magazine lists as one of the top ten experts in cloud computing, has created an online training module called Blockchain and Beyond.

    • Grenfell Tower and the politics of needless death

      As the body count rose from the Grenfell Tower fire, sensible people warned us not to rush to judgement. Activists, mainly from the left, denounced a complacent housing bureaucracy at the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, and a Conservative government, which had refused in its laissez-faire way to regulate rented housing.

      The warnings sounded sensible. At the time of writing, I still do not know for sure why the fire spread with such ghastly effectiveness. Why rush to judgement and into print? In any case, is there not something wrong with people whose first reaction to a disaster is to take cheap shots?

      But sensible points can be beside the point. From the moment I heard the accents of the survivors on yesterday morning’s news, I understood that the fire was inescapably political.

    • Grenfell Tower disaster, a symbol of broken Britain

      This was a disaster with political consequences. A symbol of a Britain in which something isn’t right.

      For an extra £5,000 during recent refurbishments, it was claimed on the front page of the Times, the 24-story Grenfell Tower in west London could have been clad in fireproof panels. Instead, the contractors went for the cheaper option — a decision which may have contributed to the deaths of at least 30 people in Wednesday’s deadly blaze and probably many more.

    • Europe: the Danger of the Center

      The good news out of Europe is that Marine Le Pen’s neo-Nazi National Front took a beating in the May 7 French presidential election. The bad news is that the program of the winner, Emmanuel Macron, might put Le Pen back in the running six years from now.

      Macron pledges to cut 120,000 public jobs, reduce spending by 60 billion Euros, jettison the 35-hour workweek, raise the retirement age, weaken unions’ negotiating strength and cut corporate taxes. It is a program that is unlikely to revive the morbid French economy, but it will certainly worsen the plight of jobless youth and seniors and hand the National Front ammunition for the 2022 election.

    • China is great again, but how is Britain dealing with globalisation’s new champion in the age of Brexit?

      In the “golden age” of UK-China relations, foreign policy is as important as domestic policy.

      Politics is always entwined with economics and often produce strange and unforeseen results. With the UK withdrawal of membership from the European Union and Donald Trump’s isolationist US policies, it seems they have both relinquished their role as leaders of the globalisation process. On the other hand, in this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Chinese President Xi Jinping strongly defended free trade and urged the world to say “no to protectionism” in his speech addressing the world’s elite. That message was repeated last Sunday in Beijing when Xi addressed a host of heads of states and high profile delegates at the high-profile Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. China, which will celebrate the Communist Party’s 100th year anniversary in 2020, is fast earning the recognition of being the new champion of globalisation. When China joined the World Trade Organisation in December 1991, there were many predictions that it would be the number one economy in the world in the 21st Century. What it achieved during this early stage as the second biggest economy is staggering. The weekend summit was the global unveiling of Xi Jinping’s multibillion dollar Belt and Road Initiative. The hugely ambitious foreign policy initiative and infrastructure enterprise will connect Asia to Europe and beyond. It consists of two main components: first is the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt” (SREB) and, second, the oceangoing “Maritime Silk Road” (MSR). The ‘belt’ includes countries situated on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The Maritime Silk Road, as a complementary initiative, is aimed at investing and fostering collaboration in Southeast Asia, Oceania, and North Africa, through projects around the South China Sea, the South Pacific Ocean, and the wider Indian Ocean area. UK Chancellor Philip Hammond represented the UK at the summit and the UK have already upped the ante to cement the “golden age” of UK-China relations by launching the first direct cargo train laden with British goods bound for China last April. The train, which regally departed from just outside of London, traveled over 12,000 kilometers and nine countries to Yiwu with 32 matching royal blue China Railway Express shipping containers.

    • Jeremy Corbyn under pressure to change course as poll shows Labour voters want soft Brexit

      Jeremy Corbyn came under fresh pressure to force the government to pursue a soft Brexit last night after a new poll revealed that he is at odds with Labour voters.

      A YouGov survey found that Corbyn supporters believe tariff-free trade is more important than controls on immigration.

      Corbyn’s policy is to leave both the single market and the customs union, which implies an end to free movement of people and tariff-free trade.

    • The British Ruling Class Is in Full Panic Mode

      The first lesson is that it’s not enough to have the combination of a strong leader and a well-worked-out program. The left also needs a ground game. We have this movement called Momentum, a movement to get support within the party. That movement was able to have a million conversations with voters in the space of six weeks, talking to people on their doorsteps, just the way the Sanders people did. Then Jeremy Corbyn in the last days of the election campaign stepped out of the role of party leader and started to speak on behalf of the nation. He’d absorbed so much pressure, so much vitriol, and so many attacks—he assured people that it was possible to go beyond the pain barrier. I think the Sanders movement, or whatever comes after it, has to do popular politics. It’s not the same as populism. It’s like gaming. You go into the dungeon and you kill the boss. You need someone who can do that. And Corbyn proved he could do it.

    • Former fire chief says Melbourne’s Lacrosse tower still poses risk

      The former head of Victoria’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade has said he would not allow his children to live in a Melbourne apartment block that caught fire in a similar manner to London’s Grenfell Tower, and it remained a fire risk.

      Peter Rau was chief fire officer of the MFB in November 2014 when a cigarette burning on an eighth floor balcony of the Lacrosse building in Docklands sparked a fire that raced up the aluminium-clad walls to the 21st floor within 11 minutes.

      [...]

      Despite concerns raised several times by the MFP, and an order from the City of Melbourne that the panels be removed, the cladding on the Lacrosse building remains in place and a battle over who has responsibility for paying the replacement costs is now before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

    • Shameless Tory council leader blames Grenfell Tower block residents for lack of sprinklers claiming they didn’t want ‘disruption’

      A shameless Tory has blamed Grenfell Tower block residents for the lack of sprinklers in the building.

      Nick Paget-Brown, the Conservative leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, claimed tenants didn’t want the ‘disruption’ of them being fitted.

    • Grenfell Tower fire: Jeremy Corbyn calls Government’s response an ‘unacceptable failure’

      The Government has been accused of an “unacceptable” failure by Jeremy Corbyn after a promise made just 24 hours earlier to rehouse all Grenfell fire victims near their old homes began to crumble.

      On a day when thousands of people took to the streets to demand answers and justice over the deadly blaze, the Labour leader said ministers had a duty to stick to their guarantee, but officials attempting to find places for those displaced gave the impression of being overwhelmed.

    • Experts warned government against cladding material used on Grenfell

      The government’s building safety experts warned last year that the drive for greater energy efficiency meant more and more buildings are being wrapped in materials that could go up in flames.

      In a report compiled before the Grenfell Tower disaster on Wednesday, the Building Research Establishment, which works for the Department of Communities and Local Government on fire investigations, said attempts to innovate with insulation were leading to an “increase in the volume of potentially combustible materials being applied” to buildings.

    • The politics of a tragedy

      WE USE the phrase “death-trap” all too lightly. But a death-trap is exactly what the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in West London became when it caught fire in the early hours of June 14th. The fire, thought to have started when a fridge exploded in a fourth-floor flat, spread quickly as the building’s cladding caught fire. Dozens of residents were unable to reach the internal staircase. There was no external fire-escape to take them to safety, no sprinkler system to dampen the advancing flames, no smoke alarms to wake people. For some, the only way to escape was to jump and hope for the best: seventeen bodies of jumpers have been found on the ground. Several eye-witnesses report that a baby was thrown from a mid-floor window and caught by people standing below.

    • Grenfell Tower resident praises Jeremy Corbyn saying, ‘he is one of us’

      A resident of Grenfell Tower has praised Jeremy Corbyn and labelled him “one of us” after he came to visit the local community.

      The man, who said his name was Nadir, was critical of Theresa May’s response to the fire that that ripped through a 24-storey building in Kensingston.

      But he was full of praise for the Labour leader who spent time talking to those in the area who had been affected by the incident.

    • Has the UK made a U-Turn over the Brexit timetable?

      Back on 14th May 2017, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis was bullish: the Brexit timetable will be the ‘row of the summer’.

      The EU wanted a phased approach, with certain issues dealt with before any trade agreement is discussed. The latter would only happen once there was sufficient progress on the former.

    • Amazon to buy Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion

      Amazon said Friday it has agreed to buy Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion, a stunning move to boost its grocery business even as the brick-and-mortar retail sector continues to sink under the weight of e-commerce.

    • When Does Amazon Become a Monopoly?

      On Friday morning, Amazon announced it was buying Whole Foods Market for more than $13 billion. About an hour later, Amazon’s stock had risen by about 3 percent, adding $14 billion to its value.

      Amazon basically bought the country’s sixth-largest grocery store for free.

    • Slack Is Said to Be in Talks to Raise $500 Million

      The company is on track to generate more than $200 million in revenue this year, but it is not profitable.

    • Germany threatens retaliation if U.S. sanctions harm its firms

      Germany threatened on Friday to retaliate against the United States if new sanctions on Russia being proposed by the U.S. Senate end up penalizing German firms.

      The Senate bill, approved on Thursday by a margin of 98-2, includes new sanctions against Russia and Iran. Crucially, it foresees punitive measures against entities that provide material support to Russia in building energy export pipelines.

      Berlin fears that could pave the way for fines against German and European firms involved in Nord Stream 2, a project to build a pipeline carrying Russian gas across the Baltic.

      Among the European companies involved in the project are German oil and gas group Wintershall, German energy trading firm Uniper, Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV and France’s Engie.

    • Jeremy Corbyn: Weakened and divided, Tory government is in no position to negotiate a good Brexit deal for Britain

      Ten days ago, Labour achieved the biggest increase in its share of the vote since 1945, and I would like to thank to all those who supported us and voted Labour.

      The Tories lost their majority at the general election, and Theresa May ’s government is now struggling to carry out its responsibilities.

      She has so far been unable to stitch together a workable deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to stay in power. She has had to postpone the Queen’s Speech to this Wednesday to put together even the most basic programme for parliament.

      And she has failed in any way adequately to respond to the terrible Grenfell Tower fire in London.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Donald Trump ‘yells at TVs in the White House’ about Russia investigation

      Donald Trump has reportedly been yelling at TV sets in the White House as he becomes “increasingly angry” about an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US presidential election.

      The US leader thinks he is the victim of a conspiracy aimed at discrediting his leadership and ending his time in the White House, according to the Associated Press.

      Confidants and advisers close to Mr Trump said his fury was mounting at the probe and he had been yelling at TV sets about its press coverage.

    • May: a leader who stands for nothing

      Katie Perrior, a communications executive who used to work with May and her team in Downing Street, wrote in The Times on Saturday about her experiences with the apparently brash Hill and Timothy: ‘What I could never work out was whether Mrs May condoned their behaviour and turned a blind eye or didn’t understand how destructive they both were.’ She went on to say that the PM rarely stood up to her advisers, even when they came up with ‘batshit crazy ideas’.

      It’s not that May was somehow under her advisers’ control. Rather, it is her lack of conviction that made her overly reliant on them. Despite the media attention May has received over the past year, it’s still not clear what she thinks about anything. Her deadening repetition during the campaign of the ‘strong and stable’ slogan was a reminder of this. Subsequent reports have claimed she did not like the slogan, but carried on with it anyway, apparently at the insistence of campaign guru Lynton Crosby.

    • Why Trump’s drug addiction task force should freak you out

      But many health professionals and cannabis advocates are wary of Trump’s task force. Nearly all the members selected to the committee have spoken out against marijuana legalization — which runs counter to the overwhelming majority of the American people. Christie, an ardent longtime opponent of cannabis regulation, will lead these members:

    • Republicans are trying to pass Trumpcare in secret, here are simple resources to fight that

      Senate Republicans are currently working in secret on a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and overhaul the American health care system. The process is so secretive, in fact, that even Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price hasn’t seen what’s in it yet.

    • Democratic Congress Members Raise Alarm About Security at Trump Properties

      Two dozen House Democrats have sent a letter to White House counsel Donald McGahn, warning that digital security holes at the Trump Organization’s clubs and hotels are risks to national security and the secrecy of classified information.

      “The White House must act immediately to secure the potentially sensitive information on these systems,” said the letter, which was signed by 24 Congress members and went to McGahn last week.

      Their concerns were in response to an article published last month by ProPublica and Gizmodo that documented the cybersecurity vulnerabilities at properties the president has frequented since being elected. Our reporting found unencrypted login pages, servers running outdated software, accessible printers, and Wi-Fi networks that were open to anyone close enough to access them.

    • Richard Branson: The world should not ‘kowtow’ to ‘dangerous’ Donald Trump

      Mr Trump had been going through one of his bankruptcies at the time and spent much of the lunch with Mr Branson discussing “five people who he’d asked for help who’d refused to help him — and how he was going to spend the rest of his life destroying those five people,” the entrepreneur said.

    • BBC Desperately Tries to Re-Assert Old Political Spectrum

      The BBC is institutionally incapable of reacting to the shift in the political spectrum revealed by the last election.

      Astonishingly on Marr the papers are being reviewed by Toby Young (far right), George Osborne (right) and Polly Toynbee (Blairite right ). The old politico/commentariat bubble is entirely intact as far as the BBC is concerned. We are going to have Michael Fallon in a minute.

      Finally, Jeremy Corbyn will be invited on. He is the one person who articulates what half the country believes, and whose existence the BBC cannot entirely ignore. But the straining and stressing as the BBC try to heave the Overton window back into place is palpable.

    • Action Alert: With Sleazy Innuendo, NYT Lays Virginia Attack at Bernie Sanders’ Feet

      New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor (6/14/17) started with a false premise and patched together a dodgy piece of innuendo and guilt-by-association in order to place the blame for a shooting in Virginia on “the most ardent supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders.”

      We learned in the wake of an attack on Monday that left five injured, including Republican House Whip Steve Scalise, that the shooter, James T. Hodgkinson (who was subsequently killed by police), had been a Sanders campaign volunteer, and that his social media featured pictures of the Vermont senator and his brand of progressive, anti-Republican language. This was enough for Alcindor to build a piece based on the premise that Sanders’ “movement” had been somehow responsible for the attacks, and was thus “tested” by them.

    • The Bleating of the Blairites

      A sleepless night and day of drama over, I should congratulate Jeremy Corbyn and his team on a fantastic job done. This really was a watershed election. I suspect that what happened is that the mainstream media realised it is losing influence, and tried to compensate by becoming so shrill and biased it simply lost all respect. This election may be the one where social media finally routed the press barons. They may in turn start to wonder if it is worth sinking millions into a newspaper if it can’t buy an election

      New media beat old media, the insurgents routed the establishment, the young insisted the old also consider their opinion, hope beat fear, altruism wrestled with selfishness, and I would personally go so far as to say good stood up to evil. The result against the combined power of state and media was fantastic. We have nonetheless still got Theresa May as PM propped up by climate change denying, misogynist, creationist, homophobe, anti-abortion terrorist-linked knuckle-draggers from the DUP. But cheer up, it won’t last long.

    • Europe Discovers a Volatile Populism

      European politicians are finding it tricky to “play the populist card,” as U.K. Prime Minister May discovered when her Conservative Party stumbled over its support for more austerity, writes Andrew Spannaus.

    • Red Alert: Russian Focus Might Save Trump’s Hide

      The “historic” appearances of James Comey Chameleon and Jefferson Davis Andersonville Sessions before a Senate committee have come and gone, leaving us … pretty much where we were before. Trump was made to look stupid and thuggish (not exactly front-page news); his GOP apologists and enablers employed even more ludicrous justifications for said stupidity and thuggery (“Hey, the kid is still green, he didn’t know he was doing anything wrong — not that he did do anything wrong, mind you.”); media outlets reaped tons of ad revenue; twittery was rampant on every side. We all had a jolly good time. But as for the ostensible object of the exercise — learning more about possible Russian interference in the electoral process, and any part Trump’s gang might have had in colluding with this and/or covering it up — there was not a whole lotta shaking going on.

    • Every Person You See on Air, Someone Chose to Put Them There

      Former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly is best known to some for her harassment claims against her former boss, Roger Ailes. But NBC hired her to host a primetime news program, presumably based on her journalistic record at Fox—which included questioning whether education, marriage and employment are “valued in the black communities, in the inner cities,” wherein it might be “cool” to “be somebody who doesn’t necessarily prize being there for your family.”

      And her famously adamant argument that Santa Claus is “just white,” that “Jesus was a white man too” and, to the African-American writer who dared to broach the issue, “just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change.”

      Of her new NBC gig, Kelly has said, “It’s allowed me to open up more and show more of who I am through my interview subjects.” So NBC is now getting what it either wanted or should have expected: controversy, complete with advertisers pulling out—due to Kelly’s surprising-only-to-those-who-are-easily-surprised decision to devote an early show to a tete-a-tete with noted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, whose right-wing nuttery is popular with Donald Trump, among others, despite Jones’ own attorney’s contention, in a child custody battle, that it’s all really a kind of performance art.

    • Corbyn’s Labour: now look outwards

      The first pointed to “a niggling sense that something may be developing under the surface that could break through even in the short time left” (see “The Corbyn crowd, and its signal”, 18 May 2017). It seemed implausible, given that most opinion polls were showing a Conservative lead well into double figures. But a few days later the lead was beginning to narrow.

      The second column noted that “Labour supporters began to sense a previously heretical notion that the Conservatives might not even gain an overall majority…” (see “Corbyn, and an election surprise”, 26 May 2017).

      The third column further explored this possibility, though I have to admit that my own sense on election day was that the surge in Labour support had probably come too late. What the column did try to do, though, was link the election with the urgent need to review the handling of the war on terror in light of the Manchester and London Bridge attacks (see “Britain and ISIS: a need to rethink”, 7 June 2017).

    • Theresa May Avoids Survivors of Grenfell Tower Fire During Visit to Scene of Disaster
    • Jeff Sessions Can’t Remember Anything
    • Pamela Anderson brands Theresa May the worst Prime Minister in living memory
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Comodo DNS Blocks TorrentFreak Over “Hacking and Warez“

      At TorrentFreak, we write about website blocking on a weekly basis, but it’s not often that we are the target ourselves. This week we are, as major computer security vendor Comodo has decided to block direct access to our site, claiming that we might offer illegal access to copyrighted software or media. Interestingly. Comodo’s DNS blocking doesn’t prevent users from accessing The Pirate Bay and other known pirate sites.

    • Theresa May wants tech companies to censor terrorists, but will they play ball?
    • Court Orders Google to Remove Links to Takedown Notice

      A German Court has ordered Google to stop linking to a takedown notice received by the company. The search engine regularly publishes links to takedown notices to increase transparency, but the court ruled that this can go too far. The case in question deals with defamation, but many copyright holders who’ve complained about Google’s “transparency” efforts will likely welcome the order.

    • California’s Anti-SLAPP Law Saves Another News Publication From Bogus Lawsuit

      In March we wrote about the unfortunate situation of two news publications in nearby Santa Clara, California in court in what appeared to be a clear SLAPP suit. The more established publication, “Santa Clara Weekly” and its publisher Miles Barber, had sued a new upstart, “Santa Clara News Online” and its publisher Robert Haugh. It seemed fairly clear that Barber didn’t like the fact that Haugh had been criticizing the Weekly, and the lawsuit was just filed to make a nuisance for Haugh. It was notable that the complaint didn’t cite a single blog post by Haugh or even quote him. It just paraphrased (badly) a bunch of clearly opinion statements from Haugh. Haugh got assistance from Ken “Popehat” White, who asked the court to strike the lawsuit for violating California’s anti-SLAPP law.

    • Fake Libel Court Order Used In (Failed) Attempt To Vanish Sexual Battery Conviction

      People who do not have a legal reason to have content delisted are still trying to trick Google into compliance with various illegal actions. So far, we’ve seen bogus lawsuits filed by fake plaintiffs against fake defendants, slid by inattentive judges to secure takedown orders. We’ve seen people trying to limit negative search engine results by forging judge’s signatures on fake orders. We’ve seen people assemble fake news sites to post copies of negative content solely for the purpose of targeting the original posts with fraudulent takedown orders.

    • Another libel takedown order

      This might raise all sorts of interesting questions: Should 47 U.S.C. § 230 allow injunctions ordering websites to remove material that had been found to be defamatory? Should the injunctions be binding on Google and similar sites, even if they weren’t named as defendants (a question pending before the California Supreme Court, in Hassell v. Bird)? If they aren’t (and this order indeed doesn’t claim to bind Google), should Google voluntarily deindex sites found to be defamatory? Should Google be suspicious of default judgments, because of the possibility that the defendant wasn’t properly served?

    • UK and France propose automated censorship of online content

      Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron’s plans to make Internet companies liable for ‘extremist’ content on their platforms are fraught with challenges. They entail automated censorship, risking the removal of unobjectionable content and harming everyone’s right to free expression.

    • Threats to Campus Speech Don’t Alarm Media When They Come From the Right
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Aadhaar-less bank accounts will be shut down after December 31

      Bank accounts that are not linked to Aadhaar will be frozen and no new accounts can be opened without the 12-digit biometric identity number after December 31, according to new government rules.

    • Aadhaar: Ushering in a Commercialized Era of Surveillance in India

      Since last year, Indian citizens have been required to submit their photograph, iris and fingerprint scans in order to access legal entitlements, benefits, compensation, scholarships, and even nutrition programs. Submitting biometric information is needed for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers, the training and aid of disabled people, and anti-retroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS patients. Soon police in the Alwar district of Rajasthan will be able to register criminals, and track missing persons through an app that integrates biometric information with the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS).

      These instances demonstrate how intrusive India’s controversial national biometric identity scheme, better known as Aadhaar has grown. Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identity number (UID) issued by the government after verifying a person’s biometric and demographic information. As of April 2017, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has issued 1.14 billion UIDs covering nearly 87% of the population making Aadhaar, the largest biometric database in the world. The government asserts that enrollment reduces fraud in welfare schemes and brings greater social inclusion. Welfare schemes that provide access to basic services for marginalized and vulnerable groups are essential. Unlike countries where similar schemes have been implemented, invasive biometric collection is being imposed as a condition for basic entitlements in India. The privacy and surveillance risks associated with the scheme have caused much dissension in India.

    • Supreme Court Will Hear Significant Cell Phone Tracking Case

      Today the Supreme Court announced it will review United States v. Carpenter, a case involving long-term, retrospective tracking of a person’s movements using information generated by his cell phone. This is very exciting news in the world of digital privacy. With Carpenter, the Court has an opportunity to continue its recent pattern of applying Fourth Amendment protections to sensitive digital data. It may also limit or even reevaluate the so-called “Third Party Doctrine,” which the government relies on to justify warrantless tracking and surveillance in a variety of contexts. EFF filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to take Carpenter and a related case, so we’re hopeful the Court will rule in favor of strong constitutional protections.

    • Why was Dmitry Bogatov jailed for sharing a Kanye video?

      Dmitry Bogatov was arrested in Russia on April 6, accused of inciting terrorist activity by posting “extremist” materials online. There is significant doubt surrounding the legitimacy of the charges that led to Bogatov’s arrest, which primarily relate to his supposed sharing of the video for Kanye West and Jay-Z’s ‘No Church in the Wild’. Yet, if convicted he may face a 20-year sentence. Dmitry’s supporters are calling for support from the international community, to join them in protesting his unjust detention on June 19 and 20.

      I interviewed Raymond Johansen, a high profile writer and activist, who sits on the board of Pirate Parties International, about why he’s supporting the protest for Impolitikal.

    • Government and Main Parties Point the Finger at Social Media for Terrorist Attack

      Despite both campaigners and business professionals warning against it, the government is locked on this dangerous course.

      We will continue making the case that by providing an easy way around encryption, you make the service far less secure and put the public at risk. Encryption saves lives. It keeps our bank information and our location, or typical locations, secure. It protects who we talk to – friends, parents, and our children. It provides a safe way to communicate after and during an attack like the ones we saw in Manchester and earlier this year, in Westminster.

    • As a Provider Fought a Secret Surveillance Order, Court Denied It Access to Relevant Law

      The U.S. government’s foreign surveillance law is so secretive that not even a service provider challenging an order issued by a secret court got to access it.

    • European Parliament Committee Recommends End-To-End Encryption For All Electronic Communications

      The European Parliament’s (EP’s) Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs released a draft proposal for a new Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications. The draft recommends a regulation that will enforce end-to-end encryption on all communications to protect European Union citizens’ fundamental privacy rights. The committee also recommended a ban on backdoors.

    • Swedish commuters can use futuristic hand implant microchip as train tickets

      The tiny chip has the same technology as Oyster cards and contactless bank cards – NFC (Near Field Communication) – to enable conductors to scan passengers’ hands.

    • Facebook takes on TV and YouTube with long-form video push

      But for Facebook, maintaining or increasing the time users spend on the network is key. If consumers want to watch more TV online, the social network wants to build a home for it. “We’re in an absolute war for time. This is just one more part of it,” says Rich Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG.

    • Facebook to venture into scripted television with comedy series

      Facebook is apparently planning to dive into scripted television with Nicole Byer comedy series Loosely Exactly Nicole.

    • Facebook Chases TV’s $70 Billion Stash With Its Own Video Series

      With the $70 billion TV advertising market in its sights, Facebook Inc. is starting to bankroll the creation of video series that will begin to appear on the world’s largest social network later this year.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Uber’s scandals, blunders and PR disasters: the full list

      Here is a timeline of some of the most consequential controversies.

    • Texas Makes Child Marriage Under 18 Illegal

      Child marriage is still shockingly common in the United States, with 57,800 children ages 16-17 marrying in 2014, many of them against their will.

    • Jay Z Criticizes ‘Exploitative’ Bail Bond Industry in Father’s Day Essay

      “If you’re from neighborhoods like the Brooklyn one I grew up in, if you’re unable to afford a private attorney, then you can be disappeared into our jail system simply because you can’t afford bail,”

    • The Police Officer Who Killed Philando Castile Is Found Not Guilty

      Even a liberal enclave like the one Castile lived in, even having a licensed gun, like Castile had, cannot bring worth to a black man’s life in the eyes of our racist justice system.

    • 23-year old Hindu girl stabbed as she refused sexy Ramadan marriage proposal.
    • Saudi Arabia: Release blogger Raif Badawi, still behind bars after five years
    • UNHRC: Free Raif Badawi, Wang Binzhang, Leopoldo Lopez & Eduardo Cardet

      Council member Saudi Arabia gave that pledge, yet tomorrow marks five years that Raif Badawi has been imprisoned for the crime of being a blogger who called for a free society. Why is this Council silent?

    • Who needs jihad?

      The authors show Islam embodies a long-standing doctrine of emigration, called Al-Hijra, designed to expunge, not tolerate, other creeds. Islam rejects outright diverse ‘melting pot’ societies such as those that have emerged across the New World. Al-Hijra is as important to Mohammed’s vision for an Islamic State as is militant jihad.

      Al-Hijra actually predates jihad. It was the crucial opening gambit in Islam’s expansionism that began with Mohammad’s leaving Mecca for Medina in 622 AD.

    • PA Fatwa Council: “Breaking fast is one of the greatest sins”

      At the beginning of the current Muslim fast month of Ramadan, the official PA daily reprinted an article by Rafiah District Mufti and member of the PA’s Supreme Fatwa Council Sheikh Hassan Ahmed Jaber, in which he warns readers that breaking the Ramadan fast “is one of the greatest sins.” It is so great that the fast breaker’s “blood is permitted,” and it constitutes “renouncing Islam,” he said, quoting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad:

    • Attorney: Mosque paid doctor to perform genital cuttings on girls

      A local mosque was paying a physician to perform female genital mutilation on young girls, an attorney serving as a guardian for the doctor’s children alleged in court Tuesday.

    • Michigan Mosque Paid for FGM, Lawyer Alleges

      Dr. Juama Nargarwala, 44, an emergency room doctor, is accused of performing FGM on two young girls from Minnesota, although prosecutors said in court that she may have cut up to 100 girls over the past 12 years.

    • New Blasphemy Laws for Canada?

      Criticizing Islam in Canada should not be illegal or disliking it should not be classified as a phobia. A “phobia” is a type of mental disorder. Isn’t the “Islamophobia” motion, which was unanimously passed by the Canadian government and calls for limiting the rights of Canadians to criticize Islam, contrary to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms? What is the purpose of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms then?

    • Trump To Reverse Obama Openings To Cuba Under the False Flag of Human Rights

      In the days following the death of Fidel Castro, then-President-elect Donald Trump did exactly what one might expect: He took to Twitter. Trump condemned the “deal” the Obama administration put in place over the course of its normalization process with Cuba. “If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal,” Trump tweeted.

    • One Hundred Years of the Espionage Act

      One hundred years ago, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act into law, and since then it has been used to criminalize the disclosure of national defense and classified information.

    • The Espionage Act: One Hundred Years of Murky Law

      While no reporter has ever been charged with violating the statute, this is hardly the first time, as we reported in 2012, that the government has threatened to pursue Espionage Act charges against journalists who base their reporting on leaked classified documents.

    • The Supreme Court Strikes Down a Nationality Law That Treated Fathers Differently Than Mothers Based on Outdated Stereotypes

      Under the law, mothers could more easily transfer citizenship to their children born abroad than could their fathers.

      In a step forward for gender equality, the Supreme Court struck down yesterday a nationality law that treated U.S. citizen fathers and mothers differently. The law — first enacted in 1940 — is one of the few federal laws that continue to explicitly discriminate based on sex.

      The case centered on Luis Ramon Morales-Santana, a U.S. resident for more than 40 years, who was born in the Dominican Republic in 1962. His father, a U.S. citizen, later married his mother, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, and they moved to the United States.

      At the time of Morales-Santana’s birth, the statute provided that the child of an unmarried U.S. citizen mother living abroad automatically became a U.S. citizen, so long as the mother previously lived in the U.S. for one year at any age. On the other hand, an unmarried U.S. citizen father could transmit citizenship to his child born abroad only if the father had resided in the U.S. for 10 years, with five of those years occurring after the father was 14 years old.

    • 1,700 people detained at Russia’s anti-corruption protests

      This Monday, Russian authorities detained protesters en masse in Moscow and St Petersburg. Now, they’re handing down administrative sentences against people exercising their right to freedom of assembly.

    • On “regulation”

      This post is therefore about dergulation in general, whether or not deregulation caused the the tragedy at the Grenfell tower block.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • We need to protect net neutrality now!

      If you are not a technologist please just hang on a second because this is important for you too. So what is net neutrality in a nut shell? It’s making sure that all users have an open and consistent access to resources on the internet. The internet is essentially just a platform that delivers data to your computer. Your ISP ( cable company, telco) controls the flow of data to your house because they sit directly between you and the internet.

    • Cable Industry Lobbyist Proclaims Cable TV Industry ‘Failing’ While Advocating Against Broadband Consumer Rights

      I’ll forgive our dear readers if they don’t have the name Matthew Polka floating in their memories right at this moment. As a refresher, he’s the CEO of American Cable Association, the lobbying group that represents smaller cable and broadband providers. One would think that a group like this would be very interested in breaking up the near-monopolies held by the larger players in this industry and fostering more competition within the marketplace, except that Polka has literally said the opposite. The ACA has also been involved in battles against any sort of regulation in the broadband industry, against privacy rules with any real teeth, and against the plan to require cable companies to open service to third-party cable boxes.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intellectual Property Is Real Money

      In the last four decades, US policymakers have taken major steps to strengthen and lengthen patents, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property (IP). The normal duration of patents and copyrights have been extended, and patents have been expanded to cover life forms, software, and business methods. This strengthened IP regime has been supported by both political parties and has gone largely unquestioned in public debate.

      That’s unfortunate, because there is an enormous amount of money at stake, and an enormous amount of money that is being redistributed from the bulk of the population to those in a position to benefit from owning intellectual property. While far from flashy, intellectual property rights have wide-ranging implications. They should be front and center on any progressive agenda.

    • Trademarks

      • Comicmix Wins Against Dr. Seuss Estate On Trademark Infringement Claim, Copyright Claim In Serious Jeopardy

        Last year, Mike wrote about an interesting case between a small group of enterprising comic artists and Dr. Seuss Enterprises. Comicmix artists had created a parody mashup of Dr. Suess’ Oh The Places You’ll Go and the Star Trek universe to create Oh The Places You’ll Boldly Go, a rather sweet take on both franchises. The creators of this new work setup a crowdfunding campaign, which the Dr. Seuss estate halted with takedown notices. The case ended up in court, with the Seuss estate claiming that the new work infringed both its copyright and trademark rights. The creators, along with Ken “Popehat” White, claimed all of this was well within the boundaries of Fair Use.

      • Kiss singer seeks trade mark registration for hand gesture

        On Monday, the infamous Gene Simmons (better known for his work as the co-lead singer of the band Kiss) applied to the USPTO to register as a trade mark a hand gesture commonly known as the “devil’s horns” on the rock scene. In the application, the sign is described as “a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upwards and the thumb extended perpendicular”. The registration is sought in relation to the international class 41 targeting among other things “services having the basic aim of the entertainment, amusement or recreation of people” and the “presentation of works of visual art or literature to the public for cultural or educational purposes”. The application further identified the types of services for which registration is sought as “entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist”.

    • Copyrights

      • “Kodi Boxes Are a Fire Risk”: Awful Timing or Opportunism?

        This week the world looked on in horror as a huge London tower block burned with residents still inside. Just a day later, a headline in UK tabloid The Sun declared “Kodi Boxes” a fire hazard and a risk to public safety. Was that awful timing? Cautionary advice? Or flat-out anti-piracy opportunism?

      • Alleged KickassTorrents Owner Considers ‘Voluntary Surrender’ to the US

        Artem Vaulin, the alleged owner of KickassTorrents, is wanted by the US Government. The Ukrainian is currently fighting an extradition request in Poland. But, according to paperwork submitted to an Illinois District Court this week, he’s considering surrendering voluntarily under the right conditions.

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