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06.26.17

Links 26/6/2017: Lumina Version 1.3.0, Final Linux RC

Posted in News Roundup at 6:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 18 open source translation tools to localize your project

    Localization plays a central role in the ability to customize an open source project to suit the needs of users around the world. Besides coding, language translation is one of the main ways people around the world contribute to and engage with open source projects.

    There are tools specific to the language services industry (surprised to hear that’s a thing?) that enable a smooth localization process with a high level of quality. Categories that localization tools fall into include…

  • Windstream joins Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) project to accelerate adoption of open standards for SDN/NFV automation
  • Locks in the classroom – 2017

    For the fifth year now, our grade nine students have been doing 3D modeling using Blender. Our students finished up their first assignments over a month ago, but it’s taken this long for me to get the top models together. So, with no further delay, here are the top models from each of the three grade nine classes (click on the pictures for Full HD renders).

  • Set the WABAC to 1984: Henry Spencer getopt, and the roots of open source

    I excavated a bit of hacker history from old memories today. Not dead history either, but an important beginning of some large good things.

    Here’s how it happened. I got email from a person requesting me to identify a source for the following allegedly famous quote: “All operating systems eventually turn into Unix

  • Traveling “Kodi Repair Men” Are Apparently a Thing Now

    With all the chaos and upheaval in the Kodi addon scene recently, many ‘pirate’ devices have stopped performing as they did before. This is a problem for the thousands of people who bought their devices ready configured, since they have no idea how they work. Enter the traveling ‘Kodi repair men,’ who will fix your box in the pub or even your own home.

  • Events

    • [Older] PyCon Pune 2017
    • [Older] My lightning talk in Django Girls PyCon

      In the weekend before PyCon US, we had a Django Girls PyCon workshop in Portland on 12th-13th May. On 12th there were a few lightning talks, and installation before the actual workshop started on 13th.

    • Dreams don’t cost a penny, mumma’s boy :)

      In the dream, I am going to a Debconf, get bursary and the conference is being held somewhere in Europe, maybe Paris…

    • First Round Talks of Fedora + GNOME at UPN

      Today our local group has traveled many miles to the north of Lima to present our lately work by using Fedora and GNOME as users and developers. Thanks to the organizers of the IT Forum to invite us and support our job as Linux volunteers and very nice potential contributors to GNOME and Fedora and the group we have formed.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.3.4 immediately available for download

      The Document Foundation (TDF) announces the availability of LibreOffice 5.3.4, the fourth minor release of the LibreOffice 5.3 family, targeted at technology enthusiasts, early adopters and power users. LibreOffice 5.3.4 integrates over 100 patches, with a significant number of fixes for interoperability with Microsoft Office RTF and OOXML documents.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Italian municipality calls for sharing of IT solutions

      The council of Mappano (Italy) is calling for public administrations to share their IT solutions. The Mappano municipality is starting from scratch, and the new council has decided to build its IT infrastructure, and offer its eGovernment services, using free and open source software.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • [Older] Does Valve really own Dota? A jury will decide

      The case could also take an interesting open source-based turn thanks to a September 23, 2004 forum post that could be seen as Eul giving up his claim on any rights to Dota. “From this point forward, Dota is now open source,” he wrote. “Whoever wishes to release a version of Dota may without my consent, I just ask for a nod in the credits to your map.”

      This post “might mean that anyone had permission to build their own versions of Dota on any platform—and to sell their versions of Eul’s creation,” as Breyer puts it. Or it might simply mean that Eul was just granting a “limited license” intended for other mod-makers, not for standalone games based on Dota.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Innersource: A Guide to the What, Why, and How

      In a nutshell, ‘innersource’ refers to bringing the core principles of open source and community collaboration within the walls of an organization. This involves building an internal community, collaborative engineering workflow, and culture.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • PDP-8/e Replicated — Introduction

        I am creating a replica of the DEC PDP-8/e architecture in an FPGA from schematics of the original hardware. So how did I end up with a project like this?

        The story begins with me wanting to have a computer with one of those front panels that have many, many lights where you can really see, in real time, what the computer is doing while it is executing code. Not because I am nostalgic for a prior experience with any of those — I was born a bit too late for that and my first computer as a kid was a Commodore 64.

  • Programming/Development

    • LLVM/Clang Picks Up Support For The Ananas Operating System

      The LLVM Clang compiler toolchain now has mainline support for the Ananas platform.

      Ananas? It’s pronounced as “Pineapple” and is self-described as “[consisting] of a kernel, a loader, assorted builds scripts and a standard C library (which is based on the Public Domain C Library, PDCLib). Ananas has a clear goal: technology-wise to be the easiest-to-understand operating system in existance, and license-wise to be the most free operating system imaginable.” Ananas is under the liberal Beer-Ware License.

    • anytime 0.3.0
    • Ubuntu ranked as 2nd most used IoT OS by Eclipse Foundation survey
    • an early look at p4 for software networking

      As you know at work we have been trying to find ways to apply compilers technology to the networking space. We will compile high-level configurations into low-level network processing graphs, search algorithms into lookup routines optimized for the target data structures, packet filters into code ready to be further trace-compiled, or hash functions into parallel AVX2 code.

    • A C++ developer looks at Go (the programming language), Part 1: Simple Features

      I’m reading “The Go Programming Language” by Brian Kernighan and Alan Donovan. It is a perfect programming language introduction, clearly written and perfectly structured, with nicely chosen examples. It contains no hand-waving – it’s aware of other languages and briefly acknowledges the choices made in the language design without lengthy discussion.

      As an enthusiastic C++ developer, and a Java developer, I’m not a big fan of the overall language. It seems like an incremental improvement on C, and I’d rather use it than C, but I still yearn for the expressiveness of C++. I also suspect that Go cannot achieve the raw performance of C or C++ due to its safety features, though that maybe depends on compiler optimization. But it’s perfectly valid to knowingly choose safety over performance, particularly if you get more safety and more performance than with Java.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Turkey Drops Evolution From Curriculum, Angering Secularists

      Turkey has removed the concept of evolution from its high school curriculum, in what critics fear is the latest attempt by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government to erode the country’s secular character.

    • Millennials are the most likely generation of Americans to use public libraries

      A new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data from fall 2016 finds that 53% of Millennials (those ages 18 to 35 at the time) say they used a library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months. That compares with 45% of Gen Xers, 43% of Baby Boomers and 36% of those in the Silent Generation. (It is worth noting that the question wording specifically focused on use of public libraries, not on-campus academic libraries.)

    • Self-driving cars are safer when they talk to each other

      Most current self-driving technology relies on cameras, radar and lidar. These sensory devices serve as eyes for the car, mimicking what a human driver can see. But a University of Michigan public-private partnership called Mcity is testing V2V, or vehicle to vehicle communication, and has found that it makes their autonomous prototypes even safer.

      V2V works by wirelessly sharing data such as location, speed and direction. Using DSRC, or Dedicated Short Range Communication, V2V can send up to 10 messages per second. This communication allows cars to see beyond what is immediately in front of them — sensing a red light around a blind curve, or automatically braking for a car that runs a stop sign.

      Mcity is also using a new augmented reality system to test their cars equipped with V2V. They’ve created virtual vehicles equipped with the technology that can communicate with their actual prototypes. This allows them to test scenarios that are cost-prohibitive or too dangerous for real-world trials.

    • [Older] Killer antibiotic now 25,000× more potent—and resistant to drug resistance

      With clever chemical tweaks, an old antibiotic can dole out any of three lethal blows to some of the deadliest bacteria—and give evolution one nasty concussion.

      The antibiotic, vancomycin, has always been a heavy hitter against odious germs; it uses one crafty maneuver that can take out even drug-resistant foes and is often used as a last resort. But, with three chemical modifications, reported this week in PNAS, the drug now has three distinct molecular moves to take out pathogens. The menacing modifications render vancomycin at least 25,000 times deadlier. And with that level of potency, dazed bacteria stumble at developing resistance when given the chance in lab experiments.

  • Hardware

    • The PowerPC Notebook campaign has just started

      We are very happy to announce that our funding campaign has just started. Starting today, we will accept donations through our campaign page with the objective of collecting funds to establish a contract with Acube Systems to design the PowerPC Notebook motherboard.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Bill Clinton issues warning on opioid crisis: ‘It’s going to eat us all alive’
    • The word “women” literally never appears in the US Senate’s 142-page health-care bill

      Women have babies. If they didn’t, first the economy would collapse, and then the species would die out.
      But because they do, from their late teens to their early forties, women have higher health-care costs than men of the same age. Carrying and birthing a child is a sometimes difficult, dangerous, complicated business, and one that, in America, can be incredibly expensive.
      Despite the incontrovertible fact that men are biologically just as responsible as women for a pregnancy happening, before the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, women in the US paid more for health care and insurance because they are the ones who can get pregnant. Specifically, American women of child-bearing age paid somewhere between 52% and 69% more in out-of-pocket healthcare costs then men.

    • Murder charges for doc who prescribed alleged “horrifyingly excessive” opioids

      An Oklahoma doctor is facing five counts of second-degree murder charges following the opioid overdose deaths of her patients.

      Prosecutors charged osteopathic physician Regan Ganoung Nichols, 57, on Friday in Oklahoma County District Court. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter told reporters that Nichols prescribed trusting patients a “horrifyingly excessive” amount of opioid medications. “Nichols’ blatant disregard for the lives of her patients is unconscionable,” he said.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Europeans learn to live with — and adapt to — terror attacks

      The jihadis’ targets in Europe are depressingly repetitive: the Brussels metro, the Champs-Elysees in Paris (twice), tourist-filled bridges in London (twice) and a UK rock concert. And that’s just the past few months. The steady stream of attacks on centers of daily life have drawn pledges from Europeans not to let terrorists change how they live, but in ways large and small they already have.

    • At center of Qatar crisis, a $1 billion ransom

      But a report from the Financial Times earlier this month pointed to a nine-figure sum that was paid in a hostage deal as the catalyst for the crisis.

      The money allegedly went to an al-Qaeda affiliate fighting in Syria, along with Iranian security officials, according to the report.

    • Theresa May is booed and heckled with shouts of “shame on you” during Armed Forces Day parade in Liverpool

      Theresa May was heckled with shouts of “shame on you” and boos as she visited Liverpool.

      The Prime Minister was jeered as she walked through the city for its official Armed Forces Day parade this afternoon.

      Dozens of people could be heard shouting angrily at her, but she continued to make her way through the crowds with a smile on her face.

    • Trump‘s Red Line

      The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives. Details of the attack, including information on its so-called high-value targets, had been provided by the Russians days in advance to American and allied military officials in Doha, whose mission is to coordinate all U.S., allied, Syrian and Russian Air Force operations in the region.

    • CIA Chief: Intel Leaks on the Rise, Cites Leaker ‘Worship’

      CIA Director Mike Pompeo says he thinks disclosure of America’s secret intelligence is on the rise, fueled partly by the “worship” of leakers like Edward Snowden.

      “In some ways, I do think it’s accelerated,” Pompeo told MSNBC in an interview that aired Saturday. “I think there is a phenomenon, the worship of Edward Snowden, and those who steal American secrets for the purpose of self-aggrandizement or money or for whatever their motivation may be, does seem to be on the increase.”

    • [Older] As The Battleground For Warfare Moves To Cyberspace, DOD Contemplates Altering Recruitment Requirements

      While we’ve viewed much of the hyped up discussions about cyberwarfare with some trepidation here, we now live in a reality where it would be clearly silly to suggest that the internet and internet-connected devices are not an emerging battleground for rival nations. While much was made these past few years about what mostly amounted to the penetration of private business networks, the discussion about several democratic elections throughout the country and the clear interference in them, potentially by state actors, has pushed the overdrive button on all of this. As you can imagine, groups in charge of defense for the nations of the world have been paying attention, including the US Department of Defense.

    • Israel Gives Secret Aid to Syrian Rebels

      Israel has been regularly supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel and medical supplies for years, a secret engagement in the enemy country’s civil war aimed at carving out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces.

      The Israeli army is in regular communication with rebel groups and its assistance includes undisclosed payments to commanders that help pay salaries of fighters and buy ammunition and weapons, according to interviews with about half a dozen Syrian fighters. Israel has established a military unit that oversees the support in Syria—a country that it has been in a state of war with for decades—and set aside a specific budget for the aid, said one person familiar with the Israeli operation.

      Israel has in the past acknowledged treating some 3,000 wounded Syrians, many of them fighters, in its hospitals since 2013 as well as providing humanitarian aid such as food and clothing to civilians near the border during winter. But interviews with half a dozen rebels and three people familiar with Israel’s thinking reveal that the country’s involvement is much deeper and more coordinated than previously known and entails direct funding of opposition fighters near its border for years.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Trump CIA Director Mike Pompeo says leaking on rise thanks to ‘worship’ of Edward Snowden

      Besides Snowden, who leaked documents revealing extensive U.S. government surveillance, WikiLeaks recently released nearly 8,000 documents that it says reveal secrets about the CIA’s cyberespionage tools for breaking into computers. WikiLeaks previously published 250,000 State Department cables and embarrassed the U.S. military with hundreds of thousands of logs from Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The hunt for offshore oil is killing tiny sea creatures that are key for healthy oceans

      “Plankton underpin whole ocean productivity,” lead author Robert McCauley, an associate professor at Curtin University in Australia, said in a statement. “Their presence impacts right across the health of the ecosystem so it’s important we pay attention to their future.”

    • France to ban all new oil and gas exploration in renewable energy drive

      France is to stop granting licences for oil and gas exploration as part of a transition towards environmentally-friendly energy being driven by Emmanuel Macron’s government.

    • Quarter of England’s rivers at risk of running dry, finds WWF

      Freedom-of-information data reveals threat of drought that would devastate wildlife, with government slow to act on water management.

    • [Older] Nitrogen oxide from diesel vehicles killed a lot of people in 2015, study says

      When Volkswagen’s diesel scandal broke in 2015, much was made of how the cars spewed the pollutant nitrogen oxide (NOx) in dramatic excess of regulators’ standards during real-world driving. But that wasn’t what ultimately got VW Group in trouble with officials from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and European Union regulators. The key problem was that diesel VWs, Audis, and even Porsches included undisclosed “defeat devices,” or lines of code in the car’s software, that regulators didn’t know about. This code permitted the diesel cars to run cleaner in a lab than on the road.

    • Exxon investors clash with executives, vote in favor of annual climate report

      On Wednesday, 62.3 percent of investors in oil giant Exxon Mobil voted for the company to produce an annual report on the impacts of climate change policies on the company’s business. The resolution, which was opposed by Exxon leadership, passed by a large margin compared to last year, when a similar resolution garnered only 38 percent of the investor vote.

    • Michael Gove could use Brexit to shelve key plan to protect the environment, critics fear

      Green campaigners and political rivals have raised concerns that Michael Gove’s return to the cabinet has led to a key environmental plan being shelved.

      The 25-year Government plan for the environment was first promised two years ago and had finally been expected in 2017, but officials told The Independent they now cannot guarantee it coming this year.

      News of a potential further delay follows fears that Mr Gove’s appointment as Environment Secretary would mean a rowing back of protections, with Brexit providing the perfect cover.

  • Finance

    • Why Grenfell Tower Burned: Regulators Put Cost Before Safety

      Residents of Grenfell Tower had complained for years that the 24-story public housing block invited catastrophe. It lacked fire alarms, sprinklers and a fire escape. It had only a single staircase. And there were concerns about a new aluminum facade that was supposed to improve the building — but was now whisking the flames skyward.

    • How not to end up like Uber

      One of the major things a startup has to focus on from the beginning is company culture, or the environment in the workplace, which includes the mission, ethics, communication and more.

    • Uber doesn’t want to pay its drivers more — it wants its customers to do it instead

      While Uber’s tipping option will certainly help many drivers earn extra money, it comes out of consumers’ pockets, rather than the considerably deeper pockets of the company, which is now valued at $50 billion. Indeed, the tactic seems designed as a way to boost driver income without Uber having to pay its drivers more.

      [...]

      As a money-losing operation, Uber is under intense pressure from its private equity backers, including Menlo Ventures, Fidelity Investments and Benchmark, to grow sales, lower expenses, and eventually file an initial public offering.

    • [Older] Uber lost another $708 million in the first three months of the year

      Uber’s chief financial officer is leaving the company amid yet another loss-making quarterly result, according to the Wall Street Journal. In the first three months of 2017, the company lost $708 million on revenues of $3.4 billion. That might sound disastrous, but it’s actually an improvement for the ride-hailing company, which has posted billions of dollars of losses since 2014. Excluding the money the company didn’t earn in China, it lost $2.8 billion in 2016.

    • [Older] Malta’s Prime Minister Sues Panama Papers Journalist For Defamation; Gets Facebook To Delete His Reporting

      You recall, of course, the Panama Papers? The massive leak of documents about offshore shell companies last year, that a large coalition of reporters worked on for many months before releasing a bunch of stories at the same time. The documents were leaked from a law firm, and highlighted more than a few cases of what appeared to be questionable activity by the rich and powerful in moving money around in offshore accounts. Apparently the subject of one such story, Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, wasn’t happy that he and some of his colleagues were mentioned in some of the reporting on this, and filed a defamation case against Matthew Caruana Galizia, the reporter who wrote up some stories, using the Panama Papers, arguing that Muscat and his chief of staff were involved in a scheme to get kickbacks on the sale of Maltese passports.

      [...]

      But there are two larger issues here: First, this appears to be a classic SLAPP-style lawsuit, in which reporters are being sued as an attempt to chill free speech on reporting that the subject doesn’t like. I’m no expert in Maltese defamation law, but it does appear that there has been a lot of concern about abuse of Maltese defamation law to intimidate reporters and chill speech (amusingly, that article focuses on Daphne Caruana Galizia who has been sued a few times for defamation, and who appears to be Matthew’s very proud mother). There have also been attempts to update defamation law in Malta, but there appears to be nothing akin to a an anti-SLAPP provision. Indeed, it’s not even clear if there’s a “truth” defense.

    • Desperate man cries at food bank after eating his first proper meal in two weeks

      Food bank officials have told how a man burst into tears after he ate his first proper meal in two weeks.

      Charity staff at The Store House in Skegness, Lincolnshire, say demand for food parcels is soaring with referrals more than tripling since May last year.

      Co-ordinator Debby Harland said a man broke down in tears after he arrived on Wednesday having not eaten a proper meal for a fortnight, Lincolnshire Live reports.

    • What Amazon’s Purchase of Whole Foods Really Means
    • [Older] Amazon workers worldwide denounce dictatorial working conditions

      Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is able to make over $25,000 each minute through the exploitation of Amazon workers in every country, forcing them to toil under constant monitoring and work long hours for low wages, subjecting them to constant surveillance by management, and firing them for the slightest sign of opposition.

    • Indian outsourcer Wipro has a problem with bugs. Bed bugs

      The Indian outsourcing company Wipro has a problem with bugs. Not software bugs, but rather bed bugs, which are causing its employees in Chamblee, Georgia, a great deal of grief.

    • Farms hit by labour shortage as migrant workers shun ‘racist’ UK

      Farms have been hit with a shortage of the migrant workers that Britain relies on to bring in the fruit and vegetable harvests, according to a series of new reports.

      There was a 17% shortfall in May, leaving some farms critically short of pickers, according to a new National Farmers Union (NFU) survey. The decline is blamed on Brexit, with the vote to depart the EU leaving the UK seen as “xenophobic” and “racist” by overseas workers, according to the director of a major agricultural recruitment company.

      The UK requires about 80,000 seasonal workers to pick the vegetable and fruit harvest and virtually all come from eastern Europe. Just 14 of the 13,400 workers recruited between January and May this year were British, the NFU survey found. Three-quarters of the workers came from Bulgaria and Romania, and almost all the rest from other eastern European countries.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Isn’t Trump supposed to be commander-in-chief?

      Donald Trump, not exactly a man of focus and wisdom, should surprise no one with his continual exhibition of administrative imbecility. America’s passivity in the face of Trump’s dangerous deference to the military on matters of war and peace is an altogether different cause for alarm.

    • The right wing war on facts: The new partisan divide that’s destroying our nation

      Forget red state vs. blue state. Now the line of separation runs between those who prefer facts to fantasy

    • US lawmakers urge Trump to press Modi on trade, say many sectors in India ‘unjustifiably protected’

      They said the barriers covered multiple sectors and included high tariffs, inadequate protection of intellectual property {sic} rights, and inconsistent and non-transparent licensing and regulatory practices.

    • Trump accuses Obama of inaction over Russia meddling claim

      President Donald Trump has accused his predecessor Barack Obama of inaction over alleged Russian interference in the US election in 2016.

      Mr Trump said Mr Obama had learned well before the 8 November poll about the accusations and “did nothing”.

      His comments followed an article in the Washington Post which said that Mr Obama learned last August of President Vladimir Putin’s “direct involvement”.

      The alleged meddling is the subject of high-level investigations in the US.

    • Bernie and Jane Sanders, under FBI investigation for bank fraud, hire lawyers

      Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and his wife, Jane Sanders have hired prominent defense attorneys amid an FBI investigation into a loan Jane Sanders obtained to expand Burlington College while she was its president, CBS News confirms.

    • The Rise of Jeremy Corbyn and the Death Throes of Neoliberalism
    • New U.K. Government Held Together by Fear — of a Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn

      AFTER WEEKS OF WRANGLING, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party agreed on Monday to give Prime Minister Theresa May the votes she needs to stay in office and push through legislation ensuring that the United Kingdom exits the European Union.

      While the Democratic Unionist leader, Arlene Foster, spoke of the deal being “in the national interest” of the U.K. as a whole, commentators pointed to what looked like a massive concession to Northern Ireland’s local government — an additional 1 billion pounds in social welfare spending.

    • What the DUP have negotiated is much smarter than many predicted

      The dramatised, contemporary version of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale currently being shown on Channel 4 offers British viewers a dark, dystopian vision into life within a Christian fundamentalist state, where women retain little autonomy over their bodies and where homosexuality is punishable by death.

      With publication of the ‘Confidence and Supply’ deal between the Conservatives and Democratic Unionist Party, fears that any agreement hinged upon the Government’s acquiescence to a series of social reforms demanded by the Unionist party, transforming the United Kingdom into our own Republic of Gilead, appear to have been unfounded.

      Instead, the deal, as predicted in my article for this site after the general election result, essentially amounts to a bill of up to £1.5 billion for the British taxpayer.

    • New Ban, Same Story: Trump’s Immigration Ban Excludes Countries With Business Ties

      After his first immigration ban faced obstacles in federal courts, President Trump has signed a new executive order that bans citizens from six Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The new order excludes Iraq, which fell under the first ban, and makes other changes to specify who can and can’t enter the U.S. But one thing hasn’t changed: His proposed list doesn’t include Muslim-majority countries where his Trump Organization has done business or pursued potential deals. Properties include golf courses in the United Arab Emirates and two luxury towers operating in Turkey.

    • Republicans are the primary beneficiaries of gerrymandering

      As the Supreme Court makes ready to rule on the blatant gerrymandering in Wisconsin, the AP has conducted a study using “a new statistical method of calculating partisan advantage” to analyze “the outcomes of all 435 U.S. House races and about 4,700 state House and Assembly seats up for election last year” and report “four times as many states with Republican-skewed state House or Assembly districts than Democratic ones.”

      Both parties have engaged in gerrymandering, but in many Republican strongholds, the GOP attains majorities and supermajorities despite capturing a minority of the vote, in a way that is unmatched by Democrats in states where they dominate.

    • How the Tory election machine fell apart

      In September 2015, a few months after the Conservatives had won that year’s general election, more comfortably than even their most optimistic supporters had hoped, a veteran Tory politician and journalist was waiting to appear on a BBC radio show. Still smiling about the election, he was in expansive mood. The party’s targeting of voters had become so precise, he told me, thanks to the latest marketing software, that it would take Labour many years to catch up.

      During this year’s general election, as in 2015, Tory activists across Britain were supplied with computer-generated lists of amenable voters by Conservative campaign headquarters in London. But this time, many canvassers got a shock when they knocked on doors. “The data was only 65% accurate,” says a local Tory organiser who has worked in the party’s heartlands in southern England for decades. “In the marginals, it was less than 50%.” In some cases, canvassers were accidentally sent to the addresses of activists for rival parties. The organiser says: “I despair of our national campaign.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Without telling media, Arizona judge orders dozens of articles to be deleted

      In 2013, Megan Welter had a really bad night.

      Welter, at that time a cheerleader for the Arizona Cardinals, got into a drunken fight with her boyfriend. It ended with her calling 911 and reporting him for domestic violence. Welter’s boyfriend was a professional fighter, who “smashed [her] head into the tile” and put her in a “choke hold with his legs,” she told the 911 dispatcher.

      When the police showed up, they found out that wasn’t true. Welter’s boyfriend, Ryan McMahon, showed video on his cell phone verifying that it was Welter who had attacked him. She was arrested and charged with assault.

      The arrest came just days after Welter and her team, the Cardinals, kicked off a PR blitz pushing a positive story about her to various television and print news outlets. Welter wasn’t just a pretty face—she was an Iraq war veteran who led troops in a signal unit of the US Army.

      [...]

      Last year, Welter sought to change her unflattering history. She turned to the firm of Kelly/Warner Internet Law, who promote their attorneys’ abilities to be “Online Reputation Fixers.”

      Welter’s lawsuit (PDF) didn’t include a named defendant. Instead, she accused “John and Jane Does 1-10, ABC Partnerships 1-10, XYZ Corporations 1-10, and DEF Limited Liability Companies 1-10″ of defaming her online.

      “Defendants posted voluminous false, damaging, misleading, and defamatory statements about Plaintiff on the Internet, located at numerous web links,” wrote Welter’s attorney, Raees Mohamed.

      The complaint included an exhibit (PDF) with 98 links to different Internet articles, ranging from nationally known news outlets to little-known sports and culture blogs. Also included were nine links to YouTube videos about Welter.

    • Wisconsin Speech Bill Tries To Keep Universities Neutral On Public Policy Debates, Which Is Batshit Crazypants

      As you are likely already aware, there is something of a debate about debates that occur on college campuses these days. Amidst a climate of ultra-polarized politics, there have been several high profile incidents on college campuses involving a revolt by student bodies — and, allegedly, outside troublemakers — over specific speakers invited onto campus and topics opened for debate. In reaction to these revolts that generally end with colleges uninviting speakers, some states have decided to try to legislate against this sort of thing in the name of free speech. It’s one of those unhappy circumstances in which everyone on every side appears to be wrong. Student revolts and petitions to uninvite speakers are themselves a form of speech and worthy of protection, even if that sort of thing is antithetical to the university experience and ultimately works counter to the aims of the students doing the revolting. Meanwhile, the uninvited and their supporters are shouting about censorship in a way that suggests their views must be tolerated without reaction, which is a complete misunderstanding of how free speech works. As for the politicians, the haphazard decision to legislate on matters of speech in this matter betrays a lack of understanding of how sacred our free expression laws are in America and the care with which any lawmakers ought to take on the topic.

    • Germany Raids Homes of 36 People Accused of Hateful Postings Over Social Media

      In a coordinated campaign across 14 states, the German police on Tuesday raided the homes of 36 people accused of hateful postings over social media, including threats, coercion and incitement to racism.

      Most of the raids concerned politically motivated right-wing incitement, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office, whose officers conducted home searches and interrogations. But the raids also targeted two people accused of left-wing extremist content, as well as one person accused of making threats or harassment based on someone’s sexual orientation.

    • [Older] EU judges to tackle ‘right to be forgotten’ again
    • [Older] New EU Lawsuit Claims Google Failed To Forget ‘Sensitive’ Information, Such As Their ‘Political Affiliation’

      For years, we’ve pointed out that the “Right to be Forgotten” (RTBF) in Europe is a dangerous tool that has been and will continue to be abused as a tool to censor freedom of expression, while hiding behind a claim that it is to protect “privacy.” While the concept has been around for a while, it really took off online with a EU Court of Justice (CJEU) ruling from three years ago, saying that Google’s search results index counted as a data repository on someone, and thus, an individual could force Google to “delink” certain results from searches on their names. But, the court left some leeway to Google to decide whether or not the requests were valid. Basically, if the information is no longer relevant for the public to know about the person, then Google should delink it. Now, obviously, that’s a horribly subjective standard, and Google has had to staff up on people to determine whether or not any requested delinking qualifies.

    • [Older] NY Senate Passes Bill That Would Add Cops And Firemen To List Of Protected Classes Under State’s Hate Crime Law

      This is followed by a bunch of anecdotes about officers and first responders being on the receiving end of supposedly “targeted” violence. It adds nothing to the “justification” but a few presentation-worthy stories to sway emotions of fellow legislators. It doesn’t make the preceding statement any more correct. It’s actually misleading and wrong in equal parts.

      First off, an increase in “mortality rates” is not the same thing as an increase in violence directed at law enforcement officers. The stats legislators are attempting to point to include all deaths in the line of duty, whether they were at the hands of civilians or not. So, this stat is already sort of misleading, albeit only because of the way this bill’s sponsors have phrased it.

    • For one year, the internet in a town in Bahrain has been switched off every day

      Every day for the past year, the government of Bahrain has shut off the internet in Duraz between 7PM and 1AM, making this the longest internet shutdown in the history of the region, and one of the longest internet shutdowns in world history.

    • Bahrain Internet Shutdown Hits One Year Mark, Longest in Region’s History

      Our research revealed the presence of a device on Batelco’s Internet backbone that disrupts certain Internet traffic to and from Duraz between 7PM and 1AM, while leaving other traffic undisrupted. We concluded that it is possible that the disruptions were a result of a Service Restriction Order (SRO) from the Bahrain Government.

    • Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and the free press collide in a riveting new Netflix documentary

      After the trial, it was revealed that the prosecution had been bankrolled by Thiel, probably as an act of revenge for a story that Gawker published about him several years prior. And the trial’s eventual outcome, after Hogan was awarded $115 million in compensatory damages, was that Gawker went bankrupt and shut down — leaving even those observers who hated Gawker uncomfortable with the implications of living in a world where people with deep pockets and a grudge could take out media outlets for personal reasons.

    • German police raid 36 homes over hateful postings on social media
    • Facebook’s New Mission
    • Facebook Briefed U.K. Government on Counter-Terrorism Effort

      In response, Facebook has announced a series of new initiatives, including greater use of artificial intelligence to find and block terrorist content. It is also hiring 3,000 more people to review posts that users flag for promoting extremism, adding to the 4,000 contractors it already has reviewing content worldwide.

    • Facebook launches drive in UK to tackle online extremist material

      As well as providing training and a dedicated support desk, Facebook will offer organisations the opportunity to promote campaigns against extremism through its own platforms and provide financial support for academic research into online and offline patterns of extremism and how to respond to it.

    • Facebook brings its anti-extremism initiative to the UK

      While full details of the initiative remain unclear, Facebook said that it would effectively give free ads to NGOs trying to counter hate speech, and will help fund academic research into “online and offline patterns” of extremism

    • [Older] Judge Refuses To Fix His Rubber-Stamping Of A Fraudulently-Requested Court Order

      Over the past year or so, we’ve seen reputation management efforts slide into even shadier territory. Apparently frustrated by Google’s unwillingness to humor bogus DMCA notices, rep management con artists began fraudulently obtaining court orders to get content delisted. The process involved fake defendants, fake plaintiffs, and, occasionally, fake lawyers. In one particular case, it involved forged judges signatures.

      Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen, along with Eugene Volokh (of The Conspiracy), have performed some masterful detective work to uncover at least one of the people behind this new wave of fraudulent delistings. Richart Ruddie, who has already been hit with a $70,000 settlement in one of his bogus libel lawsuits, appears to be reluctant to live up to the terms of the deal he struck with Levy. According to that, Ruddie — who is under investigation by the US Attorney’s office — was to start withdrawing his bogus lawsuits.

    • [Older] Thailand Demands More Proxy Censorship From Facebook

      More foreign censorship is coming to American social media companies. Back in January, Facebook hinted it would be at least partially receptive to the government of Thailand’s desire to be free from criticism. Fortunately, the Thailand government has been slightly more rational than, say, Austria’s by not demanding offending content be removed everywhere. So far, it seems amenable to Facebook just preventing Thailand’s citizens from seeing anything deemed insulting to their rulers (dead or alive).

    • [Older] Thailand warns Facebook to block content critical of the monarchy

      Authorities in Thailand have warned Facebook to take down content critical of the monarchy, or face legal action.

      The social media giant has been given until next Tuesday to remove more than 130 items from pages viewable in Thailand.

    • Texas Court Orders Sports Streaming Sites To Be Blocked In Anticipation Of Piracy

      A few years ago, we wrote about HBO and Showtime’s somewhat novel decision to file a lawsuit against two sports streaming sites for copyright infringement that both claimed would happen… in the future. The lawsuit was filled with understandably novel language, but the fact remained that this was something akin to pre-crime enforcement, best demonstrated in the film Minority Report. One of the chief axioms of American law is that a crime must have occurred for punishment to be doled out. Injunctions are a departure from that, but actually suing for infringement when that infringement hadn’t happened yet and, indeed, when the content to be infringed didn’t even yet exist, seemed like a departure from the way the law works.

    • [Older] Well, Duh: Facebook’s System To Stop ‘Fake News’ Isn’t Working — Because Facebook Isn’t The Problem [Ed: To stop fake news from paying /spreading teach people critical skills, don't impose Internet censorship]
    • [Older] Facebook promised to tackle fake news. But the evidence shows it’s not working
    • You won’t believe why Facebook will block this headline
    • [Older] Judge Dumps Two Lawsuits Attempting To Hold Facebook Responsible For Acts Of Terrorism
    • [Older] Terrorism victims can’t hold Facebook liable for Hamas’ use of the platform

      Two lawsuits seeking to hold Facebook responsible for terrorism groups’ use of the social media platform have been dismissed by a federal judge.

    • Licensing Body Agrees To Temporarily Allow Man To Criticize The Government Without A License
    • Chinese Government Enforces Censorship by Targeting Local Broadcasters
    • Turkish filmmakers fear the spectre of censorship
    • Konkona Sensharma On Censorship, Meaningful Cinema and Women Representation In Bollywood
    • Fighting censorship online: ‘It’s an ongoing race’
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Defense contractor stored intelligence data in Amazon cloud unprotected

      On May 24, Chris Vickery, a cyber risk analyst with the security firm UpGuard, discovered a publicly accessible data cache on Amazon Web Services’ S3 storage service that contained highly classified intelligence data. The cache was posted to an account linked to defense and intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. And the files within were connected to the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the US military’s provider of battlefield satellite and drone surveillance imagery.

    • [Older] ISP-Loyal Marsha Blackburn Pushing New Broadband Privacy Law, But It’s A Hollow PR Show Pony With No Chance Of Passing

      You might recall that Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn recently played a starring role in gutting FCC consumer broadband privacy protections using the Congressional Review Act. It was one of the more bare-knuckled examples of pay to play government in recent memory, and many of the straight GOP-line voters have been getting an earful from their constituents back home. Utterly unmoved, most of those lawmakers have quickly shifted on their heels and are now busy trying to gut net neutrality with the same blatent disregard for public opinion they showed while killing privacy protections.

    • Court: Dead daughter’s parents have no right to access her Facebook account

      A German appeals court on Wednesday rejected the pleas from a dead girl’s parents who wanted access to the 15-year-old’s Facebook account. The social networking site fought the parents, claiming that opening the account would breach the privacy of the girl’s contacts.

    • Russian Military Apparently Using Cell Tower Spoofers To Send Propaganda Directly To Ukrainian Soldiers’ Phones

      We’ve often discussed the darker side of the repurposed war tech that’s made its way into the hands of local law enforcement. Much like backdoored encryption (something some in law enforcement would like to see), rebranded war surveillance gear like Stingrays may sound great when touted by good guys, but we should never forget bad guys have access to the same equipment.

    • UK gave Google’s DeepMind access to patient data without legal basis

      Google’s DeepMind AI wing was given access to the personal medical records of 1.6 million NHS patients on an “inappropriate legal basis,” the UK’s top data protection adviser to the health service has said.

      In a letter sent to the Royal Free Hospital’s medical director professor Stephen Powis, and seen by Sky News, the National Data Guardian Dame Fiona Caldicott—whose job it is to scrutinise the government when it hands over NHS patient records to private companies—concluded that the decision to share the data under implied consent was wrong.

    • [Older] Latest FISA Court Order Details Why NSA Didn’t Get Any 702 Requests Approved Last Year
    • [Older] Inspector General’s Report Shows Section 702 Isn’t The Only Thing Being Abused By The NSA
    • NSA Boss: Section 702 Should Be Renewed Because It Helped Prove Russia Hacked Election

      The push for a smooth Section 702 renewal continues. The never-not-abused surveillance program has received some vocal support in recent weeks. Former FBI Director James Comey’s Senate testimony began with his praise for Section 702, despite there being about a million investigation-related questions Senators were dying to hear answers to.

    • [Older] Why snafus like HP’s keylogger will happen again

      The keylogger is built into a device driver supplied to HP by Conexant Systems. It places every single keystroke you make in a log file on the computer. The file is deleted and a new one is started every time you log on to Windows, but if you use an incremental backup system or rarely reboot, there’s a good chance that every password, credit card number, personal detail, and regretted communication you ever typed is stored safely waiting for a hacker or subpoena to make it public.

    • [Older] Sixth Circuit Appeals Court Latest To Say Real-Time Cellphone Location Tracking Not A Fourth Amendment Issue

      This decision [PDF] isn’t too surprising considering the court reached the same conclusion last year in a similar case. The difference between the two is the latest case deals with real-time collection of GPS data, rather than historical GPS records. But that’s the only difference. The Appeals Court believes the same holds true for real-time location info, although it cites something other than 1979′s Smith v. Maryland in its analysis.

    • Australia advocates weakening strong crypto at upcoming “Five Eyes” meeting

      Two top Australian government officials said Sunday that they will push for “thwarting the encryption of terrorist messaging” during an upcoming meeting next week of the so-called “Five Eyes” group of English-speaking nations that routinely share intelligence.
      The move indicates that Canberra is now running ahead with what the FBI has dubbed “going dark” for several years now. This is the notion that with the advent of widespread, easy-to-use strong encryption on smartphones and other devices, law enforcement has been hindered. Many experts say, however, that any method that would allow the government access even during certain situations would weaken overall security for everyone.

    • Australia to seek greater powers on encrypted messaging at ‘Five eyes’ meeting

      Australia said on Sunday it will push for greater powers to tackle the use of encrypted messaging services used by terrorists and criminals at an upcoming meeting of ministers from the “Five Eyes” intelligence network.

      The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, will meet in the Canadian city of Ottawa next week, where they will discuss tactics to combat terrorism and border protection, two senior Australian ministers said.

      Australia has made it clear it wants tech companies to do much more to give intelligence and law enforcement agencies access to encrypted communications.

    • Australia To Push For Encryption Backdoors At Next ‘Five Eyes’ Meeting

      There’s been no unified push for encryption backdoors from world leaders, but the number of those suggesting it might be a good idea has increased in recent months. UK Prime Minister Theresa May recently said terrorists shouldn’t be allowed to use Whatsapp to hide their conversations from law enforcement even as her own party members routinely use the app to engage in secure communications. Newly-elected French president Emmanuel Macron said basically the same thing while campaigning, stating a preference for compelled access to encrypted communications.

      Shortly before he was shown the exit door, former FBI director James Comey floated the idea of an “international framework” for encryption backdoors. It appeared Comey realized he wasn’t going to be able to sell this idea at home, so perhaps a little international peer pressure would push US legislators towards mandating lawful access.

    • Court Says Password Protection Doesn’t Restore An Abandoned Phone’s Privacy Expectations

      In a decision reached recently by a Florida federal court, a person has no expectation of privacy in a phone that was thrown away. [h/t Orin Kerr] In this case, the defendant was sought in connection with a missing child investigation. He was questioned by police and released. A few days later (when he was supposed to be meeting detectives at his house), the defendant (allegedly) went for a walk in the rain and got lost. He discovered his phone was wet and, according to his testimony, threw the phone in a ditch because he believed the wet phone was completely useless.

      The defendant’s phone was recovered by someone else. The police traced the phone back to the phone’s (temporary) new owner. The phone was then subjected to a warrantless search. Police were hoping to find information about the missing child as phone records obtained earlier showed the defendant’s phone had been in the area. (They also exposed inconsistencies in the defendant’s assertions about where he had and hadn’t been.)

    • [Old] How to permanently delete your Facebook account
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Thoughts on the Latest Development in the U.S. Administration Travel Ban case

      This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear the lawfulness of the U.S. Administration’s revised Travel Ban. We’ve opposed this Executive Order from the beginning as it undermines immigration law and impedes the travel necessary for people who build, maintain, and protect the Internet to come together.

      Today’s new development means that until the legal case is resolved the travel ban cannot be enforced against people from the six predominantly Muslim countries who have legitimate ties or relationships to family or business in the U.S. This includes company employees and those visiting close family members.

    • Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Asra Q. Nomani Respond to Readers

      “When it comes to the pay gap, abortion access and workplace discrimination, progressives have much to say. But we’re still waiting for a march against honor killings, child marriages, polygamy, sex slavery or female genital mutilation.”

    • To Keep The Skies Safe, The TSA Wants To Know What You’re Reading
    • TSA considers forcing airline passengers to remove books from carry-ons

      “[B]ooks raise very special privacy issues,” senior policy analyst Jay Stanley wrote. “There is a long history of special legal protection for the privacy of one’s reading habits in the United States, not only through numerous Supreme Court and other court decisions, but also through state laws that criminalize the violation of public library reading privacy or require a warrant to obtain book sales, rental, or lending records.”

    • TSA officer steals passenger’s money during pat down at OIA, police say

      A review of surveillance footage shows Johnson reaching into Duddleston bag, taking the money and putting it into his pocket, an arrest report said.

    • Making America scared again won’t make us safer

      That’s a problem for several reasons. First, it’s fiscally irresponsible and undermines public safety. Since 1980, the U.S. prison population has exploded from 500,000 to more than 2.2 million, resulting in the highest incarceration rate in the world and costing more than $80 billion a year. The federal prison population has grown 700 percent, with the Federal Bureau of Prisons budget now accounting for more than 25 percent of the entire Justice Department budget.

    • Uber criticized for standing by executive accused of ignoring discrimination claim
    • [Older] Richard Dawkins slams Islam as ‘most evil religion,’ then Trump for travel ban rhetoric

      The biologist, on hand Sunday for the June 6-11 event, said it would be a mistake to create a moral equivalence between religions.

      “It’s tempting to say all religions are bad, and I do say all religions are bad, but it’s a worse temptation to say all religions are equally bad because they’re not,” the “Science in the Soul” author said, the U.K. Telegraph reported Sunday. “If you look at the actual impact that different religions have on the world, it’s quite apparent that at present the most evil religion in the world has to be Islam.”

    • The Arab World Is A Political Problem Because It Has A Religious Problem

      Islam will not allow minorities to have their own land and to rule themselves. That’s why even if partitioning Syria happens, it likely won’t go well.

    • Off-duty St. Louis officer injured by ‘friendly fire’ after police chase of stolen car

      An off-duty officer was wounded by “friendly fire” as police looked for suspects after a stolen vehicle fled police and crashed late Wednesday.

      The injured off-duty officer was treated at a hospital released on Thursday. The suspect was also treated, and released into police custody.

      At Barnes-Jewish Hospital early Thursday, Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole told reporters the off-duty officer had come out of his home to help after the stolen car crashed nearby, and was hit in the crossfire between officers and suspects who had been in the car.

    • Activists protest at alleged restrictions on use of Finnish in Sweden [iophk: "hypocrisy - at the same time they are rubbing out the second language inside Finland itself"]

      Finnish-language researchers and activists in Sweden say that it’s getting more difficult to use Finnish in everyday life. They claim that use of Finnish in schools is restricted, and that Finnish-language media offerings have been cut back in recent years.

      They say that some teachers have banned students from speaking Finnish during breaks, even though Finnish is an official minority language in Sweden. Some Finnish-speaking teachers have also been banned from speaking Finnish to each other in their cafeteria, some asked to switch to Swedish in the staff room.

      “This is happening now,” reads the op-ed. “All Finnish teachers are not treated in this way, but it is happening across the country, from the north to the south.”

      The authors of the letter include Satu Gröndahl of Uppsala University and Sirpa Humalisto, of the union of Finnish teachers in Sweden. They cite a survey conducted by union.

    • [Older] Linguistic analysis of body-cam footage shows police bias against black people

      The first major US study of body-cam footage concluded that police, at least in Oakland, California, showed more respect to white people than to black people.

      The study from Stanford University researchers analyzed the transcribed text from 981 traffic stops caught on body cams by 245 Oakland Police Department officers in 2014. White people pulled over were more likely to be called “ma’am” or “sir,” and they were more likely to hear the words “please” and “thank you” from police officers. Black people, however, didn’t get as much respect, and they were more likely to be called by their first names and even “my man.”

    • [Older] DA’s Office Facing Multiple Lawsuits Related To Its Use Of Fake Subpoenas To Intimidate Witnesses

      The Louisiana district attorney whose office issued bogus subpoenas to trick witnesses into “volunteering” their testimony is now facing multiple lawsuits. DA Leon Cannizzaro’s office was sued on May 12th by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Foundation for its refusal to turn over copies of every fake subpoena it has issued.

    • [Older] ACLU sues DA Cannizzaro’s office to learn which lawyers used bogus subpoenas

      A label at the top of the notices read, “SUBPOENA: A FINE AND IMPRISONMENT MAY BE IMPOSED FOR FAILURE TO OBEY THIS NOTICE.” But the notices carried no such legal authority because a judge had not signed off on the request.

      The DA’s office said it has replaced the forms with new letters labeled “notice to appear,” without threatening jail time. Bowman has said no witnesses who received the invalid “subpoena” notices had been jailed. He said such notices are sparingly used, but can work in the interest of public safety in a city where witnesses too often refuse to cooperate in criminal prosecutions.

    • [Older] Magical Cop Detects Drugs Better Than Blood Tests; Continues To Lock Innocent People Up

      In court filings, testimony, and warrant affidavits, law enforcement officers refer constantly to their “training and expertise.” Given enough time on the job and enough laser-printed certificates, any law enforcement officer can be an “expert” in anything… even detecting nonexistent drug impairment.

    • [Older] ‘The Drug Whisperer’ | Drivers arrested while stone cold sober

      Drunk driving arrests are down sharply after decades of aggressive enforcement, while drugged driving arrests are climbing.

      Georgia now has more than 250 officers with special ‘drug recognition expert’ training.

    • [Older] Appeals Court Pretty Sure DOJ Use-Of-Force Guidelines Don’t Violate Police Officers’ 2nd And 4th Amendment Rights

      A few years ago, some Seattle police officers came up with a novel plan to battle DOJ-imposed limits on their use-of-force. Since their union wisely decided to steer clear of this ridiculous legal battle, the officers chose to crowdfund their way into the federal court system.

    • [Older] BBC Says It May Contact Your Boss If You Post Comments It Finds Problematic

      To be fair, it does seem to limit this to cases where it believes you’ve violated the law, but even so, it seems like a stretch to argue that the BBC should be calling your boss to tell on you for being a dipshit online, even if you break the law. We’ve all seen the stories of people actually confronting their own trolls or, better yet, the mothers of their trolls, but to make it official BBC policy seems to be going a bit far. Sure, if someone is breaking a criminal law, informing the police sounds perfectly reasonable, but your boss or your school?

    • [Older] US & EU Not Banning Laptops On Planes… Yet

      Apparently, the decision not to implement the ban came because EU officials were not thrilled with the idea and wanted to discuss — leading to a series of meetings. Of course, that also allowed time for the airline industry to snap to attention and announce that such a ban might cost travelers around $1 billion. Admittedly, there may be some dubious math involved… but it’s fairly obvious that such a plan would lead to all sorts of problems for travelers — from general lost productivity, to delays and confusion around checking the laptops, to broken, lost or stolen computers and more.

    • Appeals Court: An IP Address And Some Alternative Facts Are A ‘Reasonable’ Basis For A Search

      The Eighth Circuit Appeals Court has handed down a judicial shrug [PDF] in a case where police decided an IP address was pretty much all they needed to search eleven occupants and their devices for child porn. Qualified immunity is upheld, despite the fact the officers searched rooms they possibly had no Fourth Amendment permission to search and despite the fact that no child porn was discovered anywhere on the multiple devices they seized.

    • Inspector General Report Shows DEA Covering Up Its Role In A Shooting That Left Four Foreign Citizens Dead

      Here’s the latest on how we’re winning the Drug War, stripped of the DEA’s deceit and spin by the Office of the Inspector General. The report [PDF] takes a look at three incidents the DEA was involved with in Honduras during 2012. The DEA’s FAST (Foreign-Deployed Advisory and Support Team) team was supposed to help Honduran drug warriors (TRT– Tactical Response Teams) fight the local drug war. It was only supposed to act in an advisory role, but it took a much more hands-on approach.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • [Older] Techdirt Podcast Episode 123: No, The MP3 Isn’t Dead
    • [Older] The MP3 Is About As ‘Dead’ As Pepe The Frog

      Last week, there were two widely reported “deaths” on the internet: Pepe The Frog and the MP3 audio codec. Most people seemed to understand what was meant by the former headline — that you cannot in fact kill a meme, no matter how distasteful its use, and the death of Pepe in an official cartoon strip was a symbolic disavowal of the character by its creator. But on the MP3 issue people seem a bit more confused.

      Here’s what happened: in late April (not sure why there was such a big delay in the explosion of blog posts) Fraunhofer IIS, the research company that holds the patents on MP3 encoders and decoders, announced that it had terminated the licensing program for those patents, for the stated reason that the format has been surpassed by alternatives like AAC (which is also patented and licensed by Fraunhofer). For some reason, a whole lot of media outlets have accepted this at face value and reported that the format is now officially on its way out.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Office Realizes The DMCA Fucks With Security Research While The W3C Still Doesn’t See It

        Last week, the Copyright Office finally released a report that it had been working on for some time, looking specifically at Section 1201 of the DMCA. In case you’re new around here, or have somehow missed all the times we’ve spoken about DMCA 1201 before, that’s the “anti-circumvention” part of the DMCA. It’s the part that says it’s against copyright law to circumvent (or provide tools to circumvent) any kind of “technological protection measures,” by which it means DRM. In short: getting around DRM or selling a tool that gets around DRM — even if it’s not for the purpose of infringing on any copyrights — is seen as automatically infringing copyright law. This is dumb for a whole host of reasons, many of which we’ve explored in the past. Not only is the law dumb, it’s so dumb that Congress knew that it would create a massive mess for tons of legitimate uses. So it built in an even dumber procedure to try to deal with the fact it passed a dumb law (have you noticed I have opinions on Section 1201?).

      • [Older] Telenor Looks To Lead The Anti-Troll Fight In Europe
      • [Older] Copyright Troll’s Tech ‘Experts’ Can Apparently Detect Infringement Before It Happens

        When you sue Does en masses for copyright infringement with no more evidence than an IP address, you’re going to run into problems. Those who aren’t intimidated by baseless federal court filings fight back. The problem with every troll is they’re completely unequipped to handle actual litigation.

      • [Older] Japanese Music Collection Society Demands Copyright Fees From Music Schools For Teaching Music

        A brief review of our past stories about copyright collection societies should paint you a fairly complete picture on how these businesses operate. While they pimp themselves as proxies for content creators to police the known world for unauthorized use of that content, as well as operators working to license the use of that content, instead these companies work as syphons sucking money from both sides. They will be genuinely creative in their attempts to find infringement everywhere, liberally interpreting copyright law and what constitutes requirements for various licenses for things like art and music, while at the same time often being found to feign brain-death when it comes to paying the copyright holders’ share for the money they collect.

      • [Older] French Theater Owners Freak Out; Get Netflix Booted From Cannes Film Festival
      • [Older] Judge Alsup Threatens To Block Malibu Media From Any More Copyright Trolling In Northern California

        Yeah. So. It was probably a good thing that, a year and a half ago, the Chief Judge in the Northern District of California, said that any new Malibu Media copyright trolling cases had to go in front of Judge Alsup. Malibu Media, of course, is the US’s biggest copyright troll, responsible for a fairly insane percentage of all the copyright infringement lawsuits filed in the US. We’ve had a ton of stories about the company and some of its fairly shady practices in copyright trolling. Malibu Media, of course, is also a sleight of hand, as it’s actually the porn company better known as X-Art. It’s also been connected to the famous “international men of mystery”, often referred to as Guardaley — a German company, that’s gone through various name changes, and seems to be behind numerous copyright trolling operations.

      • Court Hands Internet Textbook Pirates Suspended Sentences

        Three men have received conditional jail sentences for selling online access to pirate textbooks. The trio, aged between 26 and 71-years-old, scanned and made available at least 198 books without copyright holder permission in exchange for a $45 per semester fee.

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    The lifecycle of mobile giants seems to typically end in patent shakedown, as Apple loses its business to Android just like Nokia and BlackBerry lost it to Apple



  16. EFF and CCIA Use Docket Navigator and Lex Machina to Identify 'Stupid Patents' (Usually Software Patents That Are Not Valid)

    In spite of threats and lawsuits from bogus 'inventors' whom they criticise, EFF staff continues the battle against patents that should never have been granted at all



  17. The Australian Productivity Commission Shows the Correct Approach to Setting Patent Laws and Scope

    Australia views patents on software as undesirable and acts accordingly, making nobody angry except a bunch of law firms that profited from litigation and patent maximalism



  18. EPO 'Business' From the United States Has Nosedived and UPC is on Its Death Throes

    Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot further accelerate the ultimate demise of the EPO (getting rid of experienced and thus 'expensive' staff), for which there is no replacement because there is a monopoly (which means Europe will suffer severely)



  19. Links 17/11/2017: KDE Applications 17.12, Akademy 2018 Plans

    Links for the day



  20. Today's EPO and Team UPC Do Not Work for Europe But Actively Work Against Europe

    The tough reality that some Europeans actively work to undermine science and technology in Europe because they personally profit from it and how this relates to the Unitary Patent (UPC), which is still aggressively lobbied for, sometimes by bribing/manipulating the media, academia, and public servants



  21. Links 16/11/2017: WordPress 4.9 and GhostBSD 11.1 Released

    Links for the day



  22. The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) is Rightly Upset If Not Shocked at What Battistelli and Bergot Are Doing to the Office

    The EPO's dictatorial management is destroying everything that's left (of value) at the Office while corrupting academia and censoring discussion by threatening those who publish comments (gagging its own staff even when that staff posts anonymously)



  23. EPO Continues to Disobey the Law on Software Patents in Europe

    Using the same old euphemisms, e.g. "computer-implemented inventions" (or "CII"), the EPO continues to grant patents which are clearly and strictly out of scope



  24. Links 16/11/2017: Tails 3.3, Deepin 15.5 Beta

    Links for the day



  25. Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot Have Just Ensured That EPO Will Get Even More Corrupt

    Revolving door-type tactics will become more widespread at the EPO now that the management (Battistelli and his cronies) hires for low cost rather than skills/quality and minimises staff retention; this is yet another reason to dread anything like the UPC, which prioritises litigation over examination



  26. Australia is Banning Software Patents and Shelston IP is Complaining as Usual

    The Australian Productivity Commission, which defies copyright and patent bullies, is finally having policies put in place that better serve the interests of Australians, but the legal 'industry' is unhappy (as expected)



  27. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Defended by Technology Giants, by Small Companies, by US Congress and by Judges, So Why Does USPTO Make It Less Accessible?

    In spite of the popularity of PTAB and the growing need/demand for it, the US patent system is apparently determined to help it discriminate against poor petitioners (who probably need PTAB the most)



  28. Declines in Patent Quality at the EPO and 'Independent' Judges Can No Longer Say a Thing

    The EPO's troubling race to the bottom (of patent quality) concerns the staff examiners and the judges, but they cannot speak about it without facing rather severe consequences



  29. The EPO is Now Corrupting Academia, Wasting Stakeholders' Money Lying to Stakeholders About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The Unified Patent Court/Unitary Patent (UPC) is a dying project and the EPO, seeing that it is going nowhere fast, has resorted to new tactics and these tactics cost a lot of money (at the expense of those who are being lied to)



  30. Links 15/11/2017: Fedora 27 Released, Linux Mint Has New Betas

    Links for the day


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