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08.17.17

Links 17/8/2017: Krita 3.2.0, New Raspbian GNU/Linux OS

Posted in News Roundup at 6:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Another Behind-the-Scenes Niche Where Open Source is Winning

    Do you spend a lot of time thinking about Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons? Unless you run a retail store, probably not. But if you do run a store (or stores) along with an e-commerce operation, BLE is a hot new thing you are either using already or thinking about using before long.

    Why? Because the graffiti is on the wall, and it says, “Sales in physical stores are going down every year, and most retailers aren’t seeing enough online sales gains to take up the slack.” BLE may help stop the retail sales slide or at least slow it down. It’s cheap enough, especially with open source beacons, that it’s certainly worth a try.

  • 10 advantages of open source for the enterprise

    In the past decade, adoption of open source software at the enterprise level has flourished, as more businesses discover the considerable advantages open source solutions hold over their proprietary counterparts, and as the enterprise mentality around open source continues to shift.

    Enterprises looking to make smart use of open source software will find plenty of great reasons to do so. Here are just some of them.

  • The Managed Kubernetes Opportunity for MSPs

    Kubernetes, an open source orchestration platform for Docker containers, is an increasingly important part of computing environments.

    But managed Kubernetes services are difficult to find — which creates an opportunity for MSPs.

    A container orchestrator is a tool that automates the provisioning and management of containers.

  • 5 open source alternatives to Slack for team chat

    In any collaborative environment, it’s important to have good tools for communication. What tools work best for you depends a bit on your situation, but might include anything from mailing lists for email communication, Git or Subversion for version control, a wiki or Etherpad for collaborative authoring, a shared task list for organizing workflow, or even a full fledged project management suite.

  • Runtime Awarded Outstanding Contributor by Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF)

    Runtime, open source IoT software provider, announced it was awarded the ‘Outstanding Contributor Award’ for its open source implementation of OIC Core Specification v1.1.0 from the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF). Runtime’s open source, modern environment allows development using open APIs, running applications on sensors that require small footprints and low power requirements, like many IoT and IIoT applications require.

    “The growth and massive deployment of smart cities, agriculture, and other IoT applications require an open, platform agnostic, small footprint software,” said Runtime CEO and co-founder James Pace. “We’re proud to get the recognition of this award and look forward to continuing our work to support the IoT industry.”

  • Events

    • Went to COSCUP 2017

      I joined COSCUP2017 which is held in Taipei from August 5 to 6. ‘COSCUP’ means Conference for Open Source Coders, Users and Promoters, is an annual conference held by Taiwanese Open source community participants since 2006. It’s a major force of Free software movement advocacy in Taiwan.

    • Samsung Hosts ONOS Build 2017 and Fuels SDN Innovation

      The ONOS (Open Network Operating System) community is growing fast in different geographies around the world and it’s time to bring everyone together. In collaboration with the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), Samsung is hosting ONOS Build 2017 at its R&D Campus in Seoul, Korea, on September 20-22.

      The 2nd annual event is poised to unite more than 200 developers and contributors to share, learn, align, plan and hack together. There will be keynote and panel presentations by ONOS influencers, Community Showcase previews where people can present information about their work, an SDN Science Fair for demo presentations and a hackathon.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Canonical Invites You to Test Out the Chromium Web Browser Snap on Ubuntu Linux

        Canonical’s Olivier Tilloy has put out a call for testing for what it would appear to be the very first Chromium Snap package for Ubuntu Linux and other Snappy-enabled distros.

        Snap is a universal binary format created by Canonical to allow for easy distribution of third-party, proprietary apps across all supported Ubuntu releases, as well as other GNU/Linux distributions. It also enables users to have the latest version of an app installed on their computers.

  • CMS

    • Moodle Desktop Spawns To Windows, macOS, and Linux’s Ubuntu, Fedora, and Debian

      An official release at moodle.com, following Moodle HQ’s mobile lead Juan Leyva announcement at the Moodle forums, confirms that Moodle Desktop, a native, browser-free version of the open source LMS, is now available across desktop and mobile devices running the most popular commercial and free operating systems available.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Open core, open perimeter, and the future of enterprise software [Ed: So openwashing is the "future of enterprise software"?]

      Today, software development is built around APIs. Instead of embedding a vendor’s product into their application, developers can call an API to consume services from a vendor. The developers don’t need to know what’s responding to their calls on the backend; they simply need to know what the vendor’s API expects from their code and what they can expect to receive back from the API. It is, in many senses, wonderfully non-intimate.

      This is an inversion of the traditional open core model behind many commercial open source strategies for enterprise application layer products. In open core, the product’s core is open source, and in the enterprise edition, vendors provide and support proprietary enhancements. Using the API approach, the product’s core is often not visible in the cloud, and the only way in and out of the product is through the API.

      Because of APIs, we are seeing the differentiation, enhancement, and value in enterprise editions migrating to the perimeter via tools, widgets, and components. These can be closed source and/or open source, but we should see more open source in the perimeter, because many vendors can make money by supporting their core and charging for API calls or transactions. The two best examples of this are Twilio and Stripe.

    • After Cybersecurity Shift, Black Duck Is Growing Fast & Eyeing Deals [Ed: Anti-FOSS company finds that by attacking FOSS it can make money]
    • Understanding the Hows and Whys of Open Source Audits [Ed: Black Duck threw some money at the Linux Foundation and got its anti-FOSS agenda included in the site]
    • Black Duck Streamlines DevSecOps with New Hub Detect Capability [Ed: Here they are selling purely proprietary software]
    • Here’s Why We Need More Open Source Software For Buttplugs
  • Funding

  • Public Services/Government

    • Dutch NCSC publishes PEF network data anonymising tool as open source

      The Dutch National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has published its Privacy Enhanced Filter (PEF) as open source software. The PEF tool is a research prototype that removes privacy-sensitive information from captured internet traffic as much as possible, allowing for threat detection and prevention without compromising privacy. It was developed in collaboration with the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) and the NCTV (National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism) Safety Through Innovation Program.

  • Programming/Development

    • The future of Python: Concurrency devoured, Node.js next on menu

      The PyBay 2017 conference, held in San Francisco over the weekend, began with a keynote about concurrency.

      Though hardly a draw for a general interest audience, the topic – an examination of multithreaded and multiprocess programming techniques – turns out to be central to the future of Python.

      Since 2008, the Python community has tried to reconcile incompatibility between Python 2 and newly introduced Python 3.

      For years, adoption of Python 3 was slow and some even dared to suggest Python didn’t have a future. As late as last year, Zed Shaw, an accomplished developer and author of the popular Learn Python the Hard Way, even ventured to opine, “There is a high probability that Python 3 is such a failure it will kill Python.”

      Despite these unsubstantiated odds, Shaw – a polarizing figure for some Pythonistas – this year released a version of his book for Python 3.

    • When not to use a regex

      A regex is useful for validating simple patterns and for finding patterns in text. For anything beyond that it’s almost certainly a terrible choice.

    • Correctness in Rust: building string

Leftovers

  • Lawsuit revived over Apple retail workers’ pay during security checks

    Should Apple retail workers in California be paid for time spent having their purses, backpacks and other belongings checked to make sure they didn’t steal any of Cupertino’s goods—after they have punched out?

    Ruling in a class-action lawsuit brought by Apple retail workers, a federal judge answered “no”—California law doesn’t require Apple to pay for that time, even though it’s mandatory that employees who bring purses or other bags to work get them searched while they’re off the clock.

  • Science

    • Eclipse of reason: Why do people disbelieve scientists?

      The problem is that we don’t get to pick and choose what scientific facts or consensuses are controversial, and which are not. The same strict laws of science are everywhere.

    • David Byrne: The secret appeal of technology is that it takes away the need to talk to people

      Writing in MIT Tech Review, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne points out the secret and, in retrospect, obvious driving force behind tech: it reduces the often awkward and unreliable process of dealing with people, so you can buy music without asking friends for recommendations, take a cab without talking to a dispatcher, buy your groceries without speaking with a clerk, and get your money out of the bank without seeing a teller.

    • Eliminating the Human

      I have a theory that much recent tech development and innovation over the last decade or so has an unspoken overarching agenda. It has been about creating the possibility of a world with less human interaction. This tendency is, I suspect, not a bug—it’s a feature.

    • How Materials Science Will Determine the Future of Human Civilization

      One of the extraordinary features of the microelectronics revolution is its ability to scale, a featured captured by Moore’s Law. That has led to a rapid and massive increase in computing capacity—today’s top-of-the-range smartphones have the computing power equivalent to the world’s most powerful supercomputers from the early 1990s. Tomorrow’s smartphones will be even more powerful.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Hospitals in Trump Country Suffer as Muslim Doctors Denied Visas to U.S.

      Every March, doctors across the United States and the world eagerly await “Match Day” — the day they find out what residency, internship, or fellowship program they’ve been matched with. By that point, residency candidates have completed medical school and passed a series of rigorous qualifying exams. For those who are not American — about a quarter of all doctors in the U.S. are foreign-born — there’s one additional step: securing a J-1 visa, a nonimmigrant exchange visa conditioned on an individual’s return to their home country for at least two years at the conclusion of the program.

      In the weeks following the March 17 match, dozens of Pakistani physicians had their J-1 applications denied in Islamabad and Karachi, said Shahzad Iqbal, a Pakistani-American physician in New York.

      Jan Pederson has spent the last 30 years of her legal career representing foreign-born physicians coming to the U.S. for residency or fellowship programs. It’s an unheralded but essential line of work, because without foreign doctors, the U.S. healthcare system would simply collapse, with the pain felt most acutely in rural areas. U.S. medical schools don’t produce anywhere near enough graduates to meet the needs of the country, particularly in places where people are reluctant to move to.

    • Meet the women affected by Abkhazia’s abortion ban

      A year and a half ago, the authorities in Abkhazia banned abortions in nearly all circumstances. These women have paid the price.

    • Many Nurses Lack Knowledge of Health Risks for New Mothers, Study Finds

      In recent months, mothers who nearly died in the hours and days after giving birth have repeatedly told ProPublica and NPR that their doctors and nurses were often slow to recognize the warning signs that their bodies weren’t healing properly. Now, an eye-opening new study substantiates some of these concerns.

      The nationwide survey of 372 postpartum nurses, published Tuesday in the MCN/American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, found that many of them were ill-informed about the dangers new mothers face. Needing more education themselves, they were unable to fulfill their critical role of educating moms about symptoms like painful swelling, headaches, heavy bleeding and breathing problems that could indicate potentially life-threatening complications.

    • FDA slams more homeopaths for playing fast and loose with toxic chemicals

      The Food and Drug Administration sent a sharp letter this month to a Canadian-based homeopathic pharmaceutical manufacturer named Homeolab USA. The letter warned of “significant violations” the agency found during a recent inspection and poor quality control of the company’s infant teething products that contain the deadly poison belladonna, aka deadly nightshade.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Company’s dystopian promotional video for drone armed with machine gun
    • Is it fair to punish Manchester in ‘liveability’ survey after its terror attack?

      The former head of global counter-terrorism at MI6 has criticised an assessment that living conditions in Manchester have plummeted as a result of the terror attack in May, calling it unfair and counterproductive.

      The Economist intelligence unit (EIU) published its 2017 ranking of living conditions in 140 cities around the world on Wednesday, with Manchester the fastest-falling. It dropped eight places to 51st, putting it just 0.3% above London in 53rd.

      But with the EIU directly attributing the fall to an increased threat of terrorism in the city following the bombing of the Manchester Arena on 22 May – in which 22 children and adults were killed and more than 250 were injured – questions are being asked over the fairness of the criteria.

    • Trump’s Outdated Hatred for Iran

      Regimes that crave U.S. support in their regional rivalries are apt to strike two different postures that may seem contradictory but really aren’t. They publicly play up the supposed threatening nature and incorrigibility of the rival, to keep Americans thinking that the United States should take sides against the rival. But they also realize that unending hostility and tension are not in their own best interests.

    • Email Shows UAE’s Ambassador Worried About ‘Targeting of Civilian Sites’ in Yemen War

      In the fall of 2015, the United Arab Emirates’s ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba, sent a concerned email to a group of high-level officials in his government. The war in Yemen, he said, was becoming a public-relations nightmare.

      The Obama administration, he told leadership back home, remained reluctantly supportive, but the ongoing Saudi-led campaign was harming the U.S.’s reputation and thus putting his own country, an active and eager participant in the war, in a delicate position.

      The September 2015 memo documenting Otaiba’s concerns was sent to a wide set of UAE decision makers. It was originally emailed to Assistant Secretary-General of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Al Shamsi, Crown Prince Court Undersecretary Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, and Syed Basar Shueb, a Pal Technology executive.

    • The North Korea Standoff, Like the Cuban Missile Crisis, Exposes the Reckless U.S. Worldview

      The confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea has cooled off slightly with Kim Jong-un’s announcement that, at least for the time being, he will not attack Guam with an “enveloping fire.”

      So since we have a small breather before Armageddon, let’s take the time to understand what this conflict is all about.

      A good place to start is with the repeated comparisons U.S. politicians have made between the situation with North Korea and the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962.

      For instance, Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, recently said, “This is analogous to the Cuban missile crisis.”

    • Weapons Money Intended For Economic Development Being Secretly Diverted to Lobbying

      The United Arab Emirates created a “slush fund” using money meant for domestic economic development projects and funneled it to a high-profile think tank in the United States, emails obtained by The Intercept show.

      Last week, The Intercept reported that the UAE gave a $20 million grant to the Middle East Institute, flooding a well-regarded D.C. think tank with a monetary grant larger than its annual budget. According to an email from Richard Clarke, MEI’s chairman of the board, the UAE got the money from offset investments — development investments by international companies that are made as part of trade agreements.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange’s unique existence uses SAS fitness to combat takeaway overload and constant fear of slow-working poison brings insomnia and depression

      As the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange has released thousands of secret documents about the world’s Governments.

      But his crusade has made him a wanted man.

      Living in fear of arrest and extradition following a rape allegation in Sweden, he took the extraordinary decision, five years ago, to seek asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

      He has not set foot outside since.

      The 46-year-old has relied on the outside world to bring him food, clothes, technology to communicate, books for entertainment and visitors for company.

      [...]

      ““It’s like living in a space shuttle.

      “Out of concerns about security, and also perhaps because paparazzi occasionally wait for him on the street, he rarely parts the curtains in the daytime, or stands at the balcony.

      “He lives in a continuous state of hypervigilance, believing that the Embassy could be stormed at any moment.”

      That hypervigilance applies to every element of his life.

    • Assange meets U.S. congressman, vows to prove Russia did not leak him documents

      Julian Assange told a U.S. congressman on Tuesday he can prove the leaked Democratic Party documents he published during last year’s election did not come from Russia and promised additional helpful information about the leaks in the near future.

    • FOIA Lawsuit Filed Over DOJ Data Complainant Is Pretty Sure Doesn’t Even Exist

      Other authors at Lawfare examined the claim in detail, finding that when people extradited to America to face charges were excluded from the count, the ratio of foreign-born terrorism convicts dropped to 18-21% of the total — not anywhere near a “vast majority.”

      Beyond that, there’s likely zero data available to support Trump’s claim. Wittes notes the DOJ doesn’t actually track where convicts are born, and certainly doesn’t do so when foreigners are booted from the country by immigration enforcement, only to be dragged back to face criminal charges.

      Wittes filed a FOIA request for the numbers the DOJ supposedly “provided” to the president. So far, he’s heard nothing back. His requests have been acknowledged but no further processing has been done, not even a determination as to whether he’d qualify for a fee waiver. Now, he’s suing [PDF].

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Oldest Antarctic ice ever found shows climate of 2.7 million years ago

      Antarctic ice cores have recorded an impressive span of climatic history for us, covering the last 800,000 years. But scientists are greedy, always looking to go back just a little further. Climate records based on things like seafloor sediment cores already take us much further back, but ice cores can reveal unique details. Groups are currently searching for locations to drill new ice cores that might provide a contiguous record back to over the million-year mark.

      But another group has been cheating, and this has allowed them to take a big leap past everyone else. Instead of looking at places where the ice at the bottom might be oldest, they’ve been looking at places where that oldest ice has been squeezed up to the surface against high points of bedrock. A few years ago, they published data from samples of ice that came back at right about 1 million years old. At a conference on Wednesday, the researchers revealed the fruits of their second attempt—ice as old as 2.7 million years, blowing away their previous record.

    • Health benefits of wind and solar offset all subsidies

      Wind and solar energy are obviously essential in reducing carbon emissions, but they also have a remarkable side effect: saving lives. As they edge out fossil fuels, renewables are reducing not just carbon emissions, but also other air pollutants. And the result is an improvement in air quality, with a corresponding drop in premature deaths.

      A paper in Nature Energy this week dives into the weeds by trying to estimate the economic benefits of wind and solar power across the whole of the US. Berkeley environmental engineer Dev Millstein and his colleagues estimate that between 3,000 and 12,700 premature deaths have been averted because of air quality benefits over the last decade or so, creating a total economic benefit between $30 billion and $113 billion. The benefits from wind work out to be more than 7¢ per kilowatt-hour, which is more than unsubsidized wind energy generally costs.

  • Finance

    • Tonbridge: Jobs lost as Southern Salads goes out of business

      “Despite successfully producing over 50 tonnes of salad per day for its array of customers, the company faced an unprecedented pressure on cash flow in the immediate aftermath of last summer’s EU referendum vote.

    • ‘A recipe for chaos’: UK Brexit plan provokes alarm along Irish border

      Until last June there was nothing to observe on the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland except a change in the colour of markings on the verge of the road from yellow to white. But 14 months after the UK voted to leave the European Union, giant billboards calling for “no EU frontier in Ireland” and “no hard border” mark the divide between the countries.

      The concern on both sides of the open 310-mile (499km) border is whether the signs represent just the beginning, a change made worse by an air of mistrust of all politicians.

      Hugh Morgan, who has a dairy farm that straddles both sides of the border in Carrickarnon but also runs a fuel business for hauliers in 16 countries, complained that people like him were ignored.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • N.H. Republican headquarters vandalized, ‘Nazis’ painted on wall
    • ‘Terror’ struck Barcelona, according to Trump. Charlottesville? ‘Call it whatever you want.’

      Yet at a news conference three days after a similar episode in Charlottesville, where an alleged Nazi sympathizer drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 19, the president would not definitely assign the same label.

      “Was this terrorism?” a journalist asked on Tuesday.

      “Well, I think the driver of the car is a disgrace to himself, his family and this country,” Trump replied, “and that is — you can call it terrorism, you can call it murder, you can call it whatever you want.”

    • Donald Trump endorses racist mass murder as an anti-terror tactic, citing fake story

      Returning to the anti-Muslim bigotry that was a hallmark of his campaign, U.S. President Donald Trump once again endorsed a fictional U.S. massacre of Muslim terrorists, with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood, as an example of how to deter terrorism.

      It would be extraordinary even if the story were true: the president of the United States advocating extrajudicial killing, involving explicit religious animus, as an anti-terror tactic.

      But the story is fake. The president was asking the world to “study” an online hoax.

      “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday afternoon. “There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!”

    • Dem to introduce impeachment articles over Charlottesville

      Rep. Steve Cohen (D), a Tennessee liberal, announced Thursday that he will introduce articles of impeachment against President Trump based on his defense of the white supremacists who participated in a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

      “Instead of unequivocally condemning hateful actions by neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Klansmen following a national tragedy, the President said ‘there were very fine people on both sides.’ There are no good Nazis. There are no good Klansmen,” Cohen said in a statement.

    • Jewish Trump Staff Silent on His Defense of Rally With Anti-Semitic Marchers
    • Charlottesville Jews Were Forced Out The Back Door By Neo-Nazi Marchers On Shabbat

      As white supremacists converged on a Charlottesville park for their violent “Unite the Right” rally, some of them menaced the city’s historic Beth Israel synagogue during Shabbat services, standing across from the building with semi-automatic weapons in their hands.

      “Had they tried to enter, I don’t know what I could have done to stop them, but I couldn’t take my eyes off them, either,” wrote Alan Zimmerman, the president of the Reform congregation, about the three neo-Nazis he stared down as congregants prayed inside.

      Zimmerman, in an essay published on ReformJudaism.org, said that neo-Nazis marching past the building shouted hateful slogans like “Seig Heil,” the Third Reich’s “Hail Victory” shout. He added that the synagogue had retained an armed guard, after the Charlottesville police department failed to provide the synagogue with security on Saturday.

      The synagogue took other precautionary measures, due to calls on far-right Web sites for the building to be burned. Zimmerman said that he and the rabbis decided to remove the congregation’s Torah scrolls to a more secure location.

    • White nationalists are flocking to genetic ancestry tests. Some don’t like what they find

      It was a strange moment of triumph against racism: The gun-slinging white supremacist Craig Cobb, dressed up for daytime TV in a dark suit and red tie, hearing that his DNA testing revealed his ancestry to be only “86 percent European, and … 14 percent Sub-Saharan African.” The studio audience whooped and laughed and cheered. And Cobb — who was, in 2013, charged with terrorizing people while trying to create an all-white enclave in North Dakota — reacted like a sore loser in the schoolyard.

      “Wait a minute, wait a minute, hold on, just wait a minute,” he said, trying to put on an all-knowing smile. “This is called statistical noise.”

    • Trump’s Business Councils Disband After CEOs Defect

      Business leaders disbanded two CEO councils created by the White House, a move they said was protesting Donald Trump’s failure to sufficiently condemn racism, marking a dramatic break between U.S. companies and a president who has sought close ties with them.​

      In the hours that followed Mr. Trump’s combative news conference Tuesday—during which he appeared to apportion blame equally between white supremacist groups and counterprotesters for lethal violence in Charlottesville, Va.—executives on two prominent advisory councils started calling each other to discuss whether to stay on.

    • Trump dumps CEOs before more could abandon him

      Some of America’s top CEOs were preparing to issue a statement criticizing the president — so he effectively fired them from a White House council first.

      President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced he was ending two business advisory councils amid a stampede of defections and after one of the groups had decided to disband over the president’s much-criticized response to the weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Va.

      A person close to Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum said the group had already told the White House it had resolved to disband and condemn the president’s Tuesday claims that “both sides” were responsible for violence at a white supremacist and neo-Nazi gathering and that some “very fine people” were among the marchers defending a Confederate statue.

    • What Steve Bannon thinks about Charlottesville

      On Tuesday night, while Gary Cohn was fuming about President Trump’s latest comments, Steve Bannon was excitedly telling friends and associates that the “globalists” were in mass freakout mode.

    • Brexit threat to London’s legal eagles

      Brexit threatens to deal a hefty blow to the U.K.’s lucrative legal profession — and create huge uncertainty for courts across the rest of Europe.

      That’s if Brexit negotiators don’t secure a deal that ensures Britain remains in a decades-old system that allows civil and commercial court rulings in one EU country to be recognized and enforced in another.

    • President Trump’s false claim that counter-demonstrators lacked a permit
    • Trump Comments on Race Open Breach With C.E.O.s, Military and G.O.P.
    • Trump’s stance on Virginia violence shocks America’s allies

      America’s closest allies condemned U.S. President Donald Trump in unusually strong and personal terms on Wednesday after he put part of the blame for violent clashes in the state of Virginia on those marching against gun-brandishing neo-Nazis.

      British Prime Minister Theresa May, widely criticised at home for cultivating close ties to Trump during his first half year in office, spoke out after the president repeated his view that the white nationalists and counter-protesters were both to blame.

    • His future in jeopardy, Bannon attacks administration rivals

      President Trump’s embattled chief strategist Steve Bannon lashed out at his rivals in the administration in a rare interview with the American Prospect, which was published Wednesday.

      Bannon told progressive American Prospect writer Robert Kuttner about his plan to neutralize his opponents, which include top officials and advisers to President Trump.

      “They’re wetting themselves,” he said of his adversaries in the administration who disagree with him on trade and economic policies.

      Bannon proceeded to relay how he wants to create an outside group of trade hawks with factions from both the left and the right wings of the political spectrum. Bannon told Kuttner he’s “changing out people at East Asian Defense,” and getting Susan Thornton, the acting head of East Asian and Pacific Affairs for the State Department, “out at State.”

      “That’s a fight I fight every day here,” he said. “We’re still fighting. There’s Treasury and [National Economic Council chair] Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying.”

    • A big jump in percentage in favor of impeachment — and other Trump poll horrors

      Moreover, the number of those favoring impeachment has shot up. “Currently, four in ten (40%) Americans believe Trump deserves to be impeached, up 10 percentage points from 30% who expressed support for this action in February. A majority (53%) of Americans do not believe Trump should be impeached and removed from office, a view held by 65% of the public in February.” And this is before we have any report from the special prosecutor or congressional committees. In addition, “Approximately half (49%) of the public believes Trump has violated the Constitution, while nearly as many (43%) disagree.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • What seems like a court’s ‘judgement entry’ ordering removal of my Post item about a previous forged court order

      As I’ve mentioned before, Google will sometimes deindex material — essentially hide it from online searches — when it sees a court order that finds the material to be defamatory. This leads some people to submit forged court orders instead of real ones (and engage in other similar shenanigans).

    • Aspiring Actor Forges Court Order To Delist Content, Gets Busted By Judge, Forges Court Order To Delist Article About Contempt Charges

      Eugene Volokh (along with Public Citizen’s Paul Levy) has made a cottage industry of sniffing out bogus/fraudulently-obtained court orders demanding the delisting of unflattering content. Much of this seemed to be the work of desperate reputation management “gurus,” who had over-promised and under-delivered in the past. Abusing the DMCA process only goes so far. Sometimes you need to lie to judges to get things done.

      Sometimes you just need to pretend you’re the judge. Convicted sex offender Abraham Motamedi forged a court order awarding himself legal fees and the delisting of content indicating he was a convicted sex offender. When called on it, Motamedi claimed he had nothing to do with it while also claiming the order was legit. These two viewpoints cannot be resolved logically. If it was legit, Motamedi would have had to appear in court to obtain them. If it wasn’t legit, then assertions otherwise won’t suddenly make a nonexistent case appear on a Michigan court’s docket.

    • Neo-Nazi Daily Stormer loses its Russian domain, too

      Now the Russians have nixed the Daily Stormer’s new online home, citing the country’s laws against hate speech. According to Radio Free Europe, the Russian company responsible for registering the Daily Stormer’s Russian domain received a letter from Russian authorities asking it “to look into the possibility of register suspension due to extremist content of this domain. So we decided to suspend [the] domain Dailystormer.ru.”

    • Impostor Sending Out DMCA Notices In Chaturbate’s Name Now Targeting Techdirt URLs

      A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a long series of questionable DMCA notices I thought had been issued by online onanism portal Chaturbate. The takedown requests appeared to have been generated by a faulty algorithm with no human vetting involved. Many of those I examined appeared to target names of Chaturbate broadcasters, but without any of the precision one normally associates with the word “target.” Sites named for delisting included geographical research, an Amazon page for a book about the Hadron Collider, track meet records collections, and even Chaturbate itself.

      After some discussion with Chaturbate, it was determined someone is filing notices in Chaturbate’s name, but without Chaturbate’s official blessing. The scattershot, extremely prolific approach was now harming Chaturbate’s reputation, tying it to bogus DMCA notices targeting all sort of non-infringing content. (I have since updated the original post to reflect the my conversations with Chaturbate and offer my apologies for naming the wrong party in the original post.)

    • Once Again, Rather Than Deleting Terrorist Propaganda, YouTube Deletes Evidence Of War Crimes

      It really was just last week that we were discussing the problems of telling platforms like YouTube to remove videos concerning “violent extremism” because it’s often tough to tell the difference between videos that many people think are okay and ones that those same people think are not. But in that post, we also linked back to a story from 2013 in which — after getting pressure from then Senator Joe Lieberman — YouTube started removing “terrorist” videos, and in the process deleted a channel of people documenting atrocities in Syria.

    • In fight for free speech, researchers test anti-censorship tool built into the internet’s core

      When the Chinese government wanted to keep its users off Facebook and Google, it blocked the entire country’s access to the U.S. companies’ apps and sites. And when citizens started using third-party workarounds — like Tor, proxies and VPNs — to get around those blocks, it moved to quash those, too.

      So a handful of researchers came up with a crazy idea: What if circumventing censorship didn’t rely on some app or service provider that would eventually get blocked but was built into the very core of the internet itself? What if the routers and servers that underpin the internet — infrastructure so important that it would be impractical to block — could also double as one big anti-censorship tool?

      It turns out, the idea isn’t as crazy as it might seem. After six years in development, three research groups have joined forces to conduct real-world tests of an experimental new technique called “refraction networking.” They call their particular implementation TapDance, and it’s designed to sit within the internet’s core.

    • Internet turns on white supremacists and neo-Nazis with doxing, phishing

      In the wake of last week’s “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville, Virginia—as well as the vehicular murder of a woman by (probably) a neo-Nazi connected to the event—the quest to identify and out those who marched with white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups last Friday and Saturday is in full swing.

    • Web hosting, CDN companies torn as to how to respond to racist websites

      Some tech companies that provide hosting, domain, and CDN services to many of the most prominent hate groups are now re-evaluating those decisions in the wake of recent far-right violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. However, other firms are holding their course in the name of free speech principles.

      Squarespace, a hosting company, told Ars on Wednesday that it would soon be booting some of its current customers. The company currently hosts numerous extremist sites, including freedomfront.org, identityevropa.com, and npiamerica.org, among others.

    • Racist Daily Stormer goes down again as CloudFlare drops support
    • CloudFlare CEO says his Daily Stormer takedown was “arbitrary” and “dangerous”

      And in an internal company email obtained by Gizmodo, Prince acknowledged that the decision was exactly as arbitrary as it seemed.

    • The Daily Stormer just lost the most important company defending it [iophk: "blocking things companies don't like is different then blocking things that are plain illegal, however the distinction is getting blurred"]

      “This was my decision, I don’t think it’s CloudFlare’s policy and I think it’s an extremely dangerous decision in a lot of ways,” Prince said. “I think that we as the internet need to have a conversation about where the right place for content restriction is…but there was no way we could have that conversation until we resolved this particular issue.”

    • FCC Censorship Rules Vary for Broadcast, Cable, and Streaming

      It’s about halfway through the fifth season of “Orange Is the New Black” when Elizabeth Rodriguez’s recently un-incarcerated, always opinionated Aleida sums up the plight of female-forward broadcast television writers everywhere with one simple, well-crafted exchange.

      “Can I say ‘bitches?’” she asks a local newscaster and then, when she gets the green light, immediately and involuntarily exclaims, “s—.” The journalist, played by Thea McCartan, responds she can’t say that, to which Aleida replies, “What kind of f—ing bulls— rule is that?”

    • Malaysian censorship laws take a hit after refugee films stifled

      FORTIFY RIGHTS has echoed calls from local rights groups for the Malaysian government to repeal the country’s Film Censorship Act, after several films about refugees were censored including one about Rohingya child brides in Malaysia.

      Activists say the Film Censorship Board (LPF) officials came to the Refugee Festival in Kuala Lumpur late last week, subsequently demanding the partial censorship of Bou, a film about trafficked brides from Burma (Myanmar), and total ban on Kakuma Can Dance about refugee hip hop dancers in Kenya.

    • CPI(M) accuses Modi govt of censorship over Tripura CM speech broadcast row

      The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Wednesday accused the Narendra Modi government at the Centre of imposing the worst kind of censorship. It said the Agartala centres of Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) blacked out Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s Independence Day address to the people of the state.

      The CPI (M) also furnished an internal letter of AIR as evidence that the state broadcasters were unwilling to broadcast the speech unless the “CM agrees to reshape the content (of his speech) making it suitable to the solemnity of the occasion and sentiments of the people of India at large”.

    • The architecture of censorship
    • In Nihalani-free censorship, ‘Babumoshai Bandookbaaz’ cleared with 8 cuts, not 48
    • Anti-censorship campaigner ‘happy’ to have Kevin Myers moderate talk

      “I wouldn’t be much of a free speech advocate if I refused to debate with someone whose views I disagree with,” she said.

    • China cracks down on VPN vendors
    • China targets Alibaba’s Taobao, other e-commerce sites, in VPN crackdown
    • China’s top Internet regulators warn Alibaba over illicit content, VPNs
    • China Tightens Regulations On VPNs Used To Bypass ‘Great Firewall’
    • Censorship Worse Than Hate
    • Keep the Internet’s Backbone Free From Censorship
    • Tech Companies Decide White Supremacists Should Wear Hoods—Which Could Make Them Harder to Track
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Canadian woman banned from US for life after border agent searches phone, finds email to doctor about drug use

      When border officials learned about the incident by taking Chelsea’s phone and reading her email to her doctor, they informed her that she was being issued a lifetime ban from entering the US.

    • DOJ demands 1.3 million visitor IP addresses from protest website: Were you using a VPN?

      This past Monday, Dreamhost unveiled details about their ongoing legal battle with the United States government to protect the IP addresses and therefore identities of the 1.3 million website visitors. Dreamhost first received the search warrant in July and has been fighting vehemently against the government request using the First and Fourth Amendment.

    • The 325,807 Times The Australian Government Was Accessing Metadata

      The revelation comes from the annual Attorney-General’s Department report on the operation of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act that gives Australian law enforcement agencies powers to access the call records and other metadata of every Australian telephone and internet account without a warrant.

      Australian has signed a mutual assistance treaty with China that obliges Australia to hand over “documents, records and articles of evidence” in relation to criminal matters. Similar treaties all over the world help law enforcement authorities share information to help catch criminals in their own country, but it appears that during the 2015-2016 financial year was the first time Australia had ever reported that China had been provided metadata under this scheme.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Thai Activist Jailed for the Crime of Sharing an Article on Facebook
    • Not Rights but Justice: It’s Time to Make Nazis Afraid Again

      The intolerable events in Charlottesville bring new urgency to an old debate: Should we allow neo-Nazis a public platform? Every aspect of the Unite the Right rally—not only its bloody denouement—stands as grounds for a resounding “no.” With torches, swastikas, metal poles crashing into a black man’s skull, and a Dodge Charger plowing into defenseless bodies, the far right has made undeniable what was already clear: They are enemies, not political interlocutors. This makes it all the more crucial to delineate what we do or do not mean when we demand an end to according space for speech and assembly to far-right racists.

      In the last year of Trump-emboldened white nationalism, the debate, largely shaped by the far right, has rested on a fulcrum of First Amendment rights. The right of anyone to speak publicly, the neo-fascists say, is the very freedom that actual fascism would see decimated. And it is a line that has found a comfortable home with the liberal commentariat. This view finds its best iteration in that old quote so regularly misattributed to Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” (It was actually written by British Voltaire biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall.)

    • Listen: Voice recordings of actual black slaves once indentured in the South

      This video of the January 12, 1999 broadcast of Nightline is really quite remarkable. It shares clips of voice recordings made in the mid-twentieth century of black people born into U.S. slavery.

      That’s right, it features the voices of real (former) slaves.

      To get these interviews, folklorists traveled the South in the 1930s and 1940s carrying around 200 lb. “portable” 78 RPM disc recorders.

      The technology to clean up and digitize the scratchy memory-filled discs only became available in the 1990s.

    • How America Spreads the Disease that is Racism by not Confronting Racist Family Members and Friends

      As of today, the mother of the murder suspect who killed at least one person in Charlottesville Virginia during a white supremacist rally, told reporters that all she knew the last time she talked to her son, is that he was going to an “Alt-Right” rally. She had no idea her son was a racist — or did she?

    • Pastor Wants Presidents’ Names Removed From Washington, Jackson Parks Over Ties To Slavery

      A Chicago pastor has asked the Emanuel administration to remove the names of two presidents who owned slaves from parks on the South Side, saying the city should not honor slave owners in black communities.

      A bronze statue of George Washington on horseback stands at the corner of 51st and King Drive, at the northwest entrance to Washington Park.

    • Five Actions Californians Can Take Right Now to Promote Digital Civil Liberties

      Over the next few weeks, EFF and our allies will enter our final push to pass legislation out of the California legislature that would defend and promote civil liberties. With a Democratic super-majority eager to push back against the federal government, our chances have seldom been better to move the ball forward on the state level. We have also seen bipartisan support emerge around issues such as transparency and youth access to technology.

      But we need all Californians who value digital rights to flood their state lawmakers with communications demanding they send these key reforms to the governor’s desk. We’ve set up five simple action pages, covering issues such as police surveillance, broadband privacy, and youth computer rights. Please lend your voice to ensure California is at the forefront of the battle for our rights.

    • After Years of Slammed Doors, Torture Survivors Finally End Impunity Streak

      As an attorney representing victims of torture, one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen is the sheer determination of survivors standing up and publicly confronting those responsible. That’s why I’m so elated that our clients Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Obaidullah have surmounted so many obstacles in their long pursuit of justice.

      Last week, almost two years after filing their lawsuit, our clients prevailed over the final attempt to keep their claims out of court. And today, these brave men secured a settlement from James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, the two psychologists who designed and implemented the CIA torture program that ensnared two of them and killed a relative of the third.

    • Historic Settlement Reached on Behalf of CIA Torture Victims

      Two victims of the CIA’s torture program have reached a historic legal settlement with the contract psychologists who designed and helped implement it. The U.S. government has never publicly compensated any of the men tortured in CIA custody, and this legal settlement — the terms of which are confidential — is the first of its kind.

      Under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the Justice Department repeatedly moved to block lawsuits at their early stages, arguing that court cases about government torture in clandestine prisons would reveal state secrets. In 2015, however, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the two psychologists the CIA paid to create torture techniques.

    • Reflections on the Charlottesville Attacks

      Heavily armed neo-Nazis and Ku-Klux-Klanners descended on Charlottesville,Virginia, last weekend to intimidate the community into reversing a decision to remove a Confederate statue. The violence included one right-wing extremist plowing his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 others, the same kind of attack that has occurred in Europe and drawn denunciations as terrorism.

      I spoke with Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, about the recent violence and how the surge in racism is affecting the people whom she represents. Ai-jen Poo was named as one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2012, and a MacArthur Genius Fellow in 2016.

    • The Alt-Right and the 1%

      When President Donald Trump let loose at his Tuesday press conference, equating anti-racism protesters with neo-Nazis, it was a big hit with the men who’d taken part in the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

      But Trump wasn’t just playing to the kind of racist crowd that marches around carrying Tiki torches and waving swastika flags in the streets. He was also sending a signal to those in the executive suites.

      Racism has always permeated this country up and down the income scale. And in our era of extreme concentration of economic and political power, emboldening just a few men at the top can be tremendously dangerous.

    • Charlottesville, Oppression, and the Imperative of System Change

      We are living in deeply troubling times. Our democracy is eroding, wealth and income inequality has skyrocketed, and tragedy and violence seemingly erupt daily around the world. The recent events in Charlottesville, VA are just the latest reminder of the disturbing place we find ourselves in. Yes that incident was about race and hate, but it also connects to something much deeper. Anyone who pays attention to current events should be starting to connect the dots between the myriad problems plaguing our society.

      While we categorize and silo these problems as distinct and separate issues, they are actually interconnected as they arise out of a single dominant worldview that values profit and power over people and planet.

      This extractive, neoliberal, patriarchal, and supremacist world order is literally killing us and killing the biosphere that sustains us. That is the inconvenient truth we must face. It is not enough to make incremental reforms and to push for changes that are politically expedient. We must come to realize the imperative of transforming our system of political economy and our cultural values.

    • Barbarian Left

      By abandoning the revolutionary left—anarchist, antifascist, antiracist, antiwar, autonomist, ecosocialist, Marxist, or other—the opportunistic and disgruntled leftists of the last few decades have played a significant role in suffocating viable leftist opposition against the empire of late capital. Regardless of their intentions, they’ve enabled the almost complete subjugation of those the empire deems to be barbaric, which would be 90-plus percent of the human species.

    • A Stealth History Lesson in Baltimore

      We were all in the dark, on the edge of the wooded park known as Wyman Dell, opposite the Baltimore Museum of Art. It was 2 a.m. Wednesday, and despite the presence of a couple of dozen workers in hardhats, a huge crane, a flatbed truck and a couple of other pieces of heavy machinery, the work site, surrounded by police tape, was remarkably still.

      All of us — the workers, the cops, the mayor, scattered reporters and onlookers — watched the focus of the work, an imposing sculpture of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, each on his horse. The crane lowered a big harness dangling from a red metal hook. One worker clambered up on a ladder to fit the harness around the prodigious girth of the generals’ steeds. There was much adjustment and anticipation.

      Suddenly, with a lurch, up Lee and Jackson went, wrenched loose from the stone base where they had rested for nearly 70 years. They dangled a bit and then came the big swing up into the trees, making their horses look like nothing so much like flying twin Pegasuses with warriors mounted on their backs. And then they dropped to the ground, where, off of their stone base and in the shadow of the trees, the generals really did look awfully life-like, as if they might still be trotting across the battlefield at Chancellorsville.

    • Here Are the Hate Incidents Against Mosques and Islamic Centers Since 2013

      Out of 370 reported incidents, 221 have publicly available reports and news coverage. You can see the news coverage CAIR’s public incident data is based on below. You can see the public reports provided by CAIR below.

    • On Charlottesville: Why the Center Is Okay with Nazis but Hates the Left

      Look, the Charlottsville march of Nazis (they had the swastika and the salute, they’re not alt-right) showed very clearly the difference between how Nazis and left-wingers are treated. Left-wingers march, and the riot police are in their faces. Nazis march, and the police don’t even intervene while they are beating up counter-protestors.

      Then, of course, we have the Nazi who drove his car into the crowd, and much of the media calling it a “clash with counteprotestors” (no) and saying things like “amid violence” rather than “in an act of terrorism.”

      The center, which includes what is laughably called the “center left,” may condemn Nazis, but they certainly prefer them to left-wingers. They can do business with Nazis. The people they hate are those they call the “alt-left” in an attempt to pretend that wanting universal healthcare and cops to not kill blacks is the same thing as being a Nazi.

    • The Story of Charlottesville Was Written in Blood in the Ukraine

      What is the character of racist right-wing politics today? Is it the crazed white supremacist who plows into an anti-fascist demonstration in Charlottesville, VA or can it also be the assurance by Lindsay Graham that an attack against North Korea would result in thousands of lives lost…. but those lives will be “over there”? What about the recent unanimous resolution by both houses of Congress in support of Israel and criticism of the United Nations for its alleged anti-Israeli bias? Would that qualify as racist and right-wing, since it appears that the ongoing suffering of the Palestinians is of no concern? And what about the vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to go even beyond the obscene proposal of the Trump administration to increase the military budget by $54 billion dollars and instead add a whopping $74 billion to the Pentagon budget?

      [...]

      The white supremacy that some of us see as more insidious is not reflected in the simple, stereotypical images of the angry, Nazi-saluting alt-righter or even Donald Trump. Instead, it is the normalized and thus invisible white supremacist ideology inculcated into cultural and educational institutions and the policies that stem from those ideas. That process doesn’t just produce the storm troopers of the armed and crazed radical right but also such covert true believers as Robert Ruben from Goldman Sachs, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Tony Blair and Nancy Pelosi – “decent” individuals who have never questioned for a moment the superiority of Western civilization, who believe completely in the White West’s right and responsibility to determine which nations should have sovereignty and who should be the leaders of “lesser” nations. And who believe that there is no alternative to the wonders of global capitalism even if it means that billions of human beings are consigned permanently to what Fanon called the “zone of non-being.”

    • Right But Wrong: Trump’s Defense of Confederate Symbols and Its Threat to Color-Blind Liberalism

      Obviously angered that he had been pressed earlier to place blame for the violence where it squarely belonged, on the side of the racist alt-right, Trump lashed out at the “alt-left”: “You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent….There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You have just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.”

      Trump’s remarks were a firehose of gasoline gushed onto a political firestorm. Almost giddy with the easy political points to score, Democrats rhetorically lashed Trump to the Klansmen and Nazis he defended. Nearly the entire Republican leadership took to Twitter to denounce bigotry, even Senator Orrin Hatch, who had earlier said Trump was “not a racist,” after Trump attacked federal judge Gonzalo P. Curiel’s fairness because of his Mexican heritage, tweeted, “We should never hesitate to call out hate. Whenever and wherever we see it.”

    • This Group Has Successfully Converted White Supremacists Using Compassion. Trump Defunded It.

      Life After Hate is a Chicago-based nonprofit that does path-breaking work. Founded by former white supremacist leaders in 2011, it studies the forces that draw people to hate and helps those who are willing to disengage from radical extremist movements.

      In June, the Department of Homeland Security revoked a grant to the nonprofit, telling The Huffington Post that it wants to focus on funding groups that work with law enforcement.

      This comes at a time when government agencies have warned about rising membership in far-right organizations, and the nation reels from the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

      The Intercept interviewed Life After Hate executive director Sammy Rangel about his organization’s work and the approach they take that has successfully convinced dozens of white nationalists to leave the movement.

    • Court sends Hong Kong activists to prison

      A court has overturned the earlier sentences of young Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong and two other student leaders and sentenced them to prison in connection with huge pro-democracy protests in 2014.

      Last year Wong and student leader and disqualified lawmaker Nathan Law were sentenced to community service for leading or encouraging an illegal rally in September 2014. A third activist, Alex Chow, was given a suspended three-week prison sentence.

      A three-judge panel on Thursday decided to stiffen those sentences and send all three to prison. Law was sentenced to eight months, Chow to seven and Wong to six.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Crowdfunded Billboards Shame Politicians For Selling You Out On Net Neutrality

      Earlier this year you might recall that lawmakers voted along party lines to kill consumer broadband privacy protections. The rules, which large ISPs whined incessantly about, were relatively basic; simply ensuring that ISPs couldn’t collect or sell your personal data without being transparent about it and providing working opt out tools. The rules were only proposed after ISPs repeatedly showed they weren’t able to self regulate on this front in the face of limited competition, from AT&T’s plan to charge more for privacy, to Verizon getting busted for covertly modifying wireless packets to track users without consent.

    • FCC giving special help to right-wing TV news company, Democrats allege

      Among other things, Pai’s FCC rolled back broadcast TV station ownership limits, which could help Sinclair complete an acquisition of Tribune Media Company that would let Sinclair reach 72 percent of TV-owning households in the US. The Democrats’ letter focused on that and several other actions taken since Pai became chairman in January. [...]

    • Hurricane Electric Achieves IPv6 Milestone

      In February 2011, ICANN held an official ceremony marking the handover of the last IPv4 address blocks to the five global Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). It took four and a half more years until ARIN (American Registry of Internet Numbers) announced that it had exhausted the last of its free pool of IPv4 addresses.

    • Wall Street Merger Mania Is Driving Us Toward One Single, Horrible ISP – Probably Named Comcast

      Many consumers are still reeling from a Charter, Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable merger that left users with slower speeds, worse service, and higher prices. Other broadband consumers are still struggling with a bungled Frontier acquisition of Verizon assets that left users with prolonged outages and even worse customer service than the shitshow they already enjoyed. As we’ve seen for decades, this kind of mindless consolidation traditionally only benefits the companies involved, particularly in a market where real competition is in short supply.

      This growth for growth’s sake is one of the major reasons Comcast — and its horrible customer service (which didn’t scale with the company’s expansion because that would have cost money) — exists. And Wall Street’s relentless thirst for growth at all costs is a major reason these companies can’t simply focus on being the best “dumb pipes” possible, instead focusing their attentions on expanding into markets they have little expertise in (see Verizon’s ingenious plan to hoover up failed 90s brands and pander to Millennials). When they can’t succeed because they’re out of their depth, they try to tilt the playing field (killing net neutrality).

    • Former FCC Commissioner Tries To Claim Net Neutrality Has Aided The Rise Of White Supremacy

      When last we checked in with former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth, he was rather grotesquely using the Manchester bombing to try and launch a completely bizarre attack on net neutrality over at the Forbes op-ed pages. Furchtgott-Roth, who served as an FCC Commissioner from 1997 through 2001, now works at the Hudson Institute, which not-coincidentally takes money from large incumbent broadband providers. The Hill, Forbes and other similar outlets then publish not-so-objective “analysis” from such individuals without really disclosing the money or motives driving the rhetoric.

    • AT&T’s attempt to stall Google Fiber construction thrown out by judge

      AT&T has lost a court case in which it tried to stall construction by Google Fiber in Louisville, Kentucky.

      AT&T sued the local government in Louisville and Jefferson County in February 2016 to stop a One Touch Make Ready Ordinance designed to give Google Fiber and other new ISPs quicker access to utility poles. But yesterday, US District Court Judge David Hale dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, saying AT&T’s claims that the ordinance is invalid are false.

      “We are currently reviewing the decision and our next steps,” AT&T said when contacted by Ars today.

      One Touch Make Ready rules let ISPs make all of the necessary wire adjustments on utility poles themselves instead of having to wait for other providers like AT&T to send work crews to move their own wires. Without One Touch Make Ready rules, the pole attachment process can cause delays of months before new ISPs can install service to homes.

      Google Fiber has continued construction in Louisville despite the lawsuit and staff cuts that affected deployments in other cities.

    • FCC’s claim that it was hit by DDoS should be investigated, lawmakers say

      Two Democratic members of Congress today called for an independent investigation into the Federal Communications Commission’s claim that it suffered DDoS attacks on May 8, when the net neutrality public comments system went offline.

      “While the FCC and the FBI have responded to Congressional inquiries into these DDoS attacks, they have not released any records or documentation that would allow for confirmation that an attack occurred, that it was effectively dealt with, and that the FCC has begun to institute measures to thwart future attacks and ensure the security of its systems,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) today. “As a result, questions remain about the attack itself and more generally about the state of cybersecurity at the FCC—questions that warrant an independent review.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Freedom of panorama in Portugal: content and scope of the exception

        Until fairly recently, freedom of panorama within Article 5(3)(h) of the InfoSoc Directive was a relatively little-known copyright exception within those available to Member States under EU law.

        With proposals that would make this exception mandatory for EU Member States to adopt and recent national legislative reforms (eg in Belgium and France), this is no longer the case.

      • As A Streaming Future Looms, ESPN Is Damned If It Does, Damned If It Doesn’t

        So for years we’ve examined how executives at ESPN completely whiffed at seeing the cord cutting revolution coming, and personified the industry’s denial that a massive market (r)evolution was taking place. As viewers were beginning to drift away from traditional cable and erode revenues, ESPN executives were busy doubling down on bloated sports contracts and expensive Sportscenter set redesigns. Only once ESPN lost 10 million viewers in just a few years did executives finally acknowledge that cord cutting was a problem, though they subsequently have tried to downplay the threat at every opportunity.

      • The MPAA Narrative About Piracy Flips To Danger From Pirate Sites Now That It Has Lost The Moral Argument

        For years, years, the MPAA’s public fight against piracy has chiefly consisted of a moral argument against it. Proclamations of the end of movies, the downtrodden future of filmmakers, and claims about piracy being equatable to outright theft were the tools of a Hollywood lobbier that itself exhibited the most underhanded sort of tactics in its attempts to get the internet to stop being the internet. It seems facile to state that this moral argument failed to find any purchase with the public, as filesharing went mainstream anyway. The reasons for this should be rather obvious: the arguments the MPAA made and the dooms it foresaw for itself and its industry were provably false. File sharing and piracy are a thing, yet movies still make gobs of money, allowing the MPAA to pay its executives the sort of handsome sums reserved for successful agencies. Still, Hollywood kept to its talking points. Piracy is wrong. Morally wrong.

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    Links for the day



  14. More Media Reports About Decline in Quality of European Patents (Granted by the EPO)

    What the media is saying about the letter from Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald and Vossius & Partner whilst EPO communications shift attention to shallow puff pieces about how wonderful Benoît Battistelli is



  15. Beware Team UPC's Biggest Two Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Claims that a Unified Patent Court (UPC) will commence next year are nothing but a fantasy of the Liar in Chief, Benoît Battistelli, who keeps telling lies to French media (some of which he passes EPO money to, just like he passes EPO money to his other employer)



  16. Diversity at the EPO

    Two decades of EPO with 16-17 years under the control of French Presidents (and nowadays predominantly French management in general with Inventor Award held in France almost half the time) is "diversity at the EPO"



  17. Orrin Hatch, Sponsored the Most by the Pharmaceutical Industry, Tries to Make Its Patents Immune From Scrutiny (PTAB)

    Orrin Hatch is the latest example of laws being up for sale, i.e. companies can 'buy' politicians to act as their 'couriers' and pass laws for them, including laws pertaining to patents



  18. Links 17/6/2018: Linux 4.18 RC1 and Deepin 15.6 Released

    Links for the day



  19. To Keep the Patent System Alive and Going Practitioners Will Have to Accept Compromises on Scope Being Narrowed

    35 U.S.C. § 101 still squashes a lot of software patents, reducing confidence in US patents; the only way to correct this is to reduce patent filings and file fewer lawsuits, judging their merit in advance based on precedents from higher courts



  20. The Affairs of the USPTO Have Turned Into Somewhat of a Battle Against the Courts, Which Are Simply Applying the Law to Invalidate US Patents

    The struggle between law, public interest, and the Cult of Patents (which only ever celebrates more patents and lawsuits) as observed in the midst of recent events in the United States



  21. Patent Marketing Disguised as Patent 'Advice'

    The meta-industry which profits from patents and lawsuits claims that it's guiding us and pursuing innovation, but in reality its sole goal is enriching itself, even if that means holding science back



  22. Microsoft is Still 'Cybermobbing' Its Competition Using Patent Trolls Such as Finjan

    In the "cybersecurity" space, a sub-domain where many software patents have been granted by the US patent office, the patent extortion by Microsoft-connected trolls (and Microsoft's 'protection' racket) seems to carry on; but Microsoft continues to insist that it has changed its ways



  23. Links 16/6/2018: LiMux Story, Okta Openwashing and More

    Links for the day



  24. The EPO's Response to the Open Letter About Decline in Patent Quality as the Latest Example of Arrogance and Resistance to Facts, Truth

    Sidestepping the existential crisis of the EPO (running out of work and issuing many questionable patents with expectation of impending layoffs), the PR people at the Office choose a facts-denying, face-saving 'damage control' strategy while staff speaks out, wholeheartedly agreeing with concerned stakeholders



  25. In the United States the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, Which Assures Patent Quality, is Still Being Smeared by Law Firms That Profit From Patent Maximalism, Lawsuits

    Auditory roles which help ascertain high quality of patents (or invalidate low-quality patents, at least those pointed out by petitions) are being smeared, demonised as "death squads" and worked around using dirty tricks that are widely described as "scams"



  26. The 'Artificial Intelligence' (AI) Hype, Propped Up by Events of the European Patent Office (EPO), is Infectious and It Threatens Patent Quality Worldwide

    Having spread surrogate terms like “4IR” (somewhat of a 'mask' for software patents, by the EPO's own admission in the Gazette), the EPO continues with several more terms like “ICT” and now we’re grappling with terms like “AI”, which the media endlessly perpetuates these days (in relation to patents it de facto means little more than "clever algorithms")



  27. Links 15/6/2018: HP Chromebook X2 With GNU/Linux Software, Apple Admits and Closes a Back Door ('Loophole')

    Links for the day



  28. The '4iP Council' is a Megaphone of Team UPC and Team Battistelli at the EPO

    The EPO keeps demonstrating lack of interest in genuine patent quality (it uses buzzwords to compensate for deviation from the EPC and replaces humans with shoddy translators); it is being aided by law firms which work for patent trolls and think tanks that propel their interests



  29. Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald and Vossius & Partner Find the Courage to Express Concerns About Battistelli's Ugly Legacy and Low Patent Quality

    The astounding levels of abuse at the EPO have caused some of the EPO's biggest stakeholders to speak out and lash out, condemning the Office for mismanagement amongst other things



  30. IAM Concludes Its Latest Anti-§ 101 Think Tank, Featuring Crooked Benoît Battistelli

    The attack on 35 U.S.C. § 101, which invalidates most if not all software patents, as seen through the lens of a Battistelli- and Iancu-led lobbying event (set up by IAM)


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