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09.26.17

Links 26/9/2017: Ataribox runs GNU/Linux, Firefox Quantum, Microsoft Pays OSI

Posted in News Roundup at 6:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Baidu puts open source deep learning into smartphones

    A year after it open sourced its PaddlePaddle deep learning suite, Baidu has dropped another piece of AI tech into the public domain – a project to put AI on smartphones.

    Mobile Deep Learning (MDL) landed at GitHub under the MIT license a day ago, along with the exhortation “Be all eagerness to see it”.

    MDL is a convolution-based neural network designed to fit on a mobile device. Baidu said it is suitable for applications such as recognising objects in an image using a smartphone’s camera.

  • ​Mirantis launches multi-cloud Kubernetes with AWS Support

    Kubernetes is continuing to become the default container orchestration program. The latest proof of this is Mirantis making it easier than ever to manage hybrid clouds across Amazon Web Services (AWS), OpenStack, and bare metal with Kubernetes in the latest version of its Mirantis Cloud Platform (MCP). With Kubernetes-enabled MCP, it can manage multi-cloud self-service Kubernetes clusters through its new Containers-as-a-Service (CaaS) functionality.

  • Change Healthcare Adopts Linux Hyperledger Fabric

    US-based healthcare IT firm Change Healthcare is developing a blockchain solution for enterprise-scale use in healthcare. The solution will enable payers and providers to boost revenue cycle efficiency, improve real-time analytics, cut costs, and create innovative new services.

  • Change Healthcare rolls out enterprise blockchain for hospitals, payers
  • Yahoo is giving a critical piece of internal technology to the world — just like it did with Hadoop

    Oath, the Verizon-owned parent company of Yahoo, is releasing for free some of its most important internal software, which the company has long used to make recommendations, target ads and execute searches.

  • Verizon Reveals the (Faded) Secrets of Yahoo Search

    hree months after acquiring Yahoo, Verizon is giving away the secrets of Yahoo’s search engine. Today, Oath, the Verizon-owned company born of the merger between AOL and Yahoo, released the source code of a data-crunching tool called Vespa, which has long-powered search and other features across the Yahoo empire. Now that it’s open source, any company or individual can use or modify Vespa to power its own products or websites.

  • Open source drives digitalisation

    Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, data analytics, high performance computing and digital transformation all benefit from open source technologies, says Nile Brauckmann, CEO of SUSE.

  • [haiku-development] Beta1 release roadmap (again)
  • Haiku OS Is Gearing Up For Its Long-Awaited Beta Release

    The BeOS-inspired Haiku operating system is finally gearing up for its long-awaited beta milestone.

    Haiku OS developer Adrien Destugues took to the mailing list this weekend to work out a release roadmap for the beta milestone for this project.

  • Events

    • Clouds and Puppies at Open Source Summit: Day 3 in 5 Minutes

      Yes, there were Puppies on Day 3 at the Open Source Summit, and they called it Puppy Pawlooza. In this five-minute video summary, I’m joined by Jono Bacon, leading community strategist and curator of the Open Community Conference.

      The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) kicked things off with a bunch of announcements Wednesday morning. Aside from Oracle and Ticketmaster joining the foundation, both Lyft and Uber announced projects entering the CNCF. Lyft’s project is Envoy, an edge and service proxy, and Uber’s is Jaeger, a distributed tracing system.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox takes a Quantum leap forward with new developer edition

        Earlier this year we wrote about Project Quantum, Mozilla’s work to modernize Firefox and rebuild it to handle the needs of the modern Web.

        Today, that work takes a big step toward the mainstream with the release of the new Firefox 57 developer edition. The old Firefox developer edition was based on the alpha-quality Aurora channel, which was two versions ahead of the stable version. In April, Mozilla scrapped the Aurora channel, and the developer edition moved to being based on the beta channel. The developer edition is used by a few hundred thousand users each month and is for the most part identical to the beta, except it has a different theme by default—a dark theme instead of the normal light one—and changes a few default settings in ways that developers tend to prefer.

      • Start Your Engines – Firefox Quantum Lands in Beta, Developer Edition

        Engines are important, both in cars and in browsers. That’s why we’re so revved up this morning – we’re releasing the Beta of a whole new Firefox, one that’s powered by a completely reinvented, modernized engine. Since the version number – 57 – can’t really convey the magnitude of the changes we’ve made, and how much faster this new Firefox is, we’re calling this upcoming release Firefox Quantum.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • ProPublica Seeks Source Code for New York City’s Disputed DNA Software

      ProPublica is asking a federal court for access to the source code for New York City’s proprietary DNA software, which some scientists and defense lawyers contend may be inaccurate in matching a defendant to a complex sample of genetic material. Known as a pioneer in analyzing the most difficult evidence from crime scenes, the New York City medical examiner’s office has processed DNA samples supplied not only by local police, but also by about 50 jurisdictions nationwide.

      Employees developed the disputed software — known as the Forensic Statistical Tool, or FST — to analyze evidence consisting of multiple people’s DNA and determine the likelihood that a suspect’s DNA was present. According to the medical examiner’s office, FST was used in about 1,350 criminal cases from 2011 until this year, when it was phased out. The office has long kept the source code secret, successfully opposing requests in court by defense attorneys to examine it.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Facebook’s About Face

      Thirty-five days after publicly stating, in response to objections from the Apache Software Foundation among others, that the company would not be re-licensing its React library, Facebook on Friday announced that it was re-licensing its React library. It was a surprising but welcome reversal for many in the industry, including Automattic’s Matt Mullenweg.

      Ten days ago, Mullenweg published a piece that was at once understanding and blunt announcing that React would be excised from WordPress related projects. The problem was not Automattic – their general counsel saw little problem with the license – but given the breadth of WordPress’ distribution, the decision was made to remove the software because of the uncertainties surrounding its license. As bad as it was being banished from Apache Software Foundation projects, this was worse. Depending on whose numbers you use, WordPress can account for something close to one in four websites.

      Given such extensive and escalating costs, the burden of proving the offsetting benefits to a patent clause required by virtually no one else in the industry presumably became too great, at which point the only rational decision would be to re-license the asset – difficult as such backtracking may have been.

    • Facebook Relents on React.js License Issue
    • Facebook Relents to Developer Pressure, Relicenses React
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • The 7 stages of becoming a Go programmer

      After your initial run on A Tour of Go, you start thinking “Now, how can I make this language behave more like an object oriented language…?” After all, you are used to that stuff. You want to make robust code. You want polymorphism.

      “There has to be a way!” You say, and you find struct embedding. It allows you to cleverly delegate methods from the enclosing object to the embedded object without having to duplicate code. Great!

      Of course, this is not true. Struct embedding only allows you to delegate method calls. Even if it looks like you are doing polymorphic method dispatch, the relationship is not IS-A. It’s HAS-A, so the receiver of the method call is not the enclosing object: The receiver is always the embedded object to which the method call was delegated to.

    • How strong are your programming skills?

Leftovers

  • Science

    • WORK AND THE LONELINESS EPIDEMIC

      Like thousands of others, we survived the storm and the many dark days that followed because of the kindness of strangers who brought food, water, and comfort. Hurricane Andrew forged a deep sense of connection and community in South Florida as the nation rallied around us and as we supported each other. But slowly, as normal life resumed, the distance between people returned. We went back to our homes, our work, our schools, and our lives, and once again we grew apart.

      Looking today at so many other places around the world ravaged by disasters of all kinds, I think about how often tragedy brings us together — and how fleeting that connection often is.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Over 439,000 people were arrested in the US last year for simple possession of marijuana

      One person gets arrested for marijuana possession every 71 seconds in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Crime In the United States (CIUS) report. This is great news to drug cartels, police departments, racists, corrupt politicians, the prison industry, and the involuntary rehab clinic racket. It’s bad news for everybody else.

      “Arresting and citing nearly half a million people a year for a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol is a travesty,” said Morgan Fox, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Despite a steady shift in public opinion away from marijuana prohibition, and the growing number of states that are regulating marijuana like alcohol, marijuana consumers continue to be treated like criminals throughout the country. This is a shameful waste of resources and can create lifelong consequences for the people arrested.”

    • Trump DOJ Nominee Pushed Scientology-Based Detox Program
    • The Post-Antibiotic Era Is Here. Now What?
    • NHS hospitals need £500m bailout to cope with coming winter crisis with thousands of patients at risk, says Labour

      Hospitals must be given a £500m bailout to cope with the coming winter crisis or face putting thousands of patients at risk, Labour has said.

      New analysis shows 10,000 people will be stuck for too long in A&E waiting rooms every day if the situation continues unchecked against a backdrop of growing waiting lists and cancelled operations.

      Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth accused Theresa May of “burying her head in the sand” over the unprecedented demand on the health service after patients faced the worst winter on record last year.

    • Under Cover of Graham-Cassidy, Senate GOP Moving to Gut Major CFPB Rule

      In the middle of a consequential week for the future of American health care, Senate Republicans are hoping to sneak through a controversial nullification of a key rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

      Republican leaders are whipping to secure the votes to overturn a rule CFPB finalized in July, which would protect financial companies from class-action lawsuits and deny consumers a day in court. The rule is among the most consequential actions the CFPB has taken since its founding.

      An added wrinkle here: executives for both Wells Fargo and Equifax, both accused of ripping off millions of consumers, will testify in Senate committees next week. Both companies have used arbitration clauses in an attempt to deny consumers access to the courts. By getting the arbitration vote out of the way before the hearings, Republicans can avoid having to hand a gift to financial companies while Wells Fargo and Equifax sit squarely in the public spotlight. With Obamacare repeal sucking up all the oxygen, this week offers a perfect cover.

      “This rush toward a vote in the Senate is a cynical attempt to roll back an important consumer protection before anyone gets straight answers from Equifax and Wells Fargo about the damage they’ve done to the financial lives of millions of Americans,” said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform.

    • How to Win a War on Drugs
    • Deluded billionaire gives UC Irvine $200M to study homeopathy and “alternative” therapies

      …and the LA Times thinks it’s swell, singing the praises of semiconductor baron Henry Samueli, a true believer in homeopathy and “integrative medicine,” whose gift to the UC system comes with the stipulation that it only be used to study discredited garbage…forever.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Senator Calls for Heads to Roll at the Pentagon for $64M Wasted on a ‘Hangar Queen’

      If you contract to the tune of $64 million for a counternarcotics plane and it never flies, should you keep your job?

      That’s what Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wondered in a Sept. 20 letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis blasting the Defense Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration for their seven years of work on a “hangar queen,” as the senator called it.

      The ATR-42-500 aircraft was adopted for the joint-agency Global Discovery Program aimed at curbing the opium trade in war-torn Afghanistan. But it became the subject of probes for waste by inspectors general for both the Justice and Defense departments.

    • The Spiritual Roots of War

      Maybe, like me, you’ve been thinking — or trying not to think — about war. You can feel it lately. Bloodlust sings triumphantly, punching air, marching from country to country.
      To understand war, I think you must understand people.

      War is just the manifestation of inner conflict. When there is an ideal that people aspire to, but cannot quite reach, then there is anger, fear, rage, envy, and all the rest. People seek scapegoats, enemies, sacrificial lambs. More than anything, they are seeking the causes of their own impurity, because it’s very hard for humans to believe, deep down, that they are anything but innately superior. So in a simple way, war is born from the pursuit of an unreachable ideal. This is the story of Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA, Sparta, Russia, and so on.

    • World War III With China

      For the past 50 years, American leaders have been supremely confident that they could suffer military setbacks in places like Cuba or Vietnam without having their system of global hegemony, backed by the world’s wealthiest economy and finest military, affected. The country was, after all, the planet’s “indispensible nation,” as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright proclaimed in 1998 (and other presidents and politicians have insisted ever since). The U.S. enjoyed a greater “disparity of power” over its would-be rivals than any empire ever, Yale historian Paul Kennedy announced in 2002. Certainly, it would remain “the sole superpower for decades to come,” Foreign Affairs magazine assured us just last year. During the 2016 campaign, candidate Donald Trump promised his supporters that “we’re gonna win with military… we are gonna win so much you may even get tired of winning.” In August, while announcing his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, Trump reassured the nation: “In every generation, we have faced down evil, and we have always prevailed.” In this fast-changing world, only one thing was certain: when it really counted, the United States could never lose.

    • Brazil’s Latest Outbreak of Drug Gang Violence Highlights the Real Culprit: the War on Drugs

      ON JULY 1, 2001, Portugal enacted a law to decriminalize all drugs. Under that law, nobody who is found possessing or using narcotics is arrested in Portugal, nor are they turned into a criminal. Indeed, neither drug use nor drug possession are considered crimes at all. Instead, those found doing it are sent to speak with a panel of drug counsellors and therapists, where they are offered treatment options.

      Seven years after the law was enacted, in 2008, we traveled to Lisbon to study the effects of that law for one of the first comprehensive reports on this policy, and published the findings in a report for the Cato Institute. The results were clear and stunning: this radical change in drug laws was a fundamental and undeniable success.

      While Portugal throughout the 1990s was (like most western countries) drowning in drug overdoses along with drug-related violence and diseases, the country rose to the top of the charts in virtually all categories after it stopped prosecuting drug users and treating them like criminals. This stood in stark contrast to the countries that continued to follow a harsh criminalization approach: the more they arrested addicts and waged a “War on Drugs,” the more their drug problems worsened.

    • North Korea seeks help from Republican analysts: ‘What’s up with Trump?’
    • Death Cult Spiral

      It’s intriguing to hear people calling capitalists in Russia “oligarchs” when according to scholars the whole United States is considered an oligarchy today(1). And when the corporate media and corporate politicians– run by the US oligarchs–tell them about the “Russian threat”, they repeat it like they were born yesterday; “I don’t trust Russian oligarchs”, “we shouldn’t work with Russian oligarchs” and so on.

      As it is repeated to us by the corporate media as well as by government officials, the word “oligarch” concocts otherness and unknown insidiousness of criminality and inhumanity. There is a hypnotic spell to some of the words that are used against “enemies” of the western hegemony (2). In the case of Syria, so many such words were displayed: “barrel bombs”, “chlorine bombs”, “prison camp”, “torture prison”, “Syrian crematory”, “butcher”, “dictator”, “regime” and so on. Thanks to many dedicated activists, journalists, and most of all Syrian people who have been released by the west backed terrorists from the occupied territories, today we recognize that those words embody the disingenuous and deceptive process of demonizing the Syrian government (3), (4), (5), (6) and (7). Considering the fact that 1/2 million have died in the west orchestrated assault against Syria, the use of those terms alone in the cultural sphere indicates a reprehensible, manipulatively cultish quality in our society.

      But getting back to Russia, the Russian oligarchs were the products of US political intervention that destroyed the Soviet Union (8), (9). The US didn’t only mess with their political process but they destroyed it (10). The US backed Yeltsin’s violent coup killed thousands, while selling out the federation to the “oligarchs” (8).

      But Putin wasn’t all for selling everything (11). That is the reason why Putin is “evil” according to the voice of the US oligarchs who are backing the US oligarchy. Not enough oligarchy for them, I reckon.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Disconnected by Disaster—Photos From a Battered Puerto Rico

      Five days after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, its devastating impact is becoming clearer. Most of the U.S. territory currently has no electricity or running water, fewer than 250 of the island’s 1,600 cellphone towers are operational, and damaged ports, roads, and airports are slowing the arrival and transport of aid. Communication has been severely limited and some remote towns are only now being contacted. Jenniffer Gonzalez, the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, told the Associated Press that Hurricane Maria has set the island back decades.

    • Trump Needs to Turn His Attention to Puerto Rico

      I’m not sure what Donald Trump thinks the job of president consists of. One task is to swing into action when 3.4 million Americans are living without electricity, 40 percent of them without potable water, and hundreds of thousands without shelter. When some 80 percent of its agricultural crops were wiped out. This is an apocalyptic scenario. We can’t even fully know what is going on because there is no wifi most places. Some entire towns haven’t been heard from! A dam may fail, endangering 70,000 people. It will take decades to rebuild.

      As Daniel Gross wrote on Twitter, “More US citizens live in Puerto Rico than live in the Dakotas, Vermont, Wyoming, and Alaska combined. I don’t see Congress lifting a finger.”

    • Puerto Ricans Call for Aid Amid Catastrophe: “We’re American Citizens. We Can’t Be Left to Die”

      Six days after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, 3.4 million U.S. citizens in the territory remain without adequate food, water and fuel. But as the massive crisis became clear over the weekend, President Trump failed to weigh in, instead lashing out at sports players who joined in protest against racial injustice. It took the president five full days to respond, with comments that appeared to blame the island for its own misfortune. We examine the dire situation in Puerto Rico with Yarimar Bonilla, Puerto Rican scholar, who wrote in The Washington Post, “Why would anyone in Puerto Rico want a hurricane? Because someone will get rich.” And we speak with Puerto Ricans in New York who have been unable to reach loved ones after nearly a week.

    • The U.S. Faces a Higher Risk of Floods

      Cities on America’s Atlantic coast are likely to see more flooding. It won’t just be catastrophic inundation, delivered by hurricane: it could also be routine, fine weather nuisance flooding.

      And that will happen not just because of sea-level rise, driven by global warming, but by another factor: in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, the coastal lands are sinking, declining by up to 3mm a year, according to a new study in Scientific Reports.

    • Exxon, under pressure from investors, prosecutors, commits to methane reduction

      On Monday, oil and gas giant ExxonMobil announced that it would voluntarily take extra steps to reduce methane emissions during a three-year program aimed at some of its US-based facilities. The company declared that it would use more thorough leak detection and repair processes, as well as upgrade facilities with better equipment.

    • Puerto Ricans Worry: Which Trump Will Show Up For The Devastated Island?

      President Trump is basking in the “tremendous reviews” his administration is getting from Puerto Rican officials over its early handling of the island’s recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria brought widespread devastation to the US territory.

      But privately, officials worry that the president’s full focus may not be with the island, and that he will stop short of giving it the complete support it needs to deal with catastrophe, viewing the island through a “territory mindset” and accepting failings that would not fly in mainland states.

      Those quiet concerns were bubbling up even before Trump’s Monday night tweets, which focused on the island’s broken infrastructure and debt to Wall Street, promising food and water but falling short of offering to restore the power grid and inject money into the hurting island.

  • Finance

    • World Trade Organization Public Forum: Moving Beyond Friends Or Foes

      On the programme, over a hundred sessions are scheduled, organised by international organisations, governmental and non-governmental organisations, and private sector actors. Buzzwords for sessions this year include the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and how trade can help reach them; global value chains; inclusive trade; electronic commerce; inclusive growth; and small and medium size enterprises.

    • Decoding Labour’s Brexit position part 12,675

      Probably he is thinking about the latter. It’s impossible to really know, because Labour’s Brexit message is cloaked in secrecy and purposefully broad language, but this is the most likely goal. Whether it is done, as Starmer says, via a free trade deal or through a unique EEA-style treaty is ultimately immaterial. The same consequences will be involved. You will need to harmonise your economy with the EU’s in high value areas, like cars, banking, insurance and tech. There will be no taking back control there and Britain will be unlikely to have any say over regulations it must adopt. In exchange, it will be free to do what it likes in other areas.

    • Donald Tusk: ‘No sufficient progress yet’ in Brexit talks

      European Council President Donald Tusk said Tuesday that there is “no sufficient progress yet” on Brexit negotiations between the U.K. and EU, “but we’ll work on it.”

      Tusk gave a short statement outside No. 10 Downing Street after a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May. The European Council is to decide at a summit next month whether “sufficient progress” has been made in the Brexit talks — another round of which began Monday — to decide whether negotiations can move on to discussing future relations.

      Given the rocky state of the negotiations, Tusk said: “If you asked me, and if today member states asked me, I would say there’s no sufficient progress yet, but we’ll work on it.”

    • The EU Withdrawal Bill has serious implications for devolution

      The EU Withdrawal Bill has exacerbated the already serious tensions between the UK and the devolved Governments over Brexit and creates an urgent need to reset intergovernmental relations.

      The EU Withdrawal Bill will take the UK out of the European Union (EU) while providing that all European law be imported into domestic law to avoid a regulatory black hole after Brexit.

      The bill creates wide-ranging powers for ministers to amend this huge body of ‘retained EU law’ to ensure it will be ‘operable’ outside the EU and to reflect the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.

    • Uber is not as popular as you might think

      The firm immediately took to the public petitions site Change.org, reproducing its own press release in the form of a petition to “Save your Uber in London”. Have I misunderstood the meaning of a public petition, or is a company producing a petition to protect its own profits something of a confused perversion of this long-standing mode of political participation?

    • Trump finally responds to Puerto Rico crisis, saying island has ‘massive debt’

      It took Donald Trump five full days to respond to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria on the lives of 3.5 million Americans in Puerto Rico, and when he finally did so his comments on Twitter were so devoid of empathy it threatened to spark a new controversy.

    • David Attenborough: Brexiteers “probably don’t understand” facts

      Brexiteers like Michael Gove who dismissed expert warnings “probably don’t understand” the evidence and have reacted in a knee-jerk fashion, David Attenborough has said.

      In an interview with Greenpeace’s investigative and news platform, Unearthed, the 91-year-old broadcaster and naturalist compared Brexit to “spitting in each other’s faces” and called the referendum “an abrogation of parliamentary democracy” because of a lack of facts.

      Recalling Brexiteer Michael Gove’s claim that “people in this country have had enough of experts”, Attenborough said: “That’s a cry from somebody who doesn’t understand what they’re saying – that’s what that means.

    • Gitcoin Launches Today, Pushing Open-Source Forward With Cryptocurrency Bounties
    • Uber to announce it’s leaving Quebec due to stricter government rules

      Just days after the company warned it may leave the province, Radio-Canada has confirmed Uber will cease operations in Quebec.

      Last week, an Uber statement said “new and challenging” provincial regulations “significantly threaten” the company’s ability to continue operating.

      Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, director general of Uber Quebec, is expected to make the announcement at an 11 a.m. ET news conference today in Montreal.

      On Friday, Transport Minister Laurent Lessard agreed to renew a pilot project, implemented last year, that allows the ride-hailing company to operate in the province.

      But he introduced stricter conditions, including a requirement that drivers undergo 35 hours of training, 15 more than the previous requirement.

    • Michel Barnier’s significant comments today on a possible transition period

      Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator for Brexit has today made some significant comments on the transtion period asked for (begged for) by Theresa May in her Florence speech.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Dismayed by Trump, Head of Drug Enforcement Administration to Leave
    • Larry Lessig’s Latest Big Challenge: Fixing The Way We Elect A President

      Over the last few years, Larry Lessig has not shied away from trying to bring about change to the corruption he sees in our political system with “big” projects. Rather than chipping away at ideas, Lessig has been announcing huge, almost impossible plans, generating lots of attention and hoping that they either create real change, or at the very least, create discussion on the topics he’s attacking. So far, even he admits that most of those projects have been less than successful in achieving their goals. Back in 2014, there was his attempt to build a crowdfunded SuperPAC with the goal of ending SuperPACs (supporting candidates who would change campaign finance). While they raised a lot of money, Lessig admitted that the organization failed to make a real difference in the elections it participated in. Then there was the plan to call a new Constitutional Convention (which continues to garner discussion to this day, but mainly from those ideologically opposed to Lessig). And, of course, the failed campaign to be the Democratic nominee for President, where his main goal was to get into the debates — only to have the Democrats change the rules to keep him out.

    • Zinke: One-third of Interior employees not loyal to Trump

      Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Monday that nearly one-third of employees at his department are not loyal to him and President Donald Trump, adding that he is working to change the department’s regulatory culture to be more business friendly.

      Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, said he knew when he took over the 70,000-employee department in March that, “I got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag.”

      In a speech to an oil industry group, Zinke compared Interior to a pirate ship that captures “a prized ship at sea and only the captain and the first mate row over” to finish the mission.

    • Donald Trump Is Running America Like It’s a Casino

      Theoretically, we still live in a republic, but the question is: Who exactly represents whom in Washington? By now, I think we can take a reasonable guess. When the inevitable conflicts arise and Donald Trump must choose between business and country, between himself and the American people, who do you think will get the pink slip? Who will be paying for the intermeshing of the two? Who, like the investors in his bankrupt casinos, will be left holding the bag? At this point, we’re all in the Washington casino, and it sure as hell isn’t going to be Donald Trump who takes the financial hit. After all, the house always wins.

    • Jared Kushner conducted White House business with personal e-mail

      Don’t expect President Donald Trump to be tweeting “Crooked Jared” anytime soon. Trump called his presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, “Crooked Hillary” during the presidential campaign and afterward because she used private e-mail to conduct government affairs when she was secretary of state. The Justice Department did not press charges against Clinton, although Trump vowed to if he was elected.

    • Tom Brady, Other Former Trump Supporters Find President ‘Divisive’

      The Donald Trump rally was to endorse Republican Sen. Luther Strange in Alabama on Friday night, but the news coming out of it and dominating the weekend cycle had nothing to do with the election. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners—when somebody disrespects our flag—to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’ ” Trump bellowed in a digression, referring to Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who in opposition to police brutality started the “Take a Knee” protest last season during the playing of the national anthem.

    • The implosion of the German political class
    • Angela Merkel Wins Fourth Term as German Chancellor, But Far Right Rises

      The good news is Angela Merkel made history last weekend by winning her fourth straight election as chancellor of Germany. The bad news is the anti-immigration nationalist party, AfD (Alternative fur Deutschland), made significant gains with a 13 percent showing, putting a far-right party in parliament for the first time in over 50 years. The AfD is now the third-largest voice behind Merkel’s CDU (Christian Democratic Union), and their Bavarian sister party, the CSU (Christian Social Union).

    • Frauke Petry, co-chair of the far-right AfD, reportedly quits the party

      Frauke Petry was not in attendance when the Alternative for Germany (AfD) convened in Berlin on Tuesday to discuss the formation of a parliamentary group and choose parliamentary speakers. The party co-chair was in Dresden, where German news agency dpa quoted her as confirming that she will quit the party.
      “It’s clear that this step is coming,” she told dpa, although she did not set a date for when she would leave the AfD.
      On Monday, in a joint appearance with lead candidates Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland after the AfD entered the Bundestag with 94 seats, Petry surprised her fellow party leaders by announcing she would vote as an independent. She said her decision was based on her belief that.extremist statements made by other party leaders precluded it from exercising “constructive opposition.” Petry won her seat in parliament outright in her local district.

    • Ajit Pai should be fired, petition says before Senate re-confirmation vote

      Net neutrality advocacy group Free Press is gathering signatures on a petition to “fire” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, who needs a re-confirmation vote from the Senate in order to continue serving on the FCC.

      The Senate’s Republican majority will almost certainly ensure that Pai gets a new term. But Free Press’s petition likely won’t go unheeded by Democratic senators, who plan to criticize Pai’s positions on net neutrality and broadband consumer privacy rules before the Senate vote.

    • In Ivanka’s China, business ties shrouded in secrecy

      It is no secret that the bulk of Ivanka Trump’s merchandise comes from China. But just which Chinese companies manufacture and export her handbags, shoes and clothes is more secret than ever, an Associated Press investigation has found.

      In the months since she took her White House role, public information about the companies importing Ivanka Trump goods to the U.S. has become harder to find. Information that once routinely appeared in private trade tracking data has vanished, leaving the identities of companies involved in 90 percent of shipments unknown. Even less is known about her manufacturers. Trump’s brand, which is still owned by the first daughter and presidential adviser, declined to disclose the information.

    • WPost Pushes More Dubious Russia-bashing

      Some people are calling the anti-Russian hysteria being whipped up across the U.S. mainstream news media a new “golden age of American journalism,” although it looks to me more like a new age of yellow journalism, prepping the people for more military spending, more “information warfare” and more actual war.

    • How Facebook fought to keep political ads in the shadows
    • Facebook, Google and Twitter face proposed bill targeting shadowy political ads

      The bill would require digital platforms with more than 1 million users to create a public database of all “electioneering communications” purchased by a person or group who spends more than $10,000 on political ads online. In addition to storing a digital copy of the ad, the database would include a description of the targeted audience, the ad’s view count, the date and time the ad ran, its price, and contract information for the purchaser.

    • Joe Biden will deliver news briefings via Amazon Echo and Google Home
    • Donald Trump brands Princess Diana “crazy” but says he ‘would have slept with her anyway’ in newly-surfaced audio

      Donald Trump branded Princess Diana “crazy” but claimed he ‘would have had sex with her anyway’ in newly-surfaced audio of a radio interview.

      The billionaire businessman made the controversial comments during an interview on American “shock jock” Howard Stern’s radio show.

      The claims came to light last year when the then-presidential candidate denied ever saying he could have “nailed” the tragic royal .

    • Members Of Trump’s Admin Team Using Private Email Accounts Because Of Course They Are

      It’s not as though anyone isn’t aware of their responsibility to use official government email accounts for official government business. There’s a duty to preserve records that goes hand-in-hand with FOIA law. Those who choose to do business this way are either lazy or devious. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other.
      At this point, the criticisms that paved the way to Trump’s win can almost all be levied against the new administration. All we’re really waiting for is someone to show up with a birth certificate showing Donald Trump isn’t a natural-born US citizen.

    • Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisions

      The batch of more than 3,000 Russian-bought ads that Facebook is preparing to turn over to Congress shows a deep understanding of social divides in American society, with some ads promoting African American rights groups, including Black Lives Matter, and others suggesting that these same groups pose a rising political threat, say people familiar with the covert influence campaign.

      The Russian campaign — taking advantage of Facebook’s ability to send contrary messages to different groups of users based on their political and demographic characteristics — also sought to sow discord among religious groups. Other ads highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women.

    • US And Russia Quietly End Diplomatic Tailspin

      After months of angry statements, diplomatic expulsions and shuttered consulates, US and Russian officials have quietly put an end to the tit-for-tat retaliations between the two sides, and US officials are now considering reviving a Russian proposal from March to strengthen military-to-military contacts.

      The improvement in relations follows talks between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last week.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • This Troll From Singapore Will Be Released From US Jail After Having His Asylum Upheld

      Amos Lee, a controversial blogger from Singapore who has been held in US detention for 10 months, will be freed on Tuesday after a federal appeals court upheld an immigration judge’s decision to grant him asylum.

      According to Yee’s lawyer Sandra Grossman, the court upheld a judge’s earlier ruling on the grounds that he would be persecuted if he returned to his native country, whose laws allow the government to restrict freedom of speech and expression. Yee had previously been jailed twice in Singapore on charges that included spreading obscenity and “wounding racial or religious feelings” before he flew to Chicago in December, where he was detained at O’Hare Airport.

      He had been in US custody ever since, despite a March ruling from Chicago immigration judge Samuel Cole, who noted that Yee had “suffered past persecution on account of his political opinion and has a well-founded fear of future persecution in Singapore.” The Department of Homeland Security then opposed that ruling, sending the case to appeals court, which ruled last Thursday that Yee should be freed.

    • People Are Worried About DHS Plans To Gather Social Media Info

      Federal officials are planning to collect social media information on all immigrants, including permanent residents and naturalized citizens, a move that has alarmed lawyers and privacy groups worried about how the information will be used.

      The Department of Homeland Security published the new rule in the Federal Register last week, saying it wants to include “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results” as part of people’s immigration file. The new requirement takes effect Oct. 18.

      DHS and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    • Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing (Once Again) Demonstrates Why Demanding Platforms Censor Bad Speech Creates Problems

      We keep pointing to examples like this, but the examples are getting starker and more depressing. Lots of people keep arguing that internet platforms (mainly Facebook) need to be more aggressive in taking down “bad” speech — often generalized under the term “hate speech.” But, as we’ve pointed out, that puts tremendous power into the hands of those who determine what is “hate speech.” And, while the calls for censorship often come from minority communities, it should be noted that those in power have a habit of claiming criticism of the powerful is “hate speech.” Witness the news from Burma that Rohingya activists have been trying to document ethnic cleansing, only to find Facebook deleting all their posts. When questioned about this, Facebook (after a few days) claimed that the issue was that these posts were coming from a group it had designated a “dangerous organization.”

    • Netizen Report: Germany’s New Social Media Law Puts a Price on Hate Speech

      Global Voices Advocacy’s Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in internet rights around the world.

      A new German law set to take effect in October will impose fines on social networks if they fail to remove “manifestly unlawful” hate speech within 24 hours of being posted.

      Under the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, called the NetzDG for short, companies have up to seven days to consider the removal of more ambiguous material.

    • A Nation of Snowflakes

      The American left is waging war on free speech. That’s the consensus from center-left to far right; even Nazis and white supremacists seek to wave the First Amendment like a bloody shirt. But the greatest contemporary threat to free speech comes not from antifa radicals or campus leftists, but from a president prepared to use the power and authority of government to chill or suppress controversial speech, and the political movement that put him in office, and now applauds and extends his efforts.

      The most frequently cited examples of the left-wing war on free speech are the protests against right-wing speakers that occur on elite college campuses, some of which have turned violent. New York’s Jonathan Chait has described the protests as a “war on the liberal mind” and the “manifestation of a serious ideological challenge to liberalism—less serious than the threat from the right, but equally necessary to defeat.” Most right-wing critiques fail to make such ideological distinctions, and are far more apocalyptic—some have unironically proposed state laws that define how universities are and are not allowed to govern themselves in the name of defending free speech.

    • DOMAINS ARE POWER

      Top-level domains, or TLDs, sit at the top of the domain hierarchy. In 1985, there were just seven TLDs: .com, .org, .net, .edu, .gov, .arpa, and .mil. Today, there are more than 1,000 TLDs running the gamut from .uk to .gucci. One of them is .cat.

      See, I was looking to get married, my fiancée’s (now wife’s) name is Cat, and we wanted a fun domain name.

    • Spanish Civil Guard closes website of a major pro-independence organisation

      The Spanish Civil Guard has closed the website of the pro-independence organisation ANC (Catalan National Assembly), the organisation’s president, Jordi Sànchez, has confirmed on Catalan news channel 324. Sànchez condemned this decision by Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy as an attack against freedom of expression, the rule of law and democracy.

      Sànchez said that the ANC’s computer staff were “already working to restore this information that the Spanish state wants to hid” and that many exterior experts have expressed solidarity with the ANC to guarantee the working of freedom of expression; “they’ve collapsed the phone lines”, he added.

    • Former president Mas, three ministers required to pay 5.2 million over 2014 unofficial referendum

      The Court of Accounts has imposed a joint and several liability of 5.2 million euros on the former president of Catalonia, Artur Mas, and three of his ministers for using public funds in the unofficial independence referendum on 9th November 2014.

      This Monday the conclusion of the court’s inquiry was communicated to the legal representatives of Mas, his vice-president Joana Ortega, former ministers Irene Rigau and Francesc Homs and seven others who participated in the organisation of the 2014 vote. The proceedings had been opened follow a complaint from the SCC (Catalan Civil Society) and the Association of Catalan Lawyers for using public funds for the unofficial referendum.

    • Game over for ‘discredited’ Catalan referendum, Spanish officials say

      Spanish authorities have done enough to discredit and prevent a planned referendum this Sunday on independence in Catalonia, two senior government officials told Reuters on Monday, though they may now let a secession “party” happen.

      “There may be a party on Sunday at which, on squares and in streets, some voting stalls may be installed and a mock vote may take place. But it will not be a referendum,” one of the officials said on condition of anonymity.

      The officials said Catalonia lacked a proper election commission, ballots boxes, ballot papers, a transparent census and election material, and other material needed to hold the vote.

    • Twitter defends decision not to remove Trump tweet threatening North Korea
    • China fines tech giants for not censoring banned content ahead of October’s party congress
    • Trump Turns to the ‘Southern Strategy’ Once Again to Attack NFL Players Taking a Knee During the National Anthem

      NFL players, coaches, and owners yesterday responded to the president’s racial code words in an inspiring show of solidarity.

      If Donald Trump is not a white supremacist, his actions and words show a great deal of comfort with the values of white supremacy.

      He did not want Blacks living in his buildings or handling his money. His comparison of the Washington monument to confederate monuments built to honor people who killed American soldiers for the right to own other human beings shows an ignorance of and an unwillingness to deal with the truth about America’s past and current history of racism.

      His encouragement of police brutality and championing of unconstitutional stop and frisk policies are not race neutral.

    • Some Georgetown Law students and faculty plan to protest speech by Attorney General Jeff Sessions
    • The Idiot’s Guide to Censorship
    • WhatsApp disruption in China as censorship controls tightened
    • WhatsApp service disrupted in China as censorship tightens
    • China disrupts WhatsApp as censorship stepped up ahead of major Communist Party congress
    • China blocks WhatsApp
    • China Has Blocked Most WhatsApp Service as Screws Tighten on Internet Use
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Canada will start reporting when it uses intelligence obtained through torture

      Canada’s intelligence agencies will be required to tell the public when it acts on or shares information that was obtained by torture.

      The new ministerial directives, issued by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on Monday, will create new rules on how three national security agencies use, request, or disclose intelligence to foreign governments known to engage in torture.

      “We’ve limited the scope of the use of information,” Goodale told reporters Monday.

      The new rules don’t ban torture-tainted intelligence altogether, and still allow intelligence services to use this information if there is an imminent risk of attack.

    • Saudi Arabia Agrees to Let Women Drive
    • Saudi Arabia driving ban on women to be lifted

      Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has issued a decree allowing women to drive for the first time, state media say.

    • Poland’s Duda acts to avoid head-on clash with Brussels

      Polish President Andrzej Duda said Monday he had scrapped proposals to dismiss all judges on the Supreme Court, a move that may defuse tensions with Brussels over the government’s plans to tighten control over the judiciary.

      The proposal is however expected to deepen a rift with Jarosław Kaczyński, Duda’s mentor and the leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. It could also lead to a split inside the ruling party, hitherto strongly unified behind the legislation, seen by the EU as an abuse of the rule of law.

      Duda on Monday presented his own versions of two draft bills that in July he had refused to sign into law. One of the laws sought to do away with a council nominating new judges and move the power to select members of the National Judiciary Council from judges’ organizations to parliament.

    • One of Rio de Janeiro’s Safest Favelas Descends Into Violence, the Latest Sign of a City in Chaos

      The Governor of Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Fernando Pezão, admitted that his administration could no longer cope on Friday as he requested the assistance of the Brazilian military to help bring the situation in Rocinha, one of the city’s largest favela, under control. Hours later, some 950 heavily-armed soldiers dramatically descended on the favela on foot and in armored personnel carriers and helicopters.

      Rio de Janeiro is once more making the headlines for the wrong reasons. Homicidal violence is back in the city with a vengeance. Shooting broke out Rocinha in earlier this month less than a week after a gun battle between rival factions of the same drug gang, ADA or Friends of Friends, disturbed a peaceful Sunday morning in the seaside neighborhood.

    • How Sudan Got Off Donald Trump’s Latest Travel Ban List

      Indeed, Sudan has precious little lobbying capacity. But it has a friend in the right place: The United Arab Emirates recently began lobbying on Sudan’s behalf in Washington, putting its considerable capital to work. The diplomatic favor comes as Sudan has stepped up its on-the-ground involvement in the war in Yemen, giving the Saudi- and UAE-led coalition the kinds of boots on the ground those nations are uninterested in risking themselves, preferring to wage an aerial campaign instead.

      “Sudan is doing the UAE’s dirty work,” explained one well-placed U.S. government source not authorized to speak publicly about the situation. In exchange, UAE ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba has put his substantial diplomatic weight behind the Sudanese government. Otaiba is particularly close with White House adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. Kushner plays a leading role in setting Mideast policy for the administration.

    • Muslim surgeon who volunteered to treat Manchester bomb victims stabbed in neck outside mosque in ‘hate crime’

      A Muslim surgeon who treated Manchester Arena victims said he has forgiven a man who stabbed him in the neck outside a mosque in a hate crime attack.

      Consultant Nasser Kurdy, who operated on those injured in the outrage in May, was stabbed from behind with a knife as he walked into Altrincham Islamic Centre in Hale, Cheshire just before 6pm yesterday.

      The 58-year-old victim suffered a three centimetre wound to the back of his neck and was taken to Wythenshawe Hospital for treatment, where he works as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon.

    • America has a racial demagogue for a president
    • Good Blacks, Bad Blacks: From Washington and DuBois to Morgan Freeman and Colin Kaepernick

      White America, for the most part, makes a critical distinction between “good” and “bad” Black Americans – and a related distinction between “good” and “bad” Black behavior. It goes way back.

      During the 1960s, for example, Muhammad Ali was a “good Negro” when he seemed to be just a happy-go-lucky wise-cracking Olympic Gold Medal winner named Cassius Clay. Most whites still approved of Clay when he defeated the “bad Negro” Sonny Liston to become heavyweight champion. Liston struck most whites as an urban thug.

      But when Clay became Ali, a proud Black nationalist who refused induction to help the white U.S. imperialists kill brown-skinned peasants in Vietnam, he became a “bad Negro.” White America preferred non-militant Black fighters like Floyd Paterson and Joe Frazier to the magnificent Black Nationalist Muhammad Ali.

      The great Black Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown was a “good Negro” as long as he was setting new records while staying silent politically on and off the gridiron. Brown lost his luster in White America one year after he left football and called the Muhammad Ali Summit, bringing some of the nation’s top Black athletes to Cleveland to voice support for Ali’s refusal to be drafted. Among the courageous sportsmen who came in for white criticism for attending Brown’s 1967 summit were Boston Celtics great Bill Russell and future NBA superstar Lew Alcindor, who would later change his name to Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

    • Daily Reads: Trump’s New Travel Ban Is Still Incoherent; Washington Ignores Puerto Rico’s Humanitarian Disaster

      Donald Trump signed a new executive order yesterday banning almost all travel from seven countries and restricting travel from Venezuela. According to Slate’s Joshua Keating, the new order also includes North Korea and Chad. The administration hopes that the addition of non-Muslim-majority countries will blunt criticism of the measure as grounded in religious discrimination, but Keating says “it’s not a very effective counterargument.” He also wonders how Chad got on the list, given that “the most recent State Department Country Reports on Terrorism was mostly positive about Chad’s counterterrorism efforts.”

    • A Georgia Man Facing Execution Was Convicted By A Juror Who Wondered If “Black People Even Have Souls”

      Keith Tharpe is set to be executed in Georgia on Tuesday for the 1991 murder of his sister-in-law Jaqueline Freeman.

      Tharpe’s lawyers are fighting for his execution to be stopped on the grounds that “racism played a pivotal role” in his death sentence.

      They asked the US Supreme Court on Saturday to stop the execution, saying that one of the jurors who voted to have Tharpe executed later admitted that his decision was influenced by Tharpe’s race.

      The juror, Barney Gattie, was interviewed by Tharpe’s lawyers from the Georgia Resource Center in 1998 as part of his post-conviction appeals process, according to Tharpe’s petition.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Prepare For An Epic Bullshit Sales Pitch For The Competition-Killing Sprint, T-Mobile Merger

      For much of this year, Sprint and its Japanese owner Softbank have been buttering up the Trump administration in the hopes it will sign off on a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. Sprint tried the same merger back in 2014, but found the attempt wisely blocked by regulators because it would have killed one of just four major wireless competitors in the space. Said buttering up has involved letting Trump falsely claim responsibility for murky Softbank job creation claims that were originally planned years ago, have nothing to do with the merger, and even less to do with Donald Trump.
      Obviously the wireless market is enjoying a bit of a resurgence lately courtesy of T-Mobile, which has been giving bigger competitors fits by simply listening to what consumers want (fewer hidden bullshit fees, no contracts, cheaper international roaming) and providing it. In turn, wireless consumers have notable improvements in the last year or two, including AT&T and Verizon being forced to bring back unlimited data plans they had previously tried to claim consumers didn’t want. It’s a resurgence that wouldn’t have happened if regulators hadn’t blocked AT&T’s own attempted takeover over T-Mobile back in 2011.

    • European Commission Backed Study Confirms Canada Among the Most Expensive for Broadband Internet Access

      The European Commission has released a new study it commissioned on broadband pricing in Europe and several other leading countries. It confirms yet again what Canadian consumers have long suspected: Canada is among the most expensive countries in the developed economy world for broadband Internet services. The study, which provides data on the 2016 retail pricing for consumers throughout the EU, Canada, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Norway, and Iceland, found Canadians consistently face some of the most expensive pricing regardless of speed or whether the packages include local telephone and television services. The survey was conducted over a two-week period in October 2016 and included retail pricing for five major Canadian ISPs: Bell, Shaw, Rogers, Videotron, and Telus. The data includes procedures to account for one-off fees and other discounts.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Form Meeting Function: When Copyright Covers More (Or Less) Of Your Software Than You Think

      Okay, I admit it – in my youth, I spent more than my fair share of time playing video games, either at home or in arcades with friends. I will also neither confirm nor deny that I enjoy playing far more sophisticated ones with my kids nowadays. The evolution of computer software over my lifetime (especially when it comes to video games) has been extraordinary, to say the least. That said, I also have the luxury of appreciating such entertainment from a legal perspective, having counseled game developers and publishers regarding the protection and commercial exploitation of their intellectual property rights in video-game properties.

    • Keith Jones: Don’t forget importance of intellectual property [Ed: Why does this site keep letting law firms write articles that are obviously shameless self-promotion and lies?]

      What about future developments which weren’t limited to software routines – should they be dealt with differently? And what about the two acquired patents? There was a suspicion these were being infringed.

    • A CRISPR patent pool – are we any closer? [Ed: There should be no patents on CRISPR in the first place]

      A plan to launch a CRISPR patent pool has only attracted a few patent holders so far. Robyn Trigg and Marc Döring examine how it would work, and whether it will take off

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Julia Reda MEP Likened to Nazi in Sweeping Anti-Pirate Rant

        The debate over copyright and enforcement thereof is often polarized, with staunch supporters on one side, objectors firmly on the other, and never the twain shall meet.

        As a result, there have been some heated battles over the years, with pro-copyright bodies accusing pirates of theft and pirates accusing pro-copyright bodies of monopolistic tendencies. While neither claim is particularly pleasant, they have become staples of this prolonged war of words and as such, many have become desensitized to their original impact.

        This morning, however, musician and staunch pro-copyright activist David Lowery published an article which pours huge amounts of gas on the fire. The headline goes straight for the jugular, asking: Why is it Every Time We Turn Over a Pirate Rock White Nationalists, Nazi’s and Bigots Scurry Out?

      • Canadian ISP Bell Calls For Pirate Site Blacklist in NAFTA Hearing

        In order to make the NAFTA trade agreement “work better”, Bell, Canada’s largest telecommunications company, is recommending that the Government commits to stronger intellectual property enforcement. The company envisions a system where all ISPs are required to block access to pirate sites, without court intervention.

      • Canada Pushes Back Against U.S. Copyright Demands in NAFTA

        The third round of negotiations over the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is underway right now in Ottawa, and EFF is there to represent you. It’s been a frustrating few days so far. Before explaining why, we’ll skip straight to what you probably want to know: how close are the parties to a deal, and what do we know about what’s in it?

      • Ottawa NAFTA Round Turns to Copyright
      • Infojustice: Ottawa NAFTA Round Turns To Copyright

        Civil society organizations, including internet freedom and information justice advocates from the US and Canada (Mexico was largely absent due to the earthquakes), gathered in Ottawa over the weekend to provide the public forum on NAFTA issues that the formal negotiation has yet to sponsor. The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic teamed with American University’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, OpenMedia and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to discuss public interest concerns with the E-Commerce and copyright provisions of the potential agreement.

      • Scientific Publishers Want Upload Filter To Stop Academics Sharing Their Own Papers Without Permission

        Back in March of this year, Techdirt wrote about ResearchGate, a site that allows its members to upload and share academic papers. Although the site says it is the responsibility of the uploaders to make sure that they have the necessary rights to post and share material, it’s clear that millions of articles on ResearchGate are unauthorized copies according to the restrictive agreements that publishers typically impose on their authors. As we wrote back then, it was interesting that academic publishers were fine with that, but not with Sci-Hub posting and sharing more or less the same number of unauthorized papers.
        Somewhat belatedly, the International Association of Scientific Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) has now announced that it is not fine with authors sharing copies of their own papers on ResearchGate without asking permission. In a letter to the site from its lawyers (pdf), the STM is proposing what it calls “a sustainable way to grow and to continue the important role you play in the research ecosystem”. Here’s what it wants ResearchGate (“RG”) to do:

      • Hidden 2015 European Commission Report on Copyright Infringement
      • Why shouldn’t copyright law apply on the Internet?

        Every so often, you hear copyright industry lobbyists ask “why copyright law shouldn’t apply on the Internet”, suggesting that the Internet is a lawless land with regard to people sharing what they like. They have a point, but not the point they think: Our laws have checks and balances that prevent enforcement against sharing culture and knowledge in the offline world, and there’s no reason why these check-and-balance laws shouldn’t apply online too.

EPO Lies About the UPC, Violations of Human Rights, and ‘Green’ European Patents

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Patents at 11:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

Dr. Glyn Moody

Summary: The charm offensives of the EPO’s management have become ever more desperate and detached from reality — to the point where even the EPO’s Chief Economist Yann Ménière is acting like a marketing stooge

THE EPO is lying across the Atlantic today. As we anticipated earlier this autumn, the same old lies of the EPO travel to Canada and CIPO takes pride in it. It just wrote to the EPO: “thank you for coming to the #Gatineau roadshow on the Unitary #Patent & Unified Patent Court!”

“They tell to each other what they want to believe rather than what is true.”The right-hand liar of Battistelli (Margot Fröhlinger) goes to Canada to lie to Canadian people about the prospects of the UPC and she probably won’t face any refutation, mostly because it’s an echo chamber-type event. They tell to each other what they want to believe rather than what is true. A couple of days ago Josep Maria Pujals‏ joked at Bristows by writing: “Sagrada Familia (2022) completed before UPC?”

Josep Maria Pujals‏ is a registered patent agent and he too doesn’t believe what Team UPC is saying. Surveys have shown that most patent professionals generally know that Team UPC is lying, but few are brave enough to say it out loud, in public.

“The UPC ambitions have brought nothing but an assault on patent quality (European Patents are no longer what they used to be) and a disarray which culminated in serious violations of human rights.”In an effort to push the UPC, the EPO is nowadays propagating old lies about SMEs. What the EPO means by “SMEs” is mostly NPEs (patent trolls whose main/sole existence is litigation) and yesterday the EPO did this again. Will it ever stop?

The UPC ambitions have brought nothing but an assault on patent quality (European Patents are no longer what they used to be*) and a disarray which culminated in serious violations of human rights. Yesterday SUEPO published: “Staff representative in Germany – a risky Job?” (courrierinternational.com, 21-09-2017). The .pdf paper version of the article published in French by courrierinternational.com is available here. Original article is in German and published by Süddeutsche Zeitung on 03 July 2017 (paid-subscription article).”

“As if low-quality patents can someone be excused by so-called ‘green’ (supposedly ‘ethical’) patents…”We are waiting and hoping for an English translation of this article, which is in French. This article asserts that in Germany it has become dangerous to stand for labour rights. It never looked as though Merkel cared enough, either. She did not respond to letters regarding the EPO and Battistelli is effectively immune from German law, so there’s probably not much that she can do. Even if she really, genuinely wanted to…

Meanwhile, as of last night, the EPO published this greenwashing “news” item (warning: epo.org domain) which cites Battistelli’s ‘economic’ protégé, Mr. Ménière. Yesterday’s nonsense from the EPO would have us believe that, from an economic perspective, having a monopoly on climate change mitigation techniques would be beneficial. Restricting/limiting competition? How is that saving the planet? To quote:

The EPO’s Chief Economist Yann Ménière highlighted the latest developments in climate change mitigation technologies (CCMTs) in Europe and presented the European Patent Office’s activities in this area. These include the recent publication of a joint policy brief with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which shows that the number and commercial value of CCMT inventions has been increasing globally over the past decade. The EPO has also created a dedicated tagging scheme for patent documents related to low-carbon technologies, enabling users to retrieve these technologies in the Office’s extensive public databases, and making it possible to map sustainable technologies, identify trends, and produce facts and evidence for policy and business decisions.

So the Abu Dhabi-based IRENA now participates in the old strategy of greenwashing (last mentioned two months ago) a violator of human rights. As if low-quality patents can someone be excused by so-called ‘green’ (supposedly ‘ethical’) patents…
_______
* Yesterday the EPO advertised the release of “[t]his year’s third edition for the Patent Information News magazine,” which in page 2 has a section about “quality report”, i.e. dissemination of lies about the EPO’s patent quality (it nosedived, so Battistelli now relies on "alternative facts" and bogus definitions of "quality").

Dying Computer Giants Turn Patents Into an Extortion Racket

Posted in Asia, HP, IBM, Patents at 10:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not just Microsoft and Qualcomm but also IBM and HP

HP product

Summary: The Palo Alto, California-based HP Inc. (Hewlett-Packard), whose revenue and operating income are sinking (staff also laid off), sends patents to China while IBM continues to drum up software patents while blackmailing rivals with these

EARLIER this year we wrote about the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding, a new front group that’s mostly connected to IBM. They have become the biggest software patents propagandists (louder than Microsoft) and yesterday IAM gave Schecter the platform again (as does Watchtroll, very routinely). It’s more of that patent maximalism lobby, disguised as “education” or “understanding” (indoctrination). To quote the opening part:

Earlier this year a group of senior IP figures, led by Bruce Berman, launched the Center for IP Understanding (CIPU), a non-profit organisation focused on increasing awareness of the impact of IP on society. Later this year CIPU, together with Chicago-Kent College of Law, will hold the first IP Awareness Summit which will address the role of IP understanding in innovation, ideas and value creation.

In this guest post IBM’s chief patent counsel and CIPU board member Manny Schecter explains why all IP stakeholders should throw their support behind efforts to improve the public’s understanding of IP.

Remember that nowadays IBM is just litigating (attacking) companies; we covered many examples of it. We typically see it raised above the surface only when firms refuse to pay IBM ‘protection’ money, whereupon the matter goes to court (i.e. publicly visible).

HP cameraIn the meantime, based on the same site and the same date, HP is selling a lot of patents to Chinese patent parasites. China quickly became a major hub for patent trolls.

Well, as expected from any failing company, the patents end up being put on auction for trolls to cause terror (with blackmail). Remember that HP also swept up many patents from companies that it bought, e.g. Palm. To quote the blog:

On Friday, Ocean Tomo announced the first public patent auction under its latest platform, dubbed Ocean Tomo Bid-Ask Market (OTBA). More than 1,000 rights owned by HP Inc will go under the hammer between now and 20th October; they’re grouped into 45 separate lots across a range of mostly computing-related technology areas. The unique selling point of OTBA is evidently that it is less seller-driven than traditional auction formats, allowing potential buyers to efficiently post anonymous bids.

[...]

OTBA, with its emphasis of providing service to buyers as well as sellers, may go some way toward addressing these concerns. If we see some of these HP assets come under Chinese ownership, it could be a sign that auctions, done right, may eventually find more success in one of Asia’s key buyer markets.

How do existing and former IBM/HP workers feel about those patents of theirs (which they applied for and got granted) ending up as ammunition of patent trolls? The only “friendly” or “defensive” patent is one that does exist in the first place. Red Hat should pay attention because it too can be taken over (even a hostile takeover bid).

Microsoft Brings Its GNU/Linux-Hostile Patent Scheme to China

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 9:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft and trolls

Summary: Microsoft reiterates its intention to only offer ‘protection’ (or indemnification) for GNU/Linux users who pay Microsoft monthly fees while going further and hinting that it may send additional patents to trolls

THERE are still some people out there — not Richard Stallman, obviously — who have fallen for the lie and PR campaign which says “Microsoft loves Linux”. Some people, like Red Hat and Canonical (or Linux Foundation) staff, are paid not to understand, or at least to keep silent about it.

“As Bruce Perens recently explained, OIN exists to protect software patents from Linux rather than protect Linux from software patents.”On the surface it may seem like Microsoft’s patent aggression against GNU/Linux is no more. But that’s purely an illusion. We habitually show how Microsoft-connected patent trolls attack vendors who distribute GNU/Linux. They don’t always know who’s behind the trolls because the aggressors try to keep it complicated. It’s a shell game. Intellectual Ventures, for instance, has literally thousands of shell entities around it (one of these defames me).

Earlier today we found this press release about a firm from China (Guangzhou Automobile Group). No FOSS or Linux news site has caught it (so far). “By joining Open Invention Network,” (OIN) says the firm, “we are demonstrating our commitment to open source software, and supporting it with a pledge of patent non-aggression.”

The concept of “patent non-aggression” is OK, but OIN is next to worthless for Linux. As Bruce Perens recently explained, OIN exists to protect software patents from Linux rather than protect Linux from software patents. It’s an IBM front. It won’t oppose software patents (don’t even ask it about those) and it cannot do anything about patent trolls, by its own admission. That’s why Microsoft prefers using trolls — to distance itself from the negative publicity associated with patent aggression.

Here is a portion from the press release:

Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, announced today that Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC Group), has joined as a community member. As owner of China’s fastest-growing auto brand, GAC Group is demonstrating its commitment to open source software (OSS) as an enabler of electronic vehicle systems.

More interesting, however, is this article published this morning by a patent trolls’ Web site. “Microsoft expands Azure IP Advantage to China,” the headline says. As we explained earlier this year in many articles (at least 13 [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]), we expect that Microsoft will sic its patent trolls on rivals unless they pay protection money (in the form of Azure rents). We have already covered evidence of this. Here is the latest (emphasis ours, “NPE” is a euphemism for patent troll):

There are three key components to the Azure IP Advantage programme, which was rolled out back in February. First, the company’s uncapped indemnification policy was expanded to cover open source technologies; second, 10,000 Microsoft patents have been made available to customers for deterrent and defensive purposes; and finally, Azure customers can receive a ‘springing licence’ should Microsoft ever transfer patents to an NPE.

But the fine print noted that Azure IP Advantage was not yet available in China. Azure services in the country are operated by a Beijing-based company called 21Vianet, an independent entity. The unique arrangement meant a couple of extra hoops to jump through before the programme could take effect. But it will do just that at the start of next month, so from then on the Azure IP offering will be identical across all of the product’s international markets.

Do not believe for a moment that this is good news. Like we said earlier this year, it’s another Novell-like attempt to create two classes of GNU/Linux, “safe” (hosted by Microsoft) and “unsafe”. Microsoft isn’t stupid. We oughtn’t be stupid, either.

Rodney Gilstrap Dubbed “America’s Worst Patent Judge” Having Long Facilitated Trolls for Gains

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 9:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When the courtroom is treated like the reception desk of a business rather than carrier of justice

Gas pump

Summary: In an effort to feed the litigation ‘industry’ (and hospitality around it) Rodney Gilstrap has subverted the rule of law and is being called out on it

WE DO NOT believe in judge bashing (it’s not an honourable thing to do unless there is demonstrable misconduct as in the case of Randall Rader). However, prominent US politicians themselves are calling Gilstrap “reprehensible” (and explained why earlier this year). We last wrote about it some days ago because even courts above Gilstrap’s are losing their patience.

A few days ago an article by Mike Masnick called Gilstrap the “Patent Trolls’ Favorite Judge” and noted that the court above his own “Can’t Just Ignore The Supreme Court To Keep Patent Cases In Texas” (same thing we wrote at the time). To quote some bits:

A few weeks ago, we noted that Judge Rodney Gilstrap, a judge in East Texas who is infamous for handling approximately 25% of all patent cases in the entire country, appeared to be ignoring the Supreme Court in an effort to keep all those patent cases in his own docket. You see, earlier this year, in an important case, the Supreme Court said that the proper venue for a patent lawsuit to be brought should be where the defendant “resides” rather than just wherever they “do business.” Previously, patent trolls had said that the lawsuits could be brought wherever a company did business — which, with internet firms, meant anywhere — allowing them to file in their favorite court in East Texas. The Supreme Court said “that’s not what the law says.”

But Gilstrap tried, somewhat creatively, to twist himself around those rules, by arguing that all sorts of other factors could be used to determine “residence” — basically including (again) if you had any connection to that jurisdiction at all — and thus continue to allow East Texas to be an acceptable venue. We listed out those factors in the earlier post, but don’t need to do so again, because the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has already weighed in and said “nope, that’s not how it works.”

Today, BoingBoing wrote about this too and this was sent to us by readers, who are eager to see us mentioning it again because Gilstrap is, in effect, the trolls’ ‘mole’ in Texas. Here is what BoingBoing wrote:

America’s worst patent judge gets a scorching language lesson from the appeals court

Judge Rodney Gilstrap serves the Eastern District of Texas court, the venue from which patent trolls have extorted billions in useless menaces money from US industry; Gilstrap hears 25% of the patent cases brought in the USA, and has a track record for making epically terrible rulings.

But Gilstrap and the Eastern District are under threat, thanks to a series of rulings (including a Supreme Court ruling) that holds that patent holders have to sue alleged infringers in the place where they “reside” and not just in some place where their products are available (which, in the internet age, is everywhere).

Gilstrap tried to get around this, allowing a troll to bring another case to the Eastern District of Texas by making up a nonsensical “residency test” that would keep the racket alive.

We too are tempted to bash this judge, but in order to avoid hypocrisy (it’s usually Watchtroll who is judge-bashing) we prefer to show how other sites are bashing him. He probably deserves this. He did this to his own reputation.

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