09.27.17

Links 27/9/2017: Birthday of GNU

Posted in News Roundup at 5:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 steps to perfecting an open source product strategy

    Suppose you have an open source software idea that you want to spread quickly. To gain users, you must make sure your product is both well-made and has all of the right features. You also need to make sure people understand why your project exists and why they should be interested.

    Although recent trends in “DevOps” highlight the need for operations and development experience to blend together, seeing development, product management, and marketing ideas merge is perhaps even more powerful. This is the way I crafted Ansible in the early days—and I believe it grew quickly because of that focus.

  • Verizon’s Oath Open Sources Yahoo’s Vespa Search Technology

    Oath, the Verizon division that combines AOL and Yahoo, has released source code from Vespa, a tool acquired by Yahoo with the acquisition of the search engine AlltheWeb. The technology crunches data and is used to power Yahoo search services. The idea is to build out a network of developers to use the technology.

  • Yahoo open-sources Vespa, its most important software release since Hadoop

    Oath, the subsidiary of Verizon Communications Inc. that was created when the company acquired Yahoo Inc. earlier this year, said today it’s open-sourcing some of its most important internal software for executing web searches and generating recommendations and targeted advertisements.

    The software is called Vespa, and Oath said it’s used to tackle the tricky problem of deciding what to show users in response to input such as text typed into a search box. Oath said it actually uses Vespa to power more than 150 applications, including its popular photography website Flickr.com, Yahoo Mail and some aspects of the Yahoo search engine, such as local results, answers to questions and image searches. Vespa also powers Yahoo’s advertising, handling more than 3 billion native ad requests every day.

  • Don’t Miss These Free Guides to Running a Successful Open Source Program

    At organizations of all types, launching and maintaining successful open source programs has become a business priority. A strong open source program office helps to ensure that open source is supported, nurtured, shared, explained, and leveraged. With such an office, organizations can establish and execute on their open source strategies in clear terms.

    With all this in mind, The Linux Foundation and The TODO Group (Talk Openly Develop Openly) have published a free collection of detailed open source guides to aid companies developing open source programs. The guides are available to you now, and this is the first in a series of articles that can introduce you to the value of the guides.

  • 7 Heated Debates from Free and Open Source Software History

    Unix was born in 1969 as an operating system that its owner, AT&T, could not sell for profit. That changed in the early 1980s, when AT&T received permission to commercialize Unix.

  • Bossies 2017: The Best of Open Source Software Awards

    Open source software isn’t what it used to be. The term used to conjure images of the lone developer, working into the night and through weekends, banging out line after line of code to scratch a personal itch or realize a personal vision. But with each passing year—and every new survey of the open source landscape we call our Best of Open Source Software Awards, or Bossies—those images of the lone visionary get a little hazier.

  • Seahorse Goes Open Source! Data Analysts Can Get More from the Free BI Tool Powered by Apache Spark

    Piotr Niedźwiedź, deepsense.ai’s CTO and co-founder, explains, “Seahorse hit 10,000 users this year and the number is still growing. From the beginning, we made the tool highly accessible for everyone, offering it at no cost and easy to download in two versions. Now we’re ready to make it fully open.”

  • Events

    • APIStrat Conference Workshops Cover API Integration, Security, Testing, and More

      The API Strategy & Practice conference (APIStrat) – taking place Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 in Portland – features three days of technical sessions, keynotes, and more, including several workshops providing hands-on learning opportunities. These sessions cover topics such as RESTful API integration, OpenID Connect, API security, and REST API testing.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Quantum Next Generation Web Browser Launches November 14, Beta Out Now

        Mozilla recently put up a dedicated website for its next-generation Firefox web browser, Firefox Quantum, which promises to be twice as fast than current versions and come with numerous performance improvements.

      • New Film, Magazine: The Uncertain Future of Artificial Intelligence and IoT

        What happens when AI virtual assistants can mimic our voices, learn our habits, and double as our drinking buddies?

        It’s a future that doesn’t seem far off. It’s also a future Mozilla is exploring in a new short film and with a new bi-annual magazine.

        Today, Mozilla is releasing a short film commissioned from Superflux titled “Our Friends Electric,” and launching a new magazine titled DING, to explore the impact of connected devices on our lives, our society, and our future.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Happy birthday to GNU: celebrating 34 years of the free software movement!

      Since the birth of GNU, a rich collaborative community of developers and activists has sprung up and is still going strong, fighting against proprietary software, software patents, Digital Restrictions Management, and other threats to our freedom and privacy.

      We’re a little too busy to party like we did for GNU’s 25th birthday and 30th birthday, but we couldn’t possibly let the birthday pass without cake.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Italy organises digital transformation hackathon

      On 7 and 8 October, Italy’s governmental Digital Transformation Team is organising a country-wide hackathon, inviting software developers, IT experts and students to help make public-sector software more accessible and easier to use. The developer meetings are scheduled to take place in 25 cities across Italy.

    • PostgreSQL, open source software bringing security, innovation, performance and savings

      Federal agencies continue to be caught between the need to innovate and reduce costs, all while maintaining performance and strong security. This conundrum has driven the adoption of open source software in government, which not only saves money for the government, but also offers more reliability and agility – and better security.

    • EC to launch new Joinup version next week

      Joinup, developed under the Commission’s ISA² Programme, offers access to more than 2800 interoperability solutions for public administrations. This includes solutions available in the collections of more than 40 standardisation bodies, public administrations and open source software repositories. The platform makes it possible for public services and the private sector to work together on IT solutions. In addition, the Joinup portal helps eGovernment professionals exchange best practices, and aggregates news, studies and benchmarks on government digitisation in the 28 EU Member States and 4 EFTA countries.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • It looks free, but it may come at a cost: the impact of open source on M&A deals [Ed: Lawyers hate FOSS. They only like it when they can profit from FUD about it.]
    • Facebook performs successful license surgery on React, GraphQL

      Facebook on Tuesday freed its React JavaScript library and its GraphQL query language from its unloved license scheme.

      As promised last week, React 16 underwent licensing replacement surgery to remove Facebook’s controversial BSD + Patents license and replace it with the more welcome MIT license.

      The operation was deemed necessary because, as Facebook engineering director Adam Wolff put it on Friday, the social network had failed to convince the developer community that its BSD + Patents license was compatible with open source requirements.

      GraphQL, which exists as a specification that’s available for implementation, has also been revised. The specification has been put under the Open Web Foundation Agreement (OWFa) v1.0 and Facebook’s GraphQL implementation is now available under the MIT license.

  • Programming/Development

    • HHVM 3.22

      HHVM 3.22 is released! This release primarily contains bug fixes, performance improvements, and supporting work for future improvements. Packages have been published in the usual places; see the installation instructions for more information.

    • HHVM 3.22 Brings More Performance Improvements, Bug Fixes

      HHVM 3.22 is now available as this alternative PHP implementation and what serves as the basis for Facebook’s Hack programming language.

      While HHVM 3.22 supports PHP5/PHP7, keep in mind Facebook recently announced they are eventually abandoning their PHP focus in favor of focusing HHVM on their Hack language. HHVM 3.24 will be the last release focusing on PHP compatibility while support may still work beyond that for some time, but Hack is Facebook’s focus.

Leftovers

  • Siri and Spotlight will now use Google, not Bing, for Web searches

    As of today, searching the Web with Siri or Spotlight on iOS and macOS devices will show you results from Google, not Microsoft’s Bing search engine. This ends a Bing integration that was introduced in iOS 7 back in 2013.

  • Giving you more characters to express yourself

    Interestingly, this isn’t a problem everywhere people Tweet. For example, when I (Aliza) Tweet in English, I quickly run into the 140 character limit and have to edit my Tweet down so it fits. Sometimes, I have to remove a word that conveys an important meaning or emotion, or I don’t send my Tweet at all. But when Iku Tweets in Japanese, he doesn’t have the same problem. He finishes sharing his thought and still has room to spare. This is because in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese you can convey about double the amount of information in one character as you can in many other languages, like English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French.

  • Science

    • Scientists Discover Some of the Oldest Signs of Life on Earth

      The Torngat Mountains in northeastern Canada are full of life. Reindeer graze on lichen, polar bears prowl the coastlines, and great whales swim in the offshore waters. Scientists patrol the land, too, looking for the oldest rocks on the planet, which were formed almost 4 billion years ago, when the Earth was just an infant world.

      Back then, the landscape would have been very different. The Earth was a hellish place that had only just acquired a firm crust. Its atmosphere was devoid of oxygen, and it was regularly pelted with asteroids. There were no reindeer, whales, polar bears, or lichen. But according to new research, there was life.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Bernie Sanders Leans Into Planned Parenthood at the CNN Health Care Debate

      SENS. LINDSEY GRAHAM and Bill Cassidy faced off against Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar at a CNN town hall Monday night, just hours after their last-ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act collapsed.

      Earlier that evening, Sen. Susan Collins had become the third Republican to publicly reject the Graham-Cassidy repeal effort but at Monday night’s debate, Graham vowed to “press on.”

      Graham and Cassidy pitched their plan, while Sanders, a Vermont Independent, used the debate to articulate his single-payer proposal, while Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, joined him in defending the gains of Obamacare and picking apart Graham-Cassidy.

    • Bureau awarded grant to investigate global superbug threat

      The Bureau has been awarded a prestigious €130,000 grant from the European Journalism Centre for a year-long project investigating the global problem of superbugs.

      We secured the award with a proposal to investigate how the growth of drug-resistant infections can threaten health systems and stop us meeting global development goals to eradicate epidemics of disease. As part of the project we will report from some of the world’s poorest and wealthiest countries, highlighting solutions as well as problems.

      The Bureau was one of seven organisations awarded a total of €800,000 for news coverage raising awareness to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using distinctive storytelling ideas, new engaging content forms and emerging data journalism techniques.

    • Could recent hurricanes cause reemergence of cholera in Puerto Rico?

      The Caribbean has a long history with cholera, a severe diarrheal illness associated with high mortality. Throughout the 19th century, cholera epidemics were relatively common and were noted to occur in three waves associated with global pandemics.

      During this period there was a confluence of factors promoting disease in the Caribbean, including the degraded health conditions linked to the Atlantic slave trade and colonial rule, as well as frequent contact with individuals or groups arriving from Europe, Africa and elsewhere. In 1855-56 Puerto Rico experienced a major cholera outbreak, despite local efforts to undertake preventive measures, including quarantine.

      The emergence of cholera in Haiti in 2010 is a poignant reminder that the Caribbean remains susceptible to outbreaks. Specifically with respect to Puerto Rico, there are several potential concerns.

    • TIMELINE: The GOP’s failed effort to repeal ObamaCare

      For months, Republicans agonized over their ObamaCare repeal-and-replace effort.

      It was declared dead in the spring. Then revived and passed in the House. It appeared dead in the Senate this summer, but came back to life.

      But this week it met its demise — at least in the immediate future. The vehicle they were using to avoid a Democratic filibuster expires at the end of the month, and Republicans won’t be voting on another ObamaCare repeal bill this week.

  • Security

    • Source: Deloitte Breach Affected All Company Email, Admin Accounts

      Deloitte, one of the world’s “big four” accounting firms, has acknowledged a breach of its internal email systems, British news outlet The Guardian revealed today. Deloitte has sought to downplay the incident, saying it impacted “very few” clients. But according to a source close to the investigation, the breach dates back to at least the fall of 2016, and involves the compromise of all administrator accounts at the company as well as Deloitte’s entire internal email system.

    • Security breach exposes data from half a million vehicle tracking devices

      The exposed data, which includes customer credentials, was unearthed through a misconfigured Amazon AWS S3 bucket that was left publically available, and because it wasn’t protected by a password, could allow anyone to pinpoint locations visited by customers of the vehicle tracking firm.

    • CCleaner backdoor infecting millions delivered mystery payload to 40 PCs

      At least 40 PCs infected by a backdoored version of the CCleaner disk-maintenance utility received an advanced second-stage payload that researchers are still scrambling to understand, officials from CCleaner’s parent company said.

    • Will the Equifax Data Breach Finally Spur the Courts (and Lawmakers) to Recognize Data Harms?

      This summer 143 million Americans had their most sensitive information breached, including their name, addresses, social security numbers (SSNs), and date of birth. The breach occurred at Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies that conducts the credit checks relied on by many industries, including landlords, car lenders, phone and cable service providers, and banks that offer credits cards, checking accounts and mortgages. Misuse of this information can be financially devastating. Worse still, if a criminal uses stolen information to commit fraud, it can lead to the arrest and even prosecution of an innocent data breach victim.

      Given the scope and seriousness of the risk that the Equifax breach poses to innocent people, and the anxiety that these breaches cause, you might assume that legal remedies would be readily available to compensate those affected. You’d be wrong.

      While there are already several lawsuits filed against Equifax, the pathway for those cases to provide real help to victims is far from clear. That’s because even as the number and severity of data breaches increases, the law remains too narrowly focused on people who have suffered financial losses directly traceable to a breach.

    • New breach, same lessons

      The story of recent breaches at the credit-rating agency Equifax, which may have involved the personal details of nearly 150 million people, has probably just begun, given the confusion that still surrounds events. But it’s brought the security of open source software to the fore yet again, and highlighted the ongoing struggle organizations still have with cybersecurity.

    • Apache “Optionsbleed” vulnerability – what you need to know [Ed: The security FUD complex came up with a buzzword: Optionsbleed. But it fails to (over)sell this hype.]
    • Google Android and Apple IOS Update for Critical Wi-Fi Vulnerabilities
    • Average Cyber-Crime Cost to Global Businesses Rises to $11.7M: Report
    • Exclusive: N.Y. regulator subpoenas Equifax over massive breach

      New York state’s financial services regulator has issued a subpoena to Equifax Inc (EFX.N) demanding it provide more information about the massive data breach the credit-reporting firm disclosed this month, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

      New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) sent the subpoena to Equifax on Sept. 14, said the person, who declined to be named because the matter has not been made public.

    • Deloitte Hit By Cyberattack That Compromised Client Information & Decided To Basically Tell Nobody At All

      In the wake of the Equifax breach, there has been some discussion about just how quickly companies should publicly disclose when they have been victims of security breaches that reveal client information. In the case of Equifax, the company had essentially been sitting on the knowledge that it was attacked since July before going public in early September. Something like two months, in other words. While most people agree that victim companies should have some time to get their houses in order before opening the window shades, two months seemed like a lot, given the severity of the attack and the number of potential victims among Equifax’s clients.

    • Another Banking Trojan Adds Support for NSA’s EternalBlue Exploit [Ed: Powered by Microsoft Windows back doors]
    • TalkTalk once told GCHQ: Cyberattack? We’d act fast – to get sport streams back up

      Prior to its disastrous 2015 mega hack, UK ISP TalkTalk had told British spies at GCHQ that should an attack occur, its main focus would be to restore “online sports streaming”, according to the head of operations at the country’s National Cyber Crime Unit.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Who controls Trident? A brief look at the operation of Britain’s nuclear weapons

      One of the most common myths around the system is that the United States has control over the UK’s Trident missile system, that is not the case.

      It’s often said that the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system is not ‘independent’ or that the UK doesn’t have the ability to use the system without the US agreeing to it, in reality the UK does retain full operational control over the system.

      One common argument is that the US can simply ‘turn off’ the GPS system and therefore can stop the UK using Trident, this is also a myth, Trident isn’t guided by satellite.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Indonesia prepares to divert Bali-bound flights in case of volcanic eruption

      Indonesian authorities are preparing to divert flights to 10 airports across the country in case an increasingly active volcano on the holiday island of Bali erupts and disrupts travel.

      Officials have warned that Mount Agung in eastern Bali could erupt at any time, prompting several countries including Australia and Singapore to issue travel advisor for one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

      “Ten airports will serve as alternatives for flights bound for Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport in case it is closed because of volcanic ash,” Transportation Minister Budi Karya said in a statement on Wednesday.

    • Scientists Urge ‘System Change’ to Avoid Catastrophic Climate Change

      If the world is to have a serious chance of limiting global warming to the internationally-agreed 2 ℃ limit this century, the transition to renewable energy should happen much more rapidly than current efforts, according to a new study in the journal Science.

      The study, by scientists at the universities of Manchester, Sussex, and Oxford, and published on September 22, finds that to meet their carbon emission pledges under the Paris Agreement, governments around the world need to trigger rapid, simultaneous changes across key sectors like electricity, transport, heat, industrial, forestry, and agriculture.

    • Sixth mass extinction of wildlife also threatens global food supplies

      The sixth mass extinction of global wildlife already under way is seriously threatening the world’s food supplies, according to experts.

      “Huge proportions of the plant and animal species that form the foundation of our food supply are just as endangered [as wildlife] and are getting almost no attention,” said Ann Tutwiler, director general of Bioversity International, a research group that published a new report on Tuesday.

    • Portuguese kids crowdfund to sue EU countries for climate inaction

      Six Portuguese children are lined up to sue for stronger climate action through the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), a legal charity revealed on Monday.

      The Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), based in London, launched a crowdfunding campaign through CrowdJustice to bring a case against countries signed up to the ECHR. It is aiming to raise £350,000 ($475,000).

      Lawyers plan to target at least 22 of the 47 signatories to ECHR, including Germany, France, Poland, Turkey, Russia and the UK. While the precise demands are to be determined, they will seek faster emissions cuts and limits on fossil fuel extraction.

      “This case intends to build on the successes which have been achieved through climate change litigation across the world so far,” said lead counsel Marc Willers QC, of Garden Court Chambers.

  • Finance

    • Profits vs. Puerto Rican Lives: Trump Admin Blocks Aid from Reaching Devastated Island

      One week after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, President Donald Trump says he will visit the island next Tuesday, even as most of the 3.5 million U.S. citizens who live there remain in the dark, without access to power, clean water, food and fuel. Facing withering criticism, Trump held a press conference Tuesday and denied he has neglected the disaster. His administration also denied a request from several members of Congress to waive shipping restrictions to help get gasoline and other supplies to Puerto Rico as it recovers, even though the Department of Homeland Security waived the Jones Act twice in the last month following hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which hit the mainland United States. We speak with Democracy Now! co-host Juan González and with former New York State Assemblyman Nelson Denis, who wrote about the Jones Act in The New York Times this week in a piece headlined “The Law Strangling Puerto Rico.” His book is called “War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony.”

    • Brexit Diary: What does Donald Tusk mean by “realism”?

      In other words, Tusk believes the UK becomes more “realistic” the closer it comes to accepting that the only “real” alternative to a hard Brexit is no Brexit.

    • The architecture for sharing tokens across blockchains promises traction

      In April, the Cosmos project raised about $17m in half an hour on the promise to someday let users freely share tokens among Bitcoin, Ethereum and other popular blockchain protocols.

      On Friday at the Global Blockchain Summit in Shanghai, China, the Switzerland-based nonprofit behind it committed that Ethereum support is high on its development roadmap.

      One of the problems with blockchain platforms is that there are so many – from JP Morgan’s finance-focused Quorum to The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric. As the wars for dominance are still young, it’s not clear yet how many players will stick around, Jacob Eberhardt, a computer science PhD student at Technical University of Berlin in Germany studying Blockchain, told The Register.

    • Sadiq Khan suggests Labour may back second referendum on Brexit

      London Mayor Sadiq Khan has suggested Labour may back a second referendum on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

      Mr Khan hinted he would press for a commitment to a further national vote – on whether to accept any Brexit deal reached – to be included in the next election manifesto.

      The vow came as Kezia Dugdale, Labour’s former leader in Scotland, said the public had the right to have its say in a second referendum.

      Meanwhile, Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s election chief, and a Corbyn ally, refused to rule out a further vote, saying: “Who knows where we will be at the end of this process?”

    • U.S. Middle Class Gets Richer, But Wealthy Do Even Better

      Most American families grew richer between 2013 and 2016, but the wealthiest households pulled even further ahead, worsening the nation’s massive disparities in wealth and income.

      The median net worth of all American families rose 16 percent last year from 2013 to $97,300, according to a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday. The median is the point where half of families fall below and half above.

      The figures echo recent data released earlier this month from the Census Bureau that also showed middle-class incomes rising. For roughly the first five years of the economic recovery that began in 2009, higher-earning households reaped most of the gain. But in 2015 and 2016, the low and falling unemployment rate has helped push up pay at all income levels. Rising home prices have also restored some wealth to middle income families.

      But the Fed report starkly illustrates the depth of the nation’s wealth and income gaps. The disparities exist along lines of income, race and ethnicity, and between cities and rural dwellers.

    • Jeremy Corbyn pledges to tear up Thatcher’s economic legacy and replace it with ‘new common sense’ model

      Jeremy Corbyn will use his flagship conference speech to promise a “new common sense” model for British life that will overturn 30 years of liberal free market economics.

      The leader will set out policies to pull up the foundations of the existing model, in place since Margaret Thatcher reshaped Britain in the 1980s and adhered to by Labour until Mr Corbyn came to office.

      In particular, he will point to the Grenfell Tower disaster as a “tragic monument” to a model of government that has become “brutal and less caring” over the last three decades.

    • Uber Shutting Down U.S. Car-Leasing Business

      Uber Technologies Inc. on Wednesday confirmed it is shutting down its U.S. auto-leasing business, months after it discovered it was losing 18-times more money per vehicle than previously thought.

    • EU lawmakers prepare critical resolution on Brexit

      The European Parliament is preparing a draft resolution that is critical of progress in the Brexit negotiations, particularly on the rights of EU citizens living in the U.K., according to three officials familiar with the text.

      The draft resolution, drawn up by the Parliament’s political groups, will be discussed on Thursday at the Conference of Presidents, the main decision-making body in the assembly. The text, which is subject to change, will then be voted on by MEPs next week in the Strasbourg plenary session.

      Ahead of those discussions, the U.K.’s Brexit Secretary David Davis is scheduled to meet Parliament President Antonio Tajani Wednesday as part of an effort by U.K. ministers to communicate directly with top EU officials and national governments about the contents of Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech in Florence last week.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Naomi Klein: Trump’s like the fatberg – horrible, noxious, hard to dislodge
    • Trump appears to deletes tweets backing Strange after primary loss

      President Trump on Tuesday apparently began deleting his tweets supporting Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) in Alabama’s Senate primary after Strange lost the race to former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore.

      Trump had tweeted about Strange several times in the days leading up to the primary, including the day of, but those tweets had disappeared as of Tuesday night.

    • The White House as Donald Trump’s new casino

      [...] he ran many of them using excess debt, deception, and distraction, while a number of the ones he guided personally (as opposed to just licensing them the use of his name) – including his five Atlantic City casinos, his airline, and a mortgage company – he ran into the ground and then ditched. He escaped relatively unscathed financially, while his investors and countless workers and small businesses to whom he owed money were left holding the bag. [...]

    • America Wasn’t Built for Humans

      Tribalism was an urge our Founding Fathers assumed we could overcome. And so it has become our greatest vulnerability.

    • Is Your Senator Enabling Donald Trump’s Warmongering?

      President Trump shocked the world when he used his first address to the United Nations to talk about obliterating a country of 25 million people. “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” the commander in chief told the assembled diplomats last week. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”

      At every turn in a speech like none in the history of the American presidency, Trump outlined a belligerent agenda that raised the prospect of clashes, interventions, and wars with North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and a host of other countries.

      Trump kept up the saber rattling after he left the podium, tweeting: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!” The North Koreans read that as a declaration of war. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Monday that was a misread.

    • Spain sends in police reinforcements in Catalonia vote run-up

      The Spanish government has sent thousands of police officers to Catalonia in the run-up to Sunday’s planned referendum.

      Spain’s central government insists the vote is illegal, and is determined to stop it from going ahead.

      But Catalan officials say if the “yes” camp wins, they will declare independence within days.

      With five days to go until the October 1 vote, the clash between Catalonia’s pro-separatist government and Madrid is increasingly being played out in the arena of logistics and international opinion.

    • Angela’s ashes: 5 takeaways from the German election

      Angela Merkel will remain German chancellor. That widely anticipated outcome was about the only unsurprising element of Sunday’s German election.

      The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) finished much stronger than most observers dared predict, becoming the first unabashedly racist, anti-foreigner party to sit in Germany’s parliament since the days of Hitler.

      The Social Democrats (SPD) all but imploded, opting to go into opposition to lick their wounds rather than risk another “grand coalition” with Merkel. The Free Democrats, back in parliament after four years in the wilderness, along with the Greens, finished slightly better than projected, opening the door to a three-way tie-up with Merkel’s conservatives. Previously considered a long shot, the combination Germans call “Jamaica” now looks like the only option left to form a government.

      Here are five takeaways from Sunday’s election.

    • Corbyn speech: Idolised leader enthralls those who have seen the light

      Jeremy Corbyn was up on stage for minutes before the chanting died away. He stood there, awkwardly smiling out at the hall as it serenaded him with his name. The seconds ticked by.

      Amid all the chaos and self-harm of Brexit, it can be difficult to remember the things this country does well, but instinctive cynicism about politicians is certainly one of them. Sure, these are party supporters. They’ve taken time off work to be at a party conference and are, by virtue of that single fact, not normal or healthy individuals. They are the core tribalists, those who have given themselves over to the cause. But let’s not pretend that this phenomenon is limited to the hall. We saw it throughout the summer at music festivals. We see it online. There is a terrible new tradition taking hold in Labour, of something approaching hero worship.

    • Jared Kushner signed up to vote in New York elections as a woman

      Jared Kushner’s publicly available New York voter registration records show that the president’s son-in-law ticked the “female” box when he signed up in 2009.

      The Trump regime is obsessed with the discredited notion of widespread voter-fraud. The evidence they’ve shown for this alleged fraud largely consists of minor administrative errors, like people who register to vote in a new state without informing the old state that they’ve moved (other supposed problems are even more dubious, like two people with common names like “John Smith” who share a birth date being registered to vote in different places).

    • Trump’s deleted tweets present legal liabilities

      President Donald Trump’s prolific Twitter feeds may be a lifeline to his political base, but they remain an ongoing legal liability due to dozens of deletions.

      Since Trump took office in January, his @realdonaldtrump account has deleted 41 posts, including three on Tuesday pertaining to the Senate GOP primary in Alabama that found Trump backing the losing Republican in the race, according to archives kept by the nonprofit journalism website ProPublica.

    • Roy Moore Wins Runoff in Alabama, Beating Trump-Supported Candidate

      President Donald Trump and the Republican leadership suffered a series of humiliating losses Tuesday, starting with the collapse of their Obamacare repeal efforts and culminating in the victory of Roy Moore—a pistol-waving Christian “theocrat” who believes communities in the United States are being overtaken by Sharia law—over the Trump- and McConnell-backed candidate Luther Strange in Alabama’s special election primary.

      So humiliating was Moore’s victory that Trump swiftly began deleting tweets he had sent over the past several days urging his supporters to turn out for Strange, who the president had taken to calling “Big Luther.”

    • Fake news writer in 2016 presidential election found dead

      A writer of fake political news who previously said he felt responsible for President Trump’s election has died near Phoenix, police said Tuesday.

      Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mark Casey told The Associated Press that Paul Horner was found dead in his bed earlier this month.

      Casey said there was “evidence at the scene” that “suggested this could be an accidental overdose.”

      The cause of Horner’s death has not yet been finalized.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Washington Abuses NSA Mass Surveillance Program to Maintain Global Power

      After September 11 the US declared war on terror implying that any means could be used in order to protect American citizens. In 2013 the scandal broke when details of extensive US surveillance were exposed and now there are good grounds for believing that terrorist threat might be only a pretext for control.

      [...]

      The NSA is currently conducting surveillance on more than 100,000 foreign nationals outside the United States, several senior US officials revealed on Monday. US officials claimed so-called Section 702 authorities have helped stymie cybersecurity threats and disrupt terror plots.

    • This former NSA spy station explodes with Berlin street art

      I’m at Berlin’s Teufelsberg Field Station, a former listening post for the US National Security Agency, known for its giant white bubbles on top of the facility that look like a collection of moons. Abandoned for many years, Teufelsberg is taking on a new lease on life as an art exhibition space.

    • Google Pulls YouTube From Amazon Echo: All About Control Or Just More Corporation On Corporation Violence?

      If you haven’t heard, something slightly strange happened in the tech world a few days ago. Suddenly, and seemingly without warning, Google decided to break YouTube for the Amazon Echo Show product. The Show is the Echo product that comes with a small display screen where you can… you know… watch videos. YouTube used to work on the product, and was even showcased by Amazon when it demonstrated the product at tech shows, but now all you get is Alexa’s monotone voice letting you know “Currently, Google is not supporting YouTube on Echo Show.”

    • US Intelligence Unit Was Blocked From Tracking Terrorists

      As images of bloody civilians fleeing London Bridge filled newsfeeds last June 3, US intelligence and law enforcement officials raced to help investigate an unfolding terrorist assault on America’s closest ally.

      But one group of officers uniquely situated to help was shut out: officials in the Treasury Department bureau that tackles financial crimes and terrorist financing. In the first frantic moments of an attack, the bureau’s databases of banking records can yield invaluable clues about who the killers are, who else is in their cells, and whether more attacks are imminent.

    • [Older] Case Study: Your Tweet Can and Will Be Used Against You

      Police and security services are increasingly outsourcing intelligence collection to third-party companies which are assigning threat scores and making predictions about who we are.

      The rapid expansion of social media, connected devices, street cameras, autonomous cars, and other new technologies has resulted in a parallel boom of tools and software which aim to make sense of the vast amount of data generated from our increased connection. Police and security services see this data as an untapped goldmine of information which give intimate access to the minds of an individual, group, or a population.

      As a result, the police have the ability to enter and monitor our li

    • GPS freaking out? Maybe you’re too close to Putin

      Throughout several days in the end of June, over 20 ships reported problems with GPS reception in the Black Sea. According to experts, the problems were probably a result of an attack on the GPS infrastructure.

    • Technology preview: Private contact discovery for Signal

      Using this service, Signal clients will be able to efficiently and scalably determine whether the contacts in their address book are Signal users without revealing the contacts in their address book to the Signal service.

    • Taking Privacy Seriously: Leaving Google Behind

      Recently, I made the decision to become a little more secure on the internet. I don’t have much to hide except maybe bank account info, but I was struck by a Glenn Greenwald quote from a TED Talk he gave about privacy.

    • Update: EFF Lawsuit Results in Release of More FISC Opinions

      The government has released eleven secret court orders and opinions as a result of an EFF lawsuit seeking to make significant decisions by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) public.

      The documents, which you can read here, primarily deal with requests by U.S. intelligence agencies to access business records from private companies or to obtain non-content records about phone calls and Internet communications under two provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

      We’ve known for years that the intelligence community has abused these authorities—which ostensibly authorize the collection of records or surveillance on individual targets—to engage in mass surveillance. Most famously, the NSA used FISA’s business records authority to collect the call records of millions of Americans. And, from 2004 to 2011, the government also used FISA’s Pen Register/Trap and Trace provision to collect Internet metadata of Americans in bulk.

      Although Congress passed the USA FREEDOM Act in 2015 to prohibit these bulk collection programs, it had long been suspected that the intelligence community had used these authorities to collect other types of information in bulk.

    • If data is the new oil, are tech companies robbing us blind?

      Data is the new oil, or so the saying goes. So why are we giving it away for nothing more than ostensibly free email, better movie recommendations, and more accurate search results? It’s an important question to ask in a world where the accumulation and scraping of data is worth billions of dollars — and even a money-losing company with enough data about its users can be worth well into the eight-figure region.

    • Russia tells Facebook to store data locally or get out

      Russia’s communications watchdog has told Facebook that it will have to store the data of Russian users locally or else face closure next year.

    • Russia Threatens to Shut Facebook Over Local Data Storage Laws

      President Vladimir Putin signed a law in 2014 that requires global internet firms to store personal data of Russian clients on local servers. Companies ranging from Alphabet Inc.’s Google to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd complied, while others like Twitter Inc. demanded extra time to evaluate the economic feasibility of doing so.

    • The Data Tinder Collects, Saves, and Uses

      Under European law, service providers like Tinder are required to show users what information they have on them when requested. This author requested, and this is what she received: [...]

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The DOJ illegally obtained the identities of donors to a legal defense fund I started 5 years ago. Here’s why I’m suing them now and felt strongly motivated to become a plaintiff.
    • British News Channel Touts Amazon Bomb Materials Moral Panic That Ends Up Being About Hobbyists And School Labs

      Moral panics take many forms, from Dungeons & Dragons being a lure to satanism in the eyes of parents to the wonderful theory that playing chess would turn children into violent psychopaths. What these moral panics tend to share in common is the extraction of seemingly nefarious details on a subject which, out of context, are interpreted in a demonizing manner and then exported for public consumption. Thus the public gets often well-meaning but highly misleading information on the terribleness of some innocuous thing.
      This practice continues to this day, often times helped along by a media environment desperate for clicks and eyeballs. A recent example of this would be British media’s Channel 4 News finding that Amazon’s algorithm had a habit of recommending a combination of products together that appeared designed for terrorist-style explosives.

    • Singapore teen blogger Amos Yee walks free in US

      Singaporean teen blogger Amos Yee was released from US detention Tuesday after a court upheld a decision to grant him asylum.
      Photos showed Yee, who has been jailed twice in native Singapore for critical views on race and religion, leaving a US immigration facility in downtown Chicago with a friend and his belongings stuffed in a plastic bag. A photo posted on his Facebook page was captioned: “Amos Yee is now a free man.”

    • DHS says it will force everyone who’s ever immigrated to the USA to hand over social media

      A new DHS policy that will go into effect on Oct 18 will force everyone who’s ever been naturalized as a US citizen or who is currently residing in the USA on a Green Card (I currently reside in the USA on a Green Card) to hand over “social media handles and aliases, associated identifiable information and search results” for permanent scrutiny in our government files.

    • DHS To Officially Require Immigrants’ Files To Contain Social Media Info

      As the report notes, the policy shift was inspired by a terrorist attack the searches might have done little to prevent. The pilot programs rolled out December 2015, meaning the planned intrusiveness expansion predates President Trump’s grandiose border plans.
      This is bound to have a chilling effect on Americans who don’t even plan to travel out of the country. Anyone spending much time interacting with immigrants/visa holders/permanent residents on social media can expect to have their sides of conversations revealed by these searches, even if they’re natural-born US citizens located well outside the DHS’s Constitution-free zones. The latent threat of exposed convos could steer US citizens away from engaging with anyone whose nationality might not be 100% American.
      The new rule is silent on the subject of passwords, but it’s pretty clear reluctance to turn over this info will result in “incomplete” searches of immigrants’ devices. The best case scenario is they’re free to go… without their devices. The worst case is hours of detention while CBP/ICE agents attempt to talk detainees into handing over this information.

    • US Homeland Security Will Start Collecting Social Media Info on All Immigrants October 18th

      The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expanding the kinds of information that it collects on immigrants to include social media information and search results. The new policy, which covers immigrants who have obtained a green card and even naturalized citizens, will take effect on October 18th.

    • Notice of Modified Privacy Act System of Records. [iophk: "very broad, all-encompassing categories of individuals affected by this"]

      5) expand the categories of records to include the following: country of nationality; country of residence; the USCIS Online Account Number; social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results; and the Department of Justice (DOJ), Executive Office for Immigration Review and Board of Immigration Appeals proceedings information;

      [...]

      (11) update record source categories to include publicly available information obtained from the internet [sic], public records, public institutions, interviewees, commercial data providers, and information obtained and disclosed pursuant to information sharing agreements;

      [...]

      CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM: [...]

    • Survey Reveals How Racism Impacts the Lives of Black Americans

      “The Lives and Voices of Black America on Politics, Race and Policy” was commissioned by Ford Foundation via In Our Own Voice: the National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda. The survey tapped 1,003 Black people ages 18 and up from July 18 through August 7 and asked about their views on racism, the current political landscape and the policies that impact their lives every day.

    • Native American Rape Survivors Tell How Deck Is Stacked Against Them

      WHITE EARTH RESERVATION, Minn.—Candice (not her real name) awoke with a start. Someone was pulling down her sweatpants. It was a male friend.

      “Stop!” she shouted.

      He kept groping her. She kicked him and he fell off the bed. She dashed out of the bedroom, tripping and tumbling down the stairs. Gripped with fear, she heard his footsteps behind her in the dark and forced herself to stand upright as she staggered out to the porch.

    • Colin Kaepernick’s Long Victory

      It is amazing how quickly and willingly so many people, when pressed by a discomforting situation, will take on a societal self-policing role that favors power and condemns anyone asking necessary questions. This phenomenon exploded after September 11, goaded on by the likes of Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer, who famously warned us all to “watch what we say.”

      That voluntary silence, that timorous obsequiousness to power, was a huge part of the reason the Bush administration was able to lie the country into war in Iraq. Why don’t you support the troops? Why do you hate America? These obnoxious broadsides were greeted with an enthusiastic “Yeah!” by those who tend toward self-policing, because doing so feels safer, because belonging feels good.

    • UK treatment of foreign nationals ‘could colour’ MEPs’ view on Brexit

      The European parliament’s Brexit coordinator has warned the home secretary that Britain’s recent treatment of foreign nationals could “colour” MEPs’ attitudes to whether they approve a future Brexit deal.

      Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister, has written to Amber Rudd to express leading MEPs’ concerns about a series of incidents highlighted by the Guardian, including the threat to deport a Japanese woman who lives with her Polish husband in London.

    • Oklahoma Is Imprisoning So Many People It Can’t Hire Enough Guards To Keep Up

      In July of this year, some 150 prisoners at the Great Plains Correctional Facility in Tulsa, Okla., rioted. The riot reportedly developed after a fight between prisoners and lasted for about eight hours. Two prison guards were taken hostage before the prisoners were corralled and returned to their cells.

      The incident immediately led to calls for a guard increase. In January, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections announced it had a shortage of correctional officers relative to the state’s growing prison population. Oklahoma has the second highest per-capita incarceration rate in the country, and the highest rates of incarceration for both women and black men.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • After Backlash, Verizon Will Give Rural Data Users A Bit More Time To Get The Hell Off Its Network
    • Mission Accomplished: Ajit Pai’s FCC Declares Wireless Competition Issues Fixed

      The FCC is required by law to offer an annual report on the state of competition in the broadband industry. Depending on who’s in power, and how eager they are to downplay the lack of said competition to the benefit of industry, these reports often provide comical insight into how the regulator fiddles with data to justify policy apathy. Under George W. Bush’s presidency, the FCC declared the wireless industry perfectly competitive. Under the Obama administration, the FCC refused to state one way or the other whether the sector is competitive. Neither party has what you’d call courage when it comes to calling a spade a spade.

    • It’s time for Congress to fire the FCC chairman

      FCC chairman Ajit Pai is genuinely one of the nicest people in Washington. He’s smart, personable, and the kind of guy you’d want to have a beer with. But nice guys don’t always make good policy (I’ve been bipartisan on this), and Pai’s record means real danger for American consumers and the internet itself. If you believe communications networks should be fast, fair, open, and affordable, you need ask your senator to vote against Pai’s reconfirmation. Now.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Patented Seeds Are Terrible—Here’s How We Can Regain Ownership of Our Crop Genetic Resources

      We Americans value the freedom to do what we want with our property. These days, our freedom of action in regard to what we own is increasingly being eroded and constrained by the expansion of corporate power and the evolving legal dimensions of ownership.

      Nowhere has this tendency to limit freedom to operate come into sharper focus than in farming. A farmer may buy a John Deere tractor, but ownership of the copyrighted software—without which the tractor cannot run and cannot be repaired—is retained by the company. According to Deere, the farmer has “an implied lease” to operate the tractor but is prohibited from making any repair or change involving use of the copyrighted code.

    • UN Technology Bank To Build IP Infrastructure In LDCs; Private Sector Funds Needed

      A new United Nations Technology Bank for least-developed countries aimed at growing technology transfer and intellectual property infrastructure across the 48 poorest nations became operational at last week’s annual UN General Assembly in New York. The bank’s creation represents the first target of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved.

    • G7 ICT Ministers: Free Data Flows, More Access To Data, But IP Protection Nonetheless

      Openness, security and the support for innovation through the empowerment of small and medium companies are the three core points of the joint statement of the G7 ICT Ministers after their two-day meeting in Turin, Italy ending today. While the host, Italian Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda, heavily underlined the need to avoid in digitalisation policies the mistakes made in globalisation, many topics of the final statement point to highly familiar commitments, with better protection of intellectual property being one.

    • 5 Shocking Things Nobody Tells You About Getting Tattoos

      But not even your skin is immune to the laws of intellectual property [sic], and getting a pop culture tattoo might just land you a real tricky cease-and-desist order.

    • Copyrights

      • Yet Another Developer Sees That Free Can Work For Video Games As Both An Anti-Piracy Strategy And As Promotion

        We’ve made the argument for some time that there are ways to use giving away free content in order to both stave off the threat of video game piracy and to garner greater attention for the product. For all of the congratulations we heap on game developers for simply not completely freaking out over the fact that piracy exists, far too few of those developers go on to actually take advantage of what freely given away products can do for them. But there are those out there who get it, including Indie Gala, a studio that is essentially giving away its product as it stands for free, both because it wants gamers to get clean copies of the game from clean sites and in order to drive those gamers to the Early Access Steam version of the game.

Battistelli Follows German Law Only When It Suits Him, Three Holidays Just Canceled

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 12:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

King Battistelli ‘kills’ Corpus Christi and All Saints’ Day

Corpus Christi

Summary: EPO workers can wave goodbye to Corpus Christi and All Saints’ Day, not just Reformation Day

THE EPO scandals keep piling up.

Weeks ago we wrote about one holiday being ignored by the so-called 'King Batistelli' and yes, indeed, it’s confirmed now. (epo.org link)

“Battistelli continues to demonstrate that the EPO crisis is one of his own making.”Thousands of people will be forced to go to the Office while everybody else is on holiday. It’s worse than working on a Sunday. But wait, it gets worse as Battistelli “strikes again,” as one reader told us. “Just because his Majesty decided not to recognise Reformation Day, he assumes that the German federal post will also work. However, this is in contradiction to Rule 134(1) EPC.”

This in its own right was pretty serious and very bad. And now (as of today), two public holidays in 2018 will also no longer be recognised. Corpus Christi and All Saints’ Day are gone too! This had to be decided yesterday after a hearing of staff representatives, according to a reader. “EPO staff reps could confirm the President´s intention to cancel public holidays Corpus Christi and All Saints’ Day. However, there has been no official communication about a final decision,” our reader explained.

What a way to attract top talent to the Office. Or show something other than abject disregard for the law. Battistelli continues to demonstrate that the EPO crisis is one of his own making. One might joke that he is intentionally sabotaging the EPO to give rise to UPC.

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.

09.25.17

Links 26/9/2017: Linux 4.14 RC2, Mesa 17.1.10, Red Hat’s Results Published

Posted in News Roundup at 6:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • 10 Tips For First Time Linux Users

      ​New to Linux? Never fear, a superior operating system is here! You’ll go from asking everyone for help to re-compiling your own kernel in no time! (Relevant XKCD).

    • Are These the Toughest Linux Operating Systems to Install?

      It’s important to keep in mind that no matter the Linux operating system you choose to install, what matters is getting it onto your computer and using it. Sure, there may be benefits or drawbacks to whatever setup you pursue, but that’s just how Linux is: various by nature.

      What’s really important is choosing something that best suits you. If you want a high level of flexibility, then by all means, use something like Arch Linux. And if you want something more automated, that’s fine as well. It’s still Linux, after all.

    • FreeType Improvements For The Adobe Engine

      With FreeType 2.8.1 having been released last week, a lot of new code landed in the early hours of today to its Git repository.

      The code landed includes the work done this summer by Ewald Hew for Google Summer of Code (GSoC 17) adding support for Type 1 fonts to the Adobe CFF engine. Type 1 is an older, less maintained font format.

  • Server

    • Future Proof Your SysAdmin Career: Advancing with Open Source

      For today’s system administrators, the future holds tremendous promise. In this ebook, we have covered many technical skills that can be big differentiators for sysadmins looking to advance their careers. But, increasingly, open source skillsets can also open new doors.

      A decade ago, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst predicted that open source tools and platforms would become pervasive in IT. Today, that prediction has come true, with profound implications for the employment market. Participating in open source projects — through developing code, submitting a bug report, or contributing to documentation — is an important way to demonstrate open source skills to hiring managers.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.14-rc2

      I’m back to my usual Sunday release schedule, and rc2 is out there in
      all the normal places.

      This was a fairly usual rc2, with a very quiet beginning of the week,
      and then most changes came in on Friday afternoon and Saturday (with
      the last few ones showing up Sunday morning).

      Normally I tend to dislike how that pushes most of my work into the
      weekend, but this time I took advantage of it, spending the quiet part
      of last week diving instead.

      Anyway, the only unusual thing worth noting here is that the security
      subsystem pull request that came in during the merge window got
      rejected due to problems, and so rc2 ends up with most of that
      security pull having been merged in independent pieces instead.

    • Linux 4.14-rc2 Kernel Released
    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Announces Early 8th Gen Core Processors, Coffee Lake

        Intel has rushed up the announcement of their 8th Gen Intel Core desktop processors following a recent leak. We can now confirm that these new Intel CPUs are en route to retailers, they have already arrived for testing, and will be benchmarked under Linux on Phoronix once that secondary embargo expires.

      • Intel Core i9 7980XE Linux Benchmarks: 18 Core / 36 Threads For $1999 USD

        Besides the embargo expiring this morning on the Intel Core i9 7960X, the Core i9 7980XE Extreme Edition processor is also now fair game. Here is our look at the Linux performance for this 18 core / 36 thread processor within a single 165 Watt package.

      • Intel Core i9 7960X Linux Benchmarks

        While Intel previously announced the expanded Intel Core X-Series line-up including the Core i9 7960X and Core i9 7980XE processors, only today is the performance embargo expiring as these CPUs begin to ship to further battle AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper line-up. Here is today’s launch-day Linux benchmarks of the Core i9 7960X.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • 5 Great Linux Desktop Environments You Haven’t Heard Of

      Although popular, these desktop environments (DE) are just a sample of what’s currently available. Better still, it’s so easy to make the change. Unlike Windows and macOS, you can change the desktop user interface by simply installing a new one. Unhappy with the way your preferred Linux distro looks? You don’t have to switch distros, just switch desktops!

      The following five desktop environments (and, to be precise, shells) are under the radar, but definitely worth a look.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt 5.10 Alpha in testing for KDE neon

        Qt 5.10 got an alpha release last week and rumours are there’s lots of interesting new stuff for Plasma developers and other parts of KDE.

        Packages are available in KDE neon but hidden away in the testing repository because there is inevitably some breakage. Random bits of QML such as the clock above and Kirigami seem to be unhappy. Please do test but expect breakage and fixes to be necessary.

      • KTextEditorPreviewPlugin 0.1.0

        The KTextEditorPreviewPlugin software provides the KTextEditor Document Preview Plugin, a plugin for the editor Kate, the IDE KDevelop, or other software using the KTextEditor framework.

        The plugin enables a live preview of the currently edited text document in the final format. For the display it uses the KParts plugin which is currently selected as the preferred one for the MIME type of the document. If there is no matching KParts plugin, no preview is possible.

      • Quick Look at KDE Plasma 5.11

        KDE released Plasma 5.11 beta version at 14 September 2017. The new star feature here is Plasma Vault, an ability to protect your folder with password. You can try it on the latest KDE neon before the Plasma finally released next October. Here is a quick look to the new things on KDE Plasma on neon dev-unstable.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • BackSlash Linux Olaf

        While using BackSlash, I had two serious concerns. The first was with desktop performance. The Plasma-based desktop was not as responsive as I’m used to, in either test environment. Often times disabling effects or file indexing will improve the situation, but the desktop still lagged a bit for me. My other issue was the program crashes I experienced. The Discover software manager crashed on me several times, WPS crashed on start-up the first time on both machines, I lost the settings panel once along with my changes in progress. These problems make me think BackSlash’s design may be appealing to newcomers, but I have concerns with the environment’s stability.

        Down the road, once the developers have a chance to iron out some issues and polish the interface, I think BackSlash might do well targeting former macOS users, much the same way Zorin OS tries to appeal to former Windows users. But first, I think the distribution needs to stabilize a bit and squash lingering stability bugs.

      • A Quick Review Of Parabola Linux Distribution

        ​There is free software and then there is software that is entirely free as in freedom (libre). These distros are ready-to-use full systems whose developers have followed the Guidelines for Free Systems Distribution as put forward by the Free Software Foundation.

      • Antergos 17.9 Gnome – Ghost riders in the Tux

        Antergos 17.9 is a weird distro, full of polarities. It comes with a weak live session, and it does not really demo what it can do. The installer is good, robust, and if offers some neat tricks, including extra software and proprietary graphics driver. I’m really impressed by that. The installed system behaved reasonably, but with some oddities.

        Hardware support isn’t the best, most notably touchpad and what happened after waking from suspend. On the other hand, you get good smartphone and media support, a colorful and practical software selection, a moderately reasonable package manager with some tiny dependency hiccups, pretty looks, okay performance, and nowhere does it advertise its Archness. Much better than I expected, not as good as it should be. Well, taking everything into consideration, I guess it deserves something like 7.5/10. Antergos needs a livelier live session, more hardware love out of the box, and a handful of small tweaks around desktop usability. Shouldn’t be too hard to nail. Worth watching.

    • New Releases

      • LibreELEC (Krypton) v8.1.2 BETA

        This is the third beta for our 8.2 release. It addresses minor findings related to the Samba bump: we now detect and avoid invalid Samba v3 configurations, old samba.conf.sample templates are overwritten with the new v4 template, and remote SMB shares are mounted using SMB2 or where possible SMB3. The release also adds support for the Raspberry Pi IQAudIO Digi+ board and a Xiaomi BT remote, and includes security fixes for the Blueborne Linux/BlueZ vulnerability. This is hopefully the final 8.1.x beta release; next will be 8.2.0.

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Linux Phasing out i686 (32bit) Support

        In a not very surprising move by the Manjaro Linux developers, a blog post was made by Philip, the Lead Developer of the popular distribution based off Arch Linux, On Sept. 23 that reveals that 32-bit support will be phased out.

        In his announcement, Philip says, “Due to the decreasing popularity of i686 among the developers and the community, we have decided to phase out the support of this architecture. The decision means that v17.0.3 ISO will be the last that allows to install 32 bit Manjaro Linux. September and October will be our deprecation period, during which i686 will be still receiving upgraded packages. Starting from November 2017, packaging will no longer require that from maintainers, effectively making i686 unsupported.”

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Linux turns 25: From business distro leader to cloud power

        Today, SUSE, the oldest Linux business still running, is a long, long way from its humble beginnings. Then, the first SUSE Linux was a German port of Patrick Volkerding’s Slackware, the world’s longest surviving Linux distribution.

      • Enterprise open source comes of age

        In the age of digitalisation and data centre modernisation, open source has come of age.

        This is demonstrated by the growth that enterprise open source software provider SUSE has enjoyed over the last months.

        “SUSE is in good shape,” says Nils Brauckmann, CEO of SUSE. “In the last year, revenue grew at 21%, and it was profitable growth.”

        Business is positive going forward, he adds, with SUSE now part of the larger mothership Micro Focus group following the completion this month of the HPE Software spin merger.

        “Micro focus is now the seventh-largest pure-play software vendor in the world, with revenues approaching $4,5-billion,” Brauckmann points out.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-2 Rolls Out for Ubuntu Phones, Including Nexus 4 & Nexus 7 2013

            The UBports community has released this past weekend the second OTA (Over-the-Air) update to supported Ubuntu Phone devices, bringing support for some old devices that were requested by the community, as well as a set of new features.

          • UbuCon Europe 2017

            I’ve been to many Ubuntu related events before, but what surprises me every time about UbuCons is the outstanding work by the community organising these events.

            Earlier this month, I was in Paris for UbuCon Europe 2017. I had quite high expectations about the event/location and the talks, especially because the French Ubuntu community is known for hosting awesome events several times a year like Ubuntu Party and Ubuntu install parties.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Packet radio lives on through open source software

    Packet radio is an amateur radio technology from the early 1980s that sends data between computers. Linux has natively supported the packet radio protocol, more formally known as AX.25, since 1993. Despite its age, amateur radio operators continue to use and develop packet radio today. A Linux packet station can be used for mail, chat, and TCP/IP. It also has some unique capabilities, such as tracking the positions of nearby stations or sending short messages via the International Space Station (ISS).

  • Change Healthcare Releases Healthcare Blockchain Solution
  • Change Healthcare Introduces Enterprise Blockchain for Healthcare
  • Be Nice: Hyperledger’s Brian Behlendorf Offers Tips for Creating Sustainable Open Source Projects

    The Linux operating system was created some 26 years ago by a young Finnish engineer, and it now powers the global economy. Not only has Linux survived for more than quarter of a century, it continues to grow its influence and dominance.

  • American International University, West Africa Extends Curriculum as Open Source Initiative Member

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), the global non-profit formed to educate about, and advocate for, the benefits of open source software and build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community, announced today that The American International University, West Africa’s (AIUWA) has joined the organization as an Affiliate Member. AIUWA is a unique educational instituion of higher education, combining degree-seeking programs, along with professional development and certification. The program’s mandatory academic and professional courses enable students to graduate with both academic credentials and professional qualifications. AIUWA also serves as a center for health, management, and information technology research and development in Africa.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Adding More Policy Firepower to the Mozilla Network

        In June, Mozilla launched a new fellowship that brings together policy experts from around the world to advance crucial tech policy efforts. Today, we are excited to announce the appointment of seven advisors to help steer this fellowship into the future. We are also announcing one new fellow, bringing the cohort to 11 fellows from four countries who are already up to great work.

        Over the past three months, Mozilla’s Tech Policy Fellows have been digging into their projects to keep the Internet open and freely accessible to all. With most fellows joining directly out of government service, they’re continuing to move forward some of the urgent policy efforts they had been leading, and working to avoid any backsliding that might come with government transitions.

        The fellows’ work is focused on protecting net neutrality, advancing policies around artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, promoting affordable broadband service for vulnerable communities, and more. Amba Kak is our most recent addition, starting this month to work on promoting net neutrality in India.

        To advance this work, the fellows are meeting with policymakers inside and outside of government; they’re keynoting major events and giving press interviews about the importance of these topics; and in the coming weeks, they’ll share more about their work with the Mozilla network on our network blog.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • MongoDB’s Mongo Moment [Ed: Ridiculous. The "journalist" writing about MongoDB here has received many paychecks from the company.]
  • BSD

    • 23 Years of FreeDOS

      This eBook contains the voices of many of the users who contributed their stories, as well as the history of FreeDOS. Many individuals have helped make FreeDOS what it is, but this eBook represents only a few of them. I hope you enjoy this collection of 23 years of everything FreeDOS!

    • Call for testing: OpenSSH 7.6

      OpenSSH 7.6p1 is almost ready for release, so we would appreciate testing
      on as many platforms and systems as possible. This is a bugfix release.

    • OpenSSH 7.6 Is Ready For Testing & Finishes Gutting SSHv1

      OpenSSH 7.6 will be hitting the streets soon.

    • New FreeBSD Committer

      So in a sense I have been part-time part of the FreeBSD Community for nearly 15 years as well. FreeBSD has reached Tier-1 status within KDE now, with the KDE FreeBSD CI, which much stronger upstreaming happening, and with Tobias and Raphael following new releases pretty closely. I’ve been pushing and prodding at our ports tree a lot, and chasing CMake releases (and reporting bugs), and trying to get some KDE KF5-based applications into the official ports tree. So I’m happy to now receive a FreeBSD ports commit bit, with Tobias and Raphael acting as mentors. I won’t pretend this will immediately lead to Qt 5.9 and KDE Applications 17.latest in the official FreeBSD ports tree, but it increases the (direct) effort we can expend on it.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman says Microsoft’s Linux love-in is a ploy to ‘extinguish’ free software

      GNU OS CREATOR Richard Stallman has slammed Microsoft’s Windows 10 subsystem for Linux as an attempt to “extinguish” free software.

      Microsoft, a company whose ex-CEO famously slammed Linux as a “cancer”, has a new found “love” for open source software, having last month released its hell-over-freezing subsystem that lets Windows 10 users run various GNU/Linux distros and software.

      Unsurprisingly, some are sceptical about Microsoft’s new-found enthusiasm for Linux and open source software, including free software advocate, and founder of GNU OS Richard Stallman.

      Speaking to Tech Republic, he said Microsoft’s decision to build a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) amounts to an attempt to extinguish free, open source software.

      “It certainly looks that way. But it won’t be so easy to extinguish us, because our reasons for using and advancing free software are not limited to practical convenience,” he said.

      “We want freedom. As a way to use computers in freedom, Windows is a non-starter.”

      “The aim of the free software movement is to free users from freedom-denying proprietary programs and systems, such as Windows. Making a non-free system, such Windows or macOS or iOS or ChromeOS or Android, more convenient is a step backward in the campaign for freedom.”

    • Microsoft’s Linux enthusiasm may not help open source

      Microsoft has been hitting the headlines lately with its enthusiasm for Linux – but Open Source’s messiah Richard Stallman is less than impressed.

      Vole has been building a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) with its chums in Canonical. But Stallman thinks this amounts to an attempt to extinguish software that users are free to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve.

      “It certainly looks that way. But it won’t be so easy to extinguish us, because our reasons for using and advancing free software are not limited to practical convenience,” he said.

      “We want freedom. As a way to use computers in freedom, Windows is a non-starter.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Free the Seed: An Open Source Approach to Food Crop Seed

      We Americans value the freedom to do what we want with our property. These days, our freedom of action in regard to what we own is increasingly being eroded and constrained by the expansion of corporate power and the evolving legal dimensions of ownership.

      Nowhere has this tendency to limit freedom to operate come into sharper focus than in farming. A farmer may buy a John Deere tractor, but ownership of the copyrighted software—without which the tractor cannot run and cannot be repaired—is retained by the company. According to Deere, the farmer has “an implied lease” to operate the tractor but is prohibited from making any repair or change involving use of the copyrighted code.

    • Synthace raises a £7.3m Series A to bring open source to biotech

      Synthace, a UK startup using open source technology to make process in biotechnology move faster, has raises a £7.3m Series A round. New investors White Cloud Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners and Eleven Two Capital participated alongside existing investors that included Sofinnova Partners, SOSV and Bioeconomy Capital.

      The Company’s Antha operating system replaces processes which are currently done, almost, by hand.

      CEO Tim Fell says the company came out of the desire to better engineer biology: “Our need to heal, feed, fuel and manufacture for a growing population can be met by unlocking the near infinite power of biology but only by bringing software abstraction and more automation to biological R&D and manufacturing, and by enabling biologists to build atop their collective work. That is what the Antha platform does.”

    • Runway to Open Source Machine Learning Research
  • Programming/Development

    • Accelerate Application Modernization with Node.js

      Node.js is much more than an application platform. In a 2016 Forrester report, the research firm talked with several Node.js users and developers to better understand the growth of Node within global enterprises across all a range of industries.

    • GitLab v10 Integrates with Kubernetes

      It’s been six months and two million downloads since GitLab released version 9.0 of its developer-centric integrated application development platform. The company kept busy in the time since, polling nearly 1,000 users at client companies like VMWare, Sony and Ticketmaster to find out what capabilities their developers needed to power up the most enterprise-worthy GitLab release yet.

Leftovers

  • Apple replaces Bing with Google as search engine for Siri and Spotlight

    Apple is ditching Bing and will now use Google to power the default search engine for Siri, Search within iOS (iOS search bar), and Spotlight on Mac.

  • Science

    • Australia to launch its own Space Agency

      Australia is to establish its own space agency with the federal government set to announce plans for the agency as it looks to cash in on the growing global space industry estimated to be worth $400 billion.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New Research Links Flint Water Crisis to ‘Horrifyingly Large’ Spike in Fetal Death Rates

      Shedding new light on the human costs of the ongoing Flint water crisis—as well as underscoring the need for regulatory oversight—a new working paper links the city’s now infamous switch from the Detroit system to the Flint River as a water source with a decrease in fertility rates and a spike in fetal death rates.

      The paper (pdf) from researchers from the University of Kansas and West Virginia University is the first to look at lead-poisoned water’s impact on fertility and birth outcomes. It compares birth and fetal death rates, which refers to miscarriages after 20 weeks of gestation, in Flint with those in other Michigan cities from 2008 to 2015—before and after the 2014 water switch.

    • Ohio Community Confronts the Opioid Crisis Head-On

      Devon Applegate’s life in Scioto County, Ohio, has paralleled one of the worst drug epidemics this nation has ever seen. During his 19 years, he’s watched as opioid pills, dispensed by doctors to seemingly anyone who walked through their doors, destroyed the lives of many people in his community and throughout Ohio.

      The problem grew to a scale that it is now part of a nationwide crisis, leading the Trump administration to contemplate declaring a state of emergency. Southern Ohio is one of the opioid epidemic’s epicenters, and the problem continues to grow. In 2016, 4,050 Ohioans died from unintentional drug overdoses—a thousand more than the year before.

    • Unitaid Official Explains How ‘Breakthrough’ HIV Medicine Pricing Deal Brings Best To The Neediest

      In the midst of the high-level meetings of the annual United Nations General Assembly last week, health officials from the UN and foundations announced what they called a breakthrough pricing agreement that will speed the availability of “the first affordable, generic, single-pill HIV treatment regimen containing [the key compound] dolutegravir to public sector purchasers in low- and middle-income countries at around $75 per person, per year.” A senior official at Unitaid, the drug purchasing mechanism that helped reach the deal, explained to Intellectual Property Watch how it came about and why this is significant.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • CCleaner malware may be from Chinese group: Avast

      Security company Avast says it has found similarities between the code injected into CCleaner and the APT17/Aurora malware created by a Chinese advanced persistent threat group in 2014/2015.

    • Capsule8 Raises New Funds to Help Improve Container Security

      Container security startup Capsule8 is moving forward with beta customer deployments and a Series A round of funding, to help achieve its vision of providing a secure, production-grade approach to container security.

      The Series A round of funding was announced on Sept. 19, with the company raising $6 million, led by Bessemer and ClearSky, bringing total funding to date up to $8.5 million. Capsule8 first emerged from stealth in February 2017, though its’ core technology product still remains in private beta as the company fine-tunes the platform for production workload requirements.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Dozens of Civilians Killed When U.S. Bombed a School And a Market in Syria

      U.S. military aircraft bombed a school and a crowded marketplace in attacks that killed dozens of civilians in Syria this March, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch. Titled “All Feasible Precautions?: Civilian Casualties in Anti-ISIS Coalition Airstrikes in Syria,” the report investigated two airstrikes conducted in and around the northern Syrian city of Tabqa. Investigators who visited the sites and interviewed locals and survivors found that the strikes had caused huge numbers of civilian deaths. The documentation adds to a drumbeat of criticism about a U.S. air campaign in Syria that has already been accused of inflicting massive civilian casualties in support of ground operations against Islamic State by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

      The attacks documented in the report include a March 20 airstrike that targeted a school housing displaced people in the suburban town of Mansourah, outside of Tabqa, as well as another strike that hit a packed marketplace in Tabqa City two days later. Investigators from Human Rights Watch visited the sites of both attacks this July and collected the names of at least 84 civilians who had died in the bombings, including 30 children. While witnesses who spoke to investigators acknowledged that there had been Islamic State members, along with their families, around the areas of the bombings, they also said that there had been many civilians nearby who had no connection to the group.

    • Vote by Iraqi Kurds Adds to Tensions

      It is a foregone conclusion that the independence vote will receive at least 90 percent support. It is also certain that the vote will not immediately change the legal status of the Iraqi Kurdish region from the semi-autonomy it already enjoys. But the possible overreaction of Baghdad and its neighbors to the vote has injected fear and uncertainty about what happens after Monday.

    • As Israel backs Kurdish independence, Palestinians may reap the benefit
    • Kurds vote in independence referendum
    • There Is No Rehabilitating the Vietnam War

      Since the day it ended, in 1975, there have been efforts to rehabilitate the Vietnam War, to make it acceptable, even honorable. After all, there were so many sides to the story, weren’t there? It was so complex, so nuancical. There was real heroism among the troops.

      Of course, all of this is true, but it’s true of every war so it doesn’t redeem any war. The Vietnam War is beyond redemption and must be remembered and condemned for the calamity that it was. The Vietnam War was “one of the greatest American foreign policy disasters of the twentieth century.”

      Those are not the words of a leftist pundit or a scribbling anti-American. They are the words of H.R. McMaster, the sitting National Security Advisor to the President of the United States.

    • North Korea asserts its right to shoot down U.S. bombers
    • US says it’s not pushing for regime change in NKorea

      The Trump administration clarified Monday that it’s not seeking to overthrow North Korea’s government after the president tweeted that Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer” and Pyongyang interpreted it as a declaration of war.

      Ratcheting up the rhetoric further, the North’s top diplomat also argued Monday that Trump’s comment gives it the right to shoot down U.S. warplanes in international airspace.

    • Senate Passes Defense Bill That Would Bolster Nuclear Weapons Programs

      The Senate approved a massive defense policy bill by a vote of 89 to 9 on Monday that is raising concerns about nuclear weapons proliferation amid rising tensions between the United States and countries such as North Korea and Russia.

      The Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual piece of “must-pass” legislation that shapes dozens of policies at the Pentagon, would authorize $640 billion in discretionary defense spending and an additional $60 billion for overseas military operations, such as the ongoing war efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

      What’s the value of $700 billion? It’s more than twice the size of Denmark’s entire economy, and the same amount of money that the government spent bailing out banks during the financial collapse in 2008. Both the Senate and House versions of the bill name amounts that exceed President Trump’s request for military funding by tens of billions of dollars.

      The numbers put forth in the defense authorization bill set the bar for future defense spending legislation and policy determinations. As an authorization bill, this legislation does not actually permit the expenditure of those funds; an appropriations bill is needed for that.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate Armageddon Revisited

      Massive hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Maria) and torrential flooding (Houston, Sierra Leone, Bihar-India, Assam-India, Nepal, Mumbai, Southern Asian Noah’s Ark territory) are only telltale signs, minor events in a bigger picture, like canaries in the proverbial mineshaft, warning of a much larger canvas painted with darkened hues, threatening like the distant rumbling of an upcoming mega storm.

      In that regard, it’s unmitigated insanity to ignore the bellwethers of Armageddon when big time trouble brews, like now. Ominous changes in the planet’s ecosystem are so blatant that anybody ignoring these warning signals should be slapped on the back of the head: Wake up and pay attention!

      After all, Greenland’s entire surface turned to slush for the first time in scientific history, raising the question of whether a tipping point is at hand, in turn, raising sea level by a lot. According to the climate models of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Greenland’s entire ice sheet was not expected to turn 100% slushy for decades to come. Surprise, surprise, it’s here now!

    • While Trump Stokes Division, Warnings Against Ignoring Ongoing Crisis in Puerto Rico

      “No matter what crazy stuff Trump is up to now let’s keep in mind Puerto Rico really needs our attention and help.”

      Those are the words of Mark Ruffalo this weekend as the actor and social justice activist echoed the concerns of many that the president’s incendiary comments over recent days are serving to distract people from the severe crisis in the U.S. island territory, where power remains out for much of the island and residents are growing increasingly worried over the scale of the damage left by Hurricane Maria.

      As journalist David Sirota tweeted, “Houston & FL are destroyed, Puerto Rico is in crisis & Trump wants u to be mad not at his climate denialism but instead at NFL players.”

      In an interview with the Washington Post on Sunday, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz described the disaster in her city and across Puerto Rico—elsewhere described as “apocalyptic”—by saying, “There is horror in the streets… People are actually becoming prisoners in their own homes.”

    • China puts US on notice over solar panel trade curbs ahead of Trump trip

      Beijing sent a tempered warning to Washington against trade curbs on the weekend after a US agency concluded that imports of Chinese solar panels had hurt two American manufacturers.
      China’s Ministry of Commerce called on the United States to “exercise caution” on trade restrictions and rejected the US International Trade Commission’s ruling on Friday that the cheap imports were responsible for the woes of the two companies.

      The commission now has two months to review the case and make recommendations, such as tariffs, to US President Donald Trump. If Trump does not take action he could be seen as failing to meet his “America First” protectionist agenda; if he does, it could overshadow his planned trip to China later this year.

      In a statement on Saturday, Wang Hejun, director of the ministry’s Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau, said the commission’s ruling ignored strong opposition from other countries, US state governments, and “downstream” solar enterprises.

    • A pile of trash in the ocean has grown to the size of France—and some people want it recognized as a nation

      There’s a country-sized problem in the north Pacific Ocean: a patch of trash has grown to the size of France. So the environmental charity Plastic Oceans Foundation has paired up with the news and entertainment publication LadBible to campaign for it to be recognized as an official country.

      The campaign claims that, under Article 1 of the 1993 Montevideo Convention on the rights and duties of states, a country must be able to: define a territory, form a government, interact with other states, and have a permanent population. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has borders (sort of), and it’s easy to create a government and institutions for interacting with others. Now with former US vice president Al Gore signing up as the country’s first citizen and more than 100,000 signing the petition to be granted citizenship, the campaign has submitted its application earlier this month to the United Nations to recognize the Trash Isles as the world’s 196th country.

      The project is the brainchild of advertising professionals Michael Hughes and Dalatando Almeida, according to AdWeek. Designer Mario Kerkstra helped create a flag, a passport, currency (called debris), and stamps.

    • The U.S. government fails Puerto Rico once again.

      But PROMESA is essentially an austerity measure. The financial oversight board charged with PROMESA’s implementation has proposed slashing public spending, further eroding the island’s worn safety net. “The plan includes cuts to the University of Puerto Rico, a reduction in pension benefits and a $550 million reduction in the island’s annual health care budget,” Marketplace reported in March.

      The federal government has long treated Puerto Rico like a vestigial organ, despite the fact that its 3.4 million residents are U.S. citizens. Puerto Rico needs aid, but it needs more than that; it needs equal recognition. It should be recognized as a state and funded accordingly—and if Congress isn’t willing to do that, it should end over a century of colonial rule and recognize the island’s independence.

    • Dubai starts tests in bid to become first city with flying taxis

      Dubai staged a test flight on Monday for what it said would soon be the world’s first drone taxi service under an ambitious plan by the United Arab Emirates city to lead the Arab world in innovation.

      The flying taxi developed by German drone firm Volocopter resembles a small, two-seater helicopter cabin topped by a wide hoop studded with 18 propellers.

      It was unmanned for its maiden test run in a ceremony arranged for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed

    • Hot, isolated, and running out of supplies, parts of Puerto Rico near desperation

      In the heat and humidity here in the central mountains, Meryanne Aldea fanned her bedridden mother with a piece of cardboard Sunday as the ailing woman lay on her side, relieving a large ulcer in her back.

      The 63-year-old mother, Maria Dolores Hernandez, had cotton stuffed in her ears to keep flies out, since her now screenless windows were letting all sorts of bugs in. The gray-haired diabetic woman spoke with her daughter about her worries: that she would run out of prescription drugs, that they were almost out of generator fuel to keep her insulin refrigerated and to run the fans at night. With all the heat, she feared that her ulcer would become infected.

    • Chevron Rejects Push From Muslim Shareholders to Divest from Myanmar, Site of Ethnic Cleansing

      The world watches as the crisis continues in Myanmar, where the Muslim Rohingya minority faces barbaric acts of ethnic cleansing.

      The international community is increasingly critical of leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s resistance to intervention.

      But as the Nobel Laureate sits on her hands, a small Muslim-led investment firm led an effort to get a U.S. oil giant profiting from Myanmar’s fossil fuel wealth to divest in protest of the atrocities.

      The Virginia-based Azzad Asset Management started engaging in shareholder activism in 2015, a rarity among Islamic finance firms.

  • Finance

    • DeVos Says Defrauded Students Are After ‘Free Money’

      But perhaps none of that occurred to sheltered billionaire Betsy DeVos, speaking to wealthy Republicans at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in northern Michigan. These defrauded students are not seeking free money, but a chance to start again with nothing after being ripped off by cruel scam artists. Free money would be something like being born the daughter of Edgar Prince, who became a billionaire industrialist. Betsy DeVos is a disgrace.

    • Target to raise its minimum wage to $11 per hour, promising $15 by 2020
    • Why We Must Raise Taxes on Corporations and the Wealthy, Not Lower Them

      When Barack Obama was president, congressional Republicans were deficit hawks. They opposed almost everything Obama wanted to do by arguing it would increase the federal budget deficit.

      But now that Republicans are planning giant tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, they’ve stopped worrying about deficits.

      Senate Republicans have agreed to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, which means giant budget deficits.

    • Bridge over troubled legal water? Legal issues of the Brexit transition period

      Compared to famous Florentines, Theresa May’s recent speech on the UK’s Brexit plans inevitably owed more to Machiavelli than Leonardo da Vinci. Nevertheless, it gave a rough indication of the basic legal architecture that the UK government would like to govern its relationship with the EU for a transition period after Brexit Day. I have previously summarised and commented upon the main points of the Florence speech, but there is more to say on this legal framework – and also on the rules which would apply to EU27 citizens in the UK during the transition period.

    • Brexit bonanza: Lawyers encouraging corporations to sue UK & EU member states

      Brexit could become a money-making machine for law firms that make millions when corporations sue nation states via trade and investment agreements. Not only are these law firms paving the way for Brexit-related corporate claims against the UK, they are also building up the UK as a gateway for more investor claims against EU countries in the future.

    • John Oliver on monopolies, anti-trust and the death of real competitive markets

      Lax anti-trust enforcement is destroying American democracy, growth and equality; it laid waste to minority-owned small businesses and “fleeced” the middle class, creating its own parallel “justice” system and laying waste to whole industries, with the complicity of the Democratic party (and the $1,000/hour expert “consulting” by superstar economists), and there’s no end in sight, from Yahoo to Whole Foods.

    • Brexit diary – After Florence

      What should we make of it?

      In respect of the Brexit negotiations, the speech has made little difference. The position before the Florence speech is more-or-less the position today. The only concrete proposal, that of a security treaty, was welcome but not directly relevant to the current negotiations.

      [...]

      But if the speech was not in itself a failure, the speech was about failure.

      The request – which may or may not be granted by EU27 – for a two year transition on current terms is an implicit admission of the UK government’s failure to date on Brexit.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Ukraine-born billionaire with biz ties to Russian oligarchs is funding Trump’s legal defense via the RNC

      The RNC account in question has been historically used to pay for the RNC’s own legal bills, but just last month paid over $300,000 to help cover Trump’s personal legal expenses, Federal Election Commission filings reveal.

      Oh, and that same fund also paid about $200,000 to attorneys representing the President’s dumbest son, Don Jr.

    • Facebook Fail Is Blow for Silicon Valley Cult of Founder Control
    • Obama warned Zuckerberg about fake news on Facebook: report

      Obama reportedly pulled Zuckerberg aside at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru in November and warned him that unless he cracked down on fake news, it would only get worse in the next election.

    • Facebook Anonymously Admits It IDed Guccifer 2.0 in Real Time

      But 26 paragraphs later, WaPo reveals a detail that should totally change the spin of the article: in June, Facebook not only detected APT 28’s involvement in the operation (which I heard at the time), but also informed the FBI about it (which, along with the further details, I didn’t).

    • Kushner used private email account for White House business: Politico
    • Lawyer: Kushner used personal email for some WH messages

      President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, used his personal email account on dozens of occasions to communicate with colleagues in the White House, his lawyer said Sunday.

      Between January and August, Kushner either received or responded to fewer than 100 emails from White House officials from his private account, attorney Abbe Lowell said in a statement that confirmed Kushner’s use of a personal address in the first months of the administration.

      The use of a private email account to discuss government matters is a politically freighted issue that factored prominently in last year’s presidential election. Trump repeatedly attacked Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton for setting up a private email server as secretary of state, a decision that prompted an FBI investigation that shadowed her for much of the campaign.

      In Kushner’s case, Lowell said, the emails to and from his private account usually involved “forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal, rather than his White House, address.”

    • Watchdog: Ivanka Trump used personal email account for government business

      Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to communicate with a member of President Trump’s administration, a watchdog group said Monday.

      American Oversight obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that show Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser to her father, used a personal email account to contact Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Linda McMahon in February.

      Ivanka Trump wrote that she wanted to “explore opportunities to collaborate” with McMahon’s department on “women’s entrepreneurship,” according to the emails released under FOIA.
      “Dina [Powell, the White House deputy national security director] and I are very excited about your focus on women’s entrepreneurship and would love to assist you in any way we can,” Ivanka Trump wrote.

      The documents show Ivanka Trump exchanged the emails with McMahon about a month before she became an official government employee, though she had been involved with high-level meetings within the administration. However, Ivanka Trump copied her chief of staff, Julie Radford, on the emails. In them, Radford has a White House email account.

    • Western Propaganda in Southeast Asia

      It is all done in a fully barefaced manner. Those who are not part of this world could never even dream about such a ‘perfect’ design.

      You come to your club, in my case to The Foreign Correspondent Club of Thailand (FCCT), and immediately the long arm of indoctrination begins stretching towards you.

      You place yourself on a comfortable couch, and soon after get fully serviced. You get instructed, told what to think and how to formulate or modify your ideas.

      You are periodically shown movies about “corruption and immorality” in China. You get encouraged to participate in some public discussions that are, among other things, trashing the anti-Western president of the Philippines.

    • Report: Jared Kushner used private email for White House business
    • How digital media fuels moral outrage – and what to do about it

      But in today’s online attention economy, attending to the outrageous feels less like writing a check and more like setting up an automatic withdrawal. Open Facebook or Twitter, and you are likely to be greeted by a bottomless feed of outrage-triggering stimuli on matters both momentous and trifling, all handpicked just for you by an artificial intelligence that gets smarter each time you click, tap, and scroll.

    • Facebook’s Ad Scandal Isn’t a ‘Fail,’ It’s a Feature

      Here’s the hard truth: All these problems are structural. Facebook is approaching half-a-trillion dollars in market capitalization because the business model — ad-targeting through deep surveillance, emaciated work force, automation and the use of algorithms to find and highlight content that entice people to stay on the site or click on ads or share pay-for-play messages — works.

      The trouble is Facebook’s business model is structurally identical whether advertisers are selling shoes, politics or fake diet pills, and whether they’re going after new moms, dog lovers or neo-Nazis. The algorithms don’t know the difference, and Facebook’s customers are not its users.

    • Iceland’s ‘Pirate’ Politician Won’t Run After Government Collapses In Pedophilia Scandal

      Nearly one year after she first took office in 2009, the Icelandic parliamentarian and co-founder of the populist Pirate Party worked with WikiLeaks to release a video of a U.S. helicopter gunning down a group of civilians and journalists in Baghdad. She became a fierce critic of American-led wars, a vocal advocate for radical transparency and a prime target for U.S. intelligence services, which subpoenaed her private Twitter messages.

    • “Those People:” Trump plays to White nat’lism from N. Korea to NFL

      He actually said “those people.”

    • MSNBC Goes Full Dr. Strangelove

      Oh, in addition to his crimes against humanity, Negroponte also endorsed Hillary Clinton, who obviously shared his interest in perpetuating mass suffering among nonwhite, non-loyal Hondurans. And she trumpeted his endorsement loudly, as she did with Henry Kissinger. Not that there’s anything tone-deaf about that.

      It turns out that old John Negroponte was very impressed with Trump’s speech—only Benjamin Netanyahu was more girlish in his excitement. But surely Jack Jacobs, decorated war hero, would call out the insanity of threatening to commit war crimes in a speech at The United Nations. And Williams teed it up for him, asking Jacobs how America could start to “walk back” Trump’s Jack D. Ripper idiocy.

    • Split exposed in German far-right as co-leader storms out

      Frauke Petry, the co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) said on Monday she would not be part of the parliamentary group of her anti-immigrant party and stormed out of a news conference without answering questions.

      Petry’s surprise announcement came after the AfD shocked the German establishment by scoring 12.6 percent in the national election on Sunday, meaning it will be the first far-right party to enter the German parliament in more than half a century.

    • Angela Merkel, Reluctant Leader of the West, ‘Has Gotten the Taste for It’
    • Support grows for second Brexit vote

      Support for a second referendum on Brexit is growing among British voters, amid diminishing optimism about the U.K.’s future outside the European Union and waning confidence in London and Brussels’ handling of the divorce negotiations, according to a detailed new poll shared exclusively with POLITICO.

      Just over half of those surveyed said they back some form of a second referendum, with the most popular scenario being a vote to either accept the government’s Brexit deal, or to stay in the EU — an option backed by 34 percent. That is up from 28 percent in a similar survey in March, according to new findings from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQRR). In the earlier survey, 45 percent of people backed a second referendum — although these figures include public votes that would still mean the U.K. leaves the EU under either outcome.

    • The White House as Donald Trump’s New Casino

      During the 2016 election campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly emphasized that our country was run terribly and needed a businessman at its helm. Upon winning the White House, he insisted that the problem had been solved, adding, “In theory, I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly. There’s never been a case like this.”

      Sure enough, while Hillary Clinton spent her time excoriating her opponent for not releasing his tax returns, Americans ultimately embraced the candidate who had proudly and openly dodged their exposure. And why not? It’s in the American ethos to disdain “the man” — especially the taxman. In an election turned reality TV show, who could resist watching a larger-than-life conman who had taken money from the government?

      Now, give him credit. As president, The Donald has done just what he promised the American people he would do: run the country like he ran his businesses. At one point, he even displayed confusion about distinguishing between them when he said of the United States: “We’re a very powerful company — country.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • 68 Things You Cannot Say on China’s Internet

      Song Jie, a writer in central China, knows what she can and cannot write in the romance novels she publishes online. Words that describe explicit sexual acts are out, of course. So are those for sexual organs. Even euphemisms like “behind” or “bottom” can trigger censorship by automatic software filters or a website’s employees.

      “Basically,” she said, “the sex scenes cannot be too detailed.”

      Other prohibitions inside China’s Great Firewall, the country’s system of internet filters and controls, are trickier to navigate, in part because they are subjective and even contradictory. And there are more and more of them.

      While China has long sought to block access to political material online, a flurry of new regulatory actions aims to establish a more expansive blockade, recalling an earlier era of public morality enforced by the ruling Communist Party.

      In a directive circulated this summer, the state-controlled association that polices China’s fast-growing digital media sector set out 68 categories of material that should be censored, covering a broad swath of what the world’s largest online audience might find interesting to read or watch.

    • How The RIAA Helped Pave The Way For Spain To Undermine Democracy

      This might seem like a harsh title, but let’s go back a bit into history. In 2010, at the direct urging of the RIAA, the US government, in the form of ICE, suddenly decided that it could seize domains right out from under websites with zero due process. Specifically, the RIAA gave ICE a list of websites that it insisted were engaging in piracy. It later turned out that this list was completely bogus — and the seized domains included some music blogs and a search engine — and when ICE asked the RIAA to provide the evidence (incredibly, many months after seizing the domains…), it turns out that they had none. Even with all of this, ICE kept one blog’s domain for over a year, while denying that site’s lawyer even the chance to talk to the judge overseeing the case — and (even more incredibly) kept two other sites for five whole years.
      The RIAA, who was directly quoted in the affidavit used to seize these domains (including falsely claiming that a non-RIAA song, that was personally given to the site by the independent artist in question, was an RIAA song and infringing) later tried to downplay its role in all of this, while still insisting that seizing entire domains based on flimsy claims and zero evidence was a perfectly reasonable strategy.

    • French Ministry of Interior v. Indymedia: An absurd and shocking act of censorship

      Last Thursday, the French Ministry of Interior ordered two Indymedia websites, one in Nantes and the other in Grenoble, to take down an anonymous tract claiming responsibility for fire arson in a police hangar the previous night. According to the government, the hosted text constitutes a “provocation to terrorism”. The two Indymedia sites decided to take down the litigious content, in order to avoid being put on the secret blocking list sent by the government to major ISPs in France to censor websites. While the text has also been relayed on the websites of traditional news outlets, the latter have apparently not been subject to the government’s takedown request.

    • China’s Censors Pull Revered Director’s Film Days Before Release, Outraging Industry

      Marketing efforts and ticket presales for Feng Xiaogang’s ‘Youth’ were already well advanced when authorities suddenly blocked its release, offering no explanation.

      Youth, the 17th film from renowned Chinese filmmaker Feng Xiaogang, had been billed as a possible commercial and critical return to form. But a sudden heavy-handed censorship decision may have just laid such hope to waste.

      A sweeping period drama set during the upheavals of 1970s China, the film was well received at its world premiere during the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, with critics praising its balance between Feng’s auteurist and crowd-pleasing impulses — traits that once earned him the nickname of “China’s Spielberg.” Commercial prospects for Beijing studio Huayi Brothers, the film’s lead producer (which could use a hit), were also thought to be strong, as the film was set to open Sept. 29, just prior to a lengthy national holiday period in China.

    • Twitter Censorship: Government Removal Requests
    • The New Censorship
    • China Blocks WhatsApp, Broadening Online Censorship
    • WeChat claims it stores all user data and could even ‘disclose’ it to the Chinese government
    • Banned Books Week: Unveiling NCAC’s Book Censorship Action Kit

      “Banning books? That doesn’t happen in the United States.”

      Unfortunately, attempts at censorship don’t only happen in places like China or Iran.

    • Banned Books Week: ‘In 2017, censorship comes from an outraged public’
    • Why We Need to Have Access to Banned Books

      This week is the American Library Association’s official Banned Books Week, where we celebrate books that have survived troubled times, literary shunning and, occasionally, potential legal persecution.

      Oddly enough, most of the books that faced so much trouble are ones we now consider essential to the literary sphere.

      As we (or at least I) celebrate Banned Books week by buying out Barnes and Noble’s entire stock, we should remember that without these books, the world at large could have a much narrower worldview.

    • Where to Celebrate Banned Books Week 2017!
    • Panel celebrates freedom to read
    • Remain vigilant on Chinese censorship, says academic
    • Blazing saddles dim memory in new dark age of censorship, witch-hunts
    • China’s cyber watchdog imposes top fines on tech firms over censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Is the NSA Doing More Harm Than Good in Not Disclosing Exploits?

      The current debate surrounding the Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP) — the process by which the U.S. government decides whether to disclose newly discovered software vulnerabilities or keep them secret for possible use — is admittedly rather tedious. One side accuses NSA of “exploit hoarding” and insists the agency should disclose more discovered vulnerabilities in the interest of public safety. The other side counters that the government should retain a responsible amount of so-called zero-day exploits and that it discloses them when reasonable. Both sides, however, often talk past the obvious point that there will always be vulnerabilities the NSA needs to retain for national security reasons. Even those who encourage the NSA to prioritize defense over retention of vulnerabilities for offensive use should acknowledge that disclosure of a vulnerability makes us more secure only if it is either already in the hands of — or independently discovered — by an adversary.

    • Accused NSA leaker Reality Winner seeks release from jail
    • Accused NSA Leaker Reality Winner Seeks Release From Jail
    • Accused Georgia NSA leaker appearing in court this week to ask for release
    • ePrivacy Campaign starts today, act now!

      A decisive vote for our online privacy will take place in the European Parliament in two weeks. If we do not act now, companies will be allowed to monitor us for business purposes and without our consent (through the analysis of our emails, calls and Internet usage, online tracking and geolocation). La Quadrature du Net starts today an awareness campaign, so that anyone can contribute to this fight for our rights: eprivacy.laquadrature.net.

      There are two weeks left to convince the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs’) in the ‘Civil Liberties’ Committee (LIBE) to protect our privacy. On 11 October, they will vote their draft report on the ePrivacy Regulation. This report will be the basis on which the Parliament will approach this key Regulation before negotiating it with the Council of the EU (made of the government of each Member State).

    • Campaign group chief found guilty of refusing to divulge passwords

      The international director of the campaign organisation Cage has been convicted of a terrorist offence after refusing to hand over passwords to his mobile phone and laptop.

      Muhammad Rabbani, 36, was found guilty at Westminster magistrates’ court of wilfully obstructing police when he refused to cooperate at Heathrow airport last November. The test case could affect the way thousands of suspects stopped at UK airports and ports every year interact in the future with anti-terrorist officers.

      Rabbani was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay £620 in costs. His lawyers plan to appeal to the high court on the grounds that existing police powers do not sufficiently protect privacy or legally privileged material.

    • Traveler who refused to give device passwords to police found guilty of obstruction in UK court

      A UK court has reaffirmed the power for state agents to use sweeping counterterrorism legislation to require travelers hand over the passwords for their digital devices for their contents to be searched at borders.

      A London court today found Muhammad Rabbani guilty of willfully obstructing the police by failing to hand over device passwords and the PIN code for his smartphone after he had been detained at a UK airport.

    • The race to save online privacy: what happens when quantum computers can break all our crypto?

      Although many people are well aware of the many threats to their privacy, there is an underlying assumption that the use of strong encryption will always be available to mitigate those problems. Governments will doubtless continue to push for backdoors in encrypted Internet services like WhatsApp. But even if they do get their way by some misfortune, there are open source implementations that will remain beyond the reach of any government. As soon as commercial offerings are compromised, free software versions can step in for those who want such protection.

      [...]

      Even if new encryption methods are introduced for future protection, there’s nothing to stop people using quantum computing to expose information that has been protected using today’s crypto. For example, the NSA or GCHQ might be storing encrypted emails and communications of interest that they have swept up as part of their global surveillance. Those might be impossible to read today, but in a few years’ time, when quantum computers are available to deep-pocketed intelligence agencies, the latter will be able to eavesdrop on all those conversations we thought were guaranteed to be private, which could have some interesting consequences in years to come.

    • NSA-Developed Crypto Technology No Longer Trusted For Use In Global Standards

      One of the most shocking pieces of information to emerge from the Snowden documents was that the NSA had paid RSA $10 million to push a weakened form of crypto in its products. The big advantage for the NSA was that it made it much easier to decrypt messages sent using that flawed technology. A few months after this news, the National Institute of Standards and Technology announced that it would remove the “Dual Elliptic Curve” (Dual EC) algorithm from its recommendations. But of course, that’s not the end of the story. Betraying trust is always a bad idea, but in the security field it’s an incredibly stupid idea, since trust is a key aspect of the way things work in that shadowy world.

    • NSA Encryption War – if they win do we lose?

      Security agencies like the NSA are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

      We want their protection but we don’t want to give them the tools and access they need to protect us. Abuse is obviously a big concern here and if the movies can be believed, we have good reason to be worried.

      This debate is going to rage on until there is more convergence between cybercrime and cyber terrorism. We are already seeing cyber terrorists leveraging the web more than ever before.

      Once we start seeing remotely controlled loss of life, public opinion will no doubt swing to wanting to give the security agencies the tools and access they need.

    • Woman charged after uploading nude picture of friend getting dressed to Facebook

      A 22-year-old woman faces two years in prison after being charged with taking a nude photograph of her friend while she was getting dressed and then unlawfully uploading it to Facebook without her permission.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Trump doubles down on NFL rant, clearly has no idea how all this works

      If there’s anything constructive to take from Donald Trump’s continuing crusade against black athletes in the NFL protesting racial injustices in America, it’s that he seems to have lost touch with reality.

      Less than 24 hours after his initial, poorly received remarks that took the league’s protesting players to task, the 45th president of the United States is using his favorite social media platform to double down. In a pair of Saturday tweets, he seems to suggest that he’s somehow empowered to fire NFL players.

    • Freezing immigrants’ bank accounts makes Britain look more and more dystopian

      There’s a flashback in one of the early episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale, the TV version of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, where June, the protagonist, tries to pay for a coffee under the new regime and her card is declined. She discovers that every woman’s bank account has been frozen, and she is now entirely reliant on her partner for money. Deprived of money, she realises, there is even less chance she can flee. It is a remarkable reminder of the way the state can control the population with the click of a button.

      The government’s decision to force banks and building societies to freeze the accounts of failed asylum seekers, foreign national offenders and visa overstayers has a ring of The Handmaid’s Tale – only in this case, Theresa May really wants them to leave. As home secretary, she oversaw the creation of “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants, including requiring landlords to check their tenant’s immigration status, and a “deport first, appeal later” policy.

    • #TakeaKnee Sunday as NFL Teams and Players Rebuff President Trump

      Sunday is game day for the National Football League and the hashtag #TakeaKnee is going viral as people across the nation see how players and teams respond to calls by President Donald Trump to punish players who do so.

      For the earliest round of games that began at 1:00 pm (EST), dozens of players knelt while many teams chose to stand with arms locked together in a show of solidarity (see below).

      Despite that the NFL has been a vocal (and official) sponsor of the U.S. military for years—acting mostly as a high-profile promoter and recruitment center for the Pentagon—a wave of protest initiated last year by players trying to draw attention to racism and police violence has swept the league into the political conversation this week after Trump, first at a rally on Friday night and then in a series of weekend tweets, called on team owners to fire or suspend players for voicing their views on social issues.

    • 10 Clarifying #TakeaKnee Tweets to Beat Back Idiotic Arguments by Right-Wingers

      With #TakeaKnee going viral on Sunday as NFL players push back against threats by President Donald Trump, those who support the president’s position that professional athletes—and especially black or brown professional athletes—should just do as they are told and not speak their minds were infecting the social media hashtag with a variety of racist and otherwise ill-considered arguments about why “millionaire players” shouldn’t have or express political views. (Also, it’s all about the flag and misguided pro-war patriotism, aka freedom.)

    • NFL Players Kneel During National Anthem At Ravens and Jaguars Games In Protest of Trump and Racism

      Dozens of NFL players and staff took a knee during the national anthem Sunday at the first game after President Donald Trump criticized the practice at a rally in Alabama. The game was between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens in London.

    • Why the World Feels Like It’s Going Crazy

      Is it just a coincidence that the US, UK, and Germany (not to mention Turkey, Hungary, and so on) have all swung hard right in the last year or so? That suddenly one day, the citizens of three of the world’s richest countries woke up and decided collectively on extremism, for no underlying, connected, shared reason? Does that sound plausible? I think that the opposite is true: to any reasonable person, there is now a sharp trend very clearly visible. And as with any trend, there must be a cause.

    • Violent Crime in U.S. Rises for Second Consecutive Year
    • Torturing Detainees Is Immoral and Ineffective, Says UN Human Rights Chief

      A Manual for Investigative Interviewing to abolish torture among detainees suspected of crime is in the pipeline, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said today.

      At an event held on the sidelines of the General Assembly, Al Hussein slammed the practice of torture and called upon countries to abolish it entirely. In recent years, numerous studies have shown that information obtained through torture is not reliable, and from the interrogator’s perspective, even counterproductive. This is in part because flagrant abuse of human rights provokes anger among communities.

      “This destruction of public trust is profoundly damaging. When added to the perception that police abuses and humiliation of specific communities is tolerated – based on economic, geographic, ethnic, religious or other distinctions – it will certainly exacerbate tensions and may lead to serious violence,” Al Hussein said.

    • NFL spokesman: ‘This is what real locker room talk is’

      NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart made a not-so-subtle jab at President Trump during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

      “Looking at yesterday, everyone should know, including the President, this is what real locker room talk is,” said Lockhart, who served as press secretary under President Clinton. “We don’t seek to get into political debates or relish being in the middle of it, but extraordinary statements from our clubs and owners demonstrate just how deeply we believe in our players and in our game.”

    • NFL Owners and Executives Who Protested Donald Trump Are the Biggest Hypocrites Yet

      AS 3.5 MILLION AMERICANS languished without power in Puerto Rico this weekend, President Donald Trump turned his attention instead to NFL players who had decided to take a knee during the national anthem to protest injustice, bigotry, and police brutality in the U.S.

      “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!’” the president bellowed at a rally for a special election in Alabama. The owners who fired players, Trump said, would quickly be among the most popular men in America.

      Trump directed some of the harshest words of his presidency not at ascendant neo-Nazis or even opposition politicians, but peaceful NFL stars, many of them black, taking a knee to bring attention to a cause they care about deeply. What makes this so unique is that it wasn’t a Joe Biden hot mic moment: It was an intentional attack on free speech.

    • Police posed a greater danger to journalists than demonstrators in St. Louis

      Last weekend, I covered the protests in St. Louis along with Ellie Cherryhomes, one of my fellow photojournalism students at MU, and several other press photographers and videographers from news outlets across the country.

      People had gathered in the streets to protest the acquittal of police officer Jason Stockley, who fatally shot motorist Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. As in Ferguson in 2014, the protests came from a community hurt by police killings. It’s important to note that for the vast majority of this past weekend, the protests were peaceful. Police, in turn, were relatively restrained in their behavior — until Sunday night.

    • All The NFL Players Who Protested National Anthem In Week 3

      During the third week of the National Football League season, the NFL responded to President Donald Trump’s comments slurring players, who take a knee during the national anthem to protest injustice, police brutality, and systemic racism. The owners and coaches linked arms to show Trump he would not divide them. But there were several players, who took stronger action and continued to engage in the tactic of taking a knee.

      Taking a knee started with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the 2016 preseason. He declared, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” (He was referring to police who gun down black men and face nearly zero consequences for their actions.)

    • Diane Abbott urges end to online abuse of BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg

      Diane Abbott has called for an end to online abuse of the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, and asked why it is female journalists and politicians that so often find themselves in the firing line.

      The shadow home secretary said she was saddened to hear that Kuenssberg was being accompanied by a security guard at Labour conference after facing a backlash from some Jeremy Corbyn supporters over claims of bias.

      Asked if she would call on supporters not to indulge in online abuse, Abbott, who faced more attacks than any other politician during the recent election campaign, said: “Oh definitely. Don’t do it. Just don’t do it. There is a positive case to make on Jeremy online, make that positive case. You don’t have to be abusing other people.”

    • Texas Schedules Execution but Refuses DNA Tests That Could Prove a Man’s Innocence

      When hunters walking in the piney woods of Sam Houston National Forest in East Texas found the body of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter on January 2, 1999, her jeans were torn and her shirt was pulled up. There was tissue damage on her face from scavenging animals and a length of pantyhose, which had been used to strangle her, was tied around her neck.

      Trotter had been missing since December 8, 1998, when she disappeared from the Montgomery County community college where she was a first-year student. Three days later, on unrelated warrants, the police arrested Larry Swearingen, a 27-year-old unemployed electrician with a young family and a history of run-ins with the law. Police suspected Swearingen was Trotter’s killer. He had been seen talking with Trotter two days before her disappearance outside a local store near Lake Conroe, which abuts the national forest. On the day she went missing, he was seen chatting with her in the college library.

      After the body was found some three weeks later, Swearingen was charged with Trotter’s kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder. There was little in the way of hard evidence to back up the charges. In addition to the two times he was seen talking to Trotter prior to her disappearance, the state pointed to a lie he told, claiming he didn’t know who Trotter was, and to a letter he wrote while jailed in which he pretended to be someone else and claimed knowledge about the murder that officials said only the killer would know.

    • People Power Is Taking the Voting Rights Fight to Kris Kobach

      The ACLU’s 50-state voting rights campaign will start in Kansas, where Kobach’s voter suppression efforts have created chaos.

      Donald Trump is obsessed with proving that voter fraud is a huge problem in the United States, not only to justify his false claim that he won the popular vote but also, and more importantly, to legitimize an attack on voting rights.

      To do this, Trump has turned to Kris Kobach, Kansas’s secretary of state and a longtime opponent of voting rights. He tapped Kobach to lead a voter fraud commission that has drawn scrutiny for trying to collect personal data about every voter in the country, promoting blatant falsehoods about supposed instances of voter fraud in the 2016 election, sanctioning voter suppression, and operating in secrecy in violation of federal law.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Velcro’s Hilarious Trademark Lesson Video Actually A Good Lesson In Just How Stupid Trademark Law Has Become

        So, you’ve probably heard stories in the past about the fear some trademark lawyers have about “genericide” — where their product’s name becomes so attached to the product that it’s considered generic and the trademark no longer applies? Think kleenex and xerox for example. We’ve found, over the years, that people get a bit too worked up about this, leading trademark lawyers to make some really dumb demands along the way to try to “prevent” what is generally impossible to actually prevent. We also often see people claim (falsely) that this means companies are required to stop any and all uses of their mark, even when not infringing (or, even worse, seeing people falsely claiming that the same thing applies to copyright). Either way, the company Velcro has taken… well… quite a unique approach to the fact that everyone calls their most famous product “velcro” — even when made by competitors. They made an absolutely hilarious “We are the World”-style video begging you not to call it Velcro and telling you, in no uncertain terms, that they it’s “fucking hook & loop.” Really.

    • Copyrights

      • Is the alt-right’s use of Pepe the Frog “fair use?”

        What can you do when your favorite frog gets away from you?

        When Matt Furie drew Pepe the Frog for a short-lived magazine in 2005, he had no way of knowing the character would become a mascot for the so-called “alt-right,” a loose coalition of far-right groups that veer toward white nationalism.

      • INTERVIEW WITH DELIA BROWNE

        Delia Browne is head of Australia’s National Copyright Unit, which provides specialist copyright advice to Australian schools and the technical and further education (TAFE) sector, and conducts negotiations with collecting societies on behalf of them. In that role she led the successful education law reform efforts in 2005-2006 which resulted in the introduction of free educational use copyright exceptions. She is one of the co-founders and President of Peer 2 Peer University, and also one of the people who drew up the Cape Town Declaration on Open Education.

      • Italian Supreme Court confirms availability of copyright protection to TV formats

        TV formats may be incredibly valuable, and be sold in franchise in several countries. As a result, also disputes relating to TV formats may be complex, lengthy and with uncertain outcomes, as the current litigation relating to The Voice, for example, demonstrates [here and here].

        In addition to the complexities of individual cases, a further difficulty is defining what kind of legal treatment TV formats are subject to in the first place. Discussion of the type of protection available has been, in fact, rather contentious in a number of countries.

      • Book Review : What if we could reimagine copyright?

        The contributors to this volume do not always agree on what copyright ought to ‘do’ or how far it should ‘go’ but they all concur on one thing: copyright should strive to defend and protect ‘the public interest’. Reading these last three words, you have might have had the following instinctive response: ‘Oh dear, not that thing again’. If you have, do not worry, the editors have accounted for your frustration in their introduction.

      • Belgium Wants to Blacklist Pirate Sites & Hijack Their Traffic

        Draft proposals from Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister could see the country taking a tougher line against pirate sites. In addition to building a blacklist of infringing sites and associated proxies, Kris Peeters envisions local ISPs diverting Internet traffic away from pirate sites and towards legitimate content sources.

      • How Much Money Can Pirate Bay Make From a Cryptocoin Miner?

        In a surprise move, The Pirate Bay decided to add a cryptocurrency miner to its website last weekend. The notorious torrent site wanted to see whether this could replace the ads on the site. A controversial idea, but how much money can a site like The Pirate Bay make through mining?

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