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10.02.17

The Software Patents/Litigation Industry is Dying in the United States and China Takes This Heavy Burden

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 9:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who wants predatory law firms to steer policy anyway?

UPC impact

Summary: A bogus litigation ‘industry’ which merely destroys the software (i.e. real) industry is being scuttled by the Supreme Court; China foolishly enough takes this ‘crown’, essentially creating its own ‘Eastern District of Texas’ in Beijing

TECHRIGHTS typically focuses on the USPTO in the weekends. As we noted yesterday afternoon (Sunday), the USPTO bubble continues to grow like it’s a race towards zero patent quality. Sure, the courts say “No!” to such patents, but once granted it’s expensive to prove that these patents are invalid (especially barring petitions to PTAB).

This USPTO bubble worries us. It’s like examiners aren’t paying attention to what their Supreme Court keeps saying. They’re granting patents on almost everything, even software. Their managers try to tell us that a higher number of patents means more innovation, but everyone with a clue knows that it’s a lie. Yesterday, Patently-O showed the design patents bubble — a bubble which may very soon burst because of the Supreme Court. On the same day an Apple fan site bragged about such patents, but there’s no innovation there , it’s just a sort of ‘insurance’ for when Apple is a patent predator with no actual products.

What also worries us are reports like this one from this morning. Nigeria seems to think that it needs lots of patents because “[m]ost of the technology transfer agreements handled by NOTAP are mainly on software licensing with a huge sum of money being paid to the foreign software owners in order to encourage local software development.”

Well, software patents are not valid and many of these deals are to do with copyrights, not patents. It doesn’t look the writer is familiar enough with this topic.

In other news, this Watchtroll rant from yesterday was rather revealing. It certainly sounds as though patent parasites are going out of business and moan about it. After Alice and other such decisions they no longer see demand for litigation. To quote:

Today, I no longer receive these calls. There could be a few reasons why. One certainly could be that my practice has evolved over the years to concentrate more on contentious matters. I’ve spent less time on the front lines of patent prosecution as a result.

But I suspect the main reason is that inventors are giving up an expectation that patent protection is even worthwhile. And I get it. If I were to get a call these days, I could no longer paint a rosy picture for would-be patentees.

Good. I hope these people go out of business very fast. All they do is cause agony to many people and small companies. Patent lawsuits (or threats thereof) aren’t productive, yet this is the kind of thing Watchtroll keeps lobbying for.

This morning we also saw this self-promotional ‘article’ (if that can be called an article at all) about patent parasites who are trying to leverage software patents for personal gain, at the expense of actual developers. “The Halcyon strategy,” it says, “is really based around small niche plays like software patents. It’s a David-vs.-Goliath type of story. It nicely aligns with our view of helping the little guy to fight the big software providers.”

What they mean to say is, they’ll take money from poor people to initiate pointless litigation which would likely go nowhere because of Alice. But what do they care…? They get paid even if the cases are lost. It’s important to remind people not to be misled by these opportunistic law firms; software patents are neither worth the time nor justify the expense. Save the money for something else like research and development.

As noted the other day (Sunday), the EFF finally takes on so-called “AI” patents. They’re just software patents disguised as “AI”. These patents must be rejected, not granted at all. It turns out that the patents-savvy reporters have begun reporting on this:

Each month, the patent lawyers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation shine a spotlight on one particular patent they believe is a drag on innovation. This month, they’re looking at one of the fastest-growing sectors of technology: machine learning and artificial intelligence.

EFF lawyer Daniel Nazer has picked out an artificial intelligence patent belonging to Hampton Creek, a San Francisco food-tech company that markets products under the brand name “just.” US Patent No. 9,760,834 describes what the company calls its “machine-learning enabled discovery platform” and ways of discovering new ingredients.

Let’s face it. The US is no longer a place for software patents. Even if such patents get granted (which happens a lot, especially when assessed by the USPTO) they are very unlikely to endure scrutiny at PTAB and/or the courts. China, however, is another matter. As we argued yesterday, China is now granting lots of terrible patents and also advertises friendliness towards plaintiffs (same as in the Eastern District of Texas). IAM has in fact just published this overview in which there’s the following section about software and business methods:

To what extent can inventions covering software or computer-implemented inventions be patented?

Software, computer programs and program instructions per se are categorised as ‘rules and methods for metal activities’ and are not patentable subject matter. Nevertheless, inventions that are implemented wholly or partially through software can be patentable if they involve a technical character.

The conventional method for drafting a product claim relating to a computer program is to present a claim defining more than one functional component, each of which corresponds to a step in a computer-implemented method. This approach may be unfavourable when it comes to litigation, due to the difficulty in identifying counterparts of the software components in the relevant product.

In April 2017 the revised Guidelines for Patent Examination came into effect and the means for drafting software-related or computer-implemented claims have since become relaxed. According to the revised guidelines, computer-readable media carrying program instructions – which were previously excluded from patent protection – have become patent eligible. In addition, claims seeking to protect an apparatus comprising a memory in which computer-executable instructions are stored and a processor configured to perform actions on execution of the instructions are now acceptable.

To what extent can inventions covering business methods be patented?

Inventions covering business methods are not excluded from patent protection, provided that they involve a technical character. If a claim relating to a business model contains not only business rules and methods, but also a technical feature, it will be eligible for patent protection. However, business methods implemented with general computer and internet technology and with no improvement in terms of technical aspects may still be rejected – usually on the grounds of lack of inventiveness, rather than patent-ineligibility.

When the patent microcosm moans about "China!" (it's happening more and more this year) it basically means to say that the litigation and trolling ‘business’ moves there. Good riddance. Nobody needs that yoke in his/her own country. It’s just self-harming and self-defeating.

With the UPC, Battistelli hopes to create his own Eastern District of Texas-like network of courts, with one based in Paris. He doesn’t care if that completely dooms the EPO and the European economy. Battistelli certainly acts like a stooge of the litigation ‘industry’ and he surrounds himself by cronies who are not scientists and are barely qualified for their job. Many of them are French.

Death of European Patent Quality: The EPO Officially Sends the Appeal Boards to Exile Despite the UPC Going Nowhere

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Something poetic about them being sent to Haar, supposedly for their ‘freedom’

Prison

Summary: Directorate-General 3 (DG3) of the European Patent Office (EPO) is under attack, presumably because Battistelli wants to promote UPC in Paris, but EPO management is lying about it this morning

THE weekend was spent writing several more parts of Battistelli’s Club Med at the EPO and some USPTO news, which we’ll revisit in a moment. The EPO has generally been rather quiet, but this morning it published this tweet and “news” (epo.org link) to say about DG3:

Next week, the EPO Boards of Appeal will start work at their new location in Haar, Munich. The move from the EPO’s Isar headquarters to a separate building is part of a comprehensive set of reforms adopted by the organisation’s Administrative Council in June 2016 to strengthen the perception of independence and efficiency of the Boards.

The EPO has basically just told another lie. This does not “strengthen the perception of independence” but the exact opposite.

This, some believe, was done before Brexit under the false assumption that UPC would have started last year or early this year. Battistelli is just trying to put the board one kick away while “strengthen[ing] the perception” that he obeys the EPC (when in reality he blatantly violates it at every turn).

Not only did Battistelli illegally suspend (if not dismiss) one of the judges — a move supported by Jesper Kongstad who as of Saturday no longer works for the EPO.

Battistelli’s attacks on other staff are all well documented. “Another insider,” one reader told us, “can confirm that they indeed mob staff who ever criticised the management, in several cases for many years. By instruments like C342 the Battistelli administration could target any critical staff and mob them out…”

Examples include “staff reps who were dismissed later (either formally or informally).”

The sad thing about it is that Battistelli is supported by aggressive elements of the patent microcosm, such as Bristows. Days ago Marks & Clerk (longtime UPC booster) also published another UPC puff piece that sucks up to EPO management. Here are some portions from it:

The European Patent Office has recently issued their guidance notes regarding obtaining, maintaining and managing Unitary Patents (UPs). Spanning to 40 pages, inevitably considerable detail is given. Some practical aspects of this note are discussed below.

[...]

Changes in the structure of the EPO

Changes for what? The UPC isn’t even happening. In other words, Battistelli totally crashed the EPO in vain. Now it’s stuck in the middle of nowhere, with a sinking number of patent applications and a stock that’s about to run dry (rendering most examiners redundant and many EPs worthless because of their low quality).

Over the weekend in IP Kat someone left the following comment regarding the UPC and EPC:

Litigation is always a last resort, and any means to come to an out of court settlement is preferable to a long and tedious legal battle. I understand thus the reason for such a request.

If it is true that according to Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 there is no exclusive jurisdiction for patent infringement cases, then why do we need a UPC?

As far as validity is concerned, it could be decided by the EPO, provided the opposition period would not be limited to 9 months post grant. As the proprietor may limit its patent during the whole life of it, why should third parties bothered by a patent be limited to a relatively short period?

This arrangement would also avoid any clash between decisions on validity between the UPC and the Boards of appeal of the EPO. This is to me one of the potential drawbacks of the UPC.

the UPC will not be the only court dealing with infringement/validity in Europe. The EPC has more member states than the UPC, and their courts should not be belittled. There is no mechanism to resolve such conflicts, and claiming like Mr Arnold at the UPC conference in July in Munich, that the UPC will be the leading court in Europe is quite daring. The UPC will not be the only court dealing with infringement/validity in Europe as the EPC has more member states than the UPC, and their courts should not be belittled.

In Milan the parties and the case were not the same, so there was no res judicata. But deep down the problems were the same as in the UK.

If the applicant had made an effort in fighting for a mere general claim, then we would not have ended in the present situation. I can agree that a more general claim would probably have been possible, not as broad as originally, but limited to permetrexed ions and with at least one or two different examples, or the proof that it works for other ones than the one specifically disclosed.

“EPO President went on a crusade to shut down DG3 and, suddenly, it seems that DG3 is no longer independent,” said the next comment. Here is the comment in full:

Attentive, you ask why the EPO cannot do the validity side of the litigation.

Of course it can. The Dutch courts used to ask the EPO for an opinion on validity.

The problem is though, that judges think they can do it better. In particular, they think they do obviousness properly. The “no nonsense” Problem/Solution Approach by DG3 is not for them. They like lots of nonsense.

And then there’s bifurcation. Can’t have one forum construing the claim for validity and another for infringement, can we now? Or perhaps we can, eh?

And then there’s the independence issue. Never used to be a problem. But then the EPO President went on a crusade to shut down DG3 and, suddenly, it seems that DG3 is no longer independent.

What irony, when you imagine that Le President’s shut-down of DG3 was all done in order to give the UPC in Paris a flying start.

A short while ago someone added this (also regarding DG3):

I have a question for the kind commenter who told me (above) over the weekend that a claim to pemetrexed would have got past not only the EPO but also the national courts, and should have been put forward and driven home by the Lilly attorney prosecuting the application at the EPO.

BUT: When prosecuting at the EPO, it can be seen as risky indeed, to put forward the claim you want, and then see it rejected, first by the ED and then by DG3. I often suggest to clients that to try for their wished-for amendment, and fail, might be worse (when it comes to acting against infringers) than not to have tried at all. In particular, the scope of “infringement by equivalent” is often likely to be broader with a clean EPO prosecution record, than one in which Applicant tried and failed to get the claim that matters.

Perhaps cases like this will help Big Corp to realise that, in a First to File world, it makes sense to invest in quality drafting.

Meanwhile, this litigation demonstrates (yet again) how much easier everything is, with the benefit of hindsight.

It’s hard to believe that anyone out there — other than trolls, bullies and their law firms — genuinely wants the UPC. Battistelli too has his own selfish interests, just like Michel Barnier. It might even make sense for some circles in the French government to offer Battistelli ‘protection’.

Links 2/10/2017: Linux 4.14 RC3, Claims of GNU/Linux Market Share of 6.91% in September

Posted in News Roundup at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.14-rc3

      So 4.14 continues to be a somewhat painful release, and I’m starting
      to at least partly blame the fact that it’s meant to be an LTS
      release.

      The last LTS release we had (4.9) resulted in one of the biggest
      kernel releases we ever had because everybody wanted in; the 4.14
      release doesn’t seem to be as large, but it does seem to result in
      some late work happening because people want to prep for 4.14, knowing
      it will be LTS.

      But who knows. Some of this may just be pure coincidence too. But I
      already know of two more pull requests that are still pending that
      will also probably want to be pushed into 4.14.

      Anyway, on to the actual rc3 changes.. Most of them are the normal
      small fixes, but a few things do stand out:

      - some x86 FPU state handling fixes

      - fixed some crypto problems in our internal key handling

      - some smp/hotplug cleanups

      and all of them are bigger than I would have wished for at this stage,
      but all of them had fine reasons for going in now. They all had one
      thing in common, in that they also came with cleanups in order to fix
      the underlying problem (so often the actual commit that _fixes_ it is
      pretty small, but there’s a series of cleanups that makes that fix
      possible).

      The two issues that I know as potentially still pending are some of
      the same kind: a writeback fix and some watchdog fixes, both with the
      majority being cleanups in order to fix things.

      Anyway, this all has the common thread that I’d have loved to get that
      code during the merge window as “obviously good changes”, but I’m not
      thrilled to get it during the rc stages.

      Oh well. Enough of the “Woe is me”.

      Things don’t actually look *bad*. Yes, it’s more changes than I would
      have wished for at this stage, but at the same time none of it looks
      like it’s really fundamentally problematic for the 4.14 release. Most
      of the x86 FPU state cleanups had already been around for a while just
      because they were needed cleanup, for example, it’s just that the bug
      fixes made them get merged at a less than optimal time.

      The various changes do end up making the diffstat look somewhat
      unusual: driver fixes that usually dominate are just a quarter of the
      haul this rc around, with arch fixes (almost all of which are x86) are
      another quarter. The rest is core kernel (much of it the smp/hotplug
      updates), security (the key handling changes) and tooling (much of it
      perf, but also more selftests). Some fs fixes (btrfs and xfs, some
      misc) accounts for the rest.

      It’s still early enough in the rc release that I don’t know if this
      will impact timing. Right now it still feels like we’re fine with the
      usual schedule (ie rc7 being the last rc), but we’ll just have to see
      how this release cycle continues.

      Do go out and test, please.

      Linus

    • Linux 4.14-rc3 Kernel Is Ready For Testing

      Linus Torvalds has continued in his traditional Sunday release cadence of issuing a new kernel update for testing.

      Available this evening is Linux 4.14-rc3 as the third weekly test candidate for the feature-packed Linux 4.14. If you are not familiar with the new features of this kernel update, see our Linux 4.14 feature overview. There is a ton of changes and on top of this it’s going to be an LTS release, which now means Linux 4.14 will be supported for a six year span.

    • Linux Kernel LTS Releases Will Now Get 6 Years Support

      This free and open source kernel serves as the base for most of the devices, including millions of Android and other ARM devices. Now, in a major change that involves how the kernel support is provided, the two-year lifecycle of Linux LTS kernel is being bumped to six years.

    • Linux kernel’s long-term support releases now last for 6 years, and that’s good for Android

      In a recent presentation at Linaro Connect, it was revealed that the Linux kernel would be moving to a six-year LTS. Right now LTS kernels are only supported for two years, which can be a problem when a hardware design pipeline can take more than 12-18 months for a device to make it into a consumer’s hands, and that’s not even taking into account SoC development. This new change, combined with Google’s Project Treble, could further extend device support for Android updates and might spell good news for consumers.

    • Benchmarks

      • Our Last Time Benchmarking Ubuntu 32-bit vs. 64-bit

        Over the years we have looked at the 32-bit vs. 64-bit x86 Linux performance for curiosity sake, showing how x86_64 can be much faster than i686, and just providing these values for a reference look and if for some reason are still running 32-bit Linux software including the OS while the hardware is 64-bit capable. For this final benchmarking look are fresh numbers when doing a clean install of Ubuntu 17.10 32-bit compared to Ubuntu 17.10 64-bit.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Neon Complete Distro Review

        It’s no secret to anyone: KDE and its latest implementation, Plasma 5, have been my favorite applications and desktop suite for quite some time now. I started GNU / Linux with Gnome 2 that brought Ubuntu Feisty Fawn but quickly jumped to that unknown ocean, full of strange words with the letter K in them, called Kubuntu.

        Coming and going, distros and more distros, until you end up trapped by the Chakra magic and its unique environment. As much as I have tried to change this fact in successive attacks of distro hopping. I have not been able to accommodate myself to anyone other than Cinnamon, although I have missed a few features almost exclusive to Plasma. It also happens in reverse, that is, I think that KDE suffers from some things, but in the balance weighs more, by far, the positive than the negative.

      • Interview with Emily Wei

        This might have changed in version 3, but I’m still using version two-point-something since my computer can’t quite handle the newest version.

      • KDE Partition Manager 3.2.0

        I have just released versions 3.2.0 of KDE Partition Manager and KPMcore library. Note that if you use Calamares installer you need version 3.1.4 or later, earlier versions of Calamares will not compile against new kpmcore.

      • KMarkdownWebView 0.2.0

        The KMarkdownWebView software is for the rendered display of Markdown documents, using web technologies (native wrapper around a webpage with a JavaScript library which creates HTML from the plain text handed in).

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GUADEC – Engagement Going Ons

        I just realized that I had not posted anything from GUADEC or talked about the Engagement BoF. Given the absence of any conversation on this, I thought I would post my thoughts. I am of course aware of the irony of the engagement team not communicating. :-) Onwards and onwards:

        GUADEC 2017 was a fantastic this year and of course for me it is always meeting my friends, catch up with what people have been up to and so forth. Having run the gambit of conferences, GUADEC is refreshing because it is a pure community conference vs say Linux Foundation or some other event that isn’t singularly focused like this one is. Don’t get me wrong, those are fun and I have a different set of friends I enjoy meeting and talking with. But it is the unity of purpose and working together to create something.

      • Matthias Clasen Continues Hacking On GTK4′s Vulkan Support

        Of the many improvements I am excited for with the GTK4 toolkit is the introduction of a Vulkan renderer.

        As noted earlier this month, there’s been an uptick in GTK4 Vulkan work and Red Hat’s Matthias Clasen has continued in that theme through the end of the month.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 22.3 STABLE released.

        This is a minor (point) release in the 4MLinux STABLE channel, which comes with the Linux kernel 4.9.49. The 4MLinux Server now includes Apache 2.4.27, MariaDB 10.2.8, and PHP 7.0.23 (see this post for more details). Additionally, some popular programs (Dropbox, Java, Skype) have been updated, too.
        4MLinux 22.3 is the first release that includes the r8168 Realtek Ethernet driver.

      • A new Snapshot is Now Available! (Changes)

        A new Snapshot of feren OS, codenamed Oxygen, has been released for both 32 Bit and 64 Bit Devices, and it comes with a lot of good changes from after August Snapshot’s (NEON’s) release.

      • OSMC’s September update is here

        OSMC’s September update is ready with a wide range of improvements and fixes to keep your OSMC device running in tip-top shape.

    • Slackware Family

      • Refreshed ISO’s for Slackware Live Edition, and more

        When I released new Live ISO images almost two weeks ago, a bug in the init script which became apparent with the latest Slackware initrd broke the encrypted /home feature. Therefore I am releasing an updated set of ‘liveslak‘ scripts with version 1.1.9.1 .

        The latest set of Slackware Live Edition ISOs are based on liveslak 1.1.9.1 and Slackware-current dated “Fri Sep 29 22:58:54 UTC 2017“). That means, the new Live ISOs contain the updates to TexLive and Python3 (well, no texlive in the XFCE image due to its size limit of course).

        If you already use a Slackware Live USB stick that you do not want to re-format, you should use the “-r” parameter to the “iso2usb.sh” script. The “-r” or refresh parameter allows you to refresh the liveslak files on your USB stick without touching your custom content. If you want to modify other parameters of your USB stick, use the script “upslak.sh“. It’s main feature is that it can update the kernel on the USB stick, but it also can replace the Live init script. As with most (if not all) of my scripts, use the “-h” parameter to get help on its functionality.

    • Red Hat Family

      • DHFL Pramerica Tastes Success With Red Hat Mobile App

        Life insurance companies are using open source to address IT challenges, transform and modernizeIT to help accelerate innovation, and achieve greater agility and efficiency. In one such moves, DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance Company Ltd. (DPLI), a Gurgaon-based life insurance company, implemented Red Hat Mobile Application Platform to strengthen its mobile app presence in capabilities for their sales advisors, and enabling them to innovate faster.

        DPLI was looking for a technology partner to help them realize this by balancing their IT investments. The all-new state-of-the-art AceApp, designed to provide a 24/7 mobile office on-the-go for sales advisors, is equipped with features that can support the entire customer lifecycle journey with DPLI.

        [...]

        He added that Red Hat Mobile Application Platform and JBoss BRMS have enabled DPLI to be more agile and reach a wider variety of customers with specific demands.”

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Ansible 2.4 available now in Fedora

          Recently, the Ansible Community recently released version 2.4 of their open source automation engine. Ansible 2.4 is available for installation in both Fedora 25, and Fedora 26 — and is also available for pre-release versions of Fedora 27. Ansible is a configuration management and application deployment tool that allows system administrators and software engineers to automate the setting up and deployment of systems and applications.

        • Taking off Red Hat, but not Fedora

          Red Hat, the name means a lot of things to me. Red Hat Linux was the first Linux distribution I ever saw and worked with. Later I moved into Fedora, and it became my defacto distribution from Core 1 days. Started contributing to the project formally from 2006, and joined in Red Hat for the first time back in 2008. People kept asking me why do I wear my Red Fedora everywhere, why do I feel so enthusiastic all the time? For me, it is always the people, the company itself started to provide a healthy relationship with the businesses and Free Software vendors (including itself). It is still standing tall and growing because of the people in the company, who still cares about Freedom. I left Red Hat for 11 months in between, and then came back to work on Fedora itself as Fedora Cloud Engineer in the Fedora Engineering team. Later Sayan also joined the team.

        • Lazy Migration in CRIU’s master branch

          Another interesting change about CRIU is that it started as x86_64 only and now it is also available on aarch64, ppc64le and s390x. The support to run on s390x has just been added with the previous 3.4 release and starting with Fedora 27 the necessary kernel configuration options are also active on s390x in addition to the other supported architectures.

        • Fedora 27 Beta Will Be Released Next Week
    • Debian Family

      • Monthly FLOSS activity – 2017/09 edition
      • Free Software Efforts (2017W39)

        Here’s my weekly report for week 39 of 2017. In this week I have travelled to Berlin and caught up on some podcasts in doing so. I’ve also had some trouble with the RSS feeds on my blog but hopefully this is all fixed now.

        Thanks to Martin Milbret I now have a replacement for my dead workstation, an HP Z600, and there will be a blog post about this new set up to come next week. Thanks also to Sýlvan and a number of others that made donations towards getting me up and running again. A breakdown of the donations and expenses can be found at the end of this post.

      • My Debian Activities in September 2017

        This month almost the same numbers as last month appeared in the statistics. I accepted 213 packages and rejected 15 uploads. The overall number of packages that got accepted this month was 425.

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 3.2: Privacy, Security, and Anonymity on the Internet Just Got Easier

          The operating system Ed Snowden used to communicate with journalists when he revealed the size and scope of NSA surveillance in 2013 received a major update Thursday. Tails (which stands for The Amnesic Incognito Live System) is a Linux distribution created and distributed by the Tails Project. Tails is built from the ground up to offer security, privacy, and anonymity to computer users everywhere.

          Tails — which is described by its developers as “privacy for anyone anywhere” — has been around since 2009 and has received the Mozilla Open Source Support Award (2016), the Access Innovation Prize (2014), and the OpenITP award (2013). More importantly, it has been used by dissidents in oppressive nations, activists who feel the need to remain anonymous, whistleblowers, and investigative journalists. In fact, the three journalists most involved in the Snowden revelations all used Tails when communicating with him about NSA surveillance. Snowden insisted on it. In April 2014, Freedom of the Press Foundation reported that Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, and Barton Gellman all told the foundation that Tails was instrumental in allowing them to communicate with Snowden about NSA surveillance while avoiding the very surveillance they were preparing to report on.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • The Secret Command to Reset Ubuntu Desktop to Default Settings

            We show you how to reset Ubuntu to its default settings. Whether you’re running Unity or GNOME Shell, you can easily reset Ubuntu to its factory settings.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark” Preview Part 7: Beta 2

            Artful Beta 2 (aka the Final Beta) released recently at 29 September 2017. This is the last Beta before the real final stable later at 19 October. We can download the Beta 2 now and see how will the stable be. The important news of this Part 7 are there is no 32bit version, the desktop is really moved to GNOME, memory consumption is still huge, new wallpapers and user experience. We hope the final stable will be ultimately better and wonderful. Enjoy!

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • VRTK helps devs get started in VR with open-source dev kit

    What’s becoming clear in VR development is that with the market split across Rift, Vive and PlayStation VR, the developers of some of the most successful apps like Job Simulator, Fantastic Contraption and Raw Data work hard to make their software work well across all three headsets.

    Even if it is hard to stand out from dozens of apps launching each week, making a virtual world available across Steam, the PlayStation Store and Oculus increases the chances of a developer finding success. Though large teams working with big budgets often turn to the Unreal world engine from Epic Games for building VR products, the very well-funded Unity Technologies is the engine most indie developers use in bringing their products to fruition across multiple systems. Unity is used by a majority of VR developers and its asset store makes it easy for developers to find cheap or free tools with which to build more immersive worlds.

  • GovTech Singapore to progressively open-source code for cloud-based, smart mobility platform

    The Government Technology Agency of Singaopore (GovTech) has announced that it will progressively open-source the code for the Beeline smart mobility platform from October 2017 (Key components of the code base that may compromise the security of the Beeline platform will not be open-sourced.).

    Industry and individual developers will be able to adopt, build on and scale up the platform or develop new mobility solutions using the code. This is in line with Singapore’s Smart Nation vision of catalysing innovation and co-creation.

    Piloted in 2015, Beeline is an open, cloud-based smart mobility platform to provide data-driven shuttle bus services for commuters, jointly developed by GovTech and the Land Transport Authority (LTA),

  • Cannonlake-Powered Chromebook “Zoombini” Added To Coreboot

    By the end of the calendar year Intel has reiterated the first 10nm Cannonlake devices are expected to market. It’s looking like among the first Cannonlake designs will be a new Google Chromebook.

    Over the summer there have been various references to “Zoombini” as a Cannonlake Chromebook. The Zoombini has received the Coreboot treatment and its port has landed in Coreboot Git.

  • A message from the (former) OSI President
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • macOS and iOS kernel source code is now available on GitHub

      While Apple has claimed to be a significant contributor to various open-source projects in the past, many of its technologies are still closed source. However, the Cupertino giant has now made a big move by releasing the source code of the XNU kernel which powers its flagship operating systems, on GitHub.

    • Apple open-sourced the kernel of iOS and macOS for ARM processors

      Apple has always shared the kernel of macOS after each major release. This kernel also runs on iOS devices as both macOS and iOS are built on the same foundation. This year, Apple also shared the most recent version of the kernel on GitHub. And you can also find ARM versions of the kernel for the first time.

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD 5.0 Branched As The Next Release

      We’ve known a new DragonFlyBSD release was being worked on for release soon. That release has now been branched, the first release candidate tagged, and it’s being marked as version 5.0.

      Succeeding DragonFlyBSD 4.8 will be DragonFlyBSD 5.0. 5.0.0-rc1 was tagged on Friday night while the code is branched for the 5.0 release undertaking. On Git master is now the DragonFly 5.1 development version.

    • Managing virtual environments with ClonOS 12

      ClonOS is one of the latest operating systems to be entered into the DistroWatch database. The project’s website describes ClonOS as follows:

      ClonOS is a free, open-source FreeBSD-based platform for virtual environment creation and management.

      The operating system uses FreeBSD’s development branch (12.0-CURRENT) as its base. ClonOS uses ZFS as the default file system and includes web-based administration tools for managing virtual machines and jails. The project’s website also mentions the availability of templates for quickly setting up new containers and web-based VNC access to jails. Puppet, we are told, can be used for configuration management.

    • autoconf/clang (No) Fun and Games
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open educational resources movement gains speed

        The rising cost of college education threatens many potential students’ ability to access higher education, but a growing group of professionals is trying to help defray costs by applying lessons from open source development to course material development. These open educational resource (OER) supporters are actively advocating for open pedagogy and creating openly licensed, high-quality textbooks.

        This year, this movement received $8 million in funding from New York State to develop OERs to support the state’s Excelsior Scholarship program, which aims to make college education more affordable for New Yorkers.

      • The brilliant life and brutal death of Bassel Khartabil, killed by Assad for writing free software

        Bassel Khartabil was a Syrian free software, free speech and Creative Commons activist who was jailed and tortured by the Assad regime, which eventually secretly sentenced him to death, then executed him in 2015, but kept it a secret until 2017.

Leftovers

  • The Bizarre Story Behind Playboy’s Highest-Selling Issue Ever

    The Soderberg centerfold issue sold 7.16 million copies, topping the list of Playboy’s top-selling issues. Soderberg also became a rock star in computer programming circles, given that her image was used so frequently. She attended the Society for Imaging Science and Technology’s conference in 1997, where she signed autographs.

  • Amadeus’ booking system glitch [sic] leads to global delays
  • Stop the Endless Scroll. Delete Social Media From Your Phone
  • Copenhagen Wheel review: a bike that makes you feel like a superhero

    A large hub in the center of your rear wheel contains a motor, battery, and sensor package. As you push your foot down, it measures the speed, torque, and cadence you’re putting in, then adds an electric assist. Pedaling feels totally normal — except you go twice as fast with half the effort.

  • Don’t fly your drone near these US landmarks, FAA warns

    The Federal Aviation Administration is issuing new drone-flight rules that outlaws flying unmanned hobby aircraft within 400 feet of several US landmarks, including the Statute of Liberty.

  • Gambler hits $1.4M jackpot, casino says bingo machine “malfunctioned”

    Consider the case of an Alabama man who put $5 into an electronic bingo machine at the Wind Creek Casino in Montgomery, Alabama. The casino is on tribal land operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. To the gambler’s amazement, “several noises, lights, and sirens were activated” when the machine announced that Jerry Rape had hit The Big One. The bingo machine indicated a jackpot of $459,000, then $918,000, and finally settled on a “payout multiplier” of $1,377,000, according to the gambler’s lawsuit.

  • Science

    • Quantum video chat links scientists on two different continents

      In a demonstration of the world’s first intercontinental quantum link, scientists held a long-distance videoconference on September 29 between Austria and China.

    • DNA from old skeleton suggests humanity’s been here longer than we thought

      When did humanity start? It’s proven to be a difficult question to answer. Anatomically modern humans have a distinct set of features that are easy to identify on a complete skeleton. But most old skeletons are partial, making identification a challenge. Plus, other skeletons were being left by pre-modern (or archaic) human relatives like Neanderthals who were present in Africa and Eurasia at the same time. While Neanderthals et al. have distinct features as well, we don’t always have a good idea how variable those features were in these populations.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Study: Flint water killed unborn babies; many moms who drank it couldn’t get pregnant

      Fertility rates decreased by 12% among Flint women, and fetal death rates increased by 58%, after April 2014, according to research by assistant professors and health economists David Slusky at Kansas University and Daniel Grossman at West Virginia University. The pair examined vital statistics data for Flint and the rest of the state of Michigan from 2008 to 2015, zoomed down to the census-tract level.

    • The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has had terrible consequences for residents’ health
    • Still no justice, peace in Flint water crisis after report of spike in fetal deaths

      The latest research study on the Flint water crisis has found that the city where children were poisoned by lead-laden water for nearly two years saw a monstrous increase in fetal deaths — 58% — and a heartbreaking decrease in pregnancies and fertility rates after April 2014.

    • Flint’s lead-poisoned water had a ‘horrifyingly large’ effect on fetal deaths, study finds
    • Plan to slash farm antibiotic use may stop spread of resistance

      There is compelling evidence that antibiotics given to livestock lead to antibiotic-resistant infections in people, says Lance Price of George Washington University, in Washington DC. The world is starting to take notice, and major players including China and KFC are planning to stop producing or using meat raised with “medically important” antibiotics.

    • The Truth Behind Trump’s Brazen Attempt to Kill the Clean Water Rule

      NRDC filed detailed comments opposing that plan today, and we gave the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (which jointly proposed the repeal) a very large piece of our mind. You can see our comments here, but here’s the Cliffs Notes version:

    • Mainstreaming Agrobiodiversity in Sustainable Food Systems

      From the 391,000 documented plant species, 5,538 have been counted as human food (8). Out of these, just three – rice, wheat and maize – provide more than 50% of the world’s plant-derived calories (9). Relying so heavily on such a narrow resource base is a risky strategy for the planet, for individual livelihoods and for nutritious diets.

    • Where Do They Put All That Toxic Hurricane Debris?

      “No one is interested in separating garbage after a hurricane,” says Elena Craft, a senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund in Austin. “But there are real threats that exist from this process.”

    • Dangerous anti-vaccine tweets have spiked—from rich people in just 5 states

      The noxious clamoring of a privileged minority has grown louder on Twitter—imperiling public health, a new study warns.

      The volume of dangerous tweets falsely linking life-saving vaccines to autism spiked dramatically in recent years. But the alarming uptick doesn’t necessarily represent a surge in anti-vaccine sentiments in overall public opinion. Instead, the uptick indicates the amplifying voices of very specific demographics: people from affluent, largely populated areas in just five states—California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania.

      The study’s authors, led by psychologist Theodore Tomeny of the University of Alabama, say the rise is worrying. But, they argue, keeping an eye on social media may help shush the misinformation at its source.

    • The list of diseases linked to air pollution is growing

      Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston recently reported on links between air quality and mortality throughout the entire U.S. Medicare population (more than 60 million people who are age 65 and older or disabled). The analysis looked at levels of two common air pollutants and death rates from 2000 to 2012, while accounting for factors that might confound the results, such as race and socioeconomic status. The analysis, published in June in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that when pollutant levels rose (but remained at levels below national standards), so did death rates.

    • Activists in 4-state pipeline protest embrace unique defense

      An environmental activist who targeted an oil pipeline in North Dakota a year ago as part of a broader four-state effort to draw attention to climate change is due to stand trial along with the man who filmed his deeds.

      Michael Foster’s trial starts Monday in Pembina County. He is among the first in that group of activists to go to trial, following a man in Washington state who was convicted of a burglary charge and served just two days in jail.

      Here’s a look at Foster’s case, an update on others and an examination of the defense Foster and other activists hope to use: that their lawbreaking was in the public’s interest.

    • Why Global Breakdown is in a Broken Calculus of the Human Good

      The way that we come to assume “yes” in the answer to this question is through a simple economic calculus of the human good. The most famous summary is Steven Pinker’s argument: global violence has declined, as counted by numbers of wars, and so on (more sophisticated thinkers would add: while poverty has shrunk) therefore, it’s the best time to be alive, ever, period. Indisputable, right? Wrong.
      There’s a huge hole in this way of thinking, a kind of unreason. Can you spot it yet? It doesn’t weigh the dead. The total number of people killed in World War I and II was north of 80 million. More people died in the 20th century at one another’s hands than in all of human history, combined. Let’s sharpen that, and bring out what it really means.

    • US citizens lose half a decade in lifespan versus people born in rich European and Asian countries

      The US ranks a dismal 34th place for life expectancy in the World Economic Forum’s highly-anticipated Global Competitiveness Report. However, people living in major financial centers in Europe and Asia, such as Hong Kong or Switzerland, can expect to live longer.

      Every year, the WEF releases its Global Competitiveness Report, which aims to be one of the most in-depth looks into the financial health and risks of nearly 140 countries around the world. The WEF looks at 114 indicators that “capture concepts that matter for productivity and long-term prosperity.” The report is assembled from a large variety of sources. Those include data from local sources, a survey of 13,000 business executives, as well as info from respectable institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and World Health Organization, to determine scores.

    • Kansas Won’t Expand Medicaid, Denying a Lifeline to Rural Hospitals and Patients

      On a Friday afternoon in late March, some of the most powerful people in Wellington, Kansas, crowded into the office of physician Faustino Naldoza. The civic leaders, were trying to prevail upon state Sen. Larry Alley to side with them in a vote the following week. The state legislature would be deciding on whether to overturn a veto by Gov. Sam Brownback of an expansion of the state healthcare program called KanCare — otherwise known, unfortunately for its prospects, as Medicaid.

      Kansas had long rejected the expansion of Medicaid authorized by the Affordable Care Act, until, that is, President Barack Obama left office, and the legislature voted to accept the federal money. The expansion was a lifeline to towns like Wellington. Across Kansas, and throughout much of the rural U.S., small hospitals have been closing. In 2017, Wellington’s Sumner Regional Medical Center joined a growing list of more than 600 rural hospitals that, according to 2016 report by health analytics firm iVantage, are at risk of shuttering, potentially leveling blows to local economies and leaving residents without nearby emergency services and accessible routine care.

  • Security

    • Cyber Operators — Differences Matter
    • Equitablefax

      I’m calling this mostly a problem with Equihax architecture. This isn’t about a struts bug, this is about a terrible network design that allows random kiddies to scrape the data store clean via a single shell (well, 30, but still). That Equihax was focussing on buying boxes to protect against 0day, and (from stories I’ve read circa 2015) working on ensuring employee phones are compartmented for BYOD. Well, they were clearly spending money out of the security budget. And it wasn’t trivial sums either, FireEye boxes aren’t exactly free. But from the looks of it, the problem wasn’t that they got compromised, the problem was that they couldn’t detect a compromise and prevent it from becoming a breach (seriously: 30 webshells exfiltrating data on 143 million people would have left some pretty hefty “access.log” files).

    • Critical Code in Millions of Macs Isn’t Getting Apple’s Updates

      For certain models of Apple laptops and desktop computers, close to a third or half of machines have EFI versions that haven’t kept pace with their operating system system updates. And for many models, Apple hasn’t released new firmware updates at all, leaving a subset of Apple machines vulnerable to known years-old EFI attacks that could gain deep and persistent control of a victim’s machine.

    • Report Bugs, Get $$ Like @atechdad

      The day after Julian Jackson (@atechdad) reported the bug through HackerOne, we released Tor Browser 7.0.3. We saw no indication that it was used in the wild, and the bug didn’t affect users of Tails, Whonix, or our sandboxed Tor Browser.

    • Here’s What to Ask the Former Equifax CEO

      Richard Smith — who resigned as chief executive of big-three credit bureau Equifax this week in the wake of a data breach that exposed 143 million Social Security numbers — is slated to testify in front of no fewer than four committees on Capitol Hill next week. If I were a lawmaker, here are some of the questions I’d ask when Mr. Smith goes to Washington.

    • Without Fanfare, Equifax Makes Bankruptcy Change That Affects Hundreds of Thousands

      For what appears to be decades, the credit rating agency Equifax has quietly layered three more years of tarnish on the credit histories of hundreds of thousands of people who had filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 13.

      While its competitors, TransUnion and Experian, placed a flag on such histories for seven years, Equifax left it on the reports of Chapter 13 filers who failed to complete their bankruptcy plans for 10.

      After ProPublica asked about the difference in its policy, the company said it now leaves the flag on for seven years, but refused to say when and why the change was made.

    • IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017: The pros and cons from a hacker

      We have early on recognized the state of such security. Our IoT Village has highlighted the problem at many conferences, such as DEFCON and RSA, for the past three years.

    • Linux Security Summit 2017 Roundup

      The 2017 Linux Security Summit (LSS) was held last month in Los Angeles over the 14th and 15th of September. It was co-located with Open Source Summit North America (OSSNA) and the Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC).

    • Securing Network Time

      Since its inception the CII has considered network time, and implementations of the Network Time Protocol, to be “core infrastructure.” Correctly synchronising clocks is critical both to the smooth functioning of many services and to the effectiveness of numerous security protocols; as a result most computers run some sort of clock synchronization software and most of those computers implement either the Network Time Protocol (NTP, RFC 5905) or the closely related but slimmed down Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP, RFC 4330).

  • Defence/Aggression

    • American University Partners With Saudi Arabia On Security Program

      These two seemingly opposite worlds, the United States and Saudi Arabia, have a disturbing new connection. The president of University of New Haven, Steven H. Kaplan, has recently signed an agreement in June 2016 to collaborate with instructors at King Fahd Security College in Riyadh for the development of baccalaureate security studies program. The course of study will offer three specialization tracks: criminal justice, homeland security, and intelligence studies, all of which will be used to “enhance security in the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia], the Middle East, and globally.”

    • More US diplomats called out of Cuba after attacks with mystery weapons

      More than half of the staff at the American Embassy in Havana, Cuba will return to the US in the wake of mysterious attacks that left diplomats with hearing damage and brain injuries, the State Department announced Friday.

      The department said that the staff drawdown was necessary to ensure their safety. And “because our personnel’s safety is at risk, and we are unable to identify the source of the attacks, we believe US citizens may also be at risk and warn them not to travel to Cuba,” the department added in a travel advisory.

    • Meaningless To Talk To Pak Until It Stops Aiding Terrorism: Home Minister

      Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today ruled out talks with Pakistan until it stops aiding cross-border terrorism aimed at destabilising India.

    • Al-Qaeda Man Caught In Delhi, Was Planning To Radicalise Rohingyas: Cops

      The police said the suspect was on a mission to radicalise the Rohingya muslims in India. “His job was to recruit locals from Mizoram and Manipur and send them to Myanmar to fight. So basically, he was espousing the cause of Rohingyas,” said Pramod Kushwah, a senior police officer.

    • Hindu Rohingya refugees forced to convert to Islam in Bangladesh camps

      Horrible tales of inhumanity from Myanmar. Mass graves of 45 Hindus found in the strife-torn Rakhine area. But, the horror does not end there. Hindus Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh camps are being forced to convert to Islam at the hands of majority Muslim Rohingyas.

    • Myanmar and its Rohingya Muslim Insurgency
    • At least 32 killed in Myanmar as Rohingya insurgents stage major attack

      At least 21 insurgents and 11 members of the security forces were killed in Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state on Friday when militants staged a major coordinated attack on 24 police posts and an army base, the military said.

    • Why Myanmar’s Government Won’t Negotiate With Rohingya Insurgents

      “The way they operate is like the acts of terrorists. So as for us we cannot regard them as a revolutionary group or something like that. So they are just terrorists. That is our view on the Rohingya organization,” he said.

    • Myanmar officials: Insurgents killed 45 Hindu villagers

      Myanmar officials said Monday they have discovered at least 45 slain Hindus in three mass graves in the Southeast Asian country’s conflict-torn northern Rakhine state. The government blames Muslim insurgents for the killings.

    • Islamists Responsible for Rohingya Refugee [sic] Crisis

      “Their [the Rohingyas'] tactics are terrorism. There’s no question about it. [Kyi is] not calling the entire Rohingya population terrorists, she is referring to a group of people who are going around with guns, machetes, and IEDs and killing their own people in addition to Buddhists, Hindus, and others that get in their way. They have killed a lot of security forces, and they are wreaking havoc in the region. The people who are running and fleeing out to Bangladesh… are fleeing their own radical groups…. [T]he international community has to sort out the facts before making accusations.” — Patricia Clapp, Chief of the U.S. Mission to Myanmar from 1999 to 2002.

    • Hindus fleeing Myanmar violence hope for sanctuary in India

      Caught in the crossfire between Myanmar’s military and Rohingya insurgents, hundreds of Hindus who have fled to Bangladesh are placing their hopes on the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in neighbouring India.

    • India’s response at UNGA: Pakistan is now ‘Terroristan’ — produces and exports global terrorism

      “In its short history, Pakistan has become a geography synonymous with terror. The quest for a land of pure has actually produced ‘the land of pure terror.’ Pakistan is now Terroristan, with a flourishing industry producing and exporting global terrorism,” said Eenam Gambhir, First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, in a statement.

    • Bangladesh frets about population boom in Rohingya camps

      “They have six, seven, eight, nine, 10 children,” said Pintu Kanti Bhattacharjee, head of the government’s family planning department in Cox’s Bazar district where the camps are located.

      “We are very worried. If they are here for another six months to a year, another 20,000 children will be born.”

    • Passengers ‘lucky’ to escape injury after bus is shot at in Malmö
    • Armed military to replace cops on Danish streets and border

      Starting Friday, armed soldiers from the Danish Armed Forces (Forsvaret) will replace police officers at both Denmark’s southern border to Germany and at potential terror targets in Copenhagen.
      According to the Danish National Police (Rigspolitiet) and Copenhagen Police, 160 soldiers will patrol the border and take over guard duties at Jewish institutions including the Great Synagogue in central Copenhagen.

    • 12 year prison sentence for man who murdered relative with scissors in Sweden

      A man in his 50s has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for the murder of his younger relative in central Sweden.
      The victim was killed when he was stabbed with scissors in the neck at the Stensjön lake in Grycksbo, near Falun in May. The man’s wife said it was the result of a family conflict, where the perpetrator took offence to her and the victim’s daughters shaking hands with boys.

    • Trump’s Irrational ‘Travel Ban’

      Most administration statements on the subject, including the more formal ones as well as less scripted defenses of the ban, center on the idea of keeping bad guys out of the United States by restricting travel from countries in which such guys are presumed to live. The disconnect between justification and reality that has existed ever since version 1.0 is that there is little or no correspondence between the countries listed in the ban and where terrorists gunning for the U.S. homeland have come from. Over the past four decades, no Americans have been killed in the United States by foreign terrorists who came from any of the countries in either the original version of the ban or the latest version.

      Moreover, the whole idea of a ban on entry to the United States overlooks how much terrorism within the United States, even when it has involved foreign-born individuals, has not involved crossing of borders to commit the act. According to a study by the New America Foundation, all the perpetrators of post-9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States were U.S. citizens or legal residents and would not have been stopped by the travel ban. The evident ethnic targeting of the ban is likely only to increase the resentment, suspicion, and alienation — and thus the propensity to resort to extremist violence — of members of the communities who feel kinship with those targeted.

    • How The US Military Handles Sexual Assault Cases Behind Closed Doors

      For the U.S. Air Force, the case of alleged sexual harassment and assault by a senior officer was exactly the type of misconduct Pentagon leaders had promised Congress and the public they would no longer tolerate.

      The victim at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Alabama reported in September 2015 that her married boss, a colonel, had repeatedly said he wanted to have sex with her, tracked her movements and sent her recordings of him masturbating in the shower, documents show. She said that she told him to back off but that he would not stop: Twice, she alleges, he trapped her in the office, grabbed her arms and forcibly tried to kiss her.

      Air Force investigators quickly confirmed much of her account, aided by hundreds of messages that the officer had texted the woman and by his admission that he had sent the masturbation recordings, the documents show.

    • Las Vegas: Mass shooting in Mandalay Bay shooting

      At least two people have been killed and 24 others wounded in a mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert.
      A gunman opened fire at an open-air country music festival at the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the city’s strip.
      Hundreds of people fled the scene and the sound of what appeared to be prolonged automatic gunfire could be heard on videos posted on social media.
      Police said a suspect “was down”. There are reports of at least one other incident on the Las Vegas strip.

    • How Syria’s Victory Reshapes Mideast

      We have written before how the Syria outcome dwarfs that of Israel’s 2006 war against Hezbollah, significant though the result of that war was, too.

      Both events taken together have brought America’s unipolar moment in the Middle East to an end (though not globally, since the U.S. still retains its necklace of military bases across the region). The successes have corroded badly the reputation of the Gulf States and have discredited fired-up Sunni jihadism as a “go-to” political tool for Saudi Arabia and its Western backers.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Lost weekend: How Trump’s time at his golf club hurt the response to Maria

      At first, the Trump administration seemed to be doing all the right things to respond to the disaster in Puerto Rico.

      As Hurricane Maria made landfall on Wednesday, Sept. 20, there was a frenzy of activity publicly and privately. The next day, President Trump called local officials on the island, issued an emergency declaration and pledged that all federal resources would be directed to help.

      But then for four days after that — as storm-ravaged Puerto Rico struggled for food and water amid the darkness of power outages — Trump and his top aides effectively went dark themselves.

      Trump jetted to New Jersey that Thursday night to spend a long weekend at his private golf club there, save for a quick trip to Alabama for a political rally. Neither Trump nor any of his senior White House aides said a word publicly about the unfolding crisis.

    • Why Puerto Rico still has no electrical power and how to fix it [iophk: "more category 4 and 5 hurricanes on their way"]

      Puerto Rico is still literally powerless. Though Hurricane Maria made landfall as a category four hurricane over a week ago, the storm has left the island almost entirely without electrical power.

    • Trump, remove your blinders on climate change

      We do not expect our political leaders to be experts on everything, but we do expect them to have knowledgeable advisors who can help them understand things they don’t know or haven’t studied. If they only have poor advisors, or if they don’t pay attention to the good ones, we get what we seem to have on climate change, which in truth is not so hard to understand, at least at a cursory level.

    • ‘The last place on Earth’: how Sumatra’s rainforest is being cleared for palm oil

      The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) published a study in July accusing plantation owner PT Agra Bumi Niaga (ABN) of growing oil palms on illegally deforested land in the Leuser ecosystem, in Aceh province, northern Sumatra.

    • Potential New German Coalition Government Likely to Clash on Energy

      After Sunday’s federal election, Chancellor Angela Merkel is faced with political parties that disagree on key scientific and environmental issues.

    • ‘Not invisible anymore’: Standing Rock a year after pipeline protests

      “We were invisible to people, they didn’t want to see us and we’re not invisible anymore,” she said. “And I think that we have decided that visibility is a gift. And we are going to use it for the greater good.”

    • Why Hurricane Maria Surprised Forecasters By Getting So Strong So Fast

      Hurricane Maria, currently headed for Puerto Rico, stunned forecasters by rapidly intensifying from a Category 1 storm to a Category 5 within a 15-hour period on Monday, battering the island of Dominica in the process. Indeed, the forecast error for Maria’s wind speed is one of the worst for a 24-hour hurricane forecast in the past five years.

    • Report from Puerto Rico: Death Toll Higher Than Reported Amid Water Shortage & Health Crisis

      Good news or fake news? Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke and the Trump administration defend their response to the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, where many of the 3.5 million residents remain without electricity and are desperate for fresh water, food and other supplies. We speak with Laura Moscoso, a data journalist at the Puerto Rico-based Center for Investigative Journalism. She says the death toll is much higher than the government reports, noting, “Our phones have been ringing with many testimonies.”

    • Puerto Ricans are living climate change right now. Here’s how they describe it.

      Millions of people in the Caribbean are getting a glimpse of a future that more and more people around the world will soon experience. This month’s hurricanes are the storms scientists have warned us about for decades. They have arrived — causing heartbreak and agony, wrecking homes and destroying lives.

      For the millions more friends and family members watching and waiting on the U.S. mainland and elsewhere, word from their loved ones can’t come soon enough. One week after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Puerto Rico remains in a state of disarray, and communication is still largely cut off to most of the island.

    • Japanese coastal species rode tsunami debris to the US

      Well after the massive 2011 tsunami that swept across the Japanese coast, reminders of the event started appearing on the US-side of the Pacific. Various forms of debris, ranging from small hunks of plastic up to entire boats, made appearances on the US West Coast. Now, a team of researchers has found that the floating debris carried hundreds of potentially invasive species across the vast ocean with it, including a couple of species of fish.

    • We’ve Grossly Underestimated How Much Cow Farts Are Contributing to Global Warming

      A new NASA-sponsored study shows that global methane emissions produced by livestock are 11 percent higher than estimates made last decade. Because methane is a particularly nasty greenhouse gas, the new finding means it’s going to be even tougher to combat climate change than we realized.

      We’ve known for quite some time that greenhouse gases produced by cattle, sheep, and pigs are a significant contributor to global warming, but the new research, published in Carbon Balance and Management, shows it’s worse than we thought. Revised figures of methane produced by livestock in 2011 were 11 percent higher than estimates made in 2006 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—a now out-of-date estimate.

    • Indigenous Peoples Are Fighting to Save the Earth for All of Us

      Imagine that your survival depended on defending your right to live where you are standing right now.

      Any day, the government could decide to start extracting oil or constructing a highway, exactly where your family goes to sleep every night, without consulting you. Just picture the mine or highway polluting the water you drink and poisoning the soil so completely that crops can’t even grow. On top of this, every day you are pushed to speak a foreign language in a country that endangers your culture and way of life.

      This scenario is not fictitious. It is a reality for many of the 370 million people worldwide who identify as Indigenous Peoples. If there could be a simple way to define them, we can agree that they are the living descendants of the pre-colonized inhabitants of lands now dominated by others.

    • Finnish firm to start recycling waste tyres, turn them into oil

      Using a modification of an old method, the Finnish firm Ecomation says it will open a tyre recycling facility next month, enabling the company to transform old tyres into oil on an industrial scale. The company’s CEO says their process was refined in Finland and thinks that their method could become popular around the world.

    • Climate Change Refugees Face Militarized Borders

      The hi-tech militarized barriers between developed and undeveloped nations are increasing. Built to keep out refugees driven by economic and political need, these borders are now faced by those fleeing the ravages of climate change, author Todd Miller tells Truthout in this exclusive interview.

    • Trump’s Cronies Feed at Public Trough as He Disses Puerto Rico

      Trump’s petulant tweet storm on Saturday accused Puerto Ricans of wanting everything done for them.

      He expressed these sentiments as his secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, was forced to resign for flying around on expensive government airplanes or charters, costing tax payers over $1 million, even though many of these flights could have been replaced by inexpensive train rides or economy seats on civilian airliners.

  • Finance

    • Anti-Monopoly Candidates Are Testing a New Politics in the Midterms
    • Oracle is yet another tech firm hit with suit for allegedly paying women less than men
    • Trump’s chief Goldman-Sachs goblin tells America they can buy a new car for $1000

      Gary Cohn is Trump’s chief economic advisor. He’s a former Goldman-Sachs banker with a net worth of more than $250,000,000. In his latest appearance, the quarter-billionaire explained to the press that Trump’s tax-plan (which will transfer billions to the wealthiest 1%, e.g., Gary Cohn) will save two-child families earning $100,000/year about $1,000 and that they can use this money to buy “a new car.”

    • The GOP’s Latest Obamacare Repeal Push Isn’t Really About Health Care

      It’s about how to finance tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy.

    • IBM Now Has More Employees in India Than in the U.S.

      But IBM is unusual because it employs more people in a single foreign country than it does at home. The company’s employment in India has nearly doubled since 2007, even as its work force in the United States has shrunk through waves of layoffs and buyouts. Although IBM refuses to disclose exact numbers, outsiders estimate that it employs well under 100,000 people at its American offices now, down from 130,000 in 2007. Depending on the job, the salaries paid to Indian workers are one-half to one-fifth those paid to Americans, according to data posted by the research firm Glassdoor.

    • Without Power to Run A.T.M.s, Puerto Rico Is Cash Only
    • City Offers to Pay Rent for Homeless Families Who Move Out of Town

      Faced with stubbornly high levels of homelessness in an election year, the de Blasio administration is now offering to pay 12 months of rent upfront for homeless families who find an apartment in or outside the city.

      The city recently introduced the program, and this week the Department of Homeless Services sent an email to shelter providers, which listed 17 apartments they found in Newark and wanted to show to homeless families.

      On Wednesday, Gregory Arrington and his wife, who’ve been homeless for a year, were waiting in front of the Department of Homeless Services for a van to take them to Newark.

    • Don’t Let The Vultures Shock Doctrine Puerto Rico

      When I am asked my recommendations for political non-fiction books, the top of my list is almost always Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine (Chris Hayes’ Twilight of the Elites is a close second.)

      Seven years after its publication, no other book better explains the state of the modern political world. The thesis of the book is simple: vulture capitalists saw profit to be had in institutions that eschewed profit to serve people, and when people would not give up those institutions, the vulture capitalists shocked entire populations into submission using disasters both natural and manmade as an opportunity to privatize entire industries. Kleptocracy, religious fundamentalism, ethnic sectarianism and dictatorship arose quickly from the ashes of stunned, impoverished and subjugated peoples, creating blowback for Western democracies even as the jet set luxuriated in champagne and caviar.

    • Monarch Airlines collapse: UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation under way

      The UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation is under way after the collapse of Monarch Airlines, with 110,000 customers to be brought back home on specially chartered planes.

      The accountants KPMG announced in the early hours of Monday that Monarch, Britain’s longest-surviving airline brand, had been placed into administration and that all further flights from the UK had been cancelled and would not be rescheduled.

      The Civil Aviation Authority said it had launched a programme to bring Monarch customers home over the next fortnight, chartering 30 planes for the rescue operation.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Catalan referendum: preliminary results show 90% in favour of independence

      Turull said the number of ballots did not include those confiscated by Spanish police during violent raids which resulted in hundreds of people being injured. At least 844 people and 33 police were reported to have been hurt, including at least two people who were thought to have been seriously injured.

    • Facts don’t matter to Americans, and we should be worried [iophk: "tribalism"]

      People are susceptible to political misinformation because they tend to believe things that favor their side — even if it isn’t grounded in data or science. There are numerous factors at play, from the influence of nonconscious emotions to the need to defend a group that the individual identifies with.

    • Spain’s Harsh Crackdown Draws Worldwide Attention To Catalonia

      The Catalan government has claimed that 90 percent of voters are in favor of independence, following the violent crackdown Spanish riot police brought upon polling stations on Sunday.

      Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull told reporters on Monday morning that 90 percent of Catalans voted yes after the region held an independence referendum that the country’s government in Madrid had attempted to stop. The Spanish government declared the vote illegal.

    • Tension between Trump and the media? That’s nothing compared to journalism’s worst crisis.

      The situation is sickeningly familiar to anyone who works on — or reads — a metropolitan daily newspaper, whether it’s in New Orleans, Detroit or just about any other American city.

      The paper is hurting financially. It cuts reporters, photographers and editors to make ends meet. Then it cuts even deeper. The journalism suffers, but the paper’s work is still vital to its community. And a question looms: Will it even survive the next decade?

      “The real crisis in American journalism is at the local and metro level,” says Jim Friedlich, executive director of the Lenfest Institute for Journalism in Philadelphia, founded last year to save local journalism in Philadelphia and spread the cure around the nation.

    • Sorry for Spain

      Today the Spanish police has committed in Catalonia what can only be described as barbarism.

      Beware of the videos, they may hurt your feelings.

    • Theresa May angered Buckingham Palace by misleading Queen over DUP deal – report

      Senior royal aides were angered by the Prime Minister’s lack of “courtesy” when she said a deal to prop up the Tory minority government had been tied up within hours of the party losing its Commons majority.

    • Germany: Why a Jamaica Coalition Deepens the Division of Society

      The September 24th Bundestag elections yielded disastrous results not just for the SPD, but notably Chancellor Merkel’s CDU. It has to contend with an even steeper percentage loss than the Social Democrats.

      For its part, the SPD – vowing to reconnect to its roots – has decided to serve as the main opposition in the new parliament.

      The potential key effect of the outcome of the German elections, however, may well be something quite different. If the effort to form a Jamaica coalition (so called because of the parties’ color black-green-yellow, for the CDU, Greens and FDP) succeeds, this will actually end up advancing the division of German society.

    • Catalan independence referendum: ‘Catalonia has won the right to statehood’, says region’s President

      The leader of the Catalan government has said the region has won the “right to statehood” following its referendum on independence which was marred by violent clashes.

    • Catalan Leader Suggests Independence Declaration Imminent After Day Of Violence And Voting

      In a statement to Catalans on Sunday night, Catalan First Minister Carles Puigdemont said Catalans had won the right to an independent republic.

      “The Catalan government will transmit to the Catalan Parliament, the seat and expression of the sovereignty of our people, the results of the referendum, so that it can act according to that laid out in the referendum law”, he said.

    • The Catalan Referendum is a classic bait-and-switch operation by Barcelona

      Everyone gets it — the Catalan referendum has exposed the very deep hypocrisy of the Spanish and EU ruling elite, especially in regards to their support for separatist causes elsewhere in the world and the harsh criticism that they regularly dish out anytime governments in the Global South are even suspected of using force against their citizens.

      These are very powerful points that are insightful for the larger audience to dwell upon, but when dealing with the specific issue of Catalan separatism, rhetorical schadenfreude isn’t a solid basis for approaching the issue. While it’s true that the Catalan Controversy is a long and storied one, it’s also equally true that the Spanish Constitution forbids separatism, thereby making this “solution” to the problem illegal.

    • The violent images of the Catalonian independence vote are a disaster for the Spanish government

      Catalonia, a region in northeast Spain, is attempting to hold a referendum today on whether it should seek independence against the will of the central government. The country’s constitutional court has ruled the vote illegal, and police have blocked entry at thousands of polling stations across the region. There are reports of hundreds injured, as police fired rubber bullets and used batons to stop people from voting.
      The resulting images and videos coming out of the region are exactly what officials in Madrid, the nation’s capital, might have feared when they decided to crack down on democratic expression.

    • Zuckerberg’s Preposterous Defense of Facebook

      Mr. Zuckerberg’s preposterous defense of Facebook’s failure in the 2016 presidential campaign is a reminder of a structural asymmetry in American politics.

    • Harvard psychiatrist Lance Dodes: Donald Trump is a “sociopath” and “a very sick individual”

      Unfortunately, with Donald Trump this is not the stuff of a political thriller. It is painfully plausible and all too real. The evidence suggesting that Donald Trump may have serious mental health problems is overwhelming.

    • UN experts are worried about the Catalan referendum online crackdown

      Whatever your view on the issue of Catalan independence, it’s not acceptable for an EU country to undermine online freedoms in the way we’ve witnessed here.

    • Bernie Sanders Just Gave One of the Finest Speeches of His Career
    • 8 Revelations from Trump’s uncovered Howard Stern interviews
    • Catalans Occupy Polling Stations as Spanish Govt Cracks Down

      While Catalans began to occupy the schools where voting will take place on Sunday, Spanish Police raided Catalan offices to disable voting equipment.

      Catalan independence supporters have started occupying polling stations ahead of Sunday’s referendum vote at which time Spanish police have been ordered to block and clear out the polling places.

    • Trump complains Puerto Ricans “want everything done for them”

      President Trump lashed out Saturday, attacking Puerto Rican leaders critical of his administration’s relief efforts following storms that devastated the U.S. territory.

    • The NSA Warned Jared Kushner Not to Do the Dumb Email Thing That He Then Did

      Donald Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner and a number of other senior White House officials who used their personal emails for work purposes were expressly warned by the National Security Agency not to do so, Politico reported on Friday.

      Per Politico, Kushner and other staffers (including former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus) all continued to use their private emails despite the NSA warning that “cyberspies could be using sophisticated malware to turn the personal cellphones of White House aides into clandestine listening devices, to take photos and video without the user’s knowledge and to transfer vast amounts of data via Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth.”

    • Faces of Joy, Rage and Resolve in Catalonia as Independence Vote Nears
    • Sessions: Senate shouldn’t have punished Warren over letter she ‘persisted’ in reading

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated Tuesday that his colleagues were wrong to punish Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for seeking to read a historical letter sharply criticizing him during Senate floor debate on his confirmation in February.

      “She certainly had the right to criticize my nomination. I think she really had the right to read the letter that she was blocked, or at least temporarily blocked, from reading,” Sessions said during a question-and-answer session following a speech at Georgetown University’s law school.

    • Robert Mueller Subpoenas an Associate of the Man Who Hired Michael Flynn as a Lobbyist

      The special prosecutor investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election has subpoenaed an associate of Gen. Michael Flynn’s Turkish lobbying client. The subpoena, a copy of which was obtained by ProPublica, ordered Sezgin Baran Korkmaz to testify before a grand jury in Washington on Sept. 22.

      “The grand jury is conducting an investigation of possible violations of federal criminal laws involving the Foreign Agents Registration Act, among other offenses,” a letter accompanying the subpoena stated. The letter is signed by Robert Mueller and Zainab Ahmad, a senior assistant special counsel who specializes in prosecuting terrorism. Korkmaz did not respond to requests for comment.

    • The Freedom of Courage

      Hundreds of thousands of people are already gathered outside and inside polling stations across Catalonia, defending them from the squads of paramilitary police who are fanning out from Barcelona port. The atmosphere is currently festive and the determination to vote of ordinary, decent vote is inspirational.

      When a people permanently withdraws its consent to be governed, and finds the courage to defy the agents of authorised state force, there is no way that the government can reimpose itself unless it is prepared to spill quite serious quantities of blood. I do not refer only to today’s referendum, which hopefully will go ahead peacefully but could not be stopped without physical force. In the long term, having eschewed the democratic route in favour of force, Spain will not be able to repress Catalonia without plunging still deeper in to the kind of tactics which reveal the very real Francoist political roots of its Prime Minister and many of its ruling party.

    • Riot police attack protesters as violence breaks out in Barcelona – video

      Spanish riot police attack protesters in Barcelona. Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has told reporters that ‘violence will not stop Catalans from voting. The Catalan government says 38 people have been treated by emergency services. Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau has called on prime minister Mariano Rajoy to resign and demanded police stop using violence against voters.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • House panel to hold hearing on online sex trafficking next week

      On Tuesday, the crime subcommittee will look at revising Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a provision that gives online platforms expansive legal immunity when it comes to content posted on their sites by third-party users.

    • Map: Internet Censorship Around the World

      In January 2011, Egyptian activists, inspired by a successful uprising in Tunisia, began organizing a demonstration using Facebook. In a matter of days, thousands of protesters – who learned about the event through the social media platform – gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to protest the longstanding Mubarak regime.

      Then, in an attempt to quash civil unrest, the Egyptian government soon took the bold step of cutting off the country’s internet access. As the size of protests swelled from thousands to millions of people, the Mubarak regime quickly realized their mistake: never cut off a millennial’s internet access.

    • ‘You need to stay brave’: Stephen King talks writing, censorship during Naperville book event

      When it comes to writing escapist fiction, no one does it better than Stephen King in Marian Devers’ opinion.

      The Monee woman, one of more than 3,300 people gathered Friday night at North Central College in Naperville to see the author in person, said she became a devoted fan after reading her first King novel in 1975.

      “I own every one of his books and have re-read many of them multiple times. I have been a fan of his since he wrote, ‘Salem’s Lot,’” Devers said. “He writes horror in a way as though it could happen to anyone in everyday life.”

      King was joined at the appearance by his son Owen, with whom he co-wrote his latest novel, “Sleeping Beauties,” which explores a world in which all of the women have fallen asleep and society is solely inhabited by men.

      Becky Anderson, co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, said the event was among the biggest they’ve ever held.

    • Power and politeness: key drivers behind profanity and self-censorship [excerpt]

      Politeness is the linguistic term for the philosopher’s moralized manners, while etiquette is the mere and perhaps not very reliable expression of politeness or manners. Much more is at stake in manners and politeness than in etiquette, though when confronted with a dozen forks at a fancy dinner, etiquette may seem, for the moment, a life-and-death matter.

      Sometimes those inclined to proscribe profanity are more concerned with etiquette than with manners. I don’t feel it a breach in manners when a truly frustrated person says “Shit!” Indeed, I may recognize the frustration, sympathize with the person, and experience relief when I hear the profanity. The frustrated person and I share moral aims and I have to make some room for the expression of authentic feeling.

    • Weibo to increase censorship as it faces pressure from Chinese regulators
    • Political censorship in Russian comedy shows

      Satire and comedy are universal ways of overcoming tensions in any society. Kings and queens have always had to live with being made fun of – they might even have learned something from seeing themselves and their power mirrored in the jokes of their fools and jesters. In modern Russia, however, it’s a different story.

    • Amos Yee’s Release Raises Question Of Continued Singaporean Authoritarianism

      THE RELEASE OF Amos Yee and the acceptance of his bid for asylum in the United States should be celebrated, seeing as this means that the eighteen year old political dissident has escaped political persecution in his native Singapore. Nevertheless, what should be lamented is that Yee spent nine and a half months in American prisons while his application for asylum was being processed. And it should be questioned as to what comes next for Singapore now that its most famous political dissident has successfully gained asylum after escaping from Singapore.

      Yee first came to public attention in Singapore for videos posted on YouTube in March 2015 in which Yee criticized the then-recently deceased Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore, as an authoritarian dictator who utilized lawsuits as a way to silence political dissent at a time in which Singaporean society was largely in mourning for Lee. Apart from social backlash, Yee was later arrested that month on charges of “deliberate intention of wounding the religious or racial feelings”, and “threatening, abusive or insulting communication”, but his case drew international attention as an assault on free speech in Singapore and an attempt to silence political criticism by ruling Singaporean prime minister Lee Hsien-Long, the son of Lee Kuan Yew and heir to the Lee political dynasty. Yee’s first arrest took place when he was 16 years old.

    • China is industrializing censorship ahead of Communist Party Congress

      IN SHINY glass towers throughout China, companies are hiring hundreds of workers as “auditors”, tasked with policing online content according to strict rules set by government regulators as Internet censorship ahead of the impending 19th Communist Party Congress.

      In this new world of Internet Age censorship, the government is outsourcing to companies such as Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. – better known as Toutiao, a popular and fast-growing news feed app – in order to keep up with the rapid spread of the readily available news content.

    • Court Tosses Cop’s Lawsuit Against Social Movement, Twitter Hashtag

      If you’re a cop patrolling a demonstration and you get hit by a flying rock, you most likely shrug it off as the hazards of work and set out making an arrest. If you’re one anonymous Baton Rouge cop, you sue ethereal non-entities and someone who did nothing more than speak at the protests where the officer was injured. (h/t Adam Steinbaugh)

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • FBI may keep secret the name of vendor that cracked terrorist’s iPhone

      A federal judge ruled Saturday that the FBI does not have to disclose the name of the vendor, and how much it was paid by the government for a hacking tool that unlocked the iPhone of a terrorist behind the San Bernardino, California attacks that left 14 people dead.

      The development of the unlocking tool ended what was one of the biggest legal showdowns in the technology space, one in which Apple was fighting a judge’s order last year to provide the FBI with software to enable investigators to unlock the iPhone 5C of Syed Rizwan Farook. Farook was one of two shooters behind the December, 2015 attack at a San Bernardino County facility that left him—and wife Tashfeen Malik—dead. Apple had argued that the law didn’t require it to create software, or a “backdoor,” to enable the government to unlock its customers’ encrypted devices.

    • Someone Made an Ad Blocker But for Cryptocurrency Mining

      The Pirate Bay, a torrent website best known for sleazy sidebar ads, experimented with getting site visitors to mine the cryptocurrency Monero with their browser over the weekend—without their knowledge.

      The mining was done as part of an experiment to replace The Pirate Bay’s famously scummy ads, the site’s administrators explained in a statement. Upon discovering the surreptitious mining, people were understandably upset: Cryptocurrency mining can slow down your computer.

    • DOJ demands Facebook information from ‘anti-administration activists’

      Facebook was initially served the warrants in February 2017 along with a gag order which barred the social media company from alerting the three users that the government was seeking their private information, Michelman said. However, Michelman says that government attorneys dropped the gag order in mid-September and agreed that Facebook could expose the existence of these warrants, which has prompted the latest court filings. Michelman, however, says all court filings associated with the search warrant, and any response from Facebook, remain under seal.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Icann postpones a significant update for DNS because the internet can’t handle it

      ICANN, the occasionally controversial US-backed internet overseer, has admitted that it must postpone a planned crypto change to the Domain Name System (DNS) because the internet can’t quite deal with it right now.

    • ISPs want Supreme Court to kill Title II net neutrality rules now and forever

      Broadband industry lobby groups have appealed to the US Supreme Court in an attempt to kill the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules. The groups want the Supreme Court to rule that the FCC exceeded its authority when it reclassified Internet providers in order to impose stricter regulations.

      Under President Obama, the FCC’s Democratic majority reclassified home and mobile broadband providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act in order to enforce net neutrality rules.

      With Republicans now in charge, the FCC is on track to overturn the rules. But a Supreme Court decision in favor of Internet providers could protect them from future attempts to regulate the industry if, for example, Democrats eventually re-take the White House and FCC.

    • Internet Activists Urge Congress to Fire Trump’s FCC Chief Ajit Pai

      Open internet advocates and Democratic lawmakers are mounting a last-ditch effort to remove Federal Communications Commission chief Ajit Pai over his anti-net neutrality stance, just days before Pai is set to be approved by the Senate for a new term.

      Since being elevated by President Trump to lead the FCC in January, Pai has become the bête noire of open internet advocates for a variety of anti-consumer actions, but none more so than his crusade to kill federal rules protecting net neutrality, the principle that all internet content should be equally accessible to consumers.

      Pai has served at the FCC since 2012, and Senate Republicans have scheduled a vote on Monday to confirm him for another five-year term at the agency. Given the Republican majority in the Senate, Pai’s reconfirmation appears likely, but the naysayers are nevertheless working furiously to prevent that from happening.

      During a blistering floor speech on Thursday, Sen. Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat, portrayed Pai, a Republican former Verizon lawyer, as an industry stooge who has worked relentlessly to deliver gift after gift to the nation’s largest broadband companies.

    • Steve Wozniak: Net neutrality rollback ‘will end the internet as we know it’

      In the op-ed published by USA Today, Wozniak and Michael Copps, who led the FCC from 2001 to 2011, argued the rollback will threaten freedom for internet users and may corrode democracy.

    • New International Open Letter Warns US Lawmakers over Net Neutrality Rollback

      A growing network of international businesses and organizations are warning the US Federal Communications Commission that a rollback of Title II net neutrality rules could create “significant social and economic harms,” with StartPage.com CEO Robert Beens weighing in and spearheading the effort.

    • Majority of respondents think internet providers should be barred from discriminating against lawful content

      An even larger majority–67 percent–said that ISPs shouldn’t be allowed to choose which websites, apps, or streaming services their customers can access. Almost as many–63 percent–don’t think an ISP should be allowed to modify or edit content consumers try to access on the internet.

    • Letter to the FCC: The world is for net neutrality
    • FCC head, a critic of net neutrality rules, likely to be reconfirmed

      Despite Democrats’ protests over plans to dismantle net neutrality, Ajit Pai will likely keep his position as chairman thanks to the Republican-led Senate.

    • Net Neutrality Activists Targeted in Phishing Campaign

      Several prominent net neutrality advocacy groups were targeted in a spearphishing campaign, with around 70 attempts made to break into the accounts of activists at Free Press and Fight for the Future. The campaign, revealed in an Electronic Frontier Foundation report, used details about the activists’ personal lives and sexually explicit content to try to trick activists into clicking phishing links that would allow the attackers to take over their accounts.

    • ISPs Urge Supreme Court to Kill Net Neutrality

      ISPs have spent millions lobbying the government and Ajit Pai’s FCC to dismantle popular net neutrality protections, but they’re also taking their fight once again to the Supreme Court in an alternative attempt to kill the popular rules. AT&T, CenturyLink, the cable industry’s top lobbying group the NCTA and other major ISPs petitioned the Supreme Court this week to hear their latest appeal of the 2015 rules, which protect consumers from bad behavior by ISPs in the uncompetitive broadband market.

  • DRM

    • DRM could kill game emulators and erase the history of an artform

      Atlus’s theory — which is hard to discern, thanks to a legal word-salad the company has thrown up as chaff in its wake — is that because it’s possible to use RPCS3 to play PS3 games that you have pirated rather than paid for, and since Atlus once made a PS3 game, it gets to decide whether anyone, anywhere can make or use a tool that lets them play their old games after the hardware they came with was retired.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Is the German press publishers’ right lawful? More details on the CJEU reference

        As reported by this blog a few months ago, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has been required to address issues of lawfulness – notably enforceability – of the German neighbouring right for press publishers.

      • 20th Century Fox is Looking for Anti-Piracy Interns

        20th Century Fox is looking for two interns to complement its anti-piracy team. A research analytics intern will be tasked with investigating piracy forums and discovering the latest file-sharing trends, while a JD law intern will help to identify possible targets for legal action. Dream positions for those who aspire to a career in the anti-piracy workforce.

      • Six Strikes Piracy Scheme May Be Dead But Those Warnings Keep on Coming

        The so-called six-strikes anti-piracy scheme in the United States may be dead but file-sharers should be aware that they’re still being monitored. Over the past several weeks there have been increasing reports of people receiving multiple copyright notices from various ISPs, something which puts accounts at risk.

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