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When Technical Projects Become Politics

Posted in BSD, GNU/Linux at 10:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

10 years ago: BSD vs. GPL: But Why Are PEOPLE Fighting???

Tux diving

Summary: Transcript of Bryan Lunduke’s show titled “Divisive Politics are destroying Open Source”

An anonymous source prepared the following transcript of this week’s show from Bryan Lunduke, a former Microsoft employee who nowadays worries about Microsoft entryism in Free software. “I have done my best for accuracy,” our source told us, “and Lunduke speaks clearly and uses great equipment…”

This relates somewhat to this new post (hours old) which says a lot about the FreeBSD situation (mentioned here a few times before, albeit only in our daily links).

The Lunduke Show



Divisive Politics are destroying Open Source

[00:00] Divisive politics are destroying open source.  Not just in
general but specific projects.  There are specific sets of divisive
politics and policies being enacted that are causing many open source
projects to just break in half.  To just destroy themselves and eat
themselves from the inside out and I should provide a warning.  This
might make you grumpy.  Honestly this made me grumpy.  This is the third
time I've tried to record this video.  And every time I've gone through
it I've stopped myself.  I've made myself stop because I've found myself
getting grumpy at this.  It makes me upset.  People are not treating
each other well and it makes me grumpy.  And I want to be as relaxed and
reasonable and straightforward and factual about this as I can be.  And
hopefully third time's the charm for recording this on that front.  Now,
this shouldn't need to be said but as we go through this today the facts
that I present are simply facts.  I'm going to attempt to provide you
with enough detailed information who said what roughly when what exact
words were said et cetera that it will be very simple for you to use any
Internet search engine to verify the things that I'm posting here that
I'm showing you what are facts.  Don't take my word for it feel free to
prove it for yourself by just looking around and there should be enough
information for that.  That said, the opinions that I am expressing are
mine and mine alone.  The Lorax of Dr. Seuss speaks for the trees,
Lunduke doesn't really speak for anybody but Lunduke.  My ideas are my
own and the fact that I need to say that is ridiculous but I do feel
like I need to say it.  Also, I'm going to go on the assumption that me,
you, anyone watching this video is going to assume that freedom is a
good thing.  We're going to go on that.  We're going to stick to that
all the way through the end.

*** And you know who else thinks freedom is a good thing, Pogo Linux one
of the sponsors of this show.  If you go over to Pogo Linux dot com, you
will find little servers, big servers, 1U servers, 4U servers, I think
there's a couple of 6U servers in there running ARM processors and AMD
processors and Intel processors.  A little bit of RAM, 8 terabytes of
RAM, four hard drive bays, 60 hard drive bays, all running pretty much
whatever distro of Linux you want and they can custom tailor all of your
systems to suit your own needs software defined storage clusters
whatever you need you can find out more over at Pogo Linux dot com.  ***

All right.  Let's get into this.  Let's set some ground rules and this
is just as much for me as it is for you guys.  Again, I, last time I
tried to record this I got close to the end and I just got mad.  There
is so much stuff happening that made me fundamentally upset that I just
I had to breathe, stop recording, and move forward.  So, ground rules.
No political ideology here.  It doesn't matter what political party I,
you, or anyone else involved belongs to.  Doesn't matter if what the
political goals are left, right, up, down, none of that matters here.
We're just going to be talking about using political things, things that
tend to be politically charged to divide and control us.  That's what
we're going to be talking about here.  And we're going to go on a simple
assumption.  Everyone is awesome until proven otherwise.  This is
essentially an extension of the Bill and Ted credo of be excellent to
each other.  It doesn't matter what your ethnicity is, doesn't matter
what your gender is, doesn't matter what your religion is, doesn't matte
what part of town you came from, none of that matters.  You're awesome
unless you do something that proves that you're not awesome.  Just going
with that flat out there's no room for racism or sexism or any of that
around here.  Or to put it another way I don't who you are i don't care
where you're from, what you did as long as you love me.

All right let's start out with FreeBSD's code of conduct what we're
going to do here is I've narrowed this down to three examples.  I'm
trying to make this as succinct as I can because we can ramble about
this for days.  Three examples within the last year so recent examples
that have specifically targeted and impacted in a very negative way the
open source world.  Open source, free software, free culture et cetera.
Specifically causing an issue within that area.  Now these sorts of
issues are impacting large, huge portions of the technology industry
right now

[05:00] and well beyond.  This is not isolated but I live in the open
source world and many of you do as well and so I can talk a little more
knowledgeably about how that's impacting us in this world.  If you are
not part of the open source world and you simply got here because of the
general topic this is still valuable information for knowing what not to
do whether you're in other parts of the tech world or within the fast
food industry.  I mean it all kind of applies.

All right.  Let's talk about FreeBSD's code of conduct and hug-gate.
Now the short, short version because many of you know all about this and
are probably sick of hearing about it because it's one of the more
recent examples.  FreeBSD, a major operating system, created a new code
of conduct.  In fact this code of conduct started being created roughly
three years ago and they actually hired consultants to come in and help
them with it and in the end they literally copied a code of conduct with
almost no changes at all like a few words from a web site called Geek
Feminism.  Now that particular code of conduct really appears to be
designed to be divisive and inflammatory.  There are some good things in
it and you know what we're going to go through a few things really
quickly here but it would be impossible to read this in its entirety and
not know that you were going to have people who were uncomfortable with
it.  It's not a simple code of conduct it really gets specific about
what is allowed and what is not allowed which is what resulted in
hug-gate and for those of you not familiar with hug-gate the FreeBSD
code of conduct effectively bans the use of virtual hugs without prior
written consent.  In other words I cannot send you an animated GIF of a
teddy bear offering you a hug without first asking you would you mind if
I sent you an animated GIF of a teddy bear offering you a hug and you'd
have to say, yes, I would enjoy an animated GIF as such and then I could
send it to you that's crazy and I made fun of it and that caused a lot
of people to get very very angry which I will talk about shortly.

But I first want to mention some specific tidbits from the code of
conduct  because it relates to what the actual goals are for the code of
conduct.  Let's read through this.  Here's an overall description from
this.  This is a direct copy of what they're trying to make sure is
prohibited comments that reinforce systemic oppression related to
gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability,
mental illness, neurodiversity, physical appearance, body size, age,
race, or religion.  All right.  I don't like oppression I like to be
nice to people we'll just let that sit right there and we'll move on.
There was a huge list of things that were outlawed specifically within
this code of conduct like hugs I'm going to specifically talk about
three that I actually thought were pretty reasonable I don't really
think they need to be included in a code of conduct because they're so
gosh darned obvious.  However I'm going to list them here for very very
specific dramatic effect in just a moment.  Here's three items you
cannot do according to the code of conduct: threats of violence, that's
pretty straight forward, incitement of violence towards any individual
including encouraging a person to commit suicide or to engage in
self-harm deliberate intimidation.  All right.  That's fair.  Well if
you're making such things where would you be able to make such those
things well it goes on.  This code of conduct applies to all spaces used
by the FreeBSD project including our mailing lists IRC channels and
social media both online and off.  Anyone who is found to violate this
code of conduct may be sanctioned or expelled from FreeBSD
Project-controlled spaces at the discretion of the FreeBSD code of
conduct committee.  Cool.  Since this code of conduct is in place and
people have been pretty doggone pissed off about it I mean contributors
and people who donate money and time have been leaving in droves and
yelling about the problems with this and all sorts of things but since
this is in place clearly it would be enforced well here's three examples
that I thought were somewhat interesting the top left one for those of
you watching the video version is from a guy named Benno Rice he is an
elected member of FreeBSD core team and he's also one of the driving
forces behind a lot of  this including basically he's been the public
spokesman for this code of conduct.  He got into some expletive filled
tirades about me online and it culminated in him creating a ASCII art
picture of a tombstone saying rest in peace Bryan Lunduke.  I assume
that's a death threat I've never had an ASCII art death threat posted on
Twitter before but I assume that's what that is.

[10:00] There's also one of the longest term code contributers,
Poul-Henning Kamp, making statements on the FreeBSD mailing list which
were leaked online because so many people were pissed off about all this
happening there's just leaks happening right and left and yeah I know
where all the bodies are buried now.  Making statements like commiters
whine about losing their male white privileges that's racism and sexism
he's being derogatory against white males that's just what he's doing
right there.  That's racist and sexist so both of those individuals
should be immediately kicked out of the FreeBSD project based on the
FreeBSD code of conduct.  Also Freebsdgirl, Randi Harper, has gone on
expletive filled tirades about all this as well I picked one that had
the least amount of vulgarity in it.  I am a white dude that doesn't
understand why some people might be uncomfortable  and I don't care to
learn either.  Instead I'm going to sit on my pulpit and talk about how
silly people are that they don't want me to virtually touch them.  I
chose the I chose the least offensive one of hers but she did a lot of
things like that too.  So, now she's not a current active contributor
but she still has a FreeBSD e-mail account all that sort of stuff.  She
should have all of that revoked as well.  It should be noted that
nothing has happened.  These people still have all of their access they
have not been reprimanded in any way in fact this means that the FreeBSD
elected officials are allowed specifically by the FreeBSD core team and
code of conduct blah blah blah team to make death threats.  That's
totally ok with them.  If it weren't ok they would do something about
it.  Also FreeBSD key members are allowed to make racist and sexist
comments.  If it weren't allowed they would have stopped it.  Which is
kind of makes you cock your head to the side a little bit, because and
here's a quote from the FreeBSD code of conduct it is about ensuring a
safe, harassment-free environment for all and to ensure that everyone
feels welcome.  Well they clearly don't want you if you're me or a white
person or a male person.  They've made that very, very crystal clear.
They will either threaten to kill you or just speak derogatorily about
your gender or race.  So it's not about ensuring a safe, harassment-free
environment.  It's simply not.  It has to be about something else
because if it was about ensuring that those individuals, those key
individuals, would be kicked out or at the very least punished.
Something.  A statement would have to be made, something.  Nothing has
been done.  Nothing.  Therefore, it's not about that.  This is what
causes me to just be extraordinarily confused and get frustrated because
I look at the FreeBSD project and FreeBSD is an important project.  Do
you use the Internet?  Odds are something that you use runs FreeBSD.  A
server, a router, something runs FreeBSD and it does a darn good job of
it.  FreeBSD is a critical part of our modern infrastructure and when
the core project behind it is dividing itself literally down the middle
and it's just ripping itself asunder with this just awfulness this
divisiveness you want there to at least be a good darn reason for it.
Well it's not to ensure a safe, harassment-free environment.  In fact
some of those people who issued death threats at me screamed vulgarity
at me, racist sexist comments also walk around if you go over on the
FreeBSD "reddit" and other places making statements and podcasts and the
like along the lines of if you're against this new code of conduct well
it's clearly because you're a bad person who probably wants to rape
people that's their response.  It's horrible.  It's horrible what
they're doing and I don't know why, but it's not about ensuring a safe
environment and it's not the only example if this was an isolated
incident this topic would be done right.  We would just be like all
those crazy BSD folks they're ripping their project apart and that would
be a bummer because FreeBSD is really great.  I don't use it on my
desktop but it is a great system and it would be sad, but this extends
throughout the open source world.  Let's talk about Node.js briefly to
catch you up on this this happened last July.  It started last July,
July 2017.  One of the more prolific and prominent Node.js developers
posted a

[15:00] link on Twitter, and I'm not joking here, posted a link on
Twitter to an article written by a professor at a college talking about
neuro- actually wrote an article called "The Neurodiversity Case for
Free Speech" and it's an article about free speech on college campuses
and how it impacts or could be tailored to people with various
neurological issues whether they're on the autism spectrum et cetera.
Right?  Kind of an interesting article, not something I know a ton about
so I can't really speak knowledgeably on it but it doesn't seem terribly
controversial either.  He didn't really make any controversial statement
around it in fact the person who the Node.js developer who posted this
to Twitter simply said and I quote the full thing here "if you've never
considered the potential downsides of codes of conduct, here's a good
place to start".  This is it.  No profanity.  No racism.  No sexism.  No
attacking anyone personally. Nothing.  Well, in response to that an
individual from the node.js board issued a complaint about this person.
They then got a vote going to expel this person from the project
entirely and this is a very prominent person within the project.  The
vote failed by one vote and he was allowed to stay by one vote.  It get
a little bit weirder.  Now Node.js Foundation if you're trying to think
to yourself what's the organization like at the Node.js Foundation.
Well, the executive director is a guy named Mark Hinkel.  Mark Hinkel
previously was a marketing bigwig over at the Linux Foundation ok fair
enough so this is a Linux Foundation connection.  Oh more so than that
the Node.js Foundation is the Linux Foundation.  In fact if you go to
any of those Node.js pages go look at the bottom and it reads directly
copyright 2017 The Linux Foundation.  The Linux Foundation helped to
organize and basically sits as the mommy and the daddy of the Node.js
Foundation.  The Linux Foundations the pappa.  This is part of the Linux
Foundation. Ok, so that was happening at the Linux Foundation now at
that point you could write all this off and say ok it was of one person
who got upset about something kind of innocuous someone else did they
did a vote and nothing happened right at that point you could walk away
and say no big whoop.  Except some of the board members over at the
Node.js Foundation which again is part of the Linux Foundation were so
upset that this person was not kicked out that they felt that him
posting things that ran contrary to their code of conduct were creating
an unsafe work environment they forked node.js entirely and created this
project called the IO project and moved away from it entirely.  So then
this whole project just started being torn asunder by this and it gets
even more interesting one of the individuals who on the board of Node.js
who made these complaints who voted to get this guy ripped out of there
is named Ashely Williams.  Ashley Williams posted the following tweets
over on tweeter [sic] "never underestimate the wrath of a mildly
inconvenienced white dude".  All right that's racist and sexist but you
know you can put up with a little racism and sexism I guess from time to
time.  She continues "Oh my God when they have the audacity to ask you
to apologize bleep you men bleep you I'm not sorry".  I'll let you use
your imagination to determine what those bleeps are I'll just give you a
hint the first letter is the same first letter in food.  Also this
beautiful, beautiful eloquently, almost "Old Man and the Sea"-esque
sentence from Ashley Williams as she posted on Twitter, and me reading
it does not do it justice I hope you're watching the video version,
because its all lowercase with no punctuation and it just says "kill all
men".  Beautiful.  Well done, Ashely.  So now someone made a complaint
against Ashely Williams, a board member of the Node.js Foundation, which
means she's on the board of a project run by the Linux Foundation this
is really important to remember all that.  They made a complaint with
these along with a dozen other statements that Ashley Williams that were
just obscene, just profanity filled, racists, sexist, inciting violence,
death threats, it was intense.  I mean it's off the charts.  Well now
Ashley Williams remains a board member of the Node.js Foundation and to
my knowledge never received any disciplinary action based on her

[20:00] extreme sexism, racism, and just general incitement of violence
which is awful which means, point blank, that the Node.js Foundation and
the Linux Foundation sanction sexism, racism, and incitement of
violence.  That's what that means.  Otherwise they would have done
something because they could have.  They had the ability to they simply
didn't want to.  They, there's, it's baffling to me.  It's absolutely
baffling to me and to make it even more just truly, truly disturbing and
troubling Ashley Williams that same person going around being racist,
sexist, and violent on the Internet has now as of January of this year
just two months back joined as a core team member of the Rust community
She's now the community team lead over on the Rust community which means
we have people that are inciting violence based on sexual orientation,
based on gender, based on race and just being vulgar and obscene about
it and the organizations involved sanction it.  I'm going to repeat
this.  To-date, to my knowledge, and I've looked hard, neither Node.js
nor the Linux Foundation have taken any real action against the racism
and sexism against their board members  This holds true of the Node.js
Foundation, the Linux Foundation, and the FreeBSD project.  None of them
have.  Not to my knowledge.  If I'm wrong please correct me.  Please do.
 But I'm not ok with racism, I'm not ok with sexism, I'm not ok with
incitement of violence and death threats, against me or against anyone
for any reason.  Bill and Ted, guys.  Be excellent to each other.  Be
cool.  We don't have to be like this.  So why is this happening?  If the
codes of conduct of these organizations have been so controversial you'd
think that when they were put in place they were put in place for a good
reason.  Right?  You'd think that when the people who wrote them or
copied and pasted them and put them into place they thought you know
what this is so important to do we are clearly going to put this in
place and enforce this then they themselves would enforce it.  But not
only are they not enforcing it on each other they are actively at least
some of them, including the people who put these in place, these codes
of conduct in place, going out into the community and just shoving it in
everyone else's faces that they can with complete impunity do so many of
the things that the code of conduct says you can't do.  Which means it's
not really there to protect people.  Let's continue to another example.
Let's talk about Mozilla, because I like this example, I've talked about
Mozilla's issues in the past but this example it kind of ties it all
together.  This last year Mozilla gave $100,000 to an organization
called Rise-Up.  Rise-Up is an anonymous organization that provides
communication services for a lot of different organizations and let's,
just for the sake of all this, let's put all the politics aside let's
not talk about what organizations we may like or we may hate that
Rise-Up provides communication support for.  Right?  Because honestly it
doesn't do any of us any good to talk about it.  What I want to talk
about here is the exclusionariness and the divisiveness of things.
Because Rise-Up membership is invite-only.  It provides secure e-mail
and other services and you can only get it if you're invited but what's
more, once you've been invited if your political views change and your
political views are not exactly the same as Rise-Up itself and some of
their more prominent members you will be actively banned and this is
kind of an on-going thing you can find many, many examples online if you
just with a quick DuckDuckGo or Google or [unclear] search of people
being banned for this.  Now some of the people being banned for this are
people that you, me maybe find distasteful.  Some of them we may agree
with.  But none of that really matters.  What matters is that it's an
exclusionary and divisive organization.  Now Rise-Up itself being
exclusionary is not the problem.  It really isn't.  As far as I'm
concerned Rise-Up has the rights to offer their free services to whoever
they want and exclude whoever they want.  It's their right.  I'm not
going to yell at them.  I'm not going to make videos about how they're
evil because they want to have

[25:00] only certain political ideologies in their system.  What I do
find problematic though is Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, and whose
core mission statement when you go to their web site talks a free and
open Internet for all, is actively funding exclusionary organizations.
It causes divisiveness.  People within Mozilla got pissed off about it.
People outside of Mozilla got upset about it.  People stopped using
Firefox because of it and what's more it's funding divisiveness and it
seems to be an ongoing pattern here.  It bothers me.  It bothers me
tremendously.  Why would an organization dedicated to openness for all
fund divisiveness?  Why would the FreeBSD project push a code of conduct
that just ripped its community in half and at the same time clearly it
doesn't actually even believe in the core values of the code of conduct
because they don't follow them.  And they don't enforce the code of
conduct on their own elected officials.  So it's not about the conduct.
It's about exclusion.  It's about divisiveness.  And these, those are my
assumptions but the rest of the things I've said are facts and when I
stated these facts about Mozilla it caused people to get pissed.  When I
stated those facts about FreeBSD and how they basically effectively made
it impossible for people to virtually hug each other without going in
violation of the code of conduct people got mad.  People started
swearing at me, death threats, you saw some of the random slurs and
death threats.  People got mad.  It's pretty intense.  People have been
so worked up over this stuff.  It's absolutely insane.  In fact, many
technology journalists that I've known for years, that I've worked with
for years, just out and out block me on social media because I point out
these things happening.  It's crazy.  It's absolutely crazy.  It's
tearing apart the very tiny tech journalist community.  There's not that
many of us.  And it's literally dividing us in half.  On one side are
people who are like, yeah, you know, I'm going to move on because I'm
about to get angry again and I want to try and stay as calm as I can.
Moving on.  So, what is this about?  It's not about particular politics
or diversity.  We've established that.  Right.  Both in the case of
node.js and FreeBSD if this was about the specific goals the political
goals or about truly true diversity or if it was about ensuring a safe,
you know, working environment they would have punished the people who
were truly causing the most problems.  But they didn't.  So it's not
about diversity.  It's not about a good, happy environment for us all to
work in.  My opinion is that this is about exclusionary, divisive
practices.  Why?  Control.  I believe very much this is about control.
I don't know if it's a conscious effort or it's sort of a subconscious
thing where people want to exert control but I would guess this is about
control more than anything else.  I don't have anything to back that up
with.  I truly don't.  That's my opinion.  The other things are facts.
You know we can look through all the facts and come to our own
conclusions and, honestly, if other people have better theories about
what this is about and what is causing a lot of this, I'm all ears.  I
just hate to see it, because, again, we're all awesome until proven
otherwise.  Be excellent to each other, regardless of race and gender.
But when so many of these people, and when I say "these people", I mean
that derogatorily.  I mean the racist, sexist people that have been
stating things and you saw some of them right here, who sit on the
elected core team or the boards of some of these really prominent
foundations are doing these sorts of things to other people, it's
disgusting.  It's distasteful.  It's not ok and those same individuals
are either themselves actively censoring or on the same side as people
who are actively censoring anyone like me with a dissenting voice.  On
the FreeBSD project alone you can't find good conversation on this.
Countless, I mean dozens

[30:00] of threads have been deleted and censored over on the FreeBSD
"subreddit" because people and not because they got all vulgar and awful
but because people leveled legitimate concerns and criticism, like why
do we have this really intense code of conduct banning hugs when
apparently the people running the FreeBSD project are totally allowed to
go ahead and swear and talk about how bad white people are and
everything else.  Why do we even have any of this?  Censored.  It's
about control and it doesn't make me comfortable.  It doesn't make me
comfortable.  It doesn't make me happy and what realy bums me out we've
got FreeBSD doing this, we've got this in the Node.js project which
means it's part of the Linux Foundation, which means it's impacting
Linux, FreeBSD, Node.js, the whole works.  Now I haven't seen these
sorts of problems in the Linux kernel project themselves. My guess is
Linus probably wouldn't allow it.  I don't think that many of the Linux
kernel developers would  stand for this.  Thank God.  Let's just hope it
doesn't spread any further.  If you are out there, let me just say this,
if you're out there right now and you are one of the many, many people
trying to do good in this world, whatever it is you're pushing for,
whether it's more diversity in the projects you work on, safer working
environments for all, or just higher quality code, thank you.  I
appreciate that.  I appreciate people trying to make things better.
However, if you notice you or anyone else making these sorts of sexist,
racist, derogatory, just awful statements, hold those people accountable
and kick them the hell out of your project before they destroy it
further.  My guess is FreeBSD is not going to survive 2018 in quite the
same state it currently is in.  I would be really surprised if it was
anything more than a shell of its former self by the end of the year,
and that stinks.  That's not cool.  Well, I made it through the end of
this without yelling and screaming this time.  I got pretty pissed off
the last few times I they went through because it's kind of an important
thing and it impacts all of us in such a tremendously deep way.  I know
I'm going to get a lot of comments about this.  I know I'm going to get
a lot of e-mails around this and, you know, a lot of people will take
stances that are less extreme than me and more extreme than me in a
variety of different ways and that's all really cool.  That's totally
ok.  We should have a diversity of opinion on all of these things and
diversity of opinion should be encouraged.  Let me just ask this, when
you are going on to YouTube or "reddit" or anywhere else in talking
about this, let's be cool to each other.  Let's be excellent to each
other.  If someone's being just right rare I'm not racists against
someone else, call them out, downvote them, report to the projects
they're involved in and get them kicked out right now.  It doesn't
matter what race they're being mean towards, it doesn't matter what sex
they're being mean towards, it doesn't matter.  Racism and sexism suck
no matter what.  End of story.  All right.  Now, I'm going to shake that
off for a second.

*** Look at all the cool goodies behind me.  Ok, what's happening?
What's happening?  This show was sponsored in part by System76 who I
know for a fact are some truly amazing people that make amazing laptops
loaded up with Linux.  You can load them up with Ubuntu or PopOS, which
is cool.  Having a choice is cool.  I love these systems.  The Bonobo
workstation their top of the line system it's a bit pricey but it's big
it has like fans in it it's like a big rig but it has a desktop CPU in
it and, I kid you not, it has a desktop GPU in it.  It can fit a couple
of hard drives in there.  I mean I could easily run my entire production
studio full 1080p, live streaming, recording, compositing, everything
without even breaking a sweat on that Bonobo workstation from System76.
Just glorious.  I mean if I needed a portable on-the-go like TV station
in a box, the Bonobo workstation.  Hands down.  My heavens I mean the
Serval workstation's a little less expensive also can totally handle it
but then that Bonobo is so tight it's tight System76 dot com and
LulzBot, also freedom-loving.  They make that little 3D printer I've got
sitting back there.  In fact I've got a little 3D printed version of my
LulzBot mini.  Look at that beautiful guy right there.  A buddy of mine
printe that up for that so my LulzBot Mini had a mini LulzBot.  This is
a mini LulzBot mini or a micro, a LulzBot Micro.  Let's call it a
LulzBot Micro.  I've also got a LulzBot Taz over there I've been testing
with which is a little bit bigger,

[35:00] same basic format, same basic structure, just instead of a six
by six inch print bed you've got a more of an 11-ish inch by 11 inch
print bed, much bigger, print much bigger parts.  You can find it over
at LulzBot dot com and if you want to support the show and it is truly
helpful you can pick up many different things, t-shirts, cups, and
whatnot if you go over to Lunduke dot com.  Also, a big thans to my
Patreon supporters at Patreon dot com slash Bryan Lunduke.  Those
Patreon supporters get to be involved in monthly Q&As that are exclusive
just for them,DRM-free versions of special videos.  In April I'm going
to be releasing two of those.  I'm doing a couple of events up at
LinuxFest Northwest and two of those videos are not going to be released
on YouTube.  The rest of them will.  Almost everything is released for
free everywhere but those two are going to be released just for the
Patreons and why, why am I doing that?  To raise money to make those
trips possible.  So if you want to make some of these trips possible to
do shows like Linux Sucks and all the othe big shows that I put together
go ahead and go over to Patreon dot com slash Bryan Lunduke, give a
dollar, give two dollars, what have you.  If you just go to Lunduke dot
com there's a little how to help the Lunduke show in the top lefthand
corner and you can help out the things beyond that that are really,
really helpful here is that people that help out are helping with the
hardware upgrade and replacement costs that just simply happened.  This
show has been running almost daily for over a year now.  Cameras,
lights, hardware, computer hardware, everything and every now and then
things break or just need to get upgraded to look a little bit nicer.
So those that pitch in really help make things better.  Also, we're
looking at moving off of YouTube for at least an option.  We want to
provide a totally free software option that is self-hosted by us and
controlled by us so that we can really keep it free and make sure it
stays online but in order to do that, I do need some assistance.  So if
you want to pitch in, go over to Lunduke dot com and there's multiple
ways you can pitch in and I would love to bring in some more editing
help so we could do a couple more edited versions of things and the live
events and whatnot.  Here's some of the Patreon supporters.  Truly,
truly wonderful people.

Thank you to everyone for hanging out.  I hope that everyone here is
always awesome to each other regardless of what color, gender, anyone
else is because people deserve to be treated awesomely unlike the couple
of people that I pointed out during this show that don't treat people
awesome.  So.  Oh, oh what?  Am I making a derogatory hand signal right
now?  Maybe at those people but everyone else is awesome, yeah.

There are many other examples one can think of, Mozilla included.

Links 9/3/2018: GNOME 3.28 RC2, Nageru 1.7.0, LLVM 6.0.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Ad-Blocker Ghostery Just Went Open Source—And Has a New Business Model

    In privacy-focused, anti-establishment corners of the internet, going open source can earn you a certain amount of street cred. It signals that you not only have nothing to hide, but also welcome the rest of the world to help make your project better. For Ghostery though, the company that makes Edward Snowden’s recommended ad blocker, publishing all its code on GitHub Thursday also means clearing up some confusion about its past.

  • Ghostery tool for web privacy goes open source

    Ghostery, a browser extension that blocks advertisers and web publishers from tracking your online behavior, has opened up its code so anyone with some programming chops can see exactly what’s going on.

    Making Ghostery open-source software — a program anyone can copy, modify and distribute — means it’s now possible for interested outsiders to get involved in its development, said Jeremy Tillman, director of product at Ghostery. And it should help clear the air lingering around Ghostery because of how its owner until last year, Evidon, did business.

  • Ad Blocker Ghostery Is Going Open Source to Win Back Some Privacy Points

    The ad blocker Ghostery is shaking up its business model and open-sourcing its code in a bid to earn more consumer trust. The company faced criticism last year over its business model, which involved selling anonymized user data to businesses—not the kind of behavior you’d expect from a privacy tool.

    Now, Ghostery is ditching that model in favor of two new revenue streams: Ghostery Insights and Ghostery Rewards. Insights will be a paid analytics service that gives researchers access to data about ads and trackers that Ghostery picks up as it blocks them, Wired reports. Rewards is a consumer-focused affiliate marketing program. If users opt in, they’ll be offered occasional deals on products they might be interested in—a sort of tailored-down version of the ads they’d be seeing constantly if they weren’t using Ghostery.

  • Ad-blocker and privacy tool Ghostery goes open source, and has new ways to make money

    In an attempt to improve trust and transparency, ad-blocking tool Ghostery has gone open source. It comes after Ghostery was acquired by Cliqz last year and raised a few eyebrows with the business model it put in place.

  • Ghostery: open source and new business model

    The source code of the privacy extension Ghostery for the web browsers Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Edge, has been published on GitHub by the development company.

    Ghostery is a very popular browser extension. On Firefox, it is one of seven extensions with more than 1 million users; and on Chrome, it has more than 2.8 million active users.

  • Open Source Blockchain Developers For Hire Via FundRequest

    FundRequest is envisioned as a decentralized marketplace designed to help companies who need open source blockchain software work find qualified help. The platform, now in beta, will allow anyone to fund projects and reward developers for their work.

  • Unchained Capital Open-Sources Multisig Ethereum Smart Contract and dApp
  • Events

    • #ilovefs Report 2018

      On Wednesday 14th of February, our community celebrated the annual “I love Free Software Day”. A day to declare love to the communities most important to you as well as saying “Thank You” to the Free Software projects surrounding us every single day. The Free Software Foundation Europe also wants to thank everyone who cheered and contributed to make this day as special as it could be.

      We counted hundreds of Tweets, Toots and Posts both on Twitter and the Fediverse as well as tens of blog posts, photos and artworks all showing love to the countless of people out there contributing to Free Software every day, be it in the form of code, translations, documentation, community work, designing or managing. Thank you very much to all of you amazing people!

    • Looking for New Writers and Meet Us at SCaLE 16x
    • China SDN/NFV Conference

      China SDN/NFV Conference is the official annual gathering of the China SDN/NFV Industry Alliance. It is co-organized by China Institute of Communications (CIC) and China Communications Standards Association (CCSA). In addition, the Conference is further supported by China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, and the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, Ministry of Industry & Information Technology. This influential group represents the guiding light and driving force for accelerating the research and development, commercialization and enduser adoption of software defined networking and network function virtualization.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla experiment aims to reduce bias in code reviews

        Mozilla is kicking off a new experiment for International Women’s Day, looking at ways to make open source software projects friendlier to women and racial minorities. Its first target? The code review process.

        The experiment has two parts: there’s an effort to build an extension for Firefox that gives programmers a way to anonymize pull requests, so reviewers will see the code itself, but not necessarily the identity of the person who wrote it. The second part is gathering data about how sites like Bugzilla and GitHub work, to see how “blind reviews” might fit into established workflows.

      • Changing your primary email in Firefox Accounts

        Our team kept putting this feature off because of the complexity and all the components involved. While the final verdict on how well this retains users is not out, I am happy that we were able to push through these and give a long requested feature to our user base. Below is a usage graph that shows that users are already changing their address and keeping their account updated.

      • Setting the stage for our next chapter

        Building on this momentum, we are making two important changes to our leadership team to ensure we’re positioned for even greater impact in the years to come. I’m pleased to announce that Denelle Dixon has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer and Mark Mayo has been promoted to Chief Product Officer.

      • Theme API Update
      • HackRice 7.5: How “uFilter” was born

        uFilter is a smart web extension made to help people browse the web without seeing content they don’t like to see. Bringing the power to choose what to see back to users. The user has a list of buttons as filters they can choose. Either individual or more than one at a go. The process is simple and subtle: check off the type of content you want to avoid and let us handle the rest! Questionable content is blurred out, if you wish to see it nonetheless you can click to reveal the text.

      • MDN Changelog for February 2018
      • L10n Report: March Edition
      • A New Preferences Parser for Firefox

        Firefox’s preferences system uses data files to store information about default preferences within Firefox, and user preferences in a user’s profile (such as prefs.js, which records changes to preference values, and user.js, which allows users to override default preference values).

      • Hands-On Web Security: Capture the Flag with OWASP Juice Shop

        As a developer, are you confident that you know what you need to know about web security? Wait, maybe you work in infosec. As a security specialist, are you confident that the developers you work with know enough to do the right thing?

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • LLVM 6.0.0 Release

      I am pleased to announce that LLVM 6 is now available.

      Get it here: https://llvm.org/releases/download.html#6.0.0

      This release is the result of the community’s work over the past six
      months, including: retpoline Spectre variant 2 mitigation,
      significantly improved CodeView debug info for Windows, GlobalISel by
      default for AArch64 at -O0, improved scheduling on several x86
      micro-architectures, Clang defaults to -std=gnu++14 instead of
      -std=gnu++98, support for some upcoming C++2a features, improved
      optimizations, new compiler warnings, many bug fixes, and more.

    • LLVM 6.0 Released With C++14 Default, Intel/AMD Scheduling Improvements

      Today marks the long-awaited release of LLVM 6.0 as the slightly late half-year update to this open-source compiler stack and its sub-projects like Clang, LLD, etc.

    • Chrome 65, LLVM 6.0.0, Tumbleweed, Kubernetes and More

      The Chrome 65 release has moved to the stable channel. This release includes 45 security fixes and stronger ad blocking. See the log for more details.

      LLVM 6.0.0 is now available. This long-awaited release includes “retpoline Spectre variant 2 mitigation, significantly improved CodeView debug info for Windows, GlobalISel by default for AArch64 at -O0, improved scheduling on several x86 micro-architectures, Clang defaults to -std=gnu++14 instead of -std=gnu++98…many bug fixes and more.” See the release announcement for more info, and download it here.

    • syspatches will be provided for both supported releases

      Good news for people doing upgrades only once per year: syspatches will be provided for both supported releases.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • ​Linux beats legal threat from one of its own developers

      In a German court earlier this week, former Linux developer Patrick McHardy gave up on his Gnu General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) violation case against Geniatech Europe GmbH. Now, you may ask, “How can a Linux programmer dropping a case against a company that violates the GPL count as a win?”

      It’s complicated.

      First, anyone who knows the least thing about Linux’s legal infrastructure knows its licensed under the GPLv2. Many don’t know that anyone who has copyrighted code in the Linux kernel can take action against companies that violate the GPLv2. Usually, that’s a non-issue.

      People who find violations typically turn to organizations such as the Free Software Foundation, Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), and the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) to approach violators. These organizations then try to convince violating companies to mend their ways and honor their GPLv2 legal requirements. Only as a last resort do they take companies to court to force them into compliance with the GPLv2.

    • prove you are not an Evil corporate person

      Google is known to be deathly allergic to the AGPL license. Not only on servers; they don’t even allow employees to use AGPL software on workstations. If you write free software, and you’d prefer that Google not use it, a good way to ensure that is to license it under the AGPL.

      I normally try to respect the privacy of users of my software, and of personal conversations. But at this point, I feel that Google’s behavior has mostly obviated those moral obligations. So…

      Now seems like a good time to mention that I have been contacted by multiple people at Google about several of my AGPL licensed projects (git-annex and either keysafe or debug-me I can’t remember which) trying to get me to switch them to the GPL, and had long conversations with them about it.

      Google has some legal advice that the AGPL source provision triggers much more often than it’s commonly understood to. I encouraged them to make that legal reasoning public, so the community could address/debunk it, but I don’t think they have. I won’t go into details about it here, other than it seemed pretty bonkers.

      Mixing in some AGPL code with an otherwise GPL codebase also seems sufficient to trigger Google’s allergy. In the case of git-annex, it’s possible to build all releases (until next month’s) with a flag that prevents linking with any AGPL code, which should mean the resulting binary is GPL licensed, but Google still didn’t feel able to use it, since the git-annex source tree includes AGPL files.

      I don’t know if Google’s allergy to the AGPL extends to software used for drone murder applications, but in any case I look forward to preventing Google from using more of my software in the future.

    • CLA vs. DCO: What’s the difference?

      In your open source adventures, you may have heard the acronyms CLA and DCO, and you may have said “LOL WTF BBQ?!?” These letters stand for Contributor License Agreement and Developer Certificate of Origin, respectively. Both have a similar intent: To say that the contributor is allowed to make the contribution and that the project has the right to distribute it under its license. With some significant projects moving from CLAs to DCOs (like Chef in late 2016 and GitLab in late 2017), the matter has received more attention lately.

      So what are they? The Contributor License Agreement is the older of the two mechanisms and is often used by projects with large institutional backing (either corporate or nonprofit). Unlike software licenses, CLAs are not standardized. CLAs can vary from project to project. In some cases, they simply assert that you’re submitting work that you’re authorized to submit, and you permit the project to use it. Other CLAs (for example the Apache Software Foundation’s) may grant copyright and/or patent licenses.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • The benefits of setting professional goals in the open

      Get the newsletter

      Join the 85,000 open source advocates who receive our giveaway alerts and article roundups.

      Self-assessments—reflection of your current abilities, and identification of areas that need focus to create future professional opportunities—are integral to personal development. In open organizations, self-assessments are most effective when they’re transparent and collaborative. I’d like to share the simple process I followed when opening up my own self-assessment, so you’ll have some ideas you can take forward to start your own collaborative skills assessment.

    • Open Data

      • Open-source data governance builds trust for accountability, security

        The challenge of managing data access, accountability and security, collectively known as data governance, is bringing companies together to create a standardized, holistic solution. Hortonworks Inc., an enterprise data management software company, is seeking to unify the data management experience across multiple industries by leveraging open-source technology to create a common trusted framework.

        “We don’t want to be just a streaming engine or just a tool for … creating pipes and data flows and so on. We really want to create that entire experience around what needs to happen for data that’s moving,” said Scott Gnau (pictured), chief technology officer at Hortonworks.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open standards in processor innovation with RISC-V

        Big data applications that analyze very large and disparate datasets using computations and algorithms are spawning. These applications reveal trends, patterns, and associations. These valuable insights connect and drive more precise predictions and enable better decisions to achieve better outcomes. Because big data analysis is based on information captured from the past, today’s applications also require immediate analysis of information as it happens.

        As a result, there’s a parallel track accompanying big data: fast data, where the immediacy of data is critical. Fast data has a different set of characteristics. Fast data applications process or transform data as it is captured, leveraging the algorithms derived from big data to provide real-time decisions and results. Whereas big data provides insights derived from “what happened” to forecast “what will likely happen” (predictive analysis), fast data delivers insights that drive real-time actions. This is particularly beneficial to “smart” machines, environmental monitors, security and surveillance systems, securities trading systems, and applications that require analysis, answers, and actions in real time.

  • Programming/Development

    • Celebrating 24 incredible women on International Women’s Day
    • Raising More than Capital: Successful Women in Technology

      One of my employees chooses a word at the beginning of each year to guide her personal and professional development efforts. Last year the word she selected was “Rise.” She told me it inspired her to elevate not only her skills, but the quality of her relationships, her attitude toward life and her self-confidence. As a female entrepreneur and the CEO of a growing global software company, our conversation led me to reflect on how successful women in technology rise above our challenges.

    • 9 tech influencers you should know

      In 2017, I published a list of ten fantastic people who inspired me. In this post, I’d like to recognize some of the people who have influenced and helped me in my open source and DevOps journey during the past year. This list is 100% personal; there is no particular rhyme or reason to the order. There are also a lot of terrific people I have not included.

    • A quick and easy way to make your first open source contribution

      The best way to level up your programming skills is to code more. The second best way is to read others’ code. What better way to do these things than collaborating in open source projects?

      First Contributions is a project to help you get started with contributing to open source projects. Excited to start your open source journey? Follow the instructions in Readme of the First Contributions project on GitHub.


  • Hybrid cloud security fundamentals: 4 things to know
  • Science

    • Hedy Lamarr – the 1940s ‘bombshell’ who helped invent wifi

      Lamarr’s invention didn’t become widely known until near the end of her life, in the late 1990s. It gained more traction when her obituaries were published in 2000.


      Bombshell is out on Friday.

    • The Psychopath Next Door

      A key to the success of psychopaths in the modern world is found in evolutionary mismatch — a concept that speaks to instances in which an organism finds itself in conditions that do not match the conditions that characterized the evolutionary environment that surrounded that kind of organism in the past. In our modern human social environment, evolutionary mismatch abounds. For the lion’s share of human evolutionary history, our nomadic ancestors lived in groups no larger than 150 (see Dunbar, 1992). Under modern conditions, many of us live in cities with populations that number in the thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions. That is an evolutionary mismatch.

      In a careful analysis of the evolutionary origins of psychopaths, A. J. Figueredo and colleagues (2008) argue that modern large-scale societal conditions have unwittingly paved the way for psychopaths. Or, as the authors write, “Psychopaths flourish in mega-cities” (Figuredo et al., 2008).

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Injured Nuclear Workers Finally Had Support. The Trump Administration Has Mothballed It.

      An advisory board of scientists, doctors and worker advocates helped ensure that nuclear workers exposed to toxins received proper compensation. The terms of nearly all board members expired last month — and no new members have been appointed.

    • ‘Our Healthcare Crisis Won’t Be Solved Until We Get Private Insurance Out’

      When you hear that Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon have a plan to “fix” healthcare, questions, shall we say, naturally arise about how transformative it’s likely to be, this plan of super-wealthy corporate executives that they insist would be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints.”

      But if the plan comes from a group represented as liberal, and its spokespeople talk about “universal coverage” and “healthcare as a right,” and the New York Times declares it “a better single-payer plan,” well, what are you to think?

      Here to help us see what’s going on in a new healthcare proposal that you will be hearing about is Margaret Flowers. Margaret Flowers is co-director of Popular Resistance and coordinator of the national Health Over Profit for Everyone campaign. She joins us now by phone.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • It just got much easier to wage record-breaking DDoSes

      Now, two separate exploits are available that greatly lower the bar for waging these new types of attacks. The first one, called Memcrashed, prompts a user to enter the IP address to be targeted. It then automatically uses the Shodan search engine to locate unsecured memcached servers and abuses them to flood the target. Here’s a screenshot showing the interface: [...]

    • Push to bolster election security stalls in Senate

      But Lankford on Wednesday was forced to table an amendment to a bill moving through the Senate that was aimed at improving information-sharing between federal and state election officials on election cyber threats. State officials objected to the amendment.

    • Senate committee approves bill reorganizing Homeland Security’s cyber office

      A key Senate panel on Wednesday advanced legislation to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that includes a measure reorganizing the department’s cybersecurity wing.

      The bill includes language that would reorganize and rename the office within the department that protects federal networks and critical infrastructure from physical and cyber threats, currently known as the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD). Under the legislation, the entity would be transformed into an operational agency called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Memcached DDoS: This ‘kill switch’ can stop attacks dead in their tracks

      The 1Tbps-plus memcached amplification attacks that hammered GitHub and other networks over the past week can be disarmed with a “practical kill switch”, according to DDoS protection firm Corero.

    • Researchers Bypassed Windows Password Locks With Cortana Voice Commands

      In Windows 10, the default setting tells Cortana to respond to any voice calling “Hey Cortana,” even when the computer is locked. An alternate setting tries to limit this to just the computer owner by telling Cortana to “try to respond only to me.” With this setting, the user provides voice-command samples to help the virtual assistant fingerprint and recognize it.

    • Cryptojacking attack uses leaked EternalBlue NSA exploit to infect servers [Ed: Microsoft Windows back doors for NSA are now being exploited to infect servers]
    • NSA Exploit Leak is the Gift That Keeps on Giving
    • List Of Hackers Relased By An NSA Leak

      At the point when the leaked version of Territorial Dispute keeps running on a target computer , it checks for signs of 45 distinct sorts of malware—perfectly marked SIG1 through SIG45—via looking for unique documents or registry keys those programs leave on victim machines.

      SIG2 is malware utilized by another known Russian state hacker group, Turla.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • To Stop War, Do What Katharine Gun Did

      Daniel Ellsberg has a message that managers of the warfare state don’t want people to hear.

      “If you have information that bears on deception or illegality in pursuing wrongful policies or an aggressive war,” he said in a statement released last week, “don’t wait to put that out and think about it, consider acting in a timely way at whatever cost to yourself…. Do what Katharine Gun did.”


      Fifteen years ago, “I find myself reading on my computer from the Observer the most extraordinary leak, or unauthorized disclosure, of classified information that I’d ever seen,” Ellsberg recalled, “and that definitely included and surpassed my own disclosure of top-secret information, a history of U.S. decision-making in Vietnam years earlier.” The Pentagon Papers whistleblower instantly recognized that, in the Observer article, “I was looking at something that was clearly classified much higher than top secret…. It was an operational cable having to do with how to conduct communications intelligence.”

      What Ellsberg read in the newspaper story “was a cable from the NSA asking GCHQ to help in the intercepting of communications, and that implied both office and home communications, of every member of the Security Council of the UN. Now, why would NSA need GCHQ to do that? Because a condition of having the UN headquarters and the Security Council in the U.S. in New York was that the U.S. intelligence agencies promised or were required not to conduct intelligence on members of the UN. Well, of course they want that. So, they rely on their allies, the buddies, in the British to commit these criminal acts for them. And with this clearly I thought someone very high in access in Britain intelligence services must dissent from what was already clear the path to an illegal war.”

    • The National Endowment for (Meddling in) Democracy

      But meddling in other countries has been a favorite Washington pastime ever since William McKinley vowed to “Christianize” the Philippines in 1899, despite the fact that most Filipinos were already Catholic. Today, an alphabet soup of U.S. agencies engage in political interference virtually around the clock, everyone from USAID to the VOA, RFE/RL to the DHS—respectively the U.S. Agency for International Development, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Department of Homeland Security. The last maintains some 2,000 U.S. employees in 70 countries to ensure that no one even thinks of doing anything bad to anyone over here.

      Then there is the National Endowment for Democracy, a $180-million-a-year government-funded outfit that is a byword for American intrusiveness. The NED is an example of what might be called “speckism,” the tendency to go on about the speck in your neighbor’s eye without ever considering the plank in your own (see Matthew 7 for further details). Prohibited by law from interfering in domestic politics, the endowment devotes endless energy to the democratic shortcomings of other countries, especially when they threaten American interests.

    • Nevada Supreme Court Overturns Lower Court’s Abysmal Ruling On Las Vegas Shooting Coroner’s Reports

      Prior restraint gets another thumping in court following a truly lousy injunction issued against a Las Vegas newspaper. The Las Vegas Review-Journal requested autopsy reports on victims of the Las Vegas shooting that left 58 dead. The coroner’s office refused and was sued by the newspaper. The judge ruled the paper had a right to access copies of the reports after they were stripped of identifying info.

      All went according to the First Amendment until a family of one of the victims went to court seeking to prevent the publication of Las Vegas police officer Charleston Hartfield’s report. The family argued the report was “confidential” and not subject to disclosure under Nevada’s public record laws.

      This led to a bizarre ruling by the Las Vegas court. First, the court decided there was “no public interest” in the publication of the reports, which was obviously not true. Then it decided just to block the publication of Hartfield’s autopsy. Given the fact the reports were stripped of identifying info before the paper received them, the Las Vegas Review-Journal had no way of knowing which report belonged to the Las Vegas cop. No problem, said the court, we’ll just send the government and the suing family into your offices to retrieve it.

    • Coroner Releases Causes Of Death For All 58 Victims Of Las Vegas Shooting

      All 58 of the people killed in the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 died of gunshot wounds, the Clark County County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner has determined.

      Nearly all of the fatalities were caused by a single gunshot wound, though six victims died from multiple wounds. Most had been shot in the head, chest or back. The deaths were all ruled homicides.

    • North Korea and South Korea snooker Trump

      South Korean conservatives have had two nightmare scenarios about President Trump: that he would either embroil their country in a ruinous war with North Korea or that he would sell out their interests to the North.

      Trump spent his first year in office lending credence to the first concern. He threatened to rain “fire and fury” down on North Korea. He called its dictator, Kim Jong-un, “Little Rocket Man,” and bragged that his “nuclear button” was much bigger than Kim’s. Administration officials claimed that deterrence couldn’t work and discussed the possibility of a “bloody nose” strike that could have triggered a nuclear war.


      That strategy paid off spectacularly during the “sunshine policy” years of 1998-2008. Progressive governments in Seoul delivered approximately $8 billion in economic assistance and got nothing in return. North Korea reneged on its 1994 pledge to the U.S. to freeze its nuclear development and instead raced ahead with a secret nuclear enrichment program. South Korea’s current president, Moon Jae-in, was a top aide to President Roh Moo-hyun, one of the presidents who pursued the sunshine policy, and evidently he is has not lost his faith in negotiations with the North. Admittedly, from his perspective, it makes sense to do anything possible to stop Trump from starting Korean War II.

      Moon and Kim have, for their own reasons, snookered the credulous American president into a high-profile summit that is likely to end in disaster one way or another. Kim is evidently willing to suspend his nuclear and missile tests while the talks are under way, but this is a minimal concession that can easily be reversed. He is most likely willing to do even that much only to buy time for his engineers to finish developing a nuclear warhead that can fit on an ICBM capable of reaching the U.S.

    • False Alarms and Exaggerated Threats

      Today’s endless “war on terrorism” likewise requires that manufactured fear which be endlessly hyped. Dick Meyer reported for Newsday in 2015 how the threat of terror “is massively exaggerated in both the public and official mind.”

    • The University of Nuclear Bombs

      The University of California is once again bidding to manage Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab at a time when the threat of nuclear war is rising.

      When Nobu Hanaoka was 8 months old, the city where he lived and played was consumed by a fiery hell. On Aug. 9, 1945, a U.S. warplane released an atomic bomb over Nagasaki, Japan. The blast, heat, fire, and radiation from the bomb killed 40,000 people almost instantaneously. Roughly 70,000 died by year’s end. Three days prior, the U.S. military had also exploded an atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Those killed immediately numbered some 90,000. Those dying by the end of 1945 numbered some 140,000.

      Now 73, Hanaoka was too young to remember the blast. But he vividly recalls the sickness and frailty that overcame his mother and sister, who — like tens of thousands of others — died more slowly due to radiation exposure. They both died from leukemia when Hanaoka was 5 years old. “As far back as I can remember, they were both in bed looking very pale,” recalled Hanaoka, in a recent interview.

    • Britain can’t prove that Putin was behind the Skripal poisoning – but we must act nevertheless

      On a wall of GCHQ’s sprawling donut-shaped office in Cheltenham, there is a large screen showing a map of the world – and of cyber-attacks. It seems to show digital missiles being fired every few seconds from Russia and China, hitting targets in Britain and America. But as the spies know, this is little more than educated guesswork. There’s no doubt that the governments of both countries sponsor hacking of Western businesses on an industrial scale, but the serious cyber attacks are so well disguised that it’s almost impossible to trace where they came from. Without proof, it’s hard to complain – or retaliate.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • President Trump’s Exaggerated and Misleading Claims on Trade

      In defending his embrace of steep tariffs — and in comments that seem to encourage a trade war — President Trump has repeatedly claimed enormous trade imbalances, unfair practices and an international system that benefits everyone but the United States.

      Mr. Trump’s promises to fix the problems he has identified through an aggressive trade agenda has appeared to unnerve markets, which fell when they opened on Wednesday. The dip came after Gary D. Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, announced on Tuesday his plans to resign amid an internal White House struggle over Mr. Trump’s plan to impose large tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

    • Top Court Throws Out Corporate Sovereignty For All Trade Deals Within EU; Those Involving Other Nations Likely To Suffer Same Fate

      This is a classic case of a government changing its policy, as governments often do, and a company demanding compensation as a result. What this — and the general theory behind ISDS — overlooks is that business is by its nature risky; profits are the reward for taking on risks successfully. Corporate sovereignty demands free insurance for foreign investors, guaranteeing that they will not lose out, whatever happens, without actually needing to pay for a formal insurance policy (which is in any case available for those that want such protection). That kind of guarantee is not something that members of the public ever get for free, so it’s not clear why corporates should either.

    • Mike Elk on West Virginia School Workers Strike

      West Virginia teachers and school staffers, among the lowest paid in the country, won a 5 percent pay raise for all of the state’s public sector workers, after a nine-day walkout over pay and surging healthcare costs. Much coverage, of what there was, was sympathetic; though some reports stuck to corporate media’s old recipe, like the AP piece that said the deal “ended a paralyzing strike that shut students out of classrooms statewide, forced parents to scramble for child care and cast a national spotlight on government dysfunction in West Virginia.” Media will need to shake up their reporting on how workers fight, because it looks like West Virginia won’t be the end of this sort of action.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Gary Cohn served Donald Trump for 14 months, and made billions for his old bosses at Goldman Sachs

      When Donald Trump announced that he would “drain the swamp” by filling his cabinet with lobbyists, billionaires, and political operators, we all braced for an onslaught of rules that benefited the fattest of cats at the expense of everyone else, but Gary Cohn outdid himself.

      During the 14 months that he served as Trump’s chief economic advisor, the former Goldman Sachs president helped deliver a 40% cut in corporate taxes (saving Goldman $1 Billion/year!), as well as a tax-holiday on $3 trillion in corporate money stashed in overseas tax-havens, saving billions more for Goldman’s largest clients. He also preserved the carried-interest tax loophole (which Trump promised to get rid of), ensuring that hedge fund managers would continue to pay a lower tax rate on their billions than their cleaners pay on the $7.55 they earn scrubbing toilets.

    • Raining on Trump’s Parade

      President Trump has asked the Pentagon to plan a military parade in Washington DC on Veteran’s Day, November 11. Democrats have decried the cost and authoritarian implication, and antiwar groups are planning a countermarch. I spoke to Margaret Flowers, medical doctor, Green Party activist, and co-founder of the movement news website Popular Resistance, who is among those organizing the countermarch.

    • Evidence Points to Murdered DNC Staffer as WikiLeaks Source for DNC E-mails

      When 27-year-old Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich was shot dead in Washington, D.C., on July 8, 2016, the news had just broken that WikiLeaks was publishing a trove of embarrassing and damning DNC e-mails. And while the official story is that the leaked e-mails had nothing to do with Rich’s murder, that story falls apart under scrutiny.

      That official story is that Rich was killed during a robbery in an area of the city with escalating levels of crime, including armed robbery. But when Rich — who was shot twice in the back at close range — was found, nothing was missing. He was still wearing his watch and expensive jewelry, he still had his phone and his wallet. His father said, “If it was a robbery — it failed because he still has his watch, he still has his money — he still has his credit cards, still had his phone so it was a wasted effort except we lost a life.”

      Last week, The New American published a video of an exclusive interview with legendary political operative Roger Stone, who made it clear that he does not buy the official story. He said, “It is very clear that Seth Rich was murdered for political purposes” and not in a random robbery. He said Rich was murdered because he was the source of the DNC e-mails published by WikiLeaks.

    • How Many Terms Till You’re a Tyrant Ripe for Regime Change?

      Donald Trump caused some concern last week when he appeared to praise Chinese President Xi Jinping’s removal of term limits on the president from the Chinese constitution, clearing the path for him to become “president for life.” At a fundraiser in Florida, Trump said, “He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great.” He then added, to enthusiastic cheers: “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”


      That is a sentence that has recently come up for consideration in other countries too: none more troublingly than Honduras as far as the U.S. reaction goes. In 2015, the Supreme Court of Honduras removed the one-term limit on the president, clearing the way for Juan Orlando Hernández to run for a second term in office. The U.S. has supported Hernández’s bid for a second term though it is not clear the Honduran court had the authority to make that constitutional amendment without a vote by the people. It is also not clear that the court did legitimately make that amendment since a five-member panel and not the full 15-member court voted on the change.

      The same support was not offered to the previous Honduran president, the popularly elected Manuel Zelaya, though he didn’t go as far as Hernández. Zelaya did not touch the constitution, he did not change presidential term limits and he did not run for a second term. He merely opened the constitutional change for discussion. Zelaya only had to announce a plebiscite to see if Hondurans wanted to draft a new constitution for the hostile political establishment to falsely translate his intention into an intention to seek an unconstitutional second term and oust him in a coup.

    • False stories travel way faster than the truth, says study

      Twitter loves lies. A new study finds that false information on the social media network travels six times faster than the truth and reaches far more people.

      And you can’t blame bots; it’s us, say the authors of the largest study of online misinformation.

      Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at more than 126,000 stories tweeted millions of times between 2006 and the end of 2016 — before Donald Trump took office but during the combative presidential campaign. They found that “fake news” sped through Twitter “farther, faster, deeper and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information,” according to the study in Thursday’s journal Science.

    • How ISIS and Russia Won Friends and Manufactured Crowds

      The online battle against ISIS was the first skirmish in the Information War, and the earliest indication that the tools for growing and reaching an audience could be gamed to manufacture a crowd. Starting in 2014, ISIS systematically leveraged technology, operating much like a top-tier digital marketing team. Vanity Fair called them “The World’s Deadliest Tech Startup,” cataloging the way that they used almost every social app imaginable to communicate and share propaganda: large social networks such as Facebook; encrypted chat apps such as Telegram; messaging platforms including Kik and WhatsApp. They posted videos of beheadings on YouTube, and spoke to their followers on Internet radio stations. Perhaps most visibly, they were on Twitter, which they used for recruiting and for reach. Each time ISIS successfully executed an attack, they used Twitter to claim responsibility and tens of thousands of followers were ready to cheer them on with favorites and retweets. And in one of the pioneering instances of automated, manufactured crowds, thousands of bots were used for amplification and share-of-voice.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Rhode Island proposes blocking all online porn and charging $20 to unblock it

      Rhode Island Democratic state Senators Frank Ciccone (@senatorciccone) and Hanna Gallo (@hannagallo27) have proposed grandstanding, unworkable legislation, “Relating to Public Utilities and Carriers—Internet Digital Blocking” which would mandate the state’s ISPs to identify all the pornography on the [I]nternet, and then block it for all Rhode Islanders, unless those Rhode Islanders specifically requested their porn to be unblocked and paid $20 for the privilege.

    • Navy, Marine Corps leaders warn that China is ‘weaponizing capital’

      “I don’t think they want to fight us, personally, but I think they want to be able to impose their will and use intimidation.”

    • Stop SESTA/FOSTA: Don’t Let Congress Censor the Internet

      The U.S. Senate is about to vote on a bill that would be disastrous for online speech and communities.

      The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA, H.R. 1865) might sound appealing, but it would do nothing to fight sex traffickers. What it would do is silence a lot of legitimate speech online, shutting some voices out of online spaces.

      This dangerous bill has already passed the House of Representatives, and it’s expected to come up for a Senate vote in the next few days. If you care about preserving the Internet as a place where everyone can gather, learn, and share ideas—even controversial ones—it’s time to call your senators.

    • More People Realizing That SESTA Will Do A Lot More Harm Than Good

      At this point, it seems fairly clear that Congress simply does not care that SESTA is going to do an awful lot of harm for almost no benefit at all, and is rushing towards a Senate vote. But more and more people outside of Congress are recognizing the problems that it will cause. While all of the supporters of the bill are insisting they’re doing it to “protect” victims of sex trafficking, as we’ve explained SESTA will almost certainly make their lives worse — putting them at much more risk while doing little to nothing to stop actual trafficking.

    • Five Senators Agree: Search Engines Should Censor Drug Information

      The US government would like to be involved in the web censorship business. The anti-sex trafficking bill recently passed by the House would do just that, forcing service providers to pre-censor possibly harmless content out of fear of being sued for the criminal acts of private citizens. Much has been made recently of “fake news” and its distribution via Russian bots, with some suggesting legislation is the answer to a problem no one seems to be able to define. This too would be a form of censorship, forcing social media platforms to make snap decisions about new users and terminate accounts that seem too automated or too willing to distribute content Congressional reps feel is “fake.”

      For the most part, legislation isn’t in the making. Instead, reps are hoping to shame, nudge, and coerce tech companies into self-censorship. This keeps the government’s hands clean, but there’s always the threat of a legal mandate backing legislators’ suggestions.

      Key critic of Russian bots and social media companies in general — Senator Dianne Feinstein — has signed a handful of letters asking four major tech companies to start censoring drug-related material. Her co-signers on these ridiculous letters are Chuck Grassley, Amy Klobuchar, John Kennedy, and Sheldon Whitehouse. As members of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotic Control, they apparently believe Microsoft, Yahoo (lol), Pinterest, and Google should start preventing users for searching for drug information. (h/t Tom Angell)

    • Cross-border collaboration: the antidote to censorship and press intimidation in Thailand

      Facing prosecution, censorship and financial hardship, Thai reporters are finding it more and more difficult to hold the government and corporations to account.

      Thailand has a “strong investigative reporting culture,” said Prangtip Daorueng, an investigative reporter and a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. But attacks against freedom of expression in the recent years have been crippling.

    • Copyright, Censorship, Pepe & Infowars

      If you’re reading this, you’re probably well aware of Pepe the Frog, the cartoon character created by Matt Furie years ago that turned into quite the meme by the 4chan crowd. Over time, the meme morphed into one favored by Trump supporters and the alt-right (though, upset that Pepe has become too “mainstream,” that crowd has moved onto something of a derivative work known as Groyper). As you may have heard, Furie has now decided to sue Infowars over a poster the site is selling that puts together a bunch of… well… the crowd of people you’d expect to be fans of Infowars and Pepe.


      A year or so later, once Pepe had been adopted by the alt-right, Furie still appeared pretty laid back about the whole thing, while making it clear that he, in no way, agreed with the alt-right.

    • Parliament has passed the ‘internet censorship’ bill – here’s what it means for you

      On Tuesday (6 March), Parliament confirmed that the bill will now be transmitted to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence, following which it is set to be signed off by the president and will officially come into law.

      The bill had previously come under scrutiny from members of industry and the public, over concerns that it would be used as a means of censorship for online content.

    • Parliament approves “Internet Censorship Bill” – What happens next

      The National Assembly has approved legislation that aims to allow the FPB to regulate the distribution of online content in South Africa.

      Known as the Internet Censorship Bill, the Film and Publications Amendment Bill includes provisions to give the FPB powers to have online content blocked in South Africa.

      This includes “user-generated content”, such as posts published to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media services.

    • Veteran broadcaster on media censorship: History seems to repeat itself
    • Man who complained of odor sues town he says threatened him

      An Iowa man who said his hometown smelled like “rancid dog food” because of an animal food processing plant sued the city Thursday after he says they threatened to silence him.

      Josh Harms with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa filed suit in U.S. District Court asking a judge to block Sibley officials from making legal threats or taking action to force him to remove criticism from his website.

      Harms created a website entitled, “Should You Move to Sibley, Iowa ?” to point out city officials’ lack of action on the stench from Iowa Drying and Processing, which makes a high-protein animal food supplement from pig blood.

    • Social media censorship is vastly more dangerous than the censored media

      I know objecting to Internet censorship makes me a right-wing Nazi-kissing literal Hitler in the eyes of many in this bizarre funhouse mirror world of online political discourse, but I insist that censorship by powerful corporations is one of the greatest obstacles we face in our fight to survive and thrive as a species in a world that is increasingly imperilled and dominated.

      It has become painfully obvious that political solutions to the problems we face are locked shut to us. Democracy does not exist in America in any meaningful way, and those of us who live outside of America are all subject to the whims of the power establishment which has loosely centralised itself there. Here in Australia, we have paper ballots, exit polls and ranked-choice voting, which is a wet dream for many American election reform advocates.

    • Queen’s Film Theatre accused of censorship in row over ‘gay therapy’ film

      The leader of a Christian organisation who says that gay people “can choose not to live out homosexuality” has accused Queen’s Film Theatre (QFT) of censorship after claiming that it refused to screen a film about people “emerging” from gay lifestyles.

    • Assange Slams UK Government’s Remarks on Freedom of Media in Other Countries

      WikiLeaks whistleblowing website’s founder Julian Assange criticized on Friday remarks of the UK Mission to the United Nations in Geneva on the situation with the freedom of media in other countries, saying that his own detention results from pressure on media in the United Kingdom.

      “And that is exactly why you have detained me without charge for eight years in violation of two UN rulings and spent over 20 million pounds [$27.8 million] spying on me… Your entire international human rights programme is £10.6m you pathetic frauds,” Assange wrote on his Twitter page.

    • UK is a ‘hypocritical mother f*****’ over free media claim, Julian Assange says

      Julian Assange has said the UK is “hypocritical mother f*****” made up of “pathetic fraudsters.” He was commenting on a tweet from the UK embassy in Geneva promoting “free and independent media.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Notes on Analytics and Tracking in Onavo Protect for iOS

      I found that Onavo Protect uses a Packet Tunnel Provider app extension, which should consistently run for as long as the VPN is connected, in order to periodically send the following data to Facebook (graph.facebook.com) as the user goes about their day:

      • When user’s mobile device screen is turned on and turned off
      • Total daily Wi-Fi data usage in bytes (Even when VPN is turned off)
      • Total daily cellular data usage in bytes (Even when VPN is turned off)
      • Periodic beacon containing an “uptime” to indicate how long the VPN has been connected
    • FBI again calls for magical solution to break into encrypted phones

      FBI director again laments strong encryption in remarks to Congress
      FBI Director Christopher Wray again has called for a solution to what the bureau calls the “Going Dark” problem, the idea that the prevalence of default strong encryption on digital devices makes it more difficult for law enforcement to extract data during an investigation.

    • FBI Director Says It’s ‘Not Impossible’ To Create Compromised Encryption That’s Still Secure

      Yet Wray continues to believe this can be done. He has yet to provide Senator Ron Wyden with a list of tech experts who feel the same way. The “going dark” part of his remarks is filled with incongruity and non sequiturs. Like this, in which Wray says he doesn’t want backdoors, but rather instant access to encrypted data and communications… almost like a backdoor of some sort.

    • Whistleblower: NSA Spying on Hacking Groups to ‘Swindle’ Congress Out of Money

      A group of Hungarian researchers examined leaked National Security Agency (NSA) documents and reported that the NSA was tracking as many as 45 hacking groups, many of them state-backed in nature.

      John Kiriakou, co-host of Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear, discussed what this revelation means with William Binney, a famous whistleblower who spent 30 years with the National Security Agency (NSA) before leaving the agency over what he has described as its “totalitarian” approach to surveillance: “better than anything that the KGB, the Stasi, or the Gestapo and SS ever had.”

    • Supreme Court of Texas Recognizes Patent Agent Privilege

      Texas now recognizes an independent patent agent privilege in Texas state courts. In re Andrew Silver, No. 16-0682 (Texas 2018).

    • FBI Documents Show More Evidence Of Agency’s Sketchy Relationship With Best Buy’s Geek Squad

      Thanks to an FOIA lawsuit, the FBI has finally started handing over documents to the EFF detailing the federal agency’s “partnership” with Best Buy Geek Squad employees. The too-cozy-to-be-Fourth-Amendment-compliant relationship was uncovered during discovery in a child porn prosecution. Produced documents showed the FBI not only paid Geek Squad members to search for child porn, but it actively engaged in recruiting efforts at Best Buy locations.

      The problem with this relationship is the relationship. And the money. While tech repair personnel are expected to turn over discovered child porn to authorities, the active efforts of the FBI alter the incentives, pushing Geek Squad members towards digging through customers’ computers for illicit material, rather than simply reporting what they come across during the course of their work.

    • Google attempts to kill off landlines with voice calling on Google Home

      Google Assistant will be updated this week on Home devices to allow WiFi calling to any number in your contacts or any business in its directory. It doesn’t require a landline and doesn’t cost anything.

    • ISPs a Greater Threat to Online Privacy than Facebook, Google, or the NSA: Survey

      Of the 1,000 individuals who responded to the survey, 25 percent fingered their ISPs as the most likely organization to violate their right to privacy. Facebook ranked second, followed by Google, the National Security Agency (NSA), and e-commerce giant Amazon.

    • FBI paid Geek Squad staff to be informants, documents show

      FBI agents paid employees in Best Buy’s Geek Squad unit to act as informants, documents published Tuesday reveal.

      Agents paid managers in the retailer’s device repair unit to pass along information about illegal content discovered on customers’ devices, according to documents posted online by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The digital rights group sued the FBI for the documents last year after the bureau denied a Freedom of Information Act request.

    • NSA tracking program watched foreign hackers in action

      According to a report by The Intercept, which obtained the research prior to its official reveal at the Kaspersky Security Summit on March 9, the NSA tracking program aimed to gather information by infecting the same target system as an APT to understand not only when and who threat actors will attack but to find out what was being stolen in real time.

      The NSA tracking tools included instructions to abandon a target system if there was too much risk of being discovered, including when the agency came across unknown malware, as well as instructions to seek help when known malware or “friendly tools” were discovered.

      Satya Gupta, co-founder and CTO at Virsec, a cybersecurity company headquartered in San Jose, Calif., said this was evidence of “the eternal dilemma of spying.”

    • CCTV footage of Kampala hotel where Finnish businessman died was doctored, says ISO

      The Internal Security Organisation (ISO) on Tuesday said the footage that is currently in the hands of security and intelligence agencies on the death of the Finnish national who died at Pearl of Hotel on February 6, in Kampala was manipulated.

    • Fake video? New twist in case of Finnish businessman’s death in Uganda

      Aliganyira said that local police were using doctored footage which contained “insertions, removal of images, creating someone to look like [the victim] yet it wasn’t him.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • SF tech company fired software engineers seeking to organize, union claims

      Most of the engineers were fired Friday, about 10 days after they filed a petition seeking union representation, according to the complaint filed by the CWA’s Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild. A hearing to determine a date to hold the union vote was scheduled for Thursday.

    • Clinton Township teen charged with felony for school threat

      An 18-year-old student at Chippewa Valley High School was formally charged Monday for a school-related threat posted on social media.

      A few hours after Jacob Michael Graham of Clinton Township was arraigned in 41B District Court, township police arrested another student in an unrelated, similar threat.

      Graham is accused of posting the words “next school shooter” along with a photograph of him holding an AR-15 rifle on Instagram, police said.

    • All This National Champion Wrestler Wants Is a Chance to Compete

      The National Collegiate Wrestling Association won’t let Marina Goocher wrestle men, which means she can’t wrestle.

      Marina Goocher just wants an equal opportunity to wrestle in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association. The NCWA’s response: Build your own women’s team.

      Goocher, a national champion college wrestler in her junior year, is a favorite to win another national championship in a few days. Yet she has been benched for the entire last three regular seasons in her wrestling league, the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA). Despite the male team at University of Michigan-Dearborn having abundant opportunities to train and attend NCWA competitions throughout the season, NCWA rules prohibit Marina from wrestling.

    • Police Union Boss Attacks New DA For Daring To Speak To Police Recruits About Deadly Force

      The residents of Philadelphia elected new District Attorney Larry Krasner because he wasn’t like the long line of police misconduct enablers that preceded him. Fed up with crumbling relationships between law enforcement officers and the people they served, Krasner secured the position by promising to clean house and start representing the people’s best interests, rather than just law enforcement’s.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Senator Introduces Fake Net Neutrality Bill Championed By ISPs Then Pretends He’s Fighting Against Them

      The bill, introduced by Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, mirrors legislation that has been pushed in the House that would enshrine the ability for ISPs to screw you over.

    • Cable’s Top Lobbyist Again Calls For Hyper Regulation Of Silicon Valley

      For years telecom monopolies have downplayed the lack of competition in the broadband sector, and the chain reaction of problems this creates for everybody (from privacy infractions to net neutrality violations). At the same time, large ISP lobbyists (and the regulators, politicians and policy flacks paid to love them) have insisted that it’s Silicon Valley companies the public really need to worry about. As a result, ISPs like Comcast and AT&T routinely insist that we need new regulations governing companies like Google and Facebook, but entrenched natural monopolies should be allowed to do pretty much whatever they’d like.

      This of course requires you ignore a few things. One, that the lack of competition in broadband makes the two sectors an apples to oranges comparison. Customers frustrated by Facebook’s bad behavior can vote with their wallets, something most Comcast customers can’t do. You’re also supposed to ignore the fact that large ISPs are simply trying to saddle Google and Facebook with additional regulation because they’re increasingly trying to challenge them for advertising revenue in the video and media space.

    • “Dig Once” rule requiring fiber deployment is finally set to become US law

      The Dig Once policy “mandates the inclusion of broadband conduit—plastic pipes which house fiber-optic communications cable—during the construction of any road receiving federal funding,” an announcement from Eshoo said.

    • GOP senator offers his own net neutrality bill

      For their part, Democrats are pushing legislation that would use authority under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to nullify the FCC’s repeal vote. Their CRA bill currently has 50 Senate backers, including GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), meaning it needs just one more Republican supporter for it to pass the chamber.

    • GOP tries to block state net neutrality laws and allow paid prioritization

      Republicans in Congress are continuing to push a net neutrality law that would preempt state net neutrality rules and let Internet service providers charge online services for prioritized access to Internet users.

      The Open Internet Preservation Act would prohibit ISPs from blocking or throttling lawful Internet content but clear the way for paid prioritization or “fast lanes.”

    • Terrified Of Losing In Court, ISPs (With Senator John Kennedy’s Help) Push Hard For A Fake Net Neutrality Law

      ISPs are worried that the FCC’s assault on net neutrality won’t hold up in the face of court challenge. And they should be.

      By law, the FCC has to prove that the broadband market changed substantially enough in just a few years to warrant such a severe reversal of popular policy. And the numerous lawsuits headed the FCC’s direction (including one by nearly half the states in the union) will also take aim at all of the shady and bizarre behaviors by the FCC during its ham-fisted repeal, from making up a DDOS attack to try and downplay the John Oliver effect, to blocking a law enforcement investigation into the rampant fraud and identity theft that occurred during the public comment period.

      With the FCC repeal on unsteady legal ground, ISPs have a back up plan for in case the FCC and its mega-ISP BFFs lose in court: bogus net neutrality legislation.

      Last fall, AT&T-favorite Masha Blackburn introduced one such bill in the House dubbed the “Open Internet Preservation Act.” While the bill’s stated purpose was to reach “compromise” and “put the net neutrality debate to bed,” the bill’s real intent is notably more nefarious. While the bill would ban behaviors ISPs had no real interest in (like the outright blocking of websites), it contained numerous loopholes that allowed anti-competitive behavior across a wide variety of fronts, from zero rating tactics that exempt an ISPs own content from usage caps, to interconnection shenanigans or anti-competitive paid prioritization.

  • DRM

    • Vendor lock-in, DRM, and crappy EULAs are turning America’s independent farmers into tenant farmers

      “Precision agriculture” is to farmers as Facebook is to publishers: farmers who want to compete can’t afford to boycott the precision ag platforms fielded by the likes of John Deere, but once they’re locked into the platforms’ walled gardens, they are prisoners, and the platforms start to squeeze them for a bigger and bigger share of their profits.

    • America’s Farmers Are Becoming Prisoners to Agriculture’s Technological Revolution

      Big data, proprietary systems, and restrictive EULA agreements threaten farmers, but the right to repair movement shows they are fighting back.

    • The Right to Repair Battle Has Come to Silicon Valley

      Right to repair legislation has considerable momentum this year; 18 states have introduced it, and several states have held hearings about the topic. In each of these states, big tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, John Deere, and AT&T and trade associations they’re associated with have heavily lobbied against it, claiming that allowing people to fix their things would cause safety and security concerns. Thus far, companies have been unwilling to go on the record to explain the specifics about how these bills would be dangerous or would put device and consumer security in jeopardy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • 11 Asia-Pacific states to sign revamped TPP trade deal without United States

      But the revamped deal, now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), is still a significant achievement that sends a message of openness, its supporters said ahead of the signing ceremony in Santiago, Chile.

    • Trademarks

      • US Generic-Named Food Industries Cry For US Government Help Against ‘Relentlessly Aggressive’ EU

        Something that was unimaginable just a few years ago: What if Americans could not buy ordinary bologna, feta or parmesan cheese? Or worse, make them and export them under those names? The industry group in the United States representing a range of products like those today called on the US government to help them defend their products and their jobs against what they called “purposeful,” “relentless” and “aggressive” efforts by Europe to promote adoption of geographical indications (products named for places and with particular characteristics) to the detriment of the US common-named goods.


        “Unfortunately, our members repeatedly witness the EU trying to abuse this respect for truly unique products by expanding their GI monopolies to cover clearly generic names,” the group said. “An example of this indefensible voracious behavior is the EU’s approach to dealing with the GI Parmigiano Reggiano. The EU is not content with having the unique right to just this legitimate term but instead is pushing in many markets to go beyond any reasonable scope of rights in order to bar use by all non-Italians of the generic term “parmesan”. Of course, this is outrageous as parmesan is a type of cheese that has always been recognized around the world as generic.”

    • Copyrights

      • Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2018 Highlights Balance in the Copyright System

        The fifth annual Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week took place February 26–March 2, 2018, growing to 153 participating organizations—as well as numerous individuals—celebrating the important and flexible doctrines of fair use and fair dealing worldwide. This year’s event was organized by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and participants included universities, libraries, library associations, and many other organizations, such as Authors Alliance, the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the R Street Institute, and Re:Create. Sixty ARL member institutions contributed a wide range of resources this year. Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week was observed around the globe by participants in such countries as Australia, Canada, Colombia, Greece, and the United States.

      • Playboy Decides Not To Appeal Silly Boing Boing Lawsuit In The Most Petulant Manner Possible

        Well that all happened remarkably quickly. In November, we wrote about Playboy filing a particularly ridiculous lawsuit against the blog Boing Boing for linking to (but not hosting) an Imgur collection and YouTube video highlighting basically all Playboy centerfold images. Boing Boing explained to the court in January that linking is not infringement and the judge dismissed the case in February. And while the court left it open for Playboy to file an amended complaint, it also made it clear that Playboy had basically no chance of winning the case.

      • Torrent Tracking Evidence is Flawed and Unreliable, Alleged Pirate Argues

        The operator of a Tor exit node has asked a federal court in Oregon for a summary judgment of non-infringement. The man, who is accused of sharing a pirated copy of Dallas Buyers Club, argues that the evidence gathering software is flawed and unreliable.

The EPO’s PR Department Receives Return on Investment (Puff Pieces) for Paying the Media

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Numbers rise in the east (but down in most other places)


Summary: The media ‘yield’ of the EPO does not tell truths (cherry-picked numbers) and some of that media was literally paid by the EPO, at the expense of applicants and patent holders

THE EPO scandals have been brushed aside for a few days because, as we noted in two previous articles, external PR agencies have taken over things and they “run the show”, so to speak. They dominate the media right now. We already wrote a quick rebuttal (which wasn’t going to make a difference for media whose business model is amplifying claims in exchange for money or for interests of the media’s owners). Take Science|Business for instance; last year it did UPC puff pieces for the EPO [1, 2]. It spread a lot of misinformation which in retrospect looks utterly ridiculous because the UPC isn’t happening. Now it claims “record number” for the EPO, as do sites of patent maximalists. But they’re not quite counting the right thing. They should present a breakdown showing that the EPO’s revenue from patent applications actually declined this past year (the fees were lowered to fake ‘growth’ by the cancer that is Battistelli). But who cares about facts anyway? They present things only in ways that suit them.

“They should present a breakdown showing that the EPO’s revenue from patent applications actually declined this past year…”Korean press (for the most part) focused on LG’s corporate accomplishments [1, 2, 3] (more patents than Samsung, as well most among Korean companies).

English-speaking Chinese press (for the most part) focused on Huawei [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] (similar to the above).

“The EPO tries hard to make everyone, everywhere talk about China because that’s where most of the ‘growth’ comes from.”Many publishers have been tricked by the EPO into issuing a puff piece. Or maybe it was all willful. Maybe it was even LG and Huawei (through PR agencies) pressing for such coverage if not ghostwriting it. There’s a similar article in German, promoted this morning by the EPO. Yesterday the EPO retweeted Handelsblatt, which it had paid only months ago. The payments do eventually pay off, no?

There’s focus on China even in British and German sites. The EPO tries hard to make everyone, everywhere talk about China because that’s where most of the ‘growth’ comes from. It’s also where patent maximalism comes from (no wonder Battistelli loves to meet/chat with them). Watchtroll carried on with its China fetish yesterday. “China Outpaces U.S. in AI Startup Funding, Aims for AI Dominance,” said the headline. This is part of the relatively new propaganda pattern: “China grants many patents so we should too. For lawyers’ profit.”

Never mind if much of the above is basically just drainage of the pending work, which necessarily means EPO layoffs. The work will have run out soon. The writings have been on the wall for at least a couple of years.

Having hired PR agencies for the UK (specifically), the EPO now sees more puff pieces in the UK, e.g. [1, 2]. Best coverage money can buy?

“Never mind if much of the above is basically just drainage of the pending work, which necessarily means EPO layoffs.”Get a load of this from IP Kat! What’s new at IP Kat? Quite a week! It repeatedly attacked a study which showed Europe suffering from patent trolls (and both time it was Bristows doing that) and it helps promote software patents in Europe. IP Kat is now the trolls’ friend, not just Battistelli’s (and UPC’s) friend. What a disgrace for a site which once fought for actual workers of the EPO, not for an aggressive tyrant.

A few hours ago at IP Kat Bristows staff called her colleague “Kat friend” and copy-pastes her. Is IP Kat just/merely an apparatus of Bristows or is it an independent blog? They’re boosting patent maximalists, AIPPI UK.

For those who wondered what had happened at IP Kat, look at who left the blog over the past year or two. “Merpel” is not a real person but a pseudonym used by or shared by several people (some of whom are no longer at IP Kat). Things have changed.

“Bottom line is, the EPO is running out of ‘stock’ far too quickly as quality of patents nose-dives. EPO insiders know that.”Judging by the reactions to the annual reports, patent law firms in Europe now celebrate the patenting of algorithms at the EPO, e.g. under the guise of (buzz)words like “artificial intelligence”. Bristows too must be very pleased.

What’s also worth noting is that a couple of hours ago the EPO retweeted its own “media partner”, Les Echos, after it had produced its obligatory puff piece that parrots all the spin. Isn’t bribed media just lovely? It’s just so obedient. This one (Les Echos) even removed things the EPO asked to remove.

Bottom line is, the EPO is running out of ‘stock’ far too quickly as quality of patents nose-dives. EPO insiders know that.

The EPO gave ‘discounts’ to applicants, which is what we all along (for months) said would help Battistelli fake growth. But the media won’t tell anyone that little factoid, will it?

“It would not shock us if the EPO already used its external surveillance agencies (which had hired former Stasi staff and committed illegal acts inside the EPO) to profile staff.”What will EP holders do if/when the EPO collapses (which it already does to a degree)?

It would not shock us if the EPO already used its external surveillance agencies (which had hired former Stasi staff and committed illegal acts inside the EPO) to profile staff. They could, for example, use a list of SUEPO members to decide who to fire. Union busting tends to work like that (there’s a lot of news this week about a US lawsuit over it), in essense keeping only ‘loyal’ workers and those who are powerless because they aren’t part of a union.

With censorship levels peaking at the Office perhaps the EPO will not only emphasise and brag about China; maybe it will also emulate Xi’s tactics for censoring opposition to removal of term limits. We already know that Battistelli heavily meddled in the appointment of Campinos, who is strongly connected to Battistelli and is French also.

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