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04.14.18

Links 14/4/2018: Wine 3.6, KDE Elisa 0.1

Posted in News Roundup at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 3 open source apps for Windows

    When switching from one kind of computer to another, use open source tools to continue working with ease.

    For me, I worked on a Mac for many years, and now I have to work on a Windows machine at my job. I really miss a few of the MacOS features, so I set out to find open source solutions to these and other Windows conundra. Here are three to get you started.

  • Five benefits of open source software

    The telecommunications industry and beyond is increasingly embracing open source software. Just this year, for example, the Linux Foundation established the LF Networking Fund (LFN) in an effort to host its many open source projects focused on developing an open telecom ecosystem under a single umbrella. These sorts of projects enable participants to make changes and potentially improve software code through a process known as upstreaming. This article explores the reasons several enterprises are adopting open source software.

  • 10 Best Free and Open Source Software For Windows 10
  • Five Most Popular Open Source Frameworks Used in Machine Learning

    Machine language a branch of artificial intelligence which enables system the ability to learn from data without being programmed. Machine learning got evolved from pattern recognition and computational learning theory in artificial intelligence. It has revolutionized the conventional way through developing algorithms that can learn and make predictions on data. There are innumerable factors that have improved the contribution of machine learning. Open source frameworks are one of the major reasons for the boost in machine learning. A framework is a collection of programs, libraries and languages evolved to use in application development. A library is a collection of objects or methods used by the applications which avoid rewriting of same codes.

    The article lists five most popular frameworks that significantly help data scientists and engineers in their big data analytics journey.

  • FOSS Project Spotlight: Ravada

    Ravada is an open-source project that allows users to connect to a virtual desktop.

    Currently, it supports KVM, but its back end has been designed and implemented in order to allow future hypervisors to be added to the framework. The client’s only requirements are a web-browser and a remote viewer supporting the spice protocol.

  • VC Guy Kawasaki contemplates fringe ideas, open source and social

    He also views the open-source community in the same light: a benefit to businesses and society rather than a negative. “I believe in open source. I believe that … the more intelligent people pounding on your stuff, the better it is,” he said.

  • Open Source Election System Certified

    OSI Affiliate Member, The National Association of Voting Officials (NAVO), announced this week the certification of the Prime lll open source election system for the State of Ohio.

    NAVO spokesperson Brent Turner stated the ballot delivery system is, “the first step toward appropriately secure voting systems replacing the ‘secret software‘ systems that have plagued our democracy“. Turner summarized the current proprietary vendor sold U.S. voting systems as, “antiquated, insecure, and a threat to national security,“ and referenced New Hampshire’s recent deployment of the “All for One“ open source system based on Prime lll, as further momentum. “We have been focused on Florida, California, and New York to upgrade security and reduce costs as well. Now is the historic moment for all the states to step up and defend our democracy. Paper ballots and audits are a plus, but the essence of vote counting security is the public software.” said Turner.

  • Events

    • Digital Born Media Carnival July 2017

      As described in their website, Digital Born Media Carnival was a gathering of hundred of online media representatives, information explorers and digital rights enthusiasts. The event took place on 14 – 18 July in Kotor, Montenegro. I found out about it as one of the members of Open Labs Hackerspace shared the news on our forum. While struggling if I should attend or not because of a very busy period at work and at the University, the whole thing sounded very interesting and intriguing at the same time, so I decided to join the group of people who were also planning to go and apply with a workshop session too. No regrets at all! This turned out to be one of the greatest events I’ve attended so far and had a great impact in what I somehow decided to do next, regarding my work as a hacktivist and as a digital rights enthusiast.

    • SCaLE16x with Ubuntu, CI/CD and more!

      Saturday and Sunday brought a duo of keynotes that I wouldn’t have expected at an open source conference five years ago, from Microsoft and Amazon. In both these keynotes the speaker recognized the importance of open source today in the industry, which has fueled the shift in perspective and direction regarding open source for these companies. There’s certainly a celebration to be had around this, when companies are contributing to open source because it makes business sense to do so, we all benefit from the increased opportunities that presents. On the other hand, it has caused disruption in the older open source communities, and some have struggled to continue to find personal value and meaning in this new open source world. I’ve been thinking a lot about this since the conference and have started putting together a talk about it, nicely timed for the 20th anniversary of the “open source” term. I want to explore how veteran contributors stay passionate and engaged, and how we can bring this same feeling to new contributors who came down different paths to join open source communities.

    • Nominate your pick now for the NZ Open Source Awards

      Nominations have opened for the seventh New Zealand Open Source Awards.

      The awards began in 2007 as a way to formally celebrate New Zealand’s contribution and advocacy for free and open source software and to raise the awareness of its very broad and deep benefits.

    • JFrog Artifactory and Canonical’s Distribution of Kubernetes
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • This Week in Mixed Reality: Issue 2

        We’ve made great progress this week in the three broad areas of Browsers, Social and the Content Ecosystem.

      • working post-creepy ads, and stuff

        What’s next for web advertising after browser privacy improvements and regulatory changes make conventional adtech harder and harder?

        The answer is probably something similar to what’s already starting to pop up on niche sites. Here’s a list of ad platforms that work more like print, less like spam: list of post-creepy web ad systems. Comments and suggestions welcome (mail me, or do a GitHub pull request from the link at the bottom.)

      • L10N Report: April Edition

        In the past weeks we have completed the migration to Fluent of all XUL panes in Preferences. Today we landed one more major bug, migrating about 150 strings that cover the XUL portion of all the subdialogs (Fonts, Languages, Proxy, Colors, etc.). This leaves out only a few edge cases that require code changes in Fluent itself, and some strings in .properties files used also outside of Preferences. As of today, only 14 strings remain in DTD files, and 115 in .properties.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Five Questions for Cloudera

      On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Cloudera held its annual gathering for industry analysts. The setting was lovely Santa Monica, though the packed schedule didn’t exactly accommodate time at the beach just outside. Over the course of two days, a room full of analysts covering the company were walked through the past, present and future of Cloudera the business.

      The timing of the event was probably less than ideal from the company’s perspective, given that the market dropped a hammer on it last week – a subject we’ll come back to momentarily. But the show must go on, and to Cloudera’s credit, just as with the reduced guidance that precipitated the drop, the company was candid about what it perceived the issues to be as well as plans for their mitigation.

  • Databases

    • Lights, camera, Actian! Open-source database biz sold for $300m

      HCL Technologies and Sumeru Equity Partners have slurped privately-owned database (DB) supplier Actian for £330m from current owner Garnett Helfrich Capital.

      Indian-based IT services biz HCL, will own 80 per cent ($264mn) of Actian with SEP having the other 20 per cent ($66m). Actian will operate as a separate entity, led by current CEO and President, Rohit De Souza.

      Actian’s tech assets include Vector, which it claimed is the world’s fastest columnar DB; hybrid cloud data integration platform DataConnect; and hybrid DB, X, which merges Ingres relational and Vector analytics.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Development Versions of Oracle Linux UEK now available on GitHub

      The source for UEK has always been available at oss.oracle.com, as a git repository with full git history. Starting now, we’ll also be posting the UEK source on github.com/oracle/linux-uek. By doing so, we intend to increase the visibility for our work and to make it even easier for people to access the source for UEK. We will also use this repository for working with developers at partner companies and in the Linux community. The repository contains the source for the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel including a small number of Oracle additions which have not yet been accepted into the mainline Linux kernel source tree.

    • Oracle Offers Its Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel On GitHub

      While the source to Oracle’s “Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel” has been available via the company’s own servers, now the organization is publishing their source kernel changes to GitHub in a bid to increase the popularity of their patched version of Linux.

      Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel remains focused on performance and stability while going along with their RHEL-derived Oracle Linux distribution. They hope now posting their source changes to GitHub will increase the visibility of the UEK and in turn users.

    • Coming up: the Month of LibreOffice, May 2018!
  • Education

    • How to set up an open source scholarship at your university

      Have you ever considered helping the next generation of developers take their first steps into the wonderful world of open source?

      By offering a scholarship or award, you can help students—some of whom may have never considered sharing their work—join the open source community. Whether these students are aspiring open source software developers or enthusiasts of music, movies, beehives, or buildings, sharing a little upfront can help foster the open source talent of tomorrow.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • 3 enterprise GitHub projects from Microsoft
    • Pivotal Software IPO: Successful Offering May Trigger More Open Source Software IPOs

      Pivotal, the cloud software company spun out of Dell-EMC and VMware, plans to go public next week. At the high-end of its price range, Pivotal’s IPO would net $700 million at a $4 billion valuation. It would be the second largest IPO of 2018 behind Dropbox. (We excluded Spotify from this analysis because its IPO did not include any primary share sales.) Pivotal’s IPO could pave the way to a public offering from other Unicorns with open source software business models such as Docker and SugarCRM. Or, it could inspire SaaS firms such Palantir to also consider a large public offering.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Free Software Awards

      The president and founder of the Free Software Foundation will speak about pressing issues in free software today, and will present the winners of the 2018 Free Software Awards.

    • Incompossibilities: Ubiquitous Engineering Tradeoffs

      Many things in life come with limitations — often because we don’t have unlimited time, energy, or other resources. But software often feels like it should be an exception, because it’s immaterial and weightless, built from scratch out of logic. It doesn’t literally rust or rot. So idealistic software developers have consistently envisioned software systems that will escape the shortcomings that frustrate users.

      Meanwhile, researchers keep discovering kinds of tradeoffs that seem to be built into the very structure of certain problems; as the Rolling Stones said, “You can’t always get what you want.” Inherent tradeoffs have popped up in political science, computer science, and even ethical philosophy, with conjectures and often formal proofs that, in various regards, can’t be wedged into any system that will give people all that they want out of it. Limitative theorems are now a major research theme, and more are being found all the time.

      These tradeoffs seem to have very practical consequences, among other things, for privacy and anonymity software, and for social networks: each design may have to give up things some users value in order to achieve other goals.

      Thinking about these limitations and what they do or don’t mean can help inform discussions of software design, especially for communications tools whose value depends on broad adoption. And we’re having to get used to the idea that in some ways, we’ll never create perfect software.

    • Copyleft, Diversity & Critical Infrastructure

      GPL enforcement and Outreachy are the two most visible and controversial programs that Conservancy undertakes. In this talk, Karen will explore how the programs fit together in the context of software freedom generally. Karen will review her work around medical devices and critical infrastructure and show how seemingly disparate initiatives fit into a single advocacy narrative.

    • Freedom. Embedded. Vehicles?

      Modern vehicles are nodes on a network with a high degree of autonomy. As they’ve become more connected, they’ve incorporated more free software. But the fundamentally proprietary nature of car and truck manufacturers has led to regulatory and compliance issues that have unclear outcomes. The outcomes are increasingly pertinent to software freedom, especially as the use of free software shifts domains from consumer-focused to safety-critical.

    • The ethics void

      Many communities have widely adopted codes of ethics governing the moral conduct of their members and professionals. Some of these codes may even be enshrined in law, and for good reason—certain conduct can have enormous consequences on the lives of others.

      Software and technology pervade virtually every aspect of our lives. Yet, when compared to other fields, our community leaders and educators have produced an ethics void. Last year, I introduced numerous topics concerning privacy, security, and freedom that raise serious ethical concerns. Join me this year as we consider some of those examples and others in an attempt to derive a code of ethics that compares to the moral obligations of other fields, and to consider how leaders and educators should approach ethics within education and guidance.

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: April 13th starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC

      Help improve the Free Software Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. Every Friday we meet on IRC in the #fsf channel on irc.freenode.org.

      Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

      When a user comes to the Directory, they know that everything in it is free software, has only free dependencies, and runs on a free OS. With over 16,000 entries, it is a massive repository of information about free software.

    • Private Internet Access: VPNs, education, and software freedom

      Private Internet Access (PIA) was a generous supporter of LibrePlanet 2018 and the Free Software Foundation as a patron. As one of the largest VPN services available, they have customers all around the world. Their VPN works with free software VPN clients like OpenVPN. They recently announced their intention to release some of the software they produce under a free license.

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Source Brain

      With the inspiring tagline “Modeling the brain, together” largely displayed on the homepage, the Open Source Brain (OSB) resource embodies the collaborative scientific spirit. OSB comprises a number of (you guessed it) open-source projects consisting of computational models of neurons or circuits. The site interfaces with GitHub, which houses the models themselves in its repositories. OSB contains information about how to create projects and write project documentation, and it also gives users the ability to explore current projects and run simulations with specific models. The homepage provides site visitors with suggested models to explore, including a Hodgkin–Huxley neuron and a primary auditory cortex network. Alternatively, users can browse all projects (totaling 81 at the time of this writing), which are organized by organism and brain region. Primary citations for each dataset are also provided.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Turris MOX Modular, Open Source Router $149

        If your router could do with a upgrade you may be interested in the new Turris MOX router, which builds on the company’s first open source router the Turris Omnia. Offering a high performance modular router which can be configured to your exact requirements. The company has created and developed four modules for the open source router which can be combined to meet your needs and requirements. Watch the demonstration video below to learn more about the Turris MOX router.

      • The Future of Open Source Desktop 3D Printers
      • RISC-V 8th Workshop Agenda

        The RISC-V 8th Workshop is happening in Barcelona next month and the agenda and speakers have been announced…

  • Programming/Development

    • Qt for Python is coming to a computer near you

      Some of you – ok, probably most of you – know that Qt is a great C++ framework, enabling developers to create magnificent user interfaces with technologies like QML, Qt Quick Controls, and Qt Widgets. I will further claim that no one is knocked out of their socks when I say that C++ is one of the most widely used programming languages in the world today. The fact that Python is one of the fastest growing programming languages, measured in popularity, is probably also old news in most communities. So, what’s this blog post all about? Well, give it two more minutes.

    • The Qt Company Has Been Overhauling Qt’s Support For Python

      Following next month’s release of Qt 5.11, The Qt Company will be introducing as a technology preview the new Qt for Python.

      Qt for Python is the re-branded and overhauled PySide2, the module providing Qt integration for the Python programming language.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C WebAuthn to Advance FIDO Protocols for Strong Authentication

      The new WebAuthn standard is coming to the web as the W3C is working to bring the latest generation of the FIDO strong authentication specifications forward into the standards realm.

      The FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance has been building strong authentication specifications including the Universal Second Factor (U2) and Universal Authentication Framework (UAF) since 2012. With the W3C, FIDO is evolving its FIDO2 specification to become an official web standard that will be supported by all the major web browsers.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • “Is curing patients a sustainable business model?” Goldman Sachs analysts ask

      For a real-world example, they pointed to Gilead Sciences, which markets treatments for hepatitis C that have cure rates exceeding 90 percent. In 2015, the company’s hepatitis C treatment sales peaked at $12.5 billion. But as more people were cured and there were fewer infected individuals to spread the disease, sales began to languish. Goldman Sachs analysts estimate that the treatments will bring in less than $4 billion this year.

    • Study: Global Consumption Of Antibiotics Rising, In Particular In LMICs; Policy Change Needed

      In the face of the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, a recent study of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNSA) found that the antibiotic consumption rate in low and middle-income countries has substantially increased in recent years. At the same time, inequities in drug access persist in many countries, with high rates of infectious disease-related mortality, according to the study.

      The study entitled “Global increase and geographic convergence in antibiotic consumption between 2000 and 2015” was carried out in 76 countries. It shows that antibiotic consumption rate in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) has been converging and sometime surpassing levels observed in high-income countries.

      The study also projected total global antibiotic consumption through 2030, with a skyrocketing increase up to 200 percent higher than the 2015 estimates, in the absence of policy change. Between 2000 and 2015, the antibiotic consumption rate increased by 39 percent, which was driven by LMICs. In high-income countries the consumption “increased modestly.”

  • Security

    • Hackers [sic] boast of ease of bypassing security

      According to Pogue, the Nuix report challenges the common media narrative that data breaches are hard to prevent because cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated and, he notes that nearly a quarter of Black Report respondents (22%) said they used the same attack techniques for a year or more.

    • One-in-five cybercriminals blow their earnings on drugs and hookers

      The research was carried out by Dr Mike McGuire, a senior lecturer in Criminology at the University of Surrey. He’s presenting the full research paper in San Francisco later in the month.

    • Thousands of hacked websites are infecting visitors with malware

      The campaign, which has been running for at least four months, is able to compromise websites running a variety of content management systems, including WordPress, Joomla, and SquareSpace. That’s according to a blog post by Jérôme Segura, lead malware intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes. The hackers, he wrote, cause the sites to display authentic-appearing messages to a narrowly targeted number of visitors that, depending on the browsers they’re using, instruct them to install updates for Firefox, Chrome, or Flash.

      To escape detection, the attackers fingerprint potential targets to ensure, among other things, that the fake update notifications are served to a single IP address no more than once. [...]

    • Open Letter On Ending Attacks On Security Research

      The Center for Democracy and Technology has put together an important letter from experts on the importance of security research. This may sound obvious, but increasingly we’re seeing attacks on security researchers, where the messenger is blamed for finding and/or disclosing bad security practices or breaches — and that makes us all less safe by creating chilling effects.

    • D.C. Court: Accessing Public Information is Not a Computer Crime

      Good news for anyone who uses the Internet as a source of information: A district court in Washington, D.C. has ruled that using automated tools to access publicly available information on the open web is not a computer crime—even when a website bans automated access in its terms of service. The court ruled that the notoriously vague and outdated Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)—a 1986 statute meant to target malicious computer break-ins—does not make it a crime to access information in a manner that the website doesn’t like if you are otherwise entitled to access that same information.

      The case, Sandvig v. Sessions, involves a First Amendment challenge to the CFAA’s overbroad and imprecise language. The plaintiffs are a group of discrimination researchers, computer scientists, and journalists who want to use automated access tools to investigate companies’ online practices and conduct audit testing. The problem: the automated web browsing tools they want to use (commonly called “web scrapers”) are prohibited by the targeted websites’ terms of service, and the CFAA has been interpreted by some courts as making violations of terms of service a crime. The CFAA is a serious criminal law, so the plaintiffs have refrained from using automated tools out of an understandable fear of prosecution. Instead, they decided to go to court. With the help of the ACLU, the plaintiffs have argued that the CFAA has chilled their constitutionally protected research and journalism.

      The CFAA makes it illegal to access a computer connected to the Internet “without authorization,” but the statute doesn’t tells us what “authorization” or “without authorization” means. Even though it was passed in the 1980s to punish computer intrusions, it has metastasized in some jurisdictions into a tool for companies and websites to enforce their computer use policies, like terms of service (which no one reads). Violating a computer use policy should by no stretch of the imagination count as a felony.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • A new approach to security instrumentation
    • Quantum Mechanics Could Solve Cryptography’s Random Number Problem

      Peter Bierhorst’s machine is no pinnacle of design. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains inside a facility for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the photon-generating behemoth spans an entire building. Its lasers, mirrors, and lenses are split among three laboratories, two of them at opposite ends of the L-shaped building. The whole thing is strung together with almost 900 feet of optical fiber. “It’s a prototype system,” the mathematician explains. “Something might drift out of alignment, and the whole thing stops working. It might take a few days to figure out what went wrong.”

    • Fake “Have I Been Pwned” Wants Bitcoin For Not Leaking Your Passwords

      Much to the concern of many users, a fake website similar to HIBP has popped up on the internet. The site claims to contain a database of over 1.4 billion compromised user accounts and associated passwords.

    • The Top 10 Sessions to Catch at RSA Conference 2018

      RSA Conference 2018 boasts a dizzying array of security vendors in exhibit halls and industry luminaries in sessions spread out across the multiple San Francisco venues where the event will be held next week.

    • How to Scale Security with a Hardware Chain of Trust

      CISOs are notoriously risk-averse and compliance-focused, providing policies for IT and development teams to enforce. By contrast, in the name of serving business outcomes, App Dev leaders want to eliminate DevOps friction wherever possible. What approach satisfies those conflicting demands while accomplishing the end goal: at-scale security?

    • How safe are apps built on Open Source? Is security traded for efficiency? [Ed: This is the anti-FOSS lobby pretending that proprietary software lacks bugs (not to mention back doors) and disguises marketing as "research"]
    • Blockchain Open Source Code Is Failing On Security Says CAST [Ed: Some so-called 'journalists' entertain self-serving publicity stunt of malicious firms that FUD FOSS for attention]
    • Open source lessons for the cyber security industry

      The only way to win the war against cyber “bad guys” is if cyber security follows the example set by the open source movement and democratises, making it everyone’s responsibility.

      That’s the view of Marten Micklos, CEO of HackerOne, the bug bounty and vulnerability coordination platform. Speaking at the recent Linux Foundation’s Open Source Leadership Summit in California, he told delegates that the security industry could benefit from the way in which open source had built the functionality and conflict resolution governance that enabled people, including those who disagreed, to work together to achieve a common goal.

    • PSA: Your Android Smartphone Maker Is Lying About Missed Security Updates
    • How Android Phones Hide Missed Security Updates From You
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Major Papers Urge Trump to Kill Syrians, Risk World War III

      Western governments accuse the Syrian government of carrying out a chemical weapon attack in Douma, a suburb of Damascus. The World Health Organization says that, of 70 deceased persons they examined in the area, 43 had signs of being exposed to “highly toxic chemicals,” though whether the government carried out the attack has not been confirmed, and even the US—despite its public stance—was reportedly “still assessing the evidence of the attack” and “did not know which chemical was used, or whether it was launched by the Syrian government or forces supporting the government” (New York Times, 4/11/18).

      President Donald Trump is threatening to escalate the Syrian war, as are France and the United Kingdom, while Israel apparently bombed Syria three days ago. In this context, major “liberal” media outlets are writing that Trump should attack Syria further.

    • America’s Long History of Trying to Determine Who Rules Syria

      One interesting and completely undeniable fact that we don’t talk about nearly enough is how Syria has been a target for regime change by the US-centralized power establishment since long before the uprising in 2011.

      Proponents of US military interventionism in Syria will avoid addressing this known fact like the plague. They’re more than happy to dispute claims about false flags and the White Helmets, but if you start asking them “Hey don’t you think it’s a little odd that the government we’re all freaking out about right now just so happens to be one that’s been a target for regime change by US defense and intelligence agencies since long before any of this started?” they get real squirmy all of a sudden.

      It’s true though. Let’s go over five key items in the mountain of evidence for this, starting with the most recent and working our way backward:

    • Some Dead Children Count More Than Others

      The ever excellent Campaign Against the Arms Trade is back in the English High Court again today in its continuing attempts to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia. It is against UK law to sell arms to a country which is likely to use them in breach of international humanitarian law, and that Saudi Arabia consistently and regularly uses British weapons to bomb schools, hospitals and civilians is indisputable.

      Unfortunately the courts are an instrument of power and control for the 1%, not an impartial resort for justice, so I fear CAAT will not succeed despite the fact their case is undeniably correct.

      Part of the British Government’s defence is the close military support it gives to Saudi Arabia, which it claims minimises civilian deaths (it plainly does no such thing). Thousands of children have died in the Yemeni war, most killed by the Saudis and their allies. These war crimes have been documented by the United Nations despite concerted UK and US diplomacy at the UN aimed at downplaying the Saudi crimes. Cluster bombs, white phosphorous and other illegal weapons have frequently been used.

    • War, lies and censorship

      The United States, Britain and France are in the final stages of preparing a new bloodbath in the Middle East. A US naval strike force, headed by aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, is steaming toward the Persian Gulf, bombs are being loaded onto aircraft, and troops are on the move, as the imperialist powers prepare to launch military aggression against Syria that could quickly develop into a direct conflict with nuclear-armed Russia.

      But imperialist war is propelled by more than soldiers and missiles: it is powered by lies.

      For the past month, all the major US, British and French news outlets have been working overtime to peddle a series of lies, one after the other, to sell the public a re-hash of the “weapons of mass destruction” narrative used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    • How John Bolton as NSA would Impact Pakistan?

      Despite the triumphs Pakistan has had in curbing terrorism, the NSA John Bolton doesn’t believe that Pakistan is internally strong enough to thwart an assumed Islamist takeover of the state.

      President Trump on March 23rd announced in a tweet that he was removing H.R. McMaster from his post of National Security Advisor and that John Bolton would take over on April 9, 2018. In any event, President Trump’s arrangements of Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel, to head the State Department and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) respectively, aren’t sufficient of an omen, appointing John Bolton as the new National Security Advisor (NSA) solidifies that his foreign policy is going to wind up more forcefully than ever. Bolton will fill in as Trump’s third advisor after Michael Flynn and Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster.

      Moreover, Bolton is one of the supposed ‘many people’ who believe that Pakistan’s security agencies are under Islamists’ influence, a suspicion that then manages the US narrative on Pakistan which resultantly paints Pakistan not as a ‘non-NATO’ ally but rather as an adversary; the main cause behind its failure in Afghanistan.

    • Russia Claims Douma Chemical Attack Was “Fabricated”

      Those comments came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia has evidence that Saturday’s alleged chemical attack in Douma was fabricated. French President Emmanuel Macron has said he has “proof” that Syria’s government carried out the attack. And NBC News cited two unnamed U.S. officials who said blood and urine samples taken from a victim and smuggled out of Douma show signs of poisoning from a nerve agent and chlorine gas. On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary James Mattis said the U.S. was still investigating. This is Mattis being questioned by Hawaii Democratic Congressmember Tulsi Gabbard.

    • Syria crisis: US concerned military strike would ‘escalate out of control’

      James Mattis, the US defense secretary, has said Washington is still looking for evidence on who carried out Saturday’s chemical weapons attack in Damascus and that his main concern about a military response was how to stop it “escalating out of control”.

    • Trump Seeks Large Strike in Syria; Mattis Urges Caution

      President Donald Trump is prodding his military advisers to agree to a more sweeping retaliatory strike in Syria than they consider prudent, and is unhappy with the more limited options they have presented to him so far, White House and other administration officials said.

      In meetings with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Mr. Trump has been pushing for an attack that not only would punish the Syrian regime but also exact a price from two of its international patrons, Russia and Iran, a White House official said.

    • Trump Urged to Seek Evidence Before Attacking Syria

      In this memo to the White House, the Veteran Intelligence Professions for Sanity urge President Trump to get the evidence first before deciding to strike Syria.

    • Don’t Let Congress Give Trump a Blank Check to Declare Worldwide War

      Sen. Bob Corker reportedly will introduce legislation to effectively give Trump, not Congress, the ability to declare war.

      Under a proposal expected to be introduced in the Senate very soon, President Trump would get a blank check from Congress to go to war virtually anywhere on the planet. The ACLU has sent a letter to all senators strongly opposing this new Authorization for Use of Military Force, also known as the AUMF.

      It would be hard to overstate the depth and breadth of our concern about this new AUMF as it has been described in reports. The resolution sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) would almost irretrievably cede to the president the most fundamental power that Congress has under Article I of the Constitution: the power to declare war. It would give the executive branch the sole authority to send American troops to countries where we are not currently at war and to use military force against groups that the president alone decides are enemies. The resolution would reportedly have no restrictions against using lethal force anywhere, whether missile attacks or American troops on the ground.

      Meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Corker, has largely ignored the consequences of authorizing the use of military force against Syria, while Trump continues to tweet threats of action. With the stakes for catastrophic war so high in Syria, it would be a dereliction of duty for Congress to cede such extraordinary power to the executive.

    • Few to No Anti-Bombing Voices as Trump Prepares to Escalate Syria War

      The curators of American public opinion at the three most influential broadsheets in the United States have decided that dissent from the build-up to new airstrikes on Syria is not really an opinion worth hearing. Of 16 columns leveling an opinion about “fresh” airstrikes on the Syrian regime in the coming days, only two—both in the Washington Post (4/12/18, 4/12/18)—opposed the airstrikes. No New York Times or Wall Street Journal opinion piece came out against a renewed attack on Syria.

      Ten expressly supported the airstrikes (three in the Times, five in the Post and two in the Journal), two did so by implication (both in the Times, both lamenting the US “doing nothing” in Syria), two were ambiguous and two were opposed to the airstrikes. A complete list of the columns can be reviewed here.

      This is slightly less unanimous than the level of support Trump’s airstrikes on Syrian air bases received from the media last year, when only one out of 47 editorial boards failed to back the escalation (FAIR.org, 4/11/17).

    • Trump Attacks Syria With Chemical Experts on the Way

      President Donald Trump on Saturday (Syria time) ordered air strikes against Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack last weekend outside Damascus.

      “I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,” Trump said from the White House.

      The strikes were carried out together with Britain and France, he said. CNN reported explosions at a research facility near Damascus. At a news conference later, Pentagon officials said this “phase” of the missile strikes against three so-called chemical research targets, one in the center of the Syrian capital, were completed and “no additional attacks are planned.”

      U.S. officials said Russia had been told of the military operation but Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told a press conference Friday night (Washington time) that Moscow was not informed of the Syrian targets. Russia had vowed to shoot down incoming U.S. and allied missiles as Russian military personnel are embedded with the Syrian Arab army at various locations in the country.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Bloomberg: Ecuador cut Assange’s Internet to win “good graces of international investors”

      Fifteen days after the Ecuadoran Embassy in London cut WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s Internet access, details of the real motives behind President Lenin Moreno’s antidemocratic decision are beginning to emerge. Moreno and his Alianza PAIS party—representatives of Latin America’s wave of “left” bourgeois governments known as the “pink tide”—are proving to US imperialism that they are willing to trade Assange’s freedom in exchange for closer ties to Wall Street and the US military.

      On April 5, Bloomberg quoted Aristodimis Iliopoulos of the imperialist think tank Economist Intelligence Unit: “The back story is that Ecuador wants to grow again by getting back into the good graces of international investors in oil and mining projects. So the wager might be that clamping down on Assange is seen as a sign of good will.”

    • Pilger, Burnside: Silencing of Julian Assange Part of Global Campaign to Restrict Speech, Journalism

      Australian Journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger and barrister and human rights advocate Julian Burnside have reiterated the call for the Ecuadorean government to restore communications access to Julian Assange, whose internet and phone privileges were restricted two weeks ago. Pilger and Burnside have also called the measure part of a global campaign restriction on freedom of speech and investigative journalism.

    • Chelsea Manning chides journalists over Syria reporting: ‘Do your job’

      The source of hundreds of thousands of leaked U.S. military documents detailing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan condemned journalists over their reporting on the escalating situation in Syria.

      WikiLeaks source, U.S. Senate hopeful and former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning said “do your job” in a Wednesday tweet directed at journalists.

      War “is not a game 7 world series baseball game – be critical – don’t just give warmongers a platform and give a play by play with a swirling 3D map – you are complicit,” Ms. Manning, 30, wrote in a tweet addressed to journalists accompanied by an icon of a rainbow, an icon of hearts and the hashtags #Syria and #Russia.

    • The Latest: Ecuador president says journalists were killed

      Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno has confirmed the deaths of three press workers kidnapped along the country’s conflictive border with Colombia.

      Moreno spoke Friday after a 12-hour deadline ended with the captors failing to meet his demands they demonstrate the hostages were still alive or face a military strike.

      He said the government has obtained new information that confirmed the journalists were killed. On Thursday a Colombian TV network said it obtained gruesome photos purporting to show the bodies of the three men.

    • Public Meetings in Australia: Organise Resistance to Internet Censorship! Free Julian Assange!

      The United States government has begun collaborating with Google, Facebook, Twitter and other giant social media corporations to deny Internet users access to revolutionary socialist and oppositional information and analyses. Other capitalist governments around the world are implementing similar repressive measures.

      Along with intensified surveillance and monitoring operations by state military-intelligence agencies, this new regime of state-sponsored censorship constitutes a dangerous and unprecedented global threat to freedom of speech and other fundamental democratic rights.

      The World Socialist Web Site (WSWS), which marked its 20th anniversary in February, has become a particular target. In late April 2017, Google began implementing new algorithms to limit or block access to the WSWS and other left wing, anti-war and progressive websites.

      These measures amount to political blacklisting. They are being justified on the basis of the fraudulent pretext of fighting “fake news” and “Russian meddling.”

      No less sinister has been the stepped up persecution of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who remains in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been confined for the past six years. If he leaves, he will almost certainly be arrested and extradited to the US, where he faces likely charges of treason and the death penalty.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Trump Body Man Turned EPA Whistleblower Is Violating Ethics Rules, the Agency Says

      Kevin Chmielewski, the former Trump campaign “body man” who worked at both the Department of Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency before running afoul of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and being fired on March 18, has another problem on his hands: He never filed required financial disclosure forms during his year in the Trump administration — a rare and potentially serious offense that in other cases has resulted in a criminal charge by the Justice Department.

      Chmielewski, 38, served with the U.S. Coast Guard and Merchant Marines before working on several Republican presidential campaigns, including those of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (now the secretary of energy) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. As a personal assistant, or body man, to Donald Trump on the campaign trail in 2016, he became a favorite of the candidate. During a campaign rally in Chmielewski’s hometown of Berlin, Maryland, Trump called him a “star” and a “gem.”

    • I went to Fukushima

      I’m an engineer and interested in all kinds of technology, especially if it is used to build something big. But I’m also fascinated by what happens when things suddenly change and don’t go as expected, and especially by everything that’s left behind after technological and social revolutions or disasters. In October 2017 I travelled across Japan and decided to visit one of the places where technology had failed in the worst way imaginable: the Fukushima Evacuation Zone.

      I will write a bit more about what I learned from events like these as an engineer in a future blog post, but in the meantime make sure to head over to the travel blog if you are interested in more pictures like the following.

  • Finance

    • European Workers Betrayed

      Railway workers are striking across France, bringing up to 80 percent of high-speed trains to a halt in recent days. In a major European country dependent on rail for a significant portion of its transportation, the protests are predictably causing chaos, as organized labor flexes its muscles to show that it is still a force to be reckoned with.

      On April 10, German airport workers also went on strike, leading to the cancellation of over 800 flights by the national air carrier, Lufthansa. In this case the dispute is over a pay increase for around 2.3 million public sector employees, who have seen their incomes stagnate despite the country’s economic growth overall.

      Such protest actions are not uncommon across Europe, and indeed have come to be accepted as a fact of life in many countries. Labor union membership varies greatly throughout the continent, from less than 10 percent in France – despite the effective strikes – to a high of around 70 percent in Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Denmark. Yet even when their membership figures are modest,unions often have a central role in collective bargaining, and they are eager to show that they are still relevant in a world that has changed greatly due to deregulation and globalization over the past 35 years.

    • David Davis and the Row of the Summer, Mark 2

      You will remember that last year Davis announced that the sequencing of the Brexit negotiations were going to be the “row of the summer”.

      As it happened, the UK surrendered on the sequencing point on the first day of the negotiations – and it was not even midsummer’s day.

      And now Davis is insisting again there will be another dramatic win for UK in negotiations – that the UK will force the EU to open up trade negotiations.

    • Do U.S. Oligarchs Exist? Not in Mainstream Media

      TV news shows are good at getting viewers riled up. Day and night, I hear the anchors on CNN and MSNBC getting us in a frenzy about the schemes of this or that “Russian oligarch with links to the Kremlin.” I’ve heard that phrase incessantly in recent weeks

      Plenty of others have heard the “Russian oligarch” phrase. Merriam-Webster.com reported that “oligarch” was one of its most searched-for words on April 5 “following reports that Robert Mueller had questioned Russian businessmen to whom this descriptor applies.”

    • Vote Leave broke spending limits on industrial scale, says former staffer

      A former Vote Leave staffer has become the third whistleblower to publicly accuse the EU referendum campaign of exceeding spending limits “on an industrial scale”.

      In written evidence to the Electoral Commission seen by the Guardian, Mark Gettleson, a communications consultant, claims two of Theresa May’s political advisers were among the senior directors at Vote Leave involved in assisting the activities of a youth group, BeLeave, which was ostensibly a separate organisation. Vote Leave donated £625,000 to BeLeave which then spent the money on digital advertising in the last critical days before the vote.

      The evidence forms part of the basis of a legal opinion submitted to the digital, culture, media and sport committee that argues that a series of electoral offences may have been committed by Vote Leave.

    • In Reversal, Trump Says U.S. Should Join Trans-Pacific Partnership

      President Trump unexpectedly reversed a signature campaign promise Thursday, telling a group of state lawmakers he wants the U.S. to rejoin a massive trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. As a candidate, Trump frequently railed against the TPP, calling it a “disaster” and a “horrible deal.” The trade agreement has faced years of global public resistance by activists who say free trade deals benefit corporations at the expense of health and environmental regulations. Later in the broadcast, we’ll speak with Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach about Trump’s reversal on the TPP.

    • Report: Wealthiest 1 Percent Will Hold Two-Thirds of Wealth by 2030

      And new research shows that two-thirds of the world’s wealth will be owned by the richest 1 percent of people by the year 2030. The report was produced by the British House of Commons Library.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Louisiana Legislators Are Earning Big Money From Government Agencies — But Don’t Have to Disclose It All

      One state senator earned $836,000 in legal fees representing a sheriff. The amount he disclosed: $13,328. “The notion that you could get public money and not report it in our flim-flammery of an ethics system is ridiculous,” an ethics expert says.

    • As Trump Reconsiders TPP Stance, Fair Trade Advocates Say Real Fight Is over NAFTA Renegotiation

      President Trump campaigned against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, calling it a “disaster,” a “horrible deal” and a “rape of our country.” He withdrew from the controversial deal during his first week in office. But on Thursday, he told a group of state lawmakers he wants the U.S. to rejoin the pact. Meanwhile, 11 nations that represent about a seventh of the world’s economy signed the TPP earlier this year. We get response from Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “I do think where the real fight is right now is on NAFTA renegotiation,” Wallach says. “And this kind of pandering on the TPP makes that NAFTA fight even more important.”

    • Secretary of State Nominee Mike Pompeo Grilled at Senate Confirmation Hearing

      The Senate convened a confirmation hearing Thursday for CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as U.S. secretary of state. During five hours of testimony, Pompeo faced protests from CodePink demonstrators who objected to Pompeo’s long history of ties to Islamophobic organizations; his climate change denial; and his hawkish views on Syria, Iran and North Korea. Former U.S. Army colonel and retired State Department official Ann Wright briefly disrupted the hearings.

    • Trump called Michael Cohen Friday to “check in,” as lawyers fight over seized documents from FBI raid

      Four days after FBI agents raided Michael Cohen and seized loads of potential evidence, President Donald Trump called his longtime personal lawyer just “to check in” and see how things were going, no big deal.

      “Defense lawyers often caution witnesses and subjects to no talk during an ongoing investigation because it appears like they may be conspiring together,” says the New York Times’ Michael Schmidt about the story.

    • Sources: Mueller has evidence Cohen was in Prague in 2016, confirming part of dossier

      The Justice Department special counsel has evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

      Confirmation of the trip would lend credence to a retired British spy’s report that Cohen strategized there with a powerful Kremlin figure about Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

      It would also be one of the most significant developments thus far in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of whether the Trump campaign and the Kremlin worked together to help Trump win the White House. Undercutting Trump’s repeated pronouncements that “there is no evidence of collusion,” it also could ratchet up the stakes if the president tries, as he has intimated he might for months, to order Mueller’s firing.

    • ‘Sinclair Has Thrived for So Long Under the Radar’

      The viral video of dozens of local newscasters from around the country, reciting identical scripts about “fake news,” is the definition of painful irony. But what Sinclair Broadcast Group, the parent company that forced the broadcasters to parrot the words, is doing, and wants to do, is no laughing matter. Sinclair‘s been largely under the radar til now, though known to some as the owner that forced its stations to run a pseudo-documentary hit piece on John Kerry days before the 2004 election. The chain’s Washington bureau chief resisted, told the Baltimore Sun, “I couldn’t be part of this special and call it news, when what it is is political propaganda,” and was promptly fired.

      So what does it mean that Sinclair may acquire a station in your town next? Our next guest has been immersed in things Sinclair. Pam Vogel is a research fellow at Media Matters. She joins us by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome to CounterSpin, Pam Vogel.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Update: Actually, Court Orders Iowa State To Pay Alums $600k For Violating Their Rights

      We’ll keep this short and sweet, but it’s always good to highlight when the legal system manages to smack around organizations that try to use intellectual property laws to flatly violate people’s rights. You will hopefully recall that in 2017, Iowa State University began blocking any requests by NORML, a group advocating for pro-marijuana laws, to use the school’s iconography. NORML sued the school, specifically over threats the school made against the alums running the group over use of its trademarks and a requirement that the school have the right to approve any design for apparel by NORML that included any references to the school. NORML argued that because the school had initially approved their uses, only to flipflop largely under pressure from the conservative state legislature, this was a violation of its free speech rights.

    • Despite Repeated Evidence That It’s Unnecessary And Damaging, Trump Signs SESTA/FOSTA

      This was no surprise, but as everyone expected, yesterday President Trump signed SESTA/FOSTA into law leading to the usual excitement from the bill’s supporters — despite the fact that events of the past couple weeks have proved them all wrong. The bill’s supporters repeatedly insisted that SESTA/FOSTA was necessary to stop one company, Backpage.com, because (they falsely insisted) CDA 230 made the site completely immune. Except, that’s clearly not true. In the two weeks since the bill was approved by Congress, two separate courts declared Backpage not protected by CDA 230 and (more importantly) the DOJ seized the whole damn site and indicted most of the company’s execs — all without SESTA/FOSTA.

    • Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA)

      In addition to the Federal Causes of Action, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is amended so that there will no longer be a safe harbor for internet service providers against state-based civil and criminal claims associated with unlawful “sex trafficking in children” or prostitution as defined above.

      [...]

      Note here that both conspiracy and attempt to “use a facility . . . with intent to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another” is now criminalized under Federal Law with a 10-year potential imprisonment. I suspect that under the new law it may be enough to conduct a targeted internet search seeking a prostitute.

    • Legal Analysis: Getting the numbers on college censorship

      In February 2016, editors at The Daily Kansan sued two University of Kansas administrators for First Amendment violations. Why? The editors alleged that administrators had signed off on a $45,000 cut to The Kansan’s budget designed by student government members to retaliate against the newspaper for publishing an editorial they didn’t like.

      After the candidates for president and vice president that had won the majority vote were declared ineligible, the runners-up received the leadership positions. The Kansan published an editorial calling the campaign policies confusing and suggesting changes to the election system to prevent similar occurrences in future elections. In the wake of the editorial’s publication, the runners-up were temporarily removed from their offices and had to win a reelection in order to retain their positions (which they did). After the reelection, the student government cut The Kansan’s budget in the midst of a discussion of the editorial, even reading part of the editorial during the funding meeting. The university administration then approved the funding reduction.

    • YouTube restores rabbi’s channel after censorship accusations

      Google Israel has decided to restore the YouTube channel of Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu a day after removing his 900 Torah lessons from the popular video-sharing site.

      Rabbi Eliyahu’s YouTube channel had suddenly been removed on Wednesday without explanation and the rabbi’s followers accused YouTube of punishing him for his controversial views regarding women’s integration in the IDF.

    • No, Section 230 Does Not Require Platforms to Be “Neutral”

      One jaw-dropping moment during the Senate’s hearing on Tuesday came when Sen. Ted Cruz asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “Does Facebook consider itself a neutral public forum?” Unsatisfied by Zuckerberg’s response that Facebook is a “platform for all ideas,” Sen. Cruz continued, “Are you a First Amendment speaker expressing your views, or are you a neutral public forum allowing everyone to speak?”

      When members of Congress recite myths about how Section 230 works, it demonstrates a frightening lack of seriousness about protecting our right to speak and gather online.

      After more back-and-forth, Sen. Cruz said, “The predicate for Section 230 immunity under the CDA is that you’re a neutral public forum. Do you consider yourself a neutral public forum, or are you engaged in political speech, which is your right under the First Amendment?” It was a baffling question. Sen. Cruz seemed to be suggesting, incorrectly, that Facebook had to make a choice between enjoying protections for free speech under the First Amendment and enjoying the additional protections that Section 230 offers online platforms.

      Online platforms are within their First Amendment rights to moderate their online platforms however they like, and they’re additionally shielded by Section 230 for many types of liability for their users’ speech. It’s not one or the other. It’s both.

    • Latest attempt to censor Internet and curb press freedom in India

      A branch of the Indian government, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, is trying once again to censor Internet and Freedom of Speech. This time, it ordered to form a committee of 10 members who will frame regulations for online media/ news portals and online content.

    • Beijing Film Festival Facing Filmmaker Backlash Amid Increased Censorship

      Organizers recently cut gay romance ‘Call Me by Your Name’ from the lineup, sparking a wave of negative attention as insiders worry how the international film community will respond to the crackdown.

      The Beijing International Film Festival has always been a stodgy, state-run affair — more of an occasion for political genuflection than a pure celebration of cinematic art. But this year’s eighth edition is facing a larger-than-usual crisis of credibility.

      In late March, director Luca Guadagnino’s Oscar-winning gay romance Call Me by Your Name was unceremoniously cut from the festival lineup, which offers a mixed bag of domestic and international releases ranging from the local nationalist hit Operation Red Sea to the provocative Iranian feminist drama Searing Summer. No expla­nation was given for pulling Call Me, but a festival insider told THR at the time that the film’s gay love story had been deemed out of bounds by senior figures. “The Beijing festival has always followed the guidelines of those at the top,” the insider said, requesting anonymity.

    • Amended Complaint Filed Against Backpage… Now With SESTA/FOSTA

      What a weird week for everyone promoting FOSTA/SESTA as being necessary to takedown Backpage.com. After all, last Friday, before FOSTA/SESTA was signed into law, the FBI seized Backpage and all its servers, and indicted a bunch of execs there (and arrested a few of them). The backers of FOSTA/SESTA even tried to take credit for the shutting down of the site, despite the fact that the law they “wrote” wasn’t actually the law yet. Separately, as we pointed out, after the bill was approved by Congress, but before it was signed into law, two separate courts found that Backpage was not protected by CDA 230 in civil suits brought by victims of sex trafficking.

      On Wednesday, President Trump finally signed the bill despite all of the reasons we were told it was necessary already proven to be untrue (and many of the concerns raised by free speech advocates already proven true). And, on Thursday, in the civil case in Massachusetts (the first to rule that Backpage wasn’t protected by CDA 230 for ads where it helped create illegal content), an amendment complaint was filed, this time with FOSTA/SESTA included. Normally, this wouldn’t make any sense, but thanks to the unconstitutional retroactive clause in FOSTA/SESTA it could possibly apply (assuming the judge ignores the Constitutional problems).

    • Ted Cruz Demands A Return Of The Fairness Doctrine, Which He Has Mocked In The Past, Due To Misunderstanding CDA 230

      Remember the Fairness Doctrine? It was an incredibly silly policy of the FCC from 1949 to 1987 requiring some form of “equal time” to “the other side” of controversial matters of public interest. It’s a dumb idea because most issues have a lot more than two sides, and simply pitting two arguments against one another tends to do little to elucidate actual truth — but does tend to get people to dig in more. However, despite the fact that the fairness doctrine was killed more than 30 years ago, Republicans* regularly claim that it’s about to be brought back.

      * Our general policy is not to focus on political parties, unless it’s a necessary part of the story, and in this case it is. If you look at people freaking out about the supposed return of the fairness doctrine (which is not returning) it is always coming from Republicans, stirring up their base and claiming that Democrats are trying to bring back the fairness doctrine to silence the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world.

    • Chhara theatre activists fight social stigma, censorship

      Theatre and film personality Dakxin Bajrange is fighting a battle on two-fronts. Notions about his community, the Chhara denotified tribes, being ‘born criminals’ are deep-rooted, while the restrictive Dramatic Performances Act of 1876 is still in vogue in his home state of Gujarat.

      Both are oppressive colonial legacies. Ahmedabad’s Chharanagar, the tribe’s ghetto housing about 20,000 of its members, faces frequent police raids and ‘false cases.’ “As we speak, there are raids happening in Chharanagar, unmindful of the ongoing board exams. We [the Budhan theatre group that he leads] have been talking to the authorities for 20 years, but a change in their mindset is tough to achieve,” says Dakxin, who is here for Theruvarangu-2018, a theatre festival organised by the P.J. Antony Memorial Foundation.

    • Funimation Comments On ‘High School DxD’ Censorship

      One of the hottest anime premieres of the Spring 2018 season was the much anticipated premiere of High School DxD’s fourth season. Fans were curious as to why the newest season was censored, and Funimation has officially commented on the matter.

    • Valtonyc Speaks Out Against Spain’s Censorship Laws at Barcelona’s No Callarem Conference

      Rapper Valtonyc, whose rhymes have brought him a three-and-a-half-year jail sentence from the Spanish Supreme Court for his lyrics, was a featured speaker Thursday (April 12) at a week-long conference on freedom of expression in Barcelona.

      The choice of venue for the event, set to culminate with a music festival on Sunday (April 15) with over 35 acts, was itself a comment on the punitive censorship which Spanish officials have recently imposed on artists, social media users, publishers and even a puppet show. The series of talks, exhibitions and concerts was held at the Model Prison, an infamous urban penitentiary that has long symbolized Spain’s late dictator Francisco Franco’s repression of Catalonia during his decades long reign.

      On Thursday afternoon, graffiti artists were spraying the walls of the prison’s exercise yard. Other artists had installed their work in the small concrete cells which collectively once held a reported 13,000 prisoners in the facility originally designed to hold 850. An organizer of the event pointed out the spot where Salvador Puig Antich, the last of many who opposed the regime to be executed here, was killed with the use of a garrote in 1974.

    • NRB Calls for Internet Censorship Hearings

      The group called for Hill hearings on internet censorship following the Zuckerberg hearings, signaling nothing the Facebook CEO had said assuaged their concerns. It also said the hearings should include more than just Facebook.

      NRB’s primary concern is over the perceived bias of Silicon Valley against conservative or religious viewpoints, a concern Zuckerberg told legislators this week was legitimate, though Facebook was meant to be a platform for all ideas, at least nonthreatening ones. He said there was certainly no corporate directive to disfavor conservative or religious speech, but conceded, when examples were cited by Republicans, that ?”mistakes” had been made.

    • J.J. McCullough: Canadians like censorship more than we think

      Campus speeches are nothing compared to the shocking stuff the government bans

    • Diamond and Silk’s Facebook censorship claim is a hoax
    • Fox News and Diamond & Silk push debunked lies about Facebook censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Congress Held 10 Hours of Hearings on Facebook. What’s Next?

      After grilling Mark Zuckerberg for ten hours this past week, the big question facing Congress is, “What’s next?” The wide-ranging hearings covered everything from “fake news” to election integrity to the Cambridge Analytica scandal that spurred the hearings in the first place. Zuckerberg’s testimony did not give us much new information, but did underline what we already knew going in: Facebook’s surveillance-based, advertising-powered business model creates real problems for its users’ privacy rights.

      But some of those problems can be fixed. As Congress considers what to do next, here are some of our suggestions.

    • Large ISPs that Orchestrated the Repeal of the Open Internet Order Ask California’s Legislature to Stand Down and Just Let Them Win Already

      The fight to protect Internet freedom is coming to California this month as the Senate Energy and Utilities Committee (April 17) and Senate Judiciary Committee (April 24) have scheduled hearings and votes on Senator Wiener’s S.B. 822, comprehensive legislation that would utilize the tools available to the state of California to promote net neutrality. As these critical dates approach the large ISPs have filed their opposition (see attached) and it is worth looking at what they say in the context of what they have been doing in D.C. and in the courts. It is also important to see what they are not saying to California Senators.

    • Public Attention Forces Facebook To Retreat From Anti-Privacy Alliance With ISPs In California
    • Facebook Doesn’t Need To Listen Through Your Microphone To Serve You Creepy Ads

      In ten total hours of testimony in front of the Senate and the House this week, Mark Zuckerberg was able to produce only one seemingly straightforward, privacy-protective answer. When Sen. Gary Peters asked Zuckerberg if Facebook listens to users through their cell phone microphones in order to collect information with which to serve them ads, Zuckerberg confidently said, “No.”

      What he left out, however, is that Facebook doesn’t listen to users through their phone microphones because it doesn’t have to. Facebook actually uses even more invasive, invisible surveillance and analysis methods, which give it enough information about you to produce uncanny advertisements all the same.

      Users’ fear and even paranoia about hyper-targeted adds is warranted—just not for the exact reasons they might think.

      Suspicions that Facebook listens to its users’ conversations have been swirling for years, prompting statements of denial from Facebook leadership and former employees. Facebook does request microphone permissions to handle any videos you post, as well as to identify music or TV shows when you use the “Listening to” status feature. But technical investigations have confirmed that you can be confident the Facebook app is not surreptitiously turning on your phone mic and listening in on your conversations.

    • The EU guarantees its citizens’ data rights, in theory

      The GDPR makes few changes to subject-access rights, other than removing a small fee which data controllers had been able to charge. This is likely to lead to more requests. Refusal to provide the requested data has never been tested in court. As Europeans fret ever more about what data moguls know about them, that is likely to change.

    • High Court sets out 11 questions for ECJ on EU-US data transfers
    • [Older] Facebook Takes the Punches While Rest of Silicon Valley Ducks

      Two pages of notes sitting in a binder in front of Mark Zuckerberg during his congressional testimony this week hinted at a message the Facebook chief executive rarely got a chance to deliver: We’re not the only ones.

      Mr. Zuckerberg was prepared to say that his company accounts for just a slice of the $650 billion advertising market and that it has plenty of competitors. Google, for example, has an online advertising business more than twice the size of Facebook’s. And Google also collects vast amounts of information about the people who use its online services.

      But as Facebook has taken it on the chin over the way it has handled the personal information of its users, the leaders of other tech companies have demonstrated that even in publicity-hungry Silicon Valley, it is entirely possible for billionaire executives and their sprawling empires to keep a low profile.

    • China forces spyware onto Muslim’s Android phones, complete with security holes

      If you’re a member of the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang, you’re probably used to China’s high level of surveillance that many other countries would find Orwellian.

      Whereas many of us are concerned that law enforcement agencies might seek to weaken or open backdoors in secure messaging products running on our smartphones, the Chinese have gone one step further demanding that some eight million Uyghurs, a Turkic ethnic group, install a spyware app known as JingWang Weishi their Android smartphones.

      JingWang (“clean internet” in Chinese) doesn’t just block access to specific websites. It also searches your Android phone for “illegal” images, audio recordings, and videos, and can upload them to an external server – alongside identifying details of your phone such as its IMEI number, model, phone number, and manufacturer.

      And if you think you can simply avoid installing the app, think again. If police find in a spot-check that you don’t have JingWang installed, you could face up to ten days in detention.

    • Facebook Compartmentalization

      Whenever people talk about protecting privacy on the internet, social-media sites like Facebook inevitably come up—especially right now. It makes sense—social networks (like Facebook) provide a platform where you can share your personal data with your friends, and it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to people to find out they also share that data with advertisers (it’s how they pay the bills after all). It makes sense that Facebook uses data you provide when you visit that site. What some people might be surprised to know, however, is just how much. Facebook tracks them when they aren’t using Facebook itself but just browsing around the web.

      Some readers may solve the problem of Facebook tracking by saying “just don’t use Facebook”; however, for many people, that site may be the only way they can keep in touch with some of their friends and family members. Although I don’t post on Facebook much myself, I do have an account and use it to keep in touch with certain friends. So in this article, I explain how I employ compartmentalization principles to use Facebook without leaking too much other information about myself.

    • GDPR Expert Panel

      GDPR was formally adopted by the EU Parliament in the spring of 2016. It will come into force on May 25, 2018 but as this date is approaching, there are still many open questions for consumers and companies alike.

    • Cross-site tracking: Let’s unpack that

      If you’ve been following the Facebook hearings this week, there’s one term that has come up over and over: “cross-site tracking” — and for good reason. For something that’s getting thrown around a lot, it also seems to be something not a lot of folks really understand. So what does cross-site tracking even mean and why is it important right now? We’ve got you.

    • [Satire] Congress Reassures Nervous Zuckerberg They Won’t Actually Do Anything About This

      In an effort to calm the uneasy tech mogul’s nerves during his congressional hearing Wednesday, members of the U.S. House of Representatives reassured Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that they weren’t actually going to be doing anything about any of this. “Mr. Zuckerberg, the members of this committee have noticed you seem a little bit anxious today, so we just want to make sure you understand this is the last time you’ll ever have to deal with these kinds of questions,” said Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), urging the 33-year-old billionaire not to sweat it, as his testimony was a mere formality that would by no means lead to any new laws or regulations governing his industry. “We just need to pretend like we’re doing something right now, due to the fact that people are pretty mad at you. But once the heat dies down, you can go right back to whatever it was you were doing all along. Seriously, you can relax. Oil executives, big bank CEOs—they’ve all been in that chair before and have come out totally fine. You have absolutely no reason to worry.” Several members of Congress went on to tell Zuckerberg there’s even a chance they could work together in the future on crafting legislation.

    • EU privacy watchdogs: Facebook apology ‘simply is not enough’

      “A multi-billion dollar social media platform saying it is sorry simply is not enough,” Jelinek said in a statement. “While Cambridge Analytica and Facebook are on top of everyone’s mind we aim to cast our net wider and think longterm.”

    • Mark Zuckerberg Survived Congress. Now Facebook Has to Survive the FTC

      The FTC is more of a law enforcement agency than a rule-making one, and one of its primary mandates is protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive practices. Following revelations about Cambridge Analytica, a political marketing firm that improperly obtained personal information from approximately 87 million Facebook user profiles, the FTC announced that it was opening an investigation into Facebook’s privacy practices. Tom Pahl, the acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement that the agency is “firmly and fully committed to using all of its tools to protect the privacy of consumers.”

    • I’m angry at Facebook – but I’m also addicted. How do I break free?

      If one is realistic about the chances of actually ditching Facebook to spend more time reading books or taking walks in the country, or talking to one’s children, then perhaps this scepticism will have to be punishment enough. After all, we interact with loathsome companies everyday; the error is believing them when they tell us they’re friends.

    • As Zuckerberg Smiles to Congress, Facebook Fights State Privacy Laws

      “I’m sitting here watching Mark Zuckerberg say he’s sorry and that Facebook will do better on privacy, yet literally as he testifies lobbyists paid by Facebook in Illinois and California are working to stop or gut privacy laws,” says Alvaro Bedoya, a professor and the executive director of the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law School. “If Facebook wants to do better on privacy, it needs to put its money where its mouth is, it needs to stop paying lobbyists to gut critical privacy initiatives in these states.”

    • TED Is All About Facebook—and Not in a Good Way
    • Zuck to Congress: “I’ll get back to you” (42 times)

      It was really sweet of Zuck to go to all this trouble just to delight us nerds in the audience, especially as now it means he’ll have to get his staffers to write 42 cogent, meaningful replies that in no way dodge or duck the issues that he pretended not to be able to address.

    • Peak Zuck: “What’s a shadow profile?”

      Everybody who pays attention to Facebook knows about shadow profiles — except Mark Zuckerberg, who told Congressman Ben Lujan that he’d never heard of them.

      Shadow profiles aren’t just sketchy and creepy, they’re also Exhibit A in the case against Zuck’s justification for spying on us

    • Zuckerberg denies knowledge of Facebook shadow profiles

      Lujan: So these are called shadow profiles, is that what they’ve been referred to by some?

      Zuckerberg: Congressman, I’m not, I’m not familiar with that.

    • Fact-checking Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony about Facebook privacy

      Firstly, Zuckerberg said he was “not familiar” with the term “shadow profiles”. Given the widespread media coverage of the phenomenon, led by Violet Blue at ZDNet and Gizmodo’s Kashmir Hill, this seems difficult to believe.

    • User Privacy Isn’t Solely a Facebook Issue

      During Congressional hearings about Facebook’s data practices in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, Mark Zuckerberg drew an important distinction between what we expect from our Internet service providers (ISPs, such as Comcast or Verizon) as opposed to platforms like Facebook that operate over the Internet.

      Put simply, an ISP is a service you pay to access the Internet. Once you get online, you run into a whole series of edge providers. Some, like Netflix, also charge you for access to their services. Others, like Facebook and Google, are platforms that you use without paying, which support themselves using ads. There’s a whole spectrum of services that make up Internet use, but the thing they all have in common is that they are gathering data when you use them. How they use it can differ widely.

      The divide between ISPs and edge providers is most obvious in the context of the net neutrality debate. Platforms, by and large, want as many people accessing the Internet as possible, as easily as possible. ISPs want to charge customers as much as possible for that access and also want to start double-dipping by charging platforms a fee when you visit their websites, as protection money, so the ISP doesn’t throttle or ‘de-prioritize’ your connection.

      Zuckerberg brought up that difference a couple of times during the hearings. He mentioned how he had no ISP choice when he founded Facebook in college and that paid prioritization would have hobbled his new company. Whatever you think of Facebook, it’s not good for the Internet to have ISPs deciding what platforms are allowed to exist and succeed.

    • Facebook exits anti-privacy alliance it formed with Comcast and Google

      The five companies each donated $200,000 to create a $1 million fund to oppose the California Consumer Privacy Act, a ballot question that could be voted on in the November 2018 state election. If approved, the law would make it easier for consumers to find out what information is collected about them and to opt out of the sale or sharing of any personal information.

    • Zuckerberg’s Testimony Is Over, But Scrutiny Is Just Ramping Up

      The 33-year-old Zuckerberg frequently argued, for example, that Facebook’s 2 billion users — not the company — own the data they share via its network, and can decide whenever they wish to prevent Facebook from having it. That line almost worked, until Representatives Kathy Castor, a Florida Democrat, and Ben Lujan, a New Mexico Democrat, pointed out that the company is collecting personal data on people who don’t use the social network and have never signed a privacy agreement.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘I will arrest you’: Rodrigo Duterte warns chief prosecutor of International Criminal Court to steer clear of Philippines

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to arrest the International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) chief prosecutor if she conducts activities in his country, arguing it was no longer an ICC member so the court had no right to do any investigating.

      Hitting out at what he said was an international effort to paint him as a “ruthless and heartless violator of human rights”, Duterte withdrew the Philippines from the ICC’s Rome Statute a month ago and promised to continue his crackdown on drugs, in which thousands have been killed.

      In February the ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced the start of a preliminary examination into a complaint by a Philippine lawyer accusing Duterte and top officials of crimes against humanity, and of killing criminals as a policy.

      Duterte has cited numerous reasons why he believes the ICC has no jurisdiction over him, and on Friday suggested that any doubts about that should have been dispelled by his withdrawal.

      “What is your authority now? If we are not members of the treaty, why are you … in this country?,” he told reporters in comments aimed directly at Bensouda. “You cannot exercise any proceedings here without basis. That is illegal and I will arrest you.”

    • The Lakeith Smith Case Demonstrates the System’s Brokenness

      Some of the prosecutorial tactics used against Smith are the very ones reformers want to change.

      One night in 2015, several teenagers got together and burglarized two homes in Millbrook, Alabama. After being confronted by police, one of the teenagers, A’Donte Washington, engaged in a shootout with an officer and was killed during the gunfire. Lakeith Smith, another one of the teenagers, participated in the burglary. He did not have a gun and did not shoot at anyone, yet he was charged with the death of his friend.

      After rejecting a plea offer for 25 years and going to trial, he received 30 years for felony murder, a 15-year sentence for burglary, and two 10-year sentences for theft. In total, Smith was sentenced to 65 years in prison. He was 15 years old.

      The travesty in Smith’s case is at the intersection of a number of different issues targeted by criminal justice reformers.

    • Suffolk County Police Won’t Disclose How It’s Helping ICE Lock Up Innocent Students

      So far the department has failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Law request about its relationship with ICE.

      The pattern is now familiar.

      An immigrant student in Long Island’s Suffolk County is disciplined for “gang related” activity, often for something trivial, like wearing a Chicago Bulls t-shirt. Weeks or months later, the student is spirited away by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, detained — sometimes thousands of miles from their family — and put at risk of deportation.

      What remains unclear, however, is the exact role the Suffolk County Police Department is playing in this tragic saga, which impacts dozens of immigrant students in the county.

      The NYCLU sued SCPD this week to get answers. The suit comes after the department failed to respond to our Freedom of Information Law requests sent in August that sought information on its role in the identification and detention by federal authorities of immigrant students accused of gang involvement.

    • Professors Are Targets In Online Culture Wars; Some Fight Back

      Across the country, in the past year and a half, at least 250 university professors have been targeted in cyber harassment campaigns because of their research, teaching or social media posts.

    • “Warranty Void If Removed” Stickers Are “Illegal” Unless Parts/Services Are Free, FTC Declares
    • UK Police Use Zipcode Profiles, Garden Size And First Names For AI-Based Custody Decision System

      As you have doubtless noticed, Cambridge Analytica has been much in the headlines of late. There is still plenty of disagreement about the extent to which the company’s profiling tools provide the kind of fine-grained categorization of people that it claims, and whether it played a significant — or indeed any — role in deciding key elections, both in the US and elsewhere. What is not disputed is that such profiling is widely used throughout the online world, mostly to sell ads, and that it is likely to become more accurate as further data is gathered, and analytical techniques are honed. The continuing flow of reports about Cambridge Analytica and related companies has therefore at least served the purpose of alerting people to the important issues raised by this approach.

    • Building the “Great Collective Organism of the Mind” at The John Perry Barlow Symposium

      Individuals from the furthest corners of cyberspace gathered Saturday to celebrate EFF co-founder, John Perry Barlow, and discuss his ideas, life, and leadership.

      The John Perry Barlow Symposium, graciously hosted by the Internet Archive in San Francisco, brought together a collection of Barlow’s favorite thinkers and friends to discuss his ideas in fields as diverse as fighting mass surveillance, opposing censorship online, and copyright, in a bittersweet event that appropriately honored his legacy of Internet activism and defending freedom online.

    • Sentenced to 65 Years for a Cop’s Crime

      A’Donte Washington was 16 years old when an unnamed police officer shot him four times, killing him. A grand jury found the killing “justified,” and the officer suffered no consequences.

      But there is someone who will be spending decades in prison for Washington’s murder: his friend Lakeith Smith. This month, Smith was sentenced to 65 years in prison — 30 years for a felony murder, 15 for burglary and two 10-year sentences for theft.

      Washington was killed while he and a group of friends were breaking into a house in February 2015. Officials claim Washington pulled a gun on the officer and fired, prompting the officer to shoot.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Ajit Pai refuses Democrats’ request to revoke Sinclair broadcast licenses

      Pai’s staff repeatedly promoted Pai’s rebuke of Democrats on Twitter today. “Many Senate Democrats wrote a letter to the FCC yesterday asking us to go after a broadcaster’s licenses because they don’t like its news coverage,” FCC Chief of Staff Matthew Berry tweeted. “But we’re not going to do that. Instead, we will protect the First Amendment and freedom of the press!”

    • Day of Action: Help California Pass a Gold Standard Net Neutrality Bill

      In December of 2017, contrary to the will of millions of Americans, the FCC made the decision to abandon net neutrality protections. On the first day of business in the California state legislature, State Sen. Scott Wiener introduced a bill that would bring back those protections and more for Californians.

      S.B. 822 would make getting state money or using state resources contingent on the ISP adhering to net neutrality principles. This includes the practices the FCC banned in the 2015 Open Internet Order—blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—and picks up where the FCC left off by also tackling the practice of zero rating. This bill is a gold standard of net neutrality legislation and its passage would give California the strongest protections in the country.

      Naturally, big ISPs like Comcast, AT&T, and Spectrum (née Time Warner Cable) don’t want to see this pass. That’s why we’re rallying in support of this bill before its hearings in front of the members of the state senate Utilities and Energy Committee and Judiciary Committee.

    • ACLU: If Americans Want Privacy & Net Neutrality, They Should Build Their Own Broadband Networks

      More than 750 towns and cities across the United States have been forced to build their own networks if they want anything close to next-generation broadband. These towns and cities aren’t doing this because it’s fun, they’re doing it as an organic response to market failure, and the growing cable monopoly that fuels high prices, poor coverage, and abysmal customer service. By and large the incumbent response to this shift hasn’t been to offer better, cheaper service, but to literally write and buy protectionist laws in more than 21 states prohibiting locals from making their own decisions.

      ISPs also like to demonize these efforts as automatic taxpayer boondoggles, which not only isn’t true (municipal broadband, like any other business plan, can be well or poorly designed), but ignores the fact that these towns and cities wouldn’t be getting into the broadband business if existing service wasn’t so expensive and shitty across wide swaths of America.

  • DRM

    • Netflix Bows Out Of Cannes After Festival Tells Streaming Services To Get Off Its Lawn

      Last month, the folks running the Cannes film festival had a little toddler moment, when they declared that streaming services like Netflix wouldn’t be allowed to win the Palme d’Or. More specifically, Cannes boss Thierry Fremaux stated that streaming services wouldn’t be allowed to win any awards if they didn’t adhere to outdated French film industry release windows. Such windows are increasingly archaic, but the release windows required by France’s cultural exception law are particularly obnoxious, requiring a 36-month delay between theatrical release and streaming availability.

      Cannes couldn’t just come out and admit it was having a “damn kids get the hell off my lawn moment,” so it tried to peddle a bunch of nonsense about how this was all about ensuring high festival standards. That, of course, ignores the fact that while Netflix pushes a lot of streaming crap, streaming services in general are increasingly winning both television and film awards. It also ignores the fact that Cannes is trying to dress protectionism up as something more noble than it actually is. Or, that bad streaming content wouldn’t be considered for awards anyway.

    • Netflix Accused of Violating U.S. Tax Law in Bonuses to Top Executives

      In a shareholder derivative complaint, the City of Birmingham Relief and Retirement System asserts that performance-based bonuses paid to executives like Ted Sarandos were essentially a sham. These bonuses, it’s alleged, were solely designed so that Netflix could receive tax deductions, and the achievement of performance goals was a fait accompli.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • VirnetX wins Another $500,000,000 from Apple, but Will They Ever Get Paid?

      VirnetX won another big Jury verdict against Apple — $500 million after the Jury found that Apple’s FaceTime, iMessage and VPN on Demand violated several VirnetX patents. U.S. Patent Nos. 6,502,135, 7,490,151, 7,418,504, and 7,921,211. The district court previously ruled on summary judgment that the patents were not invalid.

    • Russian Crash Cushions Crash on Dutch Ex Parte Injunction

      Other than ex parte (evidentiary) seizures, ex parte preliminary injunctions are considered a rare phenomenon in the field of patent law in the Netherlands. The burden for obtaining an ex parte inunction is high and the allegedly infringing party could have filed a protective letter. Very recently the Dutch patent court in The Hague has shown its willingness to grant an ex parte injunction (and following that an ex parte seizure) at international trade fairs.

    • Inside 2018’s largest trade secrets damages award

      A jury in the Eastern District of Texas awarded $706.2 million to HouseCanary, a start-up whose technology secrets were stolen by Title Source Inc (TSI) – an affiliate of Quicken Loans, since rebranded Amrock…

    • Trademarks

      • In-N-Out Sues Australian Burger Joint, Despite Having No Restaurants In The Country

        Whenever companies and brands begin behaving badly when it comes to enforcing their trademarks, one common reaction from outsiders is “why?” The reason for that singular question can vary, whether it stems from a lack of true infringement taking place to the seemingly harmless nature of use in dispute to everywhere in between. But perhaps there is no better example of a trademark dispute inducing a “Why?” than in the news that In-N-Out is suing an Australian burger company without doing any real or regular business on that entire continent.

      • Brunetti, Tam, and Next Steps for TM Registration Limits

        In Tam, the Supreme Court held that the prohibition on registering marks that disparage persons was a free speech violation. In that case, Simon Tam had attempted to register the mark SLANTS in reference to the East Asian heritage of his band.

        Similarly, Erik Brunetti, is attempting to register the mark FUCT — which is a homonym of a well known profane word. The TTAB refused to register the mark — finding it scandalous. It is an easy case under old Federal Circuit precedent that ‘vulgar’ marks are scandalous. On appeal, however, the Federal Circuit held that the analysis from Tam applies to scandalous marks as well; and that there is no genuine legal distinction between scandalous and immoral marks. Thus, the prohibition on registering marks that are scandalous or immoral is also a free speech violation.

    • Copyrights

      • We Interrupt Today’s News With An Update From The Monkey Selfie Case

        Today we have learned nothing new about it, except that the case is not over yet. Which is itself significant, because the parties in the case had jointly moved to dismiss the appeal, and today that motion was denied. In its order denying the motion [pdf, embedded below] the Ninth Circuit acknowledged that while it had the power to dismiss an appeal if the parties so requested it, it did not have the obligation to do so if there were countervailing interests. And in this case, the Ninth Circuit found, there were countervailing interests requiring it to fully adjudicate the matter.

      • Swedish Patents and Market Court of Appeal says that an ISP may not be required to hand over information about subscribers’ IP addresses

        Can an ISP be required to hand over its subscribers’ IP addresses in online copyright infringement cases?

      • Canadian Music Industry Confirms Once More That For Copyright Companies, Enough Is Never Enough

        One of the striking features of copyright is how over three centuries, it always seems to become longer, broader and stronger. Just as a matter of probabilities, you might expect copyright to become a little shorter once in a while, but strangely that doesn’t appear to happen. One consequence of the copyright ratchet is that the public is often cheated. Copyright is based on a bargain: that a time-limited, government-backed intellectual monopoly will be granted to creators in return for allowing the work to enter the public domain at the end of that limited period. Instead, what has happened repeatedly is that the copyright term has been extended before works enter the public domain, thus denying society its promised payback. If anything deserves to be called “copyright theft”, it is this.

        The copyright ratchet is on display once more in a new op-ed Michael Geist has written for The Globe and Mail. He reports on some documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws, including a 30-page reform proposal from the Canadian Music Policy Coalition, an umbrella group representing 17 music associations. It’s a submission to the Canadian government regarding a copyright review that is currently underway in that country.

      • Russia Blocks 500+ Google IPs & Domains, Fails to Shutdown Encrypted Chat App

        Last month, Russia’s telecoms watchdog told ISPs to block 15 million IP addresses to shut down the encrypted chat app Zello. Most of those IP addresses belonged to Amazon, which responded by asking Zello not to use its servers. With Zello now operating via Google services, instructions have been sent to block 286 IP addresses and 285 domains belonging to the search giant.

      • uTorrent Flagged as ‘Threat’ by Microsoft and Anti-Virus Vendors

        This week several Windows users noticed that the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent was suddenly being flagged as a threat. While details are scarce, Windows Defender and some other anti-virus vendors list the application as “Potentially Unwanted Software.” BitTorrent Inc. sees the warnings as false positives but also stopped serving what it believes to be the problematic release.

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