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06.25.18

Links 25/6/2018: Perl 5.28.0, Linux 4.18 RC2, KBibTeX for KDE Frameworks 5

Posted in News Roundup at 3:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Oracle Linux now supported on 64-bit Armv8 processors

      Oracle’s announced that the version of its GNU/Linux for Arm processors is now generally available and signalled its intentions to help “build out a very viable server/cloud platform for Arm.”

      Big Red revealed its efforts in November 2017 with the debut of an unsupported developer release of Oracle Linux 7 Update 3. Come February 2018 and the company updated the release to one based on Oracle Linux 7 update 4, again with dire warnings it was for play, not work, and had no support.

    • Lamps Plus Sheds Light On Modernization Integration

      Discussions about modernization continue to tie top management in knots. Questions about the time, the effort, and the risks to the business are difficult to answer with precision, so organizations habitually focus on obstacles rather than opportunities.

      “If you stay in that mindset, you will never move,” says Derrick Lindsey, a modernization project lead at Lamps Plus, the nation’s largest specialty lighting retailer and a leading manufacturer of lighting and home furnishings. “There’s a lot less risk in modernizing existing applications on the IBM i than migrating off of the IBM i platform to other platforms such as Unix, Linux, or Windows servers, and this approach has proved beneficial for us.”

      There’s been a modernization initiative at Lamps Plus for the past six years. It’s involved the use of service programs, exportable functions/procedures, SQL views and SQL global variables leading to modular programming with reusable business logic that’s decoupled from executable programs. It has no conclusion. No modernization initiative does. But it’s had and continues to have phases with goals for completion.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.18-rc2

      Another week, another -rc.

      I’m still traveling – now in China – but at least I’m doing this rc Sunday
      _evening_ local time rather than _morning_. And next rc I’ll be back home
      and over rmy jetlag (knock wood) so everything should be back to the
      traditional schedule.

      Anyway, it’s early in the rc series yet, but things look fairly normal.
      About a third of the patch is drivers (drm and s390 stand out, but here’s
      networking and block updates too, and misc noise all over).

      We also had some of the core dma files move from drivers/base/dma-* (and
      lib/dma-*) to kernel/dma/*. We sometimes do code movement (and other
      “renaming” things) after the merge window simply because it tends to be
      less disruptive that way.

      Another 20% is under “tools” – mainly due to some selftest updates for
      rseq, but there’s some turbostat and perf tooling work too.

      We also had some noticeable filesystem updates, particularly to cifs. I’m
      going to point those out, because some of them probably shouldn’t have
      been in rc2. They were “fixes” not in the “regressions” sense, but in the
      “missing features” sense.

      So please, people, the “fixes” during the rc series really should be
      things that are _regressions_. If it used to work, and it no longer does,
      then fixing that is a good and proper fix. Or if something oopses or has a
      security implication, then the fix for that is a real fix.

      But if it’s something that has never worked, even if it “fixes” some
      behavior, then it’s new development, and that should come in during the
      merge window. Just because you think it’s a “fix” doesn’t mean that it
      really is one, at least in the “during the rc series” sense.

      Anyway, with that small rant out of the way, the rest is mostly arch
      updates (x86, powerpc, arm64, mips), and core networking.

      Go forth and test. Things look fairly sane, it’s not really all that
      scary.

      Shortlog appended for people who want to scan through what changed.

      Linus

    • Linux 4.18-rc2 Released With A Normal Week’s Worth Of Changes

      Due to traveling in China, Linus Torvalds has released the Linux 4.18-rc2 kernel a half-day ahead of schedule, but overall things are looking good for Linux 4.18.

    • Linus Torvalds tells kernel devs to fix their regressive fixing

      Linus Torvalds has given the Linux kernel development community a bit of a touch-up, after finding some contributions to Linux 4.18 complicated the kernel development process.

      In his post announcing release candidate 2 of Linux kernel 4.18, Torvalds mentioned “some noticeable filesystem updates, particularly to cifs.”

      “I’m going to point those out, because some of them probably shouldn’t have been in rc2. They were ‘fixes’ not in the ‘regressions’ sense, but in the ‘missing features’ sense.”

    • Why data centers need log management tools

      Even though systemd is a common logging method, rsyslog offers more features. One main capability is being able to write log messages to a specific database. You can also configure rsyslog logs on one main server for centralized access.

    • Systemd v239 released

      Systemd v239 has been released with a long list of changes; click below for the full set. “A new system.conf setting NoNewPrivileges= is now available which may be used to turn off acquisition of new privileges system-wide (i.e. set Linux’ PR_SET_NO_NEW_PRIVS for PID 1 itself, and thus also for all its children). Note that turning this option on means setuid binaries and file system capabilities lose their special powers. While turning on this option is a big step towards a more secure system, doing so is likely to break numerous pre-existing UNIX tools, in particular su and sudo.”

    • Linux Foundation

      • The Linux Foundation and TODO Group Release Chinese Versions of Open Source Guides for the Enterprise

        -The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, has released Chinese translations of 10 Open Source Guides for the Enterprise, created to help executives, open source program managers, developers, attorneys and decision makers learn how to best leverage open source.

      • Tencent joins the Linux Foundation as a platinum member

        Chinese tech giant Tencent has announced it’s joined the Linux Foundation as a platinum member.

        Tencent is one of a few companies to offer the highest level of support to the Linux Foundation. Other tech companies in this stable include IBM, Microsoft, and Intel, as well as fellow Chinese titan Huawei.

        As part of the deal, Tencent will take a chair on the Foundation’s board of directors.

        It has also promised to offer “further support and resources” to the Foundation’s efforts. So far, this has taken the form of Tencent donating several pieces of its software.

      • Tencent becomes a Linux Foundation platinum member to increase its focus on open source

        Tencent, the $500-billion Chinese internet giant, is increasing its focus on open source after it became a platinum member of the Linux Foundation.

        The company has long been associated with the foundation and Linux generally, it is a founding member of the Linux Foundation’s deep learning program that launched earlier this year, and now as a platinum member (the highest tier) it will take a board of directors seat and work more closely with the organization. That works two ways, with Tencent pledging to offer “further support and resources” to foundation projects and communities, while the Chinese firm itself will also tap into the foundation’s expertise and experience.

      • Tencent Supports Open Source Community With Linux Foundation Platinum Membership

        LinuxCon China — The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announces Tencent has become the latest Platinum member of the foundation. Tencent is a leading provider of Internet value added services in China, offering some of China’s most popular websites, apps and services including QQ, Qzone, Tencent Cloud and Weixin/WeChat.

      • TARS and TSeer Form Open Source Project Communities Under The Linux Foundation to Expand Adoption and Pace of Development

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced at LinuxCon + ContainerCon + CloudOpen China in Beijing that TARS, a remote procedure call (RPC) framework, and TSeer, a high availability service discovery, registration and fault tolerance framework, have become Linux Foundation projects. Both projects were initially developed by leading Chinese technology company, Tencent, which open sourced the projects last year. This follows the announcement of Tencent becoming a Platinum member of The Linux Foundation, and reflects the foundation’s growing collaboration with the Chinese open source community.

      • Tencent Becomes Latest Platinum Member of Linux Foundation

        Chinese behemoth looking to cultivate open source ties

        The Linux Foundation has announced that Tencent has become the latest member to obtain platinum membership.

        The non-profit American tech company, which is funded by membership payments, uses the funding for sustainable open source projects.

        Within the foundation, there are three membership tiers, starting from silver to gold, all the way up to platinum where members have to pay $500,000 a year (approx. £377,643) for that category.

      • Tencent Joins The Linux Foundation, Open-Sources Projects

        China’s Tencent holding conglomerate that backs a variety of Internet services/products is the latest platinum member of the Linux Foundation.

      • Open source jobs report: 3 hot skill areas now
    • Graphics Stack

      • Patches Revised Taking RadeonSI OpenGL Compatibility Profile To v4.0

        -
        After getting the RadeonSI OpenGL compatibility profile support to GL 3.3, Valve’s Timothy Arceri has been working on OpenGL 4.4 compatibility profile support. However, with one of those extensions taking a while to wire up, for now he sent out the patches bumping the support to OpenGL 4.0 under this compatibility mode.

        See the earlier articles if you are unfamiliar with the OpenGL compatibility profile mode as an alternative to the OpenGL core context in order to make use of deprecated GL functionality while still using modern versions of OpenGL.

      • SDL2 Wayland Now Supports XDG Shell’s XDG_WM_Base

        The SDL2 library has revised its XDG Shell unstable code into offering xdg-wm-base support from the stable XDG Shell protocol.

        The “xdg_wm_base” interface is for creating desktop-style surfaces with spinning Wayland surfaces (wl_surfaces) into windows in a desktop environment that can be dragged, resized, maximized, etc. It’s documented in full via wayland-protocols.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • 8 reasons to use the Xfce Linux desktop environment

      The Xfce desktop is thin and fast with an overall elegance that makes it easy to figure out how to do things. Its lightweight construction conserves both memory and CPU cycles. This makes it ideal for older hosts with few resources to spare for a desktop. However, Xfce is flexible and powerful enough to satisfy my needs as a power user.

      I’ve learned that changing to a new Linux desktop can take some work to configure it as I want—with all of my favorite application launchers on the panel, my preferred wallpaper, and much more. I have changed to new desktops or updates of old ones many times over the years. It takes some time and a bit of patience.

      I think of it like when I’ve moved cubicles or offices at work. Someone carries my stuff from the old office to the new one, and I connect my computer, unpack the boxes, and place their contents in appropriate locations in my new office. Moving into the Xfce desktop was the easiest move I have ever made.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Finally: First stable release of KBibTeX for KDE Frameworks 5

        After almost exactly two years of being work-in-progress, the first stable release of KBibTeX for KDE Frameworks 5 has been published! You can grab the sources at your local KDE mirror. Some distributions like ArchLinux already ship binary packages.

        After one beta and one release candidate, now comes the final release.

        You may wonder why this release gets version number 0.8.1 but not 0.8 as expected. This is simply due to the fact that I noticed a bug in CMakeLists.txt when computing version numbers which did not work if the version number just had two fields, i. e. no ‘patch’ version. As the code and the tag of 0.8 was already pushed, I had no alternative than to fix the problem and increase the version number. Otherwise, the ChangeLog (alternative view) is virtually unchanged compared to the last pre-release.

      • Qt 5.11.1 and Plasma 5.13.1 in ktown ‘testing’ repository

        A couple of days ago I recompiled ‘poppler’ and the packages in ‘ktown’ that depend on it, and uploaded them into the repository as promised in my previous post.
        I did that because Slackware-current updated its own poppler package and mine needs to be kept in sync to prevent breakage in other parts of your Slackware computer. I hear you wonder, what is the difference between the Slackware poppler package and this ‘ktown’ package? Simple: my ‘poppler’ package contains support for Qt5 (in addition to the QT4 support in the original package) and that is required by other packages in the ‘ktown’ repository.

      • Sixth week of coding phase, GSoC’18

        The Menus API enables the QML Plugin to add an action, separator or menu to the WebView context menu. This API is not similar to the WebExtensions Menus API but is rather Falkonish!

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 24

        See all the names of people who worked hard to make the computing world a better place? That could be you next week! Getting involved isn’t all that tough, and there’s lots of support available.

      • KaOS 2018.06

        Just days after Plasma 5.13.1 was announced can you already see it on this new release. Highlights of Plasma 5.13 include optimising startup and minimising memory usage, yielding faster time-to-desktop, better runtime performance, and less memory consumption. System Settings with KDE’s Kirigami framework gives the pages a slick new look. KWin gained much-improved effects for blur and desktop switching. Wayland work continued, with the return of window rules, the use of high priority EGL Contexts, and initial support for screencasts and desktop sharing. And a tech preview of GTK global menu integration.

      • Interview with Natasa

        First of all it has an Animation Studio included, I haven’t done 2D animation in years and now I can do it at home, on my PC. Yay! The brush engine is second to none quite frankly and yes I’ve tried more than Krita before I reach that conclusion. I love the mirror tools, the eraser system and that little colour pick up docker where you can attach your favorite brushes as well. Love that little bugger, so practical. Oh and the pattern tool.

      • Skrooge 2.14.0 released

        The Skrooge Team announces the release 2.14.0 version of its popular Personal Finances Manager based on KDE Frameworks.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • A GTK+ 3 update

        When we started development towards GTK+ 4, we laid out a plan that said GTK+ 3.22 would be the final, stable branch of GTK+ 3. And we’ve stuck to this for a while.

        I has served us reasonably well — GTK+ 3 stopped changing in drastic ways, which was well-received, and we are finally seeing applications moving from GTK+ 2.

      • GTK+ 3.24 To Deliver Some New Features While Waiting For GTK4

        While the GNOME tool-kit developers have been hard at work on GTK4 roughly the past two years and have kept GTK3 frozen at GTK+ 3.22, a GTK+ 3.24 release is now being worked on to deliver some new features until GTK+ 4.0 is ready to be released.

        While GTK+ 4.0 is shaping up well and GTK+ 3.22 was planned to be the last GTK3 stable release, the developers have had second thoughts due to GTK+ 4 taking time to mature. Some limited new features are being offered up in the GTK+ 3.24 release to debut this September.

      • GNOME Plans to Move App Menus Back Inside App Windows

        Application menus in the GNOME Shell desktop environment may be about to move.

        GNOME developers have proposed moving app menu entries back inside applications windows, in to the “hamburger menu” that most modern desktop apps use.

        “This would be relatively easy to implement, and even bend in nicely with some third-party apps like Firefox and Chromium, which already use a similar pattern,” GNOME devs right in their proposal.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: BunsenLabs Helium

        I have got a bit of soft spot for Openbox. I like how minimalist it is and how it hardly uses any system resources – according to my Conky panel BunsenLabs was using just over 200MB of RAM when idle. BunsenLabs provides a system that is usable out of the box but which can be tweaked any way you want. For this review I made the system cleaner and leaner but I could have gone in the opposite direction and create a desktop with conkies, panels and docks all over the place. DistroWatch’s slogan, “put the fun back into computing”, very much applies to BunsenLabs.

        In short, this is a distro I could easily use as my daily driver. My only concern would be the project’s long term future. BunsenLabs Helium was released almost a year after Debian Stretch was released and then there is the worrying fact that Openbox doesn’t work under Wayland, which is getting ever closer to replacing Xorg. BunsenLabs has got a sound community though, so I very much hope this distro will be around for many years to come.

    • New Releases

      • Arch-Based Manjaro 18.0 Beta 3 Available For Testing

        For fans of the Arch-based Manjaro Linux distribution, the third beta of their next major update is now available for evaluation.

        Manjaro 18.0 Beta 3 in its default Xfce flavor is available as of today. This third beta offers updated themes, the latest Pamac, an updated version of the Calamares installer, and updated Xfce packages. Manjaro 18.0 is currently relying upon the latest point release of the Linux 4.16 kernel.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Slackware Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Updated Debian 8: 8.11 released

        The Debian project is pleased to announce the eleventh (and final) update of its oldstable distribution Debian 8 (codename “jessie”). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available.

        After this point release, Debian’s Security and Release Teams will no longer be producing updates for Debian 8. Users wishing to continue to receive security support should upgrade to Debian 9, or see https://wiki.debian.org/LTS for details about the subset of architectures and packages covered by the Long Term Support project.

        The packages for some architectures for DSA 3746, DSA 3944, DSA 3968, DSA 4010, DSA 4014, DSA 4061, DSA 4075, DSA 4102, DSA 4155, DSA 4209 and DSA 4218 are not included in this point release for technical reasons. All other security updates released during the lifetime of “jessie” that have not previously been part of a point release are included in this update.

      • Debian 8.11 Released As The End Of The Line For Jessie
      • Debian 8.11 Has Been Released | The Last Maintenance Release For Debian 8 (Jessie)

        The last maintenance for the long term support release Debian 8.11 (Jessie) has been released. Debian 8.11 brings several bug fixes and resolved various security issues. Check the release notes and update instructions down below.

        Debian 8.11 received tons of updates addressing security issues for many packages such as Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, Asterisk for VOIP services, curl, PHP 5, Bind 9, Exim, LibreOffice, Apache2, and more. Linux Kernel has been updated as well Linux 3.16.56-1. ClamAV definitions database have been updated.

        Debian 8 (Jessie) is expected to reach end of life by June 30, 2020 as per the long term support program and it could be support by the extended long term support program for commercial usage.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Data Collection Report is Out! Read the Interesting Facts

            Ubuntu started collecting some basic, not-personally-identifiable system data starting with Ubuntu 18.04. Two months after Ubuntu 18.04 release, Canonical has shared some interesting stats.

          • Two-thirds of Ubuntu users are happy to give up data on their PC

            As announced back at the start of the year, Canonical made the decision that Ubuntu would collect data on its user base – and now the initial results of those statistics have been published by the firm, including the headline fact that 67% of users were happy to provide details of their PC (and other bits and pieces).

            So, this scheme that has been unfavorably compared to Microsoft’s collection of telemetry data in Windows 10, which has long been a point of controversy. However, it appears that the majority of folks are happy to give up their data to the company providing their Linux distribution, and don’t seem perturbed by this prospect.

          • Ubuntu reports 67% of users opt in to on-by-default PC specs slurp [Ed: 33% of Ubuntu users say to Canonical "don't spy on me" and Canonical then counts them, which means that Canonical collects data on them, too]

            However just 33 per cent of the undisclosed number of users Canonical’s analysed didn’t opt in to the slurpage.

            Which is where things get a little bit weird, because Canonical’s post reports an “Opt In rate”. Yet the data slurpage is selected by default: there’s an active opt out but a passive opt in.

          • The Average Ubuntu Install Takes 18 Minutes (And Other Stats)

            Did you know that the average Ubuntu install takes just 18 minutes?

            That’s one of several nuggets of information Canonical has collected (and now revealed) thanks to the new “Ubuntu Report” tool included in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

            This tool, when given permission to, collects non-identifiable system data about new Ubuntu installs and upgrades and ferries it back to Canonical for analysis.

          • Canonical: Two-thirds of Ubuntu 18.04 users agreed to data collection

            IT APPEARS that there are still some tech companies that we trust.

            In the first report since Ubuntu first started requesting analytics, maker Canonical has revealed that most users have opted in – and the results are interesting.

            67 per cent have decided that Canonical is OK to collect their data from Ubuntu 18.04 LTE (desktop version only). Given that many people choose Linux to have more control over their privacy, this seems way high and we can only assume (barring a mistake) that Ubuntu users trust Ubuntu way more than Windows users trust Microsoft.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Open Source Matters to Alibaba

    At present, Alibaba has more than 150 open source projects. We work on the open source projects with the aim to contribute to the industry and solve real-life problems. We share our experiences with the rest of the open source enthusiasts.

    As a long-time contributor to various other open source projects, Alibaba and Alibaba Cloud have fostered a culture that encourages our teams to voluntarily contribute to various open source projects, either by sharing experiences or helping others to solve problems. Sharing and contributing to the community altogether is in the DNA of Alibaba’s culture.

  • Open source communities and standards bodies are starting to hit their stride

    Open source communities and standards organizations, are, for the most part, starting to march in unison across the telecom industry.

    The push to hybrid networks using network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) initially led to fractured ecosystems as service providers and the legacy vendors pondered how to move to a software, cloud-based world while still serving millions of customers without any noticeable hiccups.

    In some cases, carriers took proprietary solutions from single vendors in order to implement some sort of virtualization on their network architectures, which led to vendor lock in. Also, some legacy vendors dug their heels in when it came to losing hardware-based revenue in the new world of SDN and NFV.

  • Open Source Project Particl Partners with Changelly
  • Another Older ASUS Board Now Works With Coreboot, Can Be Found Refurbished $50~70

    The ASUS P8H61-M PRO is now the latest motherboard working with mainline Coreboot.

    Landing in Coreboot this weekend is support for the P8H61-M PRO. The P8H61-M PRO with the H61 B3 revision chipset dates back to the original Sandy Bridge LGA-1155 days. This ASUS board is a micro-ATX design with USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, and the various other usual ASUS extras.

  • Events

    • Yes! I am going to…

      Of course, DebCamp is not a vacation, so we expect people that take part of DebCamp to have at least a rough sketch of activities. There are many, many things I want to tackle, and experience shows there’s only time for a fraction of what’s planned.

    • Dates, Location set for openSUSE Conference 2019

      The openSUSE Project is pleased to announce the location and dates for the 2019 openSUSE Conference.

      The openSUSE Conference 2019 will return to the Z-Bau in Nuremberg, Germany, and be Friday, May 24, through Sunday, May 26.

      Planning for the 2019 conference will begin this summer and community members are encouraged to take part in the planning of the conference through the organizing team. The openSUSE Board proposed the idea of having organizing team for openSUSE Conferences last month at oSC18. An email about the organizing team was sent out to the openSUSE-Project mailing list.

    • OSSummit Japan 2018

      Some Debian developers (Jose from Microsoft and Michael from credativ) gave a talk during this event.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • How to Unit Test WebExtensions

        We all know that unit-testing is a good software engineering practice, but sometimes the hassle of setting up the testing environment will keep us from doing it in the first place. After Firefox 57, WebExtension has become the new standard for writing add-ons for Firefox. How do you set up everything to start testing your WebExtension-based add-ons?

        In the earlier format of the Firefox add-ons, namely the Add-on SDK (a.k.a. Jetpack), there is a built-in command for unit-test (jpm test). But for WebExtension, as far as I know, doesn’t have such thing built in. Luckily all the technology used in WebExtension is still standard web technology, so we can use off-the-shelf JavaScript unit-testing frameworks.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Will Microsoft’s Embrace Smother GitHub?

      Microsoft has had an adversarial relationship with the open-source community. The company viewed the free Open Office software and the Linux operating system—which compete with Microsoft Office and Windows, respectively—as grave threats.

      In 2001 Windows chief Jim Allchin said: “Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer.” That same year CEO Steve Ballmer said “Linux is a cancer.” Microsoft attempted to use copyright law to crush open source in the courts.

      When these tactics failed, Microsoft decided if you can’t beat them, join them. It incorporated Linux and other open-source code into its servers in 2014. By 2016 Microsoft had more programmers contributing code to GitHub than any other company.

      The GitHub merger might reflect Microsoft’s “embrace, extend and extinguish” strategy for dominating its competitors. After all, GitHub hosts not only open-source software and Microsoft software but also the open-source projects of other companies, including Oracle, IBM, and Amazon Web Services.

      With GitHub, Microsoft could restrict a crucial platform for its rivals, mine data about competitors’ activities, target ads toward users, or restrict free services. Its control could lead to a sort of surveillance of innovative activity, giving it a unique, macro-scaled insight into software development.

    • Secure Code: You Are the Solution to Open Source’s Biggest Problem [Ed: The mobsters from Microsoft ‘proxy’ Black Duck are back to attacking FOSS, in order for them to sell proprietary software from Synopsys]
    • Developers shouldn’t worry, Microsoft’s GitHub acquisition is a win for all [Ed: Microsoft entryism is a “win for all”? Really?]
    • Open source: Why it’s time to be more open about how projects are run [Ed: The latest FOSS FUD from Microsoft booster Mary Branscombe]
    • A framework for lightweight open source governance

      Any group of humans needs some form of governance. It’s a set of rules the group follows in order to address issues and take clear decisions. Even the absence the rules (anarchy) is a form of governance! At the opposite end of the spectrum is dictatorship, where all decisions are made by one person. Open source projects are groups of humans, and they are no exception to this. They can opt for various governance models, which I detailed in a previous article four years ago (how time flies!).

      That article compared various overall models in terms of which one would best ensure the long-term survival of the community, avoiding revolutions (or forks). It advocated for a representative democracy model, and since then I’ve been asked several times for the best recipe to implement it. However there are numerous trade-offs in the exercise of building governance, and the “best” depends a lot on the specifics of each project situation. So, rather than detail a perfect one-size-fits-all governance recipe, in this article I’ll propose a framework of three basic rules to keep in mind when implementing it.

      This simple 3-rule model can be used to create just enough governance, a lightweight model that should be sustainable over the long run, while avoiding extra layers of useless bureaucracy.

  • Funding

    • Toyota donates $100,000 for open-source self-driving simulator

      Toyota plunked down a good chunk of money to get further along with CARLA, which sounds a little creepy but is actually a worthy cause.

      Toyota Research Institute (TRI) announced this week that it will donate $100,000 to the Computer Vision Center to further development of CARLA (Car Learning to Act), an open-source simulator for autonomous driving. CARLA’s code is hosted on Github, in case you’re interested in poking around.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Software Design for Persistent Memory Systems

      Howard Chu’s work has spanned a wide range of computing topics, including most of the GNU utilities, networking protocols and tools, kernel and filesystem drivers, and focused on maximizing the useful work from a system. He founded Symas Corp. with 5 other partners and serves as its CTO. His current focus is database oriented, covering LDAP, LMDB, and other non-relational database technologies.

    • Bitcoin Car Talk: Mike’s Car Stalled by Stallman

      HUMOR: Are you planning to watch Mikeinspace’s latest Bitcoin Car Talk interview? Then shame on you — free (as in speech) software advocate Richard Stallman does not approve of your viewing habits. Wait… Stallman is telling you not to watch a video where he himself tells you why you shouldn’t watch it? We’re confused. Mike’s confused. Watch the full episode to find out why. Or don’t. Hmm, we could have a problem here.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open source sustainability

      No one wants open source to disappear, or for maintainers to burnout. Yet, there is a strong cultural force against commercial interests in the community. Money is corrupting, and dampens the voluntary spirit of open source efforts. More pragmatically, there are vast logistical challenges with managing money on globally distributed volunteer teams that can make paying for work logistically challenging.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • It Turns Out RISC-V Hardware So Far Isn’t Entirely Open-Source

        While they are trying to make it an open board, as it stands now Minnich just compares this RISC-V board as being no more open than an average ARM SoC and not as open as IBM POWER.

        Ron further commented that he is hoping for other RISC-V implementations from different vendors be more open.

      • SiFive Releases Smaller, Lower Power RISC-V Cores

        Today, SiFive has released two new cores designed for the lower end of computing. This adds to the company’s existing portfolio of microcontrollers and SoCs based on the Open RISC-V ISA. Over the last two years, SiFive has introduced a number of cores based on the RISC-V ISA, an Open Architecture ISA that gives anyone to design and develop a microcontroller or microprocessor platform. These two new cores fill out the low-power end of SiFive’s core portfolio.

        The two new cores included in the announcement are the SiFive E20 and E21, both meant for low-power applications, and according to SiFive presentations, they’re along the lines of an ARM Cortex-M0+ and ARM Cortex-M4. This is a core — it’s not a chip yet — but since the introduction of SiFive’s first microcontrollers, many companies have jumped on the RISC-V bandwagon. Western Digital, for example, has committed to using the RISC-V architecture in SoCs and as controllers for hard drive, SSDs, and NASes.

  • Programming/Development

    • Oracle’s new Java SE subs: Code and support for $25/processor/month

      Oracle’s put a price on Java SE and support: $25 per processor per month, and $2.50 per user per month on the desktop, or less if you buy lots for a long time.

      Big Red’s called this a Java SE Subscription and pitched it as “a commonly used model, popular with Linux distributions”. The company also reckons the new deal is better than a perpetual licence, because they involve “an up-front cost plus additional annual support and maintenance fees.”

    • Essential Free Python Maths Tools

      Python is a very popular general purpose programming language — with good reason. It’s object oriented, semantically structured, extremely versatile, and well supported. Scientists favour Python because it’s easy to use and learn, offers a good set of built-in features, and is highly extensible. Python’s readability makes it an excellent first programming language.

      The Python Standard Library (PSL) is the the standard library that’s distributed with Python. The library comes with, among other things, modules that carry out many mathematical operations.

      The math module is one of the core modules in PSL which performs mathematical operations. The module gives access to the underlying C library functions for floating point math.

    • 10 Best Math Libraries for Python

      Many times, when you write programs you need to use special functions that others have used before you. When this happens, open source comes to the rescue and gives you a library that covers that need. Python calls theirs modules, to use modules you need to import them.Modules for mathematics are especially useful when you have the theory ready but need to use standard math for your particular problem. The Mathematics module in the Python standard library has many features. It is useful to check if you can solve your problem easily with these functions. If you need to know what functions exist you need to go through the list. However, first realize that the module implements all the C standard functions.

      The simplest use of Python for math is as a calculator. To do this, start Python on the terminal and use the print function.

    • Compiler Fuzzing With Prog-Fuzz Is Turning Up Bugs In GCC, Clang

      Vegard Nossum of Oracle has been working on fuzzing different open-source compilers for turning up bugs within these code compiler likes GCC and Clang.

      Vegard ended up writing a new compiler fuzzer from scratch making use of AFL instrumentation. This new fuzzer is dubbed simply Prog-Fuzz and is available on GitHub.

    • Intel MKL in Debian / Ubuntu follow-up

      About two months ago, in the most recent post in the series, #18, we provided a short tutorial about how to add the Intel Math Kernel Library to a Debian or Ubuntu system thanks to the wonderful apt tool — and the prepackaged binaries by Intel. This made for a simple, reproducible, scriptable, and even reversible (!!) solution—which a few people seem to have appreciated. Good.

    • 3 ways to copy files in Go

      This article will show you how to copy a file in the Go programming language. Although there are more than three ways to copy a file in Go, this article will present the three most common ways: using the io.Copy() function call from the Go library; reading the input file all at once and writing it to another file; and copying the file in small chunks using a buffer.

    • The life cycle of a software bug

      During the process of testing, bugs are reported to the development team. Quality assurance testers describe the bug in as much detail as possible, reporting on their system state, the processes they were undertaking, and how the bug manifested itself.

      Despite this, some bugs are never confirmed; they may be reported in testing but can never be reproduced in a controlled environment. In such cases they may not be resolved but are instead closed.

      It can be difficult to confirm a computer bug due to the wide array of platforms in use and the many different types of user behavior. Some bugs only occur intermittently or under very specific situations, and others may occur seemingly at random.

      Many people use and interact with open source software, and many bugs and issues may be non-repeatable or may not be adequately described. Still, because every user and developer also plays the role of quality assurance tester, at least in part, there is a good chance that bugs will be revealed.

    • LLVM’s OpenMP Offloads Liboffload Into Oblivion

      The liboffload library has been dropped from LLVM’s OpenMP repository.

      Liboffload is/was the Intel runtime library for offloading and geared for supporting the Xeon Phi co-processors. But liboffload within LLVM hasn’t been receiving updates, it wasn’t properly integrated within the LLVM build system, and unfortunately Xeon Phi co-processors appear to be discontinued. The liboffload library has also confused some with LLVM’s libomptarget library for OpenMP support that is in much better shape.

    • Perl 5.28.0 released

      Version 5.28.0 of the Perl language has been released. “Perl 5.28.0 represents approximately 13 months of development since Perl 5.26.0 and contains approximately 730,000 lines of changes across 2,200 files from 77 authors”. The full list of changes can be found over here; some highlights include Unicode 10.0 support, string- and number-specific bitwise operators, a change to more secure hash functions, and safer in-place editing.

    • Perl Version 5.28.0 Now Available, Linus Torvalds’ “Small Rant” on rc2 Release Statement, Ubuntu’s First User Data Report and More

      Perl version 5.28.0 has been released. According to LWN.net, highlights of this release, which was 13 months in the making with approximately 730,000 lines of changes, include “Unicode 10.0 support, string- and number-specific bitwise operators, a change to more secure hash functions, and safer in-place editing.” See the full list of changes here.

    • TIOBE Index for June 2018

      This month TypeScript debuts at position 93 in the TIOBE index top 100. The Microsoft language has been tracked for a couple of years now, but although its popularity in industry seems high, it never made it to the top 100. So finally it has got sufficient traction to be noticed. TypeScript is a strict superset of JavaScript, which means you can use it together with your existing JavaScript. But it adds a lot of extra type safety to the JavaScript language thanks to type annotations. In this sense it is an improved version of JavaScript. The fact that Google adopted TypeScript next to its own JavaScript variant language Dart is proof that TypeScript has a bright future.

    • 10 Most Popular Programming Languages In 2018: Learn To Code

      For beginners in the world of programming, the biggest dilemma is to decide where to begin or which language one should master for career benefits. At times, professional coders also face a situation where learning a new language seems more fruitful.

      Whatever may be the reason, here is a list of the most popular programming languages across the world to know which languages are ruling the charts. This list is based on the data sourced from TIOBE Programming Community Index, which is a popular indicator of the popularity of programming languages.

Leftovers

  • On Deep Work

    I recently stumbled upon Azeria’s blog post The Importance of Deep Work & The 30-hour Method For Learning a New Skill, and it seriously struck a chord with me. Over the past year or so, I’ve struggled with a lack of personal satisfaction in my life and my work. I tried various things to address the issue, but could not figure out a root cause until I read her article, and then it clicked with me.

    Even though I was constantly busy at work, I never felt like I was getting the things done that mattered to me: security research, tackling difficult technical challenges, focused security work. Instead I was constantly in meetings, switching tasks, dealing with email, and other work that felt like I was just barely keeping afloat at the office.

    [...]

    Shallow work is work that doesn’t require the full use of your brain, or that can be easily interrupted and resumed later, such as logistical tasks. In my case, this includes “doing email”, most meetings, and a lot of the collaboration I do with team mates. This is not to dismiss shallow work as unimportant, but it is different and done with a different mindset. It is also easier to get to shallow work with less mental friction, which leads to a tendency to go to shallow work.

  • New Google Podcasts app: who needs data portability anyway?

    Google introduced a new app for podcasts this week called Google Podcasts. Unlike most other podcast apps that are built on open standards; Google focuses on “content discovery” and curation, and a complete lack of interoperability and data portability.

    You might not thing about podcasts in these terms, but the podcasting ecosystem is built on open web standards where any listener can subscribe to any podcast. Anyone can publish a podcast and there is a diverse ecosystem of tools for podcast publishing. This openness is parts of what makes podcasts so great and why there are so many different podcasts to choose from.

    Google have decided to take their app in another direction. Before I get into that, I’d like to quickly talk about the “new app” itself.

  • Science

    • Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse

      The people who called into the help hotlines and domestic violence shelters said they felt as if they were going crazy.

      One woman had turned on her air-conditioner, but said it then switched off without her touching it. Another said the code numbers of the digital lock at her front door changed every day and she could not figure out why. Still another told an abuse help line that she kept hearing the doorbell ring, but no one was there.

      Their stories are part of a new pattern of behavior in domestic abuse cases tied to the rise of smart home technology. Internet-connected locks, speakers, thermostats, lights and cameras that have been marketed as the newest conveniences are now also being used as a means for harassment, monitoring, revenge and control.

    • Domestic Abuse Turns Digital: Smart Home Devices Being Used To Inculcate Fear

      They mention how abusers used smart home devices, remotely controlled thermostat, doorbells, security cameras and even door locks to intimidate their partners. These offenders used smartphone apps to control internet enabled smart devices. Thus, remotely accessing these devices, listening to private conversations and sometimes even watching victims on the video feed without their knowledge.

  • Hardware

    • The World’s Smallest Computer Can Fit on the Tip of a Grain of Rice

      The University held the record for the smallest computer after it created its 2x2x4mm Michigan Micro Mote in 2014. The Micro Mote (or M3) is fully functional and able to retain its programming and data even when it loses power. But then IBM debuted an even tinier “computer” in February, a 1mm x 1mm chip with “several hundred thousand” transistors. Here it is on a pile of salt, for scale:

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Russia: New remedy against an infringing generic drug

      Based on these arguments, the IP Court restrained to market and sell the copycat of Tasigna in Russia until the patent expiry.

      Starting from 2009, when the Supreme Commercial Court restrained a generic drug for the first time (Novartis AG vs. Farm-Syntez, case А40-65668/2008), the inferior courts used to turn a blind eye to commercialization of generic drugs until the patent expiry.

    • Gosport hospital: more than 450 patients died due to opioid drugs policy

      She later learned it was used to give drugs to seriously ill patients. “It was also clear to me that any patient put on to a syringe-driver would die shortly after,” Spilka told police at the time. “During the whole time I worked there I do not recall a single instance of a patient not dying having been put into a driver.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Medea Benjamin

      On this week’s program we hear a recent speech by author and peace organizer Medea Benjamin. She discusses her newly-published book “Inside Iran,” and explains why the anti-Iran words and actions of the Trump administration will actually strengthen the hand of hardliners in Iran, making reform more difficult. Medea Benjamin helped found the fair-trade organization Global Exchange, and the womens’ peace group Code Pink. Her previous books include “Kingdom of the Unjust” and “Drone Warfare.” She spoke at the Hillside Club

    • Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood

      The media nowadays are busy congratulating themselves for their vigorous criticism of Donald Trump. To exploit that surge of sanctimony, Hollywood producer Steven Spielberg rushed out The Post, a movie depicting an epic press battle with the Nixon administration. Critics raved over the film, which the New York Post enthusiastically labeled “journalism porn of the highest order.” Boston Public Radio station WBUR called it the “most fun you’ll ever have at a civics lesson.”

      Spielberg, touting his movie, claimed that “the free press is a crusader for truth,” But the media hoopla around The Post is akin to geezers boasting of having shown moments of courage when they were almost 50 years younger.

      The Post is built around the Pentagon Papers, a secret study begun in 1967 analyzing where the Vietnam War had gone awry. The 7000-page tome showed that presidents and military leaders had been profoundly deceiving the American people ever since the Truman administration and that the same mistakes were being endlessly repeated. Like many policy autopsies, the report was classified as secret and completely ignored by the White House and federal agencies, which most needed to heed its lessons. New York Times editor Tom Wicker commented in 1971 that “the people who read these documents in the Times were the first to study them.”

    • China shipyard manager might have leaked Liaoning secrets to CIA
    • China Investigates Shipyard Exec For Giving CIA Secrets About Aircraft Carrier

      One of the top executives at the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) is under investigation for allegedly selling secrets about the Liaoning aircraft carrier to US intelligence operatives, according to a new report.

    • Disgraced manager at shipbuilding juggernaut allegedly ‘sold Chinese carrier intel to CIA’

      A disgraced senior executive of the state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corp (CSIC) is said to have fed US spies highly classified information, including the design and specifications of the Liaoning aircraft carrier that underwent years of refurbishment at CSIC’s Dalian Shipyard.

      CSIC general manager Sun Bo, the second-highest-ranking executive at the shipbuilding juggernaut, has run afoul of graft and crime busters at the National Supervision Commission and the Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and is under investigation for “gross violation of laws and party discipline,” according to a one-line notice posted last week on the two commissions’ joint website that is devoid of any further details.

      Sun’s last public appearance was on June 11 during an inspection trip to a CSIC logistics subsidiary.

    • Senior shipbuilding executive in China arrested for selling military secrets to the CIA
    • At War With Ourselves: The Domestic Consequences of Foreign Policies

      In recent months a string of school shootings in the United States has rekindled the debate over gun violence, its causes and what can be done to stop it. But amid endless talk of school shootings and AR-15s, a large piece of the puzzle has been left conspicuously absent from the debate.

      Contrary to the notion that mass murderers are at the heart of America’s gun violence problem, data from recent years reveals that the majority of gun deaths are self-inflicted.

      In 2015, suicides accounted for over 60 percent of gun deaths in the U.S., while homicides made up around 36 percent of that year’s total. Guns are consistently the most common method by which people take their own lives.

      While the causes of America’s suicide-driven gun epidemic are complex and myriad, it’s clear that one group contributes to the statistics above all others: military veterans.

    • I’ve Been Reporting on MS-13 for a Year. Here Are the 5 Things Trump Gets Most Wrong.

      The gang is not invading the country. They’re not posing as fake families. They’re not growing. To stop them, the government needs to understand them.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The ‘Murder’ Of Julian Assange

      They have zero evidence of this. Evidence is no longer required. Accusations alone now serve to take down leaders and destroy careers.

    • 2,192 Days of Confinement: Assange’s 6 Years in Ecuadorian Embassy in Numbers

      June 19 marks six years since the founder of WikiLeaks entered the building of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He hasn’t stepped foot outside it since.

      Julian Assange has been residing at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, where he sought refuge while facing sexual assault allegations in Sweden.

      981 days have passed since the Metropolitan police removed dedicated 24/7 guards from outside the Ecuadorian Embassy on October 12, 2015.

    • WikiLeaks Shares Alleged Diaries of Accused CIA Leaker Joshua Schulte

      Prosecutors have formally accused Joshua Schulte, a former employee of the US National Security and Central Intelligence Agency, of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks on June 18. Schulte is allegedly behind the Vault 7 releases, the largest leak of classified information from inside the CIA.

      The Department of Justice announced Schulte’s indictment in a press release, accusing him of allegedly using “his access at the agency to transmit classified material to an outside organization.”

      On June 19, WikiLeaks posted several undated documents allegedly written by Schulte himself. The documents are a sort of first-person diary chronicling Schulte’s arrest, life in jail, and court appearances. The documents were first published on a Facebook page identified by The Washington Post as belonging to Schulte.

    • WATCH LIVE: People Rally in London in Support of Wikileaks Founder Assange

      The protests to mark the sixth anniversary of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange seeking asylum in the UK’s Ecuadorean Embassy are being held in London.

      The organizers say that similar protests to demand the release of Assange and his immediate extradition to Australia are taking place outside US Embassies in seven countries.

    • ‘Assange Spent Six Years Without Seeing His Children, Being Home’ – Associate

      June 19 marks the sixth anniversary of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange has not stepped outside the embassy since sexual assault allegations against him emerged in Sweden in 2012. Sputnik spoke with Randy Credico, Assange’s long-term associate.

    • WikiLeaks’ Assange Forced to Choose Between Asylum and Health – Lawyer

      The physical and mental health of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is hiding out inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, is severely deteriorating, according to his lawyers.

      In a letter published in the Guardian newspaper in January, Boston University physician Sondra Crosby and London-based clinical psychologist Brock Chisholm warned that Assange’s physical and mental health were at risk after conducting their most recent exam last October.

    • Vigils for Assange’s six years in embassy
    • Demonstrators want Trump to pardon Assange

      President Trump has been in a pardoning mood lately, and Kevin Zeese has a suggestion on who should be next on his list.

      Mr. Zeese, co-director of the social justice group Popular Resistance, and about 15 fellow demonstrators braved the blazing sun and sticky humidity outside the White House on Tuesday morning, brandished signs that read “Free Julian Assange” and demanded Mr. Trump take action to halt the de facto detention and criminal prosecution against the controversial WikiLeaks founder.

      “Telling the truth, reporting the news is not a crime, and WikiLeaks has done more to report on some really important stories than any other media outlet,” Mr. Zeese told the small gathering through a megaphone.

    • Julian Assange in poor health after six years in Ecuadorian embassy

      Supporters of Julian Assange have gathered at a vigil in London to mark the sixth anniversary of the Wikileaks founder entering the Ecuadorean embassy to seek asylum.

      Mr Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, has told AM that the 46-year-old’s health is deteriorating and that doctors have concerns that the past six years have “had an extreme and likely permanent impact on his physical and mental health.”

    • The foreign Ministry of Ecuador: Assange Asylum in London can’t last forever

      Head the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Ecuador, josé Valencia said that the editor of WikiLeaks Julian Assange could not permanently remain at the Embassy in London. The time will come when the situation will change and he will have to change the location.

    • Reality Winner to take a plea deal in NSA leak case

      After a year of duking it out in federal court over allegations that she leaked top-secret government intelligence, former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner has agreed to a plea deal.

    • Accused NSA leaker reaches plea deal with investigators
    • Accused NSA leaker Reality Winner to accept a plea deal
    • Alleged NSA leaker Reality Winner takes guilty plea
    • Reality Winner will plead guilty for leaking NSA election hacking info
    • Reality Winner, The NSA Analyst Who Leaked Details Of A Russian Hacking Campaign, Will Plead Guilty, Her Mother Says

      A former National Security Agency employee will plead guilty to leaking a top-secret report detailing how the Russian government tried to hack US election systems, her mother and her supporters at the Courage Foundation say.

      Reality Winner, who worked as an analyst in the NSA’s Georgia station, was arrested last year after the Intercept published a top-secret chart detailing a spear-phishing operation conducted by Russian intelligence officers against county election workers throughout the United States in the months leading up to the 2016 election.

      Until the document was leaked, the government had kept the extent of the Russian hacking attempts secret. Even now, it is unclear if any of the spear-phishing attempts were successful. The government has not publicly addressed the campaign, though it has blamed Russian government hackers for two prominent cyberattacks related to the 2016 US election, the hacking and leaking of Democratic Party emails, and the probing of at least 21 state voter registration systems.

    • NSA leaker Reality Winner will plead guilty after admitting to FBI she smuggled classified documents out of the office by stuffing them in her pantyhose

      Reality Winner, the former National Security Agency contractor charged with leaking a classified document to a US news outlet, has decided to plead guilty.

      Winner, 26, is scheduled to plead guilty in US District Court on June 26, according to US Department of Justice spokesman Ian Prior.

    • Reality Winner to take a plea deal in NSA leak case

      After a year of duking it out in federal court over allegations that she leaked top-secret government intelligence, former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner has agreed to a plea deal.

      “I do know that she has always been ready and willing to accept responsibility for any wrongdoing, and that she will accept the consequences,” her mother, Billie Winner-Davis, told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution on Thursday.

      Documents show the agreement was received by the court on Thursday after an 18-minute conference call on Wednesday with U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps.

    • Reality Winner to sign plea deal

      Accused NSA whistleblower Reality Leigh Winner has signed a plea agreement. A plea hearing has been scheduled for 10.00am EST in Courtroom 2 at the Federal Justice Centre, United States District Court, 600 James Brown Boulevard, Augusta Georgia for Tuesday 26 June 2018. Further details of the plea agreement will be made available thereafter.

      Reality, a six-year Air Force veteran, was arrested in June 2017 for allegedly releasing a classified NSA report on attempted Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Reality, unusually for an Espionage Act case, was denied bail and has spent over a year in a county jail awaiting trial, while her defense has been gagged and hampered by rules governing the use of classified information in court. Had her case gone to trial, Reality faced a maximum ten years in prison under the draconian 1917 Espionage Act.

    • WikiLeaks Released an ICE Database and Everyone Lost Their Shiz

      On June 21, 2018, WikiLeaks released an ICE database called ICEPatrol and in what can only be described as a grotesque display of hypocrisy, conservative support for the organization came to a screeching halt. Citing the alleged dangers of releasing such information but failing to note that the data was already public, Trump supporters took to their keyboards and admonished WikiLeaks for their lack of oversight, declared the organization compromised, and theorized that WikiLeaks was, in fact, now working against their own publisher, Julian Assange.

      This hysteria is nothing new; U.S. officials and intelligence agencies have been trotting out “WikiLeaks puts people’s lives in danger,” since the Truman years, trolls have relentlessly circulated “WikiLeaks is compromised” ever since Assange’s internet was first cut in October 2016, and QAnon, the up and coming 8chan expert on all things related to “WikiLeaks can no longer be trusted,” warned us this might be the case.

      But if anyone had taken the time to investigate the database they would have learned that ICEPatrol is simply a public information repository put into an easy, searchable form. It’s really that simple and contrary to popular belief, it’s also something that Julian Assange would support. So in the words of Gob Bluth, perhaps you’ve made a “huge mistake,” you should put aside your undue concerns about WikiLeaks, and remember that if anyone is in danger it is and always has been, Julian Assange.

    • ASSANGE IS A JOURNALIST, SHOULD NOT BE PERSECUTED FOR PUBLISHING THE TRUTH

      Last week, rallies in support of Julian Assange were held around the world. We participated in two #AssangeUnity events seeking to #FreeAssange in Washington, DC.

      This is the beginning of a new phase of the campaign to stop the persecution of Julian Assange and allow him to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London without the threat of being arrested in the UK or facing prosecution by the United States.

    • The foul role of Spiked in the demonization of Julian Assange

      WikiLeaks founder and editor Julian Assange is in increasing danger of being expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and turned over to US authorities, at whose benevolent hands he could face decades in prison or even the death penalty.
      Assange has been denied use of communications for nearly three months on the order of the Ecuadorean government, in response to pressure from the US. On Wednesday, Ecuadorian foreign minister Jose Valencia warned that Assange could not claim asylum in the embassy indefinitely.
      Assange’s plight demonstrates the extent to which basic democratic rights have been eviscerated by the imperialist powers.
      For Britain’s Spiked magazine, however, whose writers advance themselves as the foremost humanist and, on occasion, even “Marxist” defenders of democratic freedoms and the rights of the individual against the state, the situation has not warranted comment for over a year.
      This is not an oversight. Before lapsing into silence, Spiked helped prepare the conditions for Assange’s isolation, as one of the most vindictive participants in the campaign against WikiLeaks. While styling itself the embodiment of contrarian radicalism, the publication nonetheless followed virtually word for word the British government’s attack on Assange’s rights and character. Here we have a supposedly libertarian tendency that is slavish in its support for the state.

    • Ex-government contractor takes plea deal in NSA leak case

      A former Georgia government contractor and Air Force veteran has reached a plea deal with the government in the first national security leaker case under the Trump administration.

    • Reality Winner will plead guilty to Espionage Act charges for leaking NSA doc on Russia election hack

      Reality Winner, 26, is the whistleblower accused of releasing an NSA document on Russia’s attack on U.S. voting systems to reporters at The Intercept.

      She has been charged under the Espionage Act for leaking information that led to unresponsive government officials taking notice, and then taking action, to protect the integrity of America’s elections.

      Today, news broke that she is expected to plead guilty in court on Tuesday.

    • NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner Will Accept Plea Agreement

      National Security Agency whistleblower Reality Winner, who was charged with violating the Espionage Act when she released an NSA report on alleged Russian hacking of voter registration systems, will accept a plea agreement.

      Winner is scheduled to formally change her plea to guilty on June 26 in a federal court in Augusta, Georgia.

      “Given the time and circumstances and the nature of the Espionage [Act] charge, I believe that this was the only way that she could receive a fair sentence,” Billie Winner-Davis stated. “I still disagree strongly with the use of the Espionage [Act] charge against citizens like Reality.”

      Her mother suggested the Espionage Act charge prevented Winner from explaining her actions to a jury, which made it difficult for her to “receive a fair trial,” as well as fair treatment in court.

    • NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner Agrees to Plea Deal

      Accused NSA whistleblower Reality Winner has signed a plea deal and is scheduled to formally change her plea to guilty next week. Winner has been jailed for the past year awaiting trial over charges that she leaked a top-secret document to The Intercept about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Winner had faced up to 10 years in prison for violating the Espionage Act. Details of the plea agreement have not been made public.

    • ICEPatrol: WikiLeaks Publishes Database of ICE Employees Despite Attempts to ‘Censor’ List
    • WikiLeaks publishes identities and information about ICE employees amid intensifying anger
    • WikiLeaks shares personal info of ICE agents
    • WikiLeaks Reposts ICE Employee Database Amid Separation Policy Scandal
    • [Older] George Takei: At least during my internment, I was not taken from my parents
    • Watch: Workers at SEP rally in Sydney demand freedom for Julian Assange
    • Ecuadorian foreign minister warns that Julian Assange’s political asylum is “not forever”

      Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia said on Wednesday his government was “reviewing” Julian Assange’s “situation” in discussion with the British authorities.

      In comments televised on Ecuavisa, one of the country’s largest broadcasting corporations, Valencia declared that the WikiLeaks editor’s political asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy would not last “forever.”

      Valencia’s statements are the latest public indication of a conspiracy, involving the British, US and Ecuadorian governments, to force Assange out of the embassy, where he was granted asylum six years ago.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Europe Already Has A Solution For Too-Quiet Electric Cars

      But I think I found the solution while walking through Paris. The city’s buses, many of which are hybrid or electric, have a lovely bell chime that drivers seem to trigger at-will when they’re passing through pedestrian-dense areas. You can hear what is sounds like just after the 1:37 mark in the video below.

      I think this bus example, or something like it, would be good to apply to the upcoming masses of electric vehicles for a few reasons.

  • Finance

    • Amidst Brexit chaos, Scotland has had enough of ‘grace and favour devolution’

      Brexit isn’t going well. Two years after the referendum vote for the UK to leave the EU there is still no agreed plan on what kind of Brexit the UK Government wants. Theresa May’s administration staggers from day to day – too weak to dare to define what it stands for – facing regular crises, critical parliamentary votes and defeats.

      Last week, after Scottish affairs was reduced to 15 minutes in the House of Commons, the SNP walked out during Prime Minister’s Questions, resulting in much media comment and headlines. But as the immediate shockwaves die down – does any of this have any longer term impact?

      A short summary of events so far might be helpful. The UK Government’s Brexit plans have consequences for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with the government meant to consult the three territories on what powers come back to the nations as a result of Brexit. Northern Ireland hasn’t had a devolved government since January 2017; Wales has, after much disquiet, given its agreement, but the Scottish Government and Parliament has not agreed with the latter withholding its consent from Brexit. All parties in the Parliament – SNP, Labour, Lib Dem and Scottish Green – agreed that the Tory form of Brexit is not acceptable – with only Ruth Davidson’s Tories siding with Westminster.

    • Why Brexit won’t work: the EU is about regulation not sovereignty

      Regulation, reinforced by human rights, has become a new sphere of government. It is now as essential to modern society as executive power, legislative authority and courts of law. The way we experience this is also novel. It does not stem from the influence of politicians, the role of authority whether national or local, or fear of justice. These familiar locations of power continue, but a new force has joined them as our intimate lives have become strangely politicised, from our health and diet to our metadata. The famous frontispiece of Hobbes’ Leviathan shows the people inhabiting the ruler. Today, rules have entered the bodies of citizens – and we want to know who is in charge of them and whether they enhance or imprison us.

      Brexit forces into the open this change, which has been underway since the 1970s. In the UK, those who support Leave have failed to understand the epochal significance of its development, while those who back Remain have failed to articulate it. The European Commission too, does not grasp its centrality. Brussels as well as Brexiteers are captives of 20th century notions of sovereignty and its unsustainable illusions of grandeur – illusions that are now being tested to their destruction, most immediately with Brexit.

    • UK Government minister hides leading role with hard Brexit group

      The Cabinet Secretary has been asked to investigate the conduct of Brexit minister, Steve Baker, after an openDemocracy investigation revealed that he had undisclosed meetings with the European Research Group, an influential group of Conservative MPs who want a hard, no-deal exit from the European Union.

      Baker, an arch Brexiteer, was chair of the ERG before being promoted last year into David Davis’s Department for Exiting the European Union. But the Tory minister continues to play a leading role in the ERG, attending private meetings of the anti-EU group in Westminster and corresponding regularly with ERG members, including current chairman, Jacob Rees-Mogg.

      In contravention of ministerial rules, none of these meetings nor Baker’s correspondence with ERG MPs has been included in transparency records published by DExEU.

      Through a sequence of Freedom of Information requests sent to DExEU, and in discussions held with senior Whitehall sources, openDemocracy has established how Baker avoided publicly disclosing his continuing links with the ERG by claiming his attendance at their private events “were not in his capacity as a minister” and therefore did not need to be listed in quarterly disclosures of relevant meetings.

    • Where are we with Brexit?

      Here are five certainties about Brexit – though there are people who even doubt or dispute one or more of these.

      One certainty is that on 29 March 2017 the UK notified the EU of its intention to leave the EU – though some say there was never a constitutionally valid “decision” to be notified.

      A second certainty is that, unless something happens to change it, the UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019, by automatic operation of law. The UK will cease to be part to, or bound by, the EU treaties.

      A third certainty is that the UK will not be ready to leave the EU on that date, unless there are transition arrangements in place – though some believe the UK is up for such a “hard Brexit”.

      A fourth certainty is that the EU wants the transition arrangements to be part of a withdrawal agreement, and that they maintain there cannot be, as a matter of law, transition arrangements without a withdrawal agreement.

    • The Supreme Court Makes A Federal Case Out Of South Dakota’s Inability To Collect Taxes From Its Residents And Thus A Big Mess

      In some ways the Supreme Court’s decision last week in South Dakota v. Wayfair may seem like a small thing: it simply overturned an earlier decision, Quill Corp v. North Dakota, which had concluded that states could not impose requirements to collect sales tax on businesses with no physical presence in the state. But in dispensing with that rule, the decision invited broader effects that may not be so small, thanks to the alarming reasoning the Court used to justify it.

      The Court was prompted to reverse its earlier decision – something that the Supreme Court does but rarely, thanks to the principle of stare decisis that ordinarily discourages the Court from messing with an earlier precedent – for a few reasons. In particular it was concerned that Internet businesses without a physical presence in the state had an advantage over those with one [p.12-13], and it accepted South Dakota’s claims that it was losing out on millions of dollars in sales tax revenue when South Dakotans bought things from out-of-state Internet businesses who were not collecting the sales taxes that normally would have been owed [p.2].

      These assumptions, if true, would raise reasonable policy concerns. But even if they were valid worries, it doesn’t follow that the Supreme Court should be the organ of government to address them, especially not when its doing so threatens to create additional policy concerns of its own.

      First, South Dakota may be heavily dependent on sales tax to generate revenue, but that’s its choice. If consumption taxes turn out to be an inadequate way of filling its coffers, it could choose to impose other forms of taxation, like an income tax, as many other states have. It is not dependent on the United States Supreme Court to help it balance its budget.

    • Why there should be a political party realignment after Brexit – an argument

      Until fairly recently there was a natural political home for those in the UK who sincerely believed in certain things.

      If you believed in the supremacy of parliament, and traditional constitutional thinking generally, there was a political home.

      If you believed in the union with Northern Ireland and with Scotland, there was a political home.

      And if you believed in UK membership of the European Union, or even just of the Single Market, there was a political home.

      That home was the political party which had its origins in the opposition to constitutional changes of 1828 to 1832, and had since then had promoted the importance of Parliament and a balanced constitution; the political party which had united with the Northern Irish unionists and defended the union with Scotland in the twentieth century; and the political party which had taken the UK into the (old) EEC in 1973 and had shaped the Single Market in the 1980s.

      That party was, of course, the Conservative and Unionist Party.

      Then Brexit happened.

      And now there are those, who call themselves Conservatives, who want to believe parliament less important than prime ministerial discretion and the “will of the people”; who would rather have Brexit than the union with Northern Ireland and Scotland; and who want to reverse the European policy of both Ted Heath and Margaret Thatcher.

      There is nothing wrong in any of this – parties and polices change over time, and that is a healthy quality in a democracy.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • EU lawmakers miffed over new Facebook snub

      European Union lawmakers are unhappy that Facebook is refusing to comply with their request to send two senior officials to testify at a hearing into the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

    • How Voting Laws Have Changed Since 2016

      While some laws are designed to make voting easier and others can make it harder, any change has the potential to sow confusion. Uncertainty about the law can slow down voting, or even result in lost votes if the changes come too close to an election or if poll workers or voters are unsure about what laws are in effect.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • PeerTube: An Open Source YouTube Alternative To Beat Censorship

      When it’s about watching videos online, YouTube is the first thing that comes to our minds. But the popular video sharing platform is often subjected to censorship in many countries. There are many countries including China and North Korea that ban YouTube from time to time.

      Leave the others, recently, even YouTube ended up blocking many legitimate Channels as a collateral damage of its copyright crackdown. Ultimately, the content creators are the ones who get affected due to all of this blocking.

    • PeerTube: A ‘Censorship’ Resistent YouTube Alternative

      YouTube is a great video platform that has a lot to offer to both consumers and creators. At least, those who play by the rules. For creators, there is a major drawback though, one that put a spotlight on the alternative ‘free-libre’ software PeerTube this week.

    • The ACLU’s Longstanding Commitment to Defending Speech We Hate

      As we continue to defend those expressing offensive, harmful views, we also insist on our right to condemn those views.

      The ACLU, the nation’s oldest and largest civil liberties organization, has always had its share of critics. Many condemned us for defending Nazis’ right to march in Skokie in the 1970s. Some, like former Attorney General Ed Meese, labeled us the “criminals’ lobby” for advocating for constitutional rights for those accused of crime. We earned few friends when we represented Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen suspected of terrorist ties and killed in a drone strike by the Obama administration. After we represented a white supremacist denied a permit by the city of Charlottesville, we were criticized for defending white supremacists. Such criticism comes with the territory, and does not dissuade us from defending the Bill of Rights, no matter how unpopular our clients may be.

      But Wendy Kaminer’s criticism, published in the Wall Street Journal, is different from those challenges to our work. Her critique is predicated on a fundamental misrepresentation. She falsely accuses the ACLU of having secretly changed its policy regarding free speech — and of launching an investigation to determine who “leaked” the “secret” document that she claims reveals this asserted change in policy. In fact, the ACLU remains fully committed to defending free speech as the document she cites – our guidelines for case selection — expressly reaffirms. That document does not change our longstanding policies and has never been secret.

      After the tragic events in Charlottesville, we reaffirmed our commitment to defending speech with which we disagree. The ACLU Board — the only entity with the authority to change ACLU policy — discussed Charlottesville, and no one on the staff or the board asked the board to change our policies.

    • XRP Ledger is highly resistant to censorship, says David Schwartz
    • Medium Is the Latest Platform to Start Censoring Crypto Companies

      Cryptocurrency, a technology based upon principles of transparency, accountability, and censorship-resistance, is facing further censorship. Blogging service Medium joins a long list of platforms to have clamped down on crypto content together with Facebook, Google, and Mailchimp. As a service that’s meant to support free speech, Medium’s crackdown is all the more mystifying.

    • To support censorship resistant money, you must first have an anti-censorship stance

      Censorship is the suppression of information, usually by government authorities. You could write an encyclopaedia on the topic since the instances of its practice are truly countless. But the one that can cause the most profound side effect, is money. It’s a big one.

      To this day, a very large part of the Bitcoin community is still unaware of the extremes that Core affiliates have undertaken to establish totalitarian rule over BTC. The main communication channels for Bitcoin are today, still heavily censored. The historical trail of censorship is profoundly evident if you know where to look.

    • Conservative Coalition Calls on Tech Giants to Provide Plans for Eliminating Bias and Censorship

      “Hate speech” is a common concern among social media companies, but no two firms define it the same way. Their definitions are vague and open to interpretation, rendering them useless. Today, hate speech means anything liberals don’t like. Silencing those you disagree with is dangerous. If companies can’t tell users clearly what it is, then they shouldn’t try to regulate it. The definitions of “hate speech” must be clear, not subject to interpretation.

    • 30 Conservative Groups Call on Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to Stop Censorship
    • Interview with House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy: Censorship of Conservatives

      Online companies such as Twitter, Amazon and Facebook have been criticized for alleged bias against conservative content. I spoke to House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) about this issue and what is being done to resolve it.

    • Censorship: Entire European Identitarian Movement Permanently Banned From Facebook
    • Naked rowers stand up to Instagram censorship
    • Pakistani journalists condemn censorship, killings

      Media organizations are calling for press freedom as journalists continue to be targeted on both sides of the India-Pakistan border.

      More than 20 journalists carrying photos of Indian Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari gathered on June 19 outside Lahore Press Club, where they chanted slogans against media censorship. Former Pakistani information minister Pervaiz Rasheed also expressed solidarity with protesters.

      Bukhari, the editor of Rising Kashmir, was shot dead outside his office in Srinagar on June 14.

      “We demand an impartial inquiry into the assassination. His truth was not tolerated. He worked in difficult conditions and faced bans on both advertisements and his newspaper. We are seriously concerned over censorship across Jammu, Kashmir and Pakistan,” Imtiaz Alam, secretary-general of the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), told ucanews.com.

    • Opposition candidate’s speech banned in Turkey

      An Istanbul court has ordered the censorship of internet sites which quoted opposition candidate Muharrem İnce at a rally at the behest of one of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s sons, left-nationalist news site OdaTV said.

      Erdoğan had described how İnce had been taken to court over unpaid social security premiums for his employees while running a cram school over 20 years ago.

    • Censorship rife in Turkey as snap election is called

      On June 24, snap Presidential and legislative elections will take place in Turkey. The elections will be the first to occur since changes made in 2017 turned the Turkish parliament into a Presidency. If President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan retains control, he will have the ability to issue decrees, dissolve parliament, and appoint ministers and top judges.

      Sources believe it will be the closest Turkish election in recent times. Erdoğan’s control over Turkey is faltering, causing his Justice and Development Party (AKP) to enact evermore authoritarian policies.

    • China censors John Oliver after he mocks its president

      John Oliver must have seen it coming.

      The British comedian’s name has been censored on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, a few days after his popular show “Last Week Tonight” satirized President Xi Jinping – and exactly this kind of internet censorship.

      On Wednesday morning, Inkstone’s attempts to post messages about the comedian or the show were blocked by the Chinese social media site, citing a violation of regulations.

    • John Oliver, Having Mocked Chinese Censorship, Is Censored in China

      In a 20-minute segment about China that aired Sunday on the satirical news show “Last Week Tonight,” the host John Oliver brought up President Xi Jinping’s resemblance to Winnie the Pooh.

      That, among other delicate references, seems to have touched a nerve in China, where the British comedian has now been censored on a major social media platform — just as the cartoon bear had been.

      “Apparently, Xi Jinping is very sensitive about his perceived resemblance to Winnie the Pooh,” Mr. Oliver said on the show. “And I’m not even sure it’s that strong a resemblance, to be honest. But the fact he’s annoyed about it means people will never stop bringing it up.”

    • China’s Xi allowed to remain ‘president for life’ as term limits removed

      China has approved the removal of the two-term limit on the presidency, effectively allowing Xi Jinping to remain in power for life.

      The constitutional changes were passed by the annual sitting of parliament, the National People’s Congress.

      The vote was widely regarded as a rubber-stamping exercise. Two delegates voted against the change and three abstained, out of 2,964 votes.

      China had imposed a two-term limit on its president since the 1990s.

      But Mr Xi, who would have been due to step down in 2023, defied the tradition of presenting a potential successor during October’s Communist Party Congress.

      Instead, he consolidated his political power as the party voted to enshrine his name and political ideology in the party’s constitution – elevating his status to the level of its founder, Chairman Mao.

    • Putting LGBT-themed books behind closed doors is censorship that denies children supportive resources
    • China Is Partly Lifting Its Heavy Internet Censorship In One Province To Promote Tourism
    • Chinese island eyes oasis from web censorship for foreigners
    • Telegram’s Durov Awarded In Kazakhstan For Standing Against Censorship

      The Union of Kazakhstan’s Journalists has awarded Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov for his stance in a long-running battle between popular messaging service Telegram and the Russian authorities.

      The union announced on June 21 that Durov was included in its annual list of award recipients “for his principled position against censorship and the state’s interference into citizens’ free online correspondence.”

      The other recipients included journalists, mainly from Kazakhstan.

      Telegram CEO and founder Durov has vowed to reject any attempt by the Russian security services to gain forced access to messages.

    • The political censorship of Britain’s streets

      How unaccountable organisations called ‘Business Improvement Districts’ are just one of a number of attempts to shut down democratic debate in our towns.

    • Review: The Cleaners is a brisk, disquieting doc on Facebook’s censorship farms

      People are terrible, and so they are terrible when they are online, posting appalling stuff on social media: death threats, hate speech, beheadings, child pornography. And, just as in real life, most of us don’t seem to care about how the garbage gets cleaned up, as long as we don’t have to do it. On Facebook, as new directors Block and Riesewieck discover, that means hundreds of poorly paid Filipinos racing through up to 25,000 images in a single shift, given mere seconds to decide if they should delete or ignore certain pieces of content. Psychological support for the workers is all but nonexistent: They become numb to the horrors they witness, suffer PTSD and, sometimes, take their own lives. Meanwhile, their actions can have a numbing effect on political discourse half a world away if they opt to remove content they don’t fully comprehend. (Say, rudely satirical drawings of Donald Trump or Turkish President Recep Erdogan.) Choosing to leave up content they don’t understand can have deadly consequences: Facebook was used to inflame the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar. When this brisk, disquieting doc debuted at Sundance, these censorship farms were largely secret, but Facebook has started to bow to public pressure and open up some of the process. The troubling questions remain.

    • Cinema, Consciousness, and Censorship

      Cinema is transformative—it inspires, evokes, and agitates beyond its entertainment value. For this reason, cinema becomes vulnerable at the hands of regimes wishing to control ideas being consumed by the public.

      Only a few countries, mostly those in the Global South such as India, Iran, China, and Malaysia, still have a censor board. Censorship in the rest of the world is limited to child pornography—other than that, films are not censored but certified with preview grades and are examined by film critics for moral and philosophical deviations.

    • This Week in Unnecessary Censorship
    • Replace censorship with ratings’
    • Liberia: No Media Censorship – Micat Boss Allay Fear

      The government of Liberia effort to clean the media licensing regime through a thorough review process has met taut criticisms from segment of the Liberian media with some describing the move as an attempt to clampdown -something Information Minister Eugene L. Nagbe says is unfortunate.

      The Government of Liberia on Monday, June 18, 2018 announced a review process and suspended all media licenses issued between January 1 and June 18, 2018. The GOL said during the period, duplication of frequencies to radio and television operators, and incorrect designations and submissions will be reviewed.

    • This is an act of censorship, says publisher of independent regional news journal

      A court in Syktyvkar, Komi Republic, has fined the independent regional news journal 800,000 rubles (€10.850) and its Chief Editor Sofia Krapotkina 40.000 rubles (€543) following the publishing of a video interview with Mikhail Svetov, a leading member of the Russian Libertarian Party.

      The interview, which is made by one of the newspaper’s independent bloggers, includes statements that «propagate illegal drug use», Roskomnadzor argues. It is supported by the local city judge who this week made clear that the newspaper will have to pay the record-high sum.

    • The ACLU’s Longstanding Commitment to Defending Speech We Hate

      As we continue to defend those expressing offensive, harmful views, we also insist on our right to condemn those views.

      The ACLU, the nation’s oldest and largest civil liberties organization, has always had its share of critics. Many condemned us for defending Nazis’ right to march in Skokie in the 1970s. Some, like former Attorney General Ed Meese, labeled us the “criminals’ lobby” for advocating for constitutional rights for those accused of crime. We earned few friends when we represented Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen suspected of terrorist ties and killed in a drone strike by the Obama administration. After we represented a white supremacist denied a permit by the city of Charlottesville, we were criticized for defending white supremacists. Such criticism comes with the territory, and does not dissuade us from defending the Bill of Rights, no matter how unpopular our clients may be.

      But Wendy Kaminer’s criticism, published in the Wall Street Journal, is different from those challenges to our work. Her critique is predicated on a fundamental misrepresentation. She falsely accuses the ACLU of having secretly changed its policy regarding free speech — and of launching an investigation to determine who “leaked” the “secret” document that she claims reveals this asserted change in policy. In fact, the ACLU remains fully committed to defending free speech as the document she cites – our guidelines for case selection — expressly reaffirms. That document does not change our longstanding policies and has never been secret.

      After the tragic events in Charlottesville, we reaffirmed our commitment to defending speech with which we disagree. The ACLU Board — the only entity with the authority to change ACLU policy — discussed Charlottesville, and no one on the staff or the board asked the board to change our policies.

    • Marriyum condemns media censorship

      PML-N spokesperson and former minister of information and broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb has condemned increasing media censorship in the country.

      She emphasized that such censorship is against Article 19 of the Constitution which ensures freedom of speech as a fundamental right. She stressed that free press is a fundamental pillar of mature democracies and civilized societies. The PML-N 2018 manifesto is firmly committed to independent journalism and freedom of expression.

    • What’s Happening at The US Geological Survey Looks a Lot Like Censorship

      Over the past year, the Trump administration has been “tightening rules” at the US Geological Survey (USGS), but when you add it all up, what’s happening at the science agency looks a lot like censorship.

      In May of 2017, the Department of Interior (DOI), deleted a sentence from a USGS press release acknowledging the link between climate change and sea level rise. In December, some scientists at the agency were blocked from going to the biggest meeting in their field. In March of 2018, the DOI tried to change the “inflammatory” language used in a USGS report on melting glaciers.

    • ‘This Is Censorship’: Trump’s War on Facts Continues With Muzzling of USGS Scientists

      The Trump administration appears to be ramping up its war on science.

      According to the Los Angeles Times, the Interior Department, which overseas the U.S. Geological Survey, has told scientists there they must obtain approval from officials at the parent agency before responding to most media requests.

      “This is censorship,” commented the March for Science.

      Among the documents the Times cites is an April 25 email to employees from the DOI press secretary, which describes protocol as interviews by scientists demanding such approval in cases when there’s a request from a national outlet, or when the topic is “very controversial” or “likely to become a national story.”

      A later email from a USGS official describes the press secretary as being the one authorized to give the thumbs or down to the media requests, and offered up a list of questions they could answer to facilitate that process, including “How will the scientist answer the questions? Be specific. Include links to published studies if available.”

    • The war against rap: censoring drill may seem radical but it’s not new

      The long and inglorious relationship between the police and rap hit a new low last week when a judge issued a court order banning five drill rappers from recording new tracks without police permission. West London group 1011 – the numbers refer to local postcodes W10 and W11 – were up on charges of conspiracy to commit violent disorder after being arrested last November for carrying machetes, knives and baseball bats. They initially claimed to have the weapons for use as props in a drill video, but later pleaded guilty. In addition to sentences ranging between 10 months and three-and-a-half years, the group received three-year criminal behaviour orders (CBOs, successors to the asbo), banning them from mentioning death, injury or rival postcodes in their songs and requiring them to inform police of any new music videos within 24 hours, and give 48 hours’ notice of any live performances. “This isn’t about us straying into the area of regulation or censorship,” said DCS Kevin Southworth, head of the Metropolitan police’s Operation Trident, somewhat implausibly.

      The controversial CBO follows several months of heightening tensions over the relationship between drill’s violent lyrical content and real-world youth violence. Last month, at Scotland Yard’s request, YouTube removed more than 30 drill videos, and the head of Trident’s gang unit said he was seeking new measures to treat rappers like terrorism suspects: officers would no longer need to prove videos were linked to specific acts of violence in order to secure a conviction for incitement. Drill songs and videos have been cited as evidence of violent intent in several court cases in the last 18 months, and the Met has a database of more than 1,400 videos to “use as an intelligence tool”, according to the BBC.

    • Turkey’s Citizens Turn to VPN Technology to Overcome Widespread Censorship Ahead of Election, BestVPN.com Reports
    • Censorship Machines are ‘Destroying The Internet’ As We Speak?

      Online censorship has always been a hot topic and with the EU’s proposed “upload filters” hitting the headlines, it’s at the top of the agenda once again.

      The fear of losing the ability to share ‘memes’ plays well on social media. Similarly, many journalists happily use ‘censorship’ in their headlines as, apparently, the fate of the Internet is at stake.

      A common theme is that, if the plans are implemented, powerful corporations may soon decide whether you can share something online – fair use or not. While to a degree this fear is warranted, it’s also nothing new.

    • As Turkey went to the polls, a global network was mapping online censorship in real-time

      It was just after six in the evening, Pakistan time, on Sunday June 3, 2018, when reports started trickling in that people couldn’t access the website of the Awami Workers Party, a relatively new left-wing political group gearing up to contest the Pakistani election in late July.

      For Nighat Dad, a digital rights lawyer and activist, the the story was depressingly familiar. Pakistan has a long history of of internet censorship, and is ranked ‘not free’ in Freedom House’s ‘Freedom on the Net’ report for 2017. In August 2016, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority banned sites connected to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement opposition party. Earlier that year the country lifted a ban on YouTube that had lasted just over three years.

      But this time, Dad had a secret weapon to fight back with: data. She worked with NetBlocks, a civil society group that helps collect evidence on internet censorship, to quickly assess the extent of this block. After Dad and others shared NetBlock’s web probe – an in-browser tool that checks which websites are currently being blocked, and where that blocking is happening – the evidence quickly came in that the website was blocked by a range of ISPs, including the PTCL, Pakistan’s national telecoms company.

    • Coalition of National Civil Rights Leaders Condemn NFL’s Censorship of Peaceful Protest During the National Anthem

       A broad coalition of leaders of national civil rights organizations released a letter to the National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell objecting to the NFL’s new rule censoring players’ peaceful protests during the national anthem of police violence against unarmed African Americans and other people of color. When players take a knee during the national anthem, they seek to raise awareness of police brutality and violence routinely perpetrated upon unarmed and nonviolent people of color. 63% of unarmed people killed by the police are people of color; police are twice as likely to kill unarmed African Americans as white Americans. Racially-biased policing undermines our criminal justice system.

    • Bad News = Blackout: Behind Tamil Nadu’s Rising Media Censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Announcing STARTTLS Everywhere: Securing Hop-to-Hop Email Delivery

      Today we’re announcing the launch of STARTTLS Everywhere, EFF’s initiative to improve the security of the email ecosystem.

      Thanks to previous EFF efforts like Let’s Encrypt, and Certbot, as well as help from the major web browsers, we’ve seen significant wins in encrypting the web. Now we want to do for email what we’ve done for web browsing: make it simple and easy for everyone to help ensure their communications aren’t vulnerable to mass surveillance.

    • A Technical Deep Dive into STARTTLS Everywhere

      Today we’re announcing the launch of STARTTLS Everywhere, EFF’s initiative to improve the security of the email ecosystem.

      Thanks to previous EFF efforts like Let’s Encrypt, and Certbot, as well as help from the major web browsers, we’ve seen significant wins in encrypting the web. Now we want to do for email what we’ve done for web browsing: make it simple and easy for everyone to help ensure their communications aren’t vulnerable to mass surveillance.

    • Facebook’s Patents Reveals Its Creepy Plans To Collect More Data

      According to New York Times, Facebooks has filed patents to use the front-facing cameras to read users’ expressions and determine whether you liked the content displayed on your feed.

      The company also wants to track your socioeconomic status, how many hours of sleep you get, and it has even attempted to predict when your friends will die!

      Even though Facebook says that its patent applications do not necessarily exhibit its future product plans, but altogether they expose the company’s incessant hunger for collecting users’ personal information and find ways to monetize it.

    • What 7 Creepy Patents Reveal About Facebook

      Facebook has filed thousands of patent applications since it went public in 2012. One of them describes using forward-facing cameras to analyze your expressions and detect whether you’re bored or surprised by what you see on your feed. Another contemplates using your phone’s microphone to determine which TV show you’re watching. Others imagine systems to guess whether you’re getting married soon, predict your socioeconomic status and track how much you’re sleeping.

      A review of hundreds of Facebook’s patent applications reveals that the company has considered tracking almost every aspect of its users’ lives: where you are, who you spend time with, whether you’re in a romantic relationship, which brands and politicians you’re talking about. The company has even attempted to patent a method for predicting when your friends will die.

      Facebook has said repeatedly that its patent applications should not be taken as indications of future product plans. “Most of the technology outlined in these patents has not been included in any of our products, and never will be,” Allen Lo, a Facebook vice president and deputy general counsel, and the company’s head of intellectual property, said in an email.

    • Massive claims against unlawful data retention

      62 NGOs, community networks, academics and activists are sending a joint open letter to the European Commission, along with various complaints against EU Member States’ policy on blanket data retention.

      [...]

      European law is not only more favourable for our rights and freedoms: It also trumps over national laws.. We want it to be enforced so that the 17 Member States currently in breach of EU law have to change their policies.

      To this end, we are sending several complaints to the European Commission. This way, we invite the Commission to investigate and, eventually, to bring these States before the Court of Justice. This way, each of them can be sanctioned for its violation of EU law. To introduce our action, we are attaching to these complaints a joint open letter supported by more than 60 signatories in 19 Member States, which will also be sent to the European Commission.

    • Three social media regulations the US needs to import from Europe

      On May 25, the European Union implemented what is essentially a set of rules that technology companies must follow. The intent of these new laws is to give citizens more control over the data that these companies collect on them.

      While it does not seem like the U.S. is ready (or should) adapt all of them, there are several key rules that would be a solid foundation for the homeland.

    • EU Crackdown Hasn’t Made U.S. Tech Change Its Behavior

      A pattern is emerging in the war between the European Union’s antitrust authorities and U.S. tech companies. The changes that Google and Apple made after adverse rulings and large fines appear to be little but window-dressing, and left intact the problems the penalties were intended to solve.

    • Why did privacy expert Max Schrems immediately file GDPR complaints against Google and Facebook – and will he win?

      The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force last week. As Rick Falkvinge noted in his post on the topic, its impact is potentially huge. The GDPR has already led to a flood of (annoying) emails from companies eager to tell us about their updated privacy policy, and the blocking of EU visitors to some US-based sites and services – another reason to use a VPN. But it’s not clear yet whether GDPR will fundamentally re-shape privacy around the world, or simply be ignored by most major Internet companies based outside the EU. We are about to find out. Just six minutes after the enforcement of GDPR began, the Austrian data protection authority received the first complaint under the new law:

    • Internet Policy – Whois And GDPR: Sky Not Falling Just Yet?

      The struggle over how to comply with Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation dominates the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Panama. With the basic question how much data ICANN can ask its contractual partners to collect and store about its domain name customers, ICANN this week opened another hot topic to be discussed when publishing a paper on unified access to registration data. Meanwhile, trademark owners weighed in.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • When Allen Ginsberg met the head of the CIA – and offered him a wager

      It is difficult to imagine a more unlikely pairing. Allen Ginsberg, beat poet and icon of the counterculture, and Richard Helms, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) 1966-1973, during the most controversial years of the Vietnam War. But in March 1971, in a drawing room of the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC, the two came face to face in a fittingly bizarre encounter.

      Ginsberg, due to give a reading at the gallery that evening, approached Helms with a wager. He told Helms that he suspected the CIA of being involved in the illegal opium trade in South-East Asia. If he was right about this controversial allegation, Ginsberg proposed that Helms should agree to meditate for one hour every day for the rest of his life. “It is terribly important to get him into an improved mind-consciousness,” Ginsberg later told reporters.

    • ICE Gave Ex-CIA Firm $162 Million Contract to Transport Immigrant Children

      The Trump administration has been paying millions of dollars to an intelligence agency contractor to transport immigrant children to shelters across the United States, The Daily Beast reports.

      MVM, Inc. has a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide “unaccompanied alien children (UAC) transportation services” worth $162 million, according to documents and records reviewed by The Daily Beast. Recent job postings by MVM showed that it was looking for people to escort immigrant children from the border on commercial airlines. One of MVM’s job postings was for a “Bilingual Travel Youth Care Worker.” The job would entail “accompanying [children] on domestic flights and via ground transportation to shelters all over the country.”

    • Netizen Report: Who will be next? Venezuela’s political crisis sees a new wave of censorship, media repression

      The Advox Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world.

      Online censorship and repression of social media users are reaching new heights in Venezuela, where citizens continue to protest dire economic and public health conditions wrought by the country’s ongoing political crisis.

      It has become extraordinarily difficult for journalists to report the news, as they face regular accusations of “disturbing public order” or “threatening the revolution”. Social media users who actively engage with a broad public on various civic issues are also being targeted.

      In mid-May, popular Twitter user Pedro Jaimes, who offered climate, meteorological and air traffic reports to nearly 80,000 followers, went missing. Shortly before his disappearance, Jaimes had tweeted about the pathway of an airplane carrying Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, information that is available to the public through online news outlet Efecto Cocuyo.

    • Human Rights Council Examines Safety Of Journalists And Protection Of Media

      Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “[e]veryone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.” Yet, there are still places around the world where people do not enjoy this right. This was one of the foci of discussion at the ongoing Human Rights Council meeting this week.

      The 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council is taking place from 18 June to 6 July.

      [...]

      In Mexico, Kaye told the 19 June session, there are certain issues relating to the level of freedom of expression. First, Mexico faces a crisis of security and at the centre of this crisis is a breakdown in the rule of law and governance leading to and worsened by murders, disappearances and torture. This violence seeks to undermine public debate and civic participation and has often singled out journalists, said Kaye. He highlighted that this year, at least 6 journalists have been murdered in Mexico.

      As a result, Kaye urged the strengthening of “mechanisms to prevent attacks on journalists including publication of detailed statistics concerning crimes and criminal accountability measures taken, extensive training of journalists in situations of risks, and adoption of contingency plans across high-risk states.”

    • He Feared the CIA Would Delete a Document Detailing Its Torture Program. So He Took It.

      Daniel Jones noticed documents disappearing from his computer at a CIA facility. A staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jones had been investigating the agency’s torture program for years, reviewing evidence that showed how interrogators abused detainees after the 9/11 attacks and lied about it. The smoking gun was a document that Jones had come to call the Panetta Review. One night, he dropped pages of it into his bag and slipped out of the building.

      Jones tells the story in an interview with Sarah Wildman on our podcast, The E.R. He says Gina Haspel, who had a role in the torture program and now serves as the new CIA director, should be held accountable.

    • Protesters Shut Down Parkway East Over Killing Of Antwon Rose By East Pittsburgh Police Officer

      “I’m thinking that the cops should be held accountable,” she said. “I’m thinking that Antwon should be here. I’m thinking we should not be having this rally because he should be here, he should not have been killed.”

    • Leaked ICE Manual Shows Gov’t Allowing Informants To Engage In Illegal Behavior, Impersonate Lawyers, Journalists, And Doctors

      The 9/11 attacks gave us the DHS. And from that atrocity came ICE. We used to get by with Customs and a Border Patrol, but no, we needed something additional that tied the homeland’s “security” to a new, deeply brutal form of “customs enforcement.” Normally, the word “customs” would suggest the rounding up of illegal imported goods or the collection of duty payments from incoming arrivals.

      Instead, we were handed an agency that concerns itself mainly with ejecting people from the country in the most aggressive way possible, cheered on by White House officials and a large group of Americans who view our closest southern nation with deep suspicion and a touch of xenophobia. ICE’s current activities aren’t the fault of the Trump Administration, but this administration has done more than most to take everything that’s bad about ICE (which is a lot) and crank it up to 11.

      Warrantless raids, misrepresentation of advocacy efforts, deporting critical journalists… these are all part of ICE’s playbook. But there’s far more to it than this. The official “playbook” for ICE undercover operations basically allow the agency to operate as a criminal operation and engage in illegal activity for the greater good of booting immigrants out of the US.

    • Arizona Prison Officials Found in Contempt for Massive Prison Health Care Scandal

      Federal court orders independent experts to oversee monitoring of Arizona prisons after massive failure of medical care.

      The stories from Arizona prisons are horrifying.

      A 43-year-old died from a staph infection. A 36-year-old died from delays in diagnosis and emergency care for an aortic dissection. Three men died from complications from metastatic cancer, which spread throughout their bodies due to delays in care. They all died excruciating deaths, their suffering aggravated by a failure to manage their pain properly.

      Before these people died in 2017, they were among the 34,000 people housed in Arizona’s state prisons who are completely dependent upon the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) and its for-profit contractor, Corizon Health, for all medical and mental health care. ADC, in its own reviews, found that these deaths were “caused by or affected in a negative manner by healthcare personnel.” These findings came to light during a series of contempt hearings held earlier this year in federal court in Phoenix in Parsons v. Ryan, a case brought by the ACLU and the Prison Law Office.

      But medical care is not the end of the horror for the people incarcerated in Arizona’s prisons. A lack of mental health care has been equally disastrous. In the spring of 2017, there were four suicides in three weeks in Arizona prisons, an astonishing rate of self-harm in a state prison system.

    • Probable Cause Doesn’t Excuse Retaliatory Arrest, Supreme Court Rules

      A very, very narrow ruling by the Supreme Court might provide a few more opportunities for citizens to seek redress for retaliatory acts by their government. This probably won’t do much for Fane Lozman, unfortunately. He may have won the big battle but it’s being remanded to the appeals court which has a lot of options on how to approach this and not many of them point to Lozman winning this lawsuit.

      Lozman was no fan of the Riviera Beach (FL) city council. He attended many meetings to criticize council members and their plans to use eminent domain to seize waterfront homes. He also sued the city for violating open meetings law by approving an agreement with developers without allowing the issue to be publicly discussed first.

      [...]

      Lozman sued the city, alleging the arrest was retaliatory and an infringement on his First Amendment rights. The city defended itself by claiming the officer had probable cause to arrest Lozman because of his refusal to leave the meeting voluntarily. Lozman does not contest the arrest or question the probable cause determination. He does not challenge the constitutionality of the city ordinance used to effect his arrest. His issue is stripped down to one thing: the arrest stemmed directly from the council’s agreement to “intimidate” Lozman and other litigants.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Court Says ISPs Can’t Use Net Neutrality Repeal to Dodge Lawsuits For Shitty Service

      The Trump FCC’s rollback of federal net neutrality rules didn’t just kill net neutrality. The repeal also gutted FCC authority over ISPs, shoveling any remaining authority to an FTC that’s ill-equipped to actually police ISPs (the entire point and why ISPs lobbied for it). This comically-misleading “Restoring Internet Freedom” order also tries to ban states from protecting consumers. The language, included in the repeal after heavy lobbying by Comcast and Verizon, attempts to “pre-empt” state authority over ISPs.

      ISPs quickly got to work trying to use the language to dodge accountability.

      Charter Spectrum, for example, has been trying to use the FCC’s pre-emption language to dodge a lawsuit for shoddy service. New York State sued Charter last year for falsely advertising speeds company e-mails show execs knew it couldn’t deliver. The suit also highlighted how Charter execs routinely gamed a regulator speed test system (comprised of volunteer routers with custom firmware) in an attempt to falsely represent the company’s network performance. The company was also accused of artificially inflating congestion to cash in on interconnection disputes.

    • Public Knowledge Applauds New York v Charter Communications Decision

      Today, the First Department of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division of the State of New York held that the Federal Communications Commission has not preempted states from enforcing laws “that prevent fraud, deception and false advertising” with respect to broadband practices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • No settlement for Xiaomi and Ericsson in India, but the Chinese firm can sell MediaTek-powered devices there [Ed: IAM now writes an entire article to merely say that something is not news or did not happen. What the heck is the point of that? Slow news?]

      Some recent statements by MediaTek CFO David Ku stirred rumours that Xiaomi and Ericsson had settled their patent dispute in India, but the Swedish telecom has confirmed to IAM that there is no truth to this. It means Xiaomi will head into its Hong Kong IPO with its most prominent patent dispute still underway, and Ericsson will continue to wait for a hoped-for licensing win in China. Ku was misinterpreted widely when he purportedly told Indian media: “The lawsuit filed against Xiaomi by Ericsson is history, and now the things have settled down. Xiaomi is now free to use our chipsets.”

    • Japan to consider expanding design protection
    • Copyrights

      • Article 13 – An Existential Threat to Free Software

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a letter from more than 70 leaders in the emerging meshed society (including me) which criticises Article 13 of the European Union’s proposed new copyright regulations. This Article starts from the assumption that the only role of an individual is to consume copyrighted works and hence deduces that any act of publication on the part of an individual must be infringing the copyrights of a corporation unless proven otherwise. The text doesn’t state things that clearly, but the effect is unmistakeable. It’s as if a politician was proposing to ban syringes because addicts use them, without considering that hospitals do too.

        The regulations go on to use the power of “safe harbour” – an increasingly popular legislative device that grants delay or immunity from prosecution as a party to an offence to a company if it can demonstrate it has taken specified actions. For example. it’s “safe harbour” that induces YouTube to take down your videos when a copyright holder asserts the bird song in the background is in fact a song they published. Getting that video re-posted involves you, an individual, taking on terrifying potential liability in the event the copyright holder litigates so YouTube can be absolved of it.

        [...]

        Both personally and on behalf of the Open Source Initiative, I urge the European Parliament to do this, and to strike Article 13 from this regulation to save Europe’s open source communities from having an inherent disadvantage on the world stage. The misguided rules may have passed in committee, but they must not be allowed to pass through the European Parliament.

      • 12 Best Free YouTube Alternative Sites For Watching Videos In 2018

        YouTube is undoubtedly the internet’s most dominant platform for streaming free videos online. It hosts billions of videos that are viewed and commented upon on a daily basis. With the addition of a large amount of content each day, its vast user base continues to grow actively.

        However, with guidelines of the platform getting revised without any prior notices and other complaints in tow, a large fraction of unhappy users are looking for other YouTube alternative websites that can offer them similar content.

      • IFPI Nuking Twitch Streamers Accounts For Playing Background Music
      • Memes Might Be Censored In Europe As Part Of EU Copyright Directive Article 13

        Memes. You’ve seen them, shared them, and maybe even created them. Now, as part of a new law called the EU Copyright Directive, memes face potential censorship by giants like Facebook, Reddit, and 4chan. The new law is not specifically targeting memes, although memes fall under the wide umbrella of the types of information that could potentially become censored, according to Wired.

        Article 13 of the Copyright Directive says that large websites must use “content recognition technologies” to find copyrighted videos, photos, text, and even code. The “content” also includes sound, reported Gizmodo. Currently, some large website companies are already using such content recognition technologies. For example, YouTube uses an AI system and human employees to censor inappropriate uploads.

      • Article 13: are we heading for mass internet censorship?

        The amendments to the EU’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market were approved by the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs on Wednesday. The changes include the addition of Article 13, a measure that critics say would force publishers to install automated filters to prevent the uploading of copyrighted material.

        Last week 70 leading figures in the field of technology signed a letter opposing the law change.

      • Netflix Seeks to Boost its Global Anti-Piracy Team

        Netflix wants to expand its Global Copyright & Content Protection Group. The streaming giant is looking for an individual “who can hit the ground running” into a variety of tasks, from scanning all the major social media platforms and dealing with takedown requests, to gathering data on pirate streaming sites, cyberlockers and usenet platforms.

The EPO Seems to Have Corrupted ILO/ILO-AT Like It Corrupted the Media and Academia (Using ‘Toxic’ EPO Budget)

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Patents at 9:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO cash reserves are being exploited politically

ILO-AT and EPO
Source

Summary: People are starting to notice and point out compositional flaws and potentially very serious conflicts of interest inside ILO, which is supposed to ensure justice for EPO workers and is instead stonewalling the vast majority of them (just like Battistelli’s kangaroo courts inside the EPO)

CORRUPTION at the EPO is becoming more evident over time and it is rather infectious. It spreads to other institutions, some of which are supposed to guard against corruption. Don’t expect António Campinos to tackle any of this because as head of EU-IPO he often participated in this (e.g. commissioning so-called ‘studies’ together with Battistelli), he is indebted to Battistelli, and they have known each other for many years, never mind the fact that they're both French.

A local professor, who has quite a few European Patents and also patents at the USPTO, recently told me (2 days ago to be exact) that large booze companies (breweries) funded research on the supposed health benefits of alcohol. Quite a few academics decided to cooperate with them (the budget was incredibly large) until it got exposed, whereupon the whole thing (with its massive budget) got immediately dismantled. This, however, never quite happened under Battistelli. He kept scattering money and gifts to so-called ‘journalists’ (willing participants in the PR charades of Team Battistelli); he also relied on academics/scholars with ‘studies’ about patent trolls (denying the issue), UPC prospects (paying universities in the US as well — not just in the UK — for it!) and there’s no paperwork or paper trail by which to assess how much money was wasted on these lies, putting aside the massive toll in terms of trust, reputation and integrity of press, academia, etc. Put bluntly, money influx from patent applications was misused to corrupt academic institutions and European media. We hope that EPO stakeholders (e.g. applicants) are well aware of it by now. Some of that money also landed (by the millions) on Battistelli’s other employer.

“Is Team Battistelli doing to ILO what it did to the Boards of Appeal, basically removing the independence of courts by means of entryism and terrorism?”The EPO, or Team Battistelli to put it another way, is corrupting everything in touches, even politicians who help the UPCA move forward (it has made Germany look like a third-world country). Bayer/Monsanto have done similar things at all levels (academia, media, politicians, regulators), so maybe herein lies the best analogy. But has the EPO poisoned the courts too? Even those outside the EPO? Has that ‘cancer’ spread to ILO? Well, some comments in blogs certainly suggest so. We’ve decided to assemble them all in one place as these were posted in several separate places/posts. It’s related to this morning's ILO article, which was maybe inspired by some of these ‘leads’.

Is Team Battistelli doing to ILO what it did to the Boards of Appeal, basically removing the independence of courts by means of entryism and terrorism? They terrorise even judges and as Kluwer Patent Blog put it last week, “it seems Mr. Corcoran’s health has suffered severely from the situation and he has recently been admitted to a psychiatric hospital.”

Well, what sort of ‘court’ would the UPC be (apparently, rumours persist that corrupt Battistelli wants to be its chief)? Among the interesting comments that speak about it we have this:

It is easy to guess, I think it is clear to everyone that ILO is little more than a kangaroo court. I hope that Märpel is right and that Karlsruhe will notice that there is no judicial independence and stall the UPC until reforms are decided.

In another thread someone said: “Karlsruhe is watching you, dear Administrative Council members.”

As Kluwer Patent Blog put it last week, “Dear Mr. Chairman and Members of the Administrative Council, you have a high responsibility for what is going on at the EPO. Rest assured that both the public and the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe will be closely watching you.”

We expect the UPC to die, but confirmation of this death may take months if not years. We’ve always been told (for 3-4 years) that UPC was “just about to start” (“real soon now!”) but it never happened. These were unethical marketing stunts from patent law firms, notably Team UPC (which had drafted and lobbied for the UPCA to be ratified).

A few days ago Vincenz Weber wrote about his concerns for the EPO’s future:

Do not forget that the only asset the EPO has lies in its staff. It is a purely intellectual job, the EPO does not own factories or produce tangible assets. The EPO has also investment in his prior art collection, but that is an asset that every patent office and google can also offer. The real value lies solely in the brains and training of its staff.

That asset has been systematically erased under Battistelli. The EPO lost their best and more experienced staff either to early retirement or to seek other jobs or both. They also severely reduced their appeal on the job market and could not fulfill their recruitment targets, even when lowering their criteria considerably. I am sorry to say this, most of our young colleagues are charming, some are quite competent but a worrying percentage came because nobody else could possibly use them.

Battistelli also seem to want the staff not to feel part of a great project. Every other firm on the planet would have killed to get the spirit we used to have: people believed in the EPC, people grew a circle of friends at work and many retirees continued to visit regularly, because that is where their life was. Nowadays, retirees aren’t even allowed on the premises and staff is expected to rat on their colleagues if they want a non-pensionable bonus.

The lasting effects of this policy will haunt the EPO for a long time. It took 40 years to get the staff we had.

Here’s a similar view:

We stop industry visits, reorganisation in classification, training. Coaches for newcomers are more and more selected among the highly productive colleagues, those that cut many corners ; newcomers in a few years’ time will be on their own with little knowledge. at the moment examiners don’t have time to examine but at some point, the majority of examiners will not be able to properly examine. EPO will then be dead.

What if the “organisation is brought to collapse?” Read the following comment:

I sincerely hope that the political debate will yield fruits. If nothing is done, the situation can only go downwards. Why would the next president or the further next one refrain from abusing power, if he or she can do so with complete impunity / immunity? Battistelli has demonstrated that he could win over whomever was opposing him (internal controlling, suepo and individual members of the council) and get a free pass to put 2 billions Euros in a dubious investment scheme. All passed with flying colours and a personal bonus.

The EPO cannot afford another president like this one, but why would the next ones refrain from doing the same until the organisation is brought to collapse?

The more interesting comments, which contained relatively new information, were about ILO’s composition. Here’s some analysis of ILO:

I just got a quick look on internet and I found this link:

http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—dgreports/—trib/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_546217.pdf

When we look more carefully, only 14 persons did a speech during the celebration.

– The symposium was opened by Claude Rouiller and Drazen Petrovic.

– Intervention from Laurent Germond, Director, Employment Law, European Patent Organisation (EPO): “The general principles applied by the Tribunal”

– Intervention from Jean‐Didier Sicault , Attorney, Senior Lecturer in International Civil Service Law at the University of Paris II, France: “Milestones of the Tribunal case law”.

We have to take note that Mr Sicault was the employer of Mr Germond from 1998 to 2005. See https://de.linkedin.com/in/laurent-germond-9b90206a

It seems that Märpel was right when she said:
The world of international organisations is tiny, the world of international administrative justice even more so.

It looks to be a very small family where each cat knows very well the other cats.
Little mouses have no hope of justice.

The following comment took note of Bosnia-Hercegovina, related to the chief PR person of the EPO, as we noted here before (also enabling the EPO to better control Transparency International which she came from). As noted 3 years ago, “[s]he started her professional career as Democratization Officer heading an OSCE field office in Zenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina…”

Guess who else comes from there. To quote:

More interesting details can be found in Mr Petrovic’s official biography:

http://legal.un.org/avl/pdf/ls/Petrovic_%20bio.pdf

Best to make a copy before it disappears!

His intial law degree was obtained from Sarajevo University Faculty of Law in 1985.
This suggests that Mr. Petrovic comes from Bosnia-Hercegovina which at that time was still part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

He subsequently obtained a postgraduate qualification as “Master of Science in Law” from the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Law in 1990.

By an interesting coincidence a Vice-President of the EPO also comes from Bosnia-Hercegovina. His claimed academic qualifications include a “Master of Science in Economics” from the University of Banja Luka which was allegedly completed in 1989 although the degree certificate was not issued until 2001. There has been some controversy about the authenticity of this degree.

From the available evidence it seems that both Mr Petrovic and the EPO Vice-President hail from Bosnia-Hercegovina and were students at around the same time. It would be interesting to know if they are personally acquainted with each other ?

The term “Team Battistelli” which we coined is then brought up:

It should not be forgotten that the AT-ILO has also been complicit in covering “Team Battistelli” in other ways.

For example it has been sitting for a long time on the files in cases challenging the appointment of a certain member of Battistelli’s entourage who was “miraculously” promoted from grade A3 to A6 some time around the beginning of 2013 after she had been at the EPO for less than two years !

It is to be expected that at some point in the future the AT-ILO will get around to dealing with these cases and may even declare the promotion to have been unlawful.

But at that point Battistelli and most of his team will be long departed and it will be cold comfort to EPO staff to receive confirmation that the HR department had been controlled for many years by someone who should never have been appointed to such a position of responsibility.

Another example of how the AT-ILO fails to deliver effective legal protection against egregious abuses of power.

The AT-ILO is no solution – it is part of the problem …

Here’s more:

Mr. President will surely know the 126th session’s cases already.
The head of the international organisation is informed quickly after the decision.
And with the announcement of 22 May, I get the impression, that AT-ILO has a last present for the parting President.
They seem to be moving cases to not spoil his farewell bonus.

http://www.ilo.org/tribunal/news/WCMS_630007/lang–en/index.htm

OTOH, the postponement can also mean that they find the Corcoran case decision handling by Mr. B. was sub-optimal, and now wait with further decisions for a new president, who might be more willing to implement them according to the intention of the decision.
I’d love to know which cases were moved to a later session…
This just invites wild sepculation.

Some of this was already summarised succinctly in this morning’s post, but the above contains additional links and makes one wonder if the EPO ‘infiltrated’ ILO. That might help explain the change of tone in recent years.

The same sorts of comments that Merpel used to attract are now landing on Märpel's blog; there are more comments to that effect (regarding ILO) and much more behind/beyond that, we presume from curious EPO insiders who are experts at research (their job requires such skills). What else in Europe and beyond (like US universities and international institutions) is going to be compromised by Team Battistelli? When will authorities initiate an investigation? Battistelli’s immunity will have expired in less than a week, so it’s never too late to file reports, maybe even lawsuits (if EPO staff — past and present — is eligible to file any).

Benoît Battistelli’s ‘Dowry’ From the Administrative Council of the EPO

Posted in Europe, Finance, Fraud, Patents at 8:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It might not be the last, either

EPO budget
Image source

Summary: The dreadful state of the EPO, where one man controls everything and mismanages money (sending a huge amount of money to his other employer, giving himself a massive bonus or a “golden parachute”, allegedly paying for national delegates’ votes and gambling with EPO budget), won’t be improved until the entire organisation removes “Team Battistelli” (the manifestation of Battistelli’s 8-year rogue regime)

Battistelli’s very last day at work is this coming Friday. António Campinos will take over after that; he’s more or less Battistelli’s own choice and he too is French.

Another quarterly congregation of the Administrative Council of the EPO will commence in 2 days. Last time it was so secretive that it was hard to confirm that they had given Battistelli a massive bonus (like three years of additional work but without doing anything!).

“It is far worse than FIFA has ever been.”Isn’t it odd that the Administrative Council never said anything (at least not on the record) about Battistelli sending millions of euros (EPO budget) to his other employer? Well, thankfully (albeit very belatedly) German media says something about it (see “Die unheimliche Wette”, as mentioned in our recent post). Just a few hours ago SUEPO wrote: “Publication rights requested and awaiting confirmation…” (so expect an English (and probably French) translation some time soon).

Campinos, a former banker, will likely cover up Battistelli’s financial recklessness and misbehaviour. Remember that a person close to Battistelli (also French) is in the relevant committee. We last mentioned this aspect when dealing with the toxic loans scandals at Battistelli’s other employer. Don’t forget what was mentioned here before in relation to the Greek element in the Finance and Budget Committee (Loredana Gulino). The following comment brought it up again earlier this month. It said this:

What do you expect from someone [Battistelli] with a greek best friend in the Finance and Budget Committee until 2016 (for two years this greek guy was the head of the committee without even having a position in his own country!!!! …and every single one just covered it). However, rumor has it, that during his past tenancy in the greek patent institute (2005-2013) he was a master in bullying….

The EPO is corrupt to the core. It’s worth saying this again: at this stage, considering Ernst’s complicity and Campinos’ ‘selection’ (with Battistelli calling many shots), not to mention Team Battistelli remaining in tact at the very top, the EPO needs to be completely rebooted. High-level management needs to be ‘flushed’ and they need to start all over again to salvage the institution. It is far worse than FIFA has ever been.

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