Techrights Turns 12, Upcoming Server Migration

Posted in Site News at 9:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: As we approach our 25,000th blog post we also prepare for migration to a new dedicated server

AS some have noticed already, we’re turning 12 this week (exact day dependent on what’s measured/noted, e.g. first post or domain registration). 24,675 blog posts later, in addition to Wiki pages and static pages, probably put us at over 30,000 pages in total. In a sense, turning 12 doesn’t matter much or as much as keeping up the momentum and being active. A lot of sites just go dormant, inactive. But not us. I’m thankful for the fact that my daytime/nighttime job (which helps cover the costs of running the site) can be done from home, leaving me enough time to run the site in my spare time. The site is like a hobby and it’s the only way to keep it totally independent.

“The site is like a hobby and it’s the only way to keep it totally independent.”We’ll soon start a site migration after a decade with the same host, who saved us from persistent, days-long DDOS attacks almost exactly decade ago (these DDOS attacks forced us offline for several consecutive days). Hopefully the migration will go smoothly; there’s a lot of stuff to migrate and the setup isn’t simple. There’s also heavy load on the server, which proves challenging at times. When we start/initiate the migration at the domain name level we’ll give a headsup to readers. We hope no downtime will be needed.

US Litigation Office: Former Judge From the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Leaves the Office as Another Litigator Enters as New Deputy Director

Posted in America, Patents at 4:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Litigation maximalists at the helm

Trump and Hatch

Summary: Nathan Kelley is leaving and Laura Peter is joining the USPTO; That means one patent judge less and a new Deputy Director who used to work for what some call a “patent troll”

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a hopeless, sordid mess under the new Director, a Trump appointee whose firm had worked for Trump before he got the job. Whether it’s all just a coincidence or not, the impact seems clear and technology companies do not like it. Does the Office work for scientists or for lawyers?

“Does the Office work for scientists or for lawyers?”Yesterday Ben Wodecki was spotted as one among several who covered this move, citing a press release. He said: “Perkins Coie has hired Nathan Kelley, the former solicitor and deputy general counsel at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Kelley, who stepped down from his role at the USPTO over the summer, joins Perkins Coie as a partner in its IP practice. He will work out of the firm’s Washington DC office. In his role at the USPTO Kelley represented the office director in court and has been involved in some of the biggest patent and trademark cases of the last few years, including Oil States v Greene’s Energy Group, Novartis AG v Noven Pharma, and Aqua Products v Matal.”

IP Watch wrote about this too:

Nathan Kelley has stepped down from his role as solicitor and deputy general counsel at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to join the Perkins Coie law firm in Washington, DC. Kelley also had served as chief administrative patent judge in charge of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).


During his term as Solicitor, Kelley defended hundreds of decisions of the PTAB and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) before the Federal Circuit. Kelley also advocated the USPTO’s position during interagency deliberations on IP cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp., B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., and Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International. He also oversaw the USPTO’s defense of numerous district court cases against it.

We’ll probably come back to it in the weekend. It doesn’t look good, especially after another senior person from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the chief judge, moved or was removed. The last time there was a ‘reorg’ at the USPTO a technical Director (Michelle Lee) was replaced by a ‘mole’ of the litigation zealots, Mr. Iancu. An insider/watchdog has just mentioned another move: “Rumors abound that a major reorg is on the way for the USPTO CIO. Hopefully, patents will take back Debbie Stephens and the PTO DIR will get rid of some of the Owens hold overs. Scardino is pushing for this but maybe he should look at his own org before casting stones.”

Another litigator, this one connected to Immersion Corporation (notorious aggressor which some call a "patent troll"), will be in charge of the Office. As IP Watch put it yesterday: “The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a new deputy director, Laura Peter, a veteran intellectual property attorney, most recently at Silicon Valley cyber-defence firm A10 Networks.”

“The Director she’ll be working with is terrible (bad for technology, good for the litigation ‘industry’).”Patent maximalists welcomed the move, saying that “Peter most recently held the position of deputy general counsel of A10 Networks in Silicon Valley [and] Laura Peter has been named as deputy under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and deputy director of the USPTO, effective November 13, 2018.”

That’s next week. The Director she’ll be working is terrible (bad for technology, good for the litigation ‘industry’). Will this one too be as terrible? Given her background (a degree in science), maybe not. Time will tell..

The above insider/watchdog added : “Rumor has it that the deputy director has an affinity for Grant Thornton, we will ask the DOC IG to see if its true. In the mean time: https://goingconcern.com/grant-thornton-pcaob-bancorp/ [] We are worried that USPTO leadership is asking Grant Thorton, IBM and the like to help with the restructure of CIO. However, many of us have worked with them over the years and while they can give great advice they often fail on internal IT issues. https://betanews.com/2012/12/06/ibm-has-a-big-problem/ …”

There was over a week's downtime recently. Some had been accusing the CIO of incompetence, citing appointments by nepotism (like at the EPO).

European Software Patents: From AI to Blockchains and Now… Self-Driving Vehicles

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Also known as autonomous driving

Summary: The leadership which comes after Battistelli is even worse when it comes to patent scope and patent quality; it seems to mimic China’s low standards, which include patents on algorithms

THE European Patent Office (EPO) under António Campinos keeps pushing software patents in Europe so frequently that it’s hard to keep track. Yesterday alone the EPO did this many times, both by tweets and retweets.

Here’s one: “Working with #Blockchain technology? Learn how to protect your ideas at a free one-day conference taking place at @EPOorg in the Hague this December…”

What the EPO means by “blockchain technology” is software patents granted in defiance of the EPC. The EPO is nowadays marketing software patents as “AI”, “blockchain” and other hype (not “CII”). Here’s another such tweet: “The @EPOorg has an exciting agenda for next week’s Patent Information Conference in Brussels! #AI, #blockchain, #textmining and more: http://bit.ly/2RqxlmP Visit us at stand 4 to hear what’s coming in 2019! #patents pic.twitter.com/dB3PBxbNSj”

The EPO itself wrote: “Interested in #blockchain? Make sure you don’t miss this conference on patenting this emerging technology”

It also wrote about “AI”: “How can the patent system best support innovation in #artificialintelligence & #machinelearning? Join the conversation at this conference we’re co-hosting with @GoI_MeitY: http://bit.ly/indoeur pic.twitter.com/z2R7wReZk6″

The latest step seems to be marketing software patents “on (or in) a car” even though these are algorithms.

“The EPO just published a new study about trends in #SelfDriving vehicle technologies,” it wrote, linking to this new page: (warning: epo.org link)

A study published today, 6 November 2018, by the European Patent Office (EPO) reveals that innovation in self-driving vehicles (SDV) is accelerating fast and finds that patent protection strategies in the area of self-driving vehicle technology more closely resemble those in the information and communication (ICT) sector than those in the traditional automotive industry.

The study, “Patents and self-driving vehicles”, carried out with the European Council for Automotive R&D (EUCAR), shows that the number of European patent applications related to autonomous driving has grown 20 times faster than other technologies in recent years: From 2011 to 2017, patent applications at the EPO for autonomous driving increased by 330%, compared to 16% across all technologies in the same period. And in the past ten years, the EPO received some 18 000 patent applications related to self-driving vehicles, with nearly 4 000 in 2017 alone.

A lot of these, albeit not all, are simply software patents, especially in my field (computer vision). The EPO seems happy enough to allow patents on mathematics provided the ‘right’ buzzwords are used.

We have meanwhile noticed Michael Loney promoting other such buzzwords. Yesterday he wrote about abstract patents disguised using buzzwords like “AI” and “Insurtech” (“Fintech” is also a popular one).

RPC reveals that insurance patent filing is up 116% in the past five years, driven by patents related to pricing, telematics, AI and peer-to-peer insurance

The number of insurance-related patents filed worldwide increased 40% in last year, driven by investment in insurtech. The 917 patents filed in the 2017 calendar year was up from 657 in 2016, according to London law firm RPC.

Whether one labels them business methods or software, these are abstract. The US courts would likely reject many of them, citing 35 U.S.C. § 101, adopted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as per a SCOTUS decision on Alice. Michael Loney wrote some other pieces lately (most behind a paywall) and they aren’t even hiding the fact that they’re patent maximalists, just like Campinos.

Guy Ryder (ILO) Should Meet Staff Representatives, Not Corrupt Team Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Older: How Much Longer Can Guy Ryder and Claude Rouiller Ignore Abuses and Cement Injustice at the EPO?

Guy Ryder
Guy Ryder, Director-General of ILO

Summary: The perception of ILO complicity is being reinforced in light of new revelations about private meetings that exclude actual staff representatives (such as SUEPO, whose officials are themselves the subject of ILO appeals)

THE European Patent Office (EPO) is nowadays run by a quieter and even less transparent version of Battistelli. Many people still don’t know what’s going on (both insiders and outsides) and SUEPO is also being busted and/or gagged, albeit it doesn’t know why (the EPO refuses to say why SUEPO’s E-mails get intercepted and deleted).

IPPro Patents has a new report about António Campinos meeting ILO officials in private. Just like Team Battistelli back when Battistelli headed the management it seems like Campinos (whom Battistelli selected) is working behind the scenes with ILO in order to influence decisions against staff’s interests. This makes ILO seem increasingly complicit and uninterested in justice. To quote some bits: (via SUEPO)

However, some critics have argued that the president’s actions have not matched his words, and Campinos has presided over the dismissal of an employee under new controversial ‘incompetence’ provisions, and the alleged upholding of a Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) email ban.

SUEPO also criticised the office yesterday (31 October) for allegedly censoring a publication from the Central Staff Committee (CSC) that discussed the EPO’s Conflict Resolution Unit (CRU).

The CRU acts as a receiving section for management review requests but does not itself carry out management reviews.

The CSC said that the CRU had been refusing to register requests and forward them to reviewers for a decision and that this procedure is “confusing for staff and defeats the declared purpose of the management review requests”, which were introduced to give management an opportunity to reflect on its decisions and settle disputes before they reach the stage of real litigation.

Sources close to SUEPO have told us that the communiqué from the president had taken the union by surprise as neither the CSC nor SUEPO were informed or invited to Campinos’s meeting at ILOAT.


When settlements are offered the vast majority usually “add insult to injury”, according to the sources, resulting in the lion’s share of offers being rejected by appellants.

“If the number of complaints are decreasing, this is mainly due to the red tape introduced under Battistelli,” the sources remarked, “lodging an appeal has become an administrative nightmare”.

“EPO staff now have to pay to lodge an appeal when their rights are violated.”

The sources said that Campinos had failed to resolve pending ILOAT cases against staff representatives and union officials and has already taken several negative decisions that will result in new appeals.

“If [Campinos] continues to act as he has since taking up his duties, then we fear that new social conflicts will be inevitable in the near future,” the sources concluded.

The EPO did not respond to requests for comment.

Of course the EPO did not respond. Campinos just made it mute; it also refused to comment on Battistelli's corruption, knowing that the man and his associates may be criminally culpable.

Links 7/11/2018: Fifteen Years of Fedora, ReactOS 0.4.10

Posted in News Roundup at 1:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • ReactOS 0.4.10 released

    The ReactOS project is pleased to announce the release of version 0.4.10, the latest of our quarterly cadence of releases. The project has seen an increasing emphasis on consistency and stability over the past few months, an emphasis the rapid release schedule helps reinforce to provide a better end-user experience. Even as new pieces of functionality are added, all this would be for naught if a user could not access them reliably.

  • ReactOS 0.4.10 Released For The Newest “Open-Source Windows” Experience

    ReactOS, the open-source operating system striving for binary compatibility with Windows software — including drivers — for Windows Server 2003 and newer, is out with its latest quarterly feature release.

    ReactOS 0.4.10 has been in development for more than two decades and isn’t letting up on its sights for effectively being an open-source OS with Windows compatibility.

  • VMware Acquires Heptio, Mining Bitcoin Requires More Energy Than Mining Gold, Fedora Turns 15, Microsoft’s New Linux Distros and ReactOS 0.4.10 Released

    ReactOS 0.4.10 was released today. The main new feature is “ReactOS’ ability to now boot from a BTRFS formatted drive”. See the official ChangeLog for more details.

  • Mapillary launches an open-source Software Development Kit

    Mapillary, the street-level imagery platform that uses computer vision to improve maps for the likes of HERE, the World Bank, and automotive companies, launched an open-source Software Development Kit (SDK) to allow developers integrate the company’s image capture functionality into their own apps. The release makes it easier than ever for developers everywhere to incorporate a street-level capture component in their own apps with custom features, spearheading efforts to update maps and make them more detailed.

  • Open Source Machine Learning Tool Could Help Choose Cancer Drugs

    The selection of a first-line chemotherapy drug to treat many types of cancer is often a clear-cut decision governed by standard-of-care protocols, but what drug should be used next if the first one fails?

    That’s where Georgia Institute of Technology researchers believe their new open source decision support tool could come in. Using machine learning to analyze RNA expression tied to information about patient outcomes with specific drugs, the open source tool could help clinicians chose the chemotherapy drug most likely to attack the disease in individual patients.

    In a study using RNA analysis data from 152 patient records, the system predicted the chemotherapy drug that had provided the best outcome 80 percent of the time. The researchers believe the system’s accuracy could further improve with inclusion of additional patient records along with information such as family history and demographics.

  • Open source the secret sauce in secure, affordable voting tech

    The fastest, most cost-effective way to secure direct-record electronic voting machines in the United States, according to cybersecurity experts, is to stop using them. Switch to paper ballots and apply risk-limiting audits to ensure that vote tallies are conducted properly. And over the long term, consider switching to the cheaper—and more advanced and secure—voting technology that cybersecurity expert Ben Adida is dedicating his next career move to developing.

    Adida’s new company, which he publicly announced at the Context Conversations event here Monday evening, which The Parallax co-sponsored, is the nonprofit VotingWorks. The company, which currently is hosted by another nonprofit Adida declined to name in a conversation after the event that eventually will become its own 501(c)3, has one goal: to build a secure, affordable, open-source voting machine for use in general, public elections.

  • The Incorporation of Open Source
  • ADAF – an Open Source Digital Standards Repository for Africa – Launches in Kenya

    Digital assets provide an easy and more secure way of doing business and Africa is quickly benefiting from these new economies of trade.

    With over 1 billion people and a combined GDP of over $3.4 trillion, Africa has some of the fastest growing economies in the world.

    The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) which was signed by 44 African countries earlier this year is expected to boost intra-Africa trade tool by driving industrialisation, economic diversification and development across the African continent.

  • Infosys Launches Open Source DevOps Project

    Ravi Kumar, president and deputy COO for Infosys, said the global systems integrator has spent the last several years turning each element of its DevOps platform into a set of microservices based on containers that can now be deployed almost anywhere. That decision made it more practical for Infosys to then offer the up the entire DevOps framework it relies on to drive thousands of projects employing more than 200,000 developers as a single open source project, he said. That framework relies on an instance of the open source Jenkins continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) framework at its core.

  • Events

    • Observations on Hacktoberfest 2018

      This term I’m teaching two sections of our Topics in Open Source Development course. The course aims to take upper-semester CS students into open source projects, and get them working on real-world software.

      My usual approach is to put the entire class on the same large open source project. I like this method, because it means that students can help mentor each other, and we can form a shadow-community off to the side of the main project. Typically I’ve used Mozilla as a place to do this work.


      Finally, a theme I saw again and again was students beginning to find their place within the larger, global, open source community. Many students had their blogs quoted or featured on social media, and were surprised that other people around the world had seen them and their work.

    • COSCon Bridges East & West, Open Source Powers Now & Future

      The OSI was honored to participate in the 2018 China Open Source Conference (COSCon’18) hosted by OSI Affiliate Member KAIYUANSHE in Shenzhen, China. Over 1,600 people attended the exciting two-day event, with almost another 10,000 watching via live-stream online. The conference boasted sixty-two speakers from twelve countries, with 11 keynotes (including OSI Board alum Tony Wasserman), 67 breakout sessions, 5 lightning talks (led by university students), 3 hands-on camps, and 2 specialty forums on Open Source Education and Open Source Hardware.

      COSCon’18 also served as an opportunity to make several announcements, including the publication of “The 2018 China Open Source Annual Report”, the launch of “KCoin Open Source Contribution Incentivization Platform”, and the unveiling of KAIYUANSHE’s “Open Hackathon Cloud Platform”.

      Since it’s foundation in October of 2014, KAIYUANSHE has continously helped open source projects and communities thrive in China, while also contributing back to the world by, “bringing in and reaching out”. COSCon’18 is one more way KAIYUANSHE serves to: raise awareness of, and gain expereince with, global open source projects; build and incentivise domestic markets for open source adoption; study and improve open source governance across industry sectors; promote and serve the needs of local develoeprs, and; identify and incubate top-notch local open source projects.

    • Qt World Summit 2018 Boston

      This year’s North American stop on the Qt World Summit world tour was in Boston, held during the Red Sox’s World Series win. Most of us were glad to be flying home before celebration parades closed the streets! The Qt community has reason to celebrate too, as there’s an unprecedented level of adoption and support for our favorite UX framework. If you didn’t get a chance to attend, you missed the best Qt conference on this continent. We had a whole host of KDABians onsite, running training sessions and delivering great talks alongside all the other excellent content. For those of you who missed it, don’t worry – there’s another opportunity coming up! The next stop on Qt’s European tour will be with Qt World Summit Berlin December 5-6. Be sure to sign up for one of the training sessions now before they’re sold out.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Why You Should Use and Support Mozilla Firefox

        Here’s why Mozilla Firefox should be your choice in the effort to protect your privacy and in keeping the internet healthy and an open place.

      • Firefox: The Internet’s Knight in Shining Armor

        Here’s why Mozilla Firefox should be your choice in the effort to protect your privacy and in keeping the internet healthy and an open place.

        Browser choice is a very personal thing. I notice that people have a sort of, love towards the browser that they have been using for a long enough time. What I mean by “love” is that it is quite difficult to make someone change their default browser. Ask Microsoft, they have tried.

      • After NLL: Interprocedural conflicts

        In my previous post on the status of NLL, I promised to talk about “What is next?” for ownership and borrowing in Rust. I want to lay out the various limitations of Rust’s ownership and borrowing system that I see, as well as – where applicable – current workarounds. I’m curious to get feedback on which problems affect folks the most.

        The first limitation I wanted to focus on is interprocedural conflicts. In fact, I’ve covered a special case of this before – where a closure conflicts with its creator function – in my post on Precise Closure Capture Clauses. But the problem is more general.

      • How to speed up the Rust compiler in 2018: NLL edition

        Niko Matsakis recently blogged about the Rust compiler’s new borrow checker, which implements non-lexical lifetimes (NLL). The new borrow checker is a really nice improvement to Rust, because it accepts many sound programs that the old borrow checker rejected.

      • Socorro: October 2018 happenings

        Socorro is the crash ingestion pipeline for Mozilla’s products like Firefox. When Firefox crashes, the Breakpad crash reporter asks the user if the user would like to send a crash report. If the user answers “yes!”, then the Breakpad crash reporter collects data related to the crash, generates a crash report, and submits that crash report as an HTTP POST to Socorro. Socorro saves the crash report, processes it, and provides an interface for aggregating, searching, and looking at crash reports.

      • This Week In Servo 118

        In the past week, we merged 75 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

      • QMO: Firefox 64 Beta 8 Testday, November 9th
      • Principles of Mixed Reality Permissions

        Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR) — known together as Mixed Reality (MR) — introduce a new dimension of physicality to current web security and privacy concerns. Problems that are already difficult on the 2D web, like permissions and clickjacking, become even more complex when users are immersed in a 3D experience. This is especially true on head-worn displays, where there is no analogous concept to the 2D “window,” and everything a user sees might be rendered by the web application. Compounding the difficulty of obtaining permission is the more intimate nature of the data collected by the additional sensors required to enable AR and VR experiences.

        To enable immersive MR experiences, devices have sensors that not only capture information about the physical world around the user (far beyond the sensors common on mobile phones), but also capture personal details about the user and (possibly) bystanders. For example, these sensors could create detailed 3D maps of the physical world (either by using underlying platform capabilities like the ability to intersect 3D rays with a model of world around the user, or by direct camera access), infer biometric data like height and gait, and potentially find and recognize nearby faces in the numerous cameras typically present on these devices. The infrared sensor that detects when a head-mounted device is worn could eventually disclose more detailed biometrics like perspiration and pulse rate, and some devices already incorporate eye-tracking.

      • Mozilla Localization (L10N): L10n Report: November edition
      • Mozilla GFX: WebRender newsletter #28
      • Mozilla Addons Blog: November’s Featured Extensions
      • Understanding users’ wants and needs for linking Cloud Storage providers

        For our Cloud Storage experiment we sampled a small portion of Firefox users to gauge interest in saving downloads directly to their existing cloud storage, allowing the downloads to be accessible from all their devices. We used the Shield platform for this study.
        Using learnings from the previous study, the Phase 2 study rolled out the Cloud Storage extension with a simpler and less disruptive interface by moving the option to save downloads into the Download Panel.

      • TenFourFox FPR11b1 available

        TenFourFox Feature Parity 11 beta 1 is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). As mentioned, FPR11 and FPR12 will be smaller in scope due to less low-hanging fruit to work on and other competing projects such as the POWER9 JIT, but there are still new features and improvements.

        The most notable one is my second attempt to get unique origin for data: URIs to stick (issue 525). This ran aground in FPR10 and had to be turned off because of compatibility issues with the Firefox 45 version of uBlock Origin, which would be too major an add-on for me to ignore breaking. FPR11 now has a shim in it to allow the old behaviour for data URL access initiated by the internal system principal (including add-ons) but use the new behaviour for web content, and seems to properly reject the same test cases while allowing uBlock to run normally. As before, we really need this in the browser to defend against XSS attacks, so please test thoroughly. Once again, if you experience unusual behaviour in this version, please flip security.data_uri.unique_opaque_origin to false and restart the browser. If the behaviour changes, then this was the cause and you should report it in the comments.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • career

  • BSD


    • AMD Zen 2 CPU Instructions Leaked In GNU Compiler

      Sometime in the near future, AMD will be launching their new Zen 2 CPUs. The new designs build on the great work that AMD has already done for Zen and Zen+. With a projected 13% IPC increase, performance is definitely up. Along with base IPC improvements, we can expect new instruction set support. To prepare for Zen 2, the company is already starting to patch in support. The latest is the GNU compiler which is getting a few new instructions.

    • AMD Zen 2 New Instruction Set Leaked Thanks To GNU Compiler Patch

      AMD took that CPU market by storm with its Ryzen CPUs and isn’t showing signs of slowing down. Next up are the AMD Zen 2 CPUs to release, however, Zen2 new instructions set has leaked online.

      Aside from bringing IPC improvements, AMD Zen 2 CPU will likely feature a new instruction set.

      Not only that, AMD has apparently started to patch the GNU compiler to support the new Instructions set. The patch brings CPU identifier for AMD Zen 2 processors along with a number of new instruction sets.

    • LibrePlanet Call for Sessions to close THIS FRIDAY

      The LibrePlanet 2019 conference call for sessions (CfS) deadline is nearly upon us! On Friday, November 9th, 2018, 10:00 EST (14:00 UTC), in four short days, we will close the CfS and begin the difficult task of deciding which talks to accept into the LibrePlanet 2019 program. We’re excited to hear from new speakers and those new to free software, as well as those of you who have been around for years.

    • PSPP 1.2.0 has been released.

      I’m very pleased to announce the release of a new version of GNU PSPP. PSPP is a program for statistical analysis of sampled data. It is a free replacement for the proprietary program SPSS.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Real World Data App: FDA Releases Open Source Code

      The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday released computer code and a technical roadmap to allow researchers and app developers to use the agency’s newly created app that helps link real world data with electronic health data supporting clinical trials or registries.

      FDA said the app and patient data storage system can be reconfigured by organizations conducting clinical research and can be rebranded by researchers and developers who would like to customize and rebrand it.

      Among the features of the app is a secure data storage environment that supports auditing necessary for compliance with 21 CFR Part 11 and the Federal Information Security Management Act, so it can be used for trials under Investigational New Drug oversight.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Texas State should switch to open source textbooks
      • Big Boost For Open Access As Wellcome And Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Back EU’s ‘Plan S’

        Although a more subtle change, it’s an important one. It establishes unequivocally that anyone, including companies, may build on research financed by Wellcome. In particular, it explicitly allows anyone to carry out text and data mining (TDM), and to use papers and their data for training machine-learning systems. That’s particularly important in the light of the EU’s stupid decision to prevent companies in Europe from carrying out either TDM or training machine-learning systems on material to which they do not have legal access to unless they pay an additional licensing fee to publishers. This pretty much guarantees that the EU will become a backwater for AI compared to the US and China, where no such obstacles are placed in the way of companies.

  • Programming/Development

    • Open Source Survey Shows Python Love, Security Pain Points

      ActiveState published results of a survey conducted to examine challenges faced by developers who work with open source runtimes, revealing love for Python and security pain points.

    • Study Finds Lukewarm Corporate Engagement With Open Source

      Companies expect developers to use open source tools at work, but few make substantial contributions in return

      Developers say that nearly three-quarters of their employers expect them to use open source software to do their jobs, but that those same companies’ contribution to the open source world is relatively low, with only 25 percent contributing more than $1,000 (£768) a year to open source projects.

      Only a small number of employers, 18 percent, contribute to open source foundations, and only 34 percent allow developers to use company time to make open source contributions, according to a new study.

      The study follows IBM’s announcement last week that it plans to buy Linux maker Red Hat for $34 billion (£26m) in order to revitalise its growth in the cloud market, an indication of the importance of open source in the booming cloud industry.

      The report by cloud technology provider DigitalOcean, based on responses from more than 4,300 developers around the world, is the company’s fifth quarterly study on developer trends, with this edition focusing entirely on open source.

    • On learning Go and a comparison with Rust

      I spoke at the AKL Rust Meetup last month (slides) about my side project doing data mining in Rust. There were a number of engineers from Movio there who use Go, and I’ve been keen for a while to learn Go and compare it with Rust and Python for my data mining side projects, so that inspired me to knuckle down and learn Go.

      Go is super simple. I was able to learn the important points in a couple of evenings by reading GoByExample, and I very quickly had an implementation of the FPGrowth algorithm in Go up and running. For reference, I also have implementations of FPGrowth in Rust, Python, Java and C++.

    • anytime 0.3.2

      A new minor release of the anytime package arrived on CRAN this morning. This is the thirteenth release, and the first since July as the package has gotten feature-complete.

      anytime is a very focused package aiming to do just one thing really well: to convert anything in integer, numeric, character, factor, ordered, … format to either POSIXct or Date objects – and to do so without requiring a format string. See the anytime page, or the GitHub README.md for a few examples.

    • Warnings Are Your Friend – A Code Quality Primer

      If there’s one thing C is known and (in)famous for, it’s the ease of shooting yourself in the foot with it. And there’s indeed no denying that the freedom C offers comes with the price of making it our own responsibility to tame and keep the language under control. On the bright side, since the language’s flaws are so well known, we have a wide selection of tools available that help us to eliminate the most common problems and blunders that could come back to bite us further down the road. The catch is, we have to really want it ourselves, and actively listen to what the tools have to say.

      We often look at this from a security point of view and focus on exploitable vulnerabilities, which you may not see as valid threat or something you need to worry about in your project. And you are probably right with that, not every flaw in your code will lead to attackers taking over your network or burning down your house, the far more likely consequences are a lot more mundane and boring. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about them.


  • Selfiecides: the Gladiators of the Digital Age?

    The annual Darwin Awards are bestowed ironically, having originated in Usenet newsgroup discussions in the mid-1980s.

    The Awards are earmarked for individuals who contribute, supposedly, to human evolution by eliminating themselves from the human gene pool as a result of their own actions, culminating in the actor’s death, or if they survive, ensuing in their inability to reproduce.

    Until recently most contenders for the Darwin Award were wackos, out-of-control or heedless individuals who embarked on a course of action which, once started, made death virtually inevitable.

    Hence, the 2018 winners include a Berlin man who was quarrelling with his soon-to-be-ex as they walked along the banks of an icy river. He pushed her into it, and to make certain she drowned, he jumped in to shove her head underwater. She could swim, but he could not. So she survived while he suffered a cardiac arrest and was barely alive when pulled out of the freezing water by rescuers—the resulting brain-damage caused by oxygen starvation led to his death a short time later.

    The 2016 winners included a recent college-graduate visiting Yellowstone National Park, who ignored several posted warning signs in order to go off-limits so he could soak himself in what he assumed would be a therapeutic hot spring. He alas slipped and fell into the highly acidic boiling water of one of many such Yellowstone springs. Nothing was left of him after his boiling acid bath except for his wallet and slippers when a search party discovered these two floating objects the next day.

  • Hardware

    • The tablet’s death spiral continues for a 16th consecutive quarter

      The top line note is that only Huawei has real reason to be cheerful. Of the 36.4 million sold in Q3 (down from 39.9 million a year ago), 3.2 million of them had the Huawei logo on – up 7.1% from Q3 2017.

      That puts the Chinese giant in fourth place overall, with 8.9 per cent of the market. Above it, Amazon shifted 4.4 million tablets (down 0.4 per cent), Samsung 5.3 million (down 11.4 per cent) and Apple 9.7 million (down 6.1 per cent.) The fact that Apple was able to lose 600,000 sales and still gain a 0.7 percentage share of the market says it all.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • My Childhood Experience of Polio Taught Me an Important Lesson About the Effects of Migration on Healthcare

      I stopped eating and speaking and my parents believed, almost certainly rightly, that I was dying. The doctors, who were a rather distant and ineffective presence in the hospital, believed that my deterioration was somehow connected with the polio. They noticed that the care of patients was poor, but they were told by the senior matron that she had great difficulty in recruiting nurses though untrained carers were easy enough to find.

      After 13 weeks at Gurranebraher, my parents brought me home where I rapidly recovered my spirits, though I was confined to a wheelchair.

      The problem in Ireland in the 1950s was not so much a lack of nurses, but the fact that so many of the best of them had gone to Britain because of better pay, conditions and prospects. In coping with a rapidly spreading polio epidemic, the Irish health authorities had concentrated their best-trained and most experienced personnel to treat those who had just been diagnosed with the disease in St Finbarr’s, and had left the other hospitals to get by as best they could.

  • Security

    • Goodness, Enumerated by Robots. Or, Handling Those Who Do Not Play Well With Greylisting

      SMTP email is not going away any time soon. If you run a mail service, when and to whom you present the code signifying a temporary local problem code is well worth your attention.

    • Who’s In Your Online Shopping Cart?

      Crooks who [crack] online merchants to steal payment card data are constantly coming up with crafty ways to hide their malicious code on Web sites. In Internet ages past, this often meant obfuscating it as giant blobs of gibberish text that was obvious even to the untrained eye. These days, a compromised e-commerce site is more likely to be seeded with a tiny snippet of code that invokes a hostile domain which appears harmless or that is virtually indistinguishable from the [cracked] site’s own domain.

      Before going further, I should note that this post includes references to domains that are either compromised or actively stealing user data. Although the malcode implanted on these sites is not designed to foist malicious software on visitors, please be aware that this could change at a moment’s notice. Anyone seeking to view the raw code on sites referenced here should proceed with caution; using an online source code viewer like this one can let readers safely view the HTML code on any Web page without actually rendering it in a Web browser.

    • FIFA hit by more damaging leaks after [crack] of computer systems

      The trove contains evidence that some of Europe’s top clubs plan to break away from UEFA and form their own “super league”, and that FIFA President Gianni Infantino helped Manchester City and Paris Saint-German avoid punishment for financial fair play rules and “secretly worked to weaken the global football organisation’s code of ethics”.

    • Documents Show Secret Plans for Elite League of Top Clubs

      Gerlinger’s mail is explosive. It concerned nothing less than the future of European football. In it, Gerlinger instructed the lawyers to examine whether FC Bayern Munich could withdraw from the German league, the Bundesliga, and whether the team would have to allow its players to play for the national team in the future.

    • [Crackers] targeting election networks across country prior to midterms

      The [crackers] have targeted voter registration databases, election officials, and networks across the country, from counties in the Southwest to a city government in the Midwest, according to Department of Homeland Security election threat reports reviewed by the Globe. The agency says publicly all the recent attempts have been prevented or mitigated, but internal documents show [crackers] have had “limited success.”

    • Election officials report spike in foreign [cracking] attempts: report
    • File-sharing software on state election servers could expose them to intruders

      The states’ reliance on FTP highlights the uneven security practices in online election systems just days before the midterm elections. In September, ProPublica reported that more than one-third of counties overseeing closely contested elections for congressional seats ran email systems that could make it easy for [crackers] to log in and steal potentially sensitive information.


      “FTP is a 40-year-old protocol that is insecure and not being retired quickly enough,” said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, DC, and an advocate for better voting security. “Every communication sent via FTP is not secure, meaning anyone in the hotel, airport, or coffee shop on the same public Wi-Fi network that you are on can see everything sent and received. And malicious attackers can change the contents of a transmission without either side detecting the change.”

    • With no evidence, Georgia’s top voting official accuses Dems of “cyberattack”

      In the run-up to nationwide elections set for Tuesday, the Secretary of State of Georgia has made explosive and seemingly unsubstantiated allegations that the Democratic Party of Georgia is somehow implicated in a “failed cyberattack” of the state’s online voter registration system.

    • Flaw In SSDs Allows Hackers To Access Encrypted Data Without Password

      However, the issue runs deeper. Windows users are more risk-prone as the Windows BitLocker, a software-level full disk encryption system of Windows OS does not encrypt the users’ data at the software level upon detecting a device capable of hardware-based encryption.

      The researchers have recommended the SED users to use software-level full disk encryption systems such as VeraCrypt to protect their data.

    • Your Data Might Be At Risk Even In Encrypted Drives, Researchers Find Major Vulnerabilities In Hardware Encryption Present In Some SSDs [Ed: BitLocker is fake encryption. Microsoft put back doors in it.]

      Talking about software, BitLocker is a full-disk encryption software offered by Windows. Although the researchers show its very unreliable. It uses the hardware encryption present on the drives by default, thus the vulnerabilities remain. The researchers state “BitLocker, the encryption software built into Microsoft Windows, can make this kind of switch to hardware encryption but offers the affected disks no effective protection in these cases. Software encryption built into other operating systems (such as macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux) seems to be unaffected if it does not perform this switch.” This can be fixed by forcing software encryption on BitLocker.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Banking Trojans sneaked into Google Play store disguised as apps

      Malware authors keep testing the vigilance of Android users by sneaking disguised mobile banking Trojans into the Google Play store. We’ve recently analyzed a set of 29 such stealthy Trojans, found in the official Android store from August until early October 2018, masquerading as device boosters and cleaners, battery managers and even horoscope-themed apps.

    • These Apps On Google Play Store Can Steal Your Bank Details
    • How Ubuntu is at the forefront of security & compliance

      Whether it is HIPAA, MiFID II or GDPR, the importance of being compliant cannot be underestimated. Protecting your customers and avoiding the significant financial and reputational ramifications that threaten non-compliant organisations, is a must, and this starts with the technology powering your enterprise.

      Ubuntu is used by businesses spanning all sizes, industries and geographies, and at the foundation of the relationship between Ubuntu and its users is trust and the assurance that Ubuntu will provide a compliant platform upon which to conduct business.

      Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, provides businesses with compliance-enabling technologies. The Landscape management tool can help ensure the latest patches are in place, avoiding negligence in complying with GDPR data standards.

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #184
  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Price of Peace

      I have never managed fully to understand the mechanism by which the media and political class decide when to leave a fact, a glaringly obvious and vital fact, completely excluded from public debate. That process of exclusion is a psychological, not an organisational, phenomenon but extremely effective.

      Brexit continues to dominate mainstream political discussion, and the Northern Ireland border issue remains at the centre of current negotiations, forced there by the London government’s reneging on the agreement it signed almost a year ago. But there is a secret here, hidden in plain sight, the glaring fact driving the entire process, but which the media somehow never mention.

      For the Tory right, the destruction of the Anglo Irish Agreement is a major goal to be achieved through Brexit. In this, they are in secret communion with their friends in the DUP.

      Consider the 58 page paper by one Michael Gove, entitled The Price of Peace, published in 2000 by the Tories’ leading “think tank” the Centre for Policy Studies.

    • US-British Threats Against Russia Have a Long History

      There are a lot of issues to consider with regards to Russia. Is it a threat? If so to whom? What kind of threat is Russia? So let’s consider these questions carefully. As far as the British establishment is concerned, Russia is an ideological threat because it is a major power with a substantial population. It’s also self-reliant where oil and gas is concerned, unlike Britain. So there’s lots of potential for Russian political ideology to undermine Britain’s status. In fact, there are European Council on Foreign Relations papers saying that Putin’s Russia presents an “ideological alternative” to the EU.[i]And that’s dangerous.

      Britain, or more accurately its policymaking elites, have considered Russia a significant enemy for over a century. Under the Tsar, the so-called Great Game was a battle for strategic resources, trading routes, and so on. The historian Lawrence James calls this period the first Cold War, which went “hot” with the Crimean War (1853-56).[ii] Britain had a mixed relationship with the Tsars because, on the one hand, theirs’ were repressive regimes and Britain tended to favour repressive regimes, hence their brief alliance with Russia’s enemy, the Ottomans. On the other hand, Russia was a strategic threat to Britain’s imperial interests, and thus the Crimean War (1853-56).

    • The Global Economy and Political Murder: Why Trudeau Won’t Stop Arms Sales to Saudis

      Almost 5,000 miles from the city in which his corpse was secretly buried – in one piece or in bits – by his Saudi killers, Jamal Khashoggi’s murder now rattles the scruples and the purse-strings of yet another country. For Canada, land of the free and liberal conscience – especially under Justin Trudeau – is suddenly confronted by the fruits of the bright young prime minister’s Conservative predecessors and a simple question of conscience for cash: should Trudeau tear up a 2014 military deal with Saudi Arabia worth $12bn?

      When Ottawa decided to sell its spanking new light armoured vehicles (LAVs) to the Saudi kingdom, the Saudis already had a well-earned reputation for chopping off heads and supporting raving and well-armed Islamists. But Mohammed bin Salman had not yet ascended the crown princedom of this pious state. The Saudis had not yet invaded Yemen, chopped off the heads of its Shia leaders, imprisoned its own princes, kidnapped the Lebanese prime minister and dismembered Khashoggi.

      So the Conservative Canadian government of Stephen Harper had no scruples about flogging off its LAVs – as these little armoured monsters are called – to Riyadh, specifically for the “transport and protection” of government officials.

    • No More Whitewashing Hate

      Pro-Trump extremist Cesar Sayoc was arrested and charged last Friday (10/26) for mailing multiple pipe bombs. The apparent motive for the crime: politics.

      Saturday (10/27), Robert Bowers was arrested for murdering 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg PA, he gunned them down yelling “All Jews must die!” during Sabbath. Among his more misguided beliefs were claims that “[Jews] were committing genocide on his people,” and that “illegals” should be called “invaders.”

      Sunday (10/28), Gregory “Whites don’t shoot whites” Bush gunned down two people after trying to break into a predominantly African American church in a suburb of Louisville KY.

    • ‘For me it’s only a reminder of an attack’: Man United’s Matic defends decision to not wear poppy

      Nemanja Matic has defended his decision not to wear a poppy on his jersey during the Manchester derby on Remembrance Sunday this weekend, saying that it serves as a reminder of attacks he experienced growing up in war-torn Serbia.

      The Serbian international was the only Manchester United player to not wear a poppy on his jersey during his club’s 2-1 victory at Bournemouth on Saturday. Matic, 30, released a statement on Instagram on Monday defending his decision to boycott the practice.

    • Is Peace at Hand in Afghanistan?

      The news that the Americans recently held face-to-face talks with the Taliban suggests that longest war in U.S. history may have reached a turning point. But the road to such a peace is long, rocky, and plagued with as many improvised explosive devices as the highway from Kandahar to Kabul.

      That the 17-year old war has reached a tipping point seems clear.

      The Taliban now controls more territory than they have since the American invasion in 2001. Casualties among Afghan forces are at an all time high, while recruitment is rapidly drying up. In spite of last year’s mini-surge of U.S. troops and air power by the Trump administration, the situation on the ground is worse now than in was in 2017.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • New York Times ramps up smear campaign against Julian Assange

      A pair of blaring headlines appearing in Friday’s edition of the New York Times purported to show that the newspaper had obtained damning new evidence of collusion between WikiLeaks, the Trump campaign and the Russian government to damage the campaign of Hillary Clinton in 2016.

      The latest round of smears appearing in the Times, the journalistic mouthpiece of the Democratic Party and sections of the military-intelligence apparatus opposed to Trump, is aimed at preparing public opinion for an eventual indictment on espionage charges of WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange, preparations for which are already in full swing. The Times articles appeared amid widespread media speculation that special counsel Robert Mueller could begin handing down indictments soon.

    • Assange’s Mother Calls Treatment of Son ‘Slow Assassination’

      In an interview Saturday as part of an online campaign called #Unity4J, Julian Assange’s mother said, “The modern-day cage for political prisoners is no longer the Tower of London- it is the Ecuadorian Embassy.

      “He is right now alone, sick, and in pain; silenced in solitary confinement, cut off from all contact, and being tortured in the heart of London,” Assange said, adding he has been living in the embassy since 2012 out of fear of persecution and extradition by the Swedish and United Kingdom for sexual crimes.

      The native Australian said over the last six years, her son has been refused basic health requirements, fresh air, exercise, sunshine for Vitamin D, proper medical and dental care, and his health has suffered for it.

    • ‘Intruder’ tried to break into Ecuadorian embassy through Assange’s room – reports

      The message, allegedly sent by Assange’s lawyers to Dawson, said that someone tried to enter through the embassy’s windows at 4.31am, while the whistleblower was asleep. The supposed break-in attempt failed because Assange apparently “booby-trapped” the window with a fire hydrant, which got knocked over, waking him up.

      The Metropolitan Police told the Daily Mail on Monday that they received no reports of the attempted break-in. However, Assange’s legal team reportedly stated that scaffolding erected around the building “obscures” the security cameras, pointed at the window in question.

      The purported break-in happened the day Assange was about to testify via teleconference at a hearing, challenging Ecuador’s harshly revised terms for his asylum. The restrictions include a ban on discussing politics and accepting visitors, as well as covering his own expenses. The judge ultimately dismissed the lawsuit.

      In recent weeks, Assange had been accusing Ecuador of using him as a “bargaining chip” in talks with the US and UK, who are pressuring the South American nation to revoke his asylum status. The whistleblower expressed fears that Quito is considering handing him over to British authorities, who can later turn him over to Washington.

    • The West is Failing Julian Assange

      Let’s start with the cat. You never would have thought one of these beloved felines would play a crucial role in the Julian Assange case, would you? And yet look at the latest press coverage. The mainstream media’s headlines weren’t about a man who has been confined to a tiny building in the heart of Europe for the last six years with no end insight, they were about orders from Quito to feed his cat.

    • Break-in foiled after Julian Assange eviction plot is revealed

      Evidence has come to light of a deal to evict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The deal involves collusion from several countries. And if the plan goes ahead, it could see Assange forced out of the embassy within weeks or even days.


      The WikiLeaks founder sought asylum in the embassy to prevent possible extradition to the US for leaking government documents to the public. Human rights groups have since campaigned against this possibility and against what the UN has called Assange’s ‘arbitrary deprivation of liberty‘.

      What seems clear, however, is that key players are putting more and more pressure on Ecuador to evict Assange.

  • Finance

    • Female founders have brought in just 2.2% of US VC this year (yes, again)

      Currently, less than 10 percent of decision-makers at VC firms are women and 74 percent of U.S. VC firms have zero female investors. Until those numbers begin to transform, it’s likely little progress will be made on closing the funding gap.

      The good news is women have raised a record amount of VC this year with two months still remaining in 2018. In the last ten months, female-founded startups have closed 391 deals worth $2.3 billion, up from $2 billion in 2017. Mixed-gender teams have raised $13.2 billion this year across 1,346 deals, an increase from $12.7 billion last year.

    • Trump’s War on the Fed

      October was a brutal month for the stock market. After the Fed’s eighth interest rate hike on September 26th, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 2,000 points and the NASDAQ had its worst month in nearly 10 years. After the Dow lost more than 800 points on October 10th and the S&P 500 suffered its first weeklong losing streak since Trump’s election, the president said, “I think the Fed is making a mistake. They are so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy.” In a later interview on Fox News, he called the Fed’s rate hikes “loco.” And in a Wall Street Journal interview published on October 24th, Trump said he thought the biggest risk to the economy was the Federal Reserve, because “interest rates are being raised too quickly.” He also criticized the Fed and its chairman in July and August.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • LIVE BLOG: Election Day 2018

      Three years and five months ago, Donald Trump descended on a golden elevator and fired the first salvo of the strange, callous, racist war he has been waging ever since. Trump is not on any ballot today, but that is in name only. Today, he gets his first real report card, and the rest of us get to find out what kind of country we really live in.

    • White Nationalist Links, Voter Suppression Define Kris Kobach’s Career

      Kris Kobach, one of the most controversial figures in contemporary politics, beat incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer in the August 14 Republican primary in Kansas. To call the race close would ignore exactly what the photo-finish looked like: Kobach’s victory rested on 110 votes. Trump’s endorsement of Kobach sure helped, and was the least he could do after Kobach’s rabid work on immigration and voter identification laws propped up Trump’s own campaign mythology.

      Looking at Kobach’s career makes it appear as though he was on the inside of the GOP strategy at least a decade before his election, and his victory was almost assured because of the moves he made over the year to reshape Kansas’s electorate.Kris Kobach, one of the most controversial figures in contemporary politics, beat incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer in the August 14 Republican primary in Kansas. To call the race close would ignore exactly what the photo-finish looked like: Kobach’s victory rested on 110 votes. Trump’s endorsement of Kobach sure helped, and was the least he could do after Kobach’s rabid work on immigration and voter identification laws propped up Trump’s own campaign mythology.

      Looking at Kobach’s career makes it appear as though he was on the inside of the GOP strategy at least a decade before his election, and his victory was almost assured because of the moves he made over the year to reshape Kansas’s electorate.

    • Varoufakis and Sanders: how to organize a progressive international? A contribution

      In September, Yanis Varoufakis, leader of DiEM25 and MeRa, made a declaration in which he called for establishment of a new international. Soon after that, Bernie Sanders – symbolic leader of progressives and democratic socialists in the US – supported that declaration by underlining the need for an international movement that will fight against injustices emanating from late-capitalism and rising neo-fascism. Both of them emphasized that this new international front is a must for all progressives around the world because neo-fascists are very well organized and on the verge of grasping political power everywhere that there is an absence of a strong response from left.

      The argument of the declaration is clear: as progressives we need an urgent response and the international could be one way to do it! It is apparent that this joint manifesto by Varoufakis and Sanders came at just the right time. But are progressives ready for this international movement? How can we, disorganized progressives, fight against organized capitalism and neo-fascism?

      We believe that progressives need an agenda committing us to action and to organising ourselves for a fightback against the establishment. This article aims to contribute to this agenda and the discussion around what further steps are needed to establish a progressive international.

    • Georgia Scrambles To Patch Massive Vulnerabilities In Its Voter Registration System After Insisting It Was Totally Secure

      Yesterday we had a rather incredible story about Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, who, despite the conflict of interest, is both running for Governor and in charge of making sure Georgia’s elections are fair. Over the weekend, Kemp had made a highly questionable claim that his opponents in the Democratic Party of Georgia had attempted to hack the voter registration system, and he was opening an investigation. As we noted, what appears to have actually happened was that an independent security researcher had discovered massive, stunning, gaping security flaws in Georgia’s voter registration system, that would potentially allow anyone to access anyone else’s information and even modify it. That’s an especially big deal in Georgia, where the very same Secretary of State Brian Kemp had pushed for laws that meant that if any of your ID information was different from what was in the voter system, you didn’t get to vote.

    • Our Grief Is a Starting Point in the Fight Against Fascism

      Daily, and sometimes hourly, we are assaulted by the latest losses. It isn’t simply that time and the news cycle have sped up due to so-called communication technologies. It’s that we’re in the crosshairs of history.

      That history is being written on bodies — bodies that are piling up; sometimes our bodies, or those of people we love. It is etched onto place-names as our morbid shorthand — Charleston, Charlottesville, Pittsburgh. That history transforms ballot boxes into the equivalent of coffins in countries like Brazil.

      History seems to be happening to us, an increasingly out-of-control and inevitable narrative that doesn’t end well, yet may end soon. For among other things, we are in a climate where even the climate itself is targeting humanity for disappearance.

      There is little need, of course, to make any sort of accounting of the weight of this world. Already, in even gesturing at the enormity of this moment, we feel the fear and depression creeping in, the sorrow and hopelessness taking hold.

      We’ve been taught by past rebels, to paraphrase Joe Hill, not to mourn but instead to organize. Today, though, given the magnitude of the new forms of domination that we face, there’s a palpable sense of despair about the possibility of organizing. All the weapons in our arsenal appear useless, outdated, futile. And even if we wanted to mourn, we come up against another contemporary conundrum: the loss of traditions around grief, of knowing how to grieve well or at all, much less in community with others. We confront our own inability to know how to share and hold our own and each others’ feelings, much less the full range of them.

      Yet we must.

    • Oops, We Forgot to Plug In the Voting Machine

      Polls have barely opened on the East Coast, and voting machines — and people — are already causing a few foul-ups. Experts say that the errors are normal, and that none that have emerged so far should prevent voters from casting a ballot.

      “There are literally hundreds of thousands of voting machines being set up, mostly by volunteer poll workers, and sometimes there are problems,” said David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research. “Most important thing is for the poll workers to contact their local election officials, who are most likely expecting some issues and will be ready to send help.”

    • 36 Million in U.S. Cast Early Votes, Shattering Records for Young People & People of Color

      Millions of voters head to the polls today for a midterm election that’s widely seen as a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency, with both houses of Congress and 36 governor’s races in the balance. In fact, millions have already voted: A record 36 million Americans voted early this year, with participation high among young people and people of color. That’s up from 27 million four years ago, leading many to predict a record turnout for a midterm election. “If you look at the numbers, early voting is shattering records among young people, among people of color,” says Ari Berman, senior writer at Mother Jones. “We’re seeing a lot more people that typically sit out midterm elections going and showing up because they believe these races are so important.”

    • Sloppy Start on Election Day

      Dozens of voters looking to cast their ballot Downtown Brooklyn were met with shut doors this morning at one of the boroughs most active voting sites.

      Brooklyn resident Faiza Chowderman said she and her husband arrived to the closed polling site at Urban Assembly School of Law and Justice inside 283 Adams St. at 6:10 am. Chowderman said she met a crowd of people waiting in line minutes after the site was slated to open.

    • Purged Voters’ “Provisional” Ballots Could Decide Georgia Governor Race

      On Sunday, I watched President Donald Trump warn a rally in Macon, Georgia, that Stacey Abrams, running to become the first Black female governor in US history, “is one of the most extreme far left politicians in the entire country,” adding, “You put Stacey in there, you’re going to have Georgia turn into Venezuela. I don’t think the people of Georgia like that.”

      Trump’s rant against Abrams has not driven away her many supporters. But voters like Atlanta filmmaker Rahiem Shabazz are being driven away from the ballot box nonetheless.

      “I want to vote for Stacey Abrams,” Shabazz told me, but “I won’t be able to vote in the November 6 election.”

      Shabazz’s voter registration — his right to vote — has been canceled by Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brian Kemp.

      Notably, Kemp, while running the election for the state of Georgia, is also running in the election for governor of Georgia — against Democrat Abrams.


      YOUR PRESIDENT wants you to hate and fear immigrants.

      That was the message of a new attack ad that Donald Trump himself tweeted a little over a week before the midterm elections. The ad featured an undocumented immigrant jailed for killing two California sheriff’s deputies and then scenes of the refugee caravan currently making its way through Mexico to seek asylum from poverty and violence in Central America.

      Lettering above the man on trial reads: “He killed our people.”

      The last-minute campaign ad aimed to create an indelible image of immigrants as murderers who are “invading” the U.S. with the Democrats’ blessing — and an equally indelible conclusion that only Trump and the Republicans will protect you from violence.

      Numerous Republicans running for office embraced and echoed Trump’s ramped-up campaign of racist scapegoating against immigrants.

    • Delayed Starts, Missing Ballots, Vandalism at Polling Places in Baltimore

      At least three polling locations around the city experienced hiccups as polls opened Tuesday morning.

    • Long lines and machines down at multiple polling places across Houston

      Xenia Kulick got to her polling place at Notre Dame Catholic Church at 6:45 a.m. with about 20 other fellow voters. When doors opened, voters had to wait 20 more minutes as poll workers struggled to get registration check-in machines working properly. By the time Kulick cast her ballot, there was a long line of about 60 people waiting. Only one machine was up and ready to check people in. There were no issues with the voting machines themselves.

    • Whatever happened to the left in Peru?

      In Peru, there is no left-wing political option representing the demand for greater distribution and inclusion. The weakness of the left there contradicted the region’s “turn to the left” in the decade of 2000.

      In Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, leftist forces took advantage of the voters’ discontent with the neoliberal policies of the 1990s to sail into government. They were able to benefit from a commodity boom to fund redistributive policies, which helped them expand their constituency.

      Today, after the commodity cycle has come to an end, the political results of these forces are varied. They range from the Chavista governance disaster in Venezuela to the still highly popular Evismo in Bolivia.

    • No middle ground for Indian Country in this election

      There are more than a hundred Native American candidates — including 54 Native women — running for office. Most (not all, but most) are challenging the policies of the now two year-old Trump White House.

      Deb Haaland is not alone. There is a good chance on Wednesday there will be at least two Native women who carry the title, Representative-elect. Possibly even three.

      But let’s not get ahead our ourselves. There are still ballots to cast and miles to go.

    • From Prison Slavery to Marijuana, the Legal System Is on the Ballot Today

      In 1898, delegates from the post-Reconstruction Democratic Party gathered in New Orleans to address “the purification of the electorate” or, in other words, how to maintain white supremacy by preventing Black and Brown people from voting and sending more of them to prison (thereby increasing the supply of free prison labor). The civil rights movement and court rulings have since chipped away at the major Jim Crow laws resulting from this convention, but one remains: a provision in the state constitution allowing for felony convictions without a unanimous jury. Today, Louisiana and Oregon are the only states where a felony conviction only requires 10 of 12 jurors to reach a “guilty” verdict, and Louisiana is the only state where a jury that would be considered “hung” anywhere else can send a defendant to prison for life without parole.


      Today, Louisiana voters will decide Amendment 2, a ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to require unanimous juries for noncapital felony convictions. Stay tuned to Truthout for full coverage and an in-depth look at the movement led by formerly incarcerated activists.

    • How the World Sees the Caravan

      Around 80% of the asylum seekers’ caravan heading towards the U.S.-Mexico border come, according to BuzzFeed, from Honduras. They are fleeing intolerable conditions in their country following the U.S.-supported coup against President Manuel Zelaya that happened nine years ago. HuffPost reports that “thousands of indigenous activists, peasant leaders, trade unionists, journalists, environmentalists, judges, opposition political candidates, human rights activists, and others murdered since a military coup ousted the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya in 2009.” They are fleeing a hell-hole.

      In 2012 there were 20 homicides a day in Honduras, which has a population of nine million. Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world, as well as the highest rate of sexual violence. The violence mainly results from urban gangs’ drug trafficking and competition for global markets. MS-13 and the 18th Street Gang (both founded in Los Angeles) are entrenched in Tegucigalpa (the capital), and the industrial city of San Pedro Sula. Many asylum seekers have been threatened by such gangs and are fleeing from them with the same sense of terror as those trying to escape government death-squads elsewhere in Central America.

      One might argue that the U.S. has, through its support for the coup nine years ago, patronage of the current regime, and its vast market for cannabis, heroin and cocaine, helped produce this desperate exodus of Central Americans to the border. People with a hard choice: stay home, let the kids get recruited into a gang, killing or get killed while at least drawing steady pay. Or flee north, facing dangerous challenges, and pray for North American compassion at the end of the road. Anything for safety, food and shelter.

    • Autocrats, Incorporated

      I certainly learned a lesson that November. During the previous months of campaigning that election season, I never wrote a piece at TomDispatch that didn’t leave open the possibility of Donald Trump winning the presidency. In the couple of weeks before that fateful November day, however, I got hooked on the polling results and on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website and became convinced that Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in.

      Of course, I was in good company. As Michael Wolff would later report in his bestselling book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, on election eve, few in the Trump campaign, including the candidate himself, expected to win. Most of them, again including The Donald, were already trying to parlay what they assumed was an assured loss into their next jobs or activities, including in the candidate’s case a possible “Trump network.”

      So when, sometime after midnight, reality finally began to sink in — fittingly enough, I had a 103-degree fever and was considering heading for an emergency room — I was as disbelieving as the president-to-be. (He had, Wolff tells us, “assured” his wife, Melania, who was reportedly in tears of anything but joy that night, that he would never win and that she would never find herself in the White House.) By then, it was for me a fever dream to imagine that bizarre, belligerent, orange-haired salesman-cum-con-artist entering the Oval Office.

      Honestly, I shouldn’t have been the least bit surprised. During election campaign 2016, I grasped much of this. I wrote of the future president, for instance, as a con artist (particularly in reference to those taxes of his that we couldn’t see) and how Hillary Clinton’s crew hadn’t grasped the obvious: that many Americans would admire him for gaming the system, even if they couldn’t do the same themselves. As I wrote at the time: “It’s something Donald Trump knows in his bones, even if all those pundits and commentators and pollsters (and for that matter Hillary Clinton’s advisers) don’t: Americans love a con man.”

    • New Evidence Shows Texas Senate Race Is Vulnerable to Manipulation

      That’s because wi-fi and internet connectivity are some of the easiest ways for malware to be introduced into a voting machine or tabulator. Once introduced, that malware could change election results on that voting machine, or on other voting machines infected via memory cards. The malware could then make its way into the vote tabulating system itself, potentially infecting the main election management system’s computers. If a wi-fi signal is in the tabulating room, the malware could get into the system that counts the votes quickly and easily, bypassing all of the other steps, and rapidly change the results of an entire county.

    • Coordinated Trolling Efforts Are Serving Up Small-Scale Election Interference Across The Country

      If this seems counterproductive in terms of eliminating votes for non-Republican candidates, it actually isn’t. As NBC’s Ben Collins notes, this more clever effort has managed to elude moderators. Posting under hashtags like #nomenmidterm and #letwomendecide, these accounts are being used to deter male liberals from casting votes.

      The interference is coming from inside the house. Homegrown efforts are joining foreign state-sponsored interference to make every election from 2016′s to the rest of forever seem tainted. This is piled on top of ongoing problems with electronic voting devices, which are notoriously insecure and far from user friendly. The democratic process appears to be no more secure than a connected tea kettle.

      But this cascade of bad news shouldn’t deter anyone from voting. For the most part, the system works! (And by “system,” I mean the actual act of voting, not necessarily the system run by those receiving votes…) Even if the individual act of voting can often feel pointless or useless, it’s still better than the predetermined “elections” held by despotic governments where the outcome is made-up and the points don’t matter.

      This also shows efforts to quell online disinformation are working to a limited extent. Combining humans and algorithms makes more sense than relying solely on one method, but both have their limitations. Human biases can strip the neutrality out of moderation efforts and algorithms tend to do one thing pretty well, but suck at anything else that requires comprehension of context, nuance, or sarcasm.

      This is the new normal for elections. Get used to it. But don’t get discouraged.

    • What Went Wrong at New York City Polling Places? It Was Something in the Air. Literally.

      The post-mortem on what went wrong at polling places across New York City on Election Day won’t be done for days, if not weeks. Across the city — from Brooklyn to Manhattan to the Bronx — ballot scanners jammed and malfunctioned, sowing chaos at polling places.

      But preliminarily, it looks like one of those rare occasions where election officials can plausibly blame the weather, at least in part.

      The five boroughs saw unusually high precipitation on Tuesday with nearly 100 percent humidity, as New Yorkers trudged through the rain to cast their ballots.

      Those are not exactly perfect conditions for the DS200, the widely used ballot scanner manufactured by Nebraska-based ES&S. According to its technical documents, the scanner becomes downright uncomfortable when the weather turns sweaty…

    • Florida election brings high turnout, some voting snags

      Voters in predominantly black neighborhoods of St. Petersburg in the morning dealt with technology issues that stalled lines in at least two locations. A tabulation machine froze at Lakewood United Methodist Church, leading workers to stop the process of casting ballots, and a printer jammed at the Thomas ‘Jet’ Jackson Recreation Center, causing volunteers to temporarily knock the voter registration database system offline.

    • Voting Device Manufacturer Encourages Users To Use (And Re-Use) Easily-Guessed Passwords

      As Election Day 2K18 rolls on, the good news continues to roll in, he said in his most Professor Farnsworth voice. It’s never good news, not if we’re talking voting machine security. Kim Zetter, writing for Motherboard, has obtained a manual for devices made by Unisyn Voting Solutions, which provides horrendous security advice for users of its products.


      If there’s good news, it’s that these machines aren’t in use everywhere. Just 3,500+ jurisdictions in ten states. They’re also fairly insulated from online attacks, since they’re not supposed to be connected to the internet. This means attackers will most likely need physical access to the devices. Good thing these only get touched by non-election personnel every couple of years or so!

    • ‘Instilling Fear in the 11th Hour’: Experts Warn Trump DOJ Poll Monitors Being Sent to Intimidate Voters, Not Protect Them

      In a move civil rights groups denounced as a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to intimidate minorities, spread hysteria about non-existent voter fraud, and suppress turnout, the Justice Department announced on Monday that it is dispatching personnel to “monitor” 35 voting locations in 19 states during Tuesday’s midterms just as President Donald Trump warned in a tweet that any “illegal voting” will be punished with “maximum criminal penalties.”

    • “Smoking Gun” Evidence Shows Trump Admin’s Top Anti-Immigrant Officials Trying to Rig the Census

      We look at a federal trial underway in New York City that could overturn the Trump administration’s plans to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Voting rights activists fear the question will deter immigrants from participating in the census, leading to a vast undercount in states with large immigrant communities. This could impact everything from the redrawing of congressional maps to the allocation of federal funding. The citizenship question was announced in March by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who touted it as a way to enforce the Voting Rights Act and protect minorities against voter discrimination. But on Sunday evening, the plaintiffs released a deposition that seems to contradict the Trump administration’s stated purpose for adding the citizenship question to the census. We speak with reporter Ari Berman, who has been following the case and says, “The fix was in from the very beginning. This was done by Kris Kobach, Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions—the most anti-immigrant figures in the Republican Party.” Berman’s newest story is headlined “Trial over Census Citizenship Question Kicks Off Amid Revelation of Trump Administration Deception.”

    • These Voters Had to Wait for Hours: “It Felt Like a Type of Disenfranchisement”

      Melanie Taylor arrived at her polling place in a Charleston, South Carolina, church at 7:30 a.m., only to find more than 100 people in line ahead of her. Some of them had already been waiting since 6:15. The voting site was using a computerized login for the first time, and the system was down.

      After 45 minutes, with the line still out the door, Taylor had to give up and leave for work. (She leads a social work program.) She’s planning to try again later and has been monitoring the wait times through a neighborhood Facebook group. The news was not encouraging.

      “It felt like a type of disenfranchisement, even though there wasn’t any violation of voting rights,” Taylor said. “The wait has been all day three hours or more, which is ridiculous.”

    • Long Lines Test Voter Patience Across the Nation

      Voters reported waits of an hour and longer on Election Day in areas ranging from the Gulf coasts of Texas and Florida to parts of Missouri and South Carolina, up to Chicago, rural central Pennsylvania and New York City. Polling places opening late, voting machine outages, understaffing and sheer volume caused some voters to abandon the lengthy lines before casting their ballots.

      In the Houston area, voters waited over half an hour for polls to open as staff struggled to get voting machinery online. Voters who were late for their jobs left polling places in Brooklyn as high turnout and downed ballot scanners led to waits of up to two hours.

    • Voters stalled, turned away by malfunctioning machines

      Michigan voters are being turned away from the polls, or left waiting in seemingly interminable lines, in various metro Detroit locations so far on Election Day.

      Rex Nagy, a retired voter in Redford Township, said that his polling place at Pierce Middle School was relying on just one voting machine that he was told had not been tested before Tuesday morning. Everything was at a standstill while around 100 people waited for the machine to get fixed.

    • Houston Poll Worker Hurls Racist Remarks, Faces Criminal Charge
    • Humidity, ballot size cause issues with voting machines in North Carolina, officials say

      State, Wake and Cumberland county election officials are encountering some problems with machines failing to read ballots, thanks to humidity and the ballots’ size, but said that all votes will be counted.

      Tuesday morning, the state said high humidity levels had been reported at Wake County poll sites, according to a news release from the N.C. State Board of Elections.

      Wake County Board of Elections Director Gary Sims said there is “nothing wrong” with the current tabulators. But the problems aren’t limited to humidity. He said some are due to the ballots’ 17-inch length.

    • Computer glitch causes some Geauga County voters to be incorrectly told they voted absentee

      A computer glitch at Geauga County polling places caused the system to mark some Election Day voters as having already voted by absentee ballot, the director of the county’s Board of Elections said.

      Geauga County Board of Elections Director Deborah Reiter said she does not believe any voters from the Northeast Ohio county were turned away. However, some were asked to cast provisional ballots instead of casting a regular ballot.

    • Judge orders Harris County to keep nine polling sites open until 8 p.m.

      The groups alleged that people who attempted to vote at the nine locations ran into trouble over technological issues with voting machines or because the polls opened late.

    • Here are some of the problems Kansas and Missouri voters faced on Election Day

      Voters headed to the polls Tuesday morning, as Election Day started with high voter turnout expected in Kansas and Missouri.

      Many are facing problems at polling locations across the Kansas City area. Among those problems are broken voting machines, confusion over voter ID law, and at least one polling location using the wrong ballots.

    • Missouri Changed Voter ID Requirements, Citing Confusion. Yet on Election Day, There Was Confusion.

      Many reported that they were told they didn’t have valid photo identification, and the situation was a result of a court ruling that allowed Missourians to cast ballots with a range of forms of ID.

    • Pastor’s sign outside Florida polling place warns not to vote for Democrats and then praise Jesus

      The Grace of God Church on Rowan Road has been a polling location without issue here for at least a decade, said Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley.

      That is until Tuesday morning, when the Rev. Al Carlisle decided to take a stand and posted a small handmade sign outside in marker.
      “DON’T VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS ON TUESDAY AND SING ‘OH HOW I LOVE JESUS’ ON SUNDAY,” it read, followed by an exclamation point drawn out of a cross.

      Carlisle said his sign isn’t meant to discourage voting for Democrats but to discourage doing so while claiming to be Christian.

    • Voter Says Missouri Election Official Jokingly Asked If He Was ‘Member Of The Caravan’

      When Robert Palmer, 64, voted early Tuesday morning at his polling station in O’Fallon, Missouri, he presented his passport as a form of identification to receive his ballot. He says the poll worker looked at him and asked, “Are you a member of the caravan?”

      Palmer, who is a bank administrator, said he was so shocked by the question that he didn’t respond. Palmer said the worker looked away, then said, “Morning humor.”

      “It was bizarre. I am not Hispanic,” Palmer told HuffPost. “I have an American passport. What does that have to do with the caravan?”

    • Widespread voting problems in Madison County; hand count possible

      Madison County is reporting widespread voting problems that could result in the hand-counting of ballots and delayed returns election night.

      Madison Probate Judge Tommy Ragland said two main problems are causing “multiple calls.”

      The first is voters “bearing down too hard and punching through” the paper ballots, Ragland said. The second is moisture-swollen ballots apparently caused by last night’s rainy climate.

    • It’s been a smooth ride for most Colorado voters, but even minor midterm glitches seem bigger in a volatile political climate

      Absentee ballots that didn’t make it back to Denver. Some 61,000 Adams County ballots that wound up in storage for a week, instead of in voters’ hands. Drop-off boxes stuffed to the brim. Worries among voters whose drop-off sites blur county lines that their ballots might not be counted.

      It hasn’t been a silky smooth experience for every Coloradan as Election Day 2018 finally arrives. But midterm glitches so far appear relatively minor — at least compared to issues surrounding signature verification in some states, a shifted polling site in Kansas, unsubstantiated accusations of elections hacking in Georgia and reports of translators barred from polls in Texas.

      Colorado is ranked as the safest state for election security. Still, issues do crop up. And at a time of heightened national concern about voting rights, even minor miscues can seem magnified.

    • US voters are getting texts with false information about how and when to vote

      Rudy Booker, a New York voter, has visited the same polling station for 15 years. But on the day before the Nov. 6 election, she received a text from the voter-registration organization TurboVote, telling her the voting location had changed. She ignored the text. At the station, Booker encountered dozens of angry people who’d been sent a similar message, and were now in the wrong place.

      Voters across the United States have been receiving these messages, which encourage them to vote, but with incomplete or incorrect information. The texts, which were received in states from Massachusetts to Wisconsin, told people to vote at a different polling location or on the wrong day. These mistakes seem to have been caused by clerical errors, rather than sinister misinformation efforts.

    • As Counties Place Polls In Gated Communities, Florida Voters Are Left Out

      When Katherine Polizzi showed up to vote at Le Club Century Village, all she wanted to do was cast her ballot. But she describes a confrontational and unnecessary scene that mirrors complaints about the precinct received by the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office during the primary election on August 28th.

      This year the precinct was moved to a building inside a private gated community in Deerfield Beach. Previously it was housed at a community center, says Polizzi.

      “To even get in to the gate you needed to show an ID, before you even got to the polling place itself,” Polizzi says. After voicing her concerns that the complex was being used as a public polling station, private security workers told her “too bad,” she added.

    • Georgia Voters Face Hourslong Waits as State Scrambles to Accommodate Turnout

      Poll workers in Georgia appear to have been unprepared for the waves of voters who turned out on Tuesday. Officials were scrambling to bring additional equipment to the polls and to field calls from frustrated voters forced to wait in line for hours across the state. Meanwhile, some who called county officials got busy signals or reached voicemail boxes for election offices that were full.

      “We are very fortunate that Georgia has robust early voting, because without that we can only imagine how hard the problems would be today,” said David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research.

    • Polling Location in Somerset County, New Jersey, Opens Late

      Voters waited more than an hour for a polling place at Quail Brook Senior Center in Franklin Township to open this morning.

    • Don’t be Flattered, Fooled and Flummoxed in Today’s Election

      Let’s face it. Most politicians use the mass media to obfuscate. Voters who don’t do their homework, who don’t study records of the politicians, and who can’t separate the words from the deeds will easily fall into traps laid by wily politicians.

      In 2002, Connecticut Governor John Rowland was running for re-election against his Democratic opponent, William Curry. Again and again, the outspent Curry informed the media and the voters about the corruption inside and around the governor’s office. At the time, the governor’s close associates and ex-associates were under investigation by the U.S. attorney. But to the public, Rowland was all smiles, flooding the television stations with self-serving, manipulative images and slogans. He won handily in November. Within weeks, the U.S. attorney’s investigation intensified as they probed the charges Curry had raised about Rowland. Rowland’s approval rating dropped to record lows, and impeachment initiatives and demands for his resignation grew. He was prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned. Unfortunately, enough voters were flattered, fooled, and flummoxed to cost Bill Curry the race.

      In 2004 Tom Frank, a Kansas author, wrote: “The poorest county in America isn’t in Appalachia or the Deep South. It is on the Great Plains, a region of struggling ranchers and dying farm towns, and in the election of 2000, George W. Bush carried it by a majority of greater than 75 percent.” Inattentive voters are vulnerable to voting against their own interests. They are vulnerable to voting for politicians who support big business and ignore their interests as farmers, workers, consumers, patients, and small taxpayers. Big Business will not spur change in a political system that gives the fatcats every advantage. Change must come from the voters, and here’s how…

    • Pittsburgh in the Jewish Press: Solidarity or Bothsidesism

      But worse is that it engages in the dubious art of “bothsidesism,” the notion that in order to condemn right-wing anti-Jewish violence, one most come up with a reason to bash the left as well. The Brooklyn case is indeed terrifying, but it’s hardly in the same category of 11 dead bodies.

      The New York Daily News (10/29/18) also admonished “the left” for the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan’s antisemitic rhetoric, even though he hasn’t inspired the kind of violence that the Trump administration has (such as the MAGA bomber), and most responsible writers would find most left-wing activists pay the NOI little heed. It’s not exactly a straw man argument, but it’s close. (The use of Farrakhan as a poster child for left-wing antisemitism is complicated by the NOI leader’s quasi-endorsement of Trump during the 2016 campaign: “Not that I’m for Mr. Trump, but I like what I’m looking at,” he said, claiming the candidate had turned down money from the “Jewish community.”)

    • ‘Charleston and Tree of Life Are Connected Struggles’

      Neither Bartiromo nor Grassley nor Trump noted that George Soros is Jewish. They don’t need to. References to a billionaire secretly pulling the strings of disruptive, unpatriotic activists draw on decades, even centuries, of antisemitic ideas—ideas that can fuel violence, as painfully shown by the October 27 killing of 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

      That the horror of Jews being killed because they were Jews came shortly after two black people were killed because they were black, in a Kentucky grocery store, seemed to encourage some to think about the relationship between antisemitism and the white supremacy rearing its head in Trump-era public life. Others have been seeing those connections—and acting on them—for many years now. We’re joined now in studio by Audrey Sasson, executive director of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice. Welcome to CounterSpin, Audrey Sasson.

    • Ballot Scanners Down Throughout Brooklyn

      Voters were in a well-deserved tizzy this morning around 9:30 am when all of the scanners at one Crown Heights polling site went down.

      A long line of voters was instructed to drop their ballots into boxes at PS 22 inside 443 St. Marks Ave. this morning because all of the scanners went down. This, in addition to lines that were at least 45 minutes long.

      “Made it inside and PS 22 is a madhouse,” read one Twitter post. “Totally disorganized and overcrowded, and not a single scanner is working.”

    • Breakdown in New York City

      Malfunctioning scanners are causing long lines — and raising the political temperature, with the City Council speaker calling for the resignation of the head of the city’s Board of Elections.

    • Missing Pages, Polls Not Open: Election Officials Head to Court, Investigate Voting Problems in Chicago Area

      Amid reports of polls not opening on time and voters missing ballot pages, election officials in Chicago have confirmed they plan to ask a judge to extend voting hours in at least five city locations.
      Several voters across the Chicago area have been reporting trouble at their voting locations in the city, some suburbs and in northwest Indiana.
      Five locations in in Chicago were slated to stay open until 8 p.m. due to difficulties encountered earlier in the day.

    • Missouri Voters Report Long Lines, Broken Machines And Confusion Over Photo ID Law

      A lengthy ballot, broken machines, address mix-ups and confusion over showing photo IDs slowed lines at Missouri polling places Tuesday, leading to waits of up to an hour for voters revved up by the contentious midterm election.

      In the morning, reports surfaced about poll workers incorrectly insisting that voters show a photo ID. The confusion was brought on by a circuit judge’s decision about the state’s voter ID law just two weeks prior to Election Day.

      But by noon, concerns shifted to reports of malfunctioning machines, causing Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to reassure voters via Twitter.

      “Your vote will be counted! Please follow poll workers’ instructions and know your vote is secure!” Ashcroft wrote in a tweet.

    • Despite Conflicting Messages, Cellphones Are Allowed in Nebraska Poll Booths

      Voters in Nebraska are allowed to use cellphones inside polling booths, reported the Omaha World-Herald after a voter alerted Electionland that a poll worker told her she could not vote if she was using a cellphone.

    • Georgia Polling Location to Stay Open Later After Machine Issues

      The Annistown Elementary School precinct near Snellville, Georgia, will remain open until 7:25 p.m. after opening late and experiencing issues with its voting machines.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Shopify Bans Some Right-Wing Groups After Activist Pressure
    • For Bay Area sex workers, a new federal law means less safety and more poverty

      “Since SESTA-FOSTA, it has been really hard on me and I know other women are struggling as well,” she told Salon. “Everyone is going through different things, and since there have been more crackdowns on the [I]nternet I’ve had to pick up other jobs that are considered legal… now I work three different jobs just to make ends meet.”


      Now, instead of working the digital streets — where clients can be vetted long before their first interaction — Sasha has had no choice but to look for work on the real ones.

    • Mosques want populist politician Wilders banned from Twitter

      The TICF also plans to file charges against Twitter in four Islamic countries – Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan and Indonesia.

    • New York Times Observes Sharia Blasphemy Laws

      Mohammed Hanif, the author of this disgraceful op-ed published Friday in the New York Times, is a Pakistani novelist, and so it is perhaps understandable that he may wish to observe Islamic blasphemy laws, but why is the New York Times, which is supposedly a journalistic outlet in a nation that upholds the freedom of speech, validating his doing so?

    • Islam Promises Redemption, Growth, and Deliverance: Acquittal of Asia Bibi

      The acquittal of Asia Bibi, who, several years ago, was accused of having committed blasphemy, portends well for civil society in Pakistan and paves the way for human rights. This judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan could, potentially, diminish the potency of militarized interventions.

      I emphasize that I have always considered Islam an emancipatory religion, which advocates social equality, economic and political democratization, and empowerment of minorities. The religion that I was raised in opposed to the subjection of religious minorities to a centralized and authoritarian state. Equality before law, and in economy, politics, and society is in perfect consonance with the Islamic thought that I revere.

      False allegations do not hold water, and religion can neither be distorted nor can it be employed to settle scores in feuds and vendettas. There is no place for slander and libel in Islam.

      The religion that I was raised in doesn’t bay for the blood of the innocent, the vulnerable, and the marginalized. Nor can the religion that I was raised in be reduced to fire and brimstone sermons by myopic preachers.

    • Rockstar Ports Its Old, Antiquated, Flawed Censorial Blacklist For Player Chat Into New ‘Red Dead Redemption’ Game

      Those familiar with how multiplayer online gaming works know that inter-player chat is both a feature of this gaming genre and one of its primary hellscapes. On the one hand, in-game chat can be both fun when it’s part of the game and funny when you get lively banter between players. On the other hand, such chat is also rife with stupid, sophomoric, abusive language casually bandied about by teens and adults alike. Because of this, some game developers have tried to limit what words can be inputted into the game’s chat system. The end result of this is mostly spectacular creativity for players dedicated to being assholes in getting around such systems. But for Rockstar, when it came to the online portion of Grand Theft Auto, this chat blacklist was also a place to stupidly blacklist references to illicit gaming sites like “The Pirate Bay”, meaning users entering that text would see their words simply disappeared.

    • New EU Directive Limits Hate Speech, Establishes European Content Quotas

      A new directive adopted today by European Union member governments updates and strengthens regulations on video-sharing platforms and other newer forms of media, emphasising the public interest, elevating protections for children, and establishing a 30 percent quota of European content in on-demand audiovisual media services.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Tencent to check all gamers’ IDs against police database to weed out young players

      The Chinese social media and entertainment titan intends to check all gamers’ identities against police databases by 2019, extending a procedure it pioneered for the mobile phenomenon Honour of Kings.

      It will kick things off with its 10 of its most popular games before expanding that system to its entire library, the company said in a post on its official WeChat account on Monday (Nov 5). That enormous undertaking – covering scores of titles – should help surface underaged users who are subject to curbs on playing time.

    • Tencent will soon require Chinese users to present IDs to play its video games

      China’s Tencent will soon require gamers to prove their ages and identities against police records, according to a new official statement yesterday. Under the new system, users will need to register their Chinese national IDs in order to play any games from Tencent.

    • Koch brothers are watching you: And new documents reveal just how much they know

      New documents uncovered by the Center for Media and Democracy show that the billionaire Koch brothers have developed detailed personality profiles on 89 percent of the U.S. population; and are using those profiles to launch an unprecedented private propaganda offensive to advance Republican candidates in the 2018 midterms.

      The documents also show that the Kochs have developed persuasion models — like their “Heroin Model” and “Heroin Treatment Model” — that target voters with tailored messaging on select issues, and partner with cable and satellite TV providers to play those tailored messages during “regular” television broadcasts.

    • Passengers to face AI lie detector tests at EU airports

      The €4.5 million ($5.1 million) project, called iBorderCtrl, will be tested this month at airports in Hungary, Latvia and Greece on passengers traveling from outside the EU, with the aim of reducing congestion.

      Only passengers who give their consent will come face-to-face with the technology in its initial trial, with consent forms available at the airports when they arrive.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • U.S. Condemns Khashoggi Killing, Tells U.N. an Investigation Is Essential
    • In the Aftermath of Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder, Saudi Arabia Enters a Dangerous Period

      In the past year, M.B.S. has embarked on an unprecedented crackdown on domestic dissent, arresting hundreds of journalists, clerics, and women’s-rights activists—anyone who dared to smudge the rosy image of M.B.S. as a benevolent visionary. Not even groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International know for sure how many political prisoners are in Saudi jails. In an interview just after Khashoggi disappeared, M.B.S. told Bloomberg that fifteen hundred Saudis had been arrested in the past three years for such things as “terrorism” and “extremism.” “We are trying to get rid of extremism and terrorism without a civil war,” M.B.S. said.

    • Iran: Protesters Sentenced in Unfair Trials

      In reprisal for exposing Heidari’s death in custody and reporting that his body bore marks of torture and other ill-treatment, including cuts and bruises, the authorities arrested Mohammad Najafi, a lawyer. On July 26, Branch 2 of Arak’s criminal court sentenced Najafi to three years in prison for “disrupting public order through unconventional acts such as chanting slogans” and “publishing false information to disturb public opinion.” He began serving his sentence on October 28.

    • The Sexelance: red lights on wheels

      When you open the doors to the Sexelance, you step into a sterile looking room. There’s lube in containers attached to the walls and condoms in boxes. There’s a blue folding chair – usually used for blowjobs – mirrors, and a little red light on the back door that illuminates the interior when the doors are closed. Though thoroughly transformed, it’s obvious that this first ever Danish sex clinic on wheels was once an ambulance riding through the streets of Copenhagen to aid the sick.

      Today, the Sexelance serves as an alternative to the harsh realities facing street sex workers. In the car, they can sell their services under safer, more hygienic, and more dignified conditions than those on the streets. It’s an easy sell for to sex workers, but their clients rarely find it as appealing. Many do not want to come with them into the car, and then the sex workers must choose: lose the customer or follow them out into the night.

    • Court Dismisses Bogus Charges Brought Against Nevada Man Who Pissed Off Local Cops By Using The Crosswalk

      We just covered cops getting all angry and sued as the result of their inability to not violate civil rights just because someone interrupted one of their sting operations. In that story, officers were upset a man had placed a cardboard sign dam in their revenue stream by warning drivers of a distracted driving sting a couple of blocks ahead.

      It’s not a Connecticut thing. It’s a #CopThing. Techdirt reader John Mehaffey directs us to another civil rights lawsuit stemming from sting operation disruption, this time in Nevada. There, John Hunt saw Boulder City cops running a sting involving a pedestrian crosswalk on the main drag. He wasn’t impressed by their tactics.

    • ICE Detention Center Says It’s Not Responsible for Staff’s Sexual Abuse of Detainees

      Officials at the detention facility are trying to avoid responsibility by arguing that the detainee “consented” to sexual abuse.

      All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government impose criminal liability on correctional facility staff who have sexual contact with people in their custody. These laws recognize that any sexual activity between detainees and detention facility staff, with or without the use of force, is unlawful because of the inherent power imbalance when people are in custody. Yet, one immigration detention center is trying to avoid responsibility for sexual violence within its walls by arguing that the detainee “consented” to sexual abuse.

      E.D., an asylum-seeker and domestic violence survivor from Honduras, was sexually assaulted by an employee while she was detained with her 3-year-old child at the Berks Family Residential Center in Pennsylvania. At the time of the assault, E.D. was 19 years old.

      She filed suit against the detention center and its staff for their failure to protect her from sexual violence, even though they were aware of the risk. The record in the case, E.D. v. Sharkey, shows that her assailant coerced and threatened her, including with possible deportation, while the defendants stood by and made jokes.

      Although the employee pled guilty to criminal institutional sexual assault under Pennsylvania law, the defendants contend that they should not be liable for any constitutional violations. Their argument rests in part on their assessment that the sexual abuse was “consensual” and that they should be held to a different standard because the Berks Family Residential Center is an immigration detention facility rather than a jail or prison.

    • If A Pre-Trial Risk Assessment Tool Does Not Satisfy These Criteria, It Needs to Stay Out of the Courtroom

      Algorithms should not decide who spends time in a California jail. But that’s exactly what will happen under S.B. 10, a new law slated to take effect in October 2019. The law, which Governor Jerry Brown signed in September, requires the state’s criminal justice system to replace cash bail with an algorithmic pretrial risk assessment. Each county in California must use some form of pretrial risk assessment to categorize every person arrested as a “low,” “medium,” or “high” risk of failing to appear for court, or committing another crime that poses a risk to public safety. Under S.B. 10, if someone receives a “high” risk score, the person must be detained prior to arraignment, effectively placing crucial decisions about a person’s freedom into the hands of companies that make assessment tools.

      Some see risk assessment tools as being more impartial than judges because they make determinations using algorithms. But that assumption ignores the fact that algorithms, when not carefully calibrated, can cause the same sort of discriminatory outcomes as existing systems that rely on human judgement—and even make new, unexpected errors. We doubt these algorithmic tools are ready for prime time, and the state of California should not have embraced their use before establishing ways to scrutinize them for bias, fairness, and accuracy.

      EFF in July joined more than a hundred advocacy groups to urge jurisdictions in California and across the country already using these algorithmic tools to stop until they considered the many risks and consequences of their use. Our concerns are now even more urgent in California, with less than a year to implement S.B. 10. We urge the state to start working now to make sure that S.B. 10 does not reinforce existing inequity in the criminal justice system, or even introduce new disparities.

    • The Supreme Court Will Decide Whether Maryland Can Display a 40-Foot Latin Cross

      The case could drastically alter longstanding precedent protecting the separation of church and state and send a devastating message to non-Christians

      Last Friday, the Supreme Court announced that it will decide whether a state government’s display of a gigantic, 40-foot Latin cross as a war memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland, violates the separation of church and state.

      On the surface, the case appears to be about one religious monument located at one busy intersection in one town but the stakes are, in fact, much higher. A Supreme Court decision upholding the Bladensburg cross could upend nearly 50 years of First Amendment law and risk further marginalizing religious minorities who are already facing growing bigotry, discrimination, and violence.

      In the wake of last year’s Muslim ban ruling, many have come to question the Supreme Court’s fidelity to a core First Amendment principle — official religious neutrality. The First Amendment promises equality and liberty for all people, regardless of faith. That promise is carried out, in part, by the Establishment Clause, which requires the government to remain impartial when it comes to matters of religion.

      The Constitution’s framers bore witness to the discord and even violence that occurs when the government singles out one religion for disfavor or gives preference to one faith or to religion generally. They sought to avoid that divisiveness by laying the foundation for a robust wall of separation between church and state.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

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

      After having just successfully convinced the Trump administration to neuter state and federal oversight of lumbering telecom monopolies, those same companies continue their unyielding call for greater regulation of Silicon Valley.

      If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon’s attack on net neutrality rules was just the tip of a massive, dysfunctional iceberg. Those companies have also convinced the Trump administration to effectively neuter FCC authority over ISPs, and are in the process of trying to ban states from protecting consumers from wrongdoing as well (you know, for freedom or whatever). With neither competition nor even tepid meaningful oversight in place, the kind of bad behavior we’ve long seen from Comcast appears poised to only get worse.

      At the same time, top lobbyists for the telecom industry continue to insist it’s Silicon Valley giants that are in need of massive regulation. You’re to ignore, of course, that these calls are coming just as giants like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast try to pivot more fully from broadband into online video and advertising, in direct competition with the companies’ they’re calling to have heavily regulated. Former FCC boss Mike Powell, now the cable industry’s top lobbyist over at the NCTA, has been leading this charge for much of the last year or two.

    • FCC will ‘take action’ in 2019 if carriers aren’t doing enough to fight robocalls

      The 14 letters sent out today are addressed to the CEOs of major telecom companies including Hans Vesterberg (Verizon), John Donovan (AT&T), John Legere (T-Mobile), Brian Roberts (Comcast), Tom Rutledge (Charter), and more. Google’s Sundar Pichai also got one, presumably owing to the company’s Project Fi business. “If industry starts to fall behind, the commission stands ready to ensure widespread deployment to hit this important technological milestone,” the FCC said in its release. “And the commission is considering additional actions — such as authorizing voice providers to block the delivery of unsigned or improperly signed calls to consumers — that would stem the flow of illegally spoofed robocalls to American consumers.”

    • Tim Berners-Lee Is Going To Change The Internet; Again

      At the Web Summit Technology Conference in Lisbon, Tim Berners Lee announced that he is working on “Contract for the Web” that will revolutionize the Internet, as we know it.

      Since the World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners back when he was working at CERN; the Internet has seen many trends and radical shifts. Some have improved the lives of users, but few changes have become a menace for the online community.

    • Simple guide to designing pleasant web sites
    • Debug JavaScript On The Fly With DevTools

      On webcompat, we try to diagnose bugs reported about sites, we do not have the original sources. If we are lucky, web developers have included a way to reach the original JavaScript source files (through sourcemap). But modern websites have often a series of optimization layers (with multiple minifications).

      To check during the investigation, that we thought was right we need to play with the code. With real CSS files (as opposed to CSS in JavaScript), it is easy to hand make a working solution. With JavaScript it’s near impossible apart of just observing why it fails and guessing how it could work.

  • DRM

    • In Groundbreaking Decision, Feds Say Hacking DRM to Fix Your Electronics Is Legal

      The Librarian of Congress and US Copyright Office just proposed new rules that will give consumers and independent repair experts wide latitude to legally hack embedded software on their devices in order to repair or maintain them. This exemption to copyright law will apply to smartphones, tractors, cars, smart home appliances, and many other devices.

      The move is a landmark win for the “right to repair” movement; essentially, the federal government has ruled that consumers and repair professionals have the right to legally hack the firmware of “lawfully acquired” devices for the “maintenance” and “repair” of that device. Previously, it was legal to hack tractor firmware for the purposes of repair; it is now legal to hack many consumer electronics.

      Specifically, it allows breaking digital rights management (DRM) and embedded software locks for “the maintenance of a device or system … in order to make it work in accordance with its original specifications” or for “the repair of a device or system … to a state of working in accordance with its original specifications.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Qualcomm Has Been Violating Its Obligation To License Competitors For Years

      Today, Judge Koh issued an important ruling in the FTC v. Qualcomm litigation centered on Qualcomm’s anti-competitive trade practices. Ruling on a motion for partial summary judgment, Judge Koh determined that Qualcomm is obligated to license its standard-essential patents to anyone who asks for a license.

      Qualcomm admits that it refuses to license other modem chip makers. Which means that it admitted to systematically violating its contractual obligations. And by doing so, Qualcomm has violated its legal obligations in order to harm competitors—a classic example of an unfair trade practice and a § 5 violation.


      Qualcomm, as a significant participant in various cellular standardization efforts, has declared its willingness to abide by FRAND terms with respect to thousands of its patents. But historically, Qualcomm has refused to license in a non-discriminatory fashion. It’s happy to license phone manufacturers, but refuses to license the companies that make baseband chipsets that compete directly with Qualcomm’s products.

      As Qualcomm’s lead attorney put it in court, “[w]e do not license other chip manufacturers. We do not.” Qualcomm’s paid experts in its ITC action against Apple have confirmed that they are unaware of any instance in which Qualcomm has licensed a chip manufacturer to its patents.

      By confirming that Qualcomm is, in fact, obligated to license competing chip manufacturers to its standard-essential patents, today’s ruling makes clear that Qualcomm is in long-standing violation of its obligations.

    • Qualcomm must license patents to rival chipset makers: Judge Koh grants FTC’s partial summary judgment motion

      Judge Lucy H. Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California has just granted the Federal Trade Commission’s motion for partial summary judgment against Qualcomm regarding the latter’s self-imposed obligation to license, on FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms, its cellular standard-essential patents (SEPs) to rival chipset makers such as Intel (this post continues below the document):


      As the FTC clarified in response to Nokia’s filing, the motion was specific to FRAND licensing promises Qualcomm made to two U.S. standard-development organizations–the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS)–as opposed to arguing that all FRAND licensing promises must be construed as benefiting rival chipset makers. In this FTC v. Qualcomm antitrust case pending in Northern California, the FTC also took the position that Qualcomm had the same obligation under the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) FRAND declaration, but the FTC sought (successfully, as we know now) to simplify and streamline the case by obviating the need for interpreting a document under French law when the relevant obligation, as Judge Koh has agreed, already exists under FRAND declarations Qualcomm made under U.S. law.

      This is the outcome I had predicted. I’ve said all along that the FTC had a very strong case, with this particular motion for partial summary judgment having represented a sweet spot in terms of focusing on an issue that the court can resolve ahead of trial while tackling one of the most problematic aspects of Qualcomm’s (and, to be fair, not only Qualcomm’s) conduct.

    • Danish Maritime and Commercial Court revisits Gilead’s SPC for tenoforvir disoproxil

      As previously reported, in 2017 the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court declined to grant an application filed by Gilead to grant an injunction against Accord offering the pharmaceutical a combination product consisting of Emtricitabine and Tenofovir Disoproxil (TD), holding that the granted SPC was invalid (Ground-breaking decision on Gilead’s Tenofovir SPC in Denmark).

      In a subsequent appeal decision rendered by the High Court (Eastern Division) on 7 March 2018, the decision of the Maritime and Commercial Court was overturned.

      In that connection, the High Court (Eastern Division), inter alia, accorded decisive weight to a unilaterally retained expert statement obtained for the High Court hearing, pursuant to which a specialist doctor in July 1996 would have understood the wording “other therapeutic ingredients” in claim 27 as meaning compounds contributing to antiviral activity, especially for the treatment of HIV. Also, it was held that such a skilled person would have thought of a combination with another NRTI, and NNRTI or a protease inhibitor and that Emtricitabine was a promising NRTI candidate for the treatment of HIV and as such suggested for use in a combination treatment.

    • Copyrights

      • Anti-Piracy Group SAFACT is Shutting Down Following Scandal

        The Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT) is shutting down. According to the Board of Directors, it lacks sufficient funding after several members gave up their support. The organization was reportedly plagued by a variety of scandals, including accusations of sexual harassment against a senior executive.

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts