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07.13.19

Links 13/7/2019: Librem 5 July Update, Project Trident 19.07, KDE Frameworks 5.60.0

Posted in News Roundup at 2:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Do you need a workstation? Do you care?

      Once upon a time — a long time ago — if you needed a workstation, you knew who you were and you knew how to get it: ask IT. Alternatively: whine, bully, and demand it from IT. And the machine you got would have a RISC-based processor, a customized UNIX operating system, and would likely be a branded model and possibly customized for your job and applications.

      [...]

      Microsoft allied with Intel to destroy the specialized workstation market, and thus began the long confusing story of Windows workstations.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • OpenShift Commons Briefing: Quay v3 Release Update and Road Map

          In this briefing, Dirk Herrmann, Red Hat’s Quay Product Manager walks through Quay v3.0’s features, and discusses the road map for future Quay releases, including a progress update on the open sourcing of Quay.

          Built for storing container images, Quay offers visibility over images themselves, and can be integrated into your CI/CD pipelines and existing workflows using its API and other automation features. Quay was first released in 2013, as the first enterprise hosted registry. Six years later, we’ve celebrated the first major release of the container registry since it joined the Red Hat portfolio of products through the acquisition of CoreOS in 2018.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux May Gain Protection Against Hyper-Threading Attacks

        Oracle security researchers have been working on security feature for Linux kernels that could protect Linux-based systems against attacks that affect Intel’s Hyper-Threading (HT) feature. Multiple side-channel threats the feature’s vulnerable against, including L1TF/Foreshadow and the MDS attacks, have been revealed over the past few months.

        The Oracle developers didn’t specify whether or not the recent MDS attacks against Intel’s HT would also be mitigated through its Kernel Address Space Isolation (KASI), only that it will protect against L1TF/Foreshadow. Other side-channel attacks seem to be up for debate, as any extra isolation being introduced into the kernel could potentially impact the performance of Linux systems.

      • AMD Releases BIOS Fix To Motherboard Partners For Booting Newer Linux Distributions

        AMD has just alerted us that they have released a BIOS fix to their motherboard partners that takes care of the issue around booting newer Linux distributions on the new Zen 2 processors.

        Earlier this week I mentioned AMD would be working on a BIOS fix to address the fundamental problem with booting newer systemd-using Linux distributions on their new Ryzen 3000 series processors. However, I hadn’t expected the fix to make it to motherboard vendors in less than one week!

      • AMD: Patch On The Way For Ryzen 3000 Customers Affected By ‘Destiny 2′ And Linux Boot Problems

        AMD says it was able to root cause and resolve both issues fairly quickly in its BIOS code with a patch, and the company expects motherboard vendors to distribute the patch (potentially in beta BIOS form) by next week.

        Earlier this week a growing number of complaints amassed from Windows gamers concerning the inability to launch Activision’s Destiny 2 with various Ryzen 3000 CPUs. On the Linux side of the fence, a fairly critical bug emerged that straight up prevented a system from booting with 5.0 or newer Linux kernels.

        It’s nice to have these both addressed and resolved within the first week of launch, and hopefully the motherboard vendors will act quickly to seed this patch to their users. Keep an eye on those BIOS updates!

      • AMD Ryzen 3000 systems need a BIOS fix for Linux, ‘Destiny 2′ issues

        Last week AMD officially released its new Ryzen 3000 Series CPUs and Radeon RX 5700 graphics cards, but there’s a small problem with the CPUs.

      • AMD Ryzen 3000 causes boot problems for some newer Linux distros

        Just last week AMD launched its latest Ryzen 3000 series of CPUs. The third-generation Ryzen chips are the first to be based on 7nm technology, but there is a problem for users of some Linux-based systems.

        For distributions based on newer versions of the Linux kernel, an issue renders systems unable to boot. Some users have managed to patch the systemd component with an older version to allow successful booting, but a BIOS update from AMD is what’s needed.

      • F2FS Gains Native SWAP File Support, Other Improvements

        F2FS remains a very interesting file-system and has seen particularly good adoption on newer Android devices while it continues to shine as well for laptop and desktop SSD storage. With Linux 5.3 there is finally native SWAP file support for F2FS that can make use of direct I/O for better swapping performance. F2FS is also getting the ability to pre-allocate physical blocks in a pinned file to avoid fragmentation in append-only workloads, more sanity checks, and a variety of bug fixes.

      • Linux 5.3 Picks Up Support For Compressed Firmware Files – Measurable Storage Savings

        SUSE’s Takashi Iwai has been working on support for loading compressed firmware files and with the Linux 5.3 driver core patches there is this support. On his own system, he started out with /lib/firmware occupying over 400MB of the disk. When making use of XZ compression, this dropped to around 130MB in total. Thus easily being able to shave off several hundred megabytes from the disk due to all these firmware blobs is an easy win.

        The firmware files remain compressed on disk while at firmware loading time into the kernel the decompression is done. Only XZ compression is currently supported. When the CONFIG_FW_LOADER_COMPRESS option is enabled, the kernel will first try to load a firmware file of the original name but otherwise falls back trying to load any file with the same name appended by the .xz extension.

    • Applications

      • GNU Rush Version 2,1

        Version 2.1 is available for download from GNU and Puszcza archives.
        This version fixes several minor bugs that appeared in previous release 2.0.

      • Customizable Weather Widget ‘Gis Weather’ 0.8.4 Released

        Gis Weather is an open-source desktop weather widget and indicator applet with highly customizable user interface.

      • A Brighter Future is Forecast for GNOME’s Weather App

        A wave of usability improvements are on the horizon for the humble GNOME Weather app.

        The current version of the meteorological must-have might have made my list of the best weather apps for Ubuntu and Linux Mint, but I quipped “aspects of its layout bug me”.

        And it seems I’m not alone.

        [...]

        Horizontal pagination seems like a logical introduction, as does separating hourly forecasts from the 10 day forecast.

        Relaying “current conditions” remains prominent in the redesign, but not at the expense of the overall layout.

        And while I like that the proposed redesign mentions the yr.no weather service that’s used as the backend, I especially like that the client as a whole makes better use of the data that this free service provides.

      • Fork Awesome Sprites for Beast

        The Font Awesome 5 package has some other nice features though, since it’s now based on an SVG icon set, it ships 3 large sprite files that can be used to address individual icons via anchors. For Beast, I decided to stick with the Font Awesome 4 look for now, but since there are good reasons not to use icon fonts and I had the infrastructure for using sprite icons already in place, I looked into ways to generate an SVG sprite file for Font Awesome 4.

        Around February 2018, Julien Deswaef and a few others decided to fork the Font Awesome 4 project as Fork-Awesome. Since then, Fork-Awesome has incorporated new icons and also generated an SVG icon set. Since it is forked from Font Awesome, it has all the Font Awesome 4 icons and can be used as a drop in replacement.

      • Some Cool Applications Developed by TeejeeTech!

        Linux is a kernel that is currently experiencing many developments. As a user, we might want to try other kernels or upgrade the latest kernel to a computer system. Users need to be careful when changing the kernel, because this section is one of the important parts of a computer system.

        But you can use Ukuu to make it easier to install and replace the kernel, because this application is an easy-to-use GUI Tool.

        Based on the information I got on the Teejectech web, Starting from version 19.01, Ukuu turned into a paid license. This is because of the lack of donations needed to continue developing this application. But for those of you who have donated to Ukuu in the past, you can contact Teejeetech via email if you want to request a paid license from this application.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • RetroArch will be Steam’s biggest emulation launch yet, coming July 30

        De Matteis tells Ars that this Steam version has been in the works “for a few months now,” and he expresses specific interest in using Steamworks’ Web API for future RetroArch builds. If such features are built, he says, that would create a fork in RetroArch’s build distribution; until then, what you download from RetroArch’s official site will be identical to the builds on Steam. (In a long-story-short explanation, De Matteis says that the Web API may prove necessary for the following red-tape reason: “There are certain licensing ‘how many angels can stand on the head of a pin’ issues that pertain to the Steamworks SDK and how the GPL license interprets what constitutes a system library or not.”)

        [...]

        In addition to answering our questions, De Matteis coughed up one interesting bit of additional news. The 1997 N64 racing game Extreme-G may receive a retail Steam launch at an undetermined point in the future, and should this come to pass, RetroArch and its Mupen64plus emulator will power the game’s Steam version. (De Matteis described this process as “talks,” as opposed to a confirmed retail launch.) This would be a wholly separate download from RetroArch’s free Steam download, and it would require publisher Throwback Entertainment to abide by a GPL license for the emulator front-end. “We went to great lengths to ensure all involved parties like Mupen64plus were kept in the loop on this and to make sure we got their approval,” De Matteis says.

      • Cortex Command from Data Realms goes open source

        Cortex Command, a side-scrolling 2D action game originally released back in 2012 has now officially gone open source.

        In the announcement, it seems this is part of a marketing drive for their new game Planetoid Pioneers Online. Quite a nice way to do it though, I’m certainly not complaining. I think it would be great if more developers did this to their older games to help them live on.

      • Double Fine Productions have delayed Psychonauts 2 until next year, all versions still planned

        Double Fine Productions announced on their Fig campaign for Psychonauts 2 that there’s going to be a delay, with it now due in 2020.

        Let’s get to the good news first, they continue to confirm all previously mentioned platforms will be delivered which obviously includes the Linux version, just like they said before. As for the delay, they simply said it will be “next year” with no clear roadmap being given out yet.

      • Fate Hunters, another roguelike card-game with Linux support is leaving Early Access soon

        Another possible game to look at if you enjoy the likes of Slay the Spire, as Fate Hunters from Tower Games has Linux support.

      • OpenHMD version 0.3.0 is out, almost three years after the last version

        The team behind OpenHMD have now officially announced version 0.3.0, which comes with a huge amount of changes and new hardware support.

        What exactly is OpenHMD? Its aim is to provide a FOSS API and drivers for hardware like Virtual Reality Headsets and Controllers. They’re hoping to support as many devices as they possibly can, while also being cross-platform.

        From this release they now support: 3Glasses D3 (first-party support from 3Glasses), Oculus Rift CV1 (rotational), HTC Vive and HTC Vive Pro (rotational), NOLO VR (Positional including Controller support), Windows Mixed Reality HMD support (rotational), Deepoon E2, GearVR Gen1. Sadly PSVR is currently disabled due to issues, sounds like it may return later though.

      • Top-down hard sci-fi space game “Rings of Saturn” to launch in Early Access next month

        Kodera Software have released a new trailer for their hard sci-f game Rings of Saturn, with a release date teaser for Steam Early Access included.

      • Ubuntu Will Make it Easier to Install Nvidia Drivers

        It’s about to get easier for Ubuntu LTS users to stay up-to-date with Nvidia’s stable graphics drivers. The Linux Experiment said via YouTube yesterday that Ubuntu plans to make these drivers part of its Stable Release Updates (SRU) program, which means users won’t have to rely on fiddly workarounds to install the latest drivers themselves.
        Ubuntu confirmed The Linux Experiment’s report on Twitter. (The company said it didn’t make an official announcement because it “decided it better to share an awesome video from a member of the wider community.”) It also said the change is “coming in an update, to your computer… [s]oon!” in response to another user.
        Ubuntu LTS typically doesn’t offer recent updates to apps, drivers and other software. The operating system is more focused on making sure everything remains as stable as possible than on providing access to the latest-and-greatest features. SRU offers a compromise by making it easy to install new versions of popular apps.

      • Ubuntu LTS Linux Distributions Will Now Get The Latest Nvidia Drivers Installed Automatically

        The Linux Experiment dropped the news on YouTube, reporting that Ubuntu LTS installs will now automatically include the latest proprietary Nvidia graphics driver in its standard system updates. The newest stable Nvidia driver, version 430, is already in the bionic-proposed repository for testing and should land on your Ubuntu 18.04 system soon.

        [...]

        The only oddity surrounding this announcement? Well, it’s a very impactful change but was seeded through a community YouTuber (albeit an excellent one), and not via a Canonical-penned blog or press release. The company responded to this on Twitter, saying “We decided it better to share an awesome video from a member of the wider community. Ubuntu is all about community, after all.”

      • Excellent! Ubuntu LTS Users Will Now Get the Latest Nvidia Driver Updates [No PPA Needed Anymore]

        You might be aware of the troubles to install the latest and greatest Nvidia binary driver updates on Ubuntu.

        By default, Ubuntu provides the open source Nvidia Nouveau drivers that some time result in Ubuntu being stuck at boot screen.

        You can also install the proprietary Nvidia driver in Ubuntu easily. The problem is that the Nvidia drivers in the default Ubuntu repositories are not the latest one. To solve this problem, Ubuntu introduced a dedicated PPA a few years back.

      • Top 30 Best Game Emulator Consoles for Linux System in 2019

        Everybody cherish those days when we used to play classic games all the time on retro consoles such as Sega, early PlayStations, and Nintendos. With personal computers getting beefier than ever and smartphones packing way much power than people imagined in those times, retro consoles are indeed in decline. However, you’re not the only one who’d like to play such old games on their modern, more recent hardware. There’s many like you and developers have created robust game emulator console systems which enable everyday Linux users to re-live those childhood nostalgias again. It’s our earnest desire to present you the best retro games emulator in this guide.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • The new userbase wiki

          When you find a kool feature in KDE software, you can write a small tutorial or just a small paragraph about it and the KDE Userbase Wiki is the right place to publish it. You don’t need to know how to code, have perfect English or know how MediaWiki’s formatting work, to contribute. We also need translators.

        • KDE Itinerary – Vector Graphic Barcodes

          have previously written about why we are interested in barcodes for the KItinerary extractor. This time it’s more about the how, specifically how we find and decode vector graphic barcodes in PDF files, something KItinerary wasn’t able to do until very recently.

          While PDF is a vector graphics format, most barcodes we encounter in there are actually stored as images. Technically this might not be the cleanest or most efficient way, but it makes KItinerary’s life very easy: We just iterate over all images found in the PDF, and feed them into the barcode decoder.

          It’s of course a bit more complicated to make this as efficient as possible, but conceptually you could script this with Poppler’s pdfimages command line tool and ZXing with just a few lines of code.

        • KDE Frameworks 5.60 Released With Many Changes & Fixes
        • KDE Frameworks 5.60.0

          KDE Frameworks are over 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the KDE Frameworks web page.

          This release is part of a series of planned monthly releases making improvements available to developers in a quick and predictable manner.

        • KDE Plasma5 for Slackware, introducing Qt 5.13 in the July’19 update

          Now that all major components of the KDE software stack have fresh new releases, I bundled them for Slackware-current and voila: KDE-5_19.07.

          I have uploaded KDE-5_19.07 to my ‘ktown‘ repository. As always, these packages are meant to be installed on a full installation of Slackware-current which has had its KDE4 removed first. These packages will not work on Slackware 14.2.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Andrei Lisita: Getting closer

          Since my last blog post I have been on a short vacation but I have also managed to make some progress on my GSoC project again with guidance from my mentor.

          [...]

          Every savestate also has a creation date which is displayed in the menu, but that’s certainly not as eye-catching as the screenshots.

          There are still many missing features and things that need improving (such as the date formatting) but with every commit I feel that I am getting closer to the finished project.

        • Friends of GNOME Update – June 2019

          In April we visited FOSS North in Gothenburg, Sweden and Linux Fest Northwest in Bellingham, Washington, USA. Our table at FOSS North was staffed by Kristi and Neil, and volunteers Bastian, Anisa and Stefano. GNOMEie Zeeshan Ali presented on open source geolocation. Molly and Sri were at LFNW, where Molly spoke about following through on a code of conduct. Kristi participated remotely in FLISOL. There were two hackfests in May, Rust+GNOME 2019 Hackfest#5 in Berlin and Gstreamer Spring Hackfest 2019 in Oslo. We’ll be in Portland, OR, USA in July for OSCON. After OSCON we‘ll be hosting a West Coast Hackfest, July 18th – 21st.

        • Google Summer of Code with Pitivi

          This summer I am working under the mentorship of Alexandru Băluț to improve the user experience of the Effects feature in Pitivi.

          In the first phase of my project, I worked on redesigning Pitivi’s “Effect Library” to allow users to easily find, organise and utilize their desired effects.

        • g_test_summary and g_get_console_charset in GLib 2.61.2

          Another short post about new APIs, this time from the upcoming 2.61.2 release. This time it’s two unrelated new APIs, which I’m covering together because they’re fairly short.

          g_test_summary() is a new API along the same lines as the existing g_test_bug() function. It’s to be called from within a unit test to provide a summary of the test to the test harness. In contrast, g_test_bug() provides a bug reference for the unit test. In this fashion, the two can be used to provide documentation within the test code of what the test is testing, how it goes about testing it, and which bug it’s checking for regressions in. The summary passed to g_test_summary() might be printed out as a comment in the test logs.

        • GNOME’s Mutter Picks Up Another Optimization For Helping DisplayLink-Type Hardware

          Collabora’s Pekka Paalanen landed another optimization this week into GNOME’s Mutter for further enhancing the performance of using DisplayLink hardware and similar secondary GPUs under this Linux desktop.

          Over the past few cycles we’ve seen a lot of improvements made for bettering the performance of DisplayLink USB graphics connected displays under the GNOME desktop environment. While the experience has already improved a lot, for GNOME 3.34 due out in September will be more optimizations.

    • Distributions

      • Top 5 Linux Distros That Are Worth Your Attention

        For users who do not know, Linux is a family of open source operating systems which is available in a large number of variations which are often referred to as “distros”. The word “open source” means that every Linux user holds the right to alter or redistribute their very own customised version of Linux with or without a charge.

        To make it easier to understand, the core of the OS which is the “Linux Kernel” can be referred to as a universal engine. While users have the option to choose the type of car body or the features that they desire, as per their wants and requirements. Due to its open source nature, the Linux Core is picked up by several organisations or even small group of computer nerds that have developed their very own “distro’s”. Out of hundreds of registered Linux flavours, we have compiled a list of top 5 options that you must check out.

      • Fedora Family

        • FPgM report: 2019-28

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora Program Management this week. I am on PTO the week of 15 July, so there will be no FPgM report or FPgM office hours next week.

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • Fedora vs. Ubuntu: Linux Distros Compared

          Fedora is a free and open source Linux-based operating system that has been around since 2003. Red Hat, the world’s largest open source company prior to being bought by IBM, sponsors the project. Fedora serves as the foundation for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, a version of Linux intended for companies and servers rather than personal desktop use.

          Ubuntu became the most popular Linux-based operating system not long after launching in 2004. Billionaire Mark Shuttleworth created a company called Canonical whose purpose was to create a version of Linux for general computer users. Ubuntu was that desktop.

      • Debian Family

        • Septor Linux For Surfing Internet Anonymously

          Septor Linux is based on Debian, and uses Tor technologies to make users anonymous online. Septor 2019.4 has Linux kernel 4.19 and customized version of KDE Plasma 5.14.3.

          If you do not know what Tor is, you can read this guide to know Tor in detail. But in short, Tor network transfers users requests through different other Tor clients used by people in other parts of the World which makes users completely anonymous. Due to this nature of transferring requests through many clients, it is also called the onion network.

        • Debian Edu 10 released as a complete Linux solution for schools

          After a few days of the release of the new Debian, the makers announce Debian Edu 10 that comes with updated software and new features.

          Skolelinux, which is another name for the Debian Edu operating system, is a variant of the Debian OS that is aimed at educational institutes. According to the official release notes, this OS can be used to set up a network of servers, workstations, and laptops, provide the Debian stability and configure network services itself, and manage systems and hundreds of user accounts. Thus, it can be beneficial for a significant percentage of schools, even those that have older computers.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • PSA: Ubuntu 18.10 Reaches End of Life Next Week

          But on the off chance that stragglers do exist let me stress, stern teacher style, that if you use Ubuntu 18.10 beyond July 18 you will not receive any further updates from Canonical.

          This means no new Firefox, no new Thunderbird, and no critical security fixes!

          So it behoves — wow, that’s the first time I’ve used that word in my life — those affected to upgrade soon, upgrade sharpish!

          Wonderfully, it’s super easy to upgrade to Ubuntu 19.04 from 18.10. I’m talking “click a button” easy.

          Sure, you’ll need to set aside a spare half an hour, use a reliable internet connection, and queue up some cat videos to pass the time with — but it is eminently doable.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • London Launches Open Source App for Homebuilding

        Bryden Wood, Cast, and the Mayor of London have launched a new app to speed up the capital’s home building. The freely-available app, titled PRISM, is aimed at the design and construction of high-quality, factory-built homes to address the current demand of 50,000+ houses per year.

      • Web Browsers

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • BSD

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • Towards Guix for DevOps

          Hey, there! I’m Jakob, a Google Summer of Code intern and new contributor to Guix. Since May, I’ve been working on a DevOps automation tool for the Guix System, which we’ve been calling guix deploy.

          The idea for a Guix DevOps tool has been making rounds on the mailing lists for some time now. Years, in fact; Dave Thompson and Chris Webber put together a proof-of-concept for it way back in 2015. Thus, we’ve had plenty of time to gaze upon the existing tools for this sort of thing — Ansible, NixOps — and fantasize about a similar tool, albeit with the expressive power of Guile scheme and the wonderful system configuration facilities of Guix. And now, those fantasies are becoming a reality.

          “DevOps” is a term that might be unfamiliar to a fair number of Guix users. I’ll spare you the detour to Wikipedia and give a brief explanation of what guix deploy does.

          Imagine that you’ve spent the afternoon playing around with Guile’s (web) module, developing software for a web forum. Awesome! But a web forum with no users is pretty boring, so you decide to shell out a couple bucks for a virtual private server to run your web forum. You feel that Wildebeest admirers on the internet deserve a platform of their own for discussion, and decide to dedicate the forum to that.

          As it turns out, C. gnou is a more popular topic than you ever would have imagined. Your web forum soon grows in size — attracting hundreds of thousands of simultaneous users. Despite Guile’s impressive performance characteristics, one lowly virtual machine is too feeble to support such a large population of Wildebeest fanatics. So you decide to use Apache as a load-balancer, and shell out a couple more bucks for a couple more virtual private servers. Now you’ve got a problem on your hands; you’re the proud owner of five or so virtual machines, and you need to make sure they’re all running the most recent version of either your web forum software or Apache.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Sweden’s digitalisation hub adopts open source policy [iophk: DIGG includes a bit of licensing FUD against GPL and copyleft]

          DIGG (Myndigheten för digital förvaltning, or agency for digital government) was founded in September 2018.

          Its open source software development policy aims to standardise and regulate ownership and set the conditions for sharing.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • University of California Loses Access to New Content in Elsevier Journals

            In a statement released Wednesday, UC’s Academic Council encouraged those at the university who might require access to Elsevier’s content to use alternative access methods, such as online repositories where authors deposit free-to-read copies of their papers, and to “refrain from any new independent subscriptions to Elsevier journals.”

            Over the last few months, Elsevier has established nationwide licensing agreements in Norway and Poland, and is close to making such a deal in Hungary. However, it remains in a stalemate in negotiations with consortia of libraries and research institutions in Germany and Sweden. Those groups have also cancelled their subscriptions with the publisher.

      • Programming/Development

        • PyBites: Code Challenge 62 – Women @ Pycon ES

          Coming thursday, the 18th of July 2019, we will organize a special challenge in collaboration with Python Alicante.

        • PSF GSoC students blogs: Coding period: week #7
        • PSF GSoC students blogs: Check in: Week 7
        • Interfaces are forever

          When we have write a function, we can sometimes change it in backwards-compatible ways. For example, we can loosen the type of a variable. We can restrict the type of the return value. We can add an optional argument.

          We can even have a backwards compatible path to make an argument required. We add an optional argument, and encourage people to change it. Then, in the next version, we make the default value be one that causes a warning. In a version after that, we make the value required. At each point, someone could write a library that worked with at least two consecutive versions.

          In a similar way, we can have a path to remove an argument. First make it optional. Then warn when it is passed in. Finally, remove it and make it an error to pass it in.

        • 10 Ways to Filter Pandas DataFrame

          In this article, we will cover various methods to filter pandas dataframe in Python. Data Filtering is one of the most frequent data manipulation operation. It is similar to WHERE clause in SQL or you must have used filter in MS Excel for selecting specific rows based on some conditions. In terms of speed, python has an efficient way to perform filtering and aggregation. It has an excellent package called pandas for data wrangling tasks. Pandas has been built on top of numpy package which was written in C language which is a low level language. Hence data manipulation using pandas package is fast and smart way to handle big sized datasets.

        • Contextual single

          Check out LibreOffice 6.3 release candidate and enjoy the new stuff come with it.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Fernando Corbató, a Father of Your Computer (and Your Password), Dies at 93

        Fernando Corbató, whose work on computer time-sharing in the 1960s helped pave the way for the personal computer, as well as the computer password, died on Friday at a nursing home in Newburyport, Mass. He was 93.

        His wife, Emily Corbató, said the cause was complications of diabetes. At his death he was a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

        Dr. Corbató, who spent his entire career at M.I.T., oversaw a project in the early 1960s called the Compatible Time-Sharing System, or C.T.S.S., which allowed multiple users in different locations to access a single computer simultaneously through telephone lines.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘We Cannot Overstate the Harm This Decision Will Have’: Oklahoma Judge Upholds Ban on Common Abortion Procedure

        The Center for Reproductive Rights on Friday announced its intention to keep fighting after an Oklahoma court upheld a ban on a common abortion procedure.

        “We cannot overstate the harm this decision will have on women in Oklahoma,” said Julie Rikelman, litigation director at the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), in a statement. CRR filed the suit on behalf of Tulsa Women’s Clinic to have the law stricken down.

        Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong’s ruling upholds House Bill 1721, a 2015 law that “targets a procedure known as dilation and evacuation (D and E), which is frequently used during second-trimester abortions,” as Rewire’s legislative tracker noted.

        The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has called D and E “evidence-based and medically preferred because it results in the fewest complications for women compared to alternative procedures.” Efforts to ban any particular type of procedure, the group said, “represent legislative interference at its worst: doctors will be forced, by ill-advised, unscientifically motivated policy, to provide lesser care to patients. This is unacceptable.”

      • US House Applauded for Approval of ‘Sweeping’ Provisions That Target Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

        Public health and environmental advocates celebrated a victory Friday as the U.S. House approved an amendment in the annual defense spending bill that would designate a class of “forever chemicals” as “hazardous substances” under the federal Superfund law.

        The amendment was one of several provisions targeting toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances—collectively called PFAS—that the Democratic-controlled House passed this week as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.

    • Security

      • Adjusting the Scope of our Security Vulnerability Disclosure Program

        At EFF we put security and privacy first. That’s why over three years ago we launched EFF’s Security Vulnerability Disclosure Program. The Disclosure Program is a set of guidelines on how security researchers can tell EFF about bugs in the software we develop, like HTTPS Everywhere or Certbot. When we launched the program, it was a bit of an experiment. After all, as a lean, member-driven nonprofit, we can’t give out the tremendous cash rewards that large corporations can provide for zero days. Instead, all we can offer security researchers in return for their hard work is recognition on our EFF Security Hall of Fame page and other non-cash rewards like EFF gear or complimentary EFF memberships.

        Despite the limited rewards, the program has been a tremendous success. As of June 1, 2019, we’ve had over seventy different security researchers report valid security vulnerabilities to us, as you can see on our Security Hall of Fame page.

      • Court: Computer Experts May Examine Georgia Voting Systems

        A federal court in Georgia has ruled that Georgia election officials must allow the Coalition for Good Governance to review the state’s election management databases. The Coalition argued that the databases “provide the roadmap that needs to be analyzed to identify flaws” in the state election system.

      • Hackers breach Canonical GitHub account [Ed: They breached a Microsoft GitHub account, but never blame Microsoft for anything...]

        Hackers compromised credentials to break into a Canonical Ltd. GitHub account…

      • Why recent hacks show Apple’s security strength, not its weakness [Ed: Spinning bug doors as a strength? Apple has its share of liars coming to the rescue of proprietary software (not the first such bug). Moving from Microsoft to Apple "for security" is like swapping vodka for rum to cure one's liver.]

        It might be tempting to follow that line of thinking in light of two recent stories of vulnerabilities affecting the Mac and the Apple Watch. In the first instance, the Zoom video-calling app could be abused to let someone spy on you through your webcam. In the second, a flaw in Apple’s Walkie Talkie app could let a hacker eavesdrop on your iPhone conversations. They’re both troubling security issues.

      • Eavesdropping Concerns Cause Apple Watch’s Walkie-Talkie App to Be Disabled

        Just like any other Internet of things device, it’s important to remember that smartwatches are still devices. And many cool features can also be used for unethical purposes. There is always another side of the coin.

        This is what Apple Watch users found this week when Apple disabled the Walkie-Talkie app when it was discovered that it allowed users to listen in on each other’s iPhone calls without the other person’s knowledge.

      • 250M Accounts Affected By ‘TrickBot’ Trojan’s New Cookie Stealing Ability

        Popular malware TrickBot is back and this time it has learned some new capabilities like stealing cookies. So far, it has infected around 250 million Gmail accounts.

        As per the research firm Deep Instinct, among the affected accounts, some belonging to the governments of the US, the UK, and Canada have also fallen victim to TrickBot.

      • TrickBooster – TrickBot’s Email-Based Infection Module – Deep Instinct

        Seeing a signed malware binary delivered to a customer environment prompted us to investigate further. We analyzed the malware sample and found swaths of PowerShell code in its memory. Analysis of this PowerShell code immediately led us to the conclusion that we are dealing with a mail-bot.

      • A better zip bomb

        This article shows how to construct a non-recursive zip bomb that achieves a high compression ratio by overlapping files inside the zip container. “Non-recursive” means that it does not rely on a decompressor’s recursively unpacking zip files nested within zip files: it expands fully after a single round of decompression. The output size increases quadratically in the input size, reaching a compression ratio of over 28 million (10 MB → 281 TB) at the limits of the zip format. Even greater expansion is possible using 64-bit extensions. The construction uses only the most common compression algorithm, DEFLATE, and is compatible with most zip parsers.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Amazon, Microsoft Wage War Over the Pentagon’s ‘War Cloud’

        Amazon and Microsoft are battling it out over a $10 billion opportunity to build the U.S. military its first “war cloud” computing system. But Amazon’s early hopes of a shock-and-awe victory may be slipping away.

        Formally called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure plan, or JEDI, the military’s computing project would store and process vast amounts of classified data, allowing the Pentagon to use artificial intelligence to speed up its war planning and fighting capabilities. The Defense Department hopes to award the winner-take-all contract as soon as August. Oracle and IBM were eliminated at an earlier round of the contract competition.

        But that’s only if the project isn’t derailed first. It faces a legal challenge by Oracle and growing congressional concerns about alleged Pentagon favoritism toward Amazon. Military officials hope to get started soon on what will be a decade-long business partnership they describe as vital to national security.

        “This is not your grandfather’s internet,” said Daniel Goure, vice president of the Lexington Institute, a defense-oriented think tank. “You’re talking about a cloud where you can go from the Pentagon literally to the soldier on the battlefield carrying classified information.”

        Amazon was considered an early favorite when the Pentagon began detailing its cloud needs in 2017, but its candidacy has been marred by an Oracle allegation that Amazon executives and the Pentagon have been overly cozy. Oracle has a final chance to make its case against Amazon — and the integrity of the government’s bidding process — in a court hearing Wednesday.

        “This is really the cloud sweepstakes, which is why there are such fierce lawsuits,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • This Chrome Extension Calls Out Sponsored YouTube Videos

        Federal Trade Commission guidelines for social media endorsements require that influencers prominently disclose if they receive anything—cash, gifts, or something else—that could affect how users view their mention of a company or product. However, few do. Last year, an analysis of over 500,000 YouTube videos and more than 2.1 million Pinterest pins conducted by the Princeton researchers found that influencers rarely disclose their connections to such affiliate marketing links.

        Even users savvy about influencer marketing can find it hard to identify affiliate marketing links. A new browser extension released by some of the same Princeton researchers makes them more obvious.

        The extension, dubbed AdIntuition, displays a hot pink banner warning users that “This video contains affiliate links. If you click on highlighted links, the creator receives a commission.” The extension was released this week for the Chrome and Firefox browsers. The researchers say they’re interested in applying it to other browsers and platforms, like email lists or blogs, as well. Getting it inside apps—even YouTube’s app—poses additional challenges, researcher Arunesh Mathur said.

      • Top Assange Defense Account Deleted By Twitter

        One of the biggest Twitter accounts dedicated to circulating information and advocacy for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, @Unity4J, has been completely removed from the site. The operators of the account report that they have been given no reason for its removal by Twitter staff, and have received no response to their appeals.

        Any Assange supporter active on Twitter will be familiar with the Unity4J account, which originated to help boost the wildly successful Unity4J online vigils in which well-known Assange defenders would appear to speak out against his persecution. As of this writing, the account has been gone for a day and a half.

        “About 8:45am CST on Thursday July 11, one of our Unity4J Twitter team members went to retweet on the account and noticed that the account was no longer accessible,” reports pro-Assange activist Christy Dopf, one of the operators of the account. “When each of us also attempted to access the account we all received the same message ‘Account Suspended’. Twitter did not send us a reason or violation for the suspension. So an appeal was submitted. We did receive correspondence that Twitter got our request and the case is currently open. Unfortunately we do not have a timeline on how long this could take.”

        [...]

        The censorship of political speech on online media platforms is a large and growing problem. Twitter has been better about this than the far more sycophantic Facebook and Google, but the discrimination against anti-establishment political speech is undeniable at this point. I myself was removed from the platform last year just for saying the world would be better off without warmongering US Senator John McCain in it, and was only restored after protests from high-profile Twitter users.

        In a corporatist system of government, in which there is no meaningful separation of corporate power and state power, corporate censorship is state censorship. With giant Silicon Valley corporations aligning themselves with shady state-funded propagandistic think tanks like the Atlantic Council, being admonished on the Senate floor that they must help quash political rebellion, and being targeted for narrative control influence by the US military, there’s vanishingly little difference between what’s happening more and more to political speech with these tech giants and what happens in overtly totalitarian governments. The only difference is the stories people choose to tell themselves about it.

      • EPIC, Coalition Ask Congress to Block CIA Proposal to Limit Agency Accountability

        EPIC and a coalition of government transparency advocates have urged Senate and House leaders to remove a proposed change to the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 that would dramatically expand the crime of disclosing the identity of intelligence agents. The CIA has been lobbying Congress to modify the Intelligence Identities Protection Act’s penalties, which could be applied to whistleblowers, public interest organizations, and journalists who try to expose mismanagement, fraud, and corruption in the intelligence community.

    • Environment

      • Indonesia President Joko vows to fight EU palm oil rules

        Brussels wants to limit the materials that can be used in fuel that is counted towards its renewable energy targets.

        It has set a 2030 limit for phasing out palm oil, which environmentalists say drives deforestation and climate change.

        But the plans have angered big palm oil-producing nations like Indonesia and Malaysia, whose economies are dependent on the commodity.

      • The real victims of the palm oil industry are orangutans

        Two nations, Indonesia and Malaysia, provide the world with more than 80 per cent of the palm oil used in everything from biofuel and cooking oil to lipstick and chocolate. Last September, amid concerns over the diminishing habitat for endangered species and dangerous carbon emissions from mass burnings to clear land, Indonesia stopped issuing new licences for palm oil plantations.

        But as Hope’s plight shows, directives issued in air-conditioned government offices can mean little in poor villages. The global appetite for palm oil is still voracious.

      • With funding from palm oil and schools, Indonesia’s terror group Jemaah Islamiah set for resurgence in Malaysia, Singapore

        With members steeped in extremist doctrine and regarded as better trained than the al-Qaeda, the group has found new financial stability with steady income generated from the palm oil industry and a score of private religious schools to revive its militant activities that will likely include reviving its cells in Malaysia and Singapore, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported yesterday.

      • Instagrammers flocking to a gorgeous Siberian lake have been warned not to swim in it because it’s a chemical dump for a coal plant

        Instagram users have been warned against swimming in the body of water, a man-made lake nicknamed the “Novosibirsk Maldives” because its vibrant blue color comes from metal oxides dumped in it from a nearby coal plant, according to recent reports from CNN, The Moscow Times, and Mashable.

      • Instagrammers warned against swimming in toxic Siberian ‘Maldives’ lake

        “In the last week, our ash dump of the Novosibirsk TEZ-5 has become the star of social networks,” it said. “But you CANNOT swim in the ash dump. Its water has high alkaline environment. This is due to the fact that calcium salts and other metal oxides are dissolved in it. Skin contact with such water may cause an allergic reaction!”

      • Show Your Stripes: visualizing climate change in your location by displaying 100 years of average temperatures in color bars

        Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist, created Show Your Stripes as a way to easily visualize the past century’s climate change: give it a location and it will render a series of stripes representing a century’s worth of average annual temperatures [...]

      • Government Scientists Warn Americans Should Brace For ‘Floodier’ Future

        A report released Wednesday by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that sunny day flooding, also known as tidal flooding, will continue to increase.

      • Brussels calls on Madrid, Barcelona to do more to combat air pollution

        The European Commission has warned Spain it may face disciplinary action if it does not introduce tougher measures to reduce air pollution. According to sources from the European Union, environmental inspectors are keeping Spain “in the waiting room” while they decide whether to take the country to the EU Court of Justice over its failure to meet EU pollution thresholds.

      • Energy

        • Louisiana Braces for a Storm While Weighing New Fossil Fuel Projects

          Yesterday, I stopped writing another story for DeSmog to get ready for what could likely become this year’s first hurricane in the U.S.

          I live in Mandeville, Louisiana, on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain across from New Orleans. My home is above sea level, unlike much of New Orleans, so I’m at a much lower risk for flooding impacts than residents of a city nearly synonymous with flooding.

          However, like most residents in south coastal Louisiana, I’m bracing myself for a sustained barrage from the sky, as bands of rain and wind from Tropical Storm Barry arrived in parts of the state this morning. The entire Louisiana coast could be hit with the season’s first hurricane by Saturday.

        • Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez Unveil Climate Emergency Declaration

          After Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday introduced a resolution declaring the climate crisis a national emergency, grassroots environmental groups pressured members of Congress to back the declaration and heed its call for transformative action.

          “Instead of remaining complicit in worsening the effects of climate change, members of Congress in both the House and Senate must respond to this resolution with the urgency and support that this moment demands,” said climate group Extinction Rebellion, which is holding a rally in Washington, D.C. Tuesday evening to urge lawmakers to sign on to the emergency declaration.

          “Today we stand in solidarity with tens of millions of people from around the world in calling for a mass mobilization of our social and economic resources,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement. “Working to solve the climate crisis will create tens of millions of union jobs, empower communities, and improve the quality of life for people across the globe.”

          The resolution, also sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), states “there is a climate emergency which demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address its consequences and causes.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Save the Whales

          Two new documentaries share by pure coincidence the threat to sea mammals posed by venal Chinese consumerism.

          “Long Gone Wild”, which is available across all VOD platforms on July 16th, picks up where “Blackfish” left off. Made in 2013, “Blackfish” exposed the cruel exploitation of orcas at SeaWorld, where they were confined to unnatural, prison-like conditions and forced to perform circus-type tricks until the 12,500-pound Tilikum began to take vengeance on two of his trainers and a hapless trespasser. “Long Gone Wild” demonstrates that while SeaWorld made significant concessions to activists and scientists, it has continued to explore ways in which the killer whale can be commodified. Ironically, the nomenclature “killer whale” seems inappropriate since it is profit-seeking that is the real killer, especially as China has become the new SeaWorld colossus with Russia supplying most of the kidnapped creatures for big money.

          “Sea of Shadows”, which opens at The Landmark at 57 West and Quad Cinema in New York today, concerns the vaquita, the smallest porpoise in existence. It is poised on the edge of extinction largely as collateral damage created once again by China. It turns out that the swimming bladder of the totoaba, a member of the drum family, is prized by Chinese for its medicinal properties and that can command $40,000 on the black market just like rhinoceros horns and other animal organs taken from animals at the top of the food chain. The fisherman of San Felipe, a seacoast village in Baja California, have begun using gillnets to snare the totoaba but the vaquitas are caught as well. Except for a small minority of fishermen in the village who disavow such wasteful practices, the rest are willing to break the law as part of cartel run by local gangsters and their Chinese middle-men.

          “Long Gone Wild” is directed by William Neal, who has a long television career making commercial junk like Unsolved Mysteries for the Lifetime Network but who also considers himself an animal lover, with a particular passion for orcas. What makes the film stand out is his inclusion of a virtual who’s who of experts on orcas in captivity and in their natural state, which is about as far removed from SeaWorld as a Sing Sing prison cell would be from a country home in Vermont.

      • Overpopulation

        • Plant Researchers Brace for Population Explosion

          The global population continues to rise. By the middle of the century, it could reach 10 billion people, according to forecasts. The United Nations (UN) has calculated that between 2050 and 2070, twice as much food will have to be produced than now. Yet the conditions for this are worse than they were during the Green Revolution several decades ago.

          The fact is, in order to avoid exacerbating climate change, the amount of cultivated land should not increase. No new piece of rainforest should be cleared to make way for new fields, according to the UN’s plan. Every additional calorie must, therefore, be created on existing fields and pastures. It may sound counterintuitive, but according to the UN, in order to produce food sustainably in the long term, more intensive agriculture will be needed.

        • The world’s population is nearing 8 billion. That’s not great news

          It took thousands of years for the global population to hit 5 billion, which happened in 1987. Some 32 years later, we’re closing in on 8 billion.

          This explosive growth concerns leaders at the United Nations, who created World Population Day in 1989 to raise awareness about the problems caused by overpopulation. The holiday is observed annually on July 11.

          The planet’s population today is 7.7 billion. How mind-bogglingly huge is that number? If you started now and ticked off 7.7 billion seconds, you wouldn’t be done until the year 2263.

          And by 2050, the world is projected to add another 2 billion people.
          If we have issues with overpopulation now, just image the future impact on the planet. Here’s a closer look at some global population trends.

    • Finance

      • Sanders Joins Union Leaders and Healthcare Workers In Protesting ‘Corporate Greed’-Fueled Private Equity Sale of Philadelphia Hospital

        Sen. Bernie Sanders joined hundreds of union workers and Philadelphia community members on Thursday in decrying the planned closure of Hahnemann University Hospital, whose assets were recently put up for sale by Joel Freedman, the private equity executive who bought it last year.

        The 171-year-old hospital, which has served low-income residents since before the Civil War and which tens of thousands of people rely on for their primary care, will not simply be sold to another healthcare company, but will rather go to the highest bidder, with its real estate likely being taken over to develop luxury condos and hotels in a neighborhood that’s considered a “gateway location” for gentrification.

        Sanders denounced the planned closing in an editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer, while hundreds of people rallied outside the hospital.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Warren responds to Trump retreat on census citizenship question: ‘Wow, he’s going to follow the law?’

        Warren said Trump’s insistence on collecting data on people’s citizenship status fit into a broader pattern of behavior for the president, accusing him of routinely pitting Americans of different races, religions and ethnicities against one another.

      • The White House Social Media Summit Was as Bonkers as We Expected

        The White House did not invite the big social media companies to its event on purported bias against conservatives. There was no constructive conversation around the many and varied problems of social media to be had on Thursday. The public portion of the much-publicized event instead resembled a live reenactment of one of Trump’s early-morning tweetstorms.

      • One day encapsulated everything that’s wrong with Fox News[iophk: it is the only program available in many geographical areas.]

        Tuesday may have been an especially ugly day for Fox News, but it wasn’t particularly unusual. The network regularly comes under fire for spreading conspiracy theories, amplifying white nationalist themes, and pulling out all the stops to demean critics of President Trump.

        Yet Fox News was the most watched outlet on all of basic cable in the second quarter of this year, marking 70 consecutive quarters that it has been the most watched cable news network.

      • [Old] In this town, TV news is often the same
      • [Old] Sinclair Broadcasting under fire for fake news script

        A viral clip highlighting a mandatory promo released by the right-wing Sinclair Broadcasting company, which owns more than 200 local news stations across the country, has drawn widespread concern.

        A video compilation of dozens of local news anchors repeating the same script was released by Deadspin over the weekend, and now the nation’s largest owner of local television stations is facing backlash for its pro-Trump propaganda.

      • Feds allow campaigns to accept discounted cybersecurity services [iophk: fails to note the fundamental cause of the problems: Microsoft products]

        The Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Thursday approved a request from a private company to provide discounted cybersecurity services to political campaigns, saying it did not violate campaign finance rules.

      • Donald Trump accuses Facebook and Twitter of ‘terrible bias’

        Speaking at the Presidential Social Media Summit in the White House on Thursday, Trump – best known for his 1989 appearance in Ghosts Can’t Do It – said: “We’re not going to be silenced,” as he accused social media companies Facebook, Twitter and Google of “terrible bias” against him.

      • Judge allows outside inspection of Georgia voting system

        Voters reported that voting machines failed to record their choices, flipped their votes from one candidate to another and produced questionable results.

      • Georgia’s new voting system actually decreases election security, say experts

        Despite this, the commission ultimately did not recommend measures backed by Lee and his colleagues at places like Stanford, Yale, Princeton, MIT, and Google—including the recommendation that the state return to a system of paper ballots filled out by hand, combined with what scientists call risk-limiting audits. Instead, the commission recommended buying a system that included another, more expensive touchscreen voting machine that prints a paper ballot. Months later, Lee was at a loss to explain: “I don’t understand why they still don’t understand,” he said.

      • Judge: Georgia must allow inspection of election databases

        The lawsuit was filed by a group of voters and the Coalition for Good Governance, an election integrity advocacy organization. It argues that the paperless touchscreen voting machines Georgia has used since 2002 are unsecure, vulnerable to [attacks] and unable to be audited.

      • Al Qaeda releases maiden video on Kashmir; issues threats to army, govt

        The video was been checked by the security agencies who believed that it was an attempt to unite the disgruntled terrorist ranks in the valley, officials said.

      • Why Is The Washington Post Publishing Blatantly False Propaganda About Section 230?

        One of the big points we keep making about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is that we totally get it when grandstanding politicians or online trolls misrepresent the law. But the media should not be complicit in pumping blatantly false statements. While I may disagree with them personally, there are intellectually honest arguments for why Section 230 should be amended or changed. I’m happy to debate those arguments. What’s ridiculous, however, is when the arguments are based on a completely false reading of the law. And no upstanding news organization should allow blatant misinformation like that. However, with all the misguided screaming about “liberal bias” in the media, newspapers like the Washington Post and the NY Times seem to feel like they need to publish blatant disinformation, to avoid having trolls and idiots accuse them of bias.

        Even so, the Washington Post’s decision to publish this op-ed by Charlie Kirk attacking Section 230 may be the worst we’ve seen. It is so full of factually false information, misleading spin, and just downright disinformation that no respectable publication should have allowed it to be published. And yet, there it is in the Washington Post — one of the major news organizations that Donald Trump likes to declare “fake news.” If you’re unaware of Kirk, he’s a vocal Trump supporter, who runs an organization called Turning Point USA that appears to specialize in playing the victim in all sorts of ridiculous conspiracies… all while (hypocritically) arguing that his political opponents (“the libs”) are always acting as victims and are “training a generation of victims who are being trained to be offended by something.” And yet, it seems that it’s really Kirk who is always offended.

      • ‘We Have a President Who Lost the Popular Vote by Three Million’: Sanders Backs Abolishing the Electoral College

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday expressed support for abolishing the Electoral College, arguing it is difficult to justify a system that allows a candidate to become president after losing the popular vote by a large margin.

        “It is hard to defend a system in which we have a president who lost the popular vote by three million votes,” Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said during a town hall hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens. “So the answer is yes.”

      • ‘Visit the Camps Yet?’ Campaign Urges Pelosi to See for Herself the Horrific Conditions at Trump Detention Centers

        Instead of attacking members of Congress who are fighting to end the appalling conditions inside President Donald Trump’s immigrant detention facilities, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should visit the camps to see firsthand the abuse taking place at the southern border.

        That’s the message of a new pressure campaign by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), which slammed Pelosi for agreeing last month to pass a $4.6 billion border funding bill with no safeguards for immigrant children.

        PCCC said in a petition circulated Thursday that Pelosi and other supporters of the legislation—including members of the conservative Blue Dog caucus—should see for themselves the mistreatment they are enabling by continuing to appropriate money for Border Patrol, ICE, and other agencies.

        “Speaker Pelosi, visit the camps!” the petition reads. “And bring the conservative Democrats with you—so you can all see why Trump’s child abuse at the border needs to be reined in now.”

        In an email to supporters late Thursday, PCCC said the border funding bill “gave Trump billions with no strings attached to help the kids and families trapped in dehumanizing camps.”

        “Then,” said PCCC, “Pelosi attacked [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] for standing up for the families—further playing into the hands of Trump, [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell, and conservative Democrats!”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The hate-speech law will turn the Internet into television

        The proposed bill from Laetitia Avia claims its ambition to make the “Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel” (CSA, French Superior Council of the Audiovisual) platforms’ supervisor in the fight against online hate speech. Actually, the law goes much further than its proclaimed goal. As feared for several years, it begins the transformation of the authority into a major regulator of the Internet, along the lines of the “Comité Supérieur de la Télématique” (French High Council for Telematics) that François Fillon has proposed since 1996. Entrenching the dangerous conflation of the Internet and television, the Avia bill contributes to the centralisation and the increasing extra-judicial nature of the Internet. It could risk transforming the CSA into a dark version of the ORTF (the French national radio and TV censor body in place from 1964 to 1974).

      • Senator Graham Spreads A Bunch Of Nonsense About ‘Protecting Digital Innocence’ Online

        It starts out with a prosecutor from South Carolina, Duffie Stone, moral panicking about basically everything. Encryption is evil. Children are being sex trafficked online. And, um, gangs are recruiting members with (gasp) music videos. Later he complains that some of those kids (gasp!) mock law enforcement in their videos. Something must be done! The second speaker, a law professor, Angela Campell, claims that we need more laws “for the children!” She also goes further and says that the FTC should go after Google and others for not magically stopping scammy companies from existing. Then there was this guy, Christopher McKenna, from an organization (“Protect Young Eyes!”) dedicated to moral panics, telling all sorts of unbelievable anecdotes about evil predators stalking young people on Instagram and “grooming” them. Remember, that actual data on this kind of activity shows that it’s actually quite rare (not zero, and that’s not excusing it when it does happen, but the speaker makes it sound like every young girl on Instagram is likely to be at risk of sex trafficking). He also asks the government to require an MPAA/ESRB-style “rating” system for apps — apparently unaware that laws attempting to require such ratings have been struck down as unconstitutional, and the MPAA/ESRB ratings only exist through voluntary agreements.

      • Trump accuses Twitter and Facebook of censoring him and conservative commentators during bizarre ‘social-media summit’

        President Donald Trump hosted a freewheeling meeting at the White House on Thursday, where he once again accused social-media companies like Twitter and Facebook of censoring him and conservative voices.

      • The Nazi-Free Alternative to Twitter Is Now Home to the Biggest Far Right Social Network

        Though larger social media companies like Twitter and Facebook have banned neo-Nazi and far-right content outright, Gab has not meaningfully cracked down. The effect has been to drive militant neo-Nazis to Gab and other fringe social media sites like Minds. While Gab says it enforces a strict content policy outlawing extremism and hate speech, neo-Nazi terror groups have enjoyed months-long, unfettered stints posting their content on Gab to a significant audience.

      • Trump slams tech firms at ‘free speech’ social media summit

        Although any censorship of mainstream conservative views has yet to be established, the big tech companies have been under recent pressure to ensure that their platforms are not used to disseminate extremist content. Twitter has banned hate speech targeting someone’s race, gender and other categories, while Facebook has banned extremist figures such as Alex Jones of the conspiracy theory and fake news website Infowars and Louis Farrakhan of the African-American political and religious movement Nation of Islam.

      • If this is the oldest Danish porn, does that make Glenn Ford the earliest fluffer?

        The use of an identified magazine supports the possibility that the blue movie ‘Trøst’ was made in 1946, a year before the current record holder.

      • Laura Loomer Files Defamation Suit Against Facebook For Calling Her ‘Dangerous’ When Booting Her From The Platform

        Having failed to convince a federal court that multiple social media services are engaged in a First Amendment-thwarting conspiracy against far right sideshows like Laura Loomer, Larry Klayman is back with another federal lawsuit featuring his new favorite plaintiff. It’s a defamation lawsuit that attempts to portray moderation explanations by Facebook as malicious statements meant to destroy Loomer’s reputation.

      • President Trump Loses — Government Can’t Block Critics on Social Media

        In a long-awaited ruling, the Second Circuit has found that the replies section on President Trump’s Twitter @realDonaldTrump is a public forum and that the President cannot block his critics from reading his tweets or participating in the forum merely because his dislikes the views they express. This ruling, along with two previous federal appellate court decisions, directly affects thousands of government social media accounts across the country. Government officials and agencies who operate their social media accounts as public or non-public forums must not delete comments or block users because the officials disagree with the viewpoints expressed.

        The President and his advisors had admitted earlier in the case that they blocked the plaintiffs because they disagreed with the viewpoints they expressed in their replies. As a result, the case addressed only the issue of viewpoint discrimination, and not any other reason for blocking, such as harassment.

        The Second Circuit made several important findings.

        First, the court found that @realDonaldTrump is in fact controlled and maintained by the government, and used to conduct official governmental business. The Court relied on the bio in the @realDonaldTrump profile and other public statements and documented how he used the account to announce changes in his cabinet, changes in government policy positions, and even informing the public about talks with North Korea about nuclear disarmament. In finding that the blocking was state, and not private, action, the court rejected the government’s argument that the President still used the account as a private person, and found it irrelevant that he originally started the account as a private citizen.

      • SPLC Asks Court To Toss Proud Boy Founder’s Defamation Lawsuit By Asking ‘Where’s The Lie?’

        A few months ago, Proud Boys founder (and Vice co-founder) Gavin McInnes sued the Southern Poverty Law Center over a bunch of negative things it said about him and the “western chauvinist” group he founded. The SPLC designated the Proud Boys as a “hate group,” citing lots of hateful things its members have said/participated in.

        As is the wont of far too many “free speech warriors” who believe free speech means everyone else shutting the hell up and letting them spew their ignorance, Gavin McInnes decided the opinion of the SPLC was actionable libel. It isn’t. Not even in Alabama. Unfortunately, the state has no anti-SLAPP law, so the SPLC must defend itself against McInnes’ ridiculous claims with almost zero hope of recovering any of its legal costs.

        If you want to know everything wrong with McInnes’ claims, Mike Masnick’s very thorough post goes into great detail about the stupidity of the lawsuit, the hypocrisy of McInnes and his legal rep (Ron Coleman), and disingenuousness of attempting to use government force to silence certain people’s opinions while pretending you’re so very worried about the state of free speech in America.

        To sum up briefly, McInnes claims the SPLC’s “hate group” claim rises above mere opinion because… some people might agree with the SPLC’s assessment of the Proud Boys. McInnes, as the founder of the Proud Boys, claims this has harmed him directly, as have a number of allegedly-defamatory claims made about him directly by the SPLC.

      • Controversial platform Gab slams White House for not inviting it to social media summit

        Gab, the controversial social media platform that has been criticized for hosting white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups, on Thursday slammed the White House for not inviting it to President Trump’s social media summit.

        The White House social media summit, set for Thursday afternoon, boasts a guest list of high-profile online conspiracy theorists and right-wing figures who have crusaded against the country’s largest tech companies for allegedly censoring right-wing perspectives.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Sajid Javid ignores critics and backs cops’ facial recognition trials

        The Home Secretary, who recently came runner up in this year’s Britain’s Got Tories, said it was important that police made use of the controversial mug-scanning technology to help them solve crimes, despite the fact that 81 per cent of the time, it’s wrong every time.

        Speaking at the launch of new computer technology aimed at helping police fight against online child abuse, as per the BBC, Javid said it was right for forces to “be on top of the latest technology.”

      • Google’s latest attempt at a social network is called Shoelace and it wants to connect more people in real life

        Shoelace is a product of Google’s internal startup incubator, known as Area 120. For now, the Android and iOS versions are invite-only within “select communities” and available only in New York City.

        A Google spokesperson told Business Insider on Thursday: “One of the many projects that we’re working on within Area 120 is Shoelace, an app that helps people meet others with similar interests in person through curated activities. Like other projects within Area 120, it’s an early experiment so there aren’t many details to share right now.”

      • Microsoft sneaks telemetry into Windows 7 security updates

        Therefore, there’s only one word to describe this sneaky addition – contemptuous. Microsoft has broken its own rules here and been flippin’ sneaky about it – which suggests to these tired eyes that there’s going to be a return to pop-up reminders about why you should upgrade ad nauseum for the next six months.

      • Trump Warns Facebook Over Its Plan to Create a Digital Currency [iophk: tweets in place of official statements :( ]

        Trump’s Twitter comments add to the political heat that the world’s largest social network is already facing in Washington over its cryptocurrency agenda. Lawmakers are preparing to grill the company on Libra at two hearings scheduled for next week and Facebook executives have been holding meetings across Capitol Hill for days to try to ease their concerns.

      • Google says its workers are listening to and transcribing your Google Assistant commands

        It’s not just Amazon’s Alexa that is listening in on your commands — a new report from Dutch publication VRT NWS reveals that Google is also keeping an ear on our conversations.

        According to VRT NWS, the technology company hires independent contractors around the world to listen to and transcribe audio recordings picked up by Google Assistant in order to improve the technology.

        A Google spokesman confirmed this in a statement to Business Insider and said that its language experts transcribe “a small set of queries” – around 0.2% of all audio snippets – and that this work is “critical” to developing technology that powers products such as Google Assistant.

      • Is Twitter Down? Users Report Issues With Social Media Website

        Twitter confirmed on its status website that there was an active incident, which was described as a service disruption. Twitter informed users that the organization was investigating the issue people were having with accessing the website and promised to keep people updated on the situation.

        Earlier on Thursday, users complained that Reddit had issues as well. When attempting to access the website from a desktop, users saw the “Ow!” error message and were informed that their “CDN” was unable to reach servers. However, it seemed the problem didn’t carry over to the mobile version of the website because users were still able to access it and browse subreddits on mobile devices.

      • London Police Facial Recognition ‘Fails 80% Of The Time And Must Stop Now’

        London’s Metropolitan Police’s controversial trial of facial recognition technology to spot suspects failed to work 80% of the time and could be ruled illegal, according to researchers.

        The researchers from the University of Essex said the problems were so bad that the use of facial recognition by the Met should be stopped immediately.

      • Digital Rights Group Says Facial Recognition Surveillance ‘Simply Should Not Exist’

        BanFacialRecognition.com is the digital rights group’s latest online call to action, featuring an online form that quickly connects people to their local, state, and federal lawmakers. The website makes the case that Silicon Valley lobbyists are “trying to avoid the real debate: whether technology this dangerous should even exist.”

      • ICE and the Ever-Widening Surveillance Dragnet

        Three years ago, the center revealed that nearly half of all U.S. adults are already in the FBI’s facial-recognition database, which is largely sourced from DMV photos. The documents uncovered this week are the first confirmation that states have granted ICE specifically, not just the FBI, access to those databases.

      • FTC Approves Roughly $5 Billion Facebook Settlement

        The Federal Trade Commission has endorsed a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook Inc. over a long-running probe into the tech giant’s privacy missteps, according to people familiar with the matter.

        FTC commissioners this past week voted 3-2 in favor of the agreement, with the Republican majority backing the pact while Democratic commissioners objected, the people said. The matter has been moved to the Justice Department’s civil division and it is unclear how long it will take to finalize, one of the people said. Justice Department reviews are part of FTC procedure but typically don’t change the outcome of a decision by the commission.

        A settlement is expected to tighten government restrictions on how Facebook treats user privacy. The additional terms of the settlement couldn’t immediately be learned.

      • WSJ Reports that FTC Agrees to $5B Fine Against Facebook

        The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly approved a $5 billion fine against Facebook, the largest fine in the Commission’s history. EPIC brought the original complaint to the FTC that led to the 2011 Consent Order against Facebook.

      • Is a Big Tech Breakup Coming Soon? Don’t Hold Your Breath

        Last October, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a series of hearings on competition and consumer protection, including one focused on a major concern held by critics: big tech company acquisitions of nascent and potential competitors in the digital economy. In June, reports emerged that enforcement agencies had launched investigations to determine whether big tech companies are violating antitrust laws, with the FTC focusing on Amazon and Facebook and the Department of Justice (DOJ) examining Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and Apple.

      • EPIC Urges FAA to Act on Drone ID Broadcast Requirement

        The EU will require real-time broadcasting of the drone operator registration number, the geographical position of the drone, the drone route course, and the position of the drone operator. In a letter to the FAA earlier this year, Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and John Thune (R-SD) also urged the FAA to establish a rule for the real-time, remote identification of drones.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi heckled in London over press censorship

        Qureshi was attending a press conference on ‘Defend Media Freedom’ in London on Thursday when the incident took place, days after Pakistan Electronic Media Regula­tory Authority (Pemra) suspended transmission of three private TV channels for airing an interview of jailed former President Asif Ali Zardari.

      • All the President’s Trolls

        That online culture has turned into a major tool in Trump’s quest for reelection. Amid the chaos of his first term and his fervent insistence that a second term in office will “Keep America Great,” Trump has looked to his online followers to provide a repeat of their 2016 performance, when they produced copious memes to boost the real estate mogul’s campaign.

        A few months into the 2020 campaign, @CarpeDonktum, who has so far managed to stay anonymous and has said he hopes to stay that way to avoid threats to his family, has emerged as this election cycle’s most influential meme-maker. (@CarpeDonktum did not respond to an interview request from Foreign Policy.)

      • Shireen Mazari promises swift action against online trolls targeting women journalists

        Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari met with representatives from The Coalition For Women In Journalism (CFWIJ) on Thursday and assured them that the government takes the issue of threats against journalists seriously and is working to address it.

      • Amal Clooney Slams Donald Trump Over “Fake News” Attacks On Media

        However, Hunt conceded that his own country itself must “do better”, after being ranked 33rd in the 2019 world press freedom index by campaign group Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

      • Reporters Without Borders Urges Saudi Arabia to Free 30 Jailed Journalists

        A delegation from Reporters Without Borders met with top Saudi officials this year, including the foreign minister and justice minister, the organization said, in a visit that was spurred by widespread outrage about the killing of the Saudi dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi.

        The main objective of the trip was to urge the Saudi government to free the 30 journalists, but the kingdom’s dismal ranking in the organization’s annual press freedom index also became a focus of conversation, according to Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, who was part of the delegation. Saudi Arabia was ranked 172nd out of 180 countries on the group’s annual list for 2019.

      • Two Ghanaian journalists arrested and interrogated, one allegedly tortured in custody

        On June 27, in Accra, the capital, Ministry of National Security officers arrested Abugri and Britwum at the offices of their employer, the privately owned news website Modern Ghana, interrogated them at Ministry of National Security offices, and confiscated their laptops and phones, according to Britwum, who spoke to CPJ over the phone, and local news reports. The officers questioned the journalists about Modern Ghana’s recent reporting on National Security Minister Albert Kan Dapaah and accused them of obtaining information about Kan Dapaah by hacking an email account, Britwum said. Britwum told CPJ that the officers did not present a warrant at the time of their arrest.

        Abugri told Ghanaian broadcaster Joy News and local news website Citi Newsroom that officers tied his hands, slapped him, and shocked him with a taser during his interrogation. The officers also made the journalists log in to their phones and computers and reviewed their files, Britwum told CPJ.

      • Neutralizing Ngo: The Apologetics of Antifascist Street Violence

        In a vein similar to Orwell’s lexicology of apologetics, criminological theory may help inform an understanding of how speech is used in defense of the indefensible at another level of analysis—that of rhetorical strategies. Specifically, what follows is a look at the online discourse surrounding the recent assault of a journalist by antifascist demonstrators, as viewed through the lens of Neutralization Theory.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Ocasio-Cortez wants to ax Homeland Security. Some conservatives didn’t want it to begin with.

        “When DHS was 1st formed by Bush 17 years ago, many members of Congress were concerned — incl GOP — that we were setting up a ticking time bomb for civil liberties erosion & abuse of power,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.

      • On Sharia Council and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

        The accommodation of arbitration systems to govern private and family matters had led, arguably, to the greatest human rights violations of minority women in the UK.

        This document aims to respond to some of the most frequently asked questions about Sharia bodies in the UK. They are being published with an open letter by an unprecedented number of women’s rights campaigners and organisations to the government raising serious concerns about it limited inquiry into Sharia courts.

      • Twitter bans religious insults calling groups rats or maggots

        Twitter said it would respond to user reports as well as employ machine-learning tools to automatically flag suspect posts for review by human moderators.

      • [Old] Twitter warns global users their tweets violate Pakistani law

        But after Googling the relevant sections of Pakistan’s penal code, the Toronto Sun op-ed editor was startled to learn he stood accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammad—a crime punishable by death in the Islamic republic—and Twitter later confirmed the correspondence was genuine.

      • Keeping church and state separate does not stifle religious freedom

        Advocates of religious freedom only oppose state/church separation when they are comfortably in the majority and trust their government to favor their particular set of religious beliefs. As was said of the Puritans, they love religious liberty so much that they want to keep it all to themselves. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor made the point exceedingly well when she was on the bench: “At a time when we see around the world the violent consequences of the assumption of religious authority by government, Americans may count themselves fortunate: Our regard for constitutional boundaries has protected us from similar travails, while allowing private religious exercise to flourish … Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?”

      • Girls Captured By Boko Haram Brought Into Focus In ‘Beneath The Tamarind Tree’

        But now, in her first book titled Beneath the Tamarind Trees, Sesay has a chance to explore, in depth, the story most important to her career and closest to her heart: The ISIS-affiliated terrorist group Boko Haram’s 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from the northern Nigerian town of Chibok.

        Sesay broke the story and followed it for years, despite government obfuscation and waning international interest after a wave of social media activism (remember #BringBackOurGirls?). For two years, 219 of the girls remained in captivity and 112 are still imprisoned.

      • Don’t ask girls out: North Aceh calls on women to stay home at night

        North Aceh Regent Muhammad Thaib and 28 mass organizations in the regency have called on women not to go out in the evening without their husbands or muhrim (blood relatives) accompanying them.

      • Amazon Teams With Colorado Police, US Postal Service On Sting That Catches Zero Package Thieves

        Cops are handing out hackable doorbells to local homeowners like so much razorbladed Halloween candy. Only it’s not razor blades. It’s surveillance. Amazon’s Ring doorbells are the new party favors, available to citizens at a steep discount. Sometimes, they can actually get them for free from local PDs. And why not? It’s not like the cops spent their money. It seems only fair for citizens to take home some of what they’ve purchased.

        The promise is a bit more security, in the form of a doorbell that watches your doorstep and the yard/driveway/street beyond. The implicit suggestion is that you repay this deep discount by allowing cops to access camera footage at will. Even if you demur, you’ll be added to local law enforcement’s Ring map, showing all the houses cops can approach to ask for camera footage.

        The doorbells are also tied to an app, Neighbors — one that Amazon markets with footage of doorstep thefts. Amazon likes this angle so much it’s hiring staff to produce news coverage of criminal activities with a hyperlocal focus.

      • Pakistani Minister Congratulates Pilot For Miraculous Save In Retweet Of GTA V Video

        Usually, when we’re talking about video game footage being used to attempt to fool others into thinking it’s real footage, it’s been done by nation states looking to either pretend they’re far better at war than they are, that their weapons are far cooler than they actually are, or to frame their adversaries for doing nefarious things far more than they actually are. Those cases aside, it does also happen that news organizations get fooled by this sort of footage too. And we should probably only expect this sort of thing to occur more often, given the leaps in graphical realism the gaming industry takes every year or so.

        [...]

        I love stories like this. Again, it’s not really about laughing at someone for getting fooled. What interests me more is both how cool it is that video game footage is getting realistic enough to regularly fool people into thinking its real footage, and how terrifying it is to think of the mayhem that might cause in the future. After all, it’s all well and good for a country to promote its military might by using game footage of some terrifying weapon… until it’s believable enough to cause another adversarial nation to react in real life.

      • Despite Congress Providing $4.6 Billion in Additional Funding for Border, Pence Says Conditions Still the Fault of Democrats

        Vice President Mike Pence blamed Democrats on Friday for the overcrowding in camps used to imprison migrants during a visit to the border, an accusation that generated anger from progressives at both the White House and the Democratic congressional leadership.

        “You gotta love it when Pence immediately puts complete blame for the horrors he saw on the Dems even after they threw money at monsters,” tweeted journalist Lori Lou Freshwater.

        In June, House Democrats passed a bill from the Senate that provided $4.6 billion to fund border security and the prisons. The legislation, which was opposed by left-leaning members of the caucus, has exposed a fissure in the party that continues to grow between the new and old guard of the party.

        Conditions at the border, as Common Dreams has reported, are bad and getting worse. During his tour, Pence saw those conditions, including a room where hundreds of men were imprisoned behind fencing.

      • UltraViolet Says Acosta Departure Shows ‘Need to Hold All the Powerful People,’ Like Trump, Accountable

        Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta’s resignation announcement on Friday sparked demands from progressive groups for Congress to “hold abusers and their enablers”—including President Donald Trump—”accountable.”

        Acosta faced calls for his ouster over his role in securing a sweat deal for multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein over a decade ago when Epstein faced possible federal child sex trafficking charges. Those demands were amplified this month after Epstein was arrested. He faces federal charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy.

        While Acosta this week defended the deal, progressive groups did not let up in their criticism. They projected messages onto the Department of Labor building including “Acosta endangers women and girls,” and “Acosta enables child sex trafficking.”

        Shaunna Thomas, executive director and co-founder of UltraViolet, one of the groups involved in the projection, said Friday, “Acosta’s resignation is good news, and demonstrates that people who enable sexual predators like Jeffrey Epstein can be held accountable.”

      • Trump’s POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role

        After Labor Secretary Alex Acosta announcing his resignation on Friday in the wake of outrage over the deal he brokered for alleged child rapist Jeffrey Epstein, President Donald Trump said the department’s number two, Deputy Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella, would now serve as the acting secretary.

        Pizzella, a former member of the Federal Labor Relations Authority and one of Trump’s many anti-labor appointees, had previously come under fire for his links to lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff and their work in the 1990s to foster worker abuses on the Northern Mariana Islands.

        As the New York Times reported over a decade ago, the commonwealth hired Abramoff in 1995 to help keep out U.S. minimum wage and other labor protections, allowing for the island chain to foster an environment ripe for slave-like labor where clothes can be stamped with a made-in-the U.S.A. label.

      • How to Put an End to Long-Term Unemployment

        For years, economists have been saying that we’re at, or “awfully close” to, full employment. The most recent numbers put the headline unemployment rate at 3.6 percent — the lowest rate we’ve seen in nearly 50 years. This is welcome news.

        Relatively low unemployment means there are far fewer people looking for work who can’t find it. But low unemployment doesn’t affect everyone equally. When the unemployment rate dips to low levels, the people who benefit the most are those who have been at the back of the queue — black workers, Hispanic workers, immigrants and other disadvantaged workers in the labor market.

        If we go back just five years, when the overall unemployment rate was 6.3 percent, the unemployment rate for blacks was 11.4 percent. Today, it is 6.2 percent, a drop of 5.2 percentage points. While this is still far higher than we should accept, it does represent progress.

        The benefits of low unemployment go beyond just allowing more people to get jobs. It also gives more bargaining power to those workers who have jobs. We have seen this impact, as wages have at least modestly outpaced prices for the last four years, allowing workers at the middle and the bottom to see gains in living standards; though it’s barely putting a dent in the decades of stagnant wages for most workers.

        According to the predictions of Federal Reserve officials a few years ago, these levels of unemployment were simply unsustainable. Importantly, this highlights a long and ongoing battle within the Fed over just how low unemployment can go if we are to avoid spiraling inflation.

      • Biden Needs to Explain Why He Threw Black Males Under the Bus

        Last Thursday’s debate among 10 Democratic candidates included front-runner Joe Biden. The high point of the debate was when Kamala Harris pressed hard on Biden about his views in opposition to busing to de-segregate schools. “There was a little girl in California,” she said, looking right at him, “who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. That little girl was me.” She drilled into Biden with her characteristic prosecutor’s intensity. Biden’s response was pro-forma and evasive, emphasizing that it was a local decision she was upset about, not his federal policy views on busing. Much of the matter got lost in the excitement of the personal exchange.

        After the debate was over, a reporter with a microphone and a cameraman in tow aggressively hounded Biden to elaborate on the matters raised by Harris. Biden clearly did not wish to discuss it and reverted to his characteristic aggressive-man thing, moving toward the reporter, putting his hand on the man’s shoulder and, man-to-man, drilling into his questioner’s eyes. He gave the same unsatisfactory response he’d given Harris during the debate. At that point, he was saved by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, who took his hand and with a smile protectively pulled him away from the reporter. The man knew when he was licked and made a good-natured comment that he didn’t wish to mess with Dr. Jill Biden. She smiled.

      • Progressives Push Back After Congressional Black Caucus Attacks Justice Democrats Over Primary Challenges

        “It just seems strange that the social Democrats seem to be targeting members of the Congressional Black Caucus, individuals who have stood and fought to make sure that African Americans are included and part of this process,” CBC member Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) told The Hill.

        But Justice Democrats executive director board members Alexandra Rojas, Demond Drummer, and Nasim Thompson, in a statement, disputed that characterization.

        “In 2018, Justice Democrats took on the political establishment in New York and Boston by supporting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley—both of whom were taking on more conservative, white male incumbents,” the group said. “Notably, the CBC endorsed Pressley’s opponent even as she was running in a majority-people of color district. Today every single Justice Democrat in Congress is a person of color.”

        “Senior members of the Democratic Party can make whatever false claims they want,” the trio added, “but it’s clear that their bottom line is: no primary challenges.”

      • Horrific Pictures of Drowned Migrants Should not Distract us From the Fact That Far More People Die on EU Borders

        Four years ago, I was standing by the grave of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old child who drowned when the rubber boat carrying him and his Syrian Kurdish family from Turkey to Greece was flipped over by high waves. The picture of his small body in a red shirt and black shorts lying face down on a Turkish beach with his head in the surf was supposed to have focused public attention on the hideous plight of refugees in the Mediterranean.

        Alan’s grave was an ugly stone rectangle in a cemetery beside the ruins of the Kurdish city of Kobani in northern Syria which Isis had ferociously assaulted and nearly captured in a prolonged siege in 2014-15. I found the scene all the more moving because there were no flowers and Alan’s little grave was surrounded by fresh earth gouged out by a bulldozer preparing the ground for more graves.

        I thought of Alan again this week when a photo was published of a father and daughter, also refugees, lying face down in muddy brown water close to the bank of the Rio Grande which they had been trying to swim to reach the United States. Like Alan and his family, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez drowned together with his 23-month-old daughter Valeria on what they hoped would be the last lap of their journey to a better life.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • How the biggest decentralized social network is dealing with its Nazi problem

        It’s a hard problem, playing off the deepest limitations of decentralized projects like Mastodon. Mastodon arose from the idealistic open-source software movement, designed to let anybody run their own social media site. But it was never intended to support something like Gab. While Gab has no official political affiliation, it’s known as a haven for far-right or explicitly fascist users too extreme for bigger networks. Its hands-off moderation approach is antithetical to many supporters of Mastodon, whose creator has officially stated he’s “completely opposed to Gab’s project and philosophy.”

      • Facebook and Twitter Suck, So Here’s How to Make Your Own Social Media Network

        The guide outlines why people should consider creating small social network sites, how to solve social problems, ways to introduce new users to the network, and what the future of these small networks looks like.

        The guide also includes information on the technical side: how to set up servers or what to do if you lack the skills to do it yourself.

        Friend Camp uses open-sourced software Mastodon that lets users modify its social network framework. Users can also hard-code bans against other communities—such as Nazis—and essentially removing them from the group’s existence.

      • Trump Can’t Block People He Doesn’t Like on Twitter, Appeals Court Says [iophk: Twitter in place of official communications]

        The 3-0 decision out of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upholds an earlier ruling that found Trump’s preference for blocking his critics to be unconstitutional.

    • Monopolies

      • FTC Reportedly Hits Facebook With Record $5 Billion Settlement [iophk: that is not even a single month’s revenue]

        Full details of the settlement were unavailable Friday afternoon, and the FTC and Facebook both declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news. It’s unclear how long it will take for the Justice Department to review the terms. In the meantime, important questions remain unanswered, including whether the FTC has opted to hold Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally liable for the company’s privacy violations, and what sort of external oversight Facebook must submit to going forward.

      • Facebook’s $5 billion FTC fine is an embarrassing joke

        That, as the New York Times’ Mike Isaac points out, is the real story here: the United States government spent months coming up with a punishment for Facebook’s long list of privacy-related bad behavior, and the best it could do was so weak that Facebook’s stock price went up.

      • Facebook $5 Billion U.S. Privacy Settlement Approved by FTC

        The FTC’s settlement was approved by a vote of 3-2, according to two people who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the decision. The agreement still needs approval from the Justice Department.

      • Ninth Circuit grant’s Qualcomm motion to expedite appeal of FTC’s antitrust victory

        That’s a tight schedule for such a complex case, but the FTC’s litigation team has been very efficient and will probably be able to craft a great response to Qualcomm’s opening brief in the eight weeks they will have.

        This schedule slightly increases Qualcomm’s chances of obtaining a partial stay of enforcement while the appellate proceedings are ongoing. The length of such a stay is part of the consideration. However, even with this schedule it may still be spring or so before the Ninth Circuit actually hands down a decision, given the scope and scale of this case.

        By the way, Samsung filed a motion to intervene, but only with respect to the sealing of its highly confidential effective royalty rates under its 2018 deal with Qualcomm.

      • Join the UK IPO working group on IP enforcement [Ed: A few years ago this blog was still mostly OK, but now entirely different people are running it, for different objectives. They’re now promoting IPO’s propaganda group, like those behind indoctrination for billionaires… at schools.]

        The UK Intelletual Property Office is looking for people with first-hand experience and/or a working knowledge of using the IP enforcement framework to protect their intellectual property to join their working group.

        [...]

        The formation of the working group is part of a project to review the current IP enforcement framework, which was set out in the government’s five year strategy document ”IP Enforcement 2020′. One of the main goals of this strategy is to ensure that rights holders and businesses have access to proportionate and effective mechanisms to tackle IP infringement, or resolve IP disputes.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • US Utility Patents Granted per Year

          We are about 3/4 of the way through fiscal year 2019 (ends September 30, 2019) and the USPTO is on-track to issue the most patents ever in a single year period — I’m forecasting 330,000 issued utility patents, which is up about 5% from the prior 1-year high in 2017. This rise is consistent with more patentee-friendly attitude of Andrei Iancu who began his role as Trump’s USPTO director in 2018.

        • How Things Snowball: The Consequences of Violating a Rule

          Being disciplined by the USPTO, a state bar, or being sanctioned by a court is, of course, not a good thing for a lawyer and in some instances it can end a career or sharply limit one. Over the past 30 or so years, I’ve seen a lot of somewhat unpredictable consequences flow from discipline or a finding of misconduct by a court.

          For example, the USPTO requires practitioners to update their addresses and, from time to time, it has sent letters to the current address and if the recipient doesn’t respond within (I think it is) a month, the practitioner is “administratively suspended.” If that happens, not a huge deal to correct, but some state bars require reporting administrative suspensions, and if a practitioner fails to do that, then the practitioner has two problems. And, if practitioner later “covers up” either thing, well, then three problems. (I wrote an article a while back called “how things snowball” and it came to mind just now).

          [...]

          And, as the final example, if you haven’t read the California Supreme Court case vacating a $3m fee awarded to a firm because it had an undisclosed conflict of interest (and, as a consequence of not disclosing the conflict, (a) its arbitration agreement with the client was unenforceable and (b) it also might have had to disgorge more than the $3m award), it’s blogged below.

        • Patent case: Corning v Electroson, Spain

          In the past few years, the Barcelona Courts with jurisdiction over patent matters (Commercial Courts nos. 1, 4 and 5) have acted in close coordination with one another, e.g. holding joint deliberations of the three judges. Now, in a case where one of those Courts refused to join two separate infringement actions pending before Courts nos. 4 and 5 on account of such coordination, the Barcelona Court of Appeal (Section 15) has ruled in favour of joining separate proceedings brought against two different defendants, yet based on the same patent.

        • Barcelona Court of Appeal publishes interesting judgment addressing the scope of estoppel

          One of the principles inherited from Roman law is that “venire contra factum propium non valet“. In civil law countries such as Spain, this principle is normally labelled as the “doctrine that prohibits acting against one’s own acts” (prohibición de actuar contra los propios actos). In common law countries, the principle is normally associated with the doctrine of estoppel. As patent aficionados know well, the natural habitat of such doctrine in patent cases is the so-called “file-wrapper” or “patent prosecution” estoppel, whereby the courts of some countries prevent patentees from defending, in the context of infringement, claim constructions that may contradict the positions defended during prosecution to overcome objections of lack of novelty or lack of inventive activity.

          [...]

          Some years ago, the complainant in this case filed an opposition against patent EP 1.081.284 (“EP ‘284”), alleging lack of inventive activity. The opposition was unsuccessful and the company that had filed the opposition (i.e. the complainant in the case discussed in this blog) then decided to acquire EP ‘284. Some years later, it filed a patent infringement action against a third party. One of the arguments of defence used by the defendant was that the complainant was blatantly contradicting the position taken before the European Patent Office (“EPO”) where, as mentioned, it tried to revoke EP ‘284 for lack of inventive activity when it was owned by another company.

        • Athena Diagnostics, Inc. v. Mayo Collaborative Services, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          The four-page per curiam Order was accompanied by eight opinions, four concurring in the denial of the petition and four dissenting in the denial of the petition, adding an additional 82 pages to the Order. The four concurring opinions were authored by Circuit Judges Lourie, Hughes, Dyk, and Chen, with Chief Judge Prost and Circuit Judges Reyna, Taranto, and Hughes joining in one of the concurrences and Circuit Judge Chen joining in one concurrence and several parts of another. The four dissenting opinions were authored by Circuit Judges Moore, Newman, Stoll, and O’Malley, with Circuit Judges O’Malley and Stoll joining in one of the dissents and Circuit Judge Wallach joining in three of the dissents. Thus, a total of seven members of the Court (Chief Judge Prost and Circuit Judges Lourie, Dyk, Reyna, Taranto, Chen, and Hughes) authored or joined opinions concurring in the denial, and a total of five members (Circuit Judges Newman, Moore, O’Malley, Wallach, and Stoll) authored or joined opinions dissenting in the denial.

          Before turning to the eight opinions concurring or dissenting in the Order’s denial of the petition for rehearing en banc, it may be helpful to review the procedural history of this case. In February, a divided panel affirmed a decision by the District Court for the District of Massachusetts, holding claims 6-9 of U.S. Patent No. 7,267,820 invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and dismissing under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) a complaint filed by Plaintiffs-Appellants for infringement of the ’820 patent.

          [...]

          In the panel opinion, authored by Judge Lourie and joined by Judge Stoll (with Judge Newman dissenting), the Court affirmed the District Court’s determination that claims 6-9 are invalid under § 101.

        • Apportionment of Willfulness and Discretion to Reconsider Attorney Fees

          When the Federal Circuit released its eligibility decision in March 2019, I panned the opinion as a “results-oriented decision [that] unfortunately shades-facts and provides no clarity in its legal analysis of eligibility.” On petition, the panel has modified its original opinion. Unfortunately, the court did not modify its eligibility analysis, but rather modified a portion of the remand on attorney fees.

          At the conclusion of the trial, a jury awarded the patentee SRI $23 million in reasonable royalty damages associated with SRI’s network monitoring patents. The jury also found that Cisco’s infringement was willful.

          The jury awarded SRI a 3.5% reasonable royalty for a total of $23,660,000 in compensatory damages. The jury also found by clear and convincing evidence that Cisco’s infringement was willful. The judge then double the compensatory award and also awarded $8 million attorney fees as well as an ongoing compulsory license for any future infringement. (I believe the patents have now expired).

          [...]

          One example – was that Cisco maintained 19 invalidity theories until the eve of trial — then only presented two of them at trial along with defenses that were contrary to both the evidence and prior court rulings. The district court also noted that the willfulness finding by the jury contributed to the decision to award attorney fees. Because the now-modified willful infringement judgment served as one basis for the enhanced damages, the appellate panel also vacated the enhanced damages for reconsideration on remand.

          In its original opinion, the appellate panel had explained that there was sufficient evidence of bad behavior to justify a fee award even without willfulness — and thus had affirmed an award. In the modified opinion, the court instead vacated the finding of exceptional case — likely because that decision is supposed to be within the discretion of the district court.

        • Patent case: HE Licenties B.V. vs VG Colours B.V., Netherlands

          A patent that is limited during the course of the proceedings (even after the pleadings) is held to have been so limited ab initio if the limitation is duly registered.

          When a European patent is granted and validated, an existing national patent loses its effect only for the invention claimed in the European patent.

        • Venue: “Regular and Established Place of Business” is a Questions of Law

          Westech sued 3M for patent infringement in W.D.Washington. On motion from 3M, the district court then dismissed the case for improper venue under 28 U.S.C. 1400(b). Under the statute, infringement cases can only be brought in a judicial district where the defendant either (1) resides (i.e., is incorporated) or (2) infringed the patent and has a regular and established place of business. Here, the focus is on 3M’s sales activities with vendors, distributors, and sales professionals — and whether those activities constitute a “regular and established place of business.” Two key precedential cases: In Cray, the Federal Circuit held that a “place of business” must be a “physical place in the district.” In ZTE, the Federal Circuit held that it is the plaintiff’s burden of establishing proper venue (burden of persuasion).

      • Trademarks

        • Chanel’s ‘Double C’ trade mark loss in China – an unacceptable conclusion?

          Recently, Chanel Co., Ltd. lost a trade mark infringement case regarding its ‘Double C’ logo in China. The full text of the decision can be visited via here (Google translatable).

          The case has has drawn wide attention and, mostly, negative comments.

          [...]

          Chanel then filed a lawsuit with the Guangzhou Haizhu District People’s Court (Haizhu Court), seeking an order for Ye, the alleged trade mark infringer, to pay compensation totalling CNY 100,000. Despite the seeming unfairness that lies in the disparity in strength/size/resources between the two parties, Chanel’s protective approach is not surprising, and it is very much consistent with Chanel’s active brand-protection agenda (e.g. ‘no Shanel’, ‘no number 5’).

          Ye responded with two main arguments: (1) his store was merely a franchise store of Zhoubaifu, a brand that belongs to Hong Kong ZhouBaifu Jewelry International Group Co., Ltd (Zhoubaifu Ltd), meaning only the products that had passed the quality inspections conducted by Zhoubaifu Ltd were allowed to be sold in Ye’s store, and those products all contained the registered trade mark of ‘Zhoubaifu’ – far from being similar to any of Chanel’s trade marks; (2) Ye actually had done little damage to Chanel, considering that there were only a total of 8 products with the sum of CNY 6,000 tag price involved, and they were not being sold.

          The Haizhu Court sided with Chanel’s claims and ordered Ye to pay compensation of CNY 60,000 within 10 days from the effective date of the judgement, which was determined in view of ‘the level of harm, nature of business, business scope, scale of operation, time of infringement, infringement area, value of infringing goods’, among other factors.

      • Copyrights

        • Judge Denies $10K Default Judgment Against Alleged Pirate

          Adult entertainment company Malibu Media recently requested a default judgment of more than $10,000 against an alleged pirate. While the accused man didn’t put up a defense, a federal court in New Jersey denied the request, noting that an IP-address alone is not sufficient evidence.

        • Apple Needs to Tackle ‘Pirate’ Music Apps, Labels Insist

          Apple needs to do more to prevent unauthorized apps that deliver music to users in unlicensed ways appearing on its App Store. That’s the demand from the Recording Industry Association of Japan and several other industry groups in a communication sent to Apple recently.

        • Three Years Later: 1st Amendment Challenge Over DMCA’s Anti-Circumvention Provisions Can Move Forward

          Almost exactly three years ago we wrote about how well known computer security professor Matthew Green and famed hardware hacker Bunnie Huang had teamed up with EFF and the law firm Wilson Sonsini to file a fascinating 1st Amendment challenge to the DMCA’s Section 1201. 1201 is the so-called “anti-circumvention” or digital locks provision of the DMCA, that says that it’s infringing to “manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof” that is designed to “circumvent” DRM or other “technological protection measures.” Basically, if there’s a digital lock on something — doing anything to get around it (or to help others get around it) is potentially a copyright violation even if (and this is important) the purpose and result of circumventing the DRM has nothing to do with infringing on copyright.

          Even Congress knew that this part of the law was crazy when they passed it. It knew that this would lead to all sorts of perfectly reasonable activities suddenly being declared infringing — so it came up with a really annoying hack to deal with that. A triennial review, where every three years everyone could go beg the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress to grant categories of exemptions from Section 1201. Those exemptions only last for three years, so even if you get one, you need to keep applying.

        • YouTube Finally Demands Specificity From Copyright Claimants

          At long last, YouTube is rolling out changes to its copyright claim system. For years, it has been heavily-slanted in favor of copyright claimants. Concessions made by YouTube to legacy industries screwed the whole thing up, giving claimants credibility they hadn’t earned in exchange for… a free platform to distribute their content with. Win-win for them. Lose-lose for everyone else.

          Add to this the whole “ContentID” clusterfuck and you have a mess. It’s a mess that results in the sort of dystopian outcomes no one ever expected from an online video platform. Straight-up weird stuff that would be considered well past the bounds of suspension of disbelief if it appeared in speculative fiction. Bird calls getting hit with copyright claims. White noise videos being flagged multiple times by multiple (lol) rights holders. Copyright owners nuking other people’s original creations due to flaws in the auto-moderation. Creators being told the best person to take up a copyright dispute with is… themselves.

          Stupid stuff happens. Content moderation at the scale of YouTube (500 hours per minute) is impossible. Software helps but what YouTube uses hurts as often as it helps. The pressure coming down on the platform from major rights holders never eases up. As a result, those facing copyright claims have spent years fighting blind and deaf, with almost no help from YouTube in pushing back against bogus takedown efforts. Abuse isn’t just the name of the game: it is the game.

        • The copyright question that no one wanted: the rights of immigrant minors in their drawings in connection with their detention along the U.S./Mexico border

          It turns out that after their detention, some of the children found their way to the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas and were asked to make drawings of their experience in detention. As reported (CNN, here and Hyperallergic, here), three of these drawings, one made by a 10-year old and another by an 11-year old, both from Guatemala, and the third, by a 10-year old whose origin has not been determined (as of July 4th), all found their way to Dr. Sara Goza of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The drawings can be viewed as suggesting cages or prisons.

        • Congress Moving Forward With Copyright-For-Censorship ‘Small Claims’ Act

          For a while now, we’ve been explaining why a plan to create a copyright “small claims” process would be a disaster for free speech and a boon to copyright trolling. Unfortunately, it appears that the latest bill proposing this awful idea has a real chance to move forward. EFF has put up an action page urging people to contact their elected officials and ask them not to approve the CASE Act.

          As EFF’s Ernest Falcon details in the latest blog post there are so many reasons why this is a bad idea. Despite all the claims that this is just about “small claims” and therefore can’t be used for trolling/shakedowns, this shows just how insanely out of touch lawmakers are with most Americans.

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