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08.24.19

Tell Lawyers That ‘Privilege’ Without Encryption is Just a Mirage

Posted in Deception, Law at 10:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No encryption

Summary: The sad truth that law firms claim to respect privacy and security; they do in principle, whereas in practice they respect neither

YEARS ago I wrote a long rant about laywers’ electronic mail still not being encrypted (even after Snowden’s NSA and GCHQ leaks). They don’t value privacy. They claim to care, but not really; not in practice, not in the technical sense or by any technical means. An envelope in the post (snail mail) or a phonecall (on the landline) might offer more privacy than electronic mail because surveillance on those (voice recognition, opening letters etc.) is a bit more expensive. There’s an overhead, but no encryption.

“An envelope in the post (snail mail) or a phonecall (on the landline) might offer more privacy than electronic mail because surveillance on those (voice recognition, opening letters etc.) is a bit more expensive. There’s an overhead, but no enryption.”This has sadly become the ‘norm’; law firms speak of aspects such as privacy and “privilege”; but in practice? Well, they do hardly anything towards that. Usually nothing towards it! To make matters worse, they give a wrong impression or the false expectation of privacy. It’s an illusion or deliberate deception. If you are not going to encrypt your data and your communications, then quit speaking of “privilege” altogether. You value it only in principle or in theory, but not in practice. So your practice misleads clients.

This isn’t limited to patent law firms, where subpoenas can lose one a case.

Links 25/8/2019: Happy Birthday to Linux, Enlightenment DR 0.23.0 Release

Posted in News Roundup at 9:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • The best free alternatives to Windows and Microsoft Office

      Many people don’t realise that there is high-quality, free software available that can compete with Microsoft Office and the Windows operating system.

      While you might feel comfortable using traditional programs and be hesitant to change, you could save thousands of rand just by choosing high-quality freeware over paid software.

      With the right products, it is possible to run a suite of useful programs on your computer without spending a cent.

    • Server

      • Ampere Computing Is Keeping Close Track Of The Linux Performance For Their ARM Servers

        Hardware vendor Ampere Computing with their impressive ARM servers is doing a great job on closely following their hardware’s Linux performance as part of a rigorous continuous testing regiment or ensuring quality, compatibility, and stability while being fully-automated.

        Ampere Computing’s Travis Lazar talked at this week’s Linux Foundation events in San Diego over the importance of continuous regression testing for software and hardware development by talking about their internal workflow and software in place. Their internal system is the “Totally Automated Regression System” or TARS for short. TARS makes use of various open-source components including the Phoronix Test Suite and its vast collection of benchmarks for providing comprehensive test coverage plus Ampere’s own “extensions” to the Phoronix Test Suite. TARS also incorporates the provisioning/configuration responsibilities as well as analysis of the data.

      • [SUSE] Learn how the Multimodal OS can benefit your organization.
      • IBM

        • From ProdOps to DevOps: Surviving and thriving

          For many of us in Production Operations (ProdOps), change is the enemy. If something changes, there is now an opportunity for things that were working just fine to experience problems. It is like a game of Jenga. When will the tower fall because a seemingly minor change unbalances the whole stack of pieces? ProdOps teams hate change so much, that countless frameworks have been invented to “manage” changes; in reality, these frameworks make the procedure for effecting a change so onerous that most people give up and accept the status quo.

          Actually, that statement is a bit unfair. These frameworks are an attempt to wrap planning and consensus around production changes, thus minimizing potential downtime caused by random or rogue changes (see Why the lone wolf mentality is a sysadmin mistake).

        • Meet Red Hat at VMworld

          As Red Hat’s Ashesh Badani said in his blog post about the reference architecture for OpenShift on VMware’s SDDC stack “… this is just the first step — Red Hat OpenShift 4 brings optimized installation capabilities to a variety of infrastructures and for this, the companies are working towards a VMware Validated Design. We are excited that VMware is working closely with Red Hat to deliver a simplified experience there in the coming months.”

    • Kernel Space

      • How to compile a Linux kernel in the 21st century

        In computing, a kernel is the low-level software that handles communication with hardware and general system coordination. Aside from some initial firmware built into your computer’s motherboard, when you start your computer, the kernel is what provides awareness that it has a hard drive and a screen and a keyboard and a network card. It’s also the kernel’s job to ensure equal time (more or less) is given to each component so that your graphics and audio and filesystem and network all run smoothly, even though they’re running concurrently.

        The quest for hardware support, however, is ongoing, because the more hardware that gets released, the more stuff a kernel must adopt into its code to make the hardware work as expected. It’s difficult to get accurate numbers, but the Linux kernel is certainly among the top kernels for hardware compatibility. Linux operates innumerable computers and mobile phones, embedded system on a chip (SoC) boards for hobbyist and industrial uses, RAID cards, sewing machines, and much more.

      • LG Has Been Working On Reduced Boot Times With Hibernation Optimizations

        LG Electronics has been exploring improvements around hibernation/suspend-to-disk to speed-up the Linux boot process for consumer electronics rather than performing cold boots and as part of that is working towards upstream optimizations.

        While hibernation-based booting is generally quicker than performing cold boots, suspending to disk does yield extra writes to the NAND flash memory on these consumer devices and that is one of the things they are seeking to avoid. So it’s been an effort not only to speed-up the hibernation boot process but also reducing the amount of data that needs to be written out to the flash storage.

      • Happy Birthday, Linux!

        August 25 is the day that, in 1991, a fresh-fasted Finnish college student called Linus Torvalds parked his rear at his desk to announce his “hobby” OS to the world/comp.os.minix newsgroup:-

        “Hello everybody out there using minix,” he began.

        “I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready. I’d like any feedback on things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons) among other things).”

        Some 28 glorious years later and that “hobby os” now powers the world! From stock exchanges to billboards to satellites and smartphones: Linux is everywhere.

        But Linux is about more than code. It’s the beating heart of the open source movement, cheerleading collaboration and co-operation between people based on the idea that technology should be not just be good, but do good too.

        So raise a glass of something tasty to Linux, the invisible thread without which modern technology is stitched! 🥂

      • Happy Birthday, Linux: 28 Years Of Awesomeness

        Linus Torvalds, then a 21-year-old university student in Finland writes a post to a user group asking for feedback on a project he’s working on. His post was titled, “What would you like to see most in minix?“ He’s built a simple kernel for a Unix-like operating system that runs on an Intel 386 processor. The kernel eventually becomes Linux, which is released in 1994 and rest is the the history.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Microsoft Partners With Google, Intel, And Others To Form Data Protection Consortium

          The software maker joined Google Cloud, Intel, IBM, Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Red Hat, Swisscom, and Tencent to establish the Confidential Computing Consortium, a group committed to providing better private data protection, promoting the use of confidential computing, and advancing open source standards among members of the technology community.

        • #OSSUMMIT: Confidential Computing Consortium Takes Shape to Enable Secure Collaboration

          At the Open Source Summit in San Diego, California on August 21, the Linux Foundation announced the formation of the Confidential Computing Consortium. Confidential computing is an approach using encrypted data that enables organizations to share and collaborate, while still maintaining privacy. Among the initial backers of the effort are Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent.

          “The context of confidential computing is that we can actually use the data encrypted while programs are working on it,” John Gossman, distinguished engineer at Microsoft, said during a keynote presentation announcing the new effort.

          Initially there are three projects that are part of the Confidential Computing Consortium, with an expectation that more will be added over time. Microsoft has contributed its Open Enclave SDK, Red Hat is contributing the Enarx project for Trusted Execution Environments and Intel is contributing its Software Guard Extensions (SGX) software development kit.

          Lorie Wigle, general manager, platform security product management at Intel, explained that Intel has had a capability built into some of its processors called software guard which essentially provides a hardware-based capability for protecting an area of memory.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa Radeon Vulkan Driver Sees ~30% Performance Boost For APUs

          Mesa’s RADV Radeon Vulkan driver just saw a big performance optimization land to benefit APUs like Raven Ridge and Picasso, simply systems with no dedicated video memory.

          The change by Feral’s Alex Smith puts the uncached GTT type at a higher index than the visible vRAM type for these configurations without dedicated vRAM, namely APUs.

        • Intel Iris Gallium3D Is Close With SPIR-V Support For OpenGL 4.6

          This week saw OpenGL 4.6 support finally merged for Intel’s i965 Mesa driver and will be part of the upcoming Mesa 19.2 release. Not landed yet but coming soon is the newer Intel “Iris” Gallium3D driver also seeing OpenGL 4.6 support.

          Iris Gallium3D has been at OpenGL 4.5 support and is quite near as well with its OpenGL 4.6 support thanks to the shared NIR support and more with the rest of the Intel open-source graphics stack. Though it’s looking less likely that OpenGL 4.6 support would be back-ported to Mesa 19.2 for Iris, but we’ll see.

    • Applications

      • The 8 Best IP Scanners For Linux in 2019

        If you want to know what IP addresses are actually in use in your network, your only option is pretty much to scan them all. Very often, this is something one would do using the ping command. Ping, which has been around almost as long as IP networking, is probably the best ways to test for connectivity to a given IP address. So, by successively pinging all IP addresses in a network, one can get a pretty good picture of which ones are in use and which ones are available.

        However, in all be the smallest of networks with only a handful of IP addresses, this can quickly turn into quite a chore. Fortunately, tools exist that will automatically scan a group of IP addresses and report on their responsiveness. Today, we’re reviewing some of the best IP scanners for Linux that will simplify your life when you have to scan IP addresses.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Get ready to blow everything up in Smith and Winston, releasing on August 27th

        Smith and Winston is a twin-stick shooter made entirely out of really small voxel blocks, it looks awesome and the destruction possible is also pretty amusing.

        Execution Unit have now announced that it’s leaving Early Access next week on August 27th.

      • 7 Billion Humans turns one year old, Tomorrow Corp put their games on sale to celebrate

        Tomorrow Corporation are celebrating their puzzle game 7 Billion Humans turning a year old with a big sale on their games and they support Linux too.

        Your chance to pick up a bargain while further supporting another Linux-friendly developer, perhaps something for you to play through for the rest of the weekend?

      • Antichamber | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 18.04 | Native

        Antichamber running native on Linux.

      • Roberta, a new Steam Play compatibility tool to play games with a native ScummVM

        Following on from the Boxtron tool to run Steam games through a native Linux version of DOSBox, the same developer has now put out Roberta to do the same for ScummVM.

        What does it do exactly? It means you can run pretty much any game on Steam that uses ScummVM, through your native version of ScummVM, even if those games don’t have a Linux build up. Instead of trying to run them through Steam Play’s Proton.

      • Void Spirit is another new Dota 2 hero coming, The International 2019 prize pool breaks 34 million

        It’s not enough to tease one new hero with Snapfire, as heroes now come in twos apparently. Void Spirit is another new hero coming to Dota 2.

      • What have you been playing this week and what are you clicking on this weekend?

        Another week has almost finished, it’s now the weekend and it’s super hot here which means it’s time to hide indoors and play games.

        For me, it’s been a real mix of things recently. With the announcement that EVERSPACE 2 is coming to Linux, I’ve decided to brush up on my piloting skills in the original. I’m still amazed at how fun EVERSPACE actually is, especially the Action Freeze feature where you can just entirely stop the game to take a picture.

      • alTrace, a new open source debugging tool for apps and games that use OpenAL

        Ryan “Icculus” Gordon has released a new open source tool today named alTrace, to help developers of games and software using OpenAL. Announced on their Patreon, it currently works on macOS and Linux and while Windows is possible, it’s not yet supported.

      • Enjoy C&C Red Alert on Linux

        I am extremely happy. I remember trying to play Red Alert about 10 years ago, and you had to patch files, and there was this and that, but now, it’s smooth, seamless. This is true for many other games of this type, and it’s easier to get them running on the latest operating systems than it was a few years after their demise. This is because people realized how valuable and dear they were.

        Everything works well in this setup, but if you’re not happy for some reason, you have cross-platform support, and there’s also the fully open-source OpenRA clone. This one, alongside my DOSBox classics, many of which I still have the original save games for, plus OpenTTD, is the mainstay of excellence, from an era when computer gaming was pure and hard and utterly unforgiving. And it shows. I hope you find this little guide valuable. Next on the menu, Yuri’s Revenge. See you soon.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Enlightenment DR 0.23.0 Release

        Highlights:

        New padded screenshot option
        Meson build now is the build system
        Music Control now supports rage mpris dbus protocol
        Add Bluez5 support with totally new and redone module and gadget
        Add dpms option to turn it off or on
        Alt-tab window switcher allows moving of windows while alt-tabbing
        Lots of bug fixes, compile warning fixes etc.
        Massive improvements to Wayland support

      • Enlightenment 0.23 Released With Massive Wayland Improvements

        Since the demise of the Samsung Open-Source Group that employed many Enlightenment developers, there’s been seemingly less Enlightenment developments to report on and Enlightenment fell off their annual release regiment. But hitting the Internet this weekend is the Enlightenment 0.23 release managed by Carsten Haitzler himself. Enlightenment 0.23 uses Meson as its default build system, music control is now supported along a DBus interface, BlueZ 5 Bluetooth support, DPMS functionality can now be toggled for monitor power savings, alt-tab switcher improvements, and reported “massive” improvements to the Wayland support. There are also many bug fixes throughout with Enlightenment 0.23.

      • Amazon wildfires part of ‘genocide’ facing Brazil’s Indigenous peoples, advocate says

        The Brazilian government’s push to escalate agricultural and mining developments in the Amazon at the expense of Indigenous rights actively brought about the ongoing wildfire crisis, Indigenous advocates say.

        There are currently over 75,000 wildfires burning in the rainforest throughout the country — an 80 per cent increase over last year, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

        Rayanne Cristine Máximo França, a member of the Baré Indigneous people from the Amazonas state in Brazil’s northwest, said the government of Jair Bolsonaro has unleashed an assault on Indigenous people and their lands by emboldening farmers, ranchers and miners to carve deeper into the Amazon rainforest.

      • Xfce, A Model GTK Based Desktop | Late Summer Blathering

        n full disclosure, Plasma is my Desktop Environment of choice, it is very easy to customize and to make my own with very little effort. As of late, there isn’t a whole lot of customizing I do, it’s all pretty minor. A couple tweaks to the the visuals, make it dark, change some sound effects to make it more Star Trek The Next Generation, add a couple Plasmoids and set up KDE Connect. Then I am ready to go.

        Since KDE 3 and later Plasma, each release adds and refines existing features, all of which seems as though they are doing so in a sustainable fashion. New releases of Plasma are always met with excitement and anticipation. I can count on new features and refinements and an overall better experience. I didn’t look anywhere else but then, Xfce wondered into my world and although slow to change has become that desktop too. Historically, Xfce has been [for me] just there, nothing particularly exciting. It has held the spot of a necessary, minimal viable desktop… but not anymore.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kate – Document Preview Plugin – Maintainer Wanted!

          At the moment the Document Preview plugin that e.g. allows to preview Markdown or other documents layout-ed via embedding a matching KPart is no longer maintained.

          If you want to step up and keep that plugin alive and kicking, now is your chance!

        • The Sprint

          Hi -)) haven’t posted for some time, because I was busy travelling and coding for the first half of the month. From Aug 5 to Aug 9, I went to the Krita Sprint in Deventer, Netherlands.

          According to Boud, I was the first person to arrive. My flight took a transit via Hong Kong where some flights were affected due to natural and social factors, but fortunately mine was not one of them. Upon arrival in Amsterdam I got a ticket for the Intercity to Deventer. Railway constructions made me take a transfer via Utrecht Centraal, but that was not a problem at all: the station has escalators going both up to the hall, and down to the platforms (in China you can only go to the hall by stairs or elevator (which is often crowded after you get off)). When I got out of Deventer Station, Boud immediately recognized me (how?!). It was early in the morning, and the street’s quietness was broken by the sound of me dragging my suitcase. Boud led me through Deventer’s crooked streets and alleys to his house.

          For the next two days people gradually arrived. I met my main mentor Dmitry (magician!) and his tiger, Sagoskatt, which I (and many others) have mistaken for a giraffe. He was even the voice actor for Sago. He had got quite a lot of insights into the code base (according to Boud, “80%”) and solved a number of bugs in Krita (but he said he introduced a lot of bugs, ha!). Also I met David Revoy (my favourite painter!), the author of Pepper and Carrot. And Tiar, our developer who started to work full-time on Krita this year; she had always been volunteering to support other Krita users and always on the IRC and Reddit. And two of other three GSoC students for the year: Blackbeard (just as his face) and Hellozee. Sh_zam could not come and lost communications due to political issues, which was really unfortunate (eh at least now he can be connected). It is feels so good to be able to see so many people in the community – they are so nice! And it is such an experience to hack in a basement church.

    • Distributions

      • Debian Family

        • Introducing Noir

          Noir is a drop-in replacement for Black (the uncompromising code formatter), with the default line length set to PEP-8′s preferred 79 characters. If you want to use it, just replace black with noir in your requirements.txt and/or setup.py and you’re good to go.

          Black is a Python code formatter that reformats your code to make it more PEP-8 compliant. It implements a subset of PEP-8, most notably it deliberately ignores PEP-8′s suggestion for a line length of 79 characters and defaults to a length of 88. I find the decision and the reasoning behind that somewhat arbitrary. PEP-8 is a good standard and there’s a lot of value in having a style guide that is generally accepted and has a lot of tooling to support it.

          When people ask to change Black’s default line length to 79, the issue is usually closed with a reference to the reasoning in the README. But Black’s developers are at least aware of this controversial decision, as Black’s only option that allows to configure the (otherwise uncompromising) code formatter, is in fact the line length.

          Apart from that, Black is a good formatter that’s gaining more and more popularity. And, of course, the developers have every right to follow their own taste. However, since Black is licensed under the terms of the MIT license, I tried to see what needs to be done in order to fix the line length issue.

        • miniDebConf19 Vaumarcus – Oct 25-27 2019 – Registration is open

          The Vaumarcus miniDebConf19 is happening! Come see the fantastic view from the shores of Lake Neuchâtel, in Switzerland! We’re going to have two-and-a-half days of presentations and hacking in this marvelous venue and anybody interested in Debian development is welcome.

        • New FAI.me feature

          FAI.me, the build service for installation and cloud images has a new feature. When building an installation images, you can enable automatic reboot or shutdown at the end of the installation in the advanced options. This was implemented due to request by users, that are using the service for their VM instances or computers without any keyboard connected.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Life with an offline laptop

        When I think about an offline laptop, I immediately think I will miss IRC, mails, file synchronization, Mastodon and remote ssh to my servers. But do I really need it _all the time_?

        As I started thinking about preparing an old laptop for the experiment, differents ideas with theirs pros and cons came to my mind.

      • How UCLA Library preserves rare objects with open source

        The University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) Library houses a collection of millions of rare and unique objects, including materials dating from 3000 BCE, that could be damaged, destroyed, or otherwise threatened if they were displayed.

        To make these special collections widely available while keeping them secure, the UCLA Library has been modernizing its digital repository, which was established 15 years ago on now-outdated software.

        [...]

        Watch Jen’s Lightning Talk to learn more about the UCLA Library’s rare collections digitization project.

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD’s Executive Director Calls For Linux + BSD Devs To Work Together

          While called the Open-Source Summit, the event is primarily about Linux as after all it’s hosted by the Linux Foundation. But at this week’s Open-Source Summit in San Diego, Deb Goodkin as the executive director of the FreeBSD Foundation presented. Deb’s talk was of course on FreeBSD but also why FreeBSD and Linux developers should work together.

          The presentation covered FreeBSD’s development workflow and various features of this open-source operating system project for those unfamiliar as well as some of the companies utilizing FreeBSD and their different use-cases. It’s a good overview for those not familiar with FreeBSD.

        • FreeBSD Meets Linux At The Open Source Summit

          The Linux Foundation hosted the executive director of the FreeBSD Foundation, Deb Goodkin, at the Open Source Summit in San Diego. In this episode of Let’s Talk, we sat down with Goodkin to talk about the FreeBSD project and the foundation.

      • Programming/Development

        • RcppExamples 0.1.9

          The RcppExamples package provides a handful of short examples detailing by concrete working examples how to set up basic R data structures in C++. It also provides a simple example for packaging with Rcpp.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • The prosecution of Assange affects us all

        WITH the indictment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the imprisonment of whistleblower Chelsea Manning, we are seeing the US government’s blatant attack on the First Amendment. This assault now is officially acknowledged by a US federal court, where the judge dismissed a Democratic National Committee civil suit against WikiLeaks on the grounds of First Amendment protections that apply to all journalists.

        Assange, who has become a political prisoner in this war on the free press, was charged under the Espionage Act over publications exposing the US illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently serving a 50 week sentence in Belmarsh prison in London for a violation of bail conditions he made in 2012 while attempting to obtain political asylum in Ecuador to mitigate the risk of extradition to the US. While in a maximum-security prison that holds some of the highest-risk prisoners in the country, he continues to fight US extradition.

      • As Australian government threatens to jail journalists, media chiefs denounce Julian Assange

        The hypocrisy of the corporate media was on display last week at the two public hearings of an Australian parliamentary committee inquiry into the impact of intelligence agency and police powers on press freedom.
        Even as a senior government official declared that anyone who leaked “top secret” information should “go to jail,” media chiefs backed the persecution of Julian Assange, which has set the precedent for the intensifying global war on journalism.
        While claiming to champion the public’s “right to know,” media executives vilified the WikiLeaks founder for exposing the crimes, conspiracies and mass surveillance of the US-led spy and military apparatuses. They pledged to work more closely with the government and its agencies to ensure that any classified material they received would be suppressed or censored to protect “national security.”
        Andrew Hastie, the ex-Special Forces commander who chairs the parliamentary security and intelligence committee, set the tone. He asked the media representatives to confirm that their “public interest journalism” was “quite distinct from the radical transparency advocated by Julian Assange and his merry band of WikiLeakers.”
        Representing the Murdoch media, News Corp executive Campbell Reid replied: “Absolutely.” News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller declared: “Yes, it is.”
        Asked by the Labor Party’s Mike Kelly, another former military officer, about the “reputable” media’s “relationship” with WikiLeaks in initially publishing some of the secret information about US and allied war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, Reid denounced Assange.

      • Julian Assange’s father warns WikiLeaks’ publisher’s health is “declining rapidly” in Belmarsh Prison

        In an interview on August 16 with 3CR, a Melbourne community radio station, Julian Assange’s father John Shipton stated that the WikiLeaks founder’s health is continuing to deteriorate in Britain’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison.
        Shipton revealed that Assange had received a visit from his brother Gabriel several days earlier. “Julian is emaciated and not in tip-top order or health,” Shipton said. “He is suffering anxiety. He is still in fighting spirits, but his well-being is declining rapidly.”

      • 40 rebuttals to the media’s smears of Julian Assange – by someone who was actually there

        The Western corporate media has shown extreme bias against the whistleblowing publication WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange. Nowhere is this more evident than in a recent CNN article on the imprisoned journalist, which completely botches the facts.

        On July 15, CNN published an exclusive report that sent shock waves through the press: “Security reports reveal how Assange turned an embassy into a command post for election meddling.” This two-pronged hit piece mixes character assassination with a clumsy attempt to show that he and WikiLeaks supposedly served as agents of chaos for the Kremlin during the 2016 US presidential election.

        But the article contains numerous errors, omissions, examples of bias, speculations, and simply false information.

        CNN’s attempts to shape the narrative on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are not new. On March 28, the TV program Conclusiones, on CNN Español, claimed — without evidence — that Assange had published the famous INA Papers leak, exposing the corruption of Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno and his family.

      • Mysteriously vanished Dutch WikiLeaks partner ‘likely’ lost in kayaking accident – Norway police

        A WikiLeaks associate, who mysteriously vanished last year while on a visit to Norway, was probably the victim of a kayaking accident, Norwegian police say. The man’s body remains missing, however, leaving a mystery unsolved.
        In a statement on Friday, police said they believe Arjen Kamphuis – a missing cybersecurity expert and WikiLeaks affiliate who was last seen in the Norweigan town of Bodo in the summer of 2018 – was likely “lost at sea” after a kayaking trip went awry.

        “The police have concluded that Mr Kamphuis most likely suffered an accident on the evening of August 20, 2018, while kayaking in … northern Norway, and was subsequently lost at sea,” the police statement said.

      • Wikileaks death: Dutch hacking expert ‘had kayaking accident’

        Norwegian police said on Friday they have ended a year-long probe into the disappearance of a Dutch cybersecurity expert, concluding he “most likely” died in an accident.
        Arjen Kamphuis was last seen on August 20, 2018, when checking out from a hotel in Bodoe, just north of the Arctic Circle. A few days later, a kayak with a hole in the hull and an oar were found on the shore of the fjord, as well as some other personal items.
        Those circumstances and his work, which involved advising governments, firms, journalists and activists groups on how to prevent hacking attacks, fueled speculation of possible foul play.

      • Norway: Dutch cybersecurity expert likely died in accident

        Police in Norway believe a missing Dutch cybersecurity expert who had worked for the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks “most likely perished as a result of an accident” in a fjord.

        Police in northern Norway say Arjen Kamphuis, who was last seen on Aug. 20, 2018, when checking out from a hotel in Bodoe, just north of the Arctic Circle, likely was involved in a kayaking accident that same day “and has disappeared at sea.”

      • Norwegian police: Missing WikiLeaks associate ‘most likely’ had a kayaking accident

        Arjen Kamphuis, a Dutch cybersecurity expert who went missing under mysterious circumstances last year probably had a kayaking accident, Norwegian police said on Friday.
        Kamphuis, then aged 47, had not been seen since he left his hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodo on August 20th, 2018.

        His disappearance had triggered a wave of conspiracy theories on social media, ranging from CIA and Russian involvement to a mission to carry out a secret project for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

        Then police discovered a kayak in the same area where a fisherman had found some of Kamphuis’ personal belongings floating in the waters about 50 kilometres east of Bodø.

    • Environment

      • Saving the Planet Means Fighting Bipartisan Corruption

        Burning fossil fuels boils our planet — that much is generally well known.

      • Amazon Fires Put the Planet at Risk

        In Brazil, the Amazon rainforest is now burning at a record rate.

      • More Fires Now Burning in Angola, Congo Than Amazon: Maps

        Weather Source has recorded 6,902 fires in Angola over the past 48 hours, compared to 3,395 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 2,127 in Brazil. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon for Central Africa.

      • The Horrifying Science of the Deforestation Fueling Amazon Fires

        Nevertheless, they’ve set themselves up for failure. Farmers have to burn the forest in part because Amazon soil is, weirdly enough, poor in nutrients. “It’s called the paradox of luxuriance,” says Bruna. “You look at the Amazon and you think this is the garden of Eden, you can plant anything here and it’s going to grow. But what people don’t realize is that those trees have over millennia evolved really efficient nutrient extraction mechanisms.”

        Burning the trees produces ash the new crops need to grow, but a lot of those nutrients vaporize when the plant material burns, making the resulting farmland more or less garbage. As a result, farmers quickly wear out the land and move on, burning new stretches of rainforest. “You go from a really lush tropical forest to a completely nonproductive cattle pasture almost immediately,” adds Bruna.

        The destruction of the Amazon rainforest is methodical and self-perpetuating. When all those trees burn, they release CO2 into the atmosphere, cutting down on a critical carbon sink. In the Amazon, this is particularly problematic because it can turn into a net carbon emitter even when it’s not on fire. Rivers and lakes in the tropics are filled with algae and other life-forms that respire CO2 just like we humans do. Without trees, the Amazon loses its sequestering power and instead becomes a belcher of carbon.

      • Deep Time and the Green River, Floating

        These days there isn’t a vacant hotel room to be found in Vernal, Utah. Or Craig, Colorado. Or Pinedale, Wyoming, for that matter. The rooms are all booked up with oil workers, pipe-layers, explosive technicians and tax accountants versed in the intricacies of the depreciation allowance.

      • Earth 4C Hotter

        A decade ago several prominent climate scientists discussed the prospects of a 4C Earth. Their concern was qualified “… if greenhouse gases do not slow down, then expect a 4C Earth by 2055.” Of course, that would be catastrophic, and one can only assume those scientists must have recognized real risks. Otherwise, why address the issue of 4C by 2055 in the first instance?

      • Youth to Adults—Join Us in the Climate Fight

        So far it’s been the hottest summer ever recorded — June was the hottest June, and July was the hottest month ever. France, Germany, Britain, Belgium, and the Netherlands had their hottest days of all time, joining countries from Cuba to Vietnam and Togo to the Reunion Islands.

        This is dangerous for two reasons.

        One, it’s destroying the planet.

        And two, it’s becoming so common that people may lose hope or tune out — the news can be almost as sapping as the heat. But that apathy would come at just the wrong moment. The price of renewable energy hit a record low last month, when a Portuguese power auction produced the cheapest electricity in history. Given the political will, we could quickly make huge strides in combatting climate change.

      • Understanding Christians’ Climate Views Can Lead to Better Conversations About the Environment

        In their second round of debates, Democratic presidential candidates called for aggressive measures to slow climate change. As Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has said, “We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it.”

        Politicians realize that many voters care about this issue. A 2018 survey conducted by Yale and George Mason Universities categorizes 69% of Americans as at least “somewhat worried” about climate change, the highest level these programs had recorded since 2008.

        But climate is still an uncomfortable subject for many people. I study environmental communication and the obstacles people encounter when discussing climate change. My new book, “Communication Strategies for Engaging Climate Skeptics: Religion and the Environment,” considers Christians and the variety of ways they incorporate the environment into their faith.

        Studying Christianity provides important insights into how to talk productively about climate change with a variety of audiences. I interviewed Christians from many different denominations and found that they don’t all think alike when it comes to the environment. Some reject environmentalism, some embrace it, and others modify it to fit their beliefs.

      • The Fight’s Not Over, Say Activists, as Nebraska Supreme Court Approves Keystone XL Route

        “If history recalls Nebraska at all, it may remember this as its most regrettable decision.”

      • The Realism and Unrealism of the Green New Deals

        A problem facing advocates of serious action to deter global warming is that the costs of not acting aren’t quantifiable and remain somewhat abstract. In contrast, calling for a phase-out of fossil fuels understandably leads to fears of job losses, especially since capitalism isn’t going to offer new employment for those displaced.

      • Energy

        • Tapping into People Power

          In times like this, many of us feel powerless to do anything about the political, social, and environmental injustices we face. But, power is everywhere. Like sunlight and solar panels, it’s a question of tapping into it. Accustomed to the top-down power of presidents and CEOs, most of us have no idea where to plug in and connect to the phenomenal people power that exists. As the editor of Nonviolence News, I collect 30-50 stories of nonviolence in action each week. These stories are inspiring examples of how people like us are finding unexpected sources of strength, creativity, resistance, hope, and yes, power. Beyond protests and petitions, there are hundreds of ways to work for change. Here are seven ways we can connect to the power of removing our consent and cooperation, refusing to go along with injustice, and intervening in the destructive practices that cause harm. I’ve included several examples in each section – a total of 28 amazing stories – that illuminate how and where people can find the power to make powerful change.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Trump and Endangered Species, Wildlife and Human

          He hit a double.  It all happened the week of  August 11, 2019.  That was the week the trump took steps to reduce protections for two endangered species.  In each case the decision was made because in one case it was going to make it easier for certain taxpayers to make money, and in the other it was going to save all taxpayers money.  It was a trump-type win-win.

        • How Agriculture and Ranching Subvert the Re-Wilding of America

          A recent paper on the rewilding of Europe noted that wolves and grizzlies, not to mention lynx, moose, and other wildlife, have greatly expanded their ranges on the continent. There are lessons for the American West here. If it were not for the ecologically degrading presence of ranching and farming, we could see a significant revitalization and restoration of native wildlife.

        • Trade in Giraffe Products to be Regulated

          Conservationists have hailed a “big win” for threatened giraffes as countries agreed to protect the African animals from unregulated trade. Giraffes are facing what has been described as a “silent extinction”, with numbers falling by up to 40 percent over the last 30 years, wildlife experts said. Threats to the world’s tallest land mammal include trade in their body parts, as

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • China’s Hong Kong Nightmare, and the US Response

        Donald Trump has kept his promise, reportedly made to Xi Jinping in June, that Washington would “tone down” its comments on the spiraling HK protests. “Very tough situation” Trump tweeted on August 12. “I hope it works out for everybody, including China.”

      • “Nuance” in Politics and Public Policy? No Thanks

        In 2004, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry called his ever-shifting position on the war in Iraq “nuanced” as a way of explaining why he was for it before he was against it and why his prescriptions for its future kept changing.

      • Brazil: From Global Leader to U.S. Lapdog

        Brazil recently gained the vaunted status of “Major Non-NATO Ally.”

      • Julian Assange smears fade as Wikileaks witnesses concede he was not reckless, did protect informants

        Assange wanted to redact the names. He did redact the names. He wanted to protect informers, save lives. He did protect informers. Davis has since withdrawn his bluntest criticisms of The Guardian and the New York Times, whose reporters he said should have been in jail rather than Assange. Following negotiations, Mark Davis and The Guardian journalist Nick Davies have issued a joint statement, which is published below. [...]

      • Epoch Times banned from advertising after sneaking pro-Trump propaganda onto Facebook

        The Epoch Times previously spent $2 million on Facebook ads supporting President Trump and amplifying conspiracy theories, which is more than any other organization, save for the Trump campaign itself. After journalist Judd Legum noted back in July that many of The Epoch Times’ ads were in violation of Facebook’s policies, the outlet’s accounts were banned.

      • David Koch Got What He Paid For

        David Koch was not a political mastermind. He was a failed candidate, a bit of a bumbler as a strategist, and a frequently inconsistent ideologue. But he knew what rich men who dabble in politics know: If you throw enough money around, two things will happen. First, the machinery of electioneering and governing will adjust to the cash flow. Second, the recipients of your largesse will take your calls.

        These are not just truths for David Koch and his brother Charles. It are the truth of electioneering in our times. Yet the Kochs have been more than mere “major donors.” They have been the poster boys for a crisis that grew dramatically worse on their watch, as they steered their vast fortune into bending the governing of states across the country and decisions made in Washington to their will.

      • China’s thin-skinned online nationalists want to be both loved and feared by the West

        One possible take on this dispiriting saga is that China’s hair-trigger patriots are themselves victims. In this telling, if young Chinese netizens are easily offended, it is because they have spent their formative years cut off from the world behind a Great Firewall of digital censorship, and pounded by a drumbeat of nationalism.

        A closer look at those online nationalists is more troubling. It is true that government propagandists have worked hard to whip up this latest storm. Communist Party social-media accounts have gleefully asserted that foreign firms must work harder to uphold China’s sacred territorial unity, or feel the “cold, cold” wrath of 1.4bn patriotic consumers.

        But a sad truth about nationalist anger is that it can be manipulated and sincere at the same time. [...]

      • Centrists Are Going to Kill Us

        Centrists are going to kill us. Literally. They’ll do it in two ways.

        First, they’re saying that we can’t afford the kind of far reaching solutions like Bernie Sanders’ Green New Deal that are needed to tackle the climate crisis.

        Second, they’re spreading the dangerous myth that Democrats need to appeal to the center to win the election. How would this kill us? Well, it’s the only way Trump – who is unravelling right before our eyes – could get reelected, and that would be an existential crisis.

        Let’s look at each in turn.

      • Let’s Stop Trying to Predict Who Can Beat Trump

        Jill Biden, wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, commented Monday that although her husband may not be good enough on certain issues, people ought to vote for him anyway.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Apple contractors were allegedly listening to 1,000 Siri recordings a day — each

        There’s a reason why we’re likely learning more details about the contractors’ work now: they may be out of a job. Apple has temporarily stopped using contractors to listen to Siri conversations, and the Irish Examiner reports that Apple no longer needed the services of Cork, Ireland-based contracting company GlobeTech, which employed the contractor who spoke to the Irish Examiner.

      • Mastercard Alerts Privacy Watchdogs After Loyalty Program Leak

        The Belgian watchdog said in a statement on Friday that the card company alerted it to a “breach” detected on Aug. 19. It said the episode would have affected a “large number” of people and that “a significant portion” of them would be German customers.

      • Facebook just published emails showing how much employees knew about the giant Cambridge Analytica data scandal 2 years before the story exploded

        A message thread ensued on September 29, in which employees debated whether the data scraping constituted a violation of Facebook’s rules. There was no clear conclusion.

        The emails show that it was not until December 2015 that Facebook became aware from a report in The Guardian that user data scraped by Aleksandr Kogan — through his This Is Your Digital Life quiz — was sold to Cambridge Analytica.

      • EU considers new rules on facial recognition

        However, EDRi said in a statement on July 22 it would take a long time “to formulate a meaningful and future-proof piece of legislation on this topic”.

      • Brits Are Pissed About Mercedes-Benz Tracking Down Customer Cars For Repossession: Report

        To be clear, in the written terms and conditions of the Mercedes-Benz financial agreement for vehicle loans in the UK, it’s apparently spelled out in bold text exactly how the automaker can use location data for finding a vehicle when the owner is in breach of their financial agreement. But apparently that’s not enough, and the allegedly rare occurrence of the carmaker tracking people down is enough to upset some people and stoke fears of too much corporate oversight and nuisance in peoples’ lives.

      • An Arizona Law Requires Surveillance of People Who Are Presumed Innocent

        Arguably, the most important moment in one’s case is the decision whether to release an arrested person on bail, and if so under what conditions. Nothing predicts a later criminal conviction more than being jailed pretrial. The difference between being locked behind bars or able to return to your family, maintain your job, and work with a lawyer to defend yourself can make or break your chances of winning your case. All too often, people succumb to the pressure to plead guilty—regardless of actual guilt—because of the horrors of incarceration.

        Even for those who are released pretrial, the ordeal doesn’t end. Increasingly, presumptively innocent people are subject to onerous and expensive conditions upon their pretrial release such as ankle monitoring, drug testing, or physical checks ins with probation officers. In much of the country, people released may have to pay for the costs of any such conditions, which can cost hundreds of dollars every month.

        But this critical pretrial decision is often infected by a knee-jerk fear: Simply because a person is accused of a given crime, they must be dangerous. This tendency undermines the presumption of innocence and is out of touch with reality. Over 98 percent of people released pretrial with pending felonies avoid arrest for a violent felony.

        Arizona provides key examples of problematic presumptions of dangerousness. In 2002, Arizona voters passed a ballot initiative requiring that people accused of various crimes sit in jail pending trial. The ballot initiative was based entirely on fear-mongering, claiming without evidence that “it has happened time and again” that “slick defense lawyers” get bond amounts reduced and were thus “allowing predators back on the street for just a few hundred dollars.” We argued that these automatic jail laws were unconstitutional, and the Arizona Supreme Court struck down two provisions. The message was clear: You cannot presume someone is dangerous based simply on charge, even if the allegations are serious. Individuals deserve a determination of their pretrial freedom based on their specific circumstances.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Journalist says Customs and Border Protection harassed him at LAX: ‘Welcome to Trump’s America!’

        “Wow. Just… wow. Just went through LAX immigration. Presented my journalist visa and was stopped by the CBP agent and accused of being part of the ‘fake news media,’” James Dyer, who hosts a podcast for Britain’s Pilot TV magazine, wrote on Twitter. “He wanted to know if I’d ever worked for CNN or MSNBC or other outlets that are ‘spreading lies to the American people.’ He aggressively told me that journalists are liars and are attacking their democracy,” he continued in the thread of tweets.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Finding the Comrades: Maintaining Precarious Sanity In Insane Times

        Some of the most awful scenes from history or literature I can conjure in imagination are those in which a person who critiques the existing political structures – usually a story about Communist or other totalitarian society- is declared mad and sent to a mental institution where his claims to sanity fall on the horrifyingly deaf ears of sold-out doctors. “Oh, everyone here is “sane,” that’s what they all say, heh heh” The most frightening aspect of the current historical moment, with its multiple and terrifying threats, is the perception that I exist now inside this scene, completely under the authority of people I cannot trust, only the mental institution has been turned inside out, and the “enforcer” is perceived in the eye of my neighbors and even my friends! This is because, in general, though people can be trusted to be “good,” and they’re not actually spies or narcs, they will not, with very few exceptions, acknowledge the common enemy and thus, they will not be comrades. One is left to ask, if no one on this side of the institution’s walls shares my perception, then might not I be crazy?

      • Critics Condemn Inclusion of Anti-Semitic, White Nationalist Blog Post in Daily Briefing Sent to Immigration Judges by Trump’s DOJ

        “There is no bottom,” Rep. Ilhan Omar said of the Trump administration

      • What It’s Like to Grow Up Hunted

        It was a quiet Sunday night when my dad told me to hide in a closet — and stay there until he said to come out.

      • Congo’s Patrice Lumumba: The Winds of Reaction in Africa

        The Congo won independence from Belgium in June 1960 with Patrice Lumumba, age 35, as Prime Minister. Immediately it began to fall apart, under revanchist Belgian assault, Cold War pressures, adjacent settler colonial reaction and collaborationist Congolese elites like Moise Tshombe and Joseph Desire Mobutu. On 12 July Lumumba and President Kasavubu asked UN Secretary General Hammarskjold to urgently despatch military assistance “to protect the national territory of the Congo against the present external aggression” (Katanga had broken away under Tshombe with big Belgian support). In early July, Dag Hammarskjold, UN secretary general, stressed that ONUC (the UN mission, already 3,500 strong was “not under the orders of the [Congolese] government “nor [was it] party to any internal conflict”.

      • TSA urges consumers to change identification as Real ID deadline draws near

        Without a Real ID, travelers won’t be able to board a flight, unless they have an alternative enhanced identification such as a passport. Those with Real IDs are also able to access federal facilities and nuclear power plants.

        States have cited concerns with Real IDs requirements in the law that include storing images of documents that driver’s license applicants present as proof of their identity, like their birth certificates. State officials say that information could be breached and could be used to track law-abiding U.S. citizens.

        They also oppose the U.S. government unilaterally setting standards in an area traditionally handled by the states.

      • Beyond Prisons: Gladiator Fights Feat. IWOC’s Brooke Terpstra

        Beyond Prisons is back from summer break with a special double episode with Brooke Terpstra, Oaklander forever, movement veteran, and worker who organized with the Incarcerated Workers Organizer Committee (IWOC).

        Brooke is an organizer with the Oakland chapter of IWOC and was a member of the IWOC national media committee for the 2018 prison strike. In the first hour of this episode, Brooke walks us through incidents of prison-orchestrated violence in California, known as “Gladiator Fights.” He shares the history and backstory of why California prisons are organizing these fights, dismantles the corrections department’s spin on these incidents, and details the experiences of prisoners and their loved ones who are fighting for survival and to end the practice.

        In the second hour, Kim and Brian debrief after their conversation with Brooke. They discuss their reactions and experiences reporting on these fights and the trauma of being in proximity to the multifaceted violence of incarceration.

      • The Chicago 8 Trial, Revisited

        In my early childhood days we played Cops and Robbers, or Cowboys and Indians. Things were simple, black and white. We never asked about moral issues. We never wondered if maybe the Indians had a legitimate beef (let’s say genocide) and maybe the Cops should be pursuing the Cowboys instead. We watched Dragnet, Adam-12 and the FBI on TV and thought policemen were wonderful catchers of evil people; their corruptibility was beyond our fathoming and we knew (however so ruefully) that their truncheons would only be used on Black heads. We sighed, but lived on.

      • As Long as Enemies of the State Keep Dying Before Trial, No One Should Trust the State

        There is no other way to say it: it was a political assassination.

      • The Significance of the “1619 Project”

        On Sunday, the New York Times unveiled “The 1619 Project,” a journalistic series in the Sunday magazine that seeks to tell the “unvarnished truth” about slavery and its impact on America’s history.

      • DHS Was Tracking White Supremacist Terrorists, but Nobody Wanted to Listen

        No one listened when the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI sounded the alarm about the rise of white supremacist and far-right domestic terrorism, says former DHS intelligence analyst Daryl Johnson and Greg Huffman of Facing South

      • Stop Criminalizing Children in the Name of School Security

        We went this first week of school so far this year without one of those moronic incidents typical of the occasional adolescent, typical of last school year, when it seemed we had some of these every few days: no SnapChat banter of an impending assault on any school, no bigoted threats against a teacher, no one brought a gun, a knife, a tank or an ICBM to school that we know of, and best of all, no one has been arrested, no one faces felony charges for pulling any of these gross misjudgments that end up changing the child’s life so we can all pretend that we’re keeping everyone else safe.

    • Monopolies

      • YouTube says it will now remove ‘violent’ and ‘mature’ videos pretending to be kid-friendly

        The policy change was announced two days ago, but it was done so on a YouTube Help community forum and appears to have gone largely unnoticed, with the post amassing only 20 replies and little news coverage. YouTube says it will begin ramping up enforcement of this new policy over the next 30 days, to give creators a chance to become familiar with the new rules.

        As part of that process, YouTube says it will remove videos that violate the policy, but it won’t be giving strikes to channels until the 30-day period is up. YouTube says it won’t be handing out strikes to videos uploaded prior to the policy change, but it still reserves the right to remove those videos. YouTube advises creators check the YouTube Kids guidelines if they want to specifically reach children with their videos, and it also advises creators to make sure their descriptions and tags are targeting the right audience to avoid getting caught up in the ban. YouTube also says it will be age-restricting more content that could be confusingly viewed as kid-friendly, like adult cartoons.

        YouTube gives some examples of offending content, like videos tagged as “for children” that feature family-friendly cartoons engaging in otherwise violent or disturbing activity, like “injecting needles.” YouTube also warns against content featuring nursery rhymes that engage with mature themes like sex, violence, and death.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Qualcomm files opening brief in Ninth Circuit appeal of FTC antitrust win; appellate hearing may slip into February

          Not unexpectedly but understandably, Qualcomm just filed a 176-page opening brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in its appeal of the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust victory in the Northern District of California–and an 11-page unopposed motion explaining why the opening brief has to be that long.

          This has implications for the timeline. The most recent scheduling order, based on another unopposed Qualcomm motion, gave the FTC until October 25 for its responsive brief, and Qualcomm until November 15 for its reply brief. But in that motion Qualcomm already indicated that the FTC could also get an extension (after Qualcomm got two more weeks because the expedited schedule was too expedited even for them) should Qualcomm exceed page limits. It now turns out the FTC will even get twice as much extra time: four weeks. Qualcomm doesn’t oppose it, so it’s a given that the FTC will use that extra time and then file its responsive brief just before Thanksgiving–and then Qualcomm will have until mid-December for its reply brief.

      • Copyrights

        • Internet Archive Faces Permanent ISP Blocking Following Audiobook Lawsuits

          An anti-piracy group representing the rights of authors is calling for the Internet Archive to be blocked by ISPs in Russia forever. A pair of lawsuits concerning two audiobooks, including Metro 2033, led to the request to have the massively popular Archive.org permanently rendered inaccessible in the region. A legal process is now underway to avoid that happening.

        • Bill Aims to Deter Piracy by Teaching Copyright in Philippine Schools [iophk: actual copyright laws or just misnformation and indoctrination?]

          A new bill that’s currently being reviewed by Philippine lawmakers proposes to add copyright classes to the required curriculum. According to local Congressman Rufus Rodriguez, this should help to deter the rampant piracy [sic] problem the country faces today.

Openwashing Report: It’s Not Just Microsoft, But Microsoft is by Far the Biggest Facilitator of That

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 12:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: A weekly roundup looking back at distortion if not intentional misuse of the term “Open Source”; Microsoft is still working hard and spending a lot of money to control the narrative (e.g. to limit “Open Source” to what’s on its proprietary platform, GitHub)

THIS SERIES continues for the third week/weekend in a row. Readers may have noticed that we rarely mention Microsoft in it; that’s not because Microsoft isn’t openwashing (it certainly is; it does it all the time) but because it’s a growing phenomenon much bigger than one single company or a handful of them, e.g. GAFAM.

Microsoft’s ownership of GitHub is a growing problem. We’ll come to that in a moment, but let’s start with the Linux Foundation. Here’s a new press release from Sysdig [1, 2]. Sysdig is proprietary software, but the title of the press release has “Open Source Team” in it; that’s just for openwashing purposes. “Falco joined the CNCF in October 2018,” it says, alluding to a coalition under the Linux Foundation’s wing. The members? Mostly proprietary software companies, but they collaborate on some code. Their products? Just proprietary software, maybe with a few exceptions here and there.

“Sysdig is proprietary software, but the title of the press release has “Open Source Team” in it; that’s just for openwashing purposes.”On we move to LinkChain, which days ago spoke of an “Open Source Version”. That just means proprietary software with an openwashing slant, e.g. a ‘teaser version’ or ‘trial version’; like the same old “community”/”enterprise” edition trick, the former being designed for lock-in. Open as in locked? Maybe the name “LinkChain” serves as a warming; they try to chain people and companies. Akin to Open Core…

The next example is one that we mentioned a week ago. It’s about rideOS and its openwashing by characterising “APIs” as “open”. Some media is still playing along. Also covered a week ago was gross openwashing of surveillance. In recent days we saw many more examples of that. First of all, consider those two articles [1
2] about TECH5. It speaks of “MOSIP’s open architecture”. The second article says: “The T5-ABIS is built on an open architecture to preserve flexibility for governments.” That’s not Open Source, so both headlines are misleading. And now comes Microsoft. Its surveillance platform is being spun as “confidential” and “secure” by the Linux Foundation (which Microsoft pays) and SDTimes helps the openwashing of these back doors, NSA surveillance etc. This is very typical of SDTimes. “SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week” goes again to Microsoft. They keep doing that even when the projects are closely attached to proprietary software. We’re not surprised by this, especially because it’s the SDTimes. Microsoft’s long history of sabotage never bothers bribed writers, working for publications that Microsoft keeps bribing. This is an issue that bribed media won’t speak about. Obviously.

“Saying that FOSS projects ‘don’t exist’ if they’re not on GitHub is like saying that people ‘cease to exist’ if or when they delete Facebook.”Staying on the subjects of Microsoft and surveillance, Twitter is openwashing its surveillance to make it seem or sound or ‘feel’ ethical [1, 2]. It’s also worth noting that Twitter is outsourcing its code to a proprietary software platform of Microsoft. How very typical. To quote: “It just became easier to diagnose runtime performance issues at scale, thanks to Twitter. The tech giant today open-sourced Rezolus, a “high-resolution” telemetry agent designed to uncover anomalies and utilization spikes too brief to be captured through normal observability and metrics systems. Twitter says it’s been running Rezolus in production for over a year, and it says it’ll continue development on the public GitHub repository.”

So they gave it to Microsoft. We have meanwhile noticed that there’s more flawed work based on GitHub data. Janet Swift did an article about it, but she neglected to point out the obvious issue. The data itself is highly biased. As if FOSS projects don’t exist or do not count unless Microsoft (foremost foe of Open Source) controls them inside a proprietary software platform that freedom-conscious developers reject? Saying that FOSS projects ‘don’t exist’ if they’re not on GitHub is like saying that people ‘cease to exist’ if or when they delete Facebook.

“They cheapen Open Source to death.”Over at TechRepublic, the openwashing of Twitter carries on. It’s Mac Asay again. He said he had deleted his Facebook and similar accounts, but not Twitter (where he blocked me because free speech isn’t something he can grasp). So now he treats Twitter, a truly proprietary platform, as some kind of Open Source lecturer. He published “What Twitter taught me about open source” and the Linux Foundation then boosted him. He calls himself “longtime open sourceror,” but he and his employer Adobe are actively attacking Free software and Open Source by making these meaningless. They also pay major publishers to print this crap. So we’re supposed to assume that Twitter is some kind of Open Source leader even though it’s a proprietary software company? Well, that’s how Asay wants Abobe too to be perceived. They cheapen Open Source to death.

“The openwashing of IBM’s POWER comes along with the openwashing of IBM mainframes.”A rarer and relatively new pattern of openwashing that we’ve noticed is “open” by association; Marfeel shows the possibility of openwashing oneself and one’s proprietary software by giving some money; like oligarchs who give “some money” to “charity”. This pattern is related to one where a company builds a proprietary product on top of an “open” stack (not its own) and then seeks to ‘inherit’ the positive image of that underlying stack. Pure openwashing by AT&T was described here a week ago. Telecompetitor and Container Journal [1, 2] amplified that some more. To quote: “AT&T and Dell Technologies have pledged to work together to advance a variety of open source projects starting with the previously launched AirShip initiative, a management framework that combines elements of OpenStack and Kubernetes to declaratively automate cloud provisioning and lifecycle management for containerized applications.” Here’s another one; it shows how they’re openwashing 5G by associating it with things completely unrelated to it (like OpenStack and Kubernetes). Days ago we explained a similar PR stunt and last night we wrote about OpenPOWER. The openwashing of IBM’s POWER comes along with the openwashing of IBM mainframes. These are expensive machines with proprietary software on them (and lots of patents to destroy anyone who actually believes it’s “open” and OK to copy). So much for “Open Mainframe Project” as this new press release puts it

“So here we can see how openwashing actually ruins “open-source”, Open Source and anything “open”…”Of course there are cases more blatant where the Open Source label is abused completely; this new press release says “Prey Inc., provider of the cross-platform, open source anti-theft software…”

Seems to be proprietary software, but that needs further investigation. In our latest daily links we also included 3 articles about H2O.ai. It received some more funding (in exchange for shared control) and no, it’s not “open source leader” as this headline put it. Go to their Web site and check; it’s proprietary software with limited-time ‘trial’…

So here we can see how openwashing actually ruins “open-source”, Open Source and anything “open”…

Here’s another new example. This is openwashing because it makes it sound like there’s code involved, but it’s just some registry.

Returning to examples from the surveillance domain, here we have Google with MediaPipe (more here). So a component for CCTV-like devices and other surveillance products… is now “open”.

“It’s a browser extension; never mind this browser being proprietary software that spies a lot.”Google’s message: our surveillance… is “open”, hence “ethical”. Even the listening devices (Live Transcribe). These are just the latest examples. This new example shows how surveillance through/for ads is described as “open” and “transparent”. It’s a browser extension; never mind this browser being proprietary software that spies a lot.

Google does its share of openwashing and no doubt future parts of this series will revisit Google a lot.

Now, what about Microsoft? Same old. Mary Jo Foley wrote about Stormy Peters joining Microsoft. It helps the openwashing. For well over a decade Stormy Peters had served Microsoft in various ways (Techrights wrote many articles about that), so Peters joining Microsoft to attack FOSS directly as a ‘mole’ is hardly surprising. Even expected. Love of money dooms FOSS and this is all about money: “Peters most recently was senior manager of Red Hat’s community team, a role she has occupied since November 2016, according to her LinkedIn profile. Her profile says she left Red Hat in August 2019 and joined Microsoft as Director of the Open Source Programs Office in August 2019. She is based in Berthoud, Colorado.”

“Microsoft hopes that the likes of Stormy, Nat and Miguel can help Microsoft control the narratives around FOSS.”What Microsoft propaganda sites call “prominent free and open source software advocate” (in the headline) is actually someone who sold out more than a decade ago; an associate of other defectors and traitors like Miguel de Icaza. This would not be the first.

“Stormy will never be able to make up for such an unforgivable action,” one reader told us. “Even if she leaves her motives will be forever suspect. It’s a reprehensible and inexcusable decision on her part that also shows terrible problems within Red Hat.”

This reader said Stormy is “like DeIcaza, a mole going home for rewards.”

Nat Friedman, an associate of both of them, even got a top job there (the top GitHub mole/role). But this was more or less expected all along. Microsoft hopes that the likes of Stormy, Nat and Miguel can help Microsoft control the narratives around FOSS. It’s easier to destroy or abduct FOSS that way. They are ‘doing a Nokia’.

Patent Maximalists Refuse to Accept That Their War on Patent Quality Also Dooms a Pan-European Patent Court System

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How can one expect a Unified Patent Court (UPC) when the law is grossly violated along with constitutions?

EPO delivery

Summary: The EPO‘s embrace of patent maximalists’ agenda, which necessarily means significant decreases in patent quality (and deviation/departure from the EPC), dooms patent certainty; it also, however, dooms the Unitary Patent (UPC) because an extension of this rogue regime to the court system won’t be tolerated

PRESIDENT António Campinos — like Battistelli before him — welcomes software patents into Europe in defiance of the law. Brimelow had welcomed them “as such”, but that didn’t go so far. Europe’s Office — like the American Office (USPTO) — can grant all the patents it wants; but if courts say “no!” to granted patents, what will these patents be worth? Legal certainty suffers profoundly. We can’t say that often enough. They’re digging their own graves. They must choose between quality and quantity.

Found the other day here in Lexology was this article about patent systems becoming almost satirical (or self-satirising). What happens when people craft computer programs to automatically submit patent applications? Are these actual inventions? More importantly, how are examiners supposed to process such applications? In the authors’ own words, the EPO, USPTO and even UKIPO now wrestle with such a dilemma:

Three patent offices face questions stemming from the growing implications of artificial intelligence (AI) disrupting the intellectual property legal framework. The United States Patent Office (USPTO), European Patent Office (EPO), and United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) recently received two patent application filings directed to a beverage container and a flashing device used for attracting enhanced attention. While these patent applications may have initially gone unnoticed, the applications have attracted vast attention for primarily one reason—they name DABUS, an AI machine, as an inventor.

DABUS is a type of “Creativity Machine” which can generate ideas without human intervention and was developed by Stephen Thaler. While DABUS may have been “trained” to develop new ideas by a human, the two pending patent inventions were created autonomously by DABUS, resulting in DABUS named as an inventor.

Our advice on this has long been that quality and societal impact must be assessed; do patent offices exist merely to grant as many patents as possible as long as examiners can tick “all the right boxes”? Should examination too be automated? If so, what would actually be achieved? Hence it’s satirical (or self-satirising). It’s a waste of energy, too.

This seems not to matter to patent maximalists. To them, unlike the rest of us, the above waste is personal gain.

We recently wrote about using the "MedTech" buzzword to get patents at the EPO (the US has a similar buzzword or acronym which is leveraged to bypass 35 U.S.C. § 101, at least at the Office). Well, a site called “Med-Tech Innovation” or “med-technews” has just published this piece about a surveillance device and associated patents at the EPO where surveillance on everyone is notoriously rampant:

Aseptika and Renfrew Group International (RGi) worked together on the design and prototyping of the Activ8rlives BuddyWotch. This solution will provide “expert” pathways for use by patient, carers and the healthcare team to inform, manage and report the success of self-care plans. It aims to help patients remain independent at home, with a better quality and more sustainable model of care.

BuddyWotch will continuously monitor, record and transmit the patient’s physiological signs of blood oxygen, heart rate, breathing rate and temperature for 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. With its integrated nine-axis accelerometer, BuddyWotch tracks the patient’s physiological signs and how these change over time as the patient goes about daily life.

As well as acting as an alert in case of medical emergencies, this information is used to continuously calculate the patient’s overall health and to detect whether the wearer’s health is getting better or is declining rapidly. It can be used to test the patient in a GP clinic using the six-minute walk test.

The BuddyWotch platform connects directly to the Company’s Activ8rlives Cloud (or can be pointed to a partner’s cloud system). Activ8rlives has portals for the patient, for family members caring for them and for clinicians, providing continuous monitoring and alerts as well as the index of tolerance to exercise, itself perhaps a better indication of overall health than simple alerts usually associated with remote monitoring systems.

The BuddyWotch transmits information to-and-from the wearer using an integrated 4G modem and WiFi, so that no separate home hub or smartphone is required by the user.

“The European Patent Office has granted Aseptika a patent for its medical-grade wearable,” Digital Health Age wrote. This site too is focused on so-called “MedTech” — somewhat of a hype wave (like FinTech or AdTech).

We’ve meanwhile also noticed Patrick Wingrove (Team UPC megaphone) crafting this ‘FinTech’-like puff piece that name-drops “blockchain” and other hype waves. He refers to extortion and patent lawsuits as “monetisation” (this is the kind of thinking greedy and sociopathic firms have adopted).

Vultures at work:

The general counsel at a financial services company in New York adds that his business thinks about patent monetisation a great deal. As one of the largest patent filers for blockchain technologies, his firm is considering how it can generate returns by using decentralised-ledger solutions in new and interesting ways.

Patrick Wingrove’s article is outside the paywall, for a change. So they’re looking for extra audience (not just the choir of subscribers).

His previous article, which was boosted by Team UPC, caused him to get all flustered in Twitter and the same people who boosted his Team UPC puff piece are now boosting (e.g. this one) an article from Mathieu Klos in which he refers to litigation zealots as “Experts”. They’re people who look to profit from it; not exactly objective.

Here are some portions and our response:

Austria is ready for the Unified Patent Court and business at Vienna’s patent firms is stable. However, the JUVE Patent ranking analysis 2019 shows the country’s leading patent litigation firms are on the cusp of a generational change. Whether today’s young litigators have what it takes to follow in the footsteps of veterans such as Lothar Wiltschek and Christian Gassauer-Fleissner remains to be seen.

[...]

Most Austrian patent attorneys continue to work among themselves. Most are organised in very small outfits with one to three fee earners. For the first time this year, JUVE Patent has compiled a list of the best-known Austrian patent attorneys. In this list, our readers will also find information on the practices’ most frequently-recommended technical areas, as well as their locations and size.

That’s just marketing. But OK, we get it… JUVE Patent exists to serve them. Just like Patrick Wingrove’s employer or even IAM with its bogus ‘rankings’, the marketing department.

On goes Klos about the UPC:

The amendment was part of a legislative pact. The aim of the amendment to the professional law for patent attorneys is to prepare them for the requirements of the Unified Patent Court.

[...]

According to the bill, this would enable Austrian patent attorneys to obtain the European Patent Litigation Certificate. It is the prerequisite for patent attorneys to be able to conduct proceedings before the UPC.

[...]

There are still some question marks surrounding the launch of the UPC and the planned local chamber in Vienna. A complaint to the German Federal Constitutional Court is still blocking ratification in Germany. Since 2017, the European patent community has been eagerly awaiting the court’s decision.

Klos plays along with Team UPC here; he perpetuates the falsehood that it’s “only a matter of time” and “everything is ready” and “everybody wants it”.

This kind of slant from Klos and JUVE as a whole was noted here earlier this year and last year when they set up this English site. JUVE has moved from covering EPO scandals, including gross violations of the EPC, to what nowadays resembles lobbying of litigation giants. The final paragraph:

The Austrian patent community is relatively relaxed about the delay [sic]. Experts are in favour of the court, but do not expect the UPC to boost their own business. The current situation is satisfactory to most Austrian patent firms.

Notice how he says “delay”…

As if it’s merely a temporary issue; then he speaks again of “Experts”. That’s like speaking of military generals in the context of peace.

To us, the demise of JUVE is all over this article and this time it comes from Klos rather than from his junior colleagues. Earlier on we asserted that the USPTO and EPO are engaged in self-harm if they don’t guard patent quality; “they’re digging their own graves,” we said. The same goes for publishers that choose to become megaphones of Team UPC and Team Campinos. To us, JUVE is already in that category. It’s a shame because it used to be good and the same goes for IP Kat.

Links 24/8/2019: Wayland’s Weston 7.0 and More

Posted in News Roundup at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • GNOME on the Road: Linux Fest Northwest and OSCON

      Linux Fest Northwest took place back in April, and we were there! Sri Ramkrishna and I hung out in Bellingham, Washington (USA), meeting GNOMEies, free software contributors, and open source enthusiasts.

    • Desktop

      • Modern Linux Runs On Ancient Toshiba

        While Microsoft no longer supports those of its operating systems that were in heavy use into the early 2000s, support for old hardware is not typically something that you will have to worry about if you run Linux on your machines. Sure, there will be driver issues from time to time, and you might have to do some things by hand, but if you’re using legacy hardware you’ll want a Linux distribution of some sort. Especially if you’re running it on one of the first laptops to ever feature a Pentium processor of any kind.

        This is a Toshiba T4900CT which [MingcongBai] has been able to spruce up by installing a simplified version of the AOSC OS Linux distribution. The distribution is known for its simplified user interface, and this particular one runs a “Retro” command-line-only version. Upon startup (which takes over two minutes), the user can view the hardware and software specs: Linux kernel 4.19.67 (released within the past year) on a 75 MHz Intel processor.

    • Server

      • HPC Computing Is Replacing Supercomputers In Enterprise: Jeff Reser

        Jeff Reser – Global Product and Solutions Marketing Manager of SUSE talks about High-Performance Computing.

      • IBM

        • Accelerating the journey to open hybrid cloud with Red Hat Modernization and Migration Solutions

          The integration of technology into all areas of a business (the “digital transformation” we hear so much about) is fundamentally changing how organizations operate as well as how they deliver value to customers. An example is Lockheed Martin, who opted to undergo an eight-week agile transformation labs residency to implement an open source architecture onboard the F-22 and simultaneously disentangle its web of embedded systems. But such transformation can also create new challenges, from additional competitive pressures to increased customer expectations.

          To help overcome these challenges, Red Hat is introducing a family of solutions to help optimize infrastructure, modernize applications and accelerate innovation while supporting customers in their journey to the open hybrid cloud. Red Hat Modernization and Migration Solutions are designed to help customers realize the benefits of open technologies and adopt containers, Kubernetes and hybrid cloud-ready platforms. The family of solutions offers a path for customers from restrictive, proprietary environments to more flexible and (often) less costly open source alternatives, in an iterative approach.

        • Let’s talk about Privacy by Design

          Privacy by Design or Privacy by Default (PbD) is not a new concept. However PbD received renewed attention when the GDPR added PbD as a legal requirement. PbD refers to the process of building in technical, organizational and security measures at the beginning stage of product development and throughout the product lifecycle.

          [...]

          One PbD tool we use to build in privacy to our development process is our Privacy Impact Assessment, also known as a PIA. The PIA is a process which assists developers at the early stages in identifying and mitigating privacy risks associated with the collection and use of personal data.

          The PIA tool begins with a self assessment that asks a lot of questions about the planned project or product. This initiates a process of review by individuals trained in privacy and security. The process is collaborative and creates an on-going dialogue about privacy with respect to the product, system or application at hand.

        • IBM Open Sources Its Workhorse Power Chip Architecture

          RISC-V now has formidable competition from an architecture with a long track record in servers and supercomputers.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

    • Applications

      • Save Web Pages As Single HTML Files For Offline Use With Monolith (Console)

        Monolith is a command line tool to save any web page as a single HTML file that contains everything needed to render web page locally, without needing a working Internet connection.

        Use this to save web pages containing documentation, wiki articles, and anything else that interests you, for local/offline use. Since the web pages are saved in plain HTML, use a tool that can search in files to quickly find the web page you’re looking for.

        Unlike the regular “Save page as” (or Ctrl + s) option provided by web browsers to save web pages to your computer, which saves web page assets in a folder next to the saved web page, this command line tool retrieves the web page assets and converts them into base64 data URLs, using that in the document instead of the regular URLs. As a result, page assets like Javascript, CSS or images are embedded in the page HTML, so all you need is a web browser to access the locally saved web page.

      • MicroK8s Gets Powerful Add-ons

        We are excited to announce new Cilium and Helm add-ons, coming to MicroK8s! These add-ons add even more power to your Kubernetes environment built on MicroK8s. The Cilium CNI plugin brings enhanced networking features, including Kubernetes NetworkPolicy support, to MicroK8s. You’ll also get direct CLI access to Cilium within MicroK8s using the microk8s.cilium wrapper.

        If you do not already have a version of cilium installed you can alias microk8s.cilium to cilium using the following command:
        snap alias microk8s.cilium cilium

        Helm, the package manager for Kubernetes will allow even easier management of your MicroK8s environment.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Mable & The Wood is a fairly unusual Metroidvania out now with Linux support

        Featuring a sweet fairy-powered protagonist wielding a sword so big they can hardly move, Mable & The Wood certainly presents a healthy amount of charm. Developed by Triplevision Games, a solo outfit from the UK, with publishing from Graffiti Games.

        “Mable is a passion project for me and for so long I worked on it by myself,” said Andrew Stewart, Founder of Triplevision Games. “Thanks to Graffiti, I was able to have additional support to release the game sooner and on multiple platforms. Players on Steam can finally get their hands on the brilliant title today, and fear not Switch and Xbox One players, that version will be releasing very soon.”

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Final Days of GSoC 2019

          Hello Friends! Final Evaluation is coming and this brings the GSoC project to an end. I believe it is my duty to let you know all about my contributions to Labplot during this project. I will try to make this post self-contained and will try to cover every detail. Let’s try to answer some general questions. If something is left, please feel free to comment, I will get back to you asap.

        • Preparing for KDE Akademy 2019

          I got three talks accepted this time, which is very nice of course, but it also implies quite some preparation work. The topics are rather diverse, all three cover aspects I ended up looking into for various reasons during the past year, and where learned interesting or surprising things that seemed worthwhile to share.

        • I am going to Akademy

          One more edition of KDE Akademy approaches, and here I am waiting for the day to pack my bags and get into a 15 hours adventure from Brazil to Milan.

          As always I am excited to meet my friends, and have some fun with all people of the community. Discussing our present and future.

          And this year I am going with a pack of KDE 3DPrinted key holders.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Welcome to the August 2019 Friends of GNOME Update!

          Neil, Molly, and Rosanna went to OSCON, in Portland, OR. While there, we met with people from other free software projects and companies developing open source, or with open source programs offices. Following OSCON, there was the West Coast Hackfest, during which the Documentation, GTK, and Engagement teams met and got a bunch of work done. There are some photos you can check out on our Twitter account.

          Molly attended FrOSCon, giving a keynote entitled “Open Source Citizenship for Everyone!” On September 17th, Molly will be at GitLab Commit in Brooklyn, NY.

          Federico Mena will be at CCOSS in Guadalajara, México, September 14 – 15th. There he will run a workshop on GNOME and deliver a keynote presentation.

        • GNOME Feeds is a Simple RSS Reader for Linux Desktops

          Feedreader, Liferea, and Thunderbird are three of the most popular desktop RSS readers for Linux, but now there’s a new option on the scene.

          GNOME Feeds app is simple, no-frills desktop RSS reader for Linux systems. It doesn’t integrate or sync with a cloud-based service, like Feedly or Inoreader, but you can import a list of feeds via an .opml file.

          “Power” users of RSS feeds will likely find that GNOME Feeds a little too limited for their needs. But the lean feature set is, arguably, what will make this app appeal to more casual users.

        • GTimeVal deprecation in GLib 2.61.2

          One of the latest changes in GLib (released in 2.61.2) is the deprecation of GTimeVal, g_get_current_time(), and a number of other time functions. This is because we can’t guarantee they’re wide enough on all platforms to be year-2038-safe.

          Instead, you should use GDateTime or, if you just need to store epoch time, guint64. They are year-2038-safe — and with that, GLib should be entirely year-2038-safe.

          GTimeVal is used in a number of places, and widespread (but simple) changes will need to be made to stop using it. You will likely have already seen some deprecation warnings popping up to inform you of this, if you use any C-based and GLib-based libraries.

          If you can’t allocate time to fixing these deprecation warnings yet, you can silence them by explicitly stating your minimum and maximum supported versions of GLib. If your minimum supported version of GLib is older than 2.62, you won’t see deprecation warnings for GTimeVal (since it was deprecated in 2.62, and your code is claiming to need to support older GLib versions than that).

        • Mayank Sharma: GSoC’19 – GVfs and the Google Backend demystified

          Note: Due to time limitations, I haven’t been able to devote much time to writing a blog post. Each time I started, some or the other thing bothered me and I ended up having a draft. My humble apologies to my readers.

          So, over the past 3 months or so, I’ve been working on the Google Backend for GVfs (GNOME Virtual File System), and as of today, the backend is in a state where it’s completely useable. Earlier, a large number of operations were disabled. So, if you tried to copy a file from one folder to the other, you’d be given an error “Operation not supported”. Now, you may be wondering what’s there in a simple copy operation that the developers/maintainers can’t fix, or shouldn’t something like Google Drive backend for GVfs receive better attention since a great deal of peope keep their important data on their G-Drive?

          The answer isn’t a yes or no, and it’s much more subjective since it pertains to the state of current open-source software. One of the big reasons has been that OSS always lacks man-power, and that the problem at hand wasn’t trivial in any sense. My mentor (Ondrej Holy), is the sole maintainer of a project as big as GVfs, and he certainly doesn’t have the time of look at each backend’s issues.

    • Distributions

      • Cryptocurrency OS Makes It Easy to Buy and Spend Digital Cash

        Cryptocurrency OS is a specialty Linux distribution that serves a niche user market destined to grow as the crypto economy continues to develop. This distro is packed with all the tools you need to create and manage your crypto accounts. It also is a fully functional Linux operating system. It is easy to use this distro as your daily computing platform.

      • New Releases

        • Simplicity Linux 19.10 Alpha ISOs are here!

          We’re proud to announce the release of Simplicity Linux 19.10. It is based on Stretchdog, which in turn is based on Debian Stretch. As this is an alpha release, none of these images should be considered finished versions, and may contain bugs or issues which won’t be present in the final release. These images should also be considered to be designed for live booting rather than being installed.

          All three editions of Simplicity Linux 19.10 feature Ecosia as the default search engine. This is a search engine where revenue from ads is used to plant trees. It is something we have been testing for some time, and we weren’t going to include it in the alpha releases. However, after hearing about the fires in the Amazon Rainforest, we have decided to include Ecosia in each version. It’s our way of trying to help in whatever small way we can.

          Simplicity Mini 19.10 Alpha is our cut down version of Simplicity Linux. There are few local applications, instead being replaced by browser based versions of software which are run through Google Chrome. comes with Google Docs, Gmail, Netflix, Vortex Cloud Gaming, Spotify, Mega.nz, Vivaldi browser which opens on boot, Lastpass password manager, DotVPN, uBlock Origin.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Telnet Is Not A Crime: Unconvincing Prosecution Screenshot Leaked in Ola Bini Case

        Since EFF visited Ecuador three weeks ago, the investigation into open source developer Ola Bini has proceeded as we described then: drawn out, with little evidence of wrong-doing, but potentially compromised by acts of political theater outside the bounds of due process and a fair trial.

        Last week — shortly after prosecutors successfully extended the investigation for another 30 days and informed Bini that they would also be opening new investigations into his taxes and visa status — Ecuadorean TV and newspapers published leaked imagery and conversations from evidence collected in the trial, together with claims from sources that this imagery proved Bini hacked the systems of Ecuador’s national communications provider, ECN.

        The evidence offered was a screenshot, said to be taken from Bini’s mobile phone. The press reported that the phone was unlocked by police after seized security footage revealed Bini’s PIN when he used his phone in his own office elevator.

      • The Latest Victim in the Crucifixion of Julian Assange

        The case of Ola Bini, a Swedish data privacy activist and associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has been shrouded in mystery since his arrest in Quito, Ecuador, on April 11. He was detained on the same day Assange was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in the United Kingdom, inevitably raising questions about whether Bini was being held because of his connection with Assange and whether the United States was involved in the case in some form.

      • Khara to Completely Switch to Blender Open-Source 3D Software After Evangelion 3.0+1.0

        The anime studio Khara announced on July 30 that it and its Project Studio Q subsidiary will switch to Blender, a free and open-source 3D modeling and animation software, for its future productions. Khara already uses Blender with other software for the studio’s upcoming Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 (Shin Evangelion Gekijō-ban :||) film, but the studio will fully adopt the software for 3D CG animation after that project.

        The company is also now supporting the Blender Foundation, and both Khara and Project Studio Q have signed up as Corporate Silver and Bronze members, respectively, for the Blender Development Fund.

      • This Program Makes It Even Easier to Make Deepfakes

        A new method for making deepfakes creates realistic face-swapped videos in real-time, no lengthy training needed.

        Unlike previous approaches to making deepfakes—algorithmically-generated videos that make it seem like someone is doing or saying something they didn’t in real life—this method works on any two people without any specific training on their faces.

        Most of the deepfakes that are shared online are created by feeding an algorithm hundreds or thousands of images of a specific face. The algorithm “trains” on that specific face so it can swap it into the target video. This can take hours or days even with access to expensive hardware, and even longer with consumer-grade PC components. A program that doesn’t need to be trained on each new target is another leap forward in making realistic deepfakes quicker and easier to create.

        [...]

        On their project website, the researchers say that the project code will eventually be available on GitHub…

      • 5 Free and Open Source CRM Software

        We’re here to save you time by going over some of the most popular free and open source CRM solutions and when you should consider paid system…

      • A free/open tool for making XKCD-style “hand-drawn” charts

        Tim Qian, a “full stack developer and open source activist,” has published chart.xkcd, a free/open tool that lets you create interactive, “hand-drawn” charts in the style of XKCD comics. It’s pretty fabulous!

      • The Secret Source: Machine Learning and Open Source Come Together

        There was a time when banks and asset managers would dare not talk about their use of AI—and, specifically, machine learning—in public forums, as they either viewed it as taboo or they wanted to hide its power from competitors. The secret, though, is out of the black box.

      • How China became a hero in open source

        China was once a relative zero when it came to software. Not anymore. In both proprietary and open source development, China’s influence is growing. Sure, open source has helped to fuel that rise—as Swim.ai CTO Simon Crosby has suggested, “Now [China] can download our best, for free, every day”—but this tells an incomplete story. China may have been a net consumer of code once upon a time, but now has gone from zero to hero in open source.

      • The 7 Best Tools for Open-Source Network Bandwidth Monitoring

        Network bandwidth monitoring is a very specific type of monitoring. What it does is measure the amount of traffic passing a given point on a network. Typically, the measuring point is a router or switch interface but it’s not uncommon to monitor bandwidth utilization of a server’s LAN interface. The important thing here is to realize that all we’re measuring is the amount of traffic. Bandwidth monitoring won’t give you any information about what that traffic is, only how much of it there is.

        There are several reasons for wanting to monitor network bandwidth utilization. First and foremost, it can help you pinpoint areas of contention. As a network circuit’s utilization grows, its performance starts degrading. This is a fact of life. The more you approach the maximum capacity, the more impact there is on performance. By allowing you to keep an eye on network utilization, bandwidth monitoring tools give you a chance to detect high utilization—and address it—before it becomes noticeable by users.

        Capacity planning is another major benefit of network monitoring tools. Network circuits—especially long-distance WAN connections—are expensive and will often have only the bandwidth that was required when they were initially installed. While that amount of bandwidth might have been OK back then, it will eventually need to be increased. By monitoring the evolution of your network circuits’ bandwidth utilization, you’ll be able to see which ones need to be upgraded and when.

        Bandwidth monitoring tools can also be useful for troubleshooting poor application performance. When a user complains that some remote application has slowed down, looking at the network bandwidth utilization can give you a pretty good idea whether or not the problem is caused by network congestion. If you see low network utilization, you can likely concentrate your troubleshooting efforts elsewhere.

      • Au Revoir DTW

        While I wanted to use it for my tiny, crazy, work in progress thoughts, I find that it was increasingly being subsumed by my new shiny Mastodon.

        And as the volume of things I write now scales up, I do not want another place to maintain.

      • How To Promote Real Social Good

        It was big news this week when the nation’s most powerful chief executives finally acknowledged that corporations should contribute more to society than maximizing shareholder value.

        [...]

        This news story caught our attention here at Purism because we have been thinking about how to build a company that promotes social good. Our company was incorporated in Washington State as a Social Purpose Corporation.

        [...]

        We at Purism are grateful to the many US states offering to give companies the freedom to actually benefit society, rather than contribute to its ills. We believe that consumers who really care about their freedom, privacy, and security, or other issues like climate change, seek out companies like ours that exist, first and foremost, to do something important that can better people’s lives. We use capitalism, and the corporate form, to build a sustainable company that can continue to serve our mission. Making money is a means to an end, not the end itself. We exist for our customers, not for our shareholders, and our shareholders back us because know the social good that comes from our efforts. People parting with their hard-earned money for products and services deserve that much.

      • How open source is benefitting SUSE, its channel partners and customers

        Open source technology is being talked about even more rampantly today. Phillip Cockrell, Vice President of Global Channels, SUSE articulates, “More than anything, open source is the core of innovation. It is by all and for all and propelling all aspects of technology development today.”

        SUSE, a native open source software company, which provides reliable, software-defined infrastructure and application delivery solutions that give organisations greater control and flexibility, is a seasoned 25-year-old player in the domain.

      • What is AOSP? Android Open Source Project, the ‘Android without Google’

        AOSP is the acronym for Android Open Supply Challenge ; that’s, ‘Android Open Source Project’. So it’s simply the supply code of Android, the cellular working system of the Mountain View firm. However what’s it for? Its fundamental software is by OEMs; cellular producers obtain AOSP and make their ‘ROM inventory’, but additionally serves as the premise for customized ROMs and forks.

        AOSP, or Android Open Supply Challenge, isn’t the identical as Android Inventory . Whereas AOSP is the supply code of the working system, Android Inventory is the ‘pure model’ with out bloatware of any sort and solely with apps and Google providers, in addition to the native launcher. AOSP, nevertheless, is the premise of Android Vanilla , which is the model that’s distributed to smartphone producers and is topic to modifications. On it, the producer’s personal purposes and providers are launched, and naturally the customization layer and the variations which can be essential for particular elements to work.

      • How to Avoid Technical Debt in Open Source Projects
      • Introducing OpenDrop, an open-source implementation of Apple AirDrop written in Python

        A group of German researchers recently published a paper “A Billion Open Interfaces for Eve and Mallory: MitM, DoS, and Tracking Attacks on iOS and macOS Through Apple Wireless Direct Link”, at the 28th USENIX Security Symposium (August 14–16), USA. The paper reveals security and privacy vulnerabilities in Apple’s AirDrop file-sharing service as well as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks which leads to privacy leaks or simultaneous crashing of all neighboring devices.

        As part of the research, Milan Stute and Alexander Heinrich, two researchers have developed an open-source implementation of Apple AirDrop written in Python – OpenDrop. OpenDrop is like a FOSS implementation of AirDrop. It is an experimental software and is the result of reverse engineering efforts by the Open Wireless Link project (OWL). It is compatible with Apple AirDrop and used for sharing files among Apple devices such as iOS and macOS or on Linux systems running an open re-implementation of Apple Wireless Direct Link (AWDL).

      • The Top 13 Free and Open Source Storage Solutions

        In this article we will examine free and open source storage solutions by providing a brief overview of what to expect, as well as blurbs on each tool.

      • Open Source Origination Technology Platform for Online Lenders

        DigiFi was founded by Joshua Jersey and Bradley Vanderstarren in 2014. It started its life as Promise Financial, an online lender, and raised $110 million in credit capital. It built up its own proprietary tech as there was no solution provider in 2014 offering an end-to-end loan origination platform that could automate the entire process. They sold off the tech to a large lending institution in 2017 and pivoted to DigiFi, one of the world’s first open source loan origination systems (LOS) which equips the lenders with flexible and modern tools to create unique platforms and digital experiences.

      • IT favors open source networking over Cisco ACI, VMware NSX

        Companies trying to avoid or lessen the use of expensive network automation software from Cisco and VMware are turning to open source tools that are often good enough for many tasks associated with managing complex modern networks.

        Cisco’s application-centric infrastructure (ACI) and VMware’s NSX are powerful technologies for operating networks built on the vendors’ respective products. But many large enterprises have data centers filled with perfectly good multivendor hardware and software that very few organizations are willing to swap for an all Cisco or VMware alternative.

        Therefore, companies are turning to open source networking products, such as Ansible, Chef, Puppet and SaltStack, for automating many network-related chores across as much of the data center as possible, while relegating ACI and NSX to Cisco- or VMware-only portions of the network.

      • Events

        • ICFP 2019

          ICFP 2019 in Berlin ended yesterday, and it was – as always – a great pleasure. This year was particularly noteworthy for the quite affordable conference hotel and the absolutely amazing food during the coffee breaks.

      • Databases

        • From Spark To Airflow And Presto: Demystifying The Fast-Moving Cloud Data Stack

          Putting data to work starts with exploration, or inspecting data so that you know what you have to work with and its characteristics. Presto is excellent for exploring large, unstructured data sets because it uses storage efficiently, which keeps costs down, and it’s compatible with SQL, a language data analysts are familiar with.

          Spark, on the other hand, is great for exploring data sets when programming is required, such as being able to manipulate data for use in data science or machine learning. It has good support for non-SQL interfaces.

        • Databricks launches AutoML Toolkit for model building and deployment

          Databricks today introduced its AutoML Toolkit, an automated end-to-end machine learning service made to accommodate developers with a range of experience.

        • DigitalOcean Managed Databases add MySQL, Redis support

          DigitalOcean Managed Databases introduced support for open source relational database MySQL and in-memory database Redis to eliminate the complexity involved in managing, scaling and securing database infrastructure.

          DigitalOcean, a cloud computing vendor offering infrastructure-as-a-service platforms for software developers, intends its new managed database offerings to enable developers to focus more exclusively on building apps and boosting productivity.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Annual Report 2018: LibreOffice Hackfests

          Most LibreOffice developers are working from their home offices, so hackfests provide a unique opportunity to spend some time working shoulder-to-shoulder with their peers. In 2018, LibreOffice developers and community members met at four hackfests in Brussels, Hamburg, Tirana and Munich.

      • Funding

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • GNU Radio Launches 3.8.0.0, First Minor-Version Release In Six Years

          The GNU Radio maintainers have announced the release of GNU Radio 3.8.0.0, the first minor-version release of the popular LimeSDR-compatible software defined radio (SDR) development toolkit in over six years.

          “It’s the first minor release version since more than six years, not without pride this community stands to face the brightest future SDR on general purpose hardware ever had,” the project’s maintainers announced this week. “What has not changed is the fact that GNU Radio is centred around a very simple truth: Let the developers hack on DSP. Software interfaces are for humans, not the other way around. And so, compared to the later 3.7 releases, nothing has fundamentally modified the way one develops signal processing systems with GNU Radio: You write blocks, and you combine blocks to be part of a larger signal processing flow graph.”

      • Licensing/Legal

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • Schlumberger open-sources data ecosystem, contributing to industrywide data development
          • Schlumberger Open Sources Data Ecosystem

            Oilfield services company Schlumberger said it will open source its data ecosystem and contribute to The Open Group Open Subsurface Data Universe (OSDU) Forum to accelerate the delivery of the OSDU Data Platform.

            The OSDU Forum is an international forum of oil and gas operators, cloud services companies, technology providers, suppliers of applications to oil and gas operators, academia and other standards organizations working together to develop an open, standards-based, data platform that will bring together exploration, development and wells data.

          • Waymo open-sources data set for autonomous vehicle multimodal sensors

            Waymo, the Alphabet subsidiary that hopes to someday pepper roads with self-driving taxis, today pulled back the curtains on a portion of the data used to train the algorithms underpinning its cars: The Waymo Open Dataset. Waymo principal scientist Dragomir Anguelov claims it’s the largest multimodal sensor sample corpus for autonomous driving released to date.

            “[W]e are inviting the research community to join us with the [debut] of the Waymo Open Dataset, [which is composed] of high-resolution sensor data collected by Waymo self-driving vehicles,” wrote Anguelov in a blog post published this morning. “Data is a critical ingredient for machine learning … [and] this rich and diverse set of real-world experiences has helped our engineers and researchers develop Waymo’s self-driving technology and innovative models and algorithms.”

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • Huawei mulls open-source chip design if US ban continues

            Huawei Technologies Co said Friday that it would consider using RISC-V, an open-source chip architecture, if the US government continues restricting its access to the latest technologies from the UK firm ARM Holdings for a long time.

            Xu Zhijun, rotating chairman of Huawei, said in an interview in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, that the company has already obtained the perpetual license to ARM’s V8 architecture technology, so the US government ban does not affect its current launch schedule of chips.

            “If ARM’s new technologies are not available in the future, we can also use RISC-V, an architecture which is open to all companies. The challenge is not insurmountable,” Xu said.

      • Programming/Development

        • Animating Ptolemy’s Equant with Python, SVG, and CSS

          You will recall my previous blog post that tried to build the necessary scaffolding for me to finally write up my 2017 PyCon Ireland keynote on the structure of the Medieval universe. It ran into several problems with matplotlib animations — but, having written that post, I realized that the problem ran deeper.

          How could any animation show a Solar System, when a Solar System’s motion never exactly repeats? The orbital periods of the planets aren’t exact multiples of each other, and don’t provide a moment when the planets reach their original positions and the animation can start over again. At whatever moment an animation finished and looped back to the beginning, the planets would visibly and jarringly jump back to their original position.

        • Train your own spell corrector with TextBlob

          TextBlob is a wonderful Python library it. It wraps nltk with a really pleasant API. Out of the box, you get a spell-corrector.

        • How To Learn Any Programming Language Online in 2019

          Let’s face it, computers are everywhere these days, and the need for programmers is ever-increasing. Programming is vital to make computers be able to help us solve our everyday problems. It’s also a means to increase their speed and usability. With this in mind, it’s high time you jumped on this bandwagon and learned a language yourself!

          However, picking out the most appropriate programming language to learn is a substantial task for beginners. A good approach to making this choice is to consider the most popular programming languages, which languages are easy-to-learn, and how easy it is to find a job for beginners in these languages.

        • How to Build a Custom Anaconda Installer for R

          A frequent question on the Anaconda Community mailing list is how to package R with conda for distribution. Depending on the use case, one option may be to use conda to move environments. This requires that conda has been previously installed on the system. Another option is conda constructor, a utility for packaging a complete conda installation with Python and R packages.

          Constructor is the same utility we use to build Anaconda Distribution and Miniconda installers. It’s a multi-platform installer which means you can build an installer for Windows, Linux and macOS. It also supports a number of options to control how the installer is built. These options are documented on the GitHub constructor repository.

        • Digging into regressions

          Whenever a patch is landed on autoland, it will run many builds and tests to make sure there are no regressions. Unfortunately many times we find a regression and 99% of the time backout the changes so they can be fixed. This work is done by the Sheriff team at Mozilla- they monitor the trees and when something is wrong, they work to fix it (sometimes by a quick fix, usually by a backout). A quick fact, there were 1228 regressions in H1 (January-June) 2019.

          My goal in writing is not to recommend change, but instead to start conversations and figure out what data we should be collecting in order to have data driven discussions. Only then would I expect that recommendations for changes would come forth.

        • “Sudo Mastery” and the new Tilted Windmill Press clothing line

          Sudo Mastery, 2nd edition, is now complete. I’m doing the release slightly different this time, however.

        • Fossil Versus Git

          The feature sets of Fossil and Git overlap in many ways. Both are distributed version control systems which store a tree of check-in objects to a local repository clone. In both systems, the local clone starts out as a full copy of the remote parent. New content gets added to the local clone and then later optionally pushed up to the remote, and changes to the remote can be pulled down to the local clone at will. Both systems offer diffing, patching, branching, merging, cherry-picking, bisecting, private branches, a stash, etc.

        • Golang or go home: how Curve is taking Golang to new heights

          Emerging only in 2009, Golang is still relatively new and not as widely used as other mainstream coding languages.

          This young language was incubated inside Google, and has already been proven to perform well on a massive scale. We wanted to share with you a few reasons why we love Golang (Go) and how Curve is using it.

          Go has excellent characteristics for scalability and services written using it typically have very small memory footprints. Because code is compiled into a single static binary, services can also be containerised with ease, making it much simpler to build and deploy. These attributes make Go an ideal choice for companies building microservices, as you can easily deploy into a highly available and scalable environment such as Kubernetes.

          Go has everything you need to build APIs as part of its standard library.

  • Leftovers

    • This video of electric toothbrushes playing the Soviet anthem is the perfect end to your week, comrade

      Device Orchestra isn’t just another pop music YouTube account. Its covers are all performed on everyday electric devices: toasters, printers, credit card machines, and more. In Device Orchestra’s most recent video, five electric toothbrushes and one steam cleaner hum out the Soviet national anthem, each sporting a pair of googly eyes (and the occasional bow tie as well).

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Russian doctors announce that cesium-137 in colleague’s tissues was from food, not the Nyonoksa nuclear explosion

        The government of Russia’s Arkhangelsk region reported today on the results of medical examinations that followed the region’s August 8 nuclear accident. The patients examined included doctors who treated the victims of the blast. While 110 health workers in a variety of roles did not display “radiation levels above acceptable standards,” one doctor did have unusually high levels of the radioactive isotope cesium-137 in his muscle tissue.

      • In Men, It’s Parkinson’s. In Women, It’s Hysteria.

        Once it was called “hysterical” movement disorder, or simply “hysteria.” Later it was labeled “psychogenic.” Now it’s a “functional disorder.”

        By any name, it’s one of the most puzzling afflictions — and problematic diagnoses — in medicine. It often has the same symptoms, like uncontrollable shaking and difficulty walking, that characterize brain diseases like Parkinson’s. But the condition is caused by stress or trauma and often treated by psychotherapy. And, in a disparity that is drawing increased scrutiny, most of those deemed to suffer from it — as high as 80% in some studies — are women.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security Researchers Find Several Bugs in Nest Security Cameras

        Researchers Lilith Wyatt and Claudio Bozzato of Cisco Talos discovered the vulnerabilities and disclosed them publicly on August 19. The two found eight vulnerabilities that are based in the Nest implementation of the Weave protocol. The Weave protocol is designed specifically for communications among Internet of Things or IoT devices.

      • Better SSH Authentication with Keybase

        With an SSH CA model, you start by generating a single SSH key called the CA key. The public key is placed on each server and the server is configured to trust any key signed by the CA key. This CA key is then used to sign user keys with an expiration window. This means that signed user keys can only be used for a finite, preferably short, period of time before a new signature is needed. This transforms the key management problem into a user management problem: How do we ensure that only certain people are able to provision new signed SSH keys?

      • Texas ransomware attacks deliver wake-up call to cities [iophk: Windows TCO]

        The Texas Department of Information Resources has confirmed that 22 Texas entities, mostly local governments, have been hit by the ransomware attacks that took place late last week. The department pointed to a “single threat actor” as being responsible for the attacks, which did not impact any statewide systems.

      • Texas Ransomware Attack

        On Security Now, Steve Gibson talks about a huge ransomware attack. 23 cities in Texas were hit with a well-coordinated ransomware attack last Friday, August 16th.

      • CVE-2019-10071: Timing Attack in HMAC Verification in Apache Tapestry

        Apache Tapestry uses HMACs to verify the integrity of objects stored on the client side. This was added to address the Java deserialization vulnerability disclosed in CVE-2014-1972. In the fix for the previous vulnerability, the HMACs were compared by string comparison, which is known to be vulnerable to timing attacks.

      • VLC Media Player Allows Desktop Takeover Via Malicious Video Files

        Two high-risk vulnerabilities in the VLC media player could allow an adversary to craft a malicious .MKV video file that could be used in an attack to gain control of the victim’s PC. The flaws were made public Monday by the developer of the open-source VLC media player, VideoLAN project, who also made patches available to mitigate the issues.

      • Yubico YubiKey 5Ci Review & Rating

        The YubiKey 5Ci is Yubico’s latest attempt to bring hardware two-factor authentication to iOS with a double-headed USB-C and Apple Lightning device

      • Los Angeles County voting system pits cybersecurity vs. disability advocates

        Some advocates for open source election systems are concerned, though, that L.A. County hasn’t actually released its code yet – and plans to release it only to some vetted groups, not to the public at large.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Dear Democrats, the Mainstream Media Are Not Your Friends

        The Democrats’ misplaced trust that the mainstream media would allow them to make their case to the public above the din of right-wing misinformation continues to derail their legislative and electoral success. It’s as if party leaders have bought into the lie that the media has a liberal bias and so expect at least a fair shake when they present their case to the voters. This repeated triumph of hope over experience has a pathetic quality to it, not unlike, say, Charlie Brown with Lucy and that football.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Recession Now, Please

        It is a basic fact of economic life in capitalist economies: recessions happen, there are cycles of boom and bust.

      • Donald Trump Is Coming for Medicare and Social Security

        After exploding the federal budget deficit with over a trillion dollars in tax cuts for the rich and massive corporations, President Donald Trump is reportedly considering using his possible second term in the White House to slash Medicare and Social Security—the final part of a two-step plan progressives have been warning about since before the GOP tax bill passed Congress in 2017.

      • Slaves to the Clock

        As I have pointed out in previous reviews, Icarus, the New York film distributor, is far and away the most important source of anti-capitalist documentaries. In keeping with their commitment to class struggle cinema, “Time Thieves”, their latest, hones in on the ways in which the capitalist system makes us slaves to the clock.

      • State Tax Breaks Rewarded Companies Connected to One Powerful Man. The Governor Just Killed Them — for Now.

        New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday vetoed legislation that would have extended the state’s controversial tax break law, and he recommended a sweeping overhaul of a program state investigators say benefited powerful insiders at the expense of taxpayers.

        “For the past six years, New Jersey has operated under a severely flawed tax incentive program that wasted taxpayer money on handouts to connected companies instead of creating jobs and economic growth,” Murphy said in a prepared statement.

      • Insurance Companies Are Destroying People’s Lives And Cops Are Being Paid To Help Do It

        Insurance claims result in investigations. This much is a given. Sometimes it involves both insurance companies and law enforcement agencies, depending on what’s being investigated. But in many cases, insurance companies are doing the investigative work for law enforcement agencies and pushing prosecutors towards bringing fraud charges against claimants just trying to be compensated for valuables damaged or lost.

      • Trump Never Had a Grand Strategy for China

        President Trump has delayed the new tariffs he threatened to impose on Chinese imports in the early fall, and exempted some other Chinese imports altogether. The de-escalation of the Sino-U.S. trade war is especially welcome, given the markets’ renewed concerns about impending recession. Also striking was the president’s tacit acknowledgment that the tariffs threatened to harm the American consumer (which is probably the closest approximation we’ll ever get to an actual admission of error on his part).

      • Subsidizing Underfunded Schools, US Teachers Spend $459 of Their Own Money Each Year on Classroom Supplies

        Union leader responds to new analysis with vow that educators will continue “to fight to fund our future, to fight the defunding and underinvestment that created this crisis in the first place.”

      • Sanders and Warren Celebrated for Returning Donations From Employees at Hedge Funds Linked to Puerto Rico

        “No candidate should take contributions from hedge funds and vulture funds driving austerity in Puerto Rico.”

      • The NYT’s Upside Down Economics on Germany and the Euro Zone

        Paul Krugman already jumped on this New York Times piece, but the paper really deserves a thrashing for it. The story is that Germany’s economy had been driving the euro zone economy. It now appears on the edge of recession, having shrunk at a 0.4 percent annual rate in the second quarter. The article then asks whether the rest of the euro zone will now be able to support Germany’s economy and restore it to growth.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Is a Nationally Widespread New Voting System Ready for the 2020 Elections?

        A new precinct-based voting system being widely acquired by states and counties before 2020 that relies on printed bar codes to record votes, not handmade ink marks, may pose problems for independent efforts seeking to double-check election results.

      • Russian Troll Farm Tries Again To Sue Facebook, Despite Having Its Original Complaint Dismissed On 230 Grounds

        Last month we wrote about how Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act did exactly what it was supposed to do in protecting Facebook from a bogus lawsuit from a Russian news trolling operation, called Federal Agency of News (FAN). Facebook had kicked FAN off its platform soon after the 2016 election, when it realized it was a Russian operation spewing nonsense, often targeting people voting in the 2016 US election. FAN somehow found US lawyers from a previously reputable firm to represent them in this quixotic attempt to sue Facebook. The whole thing flopped, of course, because Facebook is free to kick whomever it wants off its platform, including Russian trolls seeking to spread fake news to influence an election. The court dismissed the case easily under Section 230. All of the Russian attempts to claim it violated their 1st Amendment rights, California civil rights, breach of contract, etc., went nowhere fast.

      • Federal Elections Committee Chair Is Sick Of Donald Trump’s Bullshit: Put Up Or Shut Up About Voter Fraud

        Just days after the two Republican members of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) blocked an investigation into the NRA and its use of Russian funds to influence the election, the chair of the FEC (who voted for that investigation) has pointed out that Donald Trump should put up or shut up with his totally baseless, absolutely insane, claims that “voter fraud” cost him millions of votes in the election.

      • GateHouse’s Takeover of Gannett: Bad News for Journalism and the Planet

        USA Today ran a piece (8/20/19) on the Amazon fires in which “anthropogenic climate change” were almost literally the last three words. Media watchers are wondering if that’s more likely to reflect the outlet’s priorities now that its owner, Gannett—the largest newspaper publisher in the country, as measured by total daily circulation—has merged with GateHouse Media, owned by Wes Edens’ New Fortress Investment Group, which also owns New Fortress Energy, which deals in natural gas.

      • Communist running for Moscow City Duma withdraws after endorsement from barred opposition candidate

        Vladislav Kolmagorov announced on August 23 that he is withdrawing from this year’s Moscow City Duma elections, which have inspired regular mass protests due to their exclusion of opposition candidates. The Communist Party member’s withdrawal immediately followed a call by Ilya Yashin, one of the blocked opposition candidates, for voters to back Kolmagorov instead of him

      • Mr. Trump Goes to Kensington

        The election of Donald Trump should have forced broad reconsideration of the American project. Whatever the factors one chooses to explain his political ascension, he comes from outside the realm or ordinary expectations. However, in Mr. Trump’s case, it is the expectations that are skewed. In a world run by and for the rich, less probable explanations of how wealth and power are achieved predominate.

      • WaPo Complicit in Corruption of DC Council’s Corporate ‘Concierge’

        When the FBI came knocking on DC Councilmember Jack Evans’ door in June, it set off an earthquake in local politics and business.

      • Are the Saudis using big sporting events to ‘sportswash’ their image?

        News of a prizefight set to take place in Saudi Arabia in December has riveted boxing fans but outraged human rights advocates, who pointed at a new trend — “sportswashing” — in which countries with questionable human rights reputations organize mass sporting events to escape international opprobrium.

      • YouTube disabled 210 accounts for spreading disinformation about Hong Kong protests [iophk: for how much longe will VPNs be allowed anywhere? VPNs do not solve any problems only worsten Internet conditinos]

        Google just published a blog post revealing that it has disabled 210 YouTube channels that the company says “behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.” Google cites the behavior as being “consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter.” The accounts were disabled earlier this week.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Shut Up David Boies, You Hypocritical, Censorial Oaf

        NPR has an incredible story about the media and Jeffrey Epstein. You should read the whole damn thing, because no summary here will do it justice. It covers multiple attempts by various large media organizations, including Vanity Fair, the NY Times and ABC to report on Jeffrey Epstein over the years, and how Epstein, intimidated, coaxed and even potentially bought off reporters to get more favorable coverage, or to kill stories outright. It’s horrific and awful and everything along those lines. Go read it.

      • Devin Nunes Discovery Requests Against Twitter, A Fake Cow, And Liz Mair Show Just How Much A Fishing Expedition He’s On

        We’ve written a few times now about Devin Nunes’ ridiculous lawsuit against Twitter, two parody Twitter accounts, and political strategist Liz Mair. In a news interview back in April, Nunes more or less admitted that these lawsuits were fishing expeditions to reveal journalists’ sources on articles about himself that he didn’t like. Meanwhile, both Twitter and Mair filed motions in the case saying that a Virginia state court is the wrong venue.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Facebook Starts Rolling Out Tool to Clear User Info Shared by Third Parties — But Not in the U.S. Yet

        The Off-Facebook Activity feature shows users a summary of the apps and websites that send Facebook information about their activity, which Facebook uses to better target ads. The tool will let users clear that information and also disconnect all future off-Facebook activity from their accounts (or only for specific apps and websites). That data technically will not be deleted, but Facebook says it will no longer link the external browsing history of individual users who opt-out to their accounts. Also note that the company will still track and retain data about users’ activity on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

      • T-Mobile ‘Put My Life in Danger’ Says Woman Stalked With Black Market Location Data

        It later turned out John Edens didn’t have a warrant, nor was he from law enforcement at all. Instead, he was a debt collector with a history of stalking and domestic violence who had managed to get ahold of Johnson’s phone location data. He did this by pretending to be a U.S. Marshal with the “Georgia Fugitive Task Force” to T-Mobile, which then provided Edens with the location of Johnson’s phone in a handy Google Maps interface—”pinging” the phone, in industry parlance.

      • Building a more private web

        So we are doing something different. We want to find a solution that both really protects user privacy and also helps content remain freely accessible on the web. At I/O, we announced a plan to improve the classification of cookies, give clarity and visibility to cookie settings, as well as plans to more aggressively block fingerprinting. We are making progress on this, and today we are providing more details on our plans to restrict fingerprinting. Collectively we believe all these changes will improve transparency, choice, and control.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • A Dead Cat, A Lawyer’s Call And A 5-Figure Donation: How Media Fell Short On Epstein

        “We count on the press to uncover problems, not merely to report on when problems have been prosecuted and when people have been indicted, but to uncover problems before they reach that stage,” says David Boies, an attorney for several of Epstein’s accusers. “And here you had a terrible problem. A horrific series of abuses.”

        Boies’ firm helped file lawsuits in 2015 and 2017 for clients alleging that Epstein and his associates had sexually trafficked underage girls, at his various homes. The suits were publicly available documents but received little attention in the press.

      • Are Terrorism Watch Lists Expanding Under Trump?

        Sixteen years after it was created in the post 9-11 hysteria of the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Terrorist Watch List is alive and, apparently, going off the rails, with increasing numbers being kept from boarding, while others are simply harassed, seemingly for political activism of one kind or another.

        As I reported back in 2003 at Salon, there are actually at least two watch lists: a “No Fly” list of suspected terrorists, many of whom the Justice Department doesn’t have sufficient evidence to arrest but who are nonetheless barred from boarding a plane, and a second list of people who “don’t qualify” for that list because they have never shown any terrorist proclivities, but who are “selected” to be harassed and searched at the gate before flying, often—as I discovered and reported 16 years ago—for clearly political, not security, reasons.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Meditation on a Racist Nation
      • The White-Nationalist Great Fear

        A century ago, the nation was wracked by race wars known as the “Red Summer” of 1919.  Today, race wars are resurging, but implemented not by gangs or groups as in the early-20th century but by isolated — and heavily armed – individuals who share a common white-nationalist ideology.

      • ‘Putin could shut us down with one little finger’ ‘Ekho Moskvy’ chief editor Alexey Venediktov lays out his storied career and insider insights

        On August 19, Ekho Moskvy editor-in-chief Alexey Venediktov granted a two-hour interview to Ukrainian journalist Dmitry Gordon, where the two discussed Venediktov’s storied career and various backroom insights into major political events in Russia over the past two decades. Meduza presents a summary of the exchange, broken down by subject.

      • Notes on Inauthenticity in a Creeping Fascist Nuthouse

        Among the suggestions I would have made to the Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley had I been an editor of his important book How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them (Random House, 2018), two seem particularly relevant in the present political juncture.

      • Ruth Bader Ginsburg Treated for Tumor on Pancreas

        Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has completed radiation therapy for a cancerous tumor on her pancreas and there is no evidence of the disease remaining, the Supreme Court said Friday.

      • Ruth Bader Ginsburg Undergoes Treatment for Pancreatic Tumor—Doctors Say Supreme Court Justice Completely ‘Cancer-Free’

        “Getting a push notification that starts with the words ‘Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’ will get the heart rate ramped up.”

      • Sick of Being a Guinea Pig

        Some corporations and governments have used the US public as guinea pigs in uncontrolled experiments conducted without the public’s approval. They were often gambling with our well being when they introduced new products or conducted risky tests. In contrast, there were usually few risks for the CEOs or government officials in charge of these unacknowledged experiments.

      • Justice Department Sent Anti-Semitic Post to Immigration Judges

        The Justice Department’s immigration arm sent judges a morning news briefing that included a blog post from a virulently anti-immigration website that also publishes work by white nationalists.

      • Why I Stopped Being White (and You Should Too)

        Race is a touchy subject in the West. People across the aisle, especially white folk, tend to avoid it like a plague. A big part of the reason behind this reservation has to do with the fact that both the left and the right maintain an equally immature grasp on the subject. While the right seems to be convinced that race is some kind of scientific fact like a species of bird, the left seems to view it as an inescapable historical prison sentence with no hope for escape. Like usual, the left is wrong and the right is way fucking wrong. There is nothing scientific or permanent about race. It is a social construct as fluid in nature as gender or sexuality, and it is constantly evolving. Almost every known race was created by a collision of former races that have ceased to exist. About the only thing that the clueless class in the left-right paradigm gets right is that the white race is a very unique creature, and a dangerous one.

      • Will North Carolina’s Supreme Court Allow Racism to Remain a Persistent Factor in its Death Penalty?

        In 2009, North Carolina passed the Racial Justice Act (RJA), which allowed defendants to strike the death penalty from their cases if they could show that racial discrimination was a factor in their prosecution. The law came as a response to a series of exonerations of Black people who were falsely convicted of crimes they did not commit by all-white or nearly all-white juries. The legislature took a bold step to address was what suspected to be deeply troubling evidence of racism infecting the death penalty—but no one knew for sure what evidence uncovered by the RJA would find.

      • Sasha Abramsky on Trump’s New Attack on Immigrants

        This week on CounterSpin: The Trump administration planned massive ICE workplace raids for the first day of school that included no plans for children coming home to empty houses; they tried to find a way to block undocumented kids from going to public schools; they refuse to give flu vaccines to migrant children in custody, even after several deaths; and they’ve just announced a new rule dictating there be “no limit“ on how long migrant families can be detained. When that same administration announces changes to “public charge” rules that link visas or deportation to an immigrant’s being deemed likely to possibly rely on government aid—what’s the point of relaying earnestly, as does the Washington Post, the Trump team’s claim that it’s “seeking to bring precision to an existing tenet of law that has lacked a clear definition,” or of typing the words, “The administration has portrayed the rule as a way to promote sufficiency and independence among immigrants,” as they did at The Hill? Orwell’s 1984 may be overquoted, but one to hold on to: “The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.” So who, at this point, is served when corporate media consider Trump’s cruel attacks on immigrants in any context other than cruelty?

      • Should We Fight a War on White Terrorism?

        Although its precise scale is hard to measure, violent white supremacy is clearly a problem in the United States.

      • Trump administration plans rule change that allows indefinite detention for migrants

        The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled a rule that allows officials to detain migrant families indefinitely while judges consider whether to grant them asylum in the United States, abolishing a previous 20-day limit.

      • Ryanair cabin crew in Spain will strike for 10 days in September

        Ryanair cabin crew will strike on September 1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 29 after mediation, between the airline and union leaders from USO and Sitcpla failed to produce an agreement.

        The meeting on Tuesday, organized by Spain’s state arbitrator SIMA, lasted more than seven hours but ended without a deal, once the low-cost airline confirmed its plans to close down its bases in Gran Canaria and Tenerife.

      • Jeffrey Epstein was accused of sex trafficking young girls on his mysterious private island. Over 40 years ago, a different millionaire escaped justice in a stunningly similar case.

        The story of the financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sexually abusing and trafficking minors, erupted in the news this year, and internet sleuths say the case of Shelden and Lake Michigan’s North Fox Island bears an uncanny resemblance to today’s scandal.

        Both center on allegations that secretive millionaires weaponized their philanthropic giving, cliques of connected friends, and private island paradises to prey on young victims and escape justice. Like Shelden, Epstein was a millionaire, a philanthropist, and a man with powerful friends. And neither stood trial for the crimes for which he was accused.

      • Swatting Is a Deadly Problem—Here’s the Solution [iophk: in addition to the failure in policing, swatting is attempted murder]

        One exception: Seattle. As of last October, the Seattle Police Department has maintained an anti-swatting registry that lets people who fear being swatted give the police advance warning by adding the concern to a profile associated with their address—in much the same way you might add a note about a serious allergy, a child with autism, or pets in the house in case of fire. If an officer is dispatched to your address, they’ll see your profile and proceed with appropriate caution. According to Sean Whitcomb, the registry’s inventor and a sergeant at the police department, it was a fast and easy fix. “We had it launched in three months, which is light speed for any government bureaucracy,” he says. The registry simply adapts an existing Rave Mobile Safety product the police department already had the rights to—a system that connects a 911 call to the profile of a specific address. “It’s a great use case and didn’t require any tech changes from us,” says Katharine Dahl, Rave Mobile Safety’s senior director of product marketing.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Altruism Still Fuels the Web. Businesses Love to Exploit It

        My hunch is they wouldn’t be as astounded by our world as we like to think. Our technologies of instant communication would be impressive, yes, but they’d at least make sense as the culmination of a trend that began with the telegraph. Other seemingly new phenomena like viral false news and deepfakes have predigital precedents. Even some of the most bizarre facts of online life chime with what’s come before: Anyone familiar with the ancient Egyptian fixation on felines (cat mummies, cat statues, cat pictographs) and the mid-century American obsession with TV would at least have some pretext to accept that one of the largest conglomerates on the planet is the owner of a massive video site with millions of cat clips.

        My guess is that the real surprise for our visitor would be the vast open source projects, relying mainly on volunteer labor, that underpin the internet. As a social scientist myself, I can say that convincing a colleague from the past that Wikipedia and Linux actually work the way they do would be a pretty huge lift. Given the assumption, common to many 20th-century schools of thought, that humans act in incorrigibly selfish ways, the notion that tens of thousands of people would collaborate to create, respectively, a living monument to human knowledge and a foundational piece of computing infrastructure, free of charge, simply sounds too fanciful.

        And it’s not just Wikipedia and Linux. The whole open source software ecology is a miracle whose branches sprawl in every direction. The internet as we know it simply couldn’t operate without it.

        To put things in terms our time-traveling professor would understand, much of the web is an exception to the famed “free rider” problem—the idea that people will not make sacrifices toward a common goal if they can get away with coasting on other people’s efforts.

    • Monopolies

      • Amazon will no longer use tips to pay delivery drivers’ base salaries

        Now, Amazon confirms that the initial minimum payment for each delivery will come entirely from Amazon, with driver’s tips going directly to the driver on top of that — i.e., the almost universally understood intent of how tips should work in the first place, where they’re a bonus for a specific person on top of their base pay from the company for which they work.

      • Here’s every study of every terrible thing Lyft and Uber do to SF traffic

        Almost everyone agrees that ride-hailing apps create a tremendous amount of congestion in SF specifically—even the companies themselves often cop to this in the comments below, while at the same time arguing that their ultimate goal is to minimize the number of cars on the street.

        But the details vary wildly, along with the methods. Here’s a brief survey of the surveys on this eternally idling question.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • PTAB Won’t Ax Patent For Wine Dispenser, Aerator

          The Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Friday refused to invalidate a liquid dispenser patent claim in a fight between two wine aerator companies.

          3BTech Inc., which sells the Waerator, failed to prove that one claim in a patent covering MercAsia’s Aervana is obvious, the board said in its final written decision. The eight-claim patent is owned by Jingle Master International Ltd., and exclusively licensed to MercAsia, according to filings in related infringement litigation.

          The board said 3BTech failed to show that someone would have been motivated to combine the three pieces of prior art referenced, among other failings.

          3BTech had…

        • Are you a Patent Troll, or merely Rhetorical Hyperbole

          Automated Transactions holds several patents on automated teller machines (ATMs) and was seeking licensing revenue (reportedly receiving more than $3 million in a single year). Potential licensees started identifying the patentee a “patent troll” and the licensing effort “extortive.” Automated (along with its founder Barcelou) sued in NH state court alleging defamation and violation of the NH Consumer Protection Act (CPA).

          The district court dismissed the case — holding that the patent-troll statements by the defendants were non-defamatory “expressions of opinion” based upon known underlying facts and that the “extortion” statements were rhetorical hyperbole.

        • Protecting Inventors—Independent Invention As A Defense

          This isn’t an unusual circumstance. Even looking at major innovations, there’s a long list of near-simultaneous inventions—the telephone (Bell and Gray), the light bulb (Edison and Swann), calculus (Newton and Leibniz), and the plethora of claimed inventors of the telescope, among many other such examples. There’s even a term for it among science historians—“multiples.” More recently, the Berkeley-MIT-Harvard dispute over CRISPR technology is a similar circumstance. And when it comes to the kind of minor incremental improvement that most patents claim, independent invention is almost a given.

          The idea behind the patent bargain is that, in exchange for sharing their technology with the public, the patent owner gets to have some level of control over that technology for a period of time. But in cases of independent invention, the later inventors never received the benefit of that bargain—they’re only receiving the harm of having spent time and resources on inventing something they can’t then pursue. And multiple independent inventions suggest that the innovation in question isn’t the type of non-obvious advance that requires an incentive to be made, but is simply the kind of normal advance in technology that an ordinarily skilled artisan can achieve.

          Stated otherwise: how inventive can an idea truly be, when multiple people have all had it around the same time? And perhaps more importantly, if multiple people would all have had the idea anyway, do we really need to provide a government incentive for that inevitable invention?

          The phenomenon of independent invention, and the failure to address it in a meaningful way, thus points to serious flaws in the U.S. patent system that provide a windfall return to inventors for advances that would have been achieved without the patent incentive.

          It doesn’t have to be that way.

          [...]

          These approaches include treating independent invention as probative evidence that the patent was obvious and incorporating independent invention as a factor in the injunction inquiry.

          In terms of evidence of obviousness, simultaneous invention by others is already a factor in the obviousness inquiry. However, that factor is often discounted by the courts for various reasons and requires simultaneous invention, which does not include independent invention done slightly later. Instead of treating only simultaneous invention as evidence of non-obviousness, courts could treat evidence of independent invention without actual knowledge of the patented technology—and certainly any independent invention prior to the publication of the patent in question—as creating a rebuttable presumption that the patent was in fact obvious.

          The second—incorporation of independent invention into the injunction inquiry—is even simpler. Injunctions in patent cases may only issue “in accordance with the principles of equity.” Where someone has independently created something, it’s simply inequitable to bar them from using their own idea simply because someone else came up with it earlier.

          And even if these defenses or presumptions never become part of U.S. patent law, it’s worth remembering that most of the time, the accused infringer didn’t “copy” anything—they came up with it on their own, just a little bit later. Keeping that at the forefront of the patent debate is important to ensuring that the patent system remains appropriately balanced.

        • Ninth Circuit motions panel grants Qualcomm’s motion to stay enforcement of FTC’s antitrust remedies; appellate hearing to be held in January

          That means they don’t view the district court’s decision as being in the antitrust mainstream, the sole question from the vantage point of those circuit judges being whether it’s about novel theories that might be affirmed nonetheless or just squarely outside the boundaries of antitrust law.

          Even if the same three judges were to evaluate the merits of the case, affirmance would be possible, but it would be an uphill battle for the FTC. With a different panel, however, and extensive briefing on the merits, anything is still possible. At this procedural stage, a panel with a Republican majority simply didn’t want to turn a deaf ear to a Republican government’s input urging the appeals court to stay the enforcement of remedies and warning of grave consequences even for national security.

          Qualcomm’s opening brief is due today. Qualcomm had first requested and obtained an expedited appeal, but then it was too tight a schedule even for their purposes, so they asked for an extension, which they got.

      • Trademarks

        • Rutgers Forces LA High School To Change Logos Due To Its ‘R’ Trademark

          Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of aggression from universities when it comes to trademark enforcement. The impetus for much of this was rulings nearly a decade ago that essentially gave universities far broader and more exclusive rights to their school logos. The fallout of those rulings became schools going after all kinds of uses and near-uses of those logos, including a strange war on pastries, and colleges going after high schools for using similar iconography.

      • Copyrights

        • Can YouTube Be Liable For Copyright Infringing Videos? EU Court to Decide

          The European Court of Justice is being asked to answer several questions regarding YouTube’s potential liability for pirated videos that are uploaded by its users. The case was referred by Austria’s Supreme Court, which has to decide on a copyright dispute between local television channel Puls4 and the video host. The latter stands accused of not doing enough to curtail piracy.

        • Look What They Made Her Do: Taylor Swift To Re-Record Her Catalog

          Swift claimed that she was unaware of the sale to Braun’s company, and called the deal “my worst-case scenario,” alluding to Braun’s involvement in a number of feuds between her and artists he has managed, including Kanye West. Swift also said that she had tried to buy back her masters from Big Machine, but that the terms the label offered her were intolerable. In a blog post, she wrote: “For years, I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in. I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past.”

          Last year, Swift signed a deal with the world’s largest record company, Universal Music Group, and its subsidiary Republic Records; Lover is her first release under this new contract.

          For artists, master recordings — the original recordings of musicians’ work — are vital musically, historically and financially. In most situations, labels own those masters. But many musicians, both prominent and independent ones, have tried to hang on to their masters. As Prince famously told Rolling Stone back in 1996, “If you don’t own your masters, your master owns you.”

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