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09.29.19

Large Corporations Can Definitely Work With Free/Libre Software But Total Domination Over Free/Libre Software is the Problem

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, GPL, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 7:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If they cannot control it, they will try to destroy it (and the people who made it)

Stallman needs new home

Summary: Typical and lousy corporate screed, along with corporate media, incites the public against Stallman (based on deliberate misrepresentation), potentially forcing him into temporary ‘homelessness’ (the above is a new Web page from Stallman) while corporations that incorporate GNU into their products rake in billions of dollars each month

HALF A DOZEN of us are still trying to figure out, mostly in IRC, who’s responsible for defacing Stallman’s site (it’s definitely a defacement based on a video link, as we noted in our previous post). It’s definitely not a joke and the goal is to make Stallman look bad. The goal is to embarrass him and cause maximal damage to his image.

We’ve seen a bunch of names mentioned. Generally speaking, it’s just the latest of a long series of events, which already caused Stallman to be removed from MIT (his ‘home’), then removed from FSF. He’s now looking for a place to live and it’s starting to resemble that long voyage of Julian Assange, who was demonised and defamed in the media for nearly a decade. He lived a frugal, repressed life in an embassy’s room.

“Generally speaking, it’s just the latest of a long series of events, which already caused Stallman to be removed from MIT (his ‘home’), then removed from FSF.”There seem to be powerful forces looking to ruin Stallman’s life, not just his work and his reputation. Some people blame Microsoft, others blame Red Hat/IBM (typically citing its short and controversial press release about diversity in the wake of Stallman’s resignation). It’s not pretty and many accusations are largely hypothetical and based on conjectures.

An associate of ours has meanwhile relayed this seemingly new (albeit undated) post from Steve Litt, who recently wrote some long rants about systemd (because it’s expanding to yet more corners if not centres of Linux). “Write a Letter to Redhat About systemd” is the title and it says this:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) incorporated systemd as their default and only init system in 2014. Soon after, perhaps with some persuasion from Red Hat and its allies, Debian adopted systemd as its default init system, and many Debian Derived distros, including all the Ubuntus, followed suit. Starting in 2014, this caused extensive protest from many in the Linux community, for reasons such as: [...]

I’ll be glad to serve as a central information point for this letter writing campaign. If you find other contacts, please feel free to write to them and please email me with those contacts and contact information.

For a number of years I personally chose not to comment/say much about systemd because I don’t understand it as well as some core developers. But seeing how large it has gotten, the fact it’s Microsoft-hosted and the fact it’s IBM-owned (proprietary software company that adores lock-in), I am increasingly worried about it. Corporations do not have feelings or ideology. They don’t care about UNIX principles, either. Corporations are run by very few people seeking to maximise short-term profits and Red Hat is no exception to the rule (only slightly different because of public image), more so under IBM. Frequent releases of systemd help leave rivals of Red Hat perpetually behind, always chasing Red Hat for bug fixes and never capable of offering the same levels of support and customisation. systemd is gradually devouring much of the system or codebase that’s not stale. I am also growingly suspicious of Red Hat because of the IBM agenda that’s inherited by ownership (I’ve been critical of IBM for about 5-7 years); it’s like they have an alliance of convenience with Microsoft and there's ample evidence. I’ve been watching these things closely for a very long time. Red Hat even considered/entertained Microsoft as a buyer. IBM betrayed “Linux” about a decade ago after it had done some good work, including ODF advocacy. Many of us will always remember their back room agreement with Microsoft around 2008 (it was about OOXML). We were all furious. They sold us out. Soon enough they also stopped contributing to OpenOffice and related projects.

“IBM betrayed “Linux” about a decade ago after it had done some good work, including ODF advocacy. Many of us will always remember their back room agreement with Microsoft around 2008 (it was about OOXML).”That’s not to say IBM is evil; we never said such a thing. Our main issue with IBM is its patent policy, which includes lobbying aggressively for software patents.

IBM is somehow left out from GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft). The same goes for Intel, Oracle and several other companies. Are they all foes of GNU/Linux? No. In our view, for reasons we explained before, Microsoft is the only company that stands to gain a lot from the destruction/failure of GNU/Linux, both in servers and desktops/appliances (the same cannot be said about Apple as its range of products/services is a lot more limited).

Amazon, for instance, isn’t a big concern to us, albeit it’s dangerous to Software Freedom, mostly because of ‘cloud’ loopholes, centralisation, surveillance and licensing matters that impact FOSS economics. Be wary of Mac Asay. “Asay [is] back,” one reader said this morning about this article. “However based on past posts, I haven’t read his full post this time.”

“…Microsoft is the only company that stands to gain a lot from the destruction/failure of GNU/Linux, both in servers and desktops/appliances (the same cannot be said about Apple as its range of products/services is a lot more limited).”Mac Asay has been against copyleft for quite some time now (he’s an Amazon AWS employee now, serving Bezos and by extension the CIA/US Army); opposition to ethics is very much expected from him. He has worked for a number of proprietary software companies in recent years and he had also applied for a job at Microsoft. He’s one of those people who attack Software Freedom while pretending to care about it. Writing about “open source” while promoting pure exploitation/abuse of it…

Going back to Red Hat, it habitually promotes .NET, sometimes Azure too. It took former Microsoft employees even into management ranks and OpenSource.com often posts pro-Microsoft nonsense. How about this latest post, “Microsoft open sourcing its C++ library, Cloudera’s open source data platform, new tools to remove leaked passwords on GitHub and combat ransomware, and more open source news”?

As we put it in our last Daily Links bundle, “”Microsoft open sourcing its C++ library” means proprietary software MSVS is “open” and “new tools to remove leaked passwords on GitHub and combat ransomware” means NSA PRISM is “security”…”

“Writing about “open source” while promoting pure exploitation/abuse of it…”We also included this new article, calling it “more Microsoft openwashing whose net goal is to sell Microsoft proprietary software for developers to become ‘serfs’ of Windows, Azure etc.”

This morning we saw “Chromium-based Microsoft Edge could hit Linux” and days ago we explained that nobody wants it or asked for it.

GNU/Linux is being changed. It’s being made more proprietary. One might say it’s being hijacked with help from the likes of the Linux Foundation.

FSF May Not be Trustworthy Anymore, It’s Believed/Said to Have Just Defaced Richard Stallman’s Personal Web Site (Updated)

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, Rumour at 5:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Update (01/10/2019): Stallman has told us that “stallman.org has not moved. It has been hosted by the same company for many years. It was never hosted by the FSF. On the contrary, I started it to keep it separate from the FSF.” Corrected text below.

Update (03/10/2019): Richard Stallman has since then stated he wants people to support the FSF.

Free Software Foundation History
Reference: Free Software Foundation History

Summary: The FSF is now actively ‘attacking’ its very own founder, whose Web site is said to have been defaced by FSF staff

“Stallman.org was defaced by an FSF employee,” I have just been told, “the deface has been reverted, and the domain appears to now be operating on non-FSF infrastructure…”

“The FSF must now issue a statement naming the culprit who defaced Stallman’s Web site,” I said. This is pretty serious. We heard rumours to that effect about 7 hours ago, but we were unable to verify and did not know who had done that. These rumours noted that other indicators of a defacement existed; “RMS’ site may have been tampered with,” somebody said in #techrights (IRC) at 4AM. “Some discussion elsewhere noted that the link to the “donate to the Free Software Foundation” leads to a youtube video as seen in this snapshot (it has since been fixed): https://archive.is/Yya6g . It might be a good idea to contact him regarding the two “step down” notices (one recent, other was his “remain” post edited) on his site to clear things up.”

“Something is going on and rumours suggest that large corporations play a role.”“Looks like code isn’t the only thing some people are deleting,” said the same person.

For those who have just woken up on a lazy Sunday, here’s some background. Earlier today we mentioned Richard Stallman's message (succinct site post) in which he said he had stepped down from GNU (just two days after saying the exact opposite). He has since then removed the post, causing a lot of confusion and unnecessary speculation that we won’t reproduce here because we don’t know all the facts (at least not yet). Something is going on and rumours suggest that large corporations play a role. The name “Saleforce” has been thrown around by several people, but there’s no ‘smoking gun’ evidence by which to prove a link. As far as we’re aware, Stallman has not responded to anyone to explain the withdrawal of his post about withdrawing from GNU. It’s a mystery, but the above update comes from a generally reliable source. We judge reliability based on connections and track record.

He later said “the deface was reverted [and] now stallman.org is not hosted on FSF servers (it was before). [And] given that stallman.org is basically 100% html, no php or whatever that means it pretty much had to be an inside job.”

Links 29/9/2019: Happy Birthday to LibreOffice and FreeBSD 12.1 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 2:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Dell’s new web page makes finding Linux laptops and desktops easier

        Dell currently offers 11 laptops and 6 desktop computers with Ubuntu and Linux. But up until recently actually finding those options on the Dell website could be a bit of a hassle.

        Now rather than hunting through configuration options to find out if Ubuntu is an option, you can just visit Dell.com/Linux to see the company’s new landing page for computers that come with a GNU/Linux-based operating system pre-installed.

        The current lineup includes Dell XPS 13 developer edition laptops with 10th-gen Intel Core processors or 8th-gen Intel Core chips that ship with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

        Dell also offers a number of Precision mobile workstation laptops featuring 15 to 17 inch displays, AMD or NVIDIA graphics, and Ubuntu Linux (although they’re also certified for Red Hat 8.0).

        Rounding out the lineup are a half dozen different Dell Precision Tower workstation PCs including models with up to 3TB of RAM and 136TB of storage (surprisingly not a typo).

    • Server

      • Another Update on Oracle Java and Oracle Solaris

        Since our last update on Oracle Solaris and Oracle Java we’ve been getting more questions, so we wanted to write a quick blog to share the latest on this topic.

        There are a lot of applications out there running on Oracle Java SE 8 and Oracle Java SE 11, these are mature and widely adopted platforms. As you can see on the Oracle Java SE Support Roadmap, Oracle is committed to supporting these releases until at least 2025 and 2026 respectively.

        In addition, this page notes:

        “Oracle Java SE product dates are provided as examples to illustrate the support policies. Customers should refer to the Oracle Lifetime Support Policy for the most up-to-date information. Timelines may differ for Oracle Products with a Java SE dependency”

        This is important given the Oracle Applications Unlimited commitment. This essentially says that if you are running on-premise applications covered under Oracle Applications Unlimited (see the list included here), Oracle is committed to offering Oracle Premier support until at least 2030, and that includes the Oracle Java SE releases used by these applications, even if the Oracle Java SE support timelines appear shorter.

      • Oracle Reaffirms Supporting Solaris 11 Through Part Of The Next Decade

        Oracle has reaffirmed their “long term commitment to deliver innovation on Oracle Solaris” though it still doesn’t look like anything past Solaris 11 will materialize.

        Solaris 11 is eight years old and while Oracle has made incremental improvements to it, there still is no signs of Solaris 12 or “Solaris-Next” as some previous road-maps had referenced. Oracle on Friday reaffirmed their commitment to supporting Solaris 11 through 2031~2034 depending upon the support agreement.

      • IBM

        • CentOS 8 is finally here

          It’s been a while, old friend. In fact, the last time you enjoyed a major release was over five years ago—CentOS 7 initially hit the ether on July 7, 2014. In IT terms, that’s almost a century or three. But don’t worry friend, we know you’ve remained stable, reliable, and secure the whole time.

          However, your last release is a bit long in the tooth, so it’s a good thing your latest has arrived to bring to the faithful masses something new and fresh.

          Said something new and fresh comes on the heels of the May 2019 release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8 and is called, as you probably expected, CentOS 8.

          For those that don’t know, CentOS is the “community version” of RHEL and is functionally compatible with its upstream sibling (see What does upstream and downstream development even mean?). With the release of CentOS 8 comes a bevy of new features and improvements.

        • As ‘CentOS Stream’ Brings Rolling Releases, Some RHEL Development Moves Into CentOS Project

          It Pro Today points out that CentOS already runs on about 16% of all servers, “a number that’s only bested by Ubuntu with an estimated 28%,” and says that this move “points to CentOS taking a more important role within Red Hat [and] indicates a sea change not only for CentOS, but for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) development pipeline.”

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.4 Pulls In LOCKDOWN Support For Opt-In Hardware/Kernel Security Restrictions

        While yesterday Linus Torvalds was still undecided on whether to pull in the long-revised “LOCKDOWN” kernel patches and wanted to review them patch-by-patch, following that lengthy examination he has decided to indeed land this opt-in restricted functionality for Linux 5.4.

        The Linux LOCKDOWN patches have been found in various distribution kernels for years and for the mainline process went through dozens of rounds of review to address various issues and ensure all bases are covered for tightening up the kernel’s interaction with the system hardware when desired as well as ensuring the running kernel image cannot be manipulated.

      • It Turns Out CPU Speculative Execution Can Be Useful For Random Entropy / RNG

        While CPU speculative execution has caused a lot of frustrations over the past two years due to the likes of the Spectre vulnerabilities, it turns out CPU speculative execution can be exploited to be a viable source of random entropy for random number generators.

        Particularly on newer Intel/AMD CPU microarchitectures where speculative execution is much more advanced than hardware from years ago, it’s been found that measuring the execution time of loops relying upon speculation is random enough to be a cheap and speedy source of entropy.

        [...]

        Linus Torvalds commented and he believes that this is not very reliable and a simple jitter entropy implementation. But he did post his own proof-of-concept code for improving the jitter entropy code based upon this.

      • IO_uring Is More Polished With Linux 5.4

        Added back during the Linux 5.1 cycle was IO_uring for fast and efficient I/O. This new interface allows for queue rings to be shared between the application and kernel to avoid excess copies and other efficiency improvements over the existing Linux AIO code. With Linux 5.4, IO_uring is in even better shape.

        In the months since IO_uring was merged to mainline, we’ve seen a ton of continued work on it including the likes of a 755x performance improvement. With Linux 5.4, it seems following extensive optimizations by Jens Axboe and others, it’s in quite a polished shape.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Java Applications On GNOME Under Wayland Will Now Behave Better

          Another GNOME Wayland paper-cut was healed on Friday with the fixing of this issue seemingly isolated to Java programs having keyboard input focus issues when child windows are closed. The bug was tracked down to Mutter and its handling of focusing for windows within X11 code and Java applications behaving differently (not triggering _NET_ACTIVE_WINDOW).

        • Radeon ROCm 2.8 Released But Still Without Navi Support

          When seeing ROcm 2.8 hit the wire we immediately thought it may have been the release introducing support for Navi with the Radeon RX 5700 series being available since July, but that turned out to not be the case… ROCm 2.8 still doesn’t appear to be supporting compute/OpenCL capabilities for Navi graphics processors. Though it’s not entirely surprising with ROCm being mostly focused on workstation/professional accelerator use-cases and the Navi GPUs to date are just the consumer parts. But still for ROCm being AMD’s main focus for taking on NVIDIA’s CUDA dominance, it’s a pity still not seeing Navi support. There have been signs of Navi 14 workstation graphics cards but with Navi 14 itself expected to just be a step above Polaris, it’s quite possible they will be more display focused than compute accelerators.

    • Benchmarks

      • Peter Bengtsson: How much faster is Redis at storing a blob of JSON compared to PostgreSQL?

        First of all, I’m still a PostgreSQL fan-boy and have no intention of ceasing that. These times are made up of much more than just the individual databases. For example, the PostgreSQL speeds depend on the Django ORM code that makes the SQL and sends the query and then turns it into the model instance. I don’t know what the proportions are between that and the actual bytes-from-PG’s-disk times. But I’m not sure I care either. The tooling around the database is inevitable mostly and it’s what matters to users.

        Both Redis and PostgreSQL are persistent and survive server restarts and crashes etc. And you get so many more “batch related” features with PostgreSQL if you need them, such as being able to get a list of the last 10 rows added for some post-processing batch job.

        I’m currently using Django’s cache framework, with Redis as its backend, and it’s a cache framework. It’s not meant to be a persistent database. I like the idea that if I really have to I can just flush the cache and although detrimental to performance (temporarily) it shouldn’t be a disaster. So I think what I’ll do is store these JSON blobs in both databases. Yes, it means roughly 6GB of SSD storage but it also potentially means loading a LOT more into RAM on my limited server. That extra RAM usage pretty much sums of this whole blog post; of course it’s faster if you can rely on RAM instead of disk. Now I just need to figure out how RAM I can afford myself for this piece and whether it’s worth it.

      • Fresh Video Encode/Decode Benchmark Numbers For Xeon Platinum 8280 vs. EPYC 7742

        Given recent updates to the Intel Scalable Video Technology (SVT) open-source video encoders as well as other open-source video encoders/decoders, here is a fresh look at the performance of the AMD EPYC 7742 2P server against the Intel competition with the dual Xeon Platinum 8280.

    • Applications

      • Open Source Voice Chat Mumble Makes a Big Release After 10 Years

        The greatest power of the Internet is its ability to connect people anywhere in the world. Voice chat applications are just one category of tools uniting us. Recently, one of the biggest open-source voice chat apps made a new release, 10 years after its previous release.

        Mumble is a “free, open source, low latency, high quality voice chat application”. It was originally created to be used by gamers, but it is also used to record podcasts. Several Linux podcasts use Mumble to record hosts located at different places in the world, including Late Nite Linux. To give you an idea of how powerful Mumble is, it has been used to connect “Eve Online players with huge communities of over 100 simultaneous voice participants”.

      • SimpleScreenRecorder is a user friendly video capturing app for Linux

        Video recording tools can be complex for many users. Besides requiring users to configure plenty of options, they often make use of technical terms such as bitrate, fps, codecs, sample rate and formats.

        There are some solutions for users who are just getting started and those who want a simple app that makes configuration and recording a breeze, and one of them is called SimpleScreenRecorder.

      • MusicBrainz Picard Is A Cross-Platform Audio Tagger

        MusicBrainz Picard is an open-source and free tag editor for audio files. It is written in Python programming language licensed under GNU General Public License version 2+. It supports multiple popular formats such as mp3, FLAC, OGG, M4A, WMA and more. Picard uses AcoustID audio fingerprints, allowing files to be identified by the actual music, even if they have no metadata.

        Picard can lookup entire music CDs with a click. Picard also supports plugins if you need a particular feature, you can choose from a selection of available plugins or write your own to extend functionality. Picard is not built to be a mass single-track tag fixer. Picard believes in quality over quantity and provides a plethora of customization to tweak music collections to your needs.

      • Best Linux apps of 2019: free and open source software

        One of the big advantages of most Linux distros isn’t just that they are free and open source – so are most of the software applications used for Linux. While some business-orientated software does come with a cost, for most home users most of what they will need won’t be.

        But what are the applications that most Linux will want to have installed? Luckily, many Linux distros come with a number of essential software packages already bundled with the Operating System (OS), as is the case with Windows and Apple desktops. This means you shouldn’t have to spend too much time looking for what you may actually need.

        However, Linux software is in constant development and so are the software apps used to run on it. While updates for those bundled should be easy to manage, you’ll probably still want to ensure you have a full range of the most useful software, not all of which may be included.

      • Invidious Everywhere

        Do you know Invidious? On Invidious, you can watch all YouTube videos safely and without ads with ability to download all of them. Technically, it means Invidious acts as an intermediary between you and YouTube and plays videos without JavaScript. This also means privacy, that is Google will not be able to record you! But the problem is all YouTube links on the net linked to youtube.com and not invidio.us. Many people still don’t know Indivious as well. So we always need to rewrite every link to invidio.us to watch every video. This makes life difficult. Fortunately, thanks to several Firefox addons below, we can automatically change all youtube link to invidious instead, even the embed ones on webpages and social medias! This makes life easy. Finally, Invidious is free software licensed under GNU AGPL you can have the source code from GitHub. Let’s make Indivious everywhere!

      • Proprietary

        • Best virtual machine software of 2019: virtualization for different OS

          Virtual machines have become an important part of computing, not least for business and especially for cloud applications. However, virtualization is something also available to home users as well.

          For personal use, virtualization enables users to run different operating systems on their home PC, such as running Windows on a Mac, or running Linux on a Windows PC – and vice versa.

          A key advantage of running a virtual machine is that it allows you to run apps that would otherwise not be available due to having very different system requirements, which is one particular reason why virtualization has become so important in business.

          Another, surprisingly, is security concerns, as malware cannot run properly in a virtualized environment, and often will shut down if it detects it is in one.

          Overall, virtualization has become a powerful tool in computing and IT, and here we’ll feature the best in virtual machine software.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine-Staging 4.17 Brings Raw Input For Overwatch, StarCitizen & Other Games

        Wine 4.17 was released yesterday that merged the DXTn support and other improvements from Wine-Staging. Meanwhile Wine-Staging 4.17 is out today to re-up their game with now more than 850 patches in total against upstream Wine.

        The big addition to Wine-Staging 4.17 is raw input support for games like Overwatch and StarCitizen as well as other titles now seeing working or drastically improved input handling.

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Essential tweaks after Manjaro (Plasma) installation

          Thus endeth the article. Hopefully, this was useful. Overall, Manjaro has a lot of cool features, but it also suffers from various sub-optimal default settings. Luckily, changing most of them is relatively easy, and in the worst case, you need to install a few packages. The biggest challenge is installing third-party software, for which you need AUR (unless you want to do things manually). But it’s all doable.

          With some luck, these issues will be ironed out in future releases of Manjaro. If not provided as defaults, then at least, there will be an easy path for users to grab the desired software and install it in a friendly, simple, straightforward fashion. Well, I guess that would be all. Manjaro away.

        • This week in KDE: Towards Plasma 5.18

          With Plasma 5.17 due to be released in less than two weeks, developers are working hard to polish it up. It’s also time to look forward towards Plasma 5.18. Features are already starting to land and it promises to be another very cool release!

          There’s lots of great stuff in the apps world too, including that Filelight is now in the Microsoft Store! KDE truly is all about the apps.

        • August/September in KDE Itinerary

          Since the last KDE Itinerary summary two month have passed that saw the 19.08 KDE Application release, Akademy and more than 250 changes to KDE Itinerary and its underlying infrastructure. As usual, here are some of the highlights.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • RPM 4.15 Released With Experimental Rootless Chroot Support

          RPM 4.15 adds experimental support for operations depending upon chroot without requiring root (by means of user namespaces), a dummy database back-end to help RPM run on systems without RPMDB like Debian, better ARM detection, various 64-bit ARM additions and improvements, a variety of transaction fixes, support for dynamic build dependencies, and a long list of other improvements.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Beta Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Ubuntu 19.10 Beta.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” Beta Released. Download Now.

          Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” is due release on Oct 17, 2019 and we have the beta ISO available for wider testing for the users, developers to provide users a rock solid Ubuntu release, once again.

          Before the next Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) relase, Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” is the choice for introduction of new features which would eventually be part of next LTS. For couple of reasons, Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” is iconic in nature.

          Firstly, Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” is introducing NVIDIA drivers in the ISO image itself. This would help users to install NVIDIA proprietary (closed source) drivers for their graphics card while installing the OS itself. This definitely removes lots of hassles for users to find and update NVIDIA drivers in Linux.

          Secondly, this release introduces installation of Ubuntu using ZFS file system. ZFS is known to be scalable, data corruption tolerant, ability to support high storage spaces. Though it is said to be experimental in Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” – but it is a first for any Linux Distro to support ZFS. Users hope to see more distros supporting ZFS in near future.

        • Android Reverse Tethering with Ubuntu 18.04

          That magical program is Gnirehtet (tethering reversed) available as Android app and GNU/Linux desktop programs. With this program, without root access at all, we can easily share internet access via USB cable from laptop to smartphone by utilizing USB Tethering in reversed mode. Finally, the topology will be phone -> USB -> desktop -> wifi -> internet. I show you here how to do it with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Enjoy!

        • Ubuntu Studio 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) Beta Released

          The Ubuntu Studio team is pleased to announce the beta release of Ubuntu Studio 19.10, codenamed Eoan Ermine.

          While this beta is reasonably free of any showstopper CD build or installer bugs, you may find some bugs within. This image is, however, reasonably representative of what you will find when Ubuntu Studio 19.10 is released on October 19, 2019.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Free software and the wish to be good

        The free software movement has recently been going through a lot. From the introduction of Commons Clause, to the resignation of Stallman. It seems like the mood in the air is that now is the time for a redefinition of what free and open source software actually is.

        My view on this is that free software, and open source, is about software. For instance, I agree to Roman Gilg’s great post about activism. What we share within the FOSS movement is our passion for software licensing. For other political issues, we do not all agree. It is important to recognize this, and that by implying political standpoints, we limit the size of the communities.

        To me, we in the FOSS movement need to define tackle two issues: what is distribution (to address the Common Clause issues), and can we be neutral to what the software is used for (to address the activism issues).

      • Dependencies: Both Technological And Human, On Display In The Story Of A Developer Who Deleted Code Being Used By ICE

        Three years ago, we had a pretty fascinating story about how a developer, after getting an ambiguously threatening note from a company about how a bit of his code might violate the trademark of another company, deleted all of his code from NPM (Node Package Manager), a key repository for node.js code. One of the bits that the developer deleted (totally unrelated to the potential trademark dispute) was simple code that tons of websites relied on — leading many of them to break in response. The story raised all sorts of interesting questions not just about trademark, but namespaces, who controls code, dependencies, and much more. Indeed, the story was so interesting to me that I (very loosely) used it as inspiration for a science fiction story I recently wrote that will be released very soon (more on that very soon as well!)

      • Events

        • I went to Akademy 2019!

          After multiple failed attempts to get to the KDE Connect 2019 Sprint held in Germany, I was again presented with an opportunity to meet KDE Community, in its full glory. I was very excited and a bit skeptical of whether applying again for a short schengen VISA (this time through Italian Embassy) would be a good idea.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Happy Birthday, LibreOffice!

          Nine years ago, something very special was created. It changed my life a lot for sure, it gave me new challenges too, and I am proud and eternally honoured to be part of this amazing community of friends. Happy Birthday, LibreOffice!

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD 12.1-BETA2 Now Available
          The second BETA build of the 12.1-RELEASE release cycle is now
          available.
          
          Installation images are available for:
          
          o 12.1-BETA2 amd64 GENERIC
          o 12.1-BETA2 i386 GENERIC
          o 12.1-BETA2 powerpc GENERIC
          o 12.1-BETA2 powerpc64 GENERIC64
          o 12.1-BETA2 powerpcspe MPC85XXSPE
          o 12.1-BETA2 sparc64 GENERIC
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv6 RPI-B
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 BANANAPI
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 BEAGLEBONE
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 CUBIEBOARD
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 CUBIEBOARD2
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 CUBOX-HUMMINGBOARD
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 RPI2
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 PANDABOARD
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 WANDBOARD
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 GENERICSD
          o 12.1-BETA2 aarch64 GENERIC
          o 12.1-BETA2 aarch64 RPI3
          o 12.1-BETA2 aarch64 PINE64
          o 12.1-BETA2 aarch64 PINE64-LTS
          
          Note regarding arm SD card images: For convenience for those without
          console access to the system, a freebsd user with a password of
          freebsd is available by default for ssh(1) access.  Additionally,
          the root user password is set to root.  It is strongly recommended
          to change the password for both users after gaining access to the
          system.
          
          Installer images and memory stick images are available here:
          
          https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/releases/ISO-IMAGES/12.1/
          
          The image checksums follow at the end of this e-mail.
          
          If you notice problems you can report them through the Bugzilla PR
          system or on the -stable mailing list.
          
          If you would like to use SVN to do a source based update of an existing
          system, use the "releng/12.1" branch.
          
          A summary of changes since 12.1-BETA1 includes:
          
          o An off-by-one error in fusefs(5) had been fixed.
          
          o A problem with in-place strip(1) on msdosfs(5) had been fixed.
          
          o Stability fixes for mpr(4) and mps(4) have been merged from head.
            Note, support for these drivers have been removed for 32-bit powerpc.
          
          o A regression had been fixed in the ping6(8) utility when the system is
            built without capsicum(4).
          
          o A regression in the jme(4) driver had been fixed.
          
          o A change to the bhyve(4) uart(4) driver had been fixed to support
            running under syzkaller.
          
          o The WITH_PIE and WITH_BIND_NOW build knobs have been added.
          
          o The 'updatesready' and 'showconfig' subcommands have been added to
            freebsd-update(8).
          
          o The camcontrol(8) 'devtype' subcommand had been fixed to correctly
            report SATL devices.
          
          A list of changes since 12.0-RELEASE is available in the releng/12.1
          release notes:
          
          https://www.freebsd.org/releases/12.1R/relnotes.html
          
          Please note, the release notes page is not yet complete, and will be
          updated on an ongoing basis as the 12.1-RELEASE cycle progresses.
          
          === Virtual Machine Disk Images ===
          
          VM disk images are available for the amd64, i386, and aarch64
          architectures.  Disk images may be downloaded from the following URL
          (or any of the FreeBSD download mirrors):
          
          https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/releases/VM-IMAGES/12.1-BETA2/
          
          The partition layout is:
          
              ~ 16 kB - freebsd-boot GPT partition type (bootfs GPT label)
              ~ 1 GB  - freebsd-swap GPT partition type (swapfs GPT label)
              ~ 20 GB - freebsd-ufs GPT partition type (rootfs GPT label)
          
          The disk images are available in QCOW2, VHD, VMDK, and raw disk image
          formats.  The image download size is approximately 135 MB and 165 MB
          respectively (amd64/i386), decompressing to a 21 GB sparse image.
          
          Note regarding arm64/aarch64 virtual machine images: a modified QEMU EFI
          loader file is needed for qemu-system-aarch64 to be able to boot the
          virtual machine images.  See this page for more information:
          
          https://wiki.freebsd.org/arm64/QEMU
          
          To boot the VM image, run:
          
              % qemu-system-aarch64 -m 4096M -cpu cortex-a57 -M virt  \
          	-bios QEMU_EFI.fd -serial telnet::4444,server -nographic \
          	-drive if=none,file=VMDISK,id=hd0 \
          	-device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 \
          	-device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0 \
          	-netdev user,id=net0
          
          Be sure to replace "VMDISK" with the path to the virtual machine image.
          
          === Amazon EC2 AMI Images ===
          
          FreeBSD/amd64 EC2 AMIs are available in the following regions:
          
            eu-north-1 region: ami-0fde974647f2afb71
            ap-south-1 region: ami-08c5b6c3c67660000
            eu-west-3 region: ami-0d2295cb848b04044
            eu-west-2 region: ami-0defe97a58c32e336
            eu-west-1 region: ami-04794e03ec4994477
            ap-northeast-2 region: ami-0376260338b9a442c
            ap-northeast-1 region: ami-030b542da16e02b36
            sa-east-1 region: ami-09fef4294a171f081
            ca-central-1 region: ami-0444d3dbbb3d973d2
            ap-east-1 region: ami-01870b4cd52cd63f5
            ap-southeast-1 region: ami-0ef470ae9dddc6d31
            ap-southeast-2 region: ami-0eb87756562803e37
            eu-central-1 region: ami-0d4f1151306798937
            us-east-1 region: ami-0aa4feba66441f8cb
            us-east-2 region: ami-073aac094f7a1e753
            us-west-1 region: ami-0b702fd3bc6987d9e
            us-west-2 region: ami-01e70706d53dcbd16
          
          FreeBSD/aarch64 EC2 AMIs are available in the following regions:
          
            eu-north-1 region: ami-004e595acdaea9f8a
            ap-south-1 region: ami-043ee11f276cbac49
            eu-west-3 region: ami-0a3ca0207e9a78b42
            eu-west-2 region: ami-04cf3e3951b03f0e7
            eu-west-1 region: ami-0846d71aa6ed537a7
            ap-northeast-2 region: ami-0c8b2410ee65152eb
            ap-northeast-1 region: ami-0d0495617fe90c04d
            sa-east-1 region: ami-08f2f3eb468314f2f
            ca-central-1 region: ami-0ea0dff5097085c4f
            ap-east-1 region: ami-0e8e411b892c424f3
            ap-southeast-1 region: ami-0552d07457be8afe7
            ap-southeast-2 region: ami-0f89f9d16dc3fc949
            eu-central-1 region: ami-05f5b271d7603e2cb
            us-east-1 region: ami-0dd2d517058d5c225
            us-east-2 region: ami-06d46829d315d1e20
            us-west-1 region: ami-047a11f3142a87598
            us-west-2 region: ami-0df2f50be88aa4073
          
          === Vagrant Images ===
          
          FreeBSD/amd64 images are available on the Hashicorp Atlas site, and can
          be installed by running:
          
              % vagrant init freebsd/FreeBSD-12.1-BETA2
              % vagrant up
          
          === Upgrading ===
          
          The freebsd-update(8) utility supports binary upgrades of amd64 and i386
          systems running earlier FreeBSD releases.  Systems running earlier
          FreeBSD releases can upgrade as follows:
          
          	# freebsd-update upgrade -r 12.1-BETA2
          
          During this process, freebsd-update(8) may ask the user to help by
          merging some configuration files or by confirming that the automatically
          performed merging was done correctly.
          
          	# freebsd-update install
          
          The system must be rebooted with the newly installed kernel before
          continuing.
          
          	# shutdown -r now
          
          After rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to install the new
          userland components:
          
          	# freebsd-update install
          
          It is recommended to rebuild and install all applications if possible,
          especially if upgrading from an earlier FreeBSD release, for example,
          FreeBSD 11.x.  Alternatively, the user can install misc/compat11x and
          other compatibility libraries, afterwards the system must be rebooted
          into the new userland:
          
          	# shutdown -r now
          
          Finally, after rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to remove
          stale files:
          
          	# freebsd-update install
          
        • OpenBSD at EuroBSDcon 2019

          EuroBSDcon 2019 has concluded, and materials for the OpenBSD-related talks can be found in the usual place.

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • Richard Stallman Reportedly Steps Down As Head Of The GNU Project

          It was just two days ago that Richard Stallman said he would continue as head of the GNU project after last week having resigned as head of the Free Software Foundation (as well as his post at MIT), but this afternoon he reportedly has stepped down from his GNU leadership role.

        • FSFE Newsletter September 2019

          In this month’s newsletter, we focus our attention on the impact of Free Software on competition, in a piece written by our guest expert, Prof. Dr. Simon Schlauri. We also take the chance to announce the awesome progress we have made in the REUSE project towards making copyright and licensing easier for developers. Further down, you can discover upcoming events and information about the FSFE Annual Community meeting, as well as see some photos and video recordings from events where our community promoted Free Software across Europe. We also make some recommendations for articles you may find useful.

      • Programming/Development

        • Segfault with custom events in wxPython

          When working on porting Timeline to Python 3, I ran into a problem where a test caused a segfault. I managed to create a small example that reproduces the failure. I describe the example below and show how I solved the test failure.

        • Test and Code: 89: Improving Programming Education – Nicholas Tollervey

          Nicholas Tollervey is working toward better ways of teaching programming. His projects include the Mu Editor, PyperCard, and CodeGrades. Many of us talk about problems with software education. Nicholas is doing something about it.

        • 101 Data Science Interview Questions, Answers, and Key Concepts

          In October 2012, the Harvard Business Review described “Data Scientist” as the “sexiest” job of the 21st century. Well, as we approach 2020 the description still holds true! The world needs more data scientists than there are available for hire. All companies – from the smallest to the biggest – want to hire for a job role that has something “Data” in its name: “Data Scientists”, “Data Analysts”, “Data Engineers” etc.

          On the other hand, there’s large number of people who are trying to get a break in the Data Science industry, including people with considerable experience in other functional domains such as marketing, finance, insurance, and software engineering. You might have already invested in learning data science (maybe even at a data science bootcamp), but how confident are you for your next Data Science interview?

          This blog is intended to give you a nice tour of the questions asked in a Data Science interview. After thorough research, we have compiled a list of 101 actual data science interview questions that have been asked between 2016-2019 at some of the largest recruiters in the data science industry – Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Expedia, etc.

        • What’s your favorite compiler?

          Everyone has a favorite tool for any given job. For programmers, the building process is often a relatively brief job in their workflow, but it’s the one that really matters. After all, without compiled code, there’s nothing to distribute to users. And different compilers have different features and—whether or not there’s a bug about it—quirks. Compilers matter.

          A compiler’s never just a compiler, though. When you decide upon a compiler, you’re usually committing to a whole toolchain. There’s always flexibility in open source, but if you want to take advantage of what a compiler offers, it’s usually best to use the kind of workflow that its maintainers and developers expect. That means using Autotools with GCC, or Ant with Javac, and so on.

          Finally, investing in a compiler often means joining the community around that compiler, whether it’s just to get alerts about updates or to actively socialize with other users. A compiler without a community is like a tool without a shed: it still works for what it was designed to do, but sometimes it gets rained on or misplaced.

        • Data Cleaning In Python Basics Using Pandas

          When working with data, there’s one skill you have to master, and that is cleaning data. It’s very rare that you’ll have clean data to work with. So, you’ll have to learn how to clean data.

          In this post, I’ll walk you through how to deal with cleaning data in Python using the Pandas library. After reading this post, you’ll be equipped with the tools necessary to do this.

        • VS code IDE integration for LibreOffice

          Successfully submitting a very first patch to LibreOffice can be quite challenging. Not only because you have to deal with the build dependencies first, but because the project doesn’t come with a default/suggested development environment.

          [...]

          After this the semantic code completion features (code completion, Goto Definition, …) should work. In order to get debug working, you can follow this description. For handy tricks you should take a look at this and this.

        • All Unicode characters
        • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (cxcvi) stackoverflow python report
  • Leftovers

    • Polluting the Heavens

      Heavens brings to mind the vast sky and the millions of stars lighting the Earth at night. Greek mythology has the sky and the Earth mating and giving birth to the natural world, the ocean, terrible monsters, the gods and the cosmos.

    • Tony Chin’s Tuff Gong Business

      At the end of Part 1 of my interview of legendary guitar player Tony Chin, Tony recounted several never before published stories about his friendship and collaboration with Bob Marley. In this second segment of the interview, we pick up where we left off, with what Tony calls more “Tuff Gong business.” Next, there’s extended discussion about the “Flyers” rhythm guitar style – a defining sound of roots reggae. Part 2 closes with a recitation of several very important but undiscussed topics, setting up a to-be-continued Part 3 of this interview. Enjoy!

    • World Athletics Championships Doha 2019: Coe confirms German media’s Kenya doping claims

      Television channel ZDF alleged at least two athletes had taken performance enhancing erythropoietin (EPO), which boosts the capacity of blood to carry oxygen, before the Doha Worlds to be held from September 27 to October 6.

      “I know the AIU (Athletics Integrity Unit) is following up on some accusations that have been made in the German media. I’m sure they (AIU) will report back as soon as they’ve established the facts to the IAAF,” Coe was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

    • Science

      • Analysis of the B cell receptor repertoire in six immune-mediated diseases

        B cells are important in the pathogenesis of many, and perhaps all, immune-mediated diseases. Each B cell expresses a single B cell receptor (BCR)1, and the diverse range of BCRs expressed by the total B cell population of an individual is termed the ‘BCR repertoire’. Our understanding of the BCR repertoire in the context of immune-mediated diseases is incomplete, and defining this could provide new insights into pathogenesis and therapy. Here, we compared the BCR repertoire in systemic lupus erythematosus, anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis, Crohn’s disease, Behçet’s disease, eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and immunoglobulin A (IgA) vasculitis by analysing BCR clonality, use of immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable region (IGHV) genes and—in particular—isotype use. An increase in clonality in systemic lupus erythematosus and Crohn’s disease that was dominated by the IgA isotype, together with skewed use of the IGHV genes in these and other diseases, suggested a microbial contribution to pathogenesis. Different immunosuppressive treatments had specific and distinct effects on the repertoire; B cells that persisted after treatment with rituximab were predominately isotype-switched and clonally expanded, whereas the inverse was true for B cells that persisted after treatment with mycophenolate mofetil. Our comparative analysis of the BCR repertoire in immune-mediated disease reveals a complex B cell architecture, providing a platform for understanding pathological mechanisms and designing treatment strategies.

    • Hardware

      • Apple’s seventh-gen iPad is as fiddly as ever to repair

        The regular iPad, now in its seventh generation, was never going to be easy to repair. But iFixit did note that if you smash the screen, the lack of lamination and the use of a separate cover glass means replacing the LCD is less fiddly and expensive. And once the digitizer and the cover glass are separated the LCD panel is simple to remove. So that’s something.

        However, it’s all downhill from there, with iFixit moaning that, as ever, there’s a solid barrier of very strong adhesive that gets in the way of DIY repairs. That adhesive holds an all manner of things in place, such as the battery and logic board which iFixit described as “particularly obnoxious” to replace; to be honest we’d say being obnoxious is one of Apple’s raison d’etre-s.`

    • Health/Nutrition

      • No One Should Have to Bargain for Their Health Care

        Nearly 50,000 members of the United Auto Workers began striking earlier this month, demanding that General Motors pay them their fair share of the billions in profits the company raked in last year.

      • ‘We Can Assure Long-Term, Affordable Access to All Essential Medication’
      • Risking Women’s Health, While Widening the Door to Techno-Eugenics

        In September, California’s legislature passed AB 922, a bill legalizing the payment to women for their eggs for research purposes.  Additionally, next year, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is expected to return to the voters to secure passage of an initiative that will supply billions of dollars to fund entrepreneurial bioresearch. If Governor Newsom does not veto AB 922, CIRM will have a green light to fund research that will not only jeopardize women’s health through egg extraction but will enable the controversial genetic manipulation of human embryos. (Already, there are bioentrepreneurs who have created genetically engineered human embryos for implantation.)

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Yahoo Hack Victims Line Up To Get $100 (Or Less) For Historic Hack

        It seems like only yesterday that we learned of the historic hack of Yahoo, resulting in the leaked data of more than 500,000 subscribers. Granted, like most hack stories, it didn’t take long before we learned that the impacted number of subscribers was far far larger, with in fact several different hacks resulting in the leaked data of roughly 3 billion potential users, or pretty much everybody that had ever used the service.

      • Create a Backdoor Shell in Python

        So we’ve delved into Python before, but this post should be a bit more interesting. What we will do today is write a backdoor in Python and if you manage to install this backdoor on anyone’s computer, you will have a shell to that computer from your own.

        As always, these posts are for educational purposes and you should not try this on anyone’s devices but your own.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • An Important History Lesson for Mainstream Indian and Pakistani Mainstream Politicians

        India agreed to hold a free and impartial plebiscite in the state. At a mass public rally in Srinagar in 1948, Nehru, with the towering Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah by his side, solemnly promised to hold a plebiscite under United Nations auspices.

      • A Dangerous Confrontation With Russia Over Kalingrad

        “What idiocy”, exclaims Jack Matlock on Facebook. Matlock is one of my “Facebook Friends” because I judge his knowledge of Russia as second to none, having been under President Ronald Reagan the White House’s senior advisor on the Soviet Union and, later, his ambassador to Moscow.

      • Mass Killings In Afghanistan Are Acts of White Supremacy

        An American white nationalist killed over 30 people recently. The victims, all brown, had full lives; children, loved ones, and years, full of plans, ahead of them. But then they were incinerated. Worst of all, they were murdered while Afghan.

      • Trump and the Kashmir Catastrophe

        India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump have much in common, not least extensive use of Twitter to communicate their thoughts, policies and intentions. The arrangement for a Modi-Trump meeting on September 22 in Houston Texas, at a rally of Indian-Americans, known as “Howdy Modi!” was greeted enthusiastically by India’s leader (“The special gesture of President Trump to join us in Houston highlights the strength of the relationship and recognition of the contribution of the Indian community to American society and economy”) and no doubt he was confident that Trump would not refer to him, as he did to Egypt’s General Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, as “my favorite dictator.”

      • When Drones Come Home to Roost

        It was fucking beautiful. There are no more accurate words in the English dictionary to describe the vision I saw. I awoke Sunday afternoon, turned the TV on to CNN and there it was in all its infernal glory like Christmas Morning in hell. Standing six-hundred stories high above the sea of sand in Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter, a leaning wall of towering flames shimmering across the night sky like an aurora borealis made of fire. As all the usual yammering skulls off camera spun fantastic tall tales about an Iranian conspiracy to deny the House of Saud their Allah given right to rape and pillage with abandon, only one thing, one message, burned through my frontal lobes like Abqaiq crude, “They did it. The Houthis really did it!” The resounding feeling of karmic justice was downright euphoric. I wanted to cry. I wanted to dance. Fuck, I wanted to masturbate to the sight of those rabid dogs getting exactly what they deserved.

      • Monsanto, Bayer and Two Wars

        Incendiary exposés of Monsanto products – scientifically proven in court to cause cancers in workers and homeowners who have used them – have caused stocks to plunge, and new owner, German pharmaceutical corporation Bayer, to no longer want to use the brand name.  Three multi-billion dollar lawsuits, with 18,000 pending, are quite a corporate burden for Bayer to acquire, along with the $62.5 billion price tag to merge the two chemical giants. However, both these giants have major war crimes, from World War II to Viet Nam, hidden in their pasts.

      • When Indifference Fuels and Perpetuates Genocide

        In August 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary in a war against the Allied Powers of Great Britain, France and Russia.

      • Hope and necessity this International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

        “Nuclear weapons present an unacceptable danger to humanity. The only real way to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons is to eliminate nuclear weapons.”¾UN Secretary-General António Guterres

      • UN Expert ‘Shocked’ by Abuses in Zimbabwe

        A United Nations expert outlined a slew of “extremely disturbing” abuses by Zimbabwe’s security forces at the conclusion of a fact-finding mission to the country.

      • Soldiers and Veterans are Anti-War Leaders. Could This Be The Peace Movement of Our Time?

        If you want to stop the wars, challenge the empire and deal with climate crisis then support our anti-war soldiers and veterans. Soldiers and veterans carry special knowledge. Sometimes that knowledge starts with the gut-wrenching realization that they have fought, suffered, killed and died in vain — or worse. It’s hard not to hear the echoes of anti-war Vietnam veterans in the words of today’s war veterans. High-stakes betrayal teaches some mighty hard lessons.

      • Serving as US Mayor Can Be a Dangerous Job

        In all, 13% of mayors say they’ve been subjected to physical violence, according to Thomas’s research. Eight in 10 mayors say they’ve faced some sort of psychological abuse.

      • Turkey is now a haven for terrorists and an enabler of terrorism

        The lawsuit against this Shariah-compliant bank, which counts the Turkish government as a shareholder, comes two weeks after the US Treasury sanctioned 11 Turkey-linked entities and individuals for supporting Hamas and other jihadist outfits. The evidence keeps mounting: Turkey has become a haven for regional baddies.

      • Sweden Spinning out of Control

        From the beginning of 2019 to the end of July, there were 120 bombings in Sweden, according to police statistics.

        In Uppsala alone, a picturesque Swedish university town, where 80% of girls do not feel safe in the city center, four rapes or attempted rapes took place in early August within four days.

      • Pakistan Drone Found In Punjab After Terror-Accused Reveals Location

        “This drone couldn’t return to Pakistan due to a malfunction, so the accused hid it at a village near the Attari border,” senior police officer Balbir Singh of the counter-intelligence unit said.

        The drone was kept hidden beneath the undergrowth of a paddy field at the village. In visuals, policemen are seen walking in a file towards the drone.

        The Punjab Police first announced last week the intrusion by heavy-lifting Pakistani drones to drop AK-47 assault rifles and grenades in Amritsar. The weapons were meant for terrorists to create trouble in Jammu and Kashmir, sources in the Punjab Police have told NDTV.

      • New Evidence Links Russian State to Berlin Assassination

        In the process of this investigation, Bellingcat and its partners have obtained conclusive evidence that the suspect – whose real identity is still being sought by our team – traveled to Berlin under a cover identity with the active support of the Russian state that created a comprehensive, back-dated paper-trail for this fictitious persona in order to help him obtain the necessary travel and insurance documents, and – crucially – a Schengen visa. These findings preclude the hypothesis that this was an organized crime operation, or even a semi-official operation that received only limited support from individual corrupt officials.

      • A Murder in Berlin: The Untold Story of a Chechen ‘Jihadist’ Turned Secret Agent

        The shooting took place in full view of CCTV cameras, yet the would-be assassin was never identified, much less apprehended. The Human Rights and Monitoring Center, a Georgian NGO, found that the government undertook a “pro forma” investigation “characterized by significant legal flaws,” which included allowing recorded evidence of the crime to be destroyed and failing to provide state protection for Khangoshvili and his family.

      • It Doesn’t Get More Illegal Than a War With Iran
      • UN Takes Strong Stand on Sri Lanka’s Army Chief

        The United Nations took a stand against impunity for war crimes this week by announcing it will no longer accept non-essential Sri Lankan troops in peacekeeping missions. The reason? Sri Lanka’s newly appointed army chief, Gen. Shavendra Silva, faces credible allegations of war crimes.

      • Netanyahu on Steroids: What a Gantz-led Government Means for Palestine

        Experience has taught Palestinians not to pay heed to Israeli elections. But to every rule there is an exception.

      • Bewildered in Jerusalem

        It was desolate. Quiet. In the quietness I heard voices, whispers, words being repeated. Words that had been repeated for a long time. “Two states”, “peace”, “demolitions”, “negotiations”, “walls”, “rocks”, “keys”, “reconciliation”, “resistance”, “executions”, “we are staying”. I had been served repetitions for breakfast, lunch, dinner. They ruined my sleep. They were in every report, in every conversation.

      • The Pentagon’s New Reform Plan Is Just Another Scam

        For the Pentagon, happy days are here again (if they ever left). With a budget totaling more than $1.4 trillion for the next two years, the department is riding high, even as it attempts to set the stage for yet more spending increases in the years to come.

      • UK’s Prince Harry Should Highlight Landmines During Angola Visit

        Today, Britain’s Prince Harry starts a two-day visit to Angola as part of a tour that will take him to South Africa, Botswana, and Malawi.

      • Trapped in an Empire of Borders

        The driver of the passenger van pulled onto the shoulder of the road, looked back, and said, “There’s an immigration checkpoint up ahead. Does everyone have their papers?”

      • Military Suicides Jump to Record High

        WMilitary suicides surged this year to a record high among active duty troops, continuing a deadly trend that Pentagon officials say is frustrating and they are struggling to counter.

      • ‘Killer Robots:’ Ban Treaty Is the Only Credible Solution

        (New York) – France, Germany, and other nations that are committed to a rules-based international order should begin negotiations on a new international treaty to ban preemptively lethal autonomous weapons systems, also known as fully autonomous weapons or killer robots.

      • Starvation may force nations to war

        Unless nations act now to halt the spread of deserts, they may face wars over food shortages and starvation by mid-century, the UN says.

    • Environment

      • “That we’re not preventing climate change is costing us money,” says professor

        The daily lives of Finns are affected by the climate crisis in a number of ways, including some unexpected ones, despite the fact that the continuing land uplift makes sea level rise a less acute problem in Finland, says Markku Ollikainen, a professor of environmental and resource economy at the University of Helsinki.

        “One thing people don’t realise is that climate change is sneaking up on us, too,” he stated on MTV on Friday.

        “We’re situated in the relatively safe Fennoscandia. But think about ticks, think about the problems we’ve had producing drinking water, about our river system turning brown. It’s sneaking up on us day by day.”

      • Subway Proselytizer Preaches Climate Emergency, Trains Others To Spread Their Message

        “It’s not our fault we inherited a broken system,” he yells, “but we do have a choice.”

        The performances are awkward. These newbies don’t yet connect with their audiences, at least not as effectively as their mentor does. But McLachlan is all praise. He knows from experience what it takes to stand up and start hollering that first time.

      • Pesticides in the Dock: Ecological Apocalypse But Business as Usual

        In a new paper published in King’s Law Journal –  ‘The Chemical Anthropocene: Glyphosate as a Case Study of Pesticide Exposures’ – the authors Alessandra Arcuri and Yogi Hale Hendlin state:

      • Tempered Emergency: the Climate Change Summit in New York

        It had a good deal of desperate scolding.  Sweden’s Greta Thunberg assumed the role of punishing advocate, a Joan of Arc of fury.  The main culprit in her speech at the UN Climate Action Summit was the hideous, super ego, the big bad “You”, ever condescending, ever indifferent, the “You” of adulthood that had trashed the environment and left a gigantic mess to clean up.  She lamented how she should be in school on the other side of the ocean.  “How dare you”, these adults who had “come to us young people for hope”.

      • The Illusion of Saving the World

        At the end of this month, as you probably know by now, an extraordinary hoopla event will descend on Manhattan in the form of a “Climate Action Summit,” summoned by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, to get the nations of the world finally to take seriously the threat of “global warming” and pledge to actually take serious action to save the world from catastrophe.

      • Children to Adults: ‘Do Your Job So We Have a Future’

        On Friday, my 12-year-old son carried his handmade cardboard protest sign to one of the thousands of climate strikes around the world, along with five of his classmates. His sign read, “Where you gonna hide from the hell you made?” This die-hard rock ’n’ roll fan had tapped an obscure song by his favorite band—Queen—called “White Man,” about the genocide of Native Americans, and picked out the perfect line to describe his rage at our human-made climate crisis.

      • Russian activists step up for second week of global climate strikes
      • 10 Ways the Climate Crisis and Militarism Are Intertwined

        The environmental justice movement that is surging globally is intentionally intersectional, showing how global warming is connected to issues such as race, poverty, migration and public health. One area intimately linked to the climate crisis that gets little attention, however, is militarism. Here are some of the ways these issues—and their solutions—are intertwined.

      • Climate Change and Technology

        Climate change is one of a host of environmental ills for which technological solutions are being proposed. In fact, most of the proposed solutions exacerbate environmental ills in other dimensions such as species loss and mass extinction. This tendency of technological reasoning to ‘bleed’ from one dimension or axis to another— to cause unintended consequences, is a function of the structure of this type of reasoning.

      • Naomi Klein v The Times Roy Scranton: Mobilization to Fight Climate Change or Surrender?

        I have a good friend, a professor of English Literature, who I often go out with to see plays, band performances and movies. Lately, we’ve also been having a running text message and email debate about various political issues. In an earlier exchange, he described himself as, “not philosophically opposed to the Republicans” but since they “have gone the furthest off the deep end,” he finds himself a “Democrat by default.” He also sees Joe Biden as the only realistic alternative to Trump, despite his considerable flaws as a candidate. Friends though we are, we couldn’t be further apart on this. I abhor the modern Republican Party and everything it stands for. Long ago it betrayed whatever legacy it had as the more progressive major American political party, founded in part by émigré socialists who fled the abortive wave of revolutions that hit Europe in 1848. My personal view is that Biden will be a disaster as the Democratic presidential nominee. I still prefer Bernie Sanders to all the rest, despite his own flaws and contradictions.

      • Protest Alone Won’t Save Our Planet

        We can all use a shot of hope. I got one from 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and the disproportionately youthful masses—4 million across 150 cities worldwide—who came out for climate sanity last week. I listened online to the speech Thunberg delivered to more than 300,000 mostly young people in lower Manhattan on Friday. She spoke eloquently about the supreme ecological danger we face, thanks to the relentless pursuit of profit and to the insincere assurances and pathetic inaction of politicians and policymakers the world over:

      • 2nd Wave of Protests Caps Week Focused on Climate Action

        Students took to the streets across the globe in the hundreds of thousands Friday for a second wave of worldwide protests demanding swift action on climate change.

      • Huge Divide Among Democratic Presidential Frontrunners on Climate Change

        Vote Climate U.S. PAC’s 2020 Presidential voters guide, released today, empowers Americans to make climate change a top priority. Our voters guide gives Democrats and Republicans running for president, a climate calculation, distinguishing candidates on the issue. Voters must choose presidential, climate-action in 2020, perhaps one of our last chances to prioritize the climate emergency in the voting booth.

      • The Teachable Moment of the Greta Thunberg Phenomena

        Like many people, I have been inspired by Greta Thunberg’s words and spirit, and the challenge she seems to present to the status quo. As I have learned more about her, I have found out that everything is not as it seems, but I remain grateful for her presence on the scene anyway. Regardless of my own feelings, her popularity presents a teachable moment about media, social forces, and activism.

      • Listen to the Children

        The Republicans are on the sidelines on the climate crisis.  Government scientists are muzzled.  Leading Democrats—though not all—are cautious.  CEOs of some of America’s biggest corporations are pledging action while others, like investment firms, fossil fuel companies, and Charles Koch’s lobbyists, are downright hostile. And Donald Trump, the world’s leading climate change denier, will not even attend a UN climate summit on September 23 even though he will be in the UN building the same day.

      • Seabed carbon storage may help in climate crisis

        The Blue Planet hasn’t been considered as a solution to the climate crisis. Three scientists advocate a sea change in global thinking: seabed carbon storage.

      • Favorite Things: Greta, Ariana, Coltrane and the Von Trapps

        Greta Thunberg’s four-minute jeremiad at the United Nations this past Monday was delivered not standing behind a pulpit or kneeling on rocky ground. With perfect posture she perched at the front of a bright white modernist chair that made her magenta raiment appear as angry as victim’s blood. The chair was an oddly clinical prop for a martyr’s castigation: “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be in school on the other side of the ocean.” The saint doesn’t chose her path to righteousness. She is chosen.

      • A Twenty-First Century Children’s Crusade

        “You Had Your Future, And So Should We”

      • Decimation of the Rainforests and the Money Men

        During August thousands of fires ravaged the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and Bolivia. Some are still burning. In the wet ecosystem of the rainforest fires are not a natural phenomenon, they are started by people, mostly well-organized criminal gangs that profit from illegal logging and land clearance.

      • Extinction Rebellion Activists in Sacramento

        Over 20 activists from the Extinction Rebellion today targeted the offices of the Western State Petroleum Association (WSPA) offices at 1415 L St. at 12 Noon. They sang songs, shouted out chants and briefly blocked the street in front of the WSPA offices just down the street from the State Capitol. There were no arrests.

      • Climate Change and Consciousness Shift

        Climate change: It feels like the approaching End Times.

      • Energy

        • Is Natural Gas the New Coal?

          “The industry really is at a critical juncture,” Coleman said. “We run the risk of being demonized like that other fossil fuel out there called coal.”

        • Finnair joins Nordic initiative for electric aviation

          The NEA network will organize workshops and other events to build knowledge and cooperation in the Nordic countries. At present, the network has eleven members: Air Greenland, Avinor, Braathens Regional Airlines, El-fly AS, Finnair, Heart Aerospace, Iceland Air, NISA (Nordic Innovation Sustainable Aviation), RISE, SAS and Swedavia.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Destruction of Public Education in Providence

        Someday, after the operatic cycle of Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo’s political career has reached its concluding note, it will be a masterpiece of neoliberal assault upon the public sector, the commons, and the fabric of the welfare state in America to behold. It is absolutely essential, in order for the faculty and the students of Providence to fight back and win in this contest, to form a broad-based coalition that is centered on the success of students and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.

      • What’s In It For Me? Turning Citizens Into Customers

        Sociation by consumption

      • Corporate Media Still Waiting for Trump to Knock Over a Bank

        Here’s a Doonesbury cartoon by Garry Trudeau from 1974:

      • Shailly Gupta Barnes, Frances Fox Piven on Defining and Ending Poverty

        This week on CounterSpin: “‘When I use a word,’” says Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty “in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’” So it is with corporate media when it comes to money—the idea, if not the word. Congress passes a $700 billion Pentagon bill, and the New York Times calls it “a muscular vision of America as a global power”—with not a hint of consideration of whether that muscularity could’ve been bought for maybe a billion or two less. The same media find important indeed the difference between a family of four living on $24,000 a year and one living on $48,000. In discussion of how much help the government should provide, they say the conflation of those two groups is unacceptable.

      • Are We Possessed by Our Possessions?

        Virtually everyone agrees that people in the advanced capitalist nations have way too many possessions. Three and four car families, multiple televisions and numerous devices to send and receive messages and media all day and all night. Of course, many more people have considerably less, even in the United States, where possessions are totems to the public’s capitalist faith. In recent years it seems that more and more observers of this need to possess have called on the consuming masses to slow down and consider their buying practices in terms of the planet’s future. The fact that this addiction to things has helped create and ecological disaster is finally sinking in.

      • How Bitcoin Ends

        The problem was that the aristocracy, who hadn’t created value themselves for hundreds of years, was losing its stranglehold over the masses. As the poor grew wealthy, the wealthy grew relatively poorer. So they outlawed local moneys, and replaced them with central currency. Central currency sometimes had trivial bits of gold in it, but that’s not where it got its value. No, central currency was valuable by decree.

        Everyone who wanted to transact from then on had to pay kings and their banks for the privilege of using coin of the realm. All money was borrowed from the central treasury, at a rate of interest set by the king. People had to pay back more than they borrowed. It was a terrible drain. The rising merchant middle class of the late Middle Ages became incapable of transacting on their own; the money was just too expensive. The merchant class became peasants and laborers again, the cities became the only place to work, and the plague soon followed.

        And that’s the system we’re stuck with today, with central banks issuing money, and banking conglomerates lending it to the public and verifying our transactions for a fee. All of our businesses are just subsidiaries of a banking system with a legal monopoly over our money.

      • No Help for the Homeless, Please!

        After reading the news, I find Trumps recent comments regarding America’s homeless particularly appalling, scary and dangerous. According to Trump the homeless are “living on our best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings, where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes.” “How the hell can we get these people off the streets?” he was also reported to have asked by a senior administration official. (Wash. Post)

      • Workers are Asking, Whose Side Are You On?

        More than 2,200 nurses at the University of Chicago Medical Center went out on strike last week, but they are not alone. American workers are waking up and walking out.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • U.K.’s Boris Johnson Denies He’s Inciting Violence Against Brexit Foes

        British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday rebuffed allegations that he was inciting violence by accusing his Brexit opponents of “surrender” and “betrayal,” saying the only way to calm the simmering tensions was to stop delaying and leave the European Union.

      • The Case for Impeachment Goes Far Beyond Ukraine

        “Has Trump finally gone too far?” There’s a headline you’ve seen a thousand times.

      • Neoliberalism: The Ideology that Dares not Speak its Name

        The question, “What is neoliberalism?” invites a response similar to the old canard about art: “I don’t know what it is, but I know it when I see it”. Unlike art, which seldom rears its head outside a rarified, specially designated setting, neoliberalism is everywhere, which is why we seldom acknowledge its ubiquity, even as we endure its predations on every aspect of our lives.

      • Does the USA Have a Slavery Habit?

        As part of its “1619 Project” on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first African slaves in North America, the New York Times Magazine ran an essay with the somewhat radical message in its title: “American Capitalism Is Brutal. You Can Trace That to the Plantation” (Matthew Desmond, 8/14/19). But how will studying slavery help us understand modern concerns like rising inequality? After all, America banned slavery long ago; not even Nazis want to bring it back.

      • Subpoenas Mark First Concrete Steps for Trump Impeachment

        WHouse Democrats took their first concrete steps in the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump on Friday, issuing subpoenas and demanding documents from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and scheduling legal depositions for other State Department officials.

      • Anatomy of a Conspiracy Theory

        It’s not the first time I have seen this particular meme on Facebook. It is rather striking and these days I see it (or something like it) perhaps every other week.  It involves a sinister looking, decrepit old man in a black suit, grinning luridly, affixing the camera with a furtive stare.  The background has been blacked out so that the man’s features achieve a heightened definition; the large-domed forehead, the few straggly white hairs which draggle from it, and the long pronounced nose.  Next to him are a few lines of plain white text which are equally striking in the dark. ‘My name is Jacob Rothschild’, the reader is informed. ‘My family is worth 500 trillion dollars.  We own nearly every central bank in the world.  We financed both sides of every war since Napoleon. We own your news, the media, your oil and your government.’  And then finally, with a sinister flourish:  ‘You have probably never heard of me.’

      • Why Warren Can’t Win

        It looks like the elites, the establishment, whatever your choice name is for it—have decided that Elizabeth Warren will be their nominee. OK. Of course no outcome is a foregone conclusion—but they apparently see Biden will fail, Kamala Harris, Buttigieg et al. are not serious contenders, and of course, Bernie has to be stopped.

      • Episode 47 – Are Sports Political? – Along The Line Podcast

        Along the Line, is a member of the Demcast network, brought to you by the Media Freedom Foundation. On today’s episode hosts are Nicholas Baham III (Dr. Dreadlocks), Janice Domingo,  and Nolan Higdon explore the history of politics and sports. ATL’s  Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga.  Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo. Adam Armstrong is ATL’s webmaster.

      • To Joe Biden, Trump’s Potential Successor Mike Pence “Is a Decent Guy”

        When Joe Biden told an audience that Mike Pence “is a decent guy,” Pence had already been vice president for more than two years. After the comment drew fierce criticism, Biden responded that he’d said it “in a foreign policy context” — an odd effort at damage control, given that Pence has publicly backed every one of President Trump’s countless abhorrent policies, whether foreign or domestic.

      • Trump’s Ukraine Plotting Has Been Happening in Plain Sight. So Why Didn’t We See It?

        Try for a moment to imagine the world as it was a week ago. Before we knew that President Donald Trump put the squeeze on another country to investigate his political opponent, before we knew he wanted to involve the attorney general, or that aid may have been held up in the plotting.

        Except, we did know each of those things. The president hasn’t been quiet about what he’s up to. And while we didn’t know many details, much of the hanky-panky has been happening right before our eyes.

      • Where Do Illinois Lawmakers Stand on Impeachment?

        Oh, there was just a little bit of national news this week. While the Trump-Ukraine and impeachment stories keep breaking, we thought we’d keep you informed on what’s happening in Illinois in the meantime. Here’s a slice:

        1. Each of the 13 House Democrats from Illinois support an impeachment inquiry. Two House Republicans, Mike Bost, of the 12th Congressional District, and Darin M. LaHood, of the 18th District, have stated they do not. Three House Republicans had not made a statement as of Thursday afternoon, according to this list via The New York Times. Crain’s Chicago Business reporter Greg Hinz followed up with some House members, including the Democract Dan Lipinski, of the 3rd District, “a relative conservative who has been reluctant to board the impeachment train” but who tweeted his support for an investigation.

      • US Refugee Action Has Worldwide Impact

        The United States government announced on Thursday that it will cap the annual number of refugees admitted at 18,000 – by far its lowest ceiling in 4 decades.

      • What Isn’t Mentioned About the Trump-Ukraine ‘Scandal’
      • Trump Announces Plan to Admit Fewer Refugees Than Any Previous President

        The Trump administration yesterday announced its plan to admit 18,000 refugees this fiscal year, taking another step in its agenda to dismantle the program that has long provided protection for people and families seeking safety from persecution. This sickening announcement is consistent with Trump’s attacks on refugees, Muslims, and immigrants across the board — particularly those who are Brown or Black.

      • The Trump Administration Can’t Force Colleges to Further Its Anti-Muslim Agenda

        In a move that would make even Senator McCarthy blush, the Trump administration is threatening to pull federal funding from a Middle East Studies program for failing to toe the government’s line on Islam and Muslims.

      • Heroes, Villains and Establishment Hypocrisy

        Trump and Johnson’s populism have shaken the old Establishment, and raised some very interesting questions about who is and who is not nowadays inside the Establishment and a beneficiary of the protection of the liberal elite. Yesterday two startling examples in the news coverage cast a very lurid light on this question, and I ask you to consider the curious cases of Hunter Biden and Brendan Cox, two of the most undeserving and unpleasant people that can be imagined.

      • Whistleblower Probe Tests GOP’s Alliance with Trump

        One Republican hadn’t read the whistleblower’s complaint. Another called President Donald Trump’s conversation with the Ukraine leader “thin gruel” for any impeachment effort. A third said the whole thing was “blown way out of proportion.”

      • Are Democrats Sitting on a Separate, Explosive Whistleblower Charge?

        House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Richard Neal is reportedly sitting on a credible and “potentially explosive” whistleblower complaint alleging that President Donald Trump attempted to influence an IRS audit of his tax returns.

      • Cuba, OFAC, Fines and Extraterritoriality

        Those of us who follow events going on in Cuba–as well as Cuba’s international relations – should discuss the extraterritorial power that the US Treasury Department has to impose huge financial fines on non US foreign financial institutions.

      • Joe Biden’s Remarks About Mike Pence Should Be Disqualifying

        When Joe Biden told an audience that Mike Pence “is a decent guy,” Pence had already been vice president for more than two years. After the comment drew fierce criticism, Biden responded that he’d said it “in a foreign policy context”—an odd effort at damage control, given that Pence has publicly backed every one of President Trump’s countless abhorrent policies, whether foreign or domestic.

      • The 2020 Democratic Impeachment Strategy and Why it Makes Sense Now

        For so long “If to impeach the president?” was the question, now the question is “When?” Maybe thus far Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision not to pursue impeachment of Donald Trump made electoral sense.  But increasingly a 2020 impeachment next summer just as the presidential general election is kicking into high gear makes sense both as a tool to mobilize the Democratic base, weaken Donald Trump, and place pressure on Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senate.

      • The Problem With Impeachment

        Impeaching Donald Trump would do nothing to halt the deep decay that has beset the American republic. It would not magically restore democratic institutions. It would not return us to the rule of law. It would not curb the predatory appetites of the big banks, the war industry and corporations. It would not get corporate money out of politics or end our system of legalized bribery. It would not halt the wholesale surveillance and monitoring of the public by the security services. It would not end the reigns of terror practiced by paramilitary police in impoverished neighborhoods or the mass incarceration of 2.3 million citizens. It would not impede ICE from hunting down the undocumented and ripping children from their arms to pen them in cages. It would not halt the extraction of fossil fuels and the looming ecocide. It would not give us a press freed from the corporate mandate to turn news into burlesque for profit. It would not end our endless and futile wars. It would not ameliorate the hatred between the nation’s warring tribes—indeed would only exacerbate these hatreds.

      • Russian youth affairs agency plans to spend 3 million rubles on teaching students to combat ‘fake news and post-truth’

        Rosmolodyozh, Russia’s federal agency for youth affairs, plans to develop programming that will teach university students how to stand up against “fake news,” “post-truth” and rhetorical manipulation techniques.

      • Dialogue in Venezuela is a Missed Opportunity for Democrats

        Days after the Democratic presidential candidates missed yet another opportunity to challenge President Donald Trump’s failed Venezuela policy on the debate stage on September 12, President Nicolás Maduro signed an important agreement with four opposition parties. These events offer insight into the differing perspectives on the economic, social and political crises in Venezuela – one perspective from the Washington political establishment, the other from Venezuelans.

      • Hong Kong Leader’s ‘Listening Mode’ Isn’t Enough

        Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam yesterday spent more than two hours facing angry questions and condemnations from people at a “community dialogue session,” organized after four months of massive street protests. 

      • Policy Manifesto

        Given we’re likely to have a General Election soon I’m considering forming my own party and so with that in mind I’ve roughed out some bare bones of a manifesto. Obviously, I need a catchy name but I can’t think of one for the minute.

      • Solitude and the Love of the Human Race

        When I return from a solo backpacking trip, all I want is company.  I see another person at the trail’s end, at the road that leads back to the cities, I’m a slavering dog – I hump all legs, my tongue is out, I run around in circles, I want to talk and talk.  My fellow humans seem god-sent, their presence like a long-awaited lovemaking.

      • Towards a More Mature Democracy

        You could be forgiven (but what’s the fun in that), if you were to think. Looking at Jacques-Louis David’s neoclassical painting The Death of Socrates, you could believe you’re seeing Socrates giving the bird to democracy and demanding that Crito give him the goddamned chalice full of hemlock, and get out of the way. There are different versions of what Socrates’ last words were. I thought I heard, “Tell my neighbor, Asclepius, he’s a cock, and I owe him one.” But I’d just come off reading The Clouds, Aristophanes’ take-down of Socrates, so I could be wrong. All we know is that he was in a foul mood.

      • The Class Struggle in the Old West

        While channel surfing the other night, I was intrigued to see “Heaven’s Gate” playing on Showtime, Michael Cimino’s 1980 revisionist Western that many critics viewed as both a Marxist tract in the vein of Luchino Visconti and the greatest flop in Hollywood history. That the two views could be the most common refrains about the film tells you a lot about the spurious characterization of Tinseltown as “leftist”.

      • Rotten in Tunisia: the Corrupt Rule of Ben Ali

        He was the prototypical strong man softened by tactical reforms, blissfully ignorant before the fall, blown off in the violent winds of the Arab Spring. Having come to power in 1987 on the back of a coup against the 84-year-old Habib Bourguiba, whom he accused of senility, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was the face of Tunisia till 2011, when he exited his country’s politics in a swift repairing move to Saudi Arabia. Previous whiffs of revolution – for instance, in 2008 in Gafsa – had been contained and quelled by what was a distinct mukharabat-intelligence security state.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Russia starts rolling out DPI filtration tech that might finally block Telegram

        Russia’s federal censor has started testing new digital filtration equipment that could finally make it possible to block access to the instant messenger Telegram. A source participating in the pilot project told the news website RBC that DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) technology is rolling out in Russia’s Ural Federal District, enabling ISPs to analyze and filter specific Internet traffic (a more sophisticated form of online censorship than simply blocking whole IP addresses, which has failed against Telegram).

      • Russian foreign interference committee to investigate several media sources, including ‘Meduza’

        The State Duma committee to investigate foreign political interference has agreed to examine stories published by several news outlets based abroad for potential violations of Russian laws. Lawmakers will target reporting by the BBC Russian Service, MBK Media, Voice of America, Radio Svoboda, Current Time, and Meduza. It’s not yet clear what reports the committee intends to review.

      • Adland Shuts Down After Web Host Complies With Bullshit DMCA Notice

        Those of you familiar with Adland will know just how useful and interesting a site it was for anyone interested in the recent history of commercial advertising. Started in 1996, the site served as a repository of commercials and a place that commented on ads and their impact on the advertising world. Cool concept. Adland has also made a fair amount of noise in being pro-copyright, dismissive of the concepts of “free” anything, and has on at least one occasion given Techdirt some shit for our stances, in this case on allowing users to turn off ads on our site.

      • DC Circuit Hears Oral Argument In The Constitutional Challenge Of FOSTA

        It is impossible to read the tea leaves at an oral argument and come away with any dependable prediction of how the judges will rule. But at the oral argument last Friday at the DC Circuit it appeared that the judges at least understood what they needed to in order to rule in the plaintiffs’ favor and revive their Constitutional challenge of FOSTA.

      • What’s Australian For Streisand Effect? Perhaps It’s Fatty McFuckhead

        We’ve covered a few times just how strange Australian defamation law can be, so I wouldn’t even take a guess at how the courts might come down on the question of whether or not calling billionaire Clive Palmer “Fatty McFuckhead” is defamatory. However, I will note that if Palmer didn’t want people to start associating himself with the name Fatty McFuckhead, he might have thought twice about threatening to sue someone over that moniker.

      • Top court says “right to be forgotten” doesn’t always apply outside EU – and orders search engines to manipulate results

        One of the more controversial elements of EU data protection law is the so-called “right to be forgotten” (RTBF), which dates back to 2014. This allows EU citizens to request internet search engines such as Google to remove search results directly related to them. Despite its misleading name, they are not “forgotten”: the material that relates to them remains on the Internet. It is just that the direct route to finding it using a search engine is removed – it is a right to “de-referencing”. Indirect searches will still locate the material. The law within the EU was well established. But the question then arose: what about Google’s sites outside the EU? If they could be used to find material that had been de-referenced on Google’s sites in the EU, then RTBF was greatly reduced. This was such an important question that it ended up before the top EU court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which has now handed down its judgment. It concludes:

      • That time my husband reported me to the Facebook police: a case study

        Here’s what happened. San Francisco’s Legion of Honor Museum has a room devoted to Rodin sculptures, including an 1877 nude called The Age of Bronze. A large informational placard next to the piece shows a photo of the original model, a muscular naked man, posing in Rodin’s studio. I put a picture of the placard on Facebook, along with a very insightful and mature comment about how well San Francisco curators know their audience.

        Sometime in the next two hours, my husband flagged the picture as inappropriate, and I got this notice: [...]

      • Nigeria Misuses Overbroad Cyberstalking Law: Levels Charges Against Political Protester Sowore

        EFF has long been concerned that—unless carefully drafted and limited—cyberstalking laws can be misused to criminalize political speech. In fact, earlier this year we celebrated a federal court decision in Washington State in the United States that tossed out an overbroad cyberstalking law.  In the case, the law had been used to silence a protester who used strong language and persistence in criticizing a public official. EFF filed an amicus brief in that case where we cautioned that such laws could be easily misused and the court agreed with us.  Now the problem has occurred in a high-profile political case in Nigeria. Just this week the Nigerian government formally filed “cyberstalking” charges against Omoyele Sowore, a longtime political activist and publisher of the respected Sahara Reporters online news agency. Sowore had organized political protests in Nigeria under the hashtag #RevolutionNow and conducted media interviews in support of his protest. He was detained along with another organizer between early August and late September before being granted bail. He reports that he has been beaten and denied access to his family and, for a while, denied access to an attorney. The charges make clear that this prosecution is a misuse of the overbroad cyberstalking statute, passed in 2015. They state that Sowore committed cyberstalking by: “knowingly sent messages by means of press interview granted on ‘arise Television’ network which you knew to be false for the purpose of causing insult, enmity, hatred and ill-will on the person of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”  That’s it. The prosecution claims that you can “cyberstalk” the President by going on TV and saying allegedly false things about him with a goal of causing “insult” or “ill-will.”

      • Louisiana’s Terrible Criminal Defamation Law Again Being Used To Unconstitutionally Target A Critic Of Law Enforcement

        Louisiana’s stupid, unconstitutional criminal defamation law remains on the books despite the state’s highest court reaching this conclusion nearly forty years ago:

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • The FISA Oversight Hearing Confirmed That Things Need to Change

        Section 215, the controversial law at the heart of the NSA’s massive telephone records surveillance program, is set to expire in December. Last week the House Committee on the Judiciary held an oversight hearing to investigate how the NSA, FBI, and the rest of the intelligence community are using and interpreting 215 and other expiring national security authorities. 

        Congress last looked at these laws in 2015 when it passed the USA FREEDOM Act, which sought to end bulk surveillance and to bring much-needed transparency to intelligence agency activities. However, NSA itself has revealed that it has been unable to stay within the limits USA FREEDOM put on Section 215’s “Call Detail Records” (CDR) authority. In response to these revelations, we’ve been calling for an end to the Call Details Records program, as well as additional transparency into the government’s use of Section 215. If last week’s hearing made anything clear, it’s this: there is no good reason for Congress to renew the CDR authority.

      • South Africa Bans Bulk Collection. Will the U.S. Courts Follow Suit?

        The High Court in South Africa has issued a watershed ruling: holding that South African law currently does not authorize bulk surveillance. The decision is a model that we hope other courts, including those in the United States, will follow.

      • Rich Dude Goes Back On His Promise About Forcing California Into A Dreadfully Bad Privacy Law, Brings A Worse Version Back

        California is inching ever closer to having its very problematic privacy law take effect. As we’ve noted, while good privacy legislation would be desirable, this is not it. Indeed, this law is woefully undercooked by design. If you don’t remember, the process by which we got here dictated terrible results. A wealthy real estate developer, Alastair Mactaggart, decided that he was going to “fix” internet privacy, by putting a truly bad proposal regarding internet privacy to a public vote, using California’s somewhat horrific public referendum system — that allows for the public to effectively modify California’s constitution by popular vote.

      • AT&T Proclaims It Cannot Be Sued For Selling Your Location Data To Random Nitwits

        You’ll of course recall that wireless carriers are in the midst of a massive, ongoing scandal involving your location data. As in, they’ve been repeatedly caught collecting and selling your daily movement habits to a rotating crop of random nitwits, including stalkers and folks pretending to be law enforcement. And while they say they’ve stopped the practice there’s no way to be sure, given that the current industry-friendly FCC has yet to pressure (or even mildly scold) them, much less conduct any real investigation into whether mobile carriers have actually stopped, or what they’ve done with location data collected over the last decade.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Lebanon: Access to Information Law Stalled

        Lebanese authorities have largely failed to comply with the country’s Right to Access to Information Law, and the government has not established the body designated to oversee its implementation nearly three years after its passage, Human Rights Watch said today.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • A Turning Point on Racial Equality

        At this September’s Democratic presidential debate — held at a historically black college in Houston — some 14 million Americans tuned in to watch the 10 leading candidates debate each other for the first time.

      • Politicians Agree: “Any White Cop Can Kill a Black Man”

        In 2017 my CounterPunch article, “Any White Cop Can Kill a Black Man at Any Time,” told how St. Louis cop Jason Stockley killed a 24-year-old black man, Anthony Lamar Smith. Though Stockley claimed he had fired in self defense when Smith pulled a gun on him, evidence showed that he had planted the gun after the killing. When Stockley was found “not guilty” protests by thousands in St. Louis lasted for months, just as in 2014 when another white cop Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown in neighboring Ferguson.

      • Can Literature Really Be an Agent of Political Resistance?
      • Moscow’s Higher School of Economics fires instructor, following sexual misconduct allegations

        Moscow’s Higher School of Economics has fired an instructor, after a former student accused him of sexual misconduct towards other students at a high school where he taught previously. The Higher School of Economics’s press office told MBKh Media that an internal investigation found that Alexander Kuznetsov behaved inappropriately, violating the ethical boundaries in place between staff and students. Kuznetsov has not commented publicly on his dismissal.

      • ‘The Remedies That Were Proposed Weren’t About Ending the List’
      • Lawsuit: School Strip-Searched An 8-Year-Old Because Someone Found Feces On A Bathroom Floor

        Here’s what we’re strip-searching elementary school students for these days: the existence of feces on a school bathroom floor.

      • Language as a Prison: Why Do We Fall in Love?

        I recently had a guest visiting for a few days. On a lovely summer evening, we went for a walk. When I asked how his day went, he said it was frustrating because he wasted two hours trying to authenticate an email account. I expressed my sympathy for his lost time. He added, “First world problems, you know.” I remained silent. He looked at me and asked, “You know what the phrase, ‘first world problems’ means right?” I said I knew what it meant, but I never liked using it. He was shocked about why I would have a problem with such a widely used phrase in English. He then assured me that he did not mean it in an arrogant way, but rather to show that he was mindful that there are many greater hardships happening around the world than what he had experienced on that day. When all his attempts to justify the innocence of this phrase failed, he finally asked me directly about what I thought was problematic about it.

      • Venezuela: UN Creates Independent Investigative Body

        The United Nations Human Rights Council has taken a crucial step to ensure that Venezuelan victims have access to justice and that those responsible for serious abuses are held accountable for their crimes. 

      • Hundreds of Thousands of Chicago Motorists Could Receive Debt Relief From Vehicle Sticker Tickets as the City Expands Reform

        The city of Chicago said Friday that it will wipe out some, if not all, debt due to unpaid vehicle sticker tickets for motorists who come into compliance by the end of October, a program that has the potential to benefit an estimated 500,000 motorists and lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in debt forgiveness.

        The announcement comes as the office of City Clerk Anna Valencia prepares to offer its own amnesty program next month allowing residents to buy prorated vehicle stickers without incurring late penalties.

      • US: Judge Blocks Indefinite Family Detention

        (Los Angeles, CA, September 27, 2019) – A federal judge’s ruling on September 27, 2019, to block the Trump administration’s new rules allowing indefinite detention of children with their parents is a victory for the rights of migrant children, Human Rights Watch said today.

      • Judge Blocks Trump Rules for Detained Migrant Kids

        A U.S. judge on Friday blocked new Trump administration rules that would enable the government to keep immigrant children in detention facilities with their parents indefinitely.

      • Google Says Google Translate Can’t Replace Human Translators. Immigration Officials Have Used It to Vet Refugees.

        It’s a common internet experience: throw a foreign phrase into Google Translate or any other online translation tool and out comes a farcical approximation of the real thing.

        That’s why many experts — even Google itself — caution against relying on the popular Google Translate for complex tasks. Google advises users that its machine translation service is not “intended to replace human translators.”

      • Egypt: Hundreds Arrested in Nationwide Crackdown

        Egyptian authorities have arrested nearly 2,000 people in a sweeping nationwide crackdown following anti-government protests that erupted on September 20, 2019. Authorities acknowledged only 1,000 arrests.

      • The Two Internationalisms

        In recent years, internationalism—cooperation among nations for promotion of the common good—has acquired a bad reputation.

      • White students called a 10-year-old black girl the N-word as they beat her up on a bus, court documents say

        The 10-year-old girl says this happened “because of the color of my skin, how my hair looks , how I dress and that I look different from them.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Sprint Busted For Allegedly Defrauding The FCC Lifeline Program

        For years, big cellular carriers have been busted defrauding the FCC Lifeline program, a fund that’s supposed to help subsidize telecom connectivity for low income users. Started by Reagan and expanded by Bush, the fairly modest program doles out a measly $9.25 per month subsidy that low-income homes can use to help pay a tiny fraction of their wireless, phone, or broadband bills (enrolled participants have to chose one). While the program (which you pay into via your telecom bills) has been a subject of fraud, the agency has done some solid work under both parties trying to rein in abuse of the program.

      • Study Proves The FCC’s Core Justification For Killing Net Neutrality Was False

        But a new study from George Washington University indicates that Pai’s claims were patently false. The study took a closer look at the earnings reports and SEC filings of 8,577 unique telecom companies from Q1 2009 through Q3 2018 to conclude that the passage and repeal of the rules had no meaningful impact on broadband investment.

        “The results of the paper are clear and should be both unsurprising and uncontroversial,” The researchers said. “The key finding is there were no impacts on telecommunication industry investment from the net neutrality policy changes. Neither the 2010 or 2015 US net neutrality rule changes had any causal impact on telecommunications investment.”

        While the study is the biggest yet to do so, it’s not the first to reach this conclusion.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • A Walk in the Deference Labyrinth: Further Comment on Facebook v. Windy City

          As noted in a Patently-O post of September 18, in Facebook, Inc. v. Windy City Innovations, LLC, Nos. 2018-1400 et al. (Fed. Cir. Aug. 12, 2019), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit requested supplemental briefing on the extent to which it should give deference to the precedential interpretation of a Patent Act joinder provision that the Precedential Opinion Panel (“POP”) of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) adopted in Proppant Express Investments, LLC v. Oren Technologies, LLC, IPR2018-00914 (P.T.A.B. Mar. 13, 2019). As explained in the earlier post, in Proppant, the POP interpreted the language of 35 U.S.C. § 315(c), which permits the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) Director, in instituting an inter partes review (IPR), to “join as a party to that inter partes review any person who properly files a petition under section 311 that the Director … determines warrants the institution of an inter partes review under section 314.” This post is not concerned with the substance of the POP’s interpretation but instead the different ways in which the Federal Circuit might resolve or avoid the deference question, which could determine more generally (i.e., in cases involving interpretation of other provisions of the Patent Act) the extent to which the Federal Circuit gives deference to statutory interpretations of the POP. The deference question is relatively easily stated, but arguments about it can become intricate.

          [...]

          The United States’ brief rejects the notion that a specific statutory authorization to issue “regulations” implicitly precludes an agency from “issu[ing] binding [statutory] interpretations through other mechanisms Congress also provided”—in this case, PTAB adjudication. U.S. Brief, supra, at 8. In support of this position, the Government invokes a principle that agencies generally have a choice of policymaking mode—a principle with long-standing resonance in U.S. administrative law, see, e.g., Peter L. Strauss et al., Gellhorn and Byse’s Administrative Law: Cases and Comments 385 (11th ed. 2011). U.S. Brief, supra, at 8–11 & n.4. Alternatively, the United States’ brief might have sought to distinguish Judge Moore’s position in Aqua Products on the narrower ground that this position primarily contemplated substantive “standards,” not “rules on procedure,” which the opinion explicitly noted “are exempt from the notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements of § 553,” 872 F.3d at 1331–32 & n.4. Perhaps the United States declined to rely on this distinction because the Government wishes to avoid having deference questions turn on sometimes tricky classifications of substance and procedure. Joinder rules, for example, might on their face seem fundamentally procedural, cf. Luxliner P.L. Export, Co. v. RDI/Luxliner, Inc., 13 F.3d 69, 71–72 (3d Cir. 1993), but there might be an argument that the IPR joinder provision’s relationship with the statutory time bar for IPR petitions under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) muddles its status, cf. Joseph v. Athanasopoulos, 648 F.3d 58, 65 (2d Cir. 2011) (quoting the New York Court of Appeals’ statement that “the impact of the Statute of Limitations, though often denominated as procedural, in a practical sense may also be said to be substantive,” Smith v. Russell Sage Coll., 429 N.E.2d 746, 750 (N.Y. 1981)).

          [...]

          The intricacies of the above arguments suggest that the Federal Circuit could do the patent community a substantial service by engaging with the question of what deference framework applies to a POP statutory interpretation such as that in Proppant—i.e., by pursuing path (2) or (3) in the three bullets above. Of course, if the Federal Circuit does answer such a question of general significance, that could increase Supreme Court interest in reviewing the decision. Several Justices have already signaled interest in reconsidering the reach and validity of the Chevron deference framework. This past June, five Justices went out of their way to indicate a belief that the framework’s validity is an open question. See Kisor v. Wilkie, 139 S. Ct. 2400, 2425 (2019) (Roberts, C.J., concurring in part); id. at 2446 n.114 (Gorsuch, J., concurring in the judgment); id. at 2449 (Kavanaugh, J., concurring in the judgment). Could Facebook be yet another patent case taken up by the Supreme Court?

        • Garmin: Applying Facts-to-the-Law vs Law-to-the-Facts

          In the petition, the challengers argue that patent eligibility should be seen as a pure question of law: Patent eligibility is a question of law for the court, and the Federal Circuit erred in holding otherwise.

        • There is No Such Thing as a Free Launch – CJEU Does Not Follow AG on Compensation for Wrongful PI

          On 12 September 2019, the Court of Justice handed down its (at least among patent litigators) eagerly awaited ruling (case C-688/17, not yet available in English) on a core principle of damages under Art. 9(7) of the Enforcement Directive for a wrongly-issued preliminary injunction. The AG Opinion can be consulted here and the respective Katpost here.

          The background of the decision is how to assess the “launch at risk” of a pharmaceutical product when a preliminary injunction is first granted and later lifted (typically because the patent in suit turns out to be invalid or is not infringed in main proceedings). Does the generic manufacturer’s failure to clear the way (by suing for invalidation of patents potentially infringed by the product prior to launch) preclude the grant of any compensation for the unjustified preliminary injunction? In short, while AG Pitruzzella had proposed that the question be answered by a “no, but…”, the Court takes the stance that the answer should be “yes, but…”.

        • Functionally defined medical devices at the EPO – is this a thing of the past?

          European patent EP 1 613 394 had a single independent claim to a device for the desynchronization of activity of pathologically active brain areas. While the opposition was initially based on lack of novelty and inventive step (obviousness) and inadmissible extension (added matter), the opposition division of the EPO (“OD”) introduced the opposition ground “exception to patentability” (patent eligibility) on its own motion. The opposition ground was introduced because the claim was thought to relate to a method for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy. After having introduced the ground, the OD dismissed it. Opponent appealed. In the appeal Opponent also argued patent eligibility. Board of Appeal 3.4.01 (a Physics board) provided a provisional opinion in which it provisionally dismissed the opposition ground raised under patent eligibility, but introduced yet another opposition ground. At such a late stage, case law from the enlarged Board of appeal makes the admissibility of this still other opposition ground be contingent on proprietor consenting. Proprietor did not consent. At the beginning of the oral proceedings, the BoA confronted the proprietor with a reversal of opinion on eligibility. The Board said that the claimed subject matter would likely, after all, lack patentability. In support, the Board pointed to Art. 53(c) EPC and to T 775/97 (issued by another BoA). The Board ultimately revoked the patent entirely as relating to non-eligible subject matter.

          The invention relates to a device for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia, or the like. This is a group of neurological disorders which the patent said is due to unwanted synchronization of the activities of pathologically active areas of the brain. The device for treating these conditions was claimed to be one for desynchronizing the activities of these areas. The device comprises at least two electrodes and control means. Claim 1 recites that the control means are designed such that, during operation, they control the at least two electrodes such that these stimulate at least two sub-populations of a neuron population to be desynchronized. The stimuli are further defined with reference to phase resets of the sub-populations, and the claim concludes with a functional statement that the stimuli are “such that the at least two sub-populations have different neural-activity phases after the phase resets produced by the stimuli”. So in summary and at the risk of over-simplifying, claim 1 contained a requirement that there be control means which is designed such that it emits certain stimuli causing the activity of the sub-populations in the brain to change.

          On the face of it, claim 1 is thus directed to a device, not a method; in a typical manner, the device is defined by means of a functional clause relating to the clinical effect. Art. 53(c) EPC, which governs exceptions to patentability or patent eligibility, conversely, is directed to methods, not devices. It says that European patents shall not be granted in respect of methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy and diagnostic methods practiced on the human or animal body. From this wording alone, one can clearly take that claims to products ought not to fall under the exception. Apparatus, device, or system claims are typically construed as product claims. Furthermore, Art. 53(c) EPC continues by clarifying in its last sub-clause that the provision recited in the first sub-clause “shall not apply to products, in particular substances or compositions, for use in any of the [non-patentable] methods”.

          [...]

          For us, this decision creates uncertainty. It also leaves us with a few practice points until the uncertainty has been resolved. The problem with the functional statement was identified in the perceived fact that the claimed function could only be delivered in vivo and in situ. So as to avoid the problem, one could, of course, avoid such functional statements in a claim. In a further step, specifications could be drafted so that they describe alternative ways of delivering the function ex situ, possibly in a machine environment, for instance for testing or calibration purposes. Doing so, however, may well result in a claim which the EPO understands to embrace both, patent eligible and non-eligible subject matter. The current EPO approach to such claims is to request that the non-eligible subject matter be excised from the claim, possibly by means of a disclaimer. It will need to be evaluated if the resulting scope is still of commercial interest.

      • Trademarks

        • AG Pitruzzella advises CJEU to rule that proprietor of trade mark revoked for non-use can seek compensation for infringing acts committed prior to revocation

          Is it possible to award compensation to a trade mark holder who has never exploited their trade marks and whose rights were revoked, in the context of an action for infringement of that trade mark by third parties?

          [...]

          The use of a trade mark is key for maintaining relevant rights and, in some Member States, to acquire rights over a sign.

          One of the implications of this Opinion is to limit the importance of use of a trade mark in the period of five years following registration, in that a trade mark holder can act for infringement even after their trade mark has been revoked.

          This is in line with a broader tendency to extend the scope of protection granted by trade marks. First, we have already seen the extension of the functions of trade marks; second, the analysis of likelihood of confusion between signs extends the protection of trade marks from what was purely the object of registration. In this case it could be stated that an abstract analysis, based only on the registration, may allow protecting a trade mark that has never been used and which has been revoked.

      • Copyrights

        • Case to determine whether states can ‘violate copyright with impunity’

          If the US Supreme Court upholds a previous decision, lawyers say that copyright holders will be unable to sue states in cases of infringement

        • AIPPI Congress Report 4: Copyright in AI generated works

          Should copyright (or related rights) subsist in works created using an AI system? If not, should these works obtain some other form of protection? These are thorny questions. They touch on the legal, economic and moral justification for intellectual property protection. They also require us to consider the relative value we attribute to human endeavor in creating works as compared to the human endeavor in creating AI systems which can themselves create works. With AI generated music available on streaming services, algorithms being signed to record labels and AI generated artworks sold at auction for six figure sums the answers to these questions already have real economic significance.

          Not an organisation to shy away from grappling with difficult questions, AIPPI’s 2019 Study Question “Copyright in artificially generated works” took stock of the current position and explored possibilities for future harmonisation. 30 AIPPI groups responded to the Study Question, published in January, expressing a wide range of views on the eligibility of AI generated works for existing forms of IP protection and the desirability for new forms of protection. The responses were helpfully summarised in advance of this year’s AIPPI Congress in London by the Reporter General’s Summary Report followed by a draft resolution. Over a seven hour session on Sunday, a three hour plenary on Monday and a vote on a final resolution on Wednesday, the promise of lively debate on this challenging and complex subject did not fail to disappoint.

        • New CJEU referral on right of communication to the public … this time on seeding and de minimis threshold

          As readers know, the CJEU has already clarified that, for there to be an act of communication to the public, what is required is (1) an act of communication to (2) a public. In addition, other interdependent, non-autonomous criteria might also come into consideration depending on the context, eg whether the defendant pursues a profit-making intention in linking cases.

          However, the question whether, besides all this, there is also a de minimis threshold that needs to be passed in relation to what is actually communicated is an interesting one. Unlike the right of reproduction in Article 2 of the InfoSoc Directive, in fact, Article 3(1) does not refer to the communication of a work “in whole or in part”. Hence, it may not be readily apparent whether there can be a communication also when what is being communicated is not a ‘work’ as a whole, but rather ‘individual pieces’ which are unusable.

        • Canadian ISPs Continue Quest To Bankrupt TVAddons, Site That Hosted Tons Of Legal Kodi Addons

          A few years back we wrote about how various Canadian telcos had appeared to completely lose their minds over TVAddons, a Canadian site that hosted various software add-ons for Kodi (open source home theater software that was originally the Xbox Media Center or XBMC). Now, it is true that there’s a thriving market in pirated content via Kodi boxes and the like, but TVAddons was just a site that hosted all sorts of add-ons, and most of them had nothing at all to do with infringing content. As we mentioned in our original article, out of over 1,500 add-ons, only 22 were found to involve infringing content. To put this in perspective, think of the VCR/Betamax in the early years, when Jack Valenti was insisting that it would be the “Boston Strangler” to the movie industry. Back then, a ton of the content being passed around on those tapes would likely be considered infringing — in part because that was before the industry learned to embrace home video (which quickly became a huge moneymaker for Hollywood). But that was found legal because, as the Supreme Court noted, there were “substantial non-infringing uses” of the technology. It seems pretty damn clear that there are “substantial non-infringing uses” of Kodi add-ons as well, and especially of a platform like TVAddons, that was there just to host those add-ons — and not to host any infringing content directly.

        • Kodi is Sick of Pirate Addons But Banning Them is Not an Option

          The Kodi media center is often linked to piracy. This frustrates the developers, none of whom are paid. The software they release is totally legal but some third-party addons and their promoters often cross the line. While a ban may seem like a logical solution to some, that’s out of the question, as it goes directly against Kodi’s open ecosystem philosophy.

        • ‘Pirate’ IPTV Traffic “Dropped 50%” After Xtream Codes Raid

          When IPTV management system Xtream-Codes was taken down as part of an EU anti-piracy operation last week, chaos ensured. With a large proportion of the illicit market estimated to use the software, large numbers of services went dark. According to data provided to TorrentFreak by networking equipment company Sandvine, illicit traffic nosedived by 50%.

        • Piracy will Surge if More Legal Streaming Services Launch, Research Shows

          A new survey conducted by Broadband Genie shows that piracy will surge if content is spread out across more streaming subscription services. In part due to increasing costs, the number of UK streaming subscribers who “pirate” on the side is set to double.

        • Just As Everyone Predicted: EU Copyright Directive’s Link Tax Won’t Lead To Google Paying Publishers

          Look, not only was the following story totally predictable, but many of us directly warned the EU of what would happen if they instituted a “link” or “snippet” tax as part of the EU Copyright Directive. Of course, EU officials totally ignored all of the experts (or listened to a bunch of idiots in the publishing industry who insisted that “this time it will be different,” despite multiple examples of link taxes not working) and put a link tax into law anyway.

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