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10.12.19

Links 13/10/2019: Mastodon 3.0, GNU Binutils 2.33.1, and the Road to KDE Frameworks 6

Posted in News Roundup at 6:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • DIY, modular MNT Reform Laptop gets spec bump as it inches toward reality

        It’s been a few years since developer Lukas Hartmann and designer Ana Dantes unveiled their plans for a DIY, modular laptop designed to run free and open source software.

        Since then, the folks behind the MNT Reform project created a small number of early prototypes, introduced new hardware with beefier specs and some other improvements, and have begun producing prototypes of version 2 of the laptop.

        Once everything is up to snuff, the plan is to launch another crowdfunding campaign for folks interested in purchasing their own MNT Reform 2 laptop — but since the design files will be open source, there’s nothing stopping anyone from downloading the necessary files and assembling their own (if they also want to go through the trouble of sourcing all the components including a custom PCB).

      • The open-supply Hardware Trends. Arm Takes a distinct path

        The ASCII text file movement that has driven computer code innovation is currently making a buzz within the microchip realm, due to the growing the quality of ASCII text file micro chip instruction set design RISC-V. though the term, “open source” conveys sentiments like analysis sharing and community building, leading semiconductor science supplier Arm, that supports ninety-five % of smartphone embedded processors, isn’t an exponent. Synced recently Sat down with Rhonda Dirvin, who is Arm’s senior director of Embedded, IoT and Automotive selling. Darvin believes today’s open supply hardware landscape isn’t as straightforward and simple because it could seem: “We’re commencing to see some individuals say free isn’t free. As a result of at the top of the day they need to appear at what it takes to verify that and what it takes to implement the instruction or design. You don’t have the complete scheme out there that supports it the method that you simply do with Armor a number of the opposite felt vendors.” So however will corroboratory open supply hardware disagree from corroboratory open-supply software? Outside director at Mellanox Technologies Thomas J Riordan tells Synced he believes the challenges are rather similar.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • Red Hat’s New Graphics Engineer Is A Longtime AMD/ATI Linux Developer

          Red Hat had been looking to hire another experienced open-source graphics driver developer and for that their newest member on their growing open-source graphics team is a longtime AMD/ATI developer.

          Mentioned within the AMDGPU DDX driver update announcement from Michel Dänzer is confirmation that he left AMD and is now working for Red Hat. Michel is a longtime member of the open-source graphics community: Michel had been working at AMD since 2011 on their open-source driver stack while prior to that for five years was working for Mesa creators Tungsten Graphics and followed through when they got acquired by VMware.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • xf86-video-amdgpu 19.1 Delivers A Batch Of Fixes

          AMD has released a new version of their X.Org display driver.

          With all of the magic happening in their DRM/KMS kernel driver or Mesa components (and the likes of AMDVLK and ROCm), the xf86-video-amdgpu DDX doesn’t receive much attention these days just like the other X.Org drivers. Many AMD Linux users are also using the xf86-video-modesetting generic driver these days or on Wayland-based desktops, but for those on xf86-video-amdgpu there is now a v19.1 release available. At least though AMD is still pushing out new DDX releases unlike Intel’s xf86-video-intel that has been in v3.0 development now for over a half-decade without a release.

        • XWayland Lands RandR/Vidmode Emulation For Better Game Handling

          There is yet another significant improvement found for XWayland in the latest X.Org Server code that will hopefully see a long overdue release soon.

          The work by Red Hat’s Hans de Goede on XWayland RandR and Vidmode resolution change emulation has been merged. This emulated support doesn’t change the actual resolution but rather a fullscreen window at the desired resolution and use that to fill the display output.

    • Benchmarks

      • Dav1d 0.5 Released With AVX2, SSSE3 & ARM64 Performance Improvements – Benchmarks

        Friday marked the release of dav1d 0.5 as the newest version of this speedy open-source AV1 video decoder. With dav1d 0.5 are optimizations to help out SSSE3 most prominently but also AVX2 and ARM64 processors. Here are some initial benchmarks so far of this new dav1d video decoder on Linux.

        The SSSE3 code path for dav1d is now upwards of 40% faster with the v0.5 release. There is also single digit improvements for the AVX2 code path and up to 10% performance improvements for 64-bit ARM. There are also VSX, SSE2, and SSE4 optimizations among the work in this latest release as well as some decoder fixes. Dav1d 0.5 can be found at VideoLAN.org.

    • Applications

      • Sneak a Peek – Animated GIF recorder

        Peek is a really nice creation. It’s easy to use, it’s robust, it works well, and it produces high-quality output. There’s just the right balance of everything. I would like to complain, but there’s nothing to fault. The only improvement that I can think of would be to auto-frame windows on mouse-click, so it saves some resizing. Other than that, there’s nothing else here. In fact, it’s very easy to enhance the feature set, but that might actually disrupt the finely tuned elegance and refreshment.

        If you’re a software tester, or you need to share mini-tutorials with family, friends or colleagues without going overboard with full video creation suites plus something like a Youtube account or alike, Peek is the tool for you. Within seconds, you can render tiny projects that looks clear and sharp, and should be small enough to email. Just what you need in an age of over-complicated abstractions. Well done, highly recommended.

      • Proprietary

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • What have you been playing recently and what do you think about it?

        Having seen a number of great Linux releases lately, it’s getting tough opening Steam and actually picking something to play. The very new release of Pine has certainly sucked away a lot of my time, something about the world Twirlbound created has seriously pulled me in. It’s not without issues though. While forcing my CPU to stay in Performance mode has made it smoother, it definitely needs improving.

      • Dota 2 matchmaking may be less terrible now for solo players and more difficult for toxic people

        Valve continue to do some pretty big tweaks to the matchmaking system in Dota 2, with another blog post and update talking about all the improvements they’re implementing.

        This is following on from all the other changes recently like the ban waves and sounds like they’re really pushing to make the Dota 2 community and gameplay better for everyone.

        Ever played a game of Dota 2 by yourself and get matched against an entire team of people? I have, it sucks. They’re all forming a strategy, while half of your team are telling each other they’re going to report them. It happened for a lot of others too and Valve have finally put a stop to it. In the latest blog post, Valve said that now a five-player team will only be matched up against other five-player teams. For Solo players, they will now only be matched up with a party maximum of two, so Solo players will either now be against an entire team of other Solo players or possibly three solo players and one party of two.

      • Arizona Sunshine | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.04 | Steam Play

        Arizona Sunshine VR running through Steam play.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • The Road to KDE Frameworks 6

          At Akademy Lars presented the plans for Qt 6 in his keynote. With Qt 6 planned for November 2020 we have to look at KDE Frameworks 6 within a two year horizon as well. We therefore need to get started with this as well, so we can help to shape Qt 6, and so we ensure a smooth as possible transition.

        • KDE Frameworks 6 Discussions Light Up With Qt 6.0 Coming Next Year

          With The Qt Company working hard now on development around Qt 6, the KDE developers are beginning their early discussions over their path forward to adopting this next evolutionary tool-kit update.

          KDE developer Volker Krause has shared some of his early ideas and discussions around the path ahead to KDE Frameworks 6 following Qt6.

        • Akademy 2019 recap

          In Akademy 2018, I gave a talk about Plasma on mobile devices. Talk discussed why it is harder to run a Linux userland on the off-the-shelf mobile devices. This year I and Marco presented a slightly different topic, Plasma on embedded devices. Talk was about what solutions are offered by the KDE community for such embedded devices, and what efforts are being made.

          Marco Martin also presented a new shell package, plasma-nano, which is a minimal shell you can extend to create a Plasma based user interfaces for embedded devices.

          [...]

          As a extension to our talk, Marco and I hosted a “Plasma on devices” BoF. Where we demostrated the Plasma Nano shell. Talked about the infrastructure we have currently in the Plasma, and also talked about how we can make this more interesting for hardware vendors.

    • Distributions

      • Test drive a Linux distro online before you hate it

        have been using MX-Linux as the distro on my primary laptop for over a year now. That’s the longest I’ve ever primarily used a single distro. I’m proud of that accomplishment. It took me years to get here!

        When I first started with Linux, I was a notorious distro hopper, habitually jumping from one distro to another for the pettiest of reasons. I dare say I switched distros more than I can recall once where I had three different primary distros in a single day!

        I then discovered VirtualBox, which allowed me to install and test distros without having to wipe my entire primary distro first. This was a significant and much-appreciated improvement, but installation and configuration were time-consuming and often frustrating. Often during those turbulent early years with Linux, I would think to myself, “Someone should make it easy to test and try out new distros online even without downloading the ISO and all that jazz.”

      • Autonomous Linux and the IT Utility

        To that suite of new takes on old products, Oracle added Autonomous Linux, announced at its recent OpenWorld. The product is a freebie. Many financial types might scoff at investing in and launching such a product, but it has legs — and not simply as a game-changer for capturing market share.

        Work with me on this. The future of information technology is the formation of a utility, similar to many of the utilities that bring us products and services that originated in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

        The list includes telephone, cable and electricity, of course, but also water, sanitary and natural gas services. Today numerous tech product and service companies act like overindulged children in need of Mary Poppins. It’s a phase that industries go through on the way to becoming well-behaved members of utilities.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Overview to Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine

          We are excited to welcome the latest Ubuntu called Eoan Ermine that planned to be released this month at Thursday, 17 October 2019. This short overview shows several new things I found in this Ubuntu 19.04 development edition (as per 12 October 2019, frozen status, before official release). Thanks to the daily ISO, we know that Ubuntu Eoan has new features such as grouping apps on start menu, new icons for apps and disks, and latest version of GNOME 3.34 and LibreOffice 6.3. I once again divided the article into only 3 parts so you could enjoy this review easily. Okay, let’s go!

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Chrome users gloriously freed from obviously treacherous and unsafe uBlock Origin

            Thank you, O Great Chrome Web Store, for saving us from the clearly hazardous, manifestly unscrupulous, overtly duplicitous uBlock Origin. Because, doubtlessly, this open-source ad-block extension by its very existence and nature could never “have a single purpose that is clear to users.” I mean, it’s an ad-blocker. Those are bad.
            Really, this is an incredible own goal on Google’s part. Although I won’t resist the opportunity to rag on them, I also grudgingly admit that this is probably incompetence rather than malice and likely yet another instance of something falling through the cracks in Google’s all-powerful, rarely examined automatic algorithms (though there is circumstantial evidence to the contrary). Having a human examine these choices costs money in engineering time, and frankly when the automated systems are misjudging something that will probably cost Google’s ad business money as well, there’s just no incentive to do anything about it. But it’s a bad look, especially with how two-faced the policy on Manifest V3 has turned out to be and its effect on ad-blocker options for Chrome.

            It is important to note that this block is for Chrome rather than Chromium-based browsers (like Edge, Opera, Brave, etc.). That said, Chrome is clearly the one-ton gorilla, and Google doesn’t like you sideloading extensions. While Mozilla reviews extensions too, and there have been controversial rejections on their part, speaking as an add-on author of over a decade there is at least a human on the other end even if once in a while the human is a butthead. (A volunteer butthead, to be sure, but still a butthead.) Plus, you can sideload with a little work, even unsigned add-ons. So far I think they’ve reached a reasonable compromise between safety and user choice even if sometimes the efforts don’t scale. On the other hand, Google clearly hasn’t by any metric.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • CMS

        • Mastodon 3.0

          It’s finally here! Mastodon 3.0 is live! The team has been hard at work on making sure that this release is one of our most user-friendly yet with some exciting new features! Here are just a few: [...]

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD 12.1 Is Near With Libomp Finally In Base, LLD Linker By Default For i386

          FreeBSD 12.1 is near with the first release candidate shipping this weekend. While a point release over the nearly one year old FreeBSD 12.0, it does come with some notable changes in tow.

          The Friday night release of FreeBSD 12.1-RC1. brings with it various driver updates, SCTP/TCP fixes, a null pointer dereference fix for a possible system crash, and other fixes.

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • GNU Binutils 2.33.1 Released With Support For Newer Arm Cortex CPUs, SVE2/TME/MVE

          The GNU Binutils 2.33(.1) release brings BFloat16 support (BF16), many ARMv8 architecture updates, eBPF support for the GNU toolchain to complement the GCC 10 compiler support for this alternative now to using LLVM, support for the new CTF (Compact Type Format) debug format, and other work accumulated in recent months.

        • GNU Binutils 2.33.1 has been released.
          Hello Everyone,
          
            We are pleased to announce that version 2.33.1 of the GNU Binutils project
            sources have been released and are now available for download at:
          
          https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/binutils
          
          
          https://sourceware.org/pub/binutils/releases/
          
            The md5sum values are:
              
              56a3be5f8f8ee874417a4f19ef3f10c8  binutils-2.33.1.tar.bz2
              1a6b16bcc926e312633fcc3fae14ba0a  binutils-2.33.1.tar.gz
              f4e7e023664f087b3017fc42955ebb46  binutils-2.33.1.tar.lz
              9406231b7d9dd93731c2d06cefe8aaf1  binutils-2.33.1.tar.xz
          
          
            This release contains numerous bug fixes, and also the following new
            features:
          
              Assembler:
              
              * Adds support for the Arm Scalable Vector Extension version 2
                (SVE2) instructions, the Arm Transactional Memory Extension (TME)
                instructions and the Armv8.1-M Mainline and M-profile Vector
                Extension (MVE) instructions.
          
              * Adds support for the Arm Cortex-A76AE, Cortex-A77 and Cortex-M35P
                processors and the AArch64 Cortex-A34, Cortex-A65, Cortex-A65AE,
                Cortex-A76AE, and Cortex-A77 processors.
          
              * Adds a .float16 directive for both Arm and AArch64 to allow
                encoding of 16-bit floating point literals.
          
              * For MIPS, Add -m[no-]fix-loongson3-llsc option to fix (or not)
                Loongson3 LLSC Errata.  Add a --enable-mips-fix-loongson3-llsc=[yes|no]
                configure time option to set the default behavior. Set the default
                if the configure option is not used to "no".
          
              Linker:
          
              * The Cortex-A53 Erratum 843419 workaround now supports a choice of
                which workaround to use.  The option --fix-cortex-a53-843419 now
                takes an optional argument --fix-cortex-a53-843419[=full|adr|adrp]
                which can be used to force a particular workaround to be used.
                See --help for AArch64 for more details.
          
              * Add support for GNU_PROPERTY_AARCH64_FEATURE_1_BTI and
                GNU_PROPERTY_AARCH64_FEATURE_1_PAC  in ELF GNU program properties
                in the AArch64 ELF linker. 
          
              * Add -z force-bti for AArch64 to enable GNU_PROPERTY_AARCH64_FEATURE_1_BTI
                on output while warning about missing GNU_PROPERTY_AARCH64_FEATURE_1_BTI 
                on inputs and use PLTs protected with BTI.
          
              * Add -z pac-plt for AArch64 to pick PAC enabled PLTs.
          
              Utilities:
          
              * Add --source-comment[=] option to objdump which if present,
                provides a prefix to source code lines displayed in a disassembly.
          
              * Add --set-section-alignment =
                option to objcopy to allow the changing of section alignments.
          
              * Add --verilog-data-width option to objcopy for verilog targets to
                control width of data elements in verilog hex format.
          
              * The separate debug info file options of readelf (--debug-dump=links
                and --debug-dump=follow) and objdump (--dwarf=links and
                --dwarf=follow-links) will now display and/or follow multiple
                links if more than one are present in a file.  (This usually
                happens when gcc's -gsplit-dwarf option is used).
          
                In addition objdump's --dwarf=follow-links now also affects its
                other display options, so that for example, when combined with
                --syms it will cause the symbol tables in any linked debug info
                files to also be displayed.  In addition when combined with
                --disassemble the --dwarf= follow-links option will ensure that
                any symbol tables in the linked files are read and used when
                disassembling code in the main file.
          
              * Add support for dumping types encoded in the Compact Type Format
                to objdump and readelf.    
          
            Our thanks go out to all of the binutils contributors, past and
            present, for helping to make this release possible.
          
            Note in case you are wondering about what happened to the 2.33
            release, it is stuck pending the resolution of an issue with the keys
            used to sign the release.  Once this is resolved the 2.33 tarballs
            will be uploaded, even though they will now be slightly out of date.
          
          Cheers
            Nick Clifton
            Binutils Chief Maintainer.
          
        • 1er GNUFEST 2019

          On October 26 I was present at the event 1 GNUFEST 2019 in the city of San Cristóbal, in this event I was representing Fedora giving the talk “What do people live in Free Software?“, Is the second time I give this talk the which was created at FudConf Panamá 2011, I like to give this talk since I usually give technical talks, in this I explain how someone can live from Free Software and that there is an entire economic ecosystem behind free software that allows it to be self-sustaining.

      • Programming/Development

        • We, Wall, we, Wall, Raku: Perl creator blesses new name for version 6 of text-wrangling lingo

          Perl 6 should soon be known as Raku, now that Perl creator Larry Wall has given his blessing to the name change.

          [...]

          Wall thus has ended a debate that has occupied the Perl developer community for the past few months and has been an issue for more than a decade. Back in August, Dutch software developer Elizabeth Mattijsen opened an issue in GitHub’s Perl 6 repository seeking to rename Perl 6 because it’s “confusing and irritating.”

          The problem – apart from Perl’s dwindling popularity – simply is that Perl 5 and Perl 6 are separate, but related, programming languages. And when developers talk about Perl, they usually mean Perl 5. To give Perl 6 a chance to thrive on its own, the Perl community mostly agreed that a new name would be helpful.

        • Plotting with PyQtGraph

          One of the major strengths of Python is in exploratory data science and visualization, using tools such as Pandas, numpy, sklearn for data analysis and matplotlib plotting. Buiding GUI applications with PyQt gives you access to all these Python tools directly from within your app, allowing you to build complex data-driven apps and interactive dashboards.

          While it is possible to embed matplotlib plots in PyQt the experience does not feel entirely native. For simple and highly interactive plots you may want to consider using PyQtGraph instead. PyQtGraph is built on top of PyQ5 native QGraphicsScene giving better drawing performance, particularly for live data, as well as providing interactivity and the ability to easily customize plots with Qt graphics widgets.

          In this tutorial we’ll walk through the first steps of creating a plot widget with PyQtGraph and then demonstrate plot customization using line colours, line type, axis labels, background colour and plotting multiple lines.

        • Python 3.5.8rc2

          Python 3.5 has now entered “security fixes only” mode, and as such the only changes since Python 3.5.4 are security fixes. Also, Python 3.5.8rc2 has only been released in source code form; no more official binary installers will be produced.

        • Developers in 2020 need open source and want the ability to work remotely

          But at the same time I think participation in open source products, projects, is also a key aspect that people can bring to the table in terms of additional credibility and also just being able to showcase what they’re able to do in terms of collaborations.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: GitHub Streak: Round Six
      • Standards/Consortia

        • Document Foundation: ‘ODF 1.3 ready for ratification by OASIS’

          Version 1.3 of the Open Document Format (ODF), an open standard for documents, spreadsheets and presentations, will be ratified by the OASIS standardisation organisation in December, according to the Document Foundation – the organisation supporting the development of LibreOffice. This update of the ODF standard has been made possible by financial contributions from the United Kingdom, the European Commission, and three office productivity software companies: US multinational Microsoft, UK-based Collabora, and German software maker CIB.

  • Leftovers

    • Ode to the Drums of Ginger Baker

      Ginger Baker, one of our greatest drummers, is dead.  They say he died last Sunday, at the age of 80.  On the drums he was my teacher in spirit, a sensei from afar.

    • Mother Mallard’s Little Boy Grows Up

      Not long after humans landed on the moon, Robert Moog’s synthesizers landed near the top of the charts. A month before Apollo’s lunar module had touched down at 41 degrees north and 26 degrees east on the Sea of Tranquility in July of 1969, Wendy Carlos piloted the many modules of Moog’s modular synthesizer to the most distant coordinates ever imagined for the music of J. S. Bach: reanimated by Moog’s invention, Bach’s Inventions (along with a sinfonia, chorale prelude, chorus, and concerto) broke through to Billboard’s Top Ten in April of 1969. In the fall of that year Moog’s synthesizer climbed to no. 1 with the release of the Beatle’s Abbey Road, fifty years ago this month.

    • Science

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Amazon Cuts Contracts With Delivery Companies Linked to Deaths

        Amazon has abruptly canceled its contracts with three major delivery firms, a move that will put more than 2,000 people out of work and may signal a shift in how the online retail giant plans to deliver millions of packages to homes across the country every day.

        Inpax Shipping Solutions, based in Atlanta, has told employment regulators in six states that it would lay off at least 925 employees beginning Oct. 2 and would cease all delivery services for Amazon by early December, according to government records.

      • Doctor Who Advocated “Unethical” Care of Vegetative Patient Is Placed on Leave

        Newark Beth Israel Medical Center placed the director of its heart transplant program on administrative leave Thursday while the hospital awaits the results of investigations into whether a vegetative patient was kept alive to boost the program’s survival statistics.

        “As the most prudent course of action to ensure the complete independence of these internal and external assessments, we have placed the program’s director, Dr. Mark Zucker, on administrative leave pending the conclusion of our review,” Barry Ostrowsky, chief executive of the hospital’s affiliated network, RWJBarnabas Health, and Newark Beth Israel CEO Darrell Terry wrote in an email to employees Thursday night.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • #SecTorCa: Millions of Phones Leaking Information Via Tor

        There is a privacy threat lurking on perhaps hundreds of millions of devices, that could enable potential attackers to track and profile users, by using information leaked via the Tor network, even if the users never intentionally installed Tor in the first place.

        In a session at the SecTor security conference in Toronto, Canada on October 10, researchers Adam Podgorski and Milind Bhargava from Deloitte Canada outlined and demonstrated previously undisclosed research into how they were able to determine that personally identifiable information (PII) is being leaked by millions of mobile users every day over Tor.

        The irony of the issue is that Tor is a technology and a network that is intended to help provide and enable anonymity for users. With Tor, traffic travels through a number of different network hops to an eventual exit point in the hope of masking where the traffic originated from. Podgorski said that there are some users that choose to install a Tor browser on their mobile devices, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that Tor is being installed by mobile applications without user knowledge and potentially putting users at risk.

        The researchers explained that they set up several Tor exit nodes, just to see what they could find, and the results were surprising. The researchers found that approximately 30% of all Android devices are transmitting data over Tor.

      • Just a GIF Image Could Have Hacked Your Android Phone Using WhatsApp

        Today, the short looping clips, GIFs are everywhere—on your social media, on your message boards, on your chats, helping users perfectly express their emotions, making people laugh, and reliving a highlight.

        But what if an innocent-looking GIF greeting with Good morning, Happy Birthday, or Merry Christmas message hacks your smartphone?

      • FLOSS Weekly 550: CII Best Practices Badge Update

        The Linux Foundation (LF) Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) Best Practices badge is a way for Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects to show that they follow best practices. Projects can voluntarily self-certify, at no cost, by using this web application to explain how they follow each best practice. The CII Best Practices Badge is inspired by the many badges available to projects on GitHub. Consumers of the badge can quickly assess which FLOSS projects are following best practices and as a result are more likely to produce higher-quality secure software.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Building Soldier Resistance Under the Shadows of Fascism

        In the summer of 1967, I was edging closer to joining the Trotskyist movement. In June, Israel had claimed victory in the Six-Day War. This left it with the occupied territories that have continued to galvanize Palestinian resistance for more than a half-century. By this time, I had given up on the myth of “socialist Israel,” largely because of its support for the Vietnam War, which had become a litmus test for me.

      • Reflections on General Giap and the End of an Era in Vietnam

        Six years have passed but the memory of the great general’s death and funeral are still fresh in my mind.

      • Killing the Messengers: Rising Violence Against Journalists and Indigenous Leaders Defending the Amazon

        In February 2005, the body of 73-year-old Sister Dorothy Stang was found on the side of a remote dirt road 33 miles from Anapu, Pará, in Brazil’s AmazonBasin. Seven bullets pierced her body. The first hit her in the abdomen, then after she fell face down, the killers fired bullets to the back and four to the head.

      • A Shameful Betrayal

        Few will remember, but the disgrace in which President Trump is currently involving the United States in northern Syria was not only foreseeable but had actually been announced well in advance. Last December after a call with President Erdogan, Trump declared the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria on the grounds that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS] had been vanquished.

        This impetuous claim—is this president capable of any other kind?—was immediately belied by the Pentagon and the wider U.S. intelligence community, which insisted that ISIS was on the defensive but nowhere near defeated. The Islamic State still fielded thousands of fighters, operating throughout swathes of Syria and Iraq, and remained a lethal threat to U.S. national security.

      • Assyrian Democratic Organization Condemns Turkish Military Operation in Syria

        ADO strongly condemns the Turkish incursion into Syria, in which, wouldn’t have taken place without a green light from the US President who disavow the responsibility and commitments promised earlier, as well as, implication of other countries in the Syrian conflict that serve its own interest that are contrary to interest of the Syrian people.

        ADO warns against repeating the model of Afrin in which some factions have committed serious violations against its peaceful people.

        The Turkish military operation, Peace Spring, will not achieve peace in the area and tranquility to its inhabitants. Most likely it will deepen the divisions among them and proliferate internal struggle and prolong the efforts to achieve lasting peace, as well as, complicate further the political process, especially after the UN special envoy to Syria announcement of the formation of constitutional committee.

      • ‘Some of the Most Noble People I’d Ever Met’

        Current and retired U.S. military officers interviewed by Foreign Policy about their direct experience with the SDF, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive operations described a group of passionate, fearless fighters, both male and female, who share American values and remain loyal partners even after repeated disappointments. The people interviewed held up the Kurdish fighters as a model of a successful partnership in a tumultuous region, with one retired military officer saying the group was one of the few indigenous units the United States has worked with since 9/11 that have earned its trust.

        “Both their competence in battle and their commitment to the mission have been proven over and over,” the retired officer said.

        All the people interviewed unanimously said they were devastated by the news that the United States is standing aside to let the Turks massacre the Kurdish troops, and more than one expressed a deep sense of shame.

      • US to deploy additional troops, aircraft, missile systems to Saudi Arabia

        The U.S. will send two fighter squadrons, one Air Expeditionary Wing, two Patriot missile system batteries holding missiles and a launcher, and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

      • World Heritage Site Attacked in Cameroon

        When Cameroon ratified the World Heritage Convention in 1982, it pledged to protect and preserve its rich historical and cultural heritage. Cameroon is also party to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property. Now, it faces a crucial test in keeping these promises following an attack by government troops on a sacred site of great cultural importance.

      • The Pentagon is Pledging to Reform Itself, Again. It Won’t.

        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.

      • The Empire Is Running Out of War Stories. Or is it? Will American Exceptionalism Rise Again?

        American Exceptionalism remains one of the innermost ideas shaping our national identity and still lies behind all of the war stories used to justify US foreign policy. Exceptionalism has been a part of American culture since the very first European settlers landed.

      • Pentagon: U.S. Not Abandoning Kurds in Face of Turkish Attack

        Top Pentagon officials on Friday denied the U.S. is abandoning its Syrian Kurdish allies in the face of a Turkish military offensive, although the future of a counterterrorism partnership with the Kurds was in grave doubt.

      • Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally

        In a field beside a disused railway station on the plain just south of the Syrian-Turkish frontier, a brigade of Syrian Kurdish soldiers were retraining in order to resist an invasion by the Turkish army. “We acted like a regular army when we were fighting Daesh [Isis],” Rojvan, a veteran Kurdish commander of the YPG (People’s Protection Units), told me. “But now it is we who may be under Turkish air attack and we will have to behave more like guerrillas.”

      • Pathways to Peace

        Remarks on October 4, 2019 at NoWar 2019 in Limerick, Ireland.

      • A Bittersweet Nobel Prize for Ethiopia’s Leader

        The awarding of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his efforts to achieve “peace and international cooperation” will come as bittersweet news for many in Ethiopia and neighboring countries.

      • Donald Trump, the Christian Warrior

        It turns out that President Donald Trump has a “top religion advisor.” This is surprising because there is no evidence that President Trump has a “top religion,” or any religion at all. The only regular activities to occupy this president’s church-going Sundays are rounds of golf and the composing of malicious Twitter messages.

      • Everything Going Wrong in Okinawa

        On 23 February 2016 Admiral Harry Harris, then Commander US Forces Pacific, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, was asked how the construction of the Futenma Replacement Facility was progressing. This refers to the super airbase the Japanese Defense Ministry is building at Henoko in northern Okinawa to house the units of the First Marine Air Wing now deployed at Futenma Air Station, in crowded central Okinawa.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • British journalists ‘being played like an instrument’ by No.10, say EU counterparts

        Journalists are being “co-opted into being useful idiots for No.10″, was one scathing comment among many made by foreign journalists at a conference on Brexit and the Media held in London by think tank UK in a Changing Europe.

        According to reports by the Press Gazette, international panellists singled out the UK media’s current over-reliance on off-the-record comments coming from Number 10.

    • Environment

      • Jane Fonda Arrested in D.C. During Climate Change Protest

        “Today, the United States Capitol Police arrested 16 individuals for unlawfully demonstrating on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol,” Capitol Police communications director Eva Malecki said in a statement to Variety. She added that all were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding.

      • Climate Change: All Talk No Action

        Awareness of climate change and the interconnected environmental crisis is growing throughout the world. Protest movements led by Extinction Rebellion and School Strike for Climate increase in number and scope, demands for action are repeated, louder and louder, anger and anxiety mounts. And yet politicians and corporations, complacent, trapped by outdated ideology and motivated by short term self-interest, respond inadequately if at all.

      • Climate Cthulhu: A Post-Modern Horror Story

        It is October 2019, dearest motherfuckers, and we are living in a horror story. To say that these are apocalyptic times seems to be a gross understatement. The Biblical notion of Armageddon, what with the gnashing of teeth and pillars of salt, seems almost quaint in our age, like some new attraction at Disney World where the Dipping Dots are served up to the kiddos by friendly leather-clad catamites. The Thunderdome looks like a goddamn jungle gym when compared to the Lovecraftian horrors of climate change. Mankind itself is being stalked by a colossal beast of our own creation with tentacles reaching far and wide across the globe.

      • Hurricanes wreak greater havoc as temperatures soar

        Devastation caused by the most powerful hurricanes has increased by up to twentyfold, according to a newly-identified pattern in natural disasters.

      • Four Ways Alaska’s Unending Warming Impacts Everyone
      • Methane SOS

        Global warming is on speed, especially in northern latitudes where an international team of scientists led by Igor Semiletov of Tomsk Polytechnic University, Russia’s oldest technical institution, recently made a startling discovery aboard the Academic Mstislav Keldysh (see photo above), the kind of discovery that sends chills down the spine, i.e., “methane bubbles boiling in water.”

      • Energy

        • New Report Reveals Oil Waste in CA Aquifers
        • Saudi Aramco is raring to go public [iophk: unlooading stranded assets onto fools]

          In March the company announced it would pay $69bn for a 70% stake in SABIC, a petrochemical company owned by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. In April it issued bonds to help finance the deal, which will help Aramco expand its downstream business, a strategic priority (underscored by its decision in August to buy 20% of the refining-and-chemicals business of Reliance, an Indian conglomerate). The bond prospectus amounted to a 469-page dress rehearsal for required IPO disclosures.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Logging Wild and Scenic River Corridors in the Name of Reducing Wildfires is a Really Bad Idea

          The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is proposing to log the Lostine Wild and Scenic River corridor. The basic justification is to reduce the potential for large wildfires.

        • How the Alliance for the Wild Rockies Stopped Trump From Bulldozing Cabinet-Yaak and Selkirk Grizzly Bears into Extinction

          Under President Trump’s watch, the last remaining mountain caribou in the Lower 48 states went extinct just a few months ago. Like the Cabinet-Yaak grizzly bear in Northwest Montana and the Selkirk grizzlies in Northern Idaho, the mountain caribou lived primarily on National Forest lands in the Northern Rockies, had a population of fewer than 50 individuals, and was driven to extinction by logging and roads.

        • Authorities Order 100,000 Evacuated in California Wildfire

          A wildfire raged out of control along the northern edge of Los Angeles early Friday, forcing thousands of people from their homes as firefighters battled flames from the air and on the ground.

        • California’s humpback whales are threatened by shipping traffic

          Indeed, marine researchers in the Bay Area are concerned the increased ship traffic stemming from Fleet Week will harm the region’s vulnerable population of humpback whales. As of Friday afternoon, researchers at The Marine Mammal Center spotted two humpback whales, a cetacean stock they believe breeds in Baja and migrates north, often swimming under the Golden Gate Bridge.

          Humpback whales lingering, feeding, and breaching under the Golden Gate Bridge is a new phenomenon. In 2012, researchers photographed humpbacks outside of the Golden Gate strait. In 2015, they documented them swimming closer to the bridge. In April 2016, humpback whales started to swim under the bridge and into the San Francisco Bay. Since then, they have witnessed more whales pay a visit and for longer — sometimes 15 at a time in the Bay. This is because they “follow the food,” Dr. Tim Markowitz, a Research Associate at The Marine Mammal Center’s Cetacean Field Research Program, told Salon. Humpbacks filter feed on tiny crustaceans like krill and small fish like anchovies.

          “It says a lot about the health of the San Francisco Bay,” Markowitz said. “Ecologically, we are doing well, they go where the food is, a lot of that is the good news, but the downside is they are living, feeding, foraging, they are doing a lot of diving, and they are doing this in an urban environment.”

    • Finance

      • U.S. Suspends Plans to Hike Tariffs on Chinese Imports

        The Trump administration is suspending a tariff hike on $250 billion in Chinese imports that was set to take effect Tuesday, and China agreed to buy $40 billion to $50 billion in U.S. farm products as the world’s two biggest economies reached a cease-fire in their 15-month trade war.

      • A Sacramento King’s Ransom: Local Tax Dollars and the Owner’s Wealth

        It was an historic first of local, national and global scope. The Sacramento Kings NBA basketball team played an exhibition game against the Indian Pacers in Mumbai, India recently. Reporting in a flagship U.S. newspaper is instructive.

      • Those Quaint Corporate Scandals in Japan

        I was struck by a New York Times article on the disruptions within the corporate hierarchy at Nissan, the huge Japanese automaker.

      • Russian lawmakers’ talk of limiting foreign ownership in tech companies crashes Yandex stocks

        On October 11, the value of shares in the Russian tech company Yandex plummeted on the Moscow Stock Exchange, falling roughly 18 percent over the course of the day. The company’s shares suffered similar losses after trading opened on the Nasdaq in the United States. Yandex’s total capitalization losses are estimated at 100 billion rubles (almost $1.6 billion), echoing market fluctuations a year ago, when Sberbank was reportedly close to buying part of Yandex.

      • The New Workers’ Revolution is Afoot

        Last year TechCrunch ran a piece postulating “What If Google unionized?” after over 20,000 Google workers walked out of their offices in protest of how the tech giant has handled harassment and discrimination cases in recent years. Google’s response to this walkout and internal protests related to the layoff of 34 contract programmers was to address some of the problems raised. For instance earlier this year, Google said that companies which contract out its internal jobs must offer all temp workers paid sick days, paid parental leave, comprehensive health care, and tuition reimbursement. Google also claimed that contracting companies would have to agree to pay these workers a minimum of $15 an hour.

      • What Life on the Margins Feels Like

        My campus, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is in an uproar over a video to promote the school’s homecoming that features no students of color.

      • Liberals, Class and the Joker Complex

        Warning: this article contains spoilers

        [...]

        Class then is the elephant in the room where the reaction to Joker is concerned; as the social roots of Arthur Fleck’s descent into murderousness and madness, social class and its consequences is unmistakable in, amongst other things, his poverty, the medicate-the-alienation-away approach of his psychiatric treatment, the tokenistic social supports (which are defunded thanks to incipient neoliberal austerity halfway through the film anyway), and his mother’s abandonment at the hands of a wealthy ex-lover who knocked her up and ran.

      • Paying College Athletes: California Takes on the NCAA

        California has taken a major step towards giving student-athletes the rights they deserve. On September 30, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act, which lets college athletes to make money off of their name and likeness. This would allow them to make money off of things like jersey sales, endorsements, and autographs.

      • Inequality is Literally Killing Us

        What do the folks at the U.S. Census Bureau do between the census they run every 10 years? All sorts of annual surveys, on everything from housing costs to retail sales.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Shepard Smith Abruptly Departs Fox News

        Shepard Smith, whose newscast on Fox News Channel seemed increasingly an outlier on a network dominated by supporters of President Trump, abruptly quit after working at Fox since it started in 1996.

      • Former Ambassador to Ukraine Says Trump Pushed to Oust Her

        Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told lawmakers Friday that President Donald Trump pressured the State Department to oust her from her position.

      • Moscow prosecutors wanted to seize opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s home

        The Moscow District Attorney’s Office asked the city’s courts to seize the apartment owned by Alexey Navalny as an injunctive measure in a lawsuit against the anti-corruption activist. In a post on Instagram, Navalny said the 78.5-square-meter (845-square-foot) apartment is his “only major asset.” 

      • Why Are Americans So Confused About the Meaning of “Democratic Socialism”?

        The meaning of democratic socialism―a mixture of political and economic democracy―should be no mystery to Americans. After all, socialist programs have been adopted in most other democratic nations. And, in fact, Americans appear happy enough with a wide range of democratic socialist institutions in the United States, including public schools, public parks, minimum wage laws, Social Security, public radio, unemployment insurance, public universities, Medicare, public libraries, the U.S. postal service, public roads, and high taxes on the wealthy.

      • On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence

        No political “Left” can or should exist that…

      • The Meaning of Donald Trump

        Our crippled political system has produced a president who is clearly mentally ill and unfit for the office he holds. His narcissistic self-love only allows him to embrace people who are unstintingly loyal to him, indifferent to his cruelty and barbarity. His inner circle comprises family members and political cronies like Mike Pence willing to genuflect before him in exchange for a taste of power. The flip side of Trump’s neurosis is that “strangers” (especially foreigners of darker hue), and those who show disloyalty by questioning him, are enemies who must be ridiculed, bullied, excluded, and punished. His pathological behavior is daily offered up to the American public by a media establishment eager to capitalize on his calculated outrageousness. In this toxic mix of tyrannical behavior and gleeful exploitation not a shred of decency is to be found. Trump’s presidency makes Americans spectators at a Marx Brothers movie we watch in hypnotic fascination. Then we review it on Twitter.

      • The Impeachment of Trump Is a Deep-Democratic Coup Against Elizabeth Warren

        Some Republicans see the Ukraine/Biden impeachment inquiry as a deep-state coup attempt against President Trump. Some progressives are beginning to scratch the surface of an alternative, but equally cynical, analysis that I think leftists ought to consider…

      • Trump’s End Days

        Consciousness of time passing seldom accords with what clocks and calendars tell us. The discord is especially acute in these days of Trump-induced, ever changing “breaking news.”

      • Trump’s Opponents Have Him Beat . . . When It Comes to Incompetence

        If Trump were to finally shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, Nancy Pelosi and Jerrold Nadler and company would not declare it acceptable, absolutely not. But what they would do would be to open a months-long investigation into the history of the victim, what Trump had said earlier in the day, who had manufactured the gun, and — above all — what foreign government they could blame it on.

      • Britain’s Pro-Brexit Press: When in Doubt, Blame the Irish

        The deadline for Britain to come up with a deal under which it would exit from the European Union is less than a month away. With no agreement in sight between Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a hardline Brexiteer, and his EU counterparts, the country has been jittery, to say the least. Political rebellions in Parliament and blows against Johnson in the courts have had people guessing: Will Johnson resign as prime minister, or renege on his promise that he will not ask for an extension on the October 31 deadline?

      • Mike Elk on GM Strike, Trinity Tran on Public Banking
      • Cougar 2020?

        It’s Kink Month, and the U.S. Presidential Election is getting its kink-on. No, the Trumpus isn’t getting spanked by Ivanka or cuckolded by Melania (then again, maybe he is).

      • Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns

        Establishment efforts to isolate ‘corruption’ narrowly in the persons of Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, rely on a conception of it that makes sense only within political economy that ceased to function for the rest of us some decades ago. Understood outside of Washington and New York is that the exchange of campaign contributions for legislative outcomes is the antithesis of democracy. The first casualty of the insider farce of impeachment will most likely be the Senator from MBNA, Joe Biden.

      • Fake News in Trump’s America

        “Fake news” has become a household term in contemporary discourse. A review of the Nexis Uni database shows that, in any given week, it appears in dozens of news stories in elite newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post, and in hundreds of segments across American television media. In the first 10 days following Nancy Pelosi’s announced impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump, “fake news” was referenced in relation to “Trump” and “impeachment” in nearly 1,200 newsprint articles in English-language media.

      • Why Trump is Facing Impeachment

        Granted Trump may arguably be more corrupt than Biden. But that’s splitting hairs over which crook is more crooked. Bullying vassal states and “doing well by doing good” are indicators of finesse in Washington. Inside the beltway, corruption is not a liability for holding high political office, but a requirement. The key to membership in the power elite club is carrying water for the imperial state, and most club members must go through an elaborate vetting process to prove that they are reliable. Some such as Trump slip through.

      • IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago

        “Will he really come?” she worried.

      • Administrative Torture: Free Heba al-Labadi, a Jordanian Citizen in Israeli Prison

        On August 20, Heba Ahmed al-Labadi fell into the dark hole of the Israeli legal system, joining 413 Palestinian prisoners who are currently held in so-called administrative detention.

      • Upcoming Elections Represent Testing Time for Bolivia’s Socialist Government

        Bolivian President Evo Morales and Vice President Álvaro García Linera are presently campaigning for their fourth terms in office. In elections set for October 20, Morales, candidate of the Movement to Socialism Party (MAS), is polling 15 points ahead of ex-President Carlos Mesa of the Citizen Community Party. Seven other presidential candidates are competing. The odds favor a first round victory for Morales. The voting will also determine the make-up of Bolivia’s Congress.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • More Fallout From The Hong Kong Protests Hitting eSports

        We were just discussing how the NBA and Blizzard each responded to the thin-skinned Chinese government’s pressure on each in the wake of statements made supporting the Hong Kong protests that have raged for months now. The Blizzard half of that conversation involved the company yanking prize money and issuing a 1 year ban on a Hearthstone champion going by the handle Blitzchung, who stated support for the protests to sign off of a recent stream — which, Blizzard claims, violated contest rules. The backlash to Blizzard’s decision, was swift and severe. Unlike the NBA, which backtracked on its own appeasing comments to the Chinese government, Blizzard hasn’t budged an inch.

      • [Old] Twitter Analysis: Identifying A Pro-Indonesian Propaganda Bot Network

        These findings came after capturing activity from Twitter using the #WestPapua and #FreeWestPapua tags from August 29 — September 2, 2019. The captured data was used to perform the network analysis.

        Using this data, I built an itemised dataset of:

        Usernames that tweeted the above tags

        Usernames that retweeted and liked the posts

        Timestamps

        URL

        The type of activity (tweet, retweet, quote, mention).

        With this working dataset, I was able to visualise the respective networks via the open source visualisation platform Gephi. Below is a visualisation of the entire capture.

      • How Impeachment Is Being Spun

        The facts are themselves crucially important, of course. But finding the truth in politics often means wading through ankle-deep, barnyard-sweet bullshit. The spin. The grandstanding. The press conferences in front of helicopters and flags.

        So let’s be organized about this and lay things out as they are on October 11, from facts to spin to public opinion.

      • Haiti Protesters March to Affluent Suburb to Await President’s Resignation

        Thousands of protesters were in the streets of Haiti’s capital Friday, marching toward the affluent suburb of Petionville where they say they will wait for the President Jovenel Moise’s letter of resignation.

      • Silicon Valley Cynicism in the Age of Trump and Zuckerberg

        Second, Facebook just reversed its policies on trying to keep demonstrable lies from its platform in a way that protects President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. “Even if the substance of that claim has been debunked elsewhere,” a Facebook executive explained about the new policy, “if the claim is made directly by a politician on their page, in an ad, or on their website, it is considered direct speech and ineligible for our third-party fact checking program.” Thus, we all learned about the conveniently valuable “politician exemption” to rules against manipulating the public on Facebook.

      • Hong Kong Is the Latest Tripwire for Tech Firms in China

        On Wednesday morning, Mark Kern sat down with his 12-year-old son to tell him the guild was breaking up. Kern had been involved with World of Warcraft from the very beginning—a game developer himself, he was the original team leader for the title when Blizzard Entertainment launched it in 2004—and was a steadfast player of WoW Classic, a throwback version of the game that launched in August. Yet, things had changed. Over the weekend, an esports player for another Blizzard title, Hearthstone, had shouted a Hong Kong protest slogan on the game’s official Taiwanese livestream; in response, Activision Blizzard suspended the player from high-level competitive play for a year and said it would not pay out his past winnings, claiming that he had violated rules barring acts that “offend a portion or group of the public.”

      • Blizzard breaks its silence on controversial suspension of pro Hong Kong Hearthstone player

        Video game developer Blizzard Entertainment has finally broken its silence after banning a professional player of popular virtual card game Hearthstone for voicing support for the Hong Kong protests. In a lengthy statement, the company says it will reduce the one-year suspension of player Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung to a six-month one, and it will restore the prize money it withheld from him.

        Blizzard claims that its initial decision was not influenced by its relationship with China. “The specific views expressed by blitzchung were not a factor in the decision we made. I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision,” writes J. Allen Brack, the president of Blizzard Entertainment.

      • Protestors are trying to get Overwatch banned in China, using memes of popular hero Mei [iophk: tweets in place of sources :( ]

        People are furious after Blizzard Entertainment suspended Hearthstone player Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai for expressing support for Hong Kong during an official tournament broadcast. Gamers are calling for a boycott of Blizzard games — and now, some are turning Overwatch hero Mei into a symbol of the Hong Kong resistance.

        A post yesterday on the r/HongKong subreddit suggested people turn Mei, a Chinese Overwatch hero, into a “pro-democracy symbol” to get “Blizzard’s games banned in China.” (China already censors Winnie the Pooh after the internet began associating the character with president Xi Jinping.) The post has been upvoted more than 12,000 times, and has more than 300 comments, plenty of which are images of Mei supporting Hong Kong. The movement has spread outward into Twitter and elsewhere.

      • Why Hong Kong’s secret societies are attacking protesters

        The claim, at a glance, feels counterintuitive. Why would Hong Kong’s mafioso take time away from extorting shopkeepers and dealing heroin to beat down protesters?

        But beneath Hong Kong’s surface are complex power dynamics — a world where gangsters can be pro-China patriots and, for crime bosses, terrorizing a protest might actually be a smart investment.

      • Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill

        The government-appointed body would be given the power to subpoena communications, a sticking point that raised red flags for First Amendment advocates concerned about government surveillance.

        A source familiar with the legislation told The Hill they were immediately concerned that the subpoena power could be abused, questioning whether it would unintentionally create another avenue for the government to obtain private conversations on social media between Americans.

        The draft bill would require companies to “make reasonable efforts” to remove any personally identifiable information from any communications they handed over. But that provision has not satisfied tech and privacy groups.

      • Ecuador: Reports of Excessive Response to Protest Violence

        Ecuadorian authorities should investigate and hold accountable demonstrators who committed serious acts of violence and members of security forces who responded with excessive force during ongoing anti-government protests.

      • Maldives: Human Rights Group Shut Down

        The Maldives government, on October 10, 2019, “temporarily” shut down the Maldives Democracy Network (MDN), the country’s leading human rights organization, Human Rights Watch said today.

      • The Hong Kong protests reveal how our faces are becoming a key battleground for privacy and freedom

        The protests in Hong Kong are much in the news. But for readers of this blog, there’s a particular reason why they are of interest. Mainland China is well known for its advanced and pervasive surveillance systems, and Hong Kong naturally shares many of its approaches. Protesting in the region therefore requires new skills in order to circumvent attempts by the local government to clamp down on such actions. Some are quite low-tech, for example a unique system of hand signals, used to send messages through the crowd about what equipment is required. Others are born digital – like the app HKmap.live, which crowdsources the real-time locations of Hong Kong police vehicles, riot and special tactical police, and locations where tear gas has been fired. It worked so well that it’s just been removed by Apple following pressure by the Chinese government.

      • Anti-Safe Space Crusader Bret Stephens Apparently Needs A Safe Space: Backs Out Of Bedbug Debate

        IN 2017, NY Times columnist Bret Stephens gave a commencement address at Hampden-Sydney College that he then repurposed as one of his NY Times columns entitled: “Leave Your Safe Spaces.” The entire theme was that college students are way too soft intellectually, and they’ve been coddled and are too afraid to debate difficult and dangerous ideas. He mocks the concept of safe spaces, and suggests that it diminishes ones ability to truly seek the truth. Near the end, it states:

      • ‘The Irishman’ Ban Once Again Shows Hollywood’s Disdain For Netflix is Stupid & Counterproductive

        For years Hollywood has seen Netflix as a mortal enemy because of the company’s interest in disrupting the entertainment industry. Hollywood has been particularly vocal about how Netflix is “destroying” the traditional, sticky-floor, brick and mortar theater business because it wants to modernize antiquated release window rules from a bygone era. For example, Netflix content was banned from Cannes last year largely because the company wouldn’t adhere to France’s absurd cultural exception law that requires a 36-month delay between theatrical release and streaming availability.

      • How A Right To Be Forgotten Stifles A Free Press And Free Expression

        Thankfully, recently, the EU’s Court of Justice, has limited the scope of the “right to be forgotten,” so that sites can’t be forced to censor content outside of the EU. However, it still does apply within the EU, and that has real and significant consequences.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Secret Court Rules That the FBI’s “Backdoor Searches” of Americans Violated the Fourth Amendment

        EFF has long maintained that it is impossible to conduct mass surveillance and still protect the privacy and constitutional rights of innocent Americans, much less the human rights of innocent people around the world.

        This week, we were once again proven right. We learned new and disturbing information about the FBI’s repeated and unjustified searches of Americans’ information contained in massive databases of communications collected using the government’s Section 702 mass surveillance program.

      • After Jack Hack, Government Starts Taking Wireless ‘SIM Hijacking’ Seriously

        Wireless carriers have been under fire for failing to protect their users from the practice of SIM hijacking. The practice involves posing as a wireless customer, then fooling a wireless carrier to port the victim’s cell phone number right out from underneath them, letting the attacker then pose as the customer to potentially devastating effect. Back in February, a man sued T-Mobile for failing to protect his account after a hacker, pretending to be him, ported out his phone number, then managed to use his identity to steal thousands of dollars worth of cryptocoins.

      • DOJ And DNI’s Attempt To Bury Whistleblower Report Yet Another Indication Of The Official Channels’ Uselessness

        The official channels don’t work. That’s the message Snowden sent — one that was countered by multiple high-level government officials who’d never had the whistle blown on them.

      • Facebook and Twitter say they will allow candidates to pay them to be able to lie about opponents

        Trump has been buying ads with false content that run on Facebook and Twitter, and the two social media platforms both say they will continue to accept paid ads that contain lies.

      • Twitter and Facebook won’t remove false Trump campaign ads about Biden

        Facebook and Twitter have both refused to remove ads placed by Donald Trump’s reelection campaign because they don’t break their policies—even if the content is false.

        The news: This week, Joe Biden’s presidential campaign sent letters pleading with Facebook and Twitter to block advertisements that claim he coerced Ukraine into firing a prosecutor targeting his son Hunter. The claim has been debunked by media outlets and even Republican politicians as a baseless conspiracy theory, but Facebook and Twitter have said their policies allow the ads to run.

        What are their policies? [...]

      • 5 things to know about Edward Snowden’s ‘Permanent Record’

        Granted asylum by Russia, Mr. Snowden remains in Moscow, where he has been living since 2013. After disclosing the stolen materials to journalists in a Hong Kong hotel room, Mr. Snowden sought to travel to Ecuador to seek political asylum. The first leg of the journey landed him in Russia, where he received news that the U.S. government canceled his passport. The Russian government denied U.S. requests to extradite him. Under the conditions of his asylum, he is permitted to remain in Russia until at least 2020.

        The week that “Permanent Record” was published, Mr. Snowden told “CBS This Morning” that he would like to return to the U.S., but wants a trial with “a public interest defense,” where a jury could consider his motivations and the public interest of what was revealed by the materials. The Espionage Act provides no public interest defense.

      • Edward Snowden Deserves to Be Tried by a Jury of His Peers, Just Like Everyone Else

        The Department of Justice has denied Edward Snowden’s request for a jury trial, calling instead for a closed-door trial in front of a judge—it says that the special procedures necessary for a trial of this sort preclude a jury trial, and that he should not be allowed to mount a “public interest” defense. But neither reasons are consistent with the reason we have jury trials in the first place: to democratically authorize the force of law and punishment at the moment it is most needed. If Snowden is to stand trial, it might be in his best interest—and it is certainly in the interest of our nation—for him to have a jury trial.

      • Microsoft’s LinkedIn loses appeal over access to user profiles

        The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals let stand an August 2017 preliminary injunction that required LinkedIn, a Microsoft Corp unit with more than 645 million members, to give hiQ Labs Inc access to publicly available member profiles.

        The 3-0 decision by the San Francisco appeals court sets back Silicon Valley’s battle against “data scraping,” or extracting information from social media accounts or websites, which critics say can equate to theft or violate users’ privacy.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Don’t Leave Equality to the Supreme Court

        Are you a woman? Imagine if you were fired for wearing a skirt to work.

      • California to End its Use of Private, For-Profit Prisons

        California will ban the use of for-profit, private detention facilities, including those under contract to the federal government to hold immigrants awaiting deportation hearings, under a bill that Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday that he had signed.

      • We Can’t Hug Away Injustice

        We caught a glimpse of humanity recently when Amber Guyger, a former Dallas police officer convicted of murdering Botham Jean, was embraced with compassion by the victim’s brother.

      • ‘This isn’t the Donbas’ A kickboxing world champion becomes governor, a former Ukrainian separatist leader becomes city manager, and Kalmykia’s capital devolves into protests

        In late September, protests broke out in Elista, the capital of Russia’s Republic of Kalmykia. Elista’s residents were angry that Dmitry Trapeznikov, who formerly led the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic in Ukraine, had been appointed their city’s acting manager. Hundreds of demonstrators have taken to the streets so far, and local opposition activists have applied for a permit to hold a larger protest on Sunday, October 13. Meduza special correspondent Andrey Pertsev reported on how a pro-Russian politician from eastern Ukraine turned up in a southern Russian republic and why his appearance has put a stop to what seemed to be the glorious political rise of former world kickboxing champion Batu Khasikov. 

      • Lynch mob attacks police van after local man murders nine-year-old girl in Russian city

        On the evening of October 10, police in Saratov located the body of a murdered nine-year-old girl named Liza Kiselyova, who went missing on her way to school, the previous morning. Her remains were discovered in a garage in the city’s Kirovsky District. Several hundred volunteers from the local community and the “Liza Alert” organization had mobilized to find the missing girl.

      • Fears Over a Nepal-China Extradition Treaty

        As Nepal gets ready to welcome President Xi Jinping of China on October 12, 2019, it appears that the two countries are preparing to sign an extradition treaty.

      • Indonesian Woman Tried for Blasphemy Over Mosque Incident

        An Indonesian woman with a psychosocial disability faces up to five years in prison for an altercation at a mosque, the latest victim of Indonesia’s toxic “blasphemy” law.

      • Teen Girls Need Access to Safe and Legal Abortion

        Today, on International Day of the Girl, we have an opportunity to reflect on what life could be like if girls around the world had access to safe and legal abortion.

      • #Metoo Hits Nepal’s Government

        A senior political figure in Nepal, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, was recently arrested on suspicion of rape.

      • ICE And CBP Workers Are Turning To This Immigration Protest Group For Help Leaving Their Agencies

        The Never Again Action group, which was organized by Jewish community members in the U.S. determined to “never let anything like the Holocaust happen again,” launched the job support site ahead of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, calling for a “mass exodus and atonement” for ICE workers.

        While that “mass exodus” did not come, Never Again Action Atlanta organizer Emily Baselt told Newsweek on Thursday that she was still “floored by the response” to the initiative, with at least five ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency workers coming forward to ask for help quitting their jobs.

        Initially, organizers thought that requests for support would be limited to Atlanta, but they were surprised to find that the five requests they received came from outside the Georgia city, with ICE and CBP officers approaching the organization from cities across the country.

      • ‘Girls Do Porn’ Employees Charged With Sex Trafficking, Potentially Face Life in Prison

        Now, the feds have stepped in. Girls Do Porn owner Michael Pratt, as well as lead videographer Matthew Wolfe and the films’ main actor Ruben “Andre” Garcia are charged with sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion. All three, plus administrative assistant Valerie Moser, are charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.

        If they’re convicted, they face a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

      • Manchester Arndale stabbings: Praise for people who ‘intervened’ in attack

        A Manchester Arndale worker and a member of the public have been praised for helping to stop a suspect who stabbed three people.
        A man “lunged” at people in the shopping centre on Friday and attacked a 19-year-old woman, a man in his 50s and another woman, who are in hospital.
        Two others were hurt, but none of the injuries are thought to be life-threatening.
        The suspect has been detained under the Mental Health Act.
        Witnesses said people were “screaming and running” as they evacuated the centre after a man started to attack shoppers with a large knife.

        [...]

        Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said officials were keeping an “open mind”.
        “It’s important not to jump to any conclusions although what I can say is that, at this stage, it would appear to be more mental-health related than political or religiously motivated.
        He said the attack appeared to be “an isolated incident” and urged people to “go about their weekend” as they had planned.

      • Pensioner handcuffed after garden shears are mistaken for sword

        “Once he had been detained it was established the item he was carrying was a pair of shears and he had been trimming some hedges.

      • A strike at General Motors is hitting its suppliers hard

        Dale Rogers, a supply-chain expert at Arizona State University who grew up near Detroit, still has family working at GM. For every worker at a car plant owned by the big carmakers and affected by a strike, he recalls, the rule of thumb used to be that ten workers at suppliers in neighbouring cities like Toledo and Lansing would suffer. “When Detroit catches a cold, Toledo gets pneumonia,” he says, invoking a local adage. The rise of vehicle production in Tennessee and other parts of the American south means that Motor City no longer dominates carmaking. Even so, there is still truth in this old Michigander saying.

      • Take Their Feet Off Our Necks

        Our beloved Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the fiery advocate for gender equality, is a current Justice in the US Supreme Court.  Even before joining the Court, in 1973 Ginsburg argued the case of a female Air Force Officer who was denied a housing allowance because of  her gender, Ginsburg quietly quoted another female Abolitionist, “All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”

      • The Rights of Nature

        “When the U.S. Constitution was ratified, women, indigenous peoples, and slaves were treated as property, without rights.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • One Weird Law That Interferes With Security Research, Remix Culture, and Even Car Repair

        How can a single, ill-conceived law wreak havoc in so many ways? It prevents you from making remix videos. It blocks computer security research. It keeps those with print disabilities from reading ebooks. It makes it illegal to repair people’s cars. It makes it harder to compete with tech companies by designing interoperable products. It’s even been used in an attempt to block third-party ink cartridges for printers.

        It’s hard to believe, but these are just some of the consequences of Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which gives legal teeth to “access controls” (like DRM). Courts have mostly interpreted the law as abandoning the traditional limitations on copyright’s scope, such as fair use, in favor of a strict regime that penalizes any bypassing of access controls (such as DRM) on a copyrighted work regardless of your noninfringing purpose, regardless of the fact that you own that copy of the work.  

      • One Weird Law That Interferes With Security Research, Remix Culture, and Even Car Repair
      • Spotify is Defective by Design

        I never used Spotify, since it contains DRM. Instead I still buy DRM-free CDs. Most of my audio collection is stored in free formats such as FLAC and Ogg Vorbis, or Red Book in the case of CDs, everything can be played by free players such as VLC or mpd.

        Spotify, which uses a central server, also spies on the listener. Everytime you listen a song, Spotify knows which song you have listened and when and where. By contrast free embedded operating systems such as Rockbox do not phone home. CDs can be baught anonymously and ripped using free software, there is no need for an internet commection.

    • Monopolies

      • Mindfulness and flexible working: in-house lawyers share wellbeing tips

        On World Mental Health Day we ask in-house lawyers and firms about wellbeing – as a survey reveals one in 16 younger attorneys has considered suicide

        In-house lawyers and private practice firms have stressed the importance of workplace initiatives to support mental wellbeing – as survey results reveal high stress levels in the IP attorney profession, particularly among trainees.

      • Why so many companies bailed on Facebook’s Libra project at once

        That was then. The first to ditch Libra was Paypal, which withdrew on October 4th. Then, over the course of a few hours on October 11th, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe and Mercado Pago all bailed on the project, with eBay tagging along for good measure. That meant every major US payment processor has exited the association. (The final remaining payment processor, PayU, has not responded to multiple requests for comment.) It’s an alarming turnaround for the Facebook-backed project, and the first clear indication that Libra’s founders may have bitten off more than they can chew.

        Losing five companies in the span of a couple hours might seem like a panicked rush for the door, but the timing matters. On October 14th, all the founding members are set to convene in Geneva for the first ever Libra Council meeting. That’s where they will hammer out the different roles to be played by the different parties and try to answer all the governance questions that aren’t spelled out in the initial white paper. Ultimately, that will result in a formal charter, with each member signing their name to the new agreement.

      • Facebook Is Losing Its Cover for Libra As More Members Flee

        Then there were 22. Last week, PayPal became the first to defect from the 28-member Libra Association, declining to participate in Facebook’s vision for global payments—a vision it helped seed. Now, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, eBay, and Mercado Pago have followed it out the door. The hurried exits come as the association prepares for its first meeting Monday in Geneva, where members had planned to formalize their participation in the cryptocurrency project.

      • Will Spanish Courts have to revisit their case law on follow-on damage claims after the CJEU judgment of 12 September 2019?

        Since the Ruling of 19 September 2012 from the Barcelona Court of Appeal (Section 15), this Court has taken the view that when a preliminary injunction is ordered “ex parte“, if it is later lifted, the applicant is always obliged to compensate the defendant for the damages that may have been caused. This conclusion has been based on Article 742 of the Civil Procedure Act (“Ley de Enjuiciamiento Civil“), which reads as follows:

        “Once the ruling upholding the opposition is final, at the request of the defendant and following the procedures established in Articles 712 and the following, the damages that the provisional measures revoked may have caused, as the case may be, will be determined.”

        In said Ruling of 19 September 2012, the Court interpreted this article as follows: “6. It does not seem doubtful that what the norm establishes is anything other than a strict responsibility; this is a responsibility that arises from the very fact of the revocation of the measure granted. This explains why the legislator refers to a procedure like that of Art. 712 LEC, whose sole purpose is to quantify the damage. Therefore, the existence of the damage is a necessary prerequisite for the opening of this incidental procedure and comes from the fact of the revocation itself.” In short, the Court found that this article enshrines a “strict” (i.e. objective) responsibility regime. In other words, any responsibility derived from the lifting of a preliminary injunction adopted “ex parte” would not follow the classical “fault” (i.e. “Iusta causa litigandi“) regime. Instead, it would follow a “strict” liability regime.

        [...]

        So, the teaching from this very important judgment is that a national Court must examine whether or not the application was “justified” (i.e. was there “Iusta causa litigandi?“) and that a “strict” liability regime would run counter to the objectives of the Directive. Taking into account that the Directive and the TRIPS Agreement have primacy over domestic law (in particular, over Article 742 of the Spanish Civil Procedure Act) and how the CJEU has interpreted the provisions discussed in this blog, there is a possibility that in future cases Spanish Courts may revisit this topic.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Facebook is Prevailing Party Even Though Case Dismissed as Moot

          In 2012 B.E. Sued Facebook for infringing the claims of its U.S. Patent 6,628,314. In 2013, the district court stayed the litigation pending inter partes review. The IPR proceedings ended in 2015 with a finding that the claims were unpatentable and the Federal Circuit affirmed that decision on appeal in 2016.

          Back at the district court, Facebook requested judgment on the pleadings in its favor and with prejudice while B.E. argued that the case should be dismissed for as moot rather than decided on the merits. The district court agreed with the patentee — once the claims were cancelled the lawsuit was moot and had to be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

          [...]

          Here, the Federal Circuit does not appear to be holding that there will always be a prevailing party when a case is dismissed as moot. Rather, B.E. v. Facebook is a special case involving the parallel inter partes review proceedings. What the court recognized effectively is that IPR proceedings are now part and parcel of the infringement litigation process and should be treated as such. This is one further step toward attuning the system so that the various tribunals are all playing by the same rules.

        • Executive Orders on Agency Practice

          The orders include several limitations on their scope and effect, but overall they’re very wide-reaching. I’m especially interested in the ways in which they might affect the USPTO, but really need to spend some time thinking through the implications. For example, on the one hand, the MPEP is specifically directed to examiners, not patent applicants. On the other hand, it’s often quoted directly by examiners in office action responses and relied on fairly heavily by applicants. Lots to unpack here.

          There are some great posts over at the Notice and Comment blog about the two orders. Thanks to Chris Walker for pointing these out.

        • Voting Machines, Patents, and National Security

          When standard-essential patents (SEPs) are in the news, it’s usually in the context of cellular or wireless networking standards. Maybe you’ve thought about how standards govern other things, ranging from audio-visual encoding standards like MP3 to threads on fire hydrants.

          [...]

          The problem would only get worse if the STRONGER Patents Act became law. In particular, the STRONGER Patents Act places a significant thumb on the scale in favor of issuing injunctions. An injunction based on a patent covering a voting system standard could quite literally threaten the ability of much of the country to conduct elections. And of the 338,072 patents issued in FY2018, more than half—177,564—were issued to residents of foreign countries.

          As we talk about SEPs and their potential national security impacts—the topic of an event on Tuesday, Oct. 15 in Washington, DC—and about patent policy more broadly, it’s important to keep in mind that we have a uniform patent system. While U.S. patents limit the behavior of U.S. entities, it might not be a U.S. entity who’s deciding whether and how to assert that patent.

        • USPTO Meets Pendency Goals for FY2019 [Ed: USPTO reduces patent quality and then brags about speed, never mind if courts throw out so many of these patents]

          In announcing that the Office had met its goals to reduce patent examination pendency, the Office indicated that at the same time, it had “maintained and indeed improved the quality of our examination.” The Office also noted that the efforts of its employees on increasing efficiencies to accelerate the overall patent examination process had resulted in, for example, a decrease in the average processing time for an amendment filed in a patent application from 26.2 days to 6.8 days.

          The Office pointed out that it will now “redouble our efforts to optimize pendency using considered analytics that make sense,” including improving how cases are routed to examiners and how examination time is allocated to examiners. With respect to first action pendency, the Office will now “strive to meet in as many cases as possible the time frames outlined by the patent term adjustment statute (35 U.S.C. 154b),” which means issuing a first office action in no more than 14 months.

        • OSI Pharmaceuticals, LLC v. Apotex Inc. (Fed Cir. 2019)

          Last week, the Federal Circuit overturned an obviousness determination in an inter partes review by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in OSI Pharmaceuticals LLC v. Apotex Inc. The Court also reaffirmed its holdings in earlier-decided cases that applying the IPR portion of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act to patents arising from applications filed before enactment of the AIA is not unconstitutional.

          [...]

          Turning to the question of whether the cited art would provide the required reasonable expectation of success, the panel held that “properly read” the cited art did not. Regarding the combination of the Schnur and Gibbs references, “the asserted references do not disclose any information about erlotinib’s efficacy in treating NSCLC in a mammal” according to the Court. The Schnur reference “fails to disclose any in vitro or in vivo efficacy data for erlotinib or otherwise suggest the use of erlotinib to treat NSCLC” and Gibbs, “[p]roperly read in context,[] discloses only that erlotinib inhibits the EGFR and has good anti-cancer activity in some cancers, not including NSCLC.” The absence of any data “or other promising information regarding erlotinib’s efficacy in treating NSCLC,” combined with the “highly unpredictable nature of treating NCSLC” precluded in the Court’s view these references from providing the skilled worker with a reasonable expectation of success regarding the claimed inventive methods.

          With regard to the combination of the Schnur reference and OSI’s 10-K document, the Court found fault with the Board’s reliance on the existence of Phase I and Phase II clinical trials in the 10-K document, again without any data or reference to data showing that erlotinib could successfully treat NSCLC. The panel also placed the Board’s reliance on the 10-K statements in the context of the failure of 1,630 putative EGFR-directed anti-cancer compounds (a 99.5% failure rate), and faulted the Board for not considering this evidence when weighing the reasonableness of any likelihood for success the 10-K disclosed information would have had on the skilled artisan. “These references provide no more than hope—and hope that a potentially promising drug will treat a particular cancer is not enough to create a reasonable expectation of success in a highly unpredictable art such as this” according to the opinion.

          The United States intervened over OSI’s other grounds for appeal, questioning the constitutionality of subjecting to inter partes review proceedings patents arising from applications filed before passage of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. The opinion notes that only after oral argument in this case did the Federal Circuit decide that applying IPR to pre-AIA patents is not a constitutional violation, in Celgene Corp. v. Peter, 931 F.3d 1342, 1362 (Fed. Cir. 2019); and Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., No. 2018-1584, 2019 WL 3938271, at *7 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 21, 2019). In the face of this precedent, OSI conceded and the panel entered judgment in accordance with its earlier decisions that applying the IPR statute to pre-AIA patents is not unconstitutional.

        • [Old] Company Tried to Patent My Work After a Job Interview

          Openly sharing your work brings more attention to it, which is good, right? The answer, for me though, is often “it’s complicated.” This is what happened when I went to visit a giant tech company, in hopes for collaboration, but later found that they tried to patent some of my research instead!

      • Trademarks

      • Copyrights

        • When it’s time to pay for copyright infringement: the new “fork in the road” under Colombian law

          Last year, the most significant modification yet to the Colombian Copyright Law (Law 23/1982) entered into force through the passing of Law 1915/2018. Amongst the long-awaited changes included was the establishment of compensation system (akin to statutory damages) for copyright infringement cases (pursuant to Article 32). A pre-established compensation system was first applied by the courts in industrial property cases (most notably trademark infringement matters), and it has proven successful. The purpose is to move the burden of proving the quantum of damages to the judge, thereby making the litigation process more affordable (although it must be noted that the pre-established amounts tend to be smaller those awarded under the general rules of compensation).

          [...]

          This decision is unquestionably reasonable, because it does not prefer one system over the other. Rather, it treats them as complementary possibilities available to the plaintiff in a copyright infringement action.

        • Robin McKenna’s GIFT Documentary Opens Today

          At the 2017 Creative Commons Global Summit, we hosted a special session with filmmaker Robin McKenna that featured an early look at her then-in-progress documentary GIFT. McKenna’s film is now completed and opens today in select cities in the US.

        • EFF to Court: Parody Book Combining Dr. Seuss and Star Trek Themes Is Fair Use

          San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged a federal appeals court today to rule that the creators of a parody book called “Oh The Places You’ll Boldly Go!”—a mash-up of Dr. Seuss and Star Trek themes—didn’t infringe copyrights in the Dr. Seuss classic “Oh The Places You’ll Go!”The illustrated, crowdsourced book combines elements found in Dr. Seuss children’s books, like the look of certain characters and landscapes, with themes and characters from the sci-fi television series Star Trek, to create a new, transformative work of creative expression, EFF said in a brief filed today.Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which licenses Seuss material, sued the book’s creators for copyright infringement. A lower court correctly concluded that the way in which the “Boldly” book borrows and builds upon copyrighted material in the Dr. Seuss book constitutes fair use under U.S. copyright law. EFF, represented by Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic and joined by Public Knowledge, the Organization for Transformative Works, Professor Francesca Coppa, comic book writer Magdalene Visaggio, and author David Mack, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to uphold the decision.

        • How A Key Story About The 1919 Black Sox Scandal Was Completely Made Up… Due To A Confused Understanding Of Copyright

          It’s baseball playoff season, and this week, as many have been highlighting, it’s actually the 100th anniversary of the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal, in which a bunch of players from the Chicago White Sox were later accused of deliberately throwing games in a deal with some gamblers. I’ve seen a few stories covering “facts and myths” about the scandal (which only really came to light the following year), but the NY Times has really great debunking of some myths about the scandal by the historian of Major League Baseball, John Thorn.

        • Trump’s Sons, Attorney, & Social Media Chief All Got DMCA Notices Over ‘Photograph’ Meme
        • ACE Also Wants Millions in Piracy Damages from SET TV Operator and Manager
        • Prince’s Estate Condemns Trump’s Use Of ‘Purple Rain’ At Campaign Rally

          Among all the other things that transpired at and around President Trump’s reelection campaign in Minneapolis Thursday night, his team played the music of a hometown hero: Prince’s “Purple Rain.” Soon after, the estate of Minnesota’s late musical hero made it clear just how unhappy it was — and shared a letter from Trump’s legal team from a year ago, in which the campaign explicitly promised not to use Prince’s music.

The New York Times About the Real Epstein-Software Scandal (Nothing to Do With Stallman)

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft at 2:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

2015: Thousands of Child Rape Photos Traded Out of Bill Gates’ Mansion

Summary: The media is belatedly catching up with and covering the real MIT scandal which extends far beyond MIT

FORGET about Dr. Richard Stallman and that phony ‘scandal’. This has just been published by a newspaper that has historically been eerily close to Gates and his sham ‘charity’:

In fact, beginning in 2011, Mr. Gates met with Mr. Epstein on numerous occasions — including at least three times at Mr. Epstein’s palatial Manhattan townhouse, and at least once staying late into the night, according to interviews with more than a dozen people familiar with the relationship, as well as documents reviewed by The New York Times.

Employees of Mr. Gates’s foundation also paid multiple visits to Mr. Epstein’s mansion. And Mr. Epstein spoke with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase about a proposed multibillion-dollar charitable fund — an arrangement that had the potential to generate enormous fees for Mr. Epstein.

“His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me,” Mr. Gates emailed colleagues in 2011, after his first get-together with Mr. Epstein.

[...]

Two members of Mr. Gates’s inner circle — Boris Nikolic and Melanie Walker — were close to Mr. Epstein and at times functioned as intermediaries between the two men.

Ms. Walker met Mr. Epstein in 1992, six months after graduating from the University of Texas. Mr. Epstein, who was an adviser to Mr. Wexner, the owner of Victoria’s Secret, told Ms. Walker that he could land her an audition for a modeling job there, according to Ms. Walker. She later moved to New York and stayed in a Manhattan apartment building that Mr. Epstein owned. After she graduated from medical school, she said, Mr. Epstein hired her as a science adviser in 1998.

Ms. Walker later met Steven Sinofsky, a senior executive at Microsoft who became president of its Windows division, and moved to Seattle to be with him. In 2006, she joined the Gates Foundation with the title of senior program officer.

At the foundation, Ms. Walker met and befriended Mr. Nikolic, a native of what is now Croatia and a former fellow at Harvard Medical School who was the foundation’s science adviser. Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Gates frequently traveled and socialized together.

[...]

Mr. Gates, in turn, praised Mr. Epstein’s charm and intelligence. Emailing colleagues the next day, he said: “A very attractive Swedish woman and her daughter dropped by and I ended up staying there quite late.”

Mr. Gates soon saw Mr. Epstein again. At a TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., attendees spotted the two men engaged in private conversation.
Later that spring, on May 3, 2011, Mr. Gates again visited Mr. Epstein at his New York mansion, according to emails about the meeting and a photograph reviewed by The Times.

The photo, taken in Mr. Epstein’s marble-clad entrance hall, shows a beaming Mr. Epstein — in blue-and-gold slippers and a fleece decorated with an American flag — flanked by luminaries. On his right: James E. Staley, at the time a senior JPMorgan executive, and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. On his left: Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Gates, smiling and wearing gray slacks and a navy sweater.

[...]

Some of the Gates Foundation employees said they had been unaware of Mr. Epstein’s criminal record and had been shocked to learn that the foundation was working with a sex offender. They worried that it could seriously damage the foundation’s reputation.

In early 2012, another Gates Foundation team met Mr. Epstein at his mansion. He claimed that he had access to trillions of dollars of his clients’ money that he could put in the proposed charitable fund — a figure so preposterous that it left his visitors doubting Mr. Epstein’s credibility.

[...]

Days before Mr. Epstein hanged himself in a Manhattan jail cell on Aug. 10, he amended his will and named Mr. Nikolic as a fallback executor in the event that one of the two primary executors was unable to serve. (Mr. Nikolic has declined in court proceedings to serve as executor.)

Mr. Nikolic, who is now running a venture capital firm with Mr. Gates as one of his investors, said he was “shocked” to be named in Mr. Epstein’s will. He said in a statement to The Times: “I deeply regret ever meeting Mr. Epstein.”

Update (11PM): “Bill Gates had much cozier relationship with ‘intriguing’ Jeffrey Epstein,” says one new report (citing the above), whereas another was entitled “Bill Gates Praised Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s Lifestyle: ‘Kind of Intriguing’,” stating that “Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, and Epstein met repeatedly starting in 2011, including at least three times at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse, according a Times report compiled from interviews with more than a dozen people familiar with the relationship, photographs, emails and other documents.”

Openwashing Reports Are on Hold

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 1:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: The need to stress Software Freedom and shun all that “open” nonsense has quickly become apparent; some of the people who oppose Stallman turn out to be “Open Source” proponents who don’t even value freedom of expression (free speech)

FOR TWO weekends in a row we did not post even a single “Openwashing Report”; this weekend too there probably won’t be one. Readers deserve an explanation because a few months back we said we’d like to make this a weekly feature. Then we lost momentum, not because openwashing examples became too scarce but because they’ve become too many and increasingly the ‘norm’; the moment there was something called Open Core Summit you just knew that Open Source had jumped the shark.

“We must now return to speaking in terms like Software Freedom. The term “open” is far too vague and often meaningless; it’s open to spin and misrepresentation or misinterpretation.”At one point we had someone volunteering to help us with research for “Openwashing Report”; one associate bemoaned the state of news regarding “open source”, alleging that almost everything became openwashing. I too felt that way, which is why I started this series in the first place.

We must now return to speaking in terms like Software Freedom. The term “open” is far too vague and often meaningless; it’s open to spin and misrepresentation or misinterpretation.

“More Open Than Open [...] I am constantly amazed at the flexibility of this single word.”

Microsoft’s Jason Matusow (further background in [1, 2, 3])

Support the GNU Project and Support Free Speech

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 1:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU IS NOT UNIX. GNU is not FSF either. GNU is RMS.

Summary: Techrights is loyal to Software Freedom and those eager to promote it; it cannot, however, support those who don’t support free speech

More articles of interest from Daniel Pocock (nowadays being censored covertly ‘canceled’ by so-called ‘communities’ of FOSS, including the FSF):

Today’s EPO is Working for Patent Trolls and the ‘Aye Pee’ (IP) ‘Industry’ Instead of Science

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Misusing words like “innovation” and “science” to promote predation and systemic taxation

Alison Orr

Summary: The EPO is making allegiances and alliances with groups that represent neither science nor businesses but instead push for monopolies, litigation and extortion; lawlessness appears to have become the EPO’s very objective instead of what it intends to tackle

THE European Patent Office (EPO) employs lots and lots of scientists. They join the Office assuming they’d be practicing science, not politics. They thought they’d be researching, but instead they’re being bullied by the likes of Battistelli and his sidekick António Campinos. They thought they’d reward innovation, but instead they’re compelled to grant patents (monopolies) on algorithms in defiance of the law which governs them. If examiners obey the law (EPC), they get bullied; if they break the law, they get to keep their job.

Welcome to Eponia, 2010-2019 edition!

“If examiners obey the law (EPC), they get bullied; if they break the law, they get to keep their job.”Please don’t speak about the people at the top floors. Doing so may constitute libel! Also, do not represent the interests of staff (as per underlying laws) or the people at the top floors will call you “nazi” and say you employ “snipers!”

The situation at the EPO is as toxic as ever, but it’s being kept underneath the surface, owing largely to complicit media, bribed by the EPO for its silence (there’s ample evidence of this, it’s not a secret). There are EPO-sponsored propaganda events from dedicated avenues that help control the flow of so-called ‘news’* .

We published some internal communications/letters several days ago [1, 2]. These help show what really goes on behind closed doors. “These two documents cover the most important topics and should help you not to lose sight of it,” our source noted,” and “[i]t may seem to the outside world that SUEPO is no longer active, but rest assured that they are alive and kicking! The SUEPO guys work very hard under the most difficult conditions, this should not be forgotten (even if this is not always obvious to the outside world, the reason for this is no secret and well known to everyone who has dealt with Eponia matters).”

“There are EPO-sponsored propaganda events from dedicated avenues that help control the flow of so-called ‘news’* .”The EPO likes to pretend that everything is rosy and constantly improving. The reality, however, is exactly the opposite as staff grows tired (now at breaking point, with “strike” being mentioned explicitly in official communications). Things are far from rosy and matters exacerbate rapidly.

Meanwhile, as predicted, Europe suffers from a spread or an epidemic of patent trolls. SMEs suffer the most. The EPO has posted more of these ridiculous “SME” tweets in recent days [1, 2] and then culminated in this tweet: “Be one of the first to find out how #SMEs successfully commercialise their most important inventions! Sign up now for this conference, where our latest study on European SMEs will be launched…”

“This is extremely misleading,” I responded. “You advertise an event of a patent trolls’ front group as “SME” something even though SMEs are those who suffer the most from the trolls you liaise with.”

“Things are far from rosy and matters exacerbate rapidly.”Have a look at the cited page as it speaks not about SMEs but a bunch of nonsensical agenda. “This conference,” it says, “jointly held by the EPO and the Licensing Executives Society International (LESI) with support of the government agency Enterprise Ireland, provides a platform for high-growth technology enterprises and others in their innovation ecosystem (see figure below) to learn about business strategy and IP management. An international team of highly experienced practitioners will share best practices on how to leverage patents for business success and help you to develop useful networks at regional and international levels.”

This event was also promoted here [1, 2] in the past couple of days and the EPO retweeted this tweet (from a prominent participant) who said: “Looking forward to participating in this @EPOorg and @LESIntl event for @inngot . Participate in this 2 Day event for only EUR150! Day 1 – conference for business decision makers and IP professionals; Day 2 – 1:1 coaching during IP clinics. Places still available.”

“These are the sorts of people whom the EPO deems representative of (of for) SMEs?”“No good reason to participate in an event of a patent trolls’ front group,” I responded, “and an agency that commits serious crimes every day…”

These are the sorts of people whom the EPO deems representative of (of for) SMEs? Have the EPO’s managers gone clinically insane?!?!

“Huawei and the likes of it are very wealthy; they can afford the legal battle, unlike SMEs.”Well, get used to it. This is today’s EPO. These are its allies. That’s the agenda.

We already know what it all leads to. Look no further than this new report about patent trolls in the UK, operating courtesy of the EPO in Germany:

For four days beginning Oct. 21, the U.K. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the joined cases of Unwired Planet International Ltd. v. Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Huawei Technologies v. Conversant Wireless Licensing SARL, and ZTE Corp. v. Conversant Wireless Licensing.[1] Among the questions presented is whether an English court — specifically, the Patents Court for England and Wales — is a proper forum for determining the terms of a global license for the use of fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory-committed standard-essential patents.[2]

Huawei and the likes of it are very wealthy; they can afford the legal battle, unlike SMEs. We don’t really know how many of them perish and shell out ‘protection’ money outside the courts (the legal process).

Sadly, this is becoming the new ‘normal’; this, at least to EPO management, is the desirable outcome. They’re squashing actual inventors to serve international monopolies and patent trolls.
_____
* Managing IP (MIP) is now bragging about being a media partner for a patent maximalists’ event. MIP is not an impartial reporter but a think tank of the litigation industry disguised as “news” (it’s clear who’s funding it). Surely the organisers of such events know it; but this is what they want. These events are lobbying platforms.

The Campinos Car Crash

Posted in Europe, Humour, Patents at 12:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reference: Immunity of the Intellectual Property Office of the European Union Causes Outrage in Spanish Media (António Campinos)

Licensing and Litigation, Science and Technology, and the EPO

Summary: The EPO is crashing and we know who’s to blame other than Battistelli

Software Patents (or Monopolies on Algorithms) Are Not ‘Property’ and They’re Not Even Legally Valid

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Patents at 11:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Months ago: Patents Are Not Property

AI is everything

Summary: The EPO insists that it’s OK to grant patents on just about everything and propaganda terms are being leveraged to justify this dangerous attitude

THE European Patent Office (EPO) is nowadays a leader in patent propaganda instead of leading on terms/criteria such as quality and reputation.

António Campinos has a track record of lying (since his previous employer) and his appointing authority belongs in prison with Benalla, not some fancy office in CEIPI.

Courts in Europe have repeatedly rejected European software patents. Those patents don’t stand much of a chance in court. Moreover, the EPC aside, they’re forbidden by several other branches, both pan-European and national/domestic (member states). The same is true in the US. Nothing has changed. We’ll share some new examples in our upcoming list of links. There are many cases cited in our daily links, where we nowadays mostly ‘shelve’ US patent news, especially outcomes of cases. So why are such patents still being granted? As Donald Zuhn explains, American patent pendency was reduced. Just like at the EPO, however, this means something bad. The USPTO reduced patent quality and then bragged about speed, never mind if courts throw out so many of these patents. Compliance with the law does not seem to bother these people. Just grant, grant, grant…

How do these offices justify this abuse of authority? Self-commissioned propaganda ‘dressed up’ as so-called ‘studies’…

“Intellectual property is an important economic driver,” the EPO wrote, linking to its latest bundle of lies. “Our latest study shows the impact of industries that make intensive use of IP rights on Europe’s GDP, employment and trade.”

So 2.5 weeks later the EPO is still repeating these lies and adding more misleading words (“IP”). They have been doing so every day in Twitter (except weekends), sometimes more than once per day. “Intellectual property” is an important propaganda term of patent law firms and the likes of them, who falsely equate monopoly with “property” and sometimes even mislabel that monopoly a “right” (as in “IPR”). It’s clear that today’s EPO fronts for law firms, not science or scientists. Also mind this new “EPO IP tools” video, which days ago the EPO promoted as follows: “Put your business idea in context using #intellectualproperty tools.”

What utter nonsense, like “AI” or “artificial intelligence…” (another misnomer)

Who does the EPO try to impress if not law firms? It’s all about litigation, not innovation. The EPO makes that so shallow and so easy to see. Some of our EPO leaks have shown similar things and have unearthed gross favouritism. Blatant and crude corruption.

See comments #2 and #3 here in Kluwer Patent Blog. Once again the EPO helps Microsoft monopoly. Not a Microsoft client? Not a Microsoft customer? Sorry. Excluded from service…

Microsoft is a leading proponent of software patents alongside IBM (hence it’s something Red Hat and Microsoft now have in common). It makes sense for the EPO to offer preferential services to Microsoft.

As we’ve mention like a dozen times before, the EPO keeps hyping up “hey hi” (“AI”), as do IBM and Microsoft. They nowadays mislabel just about anything “hey hi” — anything to do with automation, computers, algorithms and so on. It’s all “hey hi!”

The USPTO too is looking for excuses or loopholes by which to grant illegal, fake, bogus, incompatible-with-the-law software patents that are worthless (patents which courts would reject). It nowadays copies the EPO’s tricks by putting “hey hi” (a buzzword) right there in examiners’ guidelines.

Aaron Gin, longtime pusher of software patents in the US and elsewhere, hops on the “hey hi” bandwagon. Call everything “hey hi!” And just like “cloud” and “smart” it’s instantaneously “new” and “novel”…

This is what the USPTO is doing right now. In its own words (or questions):

1. What are the main elements of an AI-based invention?

[...]

12. Are there any relevant policies or practices from other major patent agencies that may help inform the USPTO’s policies and practices regarding patenting of AI inventions?

So much for ‘consultation’; they know responses will mostly come from the litigation ‘industry’. Why don’t they consult judges instead, knowing that SCOTUS, the Federal Circuit and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) would likely disapprove, citing 35 U.S.C. § 101 for starters? Because truth and law don’t matter. It’s all about money.

The EPO’s Universal Patent Injustice Concealed With Polyglottic Tricks

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 10:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

French management, German language, English-speaking applicants?!

From left to right: Benoît Battistelli, President of the EPO; Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services; Antonio Campinos, President of OHIM

Summary: The EPO is fooling nobody; it’s desperate to hide the very simple fact that Battistelli did something illegal and over the past few years every decision issued by the EPO was legally invalid (as per the EPC)

THERE are officially three languages at the European Patent Office (EPO), French, English and German. That in its own right is a controversial subject because Spanish is spoken by a lot more people and Spain is in Europe. Most member states can deal with English, some (like Belgium) feel OK with French and for 2 states as well as one to the west and several to the east German might be of some use (without fluency). But it’s clear that English is the most important language. The EPO’s Web site, for example, speaks English by default. As only the minority of European Patents are actually European (assigned to people of European nationality) that sort of makes sense. So how come the EPO selectively releases particularly important decisions in languages other than English? And only the spin (summary) is presented in English? It’s pretty clear that the EPO is trying to bury something, as it did when that one particular case (G2/19) was going on. The EPO went out of its way to produce media noise and distract from criticism, as we noted at the time. G2/19 isn’t just some ordinary case; if ruled in the particular way it could void many hundreds of prior decisions. It also concerns the crimes of Battistelli, gleefully perpetuated by his ‘butler’, António Campinos. This same court will soon decide on matters such as software patents in Europe. Shouldn’t we know whether the court’s decisions are legally valid? Considering the fact that the judges too (something through AMBA) complain about loss of autonomy? Shouldn’t European people (or businesses) be permitted to see what goes on behind this veil of secrecy? How rogue is the EPO willing to become? This dam will burst one day and it won’t be pretty.

“Shouldn’t European people (or businesses) be permitted to see what goes on behind this veil of secrecy?”Criminals tend to go out of their way to hide their crimes. The EPO’s managers are no exception. Why would they make it simpler for the public to observe their abuse? Instead of twisting, spinning, misleading etc. while making that come across as compliance with transparency policy/regulations?

The EPO’s attempt to suppress publication of this case has been chronicled here for months. Media of the patent microcosm mostly played along, as we noted around the time of this case. Riana Harvey wrote on Thursday: “Rose Hughes reports on case G2/19, which the Enlarged Board of Appeal released its full reasoning for. The appeal related to a case in which a third party had submitted observations pursuant to Article 115 EPC that a patent application lacked clarity.”

Go back to the original and notice the sole comment on that original: “Another possibility would be to learn German.. oh wait, what did they say about Britain? “Learning a foreign language is considered as flamboyant as wearing a crown in a bus”… well…”

“…it’s very clear what the EPO is doing.”How many Brits can speak German? How many people around the world in general have a grasp of the language? Maybe one percept of the world’s population can speak that at mother’s tongue level! Combine the population of Germany and Austria, as a fraction of about 8 billion people.

As we noted not so long ago, it’s very clear what the EPO is doing. It’s very clear why. To limit audience/people who are able to read the decision it was published only in German and as J A Kemp has just put it, weeks down the line there’s still no English translation, month after the decision itself (“currently only available in German”).

To quote “Decision From The Enlarged Board Of Appeal In G2/19″ (published before the weekend):

The EPO has issued a press release (see here), which summarises the full decision (currently only available in German here) from the Enlarged Board of Appeal in G2/19.

[...]

The second answer relates to the relocation of the Boards of Appeal to Haar from Munich. Interestingly, the Enlarged Board indicated that it was only required to rule on this matter insofar as it was related to the possible infringement of the procedural right of a party. The Enlarged Board concluded that holding oral proceedings in Haar does not infringe a party’s right to be heard and that mere perceived inconvenience does not injure the right to be heard.

Although they considered it unnecessary, the Enlarged Board did nevertheless also consider the effect of Article 6(2) EPC, which states that “The European Patent Office shall be located in Munich. It shall have a branch at the Hague.” It had been argued by the appellant that Haar is not in Munich and thus locating the Boards of Appeal in Haar contravenes Article 6(2) EPC. The Enlarged Board did not accept that argument, commenting that as the main EPO body responsible for granting patents is in Munich, the requirements of Article 6(2) EPC are met. The Enlarged Board also observed that separating the Boards of Appeal geographically from the EPO administrative departments in Munich highlights the independence of the Boards of Appeal and, in view of this, it is not necessary to limit the location of the Boards of Appeal to the city of Munich itself. The Enlarged Board also noted that the Boards of Appeal in Haar are “only located slightly outside the boundaries of the city of Munich”. It therefore seems unlikely that any future challenges to the location of the Boards of Appeal in Haar will succeed.

That last sentence is key: “It therefore seems unlikely that any future challenges to the location of the Boards of Appeal in Haar will succeed.”

This is the message that the EPO wanted to get out there. “We did something illegal to capture the courts; and don’t dare challenge the legality of it anymore!”

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