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01.28.20

Don’t Let the Collapse of News Companies Be the Collapse of Information (or Ascent of Misinformation)

Posted in Deception, Finance at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As journalism and reporters jump ship (or jump the shark or get fired) the public may suffer informational homelessness and resort to/rely on any random piece of propaganda on the Web, in social (control) media, or YouTube

Old boat

Summary: We’re growingly concerned that the collapse of the mainstream media will entail reliance not on reliable and independent alternatives but corporate marketing agencies, charlatans and frauds, sometimes even deliberate falsehoods and state-manufactured bogus stories

THE ‘news’ houses were never brilliant. Their rich owners had agenda and they were always tempted to use these houses to propel them to power (or greater power). We see that a lot in presidential campaigns.

On homelessness; Someone's ShelterBut their collapse entails a certain risk — the risk that something even worse would capitalise on the new vacuum and general distrust/dissatisfaction. Plenty of people nowadays immerse themselves in YouTube videos with so-called ‘influencers’ who are actually marketers. We previously remarked on the downside of social (control) media and the opportunists who thrive in lying, partisan media (which can be akin to tabloids and more shameless about its biases). Think of the likes of Fox ‘News’ (Faux Noise).

In 2020 we’ve repeatedly noted that journalism about the European Patent Office (EPO) is more or less dead. António Campinos and Battistelli more or less ‘pacified’ their critics using bribes and threats. A decade ago we still saw many articles about the harms of software patents in Europe; we have found a single such article… in years! As for 35 U.S.C. § 101 in the US, well… guess whose narrative dominates the media, eh? Of course the law firms’.

“In 2020 we actually spend a lot of time on each article as we work to ensure that we cover things 100% accurately.”We believe — but are happy to be proven wrong — that Techrights is one of the last if not the last to speak about these issues routinely. We specialise in this topic because long ago we identified the gap (in media coverage). Sometimes someone needs to speak for software developers and speak truth to power. The ‘old’ media certainly isn’t doing that and it arguably isn’t equipped financially to deal with detailed, long-term investigations. Instead it based entire articles on a Trump ‘tweet’ or Twitter ‘trending’ or some daily outrage, which is likely based on a misrepresentation or mob mentality (see what happened to Richard Stallman last year; the media still occasionally mentions this in 2020). In 2020 we actually spend a lot of time on each article as we work to ensure that we cover things 100% accurately. The accuracy can be assurd with evidence, which sometimes we keep private in order to protect sources. We also leave additional evidence in IRC (sometimes anonymised or partly redacted), where readers can always dig for additional information, views, opinions, and analysis. It’s not so well structured, not always coherent, but it is there and it is publicly accessible. We do not hide the gory details, we only demote them a little.

When Police Gets in the Way of Investigations, Having Used Microsoft Products to Investigate Microsoft Issues

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An update on our biggest investigation in recent years (conflict of interest may be an obstacle)

Seattle police website
We might soon issue a broader call for further requests

Summary: In this long article we outline barriers we’ve come across in pursuit of information from the police (the pedophilia arrest at the mansion of Bill Gates — followed by conviction and arrest — has thousands of pages about it, but since September the police has shared not even one!)

IT MAY seem like we’ve gone quiet lately, as not many articles were published over the past week. But the reality is, we work hard on bringing exclusive stories. We also carefully fact-check to avoid publishing falsehoods, unverified claims, and nutty conspiracies (right now there are many rumours about Bill Gates in relation to the Coronavirus).

As of this moment, we work with a number of sources and collaborators. We also look forward to next month’s update from Seattle PD, albeit we don’t expect much from them (based on past experiences). We’d rather wait than publish speculative material.

As of this month/year, there are at least 2 relevant queries with the PD. It is difficult to know for sure how many exactly. If things slow down or momentum is altogether lost, we’ll encourage more queries (or petitions). For now, it seems strategically wiser not to over-encumber a department which claims that it is already understaffed (it said so a few months back). We’ve already received an informal commitment from victims of ephebophiles. They too may be submitting requests shall that accelerate the process (the PD asks the petitioners if they’re personally harmed, which might speed things up compared to queries from journalists).

“We’ve already received an informal commitment from victims of ephebophiles. They too may be submitting requests shall that accelerate the process (the PD asks the petitioners if they’re personally harmed, which might speed things up compared to queries from journalists).”Various weird things have happened in recent months. One day we’ll share all the details and that’s a promise (it seems like there are subtle efforts to intimidate and discourage the curious). Several Techrights associates have been made aware of these things and are also well aware of the Seattle PD thing, as well (case IDs and communications). We’ve circulated parts of the timeline privately. So we are backed up, so to speak. Too many people are now involved for further exploration to be completely scuttled. If it takes the whole year, so be it. But we’ll insist on getting answers. We’ve been diplomatic about it and the communication with the PD is amicable, polite, and professional.

Suffice to say, if they continue to stonewall (blatantly or subtly), especially if this is done repeatedly, they can be publicly accused of aiding abusers. If they’re aware of this, which we presume they are, they will release something… the question is, how much? Any redaction can leave more questions than answers. This much too they should know. They need to reassure the public that they are being transparent and honest. We adopt “presumption of innocence” (the principle) here as anything else can lead us astray. We try to remain as patient as possible, even when it is hard. They’re seemingly hiding, postponing, then they claim to be redacting, then they say they got stuck, then again they merely fetch and open files (again). Some inconsistencies in the explanations can easily suggest that they’re coming up with excuses. We’re almost in February and the whole process started way back in September, so right now we’re not far from 6 months (half a year) merely ‘stuck in the process’ with not a single document/page emitted. Batch processing is being considered right now, at the very least as a contingency (several pertinent requests for smaller documents).

“We’re almost in February and the whole process started way back in September, so right now we’re not far from 6 months (half a year) merely ‘stuck in the process’ with not a single document/page emitted.”Our investigation has thus far attracted attention not just from dodgy circles but also respectable ones, such as best-selling authors. It’s extremely important to maintain a high level of accuracy, precision and preferably concision too. This is why we’ve left this part out of the “Mansion of Pedophilia” series (we’ve relegated some bits to appendix status).

So far we’ve seen no complaints anywhere about this Gates series. Nobody has pointed out inaccuracies and we’ve received positive feedback from past Microsoft employees. They are interested in the subject. They want to know more about the person whom Microsoft treats like an oracle and Wikipedia mostly describes as a Saint whilst linking (as citations) articles composed by Bill Gates-funded sites. PR or perception management create a growing disparity between reality and public opinion.

“So far we’ve seen no complaints anywhere about this Gates series.”Let’s consider this article entitled “1 of 3 elderly Seattle brothers sentenced to 9 months in child-porn case”. The Bill Gates-funded Seattle Times published it not too long ago. We’ve been passed the following response to it in earlier phases of the investigation. About the above article it said:

Good luck! Kudos! Seattle/King County ❤️ Pedos. Only 1 of these demons got 90 days for molesting, producing, and distributing…

A cop friend of mine told me that it’s not necessarily unusual for the elite/rich class to be treated better than the average citizen and get their arraignments scheduled up to a year later. He said that when departments are afraid of being sued they are less likely to risk losing their case and will release them first and send them a notice to appear in court through mail at a later date. Anyone else and it’s automatic detention and a bail is set. He also told me that as soon as the guy was arrested it would have been public record. Different local areas report crimes on a weekly basis, commonly. I’m not sure if he was booked that day or not and I could not find any local blurbs about an arrest or search of his apartment. Also not sure if it would have been mentioned where the arrest took place but its common for warranted searches and arrests to be published in local news. I don’t know if that happened or if any mention of Gates or Gates’s home would have been in that, if it was. Which could be a practical reason why media didn’t pick up on it (I don’t think so – but considering giving the benefit of the doubt.)

I thought I’d ask him about it so I don’t come off as being unreasonable in any of my suspicions or questions when writing on it.

We’ve come across similar explanations (see recent reporting by ProPublica) for why the IRS isn’t going after or seeking to prosecute the very rich. They’re afraid of lengthy legal battles and expensive lawyers. ProPublica recently covered this in relation to Microsoft's massive tax evasion. We will revisit the subject soon, but it’s worth noting that Gates himself evades tax using his so-called ‘charity’; we wrote many articles about this in the past. The key point is, authorities are typically reluctant to hold the powerful accountable as it’s perceived as risky and cumbersome (it’s a lot easier to ‘clock’ big numbers by going after the vulnerable in bulk). That applies to the IRS and also to police departments. It’s actually common knowledge… for decades if not centuries.

“The key point is, authorities are typically reluctant to hold the powerful accountable as it’s perceived as risky and cumbersome (it’s a lot earlier to ‘clock’ big numbers by going after the vulnerable in bulk).”So far we’ve been focused on the police, albeit the court system too is being explored (there are court documents); there too there’s a fear of prosecuting the powerful and judges aren’t immune to bribery, fixing of appointments and other forms of mischief/corruption.

Eric Lundgren’s case — a relatively recent case — potentially shows an example of it. We covered that in:

We might revisit the above series in the future as we’re particularly interested in material from the court and evidence of a ‘fixed’ decision. Eric Lundgren once told us he’d pass over some documents; we’ve since then forgotten about it, but it’s still in the list of stories to work on. We have a bunch of stories in the making, some with about a year’s worth of notes having already accumulated (source protection remains the top concern associated with publication). Techrights (TR) is exceptionally strict when it comes to source protection and none of our sources ever got caught. We intend to keep that perfect record, even if that means not publishing some stories (at least not as quickly as possible).

“So far we’ve been focused on the police, albeit the court system too is being explored (there are court documents)…”“It may TR’s most high profile series to-date,” one person told us about the Gates series. “Be sure to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts. If it has results it will be good in and of itself. If it also brings people around regarding software freedom and about fighting software patents, then that is icing on the cake.”

“Again,” the person noted, “I wonder if any group would be willing to FOIA the licensing for the SPD [Seattle PD] computers, both desktops and servers and “cloud”. That would enable them to find if Microsoft has full access to the data and potential to interfere at that level.”

“The concern may seem legitimate if and only if the police has some very incriminating material about Microsoft or top-level people at Microsoft.”The person suggested making further inquiries, asking the police what systems it uses, including the pertinent details such as licenses. “And by licenses,” said this person, “I mean all the licenses for all versions and each update. It will be a thick stack but buried in there will be payloads allowing Microsoft to access and mess with the systems and the data they contain.”

The concern may seem legitimate if and only if the police has some very incriminating material about Microsoft or top-level people at Microsoft. The temptation is always there. What can one do about police departments that use software with remote access (or back doors) for those whom they investigate? Similar scenario to what happened to the US Senate a few years ago (the CIA broke into the systems to hinder an investigation of CIA abuses, then admitted that).

We’ve long argued that police departments must remove all Microsoft technologies from their infrastructure because they must maintain complete control, a total autonomy. It cannot be “Police… brought to you by Google” or “Police… in partnership with Microsoft…” (like Microsoft storing all police footage for TASER International, now known as Axon).

Microsoft does not belong in police departments as it gives Microsoft unjust power/control over sheriffs, various police chiefs and cops. See for example any of the many stories from TechDirt about police abuse of this kind. It’s a lot more common than people care to realise. If it’s possible, then it almost inevitably be done at some stage by somebody.

“We’ve long argued that police departments must remove all Microsoft technologies from their infrastructure because they must maintain complete control, a total autonomy.”The person has incidentally shared this report (“Microsoft defends its right to read your email”). “The 2014 link about Microsoft reading e-mail is relevant to the the ongoing FOIA requests,” this person asserted. “The requests have been held up for many months due to machines which Microsoft controls and a second FOIA request for the thick sheaf of licenses for all versions of all Microsoft software on PD computers will prove that (IMHO).”

We should note that all E-mails associated with our investigation (about half a dozen people) are encrypted. All of them. But all communications with the police are not encrypted, so outsiders including some technology companies might be seeing what isn’t public. It gives them an intelligence advantage.

It would be useful to know who can read internal and outward (to the various members of the public) communications of the police department. Or what software they use for communications (as that software too can report back to vendors). So we might sooner or later ask about the software they use. “Assuming they would at all divulge such a list if asked,” I told the person, having added that “[i]t would likely only alienate and undermine the ongoing queries (we can put in more, but not yet…)”

“It would be useful to know who can read internal and outward (to the various members of the public) communications of the police department.”There are various different issues we’ve identified as we continue to pursue these thousands of pages from the police.

About the Microsoft scandals (confirmed, caught in the act) associated with snooping on mail, more can be found in the CNN article. “The gist is that back when they were caught rummaging through the mail,” our reader explained, and “they made a press release saying that they wouldn’t do that anymore … unless they decide they need to again. It was a real “sorry, not sorry” type of apology.”

“Just an additional note that all this could prove initially would be a conflict of interest. Unfortunately due to current US politics, the public has become inured to such and would even ignore strong evidence in its place, were it available. But it will not be available because Microsoft products are designed with plausible deniability all the way through. So conflict of interest would most probably be all that can be proven.”

Guest Post: Free Software is About Software Ownership

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 5:17 am by Guest Editorial Team

By Jagadees

Wake up

Summary: “In effect, companies will lose control and profit. Will they accept that?”

“Free software” is a confusing name/term. The “free” here means freedom. So it is freedom software. But to exercise freedom you need something more. What is that? You have to own the software. Therefore, free software is about ownership of software.

All software is free software for its owners

Take any software. Who owns that software? User, seller, developer, lawyer or whoever it is, if they have the ownership of some software, then that software is a free software for him/her/them. Majority of software/programs used nowadays are owned by software companies. So we can say majority of software/programs are free software for those companies.

Private software

These companies can sell software, modify software, share, or ‘open’ their software. They can have or exercise full rights over it. Others — including users — have limited ownership; only things which are allowed by the owner/company. In other words, these software programs are privately-owned software. So let’s call them private software.

Problems with private software

“Majority of software/programs used nowadays are owned by software companies.”There are lots of issues with private software. As a user, you can only run the software if you’ve paid the license fee. You cannot use it in a different way from what they they allowed (for example, a 10-user licensed software cannot be used by 11 users). You cannot give it to a friend. You cannot modify anything in there. You cannot know what the software does behind the scenes. The list goes on.

Public software

Because of all these issues, in 1983 a person named Richard Stallman began a movement. Its aim was to give full control, full rights and full ownership of software to the person who uses it. That was the Free Software Movement. At that time it was an Utopian idea. Nobody cared for it. But because of his and his group’s persistence and commitment they could made it a reality. So software got public ownership. That is Free software. Let us call it public software.

Impact of public software

What will happen if the public gains ownership of software? Then, no private person can control software.

- Cannot sell copies of software.
- Companies can charge a price for software (maximum) only one time.

In effect, companies will lose control and profit. Will they accept that?

“In effect, companies will lose control and profit. Will they accept that?”No way. Anything that that is publicly owned will cause reduction in profits of companies. Look around and learn about the idea of public education, public health care, public housing, and public utilities. So, they will find ways to destroy the idea of public ownership. If anything publicly owned is still existing, they will make it corrupt and finally dismantle it, because people don’t understand their value when they exist and they are always distracted.

They know that if you attack anything directly, that will always strengthen that. Understand please, they have 10,000 years of history in ruling humankind. So to attack public software they’ve created decoys. Then they attribute some ideas of public software to those decoys and they’ve slanted the game. For all these games there’s no need for any secret conspiracy or anything like that. The system is self-sustaining. So it will work automatically. Whatever we do in this system, it only strengthen the system unless we’re consciously and purposefully doing something against it. Still, that also not 100% effective.

So instead of dealing with public software, i.e. Free software, they are playing with decoys. There are lots them now. Open Source (OSS), FOSS etc. are among the notable examples.

What do OSS and FOSS do?

They imitate the Free Software Movement. They turned the idea of public ownership of software upside down by ignoring the user or removing the user from the picture. They marked users as dumb and passive actors. (They appear only when talking about their dumbness, which means “user friendliness”.[joke]) Now, who is in the picture? It’s the software providers. Who are they? Programmers and mostly companies.

Then again, they introduced another twist. They hide companies. They put the spotlight on a poor, intelligent, isolated, expert programmer who is trying to save the world from some “xyz”. With these two twists they completely changed the narrative.

Then, they introduced yet another twist. That is, changing the objective. Instead of a user’s ownership they use “opening” of source code. Does software closed in some container help? What you mean by open? What a stupid idea. Source code is always open. Problem or dilemma is whether you have rights or not. They are just fooling all the people, who should get full ownership of all software in the first place.

By hiding the user they removed/concealed the politics of ownership and rights of users. By hiding the companies as the main actors, they concealed the profit motives and vested interests of companies. By hiding the objective of Free software, they reduced it to nothing. Now there is nothing left in Free software. What a perfect decoy!

“They know that if you attack anything directly, that will always strengthen that.”From 1998 onwards they not only started but exacerbated this. Since companies are backing them they have had huge funds, they could literally buy all media, pundits and of course the developers. Now all these developers are doing Gig 2.0, which means unpaid voluntary work for companies, dreaming that their code is saving the planet (which actually is destroyed it by the same masters themselves). Media is flooded with their narcissistic “success” stories. These high-end organised works may have completely destroyed the Free Software Movement within its founder’s lifetime.

First-generation Free software activists retired. Second-generation Free software activists are in the OSS/FOSS trap. Third-generation Free software activists actually don’t know what Free software is. These people think that the OSS/FOSS things are the movement. The bad things these companies are doing stomped/stepped on the movement, too. They fired the founder from his own organisation. But there is a complete silence from these kids. They are busy writing gratis code for the masters. This is the situation now.

Wake up, Free software friends

This is nothing new. Think about the Great Depression. People suffered a lot. They politically organised and forced the person in charge to implement their demands. The New Deal era began. Then what happened to it? Gradually it got destroyed, causing another great depression in 2008. So, if we loosen our attention a little bit, they will turn things upside down in their own favor. Same thing has happened to the Free Software Movement, too.

“So to attack public software they’ve created decoys.”Software freedom is like democracy. Initially it was just ‘there’, albeit only for white land-owning men. There were other people and they protested to get representation. With a long struggle — one by one — new groups got chances in democracy.

Like the above, nowadays software is only free for the private owners. We cannot let this current status quo continue. We have to fight to get the ownership and rights. We have to end this rebranding of Free software by OSS/FOSS kind of ‘corporate pimps’. So let’s work for a strong software freedom movement that empowers users as well as developers.

Long live the GPL.

Note: This is part of the software freedom series. To see all posts please go to Neritam.

IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 27, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:56 am by Needs Sunlight

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