Video: LinuxWorld 1999, Torvalds and Stallman

Posted in GNU/Linux, Videos at 11:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Direct link

There’s also “Revolution OS”:

GNU World Order is a Personal Sacrifice, LinuxWorld Just Business

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 11:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“My 25-year-old child, the Free Software Movement, occupies most of my life, leaving no room for more children…”

Richard Stallman (around 2008)

The brave new world... They called it Linuxworld

Summary: As the Linux Foundation shows, Linux is just business (and proprietary software) as usual, software patents included, whereas it’s GNU that continues the Free Software Movement’s battles

Links 20/2/2020: Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU18, Mesa 20, VirtualBox 6.1.4

Posted in News Roundup at 11:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Learn the main Linux OS components

      Evolved from Unix, Linux provides users with a low-cost, secure way to manage their data center infrastructure. Due to its open source architecture, Linux can be tricky to learn and requires command-line interface knowledge as well as the expectation of inconsistent documentation.

      In short, Linux is an OS. But Linux has some features and licensing options that set it apart from Microsoft and Apple OSes. To understand what Linux can do, it helps to understand the different Linux OS components and associated lingo.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Reintroducing Telegram: privately funded private chat with open source apps

        I started to write an article about the latest update for Telegram, when I realized I might only be speaking to a select few in-the-know users. Far fewer than I think should be interested, anyway. Telegram is a private chat system with end-to-end encryption support and cross-platform functionality. It’s privately funded by a guy named Pavel Durov, whose only goal seems to be “fast and secure messaging that is also 100% free.”

    • Server

      • Announcing Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU18

        Today we are releasing SRU 18 for Oracle Solaris 11.4. It is available via ‘pkg update’ from the support repository or by downloading the SRU from My Oracle Support Doc ID 2433412.1.

      • Oracle Ships Solaris 11.4 SRU18 – Finally Mitigates The SWAPGS Vulnerability

        Oracle today has released Solaris 11.4 SRU18 as the newest version of the long-running Solaris 11.4 series.

        There still doesn’t appear to be anything active past Solaris 11.4 but Oracle does continue providing routine maintenance updates for Oracle Solaris customers. Solaris 11.4 has been out for a year and a half and is now to its eighteenth stable release update.

      • Linux And High Availability Go Hand In Hand

        If SAP infrastructures or their components malfunction or stop working altogether, SAP-supported processes are also at risk. A comprehensive Linux package includes a High Availability functionality.

        SAP core infrastructure components like servers (including VMs, storage, databases, and operating systems like Linux) or networks have a high level of technological maturity and take care of SAP-related tasks. It sometimes does happen that the IT department has to step in if business-critical applications like S/4 malfunction or stop working altogether because of faulty SAP infrastructure components.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Weekly News #164

        Zorin Announces Zorin Grid


        Xfce 4.16 Getting a Major UI Change


        Mozilla Lays Off About 70 Employees


        Ubuntu Theme Development for 20.04


        Fedora CoreOS Out of Preview


        PinePhone Braveheart Edition Ships


        Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 5.5 rc7


        GNU Guile 3.0.0 Released


        Linux Lite 4.8 Released


        CentOS 8.1 Released


        Mir 1.7 Released


      • 2020-02-19 | Linux Headlines

        The Core Infrastructure Initiative has published its second major report, a DRM-free Linux game store shoots for the stars, and the clock is ticking for the GNU maintainers.

      • mintCast 328.5 – Everything Is a File

        Join us in our Innards section where we talk Linux and hardware guts.

      • Linux Console + Boutique Distros | Choose Linux 29

        A confusing experience in Distrohoppers which raises deeper questions about the value and viability of smaller distros.

      • iocage in Jail | BSD Now 338

        Distrowatch reviews FuryBSD, LLDB on i386 for NetBSD, wpa_supplicant as lower-class citizen, KDE on FreeBSD updates, Travel Grant for BSDCan open, ZFS dataset for testing iocage within a jail, and more.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 845

        service now woes, raspberry pi 4, power strips, and more

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.5.5

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.5.5 kernel.

        All users of the 5.5 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.5.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.5.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


      • Linux 5.4.21
      • Linux 4.19.105
      • Graphics Stack

        • mesa 20.0.0
          Hi list,
          I'd like to announce mesa 20.0.0 as available for download immediately. I'm very
          pleased that we could get all of the issues blocking the release nailed down
          quickly and make a release on time for once!
          This is a .0 release, and you may want to continue to to track 19.3.x until
          20.0.1 comes out in two weeks. 19.3.5 is planned to be the final 19.3 release
          and is planned for next Wednesday.
          Alyssa Rosenzweig (3):
                pan/midgard: Fix missing prefixes
                pan/midgard: Don't crash with constants on unknown ops
                pan/midgard: Use fprintf instead of printf for constants
          Danylo Piliaiev (1):
                st/nir: Unify inputs_read/outputs_written before serializing NIR
          Dylan Baker (6):
                .pick_status.json: Update to 2a98cf3b2ecea43cea148df7f77d2abadfd1c9db
                .pick_status.json: Update to 946eacbafb47c8b94d47e7c9d2a8b02fff5a22fa
                .pick_status.json: Update to bee5c9b0dc13dbae0ccf124124eaccebf7f2a435
                Docs: Add 20.0.0 release notes
                docs: Empty new_features.txt
                VERSION: bump for 20.0.0 release
          Erik Faye-Lund (1):
                Revert "nir: Add a couple trivial abs optimizations"
          Francisco Jerez (6):
                intel/fs/cse: Make HALT instruction act as CSE barrier.
                intel/fs/gen7: Fix fs_inst::flags_written() for SHADER_OPCODE_FIND_LIVE_CHANNEL.
                intel/fs: Add virtual instruction to load mask of live channels into flag register.
                intel/fs/gen12: Workaround unwanted SEND execution due to broken NoMask control flow.
                intel/fs/gen12: Fixup/simplify SWSB annotations of SIMD32 scratch writes.
                intel/fs/gen12: Workaround data coherency issues due to broken NoMask control flow.
          Krzysztof Raszkowski (1):
                gallium/swr: simplify environmental variabled expansion code
          Marek Olšák (1):
                radeonsi: don't wait for shader compilation to finish when destroying a context
          Mathias Fröhlich (1):
                egl: Implement getImage/putImage on pbuffer swrast.
          Peng Huang (1):
                radeonsi: make si_fence_server_signal flush pipe without work
          Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer (1):
                radeonsi/ngg: add VGT_FLUSH when enabling fast launch
          Tapani Pälli (2):
                glsl: fix a memory leak with resource_set
                iris: fix aux buf map failure in 32bits app on Android
          Thong Thai (1):
                Revert "st/va: Convert interlaced NV12 to progressive"
          Timothy Arceri (1):
                glsl: fix gl_nir_set_uniform_initializers() for image arrays
          luc (1):
                zink: confused compilation macro usage for zink in target helpers.
          git tag: mesa-20.0.0
        • Mesa 20.0 Released With Big Improvements For Intel, AMD Radeon Vulkan/OpenGL

          The Mesa 20.0 release switches to the new Intel OpenGL driver default, Vulkan 1.2 support for both AMD Radeon and Intel drivers, the RadeonSI OpenGL driver now has GL 4.6 compliance as part of switching to NIR, the Valve-backed ACO code-path for RADV is in much better shape, and many other improvements. See our Mesa 20.0 feature overview to learn about this big update.

        • Mesa 20.0 Is Imminent With New Intel OpenGL Default, Intel + RADV Vulkan 1.2, OpenGL 4.6 For RadeonSI

          With the release of Mesa 20.0 being imminent, here is a look at all of the new features for this first quarter update to the Mesa 3D stack for open-source OpenGL/Vulkan drivers.
          Highlights of the soon-to-be-out Mesa 20.0 are outlined below. Mesa 20.0 will be out as soon as today / this week unless delays happen over lingering bugs.
          - This is the first Mesa release where for those with Broadwell (Gen8) Intel graphics or newer the Intel Gallium3D driver is the new default for OpenGL support. This Intel Gallium3D driver is faster and in better shape than the i965 classic driver. That older OpenGL driver will stick around for supporting Haswell graphics and prior generations.

        • RADV Driver Adds VK_EXT_line_rasterization In Preparing For Eventual Vulkan CAD Apps

          Added to the Vulkan API last summer was VK_EXT_line_rasterization for line rasterization like employed by CAD applications. The open-source Mesa Radeon Vulkan “RADV” driver is now supporting this extension.

    • Applications

      • 10 Best Linux Terminal Emulators [2020 Edition]

        Do you prefer terminal emulators over GUI? But there are times when the terminal’s decent styling seems boring. In such cases, you look for more options to customize the terminal just like we do while choosing Linux distros.

        If that’s the case, your wait is over as we bring the list of best terminal emulators for Linux that you can use to refresh your monotonous daily work. Along with the styling, you can also turn the single terminal into a multigrid, observing the activity of each terminal simultaneously.

      • eXtern OS – A NodeJS Based Linux Distribution

        eXternOS is a free, new and exciting Linux operating system based on Nodejs, being developed by a computer engineering and computer science student who goes by name Anesu Chiodze.

        It is a whole different operating system from what we usually have on our computers; it redefines your interaction with your content on a computer, by providing a modern and distinctive user interface and very different user experience, compared to long-established Linux desktop distributions and other operating systems.

        It is powered by NW.js which has full support for Node.js APIs and most if not all third-party modules–bringing about limitless possibilities of app development, without looking elsewhere. It brings a new dimension to building native applications with modern web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, WebGL and more.

      • VirtualBox 6.1.4 Released with Full Support for Linux Kernel 5.5

        Coming approximately one month after the VirtualBox 6.1.2 point release, which introduced Linux host support for the latest Linux 5.5 kernel series (support for Linux guest additions wasn’t available), VirtualBox 6.1.4 is here to add full support for Linux kernel 5.5, for both host and guest.

        Additionally, VirtualBox 6.1.4 improved shared folder support on Linux guests by fixing loopback mounting of images. Other changes include the ability to report EFI support through DMI table and always report non-ATA disks as ready, as well as reduced stack space usage for INT 10h handlers.

      • VirtualBox 6.1.4 Released with Linux 5.5 Guest Support

        Oracle Virtualbox released a new maintenance update for the 6.1 series a day ago.

        The new release features Linux guest with Kernel 5.5 support, and a shared folder fix for loopback mounting of images.

      • have fun with free software – truly Open Source Karaoke „SingStar“ style Performous on GNU Linux

        An open-source karaoke, band and dancing game where one or more players perform a song and the game scores their performances.

        Supports songs in UltraStar, Frets on Fire and StepMania formats.

        Microphones and instruments from SingStar, Guitar Hero and Rock Band as well as some dance pads are autodetected.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Point and click your way through the cyberpunk adventure ‘VirtuaVerse’ this May

        Theta Division have announced today with a very stylish video that VirtuaVerse will be launching with Linux support on May 12.

        In a quite unusual way to announce something, they made their protagonist give a little speech with some awesome pixel-art cyberpunk backdrops that made it really hard to focus on what they were saying because it just looks so good! After that though, it gives a small slice of what to expect.

      • Steam Play Proton is correctly tracking Linux sales, a statement from Valve

        Recently we put up an article highlighting a possible issue with how Valve were counting Steam Play Proton sales, here’s a full correction and more information.

        In the previous article, it referenced a Reddit post and Valve’s quick statement at the time that Steam Play Proton might not have listed Linux as the platform for a game sale. We also added an update to that article today, after speaking to a developer whose Windows-only title was purchased by myself (and others) as they had told us they saw no Linux sales which seemingly confirmed there was an issue.

        As it turns out, the system is working correctly but there was a filtering issue.

      • GamePad: A New Open Source And 100% Linux-Dedicated Game Platform

        Do you also believe that “Linux is not a gaming platform”? Well, it may not be the first priority of gamers. Still, if you look at the recent contribution by Linux community developers, Linux has improved a lot with support for graphics drivers and new games to provide a better gaming experience.

        On that account, GamePad, a new entrant in the open game platform, launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for its latest Linux gaming platform.

      • A New Linux-Exclusive Gaming Platform Is Coming: Meet GamePad

        Linux is not a player-friendly platform and is generally not preferred for gaming. Still, Linux community developers do a good job by providing support for graphics drivers and new games to provide a better gaming experience. Better still, a Linux-specific gaming platform is on the way.

        GamePad started Kickstarter campaign as a completely Linux-specific game platform. The platform was inspired by the digital distribution platform GOG (Good Old Games) for video games and movies. GamePad is designed as a free and open source platform. So developers will be able to change the source code to add new features to the platform and customize it to create their own clients for any Linux distribution.

      • Linux Gaming: Play Windows games on Linux with Proton

        That’s why Proton is one of the biggest developments in the history of gaming on Linux. Proton is a tool developed by Valve to allow Steam users to run Windows-exclusive games under Linux. That decades-old PC game you have lying around your Steam library? You can get it up and running on Linux. Want to play more recent, critically acclaimed titles like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice? No problem – it runs on Linux. If you do most of your gaming through Steam, Proton lets you switch to Linux and still play the vast majority of your library with minimal issues. Who needs developers supporting Linux when you have Valve and Proton?

      • Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – Mandate of Heaven DLC Is Out Now for Linux

        Feral Interactive announced today that the Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – Mandate of Heaven Chapter Pack DLC is now available for Linux and macOS systems.

        Officially released on January 16th, 2020, Mandate of Heaven is the biggest and most detailed Chapter Pack DLC (Downloadable Content) ever released for the Total War: THREE KINGDOMS award-winning turn-based strategy and real-time tactics video game from developer Creative Assembly and publisher SEGA.

        It introduces a new campaign set in 182 CE, just before the Yellow Turban rebellion. The new campaign will let players adventure through the conflict deep into the Three Kingdoms period. The update also adds a total of six new playable warlords, including three new Yellow Turban warlords, Zhang Jue, Zhang Bao, and Zhang Liang, and three new Han Empire factions, Emperor Liu Hong, Prince Liu Chong, and Lu Zhi.

      • Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – Mandate of Heaven DLC out now on macOS and Linux

        Mandate of Heaven, the largest and most detailed Total War: THREE KINGDOMS DLC to date, has launched for macOS and Linux.

        Players will engage in the conflicts of the Yellow Turban Rebellion and Qiang uprising with a host of new warlords including the Zhang brothers and Emperor Liu Hong.

      • Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – Mandate of Heaven plus the latest patches arrive for Linux
      • Space is a little more hostile in Space Haven, with Alpha 6 introducing ship to ship combat

        One of my most anticipated releases to come from a crowdfunding campaign, Space Haven continues to get some really fun features and another huge Alpha release recently went up.

        As a little reminder: Space Haven is a colony-building sim with a bit of a difference. Instead of a static colony, you build a fleet of starships tile-by-tile and you can travel around with them. You manage your crew, their needs, make sure they have a comfy bed and deal with all the nastiness of space travel.

      • Physics-based medieval siege engine battler ‘Besiege’ leaves Early Access after 5 years

        Five years might seem like a little long but crafting something special takes time and Besiege is definitely worthy of the time it spent in development.

        Spiderling Studios’ physics-based building game isn’t exactly unique now, there’s plenty more physics-based building games that have come and gone in that time. However, Besiege stands tall above so many for the detail and fun factor. This week, they released the big 1.0 with a finished single-player campaign along with adding in some fun sounding logic and automation blocks.

      • Meet The New PC Gaming Platform Where Linux Support Is Not Optional

        Gaming on Linux is fantastic, but it’s not always straightforward. Valve has gone to great lengths to make thousands of Windows-only games playable on the Steam for Linux client, but hardware variation and frequent updates means things can break at a moment’s notice. Good Ole Games has an easy way to find native Linux games, but the GOG Galaxy client is only available for Mac and Windows. So, enter a new player that wants to bridge the gap by providing an open source Linux gaming client focused on providing nothing but games developed for Linux.

      • Skul: The Hero Slayer has you swap your skull to gain new powers – now in Early Access

        Skul: The Hero Slayer is an action-packed rogue-lite platformer, where you play as the anti-hero Skul who sets off on a quest to single-handedly take on the Imperial Army and rescue his demon King from captivity.

      • 2D strategy and business simulator ‘Plutocracy’ now available on Linux

        Want to have a go at ‘big business’? Plutocracy is a 2D strategy and business sim that will let you attempt to build up your business empire along with all the politics that comes with it.

        Developed by Redwood, who said they were directly inspired by Theodore Dreiser’s the Trilogy of Desire, Plutocracy is currently in Early Access after running an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign our contributor BTRE covered on GOL back in 2018. Looks like it was a success to and as of this week, they delivered a Linux build that’s available now on Steam too

      • Lurking in the Dark is a sweet idea for a game and it’s now open source

        Lurking in the Dark, a clever 2D game about climbing a dark tower that was made during the GMTK Game Jam last year has been made open source.

        Created with Godot Engine, the idea is that you can only see a single tile in front of you so you have to watch out for monsters and traps. The developer mentioned on Twitter that due to a lot of interest and their plans to turn it into a full game were put on hold, the source code is now open for everyone.

      • Vagrus – The Riven Realms hits more milestones on Fig, funding big new features

        The hybrid Early Access/Crowdfunding model ‘Open Access’ on the Fig platform seems to be working really well for Vagrus – The Riven Realms.


        Once they hit $60K they will introduce a manual save option, at $75K it will bring in the first part of their planned open-world campaign and more after that with plenty of future goals not yet announced. This mixture of releasing builds after new funding milestones is quite a clever idea, it keeps people interested and personally invested since they get to play while pulling in more people over time too.

      • Repair and manage an ecosystem in ‘Among Ripples: Shallow Waters’ now on Kickstarter

        Acting as a sequel to their free and much smaller game Among Ripples released back in 2015, Among Ripples: Shallow Waters is an eco-tycoon sim that’s looking for your funding.

        With the state the world is in, a game about taking care of at least one small part of it gives me the good feels all over. The team at Eat Create Sleep say they’re actually working with “real ecologists to create a simulation of something that could happen in real life”, so there’s some real science behind it.

      • Game Dev Unlocked, an upcoming blog and video series for aspiring game developers

        Following an interesting half-an-hour talk (that I recommend you to check), David Wehle, the creator of the third person short exploration adventure The First Tree [GOG, itch.io, Steam], recently made a formal announcement about his upcoming project: Game Dev Unlocked, a blog and video series aimed at helping aspiring indie game designers to overcome all the inherent challenges of such an enterprise, including technical aspects, marketing, etc.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Calindori 1.1 is out: reminders, repeating events and more

          A new version of Calindori, the calendar application of Plasma Mobile, is now available. In Calindori 1.1, a set of new features has been added as well as the user interface has been improved, following the KDE human interface guidelines.

          You can now add reminders to calendar events. To manage event reminders, a separate background application, calindac, has been created. Calindac looks for alarms into the Calindori ical files and triggers alarm notifications. The users may dismiss the alarm displayed or suspend it for a configurable amount of time.

        • Plasma 5.18.1 for Kubuntu 19.10 available in Backports PPA

          We are pleased to announce that Plasma 5.18.1, is now available in our backports PPA for Kubuntu 19.10. This is the 1st bugfix release of the 5.18 LTS Plasma series.

          The release announcement detailing the new features and improvements in Plasma 5.18 LTS can be found here.

        • You Can Now Install KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS in Kubuntu 19.10, Here’s How

          Launched in October 2019, the Kubuntu 19.10 release ships with the KDE Plasma 5.16 desktop environment by default. Users have been able to update to the more recent KDE Plasma 5.17 series soon after the release, and now they can install the latest KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS version.

          The Kubuntu team announced today that the recently released KDE Plasma 5.18.1 packages are now available in the Kubuntu Backports PPA repositories, along with newer versions of the KDE Frameworks and KDE Applications software suites. This means that users can finally upgrade their favorite desktop environment to Plasma 5.18 LTS.

        • conf.kde.in 2020 :: Late Report

          So we recently held KDE India Conference 2020 in the college where I’m pursuing my B.Tech (CSE) in New Delhi. The conference was held from 17 January 2020 to 19 January 2020.

          Photographs from the conference are available here: https://share.kde.org/s/tt6YWaDp36ni2si

          Tweets from the conference used #cki2020 tag and are available conveniently through this link: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23cki2020

          Day 1 of the conference talked about Open Source, and some of the cool KDE software that has eased many lives across the globe.

          Day 2 of the conference talked about KDE software in general and bits about QML.

          Day 3 of the conference talked about how specific KDE software and Qt Framework helps developers achieve amazing results with minimal hard-work and maximum smart-work.

        • Season of KDE Final Report

          SoK ended finally on 17th February 2020. I am happy to share that I have completed the project “Add multiple datasets to several activities” and passed the final evaluation!!!
          As I have written a post a few days back to update about my work which you can find over here.

        • Will Stephenson: It is time for a war on tabs

          All this causes additional cognitive load/dissonance when using your computing device.

          I’m not saying Plasma needs to become a tabbed window manager, but we can do better, and it is definitely time to declare war on the mess above.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.34.4 Released With Many Bug Fixes

          While GNOME 3.36 will be released in just a few weeks, GNOME 3.34.4 is out today as the latest stable update in the current series.

          GNOME 3.34.4 comes with a large number of bug fixes, many of which were back-ported from the 3.35 development series leading up to the GNOME 3.36.0 release on 11 March. Some of the GNOME 3.34.4 fixes include…

        • GNOME 3.34.4 Released with Various Improvements and Bug Fixes

          Released on September 2019, the GNOME 3.34 “Thessaloniki” desktop environment is the first to adopt a new release cycle with extended maintenance updates. Previous GNOME releases only received two maintenance updates during their support cycle.

          Therefore, GNOME 3.34.4 is here as a minor bugfix release to GNOME 3.34, addressing various issues, as well as updating translations across several components and applications. Among the changes, there’s a big GTK update with better Wayland support, VP8 encoding for the built-in screen-recorder, and another major Vala update.

        • Cast To TV v12 Chromecast Extension For GNOME Shell Adds Automatic Image Slideshow, Audio Only Transcoding, More

          Cast to TV, a GNOME Shell extension to cast media (with optional transcoding) to Chromecast and other devices over the local network, has been updated to version 12. In this release, the extension has received an option for audio only transcoding, automatic image slideshow, support for casting files from network GVFS mounts, and much more.

          Cast to TV is a very capable and feature-packed GNOME Shell extension for casting videos, music and pictures to Chromecast (and other devices) on the local network. It features on-the-fly transcoding for video or audio files that aren’t directly supported by the Chromecast (with hardware-accelerated encoding using VA-API or NVENC), customizable subtitles, music visualizer, an optional remote control applet (with playlist support) displayed on GNOME Shell’s top bar, and more.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Plasma, NodeJS, pip, Grep update in Tumbleweed

          Three openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots arrived this week and the snapshots provided a few major version upgrades and several minor updates with newer features.

          The latest snapshot was 20200218. This snapshot updated a subpackage for btrfsprogs to version 5.4.1 and fixes the docbook5 builds. The Linux Kernel updated to 5.5.4 and had a few changes for KVM on arm64. The update of glibc 2.31 now supports a feature test macro _ISOC2X_SOURCE to enable features from the draft ISO C2X standard. Command line utility grep 3.4 fixed some performance bugs and adds a new –no-ignore-case option that causes grep to observe case distinctions, overriding any previous -i (–ignore-case) option. The DBus-activated daemon controlling mobile devices and connections, ModemManager fixed the handling of hexadecimal 0×00 bytes at the end of GSM encoded strings in version 1.12.6. There were several other packages updated in the snapshot. Among the packages to be updated were flatpak 1.6.2, GNOME’s web browser epiphany 3.34.4, email client mutt 1.13.4, strace 5.5, sudo 1.8.31 and whois 5.5.5. With less than a week to go until a rating is finalized, a rating of 92 was initially released for the snapshot, according to the snapshot reviewer.

        • Get Expert Guided Hands-On Experience at the SUSECON 2020 Pre-Conference Workshops

          Are you ready for SUSECON 2020? It’s coming up fast! Join us in Dublin Ireland from March 23 – 27 for a week packed with learning and networking.

        • Get Certified During SUSECON 2020

          Working in IT is not for the feint of heart; the work is demanding, and change is constant. Right now, your organization is undoubtedly seeking new ways to extend the value of their investment in IT and get more done faster.

      • Slackware Family

        • New ISOs for Slackware Live (liveslak 1.3.5)

          I have uploaded a set of fresh Slackware Live Edition ISO images. They are based on the liveslak scripts version 1.3.5. The ISOs are variants of Slackware-current “Tue Feb 18 05:20:50 UTC 2020” with the 5.4.20 kernel but without PAM.
          The PLASMA5 variant is my february release of ‘ktown‘ aka KDE-5_20.02 .

          Download these ISO files preferably via rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/slackware-live/ (or its mirror rsync://slackware.uk/people/alien-slacklive/ but allow that 24 to sync up) because that allows easy resume if you cannot download the file in one go.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Critical Sudo Vulnerability Now Patched in CentOS 7 and RHEL 7

          A critical vulnerability (CVE-2019-18634) was discovered earlier this month by Joe Vennix in the Sudo package, a program that lets users run programs in a UNIX system with the security privileges of another user. The flaw could allow an unprivileged user to obtain full root privileges.

          Affected Sudo versions included all releases from v1.7.1 to v1.8.25p1. However, it was discovered that it doesn’t affect systems that did not had the pwfeedback option enabled in the /etc/sudoers file. For more details you can check out our previous report.

        • Designing an event-driven business process at scale: A health management example, Part 1

          The concept of a business process (BP), or workflow (WF), and the discipline and practice of business process management (BPM) have been around since the early 90s. Since then, WF/BPM tools have evolved considerably. More recently, a convergence of different tools has taken place, adding decision management (DM) and case management (CM) to the mix. The ascendance of data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in the last few years has further complicated the picture. The mature field of BPM has been subsumed into the hyped pseudo-novelties of digital business automation, digital reinvention, digital everything, etc., with the addition of “low code” and robotic process automation (RPA).

          A common requirement of business applications today is to be event-driven; that is, specific events should trigger a workflow or decision in real-time. This requirement leads to a fundamental problem. In realistic situations, there are many different types of events, each one requiring specific handling. An event-driven business application may have hundreds of qualitatively different workflows or processes. As new types of events arise in today’s ever-changing business conditions, new processes have to be designed and deployed as quickly as possible.

          This situation is different than the common requirement of scalability at runtime. It’s not just a problem of making an architecture scale to a large number of events per second. That problem is in many respects easy to solve. The problem of scalability at design time is what I am concerned about here.

        • Satellite and Ansible Tower Integration part 2: Provisioning callbacks

          Satellite and Ansible Tower are each powerful tools, and many customers utilize both of them. It is possible to integrate these tools and in part 1 of this series we covered how to configure Ansible Tower to pull a dynamic inventory of hosts from Satellite.

          One of Satellite’s features is the ability to provision new hosts, while one of Ansible Tower’s main features is the ability to configure hosts. By integrating these tools, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) hosts provisioned by Satellite can be configured to automatically make a provisioning callback to Ansible Tower. This provisioning callback functionality allows you to run an Ansible playbook on the new RHEL host so it can be configured using the Ansible Tower infrastructure. The end result is the ability to go into Satellite, provision a new host, and automatically obtain a configured host via Ansible Tower. This can save system administrators time and allow them to meet the needs of their organization.

          One of the prerequisites for setting up provisioning callbacks is having Satellite configured as a dynamic inventory source within Ansible Tower so, if you haven’t already, first follow the steps outlined in the previous blog post.

        • Red Hat Volleys New Patches For Exposing More File-System Info + Mount Notifications

          Longtime Linux kernel developer David Howells of Red Hat sent out his latest patch revision exposing new capabilities for exposing more VFS and mount information to user-space along with notification support for any file-system mount topology changes.

          One part of the patch series is the fsinfo() system call for exposing more VFS / file-system information for a particular path/mount point. This system call could expose information like file-system UUIDs, capabilities of the file-system, mount attributes, and other data.

        • Red Hat’s Susan James: How Open Source is Shaping 5G

          Open source has been shaping the way service providers collaborate and work together, especially as globalization and 5G’s huge networks demand interoperability. After 27 years at Ericsson working with enterprise, wireline, network, and cloud organizations, telecom veteran Susan James has stepped into the role of senior director of telecommunications strategy at Red Hat. She shared her thoughts with SDxCentral on how open source is transforming the service provider ecosystem.

        • Modernize your Java apps with open source, cloud-native tools

          It’s no secret that Java developers are thinking about how they’re going to modernize their existing applications to adapt to the new cloud landscape. The schedule for this week’s DevNexus conference is dominated by talks on containers, microservices, Kubernetes, and other cloud-native technologies, telling us that you’re eager to understand the best way to easily, securely move to the cloud with Java.

          In this blog post, we explore what you need to consider for building cloud-native Java applications and how open source technologies are your best bet for moving to microservices, containers, and the cloud.

        • IBM puts Power Systems in SAP’s cloud

          SAP is now hosting IBM’s latest Power Systems servers in its own data centers, as part of its HANA Enterprise Cloud managed offering. The move introduces a new hosting option for enterprises running modern ERP systems with large databases on the Power platform.

          That could interest a lot of CIOs: SAP has offered its software on the Power platform since 2005, and ported HANA to the Power architecture in 2015. IBM estimated last year that between 20 percent and 25 percent of HANA workloads then ran on Power, with the rest on servers based on Intel’s architecture.

        • Fedora at the National Library of Technology

          Where do you turn when you have a fleet of public workstations to manage? If you’re the Czech National Library of Technology (NTK), you turn to Fedora. Located in Prague, the NTK is the Czech Republic’s largest science and technology library. As part of its public service mission, the NTK provides 150 workstations for public use.

          In 2018, the NTK moved these workstations from Microsoft Windows to Fedora. In the press release announcing this change, Director Martin Svoboda said switching to Fedora will “reduce operating system support costs by about two-thirds.” The choice to use Fedora was easy, according to NTK Linux Engineer Miroslav Brabenec. “Our entire Linux infrastructure runs on RHEL or CentOS. So for desktop systems, Fedora was the obvious choice,” he told Fedora Magazine.

        • GNU Linux Distributions – about Fedora -> CentOS -> RedHat

          The focus of the Governing Board is to assist and guide in the progress and development of the various SIGs, as well as to lead and promote CentOS.

          The CentOS Governing Board is the governing body responsible for the overall oversight of the CentOS Project and SIGs, the creation of new SIGs, and the election (and re-election) of new board members. The Board also has the responsibility to ensure the goals, brands, and marks of the CentOS Project and community are protected. The Board serves as the final authority within the CentOS Project.

        • Stories from the amazing world of release-monitoring.org #9

          I woke up to the cold morning in my tower. The sun shone brightly on the sky, but the stone of the tower was cold as it takes some time to make it warm. Everything was already prepared for today’s journey. I sat at my table and started going through some reports from workers. I still had some time til the traveler arrived. So I started reading the reports …

        • Fedora 31 : The Fyne UI toolkit for Go programming language.
        • ABRT team: New releases

          Just prior to branching of Fedora 32, we released new versions of abrt, gnome‑abrt, abrt‑java‑connector, libreport, satyr and retrace‑server.

      • Debian Family

        • Daniel Silverstone: Subplot volunteers? (Acceptance testing tool)

          Subplot is a tool for capturing and automatically verifying the acceptance criteria for a software project or a system, in a way that’s understood by all stakeholders.

          In a software project there are always more than one stakeholder. Even in a project one writes for oneself, there are two stakeholders: oneself, and that malicious cretin oneself-in-the-future. More importantly, though, there are typically stakeholders such as end users, sysadmins, clients, software architects, developers, and testers. They all need to understand what the software should do, and when it’s in an acceptable state to be put into use: in other words, what the acceptance criteria are.

          Crucially, all stakeholders should understand the acceptance criteria the same way, and also how to verify they are met. In an ideal situation, all verification is automated, and happens very frequently.

          There are various tools for this, from generic documentation tooling (word processors, text editors, markup languages, etc) to test automation (Cucumber, Selenium, etc). On the one hand, documenting acceptance criteria in a way that all stakeholders understand is crucial: otherwise the end users are at risk of getting something that’s not useful to help them, and the project is a waste of everyone’s time and money. On the other hand, automating the verification of how acceptance criteria is met is also crucial: otherwise it’s done manually, which is slow, costly, and error prone, which increases the risk of project failure.

          Subplot aims to solve this by an approach that combines documentation tooling with automated verification.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Moves Ahead With Python 2 Removal – But Sticks Around For Derivatives

          With Python 2 having been end-of-life since the start of the year and Ubuntu 20.04 being a long-term support release, Ubuntu developers are working hard to ensure Python 2 isn’t shipped as part of this next Ubuntu LTS release.

          Indeed, the long process of working to remove Python 2 from Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is panning out at least as far as the official ISO is concerned. Among recent action has included removing the python* binary packages (the generic package names not python2-* or python3-*) and addressing packages that depended upon the unversioned python package names, scanning for any lingering Python 2 dependent binary packages, working to add a python-is-python2-but-deprecated package that will symlink /usr/bin/python to python2 for any hold-outs, and related work.

        • Canonical Outs New Major Kernel Update for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

          Available for the Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine), Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series, the new Linux kernel security update is here to fix a vulnerability (CVE-2019-14615) affecting systems with Intel Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), which could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information.

          It also addresses a race condition (CVE-2019-18683) discovered in the Virtual Video Test Driver (VIVID), which could allow an attacker with write access to /dev/video0 to gain administrative privileges, as well as a flaw (CVE-2019-19241) in Linux kernel’s IO uring implementation that could also allow a local attacker to gain administrative privileges.

          Another race condition (CVE-2019-19602) was fixed on x86 platforms, which could let a local attacker to cause a denial of service (memory corruption) or gain administrative privileges. Moreover, issues (CVE-2019-18786 and CVE-2019-19947) discovered in the Renesas Digital Radio Interface (DRIF) and Kvaser CAN/USB drivers could allow local attackers to expose sensitive information (kernel memory).

        • How one company is using Ubuntu Linux to make its IoT platform safer and faster

          Ubuntu manufacturer Canonical has announced a partnership with Bosch Rexroth to put Ubuntu Core in its app-based ctrlX AUTOMATION platform.

          Ubuntu Core, which is designed for embedded environments and IoT devices, will be used alongside snaps (Linux application containers) to produce an open source platform with simple plug-and-play software.

          According to Canonical, the choice of using Ubuntu instead of proprietary software means that industrial machine manufacturers “are freed from being tied to PLC specialists and proprietary systems with the software being decoupled from the hardware.”

        • Bosch Rexroth adopts Ubuntu Core and snaps for app-based ctrlX AUTOMATION platform

          Canonical today announced that Bosch Rexroth has selected Ubuntu Core for their app-based platform ctrlX AUTOMATION. ctrlX AUTOMATION leverages Ubuntu Core, designed for embedded devices, and snaps, the universal Linux application containers, to deliver an open source platform to remove the barriers between machine control, IT and OT. Industrial manufacturing solutions built on ctrlX AUTOMATION with Ubuntu Core and snaps will benefit from an open ecosystem, faster time to production and stronger security across devices’ lifecycle.

          Through the use of an open architecture, industrial machine manufacturers selecting ctrlX AUTOMATION are freed from being tied to PLC specialists and proprietary systems with the software being decoupled from the hardware. With Ubuntu Core and snaps, the ctrlX AUTOMATION platform enables developers to use a modern CI/CD and DevSecOps approach to deliver applications on edge devices in a traditional OT environment.

          “With the support of Ubuntu Core, ctrlX AUTOMATION can combine the worlds of automation and IoT in an open, modular and secure way to build a future proofed and innovative automation platform,” said Dr. Holger Schnabel, Product Owner ctrlX CORE, Bosch Rexroth.

        • Bosch Rexroth Selects Ubuntu Core For ctrlX AUTOMATION platform

          Bosch Rexroth has selected Ubuntu Core for its app-based platform ctrlX AUTOMATION, Canonical announced today. Developers can now create apps, delivered as snaps, in the programming language of their choice, including C, C++, Python, Javascript or Go.

          Traditionally, developers were restricted to specialist programming languages like IEC 61131, or G-Code in an industrial setting. With Ubuntu Core and snaps, developers using the ctrlX AUTOMATION platform have the freedom to use either conventional programming languages or modern alternatives.

        • MAAS doc example: MGH

          Rather than assume that every reader of our MAAS documentation is a network expert looking for a quick fix, we’re planning to expand the available material somewhat. In the past, we’ve used random analogies, screenshots, and examples to keep the text interesting — and it’s worked well enough. Going forward, though, it feels more practical and useful to create a single example thread that carries throughout blog posts and the documentation.

          This doesn’t mean that we’re going to adopt fable-like narratives or “day in the life” scenarios. Far from it. We do, though, want to backstop explanations and feature discussions with a single, coherent model. Our goal is to help the various parts of the doc set fit together a little more neatly.

          To that end, we’re introducing Metaphorical General Hospital (MGH), an example data centre that provides computing support for a 100-bed, suburban hospital that serves a community of around 5,000 residents. The example doesn’t have to be complete or perfectly realistic. It might not represent any actual hospital. It just needs to be sufficiently coherent to (1) tie the doc together, and (2) provide a better reference point for describing MAAS features.

        • GOWIN Semiconductor Adds Ubuntu Support to their GOWIN EDA FPGA Software for Improved Artificial Intelligence and IoT Development Toolchain Integration

          Traditional FPGAs have had a long history of development tool support for Windows and Red Hat, but in many cases lacked universal Linux support for other distributions such as Ubuntu. This has caused development burdens as Ubuntu has matured and become the most commonly supported operating system for Artificial Intelligence solution development. Neural network model development software such as Caffe, Tensorflow and Keras have found Ubuntu as the preferred operating system due to its open source support and scripting capabilities. As a result, having GOWIN’s FPGA EDA in the same operating system allows developers to seamlessly integrate FPGA synthesis, place and route and bitstream generation into their AI design and script work flows.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Antitrust Laws and Open Collaboration

        If you participate in standards development organizations, open source foundations, trade associations, or the like (Organizations), you already know that you’re required to comply with antitrust laws. The risks of noncompliance are not theoretical – violations can result in severe criminal and civil penalties, both for your organization and the individuals involved. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has in fact opened investigations into several standards organizations in recent years.

        Maybe you’ve had a training session at your company, or at least are aware that there’s an antitrust policy you’re supposed to read and comply with. But what if you’re a working group chair, or even an executive director, and therefore responsible for actually making sure nothing happens that’s not supposed to? Beyond paying attention, posting or reviewing an antitrust statement at meetings, and perhaps calling your attorney when member discussions drift into grey zones, what do you actually do to keep antitrust risk in check?

        Well, the good news is that regulators recognize that standards and other collaboration deliverables are good for consumers. The challenge is knowing where the boundaries of appropriate conduct can be found, whether you’re hosting, leading or just participating in activity involving competitors. Once you know the rules, you can forge ahead, expecting to navigate those risks, and knowing the benefits of collaboration can be powerful and procompetitive.

        We don’t often get glimpses into the specific criteria regulators use to evaluate potential antitrust violations, particularly as applicable to collaborative organizations. But when we do, it can help consortia and other collaborative foundations focus their efforts and take concrete steps to ensure compliance.

        In July 2019, the DOJ Antitrust Division (Division) provided a new glimpse, in its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs in Criminal Antitrust Investigations (Guidance). Although the Guidance is specifically intended to assist Division prosecutors evaluating corporate compliance programs when charging and sentencing, it provides valuable insights for building or improving an Organization’s antitrust compliance program (Program).

        At a high level, the Guidance suggests that an effective Program will be one that is well designed, is applied earnestly and in good faith by management, and includes adequate procedures to maximize effectiveness through efficiency, leadership, training, education, information and due diligence. This is important because organizations that detect violations and self-report to the Division’s Corporate Leniency program may receive credit (e.g. lower charges or penalties) for having an effective antitrust compliance program in place.

      • Events

        • The OpenShift Troubleshooting Workshop

          The first workshop in our Customer Empathy Workshop series was held October 28, 2019 during the AI/ML (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning) OpenShift Commons event in San Francisco. We collaborated with 5 Red Hat OpenShift customers for 2 hours on the topic of troubleshooting. We learned about the challenges faced by operations and development teams in the field and together brainstormed ways to reduce blockers and increase efficiency for users.

          The open source spirit was very much alive in this workshop. We came together with customers to work as a team so that we can better understand their unique challenges with troubleshooting. Here are some highlights from the experience.

        • [Kubernetes] Contributor Summit Amsterdam Schedule Announced
      • Web Browsers

        • Meet Ephemeral: The Always-Incognito Web Browser For Linux

          Popping up of the ads based on your browsing data has become a common issue that most people face nowadays. Hence, it’s obvious that people are turning toward the more privacy focussed search engine and web browser.

          Keeping the private browsing in mind, Cassidy James Blaede, co-founder & CXO at elementary, developed an open-source and always-incognito web browser, Ephemeral.

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Firefox 73.0.1 Released with Critical Linux Fixes

            With this update, Firefox reaches version 73.0.1, and the most notable improvement concerns Linux devices.

            According to the official release notes (embedded at the end of the article), this new update fixes crashes experienced on some Linux systems when playing encrypted content.

          • The new EU digital strategy: A good start, but more to be done

            In a strategy and two white papers published today, the Commission has laid out its vision for the next five years of EU tech policy: achieving trust by fostering technologies working for people, a fair and competitive digital economy, and a digital and sustainable society. This vision includes big ambitions for content regulation, digital competition, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. Here we give some recommendations on how the Commission should take it forward.

            We welcome this vision the Commission sketches out and are eager to contribute, because the internet today is not what we want it to be. A rising tide of illegal and harmful content, the pervasiveness of the surveillance economy, and increased centralisation of market power have damaged the internet’s original vision of openness. We also believe that innovation and fundamental rights are complementary and should always go hand in hand – a vision we live out in the products we build and the projects we take on. If built on carefully, the strategy can provide a roadmap to address the many challenges we face, in a way that protects citizens’ rights and enhances internet openness.

            However, it’s essential that the EU does not repeat the mistakes of the past, and avoids misguided, heavy handed and/or one-size-fits-all regulations. The Commission should look carefully at the problems we’re trying to solve, consider all actors impacted and think innovatively about smart interventions to open up markets and protect fundamental rights. This is particularly important in the content regulation space, where the last EU mandate saw broad regulatory interventions (e.g. on copyright or terrorist content) that were crafted with only the big online platforms in mind, undermining individuals’ rights and competition. Yet, and despite such interventions, big platforms are not doing enough to tackle the spread of illegal and harmful content. To avoid such problematic outcomes, we encourage the European Commission to come up with a comprehensive framework for ensuring that tech companies really do act responsibly, with a focus on the companies’ practices and processes.

          • Karl Dubost: Week notes – 2020 w07 – worklog – flask blueprint
          • Mozilla Localization (L10N): L10n Report: February Edition
          • What’s happening on the SUMO Platform: Sprint updates

            So what’s going on with the SUMO platform? We’re moving forward in 2020 with new plans, new challenges and a new roadmap.

            We’re continuing this year to track all development work in 2 week sprints. You can see everything that is currently being worked on and our current sprint here (please note: this is only a project tracking board, do not use it to file bugs, bugs should continue to be filed via Bugzilla)

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Top 5 Best MS Office Alternatives for Linux in 2020

          Like it or not, Microsoft Office is the de facto standard in most work environments, educational institutions, and government offices. As such, all MS Office alternatives for Linux are automatically measured against it and evaluated based on their compatibility with the file formats created by Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
          As a Linux user in 2020, you can choose from multiple mature alternatives to MS Office. Most MS Office alternatives for Linux can be downloaded and used free of charge to open, edit, and create documents in a variety of file formats, including .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx.

        • 10 great LibreOffice-only features

          LibreOffice is a successor project to OpenOffice.org (commonly known as OpenOffice), as you can see in this timeline – click to enlarge…

          We release a new major version every six months – so let’s check out some of the great features our community and certified developers have added in recent years!

        • LibreOffice 6.3.5 available for download

          The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.3.5, the 5th minor release of the LibreOffice 6.3 family, targeted at individuals using the software for production purposes, who are invited to update their current version. The new release provides bug and regression fixes, and improvements to document compatibility.

        • LibreOffice 6.3.5 Is Now Available for Download with 84 Bug Fixes

          LibreOffice 6.3.5 comes more than two months after the LibreOffice 6.3.4 update and it’s here to improve the overall stability, security and compatibility of the open-source and cross-platform office suite.

          A total of 84 bug and regression fixes are included in this maintenance update, which is still recommended to power users and technology enthusiasts, improving LibreOffice’s core components. The full changelogs are available for tech-savvy users here and here.

        • LibreOffice 7 Continues Plumbing Its Vulkan Rendering Support

          Landing last November in the LibreOffice development code was Skia drawing support to replace Cairo and in turn that opens up for Vulkan rendering of this cross-platform, open-source office suite.

          Skia+Vulkan is working out for LibreOffice and in fact the debut version that was going to be LibreOffice 6.5 was renamed to LibreOffice 7.0 as the current version now under development following the recent LibreOffice 6.4 release.

      • FSF

        • Licensing / Legal

          • Matthew Garrett: What usage restrictions can we place in a free software license?

            Growing awareness of the wider social and political impact of software development has led to efforts to write licenses that prevent software being used to engage in acts that are seen as socially harmful, with the Hippocratic License being perhaps the most discussed example (although the JSON license’s requirement that the software be used for good, not evil, is arguably an earlier version of the theme). The problem with these licenses is that they’re pretty much universally considered to fall outside the definition of free software or open source licenses due to their restrictions on use, and there’s a whole bunch of people who have very strong feelings that this is a very important thing. There’s also the more fundamental underlying point that it’s hard to write a license like this where everyone agrees on whether a specific thing is bad or not (eg, while many people working on a project may feel that it’s reasonable to prohibit the software being used to support drone strikes, others may feel that the project shouldn’t have a position on the use of the software to support drone strikes and some may even feel that some people should be the victims of drone strikes). This is, it turns out, all quite complicated.

            But there is something that many (but not all) people in the free software community agree on – certain restrictions are legitimate if they ultimately provide more freedom. Traditionally this was limited to restrictions on distribution (eg, the GPL requires that your recipient be able to obtain corresponding source code, and for GPLv3 must also be able to obtain the necessary signing keys to be able to replace it in covered devices), but more recently there’s been some restrictions that don’t require distribution. The best known is probably the clause in the Affero GPL (or AGPL) that requires that users interacting with covered code over a network be able to download the source code, but the Cryptographic Autonomy License (recently approved as an Open Source license) goes further and requires that users be able to obtain their data in order to self-host an equivalent instance.

      • Programming/Development

        • LLVM Adds MLIR-Vulkan-Runner To Run MLIR On Vulkan-Enabled GPUs

          For those out of the loop, MLIR is a new intermediate representation (IR) in the LLVM ecosystem that has grown immensely in popularity since Google developers announced it last year. MLIR was designed as a machine learning IR for the likes of TensorFlow and has seen significant adoption by the LLVM ecosystem in working out well for heterogeneous hardware among other advantages over the traditional LLVM IR.

          The mlir-vulkan-runner added to the LLVM source tree today is an execution driver for executing MLIR files on Vulkan by translating MLIR modules into SPIR-V for execution on GPUs while the host portion is converted to LLVM IR and JIT’ed on the system. This is similar to the MLIR CUDA runner that has already existed for NVIDIA platforms.

        • LLVM Clang 11 Adds -std=c++20 Support

          With C++20 now being deemed complete from the recent ISO C++ meeting in Prague, the GNU Compiler Collection went ahead and added the -std=c++20 flag where as up until that change this weekend relied upon the -std=c++2a switch. LLVM’s Clang compiler now has similar treatment on its codebase.

          Like GCC, the LLVM Clang C++20 support isn’t yet complete but it’s working towards that milestone. But with C++20 now deemed complete and set to formally be out in the coming months during the 2020 year, the developers are comfortable exposing it now as -std=c++20 as the target. Additionally, LLVM Clang has shifted its C++2A references in their code-base to C++20. The old C++2A switch will still be an accepted argument for compatibility purposes.

        • Daily life with the offline laptop

          I will go fast on this. My set up is an old Apple Powerbook G4 with a 1024×768 screen (I love that 4:3 ratio) running OpenBSD.

          The system firewall pf is configured to prevent any incoming connections, and only allow TCP on the network to port 22, because when I need to copy files, I use ssh / sftp. The /home partition is encrypted using the softraid crypto device, full disk encryption is not supported on powerpc.

          The experience is even more enjoyable with a warm cup of tea on hand.

        • The Computer Scientist Responsible for Cut, Copy, and Paste, Has Passed Away

          Born in 1945 in New York, Tesler went on to study computer science at Stanford University, and after graduation he dabbled in artificial intelligence research (long before it became a deeply concerning tool) and became involved in the anti-war and anti-corporate monopoly movements, with companies like IBM as one of his deserving targets. In 1973 Tesler took a job at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) where he worked until 1980. Xerox PARC is famously known for developing the mouse-driven graphical user interface we now all take for granted, and during his time at the lab Tesler worked with Tim Mott to create a word processor called Gypsy that is best known for coining the terms “cut,” “copy,” and “paste” when it comes to commands for removing, duplicating, or repositioning chunks of text.

        • Python

          • Python Programming

            Python is a powerful multipurpose programming language created by Guido van Rossum.

            It has a simple and easy-to-use syntax, making it a popular first-choice programming language for beginners.

            This is a comprehensive guide that explores the reasons you should consider learning Python and the ways you can get started with Python.

          • Python 3.7.5 : The PyQtChart from python Qt5.

            The PyQtChart is a set of Python bindings for The Qt Company’s Qt Charts library and is implemented as a single module.

          • Null in Python: Understanding Python’s NoneType Object

            If you have experience with other programming languages, like C or Java, then you’ve probably heard of the concept of null. Many languages use this to represent a pointer that doesn’t point to anything, to denote when a variable is empty, or to mark default parameters that you haven’t yet supplied. null is often defined to be 0 in those languages, but null in Python is different.

            Python uses the keyword None to define null objects and variables. While None does serve some of the same purposes as null in other languages, it’s another beast entirely. As the null in Python, None is not defined to be 0 or any other value. In Python, None is an object and a first-class citizen!

          • Python Bytes: #169 Jupyter Notebooks natively on your iPad
          • Test and Code: 101: Application Security – Anthony Shaw

            Anthony Shaw is doing something about it by creating an editor plugin that actually helps you write more secure application code while you are coding.

            On today’s Test & Code, Anthony and I discuss his security plugin, but also application security in general, as well as other security components you need to consider.

            Security is something every team needs to think about, whether you are a single person team, a small startup, or a large corporation.

            Anthony and I also discuss where to start if it’s just a few of you, or even just one of you.

          • Universal app reload with entr

            A useful feature many web frameworks have is auto-reload. Your app is running in the background, you change the code, and the app is restarted with those changes, so you can try them out immediately. What if you wanted that behavior for everything that you’re writing? And without any coding to implement it over and over in every little project?

            Then you can use entr. It’s a nice little UNIXy [1] tool. It really just does one thing – running commands when files change. And it has a simple, usable interface. You just pass it the names of the files it needs to watch, and give it the command to run.

          • Which verison of Python are you running?

            I actually want to ask you which version of Python3 are you running? Yes, it is a question I have to ask myself based on projects I am working on. I am sure there are many more people in the world who are also in the similar situation.

          • Using Python and GNU Octave to plot data

            Data science is a domain of knowledge that spans programming languages. Some are well-known for solving problems in this space, while others are lesser-known. This article will help you become familiar with doing data science with some popular languages.

          • Python while Loop

            Loops are one of the fundamental concepts of programming languages. Loops are handy when you want to repeat a specific block of code a number of times until a given condition is met. There are two basic loop constructs in Python, for and while loops. This tutorial covers the basics of while loops in Python. We’ll also show you how to use the else clause and the break and continue statements.

          • Stop Installing Python Packages Globally — Use Virtual Environments

            Python virtual environments allow you to install Python packages in an isolated location for a particular application, instead of installing them globally.
            Let’s explore what the advantages are and how you can quickly get started.

        • Rust

    • Standards/Consortia

      • How 1500 bytes became the MTU of the internet

        On the face of it 1500 is a weird number, we would normally expect a lot of constants in computing to be based around mathematical constants, like powers of 2. 1500, however fits none of those.

        So where did 1500 come from, and why are we still using it?

      • Is it Possible to Identify DNS over HTTPs Without Decrypting TLS?

        Whenever I talk about DNS over HTTPS (DoH), the question comes up if it is possible to fingerprint DoH traffic without decrypting it. The idea is that something about DoH packets is different enough to identify them.


        At this point, I would call the experiment a “proof of concept.” It is not a conclusive experiment. I only collected a few minutes of traffic and went maybe to a dozen different sites. All tests were performed on a Mac using Firefox 71 and Cloudflare as a resolver. I may get around to do more testing during the day and will update this post accordingly.

      • More DNS over HTTPS: Become One With the Packet. Be the Query. See the Query

        Two days ago, I wrote about how to profile traffic to recognize DNS over HTTPS. This is kind of a problem for DNS over HTTPS. If you can see it, you may be able to block it. On Twitter, a few chimed in to provide feedback about recognizing DNS over HTTPS. I checked a couple of other clients, and well, didn’t have a ton of time so this is still very preliminary:


        But to come back to the initial observation: The DoH traffic had specific packet sizes it preferred. So I was looking at this since it didn’t seem random, meaning it leaked information.

      • ‘This Is Disastrous’: How the Vinyl Industry Is Responding to the Apollo Masters Fire

        The day that everyone in the vinyl-manufacturing world has been worried about for years finally arrived. Earlier this month, Apollo Masters Corp., one of the two places in the world that produce the lacquer discs needed to assemble master plates for pressing records, burned down. The blaze reportedly took 82 firefighters and three hours to extinguish. No one was harmed, but the fire obliterated the Banning, California, facility responsible for, by most estimates, 70 to 85 percent of the lacquer plates used in vinyl production. There is now just one such factory in the world capable of producing that crucial item, MDC in Japan, leaving the global supply of vinyl in peril.

        “We’ve all been worried about this, we’ve had meetings about it within the industry,” says Cash Carter, chief operating officer at Kindercore Vinyl Pressing in Athens, Georgia. “We’ve gotten together with all the other pressing plants, lacquer cutters, everybody, and been like, ‘What happens if MDC or Apollo goes away? We’re all fucked.’ We were dreading that day, but not thinking it would actually happen — that before anything disastrous happened, someone would come in and fix what needed to be fixed.… Now, is the sky falling? No. But this is disastrous. I think there are going to be pressing plants that close because of this.… We’ve been saying we need to fix this for years. Now, we actually need to fix this.”

  • Leftovers

    • British DJ/Producer Andrew Weatherall Dead at 56

      UK DJ and producer Andrew Weatherall has passed away at age 56.

    • Here’s Hoping

      In her new book—her 17th solo work—Rebecca Solnit recalls a conversation with an unnamed older man she was “seeing” who said to her, “Baby, you’re driven.” She adds that at that time, when she “threw out sharp replies without thinking,” she replied, “And you’re parked.” Solnit goes on to say that she “was driven to redeem my existence, by achievement.” Seventeen books in about thirty years, plus five co-authored books, is a lot of books in a fairly short amount of time.

    • Science

    • Education

      • Should you be working 100 hours a week?

        I’m the first to admit that as an early career researcher I embraced the culture of overwork with both arms. It’s what all my contemporaries were doing. It’s what my mentors and role models expected. And the competition was addictive – stressful as hell but occasionally exhilarating.

        I didn’t work anything like 100 hours a week, but I was definitely doing 60+. You’d cram in 10 hours a day Monday to Friday, plus another 10 over the weekend, and then squeeze a bit more in wherever possible. Of course, I was only paid for about 40 hours, but, like many junior researchers on temporary “soft money”, I treated my salary as paying for borrowed time to invest in future success. When your professional status is a ticking bomb, you sprint.

        When I finally got a permanent academic job, the pressure just got worse. Tenure doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for doing anything else, not least actually thinking, which in some long-forgotten era used to be the primary job of the scholar.

      • The Charter School Movement Is Imploding. What Comes Next May Be Worse

        Trump’s plan for ‘school choice’ will lead to the further privatization of public education.

    • Hardware

      • Hard disk reliability study – 2005-2020

        In other words, practically, if I keep two copies of any which data, the likelihood of data loss is 2.5% over a decade, or 0.06% for three disks. So this kind of confirms my backup strategy from a while back, and also shows that it is important for you to keep multiple copies of important files, if you want them to outlast your hardware.


        There you go. I hope you find this 15-year-long study valuable. Of course, any techie like me could do it. All techies hoard hardware like mad, and I’m sure most of Dedoimedo readers have a bunch of computers and tons of hard disks strewn about, so it’s just the matter of compiling the right data. And I’m sure every such compilation would be compelling. A compelling compiling, hi hi.

        If you have any comments or suggestions about my findings, I’d love to hear them. Again, I don’t have a massive data center, so I can’t do an accurate comparative study between vendors, disks sizes and alike, so do take my results with a pinch of cardamom. But I believe my numbers are quite indicative for home usage scenarios, so if you’re mulling how to handle your data down the long trouser leg of time, you have some indication of where to start, and how to hedge your odds. Take care.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Passengers Leave Ship Docked Off Japan After Quarantine Ends

        About 500 passengers left the cruise ship Diamond Princess on Wednesday at the end of a much-criticized two-week quarantine aboard the vessel that failed to stop the spread of the new virus among passengers and crew.

      • “Don’t Listen to Them”: Insurance Industry Front Group to Run Ads Attacking Medicare for All During Democratic Debate

        “We are winning, so the industry is attacking Medicare for All to protect their profits and help the politicians defending those profits.”

      • Culinary Workers Union Member Would Trade Union Health Care for Medicare for All

        The third presidential contest of the primary season takes place Saturday in Nevada. One of the state’s most coveted endorsements is from the Culinary Workers Union, which represents some 60,000 workers in the restaurant and hospitality industries in Las Vegas and Reno. Its membership is 54% Latinx. But last week they decided not to endorse any of the candidates. Nevada is a “right to work” state, and the Culinary Workers Union has attracted members by offering them health care. It has said it supports “choices” in health care. The mobilization of service employees could be critical to winning the Nevada caucuses. We speak with In These Times labor reporter Hamilton Nolan and Marcie Wells, an activist, waitress, single parent, and a member of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Nevada for 16 years. Her essay for CommonDreams.org is titled “I Have ‘Some of the Best’ Health Insurance a Union Member Can Get, But I Would Trade It Today for Medicare for All.”

      • ‘Barbaric’: 8 Million Americans Have Been Forced to Start Crowdfunding Campaigns to Cover Medical Costs, Survey Shows

        “No one should have to beg for money to get the healthcare they need in the richest country on Earth.”

      • Healthcare Providers at Iran’s Top Cancer Hospital Say Crippling Trump Sanctions Are Affecting Patients

        “I don’t know really if the target of the sanctions are the politicians or our patients. We are dealing with cancer here and cancer doesn’t stop, so we cannot stop.”

      • Why Won’t Corporate America Support Single Payer Medicare-for-All?

        The only thing that will move most large corporations is a powerful grassroots anti-corporate movement that will hold their feet to the fire.

      • When Your Doctor Is Also a Lobbyist: Inside the War Over Surprise Medical Bills

        When Carol Pak-Teng, an emergency room doctor in New Jersey, hosted a fundraiser in December for Democratic freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski, her guests, mostly doctors, were pleased when she steered the conversation to surprise medical bills.

      • The latest attempt by the antivaccine movement to use religion to oppose school vaccine mandates

        Ever since I’ve been writing about pseudoscience and the antivaccine movement, I’ve encountered antivaxxers trying to use religious exemptions to school vaccine mandates. Never mind that no major religion actually objects to vaccines. Indeed, I’ve been writing about how antivaxxers have used religion to try to avoid vaccines going back at least to 2006. It’s nothing new. Heck, Joe Mercola was playing the religion card to oppose vaccine mandates nearly ten years ago. Of late, antivaxxers have been really playing the “fetal cells” trope that claims that, because some childhood vaccines are manufactured from virus stock grown in cell lines derived from a fetus over 50 years ago, those vaccines are evil and tainted. Never mind that the most anti-abortion major religion in the world, the Catholic Church, has said that using such vaccines is acceptable given the temporal distance of the “evil” of abortion.

      • ‘Don’t be kidnapped by China’: Taiwan tells WHO in bid for separate virus tally

        Taiwan has reported just 22 cases, versus China’s figure of more than 72,400, but the self-ruled island shares the agency’s classification of China as “very high risk”, since the WHO considers Taiwan as part of China.

        “Taiwan is not ruled by China and certainly should not be labelled as an infected area,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou told a news conference.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Kentucky official: Foreign actors, including Russians, North Koreans, target election system

        Previous attacks on election systems by foreign actors in the 2016 election focused on state-level systems, which have since beefed up security, though Dearing told legislators that “we’re now seeing those bad actors target the county level.”

      • Proprietary

        • TurboTax Is Still Tricking Customers With Tax Prep Ads That Misuse the Word “Free”

          On Dec. 30, the IRS announced it was revamping a long-standing agreement with the online tax preparation industry in which companies offer free filing to people with incomes below certain levels, a category that includes 70% of filers. The change in what’s known as the Free File program came in the wake of multiple ProPublica articles that revealed how the companies in the program steered customers eligible for free filing to their paid offerings. Under the updated agreement, the companies are now prohibited from hiding their Free File webpages from Google searches, and the IRS was allowed to create its own online tax-filing system.

          So far, it seems, the companies are abiding by their promise to make their Free File webpages visible in online searches. But the updated agreement appears to have a loophole: It doesn’t apply to advertising. Nothing in it, the agreement states, “limits or changes the rights” of participating companies to advertise “as if they were not participating in the Free File program.”

        • Ransomware Shuts Gas Compressor for 2 Days in Latest Attack [iophk: Windows TCO]

          It appears likely that the attacker explored the facility’s network to “identify critical assets” before executing the ransomware attack, according to Nathan Brubaker, a senior manager at the cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. This tactic — which has become increasingly popular among hackers — makes it “possible for the attacker to disable security processes that would normally be enough to detect known ransomware indicators,” he said.

        • Twitter says Olympics, IOC accounts [cracked]

          Twitter (TWTR.N) said on Saturday that an official Twitter account of the Olympics and the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) media Twitter account had been [cracked] and temporarily locked.

          The accounts were [cracked] through a third-party platform, a spokesperson for the social media platform said in an emailed statement, without giving further details.

        • Olympics, IOC accounts were [cracked], Twitter says

          The social media company Twitter on Saturday said that the official Twitter accounts for the Olympics as well as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have both been [cracked] and temporarily locked.

        • Apple warns revenue will be lower than expected because of coronavirus impact

          In a rare investor update on Monday, Apple said the global effects of the coronavirus outbreak are having have a material impact on the company bottom line. The company does not expect to meet its own revenue guidance for the second quarter due to the impact of the virus, and warns that “worldwide iPhone supply will be temporarily constrained.” Store closures and reduced retail traffic in China are also expected to have a significant impact.

          All of Apple’s iPhone manufacturing partner sites have been reopened but are “ramping up more slowly than we had anticipated,” which means that fewer iPhones than expected will be manufactured. As a result, “[t]hese iPhone supply shortages will temporarily affect revenues worldwide,” says Apple.

        • We decided to leave AWS

          For past adventures, I mostly use third-party email delivery services like Postmark, SendGrid, SES, etc. Unfortunately their pricing models are based on the number of emails, which are not compatible with the unlimited forwards/sends that SimpleLogin offers. In addition, we want SimpleLogin to be easily self-hosted and its components fit on a single server. For these reasons, we decide to run our MTA (Mail Transfer Agent) on EC2 directly.

        • New Workload Automation Platform Available on Linux and Windows Servers
        • War With Netflix and Disney Looms for India’s Top Local Streamer

          As global streaming giants Netflix Inc. and Walt Disney Co. spend millions of dollars to grab viewers in India, a country that could become their biggest overseas market, a homegrown rival is preparing to defend its turf.

          Zee5, the top domestic streaming platform set up by India’s biggest television broadcaster, is betting on local content to fend off big-spending rivals, Chief Executive Officer Tarun Katial said in an interview. The over-the-top, or OTT, service is playing to its advantage by adding more local-language shows and lower-price options to gain market share, he said.

        • DHS’s cyber wing responds to ransomware attack on pipeline operator [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency recently responded to a ransomware attack on a natural gas compression facility that led the organization to shut down its operations for two days, the agency said Tuesday.

          The [attackers] were able to encrypt data on the organization’s IT and “operational technology” network, a broad term for a network that oversees industrial processes. No longer able to read data coming from across its enterprise, the facility shut down its various assets, including its pipelines, for two days.

        • Alert (AA20-049A): Ransomware Impacting Pipeline Operations [iophk: Windows TCO]

          CISA responded to a cyberattack affecting control and communication assets on the operational technology (OT) network of a natural gas compression facility. A cyber threat actor used a Spearphishing Link [T1192] to obtain initial access to the organization’s information technology (IT) network before pivoting to its OT network. The threat actor then deployed commodity ransomware to Encrypt Data for Impact [T1486] on both networks. Specific assets experiencing a Loss of Availability [T826] on the OT network included human machine interfaces (HMIs), data historians, and polling servers. Impacted assets were no longer able to read and aggregate real-time operational data reported from low-level OT devices, resulting in a partial Loss of View [T829] for human operators. The attack did not impact any programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and at no point did the victim lose control of operations. Although the victim’s emergency response plan did not specifically consider cyberattacks, the decision was made to implement a deliberate and controlled shutdown to operations. This lasted approximately two days, resulting in a Loss of Productivity and Revenue [T828], after which normal operations resumed. CISA is providing this Alert to help administrators and network defenders protect their organizations against this and similar ransomware attacks.

        • Chinese-linked [cracking] group using Windows backdoors to go after gambling industry targets

          A nation-state actor that has links with Chinese [attackers] is exploiting two new backdoors to run a cyber-espionage campaign against gambling entities in Southeast Asia, according to Trend Micro research.

          The new activity, which is also reportedly occurring in Europe and the Middle East, was first unearthed last year when cybersecurity consultancy Talent-Jump Technologies found a Microsoft Windows backdoor and contacted Trend Micro while conducting incident response for a company based in the Philippines.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Kali Everywhere!

            There was some recent noise around children and their use of Kali, so Re4son stepped up with a new way to run Kali in locations where it may have been hard to in the past. This allows you to run Kali instances inside other Unix systems, making Kali even more accessible to kids than before. Welcome LXD.

            This is added to our other alternative versions of Kali such as Docker instances, cloud images, WSL, Vagrant, NetHunter, Azure, and so on. We have the goal to make Kali as easily available to you as possible, so you always have access to it whenever you may need it.

          • The Linux Foundation reveals the most commonly open-source software components

            The Linux Foundation is addressing structural and security complexities in today’s modern software supply chains with the release of the ‘Vulnerabilities in the Core,’ a preliminary report and census II of open-source software.

            The report was put together by the Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH).

          • The Linux Foundation and Harvard’s Lab for Innovation Science release census for open-source software security

            The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative and Harvard University’s Lab for Innovation Science have teamed up on a census of the most critical open-source components in today’s production applications.

          • The Trouble with Free and Open Source Software

            Insecure developer accounts, legacy software, and nonstandard naming schemes are major problems, Linux Foundation and Harvard study concludes.
            A wide-ranging study by researchers at the Linux Foundation and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard has yielded vital new information on the most widely used free and open source software (FOSS) within enterprises — and potential security risks related to that use.

            The researchers found that a lack of a standardized naming scheme for FOSS components has made it hard for organizations and other stakeholders to quickly and precisely identify questionable or vulnerable components.

            They also discovered that accounts belonging to developers contributing most actively to some of the most widely deployed open source software need to be secured much better. A third finding was that legacy packages within the open source space are becoming riskier by the day, just like any other older hardware or software technology.

            “FOSS components underpin nearly all other software out there — both open and proprietary — but we know so little about which ones might be the most widely used and most vulnerable,” says Frank Nagle, professor at Harvard Business School and co-author of the report. “Given the estimated economic impact of FOSS, far too little attention is paid to systematic efforts to support and maintain this core infrastructure,” he says.

            For the study, the researchers from the Linux Foundation and Harvard analyzed enterprise software usage data provided by, among others, software composition analysis firms and application security companies such as Snyk and the Synopsys Cybersecurity Research Center. In trying to identify the most widely used open source software, the researchers considered all of the dependencies that might exist between a FOSS package or component and other enterprise applications and systems.

          • Unsigned Firmware Puts Windows, Linux Peripherals at Risk

            Researchers at firmware security company Eclypsium on Tuesday released new research that identifies and confirms unsigned firmware in WiFi adapters, USB hubs, trackpads and cameras used in Windows and Linux computer and server products from Lenovo, Dell, HP and other major manufacturers.

            Eclypsium also demonstrated a successful attack on a server via a network interface card with unsigned firmware used by each of the big three server manufacturers.

            The demonstration shows the exposed attack vector once firmware on any of these components is infected using the issues the report describes. The malware stays undetected by any software security controls.

            Unsigned firmware provides multiple pathways for malicious actors to compromise laptops and servers. That leaves millions of Windows and Linux systems at risk of firmware attacks that can exfiltrate data, disrupt operations and deliver ransomware, warned Eclypsium.

          • Failure to sign firmware updates put Windows and Linux devices at risk
          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (firefox, java-1.7.0-openjdk, ksh, and sudo), Debian (php7.0 and python-django), Fedora (cacti, cacti-spine, mbedtls, and thunderbird), openSUSE (chromium, re2), Oracle (firefox, java-1.7.0-openjdk, and sudo), Red Hat (openjpeg2 and sudo), Scientific Linux (java-1.7.0-openjdk and sudo), SUSE (dbus-1, dpdk, enigmail, fontforge, gcc9, ImageMagick, ipmitool, php72, sudo, and wicked), and Ubuntu (clamav, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-gke-4.15, linux-hwe, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-aws-5.0, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-gke-5.0, linux-oracle-5.0, linux-azure, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-raspi2-5.3, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, and qemu).

          • Certificate validity and a y2k20 bug

            One of the standard fields of an SSL certificate is the validity period. This field includes notBefore and notAfter dates which, according to RFC5280 section, indicates the interval “during which the CA warrants that it will maintain information about the status of the certificate”

            This is one of the fields that should be inspected when accepting new or unknown certificates.

            When creating certificates, there are a number of theories on how long to set that period of validity. A short period reduces risk if a private key is compromised. The certificate expires soon after and can no longer be used. On the other hand, if the keys are well protected, then there is a need to regularly renew those short-lived certificates.

          • Free Software is protecting your data – 2014 TEDx Richard Stallman Free Software Windows and the NSA

            Libre booted (BIOS with Linux overwritten) Thinkpad T400s running Trisquel GNU/Linux OS. (src: https://stallman.org/stallman-computing.html)

            LibreBooting the BIOS?


            It is possible to overwrite the BIOS of some Lenovo laptops (why only some?) with a minimal version of Linux.

          • NG Firewall 15.0 is here with better protection for SMB assets

            Here comes the release of NG Firewall 15.0 by Untangle with the creators claiming top-notch security for SMB assets. Let’s thoroughly discuss the latest NG Firewall update.

            With that being said, it only makes sense to first introduce this software to the readers who aren’t familiar with it. As the name ‘NG Firewall’ suggests, it is indeed a firewall but a very powerful one. It is a Debian-based and network gateway designed for small to medium-sized enterprises.

            If you want to be up-to-date with the latest firewall technology, your best bet would be to opt for this third-generation firewall. Another factor that distinguishes the NG Firewall from other such products in the market is that it combines network device filtering functions and traditional firewall technology.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Comcast, AT&T Sue Maine Over Privacy Law, Claim It Violates Free Speech

              Back in 2017, the telecom industry successfully lobbied Congress to kill some modest FCC privacy rules before they could even take effect. The rules simply required that ISPs be more transparent about what data they collect and who they sell it to, requiring that consumers opt in to the sale of more sensitive location data (financial, location). From there, the telecom lobby proceeded to convince the FCC to effectively neuter its consumer protection authority almost entirely. Not only that, it successfully lobbied the FCC to try and ban states from stepping in and protecting consumers — though the courts (so far) didn’t look too kindly upon that.

            • EFF to Ninth Circuit: Border Searches of Electronic Devices Require a Warrant

              Although the Ninth Circuit issued a strong opinion last year in favor of digital privacy rights at the border, EFF filed an amicus brief [PDF] in a new case urging the court to go a step further. The Ninth Circuit should finally hold that the Fourth Amendment requires a probable cause warrant for border searches of electronic devices.

              Our brief was filed in a case brought by Haisam Elsharkawi, a U.S. citizen who attempted to board a flight at Los Angeles International Airport to Saudi Arabia to attend a Muslim religious pilgrimage. Border agents removed him from the boarding line and began questioning him. Elsharkawi repeatedly asked for a lawyer and border agents took him to a holding cell and handcuffed him to a bench. They also searched his carry-on bag and person, and he witnessed border agents manually search his two cell phones. He believes that one phone was also forensically searched.

            • The Broadband Industry Is Suing Maine Over a Web Privacy Law

              The broadband industry is suing Maine to stop a web-browsing privacy law similar to the one killed by Congress and President Donald Trump in 2017. Industry groups claim the state law violates First Amendment protections on free speech and the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution.

              The Maine law was signed by Democratic governor Janet Mills in June 2019 and is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2020. It requires ISPs to get customers’ opt-in consent before using or sharing sensitive data. As Mills’ announcement in June said, the state law “prohibits a provider of broadband Internet access service from using, disclosing, selling, or permitting access to customer personal information unless the customer expressly consents to that use, disclosure, sale or access. The legislation also prohibits a provider from refusing to serve a customer, charging a customer a penalty or offering a customer a discount if the customer does or does not consent to the use, disclosure, sale or access of their personal information.”

            • The Indian government is reportedly cracking down on VPN usage in Jammu & Kashmir

              The Jammu & Kashmir region of India has seen more internet shutdowns in recent years than most everywhere else on Earth. While there is political turmoil in the region, the Indian government has used this as an excuse to crack down on democratic actions such as demonstrations and especially freedom of expression on the open internet by straight up shutting down the internet at times. The Jammu & Kashmir region has gone months at a time without [Internet], though citizens in the region still find ways to connect and make their voices heard whether through 2G mobile networks or VPNs.

            • Amazon Accused by Activist of Not Providing Basic Email Security

              Emails are routed through Amazon servers that in some cases fail to provide so-called TLS encryption, which is a standard safety practice, according to the complaint, which was filed in the German state of Hesse on behalf of a seller on Amazon Marketplace.

              This failure violates the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which requires companies to implement appropriate security measures to protect the confidentiality of communications, the group said.

            • Driver Stranded After ‘Smart’ Rental Car Can’t Phone Home

              If there’s one recurring theme for the internet-connected era, it’s that smart technology increasingly isn’t all that smart. Your smart locks bleed personal data and can be easily hacked. Your “smart” refrigerator can leak your Gmail credentials. Your “smart” oven can turn on in the middle of the night, potentially putting you at risk. Even your “smart” Barbie doll would be better left in its dumb incarnation given it can be used to spy on toddlers.

            • NYPD Lied About National Security During An Attempt To Obtain A Journalist’s Records From Twitter

              This is a lie. There’s no way around it. I’m sure the NYPD will come up with some excuse for this, but it will probably take a lawsuit to obtain the underlying documents, if not the NYPD’s internal justifications.

            • Private Internet Access refund policy extended to 30 days

              Effective immediately, Private Internet Access subscribers will be covered under our new 30 day money back guarantee. Our subscribers are guaranteed satisfaction with our VPN product, and we wanted to make sure that our users get the VPN service they pay for and have ample time to test out their VPN configuration. What’s more – this isn’t just a special holiday extension on our return policy, this is a new update to our Terms of Service that will stay in effect all year long from here on out.

            • Three VPN use cases you should know about

              Do you want to protect your online identity, stay safe on public wifi or bypass censorship on the internet? Then this article is for you.

              First a little background on how the internet world works: Your public IP address is discoverable by browsers, websites, service providers, and other devices. This opens the door for your privacy to be compromised. It can also mean that sensitive information falls into malicious hands. When using a VPN, instead of your public IP address being displayed, it uses the address of the VPN server that all of your internet activity is routed through. This VPN server could be located anywhere in the world, which makes it impossible for those interested to find out your true location, let alone any personal information.

              Moreover, VPNs have lists of countries, after you select one, you appear to be using the internet not from your actual location, but from the location of the virtual server. VPNs secure and protect your online identity. Most of the trusted VPN service providers use the latest encryption keys to hide your data from anyone trying to spy on your digital lifestyle. If servers are not obfuscated, however, your ISP can see if you are using a VPN, but it cannot decipher the contents of your internet traffic. It means your ISP cannot see anything you do while you are connected.

            • New Senate Bill Would Place Moratorium on Federal Use of Facial Recognition

              Two Democratic senators want to temporarily pause the government’s use of facial recognition technology while a commission develops regulations.

              A pair of Democratic senators have introduced legislation to temporarily pause the federal government’s use and purchase of facial recognition technology until Congress passes regulations.

              Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) announced the move on Wednesday, reflecting a growing movement to regulate and even ban the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement, government agencies like Customs and Border Protection and private corporations.

            • Lindsey Graham’s new bill would end the internet as we know it

              If Sen. Lindsey Graham gets his way, the federal government will launch another attack on online privacy. The South Carolina Republican will ask lawmakers to give Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice unchecked access to all of your messaging, file-sharing, and video-sharing tools. That is bad news for just about everyone and a nightmare for those who value digital privacy.

            • Ring Updates Device Security and Privacy—But Ignores Larger Concerns

              Amazon’s surveillance doorbell company Ring has announced extra layers of security and control for users after a wave of backlash from civil liberties and cyber security organizations like EFF and Mozilla. Organizations raised major concerns over Ring’s lack of effort in protecting the data and security of users, including permitting multiple log-in attempts that allowed bad actors to take control of people’s Ring cameras; not requiring two-factor authentication; and allowing a number of undisclosed third-party trackers to harvest data from the Ring app. 

              Ring’s announcement declared that the company is making two-factor authentication mandatory for users—meaning that when a person logs in to their Ring account, they will have to enter a code emailed or texted to them to verify that they are the person attempting to log in.

            • How Amazon Convinced Millions of People to Welcome “Listening Devices” Into Their Homes

              “Alexa is one more way for Amazon to gather extremely valuable data,” Meredith Whittaker, co-director of the A.I. Now Institute at NYU, tells FRONTLINE in the above excerpt. “And this data collection is extremely important to this business model. It’s extremely hard to do … convincing people to just deploy something like this in their home is— it’s a brilliant trick.”

            • Soros: Zuckerberg, Sandberg should be removed from control of Facebook

              Soros targeted the two Facebook officials in a letter to the editor to the Financial Times responding to Zuckerberg’s comments Monday encouraging “more regulation of Big Tech.” He accused the CEO of “obfuscating the facts by piously arguing for government regulation.”

              The Democratic donor alleged Zuckerberg has partnered with President Trump in a “mutual assistance arrangement” to help him get reelected through political advertising, an accusation he has made in the past.

            • Massive Israeli Data Leak Is Treasure Trove for Iran Intel. It Can Jeopardize Mossad and Special Ops

              This app, which enables access to the country’s entire voter registry, is used “to run elections and make contact with voters,” according to the company. It includes voters’ full names, ID numbers, gender, telephone numbers and current addresses. In addition, there is information entered by party campaign staff about whether or not the individual in question supports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

            • Pay Up, Or We’ll Make Google Ban Your Ads

              A new email-based extortion scheme apparently is making the rounds, targeting Web site owners serving banner ads through Google’s AdSense program. In this scam, the fraudsters demand bitcoin in exchange for a promise not to flood the publisher’s ads with so much bot and junk traffic that Google’s automated anti-fraud systems suspend the user’s AdSense account for suspicious traffic.

            • Need a New Driver’s License to Fly? Prepare for a Real Wait.

              Motor vehicle offices are a particular sort of urban hell where people spend hour after hour waiting — waiting to take a number, waiting to have a photograph snapped, waiting to take a vision test, waiting to be called to a clerk’s window.

              All to get or renew a driver’s license.

              Now, as many unhappy applicants are finding out, it’s even worse. A new federal security requirement is forcing drivers who want to use their license to board a commercial flight to apply for renewals or new licenses in person at a motor vehicle office.

            • Confidentiality

              • [Old] Kerberos (I): How does Kerberos work? – Theory

                The objective of this series of posts is to clarify how Kerberos works, more than just introduce the attacks. This due to the fact that in many occasions it is not clear why some techniques works or not. Having this knowledge allows to know when to use any of those attacks in a pentest.

                Therefore, after a long journey of diving into the documentation and several posts about the topic, we’ve tried to write in this post all the important details which an auditor should know in order to understand how take advantage of Kerberos protocol.

                In this first post only basic functionality will be discussed. In later posts it will see how perform the attacks and how the more complex aspects works, as delegation.

              • [Old] Kerberos (II): How to attack Kerberos?

                These attacks are sorted by the privileges needed to perform them, in ascending order. Thus, to perform the first attacks only connectivity with the DC (Domain Controller) is required, which is the KDC (Key Distribution Center) for the AD (Active Directory) network. Whereas, the last attack requires a user being a Domain Administrator or having similar privileges.

              • Kerberos (III): How does delegation work?

                In this article, we will focus on understand how the different kinds of delegation work, including some special cases. Additionally, some scenarios where it could be possible to take advantage of these mechanisms in order to leverage privilege escalation or set persistence in the domain will be introduced.

                Before starting with the explanations, I will assume that you already understand Kerberos’ basic concepts. However, if expressions like TGT, TGS, KDC or Golden ticket sound strange to you, you should definitely check the article “How does Kerberos works?” or any related Kerberos’ introduction.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • U.N.: Thousands Fleeing Syrian Offensive, Kids Dying in the Cold

        Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing a Russian-backed Syrian offensive are being squeezed into ever smaller areas near Turkey’s border “under horrendous conditions” in freezing temperatures that are killing babies and young children, the U.N. humanitarian chief said Wednesday.

      • Corporate Occupations: The UN Business “Black List” and Israel’s Settlements

        Mikhail Bakunin, in that charming anarchist tradition, regarded the state as an evil to be done away with.  Such collective formations were criminal, oppressive, eviscerating to the individual.  The corporation might be regarded as a similar collective, adopting and aping elements of the state with, in some cases, greater latitude to achieve its object.  At times, they collude with states to advance their interests, which rarely deviate from the profit motive; in other cases, they seek to overthrow state regimes in favour of more compliant ones.

      • Guinea: Fear of Further Crackdown as Constitutional Poll Nears

        Guinea’s government should respect freedom of assembly and ensure security force discipline in advance of the March 1, 2020 constitutional referendum, Human Rights Watch said today. The referendum on a new constitution could clear the way for President Alpha Condé to run for a third presidential term.

        Since widespread demonstrations against the new constitution began in October 2019, security forces have used tear gas, riot gear, and, at times, firearms against protesters, who have thrown stones and other projectiles at police and gendarmes. Social media videos verified by international journalists have shown members of the security forces firing toward demonstrators, beating an elderly man, and using a woman as a shield against stones thrown by protesters. More than 30 people have been killed and dozens injured.

      • An Arms Race That No One Can Win

        We all have a vital interest in ensuring that nuclear weapons are not used. It’s time for the United States to take the lead on nonproliferation and disarmament.

      • Afghan Troops say Taliban are Brothers and War is “Not Really Our Fight.”

        The world is waiting anxiously to see whether the U.S. and Afghan governments and the Taliban will agree to a one-week truce that could set the stage for a “permanent and comprehensive” ceasefire and a withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign occupation forces from Afghanistan. Could the talks be for real this time, or will they turn out to be just another smokescreen for President Trump’s addiction to mass murder and celebrity whack-a-mole?

      • We’re All in This Together

        Listen: we don’t have to agree about everything.


        America has been a warring nation—a military empire intent on occupation and conquest—for so long that perhaps we, the citizens of this warring nation, have forgotten what it means to live in peace, with the world and one another.

        We’d better get back to the fundamentals of what it means to be human beings who can get along if we want to have any hope of restoring some semblance of sanity, civility and decency to what is progressively being turned into a foul-mouthed, hot-headed free-for-all bar fight by politicians for whom this is all one big, elaborate game designed to increase their powers and fatten their bank accounts.

      • EU Urges Zimbabwe to Bring Abusive Security Forces to Justice

        The European Union yesterday called on the Zimbabwe government to ensure perpetrators of human rights violations are swiftly brought to justice and immediately implement the recommendations of an inquiry into violence following the 2018 elections.

        The Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry, set up by President Emmerson Mnangagwa following the post-election violence of August 1, 2018, found that six people died and 35 others were injured as a result of actions by the state security forces. Some commission recommendations, which have yet to be implemented, include ensuring perpetrators are held accountable and a special committee to compensate those killed and those who lost property is set up.

      • South Sudan: Reform Abusive Security Agency

        South Sudan’s National Assembly should urgently enact reforms of the National Security Service (NSS) to end arbitrary detention and abuse of detainees, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should also ensure that the security agency releases all those arbitrarily detained in Juba, the capital, and elsewhere in the country and hold all those responsible for abuses to account.

        “South Sudan’s national security agency has for years carried out a full-blown assault on critics of the government and political opponents in brazen disregard for basic rights,” said Jehanne Henry, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “With the formation of a unity government, South Sudan’s leaders should now show they are serious about ending these abuses and holding those responsible to account.”

      • WORTH THE PRICE? Joe Biden and the Launch of the Iraq War
      • New Film Shows How Biden Played Leading Role in Push for US to Invade Iraq

        The Democratic presidential candidates face off in Las Vegas Wednesday night ahead of the Nevada caucuses. Nevada could be a decisive state for candidates who performed poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire, including former Vice President Joe Biden. As Biden hopes for a comeback, a new short documentary sheds light on his extensive role in the Iraq War — an issue that has been raised repeatedly on the campaign trail. Biden has apologized for supporting the war, but the new film, directed by the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s Mark Weisbrot, exposes Biden’s central role in pushing for an Iraq invasion. It’s called Worth the Price? Joe Biden and the Launch of the Iraq War. The documentary is narrated by Danny Glover.

      • More Than 1,200 IBEW Members Call on Union Leadership to Retract Biden Endorsement

        In organized labor, as in society at large, the 2020 Democratic primary is exposing the deep, latent divide between the left and the establishment.

      • International Security and Estonia 2020 [PDF]

        At present, the influence activities of Russian intelligence services notionally fall into two categories.

        »One is the recruitment of so-called influence agents who, through their authority or position (including through the media), can influence public opinion or political, economic and social processes in the target country.

        »The second has emerged in the digital age and is about influencing public opinion by spreading provoca-tive comments or fake news through internet portals and social media anonymously (i.e. using false iden-tity and concealing the real author), also known as “internet trolling”

      • Over 60 Germans among Islamists in Idlib

        More than 60 Germans are fighting in Idlib, the last stronghold of foreign fighters in northwest Syria, according to reports by the German broadcaster SWR on Sunday.

        SWRreviewed transcripts of instant messages sent by the fighters and determined that the individuals are largely members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group with ties to al-Qaida. At least one person is working with the group Junud al-Sham.

        Using messenger apps such as Telegram, the fighters solicited financial aid from supporters back in Germany by way of text, video and voice messages.

      • UK: London police shoot man in ‘terrorism-related’ incident

        Amman had been released from prison at the end of January, after serving just half of a three-year and four-month prison sentence for the “possession and distribution of extremist material,” according to British media. He had been under active police surveillance at the time of the stabbing.

      • Small Group of Orthodox Muslims Causing Problems in Mosques, Council of Mosques Says

        According to Bouharrou, there are 15 to 20 mosques in the Netherlands that are ultra-orthodox and causing problems. And the silent majority does not make itself heard. But he thinks that by acting more strongly, the Muslim community can solve this problem itself. “The solution is that they enter into the public debate,” Bouharrou said, adding that this also means speaking out against orthodox or extremist preachers on social media.

        Influences from the Gulf states must be tackled, he stressed. “We have to do something to make those influences smaller,” Bouharrou said. It is “by definition” undesirable if people from abroad are involved in the boards of Dutch mosques, he said.

      • Suicide Bomber Kills Eight, Wounds 16 At Radical Sunni Islamist Rally In Pakistan

        Quetta Police Chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema said the February 17 rally was being staged by dozens of Sunni Muslim followers of the radical Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ) party.

        The ASWJ is considered the political entity of the Lashkar-e Jhangvi — an extremist faction that has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly attacks against Pakistan’s Shi’a minority.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Sorry, New York Times, But America Began in 1776

        If this even needs to be said, beautiful people of colour kept slaves as well. In fact, one of the world’s most significant slave trades, the Barbary Slave Trade, was focused almost entirely around the sale of white European slaves to Moorish and Black purchasers in North Africa. The Barbary Trade operated from the 16th century to the late 18th century, inspired a verse in the U.S. Marine Corps Hymn (“to the shores of Trip-o-li”), and even helped add the word “slave” to English-language dictionaries: The term comes from “Slav,” an ethnic descriptor for the residents of chaotic Eastern European states (today’s Bosnia, etc.) who were frequently sold into slavery to masters of all shades. While some desire on the part of 1619 participants to focus on the evils of our own society is understandable, it is hardly honest to attribute the unique characteristics of American society to slavery, when essentially all societies had slavery historically and only one became the USA. As the 1776 bossman Bob Woodson has noted, lies and omissions are not effective tools with which to fight racism.

        All that said, it is not enough merely to critique an opponent’s worldview: A successful movement must provide a worldview of its own. Three core elements of my view of slavery—and, I think it is fair to say, 1776’s as well—are: (1) recognizing that an anti-slavery movement led by white and Black people of goodwill existed in this country as long as slavery did, and won in the end; (2) recognizing that slavery did not “build the USA,” but rather made the pre-bellum South into something of a backwater, due largely to the proud if subtle resistance of the slaves themselves; and (3) recognizing that America paid a diverse butcher’s bill of hundreds of thousands of lives, during the Civil War, in order to FREE the slaves.

      • The Heartland Lobby

        Donors Trust’s activities are not illegal, but they do bypass the otherwise quite extensive transparency regulations in the US. Both Donors Trust and Donors Capital Trust are tax-exempt foundations that redistribute corporate donations to conservative and market-liberal think tanks. US tax law requires them to disclose to whom the funds are given. However, they are allowed to keep the name of the donor undisclosed on the grounds of anonymous. In practice, this means oil and coal companies can support anti-climate campaigns via Donors Trust or Donors Capital without having to reveal their financial support.

      • The Rohrabacher-Assange meeting

        California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s recent three-hour meeting with WikiLeaks head Julian Assange as reported earlier this week by The Hill may prove interesting in light of the allegations of several former high-ranking U.S. intelligence analysts that the Democratic National Committee was not hacked by the Russians or anyone else prior to last fall’s presidential election.
        Mr. Rohrabacher said little after the meeting other than that Mr. Assange repeated his denial that the materials he obtained and made public did not come from the Russians, but claimed he had more information about what actually happened that he intended to share with President Trump.
        The “common wisdom” in Washington circles is that the Russians were responsible for illegally hacking into the DNC computers during the campaign and leaked the emails thus obtained through WikiLeaks, but recent revelations suggest that there is at least a possibility that the “common wisdom” is dead flat wrong. If it is wrong and can be proven, the charges of “collusion” so dear to Mr. Trump’s opponents could collapse.

      • The dumbwaiter defense

        EARLIER THIS MONTH, a Brazilian judge stopped the prosecution of Glenn Greenwald under Brazil’s hacking laws. The case against Greenwald, a journalist for The Intercept, was apparently modeled on the indictment of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, under United States hacking laws. Both cases are examples of governments using hacking laws to stifle political speech—and we should expect more of the same.

        The public tends to think of Assange’s case as a massive First Amendment attack under the Espionage Act, for passing on leaks from a whistleblower and former Army intelligence analyst named Chelsea Manning. Assange, however, was also charged with breaking US hacking laws for allegedly agreeing with Manning to crack a password to a government computer network. The case against Assange is flimsy—as is the one against Greenwald. Both cases are based on the same theory, first advanced by Mike Pompeo and the Justice Department, and rooted in a case known as Bartnicki.

    • Environment

      • Trump signs order diverting water to California farmers against state wishes

        The state is expected to fight the order.

        “California won’t allow the Trump Administration to destroy and deplete our natural resources,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said in a statement after the speech. “We’re prepared to challenge the Trump Administration’s harmful attack on our state’s critical ecosystems and environment.”

      • Bezos’ $10 Billion Climate Pledge Makes No Mention of Amazon’s Climate Impact

        The announcement made no mention of Amazon, even though the company has been criticized by its own employees for business ventures they say contribute to the problem, such as its vast network of delivery trucks; and Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s cloud computing division, which works with oil and gas companies to help them better extract fossil fuels.

        Last month, Amazon workers protested on social media in defiance of company rules. And in September, more than 1,000 Amazon employees organized a walkout as part of a global climate strike. The day before the scheduled walkout, Amazon announced that it was co-founding and participating in a new climate pledge, promising to become carbon neutral by 2040. It was later reported that the company “threatened to fire” several of the employees involved in the walkouts, saying they violated company policy on speaking to the media.

      • Report: Climate Disruption Threatens Health, Future of All Children

        It said dramatic progress had been made in improving children’s lives in the past five decades but economic inequalities meant the benefits were not shared by all.

        And the heating up of the planet and damage to the environment, among other stresses, meant every child faced an uncertain future, it added.

        “Climate disruption is creating extreme risks from rising sea levels, extreme weather events, water and food insecurity, heat stress, emerging infectious diseases, and large-scale population migration,” said the report by more than 40 experts.

      • Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion to fight climate change

        Bezos said that the money will be used to help scientists, activists, NGOs, and “any effort that offers a real possibility” to help preserve the earth from the impact of climate change. A person close to the fund told The Verge that it would not engage in private sector investment, but focus entirely on charitable giving.

        The fund plans to begin issuing grants this summer, but right now, there are few hard details besides what Bezos shared on Instagram, so it’s unclear exactly how or when applications for grants will be accepted.

      • Growing Evidence Says People on Easter Island Were Still Okay When Europeans Landed

        New research suggests these islanders were building platforms for the iconic Moai statues up until at least 1750, well beyond the society’s hypothesised collapse around 1600 and up to and beyond the later arrival of foreign seafarers.

      • Extreme Weather Could Trigger a Recession Unlike We’ve Ever Seen

        New research published Monday warns that extreme weather driven by the climate crisis could bring about an economic recession “the likes of which we’ve never seen before” if markets don’t do a better job assessing climate risks.

        Paul Griffin, an accounting professor at the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management, wrote in a paper for Nature Energy that financial markets have not sufficiently accounted for the major economic risks posed by the global climate crisis, even as extreme weather—from destructive hurricanes to prolonged drought—wreaks havoc across the globe.

        “Unpriced risk was the main cause of the Great Recession in 2007-2008,” Griffin wrote. “Right now, energy companies shoulder much of that risk. The market needs to better assess risk, and factor a risk of extreme weather into securities prices… Without better knowledge of this risk, the average energy investor can only hope that the next extreme event will not trigger a sudden correction to the market values of energy firms.”

      • Extreme Weather Could Spark Economic Recession ‘Likes of Which We’ve Never Seen Before,’ Research Warns

        “Unpriced risk was the main cause of the Great Recession in 2007-2008.”

      • Follow The Leaders? The Role Of Universities In A Collapsing Climate

        With the new university semester about to start, Dr Nick Riemer asks what it means to devote years to higher education when the planet is literally burning.

      • Soggy Neighborhoods Under Flash-Flood Warning in Mississippi

        Forecasters expected more heavy rains in parts of the flood-ravaged South on Tuesday, prolonging the misery for worried people who still can’t get back in homes surrounded by water.

      • Herakles in the Age of Climate Chaos

        On Monday afternoon of February 10, 2020, I went to the Classics department of Pomona College for a lecture on Herakles. Chiara Sulprizio of Vanderbilt University used cartoons and animation to help us understand the lasting influence and power of classical mythology.

      • Buttigieg and Centrist Dems Want a Military Response to Climate Change. That’s Dangerous.

        The Pentagon sees climate victims as threats.

      • Greenpeace Finds Labels on Plastic Products ‘Mislead the Public and Harm America’s Recycling Systems’

        “Instead of getting serious about moving away from single-use plastic, corporations are hiding behind the pretense that their throwaway packaging is recyclable.”

      • World Shifting to Net Zero Emissions

        More than 30 trillion of the world annual product (GDP) is being generated in nations, regions and cities with an actual or proposed net zero target.

      • Trump Spreads Alarm About Green New Deal: “They Want to Kill Our Cows”

        As the campaign of Bernie Sanders continues to gain (an albeit fragile) viability, along with the equally fragile yet increasingly necessary enactment of a Green New Deal, Donald Trump is inoculating his base.

      • Permafrost Is Already Thawing. Will It Tip the Scales in the Climate Crisis?

        Across vast swaths of the northern hemisphere’s higher reaches, frozen ground holds billions of tonnes of carbon.

      • Damning New Report Says Every Nation Undermining Children’s Hopes for a Livable Planet

        Children’s “collective concerns must now be heard, and effective actions taken to prevent the next generation inheriting an irreversibly damaged planet.”

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • ‘The World Must Act Boldly’: 23 Former Diplomats Urge Global Leaders to Adopt Paris-Style Agreement to Protect Biodiversity

          “Humanity sits on the precipice of irreversible loss of biodiversity and a climate crisis that imperils the future for our grandchildren and generations to come.”

        • The Trump Administration Is Cutting Back Protections for Migratory Birds

          The Trump administration has proposed a new regulation on protecting migratory birds that is a drastic pullback from policies in force for the past 100 years. The draft rule is open for public comment through March 19.

        • Why We Need (Ethical) Wildlife Photography Now More Than Ever
        • Bald Eagles Are Still Dying From Lead Poisoning

          The Cape Fear Raptor Center, North Carolina’s largest eagle rehab facility, has recently treated seven eagles for lead poisoning, executive director Dr. Joni Shimp told CNN. The center also said that 80 percent of the eagles it has had to euthanize since November were because of lead poisoning.

          Similarly, officials from the Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation in North Carolina said that 70 to 80 percent of the eagles they treat have high levels of lead in their system, and the effects are devastating, according to WTKR in North Carolina and coastal Virginia.

        • Dolphins Stabbed and Shot in Florida, NOAA Enforcement Seeks Tips

          Biologists believe these cases may stem from humans feeding wild dolphins. Dolphins fed by people learn to associate people and boats with food, which can put them in harmful situations. Dolphins may suffer fatal impacts from boat strikes, entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear, and acts of intentional harm like these. You can prevent harm to wild dolphins by not feeding or attempting to feed them.

        • Florida dolphin killings: $20K reward offered after shootings

          “Stay approximately 50 yards away from viewing dolphins in the wild, and that’s your best bet for not impacting them,” Horstman said. If they swim up to a boat, “put the boat engine in neutral. If the dolphin is begging, do not try to engage with that animal in any way.”

          It’s against federal law to feed or harass dolphins, and penalties can include a $100,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Democrats Warn of Potential Chaos in Nevada Weeks After Iowa Tech Issues

        With early voting already under way, Democratic campaigns and volunteers warned of the potential for chaos in Saturday’s Nevada caucus, even though the state party abandoned use of the same faulty mobile application which marred the results of the chaotic Iowa caucus.

      • United We Stan
      • House Rep Overseeing Tax Code Is Number One in Corporate PAC Donations

        The congressman who collected the most corporate campaign money last year is the chairman of the committee that writes the tax code, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.).

      • Scottish Government Decries “Devastating” Effect Post-Brexit Border Policy Will Have on Economy

        First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a call for a Scottish visa, which overseas workers could use to settle in the country and to bypass the Tories’ proposed “points” immigration system.

      • Tonight’s Debate in Nevada Is the Most Consequential Moment of the 2020 Race

        Thanks to the location of tonight’s Democratic debate, we are all doomed to a common fate: the cringeworthy moment of hearing a pundit proclaim, “One thing’s for sure: What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas.” We will inevitably hear about candidates “putting all their chips on the table,” and of candidates “going all in.” For journalists in search of an easy metaphor, this is low-hanging fruit, and it will be inescapable. You have been warned.

      • Young Activists “Have Always Been Seen as Rebellious”: Ocasio-Cortez Defends Progressive Lawmakers’ Aggressive Push for Bold Reforms

        “Our political system is not designed for people like us. They’re not designed for working people to succeed, for young people, for women, for people of color.”

      • A Treatise on Trinities

        Back in the days of Thatcherism I watched a journalist interview a Conservative MP on British television. The MP had the wind in his sails and the journalist was decidedly in the doldrums. That was a scene often to be repeated.

      • McConnell, McCarthy, and Graham Condemned for ‘Pathetic’ Defense of AG Barr as ‘Man of Highest Character’

        “Republican Party leadership continues to endorse Trump and Barr’s unprecedented authoritarian corrosion of the rule of law.”

      • Subverting Trump’s Culture of Cruelty
      • Sanders Alone On Debate Stage to Say Candidate With the Most Votes Should Get Nomination at Convention

        “Out of all the candidates, Bernie is the only one to advocate for the democratic will of the people.”

      • Klobuchar Is in Fourth Place, and Her Policies Are Shockingly Conservative

        Following the New Hampshire primary, Sen. Amy Klobuchar is in fourth place in delegates. She trails Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg but is ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden. Reporting showed that at least some voters were moved by her New Hampshire debate performance where she confronted Buttigieg for criticizing those doing the work in Washington. But Klobuchar will likely have a difficult time rallying support from voters concerned with progressive policy, given the centrism and — at times — shocking conservatism of her policy proposals in the realms of education, health care, disability rights, opioid treatment, immigration, climate policy, housing policy and more. Especially when taken in comparison to the bolder policy proposals of Senators Warren and Sanders, Klobuchar’s policies are largely an embrace of the status quo.

      • Sanders Calls Trump’s Clemency for Corrupt Officials Proof of a Broken System

        Sen. Bernie Sanders said late Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s decision to grant clemency to several prominent white-collar criminals — including the former governor of Illinois and a financier known as the “junk bond king” — was a demonstration of how the U.S. criminal justice system favors the powerful while punishing the vulnerable.

      • Paul Krugman on This Bernie Sanders and Socialism Thing

        What Sanders actually calls himself is a “democratic socialist”—a term that never appears in Krugman’s article—because he doesn’t believe that billionaires shouldn’t be running the show and the working people of the country should.

      • Bernie Sanders and the Revenge of the Superdelegates

        Unless Bernie Sanders wins enough delegates to capture the Democratic Party nomination on the first ballot, he is not going to be the nominee. The reason will be that the superdelegates–those same people who were his wrath in 2016–will come back to deny him the nomination.

      • Trump Approval Rating Lowest Among Sanders Supporters Compared With Backers of Any Other 2020 Democrat: Poll

        “I think you all better reevaluate all these takes about Bernie Bros supporting Trump.”

      • ‘So Refreshing to Hear This’: Progressives Praise Sanders for Answer on Israel-Palestine Conflict at CNN Town Hall

        “I have never heard a major U.S. presidential candidate talk like this in my life.”

      • Calling Nominating Bloomberg a ‘Huge Risk,’ Warren and Sanders Eviscerate Billionaire on Debate Stage

        “Swinging at Bloomberg right out of the gate.”

      • ‘Cruel, Inexcusable’: Bloomberg 2019 Comments on Trans Rights Come Under Fire

        “Update your understanding. No one gets left out of human rights.”

      • Rhodes Scholars on Bernie, Buttigieg, and Meritocracy

        From our privileged position, we believe that the only candidate who is committed to transforming inequality and creating universal access to education is Bernie Sanders.

      • Pardoning the Swamp
      • Trump Goes Global With His Absurd Anti-Abortion Agenda

        Rolanda Hollis, a state representative from Alabama, has introduced a bill in her state’s legislature that has gotten a lot of attention. After Alabama banned nearly all abortions last year, Hollis introduced a bill that would require all men over the age of 50, or those who have fathered three children — whichever comes first — to undergo a mandatory vasectomy. She made it clear the bill was meant to “send a message that men should not be legislating what women do with their bodies.” Replying to a question on Twitter, she explained, “The Vasectomy bill is to help with the reproductive system. This is to neutralize the abortion ban bill.

      • The Rule of Law Under Trump

        William Galston, a Brookings Institution senior fellow, said that “we are a government of men and not law.” It has no force until people enforce it. That is the underlying theme of Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig’s A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America. The test is how far can one person, in this case a self-declared stable genius who is the president of the world’s longest running democracy, repeatedly stretch or ignore the legal norms of a democratic government before a breaking point is reached? The current Republican controlled Senate Trial of President Donald J. Trump will answer that question.

      • Imprisoned for leaking secrets, woman seeks Trump clemency

        Authorities never identified the news organization. But the Justice Department announced Winner’s June 2017 arrest the same day The Intercept reported on a secret NSA document. It detailed Russian government efforts to penetrate a Florida-based supplier of voting software and the accounts of election officials ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The NSA report was dated May 5, the same as the document Winner had leaked.

      • Neil Young Calls Trump ‘a Disgrace,’ Says Sanders Will ‘Make America Great Again’

        Young says his beef is not with Trump voters, saying that “although they have been lied to, and in many cases believed the lies, they are true Americans. I have their back.”

      • Neil Young Pens Open Letter to Donald Trump: ‘You Are a Disgrace to My Country’

        “Every time ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ or one of my songs is played at your rallies,” he continues, “I hope you hear my voice. Remember it is the voice of a tax-paying U.S. citizen who does not support you. Me.”

      • Reality Winner seeks clemency for leaking NSA report on Russian [cracking] attempts

        “Our country was attacked by a hostile foreign power,” Winner’s attorney, Alison Grinter, said Monday. “Our national healing process cannot begin until we forgive our truth tellers and begin the job of rebuilding what was taken from us: election security, accountability for those who endeavor to undermine our democracy, and safeguarding the American right to government by and for the people. None of this can begin in earnest while we are still punishing those who tell us the truth.”

      • Pete Buttigieg attacks a straw-man version of Bernie Sanders, and media plays along

        It seems to me that a good measure of politicians’ fundamental character is how honestly they portray the views of their opponents.

        Do they describe those views accurately, and then make good-faith arguments against them? Or do they engage in hyperbole and knock down straw men? I think that’s a lot more telling than, say, fact-checks of minutiae. Advertisement:

        Pete Buttigieg is increasingly attacking a straw-man version of Bernie Sanders — indeed, making that a central pitch of his campaign.

      • The BJP is Not India, and Every Indian is Not a Modi-Devotee

        Rational people cannot gloss over the arbitrary exercise of authority in Kashmir, nor can they legitimize the lack of accountability in the union territory.

      • Minority Abuse: A Slice of Life in Modi’s India

        It is not uncommon for colonial governments to enact sedition laws with the purpose of stifling dissent; it is, following independence, for democratic governments to be enforcing them to quell critics.  It is also exactly what the Modi government and party encourages in India.

      • Netanyahu Trial Clouds Last Days of Israel Election Campaign

        The criminal trial for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will begin March 17, court officials announced Tuesday, shaking up the final stretch of a contentious election campaign and hurting the longtime Israeli leader’s hopes of forming a new government after the vote.

      • Religion is a Repeating Chapter in the History of Politics

        In 1949 the German philosopher Karl Jaspers coined the term ‘the axial age’ in his book, ‘The Origin and Goal of History.’ He defined the Axial Age as the pivotal period in human moral and spiritual development that has conferred upon the world the political, cultural and philosophical shape it has today. It occurred, according to Jaspers, between 2 and 3 thousand years ago in various places around the world. This pivot point in history comes after the emergence of the State and civilization in these areas, which current anthropological and archaeological thinking sets at about 5 to 6 thousand years ago.

      • Irish Elections and Unification

        The victory by Ireland’s leftwing Sinn Fein Party in the Republic’s recent election has not only overturned some 90 years of domination by the island’s two center-right parties, it suddenly puts the issue of Irish reunification on the agenda. While the campaign was fought over bread and butter issues like housing, the collapsing health care system, and homelessness, a united Ireland has long been Sinn Fein’s raison d’être. In the aftermath, Party leaders called for a border referendum on the subject.

      • We Shouldn’t Have to Beg Mark Zuckerberg to Respect Democracy

        Last month George Soros had a New York Times column arguing that Mark Zuckerberg should not be running Facebook. (Does the NYT reserve space on its opinion page for billionaires?) The gist of Soros’ piece is that Zuckerberg has made a deal with Trump. He will allow all manner of outrageous lies to be spread on Facebook to benefit Trump’s re-election campaign. In exchange, Trump will defend Zuckerberg from efforts to regulate Facebook.

      • Bernie Sanders Gains Endorsement From Latinx Group as Nevada Caucus Nears

        Progressive Latinx group Mijente on Tuesday announced its first ever presidential endorsement, for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, just days before Nevadans caucus in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary on Saturday.

      • Nevada Is a Big Test for Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All Plan

        Medicare for All faces a big test in Nevada’s Democratic caucus, where front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden are pitching competing health care plans in a last-minute effort to curry favor among voters as early voting comes to a close today.

      • Bloomberg Won’t, As They Say, Play Well in Peoria, But Then, Neither Should Trump

        The reality is that Bloomberg and the President are little more than two peas in a pod.

      • Cornel West: Mike Bloomberg Is a ‘Neoliberal Gangster’
      • Truly Remaking Social Security is the Key to Having a Livable Society in the US

        Social Security is back in the news, as both Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg, two emblematic one-percenter oligarchs, raise the issue of its future as part of their campaign strategy.

      • Bloomberg on Bloomberg: The Selected Sayings of the Much-Awaited Establishment Messiah

        “If you want to know if somebody’s a good salesman, give them the job of going to the Midwest, and picking a town, and selling to that town the concept that some man wearing a dress should be in a locker room with their daughter. If you can sell that, you can sell anything. They just look at you, and they say, What on earth are you talking about? And you say, Well, this person identifies his or her gender as different than what’s on their birth certificate. And they say, What do you mean? You’re either born this, or you’re born that. In our prison system in New York City, we have the policy, when you walk in, drop your trousers, you go this way, and you go that way, that’s it, because you can’t sit there and mix things in jail, that’s a practical case of where you have to make a decision.” (Against transgender bathrooms, 2016)

      • Bloomberg Gains in Primaries, But His History With Unions May Be a Roadblock

        We continue our conversation with Marcie Wells, activist and waitress who is a member of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Nevada, and Hamilton Nolan, labor reporter with In These Times. Nolan says 2020 had been “the most promising election year for organized labor in a long time,” with Democratic candidates releasing platforms with strong labor protections. But Michael Bloomberg’s entry into the race threatens to upend the Democratic Party’s pro-worker shift. The billionaire former mayor of New York has a long track record of hostility toward organized labor, particularly teachers’ unions, whom he has compared to the National Rifle Association. “He is not a great friend of unions,” Nolan says of Bloomberg.

      • ‘Corporate Media Are Not Observers of the Electoral Process; They Are Participants’
      • Progressives Will Stay Home for Michael Bloomberg

        Michael Bloomberg is not afraid to use his $60 billion fortune to get a leg up in the presidential race. He pays entry level organizers $72,000 annually. In addition to the salary, he lures them with perks like free iPhones. As The Intercept reported last week, the perks are working so well that Bloomberg is enticing staff away from state and local campaigns. He has poured $400 million of his own money into campaign advertisements featuring platitudes about why his mayoral tenure and his experience building a corporate empire make him the best candidate to beat Donald Trump. Other ads tout his record on climate change and gun control.

      • Bloomberg the Satyr
      • Buying Elections: The Bloomberg Meme Campaign

        Interfering, corrupting and altering the views of electors is apparently frowned upon. But it all depends on who that manipulating source is. The Russians might be condemned for being meddlers of minds in the US electorate, but an American billionaire who hires battalions of influencing agents to get his word across on social media platforms is not much better. At least the Russian representatives were decent enough to light fires on both sides of the political divide, providing an odd equilibrium of chaos.

      • Democracy, Dictatorship and Bloomberg

        The 2020 presidential race didn’t get decided this week, but the choice before us did: more democracy or less of it. That’s the decision we are facing, and if the Democrats manage to foul this up, they may not get another chance.

      • Bloomberg Makes Debate Stage, Facing Democratic Rivals for 1st Time

        Billionaire Mike Bloomberg has qualified for the upcoming Democratic presidential debate, marking the first time he’ll stand alongside the rivals he has so far avoided by bypassing the early voting states and using his personal fortune to define himself through television ads.

      • How Democrats Clean Up the Messes Left By Republicans

        In addition to solving the climate crisis that’s become worse under Trump, passing universal health care that’s become more urgent under Trump, and tackling myriad other problems that have grown larger under Trump, Democrats will once again have to clean up the economic mess left by their Republican predecessor in order to preserve and expand programs that help average Americans survive. Republicans accuse Democrats of being fiscally irresponsible. But time and again, it’s the Republicans who have created economic messes that Democrats have to clean up.

      • “You Tell Me You Can’t Vote for Him?”: Eddie Glaude Calls Out GOP Strategist for Never Bernie Hypocrisy

        “If Donald Trump is the emergency that you say he is, and the Democratic Party puts forward Bernie Sanders, and you tell me you can’t vote for him, then it seems to me that Donald Trump isn’t the emergency that you say he is.”

      • Latinx Group Mijente’s First-Ever Presidential Endorsement: Bernie Sanders

        “Sen. Bernie Sanders has a long history of progressive stances and consistently remains on the side of working people.”

      • ‘You Are Not Going to Buy This Election,’ Sanders Tells Bloomberg at Rally of 17,000 in Washington

        “You’re not going to win an election when you oppose raising the minimum wage. You’re not going to win an election when you call for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.”

      • Factchecking NPR’s Attempted Takedown of Bernie Sanders

        The Iowa caucuses officially began the Democratic primary, and even in this ongoing, extended battle for the White House, Iowa remains an important marker for candidates and the media. A close look at a piece by two of NPR’s leading political reporters, which aired just before the caucuses, provides a view of how journalists speak with authority on issues they seem to know very little about. The conversation between Mary Louise Kelly and her partner Mara Liasson, headlined “Where Iowa Falls in the Big Picture of the 2020 Election” (All Things Considered, 2/3/20), began with Kelly introducing the importance of Iowa for Democrats, but, she observed, it’s been on the “backburner,” after days of constant impeachment coverage.

      • “Amazon Empire” is PBS’ frightening look at Jeff Bezos’ relentless capitalist success story

        Amazon has figured out how to win the hearts and minds of the American consumer, a buyer so hooked on convenience that he or she generally doesn’t think too deeply about the hidden moral toll of that convenience – or how much personal information they willingly give away in exchange for one-click shopping and easy access to information by way of voice command.

      • Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos

        As politicians and regulators around the world start to consider the global impact of Amazon — and how to rein in Bezos’ power — FRONTLINE investigates how he executed a plan to build one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world.

      • Scoop: Inside the Trump campaign’s big hedge on Facebook

        One of Facebook’s biggest headaches leading up to 2020 isn’t election interference or fake news — it’s worrying about what a Democrat in the White House could mean for the business.

      • Qanon Deploys ‘Information Warfare’ to Influence the 2020 Election

        When the notorious online forum 8chan was forced off the internet in August, after being linked to acts of violence including the Christchurch shooting, it looked like a blow to the Qanon conspiracy movement, which had made 8chan its virtual home. Rather than fade away, though, 8chan’s Qanon posters migrated to other platforms, where they’re still trying to use social media to influence elections.

        The two most popular new homes for Qanon followers are Endchan and 8chan’s successor 8kun. In late 2019, Qanon followers on Endchan used Twitter to influence governors’ races in Kentucky and Louisiana, posting tweets and memes in favor of Republican candidates and attacking their opponents. They analyzed social media conversations, including popular hashtags, to decide where and how to weigh in. Both Republicans lost in close elections. Now, Qanon adherents are employing the same tactics on the 2020 presidential race.

      • Rural America Doesn’t Have to Starve to Death

        Such remarks reflect two popular narratives about agriculture. The first is that the (not always coastal) big money centers like New York and Chicago and the billionaires who work there are the real wealth creators, showering jobs and handouts on grasping Midwestern farmers. The second holds that the decline of many small farming communities is a result of the inevitable march of progress—tractors and machines replacing farm labor and other long-term trends. To save dying rural communities, this story goes, we’d need to return to a bucolic past of pitchforks and plow horses. “What we see, obviously, is economies of scale having happened in America,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said approvingly last October. “Big get bigger, and small go out.”

        Yet both the narrative that subsidies flow from “coastal elites” to farmers and the fatalism about rural economic decline indicate a profound misunderstanding of what’s actually going on. Farmers have as much reason to be angry, if not more, because of the larger, less visible financial flows heading in the other direction, sucked out of their pockets and funneled to the big money centers, often into offshore tax havens. This is part of a broader phenomenon affecting the entire economy, which I call the finance curse. The good news is that this can be decisively reversed without turning the clock back on progress—and with transformative economic and political results.

      • What College Students Need to Know About the 2020 Census

        This will likely be the first year that many young college students, who were too young to participate of their own accord in the last decennial census, take part in the tradition. Experts are worried that a lack of awareness of what the census does — plus the specter of the Trump administration’s unsuccessful push to add a citizenship question to the official 2020 census — could deter students from taking part in this year’s count before the deadline by which the Census Bureau must report apportionment counts to Congress and the president.

        At risk are myriad federal obligations and billions of dollars that depend, directly or indirectly, on census data that is supposed to accurately reflect the student population. In fiscal year 2016, federal direct student loans totaling over $93 billion represented the second largest federal program guided by 2010 census data, according to the Tax Policy Center, while federal Pell Grants were the sixth largest, with a price tag of nearly $26 billion. Experts told Teen Vogue that federal expenditures like the Pell Grant program rely on a census-derived figure — the Consumer Price Index — and depend on accurate reporting every 10 years.

      • Mark Rutte: Europe’s liberal torchbearer runs into trade winds

        Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s reputation as Europe’s liberal champion risks being torn to shreds in an unexpected quarter: trade.

        Against all expectations, Rutte is struggling to win support in parliament for a vote on Tuesday to ratify an EU trade pact with Canada, a supposedly unthreatening ally.

        If the Dutch parliament fails to ratify the deal, it would not only be the first EU country to do so, but the Dutch could even be responsible for killing off the Ottawa-Brussels trade accord, known as CETA, just as the EU wants to promote free trade in the teeth of rising protectionism and state capitalism.

        Even if Rutte convinces his coalition partner to support approval in the lower house of parliament on Tuesday, the Dutch Senate will prove even harder to win round in the coming months, as his government doesn’t hold a majority there.

        In a sign EU officials are already starting to worry about a big setback in the Netherlands, EU trade chief Phil Hogan last week wrote to Dutch Trade Minister Sigrid Kaag to push for parliamentary approval.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Devin Nunes’ Lawyer Continues To Use Unrelated Case To Try To Unearth Satirical Internet Cow Account

        A few weeks back, we wrote about a bizarre situation in which Rep. Devin Nunes’ lawyer, Steven Biss, appeared to be using his subpoena power to seek out info about Twitter accounts related to some of Devin Nunes’ lawsuits — but in an unrelated case. The whole story was crazy. As you’ve likely heard, Nunes has been suing (among other things) an account holder of the satirical @DevinCow Twitter account. While that case continues to plod on, Biss tried to subpoena Twitter for the account holder’s identity (along with information on political consultant Adam Parkhomenko) in a totally unrelated case, involving breach of contract claims following a settlement of an earlier defamation lawsuit involving a well-known civil liberties lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, and a PR guy, Trevor FitzGibbon.

      • Social Media: The New Grapevine Telegraph

        I was attending the 30th annual PEN Oakland awards at the Rockridge branch of the Oakland Public Library. The date was December 7th. It was about a half hour before the ceremonies would begin. I decided to walk across the street to the Hudson Bay Café to buy a double espresso. As soon as I entered the café, the young black woman who was managing the cash register became alert to my presence. Her eyes showed a tinge of fear. I stood in line. She and I were the only black people in the café. The white woman who was preparing the coffee called on someone in the kitchen. He emerged and stood at the entrance of the kitchen. He began to glare at me. When it came my turn to make an order, and I showed that I was able to pay for the coffee and wasn’t there to take hostages, they relaxed. But at least Hudson Bay sent a white man to stand his ground, were taking hostages my intention.

      • Doctor Suing A Patient Over A Negative Review Has His Case Dismissed Under Tennessee’s New Anti-SLAPP Law

        For the second time in less than a month, I’m reporting on Tennessee attorney Dan Horwitz’s anti-SLAPP powers. The state — once home to a bunch of really stupid defamation lawsuits targeting protected speech — is no longer as welcoming to this particularly vexatious form of litigation thanks to its new anti-SLAPP law.

      • Ron Wyden: Modifying Section 230 Will Give More Censorship Power To Trump; And Lock In Facebook’s Dominance

        We’ve already pointed out that Facebook’s latest moves to say it’s okay to strip away Section 230′s protections are all about giving Facebook more power and harming competitors — and now the author of Section 230, Senator Ron Wyden, has put out quite an op-ed in the Washington Post explaining just how much damage would be done in chipping away at Section 230. In particular, he highlights two key reasons why we shouldn’t do it: (1) It would lock in the most powerful companies like Facebook and Google (even as misguided critics seem to think taking away Section 230 protections will harm them), and (2) It will enable the Trump administration to increase online censorship of marginalized voices.

      • Five lessons from the Justice Department’s big debate over Section 230

        Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is widely criticized, widely praised, and widely misunderstood. The policy allows basically every major website — from YouTube to Wikipedia — to exist in its current form. Depending on who you ask, this is either a wonderful development or a complete disaster. That’s made Section 230 a fixture of recent internet policy debates, particularly at the US Department of Justice, where there is a growing interest in changing the law.

        The Justice Department publicly kicked off that process today, assembling three panels of experts to lay out reasons for changing or preserving Section 230. Attorney General Bill Barr emphasized that this wasn’t a policy-making workshop, but the panels still hinted at which arguments the US government finds most compelling. And while this might sound like a low bar, they were actually arguments about the law — not the weird fantasy rules that dominate similar debates in Congress and mainstream press. That made it an unusually vivid window into the way prosecutors and lawmakers think about the 230 and how to change it.

        Here are the five points that stood out the most.

      • Mark Zuckerberg Suggests Getting Rid Of Section 230; Maybe People Should Stop Pretending It’s A Gift To Facebook

        Well, we can add Mark Zuckerberg to the list of folks willing to toss Section 230 liability protections out the window — contrary to the claims of many that Facebook is the leading supporter of that law. He’s now making it clear that he’s open to a big modification of the law.

      • What A Shame: Legacy Newspapers Want To Take Away Free Speech On The Internet

        This one is just shameful. The News Media Alliance (the organization formerly known as the Newspaper Association of America) represents a bunch of old school newspapers. Like other legacy companies which failed to adapt to the internet, it’s now advocating for the removal of Section 230 protections from internet services.

      • Virginia Anti-SLAPP Bill is Good for Free Speech But Can Still Be Made Stronger

        The Virginia legislature is on the verge of a big step forward for free expression. In the coming days, legislators will have the opportunity to pass a bill that would push back against harassing lawsuits called SLAPPs, or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.

        SLAPPs are lawsuits that are filed to bully or bankrupt activists, protesters, journalists, bloggers, or even online reviewers. The point of a SLAPP isn’t to resolve a legitimate legal dispute—instead, it seeks to leverage the financial and psychological pain of litigation against someone who has spoken out, and silence or diminish that person’s speech. Unfortunately, SLAPPs have been on the rise. And states without strong anti-SLAPP laws—like Virginia—are becoming a magnet for these types of lawsuits.

      • Azher Jirjees: Writing an Iraqi Postman in Norway

        Reception of the book led to an assassination attempt, and Azher Jerjis fled Iraq. He went to Norway — via Syria and Morocco — and published two satiric short-story collections, Above the Country of Blackness (2015) and The Sweetmaker (2017).

        His first novel, Sleeping in the Cherry Field, came out last year, and it tells the story of an Iraqi postman working in Oslo who writes satiric short stories, but who is crushed by the death of his beloved Tuna Janssen. An urgent letter recalls him from his grief-stricken isolation to Baghdad, where he is kidnapped by an armed militia.

      • Pakistan government secretly passes strict social media regulations

        A copy of the regulations, which was leaked online, shows that the rules empower the government to fine or ban social media platforms over their users’ content. The regulations provide for a National Coordinator to be appointed within the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications responsible for enforcing the rules.

        In the text of the regulations, the government claims the rules were approved under the authority of the 2016 Pakistan Electronic Communications Act.

      • Cabinet greenlights law requiring social media platforms to open offices in Pakistan, get registered

        Shoaib Siddiqui, Secretary Ministry of Information Technology, confirmed to Geo News that the cabinet approved the legal document that required social media companies and platforms like Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Dailymotion, Twitter and others to open offices in Pakistan and register in the country.

        The rules and regulations have been included in the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 and that senior officials in the Ministry of Information Technology confirmed that the cabinet has given the green light to the legal document. Hence, the rules and regulations do not require to be presented in parliament for approval.

        According to the law, all global social media platforms and companies will have to register in Pakistan within three months and open offices in Islamabad within three the same timeframe.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Assange Was Offered U.S. Pardon if He Cleared Russia, His Lawyer Says

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange plans to claim during an extradition hearing that the Trump administration offered him a pardon if he agreed to say Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, a lawyer for Assange said Wednesday.

      • Dana Rohrabacher denies offering Assange a pardon from Trump

        Assange’s lawyer said Dana Rohrabacher claimed to be acting “on instructions” from Mr Trump in offering clemency.

        In return, the president was said to have wanted Assange to say Russia was not involved in leaking emails during the 2016 US election.

      • Joshua Schulte’s attorneys are trying to call Mike Pompeo in the Vault 7 trial

        Joshua Schulte, 31, is on trial in the U.S. Southern District of New York for allegedly abusing his access in 2016 as a CIA employee to steal the agency’s [attacking] tools and eventually leak them to WikiLeaks.

        While the prosecution has argued that Schulte endangered the security of the U.S. by stealing the so-called Vault 7 files, the defense has argued that so many CIA employees had access to the classified documents that it would be impossible for investigators to know who was behind the leak. The defense argues that Pompeo, who was CIA director when WikiLeaks began posting the stolen material, “took an active role in the investigation and appears to have first-hand, non-hearsay information that is relevant to the charges.”

      • China expels three WSJ reporters over opinion piece

        China has revoked the press credentials of three journalists of the Wall Street Journal after the newspaper declined to apologize for a column that called China the “real sick man of Asia”, Reuters reports.

        Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, was quoted as saying at a daily briefing that Beijing made several representations to the Journal over the column, which China criticized as racist and denigrating its efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic.

        The newspaper, however, failed to apologize or investigate those responsible, prompting the action from the government, according to the spokesman.

      • Chelsea Manning’s Lawyers Demand Her Release, Decry ‘Punitive’ Incarceration

        “No matter how much you punish me, I will remain confident in my decision,” said the whistleblower.

      • Hardships Chelsea Manning Has Endured Are Unlike Any Other Case Of Grand Jury Resistance

        As United States Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning yet again affirmed she will not testify before a federal grand jury empaneled against WikiLeaks, her legal team filed a motion to force her release from jail. “Manning has now been incarcerated for eleven of the maximum eighteen months. There is no reason to believe she will experience a change of heart. There are a plethora of indications that she will not,” the motion asserts [PDF].It additionally argues, “The state of the law with respect to civil confinement is clear: the sole lawful purpose of civil confinement is to exert a coercive effect upon a recalcitrant [uncooperative] witness. In the absence of a reasonable expectation of coercing testimony, coercive enforcement has exceeded its lawful scope and must be terminated.” “Counsel has been unable to find a case involving any other witnesses who have endured the kind of hardships Ms. Manning has endured, let alone for the length of time she has endured them, prior to release. Having now endured eleven months of confinement that she could have ostensibly ended at any time, there can no longer remain any serious doubt regarding the ruthlessness with which she will hew to her convictions,” Manning’s legal team concludes.Manning has been confined at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia, for 343 days and owes $234,000 in fines. There is no evidence that Manning’s resistance has prevented the Justice Department from indicting anyone. In fact, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was indicted on 17 counts of allegedly violating the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer crime.“My refusal to testify continues, predicated on my long standing belief that grand juries, as they function in the contemporary era, are often used by federal prosecutors to harass and disrupt political opponents and activists through secrecy, coercion, and jailing without trial,” Manning declared in a released statement.She indicated her confinement “reinforces” her belief that grand juries are abused in practice and mentioned her mother Susan Fox, who lived in Wales, died during her time in jail.“I cannot agree to participate in such a process. No matter how much you punish me, I will remain confident in my decision. I have been separated from my loved ones, deprived of sunlight, and could not even attend my mother’s funeral,” Manning shared. “It is easier to endure these hardships now than to cooperate to win back some comfort, and live the rest of my life knowing that I acted out of self interest and not principle.”

        Dr. Sara Boyd conducted a personality assessment and concluded Manning is “being harmed via her adaptation to the incarceration setting, and the more she adapts, the more she is harmed.” That form involves “institutionalization,” and it manifests as “anxiety about returning to the community.”“Manning exhibits long standing personality features that relate to her scrupulousness, her persistence, and dedication, and her willingness to endure social disapproval as well as formal punishments,” Boyd determined. “She also has a tendency to see issues in black and white terms with regard to ethical and values-based judgment. These personality features are not likely to be modified by any intervention.” According to the motion, if Manning can “show by a preponderance of the evidence that there is no reasonable possibility that she will testify, then continued confinement transforms from a coercive sanction to a punishment,” which becomes evidence for her immediate release.“Manning has well-founded reasons to doubt the propriety of this particular subpoena and believes that she does in fact have just cause for her refusal to testify,” her legal team maintains.

      • NYPD subpoenaed journalist’s Twitter data, citing anti-terrorism law

        On December 9, 2019, the NYPD issued a subpoena to Twitter requesting private data connected to the account of Tina Moore, the bureau chief of police coverage for the New York Post, a local daily, according to a report published yesterday by paper. The police department withdrew the subpoena on February 12 after being contacted by the newspaper’s lawyers, according to that report.

        According to a copy of the subpoena posted on the New York Post’s website, the department requested the data under the authority of the USA Patriot Act, a post-9/11 anti-terrorism law.

      • Julian Assange Must Be Freed, Not Betrayed
      • Seeing Through the Lies – US Edition

        The Guardian newspaper has taken the art of obfuscation, false implication and the subtler forms of journalistic lying to new heights in its very extensive coverage of the Roger Stone sentencing saga. It has now devoted fourteen articles in the last fortnight to this rather obscure episode of American political history. Yet in not one of those articles – nor in more than a dozen articles about the Stone case that preceded it over the last few months – has the Guardian informed its readers what Stone was actually convicted of doing.

      • ‘Our Institutions Are Sounding Alarms’: Federal Judges Call Emergency Meeting Over Trump Interference With DOJ

        “This is mind-blowing. I’ve never heard of anything like it. We are in full on crisis mode.”

      • Trump Wants to Control the Judicial System, But Judges Are Fighting Back

        Donald Trump is feeling frisky these days. Now that his willing accomplices in the Senate have acquitted him of the deadly serious charges that were levied against him, Trump has unleashed a vengeance tour that widens in scope by the day. Over the last few days, however, the targets of his ire came together to push back against this rogue, untethered administration.

      • US ‘breached due process’ in spying operation against Assange’s lawyers

        The US breached Julian Assange’s right to defence by recording confidential meetings with his solicitors and lawyers in the Ecuadorian Embassy, it was claimed today.

        Jennifer Robinson, legal counsel for Assange, said a surveillance operation against Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy was in breach of legal privilege and an abuse of process.

        A company hired to provide security at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London is accused of recording Assange’s meetings – including legally privileged meetings and meetings with doctors – which were reported back to the US.

        The surveillance operation, allegedly carried out by Spanish security company UC Global, is under investigation in Spain.

        It is expected to be raised in a hearing at Woolwich Crown Court next week, when the US presents its case for extraditing Assange to the US to face up to 170 years in jail.

        The US has charged Assange with 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer crime.

      • Julian Assange should not be extradited due to potential impact on press freedom and concerns about ill-treatment

        I have been following with great attention the developments concerning Julian Assange’s case, in particular the charges against him and the extradition request submitted by the United States government to the United Kingdom. In addition to my own monitoring and analysis, I have received information from medical professionals, civil society activists, human rights defenders, journalists’ associations and others on this case.

        Julian Assange’s potential extradition has human rights implications that reach far beyond his individual case. The indictment raises important questions about the protection of those that publish classified information in the public interest, including those that expose human rights violations. The broad and vague nature of the allegations against Julian Assange, and of the offences listed in the indictment, are troubling as many of them concern activities at the core of investigative journalism in Europe and beyond. Consequently, allowing Julian Assange’s extradition on this basis would have a chilling effect on media freedom, and could ultimately hamper the press in performing its task as purveyor of information and public watchdog in democratic societies.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Mental Health Unfairly Raised After A Child Murder in Mexico

        On February 11, 7-year-old Fátima Cecilia went missing after school in Mexico City. Five days later, on February 15, authorities found her body which bore signs of torture. Fatima had been kidnapped, raped, and murdered.

        Yet in the aftermath of this brutal crime, Mexico City’s General Prosecutor chose to reveal during a radio interview that Fátima’s mother has a “mental illness.” He raised the issue after Fatima’s mother told police the name of the man she believed to be behind her daughter’s death and the General Prosecutor said the accused man has in fact been dead for some time.

      • College Student Gets Thrown On The Ground And A Gun Pointed At His Head For Committing The Crime Of ‘Taking A Selfie While Black’

        The latest crime to result in civil litigation is “taking a selfie while black.” Doing so in Illinois gets your face pushed in the snow, a knee in your back, and a gun held to your head. (via Simple Justice)

      • Kerner Report Set Standard for What a Serious Presidential Candidate Should Champion

        The report became famous for its stark warning: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” It was the last attempt to address honestly the structural inequalities that plague African Americans.

      • Yemeni Activist Wins Prestigious Human Rights Award

        Yemeni human rights lawyer and activist Huda al-Sarari is in Geneva today to receive the Martin Ennals Award, given by 10 of the world’s leading human rights organizations to human rights defenders who have distinguished themselves by their strong commitment and courage, often at the risk of their own lives.

        Her award is well-deserved. I still remember the moment I saw Al-Sarari bravely give a video interview to the Associated Press (AP) in July 2017 on the secret prisons run by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in southern Yemen, about which Human Rights Watch and AP have published extensive reports. Later, I learned that Al-Sarari was critical to documenting those abuses, and I was struck by the courage of this young woman. It is this courage that is now rightly being recognized by a much larger audience.

      • Organizers Work to Guide Deportees Toward Resources in Their Home Countries

        What happens to people after they are deported from the United States? And if they no longer have family in their countries of origin, how do they make their way in an unfamiliar place?

      • GAO Says TSA Has No Idea If Its Screeners Are Up To Date On Their Training

        Here comes more evidence explaining why the TSA sucks at prevention and blows at cures. Presented to voters as a proactive defense against sophisticated terrorism threats, the TSA has become an agency that belatedly reacts to each observed threats — threats normally defused by passengers who don’t work for the government and haven’t received extensive training on anti-terrorism protocols.

      • Kyrgyzstan: Free Ailing Rights Defender

        Kyrgyzstan authorities should release the ailing human rights defender Azimjon Askarov and quash his conviction after an unfair trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The country’s Supreme Court will hear an appeal of his case on February 25, 2020.

        The 68-year-old Askarov, who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his alleged role in the inter-ethnic violence that rocked southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010, suffers from deteriorating health and inadequate medical attention in prison. The Supreme Court hearing may be Askarov’s final opportunity to appeal his case, his lawyers say. The Kyrgyz government should accept a 2016 United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee finding that called for Askarov’s release and quash his case.

      • Modi’s India

        I am in New Delhi, attending a conference.

      • Philippines: Free Senator; End Attacks on Rights Defenders

        Philippine authorities should immediately release Senator Leila de Lima, who has been detained for three years, and drop the politically motivated charges against her, Amnesty International, FORUM-ASIA, and Human Rights Watch said today. The mistreatment of de Lima reflects broader attacks by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte against human rights defenders, particularly women.

        De Lima, who has been detained at the headquarters of the Philippine National Police since her arrest on February 24, 2017, has been one of the staunchest critics of the government’s abusive “war on drugs.” The authorities arrested her after she sought to investigate extrajudicial executions committed in the context of the anti-drug campaign.

      • Burning Man Is Officially Suing the U.S. Government

        Burning Man first filed legal paperwork against the U.S. Government in December of last year.  Now, its lawsuit has officially been set in motion.

      • Which Side Are You On?

        My best friend from high school was in and out of the prison system the last two decades of his life. He was a drug addict. This was before the opioid epidemic; his poison was crack cocaine. His father had been a raging, violent alcoholic and his mother was a broken woman with chronic illnesses. My friend spent most of his adult life trying to take care of her.

      • Kenya: No Letup in Killings by Nairobi Police

        Since December 25, 2019, police in Kenya have shot dead at least eight people in Nairobi’s Mathare, Kasarani, and Majengo settlements, Human Rights Watch said today. The police continue to kill crime suspects and protesters in cold blood despite persistent calls to end the killings and the use of excessive force.

        The killings are the latest in a longstanding pattern of excessive force and unlawful killings in Nairobi’s low-income neighborhoods. Kenyan authorities should urgently investigate all alleged killings, many of which have been documented by Kenyan and international organizations, and ensure that all those responsible are held to account.

      • To expose sexism at Uber, Susan Fowler blew up her life

        It is two weeks before her memoir, Whistleblower, will go on sale. In addition to her regular jitters, Fowler now has pre-publication jitters. Though you wouldn’t know it to look at her. She sits very still, with excellent posture, in a black leather jacket, a gray boatneck top, and jeans. She doesn’t appear to be wearing makeup; her hair looks like it’s air-dried. She looks, in other words, like an ordinary upper-middle-class woman in her late 20s who happens to be on her lunch break. She is, in fact, on her lunch break.

        You know who this ordinary woman is because she did something extraordinary. In February 2017, Fowler wrote a 2,900-word blog post about the sexism she encountered while working at Uber. When she published it to her personal site, she wasn’t expecting the headlines it generated half an hour later. She never expected that it would lead to Travis Kalanick, the company’s brash CEO and founder, being forced out of his job.

      • Harvard students sue school for divestment from companies profiting off prison industry

        “Instead of helping to dismantle the entanglement of profiteering, government interests, and the system of human caging, Harvard makes profit off of it,” the lawsuit, filed in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County, states. “That money funds the opulent lifestyles of Harvard’s top administrators who are prison profiteers.”

      • Harvard students file lawsuit demanding school pull investments from prisons

        While Harvard has previously agreed to pull investments from companies that profit from the tobacco industry, apartheid South Africa and the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan, students who support divestment from the fossil fuel and prison industries say they are puzzled by the current inaction.

        But pressure has been building on campus for divestment, particularly related to fossil fuel companies. Faculty members in the arts and sciences department this month voted overwhelmingly in favor of fossil fuel divestment, and Bacow said he would bring the resolution to the school’s endowment committee for consideration.

      • “They Came to Kill Him”: The Persecution of Christians – November 2019

        While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by extremists is growing. The report posits that such persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location.

      • EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Bloomberg Campaign NDA Protects Abusive Bosses

        A nondisclosure agreement utilized by the campaign of Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire CEO of Bloomberg LP and former New York mayor now running for president, contains language that could prevent staffers from reporting workplace abuse.

        The NDA totals nine pages and forbids employees from discussing “any and all non-public information” and “activities” by the campaign.

      • Democrats Have Found Their Own Autocrat

        Since Donald Trump captured the Republican nomination four years ago, mainstream media across the political spectrum have warned us about the rise of “populism.” The standard narrative goes something like this: those on the political extremes — especially the far-right but also the far-left—are rapidly gaining ground and subverting liberal democracy across the globe, ushering in a new age of authoritarianism.

      • Saline High School Students Are Demanding Racial Justice After a Racist Incident on Snapchat

        Backlash to the incident prompted a community meeting. But that didn’t resolve the concerns about racism in the community because, at that gathering, an attendee asked a parent, “Why didn’t you stay in Mexico?” after the parent detailed the racist name-calling his child had endured while attending school in the district. Video of the meeting has drawn national attention about racial tensions within the Michigan school district.

      • Women From Every Corner Occupy Brasilia: the Marcha das Margaridas

        One of the largest women’s mobilizations in Latin America, the Marcha das Margaridas, is led by rural trade unions, together with agrarian and feminist movements.

      • “Huge Win” for Tech Workers’ Rights as Kickstarter Employees Vote to Unionize

        “To all tech and creative workers looking to fight for your rights, this is only just the beginning!”

      • Homeland Security Waives Contracting Laws for Border Wall

        The Trump administration said Tuesday that it will waive federal contracting laws to speed construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

      • The Conscience of a Conservative

        There are many good people from other cultures, with quite different faiths, who live moral and productive lives. Judeo-Christian principles are not the only path to morality. Hinduism and Buddhism teach similar principals and have equally interesting mythical histories. The very fact that similar sets of principles were developed simultaneously by different cultures implies that rather than being handed down from the gods, they evolved along with their respective cultures.

      • The Slave Trade Used to Be Legal. Let’s Not Glorify the Law.

        Throughout the history of Black America, progress has often required breaking the law. For this reason, it’s worth questioning why, in sanitized mainstream narratives (for example, those shared in schools and government functions during Black History Month), the story of Black struggle is often divorced from incendiary, illegal acts. Most Black people in the United States are descended from enslaved Africans, and being Black in this country has never been wholly separated from that history. In fact, it still haunts us daily as we navigate its afterlife. This is a legacy that was demarcated by restrictions that continually pierced the everyday experience of living. For many Black people during the time of slavery, to be free was illegal itself — and in many ways, that reality has extended into every era following “emancipation.” Since then, the necessity of extralegal acts has continued for a people still constantly being ensnared by a society stacked against them.

      • EU Turns Its Back on Migrants in Distress

        It is a craven, indefensible choice. Yesterday, European Union foreign ministers agreed to launch a mission in the Mediterranean Sea to enforce the United Nations-mandated Libyan arms embargo on the condition that it not focus on saving lives.

        Bowing to pressure from Austria and Hungary, two landlocked countries whose leaders define themselves by their hostile migration policies, the ministers agreed to a plan to deploy warships with the explicit goal of avoiding areas of the Mediterranean where they might have to respond to boats carrying migrants in distress. EU naval assets will reportedly patrol no closer than 100 kilometers (60 miles) off the eastern coast of Libya, about as far away as you can get from where women, men, and children trying to flee Libya depart on overcrowded, unseaworthy boats.

      • Striking LA Teachers’ Win Against Random Frisking Is Becoming District Policy

        One year ago, Los Angeles teachers on strike were demanding an end to random searches where students were yanked out of class to be frisked. By the time they walked back into work, they had won a partial victory.

      • Unique Chance to Curb Global Labor Abuses

        Fires in Indian factories, accidents in Zimbabwe gold mines, infertility from chemical exposure the Democratic Republic of Congo – workers around the world face risks, sometimes lethal, in the workplace.

        Next week, there’s a unique opportunity to improve the lives of millions of workers as trade unions, governments, and employers try to agree on standards for work conditions in global supply chains.

      • China: Free Prominent Legal Advocate

        Chinese authorities should immediately and unconditionally release a well-known anti-corruption activist who had eluded arrest after a new government crackdown on rights activists, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 15, 2020, authorities in Guangzhou apprehended Xu Zhiyong at a friend’s home where he had gone after authorities in December detained participants of a gathering on human rights in Fujian province.

        Xu, 46, is one of China’s most prominent activists and human rights advocates. He was a co-founder of the now-banned legal aid center Open Constitution Initiative and the New Citizens’ Movement, a nongovernmental group advocating for civil rights.

      • Iran: Environmentalists’ Unjust Sentences Upheld

        An Iranian revolutionary court has upheld the unjust sentences against eight environmental experts already detained for over two years, Human Rights Watch said today. Iranian authorities have failed to produce any evidence to support their charges against members of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation and should free them immediately.

        On February 18, 2020, Gholamhossein Esmaili, Iran’s judiciary spokesman, confirmed at a news conference that a court of appeal had upheld sentences ranging from 6 to 10 years in prison against seven of the group’s members for “cooperating with the hostile state of the US.” Esmaili said the court also upheld a 4-year prison sentence for Abdolreza Kouhpayeh, another member of the group, for “assembly and collusion to act against national security.”

      • Russia: Quash Conviction of Peaceful Protester

        Russian authorities should withdraw all charges and immediately free a civic activist imprisoned for involvement in peaceful protests, Human Rights Watch said today. Russia’s parliament should repeal the 2014 law mandating criminal sanctions for repeated involvement in unsanctioned protests.

        The activist, Kostantin Kotov, a 34-year-old software engineer, has been behind bars for over 6 months in connection with peaceful political protests in Moscow in the summer of 2019 over the exclusion of opposition candidates from the city council elections. An appeals court hearing on Kotov’s case is scheduled for March 2, 2020.

      • Harvey Weinstein’s Defense Team Is Waging a War Against the #MeToo Movement

        A jury of seven men and five women meet today in New York Supreme Court to begin deliberations on whether to find disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein guilty of sexual assault. The case has drawn international attention amid the #MeToo movement. If the jurors find Weinstein guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 100 women but in this case faces five charges based on evidence relating to two main accusers. One woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, alleges she was raped by Weinstein in a New York hotel, for which he has been charged with rape in the first and third degrees. The second main accuser is former “Project Runway” production assistant Miriam Haley, who alleges Weinstein forced oral sex on her in 2006. For this, Weinstein faces a count of criminal sex act. If the jury finds Weinstein guilty of the charges relating to either or both of the main accusers, then it can consider two counts of predatory sexual assault against him. We speak with Irin Carmon, a senior correspondent for New York magazine who has followed the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. She spoke with 21 of his accusers in her article “100 Women vs. Harvey Weinstein” and wrote about a 57-page PowerPoint Harvey Weinstein’s team sent to reporters that smeared his alleged victims. Her new piece is headlined “The Woman Who Taped Harvey Weinstein.”

      • Trump Commutes Blagojevich Sentence, Pardons Others

        President Donald Trump has gone on a clemency blitz, commuting the 14-year prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and pardoning former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik, among a long list of others.

      • Sanders Says Trump Clemency for ‘Wall Street Crooks’ and ‘Corrupt’ Officials Lays Bare Broken Justice System

        “Meanwhile thousands of poor and working-class kids sit in jail for nonviolent drug convictions. This is what a broken and racist criminal justice system looks like.”

      • After Granting Blagojevich and Others Clemency, Trump Calls Himself the ‘Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the Country’

        “NARRATOR: He is not the chief law enforcement officer in the country.”

      • Impunity Guaranteed for Torturers (and Presidents)

        “The right to do whatever I want as president.”

      • Welcome to the United States of Impunity

        On February 5th, the Senate voted to acquit President Donald J. Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. In other words, Trump’s pre-election boast that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not “lose any voters” proved something more than high-flown hyperbole. (To be fair, he did lose one Republican “voter” in the Senate — Mitt Romney — but it wasn’t enough to matter.)

      • Impunity for Torturers Made Trump’s Invulnerability Possible

        On February 5th, the Senate voted to acquit President Donald J. Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. In other words, Trump’s pre-election boast that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not “lose any voters” proved something more than high-flown hyperbole. (To be fair, he did lose one Republican “voter” in the Senate — Mitt Romney — but it wasn’t enough to matter.)

      • Just Two Kings Talking

        Donald Trump sat with Recep “Cepi” Erdoğan At a nez à nez cafe in the Golden Horn, Fog over the Straits, fishmongers singing the blues, Their little secret summit all over the news. They gazed, they preened, with their fincan pinkies high, Just two kings talking — evil eye to evil eye. DJ flashed his grand, bizarre smile and sneered, “The Press Is all over me and the country is a mess. I fear some Lefty might impeach me with a gun And I’ll find myself leaping in front of my son.” Cepi laughed at that, and said, “Well, listen to this: When they did Khashoggi — Oh, I watched with such bliss. I jail journos, make them watch Midnight Express for fun.” “Enemas of the State,” they harmonized, “Undone.” They laughed about Idlib, and al-Baghdadi’s face When he realized there was no escape cave in place. Trump said, “He died like a dog and blew up the kids — I lied,” he smirked, “Abbottabads Abbottobids.” Cepi howled, “Badda bing bang boom — politics! Nothing wrong with you a good hamamin’ can’t fix.” The garcon brought the tab and DJ made a lunge — He didn’t want Cepi to think he was a sponge. But Cepi was quick and snatched the bill and snickered, “Your money’s no good here,” said Cepi; they bickered. “CNN’s the most phoney fakes of news,” Trump said. “What about the Kurds?” he mimicked the talking head. At that, Cepi gave the garson a second glance, Took back his tip, and made the poor waiter’s eyes dance. The two good buds arose, Cepi winked and they strolled. DJ said, “Mohammad got back to me to scold. He said sweetly, ‘Donald, that wasn’t very nice’ To treat my discombobulations as a vice. What if I’d made fun of your curtsy and laughed To your face?’” Cepi cracked up, thinking DJ gaffed. “There goes that Trump tower in Riyadh,” howled Cepi, And slapped DJ on the back, dancing, two-steppy. DJ morosely followed his Turkish delight. They strode through the twists and turns of the Taksim nigh Down cobblestone streets, Cepi, like Virgil, leading — Well, maybe if Virgil had had no real breeding — And on the buds strode, ignoring the blood-kurdling screams, Cepi saying, “Journos” (wink) “at work in their dreams.” DJ pictured Maddow, with new bounce in his bones — In fact, all the press! — and their screams became his koans. After their purgatorial conversation, They came to the Red Light D and knew their station. They passed pervs, punks, pimps and glassed-in storefront cages With dancing mannequin-like Beatrices of all ages. Cepi said to DJ, “Go have a pussy grab.” Trump groaned, “No can do, Cepi, my hand’s in rehab. Until after November.” They left Paradise, With the promise of pleasure still twinkling their eyes, They giggled and goosed all the way to Taksim Square — Pigeons out of control, broken heads strewn everywhere, Tumbleweed tabloids, Atatürk’s pic on the ground, Tarzan-like prayer calls, cab honks, and no other sound. “DJ, you gotta break a few eggheads” (puffing) “If you wanna make an Om.” But Trump’s mind was muffing Back in the Red Light D. Cepi said, “Listen to this, If you want to kill the king, you’d better not miss.”

      • Abuse Survivors Face Time Limit to Come Forward as Boy Scouts of America Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

        “When you fight transparency, protect reputations that don’t deserve protection, and create practices that protect abusers, you put your entire organization at risk.”

      • California Takes a First Step Toward Improving Its Failing County Jails

        California’s county jails would face greater scrutiny and potentially tougher consequences for poor conditions inside their cells under a series of proposed changes unveiled by a state oversight agency last week.

        Specifically, the Board of State and Community Corrections plans to publicize details about uncorrected violations in jails and summon elected county sheriffs who delay reforms or rebuff the oversight agency.

      • Illinois Adopts Stricter Rules Against Secluding and Physically Restraining Students in Schools

        The Illinois State Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt rules that prohibit the use of locked seclusion rooms and stop schools from using prone restraint, making Illinois’ permanent regulations more restrictive than they’ve ever been.

        But under pressure from a group of special-education schools, the board stopped short of enacting a ban on involuntary, solitary seclusion in the state’s schools as it had planned after a Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois investigation in November revealed widespread misuse of isolated timeout and restraint in schools.

      • Political Graffiti Behind Bogus Jailing in Azerbaijan

        The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has just ruled that the arrest and prosecution on drugs charges of two prominent youth activists in Azerbaijan was politically motivated. The court held that the real purpose for Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov’s arbitrary arrest, detention, and prosecution was that they “had painted political graffiti on the statue of a former president.”

        Police had detained Mammadov and Ibrahimov in May 2016 after they sprayed graffiti on the statue of Azerbaijan’s late president Heydar Aliyev, the father of current President Ilham Aliyev. The graffiti said: “Happy Slave Day” in Azeri, a play on words for “Happy Flower Day.” Both young men were students and members of NIDA, Azeri for exclamation mark, a youth opposition movement active on social media that is highly critical of the government.

      • Japan: Stand Firm on Rights in North Korea
      • Indonesia’s Aceh enlists an all-female flogging squad to enforce Shariah law

        Shariah police in Banda Aceh, the province’s largest city, patrol the streets to monitor offenses. Aech follows Shariah under a 2005 autonomy deal with the central government. Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, but the majority of the country is secular.

        The job of carrying out the punishment has always been done by men, but as more women are charged with morality crimes, Islamic law calls for women to whip female offenders.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Hey Tom Wheeler: Stick To Net Neutrality, Because Your Understanding Of Section 230 Is… Not Right

        Remember back when former FCC chair Tom Wheeler surprised us all and turned out not to be a dingo. That was cool. But now that he’s out of government and working at the Brookings Institution, he’s perhaps not a dingo, but he does seem very, very confused.

      • Google Fiber Ditches Cable TV While Broadband Effort Remains Stuck In Neutral

        When Google Fiber first dropped in 2010, the project was lauded as a game changer for the broadband industry. Google Fiber would, the company insisted, revolutionize everything by taking Silicon Valley money and using it to disrupt the viciously uncompetitive and anti-competitive telecom sector. Initially things worked out well; cities tripped over themselves offering all manner of perks to the company in the hopes of breaking free from the broadband duopoly logjam. And in some areas where Google Fiber was deployed, prices certainly dropped thanks to Google Fiber market pressure.

      • California’s Broadband Fund Ignores Fiber and Favors Slow DSL

        The California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), a program launched in 2008 to connect all Californians to high-speed Internet, was an early success. It helped build middle mile open access fiber to hard-to-serve communities and delivered high-speed access to areas that never had Internet. It funded fiber-to-the-home to public housing, ensuring low income users had the same high-speed access that wealthy neighborhoods had. And it was rapidly closing the digital divide that low income urban and rural Californians faced, due to years of neglect from incumbent Internet Service Providers (ISPs). But CASF’s success inevitably led to its undoing—by drawing attention from lobbyists for AT&T, Frontier, and Comcast, who pushed through laws that effectively shut the program down. 

        After all, if the government has evidence that it can effectively tackle the lack of access to high-speed Internet as an infrastructure problem and make progress, then people won’t be waiting on incumbent ISPs like AT&T, Frontier, and Comcast. Fearing competition and substitution, these ISPs have regularly gone to Sacramento to pass laws under the false promise that less government involvement will help expand broadband access. Yet the evidence is overwhelmingly clear that the Sacramento ISP lobby has actually done nothing more than ensure most Californians have only one choice of provider, and ensured that the state has no broadband plan while our international competitors march aggressively towards a gigabit fiber future. But there have been recent victories to reverse this trend, including: restoring the California Public Utilities Commission’s regulatory authority over broadband companies, the state’s passage of the strongest net neutrality law in the land (that is still facing litigation from the ISPs), and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Call for a Broadband For All Plan. 

    • Monopolies

      • Hundreds of staff injured at Amazon UK warehouses, GMB claims

        GMB union numbers show 240 reports of serious injury or near misses were sent to the Health and Safety Executive last year, and 622 over three years.

      • No, China Is Not “Stealing Our I.P.”

        Pete invited Stephan Kinsella to return to the show. Stephan is an American intellectual property/patent attorney, author, and anarcho-capitalist.

        Pete asked Stephan to come on and share his opinion that China is in fact, NOT “stealing our I.P.” Stephan gives a primer as to why intellectual property laws are immoral and devious and explains in detail the issue with I.P. and China.

      • Patents

        • Proof that the Infringer was Notified of the Infringement

          In this case, Arctic Cat had stopped manufacturing its patented thrust steering systems by the time the patent had issued — so no marking possible there. However, Arctic Cat had licensed several of its patents to Honda, including the patents at issue here. A couple of details regarding the license are important here: (1) The license was agreed-to prior to the issuance of the patents at issue and so did not expressly name them by patent number. However, the license expressly includes later-patents covering Thrust Steering. (2) The license expressly states that Honda has no marking requirements.


          In an interesting article, Michael McKeon argues that the Federal Circuit’s approach of requiring “an affirmative act” is actually based upon “a specific misquote of a critical word (act instead of fact).” Michael J. McKeon, The Patent Marking and Notice Statute: A Question of “Fact” or “Act”?, 9 Harv. J.L. & Tech. 429, 431 (1996). McKeon argues that Dunlap and Coupe were both about placing a burden of proof on the patentee — the patentee must affirmatively prove the fact that notice occurred — and that the Federal Circuit mistakenly read the cases as requiring an affirmative act of providing notice. McKeon cites to several pre-Federal Circuit cases that find actual notice is sufficient even without affirmative notice from the patentee. See, for instance, Warner v. Tennessee Products Corp., 57 F.2d 642 (6th Cir. 1932) (“Actual notice of the issue and contents of the patent, and of the claims that a practice infringes, is sufficient regardless of the source of such notice.”); Abington Textile Mach. Works v. Carding Specialists (Canada) Ltd., 249 F. Supp. 823, 849 (D.D.C 1965) (defendant’s actual/constructive notice was sufficient even though prior to formal notice from the patentee).

        • Admissibility of late inventive step attacks at the EPO

          This case relates to a process for preparing a beverage from tea leaves. The prior art has the claimed process features, but refers specifically to coffee rather than tea.

          The Board of Appeal disagreed with the first instance decision of lack of novelty, and so the opponent switched to arguing lack of inventive step. The proprietor argued that this was an inadmissible fresh ground of opposition.

          As noted in the decision, it was held in G7/95 that novelty and inventive step are different grounds of opposition, and held in G10/91 that fresh grounds for opposition may in principle not be introduced at the appeal stage, unless agreed by the patentee. On the other hand, it was noted in G1/95 that subject-matter found to lack novelty would inevitably be unallowable on the ground of inventive step, and in T 131/01 that substantiation of lack of inventive step is not generally possible after substantiating lack of novelty.

          For the present case, the Board noted that the inventive step argument was based on the same factual and evidentiary framework (same cited passages and teachings) as for the previous novelty arguments, and that an opponent cannot discuss both novelty and inventive step based on the same facts, without self-contradiction.

          In this limited circumstance, the Board decided that the inventive step argument was not a fresh ground of opposition, and could be admitted without consulting the patentee.

          As a minor further point, the Board decided that the formal absence of a tick for inventive step on the opposition form is not decisive.

        • COVID-19: IP updates

          The European Patent Office (EPO) has said it is “monitoring the situation” and is prepared to postpone oral hearings if parties are affected by the epidemic.

          “We are in close contact with our user community and will provide information whenever this becomes necessary. Such steps could also involve postponement of oral proceedings if a party is adversely affected by the outbreak,” said EPO spokesperson Luis Berenguer.

          The office said that under the rules of the European Patent Convention (EPC), parties affected by the coronavirus have options to extend time limits “on request”.

          The EPC also provides for possibilities to remedy a loss of rights, said Berenguer.

          The EPO will try and limit any negative consequences for parties and “ensure that [parties’] rights are safeguarded to the extent possible”, he added.

        • Software Patents

          • Submission of Knowledge Ecology International on WIPO’s draft issues paper on Intellectual Property and Artificial Intelligence

            On Friday, 14 February 2020, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) submitted the following comments on a Draft Issues Paper on Intellectual Property Policy and Artificial Intelligence prepared by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Secretariat published this draft issues paper on IP Policy and AI on 13 December 2019; the full list of submissions by Member States and organizations can be found here.

            KEI’s submission can be found below.

            RE: KEI Comments on Paper on Intellectual Property Policy and Artificial Intelligence

            As requested in DRAFT ISSUES PAPER ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY POLICY AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE prepared by the WIPO Secretariat WIPO/IP/AI/2/GE/20/1 dated December 13, 2019, please find KEI Comments regarding identification of issues related to AI and IPR.

      • Trademarks

        • Jägermeister logo is not religiously offensive, court rules

          Judges at the Federal Administrative Court in St Gallen rejected on Monday a case seeking to restrict Jägermeister’s use of the logo solely to alcohol bottles and items of clothing. The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property [sic] had demanded the restriction on the grounds that the image was offensive to the religious leanings of some consumers.

        • Does ‘Delta’ really denote distinctiveness? The General Court gives its judgment in Case T-387/18

          The case concerned an application to register a figurative trade mark in relation to Classes 9, 10, 18, 20, 25 and 28 of goods as identified in the Nice Agreement. Delta Enterprise Corp. filed a notice of opposition on 23 April 2016 on the basis of its own trade mark in respect of goods in Classes 9, 18, 20, 25 and 28.


          In rejecting the applicant’s third head of appeal – which had sought the Court to take ‘any other measures that it may consider appropriate – the Court emphasised that the clarity and precision of each head of claim are of utmost importance. It is not open to applicants to seek un-enumerated heads of claim as an insurance option, in order to safeguard ‘legal certainty and a sound administration of justice. In respect of the intervener’s second head of claim, seeking a confirmatory judgment, the Court again stated that its role in this area is to conduct judicial review of decisions of the Boards of Appeal.


          The Court stated that the mark applied for fell within the excessively simple category because it is made up of simple colours and geometric shapes. It would therefore not be understood as a trade mark by consumers unless it had acquired distinctiveness through use (which is not at issue here).

          Therefore, ‘delta’ was assessed as having an average degree of distinctiveness and ‘sport’ as having a weak or average degree of distinctiveness (depending on the class of goods). In addition, ‘delta’ is the part of the mark to which consumers would pay more attention because it is placed at the start. The earlier marks were assessed as having a normal inherent distinctive character.

          An average degree of phonetic similarity between the earlier EU mark and the mark applied for was found, and a weak degree between the earlier Spanish mark and the mark applied for due to the qualification added by the words ‘colchon’ and ‘sport’ respectively. The Court also supported the Board of Appeal’s finding that there was an average conceptual similarity between the marks.

          The Court therefore affirmed the likelihood of confusion or association in the imperfect memory of the relevant consumers assessed by the Board of Appeal, with the action being dismissed in its entirety.

        • ‘Big Horn’ signs infringe Red Bull’s EU trade marks, says England and Wales High Court

          In August 2016, the second defendant in the case, Voltino (a Bulgarian company, judgment against which was obtained in October 2019) filed an application for an EU trade mark bearing the double ram and golden sun device shown, together with the words “Big Horn” to be used for goods including energy drinks and various types of water. Red Bull became aware of the application in September 2016 and filed an opposition in November 2016.

          In the process of these opposition proceedings, Big Horn drinks appeared in the UK and Bulgaria. Red Bull’s test purchases found that Big Horn’s drinks were sold in cans of an identical shape and size to classic Red Bull cans, and in addition to the mark for which trade mark registration was sought, they also featured a geometric blue and silver design.

          The proceedings emphasised the lack of clarity as to how Mr Enchev came to set up Big Horn UK Limited, but it was apparent that Mr Enchev had started negotiations with Voltino in April 2017 to incorporate a company to distribute Voltino’s ‘Big Horn’ energy drinks within the UK. Mr Enchev entered into a contract with Voltino in May 2017 (though the contents of the contract were not disclosed to the court) and was found to be the controlling mind of Big Horn UK Limited, also in charge of Big Horn UK’s social media accounts.

      • Copyrights

        • Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet

          That was in 2007. Today, Wikipedia is the eighth-most-visited site in the world. The English-language version recently surpassed 6 million articles and 3.5 billion words; edits materialize at a rate of 1.8 per second. But perhaps more remarkable than Wikipedia’s success is how little its reputation has changed. It was criticized as it rose, and now makes its final ascent to … muted criticism. To confess that you’ve just repeated a fact you learned on Wikipedia is still to admit something mildly shameful. It’s as though all those questions that used to pepper think pieces in the mid-2000s—Will it work? Can it be trusted? Is it better than Encyclopedia Britannica?—are still rhetorical, when they have already been answered, time and again, in the affirmative.

        • ISP Questions Rightscorp’s Credibility and Objectivity Ahead of Piracy Trial

          Texas-based Internet provider Grande Communications wants to address the business practices and financial situation of anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp at its upcoming piracy liability trial. The music companies that sued the ISP for failing to terminate accounts of repeat infringers asked the court to exclude this information. However, Grande says that it is essential to assess the credibility of key witnesses.

        • Zero Online Pirates Criminally Charged in 2019, Lowest Since 2010, Swedish Authorities Say

          For the first time in almost a decade, not a single person was charged with a file-sharing or streaming related crime in Sweden during 2019. The news comes from the Prosecutor’s Office, which reveals that just 23 offenses were reported during the year, the lowest number since 2010.

        • The Top Ten Highlights of China Copyright in 2019

          In 2019, cinema piracies attracted public attention by ‘upgrading’ to high definition (HD). Mr Wu, CEO of Firstbrave Information Technologies, a company that provides technical support to the NCAC (relevant Katpost in 2017), summarised three characteristics of the 2019 CNYF piracy. First, within 36 hours of the film’s release, over a thousand HD pirated resources appeared online. This scale of HD piracy had never been seen before. Second, there was a flood of infringements in instant messaging tools, browsers and third-party small and medium websites. Third, 70% of the servers of these infringing websites were located abroad.

          The NCAC took proactive steps to combat cinema piracies, cooperating with the State Internet Information Office, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the State Film Bureau and telecommunications operators. The Cinema Movie Copyright Protection Alliance was established, which, collaborating with the Ministry of Public Security, closed down 361 pirated movie websites and 57 pirated apps. Moreover, 14,000 pieces of equipment used to produce HD pirated movies were seized, including seven projection servers. The total amount involved was CNY 230 million.


          Visual China Group (VCG) is the largest stock image and media footage provider in China and the third largest in the world.

          In April 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project team captured the first image of a black hole. VCG promptly put its own logo on the image and added it to its pay-to-use library without attribution to the EHT team, attracting criticism.

          VCG apologised and swiftly took down the picture along with many other non-compliant images, which included the national emblem and flag. The storm may have temporarily subsided but it has left several problems that are yet to be fully solved. Issues include the responsibility of platforms like VCG to review the copyrights of works submitted by contributors and to follow correct procedures to ascertain the rightful copyright owner.

        • Facebook Sued Over Failure to Respond to DMCA Takedown Notices

          Seattle-based photographer Christopher Boffoli is suing Facebook for copyright infringement. According to the complaint, the social media platform failed to remove a series of links to copyrighted photos. The takedown notices in question were sent around the same time a TorrentFreak-linked Boffoli-meme was taken down by Facebook.

        • Court Orders Cloudflare to Prevent Access to Pirated Music or Face Fines or Prison

          This week visitors to pirate music site DDL-Music were greeted with a rare ‘Error 451′ message from Cloudflare, indicating that the site had been rendered unavailable due to legal reasons. It now transpires that following legal action by Universal Music, Cloudflare was served with a court injunction , which threatened fines and potential prison time for non-compliance.

        • Game Developer Decides Best Way To Get Back At Pirates Is To Pirate Them Back

          There are lots of ways a video game developer can choose to react to finding its game being pirated on the internet. The game maker can elect to get understandably angry and go the legal route for retribution. The company can instead see piracy as not that big a deal and ignore it. Or they can try to add more value than pirated versions of their games. The developer can choose to connect with the pirates and try to turn them into paying customers.

        • Creative Commons: Welcome Our Newest Staff Members!

          Learn more about our newest staff members below!

        • No, Disney Probably Didn’t Infringe A Unicorn Van Artist’s Copyright, But It Would Have Sued If The Roles Were Reversed

          If there is ever a Copyright Protectionist Hall of Fame built, it should probably be constructed on the grounds of one Disney theme park or another. As regular readers here will already know, Disney is notoriously aggressive in its enforcement of intellectual property generally, and in copyright specifically. Hell, the 1998 CTEA, which extended the terms of copyright, is more commonly referred to as “The Mickey Mouse Protection Act.” Our pages are absolutely littered with stories of Disney bullying others over copyrights, often times to ridiculous lengths.

Open Source Did Not Win, It Was Assimilated to and by Proprietary Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, OSI at 9:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Proprietary software + “Open” slant for a marketing angle = openwash

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: Don’t fall for the whole “Open Source has won!” spiel; You know we’ve lost the battle (and were in effect gradually conquered) at OSI and elsewhere when those who speak for the OSI are Michael Cheng (Facebook), Max Sills (Google), and Chris Aniszczyk (Linux Foundation); they say “Open Source Under Attack” (FOSDEM talk) but their employers are the ones attacking and they downplay openwashing

FOR a number of months I’ve been thinking about dropping my reading lists/alerts/syndicators of “Open Source” (primarily but not only RSS feeds), seeing that the vast majority became openwashing. I just can’t get myself to do this, having spent the past 15 years or so watching these feeds very closely every single day of the year. Last year I attended or paid attention to these feeds only once a week (every weekend) and it was a depressing experience for the most part. I literally had to prepare myself mentally (for nonsensical fluff about Microsoft’s ‘Arctic’ ‘Vaults’ or other fake news, puff pieces, press releases and outright lies).

“Last year we did the Openwashing Report (a long series that involved lots of research) and months later explained the reason for stopping. Basically openwashing won and Open Source lost.”I no longer believe “Open Source” — and OSI for that matter — has anything to offer to Software Freedom. Earlier this year I saw that Bruce Perens, the co-founder of the OSI, had reached the same conclusion. This deserved a lot more press coverage, but this “drop the mic” moment on the mailing lists earned perhaps a couple of press articles and thereafter nobody spoke about it anymore.

Last year we did the Openwashing Report (a long series that involved lots of research) and months later explained the reason for stopping. Basically openwashing won and Open Source lost. The norm became openwashing. The fight was long lost and days ago the Linux Foundation issued a report for Microsoft proxies/partners such as Black Duck and Snyk. It was almost the final straw that it was also connected to Microsoft itself. Readers then alerted us about this report generating negative coverage such as “The Trouble with Free and Open Source Software…” (well done, Linux Foundation; some ‘advocate’, eh?)

How to deal with the sordid status quo is an important and deep conundrum — one that’s deepened by the absence of Richard Stallman (surely everyone has noticed that he’s very quiet these days, afraid of coming under another fiery storm; it’s the same as Linus Torvalds after his “manners” break in 2018).

Former Microsoft Employees Don’t Like Talking About Past and Present Microsoft Back Doors (Designed for Spy Agencies)

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

To the point of blocking those who speak about it, then smearing them behind their backs (NDA clauses can contribute to it)

I can't defend Microsoft anymore... Run for the choppa'

Summary: In a typical Microsoftian fashion, once they cannot defend the illusion/delusion that Microsoft values security the ‘Softers’ run away and block any further debate

THE relationship between the NSA and Microsoft isn’t as secret as it used to be, thanks in part to Edward Snowden with his leaked documents. Over the past few months I was challenged by people who had left Microsoft. They denied what Snowden offered and when confronted with links to press reports about it they didn’t bother apologising, they just fled. We actually catalogued some of these things in this Wiki page, which helps keep things organised (with external links to hard material, proof, substance). It includes articles like "Former Microsoft Engineer Working on Windows BitLocker Confirms Government Asks Microsoft for Back Doors" and much more. Microsoft hopes people will forget and it very well knows that puff pieces in the media will make such reports hard to find/access/assess.

“Microsoft hopes people will forget and it very well knows that puff pieces in the media will make such reports hard to find/access/assess.”I won’t lie about it; I never shy away from polite confrontations with former (and existing) Microsoft staff as sometimes they unwittingly expose evil agenda. For instance, managers of the WSL team love or at least accept the patent blackmail (of Linux!) and managers at Microsoft totally support GitHub’s war on GPL/copyleft. It’s the same old company; speak to individuals rather than some carefully-drafted press releases from liars at the top (upper echelons and PR department).

This morning I was greeted with a special — albeit not rare — badge of honour. After losing an argument (regarding NSA back doors in Microsoft’s systems) the former employee not only fled but also blocked me in Twitter. The funny thing is, I said nothing to offend him; it was someone else who brought forth evidence to contradict Microsoft talking points (there’s ample evidence and when shown evidence the sceptics tend to run away!). Who was blocked for this inconvenient fact? Me, not him. From following me in Twitter he turned to blocking me. Without me saying a thing! I almost never speak to these people; 90% of more of the time it is them who initiate contact.

Great. Well done, Microsoft alumni. Your own actions say a lot about you.

Techrights Warns Against Impending Extradition Efforts (Passage of Julian Assange to His Death in the United States)

Posted in Site News at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

People who report/expose/show evidence of crimes aren’t the ones who should be arrested

Joe Arpaio Loses: New Times Co-Founders Win $3.75 Million Settlement for 2007 False Arrests
Source: Joe Arpaio Loses: New Times Co-Founders Win $3.75 Million Settlement for 2007 False Arrests (Trump pardoned Arpaio because he loves pardoning the very worst offenders)

Summary: Imprisonment of journalists who are effective at exposing crimes (of the powerful, not petty crimes) must never be condoned

THE ‘trial’ of Julian Assange is a few days away (Twitter prevented Wikileaks accessing its own account for nearly a week and that does not help); there’s already intentionally-misleading press coverage associating Assange with a Trump pardon, Russia and so on. Wikileaks, still depending on Twitter as its prime communications medium, spoke about Twitter’s suppression attempts and it is already debunking some of what the press is saying, seeking to alter public opinion just days before this trial’s commencement in sites such as BBC (which are eager to associate Assange with Russia, with Trump and so on). This sort of deception by false association is an art form we’ve seen a lot of, sometimes coming from Team UPC and the management of the European Patent Office (EPO), e.g. associating staff unions (notably SUEPO) with Nazism and seeking to paint opposition to the UPC as just AfD.

“What’s really at stake here in the UK and over in the US (Chelsea Manning and a few other cases implicating imprisoned Wikileaks sources) is the legality of exposing crimes, sometimes by means of unauthorised access (by sources, not publishers, although this ‘trial’ deliberately conflates the two things, as does the ‘case’ against Glenn Greenwald in Brazil).”We see no point linking to the latest smears and their refutation (as the refutations themselves link back to the smears), but let’s just say that we in Techrights have a lot at stake because we’re receiving a lot of leaks, we use encryption for communications, and sometimes our sources clearly break company/institution rules in order to get information to us. This isn’t a case of committing a crime but exposing actual crimes by breaching rules whose sole purpose is to protect criminals from accountability (or public embarrassment).

What’s at stake in the upcoming ‘trial’ (see our Daily Links for lots of information or scandals associated with these so-called ‘trials’) isn’t whether Assange is a “nice guy” or whether he “respects women” or “likes Trump” or “works for Russia…”

What’s really at stake here in the UK and over in the US (Chelsea Manning and a few other cases implicating imprisoned Wikileaks sources) is the legality of exposing crimes, sometimes by means of unauthorised access (by sources, not publishers, although this ‘trial’ deliberately conflates the two things, as does the ‘case’ against Glenn Greenwald in Brazil).

“A campaign of misinformation is in full swing, seeking to manufacture support for an outcome that seems pre-determined (based on appointment of judges and procedural anomalies).”Don’t be fooled by what billionaires-funded sites like the BBC say. They actively suppressed coverage — as the EPO had done — about Battistelli‘s corruption, they never mention António Campinos, and illegal software patents being granted in Europe never bothered them. The BBC is being bribed by Bill Gates every few years and many managers at the BBC come from Microsoft UK. I’ve noticed that another publication that smears Assange at the moment (misleading coverage if not fabrication) has Chelsea Clinton on its Board. So much for impartiality and objectivity…

In closing, regardless of your views on Wikileaks or Assange (or both), the upcoming ‘case’ has impact on us as well. So think carefully before condoning a dangerous precedence. A campaign of misinformation is in full swing, seeking to manufacture support for an outcome that seems pre-determined (based on appointment of judges and procedural anomalies).

Team UPC: Many Mouths and No Ears

Posted in Europe, Humour, Patents at 5:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Context (last year): 13 Years of UPC Promises

UPC is cancelled

Summary: The mental condition of Team UPC gets more worrisome by the week

Team UPC Insults Judges Because the UPC is Dead and UPC Lobbyists Have Nothing Left to Lose

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Patents at 5:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The European Patent Robganisation - The 38 Milkers (as explained by a dairy cow) #memesdaily #meme #FunniestTweets #patents #Europe #Germany #France #Netherlands #UnitedKingdom
Tweet source

Summary: More judge-shaming tactics are in the mix; Team UPC seems to feel like there’s nothing left to lose as the UPC is already dead (hope itself is next to die)

THE prospects of software patents in Europe are grim. We’re going to include some new examples in Daily Links. Basically, the European Patent Office (EPO) under António Campinos (and Battistelli) can carry on granting lots of bogus patents (see the cartoon/meme above), but actual courts will say “no” and throw these out. We see lots of these stories all the time, but we no longer cover them as often as before. Mostly because it’s somewhat repetitive

Law firms (or litigation giants) across Europe aren’t happy because clients gradually realise that European Patents aren’t worth the fees. They’re being devalued.

Can the courts be bypassed and made more lenient and EPO-friendly? Well, Team UPC certainly hoped so and Thomas Adam (“UPCtracker” in Munich area) is now resorting to a sort of name-calling when he types: “German Constitutional Court publishes preview of cases to be decided in 2020 (aka “list of lies”). 8 cases assigned to Professor Huber, among them still #UPC complaint and independence of/inadequate legal protection by EPO Boards of Appeal issue. bundesverfassungsgericht.de/DE/Verfahren/J…”

“Law firms (or litigation giants) across Europe aren’t happy because clients gradually realise that European Patents aren’t worth the fees.”This undiplomatic language wasn’t overlooked and it didn’t take long for Matteo Pes, a UPC sceptic (apparently one of those hard-to-find honest attorneys), to respond. He joked at the phrase “List of lies…”

“According to the association of activists #FFII,” he wrote separately, “the ratification of #UPCA (Unified #Patent Court Agreement) by Germany might open up the possibility for a second constitutional complaint, following the already pending one filed by Dr Ingve Björn Stjerna….”

“It does not appear like any more complaints are necessary,” I responded, “and some were filed and succeeded outside Germany; Team UPC tried to bury or distort that news…”

The FFII’s press release wasn’t just noticed by Pes. It has been mentioned by others, including high-profile people like Dr. Glyn Moody and in German as well, not just by the author (here’s the German version). It was also published in French although it was mostly promoted in English [1, 2] — a language most Europeans can understand.

Going back to the rudeness of Team UPC, Dr. Birgit Clark politely corrected to “List of good intentions?”

She also cited the insult here (“All happening today: #UPC #patent #Germany Well, not much really happening but still, it creates a bit of excitement…”)

“Still insulting or harassing judges,” I told her….

This would not be the first time. We covered prior examples of this.

“For now Germany cannot ratify as it is,” Benjamin Henrion responded.

They know it. Team UPC is aware. And it hurts them. They’re sore and bitter, just like 35 U.S.C. § 101 bashers who see USPTO-granted patents perishing in courts. Like Team UPC, they’re made attempts to use legislation to override the proper legal process (they even bribed politicians like Coons for it, but Coons failed in 2017, 2018, and then 2019; in 2020 they openly admit it’s not progressing).

The similarity is stunning!

We’ve meanwhile noticed that Gregory Bacon (BaCoons?) of Bristows LLP, one of the few left at the Bristows UPC team. He continues to spread the same old lies and spin. It’s getting more pathetic by the week and now they obsess over one judge, so borderline ad hominem. Quite a few people left Bristows LLP recently. The sooner they collapse, the better. Here’s the latest spin (similar to the previous):

The German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) has published here the list of major cases which it intends to decide in 2020. Each year, many cases listed are not decided and are carried over to the next year’s list, and, as would be expected, the constitutional complaint against the Unified Patent Court (UPC) legislation (case reference 2 BvR 739/17) remains on the list of cases in the Second Senate allocated to the rapporteur Justice Huber. However, although this UPC case (filed in March 2017) was on the 2018 and 2019 lists, Justice Huber expects it to be actually decided this year.

Well, the complaint mentions Brexit, so with whatever happened last month (last day of January) there might be cause for further decision delays and in any case the government in Berlin might not care about such a decision and never ratify anyway, based on what it said before Brexit.

Here comes the Kluwer spin machine, which is connected to Bristows. The tweet says: “German complaint against ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement is on the FCC decision list for 2020 (again)” and it mentions Christine Robben (a Kluwer employee and perhaps “Kluwer Patent blogger” in this case). The corresponding article says: “The UPC and EPO cases are fifth and third on the list respectively, but as Bristows reported the cases are not necessarily decided in the order listed.”

You use Bristows as a credible source? Seriously? How many times have they lied before and even floated fabricated ‘rumours’?

Going back to the rude person, he later added [1, 2, 3]: “Apparently, in fall 2019 the DE Bundestag opted to file a submission in the consitutional [sic] cases concerning the independence of the EPO Boards of Appeal (2 BvR 2480/10 et al.; also on Prof. Huber´s plate). In the respective official document (BT-Drks. 19/13555 of 25Sep2019; /2 [...] https://bit.ly/2SE1fHG ), part of the section “A. Problem”, it is submitted that those cases are “related” to the #UPC complaint. That part reads as follows (my translation/ed.): “The proceedings are concerned w problems of legal protection in the patent grant procedure /3 [...] under [EPC] and raise in particular the Q of the extent to which the FCC provides legal protection against acts of organisations to which sovereign rights have been transferred with the consent of the German Bundestag under Article 24(1) of the Basic Law. /4″

Last year we wrote about half a dozen articles about how Team UPC had been lobbying and pressuring Huber, hoping that to salvage his reputation and self-imposed promises/deadlines he’ll just hurriedly can the complaint. That’s not happening, is it?

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