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05.06.20

Links 6/5/2020: Microsoft “Bleeds Users While Ubuntu Linux Enjoys An Astonishing Increase” and Munich Commits to “Public Money? Public Code!”

Posted in News Roundup at 6:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Raspberry Pi 4: Chronicling the Desktop Experience – Typeset beautifully with LyX – Week 28



        This is a weekly blog about the Raspberry Pi 4 (“RPI4”), the latest product in the popular Raspberry Pi range of computers.

        LyX is a document processor that encourages an approach to writing based on the structure of your documents (WYSIWYM) and not simply their appearance (WYSIWYG).

        Why would you need LyX? Mainly because it combines the power and flexibility of TeX/LaTeX with a friendly and intuitive graphical interface. I’ve used it to produce notes, academic papers, theses, and letters. Some folk have even written books with the software.

      • Manjaro Linux Now Available Pre-installed On Star Labs Linux Laptops

        In recent months, Manjaro Linux has created a lot of buzz in the market of Linux laptops. Whether it’s a collaboration with TUXEDO computers for Manjaro InfinityBook, Manjaro KDE in Pinebook Pro as the default OS, or the upcoming Manjaro’s own Ryzen-based gaming laptop — Manjaro Linux has taken a long leap in hardware among other Linux distros.

        In addition to the same, Manjaro Linux has now teamed up with the UK-based Linux laptop maker, Star Labs. The joint effort aims to offer Star Labs laptops with the latest Manjaro Linux 20.0. This means you can now buy Star Labs computers with any of these four Linux distributions preinstalled: Ubuntu 20.04, Linux Mint 19.3, Zorin OS 15.2, and Manjaro 20.0.

      • Windows 10 Bleeds Users While Ubuntu Linux Enjoys An Astonishing Increase

        How explosive? Ubuntu’s overall share of operating system usage ballooned from 0.27% in March to 1.89% in April. To put that in perspective, that’s an increase of 599 percent.

        The lift for Canonical’s Ubuntu resulted in Linux usage climbing from 1.36 percent to 2.87 percent. And to frame that up against an interesting Apple data point, NetMarketShare measures macOS Catalina — which also gained user share in April — at 4.15 percent.

        One key thing to note: Ubuntu isn’t seeing a 599 percent increase in additional users. That jump represents its increase in overall operating system market share from month to month. But it’s still an astonishing number.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Three Course Battery | LINUX Unplugged 352

        Manjaro has a new hardware partner so Phillip joins to share the details, and we have the Lemur Pro in house for a battery endurance test like no other.

        Plus an Arch server update, and Chris orders the new Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera.

      • mintCast 334 – Natural 20

        First up, in our Wanderings, I dive into both Ubuntu and Fedora, Moss hops around as usual, Tony Watts tinkers with new audio gear, and Joe recommends devices to family.

        Then, in the news, we’ll hit the Linux Mint Monthly News. And Releases! Ubuntu, Fedora, Manjaro and more increment by 1!

    • Applications

      • 6 open source alternatives to Wunderlist



        Wunderlist is an app for lists, loved by many, but gone for good as of May 6, 2020. The website encourages existing users to download and use Microsoft To Do in its place. That’s tempting because it makes it easy to import all of those lists you’ve made over the years. Then again, maybe it’s a chance to Marie Kondo those lists and pare things down. Do you really need 30 lists? (Apparently, I’ve decided that I do, so I won’t judge.)

        I have lists for all sorts of things, from “Plants for the garden 2020″ to “Gifts for the husband.” Some are checklists, some are To Do lists, and some are lists for list’s sake.

        For my husband and me, the most useful list is our shared grocery list. We both have the app on our phones, we both add things to the list, we review it together but separately on our phones before he goes shopping (yes, you read that correctly), and he checks things off as he puts them in the cart. It makes the whole thing surprisingly efficient, and I think we save some money because we’re into sticking to THE LIST.

      • Open Source vector graphics editor Inkscape 1.0 is out

        The developers of the open source cross-platform vector graphics editor Inkscape have released Inkscape 1.0 to the public this week. The new version is a milestone release that introduces numerous changes including HiDPI support, performance improvements, a native Mac OS application, and improved tools and features.

        Inkscape is a vector graphics editor that uses the SVG format by default; the application supports other formats that it can import and export, and it can be extended by installing add-ons. One of the main advantages of vector graphics is that the format is resolution independent (opposed to raster graphics which depend on the resolution).

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Ubuntu Studio To Replace Xfce With KDE Plasma Desktop Environment

        Ubuntu Studio is a popular official flavour of Ubuntu tailored for creative content creators involved in audio production, video, graphics, photography, and book publishing. It offers a lot of multimedia content creation applications out of the box with the best possible experience.

        After the recent 20.04 LTS release, the Ubuntu Studio team highlighted something very important in their official announcement. And, probably not everyone noticed the key information i.e Ubuntu Studio’s future.

        Ubuntu Studio 20.04 will be the last version to ship with the Xfce desktop environment. All the future releases will be using KDE Plasma instead.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Desktop Plasma on an Android Tablet!



          So I have an NVIDIA SHIELD K1 Tablet because it’s a pretty nice tablet and partly because i was on a shopping spree last year after Google Summer of Code was concluded. This weekend I came to know of Linux4Tegra , a GNU/Linux based system software distribution by Nvidia for the Nvidia Tegra processor series. (you can read more about it at Wikipedia). So I checked out the releases by NVIDIA here and found out there was something available for my little K1 too! I sniffed around in xda forums and found out a forum post by Bogdacutu

          Last weekend I stumbled upon Linux4Tegra while looking for custom ROMs to breathe new life into this 2015 device. I got up to Ubuntu 18.04, so this is what my final sequence of steps was. to make sure you can also have a working Desktop Ubuntu tablet within a day.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat is recognised as one of the 2020 UK’s Best Workplaces

          The value of an organisation is reflected by its people and its culture. At Red Hat, we are immensely proud of the people within our organisation and their ongoing contribution to our vibrant culture and workplace. It turns out, we’re not the only ones to hold this view. We are delighted to announce that Red Hat has been ranked as No 9 in the UK’s Best Workplaces, in the Great Place to Work Awards, large company category. This accolade comes alongside Red Hat being ranked 4th in the Best Place to Work in Tech, large company category.

          This award recognizes the inclusive and supportive working culture Red Hat has worked to create and nurture over many years. Open source principles are intrinsic to our values and inform how we operate as a company. People work at Red Hat because they believe in open source. We are always striving to do more for each other and for our customers.

      • Debian Family

        • Tails 4.6 Anonymous Linux OS Adds Support for U2F USB Security Keys

          Tails 4.6 is a monthly update that comes about a month after the Tails 4.5 release, which introduced Secure Boot support. This time, Tails received support for Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) USB security keys.

          This means that you can now use a U2F security key to authenticate in your Tails OS. U2F security keys enable and simplifies two-factor authentication (2FA) to make systems more secure.

        • SparkyLinux 2020.05 Improves Secure Boot Support, Adds New Packages

          Synced with the Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” testing repositories as of May 5th, 2020, SparkyLinux 2020.05 is here to improve support for Secure Boot installations.

          This release ships with the latest Calamares 3.2.23 installer, which enables better installation support of SparkyLinux on UEFI machines with Secure Boot.

          According to the developers, users should be able to launch the live system with Secure Boot disabled and enabled it after the installation. This time of installation is now support by both Calamares and SparkyLinux’s Advanced Installer.

        • Sparky Linux 2020.05 Announced with Linux Kernel 5.6.7

          The team at Sparky Linux has just announced that the May snapshot is now live and users can download the 2020.05 build based on Debian testing “Bullseye.”

          The new release obviously comes with a series of important change and one of the most notable is the upgrade to Linux kernel 5.6.7. The Sparky unstable repos come with Linux kernel 5.6.10 & 5.7-rc4.

          Furthermore, there are improvements for UEFI systems with Secure Boot.

          “Added additional support of Sparky installation on UEFI machines with Secure Boot: the live system should be launched with Secure Boot off as before; but after installation the Secure Boot can be turned on; both installers: Calamares and Sparky’s Advanced provides support of such installation,” the dev team explains in a changelog (which you can also find embedded below).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix 20.04 Review: The Perfect Blend of Ubuntu With Cinnamon

          Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix is a relatively new distribution that brings the Cinnamon desktop to Ubuntu. Read the review to know more about it.

        • UbuntuDDE 20.04 LTS Released: Fusion Of Ubuntu Linux And Deepin Desktop



          UbuntuDDE, a remix Linux distribution combining Ubuntu and Deepin desktop, has finally announced its first-ever stable release. Despite being built on top of the Ubuntu 20.04 ‘Focal Fossa’ system, UbuntuDDE 20.04 is still not recognized as the official flavor of Ubuntu.

          Regardless, UbuntuDDE gives a unique experience for being a Ubuntu flavor along with Plasma, Cinnamon, and Budgie. In fact, UbuntuDDE edges slightly ahead on looks, all thanks to the beauty of the Deepin Desktop. This is also why, after the beta release, UbuntuDDE received loads of love with ISO download of around 50k+ till now.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 76 arrives with password management and Zoom improvements

            Mozilla today launched Firefox 76 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Firefox 76 includes new Firefox Lockwise password functionality, Zoom improvements, and a handful of developer features. You can download Firefox 76 for desktop now from Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. According to Mozilla, Firefox has about 250 million active users, making it a major platform for web developers to consider.

            The coronavirus is impacting not just everyone spending more time in their browsers as they learn and work from home, but also the software developers building the browsers. Google was forced to delay Chrome 81, skip Chrome 82 altogether, and move Chrome 83 up a few weeks. Microsoft followed suit with Edge’s release schedule, consistent with Google’s open source Chromium project, which both Chrome and Edge are based on. Last month, Mozilla made it clear that while “some of our competitors have had to slow down or stop work,” it is sticking with its 2020 Firefox release schedule.

          • Firefox 76 rolls out for Windows, macOS and Linux with ‘Lockwise’, Zoom improvements and more

            Firefox has unveiled its version 76 for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. The highlight of the new browser version by Mozilla is the Firefox Lockwise password functionality. This comes alongside some Zoom improvements and a few developer-based features. You can download Firefox 76 from the company’s website while the existing users will automatically get an update.

            The ‘Lockwise’ feature in Firefox 76 is essentially an in-built password manager. It also brings the ability to lets you copy-paste a password but adds a layer of security to it as well. “When you try to view or copy a password from your “Logins and Passwords” page, you will be prompted for your device’s account password before proceeding. Once the password is added, your credentials will be available to view and copy for up to five minutes,” adds the blog post.

          • Firefox 76 Released With Security Enhancement

            Firefox 76 has been released with security enhancement and tons of new additional features. Mozilla Firefox 76.0 is now available to download for Linux, Windows, and macOS. As mentioned in the release statement, Firefox strengthens protections for user’s online account logins and passwords.

            Firefox 76.0 supports Audio Worklets. With this feature, you can have ease while playing audio for VR and gaming on the web.

            You can also join Zoom calls on Firefox 76.0 without the need for any additional addons. When one of your accounts is involved in a security breach then it will alert you if you are using the same password in other accounts.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • MediaGoblin 0.10 Released With Video Subtitles Support, Other Small Improvements

            Last month the GNU MediaGoblin project announced they were still alive and have now managed to deliver a new release in the form of version 0.10.

            MediaGoblin is the GNU project focused on providing a free and decentralized web platform for media sharing. It’s been four years since the last MediaGoblin release but that changed with now having version 0.10.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Munich commits to “Public Money? Public Code!”

          

          The “Public Money? Public Code!” initiative aims to set Free Software as the standard for publicly financed software. The Free Software Foundation Europe together with over 180 civil society organisations and more than 27.000 individuals signed the open letter. We will use the signatures to contact decision makers and political representatives all over Europe and convince them to make public code the standard. You are invited to add your signature to make a bigger impact on https://publiccode.eu/

      • Programming/Development

        • Customizing my open source PHP framework for web development



          PHP Codeignitor is an open source integrated development environment (IDE) providing business applications with the easy-to-use PHP programming language and powerful tools for coding. It also provides business intelligence, server monitoring, development, and application integration facilities. It’s a relatively quiet project that you don’t hear much about, but it’s got a lot going for it that many developers new to it find surprising and refreshing.

          I use Codeignitor at my job working for an online tuition service provider in Singapore. We offer services that aren’t common enough to be the default feature set for templates or existing back-ends, so I need something that provides good, solid, raw materials I can build upon. Initially, I was considering other platforms such as WordPress for our website; however, I arrived at Codeignitor due to its flexibility and integration of functions needed in the tuition-matching process.

        • Managing Git projects with submodules and subtrees

          If you are into open source development, you have probably worked with Git to manage source code. You might have come across projects with numerous dependencies and/or sub-projects. How do you manage them?

          For an open source organization, it can be tricky to achieve single-source documentation and dependency management for the community and the product. The documentation and project often end up fragmented and redundant, which makes them difficult to maintain.

        • How to work from home with Raspberry Pi | The Magpi 93
        • SSH Tunnel – Local, Remote and Dynamic Port Forwarding

          Most importantly, play around and experiment with SSH when you get a chance! While not every combination of tunnels might be the best solution to your problem, there were certainly many times where knowing how to solve a problem using SSH tunnels saved me hours of otherwise tedious work (usually involving moving stuff around between servers).

        • Python

          • How to use Python String Strip Method

            Sometimes it is required to remove the first or last or both first and last characters from the string when we work with string data. For example, when it requires storing or verifying any password value then it is essential to remove the space from the starting and end of the password to get the exact password value. ltrim(), rtrim() and trim() methods are used in most of the programming languages to remove space or the particular character from the starting, ending, or both sides. The similar task can be done in Python by using lstrip(), rstrip() and strip() methods. How the strip method can be used in Python in multiple ways is shown in this tutorial.Syntax:

        • Rust

          • This Week in Rust 337

            Always wanted to contribute to open-source projects but didn’t know where to start? Every week we highlight some tasks from the Rust community for you to pick and get started!

  • Leftovers

    • Silicon Valley’s Russian women Meduza speaks to the tech entrepreneurs overlooked by Yury Dud’s latest YouTube sensation

      On April 23, Russian journalist and YouTube star Yury Dud released his latest documentary film — “How the World’s I.T. Capital Works” — about a handful of Russian startups that have found success in Silicon Valley. The three-hour video, which currently has more than 15 million views on YouTube, focuses on eight entrepreneurs, not one of whom is a woman. The oversight angered many viewers and led to allegations of bias against the filmmaker. So far, there’s been no response to the backlash from Dud himself, who might be surprised to learn that Silicon Valley has several Russian businesswomen. Meduza asked some about their work and what they think of “How the World’s I.T. Capital Works.”

    • Rest In Power To Drummer And Afrobeat Master Tony Allen

      For the May 3 newsletter, Shadowproof managing editor Kevin Gosztola paid tribute to Nigerian drummer Tony Allen.

    • Hardware

      • [Repost] 90 Days With The Pinebook Pro

        So it’s an open-source alternative to a Chromebook, cheap computing you can hack and tweak. When I first reviewed it, I said:

        This laptop is better than any $200 laptop should be.

        Well, that was (at least) 90 days ago. Do I still feel that way?

      • Will Open-Source Development Help the Drone Industry Fight Back Against DJI?

        The company is working with DroneCode and ASTM to develop industry standards around the PX4 ecosystem, allowing larger players like Wing — which started with PX4, according to Sartori — the freedom to branch off and build their own implementation of the open-source code, while smaller players can essentially outsource their flight controllers, detect-and-avoid, autopilot and other systems to Auterion and focus on their core competencies.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Wireless mesh networks: Everything you need to know

          While Wi-Fi remains standardized, and extremely and reliably compatible among equipment from different makers, no two mesh systems on the market work with each other. An early mesh protocol, 802.11h, wound up being not just insufficient to the task, but entirely ignored by companies as they pursued better results and competitive advantages—and higher prices than for regular Wi-Fi gear.

        • SoftMaker Office 2021 Hits Beta, is Free to Download (For Now)

          A beta release of SoftMaker Office 2021 is available to download for free on Windows, macOS and Linux.

          For those unfamiliar with it SoftMaker Office is a paid, closed-source productivity suite created by SoftMaker, a Germany-based software company founded in 1987. The company also produce a free (as in beer) office suite called ‘FreeOffice by SoftMaker’.

          The SoftMaker Office suite boasts ‘seamless compatibility’ with, and indeed native use of, Microsoft Office file formats by default. The suite is comprised of a word processing program, TextMaker 2021, a spreadsheet program, PlanMaker 2021 and a presentation making tool, Presentations 2021.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • Updatable Ubuntu Server Live Installer [Ed: Nothing says "Ubuntu" like Microsoft GitHub in your INSTALLER! Even if Microsoft is upset to have lost billions on GitHub (and it's still operating at a massive loss), the NSA will be happy. So much control over so many programs and systems worldwide.]
            • VS Code in Ubuntu [Ed: It is not Open Source; see the associate licence and what it is designed to help sell.]

              VS Code, developed by Microsoft, is a cross platform open-source editor…

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Critics Warn Covid-19 Digital ‘Privacy’ Bill Is Really ‘Anti-Privacy’ Bill in Disguise

              “This bill is truly a privacy ‘cure’ worse than the disease.”

            • After Months Of Incompetence, ‘Smart’ Pet Feeder Company PetNet Falls Apart, Blames COVID-19

              Back in February, $130 “smart” pet feeders from a company named PetNet simply stopped working. When customers reached out to the company to complain, they hit a complete and total brick wall in terms of functioning customer service. Customers say emails and phone calls weren’t returned (or wound up undeliverable), and the company simply refused to answer annoyed customer inquiries on Twitter or Facebook.

            • Courts Issue Rulings in Two Cases Challenging Law Enforcement Searches of License Plate Databases

              This week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in United States v. Yang, a case challenging the search of an automated license plate reader database under the Fourth Amendment. Although the court, citing EFF’s amicus brief, recognized ALPRs capture massive amounts of data on Americans across the country, it decided not to reach the search issue. Instead it held that because Yang was driving a rental car after his rental agreement ended when the search occurred, he didn’t have the right to challenge the search.

              The Ninth Circuit’s decision follows an April opinion from Massachusetts’s highest court in another ALPR case, Commonwealth v. McCarthy. In McCarthy, the court held that, although ALPRs raise clear privacy issues under the Fourth Amendment and Massachusetts’s Article 14, McCarthy hadn’t introduced sufficient facts to show that the search at issue in his case rose to the level of a constitutional violation.

            • Using Drones to Fight COVID-19 is the Slipperiest of All Slopes

              As governments search in vain for a technological silver bullet that will contain COVID-19 and allow people to safely leave their homes, officials are increasingly turning to drones. Some have floated using them to enforce social distancing, break up or monitor places where gatherings of people are occurring, identify infected people with supposed “fever detecting” thermal imaging, or even assist in contact tracing by way of face recognition and mass surveillance.

              Any current buy-up of drones would constitute a classic example of how law enforcement and other government agencies often use crises in order to justify the expenditures and negate the public backlash that comes along with buying surveillance equipment. For years, the LAPD, the NYPD, and other police departments across the country have been fighting the backlash from concerned residents over their acquisitions of surveillance drones. These drones present a particular threat to free speech and political participation. Police departments often deploy them above protests, large public gatherings, and on other occasions where people might practice their First Amendment-protected rights to speech, association, and assembly.

            • Israeli Malware Merchant’s Employee Used Powerful Spyware To Snoop On A Potential Love Interest

              NSO Group is not having a great year. At least not on the PR front. The books may be balancing, but its indiscriminate distribution of malware/spyware to questionable governments has been raising eyebrows and blood pressure for years. Now, it’s being sued by Facebook for using WhatsApp as its preferred delivery system for malware payloads.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • More Thoughts on Wealth and Tax Alternatives

        Last week the Boston Review (BR) published an exchange on a wealth tax that included a proposal from Berkeley economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, with a number of responses, including one from me. I was critical of the proposal for both political reasons and because I think avoidance and evasion will be massive problems.

      • Trump Is Ignoring Fears Over Reopening Because He Wants a “Great Fourth Quarter”

        President Donald Trump believes that the American people are optimistic and ready to end social distancing measures in order to “reopen” the economy, demonstrating a huge disconnect between his views and the American people’s real attitudes about the coronavirus pandemic.

      • ‘Outrageous, Callous, and Cruel’: Seniors Rip Trump for Holding Covid-19 Relief Hostage to Push Social Security Cuts

        “Trump’s actions are a war on seniors. He is insisting on threatening Social Security on which most seniors rely for their food, medicine, and other basic necessities.”

      • We Need an Essential Workers Bill of Rights—Now

        Congress must include worker protections in the next coronavirus relief bill.

      • What Does COVID-19 Mean for the Future of Capitalism?

        You pay little attention to the systems of your body — circulatory, digestive, pulmonary — unless something goes wrong.

      • After Bailout, United Airlines Urges Workers to Leave or Face Layoffs

        United Airlines urged its employees to consider leaving the company voluntarily as it cuts pay and prepares for layoffs even though it received a $5 billion bailout from taxpayers last month.

      • Corporations Will Not Save Us: The Sham of Corporate Social Responsibility

        American corporations are sacrificing workers and communities as never before in order to further boost runaway profits and unprecedented CEO pay. And not even a tragic pandemic is changing that. 

      • Corporations Will Not Save Us: The Sham of Corporate Social Responsibility

        As usual, almost nothing has trickled down to America’s working class and poor. The truth is, American corporations are sacrificing workers and communities as never before in order to further boost runaway profits and unprecedented CEO pay. And not even a tragic pandemic is changing that. Americans know this. A record 76 percent of U.S. adults believe major corporations have too much power. The only way to make corporations socially responsible is through laws requiring them to be – for example, giving workers a bigger voice in corporate decision making, requiring that corporations pay severance to communities they abandon, raising corporate taxes, busting up monopolies, and preventing dangerous products (including faulty airplanes) from ever reaching the light of day.  If the CEOs of the Business Roundtable and other corporations were truly socially responsible, they’d support such laws, not make phony promises they clearly have no intention of keeping. Don’t hold your breath.  The only way to get such laws enacted is by reducing corporate power and getting big money out of our politics. The first step is to see corporate social responsibility for the sham it is. The next step is to emerge from this pandemic and economic crisis more resolved than ever to rein in corporate power, and make the economy work for all. 

      • Fight To Tax Amazon Regains Momentum As Corporation Thrives During COVID-19

        During the coronavirus pandemic, Seattle City Council members have launched another effort to tax Amazon and other large corporations.

        Amazon poured $1.5 million into Seattle City Council races in 2019 after it managed to repeal a head tax in June 2018 to raise around $20 million annually. It came up short in its attempt to oust City Council members who led that tax movement

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Raif Badawi spared 950 lashes after Saudi decision to abolish flogging

        Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is relieved by Saudi Arabia’s abolition of flogging, one of the punishments to which Raif Badawi, a blogger jailed in 2012, was sentenced. Badawi nonetheless continues to be detained and has already served eight of the ten years in prison to which he was also sentenced.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • A Greatest Generation We Are Not

        From a moment of victory to a time of pandemic.

      • When Coming North is the Only Option: Why We Must Change Our Immigration Policies

        At a time when the only thing anyone is talking about is COVID-19, I took a break to read Kelsey Freeman’s astute look at the struggles of migrants to cross the border, recently published by IGPublishing (April, 2020): No Option But North: The Migrant World and the Perilous Path Across the Border.

      • Social Distancing With Tear Gas and Walls: the “Racist, Hateful, And Life-Threatening Campaign” Unleashed Against The Romani With Covid-19

        She was 37 years old. Her name was not reported. We will never know the name of her baby. For three days after her waters broke, she appealed multiple times for attention at Ohrid General Hospital in North Macedonia. Every visit ended the same way, with her being denied treatment. Her friend, who drove her there, said she was bleeding, in obvious pain, and had signs of an infection. The pregnant woman was from a nearby Romani settlement where she survived in suffocating poverty. According to her friend, she had no means to pay for check-ups during her pregnancy, and that all she was offered at the hospital was racial invectives when what she’d pleaded for was a caesarean. Eventually, one doctor intervened when he realized her condition had deteriorated beyond what the hospital would be able to treat, and he arranged for her to be transported to the University Clinic of Gynecology and Obstetrics (UCGO) in Skopje.

      • Number of domestic violence complaints in Russia increased over two-fold since beginning of April

        According to data from nonprofit organizations (NPO), the number of domestic violence complaints in Russia has grown 2.5 times since April 10, the country’s Human Rights Commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova told RIA Novosti. 

      • We Must Protect the Right to Vote in the November Elections

        The Republican Party is doing everything it can to suppress the vote in November. Why? They fear higher turnout, especially among people of color, will cost them the election.

      • Mail-In Voting Must Be Made Accessible to Disabled Voters

        Today is an offseason Election Day in Michigan, where the vast majority of voters will submit ballots by mail as state officials close polling locations and urge people to stay home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Michigan’s decision to embrace voting by mail is good news for voters who would rather not risk visiting a crowded polling site or are confined to their homes in the first place, and election officials are already reporting above-average turnout. However, blind and visually impaired voters were nearly left out of the election.

      • Planetize the Movement!

        Our movements need to coalesce to make the present moment of populism and hegemonic decline an advantageous one for a Great Transition—this time toward a global socialist-feminist democracy built through the synergy of a new international and revitalized World Social Forum.

      • California’s Lawmakers Must Enact Privacy Rules to Advance COVID-19 Efforts

        EFF strongly backs calls, including from California Senate Judiciary Chair Hannah-Beth Jackson, for Governor Gavin Newsom to ensure that his response to this crisis respects Californians’ constitutional right to privacy. We urge the California legislature and Governor Newsom to pass measures that would protect our privacy now, in the aftermath of this crisis, and beyond. As a national leader in privacy and a leading voice in setting policy regarding the coronavirus, California must step up and do the right thing as it makes policy to address the effects of COVID-19.

        Right now, companies and governments are trying many new things to deal with an unprecedented public health crisis. These include public-private partnerships where government services come from mobile apps and website portals built by corporations such as Verily, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet. Yet Verily’s launch shows how companies are making vague promises and commitments about how they will protect information they collect, and how it can be used later. It’s also unclear how governments can use information collected from such programs, and whether our personal information is the currency paid by governments to companies for public health programs to deal with this crisis.

      • COVID-19 and Online Freedom for #GivingTuesdayNow

        On May 5, EFF is joining forces with other nonprofit groups and individuals everywhere for a global day of support called #GivingTuesdayNow. It’s a direct response to the unprecedented community and societal needs created by COVID-19. We have been fortunate to see heroic efforts by people coming together to address the impact of the pandemic, whether as frontline healthcare workers, kind neighbors, or even creative entertainers keeping our isolated spirits up. This unity—made more poignant by our physical distance— is how we will be able to heal our world in every sense.

        Nonprofit organizations and civil society groups are meant to step up for you where governments can’t or won’t. That role is especially important as the pandemic continues to affect every individual and industry in ways we do not yet fully comprehend. With physical distancing in place, the Internet is a critical lifeline to health information, our loved ones, and our sanity. That’s why EFF hasn’t stopped fighting for even a moment to protect your digital privacy and security, online expression, creative innovation, and access to technology.

      • 80 Percent of People Held in Ohio’s Marion Prison Test Positive for COVID-19

        We get an update on one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the United States, at the Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio, where 11 prisoners and one staff member have died, and at least 80% of prisoners and half of the prison staff tested positive. Despite growing calls to release thousands of Ohio’s nearly 50,000 incarcerated people as the coronavirus spreads, Governor Mike DeWine has only approved the release of more than 100 people in the state’s prisons. “We’re seeing a few people being released … but not anywhere near the 20,000 [we are] demanding,” says Azzurra Crispino, whose husband, James, is incarcerated at Marion. She is co-founder of Prison Abolition Prisoner Support.

      • Do not allow Saudi Arabia’s flogging ban to distract from the repression that still exists

        Last week’s court decisions will have immediate and important consequences: sparing six young offenders at risk of execution, as well as nullifying the flogging punishment of Raif Badawi. Mr. Badawi, whose wife and three children are now Canadian citizens, was sentenced in 2014 to 10 years’ imprisonment and 1,000 lashes for giving his fellow citizens a space online to discuss issues of public concern more freely. The flogging was suspended in 2015 as a result of international outrage elicited by the first 50 lashes in a public square.

        But Saudi Arabia’s purported reforms should not obscure the widespread repression and the accompanying untold, unprecedented human cost that continues to mount.

      • Rights Group Monthly Report: Increasing Number of Executions in Iran Amid Coronavirus

        The regime launched a new wave of executions, killing at least 32 people in 14 cities, including juvenile offenders and ethnic minorities. Many of those executed had participated in protests over conditions in prisons, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the regime’s failure to allow them temporary leave to stop the mass spread of the disease in prisons.

        According to the leading rights group, on April 11, the regime hanged Iranian Kurdish political prisoner Mostafa Salimi. Salimi, 53, was one of roughly 80 prisoners who escaped Saqqez prison, in Kurdistan province, following a protest on March 27. He was rearrested days later.

      • California Sues Uber and Lyft to Classify Drivers as Employees

        The suit, under a law known as Assembly Bill 5, threatens to upend the business models of Uber and Lyft, which view themselves as tech-y intermediaries between people who want rides and people willing to drive them. An analysis by Barclays estimates that treating California drivers as employees would cost Uber $506 million and Lyft $290 million annually; neither company is profitable. The state contains two of the companies’ biggest markets, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and both companies’ headquarters.

      • As Gig Workers Struggle Amid Outbreak, California Sues Lyft and Uber for Refusing to Classify Drivers as Employees

        “Californians who drive for Uber and Lyft lack basic worker protections… Sometimes it takes a pandemic to shake us into realizing what that really means and who suffers the consequences.”

      • U.S. Trade War Against China Takes a Coronaviral Turn

        The Trump administration has expanded its trade war against China to include the COVID-19 pandemic. With more than 1 million already infected in the United States and about 60,000 dead, Trump’s assertions in February and March that the coronavirus is just “like a flu” and will disappear have now been replaced by ‘China did it,’ even talking about making China pay reparations. A part of this is Trump’s dire need to scapegoat someone, or some country, for the United States’ total incompetence in handling the COVID-19 epidemic.

      • Far Right Group Behind Boston’s “Straight Pride” Also Organized “Reopen” Protest

        In March of 1770, a group of British troops found themselves accosted by a mob of angry colonists in Boston. The soldiers were pelted with rocks, snowballs, and struck with clubs. Finally, one soldier fired his weapon in self-defense, and the other troops followed suit. When the smoke cleared, three colonists lay dead. Eight others were wounded, and two of those would later succumb to their injuries.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • The Decentralized Web Could Help Preserve The Internet’s Data For 1,000 Years. Here’s Why We Need IPFS To Build It.

        The internet economy runs on data. As of 2019, there were over 4.13 billion internet users generating more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day. By the end of 2020, there will be 40 times more bytes of data than there are stars to observe in space. And all of this data is powering a digital revolution, with the data-driven internet economy already accounting for 6.9% of U.S. GDP in 2017. The internet data ecosystem supports a bustling economy ripe with opportunity for growth, innovation, and profit.

      • Judge Orders FCC To Hand Over Data On Fake Net Neutrality Comments

        We’ve long discussed how the Pai FCC’s net neutrality repeal was plagued with millions of fraudulent comments, many of which were submitted by a bot pulling names from a hacked database of some kind. Millions of ordinary folks (myself included) had their identities used to support Pai’s unpopular plan, as did several Senators. The Trump FCC stonewalled both law enforcement and journalist inquiries into who was behind the comments, and why the FCC didn’t lift a finger to either stop them or to help identify those responsible.

    • Monopolies

      • Facebook removes some QAnon pages, citing inauthentic behavior

        Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, stressed that the company removed only the content that violated its specific rules against coordinated inauthentic behavior, in which multiple accounts act in tandem and obscure their identities to push content.

      • Facebook removes QAnon ‘fringe conspiracy’ groups ahead of 2020 election

        Facebook has seemingly become more comfortable removing misinformation since the coronavirus pandemic, but it doesn’t appear to have a stance against “authentic” QAnon believers. That puts it at odds with at least one other social network: Reddit, which banned major QAnon subreddits for inciting harassment and posting personal information.

        Besides the QAnon pages, Facebook also removed another small US-based network linked to anti-immigrant group VDARE, along with a much larger number of pages and accounts linked to unrelated organizations in Russia, Iran, and Georgia. It touted its efforts as the work of a “cross-disciplinary team” built to disrupt “sophisticated influence operations aimed to manipulate public debate,” but also simpler tactics like spam and fake engagement.

      • Facebook Says It Removed Six Domestic Networks of Fake Accounts

        In April, six of the eight networks Facebook removed for coordinated inauthentic posts targeted domestic audiences in the U.S., Mauritania, Myanmar and the country of Georgia, the social network said in a blog post on Tuesday. Two of the networks were in the U.S.: one set of pages and accounts associated with the fringe conspiracy group QAnon, and another with VDARE, a website known for posting anti-immigrant content. It’s Facebook’s first action against QAnon, the group that believes there is a “deep state” conspiracy against President Donald Trump.

      • Patents

        • Pfizer Inc. v. Chugai Pharmaceuticals Co. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          The Federal Circuit continued its explication of the standing issue for unsuccessful petitioners in inter partes review (see “Argentum Pharmaceuticals LLC v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2020)”) in Pfizer Inc. v. Chugai Pharmaceuticals Co.

          The case arose over IPRs initiated by Pfizer against Chugai’s U.S. Patent Nos. 7,332,289 and 7,927,815. The patents were directed to protein purification methods that removed nucleic acid (DNA) contaminants. Pfizer successfully petitioned, but the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in a Final Written Decision held that the challenger had not proved any of the ’289 (1-8 and 13) or ’815 (1-7, 12, and 13) claims had been improvidently granted.

          The Federal Circuit dismissed Pfizer’s appeal based on lack of Article III standing, in an opinion by Judge Bryson, joined by Chief Judge Prost and Judge Dyk. The opinion sets forth the uneven playing field in IPRs, where anyone (but the patent holder) has standing to file a petition to initiate an IPR (even if the challenger fails to have Article III standing), citing JTEKT Corp. v. GKN Auto. LTD., 898 F.3d 1217, 1219 (Fed. Cir. 2018), and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Ltd. v. ResMed Ltd., 789 F. App’x 877, 878 (Fed. Cir. 2019). However, an unsuccessful challenger, as Pfizer here, must satisfy the requirements for Article III standing in order to be able to bring an appeal, the court relying on JTEKT Corp. and Consumer Watchdog v. Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

          The opinion sets forth the requirements for standing: that the putative appellant has “(1) suffered an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision,” citing Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016). The panel notes, however, that Congress can accord a procedural right to appeal an administrative agency decision, and in those cases “certain requirements of standing—namely immediacy and redressability, as well as prudential aspects that are not part of Article III—may be relaxed,” citing, via Consumer Watchdog, Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497, 517–18 (2007).

        • Software Patents

      • Copyrights

        • Remix Culture Done Right: Wes Tank Mashes Up Dr. Seuss With Dr. Dre (And So Far The Copyright Police Have Left Him Alone)

          A few days back I saw a friend share an incredible video on YouTube of a guy in Milwaukee named Wes Tank, rapping Dr. Seuss’s “Fox in Sox” over Dr. Dre beats. Even if you think that sounds great, the final result is even better than you expect:

        • US Removes Switzerland From ‘Pirate WatchList’

          The US Trade Representative has taken Switzerland off its annual pirate “Watch List.” The removal is the direct result of the country’s revised copyright law which introduced a “stay down” policy for infringing content and allows rightsholders to track pirates. Downloading pirated movies and music for personal use remains legal, but the US has seen sufficient progress, for now.

        • MPA Suggests Github Could Be Held Liable For Popcorn Time’s Copyright Infringements

          The Motion Picture Association is pressing on with its mission to restrict the availability of infamous streaming app Popcorn Time. In a copyright complaint filed with Github, the Hollywood group cites the Grokster decision, suggesting that the code platform could be held liable for Popcorn Time’s activities. Meanwhile, Popcorn Time’s operators have filed a counter-complaint.

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