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06.18.20

Daily Links: Density and Source Diversity Statistics

Posted in Site News at 11:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In Soviet Russia, news write site!

Moon Over Moscow

Summary: Some fancy charts based on over 563,000 news picks posted in Techrights since 2008

After posting about 3,500 daily batches of links (News Roundups or Daily Links as we call them) we’ve decided to carry out an analysis and produce some statistics based on these. The code is in Perl, the data is extracted using SQL, the charts are produced using LibreOffice (with OpenDocument Format, imported from CSV files). What the chart below shows is the number of links posted each day, over time, alongside the number of unique sites; the ratio between those two things is shown separately in the second chart.

As more sites perish, especially more trustworthy ones, we’re generally left with fewer unique publishers to link to.

Number of links and number of unique sites, per day, plotted over (as a function of) time:

Techrights links and sources

The ratio between links and unique sites, shown over time:

Links per source
Out-of-range outliers left out of shown boundaries

In future parts we’ll take a deep dive into pertinent sites (or domains) to see how things change over time. The total number of links in this assessment is ~563,000, an average of ~46,900 per year.

[Humour] Diverse EPO Panel

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SUEPO not included

Fox News Panel: IAM, EPO Working Group, Team Campinos, Mercer; EPO top quality, must punish staff

Summary: Decision-making at the EPO; funded by the same interests, promoting the same interests, always at the expense of EPO staff

Corporate Media is (or as) a Barrier to Truth

Posted in Deception at 9:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Serendipity
Wikipedia reference: Serendipity

Summary: The Internet is so diverse that it offers two versions of lies; rarely can one find good information on it and when/where it exists it may be blocked/suppressed

THE old nonsense about “conspiracy theory” (nowadays a term already cheapened to the point where it means anything that contradicts some official narrative, i.e. narrated by those in power) led to overt or subtle — explicit and/or implicit — censorship of particular viewpoints. It has gotten so bad that António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli blocked their staff from accessing Techrights. We actually provide only factual information about the European Patent Office (EPO), based on EPO insiders for the most part. Rarely did we get caught publishing anything short of perfectly accurate. Even rumours that we mention almost always turn out to be true (later on).

“Today we finished coding and preparing the first large dataset about news (a 12-year archive spanning gigabytes of text), which we’ll analyse for a number of upcoming articles that are analytical in nature.”The other day when I was browsing YouTube for a long time I was somewhat mortified to see what it had become. Not just a mill of classic “conspiracy theory” but also promoter and booster of corporate lies, almost as though some parties paid Google to bump up their “content” (in the results). So basically one is presented with two kinds of lies. This is really, really bad. The balance between lies? Well, that’s pretty much what YouTube became. This is what happens when every idiot with a webcam can set up a channel and people upvote things based on emotion… while contrariwise Google also favours videos that “pay well” (i.e. puff pieces/fluff and ads). I promised myself never to browse YouTube ever again for actual information. It’s the wrong place to find any…

When it comes to patents, the mainstream media or patent ‘news’ sites have long fascinated me. Look who owns those sites and who narrates/authors them. They shape the perceptions and they set the tone for so-called ‘Corporate Media’ to parrot mindlessly, preparing the scene for litigation and shake-down rather than scientific advancement. There’s hopefully better awareness of these issues in this day and age. That helps explain the general erosion of real journalism. Today we finished coding and preparing the first large dataset about news (a 12-year archive spanning gigabytes of text), which we’ll analyse for a number of upcoming articles that are analytical in nature. The focus will be technology, not politics. An intern of ours started working yesterday. His focus will be programming news.

Confidential: Dispute Over Establishment of EPO in Munich (January 1974)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Soviet officer in gas mask

Summary: The Soviet response to the EPO, declassified about 3 decades later and released by the US Department of State

THE European Patent Office (EPO) was established a very long time ago with good intentions. Well before the Stalins and Lenins (autocrats like António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli) took over it and destroyed it for personal gain.

During some unrelated research I stumbled upon this confidential memo dated 1974 (1974 January 30, 17:50). It was declassified some years ago (“Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic Review 30 JUN 2005″) and had originally been sent over telegram to say: [Source]

1. SOVIET PROTOCOL OFFICER ROMANOVSKY JANUARY 26 HANDED OVER
TO CHAIRMAN (BRITISH) PROTOCOL OFFICER
STATEMENT ON EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE IMPROPERLY DELIVERED
TO U.S. MISSION JANUARY 17 (PARA 2 REF A). BRITISH
PROTOCOL OFFICER SAID HE COULD GIVE IMMEDIATE ORAL
REPLY, AND THEN SPOKE ALONG LINES AGREED IN BONN GROUP
JANUARY 22 (PARA 2, REF B). HE ADDED, BY WAY OF BACKGROUND,
THAT PATENT OFFICE HAD BEEN ESTABLISHED UNDER OCTOBER 1973
CONVENTION ON THE ISSUANCE OF EUROPEAN PATENTS, TO WHICH
COUNTRIES SUCH AS SWITZERLAND AND YUGOSLAVIA,
IN ADDITION TO NINE EC MEMBERS, WERE PARTY. HE
FURTHER EXPLAINED THAT HEADQUARTERS OF EUROPEAN
PATENT OFFICE WAS LOCATED IN MUNICH, AND THAT
BERLIN OFFICE WAS IN EFFECT SUB-OFFICE CONTROLLED
CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02  BERLIN 00193  301800Z

BY REGIONAL BRANCH IN THE HAGUE. ALL OF THIS
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WAS APPARENTLY NEW TO
ROMANOVSKIY.

2. COMMENT: WE HAVE INFORMED BRITISH HERE THAT WE
WERE DISTURBED THAT THEIR PROTOCOL OFFICER WENT
BEYOND BRIEF REJ9INDER AGREED IN BONN GROUP. HIS
RESPONSE WAS UNNECESSARILY DETAILED. ALSO, BY
ARGUING AT SUCH LENGTH THAT PATENT OFFICE WAS NOT
EC ORGAN, HE MAY HAVE CONVEYED IMPRESSION THAT IF IT
WERE, SOVIETS WOULD HAVE BETTER GROUND FOR COMPLAINT.KLEIN


CONFIDENTIAL




NNN

Remember this was almost at the height of the Cold War, a decade after the Cuban Missile Crisis and well before the Collapse of the Soviet Union. Just a little tidbit for history geeks, who may recall the status of a divided Berlin at that time.

Techrights is Growing and the Goal is Still Accuracy

Posted in Site News at 8:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Handful of Dirt

Summary: Accuracy in reporting remains our prime goal (we focus only on subjects that we understand well); expect an average of around 10 stories/posts per day for the foreseeable future

AS part of my daily routine running Tux Machines with my wife Rianne I must read loads and loads of GNU/Linux news (I also read a lot about politics and matters pertaining to patents, but that’s separate). There’s no question about it: journalism is dying. Not drying up. Dying. There’s almost none of it left. The click-bait junk doesn’t count. We’re currently doing an assessment of our 12-year Daily Links archive in an effort to show this graphically (with charts). “Coming soon” as they say…

“There’s no question about it: journalism is dying. Not drying up. Dying. There’s almost none of it left.”Since the middle of this week, if not a little earlier than that, people searching for the latest news about GNU/Linux would likely be presented with loads of results about Windows and Microsoft’s ‘containment’ of this ‘problem’. And sure, there are clueless sites out there that gleefully reject that idea that this is a classic modus operandi of Microsoft, whereby it hijacks the competition, makes it its own, then tosses it away. Remember Novell? Nokia? Yahoo! isn’t so old an example, either…

Thankfully, judging by the growth in the number of readers in recent months (RSS feeds requested about a quarter million times per week), many people agree with us on this. Many raise a brow when some so-called ‘journalist’ tells us that “Microsoft loves Linux…” (obviously a lie).

“Many raise a brow when some so-called ‘journalist’ tells us that “Microsoft loves Linux…” (obviously a lie).”About 10 days ago I made an attempt to write a lot more in Techrights. The attempt has meant a little less sleep, far less social control media, and a great deal of focus, determination and of course coffee. If the media is dying and there’s too much noise/misinformation in what’s left of it, then the best we can do is fill the gap. Our IRC channels have been more busy than usual in recent days and it’s probably the best way to interact with us (in real time even). IRC may seem old fashioned (some have urged us to adopt Matrix), but it gets the job done. It keeps us chugging along.

[Humour] Ubuntu and Mission Creep

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu at 8:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Strength of Godzilla/Chibi Godzilla vs Godzilla vs Shin Godzilla vs Burning Godzilla: 'Ubuntu' is an ancient Swahili word meaning 'I can't install Debian';  Ubuntu is 'Linux for Human Beings; Ubuntu is Subsystem for Windows; Ubuntu is Microsoft

Summary: Canonical’s emphasis not on making Ubuntu easier or fixing bug #1 (Windows market share) means that Ubuntu becomes not part of the solution GNU/Linux was really after

[Humour] It All Started With Removal of the Word “Slave”

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 4:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software is now being split along sensibility or political correctness lines rather than free/nonfree (proprietary)

Spider-Man: I put that server on the blacklist, That's racist, OK, I'll put all the other servers on the whitelist, That's also racist

Summary: Instead of people talking about Software Freedom we now have online arguments about words being racist; 1983-2020: is your code free/libre? 2021 onwards: is your code Conservative?

On racism in software

Links 18/6/2020: Krita 4.3.0, Linux 5.7.3 and VLC 3.0.11 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Leftovers

    • Doublethink

      As a quick note, what people post online is often taken as something they will forever agree with and are forever held to. This is unreasonable. There needs to be some equivalent of forgiveness if one posts something horrible online, but that’s a topic for another post. I’m not saying people aren’t responsible for what they post. But I am saying we should aspire to take the most charitable interpretation of what people post if we care about advancing the conversation. Obviously a person’s character is a factor in how you interpret what they post.

      On my blog, I want to retain the right to post not only ideas that I understand well. But I also want the freedom to talk about things I’m not sure about. That means I run the risk of being wrong. No one posting their ideas online openly should expect to be immune to criticism. Criticism comes with the territory. But I want to say I’m interested in sharing ideas. If it’s clear to me you’re only interested in taking my words out of context, twisting what I write or using cheap gotcha’s because I didn’t state something perfectly, then I probably won’t respond. If you want clarification about anything I discuss, visit my about page for contact details. With that cleared up, let’s move on to the meat of this post.

    • Hardware

      • Looking back at Apple’s transition from PowerPC to Intel CPUs, and considering why Intel now finds itself in the same position PowerPC did 15 years ago.

        But for many years, Apple still greatly benefited from access to this architecture, which was so highly advanced that, at the time the G4 processor was first introduced, it was technically classified as a weapon by the U.S. government due to export limits on processing power at the time.

        And in 2001, a PowerPC-based chip actually pulled off the multi-core trick that Apple had dreamed of for itself years prior with Project Aquarius. That chip, the IBM POWER4 microprocessor, became the first commercially available multi-core microprocessor, and was also one of the first processors to top the symbolic 1-gigahertz mark for processing power.

      • A look at the die of the 8086 processor

        The Intel 8086 microprocessor was introduced 42 years ago this month,1 so I made some high-res die photos of the chip to celebrate. The 8086 is one of the most influential chips ever created; it started the x86 architecture that still dominates desktop and server computing today. By looking at the chip’s silicon, we can see the internal features of this chip.

        The photo below shows the die of the 8086. In this photo, the chip’s metal layer is visible, mostly obscuring the silicon underneath. Around the edges of the die, thin bond wires provide connections between pads on the chip and the external pins. (The power and ground pads each have two bond wires to support the higher current.) The chip was complex for its time, containing 29,000 transistors.

      • Amazon Introduces AWS Snowcone: 8TB Of Storage For Edge Computing Within 9 x 6 x 3 Inches

        AWS Snowcone is this new edge computing device measuring in at 9 x 6 x 3 inches and providing 8TB of local physical storage. The TPM-backed device has two CPU cores, 4GB of RAM, wired and wireless connectivity, and is built physically well for fitting well into various edge computing environments. Snowcone like the rest of the AWS Snow hardware is intended to provide local storage on the edge when migrating data into and out of the AWS cloud environment.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Food for Hard Times and Pleasure—Kimchee Out of Anything

        Brooklyn—Quarantine has been a shock to our systems that will continue to reverberate in many ways. It has shocked me to mindfulness, especially about my consumer habits. I marvel at old restaurant receipts and wonder, how did I become the person who casually spent so much for this cocktail or that itty-bitty plate of fried something or other? How did I come to discard aluminum foil after one use, to waste nourishing foods like broccoli stems or onion skins (great in stock, providing color and flavor), and toss perfectly good leftovers in the trash? Those who raised me would be appalled.

      • Three Populists and Three Women

        Looking at the total Covid-19/Coronavirus global death statistics on Saturday, 13th June 2020, three things become noticeable. The first remarkable issue is that Donald Trump’s USA has just exceeded the total number of fatalities it suffered during World War I. In that war, the USA lost 116,516. On Saturday morning, the USA had lost 116,795 to the Coronavirus, continuing on an approximately daily death rate of between 800 to 1,000 since the last few weeks. It happened on Donald Trump’s watch and no blame shifting can change the fact that the USA did rather badly compared to all other countries on earth.

      • Health Care Anti-Bias Tools May Be Endangering Classes of Essential Workers

        Bias is so baked into health care delivery that COVID-19 forces us to rethink how we allocate resources so Black and Brown people don’t suffer more than they already have.

      • Trump Administration Sued for ‘Destructive’ Denial of Covid-19 Relief Loans to Small Business Owners With Criminal Records

        “The excluded small business owners are more likely to be Black and Latinx because of bias in our criminal legal system, and their communities are hardest hit by Covid-19. We won’t stop fighting until this economic lifeline is afforded to all.”

      • COVID-19 Is Prompting a Societywide Recalculation

        Constant cutbacks in public resources; the rigid, small-minded mentality; and the corporate establishment’s determination to keep the status quo have needlessly boxed us into this full-blown coronavirus catastrophe.

      • What Trump Continues to Say (About the Plague)

        In three previous pieces in CounterPunch I compiled Donald Trump’s statements on the COVID-19 pandemic up to May 2nd-3rd. Here is a continuation of that list.

      • ‘It Was a Fake Meat Shortage’: Reporting Suggests Industry Sacrificed Workers During Pandemic to Keep Exports Moving

        “Our country sacrificed the lives of meat workers to protect the business of meat companies.”

      • ‘As Pathetic as It Is Reckless’: Mike Pence Ripped for Dismissing Surge in Covid-19 Cases

        “The White House ignored the threat of Covid-19 until it was too late to stop it, left states without the equipment to fight it, and didn’t track its spread to contain it. Now they want to wave a magic wand and declare ‘Mission Accomplished.’”

      • Fauci Will Not Attend Trump Rally, Citing COVID Risks

        As President Donald Trump prepares for his upcoming rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this Saturday, Anthony Fauci, a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, is saying he wouldn’t personally attend any campaign event at this time, due to the possibility of contracting the disease.

      • The First Wave of Covid-19 Isn’t Over Yet

        One consequence of the global uprising against police violence is that Covid-19 has been shoved off the front pages in recent weeks. Yet the pandemic has not really gone away, especially in the United States. In contrast to many comparably wealthy countries in Europe, the United States hasn’t seen a steep decline in confirmed Covid-19 cases or confirmed deaths. Rather, America has experienced a slight decline from the peak and then a long plateau that resembles, at best, a gently sloping hill.

      • Kremlin reveals Putin’s anti-coronavirus disinfection tunnel

        The Russian President’s Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside of Moscow has installed a special disinfection tunnel to defend against the coronavirus. 

      • “Fast-Tracking” a Coronavirus Vaccine Sounds Great. It’s Not That Simple.

        Pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine, with the most ambitious timelines ever attempted in history. When announcing Operation Warp Speed, the government’s effort to develop a vaccine, President Donald Trump said in May, “We’re looking to get it by the end of the year if we can, maybe before.”

        Vaccine development under normal circumstances typically takes about 10 to 15 years. Now, developers are compressing the traditional timeline with both technological innovation and by putting vast amounts of money at risk.

      • How — and When — Can the Coronavirus Vaccine Become a Reality?

        It’s been six months since researchers in China said they had identified a novel coronavirus spreading in the city of Wuhan. Hope and desire for a vaccine to end the global devastation is growing with each passing week.

        Almost every day, I hear people making plans around the eventual arrival of a coronavirus vaccine — office reopenings, rescheduled weddings, family reunions and international travel. In recent weeks, colleagues and friends have asked me with growing urgency: “When will ,,kkwe have a vaccine? Will it be any good?”

      • COVID-19 policies not backed by data do more harm than good

        As countries “reopen” in this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, most do so in the dark, using either poor and inaccurate data or worse – no data at all – to inform policies that can in some cases decide who lives and dies.

        The common phrase, data over dogma, is often heard from scientists and citizens alike. But is there enough data to drive informed decision-making?

        Many countries have lacked evidence-based COVID-19 policies due to the scarcity of data. Good testing data remains elusive, as even some of the world’s wealthiest countries have been slow to increase testing and obtain good estimates of COVID-19 prevalence.

        While there is no official standard COVID-19 testing rate or proportion, countries that have managed their outbreaks better than others – like Germany, New Zealand, and the United Arab Emirates – tested high numbers of their population each day.

        The World Health Organisation suggests several conditions should be met before countries ease restrictions, but the first is to be able to confirm that transmission has been controlled.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Delivery Hero Confirms Foodora Data Breach

          Breached information from 14 countries includes personal details for 727,000 accounts – names, addresses, phone numbers and hashed passwords. It also contains latitude and longitude coordinates to six decimal points, which is accurate to within just a few inches. No financial data was leaked.

          The data was posted May 19 on a well-known forum for leaking stolen data and also has been reposted online elsewhere.

          “Unfortunately, we can confirm that a data breach has been identified concerning personal data dating back to 2016,” Delivery Hero says. “The data originates from some countries across our current and previous markets.”

        • Foodora Data Breach Impacts Customers in 14 Countries

          Online food delivery service Delivery Hero has confirmed a data breach affecting its Foodora brand.

          The cybersecurity incident has exposed the account details of 727,000 customers in 14 different countries. Information exposed in the incident included names, addresses, phone numbers, and hashed passwords.

          While no financial data was leaked, customers’ geolocation data, accurate to within a couple of inches, was breached. Such data could prove embarrassing to any individuals who have ordered food while pursuing a clandestine affair.

          Data breached in the incident was found online on May 19, posted in a forum where stolen data is wont to show up, according to the Gov Infosecurity website. Whoever posted the data on the forum claims that Foodora was compromised in 2019.

        • BlueJeans touts new security, collaboration features

          Since its acquisition by Verizon, BlueJeans has seen usage soar as video conferencing has become a staple for workers sent home during the pandemic; the company reported a 300% increase in use compared to its pre COVID-19 average.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation & Harvard Announce Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FOSS) Contributor Survey

                In 2020, given the wide proliferation of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FOSS), we aim to identify how to improve security, including the sustainability of the FOSS ecosystem, especially the FOSS systems heavily relied upon by organizations worldwide.

                To do this, the Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) have developed a survey for contributors to FOSS. If you contribute to FOSS, we would love for you to participate in our study. This voluntary survey takes around 15-20 minutes to complete and allows you to advocate for the FOSS projects you care about.

              • Linux Foundation and Harvard announce Linux and open-source contributor security survey
              • Hurry To Accept CNCF Cloud Engineer Bootcamp Offer

                You need to sign up today for a new online course for cloud engineers if you want to take advantage of a price-reducing deal. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), along with the Linux Foundation, has an introductory offer of a $400 discount.

                The Cloud Engineer Bootcamp bundles self-paced eLearning courses with certification exams. Participants also get dedicated instructor support.

              • Hyperledger Onboards New Members Including IOV Labs, IOHK to Linux Foundation

                Hyperledger has announced it is onboarding eight new members joining its global enterprise blockchain community. The new members will become part of the Linux Foundation, and join the existing membership line-up in their efforts to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies.

                Among the organizations joining Hyperledger are IOV Labs and IOHK, the respective companies behind the RSK and Cardano platforms. They join a well-established group of members, which includes ConsenSys, IBM, and JPMorgan.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (drupal7 and python-django), Fedora (glib-networking, kernel, kernel-headers, and nghttp2), openSUSE (adns, chromium, file-roller, and libEMF), SUSE (java-1_7_1-ibm), and Ubuntu (bind9 and nss).

          • Windows 10 once more in print condition: Microsoft applies out-of-band fix to Patch Tuesday cock-up

            Microsoft has addressed the printer issues introduced in Windows 10 with the recent Patch Tuesday updates while admitting that some Storage Spaces had also been borked by the May 2020 update.

            While no timing is ideal when it comes to breaking printing, it’s not a great look when many users are working from home, or schooling their little darlings, and so pressing dusty home printers into service.

            To that end, an out-of-band optional update has been hurried out by Clippyzilla to deal with afflicted systems running 1803, 1809, 1903 and 1909 versions of Windows 10. “Other affected versions of Windows will have updates released in the coming days,” the software behemoth added, so those with shiny new Windows 10 2004 and a seemingly dead printer have a little longer to wait.

          • Windows Takeover with a PDF File

            There are multiple ways to exploit and take over a Windows machine, today we will look at doing this with a PDF file containing a virus.

            For this you will need Kali Linux as your attacking machine and a Windows box, preferably on a virtual machine so that you are not doing anything illegal.

          • Learning Kali Linux in an Online Environment

            Named the OffSec Academy, it is produced by Offensive Security and includes the opportunity for aspiring penetration testers to pursue their Penetration Testing with Kali Linux (PWK) certification.

            According to the company, through OffSec Academy, students gain access to the PWK course material and a level of personal tutoring unmatched in the training industry. Ning Wang, CEO, Offensive Security, said: “We are committed to providing not only the most rigorous and comprehensive cybersecurity training on the market, equipping our graduates with adversarial mindsets, but also providing mentoring and support throughout the student journey.”

          • Prepare for these common SRE interview questions

            The site reliability engineer role can be both challenging and rewarding for IT pros. To stand out in a competitive job market, aspiring SREs must understand exactly what organizations look for in a candidate.

            SRE is a relatively new IT role that involves the automation of operations tasks. The role can be a good fit for systems engineers looking to improve programming skills, as well as developers seeking to manage large-scale infrastructures. Candidates with demonstrated strength in IT systems, software and automation have a competitive advantage during the interview.

            Any SRE interview will present a candidate with an array of questions or hands-on exercises intended to evaluate their knowledge of key site reliability skill sets. While these questions or tests can vary dramatically depending upon the specific needs of the hiring organization, an SRE candidate can expect to see a smattering of interview questions across four major domains: software development, monitoring and troubleshooting, networking, and infrastructure and operations.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Why Using Cellphones To Trace The Pandemic Won’t Save Black Lives

              Caught between COVID-19 and cop violence, and now risking their health to protest these conditions, Black communities need a comprehensive anti-racist public health response to this growing pandemic. Instead, some U.S. states are investing in apps to contain the virus.

            • A Quick and Dirty Guide to Cell Phone Surveillance at Protests

              As uprisings over police brutality and institutionalized racism have swept over the country, many people are facing the full might of law enforcement weaponry and surveillance for the first time. Whenever protesters, cell phones, and police are in the same place, protesters should worry about cell phone surveillance. Often, security practitioners or other protesters respond to that worry with advice about the use of cell-site simulators (also known as a CSS, IMSI catcher, Stingray, Dirtbox, Hailstorm, fake base station, or Crossbow) by local law enforcement. But often this advice is misguided or rooted in a fundamental lack of understanding of what a cell-site simulator is, what it does, and how often they are used.

              While it is possible that cell-site simulators are being or have been used at protests, that shouldn’t stop people from voicing their dissent. With a few easy precautions by protesters, the worst abuses of these tools can be mitigated.

            • VICTORY: Zoom Will Offer End-to-End Encryption to All Its Users

              We are glad to see Zoom’s announcement today that it plans to offer end-to-end encryption to all its users, not just those with paid subscriptions. Zoom initially stated it would develop end-to-end encryption as a premium feature. Now, after 20,000 people signed on to EFF and Mozilla’s open letter to Zoom, Zoom has done the right thing, changed course, and taken a big step forward for privacy and security.

              Other enterprise companies like Slack, Microsoft, and Zoom’s direct competitor Cisco should follow suit and recognize, in the Zoom announcement’s words, “the legitimate right of all users to privacy” on their services. Companies have a prerogative to charge more money for an advanced product, but best-practice privacy and security features should not be restricted to users who can afford to pay a premium.

            • Vet Your Social Media

              Misleading posts and images can quickly go viral. For example, a widely shared photo on Twitter of a McDonald’s set ablaze was supposedly taken at the beginning of the Minneapolis protests after George Floyd’s death. But the picture was, in fact, of a restaurant that burned down in Pennsylvania four years ago.

              And once an image has been shared countless times, its origin story becomes totally lost and the false narrative takes hold. So how can you judge an account’s accuracy and make sure it’s trustworthy?

            • Citizen Lab and Amnesty International Uncover Spyware Operation Against Indian Human Rights Defenders

              The targeting in this campaign occurred between January and October 2019. Targets were sent emails disguised as important communications, such as official summonses, bearing links to malicious software disguised as important documents. If opened, targets’ computers would have been infected with NetWire, a piece of commodity malware.

              Eight of the nine targets had worked on campaigns to free a group of jailed activists, popularly known as the Bhima Koregaon 11. The remaining target was involved in efforts to free a jailed academic.


            • Inside the code: How the Tim Hortons app reveals details on its users

              This breakdown of a chunk of code from the app explains what sensitive data Tim Hortons is tracking

              The Financial Post provided Erinn Atwater, research and funding director at Open Privacy, a non-profit advocacy organization focused on better tools and practices for privacy and digital security issues, all the data associated with reporter James McLeod’s usage of the Tim Hortons app. Atwater confirmed the Financial Post’s analysis of the data, and helped explain elements of the code.

              Pictured is a chunk of code in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) that records events tied to the Tim Hortons app. This information is stored in the Amazon Web Services servers of Restaurant Brands International Inc., owner of Tim Hortons.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Atlanta Cop Who Shot Rayshard Brooks in the Back Charged With 11 Counts—Including Felony Murder

        “Make no mistake, the swiftness of this investigation is the result of people marching and demanding accountability.”

      • The Taste of Subservience
      • Police body cam videos can underplay officer brutality

        Unlike body camera footage, which only shows the officer’s point of view, videos from civilians can capture a full scene or even take the perspective of a suspect. “With bystander footage, other people can demonstrate what’s going on, and we’re not relying on officers to show these events,” says Kristyn Jones, who studies how people perceive footage of police encounters at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

        Body cameras show a scene from the perspective of the officer, and the image on the screen is focused on the suspect. That changes the way the incident is interpreted. People are more likely to think an object or person in their field of vision caused something to happen. A surveillance video, on the other hand, puts the officer’s entire body on-screen along with the suspect, eliminating that psychological effect.

      • Alleged ‘Boogaloo’ extremist charged in killing of federal officer during George Floyd protest

        Authorities said Carrillo and a second man traveled to Oakland with the intent to kill police and believed the large demonstrations spurred by the death of Floyd in Minneapolis — which they were not a part of — would help them get away it.

        “They came to Oakland to kill cops,” said John Bennett, special agent in charge of the San Francisco division of the FBI.

      • Boko Haram: Allah said we should kill – Shekau’s faction invites bandits in Nigeria

        The faction wooed armed groups terrorising the North West and North Central.

        The regions have been under unabated attacks by bandits who kill, rape, injure the people, burn houses and rustle cattle, sheep, etc.

        The insurgents specifically urged outlaws in Zamfara and Niger States, to partner with Boko Haram.

      • MSF Afghan maternity ward to close after deadly gun attack

        On Monday, MSF said in a statement that while no information had emerged about the perpetrators or motive of the assault on the at the Dasht-e-Barchi hospital, “mothers, babies and health staff were its deliberate target and similar attacks may repeat in the future”.

      • China Orders Prayer Flags Taken Down in Tibet in an Assault on Culture, Faith

        Whether old or new, the prayer flags bearing mantras are all being removed from their traditional locations, the source said, adding that even the poles on which the flags were hung are being dismantled.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Charli XCX’s Experiment In Radical Transparency

        In mid-March, around the time lockdown measures started forcing people to become intimately familiar with their own four walls, a subset of Internet-facing artists searched for the silver lining. “Just a reminder that when Shakespeare was quarantined because of the plague, he wrote King Lear,” tweeted the singer-songwriter Roseanne Cash. Her sentiment was parroted, and ridiculed, ad nauseam across the platform.

      • Report Says CIA’s Hacking Unit — Home To The Vault 7 Exploits — Deployed Almost No Internal Security Measures

        More details about the leak of CIA hacking tools are coming to light. And they’re not making the CIA look any more deserving of its “Intelligence” middle name.

      • How Chinese and Indian media reacted to border clashes

        Indian newspapers and Chinese state media are demanding a continuation of dialogue after a bloody incident on the border. From an Indian perspective, however, New Delhi must “wake up” and assess Beijing’s push for power.

      • Sleuths uncover a particularly brazen case of cyber-mischief

        This outfit has targeted thousands of people at hundreds of organisations all over the world, carrying out what Norton LifeLock, a cyber-security firm that worked with CitizenLab, describes as “financial, political and industrial espionage”. Its targets have included company bosses, judges, journalists, members of various parliaments, government officials and ordinary people in the midst of a divorce in America, Mexico and elsewhere.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • ‘An Unstoppable Movement’: Sanders Praises Grassroots After Target Announces $15 Minimum Wage

        “Now the Senate must pass our Raise the Wage Act,” the senator said, “and guarantee a dignified, living wage for every worker in America.

      • No Oversight of $1.5 Billion Electric Project Raises Alarm over Privatization of Puerto Rico’s Power

        As hurricane season begins, we look at moves to privatize Puerto Rico’s electric grid and a new investigation that reveals the island’s government failed to follow proper oversight or examine the environmental impact when it issued a $1.5 billion contract to a company for the first large power generation project since Hurricane Maria, that will continue its reliance on fossil fuels. Former Puerto Rico Chief of Staff Ingrid Vila Biaggi co-authored the report and calls it “an ill-conceived project full of fiscally irresponsible practices.”

      • Trump Administration Sued for Denying Loans to Small Business Owners With Record

        A coalition of civil rights groups including the ACLU sued the Trump administration on Tuesday for denying coronavirus relief loans to small business owners with criminal records, arguing the restrictive policy violates the law and perpetuates systemic racial injustices by discriminating against people of color.

      • Don’t Be Fooled. The Corporate Elites Are Gaslighting You Once Again

        We are trapped in an abusive relationship. When we finally have enough, our abuser comes after us with flowers and apologies, promising never to do it again.

      • Move Charity Dollars to the Front Lines

        Congress should pass a three-year “Emergency Charity Stimulus” to move $200 billion to frontline working nonprofit groups by increasing payout requirements for private foundations and donor-advised funds.

      • Navalny proposes draft bill on raising pensions for Russia’s WWII veterans

        Opposition politician Alexey Navalny has published a draft bill that suggests raising monthly pensions for Russia’s remaining veterans of the Second World War to 200,000 rubles (approximately $2,875). 

      • Who’s Really Looting America?

        By pitting us against each other – blaming immigrants, blaming liberals, and especially blaming people of color, and Black people in particular – they’ve divided us, and gotten away with it.This needs to end. Stand together, and know the truth about the real looters in America.

      • 7 Ways 2020 Has Exposed America

        We cannot cling to the idea of “going back to normal” because “normal” is what got us here. We can no longer accept piecemeal reforms of our broken systems. We need to reimagine a political and economic system that values humanity and builds prosperity for every American. Let’s get to work.

      • Post-COVID Economy May Have More Robots, Fewer Jobs and Intensified Surveillance

        Spurred on by the coronavirus pandemic, global capitalism is on the brink of a new round of worldwide restructuring based on a much greater digitalization of the entire global economy and society. This restructuring began in the wake of the 2008 Great Recession but the changing social and economic conditions brought about by the pandemic will vastly accelerate the process. It is likely to heighten the concentration of capital worldwide and worsen social inequality. Enabled by digital applications, the ruling groups — unless they are pushed to change course by mass pressure from below — will turn to ratcheting up the global police state to contain the coming social upheavals.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Facebook removes Trump ads with symbol once used by Nazis to designate political prisoners
      • Inside CHAZ: An “Autonomous” Three Block-Long Seattle Street Threatens America, What?

        President Donald Trump from his New Jersey private golf club tweeted this past Friday morning June 12, that “The terrorists burn and pillage our cities.” He was referring to demonstrators occupying three blocks along a single street, in Seattle’s most culturally active neighborhood. Trump demanded that the mayor and governor, “Must end this Seattle takeover now!” Or else he would call in the army.

      • ‘Fight Like We’re Down 10 Points,’ Say Supporters as Poll Shows Bowman Up Double-Digits Over Engel in NY

        “Jamaal is up!” wrote attorney Zephyr Teachout. “You know what to do. Work harder. Six days until voting ends.”

      • 2020 Voters’ Calendar—The General Election Starts in August

        This Voters’ Calendar will stretch our civic attention span to make high-turnout elections a task that mere mortals can perform, not a superhuman feat that tests the endurance of even the most dedicated voters.

      • Nonsense About China That “Everybody” Knows

        I want to do a bit more beating up on a NYT piece this morning on breaking ties with China. There is a widely held view in policy circles that the pandemic showed that our extensive economic ties with China are a bad thing. I will ask a simple question, how?

      • Moscow’s local electoral commissions facing major personnel shortages ahead of July 1 plebiscite

        On June 16, members of Moscow’s local election commissions were set to hold their first meetings on conducting the July 1 plebiscite on constitutional amendments. However, several regions have only half the required number of electoral commission personnel, Open Media reports, citing members of the territorial electoral commission and election monitor coordinators. 

      • Trump’s ‘Safe Policing’ Executive Order Does Nothing To Address The Root Causes Of Police Misconduct

        President Donald Trump has signed an executive order in response to protests around the nation triggered by the cold-blooded killing of a black man by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

      • Black Living
      • 7 Candidates You Should Know on New York and Kentucky’s Primary Ballots

        Vital Democratic primaries, many of them with national consequences, will take place next on Tuesday, June 23. Nation Justice Correspondent Elie Mystal and National Affairs Correspondent John Nichols have identified a handful of races that they’re keeping their eyes on in New York and Kentucky—two states that delayed their primary elections because of the pandemic. Here’s a roundup of seven candidates Mystal and Nichols think are making noteworthy runs.

      • Change Comes to the Streets of Philadelphia

        As of this week, I am a Philadelphian once again. I returned here after a two-and-a-half-year interval in Brooklyn, which even in the midst of a pandemic is both a stimulating garden of eclectic delights and a horror show of metastasizing gentrification.

      • Get Rid of the Presidency

        If the prospect of the Trump – Biden presidential election fills you with horror and despair, you might give some thought to not just replacing both candidates but the presidency as well, at least as we now conceive it.

      • ‘Taking a big risk’ Moscow residents are being offered money to register fake accounts for online voting

        Moscow residents are being offered money to register fake accounts on the government platform mos.ru and vote online in support of amending the constitution, reports the television channel Dozhd (“TV Rain”). Would-be participants are being promised 75 rubles for each registration (about $1), and another 50 rubles (about $0.70) for voting through the created account. According to Dozhd, the organizers of the scheme recommend registering a minimum of 20 accounts per day.

      • How Bill Barr Became Trump’s Generalissimo

        On the afternoon of June 1, as President Donald Trump raged about the Black Lives Matter protests outside his gates, reporters noticed a familiar figure in Lafayette Park across from the White House. William Barr, Trump’s attorney general, was scoping out the scene with top military and law enforcement officers. It was an ominous sight, coming just hours after the president promised the nation’s governors that “we will activate Bill Barr and activate him strongly.”

      • Bernie Sanders Says Beyond Belief That ‘Extraordinary Narcissist’ Trump Would Sacrifice Lives to Hold Tulsa Rally

        “The leader of the United States government is defying science in order to hear cheers from his supporters,” said the Senator from Vermont.

      • Trump Doubles Down on Rally in Tulsa, Site of Race Massacre, as COVID Cases Rise

        President Donald Trump says he will push ahead with a massive campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, even as COVID cases are surging there as the state reopens. Trump delayed the rally by one day after it was originally scheduled for June 19 — the day of the Juneteenth celebration marking the emancipation of enslaved people. Tulsa is also the site of one of the deadliest massacres in U.S. history, when a white mob in 1921 killed as many as 300 people in a thriving African American business district. “The rally is troubling to a lot of people because of both the venue, Tulsa, and because of the timing,” says Hannibal B. Johnson, attorney and author of Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District.

      • Skull Fractured by Police and Lied About by Trump, 75-Year-Old Peace Activist Martin Gugino Still Unable to Walk

        The veteran activist has been described as “simply a man that shows up to stand for peace and justice.”

      • Cynicism and Warmongering

        The BBC plumbed the depths of hypocrisy in dressing up the final episode of the Salisbury Poisonings as a homage to Dawn Sturgess while systematically lying about the facts of her death, yet again to cover up the implausibility of the official narrative.

      • Emperor Trump Now Stands Partially Naked

        A child exposing the nakedness of the emperor by speaking truth to power?

      • Meet Jamaal Bowman, the Bronx Principal Challenging One of the Most Powerful Dems in Congress

        In the Bronx, the second most economically unequal district in New York state, the insurgent primary campaign of former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman threatens to unseat 16-term Democratic congressmember and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel. Bowman supports defunding the police, Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. He has also gotten high-profile endorsements from Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and The New York Times editorial board. “I’ve worked in this district for the last 10 years as a middle school principal,” Bowman says. “Over that 10 years, I’ve developed thousands of amazing relationships with the children and the families of this community, and I’ve learned intimately the impact of poverty and bad policy on their lives each and every day.”

      • Moscow official claims evidence of her involvement in forced voter registration is fake

        The deputy head of Moscow’s Education Department, Marina Smirnitskaya, says that opposition leader Alexey Navalny published fake audio recordings of her voice. The recordings in question allegedly proved that Smirnitskaya was involved in forcing teachers to register to vote in the July 1 plebiscite on constitutional amendments.

      • Excerpts of John Bolton Book Showing Unhinged Behavior by Trump Evidence Former Advisor Is ’100% Complicit,’ Say Critics

        “Bolton is a moral abomination in every way. It’s also the case that basically everyone in government who comes close to Trump comes away thinking he’s even worse than they realized.”

      • It’s Trump vs. Bolton, and I’m Rooting for a Meteor

        I thought it was over in September 2019, when Donald Trump and his third national security adviser, the execrable John Bolton, got into a “You’re Fired/I Quit!” fight on the front page of all the papers. “Maybe he’s really gone now,” I thought wistfully of Bolton, the war-humping neoconservative ghoul who has haunted U.S. foreign policy in one form or another since the Reagan administration, lo these 40 long years.

      • Bolton’s New Book Alleges Trump Asked China’s Xi to Help Him Win 2020 Election

        According to a book written by former National Security Advisor John Bolton, set to be made public next week, President Donald Trump sought the help of China’s President Xi Jinping to benefit politically in this year’s presidential race.

      • 5 Years After Racist Charleston Massacre, McConnell Ripped for ‘Unconscionable’ Refusal to Allow Vote on Gun Violence Bill

        “The Senate must act so we can prevent tragedies like this from happening again.”

      • Woked in Fright: The Brief Banning of Fawlty Towers

        It’s all getting nasty.  The urge to remove statues in hurried indignation; the lust to censor programmes now deemed offensive; the erasure of history, which, any sensible sort should know, is often a panoramic account of crimes and slaughter worth knowing rather than banning and hiding.  This is surely not what the late George Floyd intended, but it hardly matters anymore.  His death has propelled a movement that has capitalised on a publicised event of police brutality in the United States to re-order matters and sort out grievance across the board.

      • What Happens When a Small Charity Raises Millions of Dollars Overnight

        But the situation that MFF finds itself in is one that’s common after a cause goes viral: A small organization has been overwhelmed with donations from well-meaning people, but doesn’t necessarily have an urgent need for that much money. At the beginning of the protests, the organization had earmarked $10,000 to help bail out protesters, and soon found itself with many times that amount.

      • Second Mover Advantage

        Amplifying existing narratives developed by the members of the target audience is cheaper than paying for experts to develop them.

      • New Lincoln Project ad controversially questions Trump’s health

        “So where are we?” Vischer summarized. “The average black household has 1/10th the wealth of the average white household. This didn’t happen by accident, it happened by policy. We, the majority culture, told them where they could live and where they couldn’t. Then we moved most of the jobs to the places we told them they couldn’t live. When the predictable explosion of unemployment and poverty resulted in a predictable in drug use and crime, we criminalized the problem. We built $19 billion of new jails and sold grenade launchers to the police. As a result, a white boy born in America today has a 1 in 23 chance of going to prison in his lifetime. For a black boy, it’s 1 in 4. And that is why people are angry.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Trust & Safety Professional Association Launches: This Is Important

        One of the most frustrating things out there is the idea that content moderation choices made on various platforms are coming directly from the top. Too often, I’ve seen people blame Jack Dorsey or Mark Zuckerberg for content moderation decisions, as if they’re sitting there at their laptops and twiddling their fingers over who gets blocked and who doesn’t. Over the last decade or so, an entire industry has been built up to figure out how to make internet services as usable as possible, to deal with spam, and abuse, and more. That industry is generally called “trust and safety,” and as a new industry it has grown up and professionalized quite a bit in the last decade — though it rarely (if ever) gets the respect it deserves. As I mentioned on a recent episode of The Pivot podcast, many of the assumptions that people make about content moderation unfairly malign the large crew of people working in trust and safety who aren’t interested in political bias, or silencing voices, but who legitimately are working very, very hard to figure out how to balance the many, many tradeoffs in trying to make internet services useful and welcoming to users.

      • Senator Hawley’s Section 230 Reform Even Dumber Than We Expected; Would Launch A Ton Of Vexatious Lawsuits

        So there were rumors about Senator Hawley’s bill to reform Section 230 earlier this week, saying that it would remove 230 protections if you used targeted ads. Today, Hawley released the actual plan, which is very different, but even dumber. It would certainly turn the GOP from the party that wanted to push for tort reform and limit frivolous and vexatious lawsuits into the party that encouraged an avalanche of wasteful litigation.

      • Justice Department Releases Its Own Preposterous Recommendations On Updating Section 230

        Because today wasn’t insane enough, just hours after Senator Josh Hawley released his ridiculous bill to flip Section 230 on its head and turn it from a law that protects against frivolous lawsuits into one that would encourage them, the Justice Department has released recommendations for Section 230 reform that appear to have been written by people who haven’t the first clue about how content moderation works online.

      • North Carolina ‘Ag-Gag’ Law Aimed At Suppressing Whistleblowers Struck Down By Federal Court

        A federal court declared an “ag-gag” law in North Carolina unconstitutional and barred the state government from enforcing key parts of the law against journalists or whistleblowers. Judge Thomas Schroeder concluded the state’s Property Protection Act violated the First Amendment and removed multiple provisions from the law, leaving parts that did not target speech intact. North Carolina was the fifth state to have their “ag-gag” law struck down by a federal court.“Ag-gag laws” are essentially corporate-backed farm secrecy statutes that are intended to suppress and criminalize speech about industrial agricultural production. They are especially designed to discourage employees from taking photos or recording video that may expose abuse or misconduct.On June 3, 2015, the North Carolina General Assembly overrode a veto by the governor and passed the Property Protection Act, which amended the law to provide a “civil remedy for interference with certain property rights by creating a civil cause of action for the owner or operator.” It empowered the attorney general and chancellors of state universities, where animal research and experiments are conducted, to file civil lawsuits that could result in steep fines—$5,000 for each day a “violator” committed offenses. The law was challenged by a coalition of organizations, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Center for Food Safety, Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), Farm Sanctuary, Food and Water Watch, Farm Forward, the Government Accountability Project, and American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).As a coalition, the organizations claimed the law would discourage them from “employment-based undercover investigations to document and expose animal abuse” or inhibit their ability to collect information from whistleblowers and investigators that could be incorporated into their advocacy work. ALDF told the court it was prepared to conduct undercover investigations at state-owned facilities, but preparations were “thwarted” by the passage of the law. Similarly, ASPCA halted the funding of investigations in North Carolina because they feared they would be targeted and held liable. Each of the organizations highlighted ways the law undermined their ability to produce content that was central to their missions because the law prevented information from reaching them.The federal court in North Carolina acknowledged [PDF] one key difference between the law and many of the other “ag-gag” laws that have been deemed unconstitutional. However, because it empowered private citizens or entities to bring lawsuits did not mean it satisfied constitutional guidelines. As Schroeder described, the law empowered the state government to “identify speech—or in some cases conduct that includes speech”—and enforce the prohibition against this speech. IT was the University of North Carolina Chancellor or the North Carolina Attorney General, who would represent targeted state agencies.It is also likely that the law was struck down because it had no discernible purpose outside of discouraging undercover investigations. North Carolina has a trespass law to protect private property, and the judge was presented with zero evidence to show that the trespass law was deficient. “The ASPCA is proud to have been a part of this lawsuit and applauds the court’s decision, which is a huge victory for farm animals and the fight to create a more humane, transparent food system,” ASPCA stated. “Ag-gag laws are unconstitutional and have no place in our society.”Yet, the victory came a week after the Iowa state legislature passed its third “ag-gag” bill. It was tucked into legislation that was drafted to deal with the impact of the coronavirus. “The latest bill would create a new crime, ‘food operation trespass,’ for anyone who enters a location without permission where a ‘food animal’ is kept or where meat is sold or processed,” The Intercept’s Alleen Brown reported. The first Iowa “ag-gag” law was declared unconstitutional, and the second Iowa law was challenged in federal court.Altogether, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, and Utah have each seen their “ag-gag” laws defeated by lawsuits brought by organizations impacted by them.

        North Carolina also is notorious for its pig farms, which can smell like decomposing bodies if waste is illegally sprayed.

      • Justice Department asks Congress for a sharp cut to websites’ legal protections

        The new rules draw on a workshop the Justice Department held early this year, and cover several disparate complaints about Section 230. The proposal suggests allowing lawsuits against sites when users upload child abuse and exploitation, terrorism, or cyberstalking content — along the lines of the 2018 SESTA/FOSTA law. It would also deny protection if sites had “actual knowledge or notice” that the content had violated criminal law and didn’t remove it. Also, Section 230 — which already doesn’t apply to federal criminal cases — would no longer restrict civil cases brought by the federal government.

      • CAIR Sues to Muzzle Arizona Community College Professor [incl. Nicholas Damask]

        CAIR has long fought to sanitize educational texts of considers derogatory against Islam. It entered into a formal partnership in 2010 with the 57-nation global Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) to “redress the image of Islam and Muslims in textbooks.” Like CAIR, the OIC condemns connecting Islamic doctrine and terrorism in the minds of Westerners as “unfair,” saying it has “created an unfair misinterpretation of the Islamic message in the Western and Non Muslim worlds.”

      • Rumors Of Blocking Instagram Worries Millions Of Iranian Users

        Instagram became the most popular social network in Iran after access to Telegram was blocked by a judicial order on 30 April 2018. Facebook was blocked several tears ago. Many Iranians now use Instagram — the only social networking platform that is accessible without using a VPN or proxy — for personal entertainment, networking or business on a daily basis.

        Along with the recent arrests of Instagram influencers, Qomi’s remarks in the parliament have widely been interpreted as a sign that the authorities have an urgent plan to block access to Instagram and worried many Iranians who use it for business.

      • The Internet’s Most Censored Space

        For the free-speech absolutists out there, let me point you to a corner of the digital world that embraces its utter lack of free expression: Apple’s app stores.

        Apple alone decides what apps you can download on your iPhone, iPad and Mac. The company reviews every line of software code and is happy to block any app that it believes promotes harmful behavior, is in poor taste, enables surveillance, or is trying to steal money or your data.

      • Police Departments Are Parasites on the Public Purse

        Schrader, whose book Badges Without Borders analyzed the co-development of global counterinsurgency and American policing during the twentieth century, argues that police in the United States have developed into a self-interested social actor since the 1960s, helping eviscerate social spending by aggressively organizing to expand their own budgets. Through this kind of fiscal intimidation, Schrader writes in Public Culture, “police have come to protect neither party machines nor the legitimacy of the state but, rather, themselves.”

      • Turkey’s Occupation of Syria Slammed for Ethnic Cleansing

        A variety of voices were quoted in the testimony, including locals who said that the actions of Turkish-backed “Islamist extremist groups” against minorities “remind us of ISIS behavior.” ISIS committed a genocide against Yazidis and other minorities in 2014 and killed thousands. It appears that Yazidi villages in Afrin have also been subjected to ethnic cleansing and their shrines destroyed under Ankara’s occupation of that part of Syria. Some of the testimony read into the record asserted that Turkey’s role in harming minorities was a legacy of the 1915 attacks against Armenians and other Christians in Turkey. Some of these Christian minorities had fled to Syria after 1915, only to find their villages once against threatened by Turkey and Turkish-backed groups. Turkey is a member of NATO and is supposed to uphold democratic and human rights. The testimony paints a picture of a NATO member involved in destroying the shrines of minorities, ethnically cleansing other minorities and engaging in demographic change similar to what was done in the Balkans in the 1990s. In the Balkans NATO powers intervened to stop ethnic cleansing. In Syria a NATO power has now been accused of enabling harm to minorities and women.

        More devastating testimony came from Michael Rubin, a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Rubin said that the “Turkish-backed administrators refuse to register locals with Kurdish names and the Turkish administration refuses to issue identification cards to Christian and minority women who do not cover their hair or wear conservative Islamic veils.” He also claimed that “Turkish forces have razes Kurdish and minority graveyards in the region, action mores more consistent with ethnic cleansing than counter-terrorism.”

      • Overwhelming Support For Non-Police First Responder Agency: Poll

        They were asked: “Some are proposing the creation of a new agency of first-responders, like emergency medical services or firefighters, to deal with issues in the community that need to be remedied but do not need police. Would you support or oppose calling such an agency?”

        The survey found that 58 percent of Americans said they would support calling such an agency to deal with issues without police involvement, including 25 percent who said they would “strongly support” it.

      • Atheism And Virus Of Taqiyyah In Muslim Communities

        It is these Taqiyyah Muslims who compiled the so-called list of atheists that the petitioners said they would use to “pick up” other atheists who would be prosecuted along with Mr. Bala.

      • Pakistani Christian Couple Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy Hopes for Justice

        Despite Shafqat’s forced confession, his illiteracy means he could not have sent the messages in the first place.

        “He couldn’t,” Allen explained to Mission Network News. “Number one, he’s illiterate. Number two, the text messages weren’t even in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. They were in English. He doesn’t even know how to speak English, let alone read or write it.”

        Since their arrest in 2013, Shafqat and his wife have been jailed in separate prisons. The couple has been in the process of appealing their case since their death sentences were handed down in 2014. The latest appeal hearing was set to take place on June 3, however, the hearing was delayed until June 22.

      • Human Rights Organizations Warn UN Over Widespread Human Violations In Iran

        The organizations added: “Hundreds more have been convicted of vague and broad national security-related charges, often stemming from the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and sentenced up to 10 years in prison as well as, in some cases, flogging. Courts relied on torture-tainted “confessions” as evidence on which they based their verdicts, even when retracted by defendants.”

        [...]

        Mr. Rehman’s mandate can be extended on an annual basis for up to six years. Several other previous rapporteurs had also been denied entry into Iran.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Supreme Court blocks Trump from ending DACA
      • The Alchemy of Turning Protest to Affirmation

        In order for this country and people in this country to perform reprehensible acts, it has to deny its own professed values and laws while pretending to uphold them. Coming to grips with this is not easy, but it must be done.

      • Please Note: GOP Efforts Making It Harder to Vote Are Illegal

        Now is the time for people to demand that state and local governments take effective measures to ensure all eligible persons are permitted to exercise their constitutional right to vote—and that means removing all barriers and obstacles to voting.

      • U.S. Fight Against Racism and Repression Reaches New Heights

        For three weeks now, in 1,000 cities and towns across the country, unprecedented, massive, multi-racial, daily mobilizations against the ingrained institutional racism that permeates every aspect U.S. society have exploded in scope and intensity.

      • Structural Racism

        Senate Republicans may be at a crossroad in their unwavering fealty to a bunkered racist Donald Trump as his chances of re-election appear to be dimming.

      • Band of Brothers, Tangled Up in Blue

        Keep on keeping on — that’s what one of the brothers tells himself in a crucial part of Spike Lee’s new film Da 5 Bloods, now streaming on Netflix. Last year African-Americans commemorated the 400th anniversary of their arrival as slaves in America. At the end of Bloods Lee flashes a snippet of Martin Luther King, Jr’s 1967 Riverside Church speech where he reminds the listener that in order “to save the soul of America,”

      • “Disruptor on Road to Reconciliation”: Trump Doubles Down on Rally in Tulsa, Site of 1921 Massacre

        President Donald Trump says he will push ahead with a massive campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, even as COVID cases are surging there as the state reopens. Trump delayed the rally by one day after it was originally scheduled for June 19, Juneteenth, a celebration marking the emancipation of enslaved people. Tulsa is also the site of one of the deadliest massacres in U.S. history, when a white mob in 1921 killed as many as 300 people in a thriving African American business district. “The rally is troubling to a lot of people because of both the venue, Tulsa, and because of the timing,” says Hannibal B. Johnson, attorney and author of “Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District.”

      • Far-Reaching Prison Reform Must Be Part of Racial Justice Movement

        The systemic racism and brutality of the criminal justice system extend far beyond police misconduct.

      • Protesting for Black Lives in Trump Country

        Even here, people are organizing demonstrations to protest racism and police violence.

      • ‘You Saw My Brother Tortured and Murdered on Camera’: Philonise Floyd Demands UN Probe Into Police Violence in America

        “You have the power to help us get justice for my brother George Floyd. I am asking you to help him. I am asking you to help me. I am asking you to help us—black people in America.”

      • The GOP’s Police Reforms Won’t Do It. We Need to Defund the Police.

        Rebellions are clarifying. They not only respond to conditions — they shape them. A month into a popular uprising against policing and the broader edifice of state violence, politicians are rushing to catch up with its energy — or contain its spread.

      • Incarcerated, Infected, and Ignored: Inside an Arkansas Prison Outbreak

        On Friday, April 10, Dashujauhn “Heavy” Danzie heard that his fellow prisoner had finally gotten out of bed. During the previous week, everyone in the 9B barracks had watched nervously as the bedridden man kept coughing. Other prisoners told Heavy that the man had stood up and walked—or at least tried to. He collapsed on the way to the library and was taken to the infirmary.

      • Bringing America to the Knee

        The knee is the largest and most complex joint in the human body. A flexible hinge connecting thigh and shin bones, a focal point of leverage and stability, it helps carry the weight of the body; it is essential for movement and vulnerable to injury.

      • 100+ Racial Justice Groups Urge Congress to Defund ‘Unconstitutional and Dangerous’ Police Surveillance

        “Use of these tools to monitor protesters is having a chilling effect against those exercising their constitutional rights to assemble and express their views.”

      • Just Saying “Systemic Racism” Doesn’t Expose Systemic Racism

        Let us name the system: “racial capitalism.”

      • Nonviolent and Violent Protest

        Author, activist, and intellectual Chris Hedges referred to an often quoted statement by the late Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture): “In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none.”

      • Reforming the Police and Jails of New Orleans: an Interview With Sade Dumas

        Since 2004, the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition (OPPRC) — which includes Women With A Vision, Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children, Voice of the Experienced, and New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice — has been building a movement to reduce the parish’s jail population and improve conditions for those in detention. Over the years, the organization has won many victories, such as lowering the rate of incarceration as well as gaining the passage of a municipal bail reform ordinance — effectively eliminating bail and bond for most municipal offenses. During the pandemic, the coalition continues to advocate for the health and well being of the community. OPPRC has succeeded in gaining an en banc order in the Criminal District Court that has led to decarceration, and has helped establish Orleans Parish as one of the top-five districts in the country to have reduced jail population during Covid-19. To further understand the group’s organizing efforts throughout the pandemic, I spoke with Sade Dumas, the Executive director of OPPRC.

      • Miles Davis on Getting Stopped By The Police
      • America’s New Uighur Law Is a World First. What Took So Long?

        On Wednesday, June 17, Donald Trump signed into law the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act, which seeks to punish China for “gross human rights abuses” against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the country’s western Xinjiang province. It is the first piece of legislation in the world targeting a sprawling, years-long detention campaign in China that experts say constitutes the largest internment of ethnoreligious minorities since the Holocaust.

      • Moscow police show up to question reporter at independent TV studio

        Late on Wednesday night, police officers arrived outside the studio of the independent television network Dozhd, where they demanded to speak with journalist Anton Baev, the author of a recent investigative report that claims Moscow residents are being offered money to register fake accounts (using real senior citizens’ passport information) and vote online in support of amending Russia’s Constitution.

      • Pelosi Pushes Rule Requiring Masks at Congressional Hearings

        Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is hoping to establish firm rules on wearing facial coverings in committee hearings, and giving the sergeant-at-arms the authority to remove from the chamber lawmakers who do not abide by the standards.

      • Hydra
      • The Fight for Equality Just Won a Huge Victory

        There’s a lot of bad news out there, but I hope we’ll celebrate amid the pain.

      • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Walking In The Snow’ By Run The Jewels

        The most powerful protest music can perfectly encapsulate the moments and moods being experienced by society. At times, it can even come across as eerily prophetic.

      • CLE: Fighting for the Release of Detained Immigrants During the COVID-19 Pandemic

        The detention of immigrants who are in removal proceedings, fighting to remain in the US with their families, or seeking a safe haven from government repression, gang violence or domestic abuse in their home countries, is unjust to begin with. The COVID-19 pandemic has added to that injustice by forcing these same immigrants, many with underlying health problems, to remain in crowded conditions that do not allow for social distancing and expose them to a deadly virus.
        This webinar will provide both new and experienced advocates with tools and strategies for seeking the release of detained immigrants, from bond and humanitarian parole to habeas proceedings in Federal Court, and review the class action litigation that has been filed to secure the release of thousands from detention facilities. An organizer with a faith rooted program that fights for social justice will then discuss the work that activists are engaged in to both help secure the release of detained individuals and provide them with support once they are released from custody.

      • NLG, M4BL, and L4BL Partner to Provide Legal Support for Juneteenth Actions

        Following weeks of non-stop protests in all 50 states, the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) is calling for a weekend of actions June 19-21 to honor the legacy of Juneteenth. Hundreds of events are planned across the country, and the NLG is coordinating with M4BL and Law for Black Lives (L4BL) to provide legal support along with local jail support groups, bail funds, and legal collectives.

        Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States, and this year will build on ongoing mass mobilizations against racial injustice and police brutality against Black people. As the SixNineteen website describes: “Juneteenth is a day that honors Black freedom and Black resistance, and centers Black people’s unique contribution to the struggle for justice in the U.S. This Juneteenth is a rare moment for our communities to proclaim in one voice that Black Lives Matter, and that we won’t tolerate anything less than justice for all our people.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • T-Mobile Merger ‘Synergies’ Culminate In Massive 12 Hour Nationwide Outage

        For much of the last year, T-Mobile and Sprint insisted that their $26 billion megamerger would result in untold amazing “synergies,” lower prices, and better service. You know, pretty much the complete opposite of what US telecom merger history indicates and antitrust experts had predicted. And so far, the antitrust experts have had it largely right; the company has been busy laying off employees at its prepaid division (despite repeatedly claiming this wouldn’t happen), and the DOJ’s attempt to cobble together a fourth replacement carrier out of Dish Network appears to be bogged down in infighting.

      • Internet Society and Alliance for Affordable Internet Partner to Promote Community

        The MoU lays out a few areas of joint interest including:

        Supporting communities and local entrepreneurs to solve their own connectivity challenges through design and deployment of community networks, training and capacity building efforts, and knowledge sharing opportunities for solving policy and regulatory challenges.

        Working through Internet Society Chapters and Special Interest Groups, A4AI National Coalitions, and other communities to mobilize resources and partners in support of the implementation of priority programs and projects.

        Engaging in joint research efforts to support expansion of Internet access in underserved regions.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Court of Appeal of Barcelona alerts that you may not extend provisional measures already adopted against other products “as you go”

          One of the most salient features of Spanish patent litigation, in comparison to other countries, such as the United Kingdom, is its extreme rigidity. Judges do not seem entitled to have a sip of water during Court hearings unless a specific provision of the law empowers them to do so. A recent Decision dated 19 May 2020 from the Court of Appeal of Barcelona is highly illustrative of such rigidity. Although the facts of the case were so convoluted that it would be impossible to expound them within the narrow bounds of this blog, the main points of interest may be summarized as follows:

          The patent holder, on the eve of the 2019 edition of the Mobile World Congress, filed an application for provisional measures asking the Judge to seize some models of mobile phone handsets expected to be exhibited during the fair. At the same time, the applicant requested the Judge to carry out some “saisie-contrefaçon” type investigations to find out whether other mobile phone handsets that the applicant had not been able to purchase fell within the scope of protection of the applicant’s patent and, if so, “extend” the provisional measures (i.e. seizure and preliminary injunction orders) also against this second group of handsets. The First Instance Judge decided to “bifurcate” the proceedings (i.e. one procedure dealing with the application for provisional measures and another procedure dealing with the application for the “saisie-contrefaçon” inspection), which resulted in a saga of different decisions, an explanation of which would require forcing the readers to navigate a complex labyrinth, which is unnecessary for the purposes of this blog.

        • Covered Business Method Review and Thryv

          CBM reviews can only be used to address certain types of patents—patents that “claim[] a method or corresponding apparatus for performing data processing or other operations used in the practice, administration, or management of a financial product or service.” In other words, patents on financial operations. There’s a caveat, though—CBM patents “do[] not include patents for technological inventions.”

          That’s been the key to why CBM challenges have been used less and less frequently. Until late 2016, the class of patents that were considered to be related to a financial product or service was treated fairly broadly. But in a case called Unwired Planet, the Federal Circuit significantly cut back on that broad definition. And then last year, the Federal Circuit went further in SIPCO, redefining “technological invention” to mean any patent which claims technology as part of the solution, rather than where the claim itself innovates in a technological way.

          Before the Unwired Planet decision, there were typically 100-200 CBM petitions per year. After that decision issued, CBM petitions dropped to 48 in FY2017, 36 in FY2018, and 22 in FY2019.

          In the 9 months since the 2019 SIPCO decision, there have been a total of 10 CBM petitions. Between the two, the Federal Circuit’s review of PTO decisions to institute CBMs has prevented the program from achieving the goal Congress intended—a stringent look at patents being asserted against the financial industry.

        • Doll or Manikin

          I love the elvish doll designed by Dr. Dudley Joy Morton uncovered by Prof. Burstein. Morton was an orthopedic surgeon who was also an amateur “paleoanthropologist.” He was apparently the first to suggest that Australopithecus was a hominid. Morton published several books about feet, but only one related to gnomes & elves: The Grampas’ Toyshop (1922), a book of Christmas poetry. “After lights out on Christmas Eve, Grampa Stabler, an old elf, takes Ned and Sister to Toyland to meet Santa Claus and see the inner workings of his toy-making workshop.”

        • When does a PTO Cancellation undermine a District Court Judgment of Infringement?

          PhaZZer defaulted in the litigation and the district court awarded $7.8 million to Taser. On appeal, the Federal Circuit quickly issued a R.36 no-opinion affirmance in 2019. Then, in February 2020 the USPTO finally cancelled the claims of the asserted patent (via reexamination). US7234262.

          [...]

          This case is related to the pending petition in Chrimar where the petitioner is arguing that timing of USPTO cancellation is important — namely that USPTO cancellation should not be used to undermine an already issued district court final judgment. The Supreme Court is considering the Chrimar petition in its penultimate conference of the term on June 18, 2020.

      • Copyrights

        • WTO: Saudi Arabia Failed to Help Tackle the BeoutQ Piracy Problem

          The World Trade Organization has found that Saudi Arabia failed to live up to its obligations under the TRIPS agreement. In a dispute that centers around the pirate broadcaster beoutQ, the WTO sides with Qatar which suggested that a large piracy conspiracy may have taken place within its neighboring country.

        • Nintendo: Soldering a Modchip into a Switch Console Breaches the DMCA

          Lawyers acting for Nintendo are leaving no stone unturned in their battle to prevent Team-Xecuter’s modchips from becoming a market success. The latest target is a company that offered to install SX devices into customers’ Switch consoles, an activity which Nintendo describes as a breach of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions.

        • Nintendo Cryptically Points Out That Selling ‘Animal Crossing’ Assets For Real Money Violates ToS

          Back in May, we wrote about something of an economy springing up around Nintendo’s hit game Animal Crossing. With so many folks enduring the hardships of layoffs, or unable to find work, it turns out there are people making very real world money selling in-game assets and collecting payment outside of Nintendo’s platform, which doesn’t have a method for these types of transactions. This sort of thing fascinates me on many levels, perhaps mostly in how nearly perfectly this highlights the reality of income disparity in America. Some folks have to farm digital bells to make money by selling them to people with enough money to buy them.

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